Monthly Archives: October 2014

You can Create

“I wanna be a Brontosaurus!” “Mom, can I be a train conductor?” Thank goodness for pinterest, I thought to myself. A vague memory from the year before of me venting to my husband after all the Halloween festivities were over, “Next year we BUY the costumes!” floated back to my mind. I brushed it off, like I do every year. Eh, last year was different, and it really wasn’t THAT bad, was it? M, dressed up as the “Red Barron” even won the costume contest. That had to have been worth something. The hours and hours of work to create a plane out of cardboard boxes and duct tape resulted in one exhausted mom, three tuckered out kids, and a $5 coupon to the ice cream shop for winning grand prize. Totally worth it.

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We scoured pinterest for a couple minutes, and soon they’d decided on pirates. No, lions. Firefighters? Cowboys!! Cowboys. It was settled. R and N would be cowboys, M would be the horse, Dad would be the bad guy, and mom would be the “Damsel in distress?” I offered. “No, Mom. You can be the cactus.” Ok, the cactus. The cowboys we found in our closets, and the horse head we paper mached half of a milk jug and painted brown with a mess of yarn hot glued to the top.

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I threw myself on our couch and sat back to admire our work. Then, like every year, the thought came back. “Why do I go through this every single October? It would be easier, cheaper, and loads faster to just go buy them.” And then words from one of my favorite talks came to my mind.

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty…”

It seemed silly, really. I’m just creating Halloween costumes, I’m not generating amazing pieces of art for the world to enjoy. I’m not serenading visitors with beautiful melodies flowing from my fingers or my voice.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.”

Creating is an inherent trait we received from the greatest Creator of all. Whether it is Halloween costumes, happy homes, loving children, meals for our family, or lovely paint strokes on a canvas. We often get down on ourselves and feel like we don’t measure up. But even when our contributions seem small, when our works fall short of a masterpiece, they still make a difference. And we must keep trying.

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Peggy is older and lives in a small house all on her own. Chances are you have never heard of her. I only met her a handful of times, but her story of creation will forever be with me. Gram would visit her often, helping with grocery shopping, housework, and whatever else she needed. That’s how her story became a part of my life. You see, she is completely blind. She was diagnosed with MS and has suffered for years from the effects, but that never slows her down. Even with her loss of eyesight, she continues to bake bread for those in her small town. Gram would often get phone calls from Peggy asking her to deliver a loaf of bread to this family or that, one having just returned from the hospital with a new baby, another simply needing a friendly gesture. Her bread doesn’t always look perfect, but her creations bless the lives of all who receive it. It’s a simple act of love that she shares with others. A few weeks after Gram passed away, we received a note in the mail. It was from Peggy, someone we vaguely knew. The writing was slanted and some words went over the others. She so kindly sent her sympathy and expressed her love for the amazing woman we all would so dearly miss. That simple note was not written with beautiful penmanship. It was difficult to make out the words as they jumbled together. But that card touched us so deeply.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it…”

In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.”

YOU are an artist. You can create masterpieces, you can touch lives. Maybe you don’t feel like your medium is a paintbrush, a hammer, a keyboard, a cooking spoon, or the ivory keys of a piano. Start with a smile, and go from there. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, if it doesn’t measure up to that of others. Even if our Red Barron hadn’t won the costume contest last year, it would have still been worth the time we spent together duct taping, cutting, and painting, laughing, working, and talking. Don’t allow yourself to feel like your contributions are small. Even if your efforts only touch one, that one is worth it. Even if that one is simply you.

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All quotes taken from a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Happiness, Your Heritage October 2008)

A really great 2 minute video!! Please watch: Create

 

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Categories: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

My Parents are Moving to Malaysia for 18 Months, and Why I’m OK With It

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From Soccer games to cross country meets, late night papers to guitar lessons, my parents have always been my biggest fans. I could see them in the stands cheering, they were at my side when I needed someone to edit my papers. They were a phone call away when I was in a different state attending college and needed to hear a friendly voice. They were there to hold my boys when each came into the world.

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So when they told us of their decision to put their life on hold and serve a mission for our church, I knew loving and supporting them in their endeavours was the least I could do.

