Monday, March 28, 2016

Devotional by Mary Manners: Joy-filled Traditions

Join me in welcoming our dear friend Mary Manners to the blog today! She's here to share her thoughts on family-based traditions that bring her joy. I hope that this devotional will bring joy to you! I know that it brought a smile to my face.

If you talk to God, please remember Mary and her family in your prayers. 

God bless you!

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Joy-filled Traditions
A devotional written by Mary Manners

“How wonderful it must be to speak the language of the angels, with no words for hate and a million words for love!” 

~ Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994 ~

Traditions are the vines that connect family memories and lives. The older I get, the more I reflect on the traditions of my childhood, joyfully instilled with the love of my parents. I’m not talking so much about the big events but more about those little things that lay nestled in my heart like bountiful spoonfuls of warm chicken noodle soup.

For example, on each of my birthdays Mom always spent the better part of the morning elbow-deep in sifted flour and eggs as she lovingly prepared a double-chocolate cake layered with vanilla pudding and chocolate chips, drizzled in dark fudge frosting—a virtual and delectable chocolate overload. And Dad, well…at the heart of every summer this hard-working veteran’s ode to the Fourth of July consisted of a walk in the town parade followed by a backyard barbecue. As dusk fell, Dad carefully staked a flare in the lawn of our tiny front yard. Its light shimmered in a waterfall of colorful sparkles that elicited a delighted round of squeals coupled with a flurry of applause from my siblings and me. To a bunch of kids, the resulting fanfare from this single flare was more alluring than the grand finale on the town square.

Warm spring nights were filled with anticipation as I sat on the front steps with a scuffed and tattered baseball clutched in my hands while I waited for Dad to come home from a long day of work. It was his tradition to toss a few pitches to me before heading into the house to greet Mom and then wash up for dinner. Sometimes we got caught up in the moment and those few pitches stretched blissfully past twilight—and the dinner hour. In contrast, on snowy Chicago winter days Dad made it a tradition to help me run my paper route with his beat-up Chevy station wagon. He’d navigate through snow trenches while I bundled the papers and tossed them onto flake-dusted front porches. It was during those excursions that I soaked in Dad’s most valuable kernels of wisdom—words that have remained with me over the decades since I first heard them, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right.”

I’ve carried on some of the traditions of my childhood with my daughter and sons. For example, when Danni turned seven I purchased her first two-wheel bike and spent the afternoon pounding the pavement of our cul-de-sac as I taught her to ride in the same manner my parents employed for each of my siblings and me on our seventh birthdays. Her brothers soon followed. I also prepared sack lunches for school every day, same as my mom did each and every morning for thirteen years. Boloney and cheese with a side of raw veggies remains a favorite at our house, and sometimes I even managed to tuck witty inspirational quotes, scrawled on plain white paper napkins, inside before I closed each bag.

My husband and I have also begun a few of our own family traditions. We love leaving little notes for each other and for our children—taped to the car’s steering wheel, tucked beneath a bed pillow, at a place-setting on the dinner table, slipped with care into a pocket or shoe. The favorite Danni and I share is notes scrawled on a sheet torn from a sticky pad and slapped onto the bathroom mirror. When she started to drive, I began to leave messages for her each morning before I left for work and while she still lay soundly in her bed. “Have a great day. I love you. Be safe.” As the number of messages mounted, she framed the mirror with them. Then one day, as the time for her leave for college approached, I noticed the notes had disappeared. I thought she’d thrown them away while packing, but later wept when I found she’d tucked each one carefully into a shoebox that she carried away with her to campus. Now the messages frame a bulletin board in her dorm room and I pray they remind her daily of the importance…and fun…of traditions.

Traditions…they remain one of the ties that bind my family together and will surely also prove to be a legacy as my children, and now grandchildren as well, carry on many of the nuggets of day-to-day nuances that have over the years blossomed to be special—and cherished—memories.


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Author bio: 
Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.

She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.

Mary believes everyone has a story to tell, and she loves to share hers. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet post and interview with Mary. I can related to how important traditions are. We instill them deeply into our own children, and watch them continue. Steve and I used the "Love is.." from the newspapers and over the years they were saved, and are being reused. Little things mean a lot. Your book sounds like a lovely contribution to years of sweet memories. :)

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