Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bridegroom Matins Kontakion

You know that this is the last hour, O wretched soul,
And fear the cutting of the fig tree.
Work diligently therefore at the talent given to you
Keep watch and pray:
Let us not remain outside the bridal chamber of Christ.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bridegroom Matins

Behold, the bridegroom comes in the middle of the night and blessed is the servant whom he shall find watching, and unworthy the servant whom he shall find heedless. Take care then, 0 my soul, and be not weighed down by sleep that you will not be given over unto death and be excluded from the Kingdom. But rise up and call out: Holy, Holy, Holy art T hou O God, by the Theotokos have mercy on us
(Troparion of the First Three Days).

This is really my first experience with Bridegroom Matins. I've just never really had the opportunity to attend.
It is one of the most beautiful services, it is solemn yet exciting because we are anticipating what is to come.
I love it!!! And I'm so glad that I get to participate in all 3 Bridegroom services. Glory to God!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm home but BUSY!

I'm home! It is good to be back home with my family and my farm. But I had an amazing time on my Lenten pilgrimage to AZ and my visit to 2 separate monasteries.
I want to share lots of pictures and share my experiences with you all but it might have to wait until after Pascha. Holy Week is upon us and we will be in Church more often than not, along with the many preparations for the coming feast.
If I'm not back before then, I pray this week of our Lord's Passion be an amazing blessing to you all.
Oh, how exciting....only 6 more days!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pictures finally and "I'm leavin' on a Jet Plane"

Yes, I finally have pictures from my last pilgrimage the day I leave on my new pilgrimage.
Please pray for Liz and I as we travel by boat (me), car (lots of driving in AZ) and plane. As mentioned before, we will be heading to first St. Anthony Greek Monastery and then over to
St. Paisius Serbian Monastery early Sunday morning in time for Liturgy. We get to see our dear, dear friend Sr. Brigid whom we haven't seen since she left to become a novice 2 years ago.
We come home on a 6:00AM flight Wednesday morning.

Here, finally are pictures from the pilgrimage I took my girls St. John the Forerunner Monastery in Goldendale, WA. We took our dear friend, Hannah.

Above the girls are at the stream behind the monastery and it was the first time they'd seen this because they are usually there in the summer when it is just a dry creek bed. They were so excited to see the water flow. Below they are on the bridge to an area they called Archangel Michael, which is the area that has the shrine pictured below.

Below is the outdoor shrine. There are some logs laying around as benches. It really is very beautiful. It would be neat to have this on a corner of my property.

They had 8 baby goats and here is the one they fittingly named Oreo!

Aaron, this is the picture you wanted to see. I was corrected in the what that headband is used for. It is actually a slingshot and it is easily pulled off the head and transformed into a weapon...the slingshot. He is quite good at it. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Parenting has got to be by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. Day in and day out there are so many decisions to make and I can't help but constantly feel that based on the specific decision I make, it could make or break anything and everything that I have decided up to that point. Lately, I have been doubting myself far too much. I have overwhelming fears that MY sinfulness is going to greatly hinder my children's path to salvation.

I had a particularly difficult day yesterday and so had some deep discussions with James last night. It was good.
Then this morning after prayers, I read the scripture readings for today, I felt that God spoke to me. In each passage the very first verse or two jumped out and spoke to ME.

He said...
Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it:
“ I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand;" [Isaiah 42:5-6]

Genesis 18:20
Okay, so I was SUPPOSE to read Genesis 18:20 next but when I went to copy it for this I discovered that I did not read that but read Exodus 18:20 instead. But it is what spoke to me so I think I need to say that God directed me here.
Then He said...
And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. [Exodus 18:20]

And He said, "Do that with...."
A gentle mind with humility is better than he who divides soils with the arrogant. [Proverbs 16:17]

Glory to God for all things.

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

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

55 Maxims for Christian Living

Fr. Christopher sent this out in an email. The podcast can be found here.

55 Maxims for Christian Living
by Fr. Thomas Hopko

1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord's Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not
occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church's fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheerful.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don't complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don't compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don't seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don't judge anyone for anything.
43. Don't try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don't defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully,serenely, because you know that God's mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.

I'm back...but not for long.

The girls and I had a wonderful time at the monastery. (I hope to have a couple pictures soon...I have to rely on James' laptop to get them and I just plain forgot to transfer them to this pc.) The weather was perfect!
We helped the sisters a little each day with a new task. On Tuesday we raked and raked pine needles off of their big lawn. It only made me glad I don't have a big lawn. On Wednesday we cut dried flowers for soap. And on Thursday we cut and folded little tiny tags for soap. Kelsey Anna and Hannah were quite the troopers. They attended all but one 4:30AM service. Charissa and I did the first one and found that Charissa is just not ready for that kind of asceticism (good excuse for me, eh?) so we slept. I did rise fairly early though and took advantage of a VERY quiet guest house. It was a long time to be away from home though. Too long away from the boys (all 3) and away from my animals. I couldn't wait to get back to attending the livestock. They have goats and chickens at the monastery but they don't like help with them, much to Charissa's chagrin.
As stated in the title, I'm not back for long. On Friday the 11th, I hop on an airplane with my good friend Liz and we head to AZ. Our plans were to visit St. Paisius Monastery and our good friend, the novice, Sr. Brigid. I haven't seen her in over 2 years now and it will be so fun to do that. St. Paisius didn't have room for us on 2 of the nights we were going to be in AZ so we decided to extend our pilgrimage and visit St. Anthony's Greek Monastery as well. I feel unbelievably blessed to have this opportunity. And boy, to think, THREE monastery pilgrimages in one Lenten season. Unreal! Never again (oh, maybe 15 years from now) will I have this opportunity!!!

Thank you, my sweet husband for granting this opportunity to me. And I will take this time now to say Happy 14 blessed, growing, loving and amazing years!!!! We've come a long way! And may God grant us many, many more to come!!! I love you!!!

As we come nearer and nearer to the close of Lent I want to share this great verse I found in today's Proverbs reading. It is the answer to our struggles of fasting....all we need to do is gather more often for meals together!
Better is a dinner of herbs with friendship and grace, than a fatted calf with hostility. Proverbs 15:18

May your Lenten journey finish with great renewal.