Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘Tennessee’

Hearing 40

Reflections are not what they use to be. Mirrors are not utilized much now; the image looking back at me is sometimes unrecognizable and hauntingly older than my mind says I am.  Have you ever had that moment? When you glance at yourself and then glance again – because at first, you didn’t recognize yourself.

Life can be a lot like that as well. Most people have an idea of what they want their lives to look like by certain ages: 30, 40, 50, 60.  It’s true that we do not always meet the goals and lofty ideas that we set for ourselves. But it’s also true that some of the most random things that occur (completely unplanned) can be the most beautiful.

Personally, as I age, I appreciate many of the same things the younger version of myself did. To sit outside and just listen has never left my heart. No matter where I am, I can do it free of charge and it bothers no-one.  Why? Because I love what I hear. I hear God’s creation, his peace, and when I’m lucky…his still small voice.  Try it. Go sit outside. Sit in the grass of your yard. Sit on your porch or patio. Sit on a sidewalk. Just be. After a long pause ask yourself, what do you hear?

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I’m in my back yard in the Tennessee Valley. I hear at least 15 different types of birds singing back and forth with each other. Each a sweet song and in a different pitch. The wind is blowing and the blades of grass are rubbing against each other. Footsteps are behind me as a brave squirrel is going up and down the Elder tree.  In the distance there is a faint sound of laughter and delightful squealing as the neighborhood children chase each other.  Often a loud car may zoom by in the distance. (They really need a new muffler.) I can hear water flowing through the ditch gently and occasionally I can hear small frogs jumping in and out of the water. There are tree branches scraping in the wind and there’s a whistle in my ear as the chilly breeze picks up. It’s spring in East TN and it sounds peaceful. Longer I sit, I would hear more.

Age has taught my eyes to see things in a different way than the younger me ever could. I see so much beauty now all around me and it’s also easier to see through people. One thing I saw wrong was my life at 40.  But, that’s a post for another day.

Be well. Know you are loved.

 

Chrissy

 

 

Ode to Ice

Winters in the East TN Valley are normally not that bad. We normally don’t get much snow. Well, snow that sticks that is. It will snow here from time to time, and sometimes it will even snow in April or May. It’s just the sticking part that is not normal.  Sure we have black ice-covered roads, but the County owns plenty of salt trucks that enables travel after just a few short hours. Although for the last two days I have had the distinct pleasure of looking out my window to see a lovely, sparkly, ice-snow mix clinging to everything.

Ice & Snow in East TN Valley

Ice & Snow in East TN Valley

It truly is a lovely winter wonderland scene, until the need arises to get out on the road for travel. The main roads have been well treated I hear. But sadly, the twisty curvy drop off the side of a mountain back roads have not. So of course, everyone had the classic run on the grocery store to stock up on milk, bread, tuna, peanut butter, and soups in the days before the arctic blast hit. Posts on social media sites have all poked fun at the grocery store runs and many southerners have borrowed humorous northern memes referring to Bosses expecting employees to be at work regardless. I’ve read the funny stories of falls and accidental body part grabbing to steady oneself while slipping on the ice. I’ve even had fun watching our 50 lb puppy holding her feet in the air when we take her outside to do her business in the ice/snow. I laughed at some of the silly posts from transplants (people who have moved here from other states) about how we can’t drive in snow. But, there are sad stories as well. Unfortunately, this year, the ice hit us harder than we could handle in Tennessee. As a matter of fact, Tennessee declared a State of Emergency two days ago. The saddest part of the event develops from the people who did not take the weather serious or were simply not ready. I’ve heard news stories of a local elderly lady dying out in the cold because her door locked behind her when we went to the mailbox and she couldn’t get back inside. An entire family lost their lives in a home fire. There were over 50,000 people in TN without power due to the ice and over 21,000 of those where here in Knoxville. At one point the entire city pretty much shut down. The Smoky Mountains have been shut down as temperatures reached -23 degrees atop Mt LeConte (which is the 5th coldest day ever recorded there) with the wind chill at -67 degrees. Thank God there are no stranded hikers up there to date. As for other people in Tennessee, there have been 11 deaths reported related to the harsh cold temperatures or ice. So, I ask nicely if you are not living here that you keep the jokes to a minimum and keep us in your prayers as the forecast calls for more snow, ice and rain to come within the next couple of days. The resulting possible flooding could steal more lives and result in further damage throughout the state. I love my home in East Tennessee and I ask, won’t you help me pray for everyone living here now? Thanks, Chrissy

