Archives for March 2012

A Few Friday Favorites – 03.30.12

Slow Cooker Brownie Pudding Cake

I’ve never been more sorry that I gave up sugar for Lent. But I’m gonna tell you what: come Easter Sunday, we are gonna have a crock pot that is filled to the brim with a batch of brownie pudding cake. AMEN.

In the Wake of Drought: What Remains

A couple of days ago Beth Moore wrote a post about some trees around her house, and as I read it while I sat in the car at soccer practice, I nodded so much that I’m surprised I didn’t sustain some sort of neck injury. It’s chock-full of wisdom and truth. And I’m more certain than ever that trees are my general revelation love language.

Into the Glorious – Christy Nockels

My love for Christy Nockels’ music (and hair) is well-documented, I know. But y’all, I’m really not even the tiniest bit biased when I tell you that her new CD (available Tuesday) is her best ever. I got a complimentary copy a couple of weeks ago, and I weep – WEEP – every single time I listen to it. It’s extraordinary.

OPI Holland Collection Thanks A Windmillion

It’s not gray. And it’s not green. It’s sort of a muted pistachio that looks much more gray than green on your toes. AND I LOVE IT.

American Idol

I’m not blogging about each episode of Idol this year, but I have to say that Wednesday night’s episode may have been the best I’ve ever seen. Sweet mercy at the great performances. Is anybody else watching? Do you have a favorite?

(I definitely have a favorite.)

(Well, three favorites.)

(Phillip, Joshua and Colton, for the record.)

(This week, at least.)

Have a great weekend, y’all!

The Lady Is 80

Today about 25 of Mama’s friends surprised her with an 80th birthday luncheon. It was such a fun way to celebrate my sweet mama, and I would show you loads of pictures if 90% of the ones I took weren’t so blurry. Apparently I was VERY excited about all the festivities and merriment and whathaveyou. #shakyhands

One of the centerpieces

The birthday girl’s flowers

Martha and Mama

Mary Allison and Mama

Some of Mama’s friends

The birthday cake – strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese icing (thank you, Lord)

And this picture? Is my favorite.

First of all, it’s quintessential Mama. Great hair, cute outfit, fresh manicure – I could go on and on. She was still a little shocked from the surprise of it all when I snapped this picture, but she looked so pretty.

And what makes the picture even better is what’s going on in the background: Martha, wearing her three-quarter length sleeve jacket, talking ninety to nothing. I have a feeling that she’s saying some variation of “Oh! You don’t mean! Do you mean it, Jane? You don’t mean!” – but I can’t be completely sure since I was too busy snapping blurry pictures of party attendees. I consider it my calling.

Happy Birthday, Mama – you are deeply and dearly loved by so many!

Spring Has Sprung And Music Is Good (A Spontaneous Giveaway)

Hey there, internet peoples –

So. I was just thinking. It’s been absolutely gorgeous here in Alabama today, and I am of the firm belief that springtime begs for great music to go with it.

Which made me think of my family’s favorite new musical treasure.

And I thought some of you might like to win one.

I mean, you can’t actually win Dave Barnes.

His family would probably object to that. Since I’m assuming that they enjoy having him around and all.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to give away five copies of his latest CD, Stories To Tell. Why five? I have no idea. It just sounds right, I guess. It certainly sounds better than giving away four CDs. Four just sounds so, I don’t know, even.

I’ll leave this post open for 24 hours, and when the 24 hours is over. I’ll draw for five (NOT FOUR!) winners.

If you’d like to enter to win, just leave a comment. I don’t even have a prompt or anything. Just say hey. Or tell me your middle name. Or tell me what your parents almost named you but didn’t (I was almost an Isabel, by the way).

Happy Spring, everybody!

p.s. Nobody is sponsoring this giveaway.

p.p.s. Nobody asked me to do this giveaway.

p.p.p.s. Sometimes it’s just fun to share something you love.

p.p.p.p.s. I wish I could also share some fried chicken.

This giveaway is now closed. I’ll notify winners by Wednesday night at the latest!

Happy Place

We just got home from the beach. And while a pesky bout of insomnia kept me up most of last night (was anybody else watching The Bodyguard on Lifetime in the wee hours of the morning?), I’m so grateful to have had time with my people to do some laughing and relaxing and staring at the water.

And oh, I can do some fine water staring.

I could probably win some awards, even. If anyone actually, you know, gave awards for that sort of thing.

In addition to watching the water, we managed to squeeze in a few other memorable moments.

1) The Muppet Movie – We watched it one night after supper. I loved it. Laughed out loud and everything.

2) Talking – Seriously. I always think that our little family does a lot of talking on any given day, but being in a completely relaxing environment changes the conversation, you know? The here-and-now always gets so much of our attention that it was fun to spend time talking about the down-the-road. Plus, the little man loves to hear family stories, and it cracks me up to hear him repeat parts of those stories. Yay for talking.

3) Fisherman’s Corner – This little hole-in-the-wall restaurant is tucked underneath the bay bridge in Perdido Key, FL – only a few miles from Orange Beach, AL – and the food is unbelievable. They have great gumbo (and I am picky about gumbo), delicious fried green tomatoes, and excellent seafood. It’s not a place to go if you’re in a hurry, but the atmosphere is fun and your meal will be worth the wait. Also, D says that the bread pudding is out of this world. It was his selfless act of service to vet the dessert menu, of course.

4) Duck Dynasty – I never would’ve expected to like this new show on A&E, even though Melanie has been singing the praises of the Robertson family for the last couple of years. But listen. IT IS A TREASURE. I watched the first episode again tonight with Alex. So entertaining.

5) And finally, this:

He’d chase those waves all day long if he could.

