See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Friday, October 31, 2008

Where is Your Heart?

Have you ever played man of the mountain? The one perceived to be the strongest wins. Saddam Hussein was the man on the mountain, because he convinced the world he had weapons of mass destruction, especially Iran, and other neighbors, (this protected his country from invasion). It has never been our policy to "overtake a country," as some of our own, call us erroneously, an "imperialist nation," but, because we are the world's man on the mountain.
A place we arrived at not because of any other reason than, we earned it. We are called upon to help other's when and where ever we can. Who else can? Who does the world turn to? Us.

The call was Saddam's, perhaps he was bluffing, perhaps not, but when he refused to comply with the United Nations, we had the right and duty to go in. That is what rules are for. It was decided that in his refusal to comply with the United Nations mandates we would enforce the provisions set forth in the Gulf War I treaty that compelled him to disarm and be verified, or face destruction. He did not allow the search, or provide the proof of the records of destruction. We along with a small coalition, took action to rid what the world agreed was his stockpile of weapons of Mass Destruction. It is simple, like Russian Roulette, we cannot take a chance when a dictator shows its aggressiveness such as: by invading Kuwait, and a protracted war with his neighbor Iran. Then, we heard after our going in to Iraq, how mass graves were found, and masses of people had been annihilated, (gassed).

(Iran has openly threatened it's neighbors, inflaming his enemies.) Your objection to our going into Iraq says one thing clearly to me. You do not want to take the responsibility for your neighbor. You would have turned your back on them, which suggests that "money" comes before people. When your man of the mountain, it carries a great responsibility for human kind. That comes at a great cost. (The video below is a two minute letter from Joe Cook, which says it all). And, I say, if you don't care, about people who have lacked freedom, peace, and a life worth living, then all I can say is, where is your heart? I am going to vote for a president who knows his enemies and they know him. He is not afraid to fight, and understands that once you lose your place on the mountain, it's all over. He knows well the threat of a Nuclear age, (especially when Iran is claiming to develop nuclear weapons and a Navy of it's own), and like other countries, have their scope on us. We must be careful not to leave Iraq vulnerable, and we must never let our guard down. This is not the time to "stand down" people, not when our enemies are just waiting for an opening. Yes, we have a lot on our plate, as generations did before us. These are trying times and it will take more than a Maverick, but we are fortunate to have someone who is strong on defense, and will fight for us, he is John McCain. So engage your mind, and vote your heart.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unfounded Fear

Wooooooo! Halloween is Coming! If your not scared, you may be after reading this post!

Before all that though, I wonder what my little grandson Nathan, will be dressed as tomorrow night. Every year his mom likes to surprise us, keep us in suspense, guessing. But being the perceptive, intuitive, type, I'll bet it will be cars. He doesn't care to have his face covered, just like his dad, and last year he struggled in a lion costume. The previous year, a lobster.

Among the many things that stand out for me, is the horrible parade, fire engines and the High School Band. This entertainment was provided for the youth of the town for many years. We used have a place called the Strand Theater and we saw many great shows there, which included scary movies, like the FLY. They always gave out candy.

As a child, I remember being dressed as a witch, and when we dunked for apples, my black crape-paper costume got wet and dripped everywhere. What a mess. We always got nickel candy bars, I liked the big Musketeers, or the Almond-Joy Bars. It was the greatest night of the year. When we got home we ate chocolate, my favorite. There was some mischievousness going on, like ringing doorbells and running away. Some kids threw eggs at us, or at cars, that weren't waxed.

Years later,we had fun with the kids. One night my brother, dressed in an old black raincoat that was my father's (pea coat style) with a white skeleton mask. Limping along, he would howl, and everyone that saw him cried and ran away, even the dogs. Man, he was scary. (My father wore the same outfit when we were kids, and had the same reaction).

Then there was a guy named Raymond, who wanted to dress like a woman each year. My parents got a kick out of him. He would wear a hat like the one you'd see on the Beverly Hillbillies. (The one worn by granny, with a net). Besides the heels he couldn't walk in, and the stockings with the crooked seams in the back, his boobs were outstanding, to say the least. He said he would use two huge potatoes, in "his" bra. He walked proudly, strutting around in his dress. (This is a guy who was pretty tough and was always on a motorcycle). No one messed with him. His stop was the local bar room. My grandmother dressed as Aunt Jemimah, blackened face and all, she use burnt cork. Believe me, she didn't need the potatoes. She wore the girdle with the bones, and the outfit you see on the syrup bottle. All you could see were the white of her eyes. Outside of the blue eyes, that she couldn't disguise, it was a perfect imitation.

Some of the costumes that I won prizes for, in the past were: a sexy black cat, tail and all. A hooker, no explanation needed. And Mary had a little lamb. It was all in fun! Except, when I was a young mother, in my early twenties, my oldest son was an infant and sleeping in his bed.Toward the end of the evening, while I was distributing candy to some small children, three older boys made their way through the door. I was alone in the apartment at the time, and they would not leave, demanding treats. (Things are different today, parents accompany their children as they should.) It was frightening for me to say the least. They finally left. I'll always remember that night.

I don't know how many people believe in spooky things, they must or why all the stories? My kids will probably remember going to Grandma's house, with the lights flashing and eerie sounds coming from Bobs car. Seems everyone went to grandma's house. Grandpa used to give out bags and bags of candy, then they would have to close the light, always worrying about running out. I can hear him now, "EEE, son of a beach, Leona". Leona would say, "Oh Dad!" That was many years ago but, (Steve said, he still has a lot of foot traffic there.)They would complain that there weren't that many kids living on that street. Apparently, they were seen being trucked up. Living on the boarder of another town had advantages. Those children got to go around two nights.

It seems Steve was always sick on Halloween, fever and all, every year, since he was a little tyke.

If nothing else, just the feel of the night was always eerie. So, back to my first thought, sometimes people have fears that are in fact unfounded, based on imagination. Then, there's the ...OOOOOOOOuu!

We lived in a time that was fashionable to tell tall tales, stories about hair-raising monsters and creepy things. This was always part of the art of conversation that I spoke of earlier. My grandmother used to tell some stories that made you scared, so scared you couldn't sleep at night. Oh, things like boogie men in the closet, in particular. Or the dead, sitting up in their coffins, being shown in those days at home. She said, sometimes, they would make strange sounds. My dad used to tell us that he had to go through the cemetery at night, when coming home from the show, alone...and of all the sounds he would hear.

A long time ago, my husband John and I heard a bell ring in the middle of the night. We woke at the same time saying, "did you hear that?" "yes, I said," "what did you hear?" "A dinner bell," "Me too!" Then we checked things out and everything seemed okay. The next day, after much difficulty getting back to sleep, I went into the adjoining room and asked him which one he heard, as we had two. We both agreed on the same one. Now, strangely enough, the windows were not open, and there were no earthquakes. The only way you could hear that bell, was to pick it up and ring it. This is an unsolved mystery, to this very day. It sort of falls in with the one where the kitchen cupboard door open and slammed closed, during the day, while I was in the living room. There is no doubt in my mind where the sound came from.

John disagrees that those were the only two times that we experienced eerie, unfounded and mysterious happenings, and reminded me of the cute teddy bear that he won years earlier. It was the type that if you pushed the button it would play a series of children's songs. Except, this one would do it all of a sudden on its own, without anyone even being close by. Anytime it felt like it.

It's gone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The art of conversation

Years ago when entertainment was not as it is today, people would engage in conversing about, you name it, what was happening in their community, the children, sports, politics and according to the newspapers, who died and was born.

You were given orders never to divulge family business, of course. Two subjects were avoided, religion and politics, as God forbid, that would offend our neighbors, ( as these two subjects often ended in disputes).

It was always done with great respect and your word was your honor. What you said, you did. And, people trusted that what you said was indeed true.

Sunday afternoons people gathered as they generally had the day off from work. That is, men, most women stayed at home with the children. It was not uncommon for the men to conjugate in their "smoke room," as there subject matter was very different than the ladies, conversing while enjoying a beer or alcoholic beverage. This followed Sunday dinner or brunch, or, perhaps lemonade and pie.

I can still recall my father's stogies. He would make rings of smoke for us. At times we went to a movie as a family. Most entertainment surrounded the family: games, winter sports, baseball, swimming, hiking, biking, ice and roller-skating, cook-outs, football games, and drive-in movies.

