Jun 132010

We’re not coming back. We’ve decided to stay and live in our sweet little water town.

Nothing monumental happened to help us decide. It’s all the little things.

It’s drinking our morning coffee on the front porch swing, and watching the sun set into the bay after the babies go to sleep. It’s wondering if we’ve enjoyed the sunset long enough, so we can get our ice cream and hurry to our beloved couch and tv.

It’s that I haven’t bought anything but food since April 1, and even so, I can’t think of a single thing that I need or want.

It’s that I quit locking our front door, and started leaving the car keys in the console.

It’s that we’re a WE here. Instead of 5 I’s…we’re a WE. What little there is to do, we do together.

It’s letting Amma do the driving on most of our errands. She’s only two, but she can maneuver that golf cart like nobody’s business.

It’s watching Chase stroll down to our dock with his net thrown over his shoulder like an Asian Tom Sawyer. It’s seeing him joyfully catch NINE SHRIMP, MOM and together driving the golf cart over to Bubba’s and Tisha’s to sell Bubba the shrimp. It’s giggling with Tisha while Chase and Bubba haggle over shrimp prices, finally settling on ten cents a shrimp. It’s watching Bubba hand over the ninety cents, grumbling about inflation, knowing that the second we leave he’s gonna pour those shrimp right back in the bay.

It’s roadside time-outs in corn fields. Nothing fixes a whiny road trip faster than pulling over and placing a shocked little naughty Melton bottom firmly between two stalks of corn. It’s smiling and waving to all the concerned passersby, while Tish screams, “MOMMY! YOU CAN’T JUST DO THIS! IM IN THE CORN!!

It’s that I’ve found more space in my day and heart to let Tish be Tish. If the girl wants to spend thirty minutes deciding which pair of wool tights to wear to the beach on a ninety degree day…so be it. We’ve got time. It’s discovering that she is so beautiful with a tan, so brave when she jumps off the dock into the bay, so gentle, so often, with her baby sister. It’s noticing that she’s actually not just a challenging part of my day. She’s a whole person, with her own days. Some of her days are harder than others, like mine. It’s noticing her more.

It’s walking to my mama’s house a few times a day to talk things over. That one could keep me here forever.

It’s finding out, along the way, that this place isn’t perfect for us. Nowhere will be. That was important to accept.

It’s that recently at church, our minister Valerie asked our tiny congregation for announcements. An elderly lady in the choir stood up in her shiny blue robe and held a spoon in the air. Not a special serving spoon, just a plain, metal cereal spoon. The dainty elderly choir lady said very slowly, “I think someone left this spoon at my house. I thought it might be someone from church. If it’s yours, I’d like to get it back it to you.” My eyes widened and immediately searched the sanctuary, expecting to see the knowing smiles of people tolerating this woman who was boldly spending their precious time on a single spoon. Nope. In fact, everyone was smiling earnestly at the choir lady and the spoon, including Pastor Valerie, because they were both theirs. The choir lady and the spoon. And they, the choir lady and the spoon, deserved to be treated with respect. And I thought, Oh, My. I have much to learn from these people. Because they know that God is in the details. They know that old ladies and spoons are infinitely more important than time.

It’s that I haven’t colored my hair or waxed my eyebrows or painted my nails or used a hair dryer for two months. I like figuring out what I actually look like. A little shabby, but not TOO shabby. No complaints from Craig. I read awhile ago that it’s not how a woman looks for a man that matters to him, but how she looks at a man. I’ve been testing that theory. So far, so good.

It’s Wednesday afternoons on the front porch steps, waiting with the kids for a glimpse of Craig’s red truck coming down Main Street. It’s watching them jump up and down as he climbs out of the truck and they prepare to attack. It’s watching him struggle to untangle himself from their little hands, so he can get to me first. It’s taking in his suit and tie, his shiny black shoes, his cologne. It’s knowing that over the next several days he’ll transform from business man to outdoors man. His clean shaven face will get a little scruffier each day. The smell of cologne will be replaced by sweat and salt and sunscreen. His button down will be replaced by nothing but dark, smooth skin and tattoos. Tattoos that say family.

