The Big Boo Cast, Episode 63

bigboographic

Well, we have us some new theme music, and it’s pretty sassy if I do say so myself. Apparently at least one of us (me!) is destined to like loud saxophones for the rest of her life, and if they have a hint of a disco groove, then all the better.

We cover a whole bunch of conversational ground in this episode: the Rio Olympics, our summertime entertainment favorites, our fitness goals / struggles, the fact that Melanie draws the line at kale, and why she will never go deep sea fishing ever again.

It’s an assortment of fun, you might say.

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):

41 year-old gymnast

Last Chance U

Alias

Hillary Scott & the Scott Family – Love Remains

Miranda Lambert “Vice”

Beatriz Williams’ A Hundred Summers

Beatriz Williams’ The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Giddy Up, Eunice (fall 2016, y’all!) (it really was summer 2016) (but our conversation about non-fiction books in the fall made me laugh) :-)

fancy dorm rooms

Saucony Ride 8

Kate Middleton’s Adidas

Barefoot Dreams robe

flounder gigging (I had no idea this was even a thing)

Melanie’s ceviche recipe

burgundy / maroon men’s pants

Seychelles Lucky Penny booties that Sophie loves

Junk Gypsy boots that Melanie loves

Enjoy, everybody!

Well Hey You Cute Thing

Hi. It’s 412 degrees here. How are you?

We’ve been busy soaking up the home stretch of summer around here. Daddy spent the first part of last week with us, which was great. Now he’s home in Mississippi, and that means I’ve spent a considerable amount of time this week wondering if it’ll ever seem normal to me that he’s living by himself. We had some sweet talks while he was visiting, though, and he’s doing pretty well; so many of you have been so kind to email and check on him. And that reminds me: I am so behind on email that it’s laughable – I can’t seem to hold onto a train of thought long enough to make much forward progress – but I am hoping to be caught up soon.

That last sentence is pretty much the story of my life, by the way.

This week has been all about trying to finish the last of the summer to-do list. Alex started football practice on Monday, so in between that and having some work done around the house, we’ve gotten haircuts and bought school supplies and been to the doctor and basically just lived it up doing all manner of errands. I’ve been walking a lot (trying to get this broken foot back into shape) (also trying to find a productive way to dial down my anxiety level, which has been cranked up since Mama died), so that means I’ve also been sweating a lot because FOUR HUNDRED TWELVE DEGREES. However, all that sweating has a silver lining because let me show y’all a picture of the best thing that has happened to me all summer. It’s at the fitness place we go to (I do not know correct gym and fitness terminology, hence “fitness place”).

FullSizeRender 3

It’s a pellet ice machine. LORD BE PRAISED.

Needless to say, the daily access to the complimentary pellet ice has changed my whole life.

ANYWAY.

I know that it’s been more quiet than usual in this neck of the bloggy woods, but one thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt after Mama died was that I needed to give myself some space and some time. There is a lot about those last few days with Mama that I’m not ready to write about; I just want all of those sacred moments and conversations and prayers to sink way down deep in my heart so I can live with them a while before they become sentences (I hope that makes sense).

All that to say: we are okay. We are good, even. I have been using Mama’s Bible when I have my quiet time in the mornings, and that has been the sweetest gift and the most unexpected comfort. I’ve been reading through Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies (it is EXCELLENT, by the way – one of the very best devotional books I’ve ever used), and the Scripture passage one day last week was Philippians 3. So when I opened Mama’s Bible and saw this –

FullSizeRender 2

– well, it pretty much made my day to see how she had underlined those words.

So. I’m gonna ease my way back into the blog (or, as I pronounce it, the blawg). There are some new books I want to tell you about, not to mention that I haven’t raved about NEEDTOBREATHE’s new album near enough.

Hope y’all have the best weekend. If you need me, I’ll just be refilling my cup with pellet ice.

:-)

(It really is the little things, isn’t it?)

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 62

There are times when Melanie and I record a podcast and everything seems right in the world. The skies are blue, life is easy, and cheerfulness comes oh-so-naturally.

This particular podcast is not necessarily one of those times.

But here’s the thing, I guess. After the last few weeks and everything that’s been going on in the world – not to mention with our close friends and family members – well, we were feeling a little punchy. And while yes, punchy can certainly be funny, we probably weren’t showing off the sunniest sides of our personalities the day we recorded episode 62.

But you know what? It ended up being an oddly therapeutic conversation (well, I mean, I can’t speak for Melanie, but it was therapy for me, at least). And we covered all sorts of topics: Tiny House Hunters, my great closet clean-out of 2016, the confusion over when a “dress” is actually a shirt, Melanie’s lack of interest in a process, my unfortunate experience with a handkerchief dress, plus so much more.

