The Basketball Is A Fine Diversion

Well, let’s see.

Last weekend the Cowboys lost their play-off game against the Packers, yet somehow the world has continued to turn. Honestly, I was surprised by how level-headed I was about the whole thing; we had cheered and yelled and clapped for pretty much the entire second half, and a Dallas comeback started to feel almost probable. But then there was the long pass play that led to the Packers scoring a field goal at the very end of the game, and suddenly our first season of following an NFL team was over and done. I expected to be sad, but mainly I was just proud of Dak Prescott and his leadership and the way he has represented his Mississippi State people. It was the biggest blast to watch him this year and cheer for the Cowboys. So, sign us up for the 2017-2018 season. I’ll be there with bells on – as well as my sassy Dallas Cowboys slippers that I got for Christmas.

I know. What a difference a year makes. And I’ll be cheering for the Falcons in the Super Bowl.

On top of all that, Mississippi State’s basketball teams have been awfully fun to watch.

Last weekend I got to see the men’s team play Texas A&M; I think it was the first time in 25 years that my friends Daphne, Emma Kate, Tracey, Elise, and I have all been in The Hump for a game at the same time. It was so much fun, and Daph had some unbelievable seats. Tonight the women’s team lost their first game of the season – they are #4 in the country and 20-1 – and I stood in my favorite game-watching corner of the kitchen and wiped down countertops and cheered just like they could hear me. In other words: BUSINESS AS USUAL.

All righty. Here are a few things I wanted to share / mention / shout from the rooftops.

– I posted this on Instagram last week (thanks, Lauren), and I keep looking at it because it makes me laugh so much. Also: I IDENTIFY.

– A couple of weeks ago I posted the first devotional that I wrote for our Unplugged challenge at my school. Here’s the second one.

BCSUnpluggedReflection2

– I kind of have to plan speaking stuff around Alex’s sports seasons, which means that most of the out-of-town stuff has to happen in January, February, November, or the first week in December (well, the December thing has nothing to do with sports and more with wanting to be home for all the Christmas things). There are exceptions here and there, of course – I can usually manage one thing a month in the spring – but January and February are my GET AFTER IT times with speaking. Here’s what’s going on in the next month-ish.

January 26 – Women Business Leaders – Birmingham, AL
February 3-4 – Carriage Lane PCA Women’s Retreat – Pine Mountain, Georgia
February 16 – Johnson Ferry Church – Marietta, GA
February 17-18 – Two Rivers Church – Lenoir City, TN
February 24-25 – Belle Aire Baptist Church – Murfreesboro, TN

Also, if you’re in the Birmingham area, a certain Melanie Shankle will be here on February 23 to speak at the Samford Legacy League luncheon. This means that on the evening of the 23rd, Melanie and I will be in my kitchen, working diligently to create the cheese plate of our dreams.

So basically February’s gonna be all kinds of fun.

– This past weekend I spoke at a women’s conference at Casas Church in Tucson, and when I was driving from the airport to the hotel, it was raining and dreary and I couldn’t really see the mountains; they mostly looked like flat shadows off in the distance.

Saturday, however, brought a completely different perspective. I actually had some time to explore, so I rode around and tried to take in just at tiny bit of the splendor of those mountains. I don’t know when I’ve ever been more aware of how limited my photography skills really are. There wasn’t a single picture that even began to capture to what was right in front of me.

This was at sunset-ish time on Saturday.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

So much gorgeousness.

– John Mayer released an EP this past Friday, which means that my unrequested (and, you might say, uninformed) over-analysis of his lyrics has really ramped up to some impressive new levels.

Hope y’all have a wonderful week!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 70

bigboographic

In this podcast Melanie and I talk about her recent bout with the plague, our thoughts on soup, our favorite dresses at the Golden Globes, and then a bunch of other stuff that I don’t really remember though I’m sure it’s absolutely riveting.

Oh! We talk about why Melanie doesn’t want to see Manchester by the Sea, our recent enjoyment of staying home pretty much all the time, and our assessment of the National Championship game.

Plus we ramble through approximately 72 different topics. But it’s a podcast. And some days just recording a podcast feels like a victory.

