centerpiece for Thanksgiving

This past week I spoke at a local college in the DFW Metroplex. My task? To inspire and educate the local leaders of tomorrow.



Did anyone tell them how I much I talked in class? And not to the teacher.

Extra conversation aside notwithstanding, I put together an attempt at inspirational motivation by sharing seven things that I wish I would have learned before I started a business.

Brilliant things.

Amazing things.

Thought-provoking things like not forgetting the forest for the trees and never apologizing for where you are on the journey and remembering to buckle your seatbelt and to avoid comparison because it is the thief of joy and to seek satisfaction instead of success.

And my personal favorite? No matter how much you accomplish, no matter how many mountains you climb, no matter how many goals you achieve…

…never take yourself too seriously.

Don’t get the big head as my children would say.

And so it is on this rainy Friday morning with my coffee and a hair don’t and a few giggles, I share this story with you once again along with some Thanksgiving table centerpiece inspiration.

A story about a girl who thought she was all that.

And then?

A little life happened.


Several years ago, I spoke at a women’s conference in North Carolina called Becoming and brought the twins along to help.

It was held in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited called Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.  I taught a DIY class on how to make signs out of old wood and how to make a burlap banner and then spoke at two different sessions about 25 unique and creative projects to make for your home.

The class went well and the first session was fine and then it was time to teach the very last class of the conference.

I was worried.

It was the last session on the last day.  You know.  The one that no one ever goes to because they are packing up their things and leaving and telling their friends they’ll see them next year.  On the elevator ride up I told the twins not to expect much and explained sessions at conferences and that we probably wouldn’t have that many people and they could probably start packing up during the class.

And then we opened the door.

limes thanksgiving centerpiece

It was standing room only.

What?  Standing room only?


I couldn’t believe it.  I had to blink twice just to make sure.  I danced around the room and told the audience they were amazing and I was so happy and that I couldn’t wait to talk about 25 creative projects for their home.

And somewhere along the line all that standing room and all that applause went to my head.

Katie bar the door.

I told story after story and twirled around and chased rabbits and held up projects and danced with some of them and laughed with the audience….

….and talked and talked and talked and the words flowed out of me like they never had before.

Everything I said was hilarious.

Every word I spoke was a pearl of wisdom.

Every project I shared got ooohs and ahhhs like it belonged in the Smithsonian.

It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

colorful centerpiece

The class sped by in a blur and suddenly the session was finished and I was shaking hands at the door.

The conference was over.

I floated out of the classroom on cloud nine and told the twins I was going to get the car and pull around to the back so we could load everything up to start driving back to Kentucky.

Now the building where the conference was held was at the top of a very high hill and my car was parked at the bottom.  If you wanted to reach the parking lot below—there were two ways down.

You had your choice of:

1. a paved driveway or

2. a steep grassy hill.

thanksgiving table

Normally I took the driveway, but today?

Today I was floating.

Today I was incredible.

Today I was amazing.

So I went all Robert Frost and chose the path not taken.

thanksgiving cutting board

Confidently, I took a deep breath of clean Lake Junaluska air and started walking down the steep hill.

Acres of green grass stretched out before me.

The sky above was blue and full of fluffy white clouds.

The day was so full of promise. Smiling, I waved to the conference attendees standing on the porch for the closing reception as I continued my trek down the wet, grassy side of the hill.

go your own way plate thanksgiving

Emboldened, I went faster until I was almost skipping, my confidence singing with each step.


Until my feet slid out from underneath me on the wet grass and without warning I landed on my rear and slid the rest of the way down the hill leaving a trail of mud behind me.

Finally, I came to a stop next to the parking lot.  I sat still for just a moment—attempting in vain to look like it was purposeful.

Like I meant to do it.

Like maybe I thought sliding was faster.

Slowly I stood up and looked around. Maybe no one noticed. Maybe they would think I thought it was a faster way to the car. Maybe I could quietly climb into the driver’s door without anyone seeing the giant mud spot on the back of my dress.

And then?

I heard the applause from the balcony.

The entire conference was gathered there for a final meet and greet with a front-row seat to my not-so-graceful mudslide down the hill.


One day my children’s children’s children will tell stories about me and they’ll talk about that long-ago day when two paths diverged and I took the one less traveled.

And it made a whole lot of muddy difference. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Heather Heather

    Hooray to you for choosing the road less traveled by..... I love that poem! I believe you do choose the road less traveled, for you regularly choose to encourage, inspire and lift up others. In today's society, the positive path is definitely not what most people choose. Thank you for sharing your stories and your faith in God with us :)

  2. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    No one call tell a story like you, Karianne. Your stories are so visual I can actually see them in my mind. Another great one. Thanks for the TGIF chuckle.

  3. Image for Carol Carol

    This is my favorite story of all time!! You've made me laugh, and often you make me cry over your life stories! But this one I've repeated to my daughter and as soon as my grand daughters are old enough, I will tell them. But included will be the stories in your books, your home in Kentucky, and the home you grew up in and now own in Texas, and your husband's eyes, The worries you've shared in rIsing four beautiful children and a dog who chose you. Don't we all need more fairytale endings? Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

  4. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    One of my favorites, only because it is something I would d0. You are "all that" my friend, but it's never wise to believe our own press. Something lurking in the background will always bring us back to reality in a big (and perhaps, muddy?) way!! Regardless, you rocked that conference!!!

  5. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    And this, my dear, is why we are friends. All of this has been in my past....made me laugh a bit this morning at a tumble I took after an important meeting! A great reminder of perspective. Love you, sweet friend!

  6. Image for Yarlette Yarlette

    I just love how you tell a story. I am one of those people that funny things always happen to me also. Friends and family are always saying remember when... at least we had a good laugh. Love your blogs. Keep them coming please. You are so talented.

