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!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holy Hesitation

We yield all too easily to what we think we know and do not hesitate sufficiently before what we do not know.  That hesitation is often a moment of faithfulness or, at least, the moment in which faith can be born. The content of the Orthodox Christian faith is not an argument, it is not something to be compared to other things that we can say, "This is better!"  It is the continual life of God lived and known by his people, who through the ages, when confronted by manifold opportunities for more convenient options have been able to say, "and yet...."  When pressed by their enemies even to the point of torture and death, they have affirmed, "Nevertheless!" and in so doing have preserved the knowledge of the true and living God and kept intact the treasure of tradition that is nothing other than that true knowledge.  May God give us all such holy hesitation.  Glory to God!

~From Fr. Stephen Freeman's Glory to God podcast at Ancient Faith Radio.  Listen to the beginning of this episode here (choose "Knowing What We Do Not Know").

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mourning Lost Children

I just read about this year's International Wave of Light that took place on October 15 at 7PM.  I'll have to remember this for next year.  What a beautiful thing to be a part of—either with a parish or at home.  Did anyone else participate?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Break

I'll be taking a break from my regular Monday posts today because I have a lot to do this week!  Will resume next week

I'd still love to know if you are participating in Mess Monday this week!  Leave a comment if you are.

And I can't wait to show you the mess I created this weekend trying to take care of last week's mess.

Prayer Notebook: Jeffery Michael Update

Our family friend Jeffery Michael, for whom we have been praying urgently, was taken off the ventilator last week, and has returned home to his family to recover!  This is the second time in his life that things have come so close and the Lord has healed him.

Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Multitude Monday

Late, as usual.

holy experience 

Continuing my list:

41. a chance to rearrange the living room

42. clean(er) floors

43. kids who hug their playmates

44. new contacts and clearer vision

45. warm weather in October

46. discovering beauty in my home

47. friends and family who have blessed us by giving us beautiful things for our home... we are truly greatful

48. my slings

49.  hand-me-downs

50. small oases of order in my home (very small, sometimes) like the spice cabinet, gift wrapping station, clean lines in the living room, school shelf...

Prayer Notebook: Works Before Thoughts

Commit your works unto the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. -Proverbs 16:3, NKJV
I've never had a good place to record prayer requests that I encounter, especially online.  What usually happens is I read a blog entry or an email from our parish prayer chain, I say a quick prayer, make the sign of the cross, and it often stops there.  If I am particularly connected to the person, I am mindful of the situation and pray more often.

Today, it dawned on me that the little notebook, which my godmother gave me to be a sort of catechumenate journal before I was chrismated, would work well in this area.  As I leafed through the pages, it was evident from a few old entries that I'd made this decision before.

Today, per Mat. Anna's request, I added Mary Evelyn's name to the list.  Next is our friend Jeffery Michael, who is off the ventilator and recovering from his ordeal, but still battles his chronic condition.  Finally, I checked in on Marianna and added her to the list.  As I encounter more, I will add them and allow this notebook's presence at my desk remind me to pray.

The verse above appears at the bottom of the page I was writing on.  It struck me today because I tend to think that I need to get my thoughts right and that doing so will order my actions.  But it's the other way around.  With housekeeping, prayers, homeschooling, practically anything, I need to do not just think.  Taking a step, putting myself in motion, is the only way to discover what God wants from me, or even what simply works for my family and me.  As one of my Covenant Bible College professors said in a parting lecture, "You can't steer a ship that isn't moving."

My self-talk needs to go something like this: Just do it.  Do something. Do anything.  Read one book to the kids.  Say one prayer.  Just get out of bed now.  Don't wait until later when you feel like it.  Because later will come and you will regret not doing it now.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Lovely Blog

Thanks to Mat. Anna for bestowing this award on my little blog!  I will second the award going to her blog as well as pass on the love (in no particular order) for a few of the places I find myself checking regularly and which are particularly lovely, thought provoking, and otherwise interesting:

    Well, I wasn't necessarily going for 15, but since that's the recommendation and I am over,  I'll stop now and attend to my children! (My apologies for not notifying each of you in some way, but if I did that I'm afraid the time it would take from my children would result in my house no longer being left standing.)

