Wednesday, February 28, 2007

spring one day....winter the next

Two days ago the weather was just amazingly beautiful. We had sunshine and mild temps. I took a walk to take in all the signs of spring. Above you'll the hedge of black currant in my front yard is budding and even has some flowers starting to open. It's gorgeous!

Then today as we sat inside reading and playing we hear very loud patters on the roof. What do we see? Snow pellets, large bouncing snow pellets about pea size dumping! They continued until everything was nearly covered. Then they slowly turned into a gently falling snow. The kids had a blast! They even built a snowman out of it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Something I read...

I'm reading "First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew" by Frederica Matthewes-Green, during Lent this year. I'm just in the introduction which is quite long and read something I just loved! I must share...
She's talking about sin being sickness. The goal of life in Christ is to be healed...
This is really a long process. It takes a lifetime. But it is God's plan for reclaiming and transforming His world....
Though we may do many things to increase our self-control (like fast, keep a schedule of daily prayer, tithe, and sacrifice time and money), one of the main things God uses for our spiritual growth is other people. As they interact with us, frustrate and annoy us, we are over and over given opportunities to act in love. The main evidence that we are growing in Christ is not exhilirating prayer experiences, but steadily increasing humble love for other people. (
something she touched on at the retreat which I might have mentioned in my post regarding the retreat---is God speaking to me?)
The cardinal rule is humility. We don't understand humility very well in our culture; we're more attracted to a model of heroism, which deals out punishment to wrongdoers and wins admiration as a champion of the right. But this was not a usual feature of early Christian spirituality. Instead, even wrongdoers were to be treated with love, in the awareness that we are equally sinners....
So the goal is to avoid judging anyone, and steadfastly to resist getting angry.
(My favorite sentence is next hence the emphasis.) Other people rub off our rough edges, and so we grow into the likeness of Christ, who forgave His enemies from the cross.

Oh Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to they servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen (Prayer of St. Ephraim)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Forgiveness and Butchering day!

First and foremost....

As we begin this Lenten Season I bow before you and ask forgiveness if I have offended any or all of you, (my 11 person audience). May you have a fruitful Lent.

Secondly....the pictures below are not for the faint-hearted. Do not scroll further if you are a vegetarian (during lent only doesn't count-if you are curious about what's below). It isn't gross..I don't think.

Ironically, I chose to spend my Clean Monday cleaning (butchering) my very first chicken! I was very nervous and was not at all ready for this job. But a co-worker of James' was desperate to rid her coop of a mean, nasty rooster who attacked everyone and I was not about to let the meat go to waste. So after reading 2 different books on the subject all morning, James headed to Sharon's with pellet gun in hand. (He was warned that it was NOT a good idea to even get close to this thing.) An hour later he pulled into the driveway with bird in bucket. I immediately strung him up and went to work. Surprisingly, the roles my daughters took in this adventure were completely the opposite of what I would have ever expected!! Kelsey hid from it all saying who mean I was and Charissa was right there pulling feathers like a champ!
Below are a sequence of pictures. First of us plucking feathers. Second of the bird cooling in a bowl of water waiting for the "drawing"(a much nicer word for "pulling the innards out") and the last is of me and my prize. It went surprisingly well. Next time I'll remember to cut out the vent (which is where the contents of the intestines leaves the body) BEFORE drawing out.
I think I could get used this!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I interupt the post below for this public announcement.....
I just wanted the world to know that I love this man!!!!
He is my friend, my companion, my partner and the most incredible father in the world!!!

Thank you, James, for all you do for us. For always being there, for providing and for loving. for making my dreams come true!

Women's Retreat thoughts

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Vancouver, B.C where I attended a women’s retreat hosted by St. Herman of Alaska in BC. The guest speaker was Kh. Frederica Matthewes-Green! It was really a wonderful, relaxing and growing time for me. She is a very sweet, soft-spoken humble woman who had a lot to share and it was very practical and needed for me. I will share one thing she said from each topic. There is so much I wrote down I want to share it all but it may not make sense and the post would become too long. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, do.

She spoke on the 3 Basic Spiritual Disciplines:

  1. Prayer (relates to relationship to God)

Specifically she talked about the Jesus Prayer. She gave us several scripture where Paul tells us to pray constantly. Romans 12:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18

Here are just a few snippets from her:

  • Prayer is a spiritual exercise! Everybody wants to be transformed (poof) but nobody wants to change (work). Theosis is a process of change (work).

  1. Fasting (helps us gain control of ourselves)

This one is hard to pick just one thing. She talked a lot about our passions and bringing them under control and doing that by fasting. But why do our passions torture us so? Because the evil one. He drags us down, he entices us, he wants us to doubt God, he nudges us, tempts us, violates us, lies to us. He tempts us with pleasures and then plummets us into despair by his whispers of doubt and lies. He works very hard at this. Western Christianity does not take this seriously. The evil one is a joke. Fasting strengthens us against temptations. Strengthens us against our passions.

  1. Almsgiving (relationship with others)

If we want to test how we are doing inwardly (prayer and fasting) look at how we are doing outwardly (how we relate to others). If we are doing well inwardly it will reflect outwardly. We can’t always tell that our prayers are “doing” something to us or that our fasting is strengthening us. Sometimes we feel our prayers are dry but we force ourselves and we don’t always like to fast it gets old after awhile, but to test is to look at how we relate to others, we will be loving and giving more and more.

On another note…several people I spoke to had gone to the Getty Museum Icon exhibit. I WANT TO GO!!! I’m trying to figure out how I can get down there within the next 3 weeks (it ends March 4). I’m terrified of flying!!!!! I’d rather pack up my van and drive with four antsy children then get on a plane. Any suggestions! James said, “You are NOT going down there without me.”

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Flying the coop!!!

Today was the day....

to fly the coop!!!!

We were all so excited!

The kids lined up!

The dog stood watch!

I got the camera out!


an hour later...

they are still inside!

LOL But at least it's done!!!!