Showing posts from October, 2009

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…

Tomorrow, I'm going to be on TV

It's not about me, though. It's about my chiropractor, Dr. Richard Ruel. He's asked a few of his patients to go on there with him and talk about how chiropractic has benefitted them.

If I'm lucky, I'll mostly be in the background, or better still, off camera. If I'm really really lucky, I won't make an ass of myself (as in donkey) but that's not likely to happen since I often get overly enthusiastic when I'm communicating about something I'm a fervent fan of, and then I look like a wildly gesticulating fool. And Chiropractic care is such a topic. I could gush about it. I hope I don't.

So, if you live in Louisville, it will be on Wave 3 Listens at 10 am tomorrow, October 20th. If you don't, sorryboutchyourluck, as we used to say back in college.

I'm forcing myself not to spend the day obsessing about it. Really.

In Front of My Closet

I woke up late this morning, with only a few minutes to decide what to wear to Church. I was fervently wishing I already had those two brown dresses hanging in my closet and that there would be no such decision to make.

But they have not been ordered yet, and so this morning, I had to decide what to wear. I think I laid out at least three differnt combos of skirts and tops before settling on something that didn't quite go together. I'm so sick of the overabundant hodgepodge, and the worry that plagues me about what I'll look like.

And I realized in that moment, that when Jesus said "Don't worry about what you will wear", perhaps, he wasn't JUST talking about nakedness. Perhaps he was also commanding me NOT TO FRET.

I am really looking forward to getting those two brown dresses soon. Two, because I'm a walking disaster zone and I need a back up. Seriously.

Update: I ordered the dresses. When they come, I'll post the parameters of my exper…

Cleopatra Stratan - Zunea zunea (original version)

I don't understand a word, but this makes me happy.

I think I'm going to try this

Ever since I read that article (see blog post below) and related articles (see comments links) I've been thinking about this concept, of wearing one dress for a month (or more!).

I want to try this. I want to see what would happen to me. I want to see if I can.

Perhaps it's just clothes. But this I do know: I've never had a comfortable relationship with clothes. (I've never felt comfortable in my own skin, for that matter.) Something is always skewed between me and my wardrobe. I often look at my available choices and wonder what idiot put them in my closet, and why would anyone want to wear that stuff? When it comes to clothes, I definitely suffer somewhat from a "mulitple personality" problem. The fact that I don't "fit" into the clothes in my closet(not talking about size here) is ancient history for me, and I bet you anything has something to do with being a "third culture kid".

What if an experiement in simplicity becom…

Wearing the Same Dress Every Day for a Month

This morning I stumbled across this very interesting (albeit a bit trite) article. The woman did an experiment in which she wore the same dress every day for a month. She did use different accessories, which almost seems like "cheating" on the experiment from my point of view (Why? I ask myself. I wonder what this says about me...he he.)

But it's interesting. Intriguing.

Would I do this experiment? It's an intriguing thought. Would I? Would I?


We had our meeting today at the local public middle school were E and M were evaluated and tested for Autism spectrum issues.

No huge surprises, but here it is officially:

M has High Functioning Autism. If she were to enroll in the local public school, she would do so with an IEP and special services.

E has Asperger's Syndrome. If he were to enroll in the local public school, he would do so with an IEP and special services.

So, now each of the kids who have been evaluated have gotten an Autism Spectrum diagnosis. Our youngest has not been evaluated. I personally don't think she has any actual Autism issues, although I do think she has some sensory integration problems.

This information does not actually change anything, at least not for now. But who knows: We might end up enrolling them in High School. There might be college grant money or scholarship money available to them that was not available before (a parent must think of such mercenary things).

We shall see.

Life is hard sometimes.

And there's not much interesting to blog about when I'm so stressed and in survival mode. It's the several-times-a-year downward spiral that my dd has been on. Took her to the doc today, adjusting meds over the next few weeks. Hopefully that will help. When she's not doing well, I get extremely stressed out. Such that its palpable inside of me. I don't deal with that very well. I don't know how to relax.

I'm enjoying the fall weather. I just finished another pair of socks today (the knitting part, at least) and will do some embroidery on them soon. Still working on that leaf scarf and a hat with cabling.

My etsy shop is obviously not existant yet. Will it ever be? It seems that each time I resolve to start something new, life gets in the way and I just have to keep plugging along doing the usual things that I do.

Ok, deep thoughts: I have none.

I have not been blogging much!

My apologies. Real life has gotten in the way. The truth is, lots of my erstwhile blogging/computer time has become my walking time instead. That being said, I need to NOT totally neglect my blog, but oh, there seems to be so little to write about.

I have lots of sewing projects lined up: Some mending, a baptismal gown for a 9 month old baby, and guiding B and M through their first real sewing projects. Now I just need to carve out some time dedicated to doing these things! Sewing gets done only when I write it into my calendar, I have learned.

Knitting: working on a pair of socks for a customer. Have not had a chance to do anything else for the promised etsy shop. Of course that's how it goes. I think "I can do this" and then suddenly get domestically overwhelmed with busyness.

In my kitchen: A new set of shelves that I stole from my son's room! They are perfect. Just the right amount of space to tidily and neatly get the things like the crockpot and…


Oh, my! Have we ever been busy lately!!!! Starting scouting has been a very fun whirlwind of activities for our various family members, with more to come in the future. I won't bore my blog readers with all the various goings and comings, but on top of scouting this week there's been/will be TWO parties, food pantry to help out with AND book club.

My head is spinning.

I'd dearly love to just sit and knit. But I think the whirlwind is a good sort of blast and I'm grateful for it.