February 23, 2015

Blessed Lent

Still very cold here and everything is covered in snow.  It makes me realize how God is in charge of all nature, the beauty of it, and in this time and age when we think we can control everything, it's a reminder - we can't.

"He is my Helper and Protector, and has become
my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him. My
father's God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has
He been glorified.
" (Exodus 15:2,1; Psalm 117:14)

This week, each evening, we read the canon written by St. Andrew of Crete.  It's very repentant and beautiful, many references to the Old Testament:

We've stocked up on nuts, grapes, clementines, plums, beets, onions, potatoes, avocados, lettuce...and are trying to eat simply during Lent.  Do you have any favorite vegan recipes to share?

February 16, 2015

Sunday school

Yesterday in Sunday school, we played 2 games, first one I asked the kids one by one to pick a letter and I filled in the blanks:          _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _  _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _*

Then,we filled in the prayer with the correct words:

"Now lettest thou thy servant depart in_____, O Master, according to thy word:
For mine _____ have seen thy _________,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all ______;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."  (from Luke 2:29-32)
For next week, we are going to focus on the prayer of St. Ephraim, as we are ready for Great Lent:
O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition and vain talking, grant me not.
But a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love, bestow upon me, thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.
*Answers:  Prayer of Saint Symeon,  peace, eyes, salvation, people

February 2, 2015

Divine Liturgy checklist for kids

O "Blessed is the Kingdom."  Cross yourself and bow.
O  The Great Litany. How many petitions are there?  ___  Sing "Lord Have Mercy" along with the choir.
O  The First Antiphon.  Psalm 102, "Bless the Lord, O My Soul."
O  The Little Litany.  How many petitions are there?  ___  Cross yourself when you hear "Most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary."
O  The Second Antiphon.  It starts with "Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit," then Psalm 145, "Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord in my life."  How does the 2nd part start?  ______________________________
O  The Little Litany.  How many petitions are there?  ___  Sing "Lord Have Mercy" along with the choir.
O  The Third Antiphon.  "In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy kingdom" from Luke 23:42, followed by 12 verses, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" from Matthew 5:1-12.
O "Holy God."  Cross yourself and touch the floor each time you hear "Holy God!  Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal!"
O The Epistle.  What book is being read today? __________________________
O The Gospel.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet during the Gospel.  Listen for the priest or deacon to tell you what Gospel is being read.  Today it is from __________________
O The Litany of Fervent Supplication.  Cross yourself when you hear different people being mentioned:  The Metropolitan and bishops, the president, and even the names of people you know!  Sing along with the choir.
O The Litany for the Catechumens.  Are there any Catechumens in your church?  Pray for them during this Litany!
O Hymn of the Entrance.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Sing "The Cherubic Hymn" along with the choir.  Watch for the priest and servers to come out of the altar.  Do you see what the priest is carrying?  He is holding the chalice and diskos that have our gifts of bread and wine in them.
O The Litany of Supplication.  How many petitions are there?  ___ Sing "Lord Have Mercy" with the choir.
O The Creed.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Chant "I believe..." with everyone.
O The Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer.  This is a very solemn part of the Divine Liturgy.  Try to stand very still and be very quiet during this part of the service.
O The Hymn to the Theotokos.  Sing "It is truly meet" along with the choir.
O The Litany Before the Lord's Prayer.  How many petitions are there?  ___
O The Lord's Prayer.  Stand up straight and be very still and quiet.  Sing "Our Father."
O Prayers Before Communion.  Time to line up for Communion, stand still, cross your hands over your chest.
O The Litany of Thanksgiving.  How many petitions are there?  ___
O The Prayer Before the Ambo.  This is the prayer when the priest comes out of the altar.  
O The Dismissal.  Is the sermon done before or after this?

I couldn't figure out how to get little boxes to check, so we are using circles.  This past week, we tried this out after Liturgy, during Sunday school with kids ages 6-10 and it went pretty well, we watched a video on YouTube about the Liturgy after talking about each item, and noting key words to listen for.  For the future, I would make a simpler one, for the 6 year olds...  This next Sunday our priest gave the kids permission to use the checklist and pencils during the Liturgy (only this once, as it could be a distraction, or cause the kids to draw, definitely not an appropriate time/place)!

Thank you to Emma for inspiring this:

January 22, 2015

Sad news...

