Friday, September 30, 2011

Letter to my son on his due date

My sweet Innocent,

What can I say today? You were officially due today, but your birthday was a long time ago. There was a time, not so very long ago, that I thought this day would be hell. I thought I'd be thinking of all the minute things I would be doing to get ready for your long-awaited appearance. Today hasn't been like that (so far).

I realized the trap of living in a fantasy world, of always knowing "how far along I would be", of keeping up with your projected development on charts. The reality was very different. I had to throw away a calendar on which I had marked the dates. You wouldn't have been a decent 7 1/2 pounds, because that never existed. Your reality was smaller. I had to learn to completely embrace your reality instead of mourning over what wasn't and what wasn't to be.

Over the past weekend I came to some peace. I started feeling some gratitude as well as sorrow. I am grateful that God allowed you to be with me for as long as he did. I'm grateful for so many of my prayers being answered. For instance:

I wanted to deliver you at home, in water.
I did.

I didn't want you taken away from me after birth.
You weren't.

I wanted to deliver you on my own, not have a surgeon take you out.
I did.

I hoped you would be delivered at night so the other children would be shielded from the worst of it.
You were.

I hoped and prayed your body would still be intact.
It was, and you were beautiful.

Yes, there were things I never got to experience with you. I can't focus on that. The reality is that your body was born April 10th and your soul was born into Heaven sometime during the week before March 31st. You are my perfect child, a pure soul. Continue to pray for us, your parents, and your brothers and sisters. We love you so very much.

Mommy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beautiful Antique Book Covers

Taking a leaf out of Rebekah's book (no pun intended), I decided to have a look at some of my favorite antique books, searching out the nice covers.

Not a first edition, published in 1903 (originally published in 1899). The plays are dated
but actually quite funny.

This book of poems by James Russell Lowell appears to be hand-bound and painted. The book
was originally published in 1848 but there's no date inside the book itself. A newspaper clipping
 dated 1910 was folded inside.

This one isn't in very good shape. It is a first edition published in 1920, one of a Grosset &
Dunlap series. Tom Swift books are the originators of "Tom Swifties". No one in these books
"says" anything. Things are "declared", "exclaimed", "stated", "queried", "expressed".

This is a first edition published in 1935 and signed by Colleen Moore, a famous star from the
silent film era. She always loved dollhouses and started the construction of her most famous
one in 1928. It was completed by 1935 and she took it on tour around the US to raise money
for children's charities. It now resides in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
She wrote the book to accompany the dollhouse as the action in the stories takes place there.

Obviously not a first edition. I just like the cover. (:

The title of this book is "The Ingoldsby Legends or Mirth and Marvels", a first edition
published in 1890.

This is a first edition from 1918.

This is a first edition from 1903. The inside cover has "Sophie Lewis, Easter 1903" then there's
a pasted-in bookplate with the name "Sophie Lewis --lund".

This is a first edition from 1905. The inside cover has "Ida May Watkins, August 24, 1905,
 bought at Springfield Ohio"

This belonged to my father as a child and was given to him in 1956.

This is NOT a first edition. The original was published in 1896 and this was published in
1911. The fun thing is you can see stamped on the inside: "Agent Fred Downing" which
appears to be a boy's "secret agent" label.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And the winner is....

(drum roll)...

rainbowlens!!!!


Congratulations, rainbowlens!!

Send me an email with your address and I'll send this quilt on its way!


A big thank you to everyone who entered! This was fun and I hope to do it again sometime!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Last chance to win a quilt!!

The drawing is tomorrow TODAY at noon CST!

Go HERE for more details and to enter.


(I want to say "thank you!" to everyone who has commented, entered, posted buttons and posts, followed, etc. I would respond to your comments individually in the comment box of that post but it would mess up the drawing tomorrow!)

Doll "Around the World" Quilt

Hand pieced, hand quilted.
Approximately 15 1/2 in x 21 in.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Criticizing the Passions

This short post by Fr. Benedict this morning is absolutely spot-on. We're already approaching this situation in our country. Lord have mercy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The things not seen

2 Corinthians 4:8-18 (KJV)

8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finishing the Race

About nine months ago I started running a marathon. I've run several marathons and never had any problems. There was no indication that there would be any problems this time either. I was looking forward to it because it had been a few years since my last one. I was also planning to enjoy it because it was probably going to be my last one.

