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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Don't be Afraid

The quote is by Walter Bagehot, but I have no idea who to give credit to for the creation of this graphic...
I've searched and searched. I love it though.

The best way to get me to attempt something and to put my whole soul into it is to tell me that I am not able to do it or that it can't be done. "Home school students fall behind in their education and have no social skills." "No one succeeds without a high school diploma." "No one can finish that burrito in one sitting." "No one can scare me." Those were each statements that have been said to me over time, and for some reason my brain hears things like that as personal challenges and something in me must prove them wrong. So I did. If we limit ourselves to only what other people think we're capable of we miss out on so much of life. Don't be afraid to think beyond the normal or to reach beyond your normal grasp. 

Where am I going with this? Our Christmas Tree. I was in line at the grocery store and I overheard the conversation the two women behind me were having. 

Woman: "We really want to put up a tree this year, but we just can't afford one right now." 

Friend: "I know! They are all so expensive." 

I felt compelled to butt in..."You can get a free permit from the Forest Service to go cut your own Pinon Pine tree."

Woman: "Yeah, but then you have to buy a tree stand and we can't even afford that. Besides, we don't have a truck to haul the tree in."

Me: "Just find a bucket to put the tree in and then stabilize the tree by putting rocks in the bucket around the trunk. And we have a Geo Metro...we just tie the tree to the top. It's a lot of fun, your kids would love it."

Friend: "That just won't work. Those roads are too bad for a little car and I'm sure the bucket would tip over."

I saw at this point that the woman was convinced by her friend. so I just wished them a Merry Christmas and that was the end of it...I wasn't going to argue about Christmas Trees. But it made me sad that the woman was going to miss out on such a fun part of Christmas because she had been easily convinced that she couldn't do something that I knew could be done. 

Last year was our first Christmas by ourselves and we wanted to put up a tree (more than just the little 2 foot  table tree left over from our tiny UofA apartment days), but we didn't have the money to just go buy a tree. Luckily my mother jumped in and told us about the free tree permits. We were all over that with the one simple word: free. We went and got our permit the next day and then headed to the grocery store where we ran into some people we knew from church. We excitedly told them about getting the tree permit and they said, "Who's truck are you going to use? There's no way your little car is going to make it!" We just laughed and said we'd manage. Proving people wrong about our little car is one of our favorite things. Why? We drive a Geo Metro. You know...the little clown cars that run on hamster power rather than horse power. We love our little car and it has served us well over the years. 

So the next day we bundled up, grabbed our saw and rope and drove up the snowy roads into the mountains. We passed truck after truck pulled off the road, surrounded by families hauling in their trees. They gave us funny looks, but we pushed on. We went as far up the mountain as we safely could, away from where most people get their we knew we'd have a better chance of finding the "perfect" tree, and started tromping around. Cameron finally found the tree, cut it down, slapped the permit sticker on it, and we tied it to the top of the car. 
He likes making faces when I'm taking pictures...don't most people?

We loved looking at everyone's faces as we came back down the mountain in our tiny car with a tree tied to the top. 

We got home and went to put the tree up and realized that we had completely forgotten to buy a tree stand. Not wanting to make another trip out (especially as the store is 1/2 an hour away) we got looking around the house and yard. I found an old wooden planter bucket and had Cameron gather some bricks from our fire ring and we went to work. We stacked the bricks in as tight as we could, poured gravel out of the driveway into the cracks, and then stacked more bricks on top to hide the gravel. That tree would not wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't conventional, but we loved it. It gave such a fun look to the tree. I know there are some that will look at it right now and cringe...but we're okay with that. We love it and that's good enough for us. Everyone doesn't have to share the same likes and dislikes. 

It's amazing even after you do something that people tell you it can't be done. We had friends laugh that we were going to go cut a tree in our Geo...but we had a marvelous time. This year I found the tree and we went through the same process as the year before. 

See the Mini Mowers in the tree? We were so sad we forgot to bring them on our tree cutting now they get to hang out in the tree until we decorate it (and maybe even after). And then there to the left of the tree is our ribbon of cards...any card we get (birthday, graduation, wedding announcement, Christmas) goes on the ribbon with a clothespin.
I love how tall it is! We don't have the lights or decorations on it yet (some friends dropped in right after we put the tree up-and living as far out as we do, that's a big deal-so we all drove up to town for pizza), but I'm pretty excited about our tree this year. Is it the most perfect tree? No. But we love it. It's the memories created around getting the tree and decorating it that matter more to us than how magazine perfect it looks. As Cameron's dad says, "It has character." 

So why am I telling you about our Christmas trees and my need to prove that things are possible? Why am I telling you to not limit yourselves to others perceptions? Because that's what our blog is all about. Being courageous, being creative, being adaptable, and being able to laugh at yourself. Pinterest shows you what your homes, crafts, and food should look like and what you should perceive there. Fail sites show you projects that have gone wrong and tell you not to attempt them. Stores show you what your Christmas should look like and what to do and buy. We want to show you that yes, there are bumps in the road and things aren't always picture perfect, but that doesn't mean you have failed or that it's the end. Don't be afraid to try again. Don't be afraid to try something new or different. Don't be afraid to have your own style. Don't be afraid to think beyond the normal or to reach beyond your normal grasp. 

Don't be afraid. 


  1. Thanks so much for this post and your blog. I was so frustrated with the picture perfect standards of pinterest that I was about the quite the site when I found your blog. Everyday it reminds me that it's okay to mess up, the important part is to try, even if someone tells me that something can't be done.

