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Showing posts from July, 2008

Abundance

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I've been amazed at how easy it has been to let some veggies grow in our garden this year. This is our first year to plant vegetables and it's been a great experience. I don't think we could ask for better weather. Rain has come often enough that we've barely bestirred ourselves to water.

For weeks we have been harvesting a bumper crop of green leaf lettuce. Each time we picked, we'd get the biggest leaves from the outside layer, and it seems like within three days the next layer of leaves would be big and new ones were coming is as fast as could be.

Finally those plants have bolted and the leaves are bitter. But they are not too bitter to eat, especially with honey-mustard dressing, or sauteed in some garlic.

So today A and I harvested all the rest of the plants, stripped the leaves off the stalks (because each was at least 18 inches tall) and harvested three packed gallons of leafy greens. That's three weeks or a month's worth for our family. I&#…

The Dormitian Fast

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Here is an article from http://www.antiochian.org/node/18058 Which explains the fast that Orthodox Christians are undertaking starting tomorrow. Please pray for us, as sometimes "minor" fasts can be more difficult that the longer ones, such as Great Lent.

I personally hope to keep a private spiritual journal during this time, as part of my fast. Thank you to the friend (you know who you are!) who gave me this idea.

Well, here's the article:

July 30, 2008 + The Fast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos

By Fr. Gabriel Barrow

From The Word, June 1977

first fourteen days of August during each year, the Holy Orthodox Church enters into a strict fast period in honor of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. The eminent Orthodox theologian, Father Sergei Bulgakov, beautifully expresses the high regard which the Orthodox Christians have for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, for her special role in the salvation of mankind, when he affirms, “The warm veneration of t…

Extreme Fatigue

I took the kids to Michael's this afternoon, for a scouting visit. I came away with a tie-dye shirt kit, and an idea of how much t-shirts cost, for A's birthday party. I went ahead and bought the kit because it was the last one on the shelf. The kids were really excited about some of the craft kits on sale there. I wish I had a hundred bucks to spend on each of them.

And then we went on a further scouting mission to Target, to see what was in the toy department there. Getting ideas for birthdays. Unfortunately, pickings were somewhat slim at Target.

But on the way out of the store, I meandered through the bedding section. Sigh. I wish I had about five hundred dollars to spend on bedding. I'd buy a down comforter, new pillows, a duvet cover and new sheets. Why does stuff like that have to be so expensive? And why does it never feel like a "necessity"? Even so, our comforter is completely worn out and our one set of sheets is getting that way fast. A …

Ain't no cure for the summertime blues...

Next week, I have two birthday parties to throw. TWO. That's what I get for having babies 363 days apart.

So, A's party is going to be a group of girls (I hope they'll come) doing tie dye t-shirts and getting stoked on too much sugar.

And E's party is going to involve Pokemon from beginning to end. Again, I hope the invitees (who have yet to be issued their invitations) will be willing to show up.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to panic a bit. I think the cakes are going to be store bought. And I need to go on an excursion to figure out how much tie dye kits cost. Yeepers! I hope I've not bit off more than I can chew.

I always panic a bit when it comes to stuff like this. I'm not very good at it.


In other news, I've been fighting summer sloth. It's just so stankin' HOT around here, what with no AC or anything like that, and I get tired. Doldrummy. Craving salt. Don't want to exercise.

And why does the heat make me feel fat and blo…

A Book Giveaway

over at my cyber friend Anna's blog, Veiled Glory.

Check it out and participate if you want to.

It's Leftover Chicken Night

I really don't mean for this to be a food blog. Really I don't. A life blog...and food is a part of life. Sometimes I truly wish it weren't. I have brief fantasies about becoming an airetarian which get firmly squelched on a weekly basis, thanks to the Eucharistic fast.

But I digress.

It's leftover Chicken night in Orthodox homes all around the world. Not officially, but I bet you dollars to donuts...

