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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The word in my mind today was light. It has been mentioned in the past several days in several of my posts in different ways.
John 8:12 (taken from the Orthodox Study Bible) "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

In yesterday's post I said: "for the light of love is all there is."

Several days ago, I hinted about needing protection from ultraviolet Light, or harmful rays from the sun.

I have posted on the healing and beneficial effects from plants and nature derived from sunlight, such as CLA.

About ten days ago, we sprung ahead for springtime, now having longer days, lighter in the evening.

Light is God. Light is Divine. Divine is loving. Divine Light is healing.

When God created the world, saying, "Let there be light" (Gen: 1-3). (What God creates is Good).

However, humans, in our effort to make subtle changes in our environment, have created a monster, "light".

(Discover 2003) "In 2001, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published two studies that the editors argued revealed "an association between exposure to light and breast cancer risk," with "alarming" implications."

Humans are not immune to light pollution. "Other studies have shown that light striking the retina, even during sleep, can reduce production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythms. Melatonin also has antioxidant properties, and for some mammals it has been shown to suppress the estrogen estradiol, which is associated with breast cancer."

"Light is a drug," says Russel J. Reiter, a neuro-endocrinologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center who has researched the disease-preventing properties of melatonin." "By abusing it, we compromise our health."

Melatonin is produced by the body and takes 8 hours of complete darkness to produce this essential hormone.

The animal world and all of creation is affected by our unnatural light as well. In (Discover July 2003), the article written by: Eric Scigliano, (Turn Down The Lights), we are reminded that "not all lights have equal optical and biological effects, even if they shine with equal brightness. Fluorescent bulbs, as well as the metal-halide and high-pressure mercury bulbs often used in stadium lighting, emit a lot of imperceptible ultraviolet light, which is useless for illumination but plays havoc with the detectors used by astronomical observatories."

Tonight and every night I encourage you to get at least 8 hours of sleep in complete darkness. In order to enjoy the Light of life.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Flame of Remembrance

Every now and then you read something and it holds so true. And, it brings understanding where there was none before.
This is the sight where you can reference this.


May you heal many with your words and hands.
The treasure lies within, sleeping.
Love is alive and conquers all.
We trust our hearts and our inner knowings.
Love blossoms forth from forgiveness.
This is unconditional love which illuminates all.

The love of the feminine
the love of his life
she stood by his side
she saw him as no one else could
he saw her as no one else would
for the light of love is all there is
and this she was given to show him
and sustain him
for her love filled him with love as
manner from heaven
and her hands held him and softened the blows
and her light was needed to remind him of home.
The love of the feminine
The love of his life."

This is the sight:


It always amazes me that people fall for the quick fix claims to ease wrinkles, which is caused by dryness, poor nutrition, smoking and damage due to sun and harmful exposures. As you age, your body loses collagen which needs to be replaced by nutrients to facilitate in the hydration of your skin.

Hyaluronic Acid hydrates the skin, resulting in increased smoothness, softening, elasticity and decreases wrinkles. So what do you need?
  • exfoliant
  • toner
  • moisturizer
  • protection from harmful rays of the sun, (a hat)

Have you even been on a diet where you increased your vegetable, fruit and water consumption? If you have, you probably noticed that your skin started to take on a better appearance. Add an exfoliant, toner and moisturizer and within six months you may have the result that people spend an arm and a leg on for breakthrough wrinkle-reducing creams.

Nutrients provide all the body needs when introduced on a regular basis in your diet. If you are lacking in the essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, it could be a causative factor in people with hyaluronic acid abnormalities.

Hydrating the skin is essential. What causes hyaluronic Acid decline? Excessive amounts of Ascorbic acid can degrade hyaluronic acid as well as decreasing levels of the hormone estrogen.

I have featured the recent birthday of Alexandra, now 100 years old. If you were to look at her, and other's of that culture, it would amaze you how youthful they appear. I have spoken about healthy CLA, and other derivatives from eggs and other dairy products that they consume in their cooking, especially cultured yogurts and feta cheese, belived to have contributed to their good health. They are known to make wonderful spinach pita's. Spinach is a staple in their diet.

Putting all together, go here. Spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. (Here we go with the greens again). So what's in it? Vitamin K, A, C, E, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, B2, (riboflavin), calcium, potassium, B6 (pyridoxine), tryptophan, dietary fiber, copper, B1 (thiamin), protein, phosphorus, zinc, Omega 3 (fatty acid) vitamin B3 (niacin) and selenium.

How does eating spinach relate to beautiful skin? It increases impaired collagen synthesis because it contains magnesium and zinc both known to increase hyaluronic acid. Soy which contains estrogen also increases activity of hyaluronic Acid.

Basically you are what you eat. Clean your face with a exfoliant and use a toner, followed by a moisturizer. It need not be expensive to work.

Spinach is just one of the best of nature's natural foods which powerfully nourishes your skin and is great for your entire body.

Why not give it six months, and see the result for yourself. Don't forget the hydration factor, that is drink more water.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is was what I woke up to this morning entitled "nice". It's the kind of thing that will make your day, so take a moment and scoot over to here. Don't forget to tune in to WESO tomorrow morning, (970AM on your local radio dial) for the 7-9 radio program. Available on now you can receive it no matter where you sit all from Southbridge. If your reading this on Sunday, tune in to Shepherd of Souls on your radio dial, 8:30-9:00, available online here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Spring Fling

It is a wonderful day when you go to get your car inspected and you don't get a rejection sticker. The fact that there was no line, another stroke of luck.

We had two events to go to today, and because we were committed to the church, we needed to deliver the present for Mark, who celebrated his sixtieth birthday. Everything is always last minute, so as we got the gift certificate at our local pub last evening, we never thought of the card until this morning. Guess who we bumped into going into the store? Mark. So, I said, "I heard you had a wonderful birthday party," and extended to him belated wishes, knowing about his birthday surprise tonight. His kids had a party already to throw him off, cards and all.

Little did he know that his son, wife and grandchild, Tray flew in for the big occasion, along with family members that live out of town that he hasn't seen for a while. I don't know anyone who deserves it more, Mark is a great guy.

I got to my sons house to deliver the card and had no intent on staying as we needed to go grocery shopping and do some more yard work. Saturday, is an exercise day for both John and I, and it always helps when the weather was as beautiful as today.

I remained in the car, while John rang the bell and was let in. It was taking him longer than I expected so I got out of the car and looking up I saw the little one's waving hi to grandma. Apparently, Tray saw me and told Nathan, Grandma was here. I went to the door to go in and see them. Meanwhile, they ran past grampy to go to the front door. Daddy opened the door, and I gave them both a big hug. They were excited, saying its Grandma, its grandma. I got to finally meet Tray, as Nathan introduced me. They were having fun playing "cars."

Dinner was good tonight. I especially enjoyed the grilled garlic bread with spaghetti. The Ham Party went well. I won one of the 50/50's, along with a ham. Linda and John won nothing again this year, so I felt bad for them. I will share, promise.

People enthusiastically cleaned up and before I left the round tables were already up. The kitchen was cleaned and there was a feeling of good will in the air. We do not have a large church, but we are like family. I met Paul's grandson tonight, he is a little darling.

We have come a long way together, and have far to go.

Two of my brothers were in the hospital yesterday, and are home today. It has been a very good weekend so far.

Did I tell you that I ran into my old boss that I had when I was sixteen? Yes, she is ninety and is still working. She's afraid to quit because who knows? You can have it anyway you want when you own your own business. I wondered who the old man was with her. It was her son, the one who used to chase me around, but I wasn't a bit interested in him. He is the grandfather of three now. Where has all the time gone?

From a famous song, "Sunrise, Sunset"---I don't remember growing older, when did they?

The Ham event seemed like such a long way off, but now its over and before you know it, Easter (Pascha) will be here. And along with it, daffodils, my favorites.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ham shoot on Saturday

All you can eat salad, rolls, pasta, and meatballs for five bucks. What a deal. It precedes the ham shoot that is being held as a fund-raising event at the church hall, Saturday, beginning at 5PM.

The projected winnings of $1,000. will help defray operating costs which are increasing each year.

