Moab UT

Moab UT

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Update on Miss Zoe

We went to the Dr. today for Zoe and all seems to be headed in a good direction. He said her lungs sound good and her fever is gone. He thinks Zoe may have some asthma going on and so we'll start looking into getting her some help with her lungs.

Thank you all for your prayers!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Linen, always a conversation starter

Young male nurse who helped us at the ER: "Is that linen?"

Me: "Huh?"

RN: "Is that linen? Your shirt, is that linen?"

Me: "Uh, yeah, it is."

RN: "I love linen."

Me: "Uh, yeah..."

So, we had to take our little Zoe to the Children's Hospital ER Sunday night. She's been battling with what we thought was pneumonia for about a week. She's not responded to antibiotics at all so we thought she needed help. We found out that she has a respiratory virus, hence the reason antibiotics aren't working.

Anyhow, the guy who checked us in and got us in a room was the person inquiring about my linen shirt. Seems he's in to the whole medieval dress up thing. He told us that it's hard and expensive to find the type of clothing for his extra curricular activity, so he taught himself how to sew and now makes his own clothes. At first I thought his conversation was a little odd, given the circumstances and all, but then I realized that he was just being kind. He was making conversation-any conversation to pass a few minutes, to lighten up the situation a take the edge off. It worked.

By the time we were finished and walking out the door we were talking to everyone in our area of the ER like we had known them for years. Everyone was smiling and waving and cramming more stickers into Zoe's hands-wishing her the very best.

What a job. That place was absolutely nothing short of insane. From where I was sitting it was total chaos. Our nurse told us it was a really calm night. Everyone there was so very kind-except for the patients-all children (a constant stream of no less than 200 or so)-who were screaming and crying and sick and in pain.

I was so thankful for those people who must really love their jobs. How else could they do it? I mean when I got there I was stressed. At that point Zoe had been sleeping for about a week with a fever floating between 102 and 105. Her lungs didn't sound good. I knew something was very wrong. So, by the time we made the decision to go to the hospital I was pretty worried. Everyone there made a concerted effort to smile and speak kindly to us. I'm sure they knew I was worried-which parent who brings their child to the ER isn't? Nonetheless, I was amazed at their patience and their joy. Really. I sat and watched them interact with very upset parents and children and all the employees were calm, loving and genuinely concerned for every person they encountered. I was amazed and impressed with it all.

We're home now, thanks be to God. The Dr. didn't feel Zoe warranted a stay-just close monitoring. If she's not doing well in a few days we will go in for some tests. I ask for your prayers for this little one. She needs to make some improvement over the next couple of days. Also, say a little prayer for all those Dr.'s and nurses, EMT's, paramedics and employees who work crazy hours and take care of people. I personally can't imagine doing those jobs, but clearly they can.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Glory to God for all things

For years I worked for a very successful company in the film industry as the general manager. My responsibilities were a little of this, a little of that and a lot of everything. One of the things I prided myself on while in the work force was organization. I could work under loads of pressure and juggle several different projects on a daily basis. In fact the busier I was the more I liked it.

I find it ironic that the one of the things that hinders me most in my daily life now as a wife and homeschooling mother is my lack of organization. Some days when I feel especially disorganized and frazzled I have to laugh at how I used to manage in my old job. Everything in my office was perfectly organized, neatly labeled and filed. Everything in my office was very clean and neat. No one ever had to ask me where something was, how to do it or when because I was typically several steps ahead of them. Another life...

Now, don't get me wrong. I would love to still have those skills that I somehow, somewhere lost. I'm sure my husband wishes I had them back too (although he never complains). I'm certainly not condemning being organized-unless of course it's an obsession. But I find that the Lord truly does give us what we need. These days my oldest usually wakes up before I do...she's eight. Aren't I supposed to be up, showered, prayed, read, dressed, baked and all ready to go before anyone else hits the floor?!

Since my ability to run a tight ship did not seem to follow me home when I left that job for this one, I have had to change my expectations in a very large way. I spent a great deal of time beating myself up over the years for not being able to run my home life like I did with my old job. While I did live my faith in my job it is only now as a mother that I have really begun to live my faith. Of course I can contribute this to my marriage, but I largely contribute it to having children.

While I think that having a game plan, being organized and creating a warm and inviting home is very important for children (and my husband), I have since learned that remaining at peace and giving thanks to God in absolutely everything is the best education I can give my girls-despite my shortcomings. As I think back over the last couple of years and remember different learning, cooking, cleaning scenarios I've tried, that didn't really work, I just remember the anxiety I felt about not doing a good job within our home. Surely my family has felt my anxiety too on some level.

