Sunday, February 27, 2011


My husband became an official catechumen of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church this morning.

Glory be to God!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook


A Simple Woman's Daybook for February

Outside my window...grey clouds just waiting to rain and unusually cold weather.

I am thinking...about what I need to do to prepare for our ES's visit on Monday

I am thankful for...Hot tea and a peaceful evening

A thought to share... "Be kind for everyone around you is fighting a great battle."

From the kitchen...Garlic Thyme soup and grain-free buttermilk biscuits

I am gym clothes... STILL!  EW!
I am creating..Alex's notebook for our homeschool

I am going...todeep clean the kitchen tonight

I am reading...Great Lent by Father Alexander Schmemann

I am really be present at the Divine Liturgy tomorrow

I am listening to...Podcasts from the 2011 Climacus Conference on Thoughtful Ascent, available for FREE at Ancient Faith Radio

Around the house... kids are playing, husband is exercising, dog is begging to come inside, mama's trying to clean clean clean so she doesn't have to do it tomorrow...

One of my favorite things...A CD someone gifted me of the nuns at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos the Life Giving Spring chanting hymns of the Divine Liturgy.  I close my eyes and I'm right back in the katholikon listening to the chant and awaiting the Eucharist.

Another thought to share... "Honor is... treating every person as special, doing more than what is expected of you and having a good attitude."  I need to remember that before I can expect my kids to live it.

A few plans for the rest of the week: more decluttering and cleaning, our 'learning meeting' with our charter school teacher, printing press field trip, feast day on Tuesday, St. Valentine's Day park day- it is going to be a busy week!

Still another thought to share...
Meatfare Suinday Tomorrow!!  Pot Roast it is!

The Homekeeper's Journal

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is about homemaking, of course and…… Being Gentle.

Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey” (Matt. 21:5; cf. Zech. 9:9)

Gentleness is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. We’re commanded to be gentle with others. In the Bible the word Meekness means Gentleness. Most women don’t have too hard a time being gentle or meek. The problem women sometimes have with gentleness is in thinking that gentleness equals weakness.

In my kitchen this week ….. Meatless dishes cuz its Cheesefare week!  I've got loads of soups planned- tonight was a garlic thyme soup with greens and homemade stock with grain-free buttermilk biscuits.  YUM!

On my mind this week … My husband becomes a catechumen tomorrow and Great Lent starts a week from Monday.  On my mind this week- preparations for the Fast and the sacrament of Holy Confession.

Gentleness is one of the Fruit of the Spirit so as a Christian ….. I want to demonstrate gentleness in ALL my interactions with people, especially my children.  Moreover, I want to be gentle in my heart, not just in my words and actions.

When the Bible says that Moses was the meekest of all men (Numbers 12:3), it reminds me that …. It reminds me of the Beatitudes, that the meek will inherit the earth.

The gentle person has died to self, so when I am gentle in situations that cause others to be angry and violent (Proverbs 16:32; 25:28) …..
I know that a soft answer turns AWAY wrath.  I need to stay strong in that gentleness and insist that the situation remain calm.

Knowing that gentleness is not cowardice or lack of conviction (1 Peter 2:22-23), I am encouraged to …. be deliberate in my gentleness toward others.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Nothing reminds me more of the consequences of sin than the death of children.  There is something so... utterly wrong about it.  These babies haven't even had the chance to sin or to seek the Lord and yet, the consequence of Adam's sin, death, still find them.

When we lived in Colorado, we would visit our Grace in Green Mountain Cemetery.  Her plot was donated by the cemetery in a little area they call "Babyland."  As you might suspect, this area is populated by tiny graces packed closely together.  You walk up and down the rows and see how parents have decorated the markers of their beloved children.  It feels... unnatural to be there.  You feel it in your bones, in your very marrow.  All we have left are the little spaces where our children await the resurrection.
"The sword of death has come and cut you off like a tender branch before you even tasted the joys of this earth, O blessed infant. Behold: in His tender loving kindness, Christ has opened the gates of Heaven to you, numbering you among His chosen saints in His eternal Kingdom."
Today is the sixth anniversary of the death of my best friend's daughter, Sarah.  Like Grace, she had a chromosomal abnormality that left her body "incompatible with life."  This much loved and wanted baby was born still and she was held and mourned and is remembered.  The days and years go by and sometimes it seems like we lost our daughters a lifetime ago.  Sometimes, like tonight, the loss feels raw and newly painful again.
O Lord, You have called unto Yourself this most pure infant, never having tasted life in this fallen world; grant her rest in Your heavenly mansions, among the choir of Your saints and the righteous, where the light of Your face forevermore shines, O Lover of mankind.
 May your memory be eternal, dear Sarah, for you are worthy of blessedness and everlasting life!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So... this weekend, I am making my first pilgrimage to the woman's monastery Life-Giving Spring.  I wish they had a website I could link to, but unfortunately, they don't at this point.

