Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lenten Resources

Ukok has done a tremendous amount of work to assist us in having a holy Lenten season. If you need something to focus on, or a little inspiration, check this post out. I have chosen one of her ideas -Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan. Blessings to all for a holy, happy Lent.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Good times, good times...

Such a great and busy weekend. My husband and I went to a Theology of the Body talk on Saturday. We were able to leave the kiddos alone, and they did beautifully caring for each other. We both came home encouraged in virtue, grateful for the gift of our marriage, and very proud of our children.

We had our home blessed with the water blessed on the Theophany (called Jordan water), and our new addition is now official, as far as I am concerned.

Lent begins today for us. Eastern Catholics do not have Ash Wednesday. We begin the Monday before Ash Wednesday with Forgiveness Vespers, where we ask forgiveness from our faith family for any hurts we have inflicted. I'll post some of the beauty tomorrow.

My next icon workshop begins this Saturday. I will be writing Our Lady of the Sign. Or I may do the Trinity. I will keep you all posted on my progress. What a glorious way to begin Lent!!

Please pray for my husband, who is still sick. Everyone else is better, and he just can't shake this bug. He is going to the doctor this afternoon, so hopefull some antibiotics will kill it. Thanks in advance. Blessings!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Divine Liturgy, continued...

Sorry I haven't gotten back to this, but The Illness took over here for a while. So now we take up where we left off, just after the Creed.

Prayer to God the Father

Priest: It is fitting and just to sing to Thee, to praise Thee, to thank Thee and adore Thee in every place of Thy dominion; for Thou art God ineffable, incomprehensible, invisible, illimitable, Thou and Thy only begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit. Thou didst bring us out of nothingness into being, and didst again raise up the fallen, neglecting nothing until Thou didst bring us to heaven, and didst grant us the kingdom to come. For all this we thank Thee and Thy only-begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit, for all the mercies, visible and invisible, which have been granted us, those of which we know and those of which we do not know. We thank Thee, likewise, for this liturgy, which Thou hast deigned to accept from our hands, even though there stand before Thee thousands of Archangels, and hundres of thousands of Angels, Cherubim and Seraphim, those with six wings and many eyes, who soar aloft, singing the song of triumph, crying aloud, raising their voices and saying:

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosannah in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosannah in the highest.

Priest: With these blessed powers, Lord, lover of mankind, do we also cry out and say: Holy are Thou and most holy, Thou, and Thy only-begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit. Holy art Thou and most holy, and most fitting is Thy glory; Thou who didst so love the world, that Thou gavest even Thy only-begotten Son, that every one who believes in Him may not perish, but have life eternal. Who, coming and fulfilling the entire mission for us, on the night on which he was betrayed, or rather, gave himself for the love of the world, taking bread in His holy, most pure, and immaculate hands, giving thanks, blessing, breaking, gave to his holy disciples and apostles saying:

Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you, for the remission of sins.

Response: Amen.

Priest: Similarly the chalice after the supper, saying:

Drink you all from this, this is my blood of the new law, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins.

Response: Amen.

Priest: Remembering this saving commandment and all that was done for us: the cross, the grave, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming,

Thine own, of Thine own, we offer Thee, of all and for all.

Response: We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we thank Thee, O Lord, and we pray to Thee, our God.

Prayer to God the Holy Spirit

Priest: Lord, Thou who at the third hour didst send Thy Holy Spirit upon Thy apostles, do not take Him from us, O merciful One, but renew Him in us who pray to Thee.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew within me a spirit of righteousness.

Priest: Lord, Thou who at the third hour didst send Thy Holy Spirit upon Thy apostles, do not take Him from us, O merciful One, but renew Him in us who pray to Thee.

Cast me not away from Thy face, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Lord, Thou who at the third hour didst send Thy Holy Spirit upon Thy apostles, do not take Him from us, O merciful One, but renew Him in us who pray to Thee.

Bless the holy bread, Father.

And make this bread, indeed, the honored Body of Thy Christ.

Deacon: Amen.

Deacon: Bless the holy chalice, Father.

And what is in this chalice the honored Blood of Thy Christ.

Deacon: Amen.

Deacon: Bless both, Father.

