Ode to Tradition

traditionThese days we are full-flung into the season of family and celebration. It’s all making me feel a little bit like Tevye from the famous musical, Fiddler on the Roof, stomping around the house crying, “Tradition!” I’m just missing the big bushy beard and belly to jiggle…OK a few other things too. But you know what I mean.

So here’s my nod to tradition:

At my house, we’ve already hosted Thanksgiving, gone to the tree farm, and trimmed our tree. We’re edging into December and we’re living in Thanksmas at the moment—halfway between pumpkins and snowflakes…Tradition!

We’ve made gingerbread houses and peppermint bark, we’re prepping for Christmas cookies and eating leftover pecan pie. My waistline might be expanding if I didn’t hit the treadmill at 5 am…Tradition!

My kids try to sneak peaks at the packages I’ve hidden on the top shelf of the closet. I’ve been bit by the same generous bug as St. Nicholas and there are presents for nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, including a new game for us to all play together…Tradition!

Somewhere under a pile of school papers is the advent calendar. Every night, we clear space enough space on the table to avoid a fire hazard, when we light the Advent candles, and read a special Christmas book…Tradition!

We’ve smiled for pictures that are perfect. Stuffed messes away. We clean up real nice, but we’re starting to fray.

So purpose and meaning we seek, packing shoeboxes full of toys for kids who’ve nothing, put together scarves for the homeless, given presents to the local foster group home. And, while good and necessary and right, it still lacks a bit of something.

Perhaps it’s a leftover melancholy from my childhood, where traditions were few and far between. But as I sit here in the quiet, with my coffee, I wonder if meaning comes less from tradition, and more from the consistent presence of a loving friend or parent.

So yes, tradition has purpose and contributes to meaning. But it’s my presence inside those traditions that make the difference. And somehow that’s a little freeing.

Wishing you a blessed week…and one full of meaning with a side of holiday tradition.Tweet This

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Oh the Humanity—Importance of Beauty

importance-of-beautyAs I sit here writing, a fall wind is rippling through the trees, late afternoon sun is dripping horizontal gold through my curtains. The riot of color outside my window makes me smile. It is, undoubtedly and, for us non-philosophy students, unarguably beautiful.

This golden snippet of time is something I look forward to all year round. The memory of days like this is what gets me through the bleak winter months. Well, that and my down parka.

See, there’s something about beauty—especially in it’s classical, fall afternoon sense.

Part of being human is the ability to recognize, look forward to, and remember beauty. Tweet This

I’m fairly certain that my dog, Odie, as smart and crazy as he is, fails to really recognize the breeze, the trees, or even a perfectly cooked steak as beautiful.

He may lift his nose in appreciation, but he fails to be profoundly thankful or reflective about a gorgeous day. Continue reading “Oh the Humanity—Importance of Beauty”

Making Life Worthwhile

Be Something


What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we pose to nearly every child we meet. For the record, my daughter’s answer veers wildly from writer to mom to artist to scientist while my son’s answers are a predictable shrug of the shoulders and impish grin.

But I’ve really come to hate that question. You see, as I’m creeping up and over the hill, it seems to have returned to my life with a vengeance. You are 40-years-old, what do you want to be?

Unfortunately for all of you, it such a familiar sense of lostness that the question has a name–middle age crisis. And what a crisis it can be. Continue reading “Making Life Worthwhile”