Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On August, Autumn, Thunderstorms, and Life

August finds me in a bitter -sweet mood this year.

For me, I've always felt that the end of summer marked the beginning of a new year, and not January 1st. I think this is because everything in my life shifted in August and September as a small child. I moved up a grade in school, I turned a year older, and Sunday school always promoted me to the next class at the beginning of September. Everything seemed to start over, to change. While January only threw me back into the murky abyss of what I had been doing before the jolly activities of the holiday season, September whispered of new beginnings, new people, and new chances. And some goodbyes.

I've never been able to shake that feeling.

However, I'm always excited for the upcoming autumn season. It is no secret that autumn is my favorite time of year! It has been since I was a small child...autumn just seemed so right to me. And so, so beautiful. All of the best things happened around autumn. My birthday as I alluded to earlier, the excitement of a new year at school with brand new school supplies, leaves changing colors, walks in the woods near our house to collect pretty foliage, pumpkin carvings, Dad chopping up wood for the upcoming cold season, warm beef stews and roasted peanuts, and the much anticipated county fair with all of its promises of ferris wheels, caramel apples, cotton candy, and craft exhibits. I remember Harrison and I giggling nervously together as we held hands at the top of a giant sliding board, then the rush of exhilaration as we whooshed down it's curves, delighted when we landed in heaps at the bottom, safe and sound. I've seen that sliding board in recent years when I passed it at the fair. It looked so much smaller...

How can autumn be so joyous and so sad all at once? Everything is so beautiful, and yet in reality, everything is dying. Everything is changing. Everything is moving on.


My good friend Melissa and her husband Andy, are leaving Lynchburg next week and moving to Texas. Sadness. I will miss our college days, sitting together in church, and summer fun at local restaurants and bookstores. Thank you Lord, for such a good friend...and Melissa, I sincerely hope you two move back here after Andy's done with engineering school so we can raise kids together, and they can get married and we can finally be related! Ha! Have we got ambitious plans or what?

I know another part of me is sad that the school year is starting again...without me. This is the first autumn since I was 3 years old (I started school at 4, I don't think my mother could stand my begging one second longer, or my reading to everybody in the house from my hand-written, hand -bound, hand-illustrated books) that I haven't been preparing for school. And yes, I miss it terribly. Okay honestly, there is a possibility that I might be starting my Master's soon, but it won't be this autumn, and I don't know if it will happen at all. Also, it is a different kind of feeling than in years past. Whether I pursue another level in my education or not, I feel the sad ending of an entire chapter of my life. My Swan Song so to speak. And while I am ready to go on to the next thing, I will miss this wonderful part of life immensely. That feeling of knowing that every autumn will be like the one before, full of newness and learning. Now it is my turn to educate others- my students if I choose to teach, and my children as Stuart and I have little ones, and they in turn began all of the autumns of the rest of their lives.

But on to the "sweet" part of the bitter-sweet mood I'm in...

I love our new life here in Bedford, and I love being at Stuart's side for all the rest of our autumns. I love our sweet little house, dubbed Neverland by us, because it is the place made up of the love-filled dreams we talked of before we were married. Oh, how we planned and talked about having that "perfect little place of our own!" The place where our love never grows old and we are forever young, just like in the children's book. Also, the first book we ever read together was Barrie's Peter Pan, and I always thought that the first house we lived in, the first place we really settled into would be our Neverland house, where we could cook together, read together, love each other, begin our family, and never grow tired of it! Hence, our new blog title! All of our love to all of you, always!

Next up, and this may be a bit odd...thunderstorms are on my list.

I love to watch them swoop down upon our new home in little Bedford City from the majestic Blue Ridge mountains! I love to watch the beauty of the clouds darkening, love the contrast of our small, quiet home against the boisterous rumbles of the open sky, love the scented candles and cheery lamps against the hushed darkness, love dinner baking in the oven, promising something warm and comforting to Stuart and me while the summer rain slaps the roof above. Sometimes at night, we turn all of the lights off, and sit on the porch, watching the lightning light up the night like the giant lightning bugs I caught as a small girl. We listen to the rain pour down, talk about our day, hold hands together, and I know all the while that this will be one of my best memories of our time in Bedford....I took some pictures (on a sunshine filled day) of the outside of our house, because I know many of you have asked...

The master of the house and hearth (and my heart *smiles*), Stuart Frazer Graydon, III.

Front view of Neverland. Next year in the spring we want to plant lots of flowers and maybe have a little garden in the back...

Our cute little front door with our wreath, and our cute little address plaque on the side....

Stuart enjoying his lunch break on the front porch after eating, a daily occurrence. You may also notice the background construction site. We think it adds a bit of class to the joint.

Our cheery pink petunias make our porch seem more home like....

Other things that make me feel oh so "sweet" in this hot and sticky month of August?

*An endless line of loved ones who are visiting almost every weekend make our hearts soar with joy. What can be better than catching up with people you love so much and being able to give them a bed to sleep in?

*Being "home." Man, it is the greatest feeling to have one.

*I have been spending time doing what I have always loved. Writing. And that is deeply fulfilling. With or without a publisher's contract.

*Getting to know Bedford. I love driving through the city at night, windows down, everything quiet and serene....

*Stuart and I deciding to bake a "fun" recipe every single week... and this is just a guess....most of them will probably be filled to the brim with chocolate and will most likely be desserts...those of you who know Stuart will know why...

*Turning 22 in a manner of weeks! I don't why, birthdays usually aren't a big deal to me (as evidenced by the fact that Mom Graydon gave me a look several months ago and said, "Haley, I don't remember ever having celebrated your birthday! When is it?" I had to laugh because Stuart always teases me about it too.) But this year I have been so grateful for my life, and the wonderful things in it, that I am deeply moved and grateful God allowed me to arrive here and see this wonderful number of 22. I feel like celebrating my life. So.... buy me presents all of you....Haha! I'm kidding about that part!

So, you see the good things far outweigh the bad!

Well, it is pouring outside, and I need to prepare our supper.

Happy "Last Full Month of Summer" to all of you!

Our Deepest Love and Best Hugs,


  1. HALEY! Your home is gorgeous!!!!!!! I LOVE IT! I need to come over, immediately! Mad Hatters Invasion! :D

  2. You are always welcome, my friend! Bring your sparkle when you come :)

  3. Firstly Haley, I have missed 4 posts from you!!!! Why were you not suspicious as to why I wasn't commenting?!?!? I think my subscription to your blog, though bloglines, must have gotten messed up, because I have seen NONE of these. I finally visited your blog today, just to look at it, and lo and behold TONS of entries!!!! So, please know I did not see them!

    Now, on to my comments! I love your home! I think two-stories are so fun, and even just the outside looks inviting! I am eager to see the inside, with pictures and in person. :)

    As to your happy "Neverland" and the stage you're at in your life. Well, it is so grand, is it not? It actually sent me into a blissful nostalgia recalling it all. Those "firsts" (first home, first year married, etc) are SO special. Treasure them in your heart, and enjoy every single minute.

    You are in a new "autumn" coming up, that doesn't include school. A chapter has closed, a new one awaits. It is ok to be bitttersweet about something you loved so much. As I look, we are there too. I loved my life with just Jonathan. It was beautiful. And now we have this beautiful little girl with us. I LOVE her being an addition to our family, our love... But it doesn't mean I do not "miss" the preciousness that was just "J&D" for 5 years together! There's a season for everything. So embrace it, as you are, and know there is good in store.

    BTW, I bought your bday present months ago, and have been itching to give it to you!


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