Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

I am hobbling around like a very old woman today. This being the fifth week of the Great Fast means the Cannon of St. Andrew of Crete. It is an absolutely beautiful prayer. It lasts close to four hours, and has approximately 220 full prostrations.

I have a post about it from last year.

Here is a sampling of the prayer. With each "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me", a prostration is done.

Come, wretched soul, with thy flesh to the Creator of all. Make confession to Him, and abstain henceforth from thy past brutishness; and offer to God tears of repentance.

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

I have rivaled the transgression of Adam, the first-formed man, and I have found myself stripped naked of God, of the eternal Kingdom and its joy, because of my sins.

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

Woe to me, miserable soul! How like thou art to the first Eve! For thou hast looked in wickedness and wast grievously wounded; thou hast touched the tree and rashly tasted the deceptive food.

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

Instead of the visible Eve, I have the Eve of the mind: the passionate thought in my flesh, showing me what seems sweet; yet whenever I taste it, I find it bitter.

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

I confess to Thee, O Savior, the sins I have committed, the wounds of my soul and body, which murderous thoughts, like thieves, have inflected inwardly upon me.

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

Though I have sinned, O Savior, yet I know that Thou art full of loving-kindness. Thou dost chastise with mercy and art fervent in compassion. Thou dost see me weeping and dost run to meet me, the Father calling back the prodigal son.

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

I offer to Thee, O merciful Lord, the tears of the harlot. Take pity on me, O Savior, in Thy compassion.

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

With the lusts of passion I have darkened the beauty of my soul, and turned my whole mind entirely to dust.

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

I have torn the first garment that the Creator wove for me in the beginning, and now I lie naked.

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

I have lost the beauty and glory with which I was first created; and now I lied naked and ashamed.

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

I have adorned the idol my flesh with a many-colored coat of shameful thoughts, and I am condemned.

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

I have cared only for the outward adornment, and neglected that which is within—the tabernacle fashioned by God.

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

With my lustful desire I have formed within myself the deformity of the passions and disfigured the beauty of my mind.

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

I have discolored with the passions the first beauty of the image, O Savior. But see me, as once Thou hast sought the lost coin, and find me.

This is one of my favorite parts of the Great Fast, and one of the most painful. It reminds me of labor. The first half is difficult, but bearable. You keep thinking, "Oh, I can DO this." Then you realize you are only half way finished, and a slight panic arises. But you keep on. The prostrations become more and more challenging, and you just try to get through one at a time, and find a rhythm to them. Then, just when you think, "There is no way I can keep doing this. I have to quit. I just have to." The prostrations are over, and you sing Psalms and a great peace washes over you. Then, like the after birth, there is one more prayer, the Prayer of St. Ephrem, and you do just 3 puny little prostrations, and then you are really finished! But, there is residual pain for the next 4-5 days, and a joy and rediscovery of yourself that is transforming. I think the Canon of St. Andrew helps you give birth to yourself, as you really are, and purifies the soul in an unspeakably beautiful way.

Easter is on the way!

Here is a post about the Canon from a friend and fellow Byzantine Catholic, Eric at Square Zero.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kitchen Madonna's Aprons -- Go check it out!!

You all need to go visit Kitchen Madonna and check out the aprons she is making. I already have my order placed, and I am telling you, short of making it yourself you will not find such cool aprons anywhere. Go see for your self! Here is the material being used for my apron. I actually think I will like cleaning in this beauty!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Makes you go "hmmm

Recently, on one of my thrift store jaunts, I came across an old edition of "Hans Brinker". I have never read this book, but it is on all the the good book lists for children, so I picked it up (for a mere .59).

I just noticed in the front cover this inscription:

"To a very brave little girl. From her loving and adoring mommy."

How on earth could someone get rid of that book? Unless all her books had such inscriptions, I don't see how it is possible. If I had such an inscription in one of my childhood books, it would be one of my most treasured possessions. I just can not figure that one out. (The book was from 1963, so it really isn't THAT old, really. Right??)


Monday, March 19, 2007

Marriage meme

Rosemary tagged me for this ~

1. Where/How did you meet? Blind date

2. How long have you known each other? 15 years

3. How long after you met did you start dating? Well, we spoke on the phone a few times before our blind date, if that counts.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged? 6 weeks

5. How long was your engagement? about 7 months

6. How long have you been married? 14 1/2 years

7. What is your anniversary? 10/10/92

8. How many people came to your wedding reception? About 125

9. What kind of cake did you serve? White cake with cream and raspberry filling, decorated with icing flowers that looked real and real purple heather.

