Tag Archives: Plan B

Embracing the Unexpected



I find that a good percentage of our life is spent living our “Plan B.” Life rarely plays out as expected, and we are asked to accept and even embrace a path different than the one we envisioned. This is true for the big things in our life: careers, school, marriage, children, health…so often we are dealt a hand we didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. We are asked to embrace this change in direction and find the purpose and joy in this unexpected detour away from our own plans. But even more often we see this in the little things. Daily we are faced with missteps, frustrations, disappointments, traffic jams, lost keys, spilled milk, and unplanned results.

These are the moments that test our mettle,

And reveal what we are truly made of.

It is in the little disappointments and frustrations that we build character and strengthen those muscles that allow us to endure, embrace, and even find joy in the big trials we face in life.

As each year passes I am learning to lessen my grip of control on my vision for my days and embrace the lessons found in the unexpected twists and turns that make up life.

Grace recently was faced with one of these pivotal moments.

Last week Grace and Molly went to get their hair cut. Molly just needed a trim but Gracie was wanting a new look and went searching online for a fun, new style to brighten these dreary January days. She finally found what she was looking for. The style was something between her current cut and Molly’s pixie style. With the picture in hand they headed to the salon.


An hour later they returned. Molly walked in first. Her hair was trimmed up and looking sweet. Next Grace walked in. My mouth dropped, not in horror but in shock. Her new do looked nothing like the picture she showed me. I quickly scanned her face, searching for clues as to how she felt about the new style before I opened my mouth and commented.

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With a smirk and a shrug of the shoulders she made it clear that while not what she asked for or expected, she was accepting and even embracing this “Plan B.”

Grace explained what led to this unexpected change in plans. She recounted the moments of the last hour that led to this unexpected change in her hair. After sitting down in the chair she showed the photo to the hairdresser, who replied with confidence, “No problem!”

The first clue that there was perhaps something had been lost in translation was when the gal pulled out her clippers and buzzed a line of hair away, down to the scalp, on one side of Gracie’s head.

I asked Grace how she responded. Did she say anything? Did she start crying?

“No,” she replied. “There didn’t seem any point. It was already done. It isn’t like she could glue the hair back on.”

The hairdresser continued to buzz cut the right side of Gracie’s head leaving the left side the original length.

By the time she arrived home Grace was past the shock of this unexpected turn of events and was embracing “Plan B” with a grace fitting of her name.

Her take on the whole experience was a reflection of her maturity, adaptability and good nature. “I wouldn’t have necessarily picked this but its done now so I’m going to embrace it and enjoy it until it grows back out.”

The addition of some red lipstick and funky earrings sealed the deal and brought this new daring look together.

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I am so proud of Miss Grace. He response to this little, unexpected  “Plan B” in her life is telling of how she will manage the BIG “Plan B’s” that will inevitably hit in the future. As a mom I couldn’t be prouder of this stylish little gal of mine.



Our Charlie Brown Tree is a Goliath!



Once we found our “Perfect” tree it was then time to decorate our “Perfect” tree.

We got it up the driveway and to the front door only to discover another four feet needed be trimmed off.

Finally it was ready to be wrestled into place.

In through the front door it was carried.


We quickly discovered how far reaching those willowy branches were as the tree “undecorated” the living room as it was dragged into place.

We also found the weight of those far reaching branches pulled the tree forward, so once it was secured in the tree stand Toby had to tie off the top of the tree to the wall so it wouldn’t fall over as puppies ran by.


Then it was time for lights. Toby and Rusty took on the task of covering the tree with white lights. The flimsiness of the branches on our Goliath Charlie Brown tree only allowed for a minimal amount of draping. The finished product made me smile.

Then it was time to decorate!

Fueled by eggnog and Christmas cookies we were ready to begin.


The kids  dove into the boxes of decorations, eager to find their personal ornaments.


We have a tradition in our family of exchanging ornaments every year on December 23rd, on the day before we go out to Ohio to spend Christmas with my parents. We started this tradition on Gracie’s first Christmas with the thought that it would be a fun way to document the years, as well as an opportunity to gift her with 18-20 ornaments that she will be able to take with her when she leaves home and has her own Christmas tree.

The ornaments are chosen with thought, each reflecting an attribute, interest, or event that was important to that child in the past year.


The kids love pulling out their past ornaments each December and reflecting back on who they were and what was important to them when they were younger.

Rusty’s  collection of ornaments:


Toby’s theme for my ornament each year is one that started with the first one he bought me in 1998. Every year he buys me an angel ornament.


The willow tree angel ornament is my favorite. It is the one he bought me the year we adopted Tyler.


This year’s tree decorating remained consistent with this season’s overall theme of simplifying and focusing on those things of most importance, with quality reigning over quantity.

Our “airy” tree simply couldn’t hold the usual load of ornaments so the kids had to pick and choose what would go up on the tree this year.

Each of them laid out their years’ worth of ornaments, with Grace having the most at 18 and Ozzie having the fewest at 2. Then they all chose their very favorites from the pile to hang on the tree.

Here is everyone’s #1 favorite ornament:

The finished result was comical but charming. It certainly isn’t our traditional tree. It is as wide as it is tall, making walking to the bedrooms feel like stepping through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia, as we climb through the low, sweeping branches.


But I love it.

I love story behind the tree.

I love the experience we shared in getting the tree.

I love the humble nature and imperfectness of our tree, so reflective of this Christmas season and the journey God has taken us on.

I love that it is our tree, grown on our land…a living piece of Patchwork Farm.

I love the laughter this comical tree and experience has brought us as we live out a “I LOVE LUCY” episode.

I love that it didn’t go smoothly and perfectly, for I have found it is rarely the perfect moments in life that stick with you and leave an impression. Nobody remembers the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect birthday, or any life moment that goes off without a hitch. No, it is the messy, plan B, imperfect moments that glue families together and are reminisced on and laughed about  years down the road.

No, it isn’t the “Perfect” tree,

but it is perfect for us.