My heart is brimming over with Christmas joy right now.

I’m wrapping presents and watching Hallmark movies and drinking coffee in the new (old) kitchen and finding upside down Christmas trees with big opinions at my front door and we are going caroling tonight.

And December 25 is knocking at my door.

But it wouldn’t officially be Christmas if I didn’t tell you the innkeepers’ wife story.

I know you’ve heard it before.

I’m like that.

If you are friends with me for more than five minutes you are guaranteed to hear a story at least twice and sometimes even three times over a good cup of coffee.  And so here it is again, along with a little Christmas inspiration to keep you company.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy telling it.

When I was younger, I knew that I knew that I knew….

….I was going to make it onto Star Search.

To me, it wasn’t really a question of if, more of a question of when.

Just a matter of time.

I knew that one day I was going to be discovered singing quietly to myself in aisle seven of Wal-Mart.  The notes would dance softly across the polished linoleum floors into the waiting ears of a big Hollywood agent who would immediately and without hesitation approach me on bended knee and offer to represent me.

And then he would whisk me away to the Star Search stage to a world of fame and fortune and a long and illustrious singing career.

It was going to be incredible.

I couldn’t wait to see my name in lights.


Except for one, tiny, insignificant, often-overlooked, minuscule detail.

I couldn’t sing.

Not ever.

Not even a note.

Truth?  Just between us and the Star Search judges, I wasn’t aware of this fact.  I truly thought I sounded amazing.  I would sing in the back of my parent’s station wagon to an un-eager audience of brothers and sisters and when I belted out the high notes it sounded to me like the angels were singing a heavenly chorus.

Or so I told everyone.

And no one ever disagreed.

I can remember trying out for the solo part in “Away in the Manger” in the Christmas program at church when I was in fourth grade.  I sat at the piano in the music room with the choir director as she listened to my enthusiastic over-the-top-complete-with-choreography-totally-off-key rendition of the song.

And after the first verse, she stopped me quickly with an awkward smile and asked me if I was nervous and offered to play the song on the piano for me so I could hear the notes.

I took this as an encouragement.

The next step in the audition process.

So I sang louder and stronger with more gusto and proceeded to act out the entire first verse of the song and finished the rendition with a last note so full of vibrato that it made the chandeliers rattle.  When I finished she simply sat there for a moment without saying a word.  Then, in a sweet and gentle voice, she told me that she loved my dramatic song interpretation—especially the part when the cattle were lowing.

She went on to tell me she thought that I would have made an amazing soloist, but she had decided with moves like that…..

….I would make the perfect innkeeper’s wife.

And I was.

An amazing non-singing innkeeper’s wife that is.

I never sang a solo in that children’s choir.

But life went on.

And I grew up and got married and had four children and moved to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and then moved back to Texas and bought back the house that I grew up in.

However, the story doesn’t end there.

Years later, I sat in a church pew and waited with anticipation as two golden-haired, blue-eyed twins in matching angel costumes with gold halos stood up to sing one of my favorite Christmas carols….

….Away in the Manger.

And as the piano started to play the first notes of the song I held my breath and listened as two tiny clear voices rang out loud and strong.

Every note in tune.

Every note as clear as a bell.

They finished that long ago chapter and sang the song that I never could with voices straight from my heart.

PS  They didn’t add any choreography, but don’t worry I had it covered. 🙂

PPS  Merry, merry Christmas week from our house to yours.

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  1. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    Yes, KariAnne, I've heard that story before, but I love hearing it again! And again and again. . . I'll be back, for sure. Oh, those twin girls. Your heart walking around outside your body, right? Blessings to you and yours this very special Christmas season.

  2. Image for Donnie Donnie

    And, Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for all the smiles, tears, encouragement and joy you have brought me and others this past year. My family indulges me when I tell of my friend Karrianne's latest exploit. You are a treasure.

  3. Image for Lana Mitchell Lana Mitchell

    Love your new home. Hope you dont mind me asking about the dining room walls. Is ot wallpaper, paint or stained plaster? Love it! Merry Christmas!

