Friday, August 16, 2013

small time

Taking a five-minute party break with Lisa Jo Baker this Friday.  Want to know more?  Check it out at: Five-Miinute-Friday.  It's Lisa Jo's party and she gets to pick.  Today she inspires us to write about one thing: small.  It amazes me how folks can interpret one word so many ways.  Click around at Lisa Jo's page and read what other people wrote. As for me, here, have a small piece of my heart.

Small time girl, grown up to be a small time woman.  I'm good with that.  Don't want attention, really, just can't quit talking here on this page.  Enjoying the idea that there are other women out there like little ol' me.

Small town girl, going from one small town to another.  Love livin' where you don't need a cell phone to find somebody.  There are only three places to go.  If your friend isn't home, she's at the grocery or Sonic.  Check your watch and take a guess...Sonic has a happy hour at 2PM.

Small hearts, can they grow big?  Sometimes it doesn't feel like it.  I fuss small words in a big voice and I wonder how my heart got so hard.  Dr. Seuss says the heart of the grinch grew two sizes one day and we all know the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.  Maybe there is at least small hope for me.

Small days, trapping me here in this home.  Trapping me here until I remember what I believe, that this is no small thing that I do, mothering these kids and loving this man and building this home with the hands of my soul.  Big, beautiful, small days.

Small gifts.  Little boxes with big things inside.  Small gifts might just be the best gifts of all.

loving the small,

Blessedly Ordinary
More from Five-Minute-Friday: Fall
For your friends, "I Wanna Be Like You"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gifts from Cape Hatteras

Last summer our family went on a vacation.  It was a miracle.  We almost never go on vacation.  We saved and we planned and we went and it was beautiful.  

Now, during this summer of craziness and stuck inside, we pack and a child heals and we save and we plan, and I return to those pictures and those memories.  I reopen the gifts of Cape Hatteras.

The Gifts:

Relax.  Just sit.  Soak up the good feelings when they come.  Just sit and be empty and be full, both at the same time.

Say "Why not?" way more often than you say, "Why?"

Creation is really, really awesome.  Creation is not tame or safe but it is in-your-soul-beautiful.

Squirrels can crawl under the edges of mosquito tents and eat your bread. They like butter cake but not caramel frosting.  Just thought you should know.

Run and play and don't care how you look.  Floppy hat, floppy shoes, floppy butt, nobody cares just run and play.

Making really fabulous memories doesn't have to cost a bunch of money.  We tent camped on Hatteras Island, which is almost 30 miles out into the Atlantic and only a few feet above sea level. We were sort of perched out in the ocean in a tent and the wonder of being in it all was thrown in for free!

Don't be surprised when the rain comes.  You don't have to be afraid, just get in a tent if you can and plug the leaks with whatever you have.  Find a bright side in the situation, like eating the s'mores supplies even though it isn't perfect.

Don't let it ruin your trip if a crab bites your heel.  However, if he is edible, eat him.  That's what he gets for not being properly subdued by mankind.

Life doesn't have to be perfect.  Don't miss out because you are waiting for everything to be just the way you planned.  You will make the others in your circle miserable but you won't make perfection.

There are times when your hair (or whatever) just doesn't matter at all.  Let it go.

Respect the sun.

Take the best part.  Give up on having everything and just take the best part.

People are nicer than you think and people really do need people.  Real people, in person, to eat ice cream with and tell stories with and ride boats with and it doesn't hurt at all to be friendly.

You never know which little wave is going to move something really big.  Most of the really big stuff starts with one little action.  Islands shift one little wave at a time.

Be grateful when you get to see one of THOSE moments.  My son, Nathan, was afraid of the water.  He was sitting on a boogie board on the wet sand and a big wave came.  Those inches of water picked him up AND HE RODE several feet.  I saw it in his eyes.  That wave washed away fear and replaced it with potential and we had to drag that boy away from that beach.  He asked for swimming lessons last fall and I am pretty sure he has grown gills.  I watched that moment.

You have to be watching to see those moments.

Thank you Cape Hatteras, we are grateful for your gifts,

Other posts you might like:
More about Nathan...
When ordinary is a gift...
Our adventure at Tough Mudder

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

They Grow More Than Vegetables at the Rocky Mount Farmers' Market

Two years ago, almost to the day, I moved to Rocky Mount.  Came to a house I had never seen, a people I didn't know in a town that had no reason to care about me.  Just another move, another house, another year.

