Just A Late July Update

I’m still not finished.

But I’m close.

I actually hit my word count goal last week; the new book is going to be a little longer than the first one, and I thought I would NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER meet my word count. But I did – and now the problem is that I can’t seem to WRAP ‘ER UP. There are two more chapters that I want to write after I finish the one I’m working on right now, and then that’ll be it.

I think.

Maybe.

Regardless, it’s been so nice to feel a little more focused.

I’m trying to think about what else has been going on, but I guess the answer is everything and nothing. I’m trying to prepare myself for the fact that school starts in less than three weeks (SUMMER, WHERE DID YOU GO?), and when I glance at my August calendar, I have to shield my eyes so that I don’t see all the stuff on all the days at one time.

I believe this is what you call “denial.”

But oh! That reminds me. It dawned on me earlier this week that I have fully transitioned to keeping my calendar on my computer. I’ve resisted it FOREVER, because here are two things I really like: 1) glossy paper and 2) writing with an extra fine-tip Sharpie on the aforementioned glossy paper. But I’ve discovered something in lo, this very tech-y year of our Lord 2014: a digital calendar is like an expression of eternal love and devotion to my husband. He is super organized and likes to plan ahead, so it delights him to be able to look at, say, the month of November and know what’s on the horizon.

I, on the other hand, like to fly by the seat of my pants on sort of a day-by-day, need-to-know basis. But that’s not practical for us right now. And I am much more consistent with putting travel dates and game dates and all that stuff in the computer than I ever was with writing them in my calendar and then – this is key - consistently leaving the calendar in the same place so D could check it.

So. We are sync’d and app’d and considerably less frustrated by scheduling surprises. It’s like we’re grown-ups or something.

A few other random things:

- About once a week somebody emails me and tells me that I need to try the YouNique fiber lash mascara. Well, a few weeks ago I spoke in Mississippi, and they gave me a beautiful gift basket with YouNique mascara inside. I haven’t used it because I’ve been intimidated, but today I watched an instructional video, and I think I’m going to try it tomorrow. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I wonder if this just may be the elusive mascara unicorn? I am FILLED WITH HOPE.

- Alex got back from camp last night, and as he’s told me stories today, I have been so tickled. All I can figure is that the Lord loves irony, because Alex’s very favorite parts of camp are all things that I have sworn I will never do. He went rappelling and loved it, and his very favorite activity was a two-hour hike where they went through some caves or something. I really do adore his sense of adventure, and he has made me promise that I will go with him and D on a camping trip this fall. Needless to say, I have already asked D if a cabin can count as “camping.” I am praying that he will play fast and loose with the definition.

- Tomorrow (Thursday) is my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. SIXTY YEARS. I have been thinking about it all day today. I’m the youngest in our family – 14 and 10 years behind my siblings - so I was still in elementary school when Mama and Daddy celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. I really didn’t understand why that silver anniversary was such a big deal. Now, though, I totally get it. And I am so incredibly grateful for my parents’ example and their commitment to each other. This afternoon Mama laughed and said, “You know, there aren’t many people who can live with the same person for 60 years.” That is the truth, isn’t it?

- Consider this my public confession that I have been watching The Bachelorette this season. I can’t decide if Andi will pick Nick or Josh, but I’m leaning toward Nick. Mainly because she has mentioned their “mental connection” about 400 times.

- I have pulled a muscle in my lower back. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, though I suspect it may have been when I made a quick move to pick up Hazel when she would not stop barking at a heron in our back yard (there’s a little lake back there, and about twice a year, a heron shows up, hangs out for the better part of a morning, then leaves). Last night I couldn’t get comfortable, so I slathered Icy Hot on the affected area before I fired up the DVR and watched an episode of House Hunters while I contorted myself and tried to stretch out my back muscles.

I’m not gonna lie. It felt like a low point.

- This post by sweet Holly Mathis made me smile like crazy.

- I mentioned this on Twitter earlier today, but when Alex got home last night and Hazel looked up and saw him, it totally reminded me of this. Sweetest thing ever. They are such good buddies.

- Last thing. This November Melanie and I are doing an event together at First Baptist in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They have an early registration price that’s in effect until July 31st, and I just wanted to mention it in case any of y’all are in the Charlotte area and think you might be able to join us. We really think it’s going to be a great time to dig deep in the book of Leviticus.

Oh, I am totally kidding. We’re planning to laugh like crazy and hopefully learn a few things, too; here’s all the information. We would love to see you there!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 37

Well, I know that I’m in the middle of a big ole bloggy break, but Melanie and I have been wanting to record a podcast, and the day before our friend Annie’s new book comes out seemed like a fine and wonderful time (Annie book releases July 15th; Mel and I are super excited for her).

Here’s the cover of Annie’s book. I love it a lot.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 5.11.50 PM

Annie and I have a delightful chat about 10 minutes into the podcast. Melanie was supposed to be part of that, but unfortunately we (and by “we,” I mean “I”) could not figure out how to record the three of us at once now that I’m using different software than I did back in the days of FryDaddy.

