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

Monday, December 29, 2014

At Your right hand stood the Queen

Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Christ for twelve days, and we "Glorify Christ Who shone forth from the Virgin and took on flesh in order to save our souls."

During this period of time we remember the Prophet David who "foretold in songs the One Who worked wonders in you: At Your right hand stood the Queen."

Isaiah reveals that the Messiah will be born of the seed of Jesse, the father of King David: "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (Is. 11:1)."

The words of the Magi, "where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."

Herod was troubled, the prophecies are fulfilled, and "all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him " (Psalm. 71: 10-11)

"Christ who has great and rich mercy has saved the world, O Theotokos."

The Theotokos, bore the man-God, Jesus, both human and Divine. Son of God, and also the Son of the Virgin, is born in Bethlehem. The prophecies clearly existed yet were not understood by those who did not  comprehend their fulfillment.

Joseph in his old age, the Betrothed, clearly saw the prophecies fulfilled, given a mysterious command, and received enlightenment from the angels.

Joy to the world the Lord is come, let earth receive her King. Illumine, O Lord, the hearts of men with a clear knowledge and understanding of You, that they may be filled with hope, in a troubled world, as you did the wise men, dispelling all confusion and error, that they come to know you the true God and Savior.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ

Tomorrow will be the last Sunday in December and in the calendar year of 2014. It is the celebrated afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ. Tonight's Great Service of Vespers, through Germanus, tells us about the present mystery, of which we greatly rejoice and sing. Who is this infant, Jesus? What effect does His birth have on all for all time?

"Come, let us greatly rejoice in the Lord,
as we sing of this present mystery;
the wall which divided God from man has been destroyed;
the flaming sword withdraws from Eden's gate;
the Cherubim withdraw from the Tree of Life;
and I, who had been cast out through my disobedience,
now feast on the delights of Paradise;
for today the Father's perfect Image,
marked with stamp of His eternity,
has taken the form of a servant.
Without undergoing change He is born from an unwedded mother;
but through His love for mankind,
He has become what He never was: true man.
Come, O faithful, let us cry to Him:
"O God, born of the Virgin, have mercy on us,!"

Anatolius, writing for the Feast says: "The Wise Men worshipped, and the Angels sang.
But Herod was troubled, for God had appeared in the flesh.
He is the Savior of our souls."

O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us!

"Let us glorify Christ, Who shone forth from the Virgin and took on flesh in order to save our souls!"

We are gravitating toward the coming year in which the troubled Herod's of the world still slaughter innocents, unable to understand the Divine Plan. The Son of God, Jesus, shone forth from His Virgin mother Mary, taking on our flesh in order to save our souls by His death on the cross and His glorious Resurrection.

Glory to God, for He has granted Peace to the world, compassion and great mercy!

"What shall we offer You, O Christ,
Who for our sakes have appeared on earth as a man?"


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Time is Now

Today is Christmas...Merry Christmas to you all! We Orthodox say "Christ is born! Glorify Him!"

Along with greetings, Christmas Carols sung at the end of Liturgy, hymned possibly since their composition, by Isaac Watts, 1709 and G.F. Handel, 1742--Joy to the World, for example, are sung.

Interesting enough, when we use the English language, to talk about an event that has happened in the past, we use the past and not the present tense of the word. I have always wondered why then in the first verse, the song reads that the "Lord IS come;" Instead, should it have read, the Lord has come? A past event.

The birth of Christ was around 4 B.C., certainly that was a long time ago.

Pondering the text and the meaning of the words, was it written that way purposefully to imply another meaning. "Christ born in us", can only be done in the present. The song confirms this with the words "Let every heart prepare Him room."  A past event, connects us in the present. What a magnificent song.  The pre-eternal God was born as a little child for us and all generations to come, when He is born in the manager of our hearts.

Having "existence" IS to BE. God IS eternal. Our design is Eternal when He exists in our hearts.

The song continues..."And heaven and nature sing." All God's creatures are created to Glorify Him, in heaven and on earth. The image here is very powerful.

"The Lord IS come; Let earth receive her King;" and "Repeat the Sounding joy, Repeat the Sounding joy, Repeat, Repeat the Sounding JOY!"

Joy to the World...Eternally!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Entered Into The Church of his Ancestors

Sunday, baby Max was entered into the church of his ancestors. It was a great moment for him, and although he is just a babe, and unable to walk, the little one was escorted in, by the priest, who carried him around the altar. On his way back we noticed how large his eyes were and how happy he had suddenly become.

Christmas will be celebrated soon by the world and we will remember how Jesus was entered, and for the reason He came. The gospel writers, Matthew, Luke and John tell us that the Christ was born in the town of Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, and mention the star, wise men from the east, gifts. Luke tells us about the shepherds and angels. Quite the entrance into the world, and an historical account beginning with the genealogy of Jesus' Davidic descent. Under Mosaic Law, betrothal involves almost the same commitment as marriage, and Joseph, in (Matthew 1:24) is told to take Mary, the ever virgin as his wife. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, and as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife."

(Matthew 1:23) "Behold the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, " which is translated, "God with us."

Deuteronomy chapter 18:15 "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear."  The Prophet to come would speak all the Father commanded Him. He is the Word made flesh (John1:14), the Prophet to come is God in the Flesh. (see Is54:13, Jn6:45).

 The historical events are all important, the horror of the cry in Ramah, which was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, (Matthew 2:18)"A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
(Matthew 2:15) "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son,"

So here is the challenge of Christmas, that is; after the party, gift wrap, tinsel and tree. Will we put it all aside until next year, when commercialism and its quest for more goods and services, sends us around the full parking lot, half crazy to find that of what we need and must have, lining their already full pockets, with that which is highly popular, promoted...and with which we cannot live without ...Enough Already!

or, will we be seen Worshiping the true God, lying in the manger of our hearts as we enter into His holy church. (God dwells within His people). Will we be like Paul, who in his world view of Christian life in the church, gives credible testimony about the birth of Christ.--  (Romans1:3-6)"His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh."  "and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead," 

(Paul, originally called Saul, once persecuted the church, was converted on the road to Damascus, he was a Roman citizen from Tarsus.) Like him, we can all be changed. I used to wonder why the grandparents didn't show much enthusiasm for holiday shopping and decorating, until I became among the aged. My perspective is so very different from when I was a youngster. I can tell you for me, it's not all about the tree. There are gifts which are not material, like love, peace, charity, mercy and joy. Hopefully, we all can find time to share something with someone in need this Christmas and all through the year.

There is a feast celebrated, which commemorates the water flowing from the rock which Moses struck in the wilderness (Ex17 1-7) and provides the context for the Lord's words, if anyone thirsts. Which is the promise of the Pentecost. (John7 37-38)"Jesus stood and cried out saying -If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

(Rev.21:6-7) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."

My hope and prayer then, for Max, this Christmas, and for always;-- and for all of us, is that we may always be found thirsting, desiring Living water, who is our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

All scriptural references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible




Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Greatest Gift of All

My little grandson of four, has been following me around with his scrap paper and pencil, in order to obtain a list of what I want from Santa. "What do you want for Christmas, grandma?" That is a loaded question. I look around at my cluttered home, which I try to alleviate by donations and the goodwill box every now and then, and frankly, find that I really do not need anything.  So I told him that I want him to be happy, to which he responded, "I am happy." That really made my day.

At a certain age of been there and done that, the only want that remains is not material, but spiritual. The real Christmas is what we all really need. It is why Christ came into this world, a world in need of change.

The best gift you can give and receive is forgiveness. Can you imagine what would happen if everyone forgave each other and lived to love one another? This world would be a heavenly place.

I often think of the words Jesus said on the cross, which had everything to do with reconciliation.(Luke 23:34) "Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

The angels greeted the shepherds with the message of Peace on Earth good will to men, guiding them, like the star of Bethlehem, to a baby born in a humble and unusual manner, of His virgin mother Mary,  and who accomplished the good news of salvation through His death and forgiveness on the cross. This gift of salvation and reconciliation is free, one that will cost you absolutely nothing, but gives you everything in return. The gift of life eternal. (John 1:4)"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."

So this year, give and receive the gift of forgiveness, the gift of love, joy and peace. And, as the song goes, "Let it begin with me."

