The Front Seat

One of the things that drew me to Lew when we first met and were dating was this love of adventure. Travel. Camping. Road Trips. When I thought about the potential for adventures and travels we had together, my futuristic self was geeking out.

Almost 10 years later we have been on a lot of adventures and I’m so grateful as I look through our past photos, recall memories of when we decided to live in the moment and leave the camera behind. And I think forward to some of our long-term goals that include more travel with our family and I get really excited.

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One of my favorite authors, storytellers and podcasters, Tsh Oxenrider’s new book At Home in the World released this week and I’m SOOOO excited to dive in this weekend. She has asked her readers to think about where we each feel most at home in the world. As I started thinking about this, my place isn’t anywhere we’ve traveled to or is super exciting. While I would love to be able to share an exotic location, I have to say, I feel most at home in the front seat of a car.

The front seat was how we entered married life as we navigated highways and curvy roads on our honeymoon through the south.  We wound our way through Savannah and Charleston and Asheville and came back to Kentucky as one.

The front seat was the place for spontaneous road trips that led us to Toronto for long weekends and Tennessee to visit college friends and across the state of North Carolina the summer before we got married visiting friends and family going from mountains to beaches and back again.


360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada

The front seat was the support we needed to have great conversations when we made trips to Virginia when my mom was still living there and dealing with lots of health issues, hospital stays and eventually time in a nursing home. I cherish those days and conversations with the soundrack of the Beau’s iPod getting us through those curvy West Virginia roads.

The front seat was where my mom made her way from Virginia to Kentucky in the summer of 2013 so that we would be closer to her to help with her care.

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The front seat afforded us a lot of amazing views on our road trip out west in the summer of 2015. Most memorable was driving into Canyonlands at sunset and being so overwhelmed with the beauty of creation the beau and I both teared up.

On that same trip, I experienced incredible stomach cramps and had to lay the seat down as we wound our way through Washington and Oregon.  Little did I know those stomach cramps were a precursor to something big.  We came home to a positive pregnancy test.

In November of 2015, the front seat was once again the support needed as we made our way back to Virginia to lay my mom to rest.

Christmas Day of 2015 at 24 weeks pregnant my love for the front seat was wrecked. Literally. We were hit head on and ever since then me and the front seat have been at odds. But I’m coming around.

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The front seat supported me and held my tears when I left the hospital empty handed after 6 days in the hospital and our daughter stayed in the NICU for 8 more weeks when she rocked our world 9 weeks early on February 13th, 2016.

The front seat held my secrets as I figured out my new body and how to feed my girl who was thriving on my breast milk. It was my companion as I pumped daily in the car as we drove to see our girl every day.

The front seat was empty that day the beau drove home ever so slowly with JP and me in the backseat embarking on this new journey of parenthood.

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June Parker leaving the NICU

I’m learning to love the front seat again.  The past 16 months have seen lots of flinches, grabbing of the door handle and closed eyes when in the front seat.  Being hit head on and knowing that impacted the premature birth of your daughter will do that to you. I’ve used my phone more as a distraction when traffic is bad in a big city or on those curvy roads.

But I’m trying to live in the moment and change that.  Even if it means facing my fears without my head in my phone. I don’t want to miss the view. We are planning more long term travels. And I know that I’ll be in the front seat again.  Releasing control.  Trusting. Living.  All things I want to lean into.  The front seat isn’t a destination but a place that gets you to your destination.

For me and these past 18 months, the front seat has gotten me THROUGH.

When we are driving around town, through the Red River Gorge and on the backroads to and from Lexington, I reach over and grab the beau’s hand and look back at our beautiful, healthy and perfect 14 month old and am full of gratitude.  The front seat longs to be my protector and comforter and adventurer seeker. I’m slowing learning to let it be so and let go of the fear.  Letting go has gotten me through this difficult season but is gently calling me TO more adventure, TO more road trips, TO less fear and TO courage.

Thank you Tsh for helping me remember that I am at home in the world in the front seat.



Coffee Date-Catching Up Over Summer 

Inspiration for this post came from Cassie at Back to Her Roots. I love it so much it just may become a staple around these parts.

