Showing posts from November, 2008

O Tannenbaum...

We put up our Christmas tree a bit on the early side this year. The kids were thrilled to spend an hour or so this afternoon doing that.

And we actually have a mantel and fireplace, so we got some stocking hangers and finally, at long last the heirloom stockings look like they have a home.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I can find where my oh so organized self decided the place for our camera would be. Yes, indeed, yours truly lost her camera in her own home.

We've been using the same ornaments for almost as long as we've been married, (every once in a while we'll replace the ball ornaments when they get too skeetchy looking), but the white lights we got this year (our colored ones were worn out and did not light up when we tested them) give the whole thing a more sophisticated look).

But as much fun as it is to watch the kids decorate the tree, it's more important to pray for the whole world, give alms and be kind to one another: kindred, friends and stran…

Crab Cornbread Dressing

Make a pan of cornbread the day before. Let it cool, and perhaps even get stale.

Chop 1 onions,
finely chop 2-3 stalks of celery

Sautee these in margarine (or butter if you aren't avoiding dairy) until onions are clear.

add 1 veggie boullion cube

open 4 cans of crab meat and dump in, juice and all.

Let simmer until all is hot.

add salt, pepper and about 2 tsp of sage.

now crumble up the cornbread into a bowl

add the skillet stuff

mix thoroughly, together with 2 eggs (or egg replacer).

Transfer to 9x13 backing dish.

Dot very generously with margarine or butter.

Bake at 350 F. until golden and delicious looking.

This was good for Thanksgiving, but it would also make a nice dinner main dish for company or just family during winter lent.


Well, our relatives were not able to come to our house for Thanksgiving, due diahoweveryouspellit, vomiting, pink eye and ear infections in the kiddos. God have mercy.

Around here, some of us feel like we are coming down with colds or some such, too. And my back is really hurting today. It's been sort of hurting all this week, but today is worse.

I've also felt sort of Migrainy (I know that's not a real word) around the edges, especially yesterday, so I dropped out of the requisite Thanksgiving Day Scrabble game (Wes always wins anyhow) and took a nap.

The nap was nice, the food was good and some of us did take a nice walk around the neighborhood. It wasn't too cold. A very laid back sort of afternoon. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving: LEFTOVERS

Look what I found!

"Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own." Philippians 3:8-12

This used to be my very favorite Bible passage when I was younger. It's still way up there. I came across it this morning when I was reading through the Epistle to the Philippians, and there it was.

I recall reading it with grand dreams of valiant sacrifice when I was…

Where's the Turkey?

I have too much to do today. It's the day before Thanksgiving, and I have some cleaning to do for the relatives who are coming tomorrow, as well as some advance cooking to get done:

Cornbread, for the stuffing, and a gluten free/casein free pumpkin pie. And a pretzel pie*. Perhaps a GF/CF apple pie as well.

Oh, and I should make some cranberry relish. Must troll the web for a recipe. The kind with orange juice concentrate, which I have plenty of.

So, all that in addition to guiding the kids with the rest of their school work, and doing the vacuuming, dusting and bathrooms. Perhaps I should ask for the kids to help me, hmmmmm?


So I woke up this morning with a sore throat and all over body aches. Glory to God for ALL things, even this, then.

Menu for our feast:

Crab meat-cornbread stuffing (GFCF)

gravy from a jar (NOT GFCF)

GFCF mushroom gravy

mashed potatoes (GFCF)

Cranberry relish (GFCF)

Green beans with garlic and mushrooms (GFCF)

Butternut Squash bake with cinnamon and brown sugar(GFCF…

Louie Giglio - Laminin

My less-than-glamorous Life

Alarm clock goes off. I'd gotten to bed too late last night and slept restlessly. Weird and unremembered dreams. (Which beats the way weirder and unfortunately remembered horrible dream from night before last where I kept finding my baby that I'd completely forgotten about, would take care of her for a few minutes then rush off again to do other things and utterly forget about her existence for several days...over and over again...BAD dream, but I digress).

