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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Birthday Party

Just got through scrubbing icing off of the linen cloth. The cake was wonderful and so was the party. The evening began with the family enjoying a meal in Sturbridge. Nate is tall enough to sit at the table now. He was well behaved. We started with appetizers and drinks, followed by our main course.

Back at our house, coffee and dessert was served with lots of conversation and laughs. Then it was time to open gifts. Nathan got a real charge out of the card, one of the funny musical-types, something about karate. Looked like two bunny characters on the front. His mom, Angie picked out that one, knowing how much he liked it, for his Uncle. He just giggled and giggled, making us giggle too. Playing it over and over and over. Steve left it here for him to play with, when he comes over.

Bill and Steve were looking at the printed and second edition of cartoon characters that were done and featured in our local newspaper. I don't know where they inherited their sense of humor. They are the "characters," and it looks like Nate is following in their footsteps.

It was a wonderful celebration, as they all are. But this grandma is going to put herself to bed, satisfied that Steven had a wonderful party. It appeared that he appreciated the Dunk'n donuts coffee gift certificate, (John's idea), and liked the cookbook on grilling that we picked up for him. Last year he and Jean bought a oversized grill and cooked some impressive dishes for us at their lake house. Later we sat by the dock and, sitting by the fire we enjoyed watching the boats go by.

Jean was telling me about the fishing event they had recently on the "frozen lake". The money raised went to the Worcester Food Bank.

It amazed me that conversations centered around jobs and work slowdowns, even by people close by at the restaurant. It will be good to keep food supplies for the needy available as this may be a hard year for some folk.

Like in generations past, we will cling to each other, laugh as much as we can, remembering that our greatest gift is each other.

Just think, my baby is now in his early thirties. Where did all the years go? It doesn't seem possible.

May God Grant him many years!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Big Challenge

South of Los Angelis, in Whittier, CA comes the news of octuplets. The Bellflower hospital has reported that a mom and her eight babies are doing just fine, and, as the breast milk flows in, so does the breast milk bank from other mother's to help with the feeding of the many mouths. This is known as the American way. We help take care of our own, as well as others. "CBS News reported Friday that the mother of eight newborns, who already had six children, filed for bankruptcy and abandoned her home less than two years ago. She hasn't been identified publicly yet, though CBS News described her as a woman in her 30s who lives with her parents." For more information on this go here.

And, this is what everyone is talking about. Particularly knowing that this mother already had six children at home ranging from the age of seven to two. We hope she will be up to the challenge at a young age, to raise all fourteen. Can you image the cost? And, who will be footing the bill?

Needless to say, doctors advise against high order births, due to the "dangers" of multiple pregnancies, but ultimately it is not their decision. "Angela Suleman said her daughter expects a big challenge raising fourteen children," as reported by the Associated Press, on Friday, January 30, 2009.

The six boys and two girls, the second set of octuplets born alive in the United States, received world attention, as well as, much buz here.

Science has made some good advances, as we all must admit, on the other hand, with the ability to clone and mass produce and alter natural processes, one has to wonder where this is taking us. Especially, when a young single mother, can be implanted with embryo's without restriction. I think most of us would agree that in the case of not being able to conceive, parents should have the option of fertility treatment.

This world has gone mad. On one hand, babies are murdered in the womb of their mother. Then, you hear of single mothers, becoming pregnant, in an unnatural way, utilizing "choice" sperms, and having many children that they cannot handle alone.

I am happy that the children are doing fine, and hope for their continued progress, and wish the mother well. They will need many prayers and hands to help them. Still, a wee small voice within me is saying, does this raise questions, or am I the only one that thinks that there is something very wrong here?

What ever happened to the word "adoption". Maybe we should relax the red tape and money needed in adoptive processes. There's got be a better answer somewhere out there, don't you think?

As an Orthodox Christian it is my duty to inform you of the word substance. The word fetus allows people to think of a life process, non-existent as a person, until it breathes. (God uses the term substance, not fetus, as found in Psalm 139). If you care to call a baby a fetus, it doesn't change the fact that it is the creation a human being from the onset. The creator, tells us clearly, both in the old testament and new, that He is responsible for all life.

(Jeremiah 1:5)"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I sanctified you."
(Isaiah 44:2)"Thus says the Lord God who made you, and formed you from the womb:
and taken from The Orthodox Study Bible, (Psalm 139:13-16)"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed."

Luke 1:41-42, reminds us that the "fruit" that Mary was carring in her womb, made her blessed among women.
John the Baptist in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary, and leaped with joy.
Doctor's say that babies can hear in the womb and respond to noises, and music. Now how would a fetus do that, if it were not a baby, having ears to hear with?

Much to my surprise, this young mother, was given options, according to the Associated Press, "Suleman said her daughter had embryos implanted last year, and after finding out she was pregnant with multiple babies was given the option by doctors of selectively reducing the number of embryos. The woman declined."
"What do you suggest she should have done? She refused to have them killed," Suleman told the Times. "That is a very painful thing."

Now that is something to ponder.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Community outreach

Our priest was found in the kitchen today, cooking for strangers. Well, that not altogether true, as he knows some of us quite well, and loves us anyway. Obviously, he's a lot of fun to be around and crazy enough to invite the entire town to what we call a community meal, "free of charge". This event was advertised over the radio as well as the newspaper.

He was off the hook today, not to say that the meal was nothing but fantastic, but because once he starts getting a reputation for his cooking ability, people may be standing in line to eat. That is the problem when we don't know how many to expect. Many hands made the work easy and the guests were pleasant. And he proved once again, that father knows best.

He prepared, spaghetti and meatballs, salad, rolls, and cookies. Monique kindly came with cupcakes, and her two daughters. As many years as we've had functions in the hall, we have never to my knowledge, run out of coffee. That is a good indicator that the guests enjoyed the socializing as well as the meal. And so did I.

Father Peter makes going to church, and getting involved with church activities fun. Thanks to him we got to meet some real nice folk and look forward to developing our community outreach. If you don't know, he's a whirlwind and all we can do is hang on for the ride, cause you never know where your going next.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

David or Goliath

This morning I read the result of diplomacy. I hope that doesn't imply changing our international policy, especially concerning the threat coming from Ahmadinejad and Iran. In my estimation, there is no-one more dangerous than one intent on believing a lie. What I'm talking about here is Ahmadinejad trying to negate the Holocaust, an historical fact. Worse, if that is possible, is his attitude toward our President and our country. Enough!

President Obama has a dream of making this a better world, and it would be nice if we could change the minds of those who spew hatred and are in "error". We cannot say that you didn't try, but we can say, What did you expect? Everything is not peachy keen as the news portrays it. We do, in fact, have enemies. We are at war. This is our reality, let no one forget it.

How do we start choosing sides? It is crystal clear that there will be no peace. Picture Iranian President Ahmadinejad with his right fist in the air, demanding an apology for our "crimes"?
Calling the Holocaust a "Big Lie," and having for its policy an ambition to seek and destroy Israel, and dare I add us.

Are they also going to claim that the terrorists had no responsibility for the goings-on around the world, or perhaps deny 9/11 ever happened, or if so maintain that it was of our own doing, like some other idiots out there?

This is how they show their willingness to engage meaningfully with the international community? The better question is: Does Iran want better relations with the United States? I think not. Is it possible that Ahmadinejad thinks of himself as David, (on the right side of the battle line, in which the line has been drawn), has, (or will have shortly), the power to slew the giant, Goliath?

If you've played ballgames in your backyard, you know before the game, you choose sides. This is the question now before us. Who's side are you on? What gives him the right to ask us, that question? Unless, he thinks he's David, and is believing an even bigger lie, that makes him and his ambition a very serious contender. If so, we must stop him now. (As you would take dangerous items from the hands of children, to prevent injury.)

Thinking us a weak and apologetic nation, another lie, may muster retaliatory action toward us by those who are willing to
believe this rhetoric.

