Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bovendonk Abbey Revisited: 200-year Anniversary Book Presentation

With that title, you know we've been to this abbey before, right?...even if you don't remember it!  That's what I love about the archives on blogs like this.

To be exact, it was 4 years ago that we visited Bovendonk, in the village of Hoeven, on the September Open Monument Day that's celebrated every year here in the Netherlands.  It's the day/weekend when you get to visit over 4,000 historic buildings or sites free of charge to the public.  You can see my post from then here.

So, this is what happened.  Father Marc Lindeijer contacted me by email over a year ago to ask permission to use some of my photos from that post for a book he was writing on their upcoming 200-year anniversary.  OF COURSE.  He then chose the images he wanted, I sent them, and he said he'd let me know when the book was done.

Surprise, surprise when a couple of months ago I heard from him again, inviting us to the book presentation on 19 October. YES, we wanted to be there...with the book as payment for my images!

It was a beautiful late afternoon when we arrived outside the gate to Bovendonk Abbey.

We were early (you know us) and had a chance to wander around the familiar sights...

...inside and out.

It's now a conference center but you can imagine it in its heyday as an abbey.
[photo taken of a wall poster]

When the 4 p.m. book presentation was ready to start in the chapel,
the very first person I met was...guess who???  Father Marc Lindeijer himself.

Of course we were one of the first ones there!
It gave me a chance to look around the almost empty chapel, again...

...and sneak up on the organist practicing for his part in the service.
He was the first organist for that organ when he was a student at the seminary.

First, there were formalities with other speakers...

...until Fr. Marc himself gave the presentation of the book he had just finished.

It's in Dutch, of course, translated...  
Bovendonk Seminary:  A Travel Guide through a monument,
"written for all visitors of Bovendonk:  tourists, course participants, wedding guests.
It wants to introduce them to a special place, full of history and experience,
an oasis of peace and a house of hospitality."

When I first met him outside, he was shy, 
but when he talked during the presentation, he was animated.
He talked about the back-n-forth journey of getting the book written by the deadline...
what to include and what not to include!

Following Fr. Marc, Mgr. Liesen, the Bishop of Breda,
presented a copy of the book to the Halderberge mayor, Mrs. J. Vonk-Vedder...

...who then gave her acceptance speech.
Notice her mayor's livery collar (bottom-left)?  It was like sitting in the presence of royalty.

Then, last but not least, another priest called Fr. Marc back to the podium for a final presentation:
a thank-you "gift" from the deceased bishop's office that no one else wanted!
The abbey community decided he should have it.

It represents the back-n-forth of the project.  If you can't take a joke, right?!
[apologies for the dark exposure]

After the presentation, there was a reception in a nearby room.

With a choice of abbey beer or wine, you don't have to guess which we chose.

As we all mingled, the book handlers were selling one book after the other,
with a special that day for all who attended:  €12 instead of €17.50.

Everyone wanted to see the book.

We so wanted to see the book ourselves but didn't dare ask someone else to see theirs!  HA!
[We didn't know yet that my name was on the list for a free copy for the asking.]

We waited and waited, till Fr. Marc finished his hobnobbing...

...and THEN cornered him for a copy of the book, which he promptly procured and signed for me.
I really didn't know I was on the list for a free copy...and could have just gone to get it.
But this was much better...personal time and genuine appreciation from the author!

And then we looked, Astrid and I together... find the 6 images he used.
See how the book looks, indeed, like a travel guide!
It reminds me of all the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides we buy for our trips.

"Bovendonk reflects the desire of generations who have searched for serene harmony with God, 
with themselves and with others...summarized in one word:  peace.
Pax intrantibus is above the entrance of Bovendonk...Peace to those who enter here.
...The readers of the book can also be shown around as a welcome guest 
by Bovendonk in word and image."

Do you hear buttons popping?  Yes, I'm thrilled,
not only for me, myself and I, but for Fr. Marc himself.  He really outdid himself.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Michigan 2018, Again...but with a Tear and a Smile

You may remember that Astrid and I were in Michigan 5 months ago for my 55th high school reunion.  If you had told us then that we would be back again in 2018 (let alone 5 months later), I would have wondered who had died!

It was SIL Peggy, of course, married 54 years to Nelson, the elder of our remaining Tribe.

We never feel good about the circumstance of such a trip but we really did make the most of it, which you will see by these collages both Astrid and I posted on Facebook throughout the week, Wednesday to Wednesday.  We actually returned home this morning.

We stayed with sister Ruth and BIL Don again in a wee town near Detroit.
Arriving at night that first day was so soulful.  We LOVE their farm house.
It feels like coming home for us every time we're there.

Our first full day was filling ourselves up, while walking The Farm.
[Astrid's collage]

Even on a grey, misty day, there are gifts everywhere to be found.

We already love Bishop, the outdoor cat who basks in attention.
But this time we both fell in love with her in a deeper way.
How can you not love a cat who follows you around like a dog!

