Friday Faves "One the Go" Edition

Friday Faves – “On the Go” Edition


On the Go!

That probably describes every aspect of my life right now.

Probably yours too! Right?!

Ferrying kids here, shuttling others there, and feeling undeniably grateful that I have actually lived here long enough to have other parents to switch off on carpools.

And then trying to plan trips and remember to pay the bills.

I did make a little headway this week on my travel wardrobe. I really am trying to plan for each of us to take only a carry-on. This weekend we will do the trial run to see if I am being realistic. Some of my friends are skeptical. 🙂

The shirts in the background of my photo are an actual rack of shirts I tried on.  I am looking for some black shirts that can be dressed up or down depending on what we are doing. Shirts will be my biggest deterrent in being able to fit everything into a carry-on.  I can’t see wearing any more than once.

Why? Because here’s a little secret: I am a nervous sweater. It can be 30°F and if I am walking into unfamiliar scenarios, I will sweat. But women don’t sweat…they glisten or sparkle or glow.  Yeah. Lucky you. Me. Not so lucky.

First time leaving United States soil… Flying across the ocean… Big, unfamiliar cities… I will packing enough shirts.


Pants, however, will be a different story.  It has been recommended to bring a black pair and a dark washed jean.  I have not determined how many pairs I will be bringing, but the hunt for the above black pair was arduous enough.

I was on a hunt for leggings and was disappointed at the fact that they were all more opaque than I wanted.  At American Eagle, I finally found these Sateen jeggings.  They don’t get saggy by the end of the day, unlike some others that I’ve tried.  They don’t ride so low that I need to constantly be hiking them up if I need to bend over. And while the regulars were too short, the longs weren’t too long, which is important in a skinny jean.

I thought that I’d just order up another pair in a dark jean wash.  However, the sateen version is their “colored” jeans… at this time in burgundies and greens.  I don’t necessarily like their other jegging versions since they tend to feel tight around my calf muscle (which strikes me as strange since I don’t have large calves).  I think I’m just particular, but I will be going back to try on the different styles.

And I do not intend on taking those shoes!  They are just my favorite dress up pair.

I am still on the hunt for the perfect all-day walking around shoe.

My 13 year old daughter plans to wear her Converse.  She wears them every day so I guess she’ll be fine.  I love mine too. But… I’m 3x her age and even though my feet are strong from yoga, they like a little arch support in return for holding up my body all day.

I have been eyeing Superga’s or some type of old school New Balance-like shoe for my all-day shoe.  I will probably throw in my ballet flats as a second pair.  I’m known to pack too many shoes and usually end up only wearing 1-2 pairs. Space will be a commodity and shoes takes up precious area.


I purchased a universal adapter since the plugs are different in Europe.  I may need to get more since we all have phones.  I also got this cute pouch that doesn’t allow for RFID readers.  I like to think identity theft doesn’t exist, but I’ve had my credit card compromised too many times to believe that.


I picked up a new read at the library.  It was on the new release shelf, so I don’t know if it’ll be good or not.  I’ve shared that yoga is my favorite form of exercise.  We also have a pull-up bar that hangs from a beam in our basement storage room.  My goal is to be able to complete some pull-ups. They are VERY hard!  But it is a goal nonetheless.

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The flower doesn't dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. -Mark Nepo . .The sound of bees buzzing all around this tree, moving from blossom to blossom, was a great reminder of the interconnectedness of this planet. . . . #modernoutdoors #loveva #virginiaisbeautiful #virginiastate_photos #naturalvirginia #explorevirginia #exploretocreate #naturehippys #naturelovers #fiftyshades_of_nature #fingerprintofgod #sheisnotlost #livefolk #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #travelgram #travelawesome #stayandwander #forgeyourownpath #pocket_allnature #rsa_folknature #ipulledoverforthis #thehappynow #optoutside #lifestyleblogger #travelblogger #destinationearth #roamtheplanet #folkgood #pocket_dof

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While I’m busily preparing for time away, I’m still making sure to take the time to stop and notice the beauty of nature.  The cycle of spring.  Flowers blooming. Bees buzzing.


I hope you have an amazing weekend filled little moments of smiles. Here’s one from my little snapchats with my girlie at the end of a long day….crazy hair and all.  Spread some kindness and a little laughter.

So lastly, a song I’m loving this week…. because…. Paris.


Let your light shine!


Upcoming Travels...Amsterdam...Paris...Scotland

Travel Tuesday…advice and opinions


In less than three weeks, I will be boarding a plane for my very first overseas trip!

Most of you who have been following a while already know about my trip, but some of my new readers might have missed it.

Over spring break, the hubby and I and our three teenagers are flying to Amsterdam and will have about 2 1/2 days there.  Then we are taking the train to Paris and will have about 3 1/2 days there.

