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.
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.
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.