Sunday, October 31

Jesus the Miner...


By The Very Reverend Vladimir Berzonsky

"Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, 'Wasn't it three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?' They replied, "Certainly, O king.' He said, 'Look! I see four men walking around in the fire unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.'" (Daniel 3:24)

Estimates put nearly one of every six persons on earth as viewers of the rescue of the miners in Chile, trapped under the earth for sixty-nine days. No communication emerged for the first seventeen days. Pessimism prevailed. Few would dare hope that the men were alive. The mountain over and around them was of almost solid stone. They were a half mile beneath the surface. The first miracle was making contact, the second miracle to realize that they were all alive, and the third was to drill down to them and create an opening large enough to bring every one of them to the surface whole and hale.

Were they thirty-three men in all, they were asked? "No," one of them vowed after his rescue. "There were thirty four of us. The Lord was always present. God is a miner." They worked in the mines most of their lives, some since childhood. They descended as common laborers hardly distinguishable from one another. They emerged as personalities in the special capsule named Phoenix, the Egyptian mythical bird who perishes in flames every 500 years and resurrects from the ashes. Already they became celebrities with their biographies explored and shared universally with television viewers. They bonded together even tighter in their adversity than in their labor. When told that it was a great success to be found and offered a way out of the deep bowels of the earth, one demurred, "No, it will not be successful unless all thirty three of us are safely above the earth."

As though they had died and gone to Hades only to be given a second chance at life, they had been blessed to build on whatever faith they had when they had been sealed in the earth. Some had been married in civil ceremonies or not at all, yet before being brought up to the light, they committed themselves to a proper church wedding in the sight of the Lord. Trauma does that to a person.

Above ground, anxious hope dominated the scene. The families and friends of the miners watched the proceedings with both anxiety and conviction that they would be joined with their beloved without fail.

What was missing? Contrast the explosion of the oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico, that tragic disaster that dominated our thoughts for several months in the recent past. Chileans, those humble people on the rim of western South America, a nation many in our country may not be able to find on the map, has offered us a living lesson in life, hope, joy and courage -- if only we are wise enough to grasp it. They solved their problem rather than obsessed with blame. Where was the horde of lawyers swarming the site eager to find cause for damages, negligence, and other faults by which to profit from the trauma? Where were the politicians shoving themselves onto the scene, grasping microphones and nudging themselves in, eager for face time in front of the television cameras?

Gazing on the scene with the eye of the Spirit, do you not recognize a metaphor of death's journey and the arrival at the gates of God's Kingdom? Recall the sheer delight of those on the surface, fixated on the hole from which the human cage would emerge from the mineshaft below. They focused on the wheel above, compelling the spokes to turn and the cable to gather on the spool. Then when the cage opened and the miner came forth, eyes covered with dark spectacles to be embraced by wife, fiancée, mother or child -- who cannot anticipate what it will be like when we complete the awesome journey from death through the passage beyond, and the meeting with the Lord Jesus, along with those of our own who had gone before us? "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!'" (Revelation 22:17)

Saturday, October 30

Vespers for St. John of Chicago...


An Autumn Weekend...


The weather has turned chilly for keeps, and our menu tonight reflects that. We'll enjoy steaming bowls of Autumn Soup with corn muffins on the side and follow up with a slice of Grandmother Hawkin's Apple Cake. Cooking in the autumn and winter months is so much more satisfying than in spring and summer!

:::::

Grandmother Hawkin's Apple Cake

Ingredients

Cake
3 cups of chopped apples
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the apples. In a medium sized bowl, mix eggs well. Add sugar, butter, applesauce, and vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Fold in apples. Prepare cinnamon sugar topping in a small bowl. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan or tube pan. Pour in half the batter and sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar on top. Pour in the remaining batter and top with the rest of the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 45 minutes - an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, October 29

Miss Read...


I have been reading and slowly savoring Miss Read's Thrush Green series for the second time. I will always be thankful that Anna suggested these books to me! I plan on beginning the Fairacre Novels in order next... I don't want them to end!

Do you have a favorite series of books?

Thursday, October 28

Art Supplies We Like...

When I keep our art supplies well stocked, I can be sure that we can create something beautiful on short notice. Here are some of the things that I try to keep in our crafting cupboard for the little ones:

chalk

watercolor pencils
pan watercolors
poster paint
colored pencils
drawing pencils
crayons
markers
window crayons
bathtub crayons
stamps and ink
glue
scissors
yarn
pipe cleaners
pompoms
beads
ribbon
string
popsicle sticks
stickers
watercolor paper
construction paper
plain white paper
acrylic paper
scrap paper

Sunset...

