I’d Hoped This Would Never Happen Again

Yes. But having a little help never hurt either.

Yes. But having a little help never hurt either.

BUT IT HAS

And of course I can’t just sit back and do nothing. These are my people…my family and friends… and they need help, just like they did 3 years ago, when this happened. The devastation isn’t as widespread as it was in 2011, but it’s where I grew up y’all…the county where I was born, raised and lived for 24 years of my life. When you have roots like that, you never forget them.

EVER

Just look at these photos, and tell me your heart wouldn’t be ripped to pieces if these had been taken where you grew up

Downed trees

Downed trees 

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Trees ripped up by the roots

someone's business...and livelihood... damaged

someone’s business…and livelihood… damaged

Can you imagine if one minute your house was intact and the next it looked like this?

Can you imagine if one minute your house was intact and the next it looked like this?

For more images like these, you can visit here. 

But first, please take a look at the immediate needs listed below for those who’ve literally lost everything. If you can donate, please do. If not, please share this post via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, word of mouth….you name it!

I’m begging you to wrap your arms around my people and help them

REPLANT THEIR ROOTS and REBUILD THEIR LIVES.

Immediate needs in Limestone County, Alabama:

Jelly

Snack pudding

Ensure

Bread

Gatorade

Energy/Meal replacement bars

Paper Towels

Diapers

Wipes

Paper Plates

Ziploc Bags

Plastic knives

Styrofoam Coolers

Large Plastic Tubs

Can Openers

Disposable Grills

Matches/ Long Lighters

Duct Tape

Battery Powered Fans

Flashlights

Batteries

Candles

OTC Medicines

Gas Cards

Money/gift cards 

Donations can be sent or delivered to:
Clements Baptist Church
8690 U.S. Hwy 72
Athens, AL 35611
c/o Shane Jackson

Thanks for being a follower of my little blog and for doing what you can to help!

xoxo,

Nancy 

Le Mervetty: The Taste of Paris in Beverly Hills

As a former ballerina, this of course, caught my eye!!

I love that  Anna Pavlova is their muse!!

In keeping with our family tradition of Sweet Saturdays, The Beans and I had the unique pleasure of visiting a lovely new French patisserie by the name of Le Mervetty last week. We were so excited about it, we invited Sugar Bean’s best friend, String Bean, to join us, so she is making her début at A Calibama State of Mind in this post today! So make her feel welcome, y’all!

Now, back to our outing…

If you’ve not yet visited this elegant little gem at 319 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, I highly suggest doing so immediately. You will not be disappointed! The first thing we noticed is the bright, inviting decor. It absolutely makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Paris, and are about to experience French desserts at their finest. The attention to detail is stunning, right down to the Eiffel Tower and precious packaging. But see for yourself:

Yum!!

Yum!!

Sugar Bean and her BFF, String Bean showing off their treats!

Sugar Bean and her BFF, String Bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

Now this is definitely not an ordinary bakery, and I can assure you neither this Southern gal, nor any of The Beans, had ever tasted anything like their delectable treats! The unique desserts, properly known as merveilleux, are available in five flavors (Chocolate, Nutella, Coffee, Praline and Speculoos) and three sizes: Le Petit Mervetty, Le Mervetty and Le Grand Mervetty. Being from the South, I naturally went straight for the one covered in crushed pralines, and it was quite honestly like eating a meringue based, cream-filled cloud of airy sweetness.  So light and fluffy you’ll swear they’ve been whipped up by angels in Heaven! Let’s give credit where credit is due though,  and throw the spotlight on chef Etty Benhamou, who makes these confections on-site, everyday. Oh, and they take special orders too! Which was fabulous news to me, because as soon as we walked in, Sweet Pea’s eyes went directly to their house specialty, Le Pavlova, and wants one for her birthday next month! 

Le Pavlova...ooo la la!!

Le Pavlova…ooo la la!!

 

And if a picture is worth a thousand words….the ones below are worth millions…which is what you’ll feel like after you visit Le Mervetty and taste the sweet perfection they deliver to your taste buds!!

Sugar Bean had Chocolate

Sugar Bean had Chocolate

Butter Bean had Chocolate

Butter Bean had Chocolate

Sweet Pea had Speculoos

Sweet Pea had Speculoos

 

And the grand finale was String Bean and her Le Petit Mervetty flavored with Nutella!

