Home is Where the Heart Is

Six months ago I was caught between two worlds. I wanted to go but at the same time I wanted to stay. Our family of four was planning to move from Deep in the Heart of  Texas to the Magnolia State of Mississippi. The almost move – a symbol of rejection, heartbreak, despair, and new beginnings – caused a battle between the things and the people and I love the most.

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What To Do When Everything About Your Thanksgiving is Non-Traditional

stress-free-thanksgiving-ig

It’s fall y’all! My excitement in writing those words is pure excitement because here in Texas (and across most of the southern part of the United States) the weather has been unseasonably warm. We were still seeing daily highs in the 80s and 90s until very recently.

But now, it has appeared to have cooled off. First the temps dropped down to the 70s, but now we are waking up to some frost. During the day, the sun is out and the temperatures are comfortable. This is totally cool by my standards because I do not fully appreciate the value of cold weather. Translation: I hate winter. In other words, fall is my jam.

I know for a lot of us the transition to fall happened when football season and pumpkin everything began, but for me it didn’t. During the months of September, October, and most of November, I felt like I was just going through the motions; claiming to love fall but not really feeling like we were truly there yet.

And now we are celebrating Thansgiving. And immediately thereafter, we’ll be into Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s. This year in particular, Thanksgiving is different. This year, my family is mourning an additional loss in the death of my aunt that just doesn’t feel right. Holidays were important to her, even the holidays that we didn’t converge at her house. And for lack of a better word, it’s just weird without her being here.

The current political climate of our country is full of tension, stress, and yes, even hatred. That does not bode well for giving thanks. It’s hard, and without going into why and how and healing and such we are forced to wait and see what’s going to happen next.

In a way, we are now forced to accept a new normal, not only for celebrating the holidays, but for living. The new normal signifies change. And change can be hard. But even in the changes, there can be fun. There can be rest. There can be a time for family togetherness.  Continue reading

Lifelong Lessons From Route 3

lessons learned from route 3

Route 3. A dirt road in rural Leake County, Mississippi that holds fond memories of visiting my grandparents’ farm making mud pies with my cousins, playing on the swing on the front porch, and returning to Chicago with tennis shoes covered in red clay dirt. I suppose if I wanted to get really sentimental, I could cue the violins and say something like, “Those were the good old days.” But currently, I am choosing not to refer to anything in my life as old.

It was on Route 3 that I learned the basics of life on a farm. My grandparents taught me that it was important to grow your own vegetables, work hard to prepare for the slow times, and that farm eating was healthy eating. Unfortunately, I didn’t really appreciate those lessons during my yearly visits like I should have. At the time, I just thought that that’s the way people in the south lived.  Continue reading