Belated But Oh-So-Necessary

Well, I ordered two more pairs of shoes today after reading y’all’s comments, so obviously you people are very persuasive. I don’t intend to keep both pairs of shoes, mind you, but I figured they were definitely worth trying on, especially in the event that they change my life forever in the area of arch support. And while I promise that I won’t start calling y’all “Ethel” and complaining about my bursitis (well, okay. I might. but I’m not planning on it.), it was oddly comforting to read that some of you also deal with nerve / foot / arch challenges. I will think of you fondly the next time I can’t fit the ball of my foot into the bottom of a boot. And also the next time I do manage to wedge my foot into a boot and then hobble around and try to pretend like it’s comfortable.

And just in case you’re wondering, it occurred to me this morning that I neglected to tell y’all what I did with those flip flops that caused my feet so much grief earlier this week. I threw them away. It was time. And I have another pair that are headed for the garbage bag just as soon as I identify what my substitute “around the house” shoe will be. My barely-worn Olukai flip-flops are currently the front-runner. I just need to make sure. It’s a big decision.

Other than that, there’s not much going on around here. Alex has had to tag along with me a lot this week – it’s just sort of the way our schedule worked out – and he has been such a good sport about it all. So this afternoon I told him that, as a thank you for his patience, I’d make anything he wanted for supper. He picked patty melts, twice-baked potatoes, and roasted broccoli. His menu made me smile, mainly because I can remember when he was four and we had some epic stand-offs at the supper table over something that seemed super-important, like his refusal to eat blackeyed peas or his angry reaction to chicken pie. But now he eats just about anything (except meatloaf) and pretty much loves all the vegetables. I’d have never believed it was possible six years ago when my blood pressure was 470/290 after 45 minutes of standing on my principles about the consumption of six peas.

Anyway, since there’s not much going on around here, this seems like an excellent time to say something that’s been at the forefront of my head and my heart the last couple of months. I don’t even know how to say it, really, so I’m just going to take a stab at it and go with the first draft. It’s not gonna be eloquent, but I can promise you that it’s sincere.

At the end of May – right before my book came out – I was as terrified as I’ve ever been in my life. I couldn’t sleep. I was worried sick about how people would react to what I’d written, scared that I was going to unintentionally offend somebody, certain that folks were going to be annoyed by my Egg Bowl analysis, and completely convinced that I’d forgotten to change a name or detail that might be too personal to share.

I mean, I guess I could sit here and pretend like I was totally calm about the whole first-book thing and act like I was filled with a supernatural peace as the release date got closer, but I was a hot mess, y’all.

HOT. MESS.

And it wasn’t that I was trying to manage my expectations about how well the book would or wouldn’t do, because to me it was a foregone conclusion that the whole thing was going to be a train wreck. In fact, the texts that I sent to Melanie at the end of May / beginning of June are all the proof you would ever need to know that I am not what you would call a confident person.

But y’all, in the middle of all my feelings of CERTAIN, LOOMING LITERARY DOOM, the neatest thing happened: people were awesome. And they weren’t just a little awesome. They were great big, wide open awesome. They were supportive and encouraging and enthusiastic. And that didn’t have anything to do with the book – oh my word no. People just made a choice to be kind. And loving. And wonderful.

Seeing that kindness in action was such a privilege, y’all. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

So to all you awesome people, thank you – from way deep down in the bottom of my heart. You will never know how much your emails (that I’m still trying to answer, by the way) and tweets and comments have meant to me. This summer has been the busiest of my life – but it has also been the sweetest. The stories you’ve shared have ministered to me like crazy, and in the strangest, most unexpected ways, you’ve helped me conquer a few of my fears.

(I wasn’t expecting that at all.)

(But I still can’t call myself a writer.)

(Baby steps, I reckon.)

Buy Ellie’s song here. Because it’s beautiful.

Y’all are the best. And I am so grateful.

Love,
Ethel

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Comments

  1. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo!!

  2. Kathleen G says:

    Reading your blog the last few months and finding you on The Pioneer Woman has been a wonderful surprise. You have heart and soul. Relating to a lot of women. You make me laugh at everyday life. Thank you.

