Some Sunday Sunshine

Well, I managed to just flat-out disappear last week, and it wasn’t anything I planned. But late Monday I flew to Houston, and Tuesday I spoke to the ladies at Crossroads Baptist Church in The Woodlands (they were just delightful, by the way), and then Wednesday I flew home and drove straight to work once I got here. Wednesday night I ended up cooking supper and washing clothes and finishing a book I started reading on the Houston flight, and Thursday I got my hair cut and highlighted after work (hallelujah) and then had to work on an article that I completely forgot about last week when it was due. Because I am a pillar of organization and follow-through.

Friday I had a super-busy day at work and then picked up salads for supper (this information is way too specific and boring, I realize, but I’ve committed to the boring at this point and feel like I have an obligation to stick with it), and then yesterday morning I ran errands before storms rolled in. I spent the rest of the day working on some writing stuff that I hope will eventually become the third book, and it was so good for my brain and my heart to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. In fact, when I finally opened my office door around 6 and walked to the kitchen to start cooking supper, I was so recharged by the whole process that I pretty much talked in capital letters for the next two hours.

THAT WAS SO FUN!

I REALLY ENJOYED THAT!

AREN’T THESE STEAK BITES DELICIOUS?!!?

Our former pastor preached this morning at church, which was SUCH A TREAT, and after our usual lunch at Chuy’s we ran in Target for a few things I totally forgot to get yesterday. David needed to get some car washing stuff (the aisle of car washing products is his happy place, much like the aisle of pens and pencils is mine), and while he was debating the merits of one product versus another, I spotted this little number on an end cap.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

Oh, y’all. It is a wonder. I put it on my desk, and it’s just perfect if you like some air circulating but don’t want to mess up your hair or worry that pieces of paper will fly all over the room.

I haven’t named it yet, but I’m tentatively thinking of going with MY PRECIOUS.

Anyway, I’m about to go clean out the refrigerator since I feel like I’m playing Jenga every time I open the door, but before I do that I wanted to mention a few things that I probably should have told you about last week.

1. Melanie is coming to town next weekend, and we have a couple of fun things in store. The first is that we’re signing books together at the Brookwood BooksAMillion on Saturday, May 2nd, at 6 pm. We are excited about getting to sign books, visit with some of y’all, and maybe even re-enact scenes from Coal Miner’s Daughter during the lulls. Since Melanie’s third book is brand new I am expecting that she will sign a LOT more books than I do, so please know that I am also happy to serve as a photographer in the event that you’d like to have your picture made with her. I will even select my favorite Instagram filter at no extra charge to you. It’s just a book signing service I like to provide.

2. Also, Mel is speaking Sunday afternoon at SavALife’s Mother’s Day Brunch.

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I got a little giddy when I saw that the brunch was sponsored by Ashley Mac’s, because if they wanted to bring some of their Baby Bleu Salad with them, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings even a little bit.

You can buy tickets right here.

3. There’s a conference called Look at the Book at our church on May 29-30, and I am so intrigued by the content and the format. John Piper is the teacher, and from what I understand he walks participants through passages of Scripture and shares his method of reading and analysis. A few minutes ago I watched a video that demonstrates the kind of teaching he’ll be doing, and it looks super interesting. Tickets are only $12, and the schedule still leaves some room in your weekend (6-9pm on Friday, 8am-1pm on Saturday).

All righty. I think that’s all.

If you need me, I’ll just be sitting here in front of my fan.

Happy Sunday, everybody!

Sometimes There’s Treasure Beneath The Velcro Rollers

Right off the bat I feel like I need to mention that I went to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2 at the movie theatre this afternoon.

I don’t even know what to say. I almost never go to the movie. But somehow in the last month I’ve found myself sitting in the SpongeBob Sponge Out of Water movie and now Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2, and while I guess it’s good that I’m going to the picture show again, I’m not sure why I’m letting myself get talked into seeing ALL THE WORST ONES.

There’s a 5th grader in this house who doesn’t have any complaints, though.

