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Conversations about family life and relationships.
Or lack thereof...
So, I went for it. Shaved it off. Full G.I. Jane. and I have to admit, I kind of love it, it feels pretty rock n roll! I posted the picture. I'll give you a minute.
The past year has been a difficult one for my family for a number of different reasons, which I won't go into. Let's just say that I have cried many, many tears during that time. There have been times when I've fallen to my knees pleading with the Lord to lift even just a bit of the suffering from us. I asked Him why He, the Good Shepherd, was not chasing after His sheep in danger. I begged Him to end the trials we were enduring because our faith is not as strong as Job's.
Dinner has ended and the sweet aroma of name day bread is wafting its way towards the table where four anxious children await a slice. You see…today is my son, Christopher's, name day and we are just about to begin our family’s name day tradition.
Here is a series of short journal entries written as Christine was starting her first course of treatment, in March.
Dear Sounding Readers,
We are joining this story about two months after it began. It is still going on, and it will be for quite a while. We will post the story from the beginning, one installment at a time, and we'll let you know when we catch up to Christine and are telling her story the day it's happening. Christine is writing her story, and we are posting it for her here. Please feel free to respond to her with comments. We will pass them on to her.
Melinda Johnson, Blog Chief
Every year on Holy Saturday, I grab my Bible and gather my kids into the kitchen to bake Resurrection cookies. It is such a fun way to remind them of the story of Christ’s Crucifixion, and it helps them share in the joy of His glorious Resurrection!
*tip: i have the verses bookmarked and numbered for easy reference.
Everyone knows that eggs are associated with Pascha/Easter, and that red eggs are readily available from Orthodox Christians. There are traditions and folklore to explain the reasons. I'm sure you've heard them all. After a week at a monastery, I found the best explanation for why we have so many eggs as part of our celebration. And just recently, I found a great recipe for naturally dyed deep red eggs.
We are about to begin our 6th and final week of Lent and then brace for Holy Week, and all I can reflect on is how amazing Lent and fasting are. Where else can we fast and feast on the same day? It sounds impossible, I know! But you can do it with a Greek Fish Plaki.
Many of us have at least one person in our family who is a picky eater - generally, one of our kids. So how do you avoid feeding them nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the entire duration of Lent when lentils and quinoa are not even an option? I tried an experiment with my kids, nieces, and nephew last year, and it worked pretty well. Let me explain.
When I was having my first child, I heard about many parenting books I should read. And I avoided them like the plague. After all, none of the "experts" agree on the best way to raise children. Some take the Old Testament stance "spare the rod spoil the child." Others go to the opposite extreme, "Don't spank children. Let them do what they want and they'll be just fine." And, of course, if you admit to using any particular form of discipline with your children, someone will be offended by your choice and have plenty of advice to give about why you're doing it wrong. So, long ago, I figured I'd just do what I thought best and muddle through as best I could. After all, that what's my parents had done, and my four sisters and I largely turned out okay.
Husbands think they score big points when they bring home flowers and chocolate for their wives, but I’m not sure we wives give our husbands the points they think they deserve. In fact, if husbands looked at our scorecards, I doubt they’d agree they were playing the same game. And oh, the games we play.
When our son Adam was three years old, my husband Barry decided to start writing to him in a journal and then hand it to him when he turned 18. That time has come.
In fact, Adam’s 18th came and went, as did Christmas, but the finished product is now complete and shortly to arrive from the printers. Letters From Your Father is a beautiful testament of a father’s love for his son which makes me think of our Father in heaven and his love for each and every one of us.
“For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.” John 17:26
Last night, I went to a talent show at my kids’ school. It was enjoyable to watch an entirely random blend of performances unfolding in front of a room full of parents eager to applaud at the slightest hint of aptitude showing on the stage. I know this because I was one of them. There really was true talent to applaud and, even when talent was not really present, there was a lot of courage to be praised. There was one thing, however, that set me back...
Love. It’s a popular topic. We love our mothers and fathers from birth; we love our siblings, our friends, and even co-workers. We “fall in love” and many times vow to love one person for the rest of our lives.
So what kind of loves are these: familial, “love of one’s own”? In what way do we love those around us naturally? I use “naturally” because I think we’d all agree that to a certain extent we are naturally inclined towards loving. But the nature of this love, the root, where is it to be found? What is the goal of this love? Why do we love: for what purpose, for what benefit? What makes this “natural” love of ours binding? What unites us to those that we love?
I suppose it’s easy to think that all or any kind of love is good and of God, but is this true?
“What shall we offer You, O Christ,
Who for our sake has appeared on earth as a man?
Every creature which You have made offers You thanks.
The angels offer you a song.
When we think of Christmas, we think of our families, of the Liturgies, yes, of the gifts, of the reunions, etc. Often we forget about those who serve us this day. No, I am not simply talking about the priests, deacons, subdeacons, chanters, etc., who serve in the various Liturgies. I am talking about those who are unseen and, all too often, forgotten.
Fear of loss has long been the foil to unfettered happiness. And no time is this more apparent than during the holidays.
This week we give thanks in a special way in the United States of America. This week is Thanksgiving. This week we give thanks for all that the Lord has given us. But, in our giving thanks for what the Lord has given us, let us not simply give thanks as though it all belonged to us. Let us rather give thanks for those things over which he has made us stewards. Let us determine in our hearts to correctly use what God has given us.