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Monday, 24 December 2007


I have been thinking a lot about holiday traditions.As a child you enter into the traditions that your family has established. I have fond memories of various traditions that my family had. The happy birthday Jesus party. Reading the Christmas story and.. my favorite... getting to place the nativity piece, that I was holding, wherever I wanted to in the display! The year we finally got to have a tree. How we would a lot of times have people join us who needed family. I LOVE all the different people I got to know!

I highly value that my mom sought to create traditions with my brothers and I after my dad left. Divorce can greatly change traditions.

As my brothers and I grew older our family traditions changed too.

The one thing that remained the same all the years? My youngest brother Michael had the distinctive honor of handing out our gifts. Then we would open one gift at a time.. one after another. It always felt like that was a nice quiet time of really valuing each other.
My brother Matthew is married now and his wife Monique did not know of this tradition. Ah... a cultural experience. :-)

But then again... Matt being married changes traditions again.

I am thinking that when you are single, and near your family, you stay in those traditions. When you are married, you incorporate both your traditions and create new traditions. And when you have children you incorporate new traditions for them.

Me? I am single, away from my family of origin, away from the friends I grew up with.. so what are my traditions? I love tradition! Someday, if God blesses me to have a husband and children, I want to read the Christmas story, go together to get a tree, celebrate the season of Advent, make gingerbread people, watch Elf and It's a Wonderful Life, visit people we love and invite them over too!
But for now... I find friends to go to the Christmas Markets with me, we freeze and then get hot beverages and hot bratwurst. :-) I eagerly hope for surprise packages from those I love who are not with me. And I try to send packages and cards, to call and email these whom I love and miss.

For some reason, finding and hauling a tree by myself does not sound fun... but... I put out the nativity set that I purchased in Austria a couple years ago. That was a delightful find.. a nativity set that I loved found in the town that I lived in 12 years ago. I plan to always put that out...

So.. .traditions. I feel like there are traditions I am missing (with those back in the States), traditions on hold (for a future family) and transitional traditions that are here now.

I am looking forward to spending this Christmas eve with a family in town. I enjoy them. We will have Raclette... a swiss specialty and common in this area... stinky but delicious cheese with lots of other stuff.. the perfect hang out and chat meal. :-)

And Christmas day with a couple who have been a blessing here to me already! Thad and Jana are a delight!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

My mother

Happy Birthday Mom!!!
Today, the 11th of December is my mother's birthday! there is not room to write on this blog how amazing she is! Happy birthday mom! Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a woman of God. Thank you for modeling what it means to trust the Lord completely during challenging times.

Thank you for getting out of your shell and not being afraid to experience life! I think my mother has done more white water rafting, kayaking, camping, hiking and volleyball than I have!
Thank you for letting me go into God's hands! My mother has always given me courage to follow where God is taking me.. and even though I know that she misses me... she tells me to go with God.
Okay, this may be petty and superficial... but I love that my 59 year old mother looks like she is 49! She is so full of life and joy!
Okay and my mother is not perfect but she exemplifies living in the grace of God in the midst of challenges and trials. She cares deeply for people and loves to love them. She wants to connect with others on a deeper level and she encourages everyone to be who God made them to be!

Happy Birthday MOMMMA!!!!!!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Christmas preparations

Well, it is the season of Advent... the Holiday Season... the Christmas Season. I love how the German's celebrate Advent. It seems that every family have an advent wreath in their home. And every child has an Advent calendar to count down the days. I can not think of a better way to stay focused on the reason for this season that not mark each day of the Advent!

I do not yet have an advent wreath.. and I am about a week behind... but I did decorate a bit for the season. No Christmas tree... because I did not want to haul it up my stairs and then afterwards when it is dried out.. .try to figure out what to do with it. :-) Nothing against trees... just being practical.

i will be spending Christmas here in Kandern. A dear friend will come up from Italy to spend a few days before Christmas. And I will spend some time with different families here in town. It is always strange to celebrate major holidays away from those you have always spent it with. I am simultaneously sad to miss my friends and family in the states and excited to celebrate the season here in Europe with new friends!

Here are some photos of my place decorated for the season. :-)

The formerly blank wall of my living area

view into my kitchen.. love the wooden beams!

My nativity set... in front of a photo of Cannon Beach. :-)

The stairway.