stories of silver

My favorite color used to be lime green. I loved it so much that I even even bought the lime green version of the Ti85 calculator for algebra and calc classes (whenever I got a wrong answer, my teacher would jokingly say, “that’s because your calculator is green.” I did get the right answer sometimes too ;)) People used to tell me that I’d probably change my mind when I got older. Well, maybe that is true. I do have a new favorite “color combo.” It’s one that has found it’s way into apartment decor, the colors I gravitate toward in fashion and photography, and more. Purple + Silver.

I recently learned of Biblical and literary motifs where Silver is a color of redemption, and Purple is a color of royalty. I started thinking about all of the things I knew of that related to silver: a silver medal (second place), silver/gray hair, C.S. Lewis’ book ‘The Silver Chair’ (where there are indeed symbols of redemption, and being set free), the phrase “silver lining,” and the beginning of the story of Les Mis:

The main character and ex-convict Jean Valjean is finally let out on parole, and no one will take him in. He finds his way to a church where he is shown true hospitality. Out of desperation, Valjean tries to escape in the middle of the night with some silver candlesticks. A group of gendarmes finds him and brings him before the bishop, telling him that this man has stolen his silver. The bishop completely shocks Valjean when he proceeds to tell the officers that “the silver was given to him as a gift, and speaking of, he forgot to take the two other silver goblets with him when he left!” After they leave, the Bishop tells Valjean that he must “use this precious silver to become an honest man.” He challenges him to a higher plan for his life, and just like that, Valjean’s life is redeemed. He becomes an influential person who spends a lifetime living in grace, even through some incredibly trying plot twists, and is able to help and show love and compassion to a lot of people.

As a synesthete, I am always fascinated by colors, their meanings, and how they relate to stories, sounds, numbers, etc. I had never really thought about the inner meanings of this color palette that I enjoy so much, but when I realized that there was such cool symbolism, I knew I had to share! Here’s to a wonderful combination of redemption and royalty.

What are your favorite colors and what do they mean/what do they mean to you?






Rorie City Guide: Chincoteague Island

I’ve been using this hashtag on instagram for a while now: #roriecityguide. It’s been a way of documenting visits to new places. While I don’t currently travel on the regular, it’s still fun to be focused and to take in all of the details whenever I do go to a new place.

Steven and I had a gift card for a Bed and Breakfast, so we decided to visit Chincoteague Island in VA for a three-day weekend in May. It ended up being a bit rainy and cold, but still a great trip. I decided to gather some photos and stories from the weekend, in case you ever decide to visit and want some ideas on what to do!

The B&B (Island Manor House): This place was so cute! I hadn’t stayed in a Bed and Breakfast before (or at least, not that I can remember). We had the top attic room with slanted ceilings and window seats. This was my dream room as a kid (the only problem was that I kept hitting my head on the ceiling all weekend, and I’m only 5’2″).

The lobby, dining room, and outdoors were also lovely – reminding me of some fancy, ocean-y place in days past:


The Lighthouse: it’s not a secret that I love lighthouses. We’ve visited this one a few times before, so I have lots of photos of it. We took the very short 1/4 mile hike to see it once more. It wasn’t open to the public this time, but we have climbed the stairs and gotten a great view of the island in the past.


Wallops Island: NASA has a location here as well, and they were even planning a launch for that weekend! Unfortunately, they had to reschedule due to the weather. Many of the people who were staying at the bed and breakfast were there to see it. We did stop by the NASA museum, which is where they were preparing for the launch viewing. You can barely see it, but the launch pad is out there in the distance.


The Taco Place: (enough said)


Ocean City: Since it was rainy, very windy, and kind of chilly (not exactly ideal weather for sitting on the beach with a book), we decided to make the hour drive to the Ocean City boardwalk (in MD) on Saturday afternoon. Think arcades + boardwalk food + people watching:

Assateague Island: the Northern end of Assateague Island is located near Ocean City. This is usually the best place to see the wild horses – something that this island is famous for (any other Misty of Chincoteague fans?). If you drive slowly through the island (or get out and walk) then you will probably see them. They might even walk really close to your car, but don’t try to approach or pet them (we had some people ask us if they could touch or ride the horses, so figured I should clarify – not a good idea!)


A final note: there has definitely been talk about the island having a larger mosquito population than other places (they even have signs talking about how they are spraying for mosquitos when you enter the island). We visited in May when it was still a bit chilly and didn’t run into any problems. We’ve also taken day trips in July and August within the past few years and haven’t noticed anything significant. It seems like they’ve gotten things under control for the most part, but it’s something to keep in mind. (haha, I know, way to put a damper on the description of an otherwise beautiful and lovely place!)

