Day 24: Southern Smiles

It seemed as if the Southern summer swept in like a wildfire last Friday afternoon.

I hurried to meet Cody Bell to pick up our coffee cart (Market Town Coffee Company) and peddle her a few blocks over to the train shed.

Cody peddled while I power walked beside him, chatting about our days, carrying a little bit of anxious excitement in our bellies about the coming weekend.IMG_3037(Obviously my honey wasn’t up for “stoplight selfies.”)

We made our way along the few blocks of Downtown Montgomery and peddled through booth after booth of southern makers setting up their product with the same anticipation we carried!

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 Our set-up was easy in comparison to others who had full fledged booths and “oodles” of goodies to sell.

So we decided to explore a bit before the weekend rush.

We passed all the vendors nodding, waving, and smiling the way good Southerners do with strangers.

The ole’ nod and wave as you pass deal.

but on this day…

IMG_6018I found myself smiling and drooling over so many booths and falling in love with all the people that were working, presenting, and even LAUNCHING their businesses.

IMG_6001Y’all, Alabama Sweet Tea Company was amazingggggg! Bringing all our grandmamas’ and Milo’s tea to shame. 

It was a hit.

Even their yankee tea was delicious!

IMG_6021They left all their customers with smiles and the most beautiful mason jar I ever did see!

I bumped in to Stately Made and O. M. Word…. this girl is SO gifted!

Her stuff was beautiful AND for perks, she is a big time Parks and Rec fan, so obviously, instant friends.

IMG_6006IMG_6015Her stuff is all about embracing the southern states and the blessings they have to offer.

Look at the smile. 

IMG_6008I couldn’t stop staring at that one.^

It’s mine now, and I’m currently contemplating if I’m actually willing to send it to anyone ’cause I can’t stop loving it so much.

IMG_5990We set up our cart next to the entrance of the event, right by Tish’s Cupcakes.

Coffee Cupcake Combo… yes please.

Our Cold Brew Coffee was a hit with the summer heat that graciously blessed us with its presence, suddenly and abruptly this weekend.

We met so many people, old and young, who came out for this event.

At noon, when the gates opened, this place was clamoring with smiling people and live music.

I couldn’t get over the turn out.

IMG_5991We were standing for hours, talking and laughing with folks, enjoying every minute of our opportunity to be a part of this incredible event.

IMG_6037I found myself noticing the power that smiles gave to the vendors and the customers.

It was amazing to witness people stopping at each booth and to actually see both the seller and the customer light up when they spoke to one another. 

The vendors felt empowered by the people who took time to notice the work they had put into their products, whether it was soap, baskets, beer, or greeting cards.

IMG_6053There was abundant relief and peace knowing that every person with a booth around me knew exactly how much work goes into building your own business.

The effort. The hours. Sleepless nights. Long weekends.

But at the same time, I think everyone who moseyed through this incredibly artistic wonderland really valued each person working their tail off to showcase what they worked on so tirelessly.

It’s fascinating to see what happens when we just smile at one another.

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I noticed customers that would see our little coffee bike, stop, and look to Cody and I for a smile.

It was as if a smile was their invitation to come closer and try what we had to offer.

We smiled at everyone and they smiled back.

Smiling brought security to the heart and acceptance to the soul.

In all actuality, it was what made the weekend.

I can’t help but notice the kindness of God through the smiles of His children.

IMG_6063On that day, and every day we’re in business, every smile was an affirmation of a job well done.

I often wonder if we as a people are willing to listen to the voice that defines us saying “I am well pleased with you”.

Are we willing to share that defining voice with a smile? 

Inviting others to be defined by that sweet still sound in our spirit? 

Let’s smile today. 🙂

Sunny Southern Sunday

Sundays in the South seem to snatch me up in the most perfect way possible.

Walking hand in hand with my favorite Cody Bell, we marched through the doors of one my favorite Montgomery historic homes only to capture the scent brunch food preparation and the sound of spotify and laughter. 

