Monday, June 28, 2010

Back Home Again

There are a lot of reasons I love where I grew up. While leaving Birmingham was/is a heartache, there are joys I find here that are different. I love our Birmingham "mountains," and restaurants, and shopping, and friends...But there is something about the atmosphere three hours south that feels like home. I love to see a horse trailer being pulled by a muddy truck, the familiar streets I've watched whizz past me as long as I can remember, the people who know more about my past than I do that I bump into in the grocery store. And while the absence of really good restaurants is grievous :), a weekend like the one I just spent makes the loss seem petty:

My baby sister, Kendall, has been dating Watson for seven years

Watson's family has a sure exactly what you call it...and it spreads across a whole lot of acres just south of town.

As you wind back through the fields of Southern Cattle Company there is a lot of beauty to take in




BUT, in the last pasture there is a hidden treasure. It's one of the few places I've been to that stirs an awe within me that I can only describe as--magical.


I guess it's the shock of the unexpected. The cypress trees that you expect to be growing out of murky water, are towering over a pristine blue oasis.


And if you look closely you can see that there are caves--stretching almost a mile deep in that cold water. It's eery and beautiful, and when encountered alone, could inspire a man to write poetry he didn't even know he could write.


When encountered with family,


It can inspire a whole lot of fun :)









After all that fun, everybody had quite an appetite. So, we moved the party back into the pasture for a picnic and some football.






As we drove home I said, "Do you feel like we just experienced the kind of joy God created us for?" Family, food, and glorious creation...
and rest :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I just re-read my last blog and laughed at my naive enthusiasm. I thought we were going to be completely moved out by Sunday....I underestimated the clutter. Jeremiah and the girls carried not one but TWO U-haul loads and three cars full of stuff down to Dothan Saturday, but I remained and de-cluttered, cleaned and loaded ANOTHER U-haul size trailer full of crap yesterday. I have, as always, had lots of help. Caroline and Ashley helped me tirelessly and did a lot of jobs that nobody would ever want to do (especially Jeremiah and me who actually made the mess :)). Does it take anybody else a solid month to move out of their house? It was grueling, but by 2:30 yesterday afternoon, we were officially O.U.T. Somebody strike up the band and give me a top hat and baton. I'm ready to dance down main street!

As I was putting putty in picture holes and wiping 6-inch dust off the walls where my furniture had been, I thought a lot about moving and the emotional roller-coaster it has been so far. It seems like the hardest things I've faced in life, God has made me take take in long, drawn-out doses. Having a baby--there were the nine months of discomfort and pain of labor. Losing Mom--there was the drawn out sickness and agony. And now, moving away from the home and life we love--there's been a month filled with laborious tasks and aggravating problems. While the pain is not fun to endure, it makes the actual moment possible to bear. It's like He brings me to a place where I have no desire but to surrender my will for His. Not that there haven't still been tears and sadness in the big moments, but the sadness has always been tempered by the knowledge that I serve a God who is going to carry me forward. I'm not trying to be dramatic. I know we're moving on to wonderful things, and moving is nothing to be compared with losing a parent...but a lot of the feelings have been similar.

As left, I walked around and took a picture of each room. I've developed the annoying habit of writing blogs in my head. This was one time when the blog post screamed at me and made me cry.

I feel like your walls have absorbed our beginning:

Our first memories of books read aloud by a fire...

My fledgling attempts at writing books...and meeting all of you out there

Our first sweetly over-ambitious dinner parties with friends who are now permanent fixtures in our lives

All those breakfasts we shared "Side by side in the morning light/As we looked out at the future together." And where we met God over a morning cup of coffee.

Where we tucked our babies in to sleep

And watched them learn to play pretend.

You watched me learn to bake our bread (literally :))

Learn to sing harmony together

And enjoy each other in our hidden tree-house.

And now, we say good-bye...
Because we're O.U.T.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Head 'Em Up

And Move 'Em Out! My Dad used to yell that every Sunday morning when he was attempting to herd five women out the door to Sunday School. I don't know where it's from, but it distinctly sounds like a cattle call to me. And that's what we're doing here too. Head 'em up, and move 'em out!

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I am feeling much less sad. I've only cried once this week--so far. It was when Jeremiah told me he had yet another night-time committment this week, and I realized that our last family meal in our house had passed without me knowing it. Probably a good thing I didn't know it was happening--I would have just squelched the moment by crying like I have with so many other supposed-to-be-happy moments over the last month.

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Jeremiah graduates from Orthopedic residency this Saturday night. Oh my! I truly did not think we'd ever reach this day. Then, on Sunday we'll take our last few things, do a bit more cleaning, and be officially O.U.T.

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I'm spending an extra couple of nights at Ashley's house so that I can go to one more book club on Monday night. I just can't quite let it go, can I? We'll be in Dothan for 3 weeks while Jeremiah studies for his boards and we soak up some time with family. I'm feeling like our family and friends will all be well-saturated with our good-byes by the time we actually start the train moving west. We are planning to do that actual cleaving on July 12th.