Early in July our entire family sat around a picnic table. Our annual camping trip is something we look forward to every year, but this time the air was thick with excitement and curiosity. For years my parents had planned, prepared, wondered about, and sacrificed for that moment, and here it was. The next two years of their lives waiting inside a large, white envelope. My parents opened the seal carefully and pulled out a thick packet. With a deep breath, my dad read.

You are hearby called to serve as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Singapore Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months…”

(Choosing to serve a mission for our church typically means that you could serve anywhere in the world, and you don’t know beforehand where that may be.)

Singapore? My guess had been Arizona. Maybe Virginia. Canada was my wild guess, you know, something really out there. But Singapore? We were all shocked. Dad was holding the paper, and I could see his hand shaking. They might as well have been asked to fly to Mars. For 18 months they would live a 24 hour flight away, in an entirely different place than they had ever experienced. I call my mom frequently for questions about laundry and recipes, advice, and emotional support. Not only would they be gone for the next 18 months of their lives, but mine and my children’s –their grandchildren that they adore– as well. I immediately felt the pain I knew would come. I knew then more than ever I would miss them more than words.

But I felt peace.

In that moment I knew that this was right. They would be OK. I would be OK!

It has been a lifetime in the making. My parents are some of the purest examples of service I have ever seen. At the age of four I can vividly remember going to the nursing home up the road. I think her name was Mrs. Brooks, and her room smelled like old perfume and cats. She was wrinkly and sat in a wheelchair, and as we walked up the hall to her door, my mom would always whisper in my ear to remember to give her a hug when we walked in. I’d sit on her lap while my parents visited. It meant the world to her, and that was enough reason for my parents to keep going back. Their service has never been limited to visiting. It often includes manual labor, financial assistance, emotional help, and meals. Just a couple weeks ago my dad and a close friend of his spent two days (or more) helping a family in need with a plumbing issue, requiring digging, walking through sewage, and intensive labor. My parents’ devotion to their neighbors and the community has never been about being noticed or recognized, their service is simply an act of love.

The Singapore Mission includes parts of Malaysia, which we recently learned is where they will be, speaking some Malay, helping where needed. I truly believe they are needed in Malaysia. That they will serve the people there with just as much love and compassion as they have those in our small town for so many years.

My children might not get to play at the park or swim at the pool with their grandparents for 18 months, but they will get to see them sacrifice for something great. They will witness the devotion and love that my parents have for their Father in Heaven not just in word, but also in deed. My parents will serve and learn and grow, and share with us their experiences. The legacy of faith will be something that we, as a family, will always cherish. They will be in our thoughts and prayers more than ever before. What they will leave behind is something more powerful than we could express in words. It might not make much sense to the casual observer, but THAT is why I feel peace.

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My parents will be boarding a plane next week, and while I will be praying for them, thinking of them, missing them, and wondering if there’s any way in the world we could fly the five of us the long 24 hours to see them, I will be thankful for their great example to my children and to myself of a lifetime of service and love.

Waiting for their Uncle to get off the plane after serving a two-year LDS mission in Mexico.

Waiting for their Uncle to get off the plane after serving a two-year LDS mission in Mexico.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)

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Confessions

Things I told myself I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever do to my kids before I became a mom…

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All photos on this page courtesy of katiejanephotos.blogspot.com (thank you, Katie! I really like ’em, even the goofy ones!)

1. Wipe their snotty nose with my BARE hand. Gross!!

I know, I know. Disgusting. I wash my hands immediately after, and it’s only out of desperation and lack of tissues. It’s ok. You don’t have to shake my hand.

2. Allow them to eat a carrot off the floor.

The healthy cancels out any bad germs, right??

3. Lick my thumb and rub it on their cheek to remove a smudge.

Darn. I feel like that obnoxious aunt in the movies.

4. Say “Do you need to go potty?” It’s bathroom. Bathroom, for Pete’s sake!

Yes! One I’ve managed to keep my word on! Sorry friends, it’s nothing personal. I just can’t get myself to refer to the toilet in toddler terms.

5. Pick a booger for them.

The sink is right there, and no tissues are in sight. I’m desperate and out of options. I certainly can’t let them pick it themselves and eat it!

