A Top Ten: It’s Like they Say, Y’all, The South Will Rise Again

Did I ever tell you my undergraduate degree was in Broadcasting? That basically means if you want to be in front of the camera they do their best to spank the southern accent out of you before you graduate. I’ve been out of the South for almost five years now. So I’ve been practicing using that less-southern-accented dialect pretty much all the time over the past five years, in hopes that people will listen to what I say instead of how I’m saying it. (And in hopes that they can understand me!)

But you know, it really is like they say — the south will rise again. Not that I’m expecting the return of the confederacy although the current health care reform situation makes me wonder, but in my words and ways, the southern gets tired of being repressed and starts popping up when I least expect it. You can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl.

When the south decides to rise again, here are the top ten ways I see it surface:

10. I put on my Sperry Topsiders (translation: loafers appropriate for wearing on a boat) and the green polka-dot skirt my Mom bought me at Old Navy a couple years ago. The skirt has a matching pink and green belt, and that just feels as southern as the day is long.

9. I make biscuits from scratch and politely disagree with any guests who say they seem just like scones.

8. I call my Mom, Dad, or my friend Debbie who can make any three letter word have two syllables, and let my really, really southern accent drawl right on out!

7. I listen to a CD of Mexican music that reminds me of the Latino Radio Station I like to listen to when I’m home: Noventa y seis punto nueve, effe emme — la que manda en las Carolinas!!! (96.9 FM – the one that rules in the Carolinas.) Poor Hero Hubby.

6. I give my best effort to cooking nice crispy crispy bacon like my grandma used to. I use the bacon grease to try to make my green beans taste like my Mom’s. It never seems to work, though.

5. I bake any recipe I can find that calls for a stick of butter. Food Network + Recipe by Paula Deen = Good tasting stuff (& heart disease).

4. I let a y’all or two slip out in conversation and see if anybody notices.

3. I respond to a surprising situation with a “lawsy!” or a “gee-my-nary!” Gee-my-nary, Bear, how the heck did you get that off the counter? Lawsy, boy yer gone hurt yerself!

2. I don my cowboy hat and take the Bear for a walk around the neighbourhood. People sometimes stop to say “howdy.” No joke. Hearing somebody say “Howdy” with a South African accent is pretty darn amusing.

1. I dress the Bear up like this and we head to church. We need to get him some Sperry Topsiders, too!

He’s ready for the Sadie Hawkins dance with those Khaki Pants!

And I couldn’t be more proud…

even if his shirt comes untucked quick as a whistle.

Could somebody pass me a Cheddar-Bo-Biscuit?


A Speech I Should've Made

June 23rd marks the two year anniversary of my marriage to Mr. Mark Collie. The Lord has blessed me with His exceeding abundance in Mark and I am so thankful for him in my life. Although we were living in Scotland at the time, we were married two years ago in my hometown, back in Washington, North Carolina. The wedding was indeed a splendid event, and I am so thankful to our parents and many others who were a part of making it happen. My Mom survived, and now both her daughters are married! God is good!

One moment I look back on with extra thoughtfulness is the bridesmaids’ luncheon I enjoyed with my bridesmaids (and my delightful sister/maid of honour) the day before the wedding. The luncheon itself was wonderful, but there was one tiny hiccough that has been on my mind. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule — perhaps it is in the South? — it seems a lovely and delightful tradition that the bride makes a speech at this event, in thankfulness to the hosts, and of course to her bridesmaids. I did have gifts and thankfulness to pass along to my girls, but my words were a bit lacking. If the excuse that I had never previously attended a bridesmaids’ luncheon, or that I was preparing for the wedding from 3,500 miles away is not sufficient, well, I have no other.

At any rate, it is in my heart to take the opportunity now to say a few words to the girls without whom my life would be a completely different story — and not nearly as beautiful or sweet as it is. The world is so much a richer place because there is such a thing as friendship. I am grateful! Without further ado…

Shelley — My friend, I am so thankful for you. If it weren’t for the Lord putting you in my life, I might still be a double agent — confessing Christianity while walking in rubbish and darkness. Praise the Lord we met in Senora Powers’ Spanish class! You have always encouraged me toward the Lord, and so much because of you I began to truly seek Him and find Him. Our laughs and tears are so incredibly precious to me — from the time we forgot to pay our phone bill and had our service cut off to the time we wept that the cow your grandmother named after me died. Our story is too good to be fiction. I am thankful for you and looking forward to the pages ahead. SO much love.

