Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Christmas at Walsingham

From Our Lady`s Mirror, 1950.

Some of the Orthodox follow the Julian or old calendar, others the Gregorian in common with the west. The Serbians keep the old style, so that we have had two Christmases in Walsingham. On Saturday, January 7th, the Orthodox feast of the Nativity, Bishop Irenei, of Dalmatia, sang the Liturgy in their chapel at the Shrine, assisted by Dr. Najdanovic, Bro. George and others. After the Liturgy there was a Christmas dinner and party.

The next issue contains a photograph of Bishop Irenei and Fr Najdanovic. The Bishop and Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes attended the whitsun pilgrimage. (Fr Nicholas was a frequent visitor to the Shrine over a long period of years.)

This issue also has a photograph of Archimandrite Nicholas.

The 1951 issue bears sad news :-
A Requiem was sung in the Pilgrimage Church for our dear friend, Archbishop Savva of Grodno. His death leaves another gap in our lives as he was a devoted client of Our Lady of Walsingham and the consecrator of the Orthodox Chapel. He had planned to come again for the Whitsun pilgrimage, but was prevented by his failing health. Your prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of this brave Prelate.
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Even More !

Our Orthodox Saint, Nicholas Velimirovitch even visited the Shrine at Walsingham !

Our Lady`s Mirror 1946 records that :-

During November and December we have had Bishop Nicholai Velimirovitch staying in the College with us. He has come to rest before leaving England for America, having vowed seven Liturgies in the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. These Masses he has celebrated with local assistance, but on the two central days, Father Nicholovitch, King Peter of Serbia’s chaplain, came to help. We have had the great pleasure of entertaining several ecclesiastics of the Holy Orthodox Church since the last number of the Mirror was published.
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More From Walsingham

Our Lady`s Mirror in 1945 gives heartfelt thanks that the village and the Shrine escaped war damage, when so many other places in Norfolk were damaged.

The Whitsun pilgrimage was well attended, and the Orthodox presence was warmly welcomed as the Orthodox chapel at the Shrine was formally dedicated :-


Father Fynes-Clinton, that untiring and most devoted of all the friends of Walsingham, led the annual Catholic League Pilgrimage to the Shrine at Whitsun. Among the pilgrims was Bishop Savva, the Orthodox Chaplain General of the Polish forces in this country. The Bishop was at one time Assistant Bishop to the Diocesan of Warsaw, and is now the Diocesan of Grodno. With him came a small Orthodox Choir who sang at the dedication of the Chapel in the Pilgrimage Church, which was placed under the patronage of our Lady of Perpetual Succour – as we know it in the West. After the dedication the Liturgy was sung for the first time in this Chapel, the Eastern Mass having been celebrated in the past at the High Altar of the Shrine Church. The Chapel was packed to overflowing, as too were the stairs approaching it. At the end of the Liturgy all received the blessed Bread from the hands of the Bishop. On Whit-Sunday his Lordship preached at the High Mass in the Parish Church, and in the afternoon they offered the Moleben in the Holy House.
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The Orthodox at Walsingham

It has been great fun reading through the archives at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham website, and finding precious little nuggets of information pertaining to the persistent Orthodox presence at the Shrine.
Most interesting was this, from Our Lady`s Mirror, Summer 1938. I have put the bits of Orthodox interest in bold type.

Snip

THE BLESSING OF THE EXTENSIONS TO THE PILGRIMAGE CHURCH

By Saturday, June 4th, the Hospice of Our Lady was full of guests, and all that day and during Sunday pilgrims were arriving. On Whit-Sunday several Masses were said in the Holy House and the Chapels of the original building, the new parts remaining closed off until the hallowing on Whit-Monday.

In one sense the functions may be said to have commenced on Sunday with the High Mass in the Parish Church, when St. Mary’s was packed with parishioners and visitors. Bishop O’Rorke was present and preached a wonderful sermon which kept the large congregation spellbound.