Do you have any summer adventures planned? Last year we didn’t travel much except for weddings and work, so we have built in a couple of getaways this season, and the change in scenery makes a huge difference!



Rorie Book Club

As a kid, I established a birthday tradition. Every May I would record myself reading a favorite book out loud onto a *cassette tape,* and I’d let it play while I cleaned my room, worked on a school project, etc. One could say I was a little obsessed with stories.  

In case you’re wondering – no, I don’t do this anymore…but I’m a big fan of reading books and writing about them. This doesn’t specifically relate to music, but its fun to have this platform to share thoughts and musings. #RorieBookClub

Here are a few books that I’ve read so far this year, and some of my thoughts (I’m doing my best to not include spoilers in these descriptions, since I hope that they will be helpful suggestions if you’re looking for something new to read – however, there is a chance that I will end up giving away some of the story in my reflections, so beware!). I chose these books because, somehow, there ended up being similar themes and comparisons between them!

The German Girl: (Armando Lucas Correa) This book tells the story of the main character and her family being forced to leave their home in Berlin, Germany just before World War Two, and traveling to Cuba. This is based on a very specific, and very true, passage of German refugees across the Atlantic. The unique aspect of this book is that it’s told in alternating chapters: the young girl in 1939, and her niece who lives in NYC in 2014. The young girl in 1939 grows up throughout the book, and ends up meeting her niece in present day 2014. Ok, I’m giving too much away now!

It is very sad and heartbreaking, but you get the sense that you are being given a window to look in and see something important. Something that needs to be known, recognized, and understood. The plight of these characters is something that has repeated throughout history and still continues today. It made me think a lot, and while it seems like a depressing book to read, you finish it feeling very connected to humanity and wanting to look a bit deeper into stories of the past and present. The book was originally written in Spanish.

Wish You Well: (David Baldacci) This book was similarly written from the perspective of a young girl around the same age as The German Girl. Both books contain tragedy and illustrate a physical journey and adaptation into a new place.

My dad found this one at our family’s favorite used bookstore, McKays. It’s supposedly required reading at some schools, but I had never heard of it. He read it and then told me that I would probably like it, because it fit the criteria for books that I tend to enjoy: historical fiction, and written from the perspective of a young girl navigating life. I was actually surprised that my dad was the one who read this before me (haha). The author is David Baldacci, who has apparently written other novels in a different genre. The book begins in New York and quickly moves to it’s main setting: the mountains of Southern Virginia. Even though I live in Northern Virginia, I have spent a great deal of time driving through the mountains in my state, and link those experiences with my childhood. I have read many historical fiction books that take place in New England, or the South, or the wild west, or the midwest, but I had never read one that took place in the mountains of Virginia (which I guess is technically classified as the South, but it’s very East Coast in my mind).

This book was a page-turner. My main takeaway was that we are not so far away from the years where life was the way that it is in this book (the story takes place in the 1930s – you’ll have to read it to know what I’m talking about). There are some harsh realities about the way that humans can treat one another, but there was a strong sense of conviction in this book, which I liked. It makes you want to hold your head up and live your life as though it was secretly filling the pages of a book, line by line. It made you think that there is power in the younger generation. Also, I just googled this book and realized that there is a movie version that was released in 2013. So I guess I’ll need to watch that…

**Another thing that I found very interesting is that both of the above books were written by men, but were told from the perspective of a 12-14 year old girl. And they were super well written!

Lilac Girls: (Martha Hall Kelly) Wow, ok. I finished reading this one last night, and I’m going to say as little as possible because, if you choose to read any of these three, let it be this one. I was blown away by this book. It’s a combination of compelling stories (based on real people), and tons of history. It had me googling everything I could about what I was reading, wanting to know more about the history of these events, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Written from the POV of three different women (and by a woman), this book provides a fresh perspective to these historical events, and shows how much we are truly all connected to one another. Our lives can impact and intersect with someone else’s in a million ways. Our actions do have a ripple effect. In reading some online reviews, I noticed that some people were suggesting that it was too much to stomach. One of the main reasons why I love reading historical fiction is because it makes these historical events very personal, and it causes you to realize how we aren’t that far off from the time when such atrocities happened, and these things are still happening to people in our world in other ways. It drives you to compassion and conviction. I will say that you have to read this one all the way through to get the full perspective. There is a lot of history packed in, and the story continues to reveal itself until the very end. Give this one a chance.

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear!

