Category Archives: Bffs Mama style

Me Too. Me Too.

Don’t you dare think that because you were hurt in the quiet you should ever stay quiet.

Don’t you dare think you’re alone.

Don’t you dare think that it’s your fault.

Don’t you dare.



And I won’t even pretend to know what it’s like to be a super star, but I do know what it’s like to be hurt by someone you thought you could trust and I know what it’s like to feel like you can’t tell anyone.

You feel like don’t you dare, and there rings that word you hate.


Your see your strong self splayed out, and the shame and the embarrassment and the self-doubt and the anger all splay out right next to the raw and naked redness that rises on your face and penetrates straight through your soul.

And you won’t ever look a man straight in the eye again all your days.

You’ll carry your hurt and you’ll carry your scars and when the scab heals…years, many years later…you’ll be strong in places where you once were weak, but there will always be a tender spot you hide from the world, and that spot on your heart and that bruise on your soul won’t ever be what it was before the hurting time.

Me too.

Days and years of good love from a good and tender man will soften your spirit and soften the sting and then Oh! When the one with the stripes on His back one day shows you His scars, you’ll fall at His feet, tremble with fear, and you’ll tell Him the whole truth and you’ll give up your scars in the hopes He’ll just soothe them with His, but then He’ll say Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering, and your ashes will slowly…sweetly…become beauty, and He’ll work it all for a purpose like He did so long ago with that first prisoner, way back when He showed us how He works His good straight on through all the bad.


And then one day the scars will be as tough as you think they’re going to be and you’ll stand straight and you’ll stop feeling like a victim.

Because you’ve been given VICTORY.


Me too.

So don’t you dare feel shamed to say it, – even if it’s just a whisper- don’t be afraid to say Me Too, because I need to hear it and your neighbor might need to hear it, and who cares if it’s trendy if it’s true?

At the end of the day we can clasp hands and comfort one another as we glance back briefly on the long path of evil that brought us to this victory.

It takes time.

But we’ll be reminded that we didn’t walk alone and we’ll strengthen one another for the battle to make it better for our daughters. For our sons.

We’ll be reminded that we were never really alone.

You don’t have to be quiet.

Tell your girls.

Tell our boys.

Raise strong daughters who are tender and raise tender sons who are strong,

and let us raise them all to do what is right, and to say what is right.



We can make it better.

For them. For us.

We can give Him our tears…our pain…our hurts.

You can be healed.

And me too.


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.    ~Isaiah 61: 1-3


And nothing formed against me shall stand. You hold the whole world in your hands. I’m holding on to your promises…You are faithful. You are faithful.

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.

The one who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine, the God of angel armies is always by my side.


The Chaff

We stayed home from church today because I wasn’t feeling all that great, so I took the down time to keep ruthlessly purging our old boxes and baskets and all the THINGS that come from over twenty years of marriage, a cross country move, four kids, and a homeschool.

I’m not sure what I loved more, the fact that I can send my man child out to the fire pit to burn all the unnecessaries, freeing me from the burden of storing all that paper; finding the photos Matt sent me when he first settled in this new land to scout it out and find a job before sending for me (the only photos I’d ever seen like that before were in magazines and now my husband was in them! – a marvel to my 24-year old flatlander self); or the poem I had printed off and tucked away in my special “Mama” file, one a girlfriend emailed me years ago. I can’t even remember the occasion, but it spoke to my heart today in a way that I didn’t even know my heart needed spoken to, and was an answer to a prayer I hadn’t even yet been able to utter aloud.

I share with you in the hopes that you’ll love it too. That you have this kind of a friend. And that if you don’t yet have one, that this will help you to be one.


But Oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject;
with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.

Oh, the comfort -the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person- having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together;

certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness,

blow the rest away.

-Author Unknown


In a season that catches by surprise, I’ve come to anticipate the unexpected.

Four kids fill this house and this calendar and these rooms…

and the minds and the lives and the hearts of their parents.


Critters live and critters die, and sometimes it comes by way of sudden chirping from the woods when a nest of nine stumbles and weaves behind mama turkey, and sometimes it comes by way of the quiet death of a loud guinea or the noble fight and fall of a beloved pony.

“Moment by moment” round here is never an exaggeration.



But what’s never expected is the cold stare from one who was once a warm friend.

