For Clarification And Hopefully Your Enjoyment

Hello, good people of the interwebs –

First of all, I still don’t have adequate words for what happened in Orlando. But I pray for the victims’ families and loved ones, for the first responders, for the investigators, for the medical personnel – the list goes on and on. It’s all so surreal and horrific. Be near, Lord.

Second of all, I took this picture at the beach, and to me it’s what life feels like sometimes. But it’s also a good reminder that somehow the light always finds a way to shine in the darkness.

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Third of all, here is a completely unrelated assortment of thoughts and also topics.

– If you participated in the BOGO pre-order for Giddy Up, Eunice, here are a few points of clarification:

1. The free copy will come from LifeWay, not Amazon or Barnes & Noble or etc.

2. If you pre-ordered, you should have either uploaded your receipt at giddyupeunice.com OR emailed it to giddyupeunice@gmail.com.

3. If you submitted your receipt, you should have gotten an email from LifeWay to confirm your mailing address.

4. If you submitted your receipt and didn’t get an email from LifeWay, check your spam folder.

5. If you still have no idea why you haven’t received that extra copy (or the other pre-order offers), email giddyupeunice@gmail.com, and they can help you!

Thanks so much for your pre-orders! Y’all are awesome.

– The Tonys. Yes ma’am. Outstanding. I was so hoping that Leslie Odom, Jr. would win Best Actor; I figured that Lin-Manuel Miranda would get plenty of recognition in other categories, and as the narrator of Hamilton, Leslie Odom, Jr. carries that show on his shoulders. So, when Aaron Burr, Sir was announced as the winner, I screamed and clapped my hands to the point that you’d have thought I had something to do with it.

And then yesterday, I saw this video of the Hamilton cast watching the awards backstage. It speaks volumes (this is a Facebook video, so it may not show up on mobile devices).

– And The Color Purple? COME ON, NOW. Incredible performance. Made me cry.

– I also saw Gayle King interview Leslie Odom, Jr., and it’s super interesting (or at least it is if you’ve been listening to the cast recording for the last eight-ish months). :-) (Also a Facebook video.)

– If you’ve read Giddy Up, Eunice – or even if you haven’t – and you’ve thought, Gosh, I sure would love a practical resource to help me connect younger and older women in my church, and you’ve thought, Gosh, I sure would love a practical resource to help me connect younger and/or older women in my church, HERE’S ONE. :-) I can’t think of a better teacher than Jan Morton, and wouldn’t this be a fun way to get to know some people?

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– Speaking of Eunice (a different one), did y’all know that there’s a Carol Burnett Show YouTube Channel? IT IS A GIFT. A TREASURE.

– The Big Boo Cast now has its own Facebook page – with, I might add, a very low-resolution photograph of Melanie and me from approximately 2013. IT IS SO FANCY. And obviously, we would love for you to join us there. We’ll talk about things and stuff and whatnot.

Hope y’all are having a good week!

Giddy Up, Hamilton

So first of all. Yes. Giddy Up, Eunice came out this past Tuesday. I went to Nashville on Monday to film / video (not exactly sure what terminology applies) a conversation with some friends (I think it’ll be out Sunday night, but I’ll know for sure sometime tomorrow). I got home in time to take Alex and one of his buddies to lacrosse, and then D and I met for supper while we waited for practice to be over. In the past I have had Big Book Release Feelings, but this time has been a little different. Mostly, save a few bouts of nerves, I’ve felt an unexpected sense of peace about Eunice, and I’ve probably enjoyed this book launch more than any other. So that’s been delightful.

I’ve also been super excited about the fact that the Tony Awards are this Sunday night because, well, Hamilton. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned one or nine times that I listened to the Hamilton cast album over and over and over while writing the last 2/3 of Eunice, so they’re forever connected in my mind.

SO. I thought I’d post some of my favorite (and recent) Hamilton-related links as sort of a warm-up for the Tonys. Think of this as some really enjoyable light stretching – with the occasional musical accompaniment.

1) Leslie Odom, Jr. – “Wait for It”

I think this is pretty much beyond gorgeous.

2) “We Wrote an Algorithm to Unravel the Rhymes of Hit Musical Hamilton” – WSJ.com

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And may I just say?

It. is. awesome.

This is the sort of nerdery that makes my heart sing.

3) Hamilton Paper Dolls

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I mean, might as well.

For the kids, of course.

4) Hamilaria

It’s a real thing.

Ask me how I know.

5) Lin Manuel Miranda Carpool Karaoke

I saw this for the first time Tuesday morning. And when it was over, I bawled my eyes out.

Granted, maybe I was experiencing some book emotions.