Goliath fell in one blow. Was he over-confident, believing that little David couldn't harm him? It was a lie.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good Old New England Snow Storms

My parents used to say that they had snow so deep, they could jump out into a heap from their shed window, located just off the porch. Quite possibly, it was were they kept their wood. Housing was different then. Coal came down shoots from side windows, or bulkheads, directly into the bin located in the cellar. Basements had dirt floors. They also used wood which they bought by the cord, then chopped and stacked. Everyone had chores, the ladies did the dishes, looked after the children and cooked meals. Most clothing early on was made, as well as blankets and draperies. (I had a wool one, until recently, which was made from my mother's aunts sheep farm.) Everyone crocheted and knitted sweaters and socks and purses and afghans. Set tubs were brought in on Saturday for the bath, and Sunday evening for Monday's laundry. They would starch the whites, roll and place them in a cold area, then iron them with a hot and heavy flat iron. They had a stove in the kitchen and a coal burning one in the parlor. (No central heat). The family huddled together, played cards around the table, keeping warm by wearing long-john's and layered clothing. Some people had shallow fire places in their bedrooms, which were fed by every crack and crevice from surrounding windows and doors. Most children slept four to a double bed, three across and one at the bottom. Canopy beds were not as popular, as the previous generation, which provided extra protection around the feathered mattress. When they lay in those beds, they would sink down and they were wrapped as snug as a bug. Homemade blankets were used, made from scraps and designed with cotton batting. Northern rooms were less utilized than southern exposures, as they preferred the morning sunlight and the warmer temperatures. Shutters were not just for show. Tasks were performed by light exposure. Sewing was done during the day.
Rooms were literally closed off until springtime. (My mom referred to the extra storage room, as the cold room). My dad said there was no need to worry about the pipes freezing, as their was no indoor plumbing. My dad used to talk about sit baths, and set tubs. Sponge baths from a basin, and water warmed from a kettle, which was drawn from the well, was how they washed. Woman wore their hair in an up sweep sometimes with a covering which required less frequent shampooing. His mom would make four breads at a time, on a Saturday, and he loved cocoa and toast. Hardy meals kept them warm. He remembered his father fishing, hunting for rabbit which his mom prepared on Sunday, the chicken coope, vegetable gardens, (smelly mulched water in rain barrels) his cat and dog. Making wine in the wine cellar. Prize winning strawberries and tomatoes, fresh eggs and real cream. He had a chamber pot and remembered using the out-house. They did have electricity, although his mom who was the daughter of a Blackfoot princess, did not when she was young. She scrubbed her wash in the Quinnebaug River.

Talk of Christmas, Thanksgiving, football, baseball, apple pie, meat pie and Fourth of July. Activities consisted of cards and games and the radio replaced the fiddle. I recall him saying that the meat wagon would come around, with all the flies. Ice blocks for the ice box. His dad worked at the American Optical Co., which is where he died, and was layed out in his own house. It was a life which required common sense, thriftiness and prayer. They were large close-knit families and lived simply. Every child was both wanted and a blessing. They valued each other, not things.

My mom was a twin delivered at home. And my aunt was 2 pounds, placed behind the stove in a shoe box to keep warm.
Snow was enjoyed by them, it meant coasting down a hill on a sled. The time was during the great depression, and they had little, still they made their own fun.

It was during WWII and they recycled everything and sacrificed much. And they, like us, dug themselves out of the snow.

Another storm is on the way, they walked everywhere including to work with their kerchiefs and rubber boots, and homemade mittens and hats.
Some of us will get into warm cars, drive down plowed roads, and still find so much to complain about.

Life is a cycle, and they were survivors. What we will have learned from them may determine how well we will survive the problems of the future.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Special Order

Saturday, Nathan and I were sitting outside on the swing, discussing his Uncle Steve's birthday party. He decided that his cake should be a firetruck. I thought that it was clever at three, how he could participate in planning the party. This is the same boy who remembered Jesus had a birthday, Christmas.
He knows that birthday's are very special. He just had one in January like his uncle, he is a winter baby. The trouble with people born this time of the year is trying to get everyone together. Different shifts, weather and sickness, usually cause the difficulty. We had to postpone tomorrows party to the weekend. Nate's party was "cars" Steve's will be firetrucks.
The only difference is Nate had balloons, Steve won't.
Nathan has a peanut allergy, which is very common with young children today. We must make the cake homemade as a result. Most cakes are made where peanuts are utilized. I'm so grateful that Pillsbury products usually are considerate of people's allergies. The problem is not the cake, nor frosting, but firetruck? I'm going to have my hands full trying to find what I need to decorate it. We must not disappoint his little three-year-old nephew.
I've made many decorative cakes, and wedding cakes for friends and family through the years.
It brings back memories like the time I made a giraffe cake for my oldest for his second birthday. It was so large that I placed it on a folding table. While he was sleeping I was cleaning up the mess, when I heard him say, UM!!!!! And then I caught him both hands full eating the cake which I was to serve guests. Having taken out part of the long neck, I was left to fill the hole with bread and frosting.
Another occasion caught us off guard as we didn't anticipate the town cutting up the road, which made it difficult to deliver the wedding cake while dodging the holes everywhere, shaking the living out of the car. We made it there without the three-tier cake cracking, only to find it pouring rain on our arrival.
What started out to be a joke, and a course that I took to accompany my sister, who was just engaged and waiting to join her man after their wedding, almost turned into a career.
I enjoyed making the roses and dying flowers for the centerpiece. My aunt started to take orders for me, as people were requesting cakes. It took up too much of my time, not to mention the mess.
This one will be fun, and I'm looking forward to the challenge.
It's been a long time since I've decorated a cake, especially for my son, Lt. Steve, who works at our local firestation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life at Conception

I've been reading blog and articles about standing up for the Pro Life movement, especially since I Marched in Washington DC, on Thursday. What did I get out of it? I'm still not quite over the physical part as my back is still killing me from the bus ride, and, I seem to have lost some accounting for time, almost like Jet-lag, no worse. The kids were wonderfully keeping me awake with their devices, I-Pods, text-messaging, and constant flashing of lights, not to mention talking. A great bunch of kids. This old foggy slept through two movies on the trip home, could hardly get out of bed on Friday, and is completely convinced that I didn't even touch the surface of what we could have done, and that we can do better. There is no quitting now. Babies and their mothers are being brutalized, much worse than the circumcised issue, we're talking about genocide, the killing of our own, death.

Did the cry of approximately a million people, fall on deaf ears? Perhaps, but if it changed me to think about the horror, if it caused me to spend time enough to do something about it, then I have the same bug as all of the others. We can't quit because of the what ifs.
Change cannot happen without first of all understanding that change is "necessary". And we can't get there without a clearly defined plan. The hearts and minds of many will make the job easier. So plan on helping us next year, we need you.
Things I heard: regret from moms who now know that they made a mistake that can't be undone. A government who uses people's taxes to pay for abortion abroad. (Killing is killing, everywhere). Something from Scrooge goes like this: if their going to die, then let them do so and decrease the surplus population. Are we not our brother's keeper? Scrooge came to his senses, luckily in time to effect change, after the visit of three ghosts. People will not be visiting us in the night, so we are the ones who will need to effect change.

The problem is: Greed, pure and simple. Also, isn't it a way to control the population of certain people?
Older people say, "You have no morals." I say if they don't whose fault is it? The single mother, the divorced parents, the social system which pushes protective "permissiveness"? Maybe the focus on "self", what do I have to be in this world to be accepted? What I must look like, or how much education I must have, and how many goods I can acquire, before someone will "love" and want me? I sometimes hear woman libbers say, while I cringe, "she made something of herself." "Anyone can be a mother." They have literally demeaned motherhood. What of fatherhood? Where is the decision making in all this for them?

