Friday, April 29, 2011

Bright Smiles, Bright Friday

Prince William & Catherine Middleton / AP photo

May the Lord bless thee & keep thee
May the Lord make His face shine upon thee & be gracious unto thee

May the Lord grant you
perseverance, patience and love always in your union

May your marriage be blessed
May this sacrament draw you ever closer to our
Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ


May God grant you many joyful years!

We love you in rural West Virginia!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Art Enriches Our Lives

Art is so enriching, so therapeutic, so joyful! My new job has transported me in ways I didn't imagine, such as being surrounded daily by colorful paper, markers, books, glitter, sequins...listening to children tell you about what they're thinking & helping them to get it on paper. Seeing those smiles ...observing the ones who are diligent and detail oriented and those who always seem to exude a creative flow. Children are amazing; I am very thankful to share this small part of their lives.

These are Rhythm Collages made by 3rd & 5th graders. I got the idea from a wonderful art teacher, Holly V., who readily shares her talents via her vibrant & informative blog, Lines, Dots, and Doodles. Thank you Holly! For this project, I brought instrumental music on cd into the classroom & asked the students to write down the instruments they heard. They had to draw some of these instruments and arrange them into a collage. We then talked about how to show movement & festivity in their artwork, using angles, lines and shapes. Aren't they jubilant? I love how they turned out.

Notice the hands drawn to hold the maracas above...

I love all the colors in the hallway!! The students had fun with these; their creativity makes my heart smile.

As I bring new art projects to the students, my life is enriched too because I research the lesson, thus giving me an opportunity to discover new artists that I can learn from. Fabulous artists such as Joni James, who makes amazing calligrams!

One student told me they had seen a calligram of the Lord's Prayer, arranged in a way to form our Lord's hands clasped together as if in prayer.

These are a few calligrams from the imagination of 4th graders:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Paschal Flash Mob - Lebanon

... I just love flash mobs... especially when they're singing about Christ!
Thanks for posting this one, Anastasia!

Oh, and this one has closed captioning... just click on the cc to see English subtitles.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hristos voskrse!

People rejoice, all nations listen:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Dance all ye stars and sing all ye mountains:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Whisper ye woods and blow all ye winds:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
O seas proclaim and roar all ye beasts:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Buzz all ye bees and sing all ye birds:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
O little lambs rejoice and be merry:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Nightengales joyous, lending your song:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Ring, O ye bells, let everyone hear:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

All angels join us, singing this song:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Come down ye heavens, draw near the earth:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Glory to Thee, God Almighty!
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Glory to Thee, God Almighty!
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Week...and Jumping off the FB Wheel

I might lament the fact that so many of my brethren are being blessed by church services during Holy Week since I cannot go due to distance and time factors, but such is not the case. God’s blessings & grace come to us in a variety of ways and I am thankful for each of them.

This Lenten season has brought my family closer in many ways; we have strived to keep the fast, to be prayerful and disciplined in asking for spiritual growth and guidance. My husband brought to the dinner table one evening a book he had put together from pages found online -- a study of Proverbs. What a great opportunity this has been for us to use our short time together around the table to delve into God’s Word, to bring our children an understanding of wisdom, knowledge & God’s guidance for our lives.

I will admit that I find keeping the fast quite difficult and so, I do what I can in giving up those things I love to eat or indulge in. One evening recently I was reminded in a profound way of how fasting strengthens our spirit: I had experienced a challenging day, been the recipient of cruel words and struggled to maintain my composure. I felt hurt and emotionally drained. By evening, when I arrived home, I wanted nothing more than to unwind by relaxing on the couch with a good book and glass of wine. But with hubby out-of-town and school the next day, there were chores to do, children who needed help with home-work and bath time and, and.... no time for self-indulgence.

Forsaking my comfortable indulgences, I went to our prayer corner and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. God help me...I feel drained and angry and hurt. I give all this as a sacrifice to you ...for I know that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Please help me through this evening... I am tired and have so much else to do. Help me to be a good mother, a peaceful woman... help me to shut the door on anger and walk the high road. Guide me to Thy peace. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.”

It may seem trivial, as we all have such days, but it’s no small thing that God restored my spirit in those evening hours. I was given the energy to do all the necessary chores and most blessedly, I was given peace - the kind that passes all understanding - which resulted in reconciliation from the earlier conflict that day. Nothing less than amazing, given my quick temper. It was the grace of God.

† † †

I never consciously decided to give up Facebook. I still have my account and receive messages, but I’ve learned that the longer I stay away, the less inclination I have to return. I view it now more like a Rolodex rather than a social meeting place; it was becoming to me something akin to a personal National Enquirer, a gauntlet to run in order to find the few tid-bits I really wanted to read. I really don’t need the chaos of ads, games, and other voices screaming in the marketplace...I want quiet, mindful stuff. I want to live purposefully and as unplugged as possible. I don’t want to miss the quiet voice of God each day.

That’s what I’m working toward..and by the grace of God, that is what this Lenten season has brought to me. As my life reflects more of the light of Christ, by His mercy, that light will reach others.

Praise God for all things †

A blessed Pascha to all of you dear readers!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Creativity of Children

Just a quick post to show you what I've been up to with my art classes for the 3rd - 5th graders. The 3rd & 4th grade made "Explosion Flowers" and learned how to make a 3-dimensional flowers. We talked about the signs of spring, renewal and the beauty & diversity of God's creation. They all had fun making these projects. The 6th graders are still working on their projects... more on that one later.

I learned that they LOVE glitter...
and, also to use it outside!

I love the detail added to the leaves!

The 5th graders made "Loopy Birds". I love how these turned out! What expressions on the faces of the birds...I am inspired by their imaginations! We discussed spring, the habits of birds, rebirth and beauty in the natural world.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Gratitude taps on my shoulder unexpectedly sometimes. I mean, there are times when it naturally accompanies me - or the family - such as prayer before a meal or when the power finally comes back on. Or the times when the children demonstrate they really have been listening and use their manners unprompted. Such moments bring an easy smile and appreciation.

When Gratitude sneaks up on me and squeezes my heart till I think it’s going to burst... well, those are times worth remembering because it brings the perspective I should have every day.

Such was the case on Friday while doing laundry. I had just hung my son’s jeans on the clothesline when an unbidden wave of emotion swiftly crashed over me. My mind shifted gears and went from the never ending to-do list to ...this, this simple chore is a gift...she might love to be doing this now..for her behold the clean scent of freshly laundered clothes...and think of the child who will be wearing them.

The preceding day, my husband had told me about a colleague whose wife was in need of much prayer...of a miracle. She has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer. When a radical surgery was about to take place, it was discovered the cancer had spread beyond the initial assessment ..and so the surgery was halted immediately. Now she faces exploratory procedures and chemotherapy. They have two small children and will be away from them at least a month during this next phase. Even though I don’t know her personally, the news was sad & shocking and we’ve been praying for Calah ever since.

I should never complain about the cross I bear, for many others carry so much more. There is joy at the heart of life... in living simply and being thankful for all things. The seemingly ordinary events of the day are made magnificent by gaining the right perspective... and walking humbly with Gratitude.

*Photo by lifecreations

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