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.



May / Update

5.16 stomp_0127


May has always held a certain glow of magic, and even though I can go barefoot any time  I want to, there’s a certain anticipation for May First, when I can officially go barefoot and feel the long held peace of Mama’s permission. I wonder about the traditions we’ll cultivate in the Watson household? What will our children look back on as some of their foundational habits and customs?

Earlier this month Daddy and Mama drove from Tyler (where we all celebrated a cousin’s graduation). On the 7 hour trip from Tyler to Lubbock, Bella Rose got sick and threw up 6 times. She was pale and exhausted, and I didn’t really care that I had vomit on my clothes and body. My heart just ached for her tiny frame that would suddenly still then bend with the force of vomit. I’m so glad hers didn’t last long.

Mama and Daddy stayed two days, both of which I was sick. We had no food in the house, so they bought us groceries, fixed meals, then had to leave early to make it back to GA for an emergency. There’s a deep down bumminess that might as well not be described. You know it, when you run up against it. It was hard to swallow that the visit I’d looked forward to us having with them was shortened from a week to two days, and that I was sick the whole time. But though I don’t understand all the in’s and out’s it was still hugely comforting to hear them in my house and have Mama take care of me.

Poor Daddy got sick on the way home. 12 hrs between driving and flying. Poor Daddy.

But the bright side -for there almost always is one – is that my littlest Sister who’d come with Mama and Daddy stayed two weeks. And two other sisters joined us for several days. So lots of walks, lounging conversations and quiet routines settled over our time together. For my birthday, I woke up to the girls cleaning my house, a dozen doughnut coupon, a potted plant and candy. It was the sort of day you feel extraordinarily loved and happy.

As for Bella Rose, she finally cut a tooth Saturday. She’s dancing to music – just rocking back and forth or bending her knees. She gives the biggest grins and hugs. This motherhood thing is the best. I looked up last night. She was looking at me with a drop of milk glistening like a perfect pearl from the middle of her chin and flashed a gummy smile. I felt again that surge of happiness I never would have imagined on the other side of marriage and being a mama.

The house we’re buying – it will be ours on June 6 – is a cozy little place, and for now all we must do is wait and pack.  Soon we can call it home. 5.16 stomp_0118

5.16 stomp_0119studying for a final the only way that makes sense in West Texas heat: with your feet in water.
5.16 stomp_01205.16 stomp_01215.16 stomp_01225.16 stomp_01235.16 stomp_01245.16 stomp_01255.16 stomp_0126

This sums up my May so far, with all its smudges. And for all that it’s been bright and beautiful.

The Love Story 6.

Jane Austen observed well that,

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

I could plead none otherwise than guilty to this charge, and it was well reflected in my writing at the time. You see, he did in fact, not tell me his thoughts, and for an impatient girl, this waiting and wondering seemed to stretch for miles. I suppose it did. 1200 in fact. So I rallied and argued with myself, telling myself that “JBW is not the only fish in the sea”. That he’s not expressed any intention or wish other than ‘keeping up’ and ‘getting to know me’. I reasoned in fits on pages of my journal that “We’re not engaged…we’re not even in a relationship, really… Besides that, a person is not truly committed until they’ve said the oaths, taken the vows.” And I reminded myself of what I’d resolved many months earlier, before he was on the scene:

“I’m waiting for a man who’ll dig some spurs into the side of his Relationship Steed. Someone that knows what he wants and will go get it without being a wimpy whiner who worries over everything, can’t make up his mind and mosies along the lazy path of Indecision. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t seek/listen to/ heed good counsel, but that he’s willing to take it and run with it. 

Well, maybe that’s JB and maybe it’s not. I’m happy to be his friend. Maybe one day more than that. But until that wedding band is on my finger there’s nothing that says Things Won’t Change and that some other guys or gal could step into the lives and affections of either one. I like John. Could like him a lot. I’ve said it before; I say it again. I’ve got a wild heart and a passionate one and the man who wins it over completely will be one I’d like to meet. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Daddy just put a log of cedar on the fire. One of the logs we cut this morning. Daddy, Chris, Max, Merry and I went to Clyde and Sherri’s today. Poor Abrum, he wanted to go. Mama brought balloons and lovely decorations. We’re all waiting now for Max and Merry to come back. Max is off (we think) to propose to Merry at Charlie Elliot. Daddy grilled steaks and Mama’s baking cheese cakes. Daddy will miss her terribly I think. How strange. Little Merria, off to get married out of all us girls. We’re hoping he actually WILL propose, because if not, all our signs and decorations and the special meal will be hard out of place. 

