Monday, May 30, 2011

Multitudes on (Memorial) Monday ~ # 172-200

     Today, this Memorial Day, I am especially grateful for all of the sacrifices by the men and women in the armed services...that they would so willingly give their lives so that I might be able to live in this country. This country founded for freedom. Against tyranny. Where I have a voice....
     Oh sure, we all know and recognize the flaws. The pain. The sicknesses and weaknesses of a government sometimes overcome by greed. But still, if we look closely and really focus on what this country is all about, we can see such goodness. Such heart. Such connectedness bound by freedom and patriotism. God Bless America, indeed.....

     My gratitude list continues....

172 ~ my American flag waving in the breeze

173 ~ my brother-in-law, Daniel Zeytoonian, currently serving in Afghanistan
174 ~ The National Memorial Day concert on PBS (giving life to stories of Veteran's and their family members)
175 ~ backyard barbeques
176 ~ new treehouse and zipline ready for children (and adults)
177 ~ my dad grilling the chicken
178 ~ Grandpa's smoker (with mesquite chunks)

179 ~ the smell of sweet corn
180 ~ shucking corn with my sis, Rae
181 ~ watching kids on the Slip-N-Slide

182 ~ mom's recipe for coleslaw 
183 the smell of summer
184 ~ lightning bugs
185 ~ laughter in the air
186 ~ happy shouts of children
187 ~ sitting and watching friends chat and play
188 ~ cheering on Lauren (on the zipline.even though the safety strap was attached to the tree.she made it!whew.)

189 ~ Joe's smile
190 ~ chatting around the firepit 

191 ~ watching dogs romp and play
192 ~ neighbors bearing gifts of brownies and drinks and pies
193 ~ sunny sun porch yellow

194 ~ air conditioning for humid days
195 ~ ceiling fans whirling
196 ~ frosting cupcakes
197 ~  freshly brewed iced tea
198 ~  dappled sunlight through oak trees
199 ~  friends and family chatting
200~ my silly, multi-talented, adventurous husband...

What are you thankful for? Come and share over at Ann's:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ On Forgetting....


As I painted the bright-as-a-sunflower yellow in the sun porch today, it made me remember all of the other wonderful-colorful rooms that I have painted....and yes, the people who color my life....

We painted the first nursery a pale yellow because we had waited so long for our little one that we (well. I.) wanted the baby's sex to be a surprise. Then my sis Rachel helped to paint a mural of a baobab tree and animals around every corner....

We painted every inch of the 2800 square foot-but-no-wall-is-square home (our first) in the city. No literally. Inside. Outside.... And when you have 10 ft. ceilings. That's a lot of paintin'!  And we had sisters, parents, friends helping us to make our shell into a peaceful dwelling

We helped our friends Whitney and Stacy paint their home....and Joe even helped some! (Again, a lovely shade of yellow.)

And we must be having a party tomorrow because we ALWAYS seem to paint right before people come over. (Some change pillows. We change colors....)

....and I so do not want to forget all of these times....

It scares me. Losing my memory. I have said good-bye to all four of my grandparents, and the reason that I write about them is that I am afraid that I will forget. The precious moments. The love. The...well...everything about them. Two of them left so quickly that you feel as if your heart stops. Two, however, began to drift away... That look that says, "I know that I know you, I know that I love you, but what is your name?" To lose people both ways is tragic.

But I'll tell you. All four of them had an incredible remembrance of faith.... Grandpa Olenick tracked the crucifix with his eyes when dad brought it to him....Grandma Krystofik had just attended Midnight Mass and read her night prayers....Grammie Olenick was able to leave peacefully with family tucked around her in prayer...and Grandpa Krystofik had just been to Rome and couldn't wait to tell us of the churches.....

They did not forget about their God. They knew God was there. Is there. Will always be there...

Oh. How I want to remember it all....For no matter if we forget...God never forgets...

(now if you will excuse me. I have to paint the bathroom. I have people coming over...)


