Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Happy cold Sunday from Northwest Arkansas! Since I wrote to you last, I’ve mostly been editing my WIP. When the banker in me says WIP, I think of a current asset, a component of inventory. The writer in me knows WIP as my current manuscript. 100,000 words that occupy my every waking (and dreaming) moment.
It’s fun, the editing. And maddening.
I consider every part of writing a book the most important part.
The first draft? Without it, the book would never exist. Every draft after the first one makes the story stronger and more succinct. But the intimate, exhausting, exhilirating editing comes when the writer debates the nuance of every single word, considering whether there’s a better choice in a sea of words.
That’s where I am now. And I’m obsessed with it.
This Time Last Year
This time last year, my sister and I took Momma to visit her college roommate, Carlene, who lives in Wetumpka, Alabama. Staci and I stayed in Montgomery, saw the sites, and enjoyed three full days of girl-time shenanigans, which you can read about HERE. Since it was MLK weekend, we attended church at Dexter Avenue Memorial King Baptist Church where Martin Luther King served as pastor. You can read about that HERE.
I bring all this up because a) tomorrow is MLK Day; and b) yesterday, downtown Wetumpka, Alabama was hit hard by a tornado.
Thank goodness my mother’s friend wasn’t hurt, and her home was spared. But I’m sure there are many, many people who are shaken up and devastated who could use prayers, good vibes, bright light, whatever you can spare this morning.
My One Little Word for 2019 is Refresh. I like this word because it applies to so many aspects of my life including our home. We’ve been determined to refresh our inside space by rearranging furniture and reorganizing bookshelf displays. Our built-in bookcases beside the fireplace? They tend to become cluttered and crowded if we aren’t paying attention. After Christmas, I took everything off and started fresh, putting back one thing at a time until I liked the look.
It’s incredible how the entire house can breathe more easily with a few simple shifts of chairs and objects.
When you were a kid, did you like to rearrange your bedroom? My sister and I did, and Momma was usually game to do most of the heavy lifting and bed-dragging. Feng shui hadn’t made its way to the Arkansas Delta. (Possibly, it still hasn’t…?) We didn’t care which direction we faced when our heads touched our pillows. And other than the mayonnaise jar filled with summer lightning bugs, we didn’t care about bringing nature inside either. There was plenty of nature beyond our bedroom window.
“Feng” means wind and “shui” means water. (I know this only because the magic Googler just told me.) Now I realize, we had plenty of feng shui all along. Depending on the season and the weather and how our luck was holding out, at any given time we might have a world of feng and a farmhouse surrounded by fields of standing shui.
The moral of this story: there is something refreshing and rejuvenating about waking up to a new perspective. Then and now.
Shades of Green
On Friday, I walked around the neighborhood looking at all the colors of January. It’s easy to fall into the blandness of no blooms and bare branches, but really, there’s so much to see. In winter, the decoration falls away so that we can more easily notice the beauty laid stark.
Look at the shades of green found in moss and lichen growing along brick walls and pathways. It’s there. And it’s teeming with life. Seeing it is part of the challenge and fun of winter.
One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbour 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss. (
Snow Day Recipe
Saturday brought snow! I’d already prepared myself for another missed forecast, so I was wildly surprised.
Our snow day recipe included:
- Two cold walks for Lucy and Annabelle, which meant two cold walks for John and me.
- Reading a library book and editing my manuscript—the perfect day for it!
- For breakfast, I made hot chocolate French toast because a snow day = a holiday, and a holiday calls for something special. I used a recipe from With Salt & Wit.
We received only enough snow to cover the grass. This morning, our sidewalks are solid ice and the temperature as I type this is 13 degrees. Because of the brutal wind, we have snow on our front porch. Considering our porch is raised five steps, that’s a first for us in this home.
Last night, the national news showed upside-down cars and jack-knifed trucks on interstates all over the country. I sympathize with those folks and imagine they aren’t giddy like I am over a dusting of snow. I consider myself fortunate to live in a place where snow is rare enough to be magical.
My questions for you:
1. Do you have snow on the ground?
2. Have you reorganized your bookshelves lately?
3. Do you still have a poinsettia in your house?
Bye for now, my Sunday Letter friends. Stay safe and warm!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
P.S. Once again, I’ve barely seen Momma all week. She’s hibernating and won’t come out until warmer temperatures.
We had some snow but looks more like frost here in NE Arkansas. Bitterly cold though! We are hoping for new den furniture soon so that’s my moving around. No poinsettias -but to be honest we didn’t have any this year anyway!
