Monday, August 5, 2013

Carrying Home

A couple weeks ago we felt Summer pulling her breaks and it hit me - we hadn't been to Ohio since May.

Trag. Ic.

So I loaded up the kids and we went. We stayed for 5 days. And it still doesn't feel like Summer fully happened, but those 5 days went a long way toward recalibrating our souls for whatever happens next.

Internet and phone service was as spotty as ever. Temps were chillier than we'd planned. I finally caught a sliver of the virus weaving its way through our family.

We had the time of our lives.

Because there's just something about going home.

I know I talk excessively about going home, but it can't be helped. Something happens when I go. It's an almost  tangible thing. It's a feeling I can conjure up, a feeling I can carry around for a while.

I think it might be rare. Maybe it's a wild stroke of luck. I don't know.

Some things have stayed the same. Some things are different.

I spent my early years banging around in that dusty barn, riding my banana bike around the familiar curve in the road, running the yard, slow-poking around all bored and hot.

That's how I lived Summer back then.

I didn't care about pretty flowers when I was eight or twelve. I didn't have a clue about what I had.
It was simply home, and it hugged me right.

Every time I go back, my roots grab tighter.
And this is what I want for my children.

I always used to think the only way to replicate this sureness was through acreage and trees.

But here I am, on my treeless, wonky plot of city land.
It feels like home and I can almost hear our roots clawing down through the clay.

Our heritage follows us wherever we go. It's wound into the fibers of our hearts and minds.
We get a lot of this, a little of that.

And the summers of this season don't match up completely, but if we squint our eyes it almost feels like a ringer.

Going home reminds me of who I am right now. It gives context to my world that sometimes feels unmanageable, inconvenient, and just plain hard. Going home isn't a departure from this life, it's a part of it. It's not about then/now. It's about a story. My story. Chapters end, but the book never does.

All those years shaped the me that looks out tonight at a row of beat-up houses, so close I could grab them.

All that space taught me that country living is a state of mind. I can clip zinnias and pickle a cuke as easily here as there.

All that freedom, all that permission to try, all that acceptance in failure, all that faith, all that faith showed me that the only way to live at all is by doing the work scripted just for me.

Those are gifts I can give to Calvin, Ruby, Silas. It's not even too late for Robert or Haven. I can give those gifts in the city.

And when they move to the prairie or the mountains or the grittiest corner on the globe, I hope they'll see that what matters most goes with them.

And I hope they'll know they can always come home.


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  2. Love that you have that place to go for refreshment and that your kiddos will know it too! To get to my roots means many hours on a plane and lots of money. I did get to take my kids a couple of times and it will never be forgotten.

    Glad you also have a new place to put down roots....for you, Cory and the kids and Robert!

  3. Yes.

    And also, Siley. You know how I feel about Siley.


    Siley's future mother-in-law

  4. Every time you return home it makes me both envious and warm and fuzzy. It's perfectly clear that you see what you have.
    I wish I wish I wish.

  5. I love home. Home is wherever my parents are. I don't like that they are 30 minutes away actually. It feels too far. I hope you can go home again this summer. Family is everything : ).

    Always love pictures of your Daddy and Mommy!

    1. Yep, it's wherever they are. For years we tried to talk them into moving "up here" but it's just not going to happen anytime soon. I could have acclimated to another "home"...but it is nice to have the original. :)

      It's half-bummer-half-not that they are almost 4 hours away. Because, hello, it's too far. But it's also fun to show up and stay for a week!

    2. Yes. 4 hours seems do able without the hubs etc. but the 8-9 I just can't do alone anymore.

  6. Your posts so often get me, make me teary....sometimes it is too hard for me to read because they are so good. So real. You seem to live life well and always inspire me so!

  7. As always beautiful words & pictures.

    Now...BIG important question: Do you pronounce zinnia...zin-ee-uh, zin-yuh, zeen-ya? Don't worry it's not a deal breaker, we can still be friends. :) Just curious? Zinnias are my FAVORITE cut flower. Over a quarter of our vegetable garden this year is zinnias.

    1. See this is why I like you! It's the little things. Who cares what anyone else says if Shannan Martin agrees with me it must be right. ;)

  8. I bought sweet corn the other day, out of the bed of a pick-up-truck, parked in the persons front yard, paying for my dozen ears by putting my money into a coffee can, because you know, it's the honor system around here.

