From empty to full, all because of Christmas lights.. and an iPhone.

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

Tonight I was feeling a little low. My son decided to stay until New Years at his Dad’s, leaving me, well, alone. I wasn’t prepared and I’ll admit, felt sorry for myself.

I decided to take a walk to clear the air since I’ve started walking since yesterday and wanted to keep it up. (don’t wanna break this LONG ongoing habit here!)

It was much colder than anticipated, so I grabbed my warmest coat, a fluffy toque, and head out into the icy dusk.

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

Walking cautiously, the ice crystals underfoot kept my speed to a careful roar. Puddles were frozen into a million diamond shaped cuts, with light bouncing from the overhead lampposts lining the street.

Ice is pretty.

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

Dunno what happened, but when I finally looked up towards our little town, I saw the glow of Christmas lights gleaming from a distance and instantly felt… joy. My heart rose, and started singing a Christmas carol to myself while snapping picture after picture from iPhone #1.

iPhone #1 comes with a story of course. In a nutshell… 

I lost #1 in Nashville and bought #2 upgrade when I got home. Then #1 arrived in the mail. I put #1 aside and enjoyed my #2. But yesterday, I left #2 at the bank (outside) and when I returned, well… let’s just say I had to dig out my #1 downgrade today. Boo. Grateful I hung onto it though!

Some people get by with 1 iPhone. And then there are those that just need two… heh.

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

From empty to full, in the blink of a Christmas light... and iPhone. A story with night pictures, via Funky Junk Interiors

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to get home, turn on my own Christmas lights, light the fireplace and get cozy with my cat and just ‘feel’ full, even by ourselves.

It’s been a different Christmas. I’m still transitioning, trying to find where I actually belong and with whom. I’m still not sure and for the most part, feel a little disjointed. It’s hard to explain, but I’m gathering this is a completely normal transition when you go from feeling full to empty in one fell swoop. How can your heart possibly keep up with an abrupt switch in life?

If you’re missing someone this Christmas, THIS post may be for you.

As for me now, it’s all good. My lovely little home is warm, fully lit with festive lights I’m so grateful I wasn’t in a hurry to take down yet, and I have all I need. Even when on my own.

Perhaps it’s just mindset after all. Perhaps in our ever changing world, we’re just suppose to roll with the punches we’re dealt with, and get busy, changing things that we don’t like, flipping them into something we do. Hmmm… 

All I can say is, I’m happy to know all my mindset seemed to need today was something as simple as an evening walk and pretty lights. And an iPhone.

Oh goodness.. I hope this doesn’t mean I’d better buy a 3rd!

How are you all doing? Has this been a good Christmas for you?

What cheers you up when you’re a little off?


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49 thoughts on “From empty to full, all because of Christmas lights.. and an iPhone.

  1. Hi Donna,
    Love the photo of the ice – it’s really amazing! It is interesting being in that transitional spot – I was reminded at a time when I was there to simply “be” and let the rest fill in – sounds like the walk did that for you!
    Peggy @ The Painted Pear

  2. Ha! I started walking yesterday, too! And we went again today! 2 days down, only 15,000 left to go!

    a couple of REALLY nice iPhone shots there. Mr. Social Media is a tech junkie (it’s part of his job, right?) Currently in this house we have 5 iPhones. . .

    i’m not sure what cheers me up. . . harmony between my 2 kids. . . positive responses from my readers. . . taking good photos. . .

    and walking is good. after we finished our walk today, my son and i hopped in the car and measured the distance we went on the odometer. Today’s walk was 1.8 miles and we made a plan for 2.5 tomorrow!

    Happy New Year,

  3. Donna, First let me say I love your blog and am so inspired by your style and ideas.Have been looking up old posts all afternoon on your site and I was just about to turn the computer off and head to bed and then I thought” Ill check out FJI one more time” and I saw this post and it made me cry, as I too am missing someone. My beloved dad passed away and I miss him so much, you see he was my carpenter and would make absolutly anything I asked of him. Because of your site and all the awesome inspiration I think I may just try some of thes things on my own! Thank you Donna and may you find peace and happiness in the coming year,God Bless you. V

    • I’m so sorry you’re hurting, V. You are so not alone. What you had with your Dad sounds positively wonderful! But imagine how proud he’d be if he knew of your newfound building skills… we can do this!

