Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions are for Those Weak in Soul

05-30-02-timeballweb Normally I don’t make New Year’s resolutions—or resolutions in general.  It would seem to me that one should not have to wait until the first day of the new year to decide to change one’s bad habits, do new things, or anything of the sort.  One can decide anytime to make changes, or as a dear friend once said, “You may have made your bed, but you don’t have to lie in it.”

Last year, my husband and I jokingly resolved to eat more Whataburger (Texas burger chain).  We ate there a couple of times and never truly fulfilled this resolution.  This brings me to a second point about resolutions—most people never keep those oh so sincere resolutions, and end up being sorrier than the were before they made their noble-hearted, life-changing, soul-altering resolution. Therefore in general, I do not make resolutions.  If I never resolve, I never have to feel the agony of defeat, nor test my soul in ways, perhaps, it should not be tested, as in making myself the sole center of my attention…

BUT, I guess I have a weak soul, because I have decided to make a couple of resolutions, because I feel like it and there are a few things I want to do. So here they are and say a little prayer for my weak soul.

I resolve to:

100_1795 1. Use my reusable grocery bags every time I go to the store. I had trouble remembering to use them. I had trouble getting the baggers to use them. I had trouble keeping them in order. But, I think I can manage it now. Look, I even folded them and put them in this bigger bag.

2. Read at least one hour each night.

3. Exercise at least three times a week. (I haven’t been working out for two whole months, because this season at my work is intense.)

These should not be too consequential to my soul; they are just easy-going and organic.  Good luck and God speed with your own resolutions.

Christmas Cuties


Kristiana hated her stupid Christmas dress. 
She couldn’t wait to take it off.


Alex and Daddy’s Christmas sword fight. Alex won.
Btw, Alex wore that outfit to Christmas liturgy.
We were embarrassed, but he insisted.
The shirt says, “My Mom kicks harder than you.”


Sir Andrew


Goodbye family. We will miss thee!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And the Word Was Made Flesh

100_1763  We spent all day making traditional Byzantine meatless Christmas Eve dishes to prepare our souls for the birth of our Lord.  It was intense. I did not sit down or stop cooking all day. Wow! My mother-in-law kept on cleaning up dishes after me all day long. I couldn’t have down it with out her. I don’t think that making all of it in one day was a good idea, but I didn’t have time to do it any other time.

What we made: Kolache (braided bread), Poppy seed bread roll, cabbage rolls stuffed with rice, pyrohy (potato dumpling), prunes and mixed dried fruit, green beans, saute mushrooms, mashed potatoes and stuffed salmon.

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My favorite thing was the poppy seed bread roll.  The kids were pretty well behaved all day and even helped at times.

Yesterday, we made some crafts.  I came up with this little craft for our Christmas table. 100_1779Later in the evening I watched “The Nativity Story” for the first time. I liked it, but I think there were some parts that were really poorly done. Nevertheless, it’s the only feature length film that is about the first Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord.  Anytime I read, see, learn pray about Mary, Blessed Theotokos, I always am deeply stirred.  The only thing I can think is that she was the most pure human who was not also God.  That really hits me. It’s proof to me that anything under God is possible.
I’d like to think of something awe-inspiring to commemorate the birth of our Lord to post, but I am exhausted and I am going to spend the next couple days just enjoying family and focusing on these Holy days. Much love to you and your family and peace on Earth.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


100_1746I think that is one of the most exciting, comforting, loving, overwhelming words in  the English language.  When what is being smothered is food with cheese, there is no greater form of love—cheese dripping over and loving every crevice of edible morsel.

Around 4:00 p.m. Friday, I received a phone  call from my husband, “What are you doing with these scallops I see defrosting?”

“I don’t know. I was going to figure that out when I got home.”

“Don’t you want to do something out of ‘THE’ cook book?”

“I don’t know? Why?”

“There’s a recipe here. I am going to go ahead and make it.”

“Okay, go for it.”

What I arrived home to was 100% pure love broiling in the oven. Andrew is very good at following directions, and there were many; sauté,  sauté, chop, sauté, flour, sauté, reduce, cover in cheese, broil; results: perfection! Soft, sweet mollusks oozing with melted cheese. Heaven—pure heaven—procured for consumption by my loving husband. Amen.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tot Talk – Is it Brown? OR…

I put a brown polo-shirt and brown corduroys on Alexander this morning.
He looked down at his shirts and patted his little chest and said,
"Mommy, me, Alex chockette? [giggle] I am chockette [to]day.”
“Yes, Alex your shirt is chocolate colored.”
And here is a picture of Alex jumping on his bed slinging his slinky.
I just thought it was a cool picture.