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. We’d be honored if you’d leave us a review.

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):

Gimme Some Oven

Italian Lentil soup

Chicken Tortilla soup

Viola Davis’ yellow dress

Emma Stone’s dress

Nicole Kidman’s dress

Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress

Reese Witherspoon’s dress

– Jimmy Fallon’s opening number

The Bachelor (we’re still on the fence)

Victoria on Masterpiece

Queen Elizabeth is fine!

Mrs. Sloane trailer

– Edie Wadsworth’s make-up video on Facebook

IT Cosmetics collagen veil primer

The turkey groom’s cake

“Freedom 90” by George Michael

“Another Day of Sun” – La La Land soundtrack

– And to really help you anticipate the next podcast: the detergent packets.

Enjoy, y’all!

The Snow Day That May Or May Not Involve Actual Snow

We found out earlier tonight that we have a snow day tomorrow. I for one am delighted that we’ll have a long weekend; this first week back at school has been fun, but WHOA, NELLIE it has been rough getting used to the early morning alarm again. And then of course there’s the reality that a winter storm advisory in Alabama means that we could be iced in or we could get a couple of inches of snow or we might just get a light smattering of rain. Regardless, I’m grateful that we’ll all be home and won’t run the risk of being stuck somewhere else during another Snowpocalypse. I’m fine with Ye Olde Winter Gridlock being a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That was plenty.

Anyhoodle. Here are a few things I wanted to mention before I forget.

1. Slow Cooker Creamed Corn – Over Christmas my sister-in-law Janie told me about a delicious creamed corn recipe that you make in the crockpot. I decided to make it for New Year’s, and OH. MY. GOODNESS. It is delicious. I’m not even sure that the crockpot is necessary, but it was nice to not have to worry about burning anything. Next time I’ll probably just do three cans of corn because five cans of corn is a LOT for a family of three, but the leftovers were great.

2. Earlier today Viola Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Meryl Streep spoke at the ceremony, and her beautiful, honoring words made me teary-eyed. Her speech starts a little after 8 minutes.

3. Our high school is doing an “Unplugged” challenge for the month of January. We’re not mandating anything or telling people to abandon their phones; we’re just asking our faculty and students to pray and consider if they might want to unplug / untether from their phones a little bit over the next few weeks. That might mean temporarily disabling the browser, deleting social media apps for a period of time, or being intentional about phone-free face-to-face time and conversation with friends (as opposed to, you know, Facetime). Anyway, I’m sending the kids (and their parents) little devotionals every week, and I thought I’d share this week’s devotional here. If you have teenagers, you know what a challenge it can be to figure out the best way to teach and shepherd in this particular area, so the questions at the end might be a good springboard for family discussion.

Unplugged Reflection 1

4. Over Christmas break I started watching Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Fascinating. I’ve never known much about scientology, so it’s been really eye-opening (and heartbreaking, honestly) to hear what some people have expeirenced. It’s not a show for kids – the language is pretty strong at times – but it’s compelling television for sure.

5. Does anybody have an Instant Pot? I keep looking at them on Amazon and thinking, Would I really use this? Is it worth it? Is it a hassle to clean? Does it make suppertime easier? So if you have experience or insight, I’d love to know.

Happy Weekend, y’all!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 69

bigboographic

Well, it’s the first podcast of 2017 for Melanie and me, and our discussion seems to focus on several people that we really don’t know even a little bit: Mariah Carey (not to mention her affection for a bodysuit), Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Queen Elizabeth, and Meghan Markle, to name a few.

There is a considerable amount of La La Land-related raving / fangirling. We also spend a lot of time talking about television – one of our very favorite topics – and then we reflect a little bit on 2016 and look forward to an awesome 2017.

All in all, a good time was had by all. Or at least the two of us. And we certainly hope it’s a good time for you, too.

