Monday, February 26, 2007

Fast friendly Veggie Soup

This recipe makes a large amount ~ plenty to freeze or to share. It also is great the day it is made, but even better the next day.

1 large head of cabbage, chopped into small, edible sizes
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped into small pieces
2 1 lb bags of mixed frozen veggies, your choice what kind
1 15 oz can black beans
1 package of frozen, chopped spinach
6 carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 small zucchini, cut up

1/3 cup Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Gr. Pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
3 TBSP chili powder
3 TBSP dijon mustard
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 48 oz can vegetable juice
2 28 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
enough veggie broth or water to cover all vegetables (I use vegetable bullion)

Put vegetable juice and chopped tomatoes in a large pot (like a stock pot, I mean a LARGE pot).

Add all seasonings and bring to a simmer.

Add all solids except frozed vegetables.

Add broth or water to cover solids

Bring to a boil

Add frozen vegetables and spinach. Add more broth or water to cover all veggies.

Bring to a boil, slightly cover pot and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.

Test the cabbage and carrots to make sure they are done to your taste.



Lenten update

Seems as if the comments being turned off has decreased my obsessive checking of the computer. But it certainly isn't nearly as much fun, either. My husband keeps telling me to turn them back on because this is a community and communities are important and you can't be a community all by yourself. So maybe I will turn them on over the weekend, then back off during the week. I don't know. I do miss the conversation, though. And thanks to you all that have sent e-mails. Really lifts my spirits =)

Here a crazyacres, we are having lots of struggles. Financial, business, school, cooperation and in general a lack of positive attitude. I am trying to rise above these wordly concerns, but I tell you, it drags me down. Exercise and prayer really are my only two breathes of fresh air right now, so I praise God for them. I suppose you could say it seems as if I am walking through mud right now, but at least I am walking!

Anyway, I am going to post a fabulous soup recipe that is Eastern Fast compliant. We love it here, and hope you do, too. It comes from my uncle, so I can't take any credit for it what so ever.

Blessings, and may your Lent be fruitfull!


Saturday, February 24, 2007


The First Ode from the Canon of Repentance to Our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ

When Israel walked on foot through the sea as on dry land, on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, they cried out: "Let us sing to God a song of victory!"

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Now, I, a burdened sinner, approach You my Lord and God. But I dare not raise my eyes to Heaven. I only pray, saying: "Give me tears, O Lord, to weep bitterly over my deeds."

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Woe is me, a sinner! Wretched am I above all men. There is no penitence in me. Give me tears, O Lord, to weep bitterly over my deeds.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

Foolish, wretched Man, you are wasting your time in idleness! Think of your life and turn to the Lord God, and weep bitterly over your deeds.

Now and always, and forever and ever. Amen

Most Pure Mother of God, look upon me a sinner, and deliver me from the snare of the Devil, and guide me to the way of repentance, that I may weep bitterly over my deeds.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Word cloud

Make one for yourself here


Approach with the fear of God, with faith, and with Love.

"For the Christian, repentance is a way of life - a continual heartfelt turning toward God in love and, at the same time, a mindful turning away from sin and self-centeredness in humility. Repentance takes visible form in the the Mystery of Holy Confession or Repentance when we acknowledge our sins and selfishness and, like the Prodigal Son, run headlong toward the loving embrace of our Father. Indeed, a contrite heart is the sacrifice acceptable to the Lord. (Ps. 50)"

(from +Archbishop Cyril,
Catholic Melkite Eparch of Newton)


Thursday, February 22, 2007

My new Lenten discipline

Blogging is something I am quite attached to. And comments, particularly. So I am turning off my comments for Lent. I want my blogging to be a gift, with nothing expected in return. At least for Lent =)

My email addy is on the sidebar, and I do check it daily, so feel free to contact me that way. I just need to stop compulsively checking for comments every 5 minutes. You have no idea how difficult this it for me. Yikes.

Anyway, blessings, and I will be praying for you all!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten reflection

Even among the dreary days of February beauty is possible. This morning I awoke to a crystalline wonderland. Every branch of every tree, every blade of tall grass, every shrub covered in white frost. I needed some encouragement to complete a holy fast, and this is a gift for the fast. Beauty covering darkness, lightness in a dark time of year, even the left over weeds are beautiful. Christ truly can make all things new!


Monday, February 19, 2007

*** I fixed the link for the image location. The photographers name is Julian Cameron. Check out her other works.***

"Let us begin the season of Fast with joy,
giving ourselves to spiritual deeds,
cleansing our soul and body by controlling our passions,
as we limit our food and live on the virtues of the Spirit,
Let us persevere in our longing for Him
that we be worthy to behold the most solemn Passion of Christ
and the most Holy Passover
rejoicing the while with spiritual happiness."

