Saturday, June 30, 2012

Early Summer Bounty

 Blueberry Jam from a large bag of blueberries given to us by a parishioner

 25 pounds of peaches to be converted to jam on Monday ($12!)

A very small amount of the produce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and beans, generously heaped upon us by parishioners and friends

I feel slightly guilty because all I've grown are flowers!

Manoah and his Wife

On June 24th we celebrated the birth of St. John the Forerunner. One of the Old Testament readings that morning was from Judges 13, the story of Manoah and his barren wife. Now, the story of Manoah has always seemed very funny to me.

[Judges 13:2-24]
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him.

A few things here: First, I find it hilarious that Manoah panics when the angel flies up to Heaven in the flame of the offering: "We've seen God! We're going to die!!" His wife (who is never named but is obviously of a practical bent) says something to the effect of: "Now look - why would He kill us right after he's said we're going to have a baby?" Very logical and a woman after my own heart.

Second, you notice that Manoah, when he finally sees the angel, asks, "Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?" What does the angel say? He repeats (for what must seem like the hundredth time), "Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe." I do like the very good medical advice but it is obvious that the angel is NOT going to tell them what all is to pass. They're simply going to have to be obedient and take it on faith. It's a good reminder that we need to cease to worry about the future, not feel like we have to be six chess moves ahead in order to know what to do today. All we are told is what to do today. If we are obedient to the commands of today, the future takes care of itself.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sts. Peter and Paul

Joyous Feastday!!!

Troparion - Tone 4

First-enthroned of the apostles,
teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!

Kontakion - Tone 2

O Lord, Thou hast taken up to eternal rest
and to the enjoyment of Thy blessings
the two divinely-inspired preachers, the leaders of the Apostles,
for Thou hast accepted their labors and deaths as a sweet-smelling sacrifice,
for Thou alone knowest what lies in the hearts of men.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If only the door had been open...

 But I couldn't shut up a sweet bird like that in a cage anyway. He (she?) eventually figured out how to get off the porch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Trees Quilt [updated]

I'm working on this quilt for a friend expecting a baby in November. Let's hope it's done by then. (: I asked her if she wanted something quilted or crocheted and she chose a quilt. The only other thing she said was that she liked green. I had seen some quilts with little trees on Pinterest and loved them. (Thanks, Laura!!)

Rather than cut the trees from one piece of fabric I thought it would be more fun (and thrifty) to use strip quilting. The squares are pieced but that's about it at this point. I laid them out on the material I'm going to use for sashing and popped some darker squares at the corners. Naturally, the whole thing, when pieced together, will look a little more finished. I just wanted to get an idea of how it was going to look. I think I may do the border and backing in unbleached muslin. All of the pieces are cut from scraps, the white is from an old cotton sheet and the pale blue-green (the sashing) is hand-me-down fabric. It has been fun using what I have and making sure there weren't too many straight lines. When I hand-quilt it I'm going to do it in contrasting thread for a homey look.

[Update: Today I sewed the quilt top (minus the border). I can't wait to get the muslin to do the border and backing and get the batting so I can start quilting it!]

Monday, June 25, 2012

And so the saga ends...

The raccoon saga, that is. We set a trap last night but the clever thing walked in and out first with a banana and then with half a peanut butter sandwich. I came up with another idea for how to rig it so the raccoon would actually trigger the release but decided not to do it until today because I figured it was full. (: On the other hand, Genevieve got caught twice - with no food in the trap. Once, ok; twice...that is a stupid cat.

I rigged it up this afternoon and we waited. It had started coming out in the middle of the day so I figured we wouldn't have to wait until dusk. Around four I heard shrieks from the children. The raccoon had been caught. I looked out the door at it and immediately felt terrible. I hate seeing animals scared. I wish it had occurred to me to put a dish of water in the trap before it was set. There was no helping it now. We moved the trap to the shade and started making arrangements to take it out to the country. Father and Duchess are gone now with it, heading out of town. Father said he hoped it didn't have a homing instinct and make it back home before they did. Now I guess we see if it truly was a lone ranger. I'm concerned it had kits under the house. If that's the case then they'll wander out. I've rescued other orphaned animals before but we'll contact a wildlife rehabilitator if that happens. Here are the photos [warning: pathetic looks]:

Holy Protection You Tube Video

I dare share this! It was fun to make.