So, too early I"m batting the alarm clock, trying to decide whether I really want to get up to take a cold shower and go to matins, or not. Not was winning. And then I was getting up for some reason, and decided to take a crack at Matins after all.

Made coffee, had a cold shower (long hot water due to a slab leak that the apartment people are working on), clothes on. Feeling fat. Looking fat, too. Yech.

Time to go, and the youngers wake up and want me to cook porridge before I go.

What kind of moth…

Today is a Hard Day

Oooof! We are just at the end of our first nine weeks, and I have set each kid the task of getting various assignments like vocabulary lists learned, book reports completed, quarterly tests taken. The loose ends must be tied up.

Unfortunately, this is the week when my slacker tendencies rear up to bite me in the butt. I've got some grading to catch up on, and the kids have some heretofore-unnoticed gaps in their school work to complete. My fault. Bad me. I should have been on top of things better. Live and learn.

And I'm a little worried about my youngest. She seems hypersensitive to EVERYTHING, especially sound. Noises bother her and there she sits, hyperventilating and making squeaking sounds and generally pitching little fit after little fit. It takes every ounce of self control not to scream and yell. I want to beat her butt but I don't. She hates it when I get stern, but if she only knew that stern is the current "nice version" of me, she'd…


Really really really missing St. Athanasius Orthodox Church today.

Took communion in our new parish. It's all fine. Just big and different and lonely.

What Are the Chances?

We are finally coming up on the end our our first quarter in homeschooling this year. It has taken lots of time because of our big break to move. That's OK. I have until the end of August to get three more quarters done, and I know we can do it.

What this means for me, is that next week, in addition to getting ready for Thanksgiving, I'm going to help each kid tie up any loose ends on the school work front, and do some grading and organizing and make sure we have everything ready to send in to Seton. Then it will be the dread trip to the post office. Grading papers and doing all the "organizy" stuff are my least favorite aspects of home schooling. Morning prayers and slow mornings with a cuppa and a good book are the more beloved aspects of it.

But the paperwork has to be done.

People were busy taking tests etc. today, when B walked into the bathroom and discovered it was filled two inches deep in water. I knew maintenance was busy jackhammering next door to …

Something for the Holidays

Please consider making a donation to Heifer International. This is an awesome organization. Rather than feed a family for one meal, this is a way to make a long term difference in the life of a family. It's amazing that what is a drop in the bucket for us Americans (even those of us who live on the bleeding edge of "tight") can be a life changing difference for someone in a developing country.

Happy Homemaker

I must say, I am enjoying being a "homemaker" now that I'm in a home that I enjoy living in. It's so much easier to keep clean now that we have a place for everything and everything in its place.

A quick tidy-up, and running the vacuum throughout the apartment does wonders to perk things up around here, and I MUST say I'm so very very grateful for my much larger kitchen and much larger refrigerator...well, much larger dwelling place in general....several hundred feet larger and we can all tell.

I'm just grateful.

It will also be fun to build a fire in the fire place come the holidays.

So what "homemakerish" things did I do this week? Well, aside from keeping things nice and tidy I graded papers for my home school and I make a batch of homemade bread which got rave reviews, even from my pickiest eater. And lots of soup. It's a good time of year for soup and bread.

Today I made tomato soup.

The one bugaboo about this place was that for the p…


Aren't these cute? My oldest dd has been crocheting like crazy lately, and I just HAD to show these off.


This has been one of my favorite Psalms since my teenage years (a LOOOOOOONG time ago) and it jumped out at me during Matins this morning. Back in the old NIV days, it was numbered Psalm 63, but here it is in a lovely translation from the LXX:

Psalm 62 from the Septuagint

O God, my God, unto Thee I rise early at dawn.
My soul hath thirsted for Thee; how often hath my flesh longed after Thee in a land barren and untrodden and unwatered.

