Holiday Traditions

The holidays are upon us and it’s time for traditions. Some are old and some are new, some are traditions we never even thought of as traditions. This is where I have recently found myself. I mean, we have traditions, but I never really thought of them as traditions.
Maybe it’s because when I was growing up my family didn’t have traditions. I mean, we never even ate Thanksgiving dinner together or Christmas dinner together. Every family member would just eat when they were hungry and take their plate to their room and eat. No family bonding, no fun family memories being built. I felt shortchanged, especially when I watched Christmas movies. Weren’t families supposed to eat dinner together, have big get-togethers whether or not everyone gets along or not? Have white elephant gifts, do gift exchanges, have a cookie making party or candy making party, make gingerbread houses, open a present on Christmas Eve? Where was this in my life?!
Okay, so that didn’t exist in my life. But I did come close to a family tradition growing up. Two Christmases in a row my brother dated a beautiful young lady who was dedicated to him. You see I grew up with 5 brothers. They all liked her and were happy my brother was dating her. Anyhow, She was the only one who was able to get everyone together to eat Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner and dessert we would play board games up until midnight. We would wake up my parents and open Christmas gifts then go to bed (then revisit our gifts in the morning). This was so much fun for me, a great taste in what traditions should be, right? Yes. Too bad they broke up and so did this tradition.

My amazing friend and I.

So some of us grow up in crazy families with traditions; some of us don’t. But there is always a time to start a tradition.  Now I haven’t really given traditions much thought with my family until I talked traditions with my friend from The Accidental Domestic. She is one lady who is big on traditions. She gets her cute family together and puts together a bucket list for every new season, just to make sure all the fun things that come with that season get done. From the first of November to Thanksgiving, she reads a book a day about fall and giving thanks. Every fall, she and her husband rake a big pile of leaves for the kids to jump in; they take neighborhood walks and collect beautiful leaves. She has even adopted some of her husband’s childhood traditions for their own children to enjoy. She feels it is so great their children can experience some of the joys her husband had growing up. This was so awesome for me to hear. Then it dawned on me…I have started lots of traditions in my home too.
Since I am a frugal person I don’t buy holiday decorations; I make them. I make a new one every year, adding to my collection. I have a rotating Thanksgiving dish I serve every year that is a new recipe. I also like to serve a traditional dish, such as my Bacon, Leek, Sausage Stuffing or my Twice Baked Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes! For Christmas, we do lots of different activities: watch a different Christmas movie every night, counting down to Christmas; we decorate Gingerbread houses; make gingerbread men and women, including my husbands “special variety” (very few know what they are, hehee), have a candy making party and make a platter of treats to share with our neighbors; make and decorate sugar cookies; go out and look at Christmas lights and enjoy a hot chocolate; each one of our kids prepares an Operation Christmas Child box and includes something they made on the sewing machine. I have a life full of great traditions I never really thought about, until my wonderful conversation with my friend.
Traditions can be just about anything, but I didn’t know that. The best part is that you can start now. You may already have some traditions, but didn’t even know it, like me. Close the book to all the ugly memories you might have and create something new and beautiful with your kids or your friends.

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Happy Thanksgiving!
Rosalia
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Loving & Teaching Our Sons

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Let me begin by saying, “I love my son!” Now I know this doesn’t really surprise you. I’m his mother, of course I love him. Now let me let you in my private little world. Back when I was 20 weeks pregnant, I had a ultrasound to see if I was having a girl. Well, it turned out I was pregnant with a boy. I was extremely disappointed. You see, I had a blemished, no, “poisoned” idea of what a boy would grow up to be. I am ashamed to say it now, but the reality was I felt he would become a drunkard, a man who disrespects his mother, a man who is unfaithful to his wife, and an absent father. This is what I had seen a lot of, as a child. As I grew older, I found men to be untrustworthy and men who look to take advantage of a young woman, repeatedly without a care in the world.

Now to clear things up a little, my father was disabled and kept to himself. This is just how he was.

You see I grew up with 5 brothers. My youngest brother was 9 years my senior with the oldest being 16 years my senior. I was so much younger, I felt like an only child. My brothers wanted nothing to do with me because I was a baby. I would hear the older ones talk their dirty talks about women and things they would do to them or make comments about my changing body like I was not there. I would see them drinking, smoking pot, and get flat out drunk. Then there were countless nights my oldest brother would be carried home and dropped off on the front lawn. With my poor mother dragging him in and trying to feed him dinner at midnight. Trying to get him to sober up. All she got was the plate crashing to the ground as well as spilled milk. With my drunk brother bubbling about how beautiful she was. YUCK!

There were also the times when my mother would try to be the final word, the “man of the house” if you will. But that only meant she would get hit for laying down the law. But she was feisty. She would get back up and try again. Mind you, if my dad had been well, this would never have happened. He was the “take my belt off” kind of man. His disability changed him.

I also remember my brothers constantly fist fighting and my mom having to call the police on them. My middle brother was afraid to go to sleep for fear that the older brother would start beating him in his sleep. Which happened often. This was the norm. My two oldest brothers would get in car accidents totaling their cars and being hospitalized. This happened so often, that I thought, if you got in a car and went for a drive you would get in a car accident. It was just what happened.

Later, when my life got tough during my teen years, I had hope my brothers would come and protect me. You know, being the only little sister. But no. I was let down. This was the time of my life when I hit rock bottom. I was broken. Thank the Lord for sending a women in my life I later called “mom”, because that is what she became. My mother for this new stage in my life. My youngest brother, moved away to get away from the ugliness. I had never thought that being a part of a big family, the possibility of being all alone was possible. I was abandoned from them, especially when I needed them the most.

So, this was my image of what my son would someday become.  My view was so disillusioned. Until my mother-in-law said “This is your son, you get to raise him up to be what you want him to be. He will not be a man like that because you are his mother.” She was right, I will be his mother. I will be the one who will train him up to not be a drunkard, but to be a man of God, a man with integrity. A man like in Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Before my son was born I got over my fears with the help of my adopted mother, she reminded me of my faith, the integrity of the man I married and the example he would be, my son would not become the image I fear. But it was also through prayer and trusting in the Lord that I let go of these fears. He is the one with the plan, I am the one that just needs to trust and follow it. The moment he was born, all I had was love. He was warm, pink, smelt of sweet perfection! I was in love.

birthday dawson

I know he is only 7, but he is growing up to be the sweetest, loving boy I could ever imagine. He still loves to cuddle when we read a book and he has the cheesiest ways of announcing his love to my husband and me. Like, “I love you so much nothing can stop my love!” He has such thoughtfulness toward his little sister, and thinking about her needs, and preparing for them in advance amazes me. He has faith in God, and an amazing example in a father to help guide him. I have no doubt my son will grow up to have integrity, respect, and be on fire for the Lord.

9 month dawson

Why am I sharing all this, well, I have heard some young women talk about these same fears. And I want them to know, they should have no fears.

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“My Son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother:” Proverbs 1:8

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If God gives you a son, you can train him up to be an honorable man of God.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.” Proverbs 3:1


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