A little something for your neighbor…

I have always had a special spot in my heart for people who have spent many years on this Earth. My children share the feeling of joy I get from spending time with elderly people. We have two neighbors who are both widowers.  The kids enjoy taking them hand-made cards or our fresh – baked brownies.  They are excited to do something kind for our elderly neighbors and often in return receive a chocolate bar for their deliveries. I love watching them skip across the street in the early morning, wearing their jammies, delivering kindness and goodness to our neighbors.
I encourage you to take a minute out of your busy lives and do something special for an older member of your community. The rewards are priceless.

Dear coffee, I love you

Every morning my husband makes coffee and places two cups out on the counter.  My cup has a piece of paper in it with a special note for the day. I rely on this morning ritual. I’m ready to start my day with a smile on my face because of this little note placed in my favorite coffee cup!

My Mother’s Imprint

Joyce Sutton, born April 15, 1945, passed away peacefully on December 8, 2011, in the loving presence of her children. 
My mom leaves behind to cherish her memory her son Todd, daughters Marni, Jennifer, Rachel, and Courtney, 17 grandchildren, a daughter-in-law, 4 son-in-laws, a sister and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.  She also leaves behind several lifelong friends who will treasure her memory forever.
Thanksgiving Day 2011
My mother was a devoted mom who gave her family valuable lessons about the importance of love and forgiveness in one’s life, for which we are eternally grateful.  My mom’ sparkling personality brought joy to everyone.
She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

The end of the year brings reflections on the past and hope for the future

New Year’s Day fills me with a simple, quiet excitement – new resolutions, new traditions, new beginnings and new opportunities. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, only to disappoint ourselves a month later when nearly all of them have been broken. It seems to me, that the idea of making resolutions is a good practice as it points out what needs improving. Even if we don’t live up to all our resolutions, at least we’ve acknowledged that some things can use attention.

The differance between Rituals and Traditions

Tradition: An inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or social custom). The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. Cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions. Characteristic manner, method, or style.
Ritual: The established form for a ceremony; the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony. Ritual observance: system of rites, a ceremonial act or action or a customarily repeated often formal act or series of acts.

Why do families need rituals?

Dr. Laura Markham www.ahaparenting.com

What’s a ritual? It’s a routine with meaning. Children love ritual. Repetition, the comfort of belonging, the sense of wonder, magic, and celebration — all create a bonding experience that nurtures both kids and parents. Rituals hold families together.
Why do we need rituals? It’s primal. They help us move emotionally from one place to another; they ease pain, acknowledge growth, and create connection.
Rituals are invaluable to families, as most parents discover. Daily rituals like bedtime stories and goodbye hugs make separations easier and provide comfort and security. Traditions like taking a picture on the front steps on the first day of school and letting kids stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve help children integrate the changes of the year. Rituals like bar mitzvahs and Christmas Eve mass communicate values in a visceral way.
In a secular culture, many parents who don’t relate to organized religion find that rituals and traditions give the sense of meaning and anchoring they seek. All rituals reinforce values and create connection.
Studies show that happy families not only have many treasured traditions, they constantly evolve new ones that help them find their way through the inevitable changes of growing up, as well as create warm bonds and a sense of security.

“So how do we start traditions?”
Your family already has its own traditions, from Sunday morning pancakes to observing holidays in a certain way. The way you celebrate birthdays, mark the passing of pet or observe a special day, the way you say goodbye to each other every morning or shop for fall clothes each school year; all are the stuff of which memories are made.
“Ok, but how do I create traditions that nurture my family?”
Creating new traditions that work for your family is a simple matter. Try something new, and if you like it, repeat it. Then begin to talk about it and look forward to it with the whole family. Eventually, that tradition will take on a life of its own and will become a sustaining part of your family’s culture.
“And what about rituals? Are they different?” Let’s think of rituals as a tradition carried out in a more sacred way, usually the same way every time. Singing the Chanuka blessings or saying Grace before meals are obvious examples, but so are singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles. It may not seem that “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” is sacred, but all repetitious chants are essentially prayers, satisfying a primal human need.
“What do I need to know about creating a ritual?” Most rituals use either the lighting of candles or the repetition of a phrase or song as an invocation, or a beginning. Sometimes that’s all there is to them, as in the case of a particular goodbye saying. Other rituals, like going around the table at Thanksgiving to say what we’re thankful for, have “content.” And virtually all have a closing, signaling that sacred space is over and we return to daily life, as when the birthday candles are blown out, or we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer.