Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oh, Lent. You got to me.

You got to me.

Everything was going so well.

Until Thursday. I felt spaced out. And I didn't even think it was the fasting. I went on a walk with my buddy Jamie and our kiddos and I kept saying, "I feel really weird and out of it. I can't figure it out. What's wrong with me? It's like I didn't have any coffee, but I did have some."

The next morning Jamie called me, and was all, "Um, I read your blog, and about your staples, and I think you need some protein." I thought about it and yeah. Yeah! She was right. Protein! I can handle some bad air. "Mas frijoles, por favor!"

But I hadn't gone shopping yet. And I planned on having beans that day but it just didn't work out and I ended up having spaghetti and meatless meatballs, which, I think are supposed to have some protein.

Either way, I was in a complete mental funk all day today. And in that grouchy, odd state, while I snapped at my loved-ones, I remembered our priest telling us that by mid lent, we tend to realize how crummy we are. That we aren't good at fasting at all. It's amazing how you take a way some protein, and our true colors are revealed. And on the Sunday of mid lent comes the Veneration of the Cross. It is so appropriate. We must go to the foot of the cross to realize that all of our efforts are for nothing without the precious Cross. Christ is our sustenance. We most certainly do not live on bread alone. Or textured vegetable protein. Or beans.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Mark 8:34-9:1 (Sunday's Gospel Reading)
34When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
35For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
36For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
37Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
38For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
1And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top Ten Lenten Staples

At the beginning of Lent, Christina posted her Top Ten Lenten Staples. Now that we are in the middle of Lent, and this is my third fasting period in the Orthodox Church, I feel like I've found my own staples. If you have some to share please do and let me know! It's nice to get some ideas at this point. This year has been somewhat challenging as the family chef, since Jason has told me to fix beans very sparingly, as they tend to hurt his stomach. So we've had no bean soups, or lentils this time around. Bad for getting protein, good for having pleasant air to breath, if you know what I mean. ;)

1. Blue Diamond Almond Milk. It's tasty, good cold on cereal, and warm in coffee. We get Original the most but the chocolate is a treat. We like it much better than soy.

2. Split Pea Soup. So easy to make and it's always satisfying. I put celery, potatos, onion, garlic, and carots in mine. Salt it up and throw in a Bay leaf. The kids love it.

3. Earth Balance Butter Spread. Our favorite non-GMO, lenten spread. We use it on non fasting periods too.

4. Leeks! 2008 is the year I discovered leeks. No wonder the French love them. They are fantastic. I make a hearty potato leek soup with them, and they can also be thrown into pasta dishes. Yum.

5. Pasta, which is pretty much a lenten staple for everyone. Our fave is good old spaghetti with some marinara. Nothing fancy.

6. Oat meal. The old fashioned kind. Lots of protein and "stick to yer ribs goodness." I eat it with raisins and brown sugar.

7. Avocado salad sandwiches. This sandwich has a downside. It cannot be made in advance and it does not keep well. I do a layer of hummus, then lettuce, about half an avocado (I just slice it into chunks) then some seasoned salt, some red onion, and then tomato if I have some. It's also great with cucumbers slices. It's filling and delicious. Hannah eats it up.

8. Enchilada casserole, which would normally be a staple, but has yet to have been made this Lent due to a broken oven that is waiting quite exhasperatedly for a new part. It's layers of flour tortillas (but corn or wheat flour would be fine too), chile colorado sauce, leftover spanish rice, corn, refried pinto beans, and cilantro.

9. Rice cooker rice with sauteed veggies. We love the Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce.

10. Goddess Dressing. So great on salad or as a dip. I always have this stuff on hand.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not until Passover!

Found this cute little article (totally worth the read) while shamelessly blog-hopping one day and found this blog. It is from last year when both Western Easter and Orthodox Pascha were on the same day. It's a sweet little article and I had no idea that Rita Wilson was Greek. Well, you know, Wilson, it sure doesn't sound Greek. Must be a stage name. It made me think of the childhood I'm providing for my children, which will probably be close to what Rita describes, and I hope they will be in love with their Orthodox Christian faith and have many fond memories.

Fun facts for the day:

The West, being the Roman Catholic church and it's Pope at the time changed the date from the Orthodox date of the first Sunday after Passover in the 1500s.

Protestants accepted this Roman Catholic dating in the 1700s.

Both fun facts were learned in my cathechism class this afternoon. Interesting stuff.

If you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter to you! But I won't say Christ is Risen for about four more weeks! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

That creepy, crawly, germy feeling.

The phone rang. It was Jason needing some info for his tax appointment he was presently at. I ran off to get the numbers, absent-mindedly leaving the kids in the bathroom. It was nearly bedtime and Hannah was brushing her teeth. James was scaling the toilet (don't worry folks, the lid was down) when I hear Hannah using her most urgent and concerned big sisterly voice, "MOM!"

"Hang on, Hannah, OK, the number is...."


Sighing, "What, Hannah?"

"He HAD THISSSS!" She comes walking towards me with the toilet bowl brush pointing at me, like she was challenging me to a duel. I did not want to fight.

My eyes widened with disgust and horror. I manage to end the conversation with Jason, hang up and order her to not put the brush down, nor touch any other place on the brush. I find James happily playing with the holder of said brush. I felt a little gag reflex and then confiscated both items, hiding them in the shower.

Our bed time routine was then lengthened by a baby disinfecting process.

I must find a better spot for the toilet bowl brush. And I learned once again to never trust a baby for one second. Little trouble finder.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Turning the corner.

I have a sick baby. I've never really had a sick baby before. It's not much fun. His daddy and big sister gave him their colds, and then he went and developed an ear infection. I somehow managed to dodge those germy bullets and am fine. James is getting better today, thank God! I think my rough couple of days were due to my little guy getting fussy and ill, my kids have rotten teeth (but more on that another time) and that I had my Life Confession scheduled. My life confession was much harder than I thought it would be to give, but once it was over the burdens I've carried for years were lifted away. Whenever I had confessed soley by prayer, and kept my sins secret, I had always imagined them being lifted away, however they persisted to torment me. The healing sacrament of Holy Confession truly is a blessing, and it was a perfect way to start out Lent.

Of course, Great Lent is here. Mimi has a good post about it, as well as Forgiveness Vespers, which we participated in for the first time this year. It is so powerful and intimate to ask forgiveness of others around you, and they do the same of you. So let me ask of you:

If I have offended you here on my blog or in person, in any shape or form, please forgive me, a sinner.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The past couple of days have not been my favorite.

So I will count my blessings. Five of them.

1. Jason is understanding and kind to me, and ordered pizza last night so I didn't have to cook after a somewhat rotten day.

2. It's a beautiful day today. Too nice outside to be inside. Must go outside.

3. James' diapers are all clean and fresh from the dryer.

4. I have two extremely healthy and loveable children.

5. I get to see Maria today. She's a day-brightener. And she's watching the kiddos for me.

Things are not so bad!

*taking a deep breath*

*dragging myself away from the computer*

Good day.