Monday, October 31, 2011

Dancing Skirt Lady Lampshade

This weekend Matt and I contracted the stomach flu from Jane. We stumbled around the house like zombies while Jane amused herself in her froggy chair. But one beacon of white light sparkled through a crack on this Halloween-Eve-weekend. My new lampshade was delivered.

And so I asked my sick, feverish husband for his opinion.
This was what he said.





Me: Hey Matt, does this lampshade look bad?
Matt: Yes
Me: You don't think it would look good on a smaller lamp?
Matt: No
Me: Why?
Matt: Because it looks like a southwestern skirt. You know, not like a cool one, but one worn by a weird lady in Arizona. While she does a dance. With her sisters. At a festival. It's just a bad shade.
Me: But it's from Anthropologie.
Matt: It's still a bad shade.

Ask a feverish man a question, you'll get an interesting answer. But I'm pretty sure I'd wear that skirt. And dance with my sisters.
Happy Halloween!

Also a huge thank you to Meg over at Whatever and Jenn at There is a Season for featuring my book! Love you girls!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three of My Favorite Things

1. These. I don't know the name of them, but they're tasty. And pretty.

2. Am I the only woman who doesn't like smelling like a fruitsplotion when I wear lotion? Sometimes when I'm in Bath and Body Works I feel like I'm in some sort of demented scientist's lab where peonies on steroids are combined with grapefruit/lemon hybrids. Or I could just be cranky about smells since they trigger massive spells of migraine vertigo in which I lie on the emergency room floor while my husband tries to pull my pants up over my exposed plumber's crack.

Either way, I was so excited to find this lotion at Anthropologie. It just smells clean.

3. Being in my house. It's cold and wet outside. Leaves are stuck to my car. Somewhere, someone has a fire in their chimney. It's cozy and nice in here with orange twinkle lights and a paper skeleton. Like I said, being in my house is hands down one of my favorite things. That, and the no plumber's crack/vertigo thing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Lesson On Worry


I feel certain that with every trial and hardship God gives us the opportunity for growth. It's just that some of us take a lot longer to learn, well, anything. I remember thinking (during these last few months), "Hurry up dummy! Learn your lesson quick so this can be over sooner!"

Obviously I'm just kidding. I know it doesn't work like that. But I am, personally, a professional worrier. I worry about ingrown toe nails. I worry about germs as leg cramps overtake me and I hover inches above public toilets. I worry about the Terminix man secretly being a serial killer and taking a liking to me. I worry about rabid raccoons biting Mabel. I worry about taking a swig of spoiled milk, accidentally leaving my flat iron plugged in, and fleas taking up residence in the living room shag carpet. I worry about the New Madrid Fault Line and a national shortage of Nair.

You get the idea.

I think that maybe it was a blessing to dangle from the very end of my frayed rope in these last few months. Because I had to stop worrying. It was quit worrying or deal with an exploding head. Quit worrying or have a coronary. Quit worrying or self combust.

I can honestly say for the first time in my life I sat back and threw up my hands. That tiny little part of me that usually whispers "Come on, drag your lifeless body out of bed and try this... this one more thing that could fix everything" was finally silenced.

I never understood the concept of waiting on the Lord before this. The concept of "be still and know." It's good to be still. It's good to know.

But I have a stockpile of Nair just in case there's a shortage. And I'm still leery of the Terminix man.

*If anyone missed my interview with Shellie Tomlinson and wants to listen, you can find it here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Men Who Cook

These were made by my friend Kate's husband, Connor. One word: Fantastic.

My girlfriends and I often agree that it's pretty darn nice to be surrounded by men who cook. I highly recommend it. But be warned, you might end up like me and forget how to cook anything other than Tyson Chicken Strips and canned green beans. I fairly starve when Matt goes out of town. But it's a trade off I'm willing to make. Men who cook are totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Reading


this is officially my favorite time of day. hands down.

Caution: Squirrels At Work

The squirrels in our backyard are having a field day. There once was a day when I tried to collect all these acorns Pottery Barn style and fill vases full of them for my candles. And then worms came out everywhere. So now I just stare longingly at them, wishing I could use them.

But it works out well for the squirrels. They're having feasts all over the back patio and yard. There are little piles of acorns everywhere. It makes me smile. Go little squirrels go.

