I Am Not Alone….but I’m very, very tired.

I almost feel ashamed writing this blog post. I went to the beach last week (work trip for the husband). I’m even going to our cabin for the long weekend. But in my defense, it’s a last minute trip and it’s a miracle it’s gonna happen because it was booked. Not to mention my stepson has a HS football game tomorrow night and we aren’t leaving until after and we won’t get there until the wee hours of the morning. You’re still reading this thinking “Well bless her heart” in a really sarcastic tone, right? But in the words of Paul Harvey…..here’s the rest of the story.

I’m tired. I leave my house going to work on Monday mornings and I don’t return until Friday after work. I don’t see my dogs. Sleep in my own bed. Wash my husbands clothes. Cook for him. Much less greet him or be a warm body when he comes in at night. And that man, y’all. He has a stressful job. He needs that. As much as I need him. With all this being said, know what I miss the most? A leisurely stroll thru Walmart. Yes. Walmart. Everyone I know is posting about our new Walmart grocery pickup. And all I can think is BUT I WANNA GO IN!!

Can I just take a second and give a round of applause, a pat on the back and a hats off to the nurses and caregivers of the world? You are, without a doubt, my hero. I used to say being a Dispatcher for law enforcement was the hardest job I’ve ever had. It was a cake walk, y’all. One of them pie jobs compared to caring for my Granny. I had nights after stressful calls and adrenaline pumped high speed chases I would go into the bathroom at work and sink onto the floor and collapse into sobs. Only to wipe my face and get back up to face it again. But caregiving? I got nothing left. I feel like one of those jellyfish blobs lying on the beach last week. I.got.nothing.

And it’s not just me. My sister Mona relieves me on the weekend. At least I get out of the house during the day when I go to work. She’s here 24/7 the 3 days she’s here. Not sure I could do it. Neither of us were made or designed to be nurses. Florence Nightingale I am not.

We are blessed to have a wonderful caregiver 4 days a week while I work. She comes for 8 hours a day, 4 days a week. I work 8 1/2 hours a day. No, I ain’t leaving her alone. Not even for a second. I’m going in late on those days, not taking a lunch and running to the vehicle each afternoon to hurry and get here to relieve her. There’s about a 3/4 mile stretch from my job until the turn off out of town where she lives. There is one store on that stretch. Family Dollar. Now I love me some digital coupons. And I love a bargain. But I just wanna go to Walmart. Not at a run. In a mad dash. In a hurry. I wanna get me a buggy and meander thru them aisles like I own that joint with nothing but time and money to burn.

Yes, I can go on the weekend. I can see my fur babies, sleep in my bed, and wash clothes. But I don’t feel like it. My house is a wreck. I have a chair full of folded clothes I’m pretty sure has taken root in my bedroom. I cry and tell my husband “I just want my life organized” and “If the kitchen didn’t look like a tornado I would cook”. I have a wonderful husband. But I would be lying if I said this schedule hasn’t taken a toll on our relationship. That along with a few other things I don’t know that I will ever blog about. Pity party of 1, please.

Am I proud I’m able to stay with Granny O? Sure I am. And I do have moments I enjoy my time here. It makes her happy and hey, Buck is waiting on me each day when I pull in the driveway I’m actually worried about having to re-adjust to my home life again someday. This is my new normal. And if that time comes and Buck is still here with us Good Lord willing, not sure I’m gonna be able to leave him. Been threatening to take him home with me since daddy died. That there is the best ole yellow dog since Ole Yeller. He’s something. In fact, he’s a whole other blog post. Stay tuned for that one someday. And bring your Kleenex along.

Anyone who knows me knows that I hang in there like the proverbial hair in a biscuit. As Granny O says, you may give out, but never give in. Repeat to yourself over and over, Kimmie.

This morning Granny O said “I want to go home”. I didn’t come back with my usual “Now Gods got you here for some reason so just hush”. Truth is I’ve mourned the loss of my Granny over the course of the last several months. I want nothing more for her to go home. This earthly body and earthly home is nothing compared to the one she’s laying claim on. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see. And her daughter, my momma. Our Yaya. And Ruby. And Isaac. And Bill. And Jason. Her husband Raymond who drowned while she was still a young bride, pregnant with my mother. Home indeed.

And there ain’t no grave, gonna hold my body down. And there ain’t no grave, gonna hold my body down. And when I hear that trumpet sound, I’m gonna rise up outta the ground…..I can hear that trumpet. Can’t y’all? And it sounds glorious.

Later, y’all….

The Excuse Bench

You know when you have those moments in your life that just speak to you and stick with you? And you’re like “Well, I will be, how true is that”? The excuse bench story is one of my big ones. I mean BIG. I’m actually lying on the beach listening to “Girl, Stop Apologizing” and while Rachel is giving some sage advice, the gist of her book reminds me of the excuse bench.

