I’m singing the solo in the choir this Sunday.

Please don’t get too excited.

The first soloist couldn’t make it.

The second one went our of town.

So actually….I’m the third-string singer.

Vintage Christmas Tree


Not that I won’t give it my heart and soul.

I’m kind of a heart and soul singer.

When I sing….I’m smiling and articulating and nodding and tilting and giving the song everything I have……from the top of my 5’1″ highlighted hair to the tips of my red polished toes…..

…..and hoping and praying that I stay on key.

It wasn’t always like this.

Brown Paper Packages

When I was younger I was convinced that I was going to take it on the road.

I knew that I knew that I knew…..I was going to Hollywood.

Or the Grand Ole Opry.

Or Broadway.

I knew that I was the latest greatest undiscovered talent…..just waiting to be discovered.

Upstairs Study Room

I would sit in the back of the family station wagon and belt out Kenny Rogers.

“You got to know when to hold ’em.  Know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away.

And know when to run.

You never count your money….when you’re sittin’ at the table.  They’ll be time enough for counting’….

….when the dealing’s done.”

I can remember bouncing around on those blue vinyl station wagon seats…..singing to my brothers and sisters and thinking to myself how incredible I sounded.

How in tune.

How amazing.

One step away from Star Search and Ed McMahon.

Hanging Shelf

I just knew if someone heard me…..someone who mattered……someone like a scout or a Hollywood agent……I knew.

 I knew my name would be in lights.

And then one summer I saw my opportunity.  

We were at a country Jamboree in the middle of Arkansas.  They were picking and grinning and banjo playing and the fiddles were dueling.  And somewhere between “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Clementine”…….

….they asked for volunteers from the audience.

I was eleven and with every bit of confidence from eleven years of singing Kenny Rodgers in the back of a station wagon….I frantically waved my hand and jumped up and down.

They picked me.

This was going to be it.

I just knew it.  

This was my moment.

My moment to shine.


I stepped forward and told them I was going to sing, “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

Maybe I should have chosen Kenny.

Maybe I should have practiced a little more.

All I know is I sang and sang.

I sang as if this was my chance.  As if this was my dream.  As if Hollywood agents were waiting in the wings with a five-year contract.

I closed my eyes and sang with all my heart.

And eight changed keys and 97 off-key notes later…..

……I opened my eyes to silence.

Vintage Christmas Tree


The band had stopped playing.

The audience was staring at me.

No one said a word.


Now here’s the part in the story where I tell you how devastated I was.  That I ran off the stage crying.  That I was so distressed that I never sang again.



I thought it was wonderful.  Through the eyes of a confident eleven-year-old….I left that stage triumphant.

I thought that it was amazing.

I left them speechless.

They were so overwhelmed by my singing that a hush came over the crowd.

Merry Christmas Pillow


There are many life lessons to be gleaned from that long-ago stage in Arkansas.

Hollywood agents don’t really visit Jamborees.

The “Yellow Rose of Texas” should be sung in the key of C.

Believing in yourself is wonderful.

Confidence is a good thing.

And I when I sing this weekend…..

…..I’m thinking I should change it to one of Kenny’s greatest hits. 🙂

Merry, Merry Christmas to you. 

PS  A giant shout out to my wonderful, incredible friend, Beth for featuring my house today!  Stop over for new pictures and the tour!


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Erin @ How to Nest for Less Erin @ How to Nest for Less

    Just remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Merry Christmas to you, Kari Anne. I hope you and your family have a blessed time together. You've been such an inspiration in 2012 and I've loved seeing you grow and flourish. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you in 2013 ;)

  2. Image for Teresa Teresa

    "I knew that I was the latest greatest undiscovered talent…..just waiting to be discovered. I knew my name would be in lights." You are and It would be...just not in singing! ;) But this weekend...you belt it out like Kenny was listening! Merry Christmas!

  3. Image for cassie cassie

    oh holy night..... or the gambler.... or maybe you could do a duet to a christmas to remember. oh yeah, singing about logs on a hot fire and one night stands always goes over well in church. ;) best of luck- blow them away! make the silence mean awe and wonder!

