Thursday, September 30, 2004

Warning !

Be warned, I have borrowed a book on writing HTML code from the library :-)
I`m afraid the blog may take on a variety of appearances whilst I experiment.
I know my DH will collapse laughing at the thought of me learning to write a blog code(he is a senior systems analyst, and writes his own programs at work) but I will have a try.
A girl`s gotta do what a girl`s gotta do, after all ...........

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Whole Month Of Blogging

Well, folks,
I have now been blogging for a whole month !
It is a source of constant delight to me that so many of you drop by to read about my little world - especially the fact that my site has had 573 visits :-)
I love to read your comments and your blogs too.....I currently have 45 blogs which I read via a Bloglines account.
No doubt about it, I am a blogaholic.............
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Gardening Chores

D4 and I had great fun this afternoon, working in the garden.
All along the back wall is an enormous quantity of different forms of trailing ivy. All very attractive, but with the effect that the whole back wall of the garden is ....well.....green.
Husband and I decided it was a little over the top, so this afternoon I hunted out the secateurs and pruned...and pruned....and pruned.....
You can now actually see some brick and some wooden fencing, instead of a continuous wall of green. I can now even reach the garden tap and hosepipe without having to insert my arm up to my elbow into a dense and almost impentrable green jungle :-)

I also pruned a trailing evergreen bush which produces glorious lilac blue flowers, but an enormous quantity of dark green foliage, and a bush which has what can only be described as producing delightful parchment texture flowers.
Both of these are lovely, but with one on each side of the wooden archway, they have grown so much this summer that I am struggling to get through with the laundry basket on my way to the washing line.

Last on the attack list was the honeysuckle which is just starting to produce its toxic black berries. Every branch of this within reach of D4 has been cut back for safety.

I would never have believed that D4 could have so much fun helping me.
I didn`t ask her, she just did it.
She was absolutely brilliant at bringing armfuls of ivy for me to put into rubbish sacks, and helping me fill the sacks. I thanked her for each armful, which must have made very tedious overhearing for our neighbours, but little one just looked at me *so* proudly and said "Helping ! " with a beaming smile.......

May she always have that desire to help, and pleasure in helping others. I only wish that I could recapture that joy, that enthusiasm, which is part of being a small child.
She gave me a great deal of pleasure today, and put me so much in mind of the story of St Euphrosynos the Cook.
If any of you have not read his story in a delightful book called "A boy, the kitchen and his cave", please do so. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. You will not forget the story.........and I will not forget today :-)
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Monday, September 27, 2004

My morning...or, Why did I bother to get out of bed ?

This was my morning......
Awake about 2.00am with upset stomach.
Awake at 5.30 am to wake DH up for work. Attempted to go back to sleep.
D3 awake at 06.00. Wants me to go downstairs and put the tv on for her. I refuse....my alarm isn`t due to go off till 07.00.
D3 winges, whines and fusses in my bedroom till my alarm goes off. Am incandescent with suppressed rage.
I get up, make children breakfast and put the wretched TV on for them.
Make cup of tea, read email , try to feel like I am a human being.

08.00 Get D3`s clothes for her to dress herself.
Dress D4 in the meantime.

08.15 Tell D3 to hurry up.

08.20 Tell D 3 to hurry up.
Point out she has put her shoes on the wrong feet. (How can she *do* that ? I can`t even get my feet into the wrong shoes, let alone do them up and stand up in them !!). She promptly falls off the settee and screams theatrically. I lose my temper and shout.

08.25 Tell D3 I must do her hair. She screams because she wants to do it herself. We don`t have time as we have to be out of the house by 08.30 at the latest.

08.30 D3 cannot find her coat. Has a tantrum.
D4 puts herself in her pushchair but refuses to wear her coat. Shove her coat under pushchair.
Search frantically for D3`s coat. Fail.
Continued hysterical screaming from D3. I lose my temper again. Shout loudly.
Find zip up cardigan with hood. D3 agrees to wear this.

Now 08.35am and we are going to be late for school.
Run down street with kids. Postman stops me and says he has a parcel for me....should he just leave it on the doorstep ? I agree and thank him.
D3 dawdles, and comments on everything she sees. I am frothing at the mouth. I have been awake since 05.30 and we are still going to be late for school ! aaaagggh.
Never mind. I apologise to D3 for being mean and losing my temper. She apologises for being naughty. Big hug. Feel better.

Get to school gates just as the Buzzer rings 08.50am ....time for school. Tell D3 to run like the wind round the building to her entrance door. Kiss her and tell her I love her. She runs off happily.
D4 starts to cry because her sister has gone to school . Walk home.
I want to cry because I am harrassed and exhausted and fed up with getting exasperated with my beloved children.

Tomorrow......No TV till everyone is washed, dressed, had their hair done and had breakfast.
No exceptions.
Is it just me, or do you all have days like this ?

