Friday, July 30, 2010

Physics Phun

This isn't something that's likely to appeal to a lot of people (so of course I'm posting on it) but it's a really fun game for physics or engineering types. 

Stop groaning, I did say GAME.

Even my children like it and have been successful at it on occasion.  Father's not too fond of it, but then he's the verbal type.

What is it?

Fantastic Contraption.

The object is to get a little pink circle into a larger pink rectangle.  Around a lot of obstacles, of course.  The trick is, you have to build something that will transport the little circle into the rectangle.  And you have to do it within the confines of a blue workspace.  Once you press start, you are unable to interfere in the workings of the machine.  If it fails, you stop it and either rebuild or make adjustments.  Your tools are simple: wheels that rotate in either direction, a wheel that doesn't (no power) and two kinds of connecting rods.  Once the contraption is set into motion, the rules of physics apply.

Sound simple? (well, ok, the first level is...)

Good luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crocheted Three-Bar Cross Baby Blanket #2

Well, here's the second one.  For Patty's sake I'm glad I'm done!

It's a little different from the first one.  I suppose I'm still tweaking the design.

It ended up being 38" by 45".  A little bit big!

Next: a Latin Cross.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parenting in the fear of God

I just want to relate something precious:

I brought Fantasia 2000 home from the library yesterday.  I set it up for the children and brought my crocheting (almost done Patty!) in with me to watch it with them.  Of course, I mostly watched instead of worked.

During one part, there is an imaginative depiction of the destruction a volcano can accomplish - the lava taking on a corporeal (monster) form.  Pickles was watching with his eyes like saucers and I worriedly looked at him to see if it were too scary.  He, still watching, pushed up next to me in a way that demonstrated complete trust in my protection.  It's very humbling, delightful and terrifying at the same time.  I thought of the "Prayers of parents for their children" that I read with the rest of my prayers and remembered this line:

"O good Lord, I pray to Thee, grant that I have joy and gladness in my children; vouchsafe that I appear with them before Thy terrible tribunal, and without fear say: 'Here I am, O Lord, with the children Thou has deigned to give me'"

It is a fearful thing to realize that children are very much like the talents in the parable.  We will be expected to have demonstrated good husbandry and increase, to show that we have done our best with what we have been lent.  For the children are ours only for a time - they are God's for all eternity.

May God give all of us parents strength and fortitude to sacrifice our own selfish thoughts and desires in order to bring up pious children who will glorify His name.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I was taking out the garbage (romantic task) and turned back to look at the house. 
This is what I saw.  Doesn't it look cozy?

"Do not leave children unattended in the tub"

But not for the reason you'd think:

When Pickles sat on my lap this morning I smelled his hair and was reminded of a hilarious incident from the other night (the smell still lingers):

I had put the boys in the tub (nice, big, old-fashioned clawfoot) the other night after church.  I got busy with dinner and didn't head right back in there to get them scrubbed.  They like to play extensively anyway, so they were quite happy.

Well, after a while I could hear "Moooommmmyyyy! I'm ready to get out."  I went into the bathroom and was hit at the door with the overwhelming scent of something that I couldn't immediately place, but that clearly wasn't appropriate for little boys.  Ginger was already out and toweling off.  He proudly told me that he had washed both of them including hair!  I was getting Pickles out, noting the massive amount of bubbles in the tub, when I saw he still had suds in his hair.  I rinsed it [insert screams] and got him out.  As I was toweling him off, I noticed a bottle sitting a little apart from the others on the shelves near the tub.  I picked it up and the label read:

Bath and Bodyworks
Black Currant Vanilla


Father said he couldn't go near the bathroom because it made his eyes sting.

Music Monday: O Magnum Mysterium

I want to start a new schedule that will begin with "Music Monday".  I am always coming across music I like to share and it would be nice to have an organized way to present it.  Not that I won't post anything else on Monday, necessarily, but this will be first.

Today I'd like to share this marvelous polyphonic piece by Victoria (see below) who lived in Spain between 1548 to 1611.  The words and translation are below the video.  I know this is somewhat inappropriate for this time of year, but I don't worry about things like that.  This video is especially nice because the score is shown throughout.  Another lovely piece is O Vox Omnes.

Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1572

O magnum mysterium
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in præsepio.

Beata virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Christum, Alleluia!


O great mystery
and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord
lying in their manger.

Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear the Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dormition of the Righteous Anna

Dormition of the Righteous Anna, mother of the Theotokos

My children met me on the steps of the church
after Vespers last night with flowers.
Troparion - Tone 4

Divinely-wise Anna, you carried in your womb
the pure Mother of God, who gave life to our Life.
Therefore, you are now carried joyfully
to the inheritance of heaven,
To the abode of those who rejoice in glory,
Where you seek forgiveness of sins
for those who faithfully honor you, ever blessed one.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It was the best of poetry, it was the worst of poetry...

Father and I got into an unintended discussion about poetry tonight.  He likes it, I don't.  I've always felt rather stupid for not liking it.  I mean, all truly intelligent and classy people appreciate poetry, right?  It's like not liking hot tea; if you don't, you're clearly a rustic.*

For your amusement and amazement...

The Tay Bridge Disaster by William McGonagall,...
...proclaimed the worst poet in British history.

This is the last of eight painful stanzas which I have kindly and generously reproduced here:

 [note: This is not intended to be funny. It just is.]

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

On the other hand, this is my favorite poem. Ever. (Yes, I'm low-brow.  This used to bother me.)

The Pobble Who Has No Toes by Edward Lear

The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said, 'Some day you may lose them all;'--
He replied, -- 'Fish fiddle de-dee!'
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink,
Lavender water tinged with pink,
For she said, 'The World in general knows
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!'
The Pobble who has no toes,
Swam across the Bristol Channel;
But before he set out he wrapped his nose,
In a piece of scarlet flannel.
For his Aunt Jobiska said, 'No harm
'Can come to his toes if his nose is warm;
'And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes
'Are safe, -- provided he minds his nose.'
The Pobble swam fast and well
And when boats or ships came near him
He tinkedly-binkledy-winkled a bell
So that all the world could hear him.
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried,
When they saw him nearing the further side,--
'He has gone to fish, for his Aunt Jobiska's
'Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!'
But before he touched the shore,
The shore of the Bristol Channel,
A sea-green Porpoise carried away
His wrapper of scarlet flannel.
And when he came to observe his feet
Formerly garnished with toes so neat
His face at once became forlorn
On perceiving that all his toes were gone!
And nobody ever knew
From that dark day to the present,
Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes,
In a manner so far from pleasant.
Whether the shrimps or crawfish gray,
Or crafty Mermaids stole them away --
Nobody knew; and nobody knows
How the Pebble was robbed of his twice five toes!
The Pobble who has no toes
Was placed in a friendly Bark,
And they rowed him back, and carried him up,
To his Aunt Jobiska's Park.
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish;--
And she said,-- 'It's a fact the whole world knows,
'That Pebbles are happier without their toes.'

*I don't like tea.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Extraordinary Measures or Not?

Rod Dreher's blog, "Rod Dreher" is no longer active since he has moved to Big Questions Online which is just up and running.  I encourage you to check it out.

Today on that site I read an essay written by a woman who is worried that her elderly mother's living will would not be honored at a Catholic hospital because of the new directive on health care issued by the Catholic bishops.  The directive basically says that they will not participate in the withholding of artificial hydration and nutrition in cases of persistent vegetative state or other cases in which the patient may live many years and is not actively dying.  The woman's mother's living will "specifies that no extraordinary medical measures — including artificial feeding — be used to prolong her life if there is no hope of recovery."  I feel that the confusion over what constitutes "no hope of recovery" and "extraordinary measures" is largely at play in the controversy over artificial hydration and nutrition.  To that end I wrote what turned out to be a rather long comment to that essay.  I decided to reproduce it here.  I am more than happy to discuss the ins and outs of this subject regardless of your place in the debate, but I will ask that we keep it civil in the comments.

[My background includes 13 years of nursing, the last three of those dealing with gynecologic oncology patients. I've had one grandmother die from Alzheimer's and one grandfather die from leukemia. In neither case were they given artificial hydration or nutrition.]

"I think that the public in general is not very well educated when it comes to terms like "persistent vegetative state" and "terminally ill". This has serious repercussions when talking about high-charged issues like compassionate care versus starving someone to death.

