Archives for April 2012

Now I’m Officially Fascinated

So I was all prepared tonight to tell y’all about a new book by Pete Wilson called Empty Promises, but then I went looking for a link on the Twitter and one of Pete’s tweets totally sidetracked me.


I was scrolling through Pete’s Twitter feed, minding my own business (okay. not really that last thing. because if you’re pouring over someone’s Twitter feed, to some degree you are all up in their business.), when I saw that Pete mentioned that he and his (darlin’) wife, Brandi, go to bed at the same time 99% of the time.

And I will confess to you that I was somewhat flabbergasted.

Because 99% of the time? THAT IS REMARKABLE.

Honestly, it’s one of those things that I’ve never really thought about very much, but now I’m going to ask everybody I know about it. D and I go to bed around the same time, but I am way more of a night owl than he is, so it’s not unheard of for me to be awake an hour or two after he falls asleep. Most of the people in my family operate this same way: Daddy has always been one to stay up later than Mama (I get my night owl gene from him); Sister sometimes stays up later than her husband; and my brother is always – ALWAYS – up later than my sister-in-law. We laugh about how we all like to roam around the house after everybody is asleep, and I guess I just thought we were normal(-ish) because it’s all I’ve ever known.

But now Pete and Brandi have just rocked my world with their 99% (which I think is wonderful and admirable, by the way). I honestly considered texting some of my friends to conduct an impromptu poll, but then I decided it would be a kick to ask more people and conduct an official-type poll right here.

Well, “official” might be a strong term now that I think about it.

Nonetheless, I’m just as curious as I can be. So let’s see how this one plays out.

By the way, the poll answers might in fact be the most poorly worded poll answers in the history of polls. I probably should be ashamed and maybe should do a little editing, but TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, people. I am a nosy person with a purpose right now.

And I cannot wait to see your answers!

A Title Would Be Lovely

Well, I sat down to write a little recap of our weekend and now have absolutely no recollection of what we did Friday.

Oh, wait. I just remembered.

The little guy went over to a friend’s house Friday morning, and I thought I’d try to get some writing done. But then Melanie and I talked and decided we’d try to do a podcast, and that is always at least a two-hour process because we have to spend an hour talking about everything we can’t talk about on the podcast before we spend the next hour wrestling with our technical difficulties.

Judging by the fact that there is no podcast today, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that our efforts were unsuccessful. It was a combination of a dicey software update on my end and a dicey Internet connection on Mel’s end. Beats anything I’ve ever seen.

Friday night we went out to eat and stopped by the bookstore on the way home so that I could pick up a copy of The Hunger Games (I like to stay a solid 18-24 months behind all literary or cinematic trends). Alex and his buddy ran back to the kids’ section as soon as we walked in the doors, but I paused long enough at the front tables to notice this little gem.

What I love about it the most is that it’s so understated.

Saturday I woke up with renewed resolve that THE WRITING, I WILL TACKLE IT, so after I ran a couple of errands and cleaned up the kitchen, I sat down at the kitchen table, opened my laptop, and thought about all the the productive productivity that was ahead of me. I normally keep all the book chapters in a folder on my desktop, but I didn’t see the folder right away, so I figured that I must have moved everything to my Documents folder.

But then I couldn’t find any of the book stuff in the Documents folder. And then I looked for the master document – the one where I make sure to paste every chapter after it’s finished, but I couldn’t find it, either. So then I did a spotlight search for the book title, which was the name of the folder, but there was no such folder anywhere on my computer.

And at that point I just had to lay my head on the kitchen table while I tried to convince my heart to stop trying to race straight out of my chest.

The good news, I guess, is that I’ve been sending every chapter to my editor as I finish it, so I knew I could dig back through my email and find all the chapters I’ve turned in so far. What I couldn’t do, though, was to find the outline I’d created in Word, the notes that I’d made in the still-to-be-written chapters, and all the little bits and pieces that I’ve worked on over the course of the last year (dating back to when I thought I was going to be writing an e-book).

Oh, I was sick about it. Just sick about it, I tell you.

I knew that I couldn’t say anything to David right away, mainly because he always reminds me to back up my computer so that I don’t lose anything, and, well, I’m sort of a back-up failure. I just couldn’t bear the shame of it all. So I texted Melanie instead. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I used A LOT OF CAPS IN THOSE TEXTS.

The next hour was an exercise in searching, saving, copying, and lo, more searching, and when I was almost finished re-creating the master document, three beautiful words popped in my head.


