Thursday, November 14, 2019

Saint Philip's Fast, The Nativity Fast, Advent: Preparing our hearts for Jesus and Christmas

The Nativity Fast gifts us Byzantine Catholics and other Christians with 40 days to prepare for the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The twelve days of Christmas begin then and continue with the feast of Jesus' Transfiguration. So, forty days of fasting, forty days of feasting. Every year, the Christian life is a roller coaster, a see-saw, a winding road
May Our Lord bless you this season of the Nativity Fast! 

Friday, November 1, 2019

A Simple Woman's Daybook for November

For Today
Looking out my window... I wish I could say that I am enjoying the brightly colored leave of autumn, but alas- reality gets in the way. Ash is being blown about because of the latest fires. The closest fire is about one mile away. Lord, have mercy!

I am thinking and wondering... why do politicians get away with spending $1 trillion on high speed rail which is no where complete when they could spend it on burying the electric wires that cause these yearly infernos? 

I am thankful... for our safety, for health, for my children, for this month of thanksgiving after the month of 'spookiness.' My sensitive kiddos are just about done with all the gore and guts they would see in the neighborhood and at stores. 

One of my favorite things... my small mug collection for all day tea guzzling! 

I am creating... a few simple quilts to give as Christmas gifts for the youngest babies in the extended family. 

I am wearing.... nothing special. just my go-to at-home all-black ensemble.  

I just finished reading... Agatha Christie's Curtain- Poirot's last case and The Gift of Dyslexia. I try to have a fiction and non-fiction going at the same time- that way I don't read too much non-fiction. In audio books with the kids, we are always listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on repeat or a new library find. We finished From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- highly recommended. 

I am hoping... that my heart and the entire world are converted to Jesus

I am learning... that I really cannot satisfy everyone with my blog posts. Either I am too superficial or too cranky, too Eastern or too Western... that is why I don't blog. I need to get over that. 

In my kitchen... I am using my instant pot a lot! Usually I sear whatever meat I have, add onions and garlic, saute a bit, add more veggies and half a cup of broth (or more if I want it to be soup) and then pressure cook for 20-30 minutes, Easy!  

In the school room... our 7th grade son (!) is doing IEW Writing and Pre-algebra out side the house this year. Both classes are 1.5 hours long with about 8 students total. I think this will be a great benefit to him as he enters high school level work. Lots of homework and learning to figure out the instructor's expectations and dealing with other students in an academic environment instead of just 'fun' classes like art, theater, and sports. 

In my garden... my (potted) vegetable are just about done. I have two beautiful eggplants that did not produce one fruit. Ah well... 

Post Script
Everyone knows this blog, right? I am hoping that Leila will publish her home and family book soon...she hints... 

Shared Quote
It might be cliche, and I don't live in a place with nice Octobers, but I remember and I can dream.... "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

A moment:  11 years ago- but I couldn't resist!
May November be blessed and joy-filled for us all! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

why I didn't receive the Holy Eucharist at our Easter Divine Liturgy

Christ is risen! Hristos a inviat! 
We got home on Great and Holy Friday after midnight. Saturday was filled with activity, baking, cleaning, preparing for Pascha; my priest husband left at 4 PM to drive 90 miles to replace a priest who moved back to Romania so that the community could have an Easter vigil. He got home after midnight. Of course, I did not sleep. We got up at 3:30 and arrived to set up our mission (the Roman Catholics allow us to have services there) at 4:30. Resurrection Matins and the Divine Liturgy started at 5 AM. A person who I did not recognize called Father away about 15 minutes before the services started. Confession perhaps? In any case, we weren't able to get the clergy, altar servers (a few guest servers), and cantors (me and my server/cantor son) together for a debriefing on the services. 
At 4:55, a parishioner came up to me and asked how to help. I froze. I am sure I had a rude expression on my face. I can give excuses. I was exhausted. I was hungry. I was frustrated that the most important service of the year was 'hijacked' by a visitor who wanted to talk to my husband. I was also frustrated that he did not ask the person to wait until after the services. But then he didn't physically have time after our services because he had three more to celebrate Easter Sunday.  
So, I decided not to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist until I could find some peace with the parishioner. I do not suffer from scrupulosity, but I 100% agree in making peace with your brother before you approach the altar. 
So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Dear reader, you might be scandalized by this post, and I ask your forgiveness. That is the main reason why I post almost never. I have been accused of being bitter, angry, anti-Roman, anti-Orthodox, a bad Christian. It is never my intention to bring scandal or to hurt anyone's feelings. I would love to share the entire truth of my life. In any case, I hope this post inspires you to be compassionate to the humanity in your clergy (celibate or not) and their families (if they have a family) and also to make their burdens a bit lighter. See if there is something you can do to help. They might be so busy keeping their heads above water that they will not have a good response to 'how can I help?' 5 minutes before a service begins. 
and yes- multiple people ask me why when I do not receive the Eucharist, I sometimes forgo because I am cantoring and my throat is very sensitive. If I swallow the wrong way, I will not be able to sing the responses. Luckily, we go to a second service as a family so I can receive then if my soul permits) - and yes- this is a doozy of a post after months away.... Christ is risen!