It was uncommon for a woman to be found speaking to a guy she was not introduced to, by her family. Dads needed to approve of your date. There was a set time that you needed to be home. I don't know if we will ever see those days again. Respect, respect and more respect.

Through this art of conversation, existed a network of people who worked together, and helped each other. (Support Systems). Everyone knew who you were, and who your parents were. They knew your name. Sometimes, there was only a phone here and there and it would not be uncommon for a call to come in for a neighbor, community style. Not everyone had cars either, so believe me cars were not empty driving around. Sort of a car pooling, and sharing amongst neighbors, picking up each other's children. We looked out for each other.

People have lost something very special with the demise of that art. Now people are afraid to talk to one another. And, if you do try to converse, they look at you like you did something wrong. What has happened to this country? I think that hard times are coming upon us again. I feel that people may have to resort to being "people" again. Unfortunately, many of the "arts" have gone by the wayside, like gardening, sewing and canning.

Tonight, the cutest thing happened after dinner, when little Nathan usually wants to get down and play. He sat in his chair, and proceeded to have a conversation with us. Telling us all he possibly could remember about cars, roads and the fans on the dashboard. He is not quite three, but in his own way, he understands how important it is to master the art of conversation.

I wondered when he got done, if he had witness a car accident, sounds and all. He mentioned the slippery road and rain. It was so refreshing to see him, beginning with a family prayer, and wonderful meal and letting us know how important we are to him, by taking the time to have a conversation with us.

I was so impressed, all that was missing was the sipping of the (make believe) coffee, and that little boy could be seen twenty years from now as a highly polished, and charming grown man. And my intuitions and predictions are normally pretty good.

I spoke to his mother about his story and she told me that is how they play in day care. Smash up derby. There was no accident that he saw. What an imagination! Maybe there is hope for the art of conversation after all.

Children are so innocent, they are quick to share, so loving and giving. Maybe we should be taking lessons from them. Conversation after all, is a two-way street.

Lovely Surprise

My little grandson was waiting at the door this cold morning, around (40 degrees), with a huge smile and a pretty red leaf. It' like gold to me, pardon the pun. But no, that wasn't the surprise. It wasn't the snow promised either, thank God, I'm not quite ready as there remains chores left to do before the little heavenly wonders start there downward spiraling, covering the barren mess. Bill, my oldest son, said it snowed at his home around 10ish but didn't stick. He was the one who loved winter and when it would snow, he'd go from window to window. The wonder of it all! He didn't sound so enthusiastic now, maybe because he has a cold, or could it be, that it isn't so much fun when you have to work and still clean up after the accumulation?

After Nathan's second breakfast, orange juice and a blueberry toast-waffle with cream, and playing with airplanes and cars, it was time for an adventure. He wanted to go to the church.

I proceeded to dress him in his warmer coat and hat with ear coverings, then it came to the mittens. (It was much easier this year), and after he got them on he said "it's broken" that is his lingo for something is wrong. I looked at the small mittens with the dinosaurs on the front, they seemed okay, but upon further investigation, I noticed that the first finger was in the thumb area, and he knew the difference. Grampy says that's how he is like me, he'll let you know.

How he enjoys riding in the car, observing the front-loaders at work and the flags. Then, we proceeded up Morris St., he immediately tuned in, "not Me-Me's, the Church". It is amazing how he knows exactly where he is and how to get to where he is going. When we turned the corner left up the hill, he yelled "there it is," happy to see it, like a long, lost friend.

It was so cold, we didn't stay very long. He walked around observing the missing dirt, blown by the wind, probably in the last day or so. I cleaned up a bit by bringing in overturned pots and unfortunately a bird feeder. Next, to say good morning to Fr. Peter and Onchu the puppy, a tour of all the Halloween scarecrows, and a huge orange pumpkin tin pot which contained yellow mums. Funny how the mums are going to bloom for the 2nd time this season around the entrance of the rectory. All the while Nathan wanted his watering can. Of all the times I've complained about the care taking of plants this spring and summer, I'll be the first to admit that I miss them.

It is a huge endeavor, planting for the next season and cleaning up after the last each year. We will have to move quickly before the pots freeze if we are to decorate them for the winter.

It wasn't long before we had our little bundle back in his car seat, all snug with his do-do blanket, (blanket since infancy) covering him, and were on our way home.

Lunch was predetermined, because I know better. He had quite the appetite, consuming all while watching "Mighty Machines," his favorite DVD, on my computer. He had homemade chicken broth, cottage cheese, bread and butter, a banana, and chocolate milk.

I've never seen a child that age so neat. His hygiene is so important to him. On the bathroom stool, he washed his hands, face, and with a hand-held bunny mirror brushed his teeth. Around two he was ready for a nice nap. Me too! That is, after kissing all the stuffed animals, Pepper, and Snoopy White goodnight.

Actually, I'm off to the kitchen to make a nice apple pie to go with dinner tonight. We will give him chicken, because it is one of his favorites, while I'll have tuna casserole.

Now I realize that I forgot to tell you what the surprise was. There is a little birdhouse, ornamental, which I placed next to my lavender in my garden, and next to that I placed a huge ceramic, Royal bright blue, half pot sideways on the ground, where spring flowers are planted. The expensive pot broke last year, equally on both sides, and this was the resolution to disposing of it altogether. If you can envision the way some people lay there wooden whisky barrels, you'll get the picture. The flowers are gone, and surprisingly enough contained a house-guest. All rolled-up and looking quite comfortable, was a huge grey-colored-cat, having himself or herself a nap. Of course, Nathan was happy to see the "fur ball", asking if he could climb the bank to "see it." I'm sure the cat knew he was advancing, and wanted no part of the intrusion, and having a different plan, ran off. Being a strange cat, I wouldn't let him get too close, anyway. It amazed me how strong Nate is now, a short time ago, he would not have been able to climb up there. The cat? He'll be back I'm sure, now that he's found a new home, which is no surprise to me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Growing Angry

Anger is part of who we are. In other words, this emotion is part of our creation. Anger is a lot different than one saying, Oh Shit! You know what I'm talking about.

I have been surrounded by angry people all of my life, and I think it is the most destructive force in the life of a man. His displaced anger, if used the way it was intended, like for defense, it would serve well.

While it is okay that we have anger, it is not okay to grow angry without a cause. There is holy anger, as Jesus demonstrated, when overturning the money changers.

The bible tells us in (Ephesians 4:26), "Be angry and do not sin." The problem with anger is that it will grow and fester in us, and if not dealt with, it will cause us to perhaps, say or do things we may be sorry for. Or, if the anger within develops enough, we may take it one step further. Anger leads to destruction.

It may be a self anger, at your weakness, or what you did or failed to do. Maybe someone has invoked you, the result, being how you feel. Do you have to make a production out of everything?

Deal with it. Deal with it before it destroys you. You can become an angry person, someone not pleasant to be with. Short tempered, snappy, and in some cases loud. No one will want to be with you. They will grow to fear you, or dislike you, not knowing when you will have your next fit, smashing or pounding things, accompanied with the colorful language, people who know you, have come to expect..

Did you ever consider what anger is doing to your health? I know someone who yelled so loudly, that the adrenal level was raised to a point that there was a concern of having a heart attack. It is so not worth it.

I recently saw a nurse deal with a person who was acting out, in a small way. She told that person to take a deep breath. I thought that was a very good thing to say. My mom used to say count to ten. I always said take a moment, (control yourself). Think of what your doing. Things happen in life, don't go ballistic. You can get to a point where you will lose control, then what?

Some people seem more high strung than others. Make-up, maybe, or perhaps it builds, until we act out with every "little thing." We are responsible for our actions, even what we say when it "just blurts out," and, "how it affects others around us."
It is part of what you learn growing up, "how to control yourself." But, sometimes punishment makes you even more angry.

This is what (St. John Chrysostom said),"Be angry with the devil and not your own member. This is why God has armed us with anger. Not that we should thrust the sword against our own bodies, but that we should baptize the whole blade in the devil's breast."

Anger is destructive so why not try "Peace," it is what Jesus said so often in the scriptures.
Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Pray for peace of mind.
Relax, nothing is going to happen to you that God doesn't know about. So, "Be of Good Cheer!" Let go and let God.

