Memaw's house

 

A couple of years ago, I went through a terrible time in my life. Plain and simple, I lost two family members within six months of each other. I always thought I was a strong person, having been a single mama with a sweet little girl, working hard to get somewhere, I thought I could handle most anything. Wrong. Sometimes life grabs you by the collar and shakes you, and needless to say, I was shaken to my core. I found out if you don’t deal with the many things that happen in life, they bubble up to the surface and then have to be dealt with. So all the neatly filed things that was evidence of my zoning out, began to fly out at me like a crazy scene in Alice In Wonderland.

My therapist recommended I do something that I loved to do as a child, to help heal that little child. I decided to paint, and paint I did. I painted memories of growing up in a small town, angels drifted in and out of my paintings, along with mermaids and beach scenes. Anything to bring me peace. The peace came, and I found out more about myself in this creative outlet than I had ever even dreamed of. It has been a magical, healing, outlet for me and I am still painting away!

I kept noticing that I put pink houses in my paintings, with shutters. Not even realizing why, I just noticed and filed away. One day I went back home to my small hometown to visit my grandmother. We spent the remaining few years she was alive getting to know each other better, listening to her wonderful family stories, grieving together the loss of my mother and my brother, loving each other. I walked a few hundred feet to the old house where my grandmother was raised. It just reverberated with old family get togethers, much love and sadness, still just a beautiful old house. And it was pink. I realized I had been painting this old house over and over again in my healing process. I was dumbfounded. It all came back to family, and love, and life and living. I smiled as I headed back to my grandmother’s house. I felt like I had connected a few more dots in my life and it felt really good. I am connected to this place, this town, my roots are here.

My grandmother passed away a few years ago, I smiled when I thought of her rejoining all those loved ones that had gone on before her. So thankful for the time that I had with her, the God breezes I experienced when I decided to be open to the hurt and love that happens in life. Connecting and reconciling , being present in my life, and learning to just be…… has been the greatest journey of my life. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day and God’s blessings to you! Suz

 

 

 

In My Garden

April 18, 2016

 

 

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constant gardener II

How beautiful have these days been!!! I always love the springtime, the windows in my house are opened to let the breezes blow the cobwebs out, freshen up everything and revive my senses. I plant new plants and see our strawberries from last year have wintered over and are producing beautiful red berries. The iris moved from mama’s yard are blooming purple and bright yellow. She loved those iris and I am happy to say they are thriving. It reminds me of her yard, lovingly tended to with a grand baby at her side, neighbors walking by, just a sense of content being that is so hard to achieve in this world.

The first things to bloom here in Northwest Florida are my snow drops. I especially love these because they were brought over from our family home on the Outer Banks by my grandmother. then my mother transplanted them to her home and now I am the happy recipient of their beauty. There is a family story that my great grandfather held up one and commented on God’s perfection of detail on these small snowy white bells with green dots. I know he died when they are in bloom because my great Aunt Sister tucked one in his lapel when he was laid to rest.

I feel so close to God, especially when I am outside working the soil and planting,weeding, planning. There is something very healing in being in a garden. I like to think my deceased gardening loved ones are smiling as I pull weeds and divide plants. I was talking to a friend recently and we laughed thinking about these loved ones tending to Heaven’s garden, which I am sure there is one. For some reason I picture it as the most beautiful of all gardens and every leaf and flower and droplet of water is praising God. Glorifying Him with all that is in them. In my garden, I am covered with dirt, blisters on my hands, hair tousled and smiling the biggest smile… thank you Lord for your beauty, attention to detail and for loved ones who passed on an appreciation for your world.

Love,   <><  Suzanne

 

Missing Home

November 17, 2015

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I have been going, going, and gone for awhile now. Preparing for art shows, teaching classes, making ornaments…. I want to slow down, spend some time with my Lord, quiet time to realign myself, to listen, to rest and invigorate . I want to go home to Blountstown where I hail from but have not lived there for many years. I want to sit by the Apalachicola or Chipola river and just watch the water go by, I want to crunch leaves down a forgotten path, I want to go to old homesteads where family meals were shared along with old stories, good food, good people. I am missing home. I miss burn piles, leaf piles, hot chocolate with marshmallows, corduroy pants, flannel shirts, playing with cousins, hearing my name being hollered out to come wash up for supper… or dinner. I miss faces and voices that are gone now . I even miss deer being dressed in the back yard, and bags full of soft quail… knowing that a wonderful meal was soon to be had. I miss exploring with my grandfather, listening to my mama and grandma gossip in whispers, I miss a picture being taken of the Thanksgiving table because my grandaddy was so proud to have good food on the table. I miss them.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for all that I have family wise. A sweet husband, darling daughter and a wonderful son in law, aunts and uncles and cousins. My cup runneth over in so many ways. Eucharisteo, giving thanks for everything in all circumstances. I just am missing home. A place that is burned on me, deeply rooted in who I am. I am grateful for the memories that the good Lord has blessed me with and for all those that loom ahead. Be thankful, Eucharisteo, giving thanks just as richly as we have been given. xoxo, Suzanne

p.s. the painting is of a creek in Calhoun County painted from a photo of Jim McClellan’s.

