Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recent (and current) Projects

While on our trip I worked on several small projects for these groups, You Are My Child and Calvin's Hats. You may have seen the first set I made. The first thing pictured below, however, was a special request.

For the mom of a little boy named Matthew, 13 weeks.

He departed in 1970 and she never saw him.

She asked me to make a hat that would fit him. It fits on my thumb.

FINALLY finished my first knitted project, a dishcloth.

...or a washcloth. It's all cotton.

Two matching ripple blankets, about 10 inches square.

The matching pouch, about 8 inches square. I haven't put the lining or ribbons on yet.

The matching hats. (I may redo these...)

Two cross blankets (@11" sq.) and one hat (thumb-sized). Still have a lot to do here.

Two blankets and two matching hats. Approximately the same sizes as the previous.

An unfinished cross blanket, the beginning of another set.

Multiple tiny hats made on our trip while trying to figure out how to make them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zeal vs. Divine Grace

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [1 Cor. 13:1]

Saint Makarios, the famous Desert Father, had decided to go to a church festival along with the monk who was subservient to him. The young monk had gone on ahead. He was a beginner and had a beginner's zeal. As he was walking along he met an idolater, a priest of a pagan temple. He spoke harshly to him and said:

"Where are you off to, you deluded soul?"

The priest was enraged and attacked the novice, leaving him virtually unconscious.

A short time later the priest met the elder. When Abba Makarios, blessed as he was by divine grace, saw the man in a state of shock and aggravation, he said to him: "Good man of God, where are you going to?"

As soon as the priest heard these words his heart softened, he stopped in his tracks, and said:

"Your words have calmed me down."

"Yes," said Abba Makarios. "I see you're in a hurry, only you don't know where you're hurrying to."

But he said it in an humble and brotherly tone of love.

"When you speak," said the idolater, "your words open my heart, but a short time ago another monk spoke to me in a very different way and I gave him a good beating."

Abba Makarios spoke to him in such an inspired way, that the idolater gradually changed his beliefs, became a monk and was saved. With his good words and manners he communicated the good spirit. He communicated the uncreated energy and entered the soul of the idolater. The novice, on the contrary, communicated a spirit of anger and aggression from the spirit he had within him.
-Abba Makarios in Wisdom of the Desert Fathers quoted in Wounded by Love by Elder Porphyrios

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rerun: Grandmother

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 6-22-11 [Today is the seventh anniversary of her repose. May her memory be eternal!]

She was an only child, doted on by her parents.

She was a Girl Scout at a time when they really were scouts. She'd tell us about going camping for two weeks during which time the weather was mostly rain. They put up tents – not the modern “pop-up” kind, but the kind that needed some skill. They built a ring of rocks in the creek and put the butter in a water-tight container in the creek to keep cool.

She was the secretary of a club in high school that must not have met for long because there were only three entries in her book. She had beautiful handwriting.

She collected buttons. I still have oodles of them and use them only after careful consideration. I have her button collecting books as well.

I don't think she could sew except to put on a button or sew a straight seam to hem curtains. Her mother, however, made her clothes including an elaborate pink confection of a prom dress and her beautiful wedding dress.
She was petite and looked like a movie star. I wish I had the photograph of her on the beach in a bathing suit, leaning against the hood of a late-model (for the time) car. She was a knock-out.

She was Baptist, but married a Catholic and was a staunch Catholic ever after. She sang in the choir until Alzheimer's took that away from her. Many is the Sunday I can remember sitting in the pew of St. Patrick's with a family memorial plate on the end, leafing through a missal with English on one side and Latin on the other (note to self at time: kyrie is not pronounced, “KY – ree”). I could hear her beautiful soprano soaring over the other notes. She sang all the time. When she was busy with something she'd half sing, half hum to herself. She also liked to whistle.

She liked to talk. She enjoyed talking with everyone from the people who pick up the trash to the parish priest. We were always the last to leave Mass because she was on the steps talking to the next-to-last person. Everyone was a friend.

She was always cheerful when we were around. I've been told that for a year after my grandfather's death at the untimely age of 58 she withdrew and wouldn't talk to anyone. Being only one at the time I don't remember this. What I remember is a smiling, energetic woman who was always happy. When she got annoyed about something she simply couldn't make it last.

She had a green thumb. She loved plants and I think they loved her back. Her yard was always a paradise to us growing up. I don't remember any fancy “landscaping”, just beautiful plants and flowers. Because she owned the lot across the street which adjoined the bay, she planted there too. There were no houses to obscure the view of the water from her enclosed front porch and she liked to see flowers there. Because there was no faucet, she carried buckets of water across the street to water them daily. Eventually we had a faucet put in, but she wasn't able to go over there much after that. I think she loved wild flowers the best though and we always brought her bouquets of phlox.

She was a pack rat. I've heard that people who survived the Depression often saved everything because it might be of some use. She certainly remembered the Great Depression and her house was stuffed. It was beautiful, because she loved beauty, but if you opened a closet door you were likely to get buried under an avalanche. As as child I loved “rooting around” in cabinets, closets and the attic because it was like going on a treasure hunt. I wonder if my love to this day of “junk” stores and thrift stores stems from the joy of unearthing a figurine I would be allowed to take home to my dollhouse. After she died, it took forever to clean out her house.

She was an English teacher and loved it. She loved her pupils, she loved the literature. Like me, she found Shakespeare funny and I think Tom Sawyer was her favorite book. “Tom and that poor cat!” she would say with laughter. She loved to read and also subscribed to a multitude of magazines. They were always hopelessly piled in multiple corners: by the large chair that had been my grandfather's, by the breakfast table, by the television. I don't think I ever left her house without taking a magazine to read on the trip home.

She was very fashionable and had a closet so full of shoes as to rival Imelda Marcos. Because she was so tiny, no one else could wear them. She loved shopping and enjoyed talking to every single sales associate. She never left the house without makeup and jewelry and she liked her lipstick red. She had had white hair from a surprisingly young age and although I've seen pictures of a stylish woman with beautifully coiffed silver hair, my childhood memories of her are with auburn hair. She dyed it for decades. She had always been so well-groomed that the disheveled look of Alzheimer's was a particular pain. There was the Christmas she was given some new slips and declared that they were so pretty she would wear them outside her clothes. By then we were afraid she would.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rerun: "There's a hole in this cake!"*

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 11-14-10

I had some fool idea that I would make a bundt cake for Duchess's birthday party instead of a regular layer cake. (We had her party this evening as it's the last day before the fast.) Have I ever made a bundt cake that turned out? No. I can't ever get the blame thing to come out of the pan in one piece.

