Another trip around the sun.

Life as it's learned (with no guarantees of grammatical perfection) with my hubs, baby bump, and pups in our home of North Carolina.

Nora Jane & Nora Jane.

There once was an incredible woman named Nora Jane, who worked long days in her garden, loved circus peanuts, and was God-fearing. She mothered 7 children, one of which is my grandmother. I referred to both of these women as “Granny”, but when they were together, the same term of endearment was somewhat confusing. Naturally, one was older than the other…so in order to distinguish, my granny became “New Granny” (hence, she was newer), and Nora became “Old Granny”.

Growing up, I worked summers in the garden with Old Granny; she thought children should be void of idle hands, so we worked until time for lunch at Welborn’s Snack Bar. Truth be known, I didn’t mind working along side her in that garden. And what I wouldn’t give to spend one more day in it with her again.

She used to walk my brother and I up the road to a little store that sold candy. After a long day of being more hindrance than help to her, she would buy us gummy bears, and she always bought herself circus peanuts. We would sit on her porch to enjoy our snack while sipping on Mountain Dew—work us hard outside only to pump us full of sugar before sending us home. 

As I grew older, I thought everyone was just friendly whenever I would be somewhere with her, but then I realized Old Granny was somewhat of a celebrity. People for miles and miles knew her. Even though she may have only been a part of their childhood, they didn’t forget “Granny”. She was always genuinely happy to see a familiar face or meet a new one, just the same.

Family reunions were every September, and she was the belle of the ball. My dad always played bluegrass at these events, and despite her aging bones, Old Granny would get up and dance almost an entire song holding my cousins hand or mine. Her laughter would perforate the room; it was infectious and drew more family out for a dance, maybe even two.

She was straight forward, often brutally honest, but you still loved her. I guess when you’re that age and still “able-bodied”, you can say whatever or discipline whomevers child you want…wherever, too. 

Almost a month after my 16th birthday, my god-fearing, hardworking, Old Granny went peacefully to the Jesus she had always told me about. My heart was broken. Our summers in the garden were over.

In the months leading up to my October 2012 wedding, while looking through old photos to use for our rehearsal dinner, I found the quilt my Old Granny had pieced for me. Every color imaginable, across dozens of patches of scrap material she once kept in card board box next to her chair. I had the quilt finished, and in one of the corners the seamstress carefully sewed, “Made with love, Nora Long”. It was displayed on the guest table at our wedding. My family was so happy and touched to see the masterpiece by Old Granny’s hand complete. A part of her was present on that day.

Almost a year after my wedding day, I had a dream about her. I dreamt we were together in a yellow nursery with beautiful, floral fabric letters on the wall, reading “Nora”. I woke up in tears realizing it was not reality. I wish I could say the dreams of her have become easier, but my reaction to them over the past ten years has remained the same. I still miss her terribly.

Almost a month after my dream, the biggest surprise of my life happened while sitting in a doctors office, as I met my new doctor for the first time. The doctor, very friendly with a welcoming smile, introduced herself and quickly added “We have a positive pregnancy test!” I suppose Old Granny used our dream together to try to prep me for what was to come…a little girl that I would name Nora Jane.

My darling Nora Jane will be here in June—prime gardening time. It’s always this time of year I think of Old Granny more…when the days start to get longer and warmer…and that big straw hat that covered her weathered face. Although her days are no longer filled with the work she loved, her hands are far from idle for she’s using them to praise her Saviour. It’s hard to wish her back to this world when she’s in a place of such beauty and perfection.

Everyday I try to comprehend this intricate plan that God carefully designed for my life and the life I now share with my husband, Matt. God gives us the desires of our heart—not always when or how we think its going to arrive. The gift of having my Old Granny for 16 years inspired a name I never thought I’d get the opportunity to use. And love, love…here we are.


Granny’s Garden
Music & Lyrics by Tommy Long©

Winds blow the leaves, to and fro
Granny’s in the garden with an old rusty hoe
She’s happy, just working in the summer sun
She’s raised seven kids, watched over us all
And if you’ve got a problem all you have to do is call
And she’ll be there, to make everything alright

She can kiss and scratch and make it heal
Hold you tight and make you feel
Like nothing could ever hurt you if it tried
And when God looks down, on her sweet, smiling face
I know up there he’s got a place
For Granny a little garden in the sun

She’s set in her ways, she’s got a strong will
Like it or not she’ll tell you just how she feels
Still chopping out grass, out in that old garden field
They all call her Granny, for miles around
That just the way it is in this country town
Thank you, Lord, for sending this angel down

Now she’s old and gray, stands in the door
Looking at that lot where there once was a store
But you don’t see Granny walking up the road no more
I’ve seen her sweet face at least a million times
And love is just flowing through those wrinkled lines
And it tears me up, when I think of all the times

She can kiss and scratch and make it heal
Hold you tight and make you feel
Like nothing could ever hurt you if it tried
And when God looks down, on her sweet, smiling face
I know up there he’s got a place
For Granny a little garden in the sun


Nora Jane Long
November 16th 1909-May 16th 2004

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Happy 4th birthday to our Lucas! #nephew @jaycerlong

Happy 4th birthday to our Lucas! #nephew @jaycerlong

Tomorrow, my Jasper turns 4. Birthdays are bittersweet when you own a pet…it’s a year of “interesting” events (especially with Jazz) and another year they grow older. This is back to the weekend I brought Jasper home, when he actually napped. Just stay with us forever, please. #fbf

Tomorrow, my Jasper turns 4. Birthdays are bittersweet when you own a pet…it’s a year of “interesting” events (especially with Jazz) and another year they grow older. This is back to the weekend I brought Jasper home, when he actually napped. Just stay with us forever, please. #fbf

Sundays are so hard around here. Matt leaves for the week, and me and the boys are all a little melancholy. Friday night he surprised me with gifts that I am far from deserving, and he took me out to such a nice dinner…it was a perfect evening and a nice change from our hectic and stressful work schedules. As I straighten up the house and prepare for my week, I look back over the card he picked out…so perfectly suited for me and one that matches him, too. He even signed the dogs names at the bottom under his, adding how much they all love me. What I wouldn’t give to have our work week last 2 days and our weekends last 5. #missingmatty #weekendsover

Sundays are so hard around here. Matt leaves for the week, and me and the boys are all a little melancholy. Friday night he surprised me with gifts that I am far from deserving, and he took me out to such a nice dinner…it was a perfect evening and a nice change from our hectic and stressful work schedules. As I straighten up the house and prepare for my week, I look back over the card he picked out…so perfectly suited for me and one that matches him, too. He even signed the dogs names at the bottom under his, adding how much they all love me. What I wouldn’t give to have our work week last 2 days and our weekends last 5. #missingmatty #weekendsover

White tulips to go with my pearl earrings. My favorites! Matt replaced the pearls that were lost.

White tulips to go with my pearl earrings. My favorites! Matt replaced the pearls that were lost.

Matt gave me the keys to unlock the door while he had “stuff to get out of the truck”. I look out the window to see Matt watching my reaction. I’m so spoiled!

Matt gave me the keys to unlock the door while he had “stuff to get out of the truck”. I look out the window to see Matt watching my reaction. I’m so spoiled!

Instead of “where’s Waldo?”…I’m thinking a game of “Where’s my driveway?”

Instead of “where’s Waldo?”…I’m thinking a game of “Where’s my driveway?”