Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pea Green

I've got it. The envy bug. I suppose there is no looking back, either.  Once you've got it, you can't really get rid of it.  I suppose you can ignore it, and tame it, and refuse to tend to it... but it won't leave, I think.


I have always been sort of fascinated with pictures.  You can tell from all the pictures of my childhood where I'm front and center with a saccharine smile or where there's a pale, over-exposed, bitty hand and arm, shot upwards at the critical moment, covering up the main subject.  For the record, I have come to rue such interruptions in my photographs, and I heartily apologize (mostly to Daddy) for my ruinous part in said photographs :(

When I went to Rome for World Youth Day in 2000, my parents bought me my very own 35mm point and shoot. It was a Kodak Advantix (does anyone remember those?) and it was a beautiful $200 camera--big bucks for me!  The flash came up far enough away from the lens that the red-eye reduction was better than other point and shoots, and the clarity of the photos was really amazing.  After we all got back and got our rolls and rolls of film developed, we did a photo swap at a friends house, and I was amazed at how much clearer my pictures were than others (who were using disposable cameras--granted an unfair comparison.. but still!).

When I went off to college, a friend offered to "donate" his digital camera to me, since he wanted a new one anyway.  It was already prohibitively expensive to shoot in film, with the cost of developing and printing, and "times were changing" as they say.  The short version of the story is that he forgot to give it to me and felt bad, so he bought me one :)  I picked a nice entry-level digital point and shoot. It was a relatively large, bulky, and very slow Olympus camera--and I loved it!  I took so many pictures, despite its memory card only holding 144 (JPEG) photos, and when I look back at the pictures I took in college and the first years of my marriage, and disregarding the lack of artful-ness, I am thankful that I have such clear memories :)

After T and I got married and moved to Boston, we tended to take pictures frantically when we visited family--since we seemed to see them much less frequently.  We realized that our dear Olympus was too slow to keep up with our picture demand, so we bought new cameras.  My current go-to point and shoot is a Canon Elph.  I'm happy to say that some people have assumed I'm shooting with a dSLR when they see my point and shoot pictures :) It's more a testament to the camera, I think, than my skills (which are still very much in the development stage), but it's been so much fun to have a fast and versatile (and so tiny!) camera.

Enter the "artsy" side of photography.  You may remember my 365 project, which I started last Lent and finished this year.  In summary, it was a great way of opening up the world of photography to me.  I always had my camera with me and I would take pictures of anything (really).  I have thousands (and thousands) of pictures from the past year, and--honestly--it's just getting worse!

So where did it land me? In envy, of course.  "The best camera is the one you have with you" is what the "pros" say.  Well, they're right, but I was craving a better camera to have with me!  I kept looking at more and more pictures and realized that my point and shoot wasn't cutting it for the type of photos I wanted to take, or the settings and adjustments I wanted to make.  It worked out that my friend Paul was selling his entry-level dSLR and I snatched it up (with the help of my Daddy) :) So now, happily, I have my own Canon Rebel XTi.  T's folks got us (me) a nice lens for our anniversary, and I've been having so much fun!

But now that I have my "fancy" camera, I'm getting envious of other people with fancy cameras. Before, when I had my Elph point and shoot, I was like "oh, they've just got fancy stuff; I make up for it by being creative."

But now that I too have the "stuff," I've somehow become jealous of other "stuff" and fancier "stuff" and better pictures taken with said "stuff."  It doesn't end, either. I know that if I get a fancier camera, I'll want better lenses, a flash set up, a super-man tripod, trips to exotic locations, my own studio, all the time in the world.. etc.

So this is my thought--and you'll have to hold me accountable: I'm not going to buy any new camera equipment for a whole year and I'm going to make a concerted effort to use my new camera to get great shots--regardless of what gear I have--trying to re-capture that creativity thing ;)   I'm not going to think about getting a new camera for at least 5 years (unless we win the lottery), and even then I'll consider lenses before a new camera.

Do you think I can do it? Carrying around a dSLR is more cumbersome than carrying a bitty point and shoot. It's sometimes more awkward to pull out and click-click an artful photo.  It's noisier, too, with the shutter shck-click-ing away inside the body.  It's a lot less discrete..

But, on the other hand, with a bigger camera, people don't think you're wacko for standing almost-upside down trying to take a picture of a bug on the sidewalk.  That is, they may think you're wacko, but it's a "real"-photographer/artist-wacko, rather than a "let's quickly walk by this person before she asks us to jump on her spaceship" kind.

