Because It’s Good To Share

Here are a few things that I’m enjoying this week.

- Chris Tomlin’s latest CD – Love Ran Red – came out this past Tuesday, and I cannot stop listening to it.

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It’s absolutely beautiful – so worshipful – and on some level it reminds me of the first time I heard his Arriving album and thought, My goodness – this Chris Tomlin fella is talented.

- One of the sponsors at Allume was Mary & Martha. They actually provided breakfast for us last Friday morning, and I remember thinking that the containers they used for oatmeal and fruit were especially cute. Well, earlier tonight I was looking around their website, and I discovered that in addition to all of their tableware stuff, they have great-looking paper goods that are so perfect for taking meals and treats and whatnots to neighbors and friends. I cannot figure out how to link to anything on their website (because I need to pick a consultant, apparently), but I can show you what I saw in the catalog. And then you can go find it if you are so inclined, because DARLIN’ PLUS.

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- This post of Melanie’s made me laugh so hard.

- Annie wrote a guest post over at She Reads Truth today, and it is great food for thought. I know that I’ve linked to She Reads Truth before, and just in case I wasn’t perfectly clear before, let me say this now: I LOVE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I love their intention, I love their perspective, I love their graphics, I love THE WHOLE THING.

- So y’all know that one of my ongoing goals in life is to look as much like Maude as possible. I’m a fan of wide-legged pants, long cardigans, flow-y t-shirts, etc. and so on and so forth. Well, when I went to Louisiana back in the spring, my friend Tracey wore this super-soft cardigan that looked to be made of clouds. And possibly angel wings. And I was all, “WHERE, WHERE DO I FIND SUCH A THING?”

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As it turns out: Nordstrom.

I bought one earlier this summer when they were on sale, and then I hung it in my closet and wondered if it would become a deeply meaningful part of my life once the weather cooled off.

The short answer is Yes. Yes, it has.

It can work as a robe or a sweater or a cover-up or whatever you need it to be. It is the softest item of clothing I have ever owned and I plan to spend many more falls and winters enjoying all the warmth and comfort it offers.

So, given all of that, I just wanted to pass along the info. They’re not on sale right now, so I’d probably wait it out a bit since I am stubborn, but it comes in regular sizes and plus sizes and it might just change your whole life.

I mean, what’s not to love about wearing a cloud?

Hope y’all are having a great week!

Home Is My Favorite

Well, I have spent a good portion of this afternoon / tonight trying to figure out how to navigate my very own computer. I upgraded to Yosemite (I think the previous OS was Mavericks, maybe?), and everything looks different and my Safari browser is totally rearranged and all my text messages keep popping up on my computer screen. I keep wondering if CTRL+ALT+DELETE will fix all my problems, but then I remember that Macs don’t have that feature and end up asking David to please come help me.

Don’t worry, though. In two days I’ll be the Official Biggest Fan of Yosemite and I’ll be raving about how “clean” everything looks.

This is my technology pattern. Initial resistance, then full-fledged approval.

Anyway.

I got home from South Carolina late yesterday morning, and after my fellas picked me up from the airport, we immediately went to Chuy’s. It was glorious. I was away from home longer than I normally am, and I was so happy to see my people. I was also happy to see Hazel, and she seemed to reciprocate my enthusiasm considering that she tee-tee’d all over the driveway when she saw me.

Thankfully I cannot say the same.

At least not on this particular occasion.

The trip to South Carolina was awesome, by the way. I had the best time and got such a kick out of getting to see / visit / hug people that I love from afar every single day. I also got to spend some time with the people I work with on book stuff, and that was a rare and delightful treat. Friday night I was as nervous as I’ve ever been about speaking (my talk was Saturday afternoon), but by mid-Saturday morning I felt so much better. And then after it was all over, I got to watch the State & Kentucky play football. I had a hard time finding an optimal viewing situation for the game (big TVs in the hotel lobby were muted, and the TV in my room seemed dim to the point that I found myself squinting). I finally relied on Twitter and my ESPN app for all game-related info, and I was a JUMPY MESS by the time that game was over. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win, and I’LL TAKE IT. ALL DAY LONG.

