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Showing posts from 2007

2007 Review

This has been a year of not going anywhere. Just home, Church, and the grocery store for the most part.

Each time we had travel plans, they got canceled.

Wes started working for Appriss in the Summer, after contracting there for about seven months.

Commute to Louisville every day.

Months of me without a vehicle.

Summer at the pool down the street.

My fibromyalgia is WAY BETTER than it used to be. So is my hypoglycemia. Thanks be to God, and the guaifenesin protocol. I'm firmly convinced that it is the Holy Spirit who inspired doctors and scientists to make helpful and life-giving discoveries and breakthroughs with medicine and knowledge. Glory to God for all things.

Homeschooling all four kids now, instead of just the three youngers. Loving how our family life is. Kids loving each other, being kind and peaceful.

Kids learning German! How cool is that????

Jessamine county homeschool coop for Biology and P.E. in the fall. Still debating about what the spring semester …

A New Beginning

Well, I gained so much weight in December that I might as well count today as a new start. Me and everyone else in America, no doubt. I did learn something: That I rely far too much on food and drink for comfort, rather than turning to the Heavenly King....

I got to go to Vespers by myself this evening. B was having a rough day and so Wes stayed home with her and the other kids so I could go out to tea with some friends after prayers. I was hoding Ian (he's about 9 months old) during the service, and St. Herman helped him to calm down. I think St. Herman likes little wigggly baby boys. It was worth it to hold wiggly little Ian, though, because his mother got then to sing in the rather dimished choir this evening, and she has the voice of an angel. So beautiful to hear her sing.

Today was Wes' birthday. He's 38. I'll tease him mercilessly until I turn 38, three weeks from now. Just kidding. I think we are both feeling the whole "middle age" thing. …

A Christmas Post

Christ is born! Glorify Him, Alleluia!

"Those who sat in darkness have seen a great light." And for me this gospel truth really sunk in. I think this has probably been the darkest Christmas of my life. Wes and I are just grieving over our daughter. No, she's not all better. She might never be.

And into the dark world, where things like psychosis, and schizophrenia, and terrors exist, into this dark world of chronic disease and financial strain, of expensive doctors and medicines, of car troubles (Wes' car needs a new engine)...into THIS world God is born. He takes on our flesh and becomes Immanuel-God with us.

And there is a Kingdom, and it is not of this world. And we can be a part of it, and all this stressful, grief-inducing stuff is put into it's place. The suffering has an end and the cross hums it's glory. Yes, there is death. But because of Christ there is the resurrection. And because he was born in a manger we have hope. Not just a se…

St Nicholas Seoul Christmas Liturgy

From all over the world!

Christmas Carol Singing

Snippets of Christmas Caroling around the world. This is the St. Marys Orthodox Church choir, 2nd place in the Kairali carol singing competition.

Afghan fight for the dinner bill

This is funny. I can't understand a word and it's still funny. Hope you enjoy it, too.

USA and Torture

I think anyone would have to be really naive to think that our government does not regularly find ways to flout Geneva conventions, commit various war crimes, and torture prisoners. The other guy is doing it, so why can't we? Or why can't we at least get "the other guy" in on the act and let him do it for us? (Just for the record, I truly and deeply wish America were the white hat wearing, upstanding nation that we like to image ourselves to ourselves as being. I know we are not, and it saddens me, and I'm against torture of all forms.

Peace, goodwill towards all men, and all that stuff. 'Tis the season...

So here is my small offering for Geneva-convention friendly softening-up techniques our government might consider using instead of heinous activities such as waterboarding and electric shock. Just looking around at the faces I've seen, I think people exposed to this stuff regularly get pretty worn out and could use a break:

-acquire those cou…

Feeling Low

I wish Christmas were not next week. I have no plans. They got cancelled. Now I suppose I have to figure out what to cook. I don't want to cook. I think I'm going to buy a frozen lasagna and some pies and be done with it.

I'm feeling very low today. Last night, I was already tired and my husband was working late. At 8:30 he called me to tell me his car wouldn't start and that he'd called a tow truck. So I loaded the kids in the van, got gas, and some caffeine, and drove the hour and fifteen minutes to Louisville to pick him up. And then we waited for the tow truck together, got some snacks, and headed home. It was midnight when we got here.

My eyes have been bothering me. Seems like I need new glasses about once a year. I'm so sick of that. Even my reading glasses are less than perfect for reading. And my regular glasses just make me tired. But I am tired. To the core, and perhaps that is the only trouble. I'm going to wait a while before …

What's Going On?