What catches by surprise and catches in the throat are the words stuck that stream through quiet moments and that are outlined with bold strokes of anger and frustration but mostly just scream Why?? When?? I thought we were friends??

And a rejection like that can make a mama pull in and pull close and focus on just the ones around her, the ones she knows for sure love her.

Making friends never gets easier does it?

And down deep, isn’t there always that little girl who lives inside of us? That first grader in a room full of new classmates who’s standing there awkward when she realizes she’s tied the back of her dress up into her waistband while she shifts from foot to foot at the front of the classroom with her underwear and tights all exposed to the world?

Don’t the bruises get blacker when a soul gets older?


And when the demands are so great a big gal feels small and sometimes has a hard time breathing let alone doing anything extra, a mama can only just bear down and push through the cramp and know she’s doing what she was meant to do in this moment: deliver these babies out into the world.

She’ll keep pushing and she’ll keep grunting and she’ll try not to swear even though she might yell out during the especially hard parts.

She didn’t know it’d be like this over a dozen years after they were born.


And sometimes just the day to day can be enough to make us keep things shy and reserved and holding the heart close to the chest and the real feelings tight in the pocket.

Enough of the keeping it tight can make us keep it closed and before we know it, we’ve holed ourselves up while we tell ourselves we’re just in a quiet season of bearing down.

And then the real unexpected…

The exceptional unexpected.

The beautiful unexpected.

The unexpected gift of the unexpected time of an unexpected dinner with a couple from church, two souls just ahead on the sidewalk, and all the unexpected tears and laughter that come from that kind of unexpected encounter.

How the path we’re walking is so very familiar to them.

How the struggles we wrestle are ones they’ve conquered.

How the unexpected keeps on into the empty nest years.

How the unexpected keeps on…

My heart carries the day this month that we drove to the place where we sailed to the spot…

that gate where three seas meet, -just past the sanctuary for mariners- and the wind blew fierce and the waves pounded hard and how could I not feel God hold me there in that spot where warm tears of praise slipped down cold cheeks of wonder?


The whales of September came by surprise and Native founders sailed those waters on kayaks and I sailed them with my children who stood bravely against the gusts and they braced themselves to the threat and they laughed into the wind because they are young and they trust their father and their mother, but they especially trust the One who made the skies.




The joy we’ve had this month can be lost in the hard of this month and the hard of lost friendship and the hard of this life…

but when I focus on the good…when I fix my eyes on the pure…the hard isn’t so hard and the good is pure joy.

The unexpected moments from the unexpected trip that grew my babies and grew my mama and that grew me.

The unexpected victories that taught us that sometimes a person will win when they practice hard but that sometimes even hard practice won’t win, and that that’s okay too.

The unexpected setbacks that taught us that sometimes a plan needs a bit more time and a bit more stitching before it becomes a whole quilt.

The unexpected friends that came with what could’ve been a tight and tough competition but instead turned into a tight and tender time.


All the unexpected.


How the unexpected keeps on…

And then, just as a mama might start to come out of her September shell and decide rejection won’t keep her because she’s already accepted by the One who made her and Who holds her…

a routine night at church brings the unexpected, a gift, a sweet out-of-the-blue message and warm watery eyes from a new friend who is trailing just behind on the parenting sidewalk, and she might think it a small gift…

but it is bigger than that.

It makes me think of you she tells me.

And I tear up some because I don’t know her that well yet but still she thought of me, and by thinking of me she didn’t reject me, and by not rejecting me she reminds me that even when the world is cold and some people are cold, we really are each other’s keeper and we needn’t be cold back because if we are…if we close ourselves off and make ourselves cold…

we won’t ever make this planet warmer.

How the unexpected keeps on…

So I squeeze her once because her gift is so precious.

I stare at it for a second and see how perfect it is and how sweet the words are, and she smiles and I smile and then I squeeze her again because I’m so touched at her gift and how it is straight from her heart.

And so very unexpected.


I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
~Big Daddy Weave

Hug a Teacher Today

When I was my Ella’s age, my mother began her trek as a single mom. She worked hard, my grandparents worked hard, we all worked hard…and with the money from our family’s town-wide paper route, and the efforts from all of what extra time she had, she studied herself as far as she could go through community college classes.