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It’s been a few months since we’ve caught up.  As we spot each other in the coffee shop, if I’m honest, I’m a little anxious at first, but quickly, we pick back up and it feels strangely familiar all at the same time. It’s been quite an eventful summer. I’d feel a bit embarrassed that I’d let so much time go by since we have connected. But you’re super gracious as you too know the feeling of busy summers and how you blink and they’re over.  Here we are welcoming in fall with it’s bouquets of sharpened pencils, fresh school supplies and the like. Although it’s gonna be another hot one today, I’d have to go for a warm drink–I’ve been on a kick of Americanos after our trip out west this summer–more on this in a sec–smooth espresso, hot water and a dash of cream. Half caf for me–I’ve had some trouble sleeping lately so I’m trying to cut the caffeine. You looked shocked at this call but since I’m technically in my mid-30’s now that sleep monster has come out to rear it’s ugly head from time to time.

As we settle in outside with our beverages–it’s still early morning so avoiding the heat and feeling a bit like fall–I’d catch you up on our house renovations that happened over the summer. We packed up 90% of our house in May into boxes, bags and the like and relocated most of it into a POD we rented for 2 months, the kitchen or the entry way. In early June, we had drywall put up on the ceilings in our living room, dining room, master and upstairs bathroom and FINALLY those two guestrooms upstairs have all new drywall instead of nasty layer-upon-layer of wallpaper. I would tell you how we had to move out of the house for three weeks while the work was being done but that we have amazing friends who let us crash with them–thankfully being summer, they were out of town themselves for some of it. You would ask how I did with that–knowing my tendencies to like a schedule and routine. Of course, it was a challenge, but definitely aided in my ability to go with the flow.

I’d tell you how my spontaneous husband realized that he had a 5 day stretch of being off so we jetted down to Fort Walton Beach, FL for a quick weekend in early June. We got a great condo right on the beach that included chairs and an umbrella every day. We drove down on Friday, sat on the beach on Saturday and Sunday and drove back on Monday. You’d ask how in the world we made that work and I’d shrug and reply that we just know when we need some time away and Lew and I do really well in a car together so it wasn’t that bad. We did agree though that we could’ve done with one more beach day. We’d both chuckle and stare off for a bit….I imagine that you’re like me, pretending to be on the beach, the sound of waves and smell of saltwater in the air.

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I’d share about moving back into our house right when our busy summer schedule started at work. We saw over 700 students being admitted into the business college this year so it was a super busy. One thing though that got me through was doing Jennie Allen’s Anything study with a group of gals at this here coffee shop on Wednesday mornings. Oh you think you saw us here once? Possible–we were here at 6:30 am so it was early but so so good. I’d share how grateful I am for the friendships and relationships that were formed from that. Im excited that we’re gonna start meeting again here soon.

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I’d tell you about my crazy idea to go to Mexico for a week in late summer. I know. The beach got me itching for more. And I was listening to Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour one day on my drive home to our friends that we were staying with. She was interviewing Emily Lex and talked about no kids vacations and how they had used Air B&B in Mexico. Why had I not thought of that? So after some mad googling, I had quite a plan mapped out to show the beau when he got home from work the next day. $1500 for the Air B&B and flights. You would ask why we didn’t book right then and there. I would remind you of Lew’s schedule and that it takes some time to ask off work and that by the time he was guaranteed the days off in early August, prices had doubled.

So what did you do with that 10 days off, you’d ask.

What did we do?  Where to begin.

Lew’s been itching for a few years to take me out west–I’d never been farther than Texas other than flying into Portland for a conference about 10 years ago. I’d admit that I was a little anxious when he started telling me all that he wanted to do in 10 days, but he just kept reminding me–we don’t have any pets or kids right now–this is the time to do it.

So we did.

We left August 3rd and returned August 12th. 10 Days. We went north through Chicago to Wisconsin, drove across Minnesota and South Dakota to the Badlands and Black Hills. I got to see Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, and venture driving after dark over a mountain in Wyoming. Yellowstone was amazing, but the Tetons took my breath away. We ate at this little brewery in Jackson Hole before driving back north through the other side of Yellowstone and stayed in Gardiner, Montana. We had a great breakfast in Bozeman, Montana, and then got to meet up with our friends Fred and Jenn in C’oeur d’Alene, Idaho for a late lunch. We stayed outside Seattle that night and then spent the entire day in downtown Seattle. It. Was. Amazing.

