Love letter to my daughter

cb 5

1,000 wishes I’ve wished for you.

1,000 more will I wish.

In my youth, I dreamed of someday having a daughter.

As your dad and I fell in love, I sat on his back porch telling him of my dreams.

He told me that he hoped that my daughter was his daughter too.

A story you’ve heard a million times, and a million more you’ll be told.

On October 21, 2003, we said hello.

Face to face for the first time.


Your precious hand around my finger.

Your head upon my chest.

The last baby that I would have.

I wanted to breathe in each moment and slow down time.

But time continues on, as it always does.



Each year the pages seeming to turn faster.

Moments savored.

But gone too quick.

summer tree

Each setting sun marking time.

And now you are 13.

A teenager.

Charting your course in history.


Choosing who you want to become.

Marching forward toward womanhood.

Beautiful inside and out.

I wish that heartache, death, or disappointment would never touch upon your life.

But, I know that it will.

And I pray that you become a stronger, more compassionate woman each time you taste the sting of sadness.


I pray that the world never makes you choose to sway from who you are.

That it will never dim your light.

That you will remember that God has a purpose for you.

One that only you can set in motion and fulfill.

summer palm

Strength, courage, compassion, kindness…

I hope that these traits continue to grow with each passing day.

I hope you are always surrounded by people who lift you up.

I hope you never lose your smile or the laughter that spills from your lips.

I hope your heart overflows with joy.

I hope you always remember that you are completely loved.

And as you make your way into the world

I hope your light shines brightly!



Let your light shine!











Time Travel Tuesday-On the cusp of 13


Big hair, sunshine, and bubble gum pink lips!

Today, I travel back to being 13.  Why?  Because this Friday, my youngest baby…my only girl, will turn 13.  I will officially become the mother of all teenagers. It feels like it is coming too fast.  I’m sure it would be here much to soon even if life wasn’t racing along. The past week has seemed especially busy.  I haven’t had time to process this coming moment.  I’m sure I’ll be talking about the magnitude of this milestone in future posts.

I look back and smile at my 13 year old self. I loved to be in front of the camera.  Now I prefer to be behind it. My favorite outdoor backdrop on our property was this palm tree.  I’d dress up in different outfits and “model” while my my mom took photos. To look at this photo, it may seem I was unhappy, but there are others from that set, and I definitely was not.  The click of the camera just happened to be before I was ready. The sun in my eyes and my smile on its way.  I distinctly remember that being some good hair. That was why I had my mom pull out the camera. I didn’t, and don’t, do early mornings. I did not give up sleep to fix my hair for school.  Do you know how much teasing and hairspray went in to getting my hair to look like that!  This was on a weekend when time held no sway over my life.

This was back before I could take 100 photos and pick the best one. Back when a selfie involved a mirror or hoping that you and your friend would actually get both your faces in the shot when you held the camera above your heads. Back when I took my roll of film down to the local drugstore and waited days to see how those moments would turn out.

A moment captured at the beginning of my teenage years…

When the world was full of possibilities.

There were dreams to be pursued.  A life well lived to chase. People to meet.  Memories to be made.

And I embark upon a circle of life moment when all of my children will have crossed this imaginary line into a new season.

Seeking their world of possibilities… their dreams…

Thanks for traveling back with me this week.  I hope your days of being 13 bring back some fond memories.  The teenage years were tough. I try to remember the moments that were good!

I’m off to pursue dreams and make memories… but first…laundry.

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

Let your light shine!











Time Travel Tuesday- Child of the 80’s


I love music.  Love, love, love, music.  My kids will tell you otherwise, but that’s because I can’t stand it playing from a phone speaker first thing in morning.  Ok, truth be told, I can’t stand much of anything in the morning.

We have satellite radio in our vehicles and I listen to all types of genres of music.  But recently I have spent a lot of time switching back and forth between 80’s and 90’s music.  I  was a child of the 80’s and a teen in the 90’s.  Music was always a part of our home.  I grew up going through my dad’s giant record collection finding songs that I like.  I learned to love Fleetwood Mac, Melanie, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel….the list goes on.  I can’t even begin to name the music that I was exposed to that had come from prior generations.

