Friday, March 8, 2019

Lenten Menu 2019

Breakfast Rotation:

Muffins (with Beans) or Regular Muffins

Oatmeal or Chia Pudding

Protein Smoothie

Banana Bread

Baked Oatmeal


Scrambled Tofu

Lunch Rotation:

Fries w/ Baked Beans

Pizza (either w/ Vegan Cheese or with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Veg)

Pasta Salad or Viniagrette Potato Salad


Cabbage Soup (but with Veggie Boullion)

Red Lentil Soup

Boca/MorningStar/Hilary (for those who can't have soy)

Popcorn Shrimp (from freezer) Po-boys

Bean Burritos

Dinner Rotation
Nana's Shepherd's Pie (Shhh! Don't tell - my kids think their grandmother invented this recipe!)

Stuffed Mushrooms (these are the BEST! I think I'll bring them to a Pre-Sanctified Potluck)

Bean Pot Soup over Rice (15 bean mix w/o packet; add sauteed onion, 1 can rotel and juice of 1 lemon when beans are done cooking)

Wet Burritos

Shrimp Etouffee (Emeril is the Best! Just sub vegan margarine)

Chickpea Nuggets with Spinach Zucchini Bake

Jambalaya (thanks, Christina)

Hatian Beans & Rice

Spinach Queso over Rice

Alton Brown's Winter Vegetable Soup



Veggies with Hummus (you have to scroll down a little)

Apples with Peanut Butter

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Let's Keep the Saints Out of Retirement!

Image result for saint nectarios of pentapolis

St. Nektarios of Pentapolis once said (after his repose), "It's as if we saints are in retirement... The people don't pray to us, don't entreat us, don't ask us for anything, don't give us any handiwork to do. They don't give us the opportunity to pray to God for them."
Surely we can find some way to call him out of retirement!
November 9 is the feast of St. Nektarios. Orthodoxwiki tells us that, "St. Nectarios was born on October 1, 1846, in Selymbria in Thrace to a poor family.  At the age of 14 he moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) to work and further his education." When looking at the Akathist hymn, we get a beautiful picture of this transition:
"When Thou didst leave home and travel to Constantinople, thou didst labor in the midst of worldly distractions. Yet thou didst not forsake the Faith, which dwelt first in thy grandmother and mother and also dwelt in thee."
Let us ask St. Nektarios to pray for our young adults, as they transition into leaving home and travelling out into the great, big world. May they, like him, not be drawn into the earthly distractions even though they be surrounded by them. May the Faith of their childhood still dwell in their hearts!
The Akathist continues:
"Steadfastly dedicating thyself to prayer and to the sayings of the Fathers, thou didst write these sayings on packages and wrappings so that others might read them and receive spiritual profit." 
St. Nektarios scribbled little words of inspiration on the backs of packages in the store where he worked, little surprises for customers to find later. May he also send fitting sayings of the Fathers to our young adults, leading them towards spiritual profit. May he help them to steadfastly dedicate themselves to prayer.
What if our young adults make unwise decisions, as surely they must be tempted to, as surely we ourselves do too? Let us give a little more work to St. Nektarios, whose Akathist claims, "Rejoice, thou who makest wise the unwise by the teachings!" and "Rejoice, good guide of men!"
St. Nekatrios, guide us to draw near to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Catechism for Ancient Literature and History - Age of the Patriarchs

Inspired by Joshua Gibbs, I have undertaken to write a similar text for oral recitation for our Homeschool this year. We are studying the Ages of Grace cycle entitled Age of the Patriarchs,
using the Prologue schedule, and the K-1st Grade Reading List available in the Ages of Grace facebook group and whatever materials we can create -- like this High School Curriculum.
What you see below is a work in progress and I welcome feedback from other parents and teachers.

My children range from ages six to fifteen, so I have revised this mini-recitation within the
larger one for the six-year old. He will just stand with us and listen to the rest.

Students stand and read aloud in unison, each from their own copy. However, the teacher says the Elementary timeline and the students repeat it.

When is Ancient History?
Our Ancient History covers roughly 6000 years before the time of Christ - Before Christ is shortened to BC.

What is the Elementary Timeline? (with hand motions)
Creation, Fall, Flood over all                      (Children Echo)
2000 BC Abraham, Isaac Jacob                    (Children Echo)
1000 BC Joseph, Egypt, Slavery, Moses                 (Children Echo)
Joshua-Conquest, Judges                     (Children Echo)
Kings, Divided Kingdom                         (Children Echo)
700 BC Exile to Assyria - Homer writes Epics in Greece        (Children Echo)
600 BC Exile to Babylon - Daniel and the 3 Holy Youths        (Children Echo)
500 BC Return under Persia                     (Children Echo)
Shhh.. 400 years of silence from the Bible             (Children Echo)
Meanwhile.... 300 BC Alexander the Great             (Children Echo )
100 BC The Roman Empire                    (Children Echo )
20 BC Virgil writes his stories                    (Children Echo )
Anno Domini - follow that star - in the Year of our Lord        (Children Echo )

What is the Upper School Timeline?

2300 BC The Flood destroys all but Noah and the Ark
2100 BC Job suffers long
2000 BC  Abraham the Patriarch follows God to a new land

There he begat Isaac, who begat Esau and Jacob, who begat 12 sons, one of them Joseph, who was sold into slavery in Egypt and joined by his family in 1670 BC.

