a precious soul

“I like your paint colors. They are very nice. Sometimes, we must use colors that are… uh,uh,” remarked the painter shaking his head back and forth.

“Your swivel chairs are perfect in front of the fireplace!” said my friend. “I have just found my new favorite chair,” she continued.

“How did you find just the right colors for this room?” inquired a neighbor. “Everything blends so perfectly.”

“Each part of this remodel is done so well.  I’ve seen a lot of homes, and a lot of re-dos. I know the age of these houses in this neighborhood, and yet yours looks so current, yet classic. Who did your work?” asked the realtor who was a guest at a party in our home.

I am very appreciative of the kind words about our home. And I quickly respond with these words: “Our daughter is a designer, and it looks so good because of her. She deserves every bit of the credit!”

Yes, I am so grateful for our daughter’s design skills, and for the fact that she helps us with decisions at our home. She ALWAYS has good ideas. And she puts up with me if I can’t see her vision, or want to hang onto something that needs to go.  So I am also grateful for her patience with me.

She is such a gift!

A few years ago, I became a mother to an astonishingly beautiful baby girl. My husband and I just stared and said, “How can she really be ours?” She has enchanted us ever since.

She was right on track with childhood milestones. She hated bananas from the very first taste. She giggled joyfully and freely. She was meticulous with some things (art and school work) and “creative” with others (keeping her room). She loved to arrange things (tables, candles, etc.) into what she called her “set-up,” an early start to home design.

In elementary school she was a hard worker who loved doing her school work. In middle and high school that continued, even when she attended a quite challenging private school. She always gave everything her all.

She “excelled” at soccer even though, in truth, she wasn’t the best player. But she was the heart of the team, and she was the first (only?) to receive an award in her name. It is now given to a player who exemplifies this spirit, and it continues to this day.

She has memorized much of the dialog in the classic, “Steel Magnolias,” and no one cries alone in her presence. We were “best friends” when she was in high school, but I am thankful that I have been replaced in that role by her husband and soul mate, the perfect match for her sweet spirit.

And she is the BEST mommy. She knows her two precious children so well, constantly seeking ways to meet their needs – while at the same time keeping them challenged to move along with their skills as they grow.  (And she shares them with my husband and me, and trusts us with them. A privilege and an honor!)

She has a deep-rooted faith that she lives out each day. In good times and in tough times, she relies on her Father for guidance and care.

Our daughter has SO many qualities that I am proud of and thankful for. She is such a blessing to our family. If there were anything that I could change about her, I would give her more self-confidence.  I’d share with her the knowledge and conviction that I have about her: She can do whatever she makes up her mind to do – and she will do it well.

I love you, Beth. Thank you for being our daughter!

Thank you, God, for sending this precious soul into our lives.

 

 

 

a recurring book

Hi friend,

Hope this finds you and yours doing well in these challenging times. We are all doing fine, and I am thankful.

Goodness, I miss seeing you! I’m ready for a return to the carefree days when we could go and hear authors and travel to your beautiful home to enjoy each other’s company. Hopefully those better days will come back again soon.

I wanted to tell you a funny story. Remember that book that our friend recommended – and both you and I started it but just couldn’t get into it? I tried, and I know you did, but I finally gave up. I actually gave my copy away, as I knew I’d rather spend time reading something else – anything else! Well, I’ll get back to that book in a minute.

A member in my other book club saw that the bookstore was offering a session on “Book Club Reading Suggestions,” and she asked me to attend with her. It was a good evening, back in the “good ol’ days,” and we came away with some brochures and papers that featured recommended books and their summaries.

I had hit a dry spot in my reading so I pulled out those papers and read through LOTS of book suggestions.  I don’t always seem to like what is currently trending, so I quickly narrowed down my choices to three books. I decided to order the first one for my Kindle, and started on it right away.

I got about three chapters in and had this familiar feeling… Where had I heard of these characters and situations before?

Yep, you guessed it. It was the same book that you and I didn’t care for – the one I had previously discarded. Ugh. Now I’m committed to read it – I suppose.

I wish my memory were better. Sometimes I think I could own about five books and just reread them all from time to time, since I obviously can’t remember much about titles and plots. I would definitely save money, that’s for sure!

Take care, stay well, and let me know what you are reading these days.

