Traditions. We all have them, from religious rituals to which kind of stuffing you expect with your Thanksgiving turkey.  Traditions are, by definition, customs that are handed down from one generation to the next. But is it possible to start new traditions?

I have heard that with children, something becomes a tradition if you do it more than once the same way. And we certainly developed a unique Christmas tradition in our family because of a spontaneous purchase one Christmas when our kids were small. I thought it would be fun to get them cans of Silly String, not knowing that I was starting a whole new Christmas morning routine. It is now expected that each child will have at least one can of silly string in their stocking for the Christmas Morning Silly String Battle. And woe unto me if I should forget the importance of such a tradition!

We have also added new traditions that enhance our faith; or perhaps I should say that we have resurrected long- forgotten traditions of our faith and we celebrate them in a new way. When I first learned that the Christian tradition of communion was based on the Jewish feast of Passover, I was astonished. I attended a traditional Passover Seder and began studying about Passover and the other Jewish feasts. Imagine my surprise to discover that in Leviticus, God commanded the Israelites to keep these feasts forever as a reminder of what He  had done for them. He didn’t say until you get to the Promised Land, or until the Messiah comes, or until you get tired of doing it. He said forever.   So I figured that probably means that we Gentiles who got His word later had some catching up to do.

Now, I don’t want to start a debate about whether or not Christians are obligated to observe the Jewish feasts, but I will say that when our family and friends have celebrated these events together,  we are blessed and our faith is strengthened through the experience.

Which brings me to today – Rosh Hashanah.

Today is the Jewish New Year, also celebrated as the Birthday of the World. That’s an easy way to introduce this holiday to your kids – who doesn’t love a birthday? The first year we celebrated it, we had a birthday cake for the world and thanked God for His creation. Traditionally, apples dipped in honey are served to remind you to have a sweet new year. Again, an easy activity with kids.

As our kids grew, and our understanding of the holiday grew, we added more of the Jewish traditions and traditional foods.  A hallmark of the celebrations is the blowing of a shofar, which is a long, curled ram’s horn. We don’t own one yet, but it is on my wish list. (We have substituted my husband’s old Boy Scout bugle.)

My favorite part of the Rosh Hashanah celebration is called the Tashlikh, which is a time when everyone gathers by a river or other body of water and empties their pockets or throws stones into the river. Some traditions tell you to write on the stone something that you want to be forgiven for, and the act of throwing it in the water symbolically gives you a fresh start. I like to think of the verse where God tells us that He throws our sins “as far as the East is from the West”. I imagine Him throwing whatever I have written on that stone, and envision it disappearing in the water.

We all need a fresh start once in a while, and I love this holiday for its reminders to throw away the old and start fresh in the new year. The fact that it comes in the fall when we are all starting back in our school routines also makes it a great opportunity to reflect on how we want things to be different in the coming months.

In what areas could you use a fresh start?

If you’d like to learn more about Rosh Hashanah and how to celebrate it in your home, I highly recommend this book:  A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce.

Three Days. A thousand entrepreneurs. One unforgettable experience.

That was the tagline for Ali Brown‘s Shine event, held November 5-7 in Las Vegas, which I was privileged to attend after having won a scholarship by submitting a video about myself and my business. And for me it was an unforgettable and truly life-changing experience.

shineonstage

I was thrilled and honored to be chosen as one of the Scholarship recipients and completely shocked to then be chosen as one of the three candidates for a mini- business makeover on stage with Ali and James Roche . It was such a confidence booster for me to see my ideas taken seriously and I was humbled by the generosity of so many people in the room who sought me out afterwards to offer leads and ideas to help me grow my business.

I have known over the past year that the time had come for me to really grow my new business, but I kept holding back and couldn’t figure out the root fear. But I nailed it during Shine.

I was afraid that the more I succeeded as a businesswoman, the more I would fail as a wife and mother.

Until I came to this conference and heard the stories from women running six and seven figure businesses out of their homes, I subconsciously believed that women had to make a choice between being a nurturing, loving mother and a hard-nosed, determined business woman. I didn’t think it was possible to be loving, feminine, passionate, AND successful in business. Now I know how wrong I was.

