Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clemson. Welcome Home.

The emotional connection I have to Clemson, South Carolina is one that goes beyond any normal, college experience.  In a is home.  Not where I was born and raised, or where my family is...but home, like...where I grew up.  I was only there 2 years for Graduate School...but I assure you that I grew and matured in those two years unlike any other in my first 23 years.  When people ask me, "So how did you end up in Clemson all the way from Texas?"...I sometimes respond, "God scooped me up in his big, lovin hands and gently set me down in Clemson, South Carolina."

pot belly favorite place to eat in clemson. i have had many marked conversations over sandwiches at that very table...including confessing to my friend, shannon that i had a little crush on a pastor type named chad.

I wanted to get my Master's in nutrition.  I wanted to counsel young girls with eating disorders.  I also knew that, though I wasn't ready to leave home as an undergraduate...I was ready and willing as a young, 23 year old Graduate student.  The only question was, "Where should I go?"  I will never forget the magic of that day in Clear Lake...the place of my birth and entire life thus far...when I went to the library and looked up schools with graduate level nutrition programs.  Colorado or Clemson are the two that I remember most vividly as being my realistic options.  Instantly I felt Clemson.  I went the only home I had ever really known and began feeling excitement, adventure, growth, and something really meaningful patiently waiting for me.  I just wasn't  sure enough with myself...or my God to trust that what I was thinking was actually what He wanted me to do.  I hadn't learned the skill of listening, hearing, and being sure in my Lord yet.  That would all come later.

My apartment in Clemson.  Old Central Rd. #3.  I did a lot of growing up in that small place.

So...when my dad came home that very night that I had been at the library...hearing God...and said, "What do you think about Clemson?"...I never looked back.  That's all I needed.  My daddy had heard God too.  And he had never failed me.  Well...neither of them had actually.


So after I had been accepted to the Nutrition program, my dad and I flew to South Carolina for a few days to find me a place to live.  We landed on this little, triplex.  I knew when I walked in the door...that it would serve as my home for a while.  It would be my space in this town...that was a thousand miles away from my family...and where I didn't know a single soul.

and I bet you didn't know...under that live favorite dog is burried in the yard.
(where chad burried atticus after we were married and had moved back to s.c. and I was pregnant with chase)

our house in seneca.  these were our sweet neighbors, kitty and june...who fell in love with colton when he was a toddler and chase when he was a baby. colton would head over to their house with his guitar every afternoon.  she even started buying snacks and little kid's cups for him to have at her house.  they were saddened so when we pulled out of that driveway and moved to texas.  thankfully, we have kept in touch.

I credit the two years that I was in school at Clemson for: some of my best friends today...really getting to know God...becoming independent...going from girl to woman...becoming the counselor that God had been shaping me to be all my life...grieving my first heart break...learning how to smoke (sorry mom)...finding my style...knocking ocd in the teeth for the first time...learning to take care of myself...getting comfortable with being alone...starting over...becoming a wake boarder...prayer...confronting the enemy for the first time...singing on a stage...finding my voice...healing...finally being "that girl"...figuring out what having a gentle spirit really spirit that would last a lifetime...wisdom...prophesy...answers...being bold...seeing and meeting the man who would later become my husband at a superbowl party and thinking he was the cutest guy in the room...ignoring what i knew was right...single-handedly breaking hearts...being stupid...being smart...acceptance...learning patience...falling...getting up...crying...laughing...being courted for the first time ever...being loved by a man for who i was and not what i looked like and being made to feel important, respected, and cared for...waiting a while for the first kiss...being asked to be his wife...
and saying yes.

there used to be an old, wooden swing hanging from this tree outside of what was then the DCF building.  i remember sitting there with chad before and while we were dating.  we faced the dike and sometimes each other.

Welcome to Death Valley...where the tigers play.

And also where I knew I'd tell you of your father's proposal there one day.

juli, shannon, and me

the hayes family and the clarkson family
colton's first best guy friend was silas
they talk of rooming together at clemson someday

the ramada inn where the dcf superbowl party was, just 2-3 weeks after i had moved to clemson
this was when and where i saw chad from across the room
i sat down with my new friends gail and heather and asked...
"who is that???"
we would not start dating until much later

hawkinson's wedding

the reception at the reeve's plantation
it was hot
but fun
the bluegrass band played

the beverage table
i just loved how they served arnold palmers in mason jars with red and white striped straws
although...i opted for corona

i was too busy socializin to get pictures of the old general store, old timey barbershop, broom maker's shop, and antique firetruck...but take my word for it...
this place is magical

shannon and i
old friends...

...kickin right in where we left off

the bride with her tea and the groom with his beer
dancin to the bluegrass music

celebrate them with fireworks

oh how i've missed you downtown clemson

chad, colton (at 10 months), and i moved back to sc from iowa to try to become our own, little family
we experienced the miracle of chase in this house
the miracle of God's healing and grace on my body and his while in the womb
and grateful hearts
chase was born
and colton went from being a baby to being a boy
i also truly became a counselor here...
counseling girls from my house
we had a house church here
we had friends over for dinner
we buried my favorite dog in the backyard
we grew as a couple
we listened to God

we got to go in that small house
the house that i called my "dream house"
when i didn't know how to dream any bigger
where these boys grew

clemson stadium
the place of our first date
and our last as a single man and a single woman
when he asked me to be his wife


where your dreams come true.


Lindsey said...

that post made me so happy. love you. :)

Anonymous said...

that was beautiful, Mindy...thanks for a glimpse at your you, sue