When I was my Gracie’s age, my mom made the hard decision to uproot her little family to a town two hours away from our home where I started a new high school, my brother started Junior High, and she started life as a college student with two kids. Over the next four years, we lived in cinderblock campus housing and she studied and she studied.

When I was my Colton’s age, my grandparents and my brother and I all put on our Sunday best and we went to the big stadium where we watched my mama walk across the stage in her graduation gown and her yellow honors neck cord and we clapped and we clapped and we spray painted her name on the big rock we’d driven by every day while reading hundreds of names painted on it for the past four years.

Since she was a little girl, all she ever wanted to be was a teacher.

And today, twenty-six years since she was officially certified as a teacher, my mama and her best friend, a fellow teacher, walked out of the classroom for the last time.

She has taught me to be resourceful.

She has taught me to be independent and strong.

She has taught me to work diligently when something needs to be done for the betterment of others.

She has seen so much change in the public school system and the past five years have been hard on her. When a teacher isn’t allowed to teach, there is something in their spirit that is stifled. When a teacher is only allowed to teach-to-the-test…when their every minute is regimented…when the bureaucracy goes against their natural teaching instinct, it is a burdensome load to carry.

But her greatest joy every single year has been to teach a room full of missing-their-front-teeth children to pick up a book and READ it.

For a child to delight in books is one of her greatest delights in all the world.

And from the best I can gather, twenty-six years of an average class of twenty-five students means that she has had a direct impact on 650 lives. When you add in me…my brother…our spouses…our kids…our friends…their kids…

her influence adds up to many, many more.

Teachers touch lives.

My mama was a good one.

And while she’s done in the classroom, there is no doubt in my mind she will continue to teach for all her days.

 Hug a teacher today. They devote their life to the lives of others.


So thankful for you mama.


Your hard work has changed the world.



Her children rise up and call her blessed….Proverbs 31:28

I Hear a Voice

There it was.

Straight from the pulpit, the hint of a word…the shadow of shame that comes with a history of being promiscuous. The sting of the suggestion that if you were…you are a less than.

A not-worthy.

And my spine stiffened right there in my seat.

Because like the woman set before Him on the temple grounds[i]…like the woman who spilled her tears on His feet and then wiped them with her hair[ii]…like the prostitute who stood up for His people and wrote herself into His story because she understood His power and decided to choose Him instead of the world[iii]…I wasn’t defined by the shame anymore.

But what if I was? What if I sat there, still working it out…still coming to it…still just starting to understand? What if I didn’t quite grasp the grace yet? What if I didn’t know? What if, even though I may have been taught, there was still a broken inside that hadn’t yet healed?


What if all the men in my past echoed the shadow of that dead word I heard hinted, so that even today it was hard to make eye contact with my new brothers based on the fear that they might bring that word back to life if they were to show me coldness with their eyes?

What if I didn’t have a strong man who loves with faithful steadiness and muscles that protect and patience that perseveres and a servant’s heart that has worked hard over decades to dust corners where dirt sometimes likes to hide and while he dusts he reminds me of what the Creator says…that I am fearfully and wonderfully made…and all his dusting makes me radiant?

What if I wasn’t as strong as some think and don’t we all carry a little bit of fragile deep down and I thought we all knew that words really can bite even when we’re tough cookies.

And what if I had not even noticed that day the subtle hint of scorn over bad choices and confused self-identity and forgotten lessons?

Would she? The pretty one there in the back row who came here looking for a lifeline to help pull her out of the quicksand life she’s stuck in…

Or how about that one over there? The tired middle-aged woman whose husband isn’t as strong as she’d hope him to be, and he only comes to church on big days because he hasn’t realized how lonely she is or how lost she feels or how saved he could be and how powerful that would make him…

Or what about that grandmother? That beautiful wrinkled woman who mourns the lifestyle her precious granddaughter has fallen into, refusing to see the truth she’s been taught no matter how many prayers her grandma offers up…

But I did notice it, and with my back straight and my hope steely, I could only wish they hadn’t. Because how could I look into each of their beautiful eyes and hold each of their hard working hands and tell them that if you were…if you are…if that was you…if that is still you… or someone you love…you are still worthy. That they are still worthy.

That we are still loved.

How could I tell them about the beautiful mama who was once so entrenched in the lifestyle of the streets that she lived for a time within literal prison walls and that she once found herself near buried? How could I express to them her tenacity in not listening to the voices of this world that would keep her down and prevent her from living full and growing strong and reaching still? How could I explain that she listened instead to the voice of her Maker and that because she did, she heard clear the voice of her Savior and eventually found her stumbling grace-filled way to Him?