One day, when we were out-n-about, Astrid snapped this deliciousness from the car.
She received 85 reactions on Facebook!
Pure Michigan.

Midway through our week, on Saturday, was Peggy's memorial service, November 3.
Her last breath on earth was November 17th.

My nephew, Paul, took all these photos at the celebration "parties" following the service.
That's Don and Ruth (top-left) and Ruth and Nelson (bottom-right).
Nelson and Susan are #1 and #2 (bottom-left).  I'm #3 in the sibling lineup.  Ruth is #8 (of 8).
Nelson's son David is the monk.

You can see Peggy's obituary here.

The next day, I posted my Watercolor Sunday image with this quote:
"Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live,
as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men."
--Quintus Ennius (239BC - 169BC, considered the father of Latin literature)

Then it was back to the farm again, with Astrid helping Don out with some of his chores.
[Astrid's collage]

Early on in our visit Don and Ruth told us they were making a Thanksgiving meal for us on Monday.
We found that out in the same moment, I think, when we saw this flock of wild turkeys strutting about.

OMG!  Almost everything of the meal was made from scratch!

During a lull in the day's activities, Don and Ruth power-walked their property 4 times in a row.
Astrid and I had fun doing our casual walking, snapping photos at every whip-stitch.

Astrid and Don even had time to do more outdoor chores that day.  She was in heaven.
And yes, that's moonshine from Don's relatives in Tennessee (top-left).
"Try anything once" is a good motto, right?!
[Astrid's collage]

That evening was the real Thanksgiving feast!
I was the one in heaven this time.  It had been 9 years since I celebrated it last.
Some of you understand why it's my hardest American holiday to miss!

Our last full day was Tuesday, when Astrid and I walked the nearby country roads.
Within the first 5 minutes she spotted what the Dutch call a Witches Circle (aka Fairy Ring).
It was a first for me.
It happened to be on the property of a Vietnam vet, whose son died in the Afghan war (2006),
earning the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  
 I think we all made each other's day!

We continued our walk and grabbed the photo ops as they emerged.
[Astrid's collage]

Whenever I tell Ruth this area is so soulful to me,
she says she thinks all of us carry farm DNA inside of us!

Tuesday night we spent the evening watching the midterm-election incoming results,
going to bed that night wondering what the scene would look like in the morning, Wednesday...
while flying out of Detroit to Newark to Amsterdam.

The DEMS took the House!!!!  Need I say more?

We flew through the night and arrived home this morning by 9:30,
with farm memories still filling us...and thus this above post on FB once home.

I had to share this week, of course...the Tear and the Smile.
You don't forget these milestones...let alone all the euchre games we played!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: October 2018

As we speak, Astrid and I are in America again, staying with Don and Ruth in Michigan...exactly as we did back in May!  Back then, not a one of us could have possibly known we'd be back again so soon.  So it is with the Rainbow Bridge:  it comes when it comes and we adjust accordingly.

In the meantime, Life goes on....

These are my Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for October 2018:

October 7 (photo manipulation):
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
--L.M. Montomery, Anne of Green Gables

October 14 (photo manipulation):
"What I would be quite wise to remember is that 'pieces' are not the end of what was,
but the beginning of what is to be."
--Craig D. Lounsbrough

In honor of all those everywhere affected by "disasters" of whatever kind.
[Hurricane Michael had just hit Florida's panhandle.]

October 21 (photo manipulation):
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop."
--Lewis Carroll
[following SIL Peggy's death on October 17]

October 28 (photo manipulation):
"You say witch like it's a bad thing...."
"If the broom fits, fly it."

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for October 2018:

(finished on 29 September, posted on FB 6 October 2018)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to son Mark Tiffan who is the master of detail and nuance,
plus all kinds of mathematical observation.
How wonderful that THIS year we get to celebrate your big day here in the Netherlands!
This design is from my Techellations book, finished the day before you arrived on the 30th.
Looking forward to another great day.

(finished on 11 October, posted on FB 13 October 2018)
Can you read into this Circles of Life midst the undulating waters
that would otherwise wreak havoc?
(from my Kaleido Color book on black-background paper)

(finished on 14 October, posted on FB 20 October 2018)
It's so strange to see this 12 x 12 Mandala now, using only 3 colors I had so much fun using
(the black was part of the design).
It feels like one of those dreams fulled with suffocating debris
from which one can't escape.  I suppose that's the power of myriad, conflicting emotions?!

(finished on 10 October, posted on FB 27 October 2018)
This has candy corn for Halloween written all over it, right?
Oh, and masks, too.  I see masquerade masks.  BOO!
(from my Mini-Mandala book)

Speaking of Halloween, yesterday...that's when we arrived in Michigan!
SIL Peggy's memorial service is Saturday.
We return home this next Wednesday, 7 October, the day after Midterm Elections!
(Yes, I voted...and hope you do/did, too!)