    For those so inclined, here are the (obligation free!) rules to accompany this award:

    1.) Post award on your blog
    2.) Thank the blogger who sent it to you
    3.) Award 15 other bloggers this Lovely award
    4.) Tell them all you think their blog is Lovely

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Mess Monday

    Don't worry, this is not replacing Multitude Monday.

    After my little Friday night reality check, where I realized that, yes, cleaning actually is work, not just some kind of system, my friend Mat. Anna did something very sweet.  She actually posted photos of messes around her home (which I must say seem pretty mild to me) just for little old me!  The post has generated quite a few comments!

    In her defense, in case you think she or I are posting these things because we want to keep our houses this way instead of being motivated by blog photos of clean rooms, it was posted on a Saturday morning before half her family was up and before she had begun to tackle any of it.

    What was so helpful about it for me was that it shows a slice of real life, not a perfected, cleaned room.

    Sure, the beautiful rooms are inspiring.  But they can also make me want to go the other direction.

    Many afternoons, my thought process goes something like this as I click around the internet:

    Click.  My furniture doesn't look like that!  Click.  My curtains don't match that well!  Click.  I don't even have curtains in that room.  Click.  I don't have any white plates on my wall!  Click.  How can I possibly do a load of laundry or pick up the toys in the living room when my home is such an a priori failure?  (I then proceed to sit at the computer for another hour or two until it is way past time to start making dinner.)

    I realize that I quoted this once before (and this will probably not be the last time!), but at Like Mother, Like Daughter, Laila instructs the following:
    You need to clear your mind of all those perfect magazine pictures and find your own order.
    Here, then, is what I propose: Mess Monday.  I will pick one mess in my house that is driving me batty on Monday mornings (trust me, picking one is in itself accomplishing something because I am acknowledging that I cannot clean a whole messy, or cluttered, house in one go) and I will post photos.  When the mess is dealt with, I will post the (I hope) beautiful, clean, inspiring photos of my own order.

    Will you join me?  Call it accountability if you'd like.  Call it goal-setting.  Call it real living in our homes.  Whatever.  Leave a comment below and a link to your post if you do something similar!

    (And I apologize for the quality of these photos—my camera was charging and these are from my little flip phone—not that anyone needs to see those piles in any more detail!)

    Saturday, October 2, 2010


    Missing the mark.

    Missing blogging.

    Missing cleaning.

    I miss writing.  I think in blog posts.  But then the baby cries or wakes up or the girls start hitting each other. So I've been avoiding (most days) writing while the kids are up.  But then who wants to blog when one's husband is finally home from work and the kids are asleep?  Well, obviously, many people.  But I'd rather spend time with my husband and probably some Doctor Who.

    Did I mention my computer eats half of the words I type because of the way I hold my wrists on it most of the time, which makes it somehow select part or all of what I wrote and delete it with the word I am typing at that moment?  My hands have the "Undo" keyboard shortcut on speed dial.  That adds precious seconds to the amount of time it takes me to type out a thought, by which time all the kids are probably screaming.  It's just the season I'm in.

    Another thing I'm missing is having a clean home.  It's "new normal" around here, and at the moment, "normal" seems to be dirty.


    You know what I think the hardest part about having a lot of kids is (so far anyway, with my whole five years of experience here)?  It's not having another person in your family.  It's having another baby around.  Again.  And another one.  And a fifth time.  It's having to pause all your homemaking progress, and get really efficient, yet again, because a little person needs you quite often, but you still need to make the other people dinner.  Good thing my body makes the baby dinner.  Great thing that I have such a helpful, patient husband.

    And trust me, it's great to have an excuse to put my feet up in my comfy ├╝ber-pillowed papazan chair-nest, grab a book and my too-many-times-microwaved coffee, and nurse my son who gulps and stares up at me with giant eyes while his feet somehow manage to turn in so that they are sole-to-sole and just sort of stay there like he's holding his hands except they are his feet... what was I talking about?  Was I cleaning something before I sat down?  Eh.  I'll just read another chapter of H.M.S. Surprise and hope the girls keep playing quietly with that pile of sponges.  Or play money.  Or cups of water. 

