Well, we’re getting settled in Tennessee! We’ve been here about 6 weeks and I must say that I absolutely love it! Certainly I miss my family, friends and church back in Orlando – that goes without saying!! But I have fallen in love with this place called Tennessee. We have spent the past several weeks exploring (most boxes were unpacked the first two weeks) our new area. Our home is located within walking distance of downtown Franklin, yet within a 10 minute drive we are in the countryside with horses dotting the rolling, green hills and mountains in the distance!
Getting Settled and Exploring
Here’s a quick rundown of our first few weeks:
- Land: We were land-shopping our first weekend here. Yes, I know. I know we were still unpacking boxes. But my big goal is to be on our little homestead in about 18 months. We couldn’t help it and started looking and haven’t stopped. It’s addicting here. Seeeriously addicting. And in the process of looking, we’ve almost run out of gas. Twice. (More on this to come.)
- Farmer’s Market: Y’all. We’re talking dozens of CSAs and local farms selling grassfed and pastured products. These farmers actually grow the items they sell. Are you thinking, “Well, why wouldn’t they?” Back home most organic produce is purchased off the back of Dole (etc.) trucks in grocery store parking lots and sold at markets, in CSAs, etc. Besides the amazing produce, meat, dairy, etc., the absolute best donuts and country biscuits pair great with the live music each week. Yes, folks. It’s the real deal.
- Milk: We’ve visited a dairy farm and toured where our raw milk comes from. The cows roam the hillsides and get a small supplement of non-GMO grain at the stand. Our milk is $5 per gallon for labor. That price makes me do a little dance – it wasn’t too long ago in Florida that I paid upwards of $10 a gallon. And this milk yields so much cream and is delicious!!
- Church: We moved to be a part of a church plant and are adjusting really well. We’ve attended almost every weekend since we’ve been here. Currently our church meets in a tiny Baptist church; we keep our kiddos with us during worship and it’s been….interesting…to keep their exclamations and declarations (“Mama, I gotta go da potty!!”) from reverberating across the room. But the people are super friendly and we’ve been blessed with meals, play dates and so many hugs! If you’re in the Franklin area – join us!
- Bulk Foods: We’ve always shopped at Costco (even when it was just me and David) but now it’s necessary. They go through an entire bunch of organic bananas for breakfast every morning. Etc. We love all the organic options at Costco, but since moving here, I’ve found a new love (shhhh!). Bulk Natural Foods. I’ve gotten bushels of peaches, huge flats of beautiful blackberries, truly raw and unpasteurized nuts, beans, grains, sugars, and dried fruits galore. I’ve only brushed the surface and can’t wait for next month’s budget. And for those of you wishing you could get some of these items, hang tight for more info later this week!
- Fireflies: This Florida girl had never seen so many fireflies! I was almost as excited as my children when we first discovered them. Our church meets right now on Saturday nights, so after the meeting is over…it’s dark. All the kids head out front to catch fireflies on the front lawn. I honestly felt like I was stepping into a country song. It was that awesome. And I’m tough to impress – I grew up with Walt Disney World (practically) in my backyard. But Disney’s got nothing on hundreds of yellow lights sizzling up from the freshly cut grass with a pasture-full of cows grazing in the light of the setting sun, children running and jumping and calling, “Firefly! I got you!”
- 4th of July: We celebrated by “going into town.” I felt like Ma Ingalls. I was so excited. I realized part of it was that I hadn’t done anything for the Fourth since before the babies were born. Life was just too crazy last year. But this year, it was awesome. Live music in The Square. Sitting on the lawn, chasing children, eating food…and it never got higher than 80 degrees!
- Chiro: Our family uses our chiropractor like many families use their pediatrician. We were sad to leave our doctor in Orlando who was with us all through my pregnancy and even came to our home to adjust us after we brought the babies home from the hospital. Thankfully we found a like-minded chiropractor just minutes from our home and we’ve been experiencing the benefits already!
- History: We’ve already explored two historical landmarks and I’ve discovered basking in the knowledge that certain battles took place here and there just doesn’t look the same with three toddlers in tow. Their enthusiasm is also rather lacking – raisins and almonds got them more excited, much to my disappointment. Oh well. In a few years we’ll have some awesome field trips!
- Ice Cream: Here, organic and locally grown is almost not even advertised because it’s just…expected. Understood. Of course you buy local. We discovered a gelato shoppe that uses local milk and produce (so go get you some strawberry gelato because it’s only available during strawberry season!). I loved it so much I may open a store in Franklin. I’m only kidding. Sort of.
Of course, it hasn’t all been smiles and songs and happy hearts. There’ve been lots of tears (mostly mine), burned dinners, all-out tantrums (mostly the toddlers and often all three at the same time) and blown grocery and eating out budgets. There have been late night talks reminding ourselves we did the right thing in moving. And we did. We feel a peace and a confidence that can be known only when stepping out into His will, even in the midst of uncertainties.
It’s good to be home.
How ’bout you? Tell me one thing you love most about where you live??