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, August 31, 2010

Work It....

Thank you, Lord for not making me a Southerner. Simply could not endure it...This morning after making two banana breads, and cleaning up, it was off to tend the gardens at the church. This is great exercise, let no one kid you. It brought to mind all of those out there who daily tend crops. Farming is a tough occupation, as some have found out the hard way. It is incomprehensible to think that they must depend almost entirely on their own produce. And, its mind boggling to think that we must depend on them.

It is wondered how they prepare for natural disasters, like the impending hurricane coming up the coast. Are they quite possibly picking all they can before impact? What did they do years ago when there was no warning? How did they survive? Gardner's are special people.

We have so much to be thankful for and as I read this mornings face book page, Fr. Peter's suggestion for change was to go back to church. We need to look back as our present is totally misguided and immoral, for the most part. This does not imply a failure on God's part, He has upheld His end of it, while we didn't ours. Praise comes easy when you realize that our maker, fashioner and savior wants only good things for His children. As a loving father He provides....

The load has become heavy, but not when it is shared. Remember the story of the footprints? At times, it seems we are overburdened. Going to church, we are united in a cause, supporting one another, we are never alone. We are here for each other. God tells us that He will not leave us nor forsake us.

A story that comes to mind, from a recent book, says it all. In a land where the impossible was asked from ordinary gardener, from rulers who were revered almost to the point of idolatry, an undulating landscape of rolling greens, palms and lawns of precision would be had almost overnight. The problem was that they got no rain for twelve months, the grass needed to be transported in from elsewhere in that kingdom. It was not green, but brown. The humidity level was only four percent, but it would be green for the oncoming event in the A.M. Failure means death in some places, places where sprinklers fail to do their job. What would you do? The credit was given to the ingenuity of the landscaper and his men who used an atomizer to spray the dead paint, emerald green. Would their effort be appreciated and noticed? It would be if it wasn't according to what was prescribed.

Today, we live in a superficial world, where people do not even know who they are, only what they need. All they need is an excuses for not doing the right thing. Climate was hardly an excuse in the case of the gardener, and in most cases, the reason for not resolving problems, is that we fail to look deeply enough at ourselves and others. We are occupied.

We let things get in our way of becoming the loving people of our design. Compassionate, forgiving, understanding, and non-judgemental. Where do we learn about caring and sharing , if not from our church and our homes? Faith without works is dead. Put your faith in action. How about baby steps? Everyone needs to begin....somewhere, somehow. How about now?

Aren't we after all, our brother's keeper? When will we learn?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall, and New Beginnings

I didn't quite know what to write about today, in fact, its been a few days since I shared with my readers, current events. That all changed when I read Bridget's blog about changes.

Will I have changes this fall? I guess we could say that. Today, I saw the result of the ultrasound taken by the physician of my daughter-in-law. I'm getting to be an expert at reading the baby within, with the help of Angie. Clearly, you could see his head, dark hair and big dark eyes. Unlike his brother at birth, it looks like he's sporting a tiny button nose, and it is truly amazing to be staring at him from the outside in.

My friends and family are all inquiring as to when he will show himself, and I'll bet Angie is amongst the first of anxiously awaiting this new human being, their second born, and Nates brother. If not before, Thursday, has been chosen for the birth of this precious baby, who will be the instrument of many changes in all our lives. Nathan and I went to church today, to pray for his brother, mother and daddy. No one is more excited to have a brother than Nathan, as he told Mrs. Thomo all about him.

Unfortunately, we are also expecting from all reports, possibly a category five hurricane. Unheard of for this area, and given the scenario world wide lately, it is not entirely to be ruled out. Lord have mercy. Bill and Ang, went to buy water today, as they have their own well, which is not manually pumped. It is concerning to Bill that the storm is anticipated to arrive around the same time of the new arrival. The home is surrounded by trees, on a hill in a heavy wooded area.

Nathan told me that his brother will look like daddy. Could be, he is very observant and smart for his age. We sometimes go to the airport after our work at the church, and today was no different, although we didn't hear too many planes above us, we did see a line from a jet, which I told him was a jet stream. Off we went, first of all, we go by where daddy works. Each time, I say who works over there, pointing in the direction of the building, and he says "daddy". Then, I say lets give daddy a big wave. Normally, he does, but today, he said, "grandma, (almost like scolding me), daddy's not there today, he went to the doctor's with mommy. I knew that!

Then, our little engineer asked me why the blocks were placed in the road to the right. Twinehurst Place once had two entrances, and one entrance has been closed for years. What four-year-old asks this type of question? So, I told him they had reconfigured the road. I didn't hear the end of it. A new word. Baby animals was the next stop, then the huge bird house, in which he wants to build one for me, someday, with his daddy. Then, he was in his glory at the airport, which is unfortunately, experiencing change, as a sign hung from the dinner, closed. The many planes that came in for the summer, to engage in conversation, show off their new gadgets, and grab a bite or two, signified a new season ahead, fall.