On the bright side, at least D3 wasn`t late , as she got to her classroom on time. But me ? Took me about two hours to calm down enough to start morning prayers at the icon corner. However, D4 excelled herself and asked to venerate every icon we possess, lovingly and with delight. I must be doing *something* right :-)
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A Special Sunday.

Ah, bliss !
Have been to Confession, been relieved of my burdens, been given a blessing to receive Communion today and attended the Liturgy.
Our priest served a Molieben of Thanksgiving for Abigail`s safe recovery from surgery,and my precious god-daughter was visiting as well.

And my DH spent most of the Liturgy in Church with us, rather than just popping in at the end to venerate the Cross and receive the Antidoron.
I wish you could see the smile on my face !
God is *sooo* good to me.
If only my dear god-mother was able to be with us, instead of being in hospital, my joy would have been nearly complete........
but nevertheless, Glory to God for all things !
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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Pain and Confession

Today has been a weird sort of day.
I have been in a lot of pain with my arthritis, and my mood has been correspondingly black and gloomy.
I took my painkilling medication, which made feel sick and sleepy, so I crashed out and slept for about two hours while DH entertained the kids.
I woke up in less pain, but feeling headachey, sleepy and sick. I don`t know if it was worth taking the painkillers :-(

Poor husband bears the brunt of my bad moods, and he certainly does not deserve it.
This evening he was teasing D3 and she was getting wound up.
I shouted at him "For pity`s sake, do you really want to start me shouting and adding another ten minutes onto my confession tomorrow !!"
This cracked him up and he fell about laughing.

As a non-O, he often wonders what on earth I find to confess.............bless him, he doesn`t think I have much to confess, but I know just how much I do have to confess :-(
I am trying to pluck up courage to start my pre-confession prayers, but I am feeling very down-hearted at the moment.
Asking your prayers,
the sinful handmaiden of God, Elizabeth.
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Friday, September 24, 2004

Just Friday

Today has been an average sort of day.
The sun is shining, I have got my second load of washing drying in the gentle garden breeze, and the last of the summer flowers are putting on a brave display despite the increasingly chilly autumn nights.

Having DH home has been a delight, even if he is busy upstairs at the moment, stripping wallpaper from one of the bedroom `s walls........
I keep looking at him and grinning ; I miss him so much when he is working away all week and it is lovely to think that from now on he will be home with us for four days a week. We are truly blessed.

D3 came home today a little upset because she only got 9/10 for her spelling test . What was the dreadful word that tripped her up ?
Every.
She had already spelt very correctly in the test, but for some reason she missed out the second "e" in every.
The trials and tribulations of being six years old....... ;-)
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A Busy Day

Husband came home last night, his work finished for the week.
It is soo nice to have him home. :-)))))))))))
Today we took his mother out shopping for her birthday present, which was enormous fun. She is such a lovely person, that it is easy to see why my husband is as wonderful as he is........

This lovely man even went and bought a bluetooth usb adaptor just so I could download ringtones from my computer onto my new mobile phone. He spent all afternoon tweaking the computer and phone.

My phone now rings to the theme music of ER, and has a screensaver from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I nearly had the Powerpuff girls screensaver, but decided that as I am 40 and a half, I needed something a bit more grown-up !

When DH phones me, he has chosen the music from Village People`s YMCA to ring. With several thousand polyphonic ringtones to choose from, he chooses that one.
Well, I suppose he can`t be perfect all the time..... :-)))
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Relics and Icons

I have scanned in the two relics.
I also scanned in an icon print of St David of Wales...the original is in our priest`s chapel.
The icon of St Xenia of St Petersburg came from Russia via USA.
I have a great devotion to St Xenia. I don`t know why, but she is definitely praying for me.....


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Thursday, September 23, 2004


St Xenia of St Petersburg
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An icon print of St David of Wales.
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On the left is the relic of St Lucy, on the right, St Helen the Empress.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Relics

For those who may be desirous of obtaining a relic...
First port of call, as always, is your priest.
There is usually a stock of relics in each archdiocese, if only for the production of the antimension :-)
You just may be allowed to have a tiny fragment of a relic, if you are lucky.
Equally, your priest may not feel it is appropriate for you to have a relic at this time.

For Western saints, you may need to follow one of these routes, as historically many pre-Schism Western saints may not have been widely known in the East......

Other options.....
check out antique shops.
There have been very many thousands of relics distributed by the RC church over the years, and when families are clearing out after a relative has reposed, they may not be interested or even know what the relics are, and pass them onto an antique or second-hand shop. The owners of these shops may not know exactly what they are, either !!

EBay
Caveat emptor !!!
There are some wonderful relics on EBay, but I would advise only buying from a well-established trader with at least 99% positive feedback.
Be prepared to pay quite high prices. Having said that, last year I bought a tiny relic of St Lucy the Martyr for 40 dollars. Sometimes, you can strike lucky if there have been a few relics of a saint in quick succession and the market has been satiated..........

The fierce bidding on relics of Christ can be amazing. Personally, I would not think of bidding for these...after all, we receive Christ Himself in the Holy Mysteries..........

