Archives for June 2013

Because I Struggle With The Details

For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble keeping dates straight. I’ll get the day right and the date wrong, or the day wrong and the date right, or sometimes I’ll miss completely on both the day and the date. I’m also a person who frequently sends emails that say “I’ve attached so-and-so” when I’ve failed to attach anything at all. And you know those supply lists that teachers and coaches send home so that your child(ren) can make sure to have everything that’s needed at a certain after-school activity / camp / practice / game? I usually forget at least one thing on the list. Sometimes two. And I’ve been known to forget that there was even a list at all.

Given all of that, it didn’t really surprise me today when a friend of mine at Tyndale emailed me and said, “Um, there’s a little bit of confusion about your Tupelo book signing.” I put the wrong date on my book signing page, then put the right date in a blog post, and as you might imagine that left the correct date somewhat up in the air.

So here is the correct information, and I know it’s correct because I’m going to proof it about sixteen times after I type it out:

Tupelo, MS – Monday, June 17th – Reed’s Downtown – 3:30-5:00

And here’s a link to a (very correct and accurate) list of the other book-y gatherings.

I also have one more annoying thing to ask you, and then I’m going to put on my pajamas and crawl under the covers and watch one or fifty episodes of something-or-other on the TV. I should have mentioned this the day that the book came out, but I didn’t because it made (and continues to make) me uncomfortable, but I’ve decided that I’m being a little bit of a baby about it and I need to just go ahead and ASK IT, ALREADY.

So.

If you’ve read my book, would you please consider leaving a review for the book on whatever retailer you prefer? Amazon, BN.com, christianbook.com – doesn’t matter. Or Goodreads. Goodreads is good. But apparently reviews help with all sorts of fancy book-related metrics, so it’s good to have them. Unless they’re all 1-star reviews, I reckon, though a 1-star review is certainly a book buyer’s inalienable right and privilege and whathaveyou.

OH MY WORD I WANT TO HIDE FOREVER.

I also think it’s abundantly clear why I did not pursue a career in marketing or PR or anything of the sort. Because here would be my strategy for all first-time authors: 1) Write a book. 2) Hope for the best!

So now that I’ve said everything I need to say, I’m going to reward myself with some TV. And next week I am not mentioning That Thing They Call My Book even one time. Because for the rest of this week I am going to establish some television goals, and I am going to work hard to achieve those goals, and then I am going to write posts about what I have discovered and learned from the television.

This is what you might call A RETURN TO THE COMFORT ZONE.

Hallelujah and amen.

Hi. I Have Some Links. Please Do Enjoy.

Today I’m trying (once again) to get caught up on various deadlines and obligations and whathaveyou, but I wanted to pass along some links because, well, I’m dependent on lists right now. But when I finish all this stuff I’m working on, I am going to WEAR Y’ALL OUT with the paragraphs and, lo, EVEN SOME POINTS.

Seriously. It’s gonna be a banner day. It may even call for cake.

– One day last week my husband mentioned that peach cobbler sounded good to him. So, selfless soul that I am (make no mistake: I have never met a cobbler that I did not like), I decided to try a new cobbler recipe. I guess I was feeling kicky.

Anyway, I tried this recipe of Paula Deen’s, and y’all, it is delicious. It’s more of a cobbler cake than a it is a biscuit-y cobbler, so the texture has been a nice change-o-pace. I’ve made it with peaches and blueberries, and both have been big hits in our house.

– Three bloggers have teamed up today to give away nine copies of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet. You can enter the giveaway through any of their blogs, so here are the links:

Blue-Eyed Bride
Mix and Match Family
Pinterest Told Me To

– Yesterday the little guy had a golf lesson that started at exactly the same time as the Bulldogs’ Super Regional baseball game. You can appreciate my dilemma. I ended up listening to the game in the car during A.’s lesson, and then we heard the last inning as we were driving home.

Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, please know that I do not recommend driving during the 9th inning of a Super Regional. It’s terrible for the nerves. However, we are SO TICKLED that the Dogs won and are going to Omaha for the College World Series. Their first game is Saturday at 2, so I think it goes without saying that I will be (very discreetly) listening to the game on my phone during my book signing at 3. I can’t imagine that you’re surprised.

– Speaking of book signings (I know. I’m so sorry. I feel so awkward. There is just no good way to mention this stuff.), there are two more on the horizon (after the one in Birmingham this Saturday). I’ll be at Reed’s in Tupelo, MS on Monday, June 17th from 3:30-5:00, and there’s another one at Book Mart in Starkville, MS (somebody ring a cowbell one time) on Saturday, June 22nd from 10:00-12:00. There’s a possibility that State’s second CWS game may coincide with the Tupelo signing, so I very well may pass out from happiness. Or stress. Depending on how the game goes.

– If you are a loyal Mad Men viewer, you don’t want to miss this analysis of the most recent episode. So good.

– There’s a mighty good discussion about summer reading going on over at Melanie’s blog. The comments are a wealth of book-related info.

– I’ve made my peace with the fact that the search for a great mascara is going to be an ongoing quest in my life. A few months ago I broke down and bought a more expensive department store brand, and even though it was great at lengthening my pitiful little eyelashes, it took forever to dry – which means that I inevitably had smudges within five minutes of putting it on. Sort of inconvenient.

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Week before last I picked up a tube of Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion in the drugstore, and I really, really like it. It adds volume and it lengthens, and my nine eyelashes are very appreciative.

– One of my favorite singer / songwriters is Daniel Renstrom. I’ve mentioned his music before (because I love it), and he has a new album that might be just the ticket for mamas of young kids here at the beginning of summer. It’s called Jesus Wants My Heart, and it’s full of songs for family worship time or for car time. The songs are simple enough that your kids (or grandkids / nieces / nephews / godchildren) can sing along, but they’re so meaningful and rich that you’ll love them, too.

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Yay for kids’ music that doesn’t make the grown-ups want to throw things!

All righty. I’m gonna get back to All The Writing. Hope y’all are having a great Tuesday!

Witty, Original Title Goes Here

Well, it has been a jam-packed few days around here, so I’m going to resort to the list format. Honestly, between book stuff and college baseball (the ‘Dogs are in a rain delay right now), I’m not sure that I possess the ability to compose paragraphs. Unrelated sentences it is!

– The winner of last week’s giveaway for the cast iron skillet, a book, and All The Bacon is comment #487.

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Congratulations, Lori M. – I’ll send you an email later tonight!

– I had a book signing in my hometown late last week, and when I wasn’t fighting back tears at the sight of a teacher from junior high or a friend from grad school or a buddy of Papaw Davis’, I had such a good time. I was especially happy to see my cousin Benji’s sweet girls – they are growing up so fast.

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– It was my last post, I think, when I mentioned how much I’d been sleeping lately, and I apparently I spoke way too soon because the sleep, it has been oh-so-elusive the last four or five nights. FINGERS CROSSED that I turn a corner with the insomnia over the next couple of days because, well, I’M PUNCHY.

– There was another book signing in Jackson, MS this past Friday, and I got so tickled when I saw the sign outside of the bookstore.

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I just never dreamed that I’d see my name and “$1 Domestic Beers!” on the same sign. It sort of made me feel like I should end my time at the bookstore by sitting on top of a piano and singing a medley of love songs from the 80’s. Anita Baker, anyone?

– State’s baseball game has now been postponed until tomorrow at 3. Quite frankly I don’t know if my nerves can take much more on the Road to Omaha.

– I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this before, but this bag by Scout is the very best road trip / beach bag I have ever used. Mine was a gift from Emma Kate, and it is one of my favorite things. The outside pockets are genius.

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I realize that the bag has nothing to do with anything that I’ve mentioned today, but I love it a little more with every trip I take. It’s a keeper.