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):

Pimento Cheese Cornbread

Palmetto pimento cheese (it is THE BEST)

Mariah Carey’s reality show

La La Land

Emma Stone talks about La La Land

The La La Land choreographer talks about the behind-the-scenes of the musical numbers

Ryan Gosling talks about practicing piano for, you guessed it, La La Land (and apparently he played by ear before the movie…I got that part wrong in the podcast)

Sherlock

The Man in the High Castle

Broadchurch

Queen Elizabeth’s health

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry

Meghan Markle’s Fashion Retrospective

Vanity Fair on Meghan Markle (Melanie mentioned this article)

Dak Prescott – 10 Things You May Not Know

Happy New Year, everybody!

2017, You Are Welcome Here

Last night I watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve because, well, we were pretending that when the ball dropped on the East Coast that would sort of give us permission to go ahead and go to bed here in central time. I realize that probably sounds like about 17 different varieties of lame, but as someone who has not “gone out” for New Year’s Eve since the year of our Lord 1994, I am completely unaccustomed to any sort of NYE revelry. As far as I’m concerned, New Year’s Eve is a time for some chicken and dumplins and some cornbread and, if the weather’s good, lighting a few Roman candles in the cul de sac.

For the record, it was raining here last night. So no Roman candles. Also: we were all in pajamas by 4.

Anyway, we were watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but that was only after I’d spent about 30 minutes watching Mariah Carey’s new show on E! I watched her show when no one else was in the living room – lest I be mocked by my people for my quality television viewing – and I got very tickled by the fact that Mariah totally seems to live like the rest of us in that she seems to spend considerable time reclining on a chaise lounge while wearing a leotard or corset along with heels. Fur throws and pillows are optional accessories, of course, but fishnet stockings seem to be pretty standard attire. This is such a crazy coincidence, of course, since leotards and fishnets are such staples in my own wardrobe.* Who would have thought that Mariah and I had so much in common?

So I was watching Mariah’s show – making mental notes of all the parts I wanted to mention to Melanie and marveling how Mariah seems to have a lock on the visual for “sauntering” – and I realized that it was about 15 minutes away from East Coast New Year’s, so I flipped the channel to ABC. My fellas joined me in the living room, and a few minutes later, when Ryan Seacrest announced that Mariah Carey would be performing, I thought, Well, Happy New Year’s Eve, Mariah – it would seem that we are destined to spend this night together.

And y’all – when she hit that stage and the monitors weren’t working but that back-up track was going strong and the dancers were giving it everything they had while Mariah *sauntered* around the stage and talked, even when her back-up track was hitting the high notes? Well, as far as I’m concerned there’s never been a more perfect end to a year. 2016 was a train wreck on many fronts (and yes, I know it wasn’t all bad, and that is fine, but personally it was not my favorite year), and it seemed just right somehow that Mariah (and I really did feel sorry for her – that had to have been at least one of a performer’s worst nightmares) kicked 2016 to the curb in such an awkward, oh-my-word-is-this-really-happening way.

(I’ll confess that the whole thing gave me more than one flashback to Remember the Alamodome.)

(I may have shivered.)

Given all of that, I woke up this morning and felt like I needed to give 2016 a little bit of a break. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was sad. But there were also some really happy, really fun moments here in our neck of the woods. Here are a few.

1. Alex’s first lacrosse season – We had a blast. It was so great watching Alex embrace something new, and we enjoyed getting to spend time with the other families so much.

2. The senior girls’ mother / daughter luncheon – I am always attached to “my” senior girls at school, and watching them graduate is so bittersweet. Back in May I spoke at their mother / daughter luncheon, and afterwards (and there’s a whole story here that I don’t really have time to tell, so we’ll bookmark it) they gave me this painting. It will forever be special to me.

As you might imagine, I took one look at it and bawled like a baby. Also, the painting is by a Birmingham artist named Julie Howard, and she is all kinds of talented.

3. Mississippi State won the regular season championship in baseball, and it was glorious.

And even though I broke my foot at State’s first game, the SEC Baseball Tournament was, as always, a highlight of the year.

4. Friends – In good times and in sad times, you just can’t beat sweet friendships. From lifelong friends to college friends to writing friends to work friends to church friends, I am so grateful for deep, real friendships. I actually feel like I was a pretty terrible friend this past year – I was covered up with work the first part of the year, kind of emotionally immobile the second part of the year, and super busy with writing stuff all the way around. It was not my finest hour for keeping up with everybody, being intentional about spending time with people, or even texting to check in with friends I don’t get to see much. I want to be better about this in 2017.

