A Decade Of Rambling And Also Fancy (Numbered!) Lists

We just got home from spending a few days at Universal Studios in Orlando, and I think it was one of my favorite family trips ever. For one thing we love riding rides and rollercoasters and basically participating in all the theme park activities, but I especially loved being outside for a few days. Granted, I was walking around in replicas of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade instead of, you know, nature, but my goodness it was nice to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air and see a little bit more of the sky than I normally do. We had so much fun, and if you ever get a chance to take a Universal trip with your people, I highly recommend it.



In addition to all the adventures in the park, we also experienced the rollercoaster that was the Mississippi State / Arkansas game this past Saturday night. I MEAN MY GOODNESS. We actually had to stop watching for a little bit during the 3rd quarter because State started to fall apart and my nerves couldn’t take it, and after about 10 minutes of no game, everybody fell asleep except for me. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on, though, so I grabbed my iPad and headphones and jumped back on the crazy train.

Well. When we blocked that field goal at the end of the game, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t yell because of the sleeping people, but the adrenaline rush was something else. So I ended up sending a lot of ALL CAPS texts. WITH MANY EMOJIS.

And then I watched the game all over again via the WatchESPN app because TECHNOLOGY IS A MARVEL.

This week we have the Egg Bowl, of course, and I plan to dedicate several hours to research and YouTube videos on Thanksgiving afternoon. Before I can do that, though, I have to get ready for the actual Thanksgiving meal, and that is why I went to the grocery store right after we got home today. I feel very strongly about getting Thanksgiving groceries squared away before amateur hour cranks up Wednesday afternoon (amateur hour is when people who don’t do a lot of grocery shopping get sent to the store to pick up a few last-minute items, only they don’t know where to find what they need since they rarely grocery shop, and this is why grocery carts really should come with a horn or at the very least a whistle).

Thankfully I was able to shop without any major incident, and after being out of town and then pretty much not cooking the week before we left, I think it’s safe to say that I needed a few things.


We’ll have family here on Thursday and then another round on Saturday, so it’ll be big fun to get in the kitchen and cook and bake and whathaveyou. I have already decided that I’m not thinking about my book deadline again until Sunday, so I’m gonna enjoy our company and the holiday.

Last thing.

In about nine minutes it’ll be Wednesday, November 25th, which just so happens to be the blog’s 10th birthday. I cannot believe that it was ten years ago when I sat down and wrote my very first post, but it was. Alex was two. I had been married for eight years. We lived in a different house. And I had never even thought about writing a book since pipe dreams weren’t really my thing.

Life’s a kick, y’all.

So on this Thanksgiving, know that I am so grateful for you and the fact that you take the time to read here. Even though I’ve been more sporadic with posting the last year or so – deadlines and this particular stage of our family’s life have made it more difficult to find the time – I am still just as carried away with this particular medium as I can be. I used to tell people that I loved blogging because it gave me a place to put all my crazy, and that’s true. But the biggest reason I still love blogging is because y’all have created the kindest, most supportive environment in this little corner of the internet. Melanie and I say all the time that we have the very best readers, and ten years into this thing, I’m more convinced of it than ever.

So thanks for that. Thanks for being so awesome over the last ten years.

And Lord willing, here’s to ten more.

(Provided that blogs don’t become obsolete in the next ten years, of course.)

(But if they do, I’ll meet y’all on whatever the big new social media platform happens to be.)

(Fingers crossed that the new social media platform doesn’t require me to embed some sort of memory chip in my head.)

(I feel like this is a reasonable request.)

Love y’all!

Chronicles Of The Delightfully Mundane



It’s been a lively couple of weeks around here.

I’ll just jump right in and play catch-up.

Last Tuesday night Alex’s team played their final game of the season (it was an AMAZING game, I have to say, and so fun to watch), and then Wednesday was the CMAs – which means that I saw the Justin Timberlake / Chris Stapleton duet for the first time and felt morally obligated to watch it at least 38 more times within the next 24 hours. SWEET MERCY it resonated with me on a lot of levels. I posted my initial thoughts about it on Instagram, and I’ll be doggone if I haven’t continued to give it a whole lot of thought. It laid me out – and it’s for sure the best performance I’ve seen this year. Have mercy.

They were magical together. And I’ve watched the 2:00-3:00 segment of that second video so many times that I’m surprised YouTube hasn’t sent me a complaint letter.

