Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Sun and the Moon - Shalom!

We attended a Passover Seder dinner last night with a large family and it was nothing short of amazing. You may ask, “What, are you Jewish?” and I’d have to reply, “it’s part of my roots.” Many people are unaware that Passover is the foreshadowing of what we call Easter. I’m just going to give you a couple of highlights of what made the night incredible for me.

I had just recently connected on FaceBook with the girl who was my neighborhood friend through elementary school and junior high. Her family included me in all their Jewish celebrations and I remember being totally fascinated. Yesterday, the gates of my memory opened wide and I recalled in sweet detail so many special moments with her family.

The dinner last night was held on a lanai overlooking the bay with an outdoor fireplace taking the nip from the air of a beautiful spring evening. As the full moon rose over the bay, we were awestruck. Someone shared that we follow the Gregorian calendar, introduced by Constantine, and it's governed by the movements of the sun. On the other hand, the Muslim calendar is governed by the moon. But the Hebrew calendar, God’s calendar, is governed by both the sun and the moon. Fascinating!

I have so much to learn and I LOVED the experience of the Passover Seder dinner. The children in attendance enjoyed it too and they contributed so much to the joy of celebrating God’s amazing grace in delivering HIS children; yesterday, today and forever. Shalom.

Friday, March 26, 2010

If I were...

I saw this meme over at Ballerina Girl's and enjoyed meeting her friend, Fancy Horse, while pondering my answers. I think it's fun and whimsical, while giving you a glimpse into my mind and heart.

If I were a month, I’d be April. (spring is my favorite season)
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Tuesday. (Tuesday’s child is full of grace.)
If I were a time of day, I’d be 10 am. (Not too early, not too late. Alert and anticipating the possibilities in the day.)
If I were a planet, I’d be Venus. (Loved the book “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars)
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a dolphin. (Fun with a friendly smile)

If I were a direction, I’d be up.
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be a comfortable reading chair.
If I were a liquid, I’d be raspberry tea. Hot or cold, just depends on the mood.
If I were a gemstone, I’d be a ruby.
If I were a tree, I’d be an oak. (A nice shade tree with swings and a treehouse for reading.)

If I were a tool, I’d be a pen. (My life is a letter written for all to read.)
If I were a flower, I’d be a daisy.
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be sunny.
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a baby grand piano.
If I were a color, I’d be golden.
If I were an emotion, I’d be happy.

If I were a fruit, I’d be a Florida orange.
If I were a sound, I’d be a shofar.
If I were an element, I’d be water.
If I were a car, I’d be a Lexus SUV.
If I were a food, I’d be popcorn.
If I were a place, I’d be the beach.

If I were a material, I’d be cotton.
If I were a taste, I’d be butter.
If I were a scent, I'd be the smell of fresh-baked bread.

Feel free to participate in this meme. There are no rules…just the way I like it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Rest of the Story...

Monday's post on storytelling was inspired by the daffodils I showed you a couple of weeks ago that are blooming by my patio. My mom had insisted I take the bulbs several years ago when we were closing up LouLou's house. She dug them from the flowerbed, explaining these bulbs had been passed down for generations in our family. I confess I looked at her with skepticism.

In search of the rest of the story, I recently asked my cousin who is up on family history about this story and much to my surprise, this is his response: "Yes indeed, there's a story. Ann Dupont Buyck, after the loss of her husband, Augustine, came to Alabama in the early 1830's with her daughter, Eliza Spiegner and her son Edward Leo Buyck who was married to Margaret Hoffman (whose mama was Julianna DeBardeleben) Her last act before she left St. Mathews, S. C. was to dig those daffodil bulbs and bring them to their new home near Titus, Alabama...they have been distributed through the years and I know they are in Opp in two places and at Pleasant Hill at Blackthistle. So glad you have them too...they are hardy little souls!"

It seems my blog title is more meaningful than I imagined! So off I go to dance with the daffodils today. You can make up your own tune and join right in...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Storyteller’s Daughter

I've been in touch with a cousin this past week, discussing our family genealogy. He has spent untold hours tracing the branches of our colorful family tree. The colorful part is accentuated by his uproariously funny storytelling ability. I’ve been reflecting on that gift the past few days.

