I LAUGHED–out loud–when Marnie posted the topic for this week’s Fun Monday theme.  I thought, "How can I write about ‘Why I love where I live’ when I don’t love where I live…ha!  It’s no secret we’d love to be back in God’s Country.  After 3 1/2 years in Tennessee, we finally heard the perfect characterization of how we feel:  "It’s a great place to visit…but it’s just not HOME."  Now, Tennessee IS home to a whole lot of people, and I’m quite sure they feel the same about their Mother State as I do about the place I was born (Georgia), and the place I grew into adulthood (South Carolina).

But…….here’s the BEAUTIFUL thing.  Marnie’s theme-du-semaine got me to thinking… reflecting… contemplating…FOCUSING on the GOOD things about our lives here.  So here’s my Tennessee-livin’ in-and-lovin’ it omphaloskepsis.  This was a GREAT exercise in attitude is everthing…!


Cave_mt_laurel_cumberland_trail 10)  Fantastic hiking is minutes away.  We don’t do this often, but thinking about our last time sends me to wondering "Why not?".  It’s a great family outing, it feeds body and soul.  When it gets a bit warmer, I’m packing a picnic and off we go!

9)  I could hang glide if I wanted to.   Really, they make it easy.  Will someone PUHLEASE slip me a mickey, strap me in, and push me off the side of the cliff?  I think once I woke up, I would really, truly love it (after I was resuscitated following my heart attack).
8)  Coolidge Park.  Situated on the Tennessee River, Coolidge Park is a gem!  It’s a "must-see" if you’re in the area, particularly if you have children.  The central feature is a beautifully-restored carousel, itself a work of art; but there’s also a climbing wall, interactive fountain, plenty of areas for picnicking and running wild…..and nearby shopping and dining. 

7)  I like to eat.   If you’re ever within an hour of Chattanooga, you MUST make plans to eat at Canyon Grill.  You MUST. And you MUST order the "Slash and Burn" catfish.  Trust me on this one…you will send me gifts of appreciation following your meal (which also MUST end with their coconut cake, even if you HATE coconut cake.  You’ll change your mind).  Southside Grill is a nice runner-up, it is there I first enjoyed an amuse-bouche.  Any place that has one of those HAS to be good!  If you want romance and upscale dining, you MUST visit St. John’s–sophisticated, amazing architecture, and food that dances on your tongue.  If you click this link, click EVERY link within their site, and you’ll begin to get a picture of their artistry in food.  In this case you CAN judge a book by it’s cover.   

Oh, my, just thinking about #7 has me loving Tennessee 23% more RIGHT NOW! 

6)   We LOVE our kids’ school.  Can’t supply the links, but it was our first "happy place" when we moved here. 
5)   The amazing creek, literally in our back yard.  The first summer we were here, we couldn’t get enough of it.  Now, with the tree swing broken, and our kids a bit older, we haven’t enjoyed it like those first months, but it’s still an adventure in the waiting. 

4) My Wednesday girls’ group.  We’ve been together almost two years now…they’ve challenged me, inspired me, and loved me through the ups and downs of this thing called l i f e.  This is a group from my church…and I used to think when we met it had to be "religious" in nature–that we had to DO something spiritual (Bible study, book study, pray, etc.).  Finally…FINALLY I realized our raison d’etre–simply this…and it’s perfect in all its imperfections.
3)  My children have had several "first" experiences–Stephen discovered he loves to fish and he’s good at it, Thomas played football and loved it, and Rachel learned to pole bend, barrel race and tie goats.   I don’t think I’ll be doing much of ANY of the above.P9150256

Rachel @ rodeo camp–the one that "got away"….


2)  We have made some WONDERFUL new friends here….Pc310064_1


1) "What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger." ~
Friedrich Nietzsche

Maybe that’s extreme, but there were times after we moved here I had to tell myself "right foot, left foot, breathe in, breathe out".  Just having celebrated my 40th birthday, there were definite times of crisis.  It’s all so far removed now, it’s hard to remember the pain.  But I wouldn’t trade it, "pain" is a wonderful teacher.  I understand so much more now, I "get" middle age clichés now…they aren’t so cliché when you’ve lived them.  I truly believe this "low season" was a gift from God; He used it to break me and build me from the ground up, and my faith has never been more fully REAL…ALIVE…POWERFUL.  And I think Nietzsche‘s words are redeemed in Romans 8:28.

Yep, there’s much to love about livin’ in the Tennessee Valley–there are mountain tops all around ;).

Click HERE for a list of Fun Monday participants!

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