Friday, April 30, 2010

Sick Family

Please say a prayer for us. There are about 4.5 of us sick right now with various ills. Coughing, snotting, headaches, fevers...that sort of thing.

Thank God I'm relatively healthy and can take care of everyone. I have been getting fatigued by late afternoon, but that is normal/manageable.

There is a strong whistling wind today and a bright blue sky and when I went to pick up our milk, I noticed white caps on the Ohio River. Beautiful.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I just HAD to sew something!

So I got out my nail file and filed down the trouble spot on my bobbin casing.

Then I finished one of the nightgowns I had cut out. This machine is still doing weird things, and plenty of patience was needed to complete this little project, rethreading and jiggling on the tension issues, and I actually broke two needles back to back at one point when somehow the allignment was "off", and the needle was jamming into the metal plate, but all in all, it was nice to limp along and accomplish something.

I particularly like the kitty cat ribbon decoration that I used on the front. Found in a grab bag of hand-me-downs from a friend.

One of Those Days

Ever had one of those days that is simply lived inside your head? Where you are daydreaming so hard you can hardly get anything real done? I am having such a day today. Lots to think and dream about, and lots to do that I'm currently not doing, or that I could be doing. Both in the immediate future (as in, today) and in the grand scheme of things.

I don't want to lose my life in the immediacy of the necessities of life. Really, I don't. I need to learn to dream.

Impossible dreams? I'm possible dreams? Best to keep them to myself, doncha think? Otherwise they might dissipate in a cloud of foolishness.

There I go again, calling myself foolish. Why do I always do that?

At any rate, life's too short not to eat cake for breakfast, I've decided. I did that today. I think I'll go make some fudge, fold some towels and file the edge of my bobbin casing to see if a homegrown fix will do until my new sewing machine arrives. Love the fact that I can eat fudge and cake and still lose weight. It's like having my cake and eating it too.

And while I make fudge, I'll think and dream. And clean up the kitchen while I'm at it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

" who remain and are suffering pain..."

Listen, you who remain and are suffering pain, hear what things I heard from the Lord of hosts, which the God of Israel declared to us. The vision of Edom: He calls to me from Seir. "Guard the battlements. I guard in the morning and at night. If you will inquire, inquire and dwell with me." In the forest on the road of Dedan you will lodge. Bring water to meet him who is thirsty, you inhabitants of the land of Teman; meet those who are fleeing with bread, because of the multitude who are fleeing and the multitude of those fallen in war." Isaiah 21: 10-15

I don't very often try to do any "Bible Study", but this really jumped out at me today. You see, one of the perpetual questions I have in my life is: "How, specifically, can I "live out the Gospel" when I have chronic fatigue issues and intermittent (but frequent) bouts of pain, especially when I over-do?

It seems on most days I can barely keep hearth and home running smoothly and there is hardly any energy left for any sort of "outreach" or "ministry". I'm sure this reality is "for my salvation", as we Orthodox like to put it. There is something in my soul that needs this aspect of my life.

So these verses stood out to me today. What? God is saying specifically something to those who are suffering and in pain?

The context here is a prophecy about refugees coming down the road. So, what do you do with the refugees? You are just sitting there, doing your thing, and you are also suffering and in pain and here come the refugees?

Very often, the stuff in the OT can be read as an analogy for the spiritual struggle, and that is how I'm reading this.

1. Guard the battlements. Just because I'm in pain or am suffering does not mean I have a free pass not to be on guard for my spiritual life. Morning and Evening. When I'm feeling sick it is so tempting to let that "time with the Lord" slide.

2. "If you will inquire, inquire and dwell with me." When I get tired, I tend to zone out and flood myself with information to distract from the fatigue and pain. Oh, I could be specifically "turning to the Lord" at these times. Too often I do not. I want to grow in this and do better.

3. Offer bread and water to the refugees who come my way. There's a quote somewhere that goes like this: "Be kind to everyone for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." something like that. Who are the "refugees" who need bread and water? Anyone and everyone. Aren't we ALL refugees in a sense, on some level? I think sometimes that's literal bread and water ad sometimes it is kindness, prayer, spiritual things. If my own well is dry and my own basket is empty I have nothing to give and the Lord can't use me. I'm also reminded of the words of Christ about offering a cup of cold water in His name. Sometimes all we can do is pray. Even that is worth something, since God made the water.

