Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unfounded Fears

There are so many Scriptures in which we are told not to be afraid: "Do not fear, for I am with you."

And yet, so much of the time, my imagination gets the best of me, and I'm afraid of something or other. I especially don't like new situations or encounters and can spend all kinds of mental energy imagining the worst. Those prayers about evil fantasies definitely apply to this sort of thinking, in my case.

Today I had scheduled a meeting with two public school people (a coordinatoar and a speech therapist) to go over the application for speech testing that I sent in on behalf of my second daughter.

I was so nervous. For one thing, the person who scheduled the meeting implied they were going to poke their noses into the "core content" of what I'm doing to educate my daughter. Yipes. I spent at least one day wigging out and in tears over my perceived home-schooling-mom imperfections and lack of perfect organizational skills. There's always the question "Am I doing enough?" lurking in the background of my life. And yet, I literally cannot do one. more. thing. So I always have that stress. I think most home schooling moms do.

But guess what: Those fears were unfounded. I put together a small portfolio of M's best work (and her best work is brilliant writing, both fiction and non-fiction), and all went very very smoothly.

No one asked about anything I was doing, and when I offered the writing samples, the teachers were over the moon impressed with her writing and said it ought to get published and that she should become a novelist.

And they were friendly and it was no big deal that I was home schooling. There are loads of home schooling students who go into public schools to get speech therapy or to get evaluations of one type or another. Apparently they do it all the time.

I should trust God a little bit more, to go before me. And I should not questions quite so much what I'm doing around here from day to day.

I wonder if the next time I'm afraid about something, I'll remember the lessons of today?

Crazy 8's

I've been tagged by Sylvia over at Orthodox Mom.

Here goes...

8 Things I am looking forward to:

1. My 40th birthday.
2. losing some weight
3. visiting my parents
4. Going to the zoo with my kids this afternoon.
5. Getting the bathroom fixed.
6. Being done with home school for the year.
7. doing some sewing (I have a blouse pattern and some fabric just waiting for me to have time...)
8. Buying school supplies for next year.

8 Things I did yesterday:

1. Went to Matins
2. Took dd to doctor
3. fixed supper
4. Exercised on the eliptical machine
5. played soccer with my son.
6. Went shirt shopping with Wes.
7. watched Deadliest Catch
8. Ate a sugar free Klondike bar.

8 Things I wish I could do:

1. Go to Switzerland again.
2. Visit England
3. Write a book
4. Visit Alaska
5. Go hiking in the Rockies.
6. Have enough energy to do all that and more.
7. Fit into a size 10.
8. Go on a mission's trip/be a missionary.

8 Shows I Watch

1. Deadliest Catch
2. Mythbusters
3. House MD (over the internet)
4. Lie to Me (over the internet)
5. old movies

8 Tags. You're it!

Sorry, I don't do tags. I'm not that organized. But if you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged and let me know so I can see your list.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No More Lake Baikal on my Kitchen Floor!

Yaaaaay! They fixed it. Now my bathroom's all torn up and something next door. The leak did not stop until they went next door and replaced a pipe over there.

Anyone want to guess how long it will be before my bathroom is put back together?

I don't even want to go there.

So right now I just had a fabulous workout in the exercise room, followed by some ball kicking with the kids. The movie Bridge to Terabithia is on, and I swear, the kid who plays Jess reminds me so much of the boy I had a crush on when I was 12.

It's funny how some things can just take a person back.

And that movie makes me cry.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Patience and Charity

and patience and charity, and some more patience and some more charity. That is what I need because I am about out of those qualities on my own, in regards to the maintenance situation with our apartment.


When we moved in, there was no hot water. For weeks. Six, to be exact. Then they jackhammered the slab in our bathroom to fix the slab leak the week before Christmas. Merry Christmas, we had hot water, and a buggered up bathroom.

Well, that got fixed soon enough...almost. Somehow, someone forgot the baseboard tiles in our bathroom. It's been four months. We've reminded them. It's not an emergency, so not a priority therefore it's not done.

The second slab leak due to the ice storm got fixed a bit quicker and no jackhammering was required in our unit, but it represents a couple more weeks with cold water.

