Archives for July 2013

An Issue Of Earth-Shattering Importance

Earlier today I was fixing some lunch for Alex and his cousin, Joseph, and after I put their hot dogs on their paper plates (oh, we are fancy), I asked them what kind of chips they’d like on the side (again, FANCY). They both responded with the same choice, and much to my surprise, their answers prompted all manner of chips-related discussion.

See, I’ve been through my fair share of potato chip phases in my life. There have been times when there was nothing better than a Pringle – only to switch allegiances a few months later and cross over into the kettle-cooked camp. When I lived in Louisiana I was certain that Zapp’s Cajun Crawtators were the best (and certainly they are still high on my list), but after we settled in Alabama, I decided that Golden Flake Dill Pickle chips were my all-time favorite. Pregnancy did nothing to change my opinion.

Over the last few years I’ve dabbled in several of the strange and flavorful potato chip brands that our little neighborhood grocery store carries, and while I’ve enjoyed them, they’re not always the kinds of chips that you keep around to pack in your kids’ lunches. I’m still a sucker for a really good vinegar and salt chip, but if I’m going to enjoy a potato chip treat (and they really are a treat for me – I typically try to stay away from any sort of regular potato chip intake because I find them moderately to severely addictive), there’s one chip that’s been steady and true since I was about 15 years old.


Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream.

We determined during today’s lunch discussion that it’s my all-time favorite.

It’s also the variety that Alex and Joseph picked to accompany their hot dogs, so clearly the cheddar and sour cream preference runs deep in our DNA.

So what about y’all? What’s your favorite kind of potato chips?

If it’s too difficult to pick just one, I totally understand. So please know that mentioning your potato chip runners-up is not only acceptable – it’s encouraged.

All The Relaxing Made Me Forget

Well, the blog is fixed and in proper working order again, so comments should show up as you leave them. Unless you don’t leave any comments. In which case the absence of comment moderation won’t really be a factor at all.

D and I got home from our trip last Wednesday night, so Thursday I drove to my parents’ house to pick up the little guy (who really can’t be considered a little guy anymore considering that he and I now wear the same size shoe). Anyway, he had a great time with all of his grandparents, and he was especially tickled that he and Martha got to eat supper together at the Western Sizzlin. He ordered a cheeseburger and says it was delicious.

(It has taken me almost two hours to write the previous two paragraphs.)

(I’ve run across a TV special called William, Kate, & the Royal Baby, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to be productive under these circumstances.)

So, considering my record-setting pace-o-slowness with this post, I guess I’d better just get on with the business at hand and hope for better, wordier days later this week. It’s just difficult to make much forward narrative progress while watching footage of the Royal Family. I’m like a moth to flame.

Therefore comma here are a few things I wanted to share with you.

– When I was growing up, Mama always made notations in her cookbook. Her notes would say things like, “Great for a crowd,” or “Delicious in the summertime,” or, my personal favorite, “Men LOVE this.” I always wondered how Mama could tell if a group of men especially liked something she cooked, but then I made this pork tenderloin recipe for a group, and it all became crystal clear.

Well, tonight I made this potato-beef casserole, and the fellas (my two plus Joseph, my cousin’s little boy) definitely had a reaction that would merit a “Men LOVE this” notation in a cookbook. Granted, I thought it was good, but they thought it was DELICIOUS. I added a little Worcestershire and substituted Panko bread crumbs, and it was one of those stick-to-your-ribs dishes that only needs a salad to be a complete meal.

– My friend Carol has written such a touching post about losing the labels. Carol’s words are so thought-provoking, and they apply to all sorts of circumstances, regardless of what specific challenges you or your family might be facing.

– Candy Crush Update: I played off and on for about four days, and I was proud of myself for not buying any extra lives or bonuses or whathaveyou because there’s no question that the game is super-addictive. However, early this afternoon – after trying to complete level 23 for the third day in a row – I realized something: I am really, really terrible at Candy Crush. Seriously. I’m just not good at it. So I’m walking away. I feel good about this development.

– I’m always challenged by Jen’s thoughts on motherhood, and this post, “Flourish,” is no exception.

– At least once a week I get an email from someone who asks about things to do / places to eat / sights to see in Birmingham. I happen to think that the ‘Ham is the South’s best-kept secret – and it is a WONDERFUL place to live – so I was thrilled to see a post that’s all about Birmingham on Southern Living‘s blog last week. It is a great resource, as is SL‘s Birmingham City Guide.

