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

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Leavening Agent

Sounds impressive but what is a leavening agent? I first learned about the leavening agent many years ago in high school. A word that you hardly ever hear about but, it is the main ingredient that makes a difference on whether you are successful or fail in your endeavor to make something rise.

While most recipes do not call for a leavening agent like yeast or baking powder, breads are an exception to the rule. So much goes into making a good bread--and in the end practice makes perfect. You can use the same recipe and measured ingredients but other factors come into play, such as; humidity, room temperature and the age and measure of your flour. We always use the unbleached variety. Experience is the key--just knowing by sight what the dough should look like and then, there is the feel of it. But nothing can replace yeast which fails.

The successful bread is largely determined by how much the bread rises or fails to rise. Instructions must be carefully followed.

Once the ingredients have been mixed and the leavening agent (yeast) has been added, there is no going back. The bread in process you "hope" will turn out well. Some things in life are like bread, in that you just do the best you can with what is given to you.

Does anything smell better than a freshly baked bread? I think not...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Putting Out The Fire

We all hold our breath to see how the fire before us will be extinguished. Fighting fire with fire sometimes works, but most of the time, it accelerates. So much determines the blaze, wind, rain, terrain. Should man intervene-- can be answered by will it eventually die out (or not)--in some places, it is better to let it go. Other times, it threatens the existence of many lives and can be considered a tinderbox, which be best extinguished as soon as possible.

It's really too late to talk about prevention when the fire has begun, and who would want to accelerate a situation like the current one regardless of the cause. Does it really matter who started it? It must stop before it spreads. Doing nothing also carries a risk. If it gets too big, who can handle it?

How do you stop a fire from accelerating further--try to remove the agents that burn or cause the damage. Why does it take a fire to happen before one understands that you don't let children play with matches? What happens when diplomacy fails?

Storage facilities of chemicals can become dangerous explosives--one must move carefully in determining what the course of action must be...the blaze must be contained, the risk removed.

Just how is that accomplished unless all are aboard working in unity toward its resolve? What IS at stake here? Fire can grow with every wrong move. It may not end well and serious concerns are best determined on our knees.

The crossroad--should we just walk away and let it burn...Or, intervene and cause a greater flame...knowing either way the fire may be unable to contain and at this point--a no win situation.

Do we walk away to face it on another day? Who started this fire that threatens the existence of so many? Lord have mercy on us all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Returning the Favor

Today is just one of those days that you sit back and pause to recall the wonderful day you had with the boys yesterday while the parents were still on vacation. Weather wise it was sunny and perfect for the pool. Up at the crack of dawn was Nate, who knows how to entertain himself with the DVDs he brings along, usually action series--appropriate for his age. He loves to eat and has such a good appetite. On the other hand, Ryan likes to sleep in. Yesterday, he wasn't really too hungry in the early morning but sure made up for it during the day. In fact, it seems all I did was feed both of them all their favorite foods.

I had time to make a vegetable lasagna which took up a great deal of my time in the kitchen chopping up fresh garlic, shallots, green beans, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, carrots, spinach, and celery. The kids like most kids wanted chickens with ranch as little Ryan calls it with cukes, tomato and pickies. If they eat well, out comes the treats. Nate always wants vanilla ice cream, while Ryan likes whipped cream, especially in his chocolate milk. They love chocolate pudding and Ryan prefers a fudgesicle instead of ice cream. I've decided that Ryan, who also ate most of my cheese loves all dairy especially the yogurt made for children. Neither of them care for lasagna, that was for grampy.

The kids rode their bikes in the morning, then it was time to fill the pool in order for the sun to warm the water for play later on. One of Ryan's favorite activities outdoors is to water the flowers. Yes, he waters the flowers NOT the base of the plants, every now and then taking time to water the flowers (weeds) in the grass. Nate is all taken up with the butterfly's which are abundant this year. As the season progresses there are new blossoms, which do not go unnoticed by almost three old Ryan. He calls me to see them, saying beautiful. Nate and Ryan waisted no time getting each other wet, and then, Nathan enjoyed playing in the sandbox, just as he always has.

Ryan has an appreciation for beautiful things, like uncle Yo's shoe. It is a sneaker planter in the garden which reminds him of his uncles sneakers. His uncle is not Yo but it is a pet name Ryan gave him when he was just a baby. The boys were so happy to be with Uncle Yo and Aunt Jean at the concert on the common, Sunday to hear Celtic music while we had a little picnic.

Nate spent a good deal of time watching the Cardinals at the bird feeder. He has always loved watching the Wrens feeding their young as well as the colorful Finch who have filled our yard with lovely song.