Want more like this? You can find my first two book-related blog posts at these links: 

story behind the song: DAWN

Dawn is a song about perseverance. It’s about wrestling with questions and facing the unknown, even if it means staying up all night, metaphorically or literally, while you move through whatever it is. In the past I’ve written a lot of songs with lyrics that are more “wordy” (I love words) – so for this song, I wanted to write something that was more straight-forward and declarative. I ended up singing the lyrics and melody to myself for the first time on the way to the dry-cleaners on a January evening.

*If you joined the live Q&A that I did on facebook on the eve of the EP release (here’s a link to the replay if you missed it!), then you heard this anecdote: a couple of days before the EP released, I was driving down the same road that I had taken to the dry cleaners on that January evening last winter. There was a street sign leading to a small, offshoot road…and I suddenly read the name on the sign: “DAWN DR.” I kind of gasped and started laughing, realizing that I had probably read that sign subconsciously before making up the song. It didn’t register in my mind because, at that point in time, I had no idea that it was going to turn into something that I would end up releasing, let alone the inspiration for the title of an EP!

Anyway, back to the serious description: I was thinking about how easy it is to unintentionally give up on something that is actually important to us (note: there’s a huge difference between good, intentional rest, and just giving up). A lot of times we aren’t faced with two options: keep going, or don’t. Apathy creeps in slowly, and usually in disguise. It’s easy to say we’re not going to give up when things are looking promising, but when you’re facing what seems like complete failure or an unknown future, that’s when the choice becomes real. It takes real faith and grace to see it through until that literal or metaphorical dawn.


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story behind the song: MEASURELESS

Measureless is a song about the immeasurable love of God. The kind of love that is not afraid to enter into the most hopeless places and situations, being not only so vast and beyond our imagination, but also closer than we can comprehend. One of my favorite lines in this song is “walls guarding all I’ve failed to prove / start to shake within the wild truth.” No matter what kind of strength we are able to muster up in this life, or how many times we fail, or whatever we face, grace is greater. Life isn’t easy, but knowing that you’re loved changes everything, and I truly believe that we are set free when we believe that. When I wrote and recorded this song, I imagined taking a blanket out into the middle of a field with a few friends, and looking up and seeing a sky glimmering with endless stars (this sonic imagery is actually drawn from a real experience in college when a group of friends and I did just that). I also wanted to create something that sounded as though John Mark McMillan and Florence and the Machine (two of my favorite artists!) made a song together, but maybe don’t tell them I said that…


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story behind the song: FALL AND RISE

Fall and Rise talks about the ebb and flow – the rise and fall – of life. There are great seasons, and there are horrible seasons. There are ups and downs, and if you’re like me, you experience those ups and downs in the same day (or hour, or minute!). In all seriousness though, I have found that in those dark moments, it is so important to know and believe that the story does not end there. So I thought of the idea of flipping the phrase “rise and fall” to “fall and rise,” and I was particularly inspired because this year has been a really hard year in many ways for a lot of the people closest to me. The song came together in one sitting this past summer. I liked it, but thought I would “save it for later.” Then, I played it at a few shows, and multiple people kept singling out, so at the very last minute (like, two days before I went back into the studio!) I switched out another song for this one, and I’m glad that I did because this ended up being probably my favorite on the EP. Tommee and I recorded it with a variety of sections (rises and falls…) and a cinematic feel, with the hopes that it might one day get picked up for TV+film.


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story behind the song: GOLD

Before I begin: these stories are little doors into my personal thought process and inspiration as I wrote these songs. As a poetic songwriter, I really value listener interpretation, as there is something special about listening to a song and making it your own. The other day, someone told me about another interpretation for “Gold” based on a relationship story, which I thought was incredibly cool. That being said, I’m excited to share these stories over the coming weeks, but if there is something in one of these songs that I don’t mention, it can certainly still be part of your personal listening experience.

So there is a bit of a theme to the songs on this EP. I’ll be honest and say that it was unintentional, however, as the choice for which songs I was going to record this summer played out, I realized that the four I chose were the right ones simply because they said exactly what I needed to say this year. Gold is about that fight for “success,” and whatever image we have of that in our head or whatever we feel has been impressed upon us. I wrote this in a season where I felt really wrapped up in an expectation of what I should be doing, or how things “should be.” I think it’s good to realize that things aren’t quite how they should be in life, but I noticed that within this intense pressure I was actually stifling the value of what I did have, and the beautiful people I live life with. There is a whole lot lot more to life than what we have, what we do, or what we achieve. I wrote the song during the summer, so it has a sort of anthemic but light, floating feeling to it. I wanted it to be open to interpretation, but to also instill that feeling of finding light in the middle of the fight.


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