January Edition

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“My Dear Mrs Watson,” you might say to me, “Judging by the amount you’ve written in the last year, I suppose we might conclude you’re Mighty Industrious at home and care nothing a’tall for these forsaken pages of your fledgling blog.” But I say to you, little blog, I deserve “Neither such praise, nor such censure”, for I’m not so very industrious at home as not to have time to write; neither do I care Nothing A’Tall for these pages, as I do have that sort of hesitation of spirit in writing. For I want to write something Good, and Of Worth, and Resonance to the Heart and Memory. So, I ponder and procrastinate. But I resolved to write once a month this year, and as silence is the Great Barrier, I write to break it, even if it is only to say how pleasant the light of the front room is in the afternoon. How light dances in gold on the floor, and how laughter now reaches down the hall. I remember being alone with a belly full of growing life in our old house – the one before this one – and thinking how nice it would be one day when I wasn’t the only one making noise in the house. I day dreamed of hearing play in other rooms, voices, music, the clatter of curious minds Figuring Out Things. This week as The Man sat at the table with the two pink, round little mouthed babes hollering requests and chattering to him and me and each other, it dawned on me, half-way across the table as I reached over to dish out a plate, that That Day Dream Is Now. What a lovely thought; what a sobering one. In the dark of the quiet mornings, the thrum thrum of the heater hums in the background and all the tick-tocks of clocks swing in mismatched patterns. What a lot of life to live. My thanksgiving this week has been that God sending Jesus for us has given us So Much To Live For. So much purpose, and peace, and reasons to truly radiate and shine for Him.

There is my breaking silence. A few mismatched thoughts, like multiple ticking clocks in the dark, quiet dawn of this year.

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If you’ll notice that shadow in the right hand corner, you’ll perceive the reason for that delicious grin – that being Daddy, of course. That boy’s favorite Man.



Time to Talk – friendship


When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, “What is it?”
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.   -Robert frost

This poem kept coming to mind after a visit with Ellen a few weeks ago, because she embodies this. She puts down her hoe, and has time for you, time to talk. She was one of the Safe People, growing up. One who Knew The Ropes, but wasn’t coy about it.  She wouldn’t give you measuring glances, up one side and down the other, and give that condescending smirk that you were the New Kid, and by the way, what a horrible skirt (and it should be noted that I had quite a few of these). No, no, Ellen might wrap you in a hug and genuinely laugh and make you feel like you had something interesting to say, or if you didn’t say anything that was fine, because she was one whose sunny presence you could sit back and bask in with nothing said. She came last month to our house because she’s the type that Likes West Texas and actually makes trips to enjoy (besides family), The View (and by that I think they mean the sky and canyons and broad scopes for the imagination). She came to my house along with my Texas Sistren.  We had coffee and lunch and good conversation, and I was reminded again how much We Humans Need Each other. How that our friends are more than a text and a picture on instagram to beef up the feed, and more than an email to remember to send. Our friends – the ones whose soul We Get, or as Anne Shirley would say, “the race of Joseph” that we simply connect to in one way or another, those are the ones who will constantly be encouraging us to sift through soil to find nuggets and meaning to Deeper Life, and to refresh ourselves in the good of life. 9.17_0023

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” It’s certainly true that after a half hour spent with one of my Bosom Friends, life feels more penetrable, as if the Good Things have been made more ready to harvest.  I find myself thinking, what a good place this world is – what a beautiful life indeed, and what A Lot There Is Yet to Be Discovered and What A Hunger For Good Books I have, and perhaps the evil is not so dominant as I might believe it is at times. Friendship may be a luxury, but after soul conversations, where Souly Friends can ebb and flow from topics of sober depth to merry lightheartedness with that same knitted weave of hearts and minds, I’m encouraged to be the kind of friend that brings that to the table. This is an area in which I need growth.  But I’ve noticed that friends who offer this kind of friendship have in common some traits:

  • time – it’s a precious commodity, and I’m learning to recognize that when someone passes an hour simply visiting, it’s an investment to value.
  • eye contact – this is such a powerful connector, and I love how simply God designed this tool of Getting To Know A Person, and Deepening Ties.
  • thoughtfulness – a card, a text, a visit, something made with your hands for your friend, a favorite bar of chocolate, a cup of tea in company…thoughtfulness isn’t hard, but it does take some, well, Thought. And usually a combination of these other traits.
  • effort – While I do think there are plenty of times to say No to something you could do for or with friends in order to prioritize other things (family, church, etc.) it still holds true that “a man who will have friends must show himself friendly”, and that effort will pay.
  • listening – one of my sisters is especially good at this, but from her quiet eyes, she will sometimes wonder if listening is enough. But, it is. Listening, as passive as it might seem, is a balm for people. It’s a salve you offer, simply by lending your ear. People need this…there are lots of voices, and not too many ears, nowadays.

