Ahh, the mountains. Nothing says pure relaxation like the serene landscapes of the mountains. The cool and crisp fresh air, the pleasant sounds of birds chirping and rivers flowing, and no cell service. No pesky sport notifications, no social media alerts, no phone calls, just nothing. And yes, if you’re wondering, I took this picture. Beautiful isn’t it? I know, thanks. Recently, my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, and to commemorate our vows, we planned a vacation to Eastern Tennessee. To say it was beautiful is an understatement. The Smokey Mountains are breath-taking and life changing. Yes, I just said “life changing”, because that’s what it was. If you have never been to the Smokies, put it on your bucket list. If you have visited, you know exactly what I am talking about. Even if you’re not ‘outdoorsy’, you need to experience at least driving through the Smokies, it will give you a whole new appreciation for mother nature, and (for me) my Creator.
We have never celebrated an anniversary with a vacation, but we both knew and decided that’s how we wanted to honor this one. I wanted this one to be special, because well, we deserved it. When gathering ideas for vacation destinations (and this being a celebration of our marriage), I wanted to go somewhere that would be a humbling experience. I wanted to go to a place that wouldn’t distract us from the purpose of this trip, celebrating our commitment to each other. The Great Smokey Mountains helped us accomplish that goal. It was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, cool mornings and warm afternoons. The sun shined bright and the sky was blue. The light breeze that twirled along the red spruce trees, hitting every leaf like a singer hitting every note, was harmonious. I know, you’re thinking “is she really going on about leaves blowing in the wind?” I am, but only because this was different. This was a tranquil melody of all the natural beauty provided to us by our Creator. The scenery and environment truly captured the exact outcome I was hoping to have. Being in nature and having that (very rare) one-on-one time was a really grounding for us.
Without a doubt, this vacation brought us closer together, and I am grateful. However, it would have been a way better ending had my curiosity not got the best of me, and gave me the idea to explore a hollowed-out tree. In my defense, it was a really cool looking tree. I came upon this really cool tree that had this huge oval hole in the center of it, and it had these carvings around the hole, like maybe a bear thought there was honey inside and started gnawing and clawing at it. I was curious, and got up closer to take a look. There, hanging out in the shadows, two little eyes caught my attention. SNAKE! Yes, it was a snake just hanging out inside the hole of the tree that my face was literally 6 inches away from. So, naturally, I panicked. I started screaming and running like a mad woman. If there was a bear near, it was long gone by now with those terrifying screams. In fact, I was so scared and freaked out, that my performance persuaded others who had just started down the trail to re-think their hiking idea. Also, I completely left my husband in the dust. Left him to fend for himself. Fortunately for him, he has spent a significant amount of time watching all those survival shows, that he is now a “trained survivalist” and would have grabbed that snake with his bare hands and turned it into snake stew and new handbag. Seriously. That happened.
Regardless, of where you decide to spend your anniversary, I think that its important to spend it (if possible) with just the two of you. Couples need that bonding time. Marriages need a re-charge, often, to keep the relationship fresh. I think it’s a good thing to be alone with each other from time to time, to remember that your spouse is a person too. Sometimes, we fall into these patterns due to our lifestyles and children’s routines, and we forget that our spouses have needs. The point is, take some time to spend with each other. Go somewhere that isn’t distracting so the both of you can focus on each other. Turn off the phones, the tablets, the tv, and just enjoy each other… but its way better in the mountains!