Psalm 68:3: “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful” (NIV).
My mom was great at celebrating the big and little things in life. We baked a cake for every occasion in our home: Christmas, Easter, birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day, our dog’s birthdays, good report cards, and any award we might have earned. My mom loved a good party. She even encouraged celebrating ordinary days by letting me “food color” the cottage cheese. (Yeah, I learned from that one. Now I understand why cottage cheese is white, not purple or teal or green. It lost its appeal when it changed colors.) Celebrating and hosting parties came naturally to my mom and I remember life growing up as fun and full of surprises. I’m sure I got my love of baking from those special memories.
I married into a family where my mother-in-law knows how to throw a great party too. She is another woman I admire because she turns the ordinary into extraordinary also. “Just because” has become a favorite saying around our house. My husband will come home with a “just because” treat for our kids and me; we will stop at Culver’s on the way home to bring their daddy a “just because” cooler or pint of his favorite ice cream. Our kids even will use their own hard-earned money to buy things “just because” for other family members.
Despite all the great examples in my life, I have to work a little harder at what others in my family do so effortlessly. When the kids were little and I did daycare, I was pretty good about mixing up the mundane with a good party. We even made up holidays when winter got too long. Ask my oldest if he remembers “Super Hero Day.” We bought matching shirts and of course, there was cake.
Now that the kids are older and I have a more demanding job, I still celebrate Christmas and birthdays pretty well, but my attempt at a Super Bowl Party had everyone feeling a little queasy the next day. Eating “all your favorite foods” doesn’t mean all combinations work well together. I tend to undercook main meals and go overboard with the desserts or sweets. I have been known to forget a special occasion here or there when my workload gets a little hectic.
I have to stop and remember that at least I’m trying. My husband may always remember my crunchy potatoes, but hopefully my family will also remember our “Spring Break Spirit Week,” dessert for dinner every Sweetest Day, and their dad’s famous caramel apples every fall. I may not remember to bake a cake for St. Patrick’s Day and our dog doesn’t get his own birthday party, but we do have our own family traditions and “just because” moments throughout the year that make life a little less dull and a lot more fun.
What about your family? Do you just celebrate the big events in life or do you take time to cherish the little victories as well? God wants us to live an abundant life and that means finding joy in the ordinary, day-to-day things as well as the holidays, vacations, and over-the-top celebrations. What is one thing you and your family can celebrate this weekend? Let me know what you planned and how your family reacted.