Sunday, January 9, 2011

Family, Crafts and Nativity Time

Well, we have had a bit of snow today, which would have been avoided if there wasn't church this morning. I find that we brave nearly all weather, unless the tornado sirens are going, in order to make it there. It is our first real snow of the year, totally in inches with white, fluffy flakes that settle into their powdery home on the earth. Tomorrow I may take a picture, as it is really quite pretty when the snow comes to stay for a bit.

Katherine wore her colonial dress again I made her for Nativity like 'Felicity's' of the American Girls series. It turned out rather well and I am encouraged to make more. Here is the latest picture, Katherine wearing the dress, which I had finished in time for church on Nativity morning.

And here is another:

I surprised her on the day before, because I knew that if I didn't have a chance to work on it during the day, I wouldn't get it done in time and I REALLY wanted her to have it as her Christmas surprise. She LOVES it and that is all a mom can hope. While I was sewing and making this dress, Jay and Kat made cookies to share with friends and have some for the feast. She enjoyed it more than you can imagine and, most certainly, had to sample the goods ;o)

It has been a lovely holiday, full of family, love and church. I can appreciate it more now than ever. Today is the 3rd day of Christmas and we are having a lovely time. The snow is beautiful, no matter how cold, but Jay will stay warm in his sweater that I finished! Yay!

I am off, for now, and will update later to try to keep in the swing of things, but I must say, it is harder than it sounds! Until next time!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

We had a lovely service in church today, though crowded to the brim as usual. If you have ever been inside our parish, you will realize how few people you can imagine fitting in there, but we always seem to do it. To think, Nativity only scratches the surface compared to Pascha! What a last few days and what a fast! It is amazing knowing that there is a certain Grace extended from these most precious feasts of our Lord after the preparation with fasting. Though fasting is often thought to be simply from food, it is merely a tool to help us control our bodies better and be more aware of the other things in life and within oneself. Not only are we to fast from foods, but the goal is to be able to condition ourselves to be able to fast from things like anger and pride and keep them at bay. If we can succeed for even a short time while fasting, what hope we have in our eternity. It is also to be noted that fasting is a choice we make, though in some cases, fasting is relative to health and circumstance, it is a personal discipline nonetheless.

This was Katherine's first fasting period since she has turned 7 and she has done quite well. We have never required it of her, but she has always naturally inclined herself toward a diet lacking in meat and has rejected dairy from an early age (though, we now know that is it because she has an allergy/intolerance). She was that much more excited to have some chicken today and she has indulged in some cookies that she and papa made yesterday; sugar cookies, with vanilla frosting and sprinkles! They are quite tasty! We also got some hard candies and suckers to share and one of the things that I thought was nice was how she brought a basket to tote them around and share with everyone who she came upon. I made her the 'Felicity' (American Girl) dress and she wore it to church this morning and I have hardly seen her happier.

As I stood there in the choir last night as the church filled nearly to bursting, it seemed as if there was a buzz of excitement. It occurred to me that, though we may often see the crowds as a restrictive difficulty, especially when we know lots of the people only come for the big feasts (and we try to be grateful that they have come at all), but that without the full house, the excitement may not be there in the same way. It is just as with any main event anywhere in the world, if there are lots of people, you know something big is happening to draw such crowds! In this case, it is Christ's birth! Glory to God that they come, I am grateful because it sets the tone for the immensity of the impending feast. Now, hopefully I will keep the same outlook when they arrive at ALL the major church feasts!

Well, we have just completed our first day of Christmas beginning with church and feasting, then home for reading aloud some Narnia and resting/napping, followed by family dinner and a movie, Ponyo, with some Shawn the Sheep. It is time to tuck in the little girl for sleep and curl up with my husband for a relaxing evening on the couch...Christ is Born!

Troparion of Christ's Nativity

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
hath shone forth the light of wisdom upon the world;
for therein those who worship the stars
have been taught by a star
to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on
O Lord, glory be to Thee!