I’m not gonna lie, while I’m extremely excited, I’m also very nervous.  I like my little comfort zone.  I drive the same square around town… gym…grocery store…. middle school….high school…home. But this was the year to continue to press outside of my comfort zone.  And what better way than to fly across the world! 🙂

We’ve done quite a bit of traveling around the East Coast of the United States, but always wanted to take the kids to Europe before the oldest left for college.  He’s now 17 and a junior in high school so we figured it was time. The kids have not been on a plane since they ranged from ages 2-6. I have never been outside of the continental U.S. and figured it was about time for me to travel too!

I have saved and read through many “must sees” and itineraries on my Pinterest account, but I wanted to get my reader’s opinions on what you all think should be on my list.

Keukenhof Gardens has been a regular recommendation. I definitely want to see fields of tulip blooms since we will be there in April.

For those that have visited the gardens, do you think this would hold the interest of 13,15, and 17 year-olds? Any opinions on Zaanse Schanse?

I understand that our time is limited and I don’t want to try to pack to much in.  We will be staying near Vondelpark and I know that the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum are nearby. I really wanted to take the kids to the Anne Franke house, but when I checked for tickets 3 weeks ahead, they are sold out.  Given our short time there, if the line has a multiple hour wait, this won’t be an option.

Of course Paris is also filled with more than we can fit into our time as well.  We are considering a day trip out of town to see some more of the country.  We considered the Chateaux’s of the Loire Valley, but once I realized that was were Fontevraud Abbey was located (I am intrigued by Eleanor of Aquitaine), I’m thinking that needs to be its own trip.  One of the children has asked if we are visiting the Palace of Versailles since they have learned about that in history class.

If you have visited the Palace, do you think this makes a nice day trip out of Paris?


I am also working on my Scotland trip with my mother.  We are considering moving it up to the end of May.  It just works better for me if my kids are still in school.  The tentative plan is to fly into Edinburgh and then we have 6 1/2 days before flying out.

The dilemma is that we want to see it all….and cannot.

We want to make our way to the Isle of Skye, which is a huge time allocation.  We also will not be driving a car.  I’m not prepared this early into my international traveling to drive on the opposite side of the road on skinny, winding roads.

Besides our time in Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye (probably staying nearby as I think all the hotels there are already booked), I think we really would like to add in Stirling and Glen Coe and whatever else we can squeeze in (Doune Castle… I’m a Game of Thrones fan).  If I had all the time in the world, I would want to see Old Castle Lachlan since we know that we have McLachlan ancestors.  And of course, all the other beautiful castles.  We will be traveling to Airdrie, hoping to get a glimpse of some of the areas that our family lived.  We think we are pretty confident of the church where Agnes McLachlan and James Scott (my great-great grandparents) were married. We will also checking out the surrounding area of Glasgow where other family lived. A few of the other surnames that we are working on are: Scott, Baird, Munn, and Johnston.  Of course most of those surnames have areas that they originate from as well.  In all likelihood, we will need to plan more than 1 visit. 🙂

Until we have a general plan around our itinerary, we can’t book the hotel rooms.  So I am seeking your input.

What would be on your absolutely “must see and do” list if you were in Scotland? And relying on public transport and taxis!

Thank you all so much ahead of time for any comments you have to offer!

Any tips on travel, avoiding jet lag, packing, and amazing places to eat (we are foodies)… add those too!


Let your light shine!





Friday Faves "Words" Edition

Friday Faves – “Words” Edition


I can’t believe we are already almost through the month of March.

It’s only 3 more Fridays before I leave for Europe.

I’m beginning to get serious about my to-do list.

It’s much longer than the one above, but those are some of the things I need to start working on.  And yes, one of the flights changed their aircraft, thereby switching our seats.  It says they gave us comparable ones… however, they did not give an extra-legroom  seat to 6’5+” man-child that we purchased one for.

My mom and I are also getting closer to booking the tickets for our trip.  I was starting to get a little panicked about that trip away from my kids and the logistics of it, and then my amazing husband stepped in and reminded me that sometimes I need to do things for myself.

Overall, it’s been a crazy week… so I needed to find a little humor!


I thought this sign was hilarious.  I shared in this post, that yoga is my favorite form of exercise.  I’ve also been taking Pilates and am really enjoying that.

Recently, my niece mentioned that she has taken a PiYo class and a few days later somebody mentioned PiYo to me on Twitter.

PiYo=Pilates and Yoga.

Have any of you taken this type of class?

I watched a few YouTube videos, but mostly just heard about body transformation, not what is involved in the class.

I’m not a huge fan of body transformation videos because they usually involve one of my pet peeves.  One that I’ve even witnessed in fitness magazines.  If somebody’s weight is shared..PLEASE include their height. It’s lovely that they weigh 110 lbs, but I can tell you at 5’8″ and with my bone structure, that would be an unsafe weight for me.  Or it’s shared that they wear a size 2… I was extremely thin in high school…and a size 2 was smaller than any size I wore. And yes, you hope people will use common sense, but number fixation can become a problem.