Those who are protesting the meatball should refrain from eating it, while not judging your brother. It seems there are always people around to tell us what we should or should not do. The bottom line is, it is more harmful to spew out of your mouth offending statements about ones abstinence, than to swallow the meatball going in. You are no ones authority, mind your own pints and quarts, (P's and Q's). That subject, is best left between the party and the priest.

Abstaining from foods is supposed to strengthen us on the journey. Judging is strictly prohibited. We are called to do "good" instead. Tonight was an example of that calling. We shared a community meal which was simple, but excellent. Salad, tomato soup, grilled cheese, cookies and coffee.

We are thankful to be able to help those in need, as well as the lonely, elderly and shut-ins in the area.

Besides preparing the wonderful food, father is preparing to offer a handsome amount of money collected for the upcoming food share radiothon, next week.

He has been instrumental at our parish of St. Michael's Church, in bringing people together. Times are tough, yet he is ahead of the curve. Exciting things are happening, and I will keep you informed as they are upcoming.

Meanwhile, hope to see you all on Saturday. Should be great fun. And, your contribution is appreciated. Don't forget, we're expecting you, so bring your luck with you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Swiftly go the Years

What a difference A Day Makes 24 little hours brought the sun and the flowers where there used to be.... Soon the winds will die down and the April showers will begin. Nathan has already noticed that the birdbath did not have water. So, that was a priority. He notices everything, and everything that needs to get done. Raking, and of course the dirt, which he hasn't forgotten, and is looking forward to playing with his trucks. And, watering the flowers with his water can.

I had a chance to get outside with my grandson today. While he sat on the swing with me saying higher and again, I looked upon the face of a truly happy boy, who truly loves me and we were sharing a grand moment. Why wouldn't he? I make him his favorite foods, play toys with him, share music and give him my undivided attention. Today, I made him meatloaf which he relishes, dipping each bite in ketchup. He also had his favorite grape tomatoes, some cottage cheese and a veggie. Light chocolate milk was his choice of beverage. That followed a sizable breakfast, waffles of course. He slept in late this morning and because it was cool, we waited to go out after lunch.

What do I expect. That he eat all of his lunch. Before we began, he said we were to fold our hands to pray. Now that surprised me and he brought it up. When he asked for ice cream, I didn't hesitate but, gave him a very small amount, knowing he would want a cookie. He was satisfied. In fact, he asked me to sit across from him and have some with him. We shared small talk, and little stories. Conversation, the like he's observed adults doing, expressions and all. He started out not saying a word, in fact, we wondered if he was going to talk at all. Now he's making up for it. He begins his day by saying positive things about the weather, and things he wants to do, (at three).

Seeing him look at me on that swing, was priceless. Loving eyes say it all. I stayed with him until his mom arrived home from work. In that time, he showed me his very hi-tech toys and I watched him play computerized games, that I could not do as well with. I drew pictures for him of cars, and I left long after dinner but, before it got dark. Looking back, he was looking out of the window at me. That is usually what I do, look out at the window at him. Saying goodbye and throwing kisses.
Driving home, a song came to mind, you might remember it...Sunrise, sunset--Sunrise, sunset--Swiftly go the years--One season following another--Laden with happiness and tears.

Today we remember the action of a young virgin, Mary, who said "yes" when greeted by Angel Gabriel. Yesterday, a child today with child, who in less than a year will know the fulfillment of his prophecy. Mother of tenderness and Mother of Sorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Made of Glass

Please do not throw any more stones as I am made of glass. This means I can break, just like the sand I came from, I shatter and fall. We are all clay made from the earth, and whether or not we realize it, we are all vulnerable.

Yesterday, I wrote about something that obviously hurt someone else, unintentionally. The only problem is that when you hurt others, you hurt yourself as well. That is why we have to say we are sorry and ask for forgiveness. It doesn't always resolve your problem. I did learn something from reading the vented parts on the post, and that is there is always a fine line. If only we could see the result of our words before we engage in our action, we would not fall into this mess in the first place. God allows it to help us grow, by struggling slipping and getting up again. This action creates pain and suffering.

While I was busy thinking about a few people, another person was thinking about the whole. Being in the middle is a tough position, and like all of a father's decisions, they usually favor the most vulnerable. The reasons are understood sometimes only by the person in that situation, and therefore like all in authority it is given to us to trust.

We all want our own way. That bit of "me" in it, on both sides. I'm not sure if I would call myself "prideful" to want to be able to understand the words of something sung and offered in a prayer, because not to, means to me, to be deaf. When your deaf you can't fully participate. Who wants to be left out? You can't pray fully if you don't know what is being offered.

In the future when someone asks me what my family members think, (of our Church or service,) I will only answer by saying "ask them." Then, when they say it, it will be believed.

I am writing this post now, as tonight I will have my family over for dinner. The cookies are made for Nathan as promised. And I have a wonderful egg less, apple cake in the oven for John, too. I can smell the aroma of my Dill bread, which will be served for dinner tonight. Now, I must get started on dinner. Nathan will be staying overnight and we will have a lot of time to play and watch the new DVD, as well as the old.
He sings the new fish song, which he learned from a commercial on TV. He is so funny. And that is what I need, to laugh.

Life is a cross, a continuous series of painful events. Some of those events we have no control of. If you truly understand what love is, it is also likely you will know what tears are. Lent teaches us that is part of the change we must go through in order to get to the other side. Experiencing life to this point is a blessing. No suffering -- no joy in the morning.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fortune Cookie Said

Everyday I like to look at the fortune cookie and the little guy above it as it gives me a chuckle. It said that I was known to be straight forward and honest. Having said that, I try to be.

Yesterday, I was commenting to a friend about our Church Liturgy. I told her that I was not going to let it bother me that more of the ethnic was presented during the service. It was a Holy day, and just not worth getting me upset. That was until coffee and one of the ladies who had brought up the subject about the aprons, having spoken with three other's before me, was just not satisfied until it was rehashed again. I told her, that we had sold some during the three yard sales, and as well, we contributed some unsold items to charities. It wasn't good enough, as they wanted to sell the goods at an up-coming mother's day sale. I asked if we could possibly make more? No, that is not the answer. Nothing will ever be the answer to the question, I'm afraid. Because the name of the game is bickering. And "no" I do not have any of them in my house.

I have grown tired of the battle, frankly. There is not a Sunday that goes by that I dread coffee hour, lately. Being straight-forward and honest, I am between a rock and a hard place.

That was yesterday, but today, I must at least ask the question, why? Two churches in our town recently had conversation about merging. They both have elderly parishioners who are not willing to change for the sake of keeping their "faith" alive. Even though it was pointed out that they should have no problem unifying because they are both of Balkan heritage, (by several of our council members), excluding the priests. Why should their language be spared for the sake of a few who speak English, even though they attend regularly? During the Liturgy the priest says "And grant with one voice and one heart" yet, we are not of one voice. I beg the question be answered, when will we be?

Yesterday, the church welcomed in a new Catechumen. A young lady who is engaged to be married, and will be Orthodox at Pascha, (Easter). We pray that she be united to the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, numbered among the chosen flock. This service was done in English. That is the language she understands. I wondered how she feels when she is subjected to a foreign tongue that she doesn't understand. I'll tell you how I feel, excluded. People wrote letters, came to church to fill the seats. The anticipation of a Church closing brought action along with many questions. Clearly, while they welcome growth, it is on their terms and conditions, which have nothing to do with their faith. "I got the message, that there are other Churches in town," last year when I was contemplating a move. My mother and her friends spoke in French when they didn't want the children to hear. I was always taught when people who can speak English, use another language in front of you, they are being rude.

It was my choice to become Orthodox. I have been through this over and over, with no resolve. The Church next to us has had more converts because they are willing to keep the language in English, except for the one song and the respect for the forebearers, saying the Our Father also in Albanian. Someone in that Church made an interesting comment that I read. Other Churches are growing, "what's wrong with us?"