It is said, that every time you get angry, you take years off your life. Maybe, it is time to consider unloading those negative feelings to someone out there, like a priest. I'm sure he knows just what your talking about.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Holistic Health

Shepherd of Souls, Episode 33, Sunday, Oct. 26-Fr. Peter interviews Holistic Nurse, Kim Ladue.(

It is clear to me that if a person is out of balance, it will manifest itself in illness. I remember someone who worked two full-time jobs for several years or so, which resulted in a depression and breakdown. Your physical condition directly affects your mental state. How firefighters are able to work a 24-hour shift and keep a sense of balance is beyond me. I often heard people say do not trust your health care to anyone who has been on a long shift, as they can make mistakes. It is a known fact that if you start dropping things, normally it is because you are tired. Pilots sometimes have long hours and have been known to fall asleep while on the job. My brother, who used to work the night shift fell asleep at the wheel, luckily he is still with us.

How can we expect to do well if we are not in balance? I remember getting up to feed the baby and falling asleep with the baby on my lap, as I rocked both of us to sleep. New mother's go through a period of being unbalanced.

Did you ever have something on your mind which caused you to act sort of absent minded? You can forget to eat, or do what they call day dream? The mind is so powerful I read, that your subconscious can create negative impulses from your childhood and you need to be rebooted to the positive. (Sometimes it is so deep inside, your not aware of it, but it will cause you to be ill). Sort of like swearing, which comes from hearing, and sticking with you, or spitting. The point is they think that too many times negativity is responsible for creating diseases in your body. The book I read claimed that the negative overpowered the positive thoughts, but you can overthrow negative responses, by replacing them with positive ones. This takes work on your part, once your aware, and others sometimes need to help you with this. (Positive reinforcement).

Depression is a sign of illness in your body. How many times do you hear of new mothers having that syndrome? Or, when a child is afraid they become sick? I shake every time I hear fighting. It is easy to see the mind-body connection. A healthy mind is imperative to your overall being. A strong mind can cause the action of physical healing. (You can literally talk yourself well).
Or, vise-versa. I recall dieting was a concern in my family, especially my aunt. She was always on the weight watchers diet. On the scale, working out. And, it never worked. Poor thing, it wasn't her fault it was her make-up. We know that now. After she passed away, my brother went to Italy. He met her first cousin. They didn't know each other, but were around the same age. Different country, different diet, yet carbon copies of each other.

Spiritually, it is harder to explain. That is why so many young people do not get it. A broken heart from a loss is how most people experience faith. Until someone you love has died, it is hard to understand the mourning felt by The Virgin Mary, as her Son was tormented and killed in her sight. How true the word was, "a sword will pierce your heart."(What is understood is the grief). And, you can live without Christ, but how can you die without Him?

Everyone said that there is a grieving period, and for everyone its different and individual. When my father passed away it was unexpected and quickly. It took me a month before I broke down and wept loudly in a crowded church, unexpectedly. I had months to prepare for my mother, who died in my arms. Just yesterday, people asked how I could have done that. It was difficult, but only possible because of my faith and hers. We prayed that Jesus come quickly. I became physically ill shortly after her death. When your heart gets ripped out, you will grieve, it will affect you, body, mind, and soul.

It is important to eat and sleep right, take care of your mind by filling it with positive thoughts and beautiful things to look at. Be in love with those around you, and all you come in contact with. Love is a good thing. Be illumined, receiving the Sacraments of the Church, knowing the power of forgiveness. Because, having imbalance is not good for your health.

Tune in to Shepherd of Soul part II. with Fr. Peter, and holistic health nurse, Kim Ladue. Coming soon!

Chicken Again

When I was young we used to play chicken. No one wanted to be called chicken. So, we would dare you to do something probably, stupid, and, because you didn't want to be called chicken, you would do it. I recall my brothers saying they would go fishing, and would be dared to eat the bait they brought to place on the hook. They said they did! Ueeek. Sometimes, it was worms, or little tiny fish. They said they would feel them move in their stomach. How could they?

But that is not the chicken that I wanted to talk about today. It is more like eating chicken. It happens to be a staple in our diet. John cannot have any pork product, like ham, sausage, bacon or any derivative. So, shortly I'll be coming up with another chicken recipe. Then, it will be chicken soup. By now I'm an expert on the subject. They say chicken is good for you, but only if cooked in a way that takes out the saturated fat.

Yesterday, I saw a lady shopping for skinless chicken, while I was buying the whole bird. I know people will pay more money for the luxury of not having to pull off the skin, which is very fatty and not good for people concerned with cholesterol. My brother is one of those people. And, although he cannot afford to pay more money, he buys the skinless prepared parts.

I have learned how easy it is to pull off the skin. Simply, with the legs down and back up, insert a knife and cut across the back skin. Pull the skin off by pulling down toward the center. The hardest part is getting it off of the legs. So, if its legs, grab the skins with a paper towel. The skin sticks to the paper, and having the skin in the paper, will allow you to pull it off easily, as it is not slippery. Try it. It will save you the excess cholesterol, and money.

If you choose to cook the bird with the fat on it, the drippings once refrigerated and chilled, will separate the fat, (which will rise to the top), and can be easily removed with a stainless spoon onto a paper towel. It is advised to not put fat into a sink, which will cause drainage problems. Throw it in the garbage.

Sometimes I need to add chicken broth from a can, if I'm making a large batch of soup. I always buy the "low sodium," and "fat free." If you don't have fat free, place the can in the refrigerator to chill, and once you remove the cover, the fat which has now risen to the top, can be scooped out easily.

I avoid doing any harm to my family by giving them foods that will ultimately cause pain and suffering. Especially to the hearts that I love and that love me. Diet is a big part of the way I make it all better. And I work hard at it.

Years ago, people would cook dumplings utilizing the chicken fat instead of using a good fat product, (non-hydrogenated), in with the flour to form the dough. That type of saturated fat from the chicken may taste great, but they all died young from heart attacks and strokes. (My favorite spread to cook with is "Smart Balance.") We avoid butter, although it is a natural product, it is a saturated fat.

This boo-boo kisser prefers not to play chicken.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not an Exact Match

Did you ever do something where regretfully, you are so embarrassed, that you wonder how many may have noticed?
That is what happened to me today, once again.

When I was in high school, in English class, yes Fr. Peter, that was a long, long time ago, I recall, my teacher all of a sudden would give us an on the spot quiz. It weighed heavily on your final mark. This is one of the embarrassing moments, as he would ask you to get up in front of the class and talk about a given subject for one minute. So there I stood, shy and not wanting to talk, worse he gave me a subject "tattering" which I didn't even know what the word meant. Later, he said I could have talked all around the subject, as long as I was saying something. I got a big fat zero. I never liked him anyway.

This probably was not as bad as that, but it ranks up there as far as embarrassment. To think at one time, I didn't like to talk, I didn't talk much in school. Anyone who knows me wouldn't believe it. They all say, I talk a lot.

One Sunday, my mom came home from church, laughing all morning. She used to go to church early so she could make the meatballs, as we usually had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. It was my favorite meal. Anyway, the priest used to climb up the stairs and preach from a balcony where he could be seen and heard. You could always hear a pin drop. It was fall and people wore hats then. Of course, people had colds and were sneezing up a storm. It was popular to wear a veil over your hat, which covered your nose, (like the one's worn on the Loretta Young movies at that time), so being engrossed in what the priest was saying, one of the parishioners reached in her purse, pulled out a tissue, and proceeded to blow her nose all over the veil which she neglected to pull up. Needless to say, she spent a good amount of time wiping the gook off of her nose and veil while sitting in the pew. Since she never removed her hat, she daintily would dab every now and then, looking in a mirror. We are all embarrassed from time to time and know what it must have felt like.

I try to be as neat as possible most of the time, but Sunday's are special, so its not the usual flip-flops, sneakers, or worn shoes but I like to match my outfit, or purse. Women are not as particular as they used to be. No hats, please!

After church service, we have a coffee hour, where families take turns in preparing a simple muffin, bagel and cream cheese type of spread with coffee. I don't know if anyone was aware of my dilemma, but if they were, I didn't hear of it. Come to think of it, it didn't meet the same level of embarrassment as I've seen such as: someone dragging toilet paper from his shoe, or someone's underwear falling off while walking in a public restaurant, (Friendly's) in front of friends. This is a true story folks, it happened to my aunt. A little too friendly I'd say. Or, pulling up your pantyhose and getting the back of your skirt tucked into the waste band exposing your backside. Or, being congratulated for taking the wrong train, and it being an express, rather than local, missing your destination. I could go on and on, but I won't bore you.

