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, December 27, 2011

All of Creation Rejoices in You

"All of Creation Rejoices in You" is the title that comes from a hymn that we sing to the Virgin Mother of God, the Theotokos this time of year, during the Liturgy of St. Basil. The words always strike me. Everything in nature and in the heavens, participated in worshiping God, as He is born to us, from a Virgin Mother, as a babe in Bethlehem.

This year for Christmas I received a lighthouse, which everyone knows that I am so fond of, maybe because of what it stands for, a beacon to warn, and a stucture of light. It calls all to the source of the rocks, in preparation like the light from the star which called the three wise men.

Accounts of nature and "their gift" to the newborn king, are present in the hymns which enlighten us as to their participation, as "all creation rejoices" in this wonder.

I love the song of the finch in the spring when they return to nest around my home. Singing in preparation for the lenten tones, I find at times they join in, while they accumulate, on a branch of a tree just outside my window, filled mostly of yellow, and rose colored birds. I received a beautiful notepad with one finch on the cover, wearing a golden crown. It touched me that she remembered my story. Christians are aware of nature and, the Christmas scene in its full wonder expressed, in all its glory, which included: the Sun, stars, cave, light, animals, shepherds, angels, manger, and wisemen with gifts. A foster-father, Virgin Mother and her milk, the attendants who bathed the babe, and all mystery, glory and wonder!

Christmas Troparion:
"Your Nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the light of wisdom
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
were taught by a star to adore You,
the Sun of righteousness,
and to know You, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to You."

The Kontakion...
"Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One,
Angels with Shepherds glorify Him,
the Wise Men journey with the star,
since for our sake the eternal God was born as a little Child."

Let all the earth worship You and praise You! Let it praise Your Name, O Most High!

The Hymn to the Theotokos:
"I behold a strange, most glorious mystery:
heaven -- the cave,
the cherubic throne -- the virigin;
the manager -- the place where Christ lay,
the uncontainable God, Whom we magnify in song."

Taken from Saturday's Great Vespers, the Entreaty:
"For unto them that sit in darkness and shadow, God has appeared in the flesh, born of a woman. A cave and manger have received Him, shepherds proclaim the wonder; Magi from the East offer gifts in Bethlehem. And let us, with our unworthy lips, offer Him praise like the Angels. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace. For the expectation of the Nations is come. He is come and has saved us from slavery to the enemy."

Christ is born, Glorify Him!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

We Have Found Joy In A Secret Place

The words of the hymn of today, says "we have found Joy in a secret place." Yet my mind says how could it have remained secret, that is, the birth of Christ, when the star exposed the child hidden in a cave. It would have been like a giant flashlight focused on Mary, the Ever Virgin Mother of God, and Joseph her espoused husband, and Jesus lying in a manger.

It had to be kept a secret as Herod was in hot pursuit of the one who would come and overthrow his kingdom. So much so, that upon hearing of the King to be in the presence of a baby, he had many infants killed. The census would surely work at stopping any adult thought to be him, by searching any male that fit the bill according to the prophecy. Why did not Herod see the light, the one that the three wise men followed? Could it be that the light was not visible to all?

Another hymn answers the question for us. It says that the wise men were "taught by a star to know Thee" the Orient from on high. Clearly the wealthy, resourceful men, called wise, were eager to know who the king was, and were willing to travel at great expense and distance to go to him, prepared with their offering because they were sure that the babe that they were looking for, was the King of Kings, the long awaited One, the Saviour of us all.

We know that because they told Herod on their way, that it was He, a baby, that they were seeking. In their wisdom they did not go back to tell Herod that they infact, had found Him. Jesus was hidden from the heart of Herod, who was also seeking Him, but to destroy Him. Herod was close by, but never no matter how hard he tried, found Him.

It is clear that God invited those who He wished to be present at the birth of His son, Jesus. The lowly shepherds, and angels who glorified Him and the attendants who bathed the Christ child. Another hymn tells us that things in nature gave to Him in that secret place.

Jesus the pre-eternal God and creator of all things, Light of the world, enabled a star, (the uncreated light) to teach to the wise men, who the Son of God is, and where He was. All they had to do was come. That is what we are asked to do, come. Come and See!

The Light of the World, Jesus, extends to those who hear, an invitation to come to the stable. And like the wise men, who set the example for us to follow, Worship Him. They were never the same....and neither will you be.

For those who sat in darkness have seen a great light. He is the Light of World, to which the darkness cannot comprehend.

(1Cor 3:19) "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God"
Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.

There is so much we do not really know or understand. We must therefore step forward with faith and with hope. May the joy and peace of Christ be with you all this Christmas season, and may you receive every good thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How old was the aged Joseph when he espoused Mary?

Now most of you that know me, know that I am inquisitive by nature. One day, I saw a Christmas card that had a picture of a grey-haired Joseph. Now, you and I know that if that were the case, there would be a few changes in the story line. I believe it is important to promulgate the truth, so here are some findings as I know them, to help set the record straight.

Since I was a youngster, I had always thought of Joseph as being a young man, one that most grooms in America would tend to look like, energetic, thin and someone that would sweep his sweetheart off of her feet. In Joseph's case, we were led to believe by pictures and Chrsitmas cards sent through the mail, that he had dark hair and was considered to be a handsome man. And if your going to sell a screen production, perhaps that's what Joseph should look like. But, was it the case?

Today I watched the Nativity Story, a very good, and moving Christmas account that was, like the rest, a movie that guides the (viewer) to think that Mary would fall in love with him, as there were hints of a flirtation going on. Then of all things, he is shown delivering the baby, like any married man would do, in that unusual case.

There is a problem with that though. One of the Icons that I'm currently viewing in a book entitled ICONS, (introduced by T. Talbot Rice, Pg. 47, shows at the bottom right, two attendants bathing the babe. This plate No. 16 entitled Icon of the Nativity, First half of the fifteenth century, School of Novgorod. Formerly in the Ostroukhov collection, is now in the Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow.

Describing the Icon in part it reads: "The three kings and a shepherd appear on either side of her, having been guided to the spot by the angels shown in the upper register; below Joseph (who is shown at the bottom left of the Icon), hears of the Child's birth whilst attendants bathe the Babe.

Researching another source, The Meaning of Icons, by: Leonid Ouspensky, Vladimir Lossky, Pg. 158, we find "a confirmation" of two figures bathing the Baby on that Icon. It reads in part on page 160: "The two women are the two midwives whom Joseph brought to the Mother of God. This scene from everyday life shows clearly that the Child is like any other new-born babe and is subject to the natural requirements of nature."

The movie, The Nativity Story, shows Mary's father betrothing her to Joseph, a young man. He was probably in reality ninety. History tells of his previous marriage at forty, having six children, (2 daughters and 4 sons, which lasted forty-nine years. One of his sons was called the "Lord's brother, James (the less).

The romantic story of the young couple, certainly does not "fit" the facts one of them being that the "choice" of Joseph was made by God through a miracle.

I noticed that after Mary was espoused to Joseph, she questioned her mother as to why her father had done that to her, in the movie, saying that "she did not love him." Her mother indicated that it was out of necessity.

No wonder people are so confused as to the truth, when there are so many variations to the story of the greatest event in the world. (Taken from the Festal Menaion, the Nativity According to the Flesh, second canon) "Honouring Christ alone, our Benefactor, Who in His compassion is come into our midst. O Virgin, sprung from the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), Thou has passed beyond the boundaries of human nature, for Thou hast borne the pre-eternal Word of the Father. According to His good pleasure, by a strange self-emptying, He passed through thy womb, yet kept it sealed.

There was not much said in the gospel about Joseph the step-father of Jesus after the age of twelve. But what is known is that he did not fail to honor, respect and protect his family all the days of his life, in a way that most people today would not understand.

It was none the less, a great movie to watch, and no matter what the age of Joseph, or to what extent he actually participated in the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, he is one man to emulate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It may not come as a surprise that some people of the sixties, along with their many other revolutions against things like wearing a bra, having a haircut or simply refusing to go along with the way things used to be, decided that Confession was "not necessary." The trend caught on, so that it continues even to this very day. Clearly they are wrong...

Defiance is as good a term as I can come up with, as some have said, "I will not go to Confession, I do not believe in it." "He cannot make us go," another said. First, we must acknowledge that we are all sinners, knowingly or unknowingly, whether we admit it or not.

We can all buy into not wanting to. What are the benefits? Are there benefits we are not aware of? One I can think of is the prayer of absolution, removing our sins from us. Literally, a clean slate, so to speak..... Confessing to ones self, what good is that? You know what your shortcomings are, already. Can you really remember each and every one? Going to the Master, you will experience change. Change begins when you are ready to say ... verbally, I did... or I am...he knows already, but like any parent, He wants you to admit it.

We all know that wounds unattended to can fester, and in growing worse, may cause you greater discomfort or death. Are you suffering? Do you need healing from your sins?

It isn't just entirely what the priest says, but what happens to the spirit as you speak about "the hidden" because you are facing an Icon of Christ. The word is "exposure." Your life will change after the release of the unspeakable, because you have the courage to express it, let it out, and then the healing begins.

When I was a child, I used to hear people say, "you know what you are." Sometimes it takes a lot of thought before you can admit what you are. You sometimes don't even know, and even if you do, the first step in admitting it, is very hard. Take the alcoholic, for an example....Once the truth comes out, there is still much work to continue avoiding what makes you (sick) in the first place. Confessing it is only the first step. Not eating of or avoiding the fruit, is the second.