And shockingly, despite the fact that I never saw the first Paul Blart movie, I was in fact able to follow along with the sequel. I don’t think I missed any subtle nuances in the narrative or anything like that, mainly because Paul Blart just sort of ran into things and fell down a lot. There were some parts where I actually laughed out loud, but I won’t give anything away because SPOILERS. I would hate to think that I took away even a second’s enjoyment from the plot’s intricate twists and turns.

For the record, Alex Hudson laughed for a solid minute after the bird fight.

Clearly we are doing everything we can to instill in him a certain level of culture and sophistication.

But really, I can’t even think much about the movie right now because I have THE MOST EXCITING NEWS.

Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago I posted something on Instagram about the demise of my most favorite hair clip in the whole wide world. I was just about to make the drive from my hometown back to Birmingham when it quite literally fell apart, and I was so moved by the years we’d shared together that I felt the need to memorialize it.

I knew that a clippy of its caliber would be difficult if not impossible to find, and I tried to make my peace with the fact that most modern-day clippies are either much smaller or much larger. I made do with a very small clippy when I got home that night, and then the next day I picked up a possible clippy replacement in Publix.

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They were fine – at first. The clip part was actually a good size and seemed to hold my hair pretty well, but I realized after an hour or so that the clips were top-heavy and hurt after a while. They’d flop over and cause the prongs to poke my scalp a little bit, and while there are few things I enjoy in life as much as pulling my bangs off of my face at the end of a long day, I do not in fact wish to sustain a minor head injury in the process. I think this is reasonable.

So. For the last three or so weeks, the top-heavy clippies and I have been trying to get along. I come home in the afternoons and pull my hair off of my face – but inevitably I’m yanking the clippy out of my hair by suppertime. Because I don’t know if I mentioned it but PRONGS.

Well.

Tonight I’ve been packing for my trip to Houston (I fly out late tomorrow afternoon), and just about an hour ago I was digging through my bathroom drawers, trying to find a plastic something-or-other to hold just the tiniest bit of my foundation so I don’t have to pack the whole bottle. I looked through my two main make-up drawers, and I decided on a lark to go through the drawer where I keep velcro rollers. I hardly open that drawer at all because I haven’t used velcro rollers regularly in about seven years, but I still hold on to the rollers because you never know when you might be faced with a hair emergency that only velcro rollers can fix. I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE, OKAY?

I was just about to close the drawer when I spotted what I thought was a familiar looking logo towards the back, and as I pulled it out from under the rollers and realized what it was, I found myself fighting the temptation to, you know, SQUEAL.

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OLD SCHOOL CLIPPIES.

Seriously. All I could do was think of that verse from Psalms that says (and I’m paraphrasing), Many, O LORD, are the wonders you have done, were I to name them I could not count them all.

Not that I was being dramatic or anything like that. Oh, heavens no. But can I just remind you one more time about something?

OLD SCHOOL CLIPPIES!

I couldn’t wait to see if they were everything I remembered. I had already taken one of the newer clippies out of my hair because, well, PRONGS, so I tried one of the old school clippies and y’all, it was like coming home. It’s lightweight, the hinge is solid, and it holds my bangs in place just beautifully.

The best part? I still have two back-ups! Should this clippy be unable to fulfill its duties and responsibilities, there is a first AND a second alternate ready to take its place.

I’m considering locking the alternates in a vault or at the very least a fire safe. It just makes good sense to take care of your valuables, you know?

So that’s pretty much my Sunday afternoon in a nutshell: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and an unexpected supply of old school clippies. The movie was just okay, but the clippies get two thumbs up from me.

Five stars.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Turning That April 15th Frown Upside Down

I’ve had a running list in my head all day long. I am happy to share it with you at this juncture. Also, I am so sorry that said list did not appear in my head in the form of connected paragraphs.

– The other day Alex asked me if I knew the reciprocal of 1/2. Much to my surprise, I blurted out “2/1″ and then wondered what in the world had happened. Alex couldn’t believe I knew the answer. NEITHER COULD I. But I’ve thought a lot about it and am sort of curious to know if there are other random math tidbits lodged way down in the recesses of my brain. DOES THIS MEAN I STILL KNOW HOW TO FACTOR?

