hellomarylou

Inklings from within


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Tears & Laughter

This post is mostly for my far away sisters and other family who could not be with us this weekend.  (How great would it have been to have you here?!!)

This weekend our cousin Rachel had the amazing experience of meeting her birth mother for the first time in her life.  My aunt Betty and her family adopted her when she was 2 weeks old. She has been our cousin and friend these past twenty-five years and it’s wonderful to see her have this beautiful, emotional experience.  My brother and his wife expertly captured the story in this touching film.

 

On Friday I rushed home from work, changed, packed my baby niece into the car, and headed off to meet a bunch of aunts and cousins for lunch. I got to meet Nicole (Rachel’s birth mom) and she was a pleasure, a courageous and brave woman. I didn’t take any pictures that day, and how I wish I would have.

This evening we had dinner with aunts, uncles, and cousins; and afterward went back to  Barbara’s house and talked until one in the morning when Rachel and aunt Betty had to leave for the airport. It was great “Miller time.” 🙂

IMG_6079                Pat and Rachel

IMG_6080Betty, Mom, Barbara

{oh how we miss you aunt Fanny}

IMG_6086Carolyn, Deb, Nicole, Desiree

{Is there anything more fun than a bunch of Millers piled in living room?!}

IMG_6087Julie with her “special” mug.

{this girl is a hoot!}

IMG_6088Carolyn, Rachel, & I

{Where’s Sheila?!!!}

IMG_6101Another aunty photo

{because we know how absolutely precious they are}

IMG_6093I realize more and more as years go by how precious moments like these are…how I wish more of you could have been there!

IMG_6104Aunts and cousins, all together.

{Love, love, love.}

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(P.S. On Friday night we also had a great time here at my house with Aunt Freda, cousins Wanda and Regina, and Wanda’s two daughters. I barely have any pictures of that evening….so sad. But here is one of Carolyn with Wanda’s daughter Emily. Oh. My. Word. They look so much like each other!)

That’s it. I wish I could capture the conversations and the laughter and the hugs and the tears, bottle them up, and send them to you.

{ Especially you Celesta. Miss you so much and the oceans between us  are just SO BIG.}

Peace and Love.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Fifteen {por fin}

15. Favorite city?

In September of 2003 I spent three weeks in the loveliest city I have ever laid eyes on. Antigua, Guatemala. The purpose of my visit was to go through an intense, one on one, five hours a day Spanish language course in preparation for volunteering at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. I found a willing friend to go with me and away we went.

My pictures of that time are safely archived in a box somewhere, so I’ll just steal borrow a few images from the world wide web.

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{via}We stayed with a local lady who had several rooms she rented out to international students. We had several European housemates; I can’t remember exactly which countries they were from. The photo above looks very much like the street view outside our house. The city is surrounded by three volcanoes and we were afforded beautiful views each time we walked down the street.

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{via} We studied. Studied a lot, in fact, until it felt like our brains would burst from the endless conjugating of verbs. However, the school also offered great opportunities with field trips to coffee plantations, mountain towns, beach towns, as well as providing plenty of time to explore on our own. The ruins of Santa Clara, pictured above, were my favorite place to visit. Santa Clara was a church and convent that were destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. If, or please God when, I go back, I would spend a lot more time here.

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{via} We spent hours in parque-central, watching people, meeting people, and buying handcrafted goods from the locals. We re-named it “parque-sensual,” in honor of the excessive amounts of canoodling, cuddling, and kissing going on all around us. Public displays of affection are everywhere in Antigua. I was not married then, but who knows, maybe if I went back now with my husband we’d find our own kissing bench. :)It’s just that kind of city. So romantic.

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I’ll never forget the smell of the daily afternoon rain shower.

The warm banana bread from the Doña Luisa bakery.

The thrills of discovering city, self, and language.

Salsa dancing with strangers.

Scaring my dear friend Lillian to bits one night as we walked home after dark.

Shopping at Katun.

Walking downtown after dark and stopping to peep into the windows of candle lit restaurants and hotels.

Cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture.

Trying to avoid our “more worldly” European housemates invitations. 🙂 Haha. That makes me laugh, still.

“Buenos noches.”

Street vendor food.

Buying toilet paper and trying to pronounce “papel higienico.”

Going to the Catholic church and lasting about 10 minutes.

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   {via} Oh Antigua. I miss you.


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Day Fourteen

To be a genius you need to be both intelligent and creative. if you could possess only one of these traits, which would you prefer and why?

 Intelligence.

 Creativity may enable me to knit or paint or glue popsicle sticks together, but creativity alone may not lead me down the wisest paths. I think intelligence would allow me to decipher wrong from right, truth from lies, and  help me find ways to be creative. Our Creator is the origin of intelligence and I think we can all see in the world around us, that His creativity is off the charts!

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Day Thirteen

What’s your favorite picture of yourself?

I can’t say that I’ve given this one much thought. The one photo that came to mind, I couldn’t find. So I started sifting through a box of old photos and picked a few. These pictures have less to with how I look in them, and more to do with how I feel in them. The memories they evoke. What I am surrounded by. These have been scanned into the computer so excuse their old school fuzziness.

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Home. I’m incapable at the moment, of describing everything this photo evokes.

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Best Men. My two little brothers. My not-quite-husband. My brothers and I were born in quick succession. Eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three. I cannot imagine life without them. My now-husband just fits. There’s no perfection here, just a steadiness. These are the good guys. Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. God-fearing. I look at that picture and I feel at home. It makes me feel better about the first picture. Because I know we made it out alive. This story has a good ending.

