Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gifts from God

A day off school to spend outside with my children.

Yellow flowers to brighten my yard and my desk.

A nice metaphor for Lent - a promise of new life springing out of winter ground.

Buttercups, more fruit of my grandparents planting labors. Bulb by bulb they built a beautiful retirement place.

Grape hyacinth peeking through the leaves. Lord, help me to stop and see the beauty in all the busyness of my days - especially the days I don't have off from work.

Thank you, Lord, for the idea to start listing my gifts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Papas & Pintos

First - Papas
Without knowing it, my husband and I were thinking about this at the same time. As I was uploading the post about Orthodox Fathers, he was busy creating his own blog! He has been a constant source of navigation in my life for the last 10 years, pointing me towards God as we journey in our faith. We don't always agree, but I enjoy - and consider it a gift - being partners with him as we "work out our salvation", struggling to be transformed into the image of God.

Orthodox Papa's Digest is where he's recording his thoughts about how to develop his own faith and pass it on to our kids. If you'd like, hop on over to ponder his personal reflections on Good Guys and Bad Guys.

Now - Pintos
I hope you are working on your post about Bean Soup for our party! FYI: and kind of beans, peas, or lentils are fine. Any additional ingredients are fine and welcome. More than one recipe is fine, too.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gifts from God - 5 year old's Perspective

Little Builder took his own pics of things for which he thanks God:

* Macaroni-N-Cheese

* My sister and my friends

* Nana, Granps, Grami, Grandpa

* Playing with blocks

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Orthodox Fathers Too

Several of you have already discovered Don over at Ramblings of a Single Dad. I know, because I found him through your blogs!

If you hop over, you'll find interesting and heartfelt information about foster care and adoption, including a Liturgical Service for Adopting a Child.

He also has a huge list of links to dad blogs. And other interesting ramblings, like this one about the time his son was suspended from school - as a teacher I really appreciate how he home-educated him for the week.

Another subject: Please consider joining my Bean Soup Recipe Party.

Bean Soup Recipe Party

I'm hosting a Bean Soup Recipe party for everyone!

Where: Here at Orthodox Mother's Digest

When: The first Monday of Lent (recipes due to be posted by Forgiveness Vespers)

Who: Each of you either 1) emails me a favorite bean soup recipe or 2) posts a favorite bean soup recipe on your blog and emails or comments to me the link.

What: I'll make a large post called "Bean Soup Recipe Party" that will include links to all of your Bean Soup Recipe posts. It will also include any recipes emailed in.

Basically, I just wanted a fun way to get more variations on Beans for Lent.

If you don't want to post on your blog, mail your recipe to me at orthodoxmother at gmail dot com

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


For a peak from Scripture, a peak at the potential blessedness of marriage :

look here.

Thanks, Susan Sophia!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crockpot Chicken

One day last week, as I was collecting my purse and coat from my classroom, getting ready to head home, I panicked, I haven't planned anything for dinner tonight! Then I remembered there was chicken in the crockpot. What a good feeling.

I had been meaning to try this recipe for so long, and finally did. We absolutely loved it.

Since I didn't have Italian Dressing, I used lemon juice, olive oil, and oregeno. And I forgot the onions, but they weren't missed. And it is just as good without the cream cheese (we had it both ways, on 2 different nights.)

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exotic Ideas for Lent

First, I want to mention something our priest shared with us about this week of non-fasting.

He said that the church wants us to remember to not be like the Pharisee (in the story of the Publican and the Pharisee)when we start our Lenten fast in few weeks. Take this week and not fast, as a reminder that it's better to not fast at all than to fast with a condenming or proud heart.

Hmmf. I always had merely thought that we didn't have to fast this week as sort of a "treat before a diet." However, this is something I appreciate about our faith: there is always more and deeper meaning. I always have further to grow. I don't reach the "end" and then feel like, "well, what now?" Every year, during the same cycle of service, I hear and learn new things. Thanks be to God!

Now, for the exotic idea for when fasting does start: Black Bean and Squash Mole Enchiladas.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gifts from God

* laying with Little Builder on the couch as he slowly wakes up from his car nap home from church today.

* coming up on 10 years with my husband and thankful for his companionship.

* 70 degree weather - perfect for tilling our veggie patch before it turns cold again. The sugar snap peas will go in the ground soon.

* a weekend with my son's Kindergarten "Traveling Mascot", who played Lincoln Logs with us and went to church with us.
I'm thankful for the creative ways his teacher finds to excite the kids about travel, history, science, and social graces.

* a myriad of parent volunteers who will help me host competitors from 10 schools on our campus this weekend for a big Debate Tournament; and my parents who will come up and help watch the kids.

* fellowship with friends from church - great stories, encouragement, laughs, and lasagna around a great big dining table.

* Saints whose lives inspire me and my kids (Read about St. Theodore the General if you didn't hear it after Vespers last Saturday night.)

* a circle of moms online - I'm feeling thankful for you tonight.

Praise be to God for every good thing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Two things crossed my path today that have me thinking of stopping to catch the moments in life, to love, to be thankful to God and share this joy with others.

The first is this quote from Phyllis' blog:

“It has been coming to me of late, that our Master’s words about gathering up the fragments that nothing be lost, may touch more than life’s loaves and fishes. I think I must gather some Love-fragments up, and give them to you, or the wind of Forget may blow them away to Oblivion.”
From Sunrise Land, page 74

The second is a poem my English II students read today in class:
"Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I'm sure this poem inspires many interpretations, but today I paused over the repeated phrase "And miles to go before I sleep." I asked the students why the poet stopped, when he had so far still to go.

Typical answers emerged: to pee, to shake the bells, etc. But one student ventured, to see a beautiful view?

In this long journey of life, the poet wanted to stop and take in a beautiful moment, as strength for the plodding ahead. My "miles to go" may be miles of dirty dishes, miles of laundry, miles of papers to grade, miles of diapers to change. May I stop more often.

I believe these two bits of literature are part of God's answer to my heart cry to Him last night. After a night of harsh words, impatience with my kids, and mostly trying to put them off while I finished other stuff, I begged our Father in Heaven to help me spend the few precious hours I have with them loving them.

Thank you, Father, for helping me to stop this day and see the beauty you have surrounded me with in my family.