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The Path Home

I don’t know about you, but Mother’s day can be a kinda hyped up day for life at our house. My family tries so hard to honor me and please me, but they don’t know that everyday is mother’s day for me. They had planned a wonderful day for me but there was a trip to the emergency room, the roast was frozen and was in the crock pot forever, a trip to the drug store to pick up drugs for my husband’s scratched cornea….. it had all the makings of a crazy, chaotic day. But it wasn’t. After we got him home and comfortable as possible, there were Bloody Mary’s for all, a caprese salad made by my sweet daughter to tide us over, lots of slow sweet moments for the four of us. I chose Eat,Pray,Love for our watching delight and laughed at the scene where a turkey had not been defrosted for the Thanksgiving meal…. and just like the characters we made the best of it and had a great time. When the roast was done out came cole slaw and potato salad,and for desert Talenti gelato…. which we all ate out of the container with spoons. Gifts of candles were forthcoming….my favorite gifts to receive and more wine. All in all, it was a splendiferous day for me… all the apologies fell on deaf ears because we were safe, sound, bellies full, hearts full. I was surrounded by people that I love and love me and could not feel more honored this day. But the thing is…like I said, I feel like everyday is  Mother’s Day with blessings galore. My cup runneth over.  Suz

                             She slowly walked through the house trying to take all the memories in, trying to hold back the tears but the emotions started to take over. The house that she grew up in, raised her daughter, lost her mother and became a woman in was being sold.  A young couple ,who had wanted to live near the coast , had been excitedly measuring for furniture and picking paint colors trying to be discreet. She tried to smile remembering too when she had moved in and covered all the chairs and sofas in faded florals and painted every piece of furniture in pastels and white. Trying to make it hers after her mother had passed away had been hard, but after the initial shock of painting the rooms white, she grew braver and bolder than she had ever thought possible. It was exhilarating, she was becoming her own person, finally the true Carolina Jamieson began to emerge from the rubble of life. She was named after the Carolinas where her parents were born and raised, her mama being from South Carolina and her long deceased daddy was from North Carolina. She had brought her baby daughter home when her marriage had ended abruptly and raised India there in the big, old clapboard house on the coast of North Carolina . India had flourished there on the coast, playing in the sunshine and dunes and grew to be a healthy, tanned, lovely young woman. She had loved the  old house too, but she was young and she had her whole life ahead of her. She had packed her bags and tearily said goodbye to Carolina and had started out on her big life adventure . As it should be. Carolina thought about her mother and father who had moved in after his mother had passed away. It was a house of cool breezes, stacks of books read and waiting to be reread , and straw mats on the floors. In the winter months, the oriental rugs would be pulled out and the fireplaces lit and life would be very cozy there on Front Street. Carolina was grateful for the protection and love that she had experienced there in the house and knew that the young couple that would be moving in shortly would be very happy there too. But it was time for her to go, to find her new place in the world, time to take that leap of faith and  share this old home with others . She opened the screen door and the breezes brought in the sweet smell of jasmine and gardenias, a good bye gift for her. The palm trees and palmettos waved their good byes as Carolina slowly walked to the car and looked back one more time. For an instant, she thought she saw a figure in the window watching and then it slowly stepped back. She rubbed her eyes, smiled and turned back to the packed and waiting car. She knew that saying goodbye wasn’t necessary, because a little part of her would always be there in that old house that she had loved and had loved her back so well.        The End

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A walk down memory lane

February 16, 2013

I know I can go on about the past, I don’t mean to. It is just a big part of who I am in this world.The basic truth is…. I dig history! I caught myself droning on about family history lately to a friend and I suddenly realized, this probably not what people want to hear. My own family doesn’t want to hear sometimes, but I find it fascinating to know the details and stories that somehow weave themselves into my history. I guess I love to know what makes people tick and how they turned adversity into triumph, what were their fears, prayers, successes…. I tend to go back to where a lot of these stories happened, I can almost feel their presence with me as I walk along. Recently I visited our family’s old home and took photos. I grew up on the same land that my great grandparents and my grandmother’s family did. I didn’t know them but they have been kept alive by stories and pictures from my grandmother Mary. The grape arbor is still there that my great grandaddy built for his younger wife. It is very low and I find out that she was short and he built it so she could reach the grapes . After almost 100 years, it is a reminder of his love for her. The palms and bridal wreath bushes are there that she planted many years ago lining the long drive. She planted trees knowing that she would never see them grown, but so that we could see them generations later….. so cool. I slink around the yard of the house like a stalker because the new owner is reclusive and won’t come to the door…. and I have to do this! The goldfish pond is gone that she had put in and the strawberries that Nanny Leonard loved are long gone in the walled in garden to the side. But as I sit there, I can almost hear the house come back to life as it was back then. Yeah, I guess I do live the past a little…. but it just enriches my life today and makes me happy to be here , just knowing and being. God bless your day. SuzImageImageImage