Blessed, Not Busy

by tinareale on December 4, 2012

Every year as December hits, the calendars seem to overflow with activities and things to accomplish. Looking forward to our calendars, we have something every. single. day/night. from tonight through December 17th. I generally try not to overextend our schedules because it can stress me out.

Does it stress anyone else out, too?

When I feel overwhelmed with places to go, people to see, and things to do, I tend to shut down. Even when the events filling my calendar are things to enjoy with the kids, fun nights with friends, serving others, trips, or family activities…it has left me weary in the past. Why? Because I focus on the busy….and not the blessed.


My attitude around schedules and stress has always had room for improvement. I knew this busy time of year would quickly put to the test the attitude and perspective changes I have learned over time.

Blessed. Not busy. Blessed.

That way I can look upon each event, no matter how big or how small or who with, with the excitement and anticipation each deserves. This past weekend kicked off the blessed, not busy, season with quite a few fun events with loved ones.

Jesse Tree Ornament Swap with Friends


Have you ever heard of this? It is such a cool idea and I feel immense gratitude to my friend, Kim, for putting it all together. Jesse Tree is a devotional of 27 days of readings plus a corresponding ornament to do together as a family. Each day includes an important story and message from the Bible with a short devotional reading and a special ornament to reflect the message you get to hang fresh on your Christmas tree.




Twenty-seven ladies put together 27 single ornaments, then brought them to a special ornament exchange party where we all exchanged ornaments to put together a full set to bring home. I can already tell this little tradition will bring much meaning and fun to our family. And I got a fun night with some dear friends out of it, too.

Town Christmas Tree Lighting

When our church announced its partnership with our local area’s special Christmas tree lighting and festival, I knew I wanted to bring the kids. The night had live music, food trucks, vendors with all sorts of unique Christmas gifts for sale, and even Santa & Mrs. Claus.



It ended up being a lot more crowded than many of us expected, so we didn’t get the chance to see and do everything. The night still brought smiles to all of our faces, though. Live Christmas music from the all too talented singers and performers from North Point never fails to put some cheer in me.



The kids would be happy, of course, when the night involves cupcakes.


Peter used to work with the owner’s husband, so when we saw them as the faces behind the cupcake food truck we picked one up for the kids to share. Of course, I had to steal a bite and WOW. If you live in the Alpharetta area, try out Yum Yum Cupcake.

More importantly, we got to witness the tree lighting while further building the wonderful friendships we have started at our new church home. Blessed, indeed.

SEC Championship Game

And to get a little different flavor than Christmas, I invited my parents over for some football action!! What a nail biter! And even though UGA didn’t win, I couldn’t have been happier with that game. Both teams played tremendously and it was likely the best game I have ever watched. It meant even more by extending that invitation to my dad to watch together.

Many of you know we had very rough years in the past, but to live with grace and love….nothing more rewarding than that. I truly now feel blessed to have him as a father for the things it taught me and places it brought me. That night together, shouting “Gooooo Dawgs! Sic ‘em!” reminded me of that blessing all the more.

Blessed. Not Busy. Always, always, always…. blessed.

Your Turn: Do the things that fill your calendar during this time of year ever leave you feeling stressed instead of blessed? What are you choosing to look forward to and focus on this season?


1 Miz December 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

whats the alternative?
not being here?!
Im in for busy.
in in in.

2 Fancy Nancy December 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

I needed this post today…along with Miz’s comment!!! I’ve been so busy and it’s been stressing me out and taking the joy out of this time! I have really been thinking of doing the Jesse Tree devotional…perhaps next year!

3 Stephanie @ MyFreckledLife December 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

What a great recap! I’m always so impressed and proud of you in your ability to forgive (or work towards it) with your father. I have a lot of trust issues with my own dad, and it’s something that I really struggle with. But our church is doing an advent sermon series on forGIVEness, all about giving the gift of forgiveness as it was given for us, and I definitely think it’s something I need to hear. Gotta listen when the big man is talking! But thank you for being an inspiration that it may not always be easy, but that it is possible.