I'm not writing this to justify myself "not doing anything." I clearly have room to grow. It's actually more of a challenge to me: What am I turning to first when that fatigue and pain hits me? Am I turning my heart to the Lord, my eyes to the Scriptures and my thoughts to prayer? Or is it facebook, gmail, "lite reading" and the television?

Time to guard the battlements. Time to inquire and dwell with the Lord.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's the Bobbin Casing, silly!

Today, I decided to officially declare my sewing machine to have bitten the dust. Or at least the bobbin casing to my rather wretched and ill-reviewed Singer 3820 150th Anniversary Edition sewing machine which I have had since 2001.

When I bought this machine, I thought it was a huge upgrade from whatever I had before, and I'm sure it was. But this is not a well-made machine. Numerous people in internetland have had the same exact trouble with this machine that I have: The bobbin casing gets pulled out of place and the needle then strikes straight into either the metal plate or the plastic edge of the bobbin casing.

This has happened enough times on my machine that there is a nick in the edge of the BC which is preventing the thread from smoothly flowing out of the bobbin to get caught up into the mechanism of the newly forming stitch.

Imagine thejoy of perpetually tangled threads. Such fun.

And I have lots of sewing to do: A Wedding dress, a rehearsal dinner dress and some vestments, not to mention the fact that I have already cut out some night gowns for my girls. Today I was going to try and get at least one of them put together when I ended up unscrewing lots of sewing machine parts, poking around here and there and finally examining the wretched bobbin casing and discovering the damage.

Of course the first thing I thought of was that it would be good to replace this one part, me being the frugal person that I am. Can I find it anywhere in ANY parts lists for the Singer 3820...of course NOT.

Do I REALLY MIND????? Of course NOT! My husband is eager to buy me a new sewing machine, so I think I will let him. It won't be a Singer this time. That company, so a friend informs me, quit making good machines ages ago and is coasting along now on an undeserved reputation. After my experience with this machine, I believe her.

So, I don't need anything complex or too fancy, but I do think I'm going to go for something electronic as opposed to mechanical. Greater precision.

Whatever I get, I'll use it steadily, as I have my entire married life. I bought my first machine with wedding money in 1992 and used it until the motor burned out on it (that's lots of sewing!) and my second machine nine years I'm averaging a machine every nine years.

I think, I want a serger, too. But I'll have to save up for one of those. Maybe with some of this summer's sewing money....;-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Metabolism Miracle Phase 1 Chocolate Fudge

1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup Z sweet sweetener
1/2 cup splenda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup cream

Melt all these, stirring constantly in a double boiler, when melted, add:

4 squares of unsweetened baker's chocolate.

Stir until melted.

Pour into parchment paper lined pan or container (I used a flat rectangular tupperware container) and refrigerate until firm.

Lick bowls and spoons.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some Pictures from This Week

Birthday Cake in Binary.
Lovely blooms!
Incredible bumblebee beauty on some flowering bushes.
The T-Rex and the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit at the Louisville Zoo. Yes, we know it's not real. Really we do. I promise.
Here we are, fleeing for our lives from the dangerous T-Rex at the Louisville Zoo.
Fleeing from a T-Rex at the zoo.

Today I spent all day cleaning my home. I started in the bedroom, where I turned on corner into a permanent sewing area. I'm so excited! After living here a year and a half, the junky area (creeping pile) of Wes' is finally under control and we are using the space in our bedroom in a more efficient manner. Of course, I have not actually sat down for any sewing yet, since I'm over-tired from cleaning. But this makes me happy.

My youngest daughter took all the pictures of the zoo trip (including the incredible pink flowers). She's a very talented young photographer, at least compared to her mother.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Growth Spurt!

I remarked this morning how tall my son was getting. He decided to check himself against the marks on the wall that we made only a few weeks ago (3-14-2010).

Oh my goodness!

The boy has grown an INCH in the past five weeks!!!!!

So, not to be outdone, his younger sister had to check herself as well. They were the exact same height a month ago.

The girl, though, has grown an INCH AND A HALF in the past five weeks and is currently gloating that she's taller than her older brother.

I knew kids could shoot up at the ages of almost 11 and almost 12, but this just is a really really fast rate of growth.

