Monday, December 7, 2015

The Christmas Tree and Unrealized Expectations

I've been thinking a lot about my Christmas tree over the past week.  You see, when we picked the tree out over a week ago, it looked perfect.  Then we got it home, set it up in our tree stand, and realized fairly quickly that it was not quite what we (I) thought we were getting.  It definitely has a bit of a "Charlie Brown Tree" flair to it.  For this recovering perfectionist, it is enough to drive me crazy if I let it.  And I did.  For the first couple of days after we got it, I complained multiple times to my poor husband, about how it was crooked, or lopsided, and NOT what I thought I was getting.  My response was just plain silly, and if I'm being honest, selfish.  Something didn't turn out like I expected, and instead of handling it with grace and thankfulness, I wallowed in a pit of self pity and ungratefulness...over a Christmas tree.

Now, you might be thinking that this picture of my tree looks just fine. And I would agree.  But I'm just showing you what I WANT you to see, which is the "good" side of the tree. Also, when I went looking for pictures to put with this post, I didn't have any pictures that highlighted the flaws. Why would I want to capture the very thing I didn't like?? I don't know about you, but I do this with other things in my life as well.  I sometimes have a hard time showing my struggles.  It's just easier to "put my best foot forward" or, in an attempt to not have to talk about the struggles, withdraw from connecting with others.

Thinking about our tree this year also reminded me of a time not so long ago when we moved back here to Oklahoma.  I had expectations of how I thought life would unfold.  When those expectations did not materialize, and things got tough, I responded the same way I did with this tree...I complained, I wallowed...and I withdrew.  Now, three years later, I can look back and be thankful that so many things didn't turn out like I had hoped they would at the time.  Because in many ways, life is so much better than I expected!  As for the tree, it has "fluffed out", and with the lights and ornaments on, looks just fine!  It's cozy and very imperfectly real and I wouldn't change a thing about it!  As we head into the second week of December, I hope that you be okay with imperfection and unrealized expectations and look for the things in your life that you can be grateful for!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My November Stitch Fix

Yes, I know that it is now December.  But I still wanted to post this!  It's no secret that I like Stitch Fix! When I mentioned it in my Favorite Things series, I was challenged by my friend Shanti, from Life Made Full, to blog about my next Stitch Fix experience.  Well, I'm not quite ready to model each piece and then ask for everybody's opinion.  Maybe next time. :)  But I will be happy to talk about my experience!

When you sign up to get a "Fix", you fill out a profile and answer lots of questions about sizing, style preference, etc. You also have the option to give feedback to your stylist about what kinds of pieces you might like.  I haven't yet started a Stitch Fix Pinterest page, but it's another way to help your stylist pick items that you might like!

 I specifically asked for a pair of Just Black skinny jeans.  I've received 3 other pairs of this brand of jean through Stitch Fix and they are my favorite, hands down! I try really hard not to request them every time, but this time it's just what I really wanted.  And my stylist nailed it with a pair of dark blue ankle length skinny jeans that are perfect with my ankle boots. I had asked for a professional shirt or two that could be worn with jeans, that I could either dress up or dress down, and also for some fall items.

Here are 4 of the 5 pieces I received this time...2 shirts that can dress up or dress down and would be great for business events, a beautiful sweater with cozy pockets for my hands, and a poncho sweater. They are all great pieces that I have already worn and absolutely love!  

Your stylist will send a card that has each item, ideas with what to pair it with, and styling suggestions!  I keep these cards, as they are great to go back and get new ideas for how to style my pieces!  I hope that you will check this service out!  You might just love it. :)  Here is a link to get started today. Try Stitch Fix!   (*Note: If you try Stitch Fix, I do receive $25 in referral credit.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Tuesday Review: Salt in His Shoes

I grew up watching Michael Jordan play basketball.  With a an older brother who played basketball,  and who was a huge fan of one of the best basketball players EVER, how could I not?? So when I saw this book at the library last week, I just HAD to check it out and read it.  And I was not disappointed!

Having boys myself, I am constantly struggling through how to teach the lessons and life skills that they need to learn...  PATIENCE.  DETERMINATION.  HARD WORK.  These are just a few of the many important things that they are going to need in order to make it in this world.  It is not easy to teach these kinds of things. Sometimes you just need a good story! Salt in His Shoes is that and so much more! I encourage you to go check it out today!  

Reflecting on November

I'm sitting in front of a half decorated Christmas tree, on the first day of December, wondering where November went.  Seriously, the month flew by.  It was full of many things that I expected, days full of school work and soccer practice and wrestling matches.  But it was also filled with many things that I did not expect, like new friendships, launching a new business, family worship at church, special moments with family, and beautiful days.

I am thankful for all of it...for my family, my amazing husband, a cozy home,  new and renewed connections,  laid back days with my boys, chickens who are finally laying eggs...the list could go on and on with "big" things and also with seemingly unimportant moments.  Because they ALL matter!

As we are starting the Advent season and preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus, I hope that each of us will take a deep breath, slow down, and choose to carry with us into this new month a Spirit of Thankfulness! Let's be content with what we have, look for ways to give to or help someone else, and focus on what is truly important in life!