Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Start Of Term

DD 3&4 returned joyfully to school today.
They had lots to tell their teachers and friends, and seemed to have had a great day, judging by the barrage of conversation from them all the way home !

The house seemed so quiet without them, though I did of course have the dog to keep me company and the housework to do to keep me occupied. (Cough, cough!)

Of course I didn`t spend nearly two hours watching dvd of series 4 of ER in peace instead of being productively occupied in domestic duties.
As if I would do such a thing ;-)
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Vagaries of Blogger

Blogger now seems to have regurgitated some of my previous posts about Pascha, so I will leave them up despite the duplication.

At least one other one seems to have vanished for ever into the ether.
How strange.
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Anthrax Outbreak

The recent anthrax outbreak on a farm less than an hour`s drive from us is making the news at present.

I feel so sorry for this family, to have to put up with all the distress over their livestock sickening and dying, and then to have to put up with the media too..............

At least the quarantine means they don`t have to worry about politicians arriving there, I suppose.....
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Monday, April 24, 2006

Paschal greetings

Christ is Risen !
He is Risen Indeed !
alleluia, alleluia,alleluia !

What joy to wake up on Sunday with the words "Christ is risen !" in my heart and mind.........

What joy to go to celebrate Agape Vespers with my church family and friends, and to feast afterwards....................

Bright week is the most joyous week of the year :-)

Aplogies for the brevity of this post, but Blogger ate the first one, complete with pictures.
Grrrr.
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Christ is Risen !


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia !
Christ is Risen !

What joy to wake up and my first thought was Christ is Risen ! and then to wake the girls with "Christ is risen ! Good morning!".

We went to Agape Vespers yesterday, and the girls and I received Communion as well. Words cannot express the joy....

There were about 70 folk at the Saturday night service, and 17 of us plus priest for the Sunday Vespers and meal.
It was glorious to be with my church family and my beloved godparents.
I wish we lived closer then I wouldn`t need to rely on my husband`s good nature to drive us to church, but at least this way he gets to go to church occasionally :-)

The Gospel was proclaimed in English, Welsh, Latin, French and German, which isn`t bad for a congregation of 17 . We even had multi-coloured eggs, LOL.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wishbone Wishes

On Sunday, the two young ones asked Uncle John to strip the turkey carcass and give them the wishbone, which he did willingly.

They each duly made a secret wish, and pulled. To her delight, DD4 won , but kept mum as to the content of her secret wish.
DD3 just smiled, then whispered to me that she had wished for God to bring Grandpa Gordon back to life again because she misses him so much.

But just imagine the shock, if a loved one did rise from the dead and reappear !
Imagine how Lazarus` family must have felt....................

Grief is such a strange beast; I haven`t been able to write about this till now, and even now I am crying.
If he did come back, there is so much I want to tell him, so many more hugs I want to give him .

We don`t live our lives to the full; we don`t show our love; we hold onto trivia and nonsense, and then suddenly it is too late , impossible to press the rewind button and do things over again.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, yet we stubbornly persist in treating it as though it is; that there will always be tomorrow to "do better" or start over again.
We forget that there may not be...........
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Late Arrival

Bother !
I have just discovered this brilliant and useful lenten resource, rather too late for this year, but I will be saving it for next year....

A Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan


For my Orthodox readers: It is from a RC site, but all the fathers cited are definitely well Pre-Schism.
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Speaking the Same Language

A good internet friend of mine is a Roman Catholic, and she recently wrote to me to say what a relief it was to be able to talk about sacraments to me and know that we were on the same page, so to speak.

I started to ponder this, and found to my sadness that those Christians who hold fast to a truly Sacramentarian theology are generally either Orthodox, RC or Anglo-Catholic.

Most other Christian denominations really don`t understand where we are coming from, let alone agree with us. They`re not even reading the same "book", so to speak, let alone being anywhere near the page we`re on........

I have far more in common with my Anglican and RC friends than I do with the protestant denominations, and I know quite a few Methodists and Baptists. They are appalled at what I believe, and I`m appalled at what they believe about the sacraments......

It is a very sad state of affairs, and quite profoundly depressing.
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Praises and Tears.

This wondrous hymn, which was appointed to be used in the Bendictine Monastic Diurnal at Lauds today reduced me to tears on my knees at my icon corner this morning.

Thirty years among us dwelling,
His appointed time fulfilled,
born for this, He meets His passion,
for that this He freely willed:
on the Cross the Lamb is lifted,
where His life-blood shall be spilled.

He endured the nails, the spitting,
vinegar and spear and reed;
from that holy body pierced
blood and water forth proceed;
earth and stars and sky and ocean
by that flood from stain are freed.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
one and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest Iron!
sweetest weight is hung on thee.

