Sunday, July 31, 2005

Holiday Plans


We have booked two nights away in Stratford upon Avon, at our favourite place, The Falcon Hotel.

Courtesy of Late Rooms, we will be paying £90 in total for four of us to stay for two nights.

Whilst we are there, we hope to take the two young ones to see Harvington Hall, which DH remembers vividly and with great fondness from his childhood, when his father took him there.
It has a wonderful array of priest-holes dating from the Elizabethan persecution of RC priests and is a lovely moated mediaeval and Tudor Manor House.
I will endeavour to provide full details on our return :-)

DD2 will still be in Birmingham whilst we are on hols.
DD1 has volunteered to stay at home and care for the budgies, the cat and the tortoise.

We even offered to pay for her to have a room of her own if she wished to accompany us on holiday, but for some unaccountable reason she seems to be looking forward to staying at home in peace, being able to have unlimited internet access and stay up till all hours without parental repoofs :-))))
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DIY

DD4`s tiny bedroom doesn`t have room for a wardrobe, and as she now has more clothes than everybody else in the family , LOL, we decided to get a wardrobe to put in the unused walk-in cupboard at the top of the stairs next to her bedroom.

It seemed foolproof; DH meticulously measured the cupboard and trawled online to find a wardrobe of perfect dimensions and reasonable size.
Yesterday evening he constructed said wardrobe, and very nice it looked too.

This morning he and I hauled it upstairs and once at the cupboard, we were ever so slightly perturbed when it wouldn`t go in. No amount of shoving or exclamations could alter the fact that although the catalogue had indeed quoted dimensions, they were for the actual carcase of the wardrobe, not including the attractive overhanging trim at the top......

So I had to hang onto the wooden wardrobe for grim death whilst DH stood on a stepladder and sawed a chunk off each side of the overhanging trim.
It now fits, it looks really nice and most importantly, it now holds all of DD4`s clothes, including her winter coat.
This means there is now room on the hanging rail in our room for *our* clothes :-)

All in all, a good day`s work. DH has retired to bed for a well-earned after-lunch nap and I am making the most of the peace to update my blog............
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

News From Birmingham.

I do worry about DD2 :-)

We always laugh that trouble follows her around, but it is getting rather worrying now !
She has gone to Birmingham to visit some of her friends.

She went up on Monday, and since then, there has been an armed police raid on a house where they picked up a suspect from the recent London bombings, which meant the entire street had to be evacuated .
Guess what ? One of her friends lives in that street !
At least DD2 wasn`t staying with that friend :-)

Today, there has been a mini-tornado hitting three areas of Birmingham and injuring 12 people. Apparently no-one was seriously injured, thank goodness. She is fine, nowhere near where it hit.

I will be glad when she gets safely back home
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Unexpected Visitor

While I was pegging washing out on the line in the garden today, I saw a dragonfly zooming around the garden for about ten minutes.
I have never seen one in our garden before; we don`t have a pond , neither do any of our neighbours.
What the glorious little creature was doing in my garden , I have no idea, but it was lovely to see it.
Unfortunately it was flying against the sun, so it would have been impossible to photograph.
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Answer to Prayer

This morning I prayed at the icon corner for Abby to receive the help she desperately needs with her language delay, and wasn`t likely to get this side of Christmas unless we pay between £50 and £70 per session with a private therapist.
I venerated every icon and asked the prayers of the saints in our Icon Corner, namely the Theotokos, St Elizabeth and St Barbara the New Martyrs, Great Martyr St Barbara,St Herman of Alaska, St Spyridon, St David of Wales, St John the Wonderworker, St John of Kronstadt, St Euphrosynos the Cook, St Nicholas, St Helen and St Constantine, St Lucy, St George and St Demetrios, St Joseph of Arimathea, St Tatiana of Rome, St John Chrysostom, the Holy Angels, St Seraphim of Sarov and St Xenia of St Petersburg.
I begged for Abby to receive help.

At 3pm I had a phone call from the Speech Therapist who saw Abby at the hospital yesterday.
She said she had been thinking a lot about Abby and her obvious need for help before she starts school, and she had discussed the case with her colleagues, one of whom covers a different area but would be willing to fit Abby in for free NHS sessions once a week during the summer holidays.
I am stunned at such an amazing and fast response to heartfelt prayer.
There is nothing to be said but Glory to God ! and may God abundantly bless the speech therapist who showed such love and concern to Abby that she has arranged this for her.
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Monday, July 25, 2005

Chaos Retreats

Mercifully, the delivery came at 10.40 :-)
So I was able to leave, pick up Helen at 12 noon and make it to the hospital on time !