5. The body of Christ – As heartbreaking as it was when Mama died, I can honestly say that I have never felt as loved and supported by people’s physical presence and their prayers. There’s not enough room for me to chronicle how beautifully people took care of our family. I will never get over it.

6. Mama’s Bible – It has been such a gift to read from Mama’s Bible in the mornings. Sometimes I open it and can smell her lotion…it’s the strangest thing. And more than anything it is enormously encouraging and comforting to see everything she underlined. There are a couple of times every day when I almost feel like I can hear her talking to me: one is when I read her Bible, and the other is when I cook. Isn’t that strange? Totally true, though.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

7. La La Land – Totally inspiring and so beautiful.

8. Hamilton – Remember that time I was completely obsessed with a Broadway musical even though I don’t really care for musicals? I can’t even think about writing Giddy Up, Eunice without hearing Hamilton songs in my head. It was such a fun obsession. And I don’t remember if I blogged about this or not, but back in the spring we had a Hamilton lunch at school with several of the senior girls, a couple of my teacher buddies, and my friend Erin. It was the nerdiest 40 minutes of my whole life, and IT. WAS. FANTASTIC.

A photo posted by Sophie Hudson (@boomama205) on

9. Chef’s Table – Every episode leaves me awed by God’s very good gift of creativity. I even watched the season from France and read all the subtitles because STUNNING.

10. Dak Prescott & the Dallas Cowboys – WHO KNEW pro football could be so fun? And of course I’ve never met Dak Prescott, but like every other Mississippi State alum, I am so proud of him and have had the most fun cheering on him and his team. We’ve also watched this video a time or forty in our house.

11. Books – I think it will always be surreal to me that I get to write them, and I am beyond grateful that people would take the time to read them. Thanks for welcoming Eunice to the world this past year.

12. That time Melanie and I podcasted with Beth Moore – WHAT. A. TREAT.

13. Updating our kitchen – I know this is such a trivial thing, but considering that we’ve had “updating the kitchen” on our to-do list for, you know, ten years, it was high time. Really, we did more of a re-surfacing than anything else, but oh my goodness it has made such a difference. I’m so glad we finally got ‘er done. I’ll post some pictures soon.

14. Home – We didn’t travel at all this Christmas; the week before Christmas our kitchen was torn up, and the week after Christmas our kitchen was torn up to a lesser degree – plus it was a week of all kinds of appointments. Regardless, I can’t remember when we’ve had such an uninterrupted stretch of time at home, and for the most part, our nights have been free. I’ve loved every single second of it. It’s been so good to recharge and be home with my people. I’ve loved fluffing up the pillows every night before I go to bed and draping the throws like I like ’em (they’re not fur, Mariah) and basically nesting like it’s my job. I was WORN OUT at the beginning of Christmas holidays, and now I’m mostly a fully functioning, rested person. WHAT IS THIS FEELING?

I hope your year is off to a wonderful start. And I also hope you had some good blackeyed peas and cornbread today (good blackeyed peas and cornbread can make anybody feel hopeful about the future). I am so grateful for y’all and your patience with my semi-wayward blogging this past year – not to mention your prayers for our family over the last six months. I cannot thank you enough.

Happy 2017, y’all!

*Never. Not in any universe. Not in any situation. Thank you for understanding.

New Year’s Eve Eve Eve

So. How are things?

I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas. We had most of our family here with us in Birmingham, and even though my kitchen was in about seventeen states of disarray on Christmas Eve, Sister came to my rescue and helped me get everything presentable for Christmas Day. We had people working on our kitchen the week leading up to the 25th, so it felt like a huge relief to finally clear away some of the piles and make that end of the house a little more livable. We’re still not finished with the kitchen – cabinet doors are hopefully being installed tomorrow – but I’ve already enjoyed our countertops and backsplash so much. Having actual cabinet doors (and hardware!) will feel very fancy after the last couple of weeks of the “open shelving” look.

