Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My amazing 8 year old teaches me a lesson on fighting the passions!

This morning I was having some cuddle time with my joyful, loving 8 year old son Joseph. He is truly a light in the dark world on most days! He is always joyful! Most of the time he is seen skipping about through life, humming or singing as goes. He's always ready to give hugs to anyone he knows! What joy!
This morning we were talking about sin and what it is because he is preparing for his first confession. After a good long talk and cuddling he says to me, "One time I felt this anger rising in me. It was after Nicho or some did something mean to me, I can't remember exactly." ( He motions with his hands, starting low on his body and moving his hand up towards his chest.) "But I decided 'no thanks' and I pushed it back down." (Pushing his hand back down.) I asked him, "How do you do that?"
He says, "Just ignore it."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quote for me.

Man seeks joy and happiness in heaven. He seeks what is eternal far from everyone and everything. He seeks to find joy in God. God is a mystery. He is silence. He is infinite. He is everything.
Turn your mind towards Him continually. Learn to love prayer, familiar converse with the Lord. What counts above all is love, passionate love for the Lord, for Christ the Bridegroom. Become worthy of Christ's love. In order to not live in darkness, turn on the switch of prayer so that divine light may flood your soul. Christ will appear in the depths of your being. There, in the deepest and most inward part, is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is within you.

Wounded By Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios

Monday, November 29, 2010

Please Pray!!!

Back in August I wrote about our trip to MN/WI and our visit to my cousins farm.
Today I found out that the barn with all the cows in it (the one pictured in that post), burned down! No one was hurt, but they've lost everything...this was their livelihood!
Please pray for Dave & Judy Zesiger and their family as they work through this. May God be with them, guiding them and comforting them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote for me.

Where there is humility, there is no depression. An egotist is vexed at the slightest thing.

-Wounded By Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios

Friday, August 13, 2010

We are in Minnesota

It's almost surreal how quickly things moved forward and we ended up in Minnesota. I haven't stepped foot in this state in 6 years and that was just for a funeral. It's been 7 years since we've been here, all of us, for fun and visiting.
Last Thursday I got word that my dad had a pretty severe heart attack and that is what got the ball rolling. He had a stent put in and was home pretty quickly but he has quite a bit of recovery and there is yet another artery that needs attention and they are talking a possible bypass which is pretty serious. So I got to thinking about time and life and all that and how it has been far too long since I've seen so many of my beautiful family and friends and realized I needed to try and come. So here I am. Everything fell into place so nicely that I just know I made the right decision.
My mother-in-law loaned us her car since it was more reliable and gets way better gas mileage. So we loaded up suitcases and books on tape and food and headed east. The kids drove me crazy of course as we were packed in a fairly small car with the 3 youngest in the back. But we made it on Wednesday by noon. Yesterday we went out to see grandpa Dave at the lake. Here are the kids having a blast. It was nice to see my dad, he is still very weak and tired and needs lots of rest! Please pray for his health and salvation. I hope to see him a few more times before leaving for WA (we are staying at my moms).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Susan, how your children grow....

Kelsey Anna on the last day of monastery camp, she is 13 1/2! She LOVES this camp and this was her 6th year I believe and her last. They announced that they would no longer be holding camp here at St. John the Forerunner monastery in Goldendale. There were lots of tears! She has a love and appreciation for the monastic life that is beautiful and her years at camp have grown her love of Orthodoxy deeply. She loves her faith and above all God! In fact her email address starts out with "iloveorthodoxy....."
She picked up her first book at 9 months old and hasn't put it down. Constantly reading she is growing faster than I care to admit. She recently devoured a series we found recommended in "Well-Trained Mind" which covered every old fashioned fairy tale imaginable, "Andrew Lang's Fairy Books". Well, now that I looked on wiki I don't think she's read them all. But close. As I walked out the door this morning I saw her with a stack of National Geographic.

Charissa just turned 11! wow! Vibrant and full of energy and I am desperately trying to learn and seek God's guidance on how to channel it in the right direction. You know the saying about red heads? It's true! Lord have mercy on me as I learn to guide this bundle of determination. She loves, loves, loves God's creation and loves to create just about anything herself. I need to stop being so selfish and find things for her to create!

