Dandridge, TN

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Well, I wasn’t expecting to be here tonight, but an accident ahead of me on I40 (between Knoxville, TN and Asheville, NC) caused some quick thinking and plotting and I followed the line of semis to an exit full of hotels. So I’m sitting in a big, cozy armchair in my room that has 1 more bed and 6 more pillows than I actually will use, eating pretzel thins and peanut butter M&Ms for dinner. And watching the Emmys. And trying to get my thoughts organized for an upcoming 55 hours at a “Healthy Congregations” workshop in Montreat, NC.. Tomorrow, I’ll leave Dandridge by 8:00 and arrive in Montreat around 10 a.m. and join Rev. John and his wife, Pam, who arrived there this afternoon after spending a week in New York.

It’s been a full week. Meetings, trainings, phone calls, emails, text messages, memos, cleaning, thinking ahead about everything I needed to prepare in order to miss a week, tying up every loose end I could think of, scrambling around to get things done, long hours, late nights. Plus insomnia–did I mention I’ve been unable to sleep (at least without medication, which I resorted to using mid-week)?

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Last night was a rough night. Jason came home from a long day hike yesterday very ill. (He has bronchitis, he now knows, after a trip to the clinic this afternoon.) So I slept on the couch. Which means I kind of slept but not entirely.

Today has been a difficult day for people I care about. Early this morning, a phone call let me know that one of our church staff members lost her mother in the pre-dawn hours. She’s a nursery worker and my after school assistant and her granddaughter participates in our children’s ministries.

This morning was a full one at church. My mother preached both services. I sang a solo at both services. I led music at the first service. The children did a Rosh Hashana skit and served refreshments between services (and unfortunately, it was “Moses'” grandmother who passed away early this morning, so we scrambled a bit, but the show went on). We had several visitors. Several volunteers and I scrambled around and came up with a Plan B and a Plan C and a last resort Plan D for our after school ministry this week while I’m gone. I loaded the Youth Group into the van…only to discover that the van is dead. So we loaded the Youth Group up in cars and drove to Robards, KY to eat and make donations at a fundraiser for a child facing the end of his life. Which really puts all of the above in perspective, you know?

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Still I sit in this rented armchair, my shoulders tense from driving so many miles this afternoon…and from stress…and from sleeping on a couch. And honestly? I’m mentally exhausted. And physically exhausted.

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