Shepherd's Pie...

.:Not very photogenic, is it?:.

Shepherd's Pie is one of my very favorite meals. It is warm, comforting, and feels like home to me. I make it the way mom my mom did when I was a little girl: Ground beef sauteed with a chopped onion and spread in an oven-proof baking dish once it is cooked and loads of homemade mashed potatoes layered on top. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour and you are good to go! My mom always made beef gravy with sauteed mushrooms to drizzle on top... yum, yum, yum!

What is your favorite meal?

Wednesday, October 27

The Lives of Saints for Children...


While we were at Saint Tikhon's, we had a wonderful time browsing in the bookstore. I was able to buy three books that I have wanted to get for the children for awhile. These books, Christina's Favorite Saints, A Child's Paradise of Saints, and Christina's True Heroes are ones that you and your children will treasure. Each book has a page or two (and an Icon!) for some of the more popular saints in the Orthodox Church. Here are the lives of the saints covered in the books:

Saint Anthony the Great
Saint Symeon
St Gerasimos of Jordan
Saint George the Great Martyr
Saints Constantine and Helen
Saints Peter and Paul
The Prophet Elijah
The Dormition of the Mother of God
Saint Sophia and Her Daughters, Faith, Hope, and Charity
Saint Kosmas the Melodos
Saint Katharine
Saint Herman

A Child's Paradise of Saints
Saints Constantine and Helen
Saints Cyprian and Justina
Saint Demetrius of Thessalonica
The Guardian Angel
Saint Herman of Alaska
Saint John the Russian
Saint Mary Magdalene
Saint Mary of Egypt
Saint Moses the Black
Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker
Saint Nina of Georgia
The Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon
Saint Philothei of Athens
Saint Seraphim of Sarov
Saint Xenia of Petersburg

Christina's True Heroes
Saint Anna, The Mother of The Mother of God
Saint Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apsotles
Saint Photini, The Samaritan Woman
Saint Brigid, Abbess of Kildare
Saint Mary of Egypt
Saint Theodora
Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr

Learning Basket: Pumpkins...


Books
Strega Nona's Harvest
Cinderella
The Ox Cart Man
The Pumpkin Patch Parable
Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie
County Fair
The Very Best Pumpkin

Activities
Pumpkin Yarn Craft
A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch to Pick Pumpkins
Pumpkin Carving

:::::

Monica's Award-Winning Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients for Pie
One graham cracker crust
1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Method
Mix these ingredients together and pour into crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Then reduce oven heat to 350.

Ingredients for Topping
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cold butter
3/4 c. walnuts

Method
Mix together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon - cut in butter. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over the pie when you reduce the oven. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

:::::

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Ingredients
2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt
3/4 oz. pumpkin pie spice (about half of the container)
food coloring, if desired

Method
Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pot on medium-high heat. Stir it until the playdough thickens. Once the dough has thickened, turn it out onto a plate or cutting board and after it cools a little, knead it until smooth.

Tuesday, October 26

Home Again...

Museum Display

Little Priest, Monk, and Bishop Figures

Father Nicodemus Giving a Tour of The Church

This weekend was a whirlwind! Father John took some of our parishioners to Saint Tikhon's Monastery and Seminary on a pilgrimage for a long weekend. The Three and I drove up to visit our parents and got to go to church on Saturday with my father-in-law at his parish and my mom and dad at their parish for Liturgy on Sunday. On Monday morning, I packed up the little ones and we headed out to meet Papa at Saint Tikhon's. I had the chance to go to Confession to Bishop Tikhon (my spiritual father) and buy a few books at the bookstore. We also went on a tour of the museum and Church. Father Nicodemus had so much to share with us and we were in awe of Saint Nikolai of Zicha's vestments, Saint Innocent's translation of the Holy Bible into Aleutian, and all of the other beautiful artifacts of Orthodoxy in America.

Sunday, October 24

Wednesday, October 20

Learning Basket: Leaves...

