Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Latest News On The Home Front

It has been busy here.

Sunday saw the 9th birthday of DD3, the handmaiden of God, Helen. We celebrated with a family tea- party (where contrary to my fears, there was enough food. Not enough chairs, but *just* enough food for our unexpected guests!) and then on Tuesday, a pool and activity party for some of her school friends and cousins. This went brilliantly well, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Today is my much-loved mother`s 71st birthday, so we all went our for lunch with her, and we are now partied-out - four family parties in less than 10 days. Mercifully we have a gap till the next crop of three birthdays in September :-0
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Friday, May 25, 2007


The washing machine continues to work well, thanks be to God !

Although we saw the film crew vans for the "Torchwood" filming, the crew and stars were actually right at the other end of the dunes system, several miles away and it would have taken ages for us to walk over.We could see them as blobs in the distance.
It was worth a try anyway :-)

The dreaded house move spectre has reared its ugly head again; several nice properties have come on the market within our price range, so we are waiting on a valuation on our house next week before we decide whether or not we will think about selling and moving.

To be honest, the very thought makes me feel nauseous - if you could only see the amount of stuff we have ! To pack it all up will be a nightmare, yet we will not get rid of my F-I-L`s specilist book collection for its immense sentimental attachments, and I have pruned my own book collection back to the bone already.

We do have far too much stuff, yet I refuse to part with all my family history research and all my family photos. We are a family of hoarders, sadly.

Today I had a great treat; I was invited by DD 3&4`s head teacher to take part in their sponsored bedtime story reading as part of the "Read a million words in Wales" campaign. So the children and I went to school this morning clad in pyjamas ! I was assigned to read to the Nursery class and then to Year One.

I had a great time, and the children seemed to enjoy themselves. There were three other guest readers, as well as the main staff.
After an hour of non-stop reading and sound effects, my voice has gone to a whisper .....

Next week is our half-term holiday, and Dd3`s birthday part closely followed by my mum`s birthday - not a hope of it being a quiet week :-)
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wash Day Blues

I thought my washing machine had broken down today - the cycle had stopped mid-flow, the drum was partly filled with water and it wouldn`t spin.

After I had finished shrieking with despair, I dug up the paperwork and found we had indeed paid for a 5 year full warranty on it. Just as I was about to phone Argos and plead with them to fix it, I heard the little voice saying to go look at the manual....

When this problem happened with my old machine, it was because the brushes needed replacing, but with this particular machine, if the filter is blocked, it won`t drain and therefore is automatically prevented from spinning .

I found where the filter was (no, I hadn`t cleaned it in 3 years. Apparently it should be done every month - blush!) and cleaned it out, after mopping up a torrent of water (and the flood was *after* I had baled most of the water form the drum with a mug!) from the floor.

Needless to say, once the filter was unclogged, it is working perfectly again, much to my relief.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

Went to town as soon as I dropped the girls at school.

As part of the "Read a million words in Wales" literacy campaign, the school is doing a sponsored Bedtime story day on Friday and the children have to go wearing bed attire.
I`m not happy about them wearing long nightdresses, for safety reasons at playtime, so I have been shopping for suitable clothes.

DD4 was easy - she now has girlie Scooby Doo PJ`s but DD3 is a very well-grown almost 9 year old who does not want to be teased by the boys for wearing Winnie the Pooh or Tinkerbell or Bratz PJ`s, which were the only things available in her size here in Blogsville.
So I will have to travel to Blogtown tomorrow, which I am not looking forward to.

Also been to Mum`s to sort out paperwork for her.

She is having a lot of problems with her eyes and is having difficulty reading small print, so it was only the work of ten minutes to sort out what was needed and make the necessary phone calls, but she simply couldn`t do it on her own.
We had lunch together, then I walked home (about 45 minutes brisk walk) to see to Basil the delinquent dog.

My M-I-L phoned to say that the BBC film crews are over the beach filming for the new series of Torchwood (the adult spin-off from Dr Who).
Although my young ones have never seen a single episode of Torchwood, due to very adult content, they are fans of Captain Jack from his Dr Who appearances, so if the crew are still there when the girls come home, we will see if we can get autographs/photographs :-)

I`ll let you know how we get on.....
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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Book Meme

Further to Ian`s question, the ones in italics should - in theory- be the ones I am interested in reading, but because I "lifted" the meme from someone else`s blog, I can`t get rid of their chosen italics, no matter how hard I try !

So for the purposes of inclusion on my blog, ignore the italics :-)


This was quite fun, but many of them are books I simply would not waste precious time reading. Many of them I have read the cover blurb though :-)

Look at the list of books below:
* Bold the ones you’ve read,

* Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) unabridged, thank you very much!
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce
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21 Today !

Not me, of course, but my dearest first-born, the wonderful and irrepressible DoomHamster.