Thursday night I spoke to a homeschooling group at my church, and since several dear friends are part of that group, it only made sense for us to go to supper beforehand. Friday turned out to be about five days rolled into one, but I had big plans to write when I got home Friday afternoon. However, after I dropped off the young’un for a camping trip and ate some supper with David, I started listening to our high school’s football game via the internet and pretty much stayed that course until it was over (we won, by the way). Saturday I did manage to outline my next chapter, but it took me just about all day because FOOTBALL, OH WHAT A DAY FOR FOOTBALL. The Arkansas / Ole Miss game alone was SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN, and I really think it took me a couple of hours to wind down after it was over.

Also, I should probably apologize that this post is super boring, but I figure I might as well document what’s been going on for our little family if nothing else. I realize that those of you who were reading are probably asleep by now, so I’ll do my best to stay quiet as I wrap this thing up.

Anyway, Alex got home early Sunday afternoon, and he barely had time to unpack and change clothes before we headed to his football party. We had a great time hanging out with his teammates and their families, and afterwards we stopped at Bojangles to pick up some supper. (I mean, at this point, why not include the most minute details? Why not mention that Alex ordered a CheddarBo? Why not include the fact that it took forever to get our food, and when David finally went inside to check on our order – they’d asked us to pull up and wait after we went through the drive-thru – the girl at the register shook her head, sighed, and said, “THEY DIDN’T DROP YOUR FRIES,” which has now become our favorite expression?)

So, by the time we finally got home, I didn’t do a lick of writing.

How could I possibly write anything after so much excitement at the Bojangles?

This week has been more of the same. I met a friend late Monday afternoon, picked up supper on the way home, and did my level best to stay up until 8:30 that night. Last night we went to see our school’s other 6th grade football team in their semi-final play-off game, and I was sort of blown away by the level of competition. The game went into overtime, and our boys won after they tackled a receiver about a foot away from the goal line after a 4th down pass. Today we didn’t have school because of Veterans’ Day, so I joined the rest of Birmingham in running errands and fighting traffic but really having the best afternoon with my boy. Plus, I finally returned some stuff that’s been riding around in the trunk of my car for the last month, and it was the best feeling to cross those things off my list.

Tomorrow we go back to work / school, and then Friday I head to Columbus, MS to speak at First Baptist Church. Here’s the info if you’re nearby and so inclined.


And since Columbus is only 20 minutes away from Starkville – well, you can probably guess where I’ll be on Saturday.

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A few months ago I told myself that I was going to stay far away from this game. I told myself that this particular Saturday would be a perfect time to write all day long, to make some serious progress on a chapter, to ignore anything related to the SEC or the Mississippi State Bulldogs and be proactive and productive.

But oh, I do long for redemption. Remember last year’s State / Alabama game? It was a bit of a low point. So this year Sister and I are going to meet at Davis-Wade instead of Bryant-Denny, and Lord willing I will not require any sort of orthopedic boot during the festivities. This is a big game for the Bulldogs, and when it comes to the Bulldogs and big games, well, MOTH TO FLAME.

And at some point, Lord willing, I’ll get some book writing done. If any of y’all happen to have an idea about how I can make the calendar stop for a few days, I would welcome your suggestions.

Happy Veteran’s Day, everybody!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 55


Y’all, I don’t even know.

This is a whole conversation about Melanie going to look at a tunic and then deciding to focus on foundational garments – all of which leads, quite frankly, to a LOT of talk about underwear.

We also have some thoughts about football and skincare. And then we talked a lot about my eyelashes because what could possibly be more riveting than that.

Also, I think that Melanie may have a career as a Revitalash consultant, so we may need to break down that particular topic at a later point in time.

Hope y’all enjoy it!

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here on the blog.

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

Just FYI – here’s where you can get more info on the products / places we mention (these aren’t affiliate links – just regular ole links):

We the Free Marigold tunic

“Les Miles Explains What Happened on Halloween” (there’s a little profanity) (just FYI)

Foundational Garment #1

Natori Shangri-La Jersey Tunic Pajamas (As a person who sleeps in t-shirts and pajama bottoms from TJMaxx, I recognize the extravagance of these pajamas. I’m just sayin’.)

Foundational Garment #2

Foundational Garment #3

Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner

Revitalash Advanced Serum (this is a smaller size than what we mentioned)

How I Know I’m Here

I’m at Mama and Daddy’s house for a couple of days, and since I left Birmingham pretty early this morning, I am just as tickled as I can be that it’s almost time for bed. In fact, I was just thinking about how delightful it would be if I were sound asleep by 9, but I’m going to stay awake a little longer and maybe work on some writing.

And when I say “writing,” what I really mean is “watch House Hunters.”

I know I need to be productive, but words and sentences and chapters feel like a big commitment right now.