Well, this evening was no different. Flopsy was hanging over the counter watching my futile efforts. When I finally felt the weight shift, I moved the pan to find that a significant amount of cake was still up in the pan. I looked at it for a moment and Flopsy said, "I'm sure this has happened to lots of people before." What a sweetheart.

Well, usually I can correct errors with mortar frosting (which is why I always buy TWO cans) but I had some doubts. To get the correct shape I was going to wind up putting us all into a sugar-induced coma. I started putting frosting on gingerly. There was no way I wasn't going to have some crumbs mixed in so I pretended not to see them. I figured I'd put flowers over the worst spots. (Boy, this cake is sounding better and better, isn't it?) After I put the white layer on I set it aside so I could fix dinner. I was going to decorate it afterwards.

Father came in the kitchen and expressed some surprise that I'd made a bundt cake. I shared what had happened. I told him that the phrase that came to mind as I was icing was "Well, you win some and you lose some." More appropriately would have been, "You win some and some they just pull the blanket over your head." He said that my cake would have needed a closed casket. Then he proposed a bakery to that end. Here's the imagined conversation:

Customer: "Is my cake ready?"
Baker: "Um. Maybe you should just come to the bakery."
Customer: "What's wrong? Is it ready?"
Baker: "Ma'am, I think you need to come down here. Is there anyone who can drive you?"
Customer: "No, and I can't come right now. Tell me what's wrong!"
Baker: "Well, we did all we could, frosting infusions, toothpick splints, even an entire layer transplant. But..."
Customer: "You mean..."
Baker: "I'm sorry. We lost the cake."
Customer: "Noooo!!!!"
Baker: "And you're going to want a closed casket."

(Pictures of the resurrected disaster to follow later.)

*From My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rerun: The Bible-believing, Full-Gospel....Orthodox Church

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 6-10-11

I've heard before the assertion that the Protestant "Bible churches" or "Full-Gospel churches" really use the Holy Scriptures in their services, while the Catholic and Orthodox churches use "man-made liturgies". I don't want to be snarky here so I'm going to suggest that it is most probable that the vast majority of the people making these assertions have never actually attended a Catholic Mass or Orthodox Divine Liturgy nor have read either of them. That said, since it is something likely to come up, I thought I'd stick my neck out on the chopping block for a few minutes and address it.

I'm not going to get into the differences in how Protestants and Catholics and Orthodox believe the Bible was written/inspired/etc. That can be a topic for another day (but there are two good posts here). This is actually looking at how much actual, quoted Scripture is used in the course of the Divine Liturgy (and Mass). I found a fantastic analysis of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom here (see below) done by the V. Rev. John Matusiak. It's much, much more than just the Epistles and Gospel. From the Opening Doxology to the Dismissal, the Liturgy is hopscotching all over the Old and New Testaments.  You can't get away from the Bible no matter where you look. There is also a discussion to be found here.

 The Catholic Mass too is based entirely upon Holy Scripture (article here).

As for how much Scripture is used in the course of a Protestant service, obviously it depends on the brand of Protestantism and that can be wildly divergent. I am vaguely familiar with what is used in the mainline Baptist churches and a little more familiar with what is used in the Episcopal churches and those are certainly seated on different parts of the spectrum. In any event, this was more addressing the assertion that the Orthodox and Catholics do not base their services on the Holy Scriptures, not about how much the Protestants do.

And on a lighter note, a sign I found while looking around...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rerun: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 12-1-10
What is your reaction when you come across something, whether it be in conversation, on the news, in a book, on a blog, whatever, that you feel is out and out wrong? Interestingly, I'm sure your reaction is different depending on what kind of wrong it is.

If you come up against something morally reprehensible, you probably feel indignation, disgust, outrage, sadness. It depends on exactly what it is and how bad you judge it to be. Some people are bothered more by one thing than another. You may be inspired to action, maybe to prayer. You may be inspired to move quickly to something else, mentally whisking the subject under the rug because you feel that you can't change it anyway so why think about it? You might put your fist through the wall.

If you see (especially in print - somehow this makes it worse) something factually wrong, again, the reactions will vary. Sometimes you might feel amused, if you're faced with a typo or Freudian slip. Sometimes you might feel lightly exasperated, They still haven't gotten that right. Sometimes your anger knows no bounds. This is mostly likely to occur when you see bare-faced lies in literature designed to instruct or persuade people. Lies that are almost certainly that, lies, and not merely mistakes. We are inclined, even grudgingly, to excuse mistakes, but have a hard time with lies, because they are done consciously and willingly.

So what do you do? This is the critical thing. Because you can only control your reaction, not anyone else's. The lie is there, the mistake is made, the sin is done. Time machines not having been invented yet, going back and undoing something is not an option, however strong the wish may be. Changing someone's mind? Possible, but usually unlikely. And engaging in a debate is risky. You tend to lose, even if you only lose your peace. I was told many years ago by an experienced nurse: Don't get in an argument with a crazy person. It's like getting in the mud with a pig: the pig enjoys it and you only get dirty. [This was sage advice.] This also brings up another issue: whether you should try.

If we're responsible for the education of someone else, like your child, then correcting misinformation is right and proper. It's your responsibility. What if you're talking about moral or religious misinformation? Again, if you are responsible for the person, then charge right in. What if it's someone in your parish? Only offer your opinion if it was asked and tread carefully. What if you're a priest? If you're a priest and reading this, then you can answer this one yourself; I'm not a priest. (c;

What if you encounter this sort of thing in a complete stranger? On a blog, say? Well, while acknowledging that finding something wrong, misleading, etc. in "print" is aggravating, you don't have any duty to chime in on the com-box in an effort to "set it right". Seriously. You have to look at in a risk-analysis sort of way. (1) What are the odds that your comment will be so illuminating that the heavens will open and angels will appear singing "alleluia" as the poster has a total conversion? (2) What are the odds that you will start a com-box war that only stops when the poster has enough and shuts down comments? (3) What are the odds that you will stump around angrily for the next week, thinking up clever and biting things to say?

