Sunday, December 30, 2012

A sign

You know how you always hear people ask God for a sign? Well Im no different, and have asked Him on multiple occasions for some sort of visible sign that I was doing it right. And to be completely honest, although I know it to be a childish and illogical thing to do, in moments of weakness Ive thought about my father and asked him for help/ a sign that he was still with me. Always, of course, the two of them never answered. Directly, anyways.

Yesterday, something happened that I dont even know how to explain. Too many things happened for it to be just a coincidence (of which I dont believe, anyways). I am going to write it down, because I need to share, but I understand how hard it is to believe, so free to you to make your decision on the validity of what I am writing.

So we decided to go see Life of Pi yesterday night. By we I mean J and I along with his younger brother and his girlfriend, and one of our friends. Weve been anticipating seeing that movie for awhile, but had never gotten around to it. So we 5 drove all the way to Kirkland. I remember the roads being what normally passes as Qc winter roads. I am alkways a bit nervous when driving, so I always tell my backseat passengers to make sure they wear their seatbelts. Anyways we got to the movie fine, and left the theatre around 12:15am.

A little sidenote at how incredible that movie was. Probably one of the most beautiful movies Ive ever seen, and so deeply moving. I highly reccommend it to anyone that needs a good thinker.

So we left the theatre, and noticed it had been and was still lightly snowing. It was Jeff's turn to drive. Not having lost anyone to road accidents, and never having been in an accident himself, Jeff is much more confident than I on the roads. To the point it makes me look like a nag because I always tell him to slow down, slow down, slow down. The entire journey home I felt so stressed, my back was rigid, and I kept seeing death everywhere. When he took that turn a bit too sharply, when he drifted a bit there, when oncoming cars seemed to not want to put on their breaks early enough. I'm usually mildly paranoid, but last night was worst then ever. My stomach kept feeling clenched, as if in readiness. During the drive I told the people in the back to make sure they had their seat belts on, three times. I kept telling Jeff to slow down, over and over again.

Then we got on the Mercier. I swear to you, to anyone who would hear me, that I knew I was going to die on that bridge. I looked at the waters and imagined what it would be like to plunge. It sounds macabre, but I have no other way to explain the state of mind I was in. My breathing was accelerated, I was squeezing Jeff's hand so hard he turned to me and told me to calm down. I knew something was going to happen, but I just couldn't explain it.

Then my muscles relaxed, my breathing slowed, and I let go. I said to God that if this was supposed to be the time that I/we were going to die, then there was nothing I could do about it, and that I thanked Him for what he had given me. And then, as we passed the left exit to go to Kahnawake, and took that sharp turn to get into Chateauguay, Jeff lost control of the car.

I don't remember exactly what happened to the car. All I remember is the car drifting, suddenly jolting to the right, right into the side barrier. We hit that with a bang, the force drove the car backwards into an almost 360. Then we were blocking the road, we were horizontal to its vertical sides. We were close enough to the bend that should a car have come, it wouldn't have had time to slow down, we would have gotten rammed with whatever speed they were going at. Jeff had to reverse and move forward twice before we could continue down the road.

Nobody in the car spoke. All we could hear was breathing. Harsh and frightened. Then we started to laugh. How did we survive that? How were there no other cars around us when we first lost control, when there were plenty when we came on the bridge? How did we not crash hard enough into the railing that our car be more damaged (the front bumper is completely cracked), or that the huge bank on the side toppled us over? And especially, how were there no cars to come behind us on the bend and hit us?

How was I thinking those thoughts exactly before the accident?

And just to prove a point already made it seemed, Die Young from Ke$ha comes on the radio. And then the three in the back admit that they hadn't been wearing their seat belts.

Now maybe I'm just seeing things, or I was thinking that due to tiredness, or I'm just exaggerating, I dint see it that way. Ive written it down exactly how I remember it, and I choose to take it as a sign. A sign of many things.

But especially, a sign of God's love and His benevolence. I, we, are alive.

Thank You Lord.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trust Issues

A relationship must have absolute trust as one of its founding stones, that is something that most everyone would agree on. What trust means, what it entails, differs from couple to couple.

For example, I know a 'married' couple (I put married in quotations, because they were married using a pagan ceremony that isnt recognized as official) who are open to having multiple partners throughout their lives. In fact, the bride composed and sang a song to her groom about her blessing and accepting any future partners he would find. Every other couple has its own distinctions as to what is cheating, and what is acceptable.

I remember having this discussion with a bunch of girlfriends awhile back. It was the general consensus that touching was forbidden, but looking and talk/flirt was accepted. Because, and I quote, everybody does it.

Really?

You see, all this reflexion was brought upon by two people in my training class that I sit next to, and so hear everything they say. They are very obviously flirting with their words, their eyes, and their eyes, without ever touching. Which is fine, except for the fact that one of them is engaged. Now, far be it from me that I would ever express my discomfort with the way they act. I would never just saunter up to her, and say Hey! Is that attitude really appropriate for a soon to be married person? Or to him and say Hey! Would you be cool if some guy tried to woo your girlfriend knowing full well she was taken?

So I keep all my judgments to myself, and try to squash them, because really, who am I to judge you?

But at the same time, this has brought upon me a realization that my definition of <cheating> has changed. I now define cheating as anything I wouldnt do in front of J with a member of either sex. Words, glances, anything that I wouldnt do with J sitting right next to me, is something that has become innapropriate for me to do with anyone. Because, really, if I cant do it with him being right there, why would I do it at all? And vice versa of course.

