Friday, December 10, 2010

Schrodinger's Coffee

I keep chuckling over this, so go read it yourself.

I'm really going to do it!

Since Mat. Anna keeps making it look so darn easy, I went here and ordered a bunch of supplies.  I will start felt ornaments for my Jesse Tree!

I have felt, embroidery floss, needles, assorted ribbons and buttons in the mail and it was only around $60 for the whole shebang.  While I have sewing-machine phobia, I've always sort of enjoyed mending seams and sewing on buttons by hand.  I'd love to have a hand project going here and there.  Maybe by next year we'll have some real ornaments for our Jesse/Advent/Whatchamacallit Tree.

So excited!

Sink Wall Love

Like Mother Like Daughter is having a linky party today.  We are beautifying the wall or windowsill or whatever it is that you have behind your kitchen sink.  I love it!

Mine used to look like this:

Boring, right?  I've wanted something up there for a while now—a specific something.  But I put it off because notice I use that space for drying large flat things like cutting boards and cookie sheets.  That pretty much covers up that little wall.

I haven't been using a dish drainer lately because I find that I empty it and put away the stuff even less frequently than I get rid of this pile.  At least when I get rid of this pile, I have the option of an extra square foot of counter space, which adds up in a Chicago apartment kitchen!

Notice the towel my stuff is drying on?  Go to this post on Kitchen Flow and scroll down a ways.  Leila does the same thing!   (I'm so validated!)

Mercifully, my iPhone camera is not high-enough quality to show how dirty the wall back there actually is.  And I'm not showing you the rest of the kitchen either.  I took some photos of it though... maybe I will show them to you when I have something clean to put with them!  Let's just say that since we added child three and homeschooling a kindergartener to the mix, I've been a little out of sync with my kitchen cleanliness.

I didn't have a chance to examine the "flow" in my kitchen.  It's a little odd since our dishes are stored in the dining room in the china cabinet to leave space in the kitchen cabinets for food since our pantry is our utility laundry closet.  (Whew!  That was a long sentence.)  And there's only one way the dishes can be stacked and flow which is not very efficient because of the placement of the stove and dishwasher.  But it's fine.  This is the most counter space I've ever had!  (Not showing you the rest of it, though, remember?)

I didn't even have a chance to clean the wall.  Shame on me, I suppose.

Instead, I made one change.  Just one!

OK.  Maybe that counts as two.  Although, I'm not sure that anyone else will put my cutting boards up there.  In fact, I think my husband actually moved one down from up there thinking it was probably an accident that someone balanced it up there and that it would fall if not moved.

The important change is that little framed Bible verse.  For a long time now, I've wanted to have various verses posted around my home that apply to the task at hand.  It's similar to what I've seen when our Orthodox priests vest.  For each piece they put on, a Bible verse (usually a Psalm verse) is prayed.  Naturally, the psalm that comes to mind when I am at the sink is this:

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
~KJV, Psalm 51/50

I spent a little time reformatting a file I'd already made for another framed verse on the opposite wall.  I think I posted it here somewhere, but I can't find it, so I can't link to it (I think it's still in draft).

This is what I came up with:

(To save, click on the image to enlarge it, then either click and drag it into a document and print, or right-click and save the image and then insert into a document.)

I printed it, trimmed it, and framed it with an inexpensive black IKEA frame.  If you like it, feel free to follow the instructions above and use it!  I'd like to come up with a few more of these for other places in the house.  It's one way I can remind myself to pray throughout the day, especially during the less-than-exciting household tasks.

Thanks to Leila for the nudge to get this up there!  Go visit her post and see some more Sink Wall Love or join in yourself!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Intercede for us, Holy Nicholas!

A friend of ours has recently found out that their unborn baby has passed away at just over 12 weeks gestation.  His wife will have surgery today.  If you are inclined to pray for them, the baby's name is Nicholas.  Pray for him and for his Mommy and Daddy.

Our Baby Constantine's grave, St. Tikhon's cemetery

I know I am incredibly blessed to have (now) three healthy children here with me.  When we miscarried a couple of years ago, I was comforted by the thought that if I only ever had my two baby girls, that I would still be blessed and happy with our little family.  And as any regular readers know, God continued to bless us with another baby this summer.

