Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Finished Good Shepherd

Here is the Good Shepherd I finished. I gave it to my parents for Christmas partly as a thankyou for all the help they gave me in being able to take the workshops to learn iconography. The first year I went to the class, I was pregnant with my 6th baby, and the other 5 were 9 and under, so I depended on my parents for a lot of babysitting.

I am taking an icon break for a while, as it is a draining experience. When I choose my next pattern, I'll post it and then share the process with everyone.

I hope you all have a terrific New Year's Eve and Day. Our family is going to church for a pot luck and board game/hat making party, and then tomorrow off to my brother's to celebrate his daughter's birthday. Another full, blessed weekend. I wish you the same.



In response to some questions about the icon, the size of it is 12"H x 10"W. The letters on the left and right are the Greek abbreviations for Jesus Christ (IC XC). On His halo are the Greek letters standing for "He Who Is" or "I Am Who Am". You can click on the image to enlarge it if you want a closer look.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!!

I have been so busy here I haven't been able to keep up crazyacres. But here is a quick run down: attending Royal Hours, meeting my visiting brother at church and then having a great lunch out, going to a caroling party, working on my icon, which is finished now (I will post a picture of my finished icon next week ~ I am very pleased with the final result), and preparing the house for Christmas.

Today we are celebrating with my in-laws, and tomorrow with my family. We are attending Divine Liturgy today and tonight, and I am hoping to sneak out alone tomorrow to go by myself. I am so blessed with a full and rich life!

Until I return, I want to wish you all a joyous, peaceful Christmas, and to encourage you all to find the stillness of the first Christmas whenever the opportunity presents itself. It may take a little effort to recognize the stillness in this busy time, but it will be there! Many blessings to you all!!


Monday, December 18, 2006

A Good Shepherd Update

Here's how it is going so far. I still have to finish the gold leaf, the lettering, and some other touch ups, but its pretty close to being done. You should be able to click on the picture to get a closer look.



Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Well, Kate got the quiz right away, 12/14 is my bloggiversary. I can't believe it's been two years! I want to thank you all for giving me such inspiration and motivation to be better ~ a better Christian, a better writer, a better person in general. The biggest benefit I have gotten from blogging is coming to know all of you. The second benefit I have gotten is feeling more positive about things. I have a better habit of looking on the bright side than I used to. And finally, I feel the effect of your encouragement and prayers, and I thank you for that.

A bleg, if you don't mind. Last year on this date I requested a little "hello" from my guests. I don't have site meters or anything like that, so just once a year it's fun to get an idea of how many people stop by here. I have been having trouble commenting lately, though, so this may not work, but I appreciate your efforts.

I am still working on the comments from last week, but the pace of my life really kicked up a notch recently, and I just can't do it justice in the time I have available. As soon as I get a break, I'll get myself a big cuppa coffee and go to town. Until then, Blessing to you all and as always, thanks for stopping by!!


teasers and a contest

I have some catching up around here to do! I did notice, and will respond to these comments ~

1) "You are the woman!!! I really hope I can be like this someday.."

I have a charming tale of our Friday night just to show how NOT the woman I am and how I also hope I can be like this some day...

2)"What is St. Nicholas oil? I have never heard this. What are its origins, and what purpose does it serve? *Smile*"

I will explain this, since I know Mama isn't Catholic I want to explain it with some background information on sacramentals and such, so stay tuned!

3)"Hey, I thought the oranges-and-shoes thing with St. Nicholas was a Dutch tradition. Maybe you described it in your blog in some other place, but I'm curious: do you have a connection to this tradition in Europe through your family?"

I have an explaination regarding our attachment to St. Nicholas that will require a little more time than I have today. So, again, "coming soon"...


4)"I've never done this with my children, but then I never even knew about this tradition until a couple of years ago and then I think it was too late for us as converts, to start this practice, considering the childrens ages."

St. Nicholas Day is still one of my favorite feasts, and I don't think you can ever be too old to celebrate! Stay tuned!

and FINALLY ~~~

Any guesses regarding what momentous occasion is coming up tomorrow? First one to get the correct answer will get a special gift in the mail from me.

thanks for stopping by, and

I'll Be Back!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

St. Nicholas Day, redux

We celebrated St. Nicholas Day here at crazyacres from dawn til dark. Of course, the kidlets were up at the break of day to check out their shoes that they had left on the hearth the night before. Here is what they found:

It is a challenge for St. Nicholas to please such a diverse age group, but he succeeded heartily. He left each child a Beanie Baby, a Christmas mug with hot cocoa and poptarts, a HUGE chocolate bar, various Dove Chocolate candies and a clemetine orange. He also left a large bowl of clementines and more Dove chocolates for the mom and dad. Good St. Nicholas!

The family attended vespers the evening before, and was anointed with St. Nicholas oil. After vespers we read some children's books about St. Nicholas and had some fast-friendly nuts as a treat. We also set up our mantle in honor of St. Nicholas, and it now looks like this:

One of the highlights of the mantle is the icon I wrote of St. Nicholas in 2002, when I was expecting my son Nicholas. It remains one of my favorites, as does St. Nicholas.

After a breakfast of pop tarts and hot cocoa (I got my favorite English muffins and orange marmalade for the feast), the kids played with their beanie babies for a while while I exercised, then despite the feast day, completed their school work.

