Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Whenever I think of family traditions, this song from the musical Fiddler on the Roof - "Tradition" runs through my head!

When Joe and I met in Dallas over 26 years ago, we were Texas transplants.  Both of us had recently relocated to the metroplex.  We both were living far from any family.  I have four brothers and one sister plus my folks--all in five different states.  Joe's parents and brother were on opposite ends of the US-- New York and California.  So when we had our first baby...our daughter, Sara, it became crystal clear that holidays for us were going to be different.  Spending the holidays with family was not a reality for us.  Sunday dinners with the folks was not going to be a part of our world as a family.  As our first Christmas with Sara approached I clearly remember talking to Greg, a co-worker of mine, about missing family during the holidays...I just didn't know what the Gautille Christmas was going to look like in our home.  He too lived far from family and said he and his wife started their own "traditions" (yes...when I hear that word, I hear the dairyman,Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof singing TRADITION).

Greg  mentioned going to a Christmas tree farm and chopping down their annual evergreen became part of their Christmas ritual

...And so it began for the Gautille household too--incorporating the old fashion tradition of choppin' the tree down and strapping it to the roof of our mini van!  Now, 25 years later, it is a beloved TRADITION!  Over the years we have refined the tradition...we now go on search of the perfect pine the Friday after Thanksgiving--intentionally dodging the madness of shoppers on Black Friday.  This also allows us to secure a good tree.  Oh...my bad...did I mention that the trees are not the magnificent, full, fresh cut New England pine trees.

The trees aren't quite as bad as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, they are more along the line of a tree drawing from a Dr. Seuss story.  We have had Christmas trees that had an 'S' shaped or worse, a zigzag trunk.  We have had the most beautiful trees that were completely bare on one side--but against the right wall the tree was perfect!  We have been known to tie our tree to the banister in order to keep it in the tree stand and not fall over...

So you may ask,  why would we drive an hour and a half each way, and pay money for an ugly Christmas tree that we strap to the roof of our car and haul it back home?  Tradition!  Because if truth be told...this IS a Christmas gift!

Because for one day we slow down from the chaos in our lives, we all load into the SUV--even the dogs, and we spend the next hour and a half singing Christmas carols, talking, reminiscing about Christmas' past, being a family. And following our adventure at the tree farm--which includes: going on a hayride, trying valiantly to chop our perfect tree with saws that are awful, eating delicious Christmas cookies and yummy brownies, drinking apple cider, taking picture--lots of pictures.  Then we load into our SUV again with our fresh evergreen firmly strapped to the top of the car and head home...singing, laughing, reminiscing...just being.
I believe traditions are the very fabric of a family!


The Walls Family Christmas Tree Farm

Ducati doesn't want to miss anything!

My beautiful daughters Sara & Jenna

Joe securing the tree to the car

Moose and Ellie are pooped out!

Ryan & Sara Corl with Moose and Baby Corl!

Ryan, Jenna, Adam, Heather and Sara

Adam, Joe and Ryan

Me and Ellie

We are missing Jenna in this picture!  Great day!

I Lasso the traditions we began with our family!

Monday, November 22, 2010

How do You Really Lay Down Your Life for the Brethren?

We know love by this that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ~ 1 John 3:16

In trying to understand what this means, I found this and wanted to share it.

Dying to Self
When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely provoked and you don’t sting and dwell on the hurt, the insult or the oversight, but your heart is at peace, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ

When your good is spoken of as evil, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, when you reach out and the door is closed in your face and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patience and with love

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any unpunctuality, any interruption or any annoyance; when you stand face-to-face with folly, wastefulness, spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any people, any clothing, any shelter

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good words and when you can truly love to be unknown

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and you honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances

When you can receive correction, reproof, encouragement, advice or exhortation from “one of less stature than yourself “and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart

Dear Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bring me to a place of humility before the cross so that I willingly die to myself in order that I may live in, with and through you alone. Amen.

I Lasso the opportunity to die to myself!

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

Lord, thank you for life; we live as your Church, in faith and hope.

Lord, thank you for love; we love in our families, in work and in play.

I am thankful for my entire family!

Lord, thank you for prayer:  we pray in our joy and our sorrow, in laughter and silence,

Lord, thank you for this world:  we delight in rainbows and skyscrapers, sand dunes and icicles, friendship and music.

Lord, thank you, Amen.

I Lasso gratefulness and thankfulness of my life!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Forgotten Holiday

Trick or Treat is over. The costumes, cobwebs and candy aisles in supermarkets are now on clearance.  This Sunday we turned our clocks back.  It seems to me that the minute Labor Day has come and gone--the focus on the holidays is all around us.  Once jack-o-lanterns have spoiled and are thrown out, this usually (unfortunately) means out with Autumn, too!  The end of Halloween seems to signal the fierce onslaught of Christmas carol jingles, glitz of Christmas decor not to forget the timeless Santa, Rudolph and Frosty images hitting the airwaves of radio, and TV, and in every aspect of the retail world around us.  And alias--the Christmas Commercialism begins to barrage us.

I was born the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so naturally, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving.  However, I have been guilty of the familiar hustle and bustle of the Yuletide that seems to push right past the month of November, going from October straight into December...this year, I really want to try to savor Thanksgiving.  I, for one have so much to be thankful!

Having a place to go is Home.
Having someone to love is Family.
Having both is a Blessing! 

I Lasso the opportunity to stop and enjoy November!  
Happy Autumn!  
Happy Thanksgiving!