6. Drink from a water bottle after them (you know the one, it’s swimming with floaties of heaven only knows what!).

Did I really just admit to that?

7. Cry while reading a children’s book. It’s written for kids, why would I get all emotional?

The Little Engine that Could, The Poky Little Puppy, You Are Special, Disney’s Planes, The Napping House… When you become a mom you just cry over everything. Right?

8. Say, “Oh, they just grow up so fast!” Isn’t there anything else that can be said to fill in that awkward silence?

But they do grow up SO FAST!

9. Devour parenting books like there’s no tomorrow (cause I would be way too proud to admit I’m flying by the seat of my pants half the time).

I admit, I fly by the seat of my pants half the time.

10. Wear dorky “mom clothes” just because they’re WAY more comfortable than anything in style.

Doggonit, they really ARE way more comfortable than anything in style.

11. Become my child’s garbage disposal when they can’t finish their Mac and cheese.

And let it go to waste??

12. Let them spit something into my hand.

If they weren’t my own blood, this would never happen. Ever.

…And then I became a Mom.

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By the way, my sister-in-law takes really great pictures and took family photos for us this weekend. She wrote a blog post and put some of the awesome-in-a-not-so-wall-worthy-way pictures in it…the better pictures are to come, but her post made my husband and me almost choke on our toothpaste laughing. Here it is!

Katie Jane Photos–No Boy at All

Categories: children, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

How to Catch a Crawfish–Be Yourself!

Every few days a poor, misguided soul will come across my blog looking for answers about crawfish.

How do you catch a crawfish?

Crawfish in septic system

Can crawfish climb stairs?

Dreams about crawfish

Crawfish recipes

Every time I see these searches I feel a tinge of guilt. Their quest for answers about these lobster-like creatures has brought them to my page about raising little boys. Something I’m sure they didn’t intend to find. I imagine them clicking on my link in the Google search and seeing the picture of my boys walking along the pond. They breathe a disappointed sigh, maybe grumble in frustration, and finally close out of my site to continue their search. To those who have accidentally stumbled across my little corner of the blogsphere in search of answers about crawfish, you have my sincerest apologies. I never intended to trick you into clicking on my site.

When I started this blog, I had several ideas for names swirling around in my mind. I knew I wanted to write about people we met who made a difference in our lives and also about lessons that I hope my sons will learn as they navigate life. Here were some I considered.

Don’t Eat your Boogers (…and other life lessons I hope my sons will learn) –my husband said this was too hillbilly, but truth be told, I kinda liked it the best.

Quest for Good

Becoming Country Boys (life lessons I hope my sons will learn) –We moved to the country going on two years ago, and our adventures here have shaped many of my posts.

Slugs And Snails (life with all boys)

Obviously, Catching Crawfish (life lessons I hope my sons will learn) was the winner, and just like that a new parenting blog was born. Out of all the names, this one stood out to me because it represented many happy memories of walking along our little pond searching for crawfish. Our frequent quests represented so many afternoons of time together learning about life. We’ve never tasted crawfish, we’ve never fried them, boiled them, buttered them up for the grill, or even raised them as pets. But you can bet your bottom dollar we’ve caught them. And here’s how, for all you curious google searchers who land on my site by chance:

My boys carefully turn rocks over until one happens to be resting there in the water. Their quick little hands cup around them (if they’re small), or grab below their pinchers using their thumb and pointer fingers. A hot dog on the end of a stick also does the trick. That’s it! Pretty simple.

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My site address is slightly misleading. It really doesn’t have anything to do with catching crawfish. The name is not exactly what it is. How often is this the case in life? Do we occasionally put on a façade and pretend to be something we aren’t just to get friends, to be popular, to make money, to get something we want, to make us feel better about ourselves…?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emmerson

My name is Chelsi, and I’m the face behind Catching Crawfish. This is me:

  • I’m a mom to three fun boys and a wife to a great man. I grew up in a small town with one sister that I adore and parents that I love.
  • I’m adjusting to country life and really do love it, but I miss PEOPLE! I miss my sweet neighbors, waving to them and visiting (friends, come visit any time!).
  • I’m an introvert.
  • I absolutely love organized sports, especially frisbee, soccer and volleyball. I also enjoy running.
  • I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. I’m a Mormon. I believe that our relationships in this life can last into eternities. I’m so thankful for my faith in families being forever.
  • I love to write.
  • I’m far from perfect and sometimes wish I could go back and change things in the past. But I know I am who I am today as much (or more) because of my trials, failures and mistakes as my successes and accomplishments.
  • I graduated in Elementary Education, but secretly dream of writing children’s books and being a librarian.

