The Book That Has Stolen My Heart (And A Giveaway)

I don’t know when exactly I started reading Nester’s blog. I want to say that it was five or six years ago, and when I got to meet her in person at a conference a couple of years after that, I remember thinking, Well. She is just as warm and funny and endearing as I thought she would be.

I love it when that happens.

Myquillyn (that is her real name, though personally I default to “Nester” just about every single time) has such a knack for creating spaces that breathe, for decorating rooms in ways that don’t feel stuffy or overwrought or unusable. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve gone to her blog in search of inspiration, and a few years ago, when Sister was decorating her newly re-built first floor (it was wiped out in the 2010 Nashville flood), we talked about Nester and her ideas like she was an old friend who would’ve totally gone to all the Nashville-area Home Goods with us if only she hadn’t lived a couple of states away. What I remember more than anything is that Nester’s laid-back, easy, no-fuss approach to decorating made Sister feel less overwhelmed about getting her house back in order, and that, as my mama would say, was such a blessing. No joke.


This past Friday I spent most of the day trying to finish some writing that I started over a month ago, and by the time I got home late Friday afternoon, I was ready to put on my pajamas and crawl under some covers and watch TV. But then I noticed a cardboard box on the kitchen counter, and when I opened it, I found this little gem.


I told myself that I’d look at it sometime Saturday – but curiosity got the better of me, and I started to read. An hour later I was still sitting at the kitchen table (I hadn’t even changed into my pajamas yet), and I had to force myself to put down the book. Early Saturday morning I picked it up again, and except for about five minutes when I set it down so that I could hang a print in my foyer (the book inspired me to not put it off for one more second), I kept on reading until I finished.

And here’s the thing (I said this on FB yesterday, so forgive me if you’ve read that already and I’m repeating myself). I typically don’t read a lot of home decor books, mainly because I get intimidated and overwhelmed and my perfectionistic side just can’t take it. But Nester’s book is inspiring and honest and gorgeous and real. I actually felt a little sad when the book was over – but then I looked up at my own house and saw all sorts of totally imperfect possibilities. That made me smile.

So. Just because I love this book to pieces and want to share it, I’m giving away three copies of The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Beautiful. Nobody asked me to do this; I just want to do it because Myquillin has created something that’s unique and oh-so-special – and I really do think it’s going to be so meaningful to the people who read it. Since the book releases next Tuesday, I’m going to make this giveaway a pretty quick one so that you still have time to order for release day if you don’t win. If you’d like to enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your absolute favorite thing about the place where you live.

I’ll use to draw for winners Wednesday night and notify them ASAP via email.

Y’all are going to love this book!

A Quick Bookmark / Bookplate Update

Hi there, bloggy people.

Y’all have pretty much blown my mind with your response to the bookmarks and bookplates. It has been so fun to read through your info on the order form and learn a little bit more about you and your families and your friends. I have gotten the biggest kick out of every single bit of it. And now that I’ve had some time to do a little counting, I’ve realized that we’re getting right up to our bookplate limit. David and I talked about ordering more, but we’re afraid we won’t have a new batch in time to send them out for Mother’s Day. So. Therefore. It looks like this round of bookplates is coming to a close, but I cannot thank y’all enough for your incredible response.


A few of y’all mentioned that you might like to have Mama’s words-o-wisdom on a printable, and Sister has graciously agreed to help us out on that front. As soon as it’s ready I’ll just post it here as a free download (I’m pretty sure that our interweb wifi technology will allow me to do that).

(It’s all so very fancy.)

I am so grateful for each one of you. Have a wonderful Easter!

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A Mother’s Day Happy & A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet

I think I’ve probably mentioned that I was scared out of my mind when my book came out this past June. I didn’t know what to expect because, um, NEWBIE, so I sort of braced myself for mean reviews and disappointed readers and PLENTY-O-DOOM-AND-GLOOM.

Needless to say, I was sort of WOUND UP on release day.

And then something happened that really shouldn’t have surprised me at all.

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People were so incredibly kind and warm and wonderful.

That doesn’t mean that everybody loved the book. I knew going into this thing that a book of Southern family stories wasn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Even still, nothing can change the fact that the last ten-ish months of book stuff have been so much fun. Over and over again I’ve been so touched by your sweet emails and stories. You will never, ever know how your kind words have blessed not just me but my whole family. Mama, Chox, and Martha have enjoyed your reactions more than I have, if that’s possible, and that has been such a gift for all of us.


A couple of weekends ago Sister and I were talking, and I mentioned that I’d been trying to think of a way to do something special for the folks who might decide to give their mother or grandmother or aunt or godmother or homeroom mother (I am trying so hard not to leave anyone out; this is one of the more annoying parts of my personality) a copy of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet for Mother’s Day. Back in November I got the biggest kick out of signing and shipping books for Christmas, but since I don’t have a stockpile of books at my house right now, I can’t make that same thing happen for Mother’s Day.

But then Sister had a delightful idea.

I would like to share it with you at this juncture.


First of all, there’s a custom bookplate. I can personalize it and sign it, and since it’s a sticker, you can put it inside a book that you’re giving as a gift. If you are in fact giving a copy as a gift. Which you might not be. And that is totally fine because NO PRESSURE.

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Second of all, there’s a bookmark. It’s printed on coated card stock, so it’s heavier than regular paper and won’t bend nearly as much. I love it so much because it has some of Mama’s most memorable words-o-wisdom on it, and that seems very fitting considering, well, MOTHER’S DAY.

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Sister designed both of these, by the way. At first I was going to ask the folks at Tyndale to create something, but then I remembered that wait! Sister is very gifted with the lettering and the painting! And it just seemed right for her to do the design work, too, especially since she’s heard Mama say all those bookmark sayings over the course of her whole life – just like I have.

