Tag: traditions

The Joys of Christmas Consistency

We are now in the midst of the holiday season and I hope you are having as much fun as I am. So far (fingers crossed) I have not gotten sick, which is a plus over other years. Tonight I had my parents and Grandfather over for a Christmas meal. I made meatloaf (gluten free using potato flakes), potatoes and butternut squash, zucchini and squash and russian cream with fruit for dessert. It was all pretty delicious and we had a nice time together

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Anyway, as we were visiting I asked my Mother if she could remember a special Christmas from her youth. Maybe one where she had gotten something she really wanted or done something special but she couldn’t think of anything. Then I asked my Dad and he had the same response. I thought about my youth and to mys surprise I also couldn’t think of specific memories. One year I got an American Girl doll and that was pretty special but most of the Christmas memories mesh together into a big happy time.

The more I thought about it the more I realized perhaps that consistency is the greatest thing about holidays and traditions. The memories aren’t all that important but it’s that they happen every year and feel for the most part the same. As an adult I’ve lost a lot of that consistency because every year seems to be different, with different people.  This year I have celebrated Christmas with my brother Sam and sister Maddie already and have given my parents their gift because they were all traveling.

Then we just had the meal tonight and I will probably be alone through Christmas unless my Aunt or someone decides to join me. This is now my 4th Christmas alone so I suppose that is becoming consistent but each year I’ve done something different.  In 2013 I met up with friends and went to a movie, in 2014 I was deathly ill, in 2015 I went to Chinese food. I don’t know what I will do this year. Maybe I will finish binge watching Fuller House Season 2? Who knows? 🙂

It’s kind of impossible to make my Christmas season more consistent because I just don’t know what is going to be happening from year to year.  Still, I try to always have my Christmas tree, go to Messiah Sing Along and Christmas Carol. I’ve done all those things this year. So, there is some consistency.

Anyway, it’s just something I have been thinking about. Maybe a happy life isn’t about making memories per say but more about creating traditions we can count on year after year?

What do you think? Can you see what I am saying?

I would love to hear your insight.

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Merry Christmas 2013

Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  I’ve got a bit of a sinus infection today but other than that this holiday season has been perfect.  A dream come true.  I am so grateful for my family coming to Utah for the holidays.  Especially being sick I am SOOO grateful that I don’t have to travel right now.

I am also grateful for my house and the chance I’ve had to make it a Christmas home with lights outside and my first real tree inside.  I am grateful for my memory ornaments and twinkle lights.  I’m grateful for the tree in my room and the goodies I’ve made in my kitchen.  I’m grateful to have a home that I love, a wonderful roommate and amazing tenants leaving and great one’s moving in.

Holiday Decor
Holiday Decor

I am grateful for the stories of Christmas whether it be in a movie, book or play I love Handel’s music, Scrooge’s redemption, Ralphie’s red rider bee-bee gun, or George Bailey’s epiphany.  I like the sappy movies on Hallmark and all the Christmas carols even the silly one’s.  I love the gifts I was able to give this year and excited to get a few tomorrow.

I am grateful for our Christmas traditions of German food and a nativity play.  I also had a lot of fun spending time with my siblings this week including playing games yesterday and getting Christmas manicures with 2 of my sisters.

Nativity play.
Nativity play.
I got a Christmas card from the main office today and it meant a lot to me. Being a telecommuter it was nice to hear their words
I got a Christmas card from the main office today and it meant a lot to me. Being a telecommuter it was nice to hear their words
Our traditional German meal
Our traditional German meal

Most importantly I am grateful for Jesus Christ.  His birth, life, suffering and death makes it possible for all of us to be redeemed from sin and despair.  He has walked where we have walked . He has understood all and he loves us like nobody else could.  I know he is my Savior and He has never forgotten  me even when it seemed I was totally alone He was there. Gloria! His name be praised.

I hope He is with you this time of year and always.  Thank you for all your support on the blog and the love and fun we have together.  Thank you and Merry Christmas!!!!

To any of you that are alone this Christmas, I’ve been there and love you.  Christ loves you.  You’ll get through it and next year you may find you’ll have the best Christmas ever.  I know what that is like. 🙂

 

Single Christmas Traditions

I wrote this years ago but was recently asked how I keep Christmas as a single adult and basically this still holds true. I started my own traditions that are just for me and do them every year without fail, even last year when it was such a mess with moving and building my house (although I didn’t put up a large tree) the spirit of the tradition is always kept.