Now I know where all that grocery money is going. I think I joined Costco just in time!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"The Old Grandlady"

A friend had this spinning wheel sitting in a box in her garage. It had been passed down from her great-grandmother (my friend is 60), who purchased this as a curio/decorative item in the early 1900's. This spinning wheel has seen some hard use, but not in my friend's family, therefore I conclude that it was well-used when she bought it.

Grooves have been worn in the fly wheel from where the freshly spun wool was winding onto the bobbin. The groove that the axel of the drive wheel sits in is worn down, perhaps a half-centimeter or more. The fly wheel is held in with leather parts, and the tension can be adjusted with a large wooden screw.

I want to dub this spinningwheel "The Old Grandlady" or something like it. She's a bit of a wool-eater, and we have not finished learning how to use her yet.

She is old. 1800's old, I think. I suspect it takes a lot of years of spinning to put those kinds of grooves in wood. I'm going to take her down to The Grinny Possum someday and see what the owner there thinks. They have quite a collection of antique spinning wheels there as well, and seem knowledgeable.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today I've Been a Mommy for 16 Years!

B arrived after a miserable pitocin induced labor and no anesthetic until the anesthesiologist finally arrived from his afternoon golf game (my theory) to give me an epidural when I was in transition and ready to push-after screaming myself hoarse for a couple of hours. Pitocin contracitons and lamaze simply don't mesh. Consequently it took me 2 hours and 13 minutes of pushing and fear induced by the threat of foreceps to get her out of my rather beleaguered body.

B arrived with a head full of dark brown hair, at 9 pounds, 9 ounces. And I promptly passed out. After I came to, she was in the nursery for the requisite 4 hours. When that time was up, at 10:30 pm, I called and asked to room in with my baby, whom I'd not really even met yet. They told me I couldn't have her-Couldn't have her!until after pediatric rounds the following morning. !!!!! So my squeaky objections got me a half an hour with my daughter (the curse of having a high squeaky voice. I'm always getting confused for my kids over the phone and I think it's why the most common thing I get called by affectionate non family members who don't know better is "kiddo", as if I were Luke Skywalker, or in my early 20's or something.)

The whole thing inspired me to seek a home birth next time. But that's a story for two weeks from now when it's "next time"'s birthday. ;-)

Good times had by all today as we went to the zoo with my sis, BIL and their two kids.

On B's cake, this morning, we got number candles: 10000-which is 16 in binary. Big laugh over that one. It's been a good and blessed day and I'm blessed beyond belief to be B's mother.

God grant you many years, my darling!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Because You Asked

"Just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another's prayers, so they pray also for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together"-Bishop Kalistos Ware

One of my readers, Elisabeth, asks:

It is a foreign concept to pray to saints for me. I grew up with little religion and have found myself and God through a non-denominational Protestant church. I guess I feel like the saints are sort of a 'pray to me first, don't go bothering the Man Upstairs' thing. Kind of like discouraging you from praying to the true Lord and Savior. Not that the saints aren't great, they are, but praying to them just seems, well, strange.

Do you know where the idea of praying to Saints came from? I'm intrigued and curious now. :-)

The idea of prayer to the saints comes directly down to Christ's victory over death, and what we Christians believe was accomplished through his death, the harrowing of hell, and his Holy Resurrection. It comes down to what we believe about our fellowship with one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rather than write an extensive answer myself, however, I want to point you to this most excellent and thorough article on the subject called Prayer and the Departed Saints by David C. Ford, Ph.D.. Please do read it. It will answer all your questions, dear reader, about the Orthodox thinking on this subject.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thar She Blows!

We've had a HOT spring here in the Ohio River Valley of Kentucky this year. (I almost went and wrote "Central Kentucky" and then I remembered that I no longer live in the Bluegrass, which is a weird brain bender, but I digress.) More than once I've heard people remark that we skipped spring and went straight to summer. The fact that Eric had symptoms of heat exhaustion while we were visiting the zoo the other day does nothing but support our weather observations. It's APRIL...and the first half of April, at that. Egads.

Will it be a hot summer?

I predict that it will NOT be a hot summer, but rather a cool and rainy summer. Why, you ask?

Because a honkin' big volcanic eruption that is going on and on and on is spewing gobs of volcanic ash four miles high into the atmosphere, that's why.

But I could be wrong, you know. It could be that this is the wrong kind of volcano to cool things down on a global scale. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Help from that Great Cloud of Witnesses

Today I needed to refill Bethany's medicine tray. I opened up our lock box where we keep our medicine, and went to dole out the pills into their aloted spaces in the pill dispenser...and her Geodon was nowhere to be found. I could not find it.

