Archives for November 2013

15 Favorite Things About Fall

In no particular order:

– bright orange leaves

– UGG slippers (or, in my case, UGG knock-off slippers)

– grilled cheese sandwiches (for some reason this is a fall food to me)

– sweater coats

– 2-pump Pumpkin Spice Latte’ (I know – it’s getting a little cliche’, but it’s delicious nonetheless)

– planning Thanksgiving

– football games where it’s actually cold enough to bundle up

– morning coffee

– really soft pajama bottoms

– rediscovering your favorite blanket (for me it’s a Woolrich throw I bought at Target about 11 years ago, and it gets better with age)

– jeans and boots

– hearing the leaves crunch while kids play outside

– Thorlo socks (in my opinion, they’re the best of the many sock options)

– really good sweet potatoes

– two words: yoga pants

What about y’all?

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 30

As is our usual tendency, Melanie and I recorded this podcast without anything even remotely resembling a plan. We talked about all sorts of stuff, though: Thanksgiving, Christmas, college football, TV, beauty products, and Melanie’s preoccupation with a youthful eyebrow.

I had no idea that a youthful eyebrow was even a thing. Suffice it to say that I got me an eyebrow education.

Also, I had my microphone too close to me, so occasionally there is some popping. I’m just as sorry as I can be. But if there weren’t at least one technical snafu per podcast, it wouldn’t be us. Or I guess it would be a professional version of us, and I think we all know that we don’t really operate that way.

You can click here to listen. Or here. Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Edited to add a few links that Mel and I mentioned:

Dave Barnes’ new Christmas CD

SoDelta candles (my friend Lea Margaret’s candle company – they are divine)

Thimblepress (loved her prints at Mistletoe Market)

Sugarboo Designs

– Priscilla Shirer’s new book, God Is Able

Little Black Sheep by Ashley Cleveland (Mel mentions this book)

Tres Mignonne (my new favorite style blog – and you’ll fall in love with Abby and Casey)

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless (have mercy – the brush on this mascara is a wonder)

Hope y’all enjoy it!

An Impromptu Book Signing Alternative

Well, I had just about the best time ever in Mississippi. It was like a big reunion, really; I saw friends from high school, from college, from my first couple of jobs after college, and from pretty much every phase of my life. I even saw my childhood piano teacher. And one of my dance teacher’s daughters. And my geometry teacher. And my 10th grade English teacher. And you get the idea.

My friend Lea Margaret was so gracious and generous to ask me to sit in her Mistletoe Market booth and sign books, and what I realized after just a couple of hours is that I would have sat there for two days with no books at all. Just hearing the Mississippi accents and listening to people make connections between families and watching grandmamas tend to grand babies while the mamas shopped – every bit of it warmed my heart and fed my soul. Combine that with the fact that I also got to hang out and LAUGH MY FOOL HEAD OFF with some of my best friends from college, and it’s easy to understand why I came home feeling like I have a lot of things to write about.

Everybody has a muse, I reckon. Seems like Mississippi is mine.

I spent most of yesterday hanging out with my fellas and getting all caught up on the last three days, and even though I miss my friends in the magnolia state, it is so good to be home. I don’t have a single travel-related anything on my calendar until the end of January – no speaking, no book signings, no nothing – and I am excited about settling down a little bit and really concentrating on the next book (it’s called Home Is Where My People Are, by the way). The stories are starting to get sort of noisy in my head (I realize that probably makes no sense), so I’m ready to type ’em out and get ‘er done.

Now.

This may be the worst idea I’ve ever had, but yesterday when I was driving home, I was trying to figure out to do with the extra copies of A Little Salty in my backseat. Since I’m not going anywhere book-related for the rest of the year, I was planning to just make a nice little stack-o-books in my dining room, but then it dawned on me that a few of y’all have asked about how to buy signed books for gifts. In the past my response has been, Well, I don’t really know – but yesterday it occurred to me that I have a few extra books + I have PayPal = I can mail out signed copies. Some of y’all have emailed me about doing book signings in places that aren’t the Deep South, and since I just can’t do that right now, this might be an option a few of you will use.

So. This morning I sat down and figured out how to set up a shopping cart on PayPal. I’m pretty sure that steam came out of my ears at one point, but I set it up and it seems to work and I am feeling a little bit like I just solved an algebra problem. I don’t have a whole lot of books, so I’m only going to leave the little order form up for a few days so that I know I can fill whatever orders come in. And there may not be any orders that come in, and that is totally fine. I’ll just make that stack on my dining room table that I mentioned earlier.

The little order form / shopping cart thingie is at the bottom of this post. If you want the book inscribed to a particular person, just list that in the box that says “Inscription.” If you order more than 1 book, just separate the inscriptions with a comma (ex: Donna, Ashley). If you just want the book signed without a specific name, just leave the inscription box blank. And there’s a place on the order form (when you check out) where you can leave me a note if you need to explain anything or if you run out of space in the inscription box.

Shipping is included in the book price (that’s why one book is $20 – to cover waterproof mailers and postage), and I’ll try my best to get books mailed out by the end of next week. I’ll leave ordering open through Friday. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can use a debit or credit card by clicking “check out.”

All righty. That was a lot of details. I do apologize. And of course I am not trying to pressure you to order. I’m just trying to be proactive about the inevitable stack of books on my dining room table.