John sent two letters this week. I must admit that when I found his letter today there was a huge smile all over my face. I said to that letter, 

“Well, John, you do get some bonus points, my good man. Some points indeed!” He’s sent two post cards last week and this, but today was the first real letter.

January 28, 2014

He wrote: 

P.S. There was no one else in sight as he walked up to the wall of mailboxes ( the one about a hundred paces from his flat, over by the laundry room), on a partially cloudy Saturday afternoon. He opened his box and pulled out an envelope. “Wow, that’s amazing,” he said aloud as his eyes fell across the exquisite penmanship on the front, with a quick glance at the postmark to confirm his suspicion. It was from her.” 

Now if that won’t flutter the stomach and make it nearly fly away, I don’t know what will.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yesterday morning Daddy prayed for our breakfast – his and mine. He said, “And Lord, you know whether it’s your will for Gabrielle and John Watson to continue talking and I ask that if it IS your will for them to be together that you’d help John to kick this thing into high gear…”

I don’t know where that came from. Daddy IS a pro-active sort of fellow, and maybe he was just in a high – gear praying sort of mood, but I had to smile and agree with him. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mel came up the driveway with letters in her hand. She sat on the porch and my heart dropped because I knew there wasn’t one for me, for she neither looked up nor handed me anything. But oh – I felt a little pool of hope well up again, though I tried to keep it from coming up at all (dashed hopes are so much more unpleasant than hopes caught unawares). I saw that Milly had only retrieved the checks from Clyde and Sherri – the mail was still to come, and my chance of a letter was still there. It did come and my eyes couldn’t see fast enough to detect all the names until finally the one I was hoping for was found. There it lay, innocently provoking smile after smile and happy little exclamations of “Oh, John – JB, you Watson, you dear fellow. Look at this! My, my, so you did write after all, eh?” And all the while I was beaming. Could hardly see out of my eyes, they were smiling so hard. 

And what did it say? He wants to come. 

The Love Story 5.

The mystery as to “why none of those Fulmer kids are married yet”, came and went about as often as the front door swung open and shut. We finally cast it up to Daddy and Mama that perhaps if they’d make life a little less exciting and pleasant at home, then it’d be easier to get rid of us. They didn’t, and we continued on as we had been all this while.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It’s cold in my room. I went out of it to use the bathroom and as I entered the bathroom I saw a cricket on the floor. I thought about the cricket the whole time I was in there.

“Dear Little Cricket, what are you doing in here? 

What lead you from the door to standing here on the bathroom floor?”

I washed my hands and picked up a towel from the floor. That towel has laid there as a rug for days. I kept saying I’d pick it up and do a nice little clean up job. Finally I just did pick it up and took it outside on the back porch to shake it out. 

“Dear Little Cricket, I act on the sly…I ‘ll pick you right up and take you outside.”

I’d come back in and put the rug in the dirty clothes. I don’t know why I was telling the cricket I’d put him outside though, for as I was saying those words I was getting up from just having dropped him square in the trashcan. Well, it was cold outside, and he would have been stepped on on the floor…What else was I to do? Walking back to my room, I continued my rhyme, which I was beginning to become quite fond of.

“Poor Little Cricket, now here is the thing – ” I said, opening my room door, but instead of finishing it I screamed and jumped, for I met a figure standing behind the door that hadn’t been there when I left. I threw my arms around the figure and tackled a laughing Merria onto the bed, squeezing her very hard and laughing and screaming at the same time. She pulled my hair and I squeezed her harder.

“Oh Merria! You wicked child! You should be horsewhipped! How could you do that to me?” Merry, who was laughing, said, 

“I was WONDERING when you were finally going to come in here. I’ve been waiting and waiting.”


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pooh-Hah-Zell. That’s what I call Daddy sometimes. Poor Chree is sick with the flu and sits, rocking with folded hands. Folded hands on his red checked flannel shirt. Anne, Merry and Mel sit on the couch. Anne is looking at an online catalogue of dresses; Merry is lying on Mel. They’ve been looking through Milly’s baby book. Abe lies in front of the fire on his back, holding his iPeril and listening to something. Dawn is absorbed in counting change as she stands behind the stove, and Daddy crosses one foot over his knee, laying his Bible on top. We’re getting ready for devotion. Mama flits in and out, then in again and sits down. 

