Senior Portrait

WOW….my phone went off Sunday morning with that familiar little sound which meant a text had landed in my stream of life. I poured my cup of coffee and opened the message…oh, my what a gorgeous face was staring back at me. It was Esther, my precious niece in Asheville, NC., my brother’s daughter who carries so much of his joy, spirit and compassion.  

She had spent Saturday taking her senior pictures at the camp where she works during the summer…OH, her face is gorgeous, her hair a mane of golden curls, her smile so radiant. She is on a bench and the word “courage” is etched under her elbows. She is smiling and glowing. You can see her Healing Knots bracelet. This picture says it all. She is my model of courage. She is what Healing Knots stands for…love, acceptance, healing, loss and resilience. The courage to face tragic loss of a parent and bring that loss into a place of grace, beauty and action. Esther’s compassion, beauty, joy for life and pure spirit radiates from this picture. 

 Her mother, Chris, sent me a note…"Corinne this picture needs a blog." She is right.

….keep reading. She wrote some powerful words of what this photo meant to her.  

Words from Chris Pruitt O’Steen…courage comes in all different sizes. Chris has courage that I will write about one day, too. Hope these words inspire you. When we share from our own heart, we touch others hearts and together we all heal.


We need you to get better, Dad,” Esther told him. It was a mild fall day, one of those days when the air feels soft and gentle, no bite of cold yet. The cherry trees were half-naked already, their leaves strewn about on the road in front of our house. Esther and Keith were on a little neighborhood walk. She was thirteen. “I know, Esther. I want to. I really do,” was all he could say. He didn’t look at her, or take her hand. He was absent already, disconnected. Depression gripped him, drained his mind of all that was good in the world, filling him with an anxious dread, a darkness we couldn’t understand. We all wanted to shake him out of it, to get him back, and none of us more than Esther, his firstborn, his only girl, his delight. Keith was her confidant, her entertainer, her source of great music and dumb jokes and beautiful stories and big bear hugs. She needed him to get better.

All that was funny and original and musical and beautiful about her dad was faded. He had become a shaken, discouraged man, just a shell of who he really was.

A year later, the deceiving voice of depression drowning out the truth of love and hope, he succumbed to his illness. 

Yesterday Esther and I visited the girls’ camp where she has spent her summers since third grade. The place was empty and silent, devoid of the chatter and activity of campers, as if it were resting. It was a mild October day, the air soft. Four years have passed since her neighborhood walk with Keith. Four years.

She is a senior in high school now, this beautiful young lady, and so full of life and joy and friendship and grace. Sorrow has made her gentle and kind. Memories of her dad’s love are rooted deep and sweet in her heart. 

We wandered through camp until she found this bench. “Here,” she said, “is where I want my picture taken.” 

Courage. Oh, yes. Courage etched in marble, set upon stone. That’s the kind of courage you’re made of, my dear girl.


The Kitchen Table

This is my kitchen table.

I woke up this morning and my heart felt so full. I realized that gathering around the kitchen table is one of the most “soul filling” things we can ever do.

I have been muscling through my new job. My hours are amazing – they are Monday thru Friday close to 8:00 to 5:00. Sometimes there is a conference and we need to get there closer to 7:30am or there is a client dinner or event and we need to stay until 7:30pm. But for the most part, it is a culture that respects the work week of an honest 8:00am start and a 5:00pm departure. Who would ever guess that could exist in the year 2015 where people are working crazy hours in most companies? But, coming from the hotel world this is bliss. The five day work week of Monday thru Friday is a rhythm I have been missing and it feels so good to be on the same work schedule as most of the world. That being said, I now have a Friday night. Meaning, Friday comes and it is a mixture of excitement that you made the 5-day crunch and exhaustion that you have used up all of your resources to stay on task and get to Friday!!!

This week was one of those football game Fridays. My husband and I are very faithful to get to the high school game early, watch our daughter dance in the half time show and then walk out of the stadium hoping the team wins, but feeling really happy to get in our car and drive home.

Now, I have been the parent of boys playing sports and I know how it feels when your son is on that field and you stay to the very end of every game and watch everything that happens. This being said, I so enjoy the freedom of enjoying the band, watching the girls perform their dance and then being done!!!

This week we played the cross-town rival. That did not cause us to change our routine of leaving the game after the half time show. What was different this week was I sent an email out to my dearest girlfriends that I have not been seeing or talking to since my new job and said, “come over to my house after half-time.” Well, my Friday exhaustion was not happy with me when last night rolled around. I thought that my new corporate self could never make it past 8pm on the Friday night schedule.

I texted my friends as we walked to the car…."heading home"….I sent.
Walked into my house and…realized I had no snacks to put out, 1 bottle of white wine and 7 beers.  Well, that is life in the fast lane I guess. So I quickly turned on the stove and popped a pot of popcorn, melted butter and added a dash or two of salt. Old School Popcorn I call it! And of course, it had to go in my favorite old wooden bowl. I am not sure why, but, popcorn tastes better in a wooden bowl. (So Healing Knots of me to say this!!!)

The only thing I really did to prepare for my friends is clear the kitchen table. The kitchen table is my bracelet station. It has the bracelet orders for the day, the bowls of beads that are going to eventually become a bracelet, brown bags with names on them for the orders to fill, little notes from people and pieces of paper that I am packing up in boxes for new orders. I grabbed all of it and put it in the laundry room. WOW!!!  It was a treat to see that table cleared. The doorbell rings and in walk my friends that live across town at the rival school that we were playing. They are decked out in black and red which is so very comical for those of us in blue and red. They come in and tell me hilarious stories about their dinner conversations. The door opens and a neighbor and her husband come in to join us. The door opens and more people are coming. The popcorn bowl is empty, glasses are all over the counter and we are all sitting around the kitchen table and the kitchen island and sharing what has been going on in our lives. This old fashion face time gathering will never be replaced by a long text, a funny picture on Facebook or even a 10-minute phone call.