Brittany — What a woman of the Lord you are. Your faith and the depth of your love for the Lord is incredibly inspiring. You are such a constant presence – a voice that I can count on. It never ceases to amaze me that we can be together after months and months — or longer — and it feels as if we’ve hardly been apart. I treasure your friendship, your ability to simply listen and be present, and your love for life and for laughter. You are a priceless one of a kind. I hope we can inspire a scarf night at the Durham Bulls again some day. In the meantime, please know I love you so much!

Heather — Now Mrs. Colley! I could not have survived my first year in Scotland without you. What would I have done? How the Lord blessed me, as I was so far away from home, to bring a little bit of home to me in you!  I am so grateful we seized the day and had our adventures in Europe together before your departure. Although I hope I never leave my purse on a train in a foreign country again, I look forward to more adventures with you in the days ahead. You are such a voice of reason and peace and I am so thankful you were here as the Lord brought Mark and me together. Again, what would I have done without you, my ninja biscuit?! I love you!!!

Camden — If it weren’t for our friendship, I might be a terribly serious person. I am so thankful for the love of laughter that I learned from you. I want to continue to live in the days ahead as we did in days gone by — looking for a reason to smile, or giggle, and enjoying moment after moment unashamedly. I look forward to celebrating the incredible gentleman the Lord brings into your life — and I can’t wait to see how funny he is! The delightful (mis)adventures of our youth are framed in my heart always. My grassy C-Dawg Spartan Cheerleader, it’s okay I’m a limo driver… call me! I love you. Buh-bye.

Julie — My word, my dear, what a gem you are!  I am overjoyed that you came all the way from South Africa to be a part of this special time in my life. Your friendship is an incredible blessing — I honestly don’t know how I would’ve made it through those first few days in Edinburgh without you. A friend who is willing to stay with you in a freezing cold flat and sleep cuddled up to the kettle — that is a friend indeed! Your heart and passion for following Jesus is so inspiring. You challenge me in my walk with the Lord, and have encouraged me to trust the gifts God has put in me. I look more like Jesus because of you! I look forward to times ahead with you, in the country I’ve come to consider the most beautiful on earth — our beloved South Africa. I will rejoice to be there with you again soon. To Table Mountain and back…stax of love.

Amiee — As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another! Thank you for being such a Barnabas, and sharpener to me during our wonderful days together in Greenville. Thank you that you are still a friend and sharpener to me now! I hold on to the dream that we will see each other regularly years and decades from now, and send each other gifts from the nations where the Lord sends us. How amazing that the Lord has already begun to bring those dreams to pass! Praise God for you, sweet friend. I hope we will continue to dream together — big dreams of doing incredible things for the glory of our incredible God. You are so special and precious to me. LOVE YOU!

And last but not least,

Dodi — my sister in blood and in Christ. I am so thankful the Lord chose us to be knit together in family for all of our days. Even if you say I’m adopted! 😉 You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, and your service to the Lord is such an inspiration to me. You took the Lord at His word and began to give up one thing after another to follow Him — and you set an example for me and for many others to follow. I trust the Lord’s word that when you seek Him first, He will add everything else to you — and I rejoice with you at seeing some of that come to pass just now! Thank you for rejoicing with me at this special time in my life. I am so thankful that we will continue to rejoice together, and even weep together, again and again for the rest of our days. You mean more to me than I can express. In His Blood and Ours, I love you always.

Well, blogreaders, thanks for giving me a moment to share those thoughts. Seize the opportunity to say how much people mean to you whenever you can — even if it’s the second time around!

