Saturday, October 31, 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 2009 in L-ville Kentucky. In many respects, it is as ordinary as can be, and that is a good thing. Of course it does not hurt at-all that I was priviledged to be at a retreat with Mother Macrina (Holy Dormitian Monastery) today. Very good lectures were given (and received).

But where the rubber meets the road is the things I tend to give in to my cravings about, and that, my friends, is the hard part. The clothing is easy, and just a beginning.

But all this to say: The brown dress simplicity experiment is continuing to bless, and to be an instrument for some clarity, for some reason or other.

I wonder what it would be like to only own two dresses, and not have a closet full of clothes stashed in bags waiting for retrieval. But those thoughts are premature. All in good time, self. All in good time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

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 us paradise...

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.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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 counter-cultural? It's one less layer of things to worry about, and one less thing holding me to this earth. Really. That's what I'm experiencing. I find my thoughts turning much more to God-things this week. Sort of what I experience when I am wearing a head-covering for prayers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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 pureed in a food processer to make pies, etc.

9. I pureed all the flesh (13 cups worth) and froze some of it into 4 cup portions, and used the rest for a couple of pies.

10. A great way to put up some cheap food for later in the year.

Pumpkin is good in: pies, pumpkin bread, soups (pumpkin clam chowder comes to mind, but would also be good added to chili), quiche, cheesecake, muffins, pancakes...and hidden as a secret ingredient in spice cake or chocolate cake.

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 excited! I LOVE Mother Gabriella. She is simply fantasticaly spiritual, simple and lovely, lovely, lovely. I visited Holy Dormitian Monastery last Lent, and that was so good to do. I think I left part of my heart there, as do most who visit, no doubt.

Monday, October 26, 2009

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 seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Isaiah 61:10-11 (New King James Version)
10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

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 varied forms, and perhaps the dress project is putting some focus on my urge to consume and I'm more aware of it than I am normally wont to be.

I found myself in a multi-purpose store the other day, and I realized that I needed to remind myself that I'm fasting from browsing (just looking, desiring, coveting if you will) the clothing and accessories section. I had to stop and be intentional. Calling a spade a spade, and coveting coveting...might as well. We are bombarded with the temptation to covet at every turn, are we not? It's the American way, is it not?

And the same awareness of my brokenness is present in regards to the food I eat. We all know I have a problem over-consuming in that area. It's mostly unconscious and automatic and very very habitual. But it's there nonetheless. I can't get away from it, and I can't fix myself. But I'm aware of the problem. I guess I just need to cry out to God and beg for mercy and grace.

I know that all the rules I make and impose upon myself from the outside still don't have the power to change my heart. Only God can do that.

"Change my heart O God".

Saturday, October 24, 2009

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.

Friday, October 23, 2009


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 closet. And most of everything that I kept looks rather ragamuffin-ish on me.

I also messed with a dress clip to deal with the extra fabric. It kept popping off as I tried on various sweaters, and it looked very 1990's, and lumpy. More lumps I don't need. I have plenty of those on my own.

Finally, I decided to get out my sewing machine and take in about three inches out from under each arm, resulting in a much better fit. I'm glad I have those skills.

Funny how clothes are. Two identical dresses and careful measuring, yet they are different. The first dress I altered is perfect now. Fits me great. The second dress seems like it must have started out fitting looser, so it's still a bit looser on me, even though I took it in the same, and then took it in some more. Odd.

Here are my first impressions: I Am Hollie Hobbie...the ragamuffin woman with the odd sticking out hair, the clupy brown shoes and the dumpy brown dress to go with my dumpy brown life. This is pretty much how I feel on the inside, and now the outside matches. No pretentions or fabulousness. Nothing suave or beautiful about me. Nothing shiny or holy or clean or perfect, and certainly no unmarred goodness.

Just me and a brown dress.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

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 out and purchasing any accessories, but I do reserve the option of knitting...and if I happen to knit a scarf or somesuch...well then.

5. I will post some photos on my blog, but since this isn't a "how creative can I get with accessories project", I don't think a daily photo is necessary.

6. I promise to blog honestly about my thoughts and feelings (don't I always just tell it like it is?...that's my gift) during this project. I don't promise they will all be positive.