But my heart goes out to those families who have to endure the miscarriage or death of their first baby.  To have your innocence shattered by the loss of your first child would be one of the most difficult things I think a parent could go through.  And the questions!  Why didn't my baby live?  Did I do something wrong during my pregnancy?  Will I ever be able to carry a baby to term?  Why wasn't I allowed to meet my little one?  Why me?

Any time I hear of the passing of an unborn baby, I am reminded of what my sweet doctor told me after my own miscarriage.  He mentioned that some women, for every baby they are able to meet in this world, they have several babies praying for them in heaven. How comforting!

It is entirely possible that I, too, have several unborn children in heaven keeping Constantine company.  I have no way of knowing whether we've had just the one miscarriage or if I've had a few very early ones too.  It is possible that I may have more in coming years.

What a heart-swelling thought: All the unborn children I have had or may have in the future are a great cloud of children praying for me, my own personal army of tiny saints, perfected and taken before the temptations of this world.  How we ache to meet them, but how they rejoice with our Lord!

Icon of the children being brought to Christ, located in a rock outcropping at St. Tikhon's Monastery

I thought it especially joyful and appropriate that these parents chose the name Nicholas for their baby.  Of course, the timing is right, being that St. Nicholas's feast day was on Monday.  But don't some of the hymns and prayers to St. Nicholas refer to him as a special friend of children?  Imagine him surrounded by our lost little ones, their heavenly surrogate grandfather praising God with them and leading them in interceding for us.

Holy Saint Nicholas, special friend of children, pray to God for us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

I have the troparion to St. Nicholas running through my head.  But not the one you might think.

It starts out all right.  And it's in the fourth tone.
O Holy Bishop Nicholas
You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith
But then it gets a little odd.
You give us lots of presents.
Hmm... I guess the final line, though unorthodox (pun intended?), may at least be factually correct:
You are the most famous Nicholas in the whole world.

As you might have guessed, we caught one of the kids (Maggie) singing this version (chanting it in the third tone would be more precise) a while back.  We died laughing.  I think we'll work on what he's really famous for when the girls wake up.

See the feast day boxes from Orthodox Christian Craft Supply nestled behind their shoes?  Those will help.  Oh, and don't worry: Mommy and Daddy will help John with the contents of his shoes.

In case you were wondering, the correct lines to our translation of the troparion are as follows:

O Holy Bishop Nicholas,
You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith.
An image of humility
And a teacher of abstinence.
Because of your lowliness, heaven was opened to you,
Because of your poverty, riches were granted to you.
Pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Friday, December 3, 2010


On the way home from my parents' house on Wednesday morning, I actually drove almost the entire two-hours-plus trip home with no radio playing.  It was nearly silence.  My five-year-old was talking to herself in the backseat, my three-year-old had conked out early, and my nearly six-month-old gave the occasional coo or fuss—at which point, his awake sister would ever-so-helpfully start singing rather loudly and crazily, to his big-grinned enjoyment.  Total silence, it wasn't

I noticed that I hadn't turned on the radio about an hour into the trip.  A reflex twitched inside of me.  Reach for the knob?

It dawned on me that I was perfectly content with the lack of auditory entertainment at that moment.  Why not enjoy it while it lasted?  I continued on in that relative silence of my minivan, sailing along the highway, trees and farms whizzing by, thin eddies of dry snow swirling on the road in front of me, then breaking up as we flew through them.  Did they reform behind me?  I tried to glance in the mirror, but I couldn't tell.  My mind moved to other things now forgotten.  But the hushed momentum of the moment sustains me.

Molly has a great post up about silence.  During this busy, loud season, she's been reflecting on Fr. Hopko's list of 55 Maxims for Christian Living.  Her hushed words posted on her refreshingly simple online oasis sustain me too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kursk Root Icon in Chicago

I was first made dimly aware of this icon by Mat. Anna's recent post in honor of its feast day on November 27.

I say dimly, because I didn't think about it much until a few connections were made in my brain through various people and I realized that this icon is in Chicago.

