Sunday, October 30, 2011


Once upon a time in a village there lived a priest. Many nights he could be seen walking down the road through the village. A drunk in the village square saw him and thought, "There goes that hypocritical priest, out to the bar to drink." A gambler saw him and thought, "Aha, the priest is heading out for a late night game of cards." Another man, slinking home, saw him and thought, "Look at the priest, just like other men, going to the brothel. What a hypocrite." And where was the priest going? To the church to pray in the middle of the night. Each man projected onto the priest his own sins, assuming the worst of him.

I'm not sure to whom to attribute that story (set me straight if you know) but I like it.

We all know about assuming the best and the worst about people. What we may not think about is the amazingly complex and giant leap we take almost instantaneously when we assume the worst. It goes like this:

1. We see someone doing something differently from the way we do it.
2. We think, "They're doing that differently because they disagree with me."
3. "If they disagree with me, they must think I am wrong."
4. "If they think I am wrong, then they must be judgemental."
5. "Since they are judgemental they are judging me for being wrong and think they are better than I."
6. "How dare they!!"

And then we are angry, proud and judgemental. What about the other person? They have no idea any of this is going on in our little pointed heads unless we are so angry, proud and judgemental as to make sure they know how much we disapprove of them being proud and judgemental. Oy vey! We think someone thinks they are better than we merely because they are doing something different.

It's like Superman: Able to leap over logic in a single bound!

Can we just see someone behaving differently, making different family choices, etc., and merely accept it for what it is? Do we have to do this massive projection of blame?

Let us try to (1) assume the best and (2) live and let live.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Make your own Cadbury Creme Eggs

I have not done this yet, but oh-my-goodness-it-looks-so-good.

Click here for full instructions (with photos!) to make your own Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'd say that's a clear majority...

(click to enlarge)

(Apparently the actual fraction was supposed to be "three quarters".)

Total Malarkey

Thanks to John at Ad Orientem for this one:

Muslims say Crosses at Catholic University Violate Human Rights

The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers.

The investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long a six months.
Banzhaf said some Muslim students were particularly offended because they had to meditate in the school’s chapels “and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”
Read the rest here.

You have got to be freaking kidding me. It's a Catholic university you dolts! Who put a gun to your head and told you, a Muslim, to attend a Catholic school?! You don't like it, go somewhere else. I don't see your fellow Muslims providing Catholic chapels (or, indeed, even generically Christian chapels) in their Islamic Universities! You go over there and say you're Christian and you get your head cut off and your church burned down. No one said you couldn't pray to your god, but they're not going to, say, move the basilica to make you people happy!

And this is supposed to take six months to figure out? Well, this is all I have to say:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blanket of "Homespun" yarn

I finished weaving in all the ends so the Homespun Blanket is done. Very cozy. Sadly, the baby will be born in JUNE, not midwinter so I may have to look around for another use...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Now is the winter of our discontent...

Richard III is such a delicious play. And I must say Lawrence Olivier made such a nasty Richard. (: Here he is in the famous "Now is the winter of our discontent" speech.

[Note: if you simply hate Shakespeare, just look away while I scream, then page down a little farther for the imaginative interpretation of Peter Sellers on this speech.]

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute. [marvelous alliteration - and you can say it so nastily]
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them; [I love this!!]
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog.
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log.
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright.

You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things
And it's worth it just to hear you say you're gonna give me everything.
So why on earth should I moan, 'cause when I get you alone
You know I feel okay.

When I'm home everything seems to be right.
When I'm home feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah.
It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog.
It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log.
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Now this looks much better, doesn't it?

Hope to see you at the Greek Festival tomorrow!


Lion Brand Yarn "Homespun" being turned into a blanket...

Rather ugly looking cookies about to be turned into delicious finikia/melomakarona...

Our beloved St. Nektarios, on the wall by my bed...

And not least of all, the love and prayers of so many of you...

Friday, October 7, 2011


We were unable to do a panikhida (memorial service) yesterday because it was simply too busy, but we did one today. The feast of the glorification of St. Innocent was yesterday and it was also in honor of his due date. It was a beautiful day...

The wildflowers provided a beautiful bouquet.

I wanted to save something tangible for today so I'm pressing some of the flowers.

There was a yellow butterfly wandering around in these flowers when we got there, but it left before I could get a photo.

The entrance to the cemetery (only five people are there).

As I was shutting the gate, a bald eagle flew overhead.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Culture of Life vs. Culture of Death

Not exactly what I had planned to post about today, but this was such a good article. I must have missed the story when it first came out (Sept. 28th) but of course I remembered this child from earlier news reports.