Ok!  Now that I got that off of my chest…

Back to humor!

Yes, this tray sums up numerous aspects of my life.

I am known for going down rabbit holes of information. YouTube…Pinterest…Google…doesn’t matter which it is, I can always get lost in it.


I also managed to find some sunbeams of sunshine and got lost with my nose buried in a book.

I’ve shared before how much I love Alex + Ani bracelets.  I like the messages that they represent.  I usually have a few that I have my eye on, waiting for some type of special.

Recently, there was a special and I took advantage.

I think the words that we speak to ourselves or see throughout the day have a tendency to become reminders and “Live a happy life” is something I want to strive toward.

I also liked that this was a Charity by Design piece, contributing to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation which helps cancer patients and their families.


If you know me and my love for photography, then the reason I’ve been eyeing this bracelet is self-explanatory.  Its element of sea-like green color is a nice pop and is one of my favorite colors as well.

The special offered was this bracelet for free with a certain dollar amount spent.  And again, this was a message that speaks directly to who I am.

I need my moments of solitude to recharge.

Moments for creativity to take root.

Moments to process the plans for my upcoming trips.

Moments to find a little humor before plunging headlong into the chaos again.

So lastly, the song that I’m loving this week:

I like this song, but the main reason for it being my choice this week is the lyrics.  Or rather, what  I thought the lyrics were.  My dad owned the tape (yes…before CD’s…and way, way before MP3’s).  It was a different beat than most of the music he owned and I would listen to the tape over and over. And on this song, instead of “Karma”, I would sing “Cumma, Cumma, Cumma, Chameleon” and instead of  “Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams / Red, Gold, and Green”, I would sing “nothing would be easy, if you coming was like my dreams, my golden dreams”.

I was probably between 7 and 9 years old and I still think about singing it that way and laugh every time I hear this song. I totally thought the song was about going somewhere.

What about you?

Did you find anything humorous this week?

Ever sing any lyrics incorrectly?

Do you require moments of solitude?

I hope that you find some moments of laughter and some of solitude in the upcoming week.

Let your light shine!


I am afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you might not like it...and that's all I got. Sabrina Ward Harrison quote

Nobody Said Parenting Teenagers Would Be Easy

Parenting Teenagers.

Nobody said parenting teenagers would be easy..



I’ve never heard it said.

I had thoughts for this post that began to take shape during my shower.

Anyone else have this stream of thoughts when they’re in the shower? Or when you are awakened at 2 in the morning by thoughts?

Or is this just me?

The first two lines of my poem on Tuesday were 2 A.M. thoughts. There was probably more, but I cannot ever pull myself awake enough to grab a pen and paper.

I wasn’t going to write this post because I keep trying to put my blog into a box. And every time I try, my thoughts try to claw their way out of that box. And still, I wasn’t going to write. Until I read this post. I stumbled upon Dee’s blog early in my blogging journey. God has a way of using her posts to get right at my soul. And today’s was no different.

Any other day, I would have just nodded my head in agreement as I read along.

But today… it is to write… to be vulnerable.

Nobody says that parenting teens is easy.  Or even that parenting, in general, is easy.

But with teenagers the message is cryptic.  What do you mean, not easy?

Well I’ll tell you why it’s cryptic.

Because when you are parenting teenagers, there is this fine line between your life and their’s.  And their life has an right to some level of privacy no matter what you’ve chosen for your own.

But I will tell that it is one of the most exhausting seasons of my life thus far.

Moments of being thrust back into the insecurities of my teenage years. Moments of “oh no, they are too much like me” and others of “oh no, they aren’t like me at all”.

When they aren’t actually deeming the need for you to be worried about them, you are worrying about when the next time will come that will deem your worry.

And I’m not talking about major life-altering situations.  Just daily life.

The choices they make each and every day.

I’m not saying that this is everybody’s experience.

This is mine.

I work in a very internalizing way.  I overanalyze. I have a need for control. I don’t like chaos.

None of these are wonderful elements to my personality when dealing with teens.

Teens with minds of their own. Teens who are trying to find their independence. Teens who are figuring out their place in the world.

Raising teens has also made me, at moments, feel like I am at sea…alone.

I feel this need to portray that everything in life is smooth sailing.

To brush off the moments when life feels overwhelming.

To hide the moments when I wonder if I will make it through this season.

I realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Pelicans in flight… Pt 2 . .Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too a high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -Ralph Waldo Emerson . . . . . #fiftyshades_of_nature #sheisnotlost #wearetravelgirls #travelgram #travelblogger #travelawesome #instatravel #destinationearth #roamtheplanet #optoutside #birdsofinstagram #pocket_beaches #pocket_allnature #rsa_outdoors #ipulledoverforthis #naturehippys #naturelovers #livefolk #lifeofadventure #liveauthentic #stayandwander #visitnc #exploretocreate #beachvibes #staysalty #modernoutdoors #forgeyourownpath #thehappynow

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I truly believe it takes a village to raise children.  In a lot of cases, that is your surrounding family.  But when you don’t live near them, like in my case, you have to build a village.

