Thanks Barnes & Noble, Germantown!


On Saturday, May 30, I was treated to a sweet and stress-free storytime signing at the Germantown Barnes & Noble in Memphis, Tennessee. The kids were fabulously well-behaved and they loved talking about animals of every shape and size. This was a great way to end the book launch and start a fun-filled summer with my family.

Thanks especially to Melinda, the superiorly talented storytime lady who welcomed me whole-heartedly into her terrain with unmatched kindness. Thanks also to the professional and personable staff members, as well as the community relations manager, Valerie Schranz. I greatly enjoyed my visit to your store.

Meet Missy Pricklesworth


Yesterday, my co-worker Nora brought her pet hedgehog to work with us for the day. Missy Pricklesworth was born February 27 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

I had never held a hedgehog, and I was really amazed by this fascinating little being. She wasn’t exactly what I would call “tame” because she frequently delivered warning hisses and preferred to curl up in a ball and hide under her safety blanket (a cozy green towel nestled inside a wicker basket that looked much like Dorothy’s ToTo basket from the Wizard of Oz).


Petting her felt a bit like rubbing a stiff horse brush, but the spikes weren’t super sharp as I imagined they’d be. Petting a cactus would be much worse. 

While she didn’t really like to be pet on her tummy, her underside was super soft. I thought she was the cutest when she rolled all the way up and showed only her nose. I related well to her — turned up nose and big, poufy fro that can be intimidating to strangers (smile).


Here’s a cute family photo of Nora with Jason (the sweet guy who gave Nora this incredibly, unique gift for her recent birthday).


She enjoyed crawling around in my lap and then settled in for a little snuggle. Once she relaxed, she really liked being held close and pet on her back. She also kept trying to crawl up my sleeves. I am in awe of the many different creatures on this planet, and I feel privileged to have spent a day working with a hedgehog. Another fabulous experience on my little journey.


For the record, hedgehogs are legal in the state of Mississippi but are illegal in many states. This hedgehog was purchased from a licensed breeder and is fully vaccinated and well-loved.

Share the Love


A friend introduced me to a happy little website:

It’s got tons of cute photos and videos of animals that just make me smile. Here’s one of my favorites (pulled from You Tube) – a Slow Loris shows us all that we just need to Share the Love. Enjoy! (HINT: You need to click the green hyperlink “Share the Love” to see the video.)

Emotional Eruptions at Barnes & Noble

I’ve finally got a minute to update the blog from our amazing trip home to Louisiana. Thanks for your patience.

The week proved to be equally exhausting and exhilarating. Exhausting in a good way — as it was the emotional journey (not the physical) that left me drained. I told a friend it was like experiencing an end-of-life flashback. I was carried back through all of the most meaningful moments of my childhood with each special friend I was blessed to see.


Here’s a photo of me with my First Grade teacher, Mrs. Evelyn Crotwell. She was one of the many people in my life who have inspired me with her grace and her goodness. I nearly named my daughter after her, as she represented everything I ever aspired to be . I certainly never expected her to show up at my signing, and she was one of many who brought tears to my eyes when she walked in the door. What a fabulous surprise!


I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and kindness my home state offered us throughout the week. The storytime reading proved to be quite chaotic — but that never bothers me. I love active, spunky kids. I just hope the parents weren’t disappointed that they all didn’t sit still and listen. I happen to prefer the ones who bounce off the walls. I relate well to them!

img_8785This signing was also special because my family members were able to attend. Here I am with my mother, who taught me to cherish both books and relationships. I am blessed to have plenty of both in my life.


My sweet in-laws even joined in the fun. Here I am with my dear dad-in-law, the infamous Bobby Cantrell.  While I never expected them to come, it meant the world to me to have them all there for the big day.


One of the funniest moments of the day happened before the reading. My Fourth Grade Sunday School teacher arrived, Mrs. Sarah Johnson. She brought a handmade Christmas ornament that I had made her when I was a kid, and she claimed she’s been hanging it on her tree ever since — how sweet is that?! When I asked if she was still teaching Sunday School, she said, “No. I loved it until the year I had a group of 7 boys. That Clint Cantrell (and the Hegwood boys — aka the preachers’ sons) did me in. They all but tied me up and killed me!” Little did she know that Clint Cantrell is now my much-adored brother-in-law! So loved, in fact, I inscribed his book with a special message: “To the one I should’ve married!” We never lack for laughter in our ridiculous family — that’s for sure! Thanks Mrs. Johnson for your kindness — and for remembering me after all these years. You were another bright light on my path!


My only regret from the exciting week was that we were so busy, I had very little time to visit with each of you. I really do hope the reunions will inspire us all to keep in better touch with one another. 

I also felt guilty that we sold out of books! But, I figure that’s a good problem to have. The manager was very happy and asked me to come back for a signing the Saturday before Christmas. SO — I hope to see you all again in December!!

Thank you all very much!! Merci beaucoup!


Thanks for the Smiles, Discovery Day!

 I was very excited to join the spirited preschool children at Discovery Day School in the Oxford University United Methodist Church on Wednesday, March 11. Here I am with two classes – roaring like lions!



Of course, they don’t always act like ldscf0505ions. Sometimes, they’re just sweet, cuddly little lambs. They taught me tons of new happy thoughts to keep away the scary dreams: Riding bikes without swallowing bugs; not falling out of a tree when you sleep; and letting your pet pterodactyl drive your monster trucks. Not bad for an on-the-spot assignment. Gotta love kids’ imaginations

BIG Thanks to Peas & Carrots!

BIG Thanks to all of you who came out for my very first book signing. The fun event was hosted by Peas & Carrots, a fabulous children’s boutique in Oxford, Ms.


I was shocked to look up at one point to see the line stretched out the door! I’m thrilled to report we sold more than 100 books in an hour!


Of course my favorite part of this whole adventure is interacting with the children. They never fail to deliver smiles – like the little boy who told me his daddy was smarter than his mama. (Yikes!)

I am truly humbled and extremely appreciative of the support I’ve received from this amazing community. I hope your families can enjoy snuggles and stories with these little books for years to come.


From the Cantrell Family –

Charles, Julie,                   Adam, and Emily