Moab UT

Moab UT

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A shrine for the Theotokos

A friend of ours recently gave us this beautiful shrine for the Church.  He brought it up and put it in the ground for us at our picnic.  Isn't it lovely?

He placed it on the path from the parking lot to the front door of the Church.  It's so beautiful to walk through the flowers and see the shrine there.

Thanks Dan!

"For there is nothing which so welds our life together as the love of man and wife." ~St. John Chrysostom

See this man, I'm nuts about him.

He is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.

Happy Anniversary my love!

(Picture taken by the budding photographer Katherine.)

S Prazdnikom!

A joyous feast of the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to you all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just another lovely picnic

We had our annual Memorial Day picnic yesterday here at the church.  The good news is I had a great time.  The bad news is I didn't take very many pictures.  

Anyhow, it was great turn out, around 150 or so people.  There was celtic music, face painting, games, a bounce house, great food and excellent company.  People come from over the metroplex to our picnics, we have three a year, and I always love seeing each and every one of them.  (Which is why I didn't take very many pictures-I was too busy talking.)

The pics are of two of the three priests that came:  Fr. Seraphim, Fr. Justin and Fr. John. 

Zoe and Thea with their face's painted.  Zoe is a snake and Thea is a Princess.  Katya told me that her face painting was 1/2 princess and 1/2 super woman.

Katherine and Thea during the games.  Look at Thea's serious concentration during the egg relay.

At the end of the day we had a great time sitting around with Fr. Seraphim and his wife Matushka Anna and our children for a couple of hours while the kids filled up the remaining water balloons and threw them at each other.  When the kids had spent most of the balloons and getting blasted started to bring forth cries instead of giggles, we knew it was bedtime.

And finally, and most importantly, a profound thank you and prayers for all the soldiers who have served and died for our country so that we might know freedom.  May their memory be eternal!

Thank you

Why is it that a gift from a child is so very precious?  I have received some things that I would have never bought myself, but since they are from my girls they are more precious to me than gold.

This young man  in my church school class, I teach ages 6-9, gave me a loaf of bread yesterday (that he baked!!) and made me a card to say thank you.  Oh boy, did that melt my heart.  

Thank me!  No, thank you little man for the blessing of being able to know you and spend time with you.  It's been a joy.

Prayer please

I ask you all to please pray for a dear friend, Mary.  She is in her final few weeks of pregnancy, and has developed a minor complication which will keep her off her feet until the birth of her baby girl.  

This mama has five other children, which she homeschools, and is now having some anxiety about delivery due to the complications.  

Please pray for her.  Pray that she has peace.  Pray that she stays in bed :).  Pray that she gets the help she needs these last few weeks.  Pray for her health.  And pray for a healthy and safe delivery for she and her little one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


OK, so it's not officially summer yet, but my kids have officially checked out.  We homeschool and so my kids aren't aware of when everyone gets out of regular school, but they are checked out and ready to play nonetheless.  We'll homeschool through the summer after our trip to the NW, but with a much lighter load:  math, reading and religion.

Here in the South, it's warm and beautiful.  This is my favorite time of the year.  The girls have been in their swimming pool for about four hours.  I kid you not.  I've spent the morning going in and out.  I go out and weed for awhile and then I come in and clean for awhile.  The windows are open and it's just lovely.

Fr. Justin is making a trellis and bench for some trumpet vines in the yard.  We've all been bitten by the summer bug.  

I took the girls some lunch outside today.  They were so happy to have a picnic.  Summer foods are my favorite to eat and prepare.  I love winter fare, but salads, fruit, cheese, raw veggies, etc.,  this is how I really love to eat.  The girls eat better in the summer too.  They like raw veggies (as long as they have Fr. Justin's homemade dressing for dipping. It's an oil and vinegar with garlic and spices.)  The girls have no clue what ranch dressing is.  Thank goodness.  No offense, I myself like a good homemade ranch, but I prefer us all to eat O&V.

We had peaches (canned-not my favorite, but they were a gift and I appreciate them very much), salmon and fresh tomatoes for lunch today which the girls like, but they can't wait for me to crack open the watermelon I got this morning. I'm cooling it down a bit.  YUM!

We still have a few more weeks of schooling left.  But I couldn't resist enjoying this glorious day.  After all, this is one of the many reasons I home school.  

