Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Celebrating St David

Tomorrow we celebrate our great saint, David of Wales.

A service to Our Holy Father David, Bishop of Menevia and Enlightener of Wales , composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson and hosted at Orthodox England is well worth a perusal. It can be found under the right hand column entitled Liturgica.

Holy Father David, pray for us !

An excerpt:

O all-glorious wonder! From childhood thou didst adorn thy life with virtue, and having been made a priest of Christ wast truly shown to be a luminary for His flock. Wherefore, having vanquished the demons by thy tireless spiritual warfare, in soul thou hast ascended on high, where thou beholdest thy Lord and Master face to face in the splendour of His glory.

O all-glorious wonder that human flesh could be so mortified! For, following the ascetics of the desert thou didst lay waste thy body, resisting all the temptations of the flesh and putting away from thee all carnal thoughts, O David blessed of God; wherefore, arrayed in garments of purity as for a wedding feast, thou hast entered, rejoicing, into the joy of thy Lord.

O all-glorious wonder, the grace of God which doth sanctify and deify filled thy humble soul, O David, and thou didst preach with eloquence against the accursed Pelagius, refuting his vile heresy, watchfully fending off from the faithful from its pernicious harm, and leading them in gladness into the splendid courts of Christ, to the mansions of the righteous.
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Weather Notes

We have had some seriously odd weather today.

The forecast was for bitterly cold weather, so I wrapped up extremely warmly to walk the girls to school, and sweltered all the way as it wasn`t very cold at all.

This afternoon, it started to snow. I had to go out a little earlier in order to post a birthday card, and the snow was rather fun at first.
After all, I like snow.

Then the wind whipped up hard, the snow turned to hail and sleet in turns. Coupled with a high wind, it was like walking in a storm of ice needles, and this alternated with periods of sunshine - go figure - for about an hour. Once we got home, it started to snow really heavily, covering the garden in a blanket of dazzling whiteness, snowflakes whirling in a dizzy dervish of a blizzard.

Our hopes were raised that a real blizzard might happen, but within ten minutes, it had stopped and the skies were Mediterranean blue again by the time we sat down to eat our Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. The temperature is dropping rapidly , though, so who knows what the night might bring ?
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Good for a Laugh

If you are in need of a laugh, those of you with kids will alternately cringe or laugh hysterically at Chris` recent experiences.

Been there, cleaned up the chaos and frothed at the mouth with incandescent transitory fury......
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Monday, February 27, 2006

Starry Night

When I got up at 1.30 am last night to take Basil outside , I was greeted with freezing cold air and the most glorious starry night I have seen in a very long time.

It was wonderful to be able to stand and look at it for a few minutes, and ponder how tiny we are in the great scheme of God`s creation, and to glorify Him.
I would never have thought that having a puppy would bring spiritual benefit , but it did last night.

Basil went back to his bed, and I to mine, and I said a large part of my morning prayers (well, at least the parts I know by heart!) before drifting back to sleep.

It was worth being woken up for :-)
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bringing up Baby

This is Basil, fast asleep.
Like a human baby, he spends quite a lot of time sleeping....except at night :-)

I can usually count on him sleeping for about an hour and a half in the day before he needs to go out to toilet, or be fed, or played with, or just want some fuss.
So if I can`t get it done in that time frame, it has to wait for him to sleep again before it gets finished, unless someone else takes on baby-sitting to free me up.

House-training is going pretty well, but you really have to watch him like a hawk for the signs (sniffing, concentrating, walking in cirles, standing near the door) in order to get him outside in good time, as he hasn`t learned to make noises to let us know he needs to go out..........

But he is lovely !
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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Desert Island Christianity

I have thought of a Meme !

In the vein of Desert Island Discs, which ten specifically Orthodox and/or General Christian books would you take to your desert island ?
We will allow one copy of the bible as well as the ten books.

