annie blog

May 28, 2014
by annie

Hello, Out There!

Well, I hope this finds y’all having a good start to your summer.

We are having a good one.

In fact, as I write this,


is my view.

Sorry to drop out for so long.

It’s been a crazy last six weeks.

The short version of the craziness is that Jon and I bought a house, rented out the one that we’re in, and are feverishly trying (with the help of some precious, sweet folks) to bring our new house up to date in the next six weeks or, hopefully, sooner, so that we can move.

For a little bit fuller picture of everything, please use your imagination to insert two layers of 50 year old carpet, walls that have not been painted in many a year, tile and adhesive backing that seemed to have been under the impression that they were to remain until the end of time, painting vaulted ceilings, beams, and lots of wood and everything else….well, you get the picture.

Today, I had to run errands and take people to appointments and wait for a plumber who never showed at our rental house and it was the first day in a long time that did not involve me getting some work done on the house. I have to say that it felt kind if unsettling and I only felt better when I painted a little while waiting for the thunder to subside so that Eli could go swimming… our pool.

I still can’t believe I have my own pool.

Anyway, I can’t wait to share it all with y’all!

So, come back soon for pics and renovation progress. And, come back tomorrow for a killer waffle recipe.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

April 11, 2014
by annie

Live Music

I’m pretty excited that this guy is singing (for free, yay) tomorrow night here, in Starkville.

Click here to hear Eric Hutchinson sing “Tell the World”.

It’s a good song for this Friday.

March 24, 2014
by annie

Joseph Franklin Gilliland

Well, y’all, my precious daddy died today. Here is the obituary I wrote for him.

He was a lovely, lovely man.

Judge Joseph Franklin Gilliland of Russellville, Alabama, died on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

He was born on November 25, 1940, in Sylacauga, Alabama. After high school, he received a bachelors degree from Jacksonville State University, where he was known to everyone as “Coosa Joe”. He taught high school for five years and then went back to school, first to Louisiana State University where he earned a Masters in Constitutional Law and then on to Alabama Law School where he earned a Juris Doctorate. After receiving his law degree, he clerked at the Court of Criminal Appeals in Montgomery before moving to Franklin County in 1972 to become an attorney. He then served as District Court Judge for Franklin County. Following that, he taught as an adjunct professor at Northwest Community College. He later served as a judge for the Social Security Administration in Montgomery before transferring to the Florence, Alabama, office. His final position was Hearing Office Chief Law Judge for the Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Florence, Alabama.

Some of the great loves of his life were those of beauty, compassion, flowers, art, and music. His many club memberships and years of volunteer service reflected those loves. He was integral to the formation of the Art Council of Franklin County and to the existence of Project Help. He used his musical talents frequently over the years as the organist and choir director of First United Methodist Church, Russellville, and also as organist at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. He took great delight in playing the piano each week for the Earnest Workers Sunday school class and was instrumental to the acquisition of the beautiful organ at First United Methodist Church, Russellville. He was very active in the Master Gardeners Club and was known far and wide for his gorgeous roses. He also loved a good game of bridge, sunsets, fall leaves, traveling, befriending strangers, Snickers candy bars, showing kindness, shocking folks with hilarious comments, finding the upside of every situation, and eating cheese biscuits on Saturday mornings. He delighted in people — having old friends and making new ones all the time.

In the last decade of his life he struggled through many health crises. In spite of all of these challenges, the love for his family and work gave him the strength to battle the setbacks with ferocity and a valiant determination.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 46 years, Sue Smith Gilliland, and daughters, Ann Gilliland Barlow (Jon) of Starkville, Mississippi, and Deana Gilliland Heath (Ezra) of Vestavia Hills, Alabama. He had 6 grandsons: James, Nathan, Charlie, and Eli Barlow, and Harrison Joseph and Michael Gilley Heath. He was preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth McGrady and brother Buddy Gilliland. His remaining siblings are Virginia Hughes, Donald Gilliland (Marie), Robert Gilliland (Gail), and Jimmy Gilliland (Mildred). He leaves many nieces and nephews. His friends are legion.

His family would like to express sincere gratitude to the outstanding nurses in the ICU ward of ECM Hospital, Florence, and to Drs. Paul, Holden, and Lango.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Building Fund of First United Methodist Church, Russellville, or to the Russellville Public Library.

On Tuesday, March 25th, visitation will be held from 12 until 2 at First United Methodist Church, Russellville, with the funeral following at 2 p.m. He will be buried in a private service at 5 p.m. in Holly Pond, Alabama.

To everyone who ever asked how he was, he always replied, “I’m beautiful, of course!”

He was right.

March 18, 2014
by annie

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

This is a day late, but worth reading everyday.

I bind unto myself today

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466)

March 4, 2014
by annie

King cake!

Well, happy FatTuesday everybody!

Today, I’m super excited to share with you all what is the final recipe for king cake that I ever plan on making.

Why? Because it is the best.

Also, bonus!, is the fact that this is just the easiest dough that I have ever worked with! I actually plan on using it for other breads as well throughout the year – that’s how much I like the dough.

The recipe is here in the Saveur website.

And, to illustrate, let me share with you some poorly illuminated images from my baking effort last night.

Here, you see the beautiful, glossy (but not sticky) dough, ready to be rolled out.


First, you roll the dough into a big circle. Then you tear a small hole in the middle. The filling is spread around the opening, leaving a little space, of course.


Here also is the young helper, ready to help me enclose the filling.

Ready for a second rise.




The glazed and sugared cake. (Sorry that it’s not on a beautiful platter, I don’t have one that is anywhere near big enough.)


Here’s a cross-section shot.


Okay, so that’s it! Let me reiterate this is the easiest dough to work with –ever! Also, it is absolutely delicious and, as Jon Barlow said today, this recipe totally cracks the code on king cake. He should know, he grew up eating them every February of his life.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

March 1, 2014
by annie

Song #8:Delicious Distraction

Hey, y’all! Happy Saturday to you.

Jon’s 8th song is up now. It’s a quick little song, inspired by listening to Iggy Pop.

Also, it is just a teensy-weensy bit autobiographical.

Check it out!

Also, Happy March, y’all!