– Last night I went to my friend Pat’s book club. A group of women from my church started the book club back in 2006, and they are such dedicated, thoughtful readers. The English teacher in me could have listened to them talk about their favorite books all night long. Their April book was Home is Where My People Are, which was so very kind of them, and for our dinner they made the recipes that Tyndale sent out in the pre-order incentive. IT WAS THE MOST FUN. I didn’t get home until almost 10, and that is a big night out considering that I am person who is typically in pajamas by 5:30 in the afternoon.

Anyway, I say all of that to tell you that in the next few days you’ll be able to find book club discussion questions on the HIWMPA blog page. I hope they’ll be helpful!

– The new NEEDTOBREATHE live album is so good that it makes me teary-eyed. I am a huge fan of their studio albums, but there’s never been one (in my opinion) that came even remotely close to the thrill of seeing them live. This new album – Live from the Woods – beautifully captures what a unique experience it is to listen to them live. It’s FANTASTIC.

– Next week I’m speaking at BLOOM at Crossroads Baptist in The Woodlands, Texas. Here’s the info if you live somewhere nearby; I would love to see some of y’all there! I’m looking forward to a great night-o-laughter-and-fun.

Lifeway Postcard for Sophie Hudson

– This is a great post by Sarah Mae: “Choosing to Wake Up to My Own Life.” Such good perspective for when we’re feeling bogged down in the day-to-day.

– And if you’ve made it this far, here is your reward. Just because I love it (and y’all, too), I’m giving away five (5) copies of NEEDTOBREATHE’s new live album. So if you’d like to enter to win, leave a comment on this post. I’ll close comments sometime Friday afternoon and draw for winners then.

TAKE THAT, TAXES.

WE’LL SHOW YOU.

That Ticking Clock Still Sounds Exactly The Same

Well, last night I watched 60 Minutes, which for some reason made me feel like I was 14 years-old all over again. Couple that with the fact that I watched the Masters for most of the afternoon – something that my daddy and I did year after year after year when I was growing up – and part of me felt like I need to go to my room and try on some new Esprit outfits while I listened to Billy Joel and Phil Collins cassette tapes on my boombox.

I was actually oh-so-happy to be able to lay low yesterday afternoon because I woke up Sunday morning with a headache that WOULD NOT QUIT. We went to Trinity UMC instead of our church so that we could hear Jen Hatmaker speak, and I’m really glad we pushed through with that plan in spite of the headache because OH, MY. Jen’s message. It’s one of those things that I’ll hold in my heart and my mind for a really long time. So encouraging and beautiful. Afterwards I had high hopes that some lunchtime caffeine would knock out the headache, but no luck – so I got home and put on my pajamas and that was pretty much the story of my Sunday afternoon.

Besides that riveting Masters / 60 Minutes part, of course.

I’d planned to write all about the adventure of working on Alex’s DC scrapbook project this past weekend (THE SCRAPBOOK, IT IS FINISHED), but I think I’ll save that for another day. So in the meantime, here are a few things of little to no consequence that might make your day a little brighter.

– I have no idea why, but the Kindle version of Home is Where My People Are is only $8.63 right now. That’s a 46% discount according to what I see on the Amazon page, so it might as well be 50% off if we’re rounding up. AND WHY WOULDN’T WE.

Also, if you’ve read HIWMPA (that’s its catchy nickname) already, would you consider leaving a review for it? Reviews make publishers very happy and provide great feedback when it’s time to start thinking about another book (not that I’d know anything about that, oh no not at all).

And that reminds me: thank you a million times for your podcast reviews last week! I know it probably sounds strange for a podcast where we don’t talk about anything in particular, but it was so encouraging to read your kind words, and we are more committed than ever to continue to provide 50-60 minutes of completely unplanned content as often as we possibly can. Because we are very professional.