My husband was planning to attend a Synergy meeting tonight, which happened to be at the ROCOR Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plains, which also happens to be the current stop for the Kursk Root icon.

The Synergy group was blessed to be able to view and venerate this holy icon.

Dn. Andrew and two priests spent some time trying to discern the names of the prophets depicted around the Theotokos.   King David and King Solomon are the top left and top right, respectively.  Isaiah, Moses, Habakkuk, Elias, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Gideon are the rest of them, but we don't remember who is who.

Can you believe that this icon is over 800 years old?  And yet this icon is not buried in a museum but is allowed to travel and the faithful are able to venerate it.  What a blessing!

(Thanks to Michele for the last two pictures!)

Sit! Stay!

They look so sweet.  Or are they planning something?

I've always envied those Moms who have managed to teach their kids to say, "May I be excused?" before wandering away from a meal.  Heck, I envy Moms who have gotten their kids to stay seated while chewing.  "Sit like you're going to stay there" is something that I say to my five-year-old at least twice a meal (both legs on the chair is a good start).  My three-year-old simply refuses to say anything on command.  And since we've tried on occasion to insist she say "May I be excused?" she now refuses to say any phrase that includes the word excuse.  Bye-bye spoken manners for a few more months. 

My imp

I see the Family Meal as a special time.  It is a bastion of culture in our easy-going society.  There are generally expected rules of decorum, which, even if you violate them from time to time, you probably wouldn't if "company" were there, or at least if you were having a "special meal" of some kind.  At the very least, you probably have a vague idea of what I write.

Sorry this is so blurry—hand-me-down iPhone and all.  It's the outdoor chapel area at my in-laws' church in Ohio.

It is also one area of life that I feel like I have mastered.  I can cook.  I can set a table properly. (And I usually make an effort to—more often than I think sometimes, because my three-year-old surprised me this morning by getting her own silverware and putting them in the proper places!  Score one for Mom.)  And honestly, I don't have to think about it the way I do cleaning up the kitchen or doing the laundry.  My Mom is a great cook and always puts dinner on the table, and I can't imagine life any other way.  (Thanks, Mom!)

Just what is so funny to this child?  She usually has this expression on her face.

Don't misunderstand: (1) I do put a lot of thought into it and (2) I am certainly not perfect, nor do we have six-course meals every night (some days, more than one dish at the meal is just too much).  But I plan menus, pour over cookbooks, and have many opinions on the Weekly Menu idea.  I also, start cooking too late, neglect my crying baby who wants to nurse now in order to finish cooking a dish (he can eat when the rest of us do, right?  Well, sometimes....), etc.  I don't have some streamlined, very clean, elegantly running kitchen.  But dinner always manages to happen.  (Can't say the same for cleaning up the kitchen or laundry, although, now that I think about it, those things happen often enough that I need to stop beating myself up over it.)

Don't blink. Don't even blink.

Back to my kids sitting at the table.  Up until the very recent past, it was enough effort for me to get them to try something on their plates that I wasn't about to worry too much about how long they sat at the table.  They are five, three, and six months, after all.  However, if I want to get them to sit there sometime in the future, it follows that I do have to start sometime in the present.

My husband had a thought (he's clever about things like this).  What if we had them stay until most of us are done eating (let's be honest here: I'm the one who takes the longest—and of course we're not going to expect them to stay as long as us boring adults keep talking) and then we sing a hymn or prayer and let them go?  Andrew had gotten in the habit of doing this in the St. Tikhon's Seminary dining hall.  Once most people are finished, they stand and sing a hymn of thanksgiving.  We could do the same thing, and we had just the hymn to use.

Sometime back, Andrew's father composed a table grace to use at family meals.  Our brother-in-law set it to a familiar western hymn and typed it up.  Conveniently, we have a framed copy hanging in our dining room.  Once in a great while, it has gotten used as our family's prayer before the meal. 

We prepared the kids during some meal (might have been something as boring as a weekday lunch), telling them we wanted to sing a song when we were finished, so they needed to stay at the table until then.  There was very little resistance.  They like to sing, so they were intrigued.  Once the meal was finished, we stood, faced the framed sheet music, and sang.  We repeated the performance at dinner.