The Speech Therapy assessment was very thorough (an hour) and helpful. The long and short is that Abby definitely has a significant language delay due to repeated ear infections in her first year of life.

She does definitely need some intensive speech therapy to help her develop her speech more before she starts school in September, but guess what....there is now no speech therapist covering our area due to staff shortages, so it could well be many, many months before she can get speech therapy.

Unless of course we pay through the nose and "go private".
Which I think we will do, as it is obviously going to be in Abby`s best interests to be able to communicate clearly, confidently and effectively with her peers and teachers in September.
Time to surf the web to find accredited speech therapists in our area.......
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Self-Created Chaos

Today is going to be bedlam, probably.

I have no-one else to blame, only myself, for forgetting one vital fact when planning the delivery of a new wardrobe for today- the fact that Abby has a crucial hospital appointment with Speech and Language Therapy at 1pm .
The delivery firm booked the delivery as some time between 7.30 am and 1pm.

It takes at least an hour to get to the hospital by bus.

Not to mention the fact that Helen is at Holiday Bible Club each day this week from 09.30am to 12.30pm, and it takes nearly twenty minutes to walk down to the school to pick her up.
Also not forgetting the fact that DD1 is going out with her grandparents mid-morning.

I will have to pick Helen up early so we can get to the hospital.
Basically, if the delivery men arrive after 11.30 I won`t be there and they will have to re-schedule the delivery.
Why didn`t *I* just reschedule the delivery, I hear you ask ?
Well, you get a call from a regional call centre who don`t give you a contact number so I can`t get in touch with them :-)

Ho hum.

The best option is for me to leave at 11.45, pick Helen up at 12, and then get a taxi to the hospital, as the next bus doesn`t leave till 12.20 and would make us very late for our appointment.
The taxi fare will be around £12. Gulp.

Serves me right for being so stupid as to book a delivery slot without checking the diary.....
I am praying very hard the wardrobe will arrive very soon.
It is now 09.55am.............
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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Confession, Liturgy and Temptation !

The weather this morning was dreadful, with torrential rain.

DH decided we would leave for church a bit later, though the weather didn`t improve any by the wait, expecting to arrive about a third of the way through the service through having to drive slowly. He goes well prepared for this labour of love for his family, with a flask of coffee and the Sunday newspaper to occupy him while we are in Church. :-)
When we got there, we found we were running in offical Orthodox Church Time (ie the service was a bit behind schedule), so there was a gap wherein I could make a much overdue confession.
Having been gently and lovingly but *exceedingly* thoroughly hauled over the coals in my confession, I was blessed to receive the Holy Mysteries.

The service was lovely; seven adults and our youngest two, as well as Father in the small garden Chapel.
Time seemed to fly past, though DH did point out that I did not emerge from the Chapel for two and a quarter hours after I entered in it, which was undoubtedly extended by my confession (LOL) before-hand and me later reading the full post-communion prayers in the Chapel at Presvytera`s request, after other folk had left the chapel in search of much needed cups of tea :-)

Temptation struck at the Agape meal, when Presvytera showed me a glorious new hardback full colour book on the history of icons, which of course meant I felt the urge to whip out my chequebook to buy one !
Apparently it has been made known that there will be only **one** print run of this book, so it was a case of buy it before it`s gone. It is truly wonderful, and worth every penny.

It is called "A History of Icon Painting" by multiple authors including Lilia Evseyeva. It is translated by Kate Cook and published in Moscow 2005 for the English edition.

ISBN is 0-9550089-0-5 and can be obtained from www.orthbooks.co.uk here in Britain @ £19.95.
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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Summer Holidays Looming

Thursday was the school prize evening.
Only children who had won prizes or were getting certificates were present, each with two guests. The Hall was absolutely packed and very, very hot.

Helen had a certificate for her Folk Dancing, along with seven other children over two classes.. Only four children in total from Helen`s class of 26 had awards.

Five children in the whole school had certificates for 100% attendance throughout the school year.

There were zillions of other awards for completing various activities and courses, especially in the final year who will be going up to the Comprehensive School in September.
Our school will see a big difference now some of the star players in netball and basketball will have left :-(

Every child in the leaving year received a certificate and a gift, which I thought was a lovely idea.