See, here's the logic: It's so hot, that a pasta salad would be nice. It's not a fasting day, so I might as well throw some of this leftover chicken that's stashed in the freezer into the salad, since it's just a little bit, not really enough for everyone to have a full portion otherwise.

But then I remember: Wednesday is fasting. Thursday is non-fasting, and then there's the two week long Dormitian Fast starting on Friday.

So it would not be smart to make a huge giant vat of chicken pasta salad, now would it? Because the point would b…

Pray for the Fish

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We laughed out loud at the humor in this song when we heard it on the radio yesterday. And then, thinking about it, it sort of reminds me of why we do what we do at Theophany, the great blessing of the waters.

Click through the pictures at the link, and read the descriptions of each one if you are unfamiliar with the Orthodox feast of Theophany. (January 6). I don't think the slideshow feature is working.

Ponderings

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I was listening to a podcast from Ancient Faith Radio yesterday, and I had a new thought. This is going to seem so patently obvious to some, most likely, but for me it was a new thought.

It's not the WORK of Jesus Christ which saves us, but rather the PERSON of Jesus Christ the God-Man whose incarnation was for us, WHO saves us.

And in a similar vein, Fr. J. told me of something that Father Stephen Freeman used to tell him day in day out: "Fr. Justin, never forget that our God is literally mercy incarnate."

Lenten Bread Recipe

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3 cups warm water
1 T. salt
1 T. rapid rise yeast.
stir together.

Mix in enough flour to make a still stir-able very soft dough. But a dough not a batter. Just stir until it's mixed. Don't knead. Then let it rise for a few hours.

When it's ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Farenheit. Place a pan of water (don't use pyrex because it will shatter if all the water evaporates.) on the bottom rack of the oven (I usually use one of my cast iron skillets with water in it). You want your oven hot and steamy.

Grab a handful of flour and sprinkle on the section of dough you want to grab, it will be soft, so the flour helps your hands not to stick. Form the dough, in your hands, into whatever shape loaf you like (a round artisan loaf works well)...can be either individual sized, or family sized. Place on your baking stone (or baking sheet) that has been sprinkled with a bit of flour or cornmeal. Dust the top of your loaf with some more flour and cut a criss cros…

Bureaucracy, or The War on Drugs

So, yesterday I go to make sure my dd1 has enough meds to get her through a week of Camp, which starts this Sunday. Thankfully, I did this yesterday, and not tomorrow. I realize she's going to run out of both her meds. No big deal, right? I drop off her prescriptions on the way to the store, Wes picks them up later.

Inside the bag was one filled perscription, and one empty bottle. Attached to the bag was a note: Can't fill "medication X" until 7-29-08.

That's smack dab in the middle of Camp week, which child who needs to take said meds will be 2.5 hours away, thankyouverymuch!!!!!!

This is just lovely. This is what you get when people abuse prescription drugs, or sell them on the street. And yes, this drug does have some street value. But then normal law abiding people who merely don't want their kid to be CATATONIC can't get a prescription re-filled a few days early to accomodate sending a kid off to camp.


Grrrrrrrrrrr.

So today it's goin…

If you give a Mouse a Cookie...

You know the book?

Well, I'd gone grocery shopping which always makes me tired in italics. Tired.

So, after sitting and looking at the computer for a while, I decided I must force myself to do something constructiverather than piddle on the computer in a tired stupor all afternoon. I go to my bedroom where my Bible is. I start to read. I realize my water bottle is empty and that I have not had any water yet today. But then my daughter comes in, complaining of a sliver in her foot, so we move to the living room where the light is better to do minor sliver surgery with a needle and some tweezers. When we are done, I remember an e-mail I sent to Wes, and wonder if he's answered my question yet or not. I open up the laptop and check e-mail. After a few minutes of distraction, I remember that I'd better put some dinner in the crock pot for a late supper, so I get up and drag myself to the kitchen. In the kitchen I find that someone put the icream in the fridge instead …

Five Leaf Clover

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Wednesday Pasta Salad

1 pound of pasta (whole wheat recommended) cooked drained and cooled down.
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, chopped
8 or so green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
dark green leafy lettuce chopped fine, 2 cups or so)
1/4 cup oil (or not)
liberal amounts of red wine vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar to taste
liberal sprinkling of italian seasonings
salt and pepper, to taste.
This was yummy. Did not heat up the kitchen. And fed us for two meals!