The simply worded hymn was a hit!  The kids even began singing it to themselves during the day.  For some reason, they think they need to stand on their chairs to sing it. (It is probably because Maggie wants to see the music, but Susannah just does it—and it makes me giggle to think of some stranger looking in at our post-dinner ritual of standing on our chairs and singing.  Maybe I'm imagining the adults doing it too.)  Now they have even started reminding us that we need to sing!

We don't always remember to do it, but any time the kids are wandering off well before the rest of us are finished eating, we casually remind them that they need to stay until we sing, and they come right back.  There might have been the occasional "I-don't-wanna" but it has been minimal and relatively subdued.  And they are getting the idea that we stay at the table together for a meal.  We don't stuff our faces and run off with a mouthful of food.  (Although, at one time, I considered sitting at the table just long enough to stuff their faces an accomplishment.  Progress, not perfection.)

I'm finding with this and some other behavioral things, that it's easier to wait a little longer than I'd like for my eldest to get these concepts.  If I wait just long enough for her little sister to catch up, I'm not singling out Maggie.  Instead, I am just showing the kids what their responsibility is.  Of course their standards won't be adult standards; they will be tailored to fit children.  But they will be on the spectrum of forming them into adults.  And it won't be a huge surprise later.

Kishler Family Table Prayer
(to the tune of Immortal, Invisible)
We thank thee, Dear Father, from heaven above
For Thy goodness, Thy mercy, Thy kindness, and love.
We thank Thee for family and friends so dear,
And all of the blessings that we enjoy here.
© Robert Kishler, 2000

The Author, Grandpa Kishler, with the latest grandkids (not both mine—could you imagine??)

Please see Leila's post The Reasonably Clean Kitchen starts with rules for the kids for more great ideas on this general theme!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitude Monday: After Thanksgiving

holy experience

Boy, it has been nearly two months since I worked on (among other things) my list:

51. health and recovery from yucky illnesses!

52. my parents

53. my siblings (good times this weekend--this blog had better mention siblings from time to time, eh?)

54. baby's first bite of food

55. old and new friends at my parents' church

56. baby grins

57. my cute, creative daughters (when they are being cute and creative instead of whiny and annoying!)

58. my wonderful marriage and husband (sounds cliche, but I swear it's true)

59. the bond between my five-year-old girl and my baby boy (because she can be so sweet at times instead of obstinate)

60. the way the prayers of the Church seem to express whatever it is I am feeling better than I can (especially when life seems a little blah)

Have a lovely week, everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Matushka Anna inspired and reminded me that I had wanted to create some kind of centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house.

She used things she had around the house, so I figured I could do something similar.  My parents have baskets and bowls of pine cones in every room.  It's their thing.

Are these called hurricanes?  Notice they don't match at the bottom.

 After locating two hurricanes, I found two raspberry-colored candles in a drawer.

A freezing brisk walk around the house produced some rose hips (the berries, I think) and some interesting purple green leaves.  My Mom had a stash of the smaller pine cones.

A few minutes and some twine produced this!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deep Breath

Sitting.  Sitting is good.

This is the point before a holiday/vacation/deadline where I have a choice.  I must choose between going insane and being realistic.

Do I try to do-all-the-laundry-deep-clean-the-bedrooms-perfectly-organize-the-living-areas-stow-all-the-odd-bins-in-the-basement-make-a-pie-I've-never-made-before-mop-the-kitchen-floor-pick-cute-outfits-for-various-services-this-weekend all before Liturgy tonight?

Sounds real good when it's typed out like that, doesn't it?

What are my goals for the day?  The pie needs to be made.  The outfits need to be picked.  The house needs to be orderly enough to not cause my family stress.  And I'd like to have energy leftover to enjoy being at Liturgy tonight.

Really, that is all.

Running around at top speed trying to make up for a week plus of resting from being sick is not the way to that last goal, the one where I begin a secular holiday that is actually devoted to giving thanks with a service of thanksgiving, with Eucharist.

Here's to balance.  Here's to reality.  Here's to some darn good food tomorrow.  Cheers!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Orange Icing

I still have a Pumpkin Chiffon Pie to bake, bags to pack, a house to tidy, laundry to fold, and clothes to put on (maybe I should do that one first), but what the heck, I'll share this recipe now instead of later.  Maybe it would work for your Thanksgiving breakfast tomorrow morning?

Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Orange Icing

2 cups white flour (or you could throw in a little whole wheat if you're compulsive about that like I am sometimes, but I actually prefer all white here)
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ground ginger*
1/8 tsp nutmeg*
1/8 tsp cloves*
(*Or substitute equivalent amount of pumpkin pie spice or whatever spice combination you like for pumpkin things.... Side note, I'm realizing as I type this that I completely forgot to include these in my double batch of scones yesterday.  Sigh.  Maybe I can garnish the frosted scones with a sprinkle of cinnamon?)

7 TBSP cold butter or margarine, in pieces if using stick butter/margarine

3/4 cup pecans, chopped (but not minced, we want chunks here)

1 TBSP lemon juice or white vinegar
1/4 cup rice milk (or whatever non-milk you use)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Orange Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TBSP pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp milk substitute
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp orange extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a baking sheet with margarine.

Mix the dry ingredient (flour through spices) in a large bowl.  Mix completely.  Add margarine, wash your hands, then mix the margarine into the flour mixture by picking up flour and margarine together and rubbing between your fingers until it all resembles "course crumbs."  Stir in pecans.

In another bowl (or a pyrex measuring cup), mix thoroughly lemon juice, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Add this to flour and margarine mixture.  Mix completely until flour mixture is completely moistened.  

This recipe always ends up looking like batter until I add a lot more flour.  Start with 1/4 cup or so (I want to say I may add up to as much as an entire cup more, but don't start with that) and keep adding until the batter is more of a dough and is something you can kneed a few times (less than 10).

Once the dough is dry enough (but not too dry), dump it out on the counter, kneed a few times, adding flour as necessary to keep it handle-able.  Pat and press the dough into a 7- to 8-inch circle.  Use a long, sharp knife to cut into 8 wedges.  Use a thin spatula to transfer wedges to rows on a baking sheet.  Keep an inch or two apart.  (Mainly, don't put it back on the sheet in a circle or they will all bake together and won't look as pretty.)

Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.  Remove when edges are golden brown and tops look done.  (You can stick a knife or a toothpick in and see if it comes out "clean"—as in not covered in wet batter—if you are unsure.)  Let cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the icing, measure sugar into a bowl (or pyrex measuring cup).  Add pumpkin, milk, vanilla, and orange extract.  It won't seem like enough liquid, but if you add more, the icing will run off and be more of a glaze.  Mix thoroughly.  Wait to frost the scones until they are pretty cool.  Otherwise, icing will melt.  Don't worry about getting the icing perfect—it will smooth out as it drys.

I know this recipe looks ridiculously complicated and long, but it really comes together fast.  If you've made biscuits from scratch, you can do this.  ;)

I began with this recipe for Mocha Chip Scones and completely adulterated changed it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mary Dolls and Coming Series

Blessed Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple!  (That's a mouthful!)

I have a friend who lives in a very small Orthodox community in a small town.  If memory serves, they can only afford to have a priest out for Liturgy once a month.  The other Sundays, she takes her children to Sunday School at a nearby protestant church.  We were catching up over Facebook and through the course of our emails, she asked if I have any particularly spectacular resources for creating an Orthodox home with small children in mind.  I've been wanting to do a post on that, but I think instead it will turn it into a series.  This won't quite be the first post because I'd like to organize it a bit better and suggest several resources for similar aspects of an Orthodox home.  This is mainly me gushing about a new favorite resource.

We learned about Sunday's feast last week with the help of Orthodox Christian Craft Supply.  I knew it would be a hit in our household because for any story my children hear, they instantly want to have dolls to act it out.  And they really do get excited about and love Mary.  Veneration for the Mother of God is hardly something I have to teach: it comes naturally to my children.

It's interesting for me to discover their love for the Theotokos and how they identify with her.  I was raised in churches that gave me the idea that devotion to Mary was "a Catholic thing" and probably wrong.  It could be because they are girls that they identify with the Theotokos—that is certainly the case with a feast like the Entrance.  Or possibly, they identify with the child Christ in Mary's arms, and their love of Mary comes from their love for me.  They are very connected to their own mother, and the Mother of Christ naturally attracts their devotion.  (If that doesn't instill the fear of God into a mother, I don't know what will!)

