Back In Birmingham & Book Signing Dates

You know how there are some days when it seems like you catch up on every phone conversation you’ve been meaning to have for pretty much forever?

THAT WAS MY MONDAY.

It wasn’t even intentional. But by 9 o’clock tonight I realized that I had at least six longer-than-usual phone conversations today, and my inner extrovert feels just as accomplished as it can be.

Naturally this means that tomorrow I’ll need to read in solitude for several hours before I go sit by myself in Starbucks and catch up on my journal writing.

Being equal parts introvert and extrovert is no joke, my friends.

Alex and I got back to Birmingham this afternoon around 3:30 or so (David drove back yesterday because he had to work today), and I have to say that one of the very best parts of my day was reuniting with Hazel. I missed her LIKE CRAZY while I was in Mississippi, and she was so happy to see me this afternoon that after she’d jumped and whimpered for several minutes, she finally just squatted in the middle of the breakfast room and tee-teed.

Oh, she is a charmer.

But I am very happy to report that this time around I didn’t slip and fall.

So. Hazel and I are currently sitting side-by-side while I try not to fall asleep, and Alex just went to bed, and David is watching something-or-other on TV. There’s a pile of clean laundry on the guest room bed that needs to be folded, and the only thing is in this house that I can fix for breakfast in the morning is what’s left of a bag of frozen biscuits. I need to plan some meals, I need to go to the grocery store, and heaven knows that I need to fold some clothes.

But oh my word it is so nice to be home.

And if home in and of itself weren’t enough, the sunset flat-out showed out tonight. It was so pretty that I cried.

Twice.

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I just kept looking up at the sky and thinking, No matter what we’re facing in life – God is greater.

It’s good to remember that. Especially when my wandering heart can be so prone to forget.

Anyway. I didn’t mean to go off on such a tangent, because the real reason I sat down to write this post was to pass along some information about book signings. I could make it sound all fancy and say, “Since so many of you have asked, I thought I’d pass along book signing info,” but the fact of the matter is that only about four of you have asked. However, YOU FOUR PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

So here’s what I have scheduled so far:

Wednesday, February 4th – The Liberty Shop, Meridian, MS – 3:00-5:30pm
Thursday, February 5th – Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS – 4:00-6:00pm
Saturday, February 7th – LifeWay Store @ Lee Branch, Birmingham, AL – 12:00-2:00pm
Saturday, February 14th – LifeWay Store, Franklin, TN – 12:00-2:00pm

I also have a couple of out-of-state speaking things this spring, and I imagine I’ll be signing books there, too:

March 1, 2015 – North Monroe Baptist Church Women’s Event – Monroe, LA
March 28, 2015 – First Baptist Church Women’s Event – Collinsville, MS
April 21, 2015 – BLOOM at Crossroads Baptist Church – The Woodlands, TX

I’ll keep y’all posted if I add some more dates; I’d like to get up to north Mississippi / Memphis sometime in March, but I don’t have all the details nailed down yet.

So that’s all the news I have. Except that I think it might be good to look at that sunset picture ONE more time because OH, THE PRETTY.

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In the middle of all this book stuff, which to be honest can be a little overwhelming, that sky is a big ole dose of perspective.

He is greater.

And I’m so glad.

Big Mama Has Some Prizes

Hey everybody –

I’m still in Mississippi, but I wanted to let you know that Melanie is giving away three copies of Home is Where My People Are on her blog. The giveaway closes at 5pm central today (Monday), so I wanted to pass along the info in the hopes that a few of you have a chance to click over and enter to win.

Also, thanks so much for your sweet blog and Instagram comments (and emails) about these last few days. We appreciate your kind words and your prayers more than you know. I’ll update y’all as soon as I know it’s the right time. But in the meantime, I keep thinking about this song.

Hope you’re having a great Monday!

In The Interest Of Overexplaining

So if you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago if I was ready for the launch of Home is Where My People Are, I would have said, “YES MA’AM.” The book page was almost finished, the pre-order stuff was ready to go, and I’d lined up three book signings for that first release week. THUMBS UP.

But around the beginning of last week, it became crystal clear that the baby, as a friend of mine called it, was gonna arrive a couple of weeks early. The book started showing up on different bookseller websites, and so this past Thursday, when I was driving to Mississippi to take Mama to a doctor’s appointment, I had a couple of phone conversations where we decided that the best thing to do was jump on the early release horse and GIDDY UP. And yes, I realize that I could have continued that whole birthing-a-baby metaphor, but I just felt like that word picture might be a little bit too vivid.