I promise that this gift will bring you true happiness, a one-size fits all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesus born the only Pure and Sinless One

All babies are beautiful, but Jesus being born the only Pure One radiated light. He is the Light of the world and No Darkness was ever found in Him. He is the only sinless One. It is a fact that everyone that comes into this world endures the consequences of Adam and Eves sin--mortality, a tendency to sin, alienation from God and from other people. We do not carry the guilt of our first parents, and do not believe that an infant who dies unbaptized is condemned to hell. We must be born again.

The Baptism Sacrament gives us rebirth. We are united to Christ, putting on Christ after our death, and resurrection with Him, uniting us with Him, becoming Christian. Water was set apart by God as the means by which the Holy Spirit would bring to us new life and entrance into the heavenly Kingdom. We are Baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us in John 3:5 "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

It is important that we understand who the babe born in Bethlehem is. He is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, sinless, the incarnate Son of God, born of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. 2Corinthians 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Jesus, the Son of God assumed the consequences of our sin--corruption and death--without sinning Himself, submitting Himself to unjust suffering because of our sinful passions.

Many today do not understand how important it is to be Baptized, becoming New Creatures, participating in the very righteousness of God.

Without Christmas, what hope existed for mankind?

John the Baptist makes it clear that Jesus had no need for Baptism and as Jesus approached him, in Matthew 3:20, John tries to prevent Him saying "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Jesus did not need purification, and upon entering and coming out of the filthy sinful waters brought up with Him, sanctification of the entire world. None of which any of us are worthy of receiving.

We were all doomed, but through the Gift of Jesus, we have the only Hope that ever has or will exist, and it is your decision--coming from the gift of free will that we all have been given, starting with his Mother, Mary, when she said yes to Angel Gabriel, and accepted God's plan of salvation. She could have said no.

What will your answer be when He, the God of Love, calls on you? There is a beautiful song that I've been hearing this year called Mary did you know? The words are so meaningful. The line I get stuck on is this...
Mary did you know that the baby boy you delivered will someday deliver you? That is something to ponder about....Mary was born like the rest of us, needing salvation, too.

O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our Dear Saviors Birth, from which we are illumined.

All scripture references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Monday, December 8, 2014

The light shines in the darkness

My youngest grandson does not like to sleep in or, enter a dark room. I recall as a young child being afraid of the dark too. It's a common problem. Darkness is nothing but that which is not illuminated, or exposed by light. Simply we turn a light on. Light brings security.

This time of the year, especially during the celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ, who is the Light of the world,we are reminded that darkness cannot defeat the light, which it cannot comprehend. John 1: 5  "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

The world seems dark, but just as the Christmas star and lights remind us, Light, and Love are eternal. John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." Darkness will oppose light, yet cannot defeat the light.
Ephesians 5:15 "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

1John 2:10 "He who loves his brother abides in the light."

It is a season of giving. James 1:17 tells us that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights," we need to think about acknowledging that, first and foremost at the stable of our own heart, sharing every good thing with those we love.

May we proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, "born in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11.

"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." Matthew 4:16.

We no longer need to fear the darkness.... 

All scriptural references were taken from the Orthodox Study Bible



Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fool...Your Heart is where your Treasure is

"Fool" describes the action of people who live to consume things. Everything can be lost in the wink of an eye, even your life. Yet, many people need to accumulate money, and goods thinking it wise to have ample things--many in the hope of "when I retire," often not being well enough or even, live long enough to enjoy what they scrimped and saved for. Your precious accumulations may be thought of as junk by those who will distribute or discard the goods laid up through the many years. Wouldn't it be better to give them extra dollars now, rather than see them struggle, while you are comfortable.

The parable message found in the gospel of Luke 12:16-21 makes it perfectly clear that we are to be instead "rich toward God."

Soon Thanksgiving will be upon us, and even if we do not have much, there is always someone who has more and some who will have less. Maybe this would be a good time to think about being "rich toward God," sharing.

God is the giver of all things, all that we are to be thankful for. Why not open your heart to someone who is in need.  It's not just about the turkey, but about giving. Living in the here and now, and caring about those who have less. How can you eat, drink and be merry, while you know someone that could use your helping hand.

Beginning today, store up the treasure in your heart, the accumulation of love which will be taken with us for all eternity.

Friday, November 21, 2014

To Enter Into

Today as we celebrate the Entry of the Most-Holy Mother of God into the temple, we focus on the word enter. We must pass through and enter wherever we go. We are prepared to enter into situations, clubs, and become part of clans, family, and society. It is with church also, according to tradition, we are entered in. The Theotokos, we learn through Holy Tradition, became familiar with, and became ready to meet God at a tender age, having been brought into the faith, learned how to pray and worship.

There was a time when parents of a young child would not have their kids Baptized, saying that it should be their choice, when the child was old enough to understand and make their own decision, accordingly. Many were convinced that parents should not "enter" their children into something that they may not want. An act that cannot be undone.

As a young mother, I had my two sons Baptized. We were comfortable, it was always the right decision to make, a tradition in my family--a faith decision. There are people who get Baptized down the road, but I'm convinced that the idea behind entering in at an early age sets you on the right path, a journey to salvation. The bible confirms our belief-- Ephesians Chapter 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Such is the story of Mary, set aside to be the Mother of God, who when she was given the news by Angel Gabriel, was prepared, having been made ready to receive it.

Our faith is no accident, we are chosen, destined people who are led by the light of Christ who is our Way, and our Life, and our only hope, when we enter in....initially through the faith of our family/friends and Church.

Our accomplishments are not by our own strength, but through faith in Christ. Like Mary, we need to hear, learn, and grow, saying yes, once we are entered into the church by faith, through Baptism.

Soon we will celebrate the birth of a child, through the faith of a mother who was not afraid to enter into faith as a child, becoming Theotokos--God's plan for all eternity.

scripture reference from the Orthodox Study Bible

Monday, November 3, 2014


On Friday, we observed Halloween, while dressing in costumes of happy characters, we tried to avoid thoughts of ghosts and scary monsters. It's a time for collecting candy and avoiding the ghoulish things. Would we want to admit that they exist amongst us?  Do they? Yet each and every year when we hear the tunes of the smash hit of 1984, Ghostbusters, we are reminded...who's afraid of the ghosts. If that isn't bad enough there was a ghost hunters special on television, in which the existence of spirits in a haunted house, which an exorcism had been performed in the late 1940's, was  scientifically being proven, utilizing  recording devices, electronic equipment, temperature measures and even provocation. This in an effort to prove that ghosts remained, and are present in substances, like wood, present in the home. It was an eerie presentation. The viewer was to believe that activity had transpired and was recorded.

The story of ghosts goes way back. Even the gospel gets in on the subject when, as mentioned in (Matthew, Chapter 14:26), eyewitnesses became troubled while on the fourth watch in the middle of the sea in a boat, being tossed about, as Jesus was approaching them, walking on the water. They said: "It is a ghost!"

Today's gospel tells the story of poor Lazarus the beggar who died "and was carried by the angels" (Luke 16:22). In contrast, the stingy rich man, could see Lazarus in heaven while he resided in hades, tormented. (verse 26). "There is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." Clearly there are other places, not all good.

On the subject of angels, you are assigned one at your Baptism and your guardian angel is invisibly present with you always, (Matthew 18:10). We can take comfort in their existence.

The church offers us armor in our battle against unforeseen forces such as: the cross, holy water, blessed Icons. Each year, we are given the option of having a home blessing. Why are they available if not needed? Two thousand years of experience is compelling evidence.

The commentator on ghost hunter said that some spirits did not like the presence of holy water, which we know is sanctified. Also mentioned was the name of Jesus, and St. Michael. No need to ask why on both accounts.

Coming back to the response to the disciples on the boat in Matthew 14, by Jesus, verse (27), "Be of Good Cheer, It is I, Do Not Be Afraid." We have confidence in God's protection as read in (Psalm 91:15) "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. (16) With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation."

(1John 4:4) "You are of God, little children, He who is in You is greater than he who is in the world."(1John4:18) "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (19) We love Him because He first loved us."
(1Corinthians 13:8) "Love never fails."

As someone wisely told me, "You are never alone..." Trust in the Lord for he is Good and a lover of mankind.

