Friday, November 30, 2012

Memory Eternal


With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beautiful Photos

I urge you, for refreshment of soul, to visit this link to view many, many photos from the life of the Convent of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Ivanovo. I've given a few examples below.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good use of a nursing degree

I was working out a menu the other afternoon so I could make a quick run to the store. For a break (for me) everyone was going to have their beloved soy burgers (yuck) and as I was rapidly going down the list I looked up and asked Father,

"Will you want fries with that?"

As soon as I had said it we both realized what I had said and died laughing. Father said, "So all your education has come to this!!"

McDonald's hires around 1 million workers in the US every year

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Light Posting

Posting will be a little light this week. I'm busy trying to finish some projects, work on homeschool, etc. I also just don't have the heart for much writing because Andrew's anniversary is Friday. We'll have Vespers on Thursday, Liturgy on Friday morning, then a memorial service at the graveside sometime after that on Friday. It's hard to believe it's been a year...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trap of Curiosity

I was reflecting on how insidious a passion curiosity is. Probably you are thinking, Curiosity, a passion? Well, it may not be found on any of the official lists of the passions, but I think it is a close subset. Curiosity is like a lot of things, not terrible when used the right way, as an appropriate tool, but it is a bad master.

Curiosity is what has led to a lot of scientific (and other) discoveries. All well and good. But what happens when you let Curiosity run away from you? What happens when Curiosity teams up with its ugly big brother Pride? If you have scientific curiosity and no humility then you can get into major trouble.

The problem with curiosity is it leads you into other things. It's like a sweet child holding your hand... leading you straight into the Fire Swamp. How many things do we get into "just out of curiosity"? How many times do we ask someone something "just out of curiosity"? Curiosity leads us into gossip ("I wonder what is being said about X?) , slander ("Since I"m on this website I might as well spout off about how awful X is."), pride ("I would never act as X has!"), lust (pornographic websites, anyone?), fornication ("I wonder how that old flame of mine is doing?"), anger ("How DARE they do that!"), etc., etc., etc. All because we gave in to curiosity.

It can be hard to see how something like this works out in practice. I don't usually talk about myself much (yes, pick yourself up off the floor and stop laughing...I mean the inside of me) but I'll give a few examples and I hope I won't harm myself by mentioning them.

A little over a year ago I stopped visiting a certain website. It was meant to be contentious and I realized I was always in a bad mood when I left it. Things I read would make me angry, make me feel pride because I wasn't as bad as what they were saying, etc. Sometimes I felt compelled to dive in headfirst and make snide comments. This knowledge came to me slowly and I tried to cut down the number of times I would go visit. That's when I realized it was more than just a casual thing: I was addicted to it. The path back in to the site was always curiosity. I would say I was only curious to see what had been said about this or that. At some point I cut it off cold and gradually my curiosity waned.

One more example: I was part of an online group for many months. At some point I decided it wasn't a spiritually healthy thing for me to be a part of so I left it...except that I didn't. I would check back in because I was curious to see what was going on, how so-and-so was doing, etc. This was a very hard thing to leave because my social life is so small as it is. Several months ago I cut it off and finally have cut all the ties to people who belonged to that group. It's a relief.

In each one of these cases it was curiosity that I was really fighting. It was the window that let any of the other passions in. I'll be forever battling curiosity, it's hardly something I've managed to conquer. But thank God I at last realized some of its dangers. For example I found this on the OCA website:
I’m fully aware that the Orthodox Church forbids astrology. But once, out of idle curiosity, I looked up my astrological sign and read about the personality type. It matched my personality nearly 100%...
 Curiosity can lead you into nearly anything. During Lent we pray the Prayer of St. Ephrem:
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, despair, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity (integrity), humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
 In Greek the word used in the place of "despair" is "περιέργια" which means "idle curiosity". The next time you find yourself asking something "just out of curiosity", ask yourself whether you're letting curiosity serve you...or whether you are serving it. When your children start inquiring into something that doesn't concern them, point that out. Children ask a lot of questions and while the vast majority are just part of learning, some are not. It's not a bad thing for them to be learning how to control idle curiosity while they are young.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blogiversary Giveaway!