Then later on the portable Altar Stones were anointed, the relics were enclosed, the cavities sealed and the Stones consecrated by the Bishop, and then placed in the Altars in preparation for the Mass to be said at the High Altar the next day.

After Solemn Evensong and during Father Alban Baverstock’s sermon, the Archbishop Nestor, accompanied by Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes and Father Polski arrived and at the conclusion of the discourse were met and conducted to places in the Sanctuary for Benediction.
Great anxiety had been expressed whether the weather would be favourable or not, but Monday dawned a perfect day, cool, but brilliantly sunshiny. Masses commenced in the Parish Church at 6 o’clock and also at the Holy House, and motors and char-a-bancs began to arrive quite early in the morning. Parties from Birmingham, Yorkshire, Scotland, Cornwall, S. Leonard’s-on-Sea, Oxford, indeed from all over the country, poured into the village.

By half-past eleven, the streets were thronged by pilgrims making their way to the Parish Church to take their places in the procession.

At 12 o’clock precisely, as announced, the procession started, pausing for the singing of the Easter Angelus. It took exactly one hour less three minutes to pass a particular place on the route, where it was timed. First came troops of Scouts with their banners, then headed by marshals, behind whom walked the thurifer, cross and torches, leading the long rows of dark-habited nuns and other Religious, with the Abbot of Nashdom in the rear accompanied by one of his monks.

After the procession of the Religious, a group of children dressed in white carried the parish banner of Our Lady of Walsingham, bedecked with flowers and streamers of ribbon. Then came the procession of the Priest Associates of the Holy House, headed by crucifier and lights. A hundred and fifty of the two hundred and fifty associates were in this procession vested in soutane and cotta. The little procession of the Eastern Orthodox Clergy, again headed by cross and lights, came next. First walked the Archbishop Nestor in golden mitre and splendid robes, the train of which was borne by two boys from the little Norfolk village of Gresham; another boy carried his Episcopal staff. Behind His Grace, with train also carried by servers, walked the Archimandrite Nicholas and the Archimandrite Nathaniel, followed by Orthodox Priests.

Then led by yet another cross with supporting torches and preceded by the Verger of the Shrine in his scarlet robe, came the College of the Guardians, first the lay, then the Priest members and the Master. Behind the College attended by servers, and two Fathers from Mirfield who acted as Deacons of Honour, walked Bishop O’Rorke, vested in pontificals. Following the Bishop came the wives of the Guardians, Mr. Craze, the Architect, and then between three and four thousand lay pilgrims, many in the blue veils of the Society of Mary, others in the insignia of the different Societies of which they are members.

The village streets were festooned with flags and bunting. During the procession, the Priest-Associates acting as cantors, most ably conducted by Father Thomas, O.S.B., sang first the Litany of Our Lady and then the Litany of the Saints, to the traditional tones, the rest of the people making the responses.

Arrived at the pilgrim Church the Religious and Priests formed up on either side of the West doors, while the Bishop standing in the midst, said the opening prayers of the form of blessing Churches and Oratories, after which, accompanied by the Guardians, the Bishop and his attendants passed through the original building and then outside made the circuit of the new parts, aspersing the walls above and below with holy water, during which those in attendance upon him recited the “Miserere” and the crowds at the West end of the Church sang the popular hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers.”

Returning to the courtyard, further prayers were recited and then the Bishop proceeded to the fauld-stool before the High Altar, while the remainder of the Litany was being said. Unfortunately at this point there was a serious hitch; according to plan the Priest Associates and the Religious should have come into the Church behind the Bishop, but as so often is likely to happen, when it is impossible to have a full practice with all concerned in a function, for some reason or other a counter order was given and they remained in the courtyard with the result that the strains of the Litany could scarcely be heard within the Church. The Bishop blessed the Altar and Church, and then proceeded to circulate round the whole of the interior of the building, again aspersing the walls above and below, which the Choir in the gallery sang the three Psalms appointed. This aspersion having been made, the last prayer said, the Bishop and his attendants, withdrew to seats at the Epistle side of the Choir, and the Archbishop and the Archimandrites to places at the Gospel side. The Guardians attending occupied seats in temporary stalls put up for the occasion.