Finally, thank you so much for your emails, messages, comments, and prayers during Mama’s hospital stay and after she passed away. I said this yesterday on the podcast Facebook page, but the joy of the Lord really has been our strength. Please know that our family is so grateful for y’all.

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):

acrylic T necklace holder

Blue Door Boutique

Tiny House Hunters

Melanie’s Pinterest

Sophie’s Pinterest

Somebody giving a hedgehog a bath

Creed

The Intern

Band of Brothers

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Mrs. Kennedy & Me by Clint Hill

Murad Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening System

Bad Day by Daniel Powter

Hope y’all enjoy it!

Erin’s Fancy Hamilton Spreadsheet

The blog hasn’t been working today, so a little while ago I posted something on Facebook that I was originally planning to put in a blog post. But now, of course, the blog is working (thank you, kind web hosts at Fused), so I thought I’d put the Facebook post here for those of you who might miss it otherwise.

This is some impressively needless explaining, isn’t it?

So here’s the Facebook post, and I’d just like to say that if you are a Hamilton fan, well, YOU ARE SO WELCOME.

I don’t know if the link will show up if you’re an email subscriber, so you may have to click through to the post.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sit and think about other processes that I can overcomplicate.

What can I say? IT’S A GIFT.

Mama

It occurred to me a few days ago that while I’ve mentioned on social media what’s been going on with our family, I haven’t written a blog post about it. And I know that I don’t have to write a blog post about it – there certainly aren’t any rules about this sort of thing – but it feels strange not to mention it on the blog since, for over ten years now, this is where I’ve documented such a big chunk of our family life.

So.

On Monday, June 27th, after several days in ICU, my sweet mama passed away and met Jesus face-to-face. We rejoice that she is whole and free.

And I said this on Facebook last week, but I think it’s worth saying again: Mama was a true Southern lady, a devoted wife, an incomparable mother and grandmother, and a loyal friend. Her relationship with the Lord was deep and rich and real. She was one of a kind and loved by many.

I’m so grateful that she was ours.

*****

There’s so much about the last week and a half that I’m not ready to write about yet. There’s so much that I’m still processing. There’s also the ever-increasing realization that even though I am so relieved that Mama isn’t suffering – even though I find great comfort and peace from knowing that she’s with Jesus – there’s a grieving process out in front of me, and I have to move through it.

And since we’re talking about it, I’ll tell you the number one thing I’ve learned about that process so far: grief is weird.

Seriously. It’s the craziest thing. One minute I’m fine, I’m cooking supper, I’m laughing at something somebody said, and the next minute I’m in tears because there’s a mama talking to her daughter on an HGTV show, and there’s something about the inflection of her voice that reminds me of my own mama.

So as far as recounting everything that happened in the hospital, as far as trying to put some big shiny perspective on this particular encounter with loss, I’m nowhere near ready.

But here’s what I can tell you without a second’s hesitation: in the middle of our family’s heartbreak, the Lord has been so gracious.

In the middle of our family’s heartache, the body of Christ has loved us and comforted us and rallied around us and prayed for us and shown up for us.

And the personal nature of all that love and care – from the Lord and from His people – it’s been a game-changer, y’all. It has ministered to our family in ways that are difficult for me to describe. Because seeing how people reached out to Daddy – watching how folks have cared for him and for us – it has been such a testimony to the power of community and investing in other people and putting down some relational roots. I believed it before, of course. I’ve even written about it a little bit.

But now? OH. I CANNOT QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT.

I will talk about it forever, I think.

Consider yourselves warned.

*****

Here’s what I keep thinking about.

About a month ago Alex and I went to Mama and Daddy’s house for an extra-long weekend. The new book came out on a Tuesday, I drove to Mississippi on Wednesday, and on Thursday I had a book-signing at a store in my hometown. Alex and I got to the book signing a little early, and Sister – who was also in town – brought Mama about a half hour later. Mama was having a hard day with her words (her memory was still so strong, but dementia gave her fits with language and processing), and for most of the afternoon, she just smiled and squeezed people’s hands. At one point she looked at Sister and said, oh-so-slowly, “I wish I could talk.” There were several good conversations going on at the same time, and Mama was frustrated that she couldn’t jump in.

But 48 hours later, Mama had a much better day. She rode with Sister and me to a family reunion in south Mississippi, and even though her speech was still slow, she wasn’t having to fight as much with her words. She was thrilled to be at the reunion, delighted to see different people from Daddy’s side of the family, glad to be able to talk a little bit with some folks she had known for a long time.

