Gratitude for Generations

Bonjour, les amis! I've been at a foreign language teaching conference in Texas (ACTFL), where I was thrilled to learn about the current state of French education in the U.S. I also appreciated the opportunity to glean ideas for classroom and home teaching--I'll share the best of what I learned next week.

Yet he held his hold by  Mike Haywood

Yet he held his hold by Mike Haywood

In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving! I cherish this holiday. It is personally relevant because my great, great grandma (who lived in Massachusetts until her death at 104) shared that our family geneology descends from John Tilley Howland--the fellow who fell off The Mayflower during a mid-voyage storm but was rescued by rope. How's that for a tenuous family thread?! He went on to be the second-longest living survivor of The Mayflower, and the home where he and his wife Elizabeth lived is the only original pilgrim home remaining in Plymouth today.

Howland House, Plymouth, via

Howland House, Plymouth, via

With this providential history in mind, this year I'm particularly grateful for growth--for this child growing inside me and for the ways I'm being stretched as a parent, for gender as I smile as the differences between my son and daughter as well as between my husband and I, and for God's overwhelming goodness. The poem God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins is one that I memorized while studying in England in college, and its words come back to me whenever I reflect on God's character:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.


And for all this, nature is never spent;

    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918.

The Angel Standing in the Sun by William Turner, 1846.

The Angel Standing in the Sun by William Turner, 1846.

With Thanksgiving today and the arrival of Advent on Sunday, I pray you will sense and see God's brilliant touch in the world around you. Bon weekend!