Miss you!

look up and trust

a sky so blue

a breeze so light

a leaf so green

a bud so tight

the clouds above

are fluffy white

but

the weight I feel

is just not right

 

what happens next

we never know

in times like these

our spirits, low

we tend to fret 

and worry so

or

we can pray 

and watch hope grow

 

the choice is ours

the pathway clear –

share the smile

hold back the tear

look up and trust

and never fear

for

in all things

our Lord is near

Wishing for a peace that passes all understanding

to carry us through these troubled times

better days SOLC20 #31

In many ways this month of unanticipated changes and unsettling news has seemed to stretch forever. At last it is coming to an end.

But how can this month of writing be done? I have so much more to process. So many more ideas to consider, so much more to say.

Of course, I can still write.  The question is, will I? I am so deeply grateful for Two Writing Teachers to provide this outlet yet again, this motivation to write and share.

And in the midst of that work, it is good to find myself again. Thank you, ALL of you at Two Writing Teachers, for making this writing celebration happen yet again this year.

As the month went on it was easier – and more necessary – to write. Pieces that sometimes alluded to the strange world situation we find ourselves in, and sometimes just to escape. And as always, at the end of every March writing challenge, there’s that determination to keep writing. Perhaps the slower pace of today may help with the necessary follow-through this time.

As April starts tomorrow, I once again look forward to a new month. No one knows what this one will bring. The truth, that we often forget, is that this is true about every upcoming month and each tomorrow that we have.  No one knows.

So I will try to take every day as a gift, to celebrate the good that can always be found, to remember to be thankful for each day as it ends, and to look forward to the next tomorrow with hope.

 

Better days ARE ahead!

old yards SOLC20 #30

I love old yards.  Some would say it sounds better to say, “established” yards, but that’s not really what I mean.

Old yards generally have some size to them. Not huge, but not postage stamp, either.  I like that.

The landscaping up next to the house is often unique.  Not always symmetrical, sometimes overgrown, and maybe there’s mulch – or maybe not.

But it’s the rest of the yard I’m fascinated with.

The grass in old yards has a LOT more than just grass in its composition. My favorite “weed” is violets. Heart shaped leaves and tender purple petals. They can easily “take over” but they are just so pretty.

This time of year, old yards have lots of blooming plants. Various trees, some of which will have fruit later on, are gorgeous right now. Redbuds, dogwoods, cherry trees, and more!

Also, vibernum plants, many of which we call snowball bushes, are loaded with big white spheres of blossoms.

All are so faithful to return year after year. To them I say, “Thank you!”

And all the perennials that line the driveways and walkways, or fill a certain patch of the lawn. Thick leaves, colorful blooms. Beautiful!

Sometimes I wonder what made the owners decide to put those bushes or trees or perennials in the spots where they have flourished.  Often there’s no determined rhyme or reason that I can see, but that’s why I am intrigued.

And there’s hardscape worth noting as well. Giant concrete planters, painted black or white, atop columns or at the base of stairs. Perhaps across the outside edge of the front porch. Sidewalks that sometimes leave the front door and end up in the middle of the yard. Numerous items used to outline flower gardens. (The only ones I don’t care for – and that thankfully we don’t often see anymore – are the old tires painted white.)

Our house at the lake has an old yard. We are enjoying the efforts of former owners during this season. To them I say, “Thank you!”

Our iris are starting to bloom.  This patch was so anxious to bring joy into this unsettled world that they bloomed before growing their typical long stems. But even hunkered down in the leaves they are beautiful.

 

There are two things that all old yards have in common.  The first is TIME.  It took a lot of time to plant and grow these yards. The second thing is LOVE – someone loved plants, loved their home (and yard), and loved to make things beautiful.

Audrey Hepburn is quoted as saying, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  In old yards everywhere, plants are showing that someone in the past did indeed believe in his or her tomorrow – which has now become our today.

These old yards reflect the beauty of the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.” To all of them I say, “Thank you!”

hands SOLC #29

Isn’t it a gift to have hands that can do so much? Today I am thankful for my own useful hands and for the hands of those I love.

These are my granddaughter’s hands.  I love the dimpled knuckles. These hands are so sweet, and when she places them on each side of your face and says “I have a secret,” I melt. Then she whispers in your ear, “I love you.”

 

They are also artistic. She is very creative and makes three dimensional art as well as all kinds of colorful drawings and designs on paper. Once at her house I saw drawings of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell she had made and cut out, after her first trip to Disneyworld.

 

I asked her to reproduce them on canvas, which I have now to cherish. Notice the fireworks – Tinkerbell lights the castle for the nightly show, you know.

 

Eeek! These are my old, plain hands. Brown-spotted and wrinkled, with arthritis in some knuckles, but I still appreciate all they can do.