In any case, here's to photography, in all its wonderful nuances!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Dishes

I picked them up in the car and drove them home.

I carried them up the stairs all by myself and set them in the kitchen where I opened the boxes and begin to gingerly unpack each bundle.  One plate, two, three.  Three nested serving bowls. One cereal bowl and another, and another. A dinner plate, and two more.  Another small plate. Another bundle of bowls.

Until I had them all stacked on my counter, layered one on the other, presenting themselves to me almost with a smile, ready for a new home:
"Here we are! What do you think?" 
When I was engaged and setting up my wedding registry, I knew I didn't want to spend hours finding "just the right pattern" of china for Taylor and me.  [That's also the reason I didn't buy a new wedding dress--I wore Momma's. It was better that way for me.]  So, I decided to register for the same pattern Momma used for her everyday china--Blue Danube.  I've always been one for "matchy" things, and this set is the creme de la creme of coordinating pieces!  If you can imagine it, Blue Danube probably has one in their pattern :)

So I've been eating off of "Momma's" china for years.   I have done dinner parties, dessert parties, brunches, pizza nights, formal dinners, buffets--all on the same pattern Momma always used at her events: our birthday dinners, tea parties, holiday meals, Saturday morning breakfasts.

She and I even used to talk about our various pieces, "Oh, I used the square salad bowl for the potatoes and the fish platter for the chicken.  Do you ever use your chop plate for a salad? It looks really pretty."  And, truth be told, I think she was always a little jealous of my pentagon platter ;)

And I never really noticed anything unusual about having the same china.  Even after Momma died, using my Blue Danube was the same as it had been before.

And so I was a bit surprised when, after I had put my lovely new pottery away in my own cupboard, arranging it "just so" so that the odd-sized, handmade pieces had enough room without scraping against each other, it hit me--these were Momma's dishes.  Her own. That she used daily.  She loved these dishes.  She handled them and served her food on them and welcomed us all into her kitchen with them.

She spent several years building up her set, requesting pieces from Lois in batches and occasionally asking for custom serving dishes.  She would go to the shop with my sister and ask her advice on which piece she should get.  Not only was she supporting a local artisan, but I think these dishes were her way of paying tribute to the desert she found herself in 20-some years ago.  She loved the desert too.

And now I have both in my cupboard.  The dishes she loved, inspired by the desert she grew to love.

When Taylor and I sat down to dinner on Monday--the first day we had the pottery--we served up hearty helpings of the fig and olive roast chicken, the rice, and the broiled kale, arranging it all on our pretty plates.  We said our prayers, and then I said to the dishes (but not in a crazy-talk way):
"What do you think of my food? Is it as tasty as Momma's?"  
Of course, I was being silly :) I don't really think the dishes heard me.. But it got me thinking.  In a way, these dishes do have a "personality" of their own.  Not only are they used (and well-loved) but I have been a part of their use in another household.  I have known how well they were loved, and by whom.  I know where they come from.

I have inherited many things of my mother's since she died: jewelry, tea cups, teapots, other dishes, small nick-knacks.  But the pottery is the first thing that I've received that I also used, regularly, with Momma.

And using it now, in my own house, makes me want to cry just a little bit.  Not in a bad way, really, but in the same way that those gentle but firm reminders do, as they pop up here and there, telling me things aren't the same, that she's gone.
"But they're just dishes, Annie," a little voice inside tries to tell me.  
And they are. But not just. They have carried so much more than food over the years--memories, smiles, laughter, and even tears. I am very thankful to have these dishes, to welcome my family and friends to my table with them, in memory of Momma, and with her very much by my side.

And here's to that!

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Arrival

Introducing my new dishes :) This is Momma's pottery, which was handmade in the desert by a local artist.  The pottery very much fits the feel of the high desert and I am so happy to have this set!

On each piece are unique petroglyph figures modeled after the petroglyphs found in the desert mountains and canyons surrounding my home town.  Each piece is different.

This is one of my favorite designs--a pregnant mountain goat :)  Unfortunately, this bowl broke in the shipping, but there's already an order placed for me with Lois to increase my set from 8 to 12, so I'll just add another bowl or two :) I hope she takes design requests--I want this goat back!

