2012 Highlight Reel (Wow, this took me forever.)

I just heard that tomorrow was New Years Eve. What can I say? We must have BIG plans.

This year brought the most new readers yet and I have been thinking back over 2012 and wanted to review a few highlights, and the posts that, as always, only told part of the story…Thanks for coming along.


We welcomed 2012 on Highway 64 driving back from a friend’s wedding in Memphis. We listened to audiobooks on the kindle I gave Travis for Christmas. He turned around and gave me one for-no-particular-reason or perhaps Valentines Day. I began E-reading and have not looked back.

I also made a profound statement when I named Going To Target Less as my New Years Resolution. I admit I did remarkably better this year. I think I made four trips in December. That sadly is a strong improvement.


I did a brief guest series on Place featuring some of my favorite people writing on their exotic location. 

I mused on Lent a bit and named some items I would give up.

In one weekend, we hosted the Love and Respect Conference at our church, Olivia threw up so I missed it, we met a couple visiting from Canada who are now friends living in Williamsburg, and I took a positive pregnancy test, thus derailing some of those Lent goals. (Did you wonder why I didn’t bring up the topic again?)

I also posted 14 days of Love, which actually made me like Valentines Day, and practice churning out posts.

Oh and I became entrenched in the world of Downton Abbey.


I paid homage to our stump, soared with my Super Girl, and overthought that TinkerBell movie. 


I wrote for the first time about being married to a pastor, got the closest I get to being political, went to the Outer Banks for a glorious weekend, attended an outdoor wedding moved inside, and freaked out and cut off my hair.


I read The Prodigal Son and Taylor Armstrong’s book. I’m diverse like that.  We went on vacation to Florida, celebrated Mothers Day, and somewhere in there my sister had her darling baby, and I decided to apply to seminary…


I finally told all of you I was pregnant, puzzled over Hello Kitty’s lack of mouth, missed Tom Hanks in Virginia Beach and TIm Tebow across the street, and explained to Olivia that we were not re-incarnationists. My brother’s family moved back to the East Coast, I turned 31 and read Anna Quindlen’s book to commemorate it and Travis and I celebrated nine years of marriage.


I hit my summer rhythm of barely posting but did manage to let you know that we were having our third girl, read and re-read Ben Conner’s Amplifying Our Witness, and completely reconfigured our entire house. 


After dreaming up the solution to all vacation conflict, I really felt the transitions that were upon us, said goodbye to the Ritners, hello to grad school and sent Sophia to kindergarten. Looking back, August was a lot of a lot. I’m surprised I wasn’t in Target everyday coping..


We traded in our car for a van and then headed to Rockbridge for some zip-lining. I did the Jess Jiao Smith Jewelry Giveaway, and made an open-call for names which received more participation than I could have imagined. (People still give me suggestions.) I also wrote a letter to my teenage self, regretted being too heavy for Olivia’s fantasy world and confessed my commitment to the Fast Food Nation.


We visited Jamestown, P.F. Chang’s, and Yankee Candle to ask Santa for name suggestions. My Dad assembled The Most Impossible Crib of All Time, and the Clydesdales paraded down the street.


I learned to receive, celebrated my baby turning four and becoming a big sister, joyously welcomed Leila Luisa, and got honest about post-partum depression. 


I warned Christmas to be a bit more kind, was surprised by a Moose, and saw the sweet smiles of our Baby Girl. A school, a town, and each and every one of us were silenced by tragedy and I watched my oldest turn six, only to realize this parenting gig never lightens, only changes form. My brother and sister-in-law welcomed a precious son making this next generation a force of its own:


2012 was a big one. I’m grateful for the goodness, challenges and growth and am ready  to move forward:

2013…show us what you’ve got.

 Have a wonderful Happy New Year! and thanks for reading. What were your favorite posts?




In Honor of Facebook Going Public Tomorrow…

okay, well, no, that’s just a coincidence, but this does involve FB, and these sorts of posts pain me to write, so let me get it over with quickly…

In an effort to simplify, I’m not going to be posting blog posts on my personal FB page anymore. If you read posts through FB “like” the blog page and you will get every update. I also will update the Songs to Sing FB page with posts that I’ve read, links related to posts, etc. etc.  If you follow on Twitter you will receive the same feed as the FB page. (10 years ago that sentence might as well have been  in Elfin.)

And all of you following me on Pinterest? I don’t know who’s encouraging you to do it and seriously, I’m flattered, but it’s not happening (sorry Laurina). I think it might go back to my real-life-Fear of Creating Bulletin Boards. I love to browse but I hesitate to pin. Perhaps I just can’t separate the term “pinning” from the first scene  in Bye Bye Birdie.  I realize I might be totally weird and alone in this one. And I’m going to be okay with that.


[Day 6 of Love] does not

Dishonor Others. (NIV)

or, according to some other versions, Love

is not rude (New Century Version)

…doth not behave itself unseemingly (American Standard Version)

…has good manners. (Phillips)

…does not act unbecomingly (New American Standard)

…doesn’t force itself on others (The Message)

does not make a scene (Me)


I Corinthians 13:5…It does not dishonor others.

We’re counting down to February 14 here, and though my scotch-taped hearts have begun fluttering to the floor,  we re-tape and  press on.

Welcome to the 90’s, Little Blog.

Happy Monday! You’ll notice some changes…and I am discovering, with horror,  that some of you think am capable of this kind of style…

So it’s time, with a very full heart, to give credit…

 – I have two dear friends who are talented and stylish and really skilled…This year, in many ways, has become the Year of Listening to the Right Voices, and Laurie and Leila’s voices of encouragement eventually drowned out my own voice of hesitation. They have their own full-time lives but made time for this blog, and never once questioned why after 5 years I still cannot figure out how to install something in the HTML.

