Launch Party Details

Please join us to celebrate the launch of Kentucky A to Z: A Bluegrass Travel Memoir on April 24th at the beautiful Kentucky Proud Market in Lexington, Kentucky. Everyone is welcome and if the promise of wild tales from the road doesn’t lure you, the free food and wine should!

Please RSVP here.

Upcoming Television Appearances

I'm the floating head in the center...

I have only been on television one time. I was in high school, waiting to dance in the Reds’ Opening Day Parade with my dance team, the Oakettes, when Cincinnati legend Marge Schott wandered over to greet us, followed by the news camera and photographers for the Cincinnati Enquirer. As you can see from the photo, I’m not sure that it actually counts as a television appearance.

But on March 19th, I will be on LEX 18 to discuss Kentucky A to Z and will visit with WKYT on April 4th. I hope you’ll tune in so it’s not just my mom and husband who witness my television debut (minus March Schott.)

 

“A to Z” Fans, Rejoice!

I pulled into the driveway last night, having wrapped up my last trip for the “Kentucky A to Z” series, and wasn’t quite sure of what to do with myself. For more than two years, I have traveled the back roads of the Commonwealth, searching for stories. I’ve met incredible people along the way and learned that sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself. I’m not sure yet what my next adventure will be (other than throwing myself into writing my novel and raising a beautiful, baby girl) but I do know one thing:

The series is going to be published into a book with a tentative release date of April 2012!

Thanks again for all of your support!

Etsy Shop Preview

I am pleased to announce that my Etsy shop, A Lovely Place to Land, will be opening on November 18, just in time for the holidays! The shop will feature vintage finds and beautiful hand-made decor and gifts.

This shop is definitely a labor of love! I’ve spent many-a-late-night, after the baby has finally fallen asleep, with a cup of coffee in one hand and paint brush in the other at the kitchen table, toiling over every detail. Each product has my fingerprints all over it but I’d be lying if I said I don’t have my favorites. I’m pleased to introduce Southern-Say-I,  my line of hand-painted signs inspired by Southern culture. It is the first time I’ve found a way to combine my love of the written word with crafting so I’ve put my heart and soul into each sign. The line will include pre-made and custom signs, all available with free shipping through the end of November. When I can, I’ve used found or recycled materials for the signs because I love that those items already have a story.

 

Hand-painted Thanksgiving plates, available for order until Nov. 11 Be sure to hop over to the shop now (keeping in mind it’s a work in progress) to check out my preview sales. This week I am featuring my hand-painted Thanksgiving plates which were featured on the cover of Kentucky Monthly’s November issue. The plates will be available through November 11. You can choose the standard saying or I can write a custom phrase for you.

 

 

 

Down to the River to Pray

Having just finished Sacred Places of Kentucky, a coffee-table book featuring absolutley breathtaking photography by the talented husband and wife duo, Wes and Stacey Battoclette, I was excited to stumble upon this photo in my grandmother’s collection.

According to my grandmother, this photo was taken at a church revival and baptism in the early 1930s in Scott County, Tennessee. The woman pictured to the right of the young girl is my great-great grandmother who was of Cherokee descent.

Isn’t this a beautiful and haunting glimpse of religious tradition in the South? I am humbled to have this delicate moment in my great-great grandmother’s history on film.

Scott County, Tennessee, circa 1930s

Olive-Green Schwinn

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the bike my Papaw bought me for my 10th birthday. It was a 10-speed Varsity Schwinn the same stagnant-green color a pond gets in the dead of the summer and I loathed it.

My mom had thrown plastic tablecloths over card tables in the garage and tied balloons to whatever held still. I had walked behind her, rearranging plates and straightening napkins because I wanted, no, needed, everything to go right. I won’t beat around the bush here: I was a total dork and I was determined that this birthday party would change my status in the eyes of the other girls at Oakdale Elementary. I remember praying, “God, please don’t let my brother embarrass me. If you will keep him from embarrassing me, I won’t ever lie. I will do the dishes without being asked. I’ll make straight A’s.”

I should have prayed about Papaw.

Papaw was a character. He was a prisoner of war, a mortician and a mailman. He used to make me sneak “turkey juice” into his coffee (I didn’t realize until adulthood that “turkey juice” was really Wild Turkey bourbon) and he loved giving strange and unusual gifts. One Christmas, he nearly split with joy over the wooden hula hoop he found for me in an antique store. I, on the hand, wasn’t impressed. When I asked for a 10-speed bike, I had something sporty in mind. Something pink with white and silver details. I had spent many-a-math class dreaming about the moment when he’d walk that bike around the house to the garage, the sun gleaming off the gears as oohs and ahhhs escaped my classmates like air rushing out of a deflating balloon.

When the moment came for Papaw to reveal the bike, the only thing that deflated was me. He was so excited and so proud of his find. I could feel my face heating up as he beamed and told everyone what a steal it was and how he had it restored. The girls I invited giggled and whispered behind me. “What do you think, Lulu?” he asked. “Want to give her a go?”

For the rest of my life, I will regret this: I said, “It’s old.”

My papaw has been gone for a little more than 10 years now and from time to time, I think about that old bike and wish I could go back and react differently for him. He took that bike home and put it in the garage after my party and it is still mounted on that wall today. It’s funny but of all the birthday gifts I’ve ever received, that old Schwinn is the only gift I remember and the only one that is still hanging around. Sometimes I think about taking it down and riding it because like tomatoes straight out of the garden sprinkled with salt and pepper, Gospel music and sitting still on the back porch, that Schwinn is one of those things I’ve grown to appreciate. It is classic. I hope that I am able to teach my daughter, as my papaw was trying to do, that those are the genuine things to seek.

The world is filled with pink and white 10-speeds. An olive-green Schwinn, now that endures.

Photo Source