Funny thing about the truth, it falls on deaf ears. And, I am certain that not combining the Churches at this time was the right decision. We don't need more fighting, and as we learned, this endeavor brought the expected forward and forefront. Now that the truth has come out, we are thankfully better informed. You have to take care of getting your own house in order first.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Sunday of Holy Cross

Today we celebrated the Sunday of the Holy Cross. I'm not sure what year it was, but the cross led me to Orthodoxy. It was many years ago when I was praying to find the "true faith" because I was unfulfilled. I had found discrepancies in the faith I was raised in and the bible that I taught class from. Hints came from the bible, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you. So I did. How does one find Orthodoxy in a world or area where there is no literature. I couldn't find any in our local library. Twenty-three years ago, this faith was unheard of in local papers. An Add was a rare event if ever, and since we were not related to anyone of ethnic background, we did not attend weddings, funerals or liturgy. I did have a friend in high school, who is Romanian and she and I attended several picnics together. That's the person who taught me how to dance to "Never On A Sunday."

Looking back, my prayers were answered in a very unusual manner. First it was the cross, a simple wooden budded cross which I fell in love with and purchased with my birthday money from St. Anne's Shrine. I didn't realize the significance of that cross then.

When the time was right, it was an Icon of Mary in a Polish Church in town, which led to an unexpected life change. So fast that prayer was answered in a way that required me to enter into a "cross" so to speak. I should have guessed that finding a different job from a want ad section that I never look at was the beginning of this transition, part of the bigger plan that God was weaving for me. It didn't happen over night, but one day I stepped into an Orthodox Church, and saw the Icon of the Dormition of Mary. Finding that, I found the path to the fullness of faith I had been looking for. Upon entering the church, I saw the cross over the two doors, the one that led me to embrace Orthodoxy.

Today, I thought about my roses in my garden. I could almost smell the aroma, just a memory from last summer and fall. How they give me pleasure just to see them and what a gift they are. Soon, when the forsythia bloom, I will be pruning them, not before. Everything in life has it's own cycle. The blooms rely on our patience. The nourishment we give will help to determine it's beauty and sustain it's life. We all have our own measure of faith as well. Work is also entailed here.

The cross at Liturgy today was surrounded by beautiful roses of different colors arranged on a tray, which we kissed as we left the church, remembering that Jesus wants us to share in the beauty and life that He has to offer us through His suffering, death and resurrection. He wants us to be happy and all we need to do is say "yes," and that means following the cross where ever it leads us.

Eternal happiness is the tomorrow vision, but for today, it is bitter-sweet. We have found the fullness of the faith, and even though the faith is perfect, we are sinners and we must struggle, picking up our own cross and following Him. We stumble and fall over and over again and come to the realization that on this side, we too must suffer.

Does suffering get me to earn my way into heaven? No. Jesus was the only one who could bridge the gap between heaven and earth by His cross.

I clearly understand now that it is because of those you love that you will suffered the most. That cross will make you look for the only true savior, Jesus.

So, be grateful for your cross. When you find it, you will know it through your suffering, tears and bended knee. Only then will you find your way. Because, you will never be able to bear it alone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Phone Call Was No Mistake

Did you ever get a phone call by mistake, a person trying to reach your number but saying the wrong name? I have.
Everyday I pray for my territory to be increased, and I always seem to have that happen in some mysterious fashion. Yesterday, was that kind of day where I was talking with a person who I never met and she I and spoke for quite a long while at long distance, east and west coast. She told me her husband had died and many things about her health and children, as if I were her closest friend.

You never know who God will place in your hands, to handle very gently because you can. The power we now have to reach people all over the world is at our fingertips. There are more people in need and that is not always a physical need like food or shelter. Sometimes its just good to hear a friendly voice. Someone who'll take time in this busy world to just listen. Because, "you are special and important". You just might learn something from them.

Today I'm sharing a Prayer with you for the Beginning of the Day. It's one I came across recently when Dr. Albert Rossi came to visit St. Michael's to give a lecture, yet I have known of it for twenty years. It is a prayer that helps you understand that God in his wisdom "allows" all that will happen to you, even when it is beyond your understanding. You are not alone.

O Lord, grant me to meet the coming day in peace.
Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will.
In every hour of the day reveal Your will to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surround me.
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout
the day with peace of soul, and with firm conviction
that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words
guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforseen events
let me not forget that all are sent by You.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely,
without embittering and embarrassing others.
Give me strength to bear the fatigue
of the coming day
with all that it shall bring. Direct my will,
teach me to pray, pray Yourself in me. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Love means to reach out and touch someone

Tonight I saw a movie called Good Will Hunting. It is a story about abuse. This story had a good ending because of a man named Sean Maguire, who was called a "failure" by his friend Jerry, which was the furthermost thing from the truth. We don't all receive metals or cups or are awarded for the things we do in life. Yet, for some its all about the glory and they are the losers. It is important to remember that "you are what you say you are." Time to change negative thoughts to positive ones and be healed.

A young man Will doing janitorial jobs is a genius. Yet, because he is emotionally scared he is afraid of love, and lives on the wild side often resulting in trouble with the law. The last time in court, he is thrown in jail as of no value until Jerry, who had previously witnessed his brilliance pleads with the judge to get him some psychiatric help and agrees to look after him. Will is not cooperative until he meets Sean. Will has an answer for everyone else but is not in touch with his own feelings. He seems incapable of having a connection with any living person, only those dead. Sean tells him "real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself." We learn that Sean had a wife who died and it was the little things that he remembered most about her, and in fact gave up seeing a baseball game to have a drink with her when they first started to see each other.

Will starts to open up to Sean over a period of time slowly, at the same time he meets Skylar, who even though he enjoys her company, (she makes him laugh), he does not share intimate details of his life with her. He is afraid to get close emotionally, and that having sex is not the same as love. Real love means sharing your most intimate secrets.

Skylar tells him she is going on to school after four years in Boston to California and wants him to go with her. She tells him that she loves him, but he cannot say it. He thinks of himself as a failure, they part. How can he love her when he cannot love himself? (Or, be proud of himself, with having to lie about being alone).

He has friends, one who confides that someday when he goes to his house in the morning he wished that he would not be there. Why? because he knows he has a special gift and that Will is wasting his talent. After all it is Will who comes to the rescue of others with his know-it-all attitude. Having all the answers for everyone but himself. In fact, he is bored with people who aren't perfect and knowledgeable like himself. He is above others.

Its all a cover to hide what he really feels. Skylar is rejected and painfully tells him that he is afraid that she won't love him back. When someone challenges you to look at yourself, they love you. Only you can decide to love.

He is given an old makeshift car by his friends who put it together piece by piece. Just as his life's pieces are about to come together in a very positive way.

Sean is looking over his report and Will questions what it says. "What does it say?" That I have an attachment disorder? Sean tells Will that his father was an alcoholic and they discuss Sean's abuse, and Will opens up about his. Being in other foster homes he also has a fear of abandonment, so he pushes people away before they leave him. Will remarks "Is that why I broke up with Skylar?"

This is probably the most dramatic scene of all when Sean says, "It's not your fault." Over and over again, until Will breaks down and cries. And they embrace.

Will's heart has been touched. His past has been left behind. He secures a job. He is ready to move on.

His friend goes to pick him up and he is gone. A smile breaks across his face. Will leaves a note in Sean's mailbox. Something relative to having to go see about a girl.

Jerry and Sean talk about going to their reunion, the one he never felt comfortable going to because he was afraid that Jerry would see him as a failure.

Feeling like a failure is one of the biggest mistakes in life, because you become what you say you are inside. In life we must all come to grips with whatever is in our hearts if we are ever to be happy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Change Negative to Positive

Many books have been written about a negative attitude vs. positive. This morning I was speaking to Loretta who called to thank us for our part in her mother's birthday celebration. We shared a bit, then she said something about her mother that we all take for granted. That is: "There is no negative language in their home." She said, "It is always a positive atmosphere." Now that is another secret to living 100 years, I'm sure.

Today on Father Peter Live, the featured guest was Anne Jolles of Hanover, MA. To learn more about Anne go here. Anne has written a book and to learn more about Rise & Shine Anytime you can go here.

There was so much good advice from a seemingly "all-together" person that it will be hard for me to relate all her great thoughts and ideas on this post. (Read the Book).

