Friday, February 27, 2015

St. Raphael's Local Legacy

 Today (February 27th) is the feast of St. Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of Brooklyn. In fact, today is the 100th anniversary of his repose! St. Raphael was the first Orthodox Christian bishop to have been consecrated in North America. [Excellent information page here.]

Last year a time capsule sealed in 1914 was opened in our small, southern Mississippi town. We were very surprised to read that our Orthodox mission, Christ the Saviour, was the second Orthodox mission to be planted here!

You see that the priest assigned was listed as as "Rev. M. Oberhider". They actually got the spelling of the name wrong; the priest's name was Rev. Moses Abihider, a Syrian, who was here with the blessing of Bishop Raphael.

We were interested to know more about Rev. Moses and found articles here and here. And something interesting here:
Fr. Moses is perhaps best known for being featured on the tombstone of St. Raphael. He is one of six clergymen listed along with the great bishop, and all were at one time buried together at Brooklyn’s Mount Olivet Cemetery. However, in 1988, the remains of St. Raphael and two of the others (Bishops Emmanuel Abo-Hatab and Sophronios Beshara) were transferred, along with the tombstone, to the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania. It seems most likely that Fr. Moses’ remains are still at Mount Olivet.

Father has been communicating with the Antiochian Archdiocese of Wichita who have compiled information about St. Raphael. We hope to learn more about St. Raphael's legacy here in McComb, and to find where the cornerstone for the first mission was placed.

St. Raphael, pray for us!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along: Pink Scarf and After the Storm

I started this lacy scarf as a commission from my mom for a friend of hers. It's turning out quite nicely! I'm not going to make the loop that the pattern calls for, but just continue the pattern to make a long scarf.

I can't seem to get the pink of the yarn to show up correctly on the computer screen, but it's reasonably close. I would have preferred something a little lighter, but the lightest I could get was this Bernat Softee Baby in Pink (very original name), Walmart having a so-so selection.

For bedtime reading I've been rereading After the Storm: True Stories of Disaster and Recovery at Sea by John Rousmaniere. He also wrote Fastnet: Force 10 about the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster. While the latter book is more about seamanship and a particular storm, After the Storm is much more analytical and literary in nature, exploring the emotional and psychological reactions to calamity in addition to the seamanship. There is even a section on the prophet Jonah and St. Paul's shipwreck, but I wouldn't recommend that so much. The interpretation (beyond just an analysis of the storms and seamen's actions) is heavily protestant and rather annoying.

What are you reading and creating?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Widow's Mite

He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.”  
[Luke 21:1-4]


   Usually the story of the widow's mite is told as an illustration for sacrificial giving (monetarily), but the last few days I've started to see an additional meaning. Now that the great fast (Lent) has started, we are supposed to not only abstain from certain foods (as we are able), but decrease the amount we eat, attend the more frequent church services, step up our prayer life, etc. The Church, in her wisdom, gives us a rather high bar to aim for. Just because not everyone can reach that bar doesn't mean the bar should be lowered. The principle of oikonomia comes into play here. Orthodox Christians who are unable to keep the entire fast due to illness, etc., work out a lesser discipline with their spiritual fathers. This does not mean any of us has a free pass to ignore the fast. There is usually something we can do.

   Coming back to the widow's mite, I was thinking that what we are each able to contribute toward our own spiritual growth during the fast is somewhat relative. Whether we are there every time the church doors open or whether we are only able to attend Sunday Liturgies may depend on such things as driving time. (For instance, do you live next door or two hours from church?) The point is that we are supposed to make a sacrifice of our time and effort. There is extra effort in getting children to and through church services, and sometimes it is not possible to stay for the entire service (as I can attest to personally). People who struggle with chronic illnesses may be able to attend only one service a week because they need two days to recover from the effort expended on that one service. Regarding fasting, there are people who are unfortunate enough to be unable to tolerate or digest so many foods that if they were to also abstain from all meat, fish and dairy, they would almost have to subsist on water only. Even there, it is possible to make some sacrifices. I give you these examples, not as "way out there" impossibilities, but because I know people for whom these illustrations apply.

   Wherever you are, geographically, in physical health, or in any other way, it is possible to make some strides toward spiritual growth. Talk to your spiritual father. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. We don't fast or attend church as a show for others. God knows your struggles and He alone will judge your efforts and your heart. So you can't give a king's ransom... so what? Christ valued the widow's mite because she gave out of her poverty.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Forgiveness Sunday

Forgive me, my brothers and sisters, 
for anything I have done
 to offend or hurt you in any way. 