Waffle maker was on hot, bacon was sizzlin’, and biscuits… those. biscuits.

Goat Hill Coffee was brewing too 🙂

We walked through the doors and the chattering voices all began yelling out

“Ah, HEY the Bells!”

“Hey Y’all, glad you’re here!” 

#suchsweetness.

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We walked through a food line of no rhyme or reason and us girls made our way out on the porch to chow down on our full plates.

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We sat together, told stories, and watched as kids in smocked outfits filed out of their Sunday morning service at the church across the street.

We even giggled about “how southern we were being” while we chatted about life and sipped OJ from mason jars.

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I think what made this community brunch so joyful was being able to look around the front porch we were sitting on and realize that barely a year ago these guys and gals were strangers to me.

I hardly knew their genuine nature and valuable friendships.

Honestly, I hardly understood what it meant to have friendships like that to begin with.

These friends have taught me to ask myself hard questions and to answer them, no matter how scary that may seem.

These friends have treasured the nature of Jesus and buried it so deep within their hearts that conversation is never lacking and kindness is unending.

I have learned that these places and these moments are meant to be noticed and remembered.

The days that you look back on and remember that swinging on the front porch in south Alabama with a bunch of fabulous people was a really great day.

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My community has shown me the importance of doing life together. 

Finding reason to have joy, supporting each other as we venture into unknown places and experiences, and simply choosing to be intentional with our time and friendships.

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See that little fella up there? Yep, this group of gals has matching tank tops with his name on it for his birthday.

And it’s awesome. so. awesome.

There’s assurance in that.

Assurance in friends that you see and do life with, knowing that we will all be together for all the changes.

I’ve never, ever known such intentional people in my life.

It really is a gift.

Can you tell it was a good Sunday? 

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I’m not much of a souvenir collector,

but I’ll store up memories in my heart of sunny days in the South with swings and sweet friends.

Scenes of Savannah

There’s just something about the South.

IMG_3560Maybe it’s the twang in the accents, the smiling at strangers,

Or maybe it’s the details.

IMG_3553I mean, where else are you going to find fish gutters?

Southerners are all about presentation.

IMG_3613I made a quick trip to Savannah to celebrate my Bride-to-be friend (gal pal on my left in this pic).

This November bride could not have picked a better place to explore.

IMG_3617We stopped every 3 steps to take a picture of every beautiful thing we saw… but this may have been mine and Laine’s favorite find. #MontgomeryGals

IMG_3592But Abbey’s favorite was the candy store.

I’ve never in my life seen a place like this.

In that pic ^, Abbey has just spotted a Tootsie Pop bigger than her head… she really was like a kid in a candy store.

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Next stop was the Savannah Bee Company.

 Never have I tasted  SO. MUCH. HONEY.

IMG_3625But it was amazing to say the least.

IMG_3559The places we explored and the scenes of Savannah we saw were nothing in comparison to the company I had to explore it with.

IMG_3660 (1)When adult life comes in faster than you can say “don’t”, you really take captive the time you have to visit with one another.

IMG_3656At one point in our exploration, the Bride-to-be, who was my first ever friend in college, came up next to me and put her arm around me.

IMG_3563I quickly returned the favor and the two of us walked, without words, as we explored.

We knew we looked weird.

It’s fine.

We haven’t lived in the same city in over a year.

And we had to soak in friendship time together while we could.

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Sometimes you have to soak in the moments with the scenery.

Because before you know it, you’re back to reality and your friendships are made up of sporadic phone calls and texting.

But the part that excites me most, is that no matter how little we see of one another,

we still get to celebrate in the events of each other’s lives.

IMG_3652We get to create new memories, in new seasons, with new experiences,

all because our past made us friends in the first place.

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Until next time Savannah,

you treated us with the greatest Southern Hospitality,

and some awesome corn bread (Thanks Paula Dean).