Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Chiropractor, Tai Ji, and Missing Church

Well, I went to the chiropractor on friday to right a couple spots that weren't falling in suit with all of my Taiji. It has helped tremendously, but I have been a couple times to Taiji to try to keep the muscles and structure in shape to not slip away again. I have been sleeping with my legs atop a pillow, so to flatten my back and such, which has been good, but last night, I got cold and didn't sleep a lot.

When I woke up this morning, I laid there to discuss the day and what we could manage. I realized I hadn't even tried to get up and walk, so I did and it was strained, literally! I decided to lie down a little longer and take some naturopathic pain relief and drink some water. Jay settled me in to make sure I wouldn't get cold and the next thing I knew, it was noon! What? I guess I needed the sleep, but church was missed and I always struggle with missing any.

Tomorrow we have Jay's appointments at the V.A., store, and vigil for St. John of Krondstadt. I think if we didn't have more services this week, I would have pushed a little harder to get myself to church, but, instead, I let Jay care for me, which is harder for me sometimes, than missing church. It is probably a good lesson for me, because it is easy for me to shuffle myself off to services, but strangely difficult for me to allow my husband to care for me and make the call that I need some rest. I am sorry not have made it, but more grateful that I let the morning flow the way it should.

So, after getting up at lunchtime, I had a bowl of cereal with Katherine and played some Uno Attack. We played a couple games and, when the tea was ready for drinking, there was a knock at the door. The neighbor came to ask Jay a question about her car, but he was out for a few, so she stayed and played some Uno with us. Now I think it is time for some epsom salts, as per Jay's request for my muscles, and then some stretching and resting.

I love my family, I really, really do.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Memory Eternal, Anna, may you rest in peace

So, it has been kinda quiet on here since the funeral, but I think now is as good a time as any to post about it, while I still have some floating around.

Anna fell asleep in the Lord about 7 hours after I was blessed to say our goodbyes and the funeral was on the following wednesday. From evening on tuesday, her body was brought into the church for viewing, prayers, and the reading of the Psalter. Many people, both family and friends, scheduled time to read the Psalter in the candlelight. I shared a one hour shift reading with Faith, Anna's niece and the daughter of the priest who baptised my entire family all those years ago, when we still lived in Etna. So, when the alarm went off, after struggling with falling asleep and staying there, there was enough drag in me, that I had a hard time waking up. Thankfully, I had already set everything out, so all I had to do was do minimal preparation. I got out of the house in a short enough period, but the little dog saw fit to disturb Katherine, who eventually got up for the day around 4.

I arrived at the church in less time than expected, but I am glad I was early, rather than late, so I could settle in a bit. There were two others in the church taking their turns reading and I walked up to the coffin to venerate. As I peered into the casket, I noticed how peaceful she looked and I felt relieved. In all honesty, I wasn't sure what would be my reaction to any of the day, but relief wasn't anything I anticipated. Anna's body rested there, for final goodbyes, and kissed the forehead of the handmaiden and image of God. She is no longer suffering, Glory to God!

Faith got to the church and we agreed on our sets to read from the Psalter for our shift and went on with it, as planned. As I read and listened to the Psalms, I really appreciated the humanity of the words. The crying out, from the depths of self, in all ways, toward God, our Father. If you have ever read the Psalms, you are likely to understand what I mean by that.

When the next person arrived, we gathered our things, venerated the body once more, and left. After a few words exchanged, we got into our cars and drove off toward home. I figured that since the funeral began at 10 am, I had better just stay up, since I was already dressed and such, so I made my way to an open coffee drive-thru to grab a little something on my way home. I drove out to an area nearby the air force base to sit and drink my concoction and think. It was nearly six in the morning and the sun was barely making its presence known. When I finished my drink, I went home to find Katherine awake, watching a show, covered in a blanket. Apparently she had trouble falling back to sleep and got up to look at books, play, and watch something. We had a peaceful and lovely time before getting Jay up to ready him for the funeral.

There wasn't too much trouble getting to the church, but Faith told me to try to come early, since Anna was a teacher and they were closing the school for kids to go to the funeral, of they wanted, so it might be crowded. We got there at about 915 and I noticed that the person reading might appreciate a break, as it was apparent that she had been up all night, mingled with tears and talking. I offered to take over, so she accepted. Until the funeral started, Jay and I took over the reading, while people filed in. I was very glad to be of service to the family, so they could just greet incomers and spend their time together.

