Plaid blanket and guitar

This Merry-Go-Round Called Life


Any of you who have been following me for a while know that I do a lot of pondering on the meaning of my life and the meaning of life in general.

Recently, I have been feeling like this existence is just a merry-go-round…. get up, make the donuts… you know how it goes (if you don’t get the reference, it’s from a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial in the 80’s).

I follow this 22 year old photographer, @manueldietrichphotography on Instagram.  He shares spectacular photos.  He also has a Youtube channel where he sometimes shares edits from the trips.  On Saturday, I watched this particular video (3 min):

The speech is by Alan Watts.  It made me question so many of the things I seek.  To wonder what I’m chasing.  To wonder what I’m sending my children out to chase.


The next day, yesterday, my Great Aunt Wilma passed away.

Death always seems to make me reflect even more on life.


My grandma, Reva VanHoose Scott on the left, and my great aunt, Wilma VanHoose Bernier on the right.

No one is actually dead until the ripples they caused in the world die away. -Terry Pratchett


My Great Grandpa VanHoose, Great Grandma Ann and the four daughters they had together (they divorced and had other children through remarriage). This was a reunion of sorts. L-R : Alma, Wilma, Frances, and Reva.

Once when one of my children was little, they said “What if we are all just a part of someone’s dream?”


Deep thoughts.

In an effort to live simply and move toward more of a minimalistic style, I have become less attached to “stuff”.

But sometimes, I keep things to which I have a strong attachment.

Those earring were my grandmother’s.  They make me smile every time I wear them.

The necklace that I have wrapped as a bracelet is made of cedar (juniper) beads.  Purchased from a Native American roadside stand on my honeymoon in Arizona. They are meant to keep away nightmares.  I had terrible nightmares. They have finally become less frequent. These beads didn’t stop them, but I also don’t wear necklaces to bed (I have an irrational fear of them choking me).  I also hung them over the bed of the child who had night terrors as a toddler.  It is a special piece of jewelry to me.

And then the blanket.

I’ve carried this blanket with me from home to home.  I have owned it for 39 years.

A gift as an infant.

From my Aunt Wilma and her husband, Roger.


Four sisters fishing in Naples, FL. : L-R: Alma, Frances, Reva, and Wilma

I always called it my Roger blanket and loved it so much.  Once, when I was an older girl, not yet a teen, I asked my mother why I called it my Roger blanket.  I thought perhaps it was because I watched Mr. Roger’s neighborhood and decided to name it after the show. I thought that would be an odd thing, but I was clueless as to why I called it that.

My mom told me that it was because it was from my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger and I must have picked up on the last name mentioned. When I was 3, my Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger were visiting some family along with us.  My mom told me that was my Uncle Roger who I had named my blanket after.  As he walked away, I said “there goes my best friend”.

My mom still laughs when she remembers that story.  I’m sure it’s because she can envision exactly how I said it.

Isn’t that a great thing about memories?  I have so many memories of my own children and something they said or did that makes me smile, shed a tear, or laugh out loud.

I like to think I just recognized a good soul when I met one.  He doted on my Aunt Wilma and loved her strongly.  They were such kind-hearted people.


When I was 16 and graduating from high school, I had no idea what type of career I might pursue.  One that I considered was an accountant.

My Aunt Wilma and Uncle Roger had a friend who was an accountant and they arranged for me to spend a day shadowing him.  I remember at one point he needed to take a meeting and I spent some time with another gentleman in the practice.

The one thing that other man said that I’ll never forget was that he loved what he did.  He never wanted to retire. That you see people out on the golf course all day and that would never be him (this was in Naples, the land of the snowbirds, who come down to play golf {and enjoy the sunshine} after they retire).

I knew that I wanted to have that type of passion about whatever I pursued.

Aunt Wilma with her fish haul

Are we supposed to follow “traditional” paths? To chase dollars or prestige? Should we send our kids to chase those things?

What if their path is not a straight line? What if mine is not? Do we keep doing the same thing just because it’s what we’ve always done?

Is our time better spent creating memories and seeking joy? Finding those things that make our souls sing?

The merry-go-round will stop.

Maybe not today. Or tomorrow.

Will it be because you chose to get off?  Or because you have no time left to make a choice?

The powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse. -Walt Whitman

Let your light shine!



When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir

Friday Faves – “Outdoor” Edition

I can’t believe it’s already Friday!!

This week has been packed.

