Growing in Sharing!

 

Welcome to my blog!

My apologies for deserting it for so long!

As we get deeper into fall, nostalgia settles in for those long, bright,  hot summer days. I miss them. I look back to them and draw energy and light to help me deal with the pain in my heart.

My husband, my mother, and I left rather suddenly last July for Greece. We spent two months with our girls and their families, both in Athens and my hometown, Dimitsana, in Arcadia.

Dimitsana

Dimitsana

A difficult summer from many aspects! Bad economy…my daughter’s marriage that is no longer marriage, and …computer problems. For months now, nothing has been right. Life has been demanding our full attention; not just pulling our strings a bit but hitting us rather hard with thunderbolts, creating a heart -breaking turmoil for our whole family.   

I am not good sharing my pain and I took the easy way out. I “hid.” Thank God, FB stopped recognizing me. Thank God, my computer would conveniently die when I needed to be alone and  revive when I desperately needed a friend.
I could share with a handful of people, strangers or friends. I could not spend hours talking to TWs and other online friends, bringing them down with my troubles. Besides, I needed to be with my family and heal all of us.

 

Cannot help it! I am my parents’ child. I learned from them to believe that 

“My pain is mine, and my joy is to be shared.”

My siblings and I never heard them complain about their troubles; never did they burdened us with them. They did however pass the message to us that,

“difficulties are dealt better with patience, faith,
and trust.”

 

As I said, these past months have been going from crises to crises. We often thought we reached our rope’s end. As soon as we learned to deal with one thing, we found ourselves hanging from a cliff with no net beneath to catch us if we fell. Always, something more challenging demanded our attention. I guess that’s how Life goes: 

 “Teaching us lessons all the way to the end.”

 Even though not out of the woods yet, I am no longer hiding behind a wall. Seems just about all posts I read lately were about “Breaking walls.”  So I am here, out of my hiding place,  sharing…

 “Share with us your summer,”

wrote Christa Sterken in one FB thread.

I am sharing and it feels good!

Very cathartic! To use a Greek word!

Here is what else happened:

 

An eye infection kept me out of sorts and with only one eye for 3 days. This was not easy but  helped me realize that

 

I am blessed with two eyes, even if I need glasses to aid my vision.

For one full week, four generations were living under our roof! Fourteen people: My 93 year old mother, my husband and I, our two girls who live in Greece, our son’s wife, Lee, from Chicago, and her mother, our seven grandchildren!

 

Our summer’s highlight! A blessing and a joy, even though toward the end, high fevers, headaches, and cat allergies, affected some of the children.
Still, we were OK! Ecstatic that children and grandchildren rekindled family relationships!

 

The children from Chicago loved Dimitsana and  Spyros’   hometown. They spend  there a whole day, swimming in the pool, visiting with family and roaming around the village.
 

Our 13 year old grandson, from Chicago was invited to play with the local basketball team in a 3-game tournament, with players 18-25 years-old. Even though their team did not win, our Spyros played better than many of the other players and was cheered not just by the spectators but also by the players themselves.

Grandmotherly pride? You bet!

My daughter Maria’s pizza restaurant is beautiful!  Fits perfectly with the traditional architecture and style of the town. The food is truly great!

 We enjoyed her pizzas, soufflés, appetizers, and the spiced wine she makes herself.

 We also had a pick nick up in the mountains of Mainalon.  The roasted baby lamb with potatoes and the other delicacies we had prepared were mouth-watering. More so  under the shade of spruce and walnut trees and by a fresh water spring!
I missed though not been often enough in touch with my friends…Laura, Lotta, Anne, Kathleen, Kath, Joy, Shelley, Joan, Chris, Dane, Jon, Eric, Arlene, Anastacia, Lori, Christa, Maria, Bonny, and many others… Their soothing “voices” and loving words always ground me to my wise and patient self. I always feel better “talking” to them. I learned to count on their prayers and be grateful for them as I felt blessings coming back to me.

 

Even though tribulations shook us hard enough at times, we were doing a good job handling everything and supporting each other with grace. Our extended families often commented on how patiently and wisely we were handling Life and its difficulties.

 

 Through everything, I was, and still am, grateful for God’s blessings. Every time we were about to fall into despair, God never left us alone. Each and every time, an angel came to our aid. It’ s amazing how it never failed.

 

Truly, our miracles are many and much more vital and meaningful than our difficulties.

 

I suppose, more lessons are still needed on patience and acceptance, support and trust that things are as they should be, that when the time comes it will be better.

 
Through all this, and specifically in Greece, I made a point to look for blessings almost every moment…to feel and sent out love, to take advantage of wisdom and beauty, no matter where I find them. This has kept me going.

Short walks or rides in Arcadia during the summer, gave me a chance to get in touch with my self and nature and took my mind out of the troubles. I marveled at, and identified with, the beautiful mountains; at one point feeling bare yet strong as them, other times, green and sculpted by the hardships of Life.

 

No two mountain tops are similar, neither in shape or color, not in all Arcadia. Yet they are similar that they all bask in the sun and stand tall and unmovable against the winds, the torrents, and the snow.

I carry a mountain within and they carry me. They inspire and encourage me!

 When I felt low, sometimes reaching bottom, then I, somehow, found myself near a mountain valley. What a blessing that was as it reminded me that

 laying low leaves one open and receptive to nutrients… gifts that come to one who patiently and peacefully awaits for grace to trickle down from the highest points.

And people…instead of losing faith in them, giving them acceptance, a smile, a small gift, a kind word, they are ready to share even the little they have. Neighbors and people  showered us with the most sugary tomatoes, tender cucumbers and zucchini, young zucchini hearts and leaves, beautiful flowers and the most delicious figs, all from their gardens.

If I was still feeling tired and low by the end of the day, the spectacular sunsets enlightened my soul like nothing else, except, that is, my grandchildren who could be sweeter than honey…most of the time.
 

My sweetest Friends, old and new TRs, I am OK! Knowing I am blessed with great friends and the chance to get closer to many more is comforting and encouraging. A great responsibility, as well! Even if I am not present all the time, I appreciate and respect all of you, no matter where you are, no matter where your journey takes you.

I am better with one to one relationships. The Tribe is challenging, but I will do my best, especially when NaNoWriMo is over, to be more involved. Yes! I signed for it, with my own real name, as if I did not have enough to do. But,

 

“Challenges bring grown,”

 

and even though I walk my 68th year, I vow to keep growing.

 

Feel free to get personal with me, any time you want. I would love to know you better.  I am not good with technical stuff, but ask and if I can help, I will.

 My e-mail is katiakantzia@msn.com

Wishing you all a wonderful fall and all of God’s blessings!

 

Katina

 

Share in the comments how you deal with Life’s difficulties.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Katina Vaselopulos

Originally from Greece, Katina Vaselopulos and her husband, have made their home in Chicago for the past 47 years. Their four children and nine grandchildren offer countless adventures. Katina also enjoys cooking and baking, teaching and learning, reading and writing. Her soon-to-be-published book, Sailing Toward Ithaca, takes the reader on a journey through one year of her life. She invites the readers along, to sail through life’s journey open to all possibilities and to nurture relationships with self, others, and God by striving for self-knowledge and inner growth. Other projects include What Is Cooking in Niles, a cookbook of Greek cuisine, and a thesis, “Dostoyevsky’s Major Novels: Polemics against Liberal Thought,” for which she received high honors at Northeastern University of Illinois.

Comments

  1. Beautiful, Katina! Thank you for sharing your summer with us. Whenever I have difficulties I cling to God’s promises. He is always there to pick us up. Can’t wait to read your book! Happy NaNoWriMo! :)

  2. Thank you Anastacia for visiting! Your warm, wise, and encouraging words are music in my soul!

    Clinging to God is the only thing to do. Otherwise we get sucked into the whirlpool and get lost. You are such a wise young woman! I admire and respect you a great deal.

    Wishing you all of God’s blessings upon you and your beautiful family!

  3. Sweet Katina, so glad you are home and survived this summer journey with joyful memories as well. I looked up pictures of the places you mention…I too want to someday now picnic at mountains of Mainalon! God bless you, good luck with Nanowrimo!

    • O Christa, Thank you for coming over!

      I am so impressed with you and others and often wonder how you do so much and at the same time support others as well. We are stronger than we think we are and we survive just about everything if we hope and trust. Nothing is always black or white…Grades if gray might be depressing, but behind the clouds the sun finds a way to smile.

      I am glad you looked up pictures of my land. You have a standing invitation to visit and spend time with us exploring Arcadia, the place that inspired the poets, wtiters, and artists of the enlightenment period in Europe.

      God’s blessings to you and your family!

  4. La Mc Coy

    This is Beautiful Katina. Thank you!

  5. Thank you beautiful Katina! For the images of your amazing Greece and for your inspiration and encouragement! Knowing that you are here helps me every day! I send you my love! ❤️

    • O Lotta mou, Thank you, for everything you do for me, my soul, my sanity!
      I am blessed with your sweetness, gentleness, love, and wisdom, everyday, even when not it touch. Thinking of you during this devastation that hit northern Europe.

      Praying for you and the others!
      All my love,

  6. Katina – you are such a blessing and encouragement. And yes, you were missed, but it was perfectly understandable. I like what you said about looking for the blessings in every moment. I try to do that, but so often I forget.

    I am so thankful for our friendship and I wish you the best for NaNoWriMo.

    Love and blessings,
    Joan

  7. Joan, Thank you so much for visiting! I know how busy you are and it’s not always easy!
    I truly appreciate your support and friendship.

    Thanks for nano wishes! Happy to say, I wrote my first 2114 words today and had fun doing it!

    Blessings and love back to you, sweet friend!

  8. Katina what a wonderful share, your highs and lows we all have them and I look forward to reading more from you about how you conquered NaNoWriMo Im here when you need a far off ear to listen and look forward to the bonds of friendship growing stronger.

  9. Dearest Kath,

    Thank you for coming over, especially since you are so busy yourself.

    Your friendship blesses me and stretches me to places I never thought I can reach. Grateful for that! NaNoWrimo went great today…2114 words. I haven’t had the time to check with other participants.

    Wishing you all the best, in all of your endeavors. The more you accomplish, the more inspired and encouraged I am to venture out!

    Blessings and light, always!

  10. Katina, reading about your summer I felt the highs and lows, the ascent up the mountains of Mainalon (I’ll have to look that up!) and your descent into the valley of trials and disappointments. Greece sounds so utterly enchanting through your eyes, and I hope someday to visit the birthplace of democracy and culture. I have missed your kind, gracious voice and I’m so glad you’re *back.* I can see by the comments that so many other people feel the same way I do. Welcome back, friend!

  11. O, Kathleen,

    So glad you visited! So touched by your articulate and beatiful words. I have truly missed everyone and look forward to catching up with all the wonderful progress everyone has made.

    I might be a bit bias about Greece and my home area, but anyone who looks to see what is invisible to the eye, will feel the same way I do. As Shelley said, “We are all Hellenes” for so many reasons.

    I would love to have you visit…It would be wonderful…and something to look forward to.

    Be patient with me, please. One of these days, I will be around to visit you.

    Grateful for knowing you! Looking forward to know you better,

    Blessings and light always!

  12. I’m so glad you’re back with us with new strength. I’m sorry to hear of the heartache you endured, but amazed at your spirit of endurance. I loved traveling with you to Greece and I can just about smell the pizza from your daughter’s restaurant. Your words are beautiful.

  13. Shelley, my sweet friend, thank you!

    Thank you for making time to come over and for your trust in me. We are stronger than we think we are, and the only way to realize that is in hardships and tribulations. The support I have received is amazing and says a lot about the tribe and TWs. You are such an amazing group of people!

    I am so glad you loved seeing my homeland through my eyes. I cannot wait to share more of this tiny country that gave birth to some of the greatest ideas and ideals in the world. Would love to take you along one day! Dreaming about it could make it come true.

    Blessings and Light to you and your family!

  14. Dear Katina, how we have missed you and your words of wisdom and encouragement! I love this update on your summer excursions. So evocative. Beautifully depicted. It made me long to climb into your suitcase and stow away for a few months of much needed soothing sea air and scorching sun. My heart yearns for such beauty as you describe. But I do know something about the low lands where grace spills freely, knowing that gifts “come to one who patiently and peacefully awaits for grace to trickle down from the highest points”.
    Patience can be hard wrought in the furnace of affliction and peace is a benefit of rest and trust in God’s all-knowing, sovereign plans. I’m so pleased you experienced high moments, sun, fun and laughter amidst the challenges and pain. And I am really looking forward to hearing more from you soon!

    Blessings and love in abundance, sweet friend :) Xxx

    PS:Do I need to re-subscribe to your blog? It hasn’t sent me e-mail notification of this post. I only found out via TW page. Just wondered.

  15. Oh, My sweet Joy!

    Your beautifully written and full of heart word brought tears to my eyes! I felt our souls touch both high up on the mountains and way too low in the valleys of Life.

    You my friend are a poet, sensitive and very expressive with words.

    Not sure we the post did not come to your inbox, but I am thrilled you found out from TWs and came over. I am amazed by the support and love I have received from so many, both old and new. I just feel badly I haven’t been around and supporting.

    I know you deal with your own challenges,;through them you grow to higher spiritual levels and also get stronger as you rise above them. I can feel that I do too. Where would we be without them.

    Please forgive me if I don’t visit as often as I would like. Believe me, your words inspire and encourage me in so many ways.

    I would love one year to take you with me to Greece. Maybe, if I share enough about my homeland, I will persuade you to come. One of these years will be the right time for that!

    I too send bleddings

  16. Joy, I was correcting the word “bleddings” and it posted! At this point, I will let it be, because I type with two fingers badly cut. Difficult and painful!

    I too send you blessings and love and many hugs and happy faces! :)

    • Dear Katina, your words are liquid honey to soothe a tired, depleted soul. No matter whether you write ‘bleddings’ or ‘blessings’, both are gratefully received! I am just sorry and conerned that you are typing with two cut fingers. Oh dear :( And just when you’ve begun NANOWRIMO too. I shall pray for your healing and ability to write more freely.

      You have nothing to apologise for, my friend. We can all only do so much in a day. I have to make choices about activities and not spreading myself too thinly or I risk becoming friable as tissue paper. I love it when you visit. It is always a delight whenever it happens. Even if we only ‘see’ one another briefly, our souls touch always.

      Much love and hugs to you too! :) xx <3

  17. You sure have a heart of gold, my sweet friend! Always understanding, always with a nice word to say.

    It seems I always have accidents with the computer. Maybe I should stick to what I know…cooking for instance…but I don’t think so! :)

    My fingers are much better today. Thank you for feeling for me and praying. I wrote 2,i61 words, much easier than yesterday. Prayers were heard!

    Blessings :) and lots of love and hugs!

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