The feeling of having my kitchen full of friends, laughing, sharing and just being together. No food, no preparation, just friends together catching up with each other about their lives. Oh, my heart has been missing this. These are my friends that have seen me through so many chapters of life. And we are all busy now working, chasing down our children, traveling to care for parents, trying to make it through another week of so much to do and so many places to be. 

Just gathering in a kitchen brings us all home. Home to that place in our heart where we share things only with those people that really know us, that really know our children, and that show up even when there is no meal, no reason to celebrate, and on a Friday night when everyone is exhausted.
If you have not asked friends to stop by your house and just sit around your kitchen table in a long time. I want you to think about it….it is the best feeling and it is so simple. I never realized how much I love my kitchen table. Who would ever guess that a house only needs a kitchen table and enough chairs for your closest friends? My entire house feels better because last night it was filled with love and friendship. 

To all of you that saw my text last night and actually made it over I love you and thank you!!!  It was pure joy to see all of you.

Here is to kitchen tables, good friends and old school popcorn!!! Soul food for sure!


Rising Strong

One of the greatest joys in life is curling up in bed with a great book. We are currently reading "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown and this Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted was too good to not share! 

"There is no greater threat to the critics 
and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise.

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending. 

When we deny our stories, they define us. 
When we run from struggle, we are never free. 
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye. 

We will not be characters in our stories. 
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. 

We are the authors of our lives. 
We write our own daring endings. 

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure. 

Showing up is our power. 
Story is our way home. Truth is our song. 
We are the brave and brokenhearted. 
We are rising strong."

You can download this manifesto here and buy the book here. Happy Tuesday! 



Serendipity, luck, divine timing….I do not know what you like to call it but, I have been having the most magical “run ins” with people.  Yesterday at the grocery store a neighbor and her teenage daughter walked past me in the cracker aisle. I had not seen these two women since last school year.  Oh, it made me smile and be so thankful I just happened to be at the grocery store at the same time on the same aisle with them.

Today I crawled to my car and forced myself to go to 9:30 AM yoga. Last week it was such a special gift. I had my sister-in-law visiting from Asheville and the two of us went to yoga for the first time together…and I wanted to go back and remember it again this week.

As I dropped my mat I was really close to the person in front of me….I thought, “Oh, my that person is going to be so cranky that I am too close….” I jumped into downward dog trying to catch up with the class. As I peeked at the person in front of me, it was my daughter’s friend Claire. The two of them are the silliest, talk on the phone every night, kind of girls. I know this story well, I had a friend in high school that I had to talk to every night…for hours!!! Something about teenage girls and long phone calls never changes.

Well, as I looked to the right another friend of my daughter’s was there. OH, that made me so happy that 2 girls had rolled out of bed and made it to yoga. They are 15 and 16 years old. It just filled my heart to know that they were moving, sweating and doing something so healthy for all of the stress and exhaustion that fills their days. 

Being a teenager in this world of 2015 is one tough story. I have no idea how they navigate all of the distractions and demands that did not even exist when I was younger. So today it was another moment of serendipity and timing…to see these precious girls getting some yoga in their day. What I would have given to have had yoga in my teenage years. I found it when I was in my 30’s…..and it has brought me so much peace and comfort.

Today I am so happy all ages are finding the peace of moving and stretching their bodies. Working on staying healthy and balanced from the inside out.

The words that will keep me remembering today came from the teacher at the 9:30 class…they are “Don’t let anyone take your PEACE away.”

Today my heart was filled with peace. 

Seeing two young girls on their mats, smiling and stretching.
As we hugged and laughed in the parking lot…we all agreed the words that will stick with us…
Don’t let anyone take your PEACE away!!!

Go make it a good day.

New Chapters

Dear Healing Knots friends and bracelet wearers,

My apologies for being so silent in the past few days. It has been a new chapter of my life and I have been wearing two or more bracelets a day to get through my new chapter of work. I promise after 4 years of looking high and low, I have found the job that I have dreamed of and want to let all of you know that no matter what you are doing now…keep looking and keep applying for every job you can find that might be your next step in life. Do not ever give up!!!

My perfect combination of new experiences and combing all of my old experiences has truly become my new professional venture. The learning curve is so very steep. But, the future is so bright I really need shades!!!!

So I will be back in action really soon with Healing Knots and bracelets to celebrate life!!!…trust me my silence has been good.

I have so many more bracelet ideas and will start cranking them out again SOON and share the pictures with you.

Most of all, I want to celebrate Emily.  Her birthday was Friday and she is in Austin enjoying the ACL (Austin City Limits) Festival. For those of you that are not sure what that is…imagine 75,000 people, multiple stages with all of the best music you can imagine playing all at once for 3 solid days!!!!

Me, oh, my…it is something to behold.

So many people love this….I am in my backyard having my own ACL….of crickets, birds and sunshine and making a new bracelet creation, of course!!!

So to all on this glorious weekend…get out in the sun, listen to your favorite music and send HAPPY BIRTHDAY love to Emily!!!!!

She is the best, always and in ALL ways!!! Another great year….of life to experience.

On your mark… get set….GO!!!!