Ree’s Dinners

It’s not a single meal that stands out as the most memorable of my life. Variations of this same scene happened throughout my childhood. Sometimes I wonder if anything will ever taste as good as dinner on summer afternoons at my grandparents’ house.

Ree calls lunch dinner. Many southerners do. Breakfast is the first meal of the day, dinner is the second meal of the day, and supper is what most people call dinner. Ree’s country dinners are the absolute best.

We did our part by drumming up a big appetite as we played our hearts out all day. Swimming and splashing around in the river or just running through the yard, those were fun days. We were still slightly dripping river water and a little sticky from sunscreen when we made out way to the porch with beach towels wrapped around our shoulders. After drying off and putting shorts and shirts over our swimsuits, we were ready to wash our hands and eat.

Swimming and playing always makes you hungry. Ree had an appropriate feast prepared. We made our way to the kitchen, arguing over whose turn it was to sit on the stool, and joined Papa, Uncle Nickie, and whoever else happened to be there that day at the table.

The food! Fried tenderloins or pork chops. Creamed potatoes. Fried okra or fried squash. Macaroni and cheese (always). Black eyed peas shelled by us out on the porch. Butter beans or pinto beans. Green beans. Corn fresh from the cob. A sliced fresh cucumber, tomato, and onion on the side. Cornbread. Perfection. Each bite was full of delicious, local, fresh flavor.

As an adult, I know all the effort it takes to make a meal like that and then to clean up after it. Ree only sits down after everyone else had fixed their plate.
She has worked hard for years and serves her family graciously and with love. Knowing all the time and love she puts in to those meals makes them taste even better in my mind. Back then, we just scooted back from the table when we were done. We put our plates by the sink, told her a quick thanks, and skipped back outside to another childhood adventure.

Childhood would pass quickly enough. Every day I’m more grateful for how I grew up. Sunshine, fresh air, a little river water, and Ree’s cooking made me bloom.

I’m posting this in response to the Rocket City Bloggers Year Long Blogging Challenge topic about our most memorable meal.

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10 Things I Live For

1. Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

2. Marriage

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There is absolutely no one I would rather walk through this life with. M is the love of my life, my best friend, and my spiritual leader. He’s just a generally good guy, and I love him beyond muches.

3. My family

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God has blessed me with the best people to call my family. They are my favorites!

4. Bailey and Charlie

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These two are our kids right now. We spoil them greatly and love them so much. They love us right back!

5. Porch swinging and sitting

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Pretty close to perfect.

6. Stories, Writing, and Words

Telling stories, writing stories, and learning the stories of others.

7. Quilts

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There is just something about a quilt.

8. Encouraging others

Because so many people have encouraged me, I want to make other people smile, too.

9. Pens, paper, planners, and things that are pretty

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10. Making our house a home

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I am posting this as part of the 52 Weeks of Blogging With a Purpose on From Mrs. to Mama.

Daddy

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My Daddy is one of the best people I know. He loves God and serves him with all his heart. He loves my Mama and taught me how a husband should treat his wife. He loves his daughters fiercely and he loves his new sons-in-law, too. He’s so special to me, and I am blessed to get to call him my Daddy. I can always count on him to cheer me up, make me laugh, and even make me laugh at myself. He’s a wonderful example and a wonderful man.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you muches!

Enjoying Every Moment

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Within 11 months, I got engaged, graduated from college, started my first real world/big girl job, built a house, planned a wedding, and became a wife. Almost every major life change happened in less than a year. Those 11 months were CRAZY and INTENSE but also so much fun. I’ll always look back on that exciting time of my life with fondness.

When you’re growing up, there are all these big things to look forward to. This is the time of year for graduations and weddings. Every time I see a Facebook status from a happy grad or an Instagram shot of white dresses, flowers, and smiles, I can’t help but remember those 11 months of anticipation and change.

It’s so easy to focus on “what’s next” and concentrate on getting to the next phase in life. Y’all know how much of a planner I am. Trusting in His timing is something I have to work on every day. Sometimes focusing on what’s next leaves me frustrated, and I’m ashamed to admit I forget to celebrate right now.

Lately, I’ve made an effort to sit back and appreciate where we are. Our life is so good and so full of blessings. When I stop to truly soak everything in, I realize that there is joy in every moment.

It’s little tests and trials that make our marriage stronger. It’s him reaching over to hold my hand during prayers at worship service. It’s two sweet doxies wagging their tail when I get home from work. It’s a cup of coffee on the back porch in the mornings. It’s a last minute decision to go to Nashville for the weekend and having good friends to come with us. It’s popcorn for supper and shows to watch on Netflix. It’s fishing poles and a blooming flower bed to water. It’s laughter and love.

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(From this weekend’s Nashville trip.)

It’s not a big life change, but it’s so, so good. I’m enjoying every moment

Memorial Day Weekend

Not to be too sappy, but this afternoon I realized that I missed M. There’s something about the first day back at work after a long weekend. Life gets busy and days off give me a renewed appreciation of my blessings. Of course I always enjoy spending time with my husband, but we had a particularly good holiday weekend!

