Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Sweet, Sweet, South


Not long ago, as a little Christmas gift to myself, I bought the book My South by Robert St. John. First of all, the book is full of fun little one liners that only Southerners can truly appreciate. Things like "My South uses knives and forks, but biscuits and corn bread finish the job." Second of all, you all know I eat this stuff up...

Here's a poem by Christine Carr from the book:


In my South, there is a spirit, a holy spirit that


heals old wounds, melts the heart,


and brings all people together.


It's that spirit that is the source of our progress.


We are moving - we are moving forward, you know.


And now that we are moving and


We've got all this progress and that's great.


But you know, I can still have my front porch,


my sweet tea, and that good home cookin' -


even on a low-carb diet.


We can hold on to the beauty of this


old, old place, as we're moving.


We are moving forward and we are moving forward together.



I love this. One of the things I like the most about the South is that it is a place that sort of stands still in time. We are really good at preserving our culture, which I think is so important. You can't know where you're going until you know where you came from.


With that being said, I also think it's important that we move on. Let's face it, this is an amazing place, but it has a sorted history. It's a well known fact that the South is by no means perfect. We need to let go of as much of our history as we should hold on to, which I think we are doing.


I love my South, and this poem really sums up how I feel about it. Just because we hold on to what is great about our history, doesn't mean we are behind the times. We can live in harmony and sip sweet tea together. We can let go of our hate, but keep our cornbread, and that's my kind of South.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ok, this is insane...

The deck in our backyard is covered with snow. When it snows in Mississippi, it never sticks, but this is incredible.

We're supposed to be having a Christmas party tonight, but I'm kind of thinking that nobody will show. I'm not rescheduling. I dipped strawberries in chocolate all night, so the show will go on. My husband and I may end up eating lots of chocolate covered strawberries by ourselves on into the night.

Rude Awakening

This morning I was awakened by a shrill shriek. "It's SNOWING! It's SNOWING!" I thought my poor child was going to have a heart attack. Snow in MS. A perfect Christmas...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unanswered prayers...hopefully

This was my daughter's prayer at breakfast this morning:

Next time my mommy has a baby in her belly, please let it be a girl and two boys, Alexa, Brady, & Austin. And please let them be in there now.

I know full well that God answers prayers, but in this case, I'm hoping for an unanswered prayer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I love kids

"Get up! You need to marry me!"
This is my daughter and her friend, sometimes "boyfriend." Breaking up is a regular occurrence in their "relationship." They really act like brother and sister. I love kids. They are hilarious.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Mustard Seed

The Rankin Ledger just ran my story on the Mustard Seed in Flowood. Stop by and pick up one of their ornaments or ceramics as Christmas gifts to benefit a good cause.

Thanksgiving in Clinton...

I had the pleasure of visiting Brittany Brown's 1st grade class at Clinton Park Elementary to write this story. The kids were so much fun and had lots to say about Thanksgiving. Thanks to Sandi for all your help!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

I love Thanksgiving. My daughter got up this morning and was mesmerized by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, as was I when I was her age. I remember waking up and watching the parade until my parents made me get dressed to go to either my grandmother's or one of my aunt's houses. I love this holiday. It's a time for family, which I love.

This year will be a bit different. My grandmother was recently diagnosed with dementia and that in itself has caused a bit of turmoil throughout the family. It's my hope that everyone will put aside their differences and come together for her sake, at least. She's a great lady that deserves a great holiday, and I'm so thankful to get to spend one more Thanksgiving with her.

I hope you all have a great day with your families or whoever you may be spending the day with! Be thankful, I know I am.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Betty is a creative genius


After the virus, my computer decided to crash. I'm a horrible blogger...

Anyway, Black Betty took some pictures of my girls this weekend in hopes of getting a Christmas card picture... Success!

I couldn't have been happier with the way this one and all of the rest turned out. She did such a great job and is very reasonable!

I was also proud of my girls for being cooperative at the same time, which is unheard of.

Thank you Betty! I love the pics!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Bug

This week a vicious little stomach bug has taken over my household. This is why I've been absent from the blogging world this week. Baby girl #2 had it first, then #1, then it hit me. And now, my poor mother has it too. Let me tell you, it was VIOLENT. And, of course, it hits us when my husband is out of town. Of course. He's back in town and is quite happy that so far, he's dodged a bullet. Usually, if anyone gets sick it's him. I rarely catch what the kids have, but this week it hit me with a vengeance. Today I've been scrubbing my house from top to bottom trying to get rid of all the nasty germs.

I've been hoping to lose a few pounds, but this is not at all what I had in mind. I'd much rather be fat.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My thumbsucker


I was determined to break my first child of the pacifier before she turned one. This was stupid. DON'T DO IT!


So now she's four years old and sucks her thumb like crazy. We have tried EVERYTHING. Everything. The bitter liquid you put on the thumb, bandaids, shameless bribery. No success.

The dentist says she's fine as long as she stops before she turns five and her teeth start falling out. Our current attempt is saying that Santa will bring a big girl bike if she stops sucking her thumb before Christmas, but it's doubtful.

Anybody have any ideas or suggestions??? Please. Please.

Friday, November 14, 2008

psha - women!

So the other night my husband sat me down and gave me a good talking to (Well, it was more like I kept asking what his problem was and he finally told me). Lately I've been burning the candle at both ends and apparently he's noticed.

Growing up, I was constantly busy. By my choice, not by my parents' choice. I was involved in anything and everything. In high school my dad told me if I wanted a car, I could work and buy one, which I did. I worked two jobs in the summer and during the school year I had school activities, sports, and worked a lot. Same thing in college. So, needless to say, I'm used to working and working a lot.