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Home again. Home is at this man’s side. For as long as we both shall live. We couldn’t have known the minefields we’d dance through, but we’re still dancing. Nevertheless.


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What is your ideal summer day? Where would you go, what would you do or eat, and who would you be with?

I’ve taken a few days off from these questions and for good reason. The day I was supposed to answer the above question, I was, in fact, enjoying an ideal summer day. The annual Miller family reunion was this past weekend and I so enjoyed it. I had skipped a couple of years so it was really good to be back and connect with the people with whom I share a mysterious bond. Because it is mysterious to me…why should a few shared genes or blood cells or something, (I’m unqualified to discuss our biological similarities) knit our souls together? I know that those biological similarities don’t always knit souls together. At least not in love. And so I am most grateful for the love, imperfect as it is, that has knit my mom’s family together.

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 In the kitchen (for family who cares, in the back its Emmanuel, Roy, Barbara, and Robert;
front is Ivan and Mom)

My mom’s brother’s stories are my favorite part of the reunions. There is an inner “uh-huh”, a kind of confirmation, a recognition of myself and my siblings, that I experience when their tales are being told. When they told the story of Grandpa scaring his sons by pretending to be a mountain lion, I laughed. When Robert simultaneously laughed and cried while talking about Roy’s recent stroke, I wiped away tears. And then laughed because Roy said he’s no longer sleeping on his belly because he’s afraid of heights.

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Love this picture (Eddie, Mom, Ivan)

I caught up with dear cousins, laughed at their kids jokes, squeezed my nieces and nephews, and ended each day with my siblings. The food on these ideal days? Oh goodness. Table after table, a buffet of so much deliciousness.

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Dreamer (Andy)

One story that struck me in particular, was about my uncle Andy, pictured above. I think Eddie told it, and as I remember it, the boys were in the barn doing their chores when Andy suddenly went running past Eddie, through the barn door, and outside. A few minutes later he came back in and said, “Ih hop un gaeluh airplane tsenah! Swa gael!” (forgive me, that may not be very sound PA dutch) Translation: “I saw a yellow airplane! It was yellow!” Reportedly, Andy, as a young boy was fixated on airplanes and aviation. I think they teased him about it plenty, at least they do now, but he would not be swayed.

In the afternoon of our second day together, people were suddenly moving out from under the pavilion and looking expectantly at the sky. “What’s going on?” I wondered. Someone said, “Andy’s doing a flyover!”

And suddenly I was transported. Blown away. A young Amish boy who dared to dream, and whose dreams were not squashed. He loved airplanes and there he was flying over our heads, dipping his wings to say hello. Uncle Andy is my hero for more than one reason, but on July 15 2012, he became an inspiration. To me. The humming sound of the airplane overhead, and the warmth of love and hope inside- it was the perfect summer day.


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Day Eleven

Perfect first date

My first date with my husband was a somewhat awkward dinner at Ruby Tuesday. We sat across the table from each other, played with the straws in our drinks, and wondered how we should behave ourselves. How were two people who had been friends supposed to act now, with this shift in the relationship? After a few minutes we decided to just keep on being ourselves. Friends.
Love, I have found, for us, is a friendship set on fire.
Our first date was not in a spectacular setting, there were no rose petal pathways set before us. But it did set into motion a relationship, a marriage that is sacred treasure. So yes, it was the perfect first date. It worked.

(almost done with these; I’m getting tired of talking about myself.)


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Day Ten

Ten things that make you happy.

(in no particular order)

 

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10. Belgian Design– And in particular, the work of the man pictured above, Axel Vervoordt. No design philosophy has ever struck me so perfectly to the core as the simplicity of Belgian design. I intend to do an entire post on this subject in the near future.

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9. Estee Lauder Automatic Brow Pencil Duo- I don’t think of this pencil as making me happy, but, when I can’t find it, I feel some serious anxiety coming on. As a child of the 1980’s who ZEALOUSLY over plucked her brows, I rely on this pencil each day to feel presentable. Sometimes I use it after I shower just before getting in to bed. I’ve used many different kinds of pencils over the years and this at last, is the one. No sharpening needed. When it’s all gone, the top pops off and I replace it with a refill. Thank you Estee Lauder.

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8. Water + Sunshine– This summer more than ever, I am enjoying the feel good benefits of the this combination. It is an amazing way to let go of tensions and stress.

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7. Boxers– These dogs make me happy just looking at them. They love their people maybe more than any other kind of dog. (that’s purely my opinion) Their eyes are not to be resisted.

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6. Autumn– The clear, crisp air. Sweatshirts in the evening. Apple cider. Pumpkins. I wish I could live in a land of eternal summer, but autumn is what makes living in a seasonal climate worth it. Did I mention football?

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5. Bonnet Movies– The greatest of which is Masterpiece Theatre’s 2006 Jane Eyre. Currently I’m working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series. I do not tire of British humor and their delicate sensibilities. 🙂

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4. Travel– Sometimes I start to panic when I think of how much world there is left to see and how much I will probably never see. Every corner is a curiosity to me, some more than others. But I will gratefully experience whatever I am able to, and the rest…..I’ll just wait for heaven.

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3. Nieces & Nephews– I cannot express the joy each one of them brings me. Truly.

2. My Family– No picture. These last three all kind of fudge together but that’s OK. Each one brings its own unique joy. My family is….people I want to be with. I’m too tired to really wax on…so I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂

1. My Husband– Patient. Kind. Faithful. Enduring. Funny. Caring. Loves me and I love him. And we promise we always will. And that’s enough to make any girl happy.

 

I apologize if this post is not coherent.

I’m so tired but determined to get this posted before I go to bed.