My books are:-

My giant-print copy of the KJV Bible

Turning the Heart to God by St Theophan the Recluse

The Desert Fathers by Sr Benedicta Ward

St Benedict`s Toolbox - The nuts and bolts of everyday Benedictine living by Jane Tomaine

Humble Pie - St Benedict`s Ladder of Humility by Carol Bonomo

Joy of all who Sorrow- the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco (fabulous pictures of the life of the Cathedral)

Service Book by Hapgood

Monastic Diurnal by Lancelot Andrewes Press :-)))))

Facing East by FMG (light reading)

Fr Arseny

Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit

BUT do you think we should allow one Orthodox prayer book too ?

If so, my vote would be the Fr Lazarus Moore edition of the Jordanville Prayer Book.

I nominate -

Huw Raphael
Dave Holford

Have fun !
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New Arrival

We picked up our new puppy on Thursday afternoon.
He is a golden labrador retriever, named Basil, and he is just impossibly gorgeous.
He does like trying to eat my hair, and I won`t let him, but other than that he is lovely.

Unfortunately he needs far more running around after than the children do, so my blogposts might well be even more erratic than normal ! :-)

DH is doing night duty on puppy toilet trips to the garden, and is having a sleep at the moment, but I will try to coax him to put some photos on the computer so I can blog them within the next day or so.

Other than that, all is quiet here.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tired and Irritable

This morning I am officially a grumpy mummy.

Last night DD3 had a friend over for a sleep-over.
Luckily it is half-term, as the wicked little pair of monkeys stayed awake chattering , despite numerous visits from me telling them it was most definitely time to sleep, till 02.30 am when I went in after having been woken up for about the sixth time by gales of laughter from their room, and officially read them the Riot Act.

In all fairness, they did then settle, and peace was restored until the phone rang at 07.55 and woke me up. It was DH phoning me from work asking me to arrange a viewing of a house he wants to look at.

I am not a happy camper, as I do not function on approx 6 hours of sleep in 24 hours.

Despite this, I did manage to be sociable enough to produce home-made chocolate waffles for the girls when they got up.

Our visitor departed at 10am, and I am officially collapsed in a crumpled heap at the computer desk.
I can`t wait for bedtime.
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Ravens and Bird Flu

As the spectre of avian flu grows ever bigger and closer to Britain, the ravens at the Tower of London have been taken indoors and placed in special aviaries in order to safeguard the Kingdom.......... this is when you know things are getting serious !

See here for details
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Monday, February 20, 2006

St Basil on Armed Conflict and the Christian

Metropolitan Anthony`s book "God and Man" comments upon a somewhat surprising (at least to many modern minds) canonical rule from St Basil, which is still valid though apparently not applied. If anyone knows a reference to this canon, I would love to be told, as there are sadly no references in the book.

The canon states that if there is armed conflict, a Christian is called to take part in it "because if he had been a Christian worthy of the name, he would have been able to convert those around him to mutual love , and there would have been no armed conflict.But as it is he who bears the responsibility for the bloodshed, he should take part in this conflict. However, all the time the conflict is going on, and for three years afterwards, he must be excommunicated"

Rather a sobering point of view with which we can also gauge our lives and dealings with those around us - if we are truly living Christian lives, we would turn those with whom we have contact to mutual love.

What price greed, anger, hostility, shouting, grumbling, and numerous other sins which I can sadly lay shame-faced claim to.

I shall be glad to go to confession this weekend, and begin the life-long process of metanoia once again.
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Public Health Ponderings

It is interesting that a hitherto highly confidential (aka secret) Government document relating to adverse vaccine effects was forced to be revealed by a request invoking the powers of the Freedom of Information Act.

It transpires that eighteen babies and toddlers have died in four years following routine vaccinations.
The whole story is interesting, and can be found here , but one paragraph did cause me concern, namely :

"Experts last night said that the true figures for suspected fatalities and serious side effects could be much greater. Dr John Griffin, the former editor of the medical journal Adverse Drug Reactions, said: "For fatalities, it is probably only one in two which gets reported and for other side effects one in 10."
This means that almost 40 baby deaths could have occurred following jabs between 2001 and 2004, and 8,000 serious adverse reactions."