In March, I quit my really great full-time job to stay at home with my girls. I wanted to stay home when I had my first daughter, but it was financially impossible. So now we've been blessed enough that I was able to quit in March. Dream come true. The first few weeks were great. I hung out with my girls, read a few magazines, yadayadayada.

Then, what I thought was "unproductiveness" started to eat away at me. My husband would come home from work and I'd find myself jealous that he had this "life" outside of our house. After a few minor emotional breakdowns ("I'm just your wife and their mom! I do nothing that's just mine!" cry, cry, sniff, sniff), he suggested I start writing again (He's a genius, in case I've never mentioned that). So I did. And it has really taken off.

I also have a problem with volunteering for anything and everything. Which has also really taken off. So I am tired and I think he feels neglected...

What is wrong with us women??? We have this innate desire to be with our kids and yet another desire to make something (whatever that means) of ourselves. When I was working, I wanted to be at home. When I'm at home, I want to be working. We really are complicated creatures. I completely understand how men don't get us.

I am blessed beyond belief to have the best of both worlds. Although at the time, I took offense to my husband's little talk, he's so right. I can't have it all at the same time. I have to slow down and focus on what's important. I'm going to slow down, not volunteer for everything that comes along, and hang out with my kids while they still want me to. But I'm going to keep writing (the things I really want to write about) - it keeps me sane, I've decided.

For once in my life, I'm going to chill out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wingard Home & Mac's Cove


If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know about the Wingard Home and how special it has become to me. Fortunately, I'm not alone. Natasha McLaurin, a local fashion designer recently read about the Wingard Home in the Rankin Ledger and is now hosting her first annual Mac's Cove Wingard Home Ministry Benefit Show this Saturday at Mynelle Gardens. She's a very talented designer who not only has a passion for fashion, but a passion for keeping it here in Mississippi, which you know I love...
Read my story on the show here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sweeteas


I spent the day yesterday at Mistletoe Marketplace and miraculously, I left with only one thing. I bought this adorable children's book, Sweeteas, for my girls for Christmas. It's about little girls from the South and you all know, I'm a sucker for Southern stuff. I know my oldest will love it and hopefully my youngest will when she gets a little older. The web site is www.thesweeteas.com. Go check it out! My favorite line of the book is:
These are things every Southern girl should know,
'cause it's true the farther South, the sweeter they
grow!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And it is done...

First of all, thank goodness the election is over! No more political commercials, at least for a while. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Congratulations to our new president-elect. Although I don't agree with Obama politically in any form or fashion, witnessing history in the making is pretty cool. Like John McCain said in his concession speech, it's time for us to join together and as Americans support our newly elected president. I'm sure we have an interesting four years ahead.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day


Go vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Welcome to Wonderland

Here are a couple of pics of my girls before trick or treating. They were Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat. I thought it turned out adorable.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Economic Education in Mississippi

Clearly, I've been behind on posting my stories & news articles, which was in fact, the reason I started this blog...

The Rankin Ledger recently ran a story I covered on the Mississippi Council on Economic Education's luncheon. I was impressed to learn that our state is actually one of the top in the country on economic education, something we clearly need.

Pam Nail

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pam Nail, Mrs. World 88 and Jackson resident, for this story that ran in the Northeast Ledger. She was a victim of abuse as a child and has strived to help others in her shoes and she was also a real pleasure.

Clinton's 4Cs

The Clinton News ran a story in today's paper about the 4Cs, a non-profit that has been thriving in the Clinton community for years. I remember visiting their thrift store, which helps fund their food services, while in college at MC.

They are doing great work, especially for the often overlooked elderly population.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Punkin' Pickin'


Today my daughter's preschool class went on their annual field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. She woke me up this morning talking about how excited she was and she had a great time indeed. Here are a few pics:


She's the cutie third from the end on the right side.





Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Better late than never...



Doghouse was such a dear and tagged me with this award...

The Rules: Every superior scribbler will name 5 other super scribblers. if you are named you must link to the author & the name of the blog that gave you the award. then you must display the adorable award and link to this post, which explains the award. finally you must visit this post and tell your name to mr. linky list. then they will have a record of all the people who are super scribblers!

My nominations are:

Saranne - her sarcasm absolutely trips me out.

Black Betty - again, the sarcasm is what gets me. And the fact that her pregnancy posts are so funny and so true.

Bring the Rain - You just have to read the story... make sure you have tissue handy.

Randi - need beauty secrets? She's got them.

Stacey - Subtle hilarity and very down to earth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why I love the South - Reason #4

When I was a teenager I was determined that I was going to be a big-time television news reporter when "I grew up." The only thing that didn't appeal to me about that job was the fact that I would most likely have to give up my Southern accent.

I love a true Southern accent. Watching actors try to nail one drives me nuts.
Nicole Kidman in Cold Mountain.
Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer.
Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson's War.
Give me a break. The list goes on and on.

My four-year-old is super Southern. I find myself correcting her when she draws out her one syllable words into four syllables or when she says "laht" rather than light. I've got to stop doing that. It seems that even Southerners think their own accent makes them look stupid, thanks to other parts of the country that take that to be the truth. I think it's a part of culture we need to hold on to.

Luckily for me, I grew up to be a writer rather than an on-air reporter (I guess I'm a grown up now?), so my accent is still dripping with y'alls, fixing-tos, and lots of syllables and hopefully, through written word, I can still sound somewhat intelligent to others throughout the country...just maybe.

Maturing...and I hate it.