While the Altar was being vested the hymn, “Mother of Christ” was sung. The belated Priests filed in and took up their position behind the High Altar and above it in the Chapel of the Coronation (C.B.S.), and soon the whole building was packed from end to end by a standing crowd of over a thousand pilgrims; in the meantime others took up positions in the courtyard at the West front to listen to the relay of the Service in the Shrine, while others proceeded to the gardens in order to assist at the High Mass sung there by Father Raybould of S. Julian, Norwich. The Servers and singers were all members of the congregation of S. Julian with S. Peter Parmentergate, Norwich. Within the Church, the Mass was sung in the presence of the Archbishop and Bishop and assisting prelates, by Father Hope Patten, the Parish Priest of Walsingham, who is also Administrator of the Shrine, assisted by Father Thomas, O.S.B., as Deacon, and Father Derrick Lingwood, the Bursar of the College of Guardians, acting as Sub-Deacon. All the Servers and Choir, with the exception of Mr Oliver Richards, an old Choirmaster of the Parish Church of Walsingham who came to assist, were Servers and Choir of the Parish Church. Despite practices, a certain amount of confusion was almost inevitable, as the aisles on either side of the Altar, reserved for the Servers, were soon crowded by pilgrims, which does not tend to make serving under these unusual conditions, too easy. Mass ended, a Solemn Te Deum was sung as an act of thanksgiving to God for the completion of this further work in the restoration of the Shrine. A visit was then made to the Holy House where Our Lady was saluted by three “Hail, Marys” and the repetition of the Easter Anthem. The ceremonies were concluded by 2.15.

A rush was made to the Refectory and four marquees set up in the garden to secure lunch, while the village was also sought by many; numbers of pilgrims, however, preferred to bring their own picnic meals, and sat in groups on the grass. During the afternoon, the strains of the “Stabat Mater,” were repeatedly heard above the murmur of voices of the assembled pilgrims, as different groups conducted by their Priests made the Stations of the Cross. A continuous procession of people passed through the Holy House, stopping for a few brief moments to offer their prayers and then pass on to give room for others, while for hours on end a stream of people waited their turn to drink and be sprinkled at the Holy Well.

During the afternoon the Archbishop and his attendants with their Choir visited the Holy House and sang a Te Deum in honour of Our Lady; at the conclusion of which the Rosary was started, the vast crowds within and without the Church joining in; the whole of the afternoon as well as the Morning Services being relayed.

After a popular hymn, Father Biggart, C.R., delivered an oration, which will be found elsewhere in this number of the Mirror, and then followed Benediction of the most Holy Sacrament.

By 6 o’clock the cars and char-a-bancs were moving away crowded by happy pilgrims, making their homeward journey.

Monday, June 6th, was one of the most wonderful days in the history of the revival of the Holy House, and we trust a day that will bring much blessing and spiritual consolation to many a soul. Over six thousand people visited the Holy House on that day.

The following morning at 9 o’clock, Archbishop Nestor, assisted by the Archimandrites Nicholas and Nathaniel, and other Ministers and Servers, sang the “Holy Orthodox Liturgy” at which Bishop O’Rorke assisted in cope and mitre, attended by Father Patten and Father Lingwood, Prince Galitzine acted as lector and administered the lavabo to His Grace. During the Mass special mention was made by name of Bishop O’Rorke, Father Patten and Father Lingwood and the Archbishop not only personally came from the Altar to incense them, but also to give each of them the kiss of peace.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy bread was blessed and distributed by the Archbishop to all at the Altar and in the congregation.