10. Where was your wedding? St. John Cantius Church, Chicago, IL

11. What did you serve for your meal? Our reception was at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Chicago, so it was all home made Ukrainian food.

12. How many people were in your wedding party? 6: 3 bridesmaids, 3 groomsman

13. Are you still friends with them all? no, but most of them.

14.Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? Yes, because his friends were
singing the Mass (William Byrd Mass for 3 voices) and it was beautiful.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Having a spontaneous after -reception party at the 95th in the Hancock building.

16.Any funny moments? While my dad shook my husband's hand after walking
my down the aisle, he squeezed it really hard, and said, "This is only
10% of what I can do. Be good to her."

17. Any big disasters? No

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Maui, Hawaii. Paradise. We came back with a souvenir we still have, our oldest son.

19. How long were you gone? 10 days

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? I would have a band instead of a D.J. and have a real dance, like swing or waltzing.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?: The left side. Wayyy on the edge if we end up with the usual 2 or 3 children in our bed before morning.

22. What size is your bed? king size

23. Greatest strength as a couple? We genuinly enjoy each other's company.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple? We both always think we are right.

25. Who literally pays the bills? That job bounces back and forth. Currently he does it.

26. What is your song? Don't have one.

27. What did you dance your first dance to? "Unforgetable" with Nat and Natalie Cole

28. Describe your wedding dress: A simple dress of white taffeta with a little beading on the bodice, slightly puffy sleeves that went to the elbow, and a long veil that extended past the train.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Roses, lilies, heather, stephanotis (?) and some other very colorful flowers.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? No

31. How old were you when you got married? I was 26 and he was 25

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Saturday, March 17, 2007


(image found here)

Energy. I never seem to have enough.

I love being around people. I had a career that was completely people centered. I am the oldest in my family and have always felt quite responsible for all my brothers' well being. I have a large family. I love to be hostess to guests at crazyacres, and I very much enjoy social gatherings when the people present are near and dear to me. (It is a little more challenging when the crowds are strangers to me.) I love blogging and having such a community to draw from and give to. All this requires energy, emotional, spiritual, physical. Sometimes I can get so depleted and confused regarding my place, my purpose, and my responsibilities. I can get confused between wanting to give love and care, and wanting to get affection and approval. I pray regularly for discernment in this area, and for healing when my confusion leads to hurts, whether my own or others.

I find what helps me the most is taking time to think and pray and reflect on a situation. If I rush through my life, I can inadvertently place myself in a hurtful situation, or worse, inadvertently hurt others. If I do not take care to restore my energy, I will end up missing many opportunities for grace.

Prayer and music restore me. Burning candles restores me. Reading restores me. Going for long walks outside restores me. Basically retreating from the world, and being alone for a while gives me the energy to do what I love, and what I feel called to do.

This shouldn't surprise me, since it is what Jesus showed us to do when He was feeling drained and fatigued. He would go off alone and pray. When he was sad about John the Baptist's death, he went off alone to pray and be restored. When he was facing His death, he went alone to a garden to pray and prepare. He would retreat from the crowd and be restored so He could carry out His mission.

What do you all do to be restored, especially when you are feeling emotionally or spiritually depleted? Comments are open for this one.


Thursday, March 15, 2007


"...fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth...when you fast, if your mercy is thin, your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn...give to the poor and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others."

I wrote this out from a book I read a long time ago. I forgot to write down who said it, but it was a saint, I remember that.

Mercy. It seems as if that truly is the key to happiness. With mercy, there is love and forgiveness.

With mercy there is hope.

With mercy there is a soft toughness that is tender to those that need it, and strengthening to those that offer it.

When you offer mercy, you can believe that God will give it to you, like He promised.

When you offer mercy, you can have a deeper repentance for offending God.

When you offer mercy you have a much more difficult time being judgmental; when you offer mercy you see everyone's need for it, rich or poor, well or sick, overwhelmed or lonely.

It seems fasting loosens the soil of the heart, so that mercy can sink in, and take root, and blossom and bear the fruit of more mercy.

Fasting and mercy have to go together.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Book Meme

I swiped this from Mary at Owlhaven. Looked like fun!

1. Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? Doesn't matter to me.

2. Amazon or brick and mortar? Brick and mortar, preferably a thrift store

3. Barnes & Noble or Borders? Doesn't matter to me. I prefer the thrift store, like I said.

4. Bookmark or dogear? Book mark. I use little pictures and cards the kids make for me.

5.Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? Big piles everywhere, and many randomly filled book cases. Strangely, I can usually find any book I am looking for.

6. Keep, throw away, orsell? Usually keep or give back to the thrift store. I throw away really lousy books that do not deserve to be read by anyone else.

7. Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep it.

8. Read with dustjacket or remove it? With the dust jacket. I use the flaps for book marks as well as the cards I mentioned above.

9. Short story or novel? Novels. I do like non-fiction sometimes, but I really like a great, get lost in it story.

10.Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories
by different authors)? Anthology. I just finished a great book called
"Leaning into the Wind" which is a collection of essays from women
ranchers on the high plains.

11. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Neither.

12.Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? When I am tired if I am
reading before bed. When I am needed if I am reading during the day. I
rarely have the luxury of choosing when I stop reading.

13. “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Once upon a time.

14. Buy or Borrow? Buy, buy, buy. At the thrift store, like I said.

15. New or used? Used, from the thrift store. However, I did just buy "Hannah Coulter" by Wendall Berry last week, because I have looked for it at the thrift store for a few years and no luck.

16.Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? Recommendations from trusted sources as well as browsing through the thrift store. Many of the books I own I would only have risked it because they cost under
a dollar.

17. Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Tidy endings if I am reading alone, cliffhangers are fine if I get the chance to discuss it with someone afterwards.

18. Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? Whenever I can squeeze it in, but most definitely at night.

19. Stand-alone or series? Stand-alone, usually.

20. Favorite series? Kristin Lavransdatter.

21. Favorite children’s book? Miss Rumphius.

22. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Leaning into the Wind

23. Favorite books read last year? The Secret Life of Bees.

24. Favorite books of all time? My Antonia, by Willa Cather

25. Least favorite book you finished last year? The Mermaid Chair, by the same lady who wrote The Secret Life of Bees. I threw it away.

26. What are you reading right now? Hannah Coulter, Why French Women Don't Get Fat, and Bathe Seven Times. Oh, and the Psalms

27. What are you reading next? I am not sure yet. I have plenty of books here to choose from, though.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Okay, as promised I updated some of my blogs on the sidebar. Under Old Friends, I
moved Veronica up from inactive. In New Friends I added Cris, Kristen and Laura the Crazy Mama. If I have forgotten anyone, please let me know. You can e-mail me if you want to be there, or if a link needs updating, and I'll fix it ASAP.

Have a blessed day!


Mid-Lent Gift

O Glorious Day!

It is 65 degrees, balmy, breezy, aromatic and sunny today. I went out for my first long walk of the season and it felt SOOOOO awesome. I went 5 miles, on a new trail, and I am so pleased I could go that long my first attempt. Over the winter I did go out for walks and use the treadmill, and do free weights, but I never walked more than 2.5 miles. So I was quite pleased to see I didn't loose ground. And I enjoyed myself so much, and am beyond happy that spring is on the way. I can not wait to make my walks a daily occurrence.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

What I saw when I checked in this moring

So, what do you all think of my husband pirating my blog and leaving me the post below this one? This is what happens when you forget to log out when finished with posting. But it was a nice surprise. I particularly like the "holy water and holy fire" image.

Once again, comments are open for his benefit. I think he might just have gotten bitten by the blogging bug. We'll see, eh?


Your husband sneaked into your blog

Hmmm, I am the husband, but I do not have a blog so I need to use (read steal in the middle of the night) the bloggers own "identity" to blog. My MPN wife asked for people to comment on for what they are thankful.

Well...I am unspeakable Thankful to you and God for YOU.

You have no idea, because I do not say it enough, or well enough, and when I try to come even close to expressing how thankful I am for you, it looks corny or like b.s.. It looks or sounds like I am a complete sycophant. It seems disingenuous, because I use big words to try to express the big feelings--but they just sound like arrogant ass-kissing. (can I say that on a blog?)
They are NOT ass-kissing, they are mere shadows of the unspeakable and undescribable "Yes" I have for you in my innermost parts.

