Thursday, December 31, 2009

Habby Dew Year, Evvabuddy.

We all woke up snuffling and dripping and drooping this morning. The first moments of 2010, I suppose, will find us all fully-medicated and snug in our beds, prolly just a'snorin' away, thanks to all the ick in our noses.

BUT! Even as we saw logs and cough and sputter, we'll be counting the beautiful, blessed moments of 2009 and holding close in spirit the friends and family, including y'all, who've made it special - made it come alive with love and wonder - and looking forward to a bright and happy New Year brimming with more of the same.

Y'all have a fun, safe, memorable celebration!

And of course you know I can't pass up a chance to share some dependably awesome JT with you.


So here's a hand, my trusted friend
And give me a hand of thine.
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld land syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
The seas between us have roared and swelled,
Since auld lang syne...

Happy New Year to all of our cherished family and friends, old and new, near and far.

We're gratefully blessed to share this life with you.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Letter 2009

Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family, all over the world. We love you and wish you the very best in the coming year.

The FriedOkra Family


Our letter from Santa this year ...

Merry Christmas to the FriedOkra Family!

Ho ho ho from the North Pole, which I left under a gentle blanket of snow. Not so here, though. Santa nearly slid off your icy roof tonight – it’s a good thing Rudolph and the gang all got new golf spikes for Christmas! I won’t dally around talking about the weather though as there’s so much to be said and so little time to say it all, for a man like me who only gets to share his thoughts with you once a year!

I climb down your chimney each Christmas, dear family, and the first thing I feel as I brush past your stockings and out into your home, is love. Ho ho hoooooo how much love there is here in this house. Santa feels the love of two parents for one another and their deep, deep love for the two (sometimes four!) precious children asleep upstairs. Santa knows this love comes from nowhere other than God himself, and thanks Him for blessing each of you with a heart full to brimming with love for one another. Watching you two children learn to love one another, really, really love one another, is the sweetest gift your parents will receive in their lifetimes. You are each a gift to the other, and to your parents. Blessed, blessed gifts.

Bean, you’re five now? My goodness child what have you done with the little baby in the “elf” costume from 4 years ago? Now you’re a Big Kid, a big kid who writes her own name, draws beautiful pictures, helps her mother and father, tells knock-knock jokes, and goes to school. I’m so proud of you, kid. You’re a light in this world – a bright, vivid spark of intelligence, wit and beauty. Know that you are special, that you are wonderful and smart and capable and that with practice and patience you’ll be able to follow your dreams and continue to delight God, your parents and yourself by becoming the person you’ve been created to be!

Peabody. My big boy! Are you walking? Huh? Are you walking around on those tiny little feet that last year this time stood awkwardly inside an exersaucer? Now you are a man about the house, getting into mischief and making your family laugh until they almost cry with your silly antics! You’re a treasure, my boy, from the top of your curly head to the bottoms of your enormous feet. Santa has loved watching you go from baby to toddler and can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Grow big and strong and learn lots this year, little one. The world awaits you!

Al, Santa never tires of watching how you live your life for this family. How you bear the responsibility of caring for and protecting them not as a cross but as a crown, you are proud and bold in your love for them and dedicated to giving them everything they need to be content, healthy and productive. Your studies finally behind you, take this year, dear man, to enjoy these people around you and allow them to care for you a bit. Their hearts want to please you just as yours does them!

Megan, slow down, sweet lady, and enjoy your children and husband. Your heart is so gentle and so loving – my one wish for you is that you would let it rest easy in the love your family has for you. You are surrounded with love – live in it, soak it up, and let it light your way every day. This love, these people, are all that truly matter.

Be well, love one another, and try to do good for someone else every day.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a VERY good night.

Santa S. Claus

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Monday, December 21, 2009


I wrote about seven and a half of the sweetest moments of my life here. Took me longer to write about it than to live it, but I will remember those moments and savor them for many years to come.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fancy Cracker

My husband, y'all, is a plain old cracker kinda guy, through and through. I regularly stand by watching in amazement as he consumes entire sleeves of soda crackers without pausing for breath.

The man just loves him some saltines.

Last night was the annual neighborhood Ladies Night Christmas Bash at my friend Paula's house, so I ran out early in the day to buy ingredients for my Mom's hot crab dip recipe and a box of assorted VERY fancy, non-soda crackers for dipping. You know the kind shaped like butterflies and ovals and flavored with sesame and rye and what have you? Well, I got the dip made and the platter of crackers arranged just before Al came in from work to take over kid duty while I ran up to primp for the party. I left one little sleeve of the crackers in the box because it wouldn't fit on my platter, and popped it in the pantry on my way out of the kitchen.

I was upstairs installing a fortress of hot rollers around the crown of my hair when there came a light tap on the bathroom door. Al's face appeared in a tiny opening and he held up the fancy cracker box so I could see it and said, "Are the fancy crackers in here for the party tonight or do you care if I have them with my sandwich?"

"Oh you're welcome to them honey but I bought you a new box of saltines, too. Did you not see them?"

"I saw them but I want these. I love 'em!" he said.

"Wow! I had no idea you loved fancy crackers!" I exclaimed.

"Hey, I married you, didn't I?"

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the Season to Ratchet Mama's Crazy Up Several Notches


This was probably my favorite shot of the kids from the little amateurish "session" we did one gloomy (weatherwise, not moodwise) afternoon last week. It won't be on the FriedOkra family holiday greeting card because it's all shadowy and weird, but I love how it captures each of the kids in such a perfectly Bean or Peabody way. Peabody looking wide-eyed and smiling with wonder and Bean grinning after saying something slightly profound and hilarious.

Two sweet, childish spirits captured by their nutty Mama who has every lamp in the house stuck and propped all around them so that they're practically blinded by the white-hot humming glow, twenty tangled extension cords running hither, thither and yon, candy canes and shatter-proof ornaments in all of her pockets and hanging off of her belt loops and a scary reindeer hat perched jauntily atop her disheveled head.

It occurred to me about halfway through, as I snapped away with lamps toppling and candy canes cracking and Peabody smiling a mouthful of ornament glitter: They are some mighty good sports, these children of mine.

Merry Week, y'all.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Yeah, What SHE Said!

Oh my people. We're in a season right now where amidst all the fun and joy and festivity, I think it's all too common to feel like as Moms, wives, Dads, whatever, as PEOPLE, we just can't do it all, or can't do enough, or can't live up to the Better Homes and Gardens version of Christmas. And some of us are quick to feel unworthy, assume we're the only ones struggling with this fear that we'll never please everyone. Never be perfect. Never fully measure up. It's not JUST a holiday-season struggle, but I think it tends to invade in busy times when we really want to please to the people we love.

(Certainly NOT ME, though, y'all. NOT ME AT ALL! NOTHING TO SEE HERE!)

Anyway, here's a song that never fails to cheer and reassure me when I'm feeling like I can't please everybody or get it all done perfectly. A beautiful old song by Amy Grant. Big hugs to anybody feeling like they're falling a bit short lately. Be encouraged - you are special and you are loved, even when you're just being little old you.

OKAY MAYBE A LITTLE BIT ME. Are you happy now?

And that's just FriedOkra, keepin' it real on a Friday in December.


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