the big chill


I guess we all know how the weather has been in my neck of the woods the last few days.  But in case you're out of the loop, this pretty much sums up Birmingham on Tuesday:

{courtesy | photo by M. Murner}

The above scene could have been captured in virtually any area of the greater metro area of Birmingham on Tuesday, but this actually happens to be close to where my brother found himself stranded.  He has a story to tell, just like thousands of other people on this day.  And I look forward in the days, weeks, months, even years ahead asking people where they were when this happened in Birmingham on January 28, 2014.  

But not yet.  This has been really difficult and scary for a lot of people.

In one word, I am... THANKFUL.

For whatever reason God deemed fit, I got this very providential text on Tuesday morning before work from my boss:

So, it was decided we'd stay put and work remotely {as we often do during summer travels}, until we knew for sure that we could make it into work OK.  This all may have seemed overly cautious at the time, but I know it was 100% God's grace.  Because nobody really knew what was coming and how quickly it was going to get here.


I don't have a dramatic account of that day personally, because it was spent safely indoors... yet feeling utter concern for friends unaccounted for and texting back and forth with my brother, unsure of where he would end up.  {And still hoping as of this writing that he gets back to his house & family today!}

But I've watched and read about God doing some incredible things in our area in the last 48+ hours, through the kindness and love of people helping each other out.  He gets our attention in even the strangest of circumstances.


So, here I am {and King Tom, too}...

...working from home again today because of the still-chaotic conditions of the roads around here, due to people retrieving their abandoned cars all around the city.  {See, this set-up looks pretty reminiscent of a scene from my post here, right?  Have computer, will work.}

And I'll gladly keep working.  

THANKFUL.  That God is working.  That He is always in control.

Say some prayers for your friends in the snowy South!  The great thaw has started today, but I know it will be a long road for some folks.



Has anyone else noticed the little affirmations that Halls is now printing on their cough drop wrappers?

I'm going to assume these are geared towards life in general, not just a cold.

Whatever makes you feel better...


on the road

I have been traveling for work the past two days, and this is the only photo from my trip:

Hard-hitting blog material.

In my defense, this was a car trip, 5 hours each way, and I was solo.
It's in my best interest to restrain from snapping photos while I'm driving... so I've been told.  

But while I've got Wendy here, let's discuss her new look for a moment.  Did y'all see the news last summer when Wendy's launched their new logo and lots of people thought they'd hidden the word "mom" in her dress collar?  {You can read the article here.}  I'm secure in saying that Wendy's is my preferred fast-food restaurant.  Do you remember the newspaper-print laminate table tops they used to have in all of their restaurants?  Yeah, me neither... only old people would remember those.

While I didn't get any great pictures, I did make a few observations on this road trip:

:: One truck driver that passed me had a full-sized skeleton buckled in his passenger seat.  WHY?  I'm sure he thought, "Oh, what a delight this will be for my fellow highway travelers."  My thought, "Did I just see Large Marge in that truck?!"  Not amused.

:: I saw both a gigantic rooster & pig sculpted out of chrome components, which would have been great photos to share here.  Alabama roadside at its best.

:: RV camping/cross-country touring is still very popular among America's retirees.  I saw many RV's with cars in tow along the highway.  It got me wondering... what will teenagers of this current day and time be doing in their retirement?  They are vastly more technologically-inclined than people even one or two generations ahead of them.  What could possibly entertain them in their golden years?  Maybe in an ironic twist, they'll be so bored with technology by that time, that RV'ing will be just the ticket! 

:: Singing louder does not, in fact, increase my odds of sounding just like Francesca Battistelli.  But I sing, anyway!  {And it helps get my mind off the skeleton riding shotgun in the truck beside me.}

:: The temperature dropped a total of 30 degrees from the time I left Tallahassee until I arrived back in Birmingham, over the mere span of 5 hours.  That was a shock to the system.

Aaaaand, that's about all I've got!

Have a wonderful Wednesday.



