Thursday, January 28, 2016

Still Praying with my Feet


It's been many years since I started this blog and named it "Praying with my Feet". Here's the story:
When my oldest three children were very small (i.e.-three, two and infant), I complained to my spiritual father that I seemed to spend more time outside the church than inside: walking/nursing the baby, removing the loud/crying toddler(s), etc. He told me that I was "praying with my feet." I have had many, many occasions to remember his words with gratitude.
At the time I wrote that my five children were aged 2 to 9, I was still working full-time as a nurse, and we were living in a different state. I had not miscarried yet. I was still six pregnancies away from where I am now. I hadn't started an Etsy shop. Heck, I didn't even know how to knit!

So much water has gone under the bridge, and yet I still find his advice, given so many years ago, to be helpful. Over the years I have bumped into many people, 'in real life' and online, who have heard that consolation from friends and fellow parishioners, from people who have read this blog and from those who heard it third-hand. It warms the cockles of my heart to think of some poor exhausted mama, blinking back tears as she drags her small children out of church yet again, hoping people aren't judging her, bump into someone in the narthex who tells her, "don't feel bad - you're just praying with your feet." (This actually happened to a friend of mine several years ago. I have no idea who the man was who passed it along to her.)

Anything we do, we can do in prayer, whether it's washing dishes, helping with algebra, patiently listening to someone who needs to talk, enduring bodily pain, or pacing with a baby. God gave us five senses and arms and legs with which to pray, not just our mouths or our hearts.  Lately I've had to accept bodily limitations and just rest. It's tempting to feel guilt when asking someone to do something for me that (ordinarily) I could do for myself. It's tempting to feel useless and burdensome. But my husband and children, in fetching and carrying for me, are praying with their feet too. I need to accept help with gratitude and not allow despondency to grey everything out.

So pray with your feet, pray with your hands, pray with your senses and mind and heart. For everything there is a season. Today may be the season of praying with our feet, and tomorrow that of praying with our ears and heart.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

She's here!

I can't seem to post a photo from my phone, but I don't wanted to let you all know that baby has arrived!

Amelia Macrina was born at 12:56 pm weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and measuring 20 3/4 inches long. She's beautiful and already a great nurser. I'm doing a lot better this time around. Everyone here has been awesome and I'm in great hands. Thank you all so much for all of the prayers!! As soon as I can I will post some photos.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tomorrow

Well, we're down to the last hours. Everything has been done. There are just a few items to pack at the last minute in the morning.

All of these endless months and weeks and days coming to this moment. The times we thought we had lost her. The thousands of prayers offered by friends and family.


Tomorrow we will see our sweet baby face-to-face. Through the prayers of the Theotokos and all the saints, may Christ have mercy on us and save us!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Counting down...

We're less than a week from birth now. I'm scheduled to have a c-section next Friday, the 22nd, at noon. I can't wait to finally "meet" this baby girl! We'll send out an announcement (with name!) when she is born.

I wanted to make a nice layette for her coming-home. The blanket is a white-on-white cotton floral on one side and white minky dot on the other, bound with satin blanket binding. Very simple, and we can use it for her baptism. The bonnet, sweater and booties are all knit from a very soft baby yarn in warm grey, embellished with varying sizes of cream-white satin ribbon. 









I finished this sweater for Miss Moppet a couple weeks ago, but finally got around to putting buttons on yesterday. The yarn is mostly bamboo with a little silk so it's super soft.


These little crocheted hats (I needed a break from knitting) were sent to my friend Michelle's Common Care organization. She sends them out to people who have lost babies during pregnancy.


While I was doing all the baby knitting I made these teensy booties for a sweet baby who still has teensy feet! I was thrilled to find that they fit. The ribbon ties mean they will NOT fall off. :)


All the diapers are arranged, the tiny clothes washed and put away, the car seat installed, the hand-made items finished, and we're just in waiting mode now. I will wait until the last minute to set up the bassinet and pack my bag for the hospital. Whew!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Holy Theophany

 Christ is baptized! In the River Jordan!

When Thou O Lord wast baptized in the Jordan, 
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest; 
For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, 
And called Thee His beloved Son. 
And the Spirit in the form of a dove 
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. 
O Christ our God, Who hast revealed Thyself
And hast enlightened the world, 
Glory to Thee!










An explanation of Theophany vs. Epiphany here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Litya Bread (Artoklasia)

 

Many times, the vigil before a great feast (in this case, Theophany) is celebrated with a litya service in which bread (and wheat, wine and oil) are blessed and then distrubuted to the congregation. For more information go here or here. Unlike prosphora, the bread used in the Divine Liturgy which contains ONLY flour, salt, yeast and water, litya bread also contains spices, sugar and oil. Even so, it is still fasting (non-dairy) and so can be made as a large loaf for general purposes during fasting seasons. I suggest making it for home-use first to try out the recipe. It is by far the most popular bread I make at home!



 
Recipe for Litya Bread

4 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast (equivalent to two packets)
1 T white sugar
1 c. hot water

1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1.5 tsp vanilla
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. orange juice

3 c. all purpose flour
3 c. whole wheat flour
*     *     *     *     *     *
Mix first three ingredients in small bowl to proof yeast while mixing the rest.

Mix next seven ingredients in large bowl and stir well. Add proofed yeast to large bowl. Add flour, 2 cups at a time, stirring with fork in between. Mix in bowl with hands, then turn out onto floured surface. Knead for about 15 minutes until smooth.

Place back in bowl and cover with cloth that has been rinsed well in hot water and wrung out. Place covered bowl in warm oven to rise for at least one hour.

Form into five round loaves (generally five are taken to church, but I usually make about eight smaller loaves and leave three at home because we don't have many people attend vigil) and place on floured pan, at least 2 inches apart. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut a simple cross (+) into the top of each loaf. Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes (depending on loaf size). Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.