  2. I love the bucket idea! It looks great!

  3. I grew up in a family of four kids and all we drove for a long time was a four-door geo metro! My younger brother and sister used to share a seat belt. Anything is possible with a metro! Your tree is so pretty and I love the look of using a bucket/bricks/rocks as a tree stand. Does it hold water?

    1. Last year's bucket did hold water...we put a No. 10 tin can in the wood bucket and then we put the tree in the can, then piled in the bricks and rocks. We poured the water in the tin can and it held great. This year I couldn't find any of our big tin cans (not sure where they went over the year), so it is just in the wood bucket, which does not hold water. Last years tree was wet green and wet until mid march (and it was lying in our fire pit after Christmas) and we got this tree in the same spot, so we're hoping it'll hold up as well as last years. We'll watch it carefully though.

  4. I think this had been my favorite post so far. I needed the reminder to not let others set my limits. While fear is the most crippling emotion, I can't let it set my limits either. Thank you for the reminder.
    Also, I think your wooden planter bucket looks way better than any tree stand does. Great creativity!

  5. I LOVE this! We have similar tree-cutting excursion stories only ours include an '85 Civic and 8 inches of Montana snow to drive through. Anything is possible with a little determination and love. :)

  6. Love the post! I always feel that when I get told I can't do something, that it's a challenge to do it! (That's why my mom always told me that it was my choice to follow the Gospel...instead of making me--because I could choose, I choose the right.)anyway, I love the post and the bucket--even better than a tree stand! :)

  7. This is why I love this blog. Creativity, laughs and fellowship in a positive outlook on the world. Sure, things don't always work the way you plan, but don't give up - find a way to make it work and you'll be doubly proud of your efforts. Thanks for the reminder and Merry Christmas!

  8. Such a great post! And I love your bucket. And the ribbon on it. Merry Christmas!

  9. Love your attitude and love your Geo! We had a Geo Metro for awhile too, when I was 9+ months pregnant I would joke I was bigger than my car! lol It really did look like a clown car b/c my partner is 6'5" tall and we joked he had to sit in the back seat to drive the car :) Fortunately we live on a farm so we just walk back to the bush to get our tree.

  10. Love it! Every year when I was a kid in Idaho we would drive to the Sawtooths and cut down trees, and every year my dad would cut it oo tall and we'd have to cut off about two feet, sometimes off the top, we tease him about it every year. They were never perfect, but the memories are perfect. We take our kids almost every year now and it's all about the experience, not the perfect tree. It's all about learning growing and laughing!

  11. The bucket looks great! Much better than a metal stand with a crummy dollar-store tree skirt on it. It looks like you did it on purpose! :) We can't have a tree 'cause there are three mischievous kitties at our house who would, as do you, "love the challenge," so we settle for a wreath on the door and twinkle lights strung throughout the room. Who's to say what is the "perfect" Christmas decor? It's what you love, 'nuff said.

  12. More than I like your Christmas-tree-in-a-bucket idea, I love your attitude, and your willingness to be such an encouragement to others. Don't ever quit!

  13. I love this post! Perfectly worded and I really like the rustic look of the bucket. Also, I am jealous of your Geo! I learned to drive on my family's teal green 2-door Metro and LOVED that car. I would buy another in a heartbeat. They're kind of hard to come by though, because they last forever and have incredible gas mileage. Merry Christmas!

  14. I think the bucket is a lot more charming than a lot of the tree stands I have seen! Great post.

  15. I love the bucket idea! Gives the tree a better look than a metal tree stand.

  16. I LOVE the bucket as a tree stand! It's much nicer than the normal green tree stand. Such a great idea for next year!

  17. I agree, that bucket is adorable!We had a local store that sold any tree for $9.99. One year we had the tree but forgot that we didn't have a tree stand. I came home from a business trip and my husband had rigged fishing line at the top of the tree to the wall and curtain rod. It was sweet! However, with three dogs and a cat I was worried. So the next day he went on good old Craigslist and found a $40 tree stand for $5. There is always a way to make it work.

  18. Well put. Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. I love this post as it inspires out-of-the-box thinking. This might be my favorite post of the year.
    -Mary Alice

  20. That's awesome! I get a 12 foot real tree every year, and I've never had any trouble bringing it home on top of my car (Toyota Matrix). People laugh, but I don't care. :) I did, however, have to spring for a good stand because the dang tree is way too heavy for a bucket.

  21. I have two kitties. They love to sit under the tree, but they have never bothered the decorations. (Well except for the branches on the table centerpiece! LOL) SO try a tree, your kitties just might leave it alone. Ps, one kitty is a feral rescue, and yep, he's the fully clawed centerpiece muncher! LOL

  22. I love the bucket, it looks really nice. Most tree stands are pretty ugly and have to be covered up. And what a fun tradition to go and cut down your own tree!

  23. Thank you for a wonderful post. It brought back memories of cutting down the "perfect" tree with my father and memories of the years we put the Christmas tree in a playpen to protect it from two toddlers.

  24. Your posts are the start of my day. I've never commented on any, but have shared many with my friends that pin. We've all agreed that if someone doesn't follow the directions (for whatever reason) it just shows they need to be okay with the consequences. And actually some things turn out better than the original pin! Thank you for having this blog! Thank you for starting my day with a smile! And thank you for being willing to try something and share your experiences. Confidence in oneself seems to be lacking these days. Happy holidays!

    PS: The quote is from Walter Bagehot, a British author.

  25. Love how this turned out. As several already said, the bucket looks soooo much nicer than the tree stands. I think I shall scour tag sales this summer in search of a suitable bucket for our faux Christmas tree. (Tried real ones the first couple years we were married. Didn'a realize until the third Christmas that I was *very* allergic to pine trees. Just thought it was stress.)


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