Tag Archives: love

Absence

After nearly a year, I’ve decided I’m ready to jump back into blogging. For those who don’t know, I lost both of my grandfathers in the early months of 2014. One was a slow, lingering deterioration that was truly heartbreaking, the other was a brief, two-week shock that I still don’t fully believe happened. Having had my grandparents in my life for 28 years, I was very close with them. The deaths of my grandfathers left my heart and spirit greatly fractured, and I just didn’t feel creative for almost a year. Instead, I’ve filled my spare time with reflection, meditation, and journaling. I was broken in a way I’d never experienced, and I didn’t really know what that should look like. I developed an obsession with scanning the old photographs and slides of both my grandfathers, perhaps in some hope that by restoring the old photographs, I was keeping them alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally grateful for my lifestyle and job at that time allowing me to spend so much time with each grandfather at the ends of their lives, even if it was difficult. With Dedo, I was there to hold his hand when he was in pain, cry with him, feed him, and tuck him in when he was cold. We said everything we’ve ever left unsaid. I knew how much he loved me, and he knew how much I loved him. I would fall asleep in the chair next to his bed when he slept. Near the end, when he was mostly unresponsive, I sang to him and stroked his forehead. Painful, but no regrets.

My Papa went so quickly. After five months of watching one grandfather slowly fade away, I recognized rather quickly that my Papa wasn’t going home. However, in this case, it all happened so quickly that I didn’t get to tell him everything I wanted to until he was on life support and I didn’t know if he even heard me. I was so stunned by how rapidly Papa died that I still expect to find him in his favorite chair when I go visit my Nana.

During both deaths, I learned so much about relationships. I watched how my mother and father honored their fathers by sacrificing all of their free time to help with care, medical decisions, and just loving their fathers well. I learned a lot about love itself: it’s painful, it’s beautiful, and if it’s true, it never goes away. Both sets of grandparents were married for about 60 years, and suddenly my grandmothers were without their lifelong mates. They refused to leave my grandfathers’ sides. Their love was deep and real, and it only made my love for all of them greater. I learned that there must be something beyond death, as my grandfathers witnessed people who had already passed as well as what my Dedo could only describe as a “beautiful angel”. Though I was losing so much (and I’ve never cried so much in my life), my grandfathers were gaining everything.

All that to say, thank you for sticking with me and for being so patient. I’m starting to feel that creative urge again and hope to give you, my readers, so much more in the coming year.

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Young & In Love

My little sister, future brother-in-law and I spent a cold, windy Saturday downtown, shooting the first of their engagement photo sessions.  They were great sports, what with it being so chilly, and we had a great time.  I warn you, though: they’re pretty adorable and, yes, they are really this happy.

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A Year In Review

I’m terrible with resolutions, so I’m not making any this year.  Instead, I’m reflecting on a year of ups and downs, focusing more on the ups, however big or small they were.

My parents have continued to lovingly welcome me to live in their home, rent-free.  They’re pretty awesome.

I was able to celebrate my Baba’s 80th birthday with her:

I reunited with my dear former apartment-mates, Meggie, Amy, and Casey  in Chicago.  Through the wonders of technology, we were joined by Whitney in Bulgaria, via Skype.

I’ve been able to spend more time with dear friends, like Megan & Valerie.

I celebrated the weddings of many special people this past year, including:

Tom & Christine Chiaccio

Ben & Kerrie Taylor

Steve & Cortney Conn

Zach & Janelle Taylor

I’ve rejoiced with loved ones who have brought new life into the world.  Welcome to the babies!!!

Isaiah!

Skylar!

Baby Theresa, whom I do not yet have a picture!  Babies yet to arrive are Baby Oakleaf and Baby Constantino, and I’m excited for them all.

I’ve become a member of a church plant that has given me a huge family to be a part of, and they bless me immensely.

I’ve met a world of bloggers who are artists, cooks, writers, and thinkers, and they continue to inspire and delight me each day.  Basically, 2010 was about reconnecting with people.  People can be the worst part of your day, but they are also what makes life most beautiful.

http://lesliepaints.wordpress.com/

http://asmalltowndad.wordpress.com/

http://www.byashely.com/

http://megansauder.blogspot.com/

http://womanwithapen.wordpress.com/

http://jongsart.wordpress.com/

http://eatthecookie.wordpress.com/

http://galabent.wordpress.com/

http://martinsoler.com/

http://karibarrows.wordpress.com/

http://winecarnate.wordpress.com/

http://kindlynoted.wordpress.com/

http://blog.allisonlehman.com/

http://blog.kellynwalker.com/

http://www.backcreekpottery.com/blog/

http://kaylaplosz.com/blog

http://christinelawrie.com/blog/

http://thenewdomesticity.wordpress.com/

http://whitneygodby.blogspot.com/

http://ianandcorrie.blogspot.com/

http://www.patrickriecke.com/

http://thepioneerwoman.com/confessions/

http://richardmcnaughton.wordpress.com/

http://www.adamlehman.us/

http://www.100layercake.com/blog/

http://umbrialoversblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.theroguemagnoliablog.com/

