Showing posts from 2009

Deep Thought Remains Elusive as 2009 Wanes.

I went grocery shopping today and was fairly well exhausted from it. I'm clearly still recouperating from bronchitis...or perhaps I'm just still a bit sick from it. The cough is still happening, that's for sure.

But I managed to get the groceries bought and I managed to make dinner-roasted chicken, carrots, greenbeans, and (shhhhh) some stovetop stuffing. And homemade cranberry sauce left over from Christmas dinner last week.

It was good.

I didn't over-eat.

I HAVE to lose significant amounts of weight in 2010. Might as well get a few days jump on the process. I hope this blog doesn't de-evolve into a weight loss journal. Because those are boring. But this blog's been pretty boring lately, anyways.

I remember when I used to write things theological, things significant, things thoughtful and perhaps even things profound. 2009 has seen lots of the mundane, some doses of despair and depression...not much insight or profundity.

One would think that gett…

Sick of my own cooking RANT!

I'm so bored with my own cooking that I could scream. This whole "trying to buy more natural ingredients" thing that I've been doing since last spring (thankyou Nourishing Traditions...more like BORING Traditions), combined with B being on the gaps diet means we've been eating ground beef, and a whole chicken for our meat (fasting period excepted of course) for lo these many many moons, and I am SICK of hamburgers on sprouted grain buns, I'm SICK of roasted chicken and vegetables, I'm SICK of meatloaf-especially the gaps kind, and I'm SICK of meaty pasta bake (ground beef, pasta, sauce and cheese...yay rah!)....What else is there? I don't cook much else. Boring, boring, boring. I'm in SUCH a rut!

I can't think of anything to cook, and I've been making the same darned thing over and over and it's just not good.

Yeah, sometiems I'll take some of that ground beef and do a stir fry with curry powder. Oh, the thrill! (Not!).


2009 Meme

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I wore the same 2 identical brown dresses for 30 days in a row. Yay me!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Well, my 2009 New Year's Resolution was NOT TO DIET, but rather to eat like a mature individual and let my weight natually drift downward and find its own level. HA! Ha! Ha ha ha! I failed. On so many levels. I tried the "No S Diet" and gained weight, I went to OA and did not lose and the month after I quit, I gained ten pounds. I tracked my food, off and on, via and never did lose, but at least while I was tracking I didn't gain weight either.

Grand total this year: 30 pounds gained! How's that for letting my weight drift downward by mature choices? FAIL!!!!!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My neighbor had a baby. He's cute.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Sigh. I don't think I …



Lime Aid


I"m Tired of Being Sick!

The coughing is getting better, and at least when I do cough it is productive (oh, so yummy!). But the lack of enenrgy is astounding. I slept until 12:15 pm today and was surprised when I woke up to sunshine streaming through the crack in my homemade "blackout shade" (quilt hung over window).

I shuffled to the kitchen, heated up some chili, and made decaf coffee. Yeah, that is the good thing I did: used being sick and miserable anyways to get off caffeine (AGAIN!). The headache is finally gone.

But beyond sitting here like a lump and contemplating crawling back into bed, I have no energy. I wish I did.

I don't mean to complain...really. I just wish I had the energy to bustle about and be a bit domestic, tidy things up, fold some laundry, clean the kitchen, cook something nice.

Today is Wes' birthday. I suppose I will have to find the energy at some point to make something nice and egads, is it already 4:10???? Sooner than I thought I'd have to, I gue…

Church Lady


More Polyvore Fun. Not very good at this yet. But trying!


Playing with Polyvore


His All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch on 60 Minutes

Crawling out from beneath my rock... anyone still out there? Am I alive? It has been years since I've been this sick. Oy!

Cough, cough!

Christmas was a blur. I missed Church, of course, and then just sat on a chair in the living room wrapped in a blanket while Christmas joy happened around me. I blurrily remember us unwrapping presents. I sort of recall helping Wes to put the Goose in the oven.

After that we played Quelf, and I think I was on some cold medication because it was a blur. I barely remember the inedible Goose. I decided that I don't like goose. It's not good enough for the price I paid for him. I'd rather have a succulent deli chicken than that hard bone dry desscated piece of bird. Impressively ginourmous wings, though. Like turkey on bad steroids...all dark meat, even the dry bits. I don't think we cooked it right.

Yesterday...was that the day after Christmas? I barely came up for air. Spent the day in bed, haking my lungs out, and zonked on cold meds. All the …

Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I did an experiment in 2009. I had for my new year's resolution that I would NOT diet. The idea was I'd learn to eat the right amount of food for my body, be lovely and self-controlled and come to a new and mature place of balance.

Result: FAIL!