    Why are there puddles all over the house?


    The last thing I want to do right now is do things I don't want to do.  However, those things still "need done."

    My littles are big enough to be learning how to help, and they are, but they aren't quite big enough to really take much of the burden.  So, I have to bite the bullet and adhere to some standards.  While I'd like to believe that allowing myself to cook breakfast, say morning prayers, and read to my kids in my PJs is the key to getting things done around here (boy, does that look silly typed out), that means that I am sweaty and in my PJs drinking lukewarm coffee at my computer until the kids start fighting around 9:30AM (or earlier... or later).  I finally jump in the shower, jump out to nurse the baby who has, by now, awakened from his morning nap.... Finally, we end up starting school around 10:30 (or later... certainly not earlier), when we really need to break to make lunch at 11:00 or I will die of hunger.  (Nursing, remember?)

    I need a higher standard.  I know my kids are little and I just had a baby four months ago.  But is it the kids needing me that keeps me in my PJs?


    It is the coffee and the computer calling to me for just a few minutes while they are playing....

    And what do I see on the screen?  Photos that tempt and blogs that convince and what I end up doing ultimately is spending money to buy the order that will only come from me tackling my stuff.  Yes, italics and bold.

    I just read these words at Like Mother, Like Daughter:
    You need to clear your mind of all those perfect magazine pictures and find your own order.


    Yes, I do.  It's OK to let those blogs and pictures draw me into communities that I love and inspire me to make my home a better place or to buy a product that will serve me well and make my life easier.  I live in the denim skirt I bought after reading Matushka Emily's Early Autumn Wardrobe post.  But I need to address the stuff I already have that is clogging my house and my life to really find that peace and order I am craving.

    Leila also asks,
    Are you getting up on time?
    I haven't even read that post yet but I know I need to.  (And I need to fix my computer.  I just did the "Undo" speed-dial no less than four times for that sentence.)

    I know that getting sleep and getting up is part of the key.  I need to get back to having a goal to get up on time, get showered and dressed at a reasonable moment in my day (maybe it won't be before breakfast, but it sure as heck should be before I meander over to the computer and lose half-to-all of my homeschooling day... and yes, my kids are little, but we need the good habits now), and get breakfast on the table before my husband is out the door.

    I don't want to beat myself up about not sticking to some ridiculous schedule written to the minute, but I want some ideals.

    Tomorrow (well, today for anyone reading this... well, today for me now that it's after midnight, I suppose), my dear wonderful husband is taking the girls on some errands.  John and I will be home alone together.

    First, I'm going to get us all our something-with-syrup Saturday breakfast and get our naps and showers and prayers taken care of.

    Then, I'm going to think about how to have a Reasonably Clean House by starting with the master bedroom.  I've had a hunch for a few weeks now that I need to pay more attention to that room, and Leila wonders
    So, although Flylady has you start with your kitchen sink, and certainly, much has to happen before the sink gets shiny, which makes her idea clever, I wonder:

    If you start in the kitchen, will you ever leave?
    On many days, no.  I do not.   And although feeding one's family is something for which one should be commended and is no small feat with three kids under five and under my feet, I know there is more I could be doing.  I don't want to live in clutter and I don't want to live in dirty.

    Once something has been done in our bedroom, I will go visit the Nester (who linked over to Like Mother, Like Daughter in the first place) and I will soak up every one of her 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest posts.

    Let's just see what I can accomplish before the Nativity fast.

    Or at least before Christmas.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    How to Be Well Amused

    First, go watch the video Mat. Emily posted.

    I really do wish I lived in a time when most people thought about their appearances regularly, and I love Matushka's insight into these and other feminine matters.

    However, for anyone else who had Mystery Science Theater 3000 voices saying things in their heads along with that short, go watch this.  It's not actually by The Masters or anything, but it cracks wise it most of the right places.

    **To warn you (in case you'd rather not have yourself or your kids see these things), the clips at the links above contain some adult humor (the h-word, some cross-dressing references, etc.).  But it's all in good fun.
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