Child’s Play

I was more nervous than I thought I’d be when Loura McRae, the owner of All God’s Children Child Enrichment Center, asked me to speak about my job to a group of children. First of all, there was the age range; 5-10 year olds. How was I supposed to get a 5 year old excited about writing when she can only spell a couple words? How was I supposed to convince a 10 year old at summer camp that writing is fun, and this isn’t like school?

I thought back to my beginnings…the age old question I’m always asked, “Lorna, when did you start writing?”

“Always,” I answer, “I wrote before I even knew how to hold a pen.”

I realized I wasn’t going to convince these kids of anything. My original plan was to go in and have them co-write a story with me. I’d start them off, and we’d all add events until we had a finished product. Then I stopped and thought…that is just a writing activity. Yes, I’d be asking them to use their imaginations, but on something I prompted. It was an assignment. That would never inspire them; it would have been a task with a beginning and end, and would never linger once I left the room. It would be about something I asked them to do instead of something they discovered on their own. I had a real shot to introduce these kids to expresssion, and had to be careful not to make a lesson of it.

I started by asking them their likes and dislikes…movies, books, video games, activities, and showed them how without writers who chase the things that run through their heads to write them down, we wouldn’t have any of it. I then asked them what they know about some place they’d never been…another city or country, and opened their eyes to how writing, voice, opinion, and personality connects us to the things we haven’t even experienced.

I let them know writing has no limits at all, and it isn’tabout a pen and paper or computer. It is about creating and experiencing, and making it so other people can too. It is communicating humanity. It’s art. Writers give legs to the lame, vision to the blind, and music to the deaf.

All I knew to do was share my passion with them, and that’s what I did. I started telling them about blogging about a hot air balloon ride on a magical morning, and how the words came when I simply imagined myself there again, letting the experience speak for me. They started telling me things they had seen and felt, and what they’d been reminded of in certain experiences. They were so excited, and they were writing to me already!

I then read them an unpublished manuscript of mine based on a fairy hunt I created to stop a friend’s daughter from crying after a bee sting. I explained how a fairy tale was born from just reflecting on something that really happened. I could see little light bulbs flashing on in their eyes…they were thinking up things like this of their own.

When I passed out journals I’d made for them, they couldn’t wait to fill them with the stories and ideas that were starting to generate. They loved that it was not to turn in and no one had to ever see it. The younger children were excited to learn they could even draw their stories, or simply tell them to anyone who’ll listen.

These kids were fired up when I left, and the warm reception I experienced at All God’s Children was definitely soup for my writer’s soul. It gave me a chance to remember the early days when I was writing just to get it out, because something was that exciting to me. That’s how it should always be. Writing isn’t sentences, grammar, or impressing people. It’s making connections with anything and everything outside the words that become the sweetest deliverence. Just connections…that’s it…child’s play.

The smiling faces at All God's Children with their journals!  They even let me photo-bomb :)

The smiling faces at All God’s Children with their journals! They even let me photo-bomb 🙂

Stay tuned for one of these children’s stories to be featured on this August!

Also contact Loura McRae at 828-515-0661 for more information on child care! She’s awesome!

Playing Dress-UP

I changed the way I look at jewelry Monday night.  I didn’t learn anything about measurements, techniques, or jewelry biz lingo really.  I don’t remember the names of the gorgeous gems or stones I was tinkering with either.  I didn’t want to know those things.  However, when Asheville jewelry-maker, Nadine Fidelman invited me into her home, she taught me all I could ever hope to learn about why we choose to decorate ourselves the way we do.

At first glance jewelry is like looking out into a crowd of people.  There are a lot of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles all running together into rainbow overload.  The first thoughts are, ‘oh I see pretty things,’ and then we start searching for a focal point.  It is in that search that we realize we’re being pulled towards certain things and we start to examine why.  While I was zeroing in on a generally smooth black stone with a noticeable organic crack in the upper right corner I could overhear one of my side kicks talking about the jewelry.

“It’s not just beads, they’re individual pieces,” I heard my fellow playmate Kelly Allen offer.