[Update: I made the commenting rules a little more clear below. Sorry for any confusion! If you need to fix things by leaving another comment, please do so. (: ]

Today is the fourth anniversary of this blog!  Here are a few uninteresting stats:

Since Blogger decided to start keeping track, there have been...
  • around 1,500 posts (I estimated down because of the reruns and a few things I still have in draft form)
  • 6,362 comments (lots are mine though...)
  • about 225,000 views
  • 133 followers here, 190 on reader
  •  And the most popular post is the Crocheted Scalloped Border Tutorial with 8,376 views (as of yesterday) thanks to Pinterest.
So, enough of that. Let's have some fun to celebrate!

In honor of the occasion I put together a simple button. Hey, other people have them! I promise I won't cry if you don't tuck it somewhere in a corner of your blog. At least I won't cry in public. (c;

Praying with my Feet
(note: clicking on the particular button you see above will not take you anywhere - the code does work though)

I'm always looking for a good excuse for a giveaway and this is as good an excuse as any. The set you see below can be yours! [Amusing note: I put all this together yesterday evening then realized I had not one green-and-red item in my stash. So all of what you see was made last night and this morning!]

1 hot pad, 2 utility cloths, 1 cotton dishcloth, 2 over-sized button magnets

rectangular hot pad in super-bulky acrylic

ribbed cotton dishcloth

2 over-sized button magnets

2 utility cloths, knit on one side, woven on the other. (as shown, folded twice)

And all very Christmas-y!

I'm making it very simple. All you have to do is leave one comment. Say how much you like the button. Say hello. Say anything.

For one additional entry do any or all of the following and leave it in one more comment. [To make that clear, if you are a follower, for instance, leave one comment saying hello and another comment saying you are a follower. If you are a follower, throw a huge party to announce how awesome this blog is, hire a plane to sky-write "Praying with my Feet", and also put the button on your still only get two comments. (c;]
  1. become a follower (or say that you are)
  2. put the button on your blog/site
  3. mention the giveaway somewhere
  4. or something else creative
The winner will be chosen by random number selection at noon, CST on December 1st, 2012. In the event that the winner does not respond by noon on December 8th, 2012, then another random number drawing will be held and an alternate winner selected.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Two New Pages...

I'm just drawing your attention to two new pages you can see at the top: "Completed Projects" and "Parenting". I went through all of my blog posts and organized them by topic. I'm tired so it's easier for you to go look than for me to try to explain further. The C. P. page will be a help to me because sometimes I'm looking for something specific and can't find it. I really laughed when rereading some of the posts on the "Parenting" page. It's fun to go back in time like that.

Let me know if it helps!

Entrance of the Theotokos

Joyous Feastday!!
 Troparion - Tone 4
Today is the prelude of the good will of God,
of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the Temple of God,
in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice and sing to her:
“Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation!”

A few resources for the feast:

An explanation of the icon (and incidentally, a very good site):  


A children's book about the feast (part of the 12 great feasts series):  

Coloring page of the icon (from the OCA website)

A biography of the Theotokos for middle school through adults: 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Willfulness and Despondency

Of all passions two are especially cruel and grievous: lust [willfulness] and despondency...when they take possession of the soul and weaken it. The two are closely connected and blended together; this is why it is so difficult to struggle with them and overcome them... The second [despondency], gripping the mind...spreads like ivy over the whole soul and body and makes our whole being lazy and enfeebled, as though stricken with paralysis.

-Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, p. 61, St. Gregory of Sinai 
(trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and G. E. H. Palmer)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Duchess!

Twelve years ago this morning I woke up and realized I was in labor. Only a week late! My sister Rebecca was due in at the airport that day. She had made reservations thinking she was going to be coming to see a one-week-old baby and here we were with no baby in sight. As the morning wore on I began to be afraid to have Father leave me to go pick her up so we had a friend go pick her up for us. After they arrived I wandered around upstairs, unable to sit for long, while Father and Rebecca played with Ribby downstairs. Periodically he would come check on me. I sat by the window in our room and watched as the sun set. It had started to snow but the light from the sunset was still visible and it turned all the snow pink. I thought how nice it would be if we had a girl because I could tell her that it snowed pink snow the day she was born.