Today is Sunday, and it's cold and extremely windy, and we're in the month of November. Before you know it we will be celebrating our parishes 90th anniversary of the founding of the church of St. Michael.  So much to look forward to, thankfully now that Halloween is over.

All scriptural references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Friday, October 24, 2014


I enjoy reading stories that take us back many years, like the year 1679, on a very cold night in Scotland, where Lady Jane Josephina Catherine is courting six gentlemen, who hope to win her hand. Some people are not in favor of romance, thinking it old-fashioned, yet there are somethings that never grow old.

Part of the way men got to court women respectfully, was through the introduction, and in this case the Jane of Bellhaven Castle was to meet her chosen suitors, who would demonstrate their skills in a competition, by her aunt Margaret, who invited them into the castle. Since her father's will stipulated for her to be married by Christmas Eve, being now December, her task in order to secure the Lennox wealth and hold on to her home was immanent.

She had but twelve days to make a decision in order to inherit all that was left to her, as there was no time to contest the will. Her father and brother had gone off to fight a war, and six months later, it was presumed they had been killed in action. Mother had died years earlier in childbirth, giving birth to her brother, when she was three. Her father never got over her, and did not remarry.

It was thought by her aunt, that one of the suitors would keep Bellhaven safe? Men were known as protectors in a marriage. If Jane failed to chose one of them, her cousin would automatically inherit the whole estate, --the castle, land, fortune, would all become his. But if he married her, all would be his, including Jane.

The contest had begun and all six men greeted Jane and extended a gift to her in order to win the contest. What is interesting is the gifts that were given to her. One gave her a pearl necklace, another a puppy. The cousin, gave her wilting flowers, a first clue that perhaps he will not win her heart. Another gave her chocolates, and there was a doll that had been missing since childhood, and the most impressive to Jane, was a dance, in which music was provided for by his three men, who with lutes, and a flute played the "Outlandish Knight." She found him to be handsome and polite. She laughed with enjoyment and was carried away with feelings of euphoria. He flashed a charming grin, it was a beautiful gift.

Much has changed since the sixteen hundreds and courting. Yet, I had to admit most of us still like to dance and most of the gifts presented her, would be very much appreciated today by most of us, especially, when given with a grin from a charming suitor.

When you come down to it, just like the song says--"It's still the same old story a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die.."

Friday, October 17, 2014

War On Nurses

It takes a lot of compassion to become a nurse. In a way, mother's  and dads are nurses who tirelessly will spend hours taking care of loved ones in their household, who have become unwell. Mother's cannot afford to be sick and sometimes, it's the sick taking care of the sick. We do this out of love. How one prepares to engage against the fight of Ebola is another matter. And, will we be willing participants, as nurses and medical staff and EMT's are, outside of our family, for our neighbor or stranger? We are under pressure as it is imperative to stop this invader NOW...

Nurses that are ill, two young and healthy individuals, it is said because of violations in protocol? Perhaps, but there are two sides to every story. We are always looking to find fault with someone else, to get us off the hook. What was given them to work with? What did they know going in to treat the infected person? The crisis we seem to be having is the blame game. Nurses do not want to be ill. Who else is going to treat the patient, especially when it is their job? Nurses and EMT's, medical workers and staff are warriors pure and simple, in a fight which includes well defined procedures, and all hands on deck. Lack of proper preparation, unarmed against a giant killer such as Ebola can take down a nation, quickly. It seems, while the experts are saying the protocol was violated, in the case of two nurses who now have contracted the Ebola virus, they are unable to determine "how it was violated." Placing blame, leads to wasted time and resources. Instead, let our resolve be to result in solution? How prepared are we to take on this giant killer? The focus should be only on how can we fix this.

Truly, we must help the women and others who have no choice but to do their job, knowing that they risk their own lives, and possibly the lives of their own family. The fact is, that we are all in this together. We are a "dependant on each other" society. If they fail, we all fail. We have a killer in our midst and Ebola is hungry.

Can we afford to drop the ball on this one?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I've Got Your Back

Recently, we celebrated the feastday of St. John the Theologian, who we believe wrote the Apocalypse, or Revelation. Buried alive, in a grave that was shaped into a cross, his face was covered with a cloth. Later, it is said, that when his body was dug up, he failed to be in it. "The grave was opened and he was not there." So relates this story on YouTube, by Sister Vassa, who while enjoying her cup of coffee, shares much about Evangelist St. John the Theologian, on Ep. 4 week of Sept .26th, in a 10 minute discussion.

The web blog of John Sanidopoulos, called Mystagogy, relayed the Expresso News, of Oct. 7, 2014, where Eva Papadatos shared the following: On Tuesday, 30Sept. at around 5:30A.M. a Pakistani who is Muslim in his religion, named Ali, saw an old man around 75-80 years in age." This man, when asked by him, identified himself as the Theologian. The place was called Kardamania. The Muslim confirmed that he resembled the old man depicted in the icon. Was this in fact, St. John, known as the Theologian?

Sister Vassa, indicated that he was not in his grave, and continued to say that in John 21:21-22, Peter and Jesus were having a discussion about the death of Peter. Concerning John, Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." The study notes below the verse regarding John, say that "Early Christians marveled at his longevity, and some thought he would not die before the return of Christ.

It is clear that what Jesus has in store for each and everyone of us is personal. We all have our own story to tell, our own journey. We are not to live, as Sister Vassa correctly says, a "comparative life."

Would it  be the first time that a saint has appeared in our time? I've heard other similar stories. St. John was present with Peter and James, when Jesus was speaking to Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration. Simply put, with God all things are possible.

Tonight in Deuteronomy 10:14-21 we learn: "Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it."

Yes it said, "your God".  He has your back, mind your business it's not about everyone else but you and what is required of you-- is to "follow Him."

The verse continues...."You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen."

In the end, you are accountable to Him, and to Him alone.

All scriptural references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Once Was Lost But Now I'm Found

I once was lost but now I'm found are words to a very profound song. Then, it continues: was blind but now I see. This is about transitioning, changing from a very critical and sometimes judgemental position to acceptance of the truth. What I have found is the real Church of Christ, unchanged and handed down from Him through his apostles, worshiping the undivided Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This small Orthodox Church, somewhat hidden away, gathers a people who know what family and love is, and come together to worship each Sunday. Then, we share a cup of coffee and friendship, following the Liturgy in our parish hall.

I was blinded by the fact years ago, that "correct faith" meant that you were amongst the majority of people, and where they hung their hat, so to speak. It, in reality, has nothing to do with size, or how fancy the building is, or even if we are air conditioned, have a fancy organ, or Sunday school program. Maybe, things needed cleaning and fixing up, a bit, which is always what we strive to do, but only after our mission, and that is to worship God and love one another. That is all that is important! Not the language spoken, nor how much you can give. But how much you can love. Then, you can learn to love to give, in your own special way.

Our parish has been undergoing a long awaited overhaul. We are putting in a new church floor for one thing, another was cement replacement stairs, which was located near our newly painted parish building. Everything costs so much today, and unlike years prior, we mostly hire out work that needs to be done.

Today, my thoughts are not so much on the beauty surrounding us though, they are on the "people" we served last night at our Community Meal. What I saw was people hungry in many ways, who are being changed through the grace and love of God for them through others. Changed because someone cared about them. One person who came along for the first time last week, came in yesterday looking for me, and for some reason, I remembered her name. I also remember that she was unlike last week. She appeared vibrant, and cheerful, with her hair colored and she was eager to help in her own way. She was now there for someone else, participating in people needing people. This week, the difference was that she was not self focused. The person enjoying her company, said that he comes for the conversation, but is filled with a wonderful homemade meal complete with goodies and smiles. This is hospitality at its finest. People come empty and leave with so much more than a full stomach, looking forward to joining us "next time".

If you go to church to look only for things exterior, then you are blind and cannot see. Like the cup 1/2 full, you have much room.. If you come and leave your criticism and cares outside of the door, and look to see what the spirit of God can do for the interior, your eyes will be opened, and you will be filled with the Spirit of Love, and that is just the beginning. Sort of looking at the world in rose-colored glasses. The world becomes a beautiful place when love is added to the portion.

Glory be to God for all good things. Come and See! Love is what we offer...unconditionally, where we both dish it out and take it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Patient Endurance

The Orthodox Study Bible (1Peter 2:9) "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (10) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."

