Annie F. Downs
About the Author

Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author and nationally known speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her most recent books include 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely and Let’s All Be Brave. Read more at and follow her at @anniefdowns.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. annie, i’m not sure if it’s the missionary kid in me or just the me in me, but i’ve always had a hard time letting go of sentimental things from my past. these remembrances of good.
    when you write “Those ornaments were purchased to build a life that I never had. And every year, as I hung them on the tree, I remembered that.”, it spurs me to look at what i’ve kept with filtered view. a reminder of great things past or a reminder of what i thought i wanted or where i thought i was going.
    thank you for telling that story. –kris

  2. Oh i love this so so much. How do you manage to turn the ordinary things into genius life lessons. I think your current life is amazing. Like the glittery kind of amazing πŸ™‚

  3. That was so lovely, Annie. How beautiful that you were able to turn the heartbreak into something meaningful. Your perspective on this loss (although ‘only’ material, still very sentimental) is a lesson I will take with me into the new year. Thanks and have a blessed Christmas.

  4. Annie, thank you! I bought your book for my daughter’s Christmas present (hush!) and am looking forward to reading it with her (she’s dyslexic and we do a lot of read aloud). This, about ornaments and life, so good. I’ve been pondering dried fruit, you know, we are to bear fruit but what happens to all the old lessons? Do they moulder and rot or do they dry up like a raisin in the sun (sweeten, condense to purity)? I think I’ll write a post on that soon. Merry Christmas!! I too, thank God for your life as it is!

  5. This story makes me feel so understood. I moved out of my family home this year due to a marital separation. When it was time to out up the tree, I realized everything was still there. I wanted the ornaments, but then I didn’t. They represented a life that was non longer my life. I had my daughters bring over their favorites, and started anew. It felt right, and sort of symbolic. Just like yours…

  6. Annie, beautiful story it makes me think about our sins that are soggy and stinky to God. And He washes them in the blood of Christ to make us sparkle too.
    And another thought is how we make our own plans in our lives, but once we surrender our live to Christ. Our plans don’t seem so important. God bless you and your family this Christmas.

  7. Brava! I love how your story is saturated with grace! And I’m so glad that your friends graced your life with new ornaments!

  8. My favorite part of this is your college group — that they recognized the need for something to be done. What a precious group and how precious you must be to them. Thankful you have that community!

  9. I am crying….do you have access to my journal?

    You hit the nail on the head. I spend so much time thinking about the life I want, I don’t really truly enjoy the life I have currently.

    I love glitter too!

  10. Oh, that completely touched me… thank you so much for that challenge to my heart to live in the where I’m at and not where I want to be or wish I was.

    P.S. Glitter is a great color πŸ™‚

  11. Those ornaments, remind me of a time in my life that was full of dreams. I constantly dream of a different life–sort of looking on with rose colored glasses. I need to come to grips/terms with the life God has blessed me with and enjoy each day!

    Great how you can turn a minor incident into a life lesson–Genius!

  12. Thank you so much for your story , Christmas this year is especially hard, I am lifted up from your story , I had to leave behind so very much (though still have 2 90+ year old Family Christmas bulbs ) God wants me to look to now, and look ahead

    Thanks again for your story Jer 29 11 to you you will have the desires of your heart

  13. I’m sorry for your loss:) Since the time they were born, I have given ornaments to my grandchildren and my nieces and nephews. I continued with their children as well. I found out recently that one of my niece’s daughters only had her ornaments for her very first Christmas tree when she married. It was a very nice feeling to know she appreciated them. I continue to give ornaments every year!
    I’m so glad for your replacements! The Good Lord knew your need and filled it!

  14. It brought tears to my eyes to hear about your small group bringing new ornaments to replace the old. What a great lesson to learn to love your life as it is instead of the life you wanted. This resonates deeply with me today.