Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

With love to all.
From The Ferrenbergs

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland part 2

This has been quite an amazing storm we've endured. For the most part I LOVE the snow! But this part of the country is not meant to get this much snow (our yard has received approximately 11 inches). This snow will hang around longer than we are used to it hanging around here BUT it WILL melt much much faster than the ground can handle and it's not going to be fun! I'll enjoy it while I can though and share some of the beauty and adventure we've had.

First I want to say....Nicholas turned 8 today(the post is taking longer than I'd like to finish so his birthday was yesterday)!!!
The power went out last night and didn't come back on until this afternoon so after lunch we put a candle in a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup and sang "Happy Birthday".

This picture is looking up our driveway towards the house. This is after all the snow finally stopped falling. I still can't believe all the snow. And to think others had way more.

I was keeping track of this ladder, taking pictures of it throughout the storm. Here is the photo I last posted. The last picture in that series was 8AM Sunday, this one was taken Sunday night. Wow! What a difference another band of snow makes! Crazy!

I love this picture. I posted one previously from a day earlier. It looks so cool.

Some roof adventures through it all. I woke up to find the gutter down and snow starting to slide off the roof. It looks really funky, eh?

This is after James fixed it. Look how deep it looks!

James decided to try and go to town but first he had to get out.

This is the drive down Widme Road. They don't plow around here, except the major interstates or highways and if your lucky other main arterials. That's what's so frustrating me so much. I love the snow but not when they can't keep up with it.

This is in the Albertsons parking lot. Those of you used to snow wouldn't think much of it but my kids think this absolutely amazing!

My grass bush is covered with snow and it fell down to the sides and created a cool tunnel through it. Charissa discovered this. She crawls in the hole you see on the left and through a "u" shape to the right. Cool, eh?

I found this nail on the front porch and found it really funny how the snow collected on it. A nail!

These next 2 are just some trees in the front yard. They are completely weighted down with snow.

I'm completely astonished at how much snow we have and how long it is sticking around. Like James said, it's usually gone in 24-48 hours. Despite the fact that I LOVE snow and really miss my Minnesota snow, I am tired of this. I think mostly because it shuts the city down! It has to go away and typically goes away fast leaving an ugly, disgusting mess of mud. We haven't been to Church since December 14th. All services have been canceled till tomorrow and, OH, I just pray we get there tomorrow.
So, to say the least, it really grieves me that I see THIS in the weather report this morning.
UGH! If I was somewhere in the midwest (like between the Rockies and the Appalachians) this wouldn't be an issue. I'd welcome it. But, alas, it is not!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pictures of our Winter Wonderland

This is a rare occurance here in Western WA. So I just need to take lots of pictures and have fun with it. Here are 2 items I watched pile with snow through the evening. We are not expected to melt any of this away for several days and it is very possible it will still be here for Christmas.

After the mosaics are some fun pictures from around the yard this morning. I measured 5 1/2 inches this morning.

This is right out the front door. That round thing is the mini trampoline.

Birdhouse on the front porch. I just liked the look of it.

This is the chicken waterer in the garden. It's been frozen all week and hasn't been in use at all.

I need to get out and measure the snow on this lid. It has remained undisturbed over the last week so it would give a good indication of how much snow we've gotten in the last week.

I'm looking up our driveway at Mina. You can see our house in the background.

Kelsey Anna built this little snow fort by herself. She named it "Fort Snowy Mittens".

My favorite picture. The fence along our driveway.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sewing with the girls

We've been working on making Christmas presents and the girls have really been enjoying sewing. They've come up with their own creations and grandma (before she left) helped Kelsey quite a bit and now I am stepping in and helping them both. Kelsey started out wanting to make "cool dude" dolls for the boys but as we've run out of time I talked her into turning the one doll she has nearly done into a girl for her sister. When the doll is complete I'll post pictures but for now, here is the outfit we've made for the doll. She is really enjoying making dolls and would like to make a whole bunch of them for next year and maybe try to sell them at a craft fair.

Charissa wanted to get in on the action and seems to pull out fabric and randomly sew something so I helped her create something for the boys. I told her that they might like a belt to stick their swords in and so she designed something even better. She is calling it a "Jedi belt". She came up with the idea of pockets and so we used some old jeans and made both these belts in one day. She loves to sew. They have 2 pockets each, 2 loops for swords and several button holes to make room to grow. The boys will love them!

I am really enjoying sewing lately and hope to have many projects done within the next couple weeks. So thankful we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas so everything doesn't have to be done by the 25th. Yeah!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wild Weekend

We started out Friday with Winter Weather Warnings that downgraded into just wind warnings. Which can be a big deal where I live. And it turned out we needed the warning to prepare, I'm thankful I did. Our power went out about 2:00pm and was out for13 hours. We enjoyed a woodstove cooked dinner, drawing by candlelight and guitar music entertainment from dad.

As we moved into Saturday with renewed "light" we busily prepared for a house full of guests for the impending ordination on Sunday, God-willing. The temperatures were scheduled to plummet but they told us no need to worry about snow. Well, later in the evening Saturday it began to snow. We went to bed with the snow blissfully falling from the sky and woke to cold temps and about 2-3 inches of snow.

Those of you not from Western WA need to understand this just isn't something anyone around here ever gets used to, it only happens MAYBE once or twice a year and when it does come it goes just as quickly. So we head to Church 20 minutes earlier than scheduled just in case the roads are slick and arrive to find our choir director would not be joining us due to her one hour commute and too much snow. Apparently her area received about4-6 inches of snow. Our choir director in training, Nathaniel, (literally, he's been doing vespers choirs for about 5 months and filled in for liturgy a few times but never been to a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy before) stepped in to save the day. He did a FABULOUS job.
Reader James very quickly became Subdeacon James after a few prayers by the Bishop and a first Subdeacon "job".