Sugar Plum's Leaf Lady

Books
A Tree for All Seasons
Why do Leaves Change Color? (above our little one's listening level, so I shorten the information in the book)
Leaf Man
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
Leaf by Leaf: Autumn Poems
The Little Yellow Leaf

Activities
Leaf Rubbings!
Tree climbing - on the tree that Papa climbed as a little one!
Leaf Preserving in Beeswax
Nature Walk to Spot Changing Leaves
Create a Leaf Man or Lady using leaves, acorns, and sweet gum fruit

:::::

October's Party
George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;

The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;

All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.

Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;

And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

Tuesday, October 19

Children's Book Organization...


We have all been really enjoying our Learning Baskets this year! It dawned on me recently that it would be nice to have our books better organized so that I can quickly take whatever books we need for each week's new theme and decide what I want to borrow from the town library. It took less that an hour to sort the books: Our top shelf holds chapter books that we are not ready for yet, the second shelf has religious books and non-fiction books, the next shelf has books sorted by season (spring, summer, fall, Christmas, and Winter), the fourth shelf is crammed with our picture books, and the bottom shelf has the anthologies and puzzles. We have a nice sized loft on the second floor of our home and that is where our library of books is. I select books each week that fit in with what we are doing liturgically and seasonally and those books are read during the week (along with a selection of books read past weeks and any books we've borrowed from the town library). I also return books from downstairs back to our shelves upstairs. It makes things much simpler and we find that the children are not overwhelmed by a huge shelf of books anymore!

How do you organize your children's books?

Monday, October 18

Artist's Nook...



With autumn weather officially here, I have been looking for ways to make things more inviting indoors. It is so comforting to me to feather our nest and make our home more useful and beautiful. I took our paper organizer (a birthday gift from my parents the first year I began teaching) out of the cabinet it was in and placed it on the children's table for easier access. It also makes a handy spot for an artist's tableau: small lamp, jar full of scissors, our crayon caddy, and an art viewer from the Musée d'Orsay (a souvenir from my sister's trip to Paris). I really like the color these supplies bring to this small spot in our home and hope that it will draw the little ones in.

Week of October 17th...

Ophelia - John William Waterhouse

Please join me in making a Commitment to Loveliness! This is a fun way to increase femininity and beauty in one's life each week without even trying! All you have to do is choose five things that you would like to work on or do during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life!

Here is my list for this week:

1. Organize children's books
2. Fall Planting: Butterfly Bushes, Asters, and Bulbs
3. Clean Car thoroughly
4. Spend time practicing my knitting
5. Take the time to enjoy a relaxing baths a few evenings this week

Once you have chosen five simple things, post them on your blog and let us know in the comments section. If you do not have a blog, but have a commitment to share, please post them in the comments section.

Pumpkins...

Sunday, October 17

Moving in the Right Direction...

Photo from the Vigil of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross at Holy Trinity Monastery

by Metropolitan Anthony

We cannot partake deeply of the life of God unless we change profoundly. It is therefore essential that we should go to God in order that He should transform and change us, and that is why, to begin with, we must all become converts. Conversion in Latin and Hebrew means a turn, a change in the direction of things.

Conversion means that instead of spending our lives in looking in all directions, we should follow one direction only. It is a turning away from a great many things that we know are ultimately not good for us. The first impact of conversion is to modify our sense of values: God being at the center of all, everything acquires a new position and a new depth. All that is God's, all that belongs to Him, is positive and real. Everything that is outside of Him ultimately has no value or meaning.

But it is not a change of mind alone that we can call conversion. We can change our minds and go no further; what must follow is a an act of will and unless our will comes into motion and is redirected God-wards, there is no conversion; at most there is only an incipient, still dormant and inactive change in us.

Repentance must not be mistaken for remorse, it does not consist in feeling terribly sorry that things went wrong in the past; it is an active, positive attitude, which consists in moving in the right direction.

It is made very clear in the parable of the two sons (Mt. 21 :28) who were commanded by their father to go to work in the vineyard. The one said, "I am going," but did not go. The other said, "I am not going," and then felt ashamed and went to work.

This was real repentance, and we should never lure ourselves into imagining that to lament one's past is an act of repentance. It is part of it, of course, but repentance remains unreal and barren as long as it has not led us to doing the will of the Father. We have a tendency to think that it should result in fine emotions and we are quite often satisfied with emotions instead of real, deep changes.
Metropolitan Anthony, a highly respected bishop in the Russian Orthodox Church, was one of the last direct heirs to Russia's spiritual revival of the early 20th century. While living in London, he was known for his religious broad-casts into the Soviet Union. Metropolitan Anthony died in London after a long illness at age 89 on August 4, 2003.