Talya Tate Boerner says
I have two poinsettias but they were both gifts to my mother. Since her cat eats them, I have them. They still look beautiful.
Jenny Young says
We have snow, Ice & steam…I live nearby on Swepco Lake. It was a gorgeous sunrise.
I have not organized my shelves, well maybe…sort of. I haven’t emptied them to clean & rearrange.
I do not like poinsettias unless they are in someone else’s house.
Talya Tate Boerner says
It was a gorgeous sunrise!!
Cathy Voight says
We have snow on our elevated covered porch as well. That wind was fierce. We also have one poinsettia that Randy will fight to keep as long as possible.
Waiting until the ice melts later today to walk. I have a healthy fear of falling!
Keep editing, the world wants a secon book from you.
Frances Creecy says
Enjoyed your Sunday letter. We have snow on the grass areas and temps in the teens.
We have lots of snow on the ground and it is currently snowing again! It’s only 6 degrees outside but toasty warm inside. I seem to redo my bookshelves off and on. I sit back and look at them and jump up to change something that doesn’t look quite right. My artificial poinsettia in packed away until next Christmas. Lol. I do have a funny story about our 16 month old great grandson who had a hard time transitioning from having a Christmas tree and truly worried about where the nutcracker disappeared to. He is reassured after seeing where the decorations are stored but one night when he noticed the poinsettias had disappeared he had to know where and why. The only solution was to take him outside to the compost pile, armed with a flashlight to see them. I’m with Barbara! I’ve been house bound for days and haven’t really minded at all. As long as I have books, food, and social media I’m good. Have a warm and wonderful week!
Sharon Collins says
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your Sunday letter. We get your leftover weather. As I live off the East Coast in the suburbs of Richmond, Va., we get some version of what you have very recently dealt with. The high temperatures for today should be somewhere in the mid 50s, but will drop like a rock to mid teens by tonight. Brrr. Using up leftovers in the fridge today, but found a fabulous recipe for French Onion Soup that is made in a slow cooker. That is what is in store for tomorrow. This stuff will cook in slow cooker for about 12 hours ,so I need to start tonight. I decided last night that a big old banana pudding would be a great dessert. That pudding is not only huge, but I will never again used a boxed pudding mix to make this new favorite dessert. The fact that it took 6 cups of whole milk should give you an idea of the volume of the custard that recipe made. It is yummy! One of my darling friends should be bringing her hubby home from the hospital and I hope to share some of that soup w and banana ;pudding with them. Prayers for a great week for you.
Holly Fletcher says
I live north of Paragould, AR, and we have snow. . It was a real snow. Beautiful large flakes, and it snowed heavy for 4 hrs. I have not rearranged my book case, and I do not have a poinsettia, but I do have an amaryllis that will have blooms in another day or two.
Cindy Lu says
The snow we got east of Conway melted before you could even get a picture! ? The only thing that’s been rearranged in my life in the past 20 years – is, well, my whole life. When younger, I bet I rearranged my furniture on a monthly basis – loved to do that! I have a white arrificial poinsettia that stays on my table year round. If it didn’t, I would have NO decorations at all – but I’ve learned to be ok with that. I have a brand new tree still in its box in my closet. Maybe next year! Stay warm!!! Love ya❣️
I still have a poinsettia. My bookshelves were kinda rearranged at Christmas when I took stuff off to make room for my Dickens’ Village (anybody remember these ceramic houses and accessories popular back in the 90’s?) I haven’t boxed up the village yet but will soon and so the bookshelves will at least get a good dusting between arrangements. The temp has dropped and will continue to do so here in eastern North Carolina, but I doubt we’ll see snow. Rare for us; some years we have none although we did get a little back in December.
Love your blog; looking forward to your next book.
Ginger Zimmer says
We had a dusting of snow here in Mountain Home, which is mostly gone now.
No, I have not rearranged bookshelves lately.
And yes, I have not killed my Christmas poinsettia yet!
Also, thanks for the mention of the tornado in Wetumpka. We have family there and hadn’t heard about the storm. Turns out, after a quick text conversation last night, that they were not affected by it.
Dorothy Johnson says
It snowed big beautiful flakes here for a short Saturday then tiny ones but the ground was too warm for any accumulation. I was disappointed.
I still have a poinsettia but don’t plan on keeping it much longer. I haven’t reorganized my bookcases yet but was thinking about it recently.
That breakfast looked delicious!