Molly Sabourin

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Thanksgiving 2009 in review

Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 in Reflections | 6 comments

The festivities started on Thursday morning with Divine Liturgy. From there we traveled all of five miles to my parents' house where we gathered with my immediate family and several old and new friends for some splendid food and conversation. There were a total of 32 of us, eighteen of whom were under the age of twelve. How in the world have we been so lucky, or so blessed I should probably say, to have had the privilege of getting to know so many interesting and inspiring individuals throughout the last decade? For this, I am indeed quite thankful! 

Thanksgiving 1
 Pies a la Paige and Kristy

Thanksgiving 2
My mother, totally working it with her vegetable peeler

Thanksgiving 3
Isn't my dad the sweetest?

Thanksgiving 4
Priscilla, taking her "setting the kid's table job" oh so seriously

Thanksgiving 5  

Elijah, with some of the awesomest kids ever !

Thanksgiving 7
Troy and me

Thanksgiving 8
 The scene in my parent's basement when a movie was put on while the adults ate dinner upstairs.

 

Thanksgiving 6
      Our table, set and ready

Early the next morning we headed to Michigan where my husband's parents, grandmother, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, had congregated for their own Thanksgiving feast. We missed the meal, of course, but made it in time for the annual brisk walk through his uncle's  neighborhood in the afternoon and "Twelve Days of Christmas" light display that evening. Their an amazing bunch, my in-laws – so kind, so generous, so devoted to one another. Thanks again for your hospitality, Neil and Rebecca! 

Thanksgiving 11
Getting started…

Thanksgiving 9
Elijah and his cousin, Nathaniel, looking way too grown-up

Thanksgiving10

Benjamin and his cousin, Isaac, after dipping their hands and feet in that frigid water

Thanksgiving 10
The only shot I managed to get of the "squirrelly girls" – Priscilla, and her cousins, Lydia and Anna

Thanksgiving 15
Downtown Battlecreek, all lit up and lovely

Thanksgiving 16
So much to see!

Thanksgiving 19
Little Mary, on a monument erected in memory of the Underground Railroad

Thanksgiving 22 

A pensive Elijah

Thanksgiving 20
Benji on the ever accommodating shoulders of Troy's cousin, Andrew

Thanksgiving 21
Mary again, with her best buddy, Papa

Thanksgiving 17
      The whole lot of us (or most of us, anyway)! 

From there, it was just a short drive to our godparents', with the super huge backyard, whom we spend most of Saturday with. I can't tell you what a treat that was for Troy, the kids, and me! The Frigerios were very instrumental in our conversion to Orthodoxy. Mat. Janine and I lived only blocks away from each other in Chicago where we often spent afternoons in her apartment rocking our newborns and talking, talking, talking about motherhood. We only get to see them now about once or twice a year (Father Joshua is the priest of Holy Ascension Church in Albion, Mi) but I relish whatever time we have to visit together, both with the two of them and their five fantastic children. I left refreshed and, yes,very, very grateful for their love, support and friendship!

Thanksgiving 24
Now, what could possibly be cooler than a homemade potato launcher?! 

     

Thanksgiving 25
Elijah was only too pleased to help!

Thanksgiving 26
That spud FLEW!!  Here's Elijah and Ben running out to retrieve it

Thanksgiving 27
 The weather was perfect for throwing around a football

Thanksgiving 28
…and climbing their tree house

Thanksgiving 29
Mary and Juliana stuck with dressing-up and coloring   

We finally pulled into our garage at about 9:30 pm, completely beat. What a lot of activities we somehow managed to cram into a mere 72 hours!  

Peace to you as you unpack, yourselves, and prepare your hearts and homes for the Blessed Feast of the Nativity! 

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Forgotten Gratitude

Posted by on Nov 25, 2009 in Reflections | 3 comments

Hmmm 

 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:11-19

Well, of course there are the obvious in your face ones, or what I like to refer to as, my "neon" blessings: health, family, a roof over our heads.  And then there are old friends, kindly neighbors, access to coffee and good books. There is the Church: I struggle to even begin trying to explain why I am grateful for a decision my husband and I made  back in January of 1998, when we held hands, held our breath, and took a colossal leap into the unknown by converting to Orthodox Christianity.  I never dreamed, honest to goodness, that every single aspect of my being would be so challenged (oh, mercy), humbled and, ultimately, transformed by the depth, fullness, history, Tradition, sacraments, and holiness of this ancient Faith. No words, I tell you; there are no words to explain my continuous awe of the remarkable changes that can take place within a soul bound to a Body two-thousand-years-old, washed in the blood of Her martyrs, fortified by the Holy Spirit – a Body  whose structure is still intact despite countless violent and intensive efforts to destroy Her, and the  foolishness, selfishness, yes, the sinfulness of we Her members. 