So, this neat lady, when getting out of the car today, started to yell oh no! Oh No! Of course, hubby didn't know what was going on. My Embarrassment was what was going on, as I realized it happened to me, again! It happened to my home economics teacher years ago, (we all laughed at her the entire day, as she traced up and down the hall). Its happened to me several times, also, that I recall.

When this time of the year comes, the house is dark in the morning, and I was a late owl last night, doing what I like best, working on the Internet. So half asleep, I pulled out my clothes and shoes, never noticing that I had made a mistake, until just this moment. I had a different shoes on. A brown patched one on the left and a perfectly matched shoe but solid black one on the right.

We will have to do something about the lighting to try to alleviate this problem in the future. My husband, John, will be the first to admit that he's done it, too. He can't see either.

Oh, by the way, they say that laughter is good for the soul. Are you feeling better, Fr.?

Discerning Names

It was brought to my attention that my post on St. James needed more clarification as there seemed to be a question on whether or not St. James was one of the apostles. The following represents my research on the subject. I welcome your comments or questions? And, would be happy to provide more information as needed.

The Orthodox Study Bible, New Testament and Psalms.

Many people confuse the apostles with Epistle writers, having the same name. We are told that there were twelve chosen. They are: Simon, called Peter, Andrew his brother, James (son of Zebedee), John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Lebbaeus or Thaaddaeus, Simon, Judas, (or Jude).

Two apostles are named James.
In order to discern the two we must refer to scripture passages. The first one is James, son of Zebedee, his mother's name is Salome. He was the first of the 12 killed, by the sword and martyred by Herod Agrippa. (Acts 12:2).

The second one named was James, son of Alphaeus, (James the Less), took the gospel to Syria and Persia, may have been stones or beaten to death.

St. James, who is the brother or kinsman of our Lord.
(Not one of the twelve). Is Known as James, the Just. James is called a bond servant of God. An Epistle writer, the apostles made him the first bishop of Jerusalem (see Acts 12:17; 21:17, 18; Gal. 1:18, 19; 2:9), where he presided over the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:13), where he speaks as the Bishop of the Jerusalem Church. Oct. 23rd. remembrance of his martyrdom A.D. 62, where he was thrown out of the temple walls and clubbed to death.

James had a brother who was the author of the general Epistle of Jude, not to be confused with Jude who was one of the Twelve and was also called Thaddaeus, (surname) or Lebbaeus.(Matthew 10:3.) Also called brother of the Lord, and James the Just.

It is noted that both St. James and Jude, were not blood relatives of Mary the mother of Jesus, who is called ever virgin mother of God.

"Twelve Ordinary Men",
John MacArthur
"There are several men with the name of James in the New Testament. We have already met James the son of Zebedee. The ninth name in Luke's list of the apostles (Luke 6: 14-16) is "James the son of Alphaeus" (v.15). He never attained any degree of fame or notoriety. There was another James, who was the son of Mary and Joseph and therefore a half brother of Christ (Galatians 1:19). The James who was Jesus' half brother apparently became a leader in the Jerusalem church. He was the spokesman who delivered the ruling at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15: 13-21. He is also thought to be the same James who penned the New Testament epistle that bears his name. He is not the same James named as one of the apostles."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Look of Love

Music always has meant a great deal to me and that is probably why it touches my heart. My grandson loves music, I heard him singing while playing the other day, all alone in his room. It's so cute! He said he was "happy." I cannot sing when I'm sad. Only when I'm happy. Sort of, like the birds in the spring.

Today I'm thinking of a song that came out in the sixties. It was entitled, "The Look of Love." Maybe you can recall some of the words. These are some of the ones I remember.
At that time it had no real significance to me, as it does now.
The look of Love is in your eyes
a look that time can't disguise,
The look of love is on your face
a look that time can't erase
The look of Love
is saying more than just
words can ever say
and if you could feel my heart
then you'd know
it takes my breath away...(refrain)
I have waited just to love you
now that I have found you
don't ever go. I love you so.

It doesn't matter where the person is that you love, it is felt within, distance does not matter. You do not have to physically see them, but want to be with them, always. You think about them all the time. Time does not equate with love. Their is no, distance, mountain, age, nothing will keep you from loving someone. It is truly a mystery. Love is an eternal flame.

My father is with me today, I can hear his laugh, feel his love. I know it is him because I've been hearing him sing the songs I only "recall" when he is near, in my mind. I hear his laugh. I remember the songs he'd sing when he was alive.
"Hear comes heaven again, Oh you angel face, you don't need a halo or wings, you can do such fabulous things." He'd sing that about my mom. He loved her so much. Another of his favorites, was a theme song from a movie, " There's a Summer Place, where it may rain or storm yet I'm safe and warm for within that summer place your arms reach out to me and my heart free from all cares. There are no gloomy skys when seen through the eyes of those who are blessed with love." Then, "Reach for a Star." Italians are known to be hopeless romantics. Both he and his family were very kind people. The song he picked for me was, "Laura," because he named me after his mother. She was special to him, as I was.

My parents did not have much, but they knew what love was. When you have love, you have everything! Love is the greatest gift of all. I know that now. I was the one who had to tell her that he passed away, and I saw her reaction. She died with him in a sense. It wasn't because she did everything for him, but she didn't want to live without him. The loss of his presence, not being able to be with him, is what killed her, long before the cancer got her.

I've seen so many people live in the past, with their photo's and memories, recalling the love they once knew. The good news is that they are "still" with us. Sometimes you feel their presence.
I understand, especially when I hear my husband talk about Mario, his dad or, friend Linda talk about her mother or father, or brother. We all hold our deceased family members and friends in our hearts. We need to talk about them. Last night, at the turkey party and spaghetti dinner, annually held in our parish, Tom remembered his friend by a moment of silence. George, who recently passed away, participated in this event for approximately forty years. In our church we say the words "Memory Eternal," beautifully said, because only God has the power to remember all of us forever.

The other day, my little grandson had to go home. I tried to soften the blow, but he wears his feelings on his sleeve, to coin an expression. He has the very best parents in the world and a beautiful home with all wonderful things. But, his little heart was broken because he had to leave someone he loves,"me."

Not being with the one you love, that is what hell is. Sometimes you cannot be with that person because they are in the military, or prison, or in a hospital. Even out state, but whatever the reason, (as many as their are), separation causes great pain.

Maybe you know what I'm talking about?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting Connected

Its Friday night, and he was thinking about me. I was having a few beers and a wonderful spaghetti and meatball dinner with my friend, Linda. The room was crowded and I was sitting toward the back of the hall, at a long table. The noise in the room was such that I hardly heard my cell phone ring. Everyone that knows me is aware that by the time I find the phone in my purse, I almost miss the call. This time, though, I was lucky. I opened the case and said "Hello." The voice on the other end was a young man, and you know how it is with connections sometimes they are hard to pull out especially when the background noise level is loud. He said "Hello, whats happening?"

I was happy that, Steve, was calling, as I had left him a message earlier that week, hoping he could make it to the spaghetti dinner and turkey party. I was hoping to see him even if it was late. I knew he had been busy, and that's probably why I had not received a call from him in some time. So, I said "it's good to hear from you." He said, "I've been busy." I said, I've missed seeing you." He replied, something similiar.

He said I sounded happy, and where was I with all the noise in the background. So, I replied "I'm at the turkey party." He said "where?" I said, "the turkey party," thinking he had difficulty hearing me because of the noise. Then, I continued, "are you coming down?" He said "I'm a little tired, but where are you?" So, I replied that tonight was the turkey party at the church. He said, "Oh," and "how are Sarah and Alan doing?" I said, "who?" He said, "Sarah and Alan." I said I don't know a Sarah and Alan," beginning to understand now that I didn't know him either. Then I said, "I think you have the wrong number." He said he was sorry, but it was nice talking to me, and have fun at my turkey party." I said, "thanks I will, goodbye" and he said "goodbye."

As I hung up the receiver, I wondered to myself, what just happened here? I wondered who he was, where he was, he sounded so nice. And, I wondered if he wondered the same thing?

Strange things happen in this world.

Political comments

The Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, is wearing clothing that is "expected" for her to wear, which is not customary for her, and will be returned to the RNC for auction, once she is done wearing them. All monies raised will to go to charity. They were not her purchases, according to her own statement last night on Fox News, where she was a guest of Sean Hannity.