 

Through the years I have tried to be creative. I have tried calligraphy, watercolor, cross stitch, smocking, and other attempts at art.  When I retired I gave some specially selected books to each grade level at my school where I had been the reading specialist. I wrapped them all in black and added some reading quotes to each package:

 

These gnarly hands belong to my hardworking husband. He is always busy with projects and tasks. He likes to work in the yard, do wood working, paint, and help others.

 

They can be tender hands as well as tough – our grandchildren love for him to pat their backs as they fall asleep.

 

His hands can be artistic too.  Look at this stylish mailbox he recently made:

 

Thank you, Lord, for hands!

May You always keep our hands busy in service and love.

a long time SOLC20 #28

When we are waiting, every moment seems like hours.

I’ve always heard the expression, “’til the cows come home.” To me, it meant forever. Or it seemed that way.

Definitions tell you that it could mean until the end of the day (as in, when cows come back to the barn for milking) or for an indefinite long time (as in, the fact that cows may wander a long time if they ever escape their pasture, unlike horses that tend to come back to their stable).

If you are doing something fun and exciting, you want it to last ’til the cows come home.

If you are anxious or worried, and you are forced to wait til the cows come home, it seems like a very long, long time.

Either way, the wait is over:

They’re Home!

hope SOLC20 #27

All is definitely NOT right with the world these days.

But the (natural) world doesn’t seem to be aware of this. It just keeps on as normal, ushering in spring and all the delights that the season brings.

The lower level of green is rich and full these days. We hardly notice it when summer is in full leaf, but it is so encouraging now.

 

Buttercups are starting to fade – but they have been bringing us sunshine even on cloudy days.

 

Redbud winter was short – but as sweet and lovely as always.

 

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” Theodore Roethke

 

New life shows itself in all kinds of ways.

 

Wishing you hope and peace in these unsettling, yet glorious, days.

all in the plan SOLC20 #26

Dear Friend,

I hope this finds you and yours doing well and staying well!  As always, and maybe especially now, I miss seeing you!

You are always SO sweet to think of our son Mark and his family, which we all deeply appreciate. So I wanted to give you an update.

As you know, we were all thrilled when Mark changed jobs and started working here in Franklin, rather than having the busy commute into Nashville every day. He settled into his new position, doing basically the same kind of work, and was able to bring some additional knowledge and contacts with him. And he loved having more time at home with his family, without having to make those daily long drives.

Around Christmas time, the owner of the small company that Mark went to work for here in town had a meeting with his 4-5 employees about his plans for the future. This included him saying he didn’t know what he would be doing in 5 years but he didn’t want it to be this business.

Mark knew that larger companies had offered to buy the owner’s company (and he would probably keep his job there), and he also knew that the owner might just close this business (which meant job hunting for Mark). Needless to say it caused Mark to think long term about his own career path. So he pondered this into the new year.

Then in late February, very unexpectedly, his former boss from the company in Nashville that he left contacted him and asked what it would take for Mark to come back. Mark had been keeping up with the office through another friend he worked with, and that friend told him that not only had this former boss and others realized how much Mark had been contributing there, but also that Mark was sorely missed.

Long story short his former company made Mark an offer he couldn’t refuse, and so he is back at work there, as of this week. He is working from home now of course, but when normalcy returns he will be working some in Nashville, some at the Murfreesboro office, and even some from home. He received a HUGE raise, too.

And he is very happy. He had missed the challenge of some of the bigger projects he had been working on before, and he did feel more appreciated there. It may have taken this time away from that firm for both sides to realize the value of this working relationship for them all.

When Mark gave his notice at the firm here in Franklin, it went very well. The owner said he hated to see him go but he thought it was the right thing for Mark to do. Mark thinks the owner is concerned about how long he can keep his small business afloat under current conditions, and if he had let someone go, it would have been the last one hired – Mark. But the owner did offer to take Mark back if he ever chose to do so.

Landon’s work stopped today and she will have a few emergency pay days and then after that at least get to keep her benefits. So this increased salary will be welcomed for the income shortfall created by her not working.

As you and I have both prayed for Mark, little did we know (or at least I didn’t) that God had other plans and would answer them in a different way. But we are all so very thankful. And I wanted to share this good news with you!

When you have time please let me know how you and yours are doing. And I look forward to a good visit when we are able to do so.  Hopefully soon!

