Thursday, May 27, 2010

Great Martyr Evgeny

Father found and showed me this article today on Ad Orientem.  New Martyr Evgeny's feast was on May 23rd.

Evgeny (or Yevgeny) Aleksandrovich Rodionov was eighteen years old and serving his obligatory military service when he was captured by Muslim insurgents near Chechnya. After enduring months of extremely harsh captivity he was told he could save himself by converting to Islam. But he refused to remove the cross he wore. On May 23rd 1996, his 19th birthday, after enduring great torture he was decapitated by his captors and buried with three other murdered soldiers in a shell crater. His mother went to great lengths and expense to locate and recover her son's remains which have been reburied with honor. His grave is now a popular shrine for pilgrims and St. Evgeny has become the unofficial patron of the Russian Army.

His mother is still alive and often writes and speaks about her son.

Great Martyr Evgeny pray for us!

And another chapter closes..

Unless I am about to be surprised by something, it looks like we have closed on our house.  The new family will take possession next Tuesday.  I'm spending today packing to go up there tomorrow.

It's funny, Father expects me to be jumping up and down right now but I'm mostly tired thinking about this weekend.  I'm also simply thankful.  Thankful that we managed to sell our house in such a short time and losing only a moderate amount of money given the current economy and housing market. 

Now we start saving up again for another down payment!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We got notice yesterday that we will be closing on the house....tomorrow!  We're going to be spending the weekend moving the last items out of the house.  As a card-carrying list-maker, I already have 6 full lists going.  I have also pulled the old moving/inventory book out from the first half of our move.  It's already coming in handy (Yes!).

I will be blogging intermittently to not-at-all over the next several days.

Pray it all goes well!

Why is it...

...that a thirty pound boy can shake a house merely by walking across the floor?

...that it always rains just when you've hung the comforters on the line for airing?

...that you never can remember in the library the books that you wanted to check out?

...that you always resolve in the library to make a list for next time but always forget?

...that a toddler will contrive to soak (by any means) an outfit while away from home the day after you stop carrying extra clothes in the car?

...that at least once a week a child will put a dirty dish in the dishwasher full of clean dishes?

...that right after you pull away after a mid-trip stop, having individually inquired of the bathroom needs of each individual in the car, someone says, "I have to go to the bathroom" ?

...that the day you leave for church, confident that your scarf is in your purse, is the day you get to church and remember you took it out while looking for something else and decided to drop it in the wash?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Modest Mom

I know there are a few expecting moms out there who read this blog - have I found the thing for you!  I was looking at LAF this morning and they had a promo for a site, The Modest Mom, for modest maternity clothing and nursing covers.  I particularly liked the looks of the nursing covers - very pretty and practical.  Right now, LAF is having a giveaway drawing for a free skirt.  Check it out.

Also of note, there is also a blog: The Modest Mom Blog.

Addendum: they also have non-maternity skirts, ready made and made to order.  Sorry I didn't make that clear.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Praise Ye the Name of the Lord

I like this setting of Praise Ye the Name, but Father doesn't.  That's ok, we can disagree.  Especially since this isn't one we sing at our church anyway!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Joyous Feastday!

The Feast of Pentecost

Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God,
Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise
 by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit - 
through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net.
O Lover of Man, glory to Thee!

Trivia Question:  Who is the person at the bottom of the icon?

Answer: Kosmos or "the world".  See the comment box for a fuller explanation.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little Boys

I have loved these pictures ever since I saw them.  I found them here.

Notice the tiny sticharion and censor. 

When Ginger was little he was always holding services.  A lot of dolls got baptized in our house.  Since he started serving in the altar, he has toned it down a bit.  Pickles, however, is a maniac.  Everything he picks up is either a candle or censor and everything he drapes around him is a phelonion.  I made him a high-back phelonion and censer for his third birthday.  He has loved them to the point that they need serious mending.

He has good censing technique.  Maybe he can skip that part of his education at St. Tikhon's.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Memory Eternal

Chrissie died early this morning after 30 days in PICU post heart surgery.  Please pray for peace for her family. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rationality in cleaning

Let me state outright: 

I really hate to wash dishes.

Having a dishwasher doesn't affect this at all.  I don't even like unloading a clean dishwasher.  And this is brainless work.

