Friday, December 14, 2012

Tradition! Tradition!

One of the elements of Christmas that I love is traditions.  It is so special to hand down holiday rituals from my childhood.  I also love the chance to start new traditions! My kids get excited about the things that we ALWAYS do at Christmas, and as the month passes I often hear "When are we going to...?" I try to follow in the footsteps of my mom, who made the holidays so special.  She also make it look so easy.  Maybe she had some elves that helped her out, but I just remember that she had this magical way of making Christmas look beautiful and effortless.

MY favorite tradition that we have is going to the mountains and cutting down our Christmas tree.  This year, we went to a new location as the place that we have gone to over the past 8 years was burned in a fire last summer.  We had the perfect day to hike around, searching for our perfect tree.  We found the most beautiful tree, tall and full and so grand! There are even tiny pinecones on it to add to it's beauty.  

We love "having count down to Christmas" decorations.  You know the kind... every day you change the number of the day until the 25th arrives.  All of the kids take turns each day turning the day on the various countdown calendars that we have.

Driving around our city to see Christmas lights is always a fun tradition.  There is a business in our town that has a Christmas display that has been up ever since I was a kid.  Its hard to explain the true concept of the "Woodward lights. Lets just say that large plastic carolers, made-to-look-real miniature wooden churches, a faded manger scene and a slew of lights and music cause this girl to get holiday goosebumps.  Driving around the curved driveway with the car light turned off and the windows rolled down, straining to here the piped in carols, only adds to the magical 2 minute "we're not in Kansas anymore" Christmas experience.  My kids repeat the same exclamations year after year, some of which I said myself as a child as we are transported for just a brief bit of time to another Christmas world.

We have stockings that we hang on the mantle, handmade ornaments that we hang with pride, nativity sets that the kids set out and arrange to make sure that the sheep can see the baby Jesus.  We fill the house with the sounds of times remembered. As each year passes and the kids get older we make new memories as we decorate and spread Christmas around our house.

When I was a kid, we rarely ever ate out at a restaurant.  It just wasn't something that anyone did regularly.  So, when my parents started the tradition of going OUT for breakfast at a restaurant on Christmas Eve, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven!  I fondly remember specific restaurants that we have eaten our Christmas Eve breakfasts at.

A few years ago, I began the tradition of giving the kids a new book and letting them open that gift on Christmas eve.  Choosing a special book for each one of them is so fun for me!

Traditions are such a special part of our holiday season.  I'm so thankful that we have old ones and  new ones.  They add so much to this time of celebration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Over the fall, I took an E-course from the amazingly creative Jeanne Oliver. The course is called "Creatively Made Home"  .  She, along with other very lovely designers, put together this wonderful 5 week course with tips on homemaking, gift making, designing, crafty projects, and loads of other creative elements.  I hadn't ever done anything like this before online, and so at first I wasn't sure how it was going to go.  Now that I have finished the E-course, I am so glad that I took the opportunity to do it.  It was MY kind of learning!!  The designers were inspiring and I loved watching the instructional videos each week.  The course is "up" on the web until April I think, so if you are interested in a creative kick in the pants, I would highly recommend it.

Jeanne Oliver has a new design line of bags.  Oh my goodness, they are to DIE FOR!  My favorite is the Aubrey Ruffle Tote.  It's probably something that I could make myself, but looking at Jeanne's beautiful photographs just enhance the beauty of the tote.  Her photos and her musings are encouraging and uplifitng.  AND - I think she lives just down the road from me... well, south about 75 miles.

Her bags would make ANY mama smile this Christmas!!

Ahhhhh... maybe Santa is reading??

Ho Ho Ho!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


If you were to have a camera that could peak into my mind or  into my heart, the view might confuse you.  Is she happy is she sad?  Are things good or are they bad? Is life easy or is it hard?
Well, the truth is, its ALL of that and EVERYTHING in between.

   Its great when we are celebrating holidays and birthdays.  Making big deals out of everyday life is something that I really enjoy.  Creating a comforting home, special traditions, 
gentle snuggles and daily routines.  

Happiness comes from all of these.   

And then I turn the corner and I land on a memory or my heart is tugged by a loss and a cloud of sadness starts to settle.  Its in those moments that I have to be intentional on how long I sit with sadness.  Sadness and disappointment can steal so much from me.  I have let them before, but that is no longer how I want to deal with difficult things.  My mom reminded me a few days ago that the season we are celebrating these days is about HOPE.  And that is where I want to take my sadness about things I can't control, about people whom I miss, about questions I have about faith and love and how we put it all together.    

I want to bring them to the altar of hope.  As I surrender my control of all of the ups and downs, I know that I will see Jesus in however He chooses to answer.  He speaks to me through songs, through scriptures, through other people, through my children.  His blessing of HOPE is all around, I just need to open up my eyes to see it and my heart to accept what IS here, rather than dwelling on what is not.


JOY is why we are celebrating, and HOPE is why my Savior took His place in the manger. 
Come, let us Adore Him.