Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hymn of Kassiani

This beautiful hymn, written by the Nun Kassiani, is sung but once a year during the Matins of Holy Wednesday. I put together this video with one of my favorite recordings, made by the choir of St. Symeon the New Theologian in Birmingham, AL.

The woman had fallen into many sins, O Lord. 
Yet when she perceived Thy divinity, 
she joined the ranks of the myrrh-bearing women. 
In tears she brought Thee myrrh before Thy burial. 
She cried, Woe is me! 
For I live in the night of licentiousness, 
shrouded in the dark and moonless night of sin. 
But accept the fountain of my tears, 
O Thou who didst gather the waters of the sea into clouds. 
Bow down Thine ear to the sighings of my heart, 
Thou who didst bow the heaven in Thine ineffable condescension. 
Once Eve heard Thy footsteps in paradise in the cool of the day. 
In fear she hid herself. 
But now I will tenderly embrace those pure feet 
and wipe them with the hair of my head. 
Who can measure the multitude of my sins, 
or the depth of Thy judgment, O Savior of my soul? 
Do not despise me, Thy servant, 
Thou who hast mercy without measure.


It's been three years since I've done this so it's necessarily a bit rough. I went for free-handed designs yesterday and today. For my next ones I'll buy some bigger eggs at the store. These were done with what I had on hand.



#3 view 1

#3 view 2

#4 view 1

#4 view 2

#4 view 3

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Palm Sunday

(From Vespers last night)

Blogger is have a reeaaally hard time loading photographs so until that gets fixed, there may not be much posting. It being Holy Week there may not be much anyway, but I do tend to post photos from the various services.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Quite Possibly the Worst President Ever

[Life Site News] President Obama took a combative stance during his speech to Planned Parenthood today, pledging his unconditional support to the abortion giant, and, at one point, taking a swipe at pro-life activists who oppose the organization.

“No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, there’s one thing that the past few years have shown,” said President Obama, “that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow."

He continued: “As long as we’ve got a fight to make sure women have access to quality affordable healthcare, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a women’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be with you fighting with you every step of the way.”

Obama was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd of some 1,000 Planned Parenthood supporters. "You're making me blush," he said in response to the applause.

At one point he aimed his sights directly at pro-life activists, recounting that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, “describes Planned Parenthood as the only organization that she’s ever been at where there are opponents who, in her own words, 'literally get up every day trying to figure out how to keep us from doing our work.'”
Obama has long had a close relationship with Planned Parenthood, which donated $15 million to his re-election campaign last year.

In a press release published earlier this week announcing the president's planned appearance at their gala, Cecile Richards heaped accolades on the president, saying: “President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights.”

He absolutely disgusts me.
Lord have mercy on his soul.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yarn Along: not-exactly-yarn edition

I haven't knit much lately, just a couple tiny hats (as usual). I've been looking at my yarn shelves and realizing they desperately needed straightening and weeding-out. This morning I took all the yarn off, sorted through it and reorganized what I kept on the shelves. It looks much better and I have a bag of stuff to go to the thrift store and another bag I gifted to the girls. Periodically you have to look at a skein and admit you're never going to use it. Ever since watching a few episodes of Hoarders while on vacation I've had a horror of turning into one of them. It's a good motivator.

While going through bags of things I was forced to face up to a few incomplete, hibernating projects. One of which is a jersey scrap rug I started crocheting ages ago. It's 31 inches long now and I am reluctant to bind it off since I still have some scraps to turn into rug strips.

Yep. There it is:

I deliberately used the bag it had been sleeping in as a holder for something else so I'd be forced to deal with it. It's still on my bed. I think I'll spend a few hours of this rainy day extending it a few inches. I can only work for so long before my hands are hurting. (That's a size N hook.)

So, the shelves. I tend to change project genres over time and so need to move pertinent skeins to more convenient locations, pushing others to the back.All of my cotton is on the top left. Maybe I'll start a really colorful cotton baby blanket. Or maybe I'll do some simple washcloths. Hmm. The Caron Simply Soft is all on the top right along with some yarns of similar weight. I have two afghans in progress that use those plus I'll use some of the more pastel colors for baby hats. The middle left is all the heavy-weight chunky yarn I used for hats and hot pads over Christmas. Nothing else in the works in that yarn right now. The right is all baby yarn.

I went through the basket of balled-up yarn and odds and ends and scrapped some, saving others. It's also a temporary home for projects in progress. My very strange repurposed needle holder is lying on top. (Still love that thing, but I'm considering making something long enough to completely enclose the knitting needles...) 

The shelf below has one-pound skeins of baby yarn and a few other huge skeins. Also some bags of multiple skeins of the same kind (like the superwash merino wool, the bamboo blend, regular wool, etc.). I miss ordering yarn online because it was so much fun to unpack the box!

