Sunday, February 27, 2011

God Be With You – Last Judgment (Meat Fare) Sunday


last judgementToday marks the last day Eastern Christians can have meat until after Easter.  We’ve already begun our preparations in the pantry.  The only meat we have in the house will be consumed today.  The rest of this week we will dine on dairy.  The following week, no meat, no dairy.  Next shopping trip at the end of the week, I will acquire a little bit of meat for the kids.  “Oh meat, how we love you.  But out faith in God transcends you.  See you on the other side of Great Fast.”

(Last Great Fast I did not give up coffeemate in my coffee.  Our priest always tells us it’s not the quantity of the fast but the quality.  So every time I fail at giving up coffee creamer I remember what he said and say extra prayers.  But, I will do my best at giving up creamer this year. I have every intention of doing this.  Hopefully saying this aloud will keep me honest. OH GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER).

Matthew 25:31-46 - "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“To Infinity and Beyond…”

This is what happens when your mommy likes to play with paintbrushes.  When we decided to paint our kitchen, Alex started picking paint swatches for his room.  I hadn’t planned on painting any room.  But, Alex talked about painting his room everyday for a full month until we painted his room.  As a child’s room it did need a durable coat of paint.  We painted the kitchen, then Kristiana’s room (pictures to come) and now we have totally finished Alex’s room.  We still need to touch up the trim in the kitchen and decorate.  I need to finish the mural in Kristiana’s room.  The problem is the time I have to paint is during her nap and she is usually sleeping in her room.  But, Alex’s room is done. 


HE just happened to pick a swatch that said “Buzz Blaster Blue,” which was just perfect because he had decided he wanted his room to look like Andy’s room from “Toy Story 2.”  When we first painted the room, we were stunned at how blue it was. We did not know if we were going to be able to live with it.  Then we painted the stars and we think it is very cozy now.  We have probably made mistakes with such bold colors in our house, but it is our cozy, little house in which to make mistakes.




Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes–Lessons from Saints and More

Sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and grab your Bible.  This one is going to take a while to read.

1. "These Beautiful Things” This week in my book study, Full of Grace, the chapter was about Eucharist.  I am going to share a few things from this chapter.  It is not that I did not know these things, or that I do not remember them daily.  It is in reading these Catholic practices and beliefs in black and white in such simple terms that I sat in awe as my whole Catholic identity came flooding at me.  I remembered vividly my own first communion and preparation and other special days I received the Eucharist.

St. Justin Martyr gave this simple description of the Christian Liturgy in 155 A.D.  I paused on this line, “When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.”

On the day well the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.  The memoirs of the Apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves…and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.

When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings the bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren.  He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the Son and the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.  When he had concluded the prayers of thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying, “Amen.”

2. “Whoever Eats of This Body…” John 6:53-59

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

3. Cannibalism?! One of my friend’s said that she was asked this question once in regard to the Eucharist.  Of course she said her only response was a stunned silence.  To a Catholic this sort of question can hardly be dignified with an answer.  However, if, as a Catholic, you should ever find your tongue in time to give response here is what Pope Paul VI said of Transubstantion:

[the bread and wine] are no longer common bread and common drink…For beneath these appearances there is no longer what was there before but something quite different..since on the conversion of the bread and wine’s substance, or nature, into Body and Blood of Christ, nothing is left of the bread and wine but the appearances alone. Beneath these appearances Christ is present whole and entire, bodily present too, in his physical “reality,” although not in the manner in which bodies are present in a place.

This is what Catholics believe.

…Those were not such quick takes, but a blessed spiritual journey and witness to the faith. 

4. “Suffer and Laugh”  I am still reading about Mother Teresa in Adoration.  So here is a short quote from a letter she wrote that stuck with me, “Sister Gabriella…She has learned to serve the Lord in such a way that she suffers and laughs at the same time.”

5. Sitting Pretty – Annie can sit now.  It is not for long, but she improves everyday.  She cannot get into this position herself.  Her favorite/default position is laying on her back, grabbing her toes and rocking from side to side.  To me Annie seems older than 4 1/2 months.  The other kids could not sit as confidently as early.  Although they did sit and walk earlier than “average.”  Annie also grasps for objects very well.  She is now eating rice cereal everyday.  We did not start the other kids on rice cereal so early, but Annie has an interest and desire in food that the other kids never did.  She grabbed my pizza one evening and tried to gum it down.  She takes after her mommy. FGC ;-)


6. Reading Railroad – Andrew has been exploring reading programs for Alex.  My friend told me about “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”  This appealed to me because when I learned to read it was not via any elaborate or expensive phonics program like the ones advertised on the T.V.  No it was simple lessons each day in my first grade class.  There were no flashcards.  I remember it was simple and easy. I kept looking for simple and easy reading programs for Alex.  I am not ready to throw hundreds of dollars at any program.  So we bought the aforementioned book.  The lessons are fifteen minutes each day.  We have done three lessons and so far so good. It usually takes me 5 – 15 minutes to settle Alex enough to give attention to the lesson.  I will be excited to see where this little journey in reading will take us.  I cannot stop Alex now, because he keeps figuring out words on his own and I think a little formal training would be beneficial.

7. Don’t ever grow up!  The previous two “takes” brings me to my next.  Why do these kids have to grow up? Just stay cute, little and funny forever.


