Autumn Gratitude

Consistently, Nature provides gifts, as Autumn breezes blow whispers of change all around us.  The Nandina berries turn to orange, Virginia creeper crawls over rocks in crimson splendor, shades of yellow hint from beneath green, tattered leaves against the rich, blue skies, Red Buds shimmer their golden branches in the sunlight, and owls shatter the silence of darkness, shouting their hoots across the creek beds.  Change is upon us but covers our land with a cloak of beauty.  Our Blessings these Fall mornings are abundant if we are still and watch the metamorphosis unfold.

Advertisements

TK’s Marinara Spaghetti Squash

This recipe is absolutely delicious, healthy and very filling.  If you are blessed with fresh herbs in your fall garden, the aromas will tempt everyone who enters your home.

INGREDIENTS:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Two sprigs fresh thyme, stripped

Four medium fresh basil leaves, chopped

One spaghetti squash (Slice off ends, cut vertically in standing position, deseed, rub olive oil inside each half, turn upside down on foiled baking sheet and cook 40 minutes at 400 degrees).

1 pound turkey sausage, sliced and cut in half

One yellow onion, chopped

Two cloves garlic, minced

11/2 bottles of Organic Marinara Sauce

1 14-ounce can artichokes, chopped

1 pint Roma or cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

Fresh or shredded Parmesan cheese

Sea salt to taste

Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:                                                                                                                                      *Prepare spaghetti squash and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.                    *In skillet, brown turkey sausage in olive oil.                                                                            *Add chopped onion and saute 5 minutes.                                                                                        *Add minced garlic and saute approximately 30 seconds

*Pour in Marinara sauce.                                                                                                                    *Add fresh herbs                                                                                                                                    *Add chopped artichokes                                                                                                                    *Add Roma tomatoes                                                                                                                            *Stir in sea salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                  *Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         *String spaghetti, place into bowls and top with marinara sauce mixture.                             *Top with fresh or shredded parmesan cheese.

Enjoy every bite!

 

JOURNEY TO ISRAEL: AUTHENTICATING STORIES THROUGH ARCHEOLOGY & FAITH-DAY #2

We began our tour with Educational Opportunities and Guide Tsippi Segal, on the road from Tel Aviv to Jaffa.  Jaffa was Israel’s natural port during the time of the Old Testament.  According to the story, Peter resided in Jaffa when the other disciples sent for advice on whether or not Cornelius, a Gentile, could join the Jewish Jesus movement. Peter said yes, and history continued to be set (i.e. Acts 10).  Jonah was reported to set sail from Jaffa, as well.

 

We strolled above the ancient port and shoreline of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, amidst the historic structures.  We could see people swimming and surfing in the clear, blue-green waters of the Mediterranean from our lookout at the “Gateway to the East”.

 

I roamed over to the Wishing Bridge, admiring the detailed mosaic sign of welcome.     IMG_0089.jpg

The Gate to the Ancient World

IMG_0097.jpg

IMG_0086.jpg

Tsippi introduced us to a Salt plant, that of course smelled and tasted extremely salty. IMG_0099.jpg

We entered St. Peter’s Church (currently 19th Century-originally 17th Century)  One of the most unique sculptor’s was of the tree.

 

St. Peter’s is an old Franciscan Church, located in Old Jaffa.  The church was built to commemorate the visit and miracle of StPeter in Jaffa.  The New Testament records several of St Peter the Apostle’s deeds,  which took place in Jaffa: the raising of Tabitha, the seamstress; Peter’s stay at the house of Simon the Tanner, and the vision of the sheet let down from heaven.

“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
The vision of Peter, Acts 10, 15

It was from here that Peter journeyed up the coast to Caesarea, where he told about Jesus as requested by Cornelius.  Cornelius became the first convert from paganism to be welcomed into the Church.

IMG_0121.jpg

We proceeded to Emmaus and broke bread outdoors within the ruins of the Byzantine church at Emmaus-Nicopolis, which is adjacent to the monastery of Latrun.  The site lies on the bright green plain of Sheilah on the route leading from the Mediterranean to Jerusalem.  This was our first visit to an old excavation site–very quiet and serene. The light hit the bread placed on the altar at just the moment I took the picture.  This was the place Jesus broke the bread.

The vegetation around Emmaus was very interesting, including blooming almond nut trees and an occasional anemone.  Tsippi told us to look throughout Israel for groups of wildflowers, including the anenones, referred to as “the lillies of the field”.

ISRAEL JOURNEY: STORIES AUTHENTICATED THROUGH ARCHEOLOGY & FAITH-DAY #1

Our ten-day journey through Israel  (February 12-22, 2018) accompanied by Israeli Jewish guide, Tsippi Segal, began with our arrival in the vibrant, modern city of Tel Aviv. Our journey exposed my limited knowledge of this ancient, historical land of Israel, surprising me with its multi-cultural and religiously diverse population, its stone beauty, agricultural opportunities, tels of archeological excavations revealing complex layers of civilizations, rugged and mountainous borders of the Dead Sea, brief moments in time captured at  the Sea of Galilee, visibility of Jordan, Syria, Golan Heights and the Mediterranean Sea from Israeli borders,  and of course, the historical evidence of the story of Christ drawing millions of visitors from all over the world to this land.

IMG_0073.jpg
Sunrise over Israel through the window of our El Al Israel 787 aircraft.

Kicking Procrastination!

