Monday, April 25, 2011

Red Eggs and Ham...Well, Any Flesh-Meats Will Do

When Christ is Risen at midnight we proceed around the church 3 times after all the candles are put out, only to return to a well-lit marvel as we enter the tomb where Christ was laid on Good Friday to find He is Risen!!! I joyous canon of prayer ensues, with intermittent and raucous calls of "Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!" in any number of languages including, but not limited to, english, slavonic, greek, welsh, armenian, german and gaelic! The liturgy begins right after the canon and annual traditional Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom. Nothing really says unity like the homily of one of our founding church fathers' being read aloud in thousands of churches across the entire world.

We had a lovely time at the sweet little church in Corvallis after the wedding. It was very long day on saturday between liturgy in the morning, eating, showering dressing and being early to the wedding for pictures, back to the house to situate then going straight up to the church in the rain for the rest of the Acts of the Apostles, midnight service and liturgy. When all was said and done, we were finished with church by 2:30/3 a.m. and then went to the church hall (aka-the priest's house across the way) for a bit of festal fast breaking and egg cracking. Katherine was only interested in her hard cooked eggs in their pretty wrappers and that is what she ate. She had her egg that she received while venerating the cross and one from her basket. She also ate a massive load of marinated artichoke hearts after she finished her eggs. By the time I crawled into bed that night, though the Paschal bliss was streaming through every inch of my being, it was 5 a.m. and I drifted off into a 4.5 hour rest. It was sufficient, though I was nearly awake by the time we left, ha ha! Jay said that if we had a choice of another parish in which we would find comfort, it would be this one.

Today we had sausage, eggs, potato and avocado for breakfast, hence the flesh-meats. For dinner, hots dogs, giant salad, corn and baked beans made with bacon. Tomorrow, oatmeal and bacon for breakfast! We have a few other varieties of meats and such, so we will be set for a couple days. I am trying my best to take things slowly and not load up on too much, but only have tastes here and there, but that hot dog was g-o-o-d!

So, red eggs, eh? I have given it some thought this year about the amazing symbolism which comes from the very first egg, which was a miracle, in the company of the emperor during St. Mary Magdalene's days of spreading the Gospel. The outside of the hard cooked eggs that we dye is red, which is for the humanity of Christ. The egg also represents the tomb of Christ, in which He was laid. When we crack the tomb/egg, we find white, the color that is for Christ's divinity, but it is also a place where life begins, when properly conceived. The egg can be seen as a complete symbol of Christ, as well, in that the divinity within is clothed with the shell of humanity. It may not piece together quite like I imagine, but I think you get my drift.

I love this faith where living it is the only option if you choose for your heart to be constantly transformed by Christ. I was also turning over the entirety of our faith in my brain because it amazes me how Christ is so magnified throughout all of the year, in all the feasts. Even the feasts that seem to have another in their centrepoint, the presence of Christ is so intertwined which makes it obvious how He is "everywhere and fillest all things." The Theotokos is amplified because God chose her, though she had to cooperate with God's will with her own freewill, it glorifies God in her devout purity and synergy. The saints are elevated to their heights because they have followed Christ's path and fought the good fight and, with God's help alone, have emerged victorious in the life and age to come. Every year we are there when the angel announces to Mary that she is chosen, when Christ is then born, presented into the temple, is baptised by St. John the Baptist, the sermon on the mount, entrance into Jerusalem, the betrayal, last supper, crucifixion and the laying in the tomb as we await the Resurrection throughout the night until He is joyously risen!!! We are there with Him as though time has not passed these 2000 years. Soon it will be the Ascension and Pentecost!