I gained 30 pounds this past year. Yay, me! (I know EXACTLY how I did it...yum! Late night nachos, too much red winea nd way way too many cookies. You know, the big ones from Panera. Starbucks: also a problem. You get the idea.)

And yes, I went to the endocrinologist to get all those nice happy tests done that would prove that none of the weight gain was really my fault.

Result: All tests normal. So, not thyroid, not bad hormones. Just too much food.

So, I guess I know what my new year's resolution is going to be for 2010 and it's NOT going to be NOT dieting. He he he.

Not the Flu!

After I vomited this afternoon from coughing too much, I scrambled around to find an urgent care placed open late afternoon on Christmas Eve...we made it. They did a flu test, and it came back negative!!!!

I'm so glad!

Wes just arrived with a boatload of antibiotics, prescription cough meds, and the sort, because I DO have bronchitis.

Glory to God for all things. I think this is an illness given to me for reflection and repentance.

Thy Nativity O Christ Our God

Today All The Angels

An Arabic Christmas Carol (Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity)

I. Hate. Shopping.

I like having food to eat, though.

So we went grocery shopping today. Wes came with me and that was such a treat. He's a true gentleman, and he helps me so much, especially when I get tired. So, being with him was very nice. But traffic, oh my! The traffic was HORRIBLE. The grocery stores were was miserable. We had five stops to make (Home Depot, Dee's, Steinmart (for a last minute Christmas item) and then finally Whole Foods and Kroger) and it was nutso, crazy, very unpleasant.

Home now. And I'm SO GLAD to be home.

Dear Blog readers...

I'm opening up my Free To Cover blog once again. Yes, Mrs. "On again, off again" is "On again". What is it with me?????

Rudolf das kleine Rentier

Impressive translation...but SCARY nonetheless.

Rolf Zuckowski - Ihr Kinderlein kommet


"Ask Dr. Tony" on Girls with Aspergers - An Autism Hangout Feature Program

More uses for Lego

So, yesterday in a stroke of home school teacher genius, I suggested to B that if she was having trouble memorizing the process for somethingorother molecular process on a cellular level (hey, she's the one taking the class...I'm just supervising) that perhaps she should walk through the steps with various lego pieces representing the various hydrogen, carbon, etc. molecules involved.

She did, and was able to memorize the process.


I think it would be nice to have a real kit, though.

The Woman and the Wheat-Book Review

I'm so glad I have the opportunity to reveiw this wonderful book here on my blog. The Woman and the Wheat, by Jane G. Meyer, is a story about a woman who tills the soil, who plants wheat, who waits the style of many classic "this is the process of how it's done" children's books, the seed's life cycle is traced, from planting, through harvest, milling, bread baking and culminating in it being offered up in the Eucharist.

The style of writing in this book is very poetic, and almost musical, without being pedantic or sing-songy. And the illustrations are absolutely breathtaking, with rich color and unifying elements throughout (a very charming dog, for instance.)

I would say this book would appeal to pre-schoolers the most, as a read aloud. But when I walked in a room where my kids were, opened the book and started reading it out loud, it grabbed everyone's attention and the book had an audience-even though my kids are 10, 11, 13 and 15 y…

Advent Miscellany

Lets see, what's been going on around here? Busy with scouting activities. We had our city-wide American Hertiage Girls Mother/Daughter Tea last Sunday afternoon. I had to miss Sunday morning Church because A. had pink eye, but the doctor said that by the afternoon she would have been on her eye drops long enough to go to the tea. Our troop leader surprised me and asked me to speak about Christmas in Switzerland. So, I got up on stage and told about Christmas in Switzerland. That was a surprise, and fun to do. My preaching training came in handy, and I did get a few laughs from the audience. I told about the Fast of St. Nicholas, and other various things, as well as giving a synopsis of who St. Nicholas was in real life. Most of the audience had never heard of the real St. Nicholas. And of course I talked about other Swiss Christmas traditions as well: The nativity plays, the Chirst Child being celebrated, all the Christian carols and hymns.

On Monday we baked Christma…

Need Some Prayer Here, Please!

I've been really really busy lately. And nothing blogworthy to write about. I do have a prayer request though:

My oldest, B, is getting her days and nights reversed, thanks to her new medication (Geodon) which is working GREAT when she is alert and awake. Unfortunately, that happens to be at night. She did not sleep at all last night. Says she saw the clock change every hour. Her sisters complained to me this morning of her dividing the numbers on the clock into factors etc. All. Night. Long.

Please pray with me that she would be able to stay up today (this is going to get hard for her and be a LOOOOONG day for all of us, I'm afraid) and that God would grant her sleep tonight. That her days and nights would NOT get reversed.

