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Archive for February, 2009

Requesting Prayers…

…for Father Count’s little daughter Ana.  She’s had a high-grade fever, off and on, for about three weeks now — she gets sick, her temperature spikes, they give her an antibiotic, it settles down, then, just when they think she’s doing better, it shoots back up again.  (We’re talking 104F, 40C.)  Today they called Father at church to tell him they were taking her to the hospital — his wife, who’s a doctor, thinks it may be pneumonia.

This is very worrisome for the family, since not even Mama can figure out what’s going on!  I know he would appreciate all the prayers he can get.

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I saw my former spiritual father today.  The only reason he is my “former” is because he is 40 miles away, and when gas hit $4/gallon last year — and we finally had a decent priest — I got his blessing to start receiving Confession from Father Count.  Now, as well all know, Father Count is a sweetheart, a dear, a wonderful priest — of only four years.  And when I asked his assistance for a scene in my book, his response was (very properly), “I don’t have the experience to handle that kind of thing.  I think you should ask Father Retired or Father Right-on-the-Money.”

Father ROTM (the latter of the two), although Greek, is actually more in tune with Russian practices than Father Retired, so I got an appointment with him and drove over to see him today.  Boy, was that nice. I do miss him.  I don’t know how he knows so much about spiritual warfare, and I probably don’t want to know, but among the troops, he is a general.  Nobody in parish practice knows spiritual warfare like him.

As we usually do, we drifted from one topic to another; I got his input on the scene I had planned for my book, and was relieved to learn that Orthodox practice would require pretty much what I had planned out.  As we drifted from one topic to another, Social Activism came up.

As regular readers may have noticed, I have a Thing about Social Activism.  That is, I can’t stand it.  Both Father ROTM and Father Count have the same “take” on it:  It’s not really about helping other people, it’s about making ourselves feel good.  We Help the Poor, or March in Pro-Life Demonstrations, or Work in the Soup Kitchen, and we go home and say, “I feel so good when I do that!”  Uh-huh.  And while you’re feeling So Good, what exactly is this doing for your relationship with God?

Yeah, yeah, I know all about Feeding the Hungry, Giving Drink to the Thirsty, etc.  But does anybody ever think anymore — as they used to teach in Catholic school, prior to Vatican II — that there are spiritually hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, etc.??  We all know them.  They are called the heterodox.  So, what, we go out and stand on street corners and push tracts?  I mean, when was the last time you tried that?  It doesn’t work for the heterodox, and it sure isn’t gonna work for us.

Last Thanksgiving, our Outreach Committee prepared Thanksgiving dinner for the local soup-kitchen habitues.  One of the ladies in our Bible Study group assured me earnestly that “that’s what it’s all about.”  And when my face showed my doubt, she nodded emphatically.  “That is what it’s all about.”  Later, I brought that up with Father Count; today, I mentioned it to Father ROTM; and they both agreed:

That’s not what it’s all about.

As we prepare for Great Lent, we come face to face with what It is all about.  It’s about betrayal.  It’s about our Savior betrayed by His friends and His society.  It’s about our betrayal of Him, and of each other.  It’s about Communion, broken and restored.  It’s about making a new start, not even day by day, but moment by moment.  It’s about trying to figure out ways to mend the broken places in our lives, and, where we cannot mend them — I have two situations in my own life, that I can think of — commending them to the One Who came to heal and to restore.

So I think I’m going to skip the Soup Kitchen Easter Do this year (as I do every year).  There is nothing I can do, on my own, to fix my relationship with the brother who wants to Bring Dad Home to Die (despite the fact that he wouldn’t be around to share the burden of caring for Dad), or my daughter, who simply will not respond to any overtures from her father and me.  But I will focus on my own relationship with Christ:  allowing His light to penetrate my darkness, and trusting that in time, my less-darkened self will shine a faint gleam into the darkness of others.

Trampling death by death.  That’s what it’s all about.

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For Today…

Outside my window… quite sunny, but I can see a few high clouds, too.  Snow due in late tomorrow.

I am thinking… about a possible resolution to the dilemma I posted about concerning my novel — if I can just get over that hump, the rest of the thing is practically written.

From the learning rooms… I have finally received my course materials, and am waiting to hear from my instructor about how she would like to proceed — i. e., if she wants to work with the first two books in the series, or if she will help me with the third.

I am thankful … that the writing muse hasn’t deserted me entirely.  I sometimes go for years without any viable story lines, and then suddenly POOF!  It comes roaring back.

From the kitchen… I’m glad I saw this — I had completely forgotten that I wanted to make chicken in the crockpot tonight.  Done!

I am wearing… brown skirt and deep red shirt.

I am reading… The Company, by Robert Littel, for about the fourth or fifth time — this work of fiction about the CIA from its inception to the end of the Cold War is great for getting into the mood for my own books.

I am hoping… that we don’t get too much snow.  I don’t usually mind winter (too much — at least it’s better than broiling in summer), but the two-footers in January, back to back, coupled with sub-zero temperatures, have about done me in, and I am ready for Spring.  This past weekend I got rid of all my wintry floral displays and bought some new daffodils made of silk, which are now gracing the file cabinet in my living room.  (All my floral displays are silk.  Real flowers cringe when they see me coming.)

I am creating… ahem.  I will assume you are all sick to death of cryptic references to the Work in Progress.

I am hearing… just the hum of my computer.  That’s something else I am ready for:  birdsong.

