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What Holiday Traditions Connect You to Childhood? Bookmark and Share

What Holiday Traditions Connect You to Childhood?

Growing up, every holiday was chaotic. My extended family is huge. When you combine the paternal and maternal sides, I have 22 aunts and uncles (including their spouses) and 30 cousins.

Do I have to even state that family gatherings were loud? Yelling, shouting, laughing, game playing, little kids running in packs like wolves. I was never the ring leader, but I always enjoyed being part of the show.

After my husband and I moved away, I missed the noise. The silence felt deafening. Over time, though, we established our own traditions. Christmas Eve meant lights at the zoo and ...

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Simple Pleasures And Odd Loves Bookmark and Share

My daughter is in love with a pencil sharpener.

It’s true; she told me so. It’s nothing really special, just a small pink container to hold the shavings that twirl off one of the two sharpening blades.

Yet, she obsessed for two days about how she was getting a pencil sharpener and once she had it, she promptly began sharpening every pencil she could find.

I would question her sanity except that her obsession reminds me a bit of one of my silly loves: my dishes from Crate and Barrel. They are nothing special either, just simple white ...

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Glory in the Monotony of Being Present Bookmark and Share

When you are about to drive 1,000 miles across America’s heartland, it’s hard not to wonder if you’ll make it or simply fall asleep and drive into a field. Anyone who has driven across the barren nothingness of Nebraska will understand.

I intended to contemplate life along this drive, to process the past six months and to consider what I wanted the future to hold. Instead, I learned that pure monotony can actually help you stay in the present. Apparently the drive through Nebraska is similar to being at a meditation retreat. It is that boring ...

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Tradition—what we shed and what we keep Bookmark and Share

Tradition—what we shed and what we keep

Ah, Christmas. What other time of year has more traditions wrapped around it? It seems that as a species, humans thrive on tradition and as much as we sometimes complain about it, we will create traditions where there is a hole.

As a child growing up, my Christmases followed the same rhythm each year. Christmas Eve we went to “the barn,” a live reenactment of Jesus’s birth in a real barn, sitting on real hay bales next to sheep and a donkey with members of our church acting out the scenes (I was the first live baby Jesus). Audience ...

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The return of lazy Sundays Bookmark and Share

The return of lazy Sundays

This morning my daughter climbed into our bed to snuggle, and a tickle monster attack ensued followed by a game of “pillow” (in which one person wants to sleep and the other is the moving pillow).

These mornings remind me of my childhood. My brothers and I jumping onto my parents’ bed, my dad heating up the griddle for pancakes and bacon. I don’t know if this was rare in my childhood home or if it happened every weekend, but it is a strong memory. I can nearly smell the syrup. In my memory, childhood weekends consisted of cleaning ...

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