I've heard that the ones that are really feeling the hurt from the economy are the hairdressers and nail techs. Apparently people are going longer between haircuts and forgoing having their nails done. I'm not one to get my nails done, but I have been going longer between visits to Alison, my trusty hairdresser, mostly out of laziness, not the economy.

BUT - I'm now in a mad rush to get an appointment with her ASAP!
I'm not old, I'm really not. In my mid-20s I SHOULD NOT be finding gray hair in my head, but they are ruthless, popping up like crazy out of nowhere. I've been plucking them (I know, I know, you're not supposed to do that) because they shine like a lighthouse on my head of dark brown hair.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. This stinks.

I've never been one to dye my hair, but I'm about to be a convert. Heads up, Alison, you're about to start getting a lot more of my money every six weeks. Hopefully I'll make up for some of that lost business due to the economy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brokenness

I try to keep things pretty light and airy on this blog, but I have to write about something that has been on my heart and mind this week. Our church is having a revival summit and we've been trying to make a conscious effort to go every night despite all the excuses we could find not to. I hate to say it, but I've been a little reluctant. I know deep down that I have to give up control, but being the control freak that I am makes that pretty tough. I really like my life the way it is. I have a relationship with God, but lately, that's it. He's my friend, yes, but I haven't allowed Him to take the reins.

Last night the speaker talked about brokenness and for the first time it really made sense to me why I have to come to God with a broken heart before He can do real work in me. He gave the example of how, in the Bible, the broken loaf of bread could feed the multitudes, the broken rock of Moses gushed with water, and finally, it took the broken body of Jesus to release the grace of God. Brokenness is when the good comes out, so to speak.

The speaker also made a great point that we can't say to God, "Thy kingdom come," unless we say "My kingdom go." Basically, I can surrender and be broken, allowing God to work in my life, or I can wait until He allows me to hit rock bottom. I've been in both positions before and know that it is much better to throw myself on the rock rather than to wait on the rock to fall on me.

So this week, my goal is to come to God with a broken and obedient spirit and wait and see what He has in store for me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back to the grind


Due to the constant weight gain and the fact that this working out at home thing is clearly not working for me, I joined a gym last week.
I went to the gym pretty religiously before we moved in March. I cancelled my membership and in an effort to save money, convinced myself I would work out at home. Not happening. I'd rather watch TV or eat, which is also clearly not working for me.
I actually really enjoy working out and I also enjoy dropping babies in the gym's child care and plugging into my ipod and not hearing any kid noises for a good hour and a half. I think this time out for me makes me more patient wiht my kids in the long run.
So, here's hoping this will make the creeping up of the scale subside. We shall see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The dermatologist visit

So I went to see my dermatologist this morning. First of all, she looks so much like Sarah Palin, I could hardly concentrate on what she was saying. I just kept expecting her to break out in the awkward little dance Palin did on SNL's Weekend Update Saturday night (which was awesome, by the way).

When I left the appointment and started making my way through the parking lot, there was this man peering into the back of my car. Obviously he saw the "what the heck" look on my face and asked if that was my car. "Yep, sure is," I said. He preceded to tell me some story about how he needs a new car and was thinking of buying one like mine. He asked a few vague questions - "How does it drive?" yadayadayada. Then, he said, "I'm not going to rob you or hurt you or anything." Clearly the look of terror on my face said it all.

I've always been one to freak out in situations like that. He had a heavy jacket on and had his hands in his pockets the entire time. He was a shady looking character anyway, despite the fact he was circling my vehicle suspiciously. I just kept waiting on him to ask me to hand over my purse or knock me over the head with some blunt object. Luckily I was able to play it cool, jump in my car and drive off. I gave the derm's office a call on my way home just to give them a heads up about the guy in the parking lot. They all probably thought I was crazy. I'm sure it was some regular patient or something. I'm sure I overreacted, but you just don't go snooping in the windows of people's cars. Go to a car lot to check out vehicles!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tagged...

I was tagged by Doghouse.
I'm pretty much an open book, so this is going to be hard.

1. I love lasagna and pizza, but hate spaghetti...with a passion.

2. I'm allergic to fake cinnamon. I'll take cinnamon toast anyday, but give me a cinnamon toothpick and my face swells up.

3. I grew up in the same town as Faith Hill - the only thing Star is famous for. And no, I'm not friends with her. I'm not that old. :)

4. I'm afraid of heights, unless I'm strapped in. Planes don't bother me, but ledges even five feet high scare me to death.

5. Growing up, my dream was to be on Good Morning America. Seriously.

6. I'm a clean freak living in a messy house.

7. I once had an obsession with Hanson.


Okay, now I'm embarassed.

I tag:

Andi

Saranne

Randi

Monica

Betty

Stacey

Carrie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween Fun

This week the Clinton News ran a story I wrote on Halloween costumes. Like I said, I wish I were one of those creative moms that makes my kids' costumes, but I've found ordering them online is so much easier. I click and they arrive at my doorstep.

Sorry!

Sorry I've been a bit absent this week. I wish I could say I've been on some amazing vacation, but the truth is I'm a serial overbooker, which I've been extremely guilty of this week.

First, who saw Project Runway? Leanne, Kenley, and Korto were my favorites from the beginning. Although Kenley turned me off toward the end of the season, I love her designs. Korto's final collection was my favorite out of the three finalists, but I consistently like Leanne's designs throughout the entire season. I think she's really talented and I think the judges made a great decision.

Second, who saw the Presidential debate? Not me. I'm sick of it all. Important? Yes. I should have been a more concerned citizen and tuned in, but it's so exhausting. November won't come soon enough.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tada!