Years and years ago, before I was Orthodox, I had a friend who was an avowed atheist. Yes, I look back in perplexity too. Anyway, this person kept a running conversation/debate alive on God's existence, etc., which kept me in a perpetual tizzy. After a very long time, I ended the relationship, realizing that while it had been a serious subject for me, it had been a game for that person. I spoke with my spiritual father about it long afterwards and he said (and this was earth shattering) "God does not need you to defend him." I was literally open-mouthed. I said that I thought we were supposed to. He clarified it by saying that while we should defend our faith personally, we had no responsibility to engage in fruitless discussions with people who were not receptive. This was terribly freeing.

I find this lesson easily applies to the situations I outlined above. This is how I can look sadly on a post that is (based on my experience and education) wrong, and not bite. I said earlier that we can only control ourselves, not other people. Why add anger to the list of things wrong that day? Or vengeful thoughts? Because if you come face to face with a wrong, getting blindingly angry only puts you between the Devil and the deep blue sea. Better to stay out of the water instead.

Footnote: When I was Catholic growing up, I was familiar with something called "the near occasion of sin", which translates to "something that will almost certainly tempt you to sin if you get near it". This is why we're supposed to avoid sinful literature, pictures, media, even some people. If you always get angry when you read about a certain topic, or visit a certain blog, or even look at the news, then for heaven's sake, don't do it. You don't have to "conquer" the passion of anger by constantly shoving the stimulus in your face.

Footnote #2: I will caution you to not assume that I'm referring to a specific blog or specific instance. This is honestly a very general post, and if anything was a sermon to myself. I don't want any feelings to get hurt out of a misunderstanding. Please forgive any confusion I have caused.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rerun: A Visit to the Rectory

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 5-16-11

[Two nicely dressed women walk up the walk to a house in a small town. They bear in their hands a certificate for the "Matushka Blogger of the Year" award and a camera. They carefully step over the Legos on the porch.]

*knock, knock, knock*

-I'll get it!!!

-No, Pickles, you don't have any pants on!

-I've got him.




Are you Matushka Anna?


We're here representing the Association of Blogging Matushki and we...

-He hit me!

-No I didn't!

-Yes you did!

-Did not!

-Did too!

-Did not!

Boys! Get your shoes and socks on and go play in the backyard! Sorry about that.

Don't worry about it.

Would you like to come in?

[They come in, stepping over the Legos on the floor, and have a seat on the couch. On the coffee table are a Dover Math and Science Catalogue, Southern Living from March 2010, two matchbox cars, seven Legos, three broken crayons and a cashew.]

Well, as I said, we're here from the ABM and we wanted to present you with...

-Mommy...I need help on the potty...

Just a minute, I'm sorry.

[As they sit on the couch, they notice the mantle. There are the expected candles, anniversary clock, teacups and lace doily, but there are also two light sabers and a can of Fresca. One of them squirms around and after a moment, pulls out a hairbrush from between the couch cushions. They look at each other.]

Ok, I'm back. Would you all like something to drink?

Yes, that would be lovely. Water would be fine.


Yes, please.

[They follow her into the kitchen, stepping over the Legos in the doorway. One nudges the other and they smile at the open shelving stacked with blue willow and white china and glasses. As they take in the rest of the kitchen their smiles fade slightly. One particularly shudders at the dead flowers in the vase on the windowsill. A small child is eating a sandwich from a hot pink plastic plate at the table. He is wearing his shirt inside out.]

So what wonderful things have you cooked up in the kitchen lately? We really liked the recipes you shared and the picture of the quiche looked good enough to eat right off the screen!


(small boy): We had pizza last night! Mooommmmmmyyy, we're out of peanut butter.

(small girl): No we're not, Pickles is eating a PBJ.

No, Flopsy, we really are out of peanut butter, I'm sorry.

(small boy): So what is Pickles eating?

He's having a honey and jelly sandwich.

(small girl): Yuck!

[They leave the kitchen, glasses in hand. The ladies stop by the icon corner.]

What a nice icon corner!

Thank you.

I'm sure it's a lovely picture to see all of you gathered here three times a day.


Can we see your religious education materials? I'm sure they're extensive and creative.


Oh! Is this your music collection?

Yes, a good portion of that is Father's though.

Oh, I have this CD, I got it from SVS. Don't you have this one Sylvia?

No, I have it in Slavonic. Uh...are these yours or Father's?

Oh, ha ha, all of those are mine. Father doesn't listen to any of that.

[They look at the row of CDs with grim faces. One points to R.E.M. sandwiched between Simon and Garfunkel and Boston. Silently they weave around the table, carefully stepping over the Legos, back to the couch.]

So what were you ladies saying?

Oh, um. We just came for a little visit, you know, to see how you really live in your home, to see if it was like the blog...

Oh! Well, what do you think?

We'll keep you in our prayers. Sylvia, we have a plane to catch.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rerun: The Big Three Eight, or, How to Age Rapidly

  Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 10-5-10 [This is funny because a week ago I finally hit "the big three eight".]

Father mentioned my birthday the other day (it's not today, it's tomorrow) and said, "Well, well! The big three-eight!"

I must have looked pretty startled.

M:  "I'm not going to be thirty-eight!"
F:  "How old are you going to be?"
M:  "Thirty-six!"
F:  "Are you sure?" (!)
M:  "Yes, I'm thirty-five about to turn thirty-six. My, my, my...someone's forgotten how old I am!"
F:  "I guess I've been thinking I was thirty-seven all year..."
M:  "No, you're thirty-six."
M:  "Wait a minute, if you thought you were thirty-seven, how did I get to turn thirty-eight? You're older than I am!"
(sidestepping the question)
F:  "Why, we're young! I suddenly feel so young!"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rerun: Preschooler Manners

  Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 6-25-10

"I burped Mommy....Mommy, I burped! Hey, Mommy? I BURPED!"


Pickles knows to say "excuse me" for any minor bodily offenses but sometimes he wants to wait until someone (me) gives him a 'look' first so he can say it with a rougish grin.  The thing is, if I'm doing something at the time which doesn't allow me to take full notice, he must bring it to my attention first, before getting a look, before saying "excuse me".


Even though it feels like a losing game sometimes, I have always tried to teach my children manners from an early age - like before they could talk.  I guess that sounds a little crazy so let me explain.  When I would hand the baby (not tiny infant, just old baby/young toddler only saying "mama") a cup or spoon or toy or whatever, I would say "thank you" as I handed it to them, then say "you're welcome".  Children are little copycats.  It doesn't take long before they're saying "thank you" too.  Of course, sometimes it gets mixed up and you find the toddler handing something to someone saying "thank you" and expecting them to say "you're welcome".  It all gets straightened out in the end.