Itty bitty vacuum cleaner

That goes in your ear canal to suction the impacted wax out. Now THAT was a weird feeling.

But I can HEAR again. It seems like I must have had fluid trapped behind the impacted wax, because all was resolved as soon as the doctor was finished.

So, praise God!

And to Top it All Off

9 pm, we are pulling in to the driveway for a very late after-Vespers supper, and I have this bad thought: did I forget to plug in the crock pot?

Answer: Yes, indeed!

So there's no way we are eating THOSE two bags of beef ravioli which were supposed to be simmering but instead have probably been growing bacteria, now is there?

Wes ordered pizza.

And so we wait.

Big. Shuddering. Sigh.

What's for Dinner on a Friday?

Every once in a while someone will ask me about Orthodox fasting practices. And so I will answer on this blog, so that perhaps others who might be curious can learn about it, too.

Specifically in this post I will write about some tips to make fasting easier, perhaps for someone who is new to fasting.

For starters, it helps to have some fasting friendly foods in your cupboard. If you are aleady a "health nut" then you probably have loads of options.

Things that end up in my grocery cart include:

Firm Tofu (goes well in a stir fry)
vegetable boullion
pasta
rice
potatoes
TVP (textured vegetable protein...great as a meat substitute in pasta sauce or chilli)
corn tortillas
fat free refried beans
lentils
salsa
pasta sauce that doesn't contain cheese (I like light Ragu)
canned beans: black, garbanzo, etc.
lemon juice
flax seed meal (very important item, as I use 1 heaping T. plus some hot water for an egg substitute in baking)
applesauce (if I want to avoid oil in baking)
cornmeal
lipto…

A Visit to the Hospital and a Cazy Day!

My dear little 20 month old niece is in the hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome. In other words, her kidneys stopped functioning thanks to e-coli poisoning.

Please say a prayer for her and for her parents. That her kidneys would kick in and start working after the dialysis flush and that she would get better.

I've been running like a chicken with my head cut off today: visit there, doctor appt. for myself, and soon another visit to drop off some dinner.

And the kids want to go to the pool! Augh!

A Short Trip to the Audiologist

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For one thing, my ears are tiny. Undergrown. Runty. The very nice and loud/clear speaking audiologist had to keep reaching for a smaller device. I think I have infant sized ears. Seriously. A long time ago, a doctor noted that my eustacian tubes were not going up and down the way an adult's normally would, but were still horizontal, like a small child's. That fits with the whole "my ears forgot to grow" theory. All my kid's ears are way bigger than mine.

Long story untold so far: Too much ear wax impacted against my left ear drum to do anything. And when I used the ear wax dissolving fluid, it just stayed there, so I have all this fluid in my ear.

Next week I go see an ENT who will manually clean out the ear wax and then send me over to get my hearing tested.

I'm tired of living in this sound fog.

Simplifying

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It feels good to get rid of extraneous STUFF. I've been working hard this summer, and the fire has just spurred me on in that direction. I have a long to-do list, fire cleanup related, that I chose to ignore today in favor of cleaning out a bunch of extra stuff from the kitchen.



As you can see, the curtains are down, since I had to wash them. It all sort of feels like a good opportunity to do some serious cleaning.



I think I have one of the least practical kitchens imaginable. Not enough cabinet space, no pantry (I have a book case that I'm using for boxed goods), very little countertop space, and a small fridge. But it is rather cozy. All the pots live on the stovetop because there's no other place to store them.

