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THANKFUL TUESDAY: SMALL-TOWN LIVING

As a teenager, I remember hearing "I can't wait to leave" and "I want to live in a city" (and others) from my friends and classmates. I never had those thoughts. I grew up with parents who showed me and my brother the beauty of small-town living.

Church on Sundays and other church functions during the week, rides in the mountains, family gatherings,  smiles and hugs among most I saw, and a bit of "self-doing" were my life. I didn't grow up hearing sirens daily; instead, I heard coal trucks or trains blowing their horns as they hauled coal to its destination. My parents arrived home after a day's work within ten minutes, not one hour. I graduated high school with friends I had since kindergarten. I felt safe, loved and comfortable.

Sure, there were times when I wished that everyone didn't know everyone (and everything about everyone). But, that changed when I made the move to a city. At first, it was a bit freeing. But, in a very short time, I realized my heart longed for home. For three years, I walked into restaurants not knowing a soul, lived among the unfamiliar, and shared my usual smile or "hello" with strangers with nothing in return. I didn't dislike that life; it just wasn't me.

I'm blessed to be back to small-town living where I'm approached with a smile, chit-chat in the grocery store, and have an extended family. Ma & Pa shops line the streets, American flags are proudly displayed, and dining is at its fining in my small town. What's better than a cheeseburger, fried cheese sticks and pickles and an ice cream for dessert? And, at the end of the day, families sit on their porches sharing stories while the sun goes down behind the mountains. While some may cringe at the thought of living near family, I'm greeted with a smile and wave each morning by my grandmother living next door.

At the heart of small-town living is comfort, love, laughter, family and friends, community, and the word of God. Even more so, it's Southern Appalachian living. And, let's not forget about the views.
We're each different and I'm not knocking city living. I'm so proud of all I know (and don't know) who thrive in that environment! 

But, I will always be a small-town girl. I live in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and this is where my heart is.

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