Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas decorating in real life


Finally. . . it's December 1!  For months we've waited for this, the most wonderful time of the year.

Yesterday, excited about the holiday season, I did what I'll bet millions of other people did: fired up my computer and began perusing my favorite blogs and Pinterest for great ideas.  Almost immediately my attention was captured by this headline: "How to Create a Show-stopping. . . ."

Changing my approach to decorating for Christmas
This was my Christmas foyer last year.  I'm just now starting my Christmas decorating for this year.
Honestly, I can't remember what that particular show-stopping item was. Because almost as soon as I clicked over to read about it, I was filled with a sort of dread that left my heart thumping and my stomach hurting. 

At the time, I simply left the computer. I got up and washed the dishes; I folded a load of laundry; I started preparations for dinner. And I felt like a failure. Not a single thing I was doing was show-stopping, and my holiday preparations would be just the same. 

Then, with a force that's hard to explain, the truth hit me:

Life isn't a show.


It's not a show!  So why do I want it to be show-stopping?

As we share our lives with one another via our various social media outlets, it's easy for us to lose sight of that fact. We stage and carefully edit our photos. We write catchy headlines and captions. Many times, we include the good stuff and leave out the bad. But life is full of unstaged and unedited scenes. Real life contains the bad as well as the good, the failures as well as the successes, the mediocre as well as the stunning.

You know what?  It all counts.  Not just the show-stopping, not just the beautiful, not just the pin-worthy.  In fact, we often we gain more from our failures than from our successes. We learn and grow as we struggle and wait. We may get more from the daily grind than the yearly hoopla. 


And honestly, sometimes the messes we make are a greater testimony to the truth than our carefully crafted scenes could ever be.  Because the truth is that God is at work. God is alive and full of love, and there's no need for us to try to impress Him--not during the holiday season or at any other time.

So this holiday season, I'm trying to leave my desires to create something show-stopping and enjoy real life.  True, it's not always pretty, but if I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart full of gratitude, I can tell it's pretty wonderful.


What do you think?  Are you ready for a real-life Christmas?

20 comments:

Sandy said...

Amen! Preach it sister. I love looking at all the wonderful pictures, but I have to grab hold of myself too and remember how truly blessed I am... and that the best memories made with my family weren't always the pretty ones. Sometimes they were, but often it was the simplest of things that made the family memory. It was the same in my classroom when I was teaching too. To look around is an invitation for disaster far too often. It is great to share and gather great ideas, but we all have to stop and make sure we don't let Satan make us feel less than. Your home is beautiful and your heart always shines for Christ. That counts for way more than the feelings that come with the comparison trap.

Stacey said...

Oh you are so right, Richella. I have had momentary times of feeling inadequate already but I know better!!

Kathy Olson said...

This is so true. Nothing kills the joy of Christmas faster. I will keep your words in mind as I decorate. Thank you!!

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

It is so true - sometimes I blog hop and am amazed at what people do for the holidays and I feel down... and then I look around here in my little home and am very content - It truly is not a competition and some blogs I have decided not to visit very often as I leave feeling inadequate - I much rather leave feeling inspired and happy! So that is why i come here often!!!

NanaDiana said...

LOL, Richella! I have often been told-- You are WAY TOO real! I am full of failures and fail at fixing my failures most times. The truth is -we are all show stoppers in God's eyes. We may fail Him but he loves us just the way we are-failures, misfortunes and bad deeds.

I love REAL--give me REAL any day over contrived perfection. It is the failures that bring laughter and joy and HUMBLENESS.

So- you just keep on being real and doing what you always do-cuz it is perfect for you! xo Diana

Debby Ray said...

Oh Richella...I so agree with this...and not just because my decorations are NEVER show-stopping...in fact nothing in my home is. Thank you for this very real and eye-opening post. I totally agree with Diana above...we all are show-stoppers to God. Thank you for these wise words,my friend :)

Rita C. said...

Agree wholeheartedly with you, Richella! I finished my tree and that's it so far - same tree as it has been, decorated pretty much the same as it has been for many years, just more bobbles added from a trip or other life event. You know what's show-stopping about it? All the memories which flood my heart and soul every time I unwrap and hang those decorations for that tree. I prepare my home, with love, in holiday mode for my huge family of siblings and their grown kids and grandkids, and that's as real as it gets. Happy December.
Rita C at Panoply

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

I couldn't agree more. That's the one thing that bothers me most about the blogosphere. It seems that everybody has to be first to be decorated for each season and it has to be the "best". I spent Thanksgiving weekend cooking and celebrating with friends and family. Since then, I have spent all of my time installing Christmas decorations at a local long term care community which includes a nursing home. While this is a paying job, it has been so rewarding to see the residents get so excited as they sit and watch me hang lights and ornaments. As for my own home, there is yet to be one stitch of Christmas but I have already experienced the joy of Christmas!

Bernadette Veenstra said...

Such truth. Life is not a show. Thanks for sharing your heart. BTW, I think your house and decorations are gorgeous.=)

Tenneil at R7 said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!!

Thoughts for the day said...

That picture is gorgeous and so welcoming. I think we often want to do much more than necessary. No one really will remember the wreaths or the flowers or anything else, they WILL remember the treasured moments of conversation, the time spent together. In real time. One to one or even in a wonderful group. Don't over do it just keep it real and simple.

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I get caught up in the comparison game and it sucks the joy right out. I'm excited about my home, my simple decorations until I see the perfect one over on the next blog, and suddenly I'm a failure. Ahhh, thank you for a timely reminder. <3

Pat Cantwell said...