http://www.sonyaaudrey.com/blog/

http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/

http://dolcevitadiaries.co.uk/

http://andrewlehr.blogspot.com/

http://margiedavis.blogspot.com/

http://cheryl-ricebeanspastichio.blogspot.com/

http://jachacko.wordpress.com/

http://fichtlwagner.blogspot.com/

http://lizbarron.wordpress.com/

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

http://yettonadventures.blogspot.com/

http://grantandlaura.wordpress.com/

http://bellavventura.blogspot.com/

http://www.divinacucina-blog.com/

http://meekarika.blogspot.com/

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Prayers of Cathedrals

You can still wander into many old cathedrals around the world and find a place to light a candle, whether in memory of a loved one or as a prayer.  While living in Italy, I made a ritual of lighting a candle for my family each time I went into a different cathedral.  I visited my college roommate last spring and when we went to the National Cathedral, where the following photograph was taken, I was struck by how many candles were lit, reflecting how many people were praying or remembering something or someone significant.

A tradition in my dad’s side of the family is to light a candle at the graves of those who have gone before us.  My grandfather, in his mid-eighties, still observes this practice, lighting candles at the graves of his parents and brothers as well as his in-laws.  He’s always reflectively quiet during this simple ceremony, and I find it so sweet and beautiful.  This is a practice I hope to continue someday…

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Love-ly Films

Today celebrates the sappiest holiday of the year in which advertising and society make all those who are not in relationships feel bad about being single.  It’s also the day in which florists, candy and card companies make a ridiculous fortune on all of those people who choose one day a year to express their love to another person.  I am choosing to share my favorite films about love and relationships.  I’m not much of one for “chick flicks” per say, especially those produced in the past decade, but these are films which I always enjoy when I need a pick-me-up, my “Top Ten Films About Love”, if you will.  In no particular order:

1.  Return to Me – a sweet story with an amazing supporting cast.

2.  You’ve Got Mail – a modern twist on Shop Around the Corner, this film includes the wonderful Tom Hanks, another great cast, and dialogue that my friends and family continue to quote.

3.  Chocolat – Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, a quaint town in France, and chocolate.  This film about love, relationships, and acceptance is beautiful in every way and I watch it over and over.

4.  Love Actually – Great Britain claims many amazing actors and actresses, and almost all of them come together in this fantastic movie to tell the stories of the different forms love can take.

5.  The Princess Bride – a classic romance story and another film filled with oft-quoted dialogue.

6.  Philadelphia Story – Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Kathrine Hepburn.  Do I need to say anything else?  I’m also a huge fan of the “updated version”, High Society, with Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and the stunning Grace Kelly, but Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart in the same film doesn’t get much better.

7.  Life Is Beautiful – an Italian film by Roberto Benigni, and one of my favorite movies of all time.  It’s a story of the deep love between a husband and wife, between parents and children, and of the great sacrifices we sometimes have to make for those we love.  It’s gorgeous, and did I mention it’s Italian?

8.  Amelie – in my humble opinion, this is the best film to come out of France in a long time.  Audrey Tautou is delightful in the title role of a girl who expresses love to others in delightful ways and the cinematography is both beautiful and whimsical.

9.  Sense and Sensibility & Pride and Prejudice – These two tie:  I love Jane Austen’s work.  Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson shine in Sense & Sensibility, and though I love the updated Pride and Prejudice with its lovely cinematography and Keira Knightley in a perfect role, Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy.

10.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding – if, like me, you are a part of a large, ethnic family, this is a movie that you will relate to in many ways and will both provide laughter and invoke memories.

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Amore

Many of us have heard, “Love is patient, love is kind, etc.”, but I think far too few take that passage to heart.  If there is anything I learned after four years of living in a dormitory with other people who were not necessarily like me, it’s that everyone loves and is loved in a different way.

Real love doesn’t have a shape or a definition.  Christ died for love, though He knew there would be those who would reject that love.  He commanded that we love one another, but He didn’t say how.  The way in which I most effectively receive and express love isn’t necessarily the way in which those whom I love most effectively receive and express love.

I had to learn a hard lesson in college:  I was being selfish about love.  I took it personally when I felt I wasn’t receiving enough affection from those I wanted.  I had to overcome some jealousy with friends who seemed to give and receive love in abundance while I was feeling denied.  I had to learn how to pay attention to the needs of others and how they expressed love.  Sometimes, I would go an entire day without hearing the phrase:  I love you, and I had to learn that it did not mean I was unloved.  I had to learn that love does not need to be expressed through words or physical touch.  Love can be a smile, an unexpected cup of coffee, laughter, tears, or simply a look.  Sometimes, love is just being in one another’s presence.

I learned to get over my desperate, self-centered neediness.  I learned how to give and receive love, and I am far more blessed and happy because of it.

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