After supper tonight I was putting a few things in the dishwasher when something that will forever and always remind me of Mama and Daddy’s house caught my eye for about the fourth time today.


An open, well-loved cookbook – with notes.

In case you can’t see it, this note says that Mama made Italian Cream Cake five times in square pans for Family Night Supper. AS YOU DO.

But really, isn’t it funny how just one little thing can immediately let us know that we are in the presence of our people?

Here’s another one.


I don’t think we even have a phonebook at our house in Birmingham, but at Mama and Daddy’s the phonebook is always visible and almost always folded back. Even the sound of someone turning phone book pages reminds me of my parents’ house.

So does a decorated laundry room.


You know what my laundry room looks like?

It looks like the place where organizational embarrassment went to die.

Clearly I have betrayed my strong laundry room heritage.

And then there’s the sight of stuff taped inside the kitchen cabinets.


If I have ever taped anything inside my own kitchen cabinets, I don’t remember it. But Mama? She loves a kitchen cabinet reminder. And she likes to make sure that reminder stays there by GOING TO TOWN with the Scotch tape.

Not even Scotch tape can top Mama’s love for this next thing, though.


Stunt pillows. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you spend the night with anyone in my family, you’re gonna work to turn back a bed. You may even break a sweat (not with the bed in this picture, necessarily, but I would consider it an introductory level stunt pillow situation). Maybe it’s a family thing, or maybe it’s a Southern thing, or maybe it’s just a crazy thing, but we believe in pillow shams, we believe in throw pillows, we believe in neck rolls, and heaven knows we believe in pillow formations.

Exclamation point. And amen.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

On A Very Happy Note

So when I’m knee-deep in a writing project I listen to music all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I’m one of those weird people who can’t write in silence, so that means I need music and more music and lo, even more music. HOWEVER. I am very particular about what music qualifies as “writing music,” because there’s a fine line between energetic and manic. There’s also a fine line between soothing and sleep-inducing. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tricky balance, but I know it when I hear it.

When I wrote A Little Salty… I was in an All John Mayer, All The Time phase, so I will forever associate that book with his Queen of California album. For some reason I also listened to Buddy Jewell’s “Sweet Southern Comfort” OVER AND OVER AND OVER when I was writing, and I mixed in a little Mumford and Avett Bros. for good measure. I had a harder time finding my ideal writing music when I wrote Home is Where My People Are, but I finally settled on a mixture of Crowder’s Neon Steeple, John Mayer’s Paradise Valley (“Dear Marie” LAYS ME OUT), Chris Rice’s Peace Like A River (which is about 8-ish years old but stayed on infinite repeat last spring and summer), the waaaaay back A Grateful People album by Watermark, anything The Oh Hellos have ever recorded, and a whole lot of James Taylor.

With this new book I’ve run a couple of different musical courses. Back in the summer I was listening to super upbeat stuff when I wrote: NEEDTOBREATHE’s Live from The Woods, some classic Justin Timberlake, maybe even a little Ben Folds Five thrown in when there was an energy ebb. But as I’ve gotten further along in the book, I’ve gravitated much more to praise and worship / hymns / anything where someone sings about all their deep thoughts.

Listen. The last couple of months have been really good for music related to deep thoughts.

So. In the interest of spreading a little musical love, here are my current favorites. I happen to think that the musical landscape is pretty phenomenal right now – maybe the best it’s been in my lifetime – and I am very grateful that there are so many options for listening while I write.

1) One Wild Life: Soul by Gungor

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I didn’t think I would like this album. I was so very wrong. The lyrics make me cry actual tears, and the melodies are haunting in the best possible way. My favorite song is probably “Land of the Living,” but “Light” could take over the #1 spot at any second.

2) Dear Wormwood by The Oh Hellos

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They are genius people. The end.

3) What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber

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I can’t explain why I like it. But I have listened to it over and over and over. AND HAVE YOU SEEN THIS ACOUSTIC VERSION?

The Biebs makes me smile.

4) Psalms, Vol. 2 by Shane & Shane

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For the last six weeks or so I’ve been a little in love with the Psalms. It started with Psalm 77, and my obsession / affection seems to grow every day. Given that, it’s really no surprise that I think this collection of Psalms set to music is one of the most beautiful albums of the year. And as a bonus, you’re memorizing scripture as you sing along.

5) The Burning Edge of Dawn – Andrew Peterson

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Melanie mentioned this album on her blog last week, and I agree with everything she said. This music is poetic, tender, and lovely. Andrew Peterson is a master at showing, not telling, and that makes for some fine, deep lyrics. So beautiful.