Transforming them with Thy Holy Spirit.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Priest: That they may be, for those who will partake thereof, unto the awakening of the soul, unto the forgiveness of sins, unto the imparting of the Holy Spirit, unto the attainment of the heavenly kingdom, unto complete trust in Thee, but not unto judgment or condemnation.

Again, we bring Thee this rational service for those asleep in the faith, Ancestors, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apsotles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Teachers, and for every soul that has slept in the faith.

Especially for our most holy, pure, most blessed, glorious Lady and Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary.

It is truly fitting that we bless thee, bearer of God, who are forever blessed and most innocent and the Mother of our God. Thou who are more honored that the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond comparison that the Seraphim, thou who undefiled, gavest birth to God the Word: thee, the true Mother of God, do we praise.

Be mindful first, O Lord, of our Most Holy Father, Pope Benedict, our Metropolitan Lucian, our Most Reverend Bishop John Michael, granting them to thy holy churches in peace, safety, honor, health, and length of days, faithfully teaching the work of Thy truth.

And of all Thy people.

And grant us, with one mouth and with one heart, to praise and glorify Thy most honored and most worthy name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit(+), now, and always, and forever and ever.


Priest: And may the grace of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all.

And with thy spirit.

Next, another Litany, and then the Our Father. Stay tuned.
(image from http://www.christusrex.org/www1/citta/B3-Cathedra.html)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Plague has finally left us

Thanks for all the prayers. I tell you I needed every one of them. As it turned out, baby wasn't showing improvement on Monday, and she continued to be very sick. Finally, finally yesterday morning when we woke up she stayed awake for a while, got out of bed and walked around a bit, picking up toys and muttering to herself. She and I had been sleeping either in my bed or on the couch, with me sitting up and her on top if me. She wouldn't consider sleeping in her bed, or apart from me. I wasn't really comfortable leaving her alone either, as she had a horrible cough, and a fever that would come out of nowhere.

She had a day or two of HORRIBLE nose-bleeds. I never, in all my baby years, have seen such a sight as going in to get her after a nap in her crib, and having her be covered in blood, from head to toe. I can't even remember all the thoughts that ran through my head, but after 10 minutes and lots of washing and nose holding and baby screaming and trying to calm down the other freaked-out kids, and calling dh to come home, I was spent. And I think that was last Thursday. And then it just kept going - she stayed sick, and the rest of them dropped like flies, even dh on Saturday. By Tuesday night, I was just in tears from fatigue.

And then the clouds parted. Wednesday, baby's fever was gone, and she ate, and drank without me forcing her. She played, she smiled. The others where up and about. We had family dinner last night. Only the hold out 9 year old if feeling poorly, and we'll see today what that turns into.

Whew. What a ride. That was the first time so many kiddos where sick at the same time, and having dh sick, too, well, I don't want to do that again any time soon. Worry and fatigue put together are ugly, and never since I had all seven of these kids has it seemed like so many. I told my mom, "It really FELT like seven kids was alot when they were all sick." She said, "On a good day seven kids feel like alot. When they are sick, it probably feels like you have 14 kids." That about sums it up.

Now there's just lots of coughing going on, and I am still pushing fluids. It's looking up.

Funny thing, we have this new addition, and all that. When everyone was feeling so badly, they all wanted to be in the same room. So the smallest room in the house, the den, was the infirmary. It is right next to the kitchen, a bathroom, and has the TV in it. Worked well.


Went through 4 jars of apple sauce, two batches of Tapioca pudding, 9 boxes of kleenex, 2 liters of pop, 5 containers of O.J.,3 big bottles of apple juice, 9 episodes of "The Lone Ranger", over and over and over, 4 bottles of children's motrin, a phone call to the doctor, 3 containers of Clorox wipes, and 2 new humidifiers.

Okay, I am going to stop whining now. All is well again, and I am grateful beyond measure. Praise God!

Monday, February 20, 2006

I am afraid I will be scarce for a while...

We seem to have gotten the real, honest to gosh flu. The poor baby is the worst, and has been miserable for 4 days. She is showing improvement, but now little 3 year old is down, 5 year old is down, 11 year old is down, 7 year old is just showing the begining symtoms, and 12 year old is getting better. 9 year old is holding out, and thank God for that so she can help me. Dh is down, too, and I just hope I don't get it. Any extra prayers for patience, strenth, and health would be appreciated! (I am still trying to stick to the "new me" plan, but have only been mildly successful. This reminds me why it was so hard to stay in a good habit for any lenth of time. Oh well, well get it together again when all is well.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Women's Work

Another Hat Tip to Denise at eight is enough. Below is an excerpt from her post on modern motherhood. Please don't stop there. Go, read the post in its entirety. You won't be sorry!