And so the Great Fast begins. Last evening I had the honor of attending Forgiveness Vespers. I wish I had more time to explain it better, but the purpose of Forgiveness Vespers is to enter the Great Fast with all offenses forgiven between yourself, God, and your neighbor. The experience of asking your friends and family for forgiveness of any offense, voluntary or involuntary, is so powerful. It's one of the most difficult things to say, and yet what every soul hungers for - forgiveness, and peace of heart and soul.

The text reads:

"Good brothers and sisters! Grant me your blessing and pardon me all the wrongs I have done, in word or deed or thought, with all my faculties, with reflection, or out of uncontrolled emotion."

the response

"May God Himself forgive you, and have mercy on you!"

People do not have to follow this text in their one on one interactions, but it give one a place to begin when the words are difficult to express. To forgive, and be forgiven, what bliss!

This is followed by Psalm 50, which remains on my sidebar as it is my favorite prayer.

There is really too much to explain it all, but last night was one of the most moving spiritual experiences I have had in a long time. And I needed that! I will concluded with another part of the vespers that brought me to tears. The entire congregation sings this in a slow, sorrowful melody. It breaks your heart with its truth!

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."

I am poor and in pain, O God; Let your power save me.

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."

Let the poor see and rejoice. Seek the Lord and your souls shall find life.

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."

Peace be to you!

(image found here)


Friday, February 16, 2007

The rest of the story

I have had a reoccurring dream, be it a real dream, a day dream or a night terror. It has come in all forms. It began when I had my 5th child. My husband was in grad school at the time and away 2 or more nights a week. I had just had my fifth child, with my oldest not quite seven years old. I would finally get to bed and be so exhausted, and yet be wide awake in utter terror. What if? What if I had to take someone to the E.R.? What if I got sick? What if the house started on fire? What if I was driving the van with the children and we got in a crash? and it started on fire and my glasses got knocked off and I had to unbuckle all these blasted car seats in the smoky darkness, essentially blind. what if I couldn't get them all, and had to leave one? Around and around these thoughts would go until I would have to get up, check all the children, the doors, the windows, the fire alarms. Every time I did get in the car visions of us careening into a lake, sinking quickly and me trying to unbuckle and save 5 children who couldn't swim would haunt me. I had other symptoms of post-partum depression at the time, but didn't recognize them. I was a mess. Gradually, I disciplined my thoughts and would banish these terrifying images from my mind. It took a year or more, but eventually I was able to put the terror behind me, and the panic attacks became few and far between.

Then as I was trying to drive home Tuesday, in our big white 15 passenger van, alone with the kids, a gust of wind nearly pushed the van off the road. Then the wind pushed our van across the lanes, and into the path of a semi-truck. Fortunately the driver of the truck was being cautious and slowed way down until I could get control of the van. I pulled on to the shoulder of the road, shaking like a leaf. This was just like the terror dreams of old! Here I was, stuck on a highway, in a winter storm with gusty winds, and the only way out is to drive on, until I get to an exit. That meant going over numerous overpasses, with the van getting pushed and buffeted the entire way. I tried to calm myself and stop the horrific images from going through my head, and drove on, flashers blinking and at a speed not exceeding 10 miles per hour. By the time I finally go off the highway, I was trembling from head to toe. And I was still so far away from home. Onward, until I saw the road on which one of my brother and his family lives. Saved! I got there, and was shaky the rest of the day. And Wednesday, and Thursday, and even today. Driving home on Wednesday was fine, the roads clear, no wind, streets plowed, and yet I was still terrified. All day yesterday, my body kept getting the panic feeling, and I just can't seem to convince whatever part of my brain is in control of this that ALL IS WELL NOW. Sheesh.

The worst part is, I knew the weather was going to be dicey, and I was invited by my other sister in law to stay another day at her house. But no, I made a bad decision, and it could have cost our family so very much. That is what is the worst. So, I do feel somewhat better after a good long workout this morning, and I can tell I'll be doing the "push that thought out of your head" thing frequently for a while, but thank God that is all I am dealing with, you know?

So, that's the rest of the story, why I kissed the ground when I got home, and why I'm staying put for a while.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Home again!

This is what I felt like doing when I got home today. I was supposed to be home Monday, and didn't get there until today because of the weather. After a harrowing attempt at getting home yesterday, and a stay-over at my brother's house (thank goodness for that), I am home and gratefully doing laundry. I won't be leaving again for a while if I have anything to say about it.


Saturday, February 10, 2007


Lisa asked last week what an antiphon was. Funny, I knew what an antiphon was, but I wasn't sure how to explain it. So I am going to try, but if anyone has something to add, feel free.

