Tag Archives: Holidays

Thankful Challenge, Day 2

Just so there is no confusion, I started this on November 1st, so it will always look like I’m one day behind.

Day 2! My daughter woke up and I said “Good morning! It’s Monday!”. And she replied, “Yay! We get to go to school!”

Now, that’s a perspective I like to see. They GET to go to school. It’s a privilege. And my children are truly blessed to be at the school they attend, for many reasons. One, the principal is a good friend of ours from way back before we had kids. And because we know her and like her, we are confident that she does an amazing job. That and it doesn’t hurt that she has known and loved our kids since they were born.

The school is particularly special because it is an IB World School. I encourage you to visit the site, but what it basically means is that they are held to a higher standard of academic and social learning. And because Chinese is the language of choice, they are taught half the day in Chinese.

My kids are learning how to read and write, but they are also learning some crucial life skills. They are learning how to be problem solvers and work productively with kids who come from a variety of different backgrounds. They are challenged daily to realize their potential and work towards it.

But aside from all that, I am grateful to live in a country, in a city, where public school is available. I know that is not a privilege every community has, but one that is so important to our future. Cue Whitney Houston…

Thanking God, one day at a time

A friend on Facebook mentioned she would be spending the entire month of November taking daily pause to recognize what she is thankful for. I think that’s a great idea. Thanksgiving is, after all, at the end of this month. It is also one of my favorite holidays.

So today, the 2nd of November, I will share what I am thankful for by way of telling you what my husband and I discussed on the way home from church today.

Okay, #1 is the fact that we can even have a conversation while we are in the car. But that’s not the thing. The thing we were discussing was that last fall was such a scary time for us. In fact, I don’t remember much of it. I lost my hearing and then shortly after started losing my vision and got very sick. I was what you call “checked out”. I was falling asleep at all hours of the day, I couldn’t remember where I was, or why I was there. I was in and out of the hospital as they tested me for everything under the sun. They were looking at some very serious diseases, some even fatal. This went on from mid-August until some time in January. My husband feared that this would remain a permanent state for me, awake for four hours a day, and not quite conscious even then. My mom and perhaps many others feared that I was dying.

But what a difference from last fall to this one. I am back! I still have a terrible memory, but for the most part I am here. I am present, living every moment as if it is a gift, because it is. It is such an amazing gift to have my mind back, and to be able to hug my children and tuck them into bed each night. To lovingly and thoughtfully prepare meals for my family, and to sit around the table, fully awake, is tremendous. It’s been almost a year from the last time I fell asleep sitting in the living room and had to go to bed before dinner with my family. Not a day goes by where I don’t thank God for that.

Tell me, what are you thankful for this season?

All Hallows’ Eve

Nothing like coming in at the last minute on this one. Today is Halloween. We Americans celebrate with costumes, candy, devil worship.

Wait, what??

I’m sorry, no. Where did this holiday come from anyway? What exactly are we celebrating? The truth here is that today’s Halloween is an American tradition born out of a hodge-podge of several other traditions. However, it started with the Catholics in Ireland honoring the saints who had passed on. The word, Halloween, came from All Hallows’ Eve, the night preceding All Saints’ Day, which occurs on November 1st. It’s a fascinating history, how it came to be what it is today, and I encourage you to read about it here.  As it turns out, it was never about celebrating or worshiping the devil.

I had an interesting conversation with my son at the bus stop this morning. A friend from school had told him that Halloween celebrates the devil. Which I sort of agreed with (not having read that article yet), but followed it up with the All Saints’ Day connection. Because that’s all I could remember about it’s history. I reminded him that I have never been a fan of Halloween and I have always been reluctant to participate. He then asked me, “why do we pass out candy then?”

Good question! I told him about when we first moved into this house, the house my husband grew up in, and the neighborhood he spent every Halloween soliciting for free candy (this was 7 years before we had children). I told him about our ongoing, bitter disagreement about passing out candy, and how after many weeks (years, actually) I eventually gave in for the sake of our marriage and because I do understand that he was just wanting to give back to kids what he was given when he was a kid. He has fond memories of the tradition.

As a preacher’s kid, I grew up knowing about the basic origins of Halloween, and we were allowed to go trick-or-treating, but it was never a big deal. It was certainly never my favorite holiday, and it never will be. I was glad for growing up with that knowledge, so I am pleased to see that my kids are interested in hearing it. I don’t think it spoils their fun in any way. We still let them participate in the activities put on by the school and community, and we let them dress up and beg for candy. We draw the line at gory or frightening costumes, but they’ve never wanted to be anything but princesses and super heroes, so that’s never been an issue.

After this weekend it will all be over and we can move on to the next holiday with controversial origins, Thanksgiving!