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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A sense of absence

I've heard people say, "where was she or he when this or that happened?" They say it mostly to place blame. Some even say it about God, because they perceive a sense of absence when something terrible happens, and feel that it should not have. Just what are our expectations of a God, who is the furthest thing from our thoughts when times are good. We have no right to complain "if" He were absent, never mind placing blame on Him, in bad times. The truth is, He is never absent, is Omnipresent, always there hearing every complaint and utterance. The truth is, most people do not have time for God. They just want to use Him, calling upon Him when they are in a jam. Where was God? Right there. The sense of absence was yours alone.

We are free agents. Love never is to be forced on someone else against their will, and that "condition of relationship" extends to God. If you don't know Him, it's because you do not wish to. No one can truly love someone else if they are afraid of them. Most people do not want to approach God, out of "fear," so they push Him away.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Take a chance, He's waiting for you to take the first step. In order to develop this relationship, like any other, it takes time. It begins with an understanding about the character of God.

The way we learn of God's character is through the gospels. We find Him compassionate and merciful. Read about His miracles, like the time He fed thousands with a few fish and loaves, having displayed leftovers. Still, some people are afraid of His power, growing cold toward Him unconcerned with God, until they need something.

Either you Love God or not. It is a decision.Yours! Otherwise, He will be absent to you, although very much with you. You cannot play Him. Once you realize that you need Him, you must surrender your Love to Him. He is God, your King. You must worship Him. What you need to know about God, who is all loving, and kind and merciful, is He is your only way to salvation. Eternally!

We are capable of meeting our God only when we become humbled. Then we can have a relationship which is tangible and everlasting. Our prayers become, as we acknowledge His presence, real communication, with answers from a loving God who loves you just as you are. That's what love and eternal.

The power of God is made manifest in weakness. We are weak and He is strong. Being in God's hands, you will be safe.

Taken from psalm 34:18-22 " The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. (19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. (20) He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. (21) Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. (22) The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. (The Orthodox Study Bible)

St. John Chrysostom asks us to look inwardly: "Find the door of your heart, you will discover it is the door of the Kingdom of God."

St. Gregory of Nyssa says: "Prayer is conversation with God."

It is a conversation that stems from a mutual loving and desired relationship, where you can speak to each other, while having total awareness of God's presence.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

Today we remember the Elevation of the Holy Cross. The one and same cross that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ was crucified on. It was recovered by venerable and St. Helen, and is known to have healing properties. It was found covered with an unknown flower of rare beauty and fragrance, which was named "Vasiliko," or (basil)--flower of royalty. Basileus in Greek means king, so the plant Vasiliko (basil) is tied to the precious cross of the King of Glory, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Three crosses were found that day, and the true cross was identified by a miracle. A woman of Jersalem was completely cured, even though she was near death, as she came close to the cross.

Basil looks a lot like peppermint, to which it is related. It's leaves are highly fragrant, and are used as a seasoning. Today, while reading about the natural ways cancers are being cured, I stumbled on some advice. Eat foods which are enzyme based. There are many of them. Basil, has been used for centuries for cures.

It has anti-inflammatory properties, is used in home remedies to treat respiratory tract infections, allergies, and asthma. It can reduce blood glucose, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Used to treat the common cold, malaria, headaches, coughs, and gastric disorders, it has one drawback--t00 much can affect fertility.

Italians use tons of basil in their cooking known to have antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, anti tubercular and antimalarial properties. A type of basil called Holy Basil is used to build up stamina. It also appears to have antioxidant, and protection against cancer-causing substances, inhibiting the progression and progress of breast cancer tumors.

The best way to get it is from your own garden, in the summer, or fresh from the market. It is easy to grow and even just one plant can produce enough for you to have a daily supply. I like to throw it in my salad "raw is best," keeping in mind that cooking destroys important vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

I believe that when I ask for an answer, God supplies me with "little signs." The basil growing sweetly on the cross is a sign for us.

I don't think that it was an accident that St. Helen retrieved the precious cross, which not only is a symbol of our faith, but our hope. The Author and giver of Life has filled us with all good things. We just need to be open to them and to receive them.