It’s that last week in the car, the radio station stopped mid-song to announce that a little boy named John had lost his dog. The dog was black with white spots, and answered to the name of Rudy. Apparently John was extremely distraught. So could everyone keep an eye out and call the station if anybody saw Rudy? Then the all-call was over and the song resumed. I started crying a little. Chase heard me and said from the back seat, “It’s okay, mommy. They’ll find Rudy.” And I told him that I knew they would, I was crying happy tears because there are places where people want to stop and help. Where lost puppies and heartsick little boys are worthy of interruptions.

It’s that it’s harder to pretend that people or moments are dispensable here. You have to be careful in a small town. If someone has a loud, mean, barking dog, or is driving way too slow, you should not give the dog dirty looks or cut the slow person off. Because then you will forever be The Lady Who Gives Dogs Dirty Looks and Cuts People Off. There is no anonymity here. People are responsible for their actions. And if you don’t like your neighbor, well you best find something you like. Because nobody’s going anywhere. And there’s just not enough folks to keep trying people out till you find one that matches you perfectly. I’m learning to practice what I preach to the kids….you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

It’s that here, there are not six degrees of separation between God’s creation and our survival. Bubba introduced us to the local fisherman, and we watch them take their boats out each morning to catch the fish that we eat for dinner, the fish that they sell to feed their families. Chase has gone out fishing with the fishermen twice and each time he’s caught a week’s worth of dinner. Our freezer is full of rockfish, and when Craig grills it and serves it, Chase watches us chew each bite, pride filling his teeny chest. He’s also met the local farmers and visited the farms, and as we pass by the crops, he examine them and says things like, “The corn is looking a little short, mom. It should be knee high by the fourth of July. We need some rain, mom. Rain is what we need.” And then during his evening prayers he prays for rain for his farmer friends. He is starting to know the people who work the land and the water to feed America. He’s learning how it works. That real people and real miracles put his dinner on the table. That’s really, really important to me.

It’s that in the absence of buildings and highways, it’s easier for me to remember God’s providence. Living here is a constant reminder that God made it all, and what God made is enough. Enough to feed us, to entertain us, to satisfy us. Back home all the concrete and highways and business and hyper- organization tricked me into believing that we must provide for ourselves. That we must stay very, very busy in order to keep things running. But we don’t, really. We can just do our work for the day and then watch things grow.

It’s standing in the kitchen in the evening, cutting local veggies while Craig chases the kids and they laugh so hard they can’t stand anymore, so they flop down and roll on the kitchen floor, holding their bellies. It’s looking out the back window to the water and singing along with my country music. It’s realizing that my life matches my music now. That’s what I really wanted. Just a safe, pretty place to let my faith, family, and bangs grow.

I’ll catch ya back here next Monday with Tangled Up in Blue, Part Two. I don’t feel like rushing anymore. I’m feeling slow.

Love, G

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  50 Responses to “Tangled Up in Blue, Part One of Four”

  1. I know this post was from a few years ago, but my husband and I recently moved out to the country of San Diego (sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not!) from living in downtown and I can completely relate to this feeling! What a difference it makes to be surrounded by God’s creation rather than that of humans! It’s so inspiring to see how your kids are loving it, too! I can’t wait to experience the joys of motherhood and to raise our kids to know and respect all life. I hope you can remember this feeling and find rest in it in this coming year of book tours and travel.

  2. dreamy, just dreamy. . . i took a break from commenting on the posts as i catch up, i got “caught up” in the fast pace of “catching up” that I stopped letting you know im still reading. and this post . . . mmmm this post. . . a time to pause and thank God for small towns and bays and children and chances to notice the particulars of your child and teach me to be prepared to do that with mine and pausing again to thank God that at this very moment i’m hearing my husband, taylor, sing and laugh and talk with our 10 month old while they do bath time, his time with her, while i sit and soak ini this blessing of a post from a year and a half ago.
    again, not sure if you’ll ever see this, but, im reading every post and loving it :) and loving you, too. And praying for you and all that has come to your life since this post of simplicity. k, i’ll probably be posting a comment real soon again on another catch up.

