Archive for September, 2009

Theotokos, Softening of Evil Hearts This is the icon of the Theotokos that I saw and venerated today at Divine Liturgy.  I can’t describe the experience, except that when She arrived at the church, Her arrival was heralded by bells; and as the priest of the parish brought her in, there were many damp eyes, mine among them.

I don’t know what it is about this icon.  I don’t normally care for Western-style iconography, but Her expression is so inexpressibly sweet, and the sight of all those swords piercing her heart…  And then there’s the Troparion, in Tone 5:

Soften our evil hearts, O Theotokos, * and quench the attacks of those who hate us * and loose all straitness of our soul. * For looking on thy holy image * we are filled with compunction by thy suffering and loving-kindness for us * and we kiss thy wounds; * we are filled with horror for the darts with which we wound thee. * Let us not, O Mother of Compassion, * according to the cruelty of our hearts, perish from the cruelty of heart of those near us, ** For thou art in truth the Softener of Evil Hearts.

How could you resist this?!

I was disappointed to find that there were no paper icons available for purchase, nor any of the oil, though I was anointed with the myrrh that exudes from this icon, and have the cotton ball with which I wiped it off my forehead.  I’m hoping to bring it to the priest who chrismated me, and who is very ill.

Meanwhile, prayers for my husband would be appreciated:  He’s retiring from 40 years of civil service, and as he just said, “I feel like I’m losing my identity.”  I can imagine.

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The History of Aprons

Received this from a friend today, and as I know at least one reader who is “into” aprons, I thought she’d appreciate this.  (But I hope you all do.)

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.  After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron,except maybe a little love and caring.

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Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

My sister’s daughter was married yesterday.  There is no way to describe what a beautiful wedding it was, in a beautiful setting — well, I felt bad that they chose to hold the ceremony at a country club, but the garden where it was held had a little gazebo, and overlooked the golf course lake.  The weather was what made the setting so striking — it was a cloudless day, brilliant sunshine, a bit chilly (around 60 degrees), and since the wedding took place at 5:30 in the evening, the golden autumn glow was in full force, and backlit everything, making it seem tranquil, serene — fill in your own favorite adjective.  I said I couldn’t describe it.    😉    But it was almost like God’s blessing on the couple.

The bride’s grandfather, an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist Convention, performed the ceremony, and there were about a hundred guests — all of them either immediate family, or friends of the bride and groom.  Afterwards we all went into the country club and had a very tasty dinner of either chicken or prime rib (we had a choice).  The DJ was too loud — why do all DJs insist on breaking people’s eardrums?! — so the hubster and I left early, but otherwise, we had a great time.

My stepfather was there, which was a relief.  His health has been iffy these past several months, and there was a point where we thought he might check out just a couple of weeks before the wedding; but he has been a part of this girl’s life every single day of it until she left home for college, so not having him there would have put a big pall on her wedding.  He did look confused and out of it, and left early.

I did get to catch up with my brother who lives in Florida, and as always he had us rocking with laughter with his wisecracks — I won’t go into them as they were of a fairly risque nature, but they were directed at my sister, with whom he has always been particularly close, and she was almost on the floor laughing, so no offense intended and none taken.  The hard part for me was the brother who got offended at comments I made about him on this blog; when I asked, “You talking to me?” he said, “No.”  OK, well, what are you gonna do?  Then he added, “Not unless an apology is involved.”  And I said, “For what?”  And he didn’t answer.

And that was that. I mean, he already got an apology for the comments I made; what more does he want?  He seemed to think I had referred to him as a “complete jerk” because he was defending Dad’s wish to return home, but that wasn’t it at all.  My sister had a hard choice to make at the time; she made it with a lot of agonizing, and needed family support.  And she wasn’t getting it from this one brother.  To be fair, he did note that he had volunteered to spend every other weekend with Dad, something I was unaware of at the time.  But that wasn’t awfully helpful the rest of the time,  when my sister and I would have been his sole caregivers, and Dad needed (and still needs) 24-hour care.

It’s pretty silly at this point, too, because my brother seems to have realized that Dad really does need to be in a facility — I mean, he confuses my brothers with his brothers, and my sister with his sister, and is wheelchair-bound — so what’s the issue?  For me, this was the only damper on the day, but as I said, I’ve already given an apology, so — what else is there to apologize for??


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