It was not unheard of in my day to be a virgin at the alter. Most people still went to church. Yes, virgins in our twenties and why, because we were instilled that sex was wrong outside of marriage. We believed in the Ten Commandments. You know the ones that we allow others to take out of places, just as we allowed prayer to be taken out of schools? Close knit family structures helped along with friends who, having the same upbringing obeyed and respected their parents wishes. Beside the fact, if a guy really loved you, he would wait.
Their was no sex education, and no contraceptives at schools, or elsewhere. It is a personal matter. A matter of respecting yourself and having others respect you. If not, be responsible for your actions. (Today respect and authority are problematic words.)
Yet, we cannot focus on loose morals. The problem is that we must dig deeper. We heard some of those mothers say that having an abortion was painful. That told me that they had to be kids, who were believing a system that probably was not looking out for them. Some said they were never the same. Not able to ever have children again. So why do they become pregnant in the first place? I believe the vast majority of kids in that situation feel unwanted and unloved.
You will do almost anything to get your man. Years ago some gals used sex to manipulate a guy, thinking that "it would endear him to you". Why? Because he says so. And so do all the commercials on television and on the computer. Only to get hurt in the end. Who doesn't want to be loved. Yet, I hear that the younger people do not want to get married. Why, too many don't last for one reason or another. (Their is no room for selfishness in marriage, and it is hard work, the problem is commitment.)

This generation of young people have everything but the love of a close family. Some are "only" children and rely on friends instead of parents to love them.

  • Parents are too busy for them, its their work, their interests, their money.
  • They are sometimes angry from a young age, and live to get back at their parents for leaving them with everyone but the one they want to be with, them.
  • Parents have no choice, they have to work to provide material things. You do want the best colleges and lifestyle don't you? Why blame the parents, at least they had the courage in this world to have kids, right? They have a point, everyone knows it takes several good incomes to make it here. It is the cost of living.
  • Often we expect behavior that we do not exhibit ourselves. No church, no morals, no regrets.

How can the unloved and unwanted of this world, produce more unloved and unwanted children?

The shame of it all is that we are not talking about the rich here, they can afford to go anywhere and, having the money can pay for the best care. It's the poor that suffer. Make no mistake, a society that does not value life at its conception, and therefore has become a culture of death, ultimately can determine the future of its citizens, which includes life through it's natural ending.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Child's Play

Nathan came over at his regular time today, but it wasn't just any ordinary day, it was a day of play. We scheduled many winter activities and an out-of-town trip, because it was Saturday and grampy was with us.

It began with his favorite DVD Cars, followed by a second breakfast, or snack, (his favorite, waffle toast, syrup and cream, and apple cider). After bundling him up real good, snowsuit and boots, we were out with the sled, grampy pulling. His boot fell off, and it was quick to the recovery as it was definitely freezing outside, with the temperature dropping and the wind at your neck. While he likes to be pulled by the sled, he's not crazy about being in it for any length of time. What he does love, like Grammy is the swing. I covered him with a sports-like fleece lap blanket, and with the canopy above us, the wind could not be felt. He could have snuggled with me all day, with the sun beating down on us, it was absolutely divine. You could hear the trees crackling in the woods. He said the trees had holes in them. Don't quite know what he meant. It could be the moss on the bark of the trees, which looked circular. We played in the snow with the little shovel, getting it back on the clean driveway, and made happy faces with our hands in the snow. Next, upstairs to change boots and then off to take a ride to look for a train.

We ended up seeing the cows, and apple orchards without leaves and apples, but unfortunately, no trains were running today that we saw. Grampy decided to take him to see some tractors. But it was too cold to stay outside for any length of time. They say it is going to drop like a lead balloon and will continue to be frigid. It satisfied him and then off to get a burger, fries and chocolate milk.

We thought that he would appreciate a nap, but lying down with his favorite blanket and a pillow, while watching Cars for the second time, was all the rest he was to require today.

This morning he came in through the downstairs entrance, and when he saw me, he yelled "it's grandma" and started to do a little dance because he was so excited. I could tell he missed me. Later in the day, he caught me off guard when he said that I was pretty. He is really talking more and more and his vocabulary is good. I heard him say, Grampy, "Please join us!"

Grampy bought a new toilet paper stand for the bathroom, it is not too high for him to reach, and it is right along side the floor potty. Nathan thought he bought it for him. It was the first time I saw Nate attempt to wipe. Imagine, that's all it takes.

He still loves his cars, and you have to check each chair before you sit town, because he has a habit of leaving them right smack dab in the center. He loves to sing. When we were on the swing I was singing to him, as I always have and he says when I'm done, as he always has, "again."

This afternoon I could hear him singing in his room while playing. He is such a happy child. I enjoy hearing a man sing next to me, who has a good voice, such as I heard recently on my Washington DC trip. But there is something special about hearing the voice of a child. It is like receiving a present.

Later tonight, we played puzzles. He makes the mess and grandma puts it together. Over and Over. We watched YouTube, Disney songs and pictures. Finally, grampy came home to pass the ball in the hall, just after he had finished his ice-cream with chocolate syrup and it was time for washing up and PJ's.

He noticed the Icon I had in the room that John carried during the march for life. He doesn't miss a thing. It was the Mother of tenderness I believe, cheek to cheek one hand pointing toward her and one around her neck. Nathan said to me, it's mommy and me. I understood he was explaining the intimacy between himself and his mom. He likes to put his cheek next to someone he loves. I usually see how he reacts when he has to leave mom after she has had an extended vacation with him. Usually he acts up. So I said to him lets talk. And he said "mommy's working." I understood that he misses her so much. Early this evening, when his mom wanted to talk over the phone, it was the usual don't bother me routine. Toys taking precedence. Now that he can hold the phone, he heard her say, I miss you. I couldn't help but notice how happy he was to hear her voice. He was beaming when they exchanged the I love Yous. She is his world, and daddy too.

Then it was time for bed, and I rocked him with his blanket as I have always done, remembering the nice gift he gave me this morning. It was a bag of groceries, made from a sandwich paper bag and filled with book marker sized pictures of foods that one would buy at the grocery store, held by tissue paper. It seems that he brought that home yesterday, from day care. The first recipient was mom, and because he wanted to give it to grandma, permission was granted.

There are many special children in this world, but my grandchild means the world to us. He loves to laugh, and when I was on the swing he asked to me laugh again. (He loves to hear others laugh). I'm starting to see that he wants to do things for me. He said, "I'm going to do something special for you grandma," and proceeded to tell me how he was going to fix my fans and air conditioner, when he finds the screwdriver. He is a caring person. All children should be happy. And, that starts with mom, and I don't know of a better one.

Congratulations Angie on your new job and for being the wonderful gift you are to your family. We know that it can't be easy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Message of Injustice

I have been since the beginning of the month, summarizing the first two chapters of the Bible. The author for those of you who are not familiar with Him, He is the creator of all things. He stands for justice and truth. It is clear from the writings that if you think that he does not hear the cries of those who suffer, then your wrong. Or perhaps, your heart has been hardened like or by the Pharaoh's of this world. It is clear throughout the writings that He can take and will take action to vindicate the sufferings of His people, His creations, and for those we pray for. Today my heart has been opened to the cries of God's creations whose boo-boo's cannot be kissed away, because they are no more.
Yesterday, a mother named Ramona was in Washington, DC at the March for Life, with two of her three children. I know life has been difficult for that family, especially because her husband was in a terrible accident that almost took his life. There was a cost for transportation and the necessities of the day. Probably more than they could afford. Yet, they were there with bus loads of people, providing support to newcomers and tee-shirts. She confided that, she was filled with great emotion and many tears last year. Taking the day off from work, they stood in support of the unborn and the plight of the mothers, hoping that the day will come when the brutal slaughter will stop. Like Virgin Mary, our hearts have been pierced. When your in tune with God, all life cries out to you. One unnatural death is too many.
What I have learned through the readings is that when evil reigns, then the children suffer. First it was through King Herod and the killing of the innocent. This was not a new concept if you look at the pages of Genesis, the command went out previously for the killing of the male infants. As you recall, the mid-wives could not do such a horrible act, so they lied telling Pharaoh that babies were already born, saving the male babies. Pharaoh commanded all his people to cast the male babies into the river.
God sent a deliverer, because He heard the cries of the people. Which include the unborn. Yet, in this country, the land and hope of the free, do not apparently include the unborn. They have no voice, no choice, no hope.
Yesterday, in Washington, DC millions of activists stood at the place in the country where outcry's for injustice can be heard. Those same people were sent by Him because it is time to vindicate the suffering of the unborn. Change is coming to America! We have a new President. President Obama, who has promised to fix the things that are wrong in this country. We believe he can do it. And our representatives of this great nation have promised to enact legislation to that end.
Today, the right to life, which is sanctified by our Creator, and it's decision to abort it, doesn't have to be ordered from the likes of the Pharaoh's or Herod's of this world, as a command or decree, but from the voice of it's own mother. Who many times has come under poor advisement and has been "duped" into believing that life does not matter. A life that was ordained, snuffed out and treated like a throw away because it is easier to deal with at that stage, and forgotten. Your brain didn't forget, nor your heart, nor every woman part in you, nor the love that you couldn't express that day. It will catch up with you.