Last Saturday, the middle child took the test to obtain his driving learner’s permit. And he passed! Phew!

Sunday was unseasonably (and highly welcomed) warm.  The hubby and I took a stroll on the Roanoke River Greenway, where I came upon this sculpture in the photo. I was immediately enamored by what appeared to be a figure basking in the glorious sunshine, which is what I was doing as well. It’s by Lawrence Reid Bechtel and is titled Calling the Powers.

After our hike to Dragon’s Tooth on Monday (which you can read about here), we decided to pop in to our local outdoors shop, Walkabout Outfitter.  We went to their location by the mall in Roanoke, Virginia.  The oldest son turned 17 on Wednesday, the 22nd. He is in the process of “stickerbombing” or “stickerslapping” his Nalgene water bottle.  I was hoping to find some stickers to surprise him with for his birthday.

We didn’t have any luck on the sticker front, but I found some other favorites to share.

We love hats in our house. Sunny days in the mountains or at the beach. Sitting for hours at soccer games. I have fair skin and my nose gets red fairly easy, sunscreen or not (and the girlie made the middle school soccer team, so between that and travel soccer, I will have many spring days in the sun). These are some that I thought my son would like, since he is a fan of Eno and Patagonia.  I was especially amused by the “Eat Local” Patagonia hat.

As I mentioned in this post, I  am not a runner.  I’m hoping to participate in a 5k this year, but will be traveling home from Europe on the day of The Color Run, which is the one I was originally hoping to run.  However, I do know lots of runners, and think this jewelry by Tarma Designs and made from recycled ingredients would be a good match for someone who loves to run.


I also loved these Farm to Feet socks.  My favorite was the Franklin design with the teepee and canoe/paddles.  I thought they were so cute and I’m a giant fan of turquoise and pink together.  Farm to Feet are 100% American. I know that quite of few of my readers don’t live in the United States, but as somebody who does, I appreciate the fact that they are giving work to a local economy.


I love Natural Life products.  I own quite a few, my favorite being a tote that says “Some Days You Have To Create Your Own Sunshine”.  That felt like such a fitting saying after moving away from sunny Florida.  I have found their products in so many local stores.  My personal pieces came from a surf shop in Florida.  I’ve been wanting to try these Boho Bandeau’s and will probably get one soon.  I think they’ll go well with my daily topknot! 🙂


A very popular thing amongst the outdoor crowd here is the Eno (Eagle Nest Outfitters) brand.  I just love this chair, but they are very well known for their hammocks.


The store has quite the selection.  These fold up into very small bags. When we got to the top of Dragon’s Tooth, there were a few set up, hammocked between the giant pines.  Our son was given one of these style hammocks (although not Eno brand) and has used it to sleep in while camping or just tied it between trees in our yard to watch the world go by.  As can happen, it snagged and got a little tear.



So while I wasn’t able to surprise him with new stickers, I was able to surprise him with a repair kit for his hammock.

Here’s a song I’m loving this week:

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are able to spend some time outdoors taking in whatever nature surrounds you!


Let your light shine!



*no sponsored or affiliated content

Hiking Dragon's Tooth in Virginia

Hiking Dragon’s Tooth in Virginia


Hiking, anyone?

You might remember from my Friday Faves post that I mentioned that I like to hike.

Usually, I just go on short hikes.

Hiking Dragon's Tooth in Virginia


Dragon’s Tooth.

And I’m gonna be honest about why…

I don’t want to have to pee in the woods. I have no problem with the woods, just the fact that these trails are highly traveled. But I was talking with my oldest son recently about how I mostly follow these outdoorsy people on Instagram since that’s what I’m photographing and how I like outdoorsy product and clothing lines…and he said, “well then you’re going to have to actually get out and camp and do more outdoorsy things.”

I knew that was true, so I decided to get over my panic and hike Dragon’s Tooth with the hubby.


Be Prepared.

Since he knew about my panic, he threw a roll of toilet paper in our backpack supplies.  I was like “really?!”, but it turned out to be a good thing since the toilets at the beginning of the trail were out of toilet paper (thanks hubby). There was hand sanitizer, but next time I’ll remember my own.  I’m pretty opposed to antibacterial stuff in daily use, but do own sanitizer for soccer events (porta-potties…no explanation necessary).

I mentioned in this post that my hiking boots did not work out. They haven’t yet been replaced.  I hiked in running shoes.  I’m not sure I’d recommend this.  I saw plenty of people on the trail with them.  My feet are in-between sizes and my shoes were a little big and the bottoms were a little too worn.  This will matter on the boulder section.