Again, my reading material probably doesn't match anyone else's. Ah well.  Two of the books I just got yesterday from the library, "The Great Deluge" a massive book about Hurricane Katrina's effect on the Gulf Coast (well done, by the way, and I'm pretty critical) and "In Harm's Way", the story of the USS Indianapolis (torpedoed by the Japanese in WWII; about 1200 men on board, 317 survivors four days later after the Navy finally decided to wonder what happened to it. Sheesh.).

What are you reading and working on?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Funny Story

This afternoon I got out of the car and saw our cute little tuxedo cat, Smokey, lounging under a bush. I walked up to pet him and before I got there he turned around and pounced on something. I bent over to see what it was and he hopped up and ran a few feet away with a big (and I mean big) green lizard hanging out of his mouth. I picked him up and he dropped the lizard. I know nature takes its course and all that but this is a very well-fed kitty who does not need to eat defenseless big lizards. Anyway, he squirmed around and I finally put him down but he was nosing around the grass for the lizard (which was lying there in the grass six inches from his feet and he still couldn't find it - hilarious). He finally bumped the lizard's head and the lizard (foolishly, I was still standing there) made an over-three-foot vertical leap and landed on my shirt. I jumped and shrieked and tried to brush it off. It ran around my side to my back. I was so afraid it was going to run up into my hair! I started jumping up and down, holding my shirt away from my back and squealing. Father opened the back door and stood there staring at me in amazement (I’m not the squealing sort AT ALL.) I shrieked out, “IS THERE A LIZARD ON MY BACK?!?!” and he said yes. I yelled, “GET IT OFF!!!!!!” He brushed at it and it fell on the ground. I finally calmed down. Anyway, my funny story for the day. (c;

Always keep in your mind the grievous afflictions of those stricken with sorrow and tribulations, that you may render due thanks for the small and insignificant adversities, which may happen to you, and be able to bear them with joy.
-St. Isaac of Syria (7th c.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Monk Who Waves at Planes

Sorry for the light posting lately. I've been flat-out exhausted but very glad to be because of what it signifies. Nevertheless, tired is tired! Ribby's 14th birthday was Friday and we celebrated on Saturday so I have photos saved up from that to share, perhaps tomorrow. I've also been doing the seasonal clothes sort-through and swap and that is exhausting in and of itself. But anyway.

I found this this evening and LOVE it!

Whenever monk Joseph of Mount Athos hears the sound of an aircraft, he stands close to the edge of a cliff above the Aegean and waves a huge Greek – or sometimes Byzantine – flag at the Greek Air Force pilots flying over the peninsula of Athos in northern Greece. The pilots fly low in response to the monk’s special greeting, paying respect to the man who is known among the Greek Air force circles as the patron of pilots.

But how did this strange, yet fascinating greeting story begin? Some years ago, when monk Joseph traveled to the island of Skyros for a local fair, he also visited the airbase of the island. A pilot recognized him as the monk living on a Mount Athos top that happens to be a turning point for aircraft. After their acquaintance, the pilot used to fly low every time over that point so that he could greet the monk in this special way. Then the monk would wave back in response, until one day Joseph took a huge Greek flag and started waving it back at the pilot.

From that moment on, the story of the monk spread rapidly within the circles of the Greek Air Force and soon, one pilot after the other flying over the area, flew closer to the ground to meet the monk’s waving.

The story of the humble monk and the pilots circulated on the Internet and has become popular around the world. In every photo the monk stands at the edge of a steep cliff with a huge flag in his hands, while the pilots’ faces flying by are close enough to be recognized. Sometimes the peculiar greeting is met by ships of the Navy sailing close by the point where the hermit resides, while many pilgrims who happened to be at the scene have also joined monk Joseph in his greeting ceremony.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Last year I planted some Gerbera daisies in the pots in front of our house. Around them I planted some dark pink flowers (whose name has completely escaped me now). They had both been advertised as annuals but I just couldn't bring myself to pull them when the foliage disappeared in December (yep, took a while). I cut back the dead growth but left them there. This spring I noticed some green in the pots and was delighted to see that my hope had paid off. (:

Isn't this lovely?

Despite a severe pruning, the mock orange blossoms are back too. (: Pity they have no scent.

Storms tonight! I didn't bother to water anything this afternoon.

Gosnell's Sacred Cow

I have gone back and forth about writing a post on the Gosnell atrocities. I start, then stop, can't figure out what to say. What can you say about something so absolutely horrific?

It's not just the facts of the case that are so terrible. It's all the implications. And it's not just the implications, but it's the whole mainstream media culture's response that adds the icing on the cake, as it were.

When I think about it, my heart pounds and I feel simultaneously like bailing out on this wretched planet and going out and knocking heads together. Hard.

