grab a cup of coffee...or maybe the entire pot...

{if you're interested in reading my other posts on intentional, click here.}
{also, is there something like a p.s. but one that comes at the beginning of a letter? 
because if so, i feel like this post needs it.
this is a loooooong post.  i just got to typing and whoooo-eee, did it ever feel good to just get it all out there.
consider this your warning.
might want to get your morning cuppa and your wool socks and your cozy afghan for this one.
it's gonna take a while.}
for a variety {and multitude} of reasons, this past Christmas was incredibly difficult for me.

as i sit down in the quiet to write this out, i wage the mental debate as to whether or not to even go into the details.
the part of me that loves blog posts that are short and sweet and photo-heavy and to-the-point argues that sharing will simply make this post word-heavy...and no one likes word-heavy and no one wants to know about all that anyway.
the slightly larger part of me that loves to read openness and authenticity even when it reveals imperfections and vulnerability argues that perhaps, just maybe there are those who may be helped...
maybe there are those that can learn from my mistakes; and if not learn, maybe there are some that can take comfort in the fact that they aren't the only ones who've made these silly blunders.

the openness and authenticity and imperfections and vulnerability part just won.
if you were rooting for the first contestant, simply scroll down under the christmas tree photo, you'll be able to catch up down there.

in early november, i went to arkansas to see my friend natalie.
i'm an introvert, albeit an outgoing introvert...a bit of a juxtapostion, if you will.
while i thrive on--and feed my soul off of--alone time, i'm almost equally filled by one-on-one time with my close friends.  
this trip was no exception.  
natalie is several steps ahead of me in the blogging/handmade business arenas, and my visit was to-the-brim with incredible conversations, overflowing with inspiration and challenges.
i came home with a new determination to tackle several business goals that had been placed on the back burner, so to speak.

i jumped back into the process of getting my blog/business sites re-designed, along with getting business cards and packaging goodies designed.
i contacted the mason bar company about collaborating on my vintage traveling mason jars.

our family budget does not support my business ventures {nor would i expect it to}, so during this time, i also held two large instagram sales of vintage christmas tree trucks.  one sale was the week before thanksgiving; the other sale, the week after.

i also hosted thanksgiving for my extended family.

as fate would have it, everything fell into place with the mason bar company early in the first week of december.  
i was faced with the decision--knuckle down and get the product out there pre-christmas or hold off until february or march when the post-holiday spending freeze finally thaws a bit.

i opted to get the product out asap.

not at all blogging or business-related, but during this time, we also received a call from a painter we'd been trying to hire {my dad only wants contracted painters painting in this house} that he was available for the week after christmas.

i've been wanting my main level painted for over three years.
and no, that's not in the budget, either.
i'm not complaining.  i'm not.  these "luxuries" are why i work.  they are.

but maybe you're beginning to see how it all snowballed...
blog design, business design, truck sale #1 and the photographing and the posting and the invoicing and the packaging and the shipping involved, corresponding back and forth with the mason bar company, corresponding with the glass straw company, deposit on blog and business design, hosting thanksgiving, truck sale #2 {and a repeat of all that work involved}, paying for the initial mason bar company order, paying for the glass straw order, saving to pay for the painting, and finally the jar sale on etsy which included the same {and even more} effort as the the truck sales.

i'm not saying i made all the right choices.
but even as i sit here in hindsight...hindsight being 20/20...i still don't know what i would have done differently.
all of it seemed necessary at the time.
all of it still seems pretty necessary from where i am looking back.

and maybe all of that, in and of itself, wouldn't have made christmas difficult.

but because i was so busy and because of the business-related frenzy and at least partially because we were having our house painted beginning on the 29th, i didn't get to decorate for christmas.

i decorate my mantel for every holiday.  for valentines and easter and fall/halloween, i put out a few other little decorations.  that's it.
but for christmas?
for christmas i go all-out.
well, not out, literally.  we don't do outside lights.  that's where my hubby draws the line.  i think it's because he suspects knows the display would grow every year.  hmph.

you're laughing at me, aren't you?
you're chuckling.
"this is what ruined christmas for her??"
how very first-world of me, right?
but i felt guilty.
i felt less-than.

i.  felt.  terrible.
i felt like i'd let my entire family down.  
mind you, they didn't make me feel that way.
but regardless, i felt like a big, huge

in an effort to put up some semblance of christmas, we stopped at walmart and i ran in to buy an artificial tree.
this is so unlike me, people.  i can't even begin to explain how polar opposite of me this whole thing is.
but this is what happened.  it did.
i was convinced that an artificial white tree would be just the thing for our vintagey christmas decor.
the last white tree they had was the floor model.  on clearance.  missing one of its four supporting feet.  and its box.  and its instructions.
walmart's kelsey and dan and i packed that puppy into two clear garbage bags quicker than you can wink...i was convinced i'd solved our christmas dilemma.