In Christ we are a Royal Priesthood, the people of God who have obtained mercy. This is salvation in all its fullness. (Taken from the notes and commentaries found in the New Testament portion provided by numerous Orthodox contributors and consultants, of the Orthodox Study Bible.)

Hebrews (Chapter 7 verse 21), tells us "(for they have become priest without an oath,)". (Revelation 20:6) "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

If we are truly to become and are Priests of God and Christ, its about time we come to know Him. One of the best ways to know Him is through His Word. We must examine the evidence given to us by His followers, and his friends.

One such follower was His friend John, who gives to us five New Testament books, in which he relates to us that he, as an eyewitness, was allowed to observe Jesus in conversation with Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor, during the transfiguration. Jesus, in (Matthew 17:2) reveals that "His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." A voice out of the cloud (5) "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Hear Him!" They reacted as any human would, fearfully. But Jesus came and touched them and said (7) "Arise, and do not be afraid."
Peter, James and John (brothers, called "sons of thunder") witnessed this great event which no doubt was a life changing experience. Yet, John was the only one who had the courage to follow Jesus to the cross. This young apostle, John, would have the special honor of looking after the Mother of God, Mary, as if she were his own mother. Johns joy was speaking the truth to others, condemning those who perverted it trying to lead other's astray.

John was called the "apostle of love" the one whom Jesus loved and is depicted leaning against Jesus chest at the Mystical supper. He had a zeal for the truth in love.

We must have a passion for the truth, like John, and having compassion for people, be steadfast in our desire to serve our Lord by reflecting His humanity and grace.

Some of the events that were witnessed by John the Theologian were the restoration of the daughter of Jairus to life, the simple act of servanthood in the washing of the disciples' feet, and the Lord's passion, crucifixion and  His death on the cross.

Some known stories, show that the Lord preserved him fourteen days in the sea, when he washed up on shore to preach to the pagans about Christ, with accounts of numerous miracles and, in the increase of believers in Ephesus. He was a pillar in the Jerusalem church, ministering with Peter.

During the persecution of Christians under the emperor Nero, John was sentenced to death for his confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Deadly poison, nor a cauldron of boiling oil did not cause his end and, emerging from their intent of death, he was sent to the island of Patmos, where he resided in a cave, and all the while was working miracles, and enlightening them with the light of the Gospel, healing great multitudes of the sick, casting out demons from pagan temples.

This apostle of love, wrote the book of Revelation known as the "Apocalypse" which were predictions of the tribulation of the Church and the end of the world.

As the only remaining eyewitness of the Lord, John reposed naturally when he was more than a hundred years old. He lay in a cross-shaped grave, beyond the city limits of Ephesus, kissed the disciples who tearfully fulfilled his bidding-- covering his face with a cloth, and filled in the grave. Many are healed on May 8th of each year of their sicknesses, as a fine dust comes forth from the grave.

The Church bestows on John the title "Theologian" the seer of the mysterious Judgments of God. It is in Revelation 1:1-2 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw."
(9) "I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for  the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John is no stranger to God. In fact, the Apostle John during a quaking earth and as thunder rumbled, secured Prochorus' help to write down what the Spirit of God revealed through the Apostle John in (Rev. 1:8) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

He had learned to look beyond his earthly sufferings to the heavenly glory that awaits all who patiently endure. The eagle is the iconographic symbol of the Evangelist John the Theologian, due to the lofty heights of his theological thought.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Occupier

Whats dwelling in your mind. If negative thoughts exist, they can cause you to take on an unknown occupier. This dweller, if not kept in check, can ruin your life. My dad used to call it a state of defeatism. It is a state of mind that causes one to feel a sense of hopelessness. A case where its occupation takes up little space at first, then takes on your whole existence. The person that allows this attitude to dominate its life, usually based on past experience, will invite fear and destruction, disallowing happiness. My mom used to call it carrying the world on your shoulders.  How does that work for you? Can your past dictate your future? Only if you allow it to. So why do you? Accept change..Be the change. Decide to change.. Sometimes our problems stem from our attitude. The attitude that says "I can't--meaning I won't."  Most of the time we dig our own rut in life. Simplify, start with basics. Do we really need all we say we do? Maybe it's time to focus elsewhere, beside yourself. Sometimes people crash in order to pick up the pieces. New beginnings are good--life is good. Choose not to be consumed by things, nor laid down by cares. Live life one day at a time--it is a gift. Just ask the dying. What are you allowing to steal your joy?

No-one wants to be around people who chose to be anything but joyful. We all have our share of problems. If you you don't unload, the "occupier" will take over until there will be no room for anything or anyone else in your life. You do know that you can choose to be happy. Sometimes it takes a little help. Luckily, I have amazing friends who are faith-filled and who display amazing courage, and who, despite all their problems, find it in their heart to love and care for others.

Let us make room for happy. Decide to turn a new leaf, putting into your existence happy thoughts and positive actions. Eventually, there will be no room for the negative occupier--throw the bum out.

We have a Community Meal, which is church sponsored, where people gather joyfully to share in the company of others, share a meal and chit-chat a bit. Sometimes we are very aware of the plight of others. Happy seems to come to all who attend, and it is contagious, even if it is for a short time, we leave our cares outside. There can be made a time for more pressing issues, but not at the dinner table.

People are already looking forward to the wonderful Thanksgiving meal that will soon be upon us. Thankful is a good state of mind. We should clothe ourselves in it. Sharing is a good thing..It is a friendly and happy time.

We have a wonderful Parish Church where people truly love one-another. It is where hymns and  words of wisdom permeate us, such as: "Let us lay aside all earthly cares." This is a good place to begin... Sunday worship, where we learn that we are not alone,  never have been, nor, will we ever be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm too Busy!

Today I read about the mounting concern for Ebola and its consequence. We are to be as prepared as possible. This includes prayer, fasting and almsgiving. If you've forgotten God in your bussiness, time to begin this thought process. Many people today are so busy that they have forgotten all about the first commandment of God. Putting Him first in our lives, the lives that He gives us now and forever. In fact, some actually make themselves so busy that there is no time to worship, or even sit and listen to God, in our stillness. Extra events come before a personal relationship with our maker. Time on this earth is shorter than you think. Take time to think about that.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Lord's Prayer, which  (Jesus) gave to us. It can be found in your bible. I hope parents teach their children to recite it often. There is another prayer that children learn from their parents. It goes like this:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

This prayer is easy to remember and it is one that should be said before children go to bed. One night, my sister Ruth, who used to say this prayer with me when we were children, kneeling by our bedside, went to bed and never woke up. She did not live to a ripe old age.

Last night I had a dream about her. She was pregnant sitting in a swimming pool of water. I remember that she was happy, and then, I saw that I was pregnant too. Dreaming about water is always a good sign for me.

Those who knew my sister Ruth, will recall how beautiful a person she was in many ways and how much she loved her four children, and her grandchildren.

Every week I pray for her soul during our church worship service. Prayer is essential to our lives. We need to tell our creator how grateful we are for our lives and those whom He has given us to love. Memory Eternal Ruth.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Deliver Us from Evil

My parents taught me to pray when I was just a little girl. Dutifully I would recite the words with difficulty, somethings stick with you. The Lord's Prayer has. There was no "what does that mean?" then. Now, there is no need to explain. Jesus gave us this perfect prayer and some may not believe in Him, but they certainly know now what evil is to some extent. The words are specific. "Deliver us from evil." That requires belief in a God that will, because of His love for us, provide protection.

Evil comes to us in many forms. What can eradicate those who choose to destroy others? Simply action. First, understand that we are not alone, God is with us, always. He will not leave us nor forsake us. Second, know that Love is stronger than Hate and it always wins in the end. Third, God tells us in His Word to "Be Not Afraid."

I sometimes recall a little decoration that I saw on the desk of the kids grandparents as they were growing up. Three monkeys said with their action over their ears, eyes and mouth, "see no evil, hear no evil, and say no evil." There are times when you must act in defense of the innocent, but wisely, not to provoke a more serious and growing conflict. Would it not be better if we were to grow love and not hate? Evil must be contained at all cost, there just is no other way.

