Showing posts from March, 2010

Vegetarians, from the other point of view!

This is too funny!

Liminal Time and My Eating

When I was in Seminary we learned about a concept called "liminal time". This is time between time, the transition point. Time when change is occurring, when we are "in between". Holy Week is liminal time. It's not lent, it's not NOT is something in between. Liminal time is about transition, about becoming.

Other loose examples of "liminal time" in life might be when one is traveling, say for instance the exciting and yet sad interruption I experienced when I had to fly down to Texas for my grandfather's funeral in January. Moving to a new city was certainly a transition point. In such a case, the liminality morphs into a new normal and it can be a disorienting experience. And it can take a long time. I expect too much from myself. I expect things to be easier than they ever are, and I expect myself to handle things with more strength and sanguinity than I ever do. I am trying to learn to be kind to myself.

My struggle t…
Today: Cleaning house! Then there was another Pysanky egg to be made (this is my third, second following a traditional pattern) and some meat balls are baking in the oven, destined first for the freezer, second for a crock pot and third for the Pascha pic nic!

This evening there will be Bridegroom Matins. Time turns upside down during Holy Week, and versperal liturgies are in the morning and matins services are held in the evening. We remember the ten virgins with the oil lamps and we are admonished to be among those who are prepared for the Bridegroom's coming.

We sing:

Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching, and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God, Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

The ki…

"Just One Verse, Lord."

Today is one of those days when I got up early and will be going until late. Too much on my plate. I did cancel one appointment (Eric's piano lesson), and that helped a wee tiny bit. You see, because we had Vesperal Liturgy for the Annunciation last night (and those always make me tired), I did not go grocery shopping in the afternoon as I normally do. So the shopping fell to today. And I have American Heritage Girls tonight. And Eric needed a suit for Pascha. And, and, and.

So...what all did I do? Up this morning (I was late for Matins because while I was eating breakfast I discovered that blogger has a new template thingy and I was trying to redesign my blog a bit. I'm only mariginally happy with what's up now. I'm sure it will change soon.) Then coffee with a friend. Home again to help kids get started on school work, then out the door to meet the Farmer and get my eggs and milk and cheese and beef. Then home again to make lunch. Did all that, then I …

And we have the winners!

Rebecca and Hezra!

My First Pysanky

I know it's far from perfect, but I'm still the proud mama of my very first pysanky egg! As the saying goes: Practice makes perfect!

The kids are alternately concentrating, getting frustrated and having a good time with this activity, and are doing a remarkable job of taking turns.

Pascha Baking Plans

Tabitha was asking for the gluten free Kulich recipe, so I figured I could do a post on my Pascha baking plans. (Follow the link above to the recipe I plan on using). I've not tried that recipe yet, but it looks pretty standard, so I'm not too worried.

Bethany's been doing just fine off the GAPS diet and I really believe that the addition of soaked grains (all gluten free) has been good for her. She seems more energetic more often.

So, I suppose I need to find some large cans for baking the Kulich in. I guess I'll have to remember to save some large diced tomato cans when I make soup, or perhaps get my kids to eat some of the canned peaches that are in the pantry.

Additionally, there's a lovely blog called Mennonite Girls Can Cook, that has lots of nice recipes, including paska and Kulich, and gluten free kulich. Check it out. If you go there, notice she has a nice big button on the right hand side for Pascha recipes.

It IS kind of strange that all these…

OK, Enough About Obamacare, already!

I'm just sick of it, aren't you?

And ironically enough, we've been getting a royal run around from both this year's and last year's health insurance companies this week. Wes has borne the brunt of this with phone calls and sitting on hold for an hour before his phone died the other day.

The sun is shining, kids are happy and every evening this week I've had choir practice. Therefore, I'm skipping Church tonight. And then I'll take us all there tomorrow for the feast of the annunciation.

Guys, it's PASCHA in a week and a half!!!! I need to collect my supplies and do some baking: Going to make gluten free and regular kulich. Going to make a cheese spread. Need to decide what else to put in our pascha basket. Need to take Maia shoe shopping. And of course plan for food, etc.

On Sunday we are planning to drive to St. Athanasius for the pascha pic nic, if we are still welcome.