A few months into it I fell. I must have hit a loose stone but when I looked back I couldn't see one. All I knew was that my ankle was sprained. The other runners were passing me by. I knew I had lost the race.

The problem was that this was a one-way marathon. I couldn't go back to the starting line. I could only go forward, limping and in pain. I still had a little under six months to go.

There were times I sat down by the side of the road, watching a few runners confidently go past. Some of them bore scars from past marathons and gave some kind words of encouragement. Some of them were on their first race and didn't want to look at me too closely unless they too fell. Eventually I would get up and keep moving toward the finish line.

I wished I didn't have to finish the race. I wished I could just stop, but that was impossible. The road stretched out in front of me. The months and miles slid past. My ankle would hurt sometimes so badly I had to sit down and rest. Now I only wanted to get to the end.

I can almost see the line now. It's only a week away. The other runners in front of me won, but I'm realizing there is a certain dignity in reaching the end, even without the prize. My ankle still hurts, but after the race I can rest it and it will get better. There will always be a scar, but the pain won't be so bad.

This marathon will always exist in time, but there will be a relief in not having to be running it anymore. Only God knows if there are any more marathons in my future. We never know until we hear the starting gun.

Only one more week...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

(Belated) 1,000 post celebration blog giveaway!

(Ok, so it's post 1,009 but I'm close.)

To celebrate 1,000 funny, odd, esoteric, weird, pious, boring, sad, exciting, and commonplace posts, I am giving away this lovely crib-sized single Irish chain quilt!


The top is made of all-cotton, up-cycled sheeting and the backing is a cotton-poly blend. The batting is polyester.


It's machine pieced and quilted and the border is hand-sewn.


The dimensions are approximately 30 inches by 34 inches.


It's blue and white, which suggests boy, but the delicate colors and the lovely little floral print wouldn't be inappropriate for a girl. Keep it for yourself or give as a gift.

You have lots of chances to enter! Here they are:
  1. Leave a comment in the box.
  2. Follow this blog (or leave a separate comment reminding me that you do).
  3. Post about this giveaway on your own blog or page (leaving a separate comment with the link).
  4. Put the button for Lost Innocents OR Hand Crocheted Blessings somewhere on your blog/site (or leave a separate comment reminding me that you do). The codes for the buttons are available in the sidebar. Each button counts for one entry so leave a comment for both if you post both.
 Each comment counts as one entry so be sure to put everything in separate comments!

The winner will be chosen by random number selection at noon, CST on September 28th, 2011. In the event that the winner does not respond by October 5th, 2011, then another random number drawing will be held and an alternate winner selected.

Note: I will ship free of charge anywhere in the continental US or Canada unless you are willing to pay for shipping somewhere else.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giveaway at Verdant Bents

Ok, I think everyone knows I like pretty, sewn things. Rather like the things Rebekah at Verdant Bents makes!


She is having an exclusive (open only to everyone) blog giveaway contest and the winner gets this lovely purse!


Simply click on the link below to enter her contest.

Visit her Etsy Shop too! (I like the pink bag there.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"...nothing loved is ever lost..."

The earth will never be the same again.
Rock, water, tree, iron, share this grief
As distant stars participate in pain.
A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,
A dolphin death, O this particular loss
Is Heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried,
If this small one was tossed away as dross,
The very galaxies then would have lied.
How shall we sing our love's song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry
That every life is noted and is cherished
And nothing loved is ever lost or perished.

--Madeleine L'Engle A Ring of Endless Light

Blessing the Police in Kiev

Said Father: "This is a good example of the fact that when you bless with holy water, it's a reminder of your baptism."



h/t Again and Again

Comfort Food: Ham, Cabbage and Potato Stew

At our house we merely call this "Ham and Cabbage". That's not to disparage the contribution of the humble potato, but I would enjoy it just as much without. (I'm not the big potato person in the family. Well, maybe in shape...)

