Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hello, I Think My Son Bartered Your Son's Jacket Away

Today my son came home sporting a 'new-to-him' slightly too tiny jacket and an announcement.
Something along the lines of: "Hey, look what I got for a candy bar and a handful of smarties."

In my husband's family, the men have historically either found careers in technical fields or sales. I believe, I know which field D. will naturally excel in.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Have Loved You For So Long . . .

From Babushka Joanna via Byzantine, Texas

- Posted using BlogPress from out in the world.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Clean Monday

The Prophet Isaiah says:
Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool (v. 16-18).
Today is Clean Monday.  In Greece it is a public holiday.  Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece, a day of great celebration and traditions. Families take to the beach or countryside for picnics and kite-flying. Children make "Kyra Sarakosti," (Lady Lent), a paper doll with seven legs to represent the seven weeks of Lent. Every week, a leg is cut off to show how many weeks remain until Easter.

The entire first week of Great Lent is often referred to as "Clean Week," and it is customary to go to Confession during this week, and to clean the house thoroughly (or to have it clean before the beginning of the Fast).

Father asked us to be particularly observant of the Fast and to maintain silence as much as we can.  I better get my prayer rope.  It looks like I'm going to need it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Everyday Mishaps: Scorched Pot Day

I had hoped to finish posting my canning recipe for this month.  Instead, I managed to scorch a double recipe of clementine marmalade.  Curses!  Worse, this is the third giant pot of something I've scorched today.  First, two batches of oatmeal this morning and now the marmalade.  

SO without further adieu, I give you:  How to Save Your Great Pot That You Just Ruined For Forever AND Ever.  Amen.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eternal memory, Nicollo Neri.

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the work of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. –1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

On Saturday, friends of ours lost their sweet baby boy during labor.  Words cannot express our sadness for their loss.  I thought I would post the Kutia recipe that so often accompanies the panikhĂ­da (memorial service).

Kutia is a sweetened grain pudding (usually either wheat berries or rice or less commonly barley) that is commonly served at Eastern Orthodox funerals.  If you are newly (or not so newly) Orthodox or Byzantine Catholic and you would like to contribute in an unintrusive, but meaningful way volunteering to make the kutia is almost always welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Homemade Lemon and Spice Olives are Nice for Lent

I found a new little Greek grocery in my area the other day.  I've passed it several times and thought about going in, but usually I am on an errand and unable to stop or it is closed or it is late.  All the excuses, right?

Anyway, today on the way back from coffee with a friend of mine I saw the unassuming sign and took advantage of my semi-free state.  I am glad that I did!  Apollo the Great Greek Grocery in Watauga, Texas is a lovely little store run by a husband and wife team.  They were very friendly and helped me with all my purchases.  Their prices are exceedingly fair.  I purchased brine cured olives and pickles, Zahtar Mix, Pita, and some good Greek yogurt and Bulgarian Feta at their direction.  Their produce was fresh.  I was very happy with my overall experience.

Upon returning home, I whipped up some homemade marinated olives for our Saturday and Sunday lunches during Great Lent.  They will take a few weeks to really season up.

Lemon and Spice Lenten Olives 

  • 6- sterilized, half pint jars with lids
  • 3 cups of brine cured olives (black or green), drained
  • 6 fresh bay leaves, crumpled
  • 1 lemon washed and sliced into 6 slices
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, cut in half
  • red hot flake pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic 
  • olive oil

You can pit the olives if you choose.  I did not.  In the bottom of each jar place 1 bay leaf, 1 piece of rosemary, some of the red flake pepper, and one clove of garlic sliced thinly or smashed.  On top of that squeeze the slice of lemon and drop it in the jar.  Add the olives and 2 or 3 tablespoons of high quality olive oil.  Cover with lid and shake until in the ingredients are evenly coated.  Put in the pantry.  Shake every few days for 3 weeks.  Take to coffee hour with some beautiful pita or french bread and olive oil.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bath Day

I am a lazy woman.  Don't be fooled.

Bathtime is often last on my list of things that I remember to do for my littlest ones.  This only became a problem after E. got tubes in her ears and tub bathes became verboten.  One day I will write out a beautiful schedule and follow it.

Life is Rebellion Against the World

I have been reading today all the posts and comments on the Facebook page of a distant acquaintance.  I did not know him at all.  I met him once.  He was gruff.  I was a twenty-something year old that probably deserved it.  On Wednesday, he committed suicide.  It has been a tremendous shock to his friends and acquaintances.  Everyone posting it seems is trying to make sense of it.  Most are sad, some are angry.  There are screeds, curses, poems, long drawn out explanations, aphorisms, and platitudes and broken plans.  The news is only maybe a day or two days old and yet there are pages and pages and pages of friends, cousins, ex-lovers, family members, anyone who knew him missing him, loving him, memorializing him...  all of this is at least some evidence that this was not the action of someone who was alone or uncared for, but someone who simply stopped wanting to live.  That is is sad.

There are so many places where the the sad things roam.  It seems that everywhere we look there is evidence of our brokenness, of the fall.  It becomes too much to bear.  Everyone has an opinion on how to handle it best.  Some are so convinced that this is real that they refuse to bring children into a world so repleat with suffering.  Some take their own life.  Some see the suffering as inevitable and proof of an absent, uncaring deity.

I suppose the Christian response to all this Veltschmertz is to strive to love they neighbor a little harder or for the melancholy to long for the coming of the Kingdom.  Maybe we will mutter a few more kyrie eleisons.  Maybe you will quit watching the news and reading the paper as I have.

Fr. James Early of St. James' [sic] Kids posted this from Fr. Lawrence Farley not too long ago and I think it is worth sharing:

If our Lord had not founded the Church, if our Lord had lived and taught and died and rose again and there was no Church, then you would not have the salvation that we have today. You would have, not the Church, but you would have Jesus’ words being simply a philosophy. It could take its place among the great philosophies of the world.

You have the philosophy of Socrates, of Plato, of Aristotle, of Buddha, of Confucius. And Jesus would take His place in this philosophical pantheon among all of them, which is to say, “Who cares?” Man doesn’t need philosophy. He doesn’t need to be told what’s right. Our problem is that even when we know what’s right, we can’t do it.
Our problem is not that we’re just uninformed. Our main problem is that we’re dead. Our main problem is that we’re enslaved. And as St. Paul says that even when know what’s right, we delight to do what’s right, we still do the evil that we hate. The problem is not that we’re students needing to be taught. It’s that we are slaves needing to be liberated. We’re dead men needing to be enlivened.
That’s what the Church is. The Church offers us, not a philosophy, but the life of Jesus. The Church offers us the very life that the Son of God had; that is infused into us. That’s what Baptism is about. That’s what Holy Communion is about. Our salvation is not a matter of having a course in miracles, or something like this or some sort of instructional program.
Our salvation consists of incorporation into the Church, because the Church is the Soma Christou, the body of Christ. It is the very life of Jesus here and available for us. Christ came down and united humanity to His divinity in the womb of the Virgin, so that we could have access to that divinity, so that the life of God that is in the Incarnate Christ could flow into us as well. That’s what the Church is about.

The ministry of Jesus finds its fulfillment, if I may put it like this, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which is to say that it finds its fulfillment in the ongoing life of the Church. Because as someone has finally said, what is the Church? The Church is a continual Pentecost. It is the life of Jesus available to us dying children to make us alive, to make us the radiant sons and daughters of God.
Maybe the real rebellion is not the early exit, the whole live-fast-die-young philosophy, or worse: he lived life on his terms (which is perhaps the most damning of all).   Maybe true rebellion against the world is choosing to life.