Playing Catch-Up

– Okay. If you haven’t read the comments on yesterday’s post, GO. They are HILARIOUS. I clapped and hooted when I read them, and quite frankly I don’t know how we’ll ever pick a winner.

– Yesterday I was so busy shutting down the bridge to fun that I forgot to tell you about the most wonderful thing that happened this past Sunday. I have listened to and loved Daniel Renstrom‘s music for several years, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered that he was leading worship at our church this past Sunday. OH, THE HAPPINESS. It was such a treat to hear him sing in person, and sweet mercy at the thoughtfulness and intention with which he leads. So, so good.

– Jennifer’s posts always make me think about how I can be a better, more intentional mama, and this post – which focuses on helping kids decide who they want to be – is no exception.

– Also: this post of Angie’s? Yes ma’am.

– I found the recipe for these Chubby Hubby Bars on Pinterest, and they may be my undoing. Because chocolate? And pretzels? And sea salt? And caramel? IN THE SAME RECIPE? Why, I believe I will.

Etc. And So On And So Forth Amen (Round Two)

Okay – let’s see if this post behaves now. It was in a state of utter rebellion when I tried to publish it earlier today.

– Brant Hansen’s post about a recent visit to Hollister is hilarious. Here it is. I think you’ll enjoy it.

– College football is only nine seven (I stand corrected) :-) days away. I can barely contain my joy.

– Recently I have noticed that I am unable to watch an entire episode of Project Runway without falling asleep. And it’s not because I’m bored. On the contrary, I’m generally pretty fascinated by the proceedings and engaged when I watch. Even still, it never fails: at some point between the runway show and the elimination, I doze off.

The other day it dawned on me that the culprit may very well be the trance-like music that plays in the background when the contestants are standing on the runway for critique. I know that it probably sounds crazy, but y’all, I think that Project Runway may very well be featuring some narcolepsy-inducing music. Has anyone else struggled with this TV-watching inconvenience? Or do I just need to buy me a sweatshirt that says “Mamaw Likes Her Naps” and be done with it?

– Speaking of TV, I have a post up over at Ree’s blog about my favorite TV couples. And Melanie wrote a post about the five books she can read over and over again. We’re having big fun writing about all of our pop culture favorites. It sort of feels like a bloggy summer camp.

– A couple of days ago I bought the new Selah CD, Hope of a Broken World. Sweet mercy it is some musical goodness. And if you’d like a little sneak preview, may I suggest watching this video? Maybe starting it around the 3:40 mark if you don’t have a full 8 minutes to spare?

See? I rest my case.

– Pat Summitt. My goodness. She absolutely personifies grace in the face of adversity. That’s all I know to say.

– This morning I decided that every girl over the age of, say, 17 needs a sequin tank top. I bought one on a lark earlier this year, not because I wanted to walk around in a tank top (MY WORD, NO – I am far too paranoid about my arms) but because I thought it would make a fun layering piece underneath some form of Maude-esque cardigan. I have enjoyed it so much, and even though it seemed like such an uncharacteristic way to spend $20 at the time, I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone as far as All Things Shiny are concerned. There are tons of cute sequin tops online; I love this one, this one – not to mention this one. And all of these.

(I haven’t done any official research, that has to be the girliest paragraph of this, my 41st year.)

(I’m almost certain of it.)

– A couple of weeks ago LoraLynn and I made a spontaneous trip to the movies and saw a late-night showing of The Help. I thought it was wonderful. And also: the Southern accents were fantastic. Have y’all seen it? Did you enjoy it?

What Women Fear

It was back in 2008, I think, when I first read Angie Smith’s blog. I’m pretty sure that I found it because one of y’all sent me a link to it, and as soon as I finished reading one of her posts, I had to take a little break and grab a box of Kleenex and compose myself. I remember being blown away by the beauty of Angie’s words, by the tenderness of her heart – and more than anything else, by the depth of her faith. It may sound crazy, but I liked her immediately. Even though, you know, WE WERE TOTAL STRANGERS.