Given the slight-ish change in plans, I just wanted to take a second and let you know where the book is in stock. You can still pre-order it from your favorite retailer if it’s not in stock, of course, and whether you order or pre-order between now and January 31st, the pre-order incentives apply. The Tyndale folks have even said that if you pre-ordered a long time ago and can still find your proof of purchase somewhere in your email, you can get the freebies, too (details at the bottom of the book page).

Here’s where the paperback is in stock and shipping:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books A Million
Parable
Tyndale Direct

Here’s where the eBook is in stock and available:

Amazon
iBooks

And if you’d rather have a test drive, you can read the first chapter here.

AND THEN. If you finish reading and wouldn’t mind leaving a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or etc., that would be awesome. Unless you hate the book. Because in that case, a review wouldn’t be nearly as awesome. But by all means you respond however the Lord leads.

Last thing.

I’ve been in my hometown all weekend. I’m not really ready to write about the details of this trip (not trying to be mysterious or vague – just being honest), but so much of what I wrote about in the new book has hit me afresh in the last few days. In fact, I was thinking about the book – and the Lord, of course – when I snapped this picture at my aunt’s house last night.

Hug your people real tight.

Hope y’all are having a great weekend.

What We Have Here Are Some Special Offers

So today was the day that the book page for Home is Where My People Are went live (is that the right terminology? should I say that it dropped? that it made its debut? I have no idea.), and now that it’s up and running, I am just as tickled as I can be to point y’all in that direction. There are all sorts of little goodies there, so I will explain them at this juncture.

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(This book cover isn’t supposed to be animated or anything.)

(I just thought it would be helpful if we had a visual aid.)

1. The first fancy thing about the book page is that you can download the first chapter of the book. And really, you can download the first chapter and two chapter-ettes, because the download includes the book’s introduction. So basically what we’re talking about is twenty pages of free entertainment.

2. The book page also has some very sassy artwork that you can pin to Pinterest, share on Facebook, or just quietly admire on your computer screen while you enjoy the snack cracker of your choice.

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These are just two of the share-able prints, and I think they’re darlin’.

(Also, if you’re on Facebook, SO AM I. Just FYI because I do not mention that as much as my very wonderful publisher would like for me to mention it. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there.)

3. There are some ready-made tweets on the book page as well. TWEET AT WILL, MY FRIENDS.

4. There’s a short biography about me. I do not think by any stretch of the imagination that this is the part of the book page that will hold your interest for a very long period of time, but I feel obligated to mention it.

5. Here’s the very best part: the pre-order incentives. If you buy the book anywhere – online, in a local bookstore, in your Aunt Gertrude’s gift shop – between 1/15 and 1/31, you can email your proof of purchase to Tyndale and receive a special gift from me to you. If you buy 2 or more books between 1/15 and 1/31, you can email those proofs of purchase to Tyndale and get TWO special gifts. Details are at the bottom of the book page.

6. And here’s what we started to realize today: the book is actually in stock at lots of retailers. Some places are shipping books already. So you can FOR REAL order it – not just pre-order it – and the pre-order incentives still apply. So in some cases the pre-order incentives will actually be order incentives. ISN’T THAT FANCY?

6. I suddenly feel like I’m on The Price is Right.

7. But free gifts are fun!

8. Here are some online retailers that have the book in stock right now.

Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million

9. So. If you have a few extra minutes, head on over to the book page. Or if you’d really just like to know HOW TO GET THE FREE STUFF, you can click the box at the top of the book page to go directly to the pre-order offers.

And I’ll say it 149 times over the next few weeks, but thank y’all so much. Your support and encouragement and prayers and funny emails / tweets / comments mean the absolute world to me. I am so grateful for each one of you.

I hope y’all enjoy the book and the goodies, too!

p.s. and edited to add – If you pre-ordered the book before 1/15, you can still send your proof of purchase to the email address on the pre-order offer, and they will honor it!

Sometimes Old School Is The Best School

As a general rule I’m a huge fan of three specific things when it comes to music:

1) bands that go to the trouble to choreograph their performances

2) bands where the vocalists and musicians seem to be having as much fun the folks in the audience

3) bands that occasionally dabble in catchy covers of great songs from the 1970’s.

I ran across this video late Saturday night, and after watching it approximately 46 times over the last four days, all I have to say is this:

1) Check

2) Check

3) Check.

Please do enjoy.