Take The Gypsy Mama's advice:
Got five minutes? Here’s a great way to spend them.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat without editing your voice.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Pony up the comment love for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keeping time...

     On Monday, I gave thanks for this clock. It is one that was always ticking, chiming, and keeping time in my Grammie and Grandpa Olenick's home. Whenever there was a house full of people, it would sometimes be stopped at night if my husband Tom or my uncle Dee slept in the room. (Tom says that the ticking became like a bomb going off in his head as he was trying to sleep. A little sensitive at times.) But usually, it created a soothing background sound.  Whenever there was a settling down in the late afternoon for naps. For reading. For a game of Bird Lotto or dominoes... the clock was there...
     When my dad handed it to me, instructing me on how to care for it, my heart was at once saddened and yet joy-filled. For I now have this clock because my grandparents are gone. I no longer hear Grammie's laughter or Grandpa's quiet voice asking if I want to help pick tomatoes or come and see the squash. And yet!  I am so incredibly grateful that I now have this clock... Keeping time. Chiming. Reminding me always of my grandparents. It has become a reassuring sound in my home.
     And oh, how grateful I am that I belong to a faith that believes in the Resurrection of the Body. That believes in an after-life. Memories of my grandparents help to alleviate the sorrow some. For when I smell those tomato plants, grumble about the voles, or yes, hear this clock, the connectedness that we share in our faith allow them to remain close...
     So I keep time. Grateful for every crumb-filled, laundry-pile-up, baby-crawling, dishes-in-the-sink minute. For I know that time is fleeting. And I don't want to miss a second of it...

Joining in at Ann's place today.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

Multitudes on Monday ~ reaching for summer!

     On Friday, I wrote about needing to go to the ocean. Luckily, I have an extremely loving husband who sometimes grants my wishes. ;)  He, too, needed time away and it was incredibly soul-filling to just be with him. To reconnect, remember, and enjoy being just the two of us... For God is at the deep center of our relationship, and the ocean is but one reminder of how much we are loved, and of how much we love each other....

     Then, we ended the weekend by celebrating my dad's birthday. Family. Faith. Laughter. Fun. Food. Excellent.... Again, in random order, are gifts #135-171

135 ~ the cry of seagulls
136 ~ the smell of salty sea air
137 ~ constant wind
138 ~ watching colorful kites flying
139 ~ singing at the top of my lungs
140 ~ windows rolled down
141 ~ holding hands for a walk on the beach
142 ~ salt water taffy

143 ~ crashing of waves

144 ~ sandcastles to mark our spot (we didn't build. but enjoyed.)

145 ~ incredible wine pairings and dinner
146 ~ no alarm clocks
147 ~ looking at available properties ~ dreaming a little!
148 ~ exploring First Landing State Park
149 ~ driving to get our children
150 ~ meeting up with good friends, the Wilkins...
151 ~ hugs from Joe and Max
152 ~ thankful for parents who helped us get away
153 ~ Mass with my mom and dad
154 ~ pizza
155 ~ watching Max eat pizza
156 ~ birthday cake and ice cream ~ celebrating dad's birthday
157 ~ Max's first pool day with Pop Pop (and Joe!)

158 ~ laughing Lucy

159 ~ silly scuba Joe

160 ~ watching Joe in what seems to be his natural habitat....

161 ~ laughter with Rachel and Eric
162 ~ watching goofy dogs Donzi and Cookie romp and play
163 ~ listening to Joe and Lucy singing to Darius Rucker
164 ~ scheming and dreaming with Rae and Eric
165 ~ "house talk" with R & E
166 ~ coming home
167 ~ reading the Sunday paper on the sun porch
168 ~ watering the garden from the rain barrel
169 ~ sleeping in my own bed
170 ~ listening to the ticking (chiming) of my Grammie's newly fixed clock (thanks dad!)