I think it goes without saying, but I will…always bring enough water.

Sign for Dragons Tooth Trail


Dragon’s Tooth Trail is located on Catawba Valley Drive in Catawba, Virginia.  We just used the GPS on our phone, but we got off at exit 141 on I-81 South. We turned left onto N. Electric Rd and then took a right onto Catawba Valley Drive. After almost 10 miles, the sign for the entrance to Dragon’s Tooth Trail is on the left. Prior to that entrance, you will pass another well-known hiking entrance- McAfee Knob.

We chose Dragon’s Tooth Trail for our first long hike because it was shorter (mileage wise). It is 2.4 miles one way (I’ve read some accounts that say it is longer).  There is a gain of around 1500 ft in elevation. Always pay attention to the signs as there are intersecting trails.  This trail has a blue blaze.


Enchanted Forest

The beginning of the hike meanders through an enchanted forest along a stream.

It was in the low 50’s (F) when we started and a little chilly in the shade of the trees.  But don’t worry, the steady climb will warm you right up.


I’m always amazed by the trees as I travel along the forests in Virginia. My husband laughed at how many I “hugged.”  Some were so huge that I wanted to see if my arms would even go half way round (and I have long arms).


I think about how long they must have been growing on that mountainside and how long they’ll be growing after I’m gone.I think about how nature is continually growing and thriving while we try to battle it in our yards.  Personally, I rarely battle it, preferring to give it its say.



In the forest, everything works together, creating this beautiful cycle. Once we were away from the parking area, we were surprised by how quiet it was.  The random calling of a bird and the answer of another. Otherwise, silence.

It reminded me of growing up and made me miss the silence of the country and of a sky filled with stars in the darkness.

Appalachian Trail.

And just when I began to wonder when we would reach the Appalachian Trail….there we were.

I got engaged on the Appalachian Trail. We weren’t hiking it. We had traveled to Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee and then meandered down part of the trail to a quieter spot, where he asked me to be his wife.

It’s amazing to me that this trail goes along all the way from Georgia to Maine. About 2,200 miles.


Around some corners, you can begin to get a glimpse of the mountains.

Boulder Section.

The .7 miles is much harder than the part you have already climbed.  You will now be following white blazes.  There is a reminder to pay attention for them.  Do this.  This is a boulder climbing section.  You need to know which direction to go.


You also need to be prepared for obstacles.

This tree was across the most obvious path.  There was a newly worn path going around the upper portion of the tree.  We opted for that instead of going over because we were letting a group of people pass us while we took a water break.


My shoes did not have the kind of traction that I would have liked in order to have gone over the tree.  They had a tendency to slide a little on some inclines during the uphill hike.



We packed the cameras away for part of the boulder climb so that things would not get bashed or fall.  You really should google some images.  The real climbing begins at an area that runs along the edge of the mountain. I knew I could get up, but was really worried about my descent.  The are also a few spots where bars are embedded into rock because of the steepness of the trail.



When you get to the top of the boulder section, there are a few overlooks. I took a break to enjoy my moment at the top of the world.  The hand out of view is gripping the rock since it’s a long way down!

It is about another 1/10 of a mile, following blue blazes again, to get to Dragon’s Tooth.



Dragon’s Tooth is named because of the giant Tuscarora quartzite spires.  The tallest “tooth” rises about 35 feet.  The only shots that I was semi-happy with did not include the entire spires. I’m hoping for better lighting (and better photography and/or editing skills) the next time I do this hike.


I did not climb to the top of the tooth.  I don’t know if I would even if my shoes were a proper fit.


The Descent.

The hike down requires as much work and concentration as on the way up. I was really nervous about the spot that I call the “steep cliffside descent” (I found somebody’s 30 second YouTube video of the spot here.  This still doesn’t show that beside that face is just straight down and you are thousands of feet in the air).

I was seriously wondering whether I would descend it barefoot. My husband jokes about my “monkey toes”.  I can pick things up with them if I’m too lazy to bend over.  My feet are also strong from lots of balance work in yoga. I figured they would be better than sliding down the rock or having my shoes trip me up. When I got to the spot though, it was no where near as frightening as what I had built up in my mind.  I made my way down.  From there on it’s smooth sailing.  Ok.  That’s an exaggeration, but nothing scary remains.


