2017, You Are Welcome Here

Last night I watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve because, well, we were pretending that when the ball dropped on the East Coast that would sort of give us permission to go ahead and go to bed here in central time. I realize that probably sounds like about 17 different varieties of lame, but as someone who has not “gone out” for New Year’s Eve since the year of our Lord 1994, I am completely unaccustomed to any sort of NYE revelry. As far as I’m concerned, New Year’s Eve is a time for some chicken and dumplins and some cornbread and, if the weather’s good, lighting a few Roman candles in the cul de sac.

For the record, it was raining here last night. So no Roman candles. Also: we were all in pajamas by 4.

Anyway, we were watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but that was only after I’d spent about 30 minutes watching Mariah Carey’s new show on E! I watched her show when no one else was in the living room – lest I be mocked by my people for my quality television viewing – and I got very tickled by the fact that Mariah totally seems to live like the rest of us in that she seems to spend considerable time reclining on a chaise lounge while wearing a leotard or corset along with heels. Fur throws and pillows are optional accessories, of course, but fishnet stockings seem to be pretty standard attire. This is such a crazy coincidence, of course, since leotards and fishnets are such staples in my own wardrobe.* Who would have thought that Mariah and I had so much in common?

So I was watching Mariah’s show – making mental notes of all the parts I wanted to mention to Melanie and marveling how Mariah seems to have a lock on the visual for “sauntering” – and I realized that it was about 15 minutes away from East Coast New Year’s, so I flipped the channel to ABC. My fellas joined me in the living room, and a few minutes later, when Ryan Seacrest announced that Mariah Carey would be performing, I thought, Well, Happy New Year’s Eve, Mariah – it would seem that we are destined to spend this night together.

And y’all – when she hit that stage and the monitors weren’t working but that back-up track was going strong and the dancers were giving it everything they had while Mariah *sauntered* around the stage and talked, even when her back-up track was hitting the high notes? Well, as far as I’m concerned there’s never been a more perfect end to a year. 2016 was a train wreck on many fronts (and yes, I know it wasn’t all bad, and that is fine, but personally it was not my favorite year), and it seemed just right somehow that Mariah (and I really did feel sorry for her – that had to have been at least one of a performer’s worst nightmares) kicked 2016 to the curb in such an awkward, oh-my-word-is-this-really-happening way.

(I’ll confess that the whole thing gave me more than one flashback to Remember the Alamodome.)

(I may have shivered.)

Given all of that, I woke up this morning and felt like I needed to give 2016 a little bit of a break. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was sad. But there were also some really happy, really fun moments here in our neck of the woods. Here are a few.

1. Alex’s first lacrosse season – We had a blast. It was so great watching Alex embrace something new, and we enjoyed getting to spend time with the other families so much.

2. The senior girls’ mother / daughter luncheon – I am always attached to “my” senior girls at school, and watching them graduate is so bittersweet. Back in May I spoke at their mother / daughter luncheon, and afterwards (and there’s a whole story here that I don’t really have time to tell, so we’ll bookmark it) they gave me this painting. It will forever be special to me.

As you might imagine, I took one look at it and bawled like a baby. Also, the painting is by a Birmingham artist named Julie Howard, and she is all kinds of talented.

3. Mississippi State won the regular season championship in baseball, and it was glorious.

And even though I broke my foot at State’s first game, the SEC Baseball Tournament was, as always, a highlight of the year.

4. Friends – In good times and in sad times, you just can’t beat sweet friendships. From lifelong friends to college friends to writing friends to work friends to church friends, I am so grateful for deep, real friendships. I actually feel like I was a pretty terrible friend this past year – I was covered up with work the first part of the year, kind of emotionally immobile the second part of the year, and super busy with writing stuff all the way around. It was not my finest hour for keeping up with everybody, being intentional about spending time with people, or even texting to check in with friends I don’t get to see much. I want to be better about this in 2017.

5. The body of Christ – As heartbreaking as it was when Mama died, I can honestly say that I have never felt as loved and supported by people’s physical presence and their prayers. There’s not enough room for me to chronicle how beautifully people took care of our family. I will never get over it.