  4. Image for Laura Laura

    They are darling! Love the pops of red! On another note, that staircase? Brick wall? Iron spindles? Did I miss a project? I’m obsessed with brick walls!! Merry Christmas!! Laura

  5. Image for Carol G. Carol G.

    Merry Christmas KariAnne. Thanks for helping me start everyday with a smile. You are a gift to us all. Glad you are back in Texas. You are among friends here. Hope to run into you in McKinney someday and buy you a cup of coffee and give you a hug. Have a blessed holiday with your family.

  6. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Yes, I remember it.. 😊. And a warm and Merry Christmas to you, KariAnne, and to your family as well!! Looking forward to what you bring to our New Year!! Merry Christmas, Everyone!! ⛄🎄❄️🕯️📯🎁

  7. Image for Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Your teacher was very kind ..... I remember in camp, we were a group of girls asked to sing. Like you, I was so happy and full of enthusiasm. At one point, the woman taking care of us said "wait ! this part of the group sing, the others be quiet. Then, "now, the other group (that was mine) sing. We did. "Oh ! Anne-Marie, sing alone please. Boy, was I happy .... "Ok. Anne-Marie, you just move your lips and pretend !" Life can be so cruel. I don't care, now, I sing when I'm alone and my cat and dog don't say a thing !

  8. Image for Peg Peg

    Umm, hello Mr. Brick Wall!!! Love your new(old) home, your stories, and everything you do!! Merry Christmas KariAnne!!! xoxo

  9. Image for Sandra Vigil Sandra Vigil

    MERRY CHRISTMAS 🎁 to you and your family! It has been a year of transitions for you, but you have always kept your “chin up.” Thank you for all the wonderful stories, ideas and pictures you have shared with us! P.S. Each day I receive at least 100 emails, but when I see an email from Thistlewood Farms it is one of the first ones I open😉.

  10. Image for Jo Ann Jo Ann

    Are these pics of your new old home? The container that holds the tree in front of iron stairs is sourced where? Gotta have it.

  11. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I love that story and I will again next Christmas and the next!! I enjoy your stories -- they touch the heart and they bring happy tears to my eyes. Have a Merry Christmas and I'm looking forward to more stories in the coming year. Love and Hugs!! ❤️🤗

  12. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Merry Christmas to you and yours too! I love reading your stories and never get tired of hearing them ;) I hope you don't get tired of my sharing some. It's just that your posts remind me sometimes of things in my life that I feel the incredible need to share... My daughter loves to sing too. Always has. But, just like you, bless her heart, she can't carry a tune to save her life. I had arrived to her kindergarten choir recital late because of work and so was forced to stand at the way at the back of the room with some other mothers. Even at the back of the room and among all the other little singers, I could hear my sweet girl's voice, off-key and singing at the top of her lungs,. Two mother's in front of me kept asking, "Who's that little girl?" I didn't say a word. By the way, the house looks incredible! And your twins look as adorable as ever :-)

  13. Image for Jaclyn Jaclyn

    Great story! New to your blog but love it and your new (old) house. You are one talented lady; doesn't matter that you can’t sing in tune; You have other God-given gifts.

  14. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    Once again you put a smile on my face this morning! Thank you for the love that you put out there for all of us. Wishing you and your beautiful family a very merry Christmas. Sing on, girlfriend!

  15. Image for Marjorie Marjorie

    KariAnne I can feel the disappointment you had when you didn’t get to sing on stage. My experience was very similar except I was just told that I could not sing with the group. I was in 4th grade and I was crushed because all my friends were singing. I still do not sing except very quietly in church. What a special lady you had who gave you another choice. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Blessings in 2018! Love all your posts.

  16. Image for Kathy Hall Kathy Hall

    Lovely story, lovely home! Love the glimpses the photos gives us into your new TX home! Do you miss a fireplace in your bedroom? Can't wait to see all the reveals in 2018!!

  17. Image for Julie Coleman Julie Coleman

    You are the best writer I know ! Your spirit is so uplifting in every post ! It is your God given gift of sincere joyful spirit, that you give freely, that blesses all of us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  18. Image for jillian jillian

    Happy holidays, wishing you all well being and love. Since I am a little new around here ....are these photos of your new home? How did you do so much already? Or are they other ? all beautiful. amazing.

  19. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Don't ever STOP telling me stories! My life is better because of your stories. Do your girls have different taste in clothing? Share clothing? fight over clothing. They are so cute but styled so differently. Like each of their styles. Like the red. Happy holidays!