Finding that village requires vulnerability.  For a person who rehashes everything they’ve said and wonders if it “came across the way it was meant” or if they were “too open” or “not open enough” this can be very hard.


And it takes time to build a village.

Because you need to feel like you trust the people in your village.

Trust them to care for you.  Trust them not to judge your parenting skills. Trust them not to judge you if your child makes a poor decision.  Trust them to share in your journey.

There are no perfect children.

There are no perfect parents.

Just imperfect people trying to figure out the world as they move along in it.

I love my children fiercely.

I am their biggest cheerleader.

I have no doubt that we will look back at this season and share many laughs.

Because even in the midst of the daily challenges, there is laughter and there is love.


Your story is important.

There is a village willing to listen.

It may require you stepping outside of your comfort zone to find them.

But they are there.

Waiting to embrace you.

Waiting to walk alongside you.

If you haven’t found them yet, I wish you great speed in the journey.


Let your light shine!







Rumi quote "Don't you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.

Atop the World

How’s the view from atop the world?

How’s the view when everything is going your way?

A smile on your face?

A kind word on your lips?

A light shining for all to see?

How’s the view when you’re all alone?

How’s the view when life is caving in?

Do you still radiate the light of a thousand suns?

-Amy Lyon Smith


It’s springtime!

A time for new beginnings.  A time for new growth.

A time for being finished with being sick (I’m crossing my fingers for that one.  I’m finally on the mend.)


The loop road on the Blue Ridge Parkway that leads to Roanoke Mountain has finally opened again and daylight savings means later sunsets.  I haven’t been up there yet, but I’m hoping to get back up there sometime in the next week so I can capture some more sunsets like the two above.

The first photo is from my hike to Dragon’s Tooth . If you missed that post, you can check it out here.

I’ve realized that springtime will be extremely busy for me. Soccer…Vacations…Prom… Parenting teenagers in general.  More than anything I need to be fully present during this time in their lives. My first and foremost job is mothering my children through this rocky, crazy, all-consuming phase of teenage years.

As such, I will probably be scaling back from posting  3-4 days per week to 2 days a week, over the course of the spring.  I want to leave enough space to still have time to communicate with all the wonderful people I’ve met through Blogging, Instagramming and other social media outlets.

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, you can find me here.  I usually post a photo a day over there. 🙂

Looking forward to sharing my crazy, jam-packed spring with all of you.

And catching and spreading a little sunshine along the way.


Let your light shine!




shop local shop green farmer's market roanoke virginia

Friday Faves “Green” Edition


It’s Friday!!

And St. Patrick’s Day!!

I shared about my Irish heritage in yesterday’s post.

Today I’m sharing the “green” faves I found last weekend.  I’m not perfect in my environmental choices, but I’m trying to take steps in the right direction.

Farm to Table Roanoke at Greenbrier Nurseries has a vendor’s market each Saturday.  Last weekend was a Wellness Expo .

Tha Best! Kombucha hand crafted in Floyd Virginia

One of the items that I already shared in Tuesday’s post was this yummy Kombucha.

I’m ready for a refill!


I also picked up this Elderberry Syrup kit.  It has instructions on how to prepare it and add it to some raw honey to create the syrup consistency. Elderberry is supposed to be a healthy and effective remedy against the cold and flu.  My friend swears by it.  I’ll be making this very soon.  All the nasties that the kids and hubby have had may be finally finding their way to me.

I have not been to the storefront of QueenPin Herb shop.  They said that there are herbalists there who can create custom formulations.  The awesome name comes from the fact that acupuncture services are offered through QueenPin Family Wellness.

I’ve never had acupuncture.

Have you?

One the booths was Earth Girl Wellness.  She is a holistic nutrition and wellness coach.  She told that she had been making various products and that her friends convinced her that she should sell them.

I’m glad they did.


I picked up these toilet bombs and a shower melt.

The toilet bombs fizz in the toilet and make it smell wonderfully pleasant (a huge feat in a home full of teens).

The shower melt is an orange scent since orange is energizing.  I definitely need that in the morning!

I’m not a big fan of overuse of antibacterial items (the kind that lead to superbugs).  I think they have a time and place, but don’t use them regularly.  So I was very excited to see this Natural Hand Cleaning Spray. I chose peppermint because of scent preferences.  The tea tree oil would have been the wisest choice because of its antibacterial properties.  I don’t mind the scent of tea tree oil, but figured that I’d be sharing it with my daughter at her soccer games and she may prefer peppermint.

