Father's Day is just a few days away. I have shared some simple tips to make this day memorable for the men in your life whether it is your dad, son, uncle or another man who has played a significant role. Whenever there are "holidays" to honor certain people or relationships, there will be those around you feeling a sense of loss more acutely than on other days. Be attentive and look for ways to reach out and encourage friends who have never had a dad in their lives, lost a dad, or are not in a good relationship with their father. Your friendship and care will mean a lot to them today.Read More
There is great power in the establishment of positive, repetitive personal, family and community traditions. We need to consider how to add these small and more momentous acts into the lives of our family. Part of offering welcome to others around us can also involve including others in these traditions. Why go to the effort to plan and implement regular family traditions?
The repetitive act of family traditions gives security to family members.
They add a sense of identity to our families.
They give the opportunity for "family lore" and stories to be passed from one generation to the next.
They connect us to the larger community.
They root our story in the historical stories of our family, community and country.
They need to be planned to be simple enough to implement without exhausting all concerned!
They must be adjusted through the years as our children grow (see story below)
They can help to reinforce our faith and what we believe.
They are fun to pass on to the next generation and add a sense of continuity to the next generation.
They give us an opportunity to live generously and to include others that may be beyond our family circle.
Some of our family stories:
One year we had to adjust our normal family tradition as our children had grown older. Our children (and a friend of Fay’s) wanted to climb on the roof to have the Easter picnic! We all climbed a ladder and I served food and hot chocolate on the roof and we told the Easter story up there. It was good that it was very early in the morning as I am not sure what the neighbors would have thought had they seen us!
Though the years we have had an Easter Morning sunrise picnic with our children and have used the Easter Story Eggs to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We have passed on this tradition to our children for them to share with their family. Brett made a set of the Easter Story Eggs for our son and daughter-in-law and this is now a tradition for them as well.
The Easter Story Eggs have been one of our family traditions through the years and now we are so happy that our grandchildren are also opening the Easter Eggs on Easter morning and hearing the story of Jesus.Read More
It is so easy to grow spring grass and is great to use as a table decoration. You can celebrate Spring or for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you can have your last Summer fling with a fun grassy table. This also works perfectly for an Easter table setting as you can place eggs or lambs on the grassRead More
In February much of the media focus is around love. Love is important, but I think it would be good for us to focus on kindness this month (and every month after that!) Let’s plan for intentional acts of kindness.
Kind people are easy to be with
They think of others and not only themselves
They look for ways to add a little joy into the lives of friends and even strangers
Kindness is like the sun coming out from behind a cloud on a cold day. It gives us a little courage to keep going.
How can we show kindness to others so that we brighten their day? I would love to hear your thoughts (please share in the comments section below.)
Here are some ideas:
Document our personal goal to grow in kindness and share it with someone close to us.
Pack/buy an extra lunch item and share it with someone.
Pay for a stranger’s coffee or dry cleaning.
Give away something new and attractive not just the old and worn out.
Give an anonymous donation of any size to a worthy organization and commit to never sharing about it.
Buy a pack of greeting cards and plan to use them all in a month.
Write a meaningful affirmation. Not sure where to begin? Check out 10 Tips for Writing a Meaning Affirmation.
Plan to host a meal for friends once a month in 2019. Why not start with an Easy Valentines day Dinner?
Focus on our friendships. Friendship adds so much richness to our lives, so let’s plan on doing something special for a close friend. Maybe we need to take the time to reach out to friends with whom we have lost contact. The Fabric of Friendship can be laced with precious golden threads if we put in the time and effort.
Stretch ourselves to try something new and uncomfortable that will grow our capacity to serve others.
Let’s commit to growing in kindness in the Month of Love!
Preparing for Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, but with these simple tips shared by Lyn Johnson, you will have a stress-free celebration around the table with family and friends!Read More
Passover is such a significant time for Jewish people all over the world. The Passover holiday begins with the Seder, a ritual feast, that retells the story of the Israelites being delivered by God from slavery in ancient Egypt. The Israelites were instructed to tell their children the story and pass it down from generation to generation as recorded in Exodus 13:8. The family gathers around the table and reads the text of the Haggadah while eating symbolic food.