When Dylan was in 7th grade he was beginning his “school sport” career. Mind you we had been little league footballing, Rec league baseball and travel balling for quite some time. “Daddy ball” as some called it. That kind where we all acted like there was a brand new Ford waiting on us in the parking lot if we win. I reckon we all thought we had the next Bo Jackson on our hands. What is it they say, “we all think our crow is the blackest”. Dylan was no exception. Mommas angel. I’ve long past asked forgiveness for my actions from those days. Lord, be near.

Picture it. Summer basketball pre-season tournament. Circa 7th grade Sboro Junior High glory days. In the old, old gym. You folks from Grant know what I mean. The thing about the old, old gym was this. They had those old wooden bleachers that really gave you nowhere to sit except right behind the team who was sitting on the front row. And besides, all us mommas had on our best black and gold. All perched up there like a buncha excited kids at Christmas. Our black crows were fixing to squawk.

Now, for those of you who know my child, he’s a good kid. I got real lucky. But one thing I have to say is his forte is not being able to take constructive criticism well. What I mean y’all, is, well, Dylan ain’t never done nothing that was his fault in his life. He’s grown out of this somewhat (I mean, he had ME as a momma 😳). Some of you know his daddy too. He comes from a long line of control freaks. God love him.

So, needless to say, during one of the first time-out huddles, us mommas were all leaned over just waiting for the praise Coach Arnold was about to bestow on our crows. I’ve always told Dylan if you look good, you play good. My legendary white baseball pant skills are for another post I’m afraid. I’m kinda a legend. Take a moment and bow to the Queen of Stains. Here ye, here ye. Fels Naptha should seriously pay me a royalty check.

Wait. What was that?? Coach Arnold dared to tell MY baby what he was doing wrong? In a pre-season tournament that was geared to get the jitters out and to practice their game and give them a taste of real games? Dylan and Hunter. No, they didn’t foul. They didn’t even do anything drastic. But their coach (look up the definition Bc I actually did that on the way home and read it over and over to D), got ON TO THEM! You could hear a pin drop on Momma Row. We froze. Black and gold shakers hanging low.

And just what did my child do? He made an excuse. Which made his bff Hunter kinda brave and HE made an excuse. Go back to the Never done anything that was his fault bit. What did Coach Arnold do? Grabbed them both BY THE ARM (this has been significant when I relive this story) and slung, yes slung those 2 onto the bench. Wait a minute here. Their 2 faces said it all.

The words that changed my life. And I hope Dylan’s. And Hunters.

“Those 2 are on the excuse bench. Anyone else wanna join them”?

Pretty sure no one spoke up because the game resumed and we had enough players to head back out. All while these 2 were riding the pine.

Mommaville erupted all at once. “Are you gonna let him talk to him that way”! and “He grabbed him”……those that knew me well expected the eruption of all eruptions. Of epic proportions. For once I’m glad I disappointed. I sat back and said “I sure am”. I chuckled, even. Looked at his little incredulous face that had turned around to me and gave him “the” look. The one that said say one word. Dare you.

It was the first time I had ever been glad my son failed. For real. Did Dylan go back into the game? Sure he did. Did I ever see him make an excuse again? Nope. Not that I could hear. Have I used the excuse bench many times over since that day. Sure enough.

With Dylan. With work. With friends. With family. With jail ministry (oh, especially here!!), but most of all with myself. Sitting here listening to this book and hearing someone else tell me that there is no one but myself to blame for my endless running around with my chicken with its head off schedule? And that if you truly want something you need to hustle and do whatever you have to do in Order to make it happen?

Before the excuse bench, I would have said, “Hey. She don’t know how hectic my life is”. Granny O. Work. Me time. The endless guinea pig wheel in my mind that spins endlessly with idea after idea everyday.

Post excuse bench thinking I’m over here fist pumping and heck yeah’ing and making folks on the beach near me question who or what they’re sitting by. Headphones are the devil at times.

My son went on to have a wonderful school career. It just happened to be in baseball. That was his love. He played 3 years of college ball and still loves the game. The excuse bench came along. He was his biggest critic. And I was his biggest fan.

If just one of you reads about the excuse bench and applies it to your life, or your kids lives or just well, anything, it was worth foregoing my beach nap and running my battery down out here. I wish I could make an excuse for old me who just had the chair rental boy change my umbrella to full shade. But hey, can’t make excuses.

Later yall….

Simply Yaya

I could write all day long about the things I learned from my Momma and never get done. Pretty sure there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. But the truth of the matter is that I never realized just how much she was teaching me just from me watching. We thought there was plenty of time, I guess.