  4. Image for Regina Regina

    Just don't sing "The Gambler." LOL - although I was thrilled to see that you included the whole chorus! I personally can not sing part of the chorus without singing the whole thing - much to the chagrin of my family. Same with "I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden . . . " I can just see that confident 11-year-old smiling as she walked off that stage! I was one of those, too . . . ;) You'll be great!! I know one member of your choir that has defected to sunnier climes. I'm very jealous, by the way. Merry Christmas! :)

  5. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Funny I thought I would be a singer one day too...then reality sunk in. Ha! I'm sure you'll do just great...probably should stick to some Christmas songs tho...just sayin'! Merry Christmas to you too!! ;)

  6. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    LOL You remind me of me! My childhood neighbor remembers me sitting on their swing set "singing away." Yep, I remember singing as loudly as I could so there would be more people lucky enough to hear me. :) I don't remember thinking of Nashville, Hollywood or even a church solo, though.

  7. Image for Kim L. Kim L.

    as my kids would have said "cricket....cricket..." I loved your story! What a flashback too. Maybe after Kenny, you could sing "Convoy". It's going to be great, I can just hear it now - all those people sitting there thinking that they are going to hear a regular ol' Church solo.... .

  8. Image for Jennifer @ Celebrating Everyday Life Jennifer @ Celebrating Everyday Life

    You totally crack-me-up! That story is hy-sterical! I grew up singing and performing but oddly it made me way less self-confident rather than more confident... go figure! I'm completely in awe of the photos - I totally want to make a hanging shelf now AND a yardstick step stool! Pronto!!! Best of luck this weekend - sing unto the Lord a NEW song - perhaps a mashup of Kenny and Oh Holy Night? I can just hear it now :-)

  9. Image for Mimi Adams Matthews Mimi Adams Matthews

    Oh my GOSH I LOVE you!!! Thank you so much for giving me a great belly laugh. I can just SEE it! Oh you little darlin' you. Good for you, sister. What a wonderful thing to be full of confidence. All I can say for Sunday is...you GLOW girl, and they will be in the palm of your hand.

  10. Image for Sandra @Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls Sandra @Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls

    I have sung in church ONCE, and I was three years old. I had gone with my grandmother, and was standing up in the pew. The preacher said "Let's all stand and sing". Since I was already standing, I started singing at the top of my lungs, in a moment when everybody else was silent. "My bucket's got a hole in it, can't get no beer". That was in the middle of Arkansas, too. I guess between the two of us, those folks will never recover! But you are a star in my eyes, and I bet you sing like an angel!!!

  11. Image for Kathryn Cain Kathryn Cain

    Warm up your voice and wow them....I know you will be great.....and anyone who can sing I am in wow of...me so off key it makes your gringe...but I can create art,paint a dresser..turn paper into someithing pretty, tell you how to dress to look your best and ....we all have talents and yours are very amazing...your home I love and I know I would be clapping for you.......have fun

  12. Image for Cynthia Toone Riley Cynthia Toone Riley

    Did you see the movie, Prancer? I just love the opening scene where the little girl sings with so much gusto. Just like you! I am so glad I found your blog this year...thanks for all the smiles and wonderful ideas. Merry Christmas!

  13. Image for Beverly Beverly

    May I just say, me too. I love to sing. But I can assure you that they would never pick me anywhere in the string. They would rather do without. I'm over it. I've decided that God likes my "joyful" noise. I want a box tied with that gorgeous ribbon. The box doesn't need to contain a gift. That gorgeous package would be enough.

  14. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    My blue record player got a workout when I belted out my own Kenny Rogers tunes in the privacy of my bedroom. Now, I'll sing anywhere there's no crowd - I don't want to hurt anyone's poor eardrums so I save it for the shower, the car, while dancing around my house. Channel that 11 year old and you'll be fabulous! Kelly

  15. Image for Lori H Lori H

    Enjoy your solo, you brave person! I love love to sing, but I am terrible :) So I try not to inflict my enthusiastic warbling on anyone else. Thanks for sharing that awesome story, funny and fun. I am so looking forward to following your blog in 2013 as i have enjoyed every minute since I started!

