Home: where the heart is

I live in an older home… older than me anyway and that’s quite old enough for a house. The “must do” list is long and seems to grow longer even as items get crossed off. The “want to do” list is even longer still and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all.

But on days like today, I am overwhelmed in a different way. As I’m in my kitchen baking a

South Georgia sunset
A sunset captured from my front yard.

cheesecake to help celebrate a friend’s birthday, as my sister stops by to take her lunch break with me, as I’m in the garden putting down mulch and working with the soil, as I plan and picture where things should be planted, as I watch the bluebirds flitting in and out of their house preparing for young ones to come, as I feel the sun on my back and a cooling breeze on my face; I am overwhelmed with a sublime sense of belonging and being blessed beyond measure.

My home has many flaws… and there are many things that I could do to make it better. But even with its imperfections – and perhaps sometimes because of them – it is a very nurturing place for me and on days like today I fully appreciate the sense of peace and rejuvenation that it brings.

It’s a bit cliche to say it, but on days like this I’m reminded of how important it is to count your blessings. Life can be frustrating and complicated and hectic and there are so many things that can bring one down. But it’s truly remarkable how much a thankful heart can

garden South Georgia Transplant
My garden isn’t grand or all that pretty to look at, frankly, but I gain a lot of sanity out there!

change our perspective and bring us the moments of peace and joy that we so desperately need in our lives!

I’m so thankful that my home has a big yard that welcomes lots of wildlife. It gives me plenty of room to plant a garden, have a space for my dogs to play (and stay out of my hair), and lots of space that allows me not to be squashed in by neighbors on all sides.

I’m thankful for a home that is filled with things that make me smile, bring back memories, or are just beautiful to look at. I’m thankful for the solitude it allows me, my home is truly my sanctuary and where this introvert goes to recharge!

In today’s world of Pinterest, and home improvement shows, we often get caught up in what our home is not.  Today is a good day to focus on what your home is. What about your home are you thankful for today?



Maddy South Georgia Transplant
What says “home” more than a dog snoring happily?

Can you go home again? Resoundingly, “Yes!”

In the days leading up to my recent trip to Puebla, Mexico, I asked myself that question many times. It had been 25 years since I left the city where I grew up and I had not been back since.

I don’t think a day had gone by when I hadn’t at least thought about Puebla in passing. That place was simply a part of me. And I missed it.

So, it was with more than a little excitement and a measure of trepidation that I began my trip back “home” to a country to which I didn’t belong and a language with which I was no longer very familiar.

And I wondered. Would it be like I remembered? Would going back just make me miss it even more when I left again? Would it feel like home? Or would I truly be a foreigner that didn’t really belong?

As my plane flew closer and closer to my destination, I could feel my heart beating faster and faster, my anticipation growing exponentially with each mile that literally flew by.  I looked eagerly for the mountain peaks that would signal my arrival, but the heavy cloud cover kept me guessing as to where I was.landing

But as we came through the clouds, I saw the landscape which I knew so well from my childhood and the question that had been nagging me for months was instantly answered – you CAN go home again.

I freely admit that the tears began to flow and before I knew it I was sitting there weeping on a plane. The poor man across the aisle from me was very concerned for my well being. But the truth was, in a very unexpected way, I was well and I felt whole again.

I think it is completely appropriate that we use the metaphor of roots when we speak of belonging, history, family, and home. I don’t know why, but I believe (and feel my recent experience helps to prove) that as people we connect quite literally to the ground beneath us. That our environment, the landscapes, the plant life, the sounds, the sights, the architecture, the asphalt, the very earth itself, is ingrained in our souls – it becomes a part of the essence of who we are.

And every time we move, a little piece of us gets left behind in the soil and a little bit of that soil gets taken with us. And we are forever changed.

“My” mountains!  Popo and Ixta.  3 of my 8 years spent in this beautiful part of the world were spent living in a house near the base of the hills in this picture. That was literally my back yard.

I really don’t mean to get too philosophical on the subject, and I can feel eyes beginning to roll. But my recent trip home healed me profoundly in places that I didn’t even realize were broken. And it was the place that did it.

By that, I mean that I have no family left in Puebla and there were only a few people that I saw while I was there that I knew when I was growing up. So, it wasn’t “home” in the sense of a community that I needed to visit, it was “home” in the sense of place. (Not that I didn’t love every moment I spent with those people!!!)

My soul had yearned to see “my” mountains, to walk the streets surrounded by colonial architecture, to be enveloped by the vibrancy of life there, the people, the culture. To experience the sights and sounds and smells of the place where I spent my formative years.

During the months that have passed since I made my brief trip to Puebla, it has become evident that I needed the closure that it brought. Prior to going back “home”, not a day went by that I didn’t think of Puebla at least in passing… and it always brought a bit of a pang.

But by going home again, that little wound that I had carried with me for 25 years was stitched up and allowed to heal. I realized a few days ago, that I think of Puebla slightly less often, and when I do, it is without the pangs!

I do believe that my roots have finally caught up with me and found me here in South Georgia.