Why do we keep traditions? Partly for the children's sakes. And partly for the sake of our own sanity, I believe. One of my traditions is to make Japanese Tempura for New Year's Day.
But this year I nearly forgot about it. My thoughts were elsewhere, and I feel like I'm holding my breath rather than living a normal, day-to-day routine. But my brother Clint reminded me. He fondly recalls Akemi (our Japanese exchange student when he was a 7-year-old), and he has been among the groups I have hosted and cooked for at various New Years in the past. Not only do I cook the way Akemi taught me, but I also dig out the entire box of souvenirs collected during the summer that I was an exchange student to her family in Tokyo. I like to invite another family to come over each year and share the cultural evening. I show photos and teach a few Japanese phrases while everyone tries chopsticks, rice, shrimp, potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots-with-onions. This year it was only five of us, but I am glad that I kept the tradition! It gives me a chance to reminisce and dream, which has a good effect on my children. As we are already a few days into the Year of the Horse, I'm mindful of our blessings and our identity as God's adventurers.