Night before last she woke up at 2:45, and was awake. Then she spent the day sleeping, some in her bed, and then when I got her up after a two hour nap, she crashed on the couch all day.

We tried messing with when we give her her meds, but I&#…

Jonathan Coulton - Glasgow 2008 - 15-Chiron Beta Prime

better and better!

Chiron Beta Prime

It's that time of year again!

Since I've blogged about it...

I went to the Endocrinologist about a month ago. I had to call them twice to get the results of the massive amount of bloodwork they did.

Everything is normal.

I'm unsatisfied, but that is the answer I always get. Yes, he tested for free T3 and T4 levels, etc. He tested my pituitary, He tested me for diabetes..etc. etc. All of it.

I guess it boils down to this: There is no blood test for Fibromyalgia, and that's what I've got. I've already been dx'd with that, so I guess this is just more of that.

And I have to take responsibility for the fact that I've gained 30 pounds in the past year. So I will.

And now I get to do something about it, like tracking my calories and exercising every day and drinking tons of water.

Yay, fun! But that's reality.

So, there it is. I think I complain too much.

The Brown Dress Report

Well folks, I did it!

I wore two identical brown dresses for 31 days in a row. (With the exception of the doctor's visit-but I changed when I got home, and an appointment at an exercise place, where I changed right after...well, right after I did the laundry, that is).

I liked the ease and simplicity of not having to think about what to wear. That aspect of the project appealed to me.

Not focusing on my clothes for a month has allowed me to delve into my inner self and gain some personal clarity on some issues. That's been good and somewhat unexpected. I don't know that I truly expected that. I learned that there's really nothing new inside of me. I'm still me. How exciting. Not.

I saw more clearly how broken I am. Into the desert, and I see this blubbering, broken mess of a person who is me. In the ultimate reality of things, clothes are just clothes. Not important. And that can go both ways. Plain brown dresses are not holier than any other type of …

Something Pretty

Wes and I were cruising around Bed, Beth and Beyond this evening on our Sunday night date. We needed a roasting pan for the ginormous Turkey we bought, and also some pan scrapers. After we found our needed items, it was fun to look around.

I, of course, wandered into the fine China section, having had no success in convincing my husband of almost 18 years to pretend that we are engaged and picking out china. Oh well, I said to myself. I guess I'll look at the fine china myself.

I looked. I liked. Several I liked, but then I saw some I liked even more. Waterford. Of course. Then I noticed the name.
It's Alana Waterford China. And it was my favorite out of all of the ones I saw. Isn't that strange, and neat? Sigh. Maybe in heaven I'll have something similar. Or better.

I did too much...

and still more to do! Aaaaaaggggghhhhh!

Turkey pick up from our farmer early this morning. Had to stand in line at the Farmer's market. Meant I was slightly late for Church.

Rush home, get girls, put Turkey in freezer, off the Church.

After Church, give friend ride and she wants dunkin' donuts. mmmmm. Good idea. So we get some dunkin'. Home again. Eat said donuts.

Then it's time to make a to-do list, have discussion about holiday cooking with mother on phone, make more lists, etc.

Run off to store to get some supplies. Brave dreaded mall traffic to get a bottle of ear lobe cleanser at Claire's. Meh.

Know you are tired but it's time to dig really really deep and do stuff anyways: Time to start cooking for the holidays: I have to bring GAPS stuff so my daughter can eat while we are with relatives. Knowing the menu in advance, I'm cooking GAPS versions of the things that my mom and SIL will be making: GAPS chicken curry into crock pot. GAPS …

My Grandpa during WW2

Second from the right, in the back, standing in the shadow. Serving our country in the Navy.

Offer it Up

I'm having a really really hard time focusing on the need-to-do details of my life right now. Like I'm all ADDish or something. Constantly feeling overwhelmed, like there's a phone call I'm forgetting to make or a list I ought to be writing or a chore I ought to be doing (well, we all know that is true) but I'm all a-muddle and get pull myself together enough to figure it out.

It is difficult to go through life feeling like this and not feel like an utter failure.

Next week is Thanksgiving and we are packing and joining family at a cabin in the mountains, which means we have to coordinate and import all our food, some kitchen gear, etc. Along with clothes etc. And I need to think about that, and make that happen. Along with a goodly pile of other things. Schooling the kids? Perhaps they can do that themselves, eh? Mostly they do.

And I've had a caffeine withdrawal headache for two days because I'm going off caffeine once again. How do I keep gettin…

Putting my Clothes Back

Since next week is going to be busy, and Monday is my last day of offcial brown dress simplicity I decided to get my clothes out again.

But I sorted as I went. A whole entire bag's worth of stuff I just don't want. Probabaly even more than that that I don't NEED, now that I know how little I really do need.