[description: Greek Orthodox monastery in White Haven, PA. (link: Music is "O Victorious Leader" sung by choir of St. Symeon the New Theologian in Birmingham, AL on their CD "Fire and Light". (CD available here:]

Comments and Spam

Quick housekeeping post to say that I've had to turn word verification back on comments. Because I allow anonymous comments I have been deluged by spammers. I hadn't realized it because the new blog format doesn't actually give a number next to the word "spam" in the comment section. I happened to click on it today and there were a few hundred. Also, four non-spam comments (one from back in March) were stuck in there too; I have no idea why. I'll make it a point to check it more often (for mistaken spam) but I'm going to turn the word verification back on and see if that helps. Something that may help that I figured out: you don't have to type the number in the photograph. I have no idea why it's there, but it seems to be a red herring. The word is the only thing you have to worry about and I am suspecting it lets you through if you get most of the letters right because I've only had one ever rejected. Let me know if this is simply too much of a hassle and maybe I can figure something else out. (: I really enjoy reading everyone's comments so I hate to make it harder for people to do so.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Storms at Indian Pass

[Posted on The Siren's Call but also relevant here]

Long time no post! The weather here has been pretty nearly uniformly hot and mostly humid. Now and again we'll get a little much-needed rain. The showers are all scattered so it's terribly hit-and-miss, some areas getting dumped on and others still parching. Luckily we've had just enough (although if I don't water the flowers daily they scream and die).

However, there is something in the offing in the Gulf: TS Debby. I admit I've been preoccupied and only learned of its existence yesterday (not watching the news will do wonders for your peace of mind but you do tend to get caught off guard by some things). My parents sent me a link to some pictures from Apalachicola and Indian Pass. Here's one:


It's a little hard to tell, but this is the road leading from Indian Pass Road out to Florida State Road 30A. You can't see it, but McNeil's is in the distance at the end of the road. Here's what it looks like when tropical storms aren't hanging around:

See that little building in the distance? That's McNeil's, also known (now) as the Indian Pass Raw Bar. When I was little we called it the "Little Store" because (1) it was little and (2) it was the only store anywhere near. It was rather like an old-fashioned general store but without the charm. Mom wouldn't get any groceries but emergency ones there because she said they cost too much. We got groceries in either Apalachicola or Port St. Joe. But I digress.

Below is a map of that part of Indian Pass. The junction at the top of the picture is McNeil's and I've drawn an arrow pointing to the approximate site where the photos were taken, looking north. Obviously this satellite photo was taken during a drought. The lagoon is to the right and the Gulf is to the south, just beyond the driveways you can see in the picture.

The houses, at least the old ones which have been there for over a century, are on a ridge down the back of the little peninsula called Indian Pass. The Pass itself is at the very east end, between Indian Pass Beach and St. Vincent Island, a wildlife preserve. Deer have been known to swim across but I suppose most that try don't make it. The current is pretty strong and there are a lot of sharks. Oof.

Back to the houses. As I said, the houses are all on a ridge on the north side of Indian Pass Road. Across the street is an expanse of sea grass, sea oats, scrubby pines and palms and then the beach. New houses have been built on the lower area between the road and the beach. This seems very foolish to me. The old folks were much wiser. Not only did they build their beach houses on the ridge, but most of them were built just behind the crest so that the wind coming up from the water would be somewhat deflected up the slope and over the roof and not hit the house so directly. All of us owned "from water to water", that is, from the lagoon to the Gulf. The ground sloped down to sea-level behind the houses pretty rapidly and many people had little docks where fishing or crabbing could be done or a boat could be tied. The bottom was pretty shallow and one could go out castnetting for mullet.

