Thursday, July 2, 2015

#2,020 Enjoy Laurel.

The slogan for Thursdays in our town is 'Enjoy Laurel' and today, we did exactly that. We didn't miss anything! When we finished up our work around 4:30, we grabbed a tote bag and walked down to the butcher shop (for bacon and jerky) and then down the block to the farmer's market:

While I was there I had my own little Sartorialist moment with this pretty girl in the cutest chambray skirt (from Urban Outfitters, she told me):

After an hour at the market spent socializing more than anything, we grabbed a quick dinner then headed to movie night to watch Back to the Future... Which was about 10 times more suspenseful than I remembered. My heart was beating out of my chest at the end—WILL GEORGE AND LORRAINE FALL IN LOVE?! WILL DOC PLUG IN THE CLOCK TOWER WIRE IN TIME?!
Mallorie had never seen it before tonight, y'all. Lucy saw it when she was almost 2, Mallorie was 29. Lucy and Big had another dance party to the Cupid Shuffle before the movie.

Great Scott!

I love this town. I really do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#2,019 Stronger + Swap.

Today was a spectacularly great day for a lot of reasons.

1. Jim and I went together to visit Mammaw this morning. Lately she's been pretty down in the dumps since she left the hospital, feeling like she "can't" do this or that with her right side weakened, though we all know her body just suffered a pretty major ordeal with the stroke and hospital stay and it just takes a little more time when you're 93 years old. Today, we didn't hear "can't" much. Because of "the therapy," she told us she's "doing good with it," then...

I can only pray for such toughness and determination.

2. We thought the AC was dead as a doornail on the apartment side at the studio and would require a new unit and lots of money. Turns out, upon further inspection, the ground wire just got disconnected. Plugged it back in, ice cold.

3. Lucky Luxe had a very busy, very big day after a pretty slow June. Woo July!

4. We went out to my parents' right in the middle of a cool front pushing through with its 70 degree breezes and dark clouds. They hung out on the breezeway with me and Ben while he washed my old Beetle...

So we could swap it out with my 2000 Beetle for the hottest summer months on the way. I had the realization tonight: I think the reason Ben and I choose old cars and old houses is because when loved and taken care of, they're the closest we'll ever get to a time machine.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#2,018 Ladies Who Lunch + Cleaned Up.

It's been so so so SO long since I got together with my 3 closest friends from high school, but somehow the stars aligned so we could have lunch today on the eve of Kandace's departure for China tomorrow. She and her family are going to bring Penny to the USA to her forever home, so she needed her fill of good crawfish pasta from Cafe La Fleur before embarking on the 3 week journey. Sara's brand new baby girl, Baylor, joined us too.  Even though it's been 12 years since Hope, Sara, Kandace and I were seniors in high school, we still agree on everything and it's like we just had lunch yesterday.
Senior year Hick Day (Kandace, Karen, Courtney, Hope, Sara and me)

I'm pretty sure that means we'll be friends until we're grey haired.

In other news, Ben and Jesse spent 6 solid hours getting the woodshop cleaned up from all the building over the last 2 months. It looks like humans could work in there now.

Monday, June 29, 2015

#2,017 Grindstone + Dance Party.

After 3 days of sleeping and laying around, today I got busy getting my real life back together by going into the office and plugging away at the new sites product lists and planning our online presence for Scotsman and Lucky Luxe Dry Goods... And I think I'm starting to get my arms around it and plant the seeds that will eventually, maybe, help me make a decision but I would love your help and opinion!

What if this blog also had an online shop where you could get things made in Laurel, and other things for your home? What if it were part of the umbrella of our other shops (stationery and Scotsman), and worked the way Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic does—in that you can shop more than one store on the same site? Would that be too crazy? Or would it be a fun way to visit? Just thinking out loud...


Sunday, June 28, 2015

#2,016 Summer Sunday.

After lunch at mama's with my family (most importantly, with John Walker!) we met Jim, Mal and Lucy at the Country Club as their guests for a little summer sun and swimming. I haven't been to this pool since I was a little child, so it felt like stepping back in time. I could imagine the exact sweet, cold, creamy crunch of a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar from the snack shop as I basked in the sun and breeze, thanks to a cool front that's pushing through this week. The only things out of place in my nostalgia trip were the presence of my burly, bearded husband and Taylor Swift playing quietly on the poolside sound system.

Also, shout out to these cotton candy sunsets we've been having nightly. My phone camera can't do it justice.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#2,015 Celebrating.

We spent the morning and afternoon celebrating the life of our friend Neal, even though it was hard to feel it when there's such a huge hole in the hearts of everyone who loved and knew him. His family are such wonderful people, and they surely made him proud today—especially Allen, their son who is stepping up and taking care of his mama, loving and helping her, in the middle of crisis. What a good man he's become. Just like his dad. So much growing up since he was one of our youth boys.