    My husband wanted the corn on the grill. I couldn't here of that. I cut it off the cob, put it in the pan with bacon drippings, little flour, just a small amount of water, most of the water will come from the corn, and some salt and pepper to taste. It simmered slowly for some time. Cornbread was baked and tomatoes were cut. Why, because during summer time, that's what my mama would do at Home. Thank you for this gentle reminder.


  9. Always wanted our daughter to know that home was a place of safety and love, a refuge, no matter what is looked like or where it was located. She grew up and got married and has her own home, a new place of refuge ~ but she still loves to come home : )

  10. oh shannon...i am in such a place..this makes me sad.
    maybe because i crave a home..that place i dream of that i didn't have and i mourn for it
    i try to recreate it but it is hard when you don't really know what that looks like
    and i am sure there are many of "me's" out there.
    i loved this. i love your heart and how it lays it all out then you put it back together.
    thankful for you this am....praying your are still carrying that with you today

  11. My family moved so much when I was little that I don't have a "place" to go back to, but home is wherever my mom & dad are. It's always special to go to their house. My memories are kind of scattered here & there, but I've been challenged by Tiffani at "The House of Belonging" to own my story. I'm wanting to write it all out for my kids and myself.

  12. I so needed this post! We are at a crossroads, selling our home to have a "farm" yet not being able to find the perfect acreage. Giving up our dreams and realizing God has something else that is even better for us on an acre not 30 acres. Living for today and making every moment count is what it is all about wherever we are! Loving our family and neighbors the way our Lord loves us, smelling the sweetness of our babies and teaching them that THIS is the good life, the abundant life that He has given us today!! No more dreaming about what could be and plunging in today for what IS.
    Love all your posts, as Anne with an E from Anne of Green Gables would say, "I have found my bosom friend in you."

  13. I LOVE your post especially when you go home because your home is so much like my home and I only get to visit every year or so. Wish I was closer to home. Seeing your photos take me back. Thank you!

  14. i don't know why but this post made me really emotional.

  15. Very emotional for me - and so timely. Dave's Nicole, who has become my Nicole too, (you and I have occasionally shared a few words from time to time right here on that) is coming home after spending 14 months in prison, day after tomorrow. Here's to faith carrying us through, onwards and upwards. Here's to coming home. Even though we've never met, I'll always know a piece of your heart because of your love for Robert and Haven and Robert and Haven will always have me saying a prayer for them too. Thank you for your words - :)

    1. Oh, friend. Praying for you! Our guy gets home soon, too. It's a roller-coaster of emotions, for sure. God's got us all in His hands, though. Only He could chart a life so wild and wonderful! xo

    2. Between the Good Lord and your family, he's in great hands! ;)

  16. I love your mama's silly songs and your papa's early morning wakes with the ice hitting his lunch box. The smell of the farm, of the house. Coming To visit and watching Late night talk shows. Riding to town and riding to nowhere. Memories of double chin inquiries. Of the barn. Of Olympic medel pigs and of cows. Of play gyms larger then I could conjure up in my head. I love you girl! Thank you for sharing. You took me back. I needed that;)

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  18. Home, where memories are made.

  19. i don't really listen to country music that often, but the song "the house that built me" always opens the flood gates for me.
    i love home. and i'm glad you do, too.

  20. I've been reading you for a few months now .... found you through house of turquoise - and LOVED your decorating style. Since then - I've fallen in LOVE with YOU!! :) I read you every night as I feed my baby :) I find myself crying and feeling stronger as I read your wisdom that you obviously are inspired to share. I've wanted to write for the longest time ... but thought "OH MY WORD - she gets SO many comments - does it really matter if *I* tell her???" Then I read this farm post ... and it hit me. I imagine in my head what the "perfect" place would be to raise my family - and MYSELF. Knowing that others feel the same way makes me feel not alone in my constant struggle to feel that feeling of "YES - THIS is a perfect place - I can now continue on with OTHER things!" :) Also ... I love that corn/sky picture. And I want to print it. Can I buy a digital copy?? :) The corn didn't do very well in my parts - otherwise I'd grab my camera. :) So ... thank you for putting yourself and your thoughts out there. You are a blessing to others. And THAT is a gift of sharing the gospel!

  21. Gah... that was so weird to be strolling through the article and see Ralph! I totally forgot he was your gramps! I love going to church with him... he's the sweetest cutest thing and he sure loves to sing the Lord's Prayer after prayers! Anyhow... It has been quite a while since I've been on blogger world... (what a journey its been, anyways...) and it was so good to stop in and see that your still good!! God bless you... in the city! :)

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