Posts Tagged With: light

lifting them up in love and light

They say death comes in threes.
I don’t exactly know who “they” are…but that’s what they say.

I find it is true.
In the last two weeks, three people I love very much have experienced death.
Now, I was only truly close to one of the deceased. The mother of a girl I grew up with. Amy’s mother loved and taught and mothered me just as she did her own five children.

The other two deaths are further removed. Each of them is the father of a guy I love. I never met these fathers, but I love their sons a great deal.

My friend Jack’s father left a whole in his world and he’s been struggling so. It pains me to know this, to know that I really can’t help. He has to heal in his own way.

I got a message from Thing 2 this morning, she wanted me to know her arrival time might be delayed. The young man who is her true and dearest friend has to bury his father some time in the coming week. I’ve know the young man since he was an awkward preteen in middle school, with an unhealthy crush on my daughter. He grew and matured as a young man. I loved to watch as he took the stage with both my girls in high school. Turns out he and Thing 2 were meant to be the best of friends!

My heart is heavy for my friends. Dealing with this painful grief. So if you don’t mind, would you all join me in lifting them up in love and light?
Love and light to you, Amy and Jack and Lane.

It just occurred to me to wonder if I’m feeling this love so strongly on this particular day? Today is the anniversary of my own father’s death.

I’m going to love and light myself a little bit today, too.

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Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

blessings of love and light

We made our annual pilgrimage to the National Cathedral Monday to see the crèche exhibit.
I made a quick stop in Bishop’s garden on my way around the cathedral.
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It always seems to be cloudy when we go. I’ve looked back at four years of photos and the sky is gray in every single one.
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Doesn’t make it any less beautiful, but it sure would be nice if the sun would make an appearance once in a while.

I turned my attention to the cathedral. Much less scaffolding than in previous years. The repairs from the 2011 earthquake are coming to an end.
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Something stopped me in my tracks on the sidewalk towards the front of the cathedral.
What could it be?
Why robin birds, of course!
There were five of them flitting about the grass and sidewalk as we made our way around the building.
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I was so excited I could hardly stand myself! I spent quite a bit of time watching and photographing these little birds before I could tear myself away to go inside to see all the baby Jesuses.

Downstairs, I peeked in on my most beloved space, the chapel of Joseph of Arimathea.
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Then onto the nativities.
This one was made in Zimbabwe of jacaranda wood.
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I like that the figures are tall and lanky. I like that the shepard cradles the lamb in a way that mimics the way Mary holds her baby. I do so love nativities in which the momma holds her son.

Of course, there is something to be said of the baby bundled up in a basket.
This one was specifically made for the collection in Jamaica at the request of a Cathedral docent.
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I love that he sleeps with a little smile on his face. How many parents have watched our own babies sleep the same way?

This one is hand painted pottery from Turkey.
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I like that it’s just the Holy Family. I also love the traditional Ottoman style of the flowers and designs, not to mention the little rugs especially made for this nativity.

I remarked to YBW that I would only purchase a nativity if it was somehow unique or particularly beautiful. Well, this one sort of met both criteria.
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This gourd was specifically chosen then hand carved in Peru. I particularly love the stars on the back of the lid. (not pictured)

After going through the crèche exhibit, I found my way to the teeny chapel to say my prayers.
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I kneeled on the prayer bench and gathered myself before I began. After my conversation with God, I lit my candle in benediction. As the light grew brighter, my blessings reached far and wide to touch those for whom it was intended. My love and hope are overflowing.
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We left the cathedral and headed to the Ellipse to check out our National Christmas tree. I mentioned before that I love when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide. And I honestly can’t remember a time in my life that both the menorah and the tree were lighted at the same time.
Monday was the third night of Hanukkah.
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(Of course I was on the back side of the menorah.)

YBW wanted to look at all the state and territory trees, but I decided to stay in the inside circle around the big tree. All the trains were set up and running…so many little villages and trains…
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If you look closely, you can see the train circling the base of the tree.

My grinchy heart not only grew three sizes that day, it was filled with the love of ‘ten Grinches plus two’!
I’m waiting patiently for twelfth night. In the meantime, I’m still lighting menorah candles and saying my prayers each night between now and New Year’s Eve.
May the light of my candles bless and keep each and every one of all y’all.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the spirit of Christmas

I got an email this morning about listening to Christmas music, and geographical facts about the North Pole, and finally, how “Santa’s house at the North Pole is allegedly in Alaska just off Route 2″…
(In the immortal words of Deadpool, “What in the ass?”)
deadpool

So this got me thinking about Santa and his reindeer and the elves…
Which in turn got me thinking about the Christmas spirit…
And here’s what I wrote in response…

Santa doesn’t live in Alaska! He’s not American! He’s of no nationality! He’s just Santa. (Yes I know the origins of his story, but we’re discounting those for the sake of this conversation!)
I know you’re getting all technical about the North Pole…but I believe Santa’s home and workshop are…well…a load of crap if you want the truth.
(It actually surprised me when I wrote those words!!)
santa-north-pole

