A Good Decision…

For months, Jeremiah told me that there was no way, whatsoever, that he would be able to get off work and fly to Dothan with me to look at houses.  I whined and moped and, finally, bought tickets for the girls and me to go it alone.  Then, literally the next day, he told me that he had five days off at the end of March…to go home and look at houses.  Figures.  So, after a juggle of jumbling decisions (which I’ll spare you), we decided that we’d all fly back south again…Boy am I glad we did!

Since this was going to be our last trip until we move back in August, Ashley (Jeremiah’s sister) and Dr. and Mrs. Maddox said they’d like to throw a little party to celebrate us moving back.  I didn’t argue–I could tell Ashley had something brewing and I could hardly wait to see what it would be.

They did all the planning, invited a handful of Jeremiah’s (and my) closest friends, and shooed me out of the kitchen for two days.  Then, on Saturday afternoon I was getting dressed when Ashley walked into our room.  She was beaming–her God given gift of hospitality and creativity radiating from her like a sun ray.  “Have you looked outside?” she asked.

“Is it ok to look?”

She nodded and looked towards the window.

I gasped and threw my arms around her neck…lots of squeals of excitement later, I ran outside with my camera:


She said she wanted us to have dinner under the stars.


On Grandmother's china and lace.

The appetizers were already on plates.


And cocktails were standing at attention.


I asked Ashley if we were getting married, again.  It certainly felt like it.


While Mrs. Linda and Ashley finished the last minute preparations, Jeremiah and I walked out the front door and were greeted by this welcome sight:



I hate that Heidi was already leaning on Maggie's neck, because we added a few more to the wagon.


We bounced through pastures and down country roads, in a wagon filled with the laughter of lifetime friends.


When Dr. Maddox said he was going to take us down a wooded trail, we were all smiles and adventure.


And then we started diving for our lives as we discovered that this particular trail had not been clipped to quite the width of the wagon :).


We made it out of the woods, just as the sun was setting (with all eyes surprisingly still intact :)).


And found Ashley on the porch with drinks and appetizers ready.


We lingered there, enjoying the Spring evening and each other until it was time to light the candles and gather around the table.





There was salad with the nip of crumbled cheeses, the burst of pomegranate seeds, and Ashley’s special salad dressing.  There were Conestoga rolls (for you fellow Dothanites :)), the buttery delight of apricot casserole, and fingerling potatoes with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


But then, THEN, there was Beef Wellington, that I actually got up from the table and went inside to take a picture of, just for you:



Beef Tenderloin, Duxelles, Prosciutto, and Puff Pastry. There were FIVE of them. And this is my idea of food from heaven's table.

Instead of the green peppercorn sauce, Ashley made a whiskey cream sauce to drizzle over her little slices of perfection.

I am not sure how I managed to miss taking a picture of dessert…probably because I had eaten so much that I could barely keep from rolling out of my chair.  It was the Maddox pound cake (it deserves a post all its own), with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and Linda’s decadent chocolate fudge sauce.

I think I may be a glutton.

After dinner, we lingered around the table for story time.  With the stars, the warm breezes, and the candlelight, I could have stayed right there all night long.


But the harsh reality of real life and waiting babysitters brought us back from our fairytale.  We hugged friends goodbye and were able to watch them leave with the joyful knowledge that this would soon be our permanent home.

There were a few we managed to cajole into a midnight music hour.



As we crawled into cool sheets, full of good food and friends, music and laughter, southern air and starry expanses, love and family, I asked Jeremiah “Do you feel good about our decision to move back to Dothan?”

We both just laughed.

32 Responses to “A Good Decision…”

  1. Taylor says:

    Abby, I am so happy for y’all. What a great adventure you have been on and will continue in Dtown.
    At this moment i am SO excited about coming and invading in WA – not sure if you are ready but here we come!
    I think i will get to keep your 2 some this weekend – they might even get to play with some of their old buddies at the Crestwood Spring festival on Saturday.
    Love u and your new .com.

  2. molly says:

    What a beautiful night! So excited for your family!

  3. margaret says:

    Abby-what a beautiful night! Amazing pictures too!

  4. Kellie says:

    I was about to say….just like a fairytale….but I think it’s more on the lines of…is that how heaven will be???? Delicious food, fellowship with loved ones, beautiful scenery and worship of the King!!!! I LOVE where I live right now, but it’s things like this that make me miss Dothan and it’s people and all the memories of growing up there!!! WOW!!!!

  5. lindsey says:

    amazing recap and beautiful pictures. and also very thankful we managed to “watch our faces”. so glad we got to share that night with you guys. ya’ll have set the bar pretty high for dinner on the grounds:).

  6. Susannah says:

    So happy you get to move back to Dothan! I’m also very glad that Ashley threw this BEAUTIFUL party for you guys! I HAVE to know what kind of china is that? It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! 🙂

  7. Nancy says:

    This is by far the prettiest post I’ve ever seen!

