An Exodus Backstory in My Return to Writing & a Declare Conference Meet-n-Greet

Posted By Tammy Hendricksmeyer on Jul 1, 2016 | 10 comments


(Hi, to all my readers! I’m linking up this week in a get to know ya, kinda post as I share how I started blogging. I’m going to the July conference and love connecting with people in real life. Some of you may remember my former blog: If Meadows Speak. But if you’re a new subscriber, today you’ll discover parts of my backstory of how I came to blog and write. And if you’re subscribed to my free ebook on how I survived an indie book launch, my post-launch data has come in and I’ll be sending you the last chapter with results, next week but only to subscribers, so be looking for it.)

 


 

In 2008, we left our 3,800 plus square foot house, that sat on the edge of a cornfield in southern Indiana. We hadn’t planned our sudden transfer to Texas. Instead, God plopped a big ol’ exodus in our lap. And just like that, we placed our dream home on the downward-spiraling real estate market.

 

How I returned to writing after leaving my dream house, pictured here.

House we left in Indiana.

 

 

My family came to Texas, with little more than suitcases, having come to visit my dying Grandmother for her last Thanksgiving. After seeing her condition, it was apparent–she needed immediate family assistance. So we arrived and never left.

 

After we’d established some order, we returned a few months later to Indiana and packed up our sufficiently downsized house after several garage sales. The day we pulled in the driveway with one of our u-hauls to load up, an epic winter storm started. It blanketed everything with ice, including the ramp we were using to carry heavy furniture up, then sleet followed, and finally, snow. Lots and lots of snow.

 

By the next day, we exited on several feet of powder, two uhauls, and turned onto the slippery roads. We crossed two states mixed of the same winter-y stuff. With ice reeking havoc everywhere we went, gas stations closed from downed power lines and no electricity.

 

This caused an emergency fuel situation that resulted in raiding the kids’ wallets for cash at the first gas station that had a backup generator and operational fuel pumps. A line of cars, trucks, and Semi’s, snaked out and spilled down the service road. Since they only had a generator as an electricity source, the station was limited and without telephone access (downed lines), had zilch-o internet.  No credit cards could be used for hundreds of mile around.

 

It wasn’t until we passed Little Rock, heading west on I-30, did ice shed off in large sheets from our uhauls. By the time, we crossed into Texarkana, I realized how I’d whiteknuckled through the last eleven hours of driving.

 

I guess you could say the snow was our cloud by day and the slippery tribulations, our fire by night. Even though we had peace about the move, we covered ground like Israelites fighting for every mile of their promised land.

 

But we arrived to the now overgrown, unrecognizable farm, having safely completed our trek to Texas.

 

We unloaded and moved into a cramped run-down 1,400 square foot farmhouse. The land itself, was on old abandoned chicken farm from my youth. I remembered its hey-day of housing hundreds of thousands of yellow boiler chicks that would grow large and white, shipped off within six weeks time.

 

How I returned to writing after moving to an abandoned farm with my family.

2008 with my young boys on the farm.

 

When I returned to writing

The old farmhouse, pre-remodel in 2009. We gutted, remodeled the whole thing, then sold it and built a new place.

 

My Grandmother lived for 10 months after that last Thanksgiving. She was feisty. I had always loved that about her. But it made for a delicate tight rope when being a caregiver.

 

However, being with her in those last months was worth the cost. But cost us, it did.

 

In the first couple years, the price felt steep. Locust trees covered the once open pastures, their thorny branches poking like blades of resistance. Bodark trees twisted their aged limbs back to the ground, forming a prison vise of surface around them.

 

We hauled off more than 16,000 pounds of debris to our local landfill, mostly metal blown in jagged shreds from the old chicken buildings. Our farmhouse made my skin crawl from spiders, unsteady floors that bounced like trampolines, and Ratsnakes slithering up the mature pecan tree a few steps from our front door.

 

I’ve lost track of how many snakes I’ve seen since then.

 

From desperation and obedience, I blogged but only after I’d been propelled out my comfort zone.  My first site was called If Meadows Speak, mainly because of the emerald Rye pastures that graced our place in the Fall and Spring in those days. The towering blades blew like waves of an ocean cresting wherever I stood. I considered these meadows one the rare exceptions of beauty on the farm, untouched by abandon or decay.

