Happiness now, not in the ever after

op barbeeThere was a time in my life where I thought being wild would lead to a sense of freedom and purpose. I assumed that spontaneous trips, living alone, drinking good wine, writing long, dark journal entries and dabbling in debauchery would quench an underlying thirst for adventure.

If it means reconnecting with my gypsy soul, I’m in

op barbeeOne Friday night in October my husband and I were dining at the bar at Frog’s Leap when I realized Smoky Mountain News Editor Scott McLeod was next to us enjoying a beer and an order of truffle fries. He and I began chatting about his kids, my kids, mutual friends and ultimately landed on the topics of writing and journalism. He asked what sorts of topics I write about and which publications I write for.

This must be the place

art theplaceThrowing my father’s old Dodge Dakota into park, I stepped out of the truck and felt the crunch of snow and ice beneath my feet.

Weather doesn’t trip up traditions

op coxWhen we wake up on Christmas Eve, it is nearly 70 degrees and raining so hard that when our miniature dachshund is about to go out for his morning trip to the bathroom, he takes a look up at me instead as if to say, “Are you kidding me, man? No thanks, I’ll just hold it.” What he means, of course, is that he will go back to bed just long enough for us to jump in the shower or start making breakfast, whereupon he will find a nice, quiet room somewhere in the house and surreptitiously relieve himself on the leg of a chair, reappearing minutes later, with another look that says, “No worries, mate. That room is all clear and secure.”

This must be the place

art theplaceSo, you’re from Canada? Not quite, but close. Growing up on the Canadian border, most folks there don’t really take notice of where they live, or how odd it perhaps may seem to reside so close to a foreign country because, well, it’s always been that way, you know?

This must be the place

art theplaceIt’s awfully quiet in here. As the rest of the newspaper heads out the door for home (or somewhere they used to call “home”), I sit at my desk. Relaxing back into my chair and staring out of the window, I’m not looking at anything in particular, with thoughts drifting into that bluebird sky outside.

This holiday, it’s a family united

op footballWhen I was 12 years old, there were few things I liked better than the Dallas Cowboys. Definitely my Farrah Fawcett poster. Maybe Fudge Royale ice cream. But not much else.

Broyhill upbringing brought peace to Brunck

fr brunckRoberta Brunk could have easily become a victim of circumstance. Growing up in an abusive home and being moved around to different foster homes and schools could have permanently shaped her life and set her up for disaster, but she didn’t let that happen.

Broyhill provides family setting for foster kids

fr broyhillLinda Morgan, executive director at Broyhill Children’s Home in Clyde, said she’s seen the pendulum swing many times during her 42 years working in the system. Some years the cottages at Broyhill are sparsely occupied, but the children’s home has been at capacity with 50 children for a solid two years.

Couple opens their home, heart for foster children

fr newfostersAs Caroline Kernahan talked about why she wanted to be a foster parent, her 4-year-old daughter Claire climbed into her lap and asked when her new brother or sister would be coming to stay with them.

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