I am from the fertile green valley that the pioneers longed for,
from tall forests of Douglas firs
and rolling hills covered with crops,
from Saturday drives to splash in the Pacific in the summer
and tobogganing in the snow on Mt. Hood in the winter.
I'm from wild blackberries made into crisps and the bounty from local rivers and lakes frying in the pan.
I am from Saturday night baths and soft, flannel homemade pajamas.
From line-dried white sheets that smelled of the breeze and heavy, handmade quilts tucked up tight under my chin to keep the cold out.
I'm from an old wooden table crowded round with brothers and sisters,
from hearty bowls of Mama's home cooked pinto beans and ham hock with crusty cornbread split wide open and smeared with yellow margarine.
I'm from powdered milk when times got tough and brown paper sack lunches that always held homemade cookies.
I'm from small town America with one main street that divided east and west,
from knowing all your neighbors,
from playing outdoors morning to night,
from jump rope jingles and sidewalk roller skates,
from groups of neighbor kids running free and unafraid,
from fishing and swimming in the river
and walking to the variety store for tiny paper sacks of penny candy.
I'm from plain little churches with hard wooden benches.
From tinny sounding pianos and singing four part harmony out of the old red hymnal called Melodies of Praise.
I'm from flannel graph Sunday School lessons
and preaching about the Second Coming
and kneeling at the altar crying tears of repentance.
I'm from Jesus People and Barry Maguire and Maranatha and the One Way sign.
I'm from the Living Bible and the Holy Ghost
and summer camp meeting and Sunday night Christ's Ambassadors.
I'm from hearing the fighting,
feeling the tension,
and daddy saying he was leaving us all.
I'm from Sunday afternoon visitation
and Mama working
and us kids watching out for each other
and a church that loved us to wholeness.
I'm from stiff, lacy dresses and patent leather shoes,
from Shirley Temple movies and wishing I was her,
and tap, tap, tapping away on the linoleum floor in those black patent shoes
leaving scuff marks as I danced.
I'm from bell bottoms and earth shoes and peasant blouses.
I'm from shoulder pads and big hair.
I'm from bell bottoms revisited and, oh my, I'm from skinny jeans.
I am from friendships I've had and the books that I've read,
both the good and the bad, have shaped me.
I'm from the women that mentored me and the ones I now mentor
and the eternal relationships with my sisters in Christ.
I'm from marrying young and growing up together.
From three little girls who made me a mom.
I'm from praying and asking and begging for wisdom to help mold little hearts and lives into lovers of God.
I'm from fighting and making up and loving and forgiving.
I'm from weddings and empty arms and years of praying for a broken hearted daughter.
I'm from surprises, God miracles, and disappointments and heart aches.
I'm from hospital rooms where miracles were birthed and empty arms were made full
and I'm from judge's chambers where adoptions were finalized.
I'm from listening to heartache and being their mama and wishing I could hurt instead of them.
I'm from sharing their joys and it really is true that the greatest joy of all is seeing them loving God and walking in truth.
I'm from small little churches with parsonages next door
from making them home with no money to spare.
I'm from loving the people and filling the gaps and stretching to meet all the needs.
I'm from sharing the heartaches and bearing the burdens and salvations and baptisms and weddings and funerals.
I'm from hearing their pain and praying them whole and breaking the bread and drinking the cup.
I'm from loving the call and hating the call and hanging on anyway and believing that if you don't quit, you win.
I'm from the heart of the Father who wanted a daughter
and planned me right down to the last little freckle.
I'm from the love of the Trinity who wanted a family to share in the love fest they'd enjoyed for forever.
I'm from the family of God that started with Adam and will one day be complete with the last one to call Jesus, Lord.
I'm from eyes peeled toward heaven, and wondering when, and longing for the day of His appearing.
I'm from homesick for heaven while walking this earth and knowing where my true citizenship lies.
I'm from the family of God from every tribe and tongue, the beautiful, colorful, family of God.
(I first read Kelli Woodford's beautiful I Am From post and wanted to try my hand at writing my own.
I could have gone on and on in the writing, so much has shaped my life, but this is what I have for now.)