Nathan's father was always the type that loved surprises. He used to hide gifts to surprise Ang. and for him, that was always the best part. Now, he has the additional wait time for his new son, what suspense! Nathan again, showed me his brother's room, filled to capacity with various monkeys. So cute, and I'm sure he must go in everyday to see it in anticipation.

Today, he managed to show me a "surprise" in his room. The beautiful blue walls were filled with removeable stickers of airplanes, and bi-planes which he enjoyed seeing this summer at the airport. (I didn't know he learned how to keep a secret.)

The new grandson will soon learn what an airplane sounds like, as Nathan imitates them perfectly. Especially when they fly over his house.

Reaching for my hand, today, I asked him if everything was okay? Normally he doesn't hold my hand, and I thought maybe it had something to do with the old wives tale of feeling displaced by the arrival of a new baby. He said, "I want to hold your hand, because I love you so much, grandma." We have our season of change, but that's one thing that I hope will never change."

This fall is going to usher in change, dramatically. And, we are looking forward to it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Last Night, No exception....

Last night was no exception. It was a remarkable evening weather-wise as the community feeding program of one meal to many, was extended at our church.

It was a charismatic night in many ways. The cook, producing burgers on the grill, in his full clad of black dress, complete with a black hat and white apron, was challenged by the smoke and flames from a blazing greasy source, in an unending production, as more guests came. Tables were set-up buffet-style to accommodate the fixing--cheese, chips, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and onions, along with rolls and condiments. The best part is always the dessert, served with soda, water or coffee. The happy recipients, are seated at large round tables, who attend to find not only food, but friendship.

The "Vision Committee," offers this program, free of charge to all, once a month, and to date, it has been termed successful, and growing. This plan of outreach to the hungry in this area, has been part of our church endeavour for a year and a half. We owe its success largely to the one we call, the idea man, secretly, behind his back.

He is the chief, cook and bottle-washer at times, and is also known to sweep floors. So, who is this man who comes from the Bostonian area of the sea? Is he a simple fisherman? I don't even know if he fishes, but I do know that people are amoured by him. Like a fisherman, he brings them in one at a time. Remember that movie, "There's Something About Mary?" Well, there's something about him that you can't quite put your finger on. Maybe its the quality that you feel like you are his best friend, no matter what, you can't wait to share it with him! He also has a great sense of humor. Maybe the word is "acceptance," you feel he likes you just as you are.

Last night, I witnessed yet another of his admirers. She told me that he would make a good "catch." He is not available. It's complicated. I've seen this lady transformed in a few short months, and is probably unaware of it herself.

There is a zest for life when you feel loved and that is what he projects to all who know him. He is a fisher of men. Just a regular guy with a little something extra. It's that spark from within. He is not always a joy to be with, as he carries a heavy load, saying "God provides." Just like us, he is vulnerable and needy. He doesn't walk in front of us, but beside us, amongst us. People are well aquainted with him, and he has many freinds.

He is famous for his one-liners and last night, he did it to me again, with one word, I saw myself. There is always room for change, at any age. He is the man, who can see right through you, as he does me. Are you ready for that? Then come, and I suggest to you, that you may get more than a meal. This is a place where you begin to find, salvation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ask me why I Am So Happy

Today, I've got a sink full of dishes, having done a load last night before I went to bed around midnight, the oven is stained with cheese, the burnt-on type, it is raining outside and yet, surprisingly, I feel so happy. The feeling of knowing that you are loved and appreciated by your family.

Maybe things will change after my second cup of coffee, which I am enjoying presently. So what happened between last night, when I closed my eyes remembering the frustrating day, especially at not being able to enter the Carnival from my blog, and now? There is no explanation for it. Perhaps, I was happy to have finally produced gluten-free hot pockets, and have a ready to cook gluten-free pizza for tonight.

Normally, when I begin to cook, I enjoy every bit of the time spent in the kitchen. Now that it has cooled down, "I'm in my glory, "where I can produce culinary delights to please all. But, yesterday, I dreaded it. And, rightly so! Handling the mixture, which was a tacky mess.

I have watched people suffer from gluten products and am determined to learn to cook in way pleasing to their pallet. Challenged by products that are not readily available in my area, I am slowly but surely getting accustomed to it. The meatloaf that I made recently, was substituted with old-fashioned oats. It actually is beneficial to all of us as it reduce blood cholesterol.

