Month: September 2015

Some Things to Celebrate

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gents, because I am posting a blog for the third consecutive week. This is big news, people. To be perfectly honest, I am patting myself on the back just the tiniest bit. I feel like this should be celebrated considering that, before these last few posts, my most recent blog was from May.

While we’re having a party about my short-lived consistency, here are a few other things I think should be celebrated:

  1. This fall weather, though. It feels like the world just let out a breath it’s been holding in all summer, don’t you think? I love it. There is now a need for me to wear fuzzy socks at night, and you won’t hear me complaining about that.
  2. The Woodpecker Café. If you haven’t made it to this new breakfast and lunch spot on Court Street, you are missing a good thing. I’m not even a little embarrassed to tell you that I have been there twice this week. The food and coffee are fresh and delicious, and the customer service is ON POINT.
  3. Miss America’s hair. Y’all. HAIR GOALS, RIGHT THERE. Miss Georgia was talented and brilliant for sure, but that hair is what carried her through. Not even Brett Eldredge’s stupid question was enough to stop that kind of volume. (P.S. who invited him?)
  4. Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton. Last summer, the very kind owner of Ms. B’s Used Books & CD’s in Hendersonville, TN, introduced me to Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden. I loved it so much, that I recently picked up another of Morton’s books, The House at Riverton. Brilliant. Let me just say, if you like Downton Abbey, you will like this book. (If you don’t like Downton Abbey, you’re wrong.)
  5. Salted Caramel Latte Doughnut from Krispie Kreme. Let me tell you, these are good days to be a fan of the salted caramel. Pumpkin spice gets all the attention, but this little salty-sweet flavor is really the best fall taste. And in doughnut form? Why, yes, please. Don’t mind if I do.
  6. It’s Friday. Hey, guess what. You made it to Friday. Go buy yourself a doughnut.

**P.S. Here’s a tune by Us The Duo I’m obsessed with these days. I’ve learned from experience that it’s a good dancing song, and dancing is really the perfect way to celebrate Fridays.

 

A Small Tribute to Lauretta

“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.” 

I arrived on this earth a blessed little girl. Every one of my grandparents, great-grandparents, and one great-great-grandmother (my namesake) were still here to welcome me into the world. Among those patriarchs and matriarchs of my family was one Lauretta Tullos. In every bone, she carried strength, selflessness, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. At the beginning of this week, we gathered together—all of us, her legacy—to say goodbye to our beloved Mamaw Tullos. For on September 4th, 2015, she closed her eyes to this world and awoke in the presence of her Savior. And I have to tell you, though the sorrow was very present, I could not help but be overwhelmed by gratitude. I am grateful that the life we celebrated was intertwined with mine. I am grateful for the opportunity to have known her and loved her. For the opportunity to be known and loved by her. For hers was a deep, powerful love. One that was fierce and faithful.

In the printed program for her funeral, my cousin included the last seven verses of Proverbs 31. As I read over them, I was amazed by how accurate a picture they painted of Lauretta Tullos.  She had been clothed in strength and dignity. Without a doubt, she was a woman who feared the Lord. And she definitely was one to laugh at the days to come. Truth be told, she was prone to laughing at just about anything.

 *******

It was almost a year ago, I guess. Thanksgiving. Maybe, Christmas. I had my legs tucked under my aunt’s kitchen table, nestled between the table top before me and the window behind me. And everyone was laughing at something I’d said. I couldn’t tell you what came out of my mouth to garner such a reaction. The scene is too common for me to tell one from the other. But I will never forget what happened when everyone started to catch their breath and let go of aching sides. My dad leaned back in his chair, looked to another family member and commented on how much my sense of humor reminded him of his grandmother, my great-grandmother. The living, breathing comedy routine that doubled as our family’s matriarch.

All my life, I had heard story after story of things Mamaw Tullos had said and done that had caused a round of raucous laughter. During holiday gatherings and visits, I had experienced first hand her razor-sharp wit and quick tongue that was always waiting for an opportunity to send those around her into a fit of laughter. I had witnessed crocodile tears roll down my aunt’s cheeks after a muttered sarcastic comment had escaped Big Mamaw’s lips. My aunt and I both have laughs that could wake a graveyard. When Mamaw Tullos had us both laughing at the same time, I’m sure the ground shook beneath us.

She loved nothing more than to make those around her laugh.

When my dad compared my humor with hers, something inside me exploded with satisfaction. On the outside, I grinned and listened as others nodded and agreed. After all the stories and personal experiences with her hysterical sense of humor, my great-grandmother had taken on an almost unreachable, legendary quality in my mind. To be compared to her overwhelmed me with a sense of undeniable pride. It wasn’t for my sense of humor or for my ability to make a joke every now and then. I was tremendously proud of the fact that somewhere inside of me, there was a part of me that looked like her.

“Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her…

Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

-Proverbs 31:25, 28, 31

 

 

 

A Few Thoughts About Waves

I love the beach. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I cannot resist a good trip to the ocean.

In May, a week after my college graduation, I found myself knee deep in the Alabama gulf coast. The wind was strong, and the waves were fierce but so much fun. I waded out into the water with a bright orange float wrapped around my waist, laughing as the salt water splashed my face.

It was fun fighting the waves, jumping the frothy water and picking the perfect one to ride in to the shore. It was fun, but it was exhausting. I could hear my muscles screaming, “No, no! Not any further! We’re not as young as we used to be!” Whiny things.

I was out with a friend of mine, and though my goal was to pick the biggest wave to hop aboard, her goal was simple. Get deeper. Get behind the waves.

Now, I’m not one who has ever been terrified of the ocean, but I do have my limits. I prefer for my feet to touch. My five-foot-ten frame can go further than some, but when my toes swipe and miss when searching for the sand, my caution flag goes up. I can swim, but so can a lot of other unseen creatures beneath me.

Yet, I am always bolder when I am not alone. So, as Amber swam further out, I followed right behind her.

Suddenly, we made it. I could feel my body relax against the float as the waves turned from fierce foes to gentle rockers. I put my chin on my arms and gave in to the waves as they swayed me back and forth.

We stayed out there for a while, talking and floating and watching the waves. It occurred to me that the waves had grown calmer the further out I swam, and from way out here, the waves didn’t seem as big as when they were crashing down around me.

In those moments of silent floating, I had plenty to think about. To wonder about. To worry about, mostly. I was a recent college graduate, unemployed, and unsure of where I was going next. As anxiety threatened to take over the quiet moment, I heard a still voice inside my heart speak to me.

“There is peace in the deep.”

 

Traditionally, the shallow end is the safe place, and the deep end is the one to be feared. But sometimes, it can be harder to stand where our feet can touch. Wave after wave of uncertainty hits. And just when we’ve recovered from one blow, we are hit with another. Each one looks so much taller from our vantage point of looking up. Every inch of the body struggles to stand against the aggressive water pressure. And with each passing wave, we grow more exhausted.

But why do we insist of planting in the shallow end when God has called us to the deep?

We fight for our spots in the edge of the water, digging our toes in deep in the sand for one simple reason: control. Our minds lie and tell us we have it. Our society says we need it. Our fear says we won’t survive without it.

But let me tell you what’s behind the waves. Buoyancy.

Behind the waves, the water does the work. Moving to the deep end requires a new level of surrender. Here’s where the problem comes in: surrender and control cannot coexist in the will of God. He hasn’t asked for you to give Him some of your fears. He wants them all. He wants to hold every expectation, every nightmare, every hope and every dream. He wants your heart, the whole thing.

He’s waiting patiently for you to surrender your spot in the sand, move to where your feet can’t touch, and trust Him to hold you above the waves.