Tuesday, November 28

Real-life Christmas preparations

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Perry Como's voice singing those words is one of my favorite things. Thanksgiving is past, and now it's time to turn our attention to preparations for Christmas. How exciting!

Today I'd like to show you what I've already accomplished with decorating for Christmas.

Well, that's what I would like to show you.  The problem is, I haven't really accomplished anything yet.

It's not that I haven't started. I've managed to put up the tree in the living room:

And I can see from this photo that the tree is leaning to the right a bit, isn't it? Oh dear.

It's not that I'm not looking forward to decorating for Christmas. It's just that I am disorganized and messy. So here's the truth about my Christmas decorating so far:

That's my guest room at the moment. As you can see, the makings of my Christmas decor are currently strewn all over the place. A discerning eye might even catch that my Fall decor is still waiting to be put in the attic.

Now, here's how I want you to see this room, the way it looks when it's all fixed up for guests:

Actually, that's not quite how it looks. I stole a piece of furniture from this room, so things are a little different now. And I had to take out the pretty rug because the dog peed on it. So there's that.

It can be so tempting to try to present only magazine-worthy loveliness on my blog. And I do love to make things pretty and to share ideas. But over this past year I've found that presenting only loveliness doesn't sit quite right with my spirit.

You want to know a secret? A few weeks ago the city of Durham turned off my water. Why? Because I'd lost the water bill and didn't see the warning letter they sent. Thank God I could pay the bill, so my water service was promptly restored, but if you'd seen my house on that day without water things surely wouldn't have looked too magazine-worthy.

That incident reminded me of the time that a good friend told me that there had been a mix-up with her utility bill and that her gas had been shut off. I sympathized with her having to deal with this inconvenience, but secretly I wanted to jump up and down and say, "Thank God! I'm not the only one!"

Maybe you don't have any organizational issues. Maybe you're a person who is naturally tidy and put-together. If so, I admire you greatly. The truth is that I wish I were like you.

But here's another truth, one that I need to learn more fully:

God doesn't wish I were like you. He doesn't wish that I were like anyone but me. He loves me just the way I am. He'll take me just like this—piles of stuff, lost utility bills, and all. Certainly God wants to transform my heart so that I'm more and more like Jesus—but He still wants me to be me. The real me. And that's how He feels about you, too!

So here's to real life: the beautiful and the messy, the organized and the disorganized.

I hope that by next week I will have some beautiful Christmas decor to share with you.  For now, I'll just share this beautiful thought:

Tell me--are you the organized type? Or do you struggle like I do? Do you have "real life" scenes that aren't so pretty?  I'd love to know!

I'm joining these wonderful parties:


  1. Great post Richella. It is real life, and I am right there with you. Lately, I have worked on blogging a little more of the real with the pretty. We all love pretty, and sometimes for a day it all looks just like I like. Well, don't open a closet. Most of the time things are not together by any means, and I work to keep my mind focused on the important things.
    I always say if the tree is up and my little manger scene is out, then we are good. The other stuff is icing on the cake.

  2. Perfect. I have the living room and familyroom/kitchen done and nothing else. So I am pretty sure nothing else is going to get done. I will just be happy with what I have. Love your guest bedroom, it looks gorgeous.

  3. I needed to read this this morning for sure! For two or three weeks I have been planning in my mind the perfect décor and shopping for stuff to make it look like the perfectness I see everywhere on line and in others homes. The problem was, when I pulled out all the bins of stuff, combined with all the stuff I bought, I looked at it and not an ounce of joy came from it......I just cried. I have been trying to put up fall, clean, put up tons of Christmas, and all I see is Chaos! This whole perfect Christmas home is hard to accomplish, and upsetting, and I feel like giving up and it is not even Dec and I already feel so far behind. Help, If you have any advice.....my JOY is lost :(

  4. I just love you, Richella! I too want to be real and not all perfect on my blog. I try to get things together but I think our readers do like to see things not all perfect and done, so I like to share the progress too and not just the beauty shots, which we all know last about 2 minutes! We can't live in perfect houses all the time! Merry Christmas, sweet friend!

  5. Usually I pack up Fall on the Friday after Thanksgiving and by Monday morning Christmas is done, but not this year. My children and grandchildren were here through Saturday and then I came down with a virus. So, the trees are up but all the ornaments are on the table and the only thing "done" is the mantle. It's okay, it will get done, just a little slower than normal.

  6. Richella, I am extremely organized, and to the point where it's a fault. I find myself not being able to sleep at night simply because I am reconciling what I did that day (compartmentalizing my hours spent throughout the day), and planning what I hope to accomplish in the days ahead. It's very taxing, and while I should be praying to let go, let God, instead I often find myself adding hours. It's difficult sometimes to settle my mind on quiet and prayer. I often wish I could relax more and feel good about good enough because, quite frankly, that's really all my home is. If it's good enough for me, I know it's good enough for company.
    I like how you "stole" a piece of furniture. Made me laugh.

  7. Richella, I just have to say, I love this post. Thank you for sharing your "less than perfect." Last year, my One Word for the year was Authentic. Though He's been helping me see the beauty of being real with others, He really wove that into my life lessons last year.

    It's when we are real with others, when we are okay with showing our "less-than-perfectness" that others are drawn to Jesus. When they see us in our mess, and they see that no, God doesn't expect perfection, that's when they can begin to see His love for them. I've discovered it's when I'm not afraid to be real and let my cracks show that His light can shine through and draw others to Himself.

    I am visiting from Jennifer Dukes Lee's place. It's nice to "meet" you. :)

  8. Thank you for your words reminding me that God still loves me, even in my organised chaos state. My lounge room floor is covered in Christmas decorations, which is a good start! Maybe by Christmas they'll be up...

  9. Oh my, nothing perfect at this house or life, except for momentarily and then some surprise breaks out or some road block appears. I have never lost the water bill, or any utility bill, but I have shown up to a Broadway play the day after it left town, burnt a blackberry crisp (which is pretty hard to do, arrived at the doctors on the wrong day and time. The list could go on and on. We will be driving to an event and sometimes my husband will say, "Are you sure this is the right day and time, Theresa?" Well, just because I get things wrong sometimes does not mean all the time. I have so many opportunities to laugh at myself and tell funny stories on myself.

  10. Richella, (pretty name btw. I'm curious how it's pronounced?), I second your sentiments. I posted a few not-so-insta-worthy pics of our Christmas decor on my blog this week too. ;) And I AM glad that I'm not the only one! lol

    "God DOESN'T wish I were like you." Wow. What a powerful statement! I love it. We've all heard variations of this, of course. Things like, "be yourself" "beYOUtiful" "Stop trying to be someone else" etc. But when it is said the way you stated it, it brings a whole new rich depth. It's easy to say that we shouldn't try to be anyone but ourselves, but to think that God truly doesn't wish we were like anyone but ourselves, well that's just freeing, isn't it?!

    Thank you for being authentic! The world needs more of it. <3

    (Glad to see you featured on Tell His Story) :)


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