It was kind of interesting to compare products at the end of the day, having made both the regular dough and the gluten-free variety. They both came out very nice. The process was a little different, for example, when you form the risen dough with wheat, you flour your hands to avoid sticking while kneading. You cannot handle the gluten-free mixture, which is hard to mix in a bowl and removal is messy. It is recommended that you use wet hands to form the dough to shape. The Gluten-free is a dry combination which needs eggs while the wheat does not. Perfect, I have one family member who is sensitive to eggs and the other, gluten (wheat).

Cooking dominated my day, and as the dough rose, I cut up the vegetables that would be used for the meaty soup and evening dip. As well, I prepared the cheeses and arranged the crackers. I used several types of cheese, including a buffalo-hot type of cheese inside the folded pockets with onions and beef salami, which surprised my family members as they found it uncharacteristic of my cooking. Jean, on the other hand, liked the combination and found it suitable to her taste. We ate at a slower pace for sure. All except for our "big boy," who is soon to be a "big brother," wolfing down his meatloaf, peas and tomatoes and actually asked for another bowl of the chunky soup.

I did not make dessert, but had egg-free girl scout cookies that they enjoyed as much as making their own flavorful coffee in the living room, from the new Keurig Coffee maker, which resolves the caffeine or decaf dilemma.

Nate, our grandson was satisfied with his favorites, chocolate milk, and chocolate ice cream. The cookie that I previously made, (chocolate-chip) was hand carried for a treat today, because he was so well behaved at grandma's house, and because I love him dearly. He got a kick out of hearing that I made monkey-bread, as his brother's room is decorated with monkey's everywhere. The surprise was on me, though, when he changed into his monkey pajamas.

We all have so much to share, a lot of laughs and stories, beginning from the beer in the kitchen, to the dinning room and finishing with dessert in the living room. Many families do not even speak to one another. We enjoy being together.

Next, we will assemble the baby furniture for our new and soon to be born, family member. He will learn, how much fun it is to come to grampy and grandma's house, where everyone here is made to feel, special.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We Are All Children

I started to read with interest how and what people think about children. Even though you have no children, or even if you do, you've seen others demonstrating childish actions. Actions that you can relate to in children, who do not know better. Who hasn't seen the child in many adult behaviours?

Children have feelings which we see them act out from the moment they are born. Feelings like being scared, hungry, tired and needy.

People are children, and people need other people. We all need to be held, feel appreciated for our accomplishments, and we need to be able to trust, just like children do, sometimes blindly.

We all need to learn to look up, sometimes for a helping hand, thus we may fall, just like children do. We need to learn to share, and be fair, caring for all of life's little things. We learn like children that we make mistakes, and get up again to face new challenges.

We need to be admonished, at times for our own good, just as children do. And as children, to feel any sense of security, we need authority and purpose in our lives.

And, as children we learn that everything has it's end, nothing lasts forever--playtime, mealtime, family time. We all suffer loss.

Our maker says we should become as little children. How is this so, when in fact, we are still little children in our actions, our characters are set by the age of two.

We get to a point where we can stand on our own, so to speak, but like children, we will never outgrow our need for love. Children of all ages can rely on God's love for us, for all eternity.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why can't the churches meet their obligation in society

We hear that our role, ideally, is to out-give the government in caring for our poor and needy. Here are some of the comments I've heard, in the past.

Why should we give to other's who blow their money on frivolous behaviours and expect other's to take care of them? Who, are given living spaces with dishwashers, carpeting and exceed in the quality of the homes that we live in, scrimp and save to pay for.

Why are the churches unable to feed the poor? Because they spend every cent trying to care for the upkeep and heating of their own buildings on meager budgets. It's all about the numbers. Numbers which are in decline, mostly elderly, and, that doesn't appear to be changing.

Regardless of the standard of the people who attend, they are still very charitable, and giving, as a nation. It always has been and will be because of the Love of our brother.

You cannot extend yourself more than your means, and from where I sit, people are, for the most part, in debt.

People do the best they can, and get tired of the preaching, and that is why they don't come back. They are trying, but what they do is never enough. Church should not be about being slapped down to conform to the past actions of previous "rules" of the faithful with authority figures that seek to put the fear of God in believers.

That is why the "feel good" churches are doing so well. They are packing the seats. The "love baskets" are overflowing. Pushing, criticising and dictating to people on the edge, predictably will result in their pursuing a church that seeks them just as they are, "hungry". Hungry for acceptance, forgiveness and to be loved, (not judged).

Those are the churches that are meeting their obligations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Unspoken Language

Rarely we get a chance to peek into a land, unlike ours, where women are not glad and wish to be anything but women. Living in a country where dating is illegal, and just mixing with the opposite sex is punishable with house arrest, deportation, or jailing just for courting a male, where strict adherence to the law is observed.

