Monday, October 20, 2014

#1,768 Busy and Cozy.

It was such a very long, busy, great day at the studio and all over town.

I had meetings with Laurel Main Street and city hall and website issues and new orders and shipping confusion (that was resolved quickly, thankfully) and by 6:30, I was totally whooped. Mallorie stopped by the patch and bought some grey pumpkins and dried corn stalks this afternoon but left them in the back of Ben's truck so we delivered them after work and I snapped this photo of their most delightful porch after she got it all set up:

Then we met up with the usuals + Ross and Laura at Sweet Peppers for hot soup out on the patio.

And it took every last ounce of energy to greet Ben's mama at our house, take a hot bath and get into my flannel pajamas for a mug of Honeycomb and Friday Night Lights. And in case you ever wondered what I think of when I think about the way home feels—this is it.

Ben's mama is staying here tonight on her way to the coast to help out Sam and the kids since Lyn will be going into the hospital for major surgery for her gastroparesis on Wednesday. I know she's feeling very anxious today and tomorrow, and would so appreciate if you could send a prayer up for them in the coming days. Brooke—I know we can count on you!

We got the VERY good news that our beloved young adult class leader and mama hen, Mrs. Ina, after being diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma a few months ago and undergoing several rounds of chemo, is now in remission and cancer free. We're all so thankful we could bust!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#1,767 Sunshine Sunday.

It was just one of the best Sundays you could ask for. We were in another cool snap, with brisk breezes and tons of sunshine. We went to church, we had lunch on the porch, we stayed outside.

 We had a cookout and ultimate frisbee in Gardiner Park for youth.

We watched The Walking Dead and Friday Night Lights with our friends, we ate too much, we stayed up too late for me to write anything meaningful because my brain feels foggy. We had fun. I hope you spent plenty of time outside this weekend, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#1,766 Parade Marshal + Mama's Family Birthday.

Well, so. The executive director of the alumni foundation at our junior college called a few weeks ago to invite me to be the grand marshal of the homecoming parade.

And I, of course, said "Sure! How FUN!" I have no idea why they asked me of all people to do it—I'm not a pro football player alum or even a beauty queen. I sell wedding invitations. But alas, the school meant so much to Ben and I that I'd be tickled to do anything they ask me to.

We woke up bright and early and got a little fancy:

Then headed to the alumni brunch which was all created by the culinary arts students, and designed and decorated by the hospitality students. How cool and (impressive!?) is that?

Soon, it was time to report to my car for the parade line up.

We made the short trip through campus and around downtown and back. And along the way we passed every spot from the week we fell in love and it made my heart ache for that time and place all over again: the student union where he first put his arm around me—that electric feeling of being touched by the biggest crush of your life, the 4 way stop by the snow cone stand where he leaned over the armrest to give me our first kiss, the grassy tree-framed lot where his creaky old grey house once stood where we first said "I love you,"  And then I had the shocking realization that even though we aren't 19 and 21 anymore, the best thing about that week is still here. It never left. This version is so much better, because I'm wearing his wedding ring riding in the back of a car that has both our names on the title and sharing everything in my life with that same boy who (at some point) became an honest-to-goodness man. Even though we're a little older now, we're still the same. Still hopelessly stuck on one another. Thank God for that.

After the hooplah of the parade, we stopped into the old (since 1886!) soda fountain pharmacy downtown for coffee and a Coke, where Ben would go daily before work during his college job at the upholstery shop:
Then went home to do some yard work in continued efforts to fluff up our tiny lot and humble abode for the TV folks (coming in just 10 days!), I baked a red velvet birthday cake for mama and we went out to the country for her family only birthday party.
 John Walker is walking all over the place!

Clark and I gave her some goodies from the antique mall:

We got the fire pit going as the night air got chilly down in the 60s, and cozied up on the porch sofas and adirondacks to watch Ole Miss beat Tennessee, making us 7-0 and probably boosting us to number 2 in the country! I'm so sorry, Lora! I know how it feels. The way y'all felt tonight is usually us—like... Every single year. Every dog (or rebel) has its day, I reckon.

It was another great Saturday to live in the SEC. Mississippi forever.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#1,765 Real Friends.