The bible shows us that Jesus is there, when we expose our inner most secrets, secret thoughts --in order to "free us" from any guilt or consequence of our "condition". He died for each and every sin, a free gift to us. Looking at the gospel, the people who had no compassion for the adultress woman, who was about to be stoned, was lovingly saved by Jesus from her death. (Who, without sin cast the first stone?)

During our Great Lent preparation, there is a Hymn of Kassiani, where the words read, the woman who had fallen into many sins, offered Him spices before His burial, as she was at that point, (the ointment bearer). Then, lamenting, before Him, a woman of woe because of her love of adultery and sin, wiped His feet with oils,her hair and tears, perceiving His Divinity. She hid herself because of fear. (Becoming Eve), in the garden of Paradise, was knowing full well His righteous judgments.

Eve, and the woman, attribute their failings and sufferings to sins, which has also given them a dark and lightless night. "O incline Thou to the sighing of my heart," she asks of the Lord knowing that He who can drawest the waters from the sea by clouds from the heavens, can wash her clean and make her renewed and joyful, by cleansing her body and soul.

"Confession is made unto salvation". Healing begins when you go to Jesus and ask Him to release you from the pain and suffering caused by your sin, and He, having heard you ask, does not turn a cold shoulder, but says "I forgive you." He is the only one that can deliver you from your bondage because of His great and rich mercy.

He is waiting to "set you free from the chains that bind you" and heal you from all your pain and suffering. Release your burden unto Him, alone. Confession is necessary for your well-being, healing and salvation. This gift is available through the priest, who has the ability to absolve you of your sins, having no further care for them.

And this, is another of the great mysterys offered by the Orthodox Church, as given by the Apostolic Tradition established by the early Church, appointed by Christ to the twelve. The Early Church understood that the grace of ordination endowed the shepherd of the flock with the discernment and compassion to speak the words of remission, on behalf of Christ, to those who confess and turn from sin. For God has promised the removing of sin from us "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps. 103.12), by the "Stirring up of the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2Tim. 1:6). It is the Grace of the Holy Spirit to enable the priest to serve God and His people.

Sometimes, you can only know these things through experience. There are no words to describe what God can do for you.....if you trust Him. Let go and let God. Receive the gift that God waits to give to you, and just to you alone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Naked Santa

We have come a long way from the truth, where the much revered St. Nicholas, having the title of wonder-worker and is known to help those in need, has been made an object of disrespect. Where is all this happening, pray tell?
In the good old U.S.A. specifically, in San Francisco, CA. where it is not against the law to be nude. And as such, as many nude Santa's are gathering and are trying to obtain the title of the most naked Santa's, in the world's record book.
I wonder how we got so far off-track? What are our children to do with irresponsible adults in their midst, who apparently have no more morals as common sense. Is this just the sign of the times or are we to expect worse? Can it get any worse than that? The world is watching us, and what do they see? Absurdity...A mockery of what was good, to what is now insanity.
Who needs that type of Santa? Who needs groups of people, which are applauded for their indecent agenda--that of the decaying and immmoral generation now in our country.
All the while, displays of the holy Christmas nativity scenes are not forthcoming.
Give us back Christmas the way is used to be. I want the real Santa, at least one with clothes on.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Virgin Mother of God

Can a virgin give birth to God without seed? Could the people of Israel cross the sea without getting wet? When listening to the words so wisely given at last night's service, one would wonder why the church was not packed to capacity, unless of course, you know the answer to the questions I just posed.

Those were some of the thoughts I had as a young married woman in my early twenties, as friends tried to distort the gospel truth, saying Jesus had brothers and sisters. Today, the Orthodox Church with its fullness offers an explanation. After Israel's passage, the sea remained impassable. This was indeed a miracle, so was Mary's virginity.

The Virgin Mother of God, remained a Virgin after Emmanuel's birth. He took flesh from Mary and became incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no one else on earth that came from Mary, who in the appointed time, gave birth to the Pre-eternal God, the Word who appeared as Man, for our sake. He was God before all ages....Glory be to Him!

Jesus invites us to come to the stable. Come and find Him. He is calling out your name.....Are you listening to His voice?

Thursday, December 1, 2011


December first, when people will be contemplating on their tree and gifts, I'm thinking about the Cave. Whether it is a Christmas tree or Holiday tree, it is still a tree. Your disposition is what makes it otherwise. We transform ordinary things to something spectacular. But are we transformed?

If I were an artist, I would draw a lifeless hole admist a hard rocky entrance. I would try to create a feeling of great trepidation and coldness. This, in my mind would not be a place of joy, but utter dispair. Darkness and I have never been friends. It would encompass feelings of sadness and loneliness. Yet, it is a place where many are accustomed to be--cut off by sufferings, pain, and grief. Self-loathing and unforgiveness and hate. For you too, there is a gift waiting for you in the cave.

But now enters into this place, (the cave), a young virgin, giving birth to a Son. And the cave became the queens palace, dispelling the darkness within the cave of mankind, with the illumination, therein. Her Son, is the Only Begotten Son of God.

Yes, you must enter into this cave to receive Him and He will transform your heart and give you the illumination of His everlasting light, peace and great joy.

It's not about the tree, afterall, but hope. Time to think about experiencing the Real Joy this Christmas.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday was

This is probably one of the hardest posts that I will write. Recently, on facebook the question came up about the amount of impoverished children we have in this country and the inability of the government to supply all the needy. The answer is that the government should not have had to care for the poor and needy in the first place as it was said that the responsibility was to the Church. There is no debate there. The early Christian people shared what they had and even in the early days of let's say the "Village" in the late 1800's people used very little money and relied on the swapping method. The bartering system worked pretty well as everyone worked at something "useful" that added to everyone's life. No waste, no junk. Giving was also measured in your time, as well as talent. Black Friday was just that, Blackened by the violence of the must have generation. Because, things are necessary to celebrate Christmas in order to be happy. The sad part is that the poor are subjected to this in order to fulfill the desire of their children, in the name of Love.

Capitolism, who understands it? Buying because everyone has one, or it's on sale. Rather than can we afford it or do we really need to have it. People have nothing, yet they are buying because it's Black Friday, getting them deeper into the red. What is really the value of most of the junk that's being sold, "in order to keep people working?" All we can think about is the economy....What of the poor, we have always had them with us.

Some are really unaware of the plight of the poor....out of sight, out of mind. So, is it the church's responsibility to care for the many poor? How do empty churches do that?

So, where do you go when there is no where to go and your poor? Maybe you can find a shelter somewhere, and perhaps (one) meal a month or two, if you can get there.

There are no easy solutions to the mess that has been created, and that has been coming upon us for many years. Material goods are created cheaper and therefore, need replacement at a higher cost, purposefully. (It's good business practice). Having to constantly keep up with the demand of buying and maintaining a car, (is one example), especially in parts of the country which alternative modes of transportation are not available, can drain any budget. Don't get sick, or need dental care, your screwed. And, don't grow old, who can afford those bills. Did you see how much it costs to bury someone today? If you own a home, taxation will kill you as water bills and heating bills are on the rise. Try not to concern yourself, it's afterall the Christmas season, where you are advised to shop 'till you drop.

How can some worry about pepper spray, shopping on Black Friday, and overwhelming debt when everyday they must be confronted by "how will we survive the winter"? Just paying the doctor bills and prescriptions and putting food on the table may be all some can handle.

The blame game goes on. The reality is that some have "no problem" making it the Christmas Season presented to us on television, with all the beads and glamour, and oh yes, they are making their charity contribution, while the rest do the best they can with the season of giving.

How can you give when you have nothing yourself. Will you put yourself deeper in debt, as you are told to by so many "must have commercials," designed to "move you." I have personally spoken to many who actually "hate this time of the year," because of it's expectations, finding themselves deep in depression, again.

I recall seeing at the "Village" a small hand-cut tree, which I call the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It had a square box filled with dirt and small handmade decorations, which at that time, would contain a small amount of candy, or small handmade toys, or mittens. Scarves and hats were also knitted as well as warm socks. Christmas was a shared event with family and friends but not to the extent that it is today. What has happened!

We must stop and take an assessment of what we are doing, before it is too late. Is Christmas now just for the rich? What is Christmas? Is it a commercial Christmas that we are celebrating? We are on the road to Christmas right now. Just where is it taking us?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Little Steps

Yesterday, as I walked with my 14-month-old grandson, I realized that my steps were not much bigger than his. And, as he reached up to hold my hand, being as short as I am, the reach was not overwhelming. That meant that we could walk long distances without discomfort. Many times I would pick him up and carry him. He's around twenty pounds, I guess, and that's pretty light for grandma.

He had many times been pushed around in his carriage, and "carriage rides" are still on the list one of his favorite things, as he is able to explore new things visually, while still being contained, that is usually the preferred vehicle.

Yesterday, the freedom of having no carriage, enabled him to run up and down ramps. This brought back many memories of my two sons, who did the same at that age, as well as my other older grandson and nephew. They all love to hear the sound of their footsteps against the wood and the graded upcline gives them a chance to practice walking, other than flat surfaces. Not only different sounds are "fun" but textures like grass, stones and natural dirt paths, are awesome to explore.