Joseph, 20 months old, had a terminal, progressive neurological condition. His family in Canada wanted to have a tracheotomy performed so he would no longer need to be intubated (and on a ventilator) and so he could be cared for at home by hospice and allowed to die there, surrounded by his family. The courts in Canada ruled in favor of the hospital who wanted to remove all life support and allow him to die immediately. At the last minute, Priests for Life arranged to have him removed to a hospital in St. Louis where the tracheotomy was performed in March. Joseph was able to return home with his family and cared for there, not on life support.

Joseph died on September 27th [Note: more than SIX months later]. Rev. Frank Pavone, a member of Priests for Life, gave this statement:

"I learned with sadness tonight of the passing of Baby Joseph, and extend my prayers to his family. This young boy and his parents fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable."

He continued, "From my first conversation with Baby Joseph's parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.

"I praise God tonight for the tens of thousands who stood with Priests for Life and other prolife groups to save Baby Joseph. We remain convinced that the value of life is not measured in months or years, but rather reflected in the love we share moment by moment. We all loved Joseph, because God entrusts us to the care of each other. In that conviction we will continue to counteract the culture of death and restore protection and equality to all, born and unborn." [emphasis mine]

St. Innocent

Today is the commemoration of the glorification of St. Innocent. What a lovely patron my son has...

(Go here to read life of St. Innocent)

You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
O holy hierarch Father Innocent,
Enlightener of Alaska and all America, whose ways were ordered by the Lord,
Pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His Heavenly Kingdom!

Well, so Innocent and I don't share a birthday. I didn't get the birthday present I had wanted this year, but I am still blessed beyond measure. I'd write more but we're off to Liturgy! More later.

Oh, and Joyous Feastday baby boy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just to brighten your day...

(note: not visible on Reader)

It pays to dig a little deeper...

Remember the news item a few days ago about how the Muslims in Switzerland wanted to change the flag from a white cross on a red background to something non-Christian? I thought at the time that as soon as, say, Pakistan changed it's flag from a crescent and star to something "non-Islamic", then we would talk.

Well, well, well. The mass media doesn't seem to check the details very well. From Islam Today:
Muslims in Switzerland have distanced themselves from a suggestion to do away with the current Swiss flag in order to accommodate religious minorities.

The suggestion, which has caused unwelcome tensions between the Swiss majority and the country's 5% Muslim minority, was actually made by a Christian multi-culturalist.

Ivica Petrusic, vice president of immigrant association Secondos Plus, suggested dropping the cross from the Swiss flag and adopting a different flag instead.

Petrusic says he himself is Christian, but he does not think a Christian symbol should be used in a country with so many atheists and people who profess other religions. He says the cross does not represent the religious and cultural diversity in Switzerland today.
The proposal to change the Swiss flag has been met with outrage across the political spectrum and has added fuel to anti-Muslim sentiments in Switzerland, especially since many people have mistaken Petrusic for a Muslim.

Muslim leaders in the country have been quick to voice their disagreement with Petrusic and distance themselves from his demands.

Hisham Maizar, head of Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, said the proposal for a religion-neutral flag was wrong and counter-productive.

"We don't have any demands to upend the ancient traditions of other countries," he said.
That is an intelligent position for the Muslims in Switzerland to take. Let's hope it stays that way.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Problems commenting?

I don't know about everyone else but I have had miserable problems commenting on Blogger blogs lately. If you have gotten nothing from me but a cold silence, then try to picture it more as slapping-the-desk-in-disgust-and-yelling irritation...with resultant silence.

I am NOT a computer guru (not even a computer initiate) and it was with fear and trepidation that I started looking through the help forum. I did find a very helpful article, comprehensible even by me, here, and after doing some test comments and changing cookies settings, I was able to leave a comment. It still needs tweaking (and I'm furious with Blogger for making my life more difficult) but I can leave a comment now. To make it easier for you all to leave comments [since apparently those are two different problems] I've changed the comments to their own page rather than pop-up or embedded below the post. Try leaving a test comment so I can see if that worked (and to say "hi!"). I can't swear that I'll be able to fix your problem if you ask, but since I managed to fix my own, I might be of help.

Boo, Blogger. We are NOT amused.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I take up a station under a medium-sized tree.
The breeze is blowing, the sky is a deep blue.
To my right is a middle-aged couple who chat occasionally.
To my left, a teenager in jean capri-pants.

A few cars drive by:
families on their way home from church,
an older man driving carefully,
two teenage girls.

I realize my prayer rope is hard to hold
but I say the Jesus prayer anyway.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
A pick-up truck with LSU flags drives past.
The driver honks.
We wave.

Such a variety.
Some drive stoically
eyes straight ahead.
Some rubberneck.
One young woman waves wildly with one hand while
talking on the phone with the other.

Two elderly ladies wearing pearls
driving 10 mph
smile broadly and wave delicately.
A jacked-up sedan with windows
tinted so dark as to be black
flies by.
I look worriedly around for children near the road.

