The Charm Of Living In Nashville

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    Nashville, is a city of wonderful contradictions. In my opinion it is one of themost sophisticated, cosmopolitan cities in the United States, yet, Nashville retains its southern charm. It is old and new. It is old south and modern progressive. It is old school country mixed with new school urban. 

 Nashville is truly worthy of its title of Music City . When I moved here I knewI was moving to a city famous for country music. What I did not realize was that Nashville s music roots are so diverse. Yes, country music is king, but the other music genres are certainly present. Jazz, blues, contemporary, alternative, you name the genre and you can find multiple venues to enjoy. To me, the music culture of Nashville is unmatched anywhere.

Also, it just seems to me that Nashville revels in its entertainment diversity. It s a little hard to explain, but, like no other city I ve been in, Nashville seems to place its culture as a top priority. Included are all the arts, not just the music industry. Nashville has what I would describe as an arts district on 5th avenue in which a full day can be easily spent going from one art studio to the next. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center just has to be experienced. It is a simply gorgeous facility that must be seen. I can only say from first-hand experience, that being in the hall during a symphony is to feel as if you have been transported to one of the great opera houses of Europe.

Nashville has professional sports, such as the Tennessee Titans, the Nashville Predators and the Nashville Sounds. College sports are available via Vanderbilt, Belmont, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University. 

Nashville has its hip areas such as the Gulch and Germantown, but, also the quaint such as downtown Franklin and Leipers Fork.

Here are a few more spots to mention, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Grand Old Opry and The Ryman. The list goes on and on.

You can hang out on the West End, vibrant with the influence of Vanderbilt University and Centennial Park. Or you can find the best and most diverse shopping in Cool Springs. I love the prevalence and beauty of the wonderful parks. There are communities that thrive on their character, such as Germantownand East Nashville. Or, you can drive outside of Nashville and discover beautiful countryside or meander along the Natchez Trace.

The Grand Old Opry is very much alive and vibrant. If you want to see the greatest stars of country music, the Grand Old Opry is the place to visit. It has a new face, but is still the Grand Old Opry. And, here is the pleasant contradiction: the Grand Old Opry now lives in a very modern, wonderful venue including the Marriott s huge Grand Old Opry resort. My wife and I recently celebrated an anniversary at the resort. It is incredible. It is a must see. I could go on and on about the resort, but let me just say, we decided it shouldbe one of our regular visits, not to just stay overnight, but to spend a day enjoying the many restaurants and pleasant hangouts. 

 The West End of Nashville is full of the modern / new contradiction. To me Vanderbilt University is the true star of the West End. Vanderbilt University is incredible. There are so very, very many activities available with Vanderbilt and you don t have to be a student to participate. The Blair School of Music has a large number of concerts happening all year long. The majority are of the concerts are free and open to the public. 

 The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) has many opportunities to continue learning. The public is encouraged to join the OLLI as a member or you can register on a class by class basis. There are just so many wonderful, interesting opportunities to grow with this group that I cannot begin to list them. 

 Vanderbilt is steeped in tradition, yet conducts some of the most important scientific research in the world and is on the cutting edge of the reinvention of the US healthcare industry. 

 West End life is vibrant. Centennial Park is one of my favorite destinations. From early Spring until late fall, it is unlikely that you can t find some type of outdoor event or entertainment; Shakespeare in the Park, big band concerts, arts and crafts festivals, the Musicians Corner and on and on. If you just want to enjoy the outdoors in the midst of a city environment, I think you would be hard pressed to find a more pleasant, beautiful setting than Centennial Park.     TheWest End population is incredibly diverse, undergraduate students, grad students, working professionals, foreign nationals, old, young and anything in between. One of my favorite activities is to find a good spot at Starbucks, Panera Bread or Vanderbilt s owned Barnes and Noble, get a cup of coffee, fire up my laptop or reader and just enjoy the atmosphere. People watching in the West End of Nashville is a real treat.