This wonderful conclusion to the Blessing of the Extension was, we believe, the first time the “Orthodox Liturgy” has been offered in Walsingham ever, and we hope and pray that it may be the beginning of new relations culminating in complete reunion of the great Churches of the East with those of Canterbury and York and the Churches in communion with them.

End snip


It must have been a wonderful sight.
Of special interest is the fact that Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbs was the English-born tutor to the children of Saint Tsar Nicholas, who, inspired by their example, became Orthodox and kept the memories of the Imperial Family`s piety alive.
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It Feels Like Winter....

It really does feel like winter now that the clocks have "gone back", and consequently, it is getting dark very early.
We`ve had some stormy weather too, which adds to the desire to stay happily ensconced in the warm house.

Nevertheless, the dog still needs to be walked, and errands have to be run.

The tortoise has been brought safely into his winter home in the garage (thanks, DoomHamster - tortoise finder extraordinaire!) and we`re pretty much set now.

There is the minor detail of the fuel prices in the UK having doubled, so everyone I know is muttering that they are not putting their central heating on till at least half-way through November, to try to reduce the bills.

DH is even talking about examining the cost of a wood-burning stove to take advantage of the extant fireplace in our main living-room. We have access to loads of wood washed up on the beach :-0
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Puzzled

Blogger has been up to its usual bizrre tricks. Yesterday I tried twice to post about my eyeball adventures on Saturday, only to have the dreaded error messages from Blogger.

I sulked, I pouted, I got rather cross and decided to write a whole new post today instead, which I did, and which Blogger decided it would accept and display.
Only to find ten minutes later that the wretched Blogger had resurrected the preceding two posts in all their glory and published them.

The mind boggles..... but I have delted one and left the other original up for your delectation should you choose to view the link and see what my afflicted orbit looked like :-0
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The Eyeball Of Doom

Our plans for a quiet and peaceful weekend didn`t materialise :-)

DD3 was invited to a friend`s party on Halloween, so off we trotted to the shops to get her a cheap-ish costume.
When we got back, after pottering for a while at home, I felt as if there was something in my eye. I couldn`t see anything amiss, neither could DH, but within an hour, my whole left face was swollen, eyeball included, and my vision was blurred.
So we headed off to A & E, where mercifully there were no drunks and only one pair of foul-mouthed yobs. It was quiet, so I only had to wait for about 20 minutes before being seen.

Turns out that whatever got in my eye had come out, but had caused a massive allergic reaction, so all the conjunctival membranes covering my eye as well as my eyelids had become inflamed and oedematous (filled with fluid), hence the bizarre and quite vile appearance.
I came home with an eye-patch and five days worth of antibiotic cream to apply four times each day.

I didn`t need a Halloween costume, I could have just uncovered my eye, that would have been bad enough !
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Quiet Weekend ?

This was supposed to have been a quiet, relaxing weekend after the rigours of last weekend`s birthday extravaganza.
Fate obviously had other plans.

Yesterday afternooon, I suddenly felt as if there was a stray eyelash in my eye. I looked and DH looked, but there was no sign of a foreign body. Within minutes, my eyelids had started to swell, and within half an hour, all the conjuctiva of the eye had swollen dramatically and become inflamed. It looked as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat but witout bruising discolouration. Vision was blurred, so off we trotted to A& E.


The desk clerk looked at me and said "what can we do for you ?".
I refrained from stating the bleeding obvious, with an eyeball that was actually swollen as well as the one side of my face, and meekly said that I had something in my eye.


It was relatively quiet and I only had to wait about half an hour to be seen. I saw two doctors, who did a very thorough investigation, involving local anaesthetic and dye, as well as some high-tech gadgetry. Whatever it was had come out by itself, but had caused a massive allergic reaction, so I came home with a pirate eye-patch and five days worth of antibiotic cream for the afflicted orbit.


It is better today, but still hurts, and computer access will be very limited.
For those of a curious disposition, this is what my eye looked like yesterday :-)

Graphic link not for the faint-hearted !
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Quiz

Lorna, at see-through faith posted an interesting set of questions, and I`ve answered them.