The Exterior of the Church (the Katholikon)

Why go on pilgrimage?  For me, I think I need this time to quiet my mind.  Monasteries are places where great battles are fought- the battle for peace, for prayer, to destroy the passions.  Most lay people visit monasteries so they can enter into that battle for a short time.  Pilgrims participate in the longer services, observe the same fasting rules as the monastics and generally spend the time in silence and prayer.  Monasticism is very attractive to me, mostly because I long for a life of constant prayer... the prayer of the heart.

I am not a person who enjoys silence.  At. All.  I can't clean do the simplest chore without the sound of something in my ear.  Its almost paralyzing... silence.

I'll be using my ipod for the journey up and back, but while I'm there... there will be no headphones and no music... maybe no Kindle.  I do want to finish The Way of the Pilgrim on this trip, but in order to avoid temptation, I hope to keep the ipod tucked safely away.

We will be attending Vespers in the evening, followed by dinner with the nuns.  The Midnight office begins at 6am the next morning, which means a wake time of maybe 5:30 or so.  Divine Liturgy is at 8:30.  The good news is that the fasting before communion will be easy because 1) There's no access to food beforehand and 2) Liturgy is so early.  

 The interior of the katholikon
As a woman, I will never ascend the Holy Mountain, Mt. Athos.  But I hope to take advantage of these times away.  We are so fortunate, on the west coast, to have access to a number of monasteries. I can think of at least six or seven in our state alone!  And I hope to visit all of them.

I am a little intimidated, I confess.  This will be an entirely new experience for me as an Orthodox Christian. I'll report back soon...

Its Raining, Its Pouring...

Its raining outside... the last vestiges of winter are making their way through my area.  I love the rain.  It reminds me of cold night walks and early morning hustles to class from my dorm room during one of the best years of my life.  It reminds me of the warmth of home.  Who doesn't like to bundle up in a sweater and slippers with a hot up of coffee and a book?  The kids can't play outside, so its rainy day games for us today!

Sometimes the rain brings with it a dip in mood for me.  The depression I face, always simmering beneath the surface, seems more difficult to stifle when the sun hides behind the clouds.  I am rattled more easily.  I find it even more difficult to get going every day.

But today, I choose differently.  I'm going to do what needs to be done.  I refuse to let the rain get the better of me.  Its only a little sprinkle, after all.  I intend to find my joyful thanksgiving in this day.  I cling to that hope.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just Sayin'

Been meditating on this lately...