Since I am a bottom-line person that is what you'll get, directly to the point. Her profession is a life coach. She gets people to where they need to go. A plan for people who feel that there's got to be more in life. She helps them "design" a life that they desire.
Achieving their desire, which is determined by what they say, and what is important to them, and by utilizing tips, tools and strategies, she helps them to achieve goals. Her principles are geared to help make a quick impact. She tweeks and gets a spark going. Anne talks about the negative effect on the quality of your life and relationship, saying "light is dimming, there is a lot of stress being placed on employed people today, creating an atmosphere of fear where people have trouble focusing".
Fr. Peter remarked "we need to put a positive spin on things." She spoke about " a recession free hour -- what's in our power to control." "What can we choose and that's a power inside us." Then she said "Don't worry, your worries are going to come and find you." In other words, worrying does not make problems go away. It changes nothing.

Anne said, "When the mud hits the fan all you can do is duck." And, "When your overwhelmed you either sink or swim." It was agreed by both of them that you learn to swim or die.

Sometimes you have to "step into a state of grace," she said.
Using five words that save her, she briefly named them and what role they play in turning your course.
Gratitude - thankful for (what's going right in your life.)
Release - What to let go of (What's in my control, What's out of my control). Acknowledge and release.
Acknowledge & Acceptance - "See and hear" Acknowledge the situation, clearly. Fr. Peter added: "The first step to recovery is acknowledgement." Where you are, then choice. What are you going to do about it." "Acceptance breathes choices."
Create, Challenge, Change - Anne said, "Challenge yourself, get out of bed." This is about personal changes. Your inside yearnings and desires. Father Peter said "One step and day at a time." "Think in terms of steps completed." Anne envisions a huge ball made from elastic rubber bands. This is to be unraveled one rubber band at a time and eventually the ball will get smaller.
Embrace - She begins by asking us to envision a place on earth that makes us feel free and alive. "What is possible from here." Seeing yourself with open arms" (that is embracing) "Opens your Heart to something we desire."
"You are the only one who knows what you are feeling inside in your heart." She talks a little about being quiet. Saying, "Quietness brings out loneliness" and "What's up with you today?" Father Peter talks about "noise" and we are so busy with all the gadgets in order to busy ourselves not to listen to the voice inside. Anne said, "humans crave touch, it's illegal." New laws require father to wear a glove when anointing. Anne stated that she believes in "hands on healing." "Touch helps us to find our way out..ignites our healing energies." I laughed to myself as I often hear Fr. Peter exclaim, "Don't touch me."

Then Anne said something that I fully understand and try to do often. "Can you come out and Play?" She made it a mandatory Fun Challenge. Fr. talked about wearing his kilt on St. Patrick's Day, as he likes to create fun. Saying, "It takes a real man to wear a kilt." Anne said, "Fun and Joy connects you with your strength," demanding a real commitment from Father. So he welcomed the radio audience to commit to go tonight to 12 Crane St. at 8:00 PM to sing with the fire guys.

The program ended with the usual exchange of e-mail addresses and then, where the book can be purchased.

She said something that I wholeheartedly agree with. "We can change other people's focus,"as most mom's know, because we do it all the time. But, not for a living like Anne. Fr. said there will be a podcast soon. Don't miss it! It was a great show and that's why I will be looking forward to the next Father Peter Live, 970 AM.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wait 'til the Sunshines Nellie

Years ago when folks didn't have theatre, movies, cell-phones, ipods, computers, television, or radio, they had music.

That is probably when songs with clever names were written, like: Wait 'til the Sun Shines Nellie. Cause, somewhere in this brain of mine, I recall that song of old. Maybe my grandmother used to sing it to me.

The point is that with all the gadgets I mentioned above, the only thing I want right now is the Sunshine. And I can't wait until the day I can begin to sit outside with my coffee cup in the morning and drink it in. (Oh the wisdom of those words).

Of all the gifts in life it's the natural ones that are the best, and the one's that remain from generation to generation. Just in two days according to my calendar, it will be Spring. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to wear my shorts again with sandals. Plant flowers in the ground and wash my windows.

Picnics, boat rides and Howards all come to mind. Trips to the ocean and concerts. Just being outdoors.

Speaking of outdoors, I saw Chipee yesterday. Chipee lives under the front stairs of our home. Haven't seen him all winter. The Chipmunk plays in our gardens all summer. Little by little our outdoor friends are popping up.

Tonight at Pre-Sanctified Liturgy the priest said we should be humble and remember that we are dust, from the ground to the ground. Spring reminds us that life comes forth from the earth and it is glorious. Death could not hold the author of life captive, from death to life, Christ came forth, the first fruits from the dead. His name is Jesus.

Sometimes I wonder if the signs that are occurring now in nature were established to help us understand the process of becoming renewed. For surely that which appeared to be dead was sleeping all the time, and now comes forth anew.

Along with this physical renewal is a spiritual one, the awakening to the pureness of heart and to the love of one another, by forgiveness and repentance. Remove old baggage and lose the excesses, if you can and become a new creature, in Christ.

Every spring I have to go out and clear out the debris left behind by the harshness of winter in order for the new life to come forth. Spiritually we must do the same. That is why we have Lenten services and preparation for Pascha. A time to be renewed and ready.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Prayer for Health

The pub was filled with people celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The cars were parked beyond the parking lot, lined on the street.

We enjoyed Corned-beef and cabbage with a dispensation as it falls in the lenten cycle. Fr. Peter wore his kilt with white knee socks and trim. Carried all the essentials including something that looked like a purse which hung on his pleats. This had three black rabbit feet for good luck. I'm sure it was his lucky day, somehow. He has the best sense of humor. Next, he will be venturing into racing a lawnmower. Let's see, how do we describe him, "interesting!"

One of my favorite memories of a character who loved to celebrate St. Patrick's Day was my eighth grade teacher, Miss Goff. On St. Patrick's Day she wore green everthing. She even had her hair dyed green for the day.

I do not know how far people will go to be wearing the green, but I do know that people will be drinking green beer in Boston.

Last week, I saw people pouring green into a lake, I think in Ohio, as it was reported on the news. Now that to me is a little extreme.

If your Irish, and even if your not, Happy St. Patrick's Day.
So raise your glass as I send this Irish Prayer for Health your way.

May the good Lord smile upon you
with graciousness
And may He send
His angel
to bring good health
your way.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Irish Blessing

Recently, I shared with you a secret. CLA. and Carotoids and Vitamin D.

Before I go any further, I'd like to tell you a story. This information gathered took me more than a year of research and it was on back of a friend of mine who had breast cancer. She and I worked hard and as a result of our findings decided to write a book. One that would help many out there to not develop disease if it could be prevented, nutritionally. Some day that book may be published. Not today for various reasons. But, I want to share with you stories that may help you to understand.

We can only ingest and purchase that which is available to us. The 100-year-old woman and many like her in places like Nova Scotia were weened on "natural products," if not breast milk, milk from green pastures and grass fed cows, grazing in clean air. Some of you are familiar with the term "free range." Those were the days which produced healthy people, cancer was not rampid. Many recall drinking raw milk and having cream from their own dairy farm. What did they have in common? Cultured products.

My friend is now in remission, and her biggest fear is to not be.
She introduced me to some new products. Kerrygold is one of them. As tomorrow is St. Patrick's day, I'd like to tell you about it. Their butter and cheese, has a dark rich golden color. It is free of growth hormones. Ireland is blessed with lush green grass, most of the year, producing pure creamy fresh milk which goes into Kerrygold premium products. "Unsalted" Kerrygold butter is a cultured cream, which replicates the soured milk used by your healthy grandmother.

Several year's ago my aunt Dorothy passed on, and as we gathered at her son's home, Elaine introduced her mother to me. I don't remember how we got on the subject of breast cancer, but I do remember that her mother, who decided not to go on chemotherapy was completely healed from the disease. She said she attributes her cure by drinking raw milk daily. It was hard to come by then, and it is impossible to get now. (Most people would not have believed her story). I was convinced of her healing because my friend and I had stumbled onto something of interest. That is: Vitamin D. Halts Growth of Breast Cancer tumors, a gene-regulating Super Nutrient, CLA (Conjugated linoleic Acid), a lipid metabolism and therapy and (beta-carotene) which may have a positive impact on the immune system as well as anticarcinogenic effects. Go here.