I recently read The Storyteller’s Daughter by Saira Shah, a tale of an Afghan woman who was raised in England but developed an insatiable thirst to taste and see the wonders of her homeland for herself. (Not surprisingly, the actual experience was a harsh world away from the poetic descriptions of her father.) Her story contributed to my thoughts about the historical importance of storytelling.

It takes very little prompting to get my mom rolling with retelling family details and exploits. She loves that I’ve at last become interested in listening and she encourages me to write them down. She was an elementary school librarian and I suspect she’s remembered by many of her students as the queen of storytelling.

I think blogging is a modern version of storytelling. As important as oral traditions have been in anthropology, there are inherent shortcomings. Important truths can be lost in translation and are only one generation shy of being lost forever. Have you ever considered that your blog is making history? A humbling thought. I sort of want to make a print book of my blog but haven’t taken the time to do it.

Make no mistake about it, the verbal storytelling tradition continues loud and long in our family. My cousins, my mother, my offspring and I have this attribute. Our listeners may consider it more of an affliction than an attribute. We’ve been accused of not only embellishment but even fabrication. No way, I say, couldn’t be, who me?

Which brings to mind Dr. Suess, one of my favorite storytellers of all time;
“Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!
Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot,
and left all alone in some punkerish place
like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.
Thats why I say "Duckie!
don't grumble! don't stew!
some critters are much-much,
oh, ever so much-much,so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Since today's the day to honor our Irish ancestors, (I figure most Americans have a dash of this and a dash of that), I wanted to learn something new about St. Patrick. In case you don't know, he lived from 385- 451 A.D. - in a time when putting on your breastplate might have been the difference between living or dying on any particular day.

I often feel like I'm in a daily battle, how about you? I love the scripture about putting on the armour of God, but I confess I don't always conciously do it, as important as it is.

Anyway, St. Patrick was a missionary bishop whose preaching transformed ancient Ireland. Patrick was called supernaturally, in a dream, to leave his Christian village in England and proclaim Christ amid murderous Druids and slave-traders. Knowing he faced torture, enslavement and death daily, he needed a strength that comes only from living in the presence of God.

His famous prayer--known as "Patrick's Breastplate"--can have an amazing effect in strengthening us today.
"I arise today through the strength of heaven, Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left. Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of' every man who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me, May your mighty salvation, Lord, be ever-present with me."

Peace, my friends.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two More Years in a Few More Blinks

I've passed my two year anniversary for blogging and when I read Sandy's post today, offering Link Love, I thought it a bit ridiculous that I couldn't seem to come up with a favorite post. Really? Do I think so little of my writing? Maybe. (That's not a line to manipulate you to say something nice - I think we are all just a wee bit critical of our own efforts at lots of things.) However, as I read through old posts, I saw a distinct thread in my favorites - they're about realtionships - with family, with friends, with God.

I wrote the words below about 2 years ago, and can't believe how thankful I am for what has transpired as Cupcake went off to a school that was not her first choice. It still amazes me how some of the days (and nights!) can pass so slowly and yet the years just whiz by. He orders our steps...

In the spring of 2008 I wrote...

It hit me this week that my baby will be moving out in 3 months. People have asked me what I will do with an empty nest and I have just laughed and said, “I’m pretty sure I won’t be bored.” Now I realize that flip answers won’t cover the absence my heart will feel.

Tonight I found comfort in reading the words of an old friend who loved my Cupcake deeply. I found her legacy recorded on the website of the college Cupcake will be attending. Concidence? I don’t think so. The Curto Collection is a wonderfully written history, but it is a reminder to me that love is eternal. Jo Curto has moved to heaven, so I have not visited with her in quite some time. She writes, “Until I quietly slip away while explaining the “s” form of the verb and join those others who loved TCC in that Great Classroom in the sky, I will continue to count my blessings, not the least of which is the opportunity to feel needed and to belong.” I feel like I have visited with her tonight after reading her papers online. I bet she would have written an addicitive blog had she had that opportunity.

Jo was the kind of neighbor you dream of having. Her door was always open but she was never intrusive. She would watch our kids in a pinch with no notice. She was intelligent, funny, kind, strong and altogether fascinating. She was the one who entertained our older children when Cupcake was born and then brought them in to meet their new sister. She became “Nana Jo” to Cupcake - I had always loved the name “Nana” and she happily went along with that. Of course I knew she had her docotoral degree, was a professor and a published author, yet she was very unassuming and never wanted to talk about herself. I am not surprised now to learn that she was a prolific author as well as mentor to many budding writers.