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To my dear, crazy, silly, one-of-a-kind boys, I hope you will always be yourselves, no matter what pressures you face to be someone different. Allow others to help you reach your potential. Learn from example. Emulate those that make the world better. But don’t allow anyone to make you into something you’re not. Don’t loose that twinkle in your eye, that mischievous grin, that unfaltering faith. You are so unique, so special, so loved, JUST the way you are. Never forget that!

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Categories: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

In the Moment

“Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. This is why we are here.”

–Jon J. Muth, The Three Questions

Her name is the Caddis, and I can promise you it was certainly not love at first sight. My experiences with sailing up to that point had been tainted with memories of my husband and brother-in-law spending my birthday in the ER for hypothermia. Not to mention the $300 bill from the hospital a month later (Maiden Spring Voyage). “But this one will be safer,” my husband promised. “2,000 pounds of lead. There’s no way this one will ever topple over. Besides, it will be so great for the boys. Think of the experiences they will have!” I finally gave in. The boat was shipped from Michigan a few weeks later.

It took a bit of coaxing, but soon I was spending one evening a week on a sailboat with an instructor and three others taking classes. I never really got the hang of it, nor did I catch the “sailing bug” while under those majestic, white sails. Although it was admittedly enjoyable to feel the cool breeze against my face and watch the sunset reflect on the water.

Every week as a family we took our new boat out at least once. We spent many nights tied up to the mooring watching the millions of stars, many mornings sipping hot cocoa and reading books inside our sleeping bags. On the fourth of July the boys joined in the annual parade and strung lights across the bow and up the mast and silently motored around the lake.

IMG_0649It may not have been love at first sight, but eventually I did fall in love. It wasn’t the sails unfurled under the deep blue sky. It wasn’t even the boat heeling into the water, splashing our feet as we dangled them over the edge. To be honest, it really wasn’t the sailing at all.

It was us.

It was no phones to answer. No texts to respond to. No emails, no TV, no worries of laundry or grass to mow, no dirty floors or prior engagements. No worries of tomorrow.

IMG_0664When we’re on the boat, it’s just those other bodies occupying that small space. Nothing else, simply breathing each other–our real selves–in. We laugh, we tussle, we sing, we read. We play Go Fish, we swim, we grill hot dogs and dangle our poles over the water. We admire God’s creations around us. We count the stars and wake up to the morning sun. We wave at the other sailors as they tack and jibe around our very own little world.

IMG_0672A few days ago as we sailed for the last time this season I was reading to my boys from our “sailing library” and found The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth. When we first put the books on the boat, we tried to keep the theme of boats and all things water. Somehow this one got in the mix. As I silently lamented the end of another wonderful sailing season and wished for more magical moments on the water with my family, this book hit me hard. It seemed so fitting. The Caddis has become a refuge for us, where nothing else matters but the people we are with. Time stands still and we can finally truly enjoy each other, pure and undiluted. Its a unique feeling in this fast-paced technology-run world.

IMG_0663“When is the best time to do things?”

“Who is the most important one?”

“What is the right thing to do?”

Somehow the Caddis puts it in perspective for me. It suddenly all makes sense. I love sailing not because of the thrill or the water, the adventure or the skill, but because of all that it represents for our family. This time, these relationships, this is why we are here.

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All pictures my boys draw have a sailboat. They have fallen hook, line and sinker for every bit of sailing.

All pictures my boys draw have a sailboat. They have fallen hook, line and sinker for every bit of sailing.

What is your refuge from the crazy hustle and bustle of life, where you can give your everything to those you love?

Categories: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

With the Courage of a Child

Every year our church has what we call “the Primary Program.” It’s an opportunity for all of the children (ages 3-11) to share with the congregation what they have learned throughout the year and sing the songs that have become near and dear to them.