It seems evil will always be with us, in many forms. So here's the challenge for today...Double your acts of kindness and show others you care. There are many who are needy in many ways. We can hold doors for others--it's okay to be civil and polite. Begin everything with a prayer, He is watching. Evil, like a virus, can and will be defeated.

We are a society of civilized people who have experienced a better way of life, if we so choose. Roll up your sleeves there is work to do, look around and stop complaining. We need ACTION!

As for those who simply decide not to choose love, nothing good will await them period. Like the movie 4th of July, they live to destroy us, and this action must be stopped. Can they change, maybe. Can we forgive, yes we can. That is what it is all about, love not hate. It seems by their action, they have decided their fate. You are what you choose to be. Your choice.

Since the beginning of time we see that the brothers Cain and Able did not get along, but that never changed the fact that they, like we are, brothers after all. What kind of world do we want to live in? One full of hate or one full of Love? The message is clear, "love one another." We must stop the spread of hatred and that is not an easy task. It will take unity and endless sacrifice. So what else is new? It is the message confronting us now, one that is not new to us, and it does not need defining--do or die.

 Lord, deliver us from evil, Amen.

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's a Matter of Choosing the Shepherd

Several days ago, at Old Sturbridge Village we enjoyed watching the game called tug of war. Clearly everyone wanted to be on the winning side. It brought back memories of my childhood, when we also played tug-of-war with family and friends. That meant picking a winning team. Like the game of baseball that was played in our backyard, it was obvious to us who could hit, catch and who would pitch. Tug-of-war was like that in some ways, choosing and working, all at the same time, with a common goal. We tried to side up with who we thought could win. Understanding of the game was just as important  as knowing it was just for fun.

While watching the news yesterday clearly, people are choosing sides for a battle that is growing more serious. This unlike tug of war, is certainly no childs play. The anchor person that I watched had a very intense look on his face, while others I observed, were calling for intervention. It is no time for rash decisions, each and every move must be well thought out. More than that, prayed about. Many are crying out in the wilderness.

 David was always one of my favorite kings, recalling that he knew, with the help of God, nothing was too great a task, and as he slew Goliath, he proved that size is unimportant, Trusting in God is. What is important is what side you choose to be on. David knew how, when and where to strike. Often our greatest enemy is our own fear, fear has to do with not trusting. God supplies all our need according to His plan and purpose. Let go and let God. He will not abandon nor forsake us, who call on His name.

It is wise to look back, for history does repeat itself, for answers to serious questions. I always ask myself what does the bible say? The prophets? Surely, we are living in times that reflect some of the actions of our early Christians. Remember, God has prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies.

The prophet of Isaiah begins in Chapter 40:1 with the words "Comfort, yes comfort My people, says God." God has our back. He is our hope, our ONLY Hope!  And always will be.
 Isaiah Chapter 40 vs. 3 "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: " prepare the way of the Lord; make straight, and the rough places into plains. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see the salvation of God: for the Lord has spoken."
(Matthew 3:3) "For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness; prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.' "
The New Testament tells us in, Matthew 3-:13) John Baptizes Jesus in the Jordan.
 (The new testament also reveals who the Lord and shepherd is), in Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

John, Chapter 10:11 "I am the good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. "( words of Jesus).

Do you know the Shepherd?

Isaiah Chapter 40: "All flesh is grass, and all man's glory is like the flower of the field. (vs; 7) "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God abides forever."
Isaiah Chapter 40:9-11 "lift up your voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid.""Behold your God. Behold the Lord is coming with strength, and His arm is with authority. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd and gather the lambs with His arm: and He will comfort those with young."

Psalm 27: 11 "Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;"
(14) Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

All scripture references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tug of War

How long will America continue to be a leading Nation, people are asking? People praying to God for wisdom, who are united under Him, trusting in Him, will never fail. He has our back.

If you've ever been on a road trip then you know, once you get off in a wrong direction, it is imperative to get back on track. We are heading seriously down the wrong road, which is placing us in peril. The reason I believe this is that we are not of one mind. When we talk at the same time, no one can hear. We need strong leadership and a willingness to listen, then a willingness to find a solution--together.

We have always been a "can do" type of people having solutions for everything, sometime even using duck tape, whatever we can find-- we do not believe in failure. Where is this "feel sorry" for yourself attitude coming from? In making excuses are you look for a pass? What have you done for someone else today? Or perhaps you've been watching to much television and acting like the cowardly lion. The brave men who died for our country, having the courage to do what was necessary and right, continued with bravery to fight the good fight. They knew that the only way to win is to go through the battle, unafraid. It is the only way that we have known FREEDOM in this country. We must be brave enough to be free.

What we have always been to the world and to each other, is a supportive, compassionate people. We do not turn our backs to people in need, because we are an incredibly strong, generous and courageous people. God has blessed us with all we need and all resources. We have no excuse.

There is a solution to today's situation that we learned from our forefathers. Tug of War is a game we played as children, which taught us basics. First, we stand united at the ready. We are in control together,  having what we need--unity and a strong leader, we are linked together in a cause--to win. We cannot afford to lose. Pulling the rope together, on the same team, focused, having one-mindedness we act together to achieve our goal.

United we stand, divided we fall. We don't get a second chance. One, two, three--pull.

Then pull again together until you achieve your winning goal.

Notice that the word "WE" is used here, not I. We are a melting pot of the best people in the world. This is our country, land of the free and home of the BRAVE.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coming to a Head

My parents used to warn us about keeping things in perspective. Personality types in one house helped us to learn what that meant. Some were cool headed and some were not. We actually need both type of people in this world for balance. Sometimes you had to set a fire under some to get them to move, and for other's you had to hold them back.

Timing is always important, the right action at the right time, we learned from experience.

During the '55 flood, it was said by authorities that we should stay put until the alarm was sounded then, head for high ground. My parents were split on this one, and dad winning out, did not wait. The dams broke and by the time the alarm sounded, many were trapped in their homes. We were set on high ground, safely.

Sometimes, you have got to listen to alarmists. Other times, when you know when to strike with preparedness, your result will be greater, as time allows you to plan for the unexpected with allies.

This week I observed two things that were coming to a head, --one, the ant hill forming outdoors on my front garden and one already chewing up my deck. Both took place within days, unnoticed until there was some damage. We can anticipate the coming of these critters, but even spraying doesn't get them all and we must keep them in check. The small things in life can bite you in the wallet if you don't keep an eye out. This is a small crisis which unchecked can become larger.

The long and short of it is that I want to get them all "now" and it will drive me crazy if I don't. Type A. Other people know that their lives are short lived and they do not get too excited. Surely enough, after the exterminator sprayed, all activity ended for the nests that had developed almost overnight. Unfortunately, we will not rid ourselves of the ants, living near the woods. "Where there is a will there is a way", (one of my mom's favorite sayings). Christians never lose hope.

This all brings to mind the current crisis of ISIS. They are like the ants, everywhere and threatening people who are trying to live their life in peace, with destruction. Presently, like a pimple, we are treating this situation with a mild solution, which possibly will be ineffective, and may develop into a head. This one may hurt.

 It is easy to invade anything that does not fight back. In our country we call that cowardly. Remember the old slogan "what goes around comes around." It is one of the universal unseen laws, like what goes up must come down.

The small ant hill possibly had 300 ants in it's army and with one treatment, they didn't know what hit them. Dead as a doornail, they were exterminated. The difference is, once detected, we are watching for them and stand ready. There is no great rush, we will get them using every trick in the book, like sugar and vinegar. If that doesn't work, we have other remedies.

There are times when you have a pimple that you must let come to a head, then after it ripens, you must squish it like a bug.

Patience is a virtue not be underestimated. We are prepared and we are not alone, ever. Somewhere in my youth I recall a song--"in the jungle a mighty jungle a lion sleeps tonight." What happens to him when he is provoked and awake? It's sort of like the story of not awakening a sleeping giant, this time though, I'm not referring to a fairy tale.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Many do not know when I refer to the Dormition of the Most-Holy Theotokos what is implied. Since we Orthodox recently celebrated the feastday "falling asleep of Mary, the Mother of God," I recall some twenty-eight years ago, through this Icon, Orthodoxy and Mary revealed itself to me, and as a result, led me into the fullness of the faith.