Just go and listen to those who made similar decisions before you, some suffering physical pain as well as permanent damage. God is forgiving and he will forgive you even the killing of your child. Forgiving yourself, as was witnessed, yesterday, by some speakers, is difficult. It is a great suffering that you may not know at the moment, but it will destroy you, bit by bit. There is a better way.......

I will continue to read the bible in a year. We have reached the exodus of the story, and the people have been "freed". The rest is history. God himself comes to earth to establish His kingdom. A kingdom in which all of His creations will be given the chance to reign with Him forever. But understand this:

Where there is injustice, and suffering, He promises to intervene.

So I pray for the unborn. (Psalm 140:1-5.) Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts; They continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to make my steps stumble. The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me.

My mother had five children during very difficult circumstances. There is no such thing as the right time to have a baby when your pregnant, the time is now. The only question is how does our government show us that life does or doesn't matter? We must begin the examine of life at conception with clear thinking and clear actions.

The T-shirt I wore yesterday was very significant. It said Thank You, Mom. Thank you also to Archbishop Nicholae, for coming from Chicago, representing us and Metropolitan Jonah, of the OCA who gave to the millions present an Orthodox perspective. Our two local priests for getting us there, Fr. Peter and Fr. Ken.

In the days that follow, I am going to share my experiences in becoming an advocate for life. Particularly, of the unborn and the hope I feel that is waiting for pregnant moms. The message is clear that you and your baby are loved. The creator of life tells us so. And we are going to fight for you.

(Rev:21-4) "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (References are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible).
Check out Fr. Peter's Post for more on the Washinton, DC March for Life here. "Back from DC."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Read the Bible in one Year

Jan. 21- Exodus 10-12) Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 10) The hearts of Pharaoh and his servants have been hardened that these signs may come upon them, mocking the Egyptians, "and My wonders I wrought among them; and you shall know I am the Lord." (14). "and the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt." (16). "The Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, "I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you." Then he asked pardon and that he be taken away from this death. Not one locust remained but, his heart was still hardened; and he did not let the Israelites go. What followed was the plague of full darkness, that lasted three days. Pharaoh wanted them to leave but without sheep and oxen, which was not agreed upon. (28). "Pharaoh said to him, "Depart from me. Take heed to yourself that you see my face no more. For in the day you see my face, you shall die." (29)."So Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will never see your face again."
(Chapter 11) The Lord promised that after one more plague, he will let you go, driving you out. The plague was to be the death of every first-born in the land of Egypt including the cattle. But not even one Israelite would die. Moses confronted Pharaoh, who still had a hardened heart, leaving angry and having done all that the Lord required of them. Still Pharaoh would not let His people go from the land of Egypt.
(Chapter 12) The Lord establishes that this is going to be the first month of the year to them. Then he ordered on the tenth day each to take an unblemished lamb, until the fourteenth day and the whole assembly shall kill it at midnight, taking blood and putting on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it, eating the flesh that night roasted in the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, letting none of it remain in the morning.
(11). "Thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in you hand. You shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Pascha. (12)."For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods in Egypt I will execute vengeance: I am the Lord." They were told to keep it as a feast throughout all generations, an everlasting ordinance. (In the first month at evening, until on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, they shall eat unleavened bread.)
For 7 days they shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day holy convocation, no servile work except what must be done and on the seventh day holy convocation for you.
(28). "Then the children of Israel went away and did as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron; so they did." It came to pass at midnight, and there was a great cry in all the land of Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. By night Moses and Aaron were called and he said, "Rise and go out from among my people both you and the children of Israel. Go and serve the Lord as you said." then he told them to take their sheep and oxen, and he asked them to bless him. They left in haste. (36). "Now the Lord agave the people grace in the sight of the Egyptians, who lent to them. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." And, they began their Exodus..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Commander and Chief

What distinguishes men and makes them outstanding? Is it the color of the their skin. No. Is it the amount of education that makes them outstanding? No. Is it their physical strength? No. What is it then that the two men today, who graced television on this 44th. inauguration of a president had that showed them to be giants among men. President Obama and former President Bush, as they stood together, shoulder to shoulder, shook hands and embraced. Yes, they are both humble, and family men. Yes, they were well groomed, dignified, polite and intelligent. Both possess faith. It's not that. Yet they move you to think about being an American, strong and caring. Loving men who inspire our country and the world to greatness. Greatness beginning with you. What you hope to bring, your best to the best. That's class.

Class is why the peaceful transition in this country is possible. Who can learn from them, many. Especially those who rudely expressed themselves today, booing our 43rd. president at the inauguration in Washington, DC.

Yes we can. Can what? Change in America. Someday there is a hope that we can create a culture of men that will learn to have some class, like what we saw in our two presidents, one past and one present, this day.

Tonight I want to express my thanks to former President Bush for keeping us safe, as he promised and I will continue to keep him in my prayers.

President Obama, has my good wishes for success as he will face many challenges. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.

Reading the Bible in a year

Jan. 20 (Exodus 7-9)
Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 7) To Pharaoh, 80-year-old Moses will have been made a god while Aaron at (83), a prophet; said the Lord to Moses. Pharaoh's heart is hardened while signs and wonders are multiplied in Egypt. (4). "But Pharaoh will not heed you; and I shall lay My hand on Egypt and bring My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt with My power and great vengeance."
Now appearing before Pharaoh, they did as the Lord commanded them. Aaron cast down his rod, and it became a serpent. Wise men, sorcerers and charmers of Egypt did likewise, Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. But Pharaoh's heart remained hardened. In the morning Pharaoh went to the water, where Moses again made his plea, which fell on a hardened heart, drawing his rod, that had turned into a serpent said, (17)"Thus says the Lord: "By this you shall know I am the Lord. Behold, I will strike the water in the river with the rod in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood." (18)."Then the fish in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from the river."
It happened and then the sorcerers did the same. After seven days came the plague of the frogs. Frogs in ovens and kneading bowls and beds. (29)"The frogs shall come up on you, your people, and all your servants."
(Chapter 8). (3). "Then the sorcerers did the same with their sorceries and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt." Both causing frogs to cover the land of Egypt. (4). Pharaoh then called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, and let Him take away the frogs from me and my people; and I will let the people go and sacrifice to the Lord." Moses sets up a time. (6). "So Pharaoh said, "Tomorrow." (9)." So the Lord did just as Moses said, and the frogs died away from the houses, the villages, and the fields." The land stunk from the heaping gathered frogs, and Pharaoh's heart still hardened, although relieved, did not heed his promise. After the frogs, came the lice, and flies.
(Chapter 9).Then came the diseased cattle of Egypt (and not Israel), boils on man and beast, hail heavy and mingled with fire. (34.) "Thus when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants."
And, as the Lord said to Moses, he would not let the children of Israel go.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Read the Bible in a Year

Jan. 19. (Exodus 4-6) Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 4) Moses is afraid that people will not believe him, that He has appeared to him. Even after the Lord has given him a rod that becomes a serpent and a leprous hand which is restored, Moses requires more signs, proof that they may believe. So He tells him to take water from the river and pour it on dry land, and it will turn to blood.

