Monday, October 3, 2016

Untold Story #3: Scott County, Tennessee

My Mom. Photo by Ashley Nicole Baker

As much as I treasured my time with my nephews, the timing of this last Tennessee trip wasn't motivated by them so much as by 1) a women's retreat, and 2) a butcher. I'll tell you the latter story, later, but for now: the women's retreat.

For ten years, my mom has coordinated the Scott County Ladies Christian Retreat. If I have the story straight, she felt (and still feels) led to encourage greater unity among the women of various churches in my home county and beyond. With an attendance of approximately 125 women, this last time, there were more than forty churches represented.

I love the spirit of this event. I've attended three of the ten to teach and/or photograph, and I've been blessed every the teaching, singing, fellowship, etc. The theme, this year, was "Laying Aside Every Weight." My mom taught a workshop on Alzheimer's: the disease to which we lost my grandma. Her sisters traveled down from Maryland to support and help, so I had some rare, beautiful time with my aunts while I was in Tennessee.

Aunt Ellie & Aunt Joyce - Photos by Ashley Nicole Baker.

Writing this reminds me that I need to get my mom's notes because--not wanting to get even more worked up prior to teaching, myself--I didn't attend her workshop. I attended workshops by Sherry Laymance (my sister-in-law's mom) and Stacey Bell. Both of these women have been in my life for a really long time, and I was amazed by the intersection in what they shared.

(L) Sherry & My SIL Sarah, (R) Stacey. These photos are mine.

I taught, this year, on the weight of emotional pain and focused on practical helps to manage anxiety and depression.

Me, Teaching. Photo by Ashley Nicole Baker.

My home county has grown so much in the twenty-four years since I left home. Not only do I recognize spiritual growth, but I see new businesses, institutions of learning, parks, and concert venues; I missed him, but Hank Williams, Jr. performed in my home county the night of the retreat! Scott County even boasts a wonderful museum complex, now, on the grounds of my old high school. Unfortunately, because someone was filming, we weren't able to visit the Learning Lodge portion of the museum complex the day we visited. Even so, there were a lot of things to see and do.

Dad went with the little kids and me to the museum complex, also to the butcher (in Kentucky), so on this trip, I spent much more time with him than with Mom. Mom is working full-time, these days, and she was completely spent following the retreat. Dad washed her feet, and she and Charleigh fell asleep right after.

But the little kids and I even managed to squeeze in a visit with our friends Shelly and Joslin (Joslin had grown so much since the last time!), so it was a wonderful trip on many levels. Stay tuned for my butcher story...then, for a dinosaur story.

My Girls with Joslin