It was a usual service for a funeral in the Orthodox fashion. If you have never been to one, the best I can say is that it is a proper sending off, a wonderful bit of closure, no matter the cause. I am grateful to have this prospect for a funeral for myself, when the time comes. Fr. John stopped after the reading of the Gospel to say a little something and one of the things that I really loved was the quote on the back of the paper icon card that Anna chose. "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." ~Anonymous. Fr. John also mentioned that it was Anna's wish to have anyone, who wanted to make a donation, to give them to Faith, for her mission trip to Albania.

Afterward, we all had our last goodbyes and awaited the funeral procession to the cemetery. We followed the police escort (which was pretty neat, by the way) all the way to the final resting place of Anna, where we would sing more prayers. As the hearse was opened to withdraw the casket, her three sons, two nephews, and husband dutifully carried it to its rightful place. As they walked, I only imagined what my funeral might be like. I don't know who will carry me to my rest. If I am old, when the time comes, perhaps I will have some grandchildren who are able, but the idea made me cry. I know this isn't about me, but what good is death if it can't help us reflect on our own life and death. So I ask, who will carry me to my rest, because it has touched me in a way I didn't know was surfaced enough to call for attention.

Everything finished up and we all went back to the church for a meal. I believe that the mood had changed entirely, for the fullness of closure in the service allowed for everyone to bond and be solemnly cheerful, in a way. Funny thing about funeral's, they act as a catalyst for family reunions and I saw people, who are nearly family, that I hadn't seen in years, even decades! It was good to see people and I even had a dear friend who is like another grandmother to us, Elizabeth, remark to me that she is so glad she is Orthodox because all of the services are so beautiful. I have always thought that the measure of a faith lies in how they treat their dead, and I truly believe this.

Toward the end of the meal, Faith sat down next to me and she handed me a profile card about her intended trip to Albania and said she knew that I liked to knit things. I said yes, before she even asked. I then related how I told Anna, just a few days earlier, that I wanted to knit something in her memory, when she was gone from us, but no one else was in the room. It was quite clear that it is meant to be. I will be knitting things to send with her and, if you are a knitter or crocheter, maybe you would like to send something along, she hopes to have raised enough money to leave this upcoming summer for two years, so we have a bit of time.

Well, that is that, however anti-climactic. Life is as it will be, we are blessed to have our family, friends, struggles, and triumphs. May the God of peace, love, and light be with all of you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stuff and Nonsense

This is one of those times when I have nothing, and everything, to say. I am floating onward, however, very little upward action seems to be happening, but I may just look down at some point and notice a ascent. There is a bit of a reprieve right now, as things, though busy and fairly hectic, are offering a lull of peacefulness amidst the din of daily life. It is a bit of a calm, but I am not expecting a storm, because, in reality, that seems to be the order of each day, so normalcy can hardly pass for something stormy. It is what it is, but church, family, and knitting keeps me sane-ish.

I have been daydreaming again about having a soup kitchen one day. It is something very dear to my heart and, God willing, I hope to somehow accomplish it before I die. Some people dream about where they will live, maybe where they will travel...I think about serving soup to people who don't have much. I dream about knowing them on a first name basis and that somehow we will learn from one another, in this whirlwind of life; perhaps give me some glimpse into the face of God, or that I may offer my heart, which He gave me and tends, to those who come. I even imagined staying open all night long, if we had to, so 'they' wouldn't have to go out in the seriously cold temperatures that Colorado so bitterly offers us nearly every year. So, of course that leads to the having of beds and such places. And the daydream grows into an entire story.

We are trying to wake up at the same time every day now, so I had better get myself off to bed. Until next time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Latest Dress

Well, I made another dress for Katherine. A long while back, I chose some material with the intent to make her another 'Felicity' dress, but it has been sitting around for some time now, washed and ready. It is so pretty, these pictures won't do any justice, because it is such a lovely, warm brown and the flowers are so nicely set. I hope to get her in the dress for a picture soon.

I wanted to add some of the lace that is on the bottom to the neckline, but, as of now, she is vetoing that idea. She says she likes it just the way it is. I will admit, if she says she likes something, she will wear it, so who am I to upset the apple cart there?