After a long, desperately needed nap, we walked right across the street to a reception celebrating our friends Daniel and Katie who were married recently and had the loveliest time.

It was a rainy rainy day and night, which led to a tent roof puddling with water until it was dangerously close to falling through on a table of guests, so good boy Ben who could reach the roof poured it off, but as he was pulling the straps tight again to prevent slack in the tent, another unseen roof puddle dumped a gallon of water right on his head.

So, still weary from the week we've had and ready for an early night at home, we walked back across the street in the rain and found a welcoming sight.

Here's hoping the new week brings rejuvenation and energy.

Please keep praying for the Holifield family, if you think about it. I know they would appreciate it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

#2,014 Recovery Mode.

Recovery looks like pajamas and hot dogs on the couch with Netflix.

It wasn't a lazy day though—we worked hard helping Ross and Laura with moving all day, then we finally cleaned up the Tahoe that's been treated like a work truck for the last 2 months. Mallorie—that little hardened puddle of Hog Heaven BBQ sauce that's been on the back floorboard since April? Outta here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#2,013 The End.

Today was the end of the biggest adventure of our lives up to now, but I think... It just might be the beginning of something really wonderful for this city. So thankful for this opportunity. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#2,012 The Longest Day.

After a brief, fitful sleep, spent glued to Ben's side, we spent today being each other's shadow. I felt distinctly attached and thankful for him in the wake of such tragedy yesterday, and constantly on the brink of tears from physical and emotional exhaustion. From sun up to way past sun down today, we worked side by side, hammering, measuring, adjusting, moving, sanding. We've been part of the greatest adventure of our lives for the last 2 months, and tomorrow is the end of this chapter. I can't wait to tell you everything. I can't wait for you to see it, friends. It's been so hard keeping this secret and every day that passes inches closer to the day we can explain why we've been so hard to get in touch with, why we haven't been at our studio, and why my blogs have been incredibly lackluster.

Tonight, we'll go to sleep with aching backs and grateful (if heavy) hearts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#2,011 Tonight He's A Happy Man.

Today was unspeakably hard. My friend Judi unexpectedly lost her beloved husband tonight. But in the family waiting room at the hospital, what she said was, "Tonight, he's with his family in heaven. He's meeting my mother for the first time. He's seeing so many people he's missed for so long. He is a very happy man right now." 

Y'all please. Please. Pray for Judi, Allen, Jenny and Carrie. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

#2,010 Passing the Torch.

Tonight we were invited to a gathering at the inn next door by Mrs. Peggy and Mr. Earl, our precious neighbors. They wanted some of us "young whippersnappers" to visit with the generation before us who have done so much for Laurel with their time and their service, and she annoucned that they were "passing the torch" to us now, and I swear I felt like I might cry. There were a couple of really heartfelt speeches, and I completely forgot to take a photo except for this one, of Ben and our sweet new friend, Kit, singing How Great Thou Art around the piano while Bill played.

And this one of me and Ben being all prom-ish that Michael texted to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#2,009 The Quirks.

Today after church, we went to my parents' house with daddy's favorite meal—Chinese takeout. It's so out of character for a man like him, to love something that doesn't involve cornmeal or turnips, but he craves the stuff. And that, like a lot of other things about my daddy, is one of those weird traits that I love.

He's the most reserved man you're liable to meet, unless you were to ask him to sing a Conway Twitty song, which he will happily do—no matter who is watching (acapella if he has to). Goodbye Time, if he gets to choose the song.

He doesn't find much to be funny, except the Naked Gun movies, the Three Stooges and The Royal Tenenbaums.

He's very committed to fitness—working out almost daily to maintain heart health and a strong body, but he never skimps on a good greasy burger or fried fish.

He isn't impressed by status or wealth or celebrity in the least. If you want to impress him, talk to him about American history or theology, and know your stuff.

He doesn't complain about much. He doesn't care for air conditioning or technology, and he'd rather spend a day working in the cornfield than a day in an office.

He's one of the first doctors of physical therapy in the state of Mississippi, but never uses the title "Dr." when referring to himself.

To those who don't know him well, he may seem a little stony and reserved. But to me, he's a man who blushes when his daughter brags on him and hugs his neck, who would sway with her as a toddler and quietly sing My Girl to her. While I inherited my mama's tender heart and creativity, I inherited every ounce of daddy's quirkiness, I'm proud to say. The quirks are what a make a person memorable, right?

Happy Father's Day, daddy. Even though I know you won't read this. Technology, you know.

Also, enjoy this beautiful instagram post written by our friend Micah of Old Try. It made me cry this morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#2,008 Social Media Morale + The Thoms Wedding.