Seeing his shadow was also grand and I don't have to say, that one the highlights of our morning walk, was shuffling through the fallen, dried leaves, which I still love to do.

It didn't surprise me one bit that he ventured to climb the little ladder that led to the horse-drawn cart, which other children were enjoying in the playground area. Of course, we sat on the bench, just giggling, from time to time, as he indicated by pointing to my purse, that he wanted the usual snack. He is such a happy little guy and is delightful to be with always.

We never have a conversation, as he has not yet learned to speak, but the love and joy in his eyes are "ever present". It reminded me of when I was a little girl going for walks with my dad, who's only words were, "can you walk a little faster? Take bigger steps." Our evenings walks were one of my greatest treats. He would predict the weather by noticing a starlit or starless sky. My dad was a very handsome man and the love of my life, then.

I don't mind "small steps" as it gets you where you want to go. We didn't miss a thing. Maybe people should learn to slow down a bit, in haste they miss so much. In life afterall, it is the little
things that count, all the little endless steps and gestures, especially with someone you love.

In those little steps are found the joys in life, that if missed, you may never have a second opportunity to retrieve. I've decided that in all "little steps and little actions" that you actually capture all "the precious things" that in preoccupation and haste, do not allow you to see. It's something like reading to fast and not really comprehending the meaning. Or, taking the fast route somewhere and missing all the beauty that you would see otherwise.

I call all these moments, "the Kodak moments of my life" which are all captured and stored in the valt of my heart, for all time. I know we all have those moments which are both precious and eternal. Life was not meant to be lived in the "fast lane," hold firmly to those little, valuable and seemily time -wasting steps, as they are the foundations to where you want to go in life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When it rains it pours

Today, my thoughts and prayers are with my cousins who lost their mother yesterday, unexpectedly. We never want to think that death is at our door even when we reach the tender age of ninty-something.

In the early hours I was reading the tones from the memorial service, which reads in part, but to your servants, O Lord, with the righteous grant rest. Jeanette was a servant, wife and mother of four. She worked hard all her life, and when her husband passed on, she was especially devoted to her church, administering communion and attending daily mass.

My own mother-in-law will be making a huge transition in her life, and it will be a bit unexpected. At ninety-one the time has come for her to make this adjustment. I often wonder how many realize how fast time goes and how in a split moment your life and those around you can change.

We are all so wrapped in things, and places we must go that we are unaware of the actual scope of things until it hits us in the face. It will be emotional in both cases. Today, tell those that you love, that you love them. The right time is always, now....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living on the Grid

Today, I went outside after visiting a family member who is in a local hospital, to remove a good size branch and drag it into the woods behind our home. My husband took care of all but this one, which required cutting. We have not seen this kind of destruction in all the years that we've lived here.

Just a taste of winter fell in our area, prior to the big one on Saturday. Enough of a storm to require my shoveling and ice scraping of the front stairs and inclining walkway. I recall saying that our house was the only one that still had snow, while others, if they had any at all, had already dissapated, and having cleared up, turned into what appeared to be a very nice fall day. The news was that we were expecting more and this time it was predicted that some would get up to two feet of snow. It was almost laughable to hear for the month of October, pre-halloween for that matter, no such turkey.

Living in New England, you do not take anything for granted. We prepared for it. I made a large batch of beef kielbasa with cabbage and vegtables, boiled eggs and made sure we had roast beef and chicken in the house along with bread and water. But, no coffee or tea in the morning. Everything else would be consumed cold, should we run out of electricity. From all reports, they said we would.

Five thirty that evening, I looked out the window to see many of my trees hitting the ground, and with the wind blowing those heavy snow consumed branches, and power lines, I knew it was just a matter of time before we lost power. Sure enough, even as I was thinking it, it happened and we were in the dark. Vesper service which is usually at 6P.M., had already been cancelled. My car was safely parked in the garage, and after my husband's visit to his mother's, we were home for the night. (A long and cold one at that.) I lit the candle in the candle stand in front of the Icon of the Theotokos and turned the radio on, listening to a sports broadcast, we waited for some news. There was news alright, news of outages in our state, and Connecticut and Rhode Island. In writing this, there are still people that do not have their electricity back.

Having no power, means no heat, no refrigeration, no internet, no light, no nothing. Normally, most can stand this type of torment for a few hours or so, but this was way beyond what should have been a standard repair. Schools in Charlton and Sturbridge are still out in this area. That means no day care, as their is no power. No doctor's appointments, and for some, no work as their shops, stores or companies were closed. This is the first time I saw cars lined up at fast food shops with an hour wait for coffee, breakfast or any type of food stuff they could get their hands on. Gasoline stations were the same, as people were running out of fuel for their generators. Some had cords running from neighbors homes, hooked up in order to salvage food in their refrigerators. (I can tell you right now, I never want an all electric car.)

The Red Cross had to set-up shelters in area towns to accommodate cold and hungry people. Luckily, we got our power back the very next day, along with telephone, cable and internet. Many came by for a bite to eat, take a shower, use the computer, and do laundry.

As I sat in the near dark, I thought that years prior, people didn't have indoor plumbing, so they didn't have to concern themselves with plumbing problems, water damage from pipes bursting. They put out their fires every night and oil lamps, jumped into feathered beds to keep warm, and it was business as usual the next day.There were no lines, and the meal was from whatever they grew or bought. They had eggs, milk and food.

The headline of our local paper indicated that there were power lines down on every street. It wasn't like you could go out in the storm, nor after for that matter, as electrical lines were not always visible.

It's been long and winter as we know it, is not here yet. As I lay in the cold dark, I wondered how long my cell phone batteries would last, and if they could not be recharged, how would we reach anyone in an emergcncy? Why do we stay? What is ahead, afterall, we have had this wicked preHalloween storm, a tornado, earthquake, hurricane and all of that since June 1. There is nowhere to go.

We've come a long way baby, and there is no going back. For one thing, there would not be enough wood to burn for generations to come, and no body is going to give up all the modern conveniences to return to the outhouse, horse and buggy. Just what would we do with all the cars?

We will continue to live on the grid. Are the alternatives just too difficult? The way people survived in the past, is far fetched and unrealistic for our now "modern world". So.....where do we go from here, with another winter season fast approaching? What is the cost of living off of the grid to your health and possibly your life and your family, especially the elderly and youngsters, should these storms continue to plague this area? The past few years have shown us that there is reason for concern ahead. These are just some of the questions that you ask yourself, when it is dark, cold and your alone in an all-electric home in an all electric world, besides--where are the flashlights and batteries? And, I hope the snowblower works...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Naming of a Child

It has been a tradition in our family to name a child after a saint and also, a close relative. Usually, the first born son is named after the mother's father and the middle name after the husband's father. Such was the case for my son, Wm. after my dad and Leon after my father-in-law.

Not surprising, my grandsons middle name after both the grandfather and father, Leon and the second child after his father and grandfather, Wm.

It is a blessing to remembered in this way. Knowing that they'll not be any girls in my family, I know that no granddaughter will bear my name nor my grandmother's. Sometimes, other family members will, but I don't think it will happen and I'm resolved to it, as my neices have already named their daughters.

Several days ago, as I was reading the obits in our town, I came across a big surprise. The lady that had passed on had a step-daughter named Patricia. Many years ago, I met Patricia when she came to town to visit her new step mom and step brother, Jimmy. Her dad Bob, wanted to introduce her to someone she could hang out with, her age, while here in town.

I don't remember too much as it was many years ago. I often wonder if you touch someone's life, would they know you years later. I recall, she loved balony sandwiches with lots of mustard and loved to swim at the town pool. My sister Ruth, Patricia and I also went swimming at the big Alum in Sturbridge. We loss touch along the way, but, I recall someone telling me that she married her school teacher. I wasn't surprised as Patricia was an exceptional person. She always knew what she wanted and had a lot of determination.

As I read with interest that she now resides in Florida with her husband, it came as news to me that she had children. The first one was named Laura. Maybe I'm assuming that she remembered who I was, but more likely, it was an innocent coincidence, but it surely put a smile on my face.

You never know in life--what you do or say, may make an impression on someone. Sometimes, the smallest things make a large difference in the life of someone, unknown to you.

She must have made an impression on me, as I remember and can still invision in fact, her making that balony sandwich, while sitting at the picnic table with us, a few gigles as girls will, and lying on the beach soaking in the sun.

I wonder if she remembers me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A First Time for Everything

My mom used to say that there is a first time for everything. Yesterday, was that day. I've fed ducks at the Broken Wheel Restaurant, at least that was what it used to be called, many years ago, when I took my sons to feed the ducks left over scraps of bread, on occasion. It was located past the golf course, on the way to Connecticut. I remember it fondly, but have not been there recently.

Old Sturbridge Village offers an opportunity to see many ducks in the pond which is fed by the Quinnebaug River, in Sturbridge. They also have chickens running around in the yard of one of my favorite exhibits, on the Freeman farm. Just last week, I took my grandson, Ryan, who is a year old, to see the animals penned there, and he was fascinated by the chickens who came right up to the carriage. While we were there, one of the inhabitants came out with old bread and fed the remnants to the chickens.

Friday night, a few of us went to hear story telling, in one of the barns. It was to be a spooky story, told by a woman who could hold her audience captive, just by her eyes. She also made some spooky sounds. Designed to give one a haunting experience, she was a professional at what she did. I left her with a few stories of my own, and something to think about. It was a great night, with wonderful music and good food. Even though the chickens were around, probably safely in their coop, we would not have been able to see them in the dark. Lanterns lined the dirt paved road which was muddy from the rain. We took shelter in the meeting house during the unexpected downpour and listened to wonderful romantic tunes played by two young and talented guys, dressed in period costumes.

