Shattering “Never Haves”


Hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail for the first time in my life.

If you’re like me, you have a mile-long list of things you have never done. I’m talking good things here. Noble or interesting things. Fun things. Daring things. In other words, life experiences. And even though I’ve lived well over five decades now, there’s still a lot of life that I’ve not yet experienced. A lot of things I’ve never done.

I’m happy to report, though, that during our vacation I shattered some of my never haves. On the way home I go to thinking about how many new experiences I had racked up during our time away and decided to make a list. With each item I recorded, I realized how cool it all was. Not that the activities themselves were all so extraordinary—just that I felt really pumped to have done so many new things for the very first time in my life.

Here are some of the never haves in my life that I can now say that I’ve done:

*Finally traveled east of the Mississippi. We spent time in Tennessee and even made brief appearances in North Carolina and Kentucky.

*Visited the Smoky Mountains National Park. Absolutely beautiful.

*Straddled two states at once—along the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

*Hiked on the Appalachian Trail. So happy to join the company of those who have done this.

*Saw a couple of bears in the wild. I wanted to see a bear while in Tennessee bear country, and my wish came true our very first morning.

*Followed a bear in an excited-but-extremely-unwise attempt to take some photos. Am thankful the Lord was watching over me!

*Ate at a Bubba Gump and a Johnny Rockets. My taste buds are happier for having visited them both :)

*Ate corn fritters—and were they ever yummy.

*Saw an American Idol winner in person—David Cook!

*Drove go-carts. And not only that, but drove go-carts with American Idol winner David Cook in our group of drivers. If I remember correctly, he left me in his dust :)

*Enjoyed a family-only worship service with my parents, my sisters, and all our families.

*Attended the Grand Ole Opry. They put on a superb show. Highly recommend it. During a backstage tour, they also took us out on stage where we got to stand on the famous circle from the Ryman Auditorium where all the performers have stood throughout the years.

*Acted as navigator in Nashville while Don drove. Quite challenging since I had never been there before this trip! :)

*Drove through the area where the Ohio River meets and empties into the Mississippi.

Pretty neat, huh? Some of these things I hoped and planned to do, but some were complete surprises. And now my world is larger simply because I shattered some never haves. I wonder what will be next? Can’t wait!

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things . . .” Psalm 98:1a

*What are some of your never haves you hope to shatter soon?

*Photo by one of my family members

*Don’t miss out on the “Back At It” Giveaway. Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. Aug. 28. Details are in my Aug. 15 post.


  1. Kirsten/ComfortablyDomestic says

    Good for you, Cheryl! What an impressive list of “never haves” to be tackled. Travelling east of the Mississippi as a family in on our list, but after reading about your hiking adventure, I’m leaning toward the Smoky Mountains first. -Kirsten

    • Thanks, Kirsten! You will love the Smoky Mountains if you decide to go there. I bet you meant traveling west of the Mississippi for your family, though, since you guys live in MI. You’d love traveling west, too. We absolutely love the Rocky Mountains in CO and Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in WY are absolutely amazing. Have fun shattering never-haves wherever you go! :)

  2. Yes, very impressive list!

  3. Debbie Henry says

    You sure did do alot of never haves on this trip. Love it. I am now reading a book called Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace & Freedom on the Appalachian Trail which makes me wish I had paid more attention to the trail when we were there. I don’t know that I saw it. I loved seeing you on it though. :)

    • Debbie, Teri had told me before our trip to be sure to hike a little on the Appalachian Trail so I had that in mind as one of our must-dos. We ended up doing our big hike somewhere else in the Park, but we walked along the Appalachian Trail for short distances in two different spots.

  4. I love Smoky Mountains National Park. Did you go to Cade’s Cove? I got some really good pictures of a mother black bear and her triplets there. Judy Lee

    • Judy, we (Don, our girls, and Shawn) didn’t make it over to Cade’s Cove, but Mom & Dad and Debbie and all her gang, and Janice and Joanna did. Would have loved to go there. Just ran out of time. I’m jealous of your pictures!! :)

  5. Very neat! Nice picture on the trail!

  6. Love this! Just curious, who was at the Opry when you were there?

    • Thanks, Elaine! We were at the Opry on July 17. Several appeared that night that I wasn’t really familiar with (though they were very good), but the surprise guest at the end was Steve Wariner. Since I’m not a big country music fan, I wasn’t even familiar with him, but Don knew who he was. And then the next day we saw a display about him in the Country Music Hall of Fame so I guess he’s been around awhile! :) One of the singers was a Christian singer — Jason Crabb.

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