So, I checked in the bedroom...not there. I looked around and under, and in varous places. Perhaps it had fallen into a dresser drawer. Nothing. I checked the medicine shelf in the kitchen, and nothing. I double checked where we stash our vitamins...nothing.

Then a friend of mine called, while I was hunting for the Geodon bottle and we prayed together. She prayed a prayer and asked St. Phanourios to pray for us. He is the saint of finding lost things.

As quickly as the prayer was said, the Geodon was found. Wes found it.

Glory to God who is mighty in His Saints and who heard our prayers and the mighty intercessions of Saint Phanourious.

For more about the Holy Great Martyr Phanourious, check out the OrthodoxWiki article.

I like getting to know saints I have not previously met. Holy Saint Phanourious, pray to Christ our God that He have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Today I bought a membership to Costco.

I know this will save our family some money over the long haul, since they have some really good prices on Organic stuff. The more of that the better, although we certainly are not purists.

Ariana is ecstatic over the ginormous bag of frozen blueberries I bought home. Yum.

Things I'm eyeballing there: a small folding table that I might set up as a permanent sewing corner in my bedroom.

Mattresses. The memory foam kind. I'm jonesing pretty badly for one of those. Will have to save up.

I really want to take Wes there for a tour.

This week, I still need to go birthday shopping for B, make a cake and stick it in the freezer before Sunday and buy a wedding present for some friends. Sunday we are driving to the wedding and I won't have time to make B's birthday cake. I guess I can take some cake with us for B to eat at the wedding since the cake there is not likely to be gluten free. He he.

My oldest is turning 16 on Monday!!!!! No driver's liscence for her, though, which makes me a bit sad. Her teenage years are not the fun filled and exciting years they are for so many. Or maybe that's just a myth I wrongly believe about everyone else's life. At any rate, the whole "16" thing is enough to make a mother misty eyed, for sure.

But I'm happy about Costco, at any rate, so I just wanted to share my joy. ;-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

OK, I know I'm weird...BUT

I still need to write this. Today it's in the 80's here. I went to the zoo. My outfit: ankle length straight skirt (not the coolest, I was wishing I had on one of my swirly tiered skirts or a broomstick skirt instead of what I had on...but still), and and ill fitting tank top, pink hoodie (I had to wear my pink hoodie no matter what and I could not take it off due to only having ill fitting tank underneath), sneaks and a bandana to disguise my bad hair day.

I felt SO out of place. And I'll admit, I was too hot, thanks to skirt and jacket.

If I would have worn a tube top, I would have fit in.

If I had been wearing DAISY DUKES with my butt cheeks hanging out, I would have fit in.

If I had been wearing a micro mini skirt, I would have fit in.

If I had been wearing a spaghetti-strapped tank blouse, I would have fit in.

If my nearly strapless sun dress had hit me mid-thigh, I would have fit in.

If I had been wearing short shorts, and a skin tight t shirt, I would have fit in.

What is UP with women's summer time clothing?????

Meanwhile the men are wearing: baggy pants, t-shirts or button shirts and IF they have on shorts, they come below the knee.

Seriously, Ladies...does anyone else see or get the disparity here?

I acknowledge the fact that I missed it when it came to judging the weather, getting dressed this morning, and I could have chosen cooler clothes...BUT STILL.

Why have women completely abdicated their dignity and their modesty? Why, why, why??????

And what kills me, is that if asked, most of these gals would probably call themselves feminists. And yet here they are, completely and blindly participating in the gross sexualization of their persons, leaving NOTHING to the imagination or to mystery.

Modesty, clearly, is a lost art.

How do YOU dress in the summer time? I will readily admit that I'm a little too futsy. I will also admit I have body image issues and that I'm overweight. And that I have a hard time finding the right balance. Really, I do.


A Balanced Day: Ideas

I've been thinking today, as I've been busy working around my home, about what a good day looks like.

I think it's a matter of balance. Of finding joy in the little things.

One of the things I've had to learn since my energy levels are less than my life, is how to make choices and how to balance things out. It's hard on me when I let myself focus on all the things I don't get accomplished, or the million small messes around the home that I don't have energy to do anything about. It's easy for me to feel rather depressed, and this is on top of the general depression I think I have on-going. This second feeling might be described as a blend of self pity and lassitude. I think it is this sort of depression that might be a sin. The pouting kind of depression.

