Every Christmas Eve all the littles (and not so littles) in our family gather together and put on their version of the Christmas story for the rest of us.

We should sell tickets.

There’s Mary and Joseph and shepherds in gold glitter caps and wise men carrying baskets of assorted kitchen supplies and angels with wings and more barnyard animals than you can count.

This year the angels trumpeted so loud the sheep had to cover his ears.

The wise men got impatient with their gifts of myrrh, incense and dish towels that they almost showed up before the baby was born.

No one could control the donkey and he ran around braying and pushing his donkey ears off to grin at the audience.

And one lone sheep went all renegade and brought the house down.

As I sat there watching the Christmas story unfold, I thought about this year.

Truth?

It’s been a challenging one.

So much good.  So many amazing things.  So many incredibly awesome opportunities.

And so many times when I melted down in the middle of my living room from the overwhelmingness of it all.

I wrote a book.

We sold our farmhouse.

We bought the house I grew up in and put a mirror back in place.

We started remodeling the house.

We chose a paint color.

We lived out of boxes and suitcases and ate ramen noodles and wore messy buns and lived with seven-day hair and walked around with drywall dust on our feet and sat on folding chairs and ate off plastic plates and moved our refrigerator into our dining room.

And I wish.

That I wish.

That I wish.

I could tell you I handled it all with grace and dignity and poise and joy.

But I didn’t.

Not. Even. Close.

I spent most of the months of October and November walking around with an awkward smile on my face trying not to cry.

I knew I should be happy.

I saw all the blessings that swirled around me.

I tried to count them and tell myself this was an incredible journey and remind myself how lucky I was to get to move back and buy the home I grew up in and remodel a kitchen.

But all I wanted to do was go back to bed.

And pull the covers over my head.

And hide from all the responsibility.

And then along came Christmas Eve.

This living room was full.  It was piled to the brim with my family and my husband’s family.  All the littles and the bigs coming together to celebrate the reason for the season.  There were rooms full of people watching football and rooms full of people playing cards and rooms full of people eating coconut shrimp and cheese dip and opening presents and laughing and talking and doing cartwheels in the middle of the room.

The house was bursting at the seams with joy.

And as the lights grew low and the night was almost over, we gathered here to watch the annual Christmas play.

Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and the wise men and the shepherds and the renegade sheep.

As I looked around at all these faces that I hold so near and dear reflected in the sparkling lights from the tree, I felt my heart catch.

Our lives had come full circle.  It had been a challenging year.  We had worked and planned and packed and moved and traveled so far and tried so hard and every morning we’d get up and start all over again.  It was hard.  It was stressful.  It was overwhelming.

And I realized right then and there as I watched the angels singing and dancing and blasting out the heavenly chorus through a vintage horn covered in ribbons and holly….

….that I would do it all again.

I would relive every step of the journey for this.

This.

This moment.

This time.

This family.

Happy New Year.

(I think it’s going to be a good one).

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Image for Carol Neibling Carol Neibling

    It was a hard year for us, too and only with my faith in God and a friend I could text or drive 100 miles to visit a few minutes or my wonderful pastor have I gotten this far. Will 2018 be better? I trust God will see we have a better year, but if He doesn't we will take what comes. I wondered how you could hold up under all you were going thru, but it didn't show. You wrote uplifting blogs and we thought you were on top of it all. God Bless you and your beautiful family

  2. Image for Linda Linda

    Wonderful memories, heartfelt and happy one. Another chapter to set on the bookshelf of life. What a perfect way to come full circle. Family, togetherness, laughter and tears and Christ in the center of it all! May this New Year bring you joy!

  3. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    Dear Karianne, You are so brave and so bold. You fearlessly stepped in when needed. It’s okay to mourn the life you had: it was so wonderful, exciting, creative, and yours. It deserves to be acknowledged. But, most importantly, you are moving forward with grace and style! Wishing you a happy, creative 2018!

  4. Image for Vickie Shulze Vickie Shulze

    So much appreciation for your honesty, keeping it real. May God bless, as you truly are such a blessing to others.