Some thoughts:

Gosnell apparently likes killing. He hates women. He kept body parts as trophies (there's no other way to put that). He segregated women by race and ability to pay and treated them differently. He made a lot of money. Millions. He's still happy about that.

He knew perfectly well that he was operating outside the law and took deliberate steps to avoid detection. He hired people who had mental problems and who were dependent on him both for money and emotional support. He lied to them about what they were doing and what was ok.

Gosnell operated in a clinic, not in a back alley. He had a sign out front. He was known as an abortionist. The regulatory agencies in PA did not check his clinic, did not examine his charts, did not look for the presence of a crash cart for resuscitation (it was under his bed at home, for some unfathomable reason), did not see if the clinic even met the fire code (it didn't). In fact, it had been 17 years since their last inspection. Everyone knew, but no one wanted to know. He operated that clinic for decades, killing heaven only knows how many babies. The ONLY reason the you-know-what hit the fan is because narcotics agents raided the facility because of Gosnell's other fun hobby - writing illegal narcotics prescriptions. What they saw there made them physically ill.

Pro-abortionists are so passionate about their cause that they will do nothing they think will imperil it. Including failing to cite an abortionist for having filthy facilities, poor records, illegal practices, etc. They just don't admit him to the club when he applies for membership (National Abortion Federation). 

When the trial started the horror stories started spilling out. In the interest of keeping this blog 'clean', I'll spare you the details (although you ought to know them). Horror after horror. No serial killer's trial was more sensational than this. Each day's testimony was more nauseating than the one before. Gosnell sat smiling throughout.

However, people didn't know who Gosnell was. Why? No news coverage. The only people covering the Gosnell House of Horrors were those like Life Site News, Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, pro-life groups in general. What were the major news networks saying? Nothing. A big, fat, nothing. Why?

Because this threatened the future of everyone's sacred cow: abortion. What had Gosnell done wrong, after all?

He was such a casual, sloppy abortionist that he wasn't skilled enough to actually kill the babies in the womb. They were born alive. So he took care of that afterward by severing their spinal cords with scissors. Only a few inches separate Gosnell from the rest of the abortionists in this country and around the world. Had he been skilled enough to make sure the babies were born dead, there wouldn't have probably been a trial. There was also the matter of the age of the babies. In PA the rule is no abortions after 23 weeks, 6 days. Gosnell, using an ultrasound machine that was so old a testifying OB had never seen one and wasn't sure where the viewing screen was, took multiple pictures until the measurements matched the law, regardless of the actual size of the baby. However, photographs exist of babies who appear almost full-term. Gosnell actually joked after the births of these larger babies, "That one could get up and walk to the bus station from here." Unimaginable. One worker in the 'clinic' testified to one baby screaming after it had been born.

These are not lumps of tissue, clots, masses of cells. These are human beings, innocent children.

The media has finally started covering the trial. Several journalists have actually admitted that the reason for the prior media blackout was liberal bias in favor of abortion. Everyone knew that, of course, but it's surprising to have it admitted so honestly. Because Gosnell's actions raise uncomfortable questions. If it's illegal and gruesome to kill a baby by beheading it immediately after birth, then why is it legal to kill it by dismemberment right before birth?

Amazingly, one weaselly stance taken by pro-abortionists is to blame pro-life people for Gosnell's clinic, saying if we hadn't "shamed" women they wouldn't have sought out a person like Gosnell. I'm sorry, that's ridiculous and pathetic.

I'm sorry this post has been so disjointed. I feel so passionately about this that it's hard for me to write about. Finally I decided I was being cowardly. Gosnell is a murderer, certainly, but so are all abortionists. This age's greatest evil is on the block right now...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wee Hats, batch #4

This batch going out in the mail today to Calvin's Hats.

49 hats...ran out of steam at the end!

Love how this yarn turned out...


Buttons and Bows


Hearts and Flowers


The tiniest

Yarn Along

I haven't gotten much done crochet and knit-wise lately because I've been so tired (in a GOOD way). I have a set of 40-50 hats to mail to Calvin's Hats today if I can just get the ribbons and bows on the final 15 of them. [Photos of those later here.] Also, a blog reader asked me to make a set for a friend of hers who lost her baby around 8 weeks and I have that to go out as well.

Crocheted, simple but elegant.

(used the penny hats pattern, cast on 9 stitches)

Reading, I've been grabbing whatever came to hand, including a stack of old National Geographics (very entertaining). I just wrote a post on Reading as a Refuge so that might take the place of the book portion for today.

As I said, I've been very tired, but grateful beyond words to be tired because of what it signifies. I was able to hear the baby's heart beat on my doppler on Monday and again yesterday (less than 9 weeks!) which is a very satisfying thing.