Annie, Emily, and I spent some time trying to find a place to watch the LSU / Ole Miss game when the State game was finally over, and do you know what amounts to a daunting task in Greenville, South Carolina on a Saturday night during football season? Finding a restaurant that is willing to play an out-of-state team’s game on one of its TVs. South Carolina and Clemson were both playing Saturday night, and we quickly learned that no one in Greenville was interested in whatever was happening in Baton Rouge. Annie finally convinced one of the waiters in Sticky Fingers (I had no idea that the BBQ sauce I see in Publix came from a restaurant chain) to turn one of the TVs to the Tigers / Rebels, but we had to wait for some people at a nearby table to leave because they were watching the South Carolina game and therefore had dibs on the TV.

I mean, I totally get it. We were in South Carolina, and South Carolina people are going to want to watch South Carolina teams. I just think of the LSU / Ole Miss game as my favorite non-State game of the year – I ADORE IT – but apparently it isn’t as big a priority for the folks north of the Gulf states. Lesson learned.

Regardless, however, of my televised football woes, Allume was awesome. I came home feeling energized and inspired and all sorts of good things. And after I got home and put on pajamas and started a load of clothes and caught up on reading all of my football news, I finally watched the State game in its entirety (my people had very lovingly recorded the game on the DVR). I talked back to the TV just like I was watching it live (let’s not discuss how strange this was considering that I already knew what the final score would be), and after about the fifth time that I commented on a pass or a catch or a tackle, Alex laughed and said, “Mama, don’t yell at the TV. Ghosts of the past can’t hear you.”

I got tickled when he said it. But the more I think about it, the more I’ve decided that he laid out a pretty good truth. You know?

So that’s about all that’s going on here. Tonight was Alex’s last football practice, and tomorrow is the last game, so we are soaking up some 5th grade football memories around here. It’s been such a blast. Totally different than what we expected in so many ways – and such a blast.

All righty. I believe I have rambled sufficiently. I need to go to bed, and I was hoping to find a point, but maybe next time.

POINTS ARE GOOD.

I WILL BE LOOKING FOR ONE.

The end.

You’re Awfully Pretty, South Carolina

Last night I flew into Greenville, South Carolina. I am here for Allume, and the extroverted side of my personality is already in overdrive. This morning I got to have breakfast with a friend who lives in Oregon, and then later we met another friend for coffee, and then I was walking back to my room and ran into Annie, who is only two doors down from me. I am already on happy relational overload, which means that I will continue to talk my head off for the next several hours before my inner introvert insists on returning to my hotel room and watching two or nine episodes of The Good Wife while sitting in utter silence.

I will continue this pattern for the next three days.

I realized sometime yesterday afternoon that I’ve never been to South Carolina. I mean, maybe we drove through it at some point when I was a little girl, but I know that I’ve never stayed here, never visited any of the sights, never taken in any of the scenery as an adult. I’m not sure why, exactly, because good grief it’s pretty here. I got to walk through just a tiny part of downtown Greenville this morning, and have mercy at the charming. It’s so pretty that it almost feels like a movie set – like you’re walking down a street that someone designed to be Main Street, USA – but it is delightfully real. I’m hoping to see a little bit more of it this weekend.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot going on with us. I tried to lay low Tuesday and take my medicine and pack my suitcase and run through my talk (I’m speaking Saturday afternoon and surely would appreciate your prayers), and then yesterday was CUCKOO INSANE-O-RAMA. I’ve decided that it’s impossible to get out of town late in the afternoon without needing to run sixteen errands and subsequently peel out of at least nine parking lots. But I finally finished packing and made it to the airport and now I am here. As I may have mentioned earlier.

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So now it is after 10 and I am back in the room and it was such a good day. Lots of sweet people and good friends and fun conversation. I loved getting to hear the worship and teaching tonight, and I’m happy that my people seem to be having a delightful time at home. David sent me a picture of the spaghetti he cooked for him and Alex (Hazel does not get to eat Italian food), and I am mighty grateful for the way he doesn’t miss a step when I’m out of town. He even put pepperoni on their garlic toast, and I have never thought to do that even once in my life. So I guess what I’m saying is that my culinary skills may be a bit of a let-down when I finally get back home.