It was a good day for a trip to the zoo yesterday. Every day has …

Outing Myself

I watched CNN last night, and when the bill passed, I hooted and hollered. I'm so happy. I know. It's not the "done thing" to be happy about this legislation in "Christian Circles", is it? Well, it depends on who you ask. (Me being the left leaning pro-life political agnostic type who doesn't fit in anywhere and who can't bring herself to vote because all the candidates stink).

I don't understand why everything has to boil down to the abortion issue for conservatives. Yes, unborn lives are important, but so are born lives. What about the man I know who has lived with chronic knee pain (he needs surgery) for years, but because his condition is pre-existing since childhood, he can't afford to buy insurance to cover himself and get the surgery he needs? What about children who get sick and are hospitalized and then have a pre-existing, like kidney failure or liver failure or both, and then can't get insurance after that? What abou…

I'm feeling sad

My priest, Father Alexander is retiring form parish priesthood at the end of June, and taking a job at St. Tikhon's Seminary. This will be good for him: less work, and time to undergo chemotherapy for his stage four cancer. He joked that if/when he dies, it will cut costs for Olga to bury him, that she could just roll him down the hill. Apparently he's already purchased his burial plot there.

He'd already made the announcement on Friday evening to a small group at the Akathist service, and a friend told me yesterday. Then, today after Liturgy he told everyone. Father Gregory led us in standing up and shouting Axios! (Worthy!) and we sang "God grant you many years"...rather feebly and through tears.

I'm sad. I'm selfish and I'm sad. It's taken me this long just to start to "click" with Fr. Alexander, since I think he's rather hard to "read". But when he told me recently that I"m the funniest person (or one of…

Gather Ye Rosebuds...

made from an old bed sheet. I needed more kitchen aprons and so went fabric shopping in my linen closet.

And yes, the pocket has a pleat in it to be intentionally pouffy. Not that it really needed a pocket. That was just for fun.

Remembering Raw Milk in Switzerland: The Old Way

When I was a kid, growing up in Basel, Switzerland, there was raw milk for sale at the little corner store down our street. It was a mom and pop shop, and literally just was big enough to walk into. There was one aisle from the door of the store to the counter. Food stuff lined that one aisle and much could be had from behind the counter, if one had the courage to ask. Mother would send me to the store with a litte list, which I usually handed to the shop keeper, who would fill my order.

I must have been five or six when my mother would send my brother and me down to that store for little items that she needed. The shop owner would always give us kids a piece of chiclet chewing gum when we came in to make a purchase. The first time we ever shopped there alone, and were the recipients of that gift of chewing gum, my mom asked us if we had properly thanked the shop lady for the gum. No, we had not. She marched us right back down to the that corner store and told us exactly what …

Vile Smell of the Week

I cleaned some spoiled fish out of my freezer yesterday and forgot to take out the trash until just now when I came home from a lovely spring-time walk at the nature center and noticed how bad my home smelled.


Just keepin' it real, ya'll.

Blog Giveaway: Free to a Good Home!

I am happy to announce another blog giveaway. I turned the ugliest fabric ever into two plus size apron/smocks. Now, I know for a fact that there are people out there in the multiverse who think this fabric is adorable. And to that end, I did my very best to make these aprons cute and attractive.

The apron with blue trim was my first ever effort at using seam binding, so there's a wee bit of evidence of my lack of experience, but it's still OK (and I am giving them away for free after all). The green-trimmed apron, if I do say so myself, is spit spot perfect.

These would fit size 1x-3x I think.

So, please, let me know if you want to enter the drawing, and one week from today I will hopefully pull YOUR name out of a jar.

Leave a comment with your name and e-mail or send me a private e-mail at alanasheldahl at gmail dot com to enter.

I just know SOMEONE out there likes this fabric. But it is most definitely NOT me. Purple...makes me shudder.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom …

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Long, but worth it.

What He Said

Please go and read this short post by Fr. Stephen Freeman. Yes, if someone were to ask me "what are you learning this lent?" I'd have to point to this and say "What he said."

Because You Asked

Hi there, I am wanting to go low carb again, and it is hard with Lent here. I would be interested in hearing about what you think of a vegetarian diet from a penitential aspect, but when a person is carb sensitive. I would like to be more penitential myself, but am not willing to gain weight.
Lenten blessings,
L in WA

Hello L in WA,

I'm going to try to answer your question to the best of my ability. This means I might end up blogging about some pretty personal stuff. Pray for me.

