Claudia Putnam's blog post: In honor of Jake

I just finished reading and re-reading my friend Claudia Putnam's blog post, In Honor of Jake. She writes about the loss of a child, her little boy, who died just three days after being born. Claudia's writing is touching and beautiful and meaningful and insightful all rolled up into one. It's sad but not morbid. Putnam walked a fine line in touching my heart and left it actually hope-filled and determined to love and live more fully today than I did yesterday. Her line on how you wish you could be like other parents who take their kids for granted really affected me. I know I often fall in that category, assuming both David and Christine will always be with me. I'm always thankful for words that encourage me to embrace the gift that each day brings and Claudia's writing did that for me today.


Easter, Spring, and all things new

So here's a question for you: What family traditions do you have related to Easter? To the advent of Spring? Whether or not you celebrate religious traditions during this time of year, tell us what is special about the coming of Easter/Spring-time for you.

For me? Well, my memories have to do with white shoes, flowery dresses AND hats! That's what we did in Cuba growing up. Mama would make sure all 6 girls had their Easter dresses and she'd have one made for herself as well that would be in the same fabric as ours though designed for a grown up. White patent leather shoes for all 7 of us, Mama and us 6 girls. Yes, the shoes had to be patent leather, shiny ones... Little purses for each of us that matched the shoes... Soft flowery dresses and white hats. Then in New Jersey it was traumatic because often for Easter there would be snow and yet we would go to Easter Sunday church service wearing, yep, you guessed it! We'd go wearing our Easter dresses, white shoes, and purses and hats. LOL.

One thing that was and still is very different about how I celebrate Easter here in the USA vs Cuba is that in Cuba Good Friday was almost the highlight of Holy Week. There was a procession down the streets that we'd go watch and then we'd go to church from noon until 3pm, while the events of that day in Jesus' life were recounted. I never thought of it as morbid, this emphasis on remembering His death, but actually healing, in that I actually "felt" his pain and ended up feeling very grateful for what He'd done for me.

Then on Sunday it was all about the Hallelujah chorus and everyone in church who wanted to could go up and belt it out alongside the choir. I never did learn all the words to the hymn but it was just glorious belting out the words I did know, especially repeating Hallelujah over and over again. I found this YouTube video of the Soul Children of Chicago singing the Hallelujah Chorus and it brought wonderful memories back. I remember acting just like the children in the video, singing my heart out and enjoying it tremendously... even if all I repeated over and over was Hallelujah and "forever, and ever."

The Easter bunny never made it to our home in Cuba. I don't at all remember hearing about him until after we got to the USA. And, after hearing about him, we snubbed him for years because we didn't understand what role a rabbit played during Easter time. For us Easter was all about Christ.Eventually we did let the rabbit into our home and just this week I put out in my own home the decorative ceramic rabbits, the same ones my mother ended up using to decorate our home as we grew up in the USA.

So... How about you? What has been special for you over the years about this time of the year? What is special now?