You need to look for relics which have their wax seals and threads intact, to show they have not been tampered with.
Relics with documents of authenticity from the ecclesiastical issuer of the relic always sell for more than those without documents. Always check that the wax seal of the relic is identical to that of the documentation.
You need to look for saints which are obviously Orthodox. Any before 1000AD would be likely to be a safe bet, with the exception of the later popes. An awful lot of relics on EBay are for very recent RC saints.

Having said that, I do have reservations about buying relics. Many of the relics were freely given by the RC Church, with the owner receiving documentation and only paying a *very* small sum for the cost of producing the metal case for the relic. Many relics now are changing hands for very large sums of money, which does not seem right to me.

RC Sources
It is still possible to obtain relics from the RC Church, if you are a priest. Although this obviously applies to RC priests, I would imagine that if there is good communication between the Orthodox and RC church in your area, there may be a chance that a RC bishop would agree to vouch for you, or your parish priest on your behalf, and forward a request for a particular pre-Schism relic to the Vatican.
All pre-schism saints` relics no longer are issued with authentication, by the way. Only if you purchase an antique intact relic case issued before Vatican 2 would you get documents.
Bear in mind that Vatican 2 decided to stop officially commemorating quite a few saints, including St Christopher.

For those interested, there is a good RC web site devoted to information about relics at
http://www.ichrusa.com/saintsalive/relics_for_sale.html

I hope this satisfies your curiosity, folks !
I will try to post pictures of our relics tomorrow.







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Enigma

I loved Philippa`s comment about our suit of armour ;-)

After all, it really isn`t what you would expect when you walk into a four bedroom, semi-detached house, is it ? A stately home, maybe, but an ordinary house ? !!!!
There again, there will be very few houses in our town where there will be icons either. Maybe some of the RC families` homes, but that`s about all.

Even more unusual for your average home is the fact that we are blessed with two relics, one of St Helen the Empress, Uncoverer of the Cross, and one of St Lucy the Martyr.
The two reliquaries are on the top shelf of the icon corner, out of harm`s way, though D4 (who will be 3 next month) will often take me by the hand, lead me to the icon corner and demand to be lifted up so she can kiss them with great reverence.

Sometimes I wonder what our daughters` friends make of our home....."Mum, they have a suit of armour...and a sword....and pictures of saints, and candles, and BITS OF DEAD PEOPLE !"

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Prayer request

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Barbara, my dear step-father`s younger sister, who died yesterday.
Lord, have Mercy.
May her Memory be Eternal.
This will be the second funeral my step-father will have gone to in 6 weeks, following on from the death of his mother Evelyn. Very hard to bear.
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More about the suit of armour

The suit of armour is 6 feet tall, made of steel, and it is *exceptionally* heavy.
It came from a man called Nigel Varney, who makes accurate reproductions of historical suits of armour, swords, shields etc.

DH has worn the helmet, and says it is comfortable but very heavy :-0
The armour is all sectioned, with leather straps to fasten the various sections. It *is* possible to wear it, but whether you would ever be able to move in it is another question entirely ! Now I understand why medieval knights needed their pages and servants to help them get on their horses before they went into battle.
I would imagine it is impossible to do most things without help if you were wearing this......

The sword is quite safe to have in the house, as it has been professionally blunted to be as safe as the edge on a butter knife, the tip has been filed round and it has been wired onto the knight`s fingers so it cannot come loose.
To remove the sword, the wires would need to be cut. Or , if you had nothing better to do, you could unstrap both arms, put them on with the sword affixed to your thumbs and wait for gravity to pull you down to the ground with a resounding clang if you attempted to wave the sword around........
It does look great, although I keep thinking there is someone in the room when I look out of the corner of my eye !
Oh, and its name is Big Dave.
I wanted Ethelbert, but I was outvoted.............
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Big Foot, Little Foot


This is DH`s birthday present, the famous six foot tall suit of armour, and D3 age six and a half years old.
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Bruised....

WARNING !!!
Those of a sqeamish disposition may wish to skip this post. It involves Blood......


Today I went to the local hospital for a follow-up appointment with the Rheumatology department.
I saw a new consultant, who was very nice and extremely thorough. In fact, I wish she wasn`t quite so thorough :-)
She decided to run a wide spectrum of blood tests, which involved 11 vials of my lifeblood being painfully extracted from my arm. Normally, I quite like giving blood.......but.....

The phlebotomist doing the sampling was a bit harrassed as it was a busy clinic, and like the helpful person I am, I proferred the arm with THE VEIN.
I am usually a bit difficult to get blood from, except from one lovely juicy vein which is well-hidden below a layer of fat.
In other words, it is easily accessible but not easily visible.

Instead, she chose to go for an attractive little number, easily visible but also a treacherous, rolling, superficial vein, which of course got punctured right through in the course of the procedure and I now have an enormous and painful bruise as a consequence.

I don`t know if she was inexperienced, or tired, harrassed, fed-up, distracted, or just didn`t like me pointing out my good arm, but for whatever reason, she chose differently.