If a patient is dying, toward the end of the dying process the body is no longer effectively capable of processing fluids. The kidneys begin shutting down and a lot of the fluid is no longer eliminated in urine. This causes among other things: edema including weeping of the skin, heart overload (trying to pump way too much blood), pulmonary edema (fluid "backs up" in the lungs causing the patient to ultimately drown) and altered consciousness caused by uremia (waste products not being removed from the blood and hence the body). You can imagine how uncomfortable these might be. There is a natural instinct on the part of the patent to refuse or severely limit fluid intake. If the patient is given intravenous fluids or nutrition at this point, their sufferings are only intensified but not necessarily prolonged. The behaviour of the kidneys when dying is only one mechanism that is affected by artificial hydration.

Persistent vegetative state, however is not synonymous with impending death. In this situation the body is quite capable of surviving without artificial ventilation and circulation. It is capable of normal digestion and elimination (although, I suppose, a catheter might be placed for comfort). It can maintain a normal temperature. This is not a dying body. If a person is "brain dead", then the body is dead as well. The brain controls all of the above mentioned functions. The only thing the person in this state is not capable of (that is needed to maintain life) is chewing and swallowing purposefully.

Nutrition and hydration are provided via short-cuts to the stomach, either with a PEG tube (inserted through abdominal wall) or an NG tube (nasogastric). For long-term use, an NG tube is unadvised because of eventual erosion of the tissue it is in contact with. Therefore a PEG tube is generally inserted. This is not connected to feeding 24 hours a day, but is used for bolus feedings three to five times a a meal.

Deciding to starve a patient in persistent vegetative state, or one who has been paralyzed by a stroke (such that swallowing is unsafe), etc., is in essence deciding that the patient is not worthy of life because he cannot swallow.

On whatever side of the argument you find yourself, these facts must be acknowledged."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cooking with the Sun

In this summer heat, how would you like to cook without heating up the oven?

What about not even using the kitchen?

How about not having to stand over a hot grill?

Yes, the answer to all of your culinary problems is...

...The Solar Cooker!

I decided it might be fun to make our own solar cooker/oven.  I did a minor amount of research and found several neat sites.  It looks like anyone who's anyone is cooking with the sun.  Obviously if I'm going to cook gourmet meals once the entire economy collapses and the power grid is down, I'd better get started! (Just kidding, kind of.)

There are several kinds.  We decided to go for the box cooker.

First get two boxes of different sizes.  Make sure that the smaller box fits inside the larger one with at least an inch to spare around all sides and the bottom.  Use paper or something (not plastic) to fill some of the space on all sides of the inner box.  Air is a good insulator, but you will have to use something as spacers to keep the sides from touching.  Then cover over the gap between the two boxes.

Find something black to cover the interior bottom of the box.  Black paper would work fine.  I couldn't find any so we used a piece of black cloth and taped it down.  Don't use duct tape because as it heats up it will emit fumes.  The cover the interior sides with aluminum foil.  I found this easier to do when the small box was not inside the large box.

You'll then want to increase the surface area of your flaps.  You didn't cut them off, did you?  We cut the flaps off another larger box and taped them on.  Then cover them (the inside part) with foil and tape down.

Then just slide the small box carefully into the large one.

Ta daah!

Most ovens have doors.  Hm. Ideally you would use glass but not only did we not have a spare piece of glass just sitting around, it would be a little heavy on our cardboard, tape and foil concoction.  I had read that two layers of plastic wrap would do the trick.  The problem: taping it down to the box wouldn't be smart.  When you pulled the tape aside to check the food, the foil would rip.  You need a frame...

Well, wouldn't you know it.  Two coat hangers taped together perfectly fit the inside opening of the box!  Now wrap with plastic wrap.  It doesn't need tape because it sticks together.

Checking the fit...

What to cook in?  You're supposed to use dark metal pans.  The only things I have that fit that description are a bundt pan and a roaster.  Not practical.  I settled for a dull rather than dark finish.  Shiny absolutely won't work because it reflects the heat away from the food.  These are some elderly bread pans.

What to cook?  I settled on brownies.  Quick, and if all else fails, not too bad runny.  You need to put something in the bottom of the cooker so air can circulate all around the pans.  I chose some wooden spoons.

In they go!

We covered them with the, um, oven cover.

Now you just wait.  And wait.  We put them in the oven about 1:00.

I checked them after about two hours.  You can see that one side is more done than the other.  I turned the box around and adjusted the flaps.  It would have been better to have been able to angle the box toward the sun, but you have to have a cooking base on gimbals for that (unless you like diagonal brownies).

After four hours we took them out.  About a third of each pan was done, the rest was still very soft.  I cut out the done bits and put the rest in the oven (what the heck).  It still tasted good!

