Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Mother's Take on the Environment

Probably 8 or so years ago, we went through a phase in which we were "ready for the rapture" and therefore didn't care if places in our planet were being hurt. It would all be destroyed anyway during the Great Tribulation, a la those "Left Behind" books.

Now, I see 2 reasons to care about the environment:

1) Although the earth may not be our eternal home, it would be nice to be, as Winnie-the-Pooh says, "neighborly" with our co-inhabitants while we're here. Live at peace with those around you, to the extent that it's possible for you...

2)I am a babe of a convert (only 4 years) to the Orthodox Church, but my mind reaches to recall something from Chatechum class about seeing everything God created as having... sacremental qualities? I'd love your help here, if you know more.

So far, here are the ideas from our circle:

- catch rain water with a rain barrel to use for watering

- put gallon containers in the shower to catch water while it heats and during shower... use for watering plants

- compost

- bring your bags to the grocery store (for those of you who sew, Anna has a lovely pattern for bags here)

- another Monica has ideas about why she is a greenie (thanks, Phyllis!)

and now... I turn my thoughts to Father Seraphim Rose for evening reading.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A 4 year-old Take on Environmental Issues

LB (Little Builder): So, green building is like when they put grass on the roof and grass in the yard and paint the house green?

M (Mamma, me): Not exactly... green doesn't refer to a color here; it means being friendly to the earth and using the good things that friendly green plants give us.

LB: So, I could be a good green builder if I give the grass a big hug?

M: Well, not friendly like that. There are some things we do that hurt the earth, make it a less nice place to live for other people... like trash. Some things we need to throw away, but we recycle and compost other things because we don't want to cover the earth with big holes/landfills with unnecessary trash. That wouldn't be friendly to the earth or to other people on it.

LB: I'll build a machine that takes all that trash and - like the leaf mold that's good for a garden on This Old House - turns it into leaf mold for gardens or something like that!

And here's where I marvel... I go back and forth between shaking my head at his silliness and wondering if I'm witnessing a gift of God, placed in the mind of a future inventor. Imagine what Thomas Edison's mom might have thought of his musings about inventions? Somehow this fantastical conversation about imaginary machines seems sacred, maybe because each human is sacred, created in the image of God, and has sacred potential to create and do good for others.

on CO2...
LB: When I'm six, I'll just build a big machine that will suck up all the CO2 and give it to the plants in the middle of the machine, since plants like CO2!

on tailpipes...
LB: Tomorrow I'm going to rip that pipe off our van, so that it won't send anymore pollution into the air!
M: we can't do that, because after the engine uses the gasoline, the leftover waste has to go somewhere
LB: Well, when I'm five I can learn, you know, in kindergarten, how to build a machine that can take all that pollution from underneath the car and put it in a place that will turn it into corn seeds!

on deforestation...
LB: The Plant Company needs to tell those people to stop cutting down all the trees and plants!
M: There is no plant company, baby.
LB: Well, we have make one, and get everyone together, and tell everyone about how we need to not cut down all the plants! And when I'm five or six or something, I'll build a machine that takes big logs and puts them in the ground and covers them with bark and leaves and then they can help the earth! You can teach me how to build that machine.
M: I don't know how, baby.
LB: Probably my kindergarten teachers can. I'll learn lots of things in Kindergarten.
M: Yes, you will. You know, you'll need to learn how to read and do math, to help you build that machine. Usually you don't learn how to build machines until you're much older, but you might be different.

and so forth goes the conversation...

It doesn't matter that my son may never build inventions out of anything but Legos.

He is made in the image of One for whom nothing is impossible.

I'm more worried about changing my own life and living up to my own rhetoric, so as not to be a hypocrite in his eyes. Yes, we have a compost pile, but often the carrot shavings go in the trash because I'm in a hurry. Sure, we want to live a more sustainable lifestyle but I haven't switched to all-locally grown food yet. The list is endless...

Although the earth is not our eternal home, it would be nice to be, as Winnie-the-Pooh says, "neighborly" with it while we're here. And I am a babe of a convert (only 4 years) to the Orthodox Church, but my mind seems to recall something from Chatechum class about seeing everything god created as having sacremental qualities? The current issue of the Handmaiden has great reflections on this issue.

What about you? Please consider adding to the conversation.

What is your understanding of our attitude torward the earth as Orthodox Christians?

What do you do as a family to be good stewards of the earth God has given us? Any ideas for me to steal?

Looking forward to learning,

Prayer Spaces Picture Post Request

From Shelley: It would be lovely if there was a site where there were pictures of people's space, as I was mystified when I first became Orthodox about what to do. Would you consider dedicating a post to that?

So ladies, either email me pics of your spaces and I'll post them in one big entry.

OR post your pic on your blog and email me the link and I'll post all the links in one entry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cilantro "Cream" and Company

We had our God-family over for Mexican last night. To make the black bean and rice soft tacos a little more tasty, we whipped up some cilantro soy cream to go along-side the salsa.