Makes me smile.

All righty. I am off to watch the season premiere of Mad Men and get way too wrapped up in Don Draper’s life. CANNOT WAIT.

Have a great week, everybody!

The Rhyme Is A Football, Y’all, And I Went And Threw It

You know how you tend to be drawn to different music at different times in your life?

Well, you can only imagine how surprised I’ve been to discover that during this particular time in my life – when I’ve consistently listened to The Fray, NEEDTOBREATHE, Dave Barnes, James Taylor, and other folk/rock/indie/alternative musicians that I pretty much adore – an, um, unexpected musical craving has surfaced.

And since I’m not sure how to process it, I’m just going to throw it out there.


I’m a wee bit obsessed with Will Smith.

Yep. Will Smith. The Fresh Prince.

I don’t know why, but I do know when it hit me. A few Saturdays ago I was trying to catch up on laundry, and as I walked through my bedroom, I realized that I was humming a long-familiar tune.

Boom! Shake The Room.

Oh mercy. Please help me.

(The quality on the video is terrible.)

(However, that in no way diminishes the awesomeness of the song.)

Anyway, weekend before last I dropped off Alex at a skating rink birthday party, and while I was visiting with a couple of other mamas and waiting for him to put on his skates, the skating rink DJ started playing a familiar tune. And I’ll be honest. I may have embarrassed myself. Because I could not quit singing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” as it blared over the speakers.

Those are some tender musical memories from the 90s, you know?

Once I reacquainted myself with what it’s like to get jiggy (I totally just typed “jiggly,” and really, that is so much more appropriate at this stage in my life), I decided to revisit the entire Will Smith / Fresh Prince / DJ Jazzy Jeff canon: Parents Just Don’t Understand, Men In Black, Wild, Wild West. It has been a special time. There have even been a few days when I’ve been in the car by myself and CRANKED ‘ER UP.

What about y’all? Are there any songs from your younger days that you’ve been listening to lately?

I’m willing to bet that somebody out there has been listening to some Journey or Guns N’ Roses or New Kids or NSync.

I just know it.

All By Myself

You know how sometimes you’ll try on something when you’re shopping and go back and forth about whether you should buy it and then decide not to buy it but then a few days later you wish you had bought it?

That’s pretty much how I feel about these shoes.

Aren’t they darlin’? I had two concerns, though: 1) since they don’t have straps, I worried about keeping them on my feet and 2) I thought the animal print might be a little limiting.

So I didn’t buy them. But now?

I MISSSSSSSSS THEM. And my Steinmarts doesn’t have my size anymore. And I’m still not sure that I’d wear them very much, but I MISSSSSSSS THEM.

And speaking of missing them.

(How’s that for an overly obvious transition?)


I’m spending some time all by myself this week while I try to get some writing done, and the fact of the matter is that I miss my people. They are doing great, of course, and being all sorts of encouraging and checking in to make sure that things are going well and texting to ask if I’m making progress and etc., but I am not used to this much quiet. However comma I seem to need quiet in order to concentrate on the writing stuff (this whole process has taught me that I don’t do so great with trying to work in short bursts, and also I’m not a very strong multi-tasker), so I’m mighty grateful for family members who are willing to share their temporarily empty homes so that I can hunker down and be productive. It’s a luxury for me to be able to work on the book during the week – it’s mostly been a weekends-only thing the last couple of months – and I am trying to make the most of it.

I’m not completely alone, though. Because I brought this little stinker with me.

Oh, I have talked and talked to her. And oh, she has looked at me like I’m insane. We share such a special bond.

Since I knew that I would be dining solo for a few days, I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. My goal was to not leave this house AT ALL once I got here – to sequester myself until I’ve written a certain amount (yes. I believe I did in fact set a goal. THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED.) – so I tried to take into account that I was going to need food for several days’ worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or, as we say in the South: breakfast, dinner, and supper.

By the way, I should probably tell you (or maybe warn you) that hearing the word “dinner” for “lunch” conjures up all sorts of wonderful memories for me. It practically screams fresh corn, fried okra, fresh tomatoes, fresh peas, and cornbread sticks that Mama made in one of those cast iron cornbread molds.

And now I’m going to have to stop it with the cornbread talk or I’ll end up winding my way down some long rabbit trail and telling you about the way Mama’s kitchen used to smell when she’d can tomatoes and squash pickle.

Because the next thing you know it would be Thursday and you’d be saying, “Why are you still talking about bread and butter pickles?” And then I would weep because for one thing I’d be tired of writing about all the varieties of homemade pickles, and for another thing I would pretty much give up my left arm for just one more jar of Mama’s homemade sweet pickles.

Which reminds me. Do you know what I need to learn to do?

Pickle things.

Maybe that can be my goal in 2018 when I finally finish this book.

Now. I’m glad that’s settled.

ANYWAY, I can’t remember the last time that I grocery shopped just for me, but yesterday’s shopping trip reminded me of when I was single and used to go to the Jitney Jungle on Highway 51 in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Back then I bought lots of saltines and American cheese slices and bacon and Diet Coke. Yesterday I bought lots of multigrain crackers and cheese and bacon and tea. So I think the lesson is that cheese, crackers, and bacon have been constants in my life for the better part of 15 years.

(I’m not sure if that depresses the fire out of me or floods me with happy nostalgia.)

(But I’ll let you know just as soon as I figure it out.)

So if you need me, I’ll be, you know, right here. Typing and whatnot. Trying to justify eating cheese and crackers for breakfast. Drinking way too much coffee. Talking to the dog. And hopefully making some book-related progress.

Oh, and thinking about those shoes.

I still miss them, you know.