What are you reading and working on this week?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reading as a Refuge

I've been reading since before I can remember. Actually I don't remember learning to read. I just read at some point. I know I was read to a lot by my parents (a very good and wise practice) and apparently I picked up my letters from watching Sesame Street.

Ever since I learned to read it's been impossible to pry a book out of my hand. I was given books for birthdays, Christmas, any other occasion. I remember being given The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe during a special trip to Tallahassee's mall and almost finishing it on the way home. I would have finished it with no problem but it's really hard to read by the headlights of other cars.

I read in the bathtub, in bed, on my lap at the dinner table (as long as I could get away with it), on the bus, while walking in between classes, you name it. I usually had three or four books scattered around the house in various stages so whatever room I wound up in I could just pick up where I left off. When I read I would completely disappear into the world inhabited by the book's characters, so much so that I didn't hear anyone calling me. When I emerged I was confused and blinking, as if having been woken suddenly from a dream.

Reading has always been a refuge for me. When I was sick, sad, upset, anything, I could climb into a book and escape for a while. Books were/are for me what drugs and alcohol are for other people. There are only a few times in my life when I could not be comforted with a book.

It would be possible to gauge just how upset I was just by my choice of books. Mild worry? Something non-fiction and interesting. Persistent worry? Fiction and nothing sad. The roll call continues through funny fiction and then children's books.

As I mentioned, there have been a few times when I could not be comforted by the usual methods. Primarily after losing the boys. Having the habit at reading at bedtime firmly established meant that I was at loose ends when choosing a book. I had stacks of books at the bedside so I could drop something ineffective and try something else. I would frequently read well past midnight, falling asleep with my glasses and the light on. The greatest evil to be avoided was time in the dark to think. I didn't want to think. 

At some point I stumbled upon the perfect thing when I was having a dark evening: astronomy. I started reading books about star charts, books with photographs of nebulae and galaxies. No history, no real science, no people, just stars. When I turned the lights out I could still see the expanding waves of superheated gasses, the extraordinary range of colors, the tiny pinpricks of light.

It was this week when I spent several worried days wondering if history were repeating itself that I realized was automatically reaching for the books about stars. Just the smell of the pages of my largest book of photographs was immediately comforting. I thought about this and wondered about the reasons behind it. I finally realized that stars and galaxies and pulsars and nebulae were nonthreatening, impersonal things. Such huge, magnificent entities that they seemed to have almost nothing to do with me. So vast that they dwarfed my own problems and worries. And yet, part of God's creation, just like my babies.

What do you reach for when you're looking for refuge?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Amazing Comment

I just had to repost this comment made by willfulmina this evening on this post (about Fr. Peter Gilquist's miscarriage paper):

I just wanted to let you know that after reading this post, I had a long discussion on the subject with my husband, who is a seminarian at Jordanville. I was really heartbroken over the wording used in the prayers, and felt strongly that more needed to be done for the grieving families who have suffered such a devastating loss. In situations like this, he tends to defend the church wholeheartedly and sometimes does not understand why I can't accept that this is the way things are done. We didn't really come to an understanding, but laid our differences aside and tried to forget about them.

A few days later, one of my husband's professors e-mailed and requested that everyone come up with questions to ask at a round table discussion at the clergy conference, which was being held in Jordanville. My husband surprised me when he told me that one of his questions had to do with miscarriage. He asked specifically about what the Church teaches, what services priests can serve, how they should minister to the grieving families, etc. When the questions were read aloud, no one volunteered to answer them. It seems the questions stumped all of the ROCOR priests in attendance. One priest remarked, "We have services for everything--except for this." One told about a family who lost a baby and stopped coming to church because he could not serve a funeral for their baby. One priest remarked that the funeral service, which is all about forgiving the sins of the departed, is irrelevant for an innocent baby. Met. Hilarion spoke about a young woman who recently lost her overdue baby, and how they served a service written by her grandfather, and said that he would speak to the Synod of Bishops about adopting that as the official service. My husband's professor later told him that many priests were grateful that question was asked, because they had struggled with it themselves over the years. I just wanted to thank you for sparking all of that and let you know what this post led to.

I mean, wow. Change is happening. Glory to God.

Review of paper can be found here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yarn Along

The last few days I've worked on hats for those twins I mentioned yesterday. The second one is finished. They're intended to coordinate, not match, so the designs are not exactly the same.

Finished this one today.

This is the one I finished yesterday.

Don't have measurements (other than cast-on 54) but this is the relative size.

Inside of 1st hat.

Inside of 2nd hat.

My question is about the inside. It's perfectly soft, but do you think it needs to be lined? If I line it I'll do it with flannel because fleece would add too much bulk. Thoughts?

As far as books, I've been rereading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. I really like Epidemiology. (:

[And happy second birthday, sweet Innocent!]