When I was a child we used to spend a month or more every summer living at the beach. The beach house itself is another story. We always knew that you oughtn't hunker down in place to weather a hurricane because the road was so low that you'd be cut off almost immediately. After one hurricane (and I can't remember which one - they tend to run together when you live in Florida) I drove down there with my father to check on the house. When we drove up the oyster shell driveway there was a debris line half-way up which showed us the high-water mark. I turned around at that point and looked out the Gulf, lying calmly in its usual spot, and tried to imagine breakers crashing over the palm trees and our house on an island. My nightmares of being trapped at the beach house during a hurricane started from that point. Believe it or not, while the details sometimes change, I still have those nightmares. It's a very vivid thing when you actually see it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More Utility Cloths!

 You remember the cleaning cloths I made a while ago? I decided it was fun and a good excuse to use whimsical fabric. Plus, they're so small that it takes no time at all and is instant gratification. (: I hunted around in my stash for nifty fabrics that might go together and hit the thrift stores for fabric. They sell almost no fabric, of course, but they have an awful lot of clothing. One thing I realized is that pj pants are a fantastic source of lint-free, soft, flannel-y cloth in whimsical prints. I haven't measured the yardage, but it's not too shabby. I also found knit shirts to cut up for the knit side.

Once I made a couple it occurred to me that it would be oh-so-easy to crochet a few dishcloths in coordinating colors. I had been wanting to use some cotton yarn and that's what you need for dishcloths! Naturally, once I got to the point of doing dishcloths I realized the super-bulky yarn I had in stash was perfect for hot pads. No, I never get carried away; I don't know what you're talking about.

The monkeys were simply too cute. (: I had to build a set around them. this one went to my sister for her birthday:

Since then I've been sewing a little, crocheting a little, and putting together more sets. The following one is not complete because it needs the dishcloths and one of the cleaning cloths is still in its raw state. It looks very fourth-of-July-y. 

This was another set built around the fabric (which is not yet sewn). It looks slightly washed out in this picture but you can still see it. I found it on the super-clearance rack at Walmart. They have a lot of cute prints that lend themselves to old-fashioned style cleaning cloths. The flower print in the above picture came from that rack and the stripe was in the remnants bin.

The top cloth is actually sewn but you can't tell in this picture. the blue print is actually knit, cut from a shirt we were going to discard. No dishcloths yet.

I am in love with this orange set which is odd because I don't really like orange! It just looks so cheerful. The flower print was from the discount rack at Walmart and the paisley is from a men's shirt from the thrift store. I've had a lot of fun choosing bits of ribbon to sew across the corners.

The following is not in any completed state at all - it's just thrown together. The monkeys make a come-back here. 

The doggy print came from pj pants and the knit was from a shirt. The little dotted "ribbon" is actually from the tie on the pants. I have only one person in mind for the dogs. I wonder if she'll figure out who she is...

At this point this is just a set of two cleaning cloths. The flowered print is from a house coat from the thrift store. I am very limited in the hot pads I can make right now because the yarn color palette itself is so limited. I need to find some bulky yarns from someone who makes other colors. Like pink, for instance.

These are so easy to make and put together. The pattern for the hot pads is very simple: single crochet a square and weave in your ends. That's it. The dishcloth pattern is here, but it's simple too: alternating slip stitch and half double crochet, making sure the stitches line up as the rows build. I inserted stripes as the spirit moved me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Hello, my religion is ________."

Just for kicks I added a poll on the sidebar just above the "followers" widget. If you feel so inclined would you identify what creed you profess? I'm just curious like that. The poll closes in a week. Let's hope curiosity hasn't killed me by then:

Prayers for Fr. Peter Gillquist [updated]

From email:

Fr. Peter's Gillquist's cancer has metastasized and is more extensive than first indicated. He should be discharged today to go home under hospice care. They are now thinking he has a few weeks. Please keep Fr. Peter, his wife [Kh.] Marilyn and his family in your prayers.

