Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Admonitions for Parents finale...because I can't post everyday!

It's just too much work to post everyday! So I highly recommend that you go here to read the entire article (if you haven't already) and I will leave you with this one that is...well...wow!

27. I have said this so that you would know that God will not be condescending to those who are neglectful of those for whom He Himself takes such care. For it is impossible that one and the same God should do so much to save these (children), yet pay no attention when their own parents disdain them. He will not ignore this, but to the contrary, He will all the more fearfully display His displeasure and wrath, as it actually hap pens. Therefore the blessed Paul insistently convinces us, saying: Ye fathers... bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). If we [4] are obligated to tirelessly care for their souls, as they that must give account (Heb. 13:17), so much more is the father (obligated to do it), who gave birth to the son, brought him up and lives constantly with him. For just as he can find no excuse for his own sins, he cannot find one for his childrens misdeeds. The blessed Paul showed this same thing. Describing how those who have accepted authority over others should be, he requires care for their own children over all other requirements, so that we have no excuse for our childrens unruliness (I Tim. 3,4, 5). And this is perfectly just! If evil in people is from nature, then everyone would have a right to excuse himself; but as we ourselves are impious or honorable according to our own will, then what good excuse could one present who has allowed his son, whom he loves more than anything, to come to impiety and dishonor? That he did not want to make him honorable? But not one father will say that nature itself insistently and incessantly inspires him toward this. Or that he was not able to do it? But this also cannot be said; for everything—that he took his son under his protection at a tender age, and that he alone primarily has been given authority over him, and that he constantly had him around—all of this makes the education of his son very easy and convenient. It means that the childrens unruliness comes from nothing other than the insane attachment of the fathers to earthly cares. Paying attention only to earthly cares, and counting nothing to be more important, they involuntarily begin to neglect the souls of their children. I will say of these fathers (and let no one consider these words to be born of anger), that they are even worse than child-killers. The one only sunders the body from the soul, but the other casts them both into the fires of gehenna. Death is inevitable according to the natural order, but the second fate could have been avoided if the fathers neglect had not led up to it. Physical death can be ended instantly by the resurrection when it comes, but no reward awaits the lost soul; it will receive not resurrection, but will have to suffer eternally. This means that we not unjustly call those fathers worse than child-killers. It is not so cruel to sharpen the sword, take it in the right hand and plunge it into the little childs heart, as it is to destroy and degrade the soul, for there is nothing equal to the soul.

Coming soon to a library near you....if you request it...

I am TRYING to be frugal these days and REALLY want to read Molly Sabourin's new book Close to Home: One Orthodox Mother's Quest for Patience, Peace and Perseverance. I have often ordered books at the library through their "Purchase Request/Inter-Library Loan request" form. So I decided to give it shot and request this book using the form. I just looked on my account and see that they indeed ordered this book, it is listed as "on order". I'm so excited!
Thank you, Kitsap Regional Library, for supporting Molly Sabourin, an Orthodox mother.
I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Admonitions for Parents 6 & 7

I missed a day...so here are 2 days worth of wisdom from St. John Chrysostom.

9. Let us suppose that you fulfill the commandment of the law in every other respect, but being unfaithful in this one commandment you will be severely punished. Listen to this proof taken from the history of one ancient people. You will immediately see to what terrible punishment those fathers subject themselves who neglect their childrens upbringing. Among the Jews was one priest who was respected for his meek character. His name was Eli. This priest had two sons who had given themselves over to every vice. The father did not concern himself with this and paid little attention, or if their depravity, having reached the limit, forced him to reproach them, he did it without the necessary fervor and authority. He should have punished them severely, thrown them out of his presence taken strict measures in order to put a stop to the outrage. He did nothing of the sort. He limited himself to giving them a form of admonition: Nay, my Sons, for the report which I hear is not good; do not so (I Kings 2:24). Is this what he should have said? They offended the One to Whom they owe their existence, and he still accepts them as part of his family? His admonition was useless and vain. No, this demanded not an admonition, but a strong lesson, severe torments, a treatment as strong as the evil. He should have used fear to root their young hearts out of this blindness. An admonition! Elis sons had no lack of these. O useless words! O criminal meekness by which they became victims! A war began, and the wretches became the spoils of their enemy. When their father learned of their misfortune, he fell to the ground and, smashing his head, died.

10. I have just told you that fathers who do not take care to give their children a Christian upbringing are murderers of their own children. Is it not true? Who should Eli blame for his son's death? Himself. True, the enemys sword slew them, but the neglect of their false father directed the blow. Abandoned by heavenly help, they appeared naked against the arrows of the Philistines. The father destroyed himself and them. Meanwhile, we see the same thing before ourselves daily. How many parents there are who do not want to take upon themselves this labor of correcting their unsubmissive and unruly children! They are as if afraid to upset their children by reigning in with stern words the vicious tendencies to which they have submitted themselves. What is the outcome? Their disorder increases; their impunity leads them to criminal offenses; they are brought to trial; and the wretches die at the hands of the executioner. You refused your personal rights over them and committed them to the severity of civil punishment, and human justice wielded its harsh rights over them. You are afraid to humiliate them with some light punishment in your presence; but what horrible dishonor shall befall you when your son is no longer around, and the father, hounded everywhere by accusing glares, no longer dares to show himself anywhere.