Bend thy boughs, O tree of glory!
thy too rigid sinews bend;
for awhile the ancient rigor
that thy birth bestowed, suspend;
and the King of heavenly beauty
on thy bosom gently tend!

Thou alone wast counted worthy
this world's ransom to sustain;
That a shipwrecked race for ever
Might a port of refuge gain:
with the Sacred Blood anointed
Of the Lamb for sinners slain.

Glory be to God and honour
In the highest as is meet,
To the Son and to the Father,
And the eternal Paraclete,
Whose is boundless praise and power
Through the ages infinite.
Amen.


It was composed by Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus circa 569 AD, and is thoroughly Orthodox.

May we all have a blessed and fruitful Holy Week, and look forward to proclaiming Christ is Risen !
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Damned if you Do and Damned if you Don`t....

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get to grips with the strange dissonance that happens when "Weaster" (Western Easter) is earlier than Pascha.

My uncle and aunt had travelled from Devon to visit my mum for the weekend, so mum wanted us all to go to her house for a big family dinner today. Traditionally in our family this involves roast turkey and all the trimmings, plus Christmas pudding. (Don`t ask.......)

Options:
A/ Refuse because for us it is Palm Sunday, and cause interfamily warfare
B/ Go and not eat everything which is put in front of us, also likely to cause interfamily warfare.
C/ Go and take own food. Ditto.
D/ Ask for fasting food. Ditto but worse.
E/ Go and enjoy.

I opted for E.

We went, ate gratefully what was put in front of us, laughed, talked, watched the little ones enjoy their easter egg hunt in the back garden, lovingly prepared by my mum and aunt at 07.00 this morning. My mum was delighted, my uncle and aunt had a great time, the girls enjoyed it immensely and DH loved his lunch.

I came home feeling guilty. Although I had a good time, and the company and food were wonderful, it felt flat because I knew I could have been in church to celebrate Palm Sunday with my church family.
But then my uncle and aunt would not have seen the little ones and my mum would have been very disappointed.
Sigh.

Going to church then having a family meal just simply wasn`t an option due to the logistics of the distance we commute to church anyway. We wouldn`t have been back till about 2.30 at the very earliest, which would have been much too late for dinner in my family`s eyes.

What is worse, to cause distress and arguments on a point of principle, or to give in , do what is needful to keep the peace and just put up with the guilt trip that comes as a result ?

I struggle with this one a lot, being the only church-goer (apart from the children) in the family.

I **love** the years when Pascha falls before Weaster :-)))))))))
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Then and Now

On C4 there is a series named "That`ll Teach `Em", and which DD1 and I watch avidly.
We settled down comfortably for last night`s offering, following the fortunes of a group of GCSE students (aged 15-16) who are "sent back" in time to the life of a 1950s boarding school, where they were taught in single sex classes and with strict discipline.

It has been a real eye-opener to see how these youngsters have reacted to being made to behave, be polite and respectful, and to be punished for wrongdoing, instead of being allowed to weasel their way out of situations.

Many of them simply cannot cope at all, to be honest. At the first hint of difficulty, several of them have visibly crumbled, having the emotional stamina of a wet tissue when it transpires that they cannot get their own way.

One of the leaders of the girls was a female priest`s daughter, who lied outright when questioned as to whether she took part in a night-time breach of dormitory bounds. Several other youngsters have shown themselves happy to lie through their teeth to avoid trouble.

In all fairness, I must say that the priest`s daughter did subsequently own up to have taken part in wholesale rule-breaking, and took her punishment with reasonably good grace, but so many of the girls in particular seem to have attitude problems to anyone in authority.

If I were a prospective employer, or university selection board officer, I would have been black-listing quite a few of them.

I would have been ashamed to have been the mother of some of them.

What is more scary is the prospect of having to teach some of them.
I take my hat off to anyone in the teaching profession if these youngsters are truly a representative sample of what they face in the classroom on an everyday basis........
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hackers

I am still trying to fathom what on earth pleasure someone could get from deliberately hacking - and completely destroying- a forum devoted to fan-fic written by afficionados of particular children`s writers.

Last week both the Biggles forum and the CBB were trashed, and lots of people`s work was annihilated, including my own on the CBB (Chalet Bulletin Board, devoted to the works of Elinor Brent-Dyer, creator of the lengthy Chalet school series)

What annoyed me most was my own stupidity in writing one chunk of my current story straight onto the CBB forum rather than writing and saving it as a Word document on my own computer first.....consequently I have lost - and cannot resurrect- the first and crucial part of my story.

I know, it serves me right and I have learnt a valuable lesson, but still- why take pleasure in destroying someone else`s work ? The sad person who did this has apparently been boasting on other boards that he succeeded in destroying the CBB.