SO – Mel and I talked a little, then Annie and I talked, then Mel and I talked a bunch more. We extensively examined the beach house vs. lake house debate, our favorite summertime foods, the perils of trying to have grown-up conversations when kids are listening, and, of course, our dogs.

Also, please excuse the awkward sound effect transition that I used at the beginning and the end of the part with Annie. Just know that I did the best I could with an impromptu back-up plan and very limited technical skills.

If I can ever finish this book, I may need to consider signing up to take some sort of online podcasting seminar. I feel like that would be good for all of us.

Bless.

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.

Hope y’all enjoy!

Miss Mississippi 2014 Viewing Party

Before we get started, here’s my standard viewing party call to order:

We’ll share our thoughts / observations / reactions in the comments. This is all in good fun, so let’s please be mindful that somebody’s mama or cousin or great-aunt Ethel could stop by and read what we say (every single year that we’ve done this – and this is the 5th – at least one contestant’s relative has emailed after the pageant to say how much fun they had following y’all’s comments). In other words: let’s do our level best not to say anything hurtful. These girls are young and singing / dancing / performing their hearts out. And I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that we dare not criticize during the swimsuit competition. If any one of them showed up at a pool or beach where I happened to be spending the day, I would cover myself with a blanket and run screaming for the indoors. These girls are darlin’.

As far as watching the pageant goes, there are a few options. If you’re in Mississippi, you can watch on WLBT. If you’re like me and in another state, you can watch on the Miss Mississippi pro app, or you can watch the WLBT live feed on your computer or iPad. Here’s the link to the WLBT live feed.

At the end of the pageant, I’ll draw from all the comments for 2 special pageant prizes. One commenter will win seasons 1 and 2 of Designing Women on DVD (just because a little Suzanne Sugarbaker makes any day a good day). The second winner will get a copy of Mississippi author Julia Reed’s Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties.

So. With all that being said, let’s enjoy the show. I’ll update this post throughout the pageant (you’ll have to refresh the page a lot), and we’ll visit in the comments. It’ll be big fun. See y’all at 8 central!

*****

All righty – quick roll call – who’s here (in addition to Molly)? The live feed is working on my end, and I am so excited!

*****

STOP IT. A POEM ABOUT MISSISSIPPI? I am on the floor dead. So happy.

*****

This might be the best opening number ever. The denim shirts and turquoise jewelry are a nice touch.

*****

I have heard great things about Caroline Conerly from a friend of mine. And I am always happy to see Shelby Corn.

*****

This is the first year when I have watched the pageant and felt like they’re young enough to be my daughters.

*****

Anybody know how many years Jasmine Murray has been in the pageant?

*****

Top 10:

Miss Riverland
Miss Turtle Creek
Miss Dixie
Miss University
Miss Rankin County
Miss North Central Mississippi
Miss Mississippi State University (#HailState) (#GoDogs)
(don’t know title)
Miss Historic South

I’m having trouble with the feed…can anyone fill in the blanks?

I’m moving to the comments! :-)

*****

That was so fun, y’all!

I used random.org to select comment numbers for prizes.

Molly – you won the Designing Women DVDs
Karoletha – you won the Julia Reed book
I’ll email y’all to get shipping info.

Can’t wait for Miss America!

Keeping The Tradition Alive

Well, I’m still not finished with the book (getting close, though), but the Miss Mississippi pageant is this Saturday night. And quite frankly I don’t see how I can possibly call myself a native Mississippian if I don’t take a wee little break from writing and continue our tradition of having a viewing party here on the blog.

This will actually be our 5th annual viewing party – even if we’ve only gotten to see the pageant four times because year before last the live feed didn’t work. Still, though – we showed up even if technology did not, and it seems only right and fitting to show up again this Saturday night.

So. The pageants comes on Saturday night (July 12th) at 8:00pm central. You can watch the pageant on the Miss Mississippi website or on the pro version of the fancy new Miss Mississippi app (links for the app are on the home page of the website).

I’ll put up a post Saturday night about 7:50 central – and we’ll use that post to comment as we watch (provided that the live stream cooperates). This will all be in good-natured, friendly fun, and we’ll be ever-mindful not to say anything mean or hurtful. Mainly we just like to have a safe and happy place to talk about the pretty dresses and share our gratitude for contestants who tap dance or clog.

I am praying that the Lord will show favor on us and allow a baton twirler to make Top 10.

(This is from Miss America, not Miss Mississippi. But I could still watch it 900 times because it’s the pageant equivalent of a pep rally for me.)

The viewing party should be a delightful way to spend a Saturday night. Hope some of y’all can join us for the festivities!

I Break For Books – Or, Well, For Book

So last night I spoke at a church in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and I wish I had videotaped the whole thing. I mean, not the part of me speaking because NO, I WOULD NEVER, but I wish I had taken some videos of the women talking to each other (“HEYYYYYYYY! And don’t you just look DARLIN’?”), not to mention the sound of all those Southern women visiting over dinner. I know that some people might think it’s corny, but that sound is like a symphony to me. I also wish I had some pictures of what everybody was wearing because Mississippi women like to BREAK OUT THE COLOR in the summertime. You have never seen such an array of cute pants and cute tops in your life. Martha would have flat-out coveted at least 17 different 3/4 sleeve jackets, and she might have even brokered deals to buy a couple of them right there in the fellowship hall.