"If we must compare Women's Work of housekeeping and child-rearing to the Marketplace, we see that it is an uneven match. The Marketplace can't possibly compete.
In the first place, Women's Work is a parallel universe, far above and beyond the feverishly grasping Marketplace, so that comparisons in wage-earning value can't even be seriously considered. You see, the spiritual fortitude and superhuman commitment to the family that a wife and mother displays are beyond the compensatory ability of the Marketplace, and always has been. Certainly a Woman's Work is highly valuable, even in monetary standards. You try to hire a nanny/nurse/maid/governess/ tutor/cook/laundress/chauffeur/gardener, etc. to be on call 24/7! I would be very surprised if the wage-earner of the house could afford it. The Woman's Work would unarguably be worth a great deal of money.
Be that as it may, no woman would accept a salary for what she considers a higher calling. It would be like offering to pay your mother for giving birth to you. Or offering to pay your wife for lovemaking. It would be an insult. There is no adequate monetary reimbursement for Women's Work. All she hopes for in return is nothing more and nothing less than love. Often she realizes she won't receive her heart's desire, but she never gives up hope. Her work is a lifelong commitment, which she understands may not bear fruit until long after she has passed on. Of course ultimately, her Work is her Cross which she shares with One Person, offers to Three, and for which she will be duly rewarded in Eternity."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And so the journey begins...

Today I explained to the children that mommy hasn't been taking good care of herself, and that was making her unhappy. It may appear to them at times that it was they themselves that made me unhappy, but be assured, it wasn't.

So I outlined the plan. I need to go on a walk every day. They will have to hold down the fort while I go, and do so willingly, cheerfully, and without complication. In the long run, this will benefit everyone, including all the children.

I need to drink more water, eat better food, and get more sleep. The basics. I make sure my kids get all those things. Now it's my turn. So, today I did all these things, and it was good. The kids were enthusiastic about my plan (that should tell you how crabby I have been). Upon my return from my walk, my 9 year old daughter had written my list of needs on the white board, with this illustration underneath the list:
(Ayekah, do you see how LARGE the mug is?;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

"Little Skunk," said Cat, "I have a kiss for Little Bear. It is from his grandmother. Take it to him like a good little skunk."

Little Skunk was glad to do that. But then he saw another little skunk.

She was very pretty. He gave the kiss to her.

And she gave it back.

And he gave it back.

And then Hen came along. "Too much kissing," she said.
"But this is Little Bear's kiss, from his grandmother," said Little Skunk.
"Indeed!" said Hen. "Who has it now."
Little Skunk had it. Hen got it back. She ran to Little Bear, and she gave him the kiss.

The skunks decided to get married. They had a lovely wedding. Everyone came.

(From "A Kiss for Little Bear" by Else Holmelund Minarik)

Housekeeping, once again

I added Elena to the blog roll. Many of you already know her, of course, but please, go visit. She is lovely.

I also put up the Prayer of St. Ephrem on the side bar. This is the traditional lenten prayer of Eastern Christians. I am preparing for Lent, listing my attachments and a realistic plan for lessening the importance of these in my life. We have 2 weeks til Lent begins, and this prayer is a good one to prepare for it.


Monday, February 13, 2006

The question of a 5 year old

Today, my 5 year old daughter asked me, "Mommy, why can't we hear God. It would seem much easier to do things if we could hear Him."

I said we can hear Him, in the Gospels, Epistles, Sacred Scripture, The Church, those in authority often speak for God. We can hear Him if we are quiet.

I was a little dissatisfied with my answer, even though I do believe it was a true answer. I concur with the 5 year old, though. It would be easier if he just spoke to us out loud. For some reason, He chose other meathods. How do you hear God?

It has been two years, without her

It has been two years since my cousin died. Two years today. I am reposting the tribute I wrote for her last year. I also included some prayers the Byzantine church says for the dead. May her memory be eternal!

