Get Off the Interstate: Picnic for Two With a View

A hurry-up life-style results in a throwaway culture.

Chuck Swindoll

Indeed, many, many marriages are thrown away or put-on-the-back-burner because of the hurried pace and expectations of today’s society. There’s little time to develop attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize the culture of a good, godly marriage.

So, I offer a simple solution that can have positive “cultural” effects by way of two examples. If you don’t live in East Tennessee or travel these roads, just adapt to your neck-of-the-woods!

Continue reading “Get Off the Interstate: Picnic for Two With a View”

Marriage Matters

Valentines Date 2015

V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E.  That holds special significance to my wife and me.  Monday, we went on our special Valentine’s date to celebrate 36 Valentine’s Days together!  Because marriage matters, each day is an opportunity to grow your relationship.  As I’ve said so many times in the past, it’s the little things that add up to a big marriage!  Valentine’s Day is not a make-up day for a sad, little marriage.  It’s just one more day to make special and enjoy the gift of marriage!

So, while seated in the corner of the restaurant, by the window, all alone, Denise started V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E.  She took each letter and used it as an acrostic for why she loves me, using one word for each letter of the word valentine.  Wow!  Then I did the same with her.  Wow, again!  As we looked into each other’s eyes, at times it was a smile and then tears.  We reminisced, became nostalgic, and were removed from all other distractions.  Oh, the meal was delicious, but my memory from our dinner will be this special moment together.

Sometime this week, on your Valentine date or after the kids have gone to bed or whenever you are able to do so, look each other in the eye, hold hands, and share V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E.  Why? Because marriage matters to God (Ephesians 5:18-33).

For some additional thoughts, check out my wife’s blog post:  Improve Your Marriage Today

A Quiet, Peaceful Date in East TN


Pack your picnic basket with your favorites.  Take a blanket, camera, a book, and ears to listen.  Leave your cares behind and head on up to Unaka Mountain Overlook.   My wife and I have sat all alone on the picnic table and watched the sunset.  Absolutely beautiful!  By the way, I recommend that you do not take the family car on this trip!

Directions: From I-26 take the Unicoi exit (#32). At the end of exit ramp turn east towards town. At the stop sign, turn right onto Route 173/Unicoi Road (which is also known locally as the Erwin Highway) and proceed for 0.7 miles. Follow the signs pointing to the Cherokee National Forest by turning left onto Rt. 107 (Limestone Cove Road). Drive 7.8 miles, turn right on Red Fork Road (it’s also referred to as Unaka Mountain Road). Reset your trip odometer and proceed up the mountain. I’ve listed below some of the things to experience on Unaka…(listed in the order you’ll find them — with mileage listed as distance from Hwy 107):

Red Fork Falls (1.2)

Clear Fork Falls (2.2)

AT Connector Trail (4.9)

Stamping Ground Ridge (6)

Horseback Ridge (6.3)

Unaka Mountain Overlook (7.2)

Unaka Flat Rock Overlook (7.2)

Trailhead to Unaka Mountain Summit (7.9)

Deep Gap (9.3)

Beauty Spot Gap (9.8)

Beauty Spot Overlook (10.2)

AT Crossing (11.3)

Indian Grave Gap (Hwy 395) (12.1)

For a more detailed explanation of directions, check out Unaka Mountain Overlook

Directions courtesy of


Sometimes, you just have to get away!

The Dating Game

So where are you and your spouse headed for a date this week?  Perhaps you have already had your date?  No matter, the key is having a time set aside in your weekly calendar that is reserved for just the two of you.

Remember when you were dating before marriage?  Oh, how you planned, maybe even connived to accomplish seeing each other?  Nothing would stop you.  HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!  May I ask a question?  Why did you stop dating after you were married?  Have you stopped?  Why?

Here are some ideas to help you put that dating spark back into your marriage:

  • After you put the kids to bed, play a game of Farkel and eat popcorn. (Hint: One of the best things you can do for your marriage is put your kids to bed at a certain time and don’t let them grow up sleeping with you.)
  • Talk a walk down the street/road/through the park, hand-in-hand, telling each other why you love them.
  • Share an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen, Chickfila or Sonic. Take your time and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Let the kids romp in the playground at Burger King or at the park, and the two of you hold hands, put your arm around each other (you have to sit on the same bench to do so!), talk, and tell your kids, this is your time. They need to learn to respect you and your space.  It won’t hurt ‘em!  After all, you are teaching them what marriage really looks like so they will be prepared when the times come for them to be married.
  • Spend some time under the stars and no cell phones!!!!!!!!!! By the way, fall is coming, so build a fire and roast marshmallows.
  • Cook a meal together.
  • Watch a bunch of funny, clean videos on Youtube and laugh and laugh and laugh, or stop by a local card store and read all the funny cards to each other.
  • Men, if you are having trouble coming up with what to talk about to your wife, here’s some help: Date Night Questions

Don’t make excuses for not dating!  All of the suggestions above are cheap, but marriage is not cheap.  It’s worth everything you put into it!  So, what are you and your spouse going to do for date next?