Saturday Morning Catch-Up

I usually make an effort to be upbeat and positive and etc. here on the blog, but there is no getting around the fact that last night was one of the worst sleeping experiences of my life. I don’t even know why – though I vaguely remember having all kinds of sleep woes in the weeks before A Little Salty came out, so maybe book stuff is at least part of the culprit. Regardless, I will forever regard Friday, January 9, 2015 as That Night I Took A Bunch of Naps. Because SERIOUSLY. I tossed. I turned. I dreamed – OH MY WORD I DREAMED. In fact, I’m a little exhausted by the number of people who made an appearance in my dreams, not to mention the various plans and projects that we undertook (I specifically remember going to a mall, helping some folks build a barn, and attending an out-of-town wedding).

So needless to say I am terribly refreshed this morning.

Our week took a little bit of a turn on Wednesday night when Alex mentioned that his throat was hurting. I didn’t think too much of it since it’s been so cold and we’ve been running the heat non-stop and that always dries us out like crazy, so I gave him a couple of Advil and told him to get in the bed a little earlier than usual so he could rest. Well, an hour later he was complaining of chills, and then a few hours after that he woke me up to tell me that he didn’t feel well at all. Long story short, he has had a run-in with the flu, though thankfully he seems to have had one of the milder strains. He’s so much better now – just running a low-grade fever – so we have high hopes for a full recovery by Monday.

There were definitely a few bright spots in the week, though (in addition to The Bachelor season premiere, which is always a highlight in its own very unique way). For example, Tuesday afternoon I got a big ole box from UPS.

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 9.36.44 AMSo there’s that.

And I will go ahead and tell you that I’m a little in love with the cover. I can say that because I didn’t have a single thing to do with creating it. Everything about it makes me smile, and I just hope y’all like the inside as much as I like the outside.

Also, earlier this week my friend Heather and I discovered these little gems.

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If you enjoy an almond – and if you also enjoy spicy – then please know that these right here are THE BUSINESS. I have many wonderful things to say about them, so treat yourself if you run across them at the grocery store.

(I hope y’all don’t mind that I’m sort of jumping all over the place in terms of topics.)

(It wasn’t exactly what I would call a streamlined week.)

This past Wednesday was a terribly exciting day because I got some much needed highlights. It had been a while because if I waited until January I could get 20% off (it’s a promotion thingie at my salon), so I walked in Wednesday afternoon with inch-long roots and kind of a mullet situation going on with my hair.

Anyway, I took this picture because in a moment of weakness the sight of all those foils made me laugh, but after I looked at my salon selfie, I quickly changed my mind. Because what was going to be a lighthearted picture quickly became my own personal evidence of why I might need to look into some Botox and/or fillers.

imageY’ALL. Seriously. What is going on with those two eyebrows above my eyebrows? And the area underneath my eyes? And the area underneath my nose? I mean, I know that I’m supposed to see all of those things as evidence of a full, happy life (e.g., I might not have those lines above my mouth if I didn’t laugh / smile a lot), but all I could think when I saw this picture is DANG, MAMAW – you are BROKE DOWN.

So what I’m saying is that the 40s will humble you and strip you of your vanity. That is what I am telling you.

The flip side is that my hairdresser Carla cut off two inches of worthlessness, and as a result my hair looks so much better that it’s taken a little of the sting away from the DEEP CREVASSES OF DOOM on my face.

Last thing.

Earlier this week I made a quick trip to my hometown to speak to a women’s group, and when I got to town late that afternoon I had just enough time to stop by Mama and Daddy’s, change clothes, freshen up my make-up, and go over my notes before I went to the dinner.

Well.

Mama and Daddy keep their house a lot warmer than we do because, you know, they get colder than we do. I think that’s typical of lots of folks as they get into their golden years. If I’d been sitting around I would’ve been fine-ish, but since I was doing more running around what with trying to get ready and all that, I broke a sweat in something like four seconds. And by the time I was ready to go over my notes, my internal warmth factor was somewhere near MAY POSSIBLY COMBUST AND/OR SMOTHER.

I didn’t want to ask Daddy to turn down the heat since he was sitting under a blanket and Mama was wearing a fleece top, so I just decided that I’d take my Bible and my iPad outside and look over my notes there.

When I started to walk out the door, Daddy said, “Why don’t you just sit at the table? It’s really cold outside!”

And I said, “Yessir, I know.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that was the whole point.

So I went outside, and I put my iPad and my Bible on the trash can so that I could make sure I put my Bible bookmark in the right place. And then I scrolled through my notes while I silently rejoiced in the brisk January air.

imageIt was 30 degrees outside. And I am here to tell you that IT. WAS. REFRESHING.

Hope your weekend is, too.