Monday, November 21, 2011

Popcorn Balls

Last night my god daughters and their parents came over.  It was a grand good time.  The kids made lanterns out of glass jars, and they made fairies out of pipe cleaners and artificial flowers.  They seemed to have a lot of fun. We mulled wine and cider.

Today after dropping Athanasia off at work and the boys off at school I was able to go to church for about an hour.  I was present for the end of Matins and the 1st half of the Divine Liturgy.  Then I had to leave to go to an appointment with a physician.

She said I'm doing better and the hole in my leg should be all healed in two more weeks if I can keep infection at bay.  I'm doing my best.

Athanasia made blue popcorn balls, in honor of the Theotokos' feast day today. She is the best mom.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Advent Wreath

Last Sunday, after the Divine Liturgy, Basil's Sunday School class made Advent wreaths.  Or, at least, started making Advent wreaths.  Today, Athanasia and the boys completed it with greenery from redwood, juniper, holly, pine, and orange trees.  I brought six candles home from church to put in the wreath.

Tonight as we shall for all six Sundays leading up to Christmas, we sung a little service at home.  

With all of us standing around the table, with the Advent wreath on the table, Basil Wenceslas lit the first candle. We faced the Icon and sang O Heavenly King, as Orthodox always do before lessons.

Then, sitting, I reminded the boys about our ancestors' expulsion from the garden and how they lost true wisdom and knowledge of God.  But I also told them that God was not content for us to have our minds darkened, and he promised to send a redeemer, the Messiah.  I read them the promise in Genesis 3:15, and explained that God repeated the promise, and even made a people, Israel, whose job it was, in part, to keep knowledge of that promise alive.  And we talked about how sometimes Israel didn't do a very good job and God sent prophets to remind them, and that lead us into Anselm Samuel reading the prophecy of Isaiah  

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORDAnd shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.
And we talked about how Christ means anointed or chrismated, and that Jesus is called Christ, which in Hebrew is Messiah, because he is anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Wisdom resides in him, and that with his wisdom he lifts the darkness from our minds and teaches us to be wise, not like our ancestors who gave up wisdom, that is fellowship with God for mere knowledge of good and evil, but wisdom born out of fear of God.

Then Athanasia prayed this English translation of the first O-Antiphon...
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, 
reaching from one end to the other mightily, 
and sweetly ordering all things: 
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Then we all sang this verse from O Come O Come Emanuel

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high, 
Who ordered all things mightily; 
To us the path of knowledge show, 
and teach us in her ways to go. 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel 
Shall come to you, O Israel!

And then Basil Wenceslas blew out the candle until next Saturday night when he will light two.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three Children's Christmas Books

     Basil's Cub Scout Den visited the fire house on Saturday.  The fire fighters were a great bunch of guys.  This was the second time we visited this fire house.  The first time, two months ago they had to respond to a fire just as the wee Cub Scouts arrived for their tour.  This time there were no emergencies so the boys got the whole tour.  Their favorite part?  The brass pole the fire fighters use to get from upstairs to downstairs.  Really.  They liked the fire engine.  They liked the helmets.  But the LOVED the idea of grown men sliding down the pole.
     After the tour Basil and I walked to the library just 100 yards up the road.  While there we listened to two harpists.  We heard Morning Has Broken, And Can It Be, and Greenesleeves (We learned Greenesleeves was written by Henry VIII.) before Basil got squirmy and we went and looked at books.  
     I made a mistake of picking two books by their covers.  Santa's Snow Cat and Santa's Snow Kitten are worth avoiding.  Maybe, if you really like cats you'll like these books, but Basil couldn't get into them, and I also thought they were boring.  It seems the chief virtue of the books is that on every page there is a picture of a wide-eyed yet emotionless cat.  I have trouble thinking of predators sympathetically, but if you like pictures of cats and can look past the destruction cats visit on the wildlife of North America you might like these books.
     A far better book is The Gingerbread Baby. This book has a story that is familiar but has an unexpected ending. It isn't deep and meaningful, but it is fun.  And the illustrations are beautiful and rich.  Basil and Anselm both liked this book.
     I have a stuffed pumpkin in the oven.  Have been enjoying Strauss Family Creamery's egg nog.  The Nativity Fast starts soon and the egg nog will be sold out by the time Orthodox can drink milk again, so these first few days of november are the only time we can drink it.  But that's okay.  I can make my own egg nog, which I'll do during Christmas.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

So much to write about

Well, let's see....   I've been working as a pump and compressor mechanic for a few months now.  I like it.  I think the most interesting thing I've learned how to do is sweat copper tubes for air, water, and oil lines.  I did hurt myself pretty bad with a diamond bladed cutter about 2 months ago.  It cut out a horrible gash in my leg (I lost part of my left tibia) and it hasn't completely healed yet.  It was a very dirty cut and it got infected.  That slowed healing.  But I am okay.  It is mostly healed now.

For the bast couple of weeks my son Billy has very much been on my mind.  I had the trisagion for the departed served for him after the Divine Liturgy last Sunday.  I miss him.  I haven't heard anything from my son Devon in months.  I hope he is okay.  I hope if he isn't that he'll let me know.

We celebrated the anniversary of our conversion to Orthodoxy on Nov. 3.  It is hard to believe it has been 9 years.  I hope I have made progress but I don't see it, if I have.

I've been searching for a 16 pocket wrench roll.  I want it to be leather, made in the U.S.A., and have a pocket large enough for a 1 1/4" combination wrench.  I haven't found what I am looking for.  But I did find this cool blog that tells how to make a wrench roll.

Over the past couple of months I've been reading The Lord of the Rings to Anselm.  I just finished it last week and was trying to decide what to read now.  Then I thought that this year, because we have amassed such a large collection over the years, I should start reading Christmas books early.  I started last night with reading aloud the first few stories of The Animals' Merry Christmas.  Hopefully, I'll be finished by Theophany.