Did I mention the time the roof collapsed on the unit above us, and we had water pouring in through our ceiling during a really bad rain on Christmas eve? They fixed that right quick all nice and tidy.

And then there is the broken light in our bathroom. It sat there for months as well. Nice and dark. It finally got fixed last Friday, so that the crew could see to rip our wall out and work on another plumbing leak. See, we have water leaking onto our kitchen floor from some upstairs drain or other.

Today a maintenance man was in here with a contractor, looking at the job. Said they'd come back this afternoon. So I called Wes to see if he could work from home because one of our kids had a doctor appointment this afternoon and the others couldn't really come with me and I couldn't leave them here while contractors were here. So he came home to work.

And the crew never showed.

Supposedly they are coming bright and early tomorrow morning at 8 am. If we get up at the crack and they aren't here then, I'll be pissed off delicately perturbed in a genteel sort of way. I have no reason to think they will keep their appointment.

Oh, and our air conditioner does not work, pending a routine maintenance check on it this week or next week when it will get fixed. Meanwhile, the windows are open.

And while I was starting to fix supper just now, the microwave handle came loose in my hand. I think some super glue is in order because I just don't want to deal with them again.

Why, why, why?????? But here's my mantra: When stuff goes wrong... We don't have to pay for it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Like to Think I'm Tough! She's Really Good at Whining

Yesterday, when I was in Nicholasville, I was eating dinner at Bob Evans' Restaurant (the Chicken Pot Pie was very yummy!) and while I was eating that delectable pie, what should happen to me, but my rear lower left molar broke. It broke!

It did not hurt much at first, but this morning when I got up, I was having pain up into my ear, my jaw was hurting and my whole body felt "off". So I headed to Immediadent, the brutal barbarian dentist that is open from nine to nine seven days a week, walk-ins welcome!

Now, I've had braces (the assistant orthodontist was Turkish and had strong garlic breath), a root canal and some major fillings and I've even-by those barbaric Swiss government sponsored school dentists-had cavities drilled with no anesthesia-but today was dentally ROUGH.

I had a novel to read, so the long wait was not so bad. But then the waiting room chair had an ill-designed seam in the middle of the seat cushion and it made my butt hurt. Perhaps my dentally traumatized self was more sensitive to pain?

And then the dentist chair was making my lower back hurt. And I was in it for a LONG time.

It being the very back molar, and my mouth being rather smallish, it was tough having four instruments in it at the same time. Did I mention my over active gag reflex? It was not taking any breaks today and at one point I sat up and just spewed a whole wad of dental equipment out of my mouth. Saliva soaked cottons flying everywhere.

The X rays were painful, and buggered up my gums. The multiple shots of numb stuff they gave me made my heart race (epinephrin), and hurt worse than usual, and then my very numb tongue kept getting in the way of what they were doing back there with their little forest of instruments and gaging devices.

After getting drilled, the assistant screwed up the filling, had to chip it out, and do a do-over.

The, she built up the filling too high and had to drill it down. And drill it down some more, and some more and some more...etc.

I went in at 9:30.

At 1:30 pm I came staggering out. Hungry. High on meds. Sore. Aching. Woozy.

I called Wes and said I couldn't drive home, but there was a Bob Evans' (feels like coming full circle) across the parking lot, could he meet me there?

So I went in there. I needed food. Perhaps more Chicken Pot Pie! The crowd was spilling out the door. Sunday at lunch time. Go figure. So I went back out to the car. Called Wes to tell him I was coming home and whapped my head really hard on the car as I was getting back in. He could hear the whap over the phone. I started crying. It hurt.

He told me NOT to drive, he was on his way. So I sat. And waited.

Finally my Knight in Shining Armor arrived and took me to Steak 'n Shake. After a meal, I felt way way better.

Now that my numb stuff has worn off, I know they mangled the side of my tongue pretty good, too. My gums are really in bad shape from the work, since the break was below the gum line on one side and they had to cram the band on really deep to place the filling in there.


I cried. I wanted Ice cream. And I remembered how, when I was little and had to go to the barbaric Swiss denitst, my mom would buy me a present afterward.

