Archives for June 2007

Unfortunately, I Did Not Purchase The Set Of Donkey Candleholders

For the last several weeks I’ve wanted to change up a few things in our house. I feel like I’ve been staring at the same arrangement of the same accessories for the last sweet forever, and I thought it might be fun to do a little “sprucing” in the decorative department. Not anything drastic or expensive, mind you – but most definitely something different than, you know, those three candles that have been on my coffee table since 2001.

In short, I need to mix it up a bit.

This house was built in the early 70’s, and it has the sort of groovy 70’s vibe you might expect. I’ve mentioned before that we have a large bar in one corner of our living room, and the bar pretty much dictates that our decorative scheme has to be at least a smidge funky. No matter which way you try to work it, there’s just not much about an oversized wet bar that screams “SIMPLE ELEGANCE.” Since our furniture is pretty traditional, any hint of retro has to come from accessories.

And that, oh internets, is the heart of my decorating dilemma.

Also: I do not want to spend much money. Because I am somewhat cheap.

Well, yesterday my friend Leigh called me from an estate sale that was right down the street from us, and she said that I needed to get over there. RIGHT THAT SECOND. D. and I love the house where the estate sale was being held, and several times I’ve remarked that I could just TELL that the house was filled with groovy goodness. Since Leigh knows my taste really well, I stopped what I was doing and popped over there.

And can I just say? It did not disappoint.

I found a cool end table for $25 (TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS, y’all). I found this metal leaf tree thingy for $6 that is straight out a Partridge Family episode and is going to look absolutely perfect in our den. Then there were a couple of classic cookbooks, some kitchen utensils (the cooks who are reading will understand how giddy I was when I found a Le Creuset skillet for ONE DOLLAR), a pair of salt and pepper shakers that would make Carol Brady proud, some great Christmas decorations, and a beautiful copper planter with a matching base.

When all was said and done, I had two huge bags of accessories – plus a table – for $60. Even better, I found things for my house that won’t be in any chain store, things that I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else. That tickles me to death.

And I will now employ the use of some visual aids.

Here’s the table I bought. It needs to be cleaned and polished, but I think it’s going to be perfect next to D.’s chair.

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And my Partridge Family leaf tree – oh-so-groovy, don’t you think?

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And I just have to show you one of the cookbooks, mainly because D.’s reaction was, “Um, was she trying to match her dress to her wallpaper?”

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I told him to stop that blasphemy right that second because if not for Helen Corbitt, there would be no Paula Deen. Mrs. Helen was the original Southern hostess with the mostest, and WE WILL HONOR HER MEMORY IN THIS HOUSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

And I love me a woman who can work a bold print like that, y’all.

So here’s the plan for today. I’m going to take $40 to a thrift store. That will give me a total re-do investment of $100 – which is mighty reasonable, I think. At the thrift store I’m hoping to find a couple of fun things to hang on my walls, along with a few other accessories. If I hit the gently-worn jackpot, I’m going to get the living room all spiffy and revamped once I get home – and sometime in the next few days I’ll post some before and after pictures.

CAN YOU EVEN STAND THE EXCITEMENT OF IT ALL?

And I’m trusting that since Mrs. Helen is living at our house now, she will be perfectly capable of holding down the fort while I go shopping.

She’ll probably even make some lovely canapes.

Only The World

Almost two years ago my friend NK and I headed to Knoxville, Tennessee for a Living Proof Live event. And as we traveled up the interstate, we were terribly excited about three things in particular: 1) the opportunity to soak up God’s Word for a couple of days 2) the much-needed girls’ weekend away from home and 3) the moment when Beth Moore walked on stage, because quite frankly we were dying to see what she was going to wear.

We even made predictions about one of those three things, and I bet – if you try really hard – you can guess which one.

What we didn’t expect was that there was going to be a woman singing on praise team that weekend who would blow us away. Her voice was absolutely incredible, and several months later – when we saw her on “American Idol” – we found out her name: Mandisa.

And that weekend? In Knoxville? She rocked the house for Jesus like nobody’s business. She was a revelation.

Now I don’t know if you know it or not, but Miss Mandisa has a CD coming out July 31st. It’s called “True Beauty,” and a couple of days ago I got a copy of the first single – “Only The World” – in the mail.

Y’all.

I just adore it.

In fact, I can’t stop singing it. And dancing when I sing. Truth be told, I think it’s impossible to listen to this song without dancing just a little bit.

Even if you’re Baptist.

BADABING!

Oh, I kid because I’m Baptist, too. And come on, now – you know that sometimes you just need to BREAK IT DOWN, regardless of denomination, age, hair color, or dancing ability. Don’t fight the feelin’, internets.

Anyway. Where was I? Something about a song?

Oh yes. Of course.