The most important relationship in my life, apart from the one I have with God, is the one with my husband. It is up to me to keep the vows I said when I was married in every sense of the term, and never do anything that would break the sanctity of those vows. That doesnt mean never doing anything J doesnt want me to (were both extremely stubborn) but it means making sure I am the most trustworthy wife I could ever be, with my thoughts and actions and words.

Just another little nudge from God, I suppose. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An exercise in humility

I have some pretty epic failures. In all aspects of life. Especially following rules. For example:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

For the life of me, I can never abstain completely from meat on Friday. I try so hard, and start off the day really determined to do what I have to do to get through the day meat-less. And the worst is that I LOVE fish, beans, lentils, legumes, everything a vegetarian would recommend eating. And yet, by the end of the night, I end up with a mouthful (or more) of some delicious animal flesh. Sometimes, it happens by mistake, and I remember as I swallow Im not supposed to be eating this. Other times, I have a 2.5 seconds of hesitation before stuffing myself.

I also dont go to church every Sunday. There are some real excuses, thanfully most of the times, that are legit. Like sickness, unavoidable work, etc. Other times, Im just being lazy and blame my tardiness on my purposely lowered alarm. Lame sauce right there.

I STILL havent been to 'real' confessional, because, to be quite frank, Im terrified of being completely accountable for my actions. Im scared of what comes during, and after. Receiving the Host of Christ? Shocking and terrifying.

I lie and cheat, more frequently than I like.

I give in to bad cravings all the time and exercise never.

I pray two days out of three. I dont have time to dust, and forgotten clothes stay in the dryer more often than I care to admit. Also, I forget about leftovers in the fridge and only remember them when they start moving.

I yell LOUDLY at J instead of being understanding. I get frustrated at him for failings in myself. So not cool.

I am bound to fail again and again. Depressing, no? But then I just play this on repeat.

We're the reflection of imperfection,
We come from the infinite place of limitation.
Rejoice in these days, make a correction,
We're the completion.
-Matisyahu

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day/Toussaint (A prayer and a recipe!)

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world's power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.

Unknown author, 10th century
 
 
Ive only recently started to learn a bit more about ASD, which if I understand correctly, is the RC version of Sunday of All Saints, that us Orthodox celebrate at a different date. Seeing as how Ive communicated my confusion about whether I practice more as a Catholic than an Orthodox, Ive thought it would be important for me to learn, pray, and observe as much as possible on both sides of the fences. Is this wrong? Hopefully, it doesn't offend anyone in either branch, and if it does, yall just gonna have to deal with it. So the more I learn, the more I wonder at how this day of all Holy Days was just plain forgotten by what it seems most barely practising or non-practising but 'spiritual' Catholics. Really? A day to commemorate all those people past that were an example through one way or another, a day to pray specially all those souls in purgatory, just gone from the general public's memory? How sad.
 
So I am looking up different customs, and there is a diverse array from all over the world. In Czechoslovakia, there is an old tradition of eating special cakes on All Souls' Eve, and of drinking cold milk "to cool the souls in Purgatory." Another from Belgium refers to these special cakes again, and the more one eats of them, the more souls are released from Purgatory. And this song, sung in English towns by maids, for special cakes, once again:
 
Soul! soul! for a soul-cake!
I pray, good misses a soul-cake--
An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
 
So, these cakes seem to be pretty persistant throughout these traditions. Pretty much a big blinking arrow indicating I should try my hand at them. But, as a side note, I found this blog with tons of cute, some almost gag-worthy cute, ideas for ASD parties. So back to my soul cakes, Im going to be trying this recipe from an awesome blog called Catholic Cuisine. Should be very tasty! Jeff is completely on board with the idea of soul-cakes, for some reason.. LOL!
 
Cake Doughnuts

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 t. vanilla extract
oil for frying

1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, first measure of sugar, baking powder,
salt, first measure of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.
Mix until blended.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Pour oil into a two-quart pot until you have a depth of about 3 inches.
Heat the oil until about 375 degrees
(I don't use a thermometer; I just wait until it really bubbles up around a bit of dough).

On a floured board, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness.
Use a doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts.

Fry doughnuts in hot oil until golden brown, turning once.
Remove from oil to drain on paper towels.
Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.
Place warm doughnuts in sugar mixture and flip,
turning doughnut and shaking gently to coat.
 
Happy ASD to everyone, and God have mercy on our souls (and our bellies after those!)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Abrupt Changes

Thursday afternoon, I walked into my boss' office, and little did I know, but that barely 5 minutes later, I would quit and walk out of her office extremely angry.

Worst timing ever.

But you see, I think at the age where Im at, with the experience ve had at different times and jobs, Ive grown to learn alot about myself. My self-esteem has grown immeasurably. I know that I do my job right and well, and that I deserve to be treated with respect, as a human being. Which wasnt the case, for more than a year. So I finally stood up for myself and said that I had had enough. I deserve better than this. It was picking between money, and between my self-worth. And I picked my self-worth the exact mopment when I said I QUIT and walked out.

Am I worried? Yes. Definetly. But I am also confident in my skills and abilities, and finding a job, ANY job, shouldnt be that hard. I would honestly work at McD's flipping burgers rather than degrade myself. I feel in my heart and soul that I made the right choice. Now I have to have faith, pray, and trust.

