Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Prayers Please

In just 3 days James will be heading around the world to Uganda. He was there last summer for 3 weeks for work and is going back now for even longer...4 weeks.

He will be greatly missed in our home. He is the head of our house and supports us all in so many ways. It will be a challenge to have the VISIBLE source of strength far away. We'll chat and email but it won't be the same. I try not to complain to much. I try to be strong. I remind myself constantly of those wives who go without their husbands for 9-18months when serving in military all over the world. One month is nothing compared to that. But it is hard nonetheless.

I would appreciate your prayers and so would the children.

Please pray for safe travels and health while in Uganda for James as well.

Thank you so much.

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Living In Christ" Part 2

I really feel that I have been missing out so much because I have not studied the scriptures...hardly at all. I haven't moved past chapter 2 of this book yet. It's only 5 pages long but I've read it 3 times now, each time getting more. Going back to the study of scripture and the importance of it I want to share some more from this chapter. I'm not sure why I never really gave too much time and attention to studying the scriptures, I'm just not sure at all. But this next portion I will share really has me looking at things differently.

Even St. Anthony the Great and St. Pachomius, two great founders of monasticism, who did not have backgrounds in secular learning, insisted on the necessity of study. St. Anthony, who could not read, based his whole life on the impact of the Scripture readings he heard and memorized by attending Church from the time he was a young child. Pachomius insisted his monks be taught to read and that they spend every possible free moment memorizing the Scriptures; the Psalms and the entire New Testament were the required minimum. They were to recite these as they worked, walked, etc., as modern monastics might recite the Jesus Prayer.

Living in Christ: Essays on the Christian Life by an Orthodox Nun

I can tell you that the study of Scripture just moved from the middle/bottom of the home school curriculum all the way to the top of the list!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Living In Christ"

I’m reading Living In Christ: Essays on the Christian Life by an Orthodox Nun

I just picked it up at the Church library because it looked good. I actually picked up the sequel first thinking that it looked really good and I can’t wait to read it, but I decided to read this first because she wrote it first. I just thought that while I read it I might quote from it now and again. Most of my posting goes on over at St. Brigid Farm nowadays and this will fill in here as to not completely abandon it.

Chapter 2 is titled “Prayer and Life.”

“That we may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 In these words the Lord speaks of what He desires for all of us; indeed of what he desires for the whole of His creation.

Prayer is the only way. But only as we pray in the Lord’s own Spirit of truth will our prayer be the doorway to abundant life. There are many forms of artificial prayer that lead us to dead ends. We can get so involved in the external mechanisms of prayer that we lose sight of the goal. It is possible even to worship ideas of prayer and lose the living God in the process.

*light bulb goes on over head* Whoa! Is that what has happened?

Prayer is nothing other than bringing our whole self, heart, mind and body, before God, that He may in turn fill us with His own abundant life. This is an effort that takes the whole of our lives and demands everything we can possibly bring to it. We must strive with every ounce of our effort, knowing that when we do so it is God who is working within us. … We must learn to use our minds rightly.

The great saints and fathers of the Church, such as the theologians, St. Basil, St. Gregory and St. John Chrysostom, and their successors, St. Gregory Palamas, the great champion of hesychastic prayer, had a solid foundation in secular studies. Moreover, their minds and consciences were trained through the study of the Old and New Testaments, the lives and writings of the saints and the liturgical texts of the Church.
Until very modern times, study meant getting as much "by heart" as possible. Today, television and education may leave us nearly incapable of memorizing words, let alone knowing them so well that we continually ponder them in our hearts.

The Lord told us: "Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) More and more, we should be able to speak from these riches rather than out of the poverty of our hearts. We will learn to test our hearts by hearing how busy our mouths are in "normal" conversations with our self-centered thoughts, complaints and wishes rather than with the truth and beauty of God.

another light...along with a loud knocking on the head*
How much of scripture do I have engraved in my heart? How much of the writings of the saints and liturgical texts do I have engraved in my mind? What have I been missing all these years? Years!?
More tomorrow. I'm going to wrap my ill-trained mind around this a little bit more.

(bolded parts are my emphasis)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grandma's Respite

The other day I asked my mom if she ever remembers her mom taking time out each day to read scripture or did they do it as a family. It really was a dumb question if I had thought about it long enough for my grandfather was a minister and I remember my grandma so very well. I also have her bible and it’s pretty amazing. I asked the question nonetheless and her reply was, “We had evening family devotional - Mom would read during the day - I remember BEST as I got older - I think her Bible was always open on the table at HER spot! Wow! That is so cool!

This is what I imagine my grandma’s “spot” looked like. She would have refreshment and other inspirational reading. As she worked through the day, I imagine her sitting here for a rest. A chance to connect to what was real and most important and than off to do more of what God expected of her. Be a help meet, a mother….a warrior.

This is what I see to be wrong with how I go about my day. My respites include this. How on earth am I to gain strength, peace, rest to go back and face the mounds of responsibility when this is where I come for my “rest”.

I love this example my grandma has left me. I love the look of my table as it is pictured above. May I be ever drawn to rest there at that seat, to pray and gain encouragement, peace, and strength from the One who can really give it to me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Contest

A Cowboy’s Wife is having a contest on her food blog! You can win a Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer and she’ll ship anywhere so everyone is eligible!

