Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Love Outside the Lines

working, preparing, filing, stressing, writing, scheduling, singing, volunteering, worrying, playing, booking, dreaming, eating my feelings, and if we're being honest, more eating.

it's been a busy month for me.  a busy month full of a range of emotions and, truthfully, i've just been trying to stay on the roller coaster.  but today?  today i celebrate.

today is release day for my new ep, love outside the lines!

music is an outlet.  an escape.  an expression.  therapy even.  and this ep was no exception.  i got to sit in a room with friends who i love and look up to, friends who have known me for a long time, friends who are either in their own adoption journey or who have been a steadfast part of mine, and create.  we buried ourselves for hours in conversations about what it feels like to become a parent overnight to a child who has seen more than we ever have, possibly ever will.  there were admissions of fears of inadequacy.  fears of royally screwing up some of the most beautiful and delicate hearts we have come across.  fears coupled with mountains of joy over the incredible additions these children are to our lives.  i'm doing the boldest thing i've ever done in my personal life and my musical life needed to reflect that.  

we were honest.  we were comforted.  and we are hopeful that the final product will help others on this journey feel the same.

100% of the proceeds of the title track will go toward the raining season, the non profit that runs the orphanage where our children live.  the remainder will help us bring them home.  6 songs.  7 dollars.  over 100 kids feeling the love.

get it here.  and please share!


ps - the biggest thank you i can muster goes out to capri, gabrielle, selena, and lexi.  4 gorgeous girls, inside and out, who have recently made their way home to tennessee from the orphanage in sierra leone.  pay close attention to the title track, you just might hear a little something special...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mamie!!!!

yesterday was a complete emotional disaster.  i have come to the conclusion that i over feel.  is that possible?  i've always been sensitive, but lately i've been a regular cocktail of phantom pregnant lady hormones mixed with reasons to cry.  let me tell you... it's not pretty.

yesterday started out with me not sleeping.  i was up all night thinking about and praying for a little girl at the covering named sarah who myself and one other woman have been working on obtaining a medical visa for.  tired and emotional is always a great way to start the day!  

at various point throughout the day i read new blog post updates from good friends who's week old daughter is fighting for her life (they need major, deep down from the core of your being prayers right now. read more here), and got an update that the hospital we've been working with has officially approved sarah to receive treatment there.  so after tearily flip flopping from joyful to sad to hopeful back to sad to overwhelmed what did i do?  i came home and watched the film 'the impossible'.  it's the true story of a family's experience in the 2004 tsunami.  TOTAL TAILSPIN.  

to top it all off i climbed in bed and watched the video of vince gill and patty loveless singing at george jones's funeral yesterday.  hysterics.  crying, trying my best trying not to go into the rib shaking cry, laughing at how ridiculous i was at that very moment, and trying to soothe the heavy heart i had been carrying around all day.  

phew.  i am glad yesterday was just that, yesterday.  and i am glad that today is bringing a huge reason to celebrate and be joyful. 

my sweet girl, mamie, turns 6 years old today.


i saw you first.  did you know that?  before your brothers and sister, i saw you.  on my first visit to sierra leone i turned the corner to walk up the hill toward the center for the first time and there you were.  the prettiest thing i have ever laid eyes on.  shy.  holding back your smile a bit.  i was terrified and excited and you were a touch hesitant, but as soon as i reached out my hand for you you put yours in it and didn't let go all week.  

my second trip to see you was no exception.  i barely had both feet out of the car that dropped us off before i saw you running full speed toward me.  your best dress on, earrings in, and a cute little headband on top of your braids. 

i hope you always run at me like that, arms open.  i hope i never screw up and make you feel like you can't.  i hope you don't ever become the difficult teenager i once was, and always want to hold your mom's hand.  i hope you always keep this 6 year old joy inside of you.

happy birthday, my sweet girl.  i am so proud to be your mom.

i love you something fierce.

the moment we met

baby face.  i would give almost anything to have known you when you were this little.

blurry birthday skype

Friday, April 19, 2013


last night i had the privilege of sitting down with a group of people to take part in a town hall meeting of sorts.  we weren't discussing zoning or high school football coaches or voting on an issue that had the city divided, but instead we began a conversation.  a very important conversation.

i was born in 1982.  i was born into a world where women have the same rights that men do.  i was born into a world where the content of your character is considered more important than the color of your skin.  and i was born into a world where millions of children continue to live outside of a family unit.

