Sherry Kirkland knows a thing or two about lasting happiness.
She explained that true happiness "is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but with the relationships you have with the people you love and respect."
This humble mindset is one of the reasons why Kirkland's life has been blessed and only continues to get better.
Kirkland originally hails from Union City. Family brought her to Wilson County in 1992 where she planted roots and raised her children, Wade Kirkland and Kristin Kirkland.
Although she worked when her children were small, in 1999 Kirkland was able to become a stay-at-home mother - a moment in time that she called "very rewarding."
"I wouldn't swap those years for a nickel in the bank account," she said, adding that she stayed very busy supporting her children's activities. "Kristin was involved in softball, soccer and basketball from the time she was 7-years-old until she went to college. Wade did golf, baseball and music."
Kirkland was actively involved in fund raising for their sports, from organizing banquets to parent teacher fund raising. She was also active in the Lebanon/Wilson Junior Chamber Club and the Lebanon Junior Women's Club.
Both Wade, 26, and Kristin, 29, are graduates of Lebanon High School. Kirkland said Kristin's love of sports never faded. After graduating from Cumberland University and holding an interim position coaching softball at Wilson Central High School, she became an Assistant Coach for girls basketball and softball in Trousdale County.
"Kristin is my best friend," Kirkland said. As her children have grown up and moved into their own lives, Kirkland said she spends time with them whenever she can.
"Never worry that you can't give your children the best of everything, but just simply give them your best," she said.
When she isn't with family or working managing her multiple rental properties, Kirkland enjoys traveling, riding motorcycles and hanging out with a great group of friends. She also is a member of the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Membership Committee.
"I still have my Harley Softail Deluxe, but I haven't been riding in forever. I like to do short rides," she said.
As for travel, she has been to several states and countries, including the Bahamas last year for a wedding. Kirkland counts Italy as her favorite country she has visited. "I just loved the quaint towns, the food and the culture. The people are just so friendly there," she said.
However, nothing beats coming home to her house on Old Hickory Lake. "I like living on the water. It is very soothing and relaxing."
The woman she most admires is her late mother.
"From my mother I learned to be courageous, to identify myself and know who I am, what I believe in and where you want to go. She taught me to have confidence and the ability to be tough enough to follow through life's challenges," Kirkland said. "I was taught to be a 'lady' not just a woman - because every 'lady' is a woman, but not every woman is a 'lady."
Kirkland remembered a day when her mother told her that she needed to learn how to use a screwdriver, hammer, saw and "not be afraid to hit the nail on the head."
"Boy, was she right on that one. I am a hands-on person and that helps when it comes to fixing up the rental properties or things around the house."
Kirkland recently "flipped" her parents' house in West Tennessee to put on the market.
She also noted that she has a special aunt who she is very close with and admires. "She laughs all the time, and from her I have learned that laughter is good for the soul and I need not be afraid to get out there and dance like nobody is watching."
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.