  3. Glennon, You seem at peace and very happy. That makes me happy to see. Best of luck on your adventure!

  4. love this post, and so many lines, but this one stuck out:

    "It’s noticing that she’s actually not just a challenging part of my day. She’s a whole person, with her own days."

    that's my baby girl, too, and i need to change my perspective. and get to the beach!

  5. Good for you, Glennon! I'm so impressed with your blog AND you.

  6. Dear Monkees,
    Sorry it took me a while to comment back. I needed some time to pull myself together. You know how it is!

    Thank you so very much for your encouragement and support. I think it's so strange and yet so wonderful that I've never even met so many of you, but still can feel so safe and comfortable sharing these thoughts so stripped down and openly. Coming here each morning is like a giant exhale. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  7. Kelley, You are honest and brilliant and a beautiful writer. You just said what most of us feel, but I know you already know that.

    I think, you guys, there's no heaven on earth. BECAUSE…here's the problem…as Bubba always tells me…

    G – wherever you go, there you are.

    Heaven must be a change in address to which you do not have to bring your anxiety and fear and temper and neurotic personality.

    For now, my new town will do. FOR NOW. After the spider comment I'm thinking about moving again.

  8. Bravo Kelley, you are so beautiful and smart and lovely and perfectly awesome!!!!

  9. I could NOT POSSIBLY love this post more….Tim even read it a few times and teared up! You can live in a great big busy area anytime, but few people get to see this kind of life. I got it growing up in Swoope….we had the egg lady, the honey guy, the meat farm, the strawberry patch, etc. LOVED it. Of course my college roommates at JMU thought it was pretty funny that I ordered a pizza for the FIRST TIME in college! Also that I didn't know what cable was :) I think it's a great start to life for your precious babies! You look beautiful and happy as well! SOOOOOO happy for you guys!

    HOWEVER. My first thought was Adrianne. Adrianne, how are you with this?????? I probably need not even ask!


  10. Of course I talk a good game. Then I get a text this afternoon from my sitter cancelling for tomorrow and I'm not feeling so peaceful.

    Love your summer plan, Diane!

  11. vrwfox is right about finding your peace where you are. I love that this post helped me realize that I'm tangled up in blue most of the time, right here, right now. Yesterday, Thomas looked at the four of us sitting happily together in the living room, chatting and watching Deadliest Catch, and he said, "This is how we should always be. Nice to each other. I'll be nicer to Danny, and he'll be nicer to Daddy, and Mommy and Daddy will be nicer to each other. THAT'S our summer plan." So we all agreed. And summer starts now. It has more air conditioning and less bay breezes than the summers I grew up with, but I'll give this kind of blue a chance. And Kelley, I hope you can find a small way to drop out, right where you are. We're with you.

  12. Kelley, I absolutely adore you and your honesty even more.

    Big squeezes, Lou

  13. Great post… Lately, I have been feeling very overwhelmed by all the "stuff" aka "junk" in our house. I think I'm going to try to not buy anything but groceries for a while. Easier said than done but I'll take baby steps to try!

  14. My favorite line: "It’s realizing that my life matches my music now." Beautiful. I am so happy for you.

  15. Love it. Love you.

    Rest all you like, you deserve it.

  16. Kelley– it's not pity to wish things were different. It's grief at life not being what you wish it were. But so many things you described, especially about how you see your husband and children, are your choice. The way to fix that is to decide to fix that– not that it's easy, but it's completely possible, especially with a little prayer.

    I read the post before I did my least favorite duty of the day– getting two boys up and dressed and breakfasted for school. We are not morning people and that part of the day often includes yelling, complaining and recriminations (most of it mine). It's not like my kids suddenly became more efficient or focused, but I looked at them goofing off and was thankful that they are brothers who love each other. And then I fussed mildly at them to get their pants on and be ready for breakfast.