Today, B is crocheting a cute hat. M is busy trying to learn the dance aerobics section of the new Weight Watchers workout DVD I bought. (I got worn out on the cardio basics section.) A is on the computer and E is lazing around.

My plan is to get some room cleaning done today and then take at least some of the kids to the dollar store to do their Christmas shopping.

B is getting better each day, but woke up this morning with tears, wondering if the government was planning on killing all the autistic kids. Scary thought! Paranoid.

I got nice and fat over the past few weeks. So, now I'm trying to get back in the game with Weight Watchers. Hard to do the week before Christmas. I'd lost ten, and then regained almost six. I refuse to be depressed about it. I forge ahead.

But it does show me I need to learn better coping mechanisms. I guess I'm an emotional/stress eater. Duh. And I didn't even realize.

We made it to Church yesterday, which was absolutely won…

Every little bit counts

Each day B gets a bit better and better. Today we went for a short walk, and she spent some time playing her recorder beautifully, just like before. She also has been working on a gorgeous crocheted shawl that is so very soft. We found this light blue yarn...several skeins of it...at the thrift store one time. She let me work on the shawl while I was in the hospital and she was too sick, but most of the work on it is hers, and the project is hers, so I need to find something of my own to do.

She also took several long naps, and got carsick. If you are praying for us, please pray that: her meds will no longer make her nauseous and headachy and dizzy, that her energy can improve, and that she will continue to improve to the point of starting school work up again in January.

The doctor we went to see today reminded us of this fact: This is physical. Just because we don't yet have the right test to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong in her brain, it is still physical. Psy…

Auuuugh!

I was out on my back porch reading a book, bundled in a sleeping bag. Reading. At home. I come in, and on the dining room table is a blueberry cobbler and a CD.

None of the kids saw or heard anyone come in and drop it off.

I am so creeped out. Someone came into my house. While I was at home, without me knowing it. Someone I know most likely...but still.

Update: I figured out who it was. Safe person, etc. ...but still...

Everything's Changed: Random Thoughts

There really is such a thing as peace that passes all understanding. I have lived it this past week. Mostly. I had some bad moments last Monday when she went catatonic and I didn't know what was going on, before all the medical testing was done.

I'm still processing everything I lived through, so the blogging will be much about all of this for a while, I"m afraid.

It's something holy, helping a helpless human being. We do it all the time with our infants, but when a person is physically mature (or more mature) and yet helpless, see the holiness of it becomes more obvious. The vulnerability of the very young, very old, and mentally infirm was highlighted for me. "Whatever you have done unto the least of these..." came to mind as I watched my intelligent, brilliant teenage daughter grasp a popsicle by the frozen part like a baby would, forget how to chew and swallow and loose all sense of self dignity.

We have such the wrong idea of what life is, if we …

I'm so tired!

We got up early this morning because B had an 8:30 appointment with a therapist. This is the guy who is going to be doing all her psych testing, to determine the extent of psychosis/neurosis, what is what, etc. At least, that's what I've been told. Seeing him is part of the package deal with her psychiatrist...can't do one without the other, which is good I suppose: They are being thorough. I just wish it weren't so expensive. Well, we'll have our deductible met by the end of February, most likely, between psych, therapist and meds.

But over-all, it felt like a big waste of time today. We got re-acquainted. Three hundred dollars of re-acquainted. How lovely. I truly hope Humana is cooperative about this. I guess there are worse things in the universe than financial ruin, because that is what this will do to us if Humana doesn't pay.

On the way home I stopped at Kroger to pick up a few things, hoping to be out long enough to swing in to Weight Wat…

Home!

Thank you all for all of your prayers. We got home this afternoon. Has it really been NINE DAYS?????

For the sake of my daughter's privacy, I don't feel comfortable being very specific about her diagnosis or treatment here on the blog. We ruled out any medical (germs, poisons, toxins, damage) cause for what was going on, and then started experimenting with meds, and yesterday finally found a combination that works, after trying two other different things that did not work. So, we are grateful.

I can say nothing but good about the doctors, residents, nursing staff and other workers at the University of Ketucky Medical Center. Everyone was WONDERFUL.

This is going to be long-term, so continued prayers always appreciated.

And God is good. And we felt God's goodness in so many ways this week. Many of those ways were very mundane, practical, ho-hum, but they made a huge difference: The moment last night when my dd could eat microwaved chef boy-ar-dee ravioli with a …

Update

My daughter is still sick. The hospital is wonderful, facilities, staff, set up, doctors, all of it. The MRI came out clean, the CT came out clean. Nothing showed up on the EEG. (But they might do a 24 hour long one at some point.) Her neurological symptoms are getting worse and she's experiencing delirium. I'm staying with her, mostly, and don't have access to the computer while there.