Yesterday, I met Tikhon. He has had his picture all over face book recently, and what was captured on the photo, was even more beautiful in person. His tale feathers are a spectacular blend of the blue shades that I love, something like the colors of a peacock. He has red eyes to match the red on top of his head. A handsome bird, and protector of his seven hens.

I can't imagine what inspired me to feed him worms from my hand. The chickens were well received by many who ventured back behind the shed to see them. Life in its simplicity is hopefully, where we are headed. It may not feel the same on a cold winter's day, though. Fresh eggs have been a tradition here in New England in the past, and for many generations to come, as well as hardy chicken soup.

Although, after meeting Tikhon, and finding him so admirable, it would be hard to think of him in a chicken pot pie.

Father said a quick prayer for the new birds and for these feathered friends, well being and great egg production.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are You Afraid To Swim

When I was a young one, I recall being afraid to swim. Yet, unknowingly my dad was not an average swimmer, but swam in the Quinnebaug River and deep ocean. I clung on to him crying. If you want to be successful in life then you must learn how to swim or you might drown, he'd say.

Often, the priest of the parish I attend reminds us that you must get out of the boat, trusting that God will save you if you start to sink, as did Peter. Trust is the beginning of finding your way in anything that you attempt to do in life. Knowing you have a safety net helps in all situations. Who is that safety net, makes all the difference.

Christ is that safety net in my life. If you push out into the ocean, eventually you will tire, and this is when you come to the realization that you are not alone and never were. Then and there, you find Christ in your life. He is the only one that can save you.

So venture out, unafraid and trusting because that is when you begin to live and go forward. He will be there to catch you if you sink, when you call out to Him.

Call out to Him, the only One who truely can make you whole. Most of us are sinking from our brokenness and failures of life. The cross that we must carry, whether of our making or not, is real and heavy at times. See (Matthew 11:28)

Your deepest hour may be your best hour when you "let go and let God." To swim, then, or to step out, you must first "trust in Him", as did Peter.

Proverbs 3:5-8 "Trust in God with all your heart, and do not exalt your own wisdom. In all your ways know wisdom. That she may cut a straight path for you; And your foot will not stumble. Do not rely on your own discernment, but fear God, and turn away from every evil. Then there shall be healing for your body and care for your bones." (The Orthodox Study Bible)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Response

Seems like yesterday that the young men and women vowed to go where few have, to hell and back, to hunt down those who would hurt our own. They pledged to avenge those who gave their lives helping those whose lives were being stolen from them, unexpectedly and without just cause. The over 400 response teams willingly sacrificed themselves, for folks unknown to them. We say they went straight to paradise. Other's call them heroes.

Courage pure and simple. The truth is, that God was watching and justice will prevail.

Ten years have gone by, and I recall at that time my son was a first responder and I was working for a newspaper. My oldest son was just married on the seventh, and the newly weds never expected to be escorted by fighter jets on their honeymoon. Things like this, do not happen in our Country.

The neighborhoods were full of American flags flying and stickers were also purchased for cars in support of our nation in duress. People were donating money, and supplies to be trucked where they were needed. Rescue on the way....

Shock and awe to put it mildly. Ten years have not removed the horrible images from our mind and heart. We still weep for the family's who have suffered so much loss, and it still pains us to remember.

Our response was, and still is, they were one of ours, and were not going to forget them. No we are not going to forget (period).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Still Lacking...

Yesterday's blog talks about a young, sincere man, wishing to change his life and follow Jesus, having "eternal life" as his prize. Yes, I'm still on it..., this little passage says so much to me and it's one that many can relate to in this modern world. Yet, it begins with "At that time," The gospel reading is from Matthew 19:16-26. The young man having the privilege of not only seeing the Master, is found to be "kneeling" in front of Him, and is allowed to address Him, calling Him "Good Teacher."

We know that the only one that can be called "Good" is the only One that is "Good," the only sinless One, Christ our Lord. After establishing who the young man is talking to, the young man asks how he can gain heaven. Simply put, he is to observe the commandments and "follow Me" that is, Christ Jesus.

There is a point in this scripture where we hear something familiar..., it reminds me of the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. This gospel lesson deals with a man who is always pleased with himself, and thinking he meets all the religious requirements, the Pharisee, unlike the Publican, is anything but humble, and is standing proud and arrogant in the presence of Christ. Matthew presents the young man on his knees, in the reading of Matthew 19:16-26, like the example of the "humbled" Publican. The mind and heart have yet to receive the perceived message of humility, as he says to Christ, "All I have observed; what do I still lack?" It was then, that Jesus answered to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." None of us are "perfect." We are all sinners trusting in God's mercy.

If you can take your eyes off of yourself, you will see Christ. "we" get in the way of knowing Christ and following Him, Is it about Him or "us?"

It would be better to have nothing, and possess the love of Christ. People often talk about wanting to be "filled" with His love. How can anything be filled unless it is empty first?

One of my favorite readings about the woman, who's role was the myrrh bearer, was on her "knees", knowing her disposition, was humble, lamenting. She, full of sin, desired to be healed. She had a fountain of tears to cry. Enough tears to wash the feet of our Lord and Saviour, who allowed her to kiss His feet and dry them with her tresses. He heard the groaning of her heart. The Saviour of her soul knew the multitude of her transgressions, and to her, He granted peace and great mercy.

When you lose yourself, like the myrrh bearing woman, you will find Christ. Then, you will hear Him (your only Saviour) say, "Come follow me," and I will give you life and life eternally.

What is the disposition of your reality? Can you truly be happy if you are still lacking?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Women

This past Sunday's sermon must have been good because I find myself thinking about what Father Peter said concerning the boy in the scripture verse. Two thoughts come to mind. It wasn't that he was rich, as God bestows blessings as He wills, that getting into heaven would be made a problem. The young man "desired" eternal life and wanted to know what he "must do." Jesus clearly said to him, "If you be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor," (His treasure would then be in heaven). "And come, follow me."

Do you desire salvation? The boy wanted to be saved, but could he follow Christ's directive? Accomplishing this goal would have taken from him perhaps, more than he was able to "freely give." "He went away sorrowful for he had great possessions." He did not choose to follow Christ, like the Women.

Today, I was reading my newest book, "Happy Birthday," A Novel --by: Danielle Steel. She has captured my attention each and every day with her dynamic books which I read like a sequel, while peddling my bike. It's what keeps me looking forward to the dread daily exercise, and I must give her the credit for my fitness endeavors. Delving into her chapters has become one of my favorite past-time activities. It was of interest to me how two characters, both sharing the same birthday, have something in common with the boy of Sunday's scripture. Jesus tells the young man, "If you would be perfect, go". The lady, now in her sixties, must strive to look like the perfect younger woman, with no roots showing, and having a superb figure, must be elegant and fashionable. There is even her so-called Botox treatments. The 50-year-old man is suffering from possibly a herniated disk, which he blamed on a night of "acrobatic sex", and a young woman of twenty-two. All he wanted for his birthday was no more suffering and the continuation of his lifestyle of sex and women. Girls were excited to go out with him, he's the "perfect man", a retired quarterback and sportscaster.

I suppose that this has become the sort of reality of life. We must live up to expectations which exceed our reality. But in reality, who we really fooling? Have we become like the scriptural reference of the woman, who had fallen into many sins. Prideful and perfect.

As father explained, in his sermon, "What is keeping you from the love of Christ?" Is it your possessions, passions or pride? Or, something else? We must be humbled to find the way to our Lord, like the Women, "caught up in a multitude of sins," as we learn from the hymn of Kassiani, who "perceived Christ." (Obviously, she had been studying Him.)

What she "perceived about Christ is His Divinity." She was a myrrh bearer. Seeking to kiss and embrace His sacred feet and wipe them with her hair, as was her role, before His burial.

Lamenting, she did not take her eye off of Christ, as Peter did and began to sink, but said, "Do Not Disregard me your servant....You, whose mercy is boundless."

We are too self-centered, in a self-centered world, who have often lost sight as to why we are here and where we are going. Have you ever thought about what your role is? Jesus, tells us clearly. "Come, follow me." The gospel message of Sunday teaches us that there is only "One who is good, and humble" and the myrrh hearing woman tells us that "His mercy is boundless."

The scripture ends with the words. "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

The scripture reference is taken from Sunday's bulletin and reading. (Matthew 19:16-26) Sept. 4, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Aw Sweet September

I thought I was much too tired to write tonight, but today was too special in the way of "firsts" to ignore it.

First of all, it was a very special birthday for baby Ryan William, his "first one." And each day now, I see that he is losing his baby ways. Standing alone unaccompanied, it won't be long until we see him walking along. I heard him say "give" the other day, an addition to this and that. Vocabulary although limited, is surprising which includes his trying to carry a tune. Car and carriage rides are his thing, and you don't hear a sound, except when he is trying to sing to the radio.

He's like his brother, when he was little. He loves music and making all kinds of sounds, even the "car" sound, "Broom, Broom". He's also quite the ballplayer, wants nothing to do with being fed, he'll feed himself. And, he has the most adorable and warm smile, to go along with his huge eyes.