But to be quite honest, this little experiment as been good for me in that it's stripped away some layers of stuff and shown me some inside-of-me isssues that I need to address.

I also learned that no, I really don't want to be this plain all the time. And perhaps I don't really want to full time uniform. Just a mostly uniform. A classy smaller wardrobe that is less of a hodge pode and more coordinated, for sure. Putting my things back made me realize that I do own some good pieces of clothing.

And I learned that there needs to be a difference between every day wear and Sunday Best. That's perhaps my biggest lesson. Before, I would wear nice s…

Breaking my Own Rules

Well, I'm gonna have to break the rules of the brown dress experiment. Eeeeek. Here's what's happening: I signed up to try out Curves for a few sessions, for free, and this afternoon they want me to come in for a tour and fitness assessment (har har har! Fitness? more like how UNfit am I?). And they want me wearing workout clothes. Brown dress not included.

So, it's sweatpants, long sleeved t-shirt and sneakers for me at 3 pm.


tomorrow I'm going to see my allergist for my nut allergy testing. They are going to want my back exposed. If I wear my brown dress, the entirety of my back side will have to be exposed. If I wear a skirt and top, I can probably just remove my shirt. Skirt and top wins due to modesty issues. Even in a hospital gown.

So...Just for the sake of being up front, I thought I'd share.

I AM going to be glad when this is over.

New Hair Cut

and color. I'm like a fat, brunette Meg Ryan now. he he he.

One Week Left

I've only got one week left on my brown dress experiment. I need to sit down with myself and ferret out all the goodies I've learned about myself during this process. There has been some self discovery, or at least some clarity. Folks, I have me some ISSUES. Ha! like you all didn't already know that.

Will I be glad when it's over? Yes. Will I still wear my brown dresses often? Oh, yes! Will I go through my wardrobe ruthlessly and cull? Definitely.

Mostly, I'll be very glad to wear something dressier to Church again. I feel dressed down and too comfy there. Like I'm wearing sweat pants to Church. That's how cozy the brown dresses are. I understand the concept of "Sunday best" now, like never before.

I'll blog more about it later.

Photos Online of St. Michael's 75th Anniversary LIturgy

Here is the link I'm still not used to the size and grandeur of this place. But oh, when the whole congregation is thundering out the Nicene Creed, it gives me chills of joy.

Of course this was a hierarchichal liturgy, with our beloved Bishop Mark.

Many of the pictures are of an ordination to the diaconate of one of our own.

Update: I did not take these pictures. I just found the link and posted the link on my blog.

Nativity Fast Angst

It is upon us once again...the fasting season. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) I've made lots of really really healthy changes in our diet since last Lent, and now I'm caught flat footed, not knowing what to do or what to feed the kids this Advent season.

So, for this week, I bought all the old usual stuff. Weston A. Price is probably spinning in his grave right about now. I can't help it. I have to get meals on the table and food into some very very picky bellies and it take BABY STEPS at this house! BABY STEPS!

So, what's an Orthodox Christian to eat if soy anything is totally off the table? No margarine, friends. No tofutti, no boca burgurs, no TVP or Tofu or any of that stuff.

I hate to say it, but I did buy corn chips and lots and lots of things like canned beans, salsa and corn, chiles, etc.

I know, I should be doing my own beans, from scratch. Maybe in a week or so I'llo ramp up to that. Meanwhile we compromise.


jokerman - BOB DYLAN

one of my fave songs evah!

Time to do a gratitude post

Grateful that M emptied the dishwasher this morning, without me asking her to.

Grateful for the back rub Wes gave me.

Grateful for coffee.

Grateful for piano lessons my son is getting and how much he enjoys practicing.

Grateful that it's Thursday. For some reason I like Thursdays.

Grateful there are no appointments today.

Grateful that my kids are home schooled and we can take it easy in the morning.

Grateful that its Thanksgiving soon and I'll get to see my family.

Grateful for the drop in temperature back into November chill as opposed to indian summer weather.

Grateful for this very comfy chair I"m sitting on.

Grateful for friends, near and far.

Grateful that Wes is packing his own lunch today.

Off Balance

I'm feeling stressed this morning and I can't quite figure out why.

Other than the fact that my back is hurting. A Lot. Put ice on it last night, and went to the chiropractor yesterday evening. I may just have to break out the TENS unit, but how will I wear that without a waistband to clip it to if I'm wearing my brown dress?

Ever have one of those days when you just can't get your head around much of anything? My week's been like that. A muddle.

Perhaps I'm stressed out about the upcoming Nativity Fast. I have not taken the time yet to figure out a menu plan. Quite frankly, I'm scared of it. I need to eat more vegetables and less bread this time around. Yeah. Famous last words.