    • My dad did the same for me, I would call him up and he had an ongoing list of projects we came up with together. He passed away 4 1/2 years ago and this week is his birthday so I know just how to pray for you in your season. HUGS

  4. ….and that is what Christmas lights are for. Not just decorations to impress the neighborhood, but to spread Christmas Spirit….:)

    You have proven to be very resilient, time and again. This is just another notch in your proverbial belt of life. Glad you are enjoying the warm purrs of Teddy in your cozy home….

  5. Oh my goodness, totally understand. I was looking so forward to my grown daughter coming home for the holidays this year. But… She got a great job after college graduation last June and she just could not take the time off. So I really missed doing crafts with her, she always has the best ideas. Christmas was really good but I did feel the void. It is really hard to have them leave the nest even when they seem okay sometimes I wish I could just keep them little and freeze time. Lol you might like seeing her blog “Love, design & sunshine” and she has a cute store called “Dots and Stripes” She sent me the large ampersand and a from here to there map for Christmas, I will treasure these always. Take care and good luck!

  6. I am sorry you are alone – but sometimes (like you discovered) it can be the best thing – aloneness makes us stronger, more reflective, even sometimes more serene…gives us time to think, and clear our heads…gives us grace to pray…and we all need more prayer for this world!

    I wish you everlasting peace, joy, good health, laughter and love in the new year to come. Even if by yourself.

    Plan a little tea party and invite 3 friends: an old friend, an acquaintance you wish to know better, and a brand new friend………..and just see what happens. Good stuff happens at tea parties, we ladies get to be ladies, slow down, and enjoy one another – and miracles happen!


    • This is a great idea, Michele. I love my girlfriend time. It definitely rejuvenates me. I’ve moved all over the country and found that there is always someone out there who needs a new girlfriend, even if they don’t know it yet. I also like the reminder to be reflective and pray. Very important to remember.

  7. Sometimes, it’s not that bad to be alone. But I understand that Christmas is the special time and nobody wants to be alone. You still have friends in here, so every time you feel bad you may speak to them:) Wish you all the best in New Year!

  8. I love the Christmas lights too…somehow it makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside. Knowing what they signify must be part of that.
    Wishing you all the best in the New Year!
    Debbie 🙂

  9. I love your story Donna… it is all about rolling with the punches… This Christmas was different for me as well. Through changing family dynamics and the passing years, Christmas lost something for me this year. I love the build-up, the decorating and all the preparation but there was a joy missing this year as the house was emptier and the children are beginning their own paths. Life is about change and I think we need to find the joy within ourselves every day, not just Christmas. I think I need a walk!

  10. I think that is what we are supposed to do, roll with the punches we are dealt and try to change what we can. Daddy always told me if I din’t like something, then I was supposed to change it. Some things I can’t change. I lost Daddy on Dec. 10 to Alzheimer’s. I can’t change that, but I do participate in the fight to end the disease. I will live my life doing my best at whatever I do,that is what he would expect me to do.

  11. Bless your heart you are so sweet and intelligent I’ve been waiting on pictures I can’t get enough of ur site since I discovered it a month ago and I am so happy and I know your sorrow in a different way lost my brother this year at age 45 now we take care mom she lives alone and she very sad this year .God will take care of you you seem like a beautiful and loving person. I am excited to see upcoming posts. happy new year and may GOD bless you!,

  12. Donna, Your story hit a chord with me! I understand the what is next, where do I got from here. The whoa is me moment, then we open our eyes and heart and say, God, I get it now! Thank you for writing and beautiful blog and sharing.

  13. Donna- I love all of your pictures. It is hard sometimes to roll with the punches but we become stronger with each and every moment of acceptance. I have always said it is a good thing we cannot see the future because I don’t know if we would have the strength to move forward sometimes. God bless you- I hope your New Year is filled with joy and bountiful blessings- xo Diana

  14. It is so hard when you have extended and broken families. It’s hard to share…and even harder to share children, and grandchildren. I haven’t gotten see any of mine yet…except my live in grandchild. I’m so glad you are feeling better about it. God is good…and Yes rolling with the punches makes us stronger. I have a feeling you’re pretty good in that department! Lovely story…thanks for sharing! ~Tammy

  15. Donna. You have us! Not much of a consolation prize, but we’re here for you, too. You bring us so much, and I only hope that we bring you a fraction of that. I’ve felt disjointed, too, since I lost my mom and dad in 2005 and 2003. We lived next door to them for 25 years so it’s difficult not to feel lost. You start thinking so many odd thoughts. This is mostly during the holidays. I feel a bit like an orphan. So glad that you were able to lift yourself up again !

