I Love Late July

I don’t mean the month. July in Tennessee is miserable. Even sitting here in the middle of February on a grey day, I dread July. Heat indexes hit 8,000 degrees, and your skin (or maybe your foundation) melts off your face when you get more than 2 feet from an air conditioning vent. It isn’t pretty.

I love Late July chips. Why? Because they’ve gotten my husband on-board the clean-eating ship.

Since David and I started avoiding all chemicals and eating tons of organics, I don’t go down the grocery aisles very often. Organic produce, organic dairy, Ezekiel bread. That’s about it. But believe it or not, the chip aisle has become standard for me. David is a self-described snack addict. He would rather eat a bag of chips and some spicy homemade dip than the most beautiful organic meal I can whip up. I try not to be offended by that.

So why do these chips make me smile? No chemicals, no artificial anything, organic ingredients, non-GMO grains, and no sugar! You’d be amazed how many salty snacks are full of refined sugar. These chips aren’t light in calories, so consume in moderation. This is really hard to do (especially for my snack addict!) with all the tasty varieties they sell. My local Publix carries five flavors, our favorites being Mild Green Mojo and How Sweet Potato It Is. Combine any of those with some plain hummus, and you’ve got a nutritional treat full of protein, fiber, and good fatty acids. What’s not to love?

The Stork Has Landed

Amanda and Elli celebrating the joys of mascara!

David and I spent the last 5 years as Life Group leaders at our church. We hosted biweekly meetings and led discussions on Scripture or devotional materials selected by the group. Food was usually involved one way or another, and we had so much fun that meetings occasionally went until the wee hours of the morning. Life Group has been a big part of our lives. The faces have changed over time, but invariably we’ve counted our best friends among the group’s members. That’s what made our decision last week to end the group so unexpected.

It really wasn’t my decision; it was a God-thing. Up until 2 years ago, we were a Young Adult group. Most were married, some were single, NONE had children. Be it newborn babies or foster kids, as of last night, David and I remain the only couple without kids.

Elijah and David watching cartoons.

As I see it, this is a best-case scenario for us. We get to have all the fun snuggling and loving on the little ones only to give them back when they have wet diapers or throw fits.

We rarely have to discipline, so we’re always in good favor. Best of all, David has an actual adult excuse to watch cartoons. It’s a dream scenario!

As you get to know me a little bit better, you’ll learn that David and I can’t have children. We went through 7 years of infertility treatments and multiple miscarriages. God has done a lot of work on my heart during those years, and only recently have I accepted that God simply has other plans for me than motherhood. I’m publishing a book with Thomas Nelson in 2014 that I hope will bring information, laughter, comfort, and community to women who have similar struggles with fertility.

I take so much joy in the little ones around me who seem to like me better than most other adults. David says it’s because I “get down on their level.” That’s a compliment, right?

Gaming: Haley Style

We’ve always been big fans of gaming. Not the online role-playing stuff, just good old-fashioned card- and boardgames. For me it’s the result of being an only child; I was a Solitaire phenomenon by the age of 6. David’s obsession with all things Settlers of Catan and Munchkin is harder to track. By the ages of 22 and 23, we would rather stay home and play games with my bestie Melinda than go out. Yes, some of that was out of necessity: we were poor grad-school students who couldn’t afford the $2 it would cost us to take the T into Boston, even if the concert in the Public Garden was free. But, yeah, most of it was simply our geekiness.

After being taught Canasta by my equally game-obsessed cousins, J. D. and Kate, David and I had a new addiction. The word Canasta conjures images of blue-haired ladies around a table in South America, right? Not for us.

Canasta was invented in the 1930s in Uraguay, and it made its way north to America during the next two decades. By the mid-1950s, it was a craze among 20- and 30-year-olds. My father remembers his parents dragging 4-year-old-him to his Aunt Cora and Uncle Joe’s house and playing Canasta until 3:00am. My grandparents were obsessed. They had a mother-of-pearl Canasta basket that has since departed the family, probably in a 1980s yard sale.

This new generation of Womack-family Canasta players considers the basket’s sale one of the great “tragedies” in our family history. We are stuck using poor plastic imitations. Tonight David and I are in fact going to J. D. and Kate’s to play Canasta. Last night we played with Melinda–and she trounced us.

Knowing us, we’ll be getting together with our dear friends, the Pittses, in the next few days to play Canasta until the wee hours while their adorable 2-yr-old plays with his own laminated Canasta cards until he passes out on our couch. I wonder if he’ll remember these late nights of watching his parents play as fondly as my father remembers watching his?

The Deep End of Social Media

Blogging is new to me. Facebook is new to me, too, although I’ve had a Facebook account in the past. What was nothing but a huge, closed network when I left it in 2009 has since become an international phenomenon.  My mother is on Facebook. My husband is on Facebook. Before she died, my grandmother was on Facebook. Technically she’s still on Facebook because no one in the family can figure out how to close her page. I regularly get a “friend suggestion” from her. That’s just creepy.

But I couldn’t stay in the dark forever. I’m an author, and when you write books in the 21st century, social media is an indispensable connection to your readers. So here I am: blogging and Facebooking. I even have a Fan Page (whatever that is)!

Thomas Nelson Publishers will be publishing my first book in 2014. More details will come about that once I’m allowed to tell you! For now, know that I am committed to living a “whole life.” I love God, I love my family, I love my community, and I love being healthy. Join me as I learn more about all four!