I've pretty much given up on ever in my life "getting healthy" or "losing weight". All my efforts in that arena are too short lived and too much in vain. You know, if I'm going to be hungry every day for hours on end I need to see some motivat…

Brown Dress: 19 Days in!

Has it only been 19 days? Really? ONLY 19 days? It seems like I've been wearing these brown dresses forever.

Not that that's a bad thing. A bit boring, yes, but anxiety free. I did not realize how much clothes angst I live with, until I decided to go without...not without clothes, LOL. THAT would get me arrested and would blind people with my magic superpowered ugliness death rays. But without the choices that plague me normally.

Now, I know that choices don't plague everyone. (Yum this Venti decaf Cafe Americano with Sugar Free Caramel syrup that I got with a Starbucks gift card I won at my chiorpractor's office sure is tasty...just thought I'd share.) But they do plague me. Clothing choices, that is. And sometimes about an icon of American Consumerism. What is it I'm drinking, again? But I digress...

So, I'm 19 days in. I like the simplicity. Sometimes I feel a tiny bit awkward, but then I remember that strangers at the sto…


Awesome knitting, so-so star embroidery, and horrible photography.

Finishing Touches

Tonight at knitting group I finished up this blue hat and added a bit of whimsy to the crown.

And I wove in the final threads on these scrumdillyicious dish cloths.

The hat has a home, but I'm still trying to decide to whom the knitted dish cloths belong.

Woo Hoo, I got linked!

*(the “least of these” in whose eyes? God’s or ours? It was uttered for the enlightenment of our eyes and hearts, by the Lord Jesus Christ our God, concerning His folks at the bottom, on the margins, with whom He most identifies- our God, so aggressively downwardly mobile, now glorified with wounds of love on His hands and feet, with the holy martyrs)

I like that quote. Especially the "agressively downwardly mobile" part.

And seriously, folks, if anything I write is something you feel the need to pass on to someone else, feel free. Just keep my name on it.

And if you have not noticed, in the sidebar, on my blogroll, there's an excellent blog called Arms Open Wide that is all about Orthodoxy and disabilities issues. Check it out.

Losing It

"Happiness is fleeting, but sorrow lingers on and on and comes back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it."--me.

Living Deliberately: Imitating the Saints

Ever since my patron saint, St. Juliana of Lazarevo adopted me, I've had strange urges to imitate her life in certain ways. In baby step sort of ways. There's no way I'm as godly as she is (she knew the psalter by heart and I spend time on facebook), for sure, but it seems like a good idea to start being intentional about how I live and to intentionally incorporate some copy-cat-ishness into my life. A good reason to do this is that I'm not automatically holy, you know, being the worst of sinners.

And the little pitch-fork toting guy that sits on my shoulder wants to discourage me from such a plan with thoughts such as "Oh, but that doesn't count...if you are PLANNING it...your good works need to be spontaneous." Thoughts such as these.

But is that true? Of course not. Liturgy is planned out prayers that teach us and guide us and help mature the prayers of our own hearts. Holy Tradition is planned out Scriptural interpretation that keeps us faithfu…

False Fixes

My house is a mess because I've been so busy doing things like running to the library, running errands buying things that people in this family need, etc. I can barely wrap my head around what's for dinner and I'm just plain tired and behind.

And oh. so. tired. I mentioned that.

Today is the kind of day when I'm tired, aching all over, stressed, busy and very very very prone to depression. OK, prone to is an understatement. Depressed.

I was really struggling today at stuffmart. I had to go there to buy a hat and some camping dishes for my boyscout, printer ink...stuff like that, and while I was meandering along, I was oh so tempted to feel so very very down about myself. The depression is always expressed as disssatisfaction with my own looks, my clothes (those are easy to change, aren't they... but my brown dress project is making me realize that is a false fix) my body, my hair, my personality, my weaknesses...when I get depressed my thoughts…

Rambling thoughts on Mental Illness

I've been thinking for a while that I should write something about mental illness that sort of parallels the post I wrote recently about how the Church can minister to the chronically ill and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around the subject.

Perhaps the subject is so huge, and perhaps I don't want to invade my daughter's privacy too much, but I do want to write about it. Forgive me if this post is less well organized than that other post.

First of all, a bit of background: When my oldest daughter was 13 (two years ago) she had a major psychotic break and was hospitalized for 10 days. Now we know that she suffers with Catatonic Schizophrenia. She takes medicine and sees a therapist (most psychiatrists require that). Her illness started manifesting itself when she was 11 years old, but we weren't sure of the extent of things until her break.