  16. Donna,
    I just read your story because of your comment about your husband leaving you. You were inspiring with your recreations, but appreciate you sharing your story. We all have stories of recreation I suppose of one sort or of another. Our plans often don’t reflect those God has made for us. Thank you for sharing yourself, your heart, and your creativity. I love all your ideas and use them often. It reminds me of the saying, “God doesn’t make no junk” He sees beauty in all he creates even if we as mortals can’t always see it. I have found in my life that His plan is the perfect one, although we don’t always understand it. I pray for you to have faith in Him and continue to look to Him and trust Him. I do believe He gives us what we need. I hope your year is blessed with healing and continued creativity. You do inspire! I missed meeting you personally in Pulaski at the Milky Way Farms, but hope next year I can and that you will be there! God bless you! Susan

  17. Beautiful photos Donna and what an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your heart! Transitions can be challenging – I’ve been in the midst of one for a while now myself but I am so thankful for the lessons that God has been teaching me through them and I really don’t mean to sound trite. Focusing on the positives in my life and not the negatives has helped me to learn so much about myself and that I can be happy and full – just as you’ve shared – even if I’m on my own! I think that’s the biggest and most important lesson to learn and then who knows, maybe we’ll turn around one day and find we’re not alone any more 🙂 Here’s to an amazing New Year for us all! ~ Hugs, Jennifer

  18. Beautiful photos and a beautiful post. I appreciate how you dealt with your loneliness, seems like a very healthy way. I don’t know but sometimes it’s good to just feel how we feel and not always try and re-focus onto something else.
    Thank you!

  19. Donna, your site is one of my favorites. I love your ingenuity! Praying for your hurting heart. May the Lord fill your New Year with peace, comfort, and daily sweet surprises. Blessings to you!

  20. What beautiful thoughts you have shared Donna….thank you and Happy New Year to you. Hope it is one filled with many blessings.

  21. As you can see once again, you are never really alone when you have a blog (and an Iphone). You touched someone (V) with this post that you never would have had you not been feeling the way you were. And that doesn’t even hit on all the creative ways you inspire so many other people….. like me.

    Happy New Year (and don’t be leaving #2 at the bank outside anymore – people will talk)


  22. I absolutely love the colors of the Christmas lights on the building. All those colors are amazing.
    I want to encourage you. I was a single mom of five in 2001 (one month after 9/11, my husband abandoned my family) and the I was blessed with a new marriage in 2004. To say all that, my children all go through emotions and have been highly affected by the abandonment and there is really nothing I can ever say or ever do to take that pain away. We don’t want our children to not like the other parent no matter what the circumstance, but they have to go through the emotions and trials in life because of it. We want to be the only parent that is loved, and the other parent forgotten. But that never ever holds true. It is almost like the other parent is loved or respected more. I think that in due time, children learn as they grow in maturity and that may take years. My oldest is now 27 and my youngest is 17. So I will pray for you and your son today. Blessings to you and thank you for showing me and all the rest of the wonderful blogland that you can take something as a piece of wood and make it beautiful especially that Christmas Tree of yours!

  23. catching up with blogging friends cheers me up. I personally go into full on panic mode when I can’t find my new smart phone. It is usually about two feet from me 🙂
    Happy New Year.

  24. Hi Donna,
    As a single mom of young adult children, I certainly can identify. It helps to appreciate the little things – such as beauty and light that wait for you! Still, missing the company and comfort a relationship brings is natural. We were not created to be alone. Until, or IF our creator makes a divine appointment for us, and we meet someone He has for us, He is all we need. And, He is the light of the world, so it is fitting you found comfort in light…
    Here’s to a joyful, blessed new year, and divine appointments!

  25. Donna…..such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart. The photos were awesome. You are so brave for being out there in the cold and especially almost dark. Not something I would have attempted. Hope #2 iphone is returned. I, too, feel like an orphan and for some reason this year it has bothered me more than previous years. Maybe because the sun hasn’t been out as much as it usually is. Maybe I need to move further south in the wintertime. Happy New Year to you and yours. God has a plan for you and it will be a fabulous plan. Take the time to enjoy what has happened so far. Love & hugs.

