Archive - November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014
REVIEW: An Amish Second Christmas (book)
Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up
The Adoption Campaign
Be Kind
David Landrith (1963-2014)
Goodbye to A Road Home. Goodbye Normal.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving holds little tradition in the Ho family. Each celebration has looked slightly different, from celebrating Elliott’s Red Egg as an infant and enjoying dinner with seminary friends, to waiting for our children to come home and even welcoming a niece into the world while munching a quickly purchased Cracker Barrel meal. While solid traditions have not yet graced this day we are so thankful as we look back and see the many faces and places that fill our memories. Today we made a quick trip to the movies and are relaxing, just the 6 of us, as we prepare to give thanks over a meal this evening. It’s going to be a great day. Happy Thanksgiving friends, enjoy these moments.

REVIEW: An Amish Second Christmas (book)

About Tricia:
This is my second season reading and promoting with Tricia Goyer. I have grown to love not only her books, but her story. Tricia is mom to 6 children and has 2 grandchildren as well. Her heart for mentoring teen moms and families has led her to encouraging and supporting women via her books and speaking engagements. The love and support she felt from those around her gave her the fuel to eventually co-found Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Montana.

An Amish Second Christmas:
I am currently reading An Amish Second Christmas which is a series of 4 novellas folded neatly into one beautiful book. Tricia’s contribution is the fourth novella, Christmas Aprons. Each story features strong women, faith and a little bit of romance as well. As an extra touch there are recipes that accompany the book, making this an excellent book club option. Full of interesting and accurate details about Amish life and beautifully described snowy settings, An Amish Second Christmas is the perfect book to usher in the Holiday season.

You can find An Amish Second Christmas at Amazon (kindle version for those who love e-reading!) and other major retailers.

An Amish Second ChristmasThanks to Tricia you also have the opportunity to win either An Amish Second Christmas OR A Christmas Gift for Rose. Two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Thanksgiving day. Comment and share in the box below to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway







UPDATE: Winners have been picked at random. Congratulations to Angela Huber, winner of An Amish Second Christmas and Jennifer Smith winner of A Christmas Gift for Rose.

Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

With our beloved day of Thanks fast approaching many of us are diligently searching for healthier, whole food alternatives to the traditional fare. No cans of Campbells, no French’s crispy fries (I know, I’m ruining everything here), no jello salad. How many of you just stopped reading?

I realize we have our traditions. But here are some recipes, tried and true, that might help you start some new ones.

Green Bean Casserole from Eat the Love

Sweet Potato (Butternut Squash) Casserole from Our Nourishing Roots

Mashed Potato and Cauliflower Gratin from Epicurious

Broccoli Salad from California Country Gal

Pumpkin Pie from the Simple Moms

Notice there are not any bread recipes above. Because, well, bread is hard. And if you’re making Thanksgiving changes for the first time creating an amazing homemade bread might just do you in. Like really send you over the edge and then everyone will be hungry and cranky and spiteful instead of Thankful. So let’s skip the bread or go to a bakery this year. The Thanksgiving meal is NOT for the weak in spirit.

However, if you are really awesome and ambitious check out this recipe for maple sourdough rolls from the Nourished Kitchen.

Happy Thanks and Cooking Y’all.


The Adoption Campaign

I wrote about kindness yesterday. Which is helpful because posts like this need to come from a heart FULL of kindness and a desire to educate rather than rant.

The Holiday season ushers in many opportunities to help families and individuals in need. It’s a beautiful thing as many families are struggling rather than celebrating. However, organizations that aim to help these families, individuals and kids have chosen to use the word adoption in their campaigns. The word adoption has been made synonymous  with the word help, sponsor and support. While this seems harmless to the general population, we’ve somehow forgotten that the general population contains thousands upon thousands of adoptees.

I realize that there is no way to make everyone happy. And many who read this will think, “oh great, another PC term I have to remember.” But this is more than not being politically correct. It’s downright INCORRECT. Adoption doesn’t mean helping. Adoption is permanent. Adoption is creating a family. Adoption is hard. Adoption can be painful. Adoption is beautiful.

If you’re wondering how common the issue is, here are just a few organizations using this wording.

Schools in Sumner County- Salvation Army- Churches EVERYWHERE- City Team- Wal Mart- Boys and Girls Club of America

 I respect my children who entered our family via adoption. I respect their right to grieve, to ask questions, to be confused. I will walk with them through every step of every mess that comes our way. I will be their voice when they come home and ask if the 3-year old girl their class is “adopting” will live in their classroom. True story.

That is what happens when adoption is used incorrectly. A child who understands that adoption is forever is now being told that adoption can mean other things as well, like buying underwear for a child in need. Additionally, those kiddos we are sponsoring have PARENTS. Parents who love them enough to seek out assistance. Adoption does not pertain to these families.

Churches, organizations, schools and Friends: Please consider replacing the word Adoption in your Christmas campaigns. There are wonderful words such as help, sponsor, support and bless that will accurately express the program. Take a chance, rebrand, the results will be respectful and wonderful.


Be Kind

I had a series of experiences yesterday that left me a little hurt and a lot annoyed. After learning the news about our Pastor, see previous post, and making it through school drop off I was in a really weird emotional place.

