Life isn't all what Christmas card photos portray

I try pick out the most "perfect" looking frames from the lot of images I have left after a photo session.  When I cull, I ask myself questions like: Is everyone looking at the camera?  How are their smiles?  Is the picture in focus?  I notice things like: His face is blurry but her face looks good;  his smile looks goofy; she's cocking her head funny;  she's taking up too much frame; his hair is too tousled; he looks like he's zoning.  And so on and so on.

As I browse Facebook, blogs, and other social media sites where people are posting their perfect Christmas pictures with perfect smiles in the most perfect outfits, I wonder what "real life" is like for those people.  Because I'm pretty sure that even though everyone's all smiles, there's a lot of other stuff going on in their lives that stinks, which may cause heartache, frowns or even tears.
 As I culled the images I took from our Christmas card photo session, I really didn't like one.single.frame.  Nothing was "perfect".  Some person in the frame was "off" for one reason or another.  Rather than get upset and try to do it all over again, I began to think that this photo session really and truly reflected what my life is like!  Someone is usually "off" and we rarely have any day that would be deemed "perfect" - just like ALL of the frames from our session.
As I look back over the days of this past year, only a handful of them went according to plan.  I most often fell into bed exhausted every night because someone (or even myself, for that matter!) needed special attention.  There were no perfect smiles or perfect clothes.  Not everything in my life was in focus, or at least focused on the right thing.  My sights were too broad or too narrow.  There were tears when I told this child or that child to sit still for just one.more.minute!!!  There was whining when things took too long or groaning when someone didn't want to wear this or put on that.  There was selfishness when things didn't go my way, or his way, or her way.
Stuff got muddy.  Stuff got broken.  Stuff got thrown away.  People got their feelings hurt.  I got mad.  He got mad.  We all got mad together.  He didn't do what I told him.  She didn't understand what I meant.  There was just a lot of imperfect every day.
If there was a fly on our wall that was constantly taking pictures of my every day life, imperfect is what would be captured.  There would be a few moments that were worthy of a kept memory, but a majority of moments in my life would be cast aside in the unwanted pile. 
I just wanted to share these imperfect frames from our photo session to remind you that even behind a Christmas card of smiling faces, it was one frame in a host of imperfect frames.  Offer grace to yourself when you see someone else's perfect Christmas photos.  Remind yourself that you never DID see their imperfect ones.

I do want to say that even though there was a lot of "imperfect" in my life this year, there are a few blessings that I am forever grateful for.  Sometimes the not-so-perfect moments can lead to many near perfect ones.  I'm learning more and more daily that this guy next to me is near-perfect for me, even after many, many moments of doubting. 

(PS. I will share some of the good acceptable ones in another post :-)

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