Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wedding Planning and God's nudging...

I had already planned to blog today about my eventful day yesterday. Danielle and I got up at the crack of dawn and headed out "wedding shopping / planning". We started out at a store in Alma that is called A to Z. It has tons of flowers, favors , etc... Danielle picked up some BLUE ribbon for decorating. The store itself is a little overwhelming. We shopped and shopped. I picked up a few things myself for the eclectic area out the back door I am fixing up for if/ when I ever return home. I got a sign that said " garden of weedin'" . Cute huh? I also got a glass bird feeder to match my bottle tree. If you haven't seen my bottle tree , it is worth your trip. We got it in the Delta to commemorate our upbringing. We did put it in the back yard so we wouldn't offend our neighbors. So, now I have to make it feel at home by making the back area funky and all.

Back to Wedding planning-

We had appts at Ricks Bakery to test cake. Now, I don't remember doing this at my wedding. I don't think it was as important what it tasted like as to what it looked like. Danielle wants to go simple. Simple sounds good to my checkbook. She picked out a simple three layer cake with a blue ribbon. Blue... remember that. The cake testing was fun. I was a little hungry still after lunch. We had greek food. We had about 15 minutes to woof it down . I wondered if it is appropriate to eat the WHOLE piece of cake she bought us.. or even all three. I didn't. I figured if I am attending an official " cake testing" I should resist the urge to be red neck. So, I left Ricks feeling like we had accomplished something and.. a little hungry.

We had an appt at the Fayetteville Town Center also. This will be a beautiful venue at Christmas. It turned out not to be as expensive as I had suspected and the folks there were so nice. We haven't completely decided yet but it looks like it will be there . This will be a small wedding for 100 family and close friends. While taking pictures guest will get to take in the breathtaking downtown lights and maybe even get a little romantic themselves and take a carriage ride. We will set up hot chocolate and coffee stands to warm them up before tackling the cold. Another nice stop.

Zu Zu's flowers was our next stop. Danielle wants mainly candlelight. The lady wasn't informed she had appt and wasn't ready for us. ( IE no pictures of their work ) and I could still smell Ricks bakery next door. We talked about Calla Lillis and BLUE ribbon. All in All, not a great stop.

We went to Hobby Lobby and they had all their wedding stuff on sale for 1/2 off. By this time we were too tired and overwhelmed to think. Surely in the next 5 months this sale will happen again....

We went to Davids Bridal. Of course nothing compared to Danielle's designed gown she tried on to a tune of $3500. End of story.

On the way home we drove by one more venue. I had forgotten when Danielle gets tired or overwhelmed she gets cranky. I was reminded of this quite quickly. I am driving thinking .. I . emphasize I, should be the cranky one. I have stayed in yucky hotels for two weeks that don't even have Internet so I can update this blog and SHE is tired and overwhelmed from a day of shopping ( with my money ) to create the wedding of her dreams. Give me a break. In the middle of that thought the groom to be calls. He took a closer look at his service dress uniform and it is black... not navy BLUE. Hmm..... I just THOUGHT she was cranky before. The funny part is, I was calm and almost enjoying the moment as I realized how many more of these moments their lifetime will bring them and how ... well... it wont be my problem anymore. I bet he wishes that uniform was blue..