Trust in Jeff to be strong. Trust in myself and the choices I make. Trust in the Lord that He will provide, and that everything will work out, even better, if I just listen to what He has to say. I am at peace with this decision.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

If there was ever a prayer in song, it would be this



Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
And I'm sorry
I'm sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea, one on shore
My heart was never pure
You know me
You know me

But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

And there is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be
 
- M&S

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marriage and a prayer





Lord, please mold me into exactly the wife that my husband needs. Whatever that is, whoever she is, help me always make him understand how much I love him, let me always remember my love for him, let me be strong when he needs support, thankful and grateful for everything he brings to my life. Let us grow together to become better and holier people than we could ever have been on our own.  Let me be enough for him, and let him be enough for me, always. Amen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 years

This is how we celebrated.


I had planned to make one of his favorites meals, beef stew. Long story short, that didnt work. This morning, in a rush and semi-late-panic, I remembered to pull something out of the freezer for supper. The nearest thing ended up being hamburger patties. So we had cheeseburgers for supper. They were delicious.




Accompanied by a mixing bowl full of ceasar salad. Just lettuce and cucumbers, because thats what we could afford to buy on the go of this non-pay week with three birthdays (my mom, step-dad, and sister) in it. Also, we basically survived on that back in our skinny days of non-work gypsy living, so the salad was sentimental. :)



Jeff got to cheat with his favortie naughty beverage. And I took a few sips.



Best part? I worked much later than anticipated and had literally no time to make something better than oxygen for dessert. Jeff picked up a cake and decorated it. I love him.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unfulfilled Longing

What does it feel like, in your belly?
What does it feel like, in your heart and soul?
To know that you carry the most precious thing in the world?

How does your brain work, your eyes see, your hands touch
When you know you think/see/touch for two?
What does his face look like when you tell him?
What do his eyes look like when he puts his hands on your bump
And know that's part of him in there?

What are your very first thoughts, when you learn?
Are you afraid, joyous, anxious, bursting with sunshine?
What does it feel like to be in love with your own creation?
What does it feel like to carry a little tiny thing that is completely innocent?

What does it feel like, that moment, that one singular moment
When you hear its voice, its own little voice
For the first time? When you hold it for the first time?
When you look into its eyes, into its pure soul, for the first time?

What does that love feel like?
How do you not burst with feeling?
How do you let anyone else but your lover hold and care for that precious tiny bundle?
How can you go to sleep at night without irrational anxiety?

What is like to have a child?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cleaning out closet and life

I was cleaning out my closet, and putting away the spring & summer clothes, when I fell on a shirt I had squirelled away from ages past. And by ages past, I mean from 6-8 years ago. The shirt is made of black velvet, extremely low cut, had the red anarchy A patch, strategic holes where I had sewn chains, and ludicrous pentacles galore.

You see, when I turned 16, I went through a goth/punk phase for a few years, which transmuted into my skank phase later on. There are very little pictures of me, I think my grandmother is the only one in possesion of one, actually. IMO, the less evidence, the better.

Back to the shirt, I had completely forgotten that I had kept this shirt, and essentially hidden it away. Having it fall in my hands was like an instant flashback. I compared that shirt to the rest of my wardrobe. Stark difference. I had, have, and probably always will have this tendency and preference for dark and especially black clothing. And that is where the differences stop.

I dont own any more low cut shirts. I dont own any more velvet shirt. Purposely ripped clothing has been replaced by wear tears, and chains have been replaced by mending thread. There are no more A's, there are no more pentacles. I would never wear this shirt, not as a costume or as a joke. This shirt belongs to someone else.

Epiphany, of a kind. Ive been strugging for the past year about taking those two paths, which is how I feel my mind, soul, and heart have been divided. Old Cynthia vs New Cynthia. Goth skank vs modest wife. Rebellious anger vs prayerful intent. Will to force change vs will to upkeep & create.

But seeing that shirt, and knowing I couldnt even fathom wearing it anywhere, ever, forced me to look at things like they were. I can feel some sorrow, yes, about not being the same 16 year old anymore. But I cannot be that 16 year old, because I took her and evolved her into something so much better. I still have that passion for change, but I channel it into something completely different.

Im a responsible adult. I have the right to drink, gamble, own & drive a car, get into and out of debt, vote, I have complete control over every aspect of my personal life. I am married to the most wonderful man in the world, and should I be so blessed maybe one day God will see fit to give me children. But for now, I have the awesome responsibility to be a replacement mother for 8 beautiful 2 year olds. I challenge and get challenged in ways previosuly unthought.

Why in the world would I mourn Old Cynthia, when she is part of New Cynthia, just less angry at the world?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My love of soup

Ah, soup. The perfect lunch (or supper). I love all soups, and I can eat even my most detested vegetables (which, now that I think about it, isn't that many) in a pureed soup version and relish every minute of it.

Ive finally figured out that an easy way to have lunch on the go ready is to make a few batches of soup (or chili, stew, that kind of consistency) and freeze it in portion sized containers. The night before, I take out a container and BAM finished. That plus any leftovers means whole weeks of easy lunches. For example, in the freezer right now, I have carrot ginger soup, cream of broccoli and cauliflower, and am about to make roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Both of those things, might I add, were bought fresh, roasted or peeled/de-seeded and then frozen, which makes this recipe that much faster. If you don't have the tomatoes pre-prepped, follow these instructions on how to do them, and these instructions on how to roast peppers. It is not necessary to make a good soup to have either of those things done, but be prepared for the little hard skin sticks from the tomatoes, and the roasted part just adds extra smokiness.