NB If Helen wins an award next year, I am taking along a cushion and sitting nearer the window.........
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Blog Crawling

I was bored (!), so I idly clicked on the "next blog" button on my own blog.
Once past the site in Italian, the porn star site and then the miserable Princess site, I kept clicking a while longer, which brought me to this site, which has a lovely poem:

"Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day
With little time to stop and pray
For life's been anything but calm
Since You called on me to be a mom
Running errands, matching socks
Building dreams with building blocks
Cooking, cleaning, and finding shoes
And other stuff that children lose
Gitting lids on bottled bugs
Wiping tears and giving hugs
A stack of last week's mail to read
So where's the quiet time I need?
Yet when I steal a minute, Lord
Just at the sink or ironing board
To ask the blessings of Your grace
I seen then, in my small one's face
That you have blessed me
All the while
And I stop to kiss
That precious smile"

I think it is lovely.
I am so lucky to have four precious blessings from the Lord.
Glory to God.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Sense of Humour.....

For those of you who love oddball religious humour, anyone who enjoys
The Onion Dome will also enjoy this spoof of Anglicanism,

THE DIOCESE OF WENCHOSTER

It is well worth a visit and will pass a happy half hour or so.
Don`t miss the Pharisaios Journal...................

And definitely don`t miss the Cathedral Hymn Book in the Chained Library section !
One hymn has the immortal verse:

"There's our creed, our faith in one.
Dum-de, dum-de, dum-de dum!
Sea of Faith, O let us sing,
For we don't believe a thing!"

On a more serious note though, sadly Anglicanism is rapidly becoming a spoof shadow of its former self.
Soon, the spoof will be more real, I think.
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Preparing for September.

Today, we had the official school letter outlining Abby`s start in Reception class in September.
She will be starting on Friday Sept 9th with her small group, afternoons only for one week, the next week will be mornings including staying for lunch, and the third week will be afternoons again. The other group will be opposite to her group.
I think this is a really good way of breaking them in gently to the prospect of all-day school in October........

The only problem is her clinginess.
My other three girls all marched into school on their first days and basically said "Wow, great ! You can go now, Mum!" without even a backward glance.
Abby is a different kettle of fish. If I am away from her for more than an hour, she starts asking Daddy where I am ..........

Any hints on dealing with real separation anxiety ? Her teacher is lovely, and Abby has met her and is comfortable with her, but I have visions of having to physically peel Abby off me when i have to leave her there :-(

I see tears ahead, and they won`t just be hers.
This will be the first time in 19 and a half years that I won`t have had a little one at home.
Blub.
And it`s not even September yet.
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Monday, July 18, 2005

On The Box

I had a look at the tv guide this afternoon, which is a rare event.
I watch very little tv these days, not even the news, which I check online.
Most of it is absolute rubbish, except for the occasional film.
I do like historical type programmes such as Regency House Party, history documentaries etc, and that`s about all, apart from Top Gear, which has to be one of the funniest things ever made - and I don`t even drive a car :-)

Tonight, for our delectation, we have :-
7.30 pm BBC1
Real Story.....about children who have had abortions without their parents` knowledge.

8.00pm Channel 4.........On Pain of Death, about about poor pain relief for terminal patients, with doctors unwilling to prescribe morphine to the dying and with anguished relatives turning to the "black market" drug sellers to get morphine for their loved ones.

Depressing, or what ? On the one hand we have doctors who perform operations to kill unborn babies of underage girls who have had illegal underage sex, and parents never know about it, and then you have doctors who leave folk to die in agony because they are afraid of being accused of hastening their deaths.
What a crazy juxtaposition of so-called logic on the part of the health profession.
I can`t say I will be first in the queue to watch either of these..................
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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter VI

The new Harry Potter book was purchased yesterday lunchtime, and both D1 and I had read it before 7 pm.

It was a *great* improvement on HP V, but could still have done with some ruthless editing, IMO.

I don`t want to spoil it for those of you who may not have finished it yet.