Incidentally, one of the first icons my children have really identified with is the icon I've had as my blog title banner for a long while.  Have you noticed that it's an icon of Mary nursing Christ?  When my kids (who have all been extended nursers) see that Jesus is having milk(!), their faces just light up.  Jesus has milk just like me!  I can't think of a more intimate and meaningful way to begin to communicate the mystery of the incarnation to a small child.

Back to dolls.  Let me heartily recommend the Feast Day Boxes at Orthodox Christian Craft Supply.  The only thing I had to supply for the project was a couple of kinds of glue.  I did most of the "crafting" because I wanted them to make something lovely and their little hands weren't ready for some of the detail work.  However, they helped paint pieces and assisted in gluing on jewels and ribbon.  Older children could probably handle most parts of the crafts themselves.

I'm adding a button on the side of my blog for this wonderful resource.  The boxes are inexpensive and nicely organized.  When completed, children have a box that teaches many lessons of the particular feast but that is also, essentially, a box of toys!  My kids love to take out the box, put Mary in a princess castle, pull her around in their princess carriages, and generally make her an intimate part of their imaginative worlds.  With all the secular toys, secular images, and secular music that my children encounter, any way to insert Christ and the Church into their world on a more regular basis gets my approval!

***Addendum to the post: the Feast Day boxes also come with a teaching guide.  Before doing each little craft, I read the accompanying short story from the simply worded guide to give the kids an idea of why each item was in the box.***

Monday, November 22, 2010


I don't know what it is.  A week of being home recovering from being sick last weekend?  Feeling behind on holiday (both) planning?  A gray sky that has looked like twilight all day?  (I do enjoy the occasional thunder and lightening.  But the blah-gray in between?) 


So, I'm dressed now.  I'm cleaning up my kitchen to the tune of my Pandora radio station for days like this.  I'm about to make two batches of Blueberry Scones and two batches of Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Orange Icing for Thanksgiving morning breakfast at my parents' house.  (Amazingly, both are fasting recipes!)

Please, Baby Boy, stay asleep long enough for me to finish this!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Faithful Saying

We Orthodox pray this prayer of St. John Chrysostom just before each time we receive communion:
I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen. Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom. Not unto judgment nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body. 
I've had that bolded phrase in my head for a few weeks now. 

It's from the 1 Timothy:
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (KJV)
St. Paul just zeros in at the end there, doesn't he?  All of a sudden, he's not talking in generalities.  In his mind and before God, he is the chief of sinners.


Yes.  But the Church grabs those words and gives them to me to say every time I receive communion.  Every time.  Doesn't matter what's going on in the world.  Online.  Next door.  Upstairs.  Doesn't matter.

When I come before God to receive the gift of His Son's body and blood, mine is to examine my own sins. While not bringing myself to complete discouragement over my flaws, I should simply be concerned with my own salvation.

I cannot claim this to be my first reaction to division or disappointment, not remotely.  In fact, more often than not, I reach that line and I simply fail to comprehend it.  But through its presence at every liturgy, Christ in his mercy allows this phrase—this prayer—to penetrate my mind and heart.

Eventually, I remember.  And though I don't understand, I pray it as the Church directs.  I rest in her judgment.

Two verses after that verse in 1 Timothy, I find this:
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (KJV)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love at First Post

Or something like that. 

I added a blog to the list on my sidebar: Fire In Mine Ears.

The post that hooked me?

Liberal Arts: Who Needs 'Em?

Peperonata Hummus Panini

Is there any English in that title?

In honor of the beginning of the Advent Fast, a yummy fasting sandwich recipe.  This is an oil recipe, in case you avoid that type of thing at some point during fasts.

You'll need...
  • margarine
  • good, possibly savory, bread
  • hummus
  • Peperonata Sauce (I imagine you can buy something like this somewhere? And I left out the pine nuts... my brother had a bad one and now I'm scared of them.)