Hopefully she will wear it for church this weekend :o)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I love this!

‎"Our life depends on the thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility."
~Elder Thaddeus from 'Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives'

Mish Mash

Well, the family is up in Greeley with Jay's folks and I am here at the coffee shop, sipping a latte. It is always bittersweet when we are apart. On the one hand, I enjoy the freedom of not having to always schedule everything and I can be spontaneous. On the other hand, I haven't got anyone to tuck in at night and watch an evening show with. I suppose it serves to give me appreciation for having them around and it won't be so hard when Katherine says, "Please, mom, just one more book!" After already having 2 more books! I love that she wants to be read to, but sometimes I am tired at her bedtime, so I push myself to do read another, so long as they aren't terribly intricate.

That girl loves the library and I am so pleased! Even if she isn't a fluent reader, just yet, I am so glad that she thinks that books, the library, and reading are super fantastic! She will do anything to get to go to the library, even so much as clean, so I know it is important. The favorite book right now is called, The Snow Globe Family. Very cute and funny. It is about a 'big' family (humans) and a little family, who live in the snow globe. All the snow globe family wants is for it to snow again, like it used to, but the big family has forgotten all about it, everyone except Baby :) You will have to check it out to find out the rest. Just what the world needs; creative, fun, appropriate stories for kids of all ages!

Taiji is going well. It is a nice outlet for me. It is helping with my posture and strength, which I really need. I have always seemed to have poor posture, but the older I get, the more I am realizing how much I will appreciate good posture into my later years. Katherine is also getting quite good at her Kung Fu, where she is advancing along quickly. She and I are both supposed to test at the end of the month. Taiji doesn't really have belts, but it is more of an accomplishment sort of thing. Traditionally, Kung Fu doesn't either, but it is this way to give status and keep track of people's ability, I think. My favorite stances that Katherine does are when falls back (you'd have to see it to really get it, unless you are familiar), and empty stance. Her long legs and svelte body do some justice to these in particular.

So far, I like 8 better than 7, but maybe it was just the year for us all. However, since she has turned 8, Katherine has been more articulate and I can see how she is growing into a thoughtful young girl. One of the things that makes me happy, as her mom, is seeing her learn something new from a friend and, rather than feeling like her friend is outshining her, she gives credit where it is due and will work harder to be good at it too. I have seen this in her Kung Fu, where there is a girl, Lizzie, who has been in class one month longer than Katherine, so also is more progressed. Sifu also helps all the kids take correction well, there isn't a class pet, who is somehow the example, they all have their own forms that they do well, some that aren't so great.

Another thing that I am enjoying about Katherine is when I heard her read, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, to my youngest goddaughter, who is 2.5. I think if she had a younger sibling, to give purpose to reading books, she'd be further in her reading skills, but for now, this is great. (The goal is, and always has been, to develop a love of reading, without pushing too much. So far, so good.) When I was about her age, maybe a little older, I remember reading to my younger brother and sister a number of bedtime stories. I can't tell you how many times I read out of the enormous Busytown book, because it was my brother's favorite. Those are some good memories and, as I look back, we were sort of like in Peter Pan, telling stories into the night.

I would love to give Katherine a sibling with whom to play, read, and share her life. That is not our lot these days. When people would ask after we were first married how many kids we planned to have, I would tell them, "We would like to have at least one of each, and if it take 12 girls to get to a boy, so be it! Or vice versa, but we will just take what we get." It is much easier to say, when you are married for month, that you are willing to accept the children that God blesses you with, as you imagine the endless possibilities. It is much harder, when you are married nearly a decade and have one beautiful child and the hope begins to dwindle with age and life. It is a challenge to accept that, when you say you will take whatever God gives, that sometimes it is nowhere near what you imagined, but that the blessings in between are for greater purpose. Oh my, what a heart full of heaviness and gratefulness.

Well, if we ever can, we would adopt. Katherine is all over that one, but the girl doesn't quite get that it necessitates time and paperwork. Perhaps we are getting closer to something like fostering to adopt, or domestic adoption, however, I am not choosy. The benefit of growing up with a love of babies and being a babysitter and nanny, is the developing of a heart that can love any child, no matter what.