Cold rainy weather is on its way. I can't wait.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just When Things Seemed Darkest

It was just last month that I was in bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to my parents downstairs taking care of Jane, and I wondered if I would ever be me again.

Thanks to good doctors, good medicine, good bosses, and the Lord... things are looking bright again. Just when things seemed their darkest, just when I thought I couldn't take much more, life made a turn for the better. Every day I get a little bit better. Every day I get a little more thankful.

Last night our small group from church was scheduled to have evening Bible study at our house. What I didn't know was that they were planning a book party for me. In the door they came with all kinds of surprises. These two drawings (from our preacher's sons) will be going in my library, I love them.

The girls made me an honorary "author" badge that I will treasure forever.

And they made beautiful paper flower arrangements.

They prayed for me, and I signed books, and I haven't ever been so thankful in my whole life.

Without their prayers and friendship I'm not sure I would have survived.

And as you can see, they have excellent senses of humor.

So thank you friends. I love you all more than you'll ever know. Thank you for reminding me that just when things seem darkest, God's silver lining is just around the corner.

*I wrote an article over at Booktrib (and they're giving away more books too). Check it out.

* BOOK WINNER from my latest giveaway is: ter@waaoms! Just email me your address!

*Last but not least, a huge thank you to Kim over
at Today's Creative Blog for featuring me!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Liz and Butter Sittin' In a Tree

I leave you this Saturday with pictures of pre-apple crisp crust. I love butter. And if you've seen my thighs you know that butter equally loves me. It's good to be loved.

I hope you have a marvelous fall weekend. Turn off the tv. Open the windows. Get outside. Walk with your husband. Play with your dog. Sing in church. Blow zerberts on your kid's tummy. Life is good.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

My (Not So) Storybook Life: Another Giveaway

So my best friend Carrie called me (the book released this week) and said, "Hi author, do you feel any different now?"

And as I juggled Jane in one arm, the phone in the other hand, and the smell of a loaded diaper hit my nostrils, I replied, "Carrie, I'm about to be elbow deep in baby poop. That would keep anyone grounded."

But it does feel good. It feels like the end of a very long, exciting journey. And now I'm bouncing around a new book idea. That's even more exciting.

So in celebration of the book release (yes, it is in your local bookstores), I thought I'd do another giveaway. I'll be giving away one book this time. You know the drill. Post a link to this post on your blog or facebook and leave me a comment letting me know. I'll draw the winner Monday.

Thank you to everyone who has been sweet enough to call or email letting me know what you thought about the book. It means so much, really. And although the Little Rock and North Little Rock bookstores are sold out momentarily (yipee), they'll be getting more books in soon.


Success and Cuteness

I walked this morning down by the lake. I didn't stumble once. I did my physical therapy exercises in the living room. I wrote a little. I cleaned a little. I took a picture of Jane. I consider days like this a success. I used to drive myself so hard. I used to lay down at night and think, "You should have gotten so much more accomplished today." But not anymore. My standards are lower. And I'm much happier. Life is sweeter. And the best thing? I'm going slow enough to bask in the cuteness of Miss Jane. That is hands down the best reward of all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teeny Baby Socks and a Farewell to the Garden

With chilly mornings and chillier days on the horizon, I've been unpacking winter clothes for Jane. And tiny baby socks. Tiny baby socks with mouse faces on them. Is there anything better? I kind of wish I had some.

The garden is making its last stand. It's the same every year as the warm weather gives way to fall. The garden fights and grows and flourishes in one last defiant stand against the oncoming winter. I admire it, actually. Our little garden has spunk.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recovery

Every now and then someone snaps a picture and you think, "Oh, that's my new favorite picture of all time!" These are my new favorite pics of all time.

Mom spent a week with me. She drove me to my doctor's appointments. And at those doctor's appointments I realized that I'm leaving the "sick" side of this illness and entering into the "recovering" side of it. It was a really, really good feeling. There once was a time when I didn't know if I would ever get better. But with God's loving care, I now know I will.

Before we left the house Mom said, "Come one, fix your hair. Put on some makeup. You need some pictures with your daughter." And I did because I realized that I didn't want to look like a sick person anymore. The weather was beautiful. But not as beautiful as my Jane.