Second attempt – Arrowhead wonders

Over the weekend, my husband and I thought we would go out and look for a tilled up field to look through for arrow heads. Thinking we would try north, we drove around field spotting for a few hours. We found a lot of field, but none had been turned. We discovered that practically no one will is home on a Sunday afternoon anyway to give permission to walk their field.

Lesson learned. It was actually a good trip. We shared time together and checked out the landscape that we didn’t otherwise know.

After a couple of fields, Nick said “I just know we’ll find arrowheads or artifacts here!  Just look at what I found!” ….
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After a good laugh, we were on to the next field 🙂

The only thing we actually did find was a shaft straightener,
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a few tiny pieces of flint, and several farm properties that are for sale.

I’ve always liked just leisurely driving around though, so I loved it!
It was a good day 🙂

Below are some we found on other days.

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New Beginnings

January has been a time of new  beginnings, new acceptance, and has begun a new era in our lives. On January 9th, 2013 Nick and I were married in Gatlinburg, TN. We agreed to spend our lives together against everything life may throw at us & stand by each other solidly. We agreed before God and man to be best friends till the end (thus crossing #53 off my bucket list for good.  #53 was listed as: This one is private, but has been accomplished. No other description offered. Now, I reveal this item to you 🙂 I was searching for new best friend for life and I have him now!

We had a fabulous few days away from the kids & discovered some cool new local places. We agreed on our honeymoon, we would only shop & eat at mom&pop type businesses. So we totally avoided all chains & known labels. This is the first post of many about our honeymoon experiences in Gatlinburg.

We stayed in a small cabin in Gatlinburg, TN owned & operated by Ski Mountain Chalets & Cabin Rentals. It was very cute, on the edge of the town of Gatlinburg going up the mountain, fully furnished, beautiful scenery, clean, private and pleasant atmosphere 🙂

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The front porch of cabin was small and faced a paved driveway, so no worries of snow or mud.

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The front entrance introduces you to the livingroom or common area equipped with a couch, coffee table, TV, and gas fireplace (no need to buy firewood).
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The kitchen was completely furnished! All we bought was coffee & drinks for the fridge 🙂

The second room was furnished with a king size bed & whirlpool tub & full seperate bathroom.
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The back porch was my favorite spot!
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The hot tub was awesome 🙂
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The creek behind the cabin.
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Adventure in Snow

Back in December I did not post after the sad circumstances with Nick’s father’s passing. Read more here

But, we did have a few adventures as a family. I feel like enough time had passed that I can reveal the happy time that we all had during the sadness of the month of December.

We took the boys with us to Indiana to attend the funeral. Indiana had a pleasant surprise for the boys – snow! Where we live in Tennessee (all the boys have ever known) it doesn’t snow much and if it should, there are such small amounts of it that it melts away by the next day. Travel may be stopped or slowed for a few hours, but really life simply goes on. When we crossed over the state line into Indiana, the boys looked up from their electronic devices and saw the main highway was covered in a lovely white/muddy substance. Our oldest even commented on the speed we had slowed to and had to receive an explanation about how snow affects driving habits and the dangers we could possibly be facing. Our youngest had one thing on his mind and kept asking if he could play in it when we got to the hotel 🙂

They were so overwhelmed by the white stuff everywhere (snow) that it consumed their every thought and desire. I heard them reminding each other that they should remember that we were heading to a funeral, but the excitement in their voices led me to think that this was going to be an adventure for them for sure!

