Remembering Maw — Memorial Day Cookout 5/28/2012

Memorial Day Cookout 5/28/2012 — A Personal Journal Entry

This is an excerpt from a journal entry of mine from May 2012. I was at a Memorial Day family cookout at Maw’s house. That evening of the cookout I spent time looking at one of Memaw’s (Maw’s mother) scrapbooks and I also remember having a conversation with Maw about my college classes and how defeated I was feeling after my last semester. Maw always knew just what to say to uplift and encourage me. This conversation with her always stuck with me thereafter and I’m so glad I journaled about it.

“I had asked Maw if she could get out Memaw’s old scrapbook so that I could look at it and she had it sitting out for me to look at. I spent at least two hours looking at it. Maw and I took it outside and looked at it on the patio together.

I love looking at all of the old pictures of my beloved relatives and the relatives that I wish I could have met. And I love hearing Maw tell me stories and memories from her past. Memaw used to write poetry and I absolutely love reading it! Her poetry is so beautiful. Reading all of that poetry has inspired me to write and journal and scrapbook.

Maw told me that Memaw would love to know that I love poetry and reading all of the classic novels (Memaw’s favorite novel was always Jane Eyre)! I guess I get my love of poetry from Memaw. Maw has also told me before that Papa would be so proud of me for loving to work in the garden. I feel like I know Memaw and Papa, but Papa died before I was born and I’m pretty sure Memaw did too. I really wish that I could have met them, I think that we would have really gotten along with each other and I would have loved them even more than I do now. But I know that I will get to meet them in heaven one day. I know that Memaw and Papa are looking down from heaven watching me.”


“While the girls were still playing, Maw came to stand by me and she asked me how my summer was going so far. I told her that it was going good but I was just afraid that it was going to go by too fast. Maw told me to just enjoy every day of my break. Then we got to talking about classes and school work.

I told her that I guess I would be ready to go back to school when the time comes. And I was telling her that I was still upset about my bad grade that I got in BIBLE. She told me that one bad grade didn’t matter and that I have come a long way, and that as long as I am learning, grades aren’t that big of a deal. I told her that I was learning a lot, but that I feel like sometimes no matter how hard I try I still get low grades.

And at this point I was tearing up. Maw told me that she had to work really hard in school too! And that good grades didn’t come easy for her. Maw said that she had a cousin that just got really good grades so easily but that she was different. Maw hugged me and told me that I can do it. She gave me the love, support, and encouragement that I needed and can get from no one else. I just know that I want to graduate and keep pushing forward.”

Re-reading this journal entry almost 10 years later is kind of surreal. I still remember that conversation with Maw like it was yesterday. I was feeling so defeated and embarrassed about my bad grade in that one college class. I was worried I had disappointed my family and I felt like I was failing and couldn’t measure up. I think when Maw saw how I was feeling and she opened up to me about how getting good grades was hard for her too it created this safe space for me. She also made me feel loved and supported. I was putting my worth and identity in good grades, but Maw reminded me that I am enough just as I am, with all of my flaws and short comings.

For as long as I can remember, Maw was always encouraging me and speaking positively over me. Even when I felt so defeated and didn’t think I could do something, I knew that she whole-heartedly believed in me and knew I could do it. Maw always told me the story of how her daddy believed in her, and when she didn’t think she could do it her daddy would tell her “You can do that, Kat!”. Maw told me that she would always think to herself “If Daddy thinks I can do it, then I guess I can”. What a beautiful picture of how powerful our words are and how much of an impact they can make on the next generation.

March — A Journal Entry

March feels like it’s lasted longer than 31 days this year. 

The year 2020 started out beautifully — full of life, hope, and change. January was, for me, a month of blooming. I attended a birth as a doula, went on a 21 day social media fast, and put an offer on my dream house with my husband. Everything seemed to be falling into place and we were brimming with excitement. 

February was kind of a drab month. Nothing was wrong per-say, I just felt like my routines and good habits started to unwind and fall out of place. I stopped doing yoga regularly, we all caught a cold (rare around here), and we were holding our breath during the house buying process and counting down the days until closing. 

Enter March! March 3rd was closing day for us and also the day Ellis turned 18 months-old. During that week I was feeling full of gratitude for the closing process going so smoothly and the fact that I was on the mend from illness and my body was feeling lighter, stronger, and healthier. 

Then everything kind of started to shift, and sway, and close in around me. 