Monday, May 18, 2009


One part lemmon+ nine parts sugar=my Thea

Saturday, May 16, 2009

From the girl's playroom

This morning I was in the girl's room putting away clothes and organizing drawers, etc.  The girls were playing with an assortment of toys.  They have a creative way of putting all their toys together and making one story out of it all.  Katherine told me once a few years back that "That is just how children play".  

Anyhow, I was doing my thing and the girl's were doing their's when I overheard their play talk.  This is always good for a chuckle.  I never cease to be amazed at how kids put all they know together for one interesting story.  

So, they had polly pockets, horses, animals of all shapes and sizes, little clothes and wash cloths for blankets...  If you have kids I'm sure you know the scene.  Then I hear them talking and it was the birth of Jesus.  I think Snow White was Mary and she was holding baby Jesus as all the world out of their toy box came to see the "Great King".  The conversation was priceless.  
Thea, my four year old "Jersey Girl" (because of her charming accent that makes her sounds like she's from New Jersey).  Says in her best cabby impersonation, "Hey, He's fa you!  Hey, Hey you!  It's Jesus!  Hey, you people of Israel!  He's fa you!"

Then, Katherine is introducing all the great people, and animals, that have come from afar to meet the Baby Jesus.  I hear the different animal names in her very loving voice (the one that's used when we talk with a newborn).  Then she said  "And here is a sharp tooth to see you Baby Jesus".  "He came from far off to see you!"

I wish I had an ounce of their creativity!

"Hail, the conquering graduate!"

Here is the recent graduate Matushka D. in her "costume" as the girls called it.  (Notice the honorary awards!)  Congratulations!

I was only a little disappointed with the the graduate's partying abilities.  Fr. Basil and I tried to get her to stay up all night and party with us, but no go.  We tried to remind her that it was her last night as a college kid, but off she went to bed.  :)  Just teasing.  I think we were all happily snoring by 11:00p.m.

A great time was had by all.

Many years Matushka!

Fast but fun week

I can't believe it's already Friday-again.  Seems like I was just here a couple of days ago.

We had a great week here filled with good friends, beautiful services and screaming kids.   And I loved every minute of it.

The week started with our friends coming down from Tulsa for the Synodal Divine Liturgy at St. Seraphim's in Dallas on Wednesday.  It was a very short visit:  they came in Tuesday evening, went to Liturgy Wednesday morning and then they took off back to Tulsa after the service.  So, we made the best of our time together by staying up late on Tuesday evening and talking.  This sweet family are off to seminary, with their three little children.  I guess we'll be seeing them in three years!  Pray for the Yates family, as they embark on a challenging, yet blessed life.  

Wednesday morning's service at the Cathedral in Dallas was with all the OCA Bishops and DOS priests, who had gathered in Dallas for meetings and to honor Vladyka Dmitri for his recent retirement.  The liturgy was beautiful and some of the priests in the Diocese of the South were given honorary awards for their hard work and dedication.  My beloved was one of those recipients!  Fr. Justin was awarded the gold cross.  Axios Fr. Justin!

Anyhow, our friends, The B. family came up from Houston so that Matushka could graduate from UNT with a MA in Library Science.  Of course their three screaming girls and my three screaming girls had a screaming good time-as always.  

So now it's Saturday morning and it's entirely too quiet around here.  Fr. Justin is off to Dallas to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Slavonic for the Russian community (the girls and I usually go, but I thought three exhausted girls + one slavonic liturgy = no good for mama).  

The pics are of my favorite priest and my favorite Bishop.

Both pictures taken by Miruert Parker.  Thanks Miruert!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Someone save me!

Every tender turtle's nightmare:  to be found by three very excited, extremely loving, ready to adopt any animal that comes their way, screaming little girls.  

I haven't seen much of his head lately.

I think Katherine has convinced the other two that letting him go is the right thing to do.  Good idea, I say.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ Women's Monastery

I have yet to write about this exciting and holy work that is taking place here in the DFW area, but there is no time like the present.  The Lord has finally blessed us with a monastery!  This is an answer to many, many years of prayer.   Sister Barbara has been chosen and given a blessing by Metropolitan Jonah and Vladyka Dmitri to start a women's monastery here in the area!!!!

This is most wonderful news for us here and for all Orthodox, as you don't need to live close to one to receive their blessing.  They are called to pray for everyone, whether you can visit or not. 

"The monastery is a place set apart from the life of the world, yet located in the world.  A place where monastics gather that have dedicated their life to the love and service of God and their neighbor.  In the daily cycle of prayer, work, and service to God and man, the monk attracts and seeks to acquire the grace of God.  In simplicity and silence, living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the monastery becomes a spiritual haven for others to receive "a drink of water" in the name of Jesus Christ.  As visitors come and are renewed by stepping away from their world for a short time, they in turn take the grace they have received into the world they live and share this blessing from God."  ~Taken from the monastery website.