She did apologise profusely for the colourful bruise, which is 2 and a half inches long and still expanding, and she obviously wasn`t aware that I am "staff" , but in the days when I had to take blood, if a pregnant client said she had a "better" arm for taking blood, I would always take her word for it. No -one likes to have a painful bruise, and if someone has had blood taken before, they usually know roughly where the good vein was located.

Perhaps I was just lucky to have been taught to take blood by a lovely and very experienced midwife named Irene, who taught me to learn to feel good veins with my fingers, not just go for ones that look good. And yes, Irene was a phenomenally good midwife all round !

I am sure there is a moral here...even if it is just to *not* rely on appearances, not to allow my eyes to be deceived by the apparently easy option handed on a plate, but to look deeper, to test the tree by its fruit. All that glitters is not gold......

After that, the six X-Rays that were taken of my chest, lower spine, hands, feet and hips were a doddle :-)
And courtesy of the good old NHS, I only have to wait 3 months until the next appointment to find out the results ................
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Sunday, September 19, 2004

Why Didn`t I keep My Hands Off The Keyboard.......

Jim, I do so wish I hadn`t asked you about these RSS feed thingies !

I spent all yesterday on the Web researching, and I have now found a way of accessing feeds which does *not* require downloading the enormous WinDoze NET framework program first in order to then download a RSS reader :-)

It is a glorious, (and FREE !) web based gizmo called Bloglines at www.bloglines.com

I have now added all my favourite blogs (basically everything from Karl Thienes` site and then some) and am now on hourly updates.
What would take me the best part of an hour to manually visit each morning over my cup of tea is now more or less instant.........
Whatever happened to delayed gratification, I wonder :-)

Can you become addicted to blogging ?

I`m Elizabeth, and I am a blog addict........
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Saturday, September 18, 2004

Problems, problems

Suddenly, it seems that almost everyone I know, or come into contact with, is struggling with heavy burdens.
On the Metanoia mailing list, there are many requests for prayers for seriously ill family members.

In our own family, we have one member on a 9 month waiting-list for a quadruple coronary by-pass operation, one person seriously injured in a deliberate arson attack on the nursing home where he lived, another member with serious lung disease caused by his occupation, a friend on dialysis who is on the kidney transplant list, another family member in hospital, a friend ill in hospital.........May Our Lord God bless, preserve and heal His suffering servants !

All reminders of how transitory our earthly life is, and how little time I may have left to turn away from my sin and repent. It is no good putting it off till I feel better, or have more energy, or more time. I need to start living a Christian life now, not a nominally Christian life.
Lord, have mercy ................
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The Cold Season

It is , literally, the cold season again !
The central heating is switched back on, warm jumpers have been unearthed to cope with the early morning and evening chill which creeps in, although our days are often very hot still.

But it is also the other cold season. I am currently sniffing and snuffling and sneezing, and I have lost my voice, Glory to God, so there is no point whatsoever in me bothering to shout (croak) at the children.

A time -out for me to learn some detachment and a chance to not let my angry thoughts pass through my lips.
Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining......... A-choooo. :-)
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Friday, September 17, 2004

Pictures At Last !


Well, ok, one picture........
This is my patron saint, St Elizabeth the New Martyr.
It seemed appropriate for my first picture upload !
If you need help posting pictures, go to the Blogger homepage and check out the new (and free!) Hello program. It must be idiot-proof, I`ve managed to use it .......

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Work V Home...and Home Wins

Today is the last day that my husband will be working full time.

On Monday he starts part-time work, which means that he will only be away from home for two nights a week, instead of up to four nights.
It will be great to have him home, I miss him very much when he is working away. The income goes down, but the fun goes up !

We are looking forward to this sooo much.....he has had to spend so much time working away that he has sadly missed out on home life and watching the young `uns grow up. Of course , he has missed lots of the tantrums and other delights of life with children :-) LOL.

Now, *where* did I put that list of jobs that need doing around the house...........

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Parish Matters

I do not want to go into details, for fear of exacerbating the situation, but I would be grateful for prayers for our parish and especially for our priest and his wife.

At the moment the parish is divided with conflict generated and maintained by a small number of people.
Please God that this may soon be over, and with minimal damage.
The distress and hurt it has caused may well take longer to heal, unfortunately.
Lord, have mercy.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Snail

As I type, there is a snail on the outside of my garden window.
It hasn`t moved at all since daybreak; it is just sitting there.
I cannot understand why it had the urge to crawl up a wall then onto a window, some four feet above the floor, just to stay there for the day.
There is no food for it......no companion snails, even.

Sometimes, things are just odd.
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Many Years !

Many Years to my beloved husband, who celebrates his birthday today !