So, I am parenting and attempting to home-school a teenager who is "mentally ill". Based on how much s…

An Attempt at NT Granola

The NT part stands for Nourishing Traditions. No, I didn't get the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, just the idea that it would be good to pre-soak my oats. So I did.

Now, normally when I make granola (which has happened often enough for me to feel confident throwing it together, but not all that often in the grand scheme of things) I don't soak the oats, and it all comes together, crispy in the oven.

Here's the basics, which I learned from the excellent More With Less Cookbook:

take several cups of dry stuff: oats, wheat germ, whatever.

Mix in some oil, half cup maybe, and some sweeteners such as brown sugar or honey.

cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to taste. Get creative.


Spread into a large flat pan and bake at 300 degrees, stirring every ten minutes or so until the correct crispyness is achieved. Let cool. Add in nuts and dried fruit if desired. Store in a sealed container, if it lasts that long.

But this time I modified it by soaking the oats.

It was mushy! I…

Blocking my Green Leaf Scarf

I'm really happy with how this leaf scarf has turned out. Just thought I'd share.

A Daybook Type of Entry

FOR TODAY November 3, 2009...Tuesday
Outside My Window the sun is down and the sky is dark, I can hear cars driving on the expressway.
I am thinking about God.
I am thankful for facebook chat and the ability to get to know people that way.
From the learning rooms: American History: Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies
From the kitchen: Meatloaf, carrots, broccoli and turban squash.
I am wearing brown dress, brown leggings, brown shoes.
I am creating a hat in my knitting basket.
I am going to bed in a few hours.
I am reading lots of things. Gospel of St. Matthew among them.
I am hoping to relax with my husband this evening and watch House MD on
I am hearing my son yodeling and a general clamor as we gather at the supper table.
Around the house are crunchy leaves on the ground.
One of my favorite things: Church when it's dark outside and the chapel is lit by candles, filled with incense and singing.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Getting started on a baptismal gown that I …

The Brown Dress at Church

Since I was sick last week, this was my first Sunday in the Brown Dress. Now, at my old parish, I would have fit right in. It's a "poorer" parish where we ladies would regularly brag to each other about our thrift store finds.

At St. Michael's, only a tiny subset of people might shop at the thrift store. Most folks are dressed to the nines in whatever the latest fashion is.

And I was in my brown dress.

I did make an effort and wore some knee highs, some nice shoes and a pretty head scarf...with the brown dress.

I think I might have had one or two fleeting thoughts about not looking so dressed up as others, but then I quickly got over it and was fine, comfortable and OK. The dress is not that casual, being a stretch knit courduroy/velour type of fabric. And it fits me well.

And so I was able to concentrate on singing the liturgy this morning and that was fine.

Yesterday I spent the day at Church listening to talks on various topics by Mother Macrina from Dormi…

Doing with Less

It seems like the Holy Spirit is gently leading me along and in some many still small ways I am having thoughts about the subject of "doing with less". Self denial.

I used to joke about the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where someone, probably Elmer Fudd would go around singing in opera "Kill de Wabbit, kill de wabbit!", except in my version it was "Kill the passions, kill the passions!" to the same melody, which I obviously can't reproduce here on this blog. What am I watching, reading, eating, drinking, talking about...and am I bludgeoning people with my vocal chords in order to be a minor domestic deity of wrath? Or am I a repentant creature, glorifying my God in body, sould, word and deed?

I certainly don't want to trumpet anything about how great I am or how much I'm "doing for God" and to do so would be false, so don't get me wrong. I'm just ruminating, and thinking of ways to live the spiritual life as a lay person in …

Pascha on my Mind

One of the things that stirs in my heart at this time of year, when we are surrounded by the beauty of the fall leaves, the cooling of the air, the coming of winter, is Pascha.

It's a chain reaction, really. But lately that's where my thoughts keep turning. It feels like Pascha is just around the corner. No, I didn't say Christmas, I really did say Pascha.

In the singsong crunch of the dying leaves I keep hearing "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tomb bestowing life."

I'm looking forward to the Nativity Fast, to be quite honest, and every year it is the same: The Nativity fast is like a roller-coaster swoop towards the feast of feasts, and the feast of the Nativity is just a curve on the way and one swoop after that and we are arrived at Holy Week.

Pascha! The Pascha of our Lord! Frome death into life! A new and holy Pascha, a great Pascha. A Pascha worthy of veneration, a Pascha which will open to…

A breezy Friday

The wind! The fall leaves! The colors! Kids are outside doing their school work, loving every minute of it.

This wind is going to bring 20 degrees cooler temps tomorrow, but that's OK. It's days like today that I think there are a great many virtues to be found in long nature walks in wild places. Who needs books, eh?

