When I was growing up, I loved where I lived. I loved my parents' house, my small town, Arkansas in general. I was never the one who couldn't wait to get out of my hometown. Actually I was the exact opposite. In college I went home almost every weekend because I just loved it so much. It was peaceful to me.
So you can imagine how hard it was when Cash and I got engaged to realize I would never live there again. I knew my life would be in an oilfield somewhere. I wouldn't trade my life with Cash out here in West Texas for anything, but I struggled a great deal (and if I'm honest, sometimes I still do) leaving the beauty of the Ozarks and the comfort of my utopia.
My hometown is perhaps one of the most gorgeous places on earth. I tell people that and often they chuckle because they have this image of Arkansas. I get it. But in my opinion folks are really missing out not experiencing the Pig Trail on a beautiful fall day. (Trust me, Google it.)
Ozark is settled in at the foot of the Ozark Mountains with the Arkansas River running along its southern border. While the river bridge is an often photographed portion of the town and beautiful in and of itself, I have always favored the mountains. And my most favorite place to view these mountains is on the front porch of my parents' farm. Looking over a hayfield, beyond the tree line where the forest begins, you can watch the rain roll across the mountains on a summer day or bask in the glory of those hills wrapped in a blanket on a cool Fall morning. No matter the season. No matter the weather. That front porch and mom's sweet tea are my favorite things in this world.
|Arkansas River bridge in Ozark|
|A shot of the Ozark Mtns from Upper Jethro Road (yeah, really, Upper Jethro)|
Moving to West Texas has had its own joys. The sunsets (I don't tend to be up in time to watch the sunrise...never been a sunrise kind of girl) are exquisite, and the desert has a beauty all its own. But I often long for a cool morning with my mom sitting on her front porch. If I was making a list of the best things in life, that would be at the top. Every time.
So lately I've been trying to find things that can give my kids a feeling of warmth and home. As I've grown up I've learned I can't recreate Ozark. I have to take Midland for being Midland and find the beauty in that. But how do I make this a warm, inviting home for my children? What are they going to grow up and remember about home? What is it every day that makes it a great day?
Last night Cash decided to get grilling season started at our house, and he made a slam dunk with pork chops, green beans, and corn on the cob all grilled to perfection. We decided to eat outside and enjoy family time in the wonderful Spring weather. It was so peaceful. When we were going to bed, I told Cash eating outside was my very favorite thing from today.
It was Henry's favorite too. I knew because he began crying as soon as we picked him up to go inside and didn't stop crying until he was asleep. I promised him I would take him out the next morning for breakfast.
As soon as I picked him up out of his crib this morning he began signaling MORE MORE! I sat his high chair up, whipped up some breakfast, made a cup of coffee, grabbed AnnLouise from her basket, and sat outside with my little loves. H enjoyed his breakfast listening to the chicken cluck (oh yeah, we have a chicken?!) and watching the dogs play.
After he was done, he ran around checking eggs and exploring the backyard. It is not quite noon, but I think breakfast outside with my 2 little loves, a couple dogs, and a chicken named Popeye will be my favorite thing today.
|A boy and his dog|
|Man on a mission|
|Sissy girl enjoying the morning|
|Checking for eggs|
|Getting quite the collection|
So, I may not be Erin Napier and writing this down every day. But it has already been uplifting to think about the best things of today. I'm counting my blessings and naming each one of them, naming them one by one.