Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yay! Izzy's Book Moves Forward

Some of you who have been reading here for some time know that I lost my niece, Izzy, to a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma in 2012.  Since that time, I have written a children's book to tell her story of love and  perseverance to share with the world.  This project was held up for a time because we could not find a suitable illustrator, that is, a person who not only could depict Izzy in a real-life manner, but a person who truly has a heart for this story.

God answered our prayers.
Today, I am THRILLED to announce that we have found an illustrator, Mrs. Hilary Clement!  Hilary brings to this project a wonderful artistic talent, but more than that, she has a heartfelt desire to share in our story -- and THAT is something hard to find!

We are blessed to be sharing in this adventure together!   Please check out Hilary's website to see her creations.  And, just in case you are new to Izzy's story, go to the search bar at the top left of this blog and type in "Izzy".  I've written quite a lot about this remarkable little girl!  Love & miss her so much... but believe in the words of St. Paul that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord.  I know we'll see Izzy again!

Glory to God for all things! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Voice of Those Who Keep Festival

Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion: 

"I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast vouchsafed me to become a communicant of Thy holy things. I thank Thee that Thou hast vouchsafed me, the unworthy, to partake of Thine immaculate and heavenly gifts. But, O Master Who lovest mankind, Who didst both die for us and rise again and didst bestow upon us these Thy dread and life-giving mysteries for the benefiting and sanctification of our souls and bodies: Grant that they may be for me also unto healing of soul and body, unto the averting of everything contrary thereto, unto the enlightenment of the eyes of my heart, unto the peace of my spiritual powers, unto faith unashamed, unto love unfeigned, unto increase of wisdom, unto the fulfillment of Thy commandments, unto growth in Thy divine grace and the attainment of Thy kingdom, that, preserved by them in Thy holiness, I may ever remember Thy grace and henceforth live not unto myself, but unto Thee, our Master and Benefactor. And thus, when this life is ended in the hope of eternal life, I may attain unto everlasting rest, where the voice of those who keep festival is unceasing and the delight of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance is boundless; for Thou art the true Desire and unutterable Joy of those who love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation hymneth Thee forever. Amen."   - Anonymous

Just wanted to share one of my favorite prayers from the ancient faith.  This is a prayer to say after receiving Holy Communion.  The first time I ever read this prayer, the line, "Grant that they may be for me also unto healing of soul and body" really struck me.  Until I entered the Orthodox Church, it never occurred to me that the Lord's Supper was anything more than a reverent symbolic way to remember Christ's sacrifice.  But in truth, according to church history, the Eucharist (meaning, giving thanks) has been celebrated as a sacrament (a way in which we receive God's abundant grace) since the earliest centuries and is still recognized as such in the Orthodox, Catholic and some Protestant churches.    

Now, some years later, another phrase stands out to me, "...and thus, when this life is ended in the hope of eternal life, I may attain unto everlasting rest, where the voice of those who keep festival is unceasing and the delight of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance is boundless.."  Can you even imaging that?!   What a heart-warming image!  

I've been thinking so much of Izzy, my young niece who was reborn to the Kingdom of God in 2012, and her last days on this earth.  I often contemplate what she must have seen as she reached her arms up to that receiving angel who carried her to the dwelling place of God.  The Kingdom of Heaven is so near to us, only a thin veil away, as my grandmother would say.   I know Izzy's voice is added to  those "keeping festival" with great joy and thanksgiving, giving praise to the Creator!  Perhaps she is praying for my soul, too. 

   What beauty awaits us... what light and love does God provide for His children.  
Glory to Him for all things!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Father Tryphon

For the past few mornings, my son & I have included the wisdom of the Very Rev. Father Tryphon in our morning routine of homeschooling.   

Listening to his podcast, The Morning Offering, on Ancient Faith Radio is a nice way to open the day by kindling love in the heart and setting our minds on life in Christ.

Father Tryphon's podcasts include numerous topics (over 400 entries) and are brief, providing a short story, quotes from the saints or a reference to Holy Scripture.  I like the fact that he provides a nourishing thought for the day and I especially enjoy the introductory and closing chant that accompany his recordings.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Change of Headlines

I have a tendency to read too much.  I'm an info-junkie at heart, a true nerd who could easily spend a day at a library or book store.  The same is true when online, perusing the headlines of the day and reading way too much for far too many minutes hours.  
As so, it's little surprise that I am once again at a breaking point of overindulging on American media.  


People like me who are Type-A personalities, control-freaks, who rant and rave while pointing fingers at the injustices in this world,  who lay awake at night with thousands of anxious thoughts darting about,  well... Lord have mercy... we need to spend more time in prayer, meditation and reading Holy Scripture or the lives of the saints.

And even though I know this, have even written about it several times on this blog, my enemy still finds a way to probe my weakest points.  

So, I'm putting this out there for anyone else who overindulges on the web and has to unplug from time to time. (And to keep me accountable!)  Starting today, my headlines are changing.

No longer will I be indulging Yahoo's news headlines, the Drudge Report or even clicking on the news stories that my friend's post on Facebook.    My day will begin by reviewing the headlines at  and   because my soul needs nourished and my brain needs some peace.

Our media is constant, immediate and sensationalized and with the effect that can have on our emotions , thought process and behavior, the question was put to me, "Is our exposure to all this information normal or natural?"

I don't think there's anything natural or healthy about consuming a steady stream of news that reminds me of how depraved humanity can be.  

God have mercy on me a sinner...Grant me O Lord to discipline my thoughts and guard the images and words that I put into my mind. 

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