4 Libby December 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

Go Dawgs!!! I just started reading your blog!! LOVE it!! I am from and have always lived in Newnan Georgia! We were some sad UGA fans Sat. night! I love your attitude about being blessed not busy! I hate when I notice that I am just wishing the Christmas season would be done with:( Not the way I want to celebrate Jesus!

5 tinareale December 5, 2012 at 7:23 am

Hi, Libby! How cool that you’re from the area! Love connecting with other more local people. I will actually be staying in your neck of the woods Thursday night with some family.

6 Heather December 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

Great attitude girl! I get overwhelmed when I have a lot to do too (which usually involves lots of traveling) and I end up making myself sick! I think you are handling it well!

7 lindsay December 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

yes yes yes. stop the glorification of busy, instead lets glorify our God and our blessings. AMEN!

8 Marcia December 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

Oddly I am not stressing this year, probably because we’ll be away (for the first time) for the holidays. I’m also ageing up this month (in a big way-50!) and it has made me introspective and weirdly calm. Blessed for sure!

9 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 4, 2012 at 7:34 am

I was feeling stressed last night, so I decided to journal about all the things I was thankful for this month. The list was two paged! :)

10 Lauren December 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

LOVE that! Blessed not busy! I hate when people ask you how you are and you immediately respond with, “busy!” We are all busy but I never want my response to come off in a negative way. I’m so blessed to be so busy with so many wonderful things. :) That’s a better way to respond.

11 Lee December 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

This is a great post. I was feeling stressed out from everything that I have scheduled this month.

12 Coco December 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

Great message! I will keep your “blessed, not busy” mantra in mind throughout the season. It was hard to “give up” a whole Saturday for my annual Christmas cookie bake-a-thon, but it really was a blessing to spend so much time with my friends — not to mention coming home with so many yummy cookies!

13 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

What a GREAT reminder! It’s definitely something that is so often forgotten in the middle of the hustle and bustle but sometimes we really need to SLOW down, even if it’s just for that quick moment to remind ourselves that we’re BLESSED.

14 Linz @ Itz Linz December 4, 2012 at 8:34 am

Sometimes I feel stressed but itz definitely in a good way! I love everything that the holidays entails – namely all the family and friends!! Definitely blessed!

15 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 4, 2012 at 8:43 am

I needed this perspective today. Tis the season to feel overwhelmed! But really, how lucky are we to have so many people think to invite us to holiday parties and want to get together during the season.

16 tinareale December 5, 2012 at 7:24 am

And to eat yummy sushi with. ;) Can’t wait for tonight!

17 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables December 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

I love this! I think I am going to write it on a post it and stick it all over my house! lol. I tend to get stressed over all the travel, but it is a blessing we get to go home and see our families!! Thanks for the gentle reminder friend!

18 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots December 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

wonderful post! I love this time of year so I try to embrace the busy and enjoy the people I get to be with! Your kids are adorable!

19 Kathy December 4, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thank you…thank you….I have had this head cold/congestion and simply “ugh tired” for 3 days now. It has been wearing me down and stressing me out (since we are celebrating THIS weekend with my parents in between the kids’ Christmas program at our church). Baking cookies, buying presents, making to do lists of cleaning and groceries…got me feeling Bah hum bug last night before bed. ;-(

**insert binge on the holiday cookies b/c I know I am a stressful eater…and I kept reminding myself that as I still ate another** seriously, how to stop that???

Today I will remember …Blessed, not Busy….

(now, can you help me with my holiday cookie binge? ;-)

20 tinareale December 5, 2012 at 7:25 am

Just move on from the cookies. You can’t change what already happened. All you can do is learn what triggered it to apply that lesson to later and move forward with forgiveness of self and seeking normal balance. Hugs!

21 deva at deva by definition December 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

I 100% agree. My family celebrates Christmas and Chanukah and I am swamped from November through till my birthday in February it seems. Last night it was nice to sit down with my fiance and just decorate some sugar cookies, and I am trying to take time out this holiday season to sit and read books and go through the shereadstruth advent plan which reminds me to just slow down!