Speaking of soccer, Earth Girl Wellness, will be featuring her new Stinky Shoe Deodorizer at this coming weekend’s market.  She had it on hand last week to share the scent.  So much more heavenly than the rank smell that begin to permeate cleats partially through the sports season.

I will be returning for that one!


I also picked up these three products from Essential Bliss Aromatherapy.  I was mostly interested in the yoga mat spray, but they were running a special on three products and I couldn’t resist.

The cooling mists can be chilled to give you some refreshment, but also work as a natural room deodorizer.

They were also creating custom blends which I found intriguing.

Calming for stress… anxiety…

Yes, please!


I can’t end my faves with out sharing this little guy!

A baby goat!

He was so soft and adorable.

Briar Mountain Farm makes 100% natural goat’s milk soaps, lotions, and other bath and beauty products.  The selection was amazing!  I didn’t get anything because I wanted to figure out which essential oil scents I wanted to add to the house.

There’s always this weekend!

Lastly, a song I’m loving this week.  In case you missed yesterday’s post, I’m planning a trip to Scotland!  I love Julie Fowlis’s voice and while she mostly sings in Scottish Gaelic [which I had Percy Jackson style fantasies about being able to magically understand], I am sharing an English song :

Have a GREAT weekend!


Let your light shine!


Are you Irish? DNA testing

Are you Irish? 


Kiss me, I’m Irish.

Just kidding about the kiss me part.  Not about the Irish part. (I love snapchat filters!)



St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.

A celebration of the patron saint of Ireland.


DNA Testing.

Today, I’m going to share a little about my DNA, history, and ancestry. And some news I’ve been dying to share!

If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that I had my DNA tested last year. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I expected to be more Scandinavian.  I also expected to be more Irish.


Prior to my testing, I had stumbled across some Irish mythology on the Tuatha de Danann while initially researching some Welsh mythology.  Some of the stories have overlapping similarities.

There are some claims that based on descriptions of the Tuatha de Danann [tall, red or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, pale skin, came from the sky on ships] that these were really Nordic Vikings on ships, the likes of which had never been seen, emerging from the mist.

When I read about that, I thought… AHA!  When I take my test it will show Irish, but it will be ancestral Scandinavian and will answer why I am not petite and am pale.


I mean look at my dad…red hair, freckles, pale (Florida sun hides this reality).


One of my children was born with red hair (he’s also my muse for the title photo).

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 9.54.01 AM

Ethnicity Estimates.

Alas!  I am 10% Irish.  

Less than my husband’s 20%.


I have also run my DNA results through (you can upload your raw DNA here and find matches who may have used other testing companies).

There are admixture with oracle-4 tests [I am still learning which to choose- I chose the MDLP K23b. If you are knowledgeable in this area, feel free to jump into the comment section as I am claiming no knowledge, only sharing my results].

These tests can also show a breakdown of your ethnicity. I have read that if your ethnicity is as homogenous as mine, these programs have a hard time really pinpointing the region that your DNA comes from.  I don’t know if this is true or not.

The 1 population approximation lists me as (top 3 and the @ is the distance from similar ethnicity.):

  • English @ 3.29 (I’ve rounded these numbers)
  • Irish @ 3.34
  • English_Cornwall_GBR @ 4.16

The 2 population approximation is 50% German-Volga + 50% Orcadian @ 2.62.

3 population approximation is the same, they just change it to 25% Orcadian + 25% Orcadian

The 4 population approximation is:  German-Volga + Irish + Orcadian + Scottish-Argyll-Bute-GBR @ 2.57.


I do have an ancestral history of Germans who emigrated to the United States from the Palatinate region.  Palatinate Germans were some of those who emigrated to Russia upon invitation by Catherine the Great.  Perhaps that is why I show German-Volga. In case you are wondering, Orcadian is the native population of the Orkney Islands of Scotland who are historically descended from the Picts, Norse, and Scots.

While I think an ethnicity estimate is an amazing tool, most things will remind you that your genealogical research is always key.  I am by no means an expert when it comes to genealogy.  I am barely a beginner.

I’ve shared before that I was not interested in history until I took this DNA test.  This history became tangible when I applied it to people that I descend from.


Descendant of William Durkee.

One of my distant relatives, my paternal 8th great- grandfather, was William Durkee. He was born about 1632 in Ireland (I’ve seen it listed at Meath, Ireland).  William is thought to be one of the first Irishmen to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He arrived in Massachusetts on November 9, 1663, as an indentured servant to Thomas Bishop.  He came from Barbados and is thought to have been sent there during Cromwell’s military invasion of Ireland (There is a lot of controversy surrounding myths and facts about that situation.  I am not a history major…not even close.  I will not be addressing that.)  The reason so much is known about his indentured servitude is because there are court records.