Project headboard is complete! This was so easy thanks to a helpful father-in-law and a staple gun. I'm very pleased with the finished product. On to the next!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween Costumes


So my four-year-old changes her mind A LOT. This poses a problem when it comes to Halloween costumes. We have gone from Little Red Riding Hood, to a "scary witch with a purple dress," to Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I thought we had settled on Dorothy. She said she wanted her baby sister to be Toto. So that was the plan...until this morning.
I mentioned to my husband that I was going to order their costumes today (wish I had time to figure out some cute, creative way to make them myself, but I don't, so I'm paying for someone else's creativity and I'm ok with that). My daughter overheard me mention them and I said, "You still want to be Dorothy, right?" That was met with sure "No!," like I had lost my mind. So she informed me she wanted to be Alice in Wonderland and as a result, baby sister can't be Toto. So #1 is Alice and #2 is now going to be the Cheshire Cat and I think it will all be pretty stinking cute.

In the spirit of Halloween...


I have to make a plug for one of my new favorite shows - Ghost Hunters. This is a group of former plumbers that go into so-called haunted places all across the country and try to debunk any paranormal activity. Last night's episode was at an old plantation in south Louisiana - creepy. Lots of times "footsteps" are actually pipes in the floor, or orbs are actually dust particles, you get the idea. BUT- there are times they catch voices or sightings that they can't explain. I'm a skeptic when it comes to ghosts, but this show has made me think twice. My husband and I DVR it every week, wait until the kids are asleep, turn out all the lights and watch it, usually leaving us (or maybe just me) completely freaked out. If you get a thrill out of being spooked, you have to watch this show. It airs on the SciFi channel on Wednesday nights. Also check out Ghost Hunters International that airs in the summer. It's spooky too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh what fun

Last night we went to the state fair to ride a few rides and have some fair food for dinner. The kids had a great time (and so did we). Our oldest was so excited and squealed the majority of the time and #2 chilled in the stroller in her usual manner. #1 wouldn't ride anything by herself, so we were the idiots squeezed into the kiddie rides.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Design on a Dime


By far, my favorite thing to spend money on is decorating my house. We moved into a new house in March and I have in my head exactly how I want each room to look. My goal is to take one room at a time and decorate it exactly how I want it.
The only problem is that my husband and I had to sit down recently and make out a very strict budget. The way the economy is going, we decided we should be saving more than we have been. I'm a bargain shopper anyway, so it's going to be fun to decide on inexpensive ways to achieve the looks I want.
I'm planning on posting these endeavors and any good outcomes. I'm sure there will be some things that don't turn out like I want, so you can learn from my mistakes. My current project is an upholstered headboard, so be on the look out for that.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Update on the weight loss...

I'm FAT. Officially.
Gained 4 more pounds. Not pregnant, believe me I checked to be sure. I mean, why else would I be gaining weight for no particular reason? I'm not middle aged, not pregnant, just fat. So as of today I'm doing without my diet cokes and only drinking water. Maybe I'm retaining water???Really, I know I have been lax on my healthy eating habits. I always do this when the first signs of cool weather come around. I put on cozy clothes and eat. Motivate me, please. Ugh. Frustrating.

Why I love the South - Reason #3


Chivalry is alive and well down South.

Let me be clear, I know full well that I am perfectly capable of opening my own doors and pulling out my own chairs. I think that women can do anything men can do, blah, blah, blah, but it sure makes me feel good to have my husband open a door or something of the sort. When I was younger and in the dating world, my parents would be appalled if some guy I was dating didn't go around and open a car door for me. It's common courtesy, and part of our culture in the South. I can only hope it's a piece of culture we can hold on to for the next generation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm stoked


The October issue of Portico Jackson magazine is on newstands now, featuring my story on Operation Shoestring. OS is an incredible organization working to help keep our inner-city kids in school. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and the story of how the organization was started is really interesting.


Also, Portico is a really polished and sleek magazine focusing on the Jackson metro area. I have fallen in love with the magazine and the fact that they show that there are good things happening here. Go pick up the October issue or heck, get a subscription. Visit their web site http://www.porticojackson.com/.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pilates & Fitness


So my previous post about the Pilates studio was for this story in Parents and Kids' October issue. Until March, when we moved homes and cancelled our gym membership, I went to Pilates and Yoga classes a couple of times a week. I've never been much of the strength training type, so this was great for me. It really is such an energizing, unique type of exercise. It's enjoyable and actually feels good, unlike some of the other types I've tried. Hopefully soon I'll get back into the swing of things and get my exercise routine in gear.



Also in this issue is a story I wrote on Beginner Fitness and another on Family Fitness.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bill Maher


Disclaimer: I'm about to rant.
So you all know I'm addicted to The View. Well, today Bill Maher was on promoting his new movie, Religulous. He more or less, no, not more or less, he blatantly called any one who has faith of any sort, a moron. He said he can't understand why any politician or government official can let their faith blindly guide them. On the show, he insulted Sherri (the openly Christian) and Elisabeth (the outspoken conservative), only because they don't share his ideals (Thank the Lord).
I'm a Christian and I consider myself somewhat intelligent. I mean, I'm not a genius, but I'm no moron either. My faith is what guides me in most of what I do (my goal is to make it guide me in ALL that I do - still working on that one). Watching Bill Maher sit on that sofa making cracks at people of faith (any faith, not just Christians), and watching two of the four co-hosts giggle at his remarks made me incredibly sad and disappointed at what our country has come to.
To me, Maher has always come across as an unsettled, angry, annoyed person. Maybe he needs a little faith himself. Pray for Bill Maher, God is the God of miracles, after all.

