Celebrating Santa Lucia Day

Monday, December 16

I have literally waited YEARS to celebrate Santa Lucia with my sweet daughter. Growing up in a household that took our Swedish roots VERY seriously, i'm always surprised that our family never celebrated Lucia day. So naturally when I found out more about it about 8 years ago, I started dreaming of the day I could crown our daughter with a wreath of candles and bake with her a plate of Swedish buns:) 

Traditions have always been important to me. They bring a nostalgic gleam of safety and comfort, that the world is still right and good, and we are still loved. Maybe that's overdramatic, but in the craziness of the world today, I seem to find so much solace in repeating the traditions of my childhood, the warm and familiar feelings that I belong…this is my place. 

So now as a mama to two (and hopefully more in the future), I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying and journaling over the traditions I want to start in my own home. My prayer is that my kiddos see Jesus, bright and beautiful and bursting forth to capture our hearts. 

Sweden revels in Lucia day, which is December 13th. When I've visited with my cousins in Sweden, they all know the special Lucia song (which I've tried to learn in Swedish SO many times and have crashed and burned miserably...but am hoping to learn the English version for my daughter's sake!). There is an official Lucia service that is aired on TV the morning of the 13th that the whole country watches. I watched some on YouTube and cried it was so beautiful! 

But the point of the holiday is to celebrate St. Lucia and the coming of light into the darkness. There are lots of stories that talk about Lucia's significance, but the two that I've read most are as follows:
1) St. Lucy, whose name Lucia refers to "light" is known to have been a Sicilian saint who suffered a sad death in Siracusa, Sicily, around AD 310. She had been engaged to a pagan, and she instead decided to give away her dowry to the poor. The man she had been engaged to was so enraged he reported her to the authorities for being a Christian where she was attacked and died a martyr.
2) Legend also has it that she brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the Roman catacombs, wearing a candlelit wreath on her head to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. 
But the basic gist is that she was a kind and compassionate saint who cared for the poor and spent her life wanting to give to others. 

I'm no expert, but the basic tradition in Sweden is that the first born daughter (if you have more than one daughter they take turns each year) arise early on December 13th and dress in a white dress, with a red sash, and a crown made of leave and candles. She bakes Lussekkater, or saffron buns, and brings the buns and coffee to the rest of the family who are still fast asleep in bed. The light from her candles signify the light of Christ coming into the world. 

So this year, I got my act together and bought this electric candle wreath on Amazon, and this sweet children's book that describes one family in Sweden celebrating Lucia day. I prepped Avonlea a few days before by explaining who Lucia is and what the day looks like. We watched a service on YouTube and I read her the sweet book from above called Lucia Morning in Sweden. 

Avonlea was So excited to celebrate it, I literally almost died of happiness by how much she was getting into it, haha! We put on her crown and white dress, tied the red sash, and I gave her a tray of buns and coffee. Before you start thinking I'm super organized, I'm not really. The night before I realized I didn't have saffron and cognac, which go in the real Lucia buns, so I just took gluten free sugar cookie dough that I had on hand and shaped them into the bun shapes, haha!! There are supposed to be currants on the buns, and I didn't have them, so I perused my trail mix on hand and found that I did have dried blueberries, haha!! It worked, and the memory of it was still special! 

I made Kevin go and act like he was sleeping, and I put on Lucia music, turned out all the lights and let her crown light the way to our bedroom where she woke Kevin up all excited. We all sat in bed, eating treats, and talking about light coming into the darkness, and how Jesus is the light of the world. It was a sweet day, and it was pretty deep considering Avonlea is only 2.5 years old, haha! But she loved it and a few hours later, told me she wanted to "do it again!". Next year!! 

Have you ever celebrated Lucia day?? xoxo 


Thursday, October 24

{my favorite are Everett's chubby toes, so delicious| 

Happy Fall sweet friends:) I always love this season...right now in my hometown in Northern California the trees are bursting in beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow. It takes my breath away and reminds me of God's incredible creativity.

But I will open my heart today and say I am grieving, and here's why...