  5. Image for Robin Robin

    I've prayed for you and your family. I know it had to be tough and overwhelming . But you always showed the positive side. And kept your posts coming to us uplifting. So excited to see all you do with your new old house. And I'll continue praying 😉

  6. Image for Terie Terie

    Happy New Year Karianne! you are so brave and SO Strong and uplifting for the rest of us! Your posts helped me through a very difficult year and it is SO appreciated !!!! As I type this- our oldest daughter is in the beginning stages of labor with our first grandchild--- so much to look forward to and SO many blessings even in the midst of a long and difficult year! Many, many blessings to you and your family in 2018!

  7. Image for Sue Sondker Sue Sondker

    A beautiful story with so much truth and love. Give God the glory for all He has done and created such a beautiful person in you. Happy New Year.

  8. Image for Michelle Michelle

    All your sweet family traditions make me want to go back in time to do those things too ;-) About the feelings...seems I read somewhere that moving can be way up there on the list of stresses and depression-causing anxiety, something on an equivalent level to losing a family member. One of the things I admire most about you is your willingness to admit to the world that you're vulnerable, that you mess up sometimes. That willingness makes you accessible and very endearing. (Sending you a virtual hug) And, finally, about the living room...soooo beautiful and I can just see it filled with laughter and smiling faces, all so grateful for time spent together to celebrate the season with long-loved traditions. May the traditions continue! Happy New Year, friend!!

  9. Image for Diane | An ExtraordinaryDay Diane | An ExtraordinaryDay

    I think is going to be a GOOD New Year, too! Thanks for being transparent today, KariAnne. I have negotiated some very challenging times and hang my head when I look back and see how I didn't trust God or was anything but graceful. Those times are just plain HARD. You have amazed me at how you somehow managed to continue to be so graceful and joyful in your writing through it all. I might tell you that you are an incredibly strong woman... and you are... but I also know the Source of your strength. ;) You have a beautiful testimony there. And... WOW! You have accomplished much in so little time. Once all the dust is settled... that will be a beautiful story to tell, too. In the meantime... bask in the glow of the tree and enjoy the NOW and ALL the blessings that surround you. Yup! It's going to be a VERY GOOD New Year! xo

  10. Image for Susie Susie

    Bless you, KariAnne. Bless you in all that you have done and will do in 2018. I'm so thrilled that the year ended in such a glorious way. Carry that. That moment into 2018 and everything will A-ok. Merry Christmas (one day removed) ~~ Susie from The Chelsea Project

  11. Image for Katie Mansfield Katie Mansfield

    Lovely. Thanks for admitting what is truth for all of us. Sometimes we don't handle stuff the way we hope. You are literally amazing. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  12. Image for Brandy Brandy

    Hi sweet friend! I’ve been thinking about you for months.... and praying. Praying strength, and grace, reassurance and direction, joy and rest. Once the dust settles and you have some time..let me know and I’ll come meet you for lunch somewhere and we’ll just breathe together and reflect. It’s been a whirlwind of a year!

  13. Image for Judy Judy

    This sweet story brought tears to my eyes! Love your family tradition and how Christmas puts all things in the proper prospective! My daughter is going through the house renovation thing (although not the home she grew up in) and we are all overwhelmed at times! This story helps us keep on keeping on!

  14. Image for Sue Sue

    Karianne,so happy you and your family could have such a beautiful Christmas in your home. Hope the new year is less hectic for you,brown eyes and the Littles.

  15. Image for Richella Parham Richella Parham

    Darling KariAnne, bless you. Yes, I think it's going to be a good year. And I pray that it will be a year of less change than 2017. Because even though so many of your changes were good ones, you really were besieged with change this year. But you know what? You were NOT overwhelmed! You were pushed, pulled, and prodded every which way, and overwhelm threatened as never before, perhaps, but you made it. And I for one am so proud of you and glad for you. You are even closer to amazing than ever before!

  16. Image for Kris Kris

    Two thoughts. Sometimes "good" doesn't mean "happy". Growth isn't always fun, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. My other thought with your "I knew I SHOULD be happy" ... well ... a wise man once told me "don't 'should' on yourself". Great advice. Your emotions are what they are, and your energy level is what it is. You are human and if you feel sad or angry or overwhelmed, that just makes you like the rest of us. And now I will try to remember to take my own advice. :)

  17. Image for Cindy Richter Cindy Richter

    Yep, I think it’s going to be an fantabulous year too! I hope to get to know you better and see you more and look forward to reading all about your adventures. Happy New Year!

