I Break For Books – Or, Well, For Book

So last night I spoke at a church in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and I wish I had videotaped the whole thing. I mean, not the part of me speaking because NO, I WOULD NEVER, but I wish I had taken some videos of the women talking to each other (“HEYYYYYYYY! And don’t you just look DARLIN’?”), not to mention the sound of all those Southern women visiting over dinner. I know that some people might think it’s corny, but that sound is like a symphony to me. I also wish I had some pictures of what everybody was wearing because Mississippi women like to BREAK OUT THE COLOR in the summertime. You have never seen such an array of cute pants and cute tops in your life. Martha would have flat-out coveted at least 17 different 3/4 sleeve jackets, and she might have even brokered deals to buy a couple of them right there in the fellowship hall.

And yes, I know that I’m incredibly sentimental about growing up in Mississippi, but everything about last night reminded me why I love my home state with all my heart. There was chicken salad, there were impatiens wrapped in burlap, there was bread pudding in miniature Mason jars, there were 158 door prizes (give or take), and more than anything else, there were the sweetest women, including one named George Ellen, which is now my new favorite Southern name BY A MILE.

Also, I came home with the prettiest gift basket which contained, among other treasures, two giant jars of Mentholatum. I was so tickled when I saw them because it is hard to find those jumbo jars these days, and considering my deep and abiding affection for Mentholatum, it really was the most thoughtful surprise. Mississippi pays attention, y’all.

I say all of that because I haven’t even been in Mississippi for 24 hours (I’m back at my parents’ house right now), and I’ve already thought of four or five things I’d love to blog about. But I’ve also thought about how we’re home from vacation and have a few weeks ahead with no camps or big obligations (except for July 9th – I’m speaking in Hernando, Mississippi, and I’ll post details on my Facebook page sometime next week), and I have a book that I need to finish. Technically I am in the home stretch, so mentally I need to hunker down and focus. I actually got my first look at the cover last week, and I thought, Oh, it would be so delightful to know that I was finished writing the words that are supposed to go inside.

Only I’m not finished. But I need to be. You can appreciate my dilemma.

So. I’m gonna take a blogging break until I finish the new book (it’s called Home is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong). I need to give these last few chapters my full and undivided attention, and I can’t do that when I’m writing blog posts in my head about why does California hate air conditioning and when did people stop having an appropriate amount of self-awareness and sunroofs are sort of lost on me and Hazel went to boarding training school while we were on vacation and she was so excited when we picked her up Wednesday afternoon that I almost cried.

That dog. She’s something else.

So I’ll see y’all at some point in the next few weeks. Thanks for being patient and understanding and etc. And if you find a really good mascara or granola recipe, please email me and let me know because nobody needs to keep that kind of vital information to herself.


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  1. I know just how it feels to go “home.” When I return to my native Arkansas, all of a sudden no one has an accent! And everybody is SO nice, even the people on the plane as we land in Little Rock. Best wishes for your new book — can’t wait to read it!

  2. I imagine they’re copyrighted, but if you can find a copy of More-with-Less Cookbook (by Doris Janzen Longacre) at a library or somewhere, there are at least a couple of good granola recipes in there. (The book was commissioned by a Mennonite committee years ago, so “simple but good” is one of its big goals.)

  3. (I made it sound like it’s out of print, but it’s probably not. I bought a Kindle version last year or so, but I did find that it wasn’t formatted as readably as the older print version my friend has.)

  4. Christi says:

    I was there and it was GREAT!! Enjoyed every minute, especially the hand down the shirt!! Also, I was the winner of one of those 158 door prizes!! I kept waiting on a comment about Dave Barnes having grown up there! Anyway, thanks so much for making the trip home and a smidgen to the Northwest!

  5. Tracey Knight says:

    thanks for feeding my need to be “in the know” with the title of your book, sophie. please do finish “the words that go inside” though b/c now we’re all excited & ready to read it. but no pressure. prayers for an admirable finish. :)

  6. Melissa says:

    Sophie, thanks for sharing the title of your new book. I can’t wait for the arrival date. You are so sweet! I appreciate all you do to make us happy. God Bless You!!! :-)

  7. I am a Mississippi girl now living in North Carolina and I get so homesick when I read your sweet thoughts about our home state. It truly was a wonderful place to grow up and I will always consider it my home. Thanks for being a kindred spirit!

    • Angel, not sure where in NC you live but Sophie will be speaking at First Baptist Charlotte Nov. 7-8 with her friend Melanie Shankle at the Sweet Sisters Women’s Conference. We would love for you to come! Registration opens July 1st at http://www.charlottefbc.org.

  8. Jennifer S says:

    Hurry back, we’ll miss you! Can’t wait for the new book though!

  9. I just did a blog post review of mascaras and have one you absolutely need to try! See the winner here: http://thenorthernbellestake.blogspot.com/. They even have free samples of the one that’s my favorite!!

  10. Le Frou Frou by NYX – potentially the mythical unicorn. :) So far my opinion is that I love it, no smudging, no clumping, goes on evenly. I’m a fan!

  11. Yay! You’re in the home stretch!
    Agree w the Cali a/c thing. Imagine my surprise when I first moved and went to the WalMart there, in JUNE, with no a/c.

