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Gray Hair Journey 

Hello, NashWest Besties. In February, my new single, “Unbecoming” will be dropping on all streaming platforms. In harmony with the theme of this gorgeous song about letting loose of what no longer is serving you best, my blog post today is about the 3 year process of letting my hair grow out to its natural gray. 

 

Ya’ll, I was knocking on the door to 50 in 2018 and my hair was becoming almost black with all the boxed “Dark Ash Brown” color from Walmart that would have to be slathered on every 2 weeks to cover the emerging gray. Towels were ruined, pillow cases and bathroom counters stained with my attempts to thwart nature. My persistence in chemical coloring left my hair brittle and I had concerns about how this smelly potion was affecting my health.

 

I made the good decision to stop the madness and stop coloring quickly followed by the bad decision to make this private matter public by announcing it on social media. I guess I was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to chicken out if everyone knew what I was up to but instead, I added an extra layer of pressure which was needless. There were several nights that I would startle awake and think, “Damn! I could’ve  bought a few more brown hair years, but no, I had to announce my decline to silver decrepitude.”

 

Social pressure is the main reason women are leery of their own hair follicles. From the annoying hair on our legs, our arms, embarrassingly on our upper lip and other sundry private bits, hair is something we shave off, cut into trendy shapes, straighten, curl and color. No man must ever know we went through puberty or even worse, menopause. How dare we get older. How dare we give the impression that we’ve given up and let ourselves go. 

 

Making a decision to accept a natural part of yourself is not “letting yourself go.” That’s true for your emotions, your body weight and every other aspect of your life. Am I an “all natural” advocate? Big nope. I’m for you doing what makes you feel like you without apology. I’m for all of us, men and women alike, to joyfully live in a way that honors our dreams and goals independently of the opinions of others. 

 

My gray hair journey was supported by some dear friends which was appreciated because the first few months are the worst especially when you go from black hair to gray and even more so when you have long hair. There is a definite Bride of Frankenstein aesthetic happening. I found a special spray that painted my roots brown for about a year. I also found a talented friend to lighten the rest of my hair. Thank goodness that when I was on tour, I performed with one of my fabulous Montana Rio flat brim hats to act as a crown to disguise a multitude of bad hair days. 

 

Does gray hair make me look older? Yes. That’s just the truth. You’ll look older with gray hair. Do I get compliments everywhere I go about my hair color? Yes! Men and women of all ages remind me daily that my hair is kinda cool which is kinda nice. I had one young lady ask how I got my hair color. I said, “Lots of birthdays and God.” Healthy hair is such a lovely luxury. One of my sponsors is Espana Silk Hair and Grooming Products and I’m devoted to the versatility and integrity of these products. Google them. You’ll thank me.

 

I loved the 3 year transition from brown hair to gray. Those years took me from a very unhappy marriage to a very happy one. Those years took me, one inch at a time, from a place of meeting other people's expectations to finding what it is to authentically accept myself, flaws and all. Ya’ll, when you hear my new single, “Unbecoming”, you’ll understand why I knew this song was so special. I can hardly wait!!

 

Peace, Love and Spurs..

Rock On, NashWest Guys and Girls!

 

Love, MK

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

 

 

 

 

Anita  

Hello, NashWest Besties. Bear Lace Cottage is the name of Anita Crane’s historic home in the ski resort town of Park City, Utah. If a home can be the manifestation of a person, then Anita’s abode is a gracious and feminine monument to the jewel of a woman who lives under its snow covered roof. Don’t be fooled by the vintage lace and down comforter beds, Anita has more cowgirl grit than most women can ever claim. Almost 82 years old, Anita drives a big Ford truck that’s required for not only mountain roads but for the adventures that percolate in Anita’s creative mind.