Then it happened, and, in the book that I am now reading, the author expresses a mystery that would form a road map into his heart. It was the unspeakable, as they are not allowed to look into the eyes of a man, yet, in that moment his eyes locked with hers, deep blue, she liked him immediately. Admiringly, and for the first time, she was glad to be a woman.

Her heart went undercover, observing the very things it needs to know, impulsively. She began to know what every woman knows, that the heart rules the head. She has become vulnerable. She steels glimpses, lowering her gaze. Her eyes dilate with attraction, living in a sterile world, all sexuality is permanently concealed. It is not allowed nor tolerated. Her femininity is alive in her, and she is transformed. She is preoccupied with thoughts of him.

Every word must be guarded, even those which are silent. The language of the heart, needs nothing more....existing if for nothing else but a thorn in one's side, never to be overcome. It will not be denied. It can't be taken back. It will seek him out, even if under penalty.

The object of her desire, she would have to see him, only to suffer later at not hearing his voice or being near. She calls him, it is for business reasons, increasing her personal contact with him. She learned all about him through the E-mail. She can't help but smile, feeling anticipated excitement, delicious and forgotten sensations.

She learns what every woman sooner or later must know. There is no comfort and no cure, for the heart is endless sea of suffering and longing.

I sometimes ask myself, is this the look of love that Jesus was able to transmit to others. The look which is wordless, yet says it all? Love has a language of its own. In the end, would she really have a choice?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Newly formed Band in Town

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Optical Drive play at Mill Street. It was very well attended and they entertained the crowd with music of familiarity. It is amazing that this town, as in years past, is filled with gifted people, and for a small community has so much to offer architecturally, in the arts and has, it's own hospital, YMCA, full-time fire and ambulance service and many organizations who are established to help, the aged and needy.

Optical Drive, is no exception, offering to its onlookers a quality performance. The skilled band was fantastic. They were well received, each of them well rehearsed and collectively, a fine-tuned machine. They had the ability to stop, with precision, to very difficult pieces. Impressive! They are professionals in their community, in their own respective jobs, where do they get the time for their many accomplishments?

I was especially interested in the drummer, the one that used to make a lot of noise in the kitchen with the all the pots and pans and a wooden spoon, as a young child. The one who thought of nothing else than playing music for his friends and neighbors, from a broadcasting set-up in his bedroom. The one who, after taking saxophone lessons, decided it was the drum he wanted most in life, during his teen-age years, after playing with a make-shift set, left to him by a neighbor moving out of town. The one who I used to drive back and fourth for music lessons in drum rhythms. I recall the day he played at Berkley, although he thought it no big deal. He was in high school then, and his music instructor, Bill, allowed him to transfer to the percussion section, at his pleading. John recalls having to help him carry the drum up the hill and back to the high school, after the parades in town.

Everyone's heard me talk about the St. Patrick's Day parade in Worcester, where Steve could be heard pounding cadences loudly on the drum, down the street, putting his whole heart and soul into something he loved to do. He plays the guitar and can play "tunes" on my organ without music, just for fun. Come to think of it, my son, Steve is a lot of fun to be around. Giving to other's is his gift. Music, is only second to that.

Many a night, when a group of guys got together to jam, as he called it, we went out for a cup of coffee, to maintain our sanity. Thankfully, John had the basement sound proof in order for us to be able to face our neighbors in the morning.

Is it any wonder that I was so impressed with his performance during one his drum solo's, as is typical of drummers played during a number? He will not boast of his achievements, the crowd went wild, as I heard them mention his name. He and the others have worked hard, and it shows. They are all gifted musicians. Gary has a fine voice.

It was fun seeing all of Steve and Bills friends, Eric and his wife, Maryanne and Jeff, Ross, Darcey, Jeremy, his girl Jean, to name a few. It was like a reunion....The dance floor was filled with almost every number.

Today, while reflecting with a cup of coffee, I never dreamed that the music that I always enjoyed, would be heard coming from a group of entertainers called -- Optical Drive.
Wait 'til you hear them....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Standing Before God

I was leaving the church hall after showing an electrician the exit signs in the absence of the priest who was attending his dad, recovering from surgery. He was interested in knowing what we had and possibly wanted to get an idea of the job at hand. I had met him previously, he was no stranger to me.

He spotted a flyer on one of the tables announcing an upcoming car show, in which our local hospital will be featuring, as a fund-raising event. I asked him if he had attended our recent festival, as we also had some wonderful cars on display. Unfortunately, he remarked, he tries to stay away from events which serve alcohol as much as possible, explaining that he has been sober for two years. I told him we all have problems and so we, at our church do not judge. We fall down and we get up again. That's why we go to church, and the one thing we both agreed on was that we cannot do it alone. Humbled, we stand before God, relying on His mercy.

