In the name of God, here's looking forward to a single, unified Orthodox Church of the United States.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One Year Anniversary

As well as Thanksgiving, today is also EJ's and my one year anniversary!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Early Thanksgiving, Everyone!!

Yes, we're having the regularly scheduled Thanksgiving this year (with any luck, though, EJ will be Orthodox by next year, so we'll have it before the fast begins; mwahahah)

I'm so thankful for all the changes, both positive and negative, that have shaped me as a Christian and a person this past year. I'm thankful for my handy husband who, just today, fixed my coffeepot after I messed up the wiring. I'm thankful for my tiny apartment that has taught me what I can live in, as well as what I want to live in. I'm thankful for my church and for Father David, who is leading me through catechism (and who is deploying in January for a year; prayers are much appreciated) and for his wife, Maria, who I am proud to call my friend. I'm thankful for family who, though we live hundreds of miles apart, nevertheless keeps in touch and up-to-date with Michigan happenings.

But, of course, I'm most thankful for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, for remaining unchanged, constant, and faithful through all our petty human whims.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knitting Question

I've already mentioned that I'm teaching myself to knit using this DVD and I finally finished my first scarf, but now I have a problem; I was going to try making this pattern next, since it seemed fairly straightforward, however, when I began knitting, it seemed like things weren't going so well. I think it's the way I'm doing the Knit1 Purl1 switcheroo. The DVD doesn't clarify how exactly you're supposed to bring the yarn from back to front, so I was just kind of guessing as I went along.

My question to you is this: Is there any video online that you know of that gives a demonstration of K1 P1? I googled and googled but found only one video with a super fast-paced demonstration that didn't really help.

(I knit English style, just for reference.)

Oh, and that DVD is great, don't get me wrong, it's just not the same as having someone sitting next to you helping you along.

EDIT: Thank you, Sarah. Now, if I could just overcome the fact that I can't count stitches to save my life - but I don't think there's an internet video for that. (>.<)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 8

For lunch today I had Black Bean Burritos cobbled together from this recipe and some of the veggies still hanging out in my fridge (I'm so glad I overestimated how much I'd need). I ate them cold, but they'd probably be just as good warm.

Next time, I think I'll go a little easier on the lime juice for the bean dressing - it was delicious, definitely, but a wee bit sour.

The whole dish was extremely filling, something I've been struggling with; I keep wanting to stuff myself - which is bad, obviously, and against the spirit of the Fast. And, too, I haven't been getting enough protein, so this is a good source for that, as well (I think, I hope).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Coupons

I've just been investigating coupon sources. We don't have a working printer right now, so the 20c it takes to print one piece of paper at the library seems rather counter-productive. Still, once we do get our printer up and working, I want to have these on hand:

SmartSource Online Coupons

Money Saving Mom

Red Plum

Stormtroopers 365

For you fans of the original Star Wars movies, here's a fun, funny series detailing the bits of Stormtrooper life you didn't get to see.

Stormtroopers 365

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 6

Okay, so, hearkening back to my old parish in Michigan, I've decided to allow myself dairy products on Fridays. This is for two reasons:

1) I'm a sinner without much willpower and after several days of vegan munching, I begin to get twitchy and don't feel like myself. Pray that God eventually gives me more strength of will, but I'd rather openly acknowledge one day a week of indulgence, instead of secretly cheating throughout.

2) Fridays have always been "get together" days at our apartment. In fact, I've been fasting on Wednesdays and Thursdays for months now because Fridays were just terrible for me. And my old priest once said not to draw attention to your fasting if you're in the midst of non-orthodox at dinner time - eat the same meal they do - so I simply switched days and it's worked out fine.

That being said, I had quesadillas for lunch today. =)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seasonal Foods

For those out there who, like me, are trying to be more in sync with the seasons when planning their meals, I've found a pretty good resource which lists some winter fruits and veggies that could probably be found in your local grocery stores.

