For the record: I'm a Steel Magnolia. Southern born, raised and trained. It's summer and in the south, that's just about when we Magnolias are feeling settled in. It's that time of year when all things southern really come alive - peaches, sun tans, and heirloom tomatoes in the garden. It’s my deep southern family heritage that taught me to put Jesus first and the same heritage that drives me to bake a casserole for weddings, funerals and new born babies. I believe in pound cakes and potluck. I still say 'Yes Ma'am and No Sir' and will die on the hill of no white after Labor Day. I'm a mix of Memphis Jazz, Georgia Peaches and Carolina Palm Trees. I'm happiest when dinner with my family is served barefoot on the front porch and with music playing just loud enough that it can be heard above the occasional honeysuckle wind. I’m not afraid to use ‘y’all’ or ‘bless your heart’ and I’m unapologetically addicted to sunshine and sweet tea (and that's really the only way, darlin'). I’m a little bit back-door-wide-open and a little bit front-door-petunia-planter. I’m steeped long in walks holding hands down to the river dock. I’m loyal to my roots and will always be desperate to know that my husband, my pastor and my daddy are proud of me. I’m sawdust on Salem Campground and songs coming from tabernacle. I’m sunsets and azalea flowerbeds and hair done right, (because it matters). I’m independent and strong and a fierce protector of my family. I’m oak trees and plantations and double names. I’m fiery when it’s important and quiet when I’m mad. I’m not afraid to make do with what I have - to make dresses from curtains, if you will. I don’t shirk responsibility, and will boldly stand with my other Magnolias to rally around a cause. I’m fragile and titanium. I’m tennis shoes and patent leather. I’m Tara (like the plantation) and Lee (as in Robert E.) [does it get any more southern than that?]. I know which fork to use, that a grocery cart is really a buggy and that, sweetheart, a little bit of lipgloss goes a long way.
Comfortable in my own skin? Absolutely. It's the steel that makes me a Magnolia.
Tara is Greg's girl, mom to two sons of thunder, a hunger fighter, big dreamer and worship pastor at seacoast church.