Tarrying in town

So, we added another few cities — Knoxville, Charleston, and Austin — to our mix of possible relocation spots, before deciding (for the moment) that we think we just might stay around here. Classic, huh?!

The Dillingham dudes stand 5,946-feet high atop Grandfather Mountain.

Yes, we love the mountains. Yes, we are up for adventures. Yes, we are outgrowing our house. And yes, we are seeking like-minded folks.

But yes, we’ve also realized how great we have it here. We are blessed with growing friendships, incredible neighbors, an amazing church, and a supportive homeschool group filled with kind and generous families.

Throughout all of this deliberation, I think our main goal was setting out to create and build strong relationships with other humans. I suppose the most apt assessment would be that we were in search of community.

See, Stephen and I have felt like square pegs for a long time now. And when the rest of the world abounds with round holes, it can feel quite isolating. Sure, individualism is a precious thing, but no man is an island, and most people yearn for social interactions that foster growth.

Daddy & the boys soak in all the beauty of the Blue Ridge. So darn pretty.

But so what if I’m considered a bit of a dissident in one realm of my life and then a little of a renegade in the another? Really, is that anything new? And really, would I have it any other way?!

After all, I’ve always had a rebellious streak. I mean, after realizing way back in middle school the foolishness of following the crowd, I’ve done a pretty thorough job of bucking conformity ever since. Stephen and I always get a chuckle when talking about how subversive our lives really are.

Just a few examples of our counter-cultural ways:

  • we’re married, monogamous, and have more than 1.2 kids;
  • we love Jesus, smoke cigars, drink beer, and occasionally cuss;
  • we believe in liberty, but also in virtue, morality, and objective truth;
  • we’re homeschoolers, who decided to homeschool well before we became Christians;
  • we often have more in common with the tattooed, pierced atheists than we do with church-going folks;
  • we attend a Gospel-centered house of worship, not a self-help church;
  • we delight in debate, disagreement, and discussing opinions that differ from ours;
  • we cling to our guns and religion, but we aren’t Republicans and we don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance.

After the boys & I scale Split Rock, Gabriel & I take a selife in front of some brilliant Flame Azalea bushes, which are scattered about the Grandfather landscape.

Stephen and I have discussed and prayed much about all this, and we just figured that God made us who we are for a reason and maybe we’re not supposed to fit in in order to glorify His purposes. Perhaps that’s our cross to bear.

And since we have come to appreciate all the incredible folks we know in our hometown, we might just stay put. It just took us a while and lots of reflection to see that the grass is actually pretty green right here.

Sure, we may relocate to another part of the county in an effort to shorten commutes and get a bit more space in the home, especially if Granny comes to live with us. (Keep your fingers crossed!) But we’re leaning toward not uprooting in a major way.

Instead, we will focus on the relationships we have here, try to grow in community, flourish in faith and knowledge, and still have as many adventures as we are able. That’s the plan for now … but knowing us, it can always change.

Yep, great family picture … other than my closed eyes & thunder thighs. Yikes! Still, everyone else looks rather handsome.

We finally took the boys to the summit of Grandfather Mountain — the wondrous and ancient pinnacle we’ve passed so many times on the way to Granny’s house. In fact, she got us free tickets to the notable Western Carolina destination to help ring in her much-deserved retirement!

After crossing the scary Mile High Swinging Bridge, we just let the quiet splendor of the Appalachians speak to us. Man, do I relish the mountains.

We also saw bears, otters, deer, a cougar, and a bald eagle in the wildlife habitat; climbed Split Rock for another sweet view; ate tons of locally made fudge; and (most importantly) got to spend some quality time with our beloved Granny!

Here we have a breathtaking backdrop, my husband NOT making a silly face (which is his usual M.O. for photos), & me … blinking. Sigh. Oh well, it’s still a nice shot taken by steady-hand Houston.

Other happenings:

  • The boys survived and thrived at Mountain Top Youth Camp. I’m especially proud of Gabe and Zeke, who tend to lean on mama a whole lot more than does Houston. Way to go, big boys!
  • Cousin Rick visited for the first time in almost six years. It was a chill weekend, and his rekindled passion for guitar has inspired Stephen and me to dust off ours. We plan on building are now-tender callouses into sturdy, guitar-playing machinery!
  • Gabriel and Zeke had their first piano lesson last Thursday! Their maturity with Miss Julie was evident, and our tripled time at her house was surprisingly calm and productive (i.e., we did school). I pray we maintain this happy pattern.
  • The dudes wrapped up baseball in late May. The Cardinals weren’t the best team, but boy, did everyone drastically improve their skills over the season. Also, a heartfelt thanks goes out to Daddy for getting them to all their practices!

Gabriel proudly displays his hand-crafted bow & arrow on pickup day @ Mountain Top. By that grin, I think it’s safe to say he had a blast @ homeschool camp!

  • We had our community group leaders, Andrew and Lindsey, and their daughter to our house for dinner recently. It was nice to get to know them better ’cause they are some solid folks.
  • Another great person is my pal, Adair, who had us over to her neighborhood pool last week. Her oldest kid, Will, is one of the 3 Amigos’ best buds, and we just so enjoy spending time with their whole crew. Such cool, genuine people!
  • The boys have gotten tight with Dixie, our homeschooled neighbor, who has always been a pal, but never really a BFF. But now, they all eagerly run out to meet each other and play four-square during “school day” lunch breaks, and get together for volleyball and water-gun battles in the evening. Good neighbors, rock!

The boys don’t want to leave camp & keep on playing “Ga Ga” w/ their friends. The game was all the rage for the first few days they were back home, but now Monopoly is again in the top spot.

Last but certainly not least, we went to Richmond to visit Gramsey, who recently had brain surgery! Yes, you heard me right. She had gotten CT-scan for a pain on one side of her head when the docs found a potentially deadly aneurysm on the opposite side.

Her operation went well, and her recovery has been quite speedy. She just has to avoid picking up heavy things and getting her heart rate too high for a while, which is actually challenging for my workhorse mother, but Papa is keeping her in check.

Strangely, the sciatica in her leg and hip, and the probably pinched nerve in her neck and head (opposite side of the aneurysm) are causing her more pain and grief than her post-surgery recovery. We love you, Gramsey, and are praying for your good health!