"It's in the Bible" Top Ten

Being from the American South, I’m intimately acquainted with cultural Christianity — the kind of Christianity that makes people feel sure they are Christians because they’ve been going to church all their lives and they don’t drink much.  One particularly interesting thing about the development of this type of ‘cultural Christianity’ is the development, along with it, of a number of ‘sayings’ and even ‘cherished proverbs’ that are most certainly God-breathed Scripture…ahem, not.  Upon responding to one of these statements with a “whereabouts in the Bible is that?” you might get a “I don’t know, but it’s in there” or a “Well my grandma said it was in there” or even a “somewhere in the middle part.” Be ye warned, friend — and put not your faith in the colloquialisms of the people!  They’ll nae hold their ground when times are tough!

Do note, there has also been a special development of a world-wide phenomena called Christianese. It probably finds its roots in the American South. This important and related topic deserves its own post on another day. In the meantime, I think we should take a moment to enjoy a few of these ‘cherised proverbs’ together.

Top Ten “Bible Quotes” Not Actually in the Bible:

10. Cleanliness is next to godliness!

9. Seriously. Black people and white people aren’t supposed to get married. [I don’t know if you’ve heard this one, but I heard it all the time growing up.]

8. This too shall pass.

7. To thine own self be true.

6. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

5. Money is the root of all evil. [Misquotation of 1 Timothy 6:10]

4. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

3. God’ll never give you more than you can handle!

2. Spare the rod, spoil the child. [This is a misquotation of Proverbs 13:24]

1. (A Personal Favourite) The Lord helps them who helps themselves.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: If you want to stand on the promises of God, make sure you know what they are!

My Inaugural Blog

So. I’ve caved in to some peer pressure, a little encouragement, and the desire to let friends and family  know a little more of what’s happening with life in the UK.  And here’s my first blog!  I wanted to call the site “baconandavocadoplease” but Mark didn’t like it so much. Alas.

Anywho. The good news is, in honour (yeah … I’ve decided to use British spelling because it’ll get too confusing switching back and forth) of my soon-to-be brother in-law (yay for all those hyphens!) I’ve arranged a special Inaugural Top Ten List that I hope will tickle your blog-enjoying fancy. [Note: You will probably enjoy his blog more than mine. He’s funny.]

The story is, I’m currently back in the Original Washington, North Carolina, enjoying some time with family, connecting with ministry partners and friends, and attempting to raise additional support for our ministry in Edinburgh. And ya know, I think it’s pretty darn nice around here.  This trip has been especially delightful.

Just yesterday, I was working out at the gym, and I noticed a gentleman in Sperry Topsiders (boat shoes) pumping some iron a wee ways away. I smiled and thought, “yeah, I’m back in the south.” Ending my workout, I was on the treadmill and I noticed one of the gym staff personnel come over to speak to the older gentleman sauntering along on the treadmill beside me. And what did my ears hear above the U2 lyrics from my iPod?

“Mr. So and So, You’ve got your cowboy boots on!”

And so it was. I couldn’t make out what Mr. So and So said, but he looked down and smiled and I’m sure explained how comfortable he was. This 60 or 70-something hard worker was in his dungarees and his cowboy boots. Working it on the treadmill. Awesome.

Yeah, I’m back in the South. And it’s good to be home.

Down Home, Down the Street



Top Ten Reasons Why It’s Great to Be Back in the South

10. (Since you already know it) Seeing cowboy boots on the treadmill at the gym.

9. Mountain Dew. Although I’m really avoiding it and trying to go for water, it’s great to have ridiculously caffeinated options.

8. The novelty of shopping for groceries at a place called “Piggly Wiggly” will never wear out. I’m sticking with the pig.

7. It’s nice to occasionally let “y’all” roll off my tongue and have no one think anything of it.

6. When I first arrive, it’s a multi-sensory overload, but still, you gotta love the Walmark.

5. It’s nice to have a complete stranger call you “Sugar” every once in a while.

4. Bill’s Hot Dogs.

3. It snowed when we got here, and two weeks later, it’s 70 degrees and I’m debating whether the baby needs a light jacket for his stroll.

2. Piggly Wiggly, people!!

And finally…

1. This here’s where my family’s at, y’all!

The Sermon in a Nutshell: I’m not moving back next week or anything, but as a famous Kansian once pointed out, “home is the place like no other.” Or something like that.