Thursday, 31 May 2012

Our Family Traditions....

Phillipians 2:1-2 says If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

As I thought about our family traditions, I realized how traditions are so often connected with holidays, special occasions and food. I also realized that in the now almost 21 years of marriage to my husband that we have not developed nearly as many of our own family traditions as I would have liked. Though it may not be much, I still feel it is important to acknowledge the traditions we have for what they are.
One tradition we have developed in our family here is that we have Mennonite pancakes for lunch every Saturday. Allow me to describe the Mennonite pancake. The batter is made similar to regular breakfast pancakes (flour, salt, eggs, margarine, and milk) but with no baking powder or baking soda and more milk is needed to make the batter quite thin. About 1/2 cup of batter is poured in a large hot greasy frying pan, making the pancake as large as the bottom of the frying pan. Flip the pancake to fry so it is fried on both sides. Serve. Sprinkle with white sugar, roll up the pancake and enjoy. Most people can only eat about two of these pancakes at a mealtime since they are so large. Most of our family really really enjoys this so that is why we made it a regular every Saturday lunch treat.

Some other family traditions we have tried to create is to celebrate the short life of our baby Darcy on the day of the birth by eating an ice-cream treat called revels. It is vanilla ice-cream covered in a chocolate coating. The revel seemed to make sense to use as a remembrance because what child does not like to eat ice-cream on their birthday? Also the white ice-cream part represents life while the dark chocolate represents the sorrow of having to lose baby Darcy to death. We did celebrate that way for many years but as the years have gone by it is something we have not been able to keep up.

We also started a tradition to celebrate Mother's day with a special more expensive type of ice-cream for breakfast on Mother's day. The kids loved it when they were younger to have ice cream for breakfast. Recently I was reading in my kid's early school years journals and it was interesting to read there how important that was to them in those elementary school years to have ice-cream for breakfast on Mother's Day. That too is something we have not kept up though I still always try to do something special for the family for Mother's day because I appreciate the fact that they are my children. So this past Mother's day I purchased a large tin of Tim Hortons coffee as my part to make Mother's day a little special for us all. We go through a lot of coffee in our house now since the boys are all mostly grown up so that worked out well.

When the kids were younger we also tried to make a tradition of celebrating Canada Day on July 1 every year by going to see the fireworks display in one of our local communities. It was nice to do that but the mosquitoes are so bad at night most years. It doesn't get dark enough here for fireworks till at least 10:30 pm or later so it was always a really long wait for our young children back then.

For birthdays I usually make a special supper and a cake for the person whose birthday it is. We put candles on the cake and sing Happy Birthday. When our kids were younger the local Coop Food store and also the IGA store had what they refered to as kid's club. So then for birthdays, the store would give each child a decorated birthday cake and often a small toy. That was quite special for them to get that every year while they were young.  We always ended up having a lot of cake around on our twins birthday - two boys and two cakes!!

One other tradition I will mention is Christmas. Perhaps when it gets close to Christmas I will post more about Christmases past. In our family we have carried on the tradition that I grew up with in my family which was to not have a Christmas tree at Christmas. My parents taught me and my sisters that the tree does not make it Christmas.  It is actually kind of fun when people find out that we do not have a tree because the usual question that follows is - Do you not celebrate Christmas?  and it is nice to be able to say -Yes we do celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus but we do not need to have a tree for that. Then they will ask if we share gifts which we definitely do. We usually put up a few Christmas lights on the outside of the house and I put up a few in the house as well.

In hindsight, I wish I would have been more diligent with creating traditions. I wish I could have passed on the German language to my children but that was not meant to be.  Traditions  help to create memories that no one can take from you - memories are  treasures you can take with you wherever life takes you.

Psalm 90: 1-2 says  Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

I like the words on a poster at our kids school. It says:

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