On another note, I may go see a movie with a close friend tonight, where they let you take margarita's into the theatre. Jay would really like me to do something like that, but I know that he will only want me to, if I am up for it. I am trying to decide. I am leaning toward going, but we will see what I end up with. I am still feeling a little heavy from the week of death and funeral. I don't think my internal clock has completely reset, but it just may be me, lingering in thought.

I think that is it, for now. I think when I write next, I will be posting about the funeral. There is a beauty in all the services of the Orthodox faith and the passage of death, funerals and burial, are no exception. Until then...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Memory Eternal, Anna

I got an email from my mom a few days back about a long time family friend, who has been battling with cancer, on and off, for years, was nearing her end in this life. My mom asked if I would go represent the family in making our peace and saying goodbye. In all honesty, I ought to have made my appearance sooner, when we could have had a one on one conversation, instead of a one-sided one, due to her coma. Somehow, it escaped my mind completely, for a couple days, until I was abruptly reminded, then realized I may be too late, when her niece posted that they did not expect her to live past yesterday morning. The nurse was amazed that she was still around in the afternoon, resting in her bed, overlooking the beautiful yard full of color.

I went to church in the morning, fully anticipating that I would not have a chance to see her, and resigned myself to God's will, that if I was meant to be there, it would be, and if not, I might find acceptance. After church, I met with a couple of ladies from knitting to get some much needed needles to finish my dad's sweater and to knit for a few, then I came home to get Katherine ready for a birthday party. I got the message, in between all of the hubbub, that Anna was still with us and that I may come by whenever I can and that they'd contact me if she reposed before I arrived.

I didn't see any sense in dragging everyone over there, as I was capable on my own, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but that Katherine had the party planned for quite some time, which things turned out just fine in the end. After bringing them by the party, I gathered my things and my courage and set out to the unknown. It had been ages since seeing Anna, and most of the family, so I wasn't sure what to expect. On the way, I called my mom (don't worry, I have a cordless earpiece, it was as safe as having a passenger in the car talking). I told her I was on my way over and what the prognosis was. She said she was glad to know I was going and to please give hugs and kisses to everyone, in her stead. Anna and my parents are from the same generation and it is Anna's brother, Fr. Ambrose (then, Fr. Alexei), who baptised my whole family. We chatted for a few and I expressed how I felt like I was going there without anything to offer, to which my mom said they would just be glad I came. She asked if I had a little icon in the car to maybe lay there with her, so I took the one of the Theotokos.

Faith was there to greet me and show me in. Fr. John, from St. Herman's was sitting there next to Anna, with Peter, her husband nearby and I think there was one more, too, perhaps her sister, Justina. Fr. John got up to leave and I asked a blessing before he left, then I sat there next to Anna's right side. Most people began moving about, with things to attend and Faith stayed there with me for a few minutes. She said she was going to go out for a few minutes and then come back. I expected people would be in and out of there, perhaps staying for some time, but I realized they had all been there regularly, up to that point. I noticed that I was left with Anna in quiet, without so much as a sound, besides her breathing.

I sat there quietly for a few minutes with a hand on her arm, trying to gather some thoughts to articulate, because they say she could hear us. I began by telling her that I was sorry I hadn't come sooner, but I was grateful to make it when I did. I was back and forth between crying and talking. She lay there so peacefully and I found that felt helpless. I had nothing to give, so I told her I would do my best in praying for her, though it could not ever be enough. As I calmed to a quiet solemnity, I realized I hadn't seen anyone in awhile, but that I wasn't about to leave her alone. I decided to tell her stories of our family, both my own little family, as well as, my parents, brothers and sisters. She seemed to respond to a few things I said, as much as a person in a coma could do. When I related that our anniversary is the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anna, she opened her eyes most of the way. I wasn't sure of how much she was aware of, so I imagined that it was reactionary, but perhaps not completely intentional, but it seemed she was communicating with me. Soon Ian, her nephew, and Justina came back in to check before going, or resting. We were all talking and said they were so happy to see me, asking how the rest of the family is doing. We chatted a few more minutes before they went back out again.

A couple more people popped in momentarily, but I was mostly left to sit and talk, or keep the silence. After getting through the current family events that seemed pertinent, I looked over and saw a Psalter sitting on the table next to the bed. I leaned over to retrieve it, aiming to read her something to fill the quiet for a bit. I told her how it came to be my favorite psalm, then proceeded to read it aloud. As I read psalm 27(26 septuagint), it seemed to bring new meaning to it. It nearly made me cry, but it also offered strength and purpose to the moment. When I was finished, I set it back on the table, to linger in quiet just a little more. Her son came in with a friend of hers, so I gave her my seat, as I recognised this was quite obviously my cue. I gave Anna a hug, kissed her head and told her how we love her.