I kept my husband amused by yabbering away.  Finding sticks, and rocks, and acorn tops to play with along the way.  When I could see the end in sight, I showed him my legs weren’t completely dead, doing some squats and a tree pose.

I was excited that I had conquered the Dragon’s Tooth Trail, earned a little outdoorsy credit (and didn’t have to pee in the woods)!


Let your light shine!



*WPC-Against the Odds.  Celebrating my victory!




Rapture perfume Sephora fan brush Too Faced bronzer jade ring tiger's eye necklace

Friday Faves – Week 2


It’s Friday!!

I’m back with another round of Friday Faves!  One of the other items that I picked up at Sephora last week was bronzer.  This is something I have been terrified to try.  I am very fair skinned…add in some winter clothing and lack of sunshine and I am more pale than I have ever been in my life.  At the recommendation of my lovely makeup guru (the salesperson), I picked up a fan brush to apply it with since it follows the shape of the face nicely.

I’m still learning how to apply it all and am planning to spend some time surfing YouTube tutorials.  If you know of any great channels, let me know in the comments.  I’m happy to learn tips from any age woman, but I will point out that there is a difference between 20 year old skin and 30ish, almost 40 year old skin.  When I was in my late 20’s, one of my friends who was a few years older than me told me that I’d end up finding my first wrinkle at 30. (If you’re reading this…you know who you are).

And she was right!!

If you read the comments from last week’s Friday Faves, then you know I have had internal debates about “Botox or Bangs”.  I’m just peculiar about needing to know the person isn’t going to botch things up. 🙂


I attempted some more hunting for the perfect leggings to take to Europe. Why are they see through? I wore leggings in the 90’s. You know, the ones with the lacy bottoms.  And they were not see through.  I may have to pass on leggings, but I haven’t given up.

I popped into Eddie Bauer because I’m planning a trip with my mom and aunt (I’ll give you the details when they are firmed up). Where we are planning to head has the possibility of rain and I don’t own a raincoat (in Florida, if you sit in the car for five minutes the torrential downpour will pass). I didn’t find a raincoat, but these metal water containers were cute.

I enjoy the outdoors, but I am not the high adventure type (maybe someday, but not yet).  I love a good hike though.


My oldest son is the high adventure type.  He owns a variety of water containers.  One of which is this Hydro Flask.  He and his brother also have quite the collection of skateboards.  The one directly behind the bottle, he made.  I call it his Jackson Pollack because of his paint job.  If you want to see his YouTube video of making it you can click here (I will just say that I think anyone who takes time to press the unlike button on a video that somebody creates is just mean.  Spread the love people. Offer constructive criticism. Or say nothing at all).


Since I mostly share girly stuff because I am semi-girly, I thought I’d share my latest candles.  I don’t like overpowering scents when it comes to candles.  Certain scents burn my eyes and lungs (we use detergents that are free of dyes and perfumes).  I don’t always light candles, but sometimes with three teens and a dog and no way to air out the house…well…it smells.These candles have a very light, clean scent.



I think this one needs no explanation!  Sometimes it’s just one of those days.


I shared one of my shirts by Unlock Hope on my Valentine’s Day post.  I’m sharing another one today.  I will warn you that you probably shouldn’t wear a shirt like this when you are in a bad mood.  I once had this on and my husband said something irritating and I gave him some serious side-eye. Then I thought, oh no, what if somebody just saw me not practicing what I preach (shh… he may fill my closet with them if he finds out that I’m nicer when I wear them.)

I’m sharing this shirt because we just finished watching the Disney movie, Queen of Katwe.  It’s the true story of a young girl from rural Uganda who ends up having her life changed through the game of chess.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

I am a big fan of well done movies based on true stories.  I enjoyed this movie on many levels.  But one level was that this girl kept pursuing her dream even though it was a male dominated sport.  Even though I chose a “traditional” female role, my parents and other adults that came into my life never once made me feel like I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.  I have a daughter and it’s important to me that she never feels that way.

She just turned 13 so she may change her mind 100 times before she chooses a path, but her choice today is to become an Engineer.  A male dominated field.  But she has her mama’s gift for math (even better than me since she’s taking high school Algebra and has a near perfect grade).  She had the opportunity to have a tech ed class and found that she likes building things….and she’s good at it.  I would never want her to stop pursuing something because it was for “boys” or that her peers would have any say in stopping her from chasing who she’s meant to become.

So lastly, I leave you with a song I’m loving.

