Plinky Child's Piano

My Grandma Clifford was a rare bird. In my childhood, she lived in Oklahoma City in a historic home near downtown, a home which my great-grandfather built on land gifted to him from some family friends, the Nichols. Her father died young, as did her husband Harry, my grandfather. In the early 70's she moved back into her childhood home to help care for her aging mother, Minnie. Growing up I would visit Grandma there, for holidays, dinners, and special sleepovers. Wonderful memories...

Bear Witness

Regret. We’ve all felt it at one point or another. Missed opportunities, actions we wish we could take back, or have the chance for a redo. When I was in the 6th grade, I did something I immediately regretted, but didn’t have the character or maturity at the time to make right. I don’t even remember the circumstances surrounding it, but I recall feeling picked on or teased. This was not an unusual feeling for me as kid who was mercilessly teased most of my childhood. We were in the girls locker room. Out of my hurt, out of my fear, out of my need to feel superior to anyone, and out of my sheer blind ignorance, I spewed a racial slur at a girl.

Red Dirt Roads

On my first songwriting retreat to Tag Hollow, I was stumped. Weary from years of touring and being bogged down in administrating an indie music career, I felt disconnected from my creativity. I spent a couple days at Gleneyrie sitting with a guitar, staring at a blank screen. Panic began to set in. I feared I was a dried up well, the best songs I had were already written, and there were no more songs in me. Most writers feel this way at some point, or if we're being honest, every hour or so. I texted David "Well, it's been a great run. Four records, hundreds of songs. But apparently I don't write songs anymore." He replied: "You always say that. Keep trying." UNHELPFUL, I thought. Humph, rude.

I decided a change of scenery might help. I loaded up my guitar and dulcimer, and headed down to the swimming hole below the dam. It was almost dusk. Perched on top of a picnic table, I started to strum. The cicadas sang a tune. "Write what you know," I recalled the writers' adage. As I sat there thinking about my story, I marveled at the orchestration of events that had led me to that place in time. Never in a million years did I think I would end up living back in Oklahoma. You never know where whole-hearted living will lead you. Sometimes it even takes you back to where you started from and gives you the chance to see it with new eyes. As I strummed, the Oklahoma sunset started showing off in a way that words can't do justice, and I started humming this tune. Apparently I had more songs to write after all. Here's Red Dirt Roads.


In 1933, my great-grandparents built a lakeside cabin in the hills of Northeastern Oklahoma in a place called Tag Hollow. I grew up going there in the summers with my grandmother Glennes, after whom the cabin, Gleneyrie, was named. On a Wednesday morning thirteen years ago, I sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" by her hospital bedside as she slipped from this earthly place into the next. It was the most sacred moment of my life to date...

Love What Matters

Sisters, I needed to read this post on Facebook today. Maybe you do too. It is a deeply saddening reality to see the level of fat-shaming that is still an accepted norm in our society. This year I was horribly fat-shamed by a surgeon I went to for a consult. I wish I could tell you that I stood up, fought back and put him in his place. But truth is, I froze. Afraid that the way he saw me, as disgusting and vile, was really who I am. Afraid that a set of numbers defines me, gets to be the story. I was buried in the shame of his misplaced view of me. Needless to say, he didn't get my business and I'll never set foot in his office again. But it took awhile for me to unpack the experience. Just yesterday I hid a post from a FB friend, a woman, who was telling fat jokes and touted them as hilarious. THIS IS NOT OKAY. We have got to WAKE UP and remember we are in this together. It's not me against you. It's not my wardrobe, or my parenting, or my dress size, or my salary, or my house, or my strengths against yours. STOP IT. We are better together. Put down your judgments, your insecurity formed weapons and CHOOSE LOVE. CHOOSE KINDNESS. There is a world of little girls looking at us to learn. LET US TEACH THEM A NEW WAY.

Sea Shanties

Today at lunch I sat and listened as my Dad told a story about playing a gig with Jimmy Buffett as his opener, decades ago before anybody knew who he was. Dad told Jimmy he didn't think he was going to get anywhere with those sea shanties. Years later when he and Jimmy spoke again, they laughed about it. I have never heard him tell this story before. I sat back and smiled, watching the gleam in his eye remembering the tale in detail, and enjoying the telling. Most people don't ever hear those stories from my Dad, and you'd never guess how many of them there are. So. Many. Stories. I imagine back in the "la-la days" (as my mom refers to them) when the oil and money flowed free in the late 70's and early 80's, he might have boasted about the who's who of his life. But that's not the guy I know. Cause here's the thing: Celebrities and big shots aside, I have never once doubted who the treasured people in his life are, and we know who he loves the most. He tells us in so many ways more than words, this gentle giant. He's the most generous man I know, and I'm still so proud to learn about life from him. I hope to inspire the people in my life the way he does, and someday maybe I'll be as good at spinning a yarn as he is. Happy Father's Day Daddy.



Fifteen years ago this week, in 2001, I drove through the gates of the Kerrville Folk Festival for the first time. An old hippie reached into my car window, gave me a sweaty hug and said "Welcome home!" I must have looked like a deer in the headlights cause someone pointed me toward a stage to go hear some music. I wandered in and sat down behind a gentle-faced, older man. He looked like he was in the know, we struck up a conversation about what was happening that afternoon- a performing songwriter competition called New Folk. I later learned that kind man's name was Bruce Rouse. I listened in the hot Texas sun as writer after writer took the stage and offered up well-crafted songs, some beautiful, some funny, all from the heart. It occurred to me that I had stumbled upon something magical. Intrigued, I wanted to know more...

Please Stay

In the past few days, the world lost two beautiful people I knew due to suicide. Neither of them were very close friends, but my memories of each were from a vibrant, seemingly joyful part of their lives. Heartbreakingly, they both left precious children behind. With the news of each death, I sat staring at my screen wondering what I could have done, if I could have reached out and made a difference. I cried for the babies and their innocence lost. I cried for the loss...


Truthbooking: Someday I'll be so pleased to see how her strong, spirited, passionate self serves her and those lucky enough to know her. The girl who commits to a path and doesn't look back is sure to move mountains and be a world-changer. But today, February 6th at 6:35 pm, I really just want her to stop screaming and flailing herself around on the floor because I had the audacity to offer her dinner. ‪#‎canigetawitness‬ ‪#‎truthbook‬