So, next time you're over at my house, ask to see my new dishes--if I haven't already invited you into my kitchen to show you!
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Friday, June 18, 2010

House Full

When Daddy was a younger man, he tells us, he always wanted to live in a house full of beautiful women.  Wouldn't y'know it? He forgot to specify: "whom I'm not related to."  :)  Instead of a houseful of wife-like women, he got a houseful of daughters.  "Even the tortoise turned out to be a girl!" he'd say.  Now, most of his grandchildren are grand-daughters :) Ah well.

Viv and I flew out to CA last weekend because, you see, Summer was visiting from CO  and we thought it'd be fun to have all the sisters together again.  It was :)

The weekend before we flew out was Daddy's birthday.  My sister Bethany, who teaches at our old high school, thought it'd be a good idea to take Daddy out to an encore performance of a Johnny Cash play the school was putting on.  It was awesome!

We went to sushi for dinner and Daddy even tried a piece of raw fish! He didn't particularly like it, but that was fine--it left more for me.  We sipped tea and talked--about theology of the body, music and lyrics, dividing things up, visiting at Christmas--and laughed. It was also nice to sit down to eat dinner that 1) we didn't have to make and 2) we didn't have to clean up.  It was a great meal.  I think sushi should become a tradition in the family now.. one of those things that's developed without Momma around to orchestrate large meals.  It's easy to order, pick up, serve, fill us up, and clean up after.  Addenda to the meal are easy too (rice and miso soup), and (my favorite reason) I'm mostly not allergic to anything in sushi. Hooray! How 'bout it, Family--New Tradition? :D

After dinner we headed over to the high school and sat through a wonderful performance of Ring of Fire, a musical about Johnny Cash.  It was, of course, a high school musical production, but it was wonderfully done--and the troupe is going to Scotland to perform it in a competition!  Well done, alma mater :)

After the concert, Daddy treated us all to ice cream.  We went to Baskin Robins and each got a scoop, which we ate outside--the weather was so nice [really, there's nothing like summer nights in the desert].  I got daiquiri ice, a favorite of mine from childhood.  I love real ice cream, but on a hot summer day (and "hot summer day" where I'm from translates to 120+ degrees with no humidity and glaring sunshine), the cream is just too much. Daiquiri ice was the most refreshing thing out there :) and it hit the spot.

I love my family.  We're all a little nutty, but that keeps things interesting! It was good to see my sisters again and hang out with Daddy a bit.  We really missed you Ray (et al.)!  Hopefully we can all meet up for Christmas--it's been too long since we've all been together (grandkids and spouses included)!

Here's hopin' :)

Let's Smile

I am of the firm belief that a smile can change the way a day goes.  Even your smile brightening your own day.  There's something unique that happens when your face maneuvers into a grin.  If you do it often enough, you'll begin to feel happy. I promise :)

When I was a kid, my brownie troupe leader thought I was hyper-active and often made me sit in the corner and told me to chill out.  Well--maybe I was a little.. excited sometimes :) but Momma always told me I was just a happy kid.  As one grows up, it can be harder to be "just happy" but I've tried.  And I've been blessed enough that, often, my eyes sparkle into a smile of simple joy and contentment.

Anyway, what's the point of this post?  Have you ever wondered what "renidemus" means (ok, admittedly, probably not).  Wanna try something neat? Go to and type in "renidemus."  My stuff!  So there you go--a nice easy way to find me on the web.. if you can remember how to spell renidemus.

It's from the Latin verb "renidere" which means: to shine back , glitter; to beam with joy, laugh, smile.  And renidemus is (are you ready for this?) the first person plural present active indicative form of the verb (I think I got that all right).  And so it means:

"let's shine back; let's glitter; let's beam with joy; let's laugh; let's smile"
So get to it!

so many wonderful smiles in my life :) Count your blessings!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

things and Things

While we were in CA Daddy wanted us to go through some of the (mountains of) kitchen stuff so that he had more room in the cupboards.  We went through the mugs and he picked out a dozen or so that he liked and we loaded the rest into the van to take to Goodwill.  We rearranged glasses in other cupboards to mostly fit in the space left by the mugs.

We went through some of the baking pans and got rid of several dishes that probably won't be used anymore.  The tricky thing is that we wanted to keep enough "stuff" around so that, when we all come home for, say, Thanksgiving one year, we'll have plenty of pots, pans, and serving trays to still have a family dinner. And really, our family won't be getting smaller anytime soon.  I did get to take home two beautiful wooden "toastmaster trays" and a stainless serving tray.  I haven't figured out where to put them yet :) but they're lovely to have around, reminding me of Momma.