I remember leaning against the counter of a lady I’d just met, and soaking in the warmth of her soul that poured from her home and her speech and her face. I told my friend, Kathryn when we left, I felt as though I’d drunk from a cool fountain and hadn’t realized how parched I was. Again, one of the Asters In My Sky lives in Mississippi, and on a hot June day that was dripping with scents of blackberries in the hedge and honeysuckles on clusters, she sat on the edge of the claw foot tub in her bathroom, while I sat on the (closed lid of the) commode and We Talked Life. Things that are dear to heart surface in the presence of common souls. Exposing and reminding each other of Those Things, are what sharpen, and shape us.  I don’t know if you do this, but I can trace so many Inspirations and Determinations in my life, back to someone I look up to. Dear Friends, in the darkness surrounding us, keep being those beacons, those heart healers, those listening ears and refreshing people that pour out kindness and give value to survival. It’s something that will never grow old in this mortal world.

9.17_00029.17_00039.17_00049.17_00059.17_00069.17_00079.17_0008daniel loved chilling out with the girls as we drank so much coffee and talked of all good things.

prettiest eyes and those dimples. Ellen, you bless so many people. So thankful for our friendship.


enter, cosy kitchen nook that’s my favorite spot in the house. it does so well for accommodating however many we want to squeeze in there.


snapped these of Lana because her ring was sparkling through the trees…little did we know she’d be getting married the next week!9.17_0024

just gotta end with the two darling fellows of the house.


A Place to Come Home To

Whether it was a trip packed with cousins, grandparents, tea parties, war parties in the big field behind Aunt Judy’s house, or singing schools, meetings or spending the night at a friend’s house, it was good to come home. Same old home. Same old creaky board, same ole cat in the bushes waiting to jump out at you just before you reach the steps. There were so many things just the same. And there was a sense of security and comfort in going back to the things you could count on. So many wholesome things too, that I see more now, took a great deal of effort and deliberate action on Mama and Daddy’s part. Mama’s cheerful grin and peck on the cheek as she squeezed a good morning hug, daddy’s bacon and eggs, the traditions of making each birthday count, each accomplishment of your children something to brag about at the table that night – and being at the table each night, everyone, all together. You talked about your day, and things coming up and the funnies that stood out to you.

jan17-3313John Barrett and I jumped into this marriage and family thing, just like everyone else who doesn’t feel qualified. It’s amazing to me that we get to be Home for our kids. That we have the privilege of creating that same beauty of home with all its traditions, warmth and comfort. Sometimes I think – I don’t know where in the world to begin! But I do. It’s been instilled through the careful diligence of parents who kept on keeping on with the daily samenesses that seemed, I’m sure, tedious and almost pointless at times. But knowing I’d not go to sleep without Daddy praying over me, Mama singing over me, and saying “Good night! God bless and keep you through the night! I love you,” bound my heart even to the close of day, with another layer of love and safekeeping. jan17-3291

Now Mama comes and helps me with birth and labor, and with the carrying – on of creating that place you carry with you the rest of your life. Home isn’t a perfect place. You learn Things To Do, and things you Don’t Want To Do from it. But you learn, and still know more how to shape and create an environment of nurture from having experienced family and home yourself. jan17-3330jan17-3373

Recently, Grandmama went through the exhausting process of selling her house. Uncle David, Aunt Judy, Mama – they all helped. But what stood out to Anne and me vividly even this past week, was that it wasn’t just the house they were selling, it was the home my mama, aunt and uncle had known. And even grown as they are, in their 50’s and 60’s, that was tear-jerking, heart-wrending and just plain hard. Home registers deeply. Not all my friends had great homes growing up, but they are now a creating lovely atmospheres and traditions that will help shape beautiful lives and memories for their own kids. Family is a strong and powerful design, that has held the structure of society on its shoulders for millenniums. So, all you fellow family growers, and family members, take heart in all these traditions, these bits of sameness, routine, love and tradition. Thanks to them and your parents, they are the incognito silently arranging and cementing that wonderful place you get to cherish and come home to.jan17-3458jan17-3463

