I just spent a few days in the mountains with my husband. We were celebrating our 15th anniversary and we had a glorious weekend. We could not have asked for more beautiful weather. We spent time doing what each of us enjoy doing. It was amazing! We drove up on Friday night. We've started reading books out loud as we travel and we've decided that it makes the car ride go by so much more quickly. This trip we read "Sweetbrier Autumn", which is a story of the history of Seattle. We really enjoyed it, but didn't get finished. I imagine I'll be devouring the rest of that one this week. The drive up into the mountain to get to the cabin was a bit scary in the dark. It was very rural, so the roads were not maintained well, they were steep and very curvy. I was thankful to have my very capable hubby at the wheel. We got in in time to veg on the couch for a bit before bed. Saturday we slept in a little, had breakfast then headed to Gatlinburg. We stopped at the Welcome center for brochures to help us decide what to do. Our first stop was the Arts and Crafts village. I of course enjoyed that part more than Patrick did. We bought a small watercolor painting for my mother-in-law for her birthday, bought mason a wooden toy axe, but my most favorite place was the quilt shop. I've always wanted to quilt, but felt a little intimidated by it and wasn't sure I could do it with a basic machine, and sure don't want to have to pay someone to do the quilting. The sweet owner of the shop talked to me for a while and convinced me that I can do it. She owns a very expensive long arm machine, but still chooses to do most of her quilting on her sewing machine. She recommended a good beginner pattern (which I love!) and I can't wait to get started. I loved being in that store. I'm pretty sure I'm now hooked! We left there and went to eat at The Old Mill, the food was really good and reasonable (we shared and it was plenty) and the atmosphere was lovely, we stopped by a candy shop there and I got some homemade toffee, a bear claw and some Zots for my kiddos (anyone remember those?). We also went into the pottery shop and got to see pottery being made. It was VERY neat. We then went to the national park and decided on a trail to walk. We walked to Laurel Falls. It was said to be easy, but I had forgotten my knee brace at the cabin and found it fairly difficult. We had to park quite a ways away, so the round trip for us was around 3 miles, a good portion of it uphill. Thankfully it was paved an my sweet husband was patient. The falls were pretty, but much too crowded and I think DeSoto has just as much to offer. We drove back through downtown Gatlinburg on the way back to the cabin. It was fun to people watch as we drove the strip. Once at the cabin we ate a quick supper and headed to bed earlier so we could get an earlier star the next morning. Saturday we headed out pretty early to get to Cades Cove. We spent most of the morning there and would have stayed longer if we had not forgotten the cooler bag with our snacks and drinks in it. We walked at least a couple or more miles while in the park. One of the trails we walked took us past a big red barn and up to an old home place. When we headed back to the van we saw two bucks in the big red barn. We were able to watch them for a few minutes before they moved on (some other people came noisily down the trail and scared them away). We turned and just across the path saw a doe and her fawn. We stood 10 - 15 feet away from them and were able to watch them for a while. Then as we continued on we saw one more doe. It was so neat. I've sat in my van and seen them many times or watched them through a window, but never have I stood so near to one in the wild. Breathtaking! We left and had lunch at a nearby cafe then headed to the outlet malls. I only went to a hand full of stores (I tried to be merciful to my sweet, patient man), but had great success in those stores. I was able to find replacement lids and hot/cold packs for my pyrex portables for a VERY reasonable price. I also found 6" mini loaf pans for a reasonable price and picked some up for myself and my Mom for our holiday baking. My last stop was the Old Navy outlet. I ended up with 7 items for $28 dollars. We headed back to the cabin early for a restful night in. We watched a movie (The Cross, which I HIGHLY recommend), then we spent a while in the hot tub. We spent that time really talking (the movie had us in a very thoughtful, reflective place) about where we were going as a family, what God had called us to and where He is taking us and what we need to be doing to prepare. A couple of notes from that: My favorite quote from the movie was "My unworthiness does not disqualify me from the call of God." ~ Arthur Blessit The movie really made us think about something we've heard our pastor talk about many times. If we cannot be faithful in the little things, how can we ever expect God to trust us with the big things. We know God is calling us to something bigger and that we need to be living in a state of preparation for that, but it convicted us that we needed to get a handle on the little things, to set our priorities and hold fast to them, to make time for the most important things. So, I'm working on a schedule that will help us make sure that we aren't letting important things slip through the cracks. Monday we headed back with a stop at a very disappointing Flea Market (when did they become an avenue for people to sell imported merchandise?) and at Bass Pro Shops and finally at lunch at Cracker Barrel. We tried to stop at a quilt shop in Chattanooga, but it was closed. We missed our children terribly, but were so thankful to have the time away. It was so good for us physically, emotionally and spiritually. I'll try to post some pictures soon.
P.S. All this lovely fallish weather, the time in the mountains, the antiques and the quilt shop, led to my latest background change. I'm loving it!