Ingredients
butter & o.o.
1 large red or Spanish onion
3-6 minced garlic cloves
about 2.5 lbs tomatoes (I had a mix of Roma and Heirloom)
2-3 roasted red peppers, de-seeded
1-2 cups of broth
freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
couple shakes of hot sauce


So the first thing you want to do is to grossly slice up that onion in half rings, and start to caramelize it in a pot in which the butter and the o.o. have been melted. The heat should be at med-low, to ensure you do not burn the onions. Frequently stir them until the are translucent and brownish in color. Should your onions start to burn, lower your heat and stir more often. If they should stick, scrape up the brown bits at the bottom with a wooden spoon. Those are tasty bits, as long as its not burnt. This took about 15-20 mns. Once they look like this, your done.



Next is to incorporate the garlic. Roast for another few minutes. Add the broth and bring up the heat to medium.

Add the peppers and tomatoes, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, pepper. Let that whole mixture bubble away, for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a blender and blast until completely smooth. The soup is creamy and thick, deliciously smokey, and such a beautiful bright red orange, you know just by looking how delicious it is. Now is the time to taste it, and if you'd like, add some hot sauce. I usually add a couple of shakes because I like that extra  bite.



I'm not an expert on fat content and caloric content, but I would be willing to bet that it is both low fat and low calorie, should that be something you are looking for. In any case, its high flavor, which is what counts for me! The rest is just an added bonus!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Put up 2012 pricing

So I have been canning and freezing alot this year, in fact, this year is the year where I have increased my 'putting up' by about 150%. Previous year, Ive put up a few jars of this, a few of that. Never really thinking, how much do I need to get through the year until the next in-season produce? I felt good that I was slowly breaking the ice with a few cans here and there.

But this year, I feel like Ive made alot of progress. I really focused on what was in season, what could I do with it, what will we eat that I can freeze/can to limit all ingestion of unknowns. Not to mention the money we have saved. But to prove that to myself and others, I wanted to price what it was that I had put up.

I shucked fresh corn so that we wouldn't need to buy any canned corn and froze it, a little over 10 cups of it total. The corn was ultra fresh (as in, just broken right off the stalk), and cost 5$. The biggest deal I can find right now is .50$ for a can of 200ml niblets. So it would cost about the same for the same amount (maybe a few cents in my direction). I didnt save any money on that, but I sure as heck saved my tastebuds, as the two arent even comparable in taste.

 I canned about 16 cups of roasted corn salsa, all made with fresh ingredients. I cant find roasted corn salsa, so I will compare the price of regular rojo salsa to mine. Lets start with rojo at 4.50 for 500ml. So that would equal up to 36$ of salsa. My ingredients (tomatoes, onions, green bell & jalapeno peppers, corn, cilantro, few odds and ends I had) cost 17$. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of sodium in store-bought salsa, making salsa for the win!

On to tomatoes. This one is a hard one to calculate because of all the ingredients that went into each batches, so I broke it down. Lets start with whole (peeled/seeded) tomatoes. I have maybe 7 cups of tomatoes. This cost me 3.5$ (I bought them in bulk). I found .79$ for 500ml. So that equals 2.76 for the same amount. So canned tomatoes actually wins this battle price-wise.

Next is sauce. I made 24 cups of tomato/garlic/herb sauce. I fashioned it after the sauce we usually buy which is Hunt's, sells in 500ml cans (so 12 portions) which cost at is lowest 3 for 5$, which equals to 20$. The total cost of making this was 7$. Team canning WINNING!

I made 10 cups of spaghetti sauce. We dont buy canned meat sauce, we seperately buy all ingredients, very often not on special. Last time I made that large of a quantity, it cost me 18$. Buying the tomatoes (rather than canned sauce and canned tomatoe chunks) changed the entire taste and value of the sauce, making it a ridiculous 9$ Savings of 9$ for the canning lady!

Last is 10 cups of spicy marinara vegetable sauce. The closest thing flavor and ingredient wise that I liken it to is the glass canned sauces, which could be unfair since they are pricier than cheaper version. But lets indulge. Those sauces come in at 4.50 for 500ml, and the grand total of my sauce was 6.50$ This includes mushrooms, peppers, carrots, zucchini, leeks and celery as vegetables, dried and fresh herbs. Thats a savings of 15.50!

Next is beets, since Im the only one who enjoys them, I only canned 2 ltrs of them. The beets cost 3$, I have vinegar and sugar in bulk quantities, so the quantities I used cost mere pennies. Canned beets are 1.50 for 500 ml, so I saved 3$ (imagine what I would have saved had we all loved beets and ate them like mad!).

Strawberry jam is up, though I feel maybe like I shouldnt count that as my regular canning as I make jam as a side job. It cost 9$ for about 8 liters of jam. I believe that jam is around the 2.00$ mark for 500ml, so I saved a whopping 23$ by buying strawberries in season, and in bulk (they were slightly overipe, but it made for a naturally sweeter jam :D)

Last but not least is pickles. Ah, les lovely cornichons. I made 6 liters of dill pickles, and 4 liters of bread and pickles. I think the pickles go for 2$ a liter, and it cost me 10$ total. Thats a savings of 10$ for my pocket!