Today go out a buy some fresh basil, which contains eugenol, an oil in the herb, that has the same anti-inflammatory effect as aspirin, can help ease inflammation that can lead to joint pain.
(magazine source: First for women, July 26, 2010)

Remember the Holy Cross and put on the oil of gladness. For through the cross, joy has come into all the world.

And you too, can be healed.

To read a sight helpful on the basil plant go here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 reflections

What was I doing on 9/11/01? I was having my car repaired. As well, others observing, in a small waiting room on an overhead television, in shock, what was initially thought to be an aircraft accident on a tower located in New York City. It didn't take us long to realize that these events were acts of terrorism.

Why would anyone want to hurt a country who has done nothing but give to the world each and every time a crisis occurred? Who opens its arms to helping the oppressed? Who educates and feeds and supplies equipment and medicines to those who will never be able to repay? Who sends soldiers to help guard their countries from invasions and worse? Who as a whole, wants to make this a better world for all? Who has been a shining example of what it means to be a good neighbor...

I woke up thinking about the horrible event, having seen 9:11 constantly that week, each time I looked for the time, as if someone was reminding me. It made me eerily recall a story about Mary who worked at a laundromat years ago, saying that she saw Dec. 7, 1941, written in red, drippy letters on a cellar wall, just prior to the Pearl Harbor invasion.

Things happen in this world that we cannot explain. How people just happened to be where they were as if they were summoned for a horrible cause: "Hero's." We saw love in action, here on our own land, without discrimination. Because, that's who we are. We know the reaction here in the states, but what was the mood elsewhere? Sadness was felt throughout the world, even by those in countries who didn't share the feelings of the rest of the inhabitants of that country. Recently, I read a book in which I was enlightened as to the state of one woman in a country where women are invisible. The 9/11 chapter gave me some insight.

This woman who didn't know where to place her sadness, and had arrived, passenger number 32A at Kennedy, deposited her abbayah in an overhead bin, because she chose to never wear it again, stepped out into her cultural home and beloved city, finally free, following the 9/11 event.

She was then, and always will be a Muslim American. While abroad, she learned first hand of the celebrations, and as they ate cake, the venom sped from their lips, saying we murder. We deserved this and it was our turn. She refused to be drawn in by hate, recalling the deeds of a people and a place of compassion, who worked together for the greater good. A place that did not fear expression, voice, and are allowed to think for themselves.

Who do we blame? What happens when a truth is distorted? What happens when people follow blind leaders? Do we blame religion or religious books? No. We have a choice, (at least in this county we are free) and, we are called to love our fellow human beings, to forgive and to pray for them. We are directed by a loving God to love our brother, anything else is a lie. Radicalism is an evil that must be crushed out everywhere, by good and loving people.

Who will have the last word in this, as today we are reminded by misguided individuals that can spark up old wounds, causing, with their misdeeds, the world to become even more unstable? The answer was clear that day as it is today. The cross forged by two falling pieces of steel beams, lights the way, giving us a clear directive. It is a heavenly reminder that we are not alone, and that we never will be. In the end, it isn't our race or creed, religion, that will sustain us in this world, but a loving Father.

A prayerful answer has come. We can hope. Can we count on your love and your prayers? Maybe it's been some time for you? Know that you are missed. Sunday, would be a great time to start to reaquaint yourself with a church of your choice.

Above all, "Let there be Peace on Earth" "The Peace that was meant to be" "And, Let it begin with me."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

True Orthodoxy

It all boils down to this. Your "spiritual eyes" control your mind, and if directed properly will result in wellness. You can't be in two spots at one time. Your either a positive or a negative. You will need to cast out negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

We see what negativism does to ones self and surroundings. Positive contemplations and works do the same. (Change for most of us does not happen overnight.) Change is a work of love, and it is difficult.

The question is: do you want to be a force for good in the world? Or not. If you are on the negative end, you will be sick, and it will reflect in everything that you do and in everywhere that you go. It may even influence others, by their imitating your behaviour.

I choose to be a force for good. A positive spark that produces positive cells in my mind that create positive reactions in my body. Wellness is no accident. The re-charge is most important, like all cells, we look to the Lord for our source.

Today, I will use my ability to create beauty all around me. Some call this my "aura" (light). It means I will need to block out all the "negative vibes," so strongly present and polluting, putting on the armour of Christ.