I met Anita when she was 70 years old and just starting photography. I was 42, the mother of 10 wonderful children and venturing out into the wider world with my guitar and a pocketful of songs. I think she and I recognized we had kindred spirits right away. I think our first official photo shoot was in a cow pasture but the list gets even more interesting and diverse from there. There was a shoot in Texas on a dirt road, several cool shoots for our friend and owner of All Out Western, Becky Hougard, and a quick photo shoot in the snow that became my Cowboy Christmas Album cover.

Anita is very patient with me. I get a certain vision for what I want and she works hard to help me realize that vision. For my album, “No Wilder Place” I wanted to shoot at a remote location in Utah known as Ghost Rock which is a steep and dramatic overlook that highlights the ancient layers of rock that create the colors of Southern Utah color country. We wanted a sunrise shot. We woke up late. I cussed as I pushed the speed on my minivan up to 100 mph to try to beat the sun. Poor Anita and my friend, Valerie Beal, cowered and made sure their seat belts were secure. 

Part of my manic plan was to take a mini trampoline out to the cliff edge to catch a shot of me jumping with my guitar. There’s all sorts of ways this photo shoot could’ve gone sideways. Anita is in her 70’s and crawling up and down rocks with expensive gear. Valerie is also in peril holding the reflector and I am taking needless risk with my guitar, my hat and my life as I jump for my art, dammit. 

Thousands of photographs and adventures later, Anita is 81 and I’m 52. Life has handed both of us a full helping of change. Anita lost the love of her life and after I went through a divorce, I found the love of my life. Age hasn’t diminished our desire to create beauty, to mother our families and to maintain our friendship and creative collaborations despite the distance from Utah to Tennessee.

Change invites reflection and this season of reflection I’ve been experiencing here in my new home in Nashville led me to hearing the song, “Unbecoming” written by two stellar female songwriters, Helene Cronin and Andrea Renfree. Not only did I hear the song, I saw the song. I saw the water and I felt the ripples the message of this song will make in the hearts of the listeners.

On my last trip to Utah, Anita and I loaded up her big Ford truck with gear and towels. We drove out to an irrigation pond near a popular walking path. I ventured out into the frigid water in one of Anita’s dresses, decked out in the crown jewels of the West, turquoise. Anita was on the shore laughing and trying not to drop her camera in the muck. I got my hair wet and tried to look like a dignified beauty in her 50’s who happened to be in the water with full makeup on. Nice people passing on their morning walk stopped to make polite conversation with us while my teeth chattered and I tried to not feel stupid and wondered if the dress was see-through. It was.

As I finally start sharing the artwork for the song, Unbecoming, I feel so grateful to Anita for helping me bring the vision I had to reality. The song stirs my soul and I wanted the artwork to look the way the song makes me feel. The song makes me feel brave and seen. Brave, because the process of bringing this song into the catalog of my work has broadened my art. Seen, because the song saw my soul, said what was hard for me to say and then found its way to me. I hope it finds its way to you.

By the way, you can contact Anita for photography work. She would love to hear from you! Her email is anitabearlace@gmail.com

Peace, Love and Spurs..

Rock On, NashWest Guys and Girls!

Love, MK

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Stripping Back 

Hello, NashWest Besties. I have a brand new single that will be released near Valentine's Day 2024. The song is called “Unbecoming” and it’s different from anything you’ve ever heard from me before. I’m a little nervous but I’m also incredibly excited for this song to make its journey to your life and your heart.

 

One of the most powerful lyrics of the song is, “Beauty lies in stripping back to who I really am.” All of the merch and artwork for this single is centered on this truth. What does it mean to strip back to who we really are? Don’t think of the word “strip” as in “strip off the band-aid.” A more accurate image of the process of stripping back to who we really are is to think of yourself at the end of an incredibly busy day. You’re tired to the bone. You’ve fulfilled your responsibilities. You’ve fought the good fight. Now imagine the feeling of stripping off your work clothes. The boots pulled off, the jeans drop, next the sweaty shirt and best of all, those damp socks get tossed. Ahhhh! The best feeling ever.

