Archives for September 2014

Family Traditions

Mama, Daddy, Martha, and five of their favorite cakes and pies arrived at our house about 4:30 Friday afternoon. Hazel wasn’t expecting any company (I must have forgotten to tell her about our weekend plans when I was serving her breakfast that morning), so as soon as Daddy opened our front door, she fully embraced the role of Ferocious Protector Dog of the Universe. She really didn’t bark as much as she hollered, and after Alex and I managed to convince her that THE VISITORS ARE NOT HERE TO HARM US, we somehow got everybody inside and relaxed and settled.

Even Hazel.

Kind of.

We were actually way overdue for a weekend visit with the grandparents. We didn’t intend for it to happen, but between deadlines and summer camps and vacations and whatnot, we weren’t in Mississippi during our summer break nearly as much as we normally are. We kept trying to find little windows for a trip here or there, but our calendars just wouldn’t cooperate. Because of that, Alex was looking forward to some time with his grandparents, not to mention that it’s been a year, probably, since Martha and I made our last trip to the Steinmarts.

(I mean, I’m not saying that the CEO of Stein Mart called me personally or anything like that, but I am saying that earth was in danger of slipping ever-so-slightly off its axis.)

(Why, just think of all the 3/4-sleeve jackets Martha might have missed! Can you imagine? I can’t even imagine! It’s just so hard to imagine!)

I cooked supper Friday night (I made this chicken and asparagus casserole, which is always a hit with Mama and Martha), and after we spent a good hour or hour and a half talking about what all the different churches in my hometown do for their 50-Plus programs and what they cook for Family Night and who spoke at their revival services and why the grass won’t grow in one patch of Martha’s yard (clearly that was a sidebar conversation), I cleaned up the kitchen and climbed in the bed at the wild and crazy hour of 9 o’clock in the PM. I felt a little shamed when I could tell that Martha could’ve talked for 2 or 2 1/2 more hours, but it had been a busy week at work, and I knew that I was going to need all my strength for our Saturday shopping.

It was not going to be my first Steinmart shopping rodeo, you understand.

Saturday morning I woke up pretty early, and after Mama, Martha, and I were all dressed and sufficiently caffeinated and ready to leave the house, Martha quickly reviewed her “like-to-find” list for the day. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned this before, but for Martha the “like-to-find” list is an ever-evolving and changing mental document where she keeps track of various items that, well, she’d like to find when she shops. One day she might like to find a really good brand of pepper jelly, some cute Christmas napkins, and a coral-colored candle. The next day she might like to find a tea cart for her kitchen, a green lamp, and some homemade caramels. Some things stay on the like-to-find list for months before she discovers that elusive something or other, while other things only stay on the list for a few hours before my goodness! have you ever! can you even believe that I’ve found this porcelain elephant / brass dresser pull / filigree liquid soap dispenser?!?! Isn’t that perfectly wonderful? I’m just thrilled! It’s perfectly wonderful!

The like-to-find list for Saturday’s excursion was pretty simple, really: a 3/4 sleeve black knit shirt, two pink hand towels (not hot pink! not fuchsia! a soft pink! but not peach-y pink!), and some Isotoner velcro slippers. I, on the other hand, wanted to look for some clothes for work, and Mama was just happy to be along for the ride. So off we went.

Our first stop was Nordstrom Rack, and while Martha thought they had some cute things! such cute things! some really cute things!, I could tell it wasn’t really her cup of tea since Nordstrom Rack doesn’t typically carry many 3/4 sleeve jackets. I, on the other hand, found three or four cute shirts for work (I am very partial to the Pleione brand and the Daniel Rainn stuff, too), and the only way I can imagine experiencing the same level of enthusiasm that Martha felt about my purchases would be if Mississippi State were to win a national championship in football. Three years in a row.

We eventually left Nordstrom Rack, went to Kohl’s (hoping to find the elusive pink hand towels, but no), then Zaxby’s (Mama and Martha think their chicken tenders are OUT OF THIS WORLD), and then to the mothership, Stein Mart. Neither Mama nor Martha made it more than a foot inside the front doors before they were completely captivated by a display of decorative wheat, and I was so tickled that I just stood there and watched them. I have no idea if I’ll make it to my 80s or not, but if I do, I pray that I won’t be able to take more than four steps inside a Stein Mart before I am absolutely bowled over by a set of bookends or a ceramic doorstop or an artful arrangement of artificial fall leaves.

