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A Fancy Table

 I know that Taylor kind of dreads having to write Valentine letters each year, but this tradition never fails to be a really sweet night in our house for all of us. We set a fancy table, get dressed up, and make a meal that's a bit different than the usual fare. I usually have a few lumps in my throat through the evening, and I always end the night with a full heart.  um- this is something I will never be able to do in the kitchen! 
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Epiphany 2021

Epiphany 2021  On January 6 we celebrate Epiphany, a day where we celebrate the arrival of the three Wise Men who traveled to see the Christ child in Bethlehem. During the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the various manifestations, or "epiphanies," of Jesus' divinity. It is a time to reflect on the many ways that God’s Love and Light, born into the world at Christmas, continues to manifest in our lives—in both the ordinary moments and the extraordinary moments.   -   Epiphany booklet  and  liturgy  from St. Augustine's Church in Nashville  O God Among Us, Might we trust in you as we learn to walk in the dark. Might we step out in faith and follow stars. Might we use our gifts to love you and serve our community. Might we embrace the journey and travel in love. Amen. -   Epiphany booklet  and  liturgy  from St. Augustine's Church in Nashville  “We’re all Magi, visitors bearing gifts to other people’s homes, and we’re all the Holy Family who received the visitors.

Celebrating 18 with Gratitude and Intention

For Anna's 18th Birthday, 18 weeks before her birthday, I reached out to 18 people to ask them to spend some intentional time with her and to write her a letter for this milestone of a birthday. It was a follow up to her 13th Birthday Crossing Celebration , and it turned out to be a huge gift for her again in her senior year.  Below is part of one of Anna's supplemental essays she wrote for one of her college applications. When I first read this, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for having people in her life as her "cloud of witnesses" and for the fact that she was able to articulate how this has shaped her so much. This confirmed how important this was in her formation at 13, and it was so fitting to follow up again with a similar invitation for her senior year in turning 18 with quality time carved out and with words of blessing poured out over her.  box of letters we gathered from her 18th birthday "cloud of witnesses"  some letters below of letters with

Be joyful though you have considered all the facts

Wendell Berry writes, " Be joyful  though you have considered all the facts "  in his poem  Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front .   This is my mantra for celebrations--especially in 2020.  Here are photos of  more ways we celebrated our 18 year old...  deck the halls...  Amazing Sarah dropped by with doughnuts and a gift to start off her day the kitchen was all ready for cookie dough waffles for breakfast....  more balloons this morning with more pictures as a surprise- because why not?  hard at work...  Hope came by with her puppy Juke to drop off cookies for the birthday girl  Taylor's snapchat for Anna today :)  the day just keeps getting better! flowers from Eva and Tamara  sidewalk chalk as a surprise from Ellie Chapman