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Monday, October 5, 2015

Hanging with Honey {Day 5}: Porterville Night

This post was originally published over at The Common Table and even though I talk about this topic often, I've only shared one other post about Porterville Night and it was a million years ago. (it's pretty much word for word the same post as this one except for the pictures..yo.) AND since tonight is Monday, which is the official night of the week set aside for P-Night, I thought it was only fitting to post this today.  (If you follow me on instagram or Facebook then you know Nick is preaching a revival this week.  We covet your prayers and please know I will be back soon with current content.  HANG in there with me.  xxoo)

I've come to learn over the years  that some of our greatest blessings are born out of deepest afflictions.
This is how "Porterville Night" came into existence.

If I were to take you back in our family seven years ago, all three of my girls would still be living at home with me and their daddy, safe in my little nest that I loved so much.  You would find a house bustling with activity…where my daughter's friends were always around our table, popping in and out, spending the night, and just hanging out.  You would witness bible studies with high school girls gathered around my table and lots of impromptu fellowships with friends.  

Then as life would have it, they each began to spread their wings.  One by one they fell in love and we watched as the Lord revealed these special men to our girls who would one day be their husbands.

It was an exciting time in our family.  A whirlwind of excitement.   Watching these precious relationships develop and grow…literally right before our eyes as their men hung out our house  so we could get to know them.  

Our oldest daughter got married first seven years ago this November. It was quite an adjustment no longer having her presence with us in our home.  We soon became grandparents which was incredible and then right when I was getting the hang of a new normal, it was like a dam broke and I got caught swept up in a tidal wave of change.  The kind where you can't seem to catch a breath.  Each time I would come up for air, a wave would knock me back under water.

In the midst of this season, our family moved from living in town out to the community where my husband had been pastoring for almost two years.   We went from being the hub of activity…grand central station to moving 40 miles out to the country to a little community called Porterville.

Porterville is a place where no one just "stops by".  You have to drive 45 minutes from where we used to live to do that….45 minutes away from any kind of civilization.  We are in the boondocks. We have to drive 17 miles to get to a gas station.  So all of the hustle of activity with my girls that I thrived on pretty much came to a halt. Porterville was like the wilderness to me.

Now I'd like to say I handled this season in a beautiful way and was an incredible example to my daughters of how to handle change and things we don't like in our lives with grace and maturity.  But I can't.  I pouted.  I succumbed to depression.  My girls didn't even like hanging out at the house anymore, much less their guys.  But through God's relentless love and kindness that leads us to repentance I asked God to forgive me and I refocused how I was looking at things.

And what came next is now one of our families favorite events……Porterville Night.

I realized I had to be intentional about our family time together so we set aside Monday nights as the night we would keep our calendars clear and make sure we were all gathered together.  This new tradition started when the girls were still at home and the boys would ride out together.  I would cook and we would often play board games all night.  It's nothing fancy.  The goal is just being together.  

We've had bonfires where we roasted marshmallows and sang around the campfire. We've sat around flipping through channels on the tv. We've had dance offs on the Wii.  And occasionally we'll watch a movie.  It really doesn't matter as long as we are together.  

As far as Porterville goes, for me it's more of a state of mind than it is a place on the map.

Porterville Night represents contentment. 
It represents the fact that we have resolved to carve out time for being together.
It represents the fact that we have committed to make our time together a celebration.

You see, in recent years our family has evolved.
We have always been tight knit.  We've always done everything together.
And we like it that way.
But life has happened and kids have grown up, gotten married and moved away.
We can no longer all be together for ALL things that take place.

As a momma, I could fight with God on this issue and stay miserable..
pining away about how it used to be.
But by His grace He's done such a work in my heart.  

Learning how to love what you do have instead of whining about what you don't have is a  freeing thing.  
FREEDOM y'all. 

So instead of being sad that we can't hang out all the time, I've chosen to be ecstatic over when we do get to hang out.  And that's what our Porterville Night is all about.

Now this is the season I'm in...having grown kids branching out..learning to do "family" a new way.
But so many of y'all  are dealing with the same stuff....just a different season.

The momma who had to send off her little love to kindergarten and is learning to adjust to them being gone 6 hours a day, 5 days a week being shaped and molded by someone else when up to this point that sole person has been you.

Or the one who is having to deal with their kid who has hit the teenage years and you as a mom, who was once their best friend that they wanted to do everything with, suddenly gets put on the back burner to new friends and new activities.

Or the dear one whose older parents are now in poor health or have recently passed away and you are learning how to do life with the biggest void you've ever experienced.

When we find ourselves in these new seasons that honestly, we'd prefer the old way of doing things...
it's then we have a choice to make.
We have to choose to embrace the new way of doing things and discover the joy awaits.
We can waste precious time dreaming about what used to be or..
we can have ourselves a Porterville Night!

I hope you choose yourself a "Porterville Night".



  1. With my married kids (and grandkids) here in town, I need to do this! We can't have a standing night because of hubby's shift work, but it could be done. Oh, the possibilities! ;)

  2. Thanks for this. I'm in the latter of those life changing events: the death of my parents. My family has always been very close. The holidays were big for us, especially Thanksgiving. My sister and her family and my husband and I always looked forward to Thanksgiving in Mississippi! Both of my parents have gone to heaven, & the void they have left makes me physically ache at times. My sister has moved from DFW to Oklahoma to be near her daughter & her grandkids. A time of the year that used to bring so much joy, now leaves me sad. I so need to pray for God to remove this desire from my heart to be back in Mississippi & find a new normal here in Texas. Thank you for these words of wisdom that life does move forward; I just need to move forward with it.

  3. What a fun post! Our son lives near but our daughter lives 8 1/2 hours away with her family but we try to make it work. Such cute pics of your family. Blessings on your hubby's revival this week!

  4. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I'm not having to HANG in there! Today's post and yesterday's spoke straight to my heart. The timing was God's perfect timing. Thank you for your words! Praying for your revival. P.S. I'm a Mississippi girl and a Honey to one sweet grand daughter too!

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  6. Wow Honey thank you. I have to admit I didn't want to read this at first. As you know (because your sweet uplifting email to me) having my oldest, who has never lived more than 10 minutes from me in her entire life, getting ready to move cross country with her hubs,and my grandson aka apple of my eye ♡ (17HOURSAWAY!!!) Has been so so hard for me. And my 2 other grown children are just waiting to get their own ducks in order before they fly the coop has left me floundering and flopping every which way but loose. Even at our beach week, where the 2 youngest miraculously were able to come, I have fought that "how it used to be" "it'll never be this good again" monster tooth and nail. I see you handling it all with such grace and joy. To see that it has been a process and Tha God is big enough and loving enough to meet all the needs of our Mama hearts is so reassuring. Thank you for sharing your life with are truly an inspiration. I'm struggling but I'm winning...I think :) ♡ Melinda


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