But friends, the kitchen calls me with a long list of scrubbing and baking chores today: Some pumpkin chocolate muffins, and a big vat of lenten chili, and some Gaps friendly chicken chili for Bethany. And I need to pay some attention to the much-neglected Kombucha. I hope I don't run out of pots.

I'd best get going so that I can get some time outdoors before the sun goes down.

Six days in...

I saw this wool at Hobby Lobby, and it has ALL the colors of the trees right now. I had to knit it into a slouchy hat and cowl set. So here it is.

I have to say, folks, that I am STILL loving this brown dress project. It is so easy and I feel like myself in a positive way. The feeling like myself part is HUGE because that's something that I struggle with: often feeling like my clothes are a costume, or that I'm cramming myself into a mold that I don't fit in...into which I do not fit. Or that I am somehow "faking it". Whatever.

So, I'm enjoying not having to think of what to wear.

I'm enjoying the comfort and the simplicity of dressing this way. One advantage is that I can't really go wrong with mismatching clothes.

Perhaps all those years of saying "I wish I had a uniform" weren't me being silly at all, but rather me in those moments being in touch with that elusive myself on a very fundamental level.

So what, if it's cou…

How to Bake a Pumpkin

...or any other type of squash, for that matter...

1. Buy a big pumpin...the cheap kind used for jack o' lanterns will do just fine. In fact, in my opinion it is much nicer to use them for food, as God intended, rather than in imitation of erstwhile pagan traditions, but I digress.

2. Find a big pan. I used my big turkey roaster. Wash the pumpkin

3. Place pumpkin in said pan. I had to saw the stem off, and use the bottom oven rack, in order for it to fit into my oven.

4. Place pan with pumpkin in the oven.

5. Bake it for a couple of hours. Perhaps at 350 degrees Farenheit.

6. Remove from oven, cut it open and let it cool. It will be soft and easy to cut. If it is not, bake it some more.

7. Once it is cool, scoop out the seeds, then get the flesh off the skin (or the skin off the flesh). Save the flesh, discard the rest.

8. Our carving pumpkins actually are much like spaghetti squash on the inside. This will vary by type of squash or pumpkin. Could be eaten as is, or pur…

Today I Must

get out and go for a walk at some point. The weather is fine and the trees around here are gorgeous. I want to stare at them and store up some colors in my heart to get me through winter, like the little mouse in the story whose title I can't remember.

In the same vein, I picked up some wool to make a hat, and it's varigated in all the best fall colors, so I'll take some of the fall with me when winter arrives.

We baked an pumpkin yesterday, let it cool, then scooped the seedes out, and processed the flesh: 13 cups. Of course we used some for pumpkin pie, but 8 cups went into the freezer for more pies later. We made the pie GAPS legal, and B's I did without a crust. It was very good. Sweetened with honey.

Other plans? Hmmm, need to get off here and start the kids' school day. Helping out at the food pantry later today, I think. Need to make a call to the Church office and reserve out spot for the retreat on Saturday with Mother Gabriella. I'm so exc…

I'm Lovin' It!

Can I just say, that I LOVE the ease and simplicity (so far) of not having to make a decision about my clothes every day!!!!

Lovin' it, lovin' it, lovin' it! I feel so much like "me" right now and that is a good thing.

Now, I'm off to make some pumpkin pie! Wish all you dear blog readers could join me for a slice, with whipped cream and a cuppa decaf.

Some Scripture Passages I'm thinking aobut today

Matthew 6:25-34 (New King James Version)

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles …

Journey Towards Simplicity: Overconsumption

Well, like I said, the first day my package arrived, I got out the dresses, tried them on and promptly decided that they needed to be altered.

But since then, I've spent most of my time in my night gown at home, sick with some kid of stomach bug. Just sick enough to be sick and feeling icky, but not sick enough to actually be throwing up. Lovely.

So, all I did on Friday night is go to the grocery store and pharmacy for some juice, crackers, peptobismol. And on Saturday all I did was go to the Farmer's market and make a big pot of chicken soup.

The rest of the time has been sick time.
Ideally: Rest and pray. And Rest in God's will. I read somewhere that illness is a time for self examination and repentance. OK, I'll bite.

When I'm sick, I tend to eat way too many crackers, for starters. Like feeling icky is an excuse to eat a box of crackers. Yeah, guilty as charged.

I seem to be keenly aware of my very strong tendency to over-consume. This has many v…

Someone Asked Me...

about what I was going to do about a head covering during this process.

Well, lets see. Still committed to wearing some sort of covering for prayers and for Church. As I get those little nudges, I'll probably be often seen wearing something on my head at other times.

