Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Interesting,timely and very helpful

I stumbled upon a book I was compelled to order, pay money for and hopefully receive in the next few days. The Feast of Friendship, by Fr. Paul O'Callahan. I read a few excerpts, and will share them. This is very relevant to my life right now. Friendships have been the life blood during the last few years of my life, when turbulence has reigned. But friendships have wavered, causing confusion and pain. Friendships have been redefined, and therefore, become different in kind and distinction, and the shaking up has been painful. As I read these excerpts, I realized this was a topic I needed to study. One can not love without counting the cost if one is not very educated in the fine points of friendship. Stay tuned, I should be getting this books in a few days. Sounds terrific. In the mean time, here are some excerpts:

The Achievement of Personhood

Love, freely given, manifests the essential relatedness of a person to
others. Thus, the individual who cannot love fails to develop true personhood…. the one who loves fully becomes his own identity through communion with others….The achievement of human personhood therefore is unthinkable apart from the drive for communion. It is undeniable that relatedness is a fact of human existence from the
moment of our conception. We are conceived in the fire of passionate relations between two people. We develop in the nurturing womb of our mother. We experience our relatedness first at her breast, and then with our father and siblings, relatives and neighbors. We find out soon enough that our existence has occurred in the nexus of particular communities, and then discover the place of those communities in the
larger realm of the human race in the world. We venture into friendships, integrate into all kinds of associations, find lovers, marry, and beget children. Even the most distinctly biological aspects of our generation and socialization do not and cannot occur apart from personal relationships. When one becomes fully conscious, one recognizes the dimension of communion that is possible, may actually underlie, and is often manifest in such relationships. The highest and most fulfilling are those in which a genuine experience of communion between persons takes place in utter freedom: friendships and marriage.

The Creativity of Friendship

Because we allow our friends access to the intimate spaces of our hearts, we
place them in a position to deeply affect us…. They discern and seize upon our deepest spiritual aspirations and encourage us to strive more mightily to realize them than we could ever do alone…. They recognize our genuine gifts and talents, and embolden the humble expression of them….Fundamentally, genuine friends grant us access to the most creative dimensions of our souls by receiving us and reflecting us back to ourselves.

Issues and Problems in Friendships: Needs, Possessiveness, and Expectations

If perfect intimacy is to be attained and preserved in a friendship… certain basic principles must be honored. The first is the absolute necessity of maintaining distance in the relationship. We may imagine that the common dimension shared by friends exists in the delicate space in between them…numerous forms of over-identification can collapse it, such as possessiveness, inappropriate expectations….The freedom and autonomy of real persons are precisely the prerequisites of genuine friendship….one trusts the character of his friend and thus setting rules for his behavior is out of the question…. The development of highly specific sets of expectations among friends… at bottom…
betrays a lack of trust. It reveals the desire to regulate and control the other…. True friends relish the distance between them as much as the communion that unites them. This is because they recognize that the distance between free, whole, autonomous persons is the essential precondition of their relatedness.

(Italic emphasis mine. Pierced my heart, it did)

(h/t to Pen and Palette, where I found reference to and excerpts from this book

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Been busy. Very very busy. Icons, surprise 41st birthday parties for my dh, visit from my sister-in-law that included a trip to California Pizza Kitchen (yum), a fruitful trip to the thrift store, Chico's 75% off sale (sweet), seeing the movie "Juno", praying together at Liturgy, a nummy Sunday breakfast out, followed by setting up for the big party. Then the big party, that I "threw together" in a week, delighted my husband, and fed over 50 people Italian Beef and other delectable delights, and now, pulling my house back together.

To those I owe a "little something" in the mail, I absolutely haven't forgotten, just haven't gotten my act together. I will. I promise. Today.

And I don't have the time or the ability to sort out and put into words a spiritual imperative that has been popping up over and over and swarming me like a bunch of bees. The gist? Love one another. Like Jesus told us to. Any pain that comes in the process will be taken care of by the Divine Healer. In the meantime, just love.