Moses reply is that he is not capable, asking that another person be sent instead. God tells him that He will open his mouth and teach him what to say. (14)."Then the Lord was very angry with Moses,"

Aaron the Levite, his brother, is chosen to assist. Jethro blesses Moses and he returns to Egypt with his wife and sons, learning that the King of Egypt, who sought his life, died. The Lord reminded Moses to perform all the miracles that He put in his hand. But the Pharaoh will not let the people go, because the Lord hardened his heart. (22)."Then you shall say to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord: "Israel is My firstborn son. So I say to you, "Let My people go so they may serve Me." But if you refuse to let them go, indeed, I will kill your first born son." Moses together with Aaron disclosed the words and signs to the children of Israel, who believed and rejoiced.
(Chapter 5) Moses and AAron spoke to Pharoh, saying that the God of the Hebrews has called us to sacrifice to Him three days into the desert. (2). "The Pharaoh said, "Who is He, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go." (4) "Then the king of Egypt said to them, "Why Moses and Aaron do you take people from their work? Go back to your work."
Then it was commanded that the straw once given would now be collected by the Hebrew slaves causing anxiety and oppressive labor, as nothing will be reduced from their workload.
The clerks from the children of Israel saw they were in trouble and meeting with Moses and Aaron, (21) "They said to them; "Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in his had to kill us."
(22)" So Moses returned to the Lord and said, "O Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You sent me? (23)."neither have You delivered your people at all."
(Chapter 6) "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them from his land." (2)"God also spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their God, but I did not reveal to them My name, Lord."
(6)."Therefore say to the children of Israel: "I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the Egyptian tyranny; I will rescue you from their bondage and redeem you with an outstretched arm and great judgments. (7)."I will take you as My people and be your God. Then you shall know I am the Lord your God who brought you out from under the Egyptian tyranny." (8)."I will also bring you into the land I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.' " "But they paid no heed to Moses because of their faintheartedness and cruel bondage."
(12)."Moses then spoke before the Lord, saying, "The children of Israel have paid no heed to me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am not eloquent?" (13.)"Thus the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to send for the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
(28)."In the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,(29) the Lord said to him, "I am the Lord. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you."
(30). But Moses said before the Lord, "Behold, I am weak in speech; and how shall Pharaoh heed me?"

Playing in the snow

Admit it! If your born and raised here, a good part of your life was spent playing in the snow.

We measured ten inches and more in drifts. Just enough to ensure our water systems. If we don't get enough snow we could face a summertime drought.

Fires have been a concern lately, everywhere. Its a holiday and people are out cleaning up. My little grandson, Nathan loves to be outside on his sled with daddy pulling of course, he's still to young to go sliding by himself. Now that dad's cleaned up the driveway, he'll be going out shortly with his little shovel to make a mess.

Speaking of which, I just happened to look at the Dick Whitney sight a few days ago and saw myself in the High School Band, and graduation and it brought back many memories. Imagine that, on YouTube and not knowing it. The pictures are not great but they are adequate. Sue Whitney was my classmate. They had many photo's of sliding and because I also went to the Country Club, I recognized the spot.

We were very healthy children, with clean air, living in a nice green valley with clean water. You don't appreciate what you have until you leave the area and come back. Try drinking the water in places like Atlanta. The water tastes like bleach.

Today, I will venture outside and kick-up some snow, like I have done for many years past. I don't get tired of seeing its beauty or taking a deep breath or seeing it fall from the trees. I am a New Englander. A very thankful one at that. Maybe I'll sit on the swing in the back in the sun, and observe all the woods. Its peaceful and enjoyable there with the sounds of nature, especially the birds.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reading the Bible in one year

Chapters 1,2,3. Exodus. Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

In Chapter one, a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph, felt threatened by the Israelites who grew in great number, and who were stronger than they were. Should they unite with a neighbor, they would fight against them.
(11)."Therefore he set taskmasters over them to afflict them in their works; and they built for Pharaoh strong cities--Pithom and Raamses and On, which is Heliopolis." Their lives were bitter with hard labor, a life of violence. Then the king ordered the mid-wives to kill at birth all male children. They said that they were born before they could, because they couldn't carry out the deed. So Pharaoh commanded all male born children be cast into the river, every female saved.

Chapter two finds a beautiful three-month old child saved but as he could not be hidden any longer, placed in a basket and laid in the reeds. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe and found the baby. She had him nursed by his mother, for payment. Pharaoh's daughters son was called Moses, meaning he was drawn out of the water.

When Moses was grown he went to his brethren and saw their suffering and burdens, killing an Egyptian, he hid him away. When Pharaoh heard he sought to kill Moses. Moses fled and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.
Moses delivered Reuel's daughters from the shepherds, drew enough water for them and their sheep. (21)"Then Moses dwelt with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses."
They had a son, Gershom; meaning a sojourner in a foreign land. God heard the groans of the Israelites and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Chapter three. Moses was tending sheep and an angel appeared to him in a flame of fire, but the bush was not consuming. It raised his curiosity. God called out to him and told him not to come closer. He was on holy ground. Removing his sandals as told, Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.
God told Moses his name and that he had heard and seen the affliction of My people in Egypt and that Moses would be used to free the oppressed people by delivering them out of Pharaoh's hands and the land of Egypt, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Gergesites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey. They would not go empty handed but with articles of gold, silver, and clothing, plundering the Egyptians. (19)."But I know Pharaoh the king of Egypt will not let you go, not even by a mighty hand." (20)."Thus I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all My wonders which I will work among them; and after that he will let you go.

Sex with a double standard

Everyone that reads the bible and especially those who read it for the second time, usually find that now they can relate to, if they are reading the old testament, the new testament. Or, they may have questions that didn't occur to them before. Is there a double standard. One for men and one for women? Lets examine the evidence.

For an example, in Genesis 38, (taken from the Orthodox Study Bible), Judah is informed that his daughter-in-law has committed fornication and is pregnant because of her adultery. (of course we know it takes two to tango.)
This is what the notes at the bottom of the page say on (38:24) "Those who reported to Judah viewed fornication and adultery as one and the same sin. For some say fornication is sin committed by single people, whereas adultery is committed by married people. Both fornication and adultery, however, are one and the same sin. " 39:9. "Joseph viewed adultery and/or fornication as great wickedness and sin against God."
According to Judah she was to be burned. I'm confused! Didn't that sin fall on Judah as well?

It is strange that the word prostitute did not appear in the Glossary, nor did I find a reference for it in the Index.
The word prostitute is mentioned again in Gen.Chapter 34:31 "But they said,"Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?"Yet, they slain, & plundered the city.

It is clear to me that there were prostitutes that were different than the ones we know of today. Were they also thought of as promiscuous? They are still ill-used and paid off. Must have been that way then too because Judah could not deliver the goat.

It is becomes clear in Gen.Chapter 38:14"Thus she took off her widow's garments, covered herself with veil, made herself beautiful, and sat down near the gates of Ainan on the way past Timnah; for she saw Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife." (15)"When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face and did not recognize her." (16)"Then he turned to her by the way, and said, "Let me come in to you;" Later he returned and was looking for her, asking the men where she was. (21). "Where is the prostitute who was in Ainan by the roadside?" They replied, "There was no prostitute here."

They discovered her pregnancy. She wisely had evidence. Nothing happened to her. Still, it makes one wonder. Did they have sex while she was veiled? Otherwise, he would have known it was her. How did she make herself beautiful? We will never know. But it appeared okay for men to have sex with a prostitute. Yet isn't that fornication? It certainly was not her looks sought after, and what about her, it was premeditated. Her prize, twin sons. No mention of a husband, and certainly it is reported that "he never knew her again." (Meaning Judah).

The missing word in all this is "Love."