Daniel when he was just 3 weeks old and soooo litttttle (insert 10 cry faces and 15 heart eyes, of course) jan17-3475jan17-3478

I…..don’t know where she gets these faces….But they are INTENSE.jan17-3553jan17-3490“Uhhhhm….Mama, you should see this…just letting you know…it’s white, fluffy and falling from the sky…”


We felt all pioneer drying our shoes and hats by the fire after staying a whole 3 minutes in the snow. jan17-3639jan17-3640jan17-3698jan17-3701Daddy’s lunch break means as much attention she can steal from him in an hour. jan17-3740jan17-3753

Carrot stick adds to the photo. BF-4916BF-4937BF-4954BF-4972

How, Chief.BF-4975BF-4991Sometimes hotels can have pretty headboards, I discovered. And this kid loves her little brother. I’m so glad that the massive mullet on her head ends in those three perfect curls which look simply divine with a bonnet on – and comically out of place without it.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

The Love Story 7.


What I knew at the beginning of the day was that I had been scared to death of not doing a good enough job. The bride was a photographer I respected, so were her parents. I was a peewee from Georgia, who liked taking pictures of mailboxes and frogs. And people – when I got up the courage. But what I didn’t know was that that ceremony would be blazed on my mind’s eye as clear as day, and many a time afterwards I’d visit that scene.


It was hot, early June of 2013, and my leg was falling asleep. I was crouching at the front of the rows of chairs under a canopy of trees. To my left, clearly in view, were the bride and groom. On the right, an elderly woman smiled at me from the front row. A few minutes earlier, she’d had a paper bag on her head, shielding her from the thick drops of warm falling rain. Grey, purple clouds rolled over the surrounding green fields, and threatened more rain, which came eventually.  The joy this couple felt wasn’t about to be dampened by any shower or torrent of rain, though. I was photographing a wedding in Franklin, Tennessee, hoping I didn’t miss a shot, hoping I didn’t trip or have a sneezing fit or chew nervously on the gum I forgot to spit out. Just before the wedding party had emerged, the sun broke through in brilliant shafts of gold. It couldn’t have been planned more beautifully, and I felt like it was a gift God had tailored Himself for the occasion. The bride came down the aisle, took the groom’s hands and as they looked at each other, I was struck with the apparent joy and radiance of both of them…It is still bright in my mind. No hesitation. No fear. No questions. Just a full happiness. And this – this raw openness of love for each other seared away at my mind. I took in this whole scene…the birds singing high, the lush green surrounding us, the fragrance of warm, wet earth from summer rain. And the bride and groom…what was it about them?  I felt they were truly looking through the eyes into the soul of the other. There was a confidence in knowing…they were Home. Home to each other. That this person was the One out of All the Other People On The Planet that they’d rather be with. Forever. And a comfortability of Being. I felt that, in a strange way, they saw not just the person standing there at that moment, but that they were looking at – and loving – every facet of that person they’d ever known – good and bad and present and past, silly, sweet, sad, moody, stressed, happy and Less Than Up to Par. I sensed, too, that Completeness which only comes when another person unlocks the Rest Of You. Unlocks the ability to function as you, and More Than You. The You that you Want to be, but need the courage or permission and strength to be. And the amazing thing was that there was no shock or hesitation from what they saw. Thoroughly, they saw, and they adored that person. It was visible. Unmistakeable. And it registered somewhere deep inside.

Later in June, I sat at the kitchen table of the Grey Submarine, a pencil suspended in my hand, while I dazed into space and looked, I suspect, perplexed. Mama glanced at me. Then emptied her armload of tasks onto the table, poured herself and me a cup of tea, and sat down.”What’cha thinkin’ about, darlin’?” It’s no use saying “Nothing” to the woman who, out of all women, knows you best. So I told her what I’d been afraid to say, even to myself. That what I’d seen that day in June had made itself unforgettable to me… That I wanted that for myself…Was that too much to ask? Was it…selfish? Was it unrealistic? I was in a relationship at the time, and while so much seemed good and right, there were still things I doubted – things I couldn’t even put a finger on – but that kept me from having a complete peace and calm with it. The reasons I could name seemed trivial and not worth giving up a whole relationship over. And I wrestled with the issue – push on? give up? But That Day in June…that couple…that Wholeness they exuded…I couldn’t shake it.

I was told, “Listen to your doubts. God allows us to have them for a reason. There’s a Third to your relationship, and in those moments when you think ‘mmm…something isn’t right,’ that is Him.” I ended the relationship and decided to hold out for what I’d seen in June. I’d wait for that soul-seeing person.