Woman who were weened on cultured products had less incidence of cancer, which is now on the increase. I recall in the sixty's a brave woman allowed operations to be made on her at a local hospital while taking in huge amounts of carrots. There was no hope for Irene, yet she wanted to help find a cure for others.

My aunt Bella, a very beautiful Italian woman and mother, developed breast cancer in the 1940's. I often wonder, as many other's do, if the processing of milk, which transformed the product in a way of destroying good bacteria along with the bad, initiated the on slot of many good woman today by removing protective and healthy substances found in "natural milk products."Hormones are given to increase cow's milk production. I'm sure you will recall just a short time ago, hormone replacement therapy was proven to cause cancer in women who are post menopausal. Have you ever wondered if this is a safe practice and what the efffects are as the hormones remain in the milk?

I have many sayings. One is, "you have to be your own doctor."
Look out for yourself. "Open your eyes."
The older I get, I am more convinced of this.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, give yourself a present. Here's where you can buy Kerrygold cheese and butter. A bit pricey but worth every penny. And please, enjoy it uncooked.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Making Spring

We have neighbors who are not satisfied that spring is on its way, they have to make it spring. How? They stuck fake flowers in the ground, colorful eggs, bunnies, butterflies and pastel flags, everywhere.

A couple others had people over to rake their lawns, which were not quite dry enough. Yes, it could encourage the grass to find its way to the surface.

Then there are the sweepers, which noone can blame. We have so much dirt everywhere. Usually we are one of the last roads to be swept. June or July.

The basketball hoop at the end of the road is now approachable, so you know what that means.

As usual, my land is still snow and ice covered. We are the only lot every year that has snow on it. Then, it has to dry out. We are all too anxious for the good weather to come.

Once it is here, I will be taking my coffee outside just to be able to get some sun. The gardens are a mess here. We have had a horrible winter, limbs down and small branches as well, will need to be cut up and burned. The good news is that my rose bushes survived. The stems are green. Sooooo Happy!

I feel like Carol who talked about washing windows today at church. Airing my soul, cause it's time. Time to change to spring clothes, and start what we call "spring cleaning," traditionally.

Slogans always said "think spring" maybe there's something to that. It usually means that I'll be getting up earlier in the morning and going to bed earlier as well. Besides baseball, it is a time for transitioning. And, we're ready!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Natures Best

What does feta cheese, yogurt, eggs, and dairy have in common? They are called natures bests gifts. These are foods that Alexandra lived on her whole life. Beside amino acids they all have one other thing in common that stands out. I won't reveal it right away. Maybe as you begin to read this, you will guess it.
I have always noticed that my health suffers this time of the year as I become pale. The winter's play a huge part in your health. People go south to avoid the stress of it's grip. In this area, we used to have Guernsey cows. These cows would graze on a hill close by, in Charlton. The milk they produced was second to none. The superior quality, in which our ice-cream came from, was due to the dark green grass in which they grazed. As previously mentioned, we live in the last green valley, a very healthy environment. The cows are now gone, having been replaced with tree farms and orchards. The cows as I recall won a medal for having been determined the best in all the states. Once I went to Hawaii and saw a cow. It was so skinny I laughed. Not all cows are the same. Vitamin D is present in dairy until it is heated. You will notice that it is added back by looking at the front of the milk container.

Vital to your health is vitamin D. In the spring just as soon as you can sit out soak it up, (between 10-3pm 20 minutes to a half-hour daily) to become healthy. Do not use sunscreen. Let it absorb in your skin.
Vitamin D is a gene -regulating super nutrient.
It halts Growth of Breast Cancer Tumors
Vitamin D can be found in dairy (4 glasses of milk a day)
It can also be found in cereal, salmon, tuna, and eggs.
If it is a supplement (400 IU'S daily). Natural Vit.D from the sun is best.

Who is your best friend? The edible, incredible egg. Why? The egg will give you Vitamin A, B, D, E, K as well as iron, zinc, lecithin and choline. That equated to: Healthy brain function, metabolism and disease prevention. It has nine amino acids making it one of the best proteins known to man, except for honey. Even people who are told to cut cholesterol can have up to three eggs a week. Mistakenly, they have gotten a bad rap.

They say always save the best for last. Here it is the secret ingredient beyond all the wonderful things mentioned above. CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Lipid Metabolism and Therapy. Don't miss this go here. (Found in dairy products of grassfed animals.)

You are what you eat. Genetics play a very small part. Where you are determines how healthy you will be.

Experts say "Eat Wild." I think that means--ala natural doesn't it? So, don't deplete your nutrients, by processing, (cooking), your vitamins and minerals away. The only exception, is the caratoid family and tomato.

Organic Feta Cheese

We have been buying feta cheese for many years, looking only at the fat content. Yes, we do check for the amount of salt, which is high. Comprise is the name of the game when you need both low sodium and low fat at the same time. The key thing is the remember to rinse it before using.

I have been talking about cultured products for over ten years and believe that is the road to wellness and long life. That is, we need to replace cultures that due to processing (cooking, heating to a degree), have destroyed the "essentials" necessary for good health. Clinical studies have proven results but Alexandra and a host of people who have lived past 100 in the Nova Scotia area are living testiments to my theory.

Member's of our church have been making their own yogurt for years. I'll bet because they also were sheep herders they also make their own feta cheese. The computer offers instruction if your interested. This is a very complex and long process. (Since processed tablesalt kills bacteria, good and bad, I am leary to use it on cultured products). Yet, these products would go bad without utilizing table salt or brine. I am wondering if perhaps, if natural sea salt or Koshua is the choice? If so, like the natural salt found in butter, would the cultures would be maintained? Clearly, in Albania, Romania and Macadonia, natural sea salt would have been used. The source below uses pure mined salt with no iodine or flowing agents added like aluminum.

If your like me, you'll look for good sources. I've found one in Sturbridge, MA called (Shaws). Organic Feta Cheese.

This is some information that I though you may be interested in. "Cultures are beneficial micro-organisms that are added to foods to improve taste, modify composition, increase shelf-life or impart health benefits. Live cultures have been used for centuries in many everyday foods. Yeast is added to bread to cause bread to rise and to beer to produce carbonation. Many familiar dairy products are cultured. Yogurt, kefir, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese and some types of butter are cultured. In fact, you cannot make these dairy products without the actions of these live cultures. What's the big deal about "live cultures?" Well, they improve the microbial balance of your digestive tract. Improved microbial balance leads to improvements in lactose intolerance symptoms and improved gastrointestinal health overall. Some research claims other health benefits including: enhancement of the immune system, detoxification of harmful by-products, reduction in the retention of carcinogenic end products, suppression of food-borne pathogens, and reduction in serum cholesterol levels. Acidophilus and Bifidus are live cultures or "probiotics." For more information, go to this source.

Silent Poisons

Are you always sick? Then you need to pay attention to this post. In the past few days I have directed your attention to a lady who is 100 years young. I said that she claims to have eaten feta cheese daily. We know her doctor was concerned about her salt content. Light bulbs went off in my head. Why? Our body cannot manufacture its own salt. This mineral is needed for good health, digestion, and survival. I know this woman is healthy, and is possibly pill free. She eats salted cultured food, walks daily I'm told, and is amazing.

I ask you is all salt salt? No. If your salt is difficult to be removed from the shaker, and it is a natural organic sea salt, it may be what we call an essential and macrobiotic food. Otherwise, it may be according to doctors a "silent poison." It is one of the reasons I try not to buy processed foods as they are full of the poison, unless it says natural sea-salt. Speaking about buying out foods instead of home cooked, I know that Alexandra came from a culture of people who makes their food choices (for the most part) the hard way, from their own kitchen. Most of the recipe's are made from salt-free butter. Is there such a thing? Real butter has "natural" occuring salts in the milk. If your using butter, stick with the salt-free variety, as these salts are tasteless and minimal.

Okay, we have some critics out there. Lets begin by going here for a second opinion. And don't miss this report, go here.