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Just thought I'd let yall know what's going on. Still borrowing a computer. I think I'm going to walk into the Computer Doctor today and demand my computer be given back. I may be willing to use brute force. Don't mess with an emotional woman's computer :)

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Thanks for the flowers Katy! This was truly a life altering blog. What am I even rambling about? I'm not coming back until I have something to actually say :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Still Kickin'

Weeelllll, we (as in Jeremiah, Pace, Mary Aplin, and me) are still alive and kickin' around here. Unfortunately, our computer is not. It's been doing some unexplainable things over the past couple of months...enough that I started the tedious task of trying to upload all my pictures to a website so that I could get some hard copies before I lost them all.... The computer died before I finished. This isn't our first rodeo with a dying computer, and I had some confidence that even if it died, my pictures and documents could still be salvaged. Wrong. The prognosis is bad. It looks like a hard drive problem--and the nice (although heavily accented and difficult to understand) man at the Computer Doctor over here in Crestwood, seemed to think that was the worst kind of sickness out there for an unsuspecting computer. I know you're all rolling your eyes about why I don't have things like "external hard drives" or "back-up disks" or "a little less laziness that maybe got pictures developed every once in a while," but I had none of that. Don't chide me now. I've consoled myself that if worst comes to absolute worst, Mary Aplin will have the pictures from the blog to show her that she was once a baby :)

It has also been a whirlwind around here. I'm not sure I would have blogged much even if the computer hadn't crashed. I have continued writing a lot of blogs in my head though. Hopefully, I'll get to share them over the next few weeks.

We moved out of our house, for the most part, last weekend. There are some people that I will never be able to thank enough. One of them is my sister Caroline, who came and packed china, and bathed babies so that I could pack china, for days in advance. She took the behind-the-scenes-but-absolutely-necessary job of taking my children and entertaining them on the day of the actual move-out. Since that was the only time I snapped pictures, she got left out. Here is everybody else--from left to right:

Dr. Maddox (Jeremiah's Dad), Grandma (my Mom's Mom), Aunt Alice (my Mom's sister), Ashley (Jeremiah's sister...and if you've been here longer than a week, you know she is so much more), me, Tommy (one of Jeremiah's life-long best friends), and Justin (one of Jeremiah's other life-long best friends, who most of you probably know from here).712
You might notice that my husband is not in this shot. That's because he didn't get away from work until the moment pictured--just AFTER!!!! this ginormous U-Haul was fully loaded,
with ALL the CRAP we've managed to accumulate over the last seven years...It was horrifying how much there was, and it made me feel a little...disgusting. What could we possibly need with all that?
708 And what do you say about family willing to devote, not just hours, but days to helping me organize, wrap, throw away, and pack all that mess?

And what do you say about these (adorable, sweet, hilarious :)) friends who used every last ounce of their strength and energy, abandoned jobs that really needed them,
711 And families that really missed them--in order to move their friend out of his house--without him.717
I felt guilty all day long, trying to just accept all that love they were offering to us. Thank y'all--Caroline, Aunt Alice, Grandma, Ashley, Dr. Maddox, Tommy, and Justin. I am AMAZED by how much we got done, how hard you worked, how much weight you lifted while your bodies were contorted at odd angles in the back of the U-Haul truck, and how sweet y'all were during all the tedium.

And now, this is us:
725 Eating peanut butter and (Honey Bee Farms--thanks Sticklers!) honey sandwiches at the one small table we kept. Not a picture on the wall, one lil' couch, and a couple of beds.

We've been trying to stay out of the (depressing) house as much as possible. And since we're already at 95 degrees down here, that has meant a lot of time at the pool...That sounds lovely, doesn't it? Would it still sound lovely if I told you that Mary Aplin has developed a symbiotic relationship between water and poop? No matter how long I try to get her to go to the potty before she gets in the water. No matter how many times I ask her if she needs to go poo-poo once she gets in the pool. NO MATTER WHAT!!! the child poops in her swim diaper EVERY TIME...usually twice. I know any mother who has ever changed water-logged poop out of a NON-disposable swim diaper (that slides and sloshes down their legs) that our pool requires children to wear, can feel my pain. I'm thinking about carrying a big metal wash tub with me to the pool and making Mary Aplin sit in that (naked) until IT happens, and then putting on her swimsuit and allowing her in the real pool...You think I'm kidding.

We've also been trying to figure out how to say goodbye to our friends we love.

And trying not to have a bona fide nervous break-down as they say goodbye to us...
I've decided that I am not going to even speak to anyone in Seattle. My heart will not survive any more goodbyes. I figure, if I don't make friends, then I won't have to say goodbye to them either.
732 Don't I sound like a merry 'ol soul :)