– This week is going to be like finals week for me; I have four articles to finish, and I’m going to try to stay away from the Internet until I am all done…otherwise I’ll wind up in some sort of YouTube vortex where I watch the opening numbers from old Miss America pageants over and over again. Then I’ll move on to the theme songs from 70’s sitcoms. And then it’ll be 4 in the afternoon and I’ll be wondering why I’m not finished with anything.

– I have a book signing here in Birmingham this Saturday, June 15th at the Brookwood Mall Books A Million. It’s at 3pm, and I’d love to see some of y’all there (she says, awkwardly). :-)

– Finally, thanks so much for your very kind emails and comments and tweets and etc. over the last week or so. There’s just no way to express how much your sweet words of encouragement have meant to me. I am oh-so-grateful.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Wednesday Brought The Thunder

This post is going to be super-fast because my computer battery is almost dead and I’m at my parents’ house and there’s a ten year-old asleep in the room where my power cord is, but I just wanted to thank y’all so much for your sweet comments and emails and general words-o-encouragement about the book being released and all the accompanying hubbub.

(Is “hubbub” spelled like that?)

(I don’t think I’ve ever typed it before.)

(And in the irony department, I feel like I’m making a hubbub about “hubbub.”)

Tuesday turned out to be a really good day – once I got past my initial nervousness and texted Melanie the most neurotic series of sentences you have ever seen in your life. At one point I wrote something along the lines of, “THIS HAS ALL BEEN A TERRIBLE MISTAKE,” and then I fell sideways on a chaise lounge and rested my hand on my forehead and grabbed a nearby container of smelling salts since I was feeling very faint.

Listen. It was a very dramatic 30-35 minutes. But I don’t always handle New Life Events very well.

That afternoon my Bible study friends hosted a little get-together to celebrate the book, and by that point I was so wound up that I TALKED FOR MANY MINUTES IN A ROW WITHOUT STOPPING AND ALSO I WAS VERY LOUD BECAUSE I WAS VERY RELIEVED TO BE AROUND SOME PEOPLE.

Please let me show you this cake.

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Isn’t that adorable?

Eventually I will make some sort of collage something-or-other with my pictures from the shindig, but there’s no time for that right now because, well, COMPUTER BATTERY IN THE RED. Just know that it was very fun and I am so grateful for friends who treat me like family and please remind me to tell you about these pretzel and M&M cookie-type things that could very well lead to my earthly demise.

Also, Tuesday night we ate supper at Chuy’s. I can’t imagine that even a single one of you is surprised.

This morning I took the little guy to VBS, and we had big plans to leave for Mississippi just as soon as I picked him up. But one thing led to another thing and another thing and another thing, and the bottom line is that it was almost 4:30 before we got on the road. I just couldn’t get my act together – I would fold a pair of jeans and then put my hairspray in a bag and then scrub the kitchen sink and then dig through a pile of socks and it just took me forever to get our stuff packed. I also took a brief nap about midway through the packing process because suddenly I was very tired and just needed to shut my eyes for a minute.

(My sleeping habits of late are a whole ‘nother post. But apparently I was operating on a significant sleep deficiency at the end of the school year, and OH, HAVE I EVER BEEN TRYING TO MAKE UP FOR IT.)

Anyway, it was a little cloudy when we pulled out of our driveway, but by the time we got to the interstate, it was starting to get really dark. And after we’d been on the road about 15 minutes, it started to rain with such force and fury that I wondered if I shouldn’t just turn around and go home. It eventually let up a little bit, and we kept moving, but somewhere around Tuscaloosa the bottom fell completely out of the sky and we ended up swimming to Mississippi.

I am kidding, of course. But OH, THE RAIN.

I ended up staying in the right lane with my hazards on for the next 30 or so miles, but after about the sixth round of torrential downpours, my nerves were shot. So I pulled off the interstate at a McDonald’s, parked the car, texted my husband, and said something along the lines of, “It is raining so loudly that you could not hear me if I called. So we are going to go in McDonald’s now. I think I have had enough of the weather.”

