Comments 7

Lake Tahoe | An Anchor of Tradition

In an ever-changing world, I find myself clinging to my constants: people, places, things. As life swirls around me like a mercurial river, these things wrap me in cloaks of security. Traditions occupy a sacred nook in my heart. When inevitable changes overturn the smooth running of my life, I look to them as an anchor. Hidden in traditions lie memories, nostalgia, and reassurances of bonds forged through precious shared experiences.

One such tradition is a family trip to Lake Tahoe around Christmastime, every other year. When we make the nine-hour drive up, we almost always follow the same routine: travel with the same core group of people, stop at the same places, eat at the same restaurants, stay at the same hotels. The past two times, however, we have not followed tradition exactly as we used to. The first time we deviated from this felt particularly painful, however unreasonable that might be. “How can we be changing what we always do within something that we always do?” was the constant cry of my secret outrage.

I learned that year, how much these little traditions meant to me–how much I looked to them as a security blanket. As long as the things that never change never changed, life will ultimately be ok..or so I felt.

But as these mini-traditions crumbled into the dust of the past, I saw them revealed for what they truly were: props in the backdrop of what really mattered. What are they, after all, but remnants of a treasured past?

I’m sure that my family will continue making trips to Tahoe, and maybe we will do some of those things we “always” do. More importantly, however, may this tradition remind me of its true purpose: to bring us back to our roots, and to bind our family together in love.



On the road


Preparing for a day out in the cold and snow!

Preparing for a day out in the cold and snow!





Observation Deck from the Heavenly Gondola


Our Lodgings:

  • Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort: My family’s timeshare adventures began here, roped in by some admirable salesmanship and the allure of discounted activities [har har..]. In all seriousness though, this is a wonderful place to stay. It’s close to the lake, and there’s a convenient shuttle system that takes you directly to the ski slopes.

Recommended Stops:

  • Erick Schat’s Bakkery: We stop at this bakery every time on the way up to Tahoe. It’s nicely situated at the midway point in Bishop. They make everything from scratch, with only the freshest ingredients. It’s easy to see why this is such a popular place, as the bread really is absolutely divine. They’re known for the “Original Sheepherder Bread,” but my personal favorite is the cheese bread. I’d recommend steering away from the coffee, and spending your money only on their baked goods.
  • Heavenly Lake Tahoe: What’s a winter trip to Lake Tahoe with spending a day on the slopes? A broad spectrum of options is available here, with hills for every skill level. You can even tell your friends that you skied from California to Nevada.


  1. Natalie says

    Love your thoughts Tiff! And I affirm your search for an expression of “home” in our world. Isn’t a sense of home what we all long for? Today I find myself in the midst of boxes and finding new places for furniture, in the midst of a different bathtub and a new positioning of windows and a loss of closet space….and I experience a bit more of the pain and cost of change. I find that Nick helps me remember the value of anchors and stability through traditions and guardianship, and I find that I bring us imagination and passion and vision for the possible future. Both help me find my bearings in the unknowns of the present. I’m glad for your post as it has invited me to sit in my chair and reflect on this for myself 🙂

    I find that God often calls his people to rituals and feasts and offerings and such as a community so that they would have a full-bodied way to express that which cultivates a sense of identity, belonging, family in him, and to remember this and live out of this reality together. In our day of moving this way and that, perhaps at times out of more anxiety than intention, I find that we can easily become rootless and aimless, which robs us of the great meaning and intention and purpose for which God created us. What does it look like for us to cultivate a sense of home in Christ’s church? I think there may be a need for these kinds of covenant-community rituals and formational shared experiences, a purposeful treasuring of past stories and narratives, of “sitting with” and “sitting in” the present tensions and anxieties with one another tenderly, instead of racing past or stuffing them, and visioning for the future with hope and purpose… to stitch our fabric of life more tightly together…. ideas?


    • Yes, home is that elusive “thing” that I think we all search for, consciously or not. I love traditions that keep me rooted and create a sense of “belonging.”

      I love your point that God seems to affirm this in the establishments of rituals and the like. I think such things would look different from community to community, but it may be helpful to at least start to cultivate an awareness that they are important. Perhaps it could start with reflecting on what we currently do, why we do them, and how it ties our lives together more closely. Also, I wonder how to retain a sense of home in a church against the backdrop of people transitioning in and out. Mm..What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your photos. They’re absolutely breathtaking. I miss that trip we all took together to Lake Tahoe! That was the best, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities in the future. 🙂


  3. Pingback: Anniversaries: Why We Celebrate Them | Chus' Life

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