Tracey Haider-Sprague, a home-schooling mother of two, is also the Training Director for Small Beginnings, a Lay Ministry Training Organization in Seattle, Washington where she researches, writes, teaches and counsels. She, along with her entire family, began their low-carb lifestyle in April 2003.
Tracey posts as ‘Mamasita’ on the Talking Low Carb Forums, where she proves an inspiration for us all!
"Faith is the strength by which
a shattered world shall emerge into the light."
— Helen Keller
The lady in front of me hefted her holiday turkey onto the store's
black conveyor belt, looking a little weathered from her shopping trip.
She turned to me with a tired smile, and said, "…and this is just the
beginning!" We laughed, and gave each other knowing nods as we imagined
all the shopping that was to come in the next few weeks.
Later, I stood at the deli counter as the harried deli lady rushed from
one customer to the next, until it was my turn. As she doled out my
sliced lunch meats into small plastic bags, she struck up a conversation
with me about the holidays. As we commiserated on the upcoming work to
make the holidays pleasant for others, she said, "I would be more than
happy if we just cancelled them this year!"
I completely understand their feelings, because after years and years of
decorating and preparation, it can get old… or maybe I just got old!
Sometimes I think that the only reason I "dress up" the house is for the
kids. They love it so much and it is worth it to see them get so excited.
As my kids get older, I would expect certain traditions to start losing
their appeal; but to my surprise, there are things the children want to
see and hear over and over, without fail. Heaven forbid I should neglect
to read them their favorite story, or forget their favorite food or game!
I'm wondering if they will appear on my doorstep someday, married with
children, expecting the same goodies and the same stories as they had when
they were children.
I would like to share some particularly good stories I've read to my children
over the years. Each book has Chanukah as its theme, but the lessons taught
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Written by Eric Kimmel; Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
As the title implies, it sounds more like a ghost story for Halloween, but it
is one of my children's favorite books. Every night of Chanukah, they make me
sit on their bed and read it to them. I give each character its own peculiar
voice: growling, whimpering, sneaky, squeaky and just plain mean and nasty.
As the story opens, Hershel of Ostropol wanders into a little village, hoping
to join in the Chanukah celebration. Instead, he finds the town dark, and the
people tense with fear. As he comes across the villagers, he learns the old
synagogue at the top of the hill has been overrun with goblins. These monsters
sabotage and destroy all attempts to observe the festival. Menorah lights are
blown out, latkes are flung to the floor, and dreidles are broken to bits.
Hershel, feeling someone has to do something, announces, "I'm not afraid of
goblins. Tell me how to get rid of them."
The town rabbi warns him of the dangers, but tells him what he must do to rid
the synagogue and the town of the beasts. Given some meager supplies, Hershel
sets off, up the hill, to do the impossible.
The rest of the story is engaging, as the goblins try to manipulate, trick and
threaten Hershel each night that he stands guard over the Chanukah lights. The
illustrations throughout are both scary and funny.
Eventually, his final battle of wits is with the King of the Goblins, who gets
his just reward.
The story is funny, exciting, and sends a message of hope and light. I would
strongly recommend this for children five and up. My only reservation is that
some children can be easily frightened, so it would be up to the parent to
screen the illustrations prior to showing them to their particular child.
The Story of Hanukkah
Written by Norma Simon; Illustrated by Leonid Gore
Beautifully illustrated, The Story of Hanukkah is both educational and
entertaining. It remains faithful to the ancient tale of the Jewish peoples'
fight to rid themselves of tyrannical Antiochus of Syria. The story can be read
by a parent to a small child, as there are full-color, full-page illustrations
on every other page. An older child may want to read it on their own.
Instructions on how to play the dreidle game, a recipe for potato latkes, and
the Hebrew calendar are displayed in the back of the book. I keep this book up
and away from our kids, as I want to keep it nice from year to year. We pull it
down and read it the first night of Chanukah and it helps to prepare their minds
(and mine!) for the coming week.
Light the Lights!
Written and Illustrated by Margaret Moorman
As controversial as this subject may be to some people, there are many families
who share not one faith, but a mix of two. This book is for those who celebrate
both Chanukah and Christmas, and wish to find a book that represents their
particular combination of traditions.
The story follows a young girl who helps her father prepare for Chanukah. She
helps him polish the family menorah, and then lights its candles night after
night with her parents. There are family get-togethers, complete with the dreidle
game and Chanukah gelt. As the days go by, the menorah is put away, and soon
the Christmas ornaments are taken out and a tree is purchased and decorated,
all in the midst of family celebrations.
Simply written, with many warm illustrations, this book would be suitable for
the youngest child. There are enough pictures that it would be no problem to
interject your own explanations by just looking at the illustrations presented.
I sincerely hope that you have a meaningful and delightful holiday complete,
with good food, good company and good memories for you and your children.
Copyright © December 2003 Tracey Haider-Sprague and Low Carb Luxury