It is easy to go there when I don't get what I want...or when I don't have the energy to do what I want. But really, as pathetic as I do sound on here much of the time, I try not to go there. (That might be the topic for a whole 'nother blog post: When is depression sinful and when is it a medical condition that is not a sin and needs help, and how to tell the difference.)

So, with the limited energies that I do have, I must learn to be a good steward. I have to plan my time, both to work and to rest.

So, here are my ideas about a balanced day:

A balanced day would include

scripture reading
reading some other good/uplifting/worthwhile book
well planned(intentional) meals and snacks with an eye towards nutrition and what my body requires
drinking enough water
taking my medications
exercise of some form. Ideally, three times a week working out (for me) at Curves, and a couple of longer walks thrown in there...preferably at the Nature Center or the Zoo. Unfortunately, as it currently stands, grocery shopping counts as a "Long walk" since on the days I do that, I have no energy for much of anything else.
creating some order somewhere in my home
creating something beautiful...whether working on some knitting, sewing, emobroidery, blogging, an encouraging word to someone else, focusing on a small space in my home and making it better...
keeping appointments on time
being kind and polite to everyone I meet no matter how I feel, even my family-I do try.
And getting to bed at a decent hour. By eleven. That's hard for me, because sometimes it means hardly having any personal time at all. But I am discovering that if I DO go to bed early, I wake up earlier than the family, well rested, and ready to go the next day, and that can ONLY be a good thing...

So, there it is: My thoughts on a balanced day.

Today my balanced day: exercise at the zoo, Chapters from Isaiah and Luke, Morning Prayers, cutting out some nightgowns and marking the fronts to do embroidery work, cleaning up the kitchen and laying out meat for dinner, schooling/teaching the kids, doing some laundry, and folding towels...oh yeah...and blogging.

Now I'm off to that zoo trip and the library. Wish me luck with having energy to make dinner tonight, LOL. And check out the above links about "The Spoon Theory".

Raw Milk Symposium: Madison, Wisconsin

Isaiah 12

Well, first off, I was going to do a post entitled Isaiah 11, because that's gorgeous and christological and wonderful and prophetic and all that...but then, this morning in my reading I just kept right on going and came to Isaiah 12! Oh, such beauty, such hope and such joy. It's like reading a passage from the New Testament smack dab in the Old.

"And on that day, you will say, "I will bless You, O Lord. Although You were angry with me, You turned away Your anger and had mercy on me. Behold, God is my Savior and Lord. I will trust in Him and be saved by Him. I will not be afraid, for the Lord is my glory and my praise. He has become my salvation." You will draw water with gladness from the wells of salvation. In that day, you will say, "Praise the Lord; call upon His name. Declare His glorious things among the Gentiles and make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the name of the Lord, for He has done great things. Declare this in all the earth. Exult and be glad, O inhabitants of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is exalted in her midst." --Isaiah 12, Orthodox Study Bible

I think I need to work on memorizing this chapter.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sewing and Stuff

Today I finished making a simple summer nightie out of a full sized flat sheet. It was very simple, with a square neck yoke and fluttery short sleeves, gathers underneath the yoke. Since the fabric was white and boring, I did some embroidery on the front yoke.

I have more sheets that my friend was getting rid of, so soon I'll be sewing the girls some nighties as well, seeing as how we do not have any full sized beds and they need summer nighties.

I was awake at four something this morning, and around five, I decided to give up and get up. My back was aching and I could not get back to sleep. So, early this morning I got some reading done, which was nice. I finished _The Shack_. I have to admit I was very prejudiced against this book when I first started reading it but it turns out I really liked it, and I sort of needed to hear the message the book had to offer. I have my own Great Sadness to deal with, I know. In particular I like the line: "Tell him I am particularly fond of him." I'd like to hear it as "Tell Alana I'm particularly fond of her." Maybe God is. Maybe that's what I needed to hear from this book. I wish I felt it more.

I've really been feeling depression rear its ugly head lately. I wish it were not so, but it does stay with me, doesn't it? I'm sure the exhaustion of Holy Week and Pascha did not do anything to help at all. Sometimes I wonder if I need meds to help. I wonder. NO matter how hard I try, I can't shake the sadness and I can't quite ever feel joy. Even when I make gratitude lists. Even when I sing songs to myself about "put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, lift up your hearts to God..." That popped into my head today from days long gone. I think it was a line from a praise chorus that we sang back at Lexington Mennonite Church. I wonder if its a Scripture quote. I almost don't want it to be, because in my depression I find it rather sentimental and annoying. Like I have an obligation to fix myself.