In Memory of Mary, my cousin, my hero, my friend

This week was the one year anniversary of the death of my dear cousin. She was 43 years old. She had been chronically ill since she was 12. She had so many surgeries I can't count, but the partial list includes a colostomy, wrist fusion, bilateral hip replacements, knee replacement, heart valve replacement, spinal fusion from c-3 down, and some I am sure I am forgetting. She never lived out of her parents home, and was able to get around just long enough to graduate as an X-ray technician, but not long enough to ever work.

She was the best example of Christian joy I have ever known. Constanly smiling, joking, breaking any awkward moments with a joke. This woman, who had constant pain, was confined to a wheelchair, and over the years had to relinquish every single hobby and interest she had, was a delight and a comfort to all she met. She had been quite a needleworker which was ironic considering the rheumatic disease she had eaten away most of the bones in her hands. Yet she was always stitching something. Some of my most treasured possesions are the needlepoints she gave me: one for my engagement, one for my wedding, and one for the birth of my first child. I also have a Christmas Tree skirt she quilted. These projects took her months, sometimes years to finish, and even now, as I look at them, I feel her presence. People would unburden their souls to her, and request her prayers. She took this very seriously. People knew she remembered precisely what they asked to pray for, because she always asked later how the issue was going. She was concerned and empathetic to all my litte trials, even though they never measured anywhere close to hers. She always prayed, always.

She was always so kind to me when I was little. She was 8years older than me, and I have always loved her. I have a photo of me when I was 4 years old taken after she had dressed me up as a bride. It is in my curio cabinet, next to the grown up version, on the day of my wedding. I asked her to be in my wedding, which suprised her, since she was in a wheelchair. No one had ever asked her before. The other two attendants were 7 months pregnant, and my cousin, who was always joking and laughing said, "I know why you want the three of us rocking and rolling down the aisle before you - nothing like two pregnant woman and a cripple in a wheelchair to make you look tall and thin." In addition to being in our wedding, she was the Godmother to our first born. She really was the Godmother to our entire family.

She was always teasing about her disabilities. She was a strong believer in laughter as medicine, her favorite being Bill Cosby records. Because she had an electric wheel chair with a joy stick, she told my kids she was the remote control cousin. She had a smile and a laugh I pray God I never forget. She laughed from the soles of her feet. She loved to make her own cards, never forgot a birthday, loved music and endured many painful exercises by singing at the top of her lungs. Another cruel twist she had to endure was about a year prior to her death. She had repiratory failure, and had to have a tracheotomy. After she recovered, she could no longer sing.

She had a near death experience during that illness that changed her forever. Before she received the trach, she stopped breathing, and at that time, felt herself float up, watching all the commotion. Then she heard the most beautiful singing and music, sort of like Gregorian Chant, but more beautiful. She said she felt such tremendous love and peace, and was pain free. She thought, "O, I must be dying," and then all she could think of was to pray, "Mary, Jesus, Joseph, I love you" over and over. Suddenly she heard a voice, but not through her ears, just in her heart. "Will you still suffer for the poor souls that have no one to pray for them?" She told me this was in no way a demand, and she felt entirely free to say, "I can't anymore." She was painfree, engulfed in love, and so happy. And it was that same love that led her to say, "Yes, if You want me to." Suddenly the pain returned, she heard the commotion in the hospital room, and was aware of the tube down her throat. Later, after her trach was put in and she could whisper a little, she told us about the experience. She said that as much as she is tired of suffering, she had always seen it as her vocation. Now this was confirmed. She left the experience with one gift - her fear of death had completely left her.

After that experience, some of her medication was changed, and she got quite a bit of pain relief, I believe she estimated 45% reduction in pain. She was able to feed herself again, and the day before she died, she walked with a cane about 50ft.

Last Feb. 12, I had a routine ultrasound done in my 7th month of pregnancy. I had never wanted to know the gender of my unborn children before, but this time felt quite compelled to know. It's a girl! Now, to choose a name. Early the next morning, I recieved the phone call that my Cousin had a massive brain stem stroke, and was brain dead. I couldn't believe it. Although she was chronically ill, we never thought she was going to leave anytime soon. Actually, we were afraid that she would just keep degenerating, and suffering for years, and who knew the terrible mountain she would have to climb. My initial reaction was, Boy, am I going to miss her! Then, thank God she didn't have to suffer any more. She died a natural death later that day, sparing my aunt and uncle the agony of disconnecting her from life support.