Fr. Justin and I, along with our girls, have always loved visiting and supporting the monasteries.  It is a joy and a great blessing to receive the hospitality and great wisdom of the monastics.  

If you are anywhere near a monastery, go and visit!  You will be blessed!  Even if you have to drive for a couple of days to get to one, make it a regular family pilgrimage.  Your children will be blessed!

The monastery here in the DFW area has found a wonderful piece of property with a home that would be perfect for the sisters.  Please pray for them!  Pray for Sister Barbara and that the monastery will raise the funds needed for the rest of a down payment (they only need 10,000.00 more dollars!!!!! That's not much money!)  If you feel so inclined, visit their website and donate to help them get their property and home.  

Then, put it on your calendar to come and visit them!

A happy Mother's Day!

It was a happy Mother's Day indeed. We started with the Divine Liturgy, as we always do on Sunday's. To me there is no better way to start the day. After liturgy, we had the blessing of meeting and listening to Kathryn Saclarides, a young woman who has devoted her life to missionary work and now travels speaking on this topic.  Our dear friend, Sister Barbara, brought Katherine up to meet us and share her travels and experiences with our parish.  

It was very sobering, as we here in America are so very privileged in every way.  I have a very soft spot in my heart for children and orphanages, so every time she would show pictures of them and talk about the many needs, my heart was pricked and I wished for more money.  I rarely ever wish for more money.  The Lord has provided well for our family (no we are not rich financially by American standards, but I am thankful for everything we have).  I keep telling Fr. Justin to get ready.  Should we ever win the lottery we are starting an orphanage.  He always replies (because I say this occasionally when I see a great need) that one has to play the lottery to win...

She gave amazing presentations on Africa and Albania.  I was humbled by the work, love and dedication of the people who are called to serve as missionaries around the word.  This is a truly high calling.  

Anyhow, there is more each of us can do for the suffering people around the world.  I certainly won't tell any of you what to do, but I can say for myself, I can pray more for them and reach deeper into my pocket book for a few more coins.  

Nonetheless, it was a joy to hear her speak and to see the Lord's work being done around the world.  If you ever get the chance to meet this young lady and hear her speak, do so, you won't be disappointed.  

After spending time with she and Sister Barbara, we went to my own precious mom's house to give her hugs and kisses.  My brother's and their families were there and it was good to see them all.  

On the way home we all agreed that while we definitely love that Grandma and Grandpa Ocean live in a beautiful part of the country, and we love that we get to go see them, however, we would much rather be able to see them on a regular basis and give them hugs and kisses all the time.  

I hope you all had a beautiful Mother's Day.  Pray for all the mother's in the world.  For those who want to be mothers.  For those who have been mothers.  Also for the Abbess's in the monasteries, who are spiritual mother's to many, many souls.  Motherhood is a high and noble calling and one that is challenging but sanctifying and holy.  

The pics are of a few of us as Katherine (in blue) and Sister Barbara were leaving.  I forgot to take my camera to mom's...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pass the elbow please

Tonight's dinner discussion:

Zoe:  "Papa, can I have an elbow please?"
Fr. J.:  "A what?"
Z.:  "An elbow."
F.J.:  "A chicken elbow?"
Z.:  "Yes please."
F.J.:  "A chicken elbow.  Sure Zoe, coming right up."

One of those days...

Today is Fr. Justin's day off.  Unfortunately, over breakfast we went over the list of things that really need to get done, soon, as in today.  

Fix stove.
Fix air conditioner.
Clean out chicken coop.
Clean out shed and get summer clothes out.

As we were looking over the stove trying to figure out the problem, we realized how long it had been since we had cleaned it.  Zoe, our two year old, quickly summed it up for us:  "Oooooh, mommy, thas gwoss!"  

My response:  "Um, yes dear, thank you.  Perhaps you all would like to watch a movie while papa and I spend the next three hours scrubbing our stove and trying to make it work again."

Katherine was totally scandalized that Fr. had waited until his day off to "take care of mama's stuff" and wasn't planning on offering his entire day to his children.  Sounds like she made her point.  He and the girls are off doing something together at this moment. 

Oh well, at least we have our stove fixed.  As for the rest, I'm sure it can wait.

Thanks my love!