Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post Series: Sarah Lillard

Guys, this is my friend Sarah Becker Lillard. She's gotten married since I first started calling her Becker, but that's still my favorite nickname for her. We met in college. We were two school years apart, but we got to be in student government together, and we had a few classes together, too, because we were both communications majors.

One of my first memories of Becker is when she got in front of our Nonverbal Communication class to share different pictures she had taken while in Louisiana.  Wow, her photos were beautiful.  It's been so much fun and very exciting to get to know so many other parts of who Becker is.  She writes, cares, shares, and enjoys so very well, and I am very happy to introduce you to her and to publish her thoughts on Home here.

"The Places I Call Home"
by Sarah Becker Lillard

I have lived in many places. Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee have all been places of residency these twenty-one years of life. I’ve had short stints abroad – France and England – and am looking forward to longer stints when my husband finishes graduate school.

I jumped on the chance to share some ideas on “home” – although after pondering the concept for many years, it took several days for my pen to start filling a blank sheet of paper! I think home is almost as simple as being surrounded by those you love and those who love you. I think it is also familiarity, a sense of safety, and a little something extra. In a sentence, I believe the concept of home changes from person to person.

I’ve learned that home is more about an experience than a place. Today, I’d like to share with you the five places I call home – and ask you to ponder yours!

My Grandparents House on the Lake – Ft. Worth, Texas

My mom’s photo albums are full of images of me enjoying every aspect of this home experience: taking a nap on the couch using my grandparents’ dog Hilda as a pillow, fishing on the dock, eating pimento cheese sandwiches. Throughout my moves growing up, my grandparents house was consistent – every summer we would make the 24-hour drive and spend weeks swimming, playing cards, drinking Big Red, and cuddling with dogs. My grandparents recently sold this home and moved to the Gulf Coast. They are exactly where they need to be, but I’m so thankful I spent an hour or so photographing the only home I’ve known since birth. Lake Worth, Texas is home because of the years and years of memories cultivated there and the people I shared them with.

My College TownDayton, Tennessee

If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls, Dayton is my personal Stars Hollow. Beyond just being a college town, Dayton was also where I became a photographer, where I spent two summers, where I got married, and where my favorite thrift store in the world resides. From mornings spent at Harmony House to gleefully discovering Simply Lemonade for $1 at UGO, Dayton is where I became who I am now. I arrived at 17, and left at 21. Those are some pretty big years! The best and worst things that have happened to me happened there. Dayton, Tennessee is home to me because I met my husband there, I found myself there, and it has the best chai latte within 120 miles.

A Summer with my Camera – Paris, France

I only spent three months in Paris, but I made the most of those three months. When I look back on my schedule there, I almost wonder why I didn’t collapse at the end of it and sleep for another three months. I was constantly traveling, exploring Parisian neighborhoods with my housemate Corrie, and speaking exceptionally horrible French. Everything there was magical. Taking trips to the grocery store (Milk you don’t have to refrigerate? Crème brulee in ceramic cups a la Snack Packs?!), getting purposefully lost down a quiet street, and going to the Monet museum to eat your lunch. Paris was home to me because I was anonymous. Because I was truly an artist there, eating and creating and traveling and eating and creating and not sleeping. Because it was full of adventure and I was confident in my ability to capture it and live it to the fullest.

My Parents Home – Petal, Missisippi

My parents moved to a small Mississippi town shortly before I moved to college. I haven’t logged a lot of time here, but it became a retreat to me as I spent breaks and a couple weeks each summer there. Every time I arrived, my parents were there. My favorite meals and snacks were there. My dogs were there. A room all to myself I had the chance to paint and fill with my things before I left, a pool in the backyard to cool off in, a sunroom to cozily read in. I don’t know my way around the town, or for that matter really anyone else who lives there – I don’t need to. The home is a world in itself, and I’m proud to call it one of my homes.

Where I Am Now, With Luke – New Orleans, Louisiana

Moving to New Orleans a few months after our wedding was the scariest and best thing we could have done. I have a love/hate relationship with this city that is my new home – I love the culture, the food, and the proximity to my family. I hate the crime, the traffic, and how far it is from Tennessee. However, establishing a family that consists of just Luke + I has been so important and so good. Our tight-knit friend and family group in Tennessee is so very missed, but I know these few years of “independence” are making Luke + I closer and a better family every day. What makes New Orleans home is Luke, the promise of adventure and excitement around every corner, and the trust that New Orleans will grow more familiar over time.

I’ve learned that home is more about an experience than a place. It is: feeling loved, a safe place to rest, knowing where the chocolate is in the pantry, and feeling inspired to do bigger and better things. (With just a little bit of adventure thrown in!) What are the places you call home?

There's more where that came from!  Becker blogs at Becker Makes Lists.  I love this girl, and I'd love for you to check out her stuff!  Go and say hi!

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