But I also liked the modern music of the day.  The 80’s and 90’s channels transport me back to moments in time from those days. Last night, I was driving home after dropping my daughter off at soccer practice when “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams came on the radio.  I was about 7 or 8 when the video for the song came out…way back when MTV played music videos.  We didn’t have cable way out where I lived (it was doubtful that we had standard electricity yet either).  When I would go stay with Jami, I wanted to try to see the music video for “Summer of ’69” and Madonna’s “Material Girl”.

Those songs transport me back to that moment of my youth.  Little snapshots of time.  It was there in that snapshot of time that Jami and I would find a piece of broken glass behind a stairwell. We would cut our finger, and press them together, to be forever bonded as “blood sisters”.  During the process we wondered why we felt it was necessary since we were already blood related.  It was also in that snapshot of time where Jami owned a pair of roller skates.

I got a brand new pair of roller skates

You got a brand new key

I digress… but if you don’t know what I’m talking about:

If we took turns using the skates, we couldn’t enjoy the fun together.  So we came up with a brilliant idea.  We would each wear 1 skate.  We became experts at gliding along on 1 skate…. turning, twirling, balancing on one foot.  We choreographed intricate routines in this 1 skate style, sometimes even including our batons.  We raced each other through the parking lot.  We were unstoppable forces. We envisioned that everyone would think our routines were works of art and come clamoring to seek our genius.

A snapshot in time when life was simple and laughter was never-ending.


Music has a way of transporting us through time.  Little points along the continuum.

What about you?  Do you have a song that takes you to a snapshot in time?

Let your light shine!




Thursday Doors- Hurricanes


Today my thoughts are with all of my family and friends in Florida. Hurricane Matthew is barreling their way.  As of right now it is a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds.  It is expected to strengthen some before it reaches Florida.  When I look at forecasted lines I see potentials for landfall from Palm Beach up through Vero Beach.  We moved to Virginia from a town right in between, Seawalls Point.  We have friends all along there, Stuart, and Jensen Beach.  We also lived in Okeechobee for 2 years before that.  We have friends there under warnings.  I am also concerned for those devastated by the storm in Haiti and those dealing with it in the Bahamas.

My Thursday door today (check out Norm 2.0 for other amazing doors) is from our home when we lived in Naples, Florida.  We had that home built in 1999 and moved in when I was 5 months pregnant with our first child.  We grew our family in that home until we left Naples in 2008.

The photo of the door was taken after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.  Wilma came ashore just south of Naples in Cape Romano with 120 mph winds.  Prior to that it had reached a Category 5. Wilma was the twenty-second storm, thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, fourth Category 5 hurricane, and second-most destructive hurricane of the 2005 season.

You can see all the dirt and debris that had blown against the home.  The hurricane codes had been increased after Andrew (which I lived in Naples for as well) so our house held up well.



I don’t have any magnificent photos that capture what it’s like when a band comes through.  These pine trees are native.  They are made to withstand the winds.  The air changes and becomes eerie and clear.  There is a palpable shift in the pressure and then the wind whooshes through the trees on one side of you and then continues outward and around until it is on the other side and then behind you.

I love this feeling.  It lifts my soul and makes me feel alive.  I don’t know if it is the Florida in my veins or some deeper ancestral feeling.  We have had one such storm with the palpable change and circular wind while I’ve lived in Virginia.  It was on a small scale so I just stood outside and breathed in home.  But hurricanes can also be devastating and scary.


While native plants can withstand most hurricanes, the pine tree in this photo did not.  That is because it stood alone.  In my desire to take out the least amount of trees necessary to build our home, I left this beautiful, tall specimen.  I also left the cypress tree that you can almost make out to the right.  The problem for this pine was that he took the entire brunt of the storm


I think we could all learn some lessons about the need for community and friendship right there.




For us the tree was the part we never imagined when riding out the storm.  I have been through plenty of tropical storms and hurricanes that have passed nearby (Charlie, Sandy…probably some others).  The realization that had the tree broke the other way and landed on the roof was a little overwhelming. This front window was my daughter’s room and the back corner was the boy’s room.  We decided in that moment that we wouldn’t ride out a strong hurricane again.




This is what my children remember about the storm.  That and that their dad made them some floating thing out of wood (I can’t remember this and am guessing it was just a piece of plywood).  They don’t remember any moment of being frightened (I don’t think they ever were).  They don’t remember the weeks of cleaning up the yard or replacing torn soffits and fascia.  They don’t remember the fence panel surrounding the water system that blew across the yard.  They don’t even remember that after three days of no electricity and water (we were on a well system, which requires electricity), I packed up the kids, my mom, and sister-in-law and went to our cabin in Georgia until the power came back (poor hubby had to go back to work, taking showers in our RV since it had a tank of water).

