Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's OVER!

Phew. The icon class is over. I had 13 students, and ended up with 9
finished icons. One of my daughters didn't quite finish, one other girl
has about 1 hour of work left, and then two others had a few interruptions this week and will arrange a time to come back. All in all, a very successful mission, I think. I am EXHAUSTED, however, and after going for a long walk, I am taking a bath and going to bed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More icon updates

Another icon update over at St. Paraskeva's

Monday, June 25, 2007

Over at St. Paraskeva's place..

Day 2 with photos up here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

An answer

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I blog.

Flesh Become Word

The word must become flesh, but the flesh also must become word. It is not enough for us, as human beings, just to live. We also must give words to what we are living. If we do not speak what we are living, our lives lose their vitality and creativity. When we see a beautiful view, we search for words to express what we are seeing. When we meet a caring person, we want to speak about that meeting. When we are sorrowful or in great pain, we need to talk about it. When we are surprised by joy, we want to announce it!

Through the word, we appropriate and internalize what we are living. The word makes our experience truly human.

From Henri Nouwen Society daily meditation

Friday, June 22, 2007


Thanks to Deb I decided to begin another blog chronicling the progress of my upcoming Icon Workshop that begins tomorrow. Check out St. Paraskeva Icon Studio. That's where I'll be for the next week, but I'll leave a note here so you can find me. Come on over~

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A blast from the past

I was looking through my archives and came upon this. I had forgotten I wrote this, that I was feeling this two years ago. Now the 5 year old is a seven year old and has many missing teeth. And she is tall. And my oldest boy is taller than me and sounds like his dad, and praise God, still gives me great hugs. And I could go on, but I won't. I just wanted to say this again, because it is still true.

My children continue to expand my heart in so many ways. I am constantly overwhelmed with the magnitude of their existence, their eternal souls, their unique individuality and the secret desires of their hearts. I feel ill-equipt to be their guide during these very important years, and yet that is my life now. I guess I can either live in fear of messing it all up, or just love them to the best of my abilities, and not be afraid to do the hard things necessary to see this through.

Yesterday my newly 6 year old daughter ran to me, squealing with delight. "Mommy! Mommy! I have a loose tooth!" As the fifth child in the family, she has seen many go before her in this rite of passage, and has looked forward to this day with great anticipation. It always seemed a long way off to me. And now here it is. My fifth child is loosing her baby teeth. Only two more children to go, and the tooth fairy retires. Again, what a paradox for me. To share the excitement of my children as they pass the milestones of growing up, growing away, and then hold the sadness quietly inside me as I loose them just a little bit more each day. *sigh* Motherhood isn't for sissies, I say. It just isn't.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The first annual icon workshop for adolecents is apporaching!

I am busily preparing for my icon workshop, beginning this Saturday. I now have 12 pupils, and I am beginning to get a little nervous. It's going to be great, I think, but busy. And and unknown quantity as far as the student population goes. I have students from age 10 to 15, and one mom. I have 3 of the students staying with me the for the week because they live so far away, so that in itself will be interesting (two of them are relatives, one an old friend). It's going to be fun and challenging, and should give me great opportunities for some reflections and updates. But I may be a little scarce the rest of this week as I prepare. Any advice would be appreciated regarding any of the things I'll be handling this week. Food, chores, discipline, prayerful environment while remaining relevant to this age children, etc.

Many blessings to you all~

Friday, June 15, 2007

And now for the rest of the story...

Just to rinse the sugary sweet taste out of your mouth from the last post, I want to let you know that this morning has been vastly different. I have already sent the 3 year old back to bed, had the eight year old in tears while practicing reading, reminded the 5 year old to get back to work wayyy too many times, insisted the nearly 14 year old wipe that look off his face, and had two run ins with the 12 year old over the computer (which will now be off the rest of the day. In this house, I always win). That leaves the seven year old, who just got up, and the 11 year old, who isn't home. And I haven't stepped foot outside or in my icon room yet today. So you see, I posted about yesterday because it was such a rare treat. Just to set the record straight!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What a lovely morning I have had so far! Last evening, I had the best dinner out with my mom, all my brothers and their wives, my husband and my brother who celebrated his birthday yesterday. I was so contented when we got home that I went to bed at a reasonable hour, and thus woke at around 6:30 this morning. It is going to be hot again today, so I spent about an hour watering my flowers, checking my garden for progress and just enjoying the sounds and smells of a lovely late spring morning.

Then, I came in and just looked at my sleeping children. My oldest boy, nearly 14, still shows the little chub I used to have, but only when he is asleep. During the day, the little boy is mostly hidden. But this morning, I could see him at 3 years old, at 7 years old, and strangely, what he'll look like at 20 years old. There is something so mysterious about the sleeping face.