Lent this year is the first year I've ever felt like I was "keeping the fast". And ironically enough, I have NOT been "keeping the fast" in a strict sense. Let me explain. Ideally, Orthodox Christians are asked to fast from meat, dairy, eggs, fish, oil (or olive oil depending on your interpretation) and wine. What have I been fasting from? Olive oil (that one's easy, come on!), meat and wine. What have I NOT been skipping: dairy and eggs and some fish sometimes.

But here…

Sewing Plans: Dresses and the Ugly Apron Project

I hope to squeeze some sewing time into my busy schedule this coming week. Perhaps I'll even do the cutting tomorrow.

The fabric I ordered came the other day and it's all washed and ready to be pressed and cut. Two dresses await. With all the Church coming up in the next few weeks, I really want them done. Especially in time for Holy Week.

AND when I was going through my stash, I found a bunch of really ugly cotton fabric. It has purple, lime green and light blue butterflies, turtles, fish, ducks, flowers and perhaps some other odd creature. What a motley collection of creatures in some very odd colors! I have enough of this fabric for a dress, but methinks the ONLY justifiable use for this stuff is to try and challenge myself to turn it into as cute an apron as possible. Towards that end, I bought bias tape and ric-rac in the various colors found in the fabric. Perhaps I'll delve into my stash and find some eyelet lace for some trim or something, and we shall s…

Seeking Peace in My Own Heart and the Art of Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance

I would have written "Zen and the Art..." but I'm not Bhuddist, so there.

We bought our vacuum cleaner in November of 2008. It's a Hoover Wind Tunnel. Big, bulky and rather heavy. When we got it, it worked like a dream.

Somewhere in the past seventeen months it has stopped being wonderful and merely been a big pain the butt. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to vacuum around here. And when they do(usually involving vast amounts of monetary compensation-which is how the kids earn their allowance around here), it doesn't clean correctly.

I'm sure you have had similar frustrations with your own vacuum, whatever the brand. This seems to be a perpetual vacuum cleaner reality.

So today, in a fit of frustration, I decided to actually turn the stupid thing upside down and see if I could figure out WHAT the heck is going on with it.

Duh! Duh! Duhduhduhduhduh! Why did I not do this, like, SIX MONTHS AGO???????

And yes, I did unplug it first.

Materials need…

Things sure do get dirty fast!

My kitchen floor is sticky, the toilet in the kid's bathroom has a ring of dirt in it (and good grief, it hasn't been all that long since it's been scrubbed!), there's a pile of laundry to sort and put away, and another pile that needs to be washed. The crumbs on the dining room floor are begging to be vacuumed, and when I look around all I see is clutter and dust.

All I want to do is clean my house. With no one underfoot and no one to stop me and unlimited energy to do it with, and no back pain.

But this is not heaven so that won't happen.

Second choice: get everyone to help me clean house and get it done so that we can enjoy the weekend.

That might actually have a ghost of a chance. Wish me luck.

I want to clean house so badly. I should rephrase that: I want a clean home so badly.

"Cardfile system? Did she not post a nifty card file system of eliminating the need for massive weekend cleaning sprees?" you ask yourself. Ah, yes. Yes I did. …

Blog Giveaway

Hi gang,

I'm doing a blog giveaway over on my other blog. Interested in the ancient Christian practice of wearing a head covering in Church? Go check it out.

Obeying the Gospel Commandments

I decided to do a little Lenten exercise with my kids this year. We are reading through the Gospel of St. Matthew between now and Pascha. After we read each chapter, we review it and write down the things that we learned we are to DO, from each chapter.

We've only done four chapters yet, since we just started, but here is what we have come up with from the first four chapters of Matthew:

1. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
2. Worship Him
3. Repent/Turn away from our sins
4. Confess our sins
5. Be baptized
6. Worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve
7. Not live by bread alone, but live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (We discussed that we have to live our lives mindful that this is the "shadow Land" and that the Kingdom of Heaven is our eternal goal, this life is temporary and Heaven is permanent, and that this changes how we approach living our lives).
8. Do not tempt God (Don't dare God to rescue you from stupidity just to "prov…

Low Carb Lenten Lunch

I know I'm not the only person out here trying to cut carbs and eat lenten. So this is why I occasionlly post what I eat. Sorry if this bores you.