I took this picture on Monday January 12th...Lusy had a stroke and was doing poorly.  We all gave her extra love and attention. 
Tuesday January 13th, our sweet Lusy died in our home, with the 4 of us surrounding her as she slowly stopped breathing, we felt her heart beating for quite a few minutes after...then it stopped.  Rob wrapped her up in a white bedsheet and we buried her in the backyard.  Digging a grave for her was no easy task.  Rob had to make a fire to soften the frozen earth.  It's been a hard week.  We miss her every time we open the door, she would greet us with wagging tail...
 Listening to Uncle Rob play the mandolin.
 Monday, we celebrated Theophany in church and brought home blessed water.
 I ♥ that we have so many kids in our parish. 
Thankfully, my sister and her family were here last week to keep us all cheerful, during this sad time with our dog, Lusy.  Olivia wanted to make cookies, and Liza helped.

January 12, 2015

Christmas party...

Yesterday, our parish had a Christmas party following Liturgy...the children took turns performing, dancing, singing, reciting poems.  It was very nice!

Hannah sang the Winter Song written by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Irish folk dancing, 4 hand reel ...Olivia, Sasha, Hannah & Ella.

Several children recited poems, this was my favorite one...the little girl told this story, while her brother passed out candy canes:     

The  legend said that a candy maker in Indiana designed the candy cane to tell the true story of Christmas - a story about a virgin giving birth to a baby, who would give up His life for our Eternal life.
Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

In one way, it looks like a "J" for Jesus, meaning Savior, because He was meant to "save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Turned the other way, the candy cane reminds us of the shepherd's staff. The first people to hear of Christ's birth were shepherds guarding their flocks at night (Luke 2:8-20). Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd,  the One who is  searching for his lost sheep, feeding them, gently leading them, (Psalm 23; John 10:1-18; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10; Micah 5:4; Hebrew 13:20).

 That's my Godson, Timothy.
 Taking a bow. Two of my nieces did Russian folk dancing.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a video, but I did take some photos!
My other sister and her husband, little daughter and baby son came from Canada for a visit.  It was our first time meeting the baby, who is named Nicholas, but they call him Kolya for short.
Last year, my parents couldn't stay, but thanks be to God, they were having a good day and they got to watch their grandchildren yesterday!
Little Sofia, who I've mentioned many times, in the middle, with her mom on the right and father on the left with Timothy and grandma who is visiting from Ukraine next to her.

On a sad note, our dog, Lusy, has been doing very poorly.  She needs prayers.  Our vet put her on Baytril on Jan. 2nd for her cough, it seems she has fungal pneumonia (he looked down her trachea, after giving her anesthesia, and also took x-rays), she was coughing up blood!  Now, she is dizzy and can't walk (just this morning)...and doesn't want to eat.  Please say a prayer for her.

January 7, 2015

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

What a bright day!  Giving gifts to one another, at Pepaw and Grammie's house, after the Nativity is a very cold day here in Ohio, high of 10'F but very sunny, blue skies!!!  A little snow makes feel very festive.
Uncle Rob plays carols on the mandolin while we chatted, little Timothy explored and the girls played games.
Timothy loves his dancing Snoopy.  Below, Olivia holding a jar of lavender candies.
My dad got some Kusmi tea.
Earrings made by my 9 year old niece with sterling silver and glass beads.  Hannah got purple ones and I got ones with red and green beads that I'm wearing right now.
A pocket watch with the Eiffel tower on it for Olivia.  She loves Paris.
In all, the most wonderful thing about Nativity is knowing that God loved us so much that he sent his Son...and sharing that joy by spending time with family!

January 5, 2015

In our home...

Today for art class, Olivia continued on her self-portrait on canvas with acrylic paint.  Mixing up a skin tone wasn't easy, but I think she came up with a very natural color.
Our Lusy was sick last week (coughing up blood) and went to the vet Friday.  They kept her for a few hours and put her under anesthesia so they could look down her trachea and take x-rays.  Her heart was obscured by a dark area on her lungs, but when the doctor listened to her lungs, they sounded clear.  Very confusing.  He sent the x-rays on to a specialist.  It seems she has a fungal pneumonia, and so gave her an injection and now we're giving her antibiotics.  She's to go back in a few days for another x-ray to be sure it's clearing up.

And tonight we're expecting a bit of snow!  We celebrate the Nativity of Christ on Wednesday Dec. 25 / January 7th (old calendar) it would be really nice to have a white Christmas for us Orthodox Christians.