Blue is my favorite color.  Most any shade, really.
I'm partial to cobalt and navy, though.

Imagine my delight when I found this stored carefully in the linen closet at my parents' house:

My delight continued when Mama informed me that my Granny {her mom} made this afghan.  It was in pristine condition, and my mom gave it to me right then and there.  I'm so happy to have this and know that my grandmother crafted it.

I think the scalloped pattern is so interesting, and the shades of blue... just perfect.  It looks like waves.

I'm really partial to curling up and having my coffee under the blues.
I think Granny would like that.

And she'd be super-proud I managed to take that photo without spilling coffee all over her handiwork.  :)


artful speech

Greetings, and happy Monday!
Do you have the day off?  So great for you!  

I'll be working today.  And with a normal work day comes drafting documents, correspondence, and other means of using the English language.

If I've never come right out and said it here before, I love grammar and vocabulary.  I mean, REALLY LOVE.  Words are my jam.  {That's me trying to say something cool.}

So, I stumbled on these stupendous illustrations on Etsy that highlight different parts of speech in a very fun and fresh way.  These delights were created by the talented Liz Wolf.  You need to go browse her shop, because there are a lot of great pieces -- she seems to take a very thoughtful approach to her illustrations, adding a whimsical twist.

And since it is Monday, you may be in need of a pep talk... Liz has that covered, too:

I'm a fan!



Here's a catchphrase I'm seeing around a lot lately: Let's Get Weird.

I don't know what people mean by that, and I should probably be fearful of the definition. 
It's often associated with Fridays or the weekend.

So, here's your dose of weird for a Friday:

I found these conjoined grapes in a mid-morning snack a while back.  {Whoever wants dibs on that sweet rhyme for your next track, be my guest... I'm generous like that.}  Anyway, I found this pic on my phone recently, and I've never posted it on the blog.
W E E E E E I R D !
Oh, and not so much weird as just plain cool, I read this article today that the June Collins Smith museum in Auburn has acquired a Warhol photograph of John Oates wearing an Auburn T-shirt.  I can't show the photo here, so that means... ROAD TRIP!


lights out

{Go ahead and file this post under 'Trivial First-World Problems', OK?}

Why, yes... I am hoarding incandescent light bulbs.  How nice of you to notice!

This is serious.  And I feel like it's my duty to make sure you all know that January 1st was the cut-off date for the manufacturing of 60- & 40-watt incandescent bulbs.  January 1, 2014 will essentially be known as the night the lights went out in Georgia.  {Nailed it.}

Not really.  This is the night the lights went out in Georgia:

:: embedded video here, subscribers ::

Sorry, I digress.  But I think of that scene every time I hear that phrase.  Don't cross the Sugarbakers.

I really did think twice about bringing up this topic, because I selfishly need to preserve the overall supply of remaining incandescent bulbs floating around in the retail world.  But if you deplore compact fluorescent bulbs as much as I do, then you need to be aware.  I need to be a friend.

I've had this alabaster lamp for several years.  It was a hand-me-down that belonged to my grandmother {to the best of my knowledge}.  And if you've ever seen one in an antiques store, you know people are pretty proud of them.  Whoa - I had no clue.  It's beautiful, though, and I would never want to mar the appearance of this lamp with the light given off by those CFL's.  Give me soft white, energy-inefficient lighting or give me death!  {Too far?}

If you love compact fluorescents, I'm happy those make you happy.  And I know they are making "soft white" CFL's now, but they just don't look the same to me.  Ease the transition for me -- tell me why you like these bulbs, besides the fact they are environmentally friendly!

Just don't get me started on the mercury.


let's go

It's Saturday... the sun is out, and the temperature is not 8 degrees anymore!

Here's to productivity in the form of closet cleaning and household organization.  
Isn't that what January's all about, anyway?

This is my outlook on such matters brought to life in song {and I will always be a fan of this video}:

:: embedded video here, subscribers ::

There will be casualties today in the great sweep.