Then - fast forward to today. Dennis Jernigan was the worship leader at our church today. His voice is amazing and you can tell the Lord leads him in every way. After the service started a lady came in and sat at the end of my row. Now, I need to set the scene. People in my church are just now beginning to raise their hands and worship and then it is usually still bent at the elbows. So, why when the church is packed - does the one very charismatic lady sit by me. I looked over and she was dancing. Yes, dancing. I thought at first she was doing sign language but I didn't want to stare. Now, before you start praying for my judgemental heart let me tell you. I am ok with her doing this. Her conversations with God just don't look like mine and I am uncomfortable. I know... not her job to make me comfortable. So, the service goes on and my mind flicks back to one Sunday I visited my dads mothers Pentecostal church. I am thinking this lady is going to start speaking in tongues any minute. I cant interpret. And what if she starts rolling around... ( I know, go ahead and stone me. ) But I was so uncomfortable. If that wasn't enough, Dennis asked us to get outside our box again. He asked you to stand up if you are mourning the loses of a loved one. Yeah.. I get to sit . She stood up. Then he asks a couple more questions and none apply to me. I am a happy camper. I can be Baptist and sit in my pew quietly. THEN... he said if you are around someone standing , please go to them and lay your hands on them. I am thinking seriously? What if she starts shouting or whips out a prayer cloth. ( My grandma had one that scared me to death. ) But, I was the only one around her, so I go. Immediately I am reminded that God will meet you where you are, uncomfortable or not and remind you that he is sovereign. As I put my hand on her back and felt her sob and prayed for her, I had to say a prayer for myself that maybe , just maybe one day, I could get outside this conservative box that I live in and proclaim my love for God as boldly as she did. Thanks God for putting my in my place today by placing the dancing lady next to me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Local Flavor

Today was an “ off “ day for us. We didn’t have a concert so we hung out, had a picnic in a park and did a little scouting of a couple of the venues we will be singing at later in the month.   We also found a WALMART. I have decided that we have saved money while on this little trip because we aren’t in Walmart every day .  But I DID enjoy the shopping backsliding today.   I think we enjoy walmart because no matter where we go, it is always the same – kinda like home.


When we started this tour I really had high hopes that I would be able to lose weight while we were traveling .I mean, an hour show  - or maybe two- a day and what else do I have to do but walk?   There are no snacks laying all over  the house to randomly munch on so how could I NOT be successful? 


A.     The hotels we are staying at not only do NOT have work out rooms but  I am kinda leary of walking along the interstate.

B.       Randy is loving the local flavor. The local flavor almost ALWAYS consist of something fried or covered in gravy.  Also, they always have those homemade country pies that  have a meringue crust 6 inches high. I have felt the need to allow myself one in recompense for the cruddy hotels I have had to stay in.  ( Pie makes everything feel ok. ) 

So, here I am about two and a half weeks into this tour and I feel like a cow.  Not a pretty , grazing on grass cow, but a full fledged honking HUGE cow.  I DON’T LIKE IT. I just know any day now some kid is gonna say – MOM  She is HUGE.  I would die. I mean , no matter how big you make your hair a kid can still tell if you are fat. 


While in Walmart today I picked up one of my favorite Leslie Sansone walking tapes.  It is the three mile walk. I know, that is being very ambitious but I can work up to it, right?   I bought peaches and watermelon and fat free Pringles. I am READY.


After shopping I go to the pool. I don’t do that in my own home town. I might see someone that would recognize me and give me that wonderful comment that I LOVE.  Oh Debbie, you have such a beautiful face.   That always means “ honey, I am sorry you are fat, if you lost weight you would be really pretty. “.  So, here I am out by the pool reading my new favorite book and laughing out loud.  ( Don’t be too impressed I am STILL at a motel 6 .)   After I had greased down with tanning oil ( tan fat looks better than white fat. )  I am thinking – look at those people going into that Mexican place over there. If they glance over here it will ruin their supper, they will for sure want salad.  For a moment I got distracted and thought, I would LOVE to have a cheese quesadilla.   ZAP!  Ok, back to the diet plan.   Danielle is getting married in December and I have to lose weight. I hate to have my picture made and this will be a mandatory  picture taking time.  I MUST lose weight so I don’t feel awful about smiling for the camera on her special day.  Also, I want a pretty mother of the bride dress, not a jabba the hut tent dress.  Too many more “ local flavor” meals and I will be picking one out. 


