Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Playing Tag

I've been tagged by Anastasia :-)

The Rules:-
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

Well, the first book I picked up from the desk was Marguerite Patten's "Post-War Kitchen", which is too short.

The next was "The Jewish Princess Cookbook" which has a blank page due to the end of a chapter , LOL.

Book 3 was Adele Geras' "My Grandmother's Stories", which was also too short.

So I had to resort to picking at random from my nearby bookshelf.....

We have Libby Purves' "Radio: A True Love Story".
Sentences 6 - 8 of page 123 are :-

" I was not a bit surprised when in after years he won all his Sony Awards.
The other memorable outside broadcast I did was May Morning. Every year since the station was founded, Humphrey Carpenter had done a commentary on May 1st from 5.30am, live from the top of Magdalen College Tower. "

I tag Solomon Hezekiah,
and Matt.

Have fun !
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Sad News

We had news last night that my Uncle Brian , who had liver cancer, died yesterday.

Memory Eternal to this sweet, kind and gentle man.
God grant comfort to his family....
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mommy Bee on Giving Gifts

The **whole** of this wonderful post on gifts as almsgiving comes from the witty, loving and talented Mommy Bee at Muffins, Buns and Biscuits.
It is so lovely I wanted to share it with all of you:-

There is a quote that I read many years ago. I'm not sure how it goes word-for-word, but it is something like "God knows our needs, but it is usually through another person that he fulfills them."

My children have a preschool teacher that we all just love. She is kind, and warm, and sincerely cares about each child in her care. She is especially sweet and patient with my oldest, who because of some developmental delays, is usually the most difficult child in her class. As Christmas time started to roll around I began to think of what I could give to this special teacher to show her how much all of us appreciate her. Another child brought her a little holiday-scented box of air freshener and it's matching candle, and she mentioned to the girl and her mother how much she loved things to scent her home. So I thought about buying a Yankee candle for her, but it just didn't seem right. I thought about the "default" soap and lotion set from Bath and Body Works, but that didn't seem right either. I thought about buying something for the classroom--maybe art supplies--but I wanted to get something that she alone could enjoy. So for a while I didn't think of anything, and figured I'd come up with something at least, by the last day of school.

The afternoon before the last day of school I was at Wal-Mart purchasing things, and right then I decided I'd get her a gift card. I took it up to the register and told them how much to put on it. I was fairly generous, but I really wanted her to know how much we valued her. We got home and I had the kids decorate a card for her, but then I started to doubt myself.

What if she thought I was trying to show off?

What if it looked like I was trying to make all the other gifts look bad?

What if she was offended because she thought that I thought she was poor?

What if she hated Wal-Mart?

What if she thought I was trying to buy favors for my children, like wanting them to be "fish feeding helper" when it really was someone else's turn?

The "what-if's" were whirling around my head, an it was only because I was out of time that I went ahead with giving her the gift card. We went to preschool, and my oldest excitedly ran to give her the card. She praised their art work and gave them a huge hug, and then (a little teary-eyed) gave me a hug. I chalked up her happiness to the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING art on her card, and because class was about to start I slipped out the door.

Today, when I dropped off the kids she pulled me aside and said she wanted to talk about the gift we gave her. She said that she had been having a rough time lately. her boyfriend had left her, taking with him her car, camera, and other things. Her hours had been cut drastically because the Air Force wasn't seeing a profit from running the preschool, which of course affected her paycheck. She told me that the night before class she had been praying and told God that she loved all her children and the heartfelt gifts they gave, but asked Him to please--please--let someone give her a gift card for Christmas...from Wal-Mart.

She told me that we were a direct, specific answer to her prayers, and that because of our gift she was able to buy groceries for the week.

I was shocked. As far as I know, I have never been the literal answer to someone else's prayers.

At first I felt all warm and fuzzy, but on the way home I started to feel a bit guilty. You see, the "what-if" game is not uncommon for me. How many times had I felt a prompting to do something, or to say something, or to give something but didn't. I have such a fear of being seen as condescending or high-and-mighty that too often, I let it paralyze me and I end up doing nothing at all. The man I saw at Denny's, who was clearly homeless and ordered only water-I felt I should buy him a meal, but I didn't. The girl who seemed overwhelmed with her children, and I thought maybe I should offer to have them over, but didn't. The couple at the fast food place, who spread all their change out on the table, counted it carefully, and determined they had enough for a small drink--nothing more--I wanted to "accidentally" drop a ten dollar bill next to their table as I left...but I didn't. The elderly lady sitting next to me at church; I had the sudden urge to put my arm around her, and I didn't.

Were their prayers unanswered because of me? Because of my fear?



...I think I just found my New Year's resolution.


If you enjoyed it as much as I did, please stop by her blog and let her know !!
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Monday, January 28, 2008

Trashing Holy Things

..... is apparently part of the film of The Golden Compass.
I will admit freely that I have not seen it, neither do I wish to, but I was alerted to this particular scene, which shows a bear -apparently one of the "heroes" - breaking through an outdoor iconostasis.