– I thought Jordan Spieth was such a gracious, humble winner at the Masters yesterday; he seems unusually grounded. So I loved reading this article about his family and how they’ve shaped him. Very insightful.

– A few people have emailed me to ask about some crackers that Melanie and I talked about on a recent podcast. They’re actually just a step away from a cheese straw, and THEY ARE DELICIOUS: John Wm Macy’s Cheese Crisps. I posted about them on Instagram a while back, and a couple of people told me that they’re also available at Costco. IN BULK.

– My favorite inconsequential thing in the world right now? The flat white from Starbucks. And yes, I just saw for the first time that they, um, have a few more calories than my go-to grande Pike Place, but good grief they’re tasty.

– I keep meaning to do a post about books for tweens (from time to time I get an email that asks about what Alex is reading), and I really am gonna work on that for summer. In the meantime, though, I just want to point out how much Alex loves the Theodore Boone books. They’re a great bridge between books for kids and young adult books, and he’s super excited about the new one coming out in May.

– NEEDTOBREATHE and Gavin DeGraw? Together? YES, PLEASE. (And if you are the mother of at least two boys, good luck getting through this song without a tissue. It’s the best.)

Hope y’all have a great Monday!

Oops, I Did It Again

So don’t be alarmed if you see some bits of stray code hanging out at the top of the blog. I’ve been having a little issue with something redirecting folks to the app store when they’re reading from their phones, so there’s been some technical-type hijinks going on behind the scenes. I learned about four or five years ago that in the case of a technical emergency, my best course of action is to STEP ASIDE, POR FAVOR, but Friday night, in a fit of helpful optimism, I clicked an “Update” button and pretty much wrecked my entire book page for A Little Salty… as well as adding those extraneous lines of code to the top of every single page.

I think it’s all too clear that I have a very bright future in coding as well as server maintenance.

Anyway, this is just a very quick test to see if I can publish a post or if the blog is officially OUT OF ORDER until the code issues get fixed (by a professional, mind you).

And as a brief side note I would add that we worked on Alex’s DC trip scrapbook most of yesterday afternoon and last night, and my OBSESS-O-METER is pretty much cranked all the way up to stun. I’m going back to Hobby Lobby in a few minutes to get some more specialty tape dispensers and also STICKERS. WE NEED MORE STICKERS. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ALL THE STICKERS.

I am a stranger to myself.

Y’all have a great weekend!

That Time Wes Sang & Why We All Need You

I am a person who loves a teachable moment. I’m sure that probably has something to do with spending approximately twenty years in various and sundry classrooms, but I adore hearing or seeing or experiencing something that points to a way bigger lesson.

As you can imagine, it is super fun to be Alex Hudson since I have a really strong tendency to morph into my own personal version of Mike Brady without any advance notice.

But unlike my Mike Brady moments – not to mention my other misguided parenting efforts – I promise I’m not about to tell you why you don’t need to judge people or why you need to study for your math test or why you need to stick to your commitments because WE DON’T BELIEVE IN GIVING UP.

(I’ve trotted out that lesson a time or nine in the last few years.)

(It was one of my daddy’s personal favorites when I was growing up, and apparently it made quite the impact.)

Instead I want to talk a little bit about something that has been on my mind all day, something that occurred to me this morning after I showed Alex a video of our friend Wes singing in one of the Easter services at his church.

Just FYI: this is probably a LOT of build-up for what’s going to be a fairly obvious “a-ha” moment from me, but you can always count on me to over-explain even the simplest concepts. It’s just a service I like to provide at no additional charge to you.

Anyhoodle.

One of my prayers in the days leading up to Easter Sunday was that the Lord would give me a renewed wonder and reverence for the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection. I could probably write 1500 words about what led me to pray for that specific thing, but the bottom line is that I can get way too casual about the resurrection and all the events surrounding it. If I’m not careful and mindful I can start to say “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” like I’m rattling off a grocery list or highlighting some places I’d like to visit on a road trip. So some renewed wonder and reverence? Definitely in order.