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

It’s hard to believe there is only a week left until Christmas.  As is usually the case, the month of December has flown by and I have packed it in with tons of cool Holiday experiences.  I decided a long time ago I was never going to miss out on a full life because I am single- this includes Christmas.  As a result, I have established a number of my own Christmas traditions that are unique to me (meaning I did not necessarily do them in my family while growing up).

1. The first ‘single tradition’ I have developed is what I call my “memory tree”.  I’ve mentioned my tree before on this blog, but it’s a way to decorate with ornaments that symbolize or were purchased concurrent with special moments/vacations in my life.  I have an ornament for the colleges I attended, the states I’ve lived in, the places…

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A Familiar Thanksgiving

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My mind is decidedly random and you can never guess what is going on inside by what’s being said outside.  Anyone else like that?

Well, today at church was definitely such a moment.  The missionaries were speaking about missionary work and even though that is my favorite topic I found my mind wondering.  I think I was hungry but I remembered a talk given by Elder Perry in 2001 (and yet still fresh in my mind.  I’m like that.  I can tell you all about the lectures from my favorite classes in school and its been 11 years since I graduated…yet I can’t remember where my keys are half the time. Strange!)

Anyway, the talk is called ‘A Community of Saints’ and the main purpose is to discuss how we as members of the church can take the trappings of the church for granted because we are so used to it, but I find that slippery slope to exist with almost anything in life.  Familiarity leads to cavalier attitudes and we can sometimes lose what is really most important because we think we are bored or it isn’t living up to our standards.

Elder Perry gives an example that I love.  Please forgive the long quote but I think any of us with Moms can relate to a moment when we think our family is so ‘uncool’ but everyone else thinks it’s great:

We all have life events that, when we recall them years later, acquire new and important meaning. When I was in junior high, I was honored by the school administration when I was asked to become a member of the student hall patrol. On the days we were assigned to be on hall patrol, we were instructed to bring our lunch to school and eat it together. It was always a special treat, and there was always a lot of competition to see whose mother had prepared the most desirable lunch. Often we traded lunch items among ourselves.

One day when I was assigned to be on hall patrol, I forgot to tell Mother that I needed a lunch until I was almost ready to leave for school. An expression of concern came over Mother’s face when I requested a lunch. She told me that she had just used up her last loaf of bread for breakfast and would not be baking until that afternoon. All she had in the house to make a lunch was a large sweet roll left over from the previous night’s supper.

Mother made delicious sweet rolls.She always arranged them in a pan so there was one large one across the top of the pan and then rows of smaller ones down the length of the pan. Only the large one remained. It was about the size of a loaf of bread in length but, of course, not in thickness. I was embarrassed to take just a sweet roll for lunch when I imagined what the other patrol members would have, but I decided it was better to go with the sweet roll than go without lunch.

When it came time to eat lunch, I went to a far-off corner so I wouldn’t be noticed. When the trading of lunches started, my friends wanted to know what I had. I explained what had happened that morning, and to my dismay, everyone wanted to see the sweet roll. But my friends surprised me—instead of making fun of me, they all wanted to have a piece of the sweet roll! It turned out to be my best lunch trading day of the entire year! The sweet roll that I thought would be an embarrassment to me turned out to be the hit of our lunch hour.

As I have reflected on this experience, it has occurred to me that it is often part of human nature to attach less value to familiar things simply because they are so common to us. One of these familiar things could be our membership in the restored Church.

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I love that last quote “often part of human nature to attach less value to familiar things simply because they are common to us”.  Could this not be a problem with Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season?  Because the traditions are so repetitive and seemingly ordinary do we forget to remember how special those moments truly are?

For example, most of us expect to have turkey on thanksgiving but usually it is not until it is our turn to cook the bird that we realize how much work it is to make the ordinary turkey!

I’m going to try and keep this in mind during my Thanksgiving with my family and the Christmas season to come- appreciate the ordinary and the common because it will not always be here.  I challenge you all to do the same!

So, my brain wandered off somewhere pretty interesting today and I’m glad it did!

Comfort

Tonight my mood while writing this post can be summed up in one word- comfort.  Why is that you might ask? Well, there are a number of reasons.  First, I am watching one of my all-time favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.  My regular readers will not be surprised by this- as it is the one of only two movies I have written entire posts on (See Open to Change).   It’s interesting because I wrote the post in May of last year when my life was going through many changes.  Now my life is once again changing and wouldn’t you know I turn to the same movie to provide escapism and comfort.  I know it is predictable and somewhat obvious, but I don’t care.  It makes me laugh, has lots to say about modern-day work,  captures my love of books and New York City,  and realizes  my fantasy of a romantic pen pal.  Plus, its themes of modernity and change are ones I continue to come back to again and again.  I will not bore you by re-posting my favorite quotes from the movie.  You can look at my original post for that.  Suffice it to say, it is a comfort movie in a time of change.  Do any of you have movies you watch repeatedly?  One of these days I am going to do a posting on my favorite movies.  I have started one several times but it is difficult to pare it down to a manageable list.