No one likes the "spending" going on, while belt tightening is happening all over the nation. It irks me how people can belittle her, and her clothing, while not looking at the victory party planned by Sen. Obama's campaign, in Chicago, now approximated to the tune of over $2 million dollars. What wastefulness! I'm fed up with the "petty, childish minds." Do you really think that you can win over people with your obvious deceptions and misinformation? Why the tactic of fraudulent voting? Afraid you can't win on your own? That is what stealing the election says.

While I'm on the subject of money, the party that proposes the spending packages, "tax and spend government," which is not a new strategy, where did you say your getting all the money? This country does not need to place the burden on people making $42,000. a year or over. They have already been taxed to death.

If you think that taxing small business is the answer, let me tell you why I think of that proposal as "mission impossible." Impossible without hurting this great nation.
  • Tax money is not generated by the unemployed, as companies will have to lay-off people to pay increased tax. Adding people to the unemployment list will add to the deficit.
  • Companies will be forced to move to another country or close, (go out of business). The tax revenue from these businesses will be lost, and, the lack of work, increases the unemployed and collecting 65% of their pay will increase our debt.
  • Companies will confer their tax burden to the consumers, (that's you)! It is known that our companys are the second highest taxed in the world, paying 30% already. Besides their forced contribution to medical expenses, and other benefits. All these are commodities which will have an effect on prices that are already to high. These will continue to skyrocket.
  • Do we want the government to decide and manage our personal life, including health? Placing little value on life in its infancy, (abortion rights), should tell you something. Do you really want to be tied up in all that paperwork, while decision making is imminent? Our choice means that they must compete for our business and our money.
  • What will happen to work incentives, when all is given freely without working for it?
  • Does laziness, equal vulnerability in the eyes of our enemies? (Aren't they waiting for just the right moment?)

Of course, you will have no problem if "The check and balance system of this country is removed," meaning all laws and bills will slide through without opposition. Is this what we want for Americans at this time? "A free for all?" Watch out people, this spells danger. Our forefathers did not set up this style of government, but a system of balance where we have, veto power, designed to provided a check system, which protects us.

Be very afraid, this is not a time to be taxing, but, trying to develop the economy by healthy business growth. This is the solution which employs Americans who in turn pay taxes which help the needy in this country.

Lastly, if this system has not worked for us in the past, then you tell me how it is that we have been able, as a young country, to be able to help all those abroad in need and in our own country in times of disaster? We are always the first, and the best.

Your vote is of value. Use your head. Think about the consequences. Ultimately, you are responsible for your actions and collectively, with the help of God, all will be according to His will for us.

St. Raphael

Some of you know that my last name means of the Angels. I like to think of myself therefore as a messenger. A messenger proclaiming God's goodness, because the Lord is good and a lover of mankind. My first name means to honor with a wreath or crown. Your name has special significance. Do you know what it means? The name Raphael means, in Hebrew, God hath healed. Today, we celebrate his feast day.

We know of three Archangels, and I belong to a church who was named after St. Michael. Do you remember why he holds a sword in his hand?

St. Gabriel, was the messenger sent to the Mother of God, Mary. It is said that he was "awed" by her beauty. On his feast day, I will tell you more about this Archangel.

Today, we remember Archangel St. Raphael. In a world where there is so much suffering we recall the healing power of this Archangel, on his feast day. May we be protected and defended by his help.

St. Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah's betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah's parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father's seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession. Besides Raphael, Michael and Gabriel are the only Archangels mentioned by name in the bible. Raphael's name means "God heals." This identity came about because of the biblical story which claims that he "healed" the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels. Raphael is also identified as the angel who moved the waters of the healing sheep pool.

One of the many ways I can Kiss the boo-boo today and always, is to say prayers for you or your loved one. Leave me a comment, and I will be happy to pray for those of you who have a special request or need.

Our church, St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church, in Southbridge has had recent healings, such as: cancer, asthma, and others. We believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit wants His children to be freed from the suffering they encounter here on earth, and all you need do is "ask".
Leave your prayer request on Fr. Peter's page, where he has offered to place your concern on the Church altar click here!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Now here is an interesting title. A sum total isn't it? How you esteem yourself will reflect the worldview of YOU. How do I know that? My fortune cookie today said so. I can just see Fr. Peter laughing at this one. But, it has something there. I am a ponderer, and I think it makes a great deal of sense. This is what it said. "Think Highly of Yourself, for the World will take you at your own esteem."

Why do you think, clothes sell, or make-up or the so-called silly things women buy, like perfume? It esteems them. (Makes them feel better about themselves). I know that when I feel "down" like so many women do at times, all it takes is, (a little dab will do you) of some sweet smelling scent under your nose, or sprayed on your clothing. It cheers you up. A new hairdo, or lipstick, shoes, flowers, chocolate. Even making cookies, or reading a book that you enjoy. Or making something special for someone else. Like last night's celebration. What makes you feel special or cared about, I enjoy doing.

Some women are made to feel "of no value," so here we go with the word esteem yourself. (Everyone desires to be loved). I'm lucky, because those around me "esteem me" by their love for me, just a little homemaker. But I know who I am. I'm responsible for picking-up up everything, sometimes, including the pieces of the broken-hearted, lonely, and overburdened, hungry people I encounter. And much more.

Last night, a stranger sat at a table that I shared with my friend Linda. We were exchanging questions about our faith, following what was a wonderful Liturgy of St. James, the Just. John, from Worcester, asked what we did for a living. Linda, told him that she was a nurse. He thought he should have guessed that, saying at one point, there are a lot of nurses in his family, and they joked about the "cap". Then he asked me what I did. I said I was just a homemaker. Linda quickly added that I do a lot more than that. I think she was trying to cover for me, as she probably felt that the question was a put-down. (One of the Boo-boos talents is perception).

They say the older you get the wiser. I think that is true, because, while I am just a homemaker, I do not think less of myself. People who know me, know I have many talents and accomplishments. But, I know that is how people think because my mother-in-law, although she does not realize what she is saying, (or maybe she does), always says "she made something of herself." She came from a time when it was okay to be a homemaker. But, is it since the women's lib movement?

Society labels nonworking people as "junk". Think of how poor John was, all over himself, embarrassed to have asked the question in the first place. He said, that's okay, or something funny like that. Maybe I should have said, "I'm the Kiss the boo-boo blogger and I've been kissing boo-boos all my life. I can be funny at times, it comes natural.

Who cares what you are? You are called to be "Lovers of Mankind." You will not be judged on your title, and not on how much you have, what your father did, or if you owned your own home, or what degree you have, having learned from others, but, on how much you have LOVED others.

Here's where the esteem part comes in. If you have love for yourself as you should, you will be esteemed. You will not have to waste time worrying about who loves you, and spend more time, "loving and thinking about others."

What is the level of your esteem? Do you believe what people say about you. (Even unkind things?) Then, I hope your success is not dependent on them. In other words, as the good father said recently about himself, "people will not toot your horn, so you must toot your own."

What matters is that you know who you really are and are striving to reach the potential that you can be? Does that mean that you will need to be a rocket scientist? No! Your success is how you envision it, and what is in your heart to be. That is, if your going to be happy, and, that is up to you, too!

You can chose to be happy digging a ditch, or scrubbing a floor. You can be the best little floor scrubber that there is, and be happy and, you will be esteemed by the world. Why, because you think highly of yourself. And the world will take you at your esteem Why? Because my fortune cookie said so. You do want to be esteemed, don't you? I think you do...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I'm sitting here and its not even 7:45 AM, and I've already had my breakfast, now that is a shock to your system when your not used to it. So, I've yawned and said at least four times, I'm tired. Each time, Nathan responds, "no your not." Oh yes, I am. The alarm did its job this morning, and there was no going back to sleep.

The hubby gets taken care of first, coffee, breakfast, lunch readied, then he's off to work. Today we had apple pancakes, with syrup and cream. Orange juice is a must, and so are cartoons for the little one. Nate is comfortably sitting at his cars table and chair, along with Pepper, his other pet puppy.

He is in a cheerful mood this morning, he's been laughing since he got up. Every time he hears "pickles" on TV, that's his cue.

I've got some baking to do this morning, guess I'll get an early start. Oh, I forgot to tell you the secret ingredient for making outstanding pancakes. Every restaurant owner knows this but won't tell. Its okay, my grandma taught me when I was just a little girl, (vanilla).

