I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 years on the road. Buses, planes, rental cars, and the occasional “band van.” From promo tours and radio shows to opening slots on major tours, guitar pulls, festivals, and state fairs…I’ve seen or played in nearly every city in this beautiful, complicated country. And there’s a lot I could say about it. I could talk about the parts that are less glamorous than they seem; I could talk about what is absolutely incredible about being on the road. But today, I just want to write to you about the idea of home. Because when you’re living your life on the road, you crave “home” in new, more acute ways.
As my immediate family has changed over the last 8+ years (losing my brother Grant in 2008, and my half-brother Shawn in 2009, and then my parents divorcing in 2014) I’ve learned that home–what it looks like, and who’s there–will change. It will. Hopefully, yours doesn’t change in such dramatic ways as my own, but it will inevitably change with marriages and births, as people move, and go to school, and start or change careers.
All the change and all the travel really has altered the way I feel about friendships. It makes my friendships feel more and more vital, and more and more like family. As my own family seemed to be disappearing, the need to be known and loved in my friendships grew astronomically. My hunger for having the kind of friendships that are messier–more intimate–potentially less “polite,” but more life giving–more like family, increased. And redefining home, and family happened somewhere along the way. For me Nashville is home. My mom’s house is home. The little bungalow I own with my husband is home. But Sometimes home is lighting a travel candle in a strange hotel room because the scent reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen. Sometimes “home” is a comfy pillow and a pair of uncool socks on a chilly tour bus. Sometimes “home” is the sound of the music you and your brother danced to as kids on Christmas Eve. And sometimes “home” is just people. The right people, the ones you don’t have to impress.
[Above is an unreleased song called “Home” that I wrote with Ross Copperman and Heather Morgan a few years ago. Ross produced this demo. I love the song, but at the time Dierks had just put out a song also called “Home” and the label didn’t think it was a good idea to cut a song by the same name that year….but I still think about this song.]
So today, I introduce you to some rather new-ish friends. But they’re the kind of girls that you can make family out of. They can hop from topics like high heels to heart matters in an instant, and they know how to throw a killer party, too. They came over to my mom’s house here in Nashville, and decorated, and lit candles, and put out yummy things to snack on, and turned good music on, and made me feel quite at “home.”
This December, while ads are telling you that you need to buy more stuff, and instagram is telling you to find the perfect outfit, look around your life at the people who love you when you’re in your ugly sweat pants…the really ugly ones. And the people that intrigue you…maybe someone you keep bumping into and thinking “I’d really like to get to know her.”
And bring some of those hearts together around the table. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can have appetizers from the Costco freezer section, and cheap champagne. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and (I know I sound like a hypocrite here) but you don’t need the expertly styled photos to prove it. Just invite people in that you care about, that you need, or who need you…and let the Christmas spirit, chilly weather, and candlelight do what it does…bring you together. Make you feel alive…make you feel at home.
The gang. (Left to right) Designer Sarah Moore shares holiday party decorating tips here. Me (my recipe for Elderflower Bubbles–which we’re toasting with– below.) Whitney of The Blonde Atlas. Go here to read her beautiful post about connection and friendship. Brenna of Wanderlust and Glitter Dust. The most adorable and down-to-earth former “Miss Tennessee” EVER. And Gracie, founder of The Miriam Collection (now part of the Live Fashionable company). “Miriam” is a line of jewelry which is hand crafted by women in recovery and they’re offering 20% off of the jewelry line TODAY+ free shipping with the code “Holiday.”
Of course I made cocktails…. “Elderflower bubbles.”
- pour one ounce of St. Germain Elderflower into the bottom of a champagne flute
- top with your favorite prosecco (to be honest, I don’t use a very expensive prosecco if I’m using it in a mixed drink)
- garnish with a sprig of rosemary so it’s extra festive.
- sip like a lady, or gulp like a sailor…we’re not the manners police!
Special thanks to Ryan Kanaly (@ryansmallhands on insta) for spending the day snapping us for this feature. Leave me your definition of “Home” in the comments. XO