But Audra McDonald? COME ON. Fantastic.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Hobbling Into Summer Ever-So-Happily

Last week was full of end-of-school activities. Alex got promoted from 6th grade to 7th grade, I proctored some exams, and Alex finished his last day of elementary school. I can’t really think about that last thing for very long without getting teary-eyed, and with me it’s not as much about the Sunrise, Sunset-ness of it all as it is about looking back at the phenomenal teachers he has had every single year. He was at the same school from K4 through 6th grade, and it was the sweetest experience every single year – not because it was always super-easy/breezy, but because his teachers knew him and loved him. They faithfully taught him through his successes and through his failures, and I have to stop talking about it now or I’ll just get up in the bed and cry and watch the Southern Charm marathon that’s currently on Bravo. But suffice it to say that we are so, so thankful.

Here he is the summer after kindergarten…

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…and here is before 6th grade promotion.

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Have mercy the years in between have been fun.

SO.

Because we love us some Mississippi State baseball, we moved straight from 6th grade promotion to our favorite event of the whole year – the SEC Baseball Tournament. My friend Daph and her older son, Davis, came into town to watch some baseball with us, and we had a blast even though the Bulldogs didn’t win the tournament this year (yay for the Aggies, though). The only hitch in our baseball fun was that I broke my foot the night of State’s first game (I know. It’s ridiculous. Same foot as the leg injury from a year and a half ago.), but I have to say that if you hurt your foot, the SEC tournament is a fine place to be (I tripped walking into the tournament Wednesday night and rolled my foot in my unsuccessful attempt to keep my balance). A friend of mine who works for the SEC got a trainer (hey, Jake!) (thanks, Jake!) to look at my foot, and that is how I ended up getting x-rays on the lower level of the Hoover Met and finding out that I fractured the bone beneath my pinky toe.

At some point in my life I’m going to be graceful. It hasn’t happened yet, but I have high hopes that one day it will.

ANYWAY, Jake put me in a boot, I stayed to watch the Dogs beat Bama, and all things considered it was sort of a non-event, the broken foot. I went to the doctor the next day, and he told me that while this particular injury can take a little while to heal, it’s typically not very painful after a few days. Hooray for that. We went back to the tournament later that afternoon and had an absolute blast despite the fact that the Bulldogs lost; it was one of my favorite nights in a long time, in fact. SO MUCH LAUGHING. It was after midnight by the time the game was over, and Alex was as delirious (and hilarious) as I’ve ever seen him. It was all so ordinary and just THE BEST. Yay, summertime.

THEN.

Sister and Barry came to town on Friday, and we had the most relaxing weekend. We hung out at the house, went out for a couple of meals, hunted for shoes (that was just Sister and me, and really, I was just moral support since my need for cute summer shoes has really taken a nosedive in the last week), and enjoyed not having to be anywhere in particular. Last night Sister hung new curtains in Alex’s room while I supervised / tried to pretend like I could be any help whatsoever, and at some point I need to post before and after pictures because GOOD GRIEF at the difference. The wall behind Alex’s bed only has one window, and it’s on the left side of the wall, so I’d had the idea to fake a second window by hanging curtains across the whole wall behind his bed. IT WORKED. Sister hung the curtains last night, and my only regret is that I didn’t have the idea sooner. I love the way it turned out.

Today Sister and Barry drove home to Nashville, and I plopped myself on the couch and spent most of the day reading. It was glorious. Then I cooked supper, plopped myself on the couch again to write this blog post, and a little while ago Hazel came in here to keep me company.

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Summer vacation, as always, seems to have arrived right on time.

And today in particular, we remember the men and women who have bravely served and sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We pray for their families.

We are grateful.

Happy Summer, y’all.

We (Really) Are The (Regular Season) Champions

So, I don’t know if y’all are aware of this or not, but there are these things called grocery stores, and you can walk inside them and select food with your very own hands. Then, after you buy the food, you can take it home and COOK ACTUAL MEALS.

It is a wonder, y’all.

And no kidding: today was the first time I have stepped foot in a grocery store in at least three weeks. I have pretty much worn out our Shipt membership just trying to keep my head above water in the midst of end-of-school stuff and family stuff and book stuff and I-really-need-to-watch-college-baseball stuff. But today I went to the store and bought all manner of produce and fruit and enjoyable breakfast options (we have company coming later this week), and then tonight, after I got A. off to lacrosse practice, I pan-seared some fish and roasted sweet potatoes (and some asparagus, too) and cooked a pot of yellow rice. David must have thought he’d gotten our house confused with someone else’s, because lately this has not been a place where much cooking happens. Tonight, though, was better. And I have everything I need to cook supper tomorrow night, too.

WE’RE ON A ROLL, PEOPLE!

