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Archive for the ‘Family stories’ Category

 

It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

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This was a picture waiting to happen. We were having a wonderful visit with Lois in the woods in her cabin on Lois Lane in upper New York state near the Fingers Lake area.  We had been neighbors for a brief time in Newton, North Carolina. Lois and I walked the street together on occasion and she always came up with charming, if a bit surprising, tidbits to share.

We still keep in touch, particularly around big sports events, where Lois faithfully waves the Notre Dame flag and colors and checks in with us on how the mighty Green and White are doing.

The table above, was placed near her kitchen window, overlooking a wide green expanse to the back of her property. It was very common to see the deer come from the woods into the open space and even play together before retreating. I believe Lois sent Tom and me  on a journey to dump some feed back there for them among the natural foliage.

A healthy start to the new day — coffee, an apple, a pair of specs to read the Good Word.  I am pretty sure she still does this.

 

 

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Tears reside in the corners of my eyes, dripping down my cheeks ever so often. I don’t have to be watching news on TV, or looking at photos on the Internet of innocents, just barely beginning their own big lives. I don’t have to hear “semi-automatic” one more time. I don’t want to see terrorized parents outside a school building, waiting news of their child’s safety — or not.

Tears and a flu-absent stomach that broils and turns and is connected to a head that throbs, knowing the story has shattered…for all of us. Sending children to school today in America, a new residing consciousness of vulnerability…one we don’t want, need, or ask for.

Is there any comfort in starkness? I do not know.

There needs to be a new story…for us. How long will it be before that story comes into being? None of us know. No one can say anymore, “I never thought that would happen here.” That story is gone forever. No one can remain personally unaffected by the large mass of grief being experienced by the loss of our young children. No one can live and believe as they once did…it seems…so long ago now.

I stop my own words and share some words from Jean Houston, from a writing course I took a few years ago. About Re-Storying your Story.  Humanity is at a place in time where, being a writer or not, it must learn how to do this.

 

From Jean Houston: Finding Strength When the Story Shatters

“There are circumstances that must shatter you;
and if you are not shattered, then you have not
understood your circumstances.
In such circumstances, it is a failure
for your heart not to break.
And it is pointless to put up a fight,
For a fight will blind you to the opportunity
that has been presented by your misfortune.
Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?
Of course you do: the old life was a good life.
But it is no longer available to you.
It has been carried away, irreversibly.
So there is only one thing to be done.
Transformation must be met with transformation.
Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.
Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.”

Written by Leon Weiseltier, Kaddish, page 226.

From Napkinwriter

Sometimes life hits us so hard, so unexpectedly, that we drop the ball and story shatters. I stood by close family friends, who in one shattering moment on a dark night on a Georgia Interstate, one woman’s life was snuffed out, who was daughter, and mother and wife, cousin  in a family that lost all those relationships and love in one indefendable freak accident in the middle of the highway, returning from family vacation. Lives shattered, dreams dashed.

A life-defining moment where, existing with the shattering, having to create a new story including what just happened to one family.

Shattering events are all around us and we are not exempt from them happening in our own life. It interrupts the everyday story is what Jean Houston writes.

Yes our personal and worldly story is in a state of INTERRUPTION.

Our shattered story needs rearranging.

Do we start with….”Once upon a time…”

God bless all the families and school personnel, who have been shattered by this latest vicious attack on our school children.

And God help us all. Please.

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I believe it was the Dali Lama who said that kindness was his religion. On Sunday, the dismissal hymn was “And they’ll know we are Christian by our love, by our love. And they will know we are Christian by our love.”

Will they? It is up to our and how we choose to share ourselves in the world, a world so much in need of kindness.  Mother Teresa said, “Christ has no hands but ours.” I look to see what my hands are doing.

Pema Chodron is a favorite author and spiritual influence upon this Christian. Her Zen Buddhist way of life and teaching indeed teach me much. I particularly like her book, “When Things Fall Apart.” The title was a shoo-in for me when I ordered it off Amazon.com.  Things were pretty much falling apart for me at that time. I found it and my Christian prayers both to be way-showers for me.

“Be kinder to YOURSELF.  How frequently I need that reminder. For kindness cannot flood into my world when I an unkind toward myself.

“Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.” That continues to be a guiding scripture for me. I am That I am.

 

 

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The birth of our grandson, Andrew was an event no less than the creation of the stars, recounted in the Bible.

 

In fact, I gave him his birth scripture that told us about the creation of the stars, and how God made man and woman no less than the stars and gave us dominion over all creation.

 

Andrew embodies that dominion within him as I watch him grow into full manhood, now a first year college student. This dominion he carries in his wide smile, his gentle ways, and his passion for perfection and musical magic with discipline.

Andrew has studied voice, percussion, piano and leadership with this talent and he, I am sure, will have stars named after him in his life of love and service to humanity.

Dominion comes with responsibility. He carries that responsibility well. I will listen to his drum beat.

 

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Tom and I received an invitation in the mail today. We will be marking the date for a visit to Christ the King School for Grandparents’ Day on Monday, April 30, 2018 to be with Amy, age 10, in the fourth grade. Well, it was not actually THE invitation. It will follow. It is a SAVE THE DATE heads up.

From firm roots, grow beautiful leaves…

Indeed!  It is winter here in Kentucky, with a cold spell and snow on the ground, but I know we are blessed with firm roots, even though we planted those roots several times in different orchards.

Our first beautiful leaves…

These two awesome leaves gave us our grandchildren leaves.

Devon…first born granddaughter

what a new world opened to us.

 

 

Her brother, Andrew, now a first year Central Michigan University Marching Chippewa in the percussion section…I always knew he would play the drums; this year he clanged the symbols mightily in one of the best college fight songs there is.

 

Their love and talent in music stems from their passionate mother… a CMU marching band alumni, Tekonsha school music director 5th grade through high school, and community theater music director for children and adult performers, and Misdirection Jazz Band founder who books gigs and outings in her area. She has NYC in her sights…

 

Andrew

Lucy and Andrew

 

Cousins

 

So many leaves filling out our tree…such solid roots of love…

And then comes dynamo, Amy Frances Mitchell, who is taking her mother’s energy to a new level…

Amy’s leaf blows cheerfully in the wind as a sports enthusiast, a gifted and joyful pianist, a Minecraft  exquisite designer, a math wizard, and fashionista, just to name a few.

Amy is always watching out for grandma and dziadzia, telling us she is S T R O N G. Here she is helping us replant our roots in our second apartment in Lexington in one year’s time.  I feel our roots deepening here for a strong hold over a long, long time, now feeling another orchard is on the horizon for awhile.

 

Pumpkin girl

Christmas surprise

 

Clownfish

She likes horses and is taking riding lessons. So I gave her a copy of BLACK BEAUTY for Christmas, one of my very favorite books which I was a young girl, oh so very long ago.

A kalaidscope now, all the years running together…our arms threading into the  leaves like branches, not getting to hold them as often. Devon, a college graduate and married to Tyler, a new grandson leaf on our tree, making their way into an “out-of-school” world, and holding promise of future young leaves we will get to share our love with. Andrew, totally engaged in the college scene, with a musical beat and a friendly social presence that promises so much fun. And close-by Amy, who brings light and young energy to her grandparents that feed their souls.

Scrabble

A beautiful Christmas gift made by Devon.

 

Grandparents day 2017

Last Year’s Grandparents’ Day

 

Beautiful leaves from a grateful tree.

 

 

 

 

 

Bride Devon

 

On the Journey

Thank you, God.  We are loving the journey.

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The symbol of the turtle. Turtles take their homes with them wherever they go. Turtles remind us to remember our roots while still welcoming new places and phases in life.

Turtles remind us to appreciate our simple, true necessities; shelter, food, drink and most importantly,  faith.

 

The turtle’s slow gait requires the animal to have faith that it will eventually get where it is going and that its needs will be satisfied along the way.

I have been doing some process art study with Cat Caracelo over the past year, including Quest Journeying with image and art mediums and turtle has come over and over again to me.

Turtle once visited our labyrinth in our backyard, a very large land turtle.

Turtles are on my mind.

 

I wonder how the turtles fared during Hurricane Irma.

 

One of the most beautiful beaches in the world was hit hard by hurricane force. This is a beach we have had the pleasure of being on several times when visited my parents.

 

St. Johns Virgin Island

 

 

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