On Thursday, I will be in Washington, DC. Marching for Life. Even if love were not present and conception begins, your love is what matters. Things do not always go as we plan them in this lifetime, and sometimes it is hard to make the right decision, but the only mistake I can think of is in thinking that life does not matter, because it does. Your baby may be the only true love you'll even know. And, they will be grateful for the chance that you gave them to live. Know one else can give them that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life in Paradise, death in Egypt

Reading the Bible in one year.
Jan. 17 (Gen. 48-50).
Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 48). Joseph had two sons in the land of Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim. (11)"Then Israel said to Joseph, "I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me yours seed." Israel placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, who was younger than Manasseh, on the left, and blessed them both, setting Ephraim before Manasseh.
(21)."Then Israel said to Joseph, "Behold I am about to die, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers." Giving Joseph a special present, Shechem, (having taken it from the Amorites with his own sword and bow).
(Chapter 49). Israel gathers his twelve sons. (28). "All these are the twelve sons of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them; and he blessed each one according to his own blessing." (29). "Then he charged them and said to them; "I am to be added to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place." When Jacob finished commanding his sons be breathed his last, and was added to his people.
(Chapter 50). Joseph kissed his father and commanded his servants to embalm him. (6). Then Pharaoh said, "Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear." (forty days of mourning were required for those embalmed). The Egyptians mourned him for seventy days. A very great gathering beyond the Jordan observed seven days of mourning with solemn lamentations. After a journey, his sons carried him to his resting place in the cave in Canaan. Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers, who were afraid now that Jacob was dead that Joseph would repay them for the evil that they had done to him. (19). "So Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for I belong to God." (20)."But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (21)."Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your households". Thus he comforted them and spoke to their heart.
At one hundred and ten years old Joseph dies in Egypt.
(24). "Then Joseph said to his brethren, "I am about to die; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land God swore to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
Joseph saw the children of Ephraim to the third generation and the children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, all brought up on Joseph's knees.
(25). "Thus Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
He was embalmed and put in a coffin in Egypt.

The Freeze

This is an unbelievable story. I thought you may be interested in reading it.

"A lone skier rides the lift at the Killington ski resort in Killington, Vt., Friday, Jan. 16, 2009. Temperatures fell to record lows early Friday morning across Vermont. .(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
Big Chill: Blast of Arctic air stuns eastern USSaturday, January 17, 2009 4:42 AM EST The Associated Press By JAY REEVES Associated Press Writer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama was colder than Alaska, water fountains froze into ice sculptures in South Carolina and Florida shivered through a brush of Arctic air blast that deadened car batteries in the Northeast and prompted scattered Midwest power outages.
As Southerners awaited an expected weekend thaw, the Northeast persisted under the bitterly cold air from Canada that sent temperatures plunging in some places below minus 30 degrees and left even longtime residents reluctant to venture outdoors.
Quentin Masters braved the chilly weather, making a trip to a Syracuse, N.Y., post office to mail his sister a gift for her birthday Monday.
"It was almost too cold to come down," he said, but he added, "I don't want to be late."
Single-digit temperatures and subzero wind chills were expected in western New York through the weekend, with more seasonable conditions moving in early next week.
To Southerners, who rarely see temperatures so cold, the icebox-like weather was the most jarring. Construction worker Allen Johnson wore a gray beanie, flannel shirt, long johns and boots as he stopped for coffee in Montgomery, Ala., after an overnight low of 22 degrees Friday.
"No matter how bad it is, it could be worse — we could be in Anchorage, Alaska," Johnson said. Actually, the temperature was about 20 degrees warmer in Anchorage on Friday.
Freezing temperatures threatened to kill picturesque Spanish moss hanging from Gulf Coast trees. In Spartanburg, S.C., a hard freeze coated a water fountain in shimmering icicles. And it was too cold to bet on dogs in West Virginia.
In Tennessee, Heather Davis, of NashvillePAW Magazine, watched her photographer unsuccessfully try to coax their cover model, a white poodle named Cotton, to pose outdoors for the animal publication. Cotton, who is up for adoption, ran to the car and didn't want to leave.
"I don't think I realized how cold it was," Davis said, laughing.
But gusting winds were no laughing matter in Ohio, where temperatures pushed to their lowest this winter and forced scattered power outages. Lows ranged from minus 6 degrees in Cincinnati to minus 14 degrees in Dayton and Toledo — just missing record lows for Friday's date.
Thousands in Ohio and Illinois lost power for several hours while Charleston, W.Va.-based Appalachian Power, which delivers electricity to more than 1 million customers Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, had record electricity demand as businesses and homes cranked up the heat.
In Columbus, Ohio, 45-year-old Brandon Champney beat the cold by visiting the orchid exhibit at the Franklin Park Conservatory — a deliciously climate-controlled 72 degrees.
"It's beautiful, warm, great," Champney said.
The cold claimed at least six lives and contributed to dozens of traffic accidents. One death involved a man in a wheelchair who was found in subzero temperatures stuck in the snow, a shovel in his hand, outside his home in Des Moines, Iowa.
In central Pennsylvania, AAA fielded a spike in calls from motorists whose batteries went dead or door locks froze shut. Wind chills were as low as 25 degrees below zero in greater Pittsburgh.
In Michigan, a winter storm watch was in effect for parts of the Lower Peninsula, where up to 8 inches of snow could fall by Sunday morning, the National Weather Service said.
And in Illinois, where a low of 32 degrees below zero was recorded in a north-central area Friday, the weather service predicted only modest weekend relief — sort of. The mercury was expected to head Saturday into the 20s in northern Illinois and the 30s in southern Illinois.
"The heat wave begins," meteorologist Tim Halbach quipped.
Associated Press writers William Kates in Syracuse, Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn., and David Mercer in Champaign, Ill., contributed to this report."

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Journey to Egypt

Reading the bible in a year
Jan. 16: (Gen. 46-47) The Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 46) Israel came to the well of Oath, journeying with all he had. (2)."Then God spoke to Israel in a vision of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" So he said, "Here I am." So God said to him, "I am the God of your fathers; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.
Jacob was carried by the sons of Israel, and all his seed he brought with him to Egypt.
He sent Judah ahead in order that Joseph meet them in Goshen in the land of Rameses. Joseph waited in his chariot and greeted Jacob, his father, falling on his neck and weeping. (30). Then Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die in peace, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive."
(Chapter 47) Joseph went to tell Pharaoh that his father had arrived with all they had even the flocks from the land of Canaan. Joseph made a presentation to Pharaoh from among five men.(3). "Then Pharaoh said to Joseph's brothers, "What is your occupation?" So they said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers." They then explained that because of the famine they have no pasture and asked to dwell in the land of Goshen. (5)."Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Let them dwell in the land of Goshen, and if you know of capable men among them, make them overseers of my cattle." It was the best of the land. (7) "Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." Pharaoh asked Jacob his age. (9). "Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my sojourn are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have they been; but they have not attained to the days and years of my father's sojourn in life."
(10). "So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before him." (11). "Thus Joseph settled his father and brothers, and gave them a possession in the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh commanded.
Then, Joseph gave his father and all who were in his father's household bread, all seventy-five of them.
Joseph had to deal with the famine, which depleted all of the money in Egypt and Canaan, bringing money into Pharaoh's house. So they used their cattle in exchange for food. After the cattle, was gone, they exchanged themselves as servants for food. (20). "So Joseph bought all the land of the Egyptians for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his land to Pharaoh, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh's. (21). "Now as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other." (22). "Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had rations allotted to them by Pharaoh, and they ate their rations Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land." A law was made from that day on, except for the priests, seed sown would be harvested and one-fifth would go to Pharaoh.
Joseph made a promise to Jacob that he would not be buried in Egypt. Jacob lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt and they acquired possessions and increased and multiplied exceedingly. Jacob was one hundred and forty-seven years. Joseph swore to him that he would be buried with his fathers, in their burial place.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Joseph meets his brother

