Friday, July 29, 2011

Finding Home

Fireside Fridays - Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and make your home a warm and inviting place for family and friends.

Say hello to Martha - my guest blogger. She's back to share some thoughts on "home". This post will be especially meaningful to those of you who are transitioning to a new home or getting ready to leave for your freshman year of college.

Most of you reading this do not live near me.  You might be in the next town, next state or next continent. I’ve lived on three different continents and each place became my home.  At 14, my family moved to La Paz, Bolivia.  It doesn’t seem like such a far stretch today as the world has gotten much smaller with technology making everything accessible everywhere. But in 1968 the world was not so small. It was vast.

I flew with my siblings to La Paz where our parents had already established residence at a “Swiss Chalet” up in the city.   A very gracious local Swiss businessman allowed us to live there temporarily.  Having come from the Oklahoma countryside, awakening that first morning to the blaring activity of the city left me feeling out of place.  The smells were different, the 14,000 foot altitude certainly made the air itself different, the language was different, and the food was different.  I was truly a foreigner in a foreign land.  We had been without our parents for about six months as they attended a language school in Costa Rica and we were adrift.  But the sun does come up each day no matter how we feel, or where we are, and life does go on at a quick clip.  If you don’t get up and go with it, it moves on without you. Fortunately, we got up and went.  After a week. our lost luggage was returned to us and we met a few other Americans our age.  

We soon got involved with the local happenings and learned how to get around the city.  Transportation was nothing like I had EVER seen.  City buses were available everywhere all the time with locals crammed suffocatingly close inside - and hanging off the sides of the bus.  At such a high altitude vehicles move slowly, and I soon learned how to jump from the bus while it moved along.  We also hitch hiked - something I would never do today of course!  We quickly become accustomed to life in La Paz.


But “home” didn’t really happen until the church parsonage was built eight months later in the lower area (10,000 ft. above sea level) of La Paz called Calacoto.  A daily routine evolved and life became as predictable as it could be living in a city where political revolutions occurred with frequency.  My mother is a real nester and it didn’t take her long to fill the house with class, beauty and organization.  We lived a few blocks from the American Cooperative School we were to attend for our schooling as well as church services.  We were set for the next four years of life.  We were home.  We were together.  Things felt right.

Why had the chalet not felt like home?   I think it had to do with the nesting factor and time.  The chalet was lovely but my mother couldn't rearrange or make personal touches to it.  It belonged to another family.  We found home when our residence, with time, received its mark by us.  We left our own notations in the new parsonage.  From my father’s typewriter hammering away in his office to the sound of my mother’s knitting needles clicking with each knit and pearl the sounds were of our family.  

Friends would come and go and my parents entertained a great deal.  With time, the history of our life was laid in the house on Calle 10.

For me it takes a year for a place to feel like home. Four seasons filled with happenings that become traditions. Experiencing the scents of each changing season and then expecting their return the following year provides you with a marker of time, routine, and the knowledge of what's to come.  Time to make friends who permeate your life, time for seasons to come and go, and time to leave your mark on your home.  So be patient all you who travel and move.  You will find home again. 

- Martha


Fridays are all about home and family . . .

Our family photo category for next week is:

Photos of your family having fun by, on, or in a body of water. It can be a lake, ocean, swimming pool - anything that's wet.

Submit your pictures to


The winner of our giveaway will be announced on Monday. To be registered in the drawing, post your answer to this question in the comments section or on my Facebook page (see sidebar):

Whether you pick them yourself or buy them pre-packaged, where is your favorite place to get blueberries in the summer?

So love your presence here at The Warming House. Come see us again on Monday! If you're in the process of moving to a new home - or to your freshman year of college - remember Martha's words. When you make your mark on your new residence, it will eventually make its mark on you - and you will find "home." 

Enjoy "home" wherever your home might be . . .

If you know someone who might enjoy this post, would you please consider sharing it with them?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Would You Treat Someone Who Robbed Your Church?

Wednesdays on The Wooded Path

Years ago, our pastor made a shocking announcement in church. He told us that someone had broken into the church office and stolen the previous week’s offering. I can remember just sitting there stunned. Anger swelled up inside of me. I wanted to go find this guy and share a few very unchristian thoughts with him.

The pastor went on to explain that the church security cameras had helped the police locate this man, and that most of the funds from the offering had been recovered from a field by his house. Whew!

