The power of celebration

Blogger Trip April 2015

Celebration! That’s exactly what these four incredible women brought us, April 2015.

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”Abraham Joshua Heschel

“We marveled that while most of us had never met each other, we talked and laughed as if we’d known each other for years.  Which, of course, we had.” Laurie B

There really is power in celebration, and I’ve been blessed to experience it recently, in many episodes.  The most remarkable one lately is the visit I referred to in an earlier blog.  Four of my all-time favorite bloggers came to see us at our Alexandria home, and meeting them face to face was a dream come true!  It’s still hard to believe it really happened, considering all the logistics involved, the complexity of modern lives, and the multiple responsibilities we all undertake.

Each of these women is special to me in her own way, but all share the common trait of knowing what it means to celebrate.  That’s what brought us together in the beginning, and that’s what their trip here was all about.  From as far away as New Zealand (a 36 hour journey, ONE WAY) to as “close” as southwestern Virginia (still a 5 hour drive in good traffic), we met to celebrate the special friendships we had formed online via our blogs and Skype chats.

And what a celebration it was! Despite the usual travel glitches and mishaps, we shared laughter and talks and gifts and reflections, leaving memories that will last well beyond our brief time together.  Referring to Herschel’s quote, we were certainly entertained and amused by each other, but those were secondary to the celebration of what we had already shared in becoming part of each other’s lives through the magic of words and photographs.

One of the nicest gifts you can give yourself is taking time to celebrate your friends and loved ones. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular feat such as this get-together was, though it’s well worth the effort if you can manage to pull it off.  But in reality, such extraordinary times are relatively rare.

That’s not a problem.  Our big event started in small, everyday celebrations, moments that are within everyone’s reach. It can be as simple as a card, a handmade gift, a special photograph or a shared cup of tea.  As Herschel reminds us, our actions can and often do have transcendent meaning.  Let’s act in ways that celebrate the gifts of being alive, loving and sharing!

46 Comments

  1. Good Morning my dear girl ! Are you still enjoying a little breakfast? Make sure you have something to eat that doesn’t look like a nut, LOL. It’s 7am and I’m happily in my Pj’s drinking coffee. I wish you were here to chat with <3.

    I'm laughing at those photo's and originally thought, "what am I wearing?" in the coffee photo…haha. What a goof. I see it's my lovely material which has not yet arrived home as I mailed it from Radford with all the gifts I got from all of you. You have such a beautiful smile! I loved every moment we spent together, I truly felt like I was visiting a long time friend. One where, no matter how much time separates our visits, we pick up easily where we left off. Please know, when ever you can manage it, I'd love to host you too (but am happy to return to DC too if your circumstances make that easier to spend time together). Maybe every once in a while we can swing it somehow. I hope so xoxoxox

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for inviting me, hosting me, touring me around DC, the gifts and most of all your delightful company. So many emotions in only a few days, anticipation, celebration, excitement, laughing, crying and laughing more, no wonder I was tired when I got home ❤ <3. A regular holiday will seem so lame now, what a high standard we've made for ourselves. Your friendship is a beautiful part of my life, I love you dearly xoxo Kelly

    • K, I’m at my parents’ home right now, which means I got to sleep in this morning, so I probably got up about the same time you did, just in a different time zone and therefore a later hour. But I did happily sip tea in my pj’s too. I had the exact same thought when I saw the pic of you with the fabric, until I remembered where I took the photo. I was at that same company’s store near my folks’ home today, only it was a much, much nicer and bigger version, and naturally I wished you had been with me! I certainly hope to visit Edmonton one of these days but meanwhile, you are always welcome to visit us in DC or York, and maybe next time we can pop into Darla’s for tea in the historic village of Yorktown. Her home will be on the Yorktown garden tour in a little over a week from today — she’s busy as a bee getting ready and I am excited about seeing the homes and gardens again. I took a ton of photos when I went two years ago, and I’m sure I’ll take lots more this time.

      Perhaps we have set the holiday bar a bit high, but nothing wrong with having high standards! I’m ready to start planning a trip to Australia and NZ to see Dani and Pauline! Of course that will be a long time from now, but hey, time flies. Since dreams sometimes come true, we can dream really big, right? Thanks so much for your friendship and affection. Boomdeville will always be my happy place! 🙂 ❤

  2. Cherie

    It was wonderful to see all the smiling faces!!! I am so glad you were able to do this celebration for each other. You are in my prayers.

    • Thank you Cherie! I so appreciate the prayers, and I do pray for you too, often! Hope all is well in your world.

  3. Alice Holbert

    I’ll say amen to that! Celebrate the joy, the success, the overcoming, the homecoming, the homegoing, the togetherness…..