Nicholas is 9 1/2 and within 5 months will be a double digit!
He is such a cuddly, handsome little man who desperately wants to be a man. He is growing so fast and I am trying to teach him the gentlemanly way of doing things.
Nicholas loves to cook! He will make breakfast of eggs and toast for everyone and his favorite lunch to make is fried tortillas with cheese. And boy are they good!

Last but not least in any way, shape or form, we have Joseph. My baby!
He will be 8 tomorrow and is so excited about his birthday!!! But at the same time he's discovered he's not so sure he wants to grow up and has crawled up into my lap with tears in his eyes to tell me he just wants to stay little. He was a gift from God in every way, if you know his story you know this to be true. I cannot wait to see what wonderful thing God has in mind for this very sensitive and loving little guy. He loves to love people and makes quick friends with everyone he meets!

Thank you, Lord, for these little angels you have given me. You have entrusted me with them. To teach and mold them in the way they should go. I pray for a renewed vigor to nurture and love them so that they may see You in me. Guide me and give me wisdom in all my interactions with them. Give sweetness to my words, pushing any harshness away so that their ears will only hear the love of You through me. Protect them as they grow independent and seek to be on their own more and more each growing year. Protect them and guide them where I cannot be or where I fail to be. Thank you for each of them and now be with me for even though You've given them to me, I cannot do a single thing without You.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Prayer Requests

  1. My mom isn't well. She's had a deep cough for about a month now and nothing seems to be helping it. They did a CT Scan last week and she found out yesterday that it is clear, Glory to God. But she is still hacking and is frustrated not knowing what is going on. She does have asthma and so it could be that the allergies are really bad and effecting her a great deal. She's never had testing done. Please pray for healing and answers.

  2. James is looking for a new job. His current job, which he has had for 15 years and he really likes, isn't willing to work with him on some issues and so he is having to take an 8% cut in pay and we just cannot afford this. I'm picking up odd jobs here and there to help out (which is stressful as well) and hopefully these will carry us through until he finds something new. He's put out his resume to several different places and I pray something will come up soon. God is Good and He has undoubtedly taken care of us over the years and I trust He will continue.

  3. That God will make it clear to me how to fit everything into my day. I struggle so much with making a schedule work, sticking to a plan and it really is frustrating to me. It is so apparent that it is needed for me and my kids. But I don't know why I can't stick with a plan. I have all these ideas about how I'd love my day to go but it never goes that way, mostly due to me not sticking with the plan.

Thank you so much for prayers and for your faithfulness in reading this little itty bitty glimpse of my world.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Best Mother's Day Ever

I want to thank my family for the best Mother's Day ever! We started the day with our dear parish family celebrating how we celebrate each and every Sunday. After an hour or two of fellowship we headed home with a sun-filled afternoon and evening ahead of us.

After changing into my “play” clothes the kids and James presented me with a beautiful lilac to plant out front. I love lilac! It is my favorite scent and from childhood. At each of our homes we've had (this is our third) I've planted a lilac but I haven't planted one here yet and we've been here for 3 years now.

So now I have a lilac. I was also given the gift, from James, that he will be starting a batch of strawberry wine for me. We'd like to start making our own and he thought this was the perfect opportunity to do that. So it is now fermenting.

After that I spent the whole afternoon doing what I love to do, tend the garden. I weeded and planted and weeded some more. There is something about weeding that is very calming for me, very therapeutic. If I could weed a little everyday I'd probably be a saner a person. :) And now that I'm not attached to the "time leech" as often I have far more time for this therapeutic activity.

Before the end of the day I figured out where I want to put my new lilac. I want to be able to see it from the house, and smell it as well. So I decided to rip up all the snowberry bush from the front bed near the driveway and put it there. This is an incredible job because it turns out snowberry bushes ( which have no real usefulness since their berries are poisonous and they don't even have a show of flowers-why would you plant this on purpose?) are extremely invasive with their roots. When we moved in 3 years ago there was one little bush and it has grown into 3 separate bushes via root sprawl. Plus there are tiny little shoots all over the place. So I spent the evening slowly digging up this bush. I got the main bush out and another side bush before going in for the evening and watching a movie with my family while enjoying a cold, crisp glass of Silverlake Reisling.

It was a fabulous day. Thank you my beautiful children and husband for a wonderful day. Thank you God for blessing me so richly and for the added blessing of sunshine!

