Time Travel Tuesday – Blogging Reflection


As the end of the year approaches, I’ve done some reflecting in the little snippets of down time here and there.

I’m also a few weeks out from my one year blogiversary.

So my travel back in time this week isn’t into the distant past, it’s to the beginning of 2016.


You can find my very first post HERE


A year for transition.

A year to press outside comfort zones, a year to grow, and to a year to figure out who I was outside of motherhood.

I pressed, I grew, but I do not know if I’ve still figured out enough to give a solid answer to the third part of the above statement.


One of my goals for the coming year was to get a passport and use said passport.  The process has been started and I will be stepping out of comfort zones next year by embarking on new adventures.

I’m hoping to have more posts up this week and catch up on reading everyone else’s.  But should life get in the way, as it often does (especially with the kids on break!), I hope all of my readers have a Wonderful, Safe, and Happy New Year!!


Let your light shine!



Thursday Doors – Hotel Roanoke

If you viewed yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday, then you saw a sampling of some of the trees on display at the Hotel Roanoke.

I titled my post, Festival of Trees, because that is what I call it. Its actual name is Fashions for Evergreens.  Quite a “fashionable” name, don’t you think?  It is an annual fundraiser for the United Way of Roanoke Valley. It is in its 6th year and I’ve visited each of the 3 winters that I’ve lived here.

It is free to tour, raising money through people donating to vote for their favorite tree.

The Hotel Roanoke is a sight to behold, but decked out with lights and trees and garland makes it an even more magnificent beauty.


A hotel with this kind of history and amazing architecture is bound to have some beautiful doors.  Right?!  It did not disappoint.




I was there to admire the trees and spend an afternoon downtown with the hubby, but I still managed to find a few interiors doors that caught my eye.



Even the elevator had an old world feel.


As we were finishing up our stroll the oldest called and said he and a friend were heading downtown.  We invited them to meet us at the Wall Street Tavern for lunch.  I rounded up a few more photos upon our exit.



We enjoyed a nice lunch and they even joined us to enjoy the rooftop view from Center in the Square.  A rare treat for the mother of teenagers.


We parted ways and the hubby and I went to the Taubman Museum of Art.


On our way back to the car, we perused the City Market. I have been wanting to pick up a loaf of zucchini bread from the gentleman who sells it there and I couldn’t resist getting even more treats (chocolate ganache…mmm…).

It was a wonderful, mellow day in the busyness of the holiday season.

I hope you all have moments of mellow and lots of smiles and love as we march toward 2017.


Let your light shine!



For many other beautiful doors from around the world, visit Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0.

Time Travel Tuesday – The Christmas Nail



Most families have them.

Whether they show up in holidays, weddings, other celebration, or in the daily workings of life.

One of our family traditions was started when my children were very young.  In the process of adding ornaments to our Christmas tree, I stumbled across the Christmas Nail.  With Christmas being such a commercialized holiday, it was important for me to make sure that my children always remembered the reason that our family celebrated this holiday.

The Christmas Nail ornament is not meant to be seen by company.  It is placed deep inside the tree on a branch strong enough to hold its weight.

In our home, this is the first ornament placed on the tree.  It is the last ornament removed (I admit, every year, months later, I panic and think I may have forgotten to remove it from the hidden recesses in the haste of putting decorations away).  We stop and talk about why we are placing it on the tree.

It is a reminder that we are celebrating the birth of Christ.  And that his birth ultimately means his sacrifice.


As my children wait in eager anticipation of opening presents on Christmas morning, this ornament is a silent reminder of the reason we celebrate.  I’m hoping that instilled deep into the hearts of my three teenagers is an understanding of unconditional love and sacrifice.

As I prepare my home for the Holiday, I leave you with one of my favorite Christmas songs.


Let your light shine!



*all photos are copyright of Amy Lyon Smith


The Love of a Father


My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me. -Jim Valvano

Time seems to pass so quickly.

Only moments ago, I was little girl on your lap.

Your strong arms lifting me high into the air.

I stood atop your toes.

I hung like a monkey from your bicep.

Scrambled up your back.

Rode like a warrior princess, seated on your shoulders.



Your callused hand holding mine.

Teaching me the pride to be found in hard work.

Cultivating a “never give up” attitude in me.

Navigating your newfound role as father.

Steering, guiding, offering wisdom.