7. I reserve the right to extend this project/fast (the Nativity fast is coming up, so things might go until Christmas, you know) if it proves spiritually beneficial to me. 30 days is my minimum commitment, though.

OK, folks, that's what I'm doing. I am expecting my package to arrive from Land's End tomorrow. If so, then I'll be starting on Saturday. For the duration of this project, most of my clothes will be bagged up (except things like cardigans and leggings and a pair of sweat pants that I might wear under the dress to go walking in the cold).

I'm not doing this for ecological reasons, or to be cool. I'm doing this as a journey of self-discovery and for the health of my own soul...into the desert, if you will. Pray for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Words From Elder Paisios

I have realized that the destruction of man lies in the abundance of material goods, because it prevents him from experiencing the presence of God and appreciating His benevolence. If you want to take someone away from God, give him plenty of material goods. He will instantly forget Him forever.

...and for the rest of it, click on the paragraph above to visit the blog "Glory to God for all Things".

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 finished, he says these words:

My spiritual child, who hast confessed to my humble self, I, humble and a sinner, have not power on earth to forgive sins, but God alone; yet through that divinely spoken word which came to the Apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying: Whosoeever sins ye remit, they are remitted, and whosoever sins we retain, they are retained, we too are emboldened to say: Whatsoever thou hast said to my most humble self, and whatsoever thou hast not succeeded in saying, either through ignorance or though forgetfulness, Whatever it may be: God forgive thee in this present world, and in that which is to come.

And the Priest adds this Prayer, making the sign of the Cross over the Penitent (here the priest drapes his stole over the penitent's head for this final prayer):

God it was who forgave David through Nathan the Prophet, when he confessed his sins, and Peter weeping bitterly for his denial, and the sinful woman in tears at his feet, ad the Public, and the Prodigal Son: May that same God forgive thee all things, though me a sinner, both in this present world, and in that which is to come, adn set thee uncondemned before his dread Judgment Seat.

And the Priest adds: And now having no further care for the sins which thou has declared, depart in peace.

Then the Priest allows the Penitent to depart with this blessing:

May Christ our true God, through the prayers of his most holy Mother and of all the Saints, have mercy upon us and save us, forasmuch as he is good and lovest mankind. Amen.

--quoted from a Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians, published by the Antiochian Archdiocese. Words in parenthesis are my own additions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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 and need to consume less of many things. The clothing is perhaps an icon. I think the place in my life where I struggle the most with overconsumption is food. So I am conscious and aware, and that is a start, I suppose, towards repentance.

Anything I can do to make the whispers of that still small voice sound louder. And that is the spirit in which I will undertake to wear the same dress for a month.

Monday, October 19, 2009

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 sick daughter now.

Chronic illness can really be an invisible issue in Churches, because you show up on Sunday morning with your game face on, and you meet and greet, and perhaps everything seems fine. "Hi how are you?" and you smile and say "Hangin' in there" and no one pauses to ask what "hangin' in there" really means. You don't say you are fine because on some level you aren't. Or if you do say "fine" you are talking about the grace of Jesus and not actually about your suffering body or your tired soul. The social convention has been met. You move on. Nobody sees that you go home on Sunday afternoon and collapse into bed or onto your best comfy chair because you are just. so. tired. and. in. pain.

Nobody sees that your life is limited, that when they are out going to fun places like apple orchards with their kids, you are at home in bed again and your kids are parked in front of yet another video.

Nobody knows that you might not be eating well because you don't have the energy to cook, or even to go to the grocery store.

Many of the effects of chronic illness are hidden from view in the type of community interactions that we call "church" because the effects are happening behind the closed doors of the ill person's home.

So, how can the Church minister to families and/or persons with chronic illness? What are some practical steps that parishes can take to help the chronically ill in their midst? Here are my thoughts:

1. Listening. Do you know someone with a chronic illness? Have you ever sat down and had coffee with him or her? Have you ever let them tell you their story? It is so good for an ill person to have someone to share their thoughts, feelings and struggles with. Most chronic illnesses are not catching. Spend some time. Have a cup of coffee, share a cookie and listen. And not just once. Be a friend and don't abandon the chronically ill to be by themselves. Being chronically ill is very very lonely.