It's funny the things that you want to keep when you lose someone close to you.  So many gatherings of our family were centered around the kitchen--food of all sorts was very important to Momma.  We all have distinct memories of this or that food which only made appearances for certain occasions.  We all have a favorite dish (or seven) that Momma would make..  and we all have those foods we weren't too fond of!  Likewise with dishes and china and cups and mugs and such.  Some Things we treasure dearly and everyone wants to keep them. For other things, we really wondered why Momma even had them (like the collection of computer company mugs that Momma kept for Daddy--even though Daddy didn't particularly care for them).   Such is life, I suppose :)

One of the Things that was very important to my mother was china (and crystal--and other hostess/entertaining accoutrements).  Did you know my mother had six sets of china?  And four sets of crystal? And, while I'm listing things, she also had four patterns of silverware!

She started with two patterns in china, Blue Danube (I picked the same pattern for my wedding china) for her every-day set, and Cleopatra for her fine china.  She picked these out when she was in high school in Japan.   My grandmother spent $100 on dinnerware for Momma that day and she got full sets for 8 in each set of china.  Yes--full service for 8 (including serving dishes!) was only $50 in Japan at that time. Incredible. [as a comparison, one place setting in Blue Danube these days runs for $200.]  Vivian will inherit the Cleopatra (and Momma's bronze silverware from Asia).

Over the years, she increased her two patterns to many more place settings. I think she has service for at least 12 in the Cleopatra now, and service for something like 24 in the Blue Danube (which is really more like two sets).  Serving dishes innumerable--and of all shapes and sizes.  She even has full tea and coffee service in each pattern.

Once she moved to the desert, Momma fell in love with Lois Hinman's pottery and built her collection of the blue petroglyph (on the right) up to service for 8 with serving pieces.  This also was one of the things Daddy wanted "cleared out" from the cupboards.  My brother and I split the set--I got the plates and bowls and he got the serving pieces (he has pottery already that will go well with the petroglyph).  I'm so excited to get these dishes.  I didn't realize just how much I really did want it until it was settled and set aside for me. They have always been favorites of Taylor, too.  Daddy (very graciously) said the "JLM estate" will increase the set to 12 for me, and add a couple serving pieces, so Summer went to Lois and commissioned more pieces.  I should have them by Christmas. I cannot wait :)

Another set of china Momma acquired in CA was the "kutani."  I don't know what the proper name of the pattern is--I'm not even sure there is a proper name.  It's all hand-painted Japanese fine china and there are as many "kutani" patterns as there are painters, I believe.  We all loved this set--it was so striking and so bright.  This is the set my brother wanted, his first set of fine china from Momma.

The other set of china Momma has is a Noritake pattern called Effingham.  None of us are sure what to do with it yet :) but I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.

I know that, for the next several years, any trip home to Daddy's house will probably involve sorting through more of Momma's things (and through some of her Things, too).  We will get rid of a lot and leave a lot in the house and probably take a lot with us.  In a very tangible way, I think it helps with the grieving process.  As you sort through the various physical objects the person has left behind, you are also able to sift through your memories, weighing each of them in turn, and treasuring those most dear until you see her again. I do look forward to the day when we go to Daddy's house just to visit, but I am thankful that we have time to remember Momma in her Things and in each other.


I took a survey for Etsy today (prize is an iPad with a handmade case--not a bad deal) :) But when I got to this page, I was a little amused.

 Notice anything funny about the things I can sell on Etsy? (click for a larger image)

 . . .

I'd really like to find the store that sells children. I'd like about a dozen of those, please. They come cheaper by the dozen, right? :)
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Journey Home

Another excerpt from Lilith.  I think I need to read this book every few years, it's so full of Hope and Life.

But hark the herald of the sun, the auroral wind, softly trumpeting his approach! The master-minister of the human tabernacle is at hand! Heaping before his prow a huge ripple-fretted wave of crimson and gold, he rushes aloft, as if new launched from the urging hand of his maker into the upper sea--pauses, and looks down on the world. White-raving storm of molten metals, he is but a coal from the altar of the Father's never-ending sacrifice to his children. See every little flower straighten its stalk, lift up its neck, and with outstretched head stand expectant: something more than the sun, greater than the light, is coming, is coming--none the less surely coming that it is long upon the road! What matters to-day, or to-morrow, or ten thousand years to Life himself, to Love himself! He is coming, is coming, and the necks of all humanity are stretched out to see him come! Every morning will they thus outstretch themselves, every evening will they droop and wait--until he comes. --Is this but an air-drawn vision? When he comes, will he indeed find them watching thus?
It was a glorious resurrection-morning. The night had been spent in preparing it!

