Hey Y’all!

by Stefani on 26-August-2007

My Mom and I hit the road last Friday for a girl getaway to Dallas.

I can’t even begin to list the ways that our little road trip satisfied my soul. So many of the things that I craved were all wrapped up in 51 glorious hours.

Wide open spaces –


And soaring city scapes too –


Good food, lots of laughter, and the company of a woman who is just as happy as I am to do nothing but spend the day capturing as much beauty as we can through the lens of a camera. We must have looked like tourists on speed, hanging out the window with our cameras.

Incidentally, my mom is a pretty fantastic photographer. You can see her work here.

Oh, and we did do this one other little thing….


That’s right, we went to see Paula Deen, live. We sat about 6 rows from the stage, Lord help me.


Her son, Bobby, came along, and her sweet husband, Michael, was there too.

I was really embarassingly excited. I screamed like she was Elvis when she came out on stage! I had no idea that I would turn into a complete groupie over a grey-headed old woman, but I did, and I’m not sorry.

It was like 2 hours hanging out in your great aunt’s kitchen. She was sweet, funny, personable and the genuine, no frills, article. She swore, told a few off color jokes, brought me to tears a couple of times, made some mean looking macaroni and cheese, and otherwise made a few hundred people feel right at home. For real.

Why do I love this woman so much?

Well, aside from the twang that you either love or hate (love), the humor and the recipes that all contain a stick of butter or more, I love her because at nearly 50 years old, after losing both parents, a debilitating illness, an ugly divorce and financial ruin, this woman picked herself up and showed the world all she is and all that she has to offer. She took care of herself, she did what needed to be done for her boys, and in the process she’s inspired women all over the place to do the same.

I don’t care who you are, you gotta hand it to a woman like that.

As inspiring as she is though, I think that she wasn’t the only amazing woman in the Dallas Music Hall on Saturday. I know there are so many women who take a handful of hardship and turn it into beauty and triumph everyday. My mom is one of them.

She has such a quiet grace, personal strength and an enduring loyalty, that you just can’t help but love her. I would tell you the thousand ways that this woman has risen, walked tall and through sheer grit and determination, made a life for her family, but she’s not the kind of person that wants her business out for all the world to see.

So, suffice it to say that she’s not just the perfect road trip companion, she’s the perfect Mama, an inspiration and a friend. I love you, Mom. Thanks for a weekend to remember, and a lifetime of love and encouragement.

So, how about you, you wonderful women who take the time to stop here each day, who inspires you?

Sarah Jackson August 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Looks like a glorious time all around!

I’d have to say that my inspiration is my Grandma Mavis. She too, is a woman who has survived much hardship with grace and quiet determination. My grandfather died in the 1950s after spending years in and out of hospitals for severe clinical depression. Mavis raised their 3 kids by herself, going back to work and supporting them on her own – even sending all 3 through private universities. She and her companion of the last 30 years are the social heart of their church. She just stopped teaching ESL classes at the age of 83. She loves unconditionally, and expects the best from everyone she loves. Her ability to overcome so much with her faith in humanity intact, and her love of life so evident has always been an insipiration to me. Annika’s middle name is Mavis, after her. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her – she never thought someone would use her “ugly” name, not realizing how much beauty she has given it.

Molly August 26, 2007 at 9:31 pm

It’s funny – you went to Dallas with your mom and I used to watch Dallas with my mom. My Grandma Mary is truly a woman who inspires, but everything I know about her has come from other family members. She is very private, very humble, and never says a bad thing about anyone. She will be 91 this year, and just retired a few months ago. I am working on plans to spend a few weeks with her next summer to help her can and learn a few tricks.

michelle August 27, 2007 at 4:40 am

What a great weekend! This is the type of relationship I hope to continue having with my daughter when she is grown.

leslie August 27, 2007 at 6:04 am

i would say both my parents. my mom for the similar reasons you shared about yours, being strong and not a victim. my mom was the one who told me to “walk it off” when i was hurt and never allowed me to use my “monthly curse” as an excuse not to go to school. she used to say, dont set women back 100 years with that complaint. she also said, “never be dependent on a man for your finances, go to college and get your own career, if you choose not to use it, fine, but you will have something to fall back on if you ever need it” i love that she told me i had a choice to have babies whenever i was ready and to not be in a rush, let it happen when i was ready (she never pushed for grandbabies) that meant a lot to me because i felt so good about my choice to have kids when i did. and my dad? well he is just the coolest cat around, totally hip and artistic… very sensitive and nurturing… loves animals and kids in a way i have only seen in my husband. so thats that! thanks for letting me take my own trip down memory lane. xo

beki August 27, 2007 at 6:32 am

What a fun trip! I love Paula Dean, she’s such a hoot. How lucky you are to have your Mama in your life and to have a such a special relationship with her.

Anne August 27, 2007 at 7:43 am

I just watched a show about Paula Dean and her hardships, which made me like her even more. What a woman. My inspiration comes from a lot of people, so it’s hard to choose one, but since it is my Aunt’s death anniversary and birthday this week, I will name her. She was a true rock – nursing her young father with throat cancer (baking him bread so he could at least smell it), losing her first husband to a horrific boating accident, helping me with my parent’s deaths, and then her own death to cancer all with unbelievable strength and love.

erin August 27, 2007 at 9:59 am

what a lovely tribute to your mom, stefani.

Eren August 27, 2007 at 10:35 am

What a wonderful tribute to your mama…and a wonderful mama she must be to have such a sweet, creative, thoughtful daughter like you. And who inspires me? Also the women in my family. My grammer, who was also a military wife with three children, but without the convenience of email and cell phone calls. She fishes with a cane pole and taught me to clean my catch. She crochets and sews and has encouraged gazillions of other women to develop their own domestic talents throughout her life. Other women rising “from the ashes” dealing with the day to day with grace and a smile…those are the women who have always inspired me and always will.

Michelle B August 27, 2007 at 12:17 pm

looks like you had a great trip!

Vee August 27, 2007 at 12:25 pm

so cool yout got to meet Paula!! I love her show too and she puts butter in everything, gotta love that!!
congrats on the Freckled Nest dt 🙂

Leigh-Ann August 27, 2007 at 1:02 pm

1) i LOVE that you took (and posted) a picture of yourself! BEAUTIFUL!
2) i had to look at who Paula Dean was… and then realized, you’re the cutest for screaming like it’s Elvis…to a cook/chef/food magician. loved that. that’s so cool that she’s come thru all that. DEFINatly and INSPIRATION! and your momma sounds amazing.!. you get it from her!
my mom and my sister inspire me. watching them as mothers has taught and still teaches me a new kind of love. and my friends. my friends inspire me everyday 🙂 thanks Stef 😉
Love LA
ps> did you win? 🙂 or did the chicken take you down? 🙁

Dee Light August 27, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Oh what a fun trip!!! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time with your mom!!!

Tara August 27, 2007 at 7:48 pm

I LOOOOOOOVE Paula! My friends say I’m her only younger (and with fewer cooking skills). 😉 My husband and I are going to Savannah in November when he’s home on R&R and I am determined to eat at her restaurant!

kristin August 28, 2007 at 7:40 am

all i know is that i will carry the image of you screaming like she was elvis…

wonderful, wonderful all around.

Lacey August 28, 2007 at 9:04 am

I love these pictures, Stef! They are so bright and fun and exciting! Especially the sunflower one. Super cool.

Okay, are you ready for my best paula impression (cause, I want to like, BE her, when I grow up)

alright here it is:

“how bawt we puhhht s’mawre buttah in thaaht ya’ll.”

good eh?!


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