Cabbage-n-onion boil with salt and pepper. (I really don't think I need to explain this dish, do I?)

seitan (how do you pronounce that, like Satan?) -which is a low carb wheat gluten fake meat-like substance. Heated in skillet with a wee bit of oil.

Slice of coconut flour coffee cake. Yes, this contains eggs. Oh well. (This is to fill me up.)

Doing a low carb diet meatless and nut-free is HARD. I'm not complaining, mind you, because it's a good kind of lenten "hard". But still. If I shock anyone because I'm eating eggs and dairy...well, try doing this thing with no potatoes, rice or pasta and see what there is left to eat.

I dreamed of shrimp the other night. That's how much of it I've been eating. In my dream they were huge: Taco Sized. The very thought makes me want to gag.

Now I really mu…

Sewing Stuff: Ugly Fabric at the Fabric Store, etc.

I'm serious. Come on. The clothes we all wear these days: Does anyone else secretly think they are ugly? Almost as bad as the 1980's, which at the time we all thought was great just because it wasn't the 70's.

Loud splashy color combinations that just scream. These might look good on insect-like supermodel stick people and if you can pull it off, I'm so happy for you. I can't.

So what's a lady to do? I poked around on-line, and while I think that it's somewhat risky buying fabric from an on-line store, I decided to do it anyways.

Here's what I bought: This and This.

Not exactly the most trendy things in the world....but then again, neither am I. I walked around all afternoon at various fabric stores asking myself: "Do I get what's "in" or do I get what I like? Do I get what's "in" or do I get what I like?"

I decided to go more to the "what I like" side of things, although I am toning down …

Vile Smell of the Week

I thought it would be fun to start a "blog thing" called Vile Smell of the Week. It's for us domestic goddess blogging types. As we all know, being a home-maker allows us to come across a wide range of olifactory offensiveness in the course of our exciting and very important lives. And we should encourage one another, you know?

So, if you want to participate, please blog about a vile smell in your own home, and then link back to my blog. And post a comment in the comments section of this blog so that I can go and enjoy all the nastiness that other people encounter in the course of their housekeeping.

Here's my vile smell of the week story:

I came in from Church yesterday (the rest of the family had already arrived home and were grabbing a bite to eat-sometimes we drive separately if I'm giving my neighbor a ride) and when I opened the front door and nasty smell hit my nose. Almost like rotting meat, but not quite. How could it be? It's lent.

Was the…

It sure smells good!

1 package of lentils that I pre-soaked all day in water and a bit of whey.
several handsfull of small organic golden potatoes, cut up
1 onion, cut up
dollop of coconut oil
a couple or three of organic carrots, cut up.
a couple of cloves or garlic, crushed

Filtered water to cover all

1 Tablespoon of salt and 1-2 T. of this lebanese spice mix that contains: Allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, ginger, clove and nutmeg.

Too bad I can't eat it!

I added some of the spice mix to some leftover clam chowder and that was a BIG mistake. Now I need to come up with something entirely different for my low carb dinner, while my family feasts on the goodness that is this lentil and potato soup. Sigh.

Song Lyrics

After a several years-long dry spell, I finally have another song to let moulder in my notebook. I'm not a good musician (untrained. Barely more than one year of guitar lessons) and I don't have a good voice (I hide in the choir at Church by singing quietly) but I love music and I love to sing. And I love writing songs. Ironic, isn't it? Well, I reckon it's God-pleasing at any rate.

Stay with me Lord
by Alana Sheldahl
adapted from a prayer by Padre Pio

Stay with me Lord
I must have you present
So I do not forget you
or abandon you,
Stay with me Lord

Stay with me Lord
because I am weak
I need your strength
so I don’t fall
Stay with me Lord

Stay with me Lord
you are my life
and without you
I am without fervor
Stay with me Lord

Stay with me Lord the hour is late
and the day is drawing to a close
Stay with me Lord for death approaches
Oh how I need you in this night of exile
Stay with me, Jesus, I must have your presence
this alone I ask of you: Stay with me Lord
Stay with me Lord, stay w…

A Word about the Obesity Epidemic

In all the current national kerfluffle about Healthcare Reform, one thing keeps popping up as a prevenable medical thing, and that is the obesity epidemic. It seems that "everyone" (the ubiquitous "they") is all up in arms about this thing, this reality that has hit our country, our western world. Everywhere coca-cola and McDonald's go, there is the obesity epidemic.

