I’ve always wanted to go visit Nashville, Tennessee.
I fell in love with downtown Franklin, Tennessee a few years ago while attending a business seminar. I remember thinking it was so charming.
From walking around the square to tasting the yummy southern food, shopping in the adorable boutiques, and meeting the kindest people— all of it made me proud to be southern!
Itching to get back there, my daughter, Ellie, and I took a mother-daughter trip to Nashville for the first part of last week!
We got off to a bit of a rocky start after I spilled my entire ginger ale all over the front of my jeans on the plane, looking like I wet my pants (only jeans I brought), then it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to roll up the windows in our rental Jeep (hint: buttons are in the middle of the Jeep and not on the side doors), and I may have had to do a loopty-loop around the airport since I missed the exit the first time. All minor issues aside, we were finally off on our little adventure.
We stayed with a dear friend of mine whom I’d met on a retreat in Costa Rica a few years ago. It was so nice to catch up with her. She and her family were so generous to let us stay with them and went above and beyond to make us feel at home.
They live in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville, which happened to be pretty close to Franklin, so I took Ellie to walk around the square. We ate lunch at Gray’s on Main per my hosts request, which was fabulous, popped by all the boutique stores around the square, and ended the day at the ice cream shop. It was magical.
The next morning, Ellie woke up and wanted to go right back to Franklin because of this kids’ clothing and knick knack store that had been closed the day before.
We drove back to Franklin for that one adorable shop and I treated Ellie to a little shopping spree. Then we drove by Vanderbilt University and walked around The Parthenon in Centennial Park with popsicles in hand.
On the morning of our flight home we had a little time to kill, so we decided to stop for breakfast. Something I said led my waiter to believe I was quite the traveler and, for whatever reason, he ended up sitting down in the seat across from Ellie and me and telling us his story.
He shared how he moved to Nashville for a fresh start after going through a really difficult season. I could tell his faith was important to him because he talked a lot about God.
I opened up and shared some of my journey with him and he seemed very interested in my late husband Andrew’s book, A Gray Faith, because of where he was at in his faith. He then pulled out his prayer journal, where he wrote down Ellie’s and my names and a prayer request for the next steps in our journey.
It was the perfect ending to our sweet little adventure.
This trip reminded me of the importance of getting away from all the distractions at home to spend quality time with the ones we love.
Ellie flourished under my undivided attention— it was a bonding experience. We laughed a lot and even had some close calls. Like when my phone was running out of battery at The Parthenon.
We had jumped in the car to head back to our friends’ when I realized I’d left my car charger at the house. We were sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, praying my phone (AKA – our navigation system) wouldn’t die. Luckily, it died the second we arrived at my friend’s house.
Even though it’s usually only El and me together, 24/7, there’s something special about getting out of our comfort zones, stepping away from the stress and distractions of everyday life, and going on an adventure together that brings us closer and creates life-long memories. It was just what we both needed!
Next week I’ll share about the second half of our trip to Atlanta, Georgia. As always, thank you for following our crazy, unexpected life’s journey. So grateful for your kindness. Love and Blessings.
PS To check out Andrew’s books go to www.ellieproject.com