(Our family and my sweet niece)

I grew up in a small town of 3,000 in rural Illinois.

We didn't have a stoplight or any fast food restaurants.

Any store we went into knew who we belonged to and the barber was always the place to go for a piece of candy on our way home from school.

The fourth of July was filled with an early morning 5K, pancake breakfasts, parade, music in the square, a carnival and the evening ending with fireworks.

We could walk to church and always to school.

I don't believe we locked our doors most nights and I was never afraid.

My small town isn't the town I grew up in anymore.

Like many small, rural towns in the midwest….my town has not fared well over the past twenty years.

Compared to the town I grew up in…. the town we now call home is more like a city ….but the reasons we love it so much is because it really holds on to the traditions and values that make a small town special.

This WAS a small town until the past 15 years.

One of our favorite traditions of our town is the starlighting.

It has gone on for the past 74 years.

Our town is Castle Rock…and the "rock" in town is at the top of a hill with hiking trails up to it.


At the top of the rock is a star that is lit every year around Thanksgiving time to mark the beginning of the Christmas season



(Benjamin with a light up mouth piece that they were handing out…it was hilarious.)

We have the fireman's chili dinner, horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate, all the shops dressed up for the season, a live nativity, singing carols together as a community, Santa, a prayer and the lighting of the star.




I am so honored and proud to live in a community that still prays.




(Enjoying a little time with my mom!)


So even though this girl now lives far away from that small, rural community that was my home….I am blessed to live in an amazing town that still speaks to the small town girl in me!