Anyway. I’m gonna get some sleep and wake up early tomorrow because Shauna Niequist is speaking and I am really looking forward to listening. It looks like tomorrow will be a full, busy day, but it is so fun to be in a place with so many other writer-y/blogger-y people.

The fact that I’m also making some progress on The Good Wife is just gravy, really.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

(Sorry that this is so boring.)

(I just felt compelled to check in since I haven’t been around since Monday.)

(And since I’ve never really felt obligated to make a point before, WHY START NOW?)

It Has Been A Monday

For some reason I woke up this morning with the misguided notion that today was going to be kind of a breezy day. I knew I had a meeting at 9, but other than that I felt like I was going to have all sorts of flexibility and maybe even some time to think about / edit my talk for Allume.

So now that it’s 9:15 at night and I have the benefit of some hindsight, let me just say that Monday, October 20th was a lot of things, but “breezy” was most definitely not one of them. I won’t bore you with the details, but there have been a lot of feelings. There has also been a quick trip to the doctor’s office (apparently I have a sinus infection) that was followed by an afternoon of heartfelt talks, a lost puppy (not ours), prescriptions for an antibiotic and a steroid (I LOATHE AN ANTIBIOTIC), and a story that I thought would encourage someone that actually made them cry.

Let me tell you. I’ve never felt better about my communication skills.

So. I am about to fix me a class of Crystal Light over crushed ice, crawl under the covers, and watch TV for upwards of fourteen minutes before I fall fast asleep.

But first, I feel like we all need to watch this. Because awesome.

The only thing that would’ve made it better is if those batons were on fire.

And guess what?

Tomorrow’s not Monday, y’all.

Hallelujah.

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 39

Well, I can pretty much sum up this episode in two words: SEC football.

Well, I can probably add three more words: Melanie’s football angst.

Oh, we talk about a few other things – dresses, booties (THE SHOES), corduroys, our new books – but mostly we talk about SEC football. And the SEC coaches’ wives show on SEC Network. And the most miniscule details contained within the coaches’ wives show because apparently I have been a little obsessed.

Also, Melanie’s t-shirt kept making microphone noise because it was rubbing aganist the chair where she was sitting, and I may have mentioned it once or four times. But mostly this one is a lot of football, a lot of laughing, and a little bit of comforting Melanie because OH, AGGIES. Her hopes were so high.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Enjoy, y’all!

38 Things I’ll Always Remember

1. Sister and I left the house about 6:45 Saturday morning, but we pulled over at a gas station right at 8 so we could see the opening for ESPN College Game Day from Starkville. We grinned like crazy and watched for about 90 seconds before we got back on the road.

2. We figured out how to stream Game Day from Sister’s phone to my car stereo and listened the rest of the way to Starkville. Sometimes technology is handy.

3. Sister looked at the sky approximately 14 times and said, “Nahhhh – I don’t think it’s gonna rain today.”

4. About six hours later I recalled Sister’s weather forecast and marveled at the sweet, sweet irony.

5. Everything was already so crowded when we got to State around 9:30 that we just barely got a parking space in our favorite parking lot.

6. However, once we were safe and sound in a parking space, we took several minutes to touch up and also spray our hair.

7. Say it with me one more time: sweet, sweet irony.

8. About 5 minutes into our trek to the stadium / bookstore / Junction, I realized that I’d made a grave miscalculation with my choice of shoes.

9. By the time we pushed our way through the humidity and walked in the bookstore, I was in dire need of two things: a different pair of shoes and about 3 bottles of ice-cold water.

10. I couldn’t do a thing about the shoes, but I drank my first bottle of water in record time.

11. Then I drank the 2nd bottle of water because HOT.

12. Then we walked over to The Junction to secure our spot for Dawg Walk.

13. Now this is only an estimation, of course, but it is my firm belief that there were roughly FOUR TRILLION PEOPLE in the general vicinity of The Junction.

14. However, there was also a Cheez-It tent near the place where we always stand for Dawg Walk, and I immediately decided it was a sign of good things to come.