 What the pastor said next didn’t compute or make logical sense within the normal workings of my mind. I wanted this guy to pay dearly for his offenses, but the church had decided not to press charges. But that wasn’t all. Apparently, this man had been living in captivity to severe alcohol and drug addictions. An associate pastor from our church had gotten him into a rehab facility and had been visiting him regularly throughout the week. Pastor Jeff shared that this man had a load of delinquent bills, then quietly set an offering plate at the front of the church. He invited the people in our fellowship to come forward and contribute to a “special offering” if they wanted to. The money would be used to help pay this man’s outstanding debts. I’m sure he wondered how everyone would respond. I know I did.

 What happened that day is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed. Hollywood couldn’t have written it any better. In my memory banks, this one sits on hallowed ground. One by one, I watched my church family rise out of their seats and walk down the aisle to the front of the church. Entire families, children holding their parents’ hands, older couples, young couples, affluent, middle class, those with modest incomes . . . individuals from every walk of life filtered to the front. So many in fact that a line stretched down the center aisle of the church. People actually waited in line to extend grace and compassion to this man who had committed such a heinous act against the church!

To me, this was an incredible real-life lesson of the grace God has shown each of us! We’ve all rebelled (committed crimes) against the God of the universe. We’re all guilty, and He has every right to want to see us pay dearly for our offenses. God is a just God and I am thankful for that; but instead of giving us what we deserve (punishment), he had compassion on us and chose to give us what we don’t deserve. He saw our back story, our human condition, and our need then sent His Son as his “special offering” to take our punishment and pay the debt we owe for the “crimes” we’ve committed. 

If we’re going to be people of compassion, it is imperative for each of us to remember what God has done for us.

A couple of weeks later, the robber spoke to our church. With deep remorse, he confessed his crime, expressed his shame, and gave us a sincere and humble apology. He was incredulous about the money we’d given him and thanked us sincerely. He then shared that our actions had led to his decision to change the way he’d been living and put his trust in Jesus Christ.

So what do you think about this story? Do you think the pastor and this church accurately reflected the heart of God? Have you seen this kind of compassion in the church today?  Or did the thief deserve to be punished? How would you have handled this situation?

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9
(New International Version)

Thanks for coming to The Warming House. You are so loved! Maybe you've never felt love from the church or people who are important to you - but here at The Warming House you are loved - imperfections and all! Never forget it.


If you'd like to be entered in the drawing to win Monday's giveaway, be sure to post your answer to this question in the comment section or on my Facebook page (see sidebar):

Whether you pick them yourself or buy them pre-packaged, where is your favorite place to get blueberries in the summer?

Send your worst family photos to for consideration for use in Fireside Friday's post.

Our "smurf" photo of kids with Grandpa and Grandma

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lessons from the Rubicon Trail

I’ve been doing some remodeling here at The Warming House. Hope you like the changes! Instead of posting every 10-14 days, I’m now going to post three times a week. I will also be divvying up sections of the blog and posting each of them separately. Here’s how it will work.

On “Mountain View Mondays”  you'll find stunning views of God (who he is, how he loves, and what’s important to him) that steal your breath. 

Every Monday, I'll have a TJ Maxx Find-of-the-Week Giveaway. Look for info about the giveaway at the bottom of each Monday’s post. 

“Wednesdays on The Wooded Path will be dedicated to sharing the stories of individuals, organizations, and ministries who are out in the world practicing compassion and loving extravagantly.

Feel free to nominate people and organizations that you would like for me to highight here. Those who are featured on Wednesdays will be entered in a contest at the end of the year. The winner of that contest will receive a donation for their favorite charity.

“Fireside Fridays” are all about family! Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.

Every Friday, there will be a family photo contest. Selected photos will be displayed on the following Friday's post. All of our families are priceless whether it’s a traditional two-parent family, a single-parent family, a family where grandparents are guardians, or maybe it's just you and your husband - or you and your cat! This will be a way for us to celebrate our families with each other. This week’s photo contest category is:

Your Worst Family Photo


(You know – those photos you took for the annual Christmas card but couldn’t use.)


Send your pictures to

Okay - here’s my post for "Mountain View Monday" . . .

Have any of you heard of the Rubicon Trail? I hadn’t until my husband and I traveled to Lake Tahoe for a business conference last fall.

