Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"...visit soul aperture to read her simple things, and see links to other bloggers who are sharing their simple things today. and please, post your simple things, too. for every 'simple things' post, christina will donate $1 to a good cause in tragedy-struck haiti. "
I started the list before heading over to soul aperature and was delighted to find another good blog, and apparently, someone who also appreciates all things Jamaican. As my Mom used to say, "How serendipitous!" ...and in her memory, that's the first thing on my list...
*Red Stripes ~Candy canes, American flags, Barber shops, festival tents, Red Stripe Jamaican beer~
*APT 9 Modal Cotton Socks
*Hearing the word “Nana”
*Taste of cinnamon
*Scent of lavender
*The sound of ocean waves gently lapping on the beach
*BFFs Teddy & Gretel
*Hearing “It’s My Delight” by the Melodians
*When my eyes burn from reading, painting, sewing or working way too long on the computer, my husband, without my asking, puts soothing cool fingers on my eyelids, like peek-a-boo bandaids.
*Finding things after saying prayers to St. Anthony for things I’ve lost (like this list) (Thanks, Tony)
I am going to come back to this and edit some photos in it. But all in good time. I'm rushing to be included in this 'project'. But even if the goal's already been met, this has been a really good exercise, for my heart, mind and soul. How serendipitous, indeed! Thank you Dawn and Christina!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
This is where it starts to get interesting; I am, admittedly, not a ‘morning’ person. I understand that there are people who are morning people, and at hours occurring later in the day, I wonder about them. I am not capable of that kind of thinking immediately after waking. I compensate for this state of oblivion by operating on an automatic pilot basis. I am capable of some basic functions i.e. flipping light switches, feeding the cat, etc. Speech itself is iffy at best, ‘verbal’ is not up yet. If I did not have to limit my caffeine intake, I would likely be slamming the elixir just to get to ‘verbal’. A hot shower begins to thaw what are apparently frozen brain cells. Next are the 2 bowls of hot oatmeal, and all the rest of the required food groups contribute to bringing me to consciousness.
It has always been so. It is in the DNA, my mother functioned much the same way. I think I envy those ‘perky people’ who open their eyes and poof; they’re ready to face the day.
So what happened Sunday morning was noteworthy. I was not really awake, but my visual senses picked up a difference in light that was not sunshine, not clouds, not fog. It was the light altered by the presence of Hoar Frost. It appears to be snow at first glance, but it is not. Its affect on the ambient light is almost ethereal. It is subtle and unique and it is as rare as a rainbow. The slightest change in temperature melts the crystalline structures, and the whole faerie effect is gone. And by some small miracle I had the presence of mind to grab my camera and run outside in my pajamas.
I’m no Ansell Adams. I’m not a great photographer. But sometimes the beauty surrounds us so completely that no camera could miss it. The trick is not to miss it. And by the grace of God, on this Sunday morning, I did not.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Later in the evening, my husband turned to a program on a local Public Television station called
'How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin'
and I overheard Minsk in the narration. Irony is not befitting enough a word for the story that unfolded. I was immediately transported back in time when Beatlemania ruled all the corners of the free world. It had never occurred to me what it meant to those behind the iron curtain. While I was making fledgling sketches of guitars, there were young people making black-market bootlegs of Beatle records on (of all things) x-rays. Turns out that x-ray of Uncle Chekov’s ribs was suitable material to cut record grooves in. And the Beatles may very well have influenced whether or not there are religious observances of Christmas in Minsk. To learn more about the Beatles influence on the Kremlin, click HERE . I also highly recommend watching the program, and you can find a link to that HERE.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
In that day the wolf and the lamb will lay down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions and a little child shall lead them all. The cows will graze among the bears, cubs and calves shall lay down together, and the lions will eat grass like the cows. Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes, and a little child who puts his hand in a nest of deadly adders will pull it out unharmed. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea so shall the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Isaiah 11:4-9
Orthodox Christmas enlightens hearts
Image by Glotova Ira from rojdestvo.paskha.ru
Published 06 January, 2010, 06:51
Edited 06 January, 2010, 16:35
Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7, and unlike the Catholic holiday, it remains more of a family feast with strong religious meaning.
Although the message of Christmas mainly focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ, that does not preclude the children of the Savvino-Storozhevsky monastery’s orphanage 50 kilometers west of Moscow from believing in some basic Christmas magic.
"One Christmas night when nobody was at home, suddenly under the Christmas tree a box full of presents appeared," said Kolya, an orphan. "It was a true miracle, as I still don’t know where it came from."
The kids at the orphanage are hard at work, preparing a puppetry pageant to perform on Christmas Day.
"It’s a fun for me, because I feel hilarious when I manage to perform well," said another foster child, Pavel. "I like nice decorations. It’s also interesting to see how people look at your performance."
Hieromonk Fiofil says that the children feel joy not only because they perform for the orphanage, but because they also play for the whole nearby town of Zvenigorod.
"When our orphanage was open, nothing special was organized on Christmas in the town, so their celebration was rather lean and dull," Fiofdil recalled. "And we decided to make their feast brighter. And so our children present their performance to the town."
As with many Orthodox denominations, the Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7, and while Western celebrations have grown to include some more commercial aspects of the holiday, Christmas in Russia remains more of a religious event.
"Modern Orthodox Christmas is not much different probably from Catholic celebration, as we also have fireworks and so on," said Fiofil. "However, our Christmas is a more cozy and warm family holiday. Even our Christmas carols have the spirit of home."
The difference in dates for Christmas lies in the calendar the two denominations use.
"Catholics, in contrast to Orthodox Christians, celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced later," explained Father Valentin. "When the Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas, one can feel that the Son has indeed risen. All over the world, the counting goes according the Orthodox calendar."
Now as the Orthodox Christmas meshes with the modern Gregorian calendar, both New Year and Christmas fall into one comprehensive period of celebration for all of Russia – a time when communities all over the country can come together.
Monday, January 4, 2010
As my daughter boxed up her Nativity set for the year and proceeded to put it away, I offered a question. “So what are the 3 Kings gonna do when they get here?” I was being facetious, and she knew it, so her answer was equally tongue-in-cheek. Then she seemed to think an excuse was needed and pointed out how little time there was to keep on top of things, etc.
She did not really need to justify her actions. Her family has more irons in the fire than a 19th century blacksmith. And just because the Crèche is packed away doesn’t mean she has no room in her heart for 3 visiting wise men.
My job, as I understand it, is to gently remind the world of the traditions and symbols we share, no matter how different we seem to be. That is whether those differences occur in our history, cultures, religious persuasions or geography.
For those of you playing along at home today is either the 10th, or the 11th Day of Christmas. For those of you on the 10th (like myself) this is the day to ponder the 10 commandments. For those on the 11th, it is time to contemplate the 11 disciples that remained faithful to Jesus (personally, I think God forgave Judas anyway). I added some more Christmas Carols from Amazon’s Mp3 downloads just to maintain the atmosphere either way.
There is not going to be a test later; nor am I trying to round up converts to any of these views. I’m simply extending the celebration of a Baby in a manger in my little corner of the world.