So in the sanctuary have I appeared before Thee to see Thy power and Thy glory,

For Thy mercy is better than lives; my lips shall praise Thee.

So shall I bless Thee in my life, and in Thy Name will I lift up my hands.

As with marrow and fatness let my soul be filled, and with lips of rejoicing shall my mouth praise Thee.

If I remembered Thee on my bed, at the dawn I meditated on Thee.

For Thou art become my helper; in the shelter of Thy wings will I rejoice.

My soul hath cleaved unto Thee, Thy right hand hath been quick to help me.

But as for these, i…

About the Nativity Fast in the Orthodox Church

I'm cutting and pasting this straight from Wikipedia:

The Nativity Fast, is a period abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Christ, (December 25).[1] The fast is similar to the Western Advent, except that it runs for 40 days instead of four weeks. The fast is observed from November 15 to December 24, inclusively.

Sometimes the fast is called Philip's Fast (or the Philippian Fast), as it traditionally begins on the day following the Feast of St. Philip the Apostle (November 14). Some churches have abbreviated the fast to start on December 10, following the Feast of the Conception by Saint Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The purpose of fasting

Fasting with humility and repentance is believed to enable one to draw closer to God by denying the body worldly pleasure. Although the fast influences the body, the emphasis is placed on the spiritual facet of the fast rather than…

Living the Gospel

Luke 14:12-15

Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!"

So, what are YOUR Thanksgiving plans?

What's Cooking?

Well, technically today was the first day of the Nativity fast, and as usual, when a fast rolls around, I like to post a few meal ideas and recipes.

I remember well the sense of "what am I going to feed my family?????" panic that used to overwhelm me at the beginning of a fasting period. It also seems like I used to spend loads of money to transition from "regular" to "fasting". This is no longer quite so true.

Part of it may be because we have a member of our family who is on a dairy free (and gluten free) diet, so we have lots of non-dairy or ersatz dairy items in our fridge already. This makes the transition easier.

So, for all you curious (the non-curious can just find another blog, I suppose), here's what's in our fridge:

Almond Breeze Almond milk (unsweetened) and we keep this stuff around
Silk Lite Soy milk
Silk Chococlate Soy Milk (I can get my picky kids to drink this with marshmallows or on plain cereal like rice crispies).

The Nativity Fast

I found this wonderful excerpt over at Abide and Endeavor and I want to share it. It blessed my soul. I know the Lord is gearing up to really take me deeper this fast, and I am, by His mercy, prepared to humbly follow. Having said that, I'll probably do something really bad, but I'm in this place of liminality, having just moved, and I'm so aware of this being a key time for building new habits, being in a new place and a new town and all.

So here's the quote from Saint Nikolai Velimirovich:


With fasting I gladden my hope in You, my Lord, Who are to come again.

Fasting hastens my preparation for Your coming, the sole expectation of my days and nights.

Fasting makes my body thinner, so that what remains can more easily shine with the spirit.

While waiting for You, I wish neither to nourish myself with blood nor to take life--so that the animals may sense the joy of my expectation.

But truly, abstaining from food will not save me. Even if I were to eat only the sand f…


Members of the Diocese of the South of the OCA have been so excited that Archimandrite Jonah Paffhausen was to be elevated to become the auxillary bishop in our diocese, to assist Vladyka Dmitri. About eleven days ago he was consecrated Bishop.

Yesterday, at the All American Council, he became the new Metropolitan! My first thought was: "But what about the Diocese of the South?" But what's good for us (I suppose I need to stop saying "us" since we've moved and are now with the Antiochians...) can be good for the whole OCA. Here is a humble man who just a few weeks ago was an archimandrite (head of a monastery), and now he is to serve the whole OCA.