Things I’ve done (for good or bad) are shown in bold.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (Wales)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive 05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula. I would like to one day, but I have held snakes !
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it!
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (football- Swansea V Everton.)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Drunk champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse. Twice, in The Grand National !
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Scored a winning goal
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Visited all 5 continents
40. Taken care of someone who was drunk
41. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
42. Watched wild whales
43. Stolen a sign
44. Backpacked
45. Taken a road-trip
46. Gone rock climbing
48. Midnight walk on the beach
49. Gone sky diving
50. Taken a train through Europe
51. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
52. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table, and had a meal with them
53. Milked a cow
54. Alphabetized your CDs
55. Sung karaoke
56. Lounged around in bed all day
57. Gone scuba diving
58. Kissed in the rain
59. Gone to a drive-in theatre
60. Started a business
61. Taken a martial arts class
62. Been in a movie
63. Crashed a party
64. Gone without food for 5 days
65. Gotten a tattoo
66. Got flowers for no reason
67. Performed on stage
68. Been to Las Vegas
69. Recorded music
70. Eaten shark
71. Buried one/both of your parents. And a much-loved stepfather too.
72. Been on a cruise ship
73. Spoken more than one language fluently
74. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
75. Walked a famous bridge. Lots in London !
76. Had plastic surgery
77. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
78. Wrote articles for a large publication. Yep.
77. Tried to lose weight seriously.
79. Piloted an airplane
80. Petted a stingray. Fantastic experience, in a sea-life aquarium
81. Broken someone’s heart
82. Broken a bone -yep, arm.
83. Eaten sushi (yuk!)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Parasailed
86. Skipped all your school reunions
87. Shaved your head
88. Caused a car accident
89. Pretended to be “sick”
90. Swam in the Pacific Ocean
91. Saved someone’s life - a few times at work.
92. Fainted
93. Been in the room while someone is giving birth . Lots of times as a midwife, and four times myself :-)
94. Hitchhiked
95. Adopted a child
96. Been caught daydreaming
97. Been to the Painted Desert
98. Called off a wedding engagement
99. Donated your blood
100. Become a follower of Jesus Christ
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Abortion Rights and Wrongs

ABC news has run a story about a 22 year old woman , who, pregnant with her third child and allegedly struggling to cope with a mentally abusive boyfriend, killed her unborn baby by shooting her own abdomen in the third trimester of her pregnancy, rather than raise another child.

This has to be one of the most distressing things I have read in quite a while.

Full story here

She was so close to giving birth to this baby .
Why didn`t she just put the baby up for adoption ? Or just leave the abusive boyfriend ?
Did her family or friends or neighbours not notice that she was struggling, unhappy and in need of support and appropriate help ?

Or didn`t anybody care ?

Lord have mercy on us all.
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Resolution

Regular readers may remember me mentioning some dissent in our parish about 18 months ago, when some disaffected X ethnic background folk- and some wannabe non-X but wish they were folk - had set themselves up in active and wilful opposition to the lawful authority of both parish priest and Archbishop, even setting up their own group despite the Archbishop`s express and formal refusal to give them a blessing to do so.

This was a painful, difficult and divisive time for our little community, when it seemed as though all we had worked so hard for in terms of spreading Holy Orthodoxy was to be in vain over a dispute as to ethnicity and their idea of the Church as an enhanced ethnic social club.

We prayed and we wept, we searched our own hearts and consciences as to what was the true reason for this dissent, and at times, we felt very alone, but we struggled on, praying and believing that God would sort all in His good time even though we didn`t understand why we were being tested so.

And so it proved, for several of the dissenters have spoken to Father and have returned to the parish family and the Sacraments, for which we rejoice and praise God for His goodness and mercy. When our brothers and sisters choose to separate from us, we are dimished too.