You can actually hear a stream of “Only The World” here. And because I love it so much, I emailed the nice people at Mandisa’s record label to ask if I could do a little bloggy giveaway. They were kind enough to agree (thanks, Amy!) – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

SO – if you’d like a chance to win one of Mandisa’s snazzy new CD-singles (there are two songs on the CD, and I definitely want to do another giveaway for the full CD when it comes out at the end of July), all you have to do is comment, making doubly sure that your email address is accurate. And just for kicks, since “Only The World” is a perfect get-that-puppy-on-the-iPod-and-go-for-a-walk-right-now song, tell me your all-time favorite workout / let-it-all-hang-out song. What puts some pep in your step as soon as you hear it?

I’ll turn off comments Monday afternoon (July 2nd) around 5 central time, and then I’ll draw to see which fifteen people win THE FABULOUS PRIZES.

I’m so excited to be able to share this with y’all – it’s a happy little summertime treat.

And now I think I’ll go listen to Miss Mandisa on my iPod and dance a little more.

Alex will be absolutely thrilled.

Achievement Beyond My Wildest Dreams

This morning I decided that, since Alex was going to be spending part of the day with a friend, I was going to embrace my inner hipster and head to a local coffee shop WITH MY LAPTOP. I pictured myself sipping coffee and writing up a storm; there was not a doubt in my mind that once I tapped into the coffee shop’s trusted wireless network, I would be flooded with inspiration. I wondered if my fingers would even be able to keep up with the rapid pace of my thoughts because clearly – CLEARLY – I was heading into the most prolific five hour span of my life. I couldn’t wait.

But when I got here, I immediately decided that a whole grain bagel was in order. With a little veggie cream cheese. And a cup or four of dark roasted coffee. Your brain needs fuel, you know, and since I was going to be doing a LOT of writing, I certainly wanted to be at the top of my mental game. A few minutes later Emma Kate called, and we talked for thirty or forty minutes (she wanted to share something from her quiet time this morning, and when the Lord gives EK a Word, I pay attention. Today it was Jeremiah 1:4-7, and OH, it blessed my soul).

After EK and I finished talking I checked my email, and about the time I realized that I couldn’t send messages (which is a TERRIBLY helpful feature when attempting to communicate with others via email), D. called. He was going to be driving right past the coffee shop on his way home from a meeting, so he thought he’d stop in for lunch in an hour or so. I wasn’t a lick hungry because of the aforementioned bagel and cream cheese, but I think y’all know that I’m not one to turn down a meal, so I told him to come on.

About that time Big Mama called (RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’RE STARTING TO SEE A PATTERN), and we had many important things to discuss, as is almost always the case. There is no topic too profound for the two of us, and if you don’t believe me then clearly you have not heard us discuss our favorite brands of candles, what songs we would sing if we were to form a praise and worship band, and whether or not there is a magical potion that might erase the new wrinkle that has suddenly appeared on the left side of my nose.

By the way, we have most definitely decided that I would sing/rap if we had a praise and worship band because I think it’s pretty clear that I’m street like that. Big Mama would play the tambourine. She has really been practicing A LOT and just knows that she will “bring glory to God with the sweet, sweet percussion.” And that’s a direct quote, my friends. Feel free to contact either of us for booking information. We still don’t have a name, but we’d love to hear your suggestions – preferably something that will sound really good being screamed IN PEOPLE’S NIGHTMARES, because I think any performance by the two of us would result in some life-altering audio trauma from which it would take years – lo, even decades – to recover.

Before I knew it D. was walking toward my table, and I just hated for him to eat alone, so I decided to make a supreme sacrifice and have a cup of broccoli cheddar soup with half of a chicken Caesar salad. It had only been a couple of hours since my bagel, but with all the talking I’d been doing I figured I needed to re-fuel. After all, there was still LOTS of writing to be done, and since the Lord was gracious enough to provide such delicious sustenance, I wanted to honor His faithfulness. You would do the exact same thing if you were in my situation, I’m sure.

So now it’s about 2:00 – and this post right here? It’s all I’ve written. I have essentially been sitting in a coffee shop since 9:45 in the morning TALKING ON MY CELL PHONE, and I keep thinking that it’s a really good thing that I came here today because I certainly couldn’t have TALKED ON MY CELL PHONE at home.

And just so you know? It’s time for me to go get Alex now. But at least I have this incredibly entertaining post to show for spending OVER FOUR HOURS in the coffee shop.

Well, the post and a totally rockin’ plan for an all-girl praise band featuring a borderline tone deaf singer/rapper accompanied by a mama from Texas on tambourine.

It’s just been an incredibly productive time.

Delicious Green Sauce Goodness

Big Mama has graciously agreed to share her green sauce recipe with the internets. She also mentioned that she would love to say that she has never eaten an entire bowl of this stuff by herself, but that would be a lie.

And I would just like to add: ditto.

Green Sauce

3 medium size green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 tomatillos, coarsely chopped
1-2 jalapenos,coarsely chopped
3 small cloves garlic
3 medium size ripe avocados
4 sprigs of cilantro (I think the cilantro is optional. But I’m not much of a cilantro fan.)
1 tsp. salt (more if you like)
1 1/2 c. sour cream

Place tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Peel, seed, and slice avocados, then set aside.