It's like a medical mystery...like a House M.D. episode, only the doctors are nice people who care about the patients, who listen well, and who are actually rather cautious. In real life they don't throw meds at a situation willy nilly the way they do on that show. But the show is still fun to watch.

Actual life in the hospital: I've beaten a track between our room and the coffee pot. I raid the clean linens closet on a regular basis and I'm the one helping with the bathroom trips when I'm there. I'm sure the nurses all love me for it. UK feeds the paren…

Please Pray!

Dear blog readers,

Please pray for my daughter, Bethany! She's in the hospital. So far the only test that has come back abnormal are elevated ammonia levels in her blood. We do not know what is causing it, or the symptoms that led us to take her to the ER tonight.

I give thanks to God that we were able to find a babysitter for our other kids very quickly this evening. Now I am home and I'm supposed to try to sleep, while my husband is at the hospital with her. Tomorrow we will switch places.

Pray for the doctors and for her healing. She just participated in a service of Holy Unction last Wednesday. She is scared and confused and in pain. I'm scared and peaceful and exhausted, all at the same time. It is strange. Lord, have mercy!

Matins and Advent

Lately I've been praying Matins out on the back porch. The sun comes up and the light of my candles in the darkness fades as the sky pales, yellow, gray and purple behind the familiar tree branch lace. The birds join me on some days, but not this morning. I could see my breath in the cold, like clouds of dubious incense.

And these prayers have become my Advent journey. It seems particularly fitting that Matins prayers start out with the "end of the story": Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among me. (three times). Followed by: O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. (twice).

Ok, so there's an element of faith there, and dependence on God's work, and not my own. I need that, early in my morning. Lately I've been all tangled up in need of God, snarled feelings and stressed. Even first thing in the morning. I'm glad His mercy is new every morning. It is God who opens my lips.

What follow…

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

Now that the weather has cooled off, I'm back to sitting out on the back porch. I've got a very comfortable chair out there, and I like to sit in my sleeping bag with a mug or thermos caraffe of something hot, sipping and praying. It soothes the snarles and tangles of my stressed out innards.

It's been a rough week with one of my kids. Many tangles that need soothing. (Prayers appreciated.)

This morning I saw two couples of cardinals: two sets of male and female pairs. I wonder if it was a family, and a pair of blue jays. It was lovely to see them flitting around in the early morning sun. The cardinals were especially well-hidden amongst the red and orange un-raked leaves in our yard. Simply beautiful. Also, since the weather has been odd, the honeysuckle has not decided to drop its folliage this fall, and the grass is still green. A few days ago I noticed that the neighbors still have roses blooming. Confused plants.



Another thing that happened is that I kicked…

Educating Alana

I've decided to shake things up a bit in our home school, to foster independent learning, and to increase the content of the kids' reading materials. Towards that end, I organized our bookshelves by category, and in the process discovered we have lots of great resources.

Also, I discovered how few English and American Lit. classics I have actually read, juvenile or adult. I want to remedy this. I might as well work on reading what's on my shelf.

For instance, I've never read a book by Roald Dahl. Yesterday I started BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I don't know what I think yet. Books by Robert Lewis Stevenson and Jack London are on my "to read" list. Along with Wind in the Willows, Mary Poppins, and also Swiss Family Robinson. I don't particularly look forward to this process, but it must be done.

If anyone is stumped for gift ideas, bookstore gift cards would always be welcome, towards the goal of us building an excellent library. It is better to…

Think About It

If we consistently pray to God "Thy will be done", WHY are we surprised when life does not go our way?

(...speaking of myself of course....)

How often do we say those words, when what we really mean is "Dear God, please let your will be MY will, and let, therefore, MY will be done."?

Think about it.

Doll Making

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Today I made this doll. She's a commission project, and represents about three hours of work. She's about twelve inches long. The dress is removable, but the hat is sewn on. You can't see it in the picture, but the crown of the hat is trimmed with the same rose trim as the dress. Her clothes are the softest flannel and her hair is made out of recycled wool.

I ought to post something...really, I should.

Well, Thanksgiving came and went and all went well. Food was good. Nobody over-ate. Nice visit with some relatives. As usual I am slammed. So tired. Our whole family is introverts, so even a short visit with people leaves us all rather tired.