I recall there were moments, when we sat peacefully, that my heart spoke to hers, assuring that we'd carry on and that I could see her in her boys. At that moment in a person's journey, laid in wait for repose to consume, the people around you seem to reflect all that you have given them. There were pieces of laughter, a smile of recognition, but mostly, there was a quiet blanket of love that seemed to encompass everyone and everything. She has brought God's love to her family and friends, which was more evident in that glimpse, than ever before. What a blessing to witness.

As I left the house, I thought a bit about everything. It occurred to me that I was able to be there with Anna, while everyone else took an hour to relax, because someone else was on watch with her. They ate, slept, made phone calls to other family, all the while, Anna and I kept one another's company. I am grateful to have been a part of their relief and to have had something to offer. Glory to God! Maybe they imagined they were giving us time together, which was true, but I think it was useful for them as well.

This morning at 1:10 a.m., she passed from this world to the next and is without the bodily struggles anymore. May she find rest in a place of coolness, a place of green pasture, where there is no sickness, sorrows, or sighing, but life everlasting.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wayfaring Stranger

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
While traveling through, this world of woe.
But there’s no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright land, to which I go.
I’m going there to see my father
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a going over Jordan
I’m just a going over home.
I know dark clouds will gather round me
I know my way is rough and steep;
Yet beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God’s redeemed, no more shall weep
I’m going there to see my mother
She said she’d meet me when I come;
I’m just a going over Jordan I’m just a going over home.
I’ll soon be free from earthly trials,
my body sleep in the old church yard,
I’ll drop the cross of self denial and enter in my great reward,
I’m going, I’m going there to see my Savior
I’m going there no more to room,
I’m just a going over jordan.
I’m just a going over …

Be at peace, dear Anna. May your transition to the next life be quiet and peaceful, surrounded by those you love. They all have reflection of what you have given them and will care the spark of life and love from your heart into every place. May your memory be eternal in all you love.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Stagnant waters
Calm and cool
Dark and deep
Contain a dormant myriad

Stillness becomes prepense
Layers of existence
Fade into profundity
Yet exude imperfection

The vast collective
Brimming with a hum
Though restrictive in nature
Idly awaits the dawn

A break in monotony
Commencing rapt reverie
Beckoning to stir
A sleepless illusion

In the midst
A creeping conclusion
Ushers respite and repair
As waters repose

Peaceful disturbance
Reverberating within
Reflecting without
Settle upon a Rock

Monday, October 3, 2011

One Upon a Nativity

The other day I was telling Katherine of the story from when I was a kid and we were really poor, though it never seemed so, since we always had a roof over our heads and food to eat; with the repetition I remember, it is a good thing I liked hot cereal, especially cream of wheat! You see, Katherine hasn't got any context for having a limited income, being an only child whose parents are blessed with always having enough of everything, though it has been shaking in the past. I will tell the story I acquainted her with, because I think it is worth telling.

In 1988, I was ten years old. It was winter time and my mom had begun working again when we moved back up north from our short stint in H.B., because she had the most marketable skill set as a nurse and she'd had recent experience in Cali. My dad was at home for us kids, so there was always a parent in the home, thus he was responsible for the home front. My mom travelled some 45+ minutes through the mountains on a shuttle bus one way, to the next biggest town for her job, so she got up extra early every day, then came home sometime after 6, I believe. You can imagine the length of being away from home and family.

Day in and day out, this was the way things were; my dad was wrangling 4 kids, a couple cats and a dog, while my mom spent endless hours out of the house, caring for everyone else's family, so we could make ends meet, though split six ways, plus paying for the shuttle to work, you can imagine what we had. It was going to be Nativity soon and we didn't even have a church close enough to go celebrate the feast. I remember snow at twilight, as my siblings and I devised a plan for the eve of the feast, while my parents were out on a walk. We decided that we would wrap our own things to give to each other, so we would have gifts to give and receive. The tree, which I think may have been someone else's before coming to our house, was alit with fun lights from my aunt. They were like lava lamps, but with colored water and the bubbles were much faster. We scrambled around getting things together and watched for my parents' return. We made sure that the lights were off in the rest of the house, so it was just the tree, shining in its own beauty.