Most of the court records that I have seen discuss the fact that he impregnated Martha Cross, who is believed to have worked in the house of Thomas Bishop.  There are records of them coming before the court, charged with fornication, and the option of being whipped or paying fees.  There are records of a suit by her father for abuse of his daughter (the impregnation) and a counter-suit by William for her father withdrawing consent to marriage.  They would marry December 20, 1664, and two weeks later my 7th great-grandfather, John Durkee, would be born. For some time, William Durkee was not able to purchase land because he would not renounce his Catholic faith.  I have seen that he eventually did purchase land, but am not sure what led to that possibility.

Almost all of the Durkees in the United States and Canada descend from his 3 sons. If you’re curious about my line it’s: William Durkee>John Durkee>Stephen Durkee>Phineas Durkee> Experience Durkee>David Woodbury>John Milton Woodbury>Laura Louise Woodbury (my great-grandmother).


Descendent of the line McLachlan.

The only other family line that I’m pretty confident originates in Ireland is my maternal great-great-grandmother, Agnes McLachlan Scott (in the picture above). I’ve shared a little about my Scottish history in this post.

A synopsis is that Agnes McLachlan was born in 1865 in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the daughter of Hugh McLauchlan (the census spells the name differently repetitively) and Agnes Baird.  On December 20, 1889, she married my great-great-grandfather, James Scott (son of James Scott and Mary Munn).

James Scott was a miner and this would lead them to immigrate with their four sons to Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1911.  Based on the typical naming pattern used in Scotland, I was able to discover that my great-grandfather, George Brown Scott, was actually named after a stepfather.  Mary Munn married George Brown in Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland on December 30, 1872 (I do not know what happened to James Scott) and appears to have had 4 more children bearing the last name of Brown.


Tracing my roots.

My McLachlan trail is hard to follow as there are many Hugh McLachlan’s in the area. My reasoning for believing that at some point it becomes Irish history is because of the McLachlan name itself.

The Clan MacLachlan is a Highland Scottish clan that claims descent from Lachlan Mor, who lived on Loch Fyne in the 13th century. Tradition is that he was a descendant of Anrothan, an Irish prince of the O’Neill dynasty who moved to Scotland and married the daughter of the King of Argyll.  Further back, the lineage claims descent from Niall Noigiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages), High King of Ireland in the 4th-5th century.


Heading Overseas.

Remember some weeks ago when I shared that I was planning a trip with my mom and aunt?

Well, we haven’t actually booked the tickets yet, but I can’t stand it any longer!!

My mom’s passport came in…

and at the end of the summer…

we are planning to take a trip…


Not only do we plan to see the sights, but we are also hoping to find some of the places listed on the census records and stand on the streets where our ancestors’ feet have stood.

Any tips or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated! has a referral program that saves you 10% on the kit and rewards me $10 if you purchase through them.  I would be happy to send you a link if you are interested. This post has not been sponsored by them.  The referral program is offered to any person who purchases a kit through them. And even if you don’t use my link, they run specials all the time with a percentage off of the full price (usually around holidays when you might like to know your lineage).


Let your light shine!









In Search of Simplicity

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity.

Actually I’ve been thinking about it steadily for over a year.

I heard about the KonMari method around that time, even talked about it here.  I’m a KonMari dropout… I made it through books and clothes, maybe even dabbled into the next section…and then nothing. I love it in concept, but I did not follow through.

I also have certain Feng Shui principles that I have applied to every house since the early 2000’s when I learned them.

  • No mirrors in my bedroom (we started with the one that was attached to the dresser).
  • No TV’s in any bedroom (although the kids seem to have finally gotten around this one with laptops).
  • The bed positioned so that the feet do not align with the exit of the door (and placed in whatever is the commanding position for the room. Typically it is a place where you can see whoever is coming in the door).

There are similar principles that I apply to other parts of the house. Mostly keeping in line with you being able to see what is coming at you.  I think they make sense because I think our natural instincts are to be aware our surroundings and alert to dangers.  There are plenty of other principles. I mostly apply what I have found to create a more comfortable environment.

Feng Shui also relates to simplicity because clutter stops the flow of energy.  Clutter distracts.  Clutter creates disharmony in my spirit.

And yet, my house is still full of it.

I am not a good housekeeper.

It is not a trait of mine that I admire.  I have spoken about my lack of skill in the past. I have shared how easily distracted that I tend to become.

I’m always trying to weed out, to minimize, to simplify.  I have this compulsion that I feel like it’s essential to my growth as a person to complete this task.

I don’t want to be a slave to my possessions. I don’t want to continually clean my home (and it still look like I’ve done nothing). I want to invite a friend over for coffee and not race around hiding debris (to be clear, I doubt any of my friends would care.  This is self-imposed). I want to hang out more with my kids…spend more quality time with my husband. I want to find moments to “just be” and not feel guilty about all the chores hanging over me.

I can see why there is a tiny house movement. 500 sq ft or less is a little too intimidating for me.

But I could downsize.