Because what I’d forgotten is that when I got a new computer about a month ago, we left all my files on the old computer. Which means that the book outline, the notes, and the little bits and pieces WERE STILL ON THE OLD COMPUTER.

And I nearly wept with relief.

But not before I wished that I’d remembered that little tidbit about an hour earlier.

Anyway, I was able to get everything transferred, and as far as I can tell, all systems are go. I confessed my back-up failures to D later Saturday night, so needless to say, my computer is now backed up 64 ways to Sunday.

The irony, of course, was that I was such a wreck after the unfortunate book-is-missing incident that I didn’t get a bit of writing done the rest of the day. MY NERVES, you understand. MY NERVES.

Yesterday we went to the early service at church before we headed to Mississippi for lunch with the family. Alex was so excited to see his cousins (and the rest of his relatives, too), not to mention that it was a gorgeous day for a road trip and for hanging out with some of our favorite people.

We’re home now, and it really was great weekend all the way around.

Except for the part where I accidentally deleted my book.

But other than that?


A Few Friday Favorites – 04.06.12

The Easter Conundrum (Confession) – Jen Hatmaker

Jen’s post is challenging, heartbreaking, inspiring, and convicting. Oh, is it ever.

Be Loved – Christy Nockels

This song has meant so much to me over the past week and has just ministered to my heart like crazy. If you’re going through something difficult and could use some encouragement, would you leave a comment and let me know (or send me an email if you’re more comfortable doing that)? I’d love to send you a copy of this song. The only condition is that you need to be able to download from iTunes.

(And in the interest of full disclosure, giving away this song has nothing to do with a record label or PR firm or anything like that. Just so you know.)

The Centerpiece of All History…

There was a time in my life when I knew what Easter was – but the magnitude of it, and the purpose in it, just didn’t register with me. Knowing that Jesus died on the Cross is all fine and well and good, I guess, but it’s not the same thing as believing it. It’s not the same thing as seeing the sin in your life for what it is, seeing the state of your heart for what it is, and trusting that Jesus took on every bit of your sin and shame so that you don’t have to pay a penalty for it. Our surrender to His sacrifice reconciles us to God – something that we are not capable of doing on our own. The Cross that I looked at so casually when I was younger is the grace of God, grace that’s sent from heaven to earth, grace that reaches out and beckons us and envelops us and covers us and changes us for God’s glory.

This Easter I pray that His grace takes your breath away. And if you’re feeling a little uncertain about the Truth of it all, or if you’re feeling discouraged in your faith, or if you’re walking with the Lord but want to soak up more of who He is and what He’s done for us, take some time to listen to this sermon. I think you’ll be glad that you did.

“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” – Matthew 28:6

Giveaway Winners And A Ham

First of all, I totally forgot to draw for the winners in the Dave Barnes Stories to Tell giveaway. So here are our winners.

And who are those lucky (PROVIDENTIAL) winners?

Well, I will tell you.

258 – Deanna
122 – Robin Veazey
111 – Melissa
63 – Kelly
11 – Vicki

Y’all should have an email from me with details about how to claim your prize.

Second of all, I still don’t really know how to use Instagram.

That has nothing to do with anything, of course, but it’s a source of frustration in my life.

I believe that’s what you would refer to as a first world problem.

Third of all, this afternoon Alex and I ran by the Walmarts to pick up some drink options, among other things. The little guy wanted some lemonade, and D needed some Diet Coke, and I was perilously close to the end of my container of wintergreen IceBreakers and needed to rectify that situation immediately. I like to have at least two spare containers (packs? batches? flocks? I have no idea) of IceBreakers on hand at all times, a sure sign that I have officially lost my ever-livin’ mind. I also needed a couple of blocks (wedges? pounds? prides?) of cheese to go with my ever-growing crackers collection (please see previous sentence re: the losing of the mind), and I threw a rotisserie chicken in the cart just because it smelled good and seemed like the best way to avoid cooking anything for supper.

(I did end up cooking some asparagus to go with our rotisserie chicken.)

(Of the last 365 nights, I estimate that I have cooked asparagus 234 of them.)

(Perhaps this trend is indicative of my tendency to get in a food rut.)

(Or perhaps it’s just an iron deficiency.)

(Only time and some blood work will tell.)