My momma did something for me everyday of my life. The sun rose and set in Dylan Scott Rice. His Yaya was his world and he was hers. They were always doing something. I wish I could say I was fascinated and interested in their projects, but I wasn’t. I used to laugh at them. From Capri sun purses to soap to clocks made out of old pot lids with buttons, it was like Martha Stewart made over. My momma subscribed to her magazine, and pored over every one, trying to come up with what they were gonna make next.

And cook. Lord, could she cook. Her mushy fried potatoes are the things dreams are made of. Never made a pan of cornbread that stuck in her life. The pork roast she made on the stovetop in her Lodge Dutch oven? I would give anything to be able to fix that delicacy. She only used salt and pepper. It would just melt in your mouth and fall apart as you sliced a serving off. My sister would give her right kidney for one of her chicken casseroles. And every Christmas she made homemade turtle candy to give for gifts. The world needs more Yayas.

She loved to go to yard sales, thrift stores and never met a stranger. She loved old things, cherished anything she had that had come from her family before her, and the stories that went with them. Up until a few years ago I would have told you I was nothing like her. My, how funny things change. But the best thing about my Momma? She was kind. To everyone she met. Rich, poor, young, old. My momma loved people. And people loved her.

We lost her in 2005 at the age of 51 to a massive heart attack. I went to bed one night and had a momma and somewhere before morning I didn’t anymore. 14 years later, it’s safe to say I still haven’t fully grieved for her.

I dove in to doing for others the things she was doing. My granny. My sister. My stepdad. I would go by her house on my way to work and make his bed in the morning. Fill the fridge with food because I just knew he would starve to death. I mean, my momma kept his tea glass full when he ate meals. Finally, one day, JP said, “Kim, you know you gotta quit doing all that for him, right”? “He’s a grown man and will be fine”. Hello, wake up call.

I’ve tried to find a way to honor just what my momma was all about. But how? She didn’t put on “airs”, to be honest she was a quiet soul. But kind. And she loved to share with others. If you came to her house, you ate. And more than likely went home with some of it.

You all know from my last blog post I’m a Pinterest junkie. I see stuff all the time on there and have these “AHA” moments when I see super simple crafts, recipes and hints. I wish my life and my home were as organized as my Pinterest boards. Alphabetized and with clever little names. It’s a thing of beauty. To look at them you would think I have it all together. NOT.

But one thing I can do. I can talk to folks. And I really, really like to. I would talk to the wall if nothing else was around. And I like to help organizations and causes I care deeply about. Like the Michael Scott Learning Center. It’s dear to my ❤️. Like my friend Crystal who is the director. They do so much for so many. Kids, ARC workers, summer and after school programs. Good stuff, y’all. Stuff anyone with a heart would be proud to take part in.

It took one text to Crystal with my brainstorm to get an emphatic “YES” from her. Her mind is a lot like mine. It goes in about 834 directions at once. So what, just what, if we hosted once a month classes at the MSLC and taught simple household things? Fun things. Stuff that Yaya would have done. We decided to call the classes “Simply Yaya”. Because that’s what it is. Simple and in honor of Yaya. And because I needed something else to do right?

Our first class was last Friday night. I sure had no idea what to expect. Except somehow I knew there was gonna be a blessing involved. Me and crystal both knew it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. We were so right.

Folks from all areas of my life signed up for the class. Most I knew, some I didn’t, but when we came together it was like God himself had made the attendance list. A dear lady whose son went to school with me and served as room Mother’s with my momma was there. She knew exactly what I meant when I described my momma. I could go on and on about every single soul there, but we would be here all day.

Let’s just sum it up and say we laughed, new friends were made and we can’t wait until the next time. Folks that came alone fell in with their table of guests like they had known each other forever. A table of sisters and daughters who at one time weren’t even talking because their family was torn apart by addiction giggled and mixed up brown sugar like nobody’s business. Get back, Devil. No room for you here.

We made homemade butter that we shook up in mason jars, laughing for the entire 7 minutes as we shook and jiggled and complained of how out of shape we were. Young adults were amazed that we could do this! And have buttermilk left over?? Well, I ain’t never.

We made homemade brown sugar like my friend Katrina had taught me last month at Home away from Home farms. We used my handy dandy new blender I couldn’t figure out how to use to to make powdered sugar and we made homemade pancake syrup using the brown sugar that we made. We simply had a blast. And I can’t wait for the next time.

As I drove home Friday night, thinking about the blessings I received that many in the room didn’t even realize, I felt better and lighter than I’ve felt in a long time. My feet hurt, sure. But you know what else? I hadn’t looked at my phone for 3 hours. I felt so liberated! I actually rolled the windows down and hung my arm out the window. True story.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me. I’m not worthy, but I’m oh so glad you did.

