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Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter 2017

When Nora and her Mom let me help to die these eggs in the days before Easter, and every time the eggs got hidden and hunted, I was reminded of all the years of Easter excitement and egg hunts with Nora's Daddy, Ben, and his brothers followed by our grandchildren as they arrived one by one to fill all our lives with the joy of doing things together.  I remembered our first son's first Easter.  He was only 3 months old on April 14, 1968,  so Joe and I were proud to share our new son with his grandparents and aunts and uncles. I remember sewing Easter outfits for him that got handed down to his brothers and handing down the things we did together to celebrate Easter and other holidays as well. With each new son, it seemed the traditions expanded and became richer.

At the time those traditions begin, we did not plan ahead for doing it over and over again, but I am glad we did. I am thankful that we included the larger elements of gathering with family and worshipping as part of these celebrations. I find deep satisfaction in "doing it again" with my grandchildren. I am thankful that our sons and their wives have loved these traditions and continue them while adding their own!

Funny how colored eggs tell such a story!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Every year I watch for my first sight of redbud trees beginning to bloom.  Along with fruit trees like peach and pear that blossom early,  and narcissus spears pushing up to sport their fragrant white blooms plus bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers, these heralds of the coming of Spring precede the calendar date in our area and bring a smile to my face and gladden my heart. In the woods of Northeast Texas where Joe and I grew up, dogwood spreads its blooms in dark piney woods also.  I do not see dogwoods here in South Texas, but I always include them when I think about this season,. Long before Easter eggs and pastel Spring clothing, these flag my attention and lift my spirits, particularly this year when Easter comes in mid-April.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

Nora competed with the best in her age group for egg gathering this morning, her first egg hunt to enjoy since she was barely 1 year old last year. Our church in Richmond, Texas has a prayer garden centered on one of the oldest and biggest oak trees in South Texas. Our early service for Easter is always in the garden, weather permitting and today's weather was beautiful.  After that service, which is very much geared to children, we gather across the street for breakfast of egg casseroles, fruit, cereal, donut holes and families who have not seen each other for a long time catching up.  This is followed by the egg hunt, with older and younger children hunting in separate areas, and then we all go to a 10:00 a.m. Easter service that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. We have been part of this congregation for 24 years, and we always look forward with anticipation to the parts of this schedule that are the same and we always experience something new in the worship led by our pastor and music ministry.

Nora holds a basket that is a small picture of this old and familiar coupled with new experience.  She is carrying her happily retrieved eggs in the Easter basket that was mine when I was her age! Something that was loved and passed down and kept. Our Easter traditions are a bigger picture of that for me, and of course so much more important.  I am grateful for old stories and new ones, and most of all for the most powerful gift and story of all time, of Jesus' life and death and resurrection.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nora was only a few weeks old last Easter, but this year she proudly walked around for all to see her Easter outfit!  Her Dad held her proudly as he brought her into our church's Easter breakfast wearing all the special clothes her Mommy had assembled for her. We were amazed how long the hat stayed on her dark haired head.  Later, at home when her shoes and stockings were given up for sweet bare feet, her hat traded for bunny ears. I looked around at the gathering her parents had assembled - fond grandparents, aunts, uncles, and proud cousin, and remembered a sweet line from a Fernando Ortega song called "This Time Next Year."

"... hold her high, because we are lifted in her laughter!"  

posted with gratitude to Ben and Kristen and Nora, and also to Nora's other grandmother, Desiree, who outdid herself cooking our Easter brunch. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter 2014

In recent years, Lent resolving into Holy Week and Easter has become rich with ritual and remembering for me, but it is always a time of remembering  Easters in the 1940's, when I was a little girl.

  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, April 4, 2013

Eggs and Easter

Dozens of suggestions for decorating eggs, complete with pictures and directions, are offered during the weeks before Easter.  I am glad my granddaughter agreed with me that the old fashioned water, vinegar, and food coloring in a cup method is still the best.  Skye spent Good Friday with me, so we added egg coloring to our time in the kitchen. She enjoyed doing all the mixing and color concoction and so did I.
Every cup held magic and every egg was unique. Even the vinegar smell shouted "Easter!"
We boiled extra eggs to have plenty for deviling.
I am pretty sure we will be having other egg dishes too: maybe egg salad, spinach salad with boiled egg slices.
                                               Perfect!  (Tiny cracks don't spoil the pleasure.)

                                                All sizes welcome!  Beautiful.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

All the Easter Dresses

One of the many things I love about this time leading up to Easter is the re-emergence of color as seeds sprout and flowers return to bloom.  When I was growing up in East Texas, the dark wintertime evergreen woods began to dot with dogwood and redbud trees. Daffodils and narcissus and azaleas drifted across front yards. And little girls and their mothers planned Easter dresses!  I am not sure the above photo was the Easter dress the year I was three, but it might have been.  And it would most certainly have been made by my mother on her Singer sewing machine although I suspect the crocheted lace on that collar would have been crocheted by my grandmother.

Stitches in Time

at Christmastime I hang a wreath, braided circle of  cloth
 made almost half a century ago from scraps found in my fabric stash
one strand of the braid is green velvet
bits left from creating a dress
with beaded cummerbund that circled my then tiny waist
a second strand cut from scraps of snow white brocaded cotton
my high school graduation dress
woven  with the green and white is red corduroy,
my first maternity dress
there would have been nothing left to make the wreath if not for first
the sewing
and the clothes.