Christ is Risen!!! Truly, He is Risen!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don't Quote Me On It

I found this quote when a friend posted it elsewhere, so I thought it was certainly worthy of repost and here it is: "I do not speak about Christ, unless others want to, unless they ask. I pray for those people, I will even work miracles for them, but I do not speak to them. I want their soul to open up and to ask me. By asking to hear something, a person willingly listens." ~ Elder Porphyrios

This makes me think about how Jay was recently listening to a podcast about the earlier days of Orthodoxy in the America's and how it drastically differs from that of other Christian faiths when coming to the people native to these lands. When Orthodox people came to Alaska, they simply built their churches, held services and gladly accepted any who inquired within. It is evident that wisdom of the Church offers peace to all, that all be in peace and quarrel with no one. If there is anything besides peace, it seems to be a temptation of the evil one, for God does not tempt us away from our paths of salvation, into discord and inharmonious dealings. It may be said that since all is God's will, this could be considered God's allowable will, ie-allowing us temptation/disaster/etc., such as Job, in order to be brought closer to Him.

It also makes me think of this quote: "Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” — St. Seraphim of Sarov. It is peace, love and unity which saves. Our spirits effect all else within the realm of this world and the next, sort of a ripple effect. The peaceful tranquility that comes from the heart of one who is at one with God cannot go without touching many facets of every life around; human, animal, plant and otherwise. A person in such a state, I would imagine, would have only Light, Love and Life flowing throughout them that the rest of the world is but a sort of dream.

Well, that was just a few thoughts that have been roaming around in my head lately. Thanks for reading! May peace be with you all the days of your life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dress

Above is the wide view of the whole dress and below is the dress showing detail around the neck edge. It is a pretty little dress, but OH! the number of pieces for the bodice with curved seams! I am pleased with how it turned out, it will do nicely for the wedding.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today's This, That and Thoughts

Got up unreasonably early this morning, went to the gym, but the one at the bottom of the hill didn't open until 5:30 and it was 5:06 am when I got there (I thought they opened at 5). Instead of waiting 20-odd minutes for them to open, I went over to the one about 5 miles away, which I hadn't been in before. It was an alright joint and the guy at the front desk was handing out free tiny boxes of multi-grain cheerios, with our food issues I declined, though I thought better afterward as I drove away, that I could have given them to someone. Oh well, so big deal, I guess.

I went on the cross-ramp thing for my warm up after stretching, then went to the treadmill. My routine lately includes setting the treadmill for a reasonable length of time and the speed not too fast, like a jog, but not stopping once I bump the speed up. I figure after time I will go a little faster, which means a little farther and so on down the line.

Jay is encouraging me to enter a run or duathlon, which I am considering one of each, but can't make a decision since I don't know what I want to try first. Maybe doing a 5k would give me an idea of what I can accomplish, we will see. I am glad he is so supportive in this endeavor, I couldn't do it without him.

After going to the gym, I came home to rouse the troops for an early muster to get ready for Jay's VA doctor's appointment. Paring is always awful, it never takes any less time, but you'd think it was possible because it is only 14(?) miles one way. Somehow, it takes the better part of an hour and on a monday, parking is worse than all other terrible days of the week. The appointment went well, though they had to fill out a form for Jay's SS disability case coming up and I never realize how broken he really is until we have to answer those sorts of questions. "In an 8 hour day, how much time can you comfortably sit, stand/walk, before becoming tired or uncomfortable/unable to carry on the task." Yeah, so he can only take so much of any of it because either eye strain, balance and coordination slips, dizziness kicks in, etc. Well, good to keep things in check.

I am almost done with the dress for the wedding; adding the zipper and hemming the bottom is all that is left. It is a pretty little thing and I have added a little accent on the ribbons. I am not sure whether I will post pictures beforehand because I haven't decided if I want it to be a total surprise for the bride. I will probably let her know what it looks like so she doesn't stress and knows what to count on. I am sure things are hectic enough getting married in less than 2 weeks.

We are off to the park here in a few, so I had better sign off until next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prayer to the Theotokos (God-bearer)

O, Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice! Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the saviour of our soul.

Under thy tender compassion we run, O Mother of God, reject not our prayer in our trouble, but deliver us from harm, only pure, only blessed one.