After I paid for the groceries, the cashier immediately started ringing up the next person in line, so I grabbed our remaining bags off of the spinny-bag thing (and yes, I believe that is its scientific name, and no, I did not have any reusable grocery bags with me, so feel free to mock and scoff at will), put them in the cart, then walked out to the car. Alex and I were having a lively discussion about my aversion to any situation where someone is throwing up (I would explain, but you would die from boredom), and after I put the bags in the back of my car, I returned my shopping cart to the cart thingie (cart dock? cart holder? cart return?). Then I got in the car, cranked the air up to high since April has decided that it wants to be July, and we headed home.

I fear that I’m devoting far too many details to a story that is sure to be anti-climactic.

But this is really no different from, well, ever, so I will continue.

Once I unloaded the car, I started unpacking the groceries while Alex rummaged through his backpack for papers I needed to sign, and as I pulled each item out of its bag, I ran through a little mental checklist to make sure I didn’t forget anything: asparagus, lemonade, IceBreakers, cheese, ham, cheese – wait a second – HAM?


Because, you see, I did not buy a ham. But there was a ham on my kitchen counter.

You can appreciate my dilemma.

After a few seconds I figured out that the woman who was ahead of me in line must have left a bag of her groceries on the spinny wheel, and in all of my urgency to get out of the way when the cashier had moved on to the next customer, I grabbed a bag that wasn’t mine. And brought home a 10-pound Smithfield spiral cut ham as a result.

All I could think of was Scout Finch when she dressed up like a ham for the play in To Kill A Mockingbird and was supposed to walk on stage at Mrs. Merriweather’s cue: “Pork!”

Thankfully Bob Ewell was in no way involved in today’s ham-related events. That would have been terrible.

Anyway, A and I hopped back in the car so that we could return the ham to Walmarts, which was so funny because it was exactly how I envisioned spending my afternoon. Nothing says “springtime fun!” like returning a ham that’s not yours to the grocery store, after all. The little guy was aggravated because returning the ham cut into his precious afternoon play time, and when he sighed for about the fourth time before we were even out of the driveway, I offered him some motherly words of wisdom that will no doubt impact his heart and his life for the rest of his earthly days:

“We HAVE to return the ham, buddy. We have to. It’s not ours. Plus, I don’t think you want for me to steal a ham right here before Easter, now do you?”

Embroider that on a pillow and put it on Pinterest, my friends.

Now to be perfectly honest, there’s not a doubt in my mind that back in my younger / grad school / early 20s days I would’ve totally kept that ham. I would’ve kept that ham, and I would’ve called my friends to come over, and I would’ve cooked that ham, and I would’ve served everybody ham for supper while I told them about how I totally lucked out because the lady in front of me forgot one of her grocery bags and HEY, LOOK AT ALL THIS FREE HAM!

Oh, shifty moral compass of my youth. I do not miss you even a little bit.

But now I’m a little older and much more sympathetic about how much a ham costs and for some reason I keep thinking of the lyrics to “Landslide” even though they have absolutely nothing to do with ham. At least I don’t think that they do. Because the presence of a ham would alter the meaning of the song considerably. And negatively, I might add.

So we returned the ham to the customer service desk, and based on the easy-breezy reaction from the cashier, I concluded that ham returns are undoubtedly more common than I realized. I had no idea – though, truth be told, I’ve never given the topic of returning pork products much thought before.

Afterwards we drove home. Again. And I spent a lot of time thinking about that ham. We didn’t know it for very long, but I believe that it changed us in deep and lasting ways.

Or, you know, not.

But the rotisserie chicken was absolutely delicious. So there’s that.

See? A happy ending.

And nary a ham in sight.

Some Visual Aids

I have one eye on the National Championship game and another eye on the computer, so I thought this would be an excellent time to share some pictures from my phone. Oh, we can pretend that there’s a narrative thread and etc. and so on and so forth, but we’ll only be kidding ourselves.

By the way. That reminds me.

Not too long ago I was listening to a song by a friend of ours who dabbles in the singing and the songwriting, and the lyrics were just killing me. Wrecking me. And since this friend writes a lot of songs about real life, the whole time I was thinking, Gosh, I just had no idea that he’d been through something like that, so I texted him and said, “Wow. THAT SONG. I’m trying to figure it out, but I think it’s about…” – and then I launched into very detailed theory.

A few minutes later he replied to my text, and he said something along the lines of “I’m so glad you like it! I have no idea what it’s about.”

And I was all, “HUH?”

And he was all, “Seriously. I just made it up.”

It totally blew my mind. It also made me realize that it’s a good thing that I’m not a fiction writer since clearly I have no understanding of that thing called imagination. Not to mention that I probably read waaaaaaay too much into, well, everything.