The funny thing is: I like laundry.  And laundry is really a lot more involved than dishes.  But I have to think I can't be alone here.

I mean, and be honest now, which of you:  throws in a load of dirty dishes, once clean plops them into a basket, lugs them out to the line, hangs them, comes back a few hours later and takes them down, sits down to fold them and picking up a large saucepan, inhales the lemony scent of dishwashing detergent before folding it and putting it back in the cabinet?


How to enjoy warm weather:

Monday, May 17, 2010


Our magnolia tree is blooming!  I have one blossom in a vase on the mantle.  The fragrance is slowly permeating the house...

UPDATE:  The magnolia blossom turned BROWN within 24 hours.  Anyone know how to prevent this from happening?  Short of growing thirty feet overnight I'm not going to reach another blossom soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Yesterday I had an unlooked-for treat in a flat of strawberries from a farmers' market in Ponchatoula.  There are a LOT of strawberries in a flat.  I knew this academically, but it's a little different when one is staring at them waiting to be made into jam.

Not being one to stand over a stove all day, I decided to make freezer jam.  I was surprised to find out this uses less sugar than cooked jam.  I grabbed some extra sugar and Certo at the store this morning.

First I washed and de-topped the strawberries.  (I did this whole process in two batches and on the second batch I got smart and separated out a bowl for children to dip into while I was making the rest.)

At this point you're supposed to pop them in your food processor or blender.  We've never had a food processor and our blender is in a box in the garage of our old house.  I was surprised to find out I didn't have a potato masher (!) but I did have a pastry cutter.  This is not as good.  After some work with the pastry cutter I got out my hand mixer which is on its last legs beaters.  A stand mixer would have been better, but that too is in a box, etc., etc.  After a little progress and a lot of mess I poured the mush into a colander set over another bowl.  I pressed the pastry cutter back in service and forced the strawberries through the colander.  In the end I wound up with four cups of strawberry, um, stuff. 

Then I added 8 (yes, EIGHT) cups of sugar.  After stirring this in, it sits for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I added four Tbsp of lemon juice to 6 oz of liquid pectin (Certo).  I stirred this into the strawberries for three minutes until the sugar was dissolved.

Then I decanted the mixture into jars.  These didn't have to be sterilized (yet another reason for not doing conventional cooked jam) but just washed as usual.  The jars sit out for 24 hours for the jam to set and then are put in the freezer.  They keep for a year in the freezer and 3 weeks in the fridge.  As I said, I did this in two batches.  Each batch resulted in three jars filled to about 3 1/2 cups.

Yum!  I can't wait to try some.

UPDATE: It gelled, I tried it, it's great!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Elder Porphyrios

Joyous Feastday!

O Christ God, Thou hast ascended in glory
granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing they were assured
 that Thou art the Son of God
the Redeemer of the world!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Garden update

I got some pictures today of my gardening efforts:

I think I'm killing these.  It must be the water.

The impatiens are doing well - I think this is the first time I've gotten them to grow!

Here's the actual "garden".  Not much to see right now.  I'll use this as a comparison picture.  My SIL Amanda is giving me some help via e-mail.

And just because it's growing well, here's my fern.  I really like ferns.  Usually it's on the porch but I took it out for some water, sun and a walk (just kidding).

And as far as getting back on the road walking-wise: I dragged out there this morning and ran 7 blocks today.  Thanks for the cheers Rebecca!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Godfather

Father found this wonderful video - a summary of the Pascha service this year at Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Yakima, WA.  The priest with the long white beard is Father Joseph Copeland, Ginger's godfather.  We really miss being able to go to Holy Cross and to St. John the Forerunner Monastery where Ginger was baptized.  Just for nostagia's sake I decided to post some pictures of the baptism below the video.

"Blood Money"

I encourage everyone to check out this movie preview.  Please post it on your own blogs if you feel you can.   Taken verbatim from Father Alexander Fecanin's daily e-mail:

Blood Money - Movie Preview: ...

The following link is to a new independent film which needs our support to expose the corruption of Planned Parenthood. The movie is called Blood Money, and - in order for the producers to get it into the theaters - they need to show that millions of interested people have visited their website. You need only visit the website; there is no need to sign-up as a supporter unless you are compelled to do so. PLEASE HELP GET THIS IMPORTANT FILM INTO THEATERS BY VISITING THE WEBSITE, then forward this to your family and friends!