    ________________________________

    • Thank you Alice! It really is true that friendship multiplies our joys and divides our sorrows. Thanks so much for staying close to us during the past years and months of sorrow and struggle. We appreciate your caring heart!

  4. Julia,
    Although we may never meet face to face, I feel as though we have. So, to celebrate that truth I am now raising a cup of afternoon coffee in honor of our friendship. Cheers!
    -Alan

    • Alan, I feel the same way! I’m raising my cup of tea, toasting the power and freedom of the written word, and the joy of connection through correspondence!

  5. Good morning, Julia. ☕️ I was so happy to read that you’re visiting with your parents. That’s a celebration! 🎊🎉 I’m sending hugs from Garden City to y’all! The friendship celebration you experienced recently sounds wonderful. Certain friendships are to be treasured and just savor times shared. You have enriched my life through your words, photographs, and the friendship that evolved. 👩‍❤️‍👩

    • Thank you Sheila, I hope one day I’ll be blogging about our visit(s) — here, there and maybe even in Atlanta! Thanks so much for being with us along the way. I echo Alan’s toast with you and many others! Thanks especially for your kind thoughts for Mama and Daddy.

  6. HarryS

    Just a celebratory Thank You.

    • HarryS

      Should have added; 🙂 Thank You 🙂

      • And it’s even better with the smiles! 🙂

    • You’re welcome Harry!

  7. Rene

    This fits so well with my Friday night…I attended the EL Reclassification ceremony for the district elementary students. Two of my five attended and I was amazed at how their mothers transformed these average 5th graders into beautiful young ladies (with hairstyles my mother would have never even attempted!). The kids got to walk across the stage, shake hands with a bunch of district bigwigs, exit through an honor guard from a high school Jr ROTC (I can’t wait to ask how THAT felt) before shaking hands with their own principal. One of them asked if there was going to be a party afterward. I told them that THIS was the party! It was the best one I’ve attended all year (and they did get big chocolate chip cookies afterward).

    • Rene, that sounds like a wonderful celebration! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I imagine this is the sort of reward that keeps teachers working so hard despite all the demands of the job. It reminds me of a story my sister shared with me, about her joy at helping to host a party for the family of three of her ESL students when their parents completed earning their citizenship. With all the negative stuff in the news, it’s so inspiring to hear about these milestones that are happening all around us.

  8. Ann

    Julia, It looks like a good time was had by all!

    My husband and I just returned from a river cruise which ended in Amsterdam. When I visited the Keukenhof Gardens, I thought of you and your beautiful photographs of the flowers there. It is truly a lovely place.

    Ann

    • Ann, I’m so happy you were able to go to Keukenhof! I have always thought a river cruise in Europe would be so wonderful. I’m sure you have many fabulous memories, and maybe a few funny stories as well. Welcome home to the USA!

  9. Julia, this post brought me to tears, though I’m not sure why. I’m not thinking it through, just commenting fresh from your words. I’m touched by both of those quotes, but I was especially pleased to see L.B.’s quote. Isn’t it so true?

    It was an extraordinary visit in ways that will sustain us for years to come. And though I hope we all get together again, there will never be anything as profound and sweet as those first moments together, and the realization of how it came to be.

    Sending love and hugs your way. xox

    PS Great collage!

    • Thanks Alys, I’m glad you connected with what I wrote. As you no doubt found, it’s very hard to describe such experiences. When I read LB’s post, that quote just jumped out at me. It was perfect. Hard to imagine that it really has been YEARS now – going on 3 for me and even longer for some of you. I sent you a post card of a variation of that collage (same photos, different arrangement) which you should be getting soon. I’m sending one to the others too, but I’ll have to wait for K’s and P’s to come to me since they don’t do international post. Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

      • Julia, it is very hard to write about. Meeting was a profound experience and one we won’t soon forget. It was remarkable cozy and comfortable and so much fun. Looking back, it went by in a flash. Quite extraordinary.

        I love the collage postcard! What a fabulous idea, and so good of you to send one to us all.

        I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. We had a bit of rain overnight, but it was done by the morning.

        • We are having rain and sun in pretty much an ideal mix — the rain gives me a break from watering and the sunshine lifts my mood so effectively. I think of you now whenever it rains, and remind myself of how happy I am to live where it rains frequently and there are no watering restrictions. It takes a bit of the edge off missing California, though I have resigned myself to knowing I will always miss it.

  10. Reblogged this on Gardening Nirvana and commented:
    I’ve loved reading the different perspectives of our blogging extravaganza. Julia speaks eloquently of our time together, and on the power and importance of celebration.

  11. LB

    Julia, this is such a lovely post and reminder of our time together. As if I need one!!
    I only wish I’d been able to spend more time with YOU!
    (loved reading the exchange between you and Alan … wonderful)

    • Thanks, LB! The time did zoom by, but perhaps there will be another. With all you have going on, I’m so grateful you took those days to come to DC. I’m thinking of you and wishing you all the best in the weeks and months to come!

  12. As a culture we’ve given up rituals. Rituals in relationships, transition points in life, in sacred moments and time. Much of this is likely temporary, as we move through trial and error about what really feeds our souls. Religious structures used to provide the means and the reason for much of the celebrating we’ve generally done. I think we lost some of our ability to celebrate, in part, because we have moved away from some of these religious structures, but haven’t replaced it with anything. I think it will come, partially on the heals of such posts as this that cry out for more. Beautifully written.

    • Thanks so much, I am so happy you enjoyed the post! In my own life, celebrations have been closely linked to traditions, religious and otherwise, and with life changing at such astonishing speed (as evidenced by the mere fact that we are able to communicate via blogs and other media unknown to us in childhood) sometimes we are too distracted and rushed to make time for aspects of living that used to be considered inviolate. I do see signs that we are waking up to the fact that we are losing something precious. Though it may take different forms — such as blogging and other social media replacing the chats over coffee some of us remember our mothers having with their neighbors — I am encouraged that people still want and need to connect with each other, and are making efforts to do that. Thanks for being here with us, and for your kind words about the post.

  13. How lovely – I have not visited your blog before, but knew of this event from the blogs of others involved in this amazing celebration. I really love the first of your quote – how absolutely true!

    • Thanks so much for visiting! I was intrigued by your blog title, so I just had to pop over there quickly and now I REALLY, REALLY want to send a “snail in the mail” to Claudia! I’m happy you posted about it. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about our celebration. As always I was late at getting around to blog about it, but better late than never, and the other ladies did a fabulous job at keeping everyone posted. I hope your coming week is full of reasons to celebrate!

  14. Julia, what a beautiful celebration with your friends. I’m envious… I wasn’t in the group!
    But, hey…maybe next time! 🙂

    • Merry, let’s count on it! Start watching the airfares now (as I said to Kelly and Alys about two years ago! 😀 ) I recommend spring or fall as the best time to visit Virginia, but I’d be happy to see you anytime. ❤

    • Me too, Merry! And it would be fun to celebrate with Julia together!

      • Well, we’ll have to start cooking up some plans…maybe late fall, when it’s pretty here, still warm in Oklahoma, and already getting cold in New Hampshire? Susan, I think your autumn foliage season is usually earlier than ours.

  15. HarryS
    • Harry, thanks for sharing this gorgeous photo! It fills me with a sense of peace and well-being just looking at all that beautiful green.

  16. I liked your expression of it being a celebration. What a wonderful way to view such a fun life experience. We meet new people everyday that enrich our lives but we rarely celebrate that fact. Thanks for taking the rest of us along with your photo collage that I’ve added to my collection. You’ve expressed this gathering so beautifully. I was with you all in spirit. 🙂

    • Thank you! There are some special people in that collage, aren’t there? Maybe next time you can be with us in person, but I’m so happy you were there with us in spirit! The celebration continues…

      • Yes, Julia, they are a very special group indeed. I’ve found you can tell a lot about someone through their writing and after a bit you know their hearts. I’m hoping to find a way to meet everyone someday too.

        • I agree that writing and reading can help us to come to know others in a way that often escapes us at casual gatherings. I think that’s why so many of us have been surprised at the doors that opened to us via blogging. When we write we can filter out all the superfluous chatter and get to the heart, as you say.

  17. Not having internet at home anymore, i stay way behind.. it’s been great catching up, enjoying the beautiful images, getting/reading good reports… even good reports of the snow!…

    this looks like a wonderful time for all involved, and i’m glad that you squeezed the most of your time together!

    drats.. as usual, this comment keeps getting stuck (stage fright?) — here’s the third or fourth try!

    • Good morning, amiga! Knowing how difficult internet access has always been for you, I really appreciate hearing from you! Your efforts to stay in touch with your online friends are parallel to, though different from, the effort these four women made in traveling so far for us to be together. It looks as though the third or fourth time was a charm with you comment — I know I usually give up after two attempts when that happens to me, so I’m sending you lots of gratitude for your willingness to keep trying! Cyber hugs across the miles!!

  18. Reblogged this on Charity Thats Fun with Theres'a Charity Auctions and commented:
    Hello viewers and friends, I thought this was a very wonderful site for anyone who likes to hear the “good” news so i hope you will take the time to check it out and enjoy it as much as i did

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