Processed salt is transformed for long-term storage and it is dangerous. Natural sea salt is gray. It is an essential nutrient needed for health and survival. This mineral, in its "natural" form is known to lower blood pressure and decrease water retention. It enables the adrenals to work more efficiently. Salt in its "natural" form is known to boost the immune system. It is a great detoxing agent and this is why for years as I suggested in one of my past posts, soaking foot baths have been utilized in the healing process for generations. Here is another source for ionic foot baths.

Could this have been one of the secret ingredients utilized by Alexandra that contributed to her youthfulness?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life-giving Water

Yesterday I wrote a post about healing waters. Today I will focus on Life-giving water.

Jesus entered the waters of Jordan, He sanctifies forever the waters of baptism (and indeed, all of creation), by mystery restoring it to its original condition through union with Him. (taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, Pg. 145.)

Everyone has heard of holy water. Years ago, I recall my mom and grandmother sprinkling it around the window during a thunderstorm. People would have little containers placed at their doorway in order that they could bless themselves with the holy water as they entered a room. Certainly if you were Roman Catholic, you would find fountains placed at the door and you would make the sign of the cross utilizing the holy water as you entered the church. Holy water was poured over the head of one being baptized. And is sprinkled around the church, as it is used in blessing people.

The mystery of Jesus' entering the Jordan and sanctifying the waters didn't end there. Water flows eventually into the ocean. Water is evaporated and clouds move all over the earth, and waters the ground. The whole earth drinks of this water, which sanctifies all created things.

We believe in the healing power from the water at Baptism, by which the Holy Spirit brings us to new life. We believe that the blessed water given to us on the feast of Theophany, can heal us when we are ill, and we drink it throughout the year.

Our bodies largely consist of water. We are told to hydrate ourselves in order to be healthy. Water is used in the treatment of many illnesses. Water is a refreshment to us both spiritually and physically, through its life-giving properties.

I leave you with this thought about life-giving water.
(Revelation 22:17) "And the Spirit and the bridge say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."

The mystery is resolved. No water, no life. Come to who? Come where? I think you can figure that one out for yourself.

Cabbage Soup-Lenten

We served a luncheon at St. Michael's Church on Saturday and of course, prepared a Lenten soup. Soup is a great staple during abstaining periods especially, when eaten with a homemade bread.

I guess you could say that I am a dipper. We used joke about that at the table when eating homemade doughnuts. Grandpa Leon was dipper, and so is our grandson, Nathan. It is cute to see him dip his meatballs in ketchup. He loves ketchup and dips just about anything in it. I love to dip my bread in stew or soup.

Therefore, this is also called ketchup soup. Nathan enjoys drinking the broth from his big bowl, or coffee cup.

3 T Canola oil
1 large Yellow Onion
2 bags coleslaw mix shredded w/carrots (16 0z. ea.)
3 cans of unsalted tomatoes (8 oz)
1 large can of tomato sauce (16 oz)
1/2 tsp of pepper
4 T ketchup
4 T unbleached flour
1 T sugar (optional)
2T Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Water (about 1 1/2 quarts)

In a large pan, place 3T of Canola oil, add chopped onions, and over medium heat, stir until transparent. Add cabbage mix and stir until cabbage is softened. Add dry ingredients, diced tomatoes and sauce, hot water and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer (slightly covered) until the cabbage is tender. Add tomato ketchup and 2T of Worcestershire Sauce. After cooking, salt to taste (optional). (1T. lemon juice is optional). One-pound of Kidney beans (rinsed & drained), may be added.
We do not use a dollop sour cream during Lent.
Serve with a wholesome bread.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Famous Healing Water

Now she's got me curious. Alexandra, of course. I first started to go to St. Michael's Orthodox Church around five years ago, when I first met Alexandra. It was at coffee when I started to ask her about eating habits, seeing how youthful she was in appearance and state of mind. I had been researching about foods and especially cultured products.

Sunday, with my family present, she mentioned that while in the old country, she had consumed water from a spring which was known for its healing properties. I immediately remembered her saying that when we first talked five years back.
She said they eventually placed a faucet at the cite.

I have recently done some work on trying to find where this spring is. I found possibly a relative of hers in the late 1800's had come from Avlona. Apparently there are two Avlona's. One in Albania and another Avlona, Macedonia. I don't know if she is from Albania, Romania, or Macedonia. I understand that many of the people originated from those areas. She did say there were many wars and she moved. (As a result of the war, territories were changed). People from the other church, St. Nicholas, just down the street, also used to talk about healing water.

The information I was able to obtain was interesting in that this famous healing water was found to extend throughout the area as it cascaded down Glina, Mountain, (Avlona, Macedonia), and Debar Lake. Known there for water resorts with healing water.

What has been found on the coast of Avlona and is extensive, is deposits of mineral pitch, salines, salt mines, and salt springs.

Sheep and goats form almost the only wealth of the mountains of Northern Albania, salines and other places at Avlona on the coast. (The people in our church were known to have come from a place of sheep-herders.)

It didn't bother Alexandra if her feta cheese was salty, she ate it daily. We know that saline is used in the medical practice as a cleansing agent. We gargle salt to rid of infection, and clean our wounds with it. Alexandra's doctor was concerned about the amount of salt in her feta cheese, why?

Recently, I learned that it is not salt that is the problem, but the by-product. That is what has been done to it commercially. That is the product we should avoid at all cost. I now use sea-salt. Other's Kosher only. Salt helps in digestion, and that is just the beginning of it. People have been going to spa's for centuries to be healed. Some of the best are in caves, where minerals containing, calcium, magnesium, and other known healing minerals have brought about positive result for the ill.

One of the older ladies in the church recently confided to me that when she is feeling ill, she soaks her feet in salt water. It has been a tradition from generation to generation.

We would just go to the beach. It was our cure-all.

Applesauce Cake, eggless, fat-free

Here is a recipe for all you people who are suffering from acid reflux, or are watching your cholesterol. This is an easy cake made during lent.

1 1/4 C. Sugar (or less)
2 1/2 C. Applesauce (natural- no sugar added)
4 C Flour (unbleached)
2 1/2 Baking Soda
2 1/2 Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Cloves (optional)
2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together, sifting in Baking soda. Add vanilla and applesauce. Blend together.
Turn into a greased bunt or cake pan, using Pam spray or canola oil.

Bake in an oven 350 degrees for 55 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.

May dust with confectionery sugar if desired.

Monday, March 9, 2009

100 Years Young

I can't even imagine what 100 years old feels like. Talking with Alexandra yesterday, who didn't look at all like 100, didn't act like it either.

It was her birthday party at St. Michael's Church, Southbridge. I have often heard of people turning 100, well often is incorrect, I have not heard of many turning 100. Yet when I did and saw their pictures, most were of suffering people. Alexandra may be in better health than most of us. No one at my table could believe that she was 100. She came from a stock of healthy people with healthy genes. Now that can only be credited to the Good Lord.

This is how the day went down. The room was at full capacity. Of course she had many family relatives, whom she shared a home-made simple cake with. Most all of the food was made by her daughter Loretta, and their family. You would think that a person that age would need to be wheeled around, or that people would go to her table to wish her a very happy birthday. No that wasn't the case, she went to every one's table to kiss them and say hello. Don't kid yourself, she knew every one's name. People that know her call her feisty, she knows what she wants, but I think she is a sweetheart. This little lady came to our table to ask if we had enough to eat, and if we had the pita she made. The first time I made one of those pita's I had the worse backache and I was exhausted from it's long process. She still is one of the best cooks at the church.

If that wasn't enough the cute petite, dolled up in her heels mind you, wanted to show us her picture on the wall in the hall. We commented that she was bigger there. Sharing her story, she told us that she had gallbladder problems then, and her doctor learning that she ate five pieces of bread in the morning, advised her to cut back, saying he ate that much all day. Keeping the advise of her doctor, she cut down to two slices of bread per day. The next time she weighed in, she was two pounds heavier. She laughed at this, we did too.