The next thing added is "please" (which dovetails nicely with "thank you").  Eventually you have a toddler on your hands saying:

"May I have some more juice, please?"  (Note the "may I" as opposed to "can I" - pet peeve)

Love it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rerun: Funny Christmas Story #1

 Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 12-7-10
Tis the time of year to reminisce. With all of the Christmas preparations going on, some memories of Christmases past have started to surface. Naturally, they're funny.

The funniest memories have to do with the tree. There are several Christmas's worth of tree stories so I'll avoid possible overdose by telling one at a time. Seriously, they're funny.

We were married in August of '97 and were able to spend a month together before we had to separate: Father stayed in place to teach and I moved back to Georgia for my last quarter of nursing school. I was so anxious to be back with him that I eschewed graduation, opting to have my diploma mailed to me, and left for Alabama three days early, right after the pinning ceremony.

I got there less than two weeks before Christmas and naturally nothing had been done. After all, we wanted to decorate and prepare together. The morning after I got there, while I was still in bed, Father had a call from someone at his school asking if I were a nurse and had graduated. Her husband was a doctor and needed someone that morning in his office to substitute. His substitute was actually out with strep throat. I said that if they didn't care that I wasn't in uniform (they were in a box somewhere) I'd come in to help. Well, to finish out that story, the original and the replacement never came back so I worked there for the next two years before seminary. Easiest job search I've ever done.

However nice it was to have a job, the fact remained that it was just before Christmas and we didn't have a lot of time to get ready. We finally managed to go out to find a tree the week of Christmas and the pickings were slim. I was ready to settle for a dinky one, thinking I could dress it up (a la Charlie Brown), but Father insisted that our first tree be nice. We then found one somewhere else for what was then an outrageous sum. I had to admit that it was a beautiful tree. I think it was a Frasier fir (my favorite).

We set it up in the front room. (Ok, I need to explain the house a little: We lived in a very old house without central heat. It was built on a shotgun shack plan for the most part and the heater was in the center of the house.) By putting the tree in the front of the house we were capitalizing on the fact that it was in one of the front windows and thus visible from outside. [Note: only visible with lights on. This is important.] On the other hand, this room was very cold. We tended to live in about four rooms during the winter with rolled up rugs at all the doors because we couldn't get the rest of the house to heat up.

So, there was the tree in all its glory. You could see the lights from the street and it was very cozy looking. It was anything but cozy inside and we were in coats to decorate it. The presents, as they arrived, were put under it and we gave it one more smile and shut the door.

On Christmas morning, we went into the front room to open presents (we couldn't go to church because the roads were shut down due to an ice storm) and the first things we opened were from my parents: two matching fleece jackets. We immediately put them on! We had little presents for our two cats, Lucy and Ethel but they wouldn't come any farther into the room than the doorway. As soon as we were done unwrapping, we shiveringly gathered up the presents and the wrapping, unplugged the lights, and departed the room, never to return.

You think I'm kidding?

Spring finally came to northern Alabama (it was pretty cold that year) and one day I was looking for a specific china serving dish. After a while, I thought it might be in an antique dresser I had in the front room and I dragged open the door (it was a little stuck) to look for the dish. I stopped in surprise and forgot all about the dish.

Yep, you guessed it. There was the tree.

Still decorated, still with lights on it (not plugged in, thank goodness). In fact, because it had been so cold, it looked perfectly preserved, still green. After gaping at it for a moment, I backed out and shut the door, deciding that I didn't want to miss Father's expression when he saw it. When he got home from school I walked him to the door and opened it. Ditto the expression. We laughed pretty hard at ourselves and set about to take the ornaments and lights off. I reached up for the first ornament near the top of the tree. At the slight vibration, every single needle fell off the tree and formed a perfect circle of green at its base. Every. Single. Needle.

Well, we got everything off and Father dragged the carcass across the street and threw it far, far back in the woods while I swept up several pounds of needles. He said he didn't want the garbage men to see it.

We never did leave the tree up that long again, but the very next year we had another hilarious tree incident. I'll leave that one for next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rerun: More Conversations With Children

Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

 Originally published 8-23-10

I helped Pickles put on his adventure costume a minute ago and he looked up at me and smiled when I was done.  I said, "Are you Mommy's sweet boy?"
He nodded, said "Yes," then gave me a hug.  Then he said, "I'm cute!"
(Well, he was adorable.) "Oh, you're cute are you?"
"I'm fantastic!"
No ego problems there.

Duchess has a habit of picking up the cat, Indiana, and carrying him around like a baby.  He tolerates this for a time but then gets understandably irritated and wants to get down.  If you don't heed his plaintive miaow, he'll go for your face.  Duchess got off lucky this morning (she tends to ignore the miaow) and only got a small scratch to her hand.  She was supposed to have been finishing up some homeschooling and I told her so.  As I was putting the bandaid on she said, "I just can't work under these conditions!"

Ginger lost another tooth the other night and put it under his pillow.  The Tooth Fairy got caught up doing other things and forgot to visit.  The next day he was not only understandably disappointed not to find any money, he was also unable to find the tooth!  I hunted around for the tooth, making excuses for the fairy and finally wrote out and gave him a note that said: "Dear Tooth Fairy, Ginger has lost his tooth but now he can't find it.  Love, Mommy" and told him to put the note under his pillow.  He was skeptical but I reminded him that we had had to do that when one of his sisters swallowed her tooth.  As I was walking out of the room he asked me, "What does the Tooth Fairy need all of those teeth for anyway?"  On the fly, all I could come up with was "maybe she gives them to new babies".  Needless to say, the fairy got on the ball that night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rerun: Balloons

Hi! I'm out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 4-22-10

 Last night at vespers, I looked down to see Pickles (3) take a little balloon out of his pocket.  I bent over and put my hand out and told him to give it to Mommy.  When he did I told him that we don't play with toys in church but I would keep it and give it to him afterward.  He nodded and whispered "ok".  I was overjoyed that I wouldn't be dealing with a temper tantrum two minutes into the service.  I thought, he's finally growing up.  Praise God! 

Then he slowly put his hand in his pocket again.  And pulled out four more balloons.


I quietly took the four balloons, at which he made no protest (no wonder he hadn't fussed when I took one balloon from him!).  Then I searched his pockets.

