Tuesday, August 24, 2010


These pictures are from Southern Living and House Beautiful

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Is Where I Am

Feeling at home in Tennessee is a work in progress for me.  I love it here, particularly all of it outside of Memphis.  Even Memphis, though, has begun to feel like home in many ways.  I love our church and our friends here.  I know my way backwards and forwards through the city, or at least the parts I need to be in, and I've started to appreciate all the things I couldn't when I was still behind the gates at Rhodes.  I keep having these moments, though, when I realize that there is no other home base.  There really hasn't been for a long time, but recently it went from minimal to non-existent.   Memphis is now home, because no where else is.  Before you read on, to what is bound to be a bit of whine fest, know that for all these things, I am grateful.

I don't mean to suggest that a few moves are the most traumatizing thing that can happen to a person, not by a long shot.  It is, though, psychologically an odd place to be, or at least it always has been for me.  I lived in Mobile until I was nine.  After that, we lived in Panama City for two years, and then moved to Fairhope, across the bay from Mobile.  Fairhope is the place I consider home, because I lived there and went to middle school and high school there.  As soon as I started college, though, we moved back to Mobile.  At the age that I wanted to be "going home" during college, I was going to a house that was no more home to me than a hotel.  Different furniture.  Different everything.  Adapt, adjust, move on, don't look back.  It made maintaining my high school friendships essentially impossible.  It wasn't that I couldn't visit, it was just that I was always visiting.  It changed the dynamic, eventually too much.   I lived in nine houses before I was out on my own at twenty-two.  Because of that, my feelings of "home" were based vaguely on where I went to school.  When I was in college, I never knew where to say I was from.  Mobile.  Fairhope.  Neither.  I'm from my dorm.  I never really cared for the sake of having something to tell people, it's more the uncertainty in my own mind.  Both of my parents are from Montgomery, but I never spent much time there and was often the odd man out as a result, or at least I felt that way.  That was never so clear to me as at my wedding.  I am related to only two people that came. They'll never know how much it meant to me that they were there.  I know there were unasked questions as to why no wedding showers were being held outside of Lewisburg (Craig's hometown) and why the rehearsal dinner was so lopsided in terms of family.  All I can say is that, it really doesn't matter.  I have loved and been loved plenty.

I'm coming to terms with this recent change. So many things have changed for the better, to be sure.  Really, though, this isn't about anything but me.  It's about my struggles to find a foothold, to make  this my home.   Change is good and change is healthy, but change has left me behind many times. Because of this, when things change I tend tuck in like a turtle and hold fast to all the things that I can.  That's why I save everything.  I have boxes of mementos and trinkets.  Artifacts.

This feeling of being misplaced is familiar, and if I'm being completely honest, one that I have to take some responsibility for.  It was set off by such a silly and insignificant thing.  A group was started on Facebook for the ten year reunion (in two years) of my high school class and I was immediately crushed.  I dread going to Mobile/Fairhope again.  I'm so glad for my Mom that she has found a place she loves and that she's happy in Virginia.  That is the most important thing, by far.  I wouldn't change that for anything. Anything.  Frankly, Mobile isn't what it used to be anyway.  The fact is, though, I no longer have any ties to the life I used to live or to my childhood.  Physical proximity to the places I used to know was what was left.  This so melodramatic and I can't believe you're even indulging me by reading so far, but when I think about all the people and places I used to know, there is no evidence of it anywhere now.  It's like it was all erased.  A kite whose string was let go.  In my life I've had many houses, a mother, a father, a stepmother, a stepfather, three step siblings, grandparents, step grandparents, several home towns, groups of friends, and many familiar places and faces.  Of all those, only my Mom remains, but even she has been changed by the hills and blind curves of our path.  Overall, though, she's been the hand that kept the compass pointing north.  Thank God for that.

The grass is always greener.  I know that.  I know that those with childhood homes and lifelong friendships might see that constancy as dull and confining.  They might long for new surroundings, a new cast of characters.  Maybe they feel stifled by holiday traditions and prying family.  A rolling stone gathers no moss, after all.

