My Southern Comfort

After our whirlwind couple of days we all drove over to Tennessee to join the family in the smoky mountains. Partly so we could breathe deep that mountain air, relax in rocking chairs on the porch, and do other things that are good for the soul, like indulging in bbq and fried okra. But mostly we went to celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday.
{"Sweet Tennessee, color of my soul in memory." ~ Judah & the Lion}

That being said, I still somehow ended up going home with presents. Tis the perk of being someone's fiance. Since this was the first time I had seen most of this side of the family since our engagement I got to show off my ring and share wedding plans. And I was sweetly gifted a cake server and knife with our names and wedding date engraved on them. I also received an apron with the initial of my new last name, and not pictured is the prettiest and most personal wooden sign with our names painted on it in the same calligraphy style as our save the date. I can't wait to hang that in our home!

Anyway... back to the birthday boy, the man of the hour, the grandpa of a lifetime! We ventured down the mountain on Saturday night for a special dinner out. We had a private room at a yummy restaurant (and it's a good thing since we're not a quiet bunch) and we all sat around the long table and shared memories, funny stories and anecdotes about the beloved husband/father/grandfather.

A lot of laughter filled the room. Grandpa is king of the corny joke, speaking of which, did you know that holdsemfromflopin is German for bra? I also know him to be endlessly kind, and loving, and patient, and sister reminded us of how she used to make grandpa do puzzles blind folded. Wisdom was shared. Gained from witnessing over 55 years of marriage, the ups and the downs, for better or for worse. And being that we are who we are (a family who wears it's heart on it's sleeve), and we're human, and life gets broken sometimes, there were also tears shed. In honor and celebration of children and cousins we've lost. Who we carry with us and always feel they are nearest when we gather together in the hills of the Smoky Mountains that are now sacred to us.

I shared not so much a specific story or memory but just noted lifetime of observing grandpa's unending and always evident love for my grandma. The way he is never without her, the way he always opens the car door for her and insists on driving (seriously I've never seen grandma drive ever), the way he still holds her hand, and watches her when she animatedly tells stories. As I prepare, as best you can, to start a new chapter of my life with T.J., I only hope we love each other half as well as they do.

And I also hope T.J. will insist on driving me around because I hate to drive.

Spending this time with everyone is so rare and precious. It is always loud, there are always people talking over each other, and I find that infectious southern drawl spilling out of my mouth as I join in. There are also lots of warm hugs, and grandma's homemade jelly and pickles, and stories about bats that get in your hair and make you crazy.
Both sides of my family bless me with wild and sweet and tender moments and I am so looking forward to having everyone all together again in just a few short months at my wedding! 
{"Sweet Tennessee, God has shed his grace, all over thee."  ~ Judah & the Lion}


  1. What a precious memory, so glad that you all could gather for sure a momentous occasion. And, YOUR big day is getting closer and closer. So exciting!

  2. those mountains are SOO pretty! xo jillian - stop by, im hosting a great giveaway on cornflake dreams

  3. Awesome Dad photo bomb! Super sweet post...I loved this one.


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