First, the definition of antiphon is

an·ti·phon Pronunciation (nt-fn)
1. A devotional composition sung responsively as part of a liturgy.
a. A short liturgical text chanted or sung responsively preceding or following a psalm, psalm verse, or canticle.
b. Such a text formerly used as a response but now rendered independently.
3. A response; a reply: "It would be truer . . . to see [conservation] as an antiphon to the modernization of the 1950s and 1960s" Raphael Samuel.
[Late Latin antiphna, sung responses; see anthem.]

For example, during vespers, Psalm 4 is one of many Psalms chanted from the congregation. The left side would sing:

"When I cried out, the God of my righteousness heard me
You gave me space in my distress, have mercy on me and listen to my prayer."

Then the right side responds:

"You sons of men, how long will you be hard-hearted?
Why do you love vanities and seek lies?"

Then the left side sings:

"Know that the Lord works wonders for his holy one:
The Lord will hear me when I cry out before Him."

Right side:

"Be passionate, but do not sin;
repent upon your couches for what you say in your hearts."

Left side:

"Offer a sacrifice of righteousness
and hope in the Lord."


"Many say :"Who will show us good things?"
The light of your face, O Lord, was a mark upon us."


"You have put gladness in my heart;
they were filled with the blessing of their wheat, wine and oil."


"In peace I will lay me down and sleep:
for You alone , O Lord, have made me dwell in hope."

An example of the second definition would be singing a prayer that reflect the Gospel reading of the day, then responding with a Psalm that is sung after the prayer. For example, this comes from the vespers from Palm Sunday (John 12:1-18) is read:


The Word of God the Father, the Son coeternal with Him
Having heaven for a throne and earth for a footstool,
has humbled Himself today
by riding into Bethany on an ass.
Wherefore the children of Israel praise Him,
Bearing green fronds and shouting out:
"Hosanna in the hightest"
Blessed is He who comes, the King of Israel!"

then part of Psalm 130 is sung in response:

from the watch of dawn until the night, from the watch of dawn let Israel long for the Lord


Come together, all you children of the New Israel
Which is the church of the Gentile:
Let us proclaim with the Prophet Zacharias:
"Rejoice and exult, Daughter of Sion,
shout for joy, Daughter of Jerusalem.
Behold, you King is coming to you meek,
Riding an ass and bringing salvation.
Feast like the children, bearing the green fronds in our hands, And singing to Him a hymn of praise:
"Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is He who come, the King of Israel!

The Psalm sung in response:

For with the Lord there is mercy and with Him abundant redemption, and it is He who will redeem Israel for all his iniquities.

I hope that helps. If you have more questions I'll try to clarify this better.



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Homemaking meme

Rosemary tagged me with this, and I am finally getting to it.

Aprons- Y/N- Yes, when I remember. I have some vintage aprons from my estate sale/thrift store addiction. My favorite is a terry cloth apron with a rooster on it.

Baking-- Favorite thing to bake: Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. It's famous in these parts. It uses walnuts instead of cherries, and has a vanilla sauce to die for.

Clothesline- Y/N-- I wish! We live in the woods so I would just get damp, bird-pooped clothes. I hang them on a drying rack inside if they are not dryer safe.

Donuts-- No. I don't do deep frying here -- too much trouble

One homemaking thing you do every day-- There are so many. I would say cooking is the one I just can't skip for a day. Everything else can wait if need be.

Freezer-- Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes, with a side of beef and anything on a great sale that I can buy lots of at once. My husband once bought 50 bags of chocolate chips because they were closing out a specialty brand of excellent chocolate for 79 cents a bag.

Garbage Disposal-- Y/N? Yes, but we can't use it or it will mess up our septic. I have a screen over it, and only run it once every week to take care of the little things that get in there.

Handbook-- What is your favorite homemaking resource?

Ironing--Love it or hate it? Neither. I do it when I must, and get a little satisfaction from it. However, I hate when my ironed clothing gets wrinkled when I wear it, and have been known to rail(loudly) against my seat belt for crumpling my freshly ironed lined skirt and blouse.

Junk drawer--Y/N? Where is it? All my drawers are junk drawers. I am not kidding.

Kitchen: Design and decorating? I have a plain kitchen, with tan walls and counters. Stainless stove, black oven and dishwasher. I have a collection of Madonna and Child folk art images on the wall, and a chalk board. I have a large kitchen that included a hallway and a desk and a pantry and a powder room, so it is a busy, busy place.

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking? Decorating. I love estate sales and thrift stores and love finding unusual odds and ends and making a statement with it in the decor. I detest actual cleaning, but my treasures don't look so great under a layer of dust, so cleaning must be done.

