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!
Elijah, with some of the awesomest kids ever !
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!
Benjamin and his cousin, Isaac, after dipping their hands and feet in that frigid water
A pensive Elijah
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!
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!
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!Read More
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…
Words born in conflict,
Given a form with substance,
Words crying rivers,
Which reveal or apportion
Livings innermost secrets
The essence of a hearts most
Experience, with letters
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
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.Read More