She has been a delight and a blessing to me since the day she was born, and needless to say, I love her very much.

We had a family party for her yesterday, and she has gone to stay overnight at my mum`s with DD2 before coming back today to see friends and other family members.

Have a great day DH, and God grant you MANY YEARS !!!!!!
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Looking for some nice Orthodox e- greetings cards ?

This convent has a nice selection, especially of the Great Feasts.

Talking of which, a happy and blessed feast of the Ascension to you all !
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Utterly Brilliant !

This is the story of Dan Shaw who in 2000 was in the final stages of
losing his vision to Retinitis Pigmentosa. While filling out the
application for a guide dog with what little vision he had left, Dan
heard about the worlds first guide horse named Cuddles, on the
television. This is a glimpse into their life.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Holy And Righteous Abigail

Imagine my delight this morning, when a fairly aimless web browse unexpectedly turned up a picture of an icon of the holy and righteous Abigail, DD4`s patron saint !
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Bringing Up Kids

This was on the Orthodox women`s list, and I loved it !
I am posting it in its entirety.

Subject:Mothers Who Drugged Us


The other day, someone at a store in our town read
that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the
adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question.

"Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I
were growing up?"

I replied, I had a drug problem when I was young:

I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.

I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.

I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I
uttered a profanity .

I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs
out of dad's fields.

I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some
poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some
firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a
tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything
I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and,
if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better

God bless the parents who drugged us.
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Vitamins and TB

Vitamin D appears to have a significantly protective effect against TB

Considering the rapid rise of completely drug resistant strains of TB, this could be of major importance.
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Noah`s Ark Sails Again

Truly !

I kid you not. A Dutchman has built a scale replica and it is sailing round Holland.

Here it is
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Have you ever wondered why you feel inspired or downcast in particular buildings?

Wonder no longer, for research has actually been done which shows that the ceiling height of buildings and rooms does indeed have a marked effect on people and their emotions.

More info here
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Orthodox Roundup

I know, it`s been a while :-)

Feast your eyes on a lovely icon ! The talented Byzantine Catholic blogger MaryPoppinsNOT has posted photos of her wonderful new icon here and also made a marvellous post on the joys of being open to new life from God

Icons and truth are also a theme in this post by Fr Stephen.

Fr John Parker writes eloquently on the bizarre aspects of being a priest asked to lead public prayer yet having to be so utterly inclusive as to be unable to actually pray within one`s particular tradition as a result. How he resolved this is here.

Fr John also writes about how and why the Orthodox can - and do- ! bless everything here

Fr Peter has a new podcast series available :-)

Alana over at Morning Coffee stopped me dead in my tracks when she blogged about showing mercy and justice in a family setting, and made me realise how far short I fall in my own home.Thank you Alana, and may God richly bless you and yours ! James at Paradosis also picks up on a related theme, that parenting requires humility.
Molly Sabourin also has her point of view on the perils and pitfalls of parenting !

Fr Stephen produced three posts on Orthodoxy and Family issues, here, here, and here, which I found very valuable. His post detailing two experiences of Pascha in the 1920s in Russian are heartbreakingly moving.

Over at Orrologion there are quite a few posts of special interest, especially dealing with the veneration of the Saints
and why it can be hard to deal with the fact that the Church is not for perfect people, but a place for people to BE perfected, and how we can deal with this paradox.

The upcoming reunification of ROCOR with the Moscow Patriarchate has produced a great deal of blogging heat and light, but one of the best posts has to be the one that includes a heartfelt message from Fr Pimen of the Old Believer parish in Erie as to why it is in fact a GOOD THING .

An Orthodox prayer which often causes Protestant eyebrows to zoom into the stratosphere , and its reasons is well worth a read here. The comments are particularly insightful.

How the Mormon faith would re-write the Nicene Creed is well worth reading, as it details so clearly why it is most definitely not a Christian church in any sense of the word. It is good to clearly understand what others believe and Grace has done a grand job with this.

Dave Holford comments upon the increasing problem of drunken youths in the UK, and how new legislation could, if pushed to its extreme, make it illegal for our children to receive the Divine Mysteries in church. Dave also blogs about the esteemed St Edelienta
and about how even Protestantism is guilty of its own little papacies

Dixie`s spiritual father gives valuable insight about choices.

S-p, who writes some of the most thoughtful, insightful material that I have ever read has posted his excellent article on the difficulties of people who have same-sex attractions within the Orthodox church and within society.

Until next time, dear friends - God bless !
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A Blessing

Yesterday was truly an unexpected blessing.

DH tends to get fairly stressed on Sundays, winding himself back up into "work mode" for Monday. His job is stressful, complex and requiring minute attention to every detail.
We`d had a busy week to boot with various deliveries of things for the house and the requisite building of things from flatpacks, which is never fun :-)

I didn`t even mention that there was a service yesterday, not wishing to be deflated if he decided he really didn`t feel up to a 5 hour round trip by the time travelling, food and Liturgy were combined.