That is obviously the main news for today, but another issue of note is that it has finally stopped raining, and I did not have to do the school walk with an umbrella :-)

As I spend nearly 80 minutes each school day walking the children to school, then walking home till it is time to collect them again, the weather is of great importance in my life..........it makes you appreciate the beauty of the changing seasons, which isn`t always the case when you are in a car.
I also have time to reflect when I am out walking, and as part of my path runs alongside a small lake, I get to see trees, ducks, swans and geese on a daily basis.
I think I am much luckier than those who have a car, as I have the time to appreciate the wildlife, rather than just zooming past in a car, barely giving these lovely things even a passing glance.........but when it is raining, I do envy those nice warm car !
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I Have Links !

As you can probably guess, I have made a breakthrough with my struggle as to how and where to incorporate my blogrolling code into my blog, thanks to the kindness of Fr John McCuen, who talked me through it set -by-step.
I have *Links* ! I still need to tweak to get it right, but it is there !
Woo-hoo !

On the Home Front:
Abby continues to make good progress and is eating again. She does not seem to be in much pain now, which is a relief, as prior to surgery she was reluctant to eat because she was in so much pain.
I am slowly starting to de-stress after yesterday, but feel utterly worn -out.
I will be glad to go to bed tonight.

Tomorrow is DH`s birthday, and his present arrived today...a 6ft reproduction suit of armour.
I know, I know, but it is something he has always dreamt of since he was a small boy, and becoming 38 seemed to be the right time to get it, for some reason :-)
Once I work out how to get photos onto my blog, I will post a photo of the armour. It is very impressive...............
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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Abby Home Safe and Well

Dear friends,
Glory to God ! Abby`s operation went well.
We were told she would be intubated under anaesthetic for 45 minutes for extensive dental surgery. It was far more complex than the surgeon originally thought, and she was actually in theatre for almost 2 hours....................so DH and I were biting our fingernails down to the knuckles at this point !
She was in recovery/observation with us for a further 2 and 3/4 hours before the anaesthetic staff were happy for her to come home.

She has a fairly rare genetic disorder called Amelogenesis Imperfecta .
Put it this way, in our town of 18,000 souls there may be perhaps one child with AI.
Guess what, *both* of my youngest have it :-((((

It is like Brittle Bone Disease, but primarily only affects enamel, so their teeth initially appeared perfect when they first appeared, then literally lumps of enamel start to shear off the teeth, leaving the dentine underneath raw and exquisitely sensitive to pain, decay and infection.
Abby had her first op last December to remove 5 front upper teeth which had deteriorated so much in 6 weeks that they could not be saved.

Today she has had one further extraction of an unsalvageable tooth, plus one filling, plus stainless steel caps on all her back teeth to protect them as much as possible.

They are hopeful that the secondary teeth will be less badly affected.
Of course, because the baby teeth act as guides for the adult teeth to follow down, the loss of her baby front teeth means that she will require *extensive* orthodontic work at a later date to correct the inevitable problems as the adult teeth grow misaligned.

Not nice, but as my DH always says, there are many, many worse things than this disorder :-)
She is sitting watching Rugrats Go Wild and eating a cookie, and seems perfectly happy :-)

Thank you all so much for your prayers !
Glory to God for all things, and heartfelt thanks to the Theotokos, St Nicholas, Righteous Abigail, St Lucy, the Great Martyr St Barbara and her Guardian Angel for their intercessions.


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Monday, September 13, 2004

Counting the Hours

9 P.M.
Not much to write...just praying. Hard.
I will be glad when tomorrow is over.
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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Gibbering Wrecks

I am ashamed to say that it is almost 8pm as I am writing this.
I don`t seem to have stopped today, but equally I have achieved very little, save becoming mega-stressed.

DD4 has to have a major dental operation under general anaesthetic , lasting approx 1 hour on the morning of Monday 13th September, and I just cannot get it out of my mind. This will be the eighth time I have had to cuddle one of my children whilst a general anaesthetic is administered, and it gets no easier, I can assure you.

The life of our beloved daughter will temporarily be in the hands of total strangers for a whole hour, and we will be pacing helplessly and praying as one can only pray when a child is having surgery. I *know* she will be in the loving hands of God , but I am worrying nevertheless.

I keep thinking of all the times I have been impatient with her or shouted at her or been unkind to her in some way, and I just feel like the worst parent on earth at the moment. I wish I could turn the clock back and do things differently.
My DH is besides himself with worry.

I will be glad when Monday is safely over. Please, will you all pray for the handmaiden of God, Abigail, as she undergoes her surgery.
Lord, have mercy.
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Saturday, September 11, 2004

A Quiet Day

Apart from the truly spectacular thunder storm and torrential rain first thing this morning (of course I had to walk D3 20 minutes each way to school and back in the rain) it has been quiet today.

D4 has watched Scooby Doo 2 Monsters Unleashed twice on DVD.

I have been on the phone to a double-glazing manufacturer to arrange to have 2 bedroom windows made, and to the manufacturer of our duel fuel range cooker to get the vital spare part which will enable our main oven to work again.

