Family, Holidays

Why? It’s Tradition

Before I had children, I said things like “Wouldn’t this be a nice tradition when we have children?” I didn’t know that traditions are unplanned.

The first day of our first beach trip, our sons made a late-night run to the grocery store. I gave them a list, but they had discretion. First-day, late-night grocery runs at the beach as well as purchasing unnecessary items became a “tradition.”

The evening before my sons took their first College Board Advanced Placement tests, my youngest wanted a new pen. Buying a new pen at Wal-Mart the evening before an Advanced Placement test became a “tradition.” Purchasing a pen sooner or at a different store would violate “tradition.”

Christmas morning—minutes before we gather to exchange gifts—my sons scramble to wrap the presents they are giving. Days earlier, I suggest that presents should be wrapped. I remind. I have even said, “Pretend it’s Christmas morning and wrap your presents.” My husband finally told me, “Forget it. Wrapping presents on Christmas morning is a tradition.”

Along the way I learned that traditions are events you either couldn’t stop or didn’t stop from continuing.

What are your unplanned traditions?

Family, Friendship

Cups Of Tea

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.

William Ewart Gladstone, British Statesman

This quote describes me although changing “tea” to “making tea” would also be accurate. I suspect I make more tea than I drink. The exception should have been aboard the Emerald Princess this week as I cruised to Canada. However, I learned today that teatime is no longer offered daily.

I don’t know if I will make the only teatime offered because the number of guests is limited. If I do, I suspect that the waiters in white jackets moving among the white-clothed tabletops will remind me of my aunt who likes to ask, “Who will bring her a cup of tea?” (See here.)

May someone bring you a cup of tea this week.

Family, Photos

The Blessing of Photography

August 19th is World Photography Day. When I first heard about World Photography Day, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by taking photographs. But I already take too many.

I thought I should make a special effort to open my albums and look at my photographs. But I regularly peruse my albums.

I decided to do what I am still learning to do—especially since one uncle’s funeral. Be grateful for photographs.

Be grateful for the memories I have recorded.

Never go camping without your teddy bear .(May 1990)

Be grateful to my ancestors for taking photographs at a time when photography was not common but rather a luxury.

My father, left, and his brothers in the mid-1930s. I love their poses because they stood this way as adults. Children don’t change. See here.
The family garden

The photos may be blurry and dark, but they tell me things my father and uncles never did, and they remind me of what they did tell.

Thank you, Photographer, whoever you were.

God bless the photographers and those who cherish those photographs.

Family, Friendship

Enjoying Our People

Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.

A Wise Son

A friend came to town last week. It wasn’t a casual visit. We hadn’t seen each other since the month before Covid hit, and during that time, she and her husband had moved over a thousand miles away. And yet, it seemed casual—as if we had just chatted in the church hallway. We both said so.

But we knew better. And so, instead of our previous too-few minutes talking in person or our hour-long phone conversations, we spent over seven hours face-to-face. Like other conversations, we covered a wide range of topics and emotions, and we prayed.

My friend gave me some advice, which I want to share. She said I could. After listening to her complain about one person’s behavior, her son said, “Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.”

Wow! We know we should let things go. But do we remember to enjoy what is left? Letting go and enjoying sounds like a combination worth remembering.

Who do you need to start enjoying?

Family, Friendship

Let’s Let Others Repent

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 ESV

There are things I hesitate to share because friends and family immediately disagree. They are wrong, and I have become unwilling for them to negate truths.

When I say, “I was too busy with outside activities when my children were younger,” the response is “You did the best you could.”

Did I? Not regularly.

When I say, “I’m inattentive to relatives,” or “I’m not generous,” the response is “That’s not true.”

Am I attentive and generous? Not enough.

Years ago, I witnessed a woman confess her failings. I had been affected by her sin. She needed to repent. This moment could have been healing and helped her move forward, but three close friends immediately negated her honest statements.

These friends had not witnessed her behavior. They wanted to affirm her by denying her imperfections. The woman who confessed did not feel affirmed. She felt frustrated and misunderstood. Being accepted with full knowledge of her imperfections would have affirmed her.

Why do we find it hard—even impossible—to let our family and friends repent?