Wednesday, October 13

Playdough...

Playdough is one of the things that I can count on to calm my little ones when they are acting like wild beastlings. We like this homemade recipe and I store it in a glass pyrex container at room temperature for months on end.

Ingredients:
2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt

Method:
Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pot on medium-high heat. At this point, you can add dye to color the playdough and spices, extracts, or essential oils to scent it. Stir it until the playdough thickens. Once the dough has thickened, turn it out onto a plate or cutting board and after it cools a little, knead it until smooth.

Learning Basket: Owls...


Books
Owl Babies
The Littlest Owl
Goodnight Owl
The Owl and the Pussycat
Owl Moon

Crafts and Activities
Visit the local zoo to try to spot the owls they have there
Color a picture of an owl and then add feathers to the picture
Oral storytelling using an owl finger puppet as a prop
Play Hide the Owl (we'll take turns hiding the little owl finger puppet somewhere in a room while the others keep their eyes closed and then try to find it)


Tuesday, October 12

Book Display...


A few months ago, I was in Michael's (one of my favorite stores!) with Father John and the little ones picking out a few picture frames. As we walked up and down the aisles, I came across these picture frame holders which I though would be perfect for displaying books. They were only a few dollars each and are very sturdy! I really like using our books as artwork and inspiration for our little ones and these holders make it possible to display literature in various spots of the house (shelves, our feastday table, the children's table, etc.). They are also great for putting up Icons at the children's level and for art prints that we've collected through the years.

Sunday, October 10

Nine Years...


Nine years ago today, Fr John and I began dating. We met when I was seven years old and he was nine. I had his picture in my locker all through high school (big crush!!), but we didn't start to date until he was back home for a year and a half between college and seminary. It is hard to believe that next year, we will have been together for a decade!

Saturday, October 9

Children's Autumn Wardrobes...


Sugar Plum
5 Everyday Dresses
1 Sunday Dress
Warm Sweater
2 Sets of Pajamas
Tights and Leggings
Undershirts
Fleece Jacket
Rain Jacket
Warm Boots
Sunday Shoes
Rain Boots

Little Man
7 Everyday Shirts
5 Pair Everyday Trousers
1 Sunday Outfit
Warm Sweater
2 Sets of Pajamas
Socks
Undershirts
Fleece Jacket
Rain Jacket
Warm Boots
Sunday Shoes
Rain Boots


Friday, October 8

Four Months Old!


It is hard to believe, but this week our littlest one turned four months old! He is such an easy baby! Button is full of smiles for us now and is starting to interact with his big sister and big brother! We all enjoy hearing his little coos and can't wait until we can get him to laugh!

Tuesday, October 5

Learning Basket: Squirrels...


Activities
Treasure Hunt for Acorns
Squirrel Craft (a squirrel coloring page and faux fir for the tail)
Squirrel and Nut Tag (one person is the squirrel and the others are nuts. The object is for the squirrel to tag the nuts and put them under a tree for winter)
Hide acorns (brown pom-poms) around the house for little squirrels (children) to find

Gray Squirrel Poem

Swish your bushy tail
Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Swish your bushy tail

Wrinkle up your funny nose
Put a nut between your toes

Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!

***
The Squirrel

Anonymous

Whisky, frisky,
Hippity hop;
Up he goes
To the tree top!

Whirly, twirly,
Round and round,
Down he scampers
To the ground.

Furly, curly
What a tail!
Tall as a feather
Broad as a sail!

Where's his supper?
In the shell,
Snappity, crackity,
Out it fell.


Candlelight...


During the seasons of autumn and winter, we love to light candles in the evening. The flicker of candlelight adds so much warmth and coziness to our home! The past few years, I have purchased beeswax tapers from our church and pillar candles and votives from wherever I could find them. I was happy t o discover that Saint Zosima Church Supply, the company that my husband purchases the church candles from, also carries votives for a very reasonable price.
I am looking forward to lighting a few tonight to ward off the chill...

Monday, October 4

Children's Wardobes...

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.
-Ambrose Bierce

Today was the day that I spent putting all of the summer clothes away and brought all of the warm things out. Last night, I wrote down a list of the clothing that we need for autumn and winter and was happy to discover that we had many things for the children stored away and will really only need to purchase a few items (socks and tights, underwear, and bigger shoes).