Monday, February 14, 2011

“We and Our Children–The Need for Perseverance”

Modern mothers have been relying on psychology books to interpret child behavior for so long now that if all the psychology books were burned to a crisp, few mothers could relax with the conviction that God’s love, the maternal instinct, and Divine Grace could take their place.  I am not minimizing the work of child psychologists.  They have taught us many new insights into the needs and behavior of our children.  But God can teach us even more, because children’s willfulness, their disobedience, their tantrums, speak just as eloquently for their own search for God and perfection as our sins do for ours.  What we all – little or big – want is God; if we do not realize it, however, we choose many ignoble things in His place.  And if we want to teach children to be good with a goodness that is lasting, we must teach them to be good for the love of God.

The Claytonian Prayer Corner – Hopefully if we keep gathering here more and more as the years pass by, perhaps the children will learn of That Lasting Goodness.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Makeup Their Own Minds

I have been driving myself crazy about my children’s behavior. Recently, I reflected back to when I was a child. I was not a bad child, but I do remember that if I wanted to do something, I would just go ahead and do it regardless of what my parents said. They could council me, teach me, discipline me, and if I wanted to listen, or thought their input was helpful or good, I would comply. But, I decided what I did. I used to think as a kid that you really cannot blame the parents when kids screw up, because kids make up their own minds in what they do. I definitely viewed myself as an individual capable of making my own decisions.  Then as a young adult, having made some good choices in my life, I thought that when kids screw up it’s largely the parents at fault for not disciplining and monitoring their children. If you raise your kids with the right morals and values, they will become virtuous people. Now that I am a little further into parenting, obviously it is both. When I was a kid and I was trying to determine whether to act badly or not, I did remember the lessons my parents taught me. The final decision was all my own, but the lessons advising me were from my parents, teachers and mentors. This is what I am trying to remember as I get stressed to tears over my kids not listening. They may be choosing to not to act right, but they are listening. Perhaps someday, they will choose to act virtuously.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Little Texans in the Snow

Disclaimer: This video is probably only interesting to Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.  It is literally a video of my kids walking through the snow.  If you are not close family, may want to skip this one.  All I have to say is that you can tell these kids are from Texas and not used to the snow. It does not help that they do not have appropriate snow gear.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Icon Writing With Kids - Presentation of Our Lord Into the Temple

What a busy day.  Alex and I barely managed to squeeze in our Icon for today’s feast.  This is not something I would like to repeat.  One should take the time one needs to prayerfully relish the time writing an Icon.  Nonetheless, we found just enough time to complete the Icon for today’s feast.

It was revealed to the prophet Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would see Christ, the Savior, in his lifetime.  When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to make their offering on his behalf, Simeon took the Child in his arms and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel." Luke 2:22-40

presentation of Christ and Alex

presentation of Christ

Part of our rush today was that we had our regular morning activities followed by Liturgy at noon.  We had to run back to our house to pick up my husband and then hit the road to church.  But, I forgot our candles to be blessed!  As is the custom for this feast—Christ is the Light of the World.  I had even written myself a note not to forget them.  I was a little distracted by the –10o F weather, having to wait for Andrew to get ready, and the kids demanding juice and the like. Oi vey.  But, I guess I knew I was going to forget them and that’s why I wrote the note.  I also did not have time to go get bee’s wax and make our candles.  So here they are, our candles, unblessed.  Oh well, perhaps next year.



Now if you are really astute, you will have noticed the color of our kitchen wall above.  The color is called “Oolong Tea.”  Andrew and I like to call it “English Country House Green.”  But, in the wrong light Andrew and I teased each other that we had just painted our entire kitchen 1970’s avocado green.  To prove it is no where near avocado, I took a picture of this ripe avocado.


The kitchen was almost yellow.  I started painting it yellow.  But then decided it was not right with the rest of our d├ęcor and the kitchen opens to the main room.  Kristiana will be getting a yellow bedroom whether she likes it or not.  I think she will like it, because I am going to paint a mural.  I will post more pictures of the kitchen when we finish all the decorating.  Until then…

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sleep When You’re Dead and Other Wisdom

We have taken a week long break from home school, because Alex and Mommy were frustrated.  Alex was frustrated and that caused mommy to be frustrated.  I do not know what happened, but last Wednesday Alex could not sit still, lost focus and scribbled all over his work book even though he had been happily working moments before.  Then the whole afternoon turned into a smack-down, drag-out, Alex Vs. Mommy power struggle.  Anyhow, I decided we would just focus on Alex following instructions, having a good attitude and being respectful.  Plus there were better things to do, like painting the kitchen and playing.

So here are some of Alex’s adorable playtime.  Those trains have not been played with in months!


Everyone has an annoying little sister.  This is Alex’s.  We are trying to teach Alex to be respectful when she is annoying and not hit her or take her toys.


Alex made the whole family dinner in the play kitchen a couple of times this week.  Here is our family enjoying our play dinner.  We even said the blessing before our meal.  And guess what, we discovered Alex knows how to say the blessing when given the opportunity in his own kitchen.



Why yes, Annie Bear was there too.


And what color did we end up painting that kitchen?  I guess you will just have to wait and see. I want to wait to post pictures until we have completed all the design features.  We are going to put up a chair rail and new curtains and I think I am going to compose a new painting for the kitchen.