Winter Fruits

Winter Veggies

I haven't been too strict about it just yet (you may have noticed that my Fasting Lunches haven't been replete with seasonal goods), but, armed with more information, it's a goal to work towards.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 4

Okay, so I kind of cheated today: I microwaved my potato instead of actually baking it. Still, I topped it with salsa, salt, and pepper and it turned out just fine. =)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House-y Hum-drums

I mentioned a few days ago that we went to the credit union to inquire about a mortgage. We weren't looking to secure one, just to learn a little more about the process. Well, they told us stuff, EJ's mom told us stuff, I've been reading a lot of stuff, and, basically, it just comes down to too much money.

Always with the money.

All I really care about in a house is acreage - and that's what's making it so hard. At first, I wanted 5-10 acres, on which to establish my "homestead", but seeing as how that's sadly unrealistic (in so many ways), I was willing to settle for 2, but that has also proven to be out of our reach. I simply won't go below half an acre, so I'm beginning to see that we're going to need a roommate. EJ and I haven't been saving up for a down payment (I know! I know!) and that just makes things royally difficult. However, I think I'd take a roommate and half an acre over apartment living any day.

I hate when reality interposes its ugly nose into my fantasies. Fairies and Unicorns have rights, too!! >=(

He was a boy, she was a girl ...

As if there weren't already enough emotional reasons not to engage in sex outside of marriage, there's also this handy little reminder:

Sex Infections Still Growing in U.S., says CDC

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 3

Okay, so it's technically "brunch" right now, but I didn't want another bowl of oatmeal.

*ahem*

Tomato, Onion, Avocado Pitas. Just add Italian salad dressing** and say yummy!


**I allow myself oil at all times during fasts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nativity Fast Lunch Day 2

Dunno if I'll make this an irregular series or not. Basically, it's me throwing together whatever I have on hand and hoping it works, while still trying to get the nutrients I need.

Pita Pizza
  • Pita Bread
  • My homemade Pizza Sauce (tomato sauce, sugar, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder, onion powder)
  • chopped green peppers
  • chopped onions
  • chopped, cooked mushrooms
  • chopped black olives
  • chopped tomato
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
Spread a thin layer of Pizza Sauce (less is more) over the pita bread and top with veggies, mushrooms, and spices as desired (again, less is more). Microwave for 1 minute and you're golden!

I actually left the tomato pieces off until after the pita was warmed. Call me weird, but I love the taste and texture of fresh, cool tomatoes on a hot dish. =)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Reaffirmation

Thank goodness the Orthodox Leaders aren't backing down on this - not saying they back down on things, but it just gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling not to see compromise around every corner. =)

Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue to be suspended

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wedding Pictures

I found out yesterday that wedding photography trouble is a dominant gene passed down through the females of my mother's side of the family.

My wedding (2008): Both my courthouse wedding and my "formal" wedding had issues. First, EJ and I didn't bring a proper camera to our last-minute elopement, so we got only two camera-phone pictures of us actually tying the knot - one of which is now lost. Then, because our "formal" wedding was so rushed, no professional photographer could be found. A friend of an uncle said he'd do it, but then never showed. Of course, everyone brought their own cameras, but there were no beautiful professional ones such as those you see displayed all over photography websites.

My mother's wedding (1982): A little while before my mom walked down the isle, she and her photographer found an empty room in which to do the classic "beauty" shots of the bride. After snapping dozens of pictures, it came time for the ceremony to begin - and the photog realized he'd mistakenly left the cap over the lense for the entire shoot.

My grandmother's wedding (1950): My grandfather hired a friend whom he'd met during the war to take the pictures. Little did he know that this friend, in starting up his own business, was nearly destitute and could only afford eight frames. So, eight pictures is all they have of their entire day.

Nativity Fast

I'm kind of looking forward to the Nativity Fast. =)

Weird, but in a good sort of way. I think it's the fact that it makes Christmas and the days following that much more special.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Really Awkward

How do you tell someone who is a part of your family but with whom you're not really close that they're dressing like a streetwalker? And what if you've already brought it up discreetly to someone who is closer to them than you are, but that person seems to have no inclination to do anything about it?