I did love the obvious references to Princess Tony (oops, I meant our beloved leader, Tony Blair). Definitely one of the best bits of the book :-)

The predicted death was packed with twists and turns, and some quite unexpected denouments. Harry himself seems to have got his teenage angst of Book V under more control and appears to be a much more finely drawn character now.
All in all, a rollicking good read.
Recommended !
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Tortoise Terror

I have a tortoise named Speedy.
Goodness only knows how old he is; suffice it to say that I had him when I was seven years old and I am now on the wrong side of 40 :-)
He has moved house with me six times in the last 18 years, and he is a much-loved member of the family.

He certainly knows his name, for even if he is out of sight, I can stand at the back door and call his name, and he comes trundling along as fast as he can. Actually, that is surprisingly fast on a hot day when his metabolism is charged up, LOL.
I didn`t know he had a sense of humour too.

I hand fed him his lunch today (large amounts of lettuce), and when DH and I were relaxing in the garden a while ago, DH said "What`s that he`s eating ?".
Speedy had found a large Camellia bud and was trying to eat it. Now, I`m not sure of the toxicity of the buds, so I removed it from him.

DH went in the house to find him a nice juicy tomato instead, and as soon as he had disappeared, Speedy walked up to my bare feet and started pretending he was trying to bite my toes. Each time I sqeaked "ouch" and laughed, waited for Speedy to move away, and then put my foot back down.
Each time, he came back and opened his mouth wide and pretended to bite my toes.

I have been bitten by him once before, and considering he has no teeth, he can sure gum you extremely and painfully hard...........this was done in fun, and extremely gently. As soon as DH returned with a delectable tomato, Speedy ignored the proferred toes , demolished said tomato with gusto and then went for an afternoon nap.

I cracked up laughing. What a pet !
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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wolves and Bears

The falling population rates in most of Europe are allowing large parts of the rural areas to be depopulated as the remaining inhabitants gravitate towards to the big cities looking for work.

Consequently bears and wolves are moving into these rural areas in large numbers.
If European populations numbers don`t increase, parts of Europe are going to end up as real giant wildlife parks....

see here for the full story.
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Friday, July 15, 2005

Praying and Blogging

Many thanks to Alana at Morning Coffee for this thought .....
Quote:
"sez she who has been on the computer for an hour, with niggling thoughts of cultivating a life of prayer in the back/forfront of her mind:
BLOGGING does not cause illumination!"
End Quote.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
She is 100% right, you know .

If theosis could be achieved solely by blogging, I would have got there by now.
But it can`t .....

I have been up since 05.40, it is now 07.06, I have had a cup of tea and a cup of coffee yet I still haven`t said my prayers, as I am busy blogging.

I wish I could be as easily motivated to pray as I am to blog and read others` blog wisdom.

I am one of the folk who truly need the discipline of regular prayer, and to force themselves to pray at intervals in the day purely to keep focused on the fact that I am *supposed* to be a Christian, and to behave as such, even if I fail miserably ten thousand times a day.

Yesterday was *NOT* a good prayer or behaviour day.
Sigh.
The only consolation is the remembrance that it isn`t the falling down that is so bad, it is whether we choose to roll around in the gutter or to get up and try again.
Thus says Elizabeth, wobbling perilously as she attempts to walk the tightrope of Christian life :-0
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

UK News

I am sure many of you will have heard the sad news of the final death-knell of the Church of England, whose Synod voted yesterday to remove the final legal constraints in order to allow the ordination of female "bishops" within the next ten years.

This is the Church which nourished me spiritually and led me eventually to the riches of Holy Orthodoxy, and I grieve to see that Church drifting inexorably, helplessly and hopelessly away from the harbour of Orthodoxy.

Schism within the Church of England is now a sad certainty - as if there weren`t enough schisms within Christianity already.
Sigh.

Maybe this will be the impetus for more folk to explore Orthodoxy, and as Huw Raphael notes, may well kickstart the revival of the traditional Western Rite within Orthodoxy in the UK.

Ah well, God`s will be done.
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Monday, July 11, 2005

Thought For The Day

Quote:-

Listen with a critical ear for the sound of the Gospel in everything you do.
And don't do what isn't a Gospel act, no matter who says so, no matter who orders it, no matter how sacred the institution that demands it.
Or else the Holocaust.
Or else the Inquisition.
Or else Watergate and Irangate.
Or else power before truth.
End quote.

From the Benedictine Sister Joan Chittester `s "Wisdom Distilled from the Daily."
Another book on my ever-expanding "To Buy" list :-)
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Fun Site

I thought this was wonderful .
The Bible in Lego, I kid you not..............
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Read Recently

Books read recently include:-

Walsingham Way, by Colin Stephenson. A great read about the Shrine at Walsingham and its restoration.