  7. Image for Linda Linda

    Well, wow. Where to start, what to say, and how to end . . . Your story is funny but at the same time, I hear God screaming at me to move forward, do not be afraid. Earlier I wrote, to a friend, I am feeling drawn to put my toes in the murky cold water, but do not know which pond God wants me to move towards. Your blog is the third one, I've opened today, and each one is sending me a message that might be a bit different than the writer intended. You slid down a muddy hill, by darn it, and are still here to write about it! My toes might turn blue, but if that is the worst that can happen, that's not too bad. Never be afraid to go against conventional wisdom, right?

  8. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Great story....that only you could write. I got so caught up in reading...I didn’t even look at the pictures. I’m going back now. But...your story has a fantastic message. Hope you have a great weekend...doing whatever! ;)

  9. Image for Gidget Gidget

    You are correct! Lake Junaluska is one of the most beautiful places. So, I say,, if you are going to make a grand exit , do it in lovely surroundings and enjoy the ride!

  10. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Lol.... You are as bright as a Christmas ornament... as an Angel that sits atop the Christmas tree!!! Keep on traveling, girl... mud and all!!!!!


    I am laughing so hard!!!!!!!!!!!! I bet all those people thought you slid down the hill on purpose-it is about being EXTRA and making a unforgettable exit!!!! You embrace life with such exuberance it is a joy to the rest of us!!!!

  12. Image for Ann Dutze Ann Dutze

    Oh my! I am sorry that happened! I love your attitude and I understand why yuh tell this story, there is a good lesson here.....but I sure am sorry it happened!

  13. Image for Claudia A Claudia A

    Girl, I’d have got up and taken a bow after that! I know me well. Ta - Da!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you.

  14. Image for Pat Pat

    LOL!!! More than usual. I’ve been to Lake Junaluska, and you’re so right about it being incredibly beautiful! What a great place for a conference, but maybe the parking situation could be better😂😂 xo Pat

  15. Image for Marty Marty

    Oh I love this story. I have taken that road way too many times and wound up even muddier than you. This must be why I feel like you are a long lost sister. Love this story.

  16. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Please forgive me but I laughed out loud !! You are so wonderful for being able to laugh at yourself and actually let us know what you did! You are smart, amazing and totally full of life and joy.

  17. Image for Kris Kris

    Ah yes, God has a way of keeping us humble, doesn't he? But .... can we talk about that centerpiece???? SO amazing. Love the colors and textures.

  18. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I love this story! It could have been worse......You could have walked all through the conference with your skirt tucked into your pantyhose It hasn't happened to me....but I try to be vigilant! Have a great weekend!

  19. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Holy moley - I can't stop laughing. I have tears streaming down my face. Oh, KA - how you tell a tale. Oh maaaaan, you are sooooo funny. Who needs comedy when you are you and tell it as you do???? ♥

  20. Image for Helen Helen

    Your story was hilarious but humbling too!!! I love reading your blogs and the great ideas that you share. Yes I had could visualize your entire story and the mud on definitely on your rear!!! The highlight was a good laugh and that you were okay. Happy Thanksgiving and keep blogging....

  21. Image for Lee Lee

    YOU are so cute. I’ve read ur blog for a while. I’ve laughed and cried and smiled and rejoiced with YOU. You make me love being a Perfect Imperfect Lovely Human just like YOU.

  22. Image for Beth Minger Beth Minger

    KariAnne - you're the BEST and some day your children's children will indeed tell this story and Love you all the more for it!! These are the kinds of stories we tell about my Mom to her great grands!!

  23. Image for PJ PJ

    KariAnne, what a great story! "The path less taken is always filled with a little mud" may be my new motto for life. Have an amazing weekend!

  24. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Why do they always have to be watching? So real you are and that's why i love reading your blog. You bring a smile to my face and are a blessing. Those arrangements were beautiful, thank you.

  25. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I remember this story! I love it...not on account of you sliding down the hill, but just as a reminder that we all have those moments of glory!!

  26. Image for Mary in VA Mary in VA

    Hilarious! But isn't that the way things go? Just when we finally feel really, really good about ourselves, our butts are covered with mud. Thanks for sharing this, it makes me feel so much better. Like about the time I was in a rush to get to a party and I sped horribly fast in order to pass five cars at one time but suddenly! cars were coming toward me and I couldn't get back in my lane and I sped up even more then smashed the brakes and then ... I woke up in a ditch facing in the opposite direction. With a man leaning in to ask if I was ok while an angel in all white watched from the front of the car. I knew I had died and gone to heaven. And wasn't sure how I felt about that. Finally, I got myself together enough to realize she was a nun and that I'd just done some damage to my car. But by golly I still made it to that party! Oh to be 18 again!

  27. Image for Pastor Suzanne Pastor Suzanne

    This is a beautiful story. Your decorations are beautiful. You are beautiful! You bring much joy to many, and we are grateful to you for it. God bless you.

  28. Image for Carolyn Carolyn

    KariAnne, I just love you. You are one of the funniest people I know. You just keep it real. I laughed throughout the whole reading of this story. A clear picture of you sliding down that hill and then receiving such applause sounds like something out of a comedy movie. You should have gotten up and bowed to the audience, kicked your heels up and strutted to your car. Can't wait to share this story with family at Thanksgiving. What a laugh! Just wondering, did the girls see you?

  29. Image for Kathryn Kathryn

    I really enjoy your blog. Saturday’s is the best. Just love the cute random and funny things. I also like the list of thing for the week. They are always nice and cheerful. Puts a smile on my face. It’s nice you have so many do it yourself things and rearranging what we have. Great not to have so much commercializing. Your humor and writing are wonderful. Looking forward to more fun and cheer

Comments are closed.