I remember sundresses, circle skirts with petticoats, pleated skirts,
tucked blouses, mandarin jackets, peter pan collars,
puffed sleeves, vests, and weskits
a squaw dress and a poodle skirt
all made after I helped pick a pattern
Simplicity, McCall's, Vogue
you even collected last year's pattern books
from fabric shops where we bought
yards of gingham, calico, organdy, dotted swiss,
eyelet, dimity, poplin, corduroy, worsted and flannel

I remember plaids, checks, polka dots and stripes
pin-wale, herringbone, and tweed
one of a kind made just for me
a red checked dress for a play
always a new dress for first day of school
pink eyelet with ruffles for my piano recital
black suit with red velvet bow for my ride
 in the parade as a duchess
school dresses and play clothes
Sunday clothes, Easter outfits, nightgowns

I remember prom dresses -
clouds of billowing scarlet chiffon,
net the color of hyacinths, shiny satin
pale pink organza, and creamy peau de soie
bolts of rustling taffeta and black velvet
sacks of heavy ribbon and lace
measured with a yardstick on a cutting table
in a shop that was more fun than a candy store
by then I could sketch my dress and it happened!

I remember hours you spent preparing cloth, spreading it
with tissue patterns, cutting with pinking shears
the love that bent you over the humming Singer
with its one tiny bright light
when you said “let's try this on” and tucked
at my waist or lengthened a hem
I don't remember smiling and saying “thank you”
I hope that I did
 I did learn to sew

 I remember when I designed and made my wedding dress
you were proud to help me sew on pearls
I remember writing letters to tell you how my 3 little boys
played when I tried to sew
one standing behind me with his arms
around my neck

And when my granddaughter wanted a princess gown
we picked out a pattern and she helped me cut and sew
I remembered how you made me feel like a princess.
Sad only because you could no longer remember any of it.

Mary Ann Teal Parker  March 23, 2013
Written for my mother, Opal Auntionette Terrell Teal
who suffered from Alzheimer's the last years of her life,
 and died in 2006, one month short of her 93rd birthday

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm Here!!

Each year, one of my favorite harbingers of Spring is the sudden appearance of Redbud blooms on the gray scraggly branches of what has been an almost unnoticed small tree in someone's backyard or the woods along the road.  In the Piney Woods of East Texas where my husband and I spent our growing up years, the first blooms seemed to signal to dozens of other early blooming trees that it was Spring again. The woods lining the highway between Jacksonville, Texas and my grandparent's smaller town of Bullard seemed to come alive in a patchwork of wild plum, dogwood, and various shades of purple from the Redbud trees. We see fewer here south of Houston, but the fact that they bloom even earlier in the slightly balmier climate makes them stand out even more.  The first blooms bring my biggest smile.  I like being reminded of the joy they brought me as a child.  And they bring fond memories of my mother and daddy and grandparents who first taught me to watch for them.

The Redbuds are blooming.  Easter is on the way.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Eggs

Old habits die hard.  I know that most of the Easter baskets have wonderful plastic eggs with sweet treats inside.  But I hold fast to the tradition of dipping hardboiled eggs into color baths made with vinegar.  All these years, and it is still magic when the eggs come up out of the murky liquid that smells like pickles.  Skye, Maddie, and Jordann colored these eggs and not one is the same as another.  They are all beautiful and unique, just like the little girls who decorated them.  I was tempted to boil another dozen eggs just to get to watch.  Thanks, girls for letting me have the fun with you, and for the memories the sight and smells bring back.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Now You See Them, Now You Don't

Spring to Texans includes watching for the mounds of Bluebonnets which begin to beckon.  This year, the Bluebonnets have been both plentiful and beautiful, a result of the perfect combination of rain and temperature.  But they were 3 to 4 weeks  earlier than usual.  Before some folks  had made their way out the stretches of Texas road that are usually the best for photographing the spreading quilt of early wildflowers which include Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, the showiest patches of them were already beginning to seed and fade. I have heard people say these lovely blooms, the Texas state flower, were the best this year they have ever seen.  The blanket of blue in this photograph was only a few miles away from my home, and just down the street from my son's house.  The developer of this neighborhood had the forethought and insight to sow bluebonnet seeds and avoid mowing them before they had a chance to bloom.  We might never have made it an hour's drive out to see the country bluebonnets, but these town flowers got the same result - Wow!

It is traditional to take pictures when the Bluebonnets are in full bloom.  Here are a few we took while Maddie and Jordann were visiting a couple of weeks ago!  The Bluebonnets are almost gone, but the little girls are coming back for Easter! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Harvesting Bok Choy

Maddie and Jordann hunted Easter Eggs this weekend, but they also helped their Dad harvest the late Bok Choy crop in our garden.  Now I am hunting recipes to add to our family favorite, Bok Choy salad tossed with sunflower seeds, almonds, and toasted Ramen noodles drizzled with a spicy soy vinaigrette.  This is not a vegetable that freezes well, so we will share some as well as having stir fry and trying bok choy kim chee.
This year, the girls have their own vegetable and herb garden at their house so stay tuned for more "girls in the garden" pictures.