Mianecki Christmas Card 2014 Outtake

Mianecki Christmas Card 2014 Outtake

After taking a few years off, I opted to send Christmas cards this year. I’m one of those strange people who actually enjoys crafting the card and the accompanying letter, hand addressing each envelope, and selecting Christmas postage. I wrangled my dad into the role of photographer for a Thanksgiving Day shoot and then took advantage of his Sam’s Club membership to get the Black Friday card deal.

This is the shot that I really, truly wanted to use:


Because it’s a pretty accurate representation of our lives: incredibly imperfect and not too prettied up. Part of me wishes I had the courage to write the Christmas letter like that too, like I was chatting over coffee with my best friend.  To let recipients read the rawness of our real lives, from fear of job loss to potty issues; from the woes of middle school math to insanity of online continuing education classes.

Often, it is a storm of chaos that we trust we’ll somehow emerge from. And there are moments when I won’t even call it blessed chaos and insult you by saying I cherish every second. Because marriage and family life are hard, and sometimes painful.

Not exactly Christmas letter material. But, I’m betting you’ve had days like that too–when you’re wondering if God picked the right person for the job. When you’d die a thousand deaths if someone could actually peek into your home and witness the goings-on. So, here’s to acknowledging the real. The imperfection. The failures.

Here’s to embracing them, knowing that the only true failure is the failure to get back up and press on.

Knowing that there’s beauty in forgiveness, second-chances, and giving yourself a break from unrealistic expectations or having it all together.

So that you (I) can then appreciate the blessings you (I) do have. And there have been countless this year. If you’ve read here much, then you know them: Children thriving in new schools, having family close, launching a new business, travel with friends, and tremendous growth.

Truth? It was hard year, but it was a great year.

How about yours?

Oh, and here’s the picture I actually sent, because we really do have days like this too:




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  1. Angela Goodrow says:

    Really love this!

  2. Love this…you have a beautiful family, my friend. :)

  3. Mandy-
    So good to see you and your blog again. It’s been awhile. I love that you have three girls and boy too…I married a man who was the youngest of four…he too had three older sisters! :) God works in wonderful ways.

    His ways are hard and some are happy. We love and live, and do it again each day with grace and grit. I thank you for your courage to share the out-take and the real deal. We send the good to friends…but we should share the bad too…the real friends know all of us! :) Super post. May you have a happy new year!
    jenn recently posted..Rest In HimMy Profile

  4. I can definitely relate to the first picture! :) there are going to be good and bad days, and I think it helps to see the less shiny parts of other people’s lives.
    Happy New Year!

  5. I love ALL of this. Love you too, sweet friend…no matter how messy the days are. (And I can definitely relate!) :) So grateful for you. xo

  6. i love this. I love both pictures. What a beautiful family!!

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