Ah, Anbesol! And Ibuprofen. I think it's time for another dose.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amos Fortune, Free Man

I just finished reading the book _Amos Fortune, Free Man_ by Elizabeth Yates to my kids.

This is an excellent true story about a man who was born a prince of his tribe in Africa, kidnapped at age 15 by the slavers, and brought to America. Amos (Atmun was his first name) was bought as chattel by a Quaker family, where he was treated well, leaned to read and weave and later, after being sold to a new owner when his first master died, he became a tanner.

Eventually Amos was able to buy his freedom in his sixth decade of life and by working his trade, saved up enough money to buy, marry and free his first wife. She died within a year, as did his second wife. His third wife, who had a daughter of her own, outlived Amos fortune. In all, Amos freed five women, in memory of his younger sister who got left behind in Africa, whom he never forgot.

This story will gently introduce young people to the reality of slavery in the American colonies, and provides a good jumping off point for discussing slave ships, the middle passage, slavery, race issues, the sugar triangle and what it means to live as a true Christian.

I recommend it as a good example of "living literatue" which will help teach history as well as good morals.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, great and holy Pascha came and went last weekend. Complete with staying up all night on Saturday night/Sunday morning, many many hours throughout Holy Week of standing on a carpeted concrete slab in the choir loft, and loads of time at home cooking for the feast. I think I was quite worn out by Friday and just kept pushing beyond that.

At least I felt pretty in my Pascha outfit. And we had a great time at the St. Athanasius Pascha Pic Nic on Sunday.

But I've learned one thing: I will never again make that special pascha cheese. I just won't. My cheese turned out lovely. It was/is yummy. But guess what: I'm the ONLY person in my family who is eating it. (That would be like baking an entire cheescake and eating the whole thing yourself.) So. Not. Good. For. The. Waistline. And no, I have NOT been deliberately overeating. Just like: There it is, I might as well eat that instead of something more nutritious and less fattening.

Seems there's never such a thing as deliberately overeating in my life. I'm always able to justify eating with a stomach growl or two. But I'm not one to eat three bites and be done, either. There is only (mind the distinction now) a lack of deliberately under eating (which is actually probably not at all under, but right on the money and my bad habits (sins) are to blame for the rest. Unless I am actually doing the latter (tracking every calorie), then I'm eating too much. Automatically and without any awareness. I hate hate hate that about myself. I am trying to become more aware.

So, needless to say this week has been spent in tears, exhaustion, depression and despair. Lovely person, aren't I?

I did take the kids to the zoo yesterday and we all had a lovely time. Then, when we came home I was too tired to cook dinner and I had everyone eating things like cereal and milk. Could have been worse, I guess. Next time I'll plan a crock pot meal before going to the zoo.

And we have a water leak on the floor of our kitchen. I'm constantly shop-vacing up the puddle. Maintenance says it's either a slab leak (hello jack hammer and goodbye kitchen) or a leak in the drain pipe from upstairs (good bye second bathroom for a while).

I just don't relish the process of that particular repair. But, it will happen eventually. They said they were coming in on Monday. Monday they said Tuesday and now it's Thursday and I've not seen hide nor hair of them the past few days. Whatever. At our old house repairs went undone forever, too. At least here I don't have to pay for it.

Oh yeah, and we had to hire a dryer repair man this week, too, to fix the belt on our dryer.

So, it's been a week, let me tell ya. And it's only Thursday. Sorry this is not more uplifting. If you want uplifting and spiritual, I recommend the blog Glory to God for All Things. See the link in my side bar.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Liturgical Worship in the New Testament Church

I was reading another blog the other day, and in the comments section, I made a statement that liturgical worship is all over the New Testament. Someone name Arthur Sido retorted that this was not the case, and I wrote a reply in which I tried to pull together the information in the following article into my own words. That post got lost in cyberspace and never made it onto that particular blog comments thread.

And, in retrospect that's just as well. In order to do the subject justice, I have decided to quote that one-page article in full (found in the Orthodox Study Bible, on page 1720, Thomas Nelson, 2008).