I don't remember a lot, but I do recall some hugs and smiles. If memory serves, it was night when we opened things, but I won't rely on the timing, just the subject, so bear with me here. We opened the things we had wrapped for one another and a couple of other little items, when my mom appeared with a rather large box (or was it a giant plastic bag?) for each of us. One for each of us kids, though we knew there wouldn't be much, there was a personal blanket for us. They each had a corduroy top and flannel underneath, with batting between. She had embroidered our names and the year on the edge. I still have mine, though it is a bit worse for wear, it has moved with me to every place I have lived since. You see, somewhere in all the working, traveling, and parenting, my mom had gotten up early and gone to bed late, to make these for us, so we would have something new on the feast of Nativity.

These are my parents, who loved one another so dearly to have 4 kids, with whom to share their love. In times of having very little earthly goods, we were afforded the opportunity to see the spiritual goods and character, with which God has embodied in them, however imperfect they may be. I was reading the other day about a monk who was talking to the person who wrote the article, on having kids, before he and his new wife were ever pregnant, they wanted advice. They thought it would be more complicated than the answer they received. In effect, it was that what makes for good children and parenting, is for parents to love one another. The kids will see the example of love and sacrifice through the parents devotion to one another, in all ways. This is what I believe God has blessed my family with and also why so many people like to be around us. My parents worked very hard to maintain a home for us through it all, for that I am grateful. They have been through more than their share of struggles and have made it through. They are an example for me even now, as a wife and mother, because they have been here and understand.

I love you, mom and dad. Thanks for your faith, work, love and devotion!

Off They Went!

Jay and Katherine left for their overnight trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir just about an hour ago. I rode with them for a couple miles, then kissed them both, and sent them on their adventure! I am really hoping that they have the time of their lives and want to do it again one day. Katherine had a hard time going without me, but she will be alright, once she focuses on going to the reservoir, campfires, marshmallows, fishing, games, rides, walks, and more! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, as you all know of Jay's health, but they are determined and only about 7 miles away from home, so I am simply hoping they have a smooth, enjoyable time.

Well, here I am, sitting in the coffee shop with the computer and some knitting. My dad's sweater is getting big and bulky and I couldn't find what else I was looking for, so I brought the unicorn project with me. Katherine asked me if I would make her a unicorn and, when the Knitting Habitat was closing, I got some yarn on clearance and will be using it for this project. I think the only reason I haven't made it before has everything to do with the fact that it will require assembly. I will be knitting the legs separately from the body, and I will have to stuff it. If I can get one leg done, per week maybe, I will be able to get the whole thing done for St. Nicholas Day, or Nativity.

Here's to having some time to use as I please!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

No Time Like the Present

Outside my window...

The sun is shining and the birds aThough a friend told me of it long ago, I have recently begun saving the tops and bottoms of carrots, celery, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, etc. and sticking them in the freezer. The intent is to gather enough to make veggie stock. This follows my attempt to be more frugal and to use more of each item. I didn't pay any less for that end piece of onion than the middle, more desirable part, so why not make the most of it! After only about 1.5-2 weeks, I have the better portion of a gallon size bag full in there. I look forward to making the broth to use with some recipes that call for it, particularly the ones for things like pumpkin soups cooked with veggie broth and pureed together for a hearty, delicious winter eating from the feeders. The heirloom tomato plant, 'Shortie', has a number of ripening fruits, as does Bertha, the cherry tomato plant. The chard is in full abundance and the beets are coming up nicely; I hope to get some tasty, colorful beets out of them!

I am thinking...

...about canning this zucchini relish and bread and butter pickles this afternoon. They are both in the preparation stages, then will come the cooking and canning. Also, thinking about Katherine and her Papa going camping, starting tomorrow at 11 am, for 24 hours; what will I do with myself?!?!?!

I am thankful for...

A place to rest
Food, with the ability and abundance to preserve some for future use
A mild autumn, with slow changing leaves and gentle weather shifts
Our home and the means to maintain it

From the learning rooms...

