We didn’t plan on living on the Alabama side of the Fort Benning, Georgia border prior to moving out here. We spent long hours hunting down a decent house over the Internet from our home in Colorado. We had no luck. Everything we found in Columbus, Georgia was either in a suspicious neighborhood or the houses were too pricey. It was a bit stressful knowing that moving day was approaching and we had no place to live. Finally, we decided that we would stay at a hotel and house hunt while in the city rather than from a computer 1800 miles away. Once here, we found our off-post home through Military By Owner. Our little ranch-style house is a skip away from the south-west side of the Chattahoochee River, and has everything we were looking for. It even showed me a few things I wasn’t looking for.
I wasn’t raised in a church. I don’t follow a specific religion. We don’t send our girls to Sunday School to learn about God. And yet living in the Alabama backwoods has opened up a world of spirituality and personal growth that I never before knew. When you drive out to our spacious cul-de-sack lot, you’ll pass a dozen churches on the drive. I can’t help to wonder what amazing message is being spoken behind those stained glass windows underneath that steeple. I often see people gathered outside the church doors, and as I drive by I wonder how were their lives changed today?
Brandon and I often joked about renting out a full southern-style Sunday best outfit; he in his bright mustard-colored suit and tie, me in my obnoxiously large, tacky, wide-brimmed hat. We even went so far as to write out a Fort Benning Bucket List. On it we wrote down everything we wanted to do here before we moved. And of course “Attend a real southern church” was on it; lots of Praise Jesus and crying. Yeah, that never happened. We never went. Anyhow, there’s an aura about living in the south that makes you feel as though you’re a part of something bigger just because you’re in the presence of such social holiness. I once passed a Midas sign stating, “Jesus Loves You! Full Service Oil Change only $19.99.” It’s like if you breathe the air out here you can taste the light. I wasn’t a very spiritual person prior to moving here, but it all happened to evolve in Alabama. It’s infectious. And it’s life changing.
My second daughter also happened in Alabama, well, in Georgia technically. She was born on Fort Benning; she is my Georgia peach. When we first moved here, Brandon and I had many discussions about whether or not we wanted more children. At one point we both turned to each other and said, “We’re so blessed with Whitney. I would be very happy if she ended up being an only child.” Probably nanomoments after that conversation, I cried out, “Whitney will not be an only child! She needs a sibling!” And so the great heavens opened up and shined down on our tiny Alabama home by giving us another beautiful blessing, our Kennedy.
As much as I’ve complained about the little nuisances that we’ve faced while living here, I will miss this home and all that’s happened here. Our neighborhood is quiet and woodsy. We have five large American Sycamore trees in our backyard, and at night we can hear hundreds of locus nestled in the leaves singing in the summertime. During the winter they house hundreds of northern birds who call the wiry, frosty branches home. I have spent many day-breaks sipping coffee while peeking out my large dining room windows to witness the life in those trees. Cardinals and squirrels. And always in pairs. I am so going to miss seeing them hop around my yard looking for food. I’ll miss seeing the stars shine brightly each night. I’ll miss the viney wisteria in the spring. I’ll miss watching the girls take a break from stick hunting to chase down the butterflies that flit through to say hello. Do butterflies hang out in Texas? Probably not. Our yard is often littered with butterflies. I’ll miss that too.
As a military spouse, I’m forced to bloom where I’m panted. I’m forced to make my house feel like a home wherever I’m sent. Right when I get my home looking the way I want, it’s time to move and those same decorations and fixtures that fit so well in our last home don’t always fit into the new home. But our family of four fits anywhere. And I know that as long as I stay centered, as long as I relax and release by living in the moment, I will carry on. And we will be happy.
|Good morning, friend.|
|Whitney set this up. I just snapped the photo.|
|Celebrating the life in the Sycamores.|
|Queen of her castle.|