Admittedly this would still be a small percentage considering the numbers of vaccines administered to each child in Britain, but if it was my child suffering an adverse effect, I would be rather unhappy that I was not made aware of the scale of the risk.
When you take your child to the GP or clinic for vaccinations, how many of you are given the product information inserts to read before the needle goes in ? How many of you have been warned of potential side-effects ?

I am sure most will have been warned graphically of the potential risks of the diseases being vaccinated against, but not of the known and proven side-effects of the vaccines themselves.

I was one of the awkward ones the doctors dread, and insisted on having all the product inserts to read and discuss with my husband before we made decisions about vaccinations......

It could just be the tip of the iceberg.

I also wonder what other "highly confidential" reports about health and other issues could be revealed under the Freedom of Information Act should someone be inclined to request access to such data............

I know I am a cynic, but that comes of working as a health-care professional in the NHS until my last two children were born.
Sorry !
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Putting My Foot In It.

On Monday I went to town and in the greetings-card shop, I bumped into a college friend of mine, who is quite a bit older than me. I asked how things were,and she said her husband had a triple coronary bypass operation in January, after having a heart attack.

I said that Gordon had one last year, and she asked brightly how he is - whereupon I had to say he had died.
Her face dropped.
Trying to be reassuring, I said that he had had diabetes as well, and that is always a major risk factor. This was a major faux pas, as she said slowly that her husband is now diabetic.

I could feel that I was digging a bigger and bigger pit for myself with each word.
I hastily said that Gordon had been 78 (a lot older than her husband) and had had three previous heart attacks and a mini-stroke, which her husband hadn`t had, so he was obviously in much better shape undergoing the operation and therefore more likely to make a full and quick recovery.

I felt awful for having obviously worried her, even though inadvertently.
I must learn to keep my mouth shut sometimes.
Actually, I need to keep my mouth shut most of the time, I think.
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Books, Books, Glorious Books !

I was very good on my shopping trip - I only visited seven separate bookshops !

I am now the proud possessor of a moderate level Latin text book, as I have decided to resurrect my school Latin at long last, as well as having two books for Lenten reading by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. Even better, one of them was half-price. I have now used my remaining book vouchers from my birthday, so any more books I buy I will have to save up for .....

What was really interesting was seeing the sorts of books about Islam and Christianity in the various mainstream shops. They were all relentlessly, ingratiatingly simplistic , except in one extremely Protestant little book shop, (where I had gone looking at Bibles, before you raise your eyebrows, ) and where the mention of Islam was in strident tones relating to its threat to Christianity and Western culture, and how to convert the infidel heathen.

It was a bit of a contrast between the two approaches !

I also popped into a dvd and cd shop briefly, and it was playing a particularly vile record by an artist unknown to me and it is no word of exaggeration to say that the F word was said at least once in every sentence in that song.

Don`t get me wrong, I am ashamed to admit that I can certainly swear on occasions and have been known to use that word, although rarely, but I felt really uncomfortable listening to it being used relentlessly both as an adjective and as an adverb.

A middle aged couple were browsing in the shop and didn`t seem fazed by the language, and I felt too awkward to ask the shop assistant if he could skip that track. He looked to be about 17, so he possible wouldn`t have seen anything wrong with the language, seeing as many youngsters (including my very own talented and wonderful DoomHamster) listen to the undoubtedly talented but vile Eminem and his ilk.

I feel old, I tell you, old !
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Off the Rails and Back On Again.

On Wednesday of last week, I decided to take full advantage of the fact that it was one of the last child-free days before half-term and went on the train to the Big City to do some serious bookshop-browsing.
Whilst waiting for my train, I was approached by an official-looking gentleman with a clip-board, who asked me would I be prepared to take part on a survey to acertain customer satisfaction with services at our local train station.

I was happy to do this, and promised to complete the survey form and return it in due course.
It did provide me with considerable entertainment for the 20 minute journey. Most of the questions were intelligent and relevant, but one in particular rendered me speechless.