How could I tell them that sometimes people speak without understanding the weight of their words and that though even those words may sting and make the voices seem demeaning, the ONE voice we need to hear doesn’t bring degrading or condemnation but tender, restorative conviction?

And always hope.

How could I tell them to find that voice, not the voice that battles daily – our own voice or the voice of the enemy of our soul.

How could I tell them that the voice in my head that resolves and restores is the voice of the One who made me…the voice of the One who spoke the stars into the sky…the voice of the One who reminds me that He, the LORD my God, is with me. That He is mighty to save. That He takes great delight in me and quiets me with his love. And He uses His voice to rejoice over me with singing.[iv]

And that voice tells us that when we hear words that hurt or remind us of the shame, we can remember…we are His.

When we belong to Him, we’re like the woman who’d been crippled for eighteen years. She was bent and couldn’t straighten herself up. But Jesus saw her and called her forward and set her free from her infirmity. And He put his hands on her and she straightened up and praised God.[v]

His is the voice that we need to hear.

And then, no matter what confused messages we may hear, no matter how many times grace isn’t spoken, we’ll know.

We’ll be able to stand straight and remember radiant just like King David did. We’ll remember what we could almost forget if it wasn’t written on the pulpit of our heart and the palms of His hands.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.[vi]

And if our sisters forget, we’ll remind them too. We’ll remind them that the deep-down fragile is held strong with nail-scarred hands.

We can remind them to be like our ancient sister who understood that even though this world was full of name calling and battles and wars and crippling spirits, we can still choose the right way.

That we can see His might and His strength and the love He has for His people and that we can face our fears and trust the power of the one true God and that when we do, He’ll write our beautiful story and reward us for our faith that follows Him.

We can remind them that when we touch Him, we’ll no longer be bent over. That no matter what we hear…or what we tell ourselves…or what the world tells us…or what well-intentioned friends and family tell us…

…what matters is what HE tells us.

That’s who we are.

We can remind them that all the names from all the men don’t matter because HE has a name for us and that name is Redeemed, and My Child, Forgiven and then…one day when we stand before Him, He’ll give to us a brand-new name, a name that no one else knows[vii], a name that He’s had for us since the second He thought us into His story.

We can remind them that the words that matter are The Word and when we remember that, we’ll remember that we’re healed and that we’re whole and that He made us then and He makes us now and that He makes us new.

When we remind them to remember that, it’ll help us remember it too.

And when we remember, we’ll stand.

We’ll stand tall and we’ll praise Him.

[i] John 8:1-11

[ii] Luke 7:38

[iii] Joshua 2

[iv] Zephaniah 3:17

[v] Luke 13:11-13

[vi] 2 Samuel 22:17

[vii] Revelation 2:17

Fountains and Drains and Project Renovation

So today was day two of Project Room Renovation, which meant it was Ceiling Day. I lined my little work crew of four out on their various chores and set myself to the task of making our ceiling pretty.

As I cut in the edge of the ceiling with my perfect Apple Core white and my fancy new angled brush, out of nowhere it hit me. Like it was right there in my ear, I heard the criticism she gave of my last painting job, years ago telling me what a mess I’d made of it, how unevenly my paint was at the line where the wall met the ceiling.

I’d worked hard on that paint.

I had a toddler and a baby in the house when I’d painted that wall and it was my favorite wall in the house.

Until she said that.

I know she loved me and she probably had no idea how her words would affect me, but after hearing her say that my eyes wanted to always drift to the sloppy lines that I’d just learned had ruined the whole job.

And today my mind started to do the same.

My hand shook as I tried to make the edging perfect.

There were drips.

There were smudges.

And pretty soon it started to look sloppy and pretty soon my heart did too and then there I was…a wrought out mama up on my son’s wobbly little red step-stool remembering all the criticism, all the words negative, said from this friend over the years who didn’t even get it how her saying these things “in love” hurt, and I know it shouldn’t bother me…and I know I should focus on all the positive things she said instead…and I know we’re supposed to take every thought captive…

…but don’t words sometimes just stick to a soul?

So when I took a little break today and stumbled across some wisdom right there on a good friend’s Facebook page, it stuck to my soul too.