– Last night we drove up to a bluff that’s not far from our house, and we spent the next 30 or 45 minutes watching the sunset. It was glorious.


Oh, Birmingham. It’s no wonder that we’re so crazy about you.

Ben Rector’s new single is, well, beautiful. Which seems fitting considering the title. And right now, on iTunes, it’s free.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Temporary Technical Difficulties

Several things:

1) I’ve been on a little getaway with my husband for the last few days. We are headed home this morning, but we have had the best time.

2) Thanks to a faulty plug-in (I say that like I know what it means), the blog broke this past Monday. Fortunately there are people who are much smarter than I am who were able to fix it so that the blog wasn’t just a blank, white screen anymore. I think we can all agree that blogs are so much more enjoyable when you can read the words.

3) However, the plug-in that filters my comment spam still isn’t working, which means that all the (inappropriate) stuff that normally gets filtered and thrown in a folder has been showing up in the comments. I have tried my best to keep up with it and delete those comments as I see them, but it’s sort of like trying to put out a fire with a water gun.

4) SO, until the plug-ins are installed again and ready to roll, I’ve turned on comment moderation so that the spam can’t get through to the comments unless I approve it. That also means that comments from y’all can’t get through unless I approve them, but the spam is so vile that I think it’s worth a little short-term inconvenience to stop it.

5) This has nothing to do with comment spam, but I just downloaded Candy Crush to my phone. I hear I’ll be completely addicted in no time.

Hope y’all are having a good week – I should be back to my regular bloggy routine in the next day or two!

The Spambot

Only A Click Away

Well, I am just as tickled as I can be because a little while ago I checked to see what was on the DVR when I was folding clothes – and lo and behold, there is a new season of Project Runway.

I had no idea it was time for a new season, but I’m so excited to watch. I’ve only seen about the first 15 minutes so far, but that was long enough to find out that the accessory wall is now sponsored by Belk. Or the Belks, I should say. And that made me smile.

Anyway, I don’t have anything new for here today, but I do have a post up over at the Barnes & Noble blog. It’s about the South and summertime. As you might imagine, I have a thing or two to say about air conditioning.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Just To Clarify About The Whole “Dot” Thing

Last week Melanie and I went to Nashville to record the opening video for the next dotMOM event, which will be September 20-21 in Chattanooga. And I think I used the wrong lingo in the previous sentence, because Mel and I didn’t do any of the actual recording since we do not know how to operate large video cameras, so I guess it’s more accurate to say that we did a little light acting for the video while someone else recorded us. Don’t even get me started about how awkward I feel in front of a camera, not to mention my life-long resistance to any form of skit, but we really did have so much fun. The LifeWay folks make it a blast. Plus, Angie was with us, and OH, THE LAUGHING.

During our lunch break we were sitting around with our good friend Paige, and we were chatting about all of our dotMOM fun over the last couple of years. It’s such a laid-back (but very well-organized) conference with so much flexibility in the schedule, and you’d better believe that the teaching is solid and challenging and encouraging and thought-provoking. I would totally go even if I weren’t emceeing, and that is saying something because do you know what I enjoy more than just about anything? BEING AT HOME.

Anyway, at some point in our conversation I mentioned that I’ve had several people tell me that they’d really like to go to the conference – but they don’t have blogs. The first couple of times it happened I was BEFUDDLED, but then I realized that “dotMOM” sounds like it must somehow be associated with tech-y things. Like maybe it’s a conference for moms who enjoy social media or something. Angie and Melanie said that they’ve heard the same kind of comments from people, so we agreed that there might be room for some clarity on this particular issue.

So. Here are a few bits of (hopefully) helpful info about dotMOM:

1) You do not have to be a blogger to attend dotMOM. You do not have to be on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. You don’t need a smartphone or a laptop or an iPad. You don’t even have to have email, though I’m betting that if you’re reading this post, you’re probably covered on the email front. Just a guess.

2) The purpose of dotMOM is to “encourage and refresh you, connect you with other moms, celebrate motherhood, and draw you closer to Christ.”