So that amounts to a grand total of 93$!! About a week and some's worth of groceries! A payment on a bill (two even)! How crazy is that??

And thats not counting all the other stuff, like huge squash cubed and frozen, herbs (you pay the same price as in stores, but the quantity is HUGE in comparison), I bought mass quantities of carrots that I havent prepared into soup (I freeze in individual portions so I can easily unfreeze lunch for work) yet, and the apple/autumn squash season is about to begin, which means lots of canning and freezing to come!

I am so happy to know that the time I spent on this was worth it in the end! NUTS!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Seatbelt ON

A quick post about pickles.

I think pickling cucumbers is probably the easiest thing when it comes to food preservation. Seriously, a few minutes and you've got a few jars of delicious dill spears or sweet bread and butter coins, If ever I give a class on canning and preserving, making pickles is most definitely the first thing I would teach.

But I digress.

One trick that Ive used for the last couple times is called seat belting. What the heck is seat belting? Well you know when your pickles float, even when you've packed them tighter than rats in a tunnel? Well seat belting is an effective way to make sure those suckers don't move an inch. And its so easy to do.



You simply pack in those spears as hard as you can, leaving no space, and wedge two spears in a crisscross way, tight enough to keep the rest of the pickles down, like a barrier. Thus appropriately named seat belt. Simple, and it makes your jars pretty enough to give as gifts, should the receiver be ridiculously prickly and snobby about floating pickles. Ta-da!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Post-Op taste buds

Im seeing so many changes to my taste buds after the operation.

At first I thought it might be because of the medication, but Ive been off those for a long enough time not to be affected anymore. Everything tastes different. Everything store-bought tastes worst. Like, literally disgusting.

I taste salt in EVERYTHING. Example, yesterday I found a long lost May West J had left behind in the pantry. Wasnt too old, maybe 1 month? Decided I had been doing so well I would take a bite and enjoy the sweetness of it. BIG mistake. All I could taste was salt, and some sort weird chemical metallic taste. At first, I chalked it up to being in the pantry too long, but when I made pre-made soup in a can (I know, but I have no more broth left), it tasted so disgusting I had to throw it out after two spoonfuls. Then my mother brought me some soup she had made, simply pureed cauliflower and broccoli in broth I had made and given her awhile ago. It tasted divine. Complete confusion.

You see, Ive harped about the nastiness in those cans, but secretly I actually liked the taste, so it really was about refraining myself from eating them. But now, all I taste is something I cant even put into words. It doesnt taste like food, swallowing it is like swallowing shit. Excuse.

So would that mean that my week and a half of eating nothing but the blandest coldest smoothest foods (applesauce, yoghurt, ice cubes) flushed not only my entire system but my taste buds of everything that was crap? Do I have, like, a child mouth, that I have to start retraining in taste? Ive apparently rid my body, my mouth, and my brain from the desire to eat the things that are not food. A few days after the operation I kept saying how much I was craving a poutine from KFC (of all weird places). Now, I cant stop craving avocado, the crunch of corn, I want to bite into a tomato. I have never been attracted enough to a tomato to eat it like an apple. But now I want to eat it. And cucumbers. What the heck is going on?

If what I am speculating is true, then this is a gift completely unlooked for. And it will change my life. I give in to cravings, fast food is like crack. It was, in fact, easier to quit popping pills and other stuff than to stop eating fast food. I guess we will have to see what develops!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Seed Scattered and Sown

Is not the bread we break,
a sharing in our Lord?
Is not the cup we bless,

the blood of Christ outpoured?

The seed which falls on rock
will wither and will die.
The seed within good ground

will flower and have life.  
Seed, scattered and sown,
wheat, gathered and grown,
bread, broken and shared as one,
the living Bread of God.

Vine, fruit of the land,
wine, work of our hands,
one cup that is shared by all,
the living Cup, the living Bread of God.
 
 
- Dam Feitein

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pickled beets in 6 easy steps

Canning beets is a super easy though a bit time consuming way to preserve the delicious tangy sourness that beets have. Beets are super low in fat and calories, deliver a punch to your tastebuds, and are an excellent source of folate, and contains a significant amount of fiber, manganese and potassium! Plus they have such a beautiful deep purple color that it will instantly brighten any plate.

A few tips prior to start canning: beets are beautiful yet very staining, so please dont wear your Sunday best while canning. Old shirt and pants and an old apron are highly reccomended. As well as gloves, if available, unless your ok with having purple fingers for about two weeks afterwards. Clean the instruments you use between the steps ASAP so as to remove the stain, wipe countertops and knives as well. Beet juice is actually an excellent natural dye, FYI. So knowing that, be prepared for some staining. This whole process also takes time, so dont start if you cant finish.

Step 1
Purchase the amount of beets you need from a local farm (or better yet, grow your own!). Beets dont shrink or expand so if you buy 2 ltrs, be prepared to can 2 ltrs.

Step 2
Pass the beets through water in a colander, roughly rinsing off whatever detachable dirt there is. Its ok if they have some dirt left on them, theyll be squeaky clean by the end of the whole process. Cut off the two ends and any serious pockmark.

Step 3
In a large non-reactive pot, boil the beets whole with their skin still on for about 15-20 mns, until you can easily spear them through with a knife.