Merrily on High, also by Colin Stephenson. An interesting meander around his life, though I was surprised to find how his views on High Church Anglicanism shifted downhill as he grew older.

Judgement on Hatcham : The history of a religious struggle 1877-1886 by Joyce Coombs.
This was a real eye-opener, to read about priests in England who were sent to prison for having even remotely High Church appertunances in their churches. Some brief information about the main protagonist, Fr Tooth, here

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris.
A fascinating book about a Protestant woman who becomes a Benedictine Oblate affiliated to a RC Abbey, and how she learns to value incorporating a Benedictine outlook into her daily life.

A similar book is Beyond the Walls : Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life by Paul Wilkes, a married layman with a family, who visits a Trappist monastery frequently.

These last two books show clearly that the line between monasticism and laity life is actually very blurred, and that much of the monastic life is of immense value and CAN be integrated into everyday life in the world.

I`m also currently reading the Rule of St Benedict.
Great Stuff.
Holy Father Benedict, pray for us !
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In the Metropolis

Last week, I had cause to take three of my offspring on a shopping trip to our nearest Metropolis. As I don`t drive, we took the bus to the nearest big town and then caught the train, which took about an hour from our door to the City.

I decided to buy a Family Railcard for the princely sum of £20 for the year, which entitles up to 4 adults and 4 children to travel together at discounted rates.
There is 1/3 off the adult fare and 60% off the fares of children over 5, with under-5s travelling free. Jolly good value, and it allowed the four of us to travel by train for only £6.00.

I had the happy thought that I could take the children out on some daytrips by train in the summer holidays when my husband is at work, but I don`t think I will now be taking them up to London, as I had originally planned, unless my husband comes too.

I haven`t been to the Metropolis for over a year, and it was strange to see once familiar shops now standing empty. I couldn`t believe that there are now four Starbucks in a fairly small area. It all certainly looked cleaner and more prosperous than the last time I went there.

We had a good day out, and it was fun to travel by train. Even better, I amnaged to get hold of a copy of a book called St Benedict`s Toolbox, which I have been looking for :-))

I was utterly unsuccessful in my quest to get a Bible with Apocrypha in traditional liturgical English, so I will have to settle for getting one from Amazon. I do much prefer being able to see the typeface and layout/design before I buy, though :-(

Despite all that, a very happy St Benedict`s Day to you all !
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Kathismata

Michael asked about the Kathismata.
This is the traditional Orthodox division of the Psalter for use in services, principally at Matins and Vespers.
It is especially used in monasteries where the entire psalter will be recited in one week, and in Lent, twice a week.
It can be tweaked by layfolk so it can be spread over much longer periods, eg just using one Kathisma division a day or week.

This link shows you the divisions for each day, and which Psalms are in each Kathisma.
There are specific prayers to be said between Kathismata, but I haven`t yet got that book.

Personal note to self:-
Must curb book-buying habit - even if they are liturgical books :-0
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Friday, July 08, 2005

More News

I have heard from Elaine, she is safe and well.
On a sadder front, DD2 has two friends who have suffered bereavement from the bombings, as has the family of a schoolfriend of DD3.
We live in a town of less than 20,000 souls, yet our small family has tenuous links to three of the London dead................
Lord, have mercy.
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Thursday, July 07, 2005

News

I have some good news...Nicholas is fine, Glory to God !!
I spoke to him a short while ago, and he had just got home.

His office is less than 2 mins walk away from where one of the bombs exploded. He was not hurt, one of his bosses was actually on the bus which blew up, and he walked away uninjured, which is surely a miracle.

Several of the office secretaries were on one of the trains which was bombed,and had to climb out of the tube train broken windows and walk through the tunnels to get out, but again not seriously hurt.

Their street was evacuated later in the morning due to a bomb scare, but all was ok.

I still haven`t been able to get hold of Elaine, which is worrying.......

We live at the other end of the country from London, so we are relatively safe, I suppose....if anywhere can be considered safe these days !
Thank you all for your good wishes and prayers, they mean a lot !
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London Bombs

Please pray for everyone affected by the evil bombings in London.
Please also pray for the safety of two London based friends, Nicholas and Elaine.

Lord, have mercy.
But our country survived the Blitz bombings in WWII and we will weather this storm too.

