Sweet Home Montgomery

The other day I drove downtown to meet a friend for lunch at a cute little food truck called “On a Roll”.

I found a parking spot, scrounged around for quarters to put into the meter, and made my way towards the food truck that awaited me with the worlds BEST Pimento cheese sandwich.

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Upon my arrival to eat, I purchased cookies from a local baker, Simply Sugared.  I waved at her kiddos and remembered, once again, how adorable they are.

Also, I was reminded how beautiful (and yummy) her cookies are and how sweet her spirit is!

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I walked up to make my order at “on a roll” and Nick, one of the owners, greeted me with a “Oh hey Mrs. Laura, you back for more Pimento Cheese today?”

He knows me so well.

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I enjoyed lunch with my friends and most handsome husband, and headed to the post office.

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Before I walked through the doors of the post office, sweet Mrs. Eleanor was waving at me with a big smile on her face.

She works at the front desk of the post office, and always rocks her post office blue cardigan.

I walked in with a bag of cookies to ship off, and she looked at me confused…

“No coffee today Mrs. Bell?” she asked

“not today!” I said.

“Until next time!” she replied while she helped me pick out the cheapest form of shipping 🙂

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The next day I was on my morning run through the neighborhood, cutting through to my favorite park a few blocks over.

My friend/neighbor, Kelly, was sitting on her porch and waved as I ran by. I stopped to chat for a minute, which turned into thirty minutes and a tour of her porch side garden.

Be still my heart.

I love her.

I am obsessed with her garden.

She reminded me why I love the South.

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I finished up my run by cutting through the parking lot of Richardson’s Pharmacy.

I waved to the “security guard” as he hollered “How was today’s run?”

He’s not the security guard, in fact I am not quite sure who he is, but he sits and keeps watch over the place ALL DAY and EVERYONE loves him.

I don’t know his name, but I know his spirit, 

and to me, that’s all that matters.

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I hopped in my car and drove over Anehlich’s Automotives.

Yes, it is a service station.

A real one.

You drive up, a little bell dings, and they fill up your tank.

The same fella’ helps me every time.

He knows my name, checks my hood, my tire pressure, washes my windshield and gives me the same advice on marriage.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Our city, the one we love, wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for the people that made it so spectacular.

The places are great, every city has cool stuff,

but the people, oh the people, are what make this Capital City so fantastic.

Also,

(how gorgeous is my beautiful Becca? Shy, reserved, but always up for anything I ask her to do.  The camera loves her. What a babe!)

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Cody and I are traveling away from home in just a few short months.

Traveling to a city, a country, that needs love like what Montgomery holds.

The orphans need attention and affirmation and our hearts are so excited to distribute all that we have within us.

We have a little more fundraising left to do.

So, to any and all who know this city, love this city, and want to help people from your city, your opportunity lies within these adorable t shirts.

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If you purchase one of these shirts, all the proceeds go towards mine and Cody’s Mission trip to Moldova.

It’s simple.

And Y’all, these t shirts are SO comfy.

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Our friend, Nalin Khantisouriya, designed these adorable tee’s and a local non-profit, Urban Seed Xchange printed them for us.

The awesome pictures were taken by Brooke Glassford with Colorbox Photographers, also known as the “prettiest blonde in Montgomery County”.

Not kidding, her golden locks are a dream.

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Our city has a vision and is changing daily.

I love all that God is doing and moving daily for our community as it is re-vamping itself into what is was created to be.

Sweet Home Montgomery,

you still got it.

Be sure to buy a t shirt and know that your purchase goes towards an amazing mission trip!

Buy T shirts Here!

Sisters, Sweaters, and Selma to Montgomery

They marched.

People of every color, shape, size, background, even from other states, they marched.

I missed it.  I was actually completely unaware that there was going to be another march.

I spent my Wednesday afternoon at lunch with a friend just a few blocks away from where it all happened.  My friend even joined the marchers for a few blocks before meeting me, and seemed to marvel at the intensity and enormity of it all.

I got curious while we ate and felt like I should attempt to see at least a small portion of what everyone was raving about.

We said our goodbyes and I strapped my camera around my neck and started walking… I never realized how insanely long Dexter Avenue was… 

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I heard cheering and clapping, I heard “In the NAME of JE-SUS!” , emphasis on the “SUS” yelled out over the speakers, there were people EVERYWHERE, and my heart melted at all the different colors of their skin.

I made my way towards the capitol building.  There were t-shirt booths, posters, pins, hats, flags… you name it, Dexter Avenue was hoppin.

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I met so many sweet souls as I journeyed the endless street.  Everyone was smiling, some were crying joyful tears.  I met strangers who had traveled from all over the U.S. just to be a part of this grand day.

There were news reporters everywhere, the letters V-O-T-E were across the steps of the capitol building and decorated with the most artistic taste.

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BUT…

The two sitting on the bench, well those two were worth the walk.

Jerome and Lashonna.  Best friends, warriors, brother and sister, and 64&65 years old.

I passed them on my way back to my car. Lashonna smiled and stared at me so long that I felt I should start a conversation.  She was decked out in her Alabama State gear, sitting on a bench, with her feet propped on her water cooler.

“Hi, how’re y’all?” I said bashfully.

“Well hey Suga, did you like the march today?” She asked me with the biggest grin full of the whitest teeth I have ever looked at.

I was immediately drawn to her.

“Oh no ma’am, I didn’t march, just observing the after-math, what about y’all?” I replied.

“Oh honey! We marched together 50 years ago, and we marched together again today! That is Jerome, my little brother, and I am Lashonna.”