It pains me to see this person, who seems to have no goals or aspirations but to "fit in," make themselves into a carbon copy of some of today's most questionable role models.

Clearly, some prayer is in order.

"It's beans and rice time!"

...to quote the great Dave Ramsey

I could use some prayer right now. Things are pretty tight around here money-wise. EJ's car is dying, my van's windshield will need replacing within the next month or so, I just found out that the minimum payment on my student loans is $115 higher than I thought it'd be (yeah, I'll be calling Hillsdale about that), and there is simply no extra money. We can't cut any of our regular services (cable, cell phones, car insurance) because everything's under contract and the cancellation fees would be more than simply waiting until they expire - so, basically, we're hanging on and praying that we make it till February, when EJ gets a raise.

I'm looking into Child Care licensing. All my other great money-making schemes have pretty much gone the way of the Dodo and, though I don't usually like other people's kids, a need is a need so I'll make it work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Gives Me Hope...

...that there are still some high profile leaders unwilling to kow-tow to political correctness. =)

Archbishop Hilarion Speaks Out Against Euthanasia

My First Place

EJ and I are going to the bank today to inquire about a mortgage, which naturally gets me dreaming about all the plans I have for my future house: gardens, farm animals, crunchy living, etc. =P

I never get carried away, honest. ^_^

It's hard for me to remember that any home we buy will be a starter home and we may only be there for three years. That, and I, who tend who have a black thumb (seriously, every plant we've had in this house has died. Every. Single. One. I killed a bonsai tree!! How do you freaking kill a tree????) and absolutely no gardening experience, will not be able to have a Barefoot Contessa-style herb garden within the first few years of moving in. *sadpanda* Still, based on what we use the most around here, I think I've narrowed it down to a few things I want to try in the first year: green peppers (we go through those like candy), tomatoes, garlic, onions, potatoes, spinach, basil, and parsley. I don't know how they'll do, but it never hurts to try, right? =)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I FINISHED MY SCARF!!!

Yay!!!!!!!!!! After how many months I'm finally ready to begin a new project. I think I'm going to try these. They look pretty easy and, if I make a few in different colors, I've got Christmas presents for female family and friends! =)

This is what we have to look forward to

[British] Couple Flee to Save their Unborn Child from Social Workers after Girl, 17, is Told She is not Clever Enough to Look after her Child

I've begun asking for the prayers of St. Sophia and her three daughters, Faith, Hope, and Love for strength to face the inevitable fact I might lose my children to government forces and so this article doesn't upset me so much as it might once have done, praise God. Never lose faith.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Most Random Blog Post in the World

I love Disney's Mulan with a passion. Did you know Jackie Chan sang the Mandarin version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You"?



English version with intro for those who don't know the song:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Babies! Babies! Everywhere!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Maria's, my priest's wife. She has a six-month-old who is fascinated with drinking glasses and water. I've never seen a baby stare so hard at one thing for so long as I did when I began idly tapping my fingernails against my glass. I noticed the baby had suddenly stopped smiling, moving, or making any noise and was just staring intently at the cup. She was actually leaning forward, so great was her concentration. I started again and kept it up for nearly five minutes, "click ... click ... tippity-tap" and she was simply enrapt. =P

I want one. (>.>)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Three new links on my sidebar

BlackGenocide.org - According to this site, black women make up 13% of the U.S. population (I though it was 6%, but ok), yet they account for 36% of all abortions. African-Americans are the only minority ethnic group in America whose numbers are shrinking. Why? 16 million black babies aborted since 1973 might have something to do with it.

Personhood.net

PersonhoodUSA.com

~~~

I can't say I've read everything there is to read on each of these sites, but, from what I have read, it's good stuff.

A Dress a Day, Out of the Ashes Collectibles, and Today's Sermon

I spent three whole days making my Halloween costume and it kind of reignited my love of sewing. To whit: I want this pattern. Which brings me to the fact that Out of the Ashes Collectibles is a rockin' awesome website which rescues and resells old and vintage fiber arts patterns/books and I've added it to my sidebar.

The blog A Dress a Day comes into play because it introduced me to Out of the Ashes, plus, the author has made a Tetris dress, which automatically settles her firmly into place as "one of the coolest people I don't know".

