Moab UT

Moab UT

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Our Christmas

December 26th is when Fr. Justin and I celebrate Christmas with the girls.  Since we always go to my parents for Christmas day, we take the 26th for our family so we can enjoy the time together and not have to rush.

Of course, the girls wake up ready to roll at about 7:00a.m.  We only make them wait for the coffee-which is a must.  (Thank you dear husband or Bill and Vi for the great Whidbey Island coffee-YUM!  I'm not sure if my husband brought it back from his Thanksgiving trip or Bill and Vi brought it last time they were here, but it's awesome.)

Anyhow,  the girls got great gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Ocean and since I knew they would get all toys from my parents, we stayed with educational types of toys.  I got some great deals at the thrift store on wooden toys.  Katherine got her microscope, which I may regret some day. :)  Thea got a new school desk.  Zoe got puzzles, baby toys and a cute fabric Noah's ark with fabric animals that stuff inside.  

After the chaos subsided, Papa made an awesome breakfast!  Eggs, bacon and scones!  

The icing on the cake was a visit from our friends from down in south Texas.  Fr. Basil, his Matushka Dea and their three girls, yes I said girls, came up for the night.  It was an evening of running and giggling and a major slumber party.  We also had a great visit with Fr. and Matushka after the kids passed out.  We love it when they visit!

The pics are Christmas morning pics here at our house and the slumber party.  Check out the fancy attire on the girls Christmas morning.  I think they slept in those outfits!

The festivities continue

December 24th, Christmas eve, we spend the day decorating the church and and preparing food for the holy supper.  

The church looks beautiful and "Holy Supper" was wonderful.  Holy supper is an old Russian tradition of a lenten meal (since the fast is not broken until after liturgy on Christmas morning) served on Christmas eve.  There are twelve different foods that are supposed to be served, symbolic of the twelve apostles.  Other foods can and are brought also.  For more on this tradition go to:, click on traditions.

For our parish it is a wonderful opportunity for us all to sit and have a meal together, since everyone leaves after liturgy Christmas morning to be with their families.  
The kids are all running around excited that Nativity has arrived!  Now if they can just get to sleep!

Christmas morning!  
A beautiful liturgy is served for the glorious feast of the birth of our Saviour!  We all greet one another at church with the festive greeting CHRIST IS BORN!  GLORIFY HIM!

Fr. Justin, the girls and I hop in our van and head for my mom and dad's house for the day.  
We exchange gifts and have a wonderful meal and spend the day talking and dozing.  After a full day of excitement and one more round of food, stuffed and sleepy, we head home for bed.

The pics are of my niece and nephew with the girls.  

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Back tracking...

O.K., so I promised pics from Nativity and here they are.  But, I can't just throw the pics out there without a little explanation.  Especially since our Holiday was such a nice one with friends and family.  So, here it goes.  

December 23rd, Papa says we can now decorate the tree.  We have begun the custom of waiting to decorate the tree until a couple of days before Nativity.  It helps us to remain in the 'lenten' spirit until we break the fast on Nativity morning.  So, on Sunday, Fr. gives us the go-ahead and away we go.  The girls opened the decorations as if they were gifts themselves.  
They had a great time decorating and loved their new ornaments from Grandma and Grandpa Ocean.  

Fr. also starting his baking today.  So, the girls got to assist in making cookies.  The pics are of the the girls putting powdered sugar on the russian tea cookies and Katya and Thea in front of their finished tree in new dress up clothes from Grandma and Grandpa Dobbs .  

Someone forgot to tell Zoe that you powder the cookie, and put it in the container, NOT powder the cookie and eat it!  

S Prazdnikom!

Joyous Feast!

When Thou, O Lord wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made
For the voice of the Father bare witness to thee, naming his beloved Son.
And the sprit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the certainty of that word. 
O Christ our God, who hast manifested Thyself and enlightened the world glory to Thee.
-Theophany Troparion

Today is the feast of Theophany, the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a glorious feast.  It always pulls at my heart to hear the words "As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ!" It reminds me of my own baptism and the baptism of my children.  It encourages me and pulls me back to my decision to "Put on Christ".   These words were sung today during Liturgy and are sung at all Orthodox baptisms, Nativity and Pascha.  

One of the many things I love about the Orthodox Church is participating in the life of Christ and His holy church throughout the entire year.  Being a part of these rememberances allows me to draw closer to Christ, to His humanity, His Divinity, here and now.  You would think that celebrating the same feasts year after year would grow old, but they only grow richer and more meaningful-just like celebrating events in our own lives like marriage and children. 

Participating in the liturgical cycle of the Church has allowed me to ponder my relationship with Christ, and where I am in my life at that time, year after year, and it has never been the same. For me now I am neck deep in toddlers.   So, the services are distracted and chaotic (since children participate in the services with the parents and papa is the priest which means he is always in the altar and not with me in the sanctuary, where the fun is taking place:)  But by the grace of God, I am able to enter into the service from this perspective.  

My children are responsible for a large part of the joy in my life.  They are so profoundly beautiful and I thank God for them.  Everyday I am amazed at what God has placed in my care.  So, I feel that in the midst of the lack of sleep, distraction, frustration, chaos, and rarely getting to hear a sermon,  I must try to see God-and I do.  After all, he is responsible for their creation.  It is through these glasses that I enjoy the feasts of the church.  

Glory be to God for all things!