The Rubicon Trail is a 22-mile long route stretching from Lake Tahoe to Georgetown, California. Part of the route is roadway, but the other part of it is a mind-bending, bone-jarring, fear-invoking 4x4 trail experience. It’s the most well known four-wheel-drive trail in the world and has been rated “10” for “most difficult.” Jeep proudly uses it as a testing ground for their vehicles.

My husband informed me that he signed us up to go on an ATV excursion on this infamous trail – the 4x4 part. Oh joy! When we reached the dusty parking lot at the bottom of the trail, we were given helmets (yikes!) and masks to cover our faces (for flying dust).

Riders were to be split into two groups. Being the naturally cautious person that I am (I’m a mom. What do you expect?), I immediately asked if there was a group for people who were amateurs (i.e. – a safer group for those who had visions of their children dancing in their head and were afraid to drive real fast). Thankfully, there was. I had to restrain myself from running to secure my place on one of the vehicles in that group. My sweet husband, a daredevil by nature, joined the “safer” group with me.

As we waited to leave, a guy with dark weathered skin and blonde hair started giving instructions. He was pretty gruff with us and his tone of voice was eerily serious. He told us there were really big boulders on the trail (can I leave now?), and insisted that we go smooth and accelerate slowly – no quick starts or revving motors. He repeatedly said, “Do not get ahead of me. Do not drive wherever you want. Where my tires go, your tires go. Where my tracks are, that’s where your tracks should be. Do not drive one inch out of my path.”

His demands made him seem a little uptight. I’m sure they were somewhat annoying to the thrill-seekers in our posse. When we made our procession to the trail, it all became very clear. This guy knew the terrain and the dangers on the trail ahead. He knew that if we went our own way instead of his way, we would definitely flip our ATV’s resulting in broken bones and life-threatening injuries. His rules and demands were annoying to the drivers, but through them, he was protecting us.

There are a ton of people walking the earth today who despise God’s rules in the Bible. They see God as uptight, no fun, arrogant, inflexible, uncaring, and angry. But God is good and his intentions for us are good. His motives are much purer than the ATV guy who was partially driven by liabilities and possible lawsuits against his company. God gives us rules to protect us because he loves us. For instance, when He tells us not to lie, he protects our reputation and protects others from the fall-out of those lies. When he tells us not to murder, he protects us from punishment, guilt, shame, and horrible regret; and he protects the precious lives of those around us. When he instructs us to forgive those who have hurt us, he protects our hearts from debilitating bitterness that can put us in a prison of hatred and negativity that threatens our ability to have healthy relationships with anyone.

God deeply cares about you. He has provided rules so you can find the safest, most reliable way to fulfillment and true joy in your life. His rules are meant to protect you and keep you on the right path. When we go our own way instead of his way, we can definitely flip our lives upside down and risk greater injury to others and ourselves.

As our group maneuvered the Rubicon trail, we kept our tires where our leader’s tires were and followed in his tracks. It was exhilarating, and ended up being one of the best parts of our trip. I absolutely loved it! We all came back from our adventure unscathed. (An interesting note: On the Rubicon, we followed our leader in a line. Each of us had to trust that the guy in front of us in the line was staying in the leader's tracks. Kind of scary.) 

I care about you so I want to ask you to think about something. Look at your life. Are your “tires" going where God’s “tires” go? Are your tracks following directly in his tracks? How are your actions helping or hindering others on the journey who are trying to keep their tires in the right place so they can reach their destination safely?

TJ Maxx Find-of-the-Week Giveaway:

A sweet apron for you to wear in your kitchen.


To register for the drawing for this apron, post your answer to the following question in the comment section of this blog.

Whether you pick them yourself or buy them pre-packaged, where is your favorite place to get blueberries in the summer?

Winner will be announced on next Monday’s blog post.

Always remember that there is someone here at The Warming House who cares about you. I appreciate your presence here and would love for you to come again. You are most welcome here!


If you know someone who would enjoy this blog, please consider sharing it. Thanks!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making Some Changes

 Hi friends! So glad you've come back to The Warming House. Sorry I don't have anything new for you today. Please check back with me on Monday. I'm changing the way I do things here and will introduce the changes at that time. Until then, know that no matter what's going on in your life, I care about you and appreciate you taking the time to visit The Warming House. Looking forward to seeing you here on Monday!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Journey to Orphans of Uganda, Africa

Mountain View

“A mountain view can literally take your breath away. Getting a clearer view of God can do the same. Here at the Warming House, you’ll find truth that will help you know and understand who God is and how He feels about you. What you find here may cause you to live your life a little differently."