Well, now, almost a year later, here I was, sweeping my floor, while Daddy went to pick up “That fellow from Texas” at the airport. All week I’d felt perturbed. Why was he coming?  From January to April we’d only messaged on Facebook, sent a couple of letters, had a couple of phone calls. All of this was surface based stuff. He’d never said he liked me. Never expressed a deep interest. Truth be told, it ruffled my feathers that he didn’t. (As if it wasn’t fair for the man not to know, when we’d not spent two whole days around each other!) Nevertheless, I, in turn, convinced myself I wasn’t so very interested…After all, there are other fish in the sea…(this was pure self defense in case he decided he didn’t like me after all). He’d written in a letter that, Nothing so well helps a person to get to know another than being face to face. He hoped in coming we could better know whether to pursue or leave off the relationship.

chip on your chiseled shoulder, Ma’am

Note. This is highly un – Politically Correct. If you disagree, please comment with respect, or not at all. 

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetThere’s a lot of talk nowadays about us women – what we deserve, what we go through just Being Women; how great we are and how everyone needs to acknowledge that. We make the world go round. We are, after all, Women.

This morning, as I walked into the hotel breakfast room, I tried to be aware of my countenance. So often in our culture now, women are sour, dour and defensive. Not readily do you find a woman without a chip on her shoulder; without a hardened shell.  That shows through her countenance. But the loveliness in a tender heart and womanly, gentle and vulnerable, cannot be ignored. Quite the contrary, it is refreshingly stark against the coarse visage of the Modern Woman. It’s like a spring scene after winter. It is what the songs, poems and love stories of old were based on – that creature full of grace, tenderness, and forgiveness, soft speech, gentle words and kind. She who laughs merrily – not from spite or anger and doesn’t wallow in pity parties (hello, me). She is the lady who trusts, depends on her man and isn’t ashamed that she needs him; rather she honestly acknowledges that need, and he is propelled all the more to be the man she deserves. Such songs and poems couldn’t be written now, because such poetry required a lady to win, woo, defend and protect. But we don’t need defending by anyone. We are women. We defend ourselves. So men hesitate to open doors for us, or compliment our womanliness, or, indeed, acknowledge any difference at all. Processed with VSCO with s2 presetThere is so much in Man to be admired: their strength, courage, nobility and chivalry, their calm under fire, their ability to defend and to strategize, their consistent hard work. The things about them that are simply different than us girls, physically, mentally and emotionally, are worth praising. They are things to admire in them, not belittle. And yet, they are belittled. I hope in all this mad grasping for our own recognition, that we will pause. This mindset of Women’s Rights, Women Rule, Women, Women, Women is so prevalent, that sometimes we swallow the draught without examining it, and the damage it causes to men, our families, and our social structure. Its mantras can run through our heads, out our mouths and integrate into our actions, with barely any notice from us at all.

It is damaging though. When men cannot be Manly Men, and are cowed by us into submission of our Wants, Our Needs, Our Rights, our structure dissolves away.  God created us ladies with the capacity of tenderness, durability, enabling, inspiring, nurturing and encouraging. But it’s not through singing our own praises that we achieve our greatness. It’s in focusing on the success, the needs and the fulfillment of others. How I do hope that I can do that. And that my husband will not feel demeaned, unneeded or disrespected in this age of Women Who Need No-one. The truth is, we do. And our men are worthy of praise and respect.

This morning, I tried to be aware of my countenance simply because I don’t want the dour, armor plaited hardness of the Modern Woman anywhere in my heart, face or demeanor. I want, and hope that all we ladies, can examine the loveliness of a woman as first intended, without this warped hardness, bitterness and self – boasting, for it is truly a wondrous masterpiece.



Since Writing Last

dec16-1979No. I didn’t teach her that – not on purpose, at least.