Step 4
Drain in colander, rinse thoroughly, and let cool before touching. Now is the time to prepare your glass jars. Wash and disinfect all jars, rings and tops. For added taste, I slice a little red onion at the bottom of each jar, but that is up to you. They are excellent without.

Step 5
Once you can easily hold one, start peeling. The peel should come off with extreme ease. You can either plop them down whole or cut them to your desired proportions. I do a jar of whole one (usually reserve the smaller ones for that), a jar of coins, and the rest cut into quarters. Don't ask me why, I just like the variety.

Step 6
Once you have filled the jars to the top, allowing for 1 inch headspace, all that is left to do is to add the vinegar. Boil the amount necessary (remember that you dont need 1 cup of vinegar for one 250 ml jar, the beets take up room!), add a bit of sugar if you like to cut the sourness, and some lemon juice. I used 4 cups of vinegar, 5 tbsp of white sugar, and 1 lemon's worth of juice. Boil that mixture up, and fill your jars up. Cap and process in a water-bath for 15mns. My grandmother actually skips this step, and technically the heat and acidity should seal the jars by themselves. Its up to you, if you feel confident enough, go right ahead! Store in a cool dry area, and I suggest waiting 2 weeks for the pickling to start before you pop open one of these suckers. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fall is here!

FALL IS HERE! FALL IS HERE! FALL IS HERE! I feel like prancing around like a little child throwing leaves in the air! September (I don't care that its not the date of) means FALL, and fall means lots and lots of good things!

Harvest time for soooo many good things, like APPLES! I cannot wait for apple picking time, Ive already seen advertisements for Ile St-Bernard self-picking apple orchards and a few other places. Ooooh the goodies I will bake! I have been praying lately for a solution to our minimal freezing storage, as J's parents were supposed to purchase a new freezer and give us their 'old' one, but that didn't turn out. I'm using the freezer for so many things (I freeze alot of vegetable and fruits, whole meals, pies, etc), and I have no space to do so. His aunt popped us a surprise by saying she was going to give us one of hers, so I am very excited to be able to start freezing in mass quantities! A step forward in the right direction of eating mostly local and in season foods!

New groups/new decisions to be made at the daycare! We always start our new groups in September, to follow the routine of schools, and I am excited to meet new little faces! I am also going to be making some decisions by winter about my personal career and family future. We have been talking alot about a possible career change (not that big, really), maybe going back to school, finishing/advancing the schooling we do have, finally founding a family (or deciding that maybe family life isn't whats in store for us.. a little shocking, I know).

My 5 year anniversary with Jeff, and our 1 year wedding anniversary!! WHAT? As if! J and I were just talking about this in the car today. I said something along the lines of my disbelief at having a whole entire year pass by us so fast, he replied with: I cant believe your not in jail (from my presumable murder of him). Thats why I married the guy. Were celebrating by having a horseback riding adventure, a gift given to us by our uncle (the guy who married us). Imagine the scenery with autumn colors, a 2hr horseback ride by ourselves in the woods, then a cabin just for us? So romantic! I simply cannot wait, and I am very grateful that we get to do something so special for the two of us and it not costing us anything, besides gas and whatever food we pack! What a blessing, especially in these tight fiscal times!

Talking of tight fiscal times, I have made a list of the essential things I need to can for the winter, and this year I will test out if my quantities were correct, and if I should have done more of this or less of that. Ive learned through the last couple of years that even though I want to can EVERYTHING, we dont eat EVERYTHING. So my list includes salsa, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beets, dill and sweet pickles, pickled broccoli and cauliflower, jam, apple pie filling and a few sauces (like BBQ and a sort of asian for our stir-frys). I can chicken and veggetable broth on the go as need recquires, and Im still experimenting with making ketchup and mustard that is accepted by Mr.J. As well as trying whole canned peaches and pears. I feel like I forgot a couple of things, but thats all Ive got for the moment. Im also going to focus alot more on the freezing aspect (bread, muffins, cakes, pies, etc).

I can already smell that crisp air and hear the leaves crunching underneath my boots as I walk hand in hand with the love of my life, all snuggled up in a cozy sweater, and maybe a light scarf and mittens! Ah, autumn, I love you so!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life is like a box of drugs

Faith in good times is easy. When everything is going awesome, when everything is going your way, its simple to say a little prayer here, feel grateful there. The real issue comes when life sucks, and you cant see then end, and you feel like your dying, or maybe death is the better option that what it is your currently living through. There is nothing harder, nothing more excrutiating, than saying thank you God for what I DO have, because who the hell has the heart to look on the good side if your surrounded by your own personal hell?

But what I am very sloooowly learning, is that God is with me every single moment of my life. High times, low times, hellish times, He is here with me with His all encompassing love and I really feel like when I feel like shit and Im full of pain and hurt, He hurts that I hurt, like my mother would. When I was bad tripping hard and yelling at evil hallucinations, she was there with her eyes full of tears, hurting that I hurt, she couldnt do anything but be here and wait for me to ride it out and hold me afterwards.

That's exactly what I feel God is doing, but for my soul. I, as a human always in sin and hurt, continuously go through bad trips. There is no getting around that. There is going to be shitty moments for the rest of my life. But I feel better about that, because I know my friends and family will always be here for me to hold me up, and help heal my heart and my body. And God will always be here to heal my soul.

I just have to let Him.