  16. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Great story! Brings back the memories of my 3 sisters and I in the back of the Ford station wagon singing "You light up my Life". We knew we were fabulous and should be on tour with the Osmond Family. Have a wonderful holiday to you and your family.

  17. Image for Marty Walden Marty Walden

    America's Got Talent ain't got nothin' on you, girl! Star Search? Wow, you're older than you look :) I AM a singer and I still wouldn't audition for those shows. I was dreaming of Broadway but some dreams just need to die peacefully. Good luck Sunday. 3rd string is better than no string! Merry Christmas!

  18. Image for Mary Anne Mary Anne

    Kari Anne...Mary Anne from Arkansas. Were you in Mountain View? The fiddles and the banjos reign there :) and the steel guitars. I make it a point to visit several times a year..but I don't volunteer to sing. I'm sure you'll do fine...and although you may never stand on the Grand Ole Opry stage..you're a hit in blog land. I love your blog. It makes me smile EVERY SINGLE TIME I read your posts. Merry Christmas!

  19. Image for Daniela @frugal ain't cheap Daniela @frugal ain't cheap

    is the heart that counts! my (almost) 3 years old girl LOVES to sing...she is one of those scream loud and louder kind of singer...similar to the sound of a cayote in the trash compactor :) But bless her heart! She loves singing, she sings all the times, makes my heart happy. I am sure you will do great!

  20. Image for Cindy Cindy

    What a great story. You are probably a very good singer, where I come from you don't get picked for third string if you're no-good at all. Your trees all look amazingly beautiful. I love your style and always enjoy seeing photos of your house. Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and yours in 2013. Hugs, Cindy

  21. Image for betsy c betsy c

    Bless your little heart. Would that we all had that much confidence in ourselves. What couldn't we accomplish ;-)

  22. Image for Holly Holly

    This is the best story!!! Haven't we all felt that way at one time or another? But you...YOU...had the courage to do it! To really go for it! I love this! And even though you didn't bring the house down and get a contract, the fact that you thought you did is wonderful! I love the confidence of that little girl... the confidence that wasn't shaken in the least! Kudo's to your parents for instilling that in you! You'll do wonderfully in your solo...I just know it!! Merry Christmas! Oh, and I LOVE all of your photos and wonderful decor!

  23. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Have fun and knock it outta the ballpark! Thank you for all your fun posts! I love them. Have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

  24. Image for Michele Michele

    You will be fabulous- singing the Lord's praises is waaaaaaay different that opting for the Claim to Fame! You cannot sing poorly if you are praying it! I sang "Oh Thou that Tellest" for Midnight Mass a few years ago and was so nervous (Me, nervous?) that I didn't eat a single bite at Christmas Eve dinner.................and we're talking Catholics here, we didn't get home till 1am and I was so hungry I almost freaked out. I remember the elation of that song, and how difficult it was to sing - challenging number- and so glad I did it. I moved since then and haven't joined the choir since, but always keep thinking I will one of these days - but after having Whooping Cough for 4 months I shredded my poor vocal chords coughing. So I will leave up to the likes of you - and listen with glad tidings in my heart. God bless you, sweet friend. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS! BIG HUGS

  25. Image for Julie S Julie S

    Aw, I loved your story! I loved to sing as a child and teen, but I was quite aware of my key changes and inconsistent upper register. So I sang for pleasure, but not where anyone could hear (and possibly criticize and wound) me. My dad eventually got me into some voice lessons but it wasn't till college that I got a really good teacher who significantly improved my voice to where I could feel proud of it. Now, 7 years out of college, I'm not in a choir though I wish I was but I still like to sing around the house and have been wanting to do that more. My hubby is a musician-type with a strong rock n'roll style voice, and my voice style is more opera/musicals... never the twain shall meet. I gotta quit letting his opinion of my style rob my joy! You're the second blogger to talk about singing this Christmas. I'm taking it as a hint. :)

  26. Image for Bonnie @ Uncommon Bonnie @ Uncommon

    Girl you will be awesome!!! I have a 13 year old singing guitar player here and she oozes that youthful confidence herself and I just smile and sometimes wonder why we can't stay that way forever!! ;)

  27. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Confidence...a good thing!!...Never let go of it...for it will make your wagon lighter when you "hitch it to a star"..... Merry, merry Christmas!!!