  12. Here’s the granola recipe that I’ve come to love. It’s fantastic with unsweetened vanilla almond milk!


  13. George Ellen. Now THAT is just the best thing I’ve heard all day.

    Read your book while I was in the throes of Jury Duty fun earlier this week, and let me just tell you that I now notice every little old lady’s 3/4 sleeve jacket. There are more of them than I ever thought. And now I want to go to Stein Mart.

    I’m going to have to actually check Facebook now- Would love to come down to see you in Hernando!

  14. You will be missed, but I think I can speak for the group and say that we all understand. I’ll be praying for the words to come easily for your new book. Can’t wait to read it!!

  15. Erin in CO says:

    Love so many things about this post. I’m in the George Ellen camp with you. The perfect marriage of namesakes.

    Mascara- never thought I would try this, but I have and I love it…Younique 3D Fiber lashes. It sounded so crazy and too much maintenance, but a friend had a party and I said what the heck. The tubes are $30 for a supply that lasts 3 months, so the price of it equals to what I would spend in 3 months for mascara…and for the first time in forever (ahem), I actually have lashes. They last until I wash/make-up-remover them off (I commit the faux pas of sleeping without taking off my mascara…because…well, 3 kids and I fall into bed most nights…but i DO NOT wake up with raccoon eyes using this stuff,) AND are not as labor intensive as I thought. With regular mascara, it took me that long anyway as I coated, recoated, combed, coated again trying to get my puny little guys to stand up. You CAN use regular mascara with it if you want, but I haven’t yet, and don’t really feel I need it. My hubs mentioned my eyes looked brighter somehow, and that for me is validation enough.
    : )
    Anyway, as you have mentioned before, it’s a very personal thing, this mascara business. Some love it, some don’t. I happen to. Figured it was worth a try, and I’m glad I took the plunge. My two cents for what it’s worth.

    Happy Friday to you! Looking forward to reading your new set of words.
    God’s grace on you as you persevere!

  16. I really just discovered your blog and find it so interesting that I quite enjoy reading all your comments about nothing in particular. I think I just really like being reminded about all the great things there are about the sweet people in the south. I grew up in Oklahoma but have lived the last 30 years in Colorado and while it is quite beautiful here, it just doesn’t have the same hospitality you find in the south. But I have at least managed to make a few converts to things like southern ice tea and praises like “y’all”. Looking forward to your book!

  17. Best mascara HANDS DOWN?

    3D lashes by younique!


  18. We’ll just have to manage to survive without you. Knowing there is a sweet reward (new book!) for our sacrifice will help! The AC/Cali thing? Don’t they always have trouble with having enough electricity for everyone? And I think it is really expensive. Maybe that is why. But still, no AC, in the summer. I could not. Our car does not have a sunroof, no ma’am. We have a moonroof….rarely ever used. I can live without them. I know the feeling of home, after 25 years away we came home for a while. It has been good.

  19. Sophie I bought a new jean jacket yesterday and was so excited because it had 3/4 sleeves. And then when my friend and I got home we got tickled about it being 3/4 sleeve and that Martha would be so proud! I think it’s foreshadowing of my senior adult years when I will no doubt own many such jackets. Haha!

  20. You are hilarious! And it will be tough to wait, but if we get a book out of the deal, then off you go. To the finish line!

    BTW, I have lived in CA my whole life (49.5 years) and I very much like A/C and I don’t even have it in my house. I wonder if it is like those people who have a pool in their backyard and never go in it?!

    God Luck!!

  21. Katie Cauthen says:

    I was at the front table last night!!! I enjoyed myself to the fullest! Mississippi ladies know how to do it right! From throwin’ a swaray to dressin’ like Jackie O. We enjoyed you so much!!! Y’all come back now ya hear!!!!!!

  22. Praying that your time is effective, efficient and full of CHAPTERS of words so you can put that book to rest/publishers. That’s where the rest of us will take over for you and enjoy your words and work. Chuy’s may be calling your name more than granola during the creative process. Just sayin’.

  23. Please, pretty please, with sugar on top consider doing an audio version of your book! I would love to actually hear you read your words to me rather than just hearing you in my head;-)

  24. Jennifer says:

    I knew there was a reason this town felt unbelievably awesome today. ;) Welcome home! And George Ellen! Yes, please. I worked with a woman in V’burg named Jo Glynn. How awesome is that name too?

  25. There is certainly a great deal to know about this
    subject. I really like all the points you made.

  26. Valorie says:

    I was one of those Southern ladies in Kosciusko and just had to tell you how much I was blessed by your message. It was so much fun and I do remember how God is always with me no matter what. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Oh I’m one of those Methodists in amongst all those sweet Baptists!

  27. George Ellen is a fabulous name! My momma has been doing Ancestry.com for a while now and come to find out, one of my great-grandmomma’s names was Spicey Ann! Isn’t that just the best name ever?! I would have loved to have met her – Miss Spicey Ann. I bet she was as spunky as her name.
    By the way, every time I read anything you write, I hear it in the same Southern accent I speak with. It’s so sweet and precious. :) Enjoy your time at home. Can’t wait for the new book!

  28. Hey y’all! I understand you’re busy doing great things but my summer is a bummer without Boo and Big. I need a podcast like the flowers need the rain. Help!😉

  29. I just got my own copy of your book for my birthday. *LOVE!*
    I cried when Mamaw passed away and nearly woke up my husband laughing over the biscuit story!! Sooo looking forward to the next book!