women's rights, civil rights, marriage equality, a child's basic right to a family... they are all human rights.  i didn't get to chose the era into which i was born.  i didn't get to choose my gender, skin color, sexual orientation, or the circumstances i was born under.  i was simply born.  while i might not have had the opportunity to choose my starting point in life i certainly have the opportunity, responsibility, to make sure that millions of children don't get stuck at theirs.

the documentary is called stuck.

watch it here. 

sign the petition here.

learn how you can get involved here.

ask yourself the question...
would you allow your children to live this way?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday's Best: Catching up

the sun is out.
it's finally spring.
70 degrees.
i'm sitting on the front porch with my computer and a cup of coffee.
the birds are singing away.
and it's tuesday's best.
doesn't get much better than this.

i'm long overdue on a tuesday's best update.  we've been finishing our home study and working overtime to save up for the adoption expenses that are about to start flooding in.  as someone who spent their 20's investing in the contents of their closet i'm shocked to announce that i have never been so excited to empty out my piggy bank.  and by piggy bank i mean josh's yazoo brewery growler.

we've been busily dreaming these last few weeks and holding tight to the hopes we have for the weeks to come.  

hang tight, my four favorites.  we're coming for you.

four favorites

geraldine said her abc's for us today all by herself.

auntie kelly taught gerald how to throw a peace sign.  word.

looking at pictures of mom as a kid is hilarious...

... but not as funny as pictures of dad and granddad!

last week we surprised the kids with three special visitors...
their friends abdul, mabinty, and sorie!
these three came home to america a few weeks ago after a long three years of waiting for their parents, jason and erica rust, the founders of the raining season.

they spent the night with us monday so they could get up early and skype with us tuesday morning.  
our house has been way too quiet ever since...

surprise!  mohamed and mamie were so excited to see their friends.

happy tuesday's best,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Welcome Wagon

over three years of waiting.  
over three years of fighting.  
2 different families.  
2 different cities.
2 different news crews.
1 lacrosse team, in uniform.
dozens of welcome home signs.

11 children altogether.  

one giant homecoming.

some of us stayed in nashville and some of us drove to kentucky to evenly disperse TRS love, but we were all in it together.  checking each airport's arrival times, texting updates and pictures and videos, and placing face time calls to allow people across the country to join in the celebration.

stories of abuse are now stories of love.  histories full of oppression are now futures full of hope.  childhood's are being handed back to children who deserve them, and families are slamming shut chapters of resistance.

i am overflowing for the pyle and jones families today.  you can breathe now.  they are home.

welcome home jones family!
that's 8, yes 8, children coming home to make an even jones dozen.

josh at the nashville airport anxiously awaiting the the great 8's arrival.
these kids make up 4 of the 5 nashville rust children.
all adopted out of sierra leone, the youngest 3 just a month ago!
left to right:  nash, capri, jayda, maddox.

welcome home pyle family!
lori jumped so high off of the ground when she saw her children walking toward her!  her oldest son sam took off running straight toward her and hugged her so hard i thought they were going to fall over.

the louisville welcome wagon

waiting on his brothers and sister!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Garrett

it's monday and i'm coming down off of the best weekend.  no alarm clocks, a spontanious friend sleep over, home made pizza, a celebration for a sweet friend and her soon-to-ber baby girl ryman (is that the most perfect baby girl name or what?),  and a wedding shower of our very own.  i even washed my hair for it.  this is a big deal, people.
if you thought these hats didn't light up you'd be wrong.
i ate that cake for breakfast the next day.  obvi.
drove around running errands like this all day sunday.  welcome to the south y'all.
bling it home girls.  plastic rings are still fun even when you're 30.

thank you to my sweet friends liz, heather, siebe, and jenn for throwing us the most perfect party.
damn, it feels good to be a gangsta garrett.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday's Best: Married Style

as soon as we connected this morning i heard mohamed yelling, 
"mom, mom, MOM!  i heard about the married!!!"

in sierra leone everything is a married.  'we are going to the married', 'how was the married?', never a wedding.  and if the other side of the world has heard about our married, well then i guess it's official.  josh and i had our second ceremony, a little less sweaty and a lot more legal, in our backyard here in nashville on saturday.  it was perfect.  just our families.  a couple of friends to make sure our mimosas stayed full.  absolutely no stress.  just perfect.