Anyway, here is what those two things will cost you should you decide that you’d like to add them to your Mother’s Day gift.



If you’re planning to give someone a copy of A Little Salty… and you’d like to add a personalized bookplate and a bookmark to your gift – or even if you’d just like these little mementos for yourself – all you have to do is fill out the form below. It’ll take you approximately 91 seconds – maybe 97 if typing is not your area of giftedness. On that form you can tell me where to send the bookmark and/or bookplate, and you can also specify how you’d like me to sign the bookplate.

Once you’ve finished filling out the form, just click “submit” – and next week I’m gonna sit down with the list, sign each person’s bookplate, grab a bookmark, put them in an envelope, and send them your way. And yes, I’m all too aware that a bookplate and a bookmark aren’t exactly extravagant gifts, but hopefully they’ll make the book a little more special if you’re planning to share it with a special mama in your life. They’re also a very small way for me to say “thank you” for all of your encouragement and support.

Edited to add: if you need more than one set, that is totally fine. I’ll put them all in the same envelope…just specify on the form what inscriptions you need (To Jane / To Mary / To Sue, etc.).

And if you need a book – well, you can find one at Walmart, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Thank y’all so much for everything you’ve done – and everything you do – to make the book stuff so fun (not to mention that you make this blog such a happy little haven for me and for the people who read here). I am forever grateful.


Not Here. Over There.

Well, I am still doing my level best to cough up a major organ (SWEET MERCY, POLLEN – I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU), and I just started round two of antibiotics, a fact that grieves me to no end because I like to think that I can cure just about anything with some orange juice, some hot tea, and a dab or nine of Mentholatum). Unfortunately, my unusually small ear canals, my throat, and my lungs have not seen fit to get on board with my personal wellness strategy.

However comma I did want to let y’all know that I have a new post over at Ree’s today. I wrote about my favorite music for springtime, and I’m talking about five new-ish albums that I am loving right now. It would be oh-so-fun to hear about what y’all are listening to, too, so if you’re feeling comment-y, feel free to join the conversation.

Hope y’all are having a great Tuesday!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 34

I just listened to this episode before I uploaded it, and doing that made me realize that Melanie and I had a guest co-host this week that we failed to mention: THE POLLEN. Oh my goodness. I cough, Alex coughs, I sniff, Alex coughs, I take sip after sip of Crystal Light to try to soothe my throat, and then Alex coughs some more. So basically the whole podcast is like waiting with a child in the sick room of a peditrician’s office. I’m just as sorry as I can be about that, but the pine pollen is just about more than we can stand right now. At least I didn’t resort to using Flonase or a Neti pot at any point in the proceedings.

As usual, we talk about many unrelated things: Melanie’s new career as a mom DJ / choreographer, my weekend in Oklahoma, my quest for a new spring purse, Mel’s fancy dinner this past Saturday night, my exciting MSU baseball-related achievement, the season premiere of Mad Men, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember. And by all means, if you’d like to shop with us as we look at purses during the podcast, click on over to the Noonday bags page. It might be a nice visual reference.

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here (I just realized that we could do this when I uploaded the last podcast, and I think it’s a convenient listening option).

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

Hope y’all enjoy it!

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I am in Oklahoma this weekend for the Baptist General Convention’s Women’s Conference. Last night when I was trying to go to sleep I got very tickled thinking about what the 22 year-old version of me would say about the fact that I’m staying on a campground (there are lodges! I’m not sleeping outside!) for the weekend and hanging out with some of Oklahoma’s finest Baptist women.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that it’s not necessarily something that was on my 22 year-old radar.

I’m thrilled to be here, though, and it is an absolutely beautiful setting. Yay for Oklahoma sunsets and the fried pies that may mark the end of my Lenten resolve. I haven’t tried one yet because I’m quite honestly I’m afraid of the depth of my reaction. I think there would be a lot of feelings.


A couple of weeks ago I did a little video call with my pastor, my pastor’s (sweet, funny, beautiful) wife, Heather, and Ann Voskamp. The fact that I was even in the conversation was sort of hilarious to me, but oh my goodness – I SOAKED UP the wisdom from David, Heather, and Ann that afternoon. We were talking about the topic of the next Secret Church – The Cross and Everyday Life – and it was so encouraging to hear everybody’s perspectives and challenges and stories in terms of trying to walk out the Gospel in the day-to-day. We talked about family, marriage, sports, spiritual disciplines – a whole host of stuff.

I even have this little picture collage as a souvenir, and it delights me for several reasons.


1) I look just like my mama in these pictures.
2) MY HAIR?!?!?! Did I wake up that day and just swoop it all to the side?
3) Clearly I had no idea where to look when we were talking.

Anyway, you can read some of what Ann had to say right here in part 1, and then there’s my part of the conversation in part 2. Obviously I don’t have quite the, um, depth of Ann, but I hope it’ll make you smile. That’s about the best I can do, my friends.

I know that some of y’all have attended Secret Church in the past, and some of y’all are probably already signed up for the next Secret Church on April 18th. There’s probably also a few of y’all who may have wondered what it’s all about but been reluctant to sign up. I totally get that – because I was, too. But just know this: even though it’s six hours of fast-paced, intense Bible study, it flies by (seriously), it prompts great discussions, and it’s a chance to just go another step deeper in your relationship with God and your understanding of Scripture. There are really affordable simulcast options if you’d like to watch at home, and there are a whole bunch of churches serving as simulcast sites, too.

You can find all the info you need on the Secret Church website.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!