Sunday, March 2, 2014

Forgiveness Sunday

We are on the brink of full immersion into Great Lent and the sunday wherein we ask forgiveness of those in our lives, so as to begin with as clear a conscience as possible and reconciled to our brother's and sister's who are the image of God. In the spirit of forgiveness, please forgive me, a sinner. Please forgive my thoughts and thoughtlessness, my action and inaction, my words, deeds, selfishness, or offences of any kind, as I am fallible and without excuse. May your lenten journey be fruitful and peaceful; Lord, have mercy!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Love

Awake in the night

She cries with fright
Heaviness in all her heart
Nothing will settle this weight
It hangs nearby 
Looming as troubles brew

Little darling, sweet child
I will come to you in darkness
Allay your fears with kisses
Wrapping arms around your struggles
Carrying away any sorrow
Holding one another

Tomorrow will come
We will see the sun rise
Alit upon our cheeks
Sun's beauty and warmth
Offering truth and simplicity
Only life can know its depth

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Prevalent Notion

Like a flower

Plucked from the field
I sit in wait
As the day begins to fade
The weight of eternity
Rests knowingly upon my heart
Whether I will or not
Truth pervades within
Tugging and striving
Drawing every breath
Each movement 
Of deepest tranquility
Becomes a solace
Though turmoil resides 
Kicking up dissent and wrath
Strength and peace

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lenten Preparations and Discussions

Just two weeks more and we are in the midst of Great Lent; so it begins again. A journey onward and upward, toward Golgotha, cross on our shoulders, as we look inward to watch the ways in which we might focus better on God, helping our neighbor, seeking a repentant heart, in preparation for one of God's greatest gifts He has ever given us: His Resurrection!

With Great Lent comes prayer, fasting, almsgiving, selflessness, and the like, as we make efforts to prepare ourselves for Pascha. Oftentimes, when we think of prayer and fasting, we focus on the very tangible aspect of them, such as food. One of the things we are discussing in Sunday school is the concept of watchfulness over our thoughts, actions, and words. I am having each kid keep a watchfulness journal/list, if you will, in which they have written things they hope to do each day during the great fast. Some of the ideas that we have come up with include not fighting with siblings, doing chores without complaint, watching what we say/watch on tv/music we listen to, etc., simply governing ourselves in a manner that is more controled and aware of how our actions effect others. I will also keep a book to walk with them in every way I can, and we are to visit the list daily in the mornings and/or evenings, in order to remind us and keep us accountable.

At home, we are making a list of hopeful tasks to accomplish, from reinstating family reading time in the evenings to getting paperwork done that has been shuffled around for some time now, as well as, menu planning and healthier eating. This is to be added to our family prayer time in the morning and evenings, and before and after meals, saints of the day and daily Bible reading. I would like to focus more energy on crafting for myself, because I have ever so many projects that get swept beneath the carpet when I allow the chatter of the world to creep in and drown out what should be done. Sis is in my Sunday school class, so she will have her own personal list, and maybe Jay will play along with us in his own way; I know he is game usually.

As with as many Great Lent's as I can remember, we will do our traditional planting of seeds in the first week. We will plant outside for cool weather plants, like peas and lettuce, and inside for the warm weather babies, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. With God's help, we will have something to eat and perhaps enough to can for the following winter. The spiced peaches I canned back in August are surely being appreciated by everyone lately, which makes all the hard work totally worth it. Sometimes it seems tedious, especially when learning a something new, but at some point it becomes familiar and systematic. I hope to have enough cucumbers of our own, or supplement from the local grower's market, to make plenty of pickles; we have been without this year due to our growing season being effected by a number of factors, not the least of which being the terrible fires that causes awful smoke and lack of proper growing conditions. 

Ok, I think that is about it for now. Peace be with you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


With all of my rambling of randomness, I forgot to mention that, along with the walking and biking we are moving toward, we are also shifting to getting back on track with some of our diet needs. Even when being gluten and dairy free, there is still much room for eating junky things, like cakes, cookies, and fried foods. Now that the season of sweets and such is over (for now) and in preparation for being ready to embrace Great Lent, we will be eating better...again. My hope is to eat more simple foods that offer a wide variety of benefits. I have already begun making us smoothies with the Vitamineral Greens, which I love, and having things on hand to make a salad regularly, for those who wish to throw one together. 

Ok, now I really think that is all ;)

Finally, The End Of January!