Being able to have a prayerful life and a peaceful heart is largely what managing a home is all about for me these days (I've yet to perfect either of these by the way). I've come to realize that the girls don't care how organized I am, although I will always strive to be better organized, what they want is my love, attention, prayers and direction-and this is not always an easy task. My girls don't need to see me stressed out because I can't think of what to cook for dinner, what they need to see is my ability to ask God for direction and gently begin to move in that way with humility and joy-and this is not always easy either. As my priest always says: "One foot in front of the other, just place one foot in front of the other." That is to say, just begin. Stop fretting about it, pray about it and then begin to move slowly. One can waist a great deal of time fretting.

I love being home as a wife and a mother. I love homeschooling the girls. I feel that my husband and my children are the greatest gifts God has given me, in addition to the Orthodox Church, but I do think it's the hardest work I've ever done. I find it the most challenging because while I can work hard on healthy meals, good curriculum and trying to sweep every day, it won't matter unless I'm living my life according to the commandments of our Lord. I can pray every morning with my girls, but if I'm not putting on Christ in all I do, then my girls will not know to do this either. I have seen the worst of me in my girls before and it is a sad sight to behold. It is very humbling and this is what I need.

I love this quote by Elder Porphyrios:

“What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relations to their children through their mildness, patience, and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children. Generally the parents are to blame for the bad behavior of the children. And their behaviour is not improved by reprimands, disciplining, or strictness. If the parents do not pursue a life of holiness and if they don’t engage in spiritual struggle, they make great mistakes and transmit the faults they have within them. If the parents do not live a holy life and do not display love towards each other, the devil torments the parents with the reactions of the children. Love, harmony and understanding between parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty.”

Elder Porphyrios on Nurturing Children

May the Lord bless us and grant us strength in His holy work!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

B is for Basil

We've been having a great time following the Letters of Grace curriculum. We've eased in to it slowly and it has incorporated very nicely with some other things I want to do with the girls.

The girls have really enjoyed studying about the Saints for the week. I've enjoyed the easy Science lessons-among other things. ;)

I would love to purchase all the Orthodox books the ladies have compiled for the weekly studies, but it's not in our budget right now. Thankfully I've been able to just Google the Saints and have found a nice selection of stories to read on the internet. I pull up a picture of the Saint on my computer, provided by the Letters of Grace website, and the girls go to work coloring and drawing their own pictures of the saints. It's worked great.

Also, last week I hadn't made it to the library to pick up all the books for the week A. I told the girls to go to their book shelf and pull five books each in which the subject matter started with the letter A. Mission accomplished. I want to go through and alphabetize the girl's library but just haven't found the time as of yet. Hmm, perhaps they should work on that project for me.

This week we've focused on the letter B. Today we planted some Basil along with lots of other seeds. I'm hoping we're not too late to get a nice garden going down the street.

Little Zoe is under the weather this week. As Thea said, "Zoe is feeling b-b-bad".

Blessed week to you all!


When Thea was born someone made her a blanket that she has loved from the moment we laid it on her. From the moment she could talk she called her blanket La-la and to this very day the name remains-as well as her love for her cozy friend.

As you can imagine this blanket has traveled far and wide with us and we have only lost it once. It was a sad few days while we tracked it down and had our friends mail it home to us.

Every year when we take a vacation one of the first things on my list to take with us is...La-la.

So about a year ago I told Thea that it was time to start leaving La-la at home on our outings. I told her that it would be best not to bring it to church any longer. While La-la has brought hours of comfort to my little one, it has also been a partner in a little mischief as of late. As in, I've looked down in church to see Thea wrapping her blanket around one of her sisters to annoy them, I've seen it fly around to hit one of her sisters, etc.

Anyhow, after a period of leaving the blanket at home, Thea recently went through a phase where she really wanted her blanket with her in church again. Holding ground I said no and that it would be waiting for her upstairs when church was over. Reluctantly, Thea would put her blanket back in her room and head out the door. The other day when I announced that it was time to leave for Vespers this is what I saw.

Thea, determined to not be separated by her companion, used her blanket as her head covering. I was so impressed with her creativity that I almost let her wear it, but I didn't. I just smiled, told her I loved her head covering, asked her to put her blanket on her bed and get a scarf on and get downstairs. Her response? "But it's really big and beautiful, just like the Feotokos' (Theotokos) head covering!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


So, the girls had a check up at the dentist yesterday morning. All went well.

I noticed, however, when we got home, that they somehow looked...different. I can't quite put my finger on it (nor would I want to), but their teeth somehow seemed...bigger, or whiter or something. I don't know, must be my hormones again. I get all weepy these days when the girls appear older to me.

Oh well. The dentist did a nice job on cleaning their teeth. Wouldn't you say?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tonight during Vigil

Zoe perked up as she heard the hymns about St. Thomas and said "Mommy, they are singing about Thomas!"

Me: "Yes dear, they are."

Zoe: "Oh, I love Thomas the choo-choo train!"

Me: *Sigh*

Check it out!