You want to hear more about Seattle?  We’re only halfway through our trip–let me come back to that.

I’d tell you how from Seattle, we drove down to Astoria, Oregon and saw the Goonies House. I know–they closed it to the public just a couple WEEKS after we were there. So sad. We also drove down to Cannon Beach and saw Haystack Rock–that was really cool. I liked Cannon Beach a lot. From there we drove through the Oregon trees into Portland and had breakfast at Mother’s. We stayed in Eastern Oregon before driving back through southern Idaho and then into Utah–the beau’s favorite state. I can certainly see why. A quick stop in Salt Lake and then my first In & Out burger experience–so good–before heading into Moab. We saw the sunset at Canyonlands and then got up early the next morning to see the sunrise at Arches. I cannot put into words how beautiful and majestic Utah and these parks are.

I’d tell you about me realizing that we could go to Red Rocks and my tactics on convincing the beau to do so. It didn’t take much so we hauled it over the Rockies and stayed in West Denver. Damien Rice and Iron & Wine were AMAZING at Red Rocks. I’d tell you how it should be a bucket list item for everyone–simply amazing!

From there, we drove through Nebraska home instead of straight across Kansas–this got me a few more states to check off my list and we still got a bit of Kansas taking the loop around Kansas City. We had some great steak in Nebraska–that’s for sure! I was excited to have it for lunch when I got back to work that week.

After I finally stop gushing about my trip–I’d look over and you seem a little shell shocked. Yes, it was quite a whirlwind, but was so worth it. Let’s get together again and I’ll gladly share more details on our trip–whatever you want to hear-route, budget, favorite stops–you just let me know! Do we have more pictures you’d ask?  Goodness–I’d totally forgot to pull out my phone and show you as I shared our route.  I’d leave you with our hashtag #CracraftsGoWest where all our Instagram lovelies from our trip live.

And goodness–there’s still so much we didn’t get to cover–our amazing women’s gatherings at church, getting to go to some of the All Star Festivities at Great American Ball Park not to mention what all is on the horizon this fall–including finishing those home renovations. What a summer we had! Clearly we need to get together more than once every 4-5 months!  Cheers sweet friend–let’s do this again soon!

Would love to know if we WERE sitting down for coffee what you’d like to know about our trip. I plan on a series of posts (coffee dates) going into more details, so let me know what you wanna hear about! 

Weekend Update

This past weekend I ventured to Cary, NC with my friends Kelly, Chris and Cher to visit our friends, Fred and Jen, who recently relocated there. Although it was a super quick trip, here are a few highlights:

– Leaving Lexington at 9:30pm on Friday night for an 8 hour drive
– Me driving the Tahoe through the Mountains
– Chris somehow “missing” his driving turn on the way down
-Great drive time convos with the crew
– Realizing we were going to end up at my aunts house in NC (who offered a place to nap and shower) at 4am
-Pulling in to Waffle Hizzy at 3am to “stall”.
-Laughing so hard at waffle house, I thought we were going to be asked to leave (or thrown waffles at)
-Pulling in to my aunts house at 5:45 am–thankfully uncle Tony was going out for a run at 5:50
-Visiting Anathoth, the community garden out of my Aunt’s Church, Cedar Grove United Methodist Church
– Spending quality time with Fred, Jen, Addy, and Colston (ps–Addy is my soul sister…)
-AMAZING weather–no kidding, it was 69 on Saturday!
-GREAT Food!!! Sweet Tomatoes, The Loop Pizza Grill, Lucky 32, and CARIBOU COFFEE!!!
Connections–such a great community. No Fred, we don’t think you guys are crazy. 🙂
-Watching “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” on the way home and Kelly and I quoting it from the front.
-Car Dancing
-Meeting my mom for dinner on the way home (YAY!)
-SLEEP (that actually happened on the return to Lex) 🙂

Needless to say, I’m already thinking of when I can go back. I absolutely loved Cary and Connections–such a great fit for the Turners. The girls were in mourning on Sunday (all in black–imagine that), but we couldn’t be more happy for Fred and Jen and the amazing community that already realizes what gems they’ve received.