  18. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    So very thankful that you made it through the challenges of the past year and began to build new memories in that special home while carrying on traditions. Love the wise men tradition amidst family. Blessings abounding, sweet friend. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year full of much more adventures!

  19. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    You have made our lives much richer. I’m so glad you would do it all again! You have an Incredible gift. Much happiness coming to you and your family! Merry Christmas and smiles, Alice

  20. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    We seem to have had all the same challenges this past year. Selling a house, finding a new one, moving, remodeling and unpacking countless boxes. There is still so much to do, and sometimes I just want to stop and take a breath, but like you, I am so happy we are where we are and I would do it all over again and again. God Bless you in the New Year and grant all your Wishes and Dreams.

  21. Image for Charley Charley

    Awh, brought tears to my eyes. It's really important to let everyone know the back side and pain involved with reaching for joy. Sometimes it work out and sometimes it doesn't. But if we don't put ourselves 'out there' we'd never experience anything. Your living room looks heavenly in that light!

  22. Image for Sue Sue

    So good to know you have feelings like everyone; and happy that you always knew you were needed to get up every morning and that you never gave up.

  23. Image for Mary in VA Mary in VA

    A move is a very stressful thing, and I would have been crying on the rug with you if I'd moved this year. You're doing great, your house is gorgeous, and I'd have paid top dollar to see the Christmas play!

  24. Image for Rosanna Rosanna

    Oh..too fun!!We used to put on “Christmas Plays” when the family gathered when we were growing up!!Thanks for the funny story!

  25. Image for Norma Jean Norma Jean

    Sending you love. Thank you for being there this past year. I've leaned on your words many times... through your blog and your book! xoxo

  26. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOL Oh, I wish you had recorded that play. I would PAY to see it! 😃 So fun. And THAT'S why I kept praying for you! I knew something was up with you. I'm so glad you had a wonderful Christmas with all your family. Blessings for the bestest New Year ever! ❤

  27. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I've never known a family who did a Christmas play! I widh you had taken a video! As for this INCREDIBLY challenging year....you fooled us cause I know we all thought you were handling it all just wonderfully. You show your kids every single day how strong, brave and courageous you are. Here's to 2018 being MUCH less challenging!

  28. Image for Judy Judy

    You always inspire me to put my grown up pants on and move forward. Sometimes we just need to go where we are being "sent" and see what happens. Happy Nw Year!

  29. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    Happy New Year Karianne! You made it through and have wonderful memories and great stories to tell! Those will be the chapters in your life. And the meltdowns and doubts? Well, Sweetie they become the footnotes and are soon forgotten!!! Cheers for a super wonderful New Year and more adventures!!!!!!

  30. Image for Pat Pat

    What a beautiful story, full- circle, with all the bumps along the way. That's life! Happy 2018 to you and yours. xo Pat

  31. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    KarieAnne, you are such an inspiration to so many. God is using your influence in a powerful way! Just keep on keeping on. Many more blessings and less stress, wished for you in 2018.

  32. Image for Cindy in NC Cindy in NC

    Bless you and your family in the coming New Year. You did do it all and you are better for it. God bless and keep telling your story. We care.

  33. Image for Cindy Hurley Cindy Hurley

    You can only succeed bc God was 1st in yuor plans. You have so much energy and it maybe somewhat spent but that is who you are and best of all your home at last and there shouldn't be anymore moving. Beautiful . Love ya girl.

  34. Image for Mother of 3 Mother of 3

    Aw, I'm sorry to hear that your year was so overwhelming but it sure sounds like it ended just perfectly. These pictures are just beautiful! Wishing you happiness and health in the New Year.

  35. Image for Mimi Matthews Mimi Matthews

    Girl! I'm sure that four months ago, even two months ago, heck a month ago, you never visualized that you would be this together! lol But you and your family got 'er done, and it's just gorgeous!! God's grace is amazing, for sure. I'm praying for your strength as you recuperate. Cuz that kind of intensity just takes the suffin' outta ya!! As always, I love your post! Much love and sparkle hugs.

  36. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    And yet here you are, sweet friend. Still standing. Seeing your blessings around you. I'd say that is a successful year. Wishing you peace, joy, and many, many blessings this New Year. Thank you for letting us tag along on your journey. It helps me to keep going forward with courage. Hugs Cecilia

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