For the Love of Marriage by Lisa Lewis Smith

The writer's parents on their wedding day

My parents just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.  They have provided a good and sound model for my brothers and me.  A large part of the success of their marriage and our family closeness should be attributed to Lewisburg, and to our time at Smithover and the Greenbrier River.  Our numerous canoe trips,  picnics, and family car travels (during  which we put millions of miles under our belts) all knit us together. My parents devoted their time and energy to the meaningful things in life, and showed their children the true value of family and making memories for a lifetime.

The writer's parents, Thanksgiving 2011 in Lewisburg.


Lewisburg represents the simple life for me.  It represents not having to show anyone up and investing in the important things:  breathing fresh air, admiring sunsets with your children, soaking up starlit evenings, eating with pleasure and gratitude.  It represents committing to living life to the fullest, and to falling in love with as much as you possibly can.

Our wedding in late August of 2004 took place on this land that my dad always referred to as “sacred.”  That evening, all the things that were precious to me growing up merged together into one memorable occasion:  family, food, and music in the great outdoors.  The moon was full.  The stars were bright. Cousins Fred, Lew, and Will picked away at some of my favorite tunes.  My childhood was over, but my values for life were set.

Lewisburg and Smithover became a special place for me early on.

The magnificent fields, woods, and waters were the vital playgrounds of my youth.

It is a place that continues to transform me, continues to teach peace and harmony, and continues to bring calmness during restless times.

It is my sanctuary.

Through this exceptional place, I have learned how to take great pleasure in the fundamentals of a meaningful life.

I am forever grateful.

The writer and her husband on their wedding day in Lewisburg, West Virginia

Fear of Chaos

Image ◊ Good Letters: The IMAGE Blog ◊ Varieties of Hoarding.

Going with the theme right now, this is well-written self reflection by Sara Zarr on how past experiences and fears of their repetition can creep into our everyday behaviors.  The full post is an excellent read when you have time.  The conclusion is heartbreaking, but an opportunity to better understand a complex response to fear.

An excerpt:

Though the home I grew up in never came even close to looking like the homes of the hoarders, and though the particular pathology of hoarding did not touch our family, when I looked at the chaos on my TV screen I got the same feeling that I had growing up in an alcoholic home; a sense of being overwhelmed, everything out of control. Not knowing what to do or where to start.

There was a claustrophobia to my childhood. Physically, we had plenty of room, yet there was no real space or freedom to live, to feel at home and at peace. It was the opposite of sanctuary.

My husband has never understood what seem like out of proportion reactions, on my part, to little bits of what I guess is normal clutter—the shoes, the mail, a few dirty dishes on the counter. It’s not that I’m what anyone could call a “neat freak,” but when things aren’t in their places, I get anxious. I have that same feeling I had in childhood of things being, or threatening to be, out of my control, and I hate it.

The comments section under the full post are revealing as well.  You can find out more about the author of this post at