Alex S. was one of the finalists in our mission trip scholarship contest here at The Warming House. 

She just returned from her trip to Uganda, Africa. Thought you might enjoy hearing a little about her experience through excerpts from some of her blog posts.

Her team’s first day in Africa was spent at a children’s prison that holds over 200 children.

Blog entry from Friday, June 3rd:

“The second we arrived, a group of about 30 young kids were cheering and welcoming us. We literally just loved on the kids all day. I don't think there was a moment when a single member of our team didn't have their hands full either holding a child or holding hands with 2 or 3. The kids come from such rough backgrounds, but still worship God with their whole hearts... it's unbelievable!”

On their second day in Africa, Alex and her team visited three additional children’s prisons. During these visits, they learned about "Sixty Feet", a ministry whose purpose is to love and help these imprisoned children.

Next stop for Alex's team: Canaan’s Children’s Home . . .

Blog entry dated Monday, June 6th:

“2 days ago we left Kampala and headed to Canaan's Children’s Home, which is near Jinja. Canaan's is a home for orphans, with about 120 kids, ranging from 2 to 18 years old. They are so precious! They're so sweet and affectionate, always shining with joy. I love getting to wake up to them outside singing and playing, and getting to tuck them in every night. Yesterday we went to Amazima to help with their feeding program. There were almost 300 kids (lots of babies, almost all toddlers, and some older kids.) It was so humbling to get to serve the kids their food and love on and play with them.”


“God is doing big things and showing me love and hope in these kids that completely doesn't depend on circumstances. Thanks for reading and I'll keep you posted.”

Continuing on to Jinja . . .

Blog entry from Wednesday, June 8th:

We went to Jinja to shop at a market and eat at a cafe yesterday. There were lots of street vendors with little booths. After the market we went to a baby cottage for a couple of hours and held and played with over 30 babies. They lived in the cutest little cottage and it was the first place we've visited that adopts out. Last night was our last night at Canaan's so the kids did a performance for us with a ton of singing and dancing. They are so talented! This morning we walked them to school and had to say our goodbyes. It was so hard to leave the kids, especially my precious Baby Eddie.

Pastor Isaac and Mama Rebecca with Alex and her brother Graham

Pastor Isaac, who started Canaan Children's Home, told us his testimony before we left and it was the coolest thing I've ever heard. My heart is still in Jinja with the sweet Canaan kids. 
How the trip changed Alex . . .

Blog entry dated Monday, June 13th:

“We've been back in the States for a day now and it's still shocking. It's hard to believe that Africa is a whole world away. The 2 weeks were incredible and such a blessing. It was so cool to see that God is SO much bigger than our own little worlds. He is living and all-powerful. Everyone that I saw and met on the trip didn't praise God because of the circumstances they were in but simply because of the fact that He is God, and let me tell you, their circumstances were nothing like ours over here. The adults and kids worshiped like I've never seen; nothing held them back, they praised with complete surrender. They live trusting that God will provide their needs day-to-day and that He is more than enough. It definitely challenged me and will change the way I live. Thank you all so much for your prayers! Our team all arrived home safely and changed by the trip. Africa, I miss you already... but if it's in God's will, I will be back very soon!”

If you’d like to hear more, you can visit Alex’s blog at

  • Sub-Saharan Africa (the area in Africa south of the Sahara desert) contains just 10% of the world’s population. In 2008, the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS rose to 22.4 million – 67% of the people in that region. In 2008 alone, 1.4 million people in this region died from AIDS. (1)
  • In Africa, HIV/AIDS is a heterosexual disease.
  • 14.1 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS in 2008 (2). The numbers are rising.
  • There are approximately 2.5 million orphans in Uganda. Over a million are a direct result of AIDS. (3)

(1)  Worldwide HIV & AIDS Statistics Commentary; AVERT;; copyright AVERT
(2)  AIDS & HIV Information; Statistics; AVERT;

Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.

Martha's back to tell us how to make our bedrooms a refuge from the world. In the craziness of life, that sounds like a wonderful idea! Here's her post.

I visited a friend after she moved into her beautiful new home in the Rocky Mountains. As she gave me the tour one couldn’t help but notice that every room was in order and beautifully appointed. That is until we came to the Master Bedroom. No one was allowed in there. I later realized why as I walked by her open bedroom door one day. It was an unfinished mess and in the decades I have known her it has never changed!