  26. Donna, your post struck a chord with me too. Another Christmas has gone by without my husband and without my mother. I miss them so much. My daughter and I didn’t travel to see relatives over the holidays, a first in many, many years. Your words inspire me to get moving and to reflect on the wonderful memories of the past but to look forward to the possibilities for the future.
    I’m glad I discovered your site earlier this year!

  27. Oh Donna! Thank you so much for this post! The last 6 Christmas’s I have had to share my daughter’s with their dad. One daughter is back and forth the other daughter is pretty much always with her dad for all Holiday’s and when she is home. Holiday’s are always hard for me…Always an emptiness. The only thing that keeps me going is the peace and comfort that God gives me. He is my rock! A great healer of wounds and He does heal the broken hearted! I surround myself when family when I can…they don’t live near me so that is a challenge some years. Ha thankful for XBOX video! Have a blessed New Year Donna!

  28. First, feeling alone sucks, but it can move us to do something — for example your walk. You captured the beauty of nature and the Holy Hush of the Christmas lights offer comfort. You are finding your way, which takes time and will have its twists and turns of life. The saying, Man (woman) plans, God laughs….says it all.
    Enjoy your walks during this new year and may you receive all you want and more.

  29. Shirley said:
    You are too pretty and smart to be alone on New Year’s. You are never truly alone as God is there for you. God Bless and a Very Happy New Year.

  30. Sitting on my couch watching old Star Trek ’cause hubs is upstairs with the stomach bug and kids are playing on their pcs. So, you can totally be alone in a house full of people! Well, there is a dog on my leg hanging out…so I guess not totally alone. I am glad you shared all those lovely photos with us!

  31. Your story touched me too * I lost my husband just over 2yrs ago.It was a very traumatic time for me and it is only now I have come to terms with his passing.We were married for 44yrs and were best friends.
    but I have found inner strength and am rediscovering myself.So this christmas was not as hard as previously.I decorated the house and being a creative soul.I got a lot of pleasure making things.
    But sometimes its good to have ‘alone time’I value that.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely images*I hope the New Year brings you health and happiness*** 🙂 x

  32. I can relate so much to your post!! It really struck me as this was one of the best Christmas’s I have had and I believe it be because I have finally adjusted to being a single parent. I used to feel that my “Family”, my 13 year old daughter and her little dog Duchess, wasn’t enough. I have really worked on focusing my thoughts on what I have versus what I don’t have. Success is mine as this Christmas we spent lots of time with extended family which I treasure, but I really loved spending time with just my daughter. I would encourage you to focus on what you have versus what is missing. May God Bless you as you travel through this new journey!!

  33. It’s amazing what Chistmas lights can do for your soul! Thanks for sharing. I had a similar Christmas Holiday and I know where your coming from. I hope iphone #2 find it’s way back home!

  34. So many of us have spent Christmas alone, when I children are off with the rest of their family. It can be a tough time, I love the simplicity of what you are doing to cope. Slowing down and turning attention to ourselves(for a change) can be good! Keep up the good work and the walking! Maybe #2 will show up in the mail…heehehee.

  35. Hello-I couldn’t help thinking when reading this post of Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts Dare…I have just recently become a fan of hers after following her at She dares us each to be thankful/grateful for at least 3 things everyday to help us live more full instead of empty.

    As a child, I remember having to always “leave” one parent alone each holiday and the stories that go with it can sometimes run deep. Check out her blog as she also loves to be thankful through lots of photos like you!
    Thanks for sharing all your junk ideas and a little bit of you. Happy New Year!

  36. I’ve been through that and I found that there is a difference between alone and lonely. Enjoy your very own self, make special plans and, yes, blog. You seem to have a lot of nice friends right here!!! Happy New Year!!!

  37. I remember a New Years Eve I spent alone back in the day (my kids were with their dad) and the discovery I made, along a somewhat similar vein as yours. Look what you did with your moments! Those images are mood and moment intertwined. I can almost feel the cool air and excitement of day turning to night when the world lights up in a whole new colorful way as you demonstrated in these photographs. Glad you got out there and kept at your walking!

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