I’m getting ready for our annual caroling party this Friday.

You know.

The one my mother held every year for 35 years and then eventually passed on the caroling party torch to me.

It’s the time every year when we get together with our closest family friends and traipse through the neighborhood with guitars and Santa hats and sing all of our joys to the world. And then? We head back to my house for yummy food and a night of games.

It’s the party that I look forward to all year.

The one that lets me know Christmas is officially here.

But I wanted to pause in the middle of fluffing the bows and sweeping the floors and bringing extra chairs down from the attic to bring you a story about one of my favorite carols along with a few Christmas decorations to keep you company.

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.

When I was in fourth grade, in an attempt to share my vocal prowess with the world, I tried out for the solo part in “Away in the Manger” in the Christmas program at church.

I practiced with my stuffed animals and my reluctant sisters and brothers at home.

And then?

The day finally arrived. I went to tryouts and 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.

No really good story every does.

Years later, I sat in a church pew and waited with anticipation as two golden-haired, blue-eyed twins stood up in the choir loft and sang 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 beautiful clear voices with perfect pitch ring 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 caroling house to yours.

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  1. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Awww. So sweet. And so full of your lifelong enthusiasm! Whenever our girls would sing at school performances, I'd cry and cry. Music does that to me. But it especially does it when it's my own child singing, yes, more beautifully than I ever have! Enjoy your caroling -- what a wonderful gift to the neighbors!

  2. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Yes, I've heard it before, but it's so sweet that it never gets old!! Just gets better with age... Merry Christmas to your wonderful family, KariAnne... 🎄🎅☃️🎁❄️🤶🦌🙏🤗

  3. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I LOVE this story!! I can’t sing either, but have told my kids, that didn’t stop my dreams of singing in a girl group and being famous! I seriously thought over all the music no one would notice! Merry Christmas week to you and yours too!


    Your stories always make me smile, laugh and tear up!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!!!!!

  5. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Thank you Karianne, yes i have heard it before but never gets old and is always so sweet to hear again and again.

  6. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Now admit it....how many do a little dance and sing to the music in Walmart or grocery store. When my children were little, they would roll their eyes and ask me not to do that. I was also blessed with children who can sing and it is and was always a blessing to hear them. But, I still sing and dance to music when I am shopping and always wonder if they ever watch the security tapes and get a good laugh of a 78 year old lady having a good time!! Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  7. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Your caroling party sounds like fun! Wish I lived close enough to join you. I am assuming I would of course be invited, right?

  8. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Such a sweet story. We all have our gifts and they aren't all the same! Sure would love to go caroling tonight with you, and games, and goodies! Have an over the top time filled with a lot of laughter, joy, and singing....no matter what!

  9. Image for Debbie G Debbie G

    Thanks KariAnne I love reading your stories. I’ve never met you but I know you have a personality that lights up a room. Even if you can’t sing The Lord loves to hear you. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

  10. Image for Joan Joan

    KariAnne, you sing beautifully, only through the words on a page. I love reading everything you write. You are one talented lady. Merry Christmas!

  11. Image for PJ PJ

    I love this story. My daughter has the talents I wish I had and I'm OK with that. I bet those two beautiful voices singing was something to hear.

  12. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    Yes, I've heard it before, but that didn't stop me from tearing up and getting goose-bumps. Like you, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket, but my husband and son are awesome singers, so Jessica and I do the dance-to-the-beat part... and yes, the boys cringe. Your party sounds fabulous! Enjoy every minute, and Merry Christmas!

  13. Image for Therese Faletti Therese Faletti

    Thank you for sharing this. I was laughing out loud about your rendition of Away in a Manager. Happy blessed Christmas to you and your lovely family.

  14. Image for Barbara at Mantel and Table Barbara at Mantel and Table

    That's such a beautiful story KariAnne, and I'm new enough that I hadn't heard it before! ;) I'm so glad you sing "anyway!" I used to tell my voice students that there's a song that lives in the earth and your job is just to pull it up and share it with the world. You do that every day! 💗 Thank you so much for sharing your song!

  15. Image for Jan Jan

    The Lord loves your joyful noise, KariAnne, even if mere mortals are less than enthusiastic! He has given you so many other good and perfect gifts to share with the world, and we are so thankful that we get to be recipients of them every day through your words and photos. As God has blessed your life, so you in turn bless ours! Merry Christmas, sweet girl!