At first I thought, ‘yeah, ok, there’s a lot of different jewelry here.  I can see that.’  Then I took a breath and thought about that word individual. I realized what she meant, and that I wasn’t just looking at the pieces, I was meeting them.  I went back to my black stone, noticing the gorgeous, crystal-esque inclusions the flaw revealed.  I was in love.  I thought of my own personality, how I like the rawness in life, and the beauty I find in truth.  I also believe in fighting like hell and collecting battle scars…I thought of how hard it is being a writer and how far I still had to go in the world of manuscripts.  I wanted that beautiful stone.  I had found my connection.

Lorna's Fave!

  Lorna’s Fave!




We moved the party to the carpet where  the impossible not love, Nadine plopped right down with us, kicking her shoes off ready to dig in.  She shared stories with us about where she had found inspiration for her work, and let her obvious passion for her trade seep out onto us.  We started tossing necklaces and bracelets around, trimming ourselves in the jewelry like we did our mothers’ as children.  We’d try a piece on in between sips of girly shelf white wine, and chat about what we’d chosen. I asked the other three girls what they thought of what they’d selected.

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Kelly, who had remarked earlier on the individualism, was drawn to stones she knew to have healing qualities.  As cancer survivor, officially in remission since January; she keeps her eyes peeled for items in nature than bode healing qualities.  Her journey with her sickness, and attention to wellness has brought her upon her choices in jewelry.  Out of those stones, one in particular jumped out at her.

“This one looks like a fishing lure,” she commented excitedly holding up the yellowish vertical stone,” like my Daddy used.”  She set it down smiling.  She had found her connection.

Whitney Thompson, a native Ashevillian piped up from the other side of the circle, holding up a gorgeous blue stone in a similar fashion. “This one reminded me of the sea,” she said.  “It’s like when you’re little.  I just wanted to take my flip-flops off.  When I saw it I wanted to go to the beach and run around.”

Whitney explaining what she loved about the peice whitpic
Whitney explaining what she loved about the piece 

Whitney’s stone actually provoked a childhood memory to surface, making her feel carefree again as she had in her most innocent years.  Whitney had found her connection.

The youngest of the group, Hannah, a 16-year-old, chose a piece unlike the rest of us, without a stone.  Her piece was raw, twisted sterling silver wired, manipulated by hand into an untamed yet simple set of earrings.  I chuckled thinking how the piece was like being a teenager, beautiful, unsure which direction it was going, and not as simple as it appeared to be.  They fit Hannah just perfectly, and hung daintily on her young ears.  She had made her connection.  I wonder if she knew…

Dainty Hannah

Dainty Hannah

While I was pondering this Whitney was perusing the backside of a necklace, “you know, their backs are just as pretty and detailed as their fronts.”

Nadine explained to the group how this is one of her trademarks.  I thought how much it made sense because there are different sides to women…many sides.  They are sometimes tucked away against our own skins for only us to enjoy and sometimes decided to be displayed so people can see our normally hidden sides.  Nadine told us she’d even been in public and saw her creation flipped over, showing them from the opposite sides.  What self-expression.

I learned something Monday night.  Jewelry isn’t just embellishment, it’s an embellishment of us.  Often times who we are is in the tiny details of the things we choose to let represent us.  We weren’t wearing jewelry, we were wearing little pieces of who we are.  I thought I was going to just play dress-up, and I did to an extent.  I just didn’t know I would be using Nadine’s art to dress up as myself.


If you want to make your connection with Jewelry by Nadine check out her collection at the Kress Emporium in downtown Asheville.

19 Patton Ave,  Asheville, NC 28801

If you’d love your own play date with Nadine call her 828-654-0993 or email her at





Have an interesting story?  Contact AskAsheville’s Lorna Hollifield at lornalh@gmail .com 828-280-1799


Find out more about Lorna’s writing journey at

She is helping Helpmate in Asheville NC

Meet Julie Tallman of Mary Kay in Asheville NC

The other day, while running around town, I stopped by this bagel shop to grab a quick bite. I was in “so busy” mode that I tried not to make eye contact with anyone so I could get in and out of there as quickly as possible and head to my next meeting. I ordered, paid, moved to the end of the shop and started tweeting on my smartphone. I semi-looked up for a moment and saw this lady with a bunch of items, putting them in pretty baskets, with a big smile on her face. I thought “who is that, what is she doing and what is that for?” Finally, after wondering several times in-between tweets, I walked over and asked. A warm welcome greeted me with an inspiring story to follow that made my day.  “Julie” was packing a bunch of Mary Kay cosmetics and beauty supplies for the ladies at Helpmate. She explained to me that it is a project where they match however much others donated at a recent event. I love to hear stuff like this!