3) dotMOM is for ALL MOMS. Young moms, moms-to-be, middle-aged moms, older moms, grandmoms, great-grandmoms, moms of one, moms of many, ALL THE MOMS. One of the really neat things that happens at dotMOM is that there’s lots of room and time for discussion, so the perspective of moms who have some experience under their belts is invaluable.

And now that I’ve been annoyingly detailed about the purpose of the conference, here are a few MORE details about dotMOM Chattanooga because oh have mercy we would be so tickled to see some of y’all there.

Teaching – Vicki Courtney, John Croyle, Jen Hatmaker, and Angela Thomas are teaching the main sessions in Chattanooga. That’s a mighty fine line-up.

Worship – Lauren Chandler is leading worship. Come on.

Break-outs – You can chart your own course during break-out time. During the four break-out blocks during the conference, you’ll find sessions on all manner of topics related to marriage and family.

All righty. I believe I’ve covered the basics. I hope I’ve clarified the “dot.” And I can tell you from firsthand experience that Chattanooga will have lots of laughs, lots of time with friends, lots of great teaching, and hopefully lots of rest because the Saturday morning session doesn’t start until 9:30 (you can find a detailed schedule and a list of all the break-outs right here). Right now the early bird registration price is still in effect, but that window closes on July 22. Just passing along the info for those of you who enjoy a discount. Hotel info is here under “location” if you scroll down the page.

Finally, here’s the video that Mel and I did last year for dotMOM 2012. I continue to be mortified by my hair, but it was very humid and and one can of Frizz Ease hair spray can only do so much good. Also, if anybody would like to pass along a little touch of the botox for that deep vertical crease above my mouth, I’d be all for it.


The end.

Some Books And Some Justin Timberlake, Too


I have some announcements for the class. And an anecdote. Or maybe just something that would like to be an anecdote but probably isn’t quite there yet.

I need to stop over-explaining, don’t I?

– My friend Chrystal Hurst has a book called Kingdom Woman: Embracing Your Purpose, Power, and Possibilities coming out today, and I want to make sure to mention it because I read an early copy and really responded to the book’s tone, practicality, and encouragement. Plus, Chrystal’s co-writer and father, Tony Evans, is the pastor who is most likely to make me talk right back to the radio when I listen to him in the car. That Evans family is chock-full-o-gifted communicators. And if you buy the book between now and July 20th, you can also get an audio version of the book for free (details here).

– Speaking of books (TRANSITION!), I found out a couple of weeks ago that my book (it’s called A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet) (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it) (feel free to roll your eyes) is Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Moment for July. This is something they do to feature books in different categories, and I’m mighty honored that they picked mine for religion. Barnes and Noble has been really, really good to my little book, and I am very grateful. I’m also fighting the urge to put an exclamation point at the end of “book of the moment” and then use jazz hands. But I think we all know that I’m weird.

Seriously. I can’t resist.

Book of the moment!

– I’ve been on the road a good bit this summer, so I’ve had plenty of time to fine-tune my road trip playlist (get it? fine-tune? talking about music? HILARIOUS). One of my favorite driving songs is “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, a fact that I’m sure would thrill him to no end since suburban mamas in their 40s are clearly his target audience.

Here is the song if you are not familiar (and here’s a link to buy it if you like it).

Let us take a moment and sigh with contentment at the sight of a real band playing real instruments and wearing real suits.

Anyway, I have listened to this song about 50 times over the course of the summer, and here is what I’d sing when I’d get to the chorus:

“‘Cause with your hand in my hand / And a pocket full of soap / I can tell you there’s no place we couldn’t go…”

I know. A pocket full of soap. I thought it was odd, too. But I told myself that no matter where they went together, at least they’d be clean.

Last week I decided that the whole “soap” thing couldn’t possibly be right, so I looked up the lyrics on the internet, just like the kids do. And sure enough, the word there is “soul.” A pocket full of SOUL.

That sounds so much better, don’t you think? And even though the practical side of me thinks that they’d really be better off with soap instead of soul because, as I mentioned earlier, CLEAN, I’m so relieved to have some clarity on the lyrics. Thank goodness that I’ve never had any reason to sing along with a group of teenagers. Can you even imagine how low my Hip and With It quotient would plummet if a bunch of 17 year-olds heard me belting out “a pocket full of soap”?

It would be humbling. I’ll just say that. HUMBLING.

Does anybody else have some lyric blunders they’d like to share with the class? I hope so – because I sure would love to read them.