My first trip was to Jefferson, Texas for the annual Girlfriend Weekend. Now, it wasn't just a weekend trip with a bunch of girls. It is a full-out literary adventure, with over 40 authors and 300 book club women from across the country talking about books.
In. Jefferson. Texas.
Kathy Patrick, THE Pulpwood Queen, has put together quite an event, born years ago in her interesting business, Beauty and the Book--part hair salon, part independent bookstore.
This was my third year to attend, and my sister, Sarah, went with me this year. She just had to see what it was all about. In the past, Pat Conroy and Fannie Flagg have been there. This year, John Berent (Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, etc.)
and Tina Sloan (she played the character of Lilian Raines on "The Guiding Light" for a hundred years) were there. She wrote a fantastic book called "Changing Shoes." Read about it here.
We all had a ball.
We stayed in a bed and breakfast called The Captain's Castle.
It was my second year to stay in Bill and Angie Herlocker's beautiful inn. Staying in a B&B is so much more fun than staying in a generic hotel. Getting dressed and eating a wonderful breakfast at the dining room table with other guests is a great way to really know about a place, and to meet other folks. We met a vacationing family from Austin, some of the authors who were in for Girlfriend Weekend, and a mother-daughter pair who were in for the weekend.
I had a two-day turnaround at home before heading up to Nashville for the ALS Association Winter Walk Forum at the Opryland Hotel. I stayed with my bestest pal, Carol Terry, so I had to get up super early every day to drive to Opryland. It was worth it for the brief visits we got to have.
After a whirlwind grocery shopping trip at Trader Joe's in Nashville Saturday, I drove home, only to turn around again on Tuesday morning to drive to Bay St. Louis on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast for an events conference. I had never been to Bay St. Louis, but I'll go back. It is the cutest, quaintest little town filled with wonderful antique shops, restaurants and the nicest people ever!
Today I woke up to a severe thunderstorm. I could have just stayed in that nice hotel room all morning, but I had to get up and drive to Gulfport for an 8:30am meeting with the Police Chief and Brittany Dyess from Parks & Rec. about the ALS walk I'm coordinating on the Coast. (Check it out: Walk to Defeat ALS, March 31, Gulfport, MS.)
Yep, I've been a girl-on-go, but so has Nicole...she's had speaking engagements all over the state this month. This morning she's in Tupelo, speaking to a group of high schoolers for the American Lung Association. I'm so proud of how she's turned a tragedy into a way to inspire so many others.
It's 10:30 now, and I'm just sipping on my first cup of coffee for the day, watching the rain outside PJ's Coffee Shop in Gulfport. It looks like the sun is trying hard to peak through the clouds.
Here's praying I make it home safely today. I'll look forward to laying my head on my own pillow tonight.
Blessings to all who read this!