 Father was worried because it kept snowing and we had a 35 minute drive to get to the hospital. No matter what I did the contractions wouldn't get closer than 8 minutes apart. I wasn't about to drive all that way in the snow to be sent home so I steadily refused to budge. Father said he was beginning to think he would be delivering a baby himself at home. At some point I had my traditional pre-birth meal of cream of mushroom soup. When I got to the point where I couldn't speak through the contractions and was hanging over the end of the bed he overruled my objections and called the hospital. They said to come in and they would make room for me. Uh oh. Once we got in the car the contractions instantly changed to every 4-5 minutes.

We drove through the snow, me hoping that there weren't any drunk teenagers out on the road (it was Friday night). We got to the hospital at about 9 PM and went into the ER. No one offered me a wheelchair so we painfully made our way to L&D, stopping about every 10 steps for me to cling to the rail on the wall through another contraction. When we got upstairs there were no beds available. They offered me a seat from the nurses' station (one of those armless, rolling things) in the hall. I couldn't sit so I knelt on the floor and leaned on the chair. I still had my down coat on but I couldn't maneuver it off. I started having trouble controlling my breathing through the contractions and realized I was starting to hyperventilate. The next time I saw white pass by my face I tugged on the edge of the lab coat. The person stopped and I asked for a paper bag. I breathed into the paper bag and they told me they about had my room cleaned. (They had had to move someone out who had delivered earlier and put her in a semi-private room.) It turned out that the person who gave me the paper bag was the OB who delivered me.

We finally got into a room and they handed me a gown. I changed in the bathroom and climbed into bed. It was 9:30. They started hooking me up to a monitor and tried to start an IV. I was in pretty hard labor at this point. They were a bit desperate about the IV because I was beta strep positive and needed the antibiotics. Finally they got it started and started running the first bag in. They checked and I was 8 cm. The staff didn't know where to have all of the emergency equipment because there was another lady in about the same stage of labor as I was. They kept running back and forth. At the one moment when every single person was actually out of the room I realized the baby was coming now. I yelled (at the top of my lungs...I guess I forgot about pushing the button for the nurse) "I'M PUSHING!!!" LOL. Other than a shot of demerol at some point I had no pain medication. I was terrified that I would tear as I had when Ribby was born and, because unlike that time when I was completely numb from the ribs down, I would feel every bit of it. I will just say that I did tear and I felt every bit of it. The only funny thing (in retrospect) was that after her head was delivered I forgot that there was still the rest of her and said something like "Oh no! More?!" when told to push again.

She was born a few minutes after 10. All six pounds and 10 ounces of her. And a girl. [I apologized to every single person who came in the room the next day for screaming so loud. Including the woman who came to mop the floor.]

When Father called our house and my sister answered she didn't believe him when he said she had a new niece. She thought he was just calling to update him on how many centimeters I was or something.

She was baptized on December 23rd. She wasn't 40 days yet but we were home for Christmas and the godparents were available.


Happy Birthday, Boo!!

(Her choice of colors. It can't possibly have been influenced by the recent Greek Fest...)

(Also her choice of cakes. I found it on Pinterest and we substituted chunks of Oreo cookies for the peanut butter cups.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tiny Crocheted Scallop Border Tutorial

This is a very simple border and it makes a beautiful and delicate edging on fabric items. The example shown will be an 8 inch miscarriage blanket.

Materials used in example:

1.  Double layer of flannel
2.  Chenille needle (large eye, sharp point)
2.  Light worsted yarn {3}
3.  Size D or E hook

1. If you're using this as an edging on fabric, first stitch around the item using a blanket stitch. There is a good tutorial here.

Make your stitches about 1 cm apart.

2. To start, pick any stitch and insert your hook under it. Yarn over and pull through. Chain two. This counts as your first half-double crochet (hdc).

3. Hdc in the same stitch:

            a. YO, insert hook under stitch.

b.  YO, pull under stitch.

c. YO, pull through all three loops on hook.


4. Hdc three more times, total of 5 hdc in stitch.

5. Slip stitch (sl st) in next stitch:

a. Insert hook under next stitch.

b. YO and pull through loop on hook.

 6. Hdc five times in next stitch.

Repeat until all stitches used. Each scallop will be approximately 2 cm.

When turning a corner, just keep the pattern going.

Happy edging!