My 6 year old's choir sang a concert for a retirement home, which really added a festvie quality to our feast! After that I stopped by Trader Joe's for some feast food, and we enjoyed Pizza and Russian Tea cakes (made by my oldest 2 girls) for dinner, with even more hot cocoa.

St. Nicholas is a dear friend to our family, has been a prayer warrior for us, and all in all, one of God's finest gifts to us. Pray for us St. Nicholas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Christmas Meme

I have been tagged by Alexa. So here goes:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate, with whipped cream on top, and chocolate sprinkles if we have them.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa comes on Dec. 6th (Saint Nicholas). On Christmas day, the stockings are from St. Nick, the presents are from mom and dad.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I use colored lights around the interior of the tree, and white lights on the exterior. So there is usually 3 times as many white lights as colored lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but maybe this will be the year.

5. When do you put your decorations up? We used to always decorate the week before Christmas, but this year is different. I am tired of being an exhausted cranky Scrooge on Christmas Eve because everything piled up on me. So we still celebrate Advent, actually we beging earlier now that we follow the Eastern Christian tradition, and after Thanksgiving we begin, one box at a time, preparing our home for Christmas.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I don't have one, excluding dessert. What's this excluding dessert nonsense? There is no other favorite food as far as I am concerned. Honestly, I love Clementines, and only have them on the holidays.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: The excited feeling in my stomach as I went to bed on Christmas eve, barely able to fall asleep, unbelievable that its really Christmas TOMORROW!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember. I do know at some point (I was in fifth grade) I "figured it out" and came out of my room one night, crying because I felt guilty that I now knew the truth, and mom and dad hadn't told me. I was the oldest in my family and felt a huge responsibility to keep the belief alive.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My grandma on my dad's side always sends us the funkiest gifts. They are counter-intuitive (like oven mitts for a four year old), but funny enough, everyone's favorites. It's fun to see what a four year old does with oven mitts. Anyway, we always open my grandma's gifts on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? It's loaded with all my ornaments from childhood, each of my seven kids get one each year, and we make some each year. We need two trees soon!

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it. I don't have to leave the house if I don't want to, so I just love it.

12. Can you ice skate? Not really. I haven't tried since my body became a mother's body. Not sure how it would go.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My husband gave me a flute one year for Christmas. I used to play, and through the years and moves, my flute got lost. He bought me a gorgeous, silver flute, all reconditioned and shiney. I don't play it enough, but there is still time for that, I hope.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? To prepare my heart as a fertile place where Christ can grow, as well as making great memories for my family that are rich with eternal truths. I am vigilantly attmempting to banish all anxiety about the commercial Christmas from myself. So far so good, but it's still a ways to go.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Russian Tea Cakes, sugar cookies, and pumkin pie, with whipped cream.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Decorating the tree together, having snacks and hot cocoa, then on Christmas, getting up early with the kids to open stockings, and then getting ready for church. Then going to church (The Liturgy is the best of Celebrations), then coming home, breaking out the cookies and opening gifts. Then off to my folks house, with all my siblings and their families, and ham and hot friut and sour cream potatoes, and pie, and more gifts. Then everyone sings Christmas carols, and plays their new games, and drinks hot cider and chats and naps, and changes into their new p.j.'s and then, home. Ahh. It's lovely.

17. What tops your tree? We have an old glass tree topper that we used when our tree was smaller. Now we have a St. Nicholas that graces the top of the tree.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving, except if I am not sure if I got the right thing. Usually, though, I get it right and love the reactions from the giftee.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? God Rest You Merry Gentleman.

20. Candy canes: Banished from my home. Can you say S-T-I-C-K-Y?

21. Favorite Christmas movie? A Charlie Brown Christmas

22. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies and hot cocoa. This year, though, I think it'll be a hot toddy.


Lord, give me the heart of a child... and the awesome courage to live it out...

Well, ladies and gents, I am so very busy around crazyacres I just don't have time to write anything original. I have managed to keep walking and doing my spiritual reading, and keep up my duties around here, but it is always a struggle for me to keep my priorities in order. When I have time to check your blogs, I usually don't have much time to comment, but I have been retreating to my icon corner to light candles and pray for all your intentions.

Instead of an original thought, I will again share the wisdom of Catherine Doherty. This comes from the December issue of Restoration, the newspaper from Madonna House. I have pulled out a few sentences about Celebration, as we prepare for the birth of Our Saviour. May you all have a blessed Advent, filled with grace and consolation.

"Celebration is the song of praise coming from the heart of a human being and going to the heart of God"

"Factually, to celebrate means to bring joy and gladness into every step of our lives. Once this new dimension of celebration opens before our eyes, life changes completely."

"Celebration is a return to childhood... It is simply the ability to wonder again."

"Celebration is the dance of faith that man dances throughout his whole life, from birth to death."

"Celebration is the expression of hope when man walks in darkness, seemingly without anything feeding that hope, except his dance of faith."

"Celebration is love that brings to earth the song of praise and the sound of dancing feet. It is a light, which hope sheds in total darkness."

Oh, dears, there is so much richness in Catherine's writings. To adequately cover it all would mean to write it all, verbatim. All I can do is let you know that these little gems came from Dearly Beloved, Vol. 3 pp. 66-70, available from Madonna House Publications.