Randy ends up coming out to pool. It is time to go for supper.  He takes one look at me ( my swimsuit is cut almost  the naval – I know gross ) and says wow.  He always has a way of making me forget I am fat. Yes, long enough tonight to visit Jonesboros local flavor – The Front Page CafĂ©.   I still am thinking I have done well today.  I have had a Fiber One Bar, a subway chicken breast sandwich and baked chips and 6 Nabs crackers. I am going to make good choices then go to the hotel and walk.  I ordered a grilled chicken salad with fat free  dressing.   YAHOO! I am on the  right track.  THEN , can you believe this?  Here comes that sweet little feisty server with a silver bowl and says “ FRIED OKRA ANYONE” ? Are you serious?  They just walk around handing out “ local flavor” while you wait on your meal.  By the time they brought out the grilled chicken salad I had fried okra and a wonderfully delicious yeast roll.  


As we finished our meal and I rolled myself out of the door I only had the energy to take off my clothes and lay down.  


Maybe tomorrow I will start walking……

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Life of a Rock star, my new book AND my new favorite store.



Since that seems to be the constant in my life right now, I will explore the life of a verging rock star.  Ok, maybe we don’t sing rock but how intriguing would it be to say – the life of a wanna be children’s musician? 


Here  I sit in ANOTHER motel 6.   This room is fancy, it has two beds. So, we have loaded one bed with all our luggage and accessories and the other will be reserved for the bed of love.  Yeah right.   There aint much love that goes on in a Motel 6.  I will explain further and you will understand.  Today we had a concert in Searcy.   After that we decided to drive back into Little Rock and check out the venue ( doesn’t that sounds professional ) of our next gig.  As a side trip we did eat lunch at Randy’s favorite restaurant called “ Jason’s Deli”.  Like the real business manager that I am (and roadie, and maid, and driver and backup singer) I had to make a couple phone calls to confirm later bookings.   The library that we are due in tomorrow said they didn’t have us on their calendar.  WONDERFUL!  I tried to work this out, while the star of the show finished his delicious lunch.  Randy finished eating and I got off the phone .We decided to go over to the library and talk to them and see where the confusion was coming from. I will not lie. I honestly thought.. wow! I might get to go home for a few days.  As lucky , or unlucky as we are, the library was wrong and we are scheduled for tomorrow.  So, off we go to figure out where we will be sleeping for the night.  Yes, you guessed it another Motel 6.  Randy said he wanted to fix me one of his favorite “ on the road” snacks.   Minutes later he said, I don’t have paper plates we have to improvise.  He brings my “supper” to me as I am reading my new book ( more in that later).   It is a Vienna sausage sandwich.  Seriously, he took and sliced Vienna sausages and put it between two pieces of bread.  He also handed me fat free Pringles and said “ You can have more if you like.”  As I laughed at this situation I was taken back as I realizes he improvised a paper plat with TOILET TISSUE.  Am I seriously eating a Vienna sausage sandwich on a pile of toilet paper?  J  Yes, I am.  Welcome to the world of a Rock star.