I lived in a downtown loft only two blocks from Broadway, a little further to the Ryman and Bridgestone arena. It was a real treat living that close to so much activity. If you re a country music fan, I don t see how you could not enjoy Broadway downtown. There are many venues for live country music. One of my favorite activities was to go to Broadway on Saturday between 11 and 3 and gofrom one honky tonk to the next. During this time, most of the live music is performed by bands comprised of Nashville s legion of studio musicians. The quality and talent is incredible. No cover charge and it is difficult to stump these bands with a special request, I know, I ve tried.

If Broadway Avenue is the old, then the Gulch is the new. This area has really taken off and now has a very vibrant life with the latest and greatest shops, mixed with local restaurants and is a favorite of the young professionals.

The Ryman, known as the mother church of country music is an old tradition. But, it is not just limited to country music. Though some of the greatest and most legendary country musicians still perform at the Ryman, it is also a great place to find the new and modern.

At the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) you can see the latest Broadway plays, ballet, musicals and on and on. It is a truly wonderful venue, with three different theaters ranging in size. My wife and I have enjoyed multiple events there ranging from the most popular musicals to a children’s ballet and have never been disappointed.

Nashville s triple-A minor league team, the Nashville Sounds is a personal favorite. I am a minor league baseball fan, having gone to many games all over the country. The Sounds new baseball facility is one of the very best. There not a bad seat in the house. The events are family friendly and a true financial bargain (tickets from $8 – $32).

Nashville s Farmers Market is a great hangout. Of course, there is the Farmers Market, but there are also numerous local eateries. On many Friday and Saturday nights there is live, free music. It truly feels community . 

Leipers Fork, southwest of Nashville, is a quaint little village of art studios and antique stores. It is home of the original Puckets Grocery Store, which is really a great home style restaurant in disguise. Leipers Fork will provide an extremely enjoyable Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Downtown Franklin is a great place to spend a day. It is full of easy walking, local stores, restaurants and the best antique shopping anywhere.

Because of Nashville s music industry, live, up-close musical entertainment can be found almost anywhere. One thing that is unique about Nashville is a tradition called writers in the round, where three or four songwriters will share their stories, play their songs and interact with each other and the audience. Writers in the round is a unique way to feel as if you are a part of the music industry. Bluebird Café in Green Hills is probably the most famous venue for writers in the round, but on any given night there are four to five venues that can be enjoyed.

​I could go on and on about Nashville. I have enjoyed many areas of the country,but the southeast is my favorite. And, though I miss my family and friends in Alabama, I don t think I could find a better place to live than Nashville.

Exploring Your Aging Self

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imageAging is a process we all have to go through,Whether we like it or not, aging is a process we all go through daily. One of the buzz words of today, and one that is seen on a lot of beauty products, is the phrase,”Antiaging”. Society wants to stop the aging process, or be totally against it. We want any signs of living life to be gone. We celebrate our youth and youthful living. However, part of living, and living well is aging. Everyone, will reach a point in life, when they recognize the signs of aging. Whether, it is the smile lines, or wrinkles, the few extra pounds that won’t go away, the signs of aging will appear. It may be some type of activity that you use to enjoy with grace and agility. However, now it is just a little more diffiucult to accomplish physically. It is all a part of aging.

I have begun to view aging differently, not as this difficult process that I have to go through. I am learning to celebrate aging. There is so much I have learned over the years. There are qualities that I have developed because of my age. Like the ability to really not care what others think of me, I am no longer a people pleaser. I celebrate my individuality, to go the path I think God is leading me, and to celebrate the path of others. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of grace. The grace of God because I am human and I do not always do everything perfectly. I live a perfectly, imperfect life, and I am happy to do so. I know I have made mistakes, and I have learned from them. The mistakes I have made in life allows me to have grace towards myself and others when mistakes are made. Aging has provided me with the ability to appreciate the moment, the sights, smells, and activity of each moment I live. Finally, I am beginning to appreciate the physical beauty of my aging. I appreciate the lines on my face, they are the product of a life well live. I appreciate this body that I am in, it moves and takes me wherever I try to go. It may move a little slower but it moves. I appreciate the wisdom, that I have acquired over the years. The ability to see people for who they are, and the ability to believe them when they tell me who they are. The ability to know bullhockey when I hear, and to call it as it is.