6. Mama’s Bible – It has been such a gift to read from Mama’s Bible in the mornings. Sometimes I open it and can smell her lotion…it’s the strangest thing. And more than anything it is enormously encouraging and comforting to see everything she underlined. There are a couple of times every day when I almost feel like I can hear her talking to me: one is when I read her Bible, and the other is when I cook. Isn’t that strange? Totally true, though.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

7. La La Land – Totally inspiring and so beautiful.

8. Hamilton – Remember that time I was completely obsessed with a Broadway musical even though I don’t really care for musicals? I can’t even think about writing Giddy Up, Eunice without hearing Hamilton songs in my head. It was such a fun obsession. And I don’t remember if I blogged about this or not, but back in the spring we had a Hamilton lunch at school with several of the senior girls, a couple of my teacher buddies, and my friend Erin. It was the nerdiest 40 minutes of my whole life, and IT. WAS. FANTASTIC.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

9. Chef’s Table – Every episode leaves me awed by God’s very good gift of creativity. I even watched the season from France and read all the subtitles because STUNNING.

10. Dak Prescott & the Dallas Cowboys – WHO KNEW pro football could be so fun? And of course I’ve never met Dak Prescott, but like every other Mississippi State alum, I am so proud of him and have had the most fun cheering on him and his team. We’ve also watched this video a time or forty in our house.

11. Books – I think it will always be surreal to me that I get to write them, and I am beyond grateful that people would take the time to read them. Thanks for welcoming Eunice to the world this past year.

12. That time Melanie and I podcasted with Beth Moore – WHAT. A. TREAT.

13. Updating our kitchen – I know this is such a trivial thing, but considering that we’ve had “updating the kitchen” on our to-do list for, you know, ten years, it was high time. Really, we did more of a re-surfacing than anything else, but oh my goodness it has made such a difference. I’m so glad we finally got ‘er done. I’ll post some pictures soon.

14. Home – We didn’t travel at all this Christmas; the week before Christmas our kitchen was torn up, and the week after Christmas our kitchen was torn up to a lesser degree – plus it was a week of all kinds of appointments. Regardless, I can’t remember when we’ve had such an uninterrupted stretch of time at home, and for the most part, our nights have been free. I’ve loved every single second of it. It’s been so good to recharge and be home with my people. I’ve loved fluffing up the pillows every night before I go to bed and draping the throws like I like ’em (they’re not fur, Mariah) and basically nesting like it’s my job. I was WORN OUT at the beginning of Christmas holidays, and now I’m mostly a fully functioning, rested person. WHAT IS THIS FEELING?

I hope your year is off to a wonderful start. And I also hope you had some good blackeyed peas and cornbread today (good blackeyed peas and cornbread can make anybody feel hopeful about the future). I am so grateful for y’all and your patience with my semi-wayward blogging this past year – not to mention your prayers for our family over the last six months. I cannot thank you enough.

Happy 2017, y’all!

*Never. Not in any universe. Not in any situation. Thank you for understanding.

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  1. Happy New Year, dear girl. You’ve walked a hard path lately. What a blessing you were able to go back and find the nuggets of happy. Love reading your thoughts.

  2. Debbie Campbell says:

    I’m so glad you wrote Giddy Up Eunice! I loved reading it, shared it with my daughter, a best friend or 3, and I have an extra copy to share in case I just want to. I feel like you are one of my friends, and one day I would love for you to come to my church to speak or come somewhere in Mississippi or Alabama or Louisiana or Memphis so I can come hear you and meet you live, and in person and then we really will be friends!!! Happy New Year!!!

  3. Betty Hampton says:

    Giddy Up Eunice changed my life! Several of my college friends (Mississippi University for Women alums) read it together this summer. Then I got two friends from church to read it. I would love for our women’s ministry to read it together and discuss it like a Bible study/book club! Thank you and Happy New Year!

  4. It was hard to know exactly what went wrong with Mariah last night. I’m a bit skeptical about it all being technology’s fault, and even if it was, her behavior was um, childish, and not at all professional. It was all around sad.

