– freshly roasted coffee from small-batch roasters
– the Salty Dog from B. T. McElrath
– surprises in the mail from those near and dear to me (reference said Salty Dog and fab coffee mug)
That ‘Coffee Hound’ part? True story.
– Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner
– One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
– Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self & Society by Jay Bakker and Martin Edlund
– Bossypants by Tina Fey
– The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge
– Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart by Becca Stevens and The Women of Magdalene
– The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele
– House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home by Mark Richard
– Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community by Enuma Okoro
– The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond
– Making Sense of Scripture: Big Questions About the Book of Faith by David J. Lose
– Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
– It’s Really All About God: How Islam, Atheism, and Judaism Made Me a Better Christian by Samir Selmanovic
– Discover What You’re Best At by Linda Gale
– Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters’ Guide to Shooting from the Heart by Shutter Sisters
– I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
– Juxtapoz Photography by Diana Weber
– The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I’m also knee-deep in these right now:
– In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
– The Long Goodbye: A memoir by Meghan O’Rourke
– The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement by Tony Jones
– My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman
– The Promise of Despair: The Way of the Cross as the Way of the Church (Living Theology) by Andrew Root
– The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner
Since we’re a little over halfway thru the year, I thought I would share my favorite albums of 2011 thus far. Meaning, new music I enjoy that was released this year. The top three are my very favorites. Otherwise, they’re in no particular order.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Over the Rhine – The Long Surrender
Gillian Welch – The Harrow and the Harvest
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Lucinda Williams – Blessed
Drive-By Truckers – Go Go Boots
The Decemberists – The King is Dead
Death Cab for Cutie – Codes & Keys
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Today would have been my mom’s seventieth birthday. These last few days, I’ve found myself wondering what the last nineteen years would have been like, and who she would be today, had her story here on earth ended differently. That’s not to say that her legacy doesn’t live on in me, and in my brothers. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, that I don’t miss her fiercely.
Today I wonder:
…would green still be her favorite color?
…would she still have the ever-present glass of iced tea within arm’s reach?
…could she ever get enough of the three little bitty Cliffords?
…would theological differences be a hard line in the sand?
…would she still be sneaking into construction-in-progress houses on her evening walks, trying to imagine what the finished product would look like?
…what would be the winner in her Garden & Gun Ultimate Southern Food Bracket?
Yes, there are stories I never heard, and stories that I’ll never know the true endings to that I wonder about. But mostly I wonder about the un-lived mundane details that strung together make a life.
In Tennessee, the daffodils are blooming now. By this time, my mom would have made her way out to the country, to what we called ‘one of the old home places’ – a former family property with only the remains of a crumbly foundation, maybe only a few bricks left – to cut some daffodils (or buttercups as we called them) that still bloomed there. One of the ways she always welcomed spring. Think I’ll track down some grocery store daffodils today.
Happy birthday, Mom.
Not just any pulled pork BBQ, but Chester County BBQ. Most BBQ nowadays is cooked in an electric smoker. But you can’t beat real BBQ that was cooked whole hog over an open hickory pit.
In 1992 I was living in Birmingham and I took some friends home with me to Tennessee for the weekend. After going to my favorite hamburger joint in the world, my dad decided that everyone needed to see how real BBQ came into being. So, we hauled everyone to Jack’s Creek to check out a BBQ operation. He asked if we could go out back so he could show my friends how BBQ was made. We filed out the screen door to watch the guy in the pit pulling BBQ off the hog and putting it into those little red and white checkered trays. This seemed totally natural to me. No health code, no OSHA regulations, just down-home BBQ. My dad was so proud of this, and bought some for us to take home. Apparently the portly dude in the white undershirt with sweat dripping off of his nose back onto the hog was too much for my friends, and they never tasted it. Me, on the other hand? I would almost get in my car now and drive across the country for a pound of that sweat-infested slow cooked pulled pork. Pulled from around the ribs, of course.
|The two formerly known as the Little People. I’ve known these two since birth. So fun to get to take them to dinner and to see Despicable Me tonight.|
4 year-old niece and I are out on our one-on-one outing, which is becoming a tradition when I visit. We’re headed to a coffee shop and bookstore. I see a cupcake shop, which is famous for its cupcakes and pull in.
Me: Here’s a cupcake shop! Do you want to go in?
4 year-old: Can we get a cupcake?
4 year-old: Then, yes.
We’re sitting at the bar, enjoying our cupcakes when she says, “My life’s really fun.”
I want THAT kind of joy.