I have so enjoyed the times when I have been privileged to attend a Seder feast and have loved being reminded of this important story through the words being spoken, the questions asked (often by the youngest child), answers given and the food we ate.
My friend Gail Rudee shared with me how she and her husband traveled from Seattle to Los Angeles to celebrate Passover with their son Alex. Because they were visiting their son they didn’t have Gail’s fancy tableware with them so wine glasses from a wine tasting the previous day did the trick! Gail cooked her grandma’s “old country” recipes and transported them to LA. and they so enjoyed cooking the last minute dishes together. When their daughter Talia was not able to attend the seder as she was at college they “skyped” her in! I love how we can use technology to keep families connected.
Robin Cunningham has four children and shared with me that Passover is their family’s favorite holiday. They have a number of regulars who attend the meal and then they reach out to new people each year. Robin says her Christian friends are often the ones most excited to experience a Seder. They have many traditions that add to the richness (and fun) of the experience. They go around the table and ask everyone what they would take, and why, if they had to leave home in a hurry and knew they were never coming back. Robin says they have heard some fun responses through the years!
A Bay Area resident shared, "When I think of Passover, I immediately think of a long night of traditions and a time of remembrance. I think of the opportunity to be with family, talk about the hardships the Jewish people have overcome, and look to the past to inform our future." Another person added, "When I think about hospitality in the Passover tradition, I'm reminded of Elijah's chair. There's always space for God. And there's always space for another friend to come and join the seder."
I love that. There's always space for God. And space for someone else to come to the table.
Check out our Heartistry Pinterest Board for Passover table decor ideas.
Valentine's Day can be special and romantic or very difficult for some people. Lyn shares step-by-step tips on how to prepare a celebratory meal for family or friends. Gather people and express your love and appreciation for them.Read More
American Independence Day is a great time to gather with family and friends for a celebration. July 4 is a perfect time to offer hospitality to your family, friends, neighbors and even those people you don't yet know.Read More
Take a few minutes and set a simple tray. Deliver it to family or friends and see the joy it brings!
First gather your supplies. You'll need:
- a simple tray (or a cutting board)
- a cup or mug
- tea pot if you have one
- a little vase or empty bottle,
- a single bloom and some greens (I used some herbs)
- a small dessert, either bought or homemade
- a note card or piece of paper to write your affirmation.
Use a napkin to line the tray. For more inspiration read 10 Uses for Napkins other than Wiping your Mouth.
Arrange your flower and greenery in a little vase ( I used an empty spice bottle) and add it to your tray. (I don't have a garden, so I picked some herbs from the pots I have at my kitchen door.)
Put your dessert on a plate, or in a cupcake holder. I turned my inside out so that the design showed. You don't need to spend much time on the dessert as the main emphasis should be on the loving words in the card.
Take some time to write an affirmation for your loved one. Short on words? Check out 10 Tips for Writing a Meaningful Affirmation. If you have time you can paint or draw a simple heart on some card stock paper to make the note even more personalized.
If you are inspired to do more than a tray and want to prepare a dinner, check out Easy Valentine's Day Dinner which has all the details including an instructional video.
What a joy to be hosted by my daughter Fay this morning for a beautiful brunch. Fay had cooked all the food from scratch, and she set an exquisite table. My husband Brett captured my surprise and delight when we arrived at her home! Check out the VIDEO!
Fay worked hard and even tried my 5-Minute Scone recipe for the first time! She served them with jam and freshly whipped cream.
She added photos of her siblings who couldn't attend to the table decor. Her simple flower arrangements were delicate and so very pretty.
I loved the mini quiches, sandwiches and potato and egg bakes that Fay prepared. The food was healthy and beautifully presented. What a treat!
One of the joys of having a grown up daughter is being able to attend an event without having to do anything!
