Endless Gifts- North Carolina

Tonight, we are on the cusp of a new adventure. A new season. Tomorrow, we begin a life in a new state.

Even now, we blink back tears. Swallow hard. Remember. At different times, in different ways, and at different places, eyes swim and hearts turn.

O Carolina, although we are being transplanted again- our roots are gripped in your soil. You go with us. Part of us. To incorporate into a new soil. Becoming a blend. A new medium for growth. We are not being ripped away- but rather carefully dug out and placed anew.

(And we’ll still be below the Mason Dixon line… 😉  so our southern side will continue to shine.)

Two sons and I have promised each other- to open our eyes- and see- those gifts of grace, the blessings, waiting to be discovered- but for now-

A tribute.

Endless Gifts- North Carolina Treasures.

The little nuggets of gold that have ministered to us and been special blessings of our time here in the Western Mountains of NC

 I think this list is far from complete- but it is what overflowed out as I sought to heart capture our mountains.

 So many memories and thoughts swirl through my mind… I think of our vinyl wall art…how, vinyl wall art is the best! Beautiful, clean, and easy to take down.

And I remember the very first one I ever put up… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”…

It came to me, in a tube, at our rental house. A sweet gift from a peer cousin- thinking of me, gifting me in our long distance move. I kept it in the tube. Special til we had our very own home.

The memory stands out in stark relief. In February, on my birthday, our first winter in our own house in NC. I press the letters against the wall, a kind of offering. Pressing, smoothing good out of something hard.

I teeter on a chair, little ones all around.

 Our vibrant, crimson wreath- coming from my sister, along with words to grace our home like joy and peace – and they have stood like deputies, lighting up our home. I hammer out the joy.

 I walk around our house. This house is knit deep in my heart. In spite of many trials and hardships, we have loved it and lived in it well and it is part of us. And Todd said, “It served us well. It was a great house.” It was.

 The huge deck our inspector told us, “you could drive a car on that one, its so sturdy…” which our little ones have ridden bikes on in and out of our years here…

 The constant supply of lizards and skinks. Hot summer days of skink catching boys.

 Unearthing a baby box turtle on my very own land. With the turn of my spade, in rust- red earth. Autumn.

 The sound of rushing water pulsing through the woods all around us after the rain along with our very own, mountain water-fall.

 The crimson, fragrant, fragrant, fragrant rose bush- that blessed me with December roses. Velvet against my face and fingers. And I tried to care for it, I tried to prune it… studying the library book and the seasons… beautiful rose bush, a gift to me I didn’t know was there. Even the children said, “What about the rose bush??” They have known its comfort.

The butterfly bush that is now mammoth. Covered, every branch, in butterflies. They migrate. We watch them float from the sky like autumn leaves drifting down. They are all around us. They cover our bush a day or so… and our gone.

 The rainbow off our NC deck, sparkling in rain drops.

 The hushed quality of silence all around us. Deep silence of the country.

The deep velvet dark.

 Fragrant, clean, mountain air.

 The “desert” where a little boy has played for hours, acting out stories, swinging sticks.

 Mild climate with brief winters. True March Springs. Bridal veil white and glimmer green.

The birds: Mallards, and Red-Wing Blackbirds, and North Carolina chickadees, and Bluebirds, and Pileated Woodpeckers- with bright red caps, Cardinals everywhere. Juncos and Nuthatches, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. The sound of their buzz and dive. I looked out my bedroom window last week, and there was a giant red- capped woodpecker- on a log just outside. I stared to capture it in my heart. I also caught that bright red crimson glimmer as a cardinal perched for a moment- just outside my kitchen window.

The happy sunshine of the land and people.

 Hogsed Day, and piano, and violin, and Sharpshooters, and bulls-eyes, and Boy Scouts.

 Our own personal fire pit in the mountain niche. Marshmallow roasts and hot dogs and Camp-Outs for the kids.

 One particular power out and we are cozy round our wood burning fireplace, all together- reading Lamplighters and other good books

 Narnia and Peter Pan at the Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center and local productions of Nutcracker- memories for me and older children.

 The hummingbirds. Little gifts of grace.

 That feeling of “living in the trees.”

 Sweet, fragrant mountain air.

 A little boy and twin girlies, brought home, and rocked nights over the years, here

 Our full bathroom right off the kitchen. Many times ,a dirty little boy, popped in that tub, while I am working on dinner.

 Our homeschool room and books.

 How the moon smiled at me one cold February night.

 Cuddled in bed, under covers, listening to the rain washing thousands, millions of trees.

The sound of the wind coming over the mountain, whisking round our house and moving on.

 Wind-Chime Music.

 The glory of mind expanding beauty, color, and light.

 How a friend told me about a Scripture decoration contest and I look all around our home and see the Word on so many walls… Scriptures in frames, Scriptures in plaques, Vinyl Scriptures pressed onto walls…

 Our pediatric dentist- that dentist was the first good thing we found here (besides Todd’s enjoyment and fit at his job). We happily drive an hour to them. That first drive home- Todd and I looked at each other with relief and thanks. They have been a blessing. Happy, cheerful, clean. Great with the kids and great with food allergy concerns. Perfectly professional and friendly.

 Christ Covenant Reformed Church. Beautiful church. The website truly captures its spirit. Precious people.

 The beautiful Public Library. That has been our happy place.

 Burger King Hot Chocolate and Surprised by Oxford, one cold, dark, winter night

 Planting tulips and pansies.

 As I write these memories- it is so clear to me how the season of our lives have changed. That homeschool room had to be awkwardly converted to a bedroom for the twins. With the fall of the tree on our swingset one afternoon, I have a whole new perspective on the outdoors around our home, those little boys are now beginning to enter the teen years with new interests and needs, we have filled our home to overflowing and are bursting out the seams… as some know there have been many, many hard times. Times of water lines broken for almost a week, and power out for several days- and we don’t know where to go… Dark nights and Todd working, weather and tax season (all different kinds of weather), poor internet connectivity for years, hard long drives year in and year out, loneliness and missing, disconnect and not fitting in…

 In so many ways, it is hard and scary to leave. To begin all over again. Complete with a rental house and being utterly displaced. Yet, we have learned so many lessons here and we take them all with us. I hope, I hope, something from our journey will ease the way a bit on this new path.

 But I have practiced Endless Gifts and the Gifts are gold and they are spun in my soul.