Then on to my 12 year old daughter. Soundly asleep in her typical caddywhompus way - legs bent up as if she were sunbathing, arms askew. She has slept like that since she was itty-bitty, and I remember trying to straighten her out, thinking she looked very uncomfortable. This morning I don't even touch her, barley making any noise at all, because I don't want her to wake up and wonder what I am doing, staring at her in her sleep.

On to the boys room. They are awake early, too, but have such sweet sleepy faces I just have to stay awhile in their room and have a quiet conversation about the wonderful sleep they just had, and what might be good to have for breakfast. Now they are already out riding their bikes, as the other children still sleep.

The little girls' (not little, but 11 and 7) room is half empty, as the 11 year old is staying with cousins this week. My seven year old is sleeping in her older sister's bed, to feel less alone.

On to my room. I get the pleasure of my littlest daughter coming in every morning around 3:00 am. A whispered, "Mom, can you scoot over, please?" alerts me to her presence as she climbs over me and settles in. She is like a little puppy, melding into my very form, and no matter where I move, she scoots into me. After I get up, she sleeps quite a bit longer, and she still looks like a baby.

I used to feel put out when the little one's would come in my bed. I didn't sleep as well, and woke stiff and sore. I would always let them because I felt they needed it, but I didn't realize I needed it. Now I do. I need those sweet hours of quiet closeness. I need their closeness to be so absorbed by me that when they are all grown and gone, I can still feel it.

After all that, I went into my icon studio and practiced mixing my paint for the flesh tones. I used to buy them from another iconographer, but now I am going to mix my own. It went well, and I am one step closer to being ready for my class. Glancing out my window, I could see my St. Francis statue, my shade garden, the blue and mirrored decorations I have in the woods to reflect light, and I just had the most complete sense of satisfaction. My icon studio is my haven. My icons, candles and incense remind me to pray when ever I am in there. My children are all close, safe, and comfortable. I am working on my icon writing skills, after spending time in my garden, and have a steaming mug of coffee and a biscotti sitting next to me. My dear husband comes in just then so say goodbye as he heads off to work. A soft kiss, a tight hug, and he is off. I just cannot think of anything that is missing from my life at this time. Thank you, dear Lord, for this consolation, this lifting of the veil to show me just exactly how well loved I am.

Thank you for all your gifts and blessings, and for assisting my in my daily struggle with moments like these. Your abundance overwhelms me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A quick update, and more mercy

Well, sorry for the absence around here. I have been quite busy with the garden the laundry, company, the "barn burrned" sale, and getting ready for my icon workshop (eep!). I have 11 students signed up.

The "barn burned" sale went well. The photo here is one of the paintings a participant in the sale created. I was going to buy it if it survived the sale, but alas, some other lucky customer gets it in their home.

I made enough money to get myself a little bauble as well as some more paint supplies. And I have a little "bohemian" stash of money I hid for a rainy day.

My garden is losing the battle with the weeds, as it has been hot and dry and the weeds thrive in those conditions. The flowers not so much. So, I'm off to water, weed and mulch today.

As usual, the spiritual reflections I always get while weeding will accompany me today. Weed = sin. While weeding, I pray for mercy. I am hoping lots of weeds will translate into lots of mercy.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

now she is three

These were her two favorite gifts on her third birthday.

A walking reflection

While taking my walk this morning (yea me!) with my trusty iPod, I heard a song from U2 (All Because of You) with a line that hit home ~

"I am not broken, but you can see the cracks, You can make me perfect again."

Sheesh. It is true you get to a certain point in life where you know only God can make things right. After flailing around in a vain attempt to fix things yourself, then becoming exhausted from all that futile energy expenditure, resignation to utter dependence takes hold. Then you live this minute, this hour, this day, and forget the past, stop dreaming of the future, and let the Spirit take you where He will.

And a beautiful day I was given today so far. I wish the same for you!

This is what happens when my life is insanely busy

Another meme!! This one is from The Woman. It was a fun way to get this busy day started. Today I am getting ready for a big "Barn Burnt Down" Sale at my brother and sister-in-law's house. We are using their garage and some tents instead of the barn.

I may return to regular programing when it is over.

Here are the rules:

Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have fun!