Also: THIS HAPPENED.

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Mississippi State won the SEC regular season championship in baseball!

As you can imagine, this development was the cause of some celebration at our house. And please know that when I say “some celebration,” what I am telling you is that I yelled so loudly that I frightened the dog.

It was so fun – something that hasn’t happened since I was in college, in fact. And since I’ve been able to watch most of the Bulldogs’ games this season (thanks, SEC Network!), I think it’s safe to say that I’m, um, significantly invested in the 2016 Diamond Dogs. So is Sister, for that matter. And we have had the best time texting and tweeting and watching and hollering (and, in Sister’s case, whistling) this season.

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This is a team with some bona fide, certified characters, y’all. And they are so much fun to watch.

Needless to say, we’ll be at the SEC Tournament this week with (cow)bells on.

(Don’t worry. I’m not taking my cowbell to a baseball game.)

(But I did sneak it in for the championship game four years ago. It was glorious.)

Other than all that excitement, we’re pretty much just gearing up for summertime fun around here. Alex is doing lacrosse again this summer, so I’m already looking forward to burning his cleats because they already smell like hot garbage and it’s not even July yet. This topic really deserves its own separate discussion, but it’s late and I just can’t round up the mental energy to problem-solve a cleats situation where the odor can only be described as “profound.”

I honestly didn’t know that specific smell existed until I smelled it. And now I can’t un-smell it. Which is a big part of the problem.

ALSO, Giddy Up, Eunice arrived at our house today in the form of a whole bunch of boxes. I guess Eunice’s giddy up got her to Alabama, at least, and we sure were excited to see her.

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The buy-one-get-one offer is over, but there are still all sorts of pre-order goodies up for grabs.

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And y’all? Recording that podcast with Martha? It was one of the highlights of 2016 for me. No joke. JUST DELIGHTFUL. She was so funny and cute and thoughtful; I’m SO grateful that she was game for some podcasting. (And OF COURSE we talked about jackets; YOU SHOULD EXPECT NO LESS.)

All righty. I need to go to bed since tomorrow is CHOCK FULL. But I hope y’all had a great weekend, and I hope there are no stinky cleats in your house, and I hope the Bulldogs win their first game of the SEC tournament and I’m sorry if that’s a little selfish but I HAVE A LOT OF BASEBALL FEELINGS RIGHT NOW.

The end.

A Good Bit Of Giddy-ing

First of all, I hope the predicted stormy weather will go ahead and move into Birmingham in the next hour or so because Hazel is on HIGH ALERT. Every little rumble of thunder sends her into watchdog mode because CAREFUL OR THE SKY WILL ATTACK US ALL, and I don’t think my nerves would mind the opportunity to SIMMER ON DOWN.

Second of all, I have been dealing with a sinus infection / barking cough all week, and the current state of my voice might cause you to think that my preferred snack for the last 20-odd years has been a pack of Marlboro Reds along with a bottomless mug of scalding black coffee.

Basically I am one of Homer Simpson’s sisters.

Third of all, how are y’all? Delightful, I hope.

We are officially in the wind-down part of the school year, which means I find it nearly impossible to get out of bed in the mornings. As soon as I hear my alarm, my first thought is typically this:

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Somehow, though, we will power through, and one day in the not-so-distant future I will turn off that alarm and LO, I WILL SAVOR SOME SLEEP.

Anyhoo.

It occurred to me earlier tonight that I had neglected to share some important book-related news here on the blog. So here it is.

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All you have to do is pre-order Giddy Up, Eunice from your favorite retailer, then go back to the Giddy Up website and upload a picture / screenshot / PDF that confirms your purchase. You can also download the first chapter and GET TO READIN’.

So. That is all of my news. I hope y’all have the best weekend.

And please, by all means, giddy up.

Hey There, May

We’re in that part of the school year where I really don’t know where the weeks go. It seems like it was March last week, and now somehow it’s May. I kind of feel like time is mocking me.

Okay. That might have been a tiny bit dramatic. But spring is no joke on the activity front, is it?

Plus – and I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this or not, so if I’m repeating myself, forgive me – but I’ve been recording the audio versions of all three books. We’ve mostly had to do the recording late in the afternoons and on the occasional non-lacrosse Saturday. We’ve finished the first two (in fact, A Little Salty… is available now), and I’m almost finished with Giddy Up, Eunice. At some point I’ll tell you about how the timing of re-reading the books has been sort of bittersweet (and you’ll also understand more about why if you read the new one), but I am very grateful to have been able to record the audio versions – for a whole bunch of reasons.