    I keep wondering if anything is in our control– other than our attitude. At first that sounds depressing, but I'm finding it freeing. Because seeking a positive and supportive attitude when dealing with my kids makes it easier for me to respond to them in a positive and supportive way. It's not my natural inclination at all– I'm a drill sergeant at heart and crave more order around this tiny, child-filled house. And still, I find that how I approach things makes all the difference. Which makes me feel more in control of myself at least.

    And please don't think I'm preaching to you about how to do this right. I blow at keeping a positive attitude. Just ask my husband.
    I just resonate with your pain and wish peace for you and your beautiful and smart and lovely and perfectly awesome family. The fact that you used those wonderful words tells me it's all going to be okay.

  17. PS: I love how cleverly you shot pics of you to not show us how the whole growing-out-the-bangs-thing is working out 😉

  18. Beautiful G. Thank you for sharing your slice of heaven with us. I want in on the sleepover. :)

  19. Loved this post! So inspiring. I am thrilled about the place that you found that is just right for you and your family. And this piece gave me the perspectacles to see my own place a bit more like yours. To appreciate my kids for all that they are, to truly look at my husband much more often and to focus on the important things (unlike what I was all stressed out about earlier in the week that really is going to all work out in some way with or without my stress, so why ignore my fam and make them miserable in the process!) Thanks for sharing a bit of you in a way that ended up helping me make a few changes in the way I view my home :)

  20. G–you have found at the beach what I have found in the mountains–it comes down to the fact that Quality of Life should not be something you wait until you retire to pursue. I go for long walks in my neighborhood with my wonderful neighbors–in nature–taking it all in and remembering every day how very lucky I am to live in a place many people would only go to "on vacation". So glad you are finding your new "non-concrete" digs a good place to step back & slow down & really see how lucky you are. Sara

  21. I love this and its sooooo inspiring. We are contemplating a similar move and while its scary, its totally exciting. All depends on my husband's current job, but its looking good. How have you made this work with your careers? Traveling? More/less hours?

    Megan M.

  22. love the photos of the 'everyday' – reminds me how my favorite family videos are not the christmas or birthday ones, but the ones were I happen to pick up the camera while the kids were just being themselves – crawling, singing, playing – expecially if they didn't know I was taping.

    I have been focusing on my Sat/Sun to be my little taste of 'blue' – less structure, more being.

  23. I can't stop crying.

    Partly because I'm so happy for Glennon and her family. Heaven on earth is what so many of us are working so hard to find, and finding it while she and her family are so young is such an amazing blessing, so worthy of being celebrated.

    Partly because as much as I'd love to leave the rat race behind and live in a small, lovely, slow-paced water town and only buy food, I can't. And that even if I went rogue and tried, our creditors would find us and drag us back.

    Partly because G's ease only reminds me how frantic I am most days. And that trying so hard to be everything prevents me from being able to just be.

    Partly because I know G is so right — that God is in the details. But I fear I spend most time focusing on the wrong details, and I'm not sure what to do about that.

    Partly because, if I'm truly honest, I haven't noticed my kids as much as I ought to. Which is truly devastating, because they're so beautiful and smart and lovely and perfectly awesome.

    Partly because, if I'm even more honest, I haven't looked "at" my husband with anything other than exhaustion in months. Which is truly devastating, because he's so beautiful and smart and lovely and perfectly awesome.

    Partly because I'm so tired and now feeling a bit sorry for myself to boot.

    And partly because I don't want the Monkees to hate me for being a debt-ridden, ungrateful mom and wife who throws pity parties for herself online.

    Ugh. I'm sorry, you guys. Back to work now. But G, even though I can't stop bawling like an infant, I'm so, so happy for you and wish you the very best. xoxo

  24. I've been following for a while but this is my first comment-I loved reading this, so my dream these days. I, too look forward to hearing how you are going to make this work with all the 'real life' details. Thanks for reminding me that it iss a possibility.

  25. Beautiful post– got teary reading it.

    I'm hearing a yearning from all sorts of folks for the time to be slower and listen and be together. I'm so thankful to see the Meltons have found that in their little town– but I think we can find it in our suburbs too. Maybe not every day but at least some days.