  8. Darby says:

    Ahhh… wonderful recap my friend! I haven’t even looked at my pics yet! Does Ashley plan to do this monthly when y’all are back in town? I’m hoping so! It was simply unbelievable… all of it, food and company! Can’t wait for y’all to be here for good!! Love you!

  9. Heidi says:

    A dream come true!! So happy for you that you are moving back to Dothan

  10. Lauren says:

    Such a sweet story….and you told it so well through your pictures. As a reader, I can certainly feel the warm inviting Southern hospitality that your friends and family shared with you and your husband. I remember when we moved back to my hometown in Alabama from Tennessee… such a good feeling….To know that you are returning to your roots.

  11. laurenbtrain says:

    this is amazing and i am excited for yall to be moving home. how much does Ashley charge for hosting and cooking lessons?!?

  12. Amy Cook says:

    Abby – what a beautiful night. I am so glad you guys had a great trip home. Now for the weird moment: I am scrolling down these pics and low and behold I see Lance Cook – John’s first cousin from Auburn. Of all the people how do you guys know Lance? Hope you have fun this week in Canada.

  13. Meredith says:

    Wow! What an amazing night! Loved the pictures and the recap.

  14. Oh my gosh… this gave me chills. What a great, great night! Everything looked beautiful!!!!

  15. Keke says:

    Let’s just say Ashley did it better than I ever could have. Really wishing I had ditched the BBQ party in AU for that, would’ve been SO worth it!

  16. Megan says:

    Wow! This makes ME want to move to Dothan! What an amazing gift and treasure friends like this are. My husband and I always refer to our “welcome party” when we get to Heaven – this is a beautiful picture of what that could be like. Congratulations on your move home! Did you find a house ? 🙂

  17. Sarah says:

    Im so glad yall get to come home! I’m glad yall got to adventure out west. it was short enough to be a sweet memory to look back on instead of a long time lonely away from your families. you will always remember that fan strapped to the freezer =) i hope you find the house of your dreams! which, if i had to guess, would not be one in a new neighborhood, but a house you get to fix up/redo in the historic district. looking forward to seeing what yall choose!

  18. gail says:

    I LOVED this story and all the wonderful PIC’s, too! I am so happy that you are returning to your roots! YOU will NEVER be sorry, Abby. I promise you that! I moved away from Dothan 13 yrs. ago and have missed it every day! I have lived all over and in France, twice, too. Dothan is the BEST place to live. I so love everything about it. Just look at that evening under the stars! I never did that once in Seattle! You are returning home and to all those wonderful people who will open their hearts and arms to you and your sweet, sweet family! I can’t wait to see what you write after your return to HOME! Happy Day!!!! :O)

  19. Hn says:

    Cool! I cannot wait to hear about that cake!!
    Pleeeeeease share the recipe! 🙂

  20. Farris says:

    Love the post and pics! Can’t wait to hear about the houses you looked at. I certainly remember driving in Wilsonville to lunch and you seeing the old white house off Hwy 25 talking about how you would LOVE to restore an old house like that. Is that what we can expect?!

  21. Alex says:

    This is incredible. Thank you for capturing it so beautifully.

  22. Gail says:

    Today I learned that….The beautiful china is called….Wedgewood’s Florentine in turquoise! I sooooo loved that setting!!!!

  23. Just came over from your Darby’s blog! I LOVE your guys’ dinner party! It was so gorgeous, elegant, unique, warm, inviting, romantic… need I say more! I LOVED IT! Can’t wait to do something like this one of these days!

  24. Linda says:

    An amazing gift of love and frienship! So absolutely beautiful. Though I have seen lovely outdoor setting before, this tops them all because of the authenticity. Blessings, Linda

  25. Laura says:

    Hi Abby! I just popped over from Darby’s blog when I saw that you were currently living in Seattle, as a Seattlelite (northern suburbs) I was curious to see how the city was treating you. I have spent the entire morning devouring your blog; awestruck by your beautiful photography and brought to tears by your gifted storytelling. I’m so glad to see that you have embraced the city and have been able to see so much of the beauty that she has to offer.

    I’m sure that it is already on your list of things to do, but wanted to be sure that you don’t miss the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival this month. I drag my husband up there every year but would love to see the gorgeous tulip fields through the lens of your camera. It’s a fun trip (my husband even thought so the 1st time) and I’m sure your girls would love it!

    Thank you so much for sharing your life and adventures through this blog – I’ll be back (but not in a scary, stalker way)!

  26. Denise says:

    Looks so wonderful. I’m jealous, no one has ever given me that kind of dinner party. ha ha. Did you find a house?? We would love to play when y’all get moved back and settled!!! I think our girls would enjoy each other!

  27. Abi says:

    be still my heart. this is the most perfect dinner. ever.

    thank you for sharing!!

  28. Melissa says:

    Amazing! Found your blog on Darby’s. I am so jealous of your under the stars experience and the buggy ride! So very fun and what great friends you must have!!

  29. SO happy for you! and so glad Jeremiah got his Beef Wellington:)

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