Yesterday, at a train station, while conversing with a well seasoned christian, who said that in his church, Mary's death was not even discussed. If it were important it would have appeared in the word, so it is of no consequence, he continued. I told him that Tradition was important in the understanding of the bible, as well as the Word. Icons also have a way of showing the event without even uttering a word, for those who can't hear, also for children and those who cannot read.

Actually there are many references in the bible that place Mary the Theotokos (Godbearer) in highest esteem such as: Psalm 45:17 "I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever."  And in Luke 1:48 Mary filled with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, predicted the honor that would be paid her throughout history. "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed."  The study aid of verse 48 says that "It is not possible to believe and obey the Bible and not bless the Mother of God."

A special hymn is sung to express Mary's unique place in creation.
"It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify you."

We venerate Mary because she is God's mother . He chose her and sets her apart. She is the queen of heaven. That is found in Psalm 45:v9b. "At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir."

Our Lord and Savior, having become one like us Phil2:5-8"who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

Jesus, emptying himself, becoming human, incarnate and fully man by nature, having taken flesh from Mary his own mother, who He did miracles for, at her pleading, at the wedding at Cana, and left to the care of his beloved apostle, John-- does anyone seriously think he would have abandoned her at the time of her death?

 We venerate Mary and entreat her, as the human being most intimate with Christ on earth, to intercede with her Son on our behalf, for guidance and protection. We do not worship her and certainly the bible tells us that she is in heaven.

Most Holy Mother of our God have mercy on us.

Scriptual references have been taken from the Orthodox Study Bible

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Greatest Power

What is the answer to the current crisis but to look to the greatest power. Several months ago my son was preparing his oldest boy for one of his badges, his being a young scout, and asked him the question, "how do you talk to God?" His little brother was apparently playing close-by them and could hear the question that his older brother had no answer for. After several attempts, the 3-year-old, having an answer, felt compelled to blurt it out. He told his father, "you pray".

Sometimes we have the answer right under our noses but fail to see it--that is, until the situation becomes so great that it causes us to look up. All relationships begin with trust and the understanding that we will be helped in the time of our need. We need to ask and that takes humility. Love is a great power, something that is beyond our complete understanding.

It shouldn't take the wisdom of a three-year-old to tell us that through prayer, we find solution. We are never alone, nor are we without hope. Let us begin on our knees, praying for our leaders, and for each other, to accomplish that which we must for the sake of love, through Divine intervention.

We have the power to overcome...the greatest power--prayer. "Ask and you shall receive."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Small and Insignificant

Are you seeking attention, by boldness, largeness, out of ordinary actions, doing what will lead to your success? Is it your desire to be noticed? To have power? To Dominate? Then what? How do you keep up, more of the same or, do you need to be larger and better? All I can say is remember the childhood story of humpty-dumpty? At some point if you over inflate the baloon, it will burst.

Many problems can occur and are due to our over indulgence, resulting in health issues. We pride ourselves into thinking that we are to be the biggest and the best. One of my favorite movie lines is from one of the Rocky films, when the fighter's wife says to him -- "You can't win." If you think you can't win, you won't even try. If you believe that you can win, you are already a winner. So what are we all about...What are we to win over? We are going to win over hate. A song comes to mind--"They will know we are Christians by our love".

 Anyone who takes up arms over innocent children, (people) do not have the only thing that matter's in life sadly and that is love. The ability to love unconditionally, and to share love with other's is what values life. Lack of peace makes you as dead as those destroyed, and it will eat away at you.

Time and time again, we see in history that love is stronger than hate. Those who will stand up for their brother's need far exceeds in greatness and ability to succeed, all endeavors. People who know how to love their neighbor and coexist find favor with our God who is Love. They are clearly the winners.

Sometimes, the answer to something can be found in a wee small voice if you just listen. We have been commanded to "love one another" and it is that simple. Learn to forgive and do not look back.  The aweful things that have gone on in this world lately, are the result of  those who do not know love or peace.

 A nation of people who care for one another already wins and will never fail. The small gentle voice that is heard everywhere and is present in all things, loves mankind. He is watching!

I believe in humilty, peace and love. History has proven divine intervention. Love is here and it's everywhere present. Love is powerful and it's not small nor insignificant.

Let us show our "bigness" by our extended hand in love for all of Gods people everywhere. Let our battle cry be "Peace on earth good will toward men."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Will the Real Christian Stand Up

Today while in church, Father Peter said something that set off a bell. He said many things in which I totally agree with, like: violence begets violence. It is not up to us to choose sides but to love all mankind. That actually is what I have been saying to myself all week, while praying for peace in the middle east. Much has gone through my head pertaining to the horrible stories that have come over the airwaves regarding the loss and displacement of so many innocent people, children and women. It is natural to want to strike back, but ultimately, PEACE is the only answer -- loving one's neighbor, residing in justice. That means fairness and equality -- working out problems through conversation and establishing the changes necessary for sucessful coexistence. Are we not all God's children?

I agree with the action taken by our president. I'm sure he is trying to do the right thing in helping prevent genocide by providing food and water, and air strikes to protect our people who are caught in the crossfire of a dreadful situation. The question of how far should he take it? I believe truly that it is not our war. We are to desire FREEDOM above all, everywhere. Who wouldn't choose it if they had a choice? Religion does not call for death, only a darkened heart does, one lacking hope, and is enslaved, lacking love.

Our God is a God of Light, Truth, and above all Love. Love demands that we forgive each other and help each other not kill each other. Real Christians do not believe in hate of any kind. We are called to "Forgive". Relax, Jesus is in control. All you have to do is trust. He will provide the way if you ask. His way does not lead to death and destruction, but life eternally. He is the only way...

If death is the price, the Word became incarnate for us, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that we may not perish but have eternal life-- salvation though faith in Him. He died for you because of His love for you.

We are free to choose. What is your choice-- Death or Life?

Remember the message of the angels "Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Men"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Choose or Die

Yesterday, we celebrated the feastday of Transfiguration in which Jesus, in prefiguring His Resurrection,  is showing us His Glory in His love and mercy for mankind, on Mt. Tabor.

This mountain is now holy and revered, since the feet of our Lord has stood upon it and we at once are filled with hope at the awesome sight made manifest to Peter, James and John.

"Your Disciples, O Word, threw themselves down upon the ground, unable to gaze upon the form that none may see. The Angels ministered in fear and trembling; the heavens shook and the earth quaked, as they beheld on earth the Lord of Glory." (by Anatolius)

Free people worship God by choice. Jesus, who was Transfigured on Mt Tabor, demonstrated His power --transforming all who observed His glory, "making the image that had grown dark in Adam to shine once again like lightning." Later, in the garden scene, the story will change and we will see Peter deny Him.

 God understands man in his weakness, and having provided for His disciples many examples of His wondrous works, "that they not be afraid of  His sufferings for our salvation", made the mountain as heaven in His Transfiguration, before His saving Passion, Crucifixion, death and Resurrection.

Our God offers mankind a choice based on His love, (we decide) we choose. We go to God willingly-- we are reconcilled like Peter. Any other way is likened to the fallen state of man, (the image and darkness of Adam). We put off the old man and put on the new (Christ) in Baptism. We fall down in error, and are renewed through the power of God through His Church.

It is in Exodus that Moses called out in the name of the Lord. "And the Lord passed by before his face, and called out, "The Lord God, compassionate and merciful, longsuffering, greatly-merciful, and true."And Moses, making haste, stooped down to the earth and worshipped the Lord."

Take us also to the mountain of Your love Lord, and in peace count us worthy to be made sharers of the bright rays of Your power-- in Your mercy and Your love for mankind.

The voice of the Father testified to Him from the cloud of light, saying: "Listen to Him, Who through the Cross has despoiled hell and has given the dead eternal life"!

All references have been taken from the Great Vesper Orthodox service of Aug. 6

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Mountain Became as Heaven

"Before Your Crucifixion, O Lord, and in order that Your chief Disciples might not be afraid of Your sufferings, the mountain became as heaven, and, like a tabernacle, the cloud spread itself out, when You were transfigured, illumining them with bright rays of Your power, and the Father bore witness to You."

