One of the things I've struggled with a lot over the years is comparison. Boy, howdy, is it tough sometimes. In the world of social media, it's hard not to find yourself doing the comparison dance as you're looking into the windows of other people's lives. Heck, I'll be honest. Seeing beautifully decorated, full Christmas trees on Instagram, when our own forest-harvested tree looked a little funny once we got it home, kind of made me a little sad at first. Then, I turned the bare spot to the back, hung a big green ornament where the lushness was lacking, and let my son and husband go to town with the decorating. It was painful to watch at first, but I used what I like to call my inside voice (aka inside my head) to sing Let It Go as the fear of carnage and OCD crept in. When it was all said and done, I somehow managed to only demand they rearrange ornaments twice, when there were too many similar ones placed near each other. And, just like the Grinch, my heart too grew three sizes that day.

Last year, we sold our home. Going from homeowner to renter was a lot harder than I thought it'd be. The perfectionist in me wants to make all the quick and easy fixes, while the landlord doesn't see the benefit. The inner monologue goes something like this: "Why would he? It's a rental. But it could be so nice!" I have chosen to make a home out of the imperfection of our 1970s rental with the wallpapered bathrooms and yellow dishwasher. My husband saw absolutely zero potential when we first looked at the place, but nearly 18 months later, even he has grown to love it. Location, location, location with a yard AND a garage? There would be plenty of people ecstatic to have what we do! I remind myself of this daily as I feel that pang of jealousy sneak in. Now, I choose to live vicariously through friends who are going through a different chapter of their lives and force feed them Pinterest links to amazing home decor. (Building a new home or redecorating? I'll totally help you spend your money if you let me!)

There comes a time when you have to let go of the idea of perfection. Life will never be perfect. You never know what goes on behind closed doors or what chapter of someone's life you're trying to compare yours to. Another blogger has coined the saying, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Once I heard that, I couldn't help but chide myself for getting worked up over silly little things. So, do yourself a favor this holiday as you feel your heart leaning toward sadness for what you don't have. Bring your mind back to what makes you happy. We all need a reminder of our blessings every once in a while, and there's always something to be thankful for.

This holiday season, I'm thankful for our tree-harvesting tradition of twelve years, for time with my husband and son, and for phone calls with family and friends who warm my heart. I'm thankful for my health and for strong legs that carry me through the runs that keep me sane. I'm thankful for the change the past eighteen months has brought us, despite the stress, because it has helped me appreciate what and who matter most. 

From my home to yours, quirky tree and all, I wish you a joy-filled holiday season.

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