Lower overhead. Less to clean. Less places for clutter to hide.

I could totally downsize.

Which is a huge eye-opener for me. I have steadily picked larger and larger homes…and now I want to revert to something more akin to a bungalow (with terrazzo floors and retro bathrooms if I were still by the Florida seashore).

I am not sure minimalism is fully what I’m aiming for, but it does give me ideas for my process.  Since the beginning of my journey, I have been seeking simplicity and contentment.



Hygge has become the new buzzword in simplicity.  And of course I only heard about it a few months ago, which I shared here. (As a side note: I was really hoping that my DNA test would show that I was more than 5% Scandinavian.  I was sure that my big hands, big feet, and broad shoulders were because I had an ancestor that was a Viking Princess!)

I decided that I would put some hygge and simplicity books on hold at the library.  Imagine my surprise when they all came in within a few days of each other.

This means that I will be stepping up my reading game.  The Hygge books and The Joy of Less are only two week loans because they are new.  Which also means that somebody else will probably have them on hold and I will not be able to re-check them out.

In what little I’ve read, I haven’t found hygge to be about the “less stuff” side of simplicity.  It seems to me to be more about the “being present” and “content” side of simplicity.


And cozy.

Cozy is a word that surrounds the concept of hygge.

I like cozy.  Especially because I don’t like cold.  The hubby bought me L.L. Bean slippers for Christmas so my toes don’t turn blue (like literally…I have Raynaud’s). They remind of little elfin boots…which I find hilarious since I have large feet.

I’ve read that bedtime rituals help prepare your mind for a better sleep.  I still haven’t eliminated blue light time in bed (I check my phone…not so good for sleepy time), but I do put on a lotion that’s scent triggers my brain that it’s time for bed.

I am on the slow road to simplicity.  But I am moving ever forward.

Do you have any parts of your day(s) that help you to find more simplicity?

If so, be sure to share in the comments.  I love learning new things!


Let your light shine!


Tha Best! Kombucha hand crafted in Floyd Virginia

Farmer’s Market & Winter Weather

Copyright © Amy Lyon Smith.  All rights reserved.


Do you ever have plans and then life throws a wrench into them?

If not, then consider yourself lucky.

The girlie came home sick on Friday, proceeded to run a fever most of the weekend. She attempted school yesterday. Made it two hours. I was on snack duty for the soccer game, but that got cancelled due to the impending snow.

It was a good thing though because I awoke on Monday to my ankle hurting. I have no recollection of twisting it, but realized by the afternoon that it was quite swollen. I’m following the RICE method, but monitoring it since it came out of nowhere. And there aren’t any indications of external cuts for infection.

cb 3

Add in the two hour school delay for what turned out to be a dusting of snow….

Needless to say, my house looks like a tornado and a hurricane met up and had a baby.

So what do you do when that’s your reality?

Hobble yourself into Panera to meet your girlfriend and commiserate about the weather (we are both Florida transplants).

That’s why you get my photos of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. I’m living vicariously through them. 🙂

This is where you belong the art and science of loving the place you live by melody warnick book cover

But I am really trying to embrace the Virginia weather. Okay, maybe not really. I’m counting down the days until spring.

6 Days.

I hope Old Man Weather gets the memo that no cold is allowed to happen once we reach that magical date!

If you caught last week’s Friday Faves, then you’ll know about my newest read. I’m about 75% of the way through now. Melody Warnick offers lots of ways to “Love Where You Live”. I mentioned the 3/50 project in Friday’s post. Another that she mentions is the Farmer’s Market. She says there is a tendency for more interaction, more community in the way a farmer’s market is set up (i.e.-multiple vendors…etc).

I love her statistics that if the residents just here in southern Virginia would agree to spend 15% of our weekly food budget on locally grown food products, it would generate $90 million in new income for area farms! Local money that then usually stays local, generating a stronger local economy.

Prior to reading that section of her book, I happened to go to a Wellness expo at the Farmer’s Market, which is held at a local nursery, this past Saturday.


I found quite a few wellness goodies that I’ll be sharing this upcoming Friday. The one perishable that I picked up was this Kombucha. I am a big fan of Kombucha.

Locally produced makes it that much better.

The distance to Roanoke, Virginia from Floyd, Virginia is about 42 miles.

The distance from a “big name” brand Kombucha, that I drink, to Roanoke is over 2400 miles.

Another plus was that I got to talk to one of the owner/brewers of Tha Best! Kombucha. She let me try samples before I committed to the Lavender Lemonade. Then I added a bottle of Winter Chai after learning that some of the flavors are seasonal and this would be the last week for Winter Chai. The containers are refillable and certain flavors are on tap at a variety of locations nearby. Their Facebook page lets you know what flavors will be available at the upcoming Farmer’s Market.

