Monday, October 31, 2011

31 days || thirty-one: a legacy of celebration.

Last February, right in the middle of my own birthday party planning, I also got roped into decorating for a church Valentine’s Day party. Valentine’s Day is not my favorite, but I loved Target’s line of rainbow hearts, and I had gold chargers begging to be used, so I agreed. 

My parents graciously helped, and while I was in one corner of the room lining up streamers, my parents were stringing up lights, and I heard my dad tell my mom something I hope I’ll never forget. 

He said he was glad to see his daughter living out a legacy of celebration. 

There are so many things I am grateful for when it comes to my family: their welcoming hearts, their sense of humor, their faith, our long talks at the dinner table, our genuine “like” for each other. But it’s this love of celebration I keep coming back to, this sincere hospitality, this desire to find joy and happiness in what we’ve been given that I hope I pass down to my own children one day. 

I want this legacy to stick with me as the days and months and years pass, as I get older and open up my own home and begin my own family traditions. 

Back when I started this 31 days project, I was hesitant. I knew I wanted to write for 31 days straight, but I didn’t know what to write about. And one night over dinner, my aunt looked at me and said, basically, “Isn’t this a no-brainer?” Celebration, to my family, just makes sense. It is obvious. It is necessary. It is possible and doable no matter the occasion or the budget or the obstacle. 

Nearly three years into marriage, I am convinced I married someone who agrees. Someone who makes trips to the grocery store special, who makes time for movie nights and having friends over and cooking in the kitchen and cuddles on the couch. I am so grateful.

I’ve covered a lot of territory in these 31 days. I’ve talked about cooking and community. I’ve shared my ideas for hosting dinner guests and lessons learned from an 18-year-old’s birthday party. I’ve written about shaking it out and overcoming tragedy. I’ve shared my exhaustion and my frustration and how I cope with all of it

This month, I’ve hosted a dinner party, a dance party, a wedding, and a birthday dinner for my dad. I’ve gone to supper club, coordinated a wedding reception, visited a nursing home, and tried to maintain meaningful friendships and relationships without losing my mind. 

Celebration is not easy. It is not always my natural state of being, not my default setting. But when I choose to look for the good, when I choose to open up my home and my heart to the people I love and the people who need love, I realize: It is all worth it. 

Every time I sat down to write out a post for this month, the words were the same: Celebration is work. Celebration is hard. But celebration is worth the time and the effort. 

Perfection isn’t going to come. There will always be reasons and excuses, cancellations and busy schedules. 

Be one of those people who finds time and energy to celebrate anyway. Dig deep down and summon hospitality to the top of your being. Celebrate the big and the small and the mundane. Celebrate because not many people do. Celebrate because it is your version of praise. Celebrate because it is spiritual. Celebrate because it is your calling. 

Celebrate because there is too much good in life not to. 

new here? read all of my 31 days posts here.


mary kate said...

I've loved reading all of your celebration posts they've all been so great!

TefMarie said...

I, too, have loved your 31 days of celebration! It's been inspiring!

Staley Mc said...

I can't believe it has been 31 days already, I feel like you were just trying to figure out what to write about! I loved this series and your celebration has helped me to try and celebrate even when things get me down!

Hailey Marie said...

Thanks for doing this great series! I have enjoyed following along with you all month. Also, I featured your series/blog in my post today:

:) looking forward to keeping up with your blog 'beyond the challenge' too!

mackieandryan said...

Loved reading your posts. Such an inspiration & a blessing to my life. Sometimes I feel like you speak directly to my heart. Thank you!

Leslie said...

Amen! I had a happy childhood for sure, but I can't remember celebrating much. Even birthdays. Just can't remember having a cake really ever. I vowed to celebrate life moments with my own family. Even when (because it almost always is) it is difficult. Great post. Life is hard and mundane celebrate the little things.