It was no time at all before Martha found a black 3/4 sleeve black knit top, at which point she looped around the store until she found me next to a rack of wide-legged pants and asked if I thought her top was too long to tuck in. As someone who has not tucked in a shirt since 2002, I didn’t feel I was qualified to rule on the tuck-in matter at hand, but Martha finally determined that it would be fine to blouse the shirt over the waistband of her pants since that would still allow for a clean line under her jacket sleeves.

So obviously I was relieved that we solved that pressing issue.

By the time we left Stein Mart we’d worn Mama out, so we ran her back to the house before we went to Target, where Martha bought a hand towel in the perfect shade of pink (not sure why she opted for one instead of two), and I bought some ketchup and a hairbrush (listen. I know that nobody cares. but I have officially crossed over to the land of TOO MANY DETAILS). Afterwards we went to the grocery store, where Martha was thrilled to find some Mrs. Meyer’s countertop spray and probably could have inspected the bulk items in the bin section for another half hour if I hadn’t needed to get home and start supper.

So then we drove home and I cooked supper and David cleaned up the kitchen and we all watched football.

And then today we ate lunch at Chuy’s. Mama ordered a grilled chicken salad that I didn’t even know Chuy’s offered (but she said it was absolutely delicious), and Martha ordered the stacked enchiladas. When they brought our food to the table, Alex leaned over to me and said, “Mama. As soon as Martie sees hers? She’s gonna say, ‘THESE PORTIONS!'” – but Martha responded with admirable reserve. She just said that it looked delicious, which it did.

Our people went home after lunch, and even though we were sad to see them go, it was mighty nice to have them here.

I just hate that Martha never found those velcro Isotoner slippers.

I guess they’ll be at the top of the like-to-find list the next time she’s here.

How Do You Know?

We just got home from our first 5th grade football game, and I’m trying to process a LOT of information right now. Mainly I’m trying to figure out how the kids look so big and so little ALL AT THE SAME TIME out on that field. I’m also feeling a little nostalgic because tonight we sat next to my friend Alison, and I remembered that about 11 1/2 years ago she sat across from me at a Mexican restaurant – when I was so pregnant I was about to pop – and told me that she was expecting a baby, too. Now our two “babies” are on the same football team together, which is the strangest thing because I feel like we were sitting in that Mexican restaurant oh, I don’t know, about eight months ago.

Crazy. Time is crazy.

Anyway, now I need to “wash clothes” if I plan to have “something clean” to “wear to work” tomorrow, but I wanted to make sure to share this video because, well, it’s so stinkin’ good. Some of y’all know that last week our pastor announced that he is leaving our church to become president of the International Mission Board, and this past Sunday he shared how he and his sweet wife Heather gradually became aware of what God was calling them to do. It’s the most tender, encouraging account of the deeply personal ways that God works in our lives – through the Holy Spirit, Scripture, and other believers – and I just think this message is a gift for those of us who tend to overthink and over question every single decision that we make.

I mean, I’ve heard that some people do that. I’ve never had any first-hand experience with that, of course.

Anyway. There’s just something so powerful about hearing someone else’s story, and I thought some of y’all might enjoy hearing this one. It’s beautiful.

If for some reason you can’t get the embedded video to work (keep in mind that it may take a minute or two to load), you can click here and watch it on the Brook Hills website.

Happy Wednesday, everybody.

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 38

Considering that this is our first podcast of the 2014 college football season, it’s really no wonder that we spend a chunk of time talking about, well, college football.

However, it might be a wonder that we manage to talk about anything else. Somehow, though, we covered Melanie’s bathroom remodel, the joys and perils of writing books, the latest developments with our eyelashes, the joys of 40-something eyesight, and some recent beauty product finds.

So basically we’re solving all the world’s most important problems.

Now please do enjoy.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Happy Labor Day, y’all!