I love coffee…dark and strong with a little heavy cream and light sweetener. I’m not addicted to the caffeine (well, maybe a little), I just love the taste! My parents and grandparents always made a pot of coffee when we visited each other. We sat around the table sipping and talking so I think coffee naturally relaxes me and helps me feel like I belong. More than anything, it gives me an excuse to slow down and connect or simply to have my own thoughts. One of my favorite books that I read to our kids years ago was called, “First We Have Coffee.” It perfectly describes my Dutch (Scandanavian) roots that encouraged regular breaks throughout the day over coffee. When we are stressed or tired or have an important decision that needs to be made, we hit the pause button, silently declaring, “First we have coffee.” It’s important to have traditions. It’s what gives our kids roots and builds memories. They don’t have to be grandiose or cost a lot of money. They just need to be intentional and help us connect with our families regularly. The holidays tend to be filled with traditions, but it’s important to practice them in everyday life as well. It helps us mark the passing of time and be mindful of how we are living. It’s a time to slow down and be unhurried for just a little while. Seven of our eight kids are grown and out of the house, but whenever they pop in, we start brewing that pot of goodness. Our kids recognize this as permission to slow their hearts, minds, and bodies. It also signals that our hearts are open to hearing their concerns and celebrating their victories because, after all, what is family for?