1550 to 1069 BC  Egyptian Empire reigns
1445 BC Moses leads God’s people out of Egypt

1405 BC Joshua leads the people into the Promised Land
1398-1050 BC The Judges rule Israel

1050 BC Israel’s first King - Saul - is annointed followed by David and Solomon.
930 BC Israel is divided into two kingdoms.

884-612 BC Assyria is a world empire
723 Israel is taken captive to Assyria and the prophet Isaiah lived.
700-800s BC Homer - in Ancient Greece - wrote down the epic stories his people passed on from generation to generation around campfires - The Iliad and The Odyssey.

612-539 BC Babylon is a world empire and attacks Jerusalem, Daniel and the three Holy Youths are taken captive to Babylon, Hezekiah and Jeremiah lived, and the book of Ezekial was written.
539-331 BC Persia is a world empire, and the Israelites return home to re-build the temple. This is the time of Ezra, Esther, and Nehemiah.

400s-500s BC, Ezra and the Great Assembly complete the canonization of the Old Testament.

400s BC Theatre is born as Sophocles writes his famous Oedipus plays to entertain and instruct worshippers gathered at the temples of Greek gods and goddesses for feasts.

336-323 BC Alexander the Great builds and rules his Macedonian Greek Empire.

63 BC Roman troops occupy Judea and Jerusalem falls.

44 BC Julius Caesar is assassinated.

37 BC Herod becomes King of Judea through Rome.

27 BC Roman Empire rises.

Around 20 BC, Virgil writes the epic poem, The Aeneid.

Around the year 1 - Anno Domini - The Year of Our Lord - Christ is born!

We shorten Anno Domimi to AD

How did our Lord Jesus use the Old Testament?

Image result for road to emmaus orthodox icon
Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, Jesus expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
How do we as Christians use the Old Testament?
We see Christ.
Also, we find in the Old Testament an opportunity for repentance and for spiritual encouragement.
For repentance - we see ourselves in the sins of the people, as we pray in the C anon of St. Andrew: “Like the Israelites in the desert, thou hast made a foolish decision, O my soul; for thou hast preferred the pleasures of gluttony and passions to the refreshment of divine manna.”
For encouragement - we find examples to inspire us in our spiritual life: “The ladder seen of old by the great Patriarch Jacob is an example, O my soul, both of ascent through action and of ascent through spiritual understanding. Watch, O my soul, and take courage like the Great Patriarch Jacob of old, that thou mayest acquire action with spiritual understanding, and be named Israel, ‘the mind that sees God’; and so shalt thou penetrate the impassable darkness through contemplation, and obtain a great treasure as thy reward.”
What are the chief aids to opening our hearts to this great treasure?
    Prayer, fasting, performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
How should Christians read the literature of the pagans?
St. Basil suggests that “Since the life to come is to be attained through virtue, chief attention must be paid to those passages in which virtue is praised. In the pagan literature virtue is lauded in deeds as well as in words, wherefore one should study those acts of noble men which coincide with the teachings of the Scriptures. Young men must distinguish between helpful and injurious knowledge, keeping clearly in mind the Christian's purpose in life.”
What is the Christian’s purpose in life?
Our purpose is to be unified with God, to become truly human, acquiring the mind of Christ.
What does School have to do with this?
School is a tool to seek the infinite God in the world He created, to learn the ability to see reality and the habits that are required to live within reality (and not to fight against it)*. School can be a part of our transformation, our theosis.

Since it is so easy to lose focus on this, what must we do?
St. John of Kronstadt explains, ““The Christian, who is called to a heavenly country, who is only a stranger and a sojourner upon earth, ought not attach his heart to anything earthly, but should cling to God alone, the Source of life, our resurrection, and the Life eternal.”
“We are Achaians coming from Troy, beaten off our true course by winds from every d irection across the great gulf of the open sea, making for home.” Homer- The Odyssey

What are the virtues that will enable us to attain the life to come, our eternal home?
Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Gentleness, Temperance, Joyfulness, Diligence
What are the vices?
Pride, Anger, Greed, Sloth, Lust, Envy, Gluttony
What might we tell ourselves when we get angry?
“Still, we will let all this be a thing of the past, though it hurts us, and beat down by constraint the anger that rises inside us. Now I am making an end of my anger. It does not become me, unrelentingly to rage on.” ― Homer, The Iliad
How should we strive?
    Elders Barsanuphius and John encourage, “We are praying for you; and do you, according to your strength, acquire humility and submission. Do not insist on any occasion that it should be done according to your will, for from this anger is born; do not judge and do not belittle anyone, because from this the heart grows faint and the mind is blinded, and from this negligence appears and unfeelingness of heart is born. Keep ceaseless vigil, learning in the law of God, for through this the heart is warmed by heavenly fire; do not be despondent and do not weaken. God does not demand of you what is beyond your strength, but demands labor to the extent possible.”
“Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.” ― Homer, The Iliad
What if we don’t want to struggle?
“The gates of Hell are open night and day; smooth the descent and easy is the way.”
“Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.”
“The best things, the things we treasure most, come through difficulties. If we ignore the
difficulties, we are neglecting the true joys.”
His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH

How can we acquire humility?
    O Jesus meek and humble of heart, hear me:
From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being sought,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humbled,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of being rebuffed,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That others may grow in the opinion of the world and I diminish,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred before me in everything,
That others may be more holy than I, provided I am as holy as I can be,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

*This is from Andrew Kern's podcast Ask Andrew. I didn't make the kids memorize his name but I do want to give him credit for the lovely idea.