Now we pray for the rest to return, so our joy may be complete.
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Serendipity

Having posted about my reading Martin Gilbert`s book "Holocaust Journey", imagine my surprise when in a charity shop yesterday I found a copy of his seminal historical work "The Holocaust - The Jewish Tragedy" , which I quickly bought for the princely sum of 80p.

I haven`t started reading it yet, as my DD3 has got me hooked on CSI and I have a few episodes recorded from TV for my viewing pleasure (!)
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Current Reading

I thought I would post what I am currently reading :-)

Frank Chalk " It`s Your Time You`re Wasting" which is absolutely terrifying and very cleverly written, describing his time teaching teenagers at an average comprehensive school.

"Soul Music" by Terry Pratchett(yet again!) I have all TP`s books and have met him several times, most notably at the first ever Discworld Convention when I was dressed up as a Bananananana Daiquiri. TP fans will of course know this comes from "Witches Abroad" .........

"Holocaust Journey" by Martin Gilbert.
A fascinating, harrowing, sickening account of the atrocities endured by the groups targeted by the Nazis for the extermination camps. Martin Gilbert took his MA degree students around Europe to see places where these atrocities were conceived and perpetrated.

"Marley And Me" by John Grogan.
There is so much of Basil in this book, though he is not anywhere near as bad as Marley was. Labradors are obviously all crazy but incredibly loving and lovable dogs, LOL.


On my Wish List at present, though I have asked our local library if they would consider buying it for stock, is the newly-published book about Fr Alfred Hope Patten, the eccentric genius restorer of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Worth A Visit

I heartily recommend a visit to this site, if you have ever wondered about the Old Believers of Russia.

I have visited this chapel, and it is just amazing to see so many ancient and authentic icons.....
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The Week That Went

This week has just flown by.
I had all sorts of good intentions about various topics i wanted to blog about, but time just went and so did the momentum.....

Admittedly it was busy, with DD4`s 5th birthday on Tuesday, complete with extended family tea-party after school, all the preparations for her main party, then speech therapy appointment on Friday, then her birthday party on Sat morning, closely followed by meeting up with my brother( who lives 200+ miles away), my niece and my mum for lunch, before the second party of Saturday which wound up at 6.45pm.

And today with Liturgy and Memorial Service for our departed parishioner Sergei, we have had a pretty full week.

Memory eternal, Sergei !
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Sarcasm Quiz

I am sure I shouldn`t really post this, as it is a sad indictment on my spiritual state, but I answered the questions honestly and look what came up :



You're Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.
Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.
And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.


It`s accurate, but I`m not proud of it......
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Birthday Girl

Abby was 5 today.
Five !
How can my baby be 5? Where has the time gone ?

For all you mums with new babies, cherish every moment, no matter how exhausting or nerve-wracking, no matter how endless the bad days might seem, for all too soon your precious little bundle will be "all growed up" like mine.......

Happy Birthday Abigail and Many Years !!!!
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Aberfan

Today is the anniversary of a disaster which happened in Wales exactly 40 years ago, yet whose name evokes immense sadness even now to almost everyone in Wales.
The small mining community of Aberfan was suddenly engulfed by a collapsing slag heap from the nearby colliery, including the primary school, where 116 children died that morning.

When news broke of the disaster, every available person from all the valleys around went to help. Every mineworker not actually serving a shift underground at the time dropped everything and ran, including my Uncle Nally, who ran from his village, over the mountain-top and down to Aberfan, where he, like so many others, dug, with his shovel and even with bare hands to try to rescue those who were buried under the coal waste.


Every possibly means of transport was commandeered to bring helpers to the village, but for the locals it was almost as quick to run.
My father was actually working his shift underground at the time of the accident, but as soon as he could, he too was racing to try to rescue those children. He had two children of his own; there was no way he was going to stay at home.

I cannot even begin to imagine the grief of the community of Aberfan then, or even the grief they still endure now at the loss of a whole generation of children.

