October 31 tradition

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After years of angst about Halloween—how to avoid it, connect with townspeople through it, inoculate it, renounce it, blah blah blah, what was I so worked up about?—we’ve finally found a family tradition that we love.

On the thirty-first of October, we welcome friends who might otherwise be alone that night—mostly the unmarried women we love the most, sometimes a wife whose husband is working. When we invite them ahead of time, we don’t call it a Halloween party or a non-Halloween party. We say “Come over Monday night for hot drinks and puzzles and games.”

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We plan fun snacks like soft pretzels or caramel apples or spiced cider or hot chocolate—often something we can make together—and we fill our house with light and warmth and Jesus.

We get out ginormous puzzles and work till we finish them.

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Our children talk too much in the glow of all that adult attention, and sometimes my snacks are a bit floppy, like the year the caramel ran off the apples, but we enjoy them together—snacks, children, flops, all of the above—and we soak in the laughter and light.

It’s a tradition I can live with.

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Search “Halloween” on this blog if you want to find three previous posts on the subject when my friend Janelle and I were brainstorming back in 2012. I don’t have the heart to add the links right now.

The beautiful mug pictured above was created by White Hill Pottery, the puzzle was created by Anthony Kleem, and everything else was created by Jesus.

Giveaway: White Hill Pottery

As of Tuesday, March 3, this giveaway is CLOSED.

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I see none of you were brave enough to say “Forget the story; gimme the giveaway.” Thanks for that. You’re sweet.

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Hello there.

A week or two ago I asked you to share a cup of tea with me, and now I’d like to offer you—the cup!

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I {almost} don’t need any words at all for this giveaway; the product speaks for itself. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful handmade from clay.

White Hill Pottery is based in Virginia, run out of the basement of Darrell and Alison Hershberger. Alison does the pottery making herself; every piece is hand-thrown. Do not ask me how she manages this alongside being a pastor’s wife, a true friend, and a mother of three—she just does. She’s continually exploring new items or styles, and perfecting her existing ones.

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She and I are offering one of you readers a mug, your choice of the two. There’s a beautiful blue…

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and a rich earth brown.

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I love the textures and varied glazes Alison works into her products, and the perfect, perfect shapes. The one shown here happens to be a new shape for her. Isn’t it a beauty though? So petite in appearance, but able to hold a full 12 ounces of your favorite hot beverage. I measured.

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(Do you want this cup yet or should I keep talking?)

I was given one of Alison’s mugs last year, and I use it nearly every day. Her pottery is microwave and dishwasher safe, and like stoneware, holds the heat of your coffee. She also makes vases, pitchers, and bowls. On her White Hill Pottery website, you can take a look at the other products. {Click here.}

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Only one of you can win. But it’s Alison’s wish, and mine, that you keep her in mind when you need a new piece of pottery, or a pretty gift for a friend. She’d be happy to ship you one!

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To enter the drawing to win, please leave a comment stating WHY you think you should win, and who you think should definitely NOT win. Just kidding.

Please leave a comment with the simple recipe for a hot (or cold) drink you love. It doesn’t have to be precise, or fancy, or from scratch—Hot milk and a packet of Swiss Miss with a mound of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel works for me. Then we can get ideas from one another, you see. As we speak, the outdoor temperature at my house is negative five degrees Fahrenheit and I need to think warm thoughts.

I’m not *requiring* you to share the giveaway with your friends, but please do: we are NonSnatchers, remember? So we think of others who might want cheese. And we tell more people about Alison’s work.

I am so happy to share this chance with you. Enjoy!

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Terms, Conditions, & Disclaimers:

  • The only item available for giveaway is a mug. Chocolates, hot drinks, great books, fraying burlap, and old crate not included. Or cheese either, just in case anyone was confused about that.
  • The beverages shown above were inserted into the mugs for photographical purposes only. This pottery is brand new and has never been drunk from. I promise.
  • It’s okay if someone else in the comment section shares the idea for the same drink as yours. You can’t be an original ALL the time…
  • Persons of any gender, age, race, criminal history, religious preference, and geographical location are permitted to enter this giveaway. The only requirement is a US MAILING ADDRESS. If you live off the continent and know of a friend who wouldn’t mind storing (using) your mug for a few months until your furlough (if you win)—please enter. I’d be honored. (Your friend would too.)
  • Giveaway closes in one week, at midnight on Monday, March 2, 2015. Winner will be chosen by random.org.As of 12:00 am Tuesday, March 3, this giveaway is closed. Thanks for joining!