Out of nowhere (or so it felt), I started seeing people talking about the corona virus on social media. Yes, I had heard about it here and there when it was just in China, but since I don’t regularly consume what the news outlets have to say it wasn’t something I was dwelling on. 

Next thing I know, people are talking about there being a shortage of toilet paper because everybody is stocking up on it, friends are saying go get groceries and stock up on everything you need now before the weekend because things are about to get crazy, and there was talk of being quarantined at home while this virus continued to spread. 

Almost overnight, I felt that there was a change in everyone’s mood and I was seeing a lot of panic, fear, and uncertainty. 

I myself didn’t know what to think at first. I sent Brendan to the store one evening after scrambling to make a quick grocery list of a few items I thought we would need (one of them being toilet paper because we were literally down to two rolls). I remember talking to different family members about everything I had heard and we were all trying to make sense of what could potentially be happening in the following weeks. 

This was around March 12th. It was finally starting to feel a bit like spring and my main focus was on getting our belongings packed so that we could move our family into our new house. That’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like going out and fighting people to get toilet paper or worry about stocking up on all of the essential foods we would need because of potential shortages and weeks of quarantine. I just wanted to be excited about starting this new chapter of our lives. 

Things rarely go as planned in life, and that’s just something we all have to learn at some point or other. I’m very grateful that our moving day went smoothly, despite it being a long day for everyone. My family came to help and it was chaotic and fun and exciting. For that day, it was nice not to dwell on what was going on in the world, and to just focus on family and new beginnings. 

Even though I feel I have handled everything that’s going on pretty well and have remained upbeat and positive for the most part, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned. I’m not afraid of the virus itself or of coming in contact with other people that have it (which is a miracle considering I’m a pretty extreme germaphobe), I’m afraid of what our country is going to look like in the weeks and years to come. 

I try not to let my mind wander down too many rabbit holes, but its easy to do when seeing all that is being spread around on social media. It’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust. But I know one thing is for sure, I can trust God in times like this and cling to His promises. 

The other day as Ellis was napping, my mind started slipping and wandering down the path of worry. Worrying about what the future is going to look like, feeling concerned for other people and choices they are making, etc. And then it hit me that I didn’t need to dwell on these things and stress myself out. That would only lead to fear, and it’s fear of things that I have no control over. It was in that moment that I felt God telling me to place all my worries into His hands, trust Him, do my part (whatever that may look like) stay informed, and then let it go. 

To be honest, things haven’t changed that much for me. If anything, I’ve finally gotten into a little rhythm with Ellis around the house. The only difference in our day-to-day that I’ve noticed is that I’m not randomly going shopping at stores like Target several times a week.

I consider myself an introvert for the most part, but I do miss gathering with others and having that human interaction and connection that I think we all crave, no matter how introverted we may be. I miss going to the mother’s circle I’ve been attending for the past year, I miss coffee dates with doula friends, and occasionally going out to the movie theater with my husband for a date night. 

In a way though, I feel like I’ve been preparing for this time of so-called “quarantine” my whole life. Growing up I was homeschooled and my family lived in a farmhouse in a small town that is kind of in the middle of nowhere. We usually went out to “town”, as we called it, once a week (if that) to get groceries. So for the most part, it was just my mom, my siblings and me hanging out at home doing some school work, entertaining ourselves by playing outside, playing board games and video games together, watching movies, reading, talking, scrapbooking, cooking, you name it. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the way my parents raised my siblings and me and my heart is overflowing with gratitude towards them. This whole situation and my outlook on things could look a lot different if it wasn’t for the knowledge and values my parents instilled in me. We were not only educated at home from textbooks, we were taught life skills and lessons that I see coming into play now and seem more important than ever. 

Growing up, my siblings and I learned how to garden and grow our own food, my dad taught us how to safely and properly handle a gun, we learned how to chop and gather fire wood, my dad taught us how to hunt and fish, and my brothers even learned how to process and freeze their own deer meat. Of course I learned even more rudimentary skills such as cooking/baking and how to clean and take care of a household. 

While there are days I find myself wishing we could go back to how things were before this pandemic chaos, I’ve really been humbled by the way God has been using this time to bring some of the desires of my heart to fruition. I’ve learned a lot recently and I want to share some of what God has been teaching me, but that will have to wait for another post. 

I know this post was a long one, so if you made it to the end know that I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my thoughts during this confusing time. If there’s anything you’ve learned over the past month that you’d like to share let me know in the comments!