Even though I talk of makeup and botox, as I stated here…I am me. I go out dressed down, dressed up, makeup on, makeup off, hair styled, hair in a topknot.  I make the choices about how I want to age, eat, exercise, etc…based on personal preference. I am not who the world tells me that I need to be.  Do I succeed in that mentality every day?  Absolutely not!  Do I feel stronger and more beautiful when I succeed in that mentality? Absolutely!

Let’s remember as we go throughout our weekend to spread some kindness!


Let your light shine!



*nothing on this page is sponsored or affiliated at this time.


Distracted Organization

Do you have a variety of collections?

Do you need to organize them?

Are you easily distracted?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, then we have something in common! 🙂

Our house has been a continual work in progress.  I don’t like to buy new pieces of furniture very often because we don’t tend to stay in a house for a long time.  And the next house typically has a very different layout with different furniture needs.

This is why I make sure that I can’t repurpose a piece of furniture before committing to get rid of it.  I have multiple folding bookshelves that I bought at Lowe’s 4 houses ago (that sound so much more dramatic than 6 years ago).  They have served many purposes besides just holding books.  One was being used by a child as a “dresser” in their closet.  Said child finally got a bedroom set that included a real dresser.  The bookshelf moved to the storage room to await its new found life as an actual bookshelf.

We have pared down our library throughout the numerous moves and the beginning implementation of decluttering and minimizing our belongings. The teens still have some books in their room and I keep some in my nightstand, but we have an alcove in the basement where most of the books, along with photo albums are stored.  Since I had no free bookshelves, I was using a shelving unit that had a prior life in our garage.

I’m not a fan of household chores.  But, I decided to finally tackle this small project.  Another will be changing the mocha color that was on the walls when we moved in. It’s a nice color, but a little dark for our basement.

Due to the openness of my house, I will be continuing with the color throughout the main part of the house.  Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.


You can see how much brighter of a color that is.   This is another project in the works.  My entry.  I’m planning to create a gallery wall.

But back to the basement.  I’m easily distracted.

My husband says I tend to go down rabbit holes.

In our collection of books are a few that are collections of poetry.  Since one had a ribbon marking a page, I was curious if I had placed it on a specific poem.


And I had.

This poem transported me back to when I was pregnant with my first child.  The child who will turn 17 in less than a week.  It seems you have so much time to plan with that first child.  I would be raising a toddler with the second pregnancy, and have two under the age of 4 with the third pregnancy.  I did not have time to sit and relax as I did with the first pregnancy.

With my first pregnancy, I would take time to soak my aching body in a tub and listen to classical music.  I would play Mozart and Beethoven.  When this child was a toddler and we would begin our evening drive home from our weekly trip to my parents, he would ask for “night-night” music.  This was a request for the classical station to be put on so he could go to sleep.

I found this poem and read it each day to the little baby growing inside.  I memorized this poem so that I could recite it to him on the day that he was born.  So he would recognize the cadence of my voice.  I recited it to him late at night as I rocked him and fed him.

The Sugar-Plum Tree

Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?

‘Tis a marvel of great renown!

It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop sea

In the garden of Shut_eye Town;

The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet

(As those who have tasted it say)

That good little children have only to eat

Of that fruit to be happy next day.

When you’ve got to the tree, you would have a hard time

To capture the fruit which I sing

The tree is so tall that no person could climb

To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!

But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,

And a gingerbread dog prowls below_

And this is the way you contrive to get at

Those sugar-plums tempting you so:

You say but the word to that gingerbread dog

And he barks with such a terrible zest

That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,

As her swelling proportions attest.

And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around

From this leafy limb unto that,

And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground-

Hurrah for that chocolate cat!

There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,

With stripings of scarlet or gold,

And you carry away of the treasure that rains

As much as your apron can hold!

So come, little child, cuddle closer to me,

In your dainty white nightcap and gown,

And I’ll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree

In the garden of Shut-Eye Town. -Eugene Field

Sometimes, it’s in those distractions that you find peace.

You remember that even though parenting is hard and exhausting, you have an immeasurable amount of love for your children.  That you always have and always will want what is best for them.  That you hope that each one of them knows that you are just a person who has failings as well, but you keep trying.  Because that’s what we do.

We grow and we learn and we evolve.

Against the odds, I did get the project finished!

But I’m happy that I took the time to be distracted.

How about you?  Any projects in the works?  Any distractions that you are grateful for?