Happy Birthday

Today is my husband's birthday. He hates birthdays, especially his. He says its ridiculous for one day to be all about him. He hates picking restaurants or deciding what to do, but he needs to get over it because I LOVE BIRTHDAYS. He, more than most, I believe,deserves a day all to himself.

He is by far the most amazing husband and father. Our little girls think he hung the moon, and so does their mom. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt because our oldest wants Daddy to get her dressed or wants Daddy to put her to bed. But I get it. The way they look at him says it all. Every morning, I'm all alone on my side of the bed, while they have piled up on top of their father. I am so thankful for the way he loves them. He comes home from work and plops right down on the floor to play with his girls. He asks about their day and really listens to what they have to say, even if our youngest only babbles at this point. I know that one day they'll realize how blessed they are to have such a loving and involved father.
And wow, I'm lucky too. He loves me more than I could have ever hoped for. No matter how gross I feel, pajamas, no makeup, he can make me feel like the most beautiful person in the world.

I doubt you're reading this, but if you are, although I don't say it enough, I appreciate you and love you more than you'll ever know.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, old man.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CCR or Bust


Last week I was driving down I-20 and passed a van that had written on its windows: "CCR! Hal & Mal's or Bust!" I freaked out! For one - how in the world could Creedence Clearwater Revival be coming to Jackson? Second, how did I miss this?!?!? Aren't some of them dead?


So I rushed home, got on the computer to find out more info. To my disappointment, CCR was in fact Cross Canadian Ragweed. Boo.


I'm really not old, but sometimes I feel like it. At that moment, I did. CCR, the real CCR, that is, was really way before my time, but I somehow have developed a taste for oldies. I didn't mention that this was a minivan with a handicap license plate and yes, they were more in tune with current music than I was.


Old.

MS Society Bike Ride Planned

The Mississippi division of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will hold its annual bike ride to benefit the organization this weekend. MS is the most mysterious disease. It's completely random in who it affects and symptoms experienced. Read more about the ride in the Rankin Ledger.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Depression?

Last night my husband basically scared the living daylights out of me. After an afternoon or reading up on this economy situation, he informed me that as of Monday we could be in a depression if a solution isn't decided upon before the weekend's out. To see him so up in arms about what's going on is scary. Really scary. Something has to be done. How exactly did we get to this point? As Americans, myself included, we sit back and worry about trivial things while our country is on its way to a state of depression. We're all in all pretty selfish. I know that until I felt the hurt in my energy, gas, and grocery bill, I wasn't too worried about the economy. I commend McCain and Obama for taking time out of their campaigns to try and figure this thing out. After all, they get paid lots of money to be Senators, not candidates.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mississippi Children's Home Services

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending one of Mississippi Children's Home Services' birthday parties for the resident kids. I recently wrote an article on their new campus that is being built. MCHS reaches out to kids who have psychiatric and behavioral problems and helps transition them back into a normal school and home environment.

Just being around these kids made me realize how the majority of us have no idea what's going on all around us. I am so blessed to have been brought up in a home where my parents took care of and supported me. It sure made me realize how stupid most of my so-called problems are. These are kids that are just hungry for someone to care and they are kids who can't help what situations they were born into or brought into. It was such a relief to see how the staff and volunteers of MCHS reach out and nurture these kids. Thank God for people like these. Visit www.mchscares.org to learn more about their work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall is here!


Yesterday was officially the first day of the Fall season. This is by far my favorite time of the year and for many reasons - the crisp air, the changing leaves, and FALL TELEVISION! That's right, that time of year is finally here! McDreamy, Michael Scott, and Liz Lemon have returned!

Most of my life I have never been one to watch much TV. I would much rather be out of the house doing something, but that all changed when I got married. When my husband and I were newlyweds obsessed with spending time with only each other, we were quite happy sitting in bed together watching "That 70s Show" reruns before drifting off to sleep. This was the start of my habit - I now have to watch TV to go to sleep. This really stinks in the summer when nothing is on, but as of this week, it will be quite an enjoyable, entertaining habit.


Boston Legal returned last night, The New Adventures of
Old Christine (she's hilarious) comes back tomorrow and I
can hardly wait for Thursday night (too many reasons to name).

This week is actually jam-packed for me. I have obligations upon obligations and won't be home most nights. This, you see, is why DVR is my very best friend. I have no idea what I did before my home was graced with its presence.

I CAN'T WAIT!

Wingard Update

I received an email from Charlotte Wingard yesterday and I'm happy to say their financial situation is looking up. Thanks to everybody who has given either money, time or prayers to this incredible ministry that has truly stolen my heart. Keep them in your prayers. Visit their web site at www.wingardhome.org to find out more.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I love the South - Reason #2


Little girls in big hairbows. Hated it as a kid, love it as a mom. When my oldest daughter and I went on a trip up north, or more north, she was the one and only little girl wearing a bow at the McDonald's playland. Not so on our usual Chick-Fil-A outings - she's one of many. I guess it's another piece of Southern culture.
Luckily, my oldest loves them. #2 has it coming... I'm just waiting on that hair to grow out.

Wingard Home

Today's Clinton News and Hinds Ledger featured my story on the Wingard Home, which I wrote about in a previous post. Great people doing great things. Read my story here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That's not fair!

DISCLAIMER: I'm proud of my husband, very, very, proud. And I'm sure the earlier post Why I Love the South Reason #1 contributes to my gripe.