I still have a long way to go, but in the past months (including today) I have removed both an old metal cabinet that was cluttered with junk AND an old wooden mini-hutch that was similarly cluttered with junk, and re-organized to fit the few non-junk ite…

Coming Home this Morning

After being out to dinner and spending the night in a motel, it's interesting to come back to the house today. The whole place smells. Some rooms are worse than others, with the upstairs being the worst and the living room a close second. Our bedroom is probably the least affected.

I want to get curtains down and wash them, but I really must wait for the insurance guy and the guy from the clean up company to do a walk through.
The whole house feels like we are camping, which is fun if one is camping partly because you know that eventually you get to go home and clean up. But around here, everthying smells and everything feels dirty.

And since the upstairs is so bad, the carpet will have to be replaced, wall restored...I don't know what all, I just wonder what will happen.

So I will wash dishes, do laundry and wait and see what happens.

Your'e in good hand with Allstate!

Nice clean smoke stench free motel room, Bob Evans for dinner (Allstate's tab...or at least our deductible's tab) and an insurance adjuster coming tomorrow.

Ahhhhhh.

So, I"m pretending like I'm on vacation.

A girl can dream, can't she?

Adventures in the Middle of the NIght

A knock on our bedroom door at 2 am. Our 12 year old informed us that the smoke alarm was blaring in her and her sister's room. I woke up instantly then. Fear does that to a person. Thank you adrenaline. I made sure Wes woke up in short order and let him do the manly hero thing of going up the smoky stairs. My son was still up there, although both girls who live upstairs had already come down.

M says she woke up when she was experiencing a sore throat and it smelled funny and she couldn't breathe. She came downstairs and got a drink of water and noticed that her sister was on the couch downstairs instead of in her bed. She says she knocked timidly on our door at first, and then realized that "Hey I smell smoke and the alarm is going off." Then she knocked loudly and woke us up. This whole process too several minutes.

Wes had to go and wake E. up so that he would come downstairs. By now we are all awake, and grabbing a blanket and robes, and heading out…

A Visit to Louisville

We drove out to Louisville yesterday, and attended Church at St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church. The choir was very good and the pews are quite comfy! Oh, and gorgeous icons. Coffee hour was extremely noisy and that bothered my autistic daughter. I met about three people and we introduced ourselves to the priest. I didn't get in any long conversations with anyone, either. It will take some doing, getting used to a big parish. Seems like a person could feel a little less self-important in such a context. I haven't been to a Church that big since High School...and that one was way bigger, even than St. Michael's. But everyone keeps telling me it's a WONDERFUL parish, so I'm sure eventually we'll be able to find our niche. But the thought of leaving St. Athanasius makes me literally cry.

Then we ate lunch at Fazoli's, and on a whim drove around looking at the exteriors of some apartment complexes. There was one very near where Wes works, and…

This Man Needs a Job

And I'll do my part on this blog to help spread the word:

The Ultimate Job Search
Check it out, and if you know of anything, contact him.

I Can't Hear You!

Standing at the sink and water is running, I can't hear ANYTHING else. Someone talks to me from behind, forget it. I can't distinguish the words.

And sometimes when I'm tired it seems like someone has turned the volume way down on the whole world. Like my ears just. dont. work.

So I'm constantly having to ask my kids to repeat themselves, or get closer, to tell me things.

So I have an appointment on the 18th with an Audiologist. That ought to be interesting.

And the problem is, I"ve been on these anitbiotics for over a week because of an ear infection and my ears still feel like they have fluid in them. Sometimes they just feel hot.

The bad hearing was an issue before the ear infection, so I'm a little bit worried that the ear infection, if it's not cleared up by the 18th, will perhaps obscure what else might be going on.

Is it normal to lose one's hearing at the fine age of 38? I wonder if I damamged it with too much loud music in the car wh…

Polyeleos - Tone 5 - Byzantine Chant (English)

For His mercy enureth forever and ever! Alleluia!

I've been Tagged

by Maria!

Here are the rules: I say 7 things about myself, and tag seven people, providing their links.