Why not try it?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Widor Toccata

I was becoming nostalgic last night and found this performance of  Charles-Marie Widor's toccata from his 5th organ symphony.  This was played as the recessional for our wedding.  What a masterpiece.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apron from a Thrifted Dress: Take 2

Well, I FINALLY got around to finishing the apron!  Now everyone will be thinking it takes a long time to do.  It really doesn't, but between all of the interruptions and little time to spare, it took until after dinner tonight.

First (the other day) I took the linen sheath dress I found at the thrift store and ripped the back seam.  Simple.

Then I decided that I wanted a more graceful silhouette than straight-up-and-down.  So I pinned a series of tucks into each side.

It wound up being a little more empire than I would have liked, but I was working around the front pocket.  I didn't want it to gape open, which it would have if I'd lowered the tucks.

I had found a cute fabric remnant at Walmart for next to nothing.  I ripped (always rip if you can) two wide strips and (just for the mock-up) pinned them together and then pinned them to the apron.  At this point I had lots and lots of pins in the apron. 

TODAY, I started the actual sewing.  First I hemmed the raw edges down both sides of the back.  I should have ironed first, but I figured the sewing police wouldn't show up at my door.  I also took a five-inch hem in the bottom.  No point in tripping.

Then I sewed down the tucks I'd pinned.  I sewed two parallel seams on each side.

I unpinned the apron ties and folded and pinned them properly.  Normally you would sew the edges together and then turn it inside out, iron flat and perhaps sew down those seams.  Nah.

I folded and pinned, then simply stitched it all down.  Looks fine.

Then I just stitched the ties to the apron.  I basically outlined the apron tie on the apron.
  And, in case you haven't noticed yet, I used yellow thread.
  Why not?

Ok, I took this picture myself and it doesn't show much of the apron. 
But you can see that it will keep most of the top of you clean!

I pressed Father into service for these.  Here's the back view (with kitty cameo).


And front again. I decided I wanted a little more pizazz... I added red buttons to the front of the apron ties.

I actually wore it to finish and serve supper (before the pictures and the buttons) and it was great!  Covered my clothes so well and was very comfortable.  The style of the dress influenced the style of the apron so I'll be on the lookout for more dresses at the thrift store.  I'd love to try something different.

Two Sad Kitties

Father thought he heard a bird on the porch.

He did.

So did Genevieve.  She wanted in.

The bird wanted out.

Genevieve is not a very good hunter.

The bird couldn't figure out how to get out of the wide-open door.

Indiana is a very good hunter.

But after he chased the bird to the top of the door, the bird left.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


It's been so hot.  The sun, merciless.

This afternoon it started to get cloudy.  Father noticed the sycamore branches tossing in the breeze.

We were talking and saw a flash.

"Was that lightning?"

I went out on the porch, drawn by the wind.

The clouds are dark and light, confused and tumbling.  The oak branches sway.

Thunder shakes the floor of the porch, painted boards warm under my bare feet.

My hair lifts in the wind.  It ruffles my skirt.

I notice it coming down the street. 

"Look, rain" I say to my youngest, wriggling in my arms.

It is preceded by the pungent smell of rain on concrete.

Slowly the storm settles in, calmly rinsing the lawn and my poor flowers.

The air is cooler now.

I need to get ready for vespers, but I stay another minute watching the rain.

God is merciful.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Apron from a Thrifted Dress

Remember that linen dress I got from the thrift store? I'm finally getting around to making it into an apron.  I've been taking pictures as I've gone along and after I do the final stitching I'll post those.  A few words of advice:

1. I tend to sew with pins first (saves significant amounts of time).  When trying something on that is sewn with pins, be very, very careful.

2. Don't walk on your hardwood floors barefoot while looking for the pins that dropped out when you were being very, very careful.

3. Figure out how to take pictures of your back in the mirror before you are wearing something sewn with pins.  And be very, very careful.

I'm going to go put some bandaids on now before fixing lunch.

Update: I finished! Have a look!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just because I'm curious...

...can any of you tell me where you found this blog?  I think it's fascinating that a little blog from southern Mississippi can attract someone from across the country or from another continent!  I guess I do the same, because there are a few blogs in Romania, Greece and one in Australia that I regularly visit.  Sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination, so if anyone feels like delurking (but no pressure!), let me know how on earth you ever got here!