  16. Image for june june

    I love this story no matter how many times I hear it. I too was not blessed with a singing voice...but I can talk anyone under the table🤣. Your voice however is heard through your written work as you are such a gifted story teller. I can hear that sweet southern accent every time I read your posts. What a beautiful legacy you are creating for your family.

  17. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I am sitting in the ICU waiting room. Your precious blog is just what I need today. I, too, am the girl who loves to sing and absolutely should never utter a note outside of the shower! And I, like you, have the precious daughter and granddaughter who did get that talent. Some of us just have to be the dancers! Thank you for making me laugh.

  18. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Your daughters are so cute. It’s been fun seeing them grow up. My seven grandchildren are growing up too fast. Merry Christmas. Sing gloriously🎄

  19. Image for Laura Laura

    I wonder if you read your thoughtful comments? Such a nice thought on expressing yourself. And I wonder also.... is there something coming up with the words Wako Wako Wako? Just ordering about your upcoming announcement. I have a curious mind. The hint “Lako” mad me ponder the possibilities.

  20. Image for Linda Linda

    Merry Christmas KariAnne and family. You may not have received the gift of perfect pitch that your daughters have however you have the storytelling gift that others don’t have! Continue to share those stories with us again and again!!!

  21. Image for Joy Pinkerton Joy Pinkerton

    Merry, merry Christmas to you and your family! I enjoy your stories every day and have for years! (We must really be old friends!) Enjoy the party and make more wonderful memories!! 🎉🎄💕

  22. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love to sing also and am not sure that I’m very good at it!! But the deacon at Church once told us that singing is like praying twice so......I always sing at church! And so enjoy singing anytime at all!

  23. Image for Jerry Stocks Jerry Stocks

    I know the thrill. My daughter who is now sixty sang the same duet in kindergarten. By the way, your twins are beautiful. Merry Christmas 🎄🎁

  24. Image for maureen maureen

    What you lack in singing you make up for in your creativity and decorating! I love reading your stories. They bring back some memories of my own childhood singing at Christmas concerts. Have a wonderful time caroling and Merry Christmas to all of your beautiful family!

  25. Image for Gina Gina

    Yes! This weekend we will be singing in our church's annual Coutyard Caroling! It doesn't feel like Christmas without it. Not a singer, but boy do I love singing in church. My beloved brother enjoyed it so much and was so loud that the choir recruited him one day!


    KariAnne, loved this story! You are so gifted and we are always so blessed to get your posts! You just continue to enjoy all the wonderful gifts that God has blessed you with. You are so amazing with everything you do. So happy that you are continuing the tradition of carolling in your neighbourhood. This is so nice to hear. We do this in our community, too! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  27. Image for Susan E Susan E

    So touching to hear this story again! I sang in school choirs from grade school through junior high. I never sang a solo- was never that talented. But I enjoyed every concert nonetheless. My son sang in school choirs and surprised me by trying out for solo in high school. They performed a Phantom of the Opera medley, and he got a solo! I am still moved to tears when I hear All I Ask of You. I was one proud Mama! Happy Christmas to your family!

  28. Image for Charlotte S Snodgrass Charlotte S Snodgrass

    Love this! Your twins are beautiful! And your poor siblings in that station wagon back in the day, how funny! Merry Christmas to your and yours!

  29. Image for Becky Becky

    Oh my... telling the same story twice... or three times (or 4...5...) over ONE cup of coffee... That's my 14 year old daughter! Always has been, probably always will be, haha! Thanks for letting me know that this is OK. ...That you can grow to be a charming adult even with this habit! (I strongly suspect that she too has dreams of singing with the stars.) 😊 Merry Christmas! Enjoy those stories and that singing!!!

  30. Image for Michele M. / Finch Rest Michele M. / Finch Rest

    Such a cute story. It's funny - there are 5 children in my family - I have an older sister, an older brother, a younger sister and a younger brother - one of each and I am smack dab as middle can be. And my siblings cannot sing - esp my sisters - they are soooo talented in other areas but totally tone deaf - at least for sure my older sister. And me? Can't draw stick figures that are recognizable. can't paint, can't do sports - but I got my father's singing voice. I have soloed in many adult choirs over the years. So I get it. It happens - it skips sibs, it can skip generations - and I love your sweet humble story - and that your beautiful twins inherited their song voices from their father. ♥ Hugs.

  31. Image for Janette Janette

    I love your story telling no matter how many times you decide to tell it, always a smile in there somewhere. I just wanted to wish you and your beautiful family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year. Bless you all.xxx

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