I was sitting at my desk in the middle of typing a sentence to one of my brides when I got a text from Lisa. It said:
I knew it was for me. Her loving husband calls me Pretend Friend, because we've never actually met in person. And I was disoriented at the sight of our church in her message. I did not understand. And then I understood. And I called her, frantically. And she told me she and her family were in the pumpkin patch. They had made a surprise detour on their way home to Indiana from the beach.

And y'all. My heart exploded.

Here's the thing—we've been friends now for almost 2 years. We write, we call, we text—almost daily, certainly weekly. She's my greatest faith mentor—always swooping in at the moment I'm worried the most with a message straight from the heart of my Father. She's been a comfort to me in ways she can't imagine, a few years older than me, a few steps ahead of me in the life journey—shining the light for me to see that it's wonderful up ahead. I've always felt like she's maybe this cousin who just lives far away so we never get to see each other. I always figured we would talk like this forever, and maybe by the time one of her beautiful daughters gets married I'll make that trip up and meet them all in person once and for all. But that still doesn't feel real, does it?

And all of a sudden, it was real. Lisa was here! She could throw a rock and hit my shop! I hung up and raced down the stairs. I left everything. The email, my purse, the unlocked door. I just ran. I bumped straight into the mayor as I rounded corner from Oak Street to 5th Avenue, and I laughed at the fact that he had no idea where I was going or why I was nearly in tears with a huge smile on my face. I found she and her 4 precious children and Doug there, in our pumpkin patch. They had tiny pumpkins in their hands—souvenirs from their trip through Mississippi. We ran to each other with hugs. She introduced me to everybody, even though I knew them long before they knew me.

We walked around the neighborhood, to my house for the kids to meet our dogs. Meg, the littlest one, held my hand everywhere we walked and I felt like "Well, I must have done something right." Ben finally arrived and gave everyone their first-ever round of peach Nehis. We played with the dogs, we walked over to the museum to see the world's (second) smallest handmade basket. We stepped inside the pretty episcopal chapel, which Meg felt sure she'd seen in the movie Frozen. Soon, they had to get back on the road, and we were no longer pretend friends.

There was nothing awkward about finally meeting Lisa. Like I said, it seemed like we've known each other forever. And now, we've got to plan our trip north to visit them in Hoosier land.

Today was the best surprise ever.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#1,764 Boots + Pancakes.

Today was sort of tough. We're both feeling spread pretty thin this week with all of our work commitments and getting the house and yard fluffed up for our impending visitors. There's not a lot to say today outside of:

The cheapo Just Fab boots came in. And I think they're pretty fab. The sherpa sheds inside, but otherwise... I think they're gonna work.

After a really long work day, we had a late supper at Cracker Barrel with Josh and Em where a couple of hot, buttery pancakes and corn muffins smoothed right over the stress. Per usual, Ben got stuck in the black hole that is the Cracker Barrel store.
The end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#1,763 Happy Birthday, Mama.

Today, my little mama turned 59 years old and some of her best friends threw a birthday lunch for her at Cafe La Fleur and invited me secretly as the "surprise" guest. Even though I'm just a block away at work, it was fun to show up and see how she smiled at the surprise of it.
Mrs. Melinda organized that we would each write a poem for her, since mama always writes a funny little personal poem for all of her nearest and dearest on their birthdays. We each had to read ours out loud:
I'm no poet, but I tried my best to think of the right words. Saturday we're having her family birthday party/Ole Miss homecoming throw down, so I saved her gifts for then.

Just some pictures of the neighborhood this morning, feeling all fallish. I love the museum's brand new sign! So stately!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#1,762 Fall Work Day.

Gosh it was a pretty day out there. That storm was worth it because today there were big breezes that gave me goosebumps. I did not turn on the AC at the studio for the first time in months (well except for last week when it completely died and we had to replace the whole unit and it was off by force—not by choice—it was expensive and sweaty and you like the way I didn't mention it here? Yeah—not the best thing that day), I just threw open the windows and let the wind ruffle my papers.

I wore my favorite old boots. BOOTS! Because it was sorta cold out there!

I had a plein air lunch on the sidewalk at the deli downstairs with Ben and Josh while I did a little branding research for a client. We had creamy chicken and rice soup with a shared grilled pimiento and cheese BLT:

We arranged our front porch pumpkins tonight...

And I think I need a few more. Don't you?

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