This will be one of the simplest recipes you will ever make. And the cheapest. That feeds the most. I'm not kidding here, this is one awesome dish.


Ham, Cabbage and Potato Stew

1 half smoked ham (I get the smallest I can find which still runs several pounds)
1 cabbage
3 large baking potatoes
water

If you do not have a large stock pot, then divide this recipe into two pots. Cut the ham into large sections (4-8 depending on size of ham and number of pots). Place in pot(s) and put enough water in to almost cover the ham, several cups. Bring to a boil then lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for one hour. Trim off the very end of the cabbage and cut into eighths. Peel the potatoes and cut each into five or six large slices or sections. Add the cabbage and potatoes to the ham, adding water as needed to just cover ingredients. Return to a simmer, cover,  and cook for an additional hour. Serve in soup bowls with the broth.

Serves at least 12 adults

Notes:
1. Do NOT add salt. I promise you, the ham will make it quite salty enough. You could add pepper if you like, but I never add any spices and it turns out wonderfully.
2. The leftovers from this dish are fantastic.
3. A slow-cooker version is probably floating around out there on the internet. You have to be careful though because the potatoes will turn into mush if you cook them too long.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

1,000!!

***Starting Boring Statistics...***

"Praying With My Feet" started on November 23, 2008.
In 2008 there were 19 posts.
In 2009 there were 55 posts.
In 2010 there were 523 posts.
In 2011 so far there have been 401 posts.

Since then there have been 1,000 posts (not counting ones I deleted...), 4083 comments, 73,644 visits, 85 followers, and 129 subscribers on Google Reader.

The five most popular posts are:
Crocheted Three-Bar Cross Baby Blanket: 308 pageviews
Innocent: 189 pageviews
Crocheted Celtic Cross Baby Blanket: 183 pageviews
Pretty Over the Kitchen Sink: 182 pageviews
My Lazarus: 159 pageviews

The five posts with the most comments not counting mine are (and interesting how they don't match...):
Untitled (when I said I lost the baby): 24
Memory Eternal Innocent! (when I announced his birth): 22
Untitled (the day after the first untitled post): 21
Innocent's Burial: 20
Playing Dead: 20

The most common labels are:
Orthodoxy: 181
Children: 163
Humor: 159
Family: 93
Prayer: 87

The most visits came from the US with 54,067 visits
Second is Romania with 7,514
Third is Canada with 2,806
Fourth is Greece with 984
Fifth is Australia with 615

There have been visits from at least 56 countries.

By far the referring site with the largest number of visits is Dulce Casa. (Thank you!)

***Boring Statistics Ending***

I want to thank all of my readers, followers, subscribers and friends. It's been a sometimes fun, sometimes serious, sometimes painful 1,000 posts. You've been there through my career changes, relocation, pregnancy and miscarriage. I was wanting to do a nice contest and giveaway to show my appreciation but I couldn't get it together in time for this post. So look for that within the next couple posts. But do know how much I appreciate all of you.

--Mat. Anna 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Birds and Calls

I have a new phone! Woo hoo! I only get a new phone when the old one breaks, so you can guess what happened to my old phone. It's a flip phone and the plastic hinges had been gradually cracking. One side had popped out a bit last week and I was in the process of trying to pop it back in when Pickles accidentally knocked it out of my hand, it fell on the street and split in two pieces. Uh oh. The best part was that Father was out of state at the funeral and so then I had no phone. Well, thanks to the wonder of technology I have a new slider phone. I was afraid I would lose all of my contacts and in fact, the employee at the ATT store tried three different ways to transfer them to the SIM card to move to my new phone...without success. See, the top part which is the display was not connected to the bottom part, which is the brain. So you could fiddle with the brain but not know what you were doing. When I got home, in the process of transferring Father's contacts to his phone (he was due for an upgrade too), I had an idea: I transferred our contacts at the same time. Every time I pushed a button on his phone I pushed it on mine too. Voila! It worked! Father said I should call the lady at the ATT store back and tell her what I did, but enhh. It only worked because I had an identical phone to hand.