Jan. 15 Gen. 43- 45) The Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 43) Because of the famine Israel was confronted with sending Benjamin to Egypt with his brother's to buy grain. So Their father Israel told them to repay the amount found in their sacks, and hold the money for the grain in their hands along with gifts, such as: almonds, pistachio nuts, honey, balm spices and myrrh for new grain. Joseph, upon their arrival has his brother's taken to his home for a banquet, after laying eyes on his only brother Benjamin. Simeon is returned to them. Joseph inquires about his father. They drank and were merry with him.
(Chapter 44) Joseph arranged for his brother's return with food and money in their sacks, as much as they could carry. He asked his servant to put his silver cup in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money. When they had travelled for a time, Joseph said to his steward get up and overtake them. Ask why they had stolen his silver cup?
The steward caught up with the group and accused them, asking them why they had stolen the cup. The brothers denied it but dropped their bags and let him conduct the search saying: (9). "With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's servant." (10). "Then he replied, Now as you say, so it will be; he with whom it is found shall be my servant, and you shall be blameless." The cup was found with Benjamin, and they all returned to the city and Joseph. Judah made a plea that they all become his slaves, as the cup was found. But Joseph insisted that he wanted only Benjamin to be his servant, dismissing the others to their father. But Judah explained the whole story, along with his concern for his father, if Benjamin were not returned.
(Chapter 45) Joseph could not restrain himself any longer, and asked that everyone leave the room except for his brothers. He told them, "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt." He said it was God's will to preserve them and save life, for there were five more years ahead of famine. (9). "Hurry then and go up to my father, and say to him, "Thus says your son Joseph, "God made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry." (10)."You shall dwell in land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your children, your sheep and oxen, and all you have." You shall hurry and bring my father down here. Then both Joseph and Benjamin wept. Then he kissed all of his brothers and wept and his brothers conversed with him. Goods were given them for the journey. (25).Then they went up out of Egypt, and came to land of Canaan to Jacob their father. (26). Thus they told him, saying, Joseph your son is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." (28). Then Israel said, "It is a great thing to me that my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die."

Restoring Our Town

I'm getting psyched, an old expression, for the optimism in this town which has been growing at a time when you feel the networks are taking you down. WESO radio is taking you up? Fr. Peter Live had two wonderful enthusiastic people on his show today. The Spirit 970, featured Gus Steeves, a well-known local reporter and Donna Silverburg, a certified art teacher. It always starts with a rant or rave....This week, was Fr's rave.
The program started with praises for the Mercy Meal extended to the community last evening at St. Hedwig Parish, on Everette St. in Southbridge between 4:30-6:30 PM. Father announced that St. Michaels will hold their first mercy meal with a spaghetti dinner, on Thursday, January 29, 4:30-6:30 PM, in the fellowship hall.
Gus and father then talked about the homeless plight in the area, father saying we have a family shelter, but nothing for individuals. Their is a need to create shelter in this area, or at least provide transportation, maybe by a van to services out of town, like in Worcester. Fr. mentioned that we do have a Community Center at the Amory Senior Center, for emergencies. The Hope is to get a "free meal" in the immediate area at least each week. He said the people were welcoming and warm, and about 50 people were in attendance, half parishioners. It is a way for Community church people to come together, and for people who are alone to share a meal and company with others for one night. He said it's all about action, "Just do it." Then it starts to build and the word get out.
Gus and Fr. also discussed the possibility of providing food by growing food, using the example of giving a fish or teaching how to fish, providing for a lifetime. Thus we begin our "Community Garden" topic. One topic of interest at St. Michael Church, because of the land area, perhaps four people sharing workloads and produce. Gus mentioned that outside of tomatoes, what would other cultures bring to the table. The gardens would have to be in walking distance to homes, Gus said. Then was the subject of having a Committee for Agriculture, which has been in discussion locally, as well as funding for small community gardeners.
Father stressed that we should get to the root of the issue. If its homelessness, come and find the root of the problem. And that the gap between the have and have nots is growing. Their was a mention of the Obama stimulus program and an acknowledgment that the Town of Southbridge has been proactive in this. Gus said we received information on January 2nd, and had two and one-half weeks to get it together. Money would be designated for vehicles in various departments and for the Industrial Park Access Road, and Generator waste water treatment plant. The stipulation is that the project must be completed in 2 years. One benefit would be that the Southbridge tax payers would incur no additional raise in their taxes.
Donna Silverburg was his second guest, who announced an upcoming program featured in our town library. "Picturing America" is being held free of charge, sponsored by a national endowment (2002). Donna, who is a certified art teacher, encourages teachers and students to get engaged. It is a way to help teachers,"Looking at Americana." "We have more visual learners." said Father Peter, who admits that he is one. (Me too!) The teaching profession has changed since the advent of computers. Interactive programs are encouraged with web sites. Through visuals you can see how everything is connected, like getting into the event as if they were there. Donna said "images are so strong and memorable."
Father and Donna are involved with the Historical Commission and are happy to see the progress of restoration of another building on Main Street, with multi-use purposes.
Donna will be at Shepherd Hill, Dudley with an exhibit Saturday, Jan. 17th. 6PM. Father mentioned that he will be airing the show next Thursday, live from Washington, DC., where he will hopefully be able the see the Smithsonian, once again. Donna added that they had a small piece exhibited there. This is the website for "Picturing America" . Father mentioned that pictures of Southbridge are available on Dick Whitney's Website. I'll have to try and find photo's of the building they were talking about in my spare time. Please find Dick Whitney's photos here. If you are interested in hearing the radio presentation, which lasts one hour, you can tune in here. (Temporarily unavailable)
It was another very interesting show. Great people restoring our community, and by their hard work, making it even better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blood is thicker than water

Jan. 14. (Chapter 41-42). Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 41). Two years passed and Joseph did not hear from anyone regarding his plea to the cupbearer for his freedom. Pharaoh began to have dreams and sent for all its wisemen as his spirit was troubled. Joseph was called to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams through the witness of the cupbearer, and (16). "So Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer in peace." Joseph warned of seven years of famine with depleted land and seven plentiful years. And he suggested they gather a reserve in the land for seven years, that the land may not perish during the famine. Because Joseph has the spirit of God in him he is made ruler of Eqypt, sealed by a signet ring. He changed Joseph's name to Zaphnath-Paaneah and gave him a wife Asenath, who bore him two sons before the years of famine. All countries came to Joseph to buy the stored grain as famine was severe in all the earth. Joseph was said to be both sensible and intelligent.

(Chapter 42) Jacob heard of the grain in Egypt and sent 10 sons except for Benjamin, to buy food lest they perish. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Joseph holds Simeon hostage, bound and filled the sacks of the other brothers requiring them to bring Benjamin to him. Joseph returned their money in secret. Jacob is told of this arrangement, but does not want to release Benjamin to them to verify they are men of peace. If anything were to happen to him in his old age, he would be sorrowed to his grave.

Cars and trucks

We've found the word that describes Nathan's interest best, cars. I think most men would agree that they love their cars, speed and racing. We played making the puzzle again, three times, it was all about vehicles. Lately, all we watch is two video's Cars and Mighty Machines. Of course, we constantly have match box cars which are taken everywhere we go.

I know he's already thinking about the time when he will be playing in the dirt outdoors with his trucks, and he told me so today.

It won't be long when he will be driving his own car. Hopefully, he won't be like Lightening McQueen, who thinks only of "speed." That movie has surely made an impression on him. His room is cars everything! You can tell a lot from a man and his vehicle. One of my fondest memories of Disney World was taking pictures of my sons in their vehicle pick. My oldest picked a car, and my youngest a green truck.

At three children remember well and will try almost anything. When he kissed the icon of the Virgin Mary today, he looked at me and smiled. Looking at Jesus in her arms, he reminded me that Jesus had a birthday. That was special to him. So did he on Sunday, and that was special to us. It seems that everyone knew what to get him, cars. Especially his parents, a homemade car cake, car balloons, table cover and napkins and invitations. Tonight, when he is dressed for bed, he will be wearing his "car" pj's which he took the time to show me this morning.