One of my favorite drinks in the morning as a child, especially after recuperating from an illness was eggnog. My dad gave it to us as a "cure all." My children's pediatric physician did not agree with that practice, so I found a replacement. Years ago, they got their eggs early in the morning and they were fresh. Salmonella poisoning is the reason they frown on uncooked eggs today. What isn't a concern?

Now, there is another mess to clean and I'm elected. I'd rather go back to bed and get more shut-eye. But that's not going to happen. So good morning world!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away, Little Nate Wants to Play

The truth is that rain or shine, this little child loves to play. I finally washed his dump truck, front loader, and cement mixer well enough so he could enjoy running around the kitchen, hall and bed room without dirt flying all over my vacuumed rugs. His grampy was supposed to do it awhile back, but you know how that is. When he came for dinner last Tuesday, he asked for them. I would not allow him to be disappointed again today, no matter how busy I was preparing for St. Jame's Liturgy and food for those who will gather after.
He was so cute today, all smiles at the door waiting to see me. Today, he had a surprise for me, his play dog snoopy brown, (he has a snoopy white at my house), came over for a visit. Today they played together. It was cute how he talked for them, as they talked to each other, kissing at times.
Then he proceeded to tell me all about his experiences. After that, it was play time. He told me that "daddy is silly." I got a good laugh at that one, out of the mouths of babes. Of course, I agreed with him.
Don't kid yourself, even at that tender age, they know what is going on. He told me what he wanted for dinner, meatloaf and peas. I am making a vegetable soup, and he wanted to be lifted up to smell, "emmm", he would say. Then it was the homemade bread. When it came to the apple cake, he wanted it right there and then, calling it, "pie".
It is cute to see him sleeping with his friends, (snoopy brown and white, with his baby blanket in the other hand touching the tag). He is such a good boy. I never have any trouble with him. He told me he likes my house, that was, after smelling all the wonderful foods cooking. Then, he tells me he is happy. That's what I like to hear.

He is growing up so fast, most of his sentences are four words or more now. He is bright as a light bulb, and he, like his grandmother, knows what he wants. So what does he want? Pancakes for breakfast with syrup and cream. Me too!

Monday, October 20, 2008

St. James, the Just

The first Christian Martyrdom, of St. Stephen 33 A.D. caused many to flee from the persecution in Jerusalem.
St. James was made the first bishop of Jerusalem by the apostles, (55-60 A.D.) where he presided over the Jerusalem Council. He is most known for spiritual and theological writings of the Church in affirming the completion of faith by works.
It was the Jews who called this bishop of the church, "Just"! The only fault they could find in him was that he confessed Jesus to be the Messiah. It is thought that St. James was converted by a post resurrection appearance of Christ. The "brother," or kinsman, of our Lord, St. James, was the leader of the local church. Peter departed from Jerusalem to escape Herod Agrippa's persecution. (The other James, one of the twelve, had already been martyred).
This James, is the "brother" of the Lord as attested to in (Matthew 13:55-56). The Lord Jesus, is the son of Mary, ever-virgin. Joseph, her husband had been previously married, thus St. James may have been a half-brother, (relative not blood brother). Quite a different story from the Christmas card depicting Mary, the young Joseph and Jesus. It is more the aged Joseph.
At the cross, Jesus commits His mother to the care of His disciple John, which would have been a crime against tradition had she had another child to care for her. (Verifying that Jesus was her only Son).
On Wednesday, St. Michael's Church will celebrate the Liturgy of St. Jame's, at 6:30 PM. October 23 is the remembrance of his martyrdom, having been thrown from the temple walls, by the prompting of the Sanhedrin, and clubbed to death.
This is a very special night, and this ancient Liturgy is only celebrated once a year. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Historical Event

I received one comment on yesterday's post, saying that the event on Saturday, when hundreds of people came into the Orthodox Church, was "Historical."

Given the great apostasy, "turning away" of today, I certainly agree. Attendance on Sunday has declined, in various churches, and, especially the youth. Other priorities, and interests have replaced their spiritual need. Its materialism, pure and simple.

"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"(Luke 18:8)

"In the Teaching of Ancient Christianity," by Archbishop Averky Taushev and Fr. Seraphim Rose, we are placed immediately before the face of the coming judge. This statement cannot be repudiated, as the Orthodox Church professes at each Liturgy, that Christ will come again. The 2nd coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is our hope, our belief.

We do not believe in Chiliasm, as it was condemned by the second ecumenical counsel in the year 381. We will not be facing the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, as some believe. Instead, it will be judgement. That is why we need to be watchful and pray.

We are living in evil days. "Despite modern progress, the path ahead is one of suffering. Greater tribulations and misfortunes as a result of lawlessness and of the hearts growing cold, lacking of Love. Orthodox Christians, who gain a sober awareness of the signs of these times, learn to prepare themselves to endure to the end.

"Behold, I come as a thief." (Rev.16:15). Throughout the scriptures the words are echoed of the second coming, ...and its suddenness.

It is believed that true Christianity will manifest itself in the midst of growing apostasy.
"And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16).

The people of Emmanuel and St. Stephen's have heard His voice, are you listening? Are you ready?

If you want more information on the Western-Rite its here.

For Eastern Orthodox its here!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mission accomplished!

A dream came true today for the parishioners of St. Stephen's and Emmanuel Church. They have now become Chrismated into the Orthodox Church. These are now officially "Western-Rite" Churches, having entered into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

We became familiar with their quest in February, as they were in preparation for this endeavor in accordance with (Acts 11:26) "The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."
Located in Warren, MA , is Emmanuel Orthodox Church, which is just outside of West Brookfield. While St. Stephen's Orthodox Catholic Church is in Springfield.

We have been there on at least a half dozen occasions, meeting with Fr. Ken and Deacon Chris, and got to know some of the parishioners as well. We were interested in observing the Western-Rite parish, having converted some twenty-two years ago from the Roman Church, also established by St. Peter, but in the eastern tradition.

Hundreds of people were received into the Church today from both St. Stephen's Orthodox Catholic Church, in Springfield and Emmanuel. We observed the prayers said by the priests as they formed the cross on the forehead of each person who has received the Holy Chrism, placing a white cloth on each, and in the end, they came back with their candle, illuminated. This included babies as well as parents and the elderly.

The mass is closest to what Roman Catholics are familiar with, in that it is the unchanged version derived from the early church established through St. Peter some two thousands years ago, before the split. The western-rite differs culturally from the eastern liturgy. Such as: Music. In the east, their is no organ and sometimes just a cantor, and at times, no choir. Western is usually all in English, while eastern can vary according to nationally, and can be both at times.

They have, in their own words "come home." It was a thrill to be there watching each of their happy faces, especially Fr. Ken's son.

It was tough, a long year of bible study, understanding the tradition handed down, meetings, discussion groups, rosary's, stations of the cross, and many first steps toward this transition. Some had received confession for the very first time, by our parish priest, Fr. Peter, on Friday.

In the eastern tradition, we receive the "Body and Blood" of Christ directly from the priest on a spoon. They receive a wafer. The music sounds like going to the "Spencer Abbey Monastery," if you are familiar with it.

We witnessed the marriage between Fr. Ken and Sharon Devoie, and Fr. Chris, also exchanged vows with his wife. This Sacrament of marriage proceeded the ordinations, which we are hoping to be able to attend in Worcester.

You can find more information on these churches here!

The word I heard hundreds of times today is Peace. This is where I will leave it. Because they have, after all is said and done, received the peace, the only peace that matters, there isn't a better gift to be given than the Peace of Christ. And may this Peace be eternal. God grant them many years!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What a difference a day makes

We've had a full moon, and our first frost, although not the hard one to come, in which all plants are affected. I felt the cold on my cheeks the other day, and saw my breath in the air. It's time for jackets, sweatshirts, and sneakers instead of opened shoes. The trees are fast becoming stick-like once again, the same ones that were vivid and full at the beginning of the week. Preparedness is the key this time of the year, and as in past years, the gardens must be cleaned up and readied for the spring. This is not an easy task. No sooner have you cleaned up the leaves, it seems that you've got to do it all over again. Every year we remark about where do they all come from, as we do not have any trees in the front.