May God forgive us all!

I wish everyone a good and holy first week of Lent.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yarn Along: Doll Sweater and War of the Worlds

 During the past few days I worked on another doll sweater for the shop, this one with owl buttons. (c: I've been waiting a long time to use these buttons.

Instead of knitting buttonholes, this time I experimented with knotting button loops.

One of the books I picked up at the thrift store last week was War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. If you can believe it, I've never read it. I have no idea why not. Anyway, it looked like a great opportunity for 50 cents! I'm several chapters in and enjoying it immensely. I always read the scholarly introductions to classic works (yes, this makes me a card-carrying nerd) and I was dismayed to read of Wells' rampant racism and favor toward eugenics. Reading the Wikipedia entry on Wells, I was presented with fairly different information. So it just goes to show that you have to read with discernment. Regardless of what Wells thought, I'm enjoying the book. (c:

(Not my copy! Photo of first edition.)

What are you creating and reading?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Toddler-Proof a Room

How to toddler-proof? Isn't that just like baby-proofing? Ahahahaha! You poor dear. Let's look at this more closely:

Pickles, 2008

Baby Proofing:

1. Examine floor for small objects. Remove from reach anything that can fit through a toilet paper tube.

2. Insert outlet covers into all outlets near the floor. Hide or cover all electrical cords.

3. Place fire-guard across fire place.

4. Put foam covers on sharp corners of furniture.

See? Simple. Just get on the floor on your stomach and look around, pretending you're a small, creeping baby. Toddler-proofing is a bit harder. Now you have to pretend you're a circus-trained contortionist who is a cross between Albert Einstein and Superman with a little Houdini thrown in for fun.

Pickles, 2007

Toddler Proofing:

1. Remove or anchor to the wall/floor all pieces of furniture that can be moved. This includes chairs. You will eat all of your meals standing up for the next two years. Or, a viable option is an all-in-one picnic table.
Miss Moppet, 2014
2. Pack your tablecloths away for the next few years.
3. Do not leave anything at all on the table, even if there are no chairs and the item is in the exact center of the table. This includes setting your coffee cup down for 2.7 seconds.
Miss Moppet, 2014

4. Only use the top two shelves of bookcases five shelves or higher. Get rid of any bookcases with fewer shelves because there's no point in having empty bookcases sitting around.

5. Remove all pieces of furniture with drawers unless the drawers are higher than 4 feet from the ground. Empty drawers are not safe. They turn into stairs.

Pickles, 2009

6. Use constant supervision when child is playing with anything larger than 6 inches on a side. These turn into stairs.
Pickles, 2007
7. Remove all curtains and/or blinds.

8. Invest in baby gates that are taller than your toddler is high. Toddlers can hook their heels over the tops of gates that are as high as their heads and then vault over. Aim for six inches higher. And resign yourself to living in this room without leaving for the next two years since you can't get out either. Watch trapped adults turn into extras from Lord of the Flies.

Miss Moppet, 2014

Any questions?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Retro Daffodil Bonnet

 This hand-knit little bonnet is just right for spring!

(Miss Moppet wanted no part of the photo shoot to begin with:)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thrifty Fabric

I went to the thrift store yesterday and found these two skirts. Neither will fit any of us but the fabric was great! Look at the way they coordinate! I'm going to use some of each to make a dress for Miss Moppet and the rest will turn into quilt fabric. (c:

Even the pattern is thrifted (from a different trip). It did not cost $2 - probably more like 25 cents.

"Little" Sale!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along: Bear, Blossoms and Books

 I added this sweet teddy bear to the shop today:

It comes with a cardigan, if desired.

I had so much fun making them!

I also made this custom order of some layered, crocheted flowers to attach to hair clips. The request was for neutral colors, but I could have made a rainbow from my large stash. :)

The last few days I've spent rereading all of the Mysterious Benedict Society books (yes, for children, but excellent) and delving into the stack of library books I picked up a few days ago. I do recommend those children's books - they're wonderful for children who are voracious readers at an early age - nice and thick, great writing - nothing objectionable. Very imaginative and funny. (There are only two of the four pictured here.)

What are you reading and creating?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Orange Rolls

 I have wanted to try this recipe for orange rolls for a long time. It's supposedly the recipe given directly by the chef at the All Steak Restaurant in Cullman, AL and published many years ago. Mine didn't turn out like the original, but I think I'll tweak the recipe and keep trying. At least until Lent starts, haha. Even though it's not as I remember, it's very good! (Needs more orange zest. Three times more.)