Without going into too much detail, I’d been in church approximately five minutes Sunday morning when I knew that the Lord was very sweetly answering my prayer; the chorus to a song we sang just laid me right out. And then yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this video of Wes. Since our families go to different churches, I was thrilled to get to hear him sing – even if it was a couple of days after the fact.

And y’all. THIS.

Because He Lives Easter Special from Church of the Highlands on Vimeo.

It was like a big ole exclamation point to what God started working out in my heart Sunday morning. And today, when I was showing the video to Alex, it occurred to me how specifically the Lord can answer prayers as the people around us (whether that’s in person, on the internet, on the radio, in a book, wherever) faithfully exercise their unique and God-given gifts. I know it’s the most simple concept in the world, but I have just been slack-jawed all day thinking about the countless ways other people’s spiritual gifts impact my life and my family’s life. And I know it’s nothing new to say that our respective gifts are for the glory of God and the good of the body of Christ, but the thing that has weighed on me so heavily is how quickly we dismiss the ways the Lord hard-wires us and the Holy Spirit empowers us. We compare and contrast and diminish and maybe even sit on the sidelines because we think that thing that comes so naturally to us doesn’t really make a difference at all.

So can I just be bold and say something?

WE NEED YOU.

THE BODY OF CHRIST NEEDS YOU.

THIS LOST AND HURTING WORLD NEEDS YOU.

We need you and your love for toddlers. We need you and your heart for the lonely. We need you and your deep desire to serve the unreached. We need you and your famous green bean casserole. We need you and your clear, concise application of Scripture. We need you and your knack for making everything – even a committee meeting – a whole lot more fun. We need you and your borderline intimidating organizational skills. We need you and your dead-on discernment. We need you and your patient compassion for people who are hurting. We need you and your knack for making people feel welcome. We need you and your passion for intercession. We need you and the way you can preach a whole sermon just by playing the piano. We need you and your tenderness for the elderly. We need you and your faithful outreach to young moms. We need you and your consistent care for the folks in your small group. We need you and your crazy aptitude for winning over a room of semi-surly 15 year-olds. We need you and your natural ability to sing flawless harmony, even if it might make us the teensiest bit jealous sometimes.

WE NEED YOU.

You may have noticed that singing comes pretty naturally for Wes. He’s flat-out gifted that way. He works at it, certainly, and he gets better at it all the time. No doubt about it. But wouldn’t it be sad for the rest of us – and wouldn’t the world be missing a blessing – if he just sat at home and sang to himself? Or if he was so worried about what other people might think that he never stepped out in faith and shared his gift with others?

I don’t know. I guess I was just so struck this morning by how the Lord specifically answered a prayer through Wes’s obedience to serve in the unique way that he’s gifted (and obviously he’s gifted in more ways than just singing, so we will talk about his ability to make cheese biscuits some other time, because that is in fact a gift that will bless and strengthen the church, oh amen). And it reminded me of all the times when I’ve walked into work or walked into church or walked in my own front door with a big question on my heart – and the answer has become oh-so-clear as I’ve heard or watched someone serve or teach or encourage in a way that they would say is really no big deal because it’s just second nature to them.

But remember this: it’s not second nature to the rest of us. If you don’t believe that, then you clearly never saw me trying to jump in and serve in the preschool at church. IT WASN’T PRETTY, PEOPLE. I’d break out in a cold sweat and dread the group craft time from the second I walked in the door. Sometimes I even skipped the craft because the intricate distribution of Goldfish had just worn me slap out. I was emotionally exhausted after 30 minutes. But even as I write this, I am mindful that there are so many of you who could walk into a preschool classroom and serve the snack, do the craft, love the kids, teach them a verse, sing a song, and rearrange all the puzzles in a much more orderly fashion in half the time that it took me to get everybody strapped in the Bye-Bye Buggy. So can I please just remind you that people like me? We are desperate for people like you.

Your gifts matter. Your gifts are no accident. And faithfully exercising those gifts in a spirit of service and humility will glorify God and bless others in ways you never imagined.

Don’t you forget it.

Because we need you.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:5-8