The face of sheer delight!

The face of sheer delight!

 

 

Le Mervetty 319 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310-804-9409

Le Mervetty
319 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310-804-9409

The Legend of the Dogwood

One of the beautiful things I miss about the South. Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

One of the gorgeous things I miss about the South.            Photo courtesy of Peggy Farlow

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. No…not because of the bunny!  Although I’d be lying if I said I don’t enjoy making baskets for The Beans and witnessing their delight when they see the ‘bunny tracks and jelly bean poop’ on Sunday morning. Oh… and let’s not forget the egg hunts! When I was little the Golden Egg was always a Leggs pantyhose egg, spray-painted gold and stuffed with money. Finding that thing was like winning the dang lottery, and the search for it was reminiscent of a scene from The Goonies, boobie traps and all. I am the youngest in my family by 12 years, so my earliest recollection of the annual Romine Family Easter Egg Hunt had me running around with my nieces and nephews, who were toddlers (being assisted by their parents, aka my siblings) and finally ending up in tears because I was too old to hunt with the littles and too little to hunt with the adults. What’s a girl to do?

The festivities were great and all, but my fondest memory of Easter was a story Mama used to tell me. I don’t know the origin of it, or if it’s even true, although I’d really like to go on blind faith and believe it so. And I refuse to Google it. Something tells me it may be a Southern thing, since I’ve actually never seen a dogwood tree growing anywhere except down South. Truth is, I’d all but forgotten it, when I was reminded of it via a post shared by a family friend on Facebook. Of course when I saw the post, I smiled from ear to ear, knowing I would be able to retell it to y’all.

Here it is, as told by my mama, and I suspect many other Southern mamas as well: 

There is a legend that says, at the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus, for such a cruel purpose, greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.  In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:

” Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross– with two long and two short petals. In the middle of the outer edge of each petal, there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red. In the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.”

dogwood

Beautiful in its appearance and message.                               Photo credit: llerrah.com

To this very day, I can’t see a dogwood tree or blossom without thinking of Jesus and His sacrifice for my sins.

May we all be reminded of His Grace and Glory this Easter as well as the rest of our days.

 

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Facing the Unknown–My Messy Beautiful

When I first received the email from Momastery detailing The Messy Beautiful Warrior Project, I knew I wanted…no…HAD…to be a part of it. You see, the whole reason I started this blog is because of Glennon and the shameless truth-telling and hope-spreading she does everyday when she shows up for her Monkees, as well as the rest of the world. Truly a force of nature that one. With all her brokenness, and honesty about the brutifulness of life, she sets me free over and over again by reminding me it’s okay to let the world see me. Shame doesn’t lie in honesty. Peace does. And when you come clean, you often discover not only are you not alone, but you’re in amazing company…and together we’ll make the best of what’s around. The last part is a line from a Dave Matthews song. I feel the same soul connection to him that I do about G…I’ve just known him longer.

Completely blurry and imperfect...but you can see the joy!!

Me and Glennon. Completely out of focus and imperfect…but you can see the joy!!

But I digress.

This post is about how my broken, messy path in life has qualified me as a warrior and equipped me for future battles.  If you follow my blog already (thank you, btw), you may have read this. If not, then welcome! The aforementioned post is not required reading by any means, it’s just a prequel…sort of.  But onward we march.

I grew up in a small Southern town, where people not only knew each other, but could also greet the skeletons in their respective closets by name. In fact, trying to keep secrets was as useless as a trapdoor in a canoe. Perhaps that’s why, once I managed to recall and assemble the memories from my fractured childhood, I felt perfectly comfortable…even relieved…writing about them for the world to see. Except for one, which continues to haunt me to this very day. In fact, my heart is racing and my hands are trembling as I sit here on Good Friday, about to lay my soul bare just before attending a prayer vigil at church. No time like the present, right? Okay, no more stalling.

 

Me at 8 years old & 3rd grade.