He's a keeper, happy birthday, sweetheart, grandma loves you.

Today, we also resumed our Community Meal. Yes, it was a very busy day. I noticed how dark it was already becoming at 7:30 P.M. on my way home, and, in looking toward the sky while driving, I noticed a V formation heading South. We know in these parts, what that means. The Canadian Geese are heading away, as they do at this time each year. Just as in years past, it marks for us the unofficial ending of the summer and the anticipation of another season, Fall. It went quickly this year, and we wonder where the time went. Nathan will enter school soon, another first.

I will look forward to Loon Mt and the Scottish Festival, once again, and football, where my nephew Matt is anxious to show them all what he's got. I'd say he is a powerhouse all by him self. Go Matt....

Today, on the way to the hall, I noticed that the leaves are already starting to turn. The moss is thick on the trees, and we wonder if that means we're in for another intense winter. Apple pie, spice and everything nice. Sweet September has arrived. The porthole to a new season of welcomed coolness, painted landscapes, and the scent of burning wood.

Hey,'s the pumpkin coming? Children are so smart today. My one year old grandson was playing with the computer with his daddy, yesterday. And his older brother, told me all about the bus route and the numbers on the buses he will be taking, with much anticipation, in sweet September. That is, after he gave me all the details on the past hurricane and car show that he just attended. I understand that he gives weather reports now to his day care classmates. I think that soccer is now getting his attention. Last night, he met up with teammates old and new, wearing his sponsored team's shirt and spiked shoes, to play his first game.

Yes, it's sweet September, and I haven't even picked my first tomato yet. But we do have electricity and cable and all the comforts of life, following the recent hurricane. Life is good!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here we go Again

It's almost common, the preparation for threatening weather. Today, I find myself thinking about "where are the batteries" knowing that we could lose power during the storm. Darn, my freezers are full to capacity, of course. If outages are prolonged, we will have yet another mess.

Time to put it into prospective, glad it is not winter when we, if we lost power, could freeze. Texas is experiencing 100 degree temperatures. What an unpleasant situation that would present if our air conditioners were not functioning with all our humidity on a hot August day.

My woods are cool and never seem to be completely dry, even during hot, dry spells. Lots of beautiful ferns are growing there. Weather preceding the impending storm, Irene, will provide even more rain to saturated conditions.

This is a state of ample water systems, both natural and "man made". Some have been developed as a result of the last flood here in 1955. As a result of hurricane Diane, bridges were also constructed. The stability of even older bridges are questionable.

Mostly, there is a dam that holds water systems back from flooding the town. The surrounding land provides an escape for the water flow from the towns of Brimfield, and Sturbridge, which swell the Quinnebaug River, as well as from Charlton and other many brooks. I've seen it at times, overflowing into the roadway--full up.

That dam has been maintained and hopefully, will be strong enough to endure yet another hit. My folks told me stories of the '38 hurricane, in which many chicken coops flew threw the air with the chickens inside them. Can't even imagine that happening and what it would look like today as we no longer have coops around? My concern will be the uplifting of trees, as I live on a hill. We are located in a valley. I remember well what a flood can do. Get out of it's way if you can. The tornado missed us in June, but the 'Nor'easter' blew the tiles off of our roof this winter. I did not feel the earthquake of late, but Irene has me feeling a little uncomfortable. She could become a category four hurricane.

Time to prepare by doing laundry, and other household chores. And, to check to see if small items can be stored inside, along with the car. That means cleaning up the garage. Ugh! Just what will I do with the trash receptacle that the town has provided and, fits nowhere? The one that I had to chase down the street last time, (during a freezing Nor'easter), picking up the trash that it dumped everywhere! There obviously is allot on my mind.......

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting a moth stuck in your ear

Many stories of unpleasantness were found in yesterday's news, but this headline really struck home with me. Of all the unpleasant things that could and did happen, having a moth in your ear really has to stink.

How do you remove it? It must drive you crazy, that is if it is alive. The earthquake was surprising and again proves how vulnerable we and all. Luckily, tall buildings were still standing and little known damage occurred.

Aftershocks were noted and we all feel safe once again. But are we? We have been shaken and so have our foundations, leaving us less secure for the next hit, which is the impending hurricane, Irene. She poses immeasurable danger to many, especially those on the coast.

Yesterday, I recalled being in an earthquake building on the west coast when an earthquake of comparable size hit unexpectedly. Those who were with me, instructed calmness and told me to hang on to the thresh hold of a door, while office furniture rolled around the floor and blinds crashed from the left to the right side of the window. Rumbling sounds reminded me of subway trains and it was over as fast as it began, leaving the lights to sway. Preparedness was the key, having earthquakes in L.A. was somewhat a normal activity that people there grew up with.

Needless to say, on this the east coast, it was surprising, unexpected, and people are still reacting, somehow knowing that we, if we thought we were safe before this, know we will no longer be....And that includes the rare if anything, tornado of late. June 1st, was the same type of experience, one that visually, we will not forget soon, and never thought we'd get.

Today, I find myself thinking about the story of the three pigs. Do you remember it? Now the wolf is coming to blow the house down...Your house which may have "unknown" structural and hidden damage from the earthquake. Hurricane Irene.... is heading right in our direction, a category three. Waters which are usually cooled in this area are said to be unusually warm this year, meaning less of a chance for hurricane Irene to go out to sea and fizzle out. Are you prepared? Television wants to know if you are, with medications, water , flashlights, batteries, and food items? This time, you may want to take them seriously. I remember the fifty-five flood. Winds alone, can be devastating. Many of the dams in our area are weakened. The clock is ticking. We must face this with seriousness.

Why all of a sudden is there so much "unrest" and concern everywhere you look? Was it always there, or is someone trying to get our attention? You decide...

The three pigs were not equal in wisdom the story teaches us, yet, they all survived, not because they all had brick houses, but because they all had the common sense to stick together and in the end, the wolf went running away, having fallen into a hot pot. No matter who comes down your chimney, it's time to call on the only One that can and will save us, for His mercy and protection.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Never too Old to Learn New Tricks

This past week I did something that in a million years I never thought that I'd be doing. The question came upon me suddenly and surprisingly. "Will you take care of my dog while I'm on vacation, my son blurted out over the phone." Since they were leaving in a few days I knew that this was not a question out of the blue but one he thought of previously, and most likely knowing me, hesitated to ask. Normally, his sweet little girl dog, a snoodle, would have been bound for the nearest kennel. Not that the kennel doesn't do a good job, he wanted me to "enjoy" Madison.

I paused, not quite knowing what to say, as I've never had a dog, and wondered if I was capable of "watching" her 24-7. Well, it wasn't quite seven, but a barking dog in a quiet neighborhood is incomprehensible. He continued by saying, that all you need do is feed her the allotted portion of food per day, and have clean water in her bowl at all times. Reluctantly, after checking with grampy, the answer was "yes". (Other's who have seen her in action, would have said no, and thought that I'd have my hands full.) In a few days, I was to be responsible for the well being of a dog which my friend, Linda, typed as "hyper." I do recall at the lake, while she was tied up, she'd bark endlessly, and would run left to right repeatedly, like a mad dog.

That night they came over to leave "her" with me. Instructions, kisses and they were on their way. We kept Madison in another room with the door closed so she would not witness their leaving, thinking like children, it can be sometimes upsetting. Sure enough she started to cry somehow knowing that they had left without her. I imagine, that having a dog since four months of age, it does have it's effect on the emotions of all concerned.

I dog proofed the house in order that she could move about without any danger to bother her and my home. I already learned that she would in fact jump off of the bed, even though she didn't do it at home. After the short session of tears, see went around smelling where her mommy and daddy had been.

I was given a brief instruction as to how to hold the leash and take Madison for a walk out back to do what I was to tell her "go potty". That all went very well, and for the first night she probably went more than she needed to go, as we were both getting used to "understanding each other" which included a 1:45 a.m. false alarm. (Truly it is better to be safe than sorry).

I was very surprised that she warmed up to me instantly, cuddling on my side and coming to visit me several times during the night to be reassured that I was still there with her. She even licked my feet. There were times when she barked at me at close range. (I don't know who was more reactive her or me). I would respond by telling her to "sit down" with a tone of my own, and each time she did, I told her she was a "good dog." Soon, as there was no need to bark, and as it did not get result for her, she discontinued doing so.

We got to know and understand each other very well that week, as I took her for walks, fed her the very boring dog food, and entertained her with television. I even took her on the swing with me, and made her a makeshift "tent" from a blanket, to offer her shade on a very hot afternoon. Knowing she had become a very good friend, and never leaving my side for the most part, I ventured to slip her into the pool, drying her with a towel. Not even a sound did she make. Amazing!

She came with a squeaky toy bone, which we passed in the yard, and ran around the table playing peek-a-boo, doggy style. Of course, she looked forward to grampy's evening strolls as well.

The only time she barked was when her parents "returned". Other than that, she was attentive to two things, when someone came to the door, leaving my side to check on who it was, and when the telephone rang, dashing into the kitchen, silently. (She learned that from me.)

Somehow, she understood that I didn't want her to bark, and, that I took her out regularly so she would "not have too". It was a matter of scheduling and understanding how she acted.

Initially, her little legs would shake and grandma knew that she was scarred and had to be reassured that we cared for her. That did not take long. She gained so much "trust" that she even went up and down staircases that her parents said she would not do.