Now, my baby girl is called by the sweet name of my sweet cousin. I feel God was consoling me before she even died by allowing me to know immediately I could honor my cousin by naming my daughter after her.

I think of her all the time, especially when I see or hear something funny. She appreciated humor so much, and although I pray for her soul, I also pray to her, and ask her to pray for me still, that I may have the humor, courage and faith needed to live out what God has asked of me.

I miss her so much, and treasure my memories and reminders of her.

May her memory be eternal!!

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy and Immortal One, Have Mercy on us. 3 times
Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever, Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse our sins; Master, forgive our transgressions; Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for thy name's sake.

Lord have mercy. 3 times

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven.....

For thine is the kingdon, and the power, and the glory, Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.

With the souls of the righteous departed grant rest, O Saviour, to the soul of thy servant, preserving her in that blessed life, which is had with thee, lover of mankind.

In thy rest, O Lord, where all thy Saints repose, grant rest also to the soul of thy servant: for Thou indeed lovest mankind.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Thou art God, who didst decend into hell, and didst loose the bonds of the captive; do thou also grant rest to the soul of thy servant.

Now, and always, and forver and ever, Amen.

O Virgin, most pure and undefiled, who in a manner most ineffable gavest birth to God, pray Him that the soul of thy servant may be saved.

Have mercy on us, O God, according to thy great mercy, we pray thee, hear us and have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.

Again, we pray for the repose of the soul of the departed sevant of God, Mary, and that every transgression, both willful and involuntary, be forgiven her.

Lord, have mercy.

That the Lord God might establish her soul in the place where the just repose; let us ask for her the peace of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of her sins, from Christ, our deathless King and God,

Grant, O Lord,

Let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

O God of souls and of all flesh, who didst trample upon death, and didst overthrow the devil, granting life to thy world: do thou, Lord, grant rest to the soul of thy departed servant Mary in a place of light, in a place of verdure, in a place of rest, whence pain, sorrow and weeping have fled; and forgive her every sin, committed by word, by deed, or by thought, O good God who lovest mankind: for there is no man living who does not sin: thou alone are without sin; thy justice is justice eternal and thy word is truth.

For thou art the resurrection, and the life and the repose of thy departed servant Mary,
O Christ our God, and to thee do we offer glory, together with thy timeless Father, and thy most holy, and good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and aways, and forever and ever. Amen.

In the company of the Saints, O Christ of God, grant rest to the soul of thy servant, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor weeping, but life without end.

May he who rose from the dead, Christ our true God, through the prayers of his most pure Mother, of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles, of our holy and God-bearing Fathers, and of all the saints, establish in the mansions of the just the soul of his servant Mary, who has been taken from us, granting her rest in the bosom of Abraham, and numbering her with the righteous; and may he have mercy on us, as One who is good, and loves mankind.


May her memory be eternal!

(From the Byzantine Rite funeral service)

The doors, the doors

Hector asked a question regarding the Creed posting below, saying, "Why does the Deacon say, 'The doors, the doors, let us attend with wisdom.'?"

I will answer this with a quote from "Celebration: Reflections on the Divine and Holy Liturgy" by Archbishop Joseph Raya(+).

" The diversiity of race, nationality, language and social class, all men, women and children are created anew by the presence of God-Trinity among them. Upon every one, the Trinity imposes a divine form, a unique and indestructible nature beyond any difference or distinction. Within the Trinity's embrace, no one is ever an outsider. To make sure that our hearts and minds are ready to recognize the mystery God is revealing, the mystery of His very special presence and the wondrous acts of His love, the minister celebrant warns and proclaims,

-The doors, the doors!
Let us be watchful and wise.

In the olden days, they used to close the doors of the church and set guards around it so the those who are not of the faith, the catechumens and visitors, would not hear about it and be scandalized. Today, anybody can hear it or read about it. no use then to bolt the church's doors in the face of anyone. The conclusion some priest celebrants (or Bishops) do not say it anymore. They are wrong. No one in particular has the right to change anything in the liturgy. Besides, this warning is more necessary today than ever before. We have more doors to protect than ever before. This warning is necessary because the precious special presence of God and the intimacy of our relationship with Him are to be protected to flower and be meaningful. We have more doors in ourselves to guard than ever in the history of humanity. Our eyes, our ears, our mind and our heart need protection and watchful guards."

