(How is this my life again?)
Gingham is one of the common design threads running throughout A Homemade Year, so it was only right that gingham run throughout all the party decor as well.
What is more southern than gingham?
Okay, maybe monogramming is more Southern.
But nothing is more Southern Church Picnic than gingham, so there- Take that, monogramming!
The food was southern, delicious and homemade. Every bit of it.
I have to give my MIL Mary and Sweet Man a big shout-out for all the amazing cooking they did.
GranMary made her world famous Angel Biscuits (which were long gone before I could get a bite of them!) And Nathan made a breakfast casserole, and the Farmers Market Bread Pudding from Chapter 20 (Chapter 20 got a lot of love at this hootenanny, what can I say?)
After sunset, all the twinkle lights sparkled, and everything was magical.
Sweet Man’s band Monkhouse (well, 3/4ths of them,) played a mix of southern hymns, bluegrass, folk and roots music. Plus lots of my favorites including Wild Flower by Tom Petty and Harvest Moon by Neil Young.
And of course Keep on the Sunny Side.
Sweet Man has had several bands in our 17 years together, and I have to say that this is far and away my favorite- especially when they go acoustic. Be still my heart.
Looking back at all the pictures, I cannot believe how many people came out to support me and the book. Every picture I find I see something I missed before.
And it is so great to see all my worlds collide.
Friends from each stage of life, coming together to eat pie and celebrate this book- which really was a community effort.
A couple of people asked me if the Hootenanny would be kid-friendly.
I honestly don’t know if I know how to throw any other kind of party anymore.
I think this is how I recreate the large and loud family experience from my childhood.
I love to be in a kitchen cooking with five other people, everyone having to bend, shuffle and climb over each other, while the kids run wild circles in and out of the house, doors slamming, people hollering, laughter ringing loud.
I feel most at home in these moments. I feel as if LIFE is bubbling up all around me.
I want to just stand still and soak it all up- all that crazy, all that laughter, all that community.
So yes, for future reference, our parties are always kid friendly. If you can keep them out of the spiked punch.
And did you see preacher lady Ann Russ and her precious daughter before that?
I am pretty sure I could not have pulled that look off at her age even if Rachel Zoe was my stylist!
This girl right here always believed I had a book in me. That my story and my creativity where worth sharing, and that sharing them was worth pursuing. That I had a voice that needed to be heard.
We have spent many nights and days and weekends dissecting our assumptions about faith, humanity, marriage, relationships, parenting and the myth of balance. Together we learn again and again how to accept and pour out grace for others -and ourselves.
She is the truest kind of friend.