Turning Forty

“Which way will we go first?”
“We will be heading west first.”
I looked at my husband out of the corner of my eye.
“Will we be going through Tennessee?”
Jeff’s smile began to creep.
“We will be spending our first night in Tennessee.”
I had my suspicions, but the moment of truth was so very sweet. 
We will be chasing ghosts this week. We are following the trail of the very first road-trip we ever took together. The first one occurred seventeen years ago when I was a wide-eyed graduate student, and Jeff…well, Jeff was still my professor. 
We took the very same trip over and over again the first years of our marriage. But these wanderings came to a screeching halt when baby number one came along. After all, New Orleans isn’t the best family vacation destination. 
We would have a lot of miles under our tires before it was through, so I settled in to enjoy the ride.
For us, the drive has always been part of the adventure. The feel of the road underneath, the music, and the lay of the land fold up into me and deepen places inside—whispering stories of change.
It seems fitting that the start of my fourth decade should be marked with a journey. It surly has been such so far…so many lives lived in this one. 
Soon, my eyes were filled with the rolling hills of Kentucky horseland and the lush greens of Tennessee. I sit and watch the landscape turn outside my window—from budding trees to the lush greens of unfolded leaves the further south we go. 
The red bud is an early arrival, sprinkling hillsides in Kentucky and Tennessee with glimpses of pinky purple joy. The dogwood appears in Alabama and everything starts to flower. Unfurling leaves look like florets waiting to present themselves. The yellow green of the poplars remind me of home, and I smile. 
And these pines…not White pine, but another more narrow, long-needled variety that holds hers in branchy handfuls. She has smaller cones and starry yellow seed pods that even give her dress the appearance of flowering. I ponder, search for her name, and resolve that this will be my summer project with the boys—to learn the names of our trees. 
We are welcomed into Mississippi by those genteel sentinels, the Magnolias. Their shiny leaves like dress attire…grooms waiting for their flowering brides. Tangles of that invasive weed, wisps of lavender wisteria delight—it’s clusters hanging heavy like a little girl’s pigtails. The air in Mississippi is sweet with pipe smoke when we stop to take a break. Auspicious pines wave lazily in the breeze and for a moment I feel like time has paused just for me. 
We arrive in New Orleans in the afternoon and while away the time wandering, visiting familiar haunts…chasing these ghosts. 
Late last night, we stumbled upon the back of Jackson’s Square. St. Louis’ cathedral towered about a diminutive sculpture of Jesus. 
This is what we saw:

As if I needed reminded that my God is big.
Well, Dear Ones, we’re off to Café Du Monde for my birthday breakfast. A full day of delight awaits… 
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!


  1. says

    i’m liking your discriptive writing – the sweetness of narrative as our lives are written upon the pages of our hearts connecting us to each other and the Creator

  2. says

    Thanks for taking us along on this journey…how fun to get to see that budding red and those old magnolias. Happy birthday, and I hope you have an absolutely wonderful vacation!

  3. says

    hi there! I am doing a little blog catch up over here! happy travels! how fun! thanks for sharing the beauty of God’s landscape with us, I love the outdoors!

    What a beautiful self portrait you have! lovely lady!

    i have to check out that Higher calling book club you mentioned :O)

    **hey, I thought of you over at my blog and wanted to pass on a little blog fun… a little award waiting for ya! I know you are on vaction and happy ‘birthdaying’ and all,
    when ya get a chance you can pop over at my blog to take a peek**

    have loads of fun! and birthday fun! Blessings, Deanna

  4. says


    I also wanted to tell you that I like how you have the Linkwithin gadget… what a great way to read past posts. I just added it to mine:)

  5. says

    Happy Birthday, Laura!!! We love long drives, too. What a guy to take you on a revisit of a first time drive together. Enjoy your precious time together and thanks for sharing with us!

  6. says

    You were in Tennessee??? That’s not that far from Georgia, you know….

    What a treat your trip must be for your heart. I pray you have a beautiful time… my friend.

    Thanks for painting a picture for us agin…

    Love, love, love it!

  7. says

    Happy birthday, again! And travelling mercies to you. I pray this time with your Husband will everything and more!!! Blessings, Naomi x

  8. says

    We might have crossed on the highway! Tonight I am in TN and will be traveling for the weekend into MS to visit a friend. You know I grew up on NO. Jackson Square was an old stomping ground of mine!! Hope you are having a fun fun time.

  9. says

    Hi ,

    Thanks for sharing that with us! Very insightful! You are a talented writer!! We loved the pic of the shadow from the sculpture. We’re following you now!! Ha.

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    May the Lord bless you and your family!!

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  10. says

    Happy Birthday. Turning forty’s fun actually. It’s when the birthdays keep coming after that when it gets a bit disconcerting…and parts start falling off. 🙂

    Have a happy, happy trip. My husband and my first trip together was to New Orleans. It’s where we knew we were truly meant for one another. It’s been 21 years and we haven’t been back since. Hmmm, something is wrong with this picture!

    Have a beignet for me!

  11. says

    Do you know that I am from Louisiana….lived in Shreveport from birth to age 18….and have never been to New Orleans?? A tragedy, I know. 🙂

    Happy, Happy b’day my precious friend! Love, Lee

  12. says


    What an incredible journey you are on and how utterly delightful that God reminded you that HE IS A BIG AND MIGHTY GOD.

    Rest in Him and with your special man.


  13. says

    I hope your birthday trip is as beautiful as it looks through your blog!
    Memories fill my heart and mind as I read. My dear husband and I took many road trips in our early years together. What a sweet idea to retravel that road.
    Blessings dear friend. Happy Birthday!

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