Combine tomatillo mix with avocados and (OPTIONAL) cilantro in food processor until smooth. Add in salt and sour cream, then mix well.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips – and if the chips happen to be warm, all the better.

Eat until you’re sick.

Just Because

Heather hit the halfway point in her radiation treatments today (if you don’t know Heather’s story, you can read all about it here). To celebrate, she has thrown herself a little blog party – and all you have to do to participate is to comment and tell her where you’re from.

She has over 770 comments right now – and I think it would be fun if we helped to push her over 1,000. I mean, if we can do this, then surely we can handle a couple of hundred comments. Don’t you think?

Click here to join the fun – I know your comments will make her smile!

An Issue Of Critical Regional Importance

From time to time I get emails from people who want to know what’s so distinctive about the Southern region of the U.S. I’m always surprised by how difficult it is for me to articulate all the traditions and eccentricities that make this part of the world so special; the way of life down here is such an inextricable part of who I am that it’s nearly impossible for me to analyze it.

And on the odd occasion when I do try to capture the uniqueness of the South with words, I’m always reminded of Scout Finch‘s explanation of her fondness for books: “…I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” That’s exactly how I feel about this place, this part of the country that has always been my home.

Being Southern may not be genetic, but it’s most definitely in my blood.

And that is why, when I received the following email yesterday, I was utterly delighted – all the way down to my painted-with-bashful-pink-polish toes:

Boomama,

My dear friend from south Georgia informs me it is inappropriate to wear open toed shoes after Labor Day. What?? Of course I won’t wear white, but open toed too? It’s too hot in TX for that. She also won’t wear open toes until after Easter. She got the evil eye from her mama for doing that very thing this year. So what do you think?? I LOVE for my painted toes to show, and I’d wear open toed shoes all year round if I could!!

Jen

Y’all, I clapped my hands when I read Jen’s email.

Why? Because I know how much Southern women talk about this very issue.

And because we love us some old-fashioned etiquette in our neck of the woods.

For example.

We love saying (and hearing) yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, and no sir.

We love to have the door opened for us and don’t think for one second that it’s patronizing. It’s kind.

We love to take the good china out of the cabinet and use it year-round.

We love fresh flowers when company’s coming, handwritten thank-you notes on monogrammed notecards, and baking a pound cake for your neighbor’s second cousin’s daughter whose dog just died.

And last but not least, we love appropriate seasonal attire.

In fact, when I was growing up in Mississippi, there were several hard and fast Southern Fashion Guidelines:

  • always wear hose to church
  • red shoes are for harlots and children
  • pearls in the daytime, diamonds at night (with the exception of wedding rings, of course)
  • no hats after the sun goes down
  • no white below the belt before Easter or after Labor Day
  • no linen clothes before Easter or after Labor Day
  • no sandals before Easter or after Labor Day
  • So you can see Jen’s dilemma.

    Now there’s no doubt that the rules have relaxed considerably – in the last ten or fifteen years, especially. I personally haven’t worn hose to church or otherwise since 1998 (with the exception of black tights in the winter), and if all goes as planned I’ll never wear them again. Also, red shoes are fun and funky regardless of age or, um, harlot status, and as far as diamonds go, wear ’em if you’ve got ’em. By all means. Whenever you want.

    However, the hat rule still stands, y’all. It stands forever, and it stands proud. Because why in the sam hill do you need a hat in the dark? To protect your face from the glare of the moon?

    But as far as the last three rules – the pre-Easter / post-Labor Day wardrobe trio, if you will – today’s Southern women are all over the place, honestly. Some wear white shoes or white pants or even WHITE LINEN PANTS year-round with all manner of devil-may-care fashion abandon. Some (*cough*MARTHA AND SISSIE*cough*) stick to all the rules all the time and will continue to do just that until they’re called home to Glory because why, why would you break the rules, why?

    As for me, I wear sandals well into October (yes, Jen – OPEN-TOED) because it’s hotter than sin down here until then and I don’t really care for the look of capri pants with, you know, boots. I’ll wear linen after Labor Day if it’s a dark color, but any light-colored linen goes into the summer clothes closet just as soon as Labor Day hits. And I don’t even own white shoes because, well, I have some issues about white shoes, but we’ll just leave those issues alone for now, ‘kay?

    So in conclusion: Jen, I think you should feel free to wear your open-toed shoes after Labor Day. Since it’s a bit of a gray area, I like to apply what I call The Tacky Test. And bottom line: I think it’s way more tacky to let your feet sweat based on principle than it is to wear a cute summer shoe into the fall months.

    Plus, it’s like Mama used to tell me: “What’s inside is more important than what’s outside. People will forget a pair of tacky shoes, but they won’t forget a tacky heart.”

    Or something like that.

    She also used to say that tacky is as tacky does, but I’m still not really sure what that means. And I’m in my 30’s now.

    However, I do know that I’d rather show up to a late-night New Year’s Eve party wearing an all-white ensemble with a hat AND open-toed shoes than to be tacky on the inside.

    And that is one Southern rule that will never, ever change.