My Big Girl Pants by Janie DeVos

My husband and I recently purchased a little get away cottage in Beaufort, South Carolina.  We call it “a practical investment”.  It’s a place to run away to when the north wind’s bite becomes a little too hard, especially as the years go by and the bones start to become more brittle.  It’s a lovely little place – far smaller than our North Carolina home – and it’s in a beautiful area.  The marshes are just down the street, and the river is just beyond.  There are all kinds of shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, and a zillion things to do, explore and get involved with.  The town is rich in history, having been founded in 1711, and quite a few of the old mansions still stand proudly in South Carolina’s blazing sun.  Water sports are as numerous as the types of fish to be caught, and they can be enjoyed all through the year.  For so many reasons, this should be a time of great excitement, and yet, it’s not.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m delighted we got this darling little place, and I’m more than grateful that we were able to, BUT, the reasons for doing it are enough to dampen the parade.  The fact is we’re getting older, and, at some point, the three-story house we live in might become more difficult to navigate.  Also, we live way out in the country, on very steep mountain roads, and trying to get out and about when there’s snow and ice on the ground is definitely hard to navigate, even now. It’s great if you can stay in until it melts, but, if you can’t…You get the point.

When we got our mountain house while still living in Florida, we were younger, and the whole intention of having this house was simply to have fun in it.  But, as I’m finding out as I’m nearing sixty, you start to think about what’s safe, what’s practical, what’s easier, and thinking about those things just isn’t as much fun as thinking about…well…having fun!   But, along with age comes wisdom, and so I put my big girl pants on and signed on the dotted line for the cottage that will be there for us as we need it to be in the years to come.  If it were up to me, I’d stay in the mountains everyday for the rest of my days, but want and need can be two very different things.  You become more aware of that when your porch becomes a deadly Slip ‘n Slide in January.

I was talking to my wise and wonderful friend, Kitty, this week, and I was grumbling about the choices we have to make as we get older.  Her take on it was that I was going to be entering a whole new chapter of my life that was going to bring many wonderful, unexpected surprises, and that many a new and exciting door would be opened.  And she should know:  She’s turning seventy next month, and got engaged night before last.

Life does have a way of making us grow up, whether we think we’re ready to or not.  But I’ve also found that when we try to do the right thing for the right reasons, some of the most wonderful things happen as a result, making us as happy as a kid at Christmas.  All things considered, life hasn’t let me down yet, and I don’t imagine it will now.  So, when I head down to Beaufort next week to shop for furniture to fill our little home, I shall embrace everything as a new adventure.  And I will expect some of the most amazing doors to open.  I just have to remember to do my part and knock.

In turn-of-the-century Florida, a family comes of age, and a daughter finds her destiny entwined with a land as full of promise as it is danger.

The steamy, sweltering banks of Florida’s Ocklawaha River don’t look much like Glory Land to young Eve Stewart, despite her father’s proclamation. But it’s here that Eve, her three siblings, and their parents will settle in July, 1875. Within a few years, Eve’s father, Hap, has made good on his assurances. They have a large, weathered clapboard house and a comfortable life, thanks to Hap’s job on a steamboat. Eve and her twin sister, Ivy, are blossoming into young women. Yet as Ivy grows more involved in medicine making under the tutelage of a neighboring black woman, her path leads away from the family.

Eve, an aspiring writer, loves her home though she longs to see the wider world beyond its swamps and shores. But when she discovers a secret Ivy’s been keeping, Eve must decide between protecting the family name or saving her sister. With the help of a half-Creek Indian tracker, Max Harjo, Eve sets out to find Ivy, beginning a journey that will dare her to follow her ambitions and her passion wherever they lead.

Janie DeVos, a native of Coral Gables, Florida, is an award-winning author who previously worked in the advertising industry and then as a greeting card composer before turning her focus completely to writing.  She is the award-winning children’s book author of How High Can You Fly?, The Path Winds Home, Barthello’s Wing and The Shopkeeper’s Bear. Her first adult fiction title, Beneath a Thousand Apple Trees, was released in the fall of 2016, followed by its sequel, The Art of Breathing. In December 2018 she launched her historical Glory Land trilogy with A Corner in Glory Land, which continues with the June 2018 release of The Rising of Glory Land, and then The River to Glory Land in December 2018. Originally a born and raised Floridian, Janie now lives in a log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and beloved Bassets.

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