 

With this feeling in mind, think about the word, “unbecoming” and how refreshing and valuable it is to have moments or even seasons of our life that we can take off the labels and roles we play like clothes being set aside at the end of the day. Shoes that once fit, like jobs we once loved, can become too tight or even painful. Sometimes we sadly realize that we never liked that dress and would prefer Q-Baby Wranglers. Our closet of life experiences should be filled with what we love, not what others think we should love.

 

We all know that section of our closet with the cute jeans that haven’t fit in years, the purse you love but know your friend will love even more and the shoes that were only cute 20 years ago. Our lives can become just as cluttered with regrets, toxic relationships and guilt over not doing or being enough. “Stripping back to who I really am” is to compassionately curate what we allow into our lives and into our space. 

 

“Unbecoming” is a song that I feel very proud to have recorded and to share with you on Valentine’s Day. Until that day, I look forward to sharing even more as we build up to this very special release day!

 

Peace, Love and Spurs..

Rock On, NashWest Guys and Girls!

 

Love, MK

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Open the Door 

Hello, NashWest Guys and Girls! When life closes a door, open it again. That’s how doors work. Unless you’re two years old and those weird child proof plastic twirly things are on the knob, you can always open a door you want to go through.

 

What are the doors you think are closed? Age? Opportunity? Romantic Love? Health? If you woke up this morning, I’m pretty sure you have the ability to open any door you choose, but here’s the important thing to remember…do you really want to? 

 

I’m in my 50’s and would love to look like Jennifer Lopez but, honey, that’s a door that I don’t really want to open. I like working out, but I also really like donuts. My door to health is different than her door. My door is that automatic door that swooshes open and lands me in the bakery department. That’s OK. I’ll take my dog, Sam, out for a walk today and get some steps in.

 

What about that door that you feel closing on your life as you age? You know, you can hear it creaking closed as you think about your youthful dreams and goals. Ya’ll, no one cares how old you are if you write a great song, or start an incredible new business or fall in love again in your 70’s. 

 

Let’s stop talking about God opening windows when doors close. No more crawling through windows like a teen who’s late for curfew. God makes lots and lots of doors that open and close all the time. In fact, I hear He knocks at certain doors which is super helpful when trying to figure out which door to go through. 

 

You got this, ya’ll! I’m right here in Birdsong, doing my darndest to open doors and live my best life right here on the trail beside you!

 

Peace, Love and Spurs…

Rock on, NashWest Guys and Girls!

 

MK 

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

 

Nice Girl Syndrome 

Dear NashWest Besties, When you say “yes” to others, make sure you are not saying “no” to yourself. If you’re like me, you have “Nice Girl Syndrome.” This mindset leads to smiling when you should be flipping someone off, saying “I’m sorry” when there’s nothing to be sorry for, and over-committing ourselves to be accepted and liked. 

 

You have permission to not smile all the time. You have permission to assertively say brilliant things without apology. You have permission to wear a stunning outfit. You have permission to not ask permission. You have permission to clearly ask for what you need without expecting your loved ones to guess what you need. You have permission to say “no”. 

 

My friend, Brian, once said that when we have a thought, we should let it run around the round pen a bit before we open the gate and say it. This is good advice. Thank you, Brian. This is especially  good advice to all of us overcoming “Nice Girl Syndrome”. Our conditioned, automatic “yes” response needs to buck and snort in the round pen a bit before being let out the gate. Our time and talent is worth taking time to carefully consider. 

 

Say “yes” to yourself, your mental and spiritual health. Say “yes” to resting and to going on a walk in the Fall leaves. Say “yes” to cleaning out your closet and making homemade chicken and dumpling soup. Say “yes” to all of the beautiful gifts that fill you up with joy.  

 

Peace, Love, Spurs

Rock On, Hippie Cowgirls!

 

…and NashWest Besties

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Advance! 