Here is a series of pictures I took Sunday morning of the kids. I wanted just one of the 4 of them, but they got really silly. Some of the silly shots are awesome.

From left to right: Charissa ( 11 in July), Nicholas (9 1/2), Joseph (8 in July) and Kelsey Anna (13).

Nicholas is definitely the clown of the family. He'd definitely have the title of class clown if he were in public school.

Here they are again being funny.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!!! These are the two middle ones and they are only 17 months apart. These are the two that, most of time, would rather the other didn't exist. I saw this picture and was in awe at how much they look EXACTLY alike!! Wow! And look they are smiling and have their arms around each other.

This picture wasn't taken on Mother's Day, but last night. Last night Joseph lost his top front tooth...FINALLY!!! The other one fell out nearly a year ago and the adult tooth is well in place already. We thought the dentist was going to need to pull it. But it just wasn't ready. The orthodontist said, "Wait, it's not ready, it'll come out when it's ready." Yes, Joseph sees the orthodontist already because he has had teeth fall out and has no room for the new ones to come in such as that big one on top on the is filling the spot of 2 teeth. But we soon found out that Joseph has 4 adult teeth that are missing from the x-ray and don't seem to be anywhere in sight. I think it is God's way of making room in his mouth the natural way. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday of the Paralytic

Yesterday was when we remember the Gospel story about the paralytic that Jesus heals.
The Kontakian (hymn) that we sang left a pretty good impression on me.
I just love the words.

By Your divine intercession, O Lord,
as You raised up the Paralytic of old,
so raise me up my soul, paralyzed by sins and thoughtless acts;
so that being saved I may sing to You:
Glory to Your power, O compassionate Christ!

Sung in Tone 3

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

16 years ago today, I married my sweetheart! I love you, James!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...

...returning in 12 days!
The girls, my 2 beautiful daughters and I head out today for an adventure. We head to LA area to visit wonderful friends and see family I haven't seen in 20 years.
Then we head to St. Paisius Monastery in Safford, Az for a week long pilgrimage.

I'll take lots of pics and post about it when I return.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Quote from Abbot Tryphon

The Kingdom of Heaven, is within! With all the noise of constant radio and TV, to say nothing of the internet, most people today give no thought, whatsoever, to the inner life. Without silence, God is not heard, and the heart grows cold.

Abbot Tryphon

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Forgiveness Sunday and the start of Great Lent

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. Amen.

The season of the virtues now has come, and the Judge is at the door. Let us not hold back with darkened face, but let us keep the fast, offering tears, repentance, and almsgiving; and let us cry: our sins are more in number than the sands of the sea; Deliverer of all, forgive each one of us, that we may receive an incorruptible crown.

—from the Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday

Please forgive me brothers and sisters.

May Great Lent be a blessed time for all of you.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Meatfare Sunday

Woe, to you, O my darkened soul!
Your life is stained by depravity and laziness;
your folly makes you shun all thought of death.
How complacent you remain!
How can you flee the awesome thought of Judgment Day?
When will you change your way of life?
On that day your sins will rise against you.
What will your answer be then?
Your acts will condemn you; your deeds will expose you.
The time is at hand, O my soul.
Turn to the good and loving Savior!
Beg Him to forgive your malice and weakness, as you cry in faith:
“I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against You,
but I know Your love for all mankind.//
O good Shepherd, call me to enjoy Your lasting presence on Your right hand!”

-Aposticha from Vespers for Sunday of Meatfare/Sunday of the Last Judgment

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading and Blogging

As I mentioned in my last post, my New Years Resolution is "to run!" In doing this, working towards this mentality (which is really a difficult thing for me), I am trying to read some books that I hope will inspire me. I cannot lose sight of this goal, I do not want to lose sight of this goal. Since I haven't been posting much as of late I thought that I would "try" to just post quotes now and again from the books that I am reading. Putting them here will help remind me of these little bits of inspiration and just maybe someone else might find them inspiring as well.

I am reading a few different books at different speeds (some take longer to digest then others). One of them is called "Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and 'Women's Work'." I am actually re-reading it, the first time being about 7 years ago. I used to own the book but have no idea where it went to. I must have loaned it out or something. This copy is from the library.
Quotidian means : occurring everyday; belonging to everyday; commonplace, ordinary.