I pulled out a total of about 16 balloons from both pockets and a little rubber ball.  As I put them in my purse, I reflected that over the past few weeks I've stowed an assortment of goods including a harmonica and a little clay Indian flute.  The inner pocket of my purse was stuffed.  Remember in the movie A Christmas Story when the teacher confiscates all of the fake teeth and she opens her desk drawer to stow them and you see a wild assortment of confiscated toys?  That's what my purse felt like.  The flute had actually been snatched away just as he put it up to his mouth.  In church.

The girls really never did this but then, little dresses generally don't have pockets.

At least he's never brought in anything alive.


[I couldn't embed the video.  Go to 5:30 on the link.]

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thoughts about the Challenge

I bumped into this Orthodox challenge yesterday. I didn't look closely at it but realized I couldn't do it anyway because we're about to be out of pocket for most of 2 weeks. I happened to get a closer look today:

Day 01 — Your favorite Saint
Day 02 — Your favorite Feast Day
Day 03 — Your favorite Bible Verse
Day 04 — Your favorite Jesus icon
Day 05 — Your favorite Theotokos icon
Day 06 — How often do you say the Jesus Prayer with your prayer rope?
Day 07 — Your favourite pilgrimage destination
Day 08 — Your favourite Orthodox monastery
Day 09 — A photo of your favourite Church
Day 10 — How many prayer ropes do you have?
Day 11 — Your favourite chant
Day 12 — Your favourite day of the Holy Week
Day 13 — Your favourite Saint quote
Day 14 — Your favourite Orthodox elder/eldress
Day 15 — Your favourite Orthodox celebrity
Day 16 — How often do you receive the Holy Communion?
Day 17 — Your favourite Priest/Metropolitan
Day 18 — Your favourite Archangel
Day 19 — Ever considered ordination/entering monachism?
Day 20 — Your favourite Father of the Church
Day 21 — The Last Orthodox book/study you read
Day 22 — What does Orthodox Christianity mean to you?
Day 23 — Describe your relationship with God
Day 24 — Describe your relationship with the Most Holy Theotokos
Day 25 — Your favourite tumblr Orthodox bloggers
Day 26 — Your stance on Ecumenism
Day 27 — Your favourite Martyr/s
Day 28 — Your favourite Orthodox radio station/internet radio station
Day 29 — Share any funny Orthodox moments you noticed at Church
Day 30 — How many icons you own?
 On the surface this looks pretty neat and many of the questions are fairly innocuous (such as days 1, 3, etc.). As I read further I started feeling uncomfortable. I have made it a practice here not to discuss my own prayer life or what I may (always erroneously) perceive as my spiritual state. There is no good in this and it can only be harmful to me and anyone reading. That would mean answering questions such as "how often do you receive Holy Communion," or "How often do you say the Jesus Prayer with your prayer rope," rather difficult. I have no intention of sharing such things. People who attend my parish might be able to hazard a guess on the first one but I highly doubt anyone is paying any attention. As to the second question, my only answer could be, "not enough". [I'm not sure I understand the purpose of asking someone how many prayer ropes they have or how many icons they have. Can this turn into anything but a "more pious than thou" contest? How many prayer ropes does one person need, anyway? You can only use one at a time. Possibly people have prayer ropes given to them by their godparents, family members, etc. I don't know. I don't have any Orthodox family. Perhaps a better question would be, "do you have a prayer rope or icon that is especially significant to you and why?"]

I do think that questions about who your favorite saint/archangel is are fun because most people have a special relationship with one or two saints. Usually there are interesting stories behind it and I'm sure everyone would enjoy reading those. When you delve into favorite priest, metropolitan, etc., the thing gets much stickier. I don't see how it can be helpful to answer this, especially with relatively recent events in the OCA. This could get you into trouble if you expound on who your favorite metropolitan is and why. I can tell you who my favorite priest is right now: my husband. (:

I like the question asking what Orthodox Christianity means to you; I think this could probably encourage some thoughtful posts. As to describing my relationship with God and the Theotokos, I think that would be hard. They love us all unconditionally and equally. I can't evaluate my own spiritual state (and I should know better than to try to evaluate anyone else's) so I think this would be shrouded in mystery.

I think the idea overall is a good one and more than half of the questions appear perfectly harmless and good jumping-off points for interesting posts. I can't participate anyway so I guess it is a moot point. Is anyone else doing this challenge? What are your thoughts?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Catholics assaulted by feminist mob while passively defending their church.

POSADAS, Argentina, October 11, 2012, ( - Angry, pro-abortion feminists mocked, spat on, and spray-painted Catholics who were standing guard in front of the cathedral of the Diocese of Posadas in Argentina on Saturday, an event that was caught on video by professional journalists and placed on YouTube and other media.

According to reports by local media, the bishop of Posadas, Juan Martínez, had closed the cathedral and canceled liturgical services there in anticipation of the presence of the women, who had gathered in the city to participate in the annual national National Women’s Encounter, an event that has become notorious for vandalism and attacks on Catholic churches.

Although the destructive behavior of participants in Argentina’s annual National Women’s Encounter is well known, Martínez had inexplicably asked the police not to place barriers nor to guard the cathedral, which was on the planned route of the feminists’ march through the city.

Local Catholics who placed themselves in front of the building to defend the structure from defacement were left defenseless as they were harassed and spray-painted by the feminists.

Following the attacks, which successfully defaced part of the building despite the presence of Catholic laity, Bishop Martinez said that the diocese had chosen “the road of peace and of non-confrontation,” but called the actions of the demonstrators “shameful.”

Calling the feminists “professional provocateurs” in a press conference following the attack, Martínez added that “we’re going to leave the paint for 48 hours so that people will reflect.  The city was left vandalized, subjected, and violated. If they had done it to a synagogue, it would have been said that it was an anti-Semitic aggression. As it was against Catholics, there’s no problem.”

Argentina’s National Women’s Encounter attracts thousands of women every year from extremist feminist groups, many of them homosexuals, to angrily demand the acceptance of their political agenda, which includes the legalization of abortion and the vindication of the homosexual lifestyle.

In 2010 they vandalized buildings in the city of Paraná, attacked Catholics in front of the city’s cathedral and seriously injured at least one person. Similar confrontations have occurred in other years as well, including 2007 and 2008.     (Link)
 I watched the video. The Catholics stood arm in arm, not defending themselves, submitting to degradation, mocking, and physical assault. I do not know Spanish and the mob was too loud to hear anyway, but it appeared that they were perhaps saying the rosary. The mob exhibited behaviour that was positively disgusting. This is how they demonstrate "tolerance". I don't usually post such things on here and I have never posted videos that included even partial nudity (it's toward the end if you are trying to avoid it, which I recommend) but I think it's important to see that there is a demonic face on pro-abortion, largely pro-homosexual feminist groups. 

