God’s Beautiful Foothills from America’s Driveway


My family heritage holds roots in small town America. America Maxfield, my maternal grandmother, lived in a small town in the foothills of Virginia, Big Stone Gap, nestled in a valley surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains.

When we were seven-years-old, our mother moved my twin sister and me from our birthplace of El Paso, Texas, to live with my grandparents for several years.

You see, our mother grew up in Big Stone Gap, and so would we, and a younger sister who came along a few years later.

Memories in Small Town America

My grandfather bought and sold scrap metal at a junk yard he owned at the bottom of the hill, visible from their house. A long, curvy, uphill driveway led to their home.

Childhood memories linger with the trek up and down the driveway by foot or bicycle, catching the school bus, and going to the junk yard to see my grandfather. My grandmother spent oodles of time in the kitchen and had snacks ready when we came in from playing.

I was married with children of my own when my grandmother passed away in her 90’s. Asked to give the eulogy at her funeral, I gathered humorous and notable things to share.

Stories and memories from my mother, sisters, aunts, siblings and cousins. Many things to smile about. But the prevalent snapshot in my mind is the beautiful, colorful flowers that lined both sides of her driveway. A picturesque landscape. A milestone in my memory.

Memories of my grandmother’s flowers weaved my words to the memories of her: America the beautiful.

Flowers, as if painted on a canvas, displayed my grandmother’s driveway.

And they captured her essence.

America’s Driveway

Flowers called Creeping Flox lined my grandmother’s driveway,
white, pink, and purple in a colorful array.
Each color with its own bright gleaming,
reminds me of her life’s meaning.

White signifies pure, good, and clean,
each seen in her while on the everlasting arms she leaned.
Now she is clothed in a white robe of Christ,
offered to her in heaven because of His sacrifice.


Pink symbolizes her rose colored blush, so neatly brushed on each cheek.
Her life filled with joy and a heart for the Lord she did seek.
Pink comes from the color red or crimson,
like the blood of Jesus given for her ransom.

Purple, the color of royalty, fit for her a queen,
now she is crowned by God, her Savior, and her King.
America, she was of royal priesthood, a holy nation,
she accepted Christ and His salvation.

Wife, mother, and grandmother were the roles she played,
nothing negative of her anyone could say.
She was wise, fun, and so witty,
now she lives in the heavenly city.

Flowers called Creeping Flox lined my grandmother’s driveway,
white, pink, and purple in a colorful array.
Each color with its own bright gleaming,
reminds me of my grandmother’s life and special meaning.

God’s Foothills

I’m thankful for memories of America, my grandmother, and for living in small town America. And I’m grateful for a heritage in Christ, who is the drive-way leading to an eternal home in heaven.

Jesus said“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

I grew up in the beautiful, breathtaking view of the southwest Virginia foothills. Now, I’m growing up in the Lord. Following Jesus to the foothills of God where one day the heavenly view will take my breath away.

Will flowers line the streets in heaven? I’m not sure. But my grandmother will be there, her bright gleaming and the ever-so-bright radiance of Jesus. That’s all I need to know.


“God majestic, praise abounds in our God-city! His sacred mountain, breathtaking in its heights—earth’s joy.” Psalm 48:1 MSG

Information on the book, Big Stone Gap and the film.

Read more about my grandparents in this post, Back in the Day: Manners and Ethics of Past Generations.

*All featured photos are from a recent day trip my husband and I made to the mountains.

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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    1. Thank you, Melissa. I didn’t know that. Southwest VA, in the mountains, is so different than much of the state once you get to Roanoke and especially Richmond, all the northern part. 🙂

  1. Beautiful memories. My grandmother was also known for her beautiful flowers. Perhaps America and Ethel are tending heavenly flower gardens together? A comforting thought. Thanks, Karen. Loved your poem, too. Blessings xoxo

    1. Oh, I love that thought, Karen. How America and Ethel may be tending to heaven’s beautiful gardens. Thanks for sharing and commenting. God bless.

  2. Beautiful words inspired by the Holy Spirit. Of course, she has to be “all that”, as it shows in you. I’m sure sho spent countless days praying for her beautiful granddaughters. She will be so proud of you when she meets you face to face and you catch her up on all God is using you to accomplish. Thanks for always sharing your heart! It sure does a lot for mine!

    1. Oh, Tracy, your comment made me smile, tear up, and rejoice all at the same time. How soul-stirring and heart-felt your words are to me. I appreciate your kind encouragement dear sister in Christ. I’m looking forward to seeing my grandmother again. And beholding the full glory of Jesus! A glorious day, indeed! Love and hugs!

  3. I’ve always wanted to live in a small town; your poem and post make this longing greater. With 9 months exception, I have lived in cities larger than 50,000 my entire life; when Ronald and I marry, we’re looking for homes in a smaller town. Thanks!

    1. Candice, there is something quaint and connecting about living in a small town. Of course, people say there are pros and cons for everything, and I’m sure that’s true in this instance. Yet, growing up in a small town was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Hope you and Ronald find what you’re looking for!

  4. Ah, this hits HOME! I love the description of this lovely place, the love of your family, the abundant blessings. Beautiful, Karen.

  5. I love your poem and your photos are so clear and beautiful! I love how you have captured the person of your grandmother in words- creative and lovely.

    1. Thank you, Diane. I love to look back at this poem the Lord gave me a few days after she passed away so I could share it for her funeral.

  6. What a beautiful poem and tribute to your grandmother. She would be so proud to see her legacy continue in you. I really loved that her name was America and I am sure there is a story behind it. I lived in Northern VA for 6 years and loved to be out in the Shenandoah Valley area with all it’s beauty.

    1. Yvonne, I’ve heard the Shenandoah Valley is also breathtaking. My grandmother volunteered at the local hospital and my grandfather would leave her notes on bullentin boards, etc. “American, the beautiful.” 🙂

  7. There’s nothing better than knowing that in the welcoming committee into heaven will be my Grandma standing right beside Jesus, two faces I long to see! I don’t think I could have survived my childhood without my Grandma in my life, and I’m so glad we were able to live in the same town for my first seven years. The power of a loving Christian grandmother cannot be underestimated.

  8. Thanks for sharing about your sweet grandmother, America. How beautiful. Although we were raised in different areas, it reminded me of my own family and how they’ve inspired me to write many stories about those memories, and of course, one is titled My Mother’s Garden. I do believe flowers and green pastures await us in heaven. Beautiful, and yet words can’t describe it.
    Blessings, my friend.

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