Her writing has reached through time and space to comfort and encourage. I am reassured to know that as Cupcake moves away, she will be living in the shadow of Jo’s legacy. Jo describes the college saying, “TCC is not its publications, not its programs, not its technology, not its buildings, but its heart and soul are the people, from administrators with awesome responsibilities to young people with faith that TCC will help them overcome fears and doubts, realize their dreams, and meet their needs.” Thanks for everything, Jo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ciao! Get Packed for Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites, hosted by Hillary at The Other Mama was so much fun last week, I’m jumping in again.

One of my favorite things to do is travel. I’ve always loved it, ever since I was a child in the back of the station wagon riding through strange towns and imagining what living there would be like. This week, our son came over to see us (his lovely wife was working) and showed us photos of a recent surf trip he took to Costa Rica with one of his fire station buddies that used to be a pro surfer. His travelogue spiked my travel fever. All our children caught the travel bug too. (Cupcake is in Blowing Rock skiing on her Spring Break this week!)
Its really hard to pick a FAVORITE destination to tell you about… it’s a bit like asking about my favorite song or my favorite book. HOW do you choose? However, I will say that the day I spent on the Amalfi Coast in Italy is at the top of my list of perfect days.

My mom wanted to give me a cruise of my choice for my 50th birthday and I’ve always wanted to go to Greece. So I picked a Mediterranean Cruise. The one I wanted to go on started in Barcelona, Spain and actually didn’t go to Greece, but we liked the route better. What a great choice!

Because we only had ONE day on the Amalfi Coast, we hired a private guide and it was so perfect. Roberto picked us up at our ship and off we went to see some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever laid eyes on. And the food… Oh. My. Gosh. No more talking… let’s start the tour!

Cupcake is holding the biggest lemons I've seen in my life. They were preparing for olive harvest - that was interesting to see.

The vistas were breathtaking.

I think the lunch we enjoyed perched on a mountside in a tiny Italian village was the single best meal I’ve ever eaten. This was just the main course. Pizza was one of the appetizers! I thought New York City's pizza was phenomenal but this was star-gazing amazing!
We celebrated my mom's birthday that day- this was our guide, Roberto. He was from the town of Amalfi and loved his job!

Our walking tour of Pompeii was absolutely fascinating. This ancient town was buried under volcanic ash from the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., so it is amazingly well-preserved.
It was so hot and we were totally exhausted at the end of the hike. Thankfully, my Mom had stayed with Roberto. I literally threw my shoes in the trash at the end of the day as they were utterly ruined.
We cleaned up for another lovely dinner on the ship. My husband had not wanted to go (can't imagine!) so it was a girl trip with my two daughters, my sister and my mom.

This was just ONE day of a 7 day cruise! Have I mentioned one of my favorite things to do is travel? Thanks for stopping by. Ciao!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blowin' In the Wind

I wonder if I’ll ever truly overcome being led by my emotions. Life can be a real roller coaster ride for me. Sometimes I feel like my emotions have picked me up by the back of the neck and slung me around like a rag doll in a pit bull’s mouth. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, congratulations! I’ll just tell ya – it can be exhausting.

This morning, I got up determined to conquer the general malaise that had plagued me for several days. I heard the sound of rain and the heater running and thought, “I’m going for a run anyway!” I’ve been a slacker with my exercise routine and I know that’s as important for mental health as anything. Not to mention that Rosebud is looking a little too much like her Nanna. She and I are both sporting rolls, but on her they are so cute. On me, not so much. You’ve got to know it’s therapy for me to share photos of her so here’s to a healthy indulgence:Now the sun came out, there’s a warm breeze blowing, I’m clicking along on my worklist to the point I determined I deserve 15 minutes for blogging and spring is in my soul. Now if I can just outrun that bulldog….

