• 72°

GRAVES: Hello, Jessamine County

Many of you know me as Joan Noe, Jessamine County High School class of 1987.

A lot has changed since then.

Nicholasville reinvented itself, and not for the first time.

Remember when Nicholasville was classified as the fastest growing town? Or when city limits didn’t reach the Orchard? And how great was that first Jessamine Jamboree?

I don’t need a genealogy test to prove my life is rooted in Nicholasville. My memories accomplish that.

I now live in Winchester, but Nicholasville will always be the place I am from. It is what set me on this path.

Fifth grade at Brookside Elementary landed me in Ms. Horn’s English class.

We made a book of original poems as a Mother’s Day gift. We had to take our poems to her desk for approval.

I’ll never forget when she read mine and instructed the entire class to listen to it. I was mortified. I was certain my poem was about to be used as a what not to do.

Instead, she praised it and encouraged me to explore writing as a career. The moment was tattooed on my heart.

I dabbled in writing but didn’t actively pursue it until 2000.

In 2001, from a field of 23,000 entries, I was awarded honorable mention in the prestigious Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. My work has been featured in the national magazine, Celebrate Life.

I was a community correspondent and guest columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader and an online content provider for Associated Content and Yahoo.

I am a columnist for The Winchester Sun.  I’m thrilled to announce I am now a columnist for The Jessamine Journal.

Happily married with three sons and two stepsons, I tend to focus my writing on faith, family and disabilities.

My oldest son is on the autism spectrum, and my youngest is nonverbal with mitochondrial disease.

In addition to advocating for special education, my husband and I founded a support group for families with special needs kids.

I am excited and honored to bring my writing back to where it started.

Feel free to connect with me all over social media and my website www.TheJoanZone.com.

I’ll see you in the next one.

Joan Graves is a mother to five boys and an advocate and activist for children with special needs and their families. For more information, go to www.thejoanzone.com.