As it turned out, though, we weren’t strangers for long. I can’t remember all the whys and the hows, but over time Angie and I became email buddies. Eventually it worked out for us to meet for coffee in Nashville one morning when I was visiting my sister, and SWEET MERCY we talked non-stop for three hours. Angie is one of those unique people who is fully present in a conversation – not looking at her phone or looking around the room or thinking about what she wants to say – and within the first four minutes of our visit that morning I was Officially Oversharing. What’s so great about Angie, though, is that she overshared right back. And thus a real-life friendship was born.

A couple of years ago Angie wrote her first book, I Will Carry You. I loved the book for a whole host of reasons, and I always think of it as being the book that so captivated my mama that she not only read it non-stop during a visit to our house, she also packed it in her suitcase and took it home. Mama has good taste. I Will Carry You is so beautifully written, and I knew as soon as I read it that it would be the first of many books by Angie. She’s such a gifted writer, and that’s why I’m as tickled as I can be about reading her next book, What Women Fear.

The new book doesn’t come out until September 1, but when I found out about what’s going on online today with Barnes and Noble and What Women Fear, I wanted to pass along the news. Barnes and Noble has really supported Angie both for I Will Carry You as well as What Women Fear, and they are doing an exciting one day pre-sale today, Monday, August 22 (online only – the offer isn’t good in stores).

If you pre-order a copy today at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/WhatWomenFear, you will get 50% off, so the book is only $7.49. In addition, if you order the book today at Barnes and Noble online, email your order confirmation to whatwomenfear@gmail.com to be entered in a giveaway for two prize packs that each contain 10 books from B&H Women and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.

Just FYI: there’s no sort of affiliate link in this post. I’m just telling you about the pre-sale because I thought you might like to know.

And don’t forget: if you buy a copy of the book online today, email whatwomenfear@gmail.com to be entered in a giveaway (two prize packs) for 10 books from B&H Women and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.

Have a great Monday, everybody!

Some News And Notes And Etc. And So On

So you know that at least once a week I have to write a post that’s nothing more than a random assortment of bits and pieces of information that I’ve been carrying around in my brain.

WELCOME TO THAT MOMENT.

I will number my thoughts in an attempt to appear organized even though I’m actually a total train wreck.

1) The season premiere of Bachelor Pad was last night, and it was three hours long.

I don’t have any analysis of the show or anything like that, but for some reason the combination of America’s financial crisis and the knowledge that a major network allowed Bachelor Pad to be THREE HOURS LONG makes me more certain than ever that we are a nation in peril.

I’m only sort of kidding. Because THREE HOURS, MY WORD.

2) My friend Cindy Beall has written a book called Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and Restoration. If you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you in your marriage – or if you have a friend who’s going through a tough time in her marriage – this book is a fantastic resource. It’s also an encouraging story of healing and redemption. Yay, Cindy!

3) The MouseMail $100 Visa gift card giveaway is up and running for one more week.

4) I think this post by Ashleigh is so beautiful.

5) I don’t do a very good job of mentioning when I blog at other places because, as I’ve said before, I think the internet has to be pretty sick and tired of me at this point. So just consider what I’m about to type as my annual hey-sometimes-I-blog-at-other-places update. First there’s AllAccess, where Melanie and I have both blogged for the last few years. And last week I started writing a some TV-related article-type things for the new entertainment section of Ree’s blog. I’m going to try to do something over there once a week-ish. Except when I only do something every couple of weeks-ish.

So there you have it.

6) Only one more day until The Help! Not that I’m counting or anything.

7) Are any of y’all watching Design Star this season? I think it’s so much better than it’s been the last couple of seasons. And I also think that Kellie’s my favorite. Or maybe Carl. Or maybe Leslie.

Or maybe I just have a lot of favorites.

Linky Dinks

– On the way to the beach we stopped at a peach stand to, you know, buy peaches. While we were there I saw an adorable tote bag in a sale bin and thought it would make a great gift for my aunt. I looked up the website on the bag’s tag once we got here, and oh my word – so many great-looking accessories. Plus, I’m fairly certain that the Bag Lady blue paisley pattern is too much cuteness for the world to contain.