Dear NashWest Besties, 

 

The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. So, advance! You may have so many bumps in the road that your teeth rattle, but the only way over washboard gravel is to go over it as fast as you safely can. Have fun flying low and...advance! 

 

Gas up along the way with a good night’s rest in freshly washed sheets, a healthy meal and a phone call to a friend, then wake up the next day and advance! God is best able to give us a boost when we are already forwardly moving, so advance! 

 

You may feel like an unregistered, beat up ranch rig held together by twine and mud, but this is the vehicle you’ve got, darlin’, so climb in every day, grit your teeth and advance! Make the phone call, write the letter, raise the ruckus, be the Karen. 

 

Cash advance, apology in advance, advance on the enemy, get off your ass and advance! 

 

Peace, Love, Spurs

Rock On, Hippie Cowgirls!

 

…and NashWest Besties

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

 

Be Quirky, Not Tacky 

Hello, NashWest Besties! Do you feel invisible? Do you feel like you don’t really know what you want? Do you feel like there’s not enough time, resources or caffeine to get through each day?

 

Put your shoulders back and let’s talk about it. First of all, society values youth but remember how exhausting youth was? Ughh!  No thanks. Experience and steadiness are qualities to celebrate. Our value is an internal job. We put the price tag on ourselves. If you’ve been walking around like a Dollar Tree item, then you are not understanding that you are a Gucci, baby!  

 

Here are some actionable ideas to feel seen, find out what you want and have enough time to do it. 

 

1. Lean into being quirky. Not so much that you cross over into tacky, but quirky. Quirky is seen and appreciated. Quirky is interesting new glasses, bigger jewelry, calling the checker “Darling” and wearing Converse tennis shoes. Tacky is socks with sandals and not wearing a bra. You get the idea. 

 

2. The best way to know what you really want is to let go of the things you know you should want but know deep inside you don’t really, really want. For example, I should want to be Jennifer Lopez thin but what I really want is to enjoy food and be healthy. Flush all the things you should want and forgive yourself for just really wanting simple things, like a business you do at home in your pajamas or traveling with your friends or buying the horse you’ve always dreamed of. 

 

3. Pretend for just a moment that time and money are not real and that your happiness and wealth are based only on creating value for yourself and others. Pretend that calling a sick friend and walking the dog are as much a part of wealth as selling a product, writing a hit song or getting a raise at work. Less watching TV, more adding value. Less feeling unappreciated, more adding value. Less believing we have nothing to offer, more adding value. Adding value adds joy, resources, and energy for everything God puts on our hearts to do. 

 

Peace, Love, Spurs

Rock On, Hippie Cowgirls!

 

…and NashWest Besties

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Everything is Figure-Out-Able  

Hello, NashWest Besties! Everything is figure-out-able. In one of my songs called “The Ride” there are the lyrics, “between me, God and you…we’ll make it through.” I believe this and I live it. Sometimes I throw a hissy fit first, but I settle into the situation and have seen the miracle over and over…the miracle of my will and God’s grace looking a challenge right in the eye and finding a way through it, over it or around it.

 

Dry your eyes, blow your nose, hold your head up, roll your shoulders back from your posture of despair. Take deep long breaths and manage your mouth into a smile. Imagine God’s grace and love like a blanket being placed on you. Feel the weight and warmth of that power. In this place, your mind will receive the information you need. In this place of grace, you will even see beyond your challenges into the needs of others. Return to this place as often as you need. The mercy is always there.

 

Since moving to Nashville from Utah, marrying Gary Holt, and once again living near my parents, I find myself remembering my childhood more vividly than I ever have before. I also will have very powerful memories of my children when they were young. I recall smells, sounds, and precious moments that fill me with gratitude. At every good moment, at every challenge, at every crossroad, at every mistake, God has been there like the steady beat of the bass in a song. The melody of your life is being played every day over this steady rhythm of grace.