Let your light shine!


Love in Action


Happy Valentine’s Day!!

A day that has become symbolic with love.

How do you show somebody that you love them?  Is it with chocolate, wine, and roses?  A heartfelt letter proclaiming your undying love?  Or is it much more simple.  A shy smile, an intertwining of fingers as you stroll along, a stolen kiss under the light of a full moon?

And what about the other people in your life?  How do you show them that you love them?



We keep things more on the simple side in our home.  But that is because this is what works for us.

And it took us time to figure that out.

Early in our marriage, I read a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  The premise being that there are 5 primary ways of being shown love that fill your  “love tank”.

They are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Usually one of these ways is your primary love language.  There are tests you can take.  I personally find that I’m pretty bad and still figuring out things with a test (I’m the person who marks “sometimes”, but almost never marks “always” or “never”). With the love languages, I found that your primary language is usually the way that you most show love to others.

For me, I used to think my language was receiving gifts.  I love a good gift. The mystery involved in receiving something. The excitement as you open it up.



But over time, I learned that I most show love through Acts of Service.  When I wake up and start making breakfast for my children before my first cup of coffee…. that’s how I show them I love them. When I make their lunches…that’s how I show them I love them. I do the laundry, but everyone is responsible for putting their stuff away.  And when I put my husband’s clothes away or iron them for him…that’s how I show him that I love him.

His love language, however, is physical touch.  He likes to hold hands, be near each other…and God love him, he picked the wife who likes that in small doses.  It’s not that I don’t want to be that girl.  I love that girl.

That is a girl who is a sweet as apple pie.  With a side of sweet tea.  

That is the girl who hugs her girlfriends when she sees them. That is the girl who makes a stranger feel like her best friend.

And it all comes naturally.

None of that has come natural to me.  No matter how deeply in my bones I wish that it were so, it has not.  But to love somebody in the way that most speaks to them, you do those things.  You learn how to love them in both the ways that speak to you and the ways that speak loudest to them.


Because Love is a Verb.

We show love through our actions.

To our significant others. To our children. To the people we pass each day on our daily walk of life.

The hubby got me a new perfume for Valentine’s Day.  Ralph Lauren’s Romance. It was my go-to fragrance when I was the young mother with three toddlers in tow. It’s scent made me feel beautiful on those days when I was wading through potty training and diaper changes.  I recently passed the perfume in the department store, stopped to smell it and was transported back to a time when our life was much more simple.  I mentioned it to the hubby, who tucked that conversation away, and surprised me with it.

Even more special to me than the gift, was the fact that he had listened to my words and then proceeded to show me “love in action.”


Are you treating love as a verb?

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 1 Corinthians 13:1


Let your light shine!



*Nothing on this page is sponsored or affiliated. The “Love is a Verb” shirt was purchased from the website  They partner with Think Humanity, who run a hostel in Huima, Uganda for young refugee girls from all across Africa.  Through the sale of their products they are able to fully fund the hostel and provide everything necessary for the girls to receive an education.  The selection of prints changes on pretty regular basis.






Decisions, Decisions…


I know that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day and we are supposed to have a longer winter, but I can tell why some of the other groundhog’s didn’t make the same prediction.

The weather here in Virginia has been very indecisive.  30’s one day with snow flurries and biting wind and then mid 70’s (that’s in Fahrenheit for you Celsius folk) a few days later.  This see-sawing weather pattern is even confusing the plants.


There are bits of green starting to sprout through the ground, seeking warmth and sunshine only to discover that it may or may not exist.

Are you having crazy weather in your part of the world?

I have been on a mission to seek sunshine when it peeks its face through the cloudy sky.  I am the needy, clingy friend when it comes to my friendship with Vitamin D.


The sun made a rare appearance this weekend.

The hubby and I took the middle son to a nearby skate park.  We strolled around the surrounding urban park.  It was a semi-warm day filled with sunshine.  People were playing frisbee golf, walking dogs, pushing children on swings, and meandering along the paths.  All of us soaking in the rays because they might not be there the next day.

During the colder moments of the weekend, I delved into finding a new theme for my blog.

And I learned that I have a lot to learn!

Apparently all these pretty themes that I’ve been admiring on some blogs are for self-hosted WordPress blogs. And my choices are much more limited than what I originally thought. I recently upgraded from a free blog because I needed more space and wanted more flexibility.  It does make me wish I’d just started with what I wanted, but in the beginning I didn’t even know if this blog would be taken public. I do not think that I am prepared for self-hosting and all that it entails.  I have found one premium theme that I am strongly considering, but given the fact that I still have so much to learn, I will be taking my time to increase my knowledge prior to committing.

