There’s so much ground to cover since I was here last. My last blog post was from May 6th. The day after Jon’s birthday.

Since then I went on tour with my friends, Emily White and Katie Dahl to Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, we drove and carpooled and sang songs and drank lots of coffee, went to the YMCA in Door County, laughed, talked, laughed and talked perhaps too much thus tiring our voices before we even got to the show, ate amazing food, had a flight of mimosas (a first), I saw a dear childhood friend, we walked in the beautiful weather of the Twin Cities through a garden by a lake and so much more.

I came home long enough to do my laundry, say hello to my family where we all went around the table and said our names and our astrological signs (no we didn’t) before packing it all up and heading down to Kerrville, Texas for the Kerrville Folk Festival and, specifically, the Grassy Hill New Folk competition. Which I did not win.

This year Emily Dunbar joined me at the festival and it was so fun. We danced in the dance pit, we drank lots of free beer, we had great, fascinating, beautifully unexpected conversations with new friends, took in all the music and folk stars everywhere in the most lovely Texas hill country weather I have yet to experience. You know what Texas loves? Texas loves them a songwriter, God Bless ‘em.

That first night arriving to camp was the best Welcome Home so far. Everywhere I went there was a friend to reconnect with. Everywhere I turned there were hugs and hellos and the sheer joy of being in the same place at the same time after months, years, perhaps exactly one year apart. What a gift.

And the gift was Kerrville, the campground, the festival ground, the music, Sparkle Joe, Rouse House New Folk Camp, The really big coffee pots, the sleeping in the tents and the showering in the shower house that has no roof, the gathering at the tree of sorrows after the competition had ended hoping they might call my name. It was the elements, the rocks underfoot, the song circles and late night walks through the camp listening for that siren song rising up through the dark and the quiet.

Photo by Jim Kam. This isn’t what I actually look like, but it’s my dreamscape version of what I look like. Thanks, Jim!!

Photo by Jim Kam. This isn’t what I actually look like, but it’s my dreamscape version of what I look like. Thanks, Jim!!

I did not win. I am okay. I decided to retire from the New Folk this year. The next time I go back to Kerrville will be in a strictly cheerleading/friendship capacity. Heck, maybe I’ll just play the festival and skip the contest altogether (bold statement).

I stayed for the song school. I left early because it was time to go home. I had the drive back through all that Texas to think about what I really want and how to get it. I want two records, I want to produce this concert series successfully, I want to do a kickstarter campaign, sell these tshirts, play with my Hope Dunbar Band, keep doing the Prompt Queens podcast and connect with people. I want to make the circle wider. I want to start the dreamers club, I want to take the plunge and start doing retreats both songwriter retreats and Bluestem retreats. I want to put together a Women in Music summit along with a mini-festival, I want to put together a women’s leadership summit. Not somewhere far far away, but right here.

There’s so much ground to cover- not just to tell you what’s up but also looking forward toward what I hope to accomplish. And I have you to thank. I think about you a lot when I consider what I’ve done and where the future leads. You’re there. You’re the inspiration behind so much of this.

When I was at song school I helped a guy write his first song. He’d never completed any of the pieces he had ever started in 30 years. You might say I decided he was going to write a song that day. It was the best. He wrote a great song. All I did was encourage him to keep going and help him shape ideas he already had in mind. Those are moments when I think of you. How you’ve encouraged me to keep going, how you’ve championed my work and heard me when I thought no one in the whole wide world was listening. You’ve bought my records, come to my shows, shared my events, encouraged your friends and family to come to my shows, you’ve watched my concertwindows, commented on my facebook videos, read this blog. You’ve taken the time to reach out to me with words of inspiration and love over and again.

So much ground to cover. So much more to do, but thankfully I’m not on my own. I’ve got you guys. You’re the engine, cue “Wind Beneath my Wings”, cue Vacation Bible School jingle, a couple of Prompt Queens songs, maybe a quesadilla, a goofy living room dance party and seeing every day as a friggin’ open invitation to really give it a go. Because isn’t there so much ground to cover?