To anyone who has read this blog for more than a few entries,
it's no secret that I have somewhat of an obsession with grass.
Growing up, I took for granted the fact that I could lay in the shade without a care in the world,
breathe in the smell of freshly cut grass,
run and play barefoot,
and enjoy a beautiful, green landscape for most of the year.
When we lived in Texas, we spent very little time in our yard,
primarily because there were so many fire ants and other mean critters,
but the grass (St. Augustine) was so rough and poky that it wouldn't have been much fun to play in, anyway.
For three blissful years in Utah we had a lush yard with some annoyances of dry spots and crab grass patches,
but our backyard was a place we spent SO much time together as a family (Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass blend).
Here in Tennessee, the grass (Bermuda) is an ugly shade of brown with NO green whatsoever for at least 6 months of the year. Even when it is green, it is only from a distance--upon closer examination, half the grass is actually in its dead state, so it's a very light/tan-flecked green. Each blade of grass is divided into multiple strands as it grows, so the texture is more like bushes than the soft grass of my childhood. And yes, there are bugs a-plenty! Moles dig up the ground, leaving large holes and bare patches behind. And it won't grow in the shade--strange that it is the grass of choice in a place where there are so many trees!
Can you tell I'm a bit passionate about it?
Trust me, just about everyone I know who is from Utah who lives here gets almost as excited about it as I do.
I have researched grass to find out what kinds of grass can grow well in Tennessee so that, if we were to buy a house here, we could perhaps convert our yard into something we love.
As silly as it probably sounds, especially to my native Tennesseean friends who don't know what they are missing out on, the grass and lovely backyards are one of the biggest things I miss about living in Utah. When I walk into our half-dead backyard and am met with a 20 foot long strip of pure sand by the patio where the grass won't grow because it's always shady, when I nearly sprain my ankle because I fall into a hole, and when the kids track dirt and dead grass in all day long, I almost pull my hair out with exasperation!
And during the long, hot, humid summers, I find myself desperately longing for the cool Summer evenings we spent together in our backyard in Utah.
Living in Utah brings frustrations, too, but I think it will always feel like home to me.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly heartsick about being away from our families and so many other great things Utah has to offer.
I found myself fighting tears all weekend...
it didn't help that I had been attempting to can peaches and they were mushy and mealy and nasty and the skins wouldn't blanch off and I ached for the huge, firm, smooth, luscious Elbertas that grew in an orchard just up the street from us!
I went to Church with a heavy heart.
After Church, Sam had a meeting, so I gathered all the kids and asked if they wanted to walk over to a picnic area by the temple to wait.
Upon our arrival, I looked down and gasped.
"You guys!!! It's UTAH GRASS!!!" I exclaimed to the kids.
They immediately sank to their knees and began rolling in the grass, laying in the grass, and chewing on the grass as I looked up at the temple with fresh tears stinging my eyes--this time spurred on by joy.
Of course the temple would be the place that would make me feel at home!
I distinctly felt Heavenly Father tell me, "I see you. I am aware of your struggles. And I love you."
That moment became instantly sacred to me.
I don't know where our "forever" home will be...or if we'll ever stop moving every few years.
But no matter where I go in the world, I can always feel at home when I feel my Heavenly Father's love.
And the temple is one of the greatest places to feel that the most clearly.