Liturgy in the New Testament Church p. 1720 The Orthodox Study Bible

“Virtually all students of the Bible realize there was liturgical worship in Israel. Immediately after the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), instructions for building the altar were set forth (Ex. 20:24-26). Then comes instruction concerning keeping the Sabbath (Ex. 23:10-13), the annual feasts (Ex. 23:14-19) and the various offerings and furnishings in the sanctuary (Ex. 25:1-40). Following this, chapters 26-30 deal with such matters as the design of the tabernacle, the altar, and the outer court, the priests’ vestments and their consecration, and instructions for daily offerings.

Liturgical worship is also found in heaven, which is to be expected, since God instructed Moses to make the earthly place of worship as a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5; see Ex. 25:40). Heavenly worship is revealed in such passages as Isaiah 6:1-8, where we see the prophet caught up to heaven for the liturgy, and Revelation 4, which records the apostle John’s vision of heaven’s liturgy.

The key to comprehending liturgy in the New Testament is to understand the work of the High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, who inaugurates the new covenant. Christ is a “priest forever” (Heb. 7:17, 21). It is unthinkable that He would be a priest but not serve liturgically: “forever” suggests He serves continually, without ceasing, in the heavenly tabernacle. Further, He is called not only a priest but a liturgist: “ a Minister [Gr. leitourgos, lit. “liturgist”) of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected” (Heb 8:2). Christian worship on earth, to be fully Christian, must mirror the worship of Christ in heaven.

Moreover, Christ is “Mediator of a better covenant” (Heb 8:6). What is that covenant? In the words of the Lord, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor 11:25). Just as the blood of bulls and goats in the Old covenant prefigured Christ’s sacrifice to come, so the eucharistic feast brings to us the fullness of His new covenant offering, completed at the Cross and fulfilled in His Resurrection. This once for all offering of Himself (Heb.7:27) which He as High Priest presents at the heavenly altar is an offering in which we participate through the Divine Liturgy in the Church. This is the worship of the New Testament Church!

Given this biblical background, a number of New Testament passages take on new meaning.

1. Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord [lit., “as they were in the liturgy of the Lord”] and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul.’” We learn that (a) these two apostles were called by God during worship, and (b) the Holy Spirit speaks in a liturgical setting.
2. Acts 20:7 “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them.” Communion was held each Sunday.
3. Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” A kiss of greeting was common in this ancient culture. The “holy kiss,” however, was an element of the Christian liturgy that signified the people of God were reconciled to one another, so that they might receive the Body and Blood of Christ in peace.
4. Ephesians 5:14 “Awake, you who sleep, /Arise from the dead,/ And Christ will give you light.” This is an ancient baptismal hymn, already in use by the time Ephesians was written. Other examples of creeds and hymns of New Testament times are seen in 1 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
5. Hebrews 13:10 “We have an altar” reveals the continuation of the altar in New Testament worship.
6. Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit of the Lord’s Day.” Many scholars believe John saw his vision of Christ during the Sunday liturgy, as the Lord appeared to him “in the midst of the seven lampstands” (Rev. 1:13). Lampstands would be found in the Christian sanctuary just as they were in the Hebrew temple.”

In addition, I would like to point you, my fair readers to a very good website on the subject. These are some program notes from a broadcast on Our Life in Christ, an Orthodox Christian Radio program. I recommend reading through these notes, as they are very interesting and informative regarding the reality of liturgical worship in the New Testament era of the Church, and continuing on until this day.

Think about it: if all the ancient branches of Chrisitanity are doing it...perhaps there's something to it. And for all the hue and cry against various heresies in the writings of the early fathers of the Church, if liturgical worship were an accretion, or something that was innovated after the ending of the persecutions by the Roman government, seems someone would have raised up a stink.

I'm just sayin'.

And then it fell apart....