A Day Full of Jesus

We got up early and went to Divine Liturgy this morning for the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. That's my favorite thing to do on a weekday. And between now and Nativity, there's going to be a weekday liturgy about once a week. Tomorrow we go again, for Thanksgiving, so this week it's two! This makes me happy.

Of course I can't comprehend receiving Christ Himself in the Eucharist, but the reality is there nonetheless. I meet Him. And He fills me with life and joy. Even on the bad days. I cannot touch Him, yet he comes and touches me. I cannot apprehend Him, yet He gives Himself to me.

On the way home, I dropped some food off for someone who is ill, and was also giving a ride to the doctor for the brother in my parish who makes my chronic illness situation look like the walk in the park that it is. But this man is more full of peace and joy than just about anyone I know. He prays.

So, we are rolling along, up Harrodsburg Road discuss…

Monday, Monday

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Well, Monday is not my least favorite day of the week. I generally like the fact that after a busy weekend (and this weekend was particularly busy!) I get to just be at home and do the things I do around here.

Today is a little bit different, though, since the coming Thanksgiving holiday requires a major clean-fest. I plan to have the house spotless, since I have in-laws coming, and that includes a baby and a toddler. I don't want anything dangerous or gross lying about, if you know what I mean.

And I don't like to clean, but must do it. So, here I go...

Why am I such a reluctant hostess? Hospitality is difficult for me, and even more so for my reclusive husband. So, it falls to my shoulders, if we ever have anyone over for a meal, or anything like that. And having people spending the night gives me anxiety.

I guess it's because all my feelings of inadequacy come to the forefront, and I feel the oddness that is our life. And I wonder what others will thi…

Communicating

Homemaker

Last night I went to bed at 8:30 pm and slept for eleven hours. I didn't even hear my husband's snoring, which usually keeps me up half the night. That's one of the reasons I was so tired. It's been a mostly sleepless week.

I also went to bed fighting some very low feelings: Like, I'm a big fat(literally) nobody with a nothing life. I can't really delve into the whys or wherefores of those feelings, as just typing the words is bringing them back.

So, I'm a homemaker. But I'm not the good kind. I'm the kind with unfolded laundry and dubious kitchen floors. My house is the muggle version of the Weasley's place, the Burrow. Yay, rah. Who cares about homemakers? The world is certainly not impressed with me. And if I were getting a grade (I was always SO good in school!) it would not be a good one. Certainly not an "A".

I'm the kind of homemaker who would rather be cruising youtube for 9/11 conspiracy theory vids and re…

Not Such a Great Idea

I made a vegetable soup with canned oysters today. It was very STRONG, fishy. It stenched up the house. My oldest seems to like oysters better than I do. And no one else ate the soup. Or else my oldest child is just very stubborn and is forcing herlself to eat it because it's there. I'll probably force myself to eat another portion of it tomorrow, because it's there, but I won't be cooking it again. I'd rather just do veggie soup and do the oysters on the side. Perhaps smothered in mustard sauce, or something. Or shrimp. It's much milder.

We had to cut up and cook some apples, an orange and some five spice in lemon juice so that we could get rid of the fishy smell.

On a sad note, my youngest lost her baptismal cross today at the place where I go to Wednesday night bible study. Please say a prayer that we can find and retrieve it successfully. She and I are both very sad. Of course she didn't tell me she'd lost it until AFTER we'd left, an…

The Big Clear Out-Part 2

We got to Church this weekend with out car full of stuff, and I was amazed and gratified to see that we weren't the only ones. I wish I had a picture to post, of the huge mound of bags, boxes and hangers full of clothes and goods that people gathered. And from what I hear, many are still working on it and will bring more in in the coming weeks. The pile will grow.

Through a personal connection of a member of our parish, I think it's going to Hurricane relief in Haiti. Yes, some folks there lost everything. People he knows and is related to.

After Divine Liturgy, the pile was moved into the nave, and the priest blessed the stuff. Later, I supervised a crowd of very enthusiastic children who were eager to help move it out to the fellowship room. They made many trips back and forth. At the very end was a Rubbermaid tub, rather large and heavy, full of dishes. I went to find a strong young man to help carry the container, when lo and behold, here come a herd of kids, coope…

The Big Clear Out

This, lifted off the OCA website...I can't find the reference anywhere, although here's the quote: St. Basil the Great wrote in the fourth century: "the coat that hangs in your closet belongs on the shoulders of your brother who is naked, the extra shoes belong on the feet of the one who has none..."
So, getting ready for the Nativity fast:

I'm learning that there is a special emphasis on Almsgiving during the Nativity fast. Our hearts need to be quieted, and to be freed from materialism, especially during this time of year. The world wants to lead us quite in the opposite direction.