~~~

On a more serious note, today's sermon blew me out of the water. It was one of the most powerful pieces of rhetoric and truth I've ever heard and had me - and I think the priest - almost in tears.

I've no gift for moving people with words, but I'll try to give a straight account of what was taught.

The Gospel reading for today was Mark 5:21-43
(21) When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. (22) One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet (23) and implored Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live." (24) And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.
We see first that Jairus, an extremely important man in his area, comes and throws himself at Jesus' feet, imploring him to save his daughter, who is about to die - not tomorrow, not in ten minutes, but right now. Jesus sees Jairus' panic and wish for haste and goes along with him, fighting their way through the crowd.
(25) A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years (26) and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse -- (27) after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. (28) For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." (29) Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

(30) Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" (31) And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched me?'" (32) And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.

Suddenly, to Jairus' complete bewilderment and despair, Jesus, his one ray of hope, stops dead in the midst of the crowd and begins asking who touched Him, for goodness sake! Imagine, if you can, the nausea Jairus felt as Jesus took His time, searching the crowd, while his little girl lay actively dying at home. That no one wanted to fess up at first took even more time, which Jairus thought he didn't have.
(33) But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. (34) And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
This scenario with the woman completely defies any logic or reason when it comes to treating or healing patients. Imagine two people arriving at an emergency room at the same time. One has just been in a horrible car accident and their only hope for survival is to get into surgery within the next few minutes, while the other is having a flare up of a chronic condition which, while painful and embarassing, is nevertheless not immediately lethal. For the doctor to completely ignore the critical patient and attend to the chronic patient, and, not only that, but to have a conversation with them after their condition has stablilized is called malpractice and could lead to lawsuits, jail time, and having his or her license revoked. It simply doesn't happen. So what could Jesus possibly have been thinking??
(35) While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?" (36) But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." (37) And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. (38) They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. (29) and entering in, He said to them, "Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep."
Now we begin to see a hint of Jesus' plan. He, of course, knew exactly what He was doing, but to Jairus, the words "only believe" were probably the most hollow, empty syllables he'd ever heard. To have been so close and yet not reached the goal because of Jesus' illogical and seemingly heartless attendance to a destitue, unclean woman while his own child lay dying could not have strengthened his faith at all. In fact, it's probably safe to say that there were few men in Israel who had less of a reason to "believe" in Jesus' powers at that moment than Jairus.

However, the fact that Jairus allowed Jesus still to come into his home, though his daughter was most definitely dead, showed either his desperation or that some remnant of faith did indeed remain. And here Jesus begins to show that it makes little difference to Him whether He heals a person who is sick or resurrects them from the dead.
(40) They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child's father and mother and His own companion, and entered the room where the child was. (41) Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!") (42) Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. (43) And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.
Death was the ultimate enemy for humanity. No one could, or can, escape death. Yet, Jesus reached through death to bring a young girl back to life. Because Jairus, in his despair, did not push Jesus away, he received a preview of God's triumph over death. Jesus' irrational decision to help the woman in the midst of the crowd resulted in a family's heartbreak and, later, its elated rejoicing.

Regardless of who we are, there will come a time when we are pressed to our limits, when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears and we question whether God really cares or is actually there. This time and place is when many people lose their faith. We, like Jairus, cannot see the bigger picture (because of our sinful nature, it is oftentimes only God who can see the bigger picture), but it is there.

I'm afraid to continue, lest I trivialize someone's pain, but this was the message for today: never allow Satan to convince you that God is not there, that He is not listening. He always listens and His compassion is more than we could know. Everyone in today's gospel reading benefitted in the end from Jesus' delay. And though I can't tell you why God doesn't seem to be answering your most fervent, desperate prayers, I do know that He is not ignoring you.

I only pray that, when such a time comes in my own life, I'm able to respond as Jairus did, and not give up hope.