Since I seem to be experiencing many new seasons in my life at this time, I decided to turn a new page.  I am currently taking a course entitled Uninstalling Procrastination (an online course by Shelby-LittleCoffeeFox).  I have been very interested in her story describing how she was able to turn around her life goals and experiences by studying and successfully diminishing the role of procrastination in her life.  I was particularly struck by Shelby suggesting that putting things off only creates constant feelings of impending doom for us and increases  our stress and anxiety about tasks that are expected to be accomplished by a certain date.  I have always been a person who demonstrates great spurts of working effectively and efficiently on tasks and projects, for a specified period of time.  However, I have been known to justify procrastinating on certain “not-so-loved” tasks to the point of increasing my stress levels and ending up ultimately completing the tasks under immense deadline pressures.  Shelby’s course is very worthwhile and I discovered that I am not too old to change my habits.  After completing Module I of the course, I woke up this morning and accomplished four necessary errand/tasks prior to 11:00 a.m.  I rewarded myself with a trip to an antique store open house, followed by attending to two bill challenges I needed to take care of immediately.  A productive, successful day spurred on by Shelby’s course.  Thank you, Shelby.  I am eager to learn more!

International Widow’s Day

I have always had an aversion to the word “widow” based on my previous experiences-associated with “the black widow” or other evil, poisonous associations. But, today, I was taken by an article suddenly appearing for my viewing from CNN, regarding stories expressed today by various “widows” throughout the world, regarding what it means to experience this sudden or forced entrance into the world of “widowry”.

I never had any desire of any sort to be a member of this group. I empathized frequently with friends, neighbors, etc. who were suddenly thrown into this distant group. But, I had never envisioned myself as an actual member.

I read the stories today with great interest. Though each of these ladies’ circumstances were so very different from mine, I did engage in a certain camaraderie with this group of women, who had never planned on partaking of this adventure, and had never envisioned life without their spouses (in my case, the absence of my best friend and partner of my soul).

I was blessed with six months to prepare for Billy’s death, though the unknown of the details of the arrival of “death” throughout those months, resulted in mental anguish and much turmoil, inhibiting our supposed preparation for that dreaded event.

In reading each of the stories of these “hero women” in this article, I realized the blessings of family in my situation, occurring in stark contrast to many of the painful, judgmental experiences of these women within their own cultures across the world. Some of these women experienced cruelty, rejection, and/or humiliation from family members, as a result of becoming a widow. This circumstance appears unimaginable in our culture, but it was a recurrent theme within the stories of the other women throughout the world. Unfortunately, many of us shared the themes of death and cancer in common. But, the reactions of cultural bias painted the darkest contrast in our situations.

I am thankful, that in my situation, I was graced with the enveloping of love from extended family members throughout our difficult journey of illness, comforting me still. However, this article has made me realize the importance and relevance of our reaching out to expand, understand, and assist women throughout the world, regardless of their circumstance, to successfully survive the frightening phenomenon of suddenly being a “widow”.

Therefore, I am attempting to change my perspective on being considered a part of this “widow” group. I find myself, now, being quite proud to join their ranks, being able to say “I was Loved so deeply” by my spouse and my family, and I am now aware of the circumstances of cultural change within the concept of “widow”, that all of us need to address in the future.

Why Didn’t I Know?

For months, you knew you were dying

Why didn’t I know?

For weeks, we were told “eventually, this cancer will kill you”, “You will die from this cancer”.

You wanted to fight for “the more”

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

“Eventually” gave me hope, always——-“not yet”

For weeks, I gathered my hope dreams and clung to every word the doctors and nurses said, that suggested in any minute way that you were getting better-“improving”- another flash of hope in my mind

I heard that word rarely-just a word heard one day, and the next day-

GONE

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

For days, your sweet, thoughtful words became fewer. I wanted to keep talking, keep living, keep ignoring the approaching storm. Stupid questions rattled you: “How are you feeling today?”  “What hurts?” “What’s wrong?” Pushing you-pushing you-urging you to rally

That elusive hope of fixing things again, kept returning for me

Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Hope.

Let’s go back:

  • to porch sitting under yellow glow
  • rock waterfall sounds with silent koi weaving
  • long political banter (please, no, but I yearn for experiencing that again with you now)
  • waltzing with you to the sweet accordion melody in the Presidential gardens of Spain
  • listening to your glorious Spanish float off of your tongue
  • loving your deep kisses and daily greetings
  • laughing with you as we conversed with our many pets
  • loving you forever and always.

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

For one week, you played and made faces with grandson, Bennett, sitting with you on your bed. He smiled and laughed with you. Bennett was your hope, your goal – being Bennett’s “Au-dad” was everything you always wanted in this life

That day, Hope filled my air Then-encouraging words from doctor
“no evidence of cancer spreading”

One day

Wednesday

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

Thursday, you stopped communicating with us, your eyes lost and hazy
Where did you go?

We waited for hope words from your doctor

In the hallway, I get “He’s dying. I can’t fix him.”

I react. How can that be?

Yesterday, so encouraging. Did you do a new test?

How do you know?

“He’s dying”

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

Friday, you slowly departed further from us.

We waited; we questioned; we reacted; we soothed each other-loving family

No greater love from a family-for you

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

What difference would it have made had I known? We would have lived our “more” – loved more deeply.

More love, more family times, more talks, more moonlit walks, more dailies, more travelling, more love, more forever.

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

Friday, your 6-month journey with us ended, with your beloved family surrounding you

You fought; you loved; you rallied

You did all of this for Bennett and family and all of the “more”

We loved you deeply and we love you still

You knew you were dying.

Why didn’t I know?

Terry Grosvenor     June 22, 2017