Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Cards On Sale Now

Send your hundreds of friends the cheap Christmas cards from the Super Stores, 
But send your favorite people a card from V's Cardbox.  



The Thanksgiving Sale is still on!  Christmas Cards 1/2 off.
www.shop.vscardbox.com 


Today's JAR - Keeping Christ in Christmas

Today's JAR just a reminder

The Advent Fast begins on Saturday, November 15th... But since the 14th is a fast day, TODAY is the last day to eat meat (and depending on how strictly you are planning to fast... )

Remember to stay focused on the feast day and less on the festivities.  After all, Keeping Christ in Christmas doesn't mean saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." There is a deeper meaning to this phrase.  Keeping Christ in Christmas means that we respect that this is a religious holiday and are following the traditions the church has protected.  We fill these days with prayer, fasting and alms giving not  lists to Santa for our wants, Christmas parties and overspending on gifts to give to friends, who already have everything they could possible need; meanwhile, ignoring the poor and shut-in. 

this card is available at www.shop.vacardbox.com

Keep Christ in Christmas... And remember it is a religious holiday.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Home with a Cold on a Sunday Morning

I’m home with a cold. 

It’s a crummy day.


Usually my day is me trying to do as many things as I can, all at the same time.  To say I've perfected multitasking would be stretching any understanding of its implications.  It’s better illustrated as Lucille Ball working in the chocolate factory; with my hands waving hysterically.  Today I am home and unable to even try to get anything done.

I am glad it’s Sunday, crummy cold and all. 

As disappointed as I feel for missing church today, I am feeling grateful for my yiayia (grandmother in Greek).  She taught me to respect and love Liturgical Time forty years ago.  I was just a kid and my sisters and I were sleeping over her house because my parents went away for the weekend… a wedding or funeral, I don’t remember.  But on that Sunday morning we didn't go to Church.  Yiayia didn't drive.  I woke anticipating a morning to play checkers, cards or watch TV.   I quickly learned she had a strict rule for Sunday mornings.  Neither games nor a cartoon on Sunday mornings until church was over.  Nothing until noon.  No chores or dinner prep for her either.  Her reasons were clear.  Sunday is a day for Liturgy and prayer.  In our town, just a few miles away, faithful and able Orthodox Christians had gathered for Divine Liturgy, and even though we weren't there, we were to honor it. 

I can’t thank her enough for that lesson.





Fast forward forty years.  I wonder what my yiayia would say about all the LIVE liturgies available online.  I imagine she would love it.  She’d probably sit with her full attention on the Liturgy, loving every moment and the gifts modern technology gives.  I doubt she’d be folding her laundry (or writing a blog post) while it was playing in a feeble attempt to use it as an excuse to multitask.  No, she would remember to keep Sunday mornings in prayer and as close to Liturgy as she could get.  I miss my Yiayia Ekaterina.  May her memory be eternal.


Need to find a live Liturgy for your sick day?  Follow this link on http://myocn.net/orthodox-christian-video-programs/divine-liturgy-broadcast/ or simply search LIVE ORTHODOX LITURGY. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Perfection is Possible in Prayer


 

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all.


Lately I've been waking up with brilliant ideas, only to realize after I fully wake, that I'm not as smart as I thought I was.  Usually I wake thinking I'm really funny.  But lately I have been feeling brilliant. 

This morning, after a week of many accomplishments and more disappointments, I woke with this thought...

How perfect do I expect my life to be and what is my definition of perfect? 
And what is reasonable?

 



I've had a hard week. 

I've had a great week. 

I did well in my new job, I planned a lovely retreat, the retreat was cancelled, my computer crashed, we might actually have a few more days left to back it up before I MUST buy a new one, I had a cold, I'm over my cold, my aunt died and I couldn't go to the funeral, and a few things too personal for this blog... But I'd have to say... I don't think it could have been any better, while I am sure it could have been worse. 

I am glad I didn't focus on only one of the many recent events.  I am thankful that I was able to stay calm in the storm.  "How?" you ask?   I attribute it to the following prayer.


The Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow


O Lord,  grant that I may meet the coming day in peace.

Help me in all things to rely upon Your Holy Will.

In every hour of the day, reveal Your will to me.

Bless my dealings with all who surround me.

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction that
Your will governs all.


In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.
 

In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
 

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.
 

Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
 

Direct my will.
 

Teach me to pray.
 

Pray Yourself  in me.
 

Amen.


I'd have to say, I think the prayer was heard.  I encourage you to practice this prayer. 

Prayer is a very powerful thing.  It is often under estimated.  Why do I pray?  Why do I value it?  It's not just because it works.  In my head, I visualize a sign at the gates of heaven (like in restaurants) that we must have seen yet missed on our way to earth that read:  I am God.  I reserve the right to control your life.  If you ask Me, I will help you.  If you follow Me, I will lead you.  If you deny Me, I will deny you.  Do your best.  So long as you persevere you will be ok.  But if you give up I can't help you.  I reserve the right to control you life.  It's the only way LOVE is possible. 

Why do I pray?  I pray so that God can intervene.  I pray to welcome Him into my life.  I pray so that I might learn how to love by living according to His will. 

So I encourage you to pray the prayer of St. Philaret.  It might help you to also see that our expectations of perfect are all dependent on if we are living according to God's will for us or our own.  No matter what happens, if we are searching for God's will and doing our best to live it, our life will be perfect according to His expectations. 
 
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Today's JAR- Modern Christianity vs Orthodoxy

Today's JAR. just a reminder


Modern Christianity says

"God created me and He doesn't make mistakes." 


Orthodoxy says

"Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him
and He will transform you into His image
so that you can become who you were meant to be,"