I'm sure you've seen the commercial on TV where there's a pencil-sketched couple sitting on a couch and the woman's talking about weight loss. She talks about how her husband quit drinking sodas and lost 20 pounds, while she has been dieting and lost a pound. Then she drops her water into the male dog's bowl and he slims up really quick. It's for a diet pill or something like that. Clearly I'm not very good at explaining this, but if you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

So about a month ago my husband and I set out on a program to get fit and eat healthier. It's intense workouts and I've been working my butt off! I still have approximately 10 pounds of baby weight, give or take a few pounds depending on the day, and my "baby" is 14 months old. It's ridiculous.

One month into it I've GAINED about 4-5 pounds and every time someone sees my husband he gets a "Wow, what have you been doing? You look great!" NOT FAIR! NOT FAIR! NOT FAIR! Men have it so easy. I birthed two babies and now I have to carry around that extra weight. And he looks amazing. Ugh.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dead Ringer


Saturday night I hope you all or your DVRs caught Tina Fey's take on Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Absolutely hilarious. First off, I adore Tina Fey. (If you don't watch 30 Rock, you are really missing out.) I also love humor being inserted in politics. Politics in itself can be pretty amusing, but let's face it, it needs some lightheartedness at times. And you just can't beat SNL during election year. Tina Fey had this one pretty easy as she already looks just like Palin.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why I love the South - Reason #1



Last night I tried to explain to a certain someone (you know who you are) why I love the South and Mississippi in particular. This got me thinking. My first post was all about how much I love this state, and now I'll elaborate and give you my first reason why.

Sidenote - I asked my husband to tell me the number one reason he thought I loved the South and he said, "because I live here, of course." A little full of himself, but he makes a good argument.

One very important reason I plan on never leaving the South - down-home, stick-to-your-bones, creamy, greasy, cheesy, Southern cooking. I don't know how people live without it. I try to eat pretty healthy the majority of the time. In our house we eat a lot of grilled chicken and fish with fresh vegetables, but inevitably, the time comes when a craving hits me and all my inhibitions and good intentions are a lost cause.

My go-to place for Southern cuisine would have to be my husband's grandmother's house in Crystal Springs. Let me tell you, Paula Deen has nothing on this woman. The house itself, the atmosphere, and the fare are the epitome of a Southern grandma's house. To my delight, calories and cholesterol mean nothing here. Walking through the doors, I'm greeted by the aroma of freshly baked bread, cakes, and every kind of casserole you could
imagine - a spread that usually takes an entire weekend to prepare. The presentation of the food is also awe-inspiring. You'll never have a meal here that isn't served on the finest of china. Leaving, I always find myself painfully, yet delightfully full.

Mississippi is statistically the most obese state in the country, thanks in large part, I'm sure, to grandmothers from the Delta to the Gulf Coast. But hey, the way I see it, at least we're fat and happy.




Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baptist Health Center Cancer Ride


Baptist Hospital's Hederman Cancer Center will sponsor a bike ride on September 20 to benefit the center's Serenity Garden, a place for cancer patients and their families to escape while at the facility. Read my article in the Clinton News.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yum


If you haven't discovered Captain Rodney's Boucan Glaze, you need to. My friend Jenny turned me on to it and I can hardly stop thinking about the Captain Rodney's cheese bake, or as we call it "heroin dip," that she makes. Completely addictive (hints the name - Thanks Will!) and to die for. Cheesy goodness with a hint of sweetness. Yum.


I got my bottle of Captain Rodney's at Everyday Gourmet in Jackson, but it can be found at most specialty cooking stores.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Wingard Home

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting the Wingard Home in Jackson in preparation for a story I'm writing on their ministry. Charlotte & Roy Wingard open up their own home to the homeless and through their ministry, help them get back on their feet. I was impressed with how different this place was than your typical homeless shelter. Guests, as the Wingards refer to their tenants, are not charged rent or a fee, but are required to participate in the day-to-day upkeep of the home, provide a record of their expenditures, and are required to find, and keep, a job. I was able to speak with a few of the Wingards' house guests and was blown away by their stories and the huge strides these people are making toward getting their life on track.

From what I saw today, I believe that through the Wingards and their ministry, God is being revealed to people that are in dire need of His guidance. The Wingard home is operated solely on donations and they are currently in desperate need. Check out their website for more info on the home and how to help.

Also, be on the lookout for my article. I'll post a link here on the blog when the time comes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Four Years Ago Today


I can hardly believe that today marks four years since my life completely changed. On September 5, 2004, the most beautiful little girl entered my life. Before that I was a pretty selfish person and because of her, I've changed so much in the last few years. Not only has she taught me what it truly means to love unconditionally, but she has given us tons of funny memories. Any time I feel even a little down or grumpy, she always manages to cheer me up with that hilarious personality of hers. She truly is a ray of sunshine.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Guilty Obsession


When I decided to quit my job and stay home with my girls, I promised myself I absolutely would not turn into a stay-at-home-mom that sat on the sofa watching talk shows and soap operas while eating Little Debbie snacks.
But, I must admit that at 10 a.m. each morning, you'll most likely find me watching The View on ABC, although I haven't succumbed to the Little Debbie snacks quite yet. The show takes a hiatus each year for the month of August but to my delight, has now returned. I think the format of the show is genius - a bunch of women yelling over each other about politics and pop culture. I eat it up.
The cohosts represent everyone from far-left liberals, moderates, and right-wing conservatives. Although I feel at times that all views aren't fairly represented and one person in particular is consistently bombarded and attacked, I love hearing their different points of view.
So, this fall, if you need me at 10 a.m., you know where I'll be.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin


John McCain announced today his VP nominee is Sarah Palin, current Alaskan Governor. I don't know much about her, besides what I've read today, but from what I can tell, I think it's a good move on McCain's part.


