Posts in Homemade
The Last Days of Summer

“You didn’t bring tomatoes with you, did you?” my sister asks as I walk in the door. Four days out of town is too long to leave my vegetables and fruit waiting for our return so I usually arrive with my cooler in tow.

"Yes. I not only brought tomatoes from the house, but we also stopped at a farmer's market along the way and bought more." Since my uncle Robert died, the summer is spent in search of the delicious tomatoes that once were plentiful in his garden. Used to, on my arrival in Greenville, my mother would say, "We need to run up to Robert's and get some tomatoes and squash…I’ve been wantin’ squash lately.”

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A Letter to Pauline Lucinda 

There they are- those names typed out in black on the well-worn page; the margins tan from the oil of our fingers. The title reads “Record from the Elias Mitchell Family Bible”. Line one; ‘Married to Pauline Lucinda Wade in Chester County SC. January 4, 1870.’ Twelve children line up below in birth order. But below that, the death order makes us pause.

William Thomas, born October 29, 1870, dies on April 5th, 1874. James Cleveland, born July 5th, 1872 dies August 17th, 1873. Mary Irene, known to us as Aunt Mamie, makes it to adulthood to become like a grandmother to our mothers.  Uncle Lumpkin makes it safely through, as well as Nancy Vistula – who my sister Nancy is named after. But little Sallie Beauford, born in 1887 doesn’t make it to see her first birthday.

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My Sister's Rings

I have been missing my sister Ann the last couple of weeks. Ann died suddenly four years ago and none of us had the chance for that last conversation about goodbye. 

 My mother always had a very practical view of death since she had seen it up close and personal when she lost her first husband in her 20’s. And as Christians, we view this life as the one that is temporary… and the next one is the good one to look forward to. If you aren’t familiar with that view, I will give you a few of Jesus’s words about it below. Rumor has it that Jesus defeated death and my family has always leaned hard into that truth.

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Extravagant Abundance

A cup full and overflowing. Extravagant abundance. These are the words that fill my mind this early morning before the sun has risen. Turn out the porch light and pour a cup a coffee. The house is quiet for the first time in eleven days.

Counting. Numbers have bounced around in my brain all my waking hours these past days. How many nephews and their children can fit into which bedroom? How many to prepare a breakfast feast for? How many to reserve a table at the restaurant for? How many bowls to put out for soup?

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Come On In

The most important thing in our house is a little post-it note stuck to the inside of our front door. When people are coming over, that little post-it note is placed on the outside of the door so that anyone who approaches our home has no need to knock, but simply follow the directions handwritten there to “Come on in!” It is an open welcome, hopefully making all our guests feel like part of the family when they walk through the door.

This is a reminder I need right now; that this house my husband and I have built is not ours alone – it is a home that God has created through us – with the purpose of welcoming others. It is not our house; it is God’s home.

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This is a Yes Moment

I am more than what I do. I struggle with this thought here at 2:35 in the morning. I hold Come Matter Here in my hands, my cup of maple ginger tea beside me. I try to concentrate and let Hannah Brencher’s words sink in; 

“At some point, you decide to get over your fear. You say it’s time to not be afraid of whatever decisions you have to make or direction you need to take. 

I look around the room as I work on managing the fear that has me awake at this ungodly hour.

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Seven Months and Crawling

This is the way we grow, I think, as I watch his sturdy little calves push him across the blanket and propel him around the room. It is the room where I watched my son take his first steps, delighting his dad and me, that evening after day-care and work.

Now my grandson explores the peach quilt with bunnies in a basket and three white kittens in a teacup that was his mother’s.

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Radiant Diamonds Bursting Inside Us

“My parents lived a charmed life,” she says as we dismantle it. We sit in her childhood bedroom, drawers open revealing stacks of unsent Christmas cards, paper-clipped newspaper articles with hand-written notes in the margin, photo albums of last century college days. Her twenty-year-old father looks up at us in black and white with a lazy smile - stopped in the middle of work at a drawing board.

“You should keep this one,” I say as I pull that photograph away from its place with the others. It is raining outside.

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Sour Milk and Baby Breath

I have baby spit-up on my black Ralph Lauren pajamas. The smell of freshly soured breast milk floats up to greet me. The baby rustles in the pee-damp sheets of the pack and play. He won’t be slipping back to sleep for just one more hour as we had planned.

My daughter rushes out the door, almost late for work, berating herself for making ‘the worst decisions’ in the middle of the night when the baby awoke, and she decided his impromptu 4 AM feeding could substitute for the 6.

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