In the Western Church, there was the "Mass of the Catechumens", and all the unbaptized would be escorted out before the "Mysteries", the canon, consecration, and communion. In both rites, these have ceased to have the same function, but play an important role in modern worship none-the-less.

Thanks for your interest, Hector, and please, keep the questions coming. I am learning quite a bit!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

word cloud

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Proclamation of Faith

Deacon: The doors, the doors! Let us attend with wisdom!

Response: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty. Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. Light of light; true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; Who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Deacon: Let us stand well, let us stand in fear; let us attend, that we may offer the Holy Sacrifice in peace.

Response: The mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise.

Priest: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit (+) be with you all.

Response: And with thy spirit.

Priest: Let us lift up our hearts.

Response: We lift them unto the Lord.

Priest: Let us thank the Lord.

Response: It is fitting and just, that we adore the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (+), one in essence, and undivided Trinity.

Long Overdue meme

Wayyyy back, both Ayekah and Hector tagged me for the meme about the 5 people we hope to see in heaven and/or the 5 questions we want to ask Jesus when we get there. In an attempt to make up for my tardiness, I will answer both parts.

Five People

1. My little brother I never met, Pio. He was born early and died after a short time.
2. and 3. Carl of Austria, and his wife Zita. Two of my heros.
4. St. Nicholas, one of my best friends.
5. St. Scholastica, another best friend (see previous post).

Five questions:

1. How do you love me so much?
2. Why did you create all that is created in the first place?
3. Why did Lucifer rebel?
4. How did you create our universe?
5. Did I turn out okay?

I tag Denise at eight is enough (you would think), and anyone else that hasn't done this yet and would like to.

Dear St. Scholastica

I missed St. Scholastica's feast day on the blog, but not in real life. Here at crazyacres, we have a great love for St. Scholastica. One of my daughter's has taken her name for confirmation. We are known to have large family gatherings here, and as most the people in our family have lots of children, we need the weather to cooperate. We also do an annual camping trip, as well as an annual trip to Six Flags. Again, the weather needs to cooperate. SO, our good St. Scholastica has never failed us when we asked her to pray to God for our weather concerns. Never. We just don't worry about the weather anymore, because we trust that the good God will give us just the right day. For example, Here is a story about answered prayers for our family regarding weather.

So, Dear St. Scholastica, sister to St. Benedict, thank you for your friendship. Thank you for showing us to love Our Lord, to trust Him, and to follow Him. Thank you for praying for us when we have important events, asking God's blessings upon us. Dear St. Scholastica, pray for us!

If you don't know why St. Scholastica has a particular fondness for weather, here is the reason:

"Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.

One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together.

Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother, "Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life."

"Sister," he replied, "What are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell."

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated. Sadly, he began to complain.

"May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?"

"Well, she answered, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery."

So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life. " (from Catholic-forum.com)
icon from The Printery House

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Feast!

Last night we had a feast! We invited a family over for dinner, a family having seven children (read: dinner for 14 children). I made spagetti and meatballs for the kids (with salad and garlic bread) and the adults had T-bones, salad, gorgonzola cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and bread dipped in garlic infused olive oil and a variety of seasonings. Oh, of course a good substantial red wine was included. For dessert we had homemade brownies, and cheesecake from Trader Joe's with good strong coffee. The kids had a blast, as the ages almost line up exactly. The adults had a wonderful time laughing, sharing and encouraging each other. It was lovely.

For Eastern Catholics, Wednesday is usually a fast day (optional, but encouraged). But this Wednesday we had a feast. The occasion was The Publican and Pharasee Sunday. Here is a description of the day from a friend of mine. He sends out regular e-mails to keep people appraised of the progress of Transfiguration college. If anyone is interested in this, let me know and I'll get you on the list. But, that is another post for a later time. Now, the Publican and the Pharasee:

"For those of us who use the New Calendar, this is the week of the Publican and the
Pharisee (Luke 18:10-14). Both men go into the temple to pray, but the
Pharisee brags about his good works and fasting. The publican merely
proclaims his sinfulness: "Lord have mercy!" The publican goes away
justified, while the Pharisee does not. In commemoration of this
parable, the Church commands us not to fast this week, so that we will
be reminded not to be self-righteous, but rather humble before God and
others. I recommend you look here."