I am no longer worried that as I build my legacy that my family will crumble behind me. Now I see that I really can build a business that I love in a way that fulfills me and enriches my family at the same time. What a blessing that weekend was for me!

On the heels of that transformation in my thinking came the decision in the last few days to invest heavily in myself and my business to grow it substantially over the next year.

Talk about scary! I haven’t invested this much money in myself since paying for college ( okay, never… my parents paid for my college!)

But I know, deep down,  that it is the right decision. As  Alexis Martin-Neely, The Intrepid Mompreneur, says, its about being afraid and doing it anyway.

Do you have that little nagging voice that creeps in from time to time to tell you what a fool you are? Well, it came to visit me last night, as I knew it would. So, I fought fear with faith. I woke early this morning and prayed that God would clearly show me if somehow I was on the wrong path.

God may have spoken to Moses through a burning bush, but for me, He uses songs. Even if I have  heard a song dozens of times, all of a sudden, it is playing just for me. And that’s what happened today.

I dropped the kids off at school this morning just as this song by Sanctus Real began playing on the radio:

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

I nearly had to pull off the road, blinded by my own tears.

But once was not enough.  God wanted to be sure I got the message loud and clear.

I pulled myself together, ran an errand, and got back in the car. This time, as soon as I turned the key, a Matthew West song was playing:

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind

Helena Summer Medena, a fellow Shine Scholarship recipient, wisely pointed out that other people suffer when we are not doing all that we were put on this planet to do. I don’t want to spend my whole life wondering  what if? …what if?. and  the voices in my head have held me back long enough. It is time for me to step fully into who I was created to be.

So, just like the scene in the Indiana Jones movie, I’m stepping onto that invisible bridge. It’s scary, it’s exhilarating, and I know  it’s going to be oh, so worth it.

This weekend was an eye-opener for me. I attended my first ever blogging conference, sponsored by Blissfully Domestic and One2OneNetwork, and got a taste of just how popular blogging has become and of what a techno-dinosaur I really am. My geeky husband was probably surprised to learn that I now have computer envy – me, who relies on him for all of my html code needs. I’ve been perfectly content with my hand-me down laptop until I spent a weekend with all the latest and greatest. Hmm… new laptop, or school tuition payment….

Facebook became my friend several months ago, and I thought I was pretty progressive. I was introduced to Twitter at this conference and was simply amazed to watch a roomful of women communicating with each other all day long without actually speaking. Yes, there was lots of talking going on as well, but the amount of online conversation, even during speakers and performers, was just mind-boggling to me. I succumbed to the pressure and opened a Twitter account, so please come follow me, @wisdompursuit, as I attempt to join the party.

Because women bloggers are becoming recognized as a powerful marketing voice, there were several prominent public relations specialists in attendance, including John Andrews, the social media representative from Wal-Mart. He discussed the value of the Eleven Moms blog and offered to send two people in attendance to South by Southwest. Okay, I admit I’m getting old; I had no idea what that was when he offered it, but the crowd sure got excited! One of the lucky winners was Robin of Pensieve, so be sure to see what she has to say, since I, techno and music dinosaur, will not be attending.

Thanks to Barbara Jones of One2OneNetwork, we were treated to a sneak preview of a soon to be released Disney project called Yanni Voices. It is a stunning concert of up and coming talented young singers who have put words to some of Yanni’s best music. We thoroughly enjoyed the wide-screen show and I highly recommend watching the debut on PBS in March, and attending live if you have the chance. The real surprise came afterwards, though, when two of the singers, Nathan Pacheco and Ender Thomas, walked into the room. A room full of baby sling-wearing “mommy bloggers” was suddenly transformed into a teenage swooning party. Yes, they were very talented singers, and yes, they were cute, but in the almost-young -enough- to-be-my-child sort of way. Not in the I’ll-just-die-if-he-speaks-to-me sort of way. At least not for me. I’ve moved on to a different phase of life, and I think it shows in the one comment I remember from their appearance. Nathan Pacheco told us that the one thing he wanted us to remember about him was this:

A mother carried her son to her dream. You mothers have more power than you know.