Floridians have been weathering storms for generations.  They are a resilient bunch, but they are deeply in my prayers today as I watch the news.  They are in my thoughts as I feel strangely surreal in a store that is not packed with people clamoring for bread and water.  Oddly out of place that the lines at the gas station haven’t increased.  I miss my home today and I hope it weathers well.

Boarded doors and window at Pelican Larry’s sports bar – October 2005

Let your light shine!






*all photos on this page are copyright of Amy Lyon Smith

Time Travel Tuesday – Blowin’ in the wind

summer and grandma (2)
Reva and her great-granddaughter (my girlie)

Part of having a family history includes moments when those you spent time with are no longer here.  Dates, places, sights, and smells…. all of these and so much more can trigger a memory that transports you back in time.

Today, October 4th, would have been my Grandma Reva’s 87th birthday.  She would always tell us that she was born in the month and year of The Great Crash.  The Depression would have an impact on her childhood, just as it did most others in America at the time. It would take her family from their life in Arizona to her father’s family farm in Kentucky, and then on to Charleston, SC for a time… but those are all stories for another day.

It’s been almost 3 years since she passed away.  Her passing came only months after I had moved from Florida to Virginia.  Time marked in spaces where I felt as though I was drowning.  Where her prayer for my contentment kept me striving to feel settled in a foreign land.  That prayer is one of the catalysts for my desire to embrace the here and now.  To live wholly in the present, to seek beauty in nature, and to once again spark a light that might shine into the world.

Today is a day when nostalgia  comes calling. I remember her giant earrings and crazy hats.  Her sweet smile and soothing voice.

A pair of her earrings that I wear when I feel like I need some of her sunshine

I remember her warm embrace and how I could never beat her at Yahtzee or Rummy.  I remember when she came to stay with us for a little while after her hip replacement in the winter of ’88-’89. I ended up with chicken pox and our pipes froze (if you know Florida, this just didn’t happen).  She always had an ear to lend and encouragement for anyone who came seeking.  When her hip replacements gave out later in life and her heart was too weak to survive any more replacements she got a motorized wheelchair/scooter, slapped a Harley-Davidson sticker on the back of the seat, and went about living.  She loved people and people loved her.

She had an infectious laugh and a big personality.  She spent a number of years volunteering for the Naples Players.  She always said she had done every job except act on stage.  She actually did act in some videos that were used for training nurses at the hospital.  It was during her time there that she became friends with a woman who would later move to Kissimmee and work at Disney World making costumes.  This was sometime in the 80’s and this friend either got so many free passes or discounted passes a year (I was a child, so I don’t know the exactness) and invited us up to Disney. My mother, grandmother, brother, my dad’s sister Jami, and I went.

We had a great time and a great many tales, but my favorite comes at the end of the trip.  We were heading home that morning.  My grandma had washed her underwear and they weren’t quite dry, but it was time to get on the road.  She decided that she was going to hang them out of the car, secured by the closed window.  I’m sure I was mortified, but at some point you move beyond that and think that this is the most hilarious thing ever.  Everything you have ever heard or seen called white granny panties….well this was them.  To my child self, they seemed huge (and may well have been).

We were driving along in her little blue Toyota station wagon. My mom was at the wheel, my grandma as a passenger, and us three children in the back seat.  As we would accelerate, the underwear would lift and flap along in the breeze, like a white flag of surrender.  Then we would come to a stop light and they would flutter down and smack against the window.  People would stare from their cars while we were dissolving in fits of laughter in the back seat.  My grandma didn’t even think it was hilarious, only a practical solution to her problem.  I’m sure she joined in laughing because that’s who she was, always happy. So we traveled along, raising and lowering this panty flag throughout Orlando.  We stopped for gas and she decided they were probably dry.  She was correct, but they were also covered in filth from smacking the car.  That was just too much!  We laughed about it for the rest of the day and each time we remembered it for the next 30 years.