To Do list today:

-wait for maintenance to come and find what's leaking water onto my kitchen floor.
-shop vac said water off floor occasionally

-go to laundromat and dry wet clothes (including towels from mopping above-mentioned kitchen floor)
-pull dryer out of apartment sized dryer/washer nook and figure out what type of belt we need
-find dryer repair man or dryer repair parts and research to to fix it myself


And I was planning on RESTING today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Impressions from Holy Friday

Sundown to choir music, and a pitch black nave at the end.
Vigilants holding candles-antiphonal choir singing-aching feet.
A corpus icon on the cross-a body on a bier awaiting burial
Arabic lamenting-Greek, English lamenting
ducking low to walk under the icon of Christ's enshrouded body
thinking of Mary and her grief at seeing her Son and her God dead upon the tree
hugs from children
fumbling pages of choir music
holding a candle so the person next to me could see
paying attention to the choir director
feeling tired: all except my voice
taking my shoes off and feeling the cold tile against my bare feet; soothing
the sun shining the the stained glass in the evening, making what looked like a rose pattern on the tile floor
rose petals around the tomb
a smoke filled narthex so thick it would make one cough
Church bells
Psalms being canted
lamentations sung
Ancient hymns
tears on faces
tired bodies
lentil soup and homemade bread
kids running in the fellowship hall
Altoids in the choir loft
six hours of Church and yes we survived
worship as it ought to be and wishing my flesh and my bones did not protest with aches and fatigue and a wandering mind
crying tired children
wailing babies and I'm glad they arent' mine
noticing a well worn prayer rope on someone's arm
Jesus Christ died for my sins, and the sins of all mankind
thinking with sorrow of His suffering and passion
Glory to Thy Passion, O Lord.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY April 15, 2009
Outside my window it's dark outside.
I am thinking that I wish that I had more energy to enjoy the unstinting and unrelenting nature of Orthodox worship.
I am thankful for obedient children.
From the learning rooms...spring break for Holy Week, this week.
From the kitchen...homemade artisan bread, and lentil stew. Pascha cheese in the fridge.
I am wearing...a long embroidered linen natural colored skirt, beige t-shirt, green cardigan.
I am creating...a blog post.
I am liturgy in the morning.
I am reading...blogs. And facebook. I ought to read something more substantial.
I am hoping...oh, lots of things.
I am hearing...the TV, kids getting ready for bed.
Around the house...some clutter, some kitchen cleanup needed. All too tired after Unction service to care.
One of my favorite roses.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Church, more Church. A trip to the Chiropractor, and a cup of decaf chai tea.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Ah, Holy Week!

So yesterday, I am happy to report, all four kids were perfect angels while I took them to Church in the morning for Presanctified Liturgy. I sang in the choir while they lurked in the balcony of the chapel. I could see their faces (some of their faces) peering down from on high, and I gave them the motherly eye occasionally, and all went well. I think that set up made some of the ya ya's nervouse, but to my great pride and joy, they made me proud. And joyful.

But I'm not so foolish as to try to pull that stunt two days in a row. This morning we take off, and save our strength for tonight.

Bridegroom Matins on Sunday night was lovely. The choir sang.

Bridegroom Matins on Monday night was unintelligible. Everything was echo-y in the big cavernous building and not enough bodies were there to absorb the sound. The tones were Arabic, I guess, Lebanese, or something and at that moment, I really really MISSED the OCA. But it had it's own beauty. And Father G, bless is soul, read the very long gospel reading, and between the cavernous echoes and his Indian accent...well, that too might as well have been in Arabic. God is teaching me something here. I just know it. Patience, perhaps?

Last night's Bridegroom Matins was better. We found our Holy Week Service book, and read along by candle light in the dark, so that helped a lot. This time it was Father M reading the Gospel, and he's form Pennsylvania or some such place. Perfectly understandable.

Yesterday I also made two loaves of sweet bread. And about five pounds of meatballs to put in the freezer. For next week. Yum.

But the sweet bread (also in the freezer...for the Pascha Basket) I must blog about: I used the typical Swiss Zopf recipe, with whole milk, butter, (I just realized I forgot the eggs!...oh well, the bread turned out), yeast, flour, bit of know, your basic sweet bread. But instead of sugar, I used chicory root powder, which measures just like sugar, is all natural and is basically fiber, so it does not absorb. I was a bit nervous making such a substitution for such an important occasion.