One of my father`s friends lost his twin children that day, and his life was changed irrevocably in an instant.
The heartbreaking thing ? It was completely preventable. It was due to the stupidity and negligence of the National Coal Board that the accident happened. A natural disaster would have been bad enough, but negligence ?

Lord have mercy.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Partied Out

Yesterday DD3 & 4 went to a party .

It was loud, noisy, bursting at the seams, and two hours of fun and laughter.
A good time was had by all, and Many Years to dear Molly, whose 5th birthday it was.

We are pretty much partied out now. This is the fourth successive weekend I have escorted DD4 to a party, and on Tuesday we celebrate DD4`s own 5 th birthday with a family tea party at home and then a party for her schoolfriends at the local cinema on Saturday morning, followed by another friend`s party in the afternoon.
Thank Heavens it`s nearly half-term; I could do with the rest from zooming around all the time ! LOL.
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Our Lady of Walsingham

Those of my readers interested in Western Rite Orthodoxy or Anglo-Catholicism may be interested to know that today marks the 75th anniversary of the translation of the image of Our Lady of Walsingham to the Holy House in the Shrine in Norfolk, UK.

There has always been an Orthodox presence and interest in the Holy Shrine, and the little Orthodox chapel tucked upstairs is one of my favourite places to attend the Divine Liturgy and receive the Holy Mysteries.......

More info about the celebrations at Walsingham this weekend can be found here

I wish I could have gone to join in......


Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us !
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Two Books

I am reading two books at the moment, both of them riveting and as different from each other as chalk and cheese.

One is Metropolitan Anthony Bloom`s "Living Prayer", the other is Mark Pinsky`s "The Gospel according to The Simpsons".

From Metropolitan Anthony :

"Theophan the Recluse says:`You ask yourself, "Have I prayed well today?". Do not try to find out how deep your emotions were, or how much deeper you understand things divine; ask yourself: "Am I doing God`s will better than I did before?" If you are, prayer has brought forth its fruits, if you are not, it has not, whatever amount of understanding or feeling you may have derived from the time spent in the presence of God."

Ouch. That struck home. I don`t think I am doing God`s will better than before.
I think I have a long way to go.

On a lighter note,The Simpsons book is a detailed critique of the "spiritual life of the world`s most animated family", and covers every aspect of the show, from its treatment of Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Fundamentalist protestants, moral dilemmas, personal prayer and much more. Impossible to find short quotes from without destroying the flow of the text:-( but I am really enjoying it.
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Doldrums and the Evil One

It seems that there are quite a few of us Orthodox folk in the blogging doldrums at present.

It is really making me wonder whether this is a concerted multi-frontal attack by the Evil One to dissipate the amazing strength and support that many of us, and espacially I, have found the network of blog buddies to have become on my spiritual journey.

Perhaps we are doing something really quite special and important, praying for each other, providing words of comfort and support and love to one another in a world where Christianity is so devalued, mocked and maligned. It really has become a virtual community.

No wonder the Evil One must hate it so much......
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A Mennonite Blogger

I was really interested to discover a Mennonite blogger yesterday.
His site is here and there are some amazing posts on the front page alone.

For a Mennonite, he sure seems to have an awful lot of Orthodox views :-)
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prayers For A Friend

I was the recipient of some sad news today, concerning a friend of my DD4.

I can`t divulge details, but if you could find time to remember Sam and his family in your prayers, I would be grateful.

His family need all the help they can get at present.
Lord, have mercy !
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Deep Thoughts

It is amazing just how therapeutic a good long walk in the rain with the dog has been today.

I do love my whole family dearly, but sometimes I find it hard to find consistent patience, humility and love in the way I behave towards them.
Sometimes I`m fed up, irritable, grumpy, and resent having to do things for them instead of being able to do things for myself. Once last week I caught myself yelling at the young ones "Why do I always have to do everything in this house ? Do I have slave tattooed on my forehead ?".

And these are the children I have been blessed with, whom I love dearly and for whom I would lay down my life if needed. God help my enemies, that`s all I can say.......

