Wednesday, February 26, 2014

a Southern Cities Tour

I am leaving on Friday for Charleston. When in Moz I dreamt of cities like Charleston & Savannah; of architecture and fashion and delicious food. I took notes from my Southern Living magazines of restaurants and shops I wanted to see. Their creativity inspires my own. Kind, gracious friends have invited me down for just this. Three or so weeks in Charleston to go and window shop and explore and write.  Disciplined writing, every single day. Eating healthy and tri-weekly tennis matches. I am going to soak in the South, spend my days writing and I will be helping a friend who wants to publish. I don't know exactly how to help but so far reading and giving my opinion seems to help her and I hope she will do the same for me. In addition, I  am also seeking out a small business opportunity that may help fund my extended travels/life in Africa. I am always looking for a way to sustain myself and creative ways for "tent making" as I live abroad. I also think my friends are trying to convince me to stay and showing me the best of one of the greatest cities in the U.S. is smart, but it won't work. I am planning on leaving for Cameroon as soon as possible. I don't know quite what else Charleston will bring, but I just know it is one of many stones that do not need to be left unturned. I am at a really unique juncture and been given a great gift to go and explore this timeless city. I'm excited to see what will become of it. I have a feeling it will be much more than I have imagined. Immediately following my time in Charleston I will be going to Nashville to explore Thistle Farms. I am meeting with their director and am hoping to be able to help them in their social businesses in Africa. Both of these trips remain a little vague, but I feel they are necessary points of interest in the journey. So today I am attempting to pack to be gone for a month, for warmer weather of the coast from a pitiful wardrobe of outdated, wrinkled GAP just unpacked from the attic. I've got work to do, no time for trend setting. 
recent fossil hunting in lake weiss, alabama with the boys
the new neighborhood

morning walk in the new neighborhood

lake weiss, alabama with the boys

the hardware store with nathaniel- rome, ga

Oh, and I moved. I call it The Treehouse as it is perched up high in the woods on the lake in deep Reed Creek. It is perfect. It's brand new and spotless and has hot running water and electricity. All a girl could want. 

Thank you for your continued love and support. Big things are happening in the midst of all the stillness. I can feel it. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

this was good, this was God

I have been avoiding you. All of you. Here and in the grocery store. I avoid you because I know that you are going to see inside of me and because you care, you ask. I learned a long time ago that you can’t fool anyone or maybe  Abraham Lincoln taught me,

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Either way I simply gave up guessing who is who. I avoid you because you are going to ask that dreaded question, “When are you going back to Africa?” and the answer is (eyes down, head down), “I don’t know.” But honestly I do know all that I need to know. I just don’t know how to give you the answer you want to hear. I know that, for the time being, I am not supposed to go back to Mozambique. I know that the foundations I built there are being built upon and it is not my job any longer. I know that the programs I established there are flourishing under those who are running with the torches I passed. I know it is not my role to stay there and administrate but give others the space they need to make these programs their own. Letting that go was not easy and coming to that realization was painful. But that is one thing that I do know.

I also know that I need to start to do a few things for myself. I am not saying that I live a fully selfless life, being single I get to be quite selfish every day. But I want to cultivate something that was fully my own and so I attended a writer’s conference. It was this past weekend in Nashville. Dad let me borrow his truck and friends of friends offered their futon and off I went. Y’all know how much I adore the South and driving up to Nashville felt like visiting cousins, comfortable and familiar. I had no idea what the weekend would entail but it didn’t matter, this was something that I needed to do for myself. It was symbolic of me taking a step, putting my African missionary identity on the back burner and stepping into something new and solely for myself.

For ages I have wanted to be a writer, to write something good, to publish something incredible. Not for recognition or fame but to challenge myself to get good words on paper and tell a story. I want to help others’ get their stories out and I want to tap into these ramblings in my head, otherwise they sit in there and harass me. Years ago I was asked to write out 100 dreams and I think I could only get to 36, but they included; surfing, moving to Africa, living by the ocean, learning to sew, and writing. So now I am here, in Nashville, going to a writer’s conference.

It was a conference for women, so naturally when the women around the room were asked why they were there, they all over shared and cried. Everybody, except me. I don’t over share because I am a Davis and I don’t cry because I lived in Mozambique where my compassion would cripple me if I cried over every thing that grieved me. So for now, I’ve stopped. I met a publisher there and decided that I wanted my next job to be one that involved reading books all day. But I still find it hard to put on shoes and show up on time and not eat with my fingers. But I am getting there. There they showed us what the whole publishing process looks like. I must admit that I listened with someone else in mind and not myself. I do that often. “That sermon is really what So and So needs right.” So I took notes wondering how I could help So and So publish their book rather than my own. Self reflection even in ones own mind is so stinkin’ hard. Because if I admitted to myself that I wanted to publish the book and then I go weeks and months without even blogging to those I love, I would feel like a failure and I am already avoiding you in the produce aisle.

So there you go. I want to write a book and publish it and so now that I am home for Lord knows how long I went to a writer’s conference with a bunch of white people with shoes on and I kinda liked it. I got to wear that sweater that I bought at j.crew, so that was good. We had biscuits for breakfast from Loveless Café and that was good. I left thinking that the only thing stopping me from writing a book was myself and that was good. I learned about a lady who started a social business not unlike my own but instead of being in Mozambique, it is in Nashville. It is a little business that works with women; former prostitutes and addicts. They have a café and their hand made beauty products sell at Whole Foods. It is not unlike the model I want to see at Galeria dos Sonhos. I have tentative plans to go back and check it out.  And for the first time in a long while I got to experience “church” in a house on a hill in Tennessee, as women over shared in a safe space and felt loved and accepted and were encouraged and challenged and changed. So that was good. Even better than the biscuits.

My invitations back to Africa all still stand and I still roll my eyes when Americans talk about the poverty here and suggest I do something locally. But I am starting to see what God may be showing me. I just need a little time with Him to determine our next step. I am ready for it all to be in place so that I can buy plane tickets and plan my wardrobe, but He isn’t pushing or pulling in any direction. I just keep hearing Him say, “Rest. You’re gonna need it.” And now, I am under a blanket, watching snow melt doing just that.

Love, Grace