Based on the buttery, sweet smells coming off the loaves when I took them out of the oven, it's going to be bread worth waiting for. And sugar free. I just wish the stuff weren't so darned expensive. Here's a link to some. The stuff I use is called "Just Like Sugar" and I get it at whole foods.

The quark that I got at the International Grocery (mostly Russian stuff) is draining in the fridge and today I have to transform that into cheese paska. Quark! Remember that stuff. My Russian friend (who grew up in Germany) calls it that. The label reads "Farmer's Cheese", which I've seen referenced in diet books, but never knew exactly what it was. Now I know. Quark, beloved quark. Ever have a quark cake? Y-um.

So as usual, my life is all about food and Church. Hmmmm. That's telling, isn't it?

Coming up on my horizon: Sewing a weighted blanket and weighted vest for B, and then perhaps for E, and then perhaps for A. The cost of materials will run about half of what these therapeutic items would run to order them already made.

But even so, it still costs. Especially if it's times three or four. Sigh.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Have You Heard About...

FOCUS ministries?

I'm excited. It's high time there was an overarching organization like this. God is in this.

Follow the link and listen to Fr. Justin Matthew's interview on Ancient Faith Radio.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Few Little "Woo Hoos"

1. After years of admiring them, I ordered my first pattern from Sense & Sensibility Patterns. The Romantic blouse pattern. I've been looking for a good blouse pattern for ages, and I plan on making a toile to fit my hard to fit self perfectly, taking it apart and then having a wonderful pattern for a nice flattering top on hand. Moving toward that uniform I've been wanting forever. Woo Hoo!

2. I was able to find everything Bethany needed to update her spring/summer wardrobe at the thrift store yesterday, and a big baskety purse to use as her knitting basket as well. I was fully prepared to go to a regular store, but she wanted to go to the thrift store first. All these lovely t-shirts in gorgeous sherberty colors, a twinset, a crinkle skirt and a linen jumper. She's a very conservative dresser, by choice. And that makes me glad. Woo Hoo!

3.I have a few little sewing projects on hand to keep me happy. Found some discount fabric that will make up a perfect skirt to go with B's new selection of t-shirts. Going to use this tutorial to get the dimensions and make it. Perhaps today. Woo Hoo!

4. A week or so ago, our cordless phone went through the dishwasher. An entire cycle. Of course we thought it was dead. We should name it Lazarus, because it lives again and is actually usable. It just took some time and some shaking (water would fly out when we shook it) for it to dry out. The brand is Uniden, for what it's worth. A cheapo phone. But still: Woo Hoo!

5. I discovered that BBC has a whole slew of period films and miniseries' that I did not know about. Wes and I just finished watching Wives and Daughters last night. och! So Romantic! Woo Hoo!

6. And the second half of North and South arrives from Netflix today. Can't stand the suspense. Woo Hoo!

7. I have discovered the joy and practicality of wearing a great big comfy apron in the kitchen and while I'm at home. It keeps stains off my clothes. I'm far too prone to get stains. I got my Lady's Kitchen Apron (another is on the way) from Katie's Mercantile. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Revival Week, Orthodox Style

One of the things I like about being an Orthodox Christian, is how we live through the Gospel.

It's true all the time, but at this time of year it is especially obvious. While we do search the Holy Scriptures and seek to be obedient to all it's precepts, what I mean when I say live through the Gopsel, is that we allow the Gospel of Jesus to affect our time. Better than any well-crafted VBS program that might have children "take a walk through the Bible, and re-live the gospel stories", the Orthodox Church does just that, on a grander scale and in a very set form: the liturgical calendar. And at no time is this more obvious than during Holy Week.

This Saturday is Lazarus Saturday. The day Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, caused an uproar thereby and got the pharisees really plotting his death. It's sort of the precursor to what happens next in Holy Week. We gather as a community to hear the story, to see the icon of this event, and to worship our risen Lord. I love Lazarus Saturday because it foreshadowing. One week hence, and the Living One will be lying in a tomb. The Author of Life will be harrowing the place of the dead. And on Lazarus Saturday he gives death a little foretaste of his Authority and Power. Tee hee.