Pray also for the sick folk who perpetrated these dreadful acts.
They truly need our prayers, for one day, they will have to face The Dread Judgement Seat, even if they escape punishment in this life.
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Ten Things To Do Before I Die

Many thanks to Mimi for this idea :-)

What *are* the ten things I would like to do before I die ?
Caveat #1 That I will live long enough to see my great-grandchildren :-)

Places to see
1/Alaska
2/San Fran, ( to venerate St John the Wonderworker)
Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls
3/Every Laura Ingalls Wilder associated site in the US
4/Go on a cruise.
5/Tour Greece.
6/Visit every cathedral, castle and Shrine in the UK, especially the monastery at Brookwood in Woking to venerate the relics of St Edward, King and Martyr.

7/Meet *all* my Blog friends in person. You have all enriched my life immeasurably, comforted me when I needed it and encouraged me in so many ways :-)))

8/To produce a truly comprehensive one-volume prayer book with Eastern and Western rite Orthodox prayers and services for lay folk to use, complete with readings etc.
I know it will be so heavy I will need a wheelbarrow, but I want to do it anyway.

9/Complete my collection of Elinor Brent-Dyer and Elsie Oxenham school stories, which I have been collecting since I was a small child. These books are pretty much out of print, expensive and hard to find .
They are dated, but wonderful stories and memories from an age when relative innocence and morality were not denigrated or sneered at. Surprisingly, there are a *huge* number of people collecting them, because they love them, and not because of their monetary value !

10/Do voluntary midwifery work abroad.
As a trained midwife it is a great grief to me that my knowledge is now unusable in the UK because my arthritis means I am not able to work and because if you can`t work, you can no longer teach either....because you have to be able to do the *whole* range of midwifery work to maintain the clinical competencies, and if you can`t do this, you are not allowed to teach, as all midwifery teachers have to be midwives who can still work.

This is good in one way, as it means that only midwives who are both fully up to date in theory and still are required to do X number of days real clinical work each year are left to teach students, thereby avoiding the old problem of tutors who were sometimes completely out of touch with what life was really like for practising midwives in hospitals and in the community.

On the other hand, it means there are a lot of people like me who could have skills to offer who are left redundant.
Third world countries are in desperate need of qualified staff to help them teach their new midwives and to care for women who at risk of suffering immense problems. I would love to help.
Check out the incredible work done by Dr Catherine Hamlin in Ethiopia here ,which is supported by Ethiopiaid, my favourite charity.

What would you all like to do ?
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Summer Project

I am on a quest for two things, and have been so for many years.
One is the perfect cookbook, so I can get rid of all the others I have so laboriously collected, and the other is the perfect Prayer Book.

On the Prayer book front, my purchase of Fr Aidan`s Orthodox Prayers of Old England is pretty near perfect, I must say. I do, however, miss not having the treasures of the Eastern rite too.

What I am hoping to do is to type out and collate my own personal use loose-leaf prayer book combining all the Hours, both Western and Eastern, with addenda for Feasts and Saints days from the old Sarum breviary I have, plus morning and evening prayers from both traditions plus Preparation for Communion and Thanksgiving prayers, plus some Akathists and Canons. Basically all my favourite prayers from numerous sources.....
Ambitious, I know, but it will be great to have them in one place and easily portable, rather than having to lug around several tomes.
Wish me luck..........
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Hurt Feelings

How do you deal with other children hurting your child`s feelings ?
D3 is struggling with this at school at the moment. She is a sweet and loving child who would never willingly hurt anyone else, either physically or verbally. She is also very easily upset by people making fun of her.

It is a great little school, but there are a handful of children who are either actively malign and take real delight in hurting people`s feelings, or they are just utterly dysfunctional and don`t realise that what they are doing is wrong.
I can`t quite decide which label to assign to the dear little sods (oops, slip of the fingers) children.

All I do know is that I would dearly love to get them in a quiet place and give them the darn good talking to which they so richly deserve and which I wish their parents would give them if they either knew or cared what their little dears are busy doing.

Yesterday was No Uniform Day, for which they pay 50 p to the school to raise money.

DD3 decided to wear a very fetching and mega- brightly coloured flower print trouser and crop top outfit.
Lovely and summery, and she looked great. She sensibly chose to wear her black school shoes so she could run around in the yard at playtime, as normal.
When we arrived at school, there were kids wearing just about every outfit under the sun, and one little girl actually turned up in full school uniform and was in floods of tears when she found nobody else was.

