This past June hubby and I visited the Blue Ridges again. We love those mountains and it’s people and culture or should I say we love the places we have explored so far. One of the things I noticed this time while visiting the backside of Gatlingburg was how often the people said ‘have a blessed day’. It makes me smile.
One morning we ventured to a farmers market and talked with the locals, who can spot a tourist a mile away. The question asked by one of the sellers was ‘where y’all from?’ I responded -Virginia Beach. This poor woman put her hand to chest and declared ‘oh precious I’m so sorry’. Now I was confused (doesn’t take much). I know Virginia Beach is not the best place on Earth but it’s not nearly the worst either. I was actually kind of offended. I proceeded to say, well I like it there. It’s not so bad. The sorrowful woman said, did you know any of the victims? How far was that shooting from y’all? Coming to understanding I assured her that while it was fairly close, I did not know of any of the victims. This compassionate woman followed up with, but it was still tragic to what has happened in your community. If it happened to one, it happened to all. I know it’s hard but we have got to be strong and don’t lose faith. We are praying for y’all. It’s just awful. It could have happened anywhere’.
Now, I was shocked when and where the shooting happened. We can ride our bikes to the courthouse area and back. My family called from allover the U.S. checking on us. For a days we were glued to any news that would help us to understand why this happened. But to go away on vacation and meet someone in another state, in a small town who took the time to console and remind us of how strong and necessary community really is was sobering. Her concern and care blessed me so.
Since returning home to Virginia Beach, I purposefully look people in the eye. I speak, whether others speak back or not. I say have a blessed day. I smile when I pass someone. I hold doors. I talk to cashier’s, servers or anyone really. I volunteer to serve others in my community by mentoring young girls. I seek the small business persons to support. I try to be better each day. I try to understand and grow and give. I am #vbstrong. I am #vbproud.
Spring can be quite busy for me as it is my favorite time of year right after Fall. It is also the time of year to clean up the yard, plant flowers, paint and clear out clutter from the winter. I also have a tendency to start huge projects inside. Since we are practically empty nesters, I am repurposing a few rooms in the house. Redecorating and using them in a manner that reflects our current lifestyle. In the midst of all this chaos, a dear friend texts and says ‘brunch Saturday? Lots to catch up on. Miss u.’ I’ve not talked to her much in the past six months because … well … life. Hers and mine. But, apparently she had time to pop up for air and wanted to connect. Well of course I said yes!
However, I did not anticipate working late most of the week, pulling a muscle in my back or getting off track with my projects. Once again … life. I thought about canceling our brunch date until I remembered my goal of being intentional. Brunch would take place no matter what. Friday after work, I would go to the store and get the things I needed to treat my friend to a southern ‘porch party’ brunch. When 5pm Friday arrived, I had all intents and purposes to hit the grocery and head home to prep. My body could only handle heading home to flop in the recliner. 6am Saturday morning I was still in that recliner fully dressed. I fell asleep and my family left me right there 😂. After getting acclimated to the morning …coffee. I remembered my brunch date and the fact that I had an upside down house and nothing to prepare for my husband’s breakfast or brunch. My initial thought was make a mad dash to the store and throw something together for both, clean the house … Well make it look presentable and then groom myself. However, just the thought of it exhausted me.
Nearly 7am, I could hear my son stirring about upstairs and I texted him, ‘breakfast?’ His reply was, ‘dont stress yourself, I will get us a breakfast sandwich from Dunkin Donuts’. Eureka! This kid (25 year old) is brilliant. Why not get pastries from the local bakery? 7am I was in my car making a mad dash to a wonderful fully stocked bakery. I purchased savory hand pies, miniature quiches, pastries and 1/2 a coffee crumb cake. Drove home placed the items on the counter and texted my friend – brunch, my house 10:30. Fixed us a spread. We can have unlimited time and coffee. Friend’s response? ‘sounds wonderful’. It is now 8am and I have just over two hours to pull this together but first a shower and change of clothes. After my shower I had enough time to get a 30 minute nap in before going back down stairs.
I cleared a space and brought two rockers in from the porch because it was already sweltering outside. Plated the pastries, made coffee and a small pitcher of water. But on some light jazz and let some sunshine in. Then I took the time to light a candle and pray. I prayed for my friend and our sweet fellowship. I also thanked God for her and the opportunity to hear her heart and to serve in any capacity that arose. I was filled with excitement and the anticipation of heart felt conversations and the immense laughter that would come as it always did. Oh my, did this visit refresh my soul and warm my heart!
My home was not perfect but it was in a state of transformation. She thought the rocking chairs were wonderful as we chatted and rocked and drank coffee for hours. She left at 3:30pm vowing it would not be so long the next time we met. I am so glad I did not left the hustle and bustle of life deter me from having a heart to heart with a dear friend.