(There are some people who were born with the organizational skills to have open shelves in the kitchen.)

(I am not one of those people.)

We actually ordered our Christmas meal this year since we didn’t know if we’d have a fully operational kitchen, and while I don’t know that I’d want to do the same thing every year, I have to say that it was very nice to just warm up some pans-o-food and call it a day. My sister and sister-in-law were kind enough to supplement what we’d ordered, so we ended up with more than plenty. The best part was that clean-up was a dream, and I didn’t even have to load the dishwasher because my brother went straight to the kitchen and GOT AFTER IT when supper was over. We all missed Mama but did our best to focus on the happy instead of the sad. Sister and I had some good laughs on Christmas Eve about how alarmed Mama would have been about the state of my Christmas linens. Ironing has never been one of my spiritual gifts.

Everybody headed home the day after Christmas, so after I straightened up the house a little bit, I found me a spot on the couch and watched an obnoxious amount of football. First was the Bulldogs and their bowl game, then a replay of the 2007 Egg Bowl, then the Cowboys vs. the Lions. Tuesday I managed to stay in my pajamas all day long (glory!), and I spent a good part of the morning listening to every George Michael song I could find (I have been so sad about his death – and I have such happy memories associated with his music). After I listened to “Freedom 90” for roughly the 16th time, I took down all the Christmas decorations, put everything away, washed a couple of loads of laundry, and basically tried to be slightly more productive than the previous day’s football-a-thon.

Baby steps, you know.

Yesterday David and I went to see Manchester by the Sea. The language was terrible, but I really loved the structure of the story. Lots to talk about afterwards, too. I got so tickled when we were leaving the theater, though, because a lady who’d been sitting in front of us was standing in the hallway (breezeway? corridor? I am unsure of the terminology), and she turned to her friend and said, “Well, I have never seen so much HURT in my whole life.” That’s a pretty good description.

Today we went to see La La Land, and OH. MY. GOODNESS. I loved it so much. I would even go so far as to say that I was captivated by it. Also: there were a couple of parts where I had to will myself not to cry openly. It is visually stunning, crazy compelling, and such a treat all the way around. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack ever since we got home, and I think I may need to see it again. For whatever reason it was completely inspiring to me. It’s nostalgic and modern all at the same time – just a beautiful movie all the way around. Big thumbs up from me.

And oh! How could I forget to share some of the biggest news of Christmas 2016?

A couple of podcasts ago Melanie and I had a discussion about how she wanted to create a coffee bar in her new cabinets. She ended up going with a different plan, but I kept thinking about the whole coffee bar idea and wondering if there was a better spot for the coffee stuff in our kitchen. I don’t have a whole lot of counter space, and I’ve never really had all of our coffee stuff arranged logically, truth be told. So when Sister and I were trying to bring some order to the kitchen chaos on Christmas Eve, I said, “Hey – do you think it would work if I moved the coffee stuff to the desk by the breakfast room table?” It’s not next to the sink, but we always fill up our Keurig with water from the refrigerator – and the desk is right by the refrigerator. There’s also a cabinet above the desk that I’ve always used for cookbooks, but there was no reason why I couldn’t rearrange a little and move all of our coffee mugs to the bottom shelf of that cabinet.

Well. Y’all. IT HAS CHANGED MY WHOLE LIFE.

It’s the best thing ever. I put a little trash can under the desk to make it simple to throw away coffee pods and sweetener packets, and we have WORN OUT that little area in the last week. It was so nice when we had a house full of company because they could fix coffee without being in the middle of the kitchen traffic, not to mention that I felt like I gained a few square feet of kitchen counter space just by moving the coffeemaker off of the countertops.

And that little framed saying above the desk? My aunt Ginger gave it to Mama before I was born. It used to hang by Mama’s breakfast room table when I was little, and it’s been fun to pay a little more attention to it over the last week or so.

So. That’s Christmas 2016 for us. Lots of family, lots of football, a couple of movies, and a new coffee station in the kitchen.

Can you even stand all the excitement?

We’ll probably line up some naps and a re-watch marathon of the last season of Sherlock for New Year’s Eve.

We like to keep it crazy, you know.