Daily / Travel

Stir The Soul

The holidays can unexpectedly stir the soul. Some find joy and excitement while others experience stress or sadness. What if we use the act of decorating to revive and inspire us by recollecting the good and pressing on?

My Soul is Stirred But Still, I Unpack

I unpack the boxes, sometimes reluctantly, but always unpacking. Some do not understand why I would be wary of the unpacking. But I know some do. For me, decorating for the holidays can be daunting. Is it the unnecessary pressure that our world has poured into it? Maybe it is the fear of emotion; what will I feel as I unpack the years and realize how much has changed in our home? Then, I’m moved by the gratefulness that much has changed, and really, all is still joy. My present state stirs my soul and I unpack.

Collections Share Personality

I have a love of collecting and Christmas is a fitting time to be a collector. Over the years, I have created many Christmas-themed collections from nutcrackers, Santas, and nativities to my favorite of all…my travel tree aka…The Woodlands Tree. The name of the tree just evolved; maybe it is the personality of the collection that gave it its name. It is not all about travel and it isn’t just woodland decorations. It is a family story told on an artificial tree, surrounded by woodland creature keepsakes. Essentially, it is the collection that conjures up joy and sweet memories.

Our family story is all over this tree. It is the first to go up each year and the last to come down. Every piece stirs the soul.

One Ornament to Stir the Heart

In 2014 our family of four traveled across the US from Georgia to Yellowstone. We traveled in a truck and lived in a pop-up camper for nearly 2 weeks and it was perfect! On a whim, I bought a wooden ornament that read Yellowstone. From there, I just kept finding this sort of ornament and you know what I say…3 or more makes a collection! This was the beginning of our love for camping and also the start of my soul-stirring.

Look for the Memories

It’s funny how the purchase of one inexpensive ornament has created such emotion and fullness in our life. I now look for memories to add to our tree throughout the year. Festivals, museums, day trips, and vacations have all contributed to this woodlands tree. No two will ever be alike and I am forever changed by the days that created this tree and our story.

A Natural Choice to Move the Soul

The woodlands theme was just a natural choice. My fondness for being outdoors, gardening, and enjoying nature of all kinds made this a simple choice. I was still teaching 2nd Grade when I started this tree. If you know anything about 8-year-olds, you know they love to surprise you and if you love something, get ready to be showered with it. My students discovered my love of nature (especially owls and birds) and the rest is history. Much of this tree is created by mementos from sweet students. Their excited faces when they were able to bring me the perfect gift they had chosen still sit in my heart and yes, they stir my soul every year.

Life Is Your Story

So as you unpack your Christmas this year, look for the faces and places that created joy within you. Hold on to this as you experience the season and become renewed. Life is your story that is written in the day-to-day, the years, and even the ordinary. The year’s end is our chance to gather our story, reread it and add a new chapter. All of this will offer a life well-lived if we stay curious and press on.

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