Russell and Bode Family Dentistry
Two months ago, as the Holiday Season approached, I asked each team member to prepare a blog post about what the holidays mean to them. The posts could include a favorite tradition, a favorite recipe, an expression of thanks, a reflection of the past year, or simply provide some holiday cheer. I have enjoyed them all.
I get to go last.
I am thankful for our patients. I am thankful for the opportunity to provide care for our community. I am thankful that we get to help people – even in very small ways – each and every day. That is what matters. That is why we show up.
In order to provide exceptional patient care, you must have an exceptional team. We do. When you have a great team the rest falls into place. Conventional wisdom tells us that as business owners we must keep a certain professional “space” between ourselves and our employees…that we all should keep our personal lives out of the office. Well, I disagree. I want to know the highs and the lows. I want to be there to support our team. I want them to know me. To know my family. To know what matters to me. To know when I’m happy. To know intuitively when I’m not and maybe need a little support myself. That’s team. That’s community.
I am thankful for Judy. She is a mother to three girls, a grandmother, and the perfect person for “girl-parenting” advice. I am so glad she came into my life.
I am thankful for Belinda. She encourages me to be great. She challenges me to be a better boss and a better leader. Her skill, knowledge, class, and judgement allow me the freedom to “do what I do.” I trust her implicitly. She is kind, loving, and compassionate. She hates it when I say this, but…she is a second mom to both Steve and I. And I cannot think of a bigger compliment.
I am thankful for Tina. She is also a mother to three teenage girls. I chuckled when her girls picked her up a couple weeks ago because I know that’s me in a little more than a decade. I admire how she goes about her business every day – both personally and professionally. She makes me think and pushes me to be a better dentist.
I am thankful for Walter…father, grandfather, a steadying force for me for the last decade, one of the most reliable people I know, my confidant, my friend.
I am thankful for Sonya and Alyssa. They are so different, but will also always be connected. We have grown together as people and professionals. Along with Walter, they have been there every day of my career. I am grateful for ten years of loyalty and trust and friendship. Both ladies are tremendously important to me.
I am thankful for Sonya. Over the last ten years, I’ve spent more time with Sonya than anyone besides my wife. She is organized, meticulous, and driven. She excels at everything I’ve ever asked her to do.
I am thankful for Alyssa. She is often my life coach. Her perspectives and experiences regularly differ from me. Knowing her has helped me become more compassionate, more empathetic, and generally a better person.
I am thankful for Jennifer. She is loyal, genuinely caring person. I can count on her for anything.
I am thankful for Pam. She is simply one of the kindest people I know. Her compassion and empathy should be an example to us all.
I am thankful for Kami. She is my Editor-in-Chief, a woman who truly speaks my language. She understands me even when I am not making any sense. I am grateful for her counsel.
I am thankful for Sarah. I am thankful for Sarah’s love of 80’s music. I admire her devotion to her community, her family, and especially all the kids in school. We need Sarah – and more people like Sarah – on our school boards and helping our educators lead our children.
I am thankful for Hailey. We have missed you so much. Her spirit is uplifting and she makes the whole office a better, happier place.
I am thankful for Amanda. She is also a mother to three girls. I spend more time chair-side with Amanda than anyone else. We talk kids, parenting, and we support each other. She is always positive, she is always happy at work. No matter what else is happening around us, she is always present and uplifting. She really carries me on the days I need it.
I am thankful for Katie (and her dogs). She makes my days more fun. I admire her work-ethic, selflessness, and devotion to her family. She just makes me smile.
I am thankful for Kelsey. Her sense of humor instantly made our office more fun. Her love for life is contagious. And I can safely say that the entire office if thankful for Kelsey’s baking. Her treats are amazing!
I am thankful for Joey. Her passion and enthusiasm for patient care and for her community are uplifting for the entire office.
I am thankful for Lauren. I am so excited to have her as part of the team. She has already proven to be a wonderful addition. I look forward to getting go know her better.
I am thankful for Chris. Although he is not an “official” part of the team, he is definitely part of my team. He has provided me with support, wisdom, encouragement, and friendship for the past ten years. I am blessed to work with him.
I am thankful for Matt D., Mike R., and Steve C. for their expertise and their continued support and friendship.
I am thankful for Steve. He is quite simply the finest dentist I know. I am a happier man because of our partnership. He gives me freedom and unconditional support. He carries with him a tremendous amount of responsibility as a son, husband, father, dentist, friend, and boss…and he does it all with grace and an unmatched professionalism. I rely on Steve in a way that I rely on no one else.
I am thankful for my family and friends – new and old – especially Gannon and Jayme S., Ryan W., Ryan A., Joe O., Kyle W., and Jack M.
I am thankful for Steve and Karyn for loving my dog and for their friendship.
I am thankful for my dog Angus. He is just as excited to see me when I get home from work today as he was the day we got him.
I am thankful for Amanda for loving my kids. My family is grateful to you.
I am thankful for my grandmother. And I am thankful for my late grandfather. I work hard at everything I do – personally and professionally – to make them proud.
I am thankful for Lianna. Her sense of humor and kind heart bring out the best in my brother. She is a joy and a blessing for our family.
I am thankful for my brother Matt. We are on the same page. We always have been. Even when we were kids and not getting along, we were still on the same page. The rare times when we’re not, we figure it out. Every time. There is a rare honesty and integrity between us that exists because we are brothers. Nothing gets past him. Not everyone gets to have a brother, I am lucky. And I am a better man because of him. Outside of my wife, he is my single most important adult relationship.