Three Hispanic young men in a pick-up
grin and give thumbs up.
A preppy-looking family in Izod shirts
drives by waving while the little boy in the back
stares out curiously.
Two young black women cruise by
waving so that you can see they have gold rings
on every finger.
We smile at them all.

A black man drives by
carefully looking away.
There is a toddler asleep in the back seat.
Two white teenage boys
in a muddy truck with "Go Saints!" flags
fluttering from every window
smile and give us thumbs up.
An elderly black couple in a polished car,
the wife in a $150 hat,
smile and give us thumbs up.

A family that was at our church this morning,
heading home, wave.
They have almost 2 hours to drive.
A man across the street, walking
counting on his fingers over
and over.
It looks like the Baptist church services
are all done.

My back is starting to hurt.

Boys come by every so often
offering water bottles.
One offers a chair.
I look up and down the street.
We are stretched out over several blocks.
The organizer trots up and down
checking on people.
A police car drives slowly by
the policeman giving us the
hand-on-the-steering-wheel wave.

A black family drives by
every single child waving madly at their windows.
The breeze is starting to feel a little too cool.
I shift over a foot into some sun.
A car going 15 mph drives by
the driver grinning and waving
occasionally honking
as four cars drive impatiently behind him
forced against their will to look at us.
We chuckle.

My shoulders are hurting
despite shifting my arms.
The hour and a half must be almost over.
I think briefly of my children back at the church hall.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.
The woman who lives in the house behind me
gets home, unloads her car
and offers us drinks.

A Greyhound bus,
the driver looking grim,
the passengers looking astonished.
A rescue vehicle
the men smiling and waving.
More families going home from church.
It's time for the AME churches to be getting out.

I shift again.
I'm getting tired and realizing all I've had is blessed bread.
The organizer starts calling up and down the street
for us to come back to the church.
I walk back with the others
young and old
black and white
dressy and casual.

Lord have mercy.
Maybe we did some good today.
I turn in my sign:


Gorgeous Movie in the Works

After looking at the movie trailer on Byzantine Texas last night, Father found this video which is a longer one taken at the same monastery, the Cathedral of St. Panteleimon. This is on the occasion of their patronal feast (and only includes scenes inside the cathedral). Apparently a movie is being filmed there about life in that monastery and will come out this month. Father got first dibs for posting (drat) so I waited until this morning to post it. (: I know you can see it's almost ten minutes long, but it may be the most beautiful ten minutes you spend all day. Please take a minute (or ten) to watch.* And do yourself a favor and open it up to full screen. It brought tears to my eyes and made me feel very humbly blessed that I should belong to such a church.

*If you only have a minute, follow the link to Byzantine Texas to watch the actual movie trailer which is much shorter and contains a much broader selection of scenes from the movie.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Holy Protection of the Theotokos

Joyous Feastday!!!

The feast day celebrates the appearance of the Mother of God at Blachernae (Vlaherna) in the tenth century. At the end of St. Andrei (Andrew of Constantinople) Yurodivyi's life, he, with his disciple St. Epiphanius, and a group of people, saw the Mother of God, St. John the Baptist, and several other saints and angels during a vigil in the Church of Blachernae, nearby the city gates. The Blachernae Palace church was where several of her relics were kept. The relics were her robe, veil, and part of her belt that had been transferred from Palestine during the fifth century.

The Theotokos approached the center of the church, knelt down and remained in prayer for a long time. Her face was drowned in tears. Then she took her veil (cerement) off and spread it over the people as a sign of protection. During the time, the people in the city were threatened by a barbarian invasion. After the appearance of the Mother of God, the danger was averted and the city was spared from bloodshed and suffering.

Father pointed out yesterday that ironically, though this is a favorite feast among the Slavic people, the barbarians at the gates were actually Slavs!

Another tidbit:

In recent years, the Feast of the Protection has become associated with thanksgiving for the deliverance of the Greek nation from the Italian invasion of 1940. These events are commemorated in Greece in a national holiday known as "Ochi Day" or "No Day," referring to the response of the Greek leader Metaxas to Mussolini's ultimatum.

In recognition of this, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece elected in 1960 to transfer the Feast from October 1 to October 28. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also provides for this usage in its parishes in Greece and in the Greek diaspora, and it is generally observed now throughout the Greek-speaking world. The observance includes the chanting of a Doxology incorporating hymns recognizing the Protection of the Theotokos over the Greek nation, as well as the kontakion "O Champion Leader."


Kontakion for the feast:

O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!
We thy servants, delivered from evil,
sing our grateful thanks to thee, O Theotokos!
As thou possessest invincible might,
set us free from every calamity
so that we may sing:
Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!