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With all the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives today it is so easy to lose our way. Our schedules and obligations quickly take over and we often lose sight of the simpler little joys in life that matter most.

This past week has been an emotional one to say the least…We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration with our oldest daughter home from school and her boyfriend Andrew and his parents. It was by far one of the best holidays I have celebrated in over 20 years. It is difficult for me to be so far from home and family on the holidays and this year, my heart was full! Sunday after Mass we had the privilege of taking the Eucharist to the residents at a local nursing home. We enjoy this ministry greatly and are grateful for the opportunity to share our faith with others. What fun it was to gather around the piano and watch our son play Amazing Grace as one of the residents (a former piano teacher) helped him to remember the notes! Sunday night we took our oldest son to Kansas to tour a school that he is pretty sure will be his new home and we spent the greater part of Monday on campus meeting students, professors and administrators. Parenting is such a roller coaster ride! You’re happy and proud and sad and scared almost simultaneously every single day FOREVER!!!

For months we have had a date marked on our calendar for the Stuhr Museum Christmas Past & Present Celebration. We love our time at the museum and have been looking forward to seeing the town decked out in it’s Christmas Splendor. Our oldest daughter Taylor decided to surprise everyone and come home for the weekend to spend a little time with us doing some simple holiday activities. Jackson was pretty excited when she surprised him in the middle of the day and walked into our office.

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Our night at the Stuhr Museum started off with the tree lighting ceremony as we all sang Silent Night. I looked around at the faces of strangers and my children watching as their dad lit candles on the tree and I thought THIS is how we were meant to spend our time. It was so simple and beautiful that I was moved to tears.

How did we get to where we are and how can we get back to the simplistic beauty of life and fellowship? I am not a big New Year’s Resolution maker, but this year as the end of 2014 quickly creeps up, I know that I have a new objective this coming year; an objective to SIMPLIFY.

As we make our way through this Advent season, I hope to slowdown, savor the time with my husband and kids and focus our attention on celebrating the impending birth of our Savior. Today as we read in Jesus Calling it is easy to view our obedience in attending church as observing our religion, but what God wants is for us to live with Him in our presence at all times. Welcome Him into ALL the moments of our day. Rely on our faith to guide us through the day, to help us remain focussed on what truly matters, to help us make choices, to love God above all else, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. With this simple plan, we can share Christ’s love all day.

I hope that your family is enjoying some of the simple pleasures that come along with the season of Advent and I pray that each of us will take the time to fully allow His presence in our lives.

Blessings!

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Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge

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