There is mercy and love and forgiveness.

There is Thai food.

There are plenty of other things, however, plenty of circumstances for which I, like the nine lepers healed, have forgotten to gives thanks. It isn't easy, but this racking of the brain to find the silver lining, the element of grace, in what from the outside appears to be but a series of either unfortunate or simply meaningless events, is one of the most eye-opening, refining processes an individual can voluntarily take part in. Developing a habit of gratitude could be life altering.     

So, hmmm, let's see, there's insecurity, loneliness, kitchen floors that won't stay clean no matter how many times a week you break out the mop; there's slander, rejection, student loans, horrific hair days; there's forgetfulness, temper tantrums and traffic jams. Oh the plentiful opportunities for being driven to our knees  in acknowledgement of our dependence on Christ for patience, courage and wisdom. I am thankful for being stretched; I'm  far less prone these days to pass judgement on anyone  because of my own flagrant shortcomings that tend to keep me in my place. I'm thankful for having to be satisfied with less. 

 Once again (I have to remind myself often, I'm sure you've noticed, to do this regularly), for all the occasions I've let slip by me to offer up gratitude and praise for what is (which is often far different, mind you, than how I wish things would be),  God, please forgive me. I ask, with fear and trembling, that in spite of my wincing and phobia of suffering, I be given not what I want, but rather what I need in order to lose myself and, in everything and everyone, find You. 

Thankfulness

by Ronald Dondiego 

I think I have forgotten something - 

something of value, something of peace 

something of the voice that echoes 

along the distant waves, along the coast 

along the shore where my heart meets the sea 


The fog rolls in, oh have mercy on me 

shine your light down upon my cloudy vision 

show me what it is I need to know 

to push like wind against this hypocrisy 

against this illusion, this masquerade ball 

where the dancers dance entranced 

by their own vanity 


Yes, indeed, I have forgotten something 

I have forgotten to say thankyou 

for this day, for these tears, for this heart 

which beats slightly off beat to the music 

of what really matters, to the stars whose voices 

le="text-align: left;">are always full of grace.


Happy Thanksgiving, all!! I'll be back on Monday. 

Forgotten Gratitude: 49 of 365

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Storm Cloud

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009 in Reflections | 11 comments

Mad mary

Every Monday morning, my daughter, Mary, has a play date at her cousin Janie's house. Mary loves play dates. And even though they bicker like an old married couple, Mary and Janie really and truly love each other. What Mary does not like is when it's 11:15 am, on a Play Date Monday – meaning her scheduled play date is officially o-v-e-r, meaning it's time for her to return to her own boring house for a rest. Yesterday, my niece, Isabelle (Jane's older sister), walked Mary the two blocks home where I was waiting for them on the porch. Why, hello little storm cloud! Welcome back! I said to my girl, my pouting, fuming little girl with the furrowed brow, green marker on her cheek and sprinkled cookie in her hand. Oh, it's hard to be four-years-old, isn't it? It's hard to be four, ten, thirty-five-and-a-half. I carried her stiff-as-a-board scrawny body upstairs to my bedroom and read her books, tickled her back until she thawed. And though there was plenty for me to do, more than enough on my plate to get accomplished ASAP,  I melted into her. Within seconds, we were both out. Oh my goodness, what a treat! What a nap! 

So, tomorrow is Wednesday! If you are not already uber-busy, planning, baking, traveling for your Thanksgiving festivities, I invite you to post on your blog a poem about gratitude (or about anything for which you are grateful) and then share it with the rest of us by linking to it HERE. Like I said earlier, reading poems is my new favorite hobby, which is why I am groveling here on my blog for your participation. I already have my own poem picked out and ready to go, along with a ridiculous photo that I guarantee will have you scratching your head and thinking, Hmmm, maybe Molly should get out more. Until then, happy packing, happy preparing, happy pondering on all of the many bold and understated blessings in your life! 