Fortunately this year we do not have the neighbors child sending over prized pears to land on our newly sided house and deck. Last year, I wasn't aware of this happening until, one day when I was home from work, I heard a thud which shook my back door. So, I went out to investigate and found the lot of them, bees and all "everywhere." I wasted no time calling the problem to the attention of his parents, who cleaned it up. The father, wisely got rid of the pear tree during the summer. Boys will be boys. Most of them are naughty, its in there genes. (Busy is good!) Being new neighbors, it was a bit uncomfortable, especially because his dad does not speak English and needed to have the conversation translated. They say, "all is well that ends well".

Everyone has small problems with their neighbors animals or children, from time to time. I recall the situation of dog poo or dog dodo which ever you would like to call it, was constantly being deposited on our lawn, not theirs. They had several dogs, now four. I got tired of removing it, from the shoes of people who entered our home. I also got tired of having to pick it up when it wasn't even our dogs. My former neighbor Val, said that when she had the problem, giving me advise, she'd pick-up the phone and call the owner, telling them that their dogs left a present on her lawn. Sure enough, one of the neighbors son's would resolve the problem quickly. I asked my husband, John, to mention it to the people involved, when he didn't I sent him out to pick-it up. Eventually, I told the wife and that's when I got result. She came over and picked up the deposits, herself. When she discovered how much fun it was to retrieve the stuff, the dogs were fitted for what is called an electric fence. "Resolved".

Now cats have started to serenade me at night, while they conjugate on top my parked car under my bedroom window. They love my gardens and have made themselves at home. Sometimes they climb the brick walkway and stairs to park their butts in front of the door in order to gain my attention. I don't have a cat, and I don't know where they belong. For some reason, they want to befriend me. Sometimes, they go out and sit on my swing which is located in the backyard. They act like they own the place. Perhaps, they like the many birds that perch on my dwarfed, red, Japanese maple which adorns my front lawn. Those birds are gone now, and the wrens and yellow finch, who sing beautifully, will return in the spring. Then, we have a family of chipmunks who live under my front stairwell. They've been there for as many years as we have. We consider them "family". We even have names for them like Chippy. They only require an entrance and occasionally make holes in our lawn. We're keeping our finger's crossed that the raccoons do not return to our attic. Now that's another story for another day. We have been fighting carpenter bees. If anyone has any information on how to get rid of those huge intruders who are territorial, I'd love to hear from you. We have them professionally sprayed every year.

Outside of that, I have little snakes, just like Fr. Peter's which are typical around here in most gardens, their harmless. They usually come out to get some sun, and move quickly away when startled. I rake carefully!

My husband purchased a fire pit in which we used to eliminate small twigs. Our town has strict laws about burning out of season, and they enforce them, with a stiff fine. We are not allowed to burn leaves (which needs to be bagged or if you have a lawn mower capable of mulching), that is the most beneficial method. The nutrition obtained from the fallen leaves provides nourishment for your soil, resulting in a beautiful green lawn.

The air is crisp and the cold will be gradually coming to NE, it gets dark early now, my electric blanket is warming the bed, and I am ready for it. Every day will make a difference now, we will need to do a little bit at a time, keeping in mind that the days are growing short, and we are transitioning into a new season.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Forming Consciences

There is one thing certain and that has proven to be true since the beginning of time. That is, everything has an equal and opposite reaction.

Decisions must be made in harmony with beliefs as taught by our Orthodox faith. Fr. Peter Preble is giving the course which I am attending on Thursday evenings, to help form what is known as faithful citizenship. Following the class, (which is held after the Vesper Service), there is an opportunity for questions. We can all learn from each other.

What happens next? We go home and mull through what we've heard, and hopefully, it should help us to make a determination. Not so much with a party, but with the person who best represents what we are asked to believe in.

It should be that easy. But its not. November 4th. is coming sooner than we realize. That is the day of decision. Are we ready? People are moving with an hysteria. Are they really thinking of the consequences of their decision. Your vote is critical in shaping the future of this county. (And what of this voter fraud situation, we are hearing about)? Come on! Why not steal the election to guarantee victory? Interesting concept, but illegal.

We have just two weeks. Clearly the economy will be the determining "issue." Everyone, whether or not you are politically involved, is feeling the pressure of higher prices. Americans are suffering. (While those who have contributed to our demise get off scott free,(Are they in jail? No). What of our by-partisan bailout, does that make sense? What, $5 trillion now?) Who is paying?

Both candidates seem likable, so we've got to dig deep. Try to shut out the media, who are more than happy to influence our vote.

No matter what your political persuasion, two main factors remain and it boils down to this in my way of thinking:
The money has to come from somewhere, it doesn't fall from heaven. Much is being promised. Who's paying? (We are). Aren't we heading toward socialism?

  1. So, is it a tax and spend government for the general welfare or,
  2. is it time not to raise taxes, to allow business to expand, growing in prosperity and strengthening the economy.

DO NOT TAKE MY MONEY IN TAXES AND GIVE THEM TO SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT DESERVE THEM. Understand that. One candidate is the big spender, he will triple the deficit of Bush. Who's paying.
The other is saying that he will not raise taxes, because that would ultimately make things worse.

In the first example: does the government have the right through forced taxation, to take what should be ours, in a redistribution effort?

(At what point will people want to keep striving at a higher level, only to have it taken away from them)? Income redistribution? People feel betrayed already.

No additional tax will be rendered on 95% of the people? 40% do not pay taxes already, and they get a check. Does that make sense to you? We are flat on our back, we should not be raising taxes.

Do we really have that many wealthy folk? The top 5% of wage earners are paying 80% of the taxes. (Tax rebates should be kept in place, a proven method that stimulates a weakened market).

  • The second part is that if business are taxed beyond what is acceptable, will that result in job loss or perhaps liquidity of their business? Will those businesses lose their competitiveness in the world market?
  • Or, company's will raise their prices, guess who will pay?
  • Or, maybe they will move to another country.
  • Corporate taxes are already the second highest in the world, and those taxes are passes on to us.

I've always been a bottom line person. Change can be both good and bad. I tell my family that when you have to pay more tax you are less free. You have the freedom to choose now. So are your eyes open?


Those of you who know me, also know of my love for the church. Yesterday, three of us prepared the ground, on each side of the entrance, for a spring "spectacular".

Getting started, we had to select the colorful flowers that will bloom, (some in early spring, mid-spring, and late spring). The first step after purchasing the bulbs was to determine some sort of layout. Height was a consideration, but also blooming time. The whole idea was to allow spacing in between the tight area to be able to appreciate each and every flower.

Nothing ever goes as planned, as we had to switch bulbs to accommodate more, we overcompensated, and ultimately, had to expand the garden on both sides.

We are confident, when springtime comes along, those two areas will be lovely when in full bloom, throughout spring. That is, if the little hungry varmints do not get to the bulbs first. More to do, one step at a time. It will be a surprise, as we already do not remember where we planted, for the most part, in the four rows?

Last night, I had a dream of my mom, who has fallen asleep in the Lord, over twenty-years-ago. I rarely dream about her, but I remember that in the dream, she was unhappy about my dirty hands. And, as I looked down at them, they were full of the mud that I was wearing during the day. Not that I didn't have gloves, I just always liked playing in the dirt better. The dream had something to do with the other church across the street, someones funeral I think. At times, I wonder if they can see us? Perhaps, there was a message in there?

How Glorious are They works O Lord, in wisdom has Thou made them all. Lord, watch over our work and bless it, that we may know of your beauty. After all we are only participants in what God has given.

If you look at the church picture on the my blog page, you'll understand why I love the serenity in winter as well as all the seasons here in New England.

And...the beauty of that church, in its Pascha, is nothing short of spectacular, all by itself. Come and see!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Could I have this dance

There was a song a liked by Anne Murry. It went something like this: Could I have this dance for the rest of my life, we could be partners every night, when we're together it feels so right, could I have this dance for the rest of my life? It was a song that we'd waltz to many years ago.

The blog on waltzing I read recently, caused me to become contemplative and the result, this post. I admit that it is somewhat analytical and having said that, I wonder how many women and men out there feel the same way about waltzing. Your writing expressed a loneliness and a desire, which I share.

I recall, like you, taking ballroom dancing. It was popular then and lets face it, a must if you were going to develop socially. Most high school dances would play "slow dances" so the guys and gals would have a chance to move around the floor, clinging together. Some of the guys were too shy to ask a partner for "this dance." Maybe they would have if they knew how. The kids in our neighborhood all knew how to dance, they learned it from their cousins or sisters.

