In My Garden

April 18, 2016




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


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.

                             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


Wealthy Is a State of Mind

January 29, 2013


My grandmother Mary Leonard Yates and brother Wade, Blountstown circa 1920.

I am by no means a wealthy woman, I’m really lucky if I have two nickels to rub together! But at times I feel so rich…… not in worldly ways but in the rich memories that I carry around with me. Everytime I go to visit my ninety four year old grandmother, we dispense with formalities and she’ll want to take a walk out in her backyard to see all the plants and just to talk. I love these walks and over the years have learned many southern plants, what not to plant where and who passed down the plants to her. But most importantly I hear stories about her growing up on the same land that we now walk. I crave this kind of continuity that I did not really have for a good part of my life, moving a lot with an ambitious father who wanted to get the heck out of Calhoun County. With my grandmother I have that kind of history and I feel like I too grew up there. Some of the things that please me the most are as random as they can be, but here goes…….. the smell of tea olive blossoms at a bedroom window, the sound of mourning doves cooing in a nearby tree, picking blueberries from the bushes in the yard, checking on the little kid goats in the walled in area out back, sitting on the patio eating boiled peanuts and catching up on the latest, going to town to shop at the dime store, getting milkshakes and then sitting at the river landing to see what was going on ( I know this sounds boring for a Saturday night , but to this girl it was wonderful ). Something as simple as taking a plate over to Miss Thina next door or calling our cousin Len Bailey to see if he was cooking any BQ on his smoker… then a trip to the Chipola river was necessary if he was. All these are the best parts of life to me, simple, uncomplicated, and real . I would say that I am a very richly blessed girl indeed