22 Rachel @RunningRachel December 4, 2012 at 9:41 am


We are doing a few Advent activities together as a family also. LOVE the idea and CHALLENGE of slowing down and really focusing on what really matters. :)

23 Heather (Heather's Dish) December 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

Love this, such a great reminder that the things I label as “busy” are sometimes the biggest blessings!

ALSO can we talk about how big your babes are getting? I feel like they grow a million percent every time I see a picture of them!

24 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions December 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

I love this way of looking at things! What an excellent reminder for this time of year. It’s so easy to get caught up in the events themselves instead of recognizing what the events demonstrate–that we have relationships, time for leisure, and passions. Thanks for this!

25 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I am very stressed! I have tons of plans with friends, a trip to Charleston this weekend, and a TON of school work! But I just have to remember to enjoy all the moments with my friends and not spend them worrying about what else I need to do.

26 [email protected] December 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

LOVE THIS!!! I totally agree with this attitude. I am so very blessed, and I feel that! :)

27 Ashleysh22 December 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

blessed. not busy. blessed. LOVE THAT! I need to keep that in mind, day to day, as a medical student. Because I am always busy! But you are right. I am blessed. blessed that I got into medical school. blessed that I have the mental capacity (and emotional capacity) to handle medical school. blessed that I have a supportive husband. blessed. thank you girl!

28 Maria December 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I love this mantra! I am going to use it too to get through a season of change for me. I’m in the process of leaving my job without one lined up. But I’m truly blesses that I get a chance to start over and find myself again in the process.

Whenever the holidays stress me out, I just think about the real reason of the season and it reminds me to calm down :)

29 [email protected] for the Soul December 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Awww the Jesse Tree ornaments are so adorable! I’ve never grown up around all this fun, but busy and back-to-back Christmas stuff since our family never celebrated special occasions. I got a taste of it in Kansas while visiting Greg’s family and it was a blast! But every night we just CRASHED and were wiped out. Now I can understand why so many people feel BUSY instead of BLESSED! And I love your honesty on this matter and glad to see you’re improving in your attitude~ :D

30 Kim December 4, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I get stressed out during the holidays, but every so often I catch myself, and I say, “Aren’t I lucky to have so many people love me?” It does adjust that attitude very quickly!

31 Amanda December 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Yesss! I sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the travel plans! I want to see everyone, but leaving every weekend can be exhausting! I am looking forward to the end of this week when finals are done!

32 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

It is sometimes a difficult thing to say “no” to events, but it can be for the best for everyone.

33 Cara December 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I love that! I get overwhelmed when there are too many things going on as well, but in reality they are wonderful things! Lately every time I feel stressed, overwhelmed or sad about something I try to remember the loads of blessings in my life!! It is all about perspective!
The Jesse tree ornaments are adorable, what a great tradition to start!

34 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper December 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

“You get to choose your attitude.” <– YESSSSSSSSSSSSS. I've been keeping that in mind a lot recently. Such a good way to look at situations.

35 Bek @ Crave December 5, 2012 at 12:22 am

I love that- Blessed, not busy. I am so going to remember this coming into the Holiday Season. What a fantastic post- thanks Tina. I’m glad you’ve had some awesome events and experiences so far, and very proud of you inviting your dad over. You’re an amazing person!

36 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) December 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

Such a great message, Tina! There certainly times, especially during this time of year, where I have to stop and breathe deep and remind myself how fortunate I am to have such a full life. It’s important to not get caught up in the stress of it all. Thanks for the reminder to focus on all the good :)

37 Melanie Brown December 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I love your post…or your message! So true & inspiring! I am going to share this with my fitness class at church tomorrow. Thank you – for helping me to remember how blessed my family is during this wonderful holiday season. Blessings to you & your family this holiday season!

38 [email protected] December 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Because I’m still very young and only have my own schedule to worry about, I find this time of year not hard to feel blessed during. What I stress about mostly is buying gifts for people as money is tight and I want my family to be happy, but I love your words about not letting all of the holiday season commotion get the best of you. Thanks for reminding everyone to slow down a little bit and just enjoy.

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