That would be a lot. A lot happens in half a year, but in summary:

  • July – August was spent moving into our beautiful house that smelled awful. And thanking Mama and Daddy for driving 1200 miles to help us paint. Well – they and JB and the church painted our house while I laid over the bathtub crying and throwing up. Me and Bella both. Somehow, we were pulled through and got moved into 60th Street.
  • August – built towers with all our boxes and stumbled between them through the mounds of clothes that dared us to wash them. Then we ran away from all of it to the beaches of Georgia, where we hung out with my family, ate crazy good food, read books, swam in the ocean at twilight and constantly dodged the water gun wars from the boys.
  • September – Ruidoso. Mountains, fresh air, long hikes, ice cream cones, early morning sunrises on the front porch. We went with JB’s side of the family and basked in a much appreciated break from the moving + work travel…even though we were only home from the beach for two weeks… Hey – two vacations in two months felt like necessity.
  • October – Back to Georgia to photograph a sweet wedding and soak up all the family time I could. But I was ready to come home to that Texan. He doesn’t get easier to leave on travel. It gets worse. And I found myself stalking his Facebook page all over again night after night, feeling more miserable and homesick for him than ever.
  • November – Thanksgiving  and TWO Thanksgiving meals…I’m all about that twice, and packing an outfit a size larger for the trip home. And stopping every 20 minutes for the bathroom because that’s what a woman a month away from her due date does. She also says “thanks babe” a hundred times and promises foot and back rubs as peace offerings as she crunches her way through the 32 oz. cup of crushed ice. It’s like you CAN NOT help yourself – no matter how annoying it sounds to crunch on ice for 14 hours.
  • December 15th – Daniel Barrett Watson arrived. And all of my family came from Georgia to celebrate Christmas + Baby with us. Except for one sister and her crew, we were all together and I had my own  Hallmark worthy Christmas Miracle. John Barrett told me one night, “I feel like I’ve seen so many glittery, shiny, sappy Hallmark movies that I need to watch something explode.” Shortly afterwards, he bought a chain saw and he and the fellows spent half a day trimming our two live trees (aka, sawing, yelling, climbing on the roof and in the trees and using big muscles to throw big limbs off the roof, getting all bloodied up and worn out. Lemme tell ya, a sweaty, hard workin’ man is tops in my book. JB likes making me drool like that.)
  • January – We’re flying solo now. All Mamas gone, and us still feeling the love ringing from them being here. We are surviving, and that’s success. I’m finding panties in my pots and chewed up gum on the floor, pages from the Bible torn out, (I’m sorry, Lord, I told her not to) detergent bottles in the rocking chairs and occasionally Bella Rose in the laundry room, sucking on Daniel’s dirty diapers. (NO,I’M JUST KIDDING. I didn’t find her doing that – Mama did.) Thankfully, she likes the baby – most times. But she thinks it’s fun to kick him every now and then, and she has no idea what GENTLE means. We’re working on it.



The fateful July of Stomach Virus. And these two parents of mine who love me in such tangible ways, coming 1,200 miles to help us paint.

Isn’t he dreamy? I like finding him like this after a hard day’s work, giving him a ridiculously long, romantic kiss, then whispering in his ear, “Darling, I just spent $100 at Tjmaxx on shoes…” sep-2016-8456And she likes finding him and coaxing his aching head while telling him, “Daddy, don’t believe a word she says if Mama tells you I bit her on the arm today…not a word.”sep-2016-8645sep-2016-9243“Babe………. you Promised this shirt didn’t make me look fat.” sep-2016-9249Exhibit from the mountain.sep-2016-9257Ohhh…the muscles in that arrrrmm!!!!oct16-7711“If I stare out the window all dreamily, maybe she’ll forget I’m on the verge of sleep with my mouth full of nuts I can’t chew.” oct16-772240 Years of two sinners loving each other, forgiving each other, and helping us know that sticking it out through thick  and thin is worth it. oct16-7939Just some random beautiful women who were walking the driveway of the Grey Submarine on a Sunday morning. oct16-8289When I was 30 Something weeks and had a REAL maternity shoot, thanks to my talented Sis. Not all of pregnancy is glamorous, but walking through a hot October day with a tired toddler definitely is.oct16-8261oct16-8222I’m indebted to Milly for making it look like being on the front side of the camera doesn’t make the spit stick to the back of my throat.oct16-8311“I solemnly promise never to drink all your frappe and paralyze myself with caffeine ever again.” oct16-8379One, two, three, flare. I flare – now – no. Mama, we’re suppose to flare nostrils at the same time. oct16-8321Hottest Aunt Status…but no, it really was so hot. My goal is to be like this gal when I grow up…I think I’m running out of time..but… Props to my inspiration gal. xoxooct16-8390My sunny sistren.

dec16-2784The CHAINSAW. I love that thing. And the men. I definitely love the men. Especially the REALLY handsome one holding the saw.

dec16-1812-2dec16-2024Happy 2017!

June Update…written in July


June flew by, packing a punch full of beautiful places and people.