I truly love the idea of Santa.
Santa is the spirit of Christmas! The spirit of giving and love and well, even hope. Because some folks who don’t really dig the baby Jesus do dig Santa. Anyway…it’s fun to think of workshops and elves and the like. But I sort of feel like we all carry the spirit of Christmas in us…that we each have a little bit of Santa in us.
I don’t know…

I remember when Thing 1 asked me about Santa, she was eleven and in 6th grade.
She asked if I was Santa.
I asked her what she thought.
She said, “I think you’re Santa.”
I told her about Santa being the spirit of Christmas and giving, and love. I explained that I believed so strongly in Santa, the spirit of Santa…but that a fat man in a red suit didn’t bring the presents into this house.
She paused for a moment, and she said, “I’m going to believe in the spirit of Santa too, Mommy. But I know who brings the presents into this house.”
And then we hugged for a long time.
I made her promise not to tell Thing 2 and we went along our way.

The spirit of Christmas is what I love above all else.
I do believe that the world waited for a light to enter? Absolutely!
light
Was that light really a little Jewish baby called Joshua (later mistranslated to Jesus)? I honestly don’t know. But I love the idea that a baby could create that much hope. That much love. That much light.

So, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the baby Jesus at all…(though how could it not?)
Maybe the spirit of Christmas really is just love and hope and light.
Maybe the spirit of Christmas is simply the idea of Santa Claus bringing these gifts.
Gifts chosen by someone who loves you so much that they work hard to make sure you have the right thing, beautifully wrapped so you know how much you are loved. So you know how much love and light and hope is in the world because someone loves you.
Anyway…that’s what Christmas is to me…for the most part.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

love light is the best magic

“We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” J.K. Rowling

jo-rowling
This quote is from her 2008 Harvard commencement speech,’The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination’.

I wonder sometimes if we’re put in people’s lives to be the light that shows them their own particular magic. To show them the power to imagine better is already within.
Surely there are people who’ve come into, and some who’ve come and gone again from my life that provided that light for me.
I may have even learned how to do it for myself.
I know that I’ve been that someone for people in my life. It is an honor without the fear of overwhelming responsibility. Because you see, being the light that shows someone their own magic, is simply being yourself. You’re not in charge of that other person’s well being. That’s their responsibility. You just be you and let your light shine.
Love is light. So by simply loving someone, you light the undiscovered parts of them, where they find the power to imagine better for themselves and the world around them.
What better magic could there be?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

happy birthday to Thing 2

Today is Thing 2’s nineteenth birthday!
My sweet angel baby has been in the world for nineteen years.
She is a miracle. She almost died twice before she was eight weeks old. She’s a fighter. A survivor.
I went into the NICU to see her before she was even twelve hours old. I reached to touch her little hand and she grabbed my finger so tightly. In that moment my whole life changed. I fell in love in an entirely new way. In that moment I knew she was going to be fine. She was so strong, that tiny little girl.
She is my gift from God.
She is light and love and deep dark feelings. She of the waspish tongue and deliciously dry wit. She is hopes and dreams even though she’s forgotten how to hope and dream.
I love her more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manassas Battlefield

I absolutely adore Manassas Battlefield. I used to love to go there as a child and spend hours wandering aimlessly. I go there now as a grown up to experience that nostalgia.
I love the history of my home state. I love the fact that these places have been preserved, the physical places as well as the history.
When I go now, I almost always experience the battlefield from behind the camera.

The Henry House is my favorite place to visit. I love the view from the hill there. The story of Mrs Henry, stuck in her home due to illness as the first battle of bull run raged around her always resonated in me. She wasn’t able to leave her home before the fighting and ended up mortally wounded by Union fire.

The Henry House

The Henry House

I love how the changing light affects everything.

The Henry House

The Henry House

YBW likes to wander and play Ingress (To me it seems like a kind of electronic version of capture the flag for grown ups.) on his phone, “capturing” and “hacking” “portals” all around the battlefield.
The cool part of him playing this game on his phone is that I’ll tag along with my camera. We get out of the car, go our separate ways, and come back together after an hour or so.
I get time behind the lens, joy of being in a place I love, and he gains important “points” and “badges”. It’s pretty much win-win.

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The Stone House as seen from the top of Henry Hill. It was used as a hospital during both the first and second battles of Bull Run. I remember being at a post sledding bonfire there once when I was really little. I remember feeling a combination of excitement and fear. I was so tired after a day of up and down the hill but the bonfire was so thrilling. All the people, the chaos, me feeling very small and vulnerable and afraid to get separated from my mom caused great anxiety within me.

The Stone House

The Stone House

Sometimes folks get their nickname here.
Thomas Jonathan Jackson became “Stonewall Jackson” when General Bee of South Carolina observed his resolve in battle and cried out, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!”

There stands Jackson like a stone wall.

Stonewall Jackson

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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