His sound resonates in the early morning, and distinctively calls out a fresh start. Truly he enjoys the sound of his own voice this jaunty rooster fellow. Proud of himself and the harem he commands as the sun peaks it’s head out from the horizon.
A dream come true, that’s what this is.
Cool air floats in the opened window , and chirping birds sing out their song from the flowering trees outside in the wild. The promise, and expectancy and possibility of the day beckons.
Ever since I learned about Greece, and studied architecture in college I wanted to travel here. The simple whites of the structures against the pure blues of the Grecian sky, and the Aegean Sea took my breath away. I would not be disappointed.
It is more. It is romance, and flavorful food, and wine, and ouzo. There are flowers of poppy red, and fuscia, and daisies of bright yellow dotting the roadside, and decorating the patios of homes.
Each little garden , and front gate begs entrance, and invites the passerby to hesitate for a moment just to simply take it all in . Accents and bright spots of color on the shutters, and front doors make for a happy atmosphere. The whites of the buildings keep interiors cool, while the shades of blue accentuate with a boldness that pleases the eye, and brings calm to the spirit.
While on the island of Tinos, there was a chef from ” Tinos Farm to Table” that came to our villa, and cooked masterpiece food for 23 middle aged hungry women. He was incredible ..We were collectively filled with a sense of awe at the delectable fare he created. Simple, and sumptuous, and fulfilling. It was evident to see that he found such joy and satisfaction in his profession, and we were the beneficiaries of his talent and passion.
Everything was grown, and the produce was in season straight from his garden and the seafood came directly from the Aegean Sea. A gift of the love of cultivating, and growing and nursing the growth of vegetables , then preparing it for us to enjoy. Alexander would explain his dishes as he presented them . It was evident that our praise and thankfulness, and happy and satisfying expressions were all the accolades he required.
The vignettes and beautiful images everywhere had me gasping for air at all that surrounded me . It was a captivating environment to find myself in .
It takes a moment to immerse oneself in new surroundings, but I found myself falling in love with the gentleness and warmth of the Greek people, their culture, and zest to create, and the intricate detailing of their architecture captivated my soul.
There were hikes, and visits to Greek Orthodox churches, with one on particular that I found moving.
It was the church on the island of Tinos. It is ” our Lady of Tinos Shrine.” The “Church of the Virgin Mary.”
“Our lady of Tinos shrine is the major Marian shrine in Greece. It is located in the town of Tinos, on the island of Tinos. The complex is built upon a miraculous icon which according to tradition was found after the Virgin appeared to the nun Pelagia and revealed to her the place where the icon was buried.”
As our group of women ventured uphill in the town towards the church we witnessed people crawling on hands and knees, and sometimes hands and elbows towards the church. There was a path to the side of the road, which was covered in a low pile outdoor carpet type of material . When these devote pilgrims reached the cobble stone streets at the church, they continued their journey upwards still in this crawling formation, until they came into the church. It was moving to be apart of . I wondered about where their convictions lay, what drew them to keep enduring, praying as they ascended?
These lovely people were gentle and devout, and determined in their quests. I found it inspiring.
New friendships were forged, and shared life experiences drew us women together, as we were able to get to know one another better.
There was a great deal of planning that went on, and multiple hiccups all along the way . Our leaders, Laura, Michelle and Tami did a superb job of navigating and collectively making this trip a ” trip if a lifetime ” for many of us.
In speaking with these new friends we shared our stories, and several of us had apprehension and anxiety about making this trip . I know I certainly did . I am so thrilled that I did not back out. It is worth persevering when doubt comes knocking at your door , and all the reasons why not to go , overshadows the ecstasy of saying a resounding “yes” to the unknown. It is worth taking a leap into new relationship possibilities, instead of staying safe inside your head where your inmost thoughts roll about like too many marbles spilling out and becoming lost .
Everybody has a story to tell . The courage to tell it, and to be heard is scary and wonderful . Every woman’s face hides hurts and disappointments and challenges. The smile shining brightly can hide the tears threatening to spill down the cheeks.
We met, we learned, we studied biblical applications, we listened to heartfelt music, we worked out, but the best times spent were when we went into our small groups and were challenged to share our stories in safe spaces. That’s when true connection happened.
We were challenged to reach for more. Not ” more,” as in acquiring material possessions, but rather more of Jesus … I believe “more” was achieved on multiple levels for each and every one of us on this excursion.
I love you Greece… you have embraced my heart , and healed more of my soul. Thank you …and thank you for women willing to share our lives with one another. Such enrichment to be found. We are not alone when we are surrounded by deep and trusting friendships .