It needs work, it need refining, but the call has been put out there, and now I just pray for the grace to respond.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have a love/hate relationship with Playmobile toys. I think they are the coolest, most well thought out and well made toys around. They fit in our family like a dream, and appeal to the wide age span of my children.


my children rarely play with the Playmobile toys they way they were designed. For instance, my husband and I got a super, super deal through a friend on the Airport. We had already decided to get the little boys the airplane, so we were so thrilled to get the airport. After opening the box, the airport was assembled, looked at, and immediately turned into something else. A fort, or castle, if memory serves. Currently, it is a modern seaside home, all glass and chrome, overlooking the seashore and nearby farmland, which uses the animals (even unicorns) from various sets we have. There is the animals from the Nativity set, the horses from the princess set, the war horses from the knights. I found other animals from other toys, as well, in this farm, as well as out of scale Matchbox cars and John Deere tractors.

The airplane is completely disassembled, and is being uses as an outbuilding at the farm ~ I think that is where the hired hands sleep. The Pirate ship, minus the masts, is docked at the beach at this estate, and the trees from the Princess kit are a far off enchanted forest, where a motley crew of pirates and knights and shepherds live.

The problem? This drives me nuts. I want the perfect airport to be set up and left together, with the airplane ready for take off and the pilots on board, with the passengers boarding. I want the airport to have the people in the tower, sitting at their computers, while the baggage handlers load the luggage. Said tower people and baggage handlers are currently sleeping in the "out building" getting ready for a grueling day of farming and keeping the pirates in the enchanted forest at bay.

Through the years, I have relaxed mightily about the toys, and keeping them together and making sure all the pieces were together at days' end. I think that stopped around baby # six. But there still is a sniggling guilt I get, knowing that before long, enough pieces are going to be lost, and the airport will never be what it said it was on the box.

But my admiration for the new and exciting stories that are coming out of this creative use of Playmobile has it's merits, and once let my "inner child" enough leash to see it, the guilt turns to excitement and all is well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rachel weeping for her children

Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

I am going to a special Liturgy today to pray for all those affected by the evil of abortion. I will pray that all the fear, pain, sadness, and regret will be banished, that the Divine Healer will accept all the crushed and humbled hearts of those broken by abortion. That all those in a crisis pregnancy now will find the comfort and security they need to allow them to choose life. That all those involved in the abortion industry undergo a change of heart and begin to see the human dignity of the unborn child. That all the siblings of aborted babies find the hole in their lives filled by Jesus Christ, and that all the women exploited by abortion will ask for and receive healing. Also, that all those working for the cause of life will find strength and courage, consolation, perseverance and peace, to carry on their noble work.

In Jesus' name, we pray.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Updates at St. Paraskeva

The link is in the sidebar. I have weeks one and two up. Enjoy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Winner...

I thank you all for your submissions in the caption contest, but the winner is the one that got an out loud laugh out of me. The winner is....


Contact me at reeree at mchsi dot com. Give me your address, and I'll pop a little something in the mail.

The winning caption :

If I have the sparkling grape juice, what does she have??

Quote 0' the Day

I have been far too busy to blog lately, but I have to share this. Quote of the day from my three year old daughter. One thing that you have to know is that as Catholics, we believe that when we receive Communion, we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Secondly, as Eastern Rite Catholics, Communion is received by children as soon as they are Baptized and Chrismated. Third, in the Eastern Churches,
leavened bread, that is dipped into the wine, is used for Communion.

Okay, now for the quote, spoken after Divine Liturgy, on the way out of church...

I am glad that God is food, because I was HUNGRY!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well, today is the day, my new icon workshop begins. If you could keep me in your prayers, I would appreciate it. You all really helped me when I did my last workshop. This is a daunting physical and spiritual exercise, and any assistance with prayer on your part would be terrific.

I noticed while blogging around that lots of people had a few days of a warm spell. Aside from the basement being a big hassle, it was terrific. I got all the fall clean up done that I had neglected. I was working outside all day, in short sleeves, in the sun. What a gift! It is cold again already, and may snow again soon, but I was so grateful for the chance to experience a little warmth.