And that, is the root of it all. That feeling that I ought to be able to fix myself if I could just try harder. Heck, I can't even keep my house clean! How on earth am I going to fix me? But still that feeling persists. No matter how many Bible verses or how much theology I throw at it to try and get rid of that awful feeling. No matter how much I try, I can't seem to just rest in God's grace and love and mercy and feel joy. Even though I want to. Why is that? I think it's depression. And that brings up the point...why do I have feel like I ought to "fix myself"? I'm not even talking of the level of being fixed like being healed and forgiven of one's sins. Nothing so astute or elevated. No, my self-deprecating thoughts run more along the lines of "You look ridiculous and unpolished for a forty year old woman." "You should have better fashion sense by now." "What you like is ridiculous". "You should not like the things you like." "You should lose weight." "You should fix your body by eating in a perfect way and taking all the right vitamins, etc."

And I never quite have the energy to do all that I need to do each day. I am perpetually behind. My cooking lately has been pathetically dependent on frozen pizzas. Even there my standards are ridiculously high and not-live-up-to-able and I don't know why. Perhaps I feel like if the food I serve is "ideal enough" then B wouldn't be sick. Or something. But then I can never maintain that level of involvement. Because I'm achy and depressed and tired.

Ok, so this has been an honest and gut wrenching blog post. I will probably post it anyways. Pray for me.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Fight Back Friday: O Lord, Save the Bees!

Scene: Evening Family Prayers

...Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us, etc....

...Lord have mercy...

a kid of ours: "Lord have mercy on the people in our apartment complex, all the people in Louisville, the people at Boyscouts and AHG, the people at St. Michael's and the people at St. Athanasius."

All of us: Lord have mercy.

another kid of ours: "Lord, please let GMO's be made illegal, or at least make it so that they have to be labeled as such. And Lord, please help the Bee populations so they don't die out!"

All of us: Lord have mercy.

yet another kid: "And Lord, please help make abortions illegal forever and please save the Bees."

All of us: Lord have mercy. Amen.

Me to Wes afterwards: "Well, at least when we were kids all we had to worry about was Nuclear War!"This post is linked on Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays.

This makes me so happy!

Soccer game. Fans. In Russia. In public: Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

The Countdown Begins

Well, we are starting to hit our home school stride again after Holy Week and Pascha. And the count down to the end of the year has begun, albeit quite unofficially I might add.

At least two, if not three, of my kids have come to me and said: "I only have X number of lessons left in X subject." The numbers usually break out to be about 6 weeks from now.

This is exciting. I think I'll have the kids make count down charts, so that we can really be motivated to "Git-R-Done".

The only subject we are really behind on is American History. Again, no one loves the curriculum (and I had such HIGH hopes, sigh). We need to do two lessons a week to get done in a timely manner on this one. And why are we behind? Well, this is the ONE subject we are doing as a group read-aloud (except for Bible/Religion), and so the blame falls at my very own too-busy feet. Big. Shuddering. Sigh.

And I thought of a good way to make a distinction today between teaching and schooling: Teaching is when I go over something with someone, or explain and work with a student until they "get it". Schooling is my supervising them to study/learn independantly. Fortunately, I do more schooling than teaching, at this point in the game. Grading, on the other hand is something I ought to be doing, will do, plan to do, but have, with a few notable moments of exception, done very little of. Ooooo, that sentence is atrocious, grammatically speaking, and so is this one. And I don't care. I could probably diagram it if I had to, but since I don't I won't. I hate grammar as much as any fifth or sixth grader. But fractions are easy and fun.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Not Feeling Well

My back hurts today.

I've also been contemplating and wondering lately why I'm feeling so intellectually inastute. Almost like I've gotten duller, stupider, over the years. I certainly feel like I have less to say. I truly believe that my voice and opinion on things don't really matter in the grand scheme of the universe beyond how I show love to the people in my immediate vicinity.

Anything else, and I'm just a loud banging gong or some other noise maker. The world is noisy enough already.

Hope this day finds you all blessed, lovies. Jesus is risen from the dead. A painful back will also be swallowed up in His victory one day, so I really have nothing to complain about. ...especially since the wind chimes and breeze are so very very lovely.