171 ~ love unending

   So what are you grateful for? Start counting today, and then link up here:

(It's addictive. Truly. And it helps to calm your heart and focus on what is important in this life...)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ When Seasons Change


Taking my husband's face in my hands....and looking into his eyes...I exclaim.. I. Must. Go. To. The. Ocean. What is it about this place that pulls me? Like the moon pulling the tides. I am drawn.

As Spring melts into summer, it is like the water inside my veins is indeed part of the tidal system. The sun like a beacon. And the constant pounding and rhythmic motion of the water is like a balm to my soul...  For here my God speaks to me in the salt. The water. The cry of the gulls. I can sense the ocean before we reach it. Calling me.

Like the turning of the Liturgical year, I am drawn to cycles, circles, motions. Every season brings beauty in its own way. From the celebration of a new-born babe in a manger of old (that happens in the darkest of days here) to the exceptionally beautiful image of tongues of fire descending on the apostles we are wrapped in love. We are mystery....

My God, like the ocean, is ever-present... with me whether I come in the depths of the Winter of my Heart, or the bright sunlit heat of summer.... He is there. Welcoming me in the seasons of my heart.


Just listen to Gypsy Mama.....

Take a deep breath. You made it. It’s Friday.
Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and brave and unscripted.
Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Go buck wild with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Compost of the Heart

          Yesterday, something made me take a picture of my compost bowl. The bowl that sits beside the sink and holds the leftovers.
                    The cuttings.
                                   The refuse of our meals. The bowl that often causes my darling husband to roll his eyes, shake his head, wonder. "Exactly what is the purpose? I've never seen you use it..."
     In truth, I have used it. It gets placed in the large-black-roll-y-ball-thingy that he bought for me so that the pile wouldn't be as unsightly. So Joe and I fill it. Roll it around.
                           Let it marinate.
                                      Let it stew, sweat, break-down.
     The purpose is to take what is left and allow it to change into something that can become helpful. Useful. Wonderful rich soil to create this:


     And what of us? What of the compost in our lives? What about the times of trial?
               Of tragedy?
                       Of painful, sorrowful, soul-growth events?
    Don't we also use those scraps? Those cuttings? Isn't that just as life-giving as the joyful times? 
     Every moment can be filled with grace if we but let it enter into our soul. For we are fertile soil awaiting the spirit.
                                         The love.
                                                     The joy.
     So yes, that bowl of scraps is simply a physical reminder of what is happening in my soul. My heart. My life. For my God is constantly renewing me with His love (and lately, His patience and understanding). And as I sift through and allow Him to make all things new, I, too, become a new creation. Ready to help my children to be fertile ground as well.
     It takes that compost.
                            Those scraps.
                                 Those cuttings....
      To grow.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays ~ Spring Continued.... #112-134

    As the world continues to turn, and the sun rises and sets, I continue to give thanks for the ordinary everyday gifts in my life. My dear friend Mary Anne Fighera  (mentor, spiritual guide, joyful heart) recently reminded me of the importance of the people in my life. She likened them to a tapestry, and each life, each thread comes together and becomes a beautiful weaving. I love that imagery and am so very thankful for so many special people in my life. I hope that with the 1,000 gifts that I am chronicling, that I will give special attention to some of those brilliantly beautiful threads that shape the tapestry of my life....

     And, too, recognize that when they have died, that the tapestry is changed and transformed. How we miss those that have gone before us! Thanks be to God that I believe that they are but waiting to greet me again. Waiting with love. Waiting with my God. Isn't that a comforting thought?!

   Here, in no particular order, are gifts #112-134

112 ~ the blooming of #10

113 ~ baby bluebirds in MY nest box

114 ~ garden growing


Onions, Zucchini, Squash
115 ~ Angie, who understands me
116 ~ Nicole, who understands Joe
117 ~ lightning forks
118 ~ reading on the sun porch...rain falling softly
119 ~ The Beaudet family
120 ~ The Leonard family
121 ~ The Shuffler family
122 ~ lemon verbena counter top cleaner
123 ~ finding the end of the doorstop (which I thought Max ate)
124 ~ Joe's willingness to help
precariously balanced bowls and plates

how did he do that?
 125 ~ Grammie Olenick's black and white checked apron with the embroidered pockets