To me, it does not matter that it was merely a studio-produced replica; the intent of deliberately showing the degradation of "holy things" is still distressing.
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Laughing Out Loud

I have visions that now everyone will be trying to work out who you are!

Her Hamsterness of Doom is now on my Facebook account, though as her internet access is from work,she may not be around much after this week or so.....

Thank you to **everyone** who has so kindly befriended me ! I am now in double figures :-) Very few of my non-church friends are on Facebook yet......
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Archbishop Of Greece Reposes

Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece has reposed, aged 69.

For the BBC's usual slightly anti-Christian biased reporting on the story, go here.

Memory eternal.
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Facebook, Anyone ?

I am now on Facebook :-)

My friends list looks rather lonesome; are any of you gentle readers also Facebookers ? If so, would you consider befriending me ?
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Church Bulletin Faux Pas

DoomHamster sent me these funnies, which had been circulating in her office :-)


Thank God for church ladies with typewriters.

These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services


~ The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.

~ The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water."

The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."

~ Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

~ Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.

~ Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

~ Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not come this way again," giving obvious pleasure to many in the congregation.

~ For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

~ Next Thursday there will be try outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

~ Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

~ A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

~ At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

~ Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

~ Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

~ Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

~ The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

~ Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

~ The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

~ This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

~ The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

~ Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

~ Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

~ The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

~ Pastor Updyke unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday with the slogan: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours”.
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Friday, January 25, 2008

the interviews went well.

For one post, they only want someone part-time, and although the pay is good and it would be excellent experience working in a QC's chambers, the moeny would only pay her rent, not her bills and food ! They are looking for someone who can be flexible about working any extra hours whenever necessary for important cases, which would preclude her taking a second job to supplement her income.

The other job is full time, fairly good pay, but they are interviewing all this week and next, so she won't hear anything for at least a week, I imagine.
I was up at 7am yesterday, lampada lit at the icon corner praying the Akathist to St Xenia :-)
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008


On Deb's recommendation,
I found the film Ushpizin at our local library and rented it for the week.
It was £1.75 very well spent, as it was an utter delight :-)

It was such an eye-opener to see how Jewish Orthodox faith can be lived.....
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Job News

DoomHamster has two job interviews on Thursday !

All of you who contacted me are being prayed for by name at the Akathist to St Xenia, which I am praying section by section all week.

Sol, I hear that the Shire county council has apparently rescinded their plans for widespread school closure - is this completely true or just media hype ?
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The Year Of Living Biblically

Has anybody read this book yet ?
I have read reviews of it and it looks extremely interesting, not to mention amusing, in places. It is apparently not being released in the UK till 1st March.

It would not have dawned on me before to consider the potential difficulties of living an observant Orthodox Jewish lifestyle in Manhattan, especially the prohibition against men sitting on anything which has been sat upon by a menstruating woman. Sitting on public transport is therefore a no-no.........

Excerpts and more info here.

Perhaps we could do a communal book, The Year Of Living Orthodox Christianity :-)
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Day Out

Updated in view of Matt's thoughtful comments on the corporate takeover of the world :

Matt, I too find it distressing to walk through towns and cities widely scattered across the UK and **they all look the same** . Same brands, same retail chains almost everywhere you look. Sigh.
It is widespread; there is even McD's in Athens, though they do make some concession to the country at least, as they sell some Fasting specials in Great Lent :-)

The Big City -as the small ones call it-(Cardiff) is the capital of Wales, and is the most cosmopolitan place in S Wales, certainly.
It has all the branded chains you would expect (at least 5 Starbucks just off the main shopping area, for instance), but it has the advantage of a rambling system of arcades or tiny malls, almost all independently owned and often quirky little shops.

It is a delight to walk through them, passing shops selling alternative remedies, antique shops, tiny cafes selling organic delights and antiquarian bookshops all in the same small place. We did enjoy walking and window-shopping, though the main purpose of my visit was to visit a large bookstore.

We have a good independantly owned bookstore in our small town, but it is very small and I do like to have a good browse of a variety of books before choosing :-0. I have frequently visited major book chains to find a book I like, then come back and ask our own bookshop to order it for me , which is the best of both worlds as long as one doesn't mind having to wait.
Our whole family firmly believe in supporting the small retailers. Use them or lose them is our motto !

BTW, the link for Hawkins Bazaar

Browser beware !

Some categories are less than salubrious, but it is mostly good fun.


We had a day out on Saturday.
The weather was vile, the kids were bored, and I felt the need for retail therapy, particularly as I had birthday book tokens burning a hole in my purse :-)

DH and I bundled the kids in the car, drove to Blogtown, where we caught the train to The Big City. Total cost of train journey for four of us, using our Family Railcard ? £6.00.

Cost of *one* adult travelling by bus from our home to The Big City, the last time I went ? £6.15.

We had a brief refuelling stop at McD's, then off to the shops. It was my first visit to the new Borders store, and I have to say, I want to set up home there. It was wonderful ! I was very restrained and only bought one book, though the girls had one each in the sale. We managed to get a super calendar of photos of Lighthouses for our kitchen for the princely sum of £2.
Then off to the SPCK bookshop, where I was able to get a copy of Fr Joseph's "One flew over the onion domes", which I am really enjoying.