The cucumber vines in the garden are making one last stand before the cold weather sets in.

And without sounding like a broken record, I'm so thankful. Thankful to be able to hold her. Thankful for my cheerful, supportive husband who has raspberry contests with Jane in public and doesn't care who sees him. Thankful for these pictures. I'm so thankful to see recovery on the horizon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview and a Cute Baby

Do you like how I'm using my cute, pudgy, smiling baby as advertising to draw you in? Ok, on with it. I'm being interviewed today at 5:30(CST) by author Shellie Tomlinson on her radio talk show All Things Southern. It's airing on KMLB TALK540, the ARKLAMISS, and streaming live on her website:

http://www.allthingssouthern.com/

I hope you can listen in!

A Sprinkles Halloween

There's a cold front moving in. At least that's what the weather people have been predicting. I hope they're not wrong.

So in anticipation I turned on all the orange Halloween lights in the house. And then I baked. Nothing exploded, burned, singed or popped. Most of all, the cupcakes are edible. Mission accomplished.

This year I find I'm not in the mood for a scary Halloween. These last few months we've had enough scary moments to last us awhile. I'm in the mood for a sprinkles kind of Halloween. Cupcakes seemed like the right choice. Actually, when are cupcakes not the right choice?

Bring on the cold weather.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Here

Friends and family are reading my book. It's here.

There's something really intimidating about it. When I write, I don't write thinking about anyone actually ever reading it. It's just something I do for me at the time.

But, while scary, it's such a nice feeling.

My friend Hilary called to let me know it was making her laugh. I breathed a sigh of relief. It's my opinion that if a book makes someone laugh, it has done its job.

So it's finally here. The book. Halloween. Cooler weather. Recovery.
I'm grateful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thing Nobody Likes


Does anyone really like to clean a bathroom? If so, I'd wager to say they're modern day super heroes. We're talking Batman/Superman level here. Actually, they're better, because dollars to donuts neither of those dudes have ever touched a toilet brush.

Anyway, this is the thing nobody likes. Cleaning the bathroom. I hate it. I'd rather scrape two day old eggs off an iron skillet with my fingernails. I'd rather scoot the stove away from the wall and see what lies behind it. I'd rather clean Mabel barf out of the shag rug in the living room. I'd rather, well, you get the idea.

But since I'm temporarily on leave from work, I'm home all day. This is the first time in my 31 years on this planet that I've ever been at home for longer than two weeks. And it's weird. But nice. Except cleaning the bathroom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween in the Kitchen

I'm going to bake something today. I'm thinking apple crisp is in order. Or maybe something loftier, like a cake with a spider on top. Or maybe not.

The sun keeps peeking in and out from behind the clouds, and the light in the kitchen is going bright, then dim, then bright again. It's nice.

A house down the street has ghosts hanging in their trees. It's freaking Mabel out hard core. She paces in the living room, barks in the window, and then paces some more. I was going to walk her over so she could see they're just fabric. But then I realized schnauzers don't care of it's a real ghost or fabric, they only know either way it has no business swinging around from trees.

So I won't bother staggering about with Mabel straining on the end of her leash. I'll stay here and bake. While she screams the day away at the ghosts.

I'm so glad it's Halloween in my kitchen.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Jane's Inner Monologue On Rice Cereal

Mom, I know you've bragged about Dad and what a good cook he is.
But I take serious umbrage with these claims.
Frankly, this rice cereal he mixed up tastes like cardboard.
And bare in mind, that's the most polite adjective I could come up with.

Seriously you guys. Let's never do this again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wind (and the Winners)

The kitchen window is open and I can hear the wind in the pine trees across the street. A candle is burning and the towels are tumbling in the dryer. The leaves scrape across the driveway and a crow calls down by the lake.

This is my fall soundtrack as I wash bottles and wipe down the counter tops.

I'm so very thankful. Not because anything spectacular is happening today. Not because we have lots of money, or expensive clothes. Not because of new cars or future vacations. We don't have any of those things right now.

I'm very thankful just to be here, in my kitchen, listening to the wind and the leaves. Thankful to be alive. Throughout this illness I kept thinking, "What does God want me to learn?" And I'm not sure I have that figured out yet. But I do know that when things slowed down to a crawl, I became aware of all the time I had to pray. To think. To be in my house and be still and listen to the wind in the trees.