Bishop BENJAMIN saying the prayers over James and below Subdeacon James doing his first job.

Subdeacon James, Nathaniel, and Walter did the Eis Polla Trio during the service. Walter took Scotts place (he's the choir director's husband) after only practicing it three times before service. He did great! They all did!! At the bottom is a video of the trio.

We had a wonderful visit with those of our friends who were adventuresome and came over despite the snow. Then I prepared to help my mom pack up and get ready to be on the 4:45AM ferry this morning. She's been visiting for 4 1/2 weeks and has become a part of the household only to leave us early this morning. We are all really going to miss her. Yesterday Charissa told her she needed to sleep in her room so that she could be near her just a little longer. She spoiled us all.
Grandma and Joseph cuddling on the sofa.

Now we have frigidly cold temperatures forecast for the entire week with another chance of snow on Wednesday and Thursday. This morning when I took mom to the ferry at 4:15AM my thermometer read 20 degrees .

Here are a couple pictures I had mom take after Church since we were all dressed up. It's been awhile since we've gotten a good one.

Subdeacon James, Myself (Susan Sophia) and the kids from left to right:
Kelsey Anna, Charissa, Joseph and Nicholas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weather, Bishops and uncertainty.

We have an amazingly busy weekend planned. The weatherman is guessing that we are in for a very big chance of snow and, for this area, a significant amount. The Bishop is in the area visiting all the area OCA Churches. Today he is in Seattle celebrating at St. Spiridons for their Feast Day. Later he heads up to Port Townsend for an evening vigil and Divine Liturgy in the morning for St. Herman's Feast. And then he heads back down to Poulsbo to be with us Saturday evening and Sunday. On Sunday, Rdr. James is scheduled to be ordained as a Subdeacon and another man at Church will be tonsured a Reader. We expect lots of friends to visit but now I'm not sure if that will all happen.

Winter Storm Warning

I'll highlight one sentence....
What makes this even more interesting is the temps aren't suppose to warm up. So if it snows it will not be going anywhere anytime soon. And around here we aren't prepared for that. More snow scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, but just a little. Most likely everything will work out just fine because they are NEVER right! But it puts a little anxiety into my weekend.

I try to remember the words of Mother Raphaela...."God is in control of the universe! Give it all to Him."

ADDENDUM: Warnings have disappeared, sounds like things should be fine for the busy weekend. Another chance at some snow will be later this week...we aren't suppose to warm up at all this week.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Birthdays celebrated

On Saturday we had a few friends over and celebrated Kelsey and Nicholas' birthdays.
I cannot believe how fast they grow.
Kelsey turned 12 on November 26th and Nicholas turns 8 on the 22nd of December.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Feast of St. Nicholas

Today on the Feast of St. Nicholas we celebrate the TRUE beginning of the man in the red suit. St. Nicholas of Myra is a wonderful and fun Saint to commemorate with the children. It makes me feel good to be able to tell my children, yeah, Santa is real here is who he is. We've read stories of Saint Nicholas all week. Last night they kids put their shoes out in front of their bedroom doors and they will have fun surprises in them. My dear friend Liz sent these to share with me and the kids will think they are really cool.
Today is Nicholas' Patron Saint day and since we became Orthodox (the year he turned 1) we also celebrate his birthday since his birthday is so close to Christmas (22nd). I can't believe he will be 8!

If you don't know the story of St. Nicholas well, here is the story from the OCA website. Just click on the life of the Saint.

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,
an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;
your humility exalted you;
your poverty enriched you.
Hierarch Father Nicholas,
entreat Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.

Troparion - Tone 4

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More on the search for Wisdom

Sirach says in 4:11-16
Wisdom exalts her children and lays hold of those who seek her.
Whoever loves her loves life,
And those who come to her early in the morning will be filled with gladness.
He who holds fast to her will inherit glory, and the Lord blesses every place she enters.
Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One, and the Lord loves those who lover her.
He who obeys her will judge the nations; And he that gives heed to her will live with confidence.
If he trusts in her, he will inherit her, and his posterity will be in possession of her.

The note in my Orthodox Study Bible says: (bold is my emphasis)
*****Gaining wisdom is not passive or automatic. Note the action verbs: seek, loves, come, holds fast, serve, obeys, gives heed and trusts.

The Lord shows me another answer to my question.....How do I gain wisdom? What does it look like?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Craft Fair

My mom and I had a booth at a Craft Fair this weekend, Friday and Saturday. This is the first time I've ever done this and it was extremely disappointing. A combination of things made it very unsuccessful: 1. advertising was terrible and 2. it was Black Friday and anyone who went out went to the mall or big box store, those who didn't wouldn't go out for ANYTHING. We did earn our booth money back and about $20 extra dollars. But I had high hopes to earn some Christmas money. :(

I thought I'd share with you what we were selling. If you see anything that sparks your interest feel free to email me with any questions (sorry for the shameless commerce )
susansophia.f [at] gmail[dot]com

Here I am sitting at the booth. On the far right you'll see a beautiful quilt that someone at Church hand quilted. It's a lap size quilt and we are raffling it off to raise funds for our Church building fund. If you'd like to know more let me know.
The drawing is December 17th.
The stars on the Christmas tree are handmade paper stars we call German Stars. They are folded and hand-dipped in wax and sprinkled with glitter. Beautiful.

My mom has been doing an old fashioned art called quilling. She has been working on this for a few years now and has gotten really good at it. She makes beautiful quilled art and frames it. Below you will see her artwork.

This Eeyore is one of my favorites. She has also made Tigger for Joseph a year ago I think.

And I requested this barn....I love it.