Without God, we cannot do anything. God knows our shortcomings and still loves us. Our maker welcomes us, "in complete intimacy". He is happy and joy-filled, eager to see us come forward and, steps up to greet us with an embrace. Showering us with all goods things because we are His. He is the Light throughout any storm or circumstance, we are His child.

Are you ready to stand before Him and call Him, Father? Like an invitation in the mail, what will you do? Toss it aside? Regard it as important and respond immediately as instructed, or will you ignore the R.S.V.P., or perhaps reply just in time?

Why put it off? Perhaps you are fearful of discovery? Too late, nothing is hidden from Him. What you should know, is that He eagerly waits for you to come to Him. The invitation has been extended. How will you respond?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Best Kept Secret

My best kept secret is secret no more, as I write this 500Th. post. Initially, I had to build confidence as an unprofessional writer, with the hope of sharing stories of my life, personal happenings, experiences, and sometimes writing just for expressing my feelings. Also, to capture, as in a photograph, happenings of my grandson as he was developing, knowing that those moments were just to precious to forget.

I was hoping to give you a glimpse of my family, and current activities at my church. Sometimes it was just venting, or babbling, other times a sharing of weather, holidays, vacations, occasions of all types.

I was encouraged to set my thoughts to type, and have virtually worn out my keyboard. It has been an enjoyable experience to share, almost on a daily basis, with a cup of coffee, my two cents worth--so to speak.

I've been amazed at the response that this "boring blog" has received. Almost 10,000 page views by approximately 5,500 visitors from all over the world. It certainly does not compare to some who also provide musical backgrounds, and current photo's.

Looking back, I wanted you to know me, but looking ahead I want to know you. I appreciate your comments, please do not be shy. It tickled me to hear that some people found my writing beautiful, enjoyable, a joy, and one author said it put a smile on her face. If she only knew that it made my day.

Recently, I was challenged to join a carnival, where one word is provided and I found it quite interesting. I'm now confident enough to join in on Networked Blogs. I want to thank all of you who helped me grow by your little nudges, and your endless patience with all my how-to questions.

Reflecting back, with a mish-mash of subject matter, it has been fun, and I hope this will mark just the beginning of friendship--from a boo-boo kisser.

Like thumb sucking, the kissing desire

They say your never too old to learn. Much of what we know we observe and learn from others. Yesterday, I watched pictures of my first grandchild, who really did not have a great desire to suck his thumb. The pacifier was almost as big as his face and it made me laugh. I'm here alone, laughing now.

We all have desires and to help children rid of the thumb sucking habit, many ways are tried. I recall seeing hot sauce remedies applied to the thumb as a last resort, which does work when nothing else can. My mom used to tie a safety pin to a glove, tied to clothing. It has been many years since I sucked my left thumb. It is said that "the hand" is an indicator as to the choice of which hand will be used in handwriting. They were right.

It's a good mother who weens her child from the habit in order to prevent braces down the road. Yet, there are some mother's who feel that you can cause psychological damage if you insist your child quit the habit.

We live in an atmosphere where kissing is frowned upon. People are hugging less too. It is not wise to show any affection in public. My little grandson, when he comes to visit walks right past me to the toy room. Just as if he were going to daycare. He was wisely taught not to go near people, as he has a peanut allergy. My mother-in-law lives on peanut butter and she recently said she'd love to hug him, but of course, that is out of the question. Instead, she blows him a kiss. Years ago, a little kiss on the cheek was "expected" of you between friends and family members. It wasn't taboo then.

I wonder if its just woman that long for their first kiss? I wonder if men get the desire also to be kissed? I'm aware of all the diseases that people can get from kissing. Obviously, there's a difference from kissing on the mouth, rather than on the cheek. Maybe it is good not to get involved in that type of behaviour. Is it like thumb sucking, having a desire, quenched and not given in to?

When I was younger, I recall the words of a popular song by Cher. "It's in his kiss. That's where it is, it's in his kiss." Parts of the world, especially in the cities of "invisible women," the lips are concealed, as well as their entire bodies. Are desires also concealed, forbidden? In this country, lip covers of choice colors, emphasize the beauty of the mouth and expose, in it's contrast, the whiteness of the teeth, and provides a protection against dryness. A smile, the expression of one to another, is a beautiful gesture. Women need to keep up their appearance, and need to be told that they are pretty, at any age.

Public expression, and kissing, in some countries is against the law. There is a reason for thumb sucking and that need is obvious. Kissing is a real need and expression of human interaction, just like being held, from infancy. We never outgrow our desire for affection and love.

Seems we never know what we should or shouldn't do, it's always kind of awkward, and we truly do not want to offend anyone. So, unless there is a mutual desire, or your kissing cousins that you haven't seen in a while, a handshake is the preferred option, no matter what the desire.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Then and Now, or is it?