    Thanks for listing your good things of the year. Like most everyone, I too was ready to bid a not so fond farewell to 2016 – a flooded house and two orthopedic surgeries and the election will have that affect on a person, you know. But I was reminded yesterday that through it all God has been faithful to be near, to provide, to comfort and to always be my reason for hope. And that’s what I take into 2017 with me.

    I am thankful for voices like your’s Sophie, that speak truth, share life and bring a smile to my face. Blessings in the new year, friend.

  5. Hamilton is basically our life now. No kidding. We have even gone as far as to designate parts to each of us (my husband, my 9 year old girl, my 13 year old son and myself). We may or may not have recorded us performing the first song. #hamiltonfamily
    I know you would be delighted by this and would be the one of few who wouldn’t mock us!

  6. Sallie Baker says:

    Love the painting….gathering all your little lambs!
    I would have cried, too. How precious.

    God’s blessings on you and your family in the new year!

  7. Martha Grigg says:

    So, Sophie:
    1) Happy New Year; 2) I would have cried, too, over the painting; 3)You must come to Upstate SC…or anywhere in SC; 4) Love ALL of your books. I hope you write 50 more, at least. You truly knocked it out of the park with Giddy UP. 5)Can we “do” lunch sometime? HA! Where to meet??….6)Praying blessings upon you and your family.

  8. so… that painting.
    how do i order one???

  9. Happy New Year to you and yours as well! Take it from someone standing on the side of 3.5 yrs since my Daddy and Mother died, it does get easier but it never goes away. And the part about hearing your Mother talk to you, totally get that. I still hear both of them and that makes me happy. Take care of yourself dear, you only get one chance at this life. Rest yourself up and enjoy your people, the other stuff will come I promise!

  10. Hello. I always enjoy your blog posts. You make me laugh, cry and you remind me that we are all human and all have struggles of one sort or another. This year, I plan to finish my first novel and find out how to get it published. Also, I want to be healthy this year. :-) Happy New Year! Keep writing, as you inspire and encourage many people every day.

  11. Paige - Gal says:

    Gal, I miss you gal! This makes me miss you more. And the Mariah fiasco must be one of the topics of our next coffee date in Bham. I’m brining mom home next weekend FINALLY so I’ll be back A LOT!! So glad there were some things to be thankful or in 2016. Twas a doozy for sure. I hope to see you very soon in 2017. love, p-gal.

  12. Happy New Year, Sophie! Thank you for writing and sharing.

  13. Happy new year Sophie! I am truly blessed by your books and your blog. I love the painting.

  14. Happy 2017!!! Just wanted to encourage you. . .we’re still here. . .still reading. . .still listening :) It’s like sitting down and catching up with a fun friend when you blog. All the best to you. . .and I really “got” that last part — about “this is how a rested human feels” — I’m feeling it too!!

  15. Happy new year to you and yours! It’s wonderful that you’re able to find so much to be thankful for/happy about in 2016 when everyone is so darn glad that stink bomb is over.

  16. You are on my list from 2016 of what I’m happy about. I am about a decade late to the party in finding your podcast and blog- and I just wish i could give you the biggest hug. You are a dear heart and I’m so glad you are my walking buddy. (well, at least in my mind you are, that’s when I listen to your podcast and laugh out loud causing people to offer strange looks as I walk through my neighborhood attempting to earn 10K steps). You are the best- I hope your 2017 is awesome!

  17. Just loved this post. That’s all. Happy New year! ;-)

  18. This post is so great – it sums up so well, the end of 2016 and the “Chin Up America” hopes for 2017. Prayers and blessings to you in the year ahead, and with your family as well. Welcome back to blogging!

  19. So, the amazing painting…how do I get a copy of it in any size, shape or form?? While I would love one for myself, of course, I have someone for whom-like you-it is THE perfect gift and now that I have seen this, there is no substitute :)

  20. I definitely know what you mean about reading your mom’s Bible. I do the same–the Bible that I watched her read from in the mornings and knowing that she was also praying for me during those times.

    Now, onto other things–you and Melanie need to talk about Janet Jackson having a baby at 50!

  21. Happy 2017 to you and yours!! That painting made me cry too! What a beautiful and loving gift. You are a blessing to so many – thank you for sharing your heart 😊

    Ps – thank you for the laughter too!!