After the funeral we went back to the hotel and gathered our thoughts. Nick told the boys (still wearing shorts from habit of Tennessee climate) to dress warmly because he was going to take them somewhere.
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We found ourselves at the Circle Center Mall. We walked up and down dizzying heights from bottom floor to top as we marveled at all the stores. The boys tasted their first ever Orange Julius drinks and were mesmerized by the game room on the top level.
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They walked downtown around Monument Circle and looked at the World’s largest Christmas tree.
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On the way home, Nick stopped at a small store and purchased some small sleds for the boys. He took us to Brown County Indiana and selected a hill for the boys to learn how to sled on.
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The youngest loved it!
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Even Nick had some fun 🙂

The oldest set out to build himself a snowman 🙂

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The snow is all they talked about on the long trip back home to Tennessee. They truly had a great experience in their still young teenage lives that many kids have by the time they are 6 or 7 yrs old!

Their adventure was unbelievable wonderful and I know they will never forget it.

Doctor Day

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gradually become a grumpy gus. It seems that the aches & pains in my body have intensified of late. Nick continually had been encouraging me to go to the doctor to seek treatment, which I was avoiding. So, today is Dr day.
I very much dread going to the doctor. I don’t like medicine and I don’t like admitting that I can’t or won’t get better on my own 😦 Every visit since my family doctor changed practices has been odd. The last time I saw him, he didn’t seem happy. I guess being a doctor isn’t an easy profession anyway, but he use to have a spring in his step that seemed to be missing last time.
Anyway, today I’ll talk to him about the arthritis and it’s mean friends: pain, inflammation, and twisting joints. Here’s hoping he can put me on a treatment plan to slow this unkind disease and give me quality of life back. It’s hiking time in Tennessee & I want to hike, run, walk, and begin an exercise program badly!

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Bucket list – high elevations

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Item #5 on our bucket list was go to The Pinnacle.

In late March (on Easter Day 2011) after a visit go see the kids’ Granny, Pap, Uncle Jesse & Aunt Lisa in Sharps Chapel – the boys & I decided to strike out on a 56 mile one way trip to see The Pinnacle overlook.

We enjoyed the ride as we passed through Union County (blah) to get to their Granny’s house, then Claborne county (very familiar ground for us), lovely & beautiful Harrogate, and then into Bell County, KY to the city of Middlesboro. 

Before we went to The Pinnacle  we drove around historic downtown Middlesboro, Ky. We stopped by the outdoor – open  to the public – Coal Museum, and took in a history lesson.
Did you know Middlesboro, KY was the location of a metorite crash?  Yep. The city of Middlesboro was built inside a huge chunck hole. 

I thought to myself, that sure explained a lot! Could this explain why coal in Middlesboro was & is so richly and readily available

Anyway, we also saw Middlesboro’s one & only war memorial dedicated to ALL soldiers everywhere from ALL wars.

Then we headed back south, toward the visitor center to see The Pinnacle. Driving up the mountain was a slow, curve after curve experience. By the time we made it to the top (elevation 2440′), we had reached our destination.

We walked up to the overlook area where 3 states could be seen in one fisheye view by all who dare drive up that mountain. Virginia to the left (rather flat looking), Tennessee straight ahead (mountainous Harrogate & parts of Claborne Co), and good ole Kentucky to the right (sitting in a deep bowl).
If we looked straight down, we could see the township of Cumberland Gap, the old mill, and the tiny specs of businesses & homes. Also, this was a good view of the mile long tunnel cut through the mountain from TN to KY. It was & is a majestic view! The mountains, the life below, and the serenity of clean air was amazing. I could breath. It was so nice. The sun began to set, so I snapped some photos before we headed back to the car.

The boys began reflecting & spoke of a few things. Nicky thought he met his douple-ganger. There was a man there with his family wearing the EXACT same outfit as him. Exactly the same from head to ankles, but different shoes. This guy had the same hair color, walking gate, and was the size as Nicky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nicky so enthralled, excited, and memorized. 🙂 That was great!!

Cole mentioned how many signs  Virginia & Kentucky had posted within inches of each other, claiming their property at the Pinnacle. I reminded him we saw that very same thing when we visited the Cumberland Gap township also. It is rather comical.

what’s funny is that these signs have conversation without saying a word.

This tree property of VA.
This tree (7″ away) property of KY.
My sidewalk. NO, my sidewalk! Fine, my rock! No, MY rock.

Any way, it’s certainly a good drive to get there, but well worth the trip. I saw 9 different state license plates on the vehicles parked near our car, so it’s GOT to be a tourist attraction listed somewhere, LOL.

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