Personally, I'd love to have a woman VP, given she's the right person. Hmm... I'll have to investigate further.


On the phone with my husband today, I said, "Did McCain announce his running mate yet?" and my husband quickly responded - "Yeah, and she's hot, er, um, I mean she's a really attractive, um, qualified woman."

Figures.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hurricane, Hurricane, Go Away

The fact that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast THREE years ago blows my mind. Although much progress has been made in the recovery process, there's still a long way to go.

And then there's Gustav. Word on the street is it's crazy out there - people filling up gas tanks, stocking up on supplies. I remember after Katrina we sat outside in lawn chairs for days just praying for a breeze. I stripped our daughter, who was a baby at the time down to her diaper because of the lack of A/C. Ice and gas were like gold and silver. And we had it good in the central part of the state.

I feel like we'll definitely be more prepared this time. I was oblivious about Katrina until it was right on us. I bebopped into work that morning like nothing was out of the ordinary. This time I'll be a little more cautious and stock up. I just hope that Gustav will show a little mercy.

CARA Animal Shelter


Today's Clinton News features an article I wrote on Mississippi's largest no-kill animal shelter, Community Animal Rescue and Adoption. I didn't know much about CARA until I did research for the article, but I soon found out what a labor of love this place is. They are constantly struggling financially, so help them if you can! They take donations of dog food and other products as well as monetary donations.

See my article here.

Also, the annual Backyard Brawl between my alma mater, Mississippi College, and Millsaps College will benefit CARA. Read about the game here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jackson - not so shabby, despite popular belief

Last week, I had the privilege of visiting a Pilates studio in Jackson to research an article I am writing.

I was rushed that morning, trying to get ready with a kid hanging on each leg while attempting to meticulously apply mascara. I hurried out the door and opened the garage to a torrential downpour. I made my way to the studio frantically gathering my notebook, cell phone, and recorder, all scattered across the front seat of my car. I checked the mirror, assuring myself that I looked like a serious, put-together journalist, and ran inside through the rain.

I walked through the doors and whoa! It was like walking into a different world full of aromatherapy, dim lights, and soothing music. I decided I would stay there indefinitely. This was my kind of place - a place I could actually nap. The owner of the studio approached me ever so calmly, carrying a sprig of rosemary and raving about how great it smelled.

This was a state-of-the-art studio, complete with every Pilates device you could imagine, instructors with "at least a master's degree," and a really impressive atmosphere.

This got me thinking... Jackson gets such a bad rap. Everybody complains about it and how every place is so much better, we have nothing to be proud of, blah, blah, blah. But the people that invest in Jackson really invest in Jackson and are extremely proud of it. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many things we could improve on. I'm still in desperate need of an IKEA and there are places in Jackson where I feel inclined to lock my car doors, but tell me a city where it's not like that.

I'm proud of Jackson. We have lots of hidden treasures. We should all stop complaining and use our energy discovering these amazing little places, like the Pilates Place of MS, throughout the city and support them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the crunch begins...

When I decided to take the plunge into freelance writing, I thought I'd be extremely lucky to get an assignment or two a month. I have obviously been really fortunate, because just this week I have four articles due! So I'm in a crunch to interview, write, interview, write, and so on. Posting will most likely be pretty slow this week. In my favor, preschool starts this week, so my mornings are now semi-free and my three-year-old will come home exhausted. Hallelujah!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My first article in the Clinton News

Clinton is now home to yet another show choir -Clinton ShowZone. Read my story here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The long, boring days of late summer


My three-year-old and the kids next door have spent all summer going back and forth between our two houses. They have done everything from making "salads" out of grass and sticks to playing sea monsters in the pool. She thinks she is really something being "best friends" with five-year-olds.


But - it was bound to happen. They started kindergarten and her world has turned into nothing but boring and dull. She doesn't go back to preschool until the end of August, so in the meantime, I'm trying to fill some very hard to fill five-year-old shoes. We have played babies, waitress, and dogkeeper. We have baked brownies and made "aquarium" jello. This morning, we painted... a lot. But, alas, she's still bored stiff. Mommy's just not the same as her fun, "cool," big kid friends. Mommy's just Mommy.


So, unless any of you have any great ideas to keep her occupied, I'm in for a few more weeks of very unsatisfactory baking and painting... Post some ideas here!

Johnny Cash pickin' festival


In May of 1965, the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, found himself in a jail cell in Starkville, Mississippi after picking flowers while intoxicated and being arrested for public drunkeness. Cash once recalled that he learned in Starkville, Mississippi, that trying to kick the bars out of a jail cell isn’t a good idea - an idea that landed him with a broken toe.


On October 17-19, the second annual Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival will be held in Starkville, where Cash's friends, family, and fans will gather to honor his life and legacy.


Read more about it in the Clarion Ledger's article.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Infidelity...hmmm...

A couple of days after Morgan Freeman's car accident with his lady friend, the news came that he and his wife were filing for divorce. Although it is not completely and positively because of infidelity, reading between the lines would make one think otherwise. Being a bit idealistic in nature, this completely broke my poor little heart.

And then there was the news of the John Edwards affair. This news wasn't as earth shattering for me, given that I have a hard time taking Edwards seriously since the first time I laid eyes on him. I don't know which makes me more angry - a man cheating on his wife, or a woman who puts up with it (a'la Elizabeth Edwards). This, I believe, is the reason people still cheat - because they can get away with it. Forgiveness is great and all, but come on, people!

