Saturday, November 22, 2014
I am glad we have a day called Thanksgiving. I am blessed to gather family around our table to share prayers of gratitude and a meal we have prepared together. I am also glad to practice being grateful and saying thank you every day. As part of my early morning quiet time, I keep a gratitude journal where each day I write 5 things for which I am thankful I write down what comes to mind without editing or spending too much time trying to say it well! This has been a year full of paying attention to God's good gifts, being astonished at beauty and blessings, and wanting to tell about it.* As I look through the pages of that journal and browse all the photos, I have chosen a few things to share with you from these days of 2014. I chose the photo above for the way it shows being covered. I feel covered with the love of my family and God's good grace.
I am thankful for...
my forever friend, Joe
the miracle of new life: Nora Opal, arriving this Spring
my word for 2014: Release
healing for hurting hearts
knitting lace that I started in 1973!
winter garden harvest - cabbages, cauliflower, and a tree full of Meyer lemons
Skye's love of cooking and being with me in the kitchen
fragrance of a single gardenia
lessons from seeds
Grandma's rocker near the fireplace
March 16: Maddie's 8th birthday
March 19: Nora Opal arrives!
our rose arbor in full bloom (the survivor rose, Peggy Martin)
singing songs my mother and grandmother sang to me for Nora while I rock her
our back porch
dawn sky, peaches and spun sugar
old cookbooks, heirloom recipes
morning glory blooms at my kitchen window
August 19: Jordann and her birthday doll
the warmth of copper as it catches light
handwritten thank you notes
our porch swing
glimmers from the past - old family photos
November 19: Skye is 12!
*this refers to my favorite quotation from the poetry of Mary Oliver:
Tell about it."
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Mother sewed new dresses for my sister and me, which inevitably wound up being hidden under coats as we made our way to the Sunrise Service held. in our hometown. This service was early, and happened at a place called Love's Lookout where there was a large ampitheatre formed from red rock, a WPA project. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression-era Works Progress Administration came to the hill in the 1930s and, using red rock mined from Cherokee County, built a park, picnic grounds and an amphitheater used for these sunrise services, plays and other events.
The scenic bluff which was the location of the ampitheatre was named to honor Wesley Love who in 1904 bought much of the surrounding area and planted a 600-acre peach farm. After Love's death in 1925, his wife donated 22 acres to the state for a state park. The state, however, failed to create the park and in 1934 the City of Jacksonville purchased an additional 20 acres and developed the two tracts as a city park. That's when the Works Progress Administration began its project.
In the Spring, dogwoods and other spring flowers are in bloom, making the setting even more beautiful. I remember shivering on the cold hard semicircle of rock on which we sat, but I loved this sunrise service, with its gathering of Christians from many area churches, the joy of singing "Christ Arose" and Alleluia, the feelings of newness and festivity in our Easter clothes, and our family traditions that would follow: church services at First Baptist Church, Easter Sunday dinner which would included having grandparents at our house or going to theirs. There was baked ham, potato salad, new potatoes with green beans put up in Mason jars, Jello salads and sometimes Coconut cake or pie - all homemade and delicious. I can almost smell the vinegar we used for die to color boiled eggs the day before so that we could hide them over and over again on Sunday afternoon.
Today our family includes some version of many of the same traditions as those I loved 70 years ago, but
we have added to these a deeper awareness of the season of Lent, and more intentional observance of Holy Week. Our church for 22 years now, First Baptist Church in Richmond, Texas is where we gather for services such as one we attended last night, Tenebrae. The church has a prayer garden with a small labyrinth where chairs will be set up for a Sonrise service tomorrow morning followed by breakfast with our church family served from dishes made with eggs and sausage made at home and brought as families arrive. There will be an egg hunt for children. I will sing in the choir and ring with the handbell choir as we express joy and praise with some of the same hymns I sang with my family all those years ago. Then we come back here to our house with all of our sons and their wives and children who can be here. That will include our newest granddaughter, sweet Nora Opal, who is exactly one month old and celebrating her very first Easter.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
This photograph from Town Square in Sugar Land, TX is the word "Hope" engraved into the granite surrounding a fountain containing a bronze of Steven F. Austin on his horse whose name was Hope. It is a good name. It is a powerful word.
When I write, I roll a word around in my mind as if I am tasting it. Reading a word, speaking a word, hearing a word, or writing a word can be as breathtaking as holding a lovely piece of glass to the light. I fell in love with poetry because I love tasting the words and looking at them through the light.
I delighted in my baby's first word. The first word a child reads for himself brings a sense of accomplishment for him and encouragement from others. Of course, we find meaning as we begin to string words together in thoughts and sentences, and the words used in the craft of story telling are amazing tools, but a single word when considered alone can be a source of amazement.
My English teacher in high school loved the word “murmur.” A musical friend's favorite is “alleluia.” Author and world traveler Francis Mayes says that two of her favorite words are linked together: “departure” and “time”. Poet Molly Peacock says she first fell in love with the word “joy” because ithad a circle inside! I love the word "lullaby." At the beginning of each year, I like to choose a word for that year's focus. My word for 2014 is "Release."