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15. The sun was like a laser Saturday morning, and after about 10 minutes of trying to shield our faces from imminent skin damage, Sister remembered that she had an umbrella with her. We spent the next 90 minutes crouching under that umbrella and dodging the sun as best we could. Honestly, that umbrella may have been the only thing standing between us and a severe case of sun poisoning.

16. Dawg Walk, as it turned out, was a little crowded. via

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17. It was also loud.

18. But it was glorious.

19. After Dawg Walk we went back to Daph’s tailgate, where I promptly apologized for being low energy and sat down in a chair and stared off into space and maybe also ate some ribs.

20. Approximately 15 minutes after I sat down, I had a talk with myself. I said, “SISTER,” (I don’t normally call myself “sister,” but apparently I was trying to empower myself), “this is a BIG DAY. The biggest in MSU football history, in fact. So stand up and PEP UP, and FIND SOME ENERGY, MISSY.” (I don’t normally call myself “missy.”)

21. Then we walked over to the stadium.

22. I may have prayed for a breeze.

23. I don’t know if I mentioned this after the A&M game, but the new addition to Davis-Wade Stadium is FANTASTIC. It’s beautiful, it’s the new home of the student section, and it’s pretty much non-stop noise from warm-ups until well after the game.

24. I tried to seize some pre-game optimism from the students, but I honestly felt a little sick right up until kick-off (NERVES, MIND YOU). Needless to say, I was relieved and surprised when we scored 21 points in the 1st quarter. Totally surreal.

25. The rain started in the 2nd quarter, and when the bottom fell out (thankfully I was sitting under an overhang), I got a text from Melanie. Clearly I was in a place of deep dependence on the Lord when I answered her.

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26. Sister sat with some friends from our hometown during the first half, and when she walked up to our seats at the end of halftime so that she could borrow my rain jacket, she was soaked to the bone. However, our mama would have been tickled to note that Sister’s lipstick was still perfectly applied, and her eye make-up had never looked better.

27. Sister sat next to me during the 2nd half. Every time she rang her cowbell, a little rain flew out. It made me happy.

28. About mid-way through the 4th quarter, I started to entertain the notion that we just might win. In the way that is unique to Mississippi State fans, I thought of every possible worst-case scenario – a dramatic comeback by Auburn, a series of turnovers by us, a plague of locusts descending upon the stadium – but from a purely mathematical perspective, I felt the slightest bit hopeful.

29. And then we intercepted on our goal line.

My bottom lip got all quiver-y.

30. Because when you’ve cheered for a team your whole life – when you’ve watched them struggle way more than you’ve watched them succeed – you can get used to holding the short end of the stick. That’s not to say that we haven’t had some good years at State (heaven knows the last few have been all sorts of fun), but we’ve never had a team like this one. Not in my lifetime.

31. And as the clock was winding down, I tried to wrap my brain around what was happening on that field. Our beloved Bulldogs were more than likely going to be the #1 team in the nation. To people as practical as State fans, that sort of thing can feel like pie-in-the-sky (we tend to err on the side of cautiously optimistic). But it was for real.

32. Because that team on the field? They are for real.

33. Right before the alma mater and the fight song, I picked up my purse and my cowbell, and as I turned around, Sister said, “I’m gonna need to stay here for just a few more minutes. I just want to take it all in. I want to soak it all up. Is that okay?”

34. It most certainly was.

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35. About an hour later, we finally made it back to the car. We were exhausted from the sun and the crowds and the nerves and, in Sister’s case, the downpour. But we were just beside ourselves. Tickled to pieces.

36. On the way home Sister and I talked about how Mississippi State has always been a working class school. We’re farmers. Teachers. Veterinarians. Engineers. Architects. We like to grow things, and we like to build things. We’re not flashy, we’re not pretentious, and heaven knows there’s nothing fancy about us. We like to get our hands dirty, we like to work hard, and we like to look out for each other. We value loyalty more than just about anything.

37. This year’s football team – well, they personify everything I just mentioned. Granted, they’re also talented – but more than anything else, they work hard, and they fight for each other. They seem to value “we” more than “I,” and they are such a blast to watch. So no matter what happens from here on out, they have made us all so proud.

38. And they really are #1. Our Mississippi State Bulldogs. The #1 football team in the country. Now doesn’t that just beat all?

Hail State, y’all.