Monday, April 05, 2010

It's a Small World After All

This weekend while I was visiting St. Athanasius' annual Pascha pic nic, I had fun playing a friend's guitar, while she played mandolin and alternately banjo, and another guy who, I assumed, was a friend of her's played banjo as well.

Well, they played, and I just followed along doing the chords-n-rhythm thing. Folk music. I had a blast.

It's been a while since I have regularly played my guitar and my finger tips are out of shape.(Note to self: Must remedy that situation.) I really wish I had a group of people to mess around with, musically, so that I can expand my knowledge and have such fun more often. Yes, I can pick up chords by ear, but all in all, I consider my musical abilities to be rather limited. Lackluster and untrained singing voice who hides in the back of choir and sings know the type. But I do SO enjoy it. I think me and music are a bit of a joke on God's part.

Well, today after liturgy I was introduced to this young man, and he asked me how long I'd been playing. I hemmed and hawed, unwilling to admit that I've not really improved much in the past 29 years or so, having reached my musical apex at the age of eleven after taking a year of guitar lessons to learn basic chords. A semester of jazz guitar in Seminary was utterly wasted on my limited sense of white girl rhythm.

Ben is his name, he seemed polite, and very young. Which is really to say that when I'm introduced to twenty-somethings, I feel old and uncool. Because I am.

Later, I was chatting with some other folks about a pipe dream of mine: Having a house for Orthodox adults on the autism spectrum or who might have other disabilities/health issues. This would be for (women, since I'm dreaming it up here...but who's just the germ of a dream. Could be couples, families, singles???) people who want to live a quiet, prayerful, communal life with somewhat of a prayer cycle, as part of a local parish, but who live and garden and share meals communally with each other. Enough private space to balance out the fellowship aspects.

So we are discussing these ideas, and also the limitations of monasticism, as regards people with disabilities.

Then it comes out in conversation that we (my husband and I and our kids) are not a members of St. Athanasius. He did not know that. "No, we moved to Louisville, we go to St. Michael's" "Oh, I'm good friends with the Craigs!" says this Ben person.

"Ah, you are BEN!" I say. "THE BEN who rode your bike to Alaska! I've heard STORIES about you."

It's a small world, a small, small Orthodox world here in this country.

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

v: Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those who hate Him flee from before His face!

Today, a sacred Pascha is revealed to us:
a new and holy Pascha,
a mystical Pascha,
a Pascha worthy of veneration,
a Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer,
a blameless Pascha,
a great Pascha,
a Pascha of the faithful,
a Pascha which has opened to us the gates of Paradise,//
a Pascha which sanctifies all the faithful.

v: As smoke vanishes so let them vanish; as wax melts before the fire!

Come from that scene, O women bearers of glad tidings,
and say to Zion:
“Receive from us the glad tidings of joy,
of Christ’s Resurrection!
Exult and be glad,
and rejoice, O Jerusalem,
seeing Christ the King, Who comes forth from the tomb//
like a bridegroom in procession!”

v: So the sinners will perish before the face of God. But let the righteous be glad!

The myrrh-bearing women,
at the break of dawn,
drew near to the tomb of the Life-giver.
There they found an Angel
sitting upon the stone.
He greeted them with these words:
“Why do you seek the Living among the dead?
Why do you mourn the Incorrupt amid corruption?//
Go, proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples!”

v: This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Pascha of beauty,
the Pascha of the Lord,
A Pascha worthy of honor has dawned for us.
Let us embrace each other joyously!
Pascha, ransom from affliction!
For today, as from a bridal chamber,
Christ has shown forth from the tomb,
and filled the women with joy saying://
“Proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles!”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

This is the day of resurrection!
Let us be illumined by the feast!
Let us embrace each other!
Let us call “Brothers” even those that hate us,
and forgive all by the resurrection,//
and so let us cry:

“Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” (Thrice)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Holy Friday

Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a Tree, (x3)

He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.

He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in mocking purple.

He who freed Adam in the Jordan receives a blow on the face.

The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.

The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a lance,.

We worship your Sufferings, O Christ (x3)

Show us also your glorious Resurrection.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Autsim Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. I decided to make an Autism Awareness Egg. I know, it's less than perfect. Wax drips, and losing track of which color goes where. Not as much red as would have been good.