When I was in the 3rd grade I had a very good friend–let’s call her Ginger–because that’s not her real name. She lived just down the street from me, so I used to walk to her house to play and vice versa. Although we lived very close, we went to different schools.  Her mom worked at a local elementary school, so Ginger was allowed to attend that school because logistically it was easier. The only time we saw each other was after school, on weekends, during holiday breaks or for sleepovers. Ginger lived with her mama and adoptive dad. Best I can remember, Ginger’s biological father either died when she was a baby, or was never part of her life. When her mom married Guy (also not his real name) he adopted Ginger so they all had the same last name. Or something like that. Sorry for the hazy details. Maybe that’s what happens when you suppress memories for 30+ years and then try to drudge them up?

Anyway, Ginger was the only child in her house. Although her mom and Guy tried to have a baby, I think I remember overhearing Mama say–in a hushed tone– they were unable to conceive. In hindsight, this was perhaps a God-send. What I  remember in shockingly vivid detail though, is one afternoon in particular. I was at Ginger’s house, and I’m not sure why…but her mom wasn’t there. Guy was in charge. We were playing in her room and he came in and sat down on her bed. Then he began stroking my very long, straight hair while saying, “Your hair is pretty. If I ever have a little girl, I want her to be just like you”, despite the fact Ginger was sitting right there listening. I’m sure that must have upset her, and evoked resentment. Just writing it makes me sick to my stomach. Sometime after that, could have been days or weeks…the phone rang at my house, and it was Ginger asking me to come over and spend the night. I covered the phone, turned to Mama and explained how I didn’t want to go and “would she please tell Ginger’s mom I couldn’t”?  She obliged, and may have asked why I was adamant about not going, but I don’t remember her pressing the issue. Again, it’s all foggy.

Eventually they moved away, out of state. I have no idea why. Maybe a change of employment, maybe a guilty conscience. Who knows? Ginger and I kept in touch by writing letters. On real paper, with stamps and everything! Then one day, maybe during 4th or 5th grade, I was in class and the office aide came to get me because my mom was on the phone and needed to speak to me. Thinking about that day still makes me shudder. Mama was calling to tell me that Ginger and her parents had shown up for a surprise visit. Oh, and Ginger and her dad were coming to pick me up from school early! A feeling of panic set in, but I internalized it, careful not to draw attention to myself while standing in the school office. I told her I wanted to stay at school, and begged her not to send them. By then she had to know something was amiss, because let’s face it…what kid doesn’t want to leave school early? Seriously.  Nonetheless, they picked me up…but Mama was with them. Thank you, God. After that I don’t remember seeing or talking to them ever again. If I had to speculate, I’d be willing to bet both my parents suspected Guy of molesting me, but couldn’t prove it because I was too afraid to tell them anything. Apparently, they decided it best to make sure the friendships were simply severed. Since they lived out of state, it was easy enough to just…lose…touch. Figuratively, and literally. Amen.

There are few things in life I’m fearful of. Among them…snakes, water I can’t see through (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc), suffocation (I’ve been in anaphylactic shock numerous times due to medication allergies, so I know what it feels like) and… that man’s face. Yes, I remember it. If he were to pass me on the street, I would stop dead in my tracks. His gaze haunts me, and the sound of his voice in my head is frightening. He is my Boogeyman, but the exact details of why are no doubt lying just beyond the reach of my cognitive memory. Both my parents are in Heaven now, so I can’t ask them what really happened. Nor do I blame them for not pursuing the matter. Living in a small town is both a blessing and a curse sometimes. Thus far, just the flashbacks have made me hyperaware and vigilant when it comes to the safety of The Beans. I’ve made sure they understand never to be afraid of tattling on anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Even adults–especially adults. Be warned: come after me, and I’ll fight ’til I fall. Hurt my babies? God have mercy on your soul. My survival is a testament to sheer will, considering all the things I’ve endured, and if this tiny little five-foot-one-inch warrior can walk through the fire of life unscathed, forgiving along the way…well then…so can you.

So I guess that’s it. Not a secret anymore, and if knowing I’m a Messy, Beautiful Warrior helps someone else drop their armor and face their own battle then it’s definitely been worth telling.

Now. Back to Dave….

Hey my friend
It seems your eyes are troubled
Care to share your times with me
Would you say you’re feeling low and so
A good idea would be to get it off your mind

See, you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
And so can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We’ll make the best of what’s around.

(The Best of What’s Around; RCA Records, 1994)

 

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