Last fall, R, having just turned five, had come up with his part all on his own and had recited it over and over. His little one-liner memorized, the songs etched in his heart, he had all appearances of being not only ready, but eager to share with the congregation what he felt and had learned.

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The day finally came, and I could feel him tremble as he grasped my hand to be escorted to his seat with his friends at the front. As I walked back to our bench, I turned to see his face full of panic and anxiety. His sweet teacher leaned in to him and gave him a hug, and I remember trying to comfort myself with the thought, “His teacher will help him, he’ll be fine!” The program began, and so did R’s silent tears. I could almost hear his trembling voice as the children sang. His teacher patted his back, gave him little hugs, but to no avail. I saw her lean in and ask him a question which I imagine had something to do with going back down to sit with his family. Tears still streaming, he shook his head decidedly no. My heart strings were pulling in every direction. He had practiced so hard! If only God would grant him the fortitude to make it through. His turn came, and slowly he walked to the microphone. “I can show my love to Heavenly Father by serving others and being a good example to my brothers.” His voice was only a whisper. I could tell I was not the only one crying as I heard sniffles across the chapel. The darling lady sitting behind me comfortingly squeezed my shoulder. Inside my mind I prayed. “Thank you, Heavenly Father, for granting him courage!”

As the program ended, numerous people approached me about R’s bravery. They were in awe as much as I was at the determination that little five-year-old boy had shown. Clearly he’d stolen the show.

A few Sundays ago the children stood again at the front of the congregation. Little R’s face beamed with pride as he sang the songs, and when his turn came, he proudly spoke into the microphone. Relief and happiness swept over me.

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“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me…” the children sang. My thoughts were filled with the previous year’s memories, and I was overcome with amazement of the love and courage that had been granted to a nervous five-year-old boy. Such a simple act, but his tears had touched everyone watching.

I hope we can all find that courage a little child found many Sundays ago through God’s loving grace. When we turn to Him, so much is possible.

Categories: children, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Motherhood: Anything But Typical, No Matter What the World Says

Her wrinkled eyes bored into my soul as I filled out the papers. I could tell the minute she called me back from the waiting room she had sized me up and had decided we wouldn’t be friends.

My husband and I had just graduated and moved from our college town where being married young and having children in your early twenties was totally normal. Here everything was different. I could tell by the looks I got in the grocery store. Of course it didn’t help that my husband often would get comments that he looked 14 while I, six months pregnant with our first baby, stood out like a sore thumb.

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“I have a niece like you. Got married when she was young too. Some military kid or something.” The nurse mumbled something inaudible, but I thought I could make out something like, “Stupid girl.” Then, without a goodbye or “have a nice day” she left. “Wow, that was awkward!” I thought to myself. I pulled out my book and waited for the doctor. Hopefully she would be a bit more pleasant.

“New patient?” A muffled voice came through the door. “Yeah. You know, just another typical 21-year-old blonde.” The nurse’s voice was saturated with disgust. My head shot up from my book. “Wait, is she talking about me? I’m 22, not 21. No, It’s me. They’re right outside my door.” I didn’t have time to think before the knob turned and in walked the doctor. through the cracked door I saw the nurse scuffle off down the hall. In that split second I’d decided to pretend I didn’t hear. What would I even say to something like that?

I’d never felt so typical in my life as I did that summer waiting for our little boy to arrive. “How old are you?” Fellow grocery shoppers would occasionally ask, eyeing my left hand for that ring. Even well-meaning new friends would fish for answers. “So…when did you get married? And…when’s the baby due?” I could see the numbers flying around in their heads as they performed calculations. Sometimes I just wanted to look them in the eye and say, “YES!!! We were MARRIED!” I was a young, typical blonde, not a clue what she was doing, toying with adulthood. The nurse that day in the doctor’s office had secretly whisked away any confidence I had in my soon-to-be parenting.

Our little boy was born in that same hospital a few months later. As I held him in my arms, I knew nothing about that night was typical. He was perfect. A little miracle. It didn’t matter that 15 other women in that building had just done the same thing and brought their own little miracle into the world. None of us were typical, each experiencing a new phase of life, new challenges, all uniquely ours.