My mother-in-law phoned to let us know that a dear friend of hers has been rushed into hospital ;-(((((( , and my DH is home for the weekend :-)))))))

I have washed, cooked, cleaned, hoovered and also been busy entertaining D4 and generally pottered around the house, but it *still* has felt like a quiet day.

Funny how one`s mood affects how one perceives the day.......if I was in a bad mood, I would have been feeling stressed and frazzled and snappy.

Here`s to a peaceful weekend, and a Blessed Chrismation to Trudy/Athanasia on Saturday. Many Years, Athanasia, and Welcome Home !!
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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Negativity

On the long walk to the supermarket today (ok, about 40 mins brisk walk) I said my morning prayers.
It was another lovely hot sunny day, and I was happy. Everything the garden was rosy...

After that, I found myself looking at the people I saw around me, and after a few minutes I was absolutely appalled to realise what negativity was going through my head.
  • For goodness` sake, doesn`t she realise how bad smoking is for you ?
  • Why on earth didn`t she brush her hair ? It looks such a mess !
  • Those clothes don`t match
  • I wouldn`t be seen dead wearing that.
  • For pity`s sake, do you have to hog the whole pavement (sidewalk) ? Don`t you realise there are people trying to get past (meaning me)

Instead of seeing Christ in every person I saw, all I saw was my own belief in my own supposed superiority. I was ashamed of myself, but retribution wasn`t long in coming......

I saw myself in a mirror and laughed, for there I was, large as life, overweight, unfit, frumpy, no make-up, bags under my eyes, wrinkles and all.

I bet other people might have been tempted to think:-

  • gosh, she could do with losing some weight
  • why doesn`t she keep herself in better shape ?
  • why can`t she be bothered to at least care for her skin and put moisturiser on?
  • she really needs a haircut, how old is that dress?

I really struggle with my own negativity and judgementalism.

Some days I think there is no hope for me.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

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A Birthday Party

Yesterday`s party was, despite my expectations, a delight. DD3 and 4 absolutely adored it. Elinor`s parents did all the food themselves...and proper children`s party food, not just fries and burgers. The entertainment was a real puppet theatre and a whole host of puppets - D4 sat enraptured for a whole hour, and that has to be a first :-) I could see how that could be downscaled to a manageable and affordable party for my kids in the future. The party got me thinking about how great the rejoicing of Joachim and Anna must have been when the Theotokos was born, after so many years of barrenness and grief. What delight there must have been amongst their friends and relations to see this pious and holy couple blessed by God with a child - and such a special child, whose name would be renowned throughout the world, before whom even the Holy Angels would show reverence. May you all have a happy and blessed Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and may she always pray for us and our salvation !
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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

How Things Went Yesterday

Greetings from a cool and *very* windy Garden Window !
No sooner have my two new scarlet poppies bloomed than we have had our first of many Autumnal gales, and some of the petals have been ripped off already.

They are still glorious splashes of colour in my very green garden :-)

DD1 had a great day in college, has met people she knew from school there and has also made new friends. She has been issued with her free bus pass to enable her to travel the 8 miles each way to College daily.

DD3 had a great day back at school and was delighted to meet up with her classmates again.
Best of all, DD3 and 4 missed each other immensely, and were the best of friends and playmates when they were reunited after school.
Peace and domestic harmony was restored in our household, thanks be to God !

Today DD3 and 4 are going to the little girl next door`s birthday party, to be held after school at the local Rugby club.
It was very kind of the parents to invite them, and they will have a great time, but I actually sat down and thought hard about it.....

It will cost the parents about £6 per child they invite. So it will cost them £12 to invite my daughters.

Because I don`t drive, it will cost me £10 in taxi fares to get my children to the party and back home again. I wouldn`t dream of asking the neighbours for a lift as they won`t have room in their car.
If I go by bus, there is no easy connection or the buses so it could take at least 40 minutes each way for a trip that can be done in 5 minutes by car.
It will take nearly an hour each way to walk, and the children already walk to and
from school each day as it is (about 20 minutes each way) so I know I will have grumpy and tired children before the party starts.

The cost of a present......£6.00 for nice washable felt pens and colouring books.
Another £2.00 for a card and wrapping paper.
So I will be spending £18.00 to take them to a party, and goodness only knows how much the neighbours will be paying to host the party.

Life was so much simpler when children had birthday parties at home, with nice party food made by Mum, games organised by Mum and Dad and it wasn`t all so consumer -orientated . When I was young (ok, stop sniggering !) we hoped to get a slice of birthday cake to take home from a party.
Now, children expect to have party bags, filled with sweets (not just one or two) and a few inexpensive little toys. And they feel hard done by if they don`t get party bags.

How do you "buy out" of this consumer mindset for our children ? If I insist on having parties at home, D3 might well be teased mercilessly about having cheapskate parents.
Perhaps the answer is to have a party at home one year, then have a theme party at the local pool/indoor play hall another year.
To host a party for 20 children at the local pool would cost £161.00 plus the cost of the dreaded party bags which could easily top £30.00 more. That`s £200.00 on a party !
Heck, we spent far less than that on our wedding reception, and we had smoked salmon and champagne , LOL.
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Monday, September 06, 2004

Mourning my Site Meter

I have tweaked everything I can, but cannot get my sitemeter to come back, so I am returning to my original template.
I have reinstalled my site meter .