What about you?  Do you self-host?  If so, do you find it to be manageable?  I just know there are so many hours in a day, and raising teens takes up a big chunk of that 🙂

And then there’s finding time to get out and enjoy nature.  To spend time noticing those little moments of beauty. To live a life of hygge. To be present. To slow down.  To just breathe.

Are you hoping for the full six weeks of winter or are you hoping for an early spring?  Those of you living where it’s already summer, I’m highly jealous!  Soak up some that sunshine for me.


Until spring fully arrives, I will continue to turn my face to the sun, like the little purple blossoms that are starting to pop up before turning my hillside into ivy.


Let your light shine!


Friday Faves


It’s Friday!!

Today, I’m sharing some things I’m loving.

I love finding new things that people share, so I hope you find something new here too.  Nothing on today’s page is sponsored in any way.  Just passing along my finds. 🙂

I was hoping to find some clothes for my Spring Break trip to Amsterdam and Paris.  I had no luck with that, which if you follow me on Instagram, you already know.



I decided to finally check out the store Altar’d State (it’s not where I was when I was texting my husband-and I actually like the store that shall remain nameless, it just wasn’t happening today).  My girlfriend was the one who had told me that I should check it out.  I had no luck on the clothing front (mostly because I was already frustrated by my previous luck), but the store had so many things other than clothes that were right along the lines of things I love.  I also like that they are a company that focuses on Giving Back.


This was so hilarious that I texted the photo to the girlfriend who had told me about the store.  We got a good laugh out of this piece of home decor.


I was also in love with this coffee mug. The inner rim said “Enjoy Life”. Even better, it said it on both sides, which is awesome for us lefties. I may be heading back to add this to my collection of coffee mugs.

Afterwards, I decided to go to Sephora to pick up some mascara. I don’t usually wear more than mascara and lip gloss. This is mostly because once I got over the age of 30, makeup became a little more overwhelming. I didn’t know what colors I needed, how to deal with fine lines…etc. There are times when I’d like to wear makeup. Especially now, with my trip to Europe looming and turning 40 this coming fall. Today, I decided to ask for help picking colors. Everyone who works there always has amazing makeup (I’m pretty sure this is a must in a makeup store!). Sephora has this amazing little tool that takes photos of your skin and helps tell what colors are best for your skin tone. Then Shauntel helped me pick out all the items I was looking for, even showing me the best way to apply them as well.


One of the items I bought was this cute blush by Too Faced. This is their Love Flush- 16 hour blush in Justify My Love.  I usually steer away from pink blushes, but I really liked how it looked on my cheeks. Plus, what’s not to love about a heart-shaped compact.

I’ve also been obsessed with Alex and Ani bracelets for some time. These are just a few in my collection.


I also come across lots of amazing Instagrammers.  I had a hard time picking who to share because there are so many who share spectacular photos  I decided to share two from the Virginia region who were some of my earliest followers when I began a public IG last year.  Most of their photos tend to be landscapes, which is what most of my IG photos tend to be.  They are far superior in what they share and have wonderful feeds.

Check them out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

@kenton_steryous and @jordanchilds .

Lastly, a song I’m loving this week:

I hope you all have exciting… or relaxing… plans for your weekend. 🙂

Let your light shine!



Don’t wait until it’s too late


The trouble is, you think you have time. -Jack Kornfield

I have never professed to be a good housekeeper.  Indeed I am far from it. But I am trying. Part of that is working on the process of decluttering.  I could talk all day about that process. And I may… but on a different day.

A few weeks ago, while going through a box of “where in the world does this stuff belong”, I came upon a letter written by me in 2013.  A letter written to my father-in-law.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you may remember that his passing away on February 9, 2013 was the major catalyst for us seeking a move to Virginia.  I touched on this somewhat last year in this post.

My father-in-law joined the Navy as a fresh out of high school, 18 year old. He and my mother-in-law were high school sweethearts and would marry in 1952 when he came home on leave. He would spend 20 years in the Navy, starting as an enlisted man, and working his way to Warrant Officer and then as a Lieutenant, serving as a Nuclear Weapons Officer on the USS Saratoga. He would then go on to become a teacher of elementary and middle schoolers, eventually getting his Master’s and becoming a school counselor.  He would work with children for 20 years before retiring.