We have made it to the end of January in our new schedule and things have been good. I am looking forward to continuing most classes for the girls, though we are visiting whether we will spend the money on certain classes for Sis right now, or put it into an envelope and save it for a summer camp of the same fun business. Anyway, we shall see, but these girls are doing really well in their tumbling classes, and Sis is moving up to being in longer piano to make sure there is enough time to do anything, since her music is getting longer and more complicated. On top of learning to play, she is also learning to identify notes by their names both on the keyboard and treble/bass clef staff position, and working on different practice scales, so longer class will be great and she loves her teacher, so it works out.

We have finally gotten some rain in the valley for the first time in what seems like forever. I am chomping at the bit to plant things, since it should stay somewhat mild enough to get a few things in the ground, like peas, beets, and carrots. I have to wait until after the first, which will be pay day, so we can head down to get things to make raised beds. I would like to repurpose things to be a veggie/flower/herb/fruit bed, like the fire truck toddler bed. (We had to remove it from the house because a certain toddler was keeping hersel awake playing with the knobs and things...) Any ideas on what to repurpose? I have a pallet that we may fill with dirt and plant; my biggest criteria is creative and interesting. Oh, our bulbs we planted after we moved in are already starting to poke their little leaves up through the earth, which makes my heart jump for joy!

While I take the girls to their sister tumbling class, we leave papa for a minimum of 2 hours to work on his Orthodox graphic novel. He is working on adapting the lives of saints into a form that is appealing to many, but to target teens/young adults, beginning with Great Martyr Katherine. There are ever so many children's books, and certainly plenty of meaty adult books, out there and this is one of the concepts he has been wanting to work with for some time. It is coming along and we will see how it goes; I will keep you updated as to when he gets further along.

I have begun to teach the older kid's Sunday school after the liturgy, since our usual person is with family as they grieve the loss of her father (memory eternal, Rafik!), though my role is not to teach exactly as the other teacher has taught. This has proved both challenging and rewarding, due to the needs of older kids and the vast resources of what the posibilities are in this realm. Because they are able to comprehend things on a different level than the younger kids, knowing where to begin can be unclear. I have read the lives of Sts. Macarius the Great of Egypt and Brigid of Kildare, discussing their lives, having questions, really trying to get them to think. The season of Great Lent is upon us, so I hope to tie in the Gospel readings of the next sunday into the lesson with Q & A. I want to learn about the following sunday because they will have one bit from me and the next week they will have a follow-up by Father's homily, which I am hoping will reinforce what we discuss. As well as these lessons, we are discussing Christian virtues in an applicable manner, to try to bring mindfulness of ourselves and another aspect of the great fast. We often tend to focus on what food we are and aren't eating, and less on what we are or aren't doing/saying. These are often the hardest for us and I want us to acknowledge the entirety of the fast, so I have asked them to think of things for next sunday. Godwilling, this will all come together.

On monday, Jay took Mini to her 'tass' on his bike, with her in tow in the kid trailer, which we call the 'stroller bike', since it converts between bike trailer and stroller. Now that the weather is more cooperative, lacking in snow and super cold (all of which has been unseasonable for these parts!), we are aiming to drive less, bike and walk more. The overall goal is to be driving for liturgies and to Medford, but walking and riding all the other places. As I explained to Sis last night, it is good for our bodies, the earth, and our pocketbook. We started off by walking to her swim class as a family and I took Luna on a walk while she was in class, while Daddy and Mini watched Sissy swim. It went pretty well and I hope it continues to last, though I am at the coffee shop a little begrudgingly on my bike, because I ate lunch and got tired. I am glad I hopped on Samantha and came down, but getting the motivation to get out the door sometimes may become interesting. The ultimate question is: How badly do I want to go? Not to mention the outcome of feeling happy to have pushed past the lethargy of the body and slug onward, making a pinch of progress in redirecting some of the willfulness into productivity.

I think that may be it for now, but I suppose that is enough. We are trucking along, looking forward to February being a shorter month, as January has seemed eternally dragging. Spring is coming, Great Lent, another birthday for me, plants, flowers, hiking, barbecuing, camping, and whatever else we come across. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Along The Way

O Lord! I should possess a constant heart

One worthy of praising You
All of Creation sings anew each dawn
With the rising of the sun and break of day
The whole earth reflects Your beauty and promise

Changeable and willful, am I
Wasting away my time
As though I have eternity
Nestled in my pocket
Idly pressing time for more

When will I learn without inducement
To flee to You in every way
With every breath, my heart beats
Yet I continue waywardly
Overlooking my recourse to You

May Your mercy fill me
Your will guide me
As love overcomes all
Covering a multitude
In accordance and abundance