Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

December 28, 2010

Over this past Christmas weekend, as we celebrated with our various family members and enjoyed good food and fellowship, I realized our family has several 'traditions' we partake in over the Christmas season.  I am thankful for these traditions and the memories of Christmas-past that accompany these traditions.  I'm also thankful for the chance Ross and I get to establish 'traditions' for our immediate family.  Here are some of the traditions I am thankful for and I have been reflecting on the past few days:

1.  We attend and/or lead a Christmas Eve service at church in honor of Jesus' birthday.  This year,  as the worship leader, I was mostly in charge at Park Free, and with Dad's help, he put together a series of readings from a past Christmas Eve service at FBCN for us to use.  So the familiar readings and reflections were a part of our celebration.  Here is a picture of me, Mom and E-man after church.

2.  We then went to Mom and Dad Ridder's house for tacos.  The eating of tacos has become a 'tradition' over the years.  Mom and I were talking about it and she said it was an 'easy' meal to put together when Dad and I had to be back and forth between services, etc. at FBCN.  So it's kind of just become 'what we do' and Ross loves tex-mex so it works out great for us to still partake in this meal with them.  After dinner, we helped Mom get the Monkey Bread all cut up and ready to go for the morning and then comes another MAJOR tradition of Dad reading C. Clement Moore's version of "The Night Before Christmas".  Here are some pictures of us participating in these traditions again this year!

3.  Here is a picture of the table at my house all set for Christmas morning breakfast.  This year, we hosted this event (usually Mom and Dad host this one and when we lived in PA Mrs. King and Creed always joined us - I still miss sharing the morning with them).  The meal has definitely become a tradition of Monkey Bread, grapefruit, Quiche Sylane and homemade hot chocolate.  It was different to not be all together with the Ridder siblings on Christmas day, but it was nice to be able to break out our fine china and to have Jill, Jake, Lexi, Mom and Dad over for brunch and E-man's opening of his gifts from us and Jill and Jake.  

E sporting his new wild shirt over his PJs and his new Twins backpack!

4.  After nap time, we headed to Diane and Jerry's to share Christmas dinner with the Manders' family.  We also opened gifts.  One tradition with for the four cousins, is that they exchange gifts.  It was a fun time of being together as a family.  We always attempt a picture but getting all four kids to look the same way and SMILE at the same time is near impossible.  Here is our attempt:

These next two aren't really 'tradition' pictures as much as they are just special memories of 2010.
I just really love this girl - she's my only niece and this year, I feel extra blessed with the privilege of being her piano teacher.  We have shared many photos over the years on Christmas Eve - it's hard to believe she's 7!  
The grandsons' playing Geotrax with Grandma.  So cute!  

I'll continue my 'tradition' thankfuls re: the Ridder Christmas tomorrow.  For now, I'm calling it a night!  I've got a LOT to be grateful for this Christmas season!  

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