When I met my future father-in-law, I was 20 years old and he was already retired from two careers.  I would celebrate my 21st birthday during that first trip to Virginia.  We would sit on the back porch every morning drinking coffee.


On that trip, we took in a football game at my husband’s alma mater and where the first born grandbaby (my niece) was cheering.


He would be my husband’s best man at our wedding.  Making everyone laugh during his speech with his request that we give him some more grandbaby’s (to add to the four he already had).


And we fulfilled that request.


Later, he would end up having leukemia. He had it for years. I usually spent two weeks every summer at their home, driving up with the kids and then my husband flying up for the second week. We often visited over Christmas Break as well. The Christmas of 2012, he was not feeling well. We opted not to go up because he was sick enough that all the germs we would bring would not be good.  They said it was now lymphoma. He was not getting better. A few weeks later my husband would be traveling up to help his brothers and mother set up hospice. At that point, I knew that I would never see him again.  And so I wrote him a letter.  I had hoped he’d be able to have it read to him.

That did not end up being possible.

In my college English class, I read the poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.  I can’t even begin to explain why that poem struck me so deeply.  I was a 17 year old girl who had not even begun to taste the sting of death.  And yet, that poem became my favorite poem.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


My father-in-law did not go gentle into that good night.  The end was not easy.  He asked to speak to me once on the phone.  There was closure for me in that he remembered me in those moments.

So today I share the words that he was never able to hear (abbreviations have been used in place of some names).

In Case I Never Told You

In case I never told you I wanted you to know:

That I noticed when you made sure to spend time with each of the kids separately- whether it was teaching H to drive, teaching D about the mighty power or taking S to feed the neighbor’s pets, amongst all the other things.  I appreciated the fact that you took the time to make them feel special and create memories.

That I admire the fact that you taught for 20 years.  My patience level is low and you have always been so calm with my kids.  I imagine all those students felt special.

That I think it’s great that you love science so much because I find science fascinating.  Your innate curiosity about all the wonders of the world is inspiring because I feel like I can never get all the information I want to gain.

That I love your library.  In it, I discovered Ludlum, that there is more than one Oz book, and a plethora of other great books.  Because of our mutual love, one of my kids’ favorite place is a bookstore and they love the smell of a library.

That I’m glad that you passed on to M what he calls the “Smith family curse”.  The one that makes you repair everything yourself.  I can’t imagine being married to a man who couldn’t fix things.

That I’ve loved our talks by the pool- watching the kids swim.  You always added a fresh perspective on my struggles in raising children.

That I thank you for serving our country.  I don’t come from a military family so that was all foreign to me, but how amazing to share such tradition.

That even though some of the jokes you tell make us groan, they are you.  And when M tells one that makes us groan, we say that sounds like a joke your dad would tell.  And when our kids tell one, they are like M and so on and on it goes.  What a privilege to witness not just a physical passing down, but also personality.

That I love you for accepting me wholeheartedly into your family. You have given me such a blessing just by knowing you, but also in raising a man that is a man who takes his vows seriously because that was modeled by you.

I have done my part in evolution.

I have evolved from the 21 year old that you first met, but a lot has stayed the same and one of those things is that I have a tremendous amount of respect for you even when our views differ.

I will help out with the survival of the fittest though because I think M and I have produced some pretty amazing kids.

Keep Strong and I love you.

There isn’t anything earth-shattering in those words.  We did communicate regularly over the years and he knew that I loved and respected him.   I share them because they are still things that I wish I had said.

Don’t wait until it is too late to say those things you want to say to people you care about.  Don’t hold on to grudges that you might later regret.  Tomorrow is never promised.  I leave you with my father-in-law’s words, written 18 years before he would leave this earth.


Let your light shine!


Musings from my active mind

The real me….

Ok, not the really, real me…. there is a snapchat filter.  No makeup… No sleep… not a great combo for me.  I do reserve the right to maintain some of my dignity.

Thanks so much for the love on yesterday’s post.  In the beginning, I almost deleted it.  But being real is what I try to do. 🙂

This was from my Instagram story last week.  It’s about 16 seconds.  If you follow my stories there, I apologize for the repeat.  I got a good laugh out of the experience and I hope you do as well.

I’m sharing it because tomorrow’s post has been written in my mind for some time.  It is a post that will once again be a very honest, very open post.  So for today, we laugh!


Let your light shine!