IMG_6325

Mama was all about the desserts that day – her sweet tooth was fired up and ready for the homemade cobblers and pies – and after Mama finished her lunch, Sister fixed her a “sampler platter” of sweet treats. It tickled Mama to no end.

After the reunion ended, Sister took us on a little road trip to the community where Mama grew up. Our first stop was the church that Mama attended her whole life, and as we pulled into the parking lot, Mama pointed and very slowly said, “That’s where your daddy and I married.”

We knew that, of course. But since words hadn’t come easy for Mama over the last couple of years, Sister and I were both struck by the fact that out of all the life Mama had lived in that little Methodist church, she made sure to tell us about marrying Daddy. For her, that was the highlight.

As we pulled out of the church parking lot, Mama did her best to narrate our drive down Highway 18 – just like she’d done when Alex and I were with her on the same road a few years before. This time, however, I grabbed my phone and started recording. I have no idea why; as a general rule I am a picture taker, not a video maker, and prior to that Saturday I think I’d probably videoed Mama approximately zero times.

But that day, I did. And I am so thankful.

We kept driving down the highway until we reached the cemetery. Mama wanted to see her parents’ graves, and since the cemetery soil was a little rocky, she couldn’t use her walker. So Sister got on one side of Mama, and I got on the other, and we walked her up a small hill until we reached the spot where Mamaw and Papaw Davis are buried. We stood there for several minutes until a big, dark cloud rolled in.

IMG_6296 (1)

And then we giddy-upped (as best we could) back to the car.

As it turned out, though, the rain held off, so Sister drove down to Mamaw and Papaw Davis’ old farm (if you’ve read the new book, you know that land is also known as THE PLACE WHERE MY SINK LIVES). Sister climbed the fence and did a little exploring. Thanks to my broken foot, though, fence-climbing was off limits, so I stayed in the car with Mama. Sister walked around for a few minutes, took a whole bunch of pictures, then hopped back over the fence and jumped in the car just as the rain started to fall. She showed Mama pictures of the old smokehouse, the cattle guard, and the chicken house, and after she put up her phone and started to drive again, she asked Mama if she’d like to see the back part of the land.

“YES,” Mama answered.

Within seconds Sister turned down a little side road that runs around the perimeter of the property, and Mama started to talk again. She pointed out the place where her childhood home used to stand – before Papaw built “the new house” – and she reminisced about life on the farm. When we got to a point where we could see the ponds Papaw used to fish, Sister stopped the car.

IMG_6319 (1)

Eventually we looped back to the highway, and we headed home.

It was the last trip we took together.

And it was such a great day.

*****

So now we’re back in Birmingham.

A couple of hours ago I picked up Alex from his first day of football workouts, and as we drove home, he told me all about the fun and the drills and the running and the friends. We were about to turn in our neighborhood when he changed the subject.

“Mama? When was the last time you talked to her?”

I knew that he was talking about Mama.

“It was just a few days before she went in the hospital,” I answered. “I called to check on her and Papa, and I didn’t know if she’d want to talk on the phone or not. But she did. And you know what I’ll remember the most about talking to her that day?”

“What?”

“We were about to hang up when I told her that I loved her. And even though words were a struggle for her, she said, ‘Love. You. Too.’ That was the last thing she ever said to me.”

Alex and I were quiet the rest of the way to the house.

We miss her so much.

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 61

bigboographic

If you have any doubts at all about the fact that Melanie and I covered a wide swath of conversational ground in this podcast, then just take a look at all the links below. I believe the phrase you’re looking for is “ALL OVER THE PLACE.”

We talk about coffee, summer snacks, lunch foods, whether the whole Hamilton phenomenon is already dead to Melanie, personality traits we enjoy in others, and the many reasons it’s probably a good idea that the Shankles didn’t get any chickens.

We also devote considerable time to a discussion of foods we don’t necessarily care for.

And then there’s a whole bunch of other stuff but who could possibly remember it all?

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):

Newman’s Own Special Blend

Starbucks Columbian Coffee

Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato

Boot dryer

Cheez-It Grooves (straight-up Grooves)

On the Border tortilla chips

Shipt (Of course. We mention it every week. We adore it.)

Conecuh sausage

Parks & Recreation

Hamilton: An American Musical

Seth Brings Jon Snow (Game of Thrones) to a Dinner Party (there’s some language – just FYI)

Outlander, Book One

The Left Behind Series

Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books

Bridget Jones’ Diary

The Proposal

Maya and Marty

The Big Boo Cast Facebook Page