Traditions

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My two youngest sons (17 & 11) dyed these eggs yesterday, as is our tradition.

As I watched my sons dye Easter eggs, I thought about our family traditions.  We always put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving night.  We go to my in-laws’ for Christmas Eve and my mother’s on Christmas night.  And we dye eggs for Easter.

These traditions help give our family predictability and identity.   Some traditions simply keep us connected.  We used to go to lunch every Sunday after church, but a series of events (losing a pastor, my accident, my brother moving) have made it more difficult and less frequent.  I miss it.

It makes me happy that my 17-year-old son is still voluntarily dying eggs (he shot this video), that my daughter and her husband now spend the night at my house the night before Thanksgiving so we can cook all the traditional holiday dishes, and that my husband and I take an annual anniversary trip.   I look forward to these rituals, big and small.  They help define who we are as a family.

Joseph Campbell’s book, The Power of Myth, addresses the lack of myth in our culture.  Much of the disconnect among generations, lack of familial and community responsibility, and individual identity issues can be traced back to a lack of ritual and story.  One way to remedy this is through family traditions.

What are some of your traditions?

 

 

Out of My Comfort Zone

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will notice the drastic change in my theme.  As part of the current blog challenge in which I am participating, I was encouraged to change my blog’s look.

My favorite color (or non-color, I should say) is black.  Most of my wardrobe is black (including my motorcycle gear).  Whenever I am given a choice of colors in anything, I choose black.  It is introspective, sleek, and classic.  So for me to go from a mostly black blog to this bright, somewhat color-spattered theme is somewhat unsettling.

However, in the spirit of personal growth, I am going to leave this new theme in place for a few days to see if I can get used to it.  If not, I can always go back to what is safe.  Just out of curiosity, let me know what you think of the new look.

Forgiveness means…

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.
~Lily Tomlin

When I have used this quote, people often have to think a moment before they get their head around the concept.  For me, it has been a lifesaver.  Once I can accept what has already taken place, and know that it cannot be changed, it is much easier to let go of it.  And forgiveness is all about letting go.  Happy Wisdom Wednesday!

 

Simply Keeping My Commitment

I guess I am catching up from an emotional weekend, as I scraped myself out of bed at 10:00 this morning.  I managed to get caught up on some email and sort of cook dinner (tuna salad sandwiches and soup).  I helped my son with homework and here I am, at the end of the day, keeping my blogging commitment.  I still haven’t completely unpacked my suitcase, but I hope to get it done before bed.  Oh, and I need to take a shower… if I want to sleep in bed tonight.

Incidentally, I am taking part in a blogging challenge (which began today) to continue growing and improving my blog.  I said I was not going to share my goals publicly, but I am going to be getting those goals written down for myself tonight.  So you will hopefully notice some improvements in the next couple of weeks.  For tonight, I am simply keeping my commitment to write.

 

 

 

 

Ants (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

Ants (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

These ants were crawling around on the deck outside.  The ones below managed to sneak in the house, so I thought I would get their mug shots as well.

All photos shot with my iPhone 5S. Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge. Week 2: Macro.

This little bugger was in the kitchen sink looking for a sip of water.

This little bugger was in the kitchen sink looking for a sip of water.

Found this little fella in the bathroom.

Found this little fella in the bathroom.

No Place Like Home

Although I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with extended family over the weekend, I am happy to be home. After arriving home from my grandfather’s memorial, we celebrated my mother’s birthday with immediate family. Now I am composing this post on the 45-minute drive home.

I look forward to my dog bombarding me as I walk through the front door, much like Dino did Fred. I look forward to seeing my teenage son who could not make it to dinner. I am also looking forward to snuggling up with hubby in own bed. It’s good to be back in my own familiar environment. As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

Birthdays and Goodbyes

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Today was my mom’s 67th birthday. It was also the day we memorialized her father. He was a U. S. Air Force veteran, so he was given military honors. The day was sad, touching, and joyful as well.

We shared laughter and tears with my mother’s brothers and sister, their mother, and other relatives. We shared memories and a meal with friends who came to pay their respects. And then we shared my mother’s birthday with cake and presents.

Tomorrow we head home, and we will celebrate my mom’s birthday with my siblings, my children and grandchildren, and my nephew. And life will go on. Hopefully , our next gathering will be another birthday. No matter what, we will be together.

Bonding Experience

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My youngest son is really into British culture, especially fashion. He has looked for a hat like this one for months. We found a similar one a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t what he really wanted and was a bit small.

Since my grandfather’s passing earlier this week, my grandmother has been cleaning out his personal belongings. Today, as the family was going through my grandfather’s hats, I found this. It is exactly what my son wanted and the bonus is that it belonged to his great-grandfather.

It was sweet looking through my grandfather’s things and sharing stories with family members, many of which I haven’t seen in more than 40 years. I saw old census records, my mother’s History report card from her junior year in high school, and several old photos.

As much as this is a sad occasion, it is also a bonding experience. I already feel closer to a family I barely knew.

Bent Time

I have been reading a book that explores, among other things, the concept of time.  Incidentally, I am also preparing to embark on a journey that I know will distort time.  My mother and I will be traveling to Colorado to attend her father’s memorial service.

Something I have noticed is that death seems to slow time for those who suffer loss.  Maybe it’s because we become more aware in the days following the death of a loved one, and maybe it’s because we simply slow down.  Either way, I have noticed that the time immediately following a loss or tragedy seems to become a precious capsule to be cherished.

I remember the time surrounding a life threatening surgery my Dad underwent several years ago.  The trip to Florida, the night preceding the surgery, and the moments just before he was wheeled into surgery (in particular) are etched into my brain.  The weeks, days, and months just before my father’s death are even more clear in my mind. And I suspect this weekend will become burned into my memory just as clearly.

I was not close to my grandfather, but my relationship with my mother will make this weekend one of those time-bent weekends.  We will be spending hours in airports and on an airplane together.  Then we will spend a weekend focused on the life and death of the primary man in my mother’s life.  Time will slow and, at times, stand still.

I know these moments frozen in time will become a pat of our life stories.  So I am ready.  I am ready to take in the stories, feel the agony of loss and the joy of reminiscence, and enjoy the time with my mother.  And I am grateful that time bends to make these times stand out in our memories.

I must create…

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
~William Blake

On this Wisdom Wednesday, I was thinking about how we determine our path if we are awake.  If not, we are simply being tossed about by the desires of others.