I have learned over the years that one’s bedroom needs to be a refuge. When I hit the sheets at night I need it to be serene. For me, a cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind. That is something I don’t need when I’m weary and starved for rest.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your bedroom a refuge. It begins with “order”. Everything has a place and it should be there. Turning down a bed for the night is a step in preparing for a night’s sleep. The little effort it takes to make a bed in the morning will present its reward at the end of the day.

While my daughter had their house on the market she kept it in “show shape”.  The bathroom had lovely towels rolled and placed in baskets.  In the bedroom, fresh flowers were kept in view, the laundry was always put away and she told me how nice it was to go to bed at night with a tidy night stand, turn down her bed and drift off to sleep in serenity with an uncluttered mind!

I also love linens. However, they can be costly and I love a good deal. The most beautiful pillow cases I have are from TJ MAXX and believe me they didn’t cost me a lot. If you have the ability to sew or embroidery you can adorn the plainest of linens with beautiful trims and accents.

Reading before sleep is a must for me. It helps me unwind and drift off. However, I need a lot of light for reading. This can be a problem for my husband as he tries to get to sleep without the help of a book. I found the perfect light. It is actually a small half lampshade with hooks on the flat back side that can be hung over a headboard. It can slide from one side of the bed to the other and requires a low wattage bulb. Another possibility is the new e-reader. They are a truly perfect solution although more costly.
Reportedly, the perfect temperature for sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees. For me, the colder the better as I like to snuggle beneath a feather duvet or quilt! I also need moving air, not just cold air. Maybe I’m claustrophobic and actually snuggle a little too far beneath those quilts!

As long as things are clean and in order, your bedroom can provide you with a peaceful respite from the chaotic world we live in.               


Friends, so glad you stopped by. Until we meet again . . .

Enjoy the view!

If you enjoy this blog, would you consider sharing it with someone who might benefit from its message?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Proclaiming Christ as King

Mountain View

“A mountain view can literally take your breath away. Getting a clearer view of God can do the same. Here at the Warming House, you’ll find truth that will help you know and understand who God is and how He feels about you. What you find here may cause you to live your life a little differently.

A friend shared this youtube video with me. I just love it!! Check it out before reading my post.

This video moves me to tears every time I see it. In a society where God's name is slandered and people are becoming more vocal about their hatred of Christ and His followers, it is so heartwarming to see videos like this. I can tell you that I hunger for the day when Christ receives the recognition and honor He truly deserves. As we wait for that day, we can be encouraged by Paul's writings in the book of Philippians.

"Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; to the glory of God the Father."

And in Revelation 19 we are told that at Christ's return we will hear what sounds like "a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: 'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!"

Be assured that there will come a day when every person will know without a doubt who Christ is. They will recognize His royalty, astounding glory, inconceivable goodness and perfection, and their natural response will be to fall to their knees and confess that He is in fact King of kings and Lord of lords.

So what do we do in the meantime as we wait for that day to come? Do we have to just sit around in discouragement listening to all the junk people are saying about Him? The answer is "No." There is something we can do. We can make a choice today to personally exalt Him and proclaim Him as King in our own lives.

We proclaim Him as King with more than our words. We do it as we live in response to all He has done for us. We do it as we choose to live by the principles of His kingdom (not the world's); by depending on His power, wisdom, and guidance; by trusting in His goodness; and by willingly submitting ourselves to His plan and purpose for our lives. 

So ask yourself, "Have I submitted myself to the King? Am I in charge of my life or have I given control to Him? Am I willing to go wherever He wants me to go, live where He wants me to live, and do what He wants me to do even when it isn't popular by the world's standards? Am I living by the principles of His kingdom or by the principles of this world? Do I ask for His guidance in my decisions or do I make those decisions without consulting Him? Am I striving to know and understand the heart of my king? Am I willing to take up the cause of His kingdom and demonstrate His love to those He loves, and help those He wants me to help? Am I allowing Him to change me? Am I dependent on His power or am I trying to do everything on my own?

As you ponder that, I want to leave you with a favorite scripture that has really intrigued me through the years.

"Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observations, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21

We may become distressed because the world does not view Christ as King. We may desire to see Him recognized in our government, in our laws, in our constitution, in our pledge of allegiance, and on our federal buildings. But in this passage of scripture Christ is stating that we should not look for the progress of the kingdom of God in programs, buildings, governments, or nations. His kingdom is established in the hearts of men. When men and women live their lives in personal allegiance to the king, God will be present in all spheres of life and the world will indeed change for the better.

