Celebrating Interdependence Day

As it has been awhile since I posted here I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ll start with an overdue post about our visit to Monteagle, Tennessee and the University of the South, better known as Sewanee. Just a couple hours’ drive from the Nashville area, our holiday trip transported us a world away, which is exactly what we wanted as we celebrated our wedding anniversary, or Interdependence Day, as it is known in our house.

We had heard what a beautiful campus the college had and it was that and more. But it was a series of serendipitous experiences that combined to make our adventure so memorable. Upon arriving for our first night at the luxurious new Sewanee Inn we learned that the college orchestra was performing a free concert of classical music at the nearby Monteagle Sunday School Assembly (MMSA) and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our visit.

According to the sign at its entrance, the purpose of MMSA is “the advancement of science, literary attainment, Sunday School interests, and the promotion of the broadest popular culture in the interest of Christianity without regard to sect or denomination.” It is patterned after the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York and is similar to the Methodist campground that we visited at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

It was a slice of our beloved New England here in the South and the weather even turned quite a bit cooler for us, adding to the irresistible ambience of the idyllic retreat center. Back at Sewanee, we bravely (and successfully) rode the tandem bike the inn provided for guests, toured the gothic-themed campus of the university and visited several of the neighboring scenic spots, including a giant-sized white cross on the mountainside and the stunning library of homegrown investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton.

Capping off our relaxing visit was the complimentary upgrade upon our request to a spacious upstairs suite overlooking the golf course. Our stay not only refreshed our bodies but also our spirits and reminded us anew of how much God cares for us and delights in giving us the desires of our hearts. This Independence Day we celebrated our interdependence on one another and on God and yes, there were fireworks!

A Currier and Ives Christmas

It may be the day after Christmas but the holiday season continues, at least according to the traditional 12 days of Christmas countdown. And while we may be well into the 21st century my wife and I are experiencing a Currier and Ives Christmas here in historic Franklin. The festivities kicked off with a Victorian-themed “Dickens of a Christmas” celebration downtown, complete with costumed characters and carolers.

Next we attended a Christmas service at our new church held in an old chapel with music and ministry by award-winning musician and founding pastor Michael W. (Smitty) Smith. Afterward, we watched our favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at the Franklin Theatre with a host of our fellow townspeople. On Christmas Eve, we attended our church’s candlelight service with carol singing led by Smitty.

On Christmas Day, we celebrated simply and quietly at home by opening our gifts, listening to Christmas music, relaxing around the house and eating my wife’s specialty pot roast before watching a favorite movie and calling it a day. Our only nods to today’s technology were reading on our new Kindle Paperwhite and contacting loved ones with our iPhones. Finally, we are swinging in another New Year in an old-fashioned way with the Glenn Miller Orchestra at the Franklin Theatre. Here is to simple living!

Celebration of Love

Earlier this month my lovely wife, Linda, and I celebrated our silver anniversary by visiting Paris for the day. Paris, Tennessee, that is! And as the attached photo attests, we even got our obligatory photo with the scaled replica of the Eiffel Tower. While we had planned to visit THE Paris in France, we realized that with our upcoming move, perhaps it made sense to postpone those plans. So a couple of weeks before our anniversary we hatched our backup plan.

Hungry for irony, we started our day by eating breakfast at the nearby Henpeck Village Market, where the owner paid for our meal upon hearing it was our anniversary. After a scenic road trip, we browsed the quaint shops of downtown Paris and enjoyed ice cream at Café a la Mode before heading homeward. And for supper we indulged our appetite for more irony by eating at one of our favorite places, the Loveless Café.

As we celebrated 25 years of wedded bliss, we reminded each other of special times through the years and how, despite the challenges of married life, we managed to age rather gracefully by the grace of God. Of course, not having kids or pets may have helped with that! And after all is said and done, we owe an eternal debt of gratitude to the One at the center of our lives and the ultimate celebration of love.

Celebrating Life

This is my 100th posting so I thought I would write about something profound, like the need to celebrate life. A couple of recent incidents have conspired to make this top of mind for me. One Sunday morning earlier this month, as my wife and I were preparing to go speak at a local church, a neighbor’s oak tree fell onto our house, narrowly missing my wife. And on the Friday of that week she was laid off from her job.

The good news is that our insurance is replacing the entire roof and my business has picked up the slack from my wife’s job loss. It suffices to say my wife and I have been reminded of the fragility of life and the resulting need to handle it with prayer. Despite what might ordinarily threaten our tranquility we have been supernaturally sustained by peace that surpasses our understanding. As the saying goes, “life’s a gift, that is why it’s called the present,” and my wife and I are very aware of how much we have to celebrate.