As she was going home, she did what my other grandchildren do, stop, look back and smile. If I had to say just one thing to dog keepers about how to treat their animal, it would be with patience and tenderness. They bark because their scared or maybe they do it because you expect them to. They do not listen to yelling, rather they prefer a "soft tone". If they are in a frenzies, just maybe they are reacting to your having lost control, a dog "barking" is not "listening", but venting. (That is, trying to get your attention.)

If I wanted her to hear what I had to say, I simply held her leash, gave her a quiet command that began with her name and her looking at me. Having held her close in this manner, it made her feel secure and only too happy to obey. I even used "baby or sweet talk" and she loved it. She was a pretty little princess, with soft white clipped curls and large puppy-dog eyes, who wants what everyone else wants--to be loved.

My son said she was very happy here. Of course, I try to make everyone feel at home in this place. Then, the question came, "would you take her again?" "Yes", I said, she is such a wonderful and well-behaved dog, at least for me. She loves her grandma I can tell.

Loving is not the hard part. Her parents were glad to see their "girl". The shoes that she will smell in the evening will no longer be grandpy's but her daddy's. My son said, "do you think she missed us?" Well, what do you think? Of course she did.

This was my first experience with our little "grand daughter Madison." She is all that they say she is and more.....Now and then, I find myself thinking about her and the things that she does in her specialness.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today, we buried one of our own...

It was a very difficult funeral today, bringing back so many memories.

When I was a little girl my dad used to weep at the grave of his mother, Laura, who I never knew personally, but through the hearts of her children, my dad, aunt Betty, Bella, Armand and newly departed Irene.

During the mass for the departed, a neighbor got up and told the story of what Irene was like. It rang home like a bell. Always in the garden, baking and serving her family and neighbors. A woman who liked people and loved art and her natural surroundings. She loved to laugh, and enjoyed children and pets. Roland and Irene won a contest dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, I recall. My dad used to enjoy Halloween, too! Uncle Roland was always clowning around. They were from a generation that made their own fun, and rolled up their sleeves to help others in need.

The little tea cups and small breads and the comfort of home and family, were shared by all the siblings, as well as aunt Irene. Stephen's country wedding, with candles all over their beautiful home, was what you'd see in a Better Homes magazine.

I too received a Christmas decoration from her, (an angel), as I understand from the neighbor who spoke in church of the fond memories of my aunt, doing the same for others. My kids enjoyed her company, remembering that she came to family picnics with fish earrings on and a large straw hat, long jean skirt, always fanning herself in the heat and laughing contagiously, while complaining of the hot flashes to all the aunties.

Once, when the Beaver got into a car accident, she had my sister and I over to help occupy herself with business, of being a good auntie. She made us dollar size pancakes with syrup and with her huge heart, loved us to pieces. Then, there were the long country strolls and conversations.

The lady at church mentioned the penny candy, and, it all rushed back to me of how both she and uncle Roland were so welcoming. They took me to the beach for the first time, in Uncle Roland's bread truck. I can still see the whole family and all the white sand, everywhere. The family picnics and the family reunion of yesteryear, poured out today just like watching a video clip. Even remembered the little "mud hole" swimming parks, where we gathered as a family for picnics.

Karen, her only daughter embraced me in church, and I knew her heart was breaking. I remember to well the experience of losing my mother. The grand kids said it best, "they are all there together, missing us as much as we miss them, having one heck of a back-yard party". "And she's with Pepe'." The love of her life, Uncle Roland.

We know that everything will be alright now. If something needs fixing, Aunt Irene will see to it. She knew who Jesus was and now will behold His face.

Ninety-one years ago she was born to a tiny mother who had six siblings. Irene was between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds at birth, having much determination to live, having been placed in a shoe box behind the kitchen stove. She grew up amidst a vegetable garden with her father's prized strawberries, probably chasing after chickens. Later, after the return of Roland from the second world war, married and devoted herself to him and their children.

I spent many happy days on the huge swing in the back of the garage--does anyone else recall it, it was located just above her lovely garden? Remember the countless antiques that were stored over the garage stalls? Or the many walks we took up Paige hill and over Clemence hill? Who could ever forget the sledding in the winter, hot chocolate or cookies. We won't.

Courageously Dave and Stephen her sons, walked in front of her, together, down the isle to say their "so long for now" to a wonderful lady, their mom.

We are lucky, because we are the inheritors of a beautiful legacy of a loving family. We were reminded once again, that this world is a better place because of them, and because of her, by Fr. Peter Joyce.

Rest in peace, aunt Irene. You will be missed. And...May your memory be eternal.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In The Good Old Summertime

Living in New England, we learn to cram in all the events, for summer is short then, it's preparation for the winter. This weekend is our church festival, which I am looking forward to.

Saturday, will be our family day at the Village, where they will feature all sort of fire displays and old-time fire-fighting techniques. I know my grandsons will have a great time, as there is something for everyone, we will all have a fun day.

Yesterday, Nathan finally got to see the sawmill in operation. A water powered operation, about one thousand pieces of wood would be cut in a day. A back breaking effort to produce pine wood cuttings that would serve for floor boards and siding. Nate's been waiting to see its operation for some time. Other activities included: the horse-drawn-ride through the covered bridge, the boat ride on the Quinnaboag, where Lilly pads and their flowers were the featured highlight in its natural habitat, that is, until a turtle was spotted on a floating log.

The boys enjoyed seeing the ducks and wild birds at the Mill Pond, along with the fish visible from the shore. The benches and breeze in the shade, provided the much needed respite from the heat of the day. It was quite pleasant all in all, in it's primitive setting. Nathan thought it funny to see planes flying above, somehow, not fitting into the scene of the late 1800's.

There were goats and chickens, gardens and cows chewing their hay rations. Nate got to see cow-milking the old fashioned way. Ryan just took it all in, enjoying the boat ride and the animals. Just like in the car, when we stop at the light, when the horse ride stopped, he cried wanting more....

Nathan enjoys pumping water and washing his face and hands at the well. Yesterday we didn't have time to play at the playground designed for kids with a Village theme, as we were looking forward to a dip in the pool at Grandma's house, before dinner. The biggest excitement of the day for Ryan I think, was watching the hot air balloons go up into the air, giggling and kicking his feet and hands, clapping as they ventured upward.

It was thrilling to see the way they blew up the tissue-papered-fashioned globe-like beach balls, utilizing steam from a tube, then releasing them as they became full of hot air.

Grandma enjoyed it just as much as they did....The balloons did not go very high or far. I wonder if that is where we got the expression, "full of hot air?" I'd like to try and make some of those....clever!

They didn't have much in the village then, that is, of course according to our standard, but they had a lot of "do it yourself kind of fun." Then as now, there were also serious times, which was made evident by a very impressionable flag display, consisting of many rows of red, white and blue, at the Village entrance. It is a reminder of sacrifice, God and Country. A presence of the 4th of July, and the roots of our great nation.

Nate will be entering school this year. I cannot believe how smart he alread is. And Ryan, is just learning how to walk. He cannot wait to walk in his brother's steps, especially to drive the new vehicle Nate got on Saturday.

Nathan told me that he liked my hair yesterday, just like in the picture that grampy and I took in the "Love Boat, with my bangs on the side." I never would have quessed that! Children take it all in and sometimes they surprise you with their comments. Nate and Ryan miss nothing. And, that's a good thing, in the good old summertime.

Friday, July 1, 2011

When the trials of life get you down

When the trials of life get you down, the old saying is to whistle a happy tune. (I was never good at whistling). Other's say, set your mind on something else. I say think happy thoughts.

So what is getting my goat? Don't have any goats--it's another old expression that means getting me frustrated. Ants...We have had a rainy season and wouldn't you know, no matter how much I clean this house, empty trash cans, rinse all containers, and take the measures to prevent bug attraction, they find their way into my home. That means of course, that we must have a nest somewhere of those black carpenter destructive-nuisance-type ants.

Yesterday, I saw one after another following each other on my white kitchen wall. The exterminator will come next week. I went to the store to pickup ant cups, which I have placed here and there, over the back door particularly, as that is where they have been spotted, once again, as in years past.

The family next door has a collapsible pool right next to my deck. I know that ants like water, so that is where I placed the food that attracts them, hoping that they will bring the substance to the nest in order to destroy it.

It is time for my vacation as everything seems to be magnified, at this point, making a mountain out of a mole hill. The winter was especially hard, then came horrendous storms, including the tornado, which is uncommon for our area. Planting is done, now to keep the critters from destroying our gardens. Life is a constant battle here in New England. Come to think of it, it's everywhere you go. People living in warmer climates certainly know what insects are like. Some do not even have the garden snakes that are present in my back yard, but the real venomous type. Yesterday, I found a tick on my living room rug, and I don't even have pets.

Today is gorgeous, I think I'll go out soon. I can hear the birds that surround my home, the finch and wrens, which are so colorful especially the yellow ones. Their song is always so joyful and it makes me give thanks for the little things in life.

Just the other day, I was taking my grandson out of the car, and because it was pouring, I placed an umbrella over our heads. He immediately started to show his delight as the drops hit the cloth. I wondered if he had ever been under an umbrella before, truly enjoying this moment with grandma. Nathan and I have spent many such days, with the canopy overhead swinging and enjoying the day, especially in the rain. Now, it appears Ryan has a lot to look forward to... the chocolate chip cookies, carriage and sled rides, and his first birthday cake. He will need to cut additional teeth, and soon he will take his initial walking steps, alone.