    I loved Tova's description of hugging for a really long time and choosing to do nothing. I'm a huge advocate for doing nothing– mostly because I'm lazy. But I also find that my kids are learning to amuse themselves and find ways to enjoy each other, THere was a Saturday recently when my 3rd grader and I were the only ones up. Instead of puttering around the kitchen and planning what errands to do (which is my usual way to start the day), he and I snuggled on the sofa and declared that we would not be leaving that spot ever. It only lasted 10 minutes or so, but those were high-quality minutes.

    I'm sure it's not all romantic– but I highly support any choice that leads to more shirtless photos of Craig.

  26. Sarah,

    Sweet Sarah. So excited that you wrote…more soon from me, promise. I haven't had internet access for over a week…I sneaked over to Bubba and Tisha's to write this post at the crack of dawn on Sunday…and sneaked back over this afternoon to check your comments.
    It's actually quite lovely to be unplugged…she said, while twitching and sweating and cursing.

    Love you all…I'll get into the logistics of how we're pulling this off in part two, three and four. The details are less romatic than this part of the story.


  27. What Jennifer said.

  28. Oh, Glennon. It's been so long. I've been lurking on your blog for about a month now, and — although I've probably been moved enough to do it before now — am finally commenting. I admit, I'm nervous. Really self conscious. But I couldn't help it after I read your post. I moved to upstate NY from NOVA 5 years ago, childless and following a dream with my husband. Now we have two sweet boys and I'm taking the plunge to "drop out" from working FT to stay home with my kids for a while. To get to know them again.

    That was the part that got me. Your (our) desire to slow down and NOTICE those people we love. Notice instead of wonder "why can't they be more…?"

    Frankly, it is sooo hard for me. It is a work in progress. Someone told me recently that "stepping out of line" is the hardest part. Stepping out of what everyone else thinks you should do.

    Glennon, me and you should talk some day. Our lives have way too many similarities — besides just our illustrious HS lacrosse prowess. :-) I'll keep writing if you do.

    Enjoy that back porch and coffee on the bay.

  29. Yay Glennon, so happy for you!
    For those of us that are secretly daydreaming about doing such a thing, can you explain logistics (working, money, buying a house, selling a house, school, etc)? Then maybe it will be possible for some of us to follow our dreams too!

  30. Glennon – what a great decision for you and your family. Glad you know it's the right one. My 'small town' is MUCH bigger than yours ~ but I love that our doctor lives down the street and when I panic about something I just call 'doctor neighbor', or last night when I didn't know how to get to the new high school where my son's camp is today I called the h.s. principal b.c he lives one neighborhood over and we're friends, etc. That's the part of small town living I love – the interconnectedness of it.

    Picture of the golf cart reminded me of going to visit my friend Anna in the Finger Lakes of NY. Her whole extended family had golf carts – about 6 of them – and they all BEDAZZLED the golf carts. It was hilarious! I'm seeing this in your future :)

    Have a fun do-nothing week :)

  31. Great entry. Really moved me:)

  32. Chimmy and I are waiting anxiously for our sleepover.

    So happy for you all

    P.S. next time can we get a few more shots of Craig from the front :-)

  33. Wow, that was so sweet. I cried. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. I said I was not a jealous person….but I am envious now! This all just sounds so good…so peaceful. All about family. That is what it is about. The rest is icing on the cake.

    You know, you're kids are actually going to be good drivers, seriously! Manuevering that cart is really going to help them with their driving skills. They are so precious!

    I love how you said "it’s not how a woman looks for a man that matters to him, but how she looks at a man". That is a quote that should go viral. It is very true Glennon. I have forgotten to look hard at my husband because we are so caught up in keeping out heads above water we forget why we got married.

    Well, off to work. Wiping these tears. I've been doing a lot of that lately! You are very blessed. You made a good decision.