Years ago, as was in the case of Virgin Mary, you did not have a choice if you were to marry or to whom you were given to in marriage. Happiness may not have been the lot for some women or girls, as these arrangements were part of your culture. St. Joseph was elderly and probably did not live too long, yet tradition says that Mary was ever-virgin. She never remarried possibly because they lived all together in communities, or with families who took care of one another. And, there was the apostle John. Those of you that hang on every letter in the bible ought to know by now, that not every detail is given, only matters of importance. That is why Church tradition is so important.

That was then, but now it's no longer common for a marriage to take place in this country by arrangement. There are still some, for many reasons, mostly religious. The important part is that partners are on equal grounds, sharing the responsibility of raising the children. Yet, the battle of the sexes still goes on doesn't it? Who will wear the pants, or who gets to have full authority, the last word, or however you say it. At least you've chosen the person that your with, and most likely you get along because, there is love. I have vivid memories of the couples of the last generation, with the man constantly reminding his wife to cover her knees, and, to the announcement of their immediate departure, by the domineering male, she sprang up like a yo-yo. No if, ands or buts. Things have changed more than you realize, today.

I often wondered how can you learn to love the person that you get stuck with, especially in the case where the man forced upon you is elderly? We just don't appreciate how "free" we are in this country, born in this century, and having the choices we enjoy.

The book that I'm reading, has opened my eyes to a whole other prospective on life.
The writer did not come from that country initially, so it was as they say, "a new world." Someone else had to hold her passport, and make decisions for her. She no longer was able to drive, or go anywhere by herself. She became like a child in a world of ruling men. It didn't matter what her hair looked like, no one saw her and she was not allowed to look into any one's eyes when she conversed with them. All because woman are too beautiful to behold. They are treated like protected merchandise. They have no opinion, no choice, --prisoner's to obedience. Polyester garments are worn by force, are ungodly, and man-made. Full coverings are worn, no matter how hot it gets. Their dress was not a religious direction but was legislated, and was said to be a corruption of Divine instruction. A living oppression, in a policed state of male supremacy. Even worship is mandatory, everything closing in its stead, and enforced by state appointed religious police.

What is the result of children raised in an atmosphere of oppression? Brokenness. Some signs are intoxication, and drugs, withdrawal from life and sometimes expulsion from school and jealousies. That is often the product of a rich, polygamous family. They are often married to young girls groomed to be a bride, but not a wife, ending up back with her parents, umbilically connected to her mother. Feelings of abandonment, and of having no value, drive them to desperate acts. Outcasts in their own families, unable to bridge the generation abyss, of aging fathers and not feeling they belong anywhere. They look to escape---self.

These are the sons of fathers who are old enough to be their grandfathers, no longer having interest in children, who avoid them by circulating amongst their other wives, while the sons are embarking on an age of modern bachelorhood, enduring feelings of misplaced identities. Luxury is not the problem, it is fitting in in a changed society. One example was sited of two young guys who were involved in a horrible crash, sons of a 72-year-old wealthy merchant, born to his fourth wife. One son a known alcoholic at 11.

Does any of this sound familiar? A child sent away to get the best education possible. Away from his mother, becomes lonely. Money cannot buy love.

When everything else is more important than you are, and you feel abandoned, you place very "little value" on yourself. Mixed with feelings of loneliness and hopelessness comes depression and sadly, many find themselves on a one-way track to disaster.

Many things are different, yet some the same, then and now all over the world. There are levels of oppression, its the children who do the suffering, and that is evidenced everywhere.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not Made By Hands

Today we commemorate the Image of Christ not made by Hands. It is one of my favorite ICONS. If you haven't seen it, then your missing out on what I call, a tender and loving look of Christ.

Go here to read about this image from the

Abgar, ruler in the city of Edessa, afflicted with leprosy wrote a letter to Christ in order that he may be healed, having heard of the many miracles. Ananias, a painter, was not able to get close to Him, due to the crowds, trying to paint an image of Him. Ananias received a promise from Christ for Abgar, to send His disciple. Abgar is healed and instructed in salvation. Christ's image appeared on the towel that he used to wipe off the water from His face.

The apostle Thaddeas preached the gospel and baptized Abgar and all living in Edessa.

The image, was not man-made but divinely made.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One of the Great Feast Days of Mary, the Mother of God

Some Orthodox churches use in their title "Assumption," which means, according to Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary, "A taking for granted; supposition."

Today, we are enlightened, by the Icon of the Dormition of Mary, (dormir-sleep), as we enter the church, and find it on the Icon Stand. It depicts her lying in a state of rest, (having fallen-asleep), while the apostles circled around her body. All but Thomas, the doubter.