Most glorious Ever-Virgin, Mother of Christ our God, present our prayer to thy Son and our God and pray that through thee He may save our souls.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Late Night Ramblings, and Other Words

Good golly! Time has flown, lent is nearly over and Holy Week is practically upon us. Well, that will be what I notice on my is what happens when you are making other true! I keep thinking of all the things I will do and people I will see, but really the years flit by. Katherine was all over the fish we had for Annunciation, she even ate it as a bedtime snack. She has done so well during this fast, she doesn't even ask for meat, though she has mentioned bacon once or twice. Ha ha!

It's late, I am awake, but should be sleeping. I should be going to bed, reading the psalms, but I am tired without actually feeling tired, if that makes any sense at all. I have always been more of a night owl, I take after my dad in that respect. I have decided that since it is quieter in the evenings, when most people are asleep, I find the most peace and I can think. I can't remember a time that it wasn't so.

So far, being 33 has its perks. I like being a grown up, though I could do without the mortality flashes when I realize this body is so fleeting, but hey, it isn't all bad. Maybe that is just because I need to remember death, that it should be before me at all times. I have the concept in my head yet, in practice, I am definitely lacking. In certain moments, I notice I am able to hone in on the proper focus, then is filters through my fingers like grains of sand. *sigh* I do like the gaining of some wisdom, if you can call it that. I have always admired people who were able to say what they ought to in the right moment and I think I may have gotten the hang of some of it after 33 years! Whew! What will I glean after the next 33?

Katherine is as big, smart, strong and sweet as ever. We had a go-go-go day on wednesday and were out the door for the vigil of Annunciation and I hadn't even tried to help her get her confession list together, if she was planning to go. On our way, about 5 miles from home, she says, "Mom, I want to have confession tonight." As she flipped through pages of my little notepad from my purse finding a clean page, I thought about how much it seems she has grown in the past 7 months since turning 7.

She is funny and loving, though a little wound up at times, but who isn't? She has her own style, which is a little funky, fun and sober, all at the same time. I know, kin of a strange combo of descriptors. Today we were looking at doll patterns from Meema that are so vintage! Katherine decided on the nightgown for her Felicity doll and I told her I thought she preferred a different dress. Her response, I thought, was rather mature because she told me that the only thing she didn't like was that none of the dresses went to the knee, or lower. You see, in our house, we don't wear skirts or dresses shorter than the knee and I thought it was interesting for her to take note of this when it concerns a doll. She amazes me in ways I never thought could touch my heart, but they always find a way in. Some might say that is minor, but not when you are this mom.

We had to sell Leafa, the Westfalia, much to our dismay, she has served us well. Jay was so good about working on that van and we got to travel across the country to some great places, but it was time to say goodbye. With gas prices the way they are going, it wasn't practical to keep it. She went to a good home, so that is comforting. Katherine got all choked up as we watch the new owner get in and drive off, poor thing. I think that girl would have lived in that van, given the chance. C'est la vie!

Well, it is certainly late enough, so I will sign off, for now. The morning will be here sooner than I care to imagine and I have sewing to work on, a girl to hang around with, husband to chat with, sun to absorb...oh, the list never ends, but I don't know if I would want it to. Later!

PS-I am excited to see my big sis on our way to the wedding in a little more than a week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Twenty Years Have Come and Gone

Today I heard from a friend whose mom had a surgery to remove a large tumor, though we won't hear about whether it is cancerous for a bit, she is in recovery and they didn't have to take as much extra as they thought they might. After the phone call Katherine asked me what we talked about and I explained it to her in age appropriate ways the best I could. All she said was, "They should do that for Grawmps." Next, I got to explain how Grawmps, my dad, has a different kind of cancer problem, where he doesn't have a tumor that can be removed. Bless her heart for wanting to do whatever she can for him! She has asked me before about foods that are god for him to eat, or supplements, that may help him because of his cancer.

Twenty years have come and gone since I can remember my dad not being ill and about 5+ years ago he finally was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. There is not much of my life that is not touched by his illness. It has prepared me well for my life right now and given me an aptitude for everything I have encountered.

