The Day After Christmas, December 26, 2017


The time after Christmas and before New Year’s Day is a period where we have an opportunity to look back as the year ends.  We should also look ahead with hope for the New Year.

Most importantly use the holidays to enjoy the company of family and friends, taking time to enjoy the little pleasures of life.







Christmas Day, December 25, 2017


Tammy got a promotion to Manager of the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY office of Through The Byzantine Gate.  She’s on winter break enjoying time with her little dogs Fabia and Julietta. 

We wish you a Christmas filled with love, peace and happiness and a Happy New Year.

With best wishes,

–Sammy Serrapede, Jr.
–EmilyAnn Frances May


Vi auguriamo un Natale pieno di amore, pace e felicita e un felice Anno Nuovo.

Con i migliori auguri,

–Sabbatino Serrapede
–Emilianna Francesca May








Winter Solstice, December 21, 2017


The month of crescent moons and indigo flamed candles.
Of burning sage and twinkling hooded lights flickering in frosted windows.
Of chipped nail varnish and lips chapped with bitter cold.
Of darkened mornings with knitted scarves wrapped beneath pink noses and wet lashes.
Of lonely evergreens and sleigh bells a distant howl in the wind.

—“December” by Juniper Montgomery


Public Domain
Snowflake Vector

Poem by Juniper Montgomery
November 2014
Public Doman


Hanukkah, December 12th to 20th, 2017



May the illumination of the candles you light each night shine into your life and fill it with love, strength and hope.

 Have a blessed Hanukkah.





Public Domain Clip Art from WPclipart
Hanukkah Menorah
Star of David




46d-Spring Break 2017 (Part 1)

46d-S[romg Breal-Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_Gathering_of_Auspicious_Signs“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione.  Painted in 1723.
Public Domain.

I have one very vivid memory that recurs each year around the time of my Mom’s birthday on April 18th.  No matter what the weather was like or what was going on in our lives Mom said a birthday is a time to celebrate.  Each day is a gift no matter what we find in the box we open each morning.  We each have a role to play and bring our own unique gifts to the setting in which we participate.  Mom also held that each day is a re-birth because at the end of the day we should leave off the exhaustion, the gains and the losses and put them behind us.  Sleep was a renewing process.  All that happened the day before could be recycled and of use in the present or the future.  We just need to get on with the day ahead and not dwell too much on the past.  Answers will come in the course of time.

To illustrate this point Mom once told me that the newly found realizations are akin to Spring.  From within will blossom the knowledge we need if we just quiet the ramblings of the conscious mind and spend some time in a sweet solitude where we gather ourselves together.  “In springtime, the world is born anew!” Mom always said when it was her birthday.  She used that as a way to encourage me in the practice of seeking time out and spending it in quiet reflection.

Each year Uncle Sammy and I take a Spring break.  It is a time to rest, to socialize during the Easter holidays, visit the resting place of Josie and Sam and pray for those we are with in spirit but cannot make the visit to, whether at home or at their resting places.  We hope everyone is awakening after a very long winter and taking time to attune themselves to the cycle of renewal and rebirth going on in nature right now.  May it also happen for all of you, too.

To add an element of learning to this posting we have showcased a painting by Giuseppe Castiglione.  He was a Jesuit missionary who became a painter in the court of the Chinese Emperor during the 18th century.  We have also learned that Giuseppe Vivaldi, composer of “The Four Seasons”, wrote sonnets to accompany each of his concertos.  We present here Vivaldi’s sonnet to Spring in Italian and English which come from the website  Acknowledgements and links follow the sonnets.

We will return to WordPress in mid-May.

–EmilyAnn Frances May
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–April 9, 2017

Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.


Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
“Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti;
Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:”

“E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme ‘l Caprar col fido can’ à lato.”

“Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all’ apparir brillante.”


“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione
Giuseppe’s Chinese name:  Lang Shi’ning
Public Domain.  Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Castiglione
The Art History Archive-Chinese Art

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Sonnets

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Spring”






41b-A Christmas Greeting to Our Relatives and Paesani



For our family,
For our friends.
Those who are near,
Those who are far.
May Our Lord watch over you, guide you, provide for you and bless you always.
Merry Christmas!
And a prosperous New Year.


Per la nostra famiglia,
Per i nostri amici.
Coloro che sono vicino,
Coloro che sono lontani,
Possa il Signore vegli su di voi, vi guiderà, fornire per voi e vi benedica sempre.
Buon Natale!
E un prospero Anno Nuovo.

–Sam Serrapede
–EmilyAnn Frances May







Image: University of Dayton via Pinterest

39c-Thanksgiving Day 2016


To all our blog readers and subscribers,

May this poem by the late Helen Steiner Rice inspire you, as it does us, to take time out and give thanks for the many blessings we have each day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

–Sam Serrapede
–EmilyAnn Frances May

Fill Your Heart with Thanksgiving
by Helen Steiner Rice

Take nothing for granted,
for whatever you do
The ‘joy of enjoying’
is lessened for you
For we rob our own lives
much more than we know
When we fail to respond
or in any way show
Our thanks for the blessings
 that daily are ours…

The warmth of the sun,
the fragrance of flowers,
The beauty of twilight,
the freshness of dawn,
The coolness of dew
on a green velvet lawn,
The kind little deeds
so thoughtfully done,
The favours of friends
and the love that someone
Unselfishly gives us
in a myriad of ways,
Expecting no payment
and no words of praise

Oh, great is our loss
when we no longer find
A thankful response
to things of this kind,

For the joy of enjoying
and the fullness of living
Are found in the heart
that is filled with thanksgiving.



Woman with Cornucopia
Italian Cermic Tile image