Richella,
When you," simply left the computer. I got up and washed the dishes; I folded a load of laundry; I started preparations for dinner." You were doing the call of God in your life, dear friend!!!
Doing the will of God in our lives can never be called failure.
I believe your lovely home decorated for Christmas will reflect and radiate God's amazing love in such a way that others will'stop' and contemplate what is "missing" within their homes and lives.
Be not dismayed!!! Power through and decorate your lovely home with hymns and praises!!!
Let's get ready. . .a Savior's coming!!!
Fondly,
Pat

Debra Pashkowsky said...

Yes you are right. I love to look at the show stopping decorations but in the end I really like the down to earth decorations that have good memories tied to them. I like the hand crafted things made with love. The things each one of us treasure and share with one another. Isn't that what it is really what it is all about?

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

Hi, Richella. I was joining your party today and saw your comment about showstoppers and just had to come over to take a look at your insight, because I have been feeling exactly the same way as you for quite some time. I've even done a post or two or three about my real-life tables, because so much of what I see, albeit gorgeous, is so store-like. And store-like is meant to entice us to shop and add more and more to our stashes. Even when I do fancy tables I try to keep them "real," with centerpieces that could be used in a real table--where you can see the person across the table so you can talk and share!!

Our homes are at their most beautiful when we've taken the time to create beauty and warmth for those who are in it, and that's where the decorating needs to stop. You were right to walk away and clear your head to get your heart and head where they needed to be. Funny, I've been thinking about a post along these lines too!

And by the way, your home is lovely even without decorations, and it's warm and inviting. :) ~Zuni

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

Hi, Richella. I was joining your party today and saw your comment about showstoppers and just had to come over to take a look at your insight, because I have been feeling exactly the same way as you for quite some time. I've even done a post or two or three about my real-life tables, because so much of what I see, albeit gorgeous, is so store-like. And store-like is meant to entice us to shop and add more and more to our stashes. Even when I do fancy tables I try to keep them "real," with centerpieces that could be used in a real table--where you can see the person across the table so you can talk and share!!

Our homes are at their most beautiful when we've taken the time to create beauty and warmth for those who are in it, and that's where the decorating needs to stop. You were right to walk away and clear your head to get your heart and head where they needed to be. Funny, I've been thinking about a post along these lines too!

And by the way, your home is lovely even without decorations, and it's warm and inviting. :) ~Zuni

jenjen said...

I agree 100% with you. We can get caught up in the comparison game,especially this time of year! One thing I always wonder about too is where does everyone put away their day to day decor during this time? I always find it frustrating trying to temporarily store my items and then try to remember where I put them all! lol

Carol said...

Oh, bless your heart, Richella. You have a lovely home that shows the warmth and love that goes on inside those walls. Whatever you do for Christmas decorating or any other season of decorating is only going to add the fluff.....the twinkling lights & sparkly baubles that tend to make us smile a bit more. A "show stopper?" No, that's not what you will find in our home. What you will find is lots of color, and many treasures that have been collected over 46 years of marriage. A bauble has to be extra special to find its way into my decor, at Christmas or any other time. I think to me, show stopper indicates something that would make me feel uncomfortable, like I would be afraid of breaking something. I never want our home to feel any way but welcoming. The best compliment I could ever receive about our home, is that it's warm and comfortable, and you can "feel" the love inside the walls.

One of the things I always look forward to seeing in your home, Richella, is the lego town your son creates. Oh, and your front porch....I would love to sit there with you, have some coffee or cocoa, and chat.

Warm hugs,
Carol

melissa@joyineveryseason said...

ah, bless you for this: You know what? It all counts. Not just the show-stopping, not just the beautiful, not just the pin-worthy. In fact, we often we gain more from our failures than from our successes. We learn and grow as we struggle and wait. We may get more from the daily grind than the yearly hoopla.

exactly what my heart needed to hear!

Linda said...

Yup...life is composed of good and bad days....and we just never share the pictures of the days when we stay in our pajamas or the days when we have a sink full of dishes...or a floor that needs to be swept etc. We all have those kinds of days...every single one of us knows that! BUT I am glad that people don't stay in those places...we move on and do have days when life is pretty, and orderly, and fun! I have been encouraged so many times by looking at the pictures of your beautiful home...and I have gotten up from the computer and got busy sprucing up my home, and making it more "homey"! I remember your wall of crosses that you used to have....the wall that inspired me to do my own wall of crosses! Yes Richella...I copied you! People liked the look, and they started givng me crosses to add to my wall! You inspired me...I inspired others! It's all good! :)

Then there was the post where you shared about your birth marks...and I was inspired to be more accepting of myself...and what I considered "my flaws"...but really, it reminded me that we are all the way that God created us...and we can all live happy and fulfilled lives when we accept the things we can't change. You are so beautiful...and I have often thought how "lady-like" you are...and classy!

I love your inner self...the one who has written me and shared things...like the fact that you used to come to my neck of the woods to spend time with your grandmother in Belle Plaine, Kansas in the summers. Yes, you may have wonderful taste and look marvelous, and have a beautiful home, and a wonderful husband and fine sons....but you are still so REAL, and so special...and so kind and so lovely inside and out!

You have had your trials...and you share those with us too. In my opinion you don't just show the perfect and the flawless pictures...you are the real deal...and you share it all...and for that I aplaud you dear Richella.

Yes, we learn so much in our down times...the times when we have to give it all to Jesus, and just lean on Him for the strength to carry on. I've been there with the loss of our three grandchildren...and many other times of loss and heartache. But the Lord is always there to love us, teach us, and guide us isn't He?!
I praise Him for all that is good...and even for the hard times because they were instrumental in my spiritual growth.

Ok...well, I will close, and just say that I was blessed by reading your post today!

Love, Linda Hogeland

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