There are some really good notes here about what it's all about.

Father Justin read the famous quote by St. Basil the other day...the one that by the extra clothes hanging in our closet we are robbing the poor. I'd heard it before, but this time it really struck me.

I generally consider myself to be fairly non-materialistic. I don't own as much as many people do, …

Pumpkin Clam Chowder

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1 T. oil
1 Onion, chopped...sautee in oil
3 cups or so of some sort of broth (I used fat free homemade chicken stock because the canned stuff is not on anyone's diet, but a veggie boullion cube and some water would work well.)
3-4 cups of cooked pumpkin
2 cloves of crushed garlic
juice drained off from 2 10 oz. cans of clams

Make the above into a soup. Once the pumpkin (it was in the freezer) is thawed and it's all hot, blend it all in a blender. Use a towel to hold down the top, lest it explode and burn your hand. Ask me how I know this.

2 cans of clams, chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
parsley
pepper
chives to taste.

Add the last ingredients after the pumpkin part is smooth and blended. Get it hot and serve.

This is really really really good. And it's low carb, legal or both a gluten free/casein free diet, Specific Carbohydrate diet and it has only 2 Weight Watcher points per serving. (I'm pretending like the recipe makes six servings).

Just in time for the nativ…

Eat Your Vegetables

I had a nice time with a new friend yesterday. One of the ladies from the Communality Bible study I go to on Wednesday nights. She came over for "coffee" and we all know that that really means whatever smorgasbord of hot beverages a person can manage to lay out. I asked her if she wanted cocoa, coffee or tea...and she said "Cocoa, as long as it's sugar free!" I knew right then we'd be kindred spirits. So I made us a pot, and cracked open a packet of sugar free shortbread cookies. It was good. I counted the points.

Yes indeedy. I believe I blogged a few months back about giving up artificial sweeteners, and such. Well, I'm here to announce that reality land for Alana is that they are going to have to stay a part of my life. The sugar, honey, fructose, type of stuff, and various lower glycemic blends of various more natural sugars that exist still make me ill. And I just can't manage to NOT go for anything sweet ever. But I digress.

We d…

I lost weight this week!

1.4 pounds for a total of six since I started weight watchers.

And that, despite my trip to Nashville and my fibro-flare up.

Yaaaaaaaay! I was dreading weigh-in so much. And I'm glad that's behind me now.

Ky Highway Safety

My homeschool list is a treasure trove of information today! Here's more:

Important Travel Safety Information
>
>
>
> They will help change your tire, etc. Good number to keep with us in the
> car!
> Put this number in your cell phone, you never know when you will need it
>
> Today I found out that we have a free roadside service for highways,
> parkways, and interstates in KY They are funded by our taxes. They will
> change your tire, help with battery, or anything needed for an emergency.
> They do not want any money at all, not even a tip.
>
> Keep this number in your car and you can phone them 365 days a year, 24
> hours a day.
>
> 1-877-FOR- KYTC
> 1-877-367-5982
>
> He gave me a sticker to put on the windshield with the number listed above.
> I didn?t know this service was offered. He explained that not many people
> do and ask that I tell my friends. They were ever so helpful.
>
> Website: Highwaysafety…

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

This is a cut and paste from info passed around on one of my homeschool lists:

Will you help us get the word out? November 11-16 is
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and
we’re planning several activities to highlight our
clients and their needs. Please share the following
information with all of your friends and contacts.
Please feel free to forward this e-mail directly.


National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Activities:

November 11-16
Everyone is invited to join the Hope Center and the
UPS Stores throughout Lexington and Winchester to
deliver Hope in a Bag to the homeless citizens in our
community. It’s easy to participate:
Fill a bag with personal items for a man or woman and
include a personal note of encouragement. Label
whether the bag is for a male or female. Bring the bag
to any Lexington or Winchester UPS store and your bag
will be delivered to a homeless person in the
community. Suggested personal needs items include
travel-size toiletries and cold weather wear (soap,
sha…

Can't quite get it together

God have mercy! I'm having one of those weeks, and it's only Tuesday. Everything I do seems to be teetering on the verge of failure. Yesterday I was going to sew something, and then I realized I'd misplaced the paper that had the dimensions on it. So I had to e-mail the person who could tell me what they were. So I'll be sewing today, instead.

