Meet Miss Caroline Thornberry White. Caroline and I met this past year through SMU Young Life Leader Training and have become fast friends. In fact, Caroline has become the unofficial 4th roommate over here at Casa Bonita. We have spent countless hours together watching musicals, eating at Panera (she used to be an employee there), just chatting about life, and getting excited about the Bible Study I get to lead with her and her friends. I love Caroline's honesty and desire to be where God wants her to be and who He wants her to be. She is so much fun to be around, an extremely loyal friend, was the cutest AARO Leader, and is a great pen pal. Caroline loves all things Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines, her family, Chi Omega, Charlotte York Goldenblatt, headbands, needlepoint, and her home state of Kentucky...
When I tell people at SMU that I'm from Kentucky they immediately associate my beloved home state with two things: The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Fried Chicken. While I love any excuse to wear a big and beautiful Derby hat and although KFC's new grilled chicken is one of my fast food faves (and yes, I have been to the original restaurant and now museum in Corbin, KY), Kentucky has so much more to offer.
Since being away for college this year and starting a brand new world at SMU I've been able to return home this summer and appreciate just how wonderful this state truly is. I'm from Lexington, the second largest city in Kentucky located in the central part of the state. We're home to the famous University of Kentucky Wildcats, 2 of the 5 Backstreet Boys, the bluegrass region (and bluegrass music), Keeneland Racetrack, breathtakingly beautiful horse farms, cool summer nights, and the best darn homegrown tomatoes I've ever had.
Situated at the very top of the South, I've been raised in the world of SEC sports and you bet I bleed blue for the best team in the conference (sorry, Erin). People have pointed out that Kentucky is unfortunately without any major professional sports teams and I confidently reply that we don't need them-- we over-compensate with UK basketball. Enough said. And while I love all of the entertainment the city provides, the best thing to come home to is the natural beauty of this region. Rolling hills covered in grass so green it could be blue, lined with dozens and dozens of lush and leafy blue ash and bur oak trees, all perfectly spread out under the bright and sunny Kentucky sky.
I've traveled to Europe, Central and South America, out West, up North, and all down South and I've never seen such a simple picture of God's good Earth like there is only minutes from my house. When I'm having one of those days where I just can't find the Lord, my favorite thing to do is get in my old, beat up 1999 Nixan Maxima and just drive those old country roads. Sandwiched between nothing but God's creation on my left and right I'm always sure to find Him there, shining so bright. There's nothing like it. And just when I don't think it could get any better I drive up on a scene of beautiful brown thoroughbreds grazing together on this already perfect picture. And that's why I love coming home. In the loud, busy, unstoppable city of Dallas where tranquility and simplicity cannot be found anywhere, coming back home to this gorgeous place always is so refreshing.
The state song of Kentucky, "My Old Kentucky Home", always sung after the National Anthem at any and every event resonates louder with me now than ever before. One of our greatest, Albert "Happy" Chandler, once said, "I've never met a Kentuckian who wasn't comin' home." No matter where, home is always just so good.
"My Old Kentucky Home"
The sun shines bright in My Old Kentucky Home,
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by hard times comes a knocking at the door,
Then My Old Kentucky Home, good night!
Weep no more my lady
Oh weep no more today;
We will sing one song
For My Old Kentucky Home
For My Old Kentucky Home, far away