In Christ, Fr James Bernstein, Dean

Fr. Peter is an archpriest of the AOCAN (Antiochian church) and a well-known author and speaker. He was diagnosed with melanoma in 1999 but miraculously recovered. He suffered a recurrence this year and has been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma. He has six children and 19 grandchildren.

[Update: Thanks to Anna for letting me know about this website which is the official site for news about Fr. Peter. Please go there for all updates.]

Goals for the day:

1. Finish the puzzle. (The sky is being a bugger.) [worked on puzzle]
2. Crochet two one more dish cloths and a hot pad.
3. Not snap anyone's head off. [Um, I don't think I lost my temper too much...]
4. Say the Jesus Prayer instead of comparing myself to others. [Tried.]
5. Cut a vase-full of fresh flowers. (They need trimming anyway.)
6. Speaking of trimming, giving Pickles a haircut.
7. Dust the LR/DR.
8. Mop kitchen.
9. Play one board game with children. [Tutorial in rice crispy treats instead.]
10. Ride five miles on stationary bike. [Oh well...I mopped on hands and knees, does that count?]

Words for the day:

"Someone who bears a grudge while he prays is like a person who sows in the sea and expects to reap a harvest."
—St. Isaac The Syrian

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cabin in the Sky

I'm really dreadful at writing movie reviews. Usually what I wind up saying can best be summed up by, "Wow! It was great! You should see it!" I'm trying to think of what movies I've recommended over the life of this blog and I don't think there have been too many. I do remember Ostrov (if you haven't seen it - see it) and The Castle. Although they are extraordinarily different films, both emphatically teach spiritual lessons.

Cabin in the Sky is also along those lines. I don't think you could find a movie more different from the other two than this one but I would recommend it just as highly.

Some background: Cabin in the Sky was originally a Broadway musical which opened in 1940. The film was produced and released in 1943. It was a ground-breaking film (Vincente Minnelli's first) because it starred an all-black cast and because the characters were not portrayed in degrading ways. Quite a number of big names in music were in the film: Lena Horne and Ethel Waters had starring roles; lesser roles were played by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Eddie Anderson (who played "Rochester" for Jack Benny) also has a starring role.

The plot (in a nutshell): Little Joe, a compusive gamble, winds up mortally wounded in a barroom fight while gambling. His patient and pious wife Petunia pleads with God for his life because she's afraid his salvation is in doubt given his lifestyle. He dies and is saved at the last minute from being dragged to Hell by the intercession of angels sent by God in response to Petunia's prayers. A deal is struck that he will be returned to life and given six months to tip the balance for good before being called to account. Good and Evil fight for his soul during those six months. I hate to give much more because I don't want to be a spoiler. The very obvious and transparent workings of temptation and conscience are quite a wonder to see and there is a lot of humor involved.  The entire movie is not available online but here is a fantastic scene: (Little Joe is recuperating and the gamblers have come to collect a debt. Petunia outsmarts them.)

Amazon is selling it on sale for $6.49 from $19.47 - a total steal. You can also probably see it on Netflix.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Russian Orthodox Bell-Ringing

Since the last post was so bleak, here's something on a more hopeful note (honestly, pun unintended). This short (less than 6 minutes) documentary filmed in 1996 is about the recovery of the art of bell-ringing in Russia, and incidentally, the replacing of bells destroyed by the Bolsheviks. The individuals featured speak in Russian but the narration is in English. Quite remarkable.

Le grand frère vous surveille.

Big Brother is Watching You
QUEBEC, June 18, 2012 ( – In what they are touting as a “world first,” a Quebec homosexual activist group has launched a “registry of homophobic acts” with support and funding from the Quebec Government’s Justice Department.  Standing alongside Montreal Police Chief Johanne Paquin and Commander Alain Gagnon, the leadership of the group Gai Ecoute launched the anonymous tipster registry at a press conference today.