We later talked via email and I learned a lot more about Julie, and her involvement with Helpmate of Asheville. Please read:

My name is Julie Tallman and I am an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay. What that means is I have a group of women and men (yes, MEN!) who have opened their own Mary Kay businesses who I train, coach and mentor as they build their businesses to be successful. For the past 9 years I worked at News 13 WLOS in Asheville – my last job there for 7 of those years was as a Marketing Specialist, which is “fancy speak” for I worked with clients to develop advertising campaigns. I started my Mary Kay business just over two years ago for some extra money and fun and it took off, eventually allowing me to quit my full-time job to pursue Mary Kay exclusively.

Mary Kay as a company is very focused on Social Responsibility and has a program called “Pink Changing Lives” as well as a charitable foundation that donates millions of dollars to two causes – cancers that affect women and domestic violence. When the company celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th with an attempt to break the World’s Record for the number of makeovers ever performed in one day, some of the area Mary Kay Directors decided to join in on the fun and to choose a worthy cause that aligned with our companies focus and mission of helping break the cycle of domestic violence. We held an event called a Beauty Bash with Benefits at the Biltmore Park Hilton where more than 80 women attended and received complimentary makeovers. We chose Helpmate as our non-profit to assist with fund and awareness raising:

For over 30 years, Helpmate has served as Buncombe County’s primary provider of crisis-level services designed specifically for – and offered exclusively to – victims of domestic violence and their children. Consultants donated 20% of their proceeds from the sale of their products the night of the March 8th event to Helpmate. Attendees were encouraged to purchase hand creams and “beauty break” gifts for the women at Helpmate as well, and when they did their consultant matched their donation with an equal product donation – the idea was to give women a token of our love and care and to allow those women going through so much to have something a little bit special. Between those two efforts, we were able to donate $410 in Cash and More than $800 in Product to Helpmate from our efforts the night of March 8th. When we arrived at the shelter we met with Ann Flynn, Acting Executive Director and Development Director at Helpmate. Several of the residents were in the shelter at the time of delivery and we were able to give them gifts at that time. The rest we handed over to the staff of the shelter to distribute as they saw fit. We are honored and humbled to work with Helpmate, who serve as a constant resource to women and children in situations of domestic violence through their shelter, their hotline and their counseling services. If any of your readers should like to also assist Helpmate or another favorite charity benefiting women or children we are offering a fun and easy way to give back.
The Mary Kay® Global Makeover Day launched this year’s Mary Kay® Global Makeover Contest. Participants in the United States have the chance to win one of 50 $5,000 grants to a charity of their choice that supports women and children and one $5,000 international vacation to the destination of their choice. To enter, participants must receive a personalized makeover from their Independent Beauty Consultant and submit their “before and after” picture with an entry form at between March 8 and May 10, 2013. Learn More About Mary Kay…
Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 2.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $3 billion in global annual wholesale sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world.
Thank you Julie for taking a moment to share the great things you are doing in the Asheville and WNC community!

Asheville Women, Hendersonville Women, All Women… Unite Here!

I constantly evaluate websites in the Western North Carolina area, and quickly fell in love with what Willow has done with her site targeted toward women, ladies, girls, etc. Women discuss many things on the site including everyday issues in womanhood, names for their kids, photos of their families, politics, kids events, and so much more. Such a really great women’s resource for Asheville, Hendersonville, WNC, and the whole world for that matter. If you are a Female, stop by and check out or just click HERE! Thanks.

Vote for Asheville company vying for $100,000 prize

Matter of fact, go to our friends over at AshVegas (yes, click the name) to see the details. If you have not been to the Asheville North Carolina AshVegas blog, you are missing a bunch. Stay updated on the local real peoples news! The Editor/Moderator Ash stays up with the community, networks, news, and lots of local AVL info, pics, and more. Keep them on your blogroll or rss feed with us. Let me take a quick pic of their homepage for you to see, and remember to vote for these Asheville Moms. Go directly to the article by clicking HERE.