It has been interesting to see the tastes of our little ones develop as they've gotten bigger. For the past few years, our daughter has chosen to only wear dresses (which secretly pleases her parents to no end!). Our son also has favorite clothing and wears the same few items over and over again, and so I find myself putting away lots of pants and tops that didn't see the light of day.

Despite the fact that our little ones were consistently choosing to wear the same clothes week in and week out, their drawers were filled to the brim. It was nearly impossible to find something needed in the jumble of unwanted clothes. Though I think that our wardrobes are pretty small by most people's standards, the reality is that we don't use half of what is out for each season. It is sad to know that there are things in our closets that are not being used, while there are people in this world (and in our area) that have literally nothing to wear.

I have been thinking a lot about the clothing that we use and how to simplify things. I've thought about the amount of clothing that I think is realistic for each of us to have (how much we wear, how often I do laundry, wear and tear, the fact that life with children means changing clothing more often, etc.). In the case of the baby, I realize that he will have to have much more than the other children at this stage of his life. It isn't realistic to limit his clothes because I cannot keep up with him spitting up (he has a bad case of reflux) or or having a diaper explosion. For my two older children, this will be an experiment of sorts. Will we be able to get by on fewer things? Am I prepared to keep up with the laundry? Will cutting down on our clothing really simplify things? These are questions that I will only be able to answer after we try life out with less... something I am excited to try!

Sunday, October 3

The Woman and the Wheat...


"And on her lips were prayers of all sorts: for the rain, and the sun, and the moon, and the wheat - and the bread that was to come."

Last week, I ordered Jane G. Meyer's book, The Woman and the Wheat, and I have read it to my little ones each day since the box landed on my doorstep! This book tells the story of a woman who plants wheat, waits for it to grow, reaps it, grinds it into flour, bakes the flour into Prosphora (Communion Bread), and brings the bread to church, where it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

To say that this book is beautiful is an understatement. Meyer's prose is lyrical and the perfect explanation for little ones (and big ones alike) of the Mystery of Holy Communion. The story of the wheat and passing of the seasons captivates my children. They love the pages describing the church, the Liturgy, and Holy Communion! They connect to this book more than any other that I can think of... enjoying the words and illustrations that tell the story of 'church bread" and people receiving Holy Communion just like they do!

The artwork for this book was done by Ned Gannon. Through his illustrations, one can almost feel the grains dropping into the earth, hear the combine harvesting the wheat, smell the freshly baked bread in the oven, and hear the choir singing in the church. Gannon's paintings are alive with color and his attention to detail is amazing! His work is truly a feast for the eyes!

I recommend that The Woman and the Wheat and its companion book, The Man and the Vine, be part of every Orthodox Christian's library. Together, they offer an enchanting introduction to the most important sacrament in the Orthodox Church, Holy Communion.

Proper Confession...

In the Lowlands - Maria Vishnyak

By The Very Reverend Victor Potapov

Before confession, each person must attempt to recall all of his sins, voluntary and involuntary, must attentively go over his life in order, to the extent possible, to recall all of his sins, not only those committed since his last confession, but also those past sins which through forgetfulness have not been confessed. Then, with compunction and with a contrite heart, approach the Cross and the Gospel, and begin to confess your sins.

1. Confess your sins honestly, remembering that you are disclosing them not to a man but to God Himself, Who already knows your sins, but wishes you to admit to them. There is no reason to feel shame before your spiritual father. He is a person just like you. Because he knows human weakness and man’s propensity to sin he cannot be your judge. Are you embarrassed before your spiritual father because you are afraid to lose his good opinion of you? To the contrary, your spiritual father will love you all the more, seeing your sincere confession. Moreover, if you are ashamed to disclose your sins to a single spiritual father, then how will you be able to bear the shame if you have not cleansed yourself of your sins through true confession, and those sins are laid open before God Himself, before the angels and before everyone, acquaintance and stranger alike?

2. Confess all of your sins in full, each sin separately. St. John Chrysostom states, "One must not only say: I have sinned, or I am a sinner, but one must declare each form of sin." I.e., one must list each sin. St. Basil the Great states, "Revelation of sins is subject to the same law as the relating of physical ills…" The sinner is spiritually ill, and the spiritual father is a physician or healer. It follows that you must confess or relate your sins to your spiritual father in the same way that a physically ill person relates his symptoms to a physician, thereby hoping to be healed.

3. Do not mention others during confession. Do not complain about anyone, for what kind of confession would that be? Instead of confession, it would be a condemnation, and thus, another sin.