I am hoping for the best......
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Reading and Listening

Books currently being read :-

Spiritual
For They Shall see God by David Beck
Touching Heaven by John Oliver
Journey to the Kingdom by Fr John Mack

General
Don`t Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family by Richard Carlson

Travel
Extra Virgin amongst the groves of Liguria by Annie Hawes

I can not function without spiritual reading. Usually I have several books on the go, one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, one downstairs.
I need to be constantly reminded of my duties as a Christian and to look at the examples of others. I do love the lives of the Saints.........though I will never be one !

In the CD player in the kitchen, for when I do my ironing:-
The sound track from the film Twister.

In the CD player in the living-room
Songs from the Teletubbies, which my two year old is singing along to.....

What are you all reading and listening to ? I could do with some more ideas :-)

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Changes

Hello everyone.
It seemed appropriate to start the new school year with a new blog-look :-)
What I stupidly didn`t realise was that if I changed the template, it loses the web counter I imported, so I will have to do that again and will have lost my 100 hits in a week :-(

So, folks, if you don`t like this look, or if you preferred the old one, please let me know and I will change it back before I import the web counter again.

I cannot get over how QUIET it is in the house, with just D4 and myself here.
So far today I have, since breakfast ,
  • taken D3 to school
  • tidied the bathroom
  • made the beds
  • put washing on the line to dry, as it is a lovely hot sunny day
  • put another load of washing in the machine
  • washed the breakfast dishes
  • been to the shop to pick up my Family History magazine (another of my passions)
  • had a cup of tea
  • played with D4
  • read the newspaper and Family History magazine :-)))))))))
  • changed the blog template
  • written this blog
  • read my email

and it is only 11.16 am.

I am enjoying the peace, but I wish it was time to pick up D3 from school....................LOL at the contradiction.


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The View

This evening is a glorious, golden, hot, late summer evening.
Our solitary scarlet poppy is losing its petals, but there are several more just about to emerge from their buds.
There are rose-red apples ripening on the tree and delicious-smelling honeysuckle blooming and climbing up the arch way.

This is the last day of the summer holidays, and I really don`t want it to end.........once school starts tomorrow, the evenings will start drawing in, it will get colder and all too soon we will be in Autumn again, and my garden will be looking bare.
On the whole, however, we have had a good summer. Even if I will be getting up at the crack of dawn again tomorrow :-)
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Counting The Hours

DD1 goes to College (a local College, so it is a daily commute) tomorrow and DD3 goes back to school.
Clothes for one and uniform for the other are all clean, ironed and ready.
Bags are packed.
Only the alarm clocks to set now.

It is going to be so quiet, and so strange with only the two year old at home with me all day.
I confidently expect that by lunchtime , I will be counting the hours till they come home again !



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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Keeping Motivated

I am writing this purely as a matter of discipline, to make myself do it even though I don`t have much to write about.
I just wish that such discipline would easily spill over into my prayer life , and indeed, life in general. I think it is time for confession again.........I sorely need my spiritual medicine.

I am finding it hard to be even remotely charitable about the dreadful end of those innocents held hostage by terrorists in Russia. I looked at the footage of the dead and wounded, in horror and such sadness.

How would I feel if it was one of my children whose lives had been snuffed out by such cold-blooded, callous and frankly, evil, acts ? I would certainly want the perpetrators punished on this earth to the fullest extent of the law, in order to protect others from their crimes, but could I wish for their death ? I don`t think so, because two wrongs cannot make a right, and because I would then have blood on my hands.

But until you are in such a position of loss, I do not think anyone could accurately predict how they would react. We all know how we would like to act, but until it happens, you just don`t know.

This atrocity has happened in Russia, but it could happen here in Britain, and it could happen in America. None of us can be complacent and think we are immune and safe.
Perhaps this horror is enough finally to galvanise me into realising that I really do need to live each day as if it will be my last, starting NOW, and to prepare for the dread Judgement Seat Of God.
Lord, have mercy........


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Friday, September 03, 2004

Waaaaah !

My precious daughter number 2 is 15 today !
My baby !
Happy Birthday, Munchkin, and MANY YEARS !!!!!!!!!!
I love you :-)
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Suspicious Minds

My trip to the dentist on Tuesday was not a pleasant experience.
It can best be described as a necessary evil :-)

All proceeded as normal, with one upper right tooth and one lower right tooth needing fillings, so there was a heavy dose of local anaesthetic injected. I couldn`t open my jaw after the injection, so I croaked anxiously, "Am I supposed to feel as though I have got lockjaw?".

