Today as we were driving to my Mother-in-laws house the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” came to mind. The kids used to sing that whenever we went to Grandma’s house. Mind you, it’s only a 1/2 mile away, and on the same driveway, so we go fairly often. Today we were headed over for Sunday dinner, one of my kid’s favorite meals of the week. It’s always the same, pot roast with potatoes and carrots, veggies, rolls and of course dessert, usually Ice Cream. I can make the exact same meal and it’s apparently not half as good as grandmas, so they look forward to it every week. Not just them though, all of us. It’s fun to spend time with family and friends, which I think is half of what makes the food taste so good.

Often, we walk in the summer, but we usually drive in the winter. This winter has started off colder than in recent years, many mornings down to -22 or -23 when I get up to leave for Seminary. But it warmed up to about 0 yesterday and snowed, and the drive to Grandma’s was especially magical. I don’t know what it is about fresh snow that makes things magical, maybe it’s the glitter that comes with it!

Sunday dinner at Grandma’s has become a favorite family tradition. This Christmas season I have been thinking a lot about family traditions, and feeling a bit nostalgic, maybe because my oldest won’t be home for Christmas for the first time ever. It feels like the beginning of a new chapter in life, or maybe just the continued transition that’s been happening for a couple of years. But there’s a lot of first without all the family lately. And, while I am the first to encourage my kids to get out and live their best lives, I hope that they know they can always come home too. But, at the same time, I also hope that wherever they are, they hold on to some of these fun traditions. I know my daughter on her mission makes something very similar to Sunday dinner at Grandma’s. She can’t afford a big roast, but she cooks the potatoes and carrots in beef broth and makes gravy and she says it tastes almost as good, and it’s super comforting when it’s been a hard day, or week!

We have a lot of fun traditions in our home. And as my kids get out on their own, I hope they keep some of those fun tradition, I also hope they develop a lot of their own fun traditions, mixing their spouses and their own traditions into something even better. One fun family tradition that we do, almost every year, there’s a hike in the Palmer area called the Butte. It’s about 1 1/2 miles uphill to the top, and you can see everything around. That is traditionally the first hike we go on in the spring to kick off the summer hiking season. It’s one of our favorites. I know there may not be a Butte where they live, but I hope they remember how much fun that hike was and find something fun to kick off summer with their families.

But there are some traditions that I hope never die out or change as they get older, one in particular. We always pray together as a family, whoever is home, and sometimes on the phone if they’re available. Every night we knee and pray. I hope they always remember to do that. And when family far away needs a little extra support, that’s about all the support we can give sometimes, but my family knows they can call, and we will gather and knee and pray. I hope they never forget, especially when they are struggling, that their family prays for them as well, no matter where they are.

I am grateful for good traditions. I am grateful those traditions can evolve as our lives and circumstances change, and that they can get better as we add more people to our families, whether through marriage, new children, or friendships. What are some of your favorite traditions?

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