And do you know that we stayed in that McDonald’s for over an hour? Yes we did. We ate supper there, enjoyed the free wifi, refilled our drinks a couple of times, and basically could’ve camped out there all night if necessary because driving in all that rain was no longer an option for me. Mama’s nerves = DONE.

Finally, though, the worst of the rain passed us. D texted me and said it looked like we were free and clear from the storm system (that thing must have been GINORMOUS), and we bid farewell to our Mickey D’s haven. We made it to my parents’ house way later than we planned, but yay for not driving in, you know, A SQUALL.

(I’m not entirely sure that we experienced an actual squall.)

(But make no mistake. That weather was squall-ish.)

But wait! There’s a silver lining! When we were almost to my parents’ house, we caught the tail-end of the most gorgeous sunset. I even pulled off the road (again) and stopped the car (again) because LOOK AT THIS, MY WORD.

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See?

I’d say that all worked out.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

And Also: Happy Flag Day, Finland!

For almost a year now, I’ve known that June 4, 2013 would be the day when this little book made its official debut.

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And honestly, I’ve been thinking off and on all day about all the Heartfelt Sentiments I hoped to express in this post. I mean, I’ve carried this book around in my head and my heart for the last two years, and now some people may read it, and just thinking about the process of it all – not to mention how supportive my family has been – left me very reflective and weepy for most of the afternoon. Combine that weepiness with the fact that I am mildly terrified, and the end result is sort of a paranoid sentimentality that leads to a very tenderhearted series of unrelated thoughts. That’s why I actually sat in my car during Alex’s golf lesson this afternoon and tried to force my brain into organizational mode and figure out how to best communicate my feelings about June 4, 2013.

But then, for whatever reason, I decided to look at the Google and see if June 4th is any sort of holiday.

This is exactly the kind of thing I do when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed, by the way. I actively pursue diversion, and once I find it, I embrace it with my whole heart.

LISTEN AND LEARN, YOUNG PEOPLE.

And seriously, I really do get that jumping on the Google wasn’t the most logical course of action considering that I was hoping to Say Meaningful Things. But I feel like everything has been book, book, and more book lately, and I finally reached a point where I thought, Surely I can find some other reason why June 4th might be a significant date in my life.

And y’all, I could not have anticipated what all the Googling was going to teach me.

For starters, June 4th is Embarrassing Ailments Day. As someone who has suffered for most of her life with embarrassingly small ear canals as well as unusually high arches in both feet, I cannot tell you how much peace and comfort I find in knowing that there is an entire day devoted to the recognition and dare I say CELEBRATION of a host of little-known but occasionally shame-inducing ailments. I’m not sure who decided that this day should be A Thing, but well played, whoever you are.

On top of that, June 4th is Applesauce Cake Day. In the South we don’t make a whole lot of applesauce cakes, though I do remember one time when my friend Jonna made a cake and used applesauce instead of butter to cut down on the fat content (I was certain that she was a culinary genius, not to mention more disciplined than I’d ever thought about being), but if you are a fan of Applesauce Cake, Tuesday is your day. Maybe you can cook some pork chops and watch that Brady Bunch episode and then sample a variety of applesauce options. Before you eat your applesauce cake, of course.

But here’s THE BEST PART.

June 4th is also Frost Your Hair Day.

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?!?!?!

I mean, do you have any idea how many frosting kits I have purchased over the course of the last 25 years? (Well, not counting the last four years when I really have tried to avoid the home hair coloring.)

300

Hey, lady. Today we’re gonna celebrate YOU.

For a split second I really did wonder if I should commemorate the book release by sliding on one of those highlighting caps and giving my roots a little bit of a touch-up. After all, Frost Your Hair Day only rolls across the calendar once a year, and I’d hate to dishonor the date, especially when I don’t have another hair appointment for about three weeks and my roots are starting to be a source of embarrassment.

(Which works out well considering that it is in fact Embarrassing Ailments Day.)

(Though I don’t know if a failure to frost really qualifies as an ailment.)