– If you look to the right, you will see my face. Everytime I open the site, I jump, as I do when that floating face follows my comments and emails around. But apparently it’s what everyone’s doing these days.

 Cathy Lachine graciously took my picture. I am so grateful for Cathy. And I am grateful that she had a trampoline for two little girls to jump on during our photo session. The fact that I don’t look cross eyed from watching those big bows go up and down up and down, mid-shoot, is a true testimony to her skill.

A. Mabe Design did my logo. I found Amber’s shop on Etsy and one August night, while answering her questionaire, ended up pouring out my heart on the topics of life, love and blogging. It was probably more than she asked for but she never judged.  Nor did she judge when, in response to her request for my color palette, I sent a blurry picture of my favorite dress of Sophia’s. Amber came up with something that felt like me – but brighter, with better fonts. She is super to work with, timely, and kind. I filled out some sort of rating on Etsy to convey that, but it’s more my way to gush…

–  I thank Travis for his innate tendency to respond big and  generously, something that continues to draw me to him. Our stories began getting tangled up together a very long time ago – and it’s with the knowledge that he would always rather share than keep to himself that I speak freely in this space of a our life and craziness.

– And to Sophia and Olivia: Far too often this life of being unemployed and “at home” is shaded in sacrifice. I was told it was a worthy calling, but my skills would rust, my resume would suffer, and to be sure to join a Book Club…

No one told me that I would grow more than I thought possible and in attempting to articulate our adventures, discover my own voice.

 Thank you for letting your lives be the pages I write on…I am the luckiest.

We’ll probably continue to tweak some things for a while, or forever, but in the meantime, there are some fancy new ways to read: FB, Twitter, RSS,  email. I’ve requested voicemail alerts for the four people who still listen to those. My people are working on it.

And there are people who can

spell restaurant

and those who clearly can’t.

Don’t worry. It’s edited now. But not before it fed to Google Reader for all eternity.

I pride myself on not using Spell Check. Lesson Learned.

I got really really far in the 5th grade spelling bee but the three words I have never been able to spell are restaurant (just never looks right), surprise (obviously needs a “Z”) and weird (i before e anyone?). Am I alone here?


Not Yet…

My Bath and Body Works Fairy made a delivery last night and I am beyond thrilled.

But I am not burning this candle, not yet. I am smelling it, whenever I pass it –  which is definitely weird, but I’m waiting to light it… waiting for fall.

The signs are all around, and the magazines are filled with fall shades and trends and scents. But let’s face it, it’s still 90 degrees outside, and for this VB native, summer leaves town with The Neptune Festival.

So, we’re in the In-Betweens. Sophia starts  4 Day Preschool next week (she  calls it “No Friday Kindergarten.) I would love love love to be shopping for school supplies but the only supply they request in Preschool is Chlorox Wipes.

And they request them over and over with a pleading look in their eyes. This baffles me…as I wipe my child’s dripping nose, saying assuringly, “She’s at the end of this nasty viral thing…”.

So somehow walking past the pencils and folders towards the all too- familiar Chlorox wipe aisle keeps us in the In-Betweens. Sunscreen is cheapest right now, so are bathing suits. And pool toys – if you can find any.

We are headed to Boston today for a friend’s wedding. When we get back, the rhythm of scheduled life officially begins. Changes will abound. Change in our daily pace, even some changes around here. Some stylistic changes are in the works, I hope to complete a bunch of stuff that got back-logged in summer craziness and perhaps even do a few giveaways  (Chlorox Wipes anyone?)

 Our long weekend away includes  Sunday, the 11th. Friday, the 9th, will mark one year since the death of Emma’s husband Todd in Afghanistan. In the midst of our celebrating, far from home, we will be remembering.

Here’s to you – what you are celebrating, remembering, and changing with this changing season, be it fall, summer or anything in-between.

And until I feel ready to light my Pumpkin Patch Candle, I will continue to enjoy my $5 generic Christmas candle bought during Hurricane Prep. Yes, that makes so much more sense.

we’re here!

Welcome to the new site – dedicated to my Patron Saint of Nomenclature, Nina Simone. Not a jazz fan? Well, never mind. A few big thank you’s – two really. My brother set all of this up for me – in the midst of running his own company, participating in Vegas Trade Shows, having two baby daughters, and owning a horse-dog. I am convinced that only about 8% of people who want to host sites on the internet actually have the skills to do it. My brother is one of the few who carry this burden. And I thank him.

I also want to thank my college friend, Matt. Three years ago we were standing in my kitchen during Homecoming Weekend and he told me I should “write more on the blog. You know, people want to hear what you have to say not just look at your pictures.” I timidly began to take his advice. Looking back on my transition to motherhood, there were parts of me that I kind of lost track of along the way. As crazy awkward as it feels to admit, this medium has helped me find my voice again. Life Lesson: Encourage people. They may not even realize how hungry they are for it.

So there is more to fine tune, but I just needed to get this up and move on with my life – child neglect was eminent. I hate a blog that goes on and on about itself so to compensate here are some favorite links from last week:

My sister posted her book list from the past year. An incredible book recommender, Ruthie beats Amazon’s instincts every time. (They have been recommending The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding for me for five years straight.)

Shauna Niequist shares incredibly tender thoughts on infertility, longing, and having enough. I had the opportunity to meet Shauna last Fall and we had a brief talk about the power of being thankful that I often think about. Read this if you have ever wanted anything.

Finally, for you productive ones out there, Hollywood Housewife did a great post on life in increments– an organizational strategy for getting things done. I’ve been implementing this and a few days this week actually managed to close all my kitchen cabinets before leaving the house.

It’s 12:15 and I hear a wailing child. Good Night Moon.