I'm looking at you, beloved REK shirt from 1998...

We had a good run, but you've got holes in your armpits now... so you gotsta' go.  
{Holla' to my brother for bringing this back to me from Luckenbach all those years ago.}

There will be projects, too.

Like this gem I found in Tuesday Morning not long ago...

She's going to come into play in a little jewelry organization project.  I so wish her entire composition was the powered concrete look of her face.  I just don't love that white robe she's wearing, but I guess that's why she cost $10!  I may try to live with it... or she may fall prey to an entire overhaul of hot pink paint.  I can't make any promises.

Hope you have a productive Saturday!  
Or relax... do what you need to do.  That might mean a movie fest is on the agenda.  

So be it!


a sign

I noticed a cool sign in the background of an old episode of 'Downton Abbey' when I was playing catch-up before the new season started last weekend.

And I made a screen-grab of it...

I leave it all with Jesus.

I want this to be my stream of thought every second of every day.
Not some of it.  Not leave it and come back later to pick it up.

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'" | Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

{See?  'Downton Abbey' isn't all drama and high tea.  Well, OK... mostly.}


one last look

I thought I would do a pseudo year-in-pictures recap of 2013, kind of like I did a couple of years ago here.

There's no rhyme or reason with these.
Some of them you've already seen, some have never been posted on the blog.
Some I chose just because I liked their composition, others hold a memory and make me appreciate a passing moment from the past year.

Some take-aways:

- It is safe to say that Arizona holds the trump card on sunrises and sunsets.  What a glimpse of Paradise God gives us on this earth!
- I only got to partake in one homegrown tomato the entire summer, because I was traveling so much.  That is a huge black mark on 2013.
- My sister-in-law is uber talented.  Her Easter lunch table is just one example.
- Skirted sofas don't belong outside.
- I think I'm going to enjoy using my new camera!

Here's to a very photogenic new year.


fashion plate

Stripes on stripes on stripes...

When it's 8 degrees outside, this is how I roll.
No shame.

And here's a tip for you.  See those fleecy socks, or as I call them, cozy jams?
Pop those bad boys in the dryer for a few minutes... your tootsies will thank you.  Repeat as necessary.  

Stay warm!


watch it

I find myself almost adopting the Dowager Countess's mind frame above with the holiday schedule this year... Christmas and New Year's Day falling in the middle of the week has rendered me incapable of determining what day it actually is.  Ahhh, that will come to a cruel, crashing halt next week, though, for most of us, right?  MONDAY'S COMING.

But until then, I will relish two more days off and the fun of another season of 'Downton Abbey' beginning tomorrow evening.

{Commence eye-rolling from those of you who do not watch the show and are tired of hearing about it!}

If you'll recall, I wrote about my initial encounter with the show here, this very same time last year.  The show is just soooo good!  And I feel sad for those of you who don't have it in your life.  {Please know I say that very tongue-in-cheek.}  But I have become one of those people who implores all of you that have not been indoctrinated yet to stop what you are doing and get on board right this minute!  I liken it to the 'Breaking Bad' craze... my goodness gracious.  Everyone on the planet seems obsessed with that show.  Despite many recruitment tactics from my brother, I have not watched 'BB' yet, and I may never.  So much violence... eww.  Give me social classes and corsets instead!

So let's reign this in and look at some fun creations celebrating all things 'Downton'...

I thought these paintings were really cool -- and painstakingly accurate!  You should go to the link and look at all the pieces in this artist's collection called 'Houndton Tabby'.  They captured each character perfectly.



This is just another of many fantastic quotes from the Dowager Countess... she is a favorite.

Anna + Bates = 4 Ever...


These are the cutest hand-crafted peg people if you want to get your little ones in on 'DA'... they have the whole set of characters if you go to the link.

And finally, this thought crosses my mind at least once a day:

A good day to you all, fair people!
{That's Downton speak for 'Have a great Saturday.'}