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Friday night, we attended a benefit dinner for the Little Light of Mine Foundation. The foundation was set up in memory of M’s boss who was a phenomenal man who did so much for so many people. A lot of our friends were there, and I love all the generous, selfless people in our life. It was a great dinner!

On Saturday I roped M into helping me finish the back porch makeover I’ve been envisioning since we built the house 3 years ago. I know M would have much rather gone to see a movie like we were thinking about doing, but he was a good sport for the most part. I’m glad it’s finally finished! I’ll share photos in another post!

On Monday we went to the river for Memorial Day with my family.

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It was a gorgeous day with great weather, not too hot or cold.

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Delicious food was eaten.

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Snakes were found (shiver).

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Water balloons were launched.

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Fish were caught.

It really was a good weekend! The day off was just what I needed. In the back of my mind was the reason for the holiday. We are so thankful for those who gave everything so we can have freedom!

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

The Best Day

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I chose the song “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift for the seating of the mothers and grandmothers at our wedding. I cry literally every time I hear this one. It brings back so many memories of my childhood, and one lady that stands out in my mind through it all.

Mama has become one of my best friends. She has guided me, taught me, and loved me. Through her relationship with my Daddy, she’s taught me how to be a wife. Through her relationship with Christ, she’s taught me how to be a daughter to our Heavenly Father. Thank you for everything, Mama! I love you Muches and I had the best day with you today.

The Best Day – Taylor Swift

I’m five years old, it’s getting cold, I’ve got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home

I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you’re not scared of anything at all
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I’m thirteen now and don’t know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop ’til I’ve forgotten all their names

I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school
But I know I’m laughing on the car ride home with you
Don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you

There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you’re talking to me
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy’s smart and you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m takin’ this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today

Mothers and Daughters

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These ladies are two of my best friends. There’s something so special about having a sister you love to be around and a mother you want to be like. On Sunday, I got to go to a mothers and daughters tea with ladies at the congregation I grew up attending. I’m glad Mama called and asked if I wanted to come. Fancy hats, punch, Mama’s chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, photos, and fun with these women who are two of my biggest blessings. It was a wonderful tea party!

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Easter 2013

We had a great Easter! It was a chance to spend time with my beloved family and look forward to the coming Spring. The weather wasn’t the best, but at least it wasn’t as cold as it has been. We went to our church, to the river for lunch with my family, and then to church and to eat with my parents. I shared some of these photos on Instagram already, but I still wanted to record the day here. Here’s Easter 2013 in photos:

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Christmas 2012

Christmas seems to always come and go so quickly nowadays. As a child it seemed like the day would never come, and even after it was over, you still had a couple weeks off of school to enjoy. I’m back to the real world now, but at least I have some fond memories of Christmas 2012 to think back on.

We had a very blessed and wonderful holiday!

Friday night we celebrated with my dad’s side of the family. Laura hosted us in their beautiful new house! We all brought snacks and finger foods instead of a traditional meal, and I loved it. It was wonderful to see and spend time with everyone. We played a game of Quelf, too, which is so funny. This is Laura, my cousin Rachel, Laura’s dog Betty Jo, and myself. Love them!

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Saturday I did some decluttering and rearranging of our kitchen cabinets. I also baked a lot. That night M and I watched White Christmas – my favorite Christmas movie ever!

Every year my mom’s side of the family spends Christmas Eve at Papa, Ree, and Nickie’s house at the river. I love my large and sometimes chaotic family!

We had a ton of food. This was just the dessert and snack table.

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After we left there on Christmas Eve night we went back to mom and day’s for Christmas with my immediate family. This book was Daddy’s when he was a little boy. He reads it every Christmas Eve to me and Laura. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition!

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Mom, Laura, and I wore matching pj pants!

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Christmas Eve with my family is always so special.

On Christmas Day we normally go up to visit M’s grandparents. Sadly, they weren’t feeling well this year so we didn’t get to go. I know M was so disappointed. We missed being with them. Instead we had a low key day. We exchanged gifts with each other. M got me my dream cookware set!

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It’s so pretty! I’m just so scared I won’t be able to do it justice. I have to brag on M for picking this out for me by himself. He told me about it before Christmas, but before he told me I had no idea!

We went to Waffle House for lunch. It was strange, but anywhere I’m with M makes for a good holiday lunch in my book! We went back to the river after eating and hung out there the rest of the day. We played Dominoes, snacked on leftovers, and enjoyed being with family.

M even got some Polly Pocket time in with Aubree. Ha!

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It was such a good Christmas! I’m blessed with the best family a girl could ask for. How was your Christmas?

Jax Trip – Part 1

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Michael’s parents and sister moved to Jacksonville, Florida about 6 years ago. His oldest brother has lived there since college. I know M misses getting to see them more often. They come up this way a couple times a year for holidays, but we hadn’t been down to visit them in way too long. It was time to take a trip!

We left the day after Thanksgiving and met up with his parents on Saturday. My father-in-law had our trip all planned out with fun things for us to do and see! It was obvious he put a lot of thought and care into making sure we had the best vacation. They were so sweet and spoiled us so much while we were there!

There are lots of memories and photos I want to share from our trip soon. From paper stores to craft fairs to beaches and buildings and boat rides… too much for one post! It was just an all-around wonderful trip. Stay tuned…