Here's what to do:  heat a grill pan (lovely grill lines),  griddle, or skillet to medium-high heat.  Margarine (is that a verb?) the outsides of two slices of good bread as for grilled cheese.  Put both slices on the pan to heat.  Press down with a spatula (or if you have one of those panini contraptions, use that) to flatten the bread slightly and get the grill lines into the bread.  Slather on some hummus on both pieces of bread as they are grilling.  Warm the peperonata sauce and top the bread with two to four tablespoons of sauce depending on the size of your bread.  Carefully place the piece sans sauce on top of the sauce piece.  Remove to plate and enjoy!

I used roasted garlic bread (with whole garlic cloves actually in the bread), greek olive hummus, and a homemade peperonata sauce that I had leftovers of.  I assume one can find something like it in stores.  If not, roasted red or yellow peppers, sprinkled with (chopped?) capers and kalamata olives, and drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar (leave out any of those ingredients that you don't like or sound like too much work) would arrive at something fairly similar.

This is for people who like a lot of flavor, especially the way I originally made it.  For those of you dealing with or recovering from the stomach flu, steer clear.  (That would include me for the moment!)

I would have lovely pictures to accompany this post, but "life" ate my camera.  Any forthcoming photos on this blog for some time will be from my hand-me-down iPhone/Pod.

All Right

Apparently, that is what I say when I am getting ready to do something.  (Maggie made this clear to me at the age of two when she would toddle up to the front door in my shoes, holding a purse, repeat "all right" several times, and expect to get to go somewhere.)

We've had a lot of "life" happening around here lately: vacations, church functions, homeschooling (some anyway), illness, laundry, general chaos of raising three children who are five and under.  I'm still here, and I am taking some time today, amidst a half-cleaned kitchen, etc., to write some posts.  Because it makes me happy.  And a happy Mommy and wife is much more fun than a grumpy one.

Go do something that makes you happy.  :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eastern Christian New Media Awards

First, nominations are in.  Second, voting is set up!

And finally, I'm going to second Mat. Anna's incredulity, but certainly not about her blog being nominated.

Someone actually nominated my blog too!  Crazy!

Anyway, go over to the Eastern Christian New Media Awards blog and vote!

And more importantly, go visit some of the truly wonderful blogs that have been nominated.  I know there are several that I've just been introduced to there, and I'm sure I'll find some new favorites and some new friends.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


by Dorothy Keely Aldis
(a local Chicago poet; b.1896, d.1966)

I'm hiding, I'm hiding
And no one knows where;
For all they can see is my
Toes and my hair

And I just heard my father
Say to my mother -
"But, darling, he must be
Somewhere or other;

Have you looked in the inkwell?"
And Mother said, "Where?"
"In the INKWEL?"said Father. But
I was not there.

Then "Wait!" cried my mother —
"I think that I see
Him under the carpet." But
It was not me.

"Inside the mirror's
A pretty good place."
Said Father and looked, but saw
Only his face.

"We've hunted," sighed Mother,
"As hard as we could
And I am so afraid that we've
Lost him for good."

Then I laughed out aloud
And I wiggled my toes
And Father said —"Look, dear,
I wonder if those

Toes could be Benny's?
There are ten of them, see?"
And they WERE so surprised to find
Out it was me!

This was a favorite poem of mine as a can still hear the inflection my Mom read it with.  I often think of the first line or two when my kids say they are hiding, so I thought I'd look it up.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

John's Baptism Part 1: The Blanket

It's been nearly a month, I think, so I'm going to eat this elephant one bite at a time.  Matushka Anna, this part is for you.

The beautiful Patricia Blanket designed and crocheted by Matushka Anna.  Thank you!

 John pre-baptism posing on his blanket—he approves.

 Rescuing a caught toe.  John doesn't seem to care either way.  He's a mellow third child like that.

The blanket in action.  I think John is eating it.

Definitely eating it.  

 This is my favorite blanket shot.  (Doesn't know what's coming, does he?)

 John is being held by his godmother, my sister Ellie.  He is being entertained by our friend Liz.

Liz is good at making him smile.

It helps that he's very ticklish.  I made him laugh by tickling at about two months old.

Stay tuned for the rest to come!
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