And probably the very best part of the audio stuff is getting to meet and hang out with Don, Betty, and Tyler at the studio where I’ve been recording. Don and Betty are both from Mississippi; they’re probably ten years younger than my parents, and they are the SWEETEST PEOPLE. Don sounds like DJs used to sound when I was growing up and everybody listened to their local DJ from 6-10 at night, and Betty is so sweet and fun and smart (she plays bridge a few times a week and loves to talk about current events). Tyler is a musician who also works at the studio, and LORD, BLESS HIM, for he has had to listen to way-too-many-stories about my family and my friends and my thoughts about television. Tyler also turns the AC down for me in the afternoons so that the room where I record can get nice and cool before we have to shut the door, so I am forever indebted to him for that act of service alone.

The only downside of the whole process is that it’s made me LOATHE the sound of my own voice even more than usual (I don’t have to hear myself EVER AGAIN, THANKS), but I’m gonna be sad when I’m finished, which will probably be in the next week or so.

I am also gonna be sad when this year’s seniors graduate at school, but we won’t talk about that right now because DENIAL. IT IS HELPFUL WITH THE FEELINGS.

(Last weekend I spoke at a luncheon for the senior girls.)

(To my credit, I only had to fight back tears twice and only cried openly once.)

(This was nothing short of miraculous.)

The other big development around here is that we very unexpectedly bought a new couch this past weekend. I mean, we had talked about how we’d like to get a new couch since the last one we bought – a gray one – turned out to be HORRIBLE in terms of fabric and construction quality, but we knew we were going to have to find a great deal because, well, sofas are expensive. There was definitely some tension between the gray sofa and me, though, because while our sixteen year-old sofa still looks great, that four year-old gray one looks like I attached the cushions to the back of a truck and dragged them down the street.

This was a simpler time for the gray sofa. It was also a less-frayed and less-worn time. And a time when the piping wasn't poking out of the sofa cushions.

This was a simpler time for the gray sofa. It was also a less-frayed and less-worn time. And a time when the piping wasn’t poking out of the sofa cushions.

So this past Saturday we went to my FAVORITE store in all of Birmingham so that I could pick out a birthday gift for my friend Kasey. The store is called At Home, and they have such a great selection of china and furniture and linens and basically all things decorative. They also have really great inexpensive jewelry, and it’s my favorite place to stock up on trendy bracelets / earrings / necklaces because their prices are so good. Anyway, I was with my fellas because we’d been at UAB graduation earlier that morning, so I asked if they wanted to run in the store with me.

Much to my surprise, they agreed.

When we walked in At Home, I made a beeline for the jewelry and accessories while David and Alex made a loop around the store. After about ten minutes David walked over to where I was in the jewelry section, and he said, “Hey – I think I’ve found a sofa? And I think it looks like our house? Will you come look at it?”

Almost nineteen years of marriage, y’all, and this was the first time my husband has asked me to look at a sofa. So I put down the jewelry I was looking at, and I high-tailed it over to that sofa. YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE I DID.

And oh my goodness – I loved it instantly. I could tell that the quality was really good just from the way the pillows and cushions looked, and when I sat on it? YES MA’AM. It was so comfortable, and while I thought it was a little unusual that it was all the same fabric – every single part of it covered in a paisley pattern that reminds me so much of my friend Laura’s living room sofa back in the 70s – I agreed with David that it would look great it our house.

About that time one of the ladies who works in At Home came over to talk to us, and she explained that the couch was supposed to be leather with pillows in the paisley, but somehow it got ordered wrong and ended up being paisley all over. She said they moved it out to the floor and priced it to sell, knowing that it would have to find the right family with the right kind of house (I realize, by the way, that this is turning into an epic tale, but this story makes me happy), and we explained to her that we live in a house built in 1974. Groovy can handle a whole lot of pattern, you know.

Well, at some point in all of our talking I noticed the price tag, and I honest-to-goodness thought that I was seeing it wrong. So I asked the salesperson about it, and she said that was really the price since it wasn’t what they’d intended to order. And get this: it was the exact same brand as the sofa we bought sixteen years ago – but the new sofa sales price was less than half of what we paid for sofa #1 way back in 2000. It was a DEAL.

After a few minutes of discussion / problem solving, we figured out that we could move the gray sofa into the den off of the kitchen (we sit in there all the time, so the gray sofa will still get lots of use). Then I looked at David, and he looked at me, and I said, “SOLD?”

He said, “SOLD.”

We were both so tickled – D because HE FOUND IT, and me because we both LOVED IT.

She came home today. She’s a lot of look but PERFECT in our living room. And for right now I’m calling her Kasey’s Birthday Sofa. Because thanks to Kasey’s birthday, we found the most comfortable piece of furniture we have ever owned.

You’ll be happy to know that I also found a birthday present for Kasey.

So see? That just all worked out beautifully.