I am thankful for my Dad. When I was about fourteen my folks remodeled our upstairs. There was an old couch that came with the house. We needed it out. And we also needed the new couch up moved up. The stairs were way too narrow. So we tossed the old couch out the second floor window. Then my Dad got out a ladder, put the new couch on his shoulders and climbed up the ladder with the couch on his shoulder and shoved it through the second floor window with minimal help at the top from my friend Jack and me. To some, the takeaway from this would be, “wow, my Dad is tough.” But for me, the takeaway was “find a solution.” Let other people worry about what “can’t be done.” Just figure it out. Thank you, Dad. Lesson learned. And the other side of my Dad is the man who taught us that “empathy is the most important word in the English language.”
I am thankful for my Mom. I am thankful for the freedom and trust she gave Matt and me. I am thankful for her giving us the confidence to make our own decisions, while at the same time providing structure and direction and encouragement. The biggest compliment I can give someone is to say that they “always show up.” Showing up means a lot more to me than just being present. My Mom always shows up.
I am thankful for my parent’s grit and resilience. Those qualities cannot be taught or coached with words and they cannot be faked. However, they can be demonstrated and they can be lived and they can be learned. I am grateful for my parent’s example.
We read “The Polar Express” almost every night during the Christmas Season (we also like the movie). “The Polar Express” is about belief. It ends with:
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
I believe that we live in a good world filled with good people. There are exceptions. There are times when the bell does not ring as loud as others. But the bell still rings for me. Always.
Merry Christmas to all!
Holiday traditions have always been very important and special to me. Spending time with my family, watching football games, cooking, baking, eating way too much, traveling across state to my parent’s cabin to enjoy the snow, sharing joy and appreciation to those I am with, but most of all celebrating the birth of Christ at the Christmas Eve candle service.
However, the holidays tend to make me sad as well; missing loved ones who have passed and sharing my children with their in-laws. My boys have grown and have families of their own; I never anticipated my reaction the first time one of my sons shared that he was going to his wife’s families for Thanksgiving Day; I cried and my heart was broken. Never had I imagined not being with my children on Thanksgiving or Christmas day.
In accepting changes in traditions I have realized how grateful I am for having my children near and celebrating the holidays with them, their wives, and my grandchildren even if it is not on the exact day of the holiday. I also realized that there are those who are without family and that I can share the day with them as well. So in accepting and creating new traditions I have learned that the holidays are full of wonderful memories to reflect on, that my mother is just a phone call away, that I have a loving husband that cooks an amazing meal, and that I am grateful for the time to share with others. I continue to give thanks to what God has put before me and look forward to making new traditions.
Wishing happiness, joy, and love for all of you during the holidays with a suggestion to think of other’s who may be alone and not to hesitate to invite a friend or neighbor over to celebrate a holiday meal or tradition with you.
My family and I don’t really have any big holiday traditions since my husband and I moved out here to Washington. But when I was back home in Maryland for Christmas last year, my mom and I made tons of different cookies. I think this will be our new tradition, even if we’re together or miles apart.
Anyways, we bought cute little tins and put the cookies in them and gave them out as gifts. Everyone loves cookies, am I right? And the one that people raved about the most were these Brown Butter Cookies. I got the recipe off of the site Allrecipes.com.
If you have a nut allergy, I’m sorry these aren’t for you L
BROWN BUTTER COOKIES
- 2 cups butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat butter over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until it turns nut brown in color. The foaming and bubbling is part of the browning process, but watch it carefully so you don’t burn the butter. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Reserve ½ cup of the butter for the frosting.
- Pour remaining browned butter into a large mixing bowl. Beat browned butter with brown sugar until the butter is no longer hot. Mix in eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat thoroughly. Mix in flour and chopped pecans. Drop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown around the edges. Cool.
- In a medium bowl, mix the reserved ½ cup browned butter with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and hot water. Beat until smooth, and use to frost cooled cookies.
- Place 1 whole pecan on top each cookies, if desired.
This has been a great year for my little family. We were blessed with our first child, a baby girl we named Leighton. The holidays have been a little extra magical so far. My husband, Ryan, and I have been talking about what traditions we would like to uphold now that we have a daughter of our own. Some traditions, she obviously can’t be a part of yet, and others will be just for us to see the joy on her face and tell her later, “We started doing this on your very first Christmas.”
Since we’ve been married we’ve inadvertently splurged on an ornament that reminds us of our year, each year. It always sparks the best memories and brings so much joy when I get to hang these on the tree. My favorite ornament, so far, is a sparkly little pineapple Ryan bought along the Road to Hana while we were on our honeymoon. We decided this will be a tradition we will intentionally continue with our daughter. This year I ordered a special ornament with her name and a beautiful design. I can’t wait for her to be able to choose her own next year, and some day be involved in deciding which one best encapsulates that year for our little family.
I didn’t expect for her to participate as much as she did in decorating the tree this year. I was trying to hurry up and decorate while she was napping but Leighton had other plans. She sat contently in awe of all the lights, which prompted me to put 9 strands of lights on the tree! I’ve got to keep my girl happy! I loved listening to her coos and showing her all of the ornaments. Although she won’t remember, she enjoyed it so much. Watching her look at the tree and “tell me about it” is a memory I will treasure.
We have a few other traditions that we want to include her in, and I am anxious to see if she decides to include herself in another tradition unexpectedly. So far, it has brought us so much holiday spirit and joy just having her along for the ride.