She came to this country not knowing English, yet worked after her husband died for 26 years. For all of you who brag about your education, this woman is self taught. She claims to have never gone to school. When we inquired as to how she became so smart, she said she would go downtown and ask the sales clerk. The clerk would say it is a spoon, then she'd go home and tell her husband, holding it in her hand. "This is a spoon." Determination taught this baseball lover. It was also said that she never missed an election, taking an interest in life's issues, religion, family and politics.

Her secret ingredient for good health is feta cheese and goat milk, she said, having it daily. The doctor was concerned about the amount of salt in the cheese, but she was feisty and ate it anyway.

She has always had a great love for the church. I recall her saying last year that the view of the land made her happy when she came out from Liturgy. She sees beauty because she is beautiful.

Giving me a big hug and kiss, she tells me that she likes me and thinks highly of me, making me feel good, but, I'm sure she tells everyone that. She has a talent for making others feel good.

The most remarkable story she related yesterday, was when the emergency personal arrived on scene for her daughter who had just had a heart attack. They wanted to know who the little lady was who just saved her life by mouth-to-resuscitation. She laughed saying, when we asked her how she learned that? "I learned it watching TV."

I could listen to her telling stories all day, and I'm sure that she can recall alot from many years of life's experiences.

May God grant you many more years, Alexandra, we have a lot to learn from you.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday of Orthodoxy

It was a wonderful celebration. The Sunday of Orthodoxy with a packed church was held at St. Michael's Church, in Southbridge. Archbishop and Fr. Peter were celebrants. The close to two hour service went quickly and was followed by the elevation of Fr. Peter to the rank of Protopresbyter. A layman award of highest honor to Paul Porra, for many years of service to the church and the recognition of a very special birthday. (Go here for the photo).

An Icon of St. Michael was presented to Alexandra on her 100th birthday. A reception was held in her honor at the hall during coffee hour. She still maintains that it was the toast and feta cheese she had every morning for breakfast that attributed to her long life. A very spry lady, who does everything and is a very young 100 year-old. She is nothing short of remarkable.

Tonight we had a special dinner with the Archbishop at our favorite restaurant at 12 Crane St. He patiently answered our questions about a possible merger with the sister church just up the road from us.

Tomorrow we will entertain our deanery and clergy including the archbishop in the parish hall. This social will begin with a evening meal, and will be the start of several days of dialogue.

It has been a fruitful and fun day and weekend for that matter. I hope to fill you in tomorrow evening with the goings on of a very exciting week to come.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden is a song that I used to sing in the sixties when I played the record album by The Fours Seasons. Now it still play it but on a CD.

It brings to mind when I was in high school in my senior class, our English teacher Mr. McGrail got into a debate about where thought comes from. I don't even remember why I asked that question and it is almost a half century ago. My point was that I felt thought was influenced. I wondered where the information came from of people who talked about twenty leagues under the sea, or a man on the moon, or how Nostradamus could predict or write about events that had not happened. I was working with a lady at a laundry mat named Mary, who had told me that she had seen the date of Pearl Harbor on a cellar wall written in red ink long before the war. I was also curious about people who could tell fortunes which was popular at that time. My answer was confirmed today.
Today, Saturday, March 7, 2009, we had a parish retreat with Dr. Albert Rossi, Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary which was held at St. Michael's Church. He did not encourage thinking. Instead he recommended silence. He related bible passages that tells us that God wants us to listen in silence. "Be Silent and Know I am God." How do we know what God wants unless we listen to Him, a long time problem according to Dr. Albert, evident throughout the Old Testament. Then he said that most thoughts are negative. That being the case, they do not come from God. If not from God, then you know from who. We have our guardian angel surrounding us and then the unseen, who are not obedient to God.

The answer is simple. Our thoughts are influenced. The truth is that we are here to worship our God and serve Him. He will tell us how if we listen.

I am not good at listening. I need to work at it. Discerning God's will for me. He has done all the work by His precious cross for me already. I just need to be totally His because He has purchased me by His blood and Resurrection. And, it is finished. I can never be nor have ever been anything without His love and mercy. So, thankfully I am reminded of that this lent, as in the past.

Once again, I'll begin there. At the foot of His cross. Because I am His. And He is my beloved.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ides of March

Things are slowly pointing in the direction of spring. Today's temperature brought about a considerable amount of melting. I didn't spend any time outdoors because of the amount of chores that I had to do.

Tomorrow at church, we will have a opportunity to welcome Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology, Dr. Albert Rossi, of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, with a day-long retreat. It begins with the sharing of simple salad, soup and bread. During the course there will be confession at the church and people will become familiar with the church of St. Michael here in Southbridge. We have a museum which will be of interest to some, while the church will be open for visiting and prayerful reflection. Snacks will be provided during the day as well as beverages. The day of quiet reflection and lecture will end with a Vesper Service beginning at 5PM. Shortly thereafter, our Archbishop will arrive, coming from Hartford (BDL), to serve our parish on Sunday with a Liturgy at 10.
We will bring Icons to participate in our walk. Loretta tells us that her mom will celebrate her 100th. birthday at coffee following Liturgy.

The evening will bring about a dinner at 12 Crane to celebrate with the Archbishop, where a fish meal is being prepared in his honor.

Monday and Tuesday will be equally demanding as our clergy will meet. The dean will enjoy their rooms in the luxurious and farely new Conference Center, which is just down the street from St. Michael's.

It is a hugh undertaking and I know we will be both blessed and glad when it is all over and we can get back to whatever normal is.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Personal beliefs and elected politicians

The radio program, Fr. Peter Live, was interesting today. It set me to thinking, and although I did not call in to voice my opinion, I certainly have one. It strikes me as odd sometimes for radio and television personalities to come up with statistics on a subject based on information gathered how? With what measure for example, did 60% of people favor the pro-choice movement? How was it gathered? How many people? What were their ages? What part of the country did they come from? I could go on and on. You can make reports read any way you want them to.

Politicians are to represent their people, those who voted them in. It may not be what they believe. I personally would find that difficult and maybe some of them do also. However, if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. The question remains, do they really know what the vast majority of the people want, or are they guessing based on the opinions and opinion polls of a few. Perhaps, they are mislead by the media, who in recent times has produced a mania movement swaying a massive amount of people not by reason, but by emotion.

What about the media? I say this. They cover selectively. They report selectively. They are bias and downright tricky. They know how to swing the public and media is therefore untrustworthy. People support the station that largely exemplifies their view. I watch Fox News. Some of the other liberal opinions infuriate me. That make me bias as well.

Our politicians are swayed by the minority, who for the most part have financial influence. Where were the people of MA invited to vote for same sex marriage? No voice no choice. We elected them and we have to live with their decisions. How do they get elected? They promise us the moon and we believe it. They do not usually carry through on their promises though. It does not matter what we think or how we feel or if we write until the cows come home, so to speak. There is no recourse for the action of a few, by the majority in this state.

The day we marched in Washington for the rights of the unborn for an example, where were all the television cameras? The amount of people present were not accurately portrayed by the media. The lack of interest shown by the media served as a support for pro-choice, for some reason or another. That same time period saw our tax dollars being allocated for abortions abroad. We are in a recession, yet why all the pork spending?

I'll tell you why, people do not give a darn about the pork spending and the pain and suffering which will be inherited to future generations, as long as they are getting the pork that they want. The me, myself and I generation, including the politicians.

As far as the church is concerned, the politician is clearly on the side of themselves. Because, it is all about me and my popularity. God did not vote them into office, and frankly, by their actions, they seemingly do not care what the church says.

Now that they are in office, frankly, they probably do not care what you say either. When we have the same politicians representating us year after year, we should be wondering why? Maybe we didn't change enough.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Now it begins

Tonight began what is known as Pre-sanctified Liturgy. It takes place on Wednesday during lent. It has been our custom to partake of this Liturgy with the neighboring church, St. Nicholas. It is customary after receiving Communion, to share a light meal with our Orthodox community. They will come to our church next week, and we will host. The number of people in attendance was mostly from St. Michael's due to illness which has struck this area. A stomach bug.

This service is called to be long and drawn out to make us, in a busy world, stay still long enough to try to see the error of our ways. Changing our path, our direction, from what we are to what we can be, called to be just a little different by Pascha. A gentle overhaul if you will. Only through adversity sometimes can you find the reality of what really matters in life. So it will tough and in the end "joy filled."