Final stop was to Hawkins Bazaar, where the children were desperate to spend their pocket money on magic tricks and whooppee cushions. So we staggered home, duly laden with goodies, and we had fun.

It was a relatively inexpensive day out and the small fry were very patient of their mother's bibliophilia :-)
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It Never Rains....

...but it pours.

In every sense of the word.

Last night we had news that my Uncle Brian has been diagnosed with liver cancer and is unlikely to see Easter.
Lord have mercy.

And there is torrential rain here; many areas within 10-20 miles of us are on flood alert.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Beedle The Bard

Lots of pictures and information about J K Rowling's handwritten book "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" can be found here.

It looks wonderful.
What a shame that no facimile copy of this is likely to be published for many years, if ever.......
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Monday, January 14, 2008

Prayers Coveted

Today is the 19th anniversary of my father Donald's death.
Memory eternal.

Today we also had sad news. The older brother of a school friend of DD4's was attacked and nearly beaten to death over Christmas. His attackers have a lot to answer for, as the young man died from his injuries on Friday.

Please pray for Aaron and his grieving family.
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How Fast Can You Type ?

I just did an online typing test and using four fingers, can apparently type at 37 words per minute.
That is a lot more than I thought :-)
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Friday, January 11, 2008

More News

DD2, working at the same firm as DoomHamster, but in a different department, has also been made redundant, I heard today.

DoomHamster has applied for two jobs today and has registered on a recruitment website.

DD2 is thoroughly revising her CV and looking for jobs.

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Not So Good News

Yesterday, DoomHamster phoned me to say that she and most of her department have been made redundant. She has one month's notice and is frantically job hunting over a large area.

She is 22. Jobs are rarer than hen's teeth round here, especially for young folk.

Prayers coveted.

I will be starting the Akathist to St Xenia of St Petersburg today, so if any of you have any employment related issues and you would like me to add your names into the akathist, please let me know.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Earthquake in Greece

An earthquake in Greece, affecting Athens and the Peloponnese, struck this morning.
Mercifully, according to the BBC report, it was very deep underground and there have been no reports of casualties.
The last big Greek quake in 1999 killed 100 people.
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Happy Theophany !

A blessed and happy Theophany Feast to my new calendar readers, and a joyous Christmas Eve to those of you on the old calendar :-)
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Friday, January 04, 2008

Blogging World War One

Seriously !

The letters of Private Harry Lamin, who fought in the First World War, are being posted onto a blog by his grandson, with each blog entry posted 90 years later than the actual day it was penned.
What a wonderful tribute to a brave man !

Utterly gripping stuff.

My great grandfather fought in and survived WWI, and I will enjoy reading this blog as it unfolds.
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On New Year's Eve, I took the two young ones to see the pantomime with my much-loved ex MIL. She remains part of our extended family and we in hers; DD4 calls her Nanna just like the other three :-)

The pantomime was Sleeping Beauty. The sets were lovely, the costumes stunning, there was lots of singing and dancing and huge amounts of audience participation on the lines of " It's behind you !" and "watch out!", booing at the bad guys and cheering the good guys. It was two hours of fun and laughter, and some slightly scatological goodnatured slapstick. It was great fun and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
There were quite a few adults there unaccompanied by children :-)

Scroll forward a few days.

On Wednesday, DH and I decided to celebrate the last day of the holidays with the children by taking them to the cinema to see the "kids club" movie, a PG rated film called Stardust.

Within a few minutes of the film starting, we saw a young man being seduced, his child deposited in his doorstep nine months later, a king dying and his remaining sons killing each other. One son was thrown off a balcony by his brother. Another was poisoned. Once dead, they turned into ghosts, showing how they died. So the one who fell to his death had a mishapen face from where he hit the ground, another had a hatchet in his head.

The violence was not graphically depicted, but mostly implied. Nevertheless, it made for very uncomfortable viewing, as I would not have knowingly taken the children to see this. I spent a large chunk of the film covering Abby's eyes because I did not want her watching some of the rather more unpleasant bits. Helen jumped out of her skin several times but seemed to mostly enjoy it, being made of sterner stuff than her squeamish mother :-)
Not to mention the cross-dressing captain. Explain that to a six year old in terms other than "the man just likes to play dressing up...."

What I was surprised at was the comment at the start of the film from the film censors saying that the film was generally suitable for children , but that some scenes might be distressing.

Uh uh.

How about **completely unsuitable **?
The film deserved a PG 12 rating in my opinion. If Harry Potter films are rated 12, this certainly should have been.

If we hadn't had the kids with us, DH and I would have thoroughly enjoyed it, as the plot was excellent, the acting good and the film worked really well. But marketed as a "kids club" movie ? No way.

DH wants to get it on DVD when it is released so we can watch it on our own and enjoy it , LOL.
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


So this is it, the first day of 2008.
I wish you all a peaceful and blessed year.

I have never found New Year's Day to be a particularly enjoyable experience for many reasons, but since the repose of my dear stepfather, Gordon, on New Year's Eve 2005, I have found it to be a particularly sad day.

Of your kindness, please say a prayer for Gordon.
Memory Eternal !
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