Friday, December 28, 2007

It's all good

Just popping in to relay the simply delicious day we are having here. Everyone except the oldest (because he's to old) and the youngest (because she loves dressing herself now) is still in their new Christmas jammies. Yes, even me. They are the comfiest jammies I have ever had. It is softly snowing large, tree-clinging snow flakes, and everything is white and pretty. We are having copious amounts of tea and cookies, cranberry bread and coffee. I am reading a new book I got for Christmas, and am listening to my new favorite music (Gypsy Soul, highly recommended).

So how is your fourth day of Christmas? (My third day of Christmas was terrific, too. Feast of St. Stephen with Liturgy and a huge breakfast afterward with my brother, Stephen, my husband and some other terrific friends). Come to think of it, my second day of Christmas was nice, too, with 40 degree weather and a very restorative long walk with my sister-in-law.

Of course Christmas day itself was great, but busy, tiring and stressful. Now that all the gifting is over and the buying and decision making about how much and to whom, I am a new woman.

Our Christmas was bountiful with great expressions of love, both Divine and between my church family and my biological family. It's all been good!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Blessed Christmas to You All!!

Today the Virgin gives birth to the One who surpasses all essences, and the earth offers a cave to God, the Inaccessible One. Angels sing his glory together with the shepherd; for to us is born a Child, God in all eternity. (Kontakion for Christmas)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two Big Breakthroughs!!

Yesterday was a banner day here at crazyacres.

First, after dinner I told the "baby" (three year old) to go get ready for bed. And....

she did!!

She came running into the kitchen, arms over her head at a "V" angle, hands open wide, a wide stance with her legs, "TA DA"! she hollered.

She had even remembered a pull-up, and to put her discarded clothes in the hamper.

A happy, sad moment for me. A very exciting moment for her.

Next, my 9 year old son has been struggling with reading for 3 years. He is still reading at a first grade level, and although he is constantly making progress it is s-l-o-w. We both have fought with discouragement, but what else can you do but keep going?

So, last night, my husband showed my son a favorite book from his childhood, "Little Bear". They read it together, alternating pages, and you could almost hear the "CLICK" when it happened. All of a sudden, out of the blue, my son read the story. And he kept on reading, and kept on reading. He finished the entire story, on his own, and right this very minute, is reading the next one in the book. Up til now, the only book he had ever read is "Hop on Pop", and that was just a few weeks ago.

I can not tell you how much this means to me, to his dad, and to my son. The look on his face when he said, "Mom, can I read you a story?" was simply delicious.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Winner...

Veronica nailed the "quiz".

I was trying to come up with a screen name, and being attacked by inertia due to my perfectionist tendencies. SO, my kids were at that time watching "Mary Poppins", and at that particular scene the nursery was cleaning itself. That's when I thought, Mary Poppins, NOT. Nothing cleans itself around here, that is for certain.

So, Veronica, e-mail me your address, and I'll get a little prize off to you soon (it may be after Christmas, though. No promises.)

I'm at reeree at mchsi dot com.

Oh, and it's not to late to add a comment on my anniversary post. I have absolutely loved getting them, meeting some new bloggers, as well as spending times with my dear old friends. I'll be working on my blog roll after Christmas, so if you leave a comment there, you'll make the list.

Let it Snow

New Christmas music report:

Chanticleer: Let it Snow

Love. It.

Now, off I dash to keep preparing for the BIG DAY!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


How come no one TOLD me I had a typo in the title of a recent post. Chirstmas? Sheesh.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Three years ago...

...I decided to just do it, already, and start a blog. Who cares if the name isn't perfect, or if my user name isn't clever and perfect. A detail like that could have hung me up for months, but that day, I just said, "Self, get over yourself" and dove in.

So I have a yearly bleg from my readers. As I have mentioned before, I do not have a stat counter or any other sort of high tech thingy to tell me how many people visit here. So today, just once a year, I ask if you could please leave a little comment, a simple hello, hi, good day, or whatever, so I can get a whole bunch of affirmation. =) I will be reconstructing my blog roll soon, and this would also give me a terrific place to begin compiling the list.

It's funny, when I started blogging, I thought I was late to the party and was joining the company of many established blogs. But now I notice three year anniversary posts around and realized many of us started at the same time.

Blogging has been a marvelous, fun, enlightening, and endearing activity. I was thinking of all the people that have gone, like Akeya, Mere's mom, M'lynn, and Philothea Rose (who was my first commenter), a lady in Las Vegas, Suz, and others. That is one of the hardest parts of blogging. People just disappear. But, the input and encouragement from everyone, those that have left the blogoshpere, and those who visit and comment currently, have assisted me greatly in my quest to become a better woman.