Love you!

too much weight SOLC20 #25

Yesterday I wrote about having a bag that contained just what someone needed at the time. It sure came in handy. But still, I don’t like carrying around things I don’t need.

My mother was a collector and, truly, a hoarder. Because of that I tend to be more organized, more minimalist.

Last fall I was meeting friends for breakfast, and when I parked downtown to walk a block to the restaurant, there was an older lady trudging down the sidewalk near me, carrying two heavy bags and pulling a rolling cart.

“So much stuff!” I thought. I imagined that she must be going somewhere important so I asked if she needed help.

Turned out she was headed to her church – her bags were filled with books and other study materials. Way more than anyone would need in one day. She also said she makes this trip from home to church – about 6 blocks – every day.

I couldn’t let her go on alone, so I took one of the weighty bags – how did she manage all three? I walked the next two blocks with her to the church. My arm was aching by the time we got there, even a little trembly after putting the packed bag down.

Our conversation along the walk showed that she obviously wasn’t thinking clearly about some things, so I was thankful to be able to do my “good deed” and help her along the way.

I went back to the restaurant and met my friends, never planning to tell them what I had done. However, one had seen me with the lady, and asked about it, trying to give me credit for what I did. “No big deal. Just trying to help out,” I told them.

This lady carries other weights in her life besides the bags of books. I hope that church congregation, and others – maybe me when the opportunity arises –  can look out for her in days ahead.

a bag like that SOLC20 #24

Some people seem to always have what they need, at just the right time.

I don’t generally fit in that category. The less I have to carry the better. Also the fewer full shelves in my closets, that’s better for my mind as well.

But sometimes it’s good to have useful things with easy access.

In an old movie, One Fine Day, two separate single parents have to unexpectedly keep their children with them as they go to work.  This doesn’t turn out well, and, interestingly, their paths cross repeatedly during the day.

So together they look for a drop-in daycare, and they find one that is having a Super Hero day. Of course, the children need costumes.

The mother pulls all they need (and more) out of her bag.  The amazed father (George Clooney) asks this well-prepared mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) “Where do you get a bag like that?”

Where, indeed.

Although I can’t remember a lot of other details about the movie, I have never forgotten that line.

Some people have absolutely no knowledge of how to pack a bag with all the things you might need. Or maybe certain other people continually gather and keep things, “just in case.”

At any rate, those bags with those contents can NOT be bought – anywhere. They must be thoughtfully assembled or accumulated – through experience and planning, and possibly with a touch of good luck.

Maybe I, too, need to work on that. You never know what the grandchildren might need.

holding on SOLC20 #23

I participate in an early morning Bible study each week.  What a blessing – it is so good for my soul.

And we truly dedicate our time to studying the Word. To keep us on that track, we pass around a tablet to record prayer requests. Unless there is an urgent need, we don’t discuss these requests together.

We also pass around a jar for donations to a mission project. Through the years this group has funded numerous fresh water wells in Africa, and it has supported other projects, too.

Last year one of our members lost her husband unexpectedly. He was an active Gideon, and he also liked to pass out small wooden crosses to people in order to start a conversation about Jesus, or to those who he felt were in need. So our Bible study group decided to carry on a bit of his work in our mission project this year.

We ordered hand held crosses, made from olive wood from the Holy Land, and packaged them in holders with information cards. We set up a Facebook page for “LOU’s Mission.” And each member purchased some to share with friends.  The profits go to the Gideons International.

There were so many of my friends who had needs in their lives at that time. Two had lost husbands, one had a newborn with special needs, several had aging and ailing parents, three were facing cancer treatments, and some were aging themselves. The ten crosses I purchased were quickly given out and all were gratefully received. One friend, who had recently lost her father, asked to get more for her other family members. And I gave them to my own family members as well, just because.

Then last fall I had a really hard time with my right leg – knee pain, IT Band syndrome, torn meniscus, including surgery.  During this time I had some other health problems (all have resolved), but it was a painful and unsettling time in my life.

Often I would grasp my own holding cross as I went to bed at night, holding on to the promises and love of God that it represents.

Holding this cross also brings assurance and hope during today’s health and economic crisis. Praise God, He remains faithful in all things.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 

Lamentations 3:21-23

 

searching SOLC 20 #22

Recently I wrote about how new leaf buds that are now coming out on the trees and full grown leaves that are soon to follow would be obscuring my far vision in the very near future. This growth is already blocking views of houses, hillsides, and other sights that I can happily spy during the winter.

But I am OK with that, because the beauty of spring sights, sounds, and smells is so welcome.