  28. Image for Regena Fickes Regena Fickes

    I will pray for you and ask you to pray for me as I narrate our children's choir doing the story of the Nativity. I love that you had that much confidence at 11. I was terribly nervous of doing anything in public. Merry Christmas and thank you for providing inspiration and encouragement.

  29. Image for Lori Lori

    Love the cosy room...thanks for sharing your stories and home. Can always count on a smile from your blog! :) Blessings as you sing & Merry Christmas!

  30. Image for Terri W. Terri W.

    Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2013 to you and your entire family! Keep on singing and spreading your "joy to the world". ;D

  31. Image for Jo @ To a Pretty Life Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    You'll do fabulously! I used to think I could sing. I can sing hymns beautifully. Anything else, though...nope. And I no longer have the confidence to sing in front of an audience, although I used to when I was a teenager. Actually, I didn't have the confidence even then. I just forced myself to do it. I was desperate to be good at something ;-) Love the Christmas decor!

  32. Image for Lynn Lynn

    So cute and so funny, I just loved ready your story. If you are not a sensation I don't know why; with a name like Kariann ( sounds like the perfect country singers name). I know you will do wonderful. My favorite singers are the ones who sing from the heart on key or not. You are diffinately a great decorator and a wonderful inspiration. Merry Christmas..belted gurl...

  33. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Good luck with the solo KariAnne. I'm sure you will do quite well. You must be pretty good to be asked even if you were not first pick. You didn't mention what song you'll be singing. Will it be "Mary Did You Know?" It's one of my favorites. Joyous Wishes, Linda PS A package should arrive before Christmas day.

  34. Image for Dana Dana

    Actually I can't get Kenny Roger's "You Decorated My Life" out of my head, thanks to your uproariously funny story. Speaking of decorating, I am always so greatly inspired by your home and I'm always glad I wandered in. Blessings.

  35. Image for Linda Linda

    Oh my goodness!! You crack me up!! Needed a good laugh... Way to busy!! I'm sure you will sound just fine actually great in Church today!! You Go Girl!! Merry Christmas!

  36. Image for Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky Elzabeth@ Blue Clear Sky

    You will do just fine, just be sure to wear your red lipstick and some bling earrings ; ) Love the photos of your home and your beautiful and entertaining posts. Thanks for sharing with us this past year, and for giving me lots of extra reasons to smile and laugh. Merry Christmas!

  37. Image for Karen @ My Reclaimed Haven Karen @ My Reclaimed Haven

    Karianne, I dont know how else to say this--you are the most adorable, funny, honest, down to earth person and thats exactly how you write! You always hold my interest, and you always make me laugh. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  38. Image for sheri sheri

    ah haaaa - Kenny Rogers - you are too cute. Just when I think your decor can't get any better ..... you add more! Good luck singing - if you sing like your decorate, it's sure to be a hit. Merry Christmas and may God bless you big!

  39. Image for Sharon B. Sharon B.

    Oh my gosh, you tell a great story! I remember belting out that same song, and now it's stuck in my head. :) Hope your solo went well today. Merry Christmas to you! Sharon

  40. Image for Amy Lou Amy Lou

    Merry Christmas! Just wanted to let you know I linked back to your blog on my newest post! https://southernbellesoulmountainbrideheart.blogspot.com/2012/12/fifteen-favorite-finds-christmas-style.html

  41. Image for Susan Susan

    As you often do, you made me smile. I bet you sounded wonderful this morning. =) You aren't third string anything. You are first rate all the way.

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