I recall, that the doctor I once worked for, told us that before he got married, he had to take dancing lessons. Something he really did not enjoy. (Things have changed since he remarried). If he doesn't like to dance, he could have fooled me.

What I'm getting at is that most men do not understand the importance of waltzing as compared to women. There is an element of intimacy, a desire to be pulled close. The being swept off your feet, for some. It is a notion of grandeur that is almost as old as the beginning of time. It truly makes a statement that is long-lived in the hearts of lovers.

Some of the most beautiful moments of my life are recalled dancing. My father taught me to waltz when I was a little girl. Then, the first wedding dance as a couple, and dancing with my son, Bill, on his wedding night.

The waltz means different things to different people on different occasions. The elderly, and retired enjoy dancing especially to the waltz. A dance for any age, just about everywhere. Except here!

There is a great sense of loss when all you can do is remember when. The last time I recall waltzing was years ago. We simply don't dance anymore. I started thinking about how to waltz, hopefully you always remember. Maybe someday, I'll get to dance with my grandson at his wedding.

So, for the moment, dancing has become insignificant, and like other romantic realities, dancing is one that is, reminiscent, and irrelevant.

Oh but, can you hear the music? "When we're together it feels so right, Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?" I recall these songs while gliding around the floor, "I love you truly, truly dear. Life with its sorrows, life with its fears." Or, "Be my Love for no one else can end this yearning. This love, this love that only you create." And, "I'll be loving you, always, with a love that's true always." The waltz will always be near and dear to the young at heart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Columbus Day

Columbus Day has a special significance here, and it is a marker noting change. Now we know this is a serious step toward the "big one." The changing of the guards, if I may.

Sunday, with all its brilliance on the church grounds, one could not help but notice, a beautiful red tree which stood close to the building and entrance of our hall. It is massive in size and the majesty of that tree encompassed the sky directly above the greenest grass, this side of heaven. You couldn't miss it!

Today, the day following Columbus Day, just about all the leaves have fallen around that maple tree's base, still gloriously red. The wonder of it all, one minute thriving and the next gone. Before you can blink an eye the vivid colors will disappear turning shades of brown as they are raked away, or left to disintegrate.

Hanging on my front door is a beautiful fall wreath, decked with sunflowers, and assorted colored leaves. It took a while to find just the right one as we wanted something to serve for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. Arrangements start around forty dollars and up. It was fun looking at the gory stuff, but, being frugal minded, I couldn't see myself paying all that money for one day. This was a compromise.

The flower beds will soon be cluttered with falling leaf debris so tomorrow, because the temperature will be in the sixties, and the sun will be shinning, will be a good time to anticipate your spring flowers. We will plant bulbs, different colors, heights, and varieties.

Well, off to the orchard to buy fresh homemade pie for tonight, when the family gathers for dinner. Maybe we'll get more apples for honey's lunch. We will see pumpkins, horses, cows and maybe raindrops on the way.

Praise be to God for our wonderful, country-like existence here in our own little corner of the world in New England. Most of the time I even forget where I planted, and at times, that I did plant, until the spectacular show in the springtime. Everyone knows that I like surprises.

Orthodox Christians try to see beauty in all people, animals and things, as God created them because we believe that, "He is everywhere present and fillest all things."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayers for Walt

A fellow blogger has had an unfortunate accident while occupied on his job as a paramedic in NH. Please keep him in your prayers, as he is facing surgery. Not the best way to get some vacation time. Heard the foliage is also brilliant out there in NH and with a little luck, the weather will hold out for some breath taking views. We will be looking forward to reading his posts and learning how he is coming along. "Hang in there, Walt". We're pulling for you! You can read more here!

Sunday Liturgy

There was a time in my life when going to mass was forced on me by my parents. Then, as I got older it had become a habit. If I failed to attend, I was made to believe that I'd go to that place that not many people believe in anymore. In short, it was the fear and punishment tactic, coupled with the guilt trip, that kept me going. Now I wonder why all the pressure? Is that what keeps so many away today? Why are you pressured to raise your child catholic? What happened to my will? Why were we not able to question anything? This is the way it is because I said so? Luckily, God did not give up on me, and, He will not give up on you. Like others I was searching.

My mom knew, and most everyone else, that I make my own decisions, based on information, and education, and personal experience. I'm a hard sell. The only thing I can say to you is seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. Get ready for the ride, it may happen in a way totally unexpected.

Think about this, aren't we different from slaves? If God wanted, He could have created us without "free will." That means, He could have demanded our love. (robots we are not). How would you feel if someone made you love them? The truth is you are "free" to love Him or "deny" Him. Just like you are free to love others. We have the intelligence to reason, we are not animals.

I understand it is my choice to accept the love He offers me free and clear. No strings. What does He offer me? Life in abundance. He is the author of all life. Now and forever.

Today in Liturgy I heard the congregation say repeatedly, "Lord have mercy" and in today's world that's an understatement. God is everywhere and fills all things. But, in that place, in that church, His presence is real. Real in the Eucharist, (the body and blood of Christ) that we receive.

Isn't time you get to know who really loves you, unconditionally, and is waiting with open arms to receive you. Its your choice. God will not force you to love Him. Love is a personal decision.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Glorious Are Thy Works O Lord!

If you didn't have a chance to see the foliage today, then hopefully you will sometime this week as they are predicting wonderful weather for our vacation. How glorious the pallet of color everywhere.

I'm blessed to have the best husband on earth. He is so good about taking me shopping. He's better at choosing clothes than I am. He does wear me out though, "try this on," "try this on," and he doesn't give up when they don't have my size. "Lets try this store." We did almost all of them! The only one's he wouldn't venture in, were the smelly ones, with lots of scented candles.

Tonight they'll be pillow talk, as we found a new one. We purchased a Desert Tan fleece sheet set, with a matching electric blanket, which was 50% off. The idea is to heat up the bed before entering it, and keeping the house cool at night. Otherwise, you can become parched, (dehydrated), and, it ages your skin. This ought to be interesting, because I usually throw off my blankets at night. I never liked to keep my feet covered for some reason. I do not like heavy blankets on top of me, either. I dislike getting into a freezing bed. Who likes cold feet? So the proof will be in the putting, an old expression I heard somewhere.

Did not find the item I was looking for to hang on my front door, so more shopping in the near future. Another garment will need exchanging, as it feels picky, possibly the stitching. The funny thing is that I purchased slacks which are green. When I got them home they looked brown. So, John and I went from room to room, and depending on the light they were either green or brown. Since it didn't say on the tag, I don't actually know what color they are. Guess I'll have to wait for sunlight tomorrow.

He knows his little girl likes ice cream, so he bought me some on the way home, my favorite, raspberry with chocolate chip yogurt. He is watching his weight, so he didn't have any. What will power he has. I should know. We've been together for 23 years, 22 of those years married. There is no-one on earth that I love more than him. Nor, will there ever be. Sometimes I tease him when other men fancy me, and he'll say, "they can't have you, or sometimes he'll say, "they'll send you back." Then its "I'll fight for you." He tells me he loves me all the time. But, his actions are louder than his words. That's what love is...Are you listening out there? Once my newphew overheard me call him honey-bunny, and he started to giggle, and he said, "Honey-Bunny? Did you call him Honey-Bunny, Auntie?" I just laughed. There are some things that you can't explain to a teen-ager.

How Glorious are They works, O Lord, in wisdom hast Thou made them all.

Holy Music

Good morning from New England, and its glorious day. I'm listening to the Rudder, an Orthodox Christian presentation. All the holy music has filled me with thoughts of the other-world, and my joy overspills. The world is in turmoil, yet I am happy. Not many in this world have reached this place, and I am truly thankful to Jesus as I am so undeserving of His love.

There is so much beauty out there I can't wait to go out and greet it. I can see my huge, scented roses and the colorful leaves in contrast to the beautiful foliage. The air is comfortable and the sun is beaming. Chippy was making a lot of noise this morning, he was out there with the other chipmunk, gathering for what is to come.

I promise to check in later, there are activities all over. Maybe we will take in the Apple Dumpling Fair, Howards for lunch, and the apple orchard. Then off to Millbury to shop for an electric blanket.

Yesterday, I received the packet for the Festival of Giving Trees. It is a fund raiser that begins December 3rd. I'll fill you in on that later, but for now, got to fill my lungs with that glorious air. Peace....