Yesterday I wanted to watch "The Hobbit" with the kids, since we'd just finished reading the book together after realizing my sewing project had to be put on hold. We got the popcorn made, and realized the version we'd checked out from the library was in Spanish.

So, we packed up to go to the library, and of course had to place a copy of the video we wanted on hold because it was at another branch.

And when we got home, realized that for all of that, we'd left that Spanish copy at home so we'll have to go back sometime today and get it returned.

I went for a walk even though I was mostly feelin…

Roadtrip

Thursday morning, I got in my car and drove down to Nashville, TN for a Koinonia Coffehouse Reunion Concert. I went, hoping to see some folks I knew from my High School youth group, and I was successful: I did get to see my youth group leaders from back then. These people blessed me tremendously and I wanted to hug their necks.

Neck-hugging is important.

I also wanted to pick up some Dogwood music, and I was successful with that as well.

A bit of history:

Koinonia Bookstore/Coffeehouse was a ministry spin-off of some people in Belmont Church, started back in the early 1970's. They had Friday and Saturday night concerts there, and many many people were reached for Christ during that time. Lots of baptisms, apparently. Of course, spun off from all that were things like "New Believer's Classes" etc. All of it very woo-woo-charismatic and exciting.

But apparently those concerts at Koinonia were sort of the beginning of the Nashville contemporary Christian mus…

25 Years

in amerika.

How to Utterly Avoid Halloween

I just have to write about my day.

I got up at 5:30 am. After getting myself ready, I got the kids out of bed, into their clothes and into the car. Seven a.m. Divine Liturgy in honor of St. John Kochurov of Chicago. He is such a cool saint.

He's Russian, of course, but came to America to labor as a missionary priest, late 1800's, early 1900's. He did. In Chicago. If you are ever in Chicago, go check out Holy Trinity Cathedral. He's the priest who over-saw the building of that Church. His parishioners were very poor, so he went to Russia to raise money for the building program. His ministry also was marked by lots of good preaching, and many chrismations and baptisms.

In 1907 he and his family returned to Russia. For a while he was a teacher, but then his wish was fulfilled and he became a parish priest again.

Was it the wrong place at the wrong time, or the right place at the right time? In October of 1917, after a prayer service, when his town was surr…

New Things

*I utterly have no desire to finish reading the book I was on. Nor to pick up the next one in the same genre.

This is leaving me feeling somewhat restless, but I gar-on-tee you that my house will be cleaner as a result. (I'm one of those readers who can totally get lost in a book and only come up for food...air optional. Not so good when I'm the homeschooling mom of four kids.)

What to read? I like John Nicholas' suggestion of the Psalms, but I think I'm going to plow through the New Testament first.

*New friends: I'm being blessed. That's all I'm going to say about that. I'm so bad at the beginning of a friendship. Never quite know where the lines are or what to do. But I'm muddling along, and I'm grateful for the ladies in my Bible Study.

*New chance to serve: I've volunteered to become co-leader of the Lexington Fibromyalgia Recovery Group. The Guai protocol works. I'll be there to open the room on occasion, sing it's …

Furnace

Is blowing cold air.

Blarch!

Recoil

Sometimes great ideas backfire. Or they have an effect that one does not anticipate. Or an effect that one does not want to anticipate, but would if one took the time to think about it beforehand.

So, do you remember my big plan of reading a gospel after each crappy fiction book? Well, in two weeks I've read all four gospels.

And the crappy fictions books are much less appealing.

What ever will I do?

Church

Church was really really really good this weekend. Between Vespers last night, a late night dinner of chicken soup with the family, pre-communion prayers, and a quiet, smooth morning, it felt like a retreat.

We were in the zone!

I think that's what it's supposed to be every week. Normal Orthodox worship: No distractions. A space for quiet. A build-up to the Eucharist.

Thanks-giving and fellowship afterwards.

Now, how do I, as MOTHER(aka family puppet master), make this happen every week? Or at least more often?

I think the thing that made it all happen was just letting Saturday night be set aside as a time of prayer, and not for anything else. No movies, or books, or games. Just prayer.

I so needed that.

Walking in the Rain

I've been really busy and have not really had any whispers from God these past few days. That's probably for the best.

I've had to do my walking in the rain, these past three days. I was so grateful today that it was not a downpour, but rather a misting sprinkle, since the air temps are in the 50's, which feels cold right now. Having been in the 100's and 90's for so many moons and then still hot until just this week, it seems like a sudden onset of fall weather. (Our bodies are not adjusted. My kids are convinced it is freeeeezing!)