Mop Y/N -- I use a "Floor Mate". LOVE IT. It is broken right now, so I have been spot cleaning and it is driving me nuts. I'll probably break out the old mop and bucket this week.

Nylons-- I haven't worn nylons since my wedding day 14.5 years ago. And I never will again if I can help it. Mysogeny, I tell you. That's what nylons are.

Oven-- Do you use the window or open the door to check? Open the door, and stab what ever is in there.

Pizza-- What do you put on yours? sausage, green olives and onion.

Quiet-- What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Make a cup of tea and retreat to my room to read whatever I am currently reading.

Recipe Card Box Y/N? Well, I have a recipe card box I use for an address book. But my actual recipes are in a few cook books and notebooks, or in my head.

Style of house-- A 50's ranch that we have added to with a Prarie style design. I love it. HUGE windows, deep eaves, simple decor.

Tablecloths and napkins? Sometimes, when I think of it.

Under the kitchen sink-- organized or toxic wasteland? Organized. I have dish soap, scrubbies, trash bags and Lysol wipes.

Vacuum-- how many times per week? Once regularly, but frequent messes require attention here and there almost every day. But real, in the corners vacuuming, once a week.

Wash-- How many loads of laundry do you do in a week? I have two sets of washers and dryers. They each run about 2 loads five days a week. So that's about 20 loads a week. Give or take.

X's-- Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?-- Just in my head, which makes me a little scattered and disorganized. But if I write it down, I add every conceivable item on it and set myself up for instant failure. I have been known to write a list after the day is done of what I have completed, then cross them all out. As if I could fool myself somehow, and yet, I get satisfaction from it anyway.

Yard-- Who does what? My son mows the lawn areas of our 3 acres. There are quite a few "wild" areas. I pretty much do everything else. All I really want now is my own chain saw so I can stop sawing the branchs that need trimming by hand. Someday.

Zzz's--Advancing the laundry, feeding the pets, and turning out the lights and locking the doors.

I don't know who has already done this, but assuming you haven't, I tag Lisa, Cris,Erin,The Kitchen Madonna and Mama T.


Morning Prayer

Arising from sleep I give thee thanks, O Holy Trinity, for in thy great goodness and long suffering thou were not angered with me, the slothful and sinful one, nor did thou condemn me with my transgressions; but thou didst show thy love for man, as is thy way, and did lift me out of my desperation, to rise and glorify thy power. Enlighten now the eyes of my mind, open my mouth, that I may engage in thy word, and do thy will, and sing to thee in the acknowledgment of my heart, and praise thy most holy name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen


Monday, February 05, 2007

Too bad. It was fun to watch though.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

There's always next year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I finally did it

Today, I finally bit the bullet and cut off my little one's original curls and we went from this:

to this:

For the observant ~ her shirt says " I'm in charge around here. The parents are just for show." I am getting soft in my old age!


Tell us Simeon, who is it you bear in your arms and bring into the temple so joyfully?

To whom do you say: "Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, because my eyes have seen my Saviour"? Behold the Child born of the Virgin! Behold the Word, God of God! O Lord who for our sake were incarnate and saved mankind, to You we bow in worship!"

Well, here it is, Friday again. I don't have much for you today, except "Happy Feast Day". Last night I went to Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation. This commemorates the presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple, and the fact that the Creator of all subjected himself to the law. The beautiful Canticle of Simeon, which we sing each time at vespers, became even more lovely last night,

Luke, 2:29-32

Now you may let your servant go in peace, Master, as you said you would. For my eyes have seen the salvation you prepared for all people: a light to enlighten the nations and to give glory to your people, Israel.

During vespers we sing many psalms, and because of this feast the readings from the old testament were Exodus 13:1-17, Isaias 6:1-12, and Isaias 19, 1-21. This is followed by other prayers and antiphons. The duration is approximately one hour.

Here is an example of one of the prayers from last evenings Vespers:

"The One who comes forth from the Father in all eternity, and from a Virgin's womb in time, is carried to the Temple by his Mother all-pure. The Lawmaker of Mount Sinai, submitting to the Law, is presented to the elderly and holy Simeon, to whom it had been revealed that he would see Christ the Lord. When Simeon received Him in his arms, he leaped for joy and said: "This is God, One in eternity with the Father, the Saviour of our souls!"

After Vespers, the congregation gets anointed with blessed oil, on our foreheads and hands, then shares in blessed bread and wine (This is not the Eucharist, just blessed gifts). By doing this we ask Our Lord to sanctify our thoughts (head) and works (hands) and offer thanks for all the good gifts of material and spiritual comforts, as well as the blessing of our faith community. A truly wondrous way to end a day!

(This icon is from St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai. It dates from the 12th century.)