Tuesday, April 25

The Day of Joy


It poured and poured today.  We've kept the fire going for the past two days to ward off the chill and it's cheerful glow has kept morale up in the process.  

Today is the Day of Joy in the Orthodox Church.  It is the day that Orthodox Christians sing memorial services and remember their dearly departed loved ones.  We had a service at church this morning and afterward one of our parishioners gave me a pussy willow tree to plant in the garden.  Hopefully we'll have pussy willows to bless for Palm Sunday next year.  We need to find a wet and sunny spot to plant it.

We've been recuperating from our busy weekend (and really, we're still recovering from Pascha).  The most we've accomplished in the last two days has been a little remedial housework and our schoolwork...  we're all just so tired! I anticipate a few more lazy days until we're back to our usual selves.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to listen to our bodies and rest.  Why is that so hard to do?! 

Monday, April 24

The Holy Fire


We were very blessed to be able to bring the Holy Fire home with us last night!  Our dear friends (and two of our children's godparents) were able to get the Holy Fire on Bright Monday and have passed it out to several churches in New Jersey.  It was a little stressful to keep the candles lit on the long way home, but Glory to God, we got it here! 

Sunday, April 23

Snapshots from Anna's Shower


Bridal Shower Menu
Tortellini Salad
Crudité Platter 
Cheese Platter
Assorted Cakes

Saturday, April 22

Bright Saturday


Rejoice, O holy and divine abode of the most high!  For through you, O Theotokos, joy is given to those who cry:  Blessed are you among women, O all-undefiled Lady!    
My sisters and I spent the day getting some errands done for Anna's bridal shower and her upcoming wedding.  It was a fun day for us all!

Friday, April 21

Bright Friday


Bearing Life and more fruitful than paradise, brighter than any royal chamber:  Thy tomb, O Christ, is the fountain of our Resurrection.     


The Merry Trio and I are on our way to a little weekend getaway that will include a bridal shower for my sister, Anna!

Thursday, April 20

Bright Thursday


In the tomb with the body and in hell with the soul, in paradise with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, wast Thou, O boundless Christ, filling all things.   


Thursday is our busiest day with gym class and violin lessons.  We left early for gym so that I could run a few errands for my sister's upcoming bridal shower, and decided at the last minute to skip gym and have lunch out.  It was a lot of fun and I don't regret our truancy one bit!  

Wednesday, April 19

Bright Wednesday


Thou didst descend into the tomb, O Immortal, Thou didst destroy the power of death!  In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming "Rejoice" to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thine apostles, and bestowing resurrection on the fallen. 


My husband had to visit a hospitalized parishioner today, so the children and I tagged along and wandered around one of our favorite seaside towns.  The children enjoyed looking in the shops, while my favorite part was gazing at the gardens and architecture.  I believe that this was the first time that I have seen Lily of the Valley growing.  I'd like to add a few plants to my garden this coming year.

Tuesday, April 18

Bright Tuesday


Before the dawn, Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They heard the angelic voice: “Why do you seek among the dead as a man the One who is Everlasting Light? Behold the clothes in the grave! Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen!” He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.   


Today was the first day that we could have a nice breakfast and I really savored it.  I love making toast from the Greek Pascha Bread that I baked on Great and Holy Saturday and frying up some bacon and eggs.  It's such a festive breakfast after fasting for so long.  The weather was beautiful, so we headed out to the boardwalk after lunch, took a walk, and played a little skee ball.   

Aren't those pysanky eggs on my breakfast table lovely?  I won a recent giveaway on Deirdre's Instagram page and am thrilled with them! If you're looking for some beautiful pysanky, check out Daedal Shop

Monday, April 17

Bright Monday


Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship, the holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless One! We venerate Thy Cross, O Christ, and Thy Holy Resurrection we praise and glorify; for Thou art our God, and we know no other than Thee; we call on Thy name. Come, all you faithful, let us venerate Christ’s Holy Resurrection! For, behold, through the Cross joy has come into all the world. Let us ever bless the Lord, praising His Resurrection. For by enduring the Cross for us, He has destroyed death by death!    


We had Liturgy this morning and then took the Merry Trio to see Beauty and the Beast.  It was such a beautiful movie.  I read an article on the movie prior to viewing it and felt it was spot on.  Have you seen it?  