The full story is at the OCA website, of course, and Ancient Faith Radio has some excellent podcasts. I particularly liked listening to the talk he gave a couple of days ago before his elevation. He seems humble and I don't know that he was necessarily expecting this. But I don't know anything. …

But I've never even BEEN to Philly!

What American accent do you have?Your Result: Philadelphia Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.The Midland The South The Inland North The Northeast Boston The West North Central What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I always wondered what I talked like since I did not grow up here, but English is my first language of Texas born and raised parents. I know I don't talk Texas and that I only fake Kentucky. But how do I really talk? Well, now I know. huh.

A Tip

One of my blog readers tipped me off to the No-S diet, which is entirely interesting, and very compatible with any and all Orthodox feasting and fasting guidelines. In fact, the principles are remarkably similar to things I've read that various Father of the Church have to say about gluttony and the like.

check it out at

Basically it is this: No snacking, no sweets, so seconds. Except for days that begin in S, which means Saturday, Sunday and Special occasions (Feast days in other words.)

Can I build these habits? We shall see. My hypoglycemic self may need a snack in the afternoon, but if it is a planned mini-meal, this would be a meal not a snack and would be a far cry better than what I've been doing lately, that's for sure!

Cozy Troubles

The problem with BIG LIFE CHANGES (imagine some sort of dum, dum duuuum background music here) is that they cause stress. Good stress, or bad stress, it doesn't matter. My subconscious inner psyche does not care. Stress happens and I EAT. I used to be in utter denial of this very obvious fact, and obsessive dieting in the between times has meant that I "only" tend to carry an extra 20-50 pounds on my tallish frame, depending on where I am on the pedulum. I'm sick of it: Both the compulsive over eating and the dieting.

Last year, when my daughter was in the hospital (and I happened to be in one of my dieting cycles, so the infractions became obvious to me) I woke up to the reality of my disordered eating. The compulsive stress related eating is disordered, the dieting obsessively is disordered, the whole cycling back and forth is disordered. Messed up. And I know I'm not the only person who struggles with this, and that is why I'm blogging about i…

Confronted by the Cross of Christ

It seems that everywhere I turn this past week or so, I'm confronted with the Cross of Christ. On election day, since we had just moved and I had desire neither to drive all thew way back to Lexington to vote, nor to cast my vote in favor of any of the dubious options on the ballot this year. I decided to pray the rosary instead. (My oldest laughed and said it would probably do more good anyways, and in a country that announces election results based on CNN exit polls instead of on actual counted ballots, I tend to agree, but I digress.)

So there I was, and it was Tuesday and my little "pray the Rosary" booklet had me praying the sorrowful mysteries, which is a meditation of the cross of Christ and the events surrounding his crucifixion and death. What a thing to spend time thinking about! I think we Christians so often take the sufferings of our dear Lord utterly for granted. I know I do. I glibly waltz into confession, trying hard to muster up some repentance, o…

Out Walking

B and I had fun exploring in the new neighborhood on foot this afternoon. The fall colors are so pretty and the leaves in some of the yards and on the sidewalks by them are so delightfully crunchy that I must command for all my blog readers who live in this hemisphere, and in places with autumn leaves: Go ye therefore and crunch in them, at least once before they are gone for the year!

We walked clear to St. Michael's and back, through the neighborhood, not on the busy main roads, because those are just too trafficky. It was a nice long walk. Theoretically only about two miles, but I wonder if it wasn't actually pushing three. Some of the neighborhood streets wound around a bit. The walk made me tired, perhaps because I ate too much sugar today, or perhaps because it's been a long day and I got to bed late last night.

I like walking in the fall; leaves, crisp cool air, all that. It's definitely my favorite season for walking. Spring is nice, too, especially…

Glory to God for All Things...even the good ones!

It's so often that I write about my stresses and uncertainties and my sadness. Today I would like to say that God answered many many prayers.