(But considering that I count my high arches as an ailment, YES, ROOTS, YOU FALL INSIDE THE AILMENT BUBBLE.)

So, see? I LEARNED SOME THINGS today. And while I guess I’ve managed to sidestep a randomly arranged series of heartfelt sentiments, I do want y’all to know that I am deeply grateful for all of you, and I have been incredibly humbled and blessed by your encouragement. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet may be the only book I ever write, but for whatever it’s worth, it comes straight from the center of my heart. I am so thankful that I got to share some of my family’s stories, and I hope that you’ll see your own family – whether it’s the family you were born into or the family you’ve chosen – as you flip through the pages.

And more than anything else, let’s all please remember to give June 4th the honor that it’s due and devote some quality time to our ailments, our applesauce cakes, and frosting our hair.

If you’re feeling especially kicky, you might even celebrate all three.

But by all means, pace yourself. I just read that June 5th is Fly A Kite Day.

You certainly don’t want to overdo it.

Love,
Me

Bacon: The Giveaway

Thankfully – blessedly – our house no longer smells like charred tomatoes. Since I was out of town this past weekend, I don’t know when exactly the stench lifted, but I was very relieved that the smell of singed meatballs didn’t knock me over when I walked in the back door this afternoon. That was some serious cause for praise.

I spent the weekend in Atlanta with Melanie, by the way. We planned our trip a sweet forever ago, and oh, was it ever timely and fun and wonderful and refreshing and etc. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna make it into my 2013 Top 5 Favorites. Delightful all the way around.

Now.

Before I forget, here’s the winner of the last giveaway.

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Congratulations, Jody! I’ll send you an email in just a little bit.

As for this last giveaway – well, I hardly know where to begin. Because in so many ways it is the culmination of all my bloggy hopes and dreams. Perhaps I should explain.

This giveaway has three parts. The first part of the giveaway is my book, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, which officially releases on Tuesday and that is all fine and good but TRUST ME not nearly as special as the rest of the giveaway.

The second part of this giveaway is a staple in almost every Southern cook’s kitchen. I for one couldn’t live without mine – it is the best all-purpose pan under the sun.

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(It’s a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)

(If you’ve never used one, you need to understand that it’ll change your whole life.)

(And your cornbread will never be the same.)

The third part of this giveaway is almost too good to be true. It is more, in fact, than I ever dreamed. But apparently, if you write a book that has the phrase “fifteen pounds of bacon” in the subtitle, there are wonderful people out there who will step right up to the plate and offer to give away – GET READY – fifteen pounds of bacon.

You read that correctly.

FIFTEEN POUNDS-O-BACON.

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Somebody give the Lord a handclap of praise.

The bacon is courtesy of Petit Jean Meats, an Arkansas company that makes, among other things, incredibly delicious bacon (I recently found out that their bacon is the official bacon of the Dallas Cowboys, AS WELL IT SHOULD BE). Petit Jean Meats sent me a whole bunch of bacon after my friend Stephanie (we actually went to high school together) told them about my book title, and no kidding: the day all that bacon showed up at our front door may have been the happiest moment in all my years of blogging. Their peppered bacon has become the hands-down favorite in this house, and I am so excited to be able to share it with y’all. Because, well, BACON.

And not only that: EXCEPTIONALLY TASTY BACON.

SO. If you’d like to enter to win a very fancy prize that consists of my book (which, compared to bacon, you know, WHATEVER), a 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, and FIFTEEN POUNDS-O-BACON, just leave a comment on this post. If you’d like, you can also sign up for the Petit Jean Meats email newsletter or like their Facebook page, and if you do either of those things, come back here and leave an additional comment for a second entry (you can just say “PJM social media” or something like that in your second entry).

I’ll close comments on this post tomorrow night, and I’ll select a winner using random.org.

Hope y’all have a great week – it’s been so much fun doing these giveaways with you!

This giveaway is now closed. I’ll announce the winner in a couple of days!