Slouchy knitted hats are wonderful this time of year for a very "ingcognito" headcovering.

Whatever I do, I'm trying hard not to worry about it or fret about it.


The Dress. The Plain Brown Dress. The very comfy plain brown dress.

Here's me. Comfy in brown.

I'm smiling because I don't have to think about what to wear tomorrow.

Out of the Package

and onto my back.

The brown dresses arrived today. Shall I call them ugly? Perhaps. I put them on, and while the fabric is lovely and soft and stretchy-like a velour stretch knit courduroy, they are so. brown. How do I manage to imagine fabulous and get dowdy every. single. time.

And the dresses were too big for me in places. What would I do with these ill-fitting dumpy garments for a whole month? Oh, great. God is really going to teach me some humility.

First, I went through my entire closet, and bagged stuff up. It took three bags, and some loose stuff (I ran out of large garbage bags) thrown into the top of my closet (summer and winter stuff all combined) to get the "can't wear this with a dress" items out of the way.

As I went through my clothes, I tried on the various cardigans that I might end up wearing with the brown dresses if the weather is cold enough. And I have a plethora of shawls and scarves and such. Everything else went to the top of the cl…

A Journey Towards Simplicity: The Rules

Ok, so here are the parameters of my "One Dress" experiment (which is actually two dresses that are identical which I will rotate for laundry purposes):

1. I will wear this Spice Brown Land's End dress exclusively as my day wear (that includes to Church on Sundays, parties, weddings, funerals, etc.) for 30 days, with one exception: I have to wear my American Heritage Girls Leader uniform when I am attending AHG meetings. This consists of a blue AHG logo polo shirt and a khaki skirt or pants.

2. I will feel free to use various scarves, sweaters, jackets to accessorize the dress, but I won't be striving to come up with a vastly different look throuhgout the month.

3. This is an exercise in simplicity, not in fashion. I'm hoping that this "fast" will be a spiritual fast, and will teach me some things about myself and lead me into the light of repentance in some areas. I'll let God lead me.

4. During this 30 day period I will refrain from going o…

Words From Elder Paisios

The Order of Confession (for Orthodox Christians)

My friend over at Little Steps Home could not find this and I thought I'd post it here for her:

While the Penitent is waiting for the Priest to hear his confessions he says quietly the "Trisagion Prayers" and Psalm 50, if he has time, and then aloud:

I have sinned, O Lord: forgive me. O God, be gracious unto me a sinner.

When the Pentient's turn comes, he goes forward and kneels (or stands in front of the icon of Christ) in the proper place and says aloud:

O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I confess to thee all the hidden and open sins of my heart and mind, which I have committed unto this present day; wherefore I beg of thee, the righteous and compassionate Judge, remission of sins and grace to sin no more.

Then the Priest says in a kindly voice:

My brother, inasmuch as thou hast come to God, and to me, be not ashamed; for thou speakest not unto me, but unto God, before whom thou standest.

The Priest questions the penitent concerning his sins, and the questioning …

Flint and Steel

My husband just started a fire in the fire place using flint and steel! How cool is that????

Anything I Can Do...

I find myself wondering every day this week if this will be the day? I even walked to the mailbox to check the mail...

I'm waiting for a package from Land's End. Yes, the irony does NOT escape me that I bought two dresses to do an experiment in simplicity. I know. But I did, so there. I don't really feel bad about that at all, since all my clothes are from the thrift store, or are old hand-me-downs, with the exception of maybe one thing.

I'm already finding myself bumping up against myself, in the sense that my thoughts keep going in the direction of my upcoming clothing experiment as I choose what to wear each day. I find that I'm gravitating to the plainer things, which also happen to be my favorites. Wearing them, as a temporary goodbye, because by the end of this week, or the beginning of next week, my month-long experiment will begin.

And the good thought that comes to mind as I mentally bump up against the looming of the experiment, is that I am greedy …

How Can the Church Minister to the Chronically Ill?

I read an article today that my friend Lisa Samson linked on Facebook. The article addressed the church's failure to minister to the chronically ill. The article is about CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I think I have something to add to the subject. We know all about chronic illness at our house. I have fibromyalgia, and my daughter has catatonic schizophrenia. Additionally, she is on the autistic spectrum, as are two of my other kids. Like I said, we know about chronic illness at our house.

Five years ago I was much more ill than I am right now. I couldn't even make a stir fry without having to rest. I spent most of every day in bed. I thank God for sending me to a doctor who put me on the guaifenesin protocol for the reversal of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome (Dr. St. Amand sees them as the same syndrome). Yes, the protocol has vastly improved my life. I still feel the effects of fibro , but I am no longer debilitated. For this I am glad, since I have a s…