Well, the blog fast is working well; I have gotten lots done, and managed to do a pretty good check on all my blog buddies. As per my plan, I have finished one cup of coffee, so for now, I must sign off. Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hello, my name is Mary Poppins NOT, and I am a blogaholic

Gosh, get a new template and disappear! As usual, my real life intrudes on my virtual one, and boy do I resent it for that. And this is the topic of my post today. I have been dropping the ball around here, kids are getting away with very little effort in school, no feedback, just, "Are you done? Good, go play." My 7 year old son is acting very atypical, doesn't want to go to P.E., choir, do school, or anything. I am afraid my lack of consistancy with him is making him feel either dumb or unimportant. Either way, the truly distressing part about this is I would still rather sit here, read blogs, think of something to write, mess with the template, etc. than go attend to the situations around here. Sort of like this is my avoidance techinique I employ when I am sick of dealing with my responsibilities. And if this were a paying job, I would probably get fired for that. So, I have to go attend to my loved ones, force myself to stay away from the blog for a while.

Here is what I propose: I will add posts only after 9:00 pm, if all the kids school papers are reviewed.
I will read blogs only during one cup of morning coffee, and then before bed, if all the school work is done and papers are graded. I guess I will have the earn my time here, not let it "cut in line" priority wise.

The reason I know this needs to happen, is because I keep making desperate excuses in my mind about why this doesn't really need to happen. Eeewww. Denial. I hate that. So, I will keep this updated with my progress, would desperately desire your prayers for my strength of will. Maybe I'll get so efficient, I will get other things finished, as well, like the two icons I started 2 years ago.

I know I owe photos still, and I will be posting those this week, that's a promise. And I will finish the Diving Liturgy postings. And throw witty little things out from time to time. And begin a daily exercise program, cut out white sugar, and whip this household into shape. Whoops, there I go again, setting myself up for failure. No, seriously, I'll be around. Please don't leave me! Wow, is that withdrawal, already?

Okay, I need to go. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel better.

Meanwhile, I hope you are all well, peaceful, and having grace-filled days!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Well, here it is! New look, same great content ;)

Thanks to Alexa for all her hard work. Believe me, I put her through the ringer, and she rose to the challenge. Thanks again!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Just one last reminder...

New template debuts tomorrow, since the offical end of the Theophany Liturgical Season was today. ***Can't wait!!***

From my inbox

(Just make sure you aren't drinking anything when you read this. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!)

The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the month when all a
man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his very life into his own
This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver's license in
the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, or significant other!!

DANGEROUS: What's for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: Are you wearing that?
SAFER: Gee, you look good in brown.
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: What did I do wrong?
SAFEST: Here's fifty dollars.
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know, there are a lot of apples left.
SAFEST: Can I get you a glass of wine with that?
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some chocolate.

DANGEROUS: What did you do all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn't overdo it today.
SAFEST: I've always loved you in that robe!
ULTRASAFE: Here, have some more chocolate.

13 Things PMS Stands For:
1. Pass My Shotgun
2. Psychotic Mood Shift
3. Perpetual Munching Spree
4. Puffy Mid-Section
5. People Make me Sick
6. Provide Me with Sweets
7. Pardon My Sobbing
8. Pimples May Surface
9. Pass My Sweatpants
10. Pissy Mood Syndrome
11. Plainly; Men Suck
12. Pack My Stuff...... ..And my favorite one...
13. Potential Murder Suspect

Pass this onto all of your hormonal friends and those who might need a
good laugh! Or men who need a warning! And remember: Money talks...but
chocolate sings.

Another thing to giggle about... My husband, not happy with my mood
swings, bought me a mood ring the other day so he would be able to
monitor my moods. When I'm in a good mood, it turns green. When I'm in
a bad mood, it leaves a big red mark on his forehead. Maybe next time
he'll buy me diamonds.

Here have some chocolate.


Give a big crazyacres welcome to Denise over at Eight is Enough. This lady is a dear and wonderful friend, my mentor and guide in motherhood, and an inspiration through and through. Not to mention witty, charming and gorgeous!! If she weren't so genuine, I would be too jealous to be her friend. But, alas, she is true. Stop on over and tell her I sent 'ya. Thanky =0)

After the Great Entrance

Deacon: Let us complete our prayers to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the precious gifts offered here, let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this holy house, and for those who with faith, reverence, and in the fear of God enter it, let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:That we may be delivered from all distress, wrath, tribulation and want, let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Preserve, help, save and have mercy on us, O God, by Thy grace.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: The entire day, perfect, holy, peaceful and without sin, an angel of peace, the faithful guide and guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask from the Lord.