Ugh, I'll shake this off again.  I won't worry about things that simply were not and are not.  I've worked to create a life for myself with roots and have had some success in those efforts.  I value the moss that I'm gathering, even though it is a strange feeling.  I'll always be a bit of a restless soul.  How could I not be?  I've had the advantage of being able to grow into my own person and have discovered how to rely on myself.  I know the value of forward motion.  I know to never throw out the packing tape.  It's made me what I am, and for that I'm grateful.  I'm one of the toughest little cookies I know.  One thing I have learned, is that you can make your life over, over and over, until you get it right.  Adapt, adjust, move on, don't look back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I recently posted some of our long lost engagement photos. When I was going through those I found these. They are the bloopers of sorts. Frankly, they're mostly just me missing the mark in a big way. Craig has a few choice ones, though. I'll be honest, it was really awkward.  We were in the middle of downtown on a Saturday morning, so Beale Street looked like the walk of shame.  We saw a crack pipe while we were looking lovingly into one another's eyes.  I threw in a few good ones because I deserve to for putting embarrassing pictures on the internet for the entertainment of my friends.  Wedding addition (and there are some much bigger doozies there) to follow. And disposal of that sack of a dress. You should know there were some other bad ones where I looked fat.  I don't consider those bloopers, only a shame. 

Sexy Lockes. Real sexy.  Most of these are a study in my stiffness. 
Being engaged is Ha-larious.
This isn't horrible, but it is a bit Jessica Rabbit.  Not the theme I had in mind.
Yeah right, you can't read.  Look at my horse chompas.

Bystanders: "Look, how sweet."
Craig: "I think we're standing in pee."

Photographer: "Look natural."
I do what I can.
Hey good lookin'
Back up ladies.

We may have exaggerated.  I'm not sure, I don't remember.

I have to add this one, because I like the idea that we do look like normal people who love each other sometimes.

The next in this series are the worst. I should explain.  The idea was that our photographer would take pictures and I would be standing in the back looking at him all artsy like.  The only problem was, I didn't know that.  I thought I was out of the shot.

They were supposed to be like this but......

Craig: "What's this door got to do with it?"

And for the grand finale.  I loved our photographer and her work, but this is no bueno.

Obviously, this isn't going on the mantle. 

Book Report

Read this book.  It is wonderful and has really had a huge impact on my life.  I wrote three different short posts about this, but I deleted them all.  I either sounded like a holy roller, or a huge book snob by explaining that the novels I usually read, other than this kind of book, are real literature and how Nicholas Sparks is a bozo.  I do, for the record, believe that last bit to be true.

I've read a number of books about faith and all that I can find on Heaven, but this book is especially unique and well written, in my opinion.  I would highly recommend it.  I wish that I could say more, but it turns out I'm kind of a jerk on the subject. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Anniversary

Our anniversary is on the 15th.  Anyone in the bridal room before the wedding must have thought we'd never make it this far.  I was all but breathing into a bag.  I was a nervous wreck and was having trouble catching my breath.  I had big, red splotches on my chest from my nerves and I couldn't talk to anyone.   I know that it looked like I had doubts and that I might not walk down the aisle at all, but that's the farthest thing from the truth.  I've never, ever doubted that Craig was a gift in every way.  Instead, I was overwhelmed both by the hugeness of the step we were taking and having serious self-doubt about my own worthiness of him and my abilities to be a good wife.  I think I was right to be intimidated by the sacred and very permanent vows we were making.  It probably would've made his sweet mother less nervous if I hadn't done it then, but on the whole, I'm glad that I was able to appreciate the solemnity of that moment in my life.  As would become a pattern in our marriage, all of my fears and anxiety completely disappeared once we were together right before the ceremony.  I know that a lot of people think that seeing each other before the ceremony diminishes the walk down the aisle, but that first time we saw each other, by ourselves, was the most affirming and special moment of my life so far.

I used to think of all the big decisions that I've made in my life and all of the opportunities I've taken over others and wonder what my life would be like if I'd chosen a different door.  I would imagine, for example, where I might be living if I'd gone to a different college and knew different people.  Would I be happier? More successful?  As hokey as it sounds, meeting Craig has forever halted that thought.  I absolutely know that there is no other person that I would want to share a life with more than him and that everything that got me here was as it should be.  I love Craig to the ends of the earth and back again, but on top of that, I like the guy and I like being around him.  I think he's fun, and witty, and interesting, and even if our arms and legs fell off, we could still sit around and have a talk and never want for anything.

