Poverty Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas

How to tackle poverty at Christmas www.christasterken.com

Every night this month I’ll plan to sit near my fireplace, watching the beautiful white lights cast a glow around the room.

Packages are wrapped in brightly colored, festive paper under the tree.

Happy secrets are whispered behind closed doors.

I consider these great gifts with awe.

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Photography {A Seasonal Farewell}

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Nature photography by www.christasterken.com

As we shift from the warmth of Fall into the starkness of winter, there is still beauty to be found. Look closer…

 He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866

Christmas Ornaments Tell The Stories Of Our Lives

Importance of christmas traditions www.christasterken.com

A night of memory making.

Of tender reflection.

Of laughter and remembrance. [Read more…]

Why You Shouldn’t Have Expectations For Christmas

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Last week my husband and I went on a Christmas shopping date.  it was going to be perfect!

The sky was dark, just us two for a whole afternoon, a little extra cash for the first time in our adult life…

Everything we needed.

Except, it was just nice.

Nothing was wrong. I just have a lifelong struggle with high expectations.

I want a dreamy, movie set perfect experience when it comes to Christmas. [Read more…]

Memories And Monsters At The Christmas Tree Farm

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On a bitter, cold day last week our family went to the Christmas tree farm.

We bundled up and headed out to make memories.

Excitement reigned as we eagerly scanned the horizon. Intent on finding the perfect tree before the sun went down. [Read more…]

Suggestions For Celebrating Advent

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Advent used to mean little me, except for being part of a liturgical calendar in my Episcopalian upbringing.

As I grew in my own faith, the importance of stopping to ponder and prepare our hearts in celebration of Christ’s birth took on a new meaning. Not a denominational view, a personal longing. [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving- I’ve Made It To The Grown Up Table!

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Holidays crowded around the table with a card or coffee table set up for the kids

Did you dream of making it to the grown up table?

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This is the table I grew up celebrating at. My grandparents house. What memories this brings back for me. Much of our family is absent from this picture, but there would usually be my cousins and I hanging outside. My aunts would help my mom and Grandma in the kitchen.
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Fighting Back Against Melanoma

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Would it surprise you to know that the single most popular post on this blog is about Melanoma?

I never thought I’d revisit that topic, honestly. Until last week’s semiannual exam.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a conference session. The speaker mentioned being a Melanoma survivor.

Survivor.

That caught my attention, because it had never even crossed my mind. I have had malignant melanoma removed. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, really. [Read more…]

A Pile Of Old Jeans Becomes A Child’s Sole Hope

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“I could do something to help or I could call it someone else’s problem”– Asher Collie, Sole Hope

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My children have several pairs of shoes in their closet. Jeans sit crumpled on their floor and hanging in their closet. There hasn’t been a day in their lives, even in our leanest years, that they have gone without the simple protection of bodily protection. [Read more…]

If We Could Capture A Memory In Less Than 1/2″…

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 Can we catch a memory and put it into a box?

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This small piece of plastic, a simple souvenier  from a theme park, holds a memory in it’s aqua casing.

From the outside, it appears ordinary. [Read more…]