Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shirley's Obituary

I know I wrote about Shirley's passing, but I wanted to share her obituary today as well. 

Shirley Styles Phillips
Shirley Styles Phillips, 75, of 389 Orchard Road, Bakersville, North Carolina passed away October 23, 2011 at home after a long illness.  She was a native of Yancey County and the daughter of the late Theodore and Zona Harris Styles.  She was preceded in death by a son, Robert Scott Phillips.
Survivors include her husband Bobby E. Phillips of the home, and her beloved daughter Janet Kenniasty of Columbia, Maryland as well as three sisters, Teddie Styles Hall of Statesville, North Carolina, Erma Styles of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Doris Styles Laughrun of Midlothian, Virginia.
She was valedictorian of her Burnsville High School class, a graduate of Mars Hill College, Meredith College and received a graduate degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.  She spent 21 years as a teacher in the post secondary schools of Osceola County, Florida.
She and her husband, Bobby, were married in Burnsville June 9, 1956.
She enjoyed active membership in First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine, the Blue Ridge Red Hats, the Mitchell County Extension Homemakers, and the Mayland Writers Club.  She loved painting, writing short stories, and singing.
To remember Shirley, a gift to Hospice Of Mitchell County in Spruce Pine is suggested.
A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine, North Carolina on Saturday, November 5 at 2 pm.  Following the service, the family will receive friends in the fellowship hall until 4:30 pm.
Henline-Hughes Funeral Home of Bakersville is assisting the family with arrangements.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Loss of a Great Writer/Person

I received an email today letting me know that a member of my writers' group had passed away last night. I was stunned beyond words.

Shirley Phillips had been battling cancer for some time, but every time I saw her, she seemed to be doing so well. She was always smiling, never down. A few months ago she had sent an email letting me know she wouldn't be at the meetings due to health problems. I let her know I was here if she needed me, and asked if all was OK, but she never answered that question. She was like that, at least with me. Private. Not really going on about her health or illness.

When I think of Shirley, I don't immediately think of the cancer she fought. I think of the stories she brought to our group meetings; stories taken from events in her life that never failed to make us laugh. I also think of her artwork, which she exhibited at a local gallery alongside her husband's woodworking pieces. And maybe that's what she wanted people to remember most. Not the cancer, but how she touched our lives with her writing and her art.

I don't know which she liked to do the most, painting or writing. I do know that I always wished I had her dual talent and her seeming perpetual happiness and joy in life. I also know that I am a better person for having known her, and one of my biggest sorrows is that our newest members did not get to meet her or hear her work.

I think I have copies of some of her stories filed away. I am going to look for them and introduce our new members to Shirley at our next meeting. They should get a chance to meet her.

Shirley was 75, and taken away much too soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More 365 Project Pictures

Still keeping my camera with me every day as part of the 365 Project; a picture a day to illustrate a year of my life. I take many more than one a day, and have gotten so many pictures that I really like. I've shared some here before, and here are some more. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mountain Thoughts

So, here it is, autumn in the mountains. Love this time of year. The leaves are changing fast, turning those wonderful hues of gold and yellow and orange that make these mountains even more beautiful. Soon the trees will be bare and we will make way for mountain tops covered in the whiteness of frost, ice, and snow. I love it all. Have never gotten tired of living here, and don't think I ever will.

When the hubs and I moved up here in 1993 (arriving on Halloween no less), we only knew one family in town. We came here with a few possessions packed into our car, no jobs, no credit, and no real idea of what we were doing. All we knew was we were coming to the mountains. That was enough.

Now, 18 years later, we have never regretted that decision. Yeah, it's been a tough 18 years. We've been through surprise layoffs, family deaths, illnesses (still dealing with one of those), and more financial worries than I care to mention. But, here we are. Still living in the mountains, still enjoying the beauty of the land around us.

And now we know a few more people, some friends we've known almost from day one. I'm not used to that. I moved around a lot as a kid; over 30 times by the time I graduated high school. I didn't keep friends for long. This is the longest I've ever stay in one place. The longest I've ever been in one house (moved in to our home in 1996). And from the first day, I've felt at home here. Something I never felt anywhere when I was a kid. These mountains are my home, the home I've looked for all my life.

And the best part of all is I get to share this feeling, this home, with my very best friend. Even when times are tough, we've still been able to lean on each other, talk to each other, laugh together. My love for him has never faltered, just grown over time. And I know he feels the same way. I have never in my life completely trusted anyone (not even family) until I met my husband. I trust him fully and completely. We tell each other everything; our dreams, our worries, our past secrets we'd never shared with another living soul.

Living in these mountains with my husband by my side, I have finally come home.