Life is full of cycles of all type. We learn to accept the good with the bad. The shortness and goodness with each of the seasons, and their constant change. I appreciate the small things, like ice cream and flowers, friendships, and children's laughter. Soon we will pick blueberries and see fireworks and of course it will be time for the church festival. So much ahead and crammed into so few summer days.

Humor is one of life's greatest medicine. Our oldest grandson taught us that on Wednesday, when we got together for dinner to celebrate birthdays in June. He simply said, "Do you want to hear a joke?" We thought that funny. Clever for a five-year-old. I hope someday that he will learn to tell great jokes. A sense of humor just may get you through the many trials that life throws at you.

Wishing you all sunshine....laughter.... and a wonderful 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Extend Love to another person

We as Christians are called to extend Love to another, "the whole person". The reason being that we find God's presence in each and every creation. God "is everywhere present and fillest all things." We are therefore called to love even our enemy. Loving someone who lives to hurt you requires forgiveness, and knowing that we are all sinners helps us to look upon another with mercy. You must forgive those, even when they cannot forgive you, putting your feelings last.

So how do we love the whole person? Seeing that person in "a stage of infancy" helps. Like all babies, communication must be non-verbal. Sometimes, the less we say, the better. Our approach must be with a smile to calm their fear. You must meet their needs of hunger, comfort them in their pain, and carry them when they cannot walk. Most of all, let them know they are loved and that they are never alone. And,'s baby steps. Remember the slogan, "did you hug your child today?" Are we not all children? If God is our father, we are His children.

Developing and gaining "trust" with another person, no matter what the age, requires that you put yourself last and be willing to "listen" to their need. Some people are slow to react due to their "hurtful, past or present experiences, sometimes caused by others. Be a friend--extend a hand.

The world will be a better place when we learn to find Christ in others and "learn" to love one another. Then, will we be like children, having a loving Father and knowing His great peace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease

Tonight on our local cable network channel 12, aired a special meeting where residents met with officials and agencies trying to help them pick up the pieces. There was such a large panel of people that I was amazed.

Tornado victims had concerns about mostly trees fallen on their property. Some had trees on their property deposited from other properties unknown "from where." to them. The question? Who is responsible for those trees? I began to see some of the "after effects" of the storm. It may be a very long grind...

Expectations were that of what can the state, town and federal government do for them. Unfortunately, where there is no funding, little. I heard that "when and if" the money came forth, work would be accomplished. The biggest word in the conversation besides the word "if" is patience.

Then one man, was upset because he didn't get the "memo" on the warehouse temporarily established to aid people with non-perishables and other items like, rakes, gloves and groceries. It went from full-time to part-time then, to appointment only, as attendance teetered off. Some goods were sent to replenish local food pantries. He was disappointed in "signage", looking to blame. Shame on those people who should have been grateful instead of "hateful". We are spoiled consumers and our expectations are extended to free-bees. People gave to the tornado victims who did not indicate a particular town, but as I understood, "communities" of people of devastation, sharing as "needed."

I attended to some of the sweetest and unfortunate kind-hearted folks who were appreciative of those who volunteered their time and money to help others. Some giving of their time, everyday to exhaustion. The warehouse brought water and other essentials in a very efficient way to many in need. I say well-done, bravo.

Should I be disappointed by the attitude of a few, or dwell rather on the good things that some do for others because they have a heart for their brothers, including the ungrateful ?

People still cater to the squeaky wheel who will in the end, get the grease, just to shut them up, sadly. "We used say in our neighborhood, "let the baby get his way." Right or wrong, we do.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who is Most Wise

My little posts probably go unnoticed by many while others, have bluntly told me sometimes they find them boring. Some are faithful readers, I wish I knew who you are...

The funny part of this is it doesn't matter if some do not like your stuff. It's my time....Simply put, you cannot make anyone happy. It does make me happy to write, in my "spare time, which is limited by many outside activities.

Recently, the tornado victims have had their share of much to do from our church. Thursday, the community free meal, is expected to be well attended. Anticipating the need for baked items is my concern, since the priest is to be "chef of the day." We welcome all that have need or, wish to attend.

Amongst the many activities, church services are always "my priority", and the subject for today, is the 50th class of our high school, who graduated this weekend, with the hope of further education. Our church was one of many who offered a scholarship. I wish them luck in obtaining the education to become useful servants in our society.

If I had the opportunity to speak to them, I would reference the Troparion of Pentecost. "Blessed are You, O Christ our God, who has shown forth the fishermen as supremely wise," ("most wise" is another way it is written) I hope this class will be most wise in their decision making.

We do not hold fishermen to be wise, obviously they are "made wise". They are made wise by the "Holy Spirit." Through them, we learned who Christ is. And, unfortunately, that is folly to the world.

In wisdom there is strength. I thought about the many years that have passed since my graduation, where many went on to college to learn about what they can do for themselves. They have found the way into the world of materialism, authority and recognition. A road without Christ, for many of my classmates, led to a lack of peace.

The road you choose to take will be either self-serving or selfless. I hope you will be like the wise fishermen, who received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and Life, and "acquire" the Spirit of Peace, on a road that leads to serving your neighbor.

The only question at the end of the road is "did you know and serve Christ, and did you, like the fishermen who were most wise, draw other's into the net?" If you did these things, then you will have "acquired" the spirit of peace.

A road without Christ is a fruitless endeavor. The choice is yours....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Community Help

This past week, yes in fact one week ago today, we recall the events that led up to, during, and after the tornado touched ground in the state of Massachusetts. It has been a truly emotional week, recalling near misses and reaching out to those who were not so lucky.

Like all storms that have been devastating more frequently around the world, the first response is confusion. What do we do and who is in charge. We must go by the "rules" of engagement as if this were a military operation otherwise, we'd be like chickens, running around with our heads cut off. So, organization is a good place to start. Sometimes, it gets in the way of helping and other times, it prevents further devastation from happening. People rushed in with their chain saws attempting to relieve trees from houses, only to have them in their inexperience fall on them. We hear that it has been suspended, and now under proper advisement. Another poor man, working on his roof, unable to afford hiring someone to clean up, fell off of it leaving his family to worry about "him" in addition. Officials quickly marked some homes as condemned, just like we saw on television, homes were color coded with spray paint.

Our church collected non-perishable food items which has now been forwarded to a warehouse locally. Some tornado victims came to the hall to pick up a few grocery items, rakes and gloves. During the week, we had our usual "Community meal," in which we offer to those who wish, a free meal. Thursday we expected more people to come, especially the victims of the tornado. Since they didn't know about it, sadly, none of them came. Years ago, we had radio communication in this town, where the announcer would have broadcast the message that would have reached out to those in need. Ours like so many other stations, have taped music and is not a viable community source. We need to work on reaching the people with greater efficiency. Yes, the red cross came out, and we thank them. IOCC responded and we thank them as well as many other organizations. If you ask who was in charge....few knew. Television postings are not always up-to-date and sometimes the information is wrong. Certainly it does not help those who have lost their homes and have no means of watching. We lost power, some have just recently been restored. Battery operated radios worked.....Cell phones do not always why don't we stick to what does? Communication in this area remains to be a major problem. Roads were closed and people travelling did not know it, many of them heading into the first and second tornado, on their way home from work. Had they been listening to their radio, (if a local station were broadcasting,) they would have not been, as my husband said "stuck" not knowing where to go. It was by radio that I heard the city of Springfield had been hit and Brimfield and Sturbridge as well, on a battery operated radio in the cellar. I was caring for two small children, and I didn't have any notice of an impending storm, until one of my friends called with news of bad weather ahead. Years ago, our town had a warning horn that would alert residents to danger. What happened to that system? We are sitting ducks in this town needing improved ways to reach its people, before and after catastrophic events.

So while the power struggle goes on, who gets to the people? The answer is people do. Our residents were taken in by (neighbor's family and friends). The capacity to love one another still exists here in our community. Tornado Aide was established by compassionate people, through the Internet. Postings of what is needed and where, have answered the call. It is still going on....

Sunday afternoon, I met some of the victims as they came to St. Michael Church for help. I recognized Betty Ann. I hadn't seen her for years. We spent some time talking, and she reached out for the hug that no organization can give. People caring about people.

I have come to realize that the greatest power you can have is on your knees. Established organizations claim their authority in responding to community need, and as good as it is , it does not go far enough. During an emergency other towns and cities may be the protocol to help, but not in a timely manner. You still must rely on those close by to get you to a hospital or out of harms way, in many cases.

People helping people, is where basic immediate needs are met, the old-fashioned personal way. Genuine love for one's neighbor, in a hurting community now devastated by an unexpected tornado, is the response in Massachusetts, which has been enormous by all account. The love and outpouring is immeasurable.

On Saturday, we will have a liturgy at our church for the dead. Those who died will be remembered by many who did not personally know them, except to say, they were our loved ones in our community, our brothers, and sisters, our family.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Surprise TORNADO'S

I'm a person who has premonition. Looking back on what was a beautiful afternoon, I found myself outdoors hanging the wet towel and bathing suit that my grandson wore to the pool prior that day which I washed in the sink. Recalling, that around three o'clock it would be too late to swim in the pool, besides the fact that dinner was to be had shortly. Normally, daddy or mommy would be picking up the kids after a long day's work. By four, Ryan was awake from his nap, and was starving, so he was fed early.