Copy of HPIM0797As mothers sometimes we feel “typical.” Like others are out shattering the would with their talents and abilities while we’re home nursing a needy baby. Our contributions feel very small. I feel that way sometimes, but then I see other “typical” moms interact with their unique child, take care of them, and love them. No matter what age they happen to be, they are doing something so amazing, so wonderful, so innate, nothing about it is “typical.”To that little baby, their mother is their world, and aren’t those tiny human beings, our future, what matters? Mothers are shattering the world, just in the shadows. Their contribution is monumental. Raising a child is an adventure unlike any other, and no one’s adventure is the same.

12-01-2008 04110-4-2008 043Should I have waited to get married? To have children? Some I’m sure would scream YES! That nurse was anything but subtle in trying to convey that message to me, that young, immature mother. But 22 or 42, It shouldn’t matter what the casual observer thinks. For me it has been wonderful, amazing, incredible, miraculous, and fulfilling. I’m thankful every day that life took us down this path. Motherhood is not typical, it is unique to you, and our contributions are greater than we can ever imagine.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Traditions

It starts subtly. So subtle it’s sometimes difficult to even notice. Just a tiny bud here, a little, white flower there. Then it grows. Green splashes the trees, and soon they are covered in a beautiful canopy of leaves. They wave proudly throughout the summer, then, as the weather cools, the leaves burst into a beautiful spectacle of color. The grand finale. Reds, oranges, browns, yellows…it’s as if the trees are celebrating another glorious year. Finally, almost overnight, the fireworks are over. The leaves lay still on the ground, waiting for one last breath of life as a child rakes them up to jump in before they disappear under a carpet of snow.

The grand finale. That’s my favorite.

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The crisp air, the jackets, the hot cocoa, the pumpkins dotting the otherwise barren fields, the corn mazes, the scarves, the harvest moon, the decorations.

The leaves. The beautiful leaves.

I don’t usually get nostalgic, happy feelings while walking into the grocery store, but last night I did. As I bundled my almost-two-year-old in my jacketed arms to protect him from the crisp air and raced towards the front door, the pumpkins lining the entrance and the mums adding a splash of color took hold of my breath. Fall is here. My heart almost burst with joy. Fall brings me joy because it brings back so many wonderful memories. So many fun traditions from my childhood flooded my mind.

Every year as a kid my parents would host a fall party. The kids would wear their costumes, the parents would stand around chatting and eating chili from the pumpkin we’d hollowed out earlier that day. We’d bob for apples or play in my dad’s box maze, then we’d sit around a bonfire in our back yard telling stories and eating homemade doughnuts with our hot cocoa or apple cider. Sweet memories, vivid in my mind like the leaves in autumn.

I’ve been reading a book by Stephanie Nielson titled Heaven Is Here. Have you heard her story? She is amazing. Her story is incredible, inspiring, and full of hope. In 2008 she and her husband were in a plane crash, which burned 80% of her body. She and her husband were, through countless miracles, able to return to their four young children and she was able to continue her journey as a mother.

She writes a blog: nieniedialogues.blogspot.com

…and here’s a clip about her story: My New Life (I bawled through the entire thing. It’s 8 minutes and SO worth it!)

Much of her book she shares how traditions played a big part in her life, as a child, and later as a mother. We’ve slacked off majorly in the tradition department lately, and I’ve decided this week to work harder at those we have and try to begin some new ones that my children can look back on as fondly as I do those in the falls of my childhood.

One I stole from Stephanie’s blog is to have a “Family Theme.” Throughout the year it becomes the focus. She begins each school year with a fancy dinner where they introduce the family theme. I’m a little late, but I think this weekend we’ll give this new tradition a try.

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Our 2014-2015 family theme. Idea stolen from nieniedialogues.blogspot.com

Just like the tiny buds in the spring, I hope that our family traditions can start out small and simple, then catch on and grow until they become a part of us. I hope that when my children look back on their memories, it will be like the autumn grand finale, full of color and beauty.

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Happy fall, everyone!

What are traditions your family has that bring you joy? I’d love to hear them!

Categories: children, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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