Kudos to Mrs. Pacheco, wherever she is. There is a mother who was dedicated to being a mom, and it paid off for her and her son. She has accomplished what I am striving to achieve – launching a child into the world who is pursuing his dream, confident in who he was created to be, and thankful to the people in his life who helped him to get there.

We were encouraged this weekend to consider why we blog and what we hope to accomplish with it. For me, blogging is a way to process my reflections on life and share them with others in the hopes that together, we can journey through life with a clearer purpose and end up at our destinations surrounded by people who love us and who are cheering us on as we arrive.

Who’s up for the journey?

For the first time since 2002, says AAA, travel during the Thanksgiving weekend will decrease from the previous year. Glad to know that we’re not contributing to that part of the economic slump! Oh, no -we have a jolly 10 hour trip planned today to see cousins and grandparents. Fortunately, my kids are past the age where every minute in the car seat is pure torture.

In fact, we’re even past car seats, as of last year. It’s a whole new phase of freedom! The kids can change seats at will partway through the trip without having to reconfigure every piece of carefully packed luggage and without two adults leaning on the car seats to make sure they are tightly buckled into the car. Nope – it’s each man for himself, or each child for him or herself now. Ah, the simple joys in life!

We still, I reluctantly admit, rely a little too heavily on the DVD player. After all, the alphabet game only lasts so long – and it’s a LONG trip! One thing I enjoy to build a little family time into the car ride is listening to an audiobook together. I try to pick a book to suit all tastes (that’s always fun!) that will last several hours, and we break it up into short segments. Listen for a while, play for a while, watch a movie for a while. Even the kid who gripes about having to listen usually ends up enjoying it, and we have a common reference for discussion later, too. Often an inside family joke will develop over something we’ve heard, and the joke may last long after the story is forgotten. But the memories were created, the family bonds were strengthened, and we made it to Grandma’s with our sanity intact.

My overly-ambitious list for this trip includes:

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith

The Girl Who Married a Lion ( a collection of African folktales) by Alexander McCall Smith

I’ll give you the critics’ results when we return.

For all of you who will be joining me on the road this holiday weekend, may you have safe travels and may the visits be worth the effort to get there. For those of you staying home, I wish you an enjoyable and restful weekend. And here’s a Thanksgiving wish for everyone:


May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Have you stocked up on the turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie? Are you doing your stomach-stretching exercises in preparation for The Big Meal on Thursday? Or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who gets to spread the eating fest across two or more households in one day.

As you are lying on the couch, dazed from your l-tryptophan overload and too full to think of exercising, try spending a few minutes exercising your brain and giving some hungry kids a bit to eat as well. Engage the family in some friendly competition to see who has the best vocabulary and who can donate the most free rice. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, visit www.freerice.com. This website has a very addicting vocabulary challenge game, and with each level you beat, the sponsors will donate rice through the UN World Food Program to help end world hunger. In just a little over a year, players have donated over 51 billion grains of rice, and improved their vocabulary in the process.

Freerice.com – It’s fun, it’s free, it’s for a great cause -and you don’t even have to get up off of the couch!

It’s finally coming! It’s your chance to discover or uncover the creative gifts that God has placed in you.

The unfortunate truth is that once we have found our way in the so-called “real world”, even if we become successful in a chosen profession, many of us discover we’ve lost something of ourselves. We lose the simple pleasure that we once cherished of being who God created us to be and doing what God created us to do. We may even feel our gifts are lost forever. But are they?


Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world. When we fail to use these gifts, we suffer the same way a person accustomed to regular physical activity may feel pent up, out of sorts, and off-balance after going several days without exercise. When we try to live without exercising our artistic gifts, we may feel restless and empty. Life lacks fullness. Something buried deep within longs to emerge.