The second comforting aspect of tonight is the food I made.  I happened to have the ingredients to make one of my family’s favorite items- German potato salad.  If any of you haven’t enjoyed this dish, it is made with potatoes, bacon, vinegar, sugar, flour, celery seed, salt and onion.  It is one of those dishes that pulls off the delicious sweet/salty combination.  I have been trying to eat healthier in the last few weeks (lost 10 lbs in 5 weeks!) , so perhaps this choice was a bit of an indulgence but as a main course for dinner it wasn’t too bad.  We have a tradition in our family of eating a  German meal on Christmas Eve.  It sounds odd but it is delicious.  The main course is bratwurst sandwiches cooked on the griddle with rye bread, gooey swish cheese and my mom’s special sauerkraut.  Most people turn their noses up at sauerkraut but that is because they  haven’t tried my mom’s.  It is delicious.  She takes the sauerkraut, rinses it, and then boils it in fresh apple cider for hours until it is sweet/salty yummy!  It has won over even the most ardent sauerkraut haters.  As a side for the  meal we also have german potato salad.  I have tried to recreate the other aspects of the Christmas Eve meal but to no avail.  The two times I tried the sauerkraut it  didn’t turn out and the sandwiches are nothing without it.  The german potato salad I have succeeded in making, so I decided to tackle it tonight. It was delicious and comforting.

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The third comforting aspect of tonight is the satisfaction of hard work.  Is there anything better or more comforting than relaxing after working really hard? Ever since I got home from Hawaii I have felt a bit like  a chicken with its head cut off- running around frantically, working hard and not knowing what was happening next.  I can now see things coming into place but it’s been a bit overwhelming.  As with any change there is the fear of the unknown, the fear of being unhappy, the fear of picking the wrong path.  It has been hard and I think I’ve done a pretty good job keeping it all together.  Maybe part of it is I’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for moping around the house or worrying.  There were about 2 weeks when I allowed myself to stress out about the future, but now I am excited about the opportunities that are coming.  As I mentioned in my last post I have gone from worrying whether I had one job to now having the potential for four- vacation rentals, sales tax, Grabber events, and managing other people’s vacation rentals.  I have had to put the real estate school on the back burner for August but that will start up in September, which I am excited about (my renting 2 of the Suncrest houses as long-term rentals  should be a good sign for my future as a property manager!).  This week in particular I have been working all hours on the vacation rentals, the long-term rentals, getting trained on sales tax, working on Grabber events and more. Yesterday I was up at the houses from the morning until late in the afternoon working and forgot to drink enough water or eat lunch. Eventually I had to lie down because I started feeling faint.  I also had phone calls all day- by 2 pm I had received 25 incoming calls! It was exhausting.  Today I knew I needed to take a break from it all and that is what I have done.  I had my voice lesson this morning, which is always wonderful.  Then I came home worked on my computer for the afternoon, made dinner and am watching the movie.  It feels great to just enjoy my life!

The only thing that would make today more comforting is if I wasn’t alone.  However, maybe wishing for someone to watch You’ve Got Mail and eat german potato salad with is wishing for too much! Even if a man is unrealistic, it would be the icing on the cake to have a girlfriend or two with me.  There are so many who are far away, and I miss greatly- Melissa, Raelene, Emily and Stefanie to name a few.  I can also imagine this night with my sisters- all of us laughing and eating together.  Still, they are all only a phone call away, and they all love me.  As much as I would love their company, the knowledge of their love builds me and provides comfort.   I know whatever career path or life choice I make my friends and family will support and encourage me.  One of my most frequent prayers throughout my life has been one of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all the love He has given me.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about needing increased faith for the months ahead.  It may have sounded trite or simplistic to some, but I don’t care.  Having faith means believing in something that is not seen.  At that moment I could not see what was in store for me.  I still have many unknowns but already I have seen new opportunities open- chances that will help me be a better, more interesting person.  This is perhaps the most comforting part about tonight- that I know everything will be ok.  My life is watched over.  As long as I work hard, believe in myself and trust in God then everything will turn out for the best.  This is a hard thing to believe when life is in chaos but it’s true.

Thank you for all your support during this crazy time.  Thank you for the comfort.