If you haven't changed, then you need to do it all over again. Just kidding! There is a prayer that reminds us all that we are slothful, and judgemental of our brother. Because when we have our eye on him, we don't have to look at our own shortcomings. Giving just a little effort is all it entails. It begins, from the Prayer of Saint Ephraim of Syria, "O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk"
....because we can't do it alone. We need to be changed by our Maker and Fashioner. And...We must ask and desire to be changed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Unexpected Events

Tonight I'm grateful for huge favors. Our little grandson came over feeling punk. Dinner was ready to go and the dining room was being set-up when you guessed it. Nate got sick. His dad knew how to take care of everything, impressively. I used baking soda on my old chair, which will be scrubbed in the AM. We ended up serving in the kitchen tonight. Nothing short of bad luck was the fact that for first time in twenty-two years, we ran out of oil. The furnace was not working. Needless to say, having a tank less water system, the water was not cold but not hot enough to bathe Nathan when he needed it most. Bill cleaned him up as best as he could and it was take out from grandma's house.

When you have a little one around, you've always got to be prepared. Unfortunately he is not well at home and was not able to make it home without being sick again. His mom is home now from work. Nathan is lucky to have two parents who are on top of it.

We were lucky to have the fire inspector here when all this happened, all at the same time. He was able to get someone to come out and get us up and running. Tomorrow we will need to get someone out here to fill the tank. We are automatically serviced and have never had to worry about running out. Can you imagine the cost of an emergency fill with a technician to get the air out of the pipes? Steve has always helped his mom through the years with jump starts, dead batteries, and many other emergencies. I'm glad my sons are close by. Tonight I will be warm thanks to him, and the young man that came to our rescue.

Lt. Steve will be on the radio tomorrow with Fr. Peter. I expect it will be a good show and I'm looking forward to listening to it.
I'm sure he is tired and so am I.

John has always said we will never run out of oil. Something his mother always worried about. Now, I will glance over to see if the level is low, and maybe this can be avoided in the future. We live in a computerized era where you are only one button away from automatic delivery failure.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Healthy Hearts

Walt your comment made me laugh for the first time today. You simply can't win. Beans would be consumed more if not for the "problem." This reminds me of a joke my mother used to tell about beans. She was, unlike me, able to tell a joke and funny or not, you'd be on the floor laughing. Those were the good old days when everyone here in this town had little, but everyone had a joke. We laughed a lot then.

Wish I could find something that would take care of that problem. I imagine that if you could genetically alter something beans would be it. Better yet, if there were a way to harness the gas, we would solve the energy crisis. We'd have to get everyone involved though.

The topic of the day was global warming. People aren't convinced. It is reported that world wide we are a couple of degrees colder, if anything, this winter. Make up my mind! How is it that the scientific community cannot agree on this one. Especially now that money has been earmarked in this endeavor. Yet, it is not a fact. Some say it is man made.

I heard programs on television that suggested if you have investments in the stock market, take it out now. WOW! I used to hear leaving it in, in time, will re coop the losses. Unless your very young, they don't see that happening.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready to start my vegetables. If its true that we will be getting more heat from the sun, we may have something here. It may come out to every man for himself. Beans are something you can buy ahead so maybe that is a plan.

I, like most people on the east coast, have had it with winter. So I'm kicking the old man out.

Today, I climbed the walls. Then, I remembered "Darcy's Passions." A great book. It was a time when they had little but conjured up a lot of stuff. He doesn't want Elizabeth, yet he can't get her out of his mind. The problem is that she comes from a family of "poor connections." It's always about the money. Yet, even though he is in pursuit of new social connections, he finds himself pining for her. Once again in a revelry of depression, he finds solace in being alone with his thoughts and brandy. He needs relief from memories which haunt his idle hours.

That's the way it usually happens with love, it's all wrong, least expected, not convenient and it will change your life forever.

Now for those beans. I remember two things that will help. Soak your beans overnight and when cooking from scratch, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. The problem is that we don't buy dry beans anymore, at least I don't.

Maybe this would be a good time to brush up on those bean jokes after all? I remember when ham and bean suppers were all the craze, every Saturday night at church halls.

Don't forget "24" tonight on channel 6, starting at 8:00--a two-hour special. Yes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yesterday's Hoot-Hoot, todays Toot Toot

Yesterday was hoot-hoot. But today, it's toot-toot. For those of you who don't think I have a sense of humor, guess again.

Okay, what I mean is that it was announced that we begin the next phase of our fast. That is in addition to giving up meat, we now will give up all dairy, including eggs. Sooooo, what will we eat? (nothing that bleeds, or comes from animals). Beans. Beans, beans and more beans. Vegetable bean this and vegetable bean that. I don't care if its soup, or soy. Soy is bean curd. There is the three-bean salad that I love. Beans are a good source of fiber. Mixed or mashed they provide the protein that is essential while abstaining from other sources of protein, (meat, fish and dairy). Legumes are the proper name for what is the ideal food, unless you are like people who have gastric disorders. Before ingesting legumes in this case, it is advised that you take Beno. The exception is if you have allergies to mold, which my husband has. Beans can be harmful if you have certain gastric disorders because they are both acidic and protein at the same time. Therefore, are difficult for the body to digest, taking up to a full eight hours. People with conditions must avoid legumes and stick with foods that are either protein or acidic in nature which digest in four hours. Otherwise, because we eat normally three times a day, if the legume is not digested properly, they will suffer from bloating, flatulence and reflux. That is hard to take when some symptoms mimic a heart attack and the anxiety which accompanies this, because of the release of the hormone adrenalin. Once you are inflamed, it takes the body awhile to get back to what is considered your normal state. If your agitating your stomach with food that cause its reoccurring, you will be constantly ill. At this point you will also need to avoid caffeine in any source, soda, as well as peppers, and citric fruits. Hot spices, including pepper, and keep the diet bland. Decaffeinated tea with honey will help relax and soothe the irritated system. Oatmeal is recommended as well, without milk. Avoid fats initially and rely on applesauce. And, especially bananas. Introduce foods back slowly, do not overeat, recline and sleep in a sitting position. Walk after a meal, and relax. Meditate to soft music, no alcohol or mint. Chew gum. You'll know when you've done something wrong. Avoid it next time. Start from the beginning. Eventually you may be on a regular diet, abstaining from certain learned food items that you are sensitive to. You can live with it once you understand how to deal with the problem. Eat rice, its easy on the stomach. Also, blueberry, strawberries, uncooked vegetables, and apples. Chicken, baked. Avoid fried foods. No tomato yet, no vinegar or rich salad dressings. And especially no smoking.

This leaves my husband without protein. Except for veggies, rice, certain breads, fruit and pasta. (Pasta, although it is digestible and it will sustain you, it is not a good dietary source of food for him. Weight gain is not advisable. Further, Pasta is a carbohydrate that digests into sugar. Pasta is something I can't have so we don't eat the same foods. At one time we would find ourselves eating peanut butter everything, but now my grandson is highly allergic to the substance. He cannot even be close to someone who has ingested it hours earlier without breaking out in hives. We do not have it in our house, thank you very much.

Of course fasting and abstaining during the prescribed periods is to be taken seriously. So is your health. Our priest does not know what aging does to the body, yet. (Yet) is one of my grandsons favorite words. He does allow people with certain situations to receive a dispensation, as I have. Even so, I will try to obey the rules established by the church, insofar as not to harm anyone, including myself.

Observing the abstaining rules is difficult in my house because there are only two of us and one income, each with our own particular diets due to different health issues. If I make a soup, (one we can both eat, we will eat it most of the week). There is always fruit and salad. John will lose a huge amount of weight, yet I do not. We are all different and diet changes are not good for everyone, especially for children and the aged. Other things that are given up at this time are, wine, oil and sex.

Today was forgiveness Sunday. So along with dietary concerns, we forgive each other for multiple offenses. It is a good thing that we admit our shortcomings and humble ourselves in this regard. So forgive me, if I've unintentionally said anything to offend anyone in anyway.

The weeks ahead will be interesting as we give a hoot to how much we toot! Going to eat my beans now, alone.