[Not for young viewers. Some episodes of partial nudity and sexually provocative actions on the part of the feminists.]

Why Christianity Should Not Change with the Times

Excerpts from a sermon by St. Theophan the Recluse (source):

It reached my ears that, as it seems, you consider my sermons very strict and believe that today no one should think this way, no one should be living this way and therefore, no one should be teaching this way. “Times have changed!”
How glad I was to hear this. This means that you listen carefully to what I say, and not only do you listen, but you are also willing to abide by it. What more could we hope for, we who preach as we were ordered and as much we were ordered?
Despite all this, in no way can I agree with your opinion. I even consider it my duty to comment on it and to correct it, since – even though it perhaps goes against your desire and conviction – it comes from something sinful, as though Christianity could alter its doctrines, its canons, its sanctifying ceremonies to answer to the spirit of each age and adjust itself to the changing tastes of the sons of this century, as though it could add or subtract something.
Yet, it is not so. Christianity must remain eternally unchanging, in no way being dependent on or guided by the spirit of each age. Instead, Christianity is meant to govern and direct the spirit of the age for anyone who obeys its teachings. To convince you of this, I will put forward some thoughts for you to consider.
Some said that my teaching is strict. First of all, my teaching is not my own, nor it should be. In this sacred office nobody should, nor even can, preach his own teaching. If I or someone else ever dare to do so, you can put us outside the Church.
We preach the teachings of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of the holy Apostles, and the Holy Church, which is guided by the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we make sure to do everything possible to keep these teachings whole and inviolate in your minds and hearts. Every thought we present and every word we use, we do so very carefully, so as not to overshadow this brilliant and divine teaching in any way. Nobody can act differently.


 If the saving power of this teaching depended on our opinion of it and our consent to it, it would make sense for someone to imagine rebuilding Christianity according to human weaknesses or the claims of the age and adapt it according to the sinful desires of his heart. But the saving power of Christian law does not at all depend on us, but on the will of God, by the fact that God Himself established precisely the exact path of salvation. Beyond this there is no other way, nor could it exist. Therefore, anyone who teaches in any other way, is deviating from the true path and is destroying himself and you. What logic is there in that?

Now the Westerners have the following views: Believe what you think best, live as you like, satisfy whatever captivates your soul. This is why they do not recognize any law or restriction and they do not abide by God's word. Their road is wide, all obstacles displaced. Their way is broad, all the obstacles taken out. But the broad road leads to perdition, according to what the Lord says. This is where leniency in teaching has led!
Lord, save us from this broad way! But it is better to love each difficulty that the Lord has appointed for our salvation. Let us love Christian doctrines and let us compel our mind with them, pushing it not to think otherwise. Let us love Christian morals and let us compel our will in them, forcing it to lift the light yoke of the Lord humbly and patiently. Let us love all Christian rituals and services which guide us, correct us, and sanctify us. Let us compel our heart with them, encouraging it to convey its desires from the earthly and perishable, to the heavenly and imperishable.

Once you have fully understood this assertion, do not worry if something in our teaching seems to be strict. The only thing you should strive for is to carefully make sure if it is from the Lord. And after you have made sure it is from the Lord, accept it with all your heart, no matter how strict or obliging it may be. And not only avoid wanting special treatment and leniency with doctrine and the ethics, but even flee from all these, as though fleeing from the fire of Gehenna. Those who cannot escape from this are those who think up such things and with them lure those who are spiritually weak to follow them. Amen.

(December 29, 1863  Sunday after Christ's Birth)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two Good Posts...

Two really good posts on Seeking the Kingdom...
There once lived a most devout priest. Even though he barely knew how to read and write, he was the priest, a clergyman of strong faith, great virtue and of many spiritual struggles. He used to stand upright for hours during the Proskomidia, despite the fact that the veins of his feet had been affected and were hemorrhaging. There were times when one could see the blood running down since he was standing upright commemorating the names of numerous people. He was a man of sacrifice to his last breath. (In fact, it was just after celebrating the Divine Liturgy for the last time that his soul departed.)

As he barely knew how to read and write, by some misunderstanding he did not place the portions on the holy diskos properly.

When we place the portion of the All-Holy Theotokos onto the holy diskos, we say: "The queen stood at Thy right hand . . ." But this holy priest was under the impression that, since he said "at Thy right hand," the particle of the All-Holy Mother of God must be placed on the right side of the Lamb (from his perspective); in other words, he was placing the particle on the wrong side of the Lamb.

Once a bishop visited the Holy Monastery for the ordination of a deacon.
During the Praises of Matins, the bishop enters the Holy Altar. He vests, then goes to the Proskomidia, which has already been prepared up to a certain point. He then commemorates names and completes the Proskomidia himself.

Thus, when the bishop came to the Proskomidia, he noticed that the particles had been placed backwards by the priest.

"You didn't place the pieces properly, Father," he told him. "Father, come here for a minute. The All-Holy Theotokos is placed over here, and the nine ranks are placed over there. Hasn't anyone told you? Hasn't anyone seen how you do the Proskomidia?"
Read the rest here.
 "If a man who engages in many ascetic labors sees someone wholly in a state of sin or negligence, and denigrates him, all of his repentance is in vain, since he has rejected a member of the Body of Christ by judging him, by not leaving the judgment to the Divine Judge, and by not attending to his own sins. For in the present life, we are all, as it were, in a doctor's waiting room: one person is suffering from a disease of the eyes, another has a pain in his hand, another has an abscess, or whatever other illnesses there may be. Some of these wounds have already been healed; but when one who has been healed of them eats something harmful, then he suffers a relapse.

"Such is the case also with one who is in a state of repentance and who judges or despises another: he undoes his repentance. Now, if a number of people are in a waiting room, each with a different ailment, and one of them cries out from his own suffering, is someone else going to ask him: 'Why are you crying out?' Is not each person concerned with his own malady? If I had the pain of my own sins before me, I would not be able to see anyone else sinning. Each person in the waiting room is keeping watch over himself, in accordance with the doctor's instructions, by not eating anything detrimental to his wounded condition. Who is there who is not wounded?
Read the rest here.