I started a new book tonight called “ Such a pretty Fat.” By Jan Lancaster.  This lady has seriously written a book about me.  I have never met her but I am sure that she has been secretly watching me and penning my biography.  I have laughed until I am hurting.  This book is basically about a ladies quest to be skinny.  She says it is the “true story of a fat, mean girl on a diet.”  A weight watchers axiom -  Nothing taste as good as being thin feels.”  A Jen Lancaster axiom “ Weight watchers can kiss the fattest park of my ****.”  I feel that way quite often.  She talks about the diet phases she goes through . Remember the Jane Fonda workout? Everyone would get up early and eat dry toast and workout for an hour.  To this day I hate Jane Fonda and leg warmers.   I still like toast – not dry.  One of my favorite quotes from the  book is this one.  She has just knocked over a mans glass of wine as she got up from the table.     I was so embarrassed, I wanted to crawl in a whole and die, but the guy was cool…    but I ‘m bothered that certain body parts are trailing behind me and creating mayhem and wasting perfectly lovely Bordeaux.  And lately, I noticed I am developing a bit of a shelf back there. My inner critic calls it an ass plateau.   Seriously, it’s a fleshly blob that sits right above my crack, like a fanny pack or perhaps my tailbones version of a helmet. When I see you, I’ll let you rest your drink on it.”  Now, that is who I have felt as we have had picture after picture chronical our summer .Why don’t even one of them make me look thin and pretty?   I usually avoid the camera and this time I cant’  To make it worse , may of them are bring plastered across front pages of small town newspapers.  I have to wonder are people looking at it saying “ nice ass plateau lady..”  ugh….  And it isn’t fair.  The star of the show is overweight too… and he still looks so good in all the pictures. WHY? I mean, not that I want him to look good. I would just like to NOT look like a poster child for the little Debbie Company. I try… I really do.  Anyway, this book will be good for me and it is sure to make me laugh.  I think I will read it with a butter-laden croissant in one hand a REAL coke in the other!


Randy and I finally went into a store that I have seen but not ever been in.  I have a new passion.  The CONTAINER STORE!  That place is awesome.  It has every kind of organizing feature you can find.  It has boxes and boxes for boxes.  I was in organizers heaven.  I TRY to be organized.  I am not very good at it at times.   I think I get so excited with the plan that I lose the energy to complete the task.  If I was just independently wealthy I could make all the plans and pay someone  to put it all where I want it.  You know , the say that an organized house keeps your mind organized as well.  If that is the case, I might know why I feel it is perfectly all right for me to be away from home all summer and eating Vienna sausage sandwiches on toilet paper.  

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Home Again , Home Again... Jiggity Jig

After being on the road almost a week, we are back home. We are here for two days. Just long enough to wash clothes and repack. I have learned a lot while traveling doing children's music.

1. Always... Always, take the tag off your new shirt BEFORE starting to sing.
2. If you buy a cantalope at a fruit stand on the way and leave it in the truck, the smell can get quite strong.
3. If the hotel is "cheap" it probaby is....
4. If there is one man standing up alone in the audience marching and singing with you, dont point him out as a " great involved dad" he just might be mentally challenged.
5. If someone ask you for your autograph, dont laugh and say... are you serious?
6. If you are out driving the country in your off time and you go down a country road and a truck pulls in fast behind you , closes the cattle gate and locks it- be scared.
7. Be prepared if your script ask the children "do you wanna know how she did it?" for one child to say - no.

Those are just a few of the things I have learned so far.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Randy and I met in the Delta.  I am originally from West Helena Arkansas and Randy is from Clarksdale.  We are in Clarksdale as I type. We are staying at Randy’s aunt and Uncles home.   You know you are a blogger when someone is talking and all you can think is “ I hope I remember this later so I can write about it! “.  I was so moved and excited that I grabbed my lap top and started pounding away.   Some things  are just too precious to not be remembered. 


As Randy and I drive farther down south we are reminded of our childhood in little ways. We stopped in Conway at a Target store.  As I passed one lady, I knew she looked familiar. She had that look like she knew me too.   When I passed her again, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask if she was from Helena. She was!   I recognized her dialect as soon as she opened her mouth. Every other phrase was “ Yes mam,,” with such respect and southern gentile.  She was....


As we drove through Memphis I saw a southern phenomena that I had forgotten- thankfully. Many of the younger African American boys down here wear their jeans down past their buttocks.  Why? They have to hold them up with their hands or they will fall to the ground.  I don’t understand. And to top it all – they don’t even have cute underwear on.  Boy!  PULL UP YOUR PANTS!


