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Intentional Traditions

I’ve been reading and loving a book called Memory-Making Mom by Jessica Smartt. She’s incredibly funny and has so many great (and simple) ideas for implementing family traditions.

She writes,

“When we facilitate traditions, we create stability and security for children as well as adults.”

I benefited greatly from having routines in our home growing up. Sunday mornings, we went to church early because my parents were on the praise team. During the week, Dad usually worked late, and we always saved dinner so that we could eat as a family late in the evening. Always. Before meals, we prayed. During meals, we talked about our days and what we’re learning in school. We also usually talked about a building project or a complex math or science concept. When the goats were getting ready to have their babies, my siblings and I slept in the barn in anticipation… with a tiny TV and Little House on the Prairie on DVD! On our birthday, we got to pick what Mom made for dinner and had presents in the evening, after Dad got home. After bringing in a field of hay, freshly bound into the barn, we had cold watermelon. Every time.

They’re really, really simple things. But they’re so special to me. It was special because it was what my family did.

Jack remembers Sunday night’s dinner of egg sandwiches and National Geographic Explorer after the Sunday evening service. They always walked to Pizza Hut on the first snow day of the year. Every year, Jack’s Dad videoed the boys coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. They got to pick which restaurant to eat at on their birthday, and Jack loved bringing his Golden Graham Treats to school to celebrate. That was what his family did, and that’s why it was special.


In Memory-Making Mom, Jessica also points out that,


“Traditions make us remember. Traditions make us implement what is important.”

In my reading through the Bible this year, I love noticing the different ways that God gives his people to remember – traditions, you might call them. Everything about the Passover dinner is a tradition that makes them remember. Every altar built on the “other side” of a huge body of water is a way to remember. The consistent reading of the law is, again, a way to remember. Traditions, intentionally implemented, are beautiful ways to remember what’s really important.

As I think about our transition to France in January, I’m finding ways to implement more intentional traditions now for our family that can stay the same, no matter where we live. Simple things, like going around the table at dinner to tell our “high” and “low” of the day. Our Morning Time binder, where I’ve compiled all of our memory work for school and catechisms, is a highlight of our day! It doesn’t feel like the day has really started till we’ve sung a hymn and recited some poetry, regardless of how crazy those twenty minutes are! We keep our “One Line a Day” journal to remember the places God has taken us and the people He has put in our lives. One of my favorite traditions, though, is our bedtime routine. It’s simple and short, but we always pray and we always sing the Doxology. It’s precious to end the day together singing praise to our God, which refocuses our hearts.

(And then, we turn on an audio book for the kids and they fall asleep three hours later… you know, the usual.)

I know I need frequent reminders to set my mind on things that are above, and intentional traditions can do just that.

I pray that those things, intentionally implemented, will give our kids stability and security in Christ and in our home – regardless of what continent we live on.

What family traditions do you treasure?



Quick family update…

We still aren’t sure what our summer holds as far as travel, but Jack starts his summer course next month and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to be in Dallas again for classes in the fall. We’re still planning to be in France in January and received an email today that the school we’ll be attending is holding in-person classes starting this week! We’re LOVING time at my parents’ farm in Virginia and are so thankful for the “bonus time” we’ve gotten to spend with them.

And, our team of financial partners continues to grow!!! We currently only need $450 per month to reach 100% of the budget that Wycliffe established for us. That is incredible!! We’re so thankful for the work of God in YOUR lives!



Enjoy this little peek into bedtime in the camper...


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