Included in the definition of actions classified as “homophobic” and deemed worthy of reporting to the registry are: “any negative word or act toward a homosexual or homosexuality in general: physical abuse, verbal abuse, intimidation, harassment, offensive graffiti, abuse, injurious mockery, inappropriate media coverage and discrimination.”

A press release from the group says that anyone who has experienced or witnessed an act of homophobia “must” report it to the registry of homophobic acts.
Read the rest.

h/t Ad Orientem
Some photography just because.
(All photos taken downtown except flowers (those were in the garden).)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

All Saints of North America

  Yesterday we celebrated the feast of All Saints of North America. I've lifted the following right from Father's bulletin (and if I have a further source I'll post it when I find it). 

This icon was commissioned by His Grace Bishop DEMETRI for the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul (Midwest chancery of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America) in Toledo, Ohio. This icon is from the hand of Diane Plaskon Koory. Mounted copies can be obtained from Conciliar Press, P.O. Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005. St. John Maximovitch is on the right of the first row. (SOURCE)
The Saints of America
On the second Sunday after Pentecost, each local Orthodox Church commemorates all the saints, known and unknown, who have shone forth in its territory. Accordingly, the Orthodox Church in America remembers the saints of North America on this day.
Saints of all times, and in every country are seen as the fulfillment of God's promise to redeem fallen humanity. Their example encourages us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us” and to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The saints of North America also teach us how we should live, and what we must expect to endure as Christians
Although it is a relatively young church, the Orthodox Church in America has produced saints in nearly all of the six major categories of saints: Apostles (and Equals of the Apostles); Martyrs (and Confessors); Prophets; Hierarchs; Monastic Saints; and the Righteous. Prophets, of course, lived in Old Testament times and predicted the coming of Christ.
The first Divine Liturgy in what is now American territory (northern latitude 58 degrees, 14 minutes, western longitude 141 degrees) was celebrated on July 20, 1741, the Feast of the Prophet Elias, aboard the ship Peter under the command of Vitus Bering. Hieromonk Hilarion Trusov and the priest Ignatius Kozirevsky served together on that occasion. Several years later, the Russian merchant Gregory I. Shelikov visited Valaam monastery, suggesting to the abbot that it would be desirable to send missionaries to Russian America.
On September 24, 1794, after a journey of 7,327 miles (the longest missionary journey in Orthodox history) and 293 days, a group of monks from Valaam arrived on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The mission was headed by Archimandrite Joasaph, and included Hieromonks Juvenal, Macarius, and Athanasius, the Hierodeacons Nectarius and Stephen, and the monks Herman and Joasaph. St Herman of Alaska (December 13, August 9), the last surviving member of the mission, fell asleep in the Lord in 1837.
Throughout the Church's history, the seeds of faith have always been watered by the blood of the martyrs. The Protomartyr Juvenal was killed near Lake Iliamna by natives in 1799, thus becoming the first Orthodox Christian to shed his blood for Christ in the New World. In 1816, St Peter the Aleut was put to death by Spanish missionaries in California when he refused to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Missionary efforts continued in the nineteenth century, with outreach to the native peoples of Alaska. Two of the most prominent laborers in Christ's Vineyard were St Innocent Veniaminov (March 31 and October 6) and St Jacob Netsvetov (July 26), who translated Orthodox services and books into the native languages. Father Jacob Netsvetev died in Sitka in 1864 after a life of devoted service to the Church. Father John Veniaminov, after his wife's death, received monastic tonsure with the name Innocent. He died in 1879 as the Metropolitan of Moscow.
As the nineteenth century was drawing to a close, an event of enormous significance for the North American Church took place. On March 25, 1891, Bishop Vladimir went to Minneapolis to receive St Alexis Toth (May 7) and 361 of his parishioners into the Orthodox Church. This was the beginning of the return of many Uniates to Orthodoxy.
St Tikhon (Belavin), the future Patriarch of Moscow (April 7, October 9), came to America as bishop of the diocese of the Aleutians and Alaska in September 1898. As the only Orthodox bishop on the continent, St Tikhon traveled extensively throughout North America in order to minister to his widely scattered and diverse flock. He realized that the local church here could not be a permanent extension of the Russian Church. Therefore, he focused his efforts on giving the American Church a diocesan and parish structure which would help it mature and grow.
St Tikhon returned to Russia in 1907, and was elected as Patriarch of Moscow ten years later. He died in 1925, and for many years his exact burial place remained unknown. St Tikhon's grave was discovered on February 22, 1992 in the smaller cathedral of Our Lady of the Don in the Don Monastery when a fire made renovation of the church necessary.
St Raphael of Brooklyn (February 27) was the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in North America. Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny was consecrated by Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) at St Nicholas Cathedral in New York on March 13, 1904. As Bishop of Brooklyn, St Raphael was a trusted and capable assistant to St Tikhon in his archpastoral ministry. St Raphael reposed on February 27, 1915.
In the twentieth century, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, countless men, women, and children received the crown of martyrdom rather than renounce Christ. Sts John Kochurov (October 31) and Alexander Hotovitzky (December 4 and August 7) both served the Church in North America before going back to Russia. St John became the first clergyman to be martyred in Russia on October 31, 1917 in St Petersburg. St Alexander Hotovitzky, who served in America until 1914, was killed in 1937.
St. John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco (July 2) was a holy, wonderworking Russian bishop in the Far East, Europe and America. He departed this life in honor and veneration in 1966 in San Francisco at his cathedral church of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow. He has worked many intercessory miracles since his blessed repose and is venerated by Orthodox far and wide.
In addition to the saints listed above, we also honor those saints who are known only to God, and have not been recognized officially by the Church. As we contemplate the lives of these saints, let us remember that we are also called by God to a life of holiness.