the next day, austyn and colton were thrilled...after their schoolwork was done {oh, yes, let's not forget i was doing school everyday throughout the midst of all this!}, i let them put the tree together and decorate it all on their own {because i was the horrible, detached mother still sending off orders and attempting to take down the halloween decor! that was still up in december!}

it never occurred to me, until i saw the completed tree in all its regal glory, that you're supposed to have white-strung lights for a white tree.  our poor, sad, leaning tree had sweet colored lights...on dark green strands.

suddenly, i felt even worse.
i felt like somehow, how ever inadvertently, i'd chosen making money over making the holiday special.
{and i'm still unsure whether to look at it all through those glasses or to see it as what was necessary for this year.}

and it all just went downhill from there.
my mantel, which is usually my seasonal pride and glory, never did get decorated for the holidays.  there were four lonely vintage red thermoses stuck on one end, my vintage glass ornament wreath hung on a too-high nail, and a snowy-scene paint-by-number of a completely different color scheme tucked on the opposite end {it arrived in one of my christmas packages and that was the easiest place to put it}.
the tree stayed the same with its wonky decor.
none of my vintage ceramic trees came out.
my mom's elves didn't see the light of day.
i never snipped a single evergreen bough.

as it always does, though, time went by.
we inched closer to christmas.
the rush of buying and ordering trickled down.
christmas school-break began.
i was finally able to see a tiny glimmer of a silver lining in what had appeared to be such a large cloud--since i didn't get my copious amounts of christmas decor up, there was that much less for me to take down in prep for the paint job.

i immersed myself in the christmas-week duties of gift wrapping, menu planning, and last-minute shipping of gifts.
christmas came and went.
and the day was no less special for lack of our traditional real tree or grandly bedecked mantel.

the afternoon of the 26th, i began the tedious task of removing all my wall decor {i had a lot of wall decor} and the nails that held said decor.  i boxed it all up and tucked it into a corner of the basement, unsure what would actually make it back on to the freshly painted walls.  i shifted all the furniture that was against walls...the rooms looked like mountains of furniture surrounded by moats of hardwood floor.

and we spent new year's week in that disheveled mess.
it was nearly enough to drive me off the edge...
the savior of my sanity was the fact that each day i could see more and more white and less and less oatmeal.

which brings us to now...
now what?
well, for me, the obvious choice for january's "intentional project" is intentional in decorating and housekeeping.
if these last several hectic weeks have taught me anything, they've taught me that my mood and outlook on life in general are in direct proportion to the orderliness and atmosphere in my home.
i must put my house back together.

perhaps as the way new year's resolutions go, intentional in health and fitness would have been the more customary choice.
but this is what works for me.
and that's good enough for me.
and that's the way this whole intentional thing is going to go, i've determined.
i mean, february--the month of love--may be all about being intentional in marriage or even being intentional in friendships.  then again, my new blog design will be up and running by then so maybe february will be about being intentional in blogging. 
who knows?  
i don't really want to "force" any of it...
i'm just taking it a month at a time, getting my cues from my day-to-day life.

if you've made it to the end of this post, i feel like i should send you a certificate.
or a blue ribbon.
or perhaps one of those heart necklaces that's broken in half and i'll keep the other half because certainly we must be bff's, right?

you're the bestest. thanks for listening.  and for reading.
and wow-o-wow, come back throughout the month to see the projects i'm doing around the house!!!
{teaser: the diy i'm sharing this thursday is insanely easy.  and cheap.  you'll never believe!}


  1. I'm here for my blue ribbon! Or gold star or whatever. :) I, for one, am much more intrested in real posts than the short, sweet and pretty ones. I can so relate to all of this for several reasons. I have atough time with Christmas every single year and I still am not entirely sure why-- the pressure(form myself), the fact that the holidays have become so commercial and less about the true meaning-- I don't know. And the house stuff and the disporganization in my house and in my mind affects me very much and therefore affects my whole family, negatively. I so get it. I do. Lastly, my word was intentional as well until the last minute and then I realized it was action. Happy New Year Erin!

  2. I'll take the half a heart necklace : ) I totally get your whole post-- there is such pressure on us to be super women. Sometimes things just all happen at once and you did the best you could with what you knew right then! No judgment here! I agree with Amy above that the messier the house, the messier my brain-- I don't know why this is, but it is! The rewards will be great from all the chaos I'm sure-- I'm itching to paint my green kitchen and oatmeal living room and purple bathroom all white!! (sometimes our color choices of yesteryear don't carry over as well 7 years later...this is probably a good thing!) Chin up! It's a new year!! ♥

  3. I love this post. Keep sharing your heart! I totally get all those feelings surrounding Christmas and just the everyday in general. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?? I'm so guilty of that. I didn't decorate nearly like I normally do and nobody even seemed to notice. In fact on our front porch, I still had a pumpkin out and my Thanksgiving flag, right next to my Norfolk Pine in a bucket I got from Home Depot on black Friday. Oy! I haven't picked out a word, but I did make some resolutions for the New Year, which I have already broke. Awesome. At least the good Lord gives a fresh start every single day. Thank goodness! Ps. I'm drinking out of my travel mason jar from you as I type this!!! And PPS. Next time you are in Arkansas, I would love to meet up! :) Hang in there friend!

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