Wow! Three dear souls, Mary, Matushka Emily and Anna, created (and are continuing to create) a wonderful new homeschool curriculum. Thank you ladies for taking the time out of your busy lives to help us parents have a better, more beautiful homeschooling experience with our babes! I'm sure our children will thank you too!

So, hop on over to the Letters of Grace space and enjoy!

Artwork by Emmelia, 14, daughter of Mary

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Prayers please

Can you please pray for a lady named Donna? She has just been diagnosed with an invasive cancer that is everywhere in her body. This has come as a huge shock to her family and they are deeply saddened. Her prognosis is not good.

Do Thou, O Sovereign Lady, by Thy joy-be-stowing honorable Icon "Queen of All," save those who with fervent desire implore Thy grace; deliver from afflictions those who run to Thee; from all dangers do Thou guard Thy flock, who ever call upon Thine intercession.

Troparion Tone 4
Akathist to the Mother of God
"Healer of Cancer"

Bright Thursday

Christ is Risen!

While we are remaining in a festive spirit around here, we are working really hard to finish up the little apartment behind our main house. It partially burned in January and so we took the opportunity to do upgrades. Well, we've had to do much more than upgrades and it's going to be a cute little house. My husband, our GC and electrician have done a great job.

Our new tenants are scheduled to move in this weekend, as their lease is up on the 15th. We aren't quite ready for them, but we will be by the 15th. It's all coming together at the 11th hour.
My dear fried, Eudokia, Zoe's godmother, is taking the girls for the day today and tomorrow. This is going to be a huge help. The girls love being with her too, so they are excited. They'll be at the zoo today and who knows what tomorrow.

So, today I get to start painting. I need to go purchase a new fridge and some odds and ends for the little house. The tile for the kitchen, bath and laundry went in yesterday and it looks so nice. The carpet will be installed on Monday. The heating and AC guys will be out today to hookup the systems again and make sure they are running safely. (Please pray that these systems function properly. We cannot afford new systems at this point...)

I still want to whitewash the living room and kitchen. It has the old knotty pine walls which darken the place a bit. It currently has the old fishing cabin look. It's charming but a whitewash would brighten it up nicely. (I'll proposed the idea to our new tenants and see if they're up for a future whitewashing party.) Also, we want to replace the counter tops in the kitchen. This would be an easy and fairly inexpensive job, but this too will have to be saved for a future project.

There is a second full bath in the bedroom that has and old metal shower stall. We found a way to refinish it, but in doing so we found rust and a past leaking problem at the bottom. So, after much discussion we've decided that we are going to rip out the shower stall and make a nice big linen closet for storage. Our new tenants loved the idea (especially the wife) as there's not much storage in the little house. They will still have a half bath in the bedroom, but now with a nice large linen closet and no leaky shower. (Don't worry, this project won't be done before they move in. I plan to make my husband lay his hammer aside at least for a bit before any new projects start. I would really love a trip to the monastery, but that might be asking too much right now...)

While the fire has caused us major stress, taken money from our main house project and worked my husband to exhaustion, we both agree it was a blessing in disguise. When we bought the house our plan was to get in the main house and then turn our focus on the rental house. The fire forced a different plan, but it also got us a little insurance money to help with the redo. The icing on the cake, however, is our new tenants. We have a lovely couple with a newborn baby moving in who are members at our church.

As I've said before, I was a little nervous about who would be living in our back yard. One of the beautiful things about having a back yard is being able to have your children play safely there. I am so thankful I won't have to worry about this problem, as least for now. Plus, they have a newborn baby I get to love on! :)

One final thing, can I ask that you pray for this couple. They both have jobs but they really want the wife to stay home with their little one. Her husband just interviewed for a better paying job and we would all love for him to get it. I don't want to mention their names for privacy, but the Lord knows who they are. May God's will be done!

A blessed continuation of our celebration of our risen Lord to you all!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bright Tuesday

Today we enjoyed the afternoon with our precious Vladyka Dmitri. Every Bright Tuesday he invites the area clergy and their families over for lunch. We always have a great time visiting with people we rarely get to see.

The girls enjoyed their day also. One of the priests brought his daughter which made the girls really happy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Blessed Bright Monday!

Ahhh, Bright Monday! We are having a beautiful, peaceful, quiet and relaxing Monday. It's so hard to believe that Pascha is already here!

Yesterday we had Agape Vespers and then a picnic and egg hunt for the children in the afternoon. We had a great time.

Fr. Justin and some of the men roasted their traditional lamb for the picnic. We had lots of delicious food and great company.

Here are a few pics of the girls during the egg hunt. Notice Katherine's shoes. I guess they've heard me ask them to not play in their church shoes one too many times. I laughed when I saw her shoes. Thea had on her very dirty and gross cowboy boots with her Pascha dress. Zoe came out in flip flops. Oh well, thanks for being obedient ladies.

Enjoy your week of feasting and fellowshipping with friends and loved ones as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is risen!

A blessed, glorious and joyful celebration of our risen Lord to you all!