— Excerpts from The Creative Call

If you are ready to uncover those buried gifts, you are invited to join us as we embark on an 8 week journey of exploration with The Creative Call. An online group has been set up where we can “meet” to discuss what we’re learning, share new insights, and encourage one another to experiment with our gifts. It will be facilitated by Lisa Scott, of Wisdom Pursuit. Though the holiday season is a busy time, there is no better time of the year to provide so many opportunities for exploring our creative gifts!

Are you excited yet? Ready to see what God has for you? I can’t wait to meet you all! Here are the details:

  • Send an e-mail to all of your friends and blog buddies who might be interested, or post this announcement on your blog
  • Please purchase a copy of the book The Creative Call and a journal that you will love to write in
  • Plan to read one chapter a week (starting the week of Nov. 16) and complete the journal exercises
  • If you are not already a member of The League of Extraordinary Wives website, please send an e-mail to wedblissfully at gmail.com to receive an invitation.
  • Join the group The Creative Call on the League of Extraordinary Wives website
  • Introduce yourself to the group and get ready to start this grand adventure.
  • Questions? E-mail Lisa at lisa at scottclan dot cc




Many in our country are reveling in the fact that a woman with a real shot at winning has made it on a presidential ticket. Finally, some feel, the glass ceiling is being shattered. While we watch a woman climbing to the very top in America, the women in many parts of Africa are merely hoping for a chance to make a simple living at the very bottom. Broken by war and despair, they have almost given up hope of being able to care for their families. That is where Amani Ya Juu comes in. This organization, based in Nairobi, Kenya, offers women the opportunity to learn the marketable skill of sewing, teaches business principles, and provides a loving and nurturing place of healing for women from a variety of troubled backgrounds. They are a fair trade organization, striving to promote peace through faith in the God whose peace transcends all racial and ethnic strife. No money from their sales goes to administration, but it all goes back to helping the women start their new lives. Each of these ladies has an incredible story to share, and we have the opportunity to be blessed by hearing some of them. In October, the cities of Orlando, FL, Charlotte, NC, and Washington, DC will host their first ever American tour.

“Sankofa: Look Back, Walk Forward” is a high-end fashion narrative produced by the women of Amani ya Juu.

Through brilliant costumes, choreography, lighting and music women from seven countries – Burundi, Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda – use the fashion runway as their stage to depict courageous journeys from war-torn homes to their new life of wholeness and reconciliation at Amani ya Juu.

This is sure to be a one of a kind, inspiring event. If you are fortunate enough to live near one of these cities, I hope you will be able to attend. If you live too far, please visit the Amani Ya Juu website to read some of their stories and see their wonderful creations. And remember today, whatever your problems may be, how truly blessed you are.

You Are so Blessed

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, especially in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can — but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed — because you can offer God’s healing touch.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways you may never even know.

Do not dash for your nearest copy of Moby Dick or Hamlet, but do consider running, walking, or supporting those who will run in the 5th annual Run for the Classics on October 4. This 5k run and 1 mile fun walk are to support Classical education in Knoxville, and more specifically, Paideia Academy, the school my two youngest children attend. This young school has provided an academically challenging and character- building Christian education for Knoxville families for the last four years. The atmosphere at this school is unique – full of respect for authority and a genuine love of learning. My oldest son completed the 8th grade there last year and is more than prepared for the Honors classes at the local public high school. In fact, his keyboarding teacher called him a “grammar genius” last week when he aced a capitalization/punctuation test that everyone else bombed. Thank you, Mrs. Senter! The humility and Christ-like character that he learned at Paideia has come through as well, when he offered to type an English paper for a boy who the day before had said to him, without provocation, “I don’t think I like you.”

I am an avid supporter of Classical education, but a runner I am not. I will be doing the fun walk with my daughter while my husband runs in the real race. If you’re like me, getting a check in the mail seems like a Herculean feat at times. So, they’ve made it very simple – just visit the website www.runfortheclassics.com, click on “sponsor form”, and fill in $100,000…or $25…or whatever you feel comfortable with, and Paypal takes care of the rest. Thanks for your support!