  3. I just finished last night and I was SO sad it was over! Definitely need a part 2! 👏👏🙏

  4. ADORE ya, Sophie. xoxo

  5. My blog reading began with you, Big Mama and Shannon before I knew what a blog was!
    Love your writing and your heart.
    We would so be friends if you lived nearby. We could go see our BFF Bethie on Tuesday nights for bible study and grab some great Mexican food afterwards!
    So.Much.Fun

  6. Melissa says:

    Good Morning! Your book is so great that I read it, passed it on to my sister and she has passed it on to her daughter. We all love it! In fact, I forward your blog emails to them so they can sign up and enjoy your funny and thought provoking comments. :-) You truly make our day special! Thanks for your writings and sure hope you are working on another book. More stories from you will be awesome!!! God Bless You!

  7. I. love. you.

    that is all.

    oh, and your book? The best summer read ever.
    oh, and write another one? soon?
    oh, and…. ((you))

  8. I just became acquainted with your blog fairly recently. I spent lots of time reading the archives and also purchased your book. It’s been tough to hang on to it for a few weeks but I did so in anticipation of getting on an airplane next week and wanted to have a fun read for my travels. You’ve been a blessing.

  9. I loved this post friend :-) and i love you!

  10. Oh girl – your book is wonderful! You need not worry. I already read it twice and loved it just as much the second time around! So fun and so like my Texas family!

  11. I LOVED your book. My favorite summer read.

  12. Your book was my beach read this summer! It was laugh-out-loud, wipe-away-tears wonderful! Thank you for sharing yourself, your family, and your family stories with us! Walk confidently in the calling He has given you and proclaim it out loud that yes, indeed, you are a writer!!! Can’t wait for the next book! ;)

  13. Phyllis says:

    I finished your WONDERFUL book and, as I expected, LOVED it. So much. You ARE a writer, and a great one. You made me proud to be a fellow Mississippi girl! As someone who’s been a big BooMama fan from the very first blog posts, I couldn’t be happier for you. Or more proud! And it couldn’t have happened to a sweeter person. I think the world of you, Sophie. Congratulations on a wonderful first book. Here’s hoping for a second {and a third and…}. : ) xoxo

  14. Um, Ethel, you may not can call yourself a writer, but I can! In fact, you are one of the best writers I know. I read to either be entertained or edified and girl, your writing does both. Do not stop!

  15. People were awesome to you because you are awesome to us.
    People were a blessing to you because you are a blessing to us.
    …and that my friend is exactly how life is supposed to work!

  16. Angie W. says:

    Loved your book and have been walking around recommending it to all my reader friends and some that aren’t readers. Also thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me hope that the 45 min. Battles of standing on principles of eating 6 peas or say, 2 pieces of lettuce or one tiny spear of broccoli will some day bear fruit. Because I am weary. Weary I tell you.

  17. Your post reminded me of something I heard a preacher say about a year ago. When talking about Elisha, he said “Elisha was dripping with awesome sauce”!!! Love that!!!

  18. You still make me smile every morning. Keep up the good (God) work!

    Blessings!
    Lina

  19. loved your book sooooo much! Felt like I was reading about my own family!
    Your book was my “favorite thing friday” feature today! Wanted to share it with you …

    http://Www.frommylittlepinkcouch.blogspot.com

  20. Sophie..My Cousin Linda in Tulsa told me she had just read your book and I HAD to buy it and I HAD to get on your blog. I have done both. I don’t want to start reading your book until I have a totally quiet afternoon, with a glass of ice tea, and the fan aimed at me. I live near Phoenix and you know we have temps from hell for several months. I love your sense of humor. I am an Art Doll creator, and I have a lapel button that says “never apologize for your art”, and I would like to remind you to never apologize for your art of writing. XXOO

  21. I just finished the book this morning, and I’m still reflecting on all the memories and emotions it brought up for me. I laughed, cried in the very best way, remembered sweet times with my grandparents, and vowed to do a better job of making gathering around the table special. It’s not often a book does all that. Oh, and as a fellow bulldog, I loved the State chapter. You are a natural writer, for sure.