The Prize:

Hamilton Beach 4.5-qt. Eclectrics Stand Mixer, Pineapple Yellow

The winner will receive a brand new
Hamilton Beach 4.5-qt. Eclectrics Stand Mixer, Pineapple Yellow!!

About the mixer:

From Hamilton Beach’s “Eclectrics” line, this all-metal stand mixer comes with a host of accessories - a Flat Beater for cakes and cookies, a Dough Hook for bread and a Wire Whisk for whipped cream or pudding. The 4.5-qt. stainless steel bowl comes with a Pouring Shield that helps prevent splattering while in operation. The pouring shield has a built-in chute for adding ingredients. Powered by 400 watts, the stand mixer has a two-way mixing action to ensure all ingredients are incorporated into the mix. The quick-release, tilt-up head assists when removing the bowl. 9 x 14 x 14-in. When you’re ready for a kitchen re-do, don’t call in the carpenters! Instead, “counterscape” your kitchen with Hamilton Beach’s retro-designed, affordably priced electrics in happy, sun-saturated colors. Their “Eclectrics” line includes updates to those classic appliances from the 1950s. All of their “Eclectrics” are available in six colors: Apple Green, Moroccan Red, Pineapple Yellow, Intrigue Blue, Sugar White and Licorice Black.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Long time no post.

Well, I guess keeping up 2 blogs is a little more than I bargained for. Oh Well! I'm still excited about my St. Brigid Farm blog and am doing better at keeping it updated daily, at least the egg count.

So life in general is pretty chaotic but I am pretty sure that a lot of the chaos is really due to ME and NOT just because I have 4 kids and a wanna-be-farm. You hear so often "how do you do it?" Well, my answer is "most of the time I don't". I'd like to think I do but in reality I don't. And the reason that is is not just because of the four home schooled children or the farm but because I am so cotton-pickin' unorganized!!! And because I have been so cotton-pickin' for pretty much all my life, any attempt to make myself organized usually seems to fail.
Well, yesterday I finally realized (as I've started for the billionth time to make some semblance of regime and orderliness with my children) that is it NOT going to happen overnight!!! Wow! What an epiphany!! So instead of falling to pieces because nobody cares a lick about my "new plan" I will just take small baby steps towards making the plan work. There are parts of the "plan" they are already used to so we got that down. For the next couple of days we'll concentrate on another part of the "plan" and so forth and such until it is habit!!

Anyway! Enough said on that! It's been awhile since I've written I have got to tell you a story, a kind of accidental experiment that took place here in my kitchen!
We received a pumpkin pie from Albertsons grocery store on Dec. 26th. It said "sell by Dec. 28". We ate a few pieces and then it sat in the fridge for about a week. Then I took it out and sat it on the counter to be thrown away but because it has all this plastic stuff that is not recyclable I hate to admit!!! that it sat on my counter for another week, kind of hidden by the coffee pot. I took it out yesterday to finally fill my trash can with it and noticed that there was not ONE SPOT of mold on the entire 2 pieces that were left. NOTHING!!!! Normally I wouldn't have thought twice about this but it hadn't been that long since I had BAKED a pumpkin pie from scratch! For Christmas day (so baked on Christmas Eve) I decided to bake a pumpkin pie. I had never done this but was excited to do so with my own pumpkin from the garden. Pie from scratch and everything. It was done in such haste that I forgot a very important ingredient....the sugar!! Well, because of this no one wanted to eat this pie! It sat on the counter...but not for 2 weeks like this other pie but my homemade NEEDED to be thrown away after 3 days!!!!! It was growing!! 3 days!

Have a happy day!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I cannot believe it is 2008!!! In 2008 I will celebrate my FOURTEENTH wedding anniversary!, James will turn FORTY!, my BABY will turn SIX!, my eldest will turn TWELVE!, I will turn 38 and last but not least we will celebrate our SEVENTH anniversary of Chrismation into the Orthodox Church! I am astounded! Where does the time go? How can all this be taking place this year? For the first time in a really long time I have given myself time (huh?) to actually think about these things. My age has really hit me for the first time EVER! (Despite the fact that I still get carded when I buy a bottle of wine....heehee) I'm moving into a new phase of my life. My babies are no longer babies and there are no more coming (unless God has a surprise for me), and everyone around me is having babies. It is weird! To say the least! A new phase! A time to grow! To learn! To love and enjoy my children on a different level. Before they leave for their new phases. I certainly feel like it is going to happen far faster then I would like it to.

Enough deep contemplation!

We are on 10th day of Christmas I finally have found time to sit down, relax, write, upload. We had a wonderful 10 days of Christmas. We were blessed to have guests everyday for the first 9 days of Christmas. Visits from missed friends and family. It was so good to see everyone and take the time to visit not only old but new friends as well.
Here are some pictures of our Christmas....
The four kids on the 2nd day of Christmas.

The girls got matching "pioneer" dresses for Christmas. They are so cute! This picture really shows how much Kelsey is growing up! I can't believe she is that much taller than Charissa!
James got this crocheted hat from the choir director. She picked the pattern just for him!

To really appreciate how it looks you have to see a profile shot as well. The colors were picked to resemble chain maille.

We got this for Christmas....

It is really fun!!!!! All the kids enjoyed it! As well as the adults. A closer look reveals "Collect $200" when you pass "Grow. It's fun!

I pray you all had a blessed Nativity.