I hope I make you proud, Momma. In my mind you will always be young and you will always be beautiful.

Later, y’all……

Pinterest is like the devil and fear….it’s a big ole liar….

A few weeks ago I shared how excited I was about this journey with buying the cabin we were beginning. Once it sank in that this was really going to happen, well, I did the first thing any woman would do. I set out on a Pinterest binge.

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, stop reading right here. Save yourself. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. For the love of all that’s holy. Don’t start. It crack for DIY’ers. Crafters. Overachievers (like that bunch of aunts I was born into 🙄). I would elaborate on the Aunt thing, but that’s another post for another time. That one would take all day.

Forget wine and Netflix. Give this gal Pinterest and a diet dew, and I’m ready to take on the world. My ADD kicks into overdrive and one second I’m looking at all in 1 dishes and thinking “Who is sick or having surgery I can fix that for” and 2 seconds later I’m convincing myself I’m going to retire from making shower melts from Vick’s vapor rub. Yes, we laugh about this, but both of these are true stories. Truth will stand when the worlds on fire.

Fast forward 2,539 pins later, 378 thrift store runs, and 97 hand scribbled lists that I managed to lose half of, and it’s time. Time to turn this cabin into my vintage, farmhouse dream. With bears. I have to have bears. I’m kinda obsessed. Gah, I love bears. Especially nice bears….told you I had ADD. 🙄

Thursday morning. Time to hit the road. This was after me asking my husband to be up and ready to go when I got there. The man had one job. Wash his hind end, pack and be ready. I had done the hard work and gotten all the stuff we were taking together. I walk in and he’s walking around in his drawer tail, hair sticking up like Shaggy from Scooby Doo with a confused look on his face. Let’s just say that went over like a turd in a punchbowl. Then we had to backtrack to go cash a check, pick up my wallet I left at Granny O’s and run to the pharmacy. Let’s just say our ducks aren’t in a row.

Y’all, I literally pinned ALL THE WAY TO SEVIERVILLE. I walked thru the door at that Hobby Lobby like Joanna Gaines herself. I had remembered my list and I was on a mission. My biggest project of the weekend? No-sew burlap swag curtains this woman had just “thrown up” over some large twigs she found in her yard. This gal here is the first one on my list. I will hunt her down and roll her yard when I’m not exhausted.

Number 2 on my list? The fabric lady at Hobby Lobby who said that the Pinterest lady was wrong and I should NOT use landscape burlap but regular burlap. In a moment of Pinterest doubt, I agreed with her. I mean she cuts fabric at hobby lobby. Who am I to doubt? All I gotta say is she better be glad I can’t drive good at night and my hubby refused to take me back. There would have been a royal rumble on the fabric table. Y’all, there were tears. It was bad.

I decided to wait until the 2nd day to tackle the curtains. After climbing the cabin stairs 94 times to unload what was the equivalent of an American pickers monthly haul, I was exhausted. And besides, all I had to do was sling it over the rod, tie a knot and ravel the ends. Easy peasy!

Day 2. Beside the tub looks like something out of Southern Living. My vintage brick mold is hanging on the bathroom wall. My little wooden bear is perched on the brick mold. The new shower curtain is hung. Hey, Kim. Better get to work on the curtains.

How many of you know burlap isn’t easy to work with? It doesn’t smell pleasant, it isn’t soft at all, and as an added bonus, I’m apparently allergic to it. And it’s heavy. Especially when you have a whole bolt of it and you can’t cut it because you don’t know how much one window will take. It was at the point I made my first “wrap” something told me this wasn’t going to be easy. Now keep in mind I was coming down from a successful Pinterest recipe I had just made that was impressive. Paula Deen who? Here I come, curtains.

Sensing my frustration, my husband asked if maybe we could wash it to make it more “workable” and pliable. Wait. Didn’t the Pinterest lady say the landscape burlap was more pliable? Note to self: Hobby Lobby woman was not your friend. She tricked you. Off we go to the laundry mat. Google said wash it but don’t dry. Ok. We got it. We take it and stretch it across the porch to dry overnight, hoping like heck Lester the raccoon who visits doesn’t tote it off. Husband mentions we may have to iron it to get all the wrinkles out that washing had put in it. I blocked out his words (Bc remember this is a whole bolt, not just a yard or two) and go to bed. Saturday it’s on like a chicken bone. I was gonna have a burlap fairytale in that cabin. Slept like a rock.

Day 3. My last shot. Do or die. No, really, die because someone is checking in tomorrow and they won’t have curtains. The burlap wasn’t dry. Back to the laundry mat to dry it. Walk into the middle of an argument between the attendant and a guy who was only wanting to dry his river soaked clothes. She told him he had to wash them first. Hey, their business right? No, he has to tell me that I have to wash my stuff too and blocks the dryers. Pretty sure he and the attendant saw the crazy in my eye when I said “I’m putting this in that dryer” and marched past them. They knew better. They went back to arguing among themselves.

