"You can take the girl out of the mountains but you can never take the love of the mountains out of the girl." My husband said to me several years ago "Someday we will go back to your Smoky Mountains that you love so much."
I grew up in these mountains and I loved the Fall Season when the leaves started to change colors and the spring flowers that grew in April and May, but I really loved the sudden summer showers that came so quickly that we all had to run for cover and we all loved how much the showers cooled the hot tempertures in the summer afternoon.
The birds in the Smokies are so beautiful and the sunsets we watched from the wrap around porch brought oohs and ahhs from us all.
We grew up loving the old people and always respecting the wisdom of their years of experience, listening to their yarns and stories of hardship, courage and answered prayers, their folk songs and hymns, the fiddle and the juice harp.
After years of living in California, Washington DC area and traveling around the world to perform, I am so thankful to be back here in my Great Smoky Mountains, living in a big log home and sitting on my wrap around porch at evening, listening to the whipperwill and watching the sunset and everything so peacefully settling down for the night. I feel so blessed and as I sit on my porch, so many of the old songs I learned as a child keep coming back to my memory like Tom Big Bee River, Barbara Allen, Peace in the Valley, In the Pines and the old hymns we sung in the little churches in the mountains.
God has been so gracious to me and to my family to have brought us back to my home, to the place where my values in life were established and where I learned respect for all of life and how to appreciate the beauty all around me.
My childhood faith in my heavenly Father sustained me from the day I left these mountains to the fartherest corners of my global travels and I have returned to the Smokies with a geniune appreciation for the faith of our fathers in these mountains and the values I learned here as a child.
I am thankful daily and so inspired by the beauty of these Smoky Mountains. I wish now that I had returned to the mountains much sooner.
My special blessing too is that my sister Mary Jean and my brother Johnny (Bearfoot) also have come back to the Smokies. My sister lives in a chalet and Johnny lives in a beautiful cabin on top of the mountain, both within 15 minutes of our log home. We grew up singing and performing in these mountains and we are really enjoying being back here where our musical roots began. Our Cherokee reservation is on top of the Smokies too and so I feel like I am finally back home. We have alot of family history here and our old ones lie beneath this soil so it is precious to us. You may read my story by ordering my book from Amazon.com called - PALE MOON, STORY OF AN INDIAN PRINCESS, or part of my story is also recorded in DADDIES AND DAUGHTERS.
If you need inspiration, quiet rest, a beautiful getaway or just a few days of hiking, sleeping or reading on the porch, I invite you to come to the Smokies and stay in a little cabin on the hillside. I believe your spirit will be uplifted, and you will have the same refreshing rest and peace I have experienced in these mountains.