Then on Sunday, it's Palm Sunday. Open your gospels and notice how this event follows the Lazarus event. Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass, fulfilling the ancient prophecies, and the children are discerning: Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna to the Son of David.

And so begins Holy Week, in which we walk through the events of Christ's Passion, Christ's Pascha...just as the Jews of Old walked through the Passover event, which foreshadowed Christ. In Christ is fulfilled all things, he is our Passover Lamb, our Pascha (which is merely the Greek word for Passover).

One Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday are Bridegroom services. The bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins in Christ himself, and he tells us to be prepared. We sing "Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight..." and we watch the events unfold.

On Wednesday the services commemorate is betrayal by Judas. (This is why Wednesday is always a normal fasting day for Orthodox Christians). Also, this is the night for foot washing and holy unction for the sick in soul and body.

On Thursday, as he prepares for the Passion, we find Christ in Gethsemane, and there is a really long special service on Thursday evening of Holy Week in which all the Gospel passages are read that surround the events of holy week, leading up and including the death of Christ. There are twelve readings in all, three selections taken from each Gospel, and this is a very long service.

On Friday, an icon of Christ called the corpus is nailed to an icon of the cross (usually close to life size), while prayers are said to remind us that it is OUR sins which put him on that tree.

And on Friday evening the corpus is brought down, and an icon of Christ's body called the Epitaphios is brought out, and processed around the Church. The first time I ever was a part of this service, years ago, was a very very powerful spiritual experience for me. Experientially, it was as if time collapsed and I really was there, witnessing these events. And I wept and wept and wept. That's the whole point of all of this. We all wear black, and bawl our eyes out and it's like a funeral. I'm not one to equate emotions with spiritual reality, but on Holy Friday, all the sadness is there, and it IS spiritual.

During the night, as the icon of Christ's body is laid in the front of the Church the entire Psalter is read. People take turns.

On Holy Saturday, we gather once again for Liturgy in the morning, and on this day we sing many songs remembering Christ's burial, and his harrowing of hades, and his promise to rise from the dead. There is hope. For in harrowing hell, he harrows my hell, and in trampling death, he tramples my death.

Then, Pascha! The resurrection! We gather at 11 pm on Saturday night. Anticipation! Matins is sung, the ancient psalms of the hours are sung (the same ones used in the pre-Christian Church of Israel) and then, at midnight, the glorious resurrection! The Church is transformed from darkness to light. The vestments are white, where they had been black. The Icon that greets us on the icon stand is the Icon of Christ's resurrection from the dead, pulling Adam and Eve out of their graves. And we pray and we sing and the priest goes crazy with the incense and there are charismatic shouts of "Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!" in as many languages as can be mustered. The resurrection Gospel is read in as many languages as can be mustered, too. The Church goes on for hours this way, and Christ is Risen, and He is our hope and our joy and our salvation!

Then we gather as a community to break the long lenten fast.

Around sunrise we all go home and try to get some sleep. Later that Sunday, we come together again for Paschal vespers. Oh, what joy!

So, that's what I'll be doing this weekend and next week. It's impossible to describe the beauty of it all, the exhaustion too. This week is the joy of my life. It's our revival week.

Please pray that God gives me the strength once again for this journey.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Day Book Entry

Today… April 8, 2009. Today I mailed off some snoods I'd made for a drawing on my other blog, homeschooled the kids, did a bit of sewing and gave a sewing lesson.

Outside my window… It's chilly springtime weather. High fifties. I see grass and hear neighbor children playing.

I am thinking… that I should get off the computer. Why don't I?

I am thankful for… peace and quiet.

I am wearing… pink long sleeved t-shirt, long off white skirt, black fleece jacket, danskin sneakers and a snood.

I am reading… Uncle Remus Stories out loud to the kids...among other things.

I am creating… various things on my sewing machine. Gearing up to do a snood order, I guess. I should open an etsy shop...

One of my favorite things… coffee in the morning.

For education this week… learning about slavery in the 1700's and 1800's, about insectivores and lots of creative writing.

A keeper at home skill I am using/learning… sewing.

A spiritual lesson I'm learning... trusting in God for the future.

A godly character trait I plan to work on… joyfulness.