“You can put your feet in my lap,” she tells Dawn, who is already propping them up there. 

“My goodness, Anna Grace’s birthday is less than a month away!” Said Chris.

“When are we going to have her birthday?” Daddy asked. 

“We may do it the 15th or 16th,” said Mama as she scratched some writing in her book.

“I’m leaving on the 14th I think.” Everyone sounded surprised.

“What? Where?”

“Nicaragua,” Said Chree. “Spanish language school with Timothy.”

“I guess we could have it on the 14th before you leave.”

“Oh, it’s the 15th. I think,” Amended Chree. 

It’s a cozy evening. I’m warm and sleepy. Sleepy because I’ve been losing sleep over That Boy. I’ve been waking up and thinking – fearing, rather – that I’ve been messaging him all night. In my sleep I see, to my chagrin, that I’ve messaged him 41 times in a row, always telling him that I would stop messaging him. But then I’d think of something else to say and not be able to stop myself from typing and sending it…In my half waking sleep, I’ve sensed his acute annoyance at my continual stream of missives…He grudgingly replies and I never stop. I WANT to quit, but every time I’d check to see what I’d written, I’d already sent another one! Thank goodness it’s just a dream, but it’s a terrible feeling of no self -control. I’ve a mind not to write him back for a week, just for good measure. 

Dawn had walked into the living room earlier this afternoon eating a shrimp. She always sucks on the shrimp (and has since she was a little girl) to get the juice out. Abrum was lying on the floor and jumped up as she came in.

“Lo DAWNKULD,” Abe said, perching two hands on his hips and tucking his chin to his neck. He says her name slowly at first, holding out the Lo, then says Dawnkuld fast. Every time. Standing close, he bent toward her and said abruptly, shaking a finger at her, “Lo DAWNKULD, Were you sucking on that shrimp?!” Dawn paused and cocked a brow at him, then said slowly,


Abe let out a long yowl of laughter, throwing his head back, saying he’d never seen anyone eat shrimp that way before. She tackled him to the couch amid his yelling things about shrimp and wrestling with her feisty resistance. For the rest of the evening he teased her about shrimp. Nearly every reference he made to her alluded to it.


January’s fires burned through snow and sunny days and many a pause found me scribbling questions and thoughts into my journal about John Barrett Watson. It seemed my cocoons of questions never would transform into the beautiful winged answers I was dying to see. Most of my concerns could be summed up by the following entry.

Tuesday, January 21,2014

I fear that, already, while I’m beginning to be deeply interested and attracted he may be coming to the conclusion that, (as he says it) Pigs will Learn to Scuba Dive”  before we’ll ever go on an ice cream or coffee date.” Oh well. Se la vie. Jerry’s was nice. That whole days was splendid. Absolutely beautiful. I keep trying to call to memory every glance and word and smirk or his. Sometimes I can see it clearly and hear his voice. I get warmly happy all over. But I wonder, as I’m stewing over Him, what is he thinking? Anything? Nothing? Come, John, where are your thoughts?


Abe telling her Something Important, while Dawn holds the reflector. We were experimenting with its effect on photos one Sunday afternoon. 

Jay came home for a visit that January. Much to our happiness. 


He has a sweet smile, but Chris was pinching me. 

Since Writing Last


  • The beautiful hydrangea he gave me for Valentine’s Day, died. RIP, Hydrangea.
  • I went to Georgia for a week where we celebrated my parents 40th anniversary while Mama recovered from pneumonia, collaborated in directing a play, fixed us yummy meals and took Bella Rose on Grandbaby Dates.
  • We sisters had some time to be together, catch up on life and sit in the front yard reading old journals to each other…that was heavenly and hilarious.
  • The faithful little computer I was using, Died. So I replaced it and am have Nooooo Trouble with the myriad of frustrating problems I had with the last one.
  • Bella Rose turned 9 months and talks in a growly little voice, saying all sorts of words we don’t understand, but the faces she makes while saying them is adorable. She’s eating avocado, avocado and avocado, bananas, strawberries – any berries, and is pulling up on everything.
  • A beautiful wedding took place in the quiet woods of Georgia at a little church I love deeply. The bride and the groom worked like trojans in wedding prep and were so sweet and chill and kind on their wedding day. It was a pleasure to be with them and document their day.
  • Since coming home nearly two weeks ago, we’ve  been traveling off and on. Packing, staying in hotels hanging by the pool while daddy works (woot woot!), going home and unpacking, washing clothes and getting to make home food….yummm….then packing up again and leaving. Still, there are peaceful moments that we take to Stop and Smell the Roses along the way, and I admit, I do it as many times as possible.