And it is such a scandal. Such a shame. Shame! Shame! Shame! A national shame and a personal shame! oh, the scandal of it all! How dare we be so fat!?!!!!

Our health is in crisis and our health care system, some say, is in crisis. The way we are insured is in crisis. It's all coming to a head and it's so easy to look around and point fingers at greasy food or a supposedly lazy people with muffin-tops hanging out of their jeans. It's perfectly acceptable to despise the fat. Ask me how I know. I listen to talk. And so often, some person will commment about another person (alw…

For Today

Outside my window...gray skies, muddy old grass and a rocking chair on our patio.
I am thinking...that I am coming down with a cold. Already today my patience has been tried and I need to slow my thoughts down and be grace-filled.
I am thankful in the morning.
From the learning I'll need to look over what kids have done in history so far this week, and keep working with A to do some catch-up. Always there is grammar to review and I'm helping E get ready for an English test. We all loath pronouns, indirect objects, objects of the preposition and the like.
From the kitchen...Wha? I have to cook? AGAIN????? We finished off the "bowl of boredom" soup yesterday, thanks be! What on earth shall I make today? I have no idea.
I am wearing...right now...a night gown a robe. Later, I must wear something both lovely and comfortable, otherwise the day will get much worse than it already is.
I am creating...a child sized top-down cable card…

Since it is March

I decided to get out my spring clothes, and sort through my fall/winter clothes and see which ones are just plain too fallish and winterish looking to wear this time of year. Not that I'm putting away ALL my warm things, mind you, just the one's that scream "wear me to visit the pumpkin patch" or "aren't I a charming shade of holiday red?" You know what I mean.

At any rate, there's these vile old t-shirts of mine that got pulled out of my spring/summer bag of clothes. I'd forgotten all about them. Each is a very faded solid color: faded pale blue, faded peach, dingy lime green. Beige. You know the type.

I think that it's time for these t-shirts to meet their bitter end in a garbage can. I felt very un-lovely when I wore them last year and I am thinking that this year they need to go away. I don't have any warm feelings left towards those shirts and my dignity can barely stay intact when I wear them. They are that dingy.

Does a…

Home School Planning

Home school curriculum decisions have been made for next year. Yay for me. I'm finally, this year, getting the hang of this home school business. Am I very good at it? No, I don't think so. But I am confident that my kids are learning well, and learning what they are supposed to.

Somebody is tracking weather data, another is doing a plant growing experiment, and yesterday's dinner conversation went like this:

"What's the fart gas?"
"Methane, isn't it?"
"Yes! Did you know that there's lots of methane on Uranus? Ha ha ha ha ha."

We are finally to the point where we are re-using some of the more expensive items that we've purchased in the past years (Such as Teaching Textbooks. Worth every penny. But we are also still buying some big ticket items, too. It balances out.

Things I'm excited about: Teaching Textbooks, One Year Adventure Novel, and Tell Me More German. And Apologia Science stuff (Zoology, 7th grade Gener…

Discoveries and Thoughts

Red Lavender Tea-Oh. yum!

A movie called Sweet Land. Watched it on Netflix streaming. Very very charming, good and wonderful. Set in the 1920's, Minnesota. A love story.

I've also decided that Richard Preston is one of my favorite authors. Everything I read by him is a page turner, IMO. Currently reading the not-so-new fictional book The Cobra Event.

I'm so ready for spring! I guess I could get some of my spring time clothes out and start incorporating them into my wearrables as we transition to warmer climes in the next few weeks. I'm so ready for the skits and sandals phase of the year!

Bowl o' Boredom

1 onion, chopped
a bit of coconut oil, sautee onion

package of frozen cauliflower
family pack of frozen green beans
1 T. salt
crushed garlic
liberal sprinkling of italian seasonings
1 large can of diced tomoatoes
1 gallon of water.

Bring to boil. Boil until veggies are tender. Eat and be bored. Mmmm, lenten, low carb and nutritious!