I literally watched that burlap spin for spin around that dryer. It was almost as if I was willing it to come out a soft, pliable dream. I was also trying to keep my eyes focused on something besides the young girl with the daisy dukes on had the front of her shirt stretched back over her neck, showing all of us what the stork brought. God love her. I know she had a mirror at home. She did, however, do a nice rendition to “Last dance with Mary Jane”….glad my honey walked over to Ace Hardware because he might have run off with her.

Ok, here we go. My wonderful husband irons every inch of that bolt of burlap. I wish I could say with love but he was on the porch and it was hot. Did I mention there were mosquitos galore this weekend?

I set out with my knot, wrap, fluff, wrap again, try to make the distances between wraps the same. Give up 2 or 3 times. Sit in floor have a red headed fit. Convince hubby to go back down the mountain for safety pins. No way it was staying without. In my mind I’m picturing the Pinterest lady and the hobby lobby lady and I convince myself they know each other and set me up. I start plotting their death.

My safety pins are here. I’m on the back of the couch, my plantar fascists riddled foot with the heel spur is burned into the couch frame with the intensity of a roaring flame. I have 6 splinters in my hand from free falling and sliding down the cabin wall. I’m crying. Whining. The crying begins to reach a fevered pitch. It is now after 1 AM. I hear my precious, kind husband mutter something under his breath. I freeze. “What did you say”?? He looked at me so calmly and said “To the ground. I will burn this cabin to the ground”. I believe there was a mention of him shooting me in the process. Delirium has set in. On both of us.

What happened? Well, the curtains are on the windows. They have enough safety pins in them to fix every woman in the Smokies falling bra strap and they looked like hammered Doo. Nothing like the Pinterest picture. . But they are done. And the cabins still standing. And well, he didn’t shoot me.

But I am sure of one thing. Pinterest is a liar. And I ain’t falling for it again. Well, maybe for that vintage rope pully/tin bucket thing full of flowers that would look SO GOOD on the cabin porch……Jesus, take the wheel.

Later y’all…..

Kissing pigs, mayo making and fellowship….the perfect GNO!

If you know anything at all about me, you know I love to cook. And that I love animals. And vintage things. And ways of life. So when I found out there was an opening in a local homemaking class that included all these things, well, Katie bar the door! You can have the bar scene, the dinners out with the girls, all that laying by the pool. No ma’am. You wanna hang with me, this is gonna be the perfect GNO (Girls Night Out)! Luckily, I have a bestie who just goes with my unusual flow and hops in for the ride. When I can get her out of the house, that is.

I’ve followed the Home Away from Home farm page for a while now. Every time I see the pics and posts about the monthly homemaking class, I ooh and aah over how much fun it must have been. When I see the pics of the pigs they raise, I’m done for. They raise Kune Kune pigs (and if you don’t know what that is, it is adorable pigs). All you need to know. Katrina Brown, the lady in charge of this far, along with her husband and completely ADORABLE kids have a good thing going on. She’s just a modern day girl choosing to live simply, and embracing everything around her, whether it be milking a cow, raising pigs or making homemade yogurt. And y’all. She just glows from it. Even though I had never met her, I knew who she was instantly when I walked into her home. I was like, “That’s her”. I only saw a tad of nervousness from her the entire night. And all it did was make her a little more endearing.

me

I’m going to attach her blog at the end of this post so all of you can read about her. She’s just fascinating. And kind. And well, we could all stand to be a little more like Katrina. Her kids say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, Ma’am” and sweet little Ax said “It was so nice to meet you, I hope I get to see you again”. If you know my partiality to little boys, you know at this point I was like “See that white Nissan over there?” “You can just go hop in the back seat and go home with me”. Then I thought about what I had to offer him at my house and knew within minutes of being there he would be demanding I return him. Sure, I have dogs. But not farm dogs. I got spoiled dogs. Not dogs that meander among baby pigs and big pigs without the slightest bit of aggravation. Nope, a PS4 and satellite TV can’t compete with what this family has going on. Yes, they have modern conveniences. Come on, she has a facebook page and a blog and a DELUXE Kitchanaid mixer (yes, I slobbered over it a little). But it’s obvious Katrina and her family march to the beat of a much simpler drum. I could see where folks might leave these classes feeling like they are lacking. I mean, she made homemade yogurt. And went into detail about the consistency that she liked vs what the kids liked and how she had found a happy medium. But the only way I can tell you I felt when I left was inspired. And blessed.