The rain is welcome. Our reservoirs have been distressingly low.

The first day of walking in the rain was pure joy. The air was warmish and I relished every step. Splashing, drops in my eyes, streaming down my face. Perhaps I looked happy with a dog-riding-in-a-car-with-his-head-out-the-window expression. That's how I felt.

Yesterday was colder, but dstill fun. It rained even harder and I was happily soaked to the …

Dropping the Gauntlet

I can't remember precisely what Father Justin said last week in his homily, but something in me clicked, and I got one of those Holy Spirit nudges: I need to be reading the Gospels/Scriptures more, in greater proportion to my other (very light and very brain-candyish) entertainment reading.

So I resolved: To read a Gopsel (I may change that to book of the Bible at some point) after each non-Scripture book I read. In other words: Crappy fiction, Gospel According to Matthew. Crappy Fiction. Gospel According to Mark. Crappy fiction. Gospel According to Luke. Crappy Fiction. etc.

Currently I'm already on John. And I've actually not read as voraciously as I usually do this week because I have been spending some time ramping up with the Weight Watcher's info.

But over all, I think this is going to be good for me.

I've been having this thought this week, that we spend time with what we love, and it is certainly possible to make a rational "this-is-my-w…

Swiss german for beginners

1:23 am on Saturday morning. I had caffeine today. I can't resist!

Mo-tee-va-tion!

Well, looks like I shouldn't have ANY trouble getting my HSA to pay for Weight Watchers since I was diagnosed with both Obesity AND Hypertension today.

So that explains those palpitations and that shortness of breath I've been experiencing.

My caregiver said that if my BP does not drop with weight loss, I'll have to be put on meds. I should check it regularly at the grocery store thingy.

No wonder I've been feeling older lately. Gone are the days when my weight does not affect my health. My knees hurt, my BP is us, I can feel pressure in various places and pulls on various ligaments.

So, I will NOT listen to my friends when they tell me I look good for my height, or when they say I carry my weight well. I will listen to my body which is clearly telling me I do NOT carry it well at all.

Pray for me.

What's Up, Doc?

My weight.

I joined weight watchers yesterday. So far, there are some nifty e-tools to play around with. So far it's not getting on my nerves. But this is only day one. He he he.

But progress is progress: Dieting without self-loathing. Now there's a concept.

Conclusions: I drink too much wine, I cook with too much fat and indulge myself in illegals such as pastries at Church about once a week...far too often. Yeah, that about sums up my fifty pounds of overweight.


Things I'm already doing right: eating fruits and veggies. Eating whole grain sugar free cereals, and limiting the carb portions each day. I read labels. That also puts me ahead of the game. I rarely eat out and I cook from scratch.

Now I just need to learn to cook with less FAT.

And I HAVE been walking. I'm back up to 2.5 miles nowadays.

Since I have family history for everything: heart disease, diabetes AND cancer, perhaps I can get a doc to write me a nice little note to get my HSA to …

Go Cats!

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The Kentucky Wildcats just beat #1 ranked LSU in triple overtime with a final score of 43-37.

Amazing! UK has not ever had a good football team in all the years we've lived in this town.

Interesting Opinion Piece in Christian Science Monitor

If I include the link am I breaking some law? Here it is:

An Orthodox balm for Europe

By Nicolai N. Petro Thu Oct 11, 4:00 AM ET

Kazan, Russia - For decades, many social scientists had pretty much two things to say about Eastern Orthodox Christianity: 1) that like all religions, it was disappearing with the advance of modern civilization; 2) that it derived most of its support from the reactionary tides of authoritarianism and nationalism.
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Those pronouncements are being proved wrong. Today, as in the parable of the prodigal son, throughout Eastern Europe people are returning to the Orthodox Church in droves, and the effect in the public sphere, contrary to most expectations, is quite benign.

Though historically viewed with suspicion by Catholic and Protestant Europe, Orthodox Christianity can actually help bridge the Russia-West gap.

At the heart of much of the miscommunication between Russia and Europe today lies the unacknowledged and untapped longing of Orthodox Christian…

White Pumpkin Pancakes

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These were delicious. Very similar to potatoes in taste, but more fragile than potato pancakes would have been, due to the higher water content of the pumpkin. Next time, I'll try to squeese some of the water out by putting the pumpkin in a colander and sticking a weighted plate on top for a little while. Many "ersatz" potato recipes that use cauliflower call for this step.