Just before Mother's Day I did a video sharing easy and last minute ideas for Mother's Day. One idea for making a card (if you left it too late to buy one) was to use brown paper. As a joke my husband made his own version of the brown paper card!
This was such a fun Mother's Day for me. I was honored by my "children" from different parts of the world, chattaed with our sons on the phone and was hosted by my daughter. What a special day!
Now for something funny!
My daughter made a TIME-LAPSE video capturing how long it took her to prepare the Mother's Day Brunch. It is such fun to watch this especially with the music playing. This was quite the labor of love! She writes, "My dear mother, Lyn, loves hospitality and sharing easy tips for hosting guests. You should definitely try her 5-Minute Scones from Heartistry- The Art of Welcome, but I thought it might be fun to capture what actually goes into prepping Mother's Day brunch. Here is a time lapse of a few of the 8+ hours I spent pulling brunch together – a small token of appreciation for a mother who loves pretty table settings, chintz cups, and flowers. (h/t to Dune for slicing this all together).
Thanks for sharing in this special day by reading my blog. I would love to hear what you did on Mother's Day. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Please SHARE this blogpost with your friends and encourage them to sign up to receive our Heartistry newsletters. Thanks so much, Lyn
These fun little eggs are so easy to make and can be part of your table decor too.
3 tablespoons butter
1 package (10 oz., about 40) Marshmallows or 4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
6 cups of bran sticks cereal
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. (You can also microwave the butter and the marshmallows, stirring evry two minutes until melted.)
Add the bran sticks cereal. Stir until well coated.
Place small amounts of mixture into cupcake paper cups and press down the center with a buttered spoon or ice-cream scoop.
Decorate each nest with a few chocolate eggs.
These are best if served the same day, but since Easter morning is so busy, make them the day before- they'll be fine!
Go ahead and have some fun! Please share this blog with your friends!
For the past 30 plus years we have had the same Easter tradition! We have told the Easter story using a set of plastic Easter Story Eggs filled with symbols representing the Easter story. These eggs have been taken with us to different states and to different countries around the world such as Mexico, England and South Africa so that we could keep the tradition going. My husband Brett has written the date and where they were used on the egg carton to keep track.
I love to have light, portable and meaningful traditions that we can easily implement year after year and these eggs work so well. Read our blog for instructions on How to Make Easter Story Eggs.
Other Easter Traditions:
- Waking very early on Easter morning to have a sunrise picnic- this was fun when the children were small, slightly traumatic when we had to wake teenagers and discarded when Brett and I were the only ones at home and happy to stay in bed a bit later!
- Hiding and finding Easter eggs- we even had adults participate in this at times (our friend Jodene being the most competitive egg seeker!)
- Gathering around our table with family, friends and those who have no local family with whom to celebrate Easter.
- Taking time to acknowledge and reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have used the lamb in my decorating theme (remembering Jesus as the Lamb of God) rather than a bunny. And in recent years I have grown spring grass for the lambs to graze on. Crazy I know, but it is such fun and makes the table so festive! Check out How to Grow Spring Grass for detailed directions.
A few principles we have learned as we have planned and maintained our Easter traditions:
- Repetitive family traditions give security and a sense of identity to our families.
- Plan something that is simple enough to implement without exhausting all concerned!
- Traditions have to be adjusted through the years as our children grow- one year our children (and a friend of Fay’s) wanted to climb on the roof to have the Easter picnic! We all climbed a ladder and I served food and hot chocolate on the roof and we told the Easter story up there. It was good that it was very early in the morning as I am not sure what the neighbors would have thought had they seen us!
- For those of us who are followers of Jesus, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is key to our faith and our Easter celebrations are an excellent opportunity to teach truth to our children.
- It is fun to pass traditions on to the next generation. Brett made a set of the Easter Story Eggs for our son and daughter-in-law to share with their family.
- Generous living involved including others that may be beyond your family circle. Use this time of year to reach out and include others.
I would love to hear about your Easter memories and traditions. Please share them with us all in the comments section below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also share this blog post with others!