Their is this sixth sense that comes with living on the planet for 50+ years. A freedom in knowing I can try those things I never had the time to do. I still can be sexy, sassy, and classy. My age is a number that will not define me, but will proclaim that I have lived and lived well.

                                               The exploration of you

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     As I sit here lazily gazing out my window on this beautiful Saturday morning. I am amused by something that has been stirring in my soul for the past week or so. What if I went on this awesome adventure, where I explored new and exciting places I had never been, really experienced life in new ways, by literally savoring every moment. What if I viewed myself from new eyes, not in the self condemning way that I had learned from society, but saw myself in truth. “Fearfully and wonderfully made, as described by God in the bible. What if I explored my life, celebrating every aspect of it, reveling in every single detail of my journey in this thing called life. What if I really took the time to experience life, my life, as an exploration, and new adventure with the goal of finding out more about me. What if each relationship, failure, triumph, or day to day routine, really was about exploring the depths of myself, and the world around me. What kind of life would I live?

    So today, as I sit to write this blog, I plan on going on this brave new adventure, of exploring me at 50+. However, it is not about age, or race, or any of those things we use to define or separate ourselves. It is about finding out, and enjoying the woman I have become now, at this moment. I invite you to join me on your own adventure. As I think of it it is a very spiritual adventure, which for me is soothing. I am exploring me, now at this time of my life. As I age, learn, grow and experience. I begin my exploration today, first by exploring who I have become in these 57 years of living on this planet. A lot has happened, I lived, loved, divorced, lost and bounced back from lost. I have laughed so hard I almost wet my pants, and I have cried so hard my soul ached. Yet I have been resilient, I attribute my resiliency to the spirit of God in me. Today I choose to explore the spirit of resiliency in me, in others. It is a quality of the human spirit that fascinates and inspires me. So in the months to come, I will be on the journey of exploring the depths of my soul. I invite you to come along on my journey, or better yet take your own journey. Write about it, speak to someone about it, but do take the journey of exploring self. This is day one of my journey. Somethings I will share in this blog, other experiences, I will keep to myself. I anticipate learning, refining, and restoring parts of me that I have lost, or set aside. Here I go, exploring me at 50+, this will be a great ride!

How Can 20 Minutes of Action, Cause Harm?

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How can 20 minutes of action cause harm? This was essentially the question that the Stanford students father asked, in the sexual assault case against his son. As a parent myself, I know it is difficult to believe that the child you raised, can do such a horrendous act. However, when it is proved that your child was seen thrusting himself  on a unconscious woman, this is the moment when you must face the facts.

My answer to this question is yes, 20 minutes can cause major life changes. In 20 minutes your life could drastically change. Actually, any decision you make in any given moment of time could have a serious affect on you and others. Ask any drunk driver, who has had an accident, and someone suffered a severe injury or loss of life. Just as this young man made the decision, in a moment, to take something from another person, that was not his to have. In 20 minutes, you can shatter another person’s life, self-esteem, dignity, and respect. You can shine the light or her weakness and vulnerability, for all the world to see, and then cause her to justify her actions as well as the actions of another person.  Also in any given moment of time because of that 20 minutes of action, a judge can be persuaded to think that it is okay to slap a man on the hand, after he has brutally sexually assaulted a woman.

That 20 minutes, has caused a fervor, and a cry across the nation. I as a woman, and a mother of young adult daughters, add my voice to this cry, to say, this is not acceptable. A woman’s body is a treasure, and hers to give to whom she chooses. If her ability to make that choice is altered by alcohol , then she is to be left alone. The decision to have sex with another person, is a very personal and private decision. This decision should be made between two consenting adults. Young people should be taught at an early age, that you cannot take from another, what was never offered to you. I cry for my sisters, that our bodies are not honored for the temples that they are. I am angered by a judge that slaps a young man on the hand, when he has taken this woman’s body, dignity, and self respect.Is he not sentenced justly because he is privileged and has a future, as some would describe ? What about her life and her future. I just want to ask this judge, do you have daughters, nieces, sisters or wives? What are you saying to them, that they don’t matter. Is the good old boys club more important, than the lives of your daughters?