Around the house… today is the day I clean my son’s bedroom, currently my stitching room.  Of course, it doesn’t need *much* doing to it, but  like everything else in this house, it accumulates dust at an astonishing rate.

One of my favorite things… Bach.  With the parish office “on standby” for the week, while Father is on vacation, I may actually get in a little (really bad) piano playing.

A few plans for the rest of the week… It’s time to look at new computers.  We’ve had this one for almost five years, and it’s gotten so sluggish that I’m afraid of a crash.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

Almost Heaven, a painting by Thomas Kinkade.  The fly fisherman reminds me so much of my son!

Almost Heaven, a painting by Thomas Kinkade. The fly fisherman reminds me so much of my son!

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This time, on time.  I’m really enjoying this!

The Simple Womans Daybook

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009:

Outside my window…  the sun is shining, but it is cold — 17 degrees above zero, Fahrenheit.

I am thinking…  of all the things I have yet to do, before leaving the house.

I am thankful for…  being over my cold.  Colds are always such nuisances — you feel like a dog’s breakfast, but they aren’t usually serious enough to warrant full-blown Staying in Bed to Get Better.

From the learning rooms…  Another Byzantine chant class, this week for Vespers.  I would enjoy this a whole lot more if Byzantine chant went anyplace that makes sense to my ear.

From the kitchen…  Slow-cooked beef stew for supper!

I am wearing…  a forest-green tailored blouse with a khaki-colored, ankle-length knit skirt.

I am creating…  at the moment, wrestling with how to get my book out of the beginning and into the meat of it.  Question:  How does a fundamentally gentle man react when his wife betrays him?!

I am going…  to work, in about half an hour.

I am reading…  still between reads, but I expect to pick up Bread and Water, Wine and Oil for Great Lent.

I am hoping…  that the back porch won’t be too icy as I make my way down the steps to the driveway.

I am hearing…  the slow cessation of morning traffic outside my door.  This town is so quiet, come around 9:30 in the morning.  It used always to be quiet, till people started moving up from Massachusetts because housing is (was!) so much cheaper here.

Around the house…  Daily chores are done:  beds are made, laundry washed, dishes washed.

One of my favorite things…  wool.  I have treated myself, via catalogue shopping, to a new lace pattern and two balls of a wonderful peach-colored wool, and plan to make myself a head scarf for church.  The one I have keeps slipping off my head, and those lace chapel caps look so “doily.”  I’m hoping that a light fingering-weight wool scarf will stay on better.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  The Sunday bulletin for church…  making some progress on a stitch-along I’m doing with a cross-stitch group…  depending on the weather, visiting my daughter in Maine come mid-week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Be Thankful, a cross stitch I did for my sister

Be Thankful, a cross stitch I did for my sister

http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

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I really like this thing, and had been wondering why I didn’t see anything this past Monday.  I guess because none of my blog pals posted it until today!  This time the “reminder” came from Mimi (thanks, Mimi!).  I guess I’ll have to add the Daybook to my Bloglines so I remember to access it regularly.

FOR TODAY (February 7, 2009)…
Outside my window…  the sun is making a good attempt to break through the clouds.  Or maybe it’s just morning fog, I can’t tell.  Anyway, it’s hazy out there at the moment, but the sun is shining through.

I am thinking…  of all the chores I need to get done today.  Laundry, paying bills, a little cleaning that I let go all week while dealing with a cold.  I am proof positive that it isn’t only men who act like big children when they are sick:  I am impossible to live with, when I’m sick.

I am thankful for…  my husband, who not only took care of me this past week despite having a cold himself, but also put up with my incessant grousing.

From the kitchen…  We do have a mouse.  We also have a humane mousetrap, which for some reason (probably both of us being sick) we have not put down yet.  What I did break out is some chocolate Ex-Lax, which a landlord once told me works like a charm, and it certainly did when we lived in his house.

I am wearing…  at the moment — my nightie!  The Plan for today is to wear one of my Eddie Bauer corduroy skirts with a nice forest-green blouse.

I am creating…  a couple of things.  A Stitch-Along for a group I belong to, and my Little Engine That Thinks I Can, and mulling over ideas for my next book.

I am going…  nowhere, for once.  Saturdays, which used to be our Get Out and See the World Day, have become our Stay Put and Take Care of Chores Day.  Funny how life changes after the kids grow up.

I am reading…  At the moment, nothing.  I am actually in between books, having just finished A Shepherd’s Watch (thanks for the tip, Elizabeth!), and scouting through my library for my next victim project.

I am hoping…  that we really do get a thaw over this weekend, and that it will melt some of the snow that has frozen solid in the sub-zero temperatures we’ve had during January and this part of February.

I am hearing…  the hum of my computer.  Hey, it beats hearing the sounds of blood-curdling screams from your offspring, as they do their best to inflict grievous bodily harm on one another.

Around the house…  it’s dusty.  This is the dustiest house I have ever lived in.  I’ve been sick since Monday, so haven’t done very much around here, and the level of dust is mind-boggling.  My daughter once told us that dust is the result of growing old…

One of my favorite things…  is a clean and tidy house.  See prior comment.  Sigh.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Well, since it’s the weekend, I guess that means today and tomorrow.  See prior two comments for today’s activities.  Tomorrow I get to go to church!    🙂

Here is picture thought I am sharing, entitled, “Thank You, God, for One More Spring!”  It seemed like a hopeful thing to post, after this first full week of February.

A painting by Russian artist Alexei Adamov

A painting by Russian artist Alexei Adamov

From The Simple Woman’s Daybook: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

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