And a news item: “Where don’t babies come from?”

A report from LifeSiteNews. com, a Web site whose point of view is obvious from the name:

The pro-life movement in America is growing in leaps and bounds, attracting young, zealous women to defend the unborn in droves--a fact that even the president of NARAL (pro-abortion group) has now admitted.

NARAL's Nancy Keenan told Newsweek last week that she considers herself a member of the "postmenopausal militia"--a phrase that captures the situation of pro-abortion leaders who are aging across the board, including the leadership of Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women. Newsweek's Sarah Kliff notes that "these leaders will retire in a decade or so."

Keenan also remarked on the enormity of this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C., and, according to Newsweek, is troubled that such passion has faded among the youth on her side of the movement.

"I just thought, my gosh, they are so young," Keenan said about this year's March for Life in Washington. "There are so many of them, and they are so young."

The report cites a NARAL survey finding that, in LSN's words, "while 51 percent of pro-life voters under 30 considered abortion a 'very important' voting issue, only 26 percent of abortion supporters in the same demographic felt similarly."

What is behind this shift in sentiment? LSN, not surprisingly, attributes it to the moral power of the anti-abortion cause. Newsweek and Naral actually make some concessions to this point of view; the group's ex-head Kate Michelman tells the magazine, for instance that ultrasound technology "has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being."

There's a question here that nobody is asking: Where don't babies come from? (from pro-abortion women…). "Young, zealous women," after all, begin their lives as baby girls. For a more detailed exposition of this theory, check out our 2005 article "The Roe Effect." But here's the short summary: If the next generation of abortion proponents is mysteriously missing, it may be because their mothers availed themselves of the right to have an abortion and thus did not become mothers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lentil Soup

Father had requested lentil soup for dinner tonight, forgetting that he will be away doing vespers out of town.  I went ahead and put it on for a late lunch.

I've been cooking this fasting lentil soup since we've been married.  The original recipe came from a Greek Orthodox church in Charleston, SC, but I've changed it so much they probably wouldn't recognize it.  It's so easy and good I decided to post the recipe.

Fasting Lentil Soup

1 heaping cup lentils
5 cups water
1 can tomato sauce
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 onion chopped fine
1 heaping T. of minced garlic
5 T. oil

Combine all in a stock pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours.  That's it.  Almost all of the measurements are approximate.  You can adjust to taste.  This also works well in a crock pot.  I've taken this to church many times over the years.  It does just fine sitting on "warm" during a service.  We usually make garlic bread to go with it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Funny Story

I was reminded of a funny story this evening when I was out on the porch reading.  You'll see why at the end.

Several weeks ago, I was on the porch and thought I smelled something burning.  Not rubber or anything, but leaves.  I came in and the children informed me that the next door neighbors (on the other side) were burning something in their back yard.  We hadn't had rain in quite a while at that point and I was a little worried.  I went into the back yard to spy through the bushes and noticed their teenage son tending a sizable fire.  There were several garbage bags lying around.  I remembered that we had noticed that their yard was full of trash when we moved in.  Fortunately, the plantings screened it from view.  There was a LOT of smoke issuing from the fire and it was all blowing directly at our house.  Inside, we started noticing it too since the air conditioner is on that side of the house.

Anyway, I figured it would be done and over with by nightfall and the smell would fade after a day or so.


The next day the same thing happened.  On the third day I noticed the breeze on the front porch was lovely and elected to have school out there midmorning.  Before long, the smoke was drifting over us and it became unbearable.  A car slowed down and stopped outside our house and the occupants looked out of their windows in concern.  I yelled to them that our house was fine and that the neighbors were burning leaves.  We retreated inside, muttering in annoyance.  Father came home and remarked on the clouds of smoke.  I crept out in the back yard again, checking on the fire and noticed the boy pick up a garbage bag of goodness-knows-what and plunk it in the middle of the fire.  I also didn't fail to notice the can of gasoline sitting within a few feet of the flames. 

