Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Table

Remember my Family Table posts? Well here is one dedicated to my sweet grandmother.


she's the bedtime enforcer. the piano teacher. the Bible verse reciter. the storyteller to multiple grandchildren snuggled in her bed. the nap lover. on any given winter night, you can find her snoozing in her fireside rocking chair next to my grandfather who will most likely be watching the news or a basketball game. the best pimento cheese maker. the spoiler of my grandfather. she's a self proclaimed cheerleader for all of her grandchildren and children, but most of all, her husband. the compulsive picker-upper of all things out of order. the die-hard recycler and re user. the woman who can still be freezing cold sitting next to a furnace. the nightly Mentholatum applier under her nose and on her lips. the hater of dry skin, especially when it comes to her piano playing hands. Sara Lee Coffee Cake's most loyal customer. the fashionista. the hummer of old southern hymns. the owner of a bedroom slipper filled closet... many worn by her granddaughters when she "can't stand to look at those bare, cold feet anymore." the caller of "lamb chop" to all those she loves. the leaver of red lipstick stains on her cocktail glasses full of grapefruit juice. the baby lover. she's the harmonizer of every song ever sung... even "Happy Birthday." the preparer of her world famous breakfast casserole, always present on Christmas morning. the adorer of smocked dresses and big bows for all her youngest granddaughters. the biggest reason Christmas is always so special in our family. the cancer survivor, carrying on each day with inspiring strength.

my grandmother is... my hero.

IMG_0828Align Center

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

bright eyes

bright eyes

these bright eyes belong to a special girl...

a girl who dances around on her tip toes,
who speaks so excitedly that her words come out in a completely happy jumble.
the daddy's girl,
whose sweet cheeks remain in an almost constant smile,
the one who calls me "Fuzanna," (instead of Suzanna), melting my heart every time.
the dog lover and cat chaser,
whose head tilts to the side as she tells stories with an always animated tone.
the baby of my mom's side of the family with one of the biggest hearts.
the happiest little girl i know...

the single most person i want to be when i grow up.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I had to write a short story for my Creative Writing class a few weeks ago. We were to write a character study... a descriptive story of a fictional character who changes because of the plot (can't you tell this is a great class?)

Here is Livvy. I hope you enjoy the story of a girl that has lived in my mind and heart for years.

Livvy was fourteen that spring. She had golden brown hair that hung in shoulder-length braids down her tanned arms. Freckles were sprinkled across her nose, and a dimple was asymmetrically placed on her left cheek. She loved to walk along the crackled road at Nunnally Farms, her home, and greet her cows every day. She had followed her grandfather out to the pasture almost every morning since she could walk, helping him with the daily cattle duties. Annie, the oldest cow, was her absolute favorite, and Annie sure loved Livvy as well. Livvy would always run her fingers up and down Annie’s silky back and whisper secrets into her ears. Livvy was the happiest when she was sitting near her cows, her baseball cap donned, her bare feet hardened by the gravel, and a casual breeze gently swaying her braids in the air. Livvy detested the daily piano lessons upon which her grandmother insisted. Her grandmother was the most beautiful piano player in the world as far as Livvy was concerned, but she just didn’t seem to share the same talent. The dirt between her fingernails and the hair in her eyes were always scolded by her grandmother as each lesson progressed, and Livvy could never keep her interest going the whole time. Livvy’s favorite way to spend a spring or summer night was snuggled in between her grandparents in the big bed. Her grandfather’s loud snores always made her smile, and her grandmother’s arms around her made her feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Livvy loved to ride in the passenger seat of the old pick-up truck as her grandfather drove around the farm. She knew she would never forget the smell of her home, especially when she would lean her head out the window and inhale every memory it held for her. Livvy was an innocent girl who grew up slowly, surrounded by the love of her family and the love of the farm. Unlike most of her peers, Livvy was going to be a child as long as the world would allow…

Until that summer when everything changed… the summer when Livvy’s mother came back into her life.

Livvy’s mother, Stella, left her with her grandparents when she was a newborn. Rebellious Stella was in her early twenties at the time and had gotten pregnant from one of her many one night stands. Knowing that her drug problems and unemployment would never be enough for motherhood, she left Livvy with her parents and never came back to Nunnally Farms. Her disappearance left her parents with an empty hole in their lives, a hole that had begun to form as soon as Stella started to turn away from their conservative beliefs when she was in high school. Livvy was their saving grace, though. The happiness brought from the smile in her bright blue eyes overshadowed much of the despair in their lives.

The last time anyone had ever heard from Stella was five years ago, when she begged her parents to wire her some money, which they did in hopes of renewing contact with her. However, after that, she never called again.


It was a beautiful summer day when Stella drove up to the farm in her old blue convertible. Livvy was feeding Annie in her favorite spot and enjoying the smooth breeze that was in the air. Her grandparents had gone to a neighbor’s house, so she figured she would get some chores done while they were absent. She was contemplating an afternoon swim in the lake when she heard the screeching noise of a run-down motor coming up the driveway. All she could see of the person driving at first was a cigarette hanging out the window, but then she saw the familiar face. The face she had only seen in pictures, but the face that had been etched into her heart for as long as she could remember. She ran to her mother with forgiveness pouring out of her soul. Their embrace seemed to last forever, and tears shone in both of their eyes…

Livvy soon learned that her mother was dying. Cancer had spread throughout her body, and she had only months to live. Upon learning of her condition, Stella knew she could only do one thing with the rest of her days- she had to be the mother she never was. And that is exactly what she did for the last two months of her life.

Before meeting her mother, Livvy was a quiet girl who had lived a sheltered life on her beloved farm. Stella, however, introduced Livvy to the world around her. She taught her how to dream of the future and be excited about the changes taking place around her. She took her shopping and on day trips to the city. She told Livvy stories about love and about the horrible mistakes she had made in her life. The most important lesson Stella taught Livvy, though, was the lesson of pure grace. The grace that welcomed Stella back to the farm as though she had never left. The grace that gave them both a relationship together they had never even imagined. And the grace that presented them each with a new enthusiasm for life.

Livvy aged a few years watching her mother die that summer. This was the first time she realized life was not fair, and that people were always walking in and out of it. She had never grieved so much as she did for her mother, and she had to learn how to rise from tragedy, something many people don’t grasp all their lives. Livvy also experienced thankfulness for her grandparents and for the time she spent with Stella. Her mother’s death helped her to appreciate the wonderful life around her, and allowed her to form exciting aspirations outside her simple life on the farm.

Her mother helped her become the person she was meant to be.