Two things happened in my social media-sphere (which everyone knows isn't real life, but it sure makes you feel good when this sort of thing happens): Southern Living posted about our Old Try collaboration on their facebook page tonight. If you are a Southerner, you know the reverence this elicits cannot be overstated.

And Michael Kobold, James Gandolfini's best friend, who retrieved his body from Rome after his death and made custom timepieces for the cast of The Sopranos, followed me on instagram today. As a huge James Gandolfini fan, the starstruck effect this had on me cannot be overstated.

In more important, real life news, our dear friend Dave, a beloved part of our supper club and Sunday school class, who is exactly one decade older than Ben (almost to the minute) married the love of his life today. He and Marcia found each other a little later in life and knew pretty much right away it was forever. This is their first (and only!) wedding, and the cheering crowd when the priest declared them husband and wife might as well have been a football game. Everyone just felt so overjoyed by their love for each other.

Marcia looked so beautiful and so elegant and so glowy—it made me want to cry. Incidentally, she was my sister-in-law Amanda's babysitter as a child, so I've always had tender feelings toward her.

And Robby Scruggs photobombed us real good.

And they lived happily ever after.

Friday, June 19, 2015

#2,007 Porch Party.

My mama was gracious enough to host a party for us since our outdoor areas don't really accommodate a huge group. Everyone had such a fun time and there was an endless supply of daddy's fried fish which was a hit with our northerner friends who are here for a few days.

It was sweaty out there, but really fun parties like this make it more tolerable.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#2,006 Mama, Michael, Lisa, Sara, and Chase.

Today was one of those days where God made sure I was aware that He loves me, and puts certain people in my life on a daily basis to meet some need, express the urgings He's put in my heart that I can't quite understand by myself, and  He lets me know I'm on the right path, that I am following Him even when it's hard to know for sure.

1. Mama 
She spent the entire day with me, helping me get through this monster to-do list that's attached to this particular season of life (more to the point—this particular week of my life). She knows all the things I do not know, she makes chores feel like fun because we got to do them together. She also knows how to make a gorgeous hanging basket of flowers, when to change the AC filter, how to sew curtains out of hardware store dropcloths, and how to make the world's best pecan pie among a million other things a girl needs a mama to teach her.

2. Michael
Michael is a brand new friend, brought here by our very crazy and exciting circumstances who has been a comfort to me in the middle of so much other newness—he's a kind of anchor, so softspoken and kind, and his job, regretfully thankless oftentimes, makes mine so much easier. He sewed me the most beautiful tote from an antique cotton seed bag because he knows how much I love red, type and blue!

3. Lisa & Sara
I can't begin to explain the alchemy that happens between these two women who do not know each other and have never met, not once, not even via social media. Both their eyes will read these words as they're both regular visitors here, and that's kind of like the analogy that we're all looking up at the same moon, though we never know that at the time, do we? Their existence in my life feels sort of like cheating to me—like when God needs to tell me something, to soothe my worried heart or mind, these two women ALWAYS reach out to me, out of the blue, without prompting, with the same question: "Are you okay today? You're on my heart, big time." And they've never been wrong. They've never asked me that question when life is easy street, without a care in the world. They ALWAYS are there with words that tell my heart the thing it needs to hear in times of fear or distress, the words that teach me how to proceed with the plan that God has laid out for me, with the verses in the Bible I need to study. It scares me how it happens every time, and I hope (and wonder!) if you each have at least one of those people in your life whose gift for discernment and knowing are so eerily on point, you never have to feel adrift for long. The right advice always comes. Lisa, Sara, here you are—the only photos I have on this computer of us together. Now it's like we're all together, right?
Me and Lisa, when she visited me in October (L), me and Sara at our senior prom (R)

4. Chase
Chase is a regular visitor here, too. He worked in the student media center at Ole Miss alongside Ben and I in college, and though we never really knew each other then, now we communicate via email and I feel very sad we weren't friends then. He and his wife have suffered a tremendous tragedy in recent months with the loss of their newborn son, and my heart broke for them when I heard the news. Tonight, he sent me an email that made me feel distinctly grateful for the internet and how it connects us genuinely, even if we can't be there for someone in the flesh. And I'm thankful for Hope, who gave me Streams in the Desert all those years ago. It's my all-time favorite book that I've given to every person in my life in times of need since it's filled with so much love from our Father, with so much light for people going through dark moments. If you don't have it, you should get it. You will need it someday, and someone in your life will need it too. And when you give it to them, it could be the very thing their heart needs in that moment.

Life is really a strange and wonderful flurry of accidents that are not accidents, of people who will be part of your story briefly but meaningfully, and people who may be there the entire way. Isn't that hard to grasp?
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