Let me know if you have questions. And Happy Veterans Day, everybody. I’m so grateful for my daddy and all the men and women who have served this country so courageously and faithfully (that includes you, too, military spouses).

Hope y’all had a great weekend!


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An Exciting Time Of Emotional Growth

Last night Alex and I were watching a show called “Blue Planet” on Animal Planet, and I was trying to brace myself because the narrator had made it clear that we’d be journeying to the bottom of the sea and I knew that THE CREEPY TEXTURES, THEY WERE COMING. For a while it was all crystal blue water and the occasional fish, but then (OF COURSE) the pressurized sea craft wandered into some lake-like area where there were all manner of creatures with repetitive circular features. There were even (I kid you not) blood red tube worms that were clustered in the shape of a chimney, and I’m pretty sure that it was the closest I’ve ever come to actually dying. I tried to shrug it off and be all, “Oh, it’s no big deal” since I would prefer not to pass on that particular ish-ah to the next generation, but I don’t see any way that God can get glory through a blood red tube worm. Don’t even get me started about the dead whale and the hagfish. I just cannot.

The good news, however, was that I sat through the entire TV show without having to jump up and leave the room. I’d call that progress. I also learned that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, so maybe that little tidbit-o-knowledge will come in handy should I ever find myself in an impromptu “Jeopardy!” tournament. AS YOU DO.

(Just a little while ago we were watching a bunch of sardines move upstream, and the sight of all their little mouths wide open – the THOUSANDS of them – sent cold shivers down my spine.)

(I may need some counseling.)

Anyway. I actually have a question (well, three) to ask y’all. I’m working on a little something – mainly trying to flesh out an idea. So, if you don’t mind and aren’t too busy and I’m not interrupting you at a critical point in a Netflix marathon, would you answer these three questions in the comments, por favor? Answer anonymously if you want – or just make up a name.

1. On a scale of 0-5 (0 being not at all and 5 being LIKE CRAZY), how much do you struggle with comparison in your life?
2. Do you ever feel competitive as a result of the comparing?
3. In what areas are you most likely to compare yourself to other people?

Kind of serious, I know. But it’ll help me a bunch if even 20 people answer.

Thanks in advance for your help, y’all. Remember, if you’re at Mistletoe Market in Jackson, MS tomorrow afternoon or Friday, come see me at the SoDelta Candle booth. I imagine that we will have lots of time to visit.

Hope y’all have a great Thursday!

Fall Back? Believe I Will.

Well, I don’t know if it was the weather or the time change or the fact that we didn’t have much on the calendar, but we had the best weekend. Friday night we went to a high school football game (even better: our team won), and Saturday I went to the grocery store and then worked on the new book for a few hours while the fellas enjoyed a little father/son time. I made a big batch of Ree’s beef stew with mushrooms, and Saturday night our friends the Hamptons came over with a big pot of chili and the most delicious corn muffins I have ever eaten (better than Jim-n-Nick’s, Birmingham people, and you know that is saying something). Sunday morning I woke up at 5:45 but didn’t even mind it; I’m just so happy that it’s cool outside and the trees have turned and IT’S TIME TO WEAR SWEATERS AGAIN, AMEN.

I’m heading out of town in a couple of days to do a little speaking and a little book signing, and I feel like I have a million things to do before I’m ready to leave. So, just in case I don’t get to post much this week (I know that there are some people who plan their posts and write them in advance and schedule them a month ahead of time, but I can’t even pretend to be that organized), I want to go ahead and share a few links before I commit all my energy to a hidden object game in a fit of procrastination and forget all about the internet goodness.

– Over the weekend someone on Twitter (I think) linked to one of the most beautiful testimonies I’ve ever read. I’m a little proud of myself that I read it in spite of the FoxNews connection (my parents always have FoxNews cranked up to stun on the TV, so between the volume and the bang! wham! zoom! graphics, it’s a channel that I tend to associate with sensory overload). However, Kirsten Powers’ story is so compelling that I might be willing to give FoxNews another try. Maybe. If I keep the volume turned way down low. :-)

– Yesterday our pastor preached on suffering, and while I know that’s not typically a topic that makes people think, “Oooooh! I can’t wait to listen to that!” – it really is so worth your time, especially if you’re dealing with some specific hurts or challenges right now (or if you love someone who’s going through a difficult time). Just scroll down to the bottom of this page, and the audio link should be there sometime today (I’m posting this Monday morning, and the file isn’t there yet, so I’m trusting that it’ll be posted pretty soon).

Edited to add: here’s the direct audio link.

– One of David’s co-worker’s sent him this video Friday morning, and I haven’t listened to much else for the last three days. You can download the song on iTunes – it’s a mighty good use of $1.29. Sometimes the simplest lyrics are the best.

– Last night one of our next-door neighbors sent over some pumpkin praline cake that was out of this world, and after I talked for fifteen minutes about how delicious it was, I started searching for other pumpkin recipes because, well, ‘TIS THE SEASON. Based on the last post (and oh my word – your comments cracked me up), I think it’s pretty obvious that I won’t be cutting into any real pumpkins, but I am all for a recipe where canned pumpkin is an option. Anyway, I found a great list of 23 Pumpkin Recipes on SouthernLiving.com. I think that the pumpkin crisp might be next on my cooking to-do list.

Happy Monday, y’all!