About

ALW-ChildWords have long been my lifeblood, and I have thirty years of experience in all aspects of the publishing world, from research to writing, editing to production. Today I counsel writers of all skill and confidence levels on the issues of craft, creativity, and publication. I believe it is the sharing of our stories that saves us: as individuals, as families, as fellow pilgrims, as corporate entities. Toward that end, I write my own story–grief over the death of my father, the first love of my life; marriage at age forty, to the second love of my life; caring for my widowed, elderly mother; battling a lousy self-image; searching for the Divine in the everyday–and lead writing workshops in which all voices are welcomed and respected. I am a certified Amherst Writers and Artists workshop facilitator.

I received my bachelor’s degree in English from Millsaps College and my master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi. In May 2007, I realized a dream–to study theology–and was graduated from Vanderbilt University Divinity School with a master’s degree in theological studies.

I’ve trained in creativity coaching with Eric Maisel, and am a trained spiritual director through the Haden Institute. In addition, I’m a certified SoulCollage® facilitator.

In 2013, I worked as an adjunct writing professor and writer-in-residence at the Earlham School of Religion, where I had been the writing fellow some ten years earlier. I’m the co-author of Y’All Come Over, You Be SweetBless Your Heart: Saving the World One Covered Dish at a Time (Thomas Nelson), as well as the bestselling Cooking with Friends (Rutledge Hill Press), and I compiled and wrote the introductions for Compassion: Thoughts on Cultivating a Good Heart, Forgiveness: Perspectives on Making Peace with Your Past, Hope: It’s More Than Wishful Thinking, and Anger: Minding Your Passion, published by Fresh Air Books. I have written the “Her Spirit” column and blog for Her Nashville magazine.

My essay “The Guts to Keep Going” aired on NPR’s “This I Believe” and is included in This I Believe II : Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women (Henry Holt, 2008). You can find the essay here.

OUT AND ABOUT

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking, teaching, and/or leading workshops at these venues, among others. If you’d like to talk about my working with your group or organization, please reach out through the Contact page. Presentations and workshops can be tailored to a variety of themes, such as aging, creativity, grief, personal history, and spirituality. I’d love to hear your stories.

NASHVILLE/MIDDLE TENNESSEE

  • Brentwood United Methodist Church
  • Contemplative Outreach of Middle Tennessee
  • Cumberland Village Retirement Community
  • Gilda’s Club
  • The Heritage at Brentwood
  • Holy Family Catholic Church
  • Older Adults Ministry Network
  • Porch Writer’s Collective
  • Private groups: Nashville and Chattanooga
  • Spiritual Friends Network of Middle Tennessee
  • St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel
  • St. George’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
  • St. Mary’s-Sewanee Retreat Center

FLORIDA

  • Christ Episcopal Church Ponte Vedra, Women’s Retreat
  • “Escape to Create” at Seaside

INDIANA

MISSISSIPPI

  • Lemuria Books
  • Private groups
  • Women Lawyers Association

NEW YORK

NORTH CAROLINA