As we arrived at Randy’s Uncle Gene and Aunt Steele’s home, it was like taking a step back in time. I felt like a reporter. I just wanted to have a pen and pencil in hand to write down everything they said.  I had a headache and went to bed early the first night – about 7 :30 pm.  The next morning I woke up at 3 am.   Randy woke up at the same time laughing.   He said Uncle Gene wanted to know what time we needed to get up . Randy replied “ Oh about 6 :30.”  Uncle Gene said “ Oh, yall sleep in , don’t ya?”  Smile…. Now you see what world we are in?  As Aunt Steele talked I tried to take mental notes. 


One conversation in particular that really struck me and almost brought tears to my eyes was this one.   Aunt Steele:   Debbie, you know I had cataract surgery.  I didn’t know what all I was missing out on.  I didn’t need the surgery yet but I wanted to do it while Gene could still drive me to Oxford to the Doctor.  ( They have been married for 48 years .)  After that surgery it was like I was in a whole new world. I opened my eyes and looked across this Delta land and saw all the colors of the fields and it was so pretty.  The blues and the purples just popped.  I couldn’t wait to get up wait to get up each day to see what new colors I could see.  I would even wake up in the middle of the night , just to look around.




If we all could just see each day like that. I actually was reading a book yesterday about the wonderment and curiosity about children. How each day is a new experience.  There are so many  things that  have become  mundane to us - things we take  for granted.  I guess Aunt Steele , at 76, was like a kid again – seeing things in a whole new way.


I told aunt Steele I was writing about her.   She was so exicted that she had to show me her “ book.”  She  said some important lady said “ A lot of folks in Mississippi cant read but they sure can write!”   She too out  her book.  I was amazed. She had a 4 inch binder FULL of memories.  What a treasure for her children and grandchildren and generations to come.   This “ book” talked about how her mother used to cook their meals on hot coals from the fireplace. Her favorite meals were biscuits and gravy. To make the meal cook faster her mom would place another sillet on top of the bottom one.  We sure have it easy now days.


Aunt Steel loves to talk about her meeting Uncle Gene.   She said she was NOT interested.  But here she is today.  They never leave home and spend the night.  She said “ At night we like to be  at home together, Gene on his side of the bed and me on mine…”  


It is 7:15 am and I feel like I have been up for a full day. We have a concert at 10 am at the Carksdale Library.I am sure  there will be more writings about our Mississippi adventures.  A step back in time…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hotel Snob

Wow.. how did that sneak up on me? One of my friends called me " Diva Debbie".  Another called me a hotel snob.  I really never looked at myself as a snob before.  Maybe I am.  Today after finishing our concert in Mayflower we headed to Mississippi. We have a concert tomorrow in Olive Branch so we are staying at Harrah's Casino Hotel.  It is SO nice. As you can see, I am actually using the internet in my room. No copying and pasting tonight! 
  Other differences... Look. Soap
 - not in squeeze packets!
Then we have that lovely makeup mirror

 that I missed AND a blowdryer and a IRON!
  Now, this is my kind of hotel room. There are even guys outside that take your luggage in for you.  That is a far stretch from backing in our truck and covering our equipment with a black cloth to make sure no one breaks in while we are sleeping to steal it!   The lobby is beautiful.  There are two beds. Randy has already put 
his guitar to sleep in one bed.  The AC is working in this room. We didn't have to bring in our stage fan!  wow.... This IS my kind of hotel.
Does this make a a snob.. or a Diva?
I mean....I dont require much...
Oh... and guess where we ate for supper? Paula Deens !!!!!