Three Monastery Soups

11-14-09 219 So I received this cook book earlier in November just in time for the Nativity Fast.  While there are many soups that have meat and cream, there are also some good all vegetable soups. These are the one’s I have tried so far.  All turned out pretty delicious. We had plenty left-overs for me to take for my lunch. I love soup, especially when it is cold like it is now. But, still there seems to be something lacking.  Maybe my husband is right, soup really isn’t a meal in itself, especially when it’s all vegetable. It needs bread and butter and meat and cream.  I feel very monastic.  If any of these soups intrigue you, email me for the recipe.

Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup – a full bodied soup, yet forgettable.  It is also stinky. But, I was excited to use Swiss chard, because I had never used that leaf before.  The chard was one of the good parts of this soup.

Broccoli Rabbe and White Bean Soup – Soft, mellow flavors—very comforting.  This soup was an unexpected winner.

St. Nicholas Soup – reminiscent of vichyssoise, all the below ingredients became an orange puree. I am not sure that making it puree was the best way to bring out the marriage of these ingredients.  In the end, I added a little goat milk to it and it took on the flavor the milk, which is never a good sign.  Overall, I cannot really complain about it. It was, again, simply forgettable. 
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Seasonal Decorating


Alex and I made this house at the church tonight.
Alex ate candy. I decorated the house.
Then Alex burned off his sugar high chasing around other little boys his age.
Meeting with friends made the event worth while.
Although, next year I may do this at home instead.

Side Note: I have been busy lately. I like being busy, but I haven’t taken time to think and pray. Hence, there’s been less posting. But, pray for me that I can get back on track and do good things with my mind and good actions in my home and community. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on my a sinner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St. Nicholas Day

100_1704We had a little party for St. Nicholas’ Feast today, but I forgot to take pictures of the kids enjoying.  So these are the pictures I took before and after the party. The children learned about St. Nicholas at the party, then they colored pictures and ate cookies and finally St. Nicholas visited and left them each a small gift of clementines, bells, whistles, candy and a St. Nicholas ornament ( The children each brought a gift to donate to less fortunate children. (Side story--see below.)

Alexander helped me make my first batch of sugar cookies (first as in I have never made sugar cookies before). The decorating part was more labor intensive than I would have liked, but they turned out well. Then Alex could not go to the party because he had a little stomach bug. But, Kristiana went and I think that she enjoyed it the most of anyone. ;-)


Side Story – On Saturday, the Marines were outside Wal-mart in nice dress uniforms with a box for Toy for Tots. I, like any woman, love a man in uniform, and I know children like fancy uniforms too.  So, I took this for a teaching moment. I asked Alexander to look in the box and see the toys. I told him that he was going to go in the store and pick out a toy he wanted and he was going to put it in the box to give to another child. He liked the idea of picking out a toy, but not that he had to give it away.  I was very fearful of an impending meltdown, so as we picked the toy I told Alex over and over again that he was going to give it to another child.  When we left the store and it was time to put the toy in the box, I gave it to Alex, and told him to put it in the box. He took it and walked over to the box and tipped it in.  The marines cheered for Alex and we went on our way merrily.  I guess you had to have been there.  The chorus of men cheering for the little boy was so spontaneous, and I think it made it an happy, memorable event.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beauty in Suffering

The other night I had a brief, angst filled dream of pain and suffering. At every turn I saw or experienced pain and suffering.  I could not escape. I was lost. Everyone about me were confused and sad—toiling in their pain. All I wanted to do was to tell everyone that this is no way to live out their suffering.  But, I was mute.  Then as hot, aching tears streamed from my eyes I could hear a beautiful poem.  It was my own voice, but I was not saying it.  I cannot remember it all now, but it went something like this:

“You say your suffering is for naught.
Truly if you say it is for naught, then that is what it will be.
There are others who suffer more than you
and live their suffering with love for Thee.

For in their hearts suffering, trials and tribulations, are gifts from God—an opportunity like no other to step closer to the Lord—to be bathed in His love.

If you suffer with a pure heart, your suffering will not feel like pain, but will be like a moment to rest in the warm embrace of the Lord.

So, “gird your loins,” and turn to the Lord.
Do not ask Him why you must endure this suffering, but pray that it may be offered in communion with the Passion of Christ, that sins may be forgiven and you may be bound to eternal life.

The Beauty of suffering is that it will bring you to the love of the Lord so long as you do not turn away.”

…and then I woke up.

Kristiana's Very First Year

One year ago today our little girl was born. 
Kristiana walks and talks (a little).  She says Mama, Dada and Al-la (for Alex). She says ball and uh-oh. 
She likes table food better than mush.
She is good at screaming very loudly when she is unhappy.
I am not sure if she is a Tomboy, or just an adoring little sister.  She loves all of Alexander's toys and hates dolls and girly things. But, she also likes following Alex around and doing what he does, so it's hard to tell.

Birthday shoes from Auntie Sarah

All bundled up

Thursday, December 3, 2009