  22. Nancy D says:

    And THAT is why we love you….always concerned about others, never wanting to offend or hurt. Plus, as a bonus, you make us laugh. And I feel your foot & shoe pain. Well, not the physical pain, but the shoe-selecting kind. I have ugly, uneven, warped toes and my smaller than normal feet are always cold. So, I despise sandals and flip flops. I think they’re cute on somebody else, just not me. But, alas, there’s not much else to wear in summertime in the south. Love you, your shoe choices, your chip choices and your writing. Keep doing it.

  23. I just finished reading your book-it was so much fun to read! I loved it! I was sad when it came to an end.. I was born and raised in Cali, and it was a little bit of a learning experience to read some customs and traditions you folks from the South have. I wasn’t familiar with what some things were (like the Western Sizzlin) but I Googled them to find out. :) I now want to visit Alabama. Thank you for writing your book and sharing your stories!

  24. Sophie, you know what’s really neat is that Ellie’s grandmother is a dear friend of ours and I just found out the connection maybe last month. Her grandmother, Ms. Bee is AMAZING!
    Your book is precious and you need to write another. I will have a book signing for you here at my house…please?
    XO

  25. Just wanted you to know I have read your book 3 times, and I laughed and cried and “remembered” each time. I really love it and I love that it reminds me of my family and reminds me of the importance of being at the table with loved ones. You are a great writer. Thank you for sharing with us!

  26. Thanks for bringing a little of home…and family…around the world to a south Louisiana girl living and working in North India. It was wonderful to remember, to laugh, to cry, and to praise God for His gift of grace through family.

  27. Oh girl, i still struggle with calling myself a writer. When my words went up on (in)courage the day after Angie Smith? I was so excited and wanted to pee my pants with fear at the same time. And then she tweeted me when I wrote this. SHE TWEETED ME. And I danced. Around my room. Because that’s super mature…

    http://onegirl-itjusttakesone.blogspot.com/2013/06/for-when-you-realize-you-might-actually.html

  28. The more I read you the more I adore you. For Realz.

  29. Yay! I am so glad you posted about your book because I finished it this week and am dying to comment on it….Don’t even know where to start….I totally relate to the book–the food, the family, the south, and on and on. I also found it to be both funny and sweet. I enjoyed the humor but also had tears in my eyes several times. As I was nearing the end, I did not want the book to end, and I knew there would be a sadness as I finished it. I am plotting how many more to purchase as I gave my copy to my MIL in the hospital and I have several other folks who will be blessed by this wonderful book. I would love for my book club to read this and would love for my circle to study it. I loved the scripture and hymns that were sprinkled in. So thank you for blessing me (and anyone who reads it) with your wonderful book!

  30. You’ve earned the kind words, and you’re not only a writer, you’re an author! Hugs.

  31. 60 pages into your book I text my 2 precious aunties and most defiantly told them to order your book immediately! One aunt (Colorado) went out and bought it the next day, the (Texas) one is ordering. We will have long distance discussions and tell family tales when finished. I especially loved the “portions” at the Western Sizzlin’ that is so our Granny!! I was laughing so much I had to read excepts to my husband because he kept looking at me like I was crazy! So, I say all of that to say, I do believe when your writing has that much of an impact…your an official writer :)
    Enjoy and Blessings!

  32. Shoe issues…….I have very small feet…….size 2 in kids……4 in adults if you can find them…..hard to find “grown-up” looking shoes…….I’m not complaining – I have feet :)
    Love your blog

  33. Sohpie-Thank you so much for the link to this beautiful song. I am going to add it to my Holy Yoga playlist. Perfect for resting pose!

  34. Alex has good taste in wanting roasted broccoli – I love all roasted veggies! You are so funny – I love how you always timidly call yourself, begrudgingly, a writer – and then run for cover. You ARE a writer and a darn good one! We want a second book. Preferably called “The Perils of Martha – A Southern Belle’s Guide to the Perfect 3/4 length jacket” ;)
    Oh and tell D we are coming to B’ham this weekend, but I won’t hold him to the Costco entrance, lol!!
    Hope you love your shoes – do let us know how they work for you!
    Missy