Meanwhile I look and watch, through and beyond, as carefully as I can. Between the branches, above the ground cover, I look out long into the distance to notice the color of a roof, the lay of the land, or the water falling in streams “over there.” Very soon all this will be cloaked in greenery and hidden away. And I will go back to enjoying the near vision, the evidence of new life and growth around me.

Sometimes in mid-summer, I catch a glimpse between the tops of trees into a sun-ray-lit space that seems almost magical, the door into another world. Just an imaginative vision, I know. But fun to consider and smile about.

Also, in the world of today I am trying to look through and beyond the current health crisis, to a world out there that is past all this. Right now the virus is coloring almost everything. But my vision is of a better world, more caring, more purposeful, and more hopeful. Again, something to consider and smile about.

The words of this precious hymn again ring true:

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art…

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall;
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

mama and daddy SOLC20 #20

If my mother were still alive, she would be 99 years old today.  I think about her so much on this date every year, and these fond memories always make me smile (sometimes through tears). I always know what my SOLC writing will be about on March 20th. I have also written about my father at other times, but not as often.  So today I will remember them both!

Apparently yard pictures were common back in the day. Better lighting? This is beside my daddy’s parents’ house, where my parents lived in an upstairs apartment, so I am guessing this was around the time they married, on October 4, 1940.

My parents were married for 16 years before I was born, and they honestly thought they could never have children. Then, surprise!

They were very settled parents to me, but seemingly enjoyed lots of fun activities before I was born.  Here they are with friends at Club Plantation in Nashville in 1942.

I couldn’t have had better parents. They were always supportive and encouraging and they instilled strong values in me. I always, ALWAYS felt loved.

Even so, they fell in love with my husband before we even married, and said he was always welcome to come stay with them if he and I ever had any fusses, because they knew it would be my fault, and not his.

Seriously, I was so thankful that they welcomed him into our family with open arms. Here they are at our wedding in 1978:

Time passed as they both worked and were active in church and other groups. Here’s their “big glasses” church directory picture.

My mother’s hair was quite thin and she wore a wig for many many years.  At some point she talked my dad into getting some new hair of his own. Thankfully that phase was short lived.

This shows them volunteering at Baptist Hospital, helping in whatever ways they could:

They both passed away in 2003, six months apart, but in 2000 we were able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary:


Mama and Daddy, I hope you are celebrating together for Mama’s birthday in heaven today. I miss you both, and I look forward to us being reunited one day.

Somehow I believe you know and look out for our children’s spouses, even though you never met them.  And I’m sure you gave each of our grandchildren a sweet kiss in heaven to send them on their way before they came into our world.

Thank you for loving me – and all of us – so much and so well.

regardless SOLC20 #19

A few days ago we adjusted to Daylight Savings Time (an anticipated weekend in our household) so there would be more sunlight at the closing of each day.  We were beginning to see emerging buds and greening grass. Warmer breezes. Splashes of sun and dryer weather. We hosted a Bridal Brunch in celebration of an upcoming wedding, with lots of happy friends filling our home.

As always, I can hardly wait for Spring. But Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

I need to work on that.

And now – what a change.

Yes, the evenings still stay light longer, but in today’s world we would be postponing or cancelling the brunch, the bride has decided to postpone her wedding, and we are all keeping our distance. Plus day after day the rain and clouds linger. Even with warmer temperatures, it’s still gloomy out. So when we are staying home to stay well, we are inside and alone with our thoughts.

But… outside… those buds are still growing, blooms continue to appear, and the landscape is filling rapidly with green. This morning, briefly, there were hints of sun (even though it’s raining now). This persistence of spring’s arrival (it’s coming in late tonight, officially) is speaking to me and reminding me of the constancy of God’s love and care.

Even in (especially in) troubled times. Thankfully, nature is carrying on as usual.

There was so much bird song this morning, welcoming the new day that brought light and a bit of the sun’s rays into our world. Reminding me that in reality “This is My Father’s World,” no matter what is going on and what we are going through. Oh let me ne’er forget!

If we could interpret that bird song, we might hear this:

But as lilting and uplifting as bird song can be, this one has the wrong idea.

For you see we DO have a Heavenly Father caring for us, always! Hallelujah!

good riddance SOLC20 #18

We used the last bit of this soap today and I am happy to throw it away.

The scent was rich and full, and lingered for a bit after washing your hands.

The bottle was attractive with a nice design, as you can see.

It was a gift from our sweet daughter-in-law, and I remembered her thoughtfulness when I used it.