I have been busily preparing for my workshop, getting all the boards gessoed and all my paints mixed and the studio cleaned up. I actually feel like a real artist, since I have paint and gesso all over my clothes. To celebrate, I got (at the thrift store) a funky green shirt to wear to the class tonight, so I can look the part. Have I mentioned how much I love the thrift store? I went there to find a container to mix my paints in. I have to mix a few base colors, as well as flesh tones, and in order to get continuity between the many little containers, I have to make a big batch. I also needed a tool to mix the paint thoroughly, and a rubber spatula to get the paint out and into the little containers. I found the perfect enamel coated 9x13 baking pan, a frosting knife (from Pampered Chef) and a spatula, all for $3.00. Previously I got 13 aprons there, for a dollar each, so my students all are covered up, and all the glassed for rinse water for a few cents each.

I heart the thrift store!!

So, what else. School began again. I love doing school with my kids, really, I do. But during a week like this, I have to use every fiber of self control not to let that priority drop in the ranking. Thankfully, I have been doing this for 10 years, and that last little fiber of self control has had quite a work out. But still...

Please continue with your caption suggestions in the post below. I have some good one's, but would love a little more competition for the prize.

I'm off to conquer the day (yeah, right). Here is a little something to take with you:

Again, we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, protection, forgiveness and remission of sins~

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

(See, I just randomly opened my prayer book, and that's where I landed. Blessings!

Monday, January 07, 2008

This photo is begging for a caption

Any takers? I have two other things to get in the mail to fellow bloggers, so why not make it three? Leave a caption and I'll choose a winner. Deadline is Friday at 3:00pm central time.

(photo credit: my oldest daughter took this picture of my second oldest daughter on New Year's Eve. Sparkling grape juice, people, come on!)

My three littlest cowpokes


I am busy preparing for another icon workshop. This one is for adults, and will begin this Thursday, and will be once a week on Thursday evenings for 10 weeks.

Of course, I have 30 gazillion things to get prepared, because I am physically incapable of planning ahead.

School begins today, as well, and Christmas decor comes down, and the basement is flooding (big melt here, lots of runoff). Deep. Breathes. Think happy thoughts. It's all good.

I will be firing up St. Paraskeva Icon Studio again, and will get the blog activated as soon as I have pictures. This class will not be as intense, and I am looking forward to weekly time spent with my icon.

Lisa, I really haven't forgotten your request for more info regarding icons. I am putting something together for my workshop participants, and then I will post it. Kill two birds with one stone, and all that.

So, I'll still be scarce around here, but will pop in when I can.


Friday, January 04, 2008

New Words of Wisdom

In an effort to re-order my use of time, I have spent slightly less time here on the blog. But, I do have new words of wisdom up on the sidebar. And they almost knocked me out of my chair as I read them this morning because THAT is my my struggle. I want to be successful at all I do. I need to be fruitful. Please, Lord.

Also, once again, go read Jen's latest post on ordering the day. Brilliant, I tell you. By jove, I think she's got it!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!! 2008, I'm glad you're here!

Happy New Year!!

Here we have a fuzzy picture of my "baby's" New Year Hat, a slightly better picture of one of my older daughter's hat, one of my hat, as well as the condition of our table post-hat making. We had approximately 18 kids and 10 adults present to ring in the New Year. We began the evening with Vespers for the feast of St. Basil, and closed out 2007 with an anointing (love that). Then we came back to our house, fired up the ovens and had food, fun, and frivolity. I got to bed around 4 a.m., and my lovely brother, who stayed over, made a BIG BREAKFAST for us all (approximately 6 extra children stayed the night, give or take).

Now, some of the household is off to Divine Liturgy, and others are staying here to put the house back in order.

This was a lovely, lovely way to say good bye to a year I am not sad to see go, and to usher in a new year, with all the promise it brings.

May you all be blessed!

(click on the photos for a better look if you want)