We live in a suburb of Tupelo, Ms. Tupelo isn't really a BIG town, per se, but we have a mall, 2 Wal-Marts, and a pretty decent smattering of various other big box stores such as Staples, Best Buy, Kohl's etc. Living in a place like Tupelo, is sooooooo much slower paced than living in a "real" big city like Memphis, where we lived for the first 10 years of our marriage. I have lived in 3 areas my entire life, the Tupelo area, where we've lived the past 4 1/2 years, the Memphis area where I lived mostly from age 15-34, a year in Oxford, while I was at Ole Miss when I was 20-21, and Louisville, MS, where I was born and raised, and still call "home." Few people understand the pace of living in a small town. Small towns in the south are all filled with the same types of people, places, and things. If you go to a grocery store, you will most likely have your groceries bagged for you, and taken to your car, by a young man. You can still find gas stations that pump your gas for you, and check your engine oil, washer fluid, and wash your windows while you wait. If you pass a car, the person driving is going to smile and wave at you. If you have car trouble, someone is going to stop, and most likely they will be able to fix it right there, or will take you to town to the mechanic's shop. You don't have to worry about your safety, because people in small towns in the south are tried and true, and honest and as loyal as it gets. You have your "old money" families, these are the people whose parents were cotton farmers, or cotton gin owners. They still have a real southern twang, and will never miss a Sunday at church, or an opportunity to gossip over a tall glass of iced sweet tea. Their children all grew up to be doctors and lawyers. Then you have your middle class families, these are the ones whose parents worked at the phone company, or on the railroad. These families are the backbone of the south, and will give you the shirt off their back. They also won't miss a Sunday at church, and are the first in line at the bake sales and pot lucks. Their children mainly grew up and went various ways, becoming a wide variety of professionals, and moving away from the small town that was good enough when they were growing up, but is somehow not really good enough any longer. Then there is the working class, whose parents depended on the factories that used to be so prevalent, but that began to dry up as more and more of our business moved to places like Mexico and China where labor is so cheap. These families struggled the most as the economy went into a decline, and most live hand to mouth still. I don't mean any of this in a derogatory manner, it's just the truth of small southern towns. Any one of these people from any one of these groups will greet you with a yes ma'am, and a no sir, and a wave, handshake, smile or a hug. They are all Bible toting, God fearing, good ole country people, who would give you anything you needed to get by. There are exceptions to every rule, but mainly if you grew up in a small town in the south, you can name people in each of these categories, and know exactly which one you fit in as well. Life has changed since I grew up in Louisville, but many of the people remain.
Today I made the 2 hour drive from Tupelo to Louisville to stay a few
days with my lifelong best friend Katie for some much needed rest and
relaxation. Katie's home is always open to me, and I always feel so
relaxed here. Not many people are blessed enough to have had the same best friend for nearly their entire lives, but I am one of the fortunate few. Here is a picture we took last summer when we went to a concert in Tupelo.
The pace of life in Tupelo is much slower than Memphis, but the pace in Louisville is simply a snail's pace compared to Tupelo, and when I really need to unwind, unplug, and unstress my life, this is where I head. Although she doesn't expect anything in return, I always like to thank her for allowing me to stay in her home by cooking dinner at least once while I'm there. Today was the first official day that the Farmer's Market was open in Louisville, and I took full advantage of it! Just last week we visited the Farmer's Market in Tupelo, and I bought a pound of snap beans for 3.00. Today in Louisville a pound was just 1.00. I also bought 4 green tomatoes, 4 ears of corn, 4 large cucumbers, 4 fresh bell peppers, 1 pound of squash and 1 pound of onions all for just 1.00 each. And to top it all off, I got a home baked sweet potato pie from home grown sweet potatoes for just 8.00! I stopped and grabbed a pound of hamburger meat and cooked hamburger steaks with sauteed bell peppers and onions, boiled squash with onions, fresh snapped green beans, boiled corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes, sliced fresh cucumber and sliced fresh tomatoes that Katie grew. This feast cost me just 8.75 including the meat, and would have been enough to feed 4 adults with leftovers, not including the pie. We will be able to eat on that meal the entire time I'm here. Not many places can you buy fresh HOME GROWN produce for prices like those!
Tomorrow's plan is first thing in the morning, to add salt to her parent's new pool, as they are making it a salt water pool, then afterwards heading on a shopping trip to Jackson. I've got to find a Father's day gift for Greg and one for my Dad, and I want to price a few baby things for Annabella as well. Tomorrow night is more R & R, then Saturday we will most likely swim, and pick blueberries, and maybe even do the unthinkable....NAP! I've got to head home late Saturday evening, because it's my weekend to run Media shout lyrics at church. Since I have to be there at 7:30, I really don't want to have to get up at 4:45 to get ready then drive the 2 hours to church Sunday morning. For the past several years I've taken advantage of the solitude here many times, and never thought about NOT having that choice. It's hard to believe soon we will have a new child, and that this will likely be the last time in a long time that I will have the opportunity to just soak up the quietness, and stillness, the peacefulness, and serenity of time spent here.
Our lives are about to change forever. I am here tonight, in the quiet stillness, pondering all that is yet to come. In so many ways our adoption journey seems to be coming to a close, but it is truly just coming to a new beginning. A beginning of a family of six. A beginning of a bi racial family. A beginning of a family with a daughter. A beginning for Annabella, where she will learn the unconditional love of a family, and of our heavenly Father. She will be immersed in so many new things, a new language, pets, our culture, a home and family, a church. She will have to learn how to trust us, to love us. She will have to learn our language, our culture, our way of life. Our family dynamic, our "house rules." She will have to learn to eat solid food, and drink from a cup. Learn to use a potty, to ride a tricycle. I pray that she will be able to bond with us quickly, and that she will jump right in with the boys, and love them and trust them quickly. So many things are so unknown about the next steps we will take in our adoption journey, and it's in the quiet and stillness that I seek God. I ask Him to calm my fears and worries and He fills me with the sense of peace that He has done since the beginning. In the quiet and stillness, I know that He is the God of peace, the God of restoration. This is an amazing version of Hillsong United's "None But Jesus." Even if you have seen videos or know the song by heart I urge you to watch this version through to the end. The message is clear, we are God's hands and feet here on earth. It is through us that He works in others. I am eternally grateful to be doing His work in following this path of adoption. To Him I sing all the praise now and forevermore.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV