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, 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.