Hi. I’m a chronic over-analyzer. It’s nice to meet you.

Okay. Pictures.

One night about a month ago I ran in the grocery store, and when I was waiting to check out, I looked to my left and saw Dr. Oz on the cover of a magazine. Then I looked to my right and saw Dr. Oz on the cover of a magazine. For a few seconds I stood there like I was watching a tennis match, because oh, what a difference a little Photoshop makes.

I can’t figure out what it is, but something about the picture on the right creeps me out a little bit. Though I’m sure Dr. Oz is a lovely individual and all.

I snapped this picture in church not too long ago because I AM A REBEL. Really I snapped it because my husband has officially gone paperless during sermons. YouVersion on the phone, sermon notes on the iPad. I’ve tried using just YouVersion in church, but I’ve decided that I like flipping the pages of my Bible too much. I’m old school, I reckon.

The sky at the beach? Is glorious. Couldn’t get tired of it if I tried.

We didn’t have an official party for the little guy’s birthday since he and his daddy were going on a special trip a few days after the big day. We did, however, have some neighborhood buddies over for cake and ice cream, and I took this picture at some point in the festivities. I have no idea what they were talking about, but it makes me smile.

Alex loves to take screenshots when he plays a game on my phone. This one was the most recent. The game has been quite the hit in our house (though not as big a hit as Temple Run, which apparently is a delight and a joy and a wonder).

My cousin Paige used lots of pictures of Mama to decorate at the birthday lunch last week, and this one caught my eye because it reminded me of, well, me. Weird. I never really thought Mama and I looked alike when I was growing up, but as it turns out: yes, yes we do.

According to David, I start to use the word “fresh” a lot during this time of year. I want fresh vegetables and fresh food and everything needs to taste fresh and I look forward to fresh squash and fresh okra and fresh tomatoes.

The bottom line is that I start to sound like a Kool & the Gang song.

This afternoon I started thinking that chopped salad sounded like the most delicious supper in the history of all suppers, so I went to the store and got lots of FRESH vegetables and made a FRESH batch of dressing and cooked some FRESH chicken. I put it all on a big platter so we could make salads with some FRESH chopped lettuce, and LO, IT WAS TASTY.


FRESH-tastic, even.

(I could do this all day.)

(But I’ll stop now.)

(You’re welcome and good-bye.)

Fancy Night

Well, right now I’m watching the ACM Awards and cooking supper. I’m running a little behind schedule, but that’s not a bad thing since watching the ACM Awards affords me the opportunity to see what Carrie Underwood is wearing. I’m always looking to her for fashion inspiration since our legs are practically identical.


I have to admit, though, that I’m about sixteen kinds of tickled by Reba McEntire’s hair tonight. It reminds me of how she wore it in the 90s, and if she’d push Blake Shelton to the side for about three minutes and sing a heartfelt rendition of “Fancy,” I wouldn’t mind it one bit.

In fact, why don’t we just have a “Fancy” moment right now?

I do enjoy an occasional “Fancy” moment. I also enjoy an occasional “Does He Love You” moment, because in addition to some top-o-the-lungs harmony, the hairstyles are nothing short of exceptional.

I believe I’ve ventured down a country music rabbit trail. I do apologize.

Anyway, our weekend has been a good one. Last week was a long one (I mean, technically it was the same length as every other week in the history of ever, but it was so jam-packed that it seemed to last longer, and I believe I’ve now over explained sufficiently), so we were all in pajamas by 6:30 Friday night. Saturday we had soccer, and it was extra fun because the little man played goalie. The look of intense concentration on his face makes me want to clap my hands; honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever paid that level of deliberate attention to anything – unless maybe it was to count and make sure that we got all eight pieces in our Popeye’s bucket-o-chicken.

Oh, I’m kidding.

Except that I’m not really kidding.

After church today we ate at Chuy’s since, well, we were breathing, and once we finished with a few post-lunch errands, we headed home, where I made the bold choice to put on my pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon. IT MADE ME SO HAPPY. I have washed about six loads of clothes, and as soon as Mad Men comes on in a few minutes, I’m going to tackle folding this ever-growing pile of clean clothes in the guest room.

Seriously. What is it with laundry and me? Why are we always at odds? Why can’t we reach some sort of truce? Why doesn’t it ever go away? Why can’t it take some initiative and put itself away?

If the laundry doesn’t watch it, I’m gonna take a hint from Reba and put all of it on a boat and BLOW ‘ER UP.

Desperate times, people.

Desperate times.