Friday, August 31, 2012

How to make your pizza healthier and tastier

So pizza is one of my forever loves. I love all types, with extra cheese and extra sauce please. I havent yet tasted a pizza I don't love. Spicy, sweet, meaty, vegetarian, fruity, herby everything is delicious. However, that delicious tends to run mighty high in calories.

So when making it at home (because 99% of the time when you go from ordering out to making your own, your already saving tons of calories and cutting fat), here are some tasty substitutions that knock out the calories but increase the tastiness.

1. Start from the bottom up. Making your own dough, your sure of what goes in, and what doesnt. Making a cauliflower crust is a definitive option which would cut out all the carbs from that source. But, no time? Use whole wheat whole grain tortilla, or pita. Takes no time, tastes delicious.

2. Store bought pizza sauce is often loaded with sugar and weird stuff, so making your own is a much better alternative. Once again, no time? Use salsa. Little caloric content with huge flavor. Again, make your own, its very easy, but should you buy it, watch out for the sodium content! I found that Tostitos brand has a much higher sodium count than other brands, so check that label!

3. Use fresh veggies (or fruits) for your toppings, the more the better. Check out which combination you like, my favorite is asparagus, caramelized onions, red pepper, cauliflower, and chicken. Instead of pepperoni, bacon, salami, try chicken, turkey, ham!

4. Measure out your cheese before putting it on. Its sooo very easy to grab a few handfuls and spread the love, but that can rapidly escalate into massive calories and a soggy top. 1/2 cup is enough for one large tortilla, the point is to add to everything already on there, not drown it out. You can also try different cheeses, like goat and feta, and try placing your cheese like a marguerita pizza.

5. Finally, for the last zing for your tastebuds, add fresh or dried herbs to the top of the pizza. Try parsley, basil, cilantro, oregano. The combos are endless! Pizza is truly a blank slate for you to be creative and test out different flavors. All you have to do is try!

Tonight's creation: salsa sauce, red pepper, mushrooms, red onion,
jalapenos, montery jack cheese, with fresh parsley on tortilla 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Im on the crazy shit

Post-Op, they would alternate needles of something (I dont remember what) with 3 crushed extra strenght Tylenol, and I would survive. and feel ok. The shots made me a little woozy, in the sense that I would often very slightly hallucinate by dreaming with my eyes open, but being alert enough to know I was not in my full capacity, if that makes sense. It would take the immediate pain away while leaving me able to respond to minimal recquirement (shake head, squeeze hand, go to the bathroom aided, drink water, etc).

Then, I made the ultimate mistake on my departure day to have a conversation with a nurse about the pros and cons of smoking MJ vs being on pain meds. The nurse asked me if I smoked regularly, and I said occasionally rather. She came back a few hours later with my papers for leaving, and explained to me my meds. She said the pills were about 1.5 to 2X stronger than the needle because of my drug use history (...) to which I replied that the needle had been plenty, I didnt need anything stronger. She said hospital procedure. Ok then.

So off I go, get the meds, start taking them. I didnt read the paper that comes with it because I honestly was not in a reading state of mind. Ayoye, if you get my drift. I start taking the prescribed dosage, 4mg of PMS-HYDROMORPHINE HYDROCHLORIDE


Explanation:

hydromorphone hydrochloride
[-môr′fōn]

an opioid analgesic. A synthetic derivative of morphine used as a respiratory sedative and analgesic that is more potent than morphine.
indication It is used to treat moderate to severe pain.
contraindications It is used with caution in many conditions, including head injuries, asthma, impaired renal or hepatic function, or unstable cardiovascular status. Known hypersensitivity to this drug prohibits its use.
adverse effects Among the most serious adverse effects are drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, respiratory and circulatory depression, bizarre dreams and hallucinations, and drug addiction.
 
 
Um, what the fuck is this shit they gave me? After  24hrs of taking it, I was tripping balls in a really bad way. I was paranoid to the psychotic point. I started randomly talking really fast, moving really fast only to feel dizzy and slide to the floor. My claustrophobia kicked in with a major Ass Kicking session, where I would cry there was no more air and shake (and I dont know if you know this but crying when you have your tonsils cut out is not fun. As well as hiccuping and yawning. Ouch.) A whole lot of other fun things. I remember sitting there, feeling my heartbeat jump, feeling like my skin was crawling and it was so important that I get up for some reason, but I couldnt move my body at all. I have never in my life felt like this before.
 
Then my mom mom made the decision for me, and took my pills away. Before that, we consulted my cousin and my older sister, both who are nurses with years of experience. They said the same thing, that that was way too much drugs, and if I could handle it, that it would be best if I switched immediately to Tylenol. Case in point.
 
So now Im in suffering nightmare, BUT Im not being all fucked up on some pills that seem to do worst than they do good. I dont understand docs. Out of all the possible meds out there, why prescribe something so harmful? Why is it better to give something like that over prescribing straight marijuana (except for inability to smoke for any reason)? Isnt there something more natural than synthetic morphine that could help me somehow without causing dependance??
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peace part 1

Completely unexpectedly, we came across St Anne De Beaupre church on our way to Iles-Aux-Coudres, and of course, I requested a stop as soon as I figured out what it was I was so awed by. Something miraculous happened within this church, something which changed my life. But for just a little while longer, I wish to keep this in my heart, between me and God.

So I will instead share some pictures of what has to be the most beautiful church I have ever seen, and I apologize for the quality, but no matter how expensive my camera could have been, it could never have truly reproduced the beauty, calm, and love this place seemed to radiate. Truly, I could have spent my life inside, contemplating.