I was immediately sucked in and there was no way I was getting out, I wanted to hear every inch of their story. I was glued to every word they spoke.

I asked them what the first march was like, I even asked if she remembered what she wore that day.

Jerome piped in with laughter in his words saying, “Oh! I remember what I wore. I wore my favorite sweater.  It was light blue with gold elbow pads.  But my big sister was just SO cold, so I let her borrow my sweater, and YOU KNOW WHAT SHE DID! SHE LOST MY SWEATER!”

LaShonna was laughing hysterically at this point and said “First thing he asked me this morning was if I brought him his sweater, that he’s been cold for 50 years.”

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We sat together for nearly an hour as I asked question after question, hungry for their memory.

You know what my favorite thing about them was? There was no bitterness.  There was no anger.  There was no shame. We saw each other as equals and loved each other’s hearts for belonging to the same Jesus.

They kept praising God for all that He had done.  They talked about how kind He was for making that day happen then and now. I felt myself get emotional at how peaceful they were about the history they endured and the kindness they poured out over each other and strangers.

I asked them “What was different today than 50 years ago?”

LaShonna looked at me and said “There was nothing to be afraid of. 50 years ago there was a lot to be scared of, no matter the color of your skin.  If you marched, there was a fear in all of us.  What if we get arrested? What if they hurt us? If you didn’t march, you were probably hiding in your house praying that peace would prevail.  But today, when we rounded that corner and I saw the capitol building this morning, I felt hot tears roll down my face and realized what God had done in 50 years and how much more He is ready to do.”

Wow! What a testimony.

Today, I was a part of history. With a sister, the story of a sweater, and the march from Selma to Montgomery. 

Did I mention I love my city? 🙂

To the City

Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. Yep, that’s me.

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Dear Montgomery, I thank you.

I thank you for having history that hurt the world and history that strengthened it. I thank you for teaching me how to embrace moments with the people around me, not obsessing over the millions of “things” that my home has. I thank you for having the best fried chicken, for Wednesday morning breakfast dates at Farmer’s Market Cafe with my dad, and for the hotdog shop that never, ever lets me down.. all since 1917.

I thank you that I had friends with darker skin than me, that it was acceptable, and for the schools that I went to that gave me those friends.

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I thank you for my husband and that I found him in the Capital City, sitting in one of your classrooms.

*dragons really should retire because of him.*
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To the city that has the best Mrs. JoZetti’s cupcakes and the sweetest Mrs. JoZetti baking them, I thank you.

Thank you for my neighborhood Winn Dixie with homeless people who never fail to ask me for cash and cashiers who know my name AND my shopping schedule. 

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I thank you for the fountain at the square where Rosa kept her seat and that it is the prettiest place for a picture 🙂

Thank you for family who is rooted here, moving here, and making a difference in all the areas that need the deepest of loves. 

Thank you for the curb market  with the most fresh of vegetables and sweetest farmers.

colorboxphoto_32I thank you for giving me moments to laugh until I cry.

Thank you for teaching me about Jesus and for the common question “do you have a church family?”

Yes, I do, because of YOU.

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I thank you that I can stand in front of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where MLK Jr. preached The Word and that I get to drive past it everyday.

Thank you for my mother, a former Montgomery tour guide, who taught me the same RICH history lessons every time we passed through downtown.

Thank you for obsessed football fans and the rivalry of Auburn/Alabama football. It’s stupid, we know, and we don’t care. 

colorboxphoto_49I thank you for ridiculously hot summers, lightening bugs, and sweet tea.

Thank you for my accent that is noticeably southern and the way my people embrace it.

Thank you for a city life and country life all in one, for hay bales and cow fields right next to subdivisions.  I thank you for historic homes that stand strong and for the Davis Theatre remaining elegant, making me feel like Audrey Hepburn every time I walk by.

I thank you for a home where people stopped by to drink my mom’s sweet tea and would stay, even if we left. 🙂

colorboxphoto_20I thank you for people with strong incomes who move to the “scary” places and love their neighbors.

Thank you for community bible studies and complete strangers that will eat Tomatino’s pizza with you, anytime, any day, ever, because it’s delicious.

I thank you that Vicki’s Lunch Van isn’t a van, but instead a really yellow building, and completely deserving of her “Best Hamburger in Alabama” Award.

I love that we all know the whole city will smell bad after it rains because of a paper mill that rests on its outskirts.

colorboxphoto_14I thank you for women obsessed with monograms, hippies, hipsters, rap artists, and country folks that all live in one city.

I love that every teenaged boy dreams of a pick-up truck, no matter the year, they just want a truck (there’s something about them).  And I love that my husband has one.. 🙂

I thank you for my favorite author finding his soul mate in this city and living in a house for a few months (although we act like he lived here for 80 years).  F. Scott Fitzgerald, we salute thee.

colorboxphoto_1We love you Montgomery, Alabama.  Thank you for being imperfect.  Thank you for having problems.  Thank you for being unpopular. Thank you for standing strong.

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We are fighting for you, you sweet little town of awesome imperfection. We love you, we love our neighbors, and we never want to stop. 

Cody and I have plans, big plans.  We want to love our city with our coffee. The sweetest Brooke Glassford, with Colorbox Photographers, took some shots of us around the place where we want to form the greatest community centered around a beautiful cause.

I ask that you pray for us as we journey towards our goal and dream.  I ask that you keep buying Bell Blend, because you are buying more than coffee.

*We want to see our city come together for something greater than themselves, and we are ecstatic to see what God is going to do!*

Y’all be sure to share your favorite things about Montgomery or even your own hometown 🙂 Comment below and subscribe!!