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The Little Tree that Could

You know the story...

that one about that Little Engine that Could...

The one that saved the day- and chug chug chugged over the mountain saying 'I think I can, I think I can' before reaching the top and doing a little train dance and saying ' I thought I could!'

My mom used to read that story to me all.the.time. 
 It was one of my absolute favorites- right up there with  The Giving Tree and The Fourteen Bears Summer and Winter.

Sometimes I wonder what it was about the little train that I loved so much. 
Was it that he saved the day? That he chugged along and reached the goal?
 Or maybe it was as simple as his cute little smile. 
But I know of course that my mom was trying to teach me to always believe in yourself- and that you CAN reach those goals. 

Considering that as I got older and often felt like I was so 'different' than those friends who knew that college was their goal. The ones I looked up to and though were so together
 and amazing and SMART.
The ones that had big plans for degrees and fancy things after their names and who asked what I was going to go to school to be which always left me with crickets.
I didn't know.
So, I played all the sports,  joined all the teams, took  drama and moved to the music in Jazz dance and  twirled in ballet class always wondering about wearing those fancy toe shoes with the pretty satin ribbon laces one day. I thought maybe the answer was there somewhere.

And one day while in high school after feeling much like I wasn't ever going to be able to get to college (ahem grades) even if I ever DID figure out just what I wanted to do...  
I slowly started to feel like maybe it  wasn't all for me...which as a teenager and almost that graduating from school age might  make your parents nervous. 

But I realized that maybe what I wanted to do didn't require any books with fancy mathematical equations or any extra letters after my name.  It might have looked more like writing, doodling, designing and dreaming.
Maybe it required following my heart- and believing in myself and the goals I had set like the little engine...and then chug chug chugging along saying ' I think I can...' until I could say ' I thought I could'. 
Maybe my mom sitting down and reading me that book for so many years was onto something.  Which admitting your mom might be right about something when you are a teenager is a WHOLE other story. haha.

Of course, it is much harder than it seems to be to follow that 'different' path when everyone else seems to have everything figured out.  But you know... baby steps folks. I am a big What about Bob fan - I have talked about it for years- and I baby step even now folks... and I think it is okay- no matter how small each step in the direction of your goals or dreams is.

So what does it have to do with this tree by the barn?
This adorable amazing chubby little spruce in a wee vintage crate? 

Well, this tree is kind of like that Little Engine.

It is a slightly wonky, unique kind of tree.
It has the cutest branches and loads of twinkle lights and loves to shine.
It fell over probably a half a dozen times- maybe more. 
I piled big rocks, logs, you name it in the crate to keep it secure.
I added blankets and tucked them as tight as I could.
I put it inside another container inside the crate with the blankets.
I tied the tree branches to the door. 
I tried to stand it up OUTSIDE the barn.
Then I tried it INSIDE the barn.
I might get it to stay for 1 or 2 minutes- run to my camera
and then that slow lean fall would start
and I would dash to grab it before it was on the floor. 

But I just KNEW it would be so cute in that 3 sizes too small vintage box...
and so that tree and I had a conversation. 
 A 'pep talk' of sorts.
I told it it didn't have to be like all the other trees in a regular old metal or plastic tree stand-
 it could live those unique tree dreams
 and be in a vintage wood box and it would be beautiful.

I told the tree I believed in it
and that I knew that it could shine like the twinkling star it is.

I don't know if it believed me or finally gave up-
but just as darkness started to set in...
and after a few more adjustments- 

It was standing tall. 
No more wiggles. No slow leans. Nothing. 

I paused and almost didn't want to breathe for a few minutes while I waited. And then I hesitantly stepped back and waited again- eyes closed and arms out-stretched to catch it if it toppled over again.
And it didn't move. 
And so I stepped a few more feet back- and then a few more. 
And then I held my breath, clicked the lights on and that tree twinkled away on the front porch of the barn. 
And as I clicked a few photos- I said ' I knew you could'.

I know this is a goofy kind of a story- and before you get concerned- no the tree did not speak to me (at least not out loud haha) I am JOKING FOLKS. 

But a few recent conversations with friends  have reminded me so much of the Little Engine that Could and how sometimes when something seems like it won't work - like a faux tree on a pole in a very small vintage crate where you can't fit a stand and it just.keeps. on. falling.over. 
 to keep tinkering, working, chugging along like the Little Engine that Could. 


If you want to shop the look- this is the Balsam Hill Sanibel Spruce (in a vintage crate) it actually does come with a tree stand haha. 
Use FCC10Off for an extra 10% off on sale prices as well. 

And I will show just where this cutie landed- and stayed-  and what the barn looks like decorated for Christmas now soon.

Happy Monday all.


  1. What a sweet little story/article. I love how you write and how you decorate. Keep it up. Oh and it sounded like you were talking about me! So glad to know I wasn’t the only one that felt just like you did in not being interested in all those different careers and letters after your name. Up until just reading this I have wondered why I didn’t have those dreams either. So thank you! And I am also glad that I followed my own path. Love your blog!

  2. Oh, wow, I simply love this post, and it made my week.😊🤗😘

  3. I hope the weather clears for your children to come home for Thanksgiving.

  4. I so enjoyed this story and the way you told it Courtney! I'm older than you but my mom read that book to me too and was also one of my favorites! Thank you for for reminding me and loved how you applied it to your experience with your pretty, little tree! I admire your wonderful talents and l loved reading about some of your personal thoughts of finding your way!