OK, so here are 7 things about me:

1. I hate spicy food.

2. I was born in Munich, Germany. (Not a military brat, my parents were Missionries).

3. If I could vacation anywhere in the world, it would be in the Jura Mountains, in Switzerland for a hiking or horseback vacation.

4. Whenever I travel somewhere to visit, I have a strange longing to move there. Wanderlust.

5. My favorite drinking glasses are actually recycled peanut butter jars. They are the perfect size, shape, and weight.

6. I have an anaphylactic peanut allergy which I developed as an adult (yes, it could happen to you, too) and I can live just fine without peanut butter, even though I used to LOVE the stuff.

7. I LOVE to sew and am a very skilled self-taught seamstress, and I can reverse engineer garments and create patterns by measuring and doing lots of math.

I tag: AnnaSammybunnyKristinSylviaMichelle
Erica

Trisagion Hymn and Glory to the Father.....in English

This is beautiful. Thought I'd share.

How Can a Lazy Summer be so Busy?

The interesting thing about homeschooling is that I don't quite feel the contrast between summer and the other seasons quite the same way that moms who send their kids out to school might feel it.

Long before we were done (which we at long last officially are!) with our school year, we were already frequenting the pool. On the flip side, during the busy winter Christmas season, we were slacking off on school work, neener, neener. But we go it all done this year, and that is good. I still strive for a bit more purpose and structure, so here's hoping for next year.

Seems like every day there is more to do than energy will allow, so I stay busy. I've been giving my kids their CAT tests this week (that's California Achievement Test) so that Seton will know how to place them. I glanced through the booklets, and based on what the kids are saying, I think everyone will pass with flying colors. I'm not worried.

We continue our big purge in preparation for hopefull…

Too Materialistic

I have definitely come to the conclusion, that as simple as I try to keep things, I am still possessed by too many possessions.

Our family is in the process of a big clear out. After that, we are going to try and sell our house. Yes, I said it.

Lord willing, we'll be moving to Louisville. It's where Wes works, and he drives 150 miles a day to and from. We miss him. Moving would give him 2 extra hours of time, per day. We might could get to a mid-week prayer service or two. We might could have more family time.

And such a drive is crazy, isn't it? That's five gallons of gas per day in his little gas-friendly Nissan. It adds up. $$$$$$$$$ Cha Ching!

The thought of leaving my parish and my other friends here in Lex makes me want to cry.

Not that I have an eye to move I realize that, we have so much stuff. So these days I'm working hard to cull the things that we don't use. I was able to give a stack-o-Thomas-Merton-books to one friend of mine today.…

Today

-Grocery shopping
-more hives on chest, face, arms and legs
-trip to doctor for steroid shot and prescription
-fun evening roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a small hibachi fire in the back yard

Total score: pretty good day.

Happiness is....

...being slightly loopy on Benadryl (for the hives. I'm officially allergic to CEFPROZIL) while the teenage and almost teenage daughters bake artisan bread and make black bean dip the sauteed onions in which smell SOOOOO NICE!

Perhaps I'll add a picture to this post when it all comes out of the oven.

Meanwhile, the house smell good, and I'm on drugs!

Hives!

I've been on antibiotics for an ear infection for two and a half days so far. And now I have itchy hives with little white bumps on them popping up all over my face and chest.

Awaiting a call back from the nurse.

It's always something, isn't it?

A Daily Cycle of Prayers

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I'm not going to get on here and talk about what my prayer life is or is not. That would defeat the purpose of Matthew 6:6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But I would like to lay out in this post what a full daily cycle of prayers looks like. Of course, I am speaking as a lay person, here. Monastics have the same structure, but perhaps longer, according to their rule. And I am also writing as a learner. If I make a mistake in what I write, please forgive me and feel free to give me relevant information.

And what I"m laying out here is not necessarily every Orthodox Christian's rule of prayer, but rather a possibility. Something to strive for if one is called to pray in this way.

The most basic rule of prayer consists of Morning Prayers and Evening Prayers. Each of these little prayer services take about 20 minute…