Monday, May 18, 2015


from St. John Orthodox Church
Feast Day: 40 days after Pascha
Liturgical color: White
Themes: When Christ ascends into Heaven, He sits at the right hand of the Father. Christ shows us that our life on earth is a preparation for the life we will have in Heaven. We see that God’s plan for us is to be with Him when we leave earth.  He promises to send the Holy Spirit to guide us and that we would never be alone.

And also: While they were looking up, two angels in white robes appeared and said to them: "Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, Who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same was as you have seen Him go there."Christ will return to the earth in the same manner as He left it. When the risen Lord returns again in glory, God's will for mankind will be fulfilled.

Special activities: Today we say, "Christ has ascended!" "Indeed, he has ascended!"

Around the web:
Festal Learning Basket from Charming the Birds from the Trees (I love her suggestion to fly a kite or go cloud watching!)
Lesson from Orthodox ABC's
On Ancient Faith Radio: Under the Grapevine, Fr. Thomas Hopko (Speaking the Truth in Love)
About the icon of the Ascension from Icon Reader

Festal Decorations/Activity with kids
We'll be taking down our Flower Garden that we "grew during Lent and have enjoyed for Pascha. We will replace it with a cloudy sky scene with a rainbow. For Pentecost, we can add a dove!

"The Symbol of Faith - the Nicene Creed - which summarizes the important doctrines and teachings of the Church, contains these words: "And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father." The importance and meaning of this feast is that Jesus glorified our fallen and sinful humanity when He returned to the Father. In Jesus, Who is perfect God and perfect man, man is reunited with God. At His birth, Jesus took on our human nature. Through His Ascension He deified this human nature by taking His Body to heaven and giving it a place of honor at the right hand of the Father. With Christ, man's nature also ascends. Through Christ, man becomes a "partaker of divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). When Christ became man, He took up human nature and we share our human nature with Him. It is through Christ, Who is perfect God and perfect man, that we "partake of divine nature." When we say that Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father, we mean that man has been restored to communion with God because Christ gives His humanity - which He shares with us - a permanent place of honor in heaven. Christ honors us by putting us close to the Father." - Source

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Most assuredly, I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much grain. – John 12:24

I love that the church is so physically involved in all the important moments of our life including times of grief. When our parish suffered a difficult loss, I found it helpful to have something tangible to do, to offer for the family.

I used instructions and prayers from the GOA website, although my recipe from a friend varies a little.

The children wanted to help decorate, but I wanted to be sure it turned out nicely, so I let them play decorate some sugar and almonds on a pate, rather than on the kolliva. 

Memory eternal!

St. Brigid's oaten bread

I quite posting much during my pregnancy, but had a few links I wanted to be sure to save and share, like this one. St. Brigid is special to our parish, and so we celebrated this year with some activities and this bread.

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces)
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal flakes
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add butter flakes, cutting them in with a knife until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add oats and mix well. Beat the egg with the buttermilk in a separate bowl. Make a "well" in the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and mix all with a fork until the crumbs hold together.

Form the dough into a ball and knead (on a floured surface). Add flour if the mass is still too sticky to work with. Form the doughball into a round bread and place it on the baking sheet. Score a cross into the bread (do not cut through).

Bake for fifteeen to twenty minutes, the bread should be medium brown.


"Coming this close to him who is the Light of the world is always a humbling experience. If you remember Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up—this was in the readings, interestingly, last night for vespers—when the Lord gave the vision in the temple to Isaiah as recorded in the sixth chapter of his prophecy, and Isaiah was there, watching God, this theophany. What did Isaiah [say]? He said, “Woe is me because my eyes have seen the Lord of hosts, and I am a man of unclean lips, and I live amongst a people of unclean lips!” This is the natural thing: when so much light shines, when the sun hits you, you squint. This is what happens in childbirth, and this is part of the reasons that women need the blessing of churching and of purification, because when a woman participates like this with God in the miracle of giving birth and she draws near to him and he draws near to her, she has to squint." - The Mystery of Churching

In Orthodox practice in some places, the child is then placed on the floor of the ambo and the mother picks it up – the clear implication that God has accepted the child and now returns it to the parents to be raised in the Church. It also is a reminder that our care for children is underwritten by the childhood of Christ – that to misuse a child is to misuse Christ. He has radically identifed Himself with the “least of these.” - A Child Enters the Temple

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bright Week

Bright Week in pictures of our table!

Bright Monday: eating brioche bread, chocolates,
and collecting all of our Lent and Holy Week coloring to staple into a keepsake. 

Lou's Holy Friday and Saturday book: page 1) putting Christ  on the cross, 2) decorating the bier,
3) taking Christ off the cross and wrapping him in the white sheet, 4) going under the bier

Bright Monday Lunch: Pizza, chess pie, cracking red eggs

Bright Tuesday Breakfast: Chess pie and salami, cereal and sausage,
paintings from the day before of the ocean, the house and the bier

Bright Wednesday: homeschool with cadbury eggs for each problem answered correctly 
Bright Thursday Lunch: reintroducing vegetables 

Bright Friday: consolidating chocolate and cleaning up...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.

Praying with my feet - mostly in the hall, but a little in the narthex :)
Christ is risen! We celebrated our first Pascha here in Jackson. Thank God! Of course, I'm in my 40 days and have been home for most of Holy Week, but Father suggested I come sit in the hall or nursery during Pascha if I was up to it. So Mary and I came, and she slept, and I got all teary peeking in at every beautiful moment. I am overwhelmed with how richly this parish has grown, and how much beauty has been given to us.

Also this:
It is when I am concerned about the impingement of others or of circumstances upon my space, upon my desires, upon my preferences, that the fear of death overtakes me, and I am in bondage to my own desires. Ironic, isn’t it? We think that it’s freedom to be utterly unrestrained to pursue our desires, but we are actually enslaved to them, enslaved to every impingement. Every little impingement is a little death, a threat to my identity, a threat to the simulacrum I have incubated and grown in the vat of my expectations, that false self that I mistake for my actual self.
And so I lash out. Because this is not what I want. Because this is the death of that false self I hold so dear.
But resurrection changes everything. My false self can die a thousand deaths at the hands of time, circumstance, competition, and even outright enemies, but I will be raised.  Read the rest from Fr. Stephen Damick

Glory to God for all things!

Christ is risen! Our basket is on the bottom right of the photo. 

Our breakfast table
sweet sleeper and a little doll

And this video is the end of the procession. That's me sniffling at the end. :)

End of the procession during Paschal Matins. Christ is risen!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Holy Friday

 I've been enjoying Holy Week from home this week, hearing about the services through the words of my little ones and my dear husband. I've been preparing foods and baskets and dying eggs, reading Gospel stories to the girls, and just snuggling on baby.

Today I got to sit in the hallway while the kids (and plenty of adults) decorated the bier. I got to peek at the new cross and corpus that members of our mission church made for our first Holy Week. I'm grateful tonight for a quiet night with baby, AFR and beautiful smells and images in my memory.