The pitfalls? Time gobbled up if I am not careful, the feeling of pouring out my soul, and getting minimal feedback, or wondering if all this desire for being noticed and befriended is even healthy.

The benefits for me have been that I have met some wonderful, lovely people, have made friendships I believe will last long after blogging is finished, and the daily encouragement to be better, love more, live fully. As a counter-cultural family, I appreciate the ability to see and know I am not alone in they way I am trying to live out my vocation. I appreciate that more that you will ever know.

So, again, please drop me a note. In honor of the occasion I will turn off the annoying little letter thingy (comment verification) for a while.

Does anyone know, or care to guess how I chose the name Mary Poppins NOT? There might be a prize involved.

***UPDATE*** Thank you, guys! Sorry I've been absent, but my internet is spotty. Once we get it fixed, I'll be back more regularly.
(photo credit: my brother took this picture at my last birthday)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chirstmas really is coming!

I am in utter and complete denial that I have only 12 days to get ready for Christmas. I think I will fall back on my insistence that Christmas doesn't end on Christmas day, it just begins. Christmas cards can go out on the day after Christmas. I can send my God children a Frosty Gift card from Wendy's and get that done by tomorrow. I can get one box of decoration out today, and put them up. I can go grocery shopping today, and begin baking tomorrow. This actually sounds doable.

The nice thing is we do not have high expectations to meet here, gift wise. I started a long time ago breaking up the Christmas extravaganza over 3 feast days: St. Nicholas Day, Christmas, and 3 Kings day. The kidlets get a few things each of the 3 days, and lots of group gifts, to keep the clutter down. We have good food, music, and this year, I am allowing the older kids to have their own party. I think they are more excited about that then getting gifts, to be honest.

So, today, I am off to complete a doable amount of preparation, and am determined to go with the day instead of trying to wrestle it to the ground.

May your day be blessed!

(Check out Los Straightjackets Christmas music. Totally gets me in the mood to move)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

by Request

Oatmeal/Cherry/Walnut Cookies

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I actually add more, closer to 1 teaspoon)
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups flour
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup coarsly chopped walnuts (I use halves and quarters).

Heat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients except oats, flour, cherries and walnuts. When creamy, add oats, flour, cherries and walnuts. Mix.

Place by spoonful (I use a small ice cream scoop) onto cookie sheet and bake 10 min for soft cookies, 12-13 minutes for crisp cookies. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

You can put the dough in a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 pan and make bar cookies. Or halve the recipe and put them in an 8 x 8 pan.


My new Advent Favorite thing:

My home made oatmeal/cherry/walnut cookies with Trader Joe's White Pomegranate tea.

Too good for words.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Well, like I said to Jennifer, I should just hang up this blog and send everyone her way. Today she describes what I have been experiencing to a T. I have got to get the weight of this flippin' world off my shoulders. I have got to trust. This post is brilliant. Here's an excerpt that Jennifer took from St. Francis de Sales. I think I'm gonna have to get this book. Or, just get the good stuff from Jennifer. Anyway, here's the part the really hit the mark:

With the single exception of sin, anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to a soul.

and this:

When you perceive that anxiety begins to affect your mind, recommend yourself to God. Resolve to do nothing that your desire insists on until your mind has regained peace, unless it is something that cannot be put off. In that case you must meekly and calmly try to check the current of your desires and restrain and moderate them as much as possible.

and lastly, this:

If it is out of love for God that the soul seeks escape from its troubles, it will do so patiently, meekly, humbly, and calmly and look for deliverance rather by God's providence that its own efforts...If it seeks deliverance out of self-love then, as if success depended on itself rather than on God, it will excite and wear itself out...Now if it does not immediately succeed in the way it wants it grows very anxious and impatient. Instead of removing the evil, it increases it and this involves the soul in great anguish and distress together with such loss of strength and courage that it imagines the evil it be incurable. [This] produces anxiety, and anxiety in turn produces sadness.

That last part, if I could highlight, circle, bold, star and make it flash, I would. That is me. First, I am relieved to get a diagnosis. But I am DISAPPOINTED that I find myself in this place, still, again, whatever. Have I made no progress? How can it be I have felt such intimacy with God, and then look around, and here I am again, anxious and sad?

Oops, there I go again, trying to heave-ho the heavy bag of my spiritual life on my shoulders. I have go to give it to God. And leave it there.

My motto, living life with an open hand has got to be more than a motto. I can envision a life lived where I completely trust God to give and take, and have utter confidence that it is all for the best good. But the urge to grasp, to take, to refuse to let go is so close it makes my fingers twitch.