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Morgan Freeman and my guess is that this won't change, but I must say, Myrna Colley-Lee, aka Mrs. Morgan Freeman, has gained some respect in my book. Take note, Mrs. Edwards.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sheer exhaustion




I'm really lucky. I mean really, really lucky. I have two precious girls that I am blessed enough to stay at home with. Anyone who has kids knows that they grow all too fast and I'm so thankful that I get to witness all of the firsts and be here with them every day.



With that being said, today has been one of those days where I have almost walked out the door and gone back to work. I'll get over it once they're tucked away in bed.
When I was working full time I would dream about staying home. I had fantasies of long, leisurely strolls every day and reading while babies were peacefully napping. I was delusional. Truly delusional.

Instead, my days are jam packed with the constant sound of slamming pots and pans on the kitchen floor, temper tantrums at their best, dirty diapers, and spilled drinks. I do well to get our one-year-old down for a nap at all - a time that I usually take advantage of by taking a much- needed shower.
The afternoons are the worst. Trying to get supper ready and give baths to two exhausted girls is a task I have yet to master. Clearly, I'm still adjusting to staying at home. Often I feel like I do the same thing all day, every day - change a diaper, fix food, scrape said food (or play-doh, or glitter lipgloss, or melted crayons) off floor, repeat. Hopefully by the time they start school I'll have some sort of handle on the situation. But it's doubtful.
It's 7:30 p.m. and I am covered in peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and bath bubbles. It's the end of one of those "normal" days - the time of day where I realize how fulfilling my days truly are. My sweet girls are clean and have full tummies and a happy, albeit exhausted, mom. The other day my three-year-old randomly said, "Mommy, do you remember when you used to work ALL THE TIME? Well, I missed you then." That did it for me. I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Those leisurely strolls and long books will be there when my kids are grown, a time when I'm sure I'll miss that sweet sound of slamming pots and pans.

Hilarious Paris


Paris Hilton responds to McCain's "celebrity" ad. Pretty funny. Pretty ridiculous. Pretty sad she has nothing else to do. But, no matter who you're rooting for in this election, it's nice to take a break from all the economy, race, and war talk and have a laugh. Worth a watch.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Freeman on the mend

Good to see that Morgan Freeman is recovering nicely and will be up and at 'em in six months or so.

One of Jackson's best


Until last week, I was apparently one of the only people left in Jackson who had not experienced the delight that is Pan-Asia. Now housed in a first-class location off of Old Canton Road, Pan-Asia offers mouthwatering Asian fare. Executive chef Grant Nooe draws inspiration from Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cuisine. I was with a tableful and we ordered a good half of the menu. Be sure to try the lettuce wraps, spring rolls, and spicy crab cakes. You can view the full menu at http://www.pan-asia.com/. Prepare to be blown away.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Morgan Freeman hospitalized


My thoughts and prayers are with my favorite actor of all time, Morgan Freeman. Not many like him.

Sweet Home Mississippi


Deciding to dedicate this blog to Southern culture was a no-brainer. Growing up in rural Mississippi, I counted down the days until I could leave the South. I just had to leave this bucolic place behind. I had dreams to rush off to the likes of New York City, make a name for myself, and live life to the fullest.

Being young and na├»ve, I bought into the stereotypes given to Southerners, particularly Mississippians. After all, aren’t all of us illiterate, racist, and unforgivably behind the times?
As fate would have it, I was accepted and offered a generous scholarship to Mississippi College, a mere thirty minutes from home. I was excited, but still a small part of me was insanely jealous of my friends who were off to new and exciting places. While in college, I met my husband and we later settled, yep, you guessed it, right here in Mississippi.

After the birth of our first child, my view of Mississippi began to change. I began to investigate what I wanted my daughter to gain from her childhood - and from her mother. I quickly realized everything I considered positive about my life went back to one common thread – my Southern upbringing. Instead of seeing the negative, my eyes began to open to all the unique characteristics of home that helped make me who I am. I hoped to instill in my daughter the same values my parents found to be so vital to my well-being.
There were so many memories that only Mississippi could offer that I couldn’t bear my daughter to miss out on. Summers spent with purple fingers from shelling peas, the smell of Neshoba County red dirt, jumping from a makeshift rope swing into my grandfather’s muddy pond, my uncle’s homemade ice cream, and Decembers filled with Christmas cantatas at every local church.
Recently I had the opportunity to watch as my daughter took her first swim in that very same muddy pond that I spent numerous summers splashing around in. She loves a bowlful of purple-hulled peas and her favorite treat is that unbeatable homemade ice cream. Her rapidly developing vocabulary is splattered with “y’alls” and “fixing tos”. She’s pretty much Southern to the core and I couldn’t be happier about it.
My brother, who now lives in Kansas, comes home to visit with a look of relief on his face at the first signs of a true Southern accent. My friends who ventured off to new and exciting places have, for the most part, returned home. There’s a reason people come back. There’s warmth here, and it’s not just the 100 degree heat. This is where I grew up, where I’m raising my children, and where I hope to retire someday. My younger self would surely be taken aback. She’d be surprised to learn that I am, in fact, living life to the fullest – right here in Mississippi.
I have heard that sometimes you have to leave Mississippi in order to truly appreciate it, but that doesn’t ring true for me. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but my grass is pretty green here in Mississippi – so I think I’ll stay.

Here I am...

In an attempt to perfect my writing skills... here I am... on a blog...