Since the beginning of the month, we have been preparing for this feast day with fasting and the service of the Small Paraklesis. The hymn which comes from the "Monastery of the Caves" the Exapostilarion for the Dormition, tells us that the Apostles came from the ends of the earth, gathered in the village of Gethsemane to lay her body in burial. God the Son of Mary, received her spirit.

The rest of the story is that Thomas, arriving later, and upon entering the burial spot, where Mary lay, found it empty. we find an answer in Tone one of today's Troparion of the Dormition, "You were translated to life O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death."

Without Mary, there would not have been Life, who gave life to Mary and all of us.

(Psalm 45:17 ) "I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever."
(Luke 1:48 )"For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed".

Today, in this generation, we recall the young maiden who initiated the salvation of all human kind by a simple "yes" to the invitation given to her by the angel Gabriel, to be the Mother of God. (Salvation, or healing, is a process which begins with one word).

It is a simple yes or no.

Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos, Mary full of Grace the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have born the Savior of our souls.

gospel references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Friday, August 13, 2010

Filling the Seats

Sunday will be the feast day of the Dormition of the mother of God, the Theotokos. Will the church be at full capacity and overflowing to the isles? I hope so, keeping a positive attitude, but, I will be happy to see one new face.

Why do I go to thank and worship God? There is not enough time in the day to explain. Maybe it's all the miracles in my life, all the love I feel, all the joy, health, and general well-being.

Could it be that all I need do is ask and He is there? Is it really that simple? Come and see!

The Mother of God has interceded for me and helped me, even when I was unaware of it. This is the day we remember her falling asleep in the Lord. Will you stand beside me, adding your prayers to mine.

"Most Holy Mother of our God, have mercy on us!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

She who Nourished the Master

The nativity story at Bethlehem, revealed that the virgin Mary delivered the Word of God made flesh, for all humanity. It was a far cry from that of Moses, who in his encounter with God, revealed His presence to him. Mary held her Son and kissed Him, nourished Him, and provided for His comfort. It was unlike what was said to Moses in (Exodus 33:20,) "You cannot see My face, for no man can see My face and live." Yet, the skin of Moses face was glorified while God talked with him. (Exodus 34:26.) Seeing his appearance, other's were afraid to come near him. When Moses asked God what His name was He said, (Exodus 3:14) "I AM the existing One." (Exodus 35:3 ) "I am the Lord." Found in the New Testament, (Revelation 1:17), "I am the First and the Last, I AM He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore."

Is it anything but a wonder, that Mary, the mother of our God, was able to carry Jesus in her womb, look upon Him and call her son, her Lord? He, before going to His death on a cross, was Transfigured on Mt. Tabor? (Matthew 17:2) "and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." (Matthew 17:5) "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" This was the final confirmation of the Holy Trinity, made manifest.

Given the above, these words come as no surprise, in the final troparia, chanted during the first 14 days of August. "O unexplainable wonder, How do you nurse the Master?" (Intercessory Prayer) To the Most Holy Theotokos.

Jesus, our Lord, God and Savior, is the same yesterday, today and forever. And, in one word we can tie it all in...approachable. He invites all to come! (Matthew 11:28) "Come to ME, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

All scripture passages are taken from: The Orthodox Study Bible

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

O unexplainable Wonder

A wonder, is something out of the ordinary. There are times when something stands out, something you've probably seen or heard a hundred times, this time is no different. It stirs the imagination, and you shake your head in disbelief, pondering, how could that be?

Some Christians are preparing for what we call, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Dormition of the Most-Holy Theotokos, which is the falling asleep of the Most Holy and Ever Virgin Mother of God. We are called to pray and fast. During this time, a Small Paraklesis is chanted. It is chanted in times of distress and sorrow of soul and now, during the first fourteen days of August. It is filled with wonderful words and ends in a very mysterious way. "O unexplainable wonder, How do you nurse the Master?"

We don't really think about the intimacy. Only woman who have nursed their babies, can relate. It almost seemed out of place to end there with that question. Several times, I saw the words, having contemplated them.

Today on face book I saw a video by: Vishal Ravi, entitled "NEVER GIVE UP IN LIFE." In order to fulfill the dream of finishing the race, in which the young man pulled a hamstring, his father came from the stands to help him to victory. Love says you can never quit, you must do your part, you must never let go until it's over. Love demands your greatness, and all you have to give, always, in good and in bad times. Mary saw Jesus through to the cross, and He, on her last day here on earth, came to deliver her spirit.

The decision that Mary made to carry Christ within her womb demanded all she had to give. Caring for an infant means, once a mother always a mother. Love demands it. If your a mother, then I don't have to explain it. If your not, then you may never understand the depth of it.

