The Smallest Church in America

This school year has become the year of road trips.  As our youngest child went off to college and we have unintentionally become the road trip couple...up and down the East coast multiple times between Southern Vermont and Southwestern Florida.  Some of these trips have been to get our little dog home for the holidays, some have been to visit children. A friend in Florida told me that every time they make these trips back and forth to New England, they stop somewhere new. Our newfound empty-nesty-ness is giving us just that freedom to explore all kind of treasures off the beaten path. This week on a drive between Charleston and Jekyll Island we found such a treasure....The Smallest Church in America.  My ever patient and always wonderful husband kindly turns around and pulls over when I start doing my "Oh!! did you see that?!?!" as we drive by such treasures. 

 The Smallest Church in America ~  Darien, Georgia

The Smallest Church in America ~  Darien, Georgia

 We were confused about all of the signs about cameras. I now know that the original church burnt down from arson and this one is the new church, rebuilt by volunteers.

We were confused about all of the signs about cameras. I now know that the original church burnt down from arson and this one is the new church, rebuilt by volunteers.

 Twelves seats, a nod to the number of Apostles.

Twelves seats, a nod to the number of Apostles.

 Kindness matters.

Kindness matters.

It was wonderful to visit this lovely site without the help of Google and knowing nothing about it, just stumbling across something interesting and taking it in without any knowledge about it's origin. The sign out front says "Built in 1949 by Mrs. Anges Harper and deeded to Jesus Christ". 

I have since learned that Mrs. Harper was a service station and grocery store owner who built this tiny church as a place to give back to her customers, a spot they could relax and have a peaceful moment on their journeys. She deeded this property in perpetuity to Jesus Christ and in the land records Jesus' address is "Heaven". 

A few years ago there was a fire and the original church burnt down.  It is believed that a vandal was using a blow torch to try and break into the donation box.  Volunteers donated the supplies and their time and rebuilt the church immediately.

Mrs. Harper used to bring blankets to the church for migrant workers. We found these pants and shoes with a kind note. Small acts of kindness are everywhere.

I must really blame Jenny!

The other day I accidentally changed the name of the blog page to "I blame Jenny". I only discovered this by looking at the analytics of this website on my phone and I noticed that my most dedicated website follower kept looking at "I blame Jenny". I was far from a computer and unable to change it, and really had a great laugh. If you know Jenny, you will share this laugh.

Jenny is my college roommate from Freshman year and one of my favorite people on the planet. 

In November, Jenny, and two of my other most favorite people on the planet, Sarah and Aimée (also very best friends from college) all came to visit me on this little island in Florida. A long overdue girls' weekend was had following a most wonderful 30th reunion at St. Lawrence University last spring. All three of these amazing women were instrumental in my life as a young woman. Thirty years ago- with them- I managed to get into all sorts of trouble, we laughed and laughed years worth of laughs, and we talked about everything under the sun as we grew from girls into young women.  Aimee and I also traveled the world together after graduation and visited almost all of the European countries on a fabulous walkabout. These women are part of the core of who I am.

 Sarah, Aimée. Jenny, Tricia

Sarah, Aimée. Jenny, Tricia

 

Fast forward...November. How truly amazing to spend 4 days alone with these divine friends. No topics are taboo, no explaining who we are, with a deep understanding of each others parents, and a great desire to know all about each other's children and spouses we reconnected right where we left off. Our days were spent relaxing on the beach and riding golf carts into town- where Sarah did her usual amazing job as fashion stylist for each of us. Evenings were spent at my favorite restaurants eating the island's finest fare and enjoying copious amounts of tropical cocktails. ("copious" one of Sarah's wonderful words that reminds me of her every time I use it.)

But Jenny kind of ruined all the fun.... she started talking about weight and health. Damn it!

Jenny had tried the Whole30 with another college friend and was looking into doing it again. She fricking inspired us to give up dairy, alcohol, sugar, and carbs. Like some crazy preacher, we listened to her!! We had a farewell meal fit for queens on a gorgeous deck overlooking sunset on the gulf of Mexico. Farewell to each other, and farewell to all those food items we hold dear. 

There was a bet involved. We naturally divided into teams. Sarah, my partner in another adventure! This was the kind of bet only college friends make. Disgusting financial consequences  with pay offs to organizations you would never want to give money to. Plus there was the added bonus of the threat of dirty T-shirts designed by the other team to be worn on the streets of our hometowns. I can laugh now, but the threat was REAL! 

And thus I started the Whole30. 

The short version is that the first two weeks I was crabby as all hell as I detoxed not only from the items above but from diet coke. I thought I would miss wine, but in fact, I really missed my true love...gummy bears. I also missed Vermont maple syrup, which is hilarious, but I don't think I actually eat it that often. 

Once I got past the first two weeks I felt fantastic. REALLY, REALLY, FANTASTIC. I could breathe, I had amazing energy, and slept like a baby. I did the Whole30 for 37 days because I felt so good. I lost 10.5 pounds easily, no calorie counting, no portion control, just eating a fabulous paleo diet. 

Tomorrow I start again for another 30 days. This time there is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel. I was invited by a friend to join her at a yoga retreat this summer in Italy. Normally, I would have said no. The thought of getting in shape for this event would have seemed like too much! But this me says "YES" because I know with the whole30, I can do it. I just need to get myself back into the grove. Tonight we have really, really fun dinner plans with new friends. Tomorrow is a new day. 

As for the outcome of other challenge. Let's just say that in the end we are all winners because this challenge created a constant text conversation between the four of us. In honor of friendship we each donated to a cause we hold dear and we share the information on each cause with each other. The real win is the reconnection of a lifelong friendship with women I hold dear.

 

 

 

 

Health.

We had a health scare.  Everything is fine!! We are all good. But for two weeks, from December 20th til January 4th... I floundered in a state of full blown mother desperation and panic. I made a huge effort to suffer in silence, for talking about it, made it feel like a locomotive headed our way.  One of our boys had an endoscopy, and during the procedure, the specialist thought he saw “lesions” on our son’s vocal cords.  The irony was that the child in question was groggy from the  procedure and never processed the  “lesion” distress. Mothers, we happily carry the distress for our kids.   

We, our family, missed the bullet. After an afternoon with one of the best vocal cord doctors, we learned that there had been problems with the first round of photos caused by odd camera angles, and there are in fact no lesions. When they told me the news I burst into tears. My very confused 20 year old asked if I had been worried. HA!

I entered 2018 with one word on my brain. Health. My wish for you all out there is that you experience great health for you and your loved ones. No New Year’s resolutions this year. No goals. Just one word. To me 2018 is about gratitude for H E A L T H.

 August 1, 2009 ~ After years of dating Donald and I got married- and we officially became a family!  Here is the best wedding party ever!! Dreams do come true!! Our backyard ~ Dorset, Vermont.   

August 1, 2009 ~ After years of dating Donald and I got married- and we officially became a family!  Here is the best wedding party ever!! Dreams do come true!! Our backyard ~ Dorset, Vermont.

 

 

 

Now that our kids are between the ages of 18 and 25 and living all over the world, it's hard to get them all in the same place at the same time....and when they are....I often get so wrapped up in the fun that forget to take a photo!! The top photo is the last photo I have of our children all together.. It's about 3 years old and was taken in Lyme, Ct. by my brother-in-law Phil.