And yes, I know that I’m incredibly sentimental about growing up in Mississippi, but everything about last night reminded me why I love my home state with all my heart. There was chicken salad, there were impatiens wrapped in burlap, there was bread pudding in miniature Mason jars, there were 158 door prizes (give or take), and more than anything else, there were the sweetest women, including one named George Ellen, which is now my new favorite Southern name BY A MILE.

Also, I came home with the prettiest gift basket which contained, among other treasures, two giant jars of Mentholatum. I was so tickled when I saw them because it is hard to find those jumbo jars these days, and considering my deep and abiding affection for Mentholatum, it really was the most thoughtful surprise. Mississippi pays attention, y’all.

I say all of that because I haven’t even been in Mississippi for 24 hours (I’m back at my parents’ house right now), and I’ve already thought of four or five things I’d love to blog about. But I’ve also thought about how we’re home from vacation and have a few weeks ahead with no camps or big obligations (except for July 9th – I’m speaking in Hernando, Mississippi, and I’ll post details on my Facebook page sometime next week), and I have a book that I need to finish. Technically I am in the home stretch, so mentally I need to hunker down and focus. I actually got my first look at the cover last week, and I thought, Oh, it would be so delightful to know that I was finished writing the words that are supposed to go inside.

Only I’m not finished. But I need to be. You can appreciate my dilemma.

So. I’m gonna take a blogging break until I finish the new book (it’s called Home is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong). I need to give these last few chapters my full and undivided attention, and I can’t do that when I’m writing blog posts in my head about why does California hate air conditioning and when did people stop having an appropriate amount of self-awareness and sunroofs are sort of lost on me and Hazel went to boarding training school while we were on vacation and she was so excited when we picked her up Wednesday afternoon that I almost cried.

That dog. She’s something else.

So I’ll see y’all at some point in the next few weeks. Thanks for being patient and understanding and etc. And if you find a really good mascara or granola recipe, please email me and let me know because nobody needs to keep that kind of vital information to herself.

Love,
Me

Nerdy Thoughts That May Be Of Limited Interest

So one thing people might not necessarily assume about me – especially in light of my preoccupations with fried chicken and SEC sports and Bravo – is that I really like trying to figure out what makes people tick. I’m not exactly sure when I realized this about myself, but I feel like it’s directly tied to taking one too many quizzes in Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager. It may also be because I apparently have a sticker on my forehead that says “TELL ME YOUR PROBLEMS,” but don’t think for one minute that I’m complaining. Sometimes I even think about going back to school and getting my degree in counseling, but when I try to imagine adding classes to an already full schedule, I pretty much just picture me looking like this all the time.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-8574-1339605907-10 (source)

So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve crossed “go back to school” off my long-term to-do list.

Anyway, lately (NERD ALERT) I’ve been thinking a lot about what motivates people. I’m sure I had some class in college where we talked about primary motivators and whatnot, and my guess is I memorized whatever I needed to for a test and then said, “GET THEE GONE” to that particular subset of information. But the older I get, the more I’m aware that I am absolutely motivated by two main factors when I’m making decisions or prioritizing commitments or analyzing a situation that’s driving me crazy. For me those two things are contentment / peace and loyalty. They’re what I value most in my marriage, in our home, in my work / writing, and in my relationships.

And for a variety of reasons, I’ve been thinking about all of this for the better part of three days.

Yesterday our flight back to Birmingham was delayed by a couple of hours, and while we were sitting at beautiful gate 31 (it wasn’t really beautiful) (I don’t even know why I used that adjective), I explained my train of thought to D and asked what motivates him most in the day-to-day. His are fairness, consistency, and stability. I wasn’t surprised even a little bit because 1) we have been married for A LOT OF YEARS, so I know how he thinks, and 2) if there are three qualities that mark his life and his character – well, THESE.

So then I asked Alex. He said fairness, consistency, and adventure. And then he sang a song about toots, so clearly he was very interested in my question.

Obviously there are a bunch of different motivators, and I’ve been mostly focusing on the healthy ones instead of stuff like insecurity, jealousy, greed, etc. Some of the ones I’ve thought about are fun, adventure, tranquility, excellence, power, integrity, passion, well-being, freedom, achievement, ambition, service, legacy, and love. There are two or three in that bunch that might affect my decisions in a very specific set of circumstances, but by and large – in the big stuff and the little stuff – contentment / peace and loyalty are my go-tos. If I take action in a situation without those things in mind, I’m gonna feel some pangs of regret later on.

So I guess I have now shared way more information about my thought life than anyone ever really needed to know. I do apologize. And if you are a real-life counselor / psychologist / psychiatrist, I hope you aren’t horrified by my terminology. I don’t really know the fancy (much less professional) ways to explain myself.

However, if any of you other over-analyzers want to chime in with what most motivates you, I’d love to know, mainly because I’m endlessly curious about this type of thing.

And, well, I’m also a little bit nosy.