Early in my married life, my husband Chris and I could only afford broken down and
barley running vehicles. We lived in Alaska and our car had no heater. I remember running errands with all of the kids (including a newborn infant) bundled up in their
car seats to stay warm. One day, the car died in the intersection. I was humiliated. I found myself dependent on the compassion of others to push me safely off of the icy road and out of the way into the snow embankment. I did not have a cell phone, so, compounding my embarrassment, had to ask those who helped me if they could get a message to my
husband that I was stranded and in need of help.
In that moment, we got serious about getting a reliable Alaskan vehicle. None of us will ever forget our first “real” car. It was a black Chevy Suburban with tinted windows and an interior of wall-to-wall red velvet. We were elated. This was an elevation in status I was unprepared for. I found a small disco ball and hung in from the rear-view mirror in celebration. We named the Suburban the “Party Bus.” From that moment on, the disco ball bouncing along from the front made every errand a celebration. It inspired us to turn the music on and dance from our seats. On every drive to church, every drop-off and pick up, every painful trip, scary trip, happy trip, and mundane trip, the small disco ball danced highlights on the red velvet; reminding us we had blessings we were building from. We never tired of celebrating in the “Party Bus.” She became a safe place for all of us.
Chris and I spent much of our life working through and around tragedy while also raising children. Adding celebrations, large and small, brought levity and brightness into our dark days. Celebrating doesn’t have to cost anything but time and attention. No matter how impoverished we were, we always looked forward to the holidays. If nothing else, at Christmas, we were going to cut some paper snowflakes and watch some Christmas specials. Easter always brought new clothes… even if I had to make them from scraps of material from the second-hand store. We celebrated dinner with a candle in the middle of the table and sometimes fresh flowers. Bedtime became a routine that celebrated the day. Rounds of applause and group hugs celebrated random recognitions and a celebration bulletin board boasted of earned awards, star charts, and art.
There are certain things money, status and achievement can buy. This will always be true. But you can bring goodness into your life in dozens of ways that aren’t dependent on outside resources. The idea of a healthy home can only bring value if we can manifest it into reality. Creative celebrating can help do that. Celebrating provides a pause for reflection and re-sets the stage for the next scene in your life. It’s a time to contemplate the successes and re-asses for changes that need to be made for the future. Every religious and cultural tradition since the beginning of time includes celebration. Innately, we know it’s important for our soul to remember who we are, where we came from, and the core values we share to keep us moving forward. Celebrating is one of the most accessible things we can do to create a home of expectancy and belonging by acknowledging and honoring the cultures, traditions, and shared values that happen through the natural passage of time and seasons.
Helping Ruby celebrate her marriage to Koda. Puppies were on the way!
Using the "pretty" plates and outside finds help elevate this celebration!
My co-workers helped me celebrate my 50th!
How have you incorporated celebration at home, or work, or in your personal life?