Scripture I am memorizing… Psalm 85, but whenever I try to sit down with it, the phone rings.

For the rest of the week… Church tonight, grocery shopping tomorrow, choir practice tomorrow night, thinking about what Pascha preparations are needed, and Lazarus Saturday/Palm Sunday this weekend. And schooling for the kids this week but next week we take off. Dreading a trip to the mall to go Pascha dress shopping for me. Yipes. But I really want a pretty new dress (wherein lies the problem...all the clothes are ugly this year.)

A picture I’d like to share... Flowering trees out at Bernheim Forrest and Aroboretum. One of my new favorite places.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hearth and Home

I know I have not blogged very much lately. Please accept my apologies. I mean, what is there to blog about? I have yet another meal of baked potatoes in the oven for my family. How exicitng is that? Not very.

I've been sewing some small things here and there, and starting to teach the older girls how to use the sewing machine. Today B made herself (with my help and guidance) a cute little head scarf like the Cecily style at Garlands of Grace. Except the fabric is differnt, of course.

I've been busy making some snoods for a give away at my other blog, and of course keeping house and guiding the kids with their school work.

Not much to write about there. Things are quiet, simple and...well, quiet and simple.

Had a house full of relatives for this weekend, and we all went to the Zoo. And I did lots of cooking. I think I take after my grandmother. I didn't get to eat any of it, because of the whole low carb thing, but I survived. Made some extra yummy soup just for me today, as I've been feeling bored with the usual salad routine.

See, still not much to blog about.

So, that's been me lately. I need to get my head together and figure out what goodies belong in our Pascha basket this year. Bethany wants honey sweetened coconut macaroons from whole foods instead of a birthday cake. That, I can do. Her birthday is on Pascha this year. How cool is that?

Wes promised to take me to the mall to go Easter dress shopping this weekend. I dread that. Pain, agony and despair.

So, there. Still nothing much to blog about.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Psalm 85 (LXX)

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear me, For I am poor and needy.
Guard my soul, for I am holy;
O my God, save Your servant, who hopes in You.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, For all the day long I will cry to You. Gladden the soul of Your servant, O Lord, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are kind and good, and very merciful to all who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer and heed the voice of my supplication.
In the day of my affliction I cried to You, For You heard me.
There is none like You among the gods, O Lord,
And there are no works like Your works.
All the Gentiles You made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.
For You are great, doing wonders; You alone are the great God.
Lead me in Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth;
Gladden my heart so as to fear Your name.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I shall glorify Your name forever; For great is Your mercy to me, and You rescued my soul from the lowest Hades.
O God, lawless men rose up agianst me,
And a gathering of strong men sought my soul;
And they did not set You before them.
But You, O Lord, are compassionate and merciful,
Longsuffering and very merciful and truthful.
Look upon me and have mercy; Give Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.
Work a sign in my midst for good, and let those who hate me see it and be disgraced;
For You, O Lord, helped me and comforted me.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

So Tired!

Oh my goodness, I'm tired tonight! I was tired when I woke up this morning, and tired when I went grocery shopping, and tired when I came back and put things away, tired when I went to the chiropractor, tired when I came home and cooked dinner, tired when I ate it, and tired when I went to choir practice.

And then I found out that they were doing the canon of St. Andrew, and Vespers lasted about an hour longer than normal, so I went there instead of choir, and then choir afterward, so all went later.

Raining like cats and dogs coming out of choir, so I got wet dashing to Kroger for a forgotten item and then home.

I'm tired. Did I mention that I'm tired?

It's one of those days that is just lived. Thoughts of God and prayers here and there. But it's just so full of living and struggle, and I did not get everything done I wanted to do.

But that's OK. Tomorrow is another day and I can get some things done then. I hope.

Gotta get my house clean.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Prayer Request

B just had a change in her meds, and guess what: NO VOICES for the past two days. I ask her "How's your brain?" and she gives me a thumbs up. This is huge. Please join us in praying that this dose of meds will continue to be effective in her body and that God would have mercy and grant that it be so.

It's April, and we are already a couple of weeks past having met our $4000.00 family health insurance deductible for the year. And no one had surgery.