She said “Be a fountain not a drain.”

There it was.

Right there was the reason I’d been standing on the stool agonizing over the crispness of the paint on my ceiling.

I’d allowed the words of another to be a drain on my self-image and in doing so, it was a drain on my heart.

By allowing the draining words from one friend be so big, I’d made the fountain words of another friend small.




The fountain friend who always had kind words and got watery loving eyes when she’d come visit and sit and rest with me and make me forget the piles of dishes and the topply bookcases and the soccer ball-sized tufts of dog hair and the unmatched anything.

I’d forgotten how she always made me feel that it wasn’t the furniture in a home, or the messes in a home, but the people in a home that made a house a home.

I’d forgotten how much she loved it here and by loving it here she helped me love it like I should.

In the busy of raising babies and toddlers, in my thirst for a perfect home, she’d come, and with her words over our coffees, she’d turn on a sweet fountain and before I knew it, I’d be refreshed and reminded that the perfect home I longed for was the one right where I lived.

Who am I a fountain for?

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

My words can point others to God, and toward the best that He has for them, or they can do just the opposite.

Who, even without meaning to, have I hurt, or made feel less than worthy, with my words?

On Day One of Project Room Renovation, I’d taken on a duty usually reserved for my husband. Trying to complete PRR while he’s at work has been tricky, especially so when it came time to do the job he always loves to do: clean brushes.

We clean brushes in the tub. And after three brushes, a couple rollers and several trays (my work crew LOVES to paint!) I found myself trying to wash tools in a milky white bath of paint water.

The drain was plugged.

So I did what any brave and courageous wife would do.

I decided to save the nasty for my husband to fix when he got home from work.

And then I remembered how hard he’d been working all week and that my goal was to not bother him with any aspect of this project, so I did what any REALLY brave and courageous wife would do.

I unclogged the drain.

I’m able to speak about it now, but yesterday, as I dug through the things of nightmares, -things stuck to hair that could only have been shed from a sort of septic monster- I was sure that the only speaking I’d be able to conjure would be to apologize to my poor husband who has so bravely attended to this macabre duty for twenty years and has never once thrown up, cried in self-pity, or screamed in horror.

I’m a tough ol’ broad who can weather a LOT of gross stuff in life, (I’m a mama to four AND we live on a farm) but dealing with that drain took a lot out of me.

My words can keep someone stuck. Or my words can help someone grow.

I can love someone all I want but if my words don’t build, if my words don’t refresh, if my words don’t tell them YOU ARE PRECIOUS and YOU ARE IMPORTANT and YOU ARE GOOD and YOU ARE ENOUGH and JESUS LOVES YOU…

…even the strongest of us will be weakened by a drain.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

I have the power to build with my words.

You have the power to build, to be a fountain.

Our mouth, our words, they have the power of life and death. (Prov. 18:21) How are we using them?

How many I Love You’s does it take to unclog a drain?

How careless can we be, especially with those we know well, those we love the most? Yes, we all need to be able to take some harsh words now and then. But does that give us a license to just open up and let loose with our mouth the first things that come to our minds?

That kind of showering is a drain.

And drains get stuffed up. Drains stick. Drains are an ugly, stinky mess to unclog. The backflow of a drain can cause a quagmire.

And quagmires can be hard on a soul.

But the other kind of showering?

The tender kind and the encouragement kind and the yeah, it’s a mess but I love you and you’re more important than any old mess anyway and it’s gonna be okay kind?

That kind of showering will shower right on over a soul and speak life. Those kinds of words will fountain up and make us want to take our not-even-close-to-perfect lines and go on and use the water from one fountain to water another…with our strengthening …with our positive…with our gentle…

…with our love.

I want to be that kind of friend.

I want to be that kind of fountain.

 ~Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.~  Job 4:4




Father may we speak words of life to others. May we be a fountain for hearts everywhere. And may we forgive others when they are not. Help us remember that you are the one who really sees us, knows us and loves us and that until we are with you, we will sometimes fail, and others will fail us too, and we won’t always build with our words. But help us Lord, to keep trying always. Help us to be builders. Help us to be like you.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© This Crazy Little Farm


{{Photo credits: Wikipedia}}




Rhonda and Granny Cakes

The South. They were both from the South.