Yes, I cry with all my sisters, your 20 minutes of action, could change the course of one woman’s life. We will no longer allow or stand silently by and allow that. I applaud this young woman for her courage to speak, to shout, and to say this is not acceptable.

 

Uncertain Times, How Do You Cope?

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There has been a lot going on in our world in the past few months, the shooting at the church in South Carolina, the fires of some black churches around the country. These news and current events often make you wonder, what is really going on? While authorities are hesitant to call these acts hate crimes, it makes you ask, then what are they? All of these acts, bring so many emotions up in me. I was a little girl in the sixties during the protest of the civil rights. I do remember that churches provided meeting places, education and produced a lot of leaders in the civil rights movement. It would seem that if you were going to target our community you would go for those who are Godly, peaceful, and proactive. I notice the shooter in South Carolina, did not go for any gangs, you can’t tell me there are no Gangs in South Carolina. There are two factors that I see in some people, and it is producing so much upheaval, fear and hatred. Fear, the fear that the world as you know it is changing. Hatred of anyone that is different from you, but even deeper than that, hatred of others is the deep buried hatred of self.

I was so proud of the victims families as they showed love, forgiveness, and the amazing strength of black people to be resilient when other’s feel they have your back against a wall. However, most of these recent events is not just about black people, it’s about all people. It’s about people accepting that we all have our differences in one area or another.

I get concerned when I see some of the Trump rallies, seeing people having such strong reactions to anyone looking, talking, and feeling different than your point of view. Some people are living a life fueled with the fear of change. Society is changing, and change will happen whether we like it or not. It is up to us, to be mature, and accept that life is about change. We must acknowledge that there are people in the world, who live, speak, think, and are physically different from us, but isn’t that what make the world beautiful?

                                              Are we there yet?

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    I remember long car rides when my children were young, traveling from Ohio to Alabama. One of the questions that frequently came up from the back seat was, “Mom, are we there yet?” I would try to divert their attention, as we played another game with the scenery, or have them pick out the cars they liked the best while we continued down the road to our destination. Finally, we would be there, the place we had talked about, our destination point. 

    I ask you, are you there yet?  How many times have you been distracted; driven yourself off point,or just seem to be stuck in some midpoint place, but your not there yet. What do you do to get unstuck, to move forward, to see your there, manifest.  Here are some tip to get to your there:

  1. Enjoy now, this moment in time. Sometimes we get so focused on getting there, that we don’t enjoy now. Feel the sunshine, and it’s warmth today, enjoy your child’s laughter today. Pick a beautiful flower today, watch a sunset, and savor the now of your life. Don’t lose the powerful moment of now, while trying to get there. Now, deserve just as much of your focus and attention, as getting there, does. It is every moment of now, that eventually gets you there.

  2. Evaluate, re-evaluate, and discard anything that is not working to get you there. This week I had to make the decision, to let something I thought I wanted, go. When I evaluated the situation, I realized, that my dream is very important to me, and some distractions along the way, are too costly and detrimental to my there. Therefore, they had to go. Get rid of tedious, insignificant distractions that are not getting you anywhere, they are just wasting your time. Keeping you from getting, “There”.

3. Don’t settle for just anything on your way there. Stay focused on your dream, your goal, and your there. Don’t settle, for second best, or this will do for now, it is not worth the effort. Go for what you want, go for what you have always wanted, and know that what is for you is for you, and second best will never do.

4. Define there, to the finest detail, feel it, sense it taste it. Believe it will come to past. Know it, feel it, in your bones. Your there is there, and it will manifest for you.

5.  Spend time with those who are there. Read, attend seminars, talk to, and invest time and money to help you learn and create your there. 

There, is a reality for you, you are simply waiting for your manifestation. It is not imaginary, it is the place you have dreamed of, it is there, just grab it.  In the meantime, enjoy now, till you get there.