If she were in this country, 7-14 years old would put her in the category of a child. How can a child endure such a responsibility? Yet, God entrusted Her with His only-begotten Son, Jesus. Loving and caring for Him would have been a big job for an adult. How do you nurse the Master? It is all a learning process, which my mom said she failed at, not having enough milk. Most of the kids my age were "bottle fed." My mother-in-law, Leona used to tell me about Baker's milk, which she thought was great! It produced chunky little babies. They were totally against breastfeeding, sadly.

Nothing is better than the natural milk for the infant, flowing at the right time, temperature, nutritionally perfect and having a biologically beneficial healing aspect for the mother. Mary was said to have had a handmaiden to help. She didn't even have her mother.

It was all about Trust! It was all about Provisions! It was a very humbling experience. God placed Himself in the hands of a woman, and trusted her. She placed her Trust in Him and He provided for her.

The baby needs the milk, and the milk must be eliminated from the mother. The bond established cannot be measured or comprehended, the two were inseparable. Jesus, the Word, took His flesh from Mary. The One who cannot be contained "was contained" within the womb of a young woman. The One who sustains all, was "sustained" by her milk the only source of nourishment that gave life to Him who is Life. O wonder of wonders! And how unexplainable! How do you nurse the Master? How does one give birth to the One who created her, in the first place?

God proved His love for women, and for His mother, and all humanity. On the fifteenth of August, the church will present the feastday of the falling asleep of the Theotokos, the Dormition. Mary, the Mother of God, who was born from human parents, delivered God in the flesh. The One who came to deliver her, and delivers us all.

Do you ever wonder! "O unexplainable Wonder, How do you nurse the Master?" Who can comprehend this great mystery?

Monday, August 9, 2010

One Word at a Time

He was starring at me, totally unaware of his own feelings--where he was or even who he was, and yet, this moment will hold "special" significance to me for years to come. He had been through a sort of hell just a short time earlier, if his pain was evident, that is, only the "physical" side of it. I had often wondered just how he was feeling deep down. I was told that he had a hole in one of his lungs and was scheduled for surgery within a month, in Boston, following tests. It wasn't supposed to be this way, at least, it wasn't according to all the books that I had read. I was engrossed in mixed emotion, but grateful to have him home with me. Was this an inquisitive look? Maybe it was something else. He looked deep into my eyes and would not release his gaze, his eyes following me everywhere I went.

Suddenly from out of nowhere there came laughter, and joy filled my heart. It was the first time I realized that he was truly happy. It was deep and loud and the room exploded with the richness of his tone. I don't know what was so funny, but the laughter didn't stop, and as it continued, I joined in, and couldn't stop.

I just wanted him to share in the gladness that I felt at his presence, and I was totally unprepared for the sudden outburst. This tender moment, I will always treasure. Thirty-eight years have passed. The pictures that line my desk show him beaming with a very healthy smile, and usually he is posing with his wife and son. One day, I asked my grandson what he liked best about me, and he said that I liked to laugh. It must be true as my nephew at two, remarked, when I was laughing, "auntie, your a clown." Kids are so funny!

He is soon to be a daddy once again, to another boy, and I can hardly contain myself, we are all looking forward to meeting him, especially mom who has bravely endured the heat all summer.
Laughter goes beyond smiles, it's when you are tickled pink, experiencing the height of happiness -- the so-called tickling of the inners. His brother is very excited, calling him a wha-mie, "cause that is what babies do". But, I'm holding out for the laughter.

Laughter is contagious, it is the highest form of the expression of joy and delight. Laughter breaks forward in singing. Laughter is God's gift to share with one another. Laughter is the essence of a free and happy spirit.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

That They Might Not be Afraid

The Transfiguration was necessary in order that Peter, James and John "might not be afraid of Your sufferings." "It was Your desire to show them the splendor of Your Resurrection." Jesus knew that the suffering of others, and the things that we love, makes us feel afraid.

Peter, James and John were "unable to endure the shining of Your face and the brilliance of Your garments." They fell to the ground upon their faces." We cannot endure the unknown, we are afraid of anything out of the ordinary and we tremble like the angels in fear.

It's got to be pretty bad when you throw yourself to the ground, no matter what the reason. It wasn't long ago when my grandson was pretty good at it.

We're always falling down and yes, we're always afraid.Today is the feast day of the Transfiguration of our Lord and savior Jesus the Christ, who in His witness to us of His majesty and wondrous works invites us to trust in the Everlasting Light that shines upon us sinners. Jesus is the radiance of the Father, and the only hope that illumines all. (As far as you can bear it).

Peter, not long after witnessing the Glorious majesty of Christ, denies Him three times, out of fear.

Stop being afraid. God has promised not to leave or forsake us? He showed us His power, let us show Him our faith, by His mercy. He is the lover of mankind, and He proved it.