Also for next time: chopped onions...for more of a hashbrowns effect.

I ate these with ketchup for supper last night, my daughter had them with honey-mustard sauce, and my husband and another daughter ate them with maple syrup. The other kids wouldn't try them.

Very yummy, and a definite "repeater" in some form or other.

Oh, I forgot to add: this was about 1/3 of the pumpkin flesh, four eggs, processed in the food processor, cooked in an oiled pan.

And notice, please, how CLEAN my stove top is! I got the black gunk off with several of those magic eraser sponges and lots of elbow …

The Poor Among Us

Thinking about Almsgiving.

Not something one talks about much. After all, the right hand does not need to know what the left hand is doing. It should be done in a modest way. (Not modest quantitatively, but modest as in covered up.) So, no specifics.

What is before me: Alms-giving to specific people and their specific needs that I know of, or alms-giving to anonymous type organizations.

What do you all think?

I'm thinking if I have to choose one or the other, the personal trumps the impersonal, even when the personal can be done anonymously so as to preserve the modesty of almsgiving.

What do my blog readers think?

The Great White Pumpkin

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Is this a Charlie Brown tribute? Or was it Linus? I never can remember.

Well, Bethany and I found a White Pumpkin at the store the other day. Since we are all about pumpkins and squashes, now that she's on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, we picked up this beauty, and decided to give it a try.

Baking pumpkin from scratch is not difficult.

First I wash the outside with dishsoap and my scrubber. Then I plunk it, as you see here in the top picture, into the baking dish. Oven at three fifty until it smells done.

What does "done" smell like? Burning rind. It's not rocket science.

Once it's baked, it is soft. The skin is no longer rind-like, but is rather fragile and easy to peel back. After that it's just a matter of cutting it apart, scraping the seeds out and (which is much easier after it's baked than before), and scooping out the good stuff.

In this case I decided some of the flesh was still a bit on the firm side. So it is now in the steame…

I like the Photo Booth

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I like the fact that I can actually get pictures of myself that don't make me want to scream in horror and run away. I'm very camera shy, and this tool lets me be more in control.

Therapy.

So, here are some, from yesterday. My age is showing, especially around my eyes, if you look closely. You know what? THAT'S OK!

I'm pushing 40 (got a couple of more years to do the pushing) but I have to say that this phase of life is feeling much more fulfilling and less desperate than the last ten years or so.

Feels like I've rounded some sort of corner. And I can look in the mirror and smile instead of cringe.

Proof that the Holy Spirit is hard at work mending the broken places, I guess.

So, nothing silly....just me in the middle of the day yesterday.

Here's wishing I could have a nice cup of coffee and a chat with each of my faithful blog readers....all five of you, LOL.

THE. GROSSEST. THING. EVER!

So, my kitchen has been stinky. I've cleaned it thoroughly every day, like I always do, but it's just had this smell.

Today I continued sleuthing and threw out a bag of narshty rotten potatoes that I discovered on top of the fridge. That was probably overkill, getting rid of the whole bag on behalf of a few baddies, but I was grossed out and it seemed the thing. Rotten potatoes are particularly vile smelling, for some reason.

Lately I've been on a bit of a cleaning binge. I wanted clean. So I got rid of the rotten taters, scrubbed the basket, scrubbed the top of the fridge and rearranged stuff.

Now things should be nice and fresh.

Well, it was almost good.

But still there was funky around the edges.

....Later in the day.....

Time to make dinner. I'm loading the dishwasher, getting ready to peel a bunch of carrots, apples, onions, and other stuff of similar ilk to go in the baker with the chicken.

And I see this tail.

A mouse tail. So, why is it not rapidly…

It's all about ME ME ME!...or is it?

On Wednesday nights I participate in a women's Bible study. I'm the lone Orthodox in the group and one other person is heading towards Rome even as we speak. The rest of the crowd are of the Emergent persuasion. Is that protestant? They do seem to be protesting many things, but things different than Luther and Zwingli and those guys. Defies categorization.

It doesn't matter. We have some good talks and good fellowship and some good good good delving into the Prophet Hosea.

Boy, there sure are some zingers in that book, let me tell ya!

And I know it was directed, originally, to the idolatrous and unrepentant Northern Kingdom of Israel. I know this.

So how come I keep finding myself in those pages, as well. My faithfulness is also like a vapor. I say that I'll press on the seek the Lord and then my zeal fizzles out. This happens over and over again. I guess I'll just keep pressing on. Doh!

And I KNOW there are idols in my heart. Ones I have not even be…