Someone wise once said that life is what happens when you are busy doing other things.


We live every day planning for the big moments.

The milestones.

The commemorations.

The events and occasions and seasons and ceremonies and celebrations. And we think that that is where the joy and the happiness and the satisfaction are found.

Sometimes it’s true. But sometimes? It’s the ordinary moments that catch us unaware that are the part of life that is truly worth the living.

Ordinary moments make life extraordinary.

And so today, I want to share my blue and white Christmas living room with you and ordinary moments that make me smile.

Like decorating your tree from the inside out.


Four days before Thanksgiving with Christmas music blaring in the background, my daughter, Whitney, and I spent the afternoon decorating the tree in the living room.

There were tubs of blue and white and gold ornaments and blue and white ribbon and a star for the top and twinkle lights everywhere. We set up the tree and fluffed the branches and strung the lights and then it was time to decorate.

I handed her a container and told her to start with the white ornaments first and left to go check on the score of the football game.

When I came back to the room half a tub of ornaments had already made its way onto the tree.

I smiled and told her it looked beautiful.

And then?

I made an ornament decorating suggestion.

“You want to make sure to hang the ornaments inside the tree. Adding ornaments near the trunk of the tree gives it depth and helps layer the ornaments. Decorating from the inside out makes a tree truly beautiful.”

She nodded and studied the tree and then turned to me with a serious look on her face.

And said something that stopped me in my tracks.

“Mom,” she said. “What you said about the tree? It’s true. And you know what? It’s true for people, too. We should all work on decorating our insides first.”


What in the world did she just say?

When did my daughter get wiser than me?

She was so right.

There was such a life lesson right there in front of me and I almost missed it.

Instead of working on our outsides. Instead of focusing on the outer layer. Instead of hanging all the prettiest ornaments for everyone to see.

We should be decorating ourselves from the inside out.

We should be decorating our hearts with kindness and patience and encouragement and be so full of joy so that it spills over to the outside for all the world to see.

Somewhere along the way she figured out what is really important and shared it in a way that brought this entire holiday season back into perspective for me.

It’s a life lesson that will live on long after the Christmas lights are put away.

A lesson and a moment I will remember forever.

See what I mean?

Life is truly lived in the ordinary moments.

I’m pretty sure someone wise once said that, too. πŸ™‚

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
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  1. Image for laura laura

    I love this observation and insight! What a great reminder. Are you watching the Netflix Christmas movies? I binged a few last night working on Everyday Edits. I had my first cranky comment and thought of your wise words! Happy Friday!

  2. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Once I was in a sorority and not the college type, and I met these woman and some were so pretty with painted nails, makeup, etc. and others not so much. Then after a few months I found out some of the not so pretty became beautiful. It does not matter what the package looks like but how they act and their kindness towards others!!!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      I got it at Belk last year. It's the Crown and Ivy line and it's SO CUTE. I found this one that's super similar on clearance right now for $9.00 (affiliate): And here's the link to all their dresses (affiliate):

  3. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    Kari Ann- your daughter Whitney just gave YOU and all of us the BEST gift EVER! You, your family and your generous, creative and vibrant spirit are a blessing to us all! Thanks for sharing with us!

  4. Image for Donna Donna

    What I learned is that sometimes you really understand what kids absorb from home is evident in the when they go out in the "real world" on their own. How sweet your daughter could share these life lesson in a comforting way. Personally, I hope she goes into education as we need more of this in schools. If she is in another field, well, I suppose I can let it go.

  5. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Thank you for these wise words! I am getting ready to decorate my tree, and now the rest of my life in a wiser way! Some things just stick!

  6. Image for Sherry M Sherry M

    Precious truth, precious memories, precious valuable share! Thank you! And...would love to know the source of the blue and white church ornament...your tree is lovely, as is the entire room!

  7. Image for Be Be

    Girllll what a moment for you as a Mom!! Somewhere along the way you know you did something right!!! What a great way for her to share with her college friends. Sometimes that first semester , you grow , learn and see what really matters in life!!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    You and twinkling brown eyes raised smart kids! I'm decorating my tree today and am going to do it like that. Thanks for the tip!!

  9. Image for Kris Kris

    What a sweet daughter. Our school district is closed today due to a copycat violence threat and the ugliness in the world feels overwhelming right now. Thanks for sharing this wisdom.

  10. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    Your precious daughter is as wise and kind as her mama. I surely can appreciate her perspective today. Thanks, Whitney!!

  11. Image for Jayne @ Chalking Up Success Jayne @ Chalking Up Success

    What a wonderful life lesson KariAnne! I'll be remembering that throughout the holiday season and beyond. Oh, by the way, you've got me watching the hallmark movies now too. Even my husband enjoyed a Castle at Christmas and he's not usually the Hallmark kind! Gorgeous Christmas photos btw!

  12. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    You should be so proud of her and I know you are, this comes from good parenting. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

  13. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Way to go, Whitney! She certainly is your daughter, KariAnne! Your tree and living room look beautiful. As always. I've decorated from the inside out of my tree for decades. Sitting on the inner branches are small teddy bears and soft dolls (can't remember what they're called0. The rest of the tree is stuffed with all sorts of things. Such special memories. Thank you for sharing Whitney's life lesson. 😍

  14. Image for Rita Rita

    KariAnne, what a wonderful post. I hope you don't mind, I shared Whitney's comment and your blog site on Face Book with my friends.

  15. Image for Dee Turk Dee Turk

    What an amazing young woman Whitney is! I know both twins are so special and what a privilege it has been for you to allow us to go along on life's journey with you I'm literally watch them grow up before our eyes! Such wise words from someone so young, and spoken with conviction and truth! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home, your heart and your family you are so loved. πŸ˜˜πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

  16. Image for Lisa Lisa

    You are adorable! What a beautiful message to concentrate on the inside of ourselves before the outside. Love that message! Also, I love your home and really enjoy your emailsβ€”I learn a lot! Thank you, and Merry Christmas! πŸŽ„β€οΈ

  17. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Whitney is a wise one. But, in all honesty, I’m sure she learned that along the way from you and Mr Blue Eyes! Your tree is lovely! ;)

  18. Image for Rose Williams Rose Williams

    I love Whitley’s comment and yours just topped it off. Like icing on a cake! I love reading your posts. Thanks so much for sharing your family with us!!

  19. Image for Sally Jo Brown Sally Jo Brown

    Karianne, thanks so much for sharing ideas on decorating, favorite buys and most of all, sharing parts of your family's life with us. Everyone needs to take a serious look at what's inside...that is what counts. You are very blessed with your family! Have a wonderful advent and Christmas with them.

  20. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Out of the mouth of babes-so true. They often have a clear view of the world that gets fogged up as we age. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story. Love your tree, too!

  21. Image for Jacqueline Jones Jacqueline Jones

    Gorgeous Christmas home tour for 2021! Love it! You're awesome at blogging & decorating your beautiful home. Warms my heart to see you fulfilling your passion.

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