Thursday, September 29, 2011


Tradition.  I love that word.  It conjures up an image of one of the greatest traditions I believe exists in a university setting.  It is Script Ohio.  Script Ohio is the signature formation of The Ohio State University Marching Band.  This year marks the 75th year of this tradition.  When I sat in the football stadium during my college career I was filled with pride as I watched the marching band take to the field and create this awesome visual.  Band members weave and curl around each other.  Outbursts from thousands upon thousands of fans, in tune with the driving force of the drums and an all brass band, are emotional and meaningful to fans both young and old.  Funny thing though, it was actually the Michigan marching band (boo!) that first put this beautiful formation on the playing field.  They may have formed a script Ohio, but it was The Best Damn Band in the Land (known to a true fan as TBDBITL) that created Script Ohio.  It’s a tradition that has truly stood the test of time.

One of the definitions I found for the word tradition was “a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.”  Many traditions have been invented on purpose; much like the tradition of Script Ohio. 

In our society we do all kinds of things out of “tradition.”  Marriage ceremonies, holiday customs and foods, and Sunday dinners are examples of traditions.  But, what I think sets tradition apart from what may appear as no more than habit is the meaning behind it.  I remind my kids to brush their teeth every single night before bed and every single morning too.  Is this a tradition?  I surely hope not, or I need to add much more meaning to my life.  I think a tradition is something we do on purpose because we place meaning on it. 

After a meeting with our Executive Pastor of our church, John and I were encouraged to begin family traditions (thanks JP!).  These are intentional acts that we have thought out…thus placing meaning on what otherwise may come across as habit.  We have begun having a date night at least once a month (woot!!).  We are having a family night—that may be watching a movie together or playing a board game—once a week.  We are saying grace before meals.  We joined a gym so that we can spend time together as a family being active and staying healthy.  We joined a family Lifegroup that meets once a week. 

It’s through these intentional acts that memories are made, thus the deeper meaning of tradition.  The acts we are developing can be something that our kids decide to do within their own family one day.  I think too, upon reading further about traditions, that the development of them is right when it reinforces some basic principles that are desired for us (humility, thankfulness, kindness, togetherness, and love to name a few).  I want for Sydney and Elliot to remember pizza lunches on Sunday afternoons after church, cozy nights on the couch with popcorn watching a movie, counting money for the bank of the board game we play, and holding hands around the table to give thanks.   

I would love for one day to take them to the Horseshoe to experience Script Ohio.  I know it’s through practicing traditions that they will have an appreciation for other traditions.  Traditions give them a sense of belonging, connection, and commitment.   All important traits John and I want to develop in them. 

What are your family traditions, or what traditions will you develop?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Transformation is a word that has been in my vocabulary a lot over the past week.  Normally the word transformation makes me think of caterpillars turning into butterflies, shows like The Biggest Loser, or leaves changing.  But, over the past week I’ve been painting our kitchen cabinets in an attempt to “transform” our kitchen.  As I have been spending time sanding and painting these cabinets, I have seen a visual transformation take place.  It’s a project that is happening in stages.  First cabinets, then flooring…we plan to add an island and some new lighting.  I’ve got 3 doors and 3 drawer fronts left to paint.  There were 14 doors and 12 drawer fronts to paint.  It’s been a HUGE project.  I will post before and after pictures once the project is complete.  I can give some pretty good tips if anyone is thinking of tackling a similar task.

John and I moved into our house 8 years ago.  I haven’t lived in the same place that long since I was 12.  When we moved in, we spent time transforming the house into our own style.  We did a lot of painting and updates.  However, things got put on hold when we added Elliot and Sydney to our family.  Now they are both in school.  No more toddlers to keep out of wet paint.  All of a sudden everything needs repainted and the updates we did 8 years ago need attention.  We need transformation.

I am such a visual person.  Visual impact can sometimes provide instant gratification.  Perhaps it's the effect of being a daughter of a hair stylist. :o)  In one day I painted the kitchen and felt a sense of accomplishment—in one week, the cabinets.  I like seeing the fruit of my labor.  

Our lives are full of transformation.  John and I were transformed into parents of two children.  I was transformed into a stay at home mom.  We transformed our ways of city life to this neighborhood that’s tucked away from shopping and convenience.  We transformed our diets and had visible payoff in weight loss. 

All this transformation though has got me thinking about transformation that we can’t see.  There has been transformation in my own heart and especially John's in the past year.  I’m starting to realize that it’s sometimes the transformation we can’t see, but feel that leaves the biggest and most impact. 

I’m humbled and grateful for the transformation that I can’t see.  Visual impact is important to me, but I know that God is pointing me to something even greater.  The more I read, learn, and absorb the more I transform.  I become softer and more compassionate.  That isn’t happening on my own, but by allowing something bigger than the visual sense around me to take root in my heart. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

How have you been transformed?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain, rain go away

When I was a little girl I had plans with my sweet Grandma one day.  We were going to take a picnic lunch to the park, do some walking in the woods, and play together—just the two of us.  Even though I was young, I can remember this day very vividly.  I was excited to have this special time with her.  When the day arrived, I woke up to a soaking rain.  The sky was gray.  I leaned close to my bedroom window to get a closer look at the ominous clouds.  The window pane began to fog up from my warm breath as I sighed at the look of the weather.

My grandma picked me up from home anyway.  I slumped down into the backseat of the car.  She drove us to her apartment.  The picnic basket was sitting on the dining room table.  She had spread a blanket on her living room floor.  As she got out our lunch from the basket she said to me, “Don’t act cross about the weather.  This rain won’t ruin our day.   This day isn’t our day anyhow; it’s God’s day.” 

I think I was about 8 years-old that day and those words still are with me.  My grandma is the kindest person I have ever known.  She speaks words of truth in a kind and gentle way.   She could have been “cross” with me for acting disappointed, but she didn’t.  She reminded me in a sweet way that our days aren’t really ours anyway.  Of course what she was telling me was scripture, but in a way that I could understand. 

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

Today it’s raining heavily in Virginia.  My dog is pouting.  I cannot take a walk.  I’m stuck inside unpacking from spending the weekend in Ohio.  I miss my grandma already.  It was so nice to see her this weekend and drink in some of her kindness.  I listened to Elliot and Sydney tell her about school.  I heard them tell her how much they miss her.  We got to talk about our faith and what’s at work in my heart.  It felt comforting.

I’m tempted to pout about this rain that is supposed to be with us most of this week, but I won’t (well, I might grumble a bit).  When I looked out the window this morning, I thought about my grandma.  I’m thankful for her loving encouragement to me, and how very much it meant as a kid and still means as an adult.

So, however the weather is where you are remember the words of my Grandma because she’s right…today isn’t our day anyway.  Let us rejoice and be glad.   

Thanks for reading.

Elliot & Gram Labor Day weekend 2011