Homecoming: My Roots in Dahlonega

I've been able to spend more time at home in Dahlonega over the past few months due to many things:
my Papa's surgery, a friend's baby shower, us living closer and me not having to "clock in" every day.
It is so nice to be able to work when I'm able and to have the freedom to go where I'm needed whether it be to take care of sick family members or to visit with and help out with our Godchildren.
I am truly blessed. 

I want to thank each of you who prayed for my Papa during his surgery. 
It means the world to my family. 
I read each and every comment and email y'all wrote to him and he smiled more during that time than I had seen him smile in quite some time.
He was so honored and grateful.
He had some serious complications post-surgery and ended up making 2 more trips back to the ER.
He still has bad days mixed some good ones, but overall we hope he is on the mend.
The doctors are really concerned about his prostate, so please continue to keep him in your prayers regarding that if you don't mind.
He is the ONLY person I know that folds his grocery bags.
He is so meticulous and keeps everything "neat as a pin" as he puts it.
Wonder where I get my OCD from...
My sister lives next door, well on the same mountain, that my grandparents do.
This is also the mountain that sits behind the house I spent several years of my childhood in.
After my parents got divorced we moved into this house.
We ended up moving 3 more times after that-all in the same area (my mama is in the real estate and renovations business).
While we didn't live in this house more than 5 or 6 years, I still consider this the house that built me.
This was the first house we lived in without my dad.
As a child and even a teenager, I really struggled with change.
I remember being devastated about having to move after my dad left.
Our home was custom built by my Papa and my parents had put so much thought into every detail of our house.
My mama's impeccable taste for both interior and exterior design landed our home a spot on the Southern Living Tour of Homes year after year.
In my mind that house was more than a house. It was a home.
Our home as a family of 4, even thought my dad wasn't always present.
My mama went from being a stay-at-home mama to working 5 jobs in a matter of weeks when my dad left.
And it still wasn't enough to pay the bills even with child support.
So, she put our house on the market.
I can remember locking myself in my bedroom when people would come to look at the house, trying everything in my power to keep us from moving.
At 7, I simply didn't understand interest rates and mortgage payments.
At the time we lived in Cumming.
When the house sold my mama had her eyes on this historic farmhouse in Dahlonega-the Nimblewill Community, specifically.
She had always wanted us to grow up in the country instead of a subdivision.
She wanted us to be free, to roam, to explore, to love the land.
She bought the house and began working on renovating as much as she could on a budget.
Anyway, this is the view from our home.
I loved having the open pastures because I always felt so trapped by the mountains.
Don't get me wrong, I love the mountains and I think they're a beautiful work of God, but I prefer flatter and open land with wide open spaces so that I can see a storm coming and watch the sun set into the ground.
Nimblewill Church Road and Nimblewill Creek, where we swam, jumped off the bridge, and went trout fishing.
Jess Grizzle Road and the creek bottoms.
Our road was dirt when we lived on it.
Unfortunately, this house hasn't been cared for since we moved in 1999.
Everything we worked so hard to improve and restore has been let go and undone.
It really breaks my heart.
In my mind I can picture the dozens of flowers and plants in the yard and fresh paint, porch swings and rocking chairs, and welcome mats.
My mama hung those numbers on the house with love and care.
I can picture a white picket fence, a creek with a bridge, our garden, our animals and friends, and lots of love and laughter.
This house taught me how to be strong, how to endure a cold winter and make it out to see spring in bloom.
It taught me how to build tree forts and creek dams, salamander farms and bridges.
It taught me how to plant a garden and flowers, how to cook and clean, how to mow the grass with a pushmower at the age of 8 because mama had to work.
It taught me how to do laundry and take out the trash.
It taught me how to take care of myself and my sister.
It taught me how to be the first one on the bus at 6:15am and the last one off at 4:30pm.
It taught me how to live off of $20 a week for groceries many times and how to make a budget.
Most importantly, it taught me how to take responsibility and that even when I wanted to break down and be weak that I could be tough, get the job done, and overcome a fear or challenge.
It taught me that my dad leaving us would not be the death of us.
Part of Nimblewill Creek.
This is the church I grew up in. My Papa built the fellowship hall and he does the landscaping and upkeep.
This is my little old country Baptist church.
This is where Nimblewill Church Road comes into GA HWY 52 west.
We lived just a few miles from Amicalola Falls and Burt's Pumpkin Farm.
We were spoiled and didn't even know it.
The old Grizzle's Store landmark, that the owners are letting fall to the ground. 
Such a shame.
This is one of my favorite farms near our old house.
I started my second grade year at Lumpkin County Elementary school.
I was so scared and nervous to be the "new girl" and was afraid no one would like me and that I wouldn't fit in.
While there were a few bumps in the road as expected, I had the best teacher in the world, Mrs. Ronna Anderson.
She took me under her wing and gave me all the love and attention I was in need of.
I have to say that my mama moving us to Lumpkin County was the very best thing she could have ever done for us.
I can't say enough great things about the school system-it's family oriented, which means you have that small town accountability.
We excelled because we were in nurturing environments.
Our new high school as completed in 2001, which was just in time for the start of my sophomore year.
The new school was so nice and our athletic facilities were drastically improved.
I can't believe it's been 8 1/2 years since I graduated.
So much has changed and I wonder where the time has gone.
Our infamous "rock" that gets painted for any and every occasion.
I wonder how many layers of spray paint are on that thing.
I am biased of course, but I believe we have one of the best football stadiums in the state!
I love the way our bleachers are built into the side of the mountain and that our field is so nice.
And just to keep this post from being too serious, here is a picture of me in my cheerleading uniform...with my eyes half shut-nice!
Go ahead and laugh-it will make you feel better!
 Not sure what was so funny. Awkward.
 Mama and me on Senior Night!
So, I know that was a long post, but I thought I would share some of my upbringing with y'all!
I'm obviously a fan of small town and rural living, even though you have to plan your trips to the grocery store because it's not just around the corner.
I think it's a good thing to not have everything at your fingertips and to have to see how far you can make something stretch before it breaks.
Lord knows we did that more times than I can count!
But, the Lord always saw us through-He always provided what we needed and then some.
Thanks for hanging in there if you made it this far!


  1. Dahlonega is one of my favorite places in all of Georgia. I would love to live there someday.

  2. So glad he is better! And I can not wait to go back to my hometown at Christmas :) There's just something about those country roads that will always be home to me!

  3. Love it, Cherish! Your photos and words about your house and precious little church are perfect!


  4. As a very young child my family and I lived very near 1409. The Rider family lived in that house then. I remember a little creek ran beside the house and at that time a spring with a little building over it. That spring water was delicious. We moved away from the Nimblewill area when I was 7 but it still feels like home. I still drive through there fairly often. Lots of family buried at Nimblewill.


I sure do love hearing from y'all-you make my day!