 

I began blogging in 2009 as a spiritual practice and outlet, as a way to refocus my attention. I also reclaimed my passion to write in the process. I had quit writing years before that, fallowed under a long season of dormancy.

 

But I’d been planted in Texas and here, the seed of writing transplanted and grew.

 

How I returned to writing. A Redbud tree near our back pond

 

After making a once foolish statement saying never again would I live in Texas, I’ve now re-fallen in love with this area’s rolling hills, piney woods, groves of cedars, and Burr oaks. I’ve re-appreciated the numerous lakes separating cities like large islands unto themselves.

 

I’ve fallen in love with bright Texas days after dreary midwest winters. I’ve discovered brilliant purple and pink skies in one season, to burnt orange and flaming reds in the next. I’ve wondered how I ever missed those in my youth.

 

How I returned to writing under Texas skies

Our Coastal hay meadow

 

How I returned to writing under Texas skies

One of those brilliant orange skies over a converted chicken house

 

How I returned to writing under Texas skies

God-beams on a sunset over our local airport

 

How I returned to writing under Texas skies

A gorgeous Texas sky after soccer practice

 

I’ve re-fallen in love with the way words require intense focus before I put them on a page, in a line, in a poem, or a post. I’ve learned how God speaks to me through the swells of such spiritual disciplines of retrieving words that would’ve stayed below surface if not for writing.

 

I’ve practiced transparency. I’ve flirted with courage.

 

It’s been through blogging, and eventually book writing, I’ve rediscovered God’s creative purposes for me and for others.

 

Fastforward to today.

 

(I’d love to hear from you: What defines who you are today? Is there a pivotal point that lead you to write or create? How has that shaped your choices in deciding what you’ll do with your life? Are you bolder or more cautious from those experiences?) 

 


 

Below, I’m answering a few Declare questions.

 

1. What is your favorite thing to write and why? I write with a focus to help others seek God’s purposes for their lives and be brave in going for it.

2. What is your favorite thing to read and why? I’m a hoarder of non-fiction along the lines of spiritual inspiration, theological thought, historical biographies or anything of history, books about book publishing in general, and memoirs.

3. What’s one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve? I enjoy the immediate access to write to friends and readers, whereas book writing occurs in private over a long period of time. But I’d like to improve my consistency of blogging.

4. Would you rather …

  • Read on Kindle or paperback? I mostly read on Kindle because it’s like a library inside a small tablet. Highlighting favorite passages in books and being able to easily find them again, makes it a deal clincher for me.
  • Drink coffee or tea? Tea! Of course, Texas. But I prefer no-sweet tea with lemon, thank you.
  • Go to a musical or a movie? Movie. Make it a British period piece and I’d love you forever.
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? Both. If mountain, give me a hillside cabin with a view. Beach house? Give me sand and surf within walking distance.
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? Both. Exciting dinner with a small collection of friends, topped off with a place where we stretch on lounge chairs and chat.
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Meh. I prefer to chat.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. I need to get back to you on this one. I am 63 years old this month and I need time to sort all this out in a geniune fashion.

    Love you Tammy
    Ms Linda

    Post a Reply
    • Well, Linda, you are a gorgeous 63 yr old. And I’d love to know, what God’s been speaking to you about His passions and creative purposese for you? What has He been telling you or encouraging you to do these days?

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      • Tammy, I believe you when you say this. I have only been following you for less than a year, but I know I am following you for a reason, because I know my God. I will speak to you about my life as the spirit gives me utterance, and I believe I can help your infirmities as you have helped mine.

        I love love you in Texas. From. Georgia….but born in California

        Ms Linda

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  2. I just loved reading your back story! With every sentence I just kept holding my breath a little more and then I got to the part about the snakes and about lost it. What an amazing story you have of picking up and replanting yourselves for the opportunity to spend with your grandmother! I’m excited to meet you at the conference!.

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  3. I agree with Jennifer about the snakes – gave me shivers! Your story is amazing and I am really looking forward to meeting you at Declare and hearing even more of the back story to the back story. And a funny for you — the name of my blog is The Art of “Why Not?” — I did a double take when I saw yours, haha!

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  4. Tammy your dream home looks so much like my current home. I don’t have shutters. Love that smile. Love your blog and love how you adjusted for your grandmother. Hope to meet you at Declare. I finished my blog today but the linky was closed and I could not add it.

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