Repentance, Vainglory and Self-Justification

With all the benefits of repentance, why isn't everybody jumping into it? Remembrance of events important in our life but now forgotten. Deeper and deeper self-knowledge and understanding of our behaviour. The cure of passions that can interfere with clear thinking. A revelation of our special calling, and of the wisest decisions to benefit ourselves. When repentance brings such blessings, why isn't everybody lining up to go through that wonderful narrow gate that leads into life (Matt. 7:14) for anyone who earnestly calls out, God, be merciful to me a sinner (Lk. 18:14)?

Here's why: Because of a monstrous allergy we have to blaming ourselves for anything, seeing anything "sinful" in ourselves. This creates in us an allergy, also, to repentance, because  repentance involves the confession that there is something wrong in our souls - something we're responsible for discovering and changing, through repentance.

The passion that sets us up for this allergy is Vainglory. It attacks our will, giving it a strong desire to impress other people, rather than obeying God, so they'll approve of us. The will then develops a whopping allergy to any suggestion that we're not looking good to others. A suspicion that we could have some fault that might keep us from being accepted and admired by others can make us feel very uncomfortable.

To calm this allergic reaction to the thought that there could be something wrong with us that it is our responsibility to recognize and correct by repentance, there's a psychological antihistamine. It is called "self-justification." Self-justification is like a thick, anesthetizing salve that soothes away every aggravating hint that there's any sin in us for which we could be responsible. It cools any suspicions that we could be blamed for anything.


Never try to blame your genes, something many people suggest, for whatever inborn passions you have that keep you from being in the image and likeness of Christ as we were created to be. Why? Because assuming the nature we're born with is the unavoidable nature God gave us, so that we aren't responsible for having it or correcting it, cuts off belief in any need for repentance or recovery. And how can we believe we need a Saviour to redeem us from inborn sin that we're convinced is natural and needs no correction? People who consider all their inborn characteristics as natural, and therefore not in need or redemption, have no way to worship Jesus as a Redeemer. That sort of self-justification prevents them from believing and practicing what the Gospel teaches.

-God's Path to Sanity: Lessons from Ancient Holy Counselors on How to Have a Sound Mind, p. 80-82, Dee Pennock

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fasting Doughnuts from Canned Biscuits

 When I was young my mother used to work the most amazing kitchen magic: she turned biscuits into doughnuts! I've done the same thing for my own children and they love them. This is the easiest thing in the world and it's...fasting! [I've posted this before but didn't take pictures so I'm doing a re-post.]

This is so easy. Honestly.

Fasting Doughnuts from Biscuit Dough

  • One or more cans of el-cheapo biscuits. [Do NOT get fancy ones.]
  • Vegetable oil or whatever you use for frying
  • Toppings (sugar, cinnamon, etc.)

Heat the oil. I have no idea how hot, just hot enough to fry dough without turning it black. Adjust your temperature if the first ones are either browning too quickly (they won't have time to cook in the middle) or are sitting in there so long they get soggy. (Yuck!)

Have a plate with paper towels or brown paper ready for the doughnuts. Take each biscuit and split it horizontally so you have two thin rounds. Rarely do they come out nicely - don't worry about it. Tear a hole in the middle and drop it into the oil. Don't fry more than six at a time or the oil temperature will drop. This doesn't take long at all so don't go do something else while you're waiting for them to fry. Not more than a minute on a side depending on oil temperature. Flip them over to brown the other side. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain on the plate while you get the next batch in.

As soon as the next batch is in, quickly transfer the just-cooked doughnuts to another plate or bowl and sprinkle with sugar. You want to do this while they're still hot. Alternately you can have a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag) with sugar in it to shake them in but while you're doing this the batch in the pot may be burning. I've done this both ways and it doesn't make much difference.

In about ten minutes you can have 40 doughnuts ready! Eat them while they're warm. They don't improve with sitting about.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Afternoon scrap quilt

Remember this?

Well, I finally finished piecing the top.

And I was able to do it without cutting and piecing any more squares 
(each finished piece is 1.5" square). It's sized for a twin bed.

Each child will have a quilt and this one is Ginger's. 
Pickles' quilt is next. You're going to laugh when you see the feature fabric. (:

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Pumpkin Pie"

That's what I call my youngest. (: Fortunately he hasn't outgrown liking to hear it.

When I brought out the fall/winter clothing this year I noticed that not only had the pajama pants I made him last year shrunk, he had grown a few inches. This left them just below knee length and not suitable for keeping the legs warm.

Yesterday I grabbed some orange fleece and made him another pair, mostly using this as a guide. (These are seriously easy - don't sweat it.) He liked them and wore them last night. This morning he clambered up in bed and announced that he was a pumpkin...pie. *giggle, giggle* I realized it would be so easy to make him a pumpkin shirt to go along with the pants.

I took a regular white undershirt and sewed on a pumpkin shape, a stalk and a few leaves. Plain and zig-zag stitching were all I needed to applique them and it took me all of 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Here's to a boring life

I was watching a movie trailer earlier. It was a movie made from a book (as usual) that I had read many years before and loved. I always feel some trepidation because typically the movie departs from the book and in ways that disappoint. From what I can see this particular movie looks fairly faithful to the book and like it may be worth watching (when it comes out on DVD - I can't remember the last time we saw something in the theater).

I noticed that the trailer (as trailers usually do) largely focused on the "action moments" of the book, the exciting things, the danger, the thrilling moments of revelation. I happen to know that the time covered by the book included vast amounts of time in which "nothing happened". Time when the humdrum followed one day upon another upon another... Hours of boredom. To look at the trailer you'd think that the whole story was a blockbuster from beginning to end, but this wasn't the case.

When we read the lives of the saints a lot of the time it looks like this. Time is necessarily telescoped in stories as in movies since one must abbreviate somewhere. The things that are left out are obviously the endless days of everyday life when "nothing happened". The things that are included are the times of testing, the miracles, the martyrdom. If we're not careful we begin to believe that if we're not living a blockbuster life then we are not doing anything on the path of sanctity.

Just think about those saints however. If a given saint lived to be 58, then how much of the time was given to prayer? To walking from one place to another? To caring for animals? To preparing meals (even if one is only eating "roots and berries" one must actually forage for them)? Were they living a life of ease and pleasure during all of those times when nothing happened and only shining forth at the last moments? [Well, we do know of those last-minute conversions by would-be torturers who were then martyred on the spot, but apart from those.]

