(The roaring waters at Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky)
In order to be the best version of yourself for the people in your life, sometimes you need to refresh and step away from the everyday routine. That might look like practicing five minutes of mindfulness meditation. It might be a weekend away, spending time with God and nature. It might even mean splurging on a reasonable shopping spree to buy something nice for yourself.
My wife, Lisa, and I saw Noah Kahan perform at The Signal in Chattanooga, Tennessee this past weekend. Kahan represents a folk-pop voice that boasts of a New England upbringing and mental health struggles. His music presents real-life scenarios with an authentic voice of pure honesty. Kahan is certainly not afraid to write about personal turmoil in his crafted lyrics. Almost every show on his current tour has now sold out! I felt privileged that I was able to attend his concert when the supply of tickets seemed limited.
We also spent time with my lifelong friend, Jason Coffey. Jason, his wife, and some hired babysitters were willing to watch our kids on this date night out. We hung out Saturday, eating good food, watching movies, and reminiscing about family memories shared with the Coffey’s. I definitely have many evident lifelong blessed relationships, including my friendship with Jason.
On another recent outing a couple of weeks back, I took a whole day to drive to Corbin, Kentucky. I enjoyed the small Appalachian town, Corbin’s version of Main Street, and Cumberland Falls State Park, where I hiked several miles. Cumberland Falls is considered the “Niagara Falls of the South.” It is one of the few locations in the eastern United States where you can actively view a moonbow, a rainbow where light from the moon becomes refracted through water droplets in the air. I would enjoy seeing such a majestic natural phenomenon! This occurrence happens several times yearly with a calendar on the Tennessee State Parks website.
The waterfalls roared with a blissful mist! I took a few minutes to pause and pray in the moment's beauty. I needed some fresh mountain air on this specific day to get away and breathe. Please see the pictures of this fascinating place below.
Corbin is home to the famed Colonel Sanders, who started Kentucky Fried Chicken. In fact, you can eat at the original KFC restaurant in town. Corbin also has a pottery painting studio and a pinball machine museum. After a long hike at Cumberland Falls, I ate at The Wrigley Taproom and Brewery, where I ordered the Harvest Buddha Bowl. This dish consists of grilled chicken breast, charred carrots, red cabbage, pickled cauliflower, crunchy quinoa, cranberries, rice, and maple miso dressing. The meal was a delectable delight to my taste buds. I drank one local microbrew with my fresh farm meal. There were some quaint stores on Main Street Corbin, a coffee shop, and a few other one-of-a-kind dining establishments. It was a jewel of a town on the outskirts of the Cumberland Plateau, where nature meets the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Williamsburg, Kentucky, home of the University of the Cumberlands, is directly south of Corbin. On the way to Knoxville, I stopped on this town’s Main Street to visit the Moonbow Mercantile, where I treated myself to homemade ice cream. I also visited The Suds Barn and Boutique, a shop specializing in individualized crafts, jewelry, and bath essentials (soaps, bath bombs, lotion, etc.). I spoke personally with the owner, Rebecca Lunsford, for a good while. She answered many more questions I had about the region and other undiscovered treasures. I bought a few items to take home, including a butter lotion that has helped Jace with some recent mild eczema. Rebecca makes all these home remedies and highly recommended the cream for Jace.
Regarding these recent events, you have to take care of yourself, and this revelation involves doing things for yourself. Now, some people are not going to like the progressive steps you take to enjoy your days and practice methods of mental health self-care. You are having fun when they might not be. You feel that you should be working or doing something productive. At least, these self-thoughts sometimes plague my mind. While I rarely feel guilty taking a little time for myself, sometimes I need to pause more, put down the work, and remain present. Again, this mentality takes many various forms. This breather might be going out to eat alone. You might seek to take a hike near a beautiful waterfall. It might be spending time with your spouse and/or children.
It is vital to stop and enjoy yourself. To care for your own family, you must care for yourself. That means not feeling guilty when you do so. That means taking action without remorse and without caring what others might think.
God cares for you, and He desires for you to enjoy life. He wants you to accomplish great things but also that you take time to recognize those great moments.
One of these immense moments for me was standing at the edge of some of the grandest waterfall cascades in the southeast. I will remember that prayerful moment at the edge of that canyon river for many years to come. For further long-term appreciation, I will remember Cumberland Falls. I will remember my date night at Noah Kahan. I will remember the vested time spent with my dear friends like the Coffey’s.
These are the moments I seek to cherish. These are the memories I remain grateful for in the experiences they bring. Now, learn to take your own breather and enjoy your life today as it is at this moment!
(Noah Kahan entertains the crowd in concert at The Signal in Chattanooga, Tennessee.)
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