Lessons by Our Holy Father John Chrysostomos on Raising Children

Friday, March 27, 2009

Admonitions for Parents 5

7. Children who are submissive and faithful to God in their obedience to His law will have found an abundant source of happiness, even in this temporal life. A poor man with Christian morals inspires respect and love from others. Meanwhile, with an evil and depraved heart, all your riches will not save you from the displeasure and aversion of everyone around you.

8. The youth to whom you give a good upbringing will not only enjoy general respect, he will also become dearer to you yourselves! Your attachment to him will not be a mere natural attraction—it will be the fruit of his virtue. For this, during your old age, you will in turn receive from him the services of his filial love. He will be your support. For just as those who do not revere the Lord also have contempt for their own parents, those who revere God, the Father of all men, will have every respect for those who gave them life.

Lessons by Our Holy Father John Chrysostomos on Raising Children

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm sold!

I have recently been doing a lot of reading on herbal remedies. It just comes naturally after reading Nourishing Traditions and making a conscience decision to try and feed my family with healthy foods staying away from processed foods and chemicals in foods. Lately there has been a lot of negative talk about cough syrups for children. The FDA discourage children under the age of 6 to take it at all now.

I have become friend with a lady I met through Azure Standard co-op and she has been into medicinal herbs for quite awhile and I am learning a lot from her. She introduced me to a couple of books, one which is called “Family Herbal” by Rosemary Gladstar.

Recently the children one after another became sick with the “crud”, coughing head congestion, etc. But...those who started symptoms later had it less because I was able to nip it in the bud...that's my theory anyway. I'm hooked and hope to do a lot more herbal research for my family AND my farm. I already by herbal wormer for the goats and have gotten other herbal remedies for them during pregnancy for the goats so maybe I can make my own.

The boys had the sickness the worst but with diligence we have been able to ward off prescriptions and doctor visits.

I didn't start the herbal cough syrup until after they were coughing for a couple days and so that is why I think it got the best of them. But I did start the cough syrup when I learned about it and also started them on echinacea tincture immediately. As soon as I did start the syrup though the symptoms would be relieved. No nonstop coughing at night or otherwise.

Charissa got it slightly less, mostly just a cough. Started her on the syrup and echinacea.

James and Kelsey both woke with sore throats one day, I pumped them with fresh squeezed lemon and honey and echinacea tincture and it never developed into anything more. They took echinacea for a few days but then were able to stop.

Joseph complained of earache's a few times but each time he did I put a few drops of homemade garlic oil in his ear and that would relieve the pain and nothing more ever came of it.

I'm sold and I will continue to research and read on ways to help my family be healthy. It is very rewarding.

After researching the vitamins in herbs my friend created a mineral tincture out of 3 herbs that she uses in place of store bought vitamins. This tincture (which is very tasty) along with kelp capsules, give you all the minerals and vitamins that your body needs. And it is more natural and more readily absorbed and available to your body. Even Joseph likes it.

I have so much more to learn and I can't wait dig deeper into this new world of tradition medicines we can grow in our own garden. It was and will continue to be very satisfying to help my family like this.

Admonitions for Parents 4

6. The wise Sirach says: Hast thou children? Instruct them, and bow down their neck from their youth (Sir. 7:25). But the Lord does not only prompt us with this command through the lips of His prophet; he even takes our side, supporting the fulfillment of this commandment with the fearsome punishment that awaits those children who do not submit to the authority of their parents: Every man who shall speak evil of his father or of his mother, let him die the death (Lev. 20:9). He punishes with death those who become guilty before you, and you look tepidly at these sins that they commit against the highest possible authority. They are rebelling against God Him self, transgressing His commandments, and you look at this without the least displeasure, without the slightest criticism of your children. What does He have to lose from their offense? Nothing. But you, why should you not fear for your own selves? For whoever abandons the Lord will never respect either his own father or himself.

Lessons by Our Holy Father John Chrysostom on Raising Children

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Admonitions for Parents 3

4. Your children will always be sufficiently wealthy if they receive from you a good upbringing that is able to order their moral life and behavior. Thus, strive not to make them rich, but rather to make them pious masters of their passions, rich in virtues. Teach them not to think up illusory needs, reckoning their worth according to worldly standards. Attentively watch their deeds, their acquaintances and their attachments—and do not expect any mercy from God if you do not fulfill this duty.

