In addition to the many posts I have shared this past year I choose to end 2012 with these final thoughts and photographs. It was a year of great change, a year to prepare the way for more change, a year of being lost and being found.
An intense year I will never forget.
First, a poem, one I tore from a Yankee magazine many years back.
the Sleeping Beauty nor
Grimm---- realities Ice Queen
never melts, Cinderella's
shoe is on the other
foot, and Hansel
and Gretel wander the forest
in their search for home
dissecting the anatomy
of more than one
witch, chased by rain they thought
was friend, singed by more
than their share
of flame, desperate
of fallen twigs
in their determination
not to stay lost
for a lifetime.
In my quest to find my way home I was often led by the light within my children, who in their struggles and joys, in their moments of insight and creativity, helped me to believe in myself.
The city of Bethlehem is rightly referred to as the "Christmas City," not just by virtue of its name, but also by its embrace of the season through its festive decorations. I was there twice taking photos before Christmas, once during the day, once at night. Bethlehem also happens to be the home of Moravian College, where my son Dale graduated back in 2005.
At a recent service Dale gave the following sermon, one that touched my heart deeply:
On the Ember Wednesday in Advent
Commemorating St. Thomas, Apostle
St. John 20:24-29
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statues, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; I shall keep it with all my heart. (Psalm 119:33-34)
I speak to you today in commemoration of St. Thomas the apostle, in recognition of the first Ember Day in Advent, when the church implores us to pray for those preparing for and in ordained ministry, and in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the ordination of our rector, Father Andrew Gerns.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (I Cor 13:13)
Christ calls you to follow him not because you are perfect; he calls you to be his friend not because you are always faithful and trustworthy; he calls you to be his disciple not because you are quick to learn or easy to teach. Christ calls you because he loves you unconditionally.
You are oftentimes afraid of the journey, of the act of following, of not knowing where Christ leads, of getting distracted or losing your way. You barely even know how to get up and walk! You wish you were like a child, carry-able, simple, all-believing. Seeing the little girl hand-in-hand with her mom, approaching the man in the red suit with white fur edging you think: “I wish I still believed that easily.”
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Christ’s love for you seeks you out and stops at nothing to care for you- not exhaustion, not sore, blistered feet, not pierced hands or bloodied brow, not even cold, deathly doors - you may have put yourself high in the fortress tower, you may have hidden away in the bomb shelter, you may be perched on a hill poised for the battle or maybe you stand on the cliff’s edge, ready to jump; his love for you is still the same.
But you wonder if you know how to come down from there or walk out into the sunshine or breathe the fresh air or lay down your weapons and stop the fight. It is a habit with you, and Christ is not unaware. Do you really want his help? Does your spirit sigh without words, calling out for his care?
Love is the substance of Christianity. Love bears with you when you cannot want or call or follow. Love embraces you when you are lost or distracted. Doubt is not the worst thing that can happen to you, Christian. But becoming hypnotized and traumatized by your own failures, and lack, and dour duties, or letting yourself be dazzled by yourself; forging a hard, stony, cold heart that does not love; that is the worst thing that you can do.
Be willing to lift up your real, wounded heart to Christ; he does not ask for more. If you cannot love, at least let yourself be loved, because love transforms. Look around you; you are not alone in your wounded-ness, in your distracted-ness, even in your terminal dismay; there is a community of a thousand thousand wounded hearts, striving together, crying out to Christ, being bound-up together.
That gathering together and lifting-up of a thousand thousand wounded hearts is not just for you and your age alone. From ages past to ages coming the Community of Love resounds, collected in its priests. They are the gatherers of the called, shallow bowls of incense. Don’t expect servile magic or a show; Don’t try to climb your priests like Jacob’s ladder, or watch for angels’ up-and-down. It is Christ, Christian, who brings things transcendent into the immediate. Christ is the Burning Bush. Christ speaks: Take off your shoes: I am and will be who I am and will be. Your priests are a soundboard - through God’s grace and the prayers of so many different, faithful, doubting, deserting, betraying, broken hearts - by whom our myriad loud and soft vibrations are collected and amplified to the upper air.