Now, I’m not so dumb that I think I’m gonna be making most of these things from now on. Naturally, I don’t have my own cow to milk. Nor do I have that handy dandy cream/milk separator gadget she has on the counter to pour her fresh milk into. (Chanda still hasn’t figured out the concept to that machine. The description of how it worked left her with a puzzled look on her face. Yet, she still dove into this class with enthusiasm. Initially, she said “I’m just going for the pigs”, but she ended up loving everything about it.) So, I’m afraid I’m out on the butter and yogurt made with fresh milk.  But am I going to make my own mayonnaise again? And brown sugar? Sure will. I have each and every ingredient we used in my pantry. And my own Kitchenaid mixer, although it isn’t a deluxe model. But it was my Momma’s. We bought it for her the last Christmas she was with us. Every time I use it, I think of Yaya. Who embraced craftiness and a lifestyle like this like no one else I’ve ever met, until now. My Momma would have loved Katrina. She would have fit right in. My soap making, yo-yo quilt making, crotchet baby blanket making Momma would have loved everything about last night. She would have run her hand over that old cook stove and admired every cast iron skillet with awe. Not sure I have felt as close to Yaya as I did last night since her death 14 years ago. Mirror, mirror, on the wall. I am my mother’s child after all. And I couldn’t be prouder.

me

Katrina hosts a different homemaking class each month, free of charge. Each month a different topic, ranging from soap making, to herb drying, to candy making and quilting. Her classes, since held in her home, are of course space limited, and preference is given to repeat attenders (I think that’s me, now, y’all). She sets up a donation box near the door, and 100% of the money that goes into it is put back into supplies for future classes. The ladies attending pour in with smiles and homemade dishes and “Hey, how are you’s” and it turns into a good ole time of fellowship. I am totally ashamed to say that I didn’t do my research about the class and didn’t realize that you were supposed to bring a dish. Now if you know me at all, you know I was beyond mortified. If you tell me to bring something, I’m immediately on a 3 day pinterest search for THE perfect recipe, one that guarantees at least a few admiring glances. The food last night was beyond amazing. The homemade salsa/pico de gallo was my favorite, and Chanda’s was the pasta salad that had “just the best green onions I’ve ever had, I mean the BEST”, according to her. This is my one apology over my error. Next time (if they let me back in), it’s gonna be on like a chicken bone. Kimmie’s got homemade game and I’m bringing it with me!

me

Chanda and I were lucky enough to end up at the table with Martha and Cindy, a mother/daughter combo who blessed me more than they will ever know. Martha kept us all in line, made us laugh and took notes. Serious notes. Note to self: Be more like Martha at the next class. Martha made me not only miss my Momma, but to sit and reflect and remember her and appreciate her for the wonderful cook, Momma and Yaya that she was. Martha was alot like Momma, I could tell. Pretty sure I forgot to tell Martha last night, but thank you for inviting the two oddballs to your table bc as you said, “There are only 2 of us over here, and we can share our mixer”. God don’t make mistakes. And he puts us right where we need to be and are meant to be, even in a room full of ladies making homemade mayo. All the Martha Mommas out there take a second and take a bow. You’re a rare bird in today’s world. You and Katrina.

Here are the things we made hands on last night:

Butter

Yogurt

Mayo

Brown Sugar

We took home a homemade chocolate sauce Katrina made that we didn’t have time to get into, and also the recipes for everything plus a few more.

me

I went home (well, I mean to Granny O’s bc it was my night to stay) all smiles and needing to tell everyone in my path how much fun I had. Granny O’s caretaker Tammy and my husband got the honors. I went on and on about what we made, about the dog named Annie who looks like Shine (“Look, Tracy, it’s a baby Shiner!!) and the pigs and the kids and their manners, and the creme separator and the pigs and the good food we ate and the pigs. Did I mention there were pigs? Just making sure. The runt took a liking to me and the feeling was mutual. Once I picked it up, it kept following me around, so I picked it up again. Phoenix dashed my excitement when he came around the corner and said “Oh, be careful with that one, it likes to poo and pee on you”. Talk about dulling my shine. One quick kiss and I put the pig down. Let’s get real. Did anyone think I was gonna go out here and not kiss a baby pig? I think not.

me

It’s safe to say a good time was had by all. I highly suggest reading Katrina’s blog and learning more about her and her little farm. I was a tad dismayed last night bc Chanda hadn’t read any of it, and she just didn’t have ANY IDEA about the story of how God sent Katrina a dairy cow, and really, how could she appreciate the fresh milk if she didn’t understand that GOD HAD SENT KATRINA THAT COW. Y’all, it’s exhausting to be me sometimes. I have all these ideas, and plans, and passions that it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the simple things sometimes. Thank you, Katrina for a night that let me do just that.