The reason why I have to do things is because I have a family and I am privileged to be able to care for and love them. So many women would love to have what I have, yet they cannot.
I am ashamed.

At heart I am a proud and selfish person who thinks she deserves more than she has got from life. And it is complete drivel. Objectively,I can see I have been so lucky, so blessed to have had the experiences and relationships and family that I have had, yet I always hanker after more. Another book, another chocolate bar, another anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to be content with the abundance I already have, instead of wanting more and more, and what is worse, thinking I deserve more and more and more......

I don`t deserve any of it. Everything I have is a blessing and a gift from God, and I repay Him by being grouchy , angry, resentful and selfish.
Ouch.

So it is obviously time for Confession, to have a good housekeeping of my soul and conscience, to receive my spiritual prescription and medicine. I know my arthritis and fibro have really kicked in again over the last few weeks with a vengeance, but I don`t think that will cut much ice at the Dread Judgement Seat, somehow ... I need a kick up the keister, to be honest. And I know I will get it one when I go to Confession.
Better a humble Confession and a metaphorical kick up the keister now, then making my family unhappy.

Thanks to Mimi and Laura for their loving encouragement.
I will keep blogging unless my spiritual Father says otherwise.
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Blog Woes

I am a bit disheartened by my blogging .
I feel that I have lost motivation and that my posts aren`t terribly interesting any more.
Not to mention that the sheer discipline of sitting down and typing is, some days, more than I can muster.

I think I will persevere a while longer and see if things improve.
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Bargains

In town last week, my mum and I were walking past one of the greeting card shops when she noticed a "bargain basket" outside.

I should mention, at this point, that my mum is one of the most prolific, patient, focused bargain-hunters God ever created. She can spot one a mile away.

She prodded me and said "Have a look!".

I did, and nearly fell flat on my back, for there were brand new, shrink-wrapped widescreen DVD movies of Star Trek - First Contact and Star Trek - Generations.

I have Generations on video, but not First Contact, though I saw it in the cinema.
The price of each of these treasures ? £1.00 each.

I was soooooo happy. We have watched them both, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I will be going shopping with my mother more often :-)
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Zombie Mode

Didn`t get to sleep till about 10 last night (late for me) and then DD4 woke me up in the middle of the night needing to go to the toilet, so by the time I had done that, got her back to sleep, then got back to sleep myself, it was very late - or very early, depending on your perspective.

DH gets up at 4.45 am to get ready to drive back to work, so that always wakes me up good and proper. I stayed in bed till 5.30, but could not go back to sleep, so I got up, made a cup of tea, turned on the computer, read my email, caught up on my favourite blogs, fed the dog.

It is now 6.46 and I am so tired I cannot think straight. There is no point in going back to bed now, because I would have to get up at 7.15 to get the young ones ready for school anyway.
Yawn.
Hence the total zombificiation of Elizabeth.........
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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Forgiveness

Neonatal Doc has an interesting article about her own - and the Amish community`s- reaction to the Pennsylvania shootings here
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Times They are A-Changing

I forgot to mention that Autumn is definitely now here in Blogsville, Mimi !

Yesterday was the first day cold enough to produce "Dragon - Breath" weather, and the children were thrilled to bits.
It is gloriously sunny in the day, but a little cool in the morning school-run and positively arctic in the middle of the night :-)
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Killing Sprees

I have read with horror about the latest horrific school shooting, this latest in Pennsylvania amongst the Amish community.

May God grant Grace and Rest to all those murdered, and have mercy on those who perpetrated these evil killings.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by these dreadful events in Pennsylvaia, Colorado and Wisconsin.
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The Rise And Rise Of Basil

Basil the dog now has his very own blog.
Ho hum.

There is no stopping his megalomania, I`m afraid.........

On an unrelated Basil note, my basil plant has grown tiny white flowers ! They are really pretty, and this has never happened to me before when I have kept basil.
When will they set seeds ?
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