At home with Dutch and Daddy

feb16-268This is the way she likes saying goodnight.

Have a beautiful Thursday, y’all!

The Love Story.4


Life at the Grey Submarine wound its way through January’s cold days, and was full to the brim of the sweet nectar of home we take for granted, or intentionally savor while we’re still there. My thoughts were full of ‘that Barrett Boy’, as Daddy called him, and once or twice I thought back on a conversation with Daddy I’d had months earlier, wondering if I might have been wrong.

November 22, 2013

It’s grey outside and foggy. I wonder if it’s hot or cold?…Mama fried bacon and eggs this morning and Daddy brewed coffee. He told Mama with a twist of tease to his earnestness that they were going to have a rough time once all the kids flew the nest because for 37 years she hasn’t drunk coffee with him (Mama can’t stand the draught). And now she’s not eating breakfast (never has liked it too much). 

“I won’t have anyone to eat with. Not even my little Babe-rielle.” 

“Aw, Daddy,” I said kissing his cheek which smelled like spicy aftershave, “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Ohhhh one of these days someone’s going to sweep you off your feet. Right off your feet, and will steal one of my most precious treasure from me.” He had a lilt of tease and poutiness in his voice and a little twinkle in his eye, but he’s said it often enough before that I think part of him – like me – dreads that phase of life. I’m glad it’s a while away yet.”

Now I wondered dangerously if it might be closer at hand than I had ever thought it could be. Pages were filled of questions and what-if’s and the thoughts that seemed to tumble on in relentless succession about JBW. Yet, my world at home was more rich than ever I had remembered and I was determined not to let it slip away without enjoying it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A little wind stirs the pines outside. Those pines are wetted and their trunks are black, and it’s a very grey sky. Mama and Daddy are bustling in the kitchen making biscuits and bacon and eggs. Chris slept in my room last night and Jay and Abe in the boy’s room. Chris was the first of the boys up, so he sauntered in the living room this morning when things were first lighting to breakfast preparation. 

“Please, Chree, read to me? The book’s on the school room shelf.” He retrieved the book and sat with it’s large red cover open while he turned the pages. I lay on my couch bed and Chris sat at the end of it. He read ‘Road Through the Woods’, by Rudyard Kipling, ‘Goodbye to the Farm’, by Rob Louis Stevenson and ‘Wreck of the Hesperus’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The septic tank has been ornery again, so tonight we washed dishes outside. The boys helped. Anne handed the water hose to me while she toted dishes in and out of the house. The water was cold and the ground wet and soppy and my toes cold. The sky was clear and the moon especially bright. It kept making me look at it as I held a kink in the hose and waited for more dishes. Jay came out with a pile of pots whistling, “Got a Whale of a Tale to Tell Ya Lads”, and held open the door for Chris who followed behind him with more. Beka got excited about JBW last week and said, “Aw, I bet he was smiling the whole way home.” I told her I didn’t know about him but I certainly was. There was a goofy little grin on my face all 7 hours of the trip home. So many times I’d burst from a dazed stare into a fit of laughter thinking about something he did or said. And all he did, he did with that ease of his Texan self. I think I could grow to really like Texans. Especially This One. 

Tuesday, January 14,2014

I was lying in bed last night, almost asleep, when I heard the rhythm of Mama’s steps as she came into my room. She patted my head, then kissed it and said, “You are invaluable to me; you’re precious. I love you, honey,” and walked out. After a few paces, though, she came back to the doorway and prayed, “And Lord, you know whether John Watson is the right one or not. Please guide them both and help her to know for sure what your will is.” Home feels safe, partly due to the amount of praying that is done – and I’m thankful Mama and Daddy have spread it on thick for us. I know they have spent hundreds of hours in prayer for our family. It’s humbling and warming and wonderful to be loved so deeply and so openly. 

‘Resting his eyes’ (as Grandmama says) by the fire



The merriest of meals is when the family is together.

IMG_9016Almost every time we eat together Daddy gets to laughing so hard his face turns purple. 

Milly is the Birthday Girl of January, and 
And each year the wrapping grows more curious, and less conventional.
The pond in the back yard, which, when I was little, I was convinced there would be fish every time it rained.