6) This Glorious Grace – Austin Stone Worship

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This is a worship album that’s truly worshipful – and there’s a tone of infectious joy that runs through each song (the fact that the songs were recorded live adds a little extra measure of happy, I think). There’s a consistency in the sound and the production that makes me super happy, because everything sounds unified and like it belongs together. A mixture of original songs and traditional hymns, this album is going to stay in my personal rotation for a while.

7) Continuum (Special Edition) – John Mayer

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I can’t write a book without him, y’all.

Hope you had a great weekend – and happy listening, everybody!

Footloose & Fancy Free Only Not Really

Well, football practice got canceled this past Thursday night, and it was like our whole world opened up.

Don’t get me wrong. Everybody in this family enjoys football season and football games and football practice and all the other football-related things. But last week was week 10, I think, of the football grind, so an unexpected practice cancellation?

IT FELT LIKE A GIFT. Y’all know that I prefer to be in my pajamas by about 4:30 in the afternoon, and Thursday I got to do just that. I’m almost certain angels sang. There haven’t been a lot of free weeknights so far this school year, so all three of us jumped at the chance to put on pajamas and heat up some leftovers and relax.

And I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been working on the new book A LOT over the last couple of weeks, so when there’s a rare patch of down time, I have a little bit of trouble flipping the writing switch to “off.” I write almost every night until 10:00 or 10:30 (I KNOW – it’s so obnoxious), not because I just happen to love to write while Alex is at practice and then after he goes to bed, but because that’s really the only window-o-time that I can find during the week. SO, when our Thursday night was suddenly wide open last week, my first impulse was to open the computer and get to work on the next chapter.


Instead, I watched this thing called a television, and I enjoyed the fire out of it.

And then Friday night we went to a high school football game, and that was equally as delightful.

On Saturday, though, it was back to the book, and while I did the majority of my writing while listening to college football games through my headphones, I somehow managed to make some decent forward progress. I wrote a little more yesterday after church and Chuy’s, and I was back at it again tonight until I realized that I had no idea how to end a chapter.

So I guess you could say that this post is brought to you by writer’s block.

And as much as I hate to bore you with another list, I have to at least post a teeny list – because when I’m only blogging once or twice a week, I seem to accumulate a lot of links / videos / THINGS TO SHARE during the interim.

Here are a few things I have to mention or I won’t be able to sleep tonight.

(Clearly that was an exaggeration.)

(Because while I have a lot of issues right now – time management being one of the biggest – I am sleeping like a champion.)

(Thank you. Thank you so much.)

1) I posted this on the blog Facebook page earlier, but Y’ALL. THIS SONG. The arrangement is gorgeous and oh my goodness it makes me wish I could sing.

2) The Oh Hellos released a new album last Friday, and it is gorgeous. It is stunning. It is based on the works of CS Lewis (AS YOU DO), and it is crazy good. Here’s one of the songs if you don’t believe me.

3) Now I am probably the last person to know about this particular app, but have y’all heard of Wunderlist? OH MY WORD.

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I actually had to sign up for it because of my job, and I am typically super reluctant to incorporate a new app into my day-to-day. But I am crazy about this Wunderlist business. I already like it as much as I like Notability, and THAT IS A LOT. For example, I have a list called “Groceries,” and since I added David as a user to that particular list, he can add the stuff he wants me to get at the store to my ever-constant grocery list. ALSO, the website is just as great as the app, AND THEY SYNC, so if I enter a bunch of stuff in a list on the website, I can pick up my phone later, open the app, and IT IS ALL RIGHT THERE LIKE MAGIC.

I realize that the Reminders app does that, too. And I know that the Reminders app now has a Family feature. But Wunderlist is much more intuitive to me, and it also allows me to make notes within each list, so that’s a total win.

And if you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I LOVE to make a list with pen and paper. However, over the last couple of years of using a digital calendar, I’ve learned that it’s oh-so-helpful for my husband if he can get a glimpse of what I have going on schedule-wise. I see that same potential with Wunderlist; I think it’s going to help us help each other. I will keep you posted about that.

4) A few weeks ago I was a guest on an episode of the Deep South Details podcast, and Kendall, Dana, and I talked a LOT about football. Plus, right before we started recording I realized that Dana and I have about 300 people in common, so that made my relational heart ever-so-happy. As did talking a lot about Dak Prescott. Anyway, if you love all things Southern, you will get a huge kick out of Deep South Details (and Melanie recorded an episode, too!).

5) Y’all may remember how I love prints from The Old Try. Well, a few weeks ago my new favorite arrived in the mail.

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Scout Finch never disappoints. Never. Not one time.

Thanks for being so patient with me, y’all. Sending big hugs your way!