So when I then read about how there is a chance to embrace where you live by regularly frequenting the local Farmer’s Market, I could definitely see how becoming a regular face stopping by these vendor’s tables would lead to mutual interaction. A way to be a part of your community. Possibly leading to you feeling some place attachment for your locale.

I admit that I have a tendency to forget about this Farmer’s Market and the one held in downtown Roanoke because they were not commonplace where I lived in Florida. Plus, I’m very bad on the “meal planning” spectrum. I was surprised at how many crops there were given that it is still winter. I plan to take more notice of those on my next return.

downtown 1

One positive of the wrench thrown in my plans is that sitting around on the couch lets me catch up on my reading! 🙂


Let your light shine!


Alan Watts Quote - The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Roanoke River in the background

Friday Faves – “Local” Edition


Honestly I think this is true most days.

Minus the hot part!

But today is Friday!!

So I’m letting the other side of my new coffee mug represent today.



Fabulous, darling, Fab-u-lous.

The crazy weather pattern in Virginia continues.

We’ve had numerous days of close to and even hitting 70 degrees (F).  And now we have snow coming in a few days.

Guess that means more time to read.


I picked up this book at the library- This Is Where You Belong, The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick. It was at the front on the new release shelves and caught my eye.  I don’t think it’s a shocker that I’ve had a hard time adjusting to living in Virginia (yes, even 3+ years later).

Imagine how surprised I was that the author, Melody Warnick lives in Blacksburg, a town not to far from Roanoke.  She wrote this book after move #6 and was determined to figure out how to fall in the love with the town she had moved to.  I’m only 1/4 of the way through it, but am thoroughly enjoying it.  She was already said so many of the things that I have thought.

I live in the suburbs, with no sidewalks, so there isn’t really walking the town for me. But she does offer some other tactics that I’m planning to employ.

One of which relates to shopping local.

She refers to The 3/50 Project which is about saving the independent brick and mortar stores in the U.S. (I think this concept is applicable anywhere-the numbers are just based on the U.S.). It states that if half of the employed population would commit to spending $50 each month in locally owned businesses, it would generate more that 42.6 billion in revenue.

Those locally owned shops are what give a town its character, but I often find myself in the same situation she found, which was looking for the cheaper option.  Those businesses can’t thrive without locals purchasing their goods.  It’s also been reported that more of the money gets filtered back into the community when you buy local.  Win-Win.

The 3/50 project is about picking three independently owned businesses and spending a total (or more) of $50 between the three places during a month.

If you checked out my Friday Faves last week, then you can see I already had a head start on March since I visited a local, independent shop and found lots of goodies to bring home with me.

The hubby and I are major foodies!  And the preference is for non-chain food.  We decided that we would eat over in this great little urban section of town, Grandin Village.  You might remember I mentioned Grandin Village in this post, highlighting the architecture of a church over there.

Now Grandin is a walkable section of town.  And there are always people out walking the sidewalks from their homes to the little shops along it.  We ate lunch at Local Roots.  It’s a Farm to Table Restaurant.  The menu changes according to what is in season.  I decided on the soup of the day and lunch salad.  I can’t tell you what all the soup had in it, the waitress had me at “vegetables” and “it’s delicious”.  I did ask if they could add the pickled onions to my salad because they are delish.  My hubby ate their ham sandwich because it had him at horseradish. I stole a few bites of it…and it was so much yum.


I also ordered the artisan bread because I was starving and was worried about having enough food.  If you’ve ever read any of my very early foodposts which can be found here, here, here, and here , then you know that I am mostly gluten free.  I used to be fully gluten free (no, I don’t have celiac disease… I have stomach problems that feel better when I don’t eat wheat…and yes…I discuss my eating habits with my doctor), but occasionally I opt for some bread.  This was the perfect, light addition to add to my lunch.  I didn’t even need dessert.  Oh, and they had an amazing unsweetened blueberry iced tea that I wish I was sipping on right now!


Part of the reason for our excursion to Grandin was because that is where the Co-Op is located.  I am a member of the Co-Op, but don’t get there as often as I would like.  We picked up the lotion that my hubby likes and a few other things.  I was very tempted by this mug, but it was a little smaller than I like (I drink huge cups of coffee!) and plus, I’d already picked up the new mug at the top of this post.

The girlie had her first middle school match last night.

I got to see a friend who is the epitome of southern sweetness, who is going through some heavy stuff, and yet she is there with a smile on her face and offering me a hug of hello.

I sat with women (and men) whose daughters have been playing soccer with mine for some time.  I met some new mother’s who had girls on the field. All of us laughing and cheering for those girls. A little whoop, whoop when one scored a goal.

They won 5-0!

Later that night, I heard from another girlfriend asking me if I wanted to check out an expo this weekend.

And I reflected on the fact that even though I miss Florida and the friends and family there, I have met some pretty amazing people here.

And it’s relationships that make me begin to love this place a little more.

So with that in mind, a song I’m loving this week:


Let your light shine!