Tuesday, December 06, 2011

you've come a long way, baby

My oh my, y'all, there's been lots going on!  I haven't blogged in forever, but I'm back.  I've been blissfully busy with some big life changes of late, but first let me share a bit of the Thanksgiving fun.

 Of course there was amazing food.  This chicken tortilla soup was especially yummy.  (How cute are those chips?)  When my family wasn't eating...

 we were lounging outside enjoying the sunshine and conversation.  Which, of course, made us hungry, so...

 we had homemade pecan pie and coffee.  All the time.  My mom and I made this pie and I have to say that whole "easy as pie" saying is like saying "easy as rocket science."  Easy for me, it wasn't.  Absolutely caramel-y, pecan-y delicious, it definitely was.

 There were precious nieces in sparkly shoes and (you guessed it)...

more food!  This was the main event: Thanksgiving lunch, which we had on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It was as yummy as ever.  (Gigi gets her food excitement from Aunt Weeza.)

And then, before I knew it, Santa's Mayflower's truck was there ready to take all of my things to charming Cameron.  It was the largest moving truck I've seen.

The fellas doing the loading were really friendly and did a fantastic job.  I've already heard from the driver Ramiro (on the right) and he says he'll be in Cameron this Thursday after having to make a trip to Florida earlier this week.  It was hard work getting everything packed up, which, you know, makes a gal hungry.

This, my friends, is a Jim's Big Burger.  Best burger place in my hometown, made even better because my dear friend Ashley works there.

 And then that night, I had a Texan send off of steak and potatoes.  De-licious.  I promise this post won't be entirely about food, y'all.  I went to bed that night, barely able to sleep with excitement for my journey to Cameron to begin the next morning.

Bright and early, Hayden and I headed out and after making a quick trip to see my fabulous Sista, we were off on a 14-hour voyage to Birmingham.

It was a bit early for Hayden.  Fueled by coffee and anticipation of seeing my dear friend Pierce in Birmingham, we drove and drove.

 We went through Louisiana and saw beautiful bridges, Cameron's Creole twin and the swamplands.

Hayden perked up a bit and enjoyed some sunshine and air conditioning.  He loves to stick his face right up to the a/c vent and let the wind blow in his cotton fluff hair.

 We also drove through (quickly it would seem from this picture) Mississippi.

And through Alabama, finally making it to Pierce's house that night.

 Pierce is one of my all-time favorite people.  (And yes, she is holding her homemade biscuits!)  We were on the Presbyterian Committee for Northern Ireland together and have been great friends since then.  She welcomed me with wine and delicious food.

We visited for hours and reveled in the chance to catch up.  She even had a lovely little Chrismassy cup by my bed (that of course had some Irish personality).  I drifted off collapsed into heavy slumber and awoke early the next morning.

 She had not only divine Nicaraguan coffee waiting for me,

 but also a massive Southern breakfast of sausage casserole, eggs, homemade biscuits and cheese grits.  What a hospitable gal!  I'm so delighted to be a few states closer to Pierce.

Slightly awkward early-morning self-portrait.  Haven't trained Hayden to take pictures yet.  Really wish I'd trained him to drive, too!
 Caffeinated and full of Southern hospitality, I headed off for the rest of the journey to Cameron.
 I drove from Alabama through Georgia and saw that familiar golden dome.

 I even saw Santa's number one reindeer hard at work.  After heading through South Carolina (yep, that makes the 6th state to go through including Texas)...

 I finally saw the sign that I was entering North Carolina!  Angels sang.  The heavens rejoiced.  And Hayden kept on sleeping.

 It was a glorious sunset that night, much like the fiery sunrise my journey began with.  When I arrived at my house (which I'm renting from a delightful couple in the church), I was greeted by Cat and Jane with wine and pizza.  As soon as Hayden got in the house that frisky eleven-year-old started running around it like a puppy, thoroughly enjoying himself.  Cat had a spare bed in her basement which she set up in the guest room of my house, so after laughter and excited conversation and yummy food and drink, I slept in a comforting bed.  I was home.  A new home, but most definitely home.

Hayden loves it.  I went to church on Sunday (the day after arriving) and also to the Christmas dinner at church that night and was so glad I ignored my tiredness to come.  I just fell in love with the folks at Cameron.  From the nice-to-meet-you bear hugs to the heartfelt way they pray to their compassion for their community to the delicious food they share together to the incredible love they've already shown me, I am overwhelmed by God's goodness in bringing me here.

 My first night home for dinner, I planned on making something special and something even more special arrived right when I was thinking about what I'd fix: homemade sausage spinach soup from a member of my church who also happens to be my neighbor.  And y'all, that soup was sooo good.  The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of typical relocation activities (setting up tv, internet, phone etc.) but this morning, I took Hayden outside and this is what I saw in my backyard:

Heaven is glimpsing early morning fog through sleek pine trees.  The old saying goes that you miss the forest for the trees but with the flurry of excitement the last few days, I missed both the forest and the trees until this morning when I paused, looked up and said, "Wow."  I love this place.  I love the charming post office, the lit-up Christmas wreath adorning the telephone pole outside of my house, the way people wave at you as they drive by, the astounding kindness of folks in making me feel welcome.  Joe from church stopped by and we got to talking about old books and small towns and he explained the gift of Cameron really well, saying that as you drove from larger towns (which are very close by) into Cameron, you just felt yourself physically relax, breathe deeper and all the tension leave your body.  People have a different way of living in small towns (it's a village here, really) and it's just delightful.  I can be at Starbucks in fifteen minutes sipping gingerbread lattes, but I can also hear a cricket lullaby at night and a songbird wake-up call in the morning.  Life is good.  There's so much more grace to be discovered here, but for now, I'm going to sleep in a new state, new house, new call, feeling very much like this is exactly where I'm meant to be.  And with that, I can sleep easy, listening to the crickets as I drift off.


Lynn said...

I enjoyed being with you on this journey, Whit. I read every word. And I love that you made friends with the moving men. And now I'm so hungry from reading this post that I need to get the oatmeal started. :)

g/m said...

Words to announce the fact that you had arrived implied so much more! That you were 'home' in a place that you did not know a day or two ago shouts dedication and commitment to a loving God you have known your whole life! May this closeness remain with you always and may what you do in His name be blessed. Prayerfully, g/m

Dana said...

I'm a little bit of a lurker on your blog(s), Whitney, but I love them - you write with such grace and enthusiasm for being alive and in the world! Blessings to you, and on your new home and new ministry. Can't wait to read about all the Carolina grace you find.

Beverly said...

I am not a very emotional person, but reading your blog this morning brought a few happy tears to my eyes. I am so glad to have gotten to know you at Montreat those few years ago when you were frantically trying to prepare for your examination at Presbytery, and thrilled to see where God is leading you.

Bonnie's Blogging Adventures said...

Beautiful journey from Victoria TX to Cameron NC! You joyous spirit comes through your writings and putting photos along with the postings made me smile. You are "home."

Anonymous said...

Whitney, I love your posts of your trip from Victoria to Cameron, NC! And yes, my new and dear friend, "You are Home!" God is Good! Cat

Whitney said...

Thanks for all your comments, everyone! I'm overjoyed to be here.