Small Town Girl


(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!


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  1. Gena Orfali

    Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood (enviable in fact!) Love the picture of the 6 of you (1st one, really lovely!) Great that you are able to go back and partake/ enjoy the traditions!!! Gena

  2. Suzen

    I love a small town, too! I grew up in Minneapolis but since then have lived in small communities. I think very often the larger cities and the more spread out rural areas are isolating. I love to walk down the street and say hello to my neighbors and actually know who they are! Looks like you had a lovely day. Glad your husband is doing well!

  3. sharron

    Lovely family and what a wonderful place to grow up together!!!
    They just don’t make towns like that anymore so you are especially Blessed!!!
    Happy Monday!

  4. Flower Patch Farmgirl

    Your hometown sounds EXACTLY like my hometown! You know what they say…You can take the girl out of the small town, but you can never take the small town out of the girl. πŸ™‚ Looks like a wonderful evening.

  5. traci

    what a fun event. great photo of you and your family and the one of you and your mom. so sweet. i am thinking that antique store in the background looks like a great place to spend the afternoon.

  6. The Flying Bee

    What a blessing to be a part of a community that does still pray! I feel that way too, our children go to a public school, but at their Christmas play they always sing Happy Birthday Jesus, that’s hard to believe now days, but I am so glad they do. Your town looks like a wonderful place to live. Great pics of you and the fam. I really like the one of you and your mom.
    Have a great day!

  7. Pansy Cottage Girl

    I live in southern california. We have everyhting……if you want fancy malls and restaurants, but not what matters most like all the beautiful things you described. oh how I long for the traditional life. We lock out doors and you dont leave valuables in the car. I’m packing! LOL!!

  8. Becky @ Farmgirl Paints

    I grew up in the country, outside of a small town of a 1,000. So I can identify with you. The little town I live in now has a lot of fun stuff like your Castle Rock…not quite that Norman Rockwell though. Love that they prayed…WOW!! Those were wonderful pics of you and your family. Love the last one, the cafe with the light over it.

  9. beth

    Looks like a wonderful evening !!! I love a small town and do miss it … living in the big city is never the same .just not sure i would want to live back in the small town i grew up in !
    hope hubby is doing better !! those light up teeth are a riot , my boys would have loved them !!

  10. Leah C

    I didn’t grow up in a small town; but now I live in one and happy to do so:) Your town sounds like a quaint & cozy place…and a good place to live life!

  11. Brandie

    What a wonderful place you have there. I grew up in a small town too and now live in that small town with my little family. It is not that small town anymore but I do love the feeling of a close community.
    May I say, you look adorable with 4 kids;)

  12. Laurel@Simply Bay's Place

    Jeanne! I love the B&B! My dad makes us stop there to eat even when we are just heading through town. The waitresses know us now! Simple good food and I love the history of that place.
    I can see why you love Castle Rock-Even though they now have all things Kohls and mini-mall, it still feels like a small town. Just up until you hit the end of town and the Outlet Mall…ha ha!
    Beautiful pics and boy is your mom as gorgeous as you are!
    When were you thinking about hitting Penrose? I’d love love love to go. I’d even meet you with a latte of your choice πŸ˜‰

  13. mkg

    What sweet sentiment, and I love the way your write! It was fun to relive the evening through your photos:)

  14. lissa

    that is so cool that you live in a town that prays! I’m such a sucker for traditions! I LOVE them!!! Wanna take the girls to see the princess and the frog with me on friday night? Love you! Me

  15. DreamGirlLisa

    Sounds lovely. The small town I moved to in 1981 is now too big, and has not grown well. I love my house though, and my neighbors, so I try to stay positive. I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I love your music playlist. I want that song from Regina Spektor, but it’s on the soundtrack for Prince Caspian so I can’t buy it individually from itunes. I go to your blog even after I’ve already read your posts just to listen to the music while I surf the web, or check emails.

  16. tracey

    I just love that first pic Jeanne…what a gorgeous bunch you all are!!!
    It all looks so fun and festive, a perfect Christmas event for the family!
    Hope you are having a great week…
    πŸ™‚ T

  17. Julie M.

    How wonderful! I grew up in the Seattle area..but now live in a small town which holds parades for every major holiday and still sings songs about Jesus at the public school Christmas concerts.
    God is so good! May He bless you and your loved ones throughout the holidays, Jeanne!
    : )
    Julie M.

  18. Marilyn

    I found your delightful blog through Tara’s book “Blogging for Bliss”. What I love about your blog is the mixture of family, photos, everyday journal entries as well as your offerings from your shop. Keep up the great blog!

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