When I started this post in my mind yesterday, I wondered whether I’d include this story.  Could my words convey the hilarity of the actual experience?  I went out to run some errands and was behind an older SUV with a little black flag flapping along on each side.  As I passed, I realized it was not little black flags flapping.  It was a black sock, one on each side of the vehicle, secured in place by the closed windows.  Something I had never seen since my own childhood experience.

I smiled and thought “at least the dirt won’t show up!”🙂

Let your light shine!





Thursday Doors – Rescue

Processed with Snapseed.

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently ended up getting a new laptop.  I haven’t transferred my old photos and the recent ones are sorely lacking in doors. Today, I was determined to find a photo to participate in Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0 (you can pop over and click the blue link to check out other amazing doors).

Low and behold, I found a photo of a door on my phone (which is only there because I actually backed up my old phone and put all the information on the new phone.  WooHoo!)

This was from our summer vacation to Carolina Beach, North Carolina. This door is on the alley between the two main shopping walkways that run parallel to the wooden boardwalk.  The Carolina Beach Fire Department takes care of fires, medical responses, and the Ocean Rescue Life Guard Program. There are 20 lifeguard stands spread across approximately 3 miles of shoreline. The lifeguard season runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.  During the season, they are there at 10:00 AM every day of the week and stay until 4:45 PM Monday through Thursday and until 6:45 PM on Friday through Sunday.

I need the sea because it teaches me – Pablo Neruda

I have three kids who love surfing, skim boarding, and boogie boarding, along with everything else the ocean has to offer.  Given the fact that injuries can happen and also that the ocean is filled with animals who can be unpleasant, I appreciate the fact that this door exists.

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf – Jon Kabat-Zan

I hope to never need lifeguard services, but have peace of mind knowing that they are there!

Let your light shine!



Time Travel Tuesday

Some of you have asked more about the historical quest I’m taking with my DNA testing and genealogy research.  If your wondering what in the world I’m talking about, you can check out this post, where I got back my DNA results.

I took my DNA test through (disclosure: this is not a sponsored, paid for, whatever…post).  I used them because my mother has a membership through them for her genealogy research and had taken the test through them.  From the date I ordered the test until I received my results was 6-7 weeks. They ship you the test, which must be activated with the special number.  I hadn’t asked my mother what type of test it was.  Be prepared that this isn’t a swab your cheek test.  It is a saliva in a tube test.  I’m just gonna leave that right there and move on.  You send it back in a pre-paid box.  They send you an email when they receive it and then the wait begins.  It really does take between 6-8 weeks before that email pops into your inbox saying that your results are in.

You should know that your ethnicity estimates are unique to you. Because there is randomness in the nature of genetic inheritance, they can differ.  I would guess that they are still pretty similar, but I am not a geneticist, so don’t take my word for it.  You also have a list of DNA matches.  These are people who have also taken the test through and share DNA with you.  It lists how many are 4th cousin or closer (in my case, the number is now at 460.  My husband is at 693!)  A 4th cousin is pretty far removed, but can still help with the tracing of genealogy.  It breaks those down into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins.  These are estimates based on the DNA, but I’ve found them to be pretty accurate.  They also list the confidence levels at: extremely high, very high, high, good, and moderate.  There are also distant cousins, if you have the time to go through them all, (my page totals are 326- 9.5 pages are 4th cousin or closer).  I find them helpful when I am searching my matches by surname or birth location.

I wanted to be able to research my family tree so I joined to have access to the historical records.  I’m not sure if it’s just through the membership or if all DNA test takers have access, but they have this amazing thing called DNA circles. These are created around an ancestor in your tree that shows who shares DNA with each other and is related to this ancestor.  Not everyone in the circle with share DNA with each other, but they share enough DNA with enough other members to be confident that they are indeed related to this ancestor.  They also will show you potential ancestors who are not in your tree based on the fact that you share DNA with enough members that there is a 70% likelihood you are related to said ancestor.

This has been a great jumping off point in seeing if I am related to the person.  For example, I recently had one show up and when it said he died in Airdrie, Scotland I knew which side of the family I was seeking.  My great-great grandparents were married in Airdrie.  As I dug around, I discovered that his grandmother and my great-great-GREAT grandmother were sisters!

I am finding out many amazing tales along the way.  I’m hoping to be able to share them here as I travel backwards (and sometimes sideways) through time.  I tried to cover the process, but if you have any questions about it you can comment below or shoot me an email at

Let your light shine!