Your Name Begins with: R

1. Famous Singer/Band: REO Speedwagon (I am letting my age show a bit here)

2. 4 letter word: rush (Or Rush if you want to keep the band thing going)

3. Street: River St.

4. Color: Red

5. Gifts/Presents: Roses

6. Vehicle: Roller Skates (That's pushing it, eh?)

7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: rings

8. Boy Name: Ralph

9. Girl Name: Rita

10. Movie Title: Rocky

11. Drink: Root Beer

12. Occupation: Researcher

13. Celebrity: Robert Redford

14. Magazine: Real Simple

15. U.S. City: Rockford, IL

16. Pro Sports Teams: KC Royals

18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Ran a red light, got pulled over

19. Something You Throw Away: Refuse

20. Things You Shout: Right Now! (Or "Right On!" ~ dating myself again)

21. Cartoon Character: Road Runner

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Another Martyr

Some of you may not yet heard about a priest and 3 sub-deacons were executed in cold blood in the street of Mosul after Mass on Sunday. Here is a beautiful piece about these martyrs. May their memories be eternal!

Here is the beginning of the sad story:

They killed Father Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, together with three subdeacons who were with him – Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed. The assailants led Bidawed’s wife away, and struck down the four men in cold blood. Then they placed vehicles loaded with explosives around their corpses, so that no one would dare to approach them. It was late in the evening before the police in Mosul were able to defuse the explosives and collect the bodies.

After hearing about the violent death of Father Ganni, we learn about his beautiful, courageous life:

This young priest had willingly, knowingly chosen to remain by the side of his parishioners from Holy Spirit parish in Mosul, judged the most dangerous city after Baghdad. His reasoning was simple: without him, without its pastor, his flock would have been lost. In the barbarity of suicide attacks and bombings, one thing at least was clear, and gave him the strength to resist: "Christ”, Ragheed would say, “challenges evil with his infinite love, he keeps us united and through the Eucharist he gifts us life, which the terrorists are trying to take away".

Go read the entire article. Despite the sadness of it all, there is a victory in that Love conquers even death. I beg peace and consolation to all those who will miss Fr. Ragheed and his companions.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The W Meme

From Between Daydreams

I'm wondering... Why I feel like jumping out of my skin today

I'm waiting... to see what kind of income we'll be getting soon.

I'm willing... to keep trying to walk every day

I'm watching... whatever is on T.V. at 2:00am when I can't sleep

I'm wearing... gray yoga pants and a gray v-neck t-shirt

I'm working on... two more icons

I'm worrying about... my husband, one of my daughters, one of my sons, my tooth, many different relationships, my upcoming very first icon workshop

I'm wistful about... the fragility of life

I'd walk 10 miles for... a burger from a little pub 10 minutes from here. And then I would have to walk ten miles back because it is a huge, huge burger.


Four things meme

Share four things that were new to you in the past four years. Four things you learned or experienced or explored for the first time in the past four years. New house, new school, new hobby, new spouse, new baby, whatever. Then you have to say four things you want to try new in the next four years:

New Things I have experienced:

I don't have a baby and I am not pregnant for the first time since I was married, (baby # 1 was our bestest souvenir from our Hawaiian honeymoon).

I have been walking regularly and exploring all the hiking trails and forest preserves around here. Previously I drove by them and wondered what it would be like to explore. Now I explore

I am now in my forties (as of last year). It has been a more challenging transition that I had imagined. I have learned to let go, and yet take more charge of my life at the same time. And that confuses me, too.

I have teen agers now. My little babies are growing up. I roles are constantly changing and adapting, and sometimes it makes me sooo tired.

What I want to try in the next 4 years:

I want to open my own iconography studio and teach (I am beginning this in 3 weeks. I want to expand in the fall).

I want to do a 5k walk, followed by a 10K walk.

I want get my physical therapy license activated again, and use those skills again.

I want to have more of my three crazy acres made into beautiful gardens, and learn the most efficient and professional way to keep them in good shape.

This is all providing I don't have any babies in my 40's. If I do, then scrap the last two, and I'll say I want to soak up every moment of my child's babyhood. Those other things can wait.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

What could it hurt?

from Alicia


During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect as bombing stopped. There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens and for peace in the world. If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. It has been said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Thank You. If you are so moved, pass this on to anyone who you think will follow through.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

This is an old oil painting with a hand carved frame.

I don't know much about this one, but I like it.

This one is hand carved

This is a hand carved piece, made in Poland, celebrating a millenium of Christianity in Poland. I met a lady once from Poland who explained to me that this region was know for it's wood carving. She had been involved with solidarily movement, and was explaining to me what it was like. The Pope's visit precipitated the notion to the people that they were many, and if they stuck together, they could change their country. This is what I think about when I look at this piece. That, and the profound sadness of Mary, and yet the profound love and hope.