Question 54 dealt with security on the railway, and asked what six areas should the British Transport Police focus their resoucres on for 2007.
The options were :-

Theft with violence or threat of violence
Theft without violence or threat of violence
Violent assaults on passengers (including sexual assaults)
Assaults on rail staff
Vandals damaging tracks and throwing missiles etc
Hate crime (crime motivated by race, gender, sexuality etc)
Threat of terrorism
Managing fatalities (through thorough investigation and prompt re-opening of the line)
Theft or vandalism of station-parked vehicles etc
Preventing football hooligans travelling on the rail system
Addressing anti-social behaviour eg ticket touts, drunkeneness etc.

Some random thoughts that cross my mind are :-

For heaven`s sake, why not just include theft or attempted theft, regardless of actual or threatened violence. Theft without violence is not a significantly more acceptable option than theft with violence, at least not in my book.

Having had the misfortune to travel on trains when drunken sports fans are travelling home, I can assure you it is not pleasant, especially when you have young children with you. These folk tend to be aggressive, foul-mouthed, screaming abuse at passengers and each other, with threats of violence directed at anyone who even catches their eye in some cases. Why they are even allowed on the train when many of them are roaring drunk to start with, defeats me.

How on earth could you be more worried about graffiti than threats of terrorism ?

I think whoever designed that section of the questionnaire needs to wake up to life in the real world :-0
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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Question for Richard

a propos of your comment on my post about the number of churches in my town, do you know **why** the ex-Baptists and ex-ex-Baptists left the fold in your town ?

I am intrigued - I didn`t think they went in for major doctrinal in-fighting !
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Prayers for a Blog Friend

I entreat your prayers for a dear Blog acquaintance of mine who will next week be undergoing the trial by ordeal which is a selction conference, to enter the Ministry of the Church of England.

Please pray for Richard , whose blog can be found at http://thurible.blogspot.com/
He so obviously has an enormous amount of devotion, talent and dedication to offer God in the service of the Anglican church.
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Avian Flu in Europe

The first cases of Bird flu have hit France and Germany this week.
Last week it was Italy and Greece.
The inexorable spread to Britain is imminent.

It has only affected wild birds in Europe, not domestic pouultry, for which we must be thankful, but it may well only be a matter of time before free-range hens will be a thing of the past.
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Words of Wisdom

Dear All
My dear husband has kindly donated his spiffy computer for general family use, and I am typing on it right now :-)

The only problem is that the rather good blog posts I wrote in a Word document are still on the old computer, so it may be a while before I can retrieve them and post them. My words of wisdom are languishing on the hard drive of a computer which is unplugged and unused, LOL.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sober Thoughts

I would stongly urge you to visit Rumblings from a Desert Cave and read Fr John McCuen`s moving , thoughtful and really quite scary sermon about the Russian New Martyrs here.

Watching the increasing separation of Church and morality from the state here in the UK, I am convinced that Fr John is correct, and active persecution of Christians will come one day.
At present we have persecution by stealth.

As Dave Holford has previously commented, when a Christian man refuses to allow homosexual couples to rent a bedroom at his guesthouse, on the grounds that he does not wish to be complicit in allowing homosexual acts taking place in his home, he is persecuted and warned he is being discriminatory and acting unlawfully.
These acts may be legal, but for many Christians they remain specifically forbidden to us, as indeed are many other things which are currently tolerated in and by society.

How long indeed before being a Christian is made illegal ?
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The Winter Bug

This morning, out of the 26 children in DD4`s class, there were only 11 children as well as her. Virtually everyone in her class has either already had it, or is currently home ill with it.

The norovirus bug really is ferociously infective. The school`s phone is ringing incessantly, heralding the news that yet another child is at home ill with it.

According to the Daily Telegraph, it appears that one 15 year old girl has died, it seems she may possibly be this winter`s first norovirus fatality.
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Fast Food`s Brief Encounter

On the weekend we went to the local fast-food emporium, known in the family as "The Big M`s".

Imagine my extremely shy dear husband`s face when ,as soon as he walked in through the door, he was greeted by one of the late middle-aged ladies who works there, and whom we always chat to, and was given a red balloon and wished a Happy Valentine`s day, as she wouldn`t be in work on Valentine`s Day :-)

I have chuckled over it all weekend.
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Friday, February 10, 2006

Further Plethora

Many thanks to Dave for pointing out that surely the spiritualist church should have been mentioned under the Quasi-Christian category.