Storm Cloud: 48 of 365

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What lies beyond

Posted by on Nov 23, 2009 in Reflections | 10 comments

Perspective

There is a photography term I've learned recently called, Bokeh. Bokeh, according to Wikipedia, refers to, … the blur, or the æsthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. I am intrigued by Bokeh, trying often as of late to experiment with the capturing of it. I love how the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, blurriness in a photo makes even crisper and clearer the object or objects being emphasized in the foreground. The picture above was taken across from a cornfield about two miles from our house. I like the way the focus on these wispy, dried out weeds (are they weeds?) softens the field and trees behind them creating an illusion of depth – insinuating miles, acres, of open, untrodden space. I am fascinated by how an isolated image, peered at out of context, can defy time and place, reality, setting in motion one's imagination as they conjure up guesses as to what lies outside the confines of the photo's borders. Only I know, as the photographer, the apprehender of this specific 4×6 inch rectangular landscape, that in that actual spot you can hear cars zipping past, see baseball fields if you turn your head only slightly to the right. My familiarity with the whole of that location makes my personal observing of this "mysterious" snapshot even sweeter.  

This weekend I had the unusual privilege of being presented with multiple opportunities for becoming more acquainted with not places, but people. On Friday, there was book club, on Sunday afternoon, a lengthy coffee hour following Divine Liturgy; Sunday evening, I thoroughly enjoyed a full-on "ladies night out" (Thank you, dear husband, for all that solo parenting you performed without an uttered syllable of complaint).  There is something so always surprisingly fulfilling about spending time getting to know others better, of breaking through the restrictive barriers of "first impressions" and experiencing directly the assorted histories, senses of humor, convictions, and relatable insecurities beyond, beneath, beside them. Seriously, how exceptionally marvelous is the budding of truly edifying friendships? 

It is not poetry Wednesday, but I'm afraid that Kris, who introduced me to this whole concept of regularly  searching for and reading all kinds and styles of perceptive verse, has transformed me into a sort of poem posting monster. I'd like to leave you this morning with the following reflections of one Richard Lloyd Cederberg. I'd be very interested, by the way, in seeing some of your own favorite poems! Please join us by featuring poetry on your blogs each Wednesday and sharing a link to it on Kris's site. Blessings to you,  my old and new "compeers"! May this afternoon be peaceful and somewhat productive for all of us! 

Moved by another…

How inscrutable, 
To absorb another’s thoughts 
And let them move us 

Words born in conflict, 
Given a form with substance, 
Words crying rivers, 
Which reveal or apportion 
Livings innermost secrets 

Imagination, 
The essence of a hearts most 
Reflective insights 

Accumulated 
Experience, with letters 
Gathered together, 
Writing what’s in us to write, 
Sharing what’s in us to share 

Stress tested living, 
Heartbreak and magic pebbles 
Mixed as a potion 

To be ingested 
As pure life-giving water 
Sating us with hope 

Accepting what is, 
Standing against what we fear, 
A bridge between souls 
Unlocking the gratefulness 
That celebrates a compeer 

What lies beyond: 47 of 465

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so worth a second post in one day!

Posted by on Nov 20, 2009 in Reflections | 9 comments

Isabelle 

My niece, Isabelle

I didn't know it would go up today or else I surely would have waited to update this blog. I would have waited in order to feature it prominently, right here. But alas I didn't know and didn't wait; I found out just now it was available for downloading thus necessitating two "Close to Home" posts within 24 hours. I can assure you though, it is totally worth it!

A couple of months ago, I rented a film, kind of spur of the moment, I had heard was good but was somewhat skeptical about. I made Troy watch it with me and…well, all I can say is that it moved us both deeply. The very next night I saw it again with my sister-in-law, Paige, who agreed that the film left you longing to be a better person – a sensation I hadn't experienced from a movie in a long, long time. Paige and I begged my brother, Bobby, to watch it, hoping he'd consider it potential fodder for his Orthodox Movie Goer. He did just that (thank you, Bob!), and when I finally listened to the podcast, less than an hour ago, I was blown away by how he weaved so seamlessly his and Paige's recent tragedy with the story line of the film. I heard about the death of their baby, about the funeral, about all of it for the first time from his perspective and I longed immediately to share his reflections with you!

Click HERE, my friends, to the hear the podcast in its entirety (What's the film? Aha! You'll have to listen to find out!).  I hope it brings you peace today and renewed determination to love, love, love your neighbor. 

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