My husband, John, has created for me a lovely environment with many fruit trees and roses, gardens which wrap around a swing, a paradise which the children and I have enjoyed. Just yesterday, after swimming, I wanted Ryan to nap. He placed his blanket on the swing, and wanted me to sit on it with him. He wants me to be with him all the time. Surprisingly he started to sing me two songs, all he could remember, something about buying me a mocking bird, rocking chair, and diamond ring. A song his mom sings to him. Then there was baa-baa black sheep have you any wool. A sweet little voice he has. His brother sings well too, but rarely. Nate never thought of washing my face either, because, as Ryan pretended, I had chocolate pudding on it. Ryan thinks he's taking care of me. Wants to drive me everywhere and you'd think he was "all grown up" the way he acts sometimes, always thinking about what he can do for me or buy me at the store. This is the age of pretending and play acting.

Nate is very dependable and a big help, just as Bill was a big help when my two sons were growing up. I brought them back home in the afternoon as mom and dad had returned from their trip. Bill was already cutting his lawn and mom was busy with laundry and chores. So it begins once again.

Little Ryan couldn't wait to run upstairs to play his "drums." This time he would wear the sunglasses that he brought from grandmas house, just like Uncle Steve. You should have seen him play with two  sticks one on the snare, and one on the bass and one little foot keeping time, singing EIEIO.

When I got home that evening, I saw the Cottage Breeze candles that I purchased for my potpourri pot and picked one up to smell, just as Ryan did earlier in the day. Emmmm, just as he said it smells good. These are the moments that you cannot capture with film, but moments that you capture with your heart.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Sound of a Gentle Breeze

What is the sound of a gentle breeze?

The bible tells us in 3Kingdoms 19:12 "After the fire there will be a sound of a gentle breeze, and the Lord will be there."

We learn from the Orthodox Study Bible notations, that "The Holy Spirit is (a great and powerful wind) manifests His grace in a variety of ways in prayer. In Some He "rends the mountains" of sinful passions and "shatters the rocks"of hardened hearts. In others, He is like "an earthquake," which is an inward sense of jubilation of exultation. Yet in others, He is a non material fire. Finally, in others He is "a gentle breeze," which occurs when Christ comes to dwell in the heart."

To hear the sound of a gentle breeze requires a state of quietness. A state of peace. This world has become so loud and full of clutter, it has us in a state of running. Have you ever heard the expression "Be Quiet and know that I am God?" Why all the focus on the outer man? Is that not anything but a distraction? Lowliness taught in word and in deed and humility by Jesus should be our goal. Ephesians 4:1-2  "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Ephesians 3:17-19 "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The sound of a gentle breeze is achieved through the love of Christ. Find "peace" in your life, and you will acquire the sound of God. 

Clutter in your life gets in the way with a relationship with God. Acquiring things can become obsessive, obstacles, road blocks to the finding of peace. Instead, you will find the rush of madness, sickness and suffering, anything but peace of mind. It becomes a vicious cycle.

It should not matter if your rich or poor, short or tall, or what others say or think about you because Christ carries us beyond our "petty" and worldly personal concerns, instead, try to focus on those who need us and our love. Yet today, it seems all about us and who offends us? It's all about "us"period.

1Peter3:3-4 Do not let your adornment be merely outward--Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."

There "will be" a sound of a gentle breeze.  It "will be " the voice of the Lord. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Major Feast Day--Transfiguration of the Lord

God is light (1John 1:15). Darkness cannot comprehend it. Light permeates all darkness. Jesus shows by His transfiguration, that He in fact is the Christ the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, who will usher in the long awaited Kingdom. Eyewitnesses on Mt. Tabor, (Peter, James and John his brother), saw His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. They witness Moses and Elijah speaking with Him. And, a bright cloud overshadowed them with a voice coming out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5).

Jesus commanded them, saying. "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." (Matthew 17:9).

Eyewitnesses fell on their faces greatly afraid. Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid."(Matthew 17:7).

Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the Prophets, the living and the dead, and the fulfillment of the whole Old Testament.

The Holy Trinity is manifest here. Christ transfigured (Matt 17:2) The Father speaks from heaven testifying to Jesus' divine sonship (Matt 17:5), "and the Spirit is present in the form of a dazzling light surrounding Christ's Person." (Matt 17:5).--taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Wow! It can't be any clearer. All this transpired before the suffering and death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Still the disciples lack faith, like many today who hear the good news of the gospel.

(Matthew 17:20),"So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

Perhaps  your lack of faith sets you up for failure? May be it's time for a change. The Orthodox Church awaits you, just come and see! Be transformed....

"Nothing can withstand Jesus' power, for He is the Lord of all. To everyone in need He says, Bring him here to Me!"

What keeps you from the love of God and His healing presence in your life?

(notations in quotes are also from the Orthodox Study Bible)