Katherine is getting more into reading, though still it isn't her favorite thing to do on her own, she still LOVES having someone read to her; she is, and always has been, auditory, so I don't worry too much, it will come. We are hoping to set up some sessions on video chat with my dad to do art with Katherine, which they have done once before, but since my parents' move, the art supplies are not at home and settled yet. Perhaps, perhaps.

I am learning how to be more thrifty, because it is economical, but also practical. I will be trying to plan our meals in more detail, so as to save money shopping for each item, so there aren't any surprises, though this will prove more challenging than it sounds, for me. I am trying to use left over things to make something new, and so on.

I cannot speak for Jay, but I am sure he is managing some lesson in all this. He has been trying to find some free audio books, so he doesn't have to use his eyes, due to headache issues, so if anyone has any suggestions of books, please feel free to drop an oar in.

From the kitchen...

Though a friend told me of it long ago, I have recently begun saving the tops and bottoms of carrots, celery, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, etc. and sticking them in the freezer. The intent is to gather enough to make veggie stock. This follows my attempt to be more frugal and to use more of each item. I didn't pay any less for that end piece of onion than the middle, more desirable part, so why not make the most of it! After only about 1.5-2 weeks, I have the better portion of a gallon size bag full in there. I look forward to making the broth to use with some recipes that call for it, particularly the ones for things like pumpkin soups cooked with veggie broth and pureed together for a hearty, delicious winter meal.

The canning, of course, and I also want to make some kale chips from the recipe in Color Me Vegan. I am trying to decrease our animal protein consumption, for many reasons, but to list a few, they include, inflammation, digestive ease and overall wellness. I have noticed that when we have very little meat, and stick to eggs and fish as our moderate animal products, we all do much better. So, we are trying to gear ourselves into a moderate, doable, and healthful dietary shift, including getting coffee out and green tea in. I have noticed it has been causing some undue side effects, especially for Jay, that aren't worth that cuppa, though a special treat now and again isn't the end of the world, but we have to start somewhere.

I am creating...

Still working on my dad's sweater, after having taken out a large chunk twice, to finally get the increase to be what I wanted! If that isn't love, I don't know what is! I have been experimenting with the tea cosy I am making for a friend in trade and I want it to be *just* right, so that is fun. I hope to get some sewing done, as Katherine has requested a dress, for which I have everything I need, I just have to get on top of it. I need to get my socks on the needles, too.

I am going...

to Taiji regularly and it is a much needed stress relief. It has offered me some time to myself and it helping with my posture. I have let my own personal maintenance go in these past few years since Jay's illness set in, so it is helping me regain some of my energy and strength, both physically and mentally.

I am (still) reading...

That book about St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris, Pearl of Great Price
A book of poetry from the library by Thoreau
Knitting patterns :o)

I am hoping and praying...

...that I learn my lessons well and can apply them to my life.
...that moderation, in many aspects, pervade my life.
...that I can settle into a routine and stick with it. We are notorious for beginning one, then shifting, due to health issues, or some other friend or family influence.

I am hearing...

Classical music on the radio and my fingers typing.

Around the house...

I have a number of things to sort through, because my mom and dad sent me a veritable load of material and yarn. Not to mention, the boxes from a friend I have in the garage full of sewing supplies! I am always wanting things neater around here, but learning what is practical to expect in a home with a disabled husband and a homeschooling daughter, with a cat, two dogs and two fish.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Kat and Jay go camping; coffee and knitting with a sweet and caring friend; returning to volunteer to help keep the church open on wednesdays; Taiji for me, Kung Fu and dance for Kat, maybe some hunting with a friend for Jay; a birthday party and church. Other than that, I can't say for sure, but I will have to figure out what to do for the 24 hours my little family is camping!

Here are some picture thoughts I am sharing...

From our trip to Kenosha Pass on wednesday with our friends :o)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Prayer of the Optina Elders

I have posted this before, and it is such a nice prayer, I thought it deserves a reposting. It has such a concise and purposeful content, I need to remember to say it daily.

Prayer of the Optina Elders:

Grant unto me, my Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.

Grant unto me Grace to surrender myself completely to Thy Holy Will.

For every hour of this day instruct and prepare me in all things.

Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.

Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.

When unforeseen things occur, let me not forget that all cometh from Thee.

Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonably toward every member of my family, that I may bring them no confusion or sorrow.

Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.

Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive and to love.