Monday, July 26, 2010


This summer my family has enjoyed the best of both worlds. We live in a comfortable and pleasant house in the mountains, in which the only pointed decision we made about where to place the furniture was where we could see the most mountains out of each window. Sprinkled throughout the summer were trips to the beach at Tybee Island, a surprisingly easy five hour trip from our door to the white screened creaky door at the sea blue beach house. Evenings spent here at home could be lounging on the swing in the back, watching the sun cast off peaches and lavenders over the creeping gray on the mountain tops. Evenings spent at the beach could be leaving our warm seats on the front porch under the lazy ceiling fan and walking over the boardwalk to the sand, to the surf, and watching the sun cast off golden pinks and dreamy blues, watching the moon rise over the ocean, seeing the lighthouse turn its light on for distant ships.

There have been countless sweet moments where I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Not luck. Not chance. BLESSED.

Seeing my happy, healthy children experience pure joy in life is the most I could ever ask for. Hallelujah.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Country

Before Jeff and I had children, we had talks about how we would raise them. Birthdays would be a big deal, we’d spoil them at Christmas but not too much, and we’d raise them in the country. We would give them a childhood much more like Jeff’s than mine.

Jeff and his sisters and cousins rode four-wheelers all over the place long before they could drive. They could ride their bikes down to the old country fill station without ever encountering a car. Hours spent outdoors far outnumbered hours spent in. I, on the other hand, lived in a condo in Decatur, Georgia. There was no yard, just a public grassy area that several condos surrounded. There were shootings down the road and only one neighbor we were friendly with and me being outside unsupervised just was not going to happen.

We could have chosen a happy medium and settled our family down into suburbia, where we lived before we moved up to the mountains, but staying a weekend up here and then going back down there . . . things quickly became clear for us. We couldn’t stand wasting our time in traffic, or paying too much money for a house that only looked out onto other houses. Driving through the towns meant seeing strip mall after strip mall, interspersed with chain grocery stores and industrial parks and buildings. When we first moved up here I constantly was amazed by the views that followed me everywhere I went, on daily errands, or gazing out of the kitchen window. Every night we are treated to sunsets that never cease to move me with their beauty, things I never seemed to see and appreciate before.

I’ve never once regretted giving up things and places to get those things in order to live out here in the mountains. We once said we’d much rather have a small house and acres of land rather than a huge house on a tiny lot. Now, we have a perfect sized home and we still get to experience North Georgia at its finest. Being a part of these tiny towns, with produce stands populating the sides of windy mountain roads, historic homes and buildings still being used for their original purpose, fields of farms housing old and aging red barns, it always feels like a blessing.

Just to be here.

Friday, July 2, 2010


My aunt is dying.

She is my mother’s brother’s wife and she has been dying for some time, I suppose. She was diagnosed with COPD some time back and has just been slowly sliding downhill ever since. Every once in awhile there has been a dramatic dip and a scary shift and every time we would wonder, is this it? Is it time? She would pull through, however, and go on in what is now her new normal. Her new normal is so sadly different from her old normal and I don’t she can reconcile the two and I don’t think she’s happy. We’re at that weird stage where we start to wonder what we’re even hoping for anymore.

It was like this with my grandmother, my mother’s mother, the first Faith. She was diagnosed with cancer, given six months to live and ended up making it for ten. Towards the end she viewed everything as a chore; eating, walking, sitting, talking. She told me that “this is not living” and, oh how I loved her and it made me happy to just breathe the same air as her, but I knew she should go and I knew that was what had to happen. It broke my heart, it eased my heart. It’s impossible to describe the overwhelming sadness but the slight relief it gave me when she passed.

I’ve been thinking of my grandmother a lot recently. This whole thing with my aunt is bringing up these old feelings and it is summertime, which makes me think of being with my grandmother in Savannah. It was always happy times with her. I was never bored; I never had to be constantly entertained with expensive toys or activities. Just me and my grandmother in her tiny house, going on walks, or running errands, playing checkers, reading books, doing crosswords, and talking. Always talking, all day long. Those were some of the easiest and happiest times growing up.

This never fails to hit me like a ton of bricks, this passing of time. It seems like there was never this life before Faith and James, yet there was. I was the child, my aunt was young and vibrant, my grandmother was healthy and alive and my friend, now time marches on and people start to drift out of life.
Yet the memories are there. I can only hope to pass some of those on to my children either by voice or by action. I can channel my Granny, laughing hard and deep and raspy, getting on the kids level, appreciating them, and appreciating little parts of life.