My family quickly found the Farmers' Market and I applied to the craft committee to sell my homemade soap.  You see, the folks at the Rocky Mount Farmers' Market are committed to ensuring that the things sold there are really local.  Your hard earned money goes directly into the hands of the person across the table.  You can ask questions about what you buy.

Take grits for example.  I never knew a thing about grits (did I mention I am not from around here?) until I got to know Carol.  Carol and I talk about more than grits, we discuss beaches, art, music and travel.  By the way, if Carol is there with the Carolina Grits, don't ponder your purchase very long or you will find the crate empty.

One fall Saturday, I set up my soap, put on my reserved smile and tried not to scream, "I'm not from around here!"  Rena, the other woman who sells soap, came over to my spot.  She has beautiful soap and even more beautiful eyes.  We talked. Then I bought some calendula from her, the first of many purchases.  So much for competition.

I feel for the market manager and his task of herding all of our wares and opinions into our spaces but I know his secret.  He is watching out for all of us at the market, making sure that we are all well cared for.  When the weather turns cold, he creates space where there is none so that we can all fit into the warm, main building.  He makes a person feel easy, like you should on a Saturday in the South.

Recently, I bought a loaf of Magie's bread.  All seven ingredients are listed.  They are all recognizable things like yeast, spring wheat flour, and butter.  My kids eat that bread instead of chips and many Friday evenings have seen heated discussions about what kind to buy the next morning.

The truth is, I didn't mean to find my friends at the farmers' market.  But there they are.  There is the joyful woman who gave my daughter a small pot of "hen and biddies" and Michael with his collard shirts and I did not spell that wrong.  I will never forget the quiet integrity of Mr. H and his honey and how his unfiltered beeswax makes the best lotion cake ever.  That beeswax could make a donkey's hoof look like she'd gone for a french pedicure.

My sweet friend Angie and her pecan chewies and if that wasn't enough her lovely daughter had to go and get her started on that ultimate chocolatey death thing, and it is so good I think every piece added a year to my life.  Drury Lane sells amazing breakfast bars and you get humor with every purchase.  Kellie and her husband bring lettuce and peppers and pottery from the microfarm and her beautiful voice spoke encouragement to me once when I dared whisper about my dreams of writing.

Great, I am crying now and you folks from Rocky Mount weren't supposed to make me cry because I want to go back home and I'm not from around here!

No one knows home better than you.

You people who were so generous with the work of your hands and your happy hearts, you know that when the door opens I have to go back to my people but you had to go and grow my heart here.  Now my heart will break for you too and it was just supposed to be a farmers' market but instead it is a gathering of friends.

I don't think it's like this everywhere.  I think it's special here.

So go to the market.

Grab a twenty or whatever and pick up some fresh produce and eat it when you get home.  Get some cranberry honey this fall from Gardenbees for your biscuits or hot tea.  Pick up an organic roasting chicken or some seafood driven in from the coast and celebrate who you are and your friends, old and new.

They grow more than vegetables at the Rocky Mount Farmers' Market, they grow hearts.

Interesting Farmers' Market Facts:
  • The people who sell baked goods at the market are required to have a kitchen inspection.
  • Farmers who sell produce have their scales certified for accuracy every year.
  • Baked goods have a list of ingredients.
  • The market isn't just for groceries.  You will find pottery, beautifully bottled vinegar, quilts, plants, information on gardening, freshly cut flowers and the occasional live band or car show.

Farmers' Market Challenge:
Consider trying to buy most of your gifts at the market this year.  Our family did it last Christmas and it was a big hit.  Red pepper vinegar for someone who likes spice, a lovely bowl or chicken roaster, a scarf, a handwoven basket or beautiful woodwork.  Make a fruit or vegetable basket or pick up a beautiful piece of handmade jewelry.  Not every vendor or farmer is there every Saturday so come often to see new things.

This story was originally published on the Rise Rocky Mount: Our People, Our Stories Facebook site.  If you have a story about life in Rocky Mount that you would like to share, check out the Facebook site listed below or email Lori Harris at

Facebook pages:
Traveler In My Own Backyard
RISE Rocky Mount: Our People, Our Stories
Rocky Mount Farmers' Market

Other posts you might like:
Before we found out we were moving...Heavy, Heavy July
When your heart is one place and your life another...The Great In-Between
Friends...Iron Sharpens Iron...I wanna be like you...