Update:  Everyone was so forthcoming!  I do want you all to know that there is no pressure to comment or follow. Honestly, it's fine to sit quietly along for the ride.  (c;


Today I will worry less about the dirt on the fingers and more about the smiles on the little faces.

Today I will clean part of a room rather than not at all since "I don't have time to do all of it and I can't check it off if it's not all done" is not a good reason.

Today I will put together at least one puzzle and play at least one game.

Today I will serve lunch on the porch.  With napkins.

Today I will choose to be happy.

Today is the only July 14, 2010 I will ever have.  No one knows what tomorrow brings.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Noah's new blog

Noah, for whom I've requested prayers on multiple occasions, has a new blog all of his own!  It looks like his mitochondrial disease is beginning to progress.  Please pray for a decent quality of life for him and comfort for his family. sky at night, sailor's delight.

Sanctity in the Midst of Crumbs and Crayons

I've read a lot about how people unnecessarily separate the "secular" and the "sacred".  To be honest, most of the things I've read have been written by men who tend to talk about things in the great, wide, world.  I've read some great things, mind you, but when you put the book down and look around, you tend to see stray socks and sippy cups, loose crayons and abandoned dolls.  Amazing how you can read books about applying lofty things to the real world and utterly fail to apply it to your own real world.

Many years ago I read The Way of A Pilgrim and marveled at the protagonist's ability (albeit hard-earned) to be in continuous prayer.  He managed to function in the world, but was kind of in a haze of prayer.  My own rather pitiful experience has been to pray in snatches, usually reminded to when brought up against an icon, cross, prayer rope sitting on the night-stand instead of around my wrist, etc.  Actually, this tendency is precisely why I have a lovely little cross on the windowsill over the sink and a diptych on the computer desk (boy, does one need reminders there!).  But we are not called to be holy "in snatches".  How then to remember to be holy all day?

Sometimes I've thought that if I only lived alone, in a cell, away from children fussing and spilling milk, I'd be a very peaceful, loving, prayerful person.  That means, of course, that I wouldn't be at all.  I've always liked what Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park says to Miss Crawford after she has proclaimed how wonderful it is that family devotions have all but ceased:

(Miss Crawford) "At any rate, it is safer to leave people to their own devices on such subjects.  Every body likes to go their own way - to choose their own time and manner of devotion.  The obligation of attendance, the formality, the restraint, the length of time - altogether it is a formidable thing, and what nobody likes: and if the good people who used to kneel and gape in that gallery could have foreseen that the time would ever come when men and women might lie another ten minutes in bed, when they woke with a headache, without danger of reprobation, because chapel was missed, they would have jumped with joy and envy.  Cannot you imagine with what unwilling feelings the former belles of the house of Rushworth did many a time repair to this chapel?  The young Mrs. Eleanors and Mrs. Bridgets - starched up into seeming piety, but with heads full of something very different - especially if the poor chaplain were not worth looking at - and in those days, I fancy parsons were very inferior even to what they are now."
"Your lively mind cannot be serious even on such serious subjects.  You have given us an amusing sketch, and human nature cannot say it was not so.  We must all feel at times the difficulty of fixing our thoughts as we could wish; but if you are supposing it a frequent thing, that is to say, a weakness grown into a habit from neglect, what could be expected from the private devotions of such persons? Do you think the minds which are suffered, which are indulged in wanderings in a chapel, could be more collected in a closet?"
"Yes, very likely.  They would have two chances at leas in their favor.  There would be less to distract the attention from without, and it would not be tried so long."
"The mind which does not struggle against itself under one circumstance, would find objects to distract it in the other, I believe..."
When I was growing up, I loved to read.  Ok, I love to read now and will do it every chance I get.  The thing was, I was the oldest of five and the house was not quiet.  I learned to entirely tune everything out.  When my older children are doing school-work, sometimes they complain because the house is not perfectly quiet.  I try to keep it reasonable but you simply can't have a perfectly quiet house with six to seven people in it.  I'm trying to teach them to concentrate even around noise. 

The same goes with leading a holy life:

  • If we can be patient...but not around cranky toddlers,
  • If we can be loving...but not after yet another broken toy,
  • If we can be peaceful...but only when alone,
  • If we can give thanks...but only after a perfect day,
  • If we can pray...but only under the right circumstances,
...then I guess we have some work to do.  Goodness knows I do.
It is a great art to succeed in having your soul sanctified.  A person can become a saint anywhere.  He can become a saint in Omnia Square*, if he wants.  At your work, whatever it may be, you can become saints - through meekness patience and love.  Make a new start every day, with new resolution, with enthusiasm and love, prayer and silence - not with anxiety so that you get a pain in the chest.    (Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios)                      
*Omnia Square: the commercial center of Athens, also synonymous with vice and corruption.
None of this is possible without the grace of the Holy Spirit.  Let us all encourage, love and pray for each other!