God is so unbelievable gracious to let me be joined as one with you. We are one flesh, but we rancour with each other--we wrestle like Jacob with the angel--we sizzle like fire meeting water--blest fire meeting holy water--but we are one, even in the violence of our fallen nature, our frequent fearful "No"--we are still a great "Yes" from God to each other. For that I am thankful.

In the most understated and simplistic way I say:
I am grateful for you.
your dh (or whatever it is that bloggers call the "man")


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stay with your Pain

(image is "Our Lady of Lonliness" from

"When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, even if only for a moment. When, underneath all the praise and acclaim, you feel a huge absence that makes everything look useless, your heart wants only one thing -- the be with the person who once was able to dispel these frightful emotions. But it is that absence itself, the emptiness within you, that you have to be willing to experience, not the one who could temporarily take it away.

It is not easy to stay with your loneliness. The temptation is to nurse your pain or to escape into fantasies about people who will take it away. But when you can acknowledge your loneliness in a safe, contained place you make your pain available for God's healing.

God does not want your loneliness; God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need. It is important that you dare to stay with your pain and allow it to be there. You have to own your loneliness and trust that it will not always be there. The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart. The person who was able to touch that place has revealed to you your pearl of great price.

It is understandable that everything you did, are doing, or plan to do seems completely meaningless compared with that pearl. That pearl is the experience of being fully loved. When you experience deep loneliness, you are willing to give up everything in exchange for healing. But no human being can heal that pain. Still, people will be sent to you to mediate God's healing, and they will be able to offer you the deep sense of belonging that you desire and that gives meaning to all you do.

Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God's promise to you."

(Spiritual Imperative from Nenri J. M. Nouwen in "The Inner Voice of Love")

If you are lonely, let this wash over you and sink in, and watch for the people God will send you to help.

If you are not lonely, open yourself to being God's mediator to assist and heal those lonely around you. Let's hold each other up as we make our journey through the Great Fast and towards Pascha!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Signs of Spring

Okay, from what the calendar says, signs of spring should be showing about now. Despite the fact that there is snow and ice and wind and below freezing temps, I can tell spring is near because sunrise is earlier, and it isn't dark when I pick up my six year old from choir. My walking trail is still icy, but there are enough patches of asphalt showing through that it shouldn't be too treacherous to take a walk. I heard a bird call yesterday that sounded springish. Maybe a robin scouting?

I can tell spring is near because Lent is progressing with the usual mid-Lent assessment of how I should re-purpose my commitments and either shore up or let go of disciplines. I have been reading the Psalms daily, but just today realized it had been 3 days without doing it. And I didn't notice until today. So I will be fixing that. I have finally gotten more recipes to make so we can be more faithful to the fast. I am not going to keep comments closed all the time, but will decrease the posts with them so I check for comments less frequently. I haven't exercised for a week (how did that happen?) so I will be fixing that today.

So, comments are open today. How is your Lent going? What signs of impending Spring to you notice?


Monday, March 05, 2007

Getting there

We have had some sunshine the last two days, and add that to all your nice expressions of gratitude, I am feeling better. Thank you all for your input.

So, in order to lighten the mood around here, I am letting the kids use the face paint. I can not believe how happy it makes kids to paint their faces and pretend to be pirates or Indians or princesses. The older kids get a kick out of the younger ones, and the atmosphere of the entire house is elevated.

About the comments. I will turn them on from time to time during Lent, like I did on the last post. And again, I thank you all for your responses.

And, I resolve to update my sidebar this week. I have lots of new friends to add, and a few have moved and need updating. I'll let you all know with my "Housekeeping" title when I get that done.

Alright, off to do the day. Toodles.


Thursday, March 01, 2007


(Chinese characters for "Gratitude")

Okay, the comments are on for this post. I need your help. It's another dreary, dark, rainy cold day. I am at my wits end. I need you to please leave a list of 3 of your favorite things, or things you are grateful for. I need a little inspiration here.

My 3 currently are:

I am grateful for my icon studio, and the fact I can go in there, light a candle and incense and spend some quiet time with Our Lord and my spiritual family.

I am grateful for the bounteous nature of the children in this house. It is full. It is good.

I am grateful for my church. My breath of fresh air, and my meeting place with God. The spot where the Divine reaches out and touches me. Ahhh. Lovely.

There. I feel better. But I still need your help. What do you say?