 

Lean into the melody of your life without fear, knowing that things will break, you’re going to do stupid selfish things, your bills will get paid, you don’t need to do everything and be everything, you can just BE. When things go wrong, don’t go with them! Everything is figure-out-able! I’ll wrap this up with another lyric from my song, “The Golden Thread”....”there is no place you can fall from my grace.” 

 

Peace, Love, Spurs

Rock On, Hippie Cowgirls!


 

…and NashWest Besties

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Ding my Southern Belle  

Hello, NashWest Besties. I’ll always be a Hippie Cowgirl but am finding a need to pivot my posts to include my new life in Nashville which means you'll hear the ding of my Southern Belle every once in a while. Are ya’ll gonna be OK with that? I hope so, because a whole new world has opened up to me as an artist since making the move from Escalante, Utah to Nashville, Tennessee and I'm feeling my way forward. Here are some things that I want to share with you.

As many of you know, my husband, Gary Holt, is an award-winning radio host and he's roped me into co-hosting a show with him called, "Live From Nashville." I love it! We interview singer/songwriters and share interesting stories. Our show airs every Saturday at noon CST on equestrianlegacy.net

To my Utah friends and family...I have two big performances scheduled in Utah this Summer on May 27th in Escalante for Wild Potato Festival and July 15th in Salt Lake City for the Excellence Concert Series.

New items are added daily to my Ebay store, Nash West Threads. I have over 350 hand-picked pieces and more are added on the daily. Oh, how I love quality clothes and good deals! Feel free to shop my store anytime! 

Two of my best friends in Nashville are award-winning western singer/songwriters, Micki Fuhrman and Tecia McKenna. We are teaming up for some special performances as a girl super-group called Gone with the West. 

Gary and I are hosting our first NashWest Adventure on October 6,7 and 8th at Palo Duro Canyon in Texas for a horseback adventure and chuck wagon dinner and concert with me and Tecia McKenna. Space is limited to 18 people and deposits are due soon. This event is open to men, women and couples. No need to trailer your horse in. Los Cedros Ranch will be outfitting us. 

On a personal note, Gary and I love when friends reach out to us when they come to Nashville. We've been able to go out for coffee or host many of you at Birdsong where Sam and Milo are always ready for visitors. 

Peace, Love, Spurs

Rock On, Hippie Cowgirls!

…and Nash West Besties

 

Sending love to my sponsors…

Anita Crane Photography

Espana Silk Grooming Products

All Out Western Ranch Wear

Montana Rio Buckaroo Hats

Did You Know?  

Hello, NashWest Besties. Lets get acquainted. Did you know I had three of my ten children at home? Did you know that I had ten children? Did you know that when you tell people in Utah that you have ten children they’re like, “Yeah, my mom had fifteen.” But when you tell people in Nashville that you had ten children they’re like, “Bless your heart, now let’s talk about the weather.”

 

Did you know I am a singer/songwriter and that almost every song I’ve written has been been written in bed? Did you know that of the four bedrooms of Birdsong, I’ve taken over three of them with my Nash West Threads EBay Store and that poor Gary has to play hide and seek to find out which one I’m in? This is a vintage Christian Dior scarf I just listed.

 

Did you know that no matter how busy I’ve been raising ten children I’ve always taken a night to do a mani pedi and that I am currently wearing blue glitter polish?  Did you know I can sew almost anything and once made a dress for an awards show out of curtains just like Scarlett? Did you know I love hosting parties and can cook food for a small army but refuse to follow recipes?

 

Did you know Gary talked me into co-hosting a radio show called Live From Nashville and that I’m not very good at it but am really loving the artists we interview? Did you know both Gary and I are good at singing and terrible at fixing things and that I seem nice but laugh when we fail at fixing things?

 

Did you know that I’m falling in love with Nashville? The people are so polite and there is always something to go see or do and although both Gary and I miss horses but I’m really enjoying not having hay down my shirt and in my pockets and hair.

 

And finally, did you know I talk too much after I have caffeine?

 

❤️MK