This feast day is celebrated by Christians worldwide. Three Apostles were chosen to witness the event on Mt. Tabor, where Jesus revealed His glory before His crucifixion. Peter, James and John, fell to the earth powerless to gaze at the sight--a brightness that none can bear, while the voice of the Father bore witness from above, "This is my beloved Son who has come into the world to save mankind." They heard the voice of the Father confirming the mystery of Your incarnation, that even after taking flesh, You remain the only-begotten Son and the Savior of the world.

Present with Jesus, the Christ, was Moses and Elijah, who were talking with Him,  the God who spoke of old through the Law and the Prophets.
Moses previously went up to Mount Sinai saying "Show me Thy glory."  (Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6 8 --the 2nd Vesper reading)"And the Lord said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion," And again He said, "You shall not be able to see My face, for man shall not see My face and live." "And when My glory shall pass by, then I will put you in a cleft on the rock; and I will cover you with My hand, until I pass by. And I will take away My hand, and then you shall see My backside; but My face shall not appear to you.-- Moses worshipped the Lord." (Moses appearance on Mt Tabor shows that Jesus is Lord of both the living and the dead).

Your Transfiguration was a Prefiguring of Your Resurrection, O Christ our God, as they beheld on earth the Lord of Glory. Today on Mt. Tabor, O Lord, You have shown the glory of Your divine form.

O Giver of Light, glory to You, for You have come into the world to Save Mankind....

As a personal note, while reading (Exodus 33:23) Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, the passage read: "Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."

Taken from the Orthodox service of Great Vespers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fourth of July Weekend

Planning a vacation, especially one involving travelling during the 4th of July holiday always gives one a  feeling of trepidation, especially if your not fond of wall to wall traffic. Although I do drive, my husband usually is in charge of getting us there and back, safely. We take my car, of course, to give us the option of drivers, leaving at daylight in order to take in all the scenes along the way.

We were just about there, that is just about to enter New Hampshire, well on our way to Maine, when I spotted two eyes looking at me--the eyes of a huge deer. He was determined to come at us, even though my husband, upon hearing me say "there's a deer in the road", looked to his left to see if a car was approaching on his side, tried to avoid the approaching large animal, jurking the wheel left, while applying the brakes, unsuccessfully.

I heard the impact, and recalling nothing else, we pulled over to the side of the road. The state police, having been called, and arriving in no time at all, reassured us that it was not our fault. The deer apparently come to the road seeking salk in the winter and are amused with the vehicles, giving chase, he said. Accordingly, deer accidents are frequent, especially this year, a year of abundance.

The unexpected had happened, and now we were left to pick up the pieces. A very kind person driving a black truck was behind us. He recalled seeing the huge buck fly over our car, having been hit, and apparently, he moved it to the side of the road. I did not see it. Luckily, he was back far enough to avoid the hit himself.

Some people will not approach to find out if "everyone is okay" as he did. We are thankful all and all for many blessings that day, especially for the kindness of the officer and the "stranger." Our car was able to be driven back home, and after a couple of weeks, was repaired by our dealership.

It took us about twelve hours to reach our destination, exhausted and ready for the vacation that we planned.

John and I believe we were protected, and that our prayers that morning were heard, saving us. I prayed for a safe journey, but I forgot to say safe and without incident. It happened so fast, we did not have time to say a prayer, but we were, as I recall, in a complete state of peace. God was with us. The costly inconvenience did not spoil our vacation, which we planned for, all except the unexpected event. We all have them and they teach us about preparedness. The world is full of unknowns--just watch the news sometime. We must always be ready. We didn't even expect the fire alarm to go off at one thirty at the hotel, causing us to evacuate from a sound sleep.

The man who stopped, having witnessed the entire event, and after having viewed the damaged car, responded with a simple sign of the cross. It was then that we realized who had sent him.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Fishing is a special sport.  It's not for everyone but little Ryan had been dreaming of going fishing on Memorial Day since his brother, Nate and Dad went on a scout-sponsored adventure, at a local fish and game club, not far from their home. That evening, Ryan was disappointed that he couldn't go but also was looking forward to his turn at it in Charlton. He is a boat person, while Nate loves aircraft. It's funny what you can learn from a small child. Fishing is one of those things in which you can determine what kind of man your child will turn out to be. Maybe it's an old wives tale, but, from where I sit, it holds true.

You can tell how patient a person will be and certainly how determined. Sometimes, it's just pure luck. And, as luck would have it, it seems that just about as quickly as Ryan cast out from shore, he had hooked one. Being the careful listener that he is, he managed to bring the catch in, and with the help of daddy, got to eyeball the big one. Of course, he was extremely excited about it, as people surrounded him to view his prize. Mom, was trying to snap a picture, which Nate, would have and has, posed for. But Ryan, no way. We heard something like disappointment that there would not be a picture of his first catch, as Ryan decided that it must go back, quickly.

This three-year-old was thrilled as it flapped all over suspended in mid-air, dangling from the line. Daddy suggested that he touch the kiver. Some kids, under no circumstances, will. But Ryan did.

Since we do not eat kivers here, we knew it would be thrown back in. Daddy did the honors while Ryan and Nate watched. Away it went, as fast as it could swim.

That day, Ryan demonstrated character. It was a moment of distinction. Ryan-- the brave and lucky fisherman! Next, it'll probably be, how big and how many? That is, if memory serves me right.

Friday, May 30, 2014

When You Can't See The WAY

(From the Pentecostarion, Sunday May 25) we learn of a man who was born blind from birth who is looking for answers. Was it something he had done, or maybe his parents-- "Or am I a living sign of the people's faithlessness?" Whatever the reason, we see that his "feet can no longer endure tripping on the stones." Blindness must be a terrible thing. But without faith, can you have hope?

Sometimes children ask questions over and over like, when is daddy coming home? It seems they have an inner clock and they can sense even without wearing a watch, what time it is. But, certainly the answer must be when he comes home. Like the children, the blind man waited and waited. Until he couldn't wait anymore, as he could "no longer endure."

The words of the blind man "people's faithlessness" certainly rings a bell. Why is it because they lack faith? Not having had proper direction, can one be anything other than blind? Spiritual blindness is worse than being physically blind. The blind man waits and hopes for light, the spiritual blind thinks he's already enlightened. The blind man calls upon Christ God, "look upon me and have mercy on me!" Why would the spiritually blind need to cry out? He thinks there is no God. He can do all things on his own. He's all set, doesn't need anyone. Maybe, you say you don't need religion. Is this by your choice? Maybe, you have NOT been taught the truth and your walking down a blind path, unknowingly. Or worse, apathy has set in and its excuse after excuse. Maybe you have a little faith, just enough.

The blind man says, "He is truly the Christ, the Messiah Whom Moses foretold in the Law. He is the Savior of our souls!" Could there be any doubt that this man, had received a true healing, both physical and spiritual?

None of us are perfect, and we are given direction by "the" Church which leads us away from spiritual darkness, into the light. This faithless generation is filled with much darkness,  unable to see the light, being blinded by so much deception. There will be consequences.

We should be more like the blind man who revealed: "I am not content to continue asking whether it is night or day."

It was interesting what his neighbors had to say. "His neighbors asked him: "Who opened your eyes, which no one could heal before?"

The Church is there to reveal Jesus to you. Come and see. Come and be changed!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We the people vs WE THE PEOPLE

We are all taxpayers with a different opinion. Some choose to live in a backward mentality and then, there are the rest, forward thinking residents. The June ballot will mandate our choice. There are two choices. Can we afford to err on this critical decision for our town? One wrong move could see us back in the stone ages with a type of government which has been obsolete here since the sixties. Our population demands that we not go back to anything less than what a small city needs to provide its residents. Our budget cost reflects our residential number. Our infrastructure mandates fiscal responsibility and provides our people commodities that other smaller towns, who surround us, are unwilling to extend to its people. We just do not compare. In fact, they look to us. We are the headquarters for many establishments. It's simple, we need services and services cost us. We need creditable people to maintain our municipal government. Our government type is right for us and offers us a format to discuss issues. We can and do choose our council members.

Is it any wonder that some will go to any length to become elected in this town, (city), having run previously and lost? Some seeking election, have previously tried to sue their own town, have the nerve to be placed on the election ballot, once again.

The fact is, if they want change, they can have it by simply moving to one of the little towns, who offer little or nothing for their tax dollar. That's really what they are seeking, isn't it? Or, maybe it's  power, as they know what is best for us.