Maybe that’s why I like her so much. Probably why we get along so well, feel like we’re related. That easy, southern, love- ya-no-matter-what personality.

I wash potatoes in my girlfriend’s sink, looking out her little window. Her lovelies, pretty crystals hanging from fishing line dangling dainty, hover over the sill.

Her sink makes me smile. It reminds me of my grandmother’s sink.


Grannycake’s house. Rhonda’s house.

If houses were shirts, theirs both fit perfectly. Like the favorite Saturday cozy you put on before you make breakfast. The one that, when you wear it, people see you, not the shirt, because the shirt is nothing fancy, just a shirt. But you’re in it and it makes them see just you. All you, without the razzle dazzle. You love that shirt. It’s cozy. It fits. It doesn’t pinch. It’s so…comfortable. It’s a perfect, be-your-normal-old-everyday-Saturday morning-self-because-this-is-who-I-am-when-no-one-is-looking kind of shirt.

Grannycakes’ house was like that. Rhonda’s house is like that. Two homes, same cloth. Being at Rhonda’s house fits me just the way being at Grannycakes’ house did.

Rhonda’s sink is much newer. Prettier, modern in its granite feel. Grannycakes’ sink was steel, a double sided, mid-70’s setup, that had just to the right of it, a dingey yellow drainboard resting on a towel. Her large meat mallet, a monster chunk of wood, always sat to the left, right under the towel rack. A red and white dipper tipped on its side, forever rested just behind the little sprayer. She wasn’t a scrupulous house keeper so there was always a bit of grime around the edges of her sink…a coat of dust on her window sill…friendly cobwebs hanging small under the little lamp that lit up that corner of her kitchen.

Stacked up next to today’s sparkling kitchens that are fit for a restaurant with their mammoth steel appliances, miles of white, and marble countertops that go on for acres, Grannycakes’ kitchen might have looked dark, small, dirty.

But even seeing the grime, the counter tops usually sticky with Jif, the crumbs that formed their line behind the small appliance congregation… it never felt dirty. It felt cozy and familiar, a background upon which the past was being painted.

It felt like love.

On a map, I don’t think West Virginia and South Carolina are exactly neighbors. And their accents don’t match. But somehow, as I scrub potatoes, I’m pretty sure Grannycakes and Rhonda are both from the same place.

ImageA place where yonder and piller and mash it and y’all roll off lips in way that’s natural and easy and not contrived and never forced.

A place where someone stopping over in the afternoon isn’t a nuisance but a good thing and usually involves putting one more plate at the table or sitting on the porch swing in the back yard sipping sweet tea and making slow about the garden and the neighbors up the road and how to make the perfect pot roast.

A place where people are important, not things or money or looking a certain way or sounding a certain way or being anything other than what God made you to be.

A place where it’s more important to feed people than it is to eat.

A place where a hug will always take priority over rushing off to the next best thing.

A place where a kind chat with the clerk at the grocery store will never be replaced by getting the first spot in line in order to hurry on through.

That’s the place they’re both from and as I spend the weekend in my precious friend’s home, keeping the lights on and her old dogs company while she delights in a big family adventure… leaves her familiar…hunts frogs…listens to the ocean with her babies and her husband, I am overwhelmed at how much of my grandmother’s home is here within these walls.

It’s here in the cupboards stuffed to the brim with goodies, treats for the people who pass through her kitchen, and through her life.

It’s here in the piles of blankets on each bed, layer upon layer of warmth for all who may rest their head under this roof.

It’s here in the knick knacks, hints of back-home to remind her of where her roots are.

It’s here in the pictures, every room holding faces of loved ones, treasured times, cherished souls.

It’s here in the drawers, the cabinets…utensils…dishes…spoons…knives…favorite tools…tools she sometimes uses…tools she might need some day…tools that were passed down…

It’s here in the peace that comes after the day settles. Quiet, house noises and water pipes the only ones talking, whispering to the background rhythm of dog snores. The walls ooze love. And function. Operation. And provision and care and growth and time… and memories.

And it feels like Grannycakes.

And it feels like Rhonda.

And it feels like all women who love their families and each other. Who care for their communities and for one another and who take care of each other, who take care of one another’s children.

Who care more about people than kitchens and their kitchen shows just how much they care about people.

It feels like a Saturday shirt.

It feels like a painting, the background the past…and the future too.

It feels like love.

And it feels like home.