It helps me remember that we are on the way, to a Home beyond compare.  We are journeying ever onward, "further in, come further in," toward a Love that does not contain Himself but overflows into all His creation.  Indeed, we are all pregnant with expectation for that final Glorious Resurrection-Morning. Dawn is ever the hope of man.

And it is coming.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


the "law bag."

She wanted a pretty, versatile bag that was still big enough to hold a law school textbook or two.*  So I added a few extra inches on the sides and reinforced the straps and seams.

Button on the inside closes in a buttonhole on the back of the purse.  Ample-sized pockets can hold small notebooks, purse doodads, and the pen slot can hold two pens, to keep 'em handy.

If my law-student husband was a girl (um.. we won't go into that too deeply) ;) he'd want this bag. I know it.  He'd be so stylin'!  Everyone would ask him "where did you get that fabulous bag?" and he'd say "my wife made it."  Or maybe, if he was a girl, his (her) husband would be doing the sewing, and (s)he'd have to say "my husband Anne made it for me."

Hm.. nevermind. That's confusing. 
Back to the purse :) 

contact me if you're interested 

*photo credit to Taylor for his law books :) 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Did You Know?

about my SuperAmazingWonderfullyAwesome Seester?  Well, let me tell you.

  1. She graduated a year ago, despite Momma's death during midterms, but wasn't having luck finding a "grown up" job in Long Beach (ah, sunny CA), so... she: 
  2. moved to Boston (cold, wet, rainy, freezing BostonInJanuary)--all the way across the country--to look for a job (no, she had no prospects/offers when she moved here)!  Amazing, no? But wait, there's more! 
  3. Staying on T's and my futon couch for 5 months, she temped at various (tolerable and less-so) positions until she found one that fit.  And they gave it to her. Because she's awesome. 
  4. Meanwhile, working full time, she did my dishes almost every night. What kind of roommate does that? Wonderful ones, I guess :) 
  5. She wakes up on time every morning (I should know--sometimes her getting-ready wakes my lazy-sleeping-in-self up (a good thing, Viv, promise!)) and heads out to work, looking fabulous every day, and repeatedly wows her coworkers and employers (oh, and did I mention she brings home cake?!). 
  6. She took Taylor and me out to dinner--her treat--to celebrate her "big person job" Tasty? ooh, yes. 
  7. THEN, she found a room for rent and.. this weekend, we moved her out.  I felt not a little bit like a mother dropping her first baby off at her first day of Kindergarten.  I won't say I cried all the way home in the car, but if you asked me, I might just refuse to answer...  
  8. She takes the bus to work every day--and really, buses are intimidating to people (like me) who grew up driving everywhere for lack of a bus system.  This week, she's getting the feel of a new bus route, to go with her new home. She just takes it all in stride. 
  9. She goes shopping with me!  And picks out fun clothes for me to try on, and tells me if she likes them or not.  I've heard it said "that's just what girls do, Annie" but it's new for me. And tons of fun. And I love having my sister in town! 
  10. She's facing the difficult task of getting to know new roommates and figure out her new living situation.  I only vaguely remember my first semester freshman year (probably because I blocked a lot of it out), new roommate, new situation, new classes, etc.  For Viv, it's a strange mix of having family in town, being comfortable at her job, being familiar with Boston, but now going "home" to practical strangers who don't know her and all her lovely quirks (yet).  It's easy to forget, after four years of a permanent roommate, what it's like to live with new people.  

It's hard starting out--again and again--on your own, and I am so proud of my younger sister.  She's always been such a strong, willful person, and has overcome many struggles in her relatively short life.  I have seen, and continue to expect, great things from her.

I will miss having her around the house, but I know it's a good thing that she's "out there" on her own, so to speak.  I'll miss her face, and her silly faces, and the way she makes us laugh. And I'll miss hearing her come in from work as I'm getting dinner ready.  Yes, I'll miss all those dishes I didn't have to clean, but I know we'll see her often.  It's just another step on the way together, adjusting to new growth and life.

