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 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