  20. Image for Cynthia H Solomon Cynthia H Solomon

    That is the sweetest story!! Thank you so much for sharing...for some reason I've missed it over the years! Thank you too for sharing your beautiful old/new home! It is beautiful! Many blessings to you and your family!!

  21. Image for Carol Anderson Carol Anderson

    Your blogs are great & I look forward to reading them. Your new/old house is wonderful. Will love to see more of it in time to come. Darling twin girls !

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Me too! I don't remember seeing these photos of your home--it IS your house, right??? Colleen may be confused but I think I'm jealous .... ok, not really, since I think we all shine in our own little way .... sometimes I wish I had mad decorating skills but then I would be you, not me! :)

  22. Image for Deb Deb

    I love to belt out songs in the store, too. But now I'm wondering if I am tone deaf, as 2 of my children are. Might explain the looks I get. Oh, who cares really, right? It's fun....though possibly painful to others. Thanks for the laughs!

  23. Image for Pam Clark Pam Clark

    Beautiful story! But I kept getting distracted by those photographs!! Can't wait to see and hear more about the new/old house. Merry Christmas 🎄

  24. Image for Diane Miller Diane Miller

    This is the best "ending" ever!!!! And don't ever stop singing and dancing. ;) We NEED fabulous innkeeper's wives with twins who sing like angels. Merry Christmas KariAnne!

  25. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    I've followed you forever and not sure how I missed this one, but I love it. So glad you repeat it. Those girls are truly precious gifts from heaven and I am sure their voices match the angels in heaven.

  26. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Great story and those twins! How adorable they look just like you! Merry Christmas! You bring such joy to my computer! xoxoxoxox

  27. Image for Hannah Hannah

    You make my day and have inspired me with your decorating skills and stories. You are a friend I've never met but cherish. Thank you for all you give to us. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

  28. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I thoroughly enjoyed your story but, like many of the others, I kept getting distracted by the pictures! I have questions about nearly every one, but I'd particularly like to know the source of the Zinc urns holding the poinsettias in the picture of your sweet daughters. I'm enjoying so much your journey back home.

  29. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Always love your heart-warming stories. Your dad taught you well. ;) I pray you and your household...and the new house...enjoy a wonderful Jesus' birthday. May Christmas blessings overflow to you all, all year long. :D ❤

  30. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    One of my favorite stories for sure! Details, details, details about that mah-va-lous new, old house of yours, please. Loving it all so far! Merry Christmas, sweet friend, to you and everyone in your family.

  31. Image for Lorri Rauscher Lorri Rauscher

    Karianne sure have an amazing way of telling stories.😍I love reading about your escapes and looking at your amazing photos. You are blessed. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and your family.

  32. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I don't know how I missed this story so thank you for sharing it again! Your girls are beautiful, little mini you!!! Merry Christmas to you all!!!

  33. Image for Gina Gina

    What beautiful girls! I love being friends with you for more thsn 5 minutes. Never get tired of the stories or the pics of one of your favorite houses. It's one of my favorites, too! Love to you at Christmas! Rejoice!

  34. Image for Pat Pat

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I will read your stories and enjoy them as long as you keep telling them. xo Pat

  35. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    KariAnne... these aren't pics of your house, right? Is it the House of Hope? Some beautiful pics! Merry Christmas! (And your storytelling is as good as ever!)

  36. Image for kathy kathy

    This story reminds me of two stories....the first time I heard my husband sing. I laughed and said, "Ok. Now sing it the right way." I am sure you know where this story is headed (I might have even told you in comments before)....He said, "I did sing it the right way. What do you mean?" That is the moment I realized that our future children would have no chance of a singing talent. Fast forward about fifteen years....I am a teacher in a school where talented students got chosen to sing the National Anthem each day. The intercom comes on and the principal says, "Please stand as (insert my daughter's name) sings the National Anthem." I actually ran into the hallway and said..."She can't sing!" Fortunately, no one heard me but they did hear my daughter sing the National Anthem beautifully! (The music teacher told me that she would teach her to sing and she did!) P.S. Your daughters are so beautiful!!!

  37. Image for April J Harris April J Harris

    What a lovely, lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party. It's so heartwarming hearing our children sing. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year to you and yours, and I hope to 'see' you at the first Hearth and Soul Link Party of the year on Monday!

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