Lessons by Our Holy Father John Chrysostom on Raising Children

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Admonitions for Parents 2

p3. This obligation belongs to fathers as well as mothers. There are fathers who spare nothing in order to secure for their children teachers of pleasure and to pander to their cravings as wealthy heirs. But so that the children would be Christians, so that they would exercise themselves in piety, is of little need to them. O criminal blindness! It is this very crude inattention that is responsible for all the disorder that causes our society to groan. Let us suppose that you have acquired large property for them. However, if they do not know how to conduct themselves sensibly this property will not last long with them. It will be squandered; it will perish with its owners, and will be their most grievous inheritance.
by St. John Chrysostomos

My introduction to this list I'll be posting for the next 25 days is here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Admonitions for Parents 1

I found this needed (for ME) and very profound article recently titled "Admonitions for Parents: Lessons by Our Holy Father John Chrysostomos on Raising Children". It is a list of 39 admonitions and I thought it would be a great Lenten Journey, for the rest of Lent anyway. There are 26 days left until Pascha, so each day I'll post one or two of these admonitions, in order they appear in the article. I cannot find the word I want to use to describe how these admonitions REALLY grabbed my heart and soul, jerking from my selfishness and putting me in my place. So here goes day 1:

1. Having children is a matter of nature; but raising them and educating them in the virtues is a matter of mind and will. [1]

2. By the duty of raising them I mean not only not allowing them to die of hunger, as people often limit their obligation toward their children to doing. For this, is needed neither books nor rubrics, for nature speaks of it quite loudly. I am speaking of the concern for educating childrens hearts in virtues and piety—a sacred duty which cannot be transgressed without thereby becoming guilty of the childrens murder, in a certain sense.

1. The first part is taken from Christian Reading, 1838, part 4, pp. 242-253, which was taken from vol. 5, Benedict in Mund; vidua Eligatur.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


When our good and all-gracious Lord and Master sees people too lazy in their exercises, He lays their flesh low with sickness, an asceticism with less toil; and sometimes it also cleanses the soul from evil thoughts or passions.

St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step26: On Discernment of Thoughts, Passions and Virtue

Lord Have Mercy on me a sinner.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Clean Week cleaning.

Emma over at Charming the Birds from the Trees posted her "Lenten Cleaning List". She asked for others to share so I thought I'd share what I was doing. I don't have a Lenten cleaning List but rather a "Clean Week Cleaning List".
I decided for this week we would take the week off from school and focus on Church and cleaning. To start Lent off with a clean and organized home my hope is to being to then focus the rest of Lent of prayer, fasting and alms-giving.
During the time that we would normally be doing school we'll work together to clean and each day we will cover a different room. In each room I hope to deep clean by cleaning off shelves, culling unneeded items (next Wednesday Northwest Center will come through the neighborhood), washing windows and scrubbing floors and moldings, etc. Here is my list:

Monday: Livingroom
Tuesday: Kitchen/Diningroom
Wednesday: Laundry room (Presanctified Liturgy in the morning will shorten our cleaning for this day)
Thursday: Girls Bedroom and downstairs bathroom and downstairs hallway.
Friday: Master Bedroom and Boys Bedroom
Saturday: Cabin

Have a blessed Clean Week and a fruitful Lent!

Monday, March 02, 2009

On Forgiveness and the start of Great Lent.

Excerpt from "Great Lent" by Alexander Schmemann

He is speaking about the Vespers service...

This day's Great Prokeimenon announces the beginning of Lent:

Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant for I am afflicted!
Hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul and deliver it!

Listen to the unique melody of this verse--to this cry that suddenly fills the church: "...for I am afflicted!"--and you will understand this starting point of Lent: the mysterious mixture of despair and hope, of darkness and light. All preparation has now come to an end. I stand before God, before the glory and the beauty of His Kingdom. I realize that I belong to it, that I have no other home, no other joy, no other goal; I also realize that I am exiled from it into the darkness and sadness of sin, "for I am afflicted!" And finally, I realize that only God can help in that affliction, that only He can " attend to my soul." Repentance is, above everything else, a desperate call for that divine help.
Five times we repeat the Prokeimenon. And then, Lent is here!...
We will have to wander forty days through the desert of Lent. Yet at the end shines already the light of Easter, the light of the Kingdom.

One of the things that is so amazing to me, the thing that has been so comforting and appealing to me from early on in my journey to Orthodoxy is knowing that all over the world, Orthodox Christians are singing these very same hymns. Orthodox Christians all over the world are walking together, singing and repenting, asking forgivness and beginning this journey of Great Lent together. Knowing that I could go just about anywhere and enter just about any Orthodox Church and I would hear the same hymns being sung:
Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant for I am afflicted!
Hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul and deliver it!

Together we fast, pray and give almsgiving as we strive a little harder on our path to salvation. That we may come out in the end a little bit more like God.

My dear friends and family in Christ, as we begin our journey through Lent I ask forgiveness.
Please forgive me!
God forgives all!