God is good.

*

Contest winners are as follows:
1. ljmitt (posted on facebook)
2. Serenity (Serenity Now)
3. Kristi Sweeney (facebook and blog)
4. Carole (posted on facebook)
5. Amanda Jo (theamandajo)
6. Sarah (sohl design)
7. Awesome Hayley (facebook)
8. Tina D. (facebook)
9. Cowgirl in the City
10. Kelly (neffajawea)

Thank you to everyone who entered. I actually filmed myself drawing the names out of a bowl, but the video wouldn't upload. But it was also kind of lame, so maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the book! Thank you again so much!

Winners please send me your names and addresses to mabelsblog (at) yahoo (dot) com and I'll get the books sent.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blurry Happy Pictures and Daddy's Thoughts On Smocking and Victorian Death Babies

Book contest winners will be announced tomorrow! Comments are now closed. Thanks to all who entered! Now on with the story

*These pics were taken last Sunday, the very first time I've managed to go to church in three months. I might have been wobbling and unable to drive, but I was present and it felt wonderful. The best part was that no one at church accused me of being drunk for not walking a straight line, I didn't fall down, and I didn't get vertigo and lay in my own vomit. No seriously. I'm very happy. That's my current criteria for a good day. :)

Matt has very few strong opinions. He's usually pretty much "hey whatever you want babe." But when it comes to these few points, he's fairly impossible to deal with.

1. Raw onions. He hates, hates, double hates, and loathes entirely. His eyes cross and he gags and causes a scene if someone puts them on his burger. Don't do it man. All onions and no breath mints makes Matt a very angry boy.

2. The Cowboys. He hates them. I myself come from a long, long line of Cowboy fans. He can't help it though. He's from Houston, and they refer to people from Dallas as "yankees." So yeah. You can't use logic with him.

3. Smocking. Yes. That's right. Smocking. As in adorable baby dresses and overalls.

So last Saturday, as I was picking out Jane's church outfit and keeping my fingers crossed I'd be well enough to attend, he laid down the law.

"Don't put her in that dress."

"Why? It's adorable."

"The smocking, it freaks me out."

"I don't get it."

"It makes her look like a Victorian Death Baby."

I tried to wipe the smirk off my face (after all, this is the man that let me buy a house based on a pink bathroom, I have to cut him some slack when he finally lays down the law). I also tried very hard to quickly figure out what, exactly, a Victorian Death Baby was. He explained.

"Like those baby funeral pictures from the Victorian era. Those babies always had clothes like that on."

I blinked a few times, trying to process this new information, "Victorians made death masks and art out of hair... but it's smocking that freaks you out?"

Matt nodded his head emphatically, "Yep."

"Matt, if you don't want her to wear them, then that means you have to buy her new dresses."

I figured this reasoning would quickly end the debate, since Matt has lately turned into Frugal Freddy.

"Fine," he replied with a look of sheer determination on his face (with just a hint of horror, which I'm assuming had something to do with images of Victorian Death Babies dancing in his head). "We can take it out of the grocery budget if we have to."

And so we got her some new duds. Without a hint of smocking to be found. Note her new non-Victorian Death Baby purple corduroy jumper.

But I'll still sneak those other dresses in when Daddy isn't looking.
I, for one, happen to love smocking.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Photo Tour of Last October (Since I'll Probably Drop the Ball This Year)

Last October I was a whirlwind of energy. I was doing crafts for Better Homes and Gardens. I was baking cakes. I had morning sickness like crazy, but somehow it gave me super-woman pregnancy hormones to push ahead.

This year, meh. Not so much.

So because I'll probably drop the ball this year in the creativity/energy department, here's some inspiration from last year. I wonder what those ladies at BHG did with this mask I sent them? I kind of miss it.

Frankly, I'll be doing good to plug in my jack-o-lantern.

But never fear. I WILL plug it in. It is after all the best time of the year. And even if I'm not doing my best Martha Stewart impression, I'll still be watching scary movies and throwing around strands of orange twinkle lights.

If you haven't entered yet, be sure and check out my book giveaway below! The end of the contest is drawing near!