So I was originally going to post a plea that basically said, "If you love me and ever want to talk to me again, call my phone and leave your number (unless you've been looking for a way out in which case you just lucked out!)", but instead I just decided to take you all through a long, boring story about my new phone and contacts.

To reward you for your patience, here are some pictures of birds at our feeder (taken through a screen - sorry):




Chickadees are too cute when they're congregating and squeaking together.

Wood thrush - recent addition to our group.

Not a bird, but a big fan.

I'm still pondering what to do for post 1,000. This is 998 so I'd better get a move on! I'm thinking contest/giveaway. Hm...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Innocent's Memory Box

I got an unfinished memory box from Walmart and painted and sanded it.

Most of it is antique white and I mixed a light blue for accent.



A little rick-rack around the perimeter...

I lined it with baby blue fleece and finished it with a little ribbon.

I crocheted the square out of the same yarn I had made his blanket. The ribbon
and fleece are the same I used for his shroud.

Inside are the cards we received and the burial service. I have yet to print
out the online notes we received and his birth story.

There are two small photo albums containing all of his pictures including
his ultrasound pictures. I had the photos processed yesterday.

Some grass from the field where he is buried.

A honeysuckle blossom from the bouquet I put on his grave the day he
was buried.

The ribbon is from the bouquet. I retrieved it on Pascha when we took an
Easter lily out to plant behind the cross over his grave.

At the moment it's on the mantel.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday

We've had 6.76 inches of rain (according to Weather Underground) since the rain started on Friday. We're right on the edge of it and it should stop raining within the next few hours at most. Then we start drying out. The cats have spent a miserable few days on the screened porch. I don't know why they aren't spending most of their time in a more sheltered spot. We've done what we could to help them out since they've insisted on staying there, but I know they can't wait to lie out in the sun. They're also trying to dart in between our legs whenever we open the door. Shoo!

In general I would say that TS Lee was a disappointment. We didn't hear thunder once! Just rain, ranging from heavy mist to driving, and some breezes. And heck, the thing passed practically over our house. Oh well, the season is young.

Not too much else going on. Ribby has the next two days off from school (Tuesday is a teachers' planning day) but we're soldiering on with homeschool. It's not like it's going to take them all day and frankly they have too much time on their hands what with not going outside. If the boys start fighting one more time they're going out, rain or no rain. Shoo!

Thank you to the few people who responded to my inquiries on Saturday. Repeating it here for those who don't have access to computers on the weekends, I'm coming up on post 1,000 (only a few more now) and wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Contest? Giveaway? Any ideas? I asked a few questions around post 500 and asked them again. In short, what do you like/dislike about what gets posted here? I'm not planning on making this a democracy and having votes on what to post but it is interesting to know when I'll put people to sleep, make them laugh or make them find me on Google maps and come in the middle of the night with torches and pitchforks.

Feedback?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday

What a dark and rainy day. I love it. (:

TS Lee is a slooooow mover. We're going to be getting rain through MONDAY with it. Prayers for all of the people who live in low-lying areas because flooding is definitely going to happen.

My 1,000th post is coming up very soon (six posts from now). Any ideas of what I should do? A give-away? A contest?

Speaking of which, I think I did this with the 500th post, but I'd kind of like to do it again:

What do you like/dislike about this blog?
What draws you? (What repels you? Or have you already left?)
What do you want to see more of? Less of?

Of course, this is my own personal blog and I can't (literally) tailor it to what other people want to see, but it's nice to have an idea of what people find interesting and what drives them insane.

A few prayer requests (ok, this is all very scattered but it's Saturday folks):

Child Noah - This is a heart-breaker. He's on hospice now and in all probability has less than six months left. From his mother's descriptions it sounds like the hospice team is marvelous and family-inclusive, but you can't take away the fact that this child just turned five (which is admittedly a miracle) and is dying. He is not pain-free and that is an ongoing struggle.

Sarah's step-mom Cere -  She has terminal cancer and is probably in the last stages. Sarah and her family have been blessed to be able to visit and are there now.