The first reading at Momma's funeral Mass was about Judith.  I think it fits for Vivian Rose, too.  We love you!
When they met her, they all blessed her with one accord and said to her, ‘You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the great boast of Israel, you are the great pride of our nation! You have done all this with your own hand; you have done great good to Israel, and God is well pleased with it. May the Almighty Lord bless you for ever!’ And all the people said, ‘Amen.’
Judith 15:9-10

You'll always make me smile, Sweetie :) 

Me Too!

My friend Renee made some granola the other day.  I had to try it--it looked so good. Besides, I can imagine hobbits eating granola--it seems so hearty and simple and delicious that it just fits.  What could be more hobbit-y than abundant deliciousness?

I used cashew butter + white chocolate instead of the peanut butter chips and melted the goods on the stove.  I think I over-did it just a bit, since my granola didn't come out shiny.  Next time ;)

But it sure was tasty. How can anything with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pecans, sunflower seeds, flaked coconut (another addition of mine), and oats not be tasty?  I've already made a second batch, since this one was devoured in a matter of days :)

Verdict: awesome

You should make some :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not all Tears are an Evil

The other night, Viv and I finished the Lord of the Rings.  It was her first time reading through the books; it was my fourth.  I always cry at the end, for joy in the goodness of the ending, and the healing and hope and happiness promised. As Gandalf says, "I will not say 'do not cry' for not all tears are an evil."

I am always tempted, once I place Return of the King back on the shelf, to immediately pull out The Fellowship of the Ring and begin again, "When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End..." Soon enough, I'm sure I will :)

But currently, I am pleasantly working my way through George MacDonald's Lilith, which is just as enchanting and gripping as the Lord of the Rings, but in a wholly different way.

"Do you mean, sir, I could have done something for the Little Ones by staying with them?"
"Could you teach them anything by leaving them?"
"No; but how could I teach them? I did not know how to begin. Besides, they were far ahead of me!"
"That is true. But you were not a rod to measure them with! Certainly, if they knew what you know, not to say what you might have known, they would be ahead of you--out of sight ahead! but you saw they were not growing--or growing so slowly that they had not yet developed the idea of growing! they were even afraid of growing!--You had never seen children remain children!"
"But surely I had no power to make them grow!"
"You might have removed some of the hindrances to their growing!"
"What are they? I do not know them. I did think perhaps it was the want of water!"
"Of course it is! they have none to cry with!"
"I would gladly have kept them from requiring any for that purpose!"
"No doubt you would--the aim of all stupid philanthropists! Why, Mr. Vane, but for the weeping in it, your world would never have become worth saving!"

An interesting idea.  Our world (the world of Mr. Vane) is only worth saving because of the weeping.  It is not only suffering, of course, that brings on tears. Great Joy overflows in water courses too.  But the notion of growing only through tears--through the life-giving torrent of Living Water--isn't one that surfaces much lately.  Though all living things need water to grow.

Viv and I were talking about that a week or so ago--the notion of suffering.  She rightly noted that not many people see any value in it.  What's the point?  When we have so many ways of averting suffering, why bother with it?  She also said that her faith has helped her deal with the sorrow in her life--if there is a purpose, if there can be good in it, one can fight through and see the light on the other side.

And, there are the tears.  I think the 'progressive idea' (which is so prevalent these days) that suffering is unnecessary or unbearable or pointless is, in fact, a crafty lie perpetuated by satan himself.  The infinite value in suffering, in this world, is a mystery to me.  But my experience and my faith have taught me that the ability to suffer is truly a gift, and it does make me stronger, if I have the courage to face it with a stout heart.  Even a trembling heart with willing spirit can garner Grace from sorrow.  If we do not cry, for joy or sorrow, how can we grow?

In this fallen world of ours, I know there will be no lack of tears.  But I am with MacDonald, and I believe tears--of any sort--make us grow.  I cannot say if it was always that way--maybe God created us only for tears of joy--and suffering and sorrow as causes entered only after our fall.  Or, perhaps the Gift of Tears is one of the many graces God has given us to endure the brokenness of this life.

Will we still cry for joy in heaven? Or will we find we have a new way to share the churning emotions in our body, and crying will have been only a thing of this world?

Personally, I'm inclined to believe the first.  We have always had tears.  And they will always help us grow, if we can accept the Grace therein.