So why am I glad to get rid of it?  It is called Winter, and I am ready for all things winter to be gone.  And although there will be highs and lows, those cold days mixed with warm ones ahead, the transition to spring is in full swing!  And I am ready.

Perfect timing with using up the soap. Spring starts officially late tomorrow night. The earliest arrival of Spring since the 1800’s, due to leap year and other mysterious earth-turning factors. But I say, none too soon.

And to winter – wet, gloomy, and especially discouraging this year – I say, “good riddance!”

a few more common threads SOLC20 #21

The other day I posted about a historical fiction children’s book, That Book Woman.

As I was examining the book, I noticed that the author, Heather Henson, lives in Kentucky. Very appropriate, since that’s the setting of the book.

I also saw that the illustrator, David Small, is married to Sarah Stewart.

“I ‘know’ Sarah Stewart,” I thought.  Her books, The Gardener, The Journey, and The Library , are some of my favorites. Odd that her illustration style would be so similar to her husband’s.  But maybe they paint together.

Once again I went to my bookshelf and found (and reread) these books. And, of course, the illustrator on all three is David Small. Not a similar style, but the same artist.  I really should have figured that out right away.

Well, at least I remembered her name and recognized the line/watercolor drawings from book to book.

And I enjoyed all three books in these umpteenth re-readings, just as much as ever.

an Irish blessing SOLC20 #17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, one and all!  I’m sure I have at least a little Irish in me (don’t we all?), but no direct connections that I know of. Still, I have always enjoyed this fun celebration.

Leprechauns, rainbows, shamrocks, pots of gold. So much happiness – who can resist?

But this year is quite different. A somber outlook prevails right now. Yet good old St. Patrick has something for that, too.

The real St. Patrick was a “missionary” to Ireland, Years after he escaped the captivity of slavery there, he returned to bring the Good News to the Irish people. And the people listened and believed.

Irish blessings abound on this day:

Yes, may a pocket full of gold be the LEAST of your wealth.

Wishing you health and happiness in all things. Today and every day.

common threads SOLC20 #16

My book club read and discussed The Giver of Stars, by JoJo Moyes, this month. It is a wonderful romantic story that features the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Against all odds, they brought literacy and friendship to the hills and hollers of Appalachia. Learn more about this book here.

Next month we are reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson. We intentionally chose to read these two books on the same topic back-to-back, for comparison and contrast.  This next one also adds the drama of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky to the trials of the Pack Horse Librarians. You can see a trailer of this book here.

I’ve read them both, and enjoyed each one.  I do have a favorite, but I’ll let you decide your own choice for yourself.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and many book club friends agreed. It is so rewarding to read a good story and learn history at the same time.

Most members said they knew nothing of the Pack Horse Librarians.  I didn’t speak up and say, “Oh, I’d heard of them a while back,” because I honestly couldn’t remember how I knew.  Then one day I had this mental picture:

And sure enough, I found it on my shelf. You can watch the story here (with Amazon Prime).

Don’t you just love how picture books have so much to tell?

 

five words SOLC20 #15

Garden and Gun magazine has a weekly email that includes a “Burning Question” to which readers can respond. It’s one of my favorite parts of this regular correspondence.

Recently readers were asked to tell a southern story using just five words. Here are some of the “tales.”

You can read more here.

I found some of these hilarious, others touching. But if you are not familiar with the South, they might not even make sense.

So – what is MY Five Word Southern Story?  I like “Cicadas sang me to sleep,” but I’d change mine to “Crickets…” “Nobody knew but the dog,” leads to lots of remembrances.  And my son first commented on “After, we called him Stump,” (thankfully no memories there).

But MY story? That’s so hard. Only five words?

I get chills and a few tears whenever I hear Buddy Jewell’s “Sweet Southern Comfort” (which was a bit embarrassing when I heard him at a local high school’s fundraiser songwriter’s night). Some lines I could borrow from that include

Open arms (are) waiting for me

Surrounded by these priceless memories

Sweet southern comfort carry on

My story would include church, family, friendships, heat, soft breezes, fireflies, heart, kindness, friendly waves, lakes, cookin’,  covered dish dinners, hydrangeas, magnolias, barefoot, swimmin’ holes, picnics, football, music, flags, hugs, welcomes, accents (drawl), lots of love, and so very much more.

I’m deeply thankful for the South and all its goodness being a big part of the essence who I am.

I do know, “What is important matters here.”  As for my own five word story, I’ll keep working on it.