Acts 15

1And certain having come down from Judea, were teaching the brethren -- `If ye be not circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye are not able to be saved;'
 2there having been, therefore, not a little dissension and disputation to Paul and Barnabas with them, they arranged for Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, to go up unto the apostles and elders to Jerusalem about this question,
 3they indeed, then, having been sent forward by the assembly, were passing through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the nations, and they were causing great joy to all the brethren.
 4And having come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly, and the apostles, and the elders, they declared also as many things as God did with them;
 5and there rose up certain of those of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying -- `It behoveth to circumcise them, to command them also to keep the law of Moses.'
 6And there were gathered together the apostles and the elders, to see about this matter,
 7and there having been much disputing, Peter having risen up said unto them, `Men, brethren, ye know that from former days, God among us did make choice, through my mouth, for the nations to hear the word of the good news, and to believe;
 8and the heart-knowing God did bare them testimony, having given to them the Holy Spirit, even as also to us,
 9and did put no difference also between us and them, by the faith having purified their hearts;
 10now, therefore, why do ye tempt God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
 11but, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, even as also they.'
 12And all the multitude did keep silence, and were hearkening to Barnabas and Paul, declaring as many signs and wonders as God did among the nations through them;
 13and after they are silent, James answered, saying, `Men, brethren, hearken to me;
 14Simeon did declare how at first God did look after to take out of the nations a people for His name,
 15and to this agree the words of the prophets, as it hath been written:
 16After these things I will turn back, and I will build again the tabernacle of David, that is fallen down, and its ruins I will build again, and will set it upright --
 17that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all the nations, upon whom My name hath been called, saith the Lord, who is doing all these things.
 18`Known from the ages to God are all His works;
 19wherefore I judge: not to trouble those who from the nations do turn back to God,
 20but to write to them to abstain from the pollutions of the idols, and the whoredom, and the strangled thing; and the blood;
 21for Moses from former generations in every city hath those preaching him -- in the synagogues every sabbath being read.'
 22Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, chosen men out of themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas -- Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren --
 23having written through their hand thus: `The apostles, and the elders, and the brethren, to those in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, brethren, who [are] of the nations, greeting;
 24seeing we have heard that certain having gone forth from us did trouble you with words, subverting your souls, saying to be circumcised and to keep the law, to whom we did give no charge,
 25it seemed good to us, having come together with one accord, chosen men to send unto you, with our beloved Barnabas and Paul --
 26men who have given up their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ --
 27we have sent, therefore, Judas and Silas, and they by word are telling the same things.
 28`For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, no more burden to lay upon you, except these necessary things:
 29to abstain from things offered to idols, and blood, and a strangled thing, and whoredom; from which keeping yourselves, ye shall do well; be strong!'

Christian Homekeeper's Journal

This week’s Homekeeper’s Journal is about Spring Time Plans.

In my kitchen, I plan to ….. prepare for Great Lent by doing some serious research on vegetarian high-protein, low carb, non-soy sources of protein.  A Herculean task with not a lot of chance for success BUT, I vow to figure this out because my husband is going to be received into the Church and he needs to fast too!!

Plans with the children ….. Spending lots of time outside, either on nature walks, in parks, or working in our garden.

Plans with the husband ….. We want to take our annual anniversary trip this year in the same place we went to last year... except with half the budget.  It can be done!

Plans for my house ….. Massive, MASSIVE declutter around this house.  Following Simple Mom's guide to spring cleaning, now found in her newly published book Organized Simplicity

Garden Plans ….. I am absolutely OBSESSED with having a productive garden this year.  I know seeds are cheaper, but I think I'm going with plants that are already established.  We're going to focus on crucifers, I think, because I need to eat as many of them as possible.  My husband likes everything and my kids don't like any vegetables in general, so... crucifers it is!  And tomatoes.

Other Plans ….. Continuing to count One Thousand Gifts.   I can already see a difference in myself and in my daily perspective.  I am so grateful to Ann Voskamp for her beautiful, challenging book.  And to think, I was going to let that one pass me by! 

I also want to start blogging again.  Clearly, I'm starting off with memes, but hopefully I will feel confident enough in myself to write again.  I don't want to be one of those bloggers that people look to for ideas and guidance.  I've been that and the burden is too great for me.  I so appreciate others, such as Alana, Laura, Katherine, Ann, Anne, Sh. Patty, Matushka Anna... They are able to present their ideas, their struggles, their theology, and their homes in a way that lifts people up, even when challenging them to think differently.  I'm not there yet.  In the past two years, my worldview has completely changed.  I am a baby in the Faith again.  I just want to soak in the inspiration and the challenge to live a godly life united to Christ.  So what this blog will be, I'm not sure yet...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Multitude Monday

11. My daughter's creative "fruit salad" recipes: apple, orange and yogurt. Mmmm....

12. Successful soup

13. God giving me the energy to complete a productive day with a good attitude

14. The Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks I enjoyed this afternoon

15. Mommy!  Come and see how big I am!

16. The prospect of just a tad more wintery weather in sunny California

17. My cuddly dog

18. New inspiration

19. Dishes in the dishwasher and not the sink

20. Liver pain that reminds me to eat right and take my supplements!