  35. I think my favorite part is Tish – makes me smile :)
    Be well, friend!

  36. I am so happy that you've found peace! Best of luck to all of you.. thanks for the update.

    On a not so serious note– I grew up in the country.. your comments about the cornfields gave me flashbacks- watch out for the mind numbingly scary spiders that live in cornfields… omg.. once you see one– you won't ever stick your kids near one again. My sister and I can't even think about doing a corn maze… the joys of growing up near farms I guess?

    thanks again for sharing– I've been missing your posts.. Jen

  37. I'm having a hard time with the letting-go of the eyebrows, but I'll get over it. Seriously, so so happy for you all, G. Lots of love. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Oh it sounds so good to me.

    Thanks, G. Miss you. Love, Lou

  39. Oh my goodness, Glennon. I don't know where to start. I'll just say that it sounds wonderful. You summed up what so many of us want for our families but we (I) are too tangled up in the shoulds and the traffic and the standardized tests to do anything about it. xo

    I think I'll learn a lot from your being tangled up in blue.

  40. I am hoping by me quitting my job, I will begin to grab a hold of a little of what you are living. Ethan, my (eek!) first grader likes to put the word well at the end of his sentences. Don't ask where he gets it, I have no idea. But I was driving him to school his last day and I told him when he starts first grade, he would be a walker and not a car pooler because mommy was going to walk him to school instead. He was quietly playing with his batman and I assumed he hadn't heard or wasn't paying attention. Then out of no where, he said "that's a really long walk, well." I think I almost pee'd my pants from laughing. It is a rather long walk, but we will manage and hopefully smell the honeysuckle on the way.

    I am proud of you Glennon.


  41. I desperatly need what you have just described. I need it so badly that it brings tear to my eyes (literally) and heart to think that this kind of peace and slowness is out there and I'm not near it. How oh how can I have this too? I don't want concrete and office buildings. I want fresh breezes and open air. I just ache for it… not because it's perfect, nothing is… but because it is living, not simply surviving.

  42. Somehow congratulations seems appropriate and woefully inadequate. Enjoy your slice of heaven on earth and hope that continue to find new little joys to share.

  43. What a great decision you've made. Enjoy the peace and solitude there in tiny, tiny town!

  44. I was just dealing with an 18 month old that was disobeying AGAIN!!! And he came to say sorry with tears on his face (time out) and he threw his short arms around me as I sat on the floor and didn't let go. And I slowly relaxed and leaned back and eventually we were both lying on the floor hugging for a really long time. And I took big breaths so deep they almost hurt and time stopped. Now he's sleeping and I am packing us up for the beach. Your post confirmed my plans. :) Your post also confirmed my decision to not do too much this summer. As in pretty much nothing.

  45. sitting on my screened in porch loving your blog. so happy for you and the fam. hugs.

  46. Beautiful, Glennon! I am so happy for you and your family. I am also inspired NOT to fill up all the empty days on the calendar.

  47. wow. what joy. pure, unfiltered joy. It resonates in all your words, your photos, your voice.

    I am so happy for you. You have found IT, my friend. IT is heaven.

    I long for the days when we will get to move out to God's country, but in the meantime, I'm trying my hardest to slow down and just enjoy our little lives.

    This made me cry. Beautifully written. Glad I accidentally hit my bookmark just now!

  48. I am so happy for you Glennon! And so envious too! Next time I'm down that way, I'm coming to sip coffee with you and soak it all in! (hope you don't mind that I'm inviting myself – should I call first, or just show up 😉

    enjoy your little slice of heaven…it really is in all the little things!

    xoxo ~ kristi

  49. I probably should stop reading your blog post-partum. Tears are streaming down my face and all I want to do is grab my sunblock, my 3 boys and head to the water. A beautifully written story once again, G.

    In honor of you today, I will sit on the porch and sip my coffee instead of making that dreaded trip to Costco.


  50. I don't normally check your blog on Sundays but today I just did and WOW! I'm so glad I did. I felt like I just took my first deep breath in a month. My Grandma lives in a place similar to your new home. I think this week I'll drop all the unimportant hurry of the suburbs and visit my best friend. I need a few more deep breaths. Your awesome G!

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