Monday, December 20, 2010

Family and Feathered Friends

The birds are eating and singing again...

We surprised my dad with a family dinner to celebrate his post-retirement retirement.  Actually, I can't imagine my dad ever not working in some way or another.  He was born a builder, a maker, a Father like son.  His sense of adventure and commitment to making dreams happen make me proud.  I can hardly wait to see what's next for him and Mom.

Like birds, we gathered from all directions in the snow, all but the two youngest grand-girls--one working late and the other at a track meet--in a beautifully decorated golf club which sits quaintly atop rolling Western Pennsylvanian hills, peeking over and hiding under the cover of snow laden greens.

He thought he was coming for a birthday for my son-in-law, and discovered instead a Christmasy, candle-lit dinner with ones who love, and a burnt almond torte for dessert. (In this case, burnt is a good thing!)  We gorged on delicious food and conversation, some sipping wine and others coffee, all admiring the beauty of each other. 

When we couldn't eat another bite, baby-sister from mid-state New York brought out small, prettily wrapped gifts for just mom and us girls.  I opened mine first--there were four all the same--a small red cardinal dusted with shimmer, ready to perch royal on a Christmas tree branch.

I looked teary at my sister and saw between us another guest smiling, one you wouldn't know was there unless you were looking with the heart.  My grandmother had a love affair with birds--the Cardinal was her favorite.  We have a pair living in the shrub at the corner of our house, and every time I see them I think of her.

More messages from heaven.  We hugged and soaked in the love.

I thought thanks for my heritage--not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but--redeemed by love.  Yes, we are loved, and learning to love--all of us, from the oldest to the youngest.  I looked around and saw not just my grandmother, but the One who first loved. Emmanuel was with us, in us, singing over us--even those who were there only in thought, or in the shape of an eye, the form of a cheek-bone, the sound of a laugh.

The birds came hungry, and left satisfied, hearts full and spirits nourished...and my parents drove away dreaming about what they would do come Monday morning.

On this day of grace, I thank Father for...

161.  my dear parents and their inspiration to keep on keeping on
162.  family, each one carrying a piece of the ones and the One who came before
163.  heavenly pine and rich, red velvet and soft candle flickers
164.  piano tones smoothing pretty
165.  crab cakes and black'n'blue steak and buttermilk chicken with garlic mashed
166.  burnt almond torte (Yummm)
167.  the brilliant red of cardinals, gifts
168.  hugs and smiles and pictures taken squished
169.  cold, snowy air
170.  moonlight bouncing off the greens
171.  connecting small as parts of a huge and heavenly puzzle
172.  a nephew growing a foot since I saw him last
173.  laughing hysterics as we watch Elf all strewn around the room
174.  for the girls: green tea w/honey; and the boys: frosty Duquesne Pilseners (the male version of warming up)
175.  all is calm.  all is bright.  all is peaceful this frosty night.

Today I join Ann Voskamp and the community of gratitude-givers in appreciating God's graces.  Click on the button below to read other grace lists....

holy experience

I am also linking with  L.L. Barkat and other ready writers who share their stories of place at Seedlings in Stone.   Please join us!
On In Around button

 Click to read more about my Journey of Gratitude.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - kansasphoto


  1. wonderful post! thank you for sharing
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Feels like I'm right there. You really capture the details, create the invisible communion of family with carefully picked images. Really good. And what a neat link to Seedlings in Stone. Thanks!

  3. I just wanted to wish you a Merrry Christmas. Stay safe and enjoy your greatest gifts which are your family.

  4. Sounds like a warm family gathering ... a gift.

  5. smiles. enjoy your bird...and sounds like a great time...what a blessing family is...

  6. Birds have carried some sweet messages to you this month. And through you to me. I heart coming here. Merry "cardinal" Christmas

  7. This was so wonderful.
    And I so heart cardinals.

    I have so much catching up to do here Melissa, forgive me.

    Wishing you a peace and joy filled Christmas season. And then some.

    love to you

  8. This brings my tears too. Our feathered friends--God's love with wings. Merry Christmas, sweet friend. So thankful for you this year.


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