He laughed and said of course, he had just injected a load of goo right through the muscle and it had gone into spasm as a protest.
Doh. Why didn`t I think of that ? I am a midwife, after all !
He mumbled something to the dental nurse which I didn`t quite hear, then I heard an ominous rumble.
"What`s that ?"
"Oh, it`s just the amalgamator to mix an amalgam filling for this back tooth" he replied nonchalantly.

Bearing in mind he had his hand in my mouth, I shook my head and squawked "No".
"What do you mean, no ?"
"No amalgam".
He sighed and realised that we were in for the long haul....and took his hand out of my mouth. The dental nurse had turned off the amalgamator, presumably in anticipation of an interesting five minutes. I think she got it :-)

"Research shows....that large white composite fillings in molars tend to break down easily and the tooth can decay under the composite and then you have real problems. So amalgam really is the best option here" (My dentist only rarely uses amalgam fillings, I must add. He is a good guy !)

"I would prefer not to have amalgam; I will take my chances with the white composite filling, thank you" I did manage to reply politely, and also managed not to roll my eyes.
"But the government says that amalgam fillings are safe" he retorted.

This was not a good thing to say to me, as my family will tell you :-)

During my midwifery training, I became interested in the risks to the developing fetus of environmental hazards, and consequently I studied mercury in considerable detail in my own time. I read every available research paper on amalgam published in English that was listed in our medical reference library in the hospital.
One German study showed that women who have an amalgam filling during pregnancy are much more likely to have their baby die in the womb after the age of viability (a stillbirth) than women who have composite fillings. If a chemical introduced in to a woman can cross the placenta and build up to such devastating toxic levels that it can kill a baby, well I am sorry, but I do not want it put in my mouth , thank you very much.

Ever heard of the saying "as mad as a Hatter" ? Remember the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland ? Hatmakers used to use mercury to felt the hats, and over the years, they would go a bit dotty at best, and barking mad at worst.....

Mercury is also currently present in UK vaccines as a preservative, under the name of thiomersal., although the Govt here has finally bowed to pressure and agreed to discontinue the use of such vaccines in favour of the American type , which are now mercury free. The Govt is still bleating about the safety of these old vaccines, whilst simultaneously saying they are doing it for added safety. Go figure............especially as there is a chilling body of evidence that some babies are born without the ability to safely synthesise and excrete mercury, and possibly causing autistic spectrum damage in these children from mild mercury poisoning at a cellular level.
So I just *had* to say to him " OH, the same Govt which is now banning vaccines containing microscopic amounts of mercury as a thiomersal presevative ?"

He just looked at me, raised his eyebrows and prepared to do a white composite filling........

Don`t get me wrong, my dentist is a lovely man, for whom I have immense respect and I do trust his integrity, but this is a topic which I am willing to bet good money I have researched for a lot longer and in greater detail than he has.

Ironically, because the new filling was adjacent to an old amalgam one (from the days when I knew no better), he had to take the most amazing precautions using a whole mouth rubber dam to completely seal my mouth to stop amalgam fragments from getting into mouth and being inhaled or swallowed, and then the stuff inside the dam has to be treated as hazardous waste once it is removed from my mouth.
But it`s still safe, ...........isn`t it ?

Like I said, I have a suspicious mind :-)))))))
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Getting ready for School

All the schools in our town have started back except D3`s school, which is taking three of the six local Council allowed teacher training days this week, and so our school will not start back till Monday September 6th.
It was so strange going past one school today and seeing the yard full of youngsters in their uniform when I was on my way to the shops to buy uniform for D3. It was quite surreal.

The uniform shop was pretty successful, though my stress levels were sky high. For some reason, D4 was in manic mode, trying to claw my eyes out when I picked her up in a shop because she refused to come out when I asked her to. She then proceeded to scream for a large part of the journey down the High Street, which was mega-embarrassing, as all the crowds turned to look at this evil monster of a mother who was obviously maltreating a poor child judging by the screams and yells.

By the time I got home , I was exhausted.
I will *almost* be glad when she is old enough to start school (Sept 2005) and someone else can deal with the tantrums...except of course, she will likely be as good as gold in school and save the tantrums when she is home with Mum.
I am ready to collapse into bed :-0
Asking your prayers,
Elizabeth
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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hooray !

The washing basket is finally empty :-)
Everybody is well again..........

This morning , I even had chance to say *proper* Morning Prayers in front of my icon corner, with incense burning, rather than praying on the move. It was glorious.
Daughter 4 loved the incense, and afterwards, darted to the blessing cross to kiss it, and then systematically kissed every icon within reach, one by one, in a specific order that obviously made perfect sense to her.......
Her current favourite is a tiny standing icon of the great Martyr Barbara, for whom she has had a special devotion for the last six months. Obviously St Barbara is praying for her :-)

My icon of St Xenia of St Petersburg has arrived, along with the Akathist, courtesy of EBay. I`ve only managed to pray about 25% of the Akathist so far, but it will all get prayed before the end of the week.
When I work out how to post pictures on to Blogger ( I am computer illiterate !) I will post some pics of the icon corner.
Hope you all have a good day, and may St Xenia pray for all of you !
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