It was odd that I found my missing radio just last week, the one that runs on batteries. Yesterday I placed it on the bureau, thinking, nice to have around in the event of an emergency. Today, in speaking with my sister-in-law Jayne, I recall telling her, that for some reason, around one, while my grandson and I were having our lunch, we talked about being prepared, just in case we had to go down to the cellar. I told him that I ask Jesus to help, calling on His name. Unknowningly, this was hours before the storm.

I didn't have the television on so I didn't know about the "weather" until Fr. Peter called saying that our church service that evening may have to be cancelled due to severe thunderstorms and nasty conditions ahead.

Pre-warnings by family, got us into a state of preparedness. The radio, flashlights, phones, water, meds., food, bottles, and babies diapers, etc. So much to think about in a very short time. We are always somewhat prepared but not for tornado's. This was the real deal, it had struck Springfield, and was on it's!

We decided on where we would be and told others where by phone, just in case, with our cell phones and protection. We lost power, but it came back on. The battery operated radio, told us it hit Brimfield, possibly fifteen minutes or so, away. The next report came that home in Southbridge had been flattened, as well as the airport, and was going in the direction of
Rte 20, and Rte131. John was coming home in the direction of the tornado. He saw the darkness and took shelter at a CVS in Charlton. Angie called from Auburn, not sure of how to come home, as Sturbridge toll booths were taken out, also coming in the direction of the tornado. As she called Bill for instructions as to get home, John was heading toward Worcester Street, having left his shelter, with the first tornado having come through. What he didn't know was that Worcester Street was closed with a second tornado coming, he was headed to Sturbridge, straight into it.

He took shelter once again, this time, at the Host in Sturbridge. It is still unknown how many tornado's actually hit Sturbridge. He came back to Southbridge using the same back road as Angie and Bill, Mashpaug Road. Travel was dangerous due to fallen wires and trees, some were not passable, other's closed.

Bill and Angie are safe, in the tornado hit area, which surrounded them in Sturbridge, and did too much damage to tell about. Especially the airport which abutts them, in Southbridge. He and the grand kids made it home, just before the second tornado came through.

Meanwhile, John, Jayne and Matt, saw the swirling debris from their back door in Charlton, which was the tornado's next destination, after much destruction on the Worcester Street area Or, 131 route of Southbridge. It hit at the end of their road at the intersection.

What happened? When I took preparedness courses, we were always told, don't worry, we never have tornadoes in Southbridge. Bill saw it pass as he was on Main Street, a sight that the weather enthusiast will not forget.

remember the old adage....NEVER SAY NEVER.

Today, although shaken, and very sad over the loss of lives and for those who must contend with the aftermath, I am very thankful for the early warning as "God was with us."

And, I felt His hand in every conversation and action. Our family was saved by our prayers and we are certain of that in each story that I mentioned above.

Looking back, our technology has helped us to safely come out of the storm, as much as possible. Computer readouts showed us where it was coming from, and when. Telephone cell calls enabled us to keep in touch with commuters and family members. And thanks to our dedicated emergency personnel we made our way through the darkness.

Jayne said that she found a piece of someone's shingle in her yard along with a dunk and donut coffee cup.

This is a story I thought I would never have to write...Like the '55 flood, we will pull through, neighbor helping neighbor, and with the faith that is instilled within us, "we know we are never alone."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Believe in Christ and pass into LIFE

We hear that Camping was wrong, and now says it was spiritual and not a physical change -- that the end is still at hand, in October. The problem is he gives a date...No such animal, sorry. No one knows when Christ will return with a shout and glory. If I recall correctly, we have been living that "end-time promise" since Christ left, saying He would return, at the time of His Ascension.

The coming of Jesus into the world brought Judgement. (John 9:39) "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." Commentary says "The brilliance of Christ's light becomes illumination to some, but a blinding glare to others." (Remember why He was crucified. Those who heard and saw, but did not receive the message of Christ as the Son of God).

We are told in scripture, John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

Christ, at the end of days, will come in His glory as Judge of the world, and we call that the "Second Coming" and have been waiting with vigilance. This is not new Mr. Camping. We believe that the dead in their graves will hear His voice, and the Son of Man who has the authority to "execute judgment" will hear His voice and come forth. Those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will"

In the end, it is not our choice, but His. And, if we follow Him, as we do have the ability to choose to love Him, and to serve Him by our "free will," actions and work, it really is up to God, not us. His will not ours. Some boast of "their acceptance" of God as their personal savior. It is not that simple, as a one time action that will decide salvation for you. The bible clearly says that you must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, imitate and become Christ-like, in our actions toward our neighbor, doing good works. Remember, even the evil spirits knew who He was. No, it is not by our "faith' alone that we will gain the Kingdom of heaven. We at hearing, believing and following Christ, illuminated, must become new creatures, not of the darkness but of the light. Christ in us....And

We can only pray for God's mercy.

All scripture references and commentary, are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Our little inventor of the Rapture, got one over on us to the tune of umpteen dollars, and despite the fact that many children were affected by this little white lie, he fared out pretty well, I'd say.

People, who may have gotten burnt by the last horrific tale should have learned from this experience. So many were deluded. What will it be next time? Never mind, that's not important, just raking in the loot and the laugh he got at other's expense, was probably his objective.

I guarantee, if there were a rapture, and there will never be one with other's left behind, he would miss the boat.

Where do you go from here? Since you didn't learn from your mistakes, you'll probably make it again. Somehow, you just have to hold on to the fantasy, and would rather listen to a Johnny-come-lately that does not have the slightest idea of how to "read" the bible, misinterpreting it for his own gain, than a reliable source.

Why not just find a church that is apostolic and can be traced back without change, that has passed the faith down, whole and spotless from the beginning. You can trust that they know what they are talking about. They "are" out there.

But, not in the way he is out there....If you get what I mean.

In the end, you have to ask yourself, why would God trust a secret to an ordinary man, (a nobody), when His Son, when asked, didn't even know? Isn't it enough to know that Jesus will come again and be prepared for His coming? We must keep a vigilant watch, for we do not know when. The bible does talk about that. Now for those of you wh0 are unconvinced of this hoax, show me where the word Rapture appears....I'm waiting!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Didn't know what I would entitle this post until I listened to "One Day More" from (Les Miserables) available at which came from a friend from NY this morning.

Thanks Steve, it is perfect. If you listen to the song, what can be considered a "joyful event" to some, would be horrific to others. You see, while some would be taken, those remaining would suffer a terrible loss. (I'm glad that the rapture is not one of the beliefs that I hold.) Losing those I love would be unbearable and unthinkable, in my selfishness, I can't let them go. My God is a loving God, yet another reason to hold this belief to be, "insane".

There are other factors to consider such as; timing. The way the world is we are never on the same schedule time wise, so how can one be so precise. The bible says that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow--there is no such thing as time with Him, it is man-made.
I have read several accounts, some say 6 P.M. some 6 A.M., What! Can no one get the story right?

Then, of course are the ridiculous pictures of people floating into the air. These are living people. Are they to go through metamorphosis in the air? Certainly at some point there would be no oxygen. And where are they going? Astronauts haven't seen anything, any place as yet. I don't think there is enough suntan lotion to prevent burning up. What kind of delivery is that in the first place. There is no pie in the sky either, what will they eat. No bathrooms, I'm not going, willingly at least. What of those who are fearful of heights. We can joke all we want, but in thinking this entire thing over, it is truly irrational.

Timing or place a time that is , is a problem. Some have claimed that Jesus is already here. If you believe that, there is little hope for you. The bible is clear on how Jesus left, from where he left, and how he is to come back. The reason He will come back, and what will transpire after His return.

No, it will not be in a spaceship as some have suggested. We are told in (Rev. 1:7 ) "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so. Amen" After reading that, how can anyone think that He has already come back? His coming back is expected, has been expected even since He left, and will be no secret. Further, coming with clouds. There will be cosmic signs. (Luke 21:25) "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; (26) "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (27) "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
The bible does not talk about rapture, and neither the Early Church...doesn't that strike you as odd?

Luke tells us when and how we are to be ready. (Luke 21:34) "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. (Unexpectedly, means unexpectedly! We will get no warning, thank you very much, whoever started this false rumor).

Matthew gives us a little more information in saying: (Matt 24:29)"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and power of the heavens will be shaken. (30) "then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Mark concurs that the Son of Man will follow the tribulation. (see Mark 13:24)

Yes, there a time for sorrow, like the birth pangs, an image taken from childbearing and the crisis associated at the consummation of the Kingdom. But, let no one deceive you, only God knows when He will make His descent. We are to expect the return of Christ, in this generation, and await with vigilance in the face of the unpredictable time of His return.

Act offers the following: (Acts 1:9) "Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (11)two men in white said: "Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him Go into heaven."

We must prepare ourselves....There is but one Kingdom, the Kingdom that is here now within, and to be fully revealed when He comes. We are not called to be looking up or to be sitting idly by, but, are called to be vigilant in imitating Jesus' example of greatness, consisting in humble service to others. On this will we be judged--not in faith alone, but in deeds. There are many opportunities out there, so why are you wasting your precious time? Do something to help someone else. Give until it hurts and find your place where you belong, in Church would be a good start. Just saying!!! We are not even promised this afternoon for that matter.