So what do I do when faced with weird emotions? I go to Target to take advantage of the buy $50 in groceries and receive $10 off. I had coupons to stack so this was starting to seem like a really great distraction. My 3-year-old was with me so I decided to buy his silence with a snowman cookie from the Starbucks conveniently located inside the Target. Y’all know that’s a trap right? Starbucks and Target dollar bins within feet of each other? They can now guarantee that you’ll spend at least $10 before you hit the actual store.

As I settled Liam into the cart I heard another small child throwing down and thought “Thank the Lord that’s not me today” because normally… that is me. Liam gets super over-stimulated in stores, he has since the day he came home. It’s just something we deal with. The over-stimulation manifests itself in meltdowns and what looks like pure naughtiness. And people LOVE to comment, just loud enough so I can hear them. Some of my favorites are “I know a way to stop that screaming”, “That kid needs a good spanking” and the classic “I would give him something to cry about.” I’m pretty certain that if I started beating my kid in Target it would NOT make him stop crying, but thanks for the passive aggressive advice fellow Target/Kroger/Aldi shoppers.

But TODAY. Today, we had a cookie. A little snowman-shaped miracle.

As we made our way through the store the cookie went from frosted perfection to a crumbled mess that Liam started to smash everywhere. It was beginning. I took a second to remove the cookie and clean the crumbles out of Liam’s hair. Cookie crumbs and Afros do not mix friends. Then he asked to walk and I reluctantly allowed him to do this. After all, things seemed to be going well today. That lasted a few moments at most, Liam broke free from the cart and literally started sprinting through the Target. I tried to offer him the chance to make a good decision but that wasn’t even on the table anymore. So here I am sprinting through Target, people shaking their heads at me, and Liam enjoying the whole thing. And yes, more of those just loud enough to hear comments.

I finally collected my son and strapped him, screaming, into the cart. And this is how we spent the rest of our time in Target. And no. I did not leave, nor should I. If I started leaving stores every time my son had a meltdown we would never have toothpaste, or groceries or clothes… you get the picture.

Later that day Liam and I were in the car rider line waiting to get the big kids from school. The kids had successfully made it into the car and the signal was given for cars to start moving. However, the car in front and to the right of me was not moving and the door was open. This prevented me from going forward.

I waited patiently, I could see they were still getting the kids settled and it would be dangerous for me to move. A large truck behind me started to honk. I pointed to the car with the open door and the dude honked all the more and gestured back at me. I was annoyed by this time and made a face at him in the mirror and moved my hands around a little. So tough. The car in front finally moved and the truck sped around so it was beside me (remember we are in a school pick-up zone) and the guy again gestured to me and gave me “a face.”

So why am I telling you stories from my day yesterday? And I promise you, the above is a normal day for me if you add in kids fighting and one raging and cooking dinner and someone poking the dogs eye…

I’m telling you these things to remind you, not how hard my days are, but how hard days are for those around us. That guy behind me? Who knows what hardship he is carrying, what weight might be on his shoulders. The people in the store? While I want to just call them dumb and be angry I have to consider that their passive aggressive comments may be a result of deep hurt and pain.

And crap. I kinda feel bad for waving my hands around a little at the truck guy.

The Christmas season just ramps up everyone’s sadness, joy and anger all at the same time. We have an opportunity to be kind this season. KIND in the face of snarkiness, impatience, and rudeness. Not just paying it forward when you order a coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru but really seeing people and the hurt that they carry below the surface. Just try it. Assume that hard battles are being fought, because they are.



David Landrith (1963-2014)

On November 18, 2014, Pastor David Landrith finished the race that God had called him to run on this earth. This video is a glimpse of the hope he lived in.

Today will forever leave a mark on our lives as we begin to stumble through the stages of grief. While our grief would never aim to make a monument of a man, those who knew David cannot help but grieve a world without him. Our pastor could be counted on to share Biblical Truth, something that seems rare with every passing day.

So church, as we fumble around today and in the coming days… crying, being together, making it to the grocery store… let us not forget the words our pastor led us with. Let us not forget the promises. Jesus has healed Pastor David, and us, of the greatest sickness- sin and death.

Yes. We prayed for healing, holding nothing back, and God answered with Eternal healing. Oh, can you imagine how David Landrith was received into Heaven this morning?

Our pastor did such an amazing job preparing us, and modeling a life of hope that it would be shameful to do anything but enter the next days with a passionate desire to share that hope. I pray that as this new chapter unfolds we would be found holding each other up, that we would celebrate David’s life and teaching by continuing the work.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)

Please be in prayer for Pastor David’s family, their grief far exceeds what we can imagine. May the God of peace comfort them in this time. Let them be held when they cannot walk.

Goodbye to A Road Home. Goodbye Normal.

My contribution to the blog world has been silent for the last few months. There are times when a step into the shadows is necessary. I’ve been fleshing out what I want to contribute to the already bustling digital world, considering whether another blog on family life was even necessary. After all the pondering and melancholy afternoons I’ve chosen to move forward, communicating the most honest space we’ve ever lived in.

A Road Home was a chronicle of the beautiful stories that brought our family home, Goodbye Normal embraces our daily walk through trauma, special needs parenting, faith, and you know… crafting. Because as crazy as we feel most days there always seems to be a reason to sew up some ruffled pants or paint the cupboards. That’s our weird, messy life. Goodbye Normal doesn’t embrace existing in the pit, it embraces living in the freedom of God’s promises. It embraces the realization that pushing for perfection just isn’t worth it.

I’m giving up on Normal.

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal