A Good Home, Easter

Happy Easter, Happy Spring

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Sharing my favourite Easter posts: they’ll make you smile!

https://cynthiasreyes.com/2014/04/20/a-child-at-easter/

https://cynthiasreyes.com/2014/04/16/easter-lilies/

My best to everyone!

Photo by Hamlin Grange

A Good Home, Easter, Easter Flowers, Fairies, Family Matriarch, Family Stories, First Home, Flowers, Garden, Gardening, Home, Homes, Jamaican countryside, Lifestyle

A Child At Easter

I’m dedicating this story to the child within each of us.

**

My first garden had everything we children needed:  tall trees with big outstretched arms, a wide stream and acres of fields to play in.  All this stood beside and behind a tiny pink farmhouse where a mother and father and five children lived.

A pink farmhouse? Yes.

Seven people in a tiny pink house? How tiny?

Two bedrooms, two front rooms.

Must have been crowded, I hear you thinking.

But this was a land of mild temperatures and hot sun.  Children spent many of their waking hours outside.  Nature – the wildness of it, the near-danger of it, the freedom of it – was our garden.  A child’s own garden.

It wasn’t until our family moved to our grandmother’s much larger house in a nearby village that the first memories of a flower garden — the kind that people tend — lodged themselves in my seven-year- old mind.  It was in front of the house, under a window.

via public domain.net
via publicdomainpictures.net

I remember that garden now as a small space full of pretty flowers.  Roses, zinnias and dahlias,  Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours  and other things grew there, each cheerfully elbowing out the other, competing  for space and sun.

Crocus in Spring
Photo by Hamlin Grange

And I remember these, above everything else: the fairy flowers.

Clusters of tiny flowers bloomed in gentle colours: pink, white, yellow, mauve.  Unlike the other flowers in the garden, these huddled in small patches, as if supporting each other   — or seeking warmth from the cool, early-morning mountainside air.

“Luminous”, I’d call them now, because their petals seemed to glow, as if someone had polished each one very tenderly till it shone.

via telegraph.co.uk
via telegraph.co.uk

It was magic: they simply appeared one day, as if a fairy had waved her wand above the soil.  The size of them – about three inches tall — and the magic of them made me think that these were the sort of flowers that fairies would have growing in their own garden.

Image via
Image via self-reliance-works.com

Then, when I wasn’t looking – perhaps when I was at school during the day, or asleep during the night – the flowers disappeared completely.  When that happened, I imagined that the fairies had brought them to another garden where other children could enjoy them.  It was a sad and hopeful feeling all at once.

The timing of the flowers’ arrival always seemed spot-on: Easter time, or Holy Week, as church-going families called it.  And so, surrounded by the mysterious stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, my sisters and I decided that the tiny flowers were to be called Easter Lilies.  Easter lilies — brought by fairies.

Image via

It wasn’t the first time – or the last – that I’d get my magic and miracles mixed up.  For a child who is told ghost stories and biblical tales of miraculous resurrection finds it easy to believe in fairies.

Unknown to my parents, I even thought of ghosts and fairies in church.  When the pastor  got too fiery, or too boring, or glared at me for giggling and whispering to my sister, I imagined a kind ghost or fairy – or maybe God himself –  putting him to sleep right there in the pulpit – just for a while.

Now – with a garden of my own – reality overtakes imagination, most days.   I know that pretty gardens take a lot of work.   Those magical moments of my childhood were hardworking times for my parents.

It was my mother who tended the little garden and made sure the flowers would bloom.  It must have given her great pleasure, but it was work — along with her other duties as a mother, wife, designer and seamstress of women’s dresses, and active church member.

Still,  I hope Mama would forgive me for wondering — at least when it comes to the little garden — if she got a bit of help from the fairies.

A Good Home, Anglican Church, Bell Ringing, Blessing of the Animals, Easter, Easter sunday, Episcopalian Church, Passover

Easter Lilies and Ringing Bells

On Easter Sunday I’ll be in our historic village church, singing my head off.

First built in 1869, it’s Anglican (aka Episcopalian or Church of England).

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange

For our church community, Easter Sunday is the happiest day of the year, happier even than Christmas.  It’s the day of the miracle of the resurrection.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange

When our priest  Claire (a Guyanese-Canadian woman who joined us a few years ago)  says “Christ is risen”,  I ring my hand-bell till my husband begs me to stop.

When the time comes to sing hymns (singing is a rare thing in this contemplative Anglican service), I do so more loudly, more off-key than anyone else.

Image via wikipedia

My husband is probably embarrassed.

But I’m too busy singing to notice.

I’ll be ringing and singing along with about 35 or 36 other souls at the 8:30 a.m. service.

“ONLY 36 other people?” you ask.

Actually, 36 is huge – for the 8:30 service.

Photo by Gundy Schloen
Photo by Gundy Schloen

When I first entered the tiny board and batten building for the 8:30 service, only 9 people attended, and sometimes — if the weather was bad  — only five.  Then the village grew and the little building was suddenly bursting at the seams — well, at the 10:30 service, that is.

The whole parish – 8:30 and 10:30 folks  together — raised funds to build a bigger church.  We love our big new church and are grateful that it accommodates newcomers and old-timers alike.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Stephen Clarke
Photo by Stephen Clarke

But we 8:30 folk  – there are more of us now — still worship in “the chapel”.

**

If you’ve read my book, “A Good Home”, you know that I arrived at this church full of doubt.  In fact, one of the things that drew me? The name. It was named for the Bible’s great doubter: Thomas.  He could have been the patron saint of journalists like me — who are taught to doubt everything and everyone till proven otherwise.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange

But I found peace.   In the pastel-coloured stained-glass windows, the timeworn wooden pews, the threadbare carpet,  the small carved wooden altar, the communion rail overlooked by a simple cross.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Hamlin Grange

Peace. 

In the warm welcome from everyone I met.

In the words of the priest and the small, burgundy cloth-covered Book of Common Prayer, beautifully written.

Even in the glorious confusion called the blessing of the animals. On that day, dogs, cats, gerbils, horses — and strange things under blankets — come to church. Rev. Claire’s voice gets drowned out by yapping, yelping, barking — and  strange sounds from things under blankets.

Photo by Hamlin Grange
Photo by Jack Herder

“I’ll hold anything but snakes!” says our priest loudly, prompting a fresh round of laughter.

Even then.

The people here have supported me in bad times.. They’ve helped lessen my doubt and build my faith – in God and in myself.  They’ve made our family soup, given us flowers, helped me up the stairs. When my husband and I miss a service or two, someone always calls. I teasingly reply: “Is this the church police?”

No-one seems upset when I question parts of the Old Testament that I don’t understand or believe in. Not even when I ask, just before the service, “Should I take a walk when it comes to this horrible part of the reading, or just plug my ears?”

Smart woman that she is, Claire uses the opportunity to share more insights with all of us.

But at Easter and Christmas, my questions take a hike.

I’m too busy rejoicing.

And ringing, or singing ,or both.

Photo by Gordon Wick
Photo by Gordon Wick

Dedicated to the people of St. Thomas’.