Later, y’all.

Home

Blessed Nest Part 1

If you need me, I’m just sitting over here pinching myself. My smile rivals anyone I’ve ever sported. The cabin. Not just any cabin. THE cabin. The Townsend cabin. The one that’s our happy place. Where we honeymooned. Where we go to recharge and relax. We’re making it ours. Y’all. Is this for realz????

But the best part? I get to decorate it to my junkin, thrifting, vintage loving heart. And bears. No worries. There will be bears. You can’t have a Smoky Mountain cabin without bears. Oh wait. It gets even better than that. I get to share it. With folks I love, folks those folks love and folks I don’t even know. The excitement of someone else falling in love with it far outweighs the anxiety of the rental process.

My stepmom bought the cabin for the same reason we are now buying it from her. Because she loved it. Life circumstances have changed for her and she just isn’t able to go like she thought. Her loss is my absolute thing that dreams are made of gain for this ole gal.

I will never forget something she said once when she and I were talking about the cabin. “I’ve realized that life is short, and I want to enjoy it. And allow the folks I love to enjoy it too”. I couldn’t agree more.

I’m just giddy with the thought of people I know visiting and saying “It was perfect”. And with poring over guest book excerpts from people I don’t know. Doesn’t take much to excite me, y’all. Give me the mountains over the beach any day of the week. Ok, gotta stop and pinch myself again.

It took us a week or so to decide on a new name for the cabin. We loved the current name, Edge of Heaven (and it really is!!), but something about naming it yourself makes my heart beat fast.

The texts between myself, my husband and son have been pretty entertaining trying to decide on a name. This is a joint venture between us, so we all got to weigh in. Dylan’s “Bear Necessities” was taken about 5x over. His “Knotty & Nice” suggestion was shot down real quick by ole Mom. Nice try, though.

My husband was as always ready to go with the flow with whatever we chose. Pretty sure there is nothing he can do to reach the hero status he has going on from agreeing to take this journey with me. My son taking part was just icing on the cake. God knew what he was doing when he gave me one child, and a boy at that. I got lucky with Dylan. Oh, so lucky.

Beginning August 1st, the cabin will officially become “Blessed Nest”. I can’t think of a better name. Blessed. By definition made holy. Nest. By definition an abode of shelter. A sanctuary.

My cup runneth over, y’all. And I’m so not worthy. But I’m oh, so glad he saw fit to bless us.

For those of you interested in renting, the link will be available soon. If you want to go in July, well, we can make that happen also. All you gotta do is say the word!

Peace, love, and cabins, y’all……Later.

He ain’t there, y’all. Musing of an Easter goer and over all hot mess……..

I did something Sunday I still can’t believe I did. It’s something I’ve talked about others for. In a scandalous voice, I might add. “Omgahhhh did you see so and so?” Yes, I’m aware that’s judging. Painfully aware. Yet I did it anyway. Oh, the embarrassment. Go ahead and get your shovel out so you can bury any preconceived notion you have of me. Here lies Kimmie’s shame and humiliation. And her judging side. Are y’all ready? Ok, deep breath. Here goes.

I was an Easter goer. I marched myself, my husband and my child up in that church on Easter. I met my best friend Chanda and her family and proudly sat on that pew like I was really doing something. 75% of those faithful church members were like “Who in the heck is that”? I sang loud and proud the songs about him rising, I got my bible out and followed along, and I nodded my head so many times during that sermon folks probably thought I had some kinda twitch going on. I’m over here like “Amen” and “Yes, Lord” and “Thats right” when that preacher was preaching. And Brother Dill was speaking the truth. Ain’t it grand I decided to show up and listen? Grace Jesus with my presence? And the rest of the church? Jesus, take the wheel.

I know what you’re thinking. I think it too! She needs to be going over to that jail and having a bible lesson and posting scripture and verses and acting like she’s sitting at the foot of the cross. And I ain’t dumb enough to think that folks that hear me let loose with a wordy dird every now and then don’t think it then, too. But I go back to that one thing my Granny O told me so many times that I never got until a few years ago. You can have church wherever you are. Some of the most “real” church I’ve ever attended with in the K & J pods of the county jail. Jesus was there, the Holy Spirit was there and if I was a betting woman there was a whole lot more than that up in there.

I mean hairs standing up on your arms, having to sit on your hands to keep from waving and shouting Glory! You know that heavy feeling you get in your chest and that feeling when you can’t help but cry because something reached down in your soul and said sister, here it is! It’s yours for the taking! I’m handing it to you. Just grab hold and don’t let go. Or let go and let God. Somebody say amen if you know what I’m talking about.