This morning I took the time to show him some photos taken from an airplane. They are very interesting to see, especially familiar places. Then we talked about a train, and he hasn't seen a real one yet. We will have to fix that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In a Family Way

Jan. 13: Gen 38-40 Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 38:) One of Joseph's brother's Judah married the Canaanite Shua who conceived three sons Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah took for his son, Er a wife, Tamar. (7)."But Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, and God killed him. (8). So Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife and marry her, and as her brother-in-law raise up seed to your brother." (9). "But Onan knew the seed would not be his; and it came to pass that whenever he went in to his brother's wife, he emitted his semen on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother."(10). "But the thing he did appeared evil in the sight of the Lord; therefore, He also put him to death." Judah told Tamar to remain a widow in her father's house until Shelah is grown. Shua, Judah's wife died, and he went up to Timnah to shear his sheep. Shelah was grown, but she had not been given to him as a wife. She made herself beautiful, veiled and went out to seek Judah as it was told to her he would be in Timnah. Judah did not recognize her veiled, and thinking her a prostitute, bargained to go in to her. She left with his ring, cord and staff. he did not find her to compensate her with a goat. No one saw the prostitute. Three months later when Judah would have her burned for Adultery, the father was disclosed.(25)."When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, "By the man to whom these belong, I am with child." (26)."So Judah acknowledged them and said, "she has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son." They had twins.

(Chapter 39) Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. The lord of the house's wife kept after him to lie with her. He refused.(11). But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, she caught him by his garment saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside." The anger was aroused in her husband, who took Joseph and placed him in jail. The Lord was with Joseph and caused him to prosper.

(Chapter 40) The cup bearer and chief baker offended the King of Egypt and are jailed. They are committed to the care of Joseph by the chief jailer. They both had dreams on the same night, and are unable to interpretate them. Joseph knew they were troubled. Because he knew that interpretations belonged to God, asked them to reveal the dreams to him. Joseph tells each of them what is meant. The cup bearer would have mercy shown on him and would be returned to have the cup placed in his hand in three days. The chief baker would be hanged in three days. Joseph asked them to issue a plea for him saying that he was jailed without cause and that he was stolen from the land of the Hebrews. Even though the cup bearer did in fact have the cup placed in his hand on the birthday of the Pharaoh as foretold, Joseph's name was not mentioned. He was not remembered but forgotten.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reading the Bible in one year

Jan. 12 -(Gen. 35-37)
Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 35)God appeared to Jacob again and said. (10)."Your name is Jacob; your name shall not anymore be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name." (12)."The land I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and your seed after you I give this land." (15)."Jacob call the name of the place where God spoke with him Bethel." Rachel, Jacobs beloved died from hard labor and their son was named Benjamin. She was on her way to Ephrath (that is Bethlehem). Jacob now had twelve sons. (27). Jacob came to Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. Isaac breathed his last and died at 180 years old. Esau and Jacob buried him.
(Chapter 36) In this chapter, we learn of the Genealogy of Esau. His wives came from the daughters of the Canaanites. Esau dwelt in Mt. Seir. (Edom), making him the father of the Edomites.
(Chapter 37)Jacob dwelt where his father had lived in Canaan. Joseph was the youngest son, who was loved more than the other's by Israel. He made him a tunic of many colors. His brothers could not speak civilly to him because they hated him. (5). "Joseph had a dream; and reported it to his brothers." His brother hated him even more for his dreams and words. (11). "And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind." (18). "Now when they saw him afar off, even before he come near them, they conspired against him to kill him." They had planned to say that some wild beast had devoured him. (23). "So it came to pass, when Joseph came in to his brothers, they stripped the tunic of many colors off him." They sold Joseph for 20 pieces of gold, to the Ishmaelites. They dipped Joseph's coat in blood. Jacob mourned and wept for him, believing him dead, refusing to be comforted. (36)."Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard."

Wife swapping

Years ago a relative of mine talked a little bit about joining friends who believed in wife swapping. I was shocked to hear that behavior was going on in this small town. And I had actually forgotten about it until recently, when someone was talking about it. Adultery is rampant today in this country and probably has been since the beginning of time, since it is one of the ten commandments. It brings me to the thoughts I've had since I began to read the Old Testament and the relationships mentioned there.

It is clear that Abraham loved Sarah. An "arrangement" was made for their marriage. Hopefully, Sarah grew to love Abraham, as women had no choice. (Gen34),Dinah was violated, which brought forth anger and destruction by her male relatives. (Prostitution is also mentioned, in a negative way). (Gen 34:31) "But they said, "should he treat our sister like a prostitute?"

Wife swapping as I know it, means getting involved indiscriminately for sexual gratification, and not for love. Yet, it also implies the exchange of one for another spouse, and in my mind, that's being used. It leads to divorce deep hurt and resentment and hatred.
Was that the case with Jacob, sometimes Leah or Rachel? While reading the scriptures, you could feel the tenseness between the two women, even though they are sisters. Wonder how Jacob would have felt if they shared themselves with his friends or relatives? In the case of Rachel, I'm sure he wouldn't have liked it. It would have caused many problems. And, I'm certain that is the case today. (This is an old testament example of what is known here as bigamy, which is a criminal offense, to marry someone else while have a legal spouse).

Rachel is left initially barren while her sister Leah is fertile and has children to the envy of her sister. This is taken from the Orthodox Study bible: (Gen 29:30)"Then Jacob also went in to Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah;" (31)"But when the Lord saw Leah was hated, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren."

We don't know who hated who. Was it between the sisters or between the husband and one of the sisters. It is not clear. My women's intuition tells me it was between the sisters. As the man was getting his cake and eating it too!

How can a man who loves his wife commit adultery? Wife swapping is clearly that. It is not for love but it is promiscuous behavior and a confused mix at that. It is hoped that a man that loves his wife would not indulge in that type of behavior, and would have made that decision before committing his life to her. (It's a mutual decision).

Marriage is not for the selfish, immature and prideful boaster who is not willing to enter into a serious agreement of "oneness" only with another.

There are many playboys out there--one-stop no obligation types. The reason they are that way is because they don't know what love is. Nor do they want to. In today's lingo, too bad so sad.

Love is not sex, it is deep, and very profound. Priceless and eternal. It's what you hunger for all your life, and if your lucky find it. God in his wisdom is revealing his thoughts to us through the bible chapters, are you listening to His unchanging word in a changing world?

It is, as I believe, the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Read the Bible in One Year

(Jan. 11 Chapter 32-34).
Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
(Chapter 32) Laban arose, kissed his sons and daughters, blessed them, departed and returned to his place. Jacob went on his way, sending messengers before him to Esau his brother, telling him he sojourned with Laban; "and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight." The messengers returned to tell Jacob that Esau is coming to greet him with four hundred men. Jacob was afraid and divided his goods and people into two companies. If one were destroyed, the other could flee. Then Jacob prayed to be delivered from the hand of his brother, Esau. Jacob sent prepared gifts for Esau ahead. For he said to himself, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterwood I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me." While the present went forward Jacob lodged himself. He arose that night and took his two wives, his two maidservants and eleven dons. "Then Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day," dislocating the socket of Jacob's hip. Jacob demanded a blessing and He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have prevailed with God and with men."
(Chapter 33) Jacob lifted his eyes to behold, Esau his brother, and four hundred men. Jacob bowed to the ground seven times Esau ran to meet him. they embraced and kissed his neck and they wept. Esau received Jacobs gifts. Esau journeyed ahead of Jacob until they would meet in "Seir."
(Chapter 34) Dinah daughter of Leah and Jacob was violated by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite. He loved her and sought to win her heart, saying to his father, "Get this young woman as a wife for me." "Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to Speak with him." "But Jacob had heard Hamor's son had defiled Dinah his daughter." "Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were stunned and extremely grieved, because he had done this disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacobs daughter, something that should have never happened." "Then Shechem said to her father and her brothers, "Let me find grace in your eyes, and we will give whatever you ask. Make the dowry as great as you wish, and I will give it; only give me this young woman as a wife." The agreement deceitfully was that they would all need to be circumcised. "Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. They also killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went out. They plundered the city and took possession.
"Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You made me an object of hatred, so as to be evil to all the inhabitants of the land, both among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my houshold and I." But they said, "Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?"