Prayer Request Updates

Dmetra, the young woman with ovarian cancer: The pathology showed stage I cancer! She'll be receiving chemotherapy and the prognosis is very good.

Because not everyone will realize the extent to which this is somewhat miraculous, let me explain (my background is gynecological oncology). Ovarian cancer (called "the silent killer") is the second most common gynecological cancer and the deadliest. Most ovarian cancers are not diagnosed until stage III or IV because it presents with such non-specific symptoms in the early stages. Only about 15% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage I and the five-year survival rate at that stage is over 90%. Once it spreads, however, the survival rate drops dramatically. Here is a link to a list of symptoms.

Noah, the child with mitochondrial disease: The Medicaid crisis is not over but many steps have been taken to minimize its impact on Noah. Thanks to a large effort a hospital bed was found on Craigslist, purchased and set up an hour before Noah's original bed was taken away. Private nursing is also in the process of being set up. Thank you for your prayers for this little boy and his sweet family. While it is acknowledged that mitochondrial disease is ultimately fatal, providing comfort is a priority. Not having a hospital bed or adequate nursing and supplies hardly contributes to his comfort. I think the Medicaid doctor in SC is insane but thankfully the prayers of thousands of people have been answered and others are stepping in to fill the gaps.

Thank you for your continued prayers for these brave people.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cloud Photo

Out taking photographs this afternoon. This is one I'm not using for the current project but it was neat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The most remarkable thing just happened. Erwin, our UPS man, just came and delivered a long box addressed to me. It turned out to be a beautiful double-stem orchid (and I didn't know one could send orchids through UPS - wow). There was no name attached so I have no idea whom to thank. I can only assume that you will read this here so I will say,

Thank you, so very much. 
You brightened my day. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What do you do...

...when to your horrible shock and chagrin you find out the very girly blanket you made went to a newborn baby boy?

You die, slowly.

Then you apologize profusely and dig out some blue and white yarn.

In the mail today, B.!!

Note to self: triple-check the sex of the baby before you make the blanket.