No, they became saints during the "dead spots". During the boring weeks. During the times when the most exciting thing that may happen is finding a double-yolked egg. Think of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who, after having been tortured almost to death, was thrown down a dry well in a garbage pit. He was there for thirteen years. We hear about the story, about how he was rescued and healed the king who had gone mad (this is really a wonderful story - if you don't know it you should read it) but I think about those thirteen long years. Thirteen days would be a horribly long time to be at the bottom of a pit, but thirteen years? Each one of those days, over 4,700 of them, would be spent largely in darkness, no companionship, no books, nothing at all. There's no exciting story to tell about 13 years in a pit. But it was during this time that St. Gregory became who he was: a saint. Think of St. Mary of Egypt, in the desert for forty-eight years. The examples could go on and on and on.

Many of us - most of us, in fact - reading this are living rather humdrum lives. We're not being tortured for our faith. We're not living in grave danger. We're not climbing mountains. Instead we're taking the garbage out once or twice a week. We're wiping noses. We're driving to work. We're sweeping the kitchen. We're doing the same tasks over and over and over. Some, particularly mothers of very little children, feel like this time will never end. They feel as if the rest of the world has gone on and left them with nose prints on all the windows and toys in the bathtub. They hear the lives of the saints and look at their plain lives and sigh.

But it's exactly those boring days and hours that will make you a saint. In our imaginations (someone, please tell me I'm not the only one who has done this) we stand up to tyrants and torturers. We proclaim Christ boldly. We die for our faith. But the majority of us will live out our years rather peacefully by comparison, dying of kidney failure or pneumonia when we're past 70. Is it hopeless then? No! Think of Chinese water torture. One cold drop in the same place on the head; hours and days of this until the victim is screaming for mercy. Sometimes I think it takes as much courage to cheerfully and graciously care for ungrateful children (let's face it - mostly they are) day in and day out, or smile at the next person in line at the complaints counter, as it does to face the sword.

So it's these days in which we are made saints. We don't have to look for glorious deeds. All we are asked to do is what God places in front of us right now. There's no sense in arguing that cleaning up spilled milk is not saint-making. God didn't ask your opinion. You clean up that spilled milk for your children, then your grandchildren, and keep smiling, and God will do the rest. After forty years of practicing love and patience it will have gotten to be such a habit that if the "moment of glory" ever comes, you'll be ready. If you've sulked and compared your boring life to more exciting ones, then not only will you not be ready, but you may not even recognize it when it comes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Books and Icons and Yarn

Unfamiliar custom

Ok, this is completely out of season, but Father came across a video and we were just stunned. There are several videos from this particular church (St. Barbara in ? Greece, 2010) but the one we viewed contained something we'd never seen before. I sure do hate to spoil the surprise so I won't. (:

First, here's a video I've posted before. This is at an OCA church here in America (Birmingham, AL - St. Symeon's) and the service is Holy Saturday Liturgy, the first Liturgy of the Resurrection. This video was taken during the hymn, "Arise O God". Bay leaves are thrown. Everywhere. It's so joyous, just watch it again. (:

Now, this is the video from the Greek church. The chanter is chanting "Arise O God" too and bay leaves are also thrown. However, it's what happens after the bay leaves are all out and the priests return to the altar that was so surprising.

Did you see that? (Or more to the point, did you hear that?) Now, I tried looking it up online and found surprisingly little by way of explanation. Father and I had a few good guesses but I'm waiting on my Greek friends (Hi!) to provide a full accounting. I feel like we're so "vanilla" in this country in comparison to the Greeks. Their motto ought to be, "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing." Love it.

(By the way, this video from the same church when they bring out the epitaphios is amazing as well. We'd never seen blossoms thrown onto the epitaphios by the gathered people...and then misted of all things. That explains why it was covered with clear plastic. I at first had attributed it to the fact that the Greeks always cover everything with clear plastic, lol.)

General Updates

Some mild illness in the house but it seems to be heading out. Thank goodness. Hooray for popsicles!

I've added quite a number of inches to my crocheted rug. I just keep recycling old t-shirts. If they have holes or pain or stains or are otherwise not suitable for sending to the thrift store then I just cut them into strips and add them to the rug. Waste not, want not!

I've (mostly) done the seasonal clothing swap. Whew. It's so exhausting. Fortunately there weren't too many things that everyone needed once the dust had settled. I was able to get them from Walmart for the most part. Thanks to everyone for hand-me-downs!

Saturday is the feast commemorating the glorification of St. Innocent, Enlightener of North America. We remember baby Innocent on March 31st, the actual day of St. Innocent's departing this life, but I remember him this day too since it was so close to his due date. Hard to believe he'd be walking now if he had been born at the right season. It's also my 38th birthday, one I have not looked forward to.

An early birthday present from Father and the children was a pair of rocking chairs for the front porch. I spotted them at the used furniture store adjoining the thrift store when I dropped several bags off (fruits of the clothing sort-through) yesterday morning. I mentioned them in passing on the phone when Father called to remind me to get something at the grocery store. He then sneaked out with some of the children later and snagged them. (: They are in dire need of stripping and painting but I got a wire brush today to start the process. They're quite sturdy and will be lovely when they're fixed up. I've wanted a pair of rockers for the front porch for years so this was quite a nice surprise.

I think I'm going to buy paint stripper. This is going to take forever.

Underneath that icky cover the woven seat looks to be in good shape.

I've been working on a quilt, still in the piecing phase. Because I was so determined to use a particular few scraps, I made the squares only 2 inches (so 1 1/2 when pieced), smaller than I've ever done for a non-doll quilt. In retrospect this was a stupid decision. It's going to take FOREVER. I'm thinking of ways to make it bigger without a huge amount of additional piecing. When I get it figured out I'll post it.

We finally had some cool weather although today has been quite warm. At least the majority of the time the weather has been cool with only occasional hot days. It's much better than weeks and weeks and months of over-95 temperatures. Father and I sat out on the porch in the rockers last night with cups of tea and enjoyed the air. Now, if only the leaves would turn. (Mostly this far south they just turn brown and hang on the trees until the spring leaves push them off. We rake in the spring.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

0.15% Off!!!

Can't believe I saw this today...

(photo taken of photo on my cell phone)

[In case you're wondering, no, I didn't get them.]

Monday, October 1, 2012

Feast of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God

 Joyous feastday! This is the patronal (or matronal) feast of Holy Protection Monastery in PA. We'll be there in a few weeks...but thankfully not today! I know it's overrun. Be that as it may, I still remember them today and wish Gerontissa and all of the nuns joy on their feastday.

But, since I'm feeling homesick for them, I think I'll watch this photo collage again...

See more on the feast HERE.