As I sit in my nice room with my little lamp and beautiful view, I am reminded of what is really important. Randy ( the cheap hotel guy) is lying on the bed exhausted from our busy day and the driving.  As I hear him snore - quite loud - I know that I have a great life.  I spend all day through the school year working full time with the man that I love in a job that I LOVE and feel blessed to have.   Now, here I am doing something else I love with him again. Music and Kids... what a great combination .  As we drove today he pointed out the blue sky and all the colors he saw. The yellow wheat fields. The green grass. The white clouds.  A lot of men would never even notice the beauty in a day. We passed a billboard that said " Get lucky at the Isle of Capri." Randy looked at me and said " I already did..."  That is where we met.  As thought it were planned for us- the radio on WRVR played all the right songs by James Taylor. So, there we are driving down the interstate, the blazer loaded beyond belief with speakers, guitars, stage banners and luggage ( and the ironing board , iron and alarm clock that I purchased for cheap hotel stays..) and as I drive we feel like we have transported back 8 years and we are the only two people in the world.  
Yes, hotel snob that I am... lucky to have a cheap hotel man.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Kiddos First Concert Experience

You may not know this, but Randy and I are traveling this summer doing childrens music programs. We are " The Kiddos". We have 47 shows booked. It will be a busy busy summer.

So here I am in the first hotel of what probably will turn out to be the adventure of a lifetime. We may just have to call this a hotel/ travel review log. Now, I don’t consider myself spoiled. Is it bad that two of the hotels Randy found for tonight I refused to say yes on until we went inside to see a room? The first hotel wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t really really bad. The next hotel was not so good. It smelled like a huge cigarette. I said “ is this non-smoking”? The man pointed to the door and the non –smoking sign and I asked again…. “ Is this non-smoking?” I can answer that for you. No, it isn’t. So, we ended up at the first hotel.

I mean, I agree that we shouldn’t spend an arm and a leg on hotels. Staying gone all summer and coming home with zero in the pocket, would not be good. I have determined that Randy took me to the 2nd hotel so I would feel like the first one was wonderful. So, here I sit, typing in a word processor. ( NO WIFI_ can you believe that… obviously of you are reading this I have reentered the modern world and found a way to connect and copy and paste this into my blog. ) Let me explain my room to you, Four white walls and a bed. That is about it. Randy has said that all we really need is a bed anyway, right? Hm.. I am not convinced. There is a TV in here. The AC isn’t working great and thankfully we have a small fan with us for the stage . There is a small table that shakes as I type and a refrigerator. Guess what ? There are no little green bottled waters on top of the fridge with $4 price tags. Wait! Maybe I could go explain to the lady how to make more money to upgrade her rooms. Maybe if she made more, the shampoo would be in bottles instead of little squeeze packets. Good thing I brought my blow dryer. Something told me that I would not be staying in hotels that had them hanging next to the makeup mirror in the oversized bathroom I am used to. I also am thankful we have all new clothes and the don’t need pressing. There is no little iron in the room – go figure. Now seriously, am I spoiled? What a summer this will be. We might as well have brought tents. Randy said we are roughing it like “real musicians” . I seriously doubt Carrie Underwood stays here when she is in town. God help me.

The concert itself was a lot of fun. There were probably 125 folks there. The wind was howling like nobodies business. Thankfully we were inside. The kids really seemed to enjoy the show. We had a couple little mess-ups ( mixed up words, CD malfunction ) but other than that - it went well. We covered well and we realized that no matter how hard you work and how much practice you put in - there will never be a perfect show. We only sold 4 CD"s. But remember, people dont come to these library shows expecting to spend money... The kids were mainly 6 , 7 and 8. It was hard work. I really think harder than working all day with our kids. Maybe I am just not comfortable yet. I mean, you are working for a whole hour trying to keep them involved in what you are singing or doing. Randy is awesome at that.... As all the kids were leaving one little girl turned around and said Ms Debbie, you are pretty. That made my day. I mean, I am standing there trying to catch my breath with sweat pouring down the back of my new green shirt feeling any thing but.... dont ya just love kids!

Ada Ok is a cool town. The downtown is really still thriving. Our favorite part of the whole day was stopping back by Seminole Ok at a children's museum. If you ever want ta day trip for your grandkids or kids, this would be a good one. We took lots of pictures. It was fun! I wonder if each day will be an adventure like this?

The best part of all. Randy is being very sweet so that I dont mind staying in sucky hotels... Smiley