4. In confession, do not attempt to justify yourself in any way, blaming weakness, habit, etc. The more you justify yourself during confession, the less you will be justified by God, while the more you denounce, condemn and accuse yourself, the more you will be justified by God.

5. When questioned by your spiritual father, do not say "I do not remember, perhaps I am not guilty of that." God directed us to always be mindful of our sins. In order not to justify ourselves by forgetfulness, we must confess as often as possible. Those who out of carelessness confess infrequently, and as a result forget some of their sins, are themselves to blame, and therefore cannot hope to be absolved of the sins not confessed. Thus it is imperative that we strive to remember all of our sins. If someone is in our debt, we are sure to keep it in mind. Yet we forget our own debt before God! Does this not betray on our part a lack of concern for our soul?

6. Unless asked by the spiritual father, do not talk about sins you have not committed, or about what you have not done. That is to say, do not emulate the Pharisee in the Gospel, who only praised himself, and did not confess his sins; thereby he only caused his condemnation to be greater.

7. We must confess with sorrow and a contrite heart the sins by which we have grieved our Lord God. It is not good that many relate their sins matter-of-factly, without any remorse. They speak as if engaged in some casual conversation. Even worse, some allow themselves to laugh during confession. These are all signs of a lack of repentance. By confessing in this manner, we are not cleansed of sins, but only increase them.

8. Finally, confess your sins with faith in Jesus Christ and with hope in His mercy. Only with faith and hope in Jesus Christ can we receive forgiveness of sins. Without faith, we can in no wise be forgiven. Note the example of Judas the betrayer.

This, then is how we must confess in order to receive from our Lord God remission of sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness…." (1 John 1:9)

Very Reverend Victor Potapov is the rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington DC.

Saturday, October 2

Beeswax Polish...

The night that I posted about preserving our autumn leaves in melted beeswax, I was clicking around and found a post on making beeswax polish. I've wanted to get some for a long time, but never got around to it. Since I had some beeswax candles from church and a bottle of sunflower oil in the cabinet, I decided to try making some. It turned out wonderfully and since last night, I have polished our wooden train and two of the trees from our farm set. The polish really brings out the beauty of the wood and smells just like church. I think that I may make it a habit to bring a toy or two to polish outside each day while the children play. It is soothing to have something like this to work on.

***
Beeswax Polish

Ingredients
1 cup of oil (I used sunflower)
1/4 cup of beeswax

Method
Put one cup of oil into a wide mouthed jar. Grate or roughly chop up a quarter cup of beeswax and add to the jar. Fill a pot with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the jar in the boiling water and let the wax melt. Omce the wax is melted, use a potholder to remove the jar and place on a pot holder. As the mixture cools, use a popsicle stick or paint stirrer to mix the polish occasionally. Once cooled, use a small amount on wooden items around your home. Rub the polish into the wood using your hands and a clean cloth.

Friday, October 1

Living and Learning for October...

Faith
Protection of the Mother of God
Saint Innocent

Saint Tikhon


Homemaking
Create list of clothing that everyone needs for cooler weather
Reorganize outgrown and out-of-season clothing
Wash and/or air out bed linens needed for colder weather
Find time for both children to enjoy one-on-one Mama/Papa dates
Conquer the dishes after every meal and snack
Continue knitting
Make a batch of beeswax polish for wood
Waterproof leather handbag
Thoroughly clean car
Put away beach things: umbrella, blanket, towels, toys, etc.
Create autumn menu
Begin planning for December's feastdays and Little Man's birthday

Baby
Tummy time
Set up baby gym

Themes
Leaves
Squirrels
Owls
Pumpkins

Daily Rhythms
Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Special Days
Fr John’s Namesday – 6th
6th Anniversary of our Engagement – 9th

9th Dating Anniversary -10th

Grandfather's Namesday – 22nd
Full Moon – 23rd

Learning
Practice being still and quiet during services and prayers
Singing – “O Heavenly King”

The Sign of the Cross for Little Man

Nature table scene
Seasonal book basket

Go to the beach as much as possible

Visit the Pumpkin Farm

Pumpkin Day in Lieu of Halloween

Shopping for costumes for our dress-up box
the day after Halloween
Longwood Gardens
Pumpkin Junction Train Ride
Harvest Festival at local farm
Encourage imaginative play by not over-scheduling our days
Take the children to the nearby state park for nature walks
Polish wooden toys together
Create a toy library and donate/toss items no longer needed
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