I know I have many, many faults and sins of my own, but it would not occur to me to deliberately wreck other people`s hard work and innocent fun.
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Well worth a Visit

Nobody could ever describe me as a wishy-washy, handkerchief-wringing, bleeding heart liberal.

I am not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, to be honest, but nevertheless, I strongly urge you to visit Fr John McCuen`s blog to read this classic piece of humour:-

http://eviljuan.blogspot.com/2006/04/lark-program.html

Scary, insightful and really rather funny !
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Spring Break

The girls are home for the Easter Holidays till the 25th April .

I still possess my hair and most of my sanity, I think.......

DD3 is going over to a friend`s for a sleepover today, so no doubt DD4 will sulk about it right royally because she isn`t going.

I will endeavour to find alternative bribery and corruption methods to placate her.........
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Monastic Diurnal

My copy of the Monastic Diurnal arrived safely, and my DH has decided not just to contribute to the cost, but to pay the full amount, bless him.
This has left him worse-off to the tune of £40.......
Gulp.

It is a beautifully produced book, very comprehensive and a joy to handle. The rubrics are a little more complex than the Sarum rite Liturgy of the Hours prayer book I have been using, but to my delight SubDeacon Ben Anderson has set up a Yahoo group to give advice/help/discussions about using the Monastic Diurnal, with lots of information specifically oriented to those of us Orthodox who love the Western Rite heritage of the Undivided Church.
So we get to have Weekly listings of the Saints/Festivals according to the Ordo of the Antiochian Church`s Western Rite :-)

The six-million dollar question is when I get to put my greasy little paws on the book on a permanent basis, rather than just admiring it.....DH is getting his gift from me on Western Easter Sunday, so do I accept mine gratefully from him on the same day or possess my soul in patience till Pascha ?

Opinions please :-)
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Reasons

Apologies for the scarcity of posting.

Mindful of the advice given me at my last Confession, I am restraining the urge (well, as much as I can!) to sound off in ways that may be harmful to myself and hurtful to others.

Not to mention trying to avoid pride in crafting a barbed comment.

I am trying hard not to be such a smart-ass.
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Celebrity Death

It has been announced that Gene Pitney (yes, THE Gene Pitney) has been found dead in his room at the hotel in Cardiff where he has been staying after performing in concert there.

This is only about25 minutes drive from my home, and my DH`s uncle went to see Gene in concert last night.
What a shock. He was only 65.

May his Memory be Eternal
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Out & About

After dropping the young ones at school this morning, I came back to the house and picked up the dog to take him for a walk.

It had been a clear but bitterly cold night last night, with frost on cars and on the ground, but by the time Basil & I were out at 9.15 it was glorious sunshine and really warm ! We were out for about an hour and a quarter , and it was a joy to be out in the warm sun and feel the breeze on my face - just the kind of day that makes you count your blessings and give thanks for being alive and well.

We met lots of other dogs and their owners on our walk, and I am amazed at how many more people will come and speak to me simply because I am walking the dog. I had some extremely interesting convesations with all sorts of folk, and got lots of advice about getting him to come back when I do let him off the leash (I haven`t done it yet because he doesn`t reliably return to my call when at home yet.....)

DH returns home tonight, and the end of term is creeping towards us.

Our local library has signs up announcing what days the library will be closed for Weaster (Western Easter) and wishing everybody a Happy Easter :-)
Not happy spring festival or any other inclusive PC cr*p, but an unashamed Happy Easter, which is good to see !

I am awaiting my copy of the Monastic Diurnal, which was shipped on Monday morning and is likely to arrive here around the weekend from the States.
That`s about all the news here.
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Monday, April 03, 2006

Chronicles of Narnia Film

We pre-ordered the film from the Woolworths UK website, and on Thursday night I had an email to say the film had been despatched. It normally takes 3 - 5 days for films to get to us from Jersey, so we were expecting it to arrive on its release date on Monday.

Imagine the girls` delight when it plopped through our letter box on Saturday morning !
They watched it twice on Saturday, and I watched it with them on Sunday afternoon.

I was absolutely enthralled, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well worth every penny.
It was a much better adaptation of the book than the last HP film was of its book, IMO............
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Basil


I thought you might like to see an up to date image of The Bouncing Bomb, AKA Basil.

Do not be deceived by the sweet and innocent expression; yesterday he destroyed his bed`s mattress and was caught red-pawed, with his mouth full of foam !

He has now been relegated to sleeping on a huge old fluffy towel instead...........
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Good Intentions

I have thought of numerous good ideas for blogposts in the last few days, but never got round to writing them down and consequently my brain has forgotten them.
Sigh.
I`m getting old......................
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It might be Spring.....


If I whisper very quietly, the weather may not change again overnight :-)
I saw this lovely magnolia tree just starting to bloom whilst I was out walking Basil this morning.........
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