Response: Grant us, O Lord.

Deacon: Mercy and forgiveness of our sins and trespassess, that which is good and profitable for our souls, and peace for the world, let us aske from the Lord.

Response: Grant us, O Lord.

Deacon: That we may spend the rest of our lives in peace and in pennance, and for a Christian end to our lives, without pain, unashamed, and peaceful, and a good defense at the fearsome judgment of Christ, let us ask from the Lord.

Response: Grant us, O Lord.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary, together with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and our entire lives, to Christ our God.

Response: To Thee, O Lord.

Priest: (Quietly) Lord God Almighty, who alone art holy and receivest the sacrifice of praise from those who call upon Thee with their whole heart; receive also this prayer for us sinners, and carry it to the holy altar; make us worthy to bring Thee gifts and spiritual sacrifices for our sins anf for the ignorance of the people; make us worthy, also, to find grace before Thee, that our sacrifice may be pleasing to Thee, and that the good Spirit of Thy grace may descend upon us, and upon these gifts placed before Thee, and upon all Thy people

(Aloud) Through the mercies of Thy only-begotten Son, with whom Thou art blessed together with thy most holy, good and life-giving Spirit(+), now, and always, and forever and ever.

Response: Amen.

Priest: Peace be to all.(+)

Response: And with thy spirit.(+)

Priest: Let us love one anther, that with one accord we may confess...

Response: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit(+), one in essence, and undivided Trinity.

The priest makes three metanies (reverent bows)(+), saying each time

I shall love Thee, O Lord, my strength, the Lord is my might and my refuge(+)(three times)

(Again, I italicized the already bolded parts that are my favorite, and that I use for daily prayer)

Next time, the Proclamation of Faith

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Addition update

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! It is now official! The last piece of carpet was installed! The last huge payment to a subcontractor has been added to our Loan (the immensity of The Loan requires capitilization), all the children are in their proper rooms, AND, we got our certificate of residency from the county (they are graciously allowing us to move into our own home). Photos will be coming as soon as I clean up my memory card, which is always full. Sort of like being out of film, ya know?

Cherubic Hymn, Procession of the Gifts, and Hymn of the Entrance of the Gifts

The Cherubic hymn is sung by the congregation while the priest and deacon are preparing the gifts (on the altar, behind the iconostas). While it is being sung, the acolytes, cross bearer, and other altar boys (one holding the incensor), followed by the deacon and priest, (bearing the bread and wine that will soon be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ), begin to process out the deacon door, down the side aisle, around to the back of the church, and up the center aisle. This Hymn concludes before the procession is ended. I will then add the petition that is said during the procession.

Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim, whilst bringing the thrice holy hymn to the life giving Trinity. Put away from us all worldly care.

(This is sung slowly, and is repeated until the entrance of the gifts begin. here is a link to a Slavonic version just to give you an idea of the "mood" of this lovely hymn)

As the procession exits the iconostas, the petitions begin.

Deacon: May the Lord God remember all of you in His kingdom, now, and always, and forever and ever.
Response: Amen
Priest: May the Lord God remember in His kingdom Our Most Holy Father Pope Benedict, our Metropolitan Lucian, our Most Reverend Bishop John Michael, and all his priests, now and always...
Deacon: ...and forever and ever.
Response: Amen
Priest: May the Lord God remember in His kingdom our country, its President and government, and all those who serve and protect us, now and always...
Deacon:...and forever and ever.
Response: Amen.
Priest: May the Lord God remember in His kingdom the founders and benefactors of this church, living and deceased, the servant of God (name of person), for whom this Holy Sacrafice is offered, together with all of you faithful Christians, now and always, and forever and ever.
Response: Amen

Hymn of the Entrance of the Gifts

That we may now receive the King, the King of all, that we receive the King of all, the King who is surrounded by the angelic hosts. Alleluia!

Next installment will be yet another litany, again, one of my favortie parts of the Liturgy.This will take us up to the Proclimation of Faith (the Creed)