Sunday, April 16

Prayer Pal

Every Forgiveness Sunday, our parish draws names from a basket and gets a "prayer pal" to pray for during Great Lent.  I found out that I was Father Daniel's pal last night.  I think that having the highest ranked priest in the Orthodox Church in American praying for me for the last six weeks was the reason I had such a nice Lenten season.

Christ is Risen!

Saturday, April 15

Our 2017 Pascha Basket

Greek Pascha Bread
Lindt chocolate bunnies
red eggs
summer sausage
sparkling apple cider
mozzarella cheese
Cheese Pascha

Our Pascha Menu

Spiral Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
Hard Boiled Eggs
Strawberry Blueberry Trifle (with homemade pound cake)

Great and Holy Saturday

  Every time I open the door, I get a whiff of Pascha.  Buying hyacinths for the porch will forevermore be on my Holy Week to do list.

Thursday, April 13

Great and Holy Thursday


Dedication: When a priest comes in from serving the Twelve Gospels and reads Bible stories to his children. 

Wednesday, April 12

Great and Holy Wednesday


I got the last bit of  "really important" cleaning done today.  All that is left to clean is our daughter's room (which she'll do by herself) and our bedroom.  I was so happy to get to clean the living room today.  It has doubled as my husband's sick room/office since his surgery in September (he's still in pain, poor man) and so things have been very chaotic in there for a long time.  As the room is literally in the center of our house (you need to go through it to get to the other rooms), it's been disheartening to see it so disheveled.

I have yet to pick up my knitting this week (it is always the first thing to go when things are chaotic), but Sugar Plum has been working quite hard on embroidering her first pillowcase.  I really love how it is turning out!

It's hard to believe that it is already the end of Great and Holy Wednesday! Only a few more days ntil the Feast of Feasts!

Tuesday, April 11

Great and Holy Tuesday

Mikhail Kalinin, Palm Sunday (2005)

It was another gorgeous day.  We spent time doing the things that we had to do (school, cleaning, errand running) and plenty of time doing the things we wanted to do (playground visits, long walks, and reading).   

Tonight was the final Bridegroom service for this year.  There is such lovely hymnology during Holy Week and while it is a challenge to take children to services and fit everything in this week, the hours spent in church are really a feast for the senses.

Sugar Plum purchased her first big embroidery project today.  After deliberating for awhile, she ended up choosing a set of pillowcases with a floral design stamped on.  We bought the suggested embroidery floss and she began working on the first pillow case right away.  I'm so amazed at her creative abilities and by the fact that she saved her allowance up for ten weeks to pay for the kit and floss!  I'll be sure to post some photographs of her progress!

Monday, April 10

Great and Holy Monday


As I cleaned the dining room and kitchen today, I listened to Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's Saint Matthew Passion.  It is one of my favorite symphonies and I look forward to hearing it every Great Lent.

I am trying to get as much accomplished in the house that I can early in the week.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will have a more intense service schedule and that will make it hard to get much done.  For now, I am quickly cleaning each room in the house, making lists of things to buy at the grocery store, and tackling all those little things I need to finish before Pascha.  I cannot wait for the Feast of Feasts!

Sunday, April 9

Palm Sunday

Still Life, Taisia Alfonina (Russian; 1964)

Our church was beautiful today for Palm Sunday.  It was also packed!  There were 107 people in attendance.  After the blessing of palms, processions, and Divine Liturgy, there was a fish fry.  Several families get together to provide it for the parish and it is lots of fun!

We had several different types of palms this year:  The standard palm strip kind and emerald palms.  We had a vast quantity of palms this year, so we also made about 150 palm crosses.  It would have been nice to have some pussy willows to pass out, too.  My husband and I have already discussed purchasing a pussy willow tree or two to plant in the church garden to provide branches for future Palm Sundays.

I made salmon for our family's dinner before Bridegroom matins tonight.  My new favorite way to make our favorite fish is to bake it in the oven (preheated to 450 degrees and then baked for 12 - 15 minutes.  Perfection.).  It was nice to feast together as a family, laughing and joking and just enjoying the festal day before Holy Week commences.  
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