She starts out talking about how we always have the "daily" with us; dishes, laundry, diapering, etc. But we've stigmatized it. All too often, however, we stigmatize such work as "menial," considering domestic or janitorial work to be suitable only for those who are too limited mentally to find employment elsewhere. Cleaning up after others, or even ourselves, is not what we educate our children to do; it's for someone else's children, the less intelligent, less educated and less well-off.

A few paragraphs later....

The fact that none of us can rise so far in status as to remove ourselves from the daily, bodily nature of life on this earth is not usually considered a cause for celebration, but rather the opposite. The daily routines that provide a modicum of discipline in our lives are perceived as a drag, a monotony that can occasion listlessness, apathy and despair. The word acedia is not much in use these days- The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "spiritual torpor or apathy; ennui"-but I wonder if much of the frantic boredom and enervating depression that constitute an epidemic in modern life are not merely the ancient demon of acedia in contemporary dress. Although acedia was long thought to be the province of monastics alone, plagueing them because of lack of distraction in their daily lives, I believe that the description of acedia given by the fourth-century monk Evagrius is as relevant to us in twentieth-century America as when it was written. He states that the bad thought, or demon of acedia "makes it seem that the sun hardly moves, if at all, and that the day is fifty hours long. Then [it] constrains the monk to look constantly out the windows, to walk outside the cell, to gaze carefully at the sun to determine how far it stands from the ninth hour" [i.e., lunchtime].
Once the monk has given in to these outward distractions, the thought of acedia moves inward, and Evagrius writes that it "instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself." He begins to think less of the other monks- we might translate this as our family , coworkers or neighbors--brooding on the ways they have angered, offended or merely failed to encourage him. "This demon, " Evagrius reports, then drives the monk "to desire other sites where he can more easily find work and make a real success of himself." Having rejected the present and present company, the monk begins to dwell in self-pitying "[memories] of his dear ones and his former way of life." Acedia then moves in for the kill, "[depicting] life stretching out for a long period of time, and brings before the mind's eye the toil of the ascetic struggle and, as the saying has it, leaves no leaf unturned to induce the monk to forsake his cell and drop out of the fight."

I can see how this can totally happen in the life of a stay at home mom.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy New Year from the Ferrenbergs

I never did get my Christmas Letter written this year, or cards sent out. I started, but still haven't finished and feel that it isn't worth it now being that it is January 15th.
I just really do not know where the time goes! It is absolutely crazy!
I've not given much time over to blogging these days and as I've said on FB, "Facebook will be the death of the blogging world." Because of FB I really feel that I don't "need" to blog. I also don't feel like I need to blog because I've decided I don't really have much of anything to say. But I'll still post from time to time things that I feel that have really been encouraging or eye opening, etc. Sometimes I read something and I really believe it has helped me and maybe it could help someone else.
I've seen other people talk about their New Years Resolutions and so I've been giving it some thought. This year instead of having a long list of resolutions I've decided to concentrate on just one! Because this ONE if concentrated on would really help just about anything else I would want to resolve to do. I was talking with friend yesterday about passions/sins and he read in "Unseen Warfare" ( I THINK that was the book) that in all of us we have a chief sin. If we were to concentrate on just that one sin, putting ALL effort into that one sin, we would be far better off. If we look at all our sins that we want to conquer we tend to get overwhelmed and feel like we can't possibly tend to everything so we don't do anything. But if we just look at that one and we put all our energy into that chief sin it actually will give us power to conquer others without even knowing it. I forget exactly how he said it. Sins gain strength from each other and work like a net so if we begin to conquer just one the others lose their strength as well.

So my resolution is to conquer sloth! Everyday, I want to run!

I'm reading Wounded By Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios. I read this and it has inspired me to put all my energy and concentration into fighting this one sin.
Elder Porphyrios says that he "ran, I didn't walk" whenever he did things.
There was no question of laziness. I liked to pray even when I was tired. When I was exhausted I sought God even more. You must believe this and realize that it's truly possible. It's a matter of love. It's not simply that you work quickly. You do one job, then you begin another, you come back and do yet another, and you make sure that you finish them all: you water, you hoe, you bring earth and branches, you go up the mountain, you fetch wood for your woodcarving. With love you are in perpetual motion. You should see then where sins go. They all fall into a deep sleep. Do you hear? This is truly a life lost from the world, a blessed and holy life, a life in Paradise.

I want to run!

Blessings to you all during 2010!!