When I really think about it, I have a hard time wrapping my head around some of the concepts that I have to share and have learned. It seems, if willing, I'll be able to communicate my love for parents, daughter, husband and God through a living faith that stands encompassing us when months turn into years and years seem as though they may end any moment, or drag on for decades. I can find the pieces of eternity in the fragments of mercy I can recognize, while I pray to always be close enough to grasp them.

We are all but fleeting souls, in search of our resting grounds. This life has so very many twists and turns that it can appear unforgiving, but let us try not to be torn from our path to eternity. Peace be with you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Under the Weather

Home sick from church today and anyone who knows me, can say for sure that it takes hell and high waters to keep me from church especially on a sunday during lent. I woke up this morning with some lingering congestion and then soon found out it wasn't leaving anytime soon. My supplements are garlic and parsley, echinacea and elderberry and vitamin C, every 3-4 hours. Thankfully, this was caught in the early stages with all of these things on hand, particularly the elderberry/echinacea blend, so things are nowhere near as bad as they could be and I hope to nip it before it gets much worse. This, of course, require cooperation on my part, which I can be a bit of a micromanaging pain to my dear, patient husband.

I really should be asleep right now, though I did doze off for a bit this morning as I sat listening to ancient faith radio and watching the sprinkling rain turn to snow flurries. It was the sleep of the dead, which may explain my inability to drag myself to sleep currently. I will go soon after my nightly infusion and snack, I suppose.

In spite of missing out on church, one of the highlights of this day are how nicely Katherine has cared for me. She made me a little set up to have everything I needed at my fingertips; tissue, water, supplements, etc. She made me tea and told me what I to do, which sounds just like me, so I know some of what I say is going in and sticking around. She has been so darling today, though she was restless because of the snow, after yesterday's high of 84. She was informed by papa that she needs to become acquainted with hobbies and to use her time wisely, not just in play. She was fussy at first, then found herself drawing on her dry-erase easel making a picture of a dog with green legs, being walked by an invisible man and some smiling worms in the ground and one through an apple. She has always loved art, but she doesn't always redirect toward it. She was given many options and this is always what comes most naturally.

She had a rough time falling asleep also, poor thing, and ended coming out a few times, we told her she could find something to do in bed, like draw. Apparently, she decided to draw us each a card. For one, she folds them backward, so they fold the opposite way. Secondly, she uses her stickers to make multimedia art that I LOVE. Mine has a sticker of a painting on the front of St George and the dragon, 'Mom' and a heart. Inside, we are all together, drawn bodies with a sticker smiley face. Papa has a slice of pizza, I have a drink in hand and she has an ice cream cone and has a think bubble above her head that says, "I <3 mom." The dogs are there, one is saying, "Grrr." There is a fish tank on a table and we are hanging out with 2 cats. I love that she made it for me and how she placed us together and that her only thought is about how she loves her mom, I got al choked up. I love everything about it!

Hmm, well, what else did I do today? Let's see, I did my best not to nitpick Jay's making of the vegetable soup as he chopped things, but I couldn't help but want to jump in and do it for him, since I am the soup maker and the poor guys seemed like he was in near agony chopping all that celery (I got stuffed $1 bags the other day). The soup was great and I think he did well, both in making the soup and putting up with my stuffy-headed delirium. We had a couple of good laughs today, that is really why we get along so well, so for all our back and forth, we do have some great moments, even in sickness. So, veggie soup, total success, watching "Sweetgrass", a documentary about shepherds in Montana, not so much. It was lovely scenery, but toward the end, the foul mouths of those guys had me fast forwarding to the end and moving onto the original "Cheaper By The Dozen." It was a much better choice but, then again, most old movies are a safer, better bet than many new ones, even if they are supposed to be relatively educational. Next we had dinner and Katherine danced and danced for us afterward; a jig here, a reel there. She loves it, what can I say?!

That about sums up this day, though I hope tomorrow is more eventful based on my health improving, but it will never happen if I never go to bed. That is my cue to get going. Goodnight for now, sweet dreams to all!