Our attendance at church is erratic, to say the least, and the services in the town we go to are fortnightly anyway, so quite horrifying gaps can appear in our family churchgoing with terrifying ease. We hadn`t been since Agape vespers at Pascha.

Imagine my immense surprise when at 09.15am DH says to me, "is there a service today ?".

I just nodded, slightly speechless.

"Would you like to go ?"
I could only nod in delight, and whizz off to get ready.

We made it for the whole Liturgy, the kids were really well behaved and Helen helped with the singing, standing with Presvytera. I was asked to do the post-communion prayers, which I love.

DH seemed to enjoy himself, and the whole day was an absolutely radiant blessing.

Glory to God !
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Plea For Prayer

16th May UPDATE
There is now an official website for the search for little Maddy. It is now believed that if alive, she may have been taken out of Portugal and could be *anywhere* in Europe.
Please can everyone be vigilant.
Maddy has a distinctive eye defect called a coloboma, it is something which cannot be altered, even if her hair has been cut or dyed to try to alter her appearance.

Full details and a picture of her affected eye here

Philippa asked for more news....sadly, there is still no further real information.

Portuguese police have massively scaled down the ground foot search for her, and are following up some old scanty leads and CCTV footage from a nearby petrol station.

There has been a huge public response, and several businessman have made substantial sums of money available in rewards for information leading to her finding.

2.5 million UK pounds is a substantial bait which has had no bites so far, which does lead one to sadly think the worst may have happened.
British police have become involved in helping, and apparently special facial recognition software is being used to scan known paedophile internet sites to see if any footage of this poor little girl has been made availbale on the web for vile purposes.

Lord have mercy.

Original Post
This sweet little girl should be celebrating her fourth birthday with her parents, and her brother and sister.
Instead, little Madeleine McCann is missing in Portugal, abducted whilst on holiday.

Please, please, please, PRAY for this little girl and her family. Please God she will be found alive and unharmed.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Latin Ponderings

Have you ever wondered what the Latin script "Lorem ipsum......"that often appears in page mock-ups on computers actually means ?

Anthony Tardiff spills the beans here
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Herod`s Tomb Found

It appears that the tomb of Herod the child-slayer has been discovered.

Not one that I would have the urge to visit !

May God have mercy on his soul for the heinous crime of the massacre of the Holy Innocents.......
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What To Say ?


I confess to having a very heavy heart at present, mainly due to this, which is emblazoned on the news coverage everywhere you look.......
What has happened must be every loving parent`s worst and most feared nightmare.

My heart aches for a very scared and possibly extremely badly-treated or even (God forbid) abused and murdered little girl.
Please God she will be returned unharmed to her family, though as each day passes, this is sadly increasingly unlikely.

How could anyone kidnap a three year old child ?
There are some evil people around.

No matter what the outcome, little Madeleine McCann`s parents will have to live with the guilt and heartache of having deliberately left their three children (under the age of 4) all alone in a Portuguese apartment whilst they chose to go and have a meal at a restaurant nearby.

They did this even though their resort offered a free evening creche with fully qualified and vetted staff for parents wishing to do this sort of thing.

These particular parents are not ill-educated, they are both doctors and they should have had more sense. It doesn`t matter that one or other of the parents was popping back every half an hour to check on the sleeping children. Disaster still struck.

Children can get into all sorts of mischief when unsupervised. Imagine if little Maddy had tried to boil the kettle in the apartment, or used the cooker ? Or run the bath tub full of water ? Or opened the door and went wandering off to the swimming pool ?

If it had happened in Britain to a poorly educated young mother living on state benefits, her remaining children would have been taken off her and placed into foster care on the grounds that she was not capable of taking care of them properly.

Because this couple are middle-class, well-educated and doctors to boot, they retain custody of their two remaining children.

Perhaps this is something the authorities should be re-evaluating when this family return to the UK........

I continue to pray for this poor little girl, whose fourth birthday will be this coming Saturday.

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

And for her parents and extended family, may God grant them strength and grace to endure.
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And Then I Wept

Amidst the dross, there are some gems on MySpace.

Fr Lawrence - who knew Fr Seraphim Rose well, and was baptised by him, is one of these gems.

I read this sermon, and then I wept.

I always find time to do the things I want to do.
I do not often find the time to do the things I know I should be doing, the things that I know are truly important in this brief life.

God grant us all time for repentance
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MySpace Finds

Byzantine Girls Chant

Fr Peter Jon Gillquist
Imagine my delight to see a song called Abigail`s cafe !
I had not heard his music before, and I have to say, I just love it.......
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Ever wanted to see a tornado ?

Awesome Tornado

Add to My Profile | More Videos
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