2. Awareness. I touched on earlier about the reality that most parishes are very good at ministering to those in need who are in crisis. I have been on both sides of that reality, both with family funerals, hospitalization, and on helping to organize funeral meals and meals for the acutely sick and families who are welcoming a new baby into their midst. These are the types of situations where people really do step up the the plate. In the case of chronic illness, however, the needs are sometiems similar, but they are on-going. The lack of energy, the infirmity, the extra expenses of medications or doctor's visits, the exhaustion...these go on and on. So how about a ministry where people can sign up to bringing one meal a week or month to a person who is chronically ill? Even one or two meals a week, as a family deals with chronic illness (I'm thinking in particular if it is one of the parents who is ill) can make a difference in that family's stress load.

3. Remember the kids. If a parent is chronically ill, their children are not getting the same fun opportunities that your kids might be getting. Finding ways to let the kids of the chronically ill tag along to those fun things would be a huge blessing. If a sibling in a family is chronically ill, I guarantee you there is an imbalance in who is getting the most attention. This is unavoidable. Remember the young family members of the ill person.

4. A house cleaning ministry. Doesn't have to be often. Parish members could help with a spring cleaning, help with yard work, help with fixit projects. These are things that ARE getting neglected in the life of a person who is chronically ill. Illness puts a person/family in crisis mode, and you are living with MORE on your plate, and LESS energy/resources to deal with that "MORE". Physical, practical help is essential. A Parish could organize a "missions team" to help with the physical upkeep of such a person's home or yard, for instance. Great youth group project.

5. Do not judge. Jesus said that we must take up our cross and follow Him. Sometiems that cross looks like Chronic Fatige Synderome, Fibromyalgia, Dermatomyocitis, or Schizophrenia...among other things and a person's physical or mental health is NOT an indication of a lack of faith. I have several friends who live with chronic illnesses of various types, I live with chronic illnesses of various types and believe me, not judging is HARD. I think this gets back to that listening thing I started out with.

6. Include these friends in your regular prayer list. Faithfully. For a lifetime if necessary.

7. Invite those with chronic illness over and share your hospitality with them, but don't be offended if the visit has be be a short one. Chronic illness often leaves a person feeling like an untouchable.

8. If there are people in your parish who are chronically ill, there are very likely people in your parish with special dietary needs. Plan coffee hours or dinners to include some natural foods such as cut up fruits (without extra added sugar) and vegetables. Such foods are acceptable to almost anyone on most types of special diet: GAPS, Gluten/casein free, diabetics, etc. Be considerate. And pot luck/common meal foods should not include nuts in every dish. There are many many people suffering from food allergies. Label foods for their content at common meals. Be aware of these issues as they pertain to your own parish and the people in them. Often times, chronically ill people are left out of socializing opportunities because the food is off limits to them.

9. When planning a building program, get the input of the ill and specially-abled to plan the lay out of the facility. Is the building handicapped accessible? Are there ramps? Are the doors easy to get to? Are there enough seats (relevant in a pewless Orthodox Church) for the chrocially ill, old, infirm, and visitors? ELt the persons in your parish who have chronic back problems be on the committee that picks the new pews. This can make a huge difference.

10. Remember that as much as we would like everyone's life to be easy and filled with material blessings, for those with chronic illness it just isn't always happening that way. Be sensitive. Chronic illness robs a person/family of vitality, money, the ability to travel, sometimes the ability to care for or pay for their home...many things. Be careful never to equate material things or bodily health with the favor of God.

In a culture that proclaims and lives by the falsehood of "God helps those who help themselves" and that believes we are as healthy as our own lifestyle choices, how we treat the chronically ill who are in our own parishes might be an indicator of our health as a Christian community. I'm not saying that every parish or every individual Christian needs to do all the things I mentioned in this article for every chronically ill person in their midst, but I do offer up this list as a challenge for parishes: Think about the chronically ill in our midst, and find ways that we can remember "the least of these". Jesus said "Whatever you have done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me" and His list is as simple as the things I offered up here: a meal, a helping hand from time to time, and love.