So I turn to the prayer of Esther : "Lord, save me from my fear!!"

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Well, my angst has faded somewhat, thanks to all that helped with their kind words. I realized that I needed to pay a little more attention to taking good care of my temple. I hadn't been getting enough sleep, exercise, or water. And I had been eating too much sugar and not enough protein.

That, and really coming to terms with the hole that was left in my life when some very important things changed. My relationships have undergone some significant transformations, and I am realizing that the metanoia post I wrote has something to do with this. It's really all about love. And when love is more a decision than a feeling, it can be frightening. When feelings obscure what good is being done, because it feels like a challenge, then it's time to pay less attention to the feelings, and more to the stuff of life.

Hope's comment, "How have I loved today?" was very, very helpful. Another friend pointed out to me that there is a normal grief when a friendship changes, and I had really been trying to dodge that bullet. I have to trust that this "fading" friendship is all working out for the best, because God loves me and wants something else from me. The lonely feelings, maybe I am to turn to Him more? Maybe I am to help someone else now? Maybe I am just pouring my love into a larger vessel, and now that is why I can feel so empty?

I am fortunate to have such a steady supply of love here in my home. Everywhere I turn, there is another child I love with all my heart. It really doesn't get any better than this. I heard this famous quote today, and it sounded new to my tired heart:

Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s
Simple Way of Holiness.

The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace.

Kids will make dolls out of anything.

Lisa, I will do a lengthy post about St. Nicholas later this weekend.

But first I have to get this down before I forget.

One of the gifts the kiddos received for St. Nicholas day was a pack of balloons.
Once all the big ones were blown up, played with and popped, only small balloons were left. So the little 3 kids had me blow them up and tie them, then drew faces on them, and are now proceeding to play house with 5 or six little balloons. The fatter balloons are the mom and dad, and then there are 4 "children". They are discussing work, getting jobs, making money, buying food and what sort of clothes balloon people wear. The "mom" is disciplining a "sister" for hitting her other "sister". She is being very fair and very gentle. And the "mom" keeps saying, "O, I am so busy right now. Please, honey, get along." And on they go with nary a raised voice. Boy to my kids have some GOOD imaginations =).

I never. never. imagined that this is what they would do with the balloons. It is wonderful to be surprised by happy children this late in my mothering career.

I wonder what they will do if one of the "family" pops?

UPDATE: I was just informed that the balloon family met a tragic, violent end when a pen monster attacked them while they were at the grocery store. RIP.
(This is what happens when the 5 year old brother plays with the little girls.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Good St. Nicholas!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

No self-esteem issues here

Oh, yea, here's a cute thing I don't want to forget. While on her regular 3 a.m. pilgrimage to our bed, our 3 year old climbs in and snuggles up. Softly she says, "I like you, mama." I reply, "I like you, too."

Her answer?

"I know. Everyone likes me."

Oh, to be a child.

Holiday Havok

The holiday havok has hit me once again. I am stuck in the rut of all ruts, where my head is swirling with "must do's", "wish I could's" and "Oh, Dear Lord, how am I going to get all this done?". This happens every year at this time. Buying gifts on a very limited budget, stress. Watching the kids get so excited in anticipation, fear (what if I don't meet their expectations?), keeping school going here while trying to plan Christmas decorating, baking, cards, parties, Advent activities, AND, try to work in a walk or two (hasn't happened lately), make dinner, shop, do the blankety-blank laundry, make time to read aloud as my children are growing up everyday, have literally 5 out of 7 children inform me Sunday before church they don't have any socks, and by the way, their shoes are too small. I feel like I am going to explode! A friendship I depended on dearly has faded, and left me floundering. Haven't mentioned my husband who is trying to get his footing again in a job change, who needs my encouragement and support, and where do I get that from? Where is this endless stream of energy supposed to come from where I can attend to everyone's needs well, as well maintain some sort of "solid place" so I don't get knocked on my kiester. I know it's bad when every. single. Christmas carol I listen to brings tears to my eyes. The stark contrast to what the songs are about, and what my life is, breaks my heart.

I hate to whine and complain, but maybe someone has some magical piece of advice regarding how to begin to get my footing.

My poor little neglected icon wall is waiting to get the candles lit and I'll light a little incense and rest there a while. Tonight is vespers for the feast of St. Nicholas, which includs an anointing, which I am so looking forward to. Then its back to the battle. I am feeling much less than soldier like, to be sure.

So, a bit of anti-holiday cheer today. Maybe it was better yesterday when I had nothin'!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

sorry everyone. I got nothin'.

I tried. Got nothin'.

I'll try again later.