I came back in and reported my findings while Father peered out of the kitchen windows.  I said I was sick of it and didn't they have to have a permit to burn in the city limits?  He didn't know.  I said that it was pretty dry out there and there was a lot more to burn from what I could see.  Father looked on the internet to see if there was a city ordinance about burning permits.  I was getting rather impatient and said, just call the fire department.  We looked up the number since strictly speaking it wasn't an emergency.  Father got on the phone and they said they'd send someone around to check.

We elected to stay inside out of view so the neighbors wouldn't suspect we were the ones who called.  The children kept lining up by the windows to watch for the fire truck.  I told them it would not be coming with lights and sirens.  After about five minutes, the fire truck came down the street and parked in front of our house.  I worried out loud that they would think we were the ones burning trash.  Father said it was pretty obvious where it was coming from given the massive clouds of smoke.  Sure enough, they disappeared down the side of the house towards the neighbors' back yard.  We all ran around to the kitchen and craned our necks.  The fire was burning merrily and the boy was no where in sight.  One of the firemen moved the gas can.  We aren't sure what exactly happened after that, but the fire was out shortly and it hasn't been an issue again. 

They turned on the lights as they left.  The children were thrilled.

Now, for the reason why I remembered this:  As I mentioned above, I was out on the porch reading (These High Green Hills by Jan Karon (Mitford series)) and I heard an engine coming that sounded somewhat louder than usual.  I looked up and saw the fire truck coming, out for its evening run.  I smiled and as they drove by our house, they played Shave and a Haircut on the horn.

I just love small towns.

More Treasure!

I need to add a "thrifting" tag to my list.  I have always loved hunting through what Father calls "junk shops".  I freely admit that you'll find quite a lot of junk.  But then again, you might just find treasure!  I still have in mind some memorable finds I've made over the years: sterling silver trays, a miniature tin teapot, etc.  BTW, I still haven't decided about the spinning wheel.  I'm thinking...

I found this at a thrift shop shortly after we moved to MS.  My eye was attracted to it immediately and I picked it up, wondering what it was.  A worker at the shop passed by and said that they had just found out the day before the identity of this odd object:

It's a hand-made french bread baking pan.  Look at the hammer marks!  The edges are hand-rolled and hammered down.

And it's long too.  Not really surprising for french bread, but it doesn't look like any other pan I've seen.

It's very thin but sturdy.

I'd like to use it to make a loaf of french bread, but I'm not sure about the wisdom of baking with it.  It looks to be iron, but I'm not sure.  Anyone have any ideas?  In any event it's neat on display.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

John Williams is the Man

Ok, it has been a long-established fact that Father and I have a weird sense of humor.  We've mentioned to each other many times that it's a good thing we found each other because nobody else would find all of the same things funny.  Our children have already manifested the inevitable genetic result of our marriage.

With that in mind, I present the following video.  If you don't like John Williams or Star Wars, then feel free to back slowly out of the door now...and forget this. Ever. Happened.

And just because I'm sadistic:

What's on your nightstand?

Rod Dreher sent out a query: What books are on your nightstand?  His results were impressive.  Mine are a bit humbling.  But I'll defend Pooh - very funny and relaxing right before sleep.

In case you can't read it, the last is "The Last Plantagenets" by Thomas B. Costain.

Look what I found!

While looking for a used desk and chair for Father's office, I thought I saw a spinning wheel in a corner.  Trying to keep Pickles from sitting on all of the furniture kept me from examining it more closely.  This was a few weeks ago.

I had a renewed interest when reading this post from Camp Topisaw.  I have forwarded them the information.  If they don't want it, I may have to adopt it myself!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

CD Surprise

Yesterday I was hunting for a CD to download scanner software (long story) and had to riffle through a couple dozen before I found what I was looking for.  On the way, however, I turned up some old pictures.  We enjoyed looking at all of them.  Just as I was getting to the bottom of the stack, I found a "blank" CD with writing on it in sharpie: "Orthodox Celts discography".  I thought, no, it can't be.  But I put it in the drive and lo and behold: it was!   All of this time...

Father says he has no idea where it came from.

Electron Boy

I really don't share clips from CNN (not much worth watching), but when I checked the news this morning, for some reason I clicked on this video.  I know just about everybody is familiar with the Make A Wish Foundation, but this fulfilled wish was so creative and touching that I wanted to share it. (Sorry about the commercial first.)