Almost four years ago we moved back to my hometown, and quickly settled back in to the church I grew up in. The community literally welcomed use with open arms, dinner invitations and dates with friends were numerous. People really did pour love into us as we made the transition, and we were so blessed by the instant community we had. It was the church at it's finest...welcoming, hospitable, nourishing.

The last four years I have made this church my home.  I have been involved on the women's ministry team, spoke at the women's retreat, planned a handmade market (Fall craft fair) two years in a row, was the emcee at our huge Christmas tea, and was involved in both the moms group and Bible Studies. To say I loved my church was an understatement. Truly, I loved my church family.

And then this summer we got an email that changed our life.

The church was splitting.

The church I literally learned to walk in.
The church I was baptized in.
The church I was married in.

And suddenly there was a choice, do I go with the new church, or do I stay with the old.
Friends, it was heart wrenching.

This split made everyone choose.
Some friends have stayed, some friends have come with us, and some have completely switched gears and have gone somewhere new.

And all of a sudden I feel displaced. I feel disjointed. I feel sad.
I have really been wrestling with God on this one. As I was praying about it the other day, I heard the Lord speak to me some truth. He reminded me of a few things...

1) Transition is to be human- If you look at the life of so many characters in the Bible, you see that their life is unexpected and they are constantly transitioning. Joseph comes to mind, Noah, Adam...really everyone I can think of had drastic seasons in their life of change and hardship and things so out of their control happen to them. And God uses that. I think I wanted my church to be a constant rock in my life, because it was that. But nothing, I repeat nothing, can be a constant in our life except the Lord Jesus.

2) God can use multiplication for his glory- The new church we are a part of is going to be used by God, just as the church we left is going to be used by God. If churches didn't multiply, then we wouldn't be fulfilling the great commission.We may see a church split as negative, but God's economy is so much bigger and will use it all to bring people to him.

3) I can choose to jump in and serve my church, even if it's not the same OR I can pity my circumstance and stay stagnant. Yep, good point God.

Change is hard. Especially when the whole world feels like it's changing and church was a constant that felt safe and secure. But I'm realizing I have to trust God in the midst of this and choose to continue to advance his love and grace as I move forward. And God is big enough to handle my emotions. Grief is a complicated tangle of emotions and they are all OK! So I will continue to grieve, but I will also continue to look forward and rejoice in the work God has set before me:)

Have any of you been through a church split? Any words of wisdom for me and my feeble heart? xoxo 

Our sweet boy is here!

Monday, May 27

We are so excited to announce that our sweet Everett William is here! He made his entrance into the world on May 13th at 8:25pm and weighed in at 8 pounds and 12 oz.

He is now exactly two weeks old and we are so over the moon about him. I could literally stare at him all day, he is so precious and snuggly. Avonlea was a little indifferent to him the first few days, but now she thinks he is so funny with all the little sounds he makes, and is constantly saying "baby Everett is so cute!"...it's hilarious. The other day she was down on the floor next to him chatting his ear off, saying very helpful things like "I live here. I eat in that chair." We died laughing. I pray it's the beginning of a beautiful sibling relationship:)

I snapped these pictures a few days ago and had so much fun capturing his sweet little face! Hopefully if I have time I can write out my birth story, it was so special and SO opposite of Avonlea's, haha!!

Babies are a gift from the Lord, and i'm soaking this sweet boy in daily:)

Exciting News:)

Friday, January 25

We are so excited to announce we have a new babe coming in May:) This entire pregnancy has been different than my pregnancy with Avonlea, so all along I've felt like we are having a boy. And low and behold, when we had our 20 week ultrasound, we found out we are indeed having a sweet little boy. 

We are beyond excited to meet him come May 9th. I spent so much time praying and journaling during my pregnancy with Avonlea, but this time around I've had my hands full with a busy little toddler, so haven't had as much time thinking about this pregnancy. My goal this year is to spend intentional time praying over this little man, and asking God for verses to pray over him. 

Motherhood has been SO amazing, I have loved being Avonlea's mom and cannot wait to add another one to the mix! However, I am curious to see how two babes changes things. Anyone else feel a bigger shift from 1-2 kids as opposed to going from 0-1? I'd love to hear your feedback:) 

Hope you are all doing well:) Happy 2019!!