Sometimes a northern wellspring needs to find true grit…uh, grits. My husband and I just returned last weekend from a 16-day cross-country trip to visit our three sets of married kids, two little grandchildren, celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, and salute a physical toast to the end of a 15-month journey through breast cancer, reconstruction, and return to cancer-free health!
We packed a lot into those days. At the first stop, we –
- fell in love with Polish Pottery in Leavenworth, Kansas
- got to join Dorothy in saying “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” as we crossed the bridge into Missouri about a mile away, both states we’ve never been to before
- welcomed autumn with our son-in-law’s homemade pheasant and squash soup and our daughter’s to-die-for, shared-among-the-neighbors recipe for cheese dip and baguette
- decided Leavenworth the Prison is basically the backyard of Leavenworth the Army Fort; talk about being surrounded by security – airport and otherwise – on this trip!
- enjoyed a trip to the pumpkin patch and our daughter’s pumpkin pie, and then it was time to mosey on to our little pumpkins at Fort Benning, Georgia – stop number two on our jaunt…
- got reacquainted with our two little grandchildren, who live much too far away for Bupa’s and Buma’s liking
- dined like kings on our son’s special grilled chicken and our daughter-in-law’s famous shrimp scampi
- napped, played, talked, ate, complained about the humidity, and repeated it all a few more times, including a good ol’ Georgia thunderstorm…then it was off to Atlanta to spend time with our oldest daughter and son-in-law where we…
- enjoyed one of the tastiest Italian meals we’ve ever had (if in Atlanta, visit Bambinelli’s!)
- explored at leisure the beauty of Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens in Piedmont Park on a perfect Saturday afternoon of sunshine and great company
- ate some more, lounged, chatted, discussed cell phone plans for 21st century non-techy parents
- was treated by our son-in-law to a viewing of the movie “The Help” – watching that film of the South while visiting the South met us at deep levels – we recommend you watch it and/or read the book by the same title
And that was just the first ten days. Re-reading the list makes me realize that it’s simply packed full of “regular life.” You know, the kind you yearn for when your days (or weeks or months) have become too busy; family lives at too great a distance to share Sunday dinner every so often; and aging (judged by how old your once-small children now are as grown adults with children of their own) or serious health issues like cancer threaten “regular life” and lots more of it. With full and grateful hearts, we said hello and goodbye with everything above and more packed in between, then headed for the final leg of our “get out of Dodge” excursion – Savannah, Georgia. Another place we had never been but which held great meaning for both me and my husband when all was said and done.
For five days we soaked in southern culture, early American history, that great southern cooking (with some of the best fried chicken we have ever gnawed on, thanks to Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House on Jones Street). The family-style meal was worth every minute of the hour we stood in line on the sidewalk. And yes, there was grits. Every morning, on just about every menu…grits.
It was a wonderful time away – and thank you for the two-week absence from the blog posting. Even that was a needed break, but only because the Lord continued to amaze us and I simply could not find the words to write…
With my maternal great-grandmother’s roots in the South, I was looking forward to this trip. Apparently, God was looking forward to it as well, for the very first night at our historic bed and breakfast Inn (Eliza Thompson House) in Savannah, we met a couple from Atlanta who had just married off their daughter two days earlier and were enjoying their own getaway and some much-needed rest.
Well, I’m here to tell you…God does not disappoint. If you go somewhere in anticipation of what He might have waiting for you, He is ready to spring His surprise when you least expect it, even when you thought you were on the lookout!
Their stay and ours at the Inn was a God-collision. Strong believers the next decade older than us, they started talking the next morning at breakfast and for three hours proceeded to impart to us things of the Spirit and encourage our hearts in ways we had not been poured into for some time. As they shared their calling and passion and God’s faithfulness through story after story, it was like they had reached into our hearts and pulled out an almost identical script when it came to our Kingdom passion. It was as though God was sharing “us” with us. To hear our hearts articulated by ones a little farther down this intriguingly similar heart-path was…well…why I didn’t write a blog post for two weeks.
Sometimes you just have to slow down and soak and eat another praline. Savor the sweetness of God’s honey to your heart, then smile as you gaze at His sticky fingerprints left all over your day that point to your future.
Choosing to linger with Him a little longer in silence helped to prime this wellspring’s pump…Southern style. I heartily recommend it…and the biscuits.
Gracefully Free, y’all