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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

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 experiment. Meanwhile, I'm going to start saying goodbye (for now, or for a longer while????) to some of the clothes in my closet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cleopatra Stratan - Zunea zunea (original version)

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

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 becomes a journey to acceptance? What if I go through it, and get beyond something in trying this, in doing this?

What if it is good for me????

I've looked at the little brown dress blog. I've looked at the uniform project. I referenced that article this morning. I even read a blog about someone who did it from a Christian perspective and then put up a nice little booth in what looks like an emergent "worship setting". All very interesting.

And I do have plenty of jackets, and cool scarves and such. But I wouldn't want this to be all about accessories.

Instead, I'd like to do this, and reflect on virtues of simplicity, acceptance, finding one's identity in Christ, dealing with the internal restlessness that wearing the same outfit day after day will bring about (I know me, it will).

I have one friend who almost lives this way, anyways. It's just who she is. I'm not like that, though. For me, this would be hard. But perhaps beyond the hard, it would be good for me, and on some level easy.

I want to do this, and blog about it.

But first, I'm going to need to find the right dress. Why not pick something I already own, you ask? Well, for one thing, I don't own a dress, and skirts and tops are invariably less simple and more cluttered.

So, I'd love suggestions on the perfect dress. Wes thinks I should order two...for practical laundry purposes. Seriously, give me suggestions.

Here are my ground rules for style: it has to be long. It has to be one solid color (I'm thinking very dark brown would be appropriate. I'm open to black (a bit too monastic, though) and I'm also open to dark gray. I tend to look best in A-line styles, but everything I've seen is above the knee, which is ugly on fat me. I wear a size 20.

One of these dresses might do, but I wonder if they are "current" enough:

Land's End

Not like anything much is going to look fabulous on me. Acceptance of which is part of the point of the exercise, I think....

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?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

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.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

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 blender off my counter tops, and to give ample room for onion basket, squash basket, fruit bowls and various jars like lacto-fermenting sauerkraut and sprouting alfalfa seeds.

I made the BEST lacto-fermented sauerkraut with purple cabbage this week! The taste is outstanding and the color just pops! It was done with kefir whey. I've finally gotten into the rhythm of pre-soaking my flour for quick breads and muffins, so that is a nourishing tradtions improvement. And I bought a food processor today. Looking forward to learning to use that. Bethany has been busy cutting and coring a big bowl full of crab apples that she picked off the decorative (for some) crab apple tree here in our apartment complex. They will make a fabulous applesauce in the crock pot overnight tonight.

In my home: A friend who is moving gave us three sets of shelves! So that's why I was able to steal my son's shelves for the kitchen: They got replaced. Additionally, I've been working on organizing my sewing corner with a new shelf unit as well.

My daughter B is busy growing things, and we have more plants around our house than ever before. I can't wait until they grow and get bigger. Plants give a room a peaceful and friendly look, don't you think? And they help purify the air.

A has been busy making more acorn faeries! She's very good at it. Now I have two separate tribes invading my living room.

In our homeschool: Nothing much new to report. Things are cruising along at a good pace. We should be having a meeting soon with the public school people to go over the results of the testing we put E and M through, to see whether they might have Asperger's syndrome. I think they do, but not much will change if they get a diagnosis.

Today, I discoverd GAPS legal bratwurst at Whole Foods! So, for dinner we had bratwurst, cabbage-n-onions, boiled potatoes and some of that wonderful purple sauerkraut. And mustard, of course. So yummy! Bethany had some butternut squash in place of the potatoes, to keep her meal GAPS legal.

My son had his name day this week, and fortunately for him there as a Divine Liturgy that morning, so I got him up early and we went to Church. Afterwards, we had cake. Happy name day, Thomas!

I have had lots of nice walks this week. The weather has been fabulous. Nice and cool. Today is the first day that it has rained, and the first time this year that it has felt like a fall rain! Cool raindrops. We have all the windows open and are enjoying the breezes.

Now my big question is: Do I want to spend my evening knitting or reading? Hmmmmm....

Friday, October 02, 2009


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.