Monday, February 20, 2012


Saturday the weather was so warm we didn't even wear jackets.  Then Sunday afternoon it began snowing, and kept on and kept on.  And we aren't exactly snowbound, because it is already melting and will be back in the 60s Fahrenheit, by Wednesday.  But a transformer in our neighborhood blew up, and our whole block has been without power since Sunday evening.

Our house is all-electric.  Its amazing how many things we use that rely upon electricity, including, as we've discovered, our Verizon FIOS service.  We can't even call for help, should we need it.  (Another reason to get a cell phone!!!)  Fortunatey, we do have one radio and a couple of clocks that run on batteries.  But we can't have a hot drink or a hot breakfast, or use a heating pad, or turn on lights, or use the computer, nor wash the clothes or dry them.  Or shower (more than once).  And the temp inside our refrigerator is the same as the temp outside it.  We do have a camp-style cooler, large, so some of the food can go in there for the nonce.

I got out two flashlights and put a jar candle in the bathroom overnight, and we snuggled under the comforters (duvets) and were fine. 

We're at Barnes and Noble now, where they have hot drinks and heating.Planning to spend most of the day here at the mall.  Lunch at the foodcourt.

Oh well, a little adventure spices up life some.  And it's a beautiful day, with bright blue skies, sonw-deorated trees that seem to be in blossom, and he streets are already mostly clear.  That's the kind of snow I like; it should look gorgeous and then go away.

UPDATE:  Mid afternoon and we've just ogtten back froimt he bookstore to find our house warm, lit, and online. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Hairdo

A girl who was in front of me in church Sunday was wearing a Valentine hairdo and I thought it was so clever I wanted to share it with you.

First, the top part of her hair, around the crown, was brushed back and put into a ponytail, a style we see quite often. But then the ponytail was divided in half, and each half was twisted up and outward to make the halves of the heart. Then the two twisted strands were reunited below to make the point of the heart.

Obviously, I'm no artist, but I've tried to make this crude sketch for you. Just in case you have a girl who might like to wear her hair this way next year, or for that matter, any time.


People from non-liturgical traditions often wonder about the use of incense in church. What's it for? What good is it? Isn't it superstitious or something? Or isn't it some Roman Catholic encrustation which we ought to scrub away?

Actually, it's neither superstition nor anything invented by Rome. It's an element of worship mandated, in the Old Testament, by God Himself. And in the New Testament, it is described as part of the ceaseless worship in heaven. We use it for both of those reasons: first, because since God ordained it, incense in its right place with its right meaning must be pleasing to Him; and secondly, because our worship is both a foreshadowing of and a participation in the heavenly worship.

Incense is a token of honor. When the priest waves it at us, that means he is honoring us. And what is the proper response of a Christian when anybody shows him honor? It's humility. So when we are censed, we bow. The bow has nothing to do with "clericalism"; it's rather the opposite. Not that you are honoring the priest (although there's nothing wrong with that either), but he is honoring you. That's why he also censes the icons, to honor them, or more accurately, those whom they depict.

The incense is also a token of blessing. When the priest waves the incense in your direction, he's doing the outward, visible counterpart of what Christ is doing invisibly: blessing you. Again, the appropriate response is to bow. You bow toward the priest, but really to the One ministering alongside him.

Incense, of course, also symbolizes prayer, as in the Psalm which says, "Let my prayer rise as incense before Thee." In Christianity, what we mainly offer God is spiritual sacrifice; namely, our faith, our hope, our love, our selves, our lives. So for us, incense symbolizes all that.

So no, incense is not superstitious, unless perhaps one adds other elements or meanings to it that are. And no, it's not "too Catholic"; it's older than Rome and it's ultimately angelic.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Latest on Mary and her Recovery...

...from a local newspaper

And from her brother: 

Healing continues, and a discharge is expected soon. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. She and the rest of my family, are overwhelmed by the love and support offered by everyone. God bless you all.

Alan Anderson

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Praying to Saints

Amy, on her blog The Daily Weaving, has a nice, clear, concise explanation of why we Orthodox Christians "pray" to saints.  I place "pray" in quotes because it's perhaps a misleading word, implying, for some people, worship.  We don't worship saints, of course; we ask them to pray to God with and for us, as Amy explains in more detail.

So I commend her post to you, and would like to add perhaps one point to it.  Many times we are asked how the saints in heaven, even granting they are still alive, can hear us here on earth. 

Well, "hear" may also be a misleading word, as they, not yet reunited with their resurrection bodies, have no flesh-and-blood ears.  Nevertheless, they "hear" us the same way they "see" the face of Christ without eyes or "sing" His praises without voices.  How can this be?  They are all filled with the Holy Spirit, Who enables them to do these things in Him and by His power.  That's just as they do everything, and just as all Christians are meant to do everything.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Update on Mary (Who was Beaten, Robbed, Abducted, etc.)

...the one for whom we've been praying, from her brother...

Mary is healing very well. She's been moved to the rehab section of the hospital. The nurses hope to get her outside into a courtyard this week should the weather cooperate. Both arms remain in casts (one for a broken bone, the other due to surgery on her wrist tendons) so she's still not able to feed herself. Her four children, two of my sisters, and my father have been there almost continuously to help care for her. I've not yet been able to make the trip, although I hope to get there before the month is out.

And another:

Mary is looking a bit better. Eye patch removed, vision in both eyes with some issues in her left eye. She is slowly training to become a left hander as she cannot use the right arm. She still has limited use of her left arm/hand and will be receiving 6 noncontinuous hours of therapy each day. She's able to roam about the hospital via wheelchair, and enjoyed getting out. Hoping for warm days and sunshine so she can spend a little time outdoors getting fresh air.

Thank you so much for your prayers, which are obviously still needed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Embarrassing Admission

Turns out our home, which we reported had been broken into and burgled, wasn't. 

We were sure it had been, because our DVR was (and still is) missing.  So, apparently, are our brains.  The boy who mows our yard and has ever since he was big enough to puch a mower and is now a high school junior came over the other day and discussed with Demetrios his ambtion to be a doctor.  Anyway, he also reminded us that we had packaged up that DVR and had paid him (handsomely) to mail it back to Verizon for us.  Which he did.

Yes, of course!  I do remember now.  When I put our account on suspended status, a Verizon rep on the phone asked me to return the DVR and gave me the address. 

Don't know why Verizon didn't receive it.  Or why the rep wanted it back, as the rep more recently told us they wouldn't have needed or wanted it to be returned.

Anyway, it's all taken care of now, and it's nice to know our house was not burgled after all.

Now to camouflage my embarrassment, I'll pass on a joke my neighbor has sent me, about an even more embarrassing Senior Moment.

Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal pat down. I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing.

Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the parking lot. My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. Her theory is that the car would be stolen. As I burst through the doors to the parking lot, I came to a miserable conclusion. Her theory was right. The parking lot was empty.

I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and reported that it had been stolen.

Then I made the most difficult phone call of all, “Honey,” I stammered. (I always call her “honey” in times like these.) “I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen.”

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane’s voice. “Ken” she barked, “I dropped you off!”

Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.”

Diane retorted, “I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car!”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Blog

My niece Elizabeth, 11 (Barbara's younger daughter), has begun a blog to contain her poems and short stories.  Most of her stories seem to be in the fantasy genre, involving her pet dragon named Destiny. 

Have a look just for the fun of it.  Especially if you are good at creative writing and care to offer a young girl your helpful hints, suggestions, encouragements, etc., check out Lizzie's Notebook

Go for it, Elizabeth!  I'm adding your blog to my sidebar.