I don't claim to know the secret to a successful marriage.  We're still practically at the starting point.  I do know, though, that he has some of the most rare and precious qualities in a person. I think he is incredibly handsome and I still get really excited every time his car pulls in the driveway.  I have trouble paying attention to other people when we're at parties and he still makes me blush all the time.  I know that those things may not last, though.  I hope there will be embers forever, but even if not, I love him more than all those things combined because of who he is. I may be married to one of the nicest people I've ever known.  Nice is absolutely the most generic attribute in the world, but it's true.  He is a very, very nice person.  If you're reading this, and you've met Craig, he likes you and he cares about you.  I can say that without any hesitation.  He's always concerned about people, even when he doesn't know them well, and remembers the things going on their lives, big and small. He's mindful of treating people with respect, even when they don't give him the same courtesy.  I truly believe that nice is one of the most unappreciated qualities, and yet going through life with a deeply good and kind person is more than anyone could ask for.  He can be a touch on the quiet side and doesn't reveal his soft side readily, but his compassion runs all the way to his core.  Those of us who are close to his heart are very privileged.  Don't get me wrong, being nice doesn't compromise his backbone.  He's a strong leader both in his career and in our new family, but he manages to do it as a servant leader.  Over the course of our relationship I've watched him grow into a kind of biblical manhood and I've been so happy to have a front row seat as he's developed a stronger faith, learned his own professional strengths and gone after his dreams, worked like a horse so that I can realize mine, and stepped up in his own family to try and give back in gratitude for what he was given.  I only hope that I can always give him support and room to grow in all directions. 

I know I'm gushing and if you're rolling your eyes, that's fine.  This post is for Craig anyway.  He deserves more praise than I could give.  He's not perfect, but he's never claimed to be.  We all come to marriage baring our scars and flaws, but in the best of circumstances the right person will motivate us to act from a place of humbleness and not through those well worn defenses that carried us in past relationships.  He has been that for me.  I'm better for knowing Craig.  I think he's better for knowing me too.  Add all of that to the fact that I've gained the great big family I've always wanted and he's gotten my Mom, who has enough personality for a room full of people.  I thank God for all the answered prayers this year and add one more, asking that he see us through many, many more.

This is the first time we saw each other.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Is He?

I get that question a lot about Max, especially after my last post.  The truth is, he's an embarrassment in public (not really).  Other than that, though, people often assume he's an underdeveloped puggle.  He's not.  Sometimes I tell people he's a teacup pitbull.  A lot of the time people think he's a boxer puppy.  He is, in fact, a muggin, or a carlin pinscher, depending on what you google.  We didn't seek out such a silly breed.  Instead, we found him while looking through the classifieds on the tennessean.com.  He was not intentionally bred.  His mother was a miniature pinscher whose owner intended to breed her to make more min-pins and his papa was a rolling stone, amorous pug.  Max's original family told us that his mother's name was Bri Bri Baby.  Gag.  We decided that papa pug's name was Keith, but don't really have anything to substantiate that.  His litter mates all looked pretty different.  He was the only one with the black muzzle.  Some were less wrinkled and looked more min-pin.  He was definitely the cutest, with his little curly que tail.  Just don't call him a mutt, because he's an emotional eater and his favorite snacks are my shoes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Teenerest Locke Turns One

It's been around 416 degrees everyday in Memphis this summer with absolutely no lows.  You can argue with me about actual numbers, but I think that falls under what Henry James called the "fatal futility of fact." It's hot, like hot.  Despite the heat, one Mr. Beanpotts has held strong in his love for porch settin'.  The other day I asked who he thought he was, a lost cast member of 227?  A silent partner of Bartles and James? He suggested that I leave the jokes to the tall one, but held back his usual terse remarks at my humor because it's his birthday on Saturday and he's hoping for a new toy to love, and later eviscerate in front of company.

I love this little pup to pieces and have had so much fun with him.  I know he's not sweet to other people, but he adores me and Craig and you'll just have to take my word for the fact that he's is a precious little lump most of the time. If it weren't so, I would never stand for all the toilet paper shredding and napalm poots.  Happy birthday Max!

First snow = no thanks. I'll make a deposit in the dining room.

This lasted about 30 seconds post nap.

Herr Von Wrinkles

He's not impressed with my fancy degree. Transcript, shmranscript.

Indignant, per usual.

The big trip to Memphis from his Old Kentucky Home.

He's so lucky I didn't eat him right then and there.

Max is the Dennis the Menace to Craig's Mr. Wilson. 

This was the night he informed us that he would be sleeping in the bed.

The one and only Maxwell Franklin Beanpotts

I liked it.

Pooter at the computer.

The day he became slightly more aerodynamic, or neutered.

My puppalup.