126 ~ the wisdom and heart of Mary Anne Fighera
127 ~ the strength and beauty of Whitney's friendship
128 ~ Lebanese food festival and the wonder of spices
129 ~ Catching up and laughing with Chris Jones
130 ~ Max eating falafel (and humus, lamb, rice, tabbouleh....)
131 ~ Sumatra blend coffee made for me by Tom
132 ~ clean hardwood floors
133 ~ sweet, random, loving gifts from Tom

134 ~ the idea of a dream...

Come and see what others are grateful for here:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Five Minute Friday ~ Deep Breath


Deep breath....

But still my chest feels heavy. With grief. Soul-squashing, gut-wrenching, empty-hole type grief. It wells up without warning. Without a sound..... Forcing me to face it.

Deep breath.....

Screaming into the void my sorrow, my pain, my....what? My loss. The loss of what might have been. My little 8-week old child who was there. And now isn't. I ache. I miss. I lift my eyes to the heavens for help. For comfort.

Deep breath....

Taking my living baby, my Max, my joy....I step out into the morning mist to catch my breath. To remember life. To experience what God has given. To feel life. To allow the rhythm of grief to ease ever so slightly thanks to all of the new life around me... and there we see the fragrant peony beckoning us...the one from Grandpa's garden...a gift...

Deep breath....

Oh to be human. To appreciate the beauty, the grace, and yes.... even the pain of grief. How lucky we are to breathe it all in....


So here, in Lisa-Jo's words, is your invitation to join Five Minute Friday:

We’ve all got five minutes – while the kids are wrestling, while the macaroni’s boiling, while the dog is doing his business, while the plumber is resuscitating your washing machine.
Wanna just write? Without wondering if it’s just right or not. You’re welcome to play along. The rules are easy.
  1. Write your heart out for five minutes and show us what you’ve got.
  2. Tell your readers you’re linking up here and invite them to play along.
  3. And most importantly, go visit, read, and encourage the fellow five-minuter who linked up right before you.{I humbly beg you to turn off word verification for the day to make this easier!}

Monday, May 9, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays ~ mother's especially!

     What an incredible weekend! We spent time with family in the wonderful mountains of Virginia...and enjoyed Mother's Day with a Strawberry Festival and Cirque du Soleil. *Insert comment here about EVERY day being a circus when you are a mom...* Good food, great company, and love all around. Here are a few things that I am grateful for today:

88~ laughter and silliness in a car filled with 6 people..for a 3 hour trip. And back.
89~ snuggling with my honey as he drove (see #88)
90~did I mention that we have an Impala, not an SUV? Hmm. So. Patience and GOOD MUSIC, also.
91~ having a sister-in-law who is willing to help you to dye your hair
92~ Mudslides
93~ Fresh strawberry daiquiris
94 ~ genuine laughter
95 ~ Outdoor strawberry festival

Joe and Zack completing the obstacle course
96 ~ a bald baby who is able to go anywhere and just play

97 ~ silly cousin time

Zack, Joe, and Linsday

98 ~ sweet Lindsay ~ who loves pink

99~ magnolia trees that allow boys to climb them

The red blobs up top are Joe and Zack

100 ~ hidden blue eggs in a nest

101 ~  a husband who is loving...and adores his nieces and nephews

Tom and Lindsay (love her expression)
102 ~ Godmothers
Julie and Max (and Linds, too)
103 ~ breakfast made my my brother-in-law, Geoff
104~ a day at the theater to see Cirque du Soleil ~ Alegria
105 ~ sweet notes from my sisters and mom for when I returned home
106 ~ beautifully written card from Whitney...
107 ~ hugs and visit with my roomie from college, Kristie
108 ~ remembering college
109 ~ Kristie's laughter and generous heart
110 ~ helping Joe to start a new puzzle
111 ~ snuggling with Max as he drinks his last bottle

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