– The MouseMail $100 Visa gift card giveaway is still going strong.

– Several years ago my friend Rhoda told me about a great Italian place on the outskirts of Birmingham. I made a mental note to try it – and then never did. Since it’s a little off the beaten path (for us, at least), it always seemed too far out of the way when we were thinking about where to grab lunch or dinner.

But last week my husband had a meeting near the restaurant that Rhoda mentioned, so he and a co-worker gave it a try. He came home raving about it, so our little family of three went to Joe’s Italian for lunch this past Saturday. OH MY WORD. It was EXCELLENT. And the strawberry cake may have changed my life.

So if you live in or around Birmingham, GO. Especially if you’re like me and think it’s too much of a drive. GO. IT IS A BLESSING.

– Out of the blue last week I remembered a door knocker that we had at our last house. I LOVED IT. Then I wondered why I haven’t gotten one for our current house. And then I decided that I needed to remedy that situation immediately.

I think it’s lovely and warm and welcoming. Makes me smile.

– Last week on the Twitter I noticed that Ree mentioned a website I’d never read before. So I clicked over, and OH MY. I should’ve grabbed a box of tissues before I started reading. The website is called Dear Photograph, and it will warm your heart and make you want to hug the people you love. So good.

I Brake For Breaks

A couple of weeks ago we bought four new tires for my car. Since my car is almost eight years old and has over 100,000 miles on it, it’s not a big surprise that Old Faithful is requiring a little more TLC these days. Fortunately we have a great mechanic (he doesn’t make me the least bit nervous or anxious or wary when he talks to me about car stuff – THAT IS A WONDER), and it’s nice knowing that he looks out for us and doesn’t recommend anything unnecessary when it comes to taking care of our cars.

Anyway, when I got my tires he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You really, REALLY need new rear brakes. I’m not saying that you have to stop driving your car or anything like that, but you need to get back in here before it’s time for your next service – definitely within the next month or two.”

And since he’s always really laid-back and low-key, his sense of urgency about my brakes got my attention. And then all I could do was picture the scene from Charlie’s Angels where Kelly was driving some big ole Ford and her brakes went out on a steep hill and she wound up in the back of an 18-wheeler.

(Listen. I just Googled “Charlie’s Angels Kelly’s brakes fail” on a lark. I couldn’t imagine that I’d actually find the clip, but I figured it was worth a try. And what do you know? THERE IT WAS ON THE YOUTUBE. Granted, it appears to have been dubbed in a foreign language, but the visual is what’s important. Quite frankly I don’t know when I’ve loved the internet more.)

(Also, I adore that Kelly is wearing hose with her wedge heels.)

(SASSY.)

All that to say: getting new brakes is at the top of my to-do list today since I’d prefer to be able to stop at the bottom of Birmingham’s big ole hills without relying on a parked 18-wheeler to halt my forward progress. So while I’m sitting at the car place, thumbing through some two year-old issues of Field & Stream and considering all the reasons why vinyl couches in waiting rooms are NOT AT ALL COMFORTABLE during the summer months, y’all will hopefully be enjoying these links. It’s an, um, ecelectic list, so consider yourself warned.

My Happy Confession of Having No Merit – I ran across this post when I was watching an interview that John Piper did with our pastor, and oh my. It brought tears to my eyes. What a good word.

In The Footsteps of Dan Mullen: ESPN Car Wash – I love any sort of behind-the-scenes article, and this one is the perfect prelude to football season. I mean, they have something called a fanwich in the ESPN cafeteria? That makes me so happy.

Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake: The History of Rap, Part 2 – This little treasure isn’t for the young’uns, but it’s mighty entertaining for mamas and daddies who grew up in the 80s and 90s.

– The MouseMail $100 Visa gift card giveaway and the bodycology rich&creamy giveaway are still up and running.

– I’d forgotten how much we love these delicious summer sandwiches until I made them for supper Monday night. I leave out the horseradish, add a little mayonnaise to the cream cheese, then add bacon and sliced avocado to the egg and tomato on my sandwich. Makes a great breakfast, too. So fresh and tasty.

Have a great day, everybody!