In blender, whip:

1 block of silken firm tofu
juice of a lime or two
1 jalepeno, seeded
handful of cilantro
bit of chopped onion
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
pinch of cumin

Use as chip dip and sour cream subsititute.

Much better than the meal: the company, conversation and comraderie. Our evening prayers were warm, all 9 of us gathered around the prayer corner raising our spirits to God together. A rare treat for us, who live 45 minutes away from the closest Orthodox Church.

Thank you, God, for all the good things you have given us this past day.

Afternoon Snack

Spent the morning picking blueberries...

... and the afternoon enjoying pie, with a cup of coffee.

My grandparents planted over dozen bushes many years ago and we are blessed to still enjoy the harvest.

However, we weren't completely satisfied with the Blueberry Pie recipe. If you have a good one, please email it to me or post it on your blog and leave a comment so I'll know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gifts from God

60. sitting on the edge where beach meets lake, watching my son dig a canal

61. baby girl's arms wrapped around me when she first wakes up

62. reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy on the couch to my son

63. beautiful red roses resting in a milk glass vase, from friends who came to dinner

64. lively dinner conversation and passionate people, kind people, gentle people, sensitive people, thoughtful people... all the myriads of people that pass our paths on a given day

65. saints and guardian angels

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vegas, Baby!

Standing in front of the famous sign...

Carne Asada & Mexican Rice!

My agenda for next week: pick blueberries and swim in the local lake with my family!

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm in Vegas on a Speech Tournament and getting to stay with some dear old friends, buddies with whom we journeyed into Orthodoxy.

Dave & Kim make excellent Mexican food, and here's her recipe for rice:

Kim's Mexican Rice

1. Stir, over medium heat, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 cups of rice, and a bit of oil until fragrant.

2. Add 2 cans chicken stock plus enough water, so that the liquid is an index finger's kunckle above the rice; boil until the liquid is almost down to the level of the rice.

3. Add chopped onions, dash of cumin, handful of chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, and can of diced tomatoes.

4. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is done.


Friday, June 13, 2008

More-with-Less Muffins

Below is the original recipe, though I added loads of blueberries & a bit of vanilla instead of raisins. Since it is Friday, I tried rice milk and 2 TBS ground flax + 2 TBS warm water, replacing the egg.

Cinnamon-Topped Oatmeal Muffins

Preheat oven to 425

Sift together:
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Stir in:
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins

3 Tbs oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

Stir only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon topping:

2 TBS sugar
2 tsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp melted butter


This Mennonite Cookbook is a great resource for Orthodox moms (and really anyone who is trying to live thoughtfully).

More charity with less waste.
More nutrition with less calories.
More food with less money.

Though it was first published in 1946, the issues it tackles are very real for us today: high grocery bills, global food shortages, and Americans consuming too much and getting less healthy as a result.

The Mennonites asked themselves,

Does what you eat affect who your are spiritually?

Does your belief in God affect your way of living?

Not only is this cookbook, with its focus on consuming less meat and dairy, fast-friendly, but the reflections as the authors seek to answer the above questions are very helpful in our own attempts at intentional living.

This week we've been enjoying More-with-Less's recipe for muffins. I'll post the variation I used to create a venue for our bountiful blueberry harvest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Table Setting

For my birthday, I recieved new pottery dishes (by Kent & Libby Follette, the studio where I wet-sanded trays and trays of pottery one summer during college), chocolate placemats, and two sets of napkins.

White napkins with blue embroidered flowers

Pale Sky Blue napkins with large dark brown leaves

Blueberry muffins so much more fun on beautiful pottery!

Feeling Thankful for beautiful things in my life.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Birthdays Coming

Little Builder will probably have this cake

while the grownups eat this from this dump truck. is a great resource for cakes and cupcakes!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Something Motherhood Has Taught Me

I happily join Michelle Melania in this discussion.

With baby #1, I read books and thought that I had to apply them in full to my parenting. If I was going to be a baby-training "Baby-wise" Ezzoite, I would darn well do it exactly. By the way, here's a pro and a con perspective on Babywise for those of you who care to read for yourself.

Well, reality was impossible to work like that.

With baby #2, I had grown to realize that I could read a plethora of books and pick and choose which parts of which concepts that I would try until I managed to find - at least for a week or two - what would work for us. A little bit of Ezzo, a little bit of LaLeche, a little bit of Iovine, a little bit of Happiest Baby...

It's like the opposite of how you should approach the Church Fathers. Oh, I like this but that, not so much.

But for mothering, I have learned to take this buffet approach to books.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekly Menu

Sunday - Bacon, tomato & egg toasted sandwiches w/ cheesy corn bites I substituted salsa & mild chedder since I didn't have pepper jack.

Monday - Cabbage rolls & oven fried okra

Tuesday - Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, new potatoes, and grilled eggplant

Wednesday - Stewed okra & tomatoes with mashed potatoes

Thursday - Chicken, eggplant fritters, and buttered cabbage

Friday - Pasta & tomatoes, with fried zuccini patties