Monday, July 12, 2010

"The Oldsmobiles are in early this year."

I would just like to go on record as saying that The Blues Brothers is one of the best movies ever made.  And the chase scene in the mall? Priceless.

"Baby clothes."
"This place's got everything."

A better quality video with subtitles can be found here.

Parish Nurses

There are a lot of churches that have parish nurses.  It's a whole specialty, really.  I've never been in that capacity in any official way.  Sure, I'd get questions during coffee hour about this or that child's skin rash or medication questions.  I'd even go so far as to bandage someone after a playground mishap.  More recently I've spent some time assisting a parishioner's mother with some after-surgery education and moral support (regarding a new condition).  Mostly I've tried to keep the church's first-aid box stocked.

I've met a lot of matushki and seminary wives over the years who were in nursing in some way.  It got to be kind of a joke actually.  Most of the time these people were either working full-time or home with several children so they wouldn't really have been available for a "parish nurse" position, however unofficially.  I've been thinking lately about how this role could work - again, even unofficially.  Someone who is retired and has older children or no children (at home or otherwise) could do more, but even those who are in positions like those I've been in would probably be able to manage something. 

In the more formal sense, parish nurses have actually opened clinics at the church (ok, these are mega-churches) or have traveled with elderly parishioners to their doctors' appointments.  On a much smaller scale, you could (like I've done) make sure there is a stocked first-aid box.  In between there is a lot of room.  Here are some ideas:

1. Make it known that you are (or have been) a nurse and are willing to be of assistance if possible.

2. Be willing to provide education about disease, disease prevention, medication, etc.  Be careful about crossing the line into "practicing medicine without a license".  Knowing what might be the problem and encouraging someone to head to his doctor is actually pretty helpful.  Also, pointing someone in the direction of his pharmacist for medication questions can save lives.  I've caught some serious drug interactions before they happened.  I've also sent some people to the ER.

3.  If you have the ability, checking on elderly parishioners, those who have had surgery or illnesses, new mothers, etc., can be an invaluable service to offer.  You don't have to be there in the capacity of an official nurse to be able to pick up on something that's heading in the wrong direction.  Also, people trust you when you tell them that they're progressing normally.  Moral support is priceless.

4. Being a resource for your priest (easy if you're a matushka!) is great too.  Many times I've sat down and explained disease progression, mechanics of dying, mental illness recognition, etc. to Father.  I think he's found it very helpful.  Obviously, he's never divulged in any way anything he's heard in confession. 

5. Being available in the event of a serious accident or illness is helpful too.  Families are usually distraught and appreciate someone they trust being able to help them navigate the medical maze.  In this, you can be a great adjunct to the spiritual assistance your priest provides.

I'm sure I've left out a lot.  I'd love to hear from any other nurses (or people in other medical/nursing fields - didn't mean to leave you out!) about how they have helped or might be able to help in their parishes.

Update:  I'm totally reinventing the wheel!  The OCA has an article on parish nursing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Crocheted Three-Bar Cross Baby Blanket

I was going to wait to post on this project until the second one was done, but Matushka Emily has blown my cover! (Only kidding, Matushka! I was looking for a convenient excuse to post anyway!) Truth be told, it was rather exciting to finish.  Especially since I had to make up the pattern myself.  I couldn't find anything like it on-line.

I'd never done anything in filet crochet before, but always wanted to.  I love lace, and yarn is so much easier to work with than thread for lacemaking!

I've had requests for the pattern, but I hate to tell you: I am unable to give one for the simple fact that I don't know how!  I have my own notes (mostly involving graph paper) but I'm sure no one else would be able to follow that.  Father has been encouraging me to start an Etsy shop and sell these.  I might just do that, including Latin crosses for non-Orthodox (who think the three-bar is weird!).  I guess I'll have to see what the market is like and try to figure out how much to charge for them.  The one pictured above is 34 inches x 44 inches, approximately.  I'd probably also include bonnets and such so there would be a broader price range.  Any thoughts are more than welcome!