Our thermostat was not working right, and I called the front office for a maintenance guy to come out. The lady at the desk said he'd come out this morning. Then I proceeded to start making calls to try and find a medical person to see my daughter. I've been praying for this need a great deal, as she really needs her meds adjusted. Unfortunately, with her type of illness, it's hunt and peck until we find one that works. So far we have not found a perfect medication.

So I called and bing! got an appointment for THIS MORNING, 11 am. Perfect timing. Hope she meets our needs. I'm glad B gets to see a woman, perhaps it will be easier for her to communicate with a woman.

The only thing that makes me nervous is the fact that the maintenance man was supposed to come and I started praying about that detail.

Well, the main…

Going to the Chapel

For years I've been longing to be in a place where I could pop over to Church and pray Matins or Vespers daily. Not by myself, but with others in the Church. God has blessed me and answered that prayer, and it is so comforting and wonderful.

Even though I feel like a stranger in this city, when I walk into St. George's Chapel, and it's still dark outside and it is literally lit only by candle light and oil lamps, I am no longer a stranger. There is a deep human need to know and be known, and there at least I get to see the icons of my Christ, and the Theotokos, St. John the Wonderworker, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, and many others. Familiar faces, even though the ones in the flesh around me are still mostly strangers.

And familiar melodies, although to a different rhythm mixed with familiar lines and unfamiliar tunes, blend with enough insence to scent my yawns afterwards. Lungs full.

And it is in such a place that I am known and that I can know. Even after just a week…

What Makes me Happy

Inspired by Anna's list over at Veiled Glory , I decided to make my own "what makes me happy" list:

-A home with a maintenance man on call.

-ceilings that don't crumble and roofs that don't leak and walls without cracks in them.

-tile bathrooms

-tea pots with roses on them

-tea pots without roses on them

-lace curtains

-singing along out loud to the Christmas music at the store

-my kids singing along out loud to the Abba song that was being piped into the store at Kroger yesterday

-my new bedroom that does NOT also double as the computer room (in other words, it's PRIVATE!)


-popping over to vespers which is less than five minutes away

-hearing new music to old familiar hymns and liking it

-incense and candle light

-canted prayers

-icons of beloved saints popping out at you from unexpected corners of an unfamiliar nave

-old friends

-phone calls

-Wes coming home for dinner!!!!

Discovering Louisville-Part 1

Some people from Church invited us to share their Zoo passes with them on Sunday afternoon for a few hours. We had a delightful time exploring the Louisville Zoo together, and getting to know each other, too.

The Louisville Zoo is a very nice place. My favorites are always the giraffes, for some reason. I just love them, pungent odor and all. I think it's the fact that they are so HUGE and yet so delicate at the same time. Proportion is everything. I also like the mysterious quality they have. When I was younger, I used to think that they did not make a sound, but I learned a couple of years ago from a NOVA episode (or perhaps it was a National Geographic show) that giraffes actually communicate on a subsonic to the human ear frequency over very long distances. Way cool.

The layout of the zoo is delightful, with lots of gorgeous plant life, exotic and domestic, and well placed benches, restrooms, and cafes. There's a petting zoo, and I think every goat in the place ha…

R.O.U.S. (rodent of unusual size)

The move could not have gone smoother. Many thanks to all who helped. The weather was perfect, everything was packed. People showed up and we loaded the truck, drove to Louisville, and there were five intrepid folks here to meet and help us from our new parish, plus a couple of old friends who followed us down.

So that first day started at 5 am and ended late in the evening, with unpacking the kitchen and every muscle and joint in my body hurting, but we got an incredible amount of work done. I think I was running on caffeine, adrenaline and God's grace.

The next morning, we woke up after sleeping like logs in our new place, only to find a RODENT in our kitchen. Wes' first thought was "Eeeeep, a mouse!" But then we noticed that it was not running as fast as a mouse. At first I was worried that there had been a stowaway in one of our boxes.

But we tracked the critter as it ran into the girls' bedroom and behind one of the beds. We shifted it, and caught…