At hometime, my little one was really uspet. Some of the kids had been taunting her saying that she had come to school wearing her pyjamas, and that she looked stupid etc.
Then she was teased because she was wearing her school shoes and some of the teasing kids were wearing high heel shoes ( and they are only six and seven , remember !) and strappy sandals.
Helen did have the last laugh though, as none of the kids wearing flip-flops, strappy sandals or high-heels were allowed to join in any of the playground games and races, and she could.
Ha ha.

When she came home and told me this, by heart ached for her and my stomach churned.
Why her ? She doesn`t care what anyone looks like or wears, or how they talk. Her best friend is a little girl from Thailand, whom she befriended and looked after from the time this girl arrived in school scared and barely speaking any English at all. Helen looked after her unprompted because she wanted to help her.
She is so tolerant and caring of others, and others mock her for it.

It is not fair.

We did have a long chat about the fact that some children simply don`t know how to behave any better, that they just sometimes blurt out whatever poisonous rubbish pops into their heads without thinking of whether it might hurt someone`s feelings, and that she does know better, and because she does try so hard to be kind that God especially loves her for it, and she was somewhat comforted.
I still grieve for her sadness.
I know I cannot protect her from all the storms of this world, but I still wish that I could....
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Monday, July 04, 2005

Praying The Hours

I have started praying the little hours (First, Third, Sixth , Ninth and Compline) as and when I am able to. Somedays I pray the Eastern Rite Hours and somedays the Western Rite Orthodox Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext ,None and Compline.
I am really enjoying praying the Psalms, which I had only a passing acquaintance with before. There truly seems to be a Psalm for everything in my life :-)

I am surprised at how little time it actually takes to do this on a daily basis - much less than one would think.
After all, I do have 24 hours each day, so one and a quarter hours a day for God in the Hours isn`t much, is it ?
I spend more time than that surfing the Net :-(
and I know which is the more beneficial for my soul :-)
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Input appreciated

I have a problem, and I am not sure what to do.
Input would be much appreciated !

I buy lots of things from EBay, and have never before had any problems whatsoever with items sent from all over the world.

Eight weeks ago, I bought a book on EBay.
I paid for airmail postage and postal insurance in case of mishap. Normally, airmail postage books get to me in the UK within 2 weeks, so when a month had passed, I contacted the seller to ask her what had happened.
No reply. I contacted EBay and was advised to file a claim for non-arrival of goods, which I did. As I had paid via my credit card through PayPal, they in turn launched an investigation and asked both myself and the seller what had happened.

She then contacted me . She informed me that my emails had been put in her spam filter by her email client, which is why she hadn`t replied to my initial queries.
Then she said that the book had been returned to her by the postal people marked "return to sender" with no further explanation, which is unusual for the postal service.
I said I still wanted the book, and had paid for it, and asked her to re-send it.
She did so, but by surface mail, which takes at least 6 to 8 WEEKS.

PayPal contacted me to ask if there had been any contact, and I informed them that I was not very happy that the book was being re-sent via surface mail.
This morning I had an email from PayPal to say they had concluded their investigation about my complaint in my favour and were refunding my money IN FULL as I still hadn`t had the goods 8 weeks on from the date of payment.

Not surprsingly, the seller was extremely quick to contact me to say that Paypal had taken money from her Paypal account to refund me, and that I therefore had not "paid" for the book and would need to either return the book to her (but I still haven`t had it, remember !) or pay her again with the money Paypal had refunded me.

I have emailed her to say that I do not want any bad feeling, and that when the book eventually turns up here, I will be happy to pay her the full cost of the book and half of the costs of the initial airmail postage , even though I haven`t had the book via airmail.
I certainly don`t want her to be out of pocket for the book, and she has had to pay the initial airmail postage with the money I sent her, plus the cost (albeit *much* cheaper) of re-sending it by surfce mail.

It transpires on further investigation that this seller has had 2 negative feedbacks from customers in the last month alone, and one of them is also about the non-arrival of a book. There are a number of comments from her in the last few months of her feedback -listings that books had been returned to her and she had re-sent them. Overall, her feedback rating is 98 % positive, with plenty of good feedback

I think I have been fair. What about you ?
Bit I am *not* repaying her till the book arrives. Once bitten, twice shy.
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