It all begins with you and me making a commitment to establish a relationship with Christ where He is allowed to rule in our hearts each day. The changes His Holy Spirit works in us are a natural outworking of a life lived in relationship with Him. Those changes proclaim to the world that He is your King. Imagine how the world (and our lives) would change if we were all to make that kind of commitment to Him today.

Join me by the fire for conversations about how to nurture your family and create a warm and inviting home for family and friends.

My friend, Martha, is back to share with us. Enjoy!

Every Christmas, it was the same cut glass bowl filled with the same 5-Cup Salad. Every family reunion it’s the same long wooden bread bowl filled with fresh fruit. It’s always the same.  It isn’t a rut.  IT’S TRADITION!

With every opportunity my Aunt Nancy would remind me of some bit of family tradition or event that might have some significance. I’ll always remember that my Grandmother Ogle carried Black Eyed Susan’s on her wedding day due to Nancy’s reminders.  So, for years, as we celebrated our family reunion on Grandmother’s birthday, the tables were adorned with Black Eyed Susan’s.  Although not her wedding anniversary, it became a tradition and was an opportunity to give recognition to her and Grandpa.

Today, our family reunion date has moved to the last weekend in June.  It has been this way for many years now and is held at my Aunt Nancy’s home.  Consistency makes it easy to remember to reserve that weekend each year.  With so many little ones in attendance she always provides a huge inflatable water slide for their fun along side her beautiful pool.  Food and drink are in abundance as well as plenty of laughter.   An ice cream truck arrives at the end of the meal for desert and we enjoy a huge cake to celebrate everyone’s birthday for the year.  Last year she even had a photographer come in supplied with all sorts of hats, glasses and wigs for silly family “portraits”.  Her efforts are enormous but provide us all with marked memories to carry us through life and serve to remind us of our unique family.  We have said many times, “Everyone should have an Aunt Nancy” and everyone should have traditions that last for generations.

The art of quilting has been passed down for many generations in my family. I have a quilt from my great grandmother that is at least 100 years old.  Quilting is an art and I am so glad to have learned how to quilt from my grandmother.  She made a quilt for each of her grandchildren who graduated high school. It was a great way for her to leave her mark for generations to come.

For many generations we have enjoyed the same Christmas program at our family Christmas.  As the paternal patriarch reads from the book of Luke regarding the Holy Family’s travel to Bethlehem, the youngest grandchildren re-enact the manger scene. The shepherd’s headdress are towels secured with belts, the gifts laid at the feet of the baby Jesus are household trinkets, and a Teddy Bear or baby doll wrapped in rags serves as the Christ Child.  Their robes, blankets tied about their shoulders, drag the carpet as they regally enter the room.  Even our 3-year old grandson was smitten with the solemn moment.  As you can see, we are never exactly prepared with the fine details, but the intent of honest appreciation for this world-changing event is felt.  And it’s tradition!

 If you don’t have traditions in place in your home, it is never too late to start.  The simplest of things can be made to have significance worth repeating from year to year and generation to generation.

 Consider the following:

 ·Prepare the same family recipe for an annual occasion.  Yes, EVERY year!

·From year to year, have one family member gather each family unit’s yearly accomplishments and share them in a reading with everyone.  If you are not physically together every year, a letter with the information can be sent out.  It keeps you in touch, up to date, and feeling connected with your family.

·Have the family patriarch or matriarch share memories each year from “long ago.”  This brings your family together with pride to remind you of “just how far you’ve come” as a family.

·Throw a little competition into the tradition and see who can blow the largest bubble with bubble gum.  My Aunt Ann won that one competing against her own grandchildren!

You will most likely produce an endless list of ideas once you begin.   Consistency is the key.  Talk about THAT bowl from great Aunt Helen or the recipe that came from a great grandmother who carried it with her by covered wagon to their new home long ago.  It may take a little research but most likely many things have a story that can be kept going.  It will become a tradition and produce pride and memories in a family for years to come.  Traditions serve as a reminder of who you are, where you come from, and provide comfort in their familiarity.                                             ~Martha

Enjoy the sweet summertime and remember to keep Christ at the center of your heart every day. Know that those here at The Warming House care about you. 

Enjoy the View!


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