Even in those moments when teenhood came.

I was listening.





You picked me up through sadness.

You always helped me find what was truly in my heart.

You let me make my own decisions.

And own the consequences.



You brought laughter.

You poured out love.

Raised two children.

Papa to five.



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I can never convey all that you are.

All that you taught me to be.

I offer these simple words of love and thanks on your special day.

Happy 60th Birthday Dad!



I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom. -Umberto Eco

Let your light shine!







Time Travel Tuesday- Tales From Christmas Past

As we quickly approach Christmas, I thought we could travel back this week to the days approaching Christmas of 1983.

I had turned 6 years old a few months earlier.  I had sent my letter off to Santa.

Now the patient waiting began.

The countdown of days.

My mom had bought presents for my cousins.  I was enamored with what she had bought my cousin.  A Jordache Cheerleader Barbie.  Google it.  It was amazing.  The Jordache logo in red on the unitard.  Pom-Poms.  A megaphone. A booklet of cheers.  And a BATON!  Could it get any better?  I loved this Barbie.  I wanted it for myself.  Was there any way to let Santa know that this was THE Barbie that I wanted?

Fast forward some days and the presents from my parents are now under the tree.  I am feeling them all. Trying to guess what could be inside. Soft packages….clothes.  Nope, not what I’m looking for.  Then I come upon a rectangular package.  Hmm… this is Barbie size.  The top, bottom, and back are all solid.  The front is soft at just the right spot for the thin plastic front of a Barbie box.  But what kind of Barbie?  Is it possible that I too have a Jordache Barbie? How to tell?  How to know?

I try to peer under the tape line of the back.  I’m pretty confident that it’s a Barbie, but is it THE Barbie?

Maybe if I just accidentally press my thumb into the front of the package and accidentally poke a hole into the present.  That sometimes happens when another package gets set on one. Nobody would be any the wiser.  And I could end this gnawing curiosity.

Poke. Oops.  

Look at this little hole.  Let me peer under it.

Oh my goodness!

It’s Jordache Barbie!

That should have been the end, but this was so exciting!  Maybe I can accidentally poke a hole in another.  And another.  And another. Oh, and what did my brother get?  Let me poke a hole in his and see.  And so I did. I discovered the contents of every package under that tree.

I was a genius!  Presents get tiny rips in them all the time.  Nobody would discover my little plot.  But my parents were not to be fooled.  While putting something under the tree, a tear was discovered.  And another. And another.  And so on…

I don’t remember if there were any other troubles that came along with this discovery, but I do have one memory seared into my mind.  Our family tradition was that we were able to open one present on Christmas Eve. As punishment for my foiled genius, I was not allowed to open a present on Christmas Eve.  I still remember being sad about the consequence of my decision.

We went over to my Great Grandparents that evening and some of my cousins were there.  One  of them told me that he had been allowed to open EVERY present.  EVERY present on Christmas Eve?  Sheer madness!  That made the sting of not being allowed to open my one present even stronger.


That didn’t stop the next morning from being amazing.  And there were still some surprises waiting for me under the tree.  Baby Tippee Toes made her appearance along with a Smurf purse.

And, FINALLY, I was able to hold Jordache Barbie in my hands.

I hope that your days this season are filled with lots of laughter!

Let your light shine!


Peaceful Horizon

This time of year seems to be busy, busy, busy.

The oldest went on a discovery flight and and made a discovery! He loved flying so much that he is now exploring his options to become a pilot.

The middle child finally made it to his brace freedom day.  He has braces no longer and his smile is beautiful.

The youngest made it to the finish line of completing her experiment for science fair.  I learned quite of few lessons during that multi-week ordeal.  More on that another time 🙂

My to-do list is always longer than the amount of hours that a day  offers me.

But sometimes I remember to stop and take in the amazing beauty that can be found every day.  Yesterday, in between those moments of racing here and there… I just stopped.  The sky was putting on a beautiful show and I wanted to be its captivated audience.

The photo challenge this week was to imagine your new horizon…to get out of the busy of now.  The winters here tend to put on a beautiful show at sunset. More often than not, I plan to stand in awe as the colors burst forth.  They call me to remember to pause and enjoy the fleeting time we are given here.

I hope that this week you’ll find some moments to pause and notice the beauty around you.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. -Psalm 19:1

Let your light shine!