Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bouncy House Bliss and the Bible Belt

One of the best parts about visiting Memphis is that the majority of my family lives there. It was fabulous visiting some of my baby cousins after being in the old folks home all day. It was also wonderful to be down south where gentleman hold doors for ladies and are taught the importance of yes ma'am and no sir young. 

We tried to get my baby cousin to send a message to my Momma, Kaye. I love how he pronounces my name as if it is spelled "nail". Reminds me of the Poisonwood Bible where the mother would call her children and say, come here "rot nail" for right now. He was too excited to show me his Christmas present.

Kreider not only held the door for me but entertained me for hours with his precious sister Hampton and their daddy Trip, my first cousin in their bouncy house. It was the best time watching the joy on their faces and hearing their laughter.

I have never laughed so hard as you can hear in the video.

It was wonderful having some snuggle time with these precious creatures.

I love this photo of me and my cousin Trip in my uncle Robert and aunt Nina's wedding. This is one of my all time favorite photos. Trip and I have always been close and we've loved having him visit in Baltimore during his business adventures. Happy Birthday buddy!

There have been times when I question God's plan. I think I have all the answers and then something happens and I am caught off guard. I lost my job a few months ago. It was a shock and I honestly questioned God's plan in that moment. But now I am realizing that this time "off" allowed me to spend some of the most precious time with my ailing grandmother, cousins and family who I missed so dearly. God is so, so good. Fear not.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

In my human suffering it is hard not to worry, but I felt such a purpose in Memphis while I was visiting. It was wonderful to be helpful to my grandmother cleaning up her apartment while she would, "rest her eyes a bit." It was such a gift to stay with my aunt Louise and Uncle Chip, having them all to myself. I've never had dinner with just the two of them. Same for Robert and Nina. They also took me out to dinner one night and I realized I had never had time with them all to myself either. It was wonderful reconnecting with my family who we don't see nearly enough and just being there for Mary Frances. God does have a plan and I just have to remind myself of this again and again.

Being with family always brings great fun and photo flipping. Louise loves photos as much as my mother and I do. I had never seen these photos of Momma and Chip. Baby Nephew has the "Tayloe gap" in between his front teeth that Mom and I also had. It's so fun to put together these family pieces and giggle about what we looked like as children. Louise had extras made for me in the sweetest care package on my way back home! 

Momma and Chip

Chip, who looks so much like my Granddaddy in this shot.

Every time I come back to Memphis, we head to the Memphis Country Club for dinner. It's wonderful running into family and friends there. I've had people stop me and shriek, "Kaye Tayloe as I live and breath"...because I guess I look so much like Mom when she was younger. The club recently celebrated it's Centennial and I loved thumbing through the coffee table book in its honor. My granddaddy, Francie's husband, worked for Firestone. I didn't realize they used the club in its advertising. It reminds me of Mad Men.

My aunt has a wonderful woman in Memphis who does custom smocking. Is there nothing more adorable and southern as smocked baby clothes? She was getting some things ready for her grand-babies and a trip to the Gulf Coast. 

One night during my week stay, Chip helped me cure my BBQ fix with a casual dinner at home. Cole Slaw on pulled pork sandwiches is a must down here. After dinner we all headed to the garage to dig up grandfather. Dig him out of his crate that is.

Poor Grandfather was stuck in the garage with Uncle Chip's prized stuffed turkey for the past few years. I told my aunt and uncle the significance of the artist and told them we must unearth the painting. It was such a fun caper and felt like Christmas!

Chip greeted Grandfather with the most humble hello. 

Taken with Instagram

My great grandfather was 62 in this painting. Chip is 65.

We have Grandmother and they were both painted from 1935-1936 by Charles Frederick Naegele. This artist's works are part of a few exceptional collections including the Renwick Gallery, National Gallery of Art and the Portrait Gallery to name a few. It's amazing to think how special these works of art are and the details that went in to painting and sitting for them. Mr Naegle would have been 78 when he painted them. He was born in 1857 and died ten years after they were painted in 1944. Momma says that Grandfather went portrait crazy and we are so lucky he did. We will treasure them and keep them in the family for generations!

I love visiting the Bible Belt where faith is celebrated. When we were at my grandmother's cardiologist the front desk had this message posted. It was such a good reminder for me in this time of unknowing. 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they niether sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? Matthew 6:25-28
But strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
I have so many other photos from my trip and hope to upload them soon. Thank you Chip and Louise for the wonderful stay! Robert and Nina for the fun dinner and great night with your grand-babies. Trip and Jana for dinner and bouncy house laughter!!! Kimberly and William I have more shots of you and will wait for approvals to post. Blessings and love to our newest cousin, Grace, who was born yesterday! Sorry to miss you Lindsay, Rob and Jay. Thank you Lord for your comforting words and great guidance in these times of unknowing. 


Whitney and the Preppy Puppies said...

Nelle, your post was so sweet and your photos were great. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the time with your family, especially your grandmother. I lost mine not too long ago so I know how important those moments can be. I am terribly sorry about your job. I am sure there are better and brighter things on the horizon for you. :-)

Worthington said...

I could write a book on how awesome this entire blog post was. I loved everything about it. I love hearing all of these thoughts of yours and having you share family stories and photos!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

I think what I like most about this post is hearing your sweet laugh in the video! xo