He is of course perfectly correct, and I can only plead incipient illness as the excuse for my brains being temporarily scrambled.........yes, gentle readers, I too have gone down with the wretched bug which affected the younger ones.

Thursday was spent ill in bed ( and the bathroom :-( )
Today I have spent in the vertical position but am still feeling less than well.

I am sure that is more information than you wished !

Within 7 miles of us is a mosque, A JW meeting place, a Christadelphian hall, and Elim Pentecostal church as well as many other Protestant smaller denomination chapels, a Salvation Army hall and the Mormon temple previously mentioned.

Ian has to have trumped us all with the Assyrians, though !!
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Plethora of Churches

Just out of curiosity, I added up how many places of worship there are in our town, that I can easily recall.
Bear in mind our little town has a population of 18,000.........

RC Church
RC convent chapel/prayer centre

3 Churches in our Church in Wales parish (Episcopalian/Anglican)
A combined Methodist/United Reformed church
An English speaking Baptist church and its subsidiary mission chapel (counts as two !)
Calvinistic Methodist church
2 different Welsh speaking Presbyterian chapels
A combined General Baptist and Unitarian chapel
Another Welsh-speaking chapel whose sign I cannot translate.
2 different English speaking Gospel Chapels
A miscellaneous Community Church whose worship is Baptist/Pentecostal with drums, according to their flyers posted around town.
The Spiritualist church.

I make that a total of 17 places of worship for Christians to choose from.

And for the Quasi-christians, there is a Mormon temple about 5 miles away too.

I am deliberately ommitting references to decidedly non-Christian sects.

You can see why people think I am a tad eccentric to travel 40 miles each way to go to Divine Liturgy........

There are two whole Orthodox households including my own, and we don`t get to have our own public church, though our combined worship figures are probably as numerous as some of the smaller chapels !

Personally, and rather selfishly, I admit, I would like to see **two** Orthodox churches in our town - one Eastern Rite and the other Western-Rite. What more could an Orthodox woman ask for ?

So what places of worship do you have in your towns, friends ?
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My Blog`s Word Cloud Posted by Picasa
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Word Clouds

Many thanks to Mimi for sharing her Word Cloud - I had to go and try it myself.
I think I will get myself a T-shirt with mine on for the summer :-)

The small fry are all better, thank God, and will be well enough for school tomorrow.
My washing machine as well as I have heaved huge sighs of relief that the laundry is down to its normal level again instead of overtime !
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bugs and Things.

I cannot believe it is a week since I last posted.
I just don`t know where the time is vanishing to.................I am beginning to wonder if I am living in a black hole or something .

I`ve been up my mum`s a lot, and my husband has been decorating her living room for her. It looks really nice, and there is only the decorative coving to paint this week.
Mum is starting to go out and about more now, even feeling up to going out on her own, which is nice for her as she gets to meet people and doesn`t feel so alone.

Sunday saw the onset of DD4 manifesting the dreaded norovirus, AKA the winter vomiting bug. Very highly contagious, needless to say, and afflicting her school last week.
I will draw a discreet veil over the gory details, apart form to say I did seriously worry about whether my washing machine could survive an eight hour working day !

DD4 is now restored to health, and I was hoping to get a good night`s sleep last night.
Ha ha ha.

At 1.00am DD3 woke me up with the news she had been sick with no warning, all over her bed. She needed hosing down with the shower, and while I was trying to clear up the mess and strip her bed down to the mattress, DD4 woke up crying for me. Thank goodness DoomHamster was still awake, so she did sterling work cuddled up to DD4 and singing to her etc to keep her occupied till I had completely cleansed both DD3 and her bed, and re-made the bed.
I was glad to get them all back to sleep................

And then this morning, DD3`s bug decided to move lower down the digestive system, involving another load of washing for the machine. She is looking much better now, and frankly I would rather cope with the lower end of the digestive tract having problems than the upper............

At least it only lasts for 24 hours, that`s something to be thankful for.
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