Some people just don't know when they have it good. Apathy, and negative attitudes have been blamed for the downfall of many good intitutions. Let it not be ours.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

D'oh...Is this is a No-Brainer

Recently, while reading the evening news, and particularly the letters to the editor, my impulse is to respond, as I can no longer stifle that "inner voice." One question read was "Do we want to continue the path we are on, or do we want change?" My level-headed answer is: What will change look like? Why was it necessary in the first place? How can we trust people who cannot get their facts straight? One article said not one of the towns, (our neighbors) Sturbridge and Charlton are economically depressed, and are, flourishing. It said "we were known as the Tri-Community." We are still known as a Tri-Community, and still have, as far as I know, a Tri-Community Chamber of Commerce. (Was this person implying that because we changed our type of government, (and they didn't) we made a mistake, and not to correct it, by going back, means to fail? That we are not flourishing?) Just look at what we do have and at all our accomplishments....Its time people see what a great town Southbridge is.

The editorial was entitled, "No 'red flags' over petition, just red, white and blue." In this article the writer implies that we as a voting town were never told "that we would become a city" and that we were upset. "Bull"! Where does he get the right to suggest how we feel? We became a city out of need, due to our growth, and, we are recognized by The Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office as a "legal city". Simply, have we "out grown" our Town Meeting type of government? We are known as "the city known as the Town of..." getting it's label from population, according to the taking of census. Our population is 16,719 as recorded in 2012. We are by all account a "small city". (No town with a population of less than 12,000 may adopt a "city" form of government).

There are no flawed observations here, just facts. We are unique, not to be compared to our neighbors. The town of Sturbridge, for an example will decide on the fate of their budget on June 2, of $28.7M, "Southbridge Evening News", --having an open town meeting form of government, Town Administrator, and five selectmen. Here's the difference they couldn't become a city if they wanted to, with a population of just over 2 thousand people. Charlton, with the same structure, will be looking at a budge of $23.7M according to "" Sun., May 18, 2014. The census placing their population several years back at 12,981. Could they become the next to adopt a "city form of government"? In my mind, they are notably in a progressive state, have and are making plans for expansion. Another term for our ailment is called "growing pains". Call it what you will, but how can you go back. We move forward, not backward or suffer consequences. We are obligated to each other. We must work for what is best for our town and not be swept away with the current, only to drown, from having lost control, by falling prey to a petition that would return us to the past, which we realized no longer worked for us and was remedied in 1974, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Government Directory. We have a legislative body which consists of a town council of nine and a town manager. We get what we vote in.

Differences that  can be seen from the data available,  is the financial status of the three towns. We have the largest unemployment rate of approximately 9.9, while our median resident age is comparable, 35-41. Household income here is around $50,000 a yr. while Charlton is about $80,000 a yr. An estimated condo or house in the year, 2011 was valued at $300,489. in Sturbridge, while Charlton's homes were valued at $275,460 in 2012. The median Home Value in Southbridge is $155,200. We still have many three-deckers in this town, while the other two towns do not have many, if any. Our downtowns have no similarity. We have a hospital, full-time fire, ambulance and police departments. YMCA, trash curbside pickup and recreation, a new school and much more. We have, and supply our own Water system. That is Big, people...And, an airport!

While it was suggested that we are Tri-Community, we are, and have been in fact, very unique and different from our neighbors. Like, apple and oranges. It is what it is. Don't kid yourself, our neighbors have relied heavily on us because of our RESOURCES.

The situation we are in has little to do with anything but the fact that we need a tax-base adjustment, meaning more revenue. The money to function (pay the bills) must come from other than its residents alone. Our councilors pay the bills too, need anyone forget that. We need to establish new business. What can we do to bring in new enterprises, stores, restaurants, hotels, industry? Until that happens, we are going to just "pay the bills", like it or not. We have Potential....lots of it. Lets get that message out there.....

We have elected people to answer to us the voters, and we have a format to ask them the questions. These are the facts as presented. We do not need the proposed change of government some are seeking. Growing populations demands more services and result in increased costs. We live in an area in which the cost is 9.30% higher than U.S. average. Labor market suggests we are over and above the 6 per cent unemployment figure. All that adds up to hardship, sadly and unfortunately. Let's begin by being a good neighbor.

The petition is NOT the win-all that some claim it to be. Frankly, when someone says in an editorial that "I" have answered some of his questions", I say to myself who is this person and what authority has he imposed on himself? Does he represent "The O'Zone" pictured hand with six fingers that shows to many of us, what does not add up? This is more than flimsy, and sloppy. It again proves which direction we are to follow, not a backward approach. It is not will not make it go away nor is it for betterment.

Take a good look at our beautiful Southbridge. The only real problem here, is attitude. We should adopt a new slogan and attitude at the same time. We were always looked well upon. The "All America City"...Stand up for what is good. That is: "Learn to see" what is in front of you. Aren't we known as the "Eye of the Commonwealth"? No reason to be blind sighted here now. No, not in our Southbridge.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


It came as a total surprise. My husband, John and I were sitting in a back row of a theatre with another couple, intensely watching spider man and bingo, the emergency lights went on and a laser type of white light flashed indicating our need to evacuate. We were stunned!

This was the first time that its happened to us while at the movies, and at first, we thought it was a drill. Drills happen all the time, like the time we went to visit my brother in a Worcester hospital, and while sitting in the small cafeteria, having lunch, bingo the system was activated. The difference,  was the loud speaker announced that this was a test and that there was no need to leave.

Apparently, this was not a test. We probably were among the last to leave theatre four and following the crowd out of the door, left of the screen, found ourselves moving forward down  a long hallway with no windows, while the reoccurring sound of danger and frightful white blinking light beckoned to us.

Everyone walked forward, most smiling or laughing, in an orderly way toward the distant EXIT sign. No one heard any message from any loud speaker, apparently, they had also left the building. Should there be sign of smoke or fire, the crowd could run toward the door, and since, we were shoulder to shoulder from others exiting their auditorium, the scene could have been disastrous.

Finally, we left the building, to the cool street crowded with people, but no fire apparatus was present as yet. We waited for a time, not knowing what to expect or what was the cause of our departure from the building. Some joked about the popcorn machine. It was fine. It could have been otherwise, I thought.

Safety officials from the one truck dispatched from the Sturbridge Fire Department, gave the authorization to return, and that was the end of the featured film.

Rain checks will be honored from the ticket stubs and we'll be returning to see the exciting adventure.
No one knows what happened, other than we had an unexpected adventure of our own.

It makes one think. One thing for sure is that we are grateful for state mandates that provided us with the tools needed to evacuate, safely.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just a Child

Yesterday, Ryan and I were walking just outside the common of the village, The Sturbridge Village that is, facing the meeting house. Learning to be patient is a good quality for even a three-year-old who placed himself at the end of the line, waiting to use the water pump.

There was an abundance of school children all around, having arrived on bus from various states and towns in the area. Each group was properly attired as to the type and color of their clothing, so as not to lose anyone. Everyone seemed to have a guide of some kind, whether it be a teacher or parent.

The historical information available is beneficial to all who wisely understand, that with very little years prior, and as hard as life was in those days, with adherence to the laws at hand at that time, moral values, and a love for God and neighbor, endurance was possible. Nothing was taken for granted. Everything and everyone was appreciated.

On the side of the meeting house is the cemetery, having many infant graves. If nothing else, it places a value on life and all living things are given a new perspective. One just needs to go there to learn, that is, if they are open to its message. Life is a gift.

A group of three girls passed in front of us on that dirt road. I overheard one say to the others, "lets go and see the church." I'm not good at guessing their age, but they were around eight. One seemed to be a little older, but not wiser. I heard her distinctly say, "No, I'm not religious." That comment took me by surprise, but should it have, as it is reflective of many people today.

What exactly do those words imply and, coming from a child? It says to me that she is not open to learn the values of what made this nation great, the love of God and Country. I'm sure she is just repeating what she has heard, possibly at home. It was not enough to just believe in God and the presence of this meeting house (church) made that clear. Worship was a strong part of the lives of the New England settlers.

I can clearly see the past all around here in the Village, with its many offerings of wisdom for those wise enough to see.