in the spirit of our tendency to do things a little differently:

my dad walked me down the driveway.  aisles are so 2012.
the neighbors stood on their side porch silently holding hands and watching.
josh surprised me with an engagement ring after putting my wedding band on my finger.
because of this i got a little excited and accidentally kissed him before the whole 'kiss your bride' bit.

like i said, just perfect.

a handful of aunties at the covering popped in to our skype call to wish us well this morning.  lots of mrs. garrett's and laughter and ooooh's over my bouquet that is still sitting on my dining room table.

i give you tuesday's best.  married style.

gerald lost his second tooth.  

who doesn't like looking at life sized cardboard cutouts of themselves?

auntie love.

floral, cheetah, and stripes.  we love our patterns.


prettiest things i've ever seen.  coolio braid included.

happy tuesday's best.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


i never thought my life would look like this.  never ever.

i spent the day writing with my good friend, sean.  we wrote a song that i am so very proud of, which is a big deal in itself, at his home studio which meant that we got to take breaks downstairs with his wife mae and their sweet baby abi.  abi made her way home to tennessee from ghana, the place of her birth, this last fall.  a sweet reminder of what josh and i are fighting for ourselves these days.

i got an e-mail this afternoon from my friend ashley, who is exactly who i wish i had been at her young age. she is living at the covering for 6 months and working primarily with the special needs kids.  she is also one of the most courageous people i know.  and she just turned 19.  yesterday.  she sent a snapshot of a hilarious moment she captured between our twins, gerald & geraldine, who were digging into a box of chalk in their underwear.  i can't tell you what it means to get these kinds of normal life updates from her.  i am beyond fortunate to not miss these sorts of moments.

i spent the evening with three of my dear friends who are in the thick of this africa business with me.  one of them founded the raining season, one of them is our travel coordinator, and one of them is our marketing and merchandising coordinator.  see?  the very thick of it.  after dinner we made our way back to our founders home where we were greeted by her 5 children, 3 of whom are the first children to leave the covering since the adoption ban was lifted last year.  these children have been fought for, prayed for, wanted, missed, and loved for years on end waiting for their arrival.  and they are thriving.  they cuddled with me, hugged me, danced for me, and force fed me brownies.  ok.  no one has ever force fed me brownies.  they might have forcibly removed them from my death grip to save me from myself, but that's the only way the words 'force' and 'brownie' have ever been used in a sentence together where i'm concerned.

i came home to my husband.  well, husband on african soil and in my heart.  he'll legally become my husband this saturday in a small family only ceremony that we'll hold in the backyard of our first home together.  my dress is hanging in the closet in a bedroom that will, God willing, belong to our children before the year is up.

i want to play this day on repeat.  i want to bathe in the accents that our founder's children share with our own.  i want the song sean and i wrote about this adoption boat we are in to be the soundtrack to every day i have left to live.  i want to laugh with my friends that truly understand my every move.  i want to always come home to my husband greeting me at the door reminding me to pick up his pants from the tailor so he isn't half naked at our wedding.

tonight, for the first time in awhile, i feel... well, full.

chairs are for wimps.


melissa and rosemary.

maddox and nash.  dance party time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Peach Truck

i had the sweetest friday afternoon with my friend and old roommate today.  a mini tennessee snow storm, leftover baked spaghetti, and a sweet reminder that the lives of old friends can be so different than they once were, yet still so intertwined.

big things are happening for the lovely jess, her 5th generation georgia peach farmer husband, and their deliciously homegrown mom and pop dream life at the peach truck.

check them out here, and get your taste buds ready for peach season y'all.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday's Best, Wednesday Style

a day late and a million dollars short.  that's what they always say around our house.  and by 'they' i mean me.

it's tuesdays' best, wednesday style.


all focused on one thing?  it's a christmas miracle.


...a boo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday's Best : My Favorite Collection Yet

20 seconds before gerald vomited on m&m.  even when he's not feeling well he's smiling this big.

big love.

the return of the coolio braid.

mohamed started singing a song from church and sweet mamie threw her hands up
 and started singing along with everything in her.  love this girl.

whistling and a hometown shout out for mom.  golden gophers!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Best

gerald sang us a song.

mohamed played drums with josh and told us how he was baptized in the ocean on saturday.

mamie told us about her school work and we talked about the 3 children who left the center on sunday and arrive in america, their new home, today.

geraldine got bored and went outside to play.

everyone got stickers.

just as it should be.
happy tuesday's best,



twins = twice as many stickers on the wall.

one soldier down and my favorite lone tooth.

so. stinkin'. pretty.