If you want peace in your life, then understand it's source. Know that a loving God and father is in control, (His will not ours), who wants only good things for you. Let go, let God, relax. Nothing is going to happen to you that He hasn't already ordained. Trust in His goodness.

Tune out the noise polllution, and listen....

We see what we want to see. So look for the good. Seek after the good, it is found everywhere. The choice is yours.

Let the words that flow from your mouth be a refreshment to all you meet. A well-spring that brings forth words of comfort, and hope.

So why not get plugged into the only source that gives and sustains life? Only then, will we begin to see the world the way it is and was meant to be seen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Whispering Hope

I recall times from my youth, when my sister, Ruth and I used to sing while accomplishing our chores. It was fashionable then to sing with family members, like the McGuire sisters did on the Lawrence Welk Show. Everything was family, neighbor, and friends.

One of my mother's childhood friends, lived behind our house, where we used to visit. She had no children and enjoyed our company. Ruth and I used to sift through music files for songs we could sing together as a duet. Whispering Hope was one of those songs. We practiced together, the words, although pretty, didn't have the significance that they have now, some fifty-years later.

The song began, "Soft as the voice of an angel," then it continued, "Hope for the sunshine tomorrow, after the shower is gone."

Our lives are continuous cycles of showers, followed by the sun. The good and bad times of life. The lesson learned from the voice of the angel is that there is always hope. Hope, is a word of comfort. Hope is a word of joy, and hope is something to wished for. A positive action that puts you in a better place. It's implication that nothing lasts forever, that everything sorrowful will pass.

It was this time of year when Ray, and a group of us got together to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, at the Italian American Club on North Street, where my sister and I performed that song for a group of contributors.

Ruth went on to sing on the stage in high school, with the song "Where is Love," and shortly thereafter, met Frank. Her songs soon turned to lullaby's for her four children. I sang in choirs and choral groups.

There was always one line that I didn't understand as a child, "Making my heart in it's sorrow rejoice" How can the the sorrowful heart feel joy?

Ruth passed away in her sleep in her forties. Her heart was filled with the love of her family who brought her much joy, and, as we left the graveside, it was with the hope that we will see her again, someday. Hope is something very much wished and longed for.

Hope is a word of comfort, the knowledge given through the voice of an angel. The message of the resurrection of Christ, who gives everlasting life. And, in that my sorrowful heart rejoices.
Christ is the only true hope that any of us will ever have.

This was written for the Carnival. for other entries, on Hope, go here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome Ryan William

On Wednesday, September 1st. Ryan came into this world at 4A.M. to the proud parents of Angela and Bill. Four-year-old Nathan, will never be alone. He will always have a brother to share in life's ups and downs.

On Thursday, he and I picked red rose buds, and one white rose for his mother, his favorite yellow daisy-like flowers and some lavender, to offset the pink geranium, as it smelled nice. We filled a small bud vase and added light translucent lilac ribbon to it and hurried off to meet the new arrival. His dad and I planned the timing in order to have a video camera to capture the experience of meeting his new brother, Ryan. The conversation went something like this. Hi, Ryan, I'm Nathan, your big brother. He always will be.

As we passed the lobby desk, all the people thought he was so cute, and they said, "he is a heartbreaker." He looked so proud carrying the flowers for his mother. I brought his favorite cookies, (chocolate chip), which were made in the morning. Nothing but the best for his mom. As I trailed behind him, he entered seeing Ryan for the first time. He couldn't wait to hold the happy bundle, kissing his little face and touching his hands.

Later, his parents gave him a card, daddy read it's content and then a huge sticker was placed on Nathan's shirt, reading "awsome big brother." Gifts were also opened, from mom and dad and his new brother, Ryan.

This all translates to one happy and loving family. We are very proud of them, and the best gift of all, is the gift of love from our God, and His new creation. A new little bundle of joy to love, as Nathan said, "forever."

Today was a big day for Ryan. He got his first car ride with mommy and daddy, and is settled into his new home. Now the work begins, discovering that he has hands, that he can laugh, enjoy the light, and hear voices. He will hold and move small objects and observe faces and new places. He will become friends, with his father, mother and brother, who will help form his little character, and kiss all his boo-boo's.

Little wonder, miraculously made, we're sure glad your here to share in our lives, a brother's joy and mom and dad's newest boy.

We know we were smiled upon today, in a very very special way.