If you walk beside St. Thomas for a moment, Christian, you will learn that the need to see and touch is not unique; you are not the only one who wants cold, hard proof. Believing did not go easily for those who spoke with Christ face-to-face; it is no less daunting for those who must believe without seeing. But stand for a moment - listen - and you will catch on Thomas’ breath the quiet joy of having been proven, by a great truth, quite wrong. You will hear him whisper with inner enlightenment,
“My Lord and my God!”
And then yours will be to repeat the sounding joy.
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also. (Isaiah 45:8)
Amber and John married on May 11, 2012, a day of rejoicing for all of us.
Amber finished her Masters in Photography this past year while planning a wedding, working a full time job, and shooting weddings on the side. She and John welcomed Gable, their greyhound son, into their hearts and their home last spring.
Back in the fall I was overjoyed to learn my baby is now expecting her own baby! Wow! I will never forget the day she and John sat together on the living room couch, looking like they were containing the best news ever, ready to burst with it........ which they did, and of course as the months go by Amber's belly will burst accordingly!
As I sat with my psychologist and shared the news with her she asked me "How do you feel about being a grandma?" as if, maybe, it might make me feel anything other than elated......I think she forgot she was speaking to a woman of six children, who loved babies from the time she was a little girl herself.... so of course my reply came with a beaming face and an excited voice, "I can't wait!"
The baby is due June 27th. I can only imagine what it will be like to hold my grandchild in my arms for the first time:)
In recent weeks Bethlehem became the location, particularly The Hyatt Hotel, for my son Josiah to begin shooting his senior film project for Temple University. He spent a year fine tuning his script, which included facing off a professor in a recent class who totally blasted his idea, his story, and wanted Josiah to change his concept.
He didn't agree. He argued for his story. He continued to believe in what he had written.
When he showed his test scene to his class, which included that professor....... she too became a believer.
The film will be presented in May. For those who have followed Josiah's budding film career since he began making movies back in elementary school, this clip is pretty amazing. All his obsession with movies is certainly paying off.
The name of Josiah's film is:
Mr. Wright: An Overture
Please follow this link to see his test scene:
Okay....... three Grandfield kids down, only three to go.........
Chad is studying Nutrition at West Chester University and has a lovely new girlfriend, Tasha, also a Nutrition major. He admits it was certainly hard for her to resist his considerable charm during their organic chemistry class........ what a humble guy!
Chad hopes to do an internship this summer with a nutritionist in our area, but also definitely needs to find a steady job to support his continued need for protein powder and other important nutritional supplements. He is the healthiest eater I have ever seen at his age, capable of throwing together a mean, lean, egg white omelette each day before heading to the gym. His favorite ingredients to have on hand say it all...... brown rice, lean ground turkey, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and assorted fresh fruits and vegetables.
I have alot to learn from this son....... if only I had the same willpower!
My beautiful daughter Rebekah ran the NYC half marathon back in March, turned eighteen in November, and filed applications for college recently. She has been cyber schooling here at home these past two years, which means she gets to see lots of me......haha......I wonder if that is why she is sooo looking forward to college?
Bekah is an outstanding student and a very driven young lady, wanting to become a Medical Doctor in the future. I have no doubt she will accomplish any goals she sets.
One other pretty significant change for my girl, by choice, this past year- she went from brunette to blonde. My Mom now calls her Maril... short for, you guessed it!.... Marilyn Monroe.
She is also a phenomenal cook, a vegetarian who whips up some amazingly tasty fare, even with tofu!
The birthday cakes in the photos above, as well as Amber and John's wedding cake, as well as countless other incredible baked goods this past year, are all part of my daughter Lisa-Noel's creative culinary pursuits! No surprise she wants to be a pastry chef someday!
And she has a really cute boyfriend, Alan, who enjoys eating those baked goods, which she shares freely with just about everyone she knows, as well as the students and faculty at her new school, Lehigh Valley School of the Arts. Lisa-Noel auditioned for their dance program back in May and was accepted, a very happy and encouraging moment for her.
I always refer to my baby girl as the icing on the beautiful five layer cake God gave me through her five older siblings. Isn't it amazing she can now take frosting and use it so skillfully when she makes cakes?
I look forward to seeing her first dance performance in the spring.
Lily would be horribly offended if I didn't share a photo of her here also, because she is my furry daughter (dare I say the fur on the icing on that cake??)
She is pure fun, even when she misbehaves- such a happy girl, wherever she goes.
Happy New Year to all
with lots and lots of