That’s what we do, ain’t it? We grab ahold and then we let go. We get all confident in our faith and in our walk and then BOOM! Here comes that devil. He gets all up on my nerves. And you know what? I let him. I open the door and say, well hey there! Come on in! How’s your momma and ’em? Who is the devils momma anyway? I mean like Jesus had Mary Magdalene surely the devil had a momma too right? Wait. I think I met that lady once. At work. She came in one day and….oh wait. There I go judging again.

You know those days and weeks when we’re down and out and there are bills to be paid and not enough money and you’re sick and the dog craps on the rug and brings a turtle in and lays in the middle of your bed gnawing on it (true story) and you’re late and when you do get there you’ve forgotten half of what you needed and have to go back or beg your husband to bring it to you? Or you get that mad face emoji from your boss because you didn’t do something you were supposed to or everyone at work needed you to do everything for them and left no time for you and your work? And that’s just fine, because Lord knows their time is more valuable than mine. The days when things ain’t going right are the ones I’m talking about. THOSE are the days I call on Jesus and say Lord, you better intervene and do it quick because if you don’t I might end up being the person getting to hear the bible lesson at the jail.

I’ve realized lately the times I call out to Him are the bad days. What if, just what if, instead of praising Him in the storm, I called His name when the sun was shining and my fur babies were just sitting there looking adorable and not fighting and using the bathroom rug as a toilet and your husband is looking at you adoringly and work is as joy (ok, maybe that one is a bit of a stretch) and you have the most precious friends and family and coworkers? Because one thing I’ve learned and learned the hard way is this. The devil doesn’t come at you when you’re doing wrong. Nope. Sure don’t.

The devil comes at you full force and with a vengeance when you’re doing right. All those times you’ve been grumbling and fussing with your neighbor or your family? Or your coworkers? Yep, devil ain’t worrying with you. You’re in active addiction or hitting the casinos spending your house payment or laying in the bed depressed all day? You aren’t even a thought in the devils mind then. You know where the devil is? He’s over here hot and heavy on the person that you are looking at thinking “I wanna be them.” “They’ve got their stuff together”. That’s where the devil is. He’s on every single person trying to do right.

He’s on the recovering addict who is clean for the first time in 10 years. He’s on the businessman who is successful and making money hand over fist. He’s on that couple that you look at and think has the perfect marriage. The momma whose kids always match and have manners and she posts pics on Facebook of her meticulous home looking like something out of Southern Living (not calling any names, my precious friend Crystal LOL). He is with that person that just landed their dream job and thinks heck yeah, I’ve finally made it.

Bottom line. THE DEVIL DOESN’T COME AT YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOING WRONG. HE COMES AT YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOING RIGHT. Write that down in the front of your bible next to your kids names. As sure as the sun rises on whatever kind of day we are having, a horrible one or a good one. And the best thing any of us can do is keep our guard up.

Now, I’m not saying don’t feel good about a good life. Heck, I’m still a newlywed and I make myself sick sometimes when my husband walks in the door and I get all googly eyed and get butterflies. Yes, he gives me butterflies. Help my time. That man. I ain’t never done anything in my life to deserve him. But I’m oh, so glad the Lord saw fit to send him to me. And that He gave me the sense to recognize it’s really OK to feel good about your marriage, and your life and your blessings. But we must always, always guard our heart, our lives and our blessings. Place a hedge around them and dare the Devil to try to get thru it. Stick you some thorny bushes in it so he gets pricked like Jesus did up on that cross.

Which brings me to my final thoughts, since I’ve been all around the world with this post. I love Easter. I think it’s my favorite holiday. Now, I won’t lie and say Thanksgiving isn’t a close second. I would eat a sweet potato raw that’s how much I like them. And I’m that crazy pumpkin spice lady you see all the memes about. But Easter. And Good Friday. Holy Week. That gets my heart thumping. Jesus died for ME. I had a hand in stopping Jesus’s heart. Let that sink in.

I literally can’t watch The Passion of the Christ. I should be ashamed to even tell that. But I can’t. I’m over here watching videos shielding my eyes from the bad parts and Mary Magdalene is literally standing and sitting there watching her son be beaten and crucified? I stress when Dylan gets a sunburn. And he’s 25!!! Mary, Mary, Mary. She’s right up there with Job for me.

But those 3 days later. Here them women came with their spices ready to anoint that body and THE TOMB WAS EMPTY! You can’t make up stories this good. Living he loved me, dying he saved me, buried he carried my sins far away. Thank you, Jesus. He did it for even an Easter goer like me. And for you. And then someone threw in a magic rabbit and died eggs and all kinds of fun just for good measure. And ham. And potato salad. And if you’re really, really lucky, deviled eggs.

He ain’t there, yall. He arose, He arose, Hallelujah, Christ arose…..