To begin with, Bella Rose and I went to Harmony Hill Singing School. It was the first time with a baby. First time since I’d been married, in fact. Oh how hot it was, but oh how deeply sweet it was to see and meet many dear folks. I came away revived and refreshed, bursting with happiness of just Plain Ole Life. It’s made up of so many people – life is – and mine is enriched by so many of them. This year especially, I was impressed at how many people work tirelessly in the background to make this happen. No lime light – and no desire for any. What comes through is their desire to carry on a dream worth working for, so that their kids and grandchildren and kids they don’t know can benefit from it.

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After a week of not seeing my man, JB met us at HH for the last evening and day there. Friday we began the drive to Memphis, caught up on the week’s worth of news until my voice ached, stayed in a hotel and made it to Memphis the next day. It was Arabella Rose’s First Birthday, and we celebrated it amidst my washing clothes, Aunt Judy working on prepping food and cleaning for Camp and John Barrett catching up on work. It was a fine little birthday and celebrating it with family was a gift to me, even if she didn’t know to be properly grateful. 6-16 -30706-16 -30886-16 -31066-16 -31456-16 -32336-16 -3255

Dawn and Bella Rose are practically birthday buddies. Bella Rose impolitely came the day before Dawn’s birthday, for which someday, maybe, Dawn will forgive her. As it was, we were able to spend both birthdays with both girls in Memphis. Sometimes Providence aligns the stars.

The week after Harmony Hill was camp. Dear Camp in the heart of Mississippi where the Black Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace grow up a storm; where hay fields and twilight bask in the song of saccades and fireflies, and where the accents and people are even sweeter than the tea. I love that place and the people, and the dirt and the grime that come with camping. Some people say with a sort of perverted slyness that the South is One Big Excuse for gossip. That the South can say anything they like about anyone and blanket it with “Bless Their Hearts”. The people who say this don’t know the South.  When it’s said in the South it’s with the actual hope that your situation will be made better. It’s with empathy or sympathy implied, and with that sort of motherly and fatherly affection that says, “Goodness, child, I’m dreadfully sorry, and I care about you”. While there are times among Southerners when interest is dirtied by only the desire to gossip behind other’s backs, there’s also a broader depth of care and concern there that is distinct to it. There’s a willingness to step beyond some unsaid threshold and address hurt and pain, difficulty and shame in a way that is there to relate and help heal. There’s a openness and humility of being real, and admitting faults and exposing wounds.  I’ve yet to encounter that anywhere else. I love that about the South. I loved dipping my feet in its balm again, and immersing myself in the sincerity with which people exude there. And when they said Bless Your Heart, I knew that it was in the way Southerners mean it.


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The traditional birthday walk we take at Camp, where we drag out of bed and walk out our puffy eyes and breathe in the early air, and offer our small gifts to Dawn on the side of the road somewhere. 6-16 -33816-16 -33856-16 -3394-2

Seventeen. And I don’t mind saying she makes me cry. I love seeing her blossom into a lady. Blossom and expand her mind and her heart. I love this kid so much. 6-16 -34106-16 -34356-16 -3448At the Grey Sub it’s birthday tradition for each person to tell a memory or something you love or admire about the Birthday -ee. Anna Grace plucked a flower head and pronounced it our microphone. We were laughing to understand each other at first and had to repeat our sentiments several times before it could be understood.

6-16 -34766-16 -35016-16 -35366-16 -35826-16 -3878I’m so glad distance doesn’t separate love. Bella Rose knows Mamsie even when her back is turned and she’s standing several feet away. She goes to her before me. Even before she could walk, she’d crawl through the rooms until she found Mamsie and would whine and hold up her hands for her. This fills my heart more than I can say. You can’t speak the connection. Sometimes it’s just there. 6-16 -3404

This was June. A blur of the sweetest and prettiest things. I cried all the way to Memphis when I left that Friday night. Sometimes life expands your heart so much that love aches. The South and its people are woven so deeply into the fabric of who I am. Its fragrances, its whippoorwills and pines and soft hills and accents, mockingbirds at twilight and effortless lushness. All of this tore at me, knowing it’s not what I can love as my home anymore. Knowing that in order to love what home is now, there must be a distance between my heart and what is naturally most dear to me.

And yet, it’s worth it. My best friend makes any place home for me. The fabric that wove me will always draw me. Will always be deeply endearing; yet, that tall man makes my life the sweetest tale I could’ve wished to tell.