Monday, March 8, 2010

Driving Miss Louise

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day. I cleaned off the patio furniture, a wrought iron set I got from LouLou, and settled in with a book. I looked over and saw that the daffodil bulbs I’d brought from LouLou’s yard years ago had popped up and were waving happily in the breeze. My thoughts took a jog on memory lane as I began to think about what she would have been doing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

LouLou was far too frugal to have a driver or a maid. However, the movie “Driving Miss Daisy” still evokes some accurate images of my diminutive southern grandmother and one of her favorite pastimes.

Though she drove her car until she was well into her 90’s, her brother was usually the one who “carried” her to see the farm, an unhurried afternoon ride to tour the countryside. As a child, I didn’t enjoy those car rides that seemed to lack a destination or purpose. They consisted of leisurely drives on rural roads and quiet conversation..
The convoys of bikers who tour around together on sunshiny days are the closest resemblance I can come up with to the “riding” tradition of a bygone era. They stop together for refreshments and I can just imagine LouLou sharing a co’cola and conversation with the leather-clad group, as she never met a stranger. I’m sure she would have charmed them and left them with a lasting impression of an energetic, interesting and happy lady.

As an adult, I learned to enjoy this old tradition of “riding”, especially on a pretty day.
In more recent years, I "carried" (that was her word for it- is that a southernism?) LouLou to Wendy’s, which was in another town altogether, for a Frosty, one of her favorite treats. The opportunity to hear LouLou’s recollections and enjoy her observations was always time well spent. She savored life, living with open eyes, an open heart and mind and a generous spirit.

Now I understand that the destination and purpose of “riding” was tied into relationship and had little to do with a physical place. Ah, LouLou, you taught me so much.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fresh Smiles for Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites is a new (just started today) blog carnival hosted by The Other Mama. I love the theme… it’s open enough to allow room for creativity & randomness. Thanks, Hilary! I've just been introduced to her and I'm charmed.

I was just thinking this morning about how a childlike sense of wonder is one of my favorite things. I just learned today that Rosebud has started waving and clapping this week!! No small accomplishment, as it signals that she’s ready for even more fun with her Nana (me!). A trip south to see her has just gone from important to urgent.

So today, I’m sharing my favorite little person who brings, joy, laughter and a fresh sense of wonder into my life. While I’m speaking about favorites, my daughter, Uncommon Blonde, blogged this week about “Ifs and Whens” and wrote, "I'll focus on what’s good about today. Whether it be tiny smiles, or lunch with a friend - a delicious meal, or a long talk with someone beloved - a favorite tv show or a good laugh -- these are all the gifts of every day that pass us by if we don't stop and unwrap them." Her sentiments make me smile because that's as good a defintion of living with a sense of wonder as I can think of. Here are fresh smiles for Friday:

And since Hilary was sharing about her favorite activity of shopping deals for her children, I have to add that I hit the “FairyTale Sale” last Saturday, which is hosted twice a year by the Seven Chicks and it was so much fun. I bought about 7 outfits and the “Eight Silly Monkeys” book and had a blast.
Life is Good.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Big Box of Chocolate

People are sometimes like a box of chocolates. There's lots of varieties and colors and some are amazing. Others....well, not so much. There's the inevitable encounter with the ones that appear to be fabulous but leave a wierd taste in your mouth. Thankfully, there's also the ones you savor.

I joined a Buisness Women's group last year that is an alliance with a group of caring, smart, friendly and fun women. To top it off, the chief fundraiser is an event called "Death by Chocolate". What's not to love about this combination?

My good news is that we had an awesome, successful event last night attended by around 1,000 people. The bad news is that I was so busy that I didn't have time to eat much chocolate. Oh yeah, I guess that could be considered good news as well. : )

Our theme was "Chocolate Around the World" so as part of that, we were each assigned a country, given a sash, a la Miss America style, and asked to wear a tiara. By chance, I got the Costa Rica title. One gentleman came up and started speaking to me in Spanish. I spoke back "no habla espanol" and he pointed at my sash with a big question in his expression. Many others just looked at me as if to say, "Aren't you a little old for a beauty queen?" It was rather entertaining.

The best part of the evening was meeting several of the women who have been recipients of the scholarship money that's given to woman age 23 and up who need some financial assistance as they pursue further education. One of those women and I shared what I consider a divine appointment.

It's gratfying to see a community pull together and give of their time, resources and talents to help one another.

And people really are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get but I like most them! Some photos are online at our local newspaper.