In honor of Mary

The Holy Family, definetly my favorite alcove.

When you walk in, the mosaics are stunning!

This is where all the lighted candles come to burn out.

St Francois D'Assise, one of the first saints I ever heard about

St Anne with Jesus

The other half of the room where candles burn out. There are benches for contemplation,
but the heat from the candles is staggering!

Gated gold frescoe.

There were mosaics everywhere, and at the entrence, each astrological sign.

Beautiful and intricately detailed carving above the door, I believe this is
Mary Queen of Heaven, but I could be wrong.


Very tall arches with gold statue.


Beautiful fountain at the front. If I had known we would have seen the church I would have
dressed more appropriately to pray, but what can I do?

St Anne and Child at the top of the fountain.

church and front grounds

Holy Family with the top mosaic. Again, favorite.

St Jean Baptiste

Hundreds of burning candles in the candle room

Read more here to know the who what where of St Anne de Beaupre Basilica

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Day

Today, I needed a bit of extra warmth, so I started off the morning with a spiced oatmeal with nectarines, and a cinnamon chai with a bit of vanilla soy milk to sweeten the deal.

Instagram makes taking pictures effortless


Today is going to be a great day, and I will make the most of every single second. I hope that whoever you are wherever you are, you have a great day too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 1-3 of a Soda Free Life

The soda issue is a non-issue. I don't feel any cravings, but this was more for hubby than myself. I havent had any sugar crash, any inexplicable anger or mood swings, which Ive heard comes after soda withdrawal (like a friggin drug). So far, so good.

I took a trip to the grocery store (by that I mean I walked, and I feel very proud of myself for that) and had a panier full of freshness that I dont usually buy. I had dragonfruit (which I LOVE and have maybe once or twice a year considering how far it came for me to enjoy it), papaya (same as above), an eggplant, and yellow zucchinis (Ive only ever had green, Im assuming it will taste the same or about). Rewarding myself with chocolate treats and other not so good for you stuff was pretty much my norm before, but if Im going to feel good and enjoy a treat, it might as well come in the form of luscious fruits. As for the eggplant and zucchini, I was in an adventurous mood. Apparently, me being Greek and never have eaten eggplant is practically blasphemy, so why not? I looked up a couple of ways to serve it and tried it out. One was just to cube the eggplant, pan sear with a bit of o.o. with spices, and the other way was to mandoline the heck out of it, spice it up and bake them, making healthy eggplant chips. Didnt like any of it, but from what I can see, eggplant has little or no taste by itself, so maybe I just didnt find the way to prepare it properly. I havent done anything with the yellow zucchinis yet. We have a stir-fry coming up, so maybe toss em in!

There`s something else that I finally admitted outloud to myself yesterday, though I hesitate to post it here because I know judgement is sure to come from most anybody who reads this. I use maryjane much too often, and as a consequence, Ive put on weight because of my increased appetite. I used to just do it socially, but for the last few months its every couple of days with or without people. Always at night, when Im done work and have no social obligations of any kind, but thats also when I make and eat supper. If Im to succeed, this needs to stop. I just dont know if I can, Ive come to rely on it for stress relief and pain control. Before, my answer used to be yoga and meditation for stress relief and medication for pain control. I obviously should switch back to my habits as far as stress relief, but I dont want to pop pills again for pain control, so I dont know what to do for that. I guess everything will work itself out!

Pray/think/send positive thoughts for me! :)






Thursday, August 2, 2012

Birthday

Here is how I truly view birthdays, and this from a very early age. I believe that birthdays are celebrated completely backwards in our culture. Instead of having people give me gifts because I was born (something I had absolutely nothing to do with, really), this is my chance to let the people that make my life a living joy

(the mother who birthed me in pain and sweat and blood, the father who fathered me and taught me that a real man loves his children with all his might, the people who raised me and taught me everything I know, the friends that gave me memories of joy and laughter, my dear husband that I love so much, and everybody that ever touched my life in the least way) 

that I love them all and that I am so grateful for everything that they have done for me and with me, and that I know, truly TRULY know, in the bottom of my heart, that I owe them everything and that I will never be able to repay them for my life. The only thing I can do, is try my best to be someone that deserves their love and attention. And feed them good food. :)


Merci, Thank You, Efxaristo, Nia:wen

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemaker

One more step completed in my quest in being an adequate homemaker! I can now sew things using a machine a friend of mine gave me a year ago. I dont sew very well, but that will come with practice.

Loose string ends, uneven fabric, crooked sewing line, I forgot to iron and turn the fabric inside out. I love it.

Somebody's enjoying his wifey's first creation :)


I had a date with two of my girl friends, and it was just such an enjoyable day. I leanrned how to use my machine, Serena got more tips for hers, and Kahontiiosta beaded her moccassins, and we just talked and laughed and commiserated, and had a grand old estrogen filled time. After working so hard, we enjoyed a meal together, joined by Kahon's son, Jeff, his brother and his girlfriend, and my sister. It was just such a homey day filled with loved ones and good food, my soul felt filled with goodness.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back to Basics - and other ftw things

Things I want to live by and stop being such a lazy wuss AND GET TO IT

1. Growing my own food - What is wrong with us that we would prefer to grown absolutely useless and ugly LAWNS made out of INEDIBLE GRASS rather than use all that space (and most likely optimal sunshine quota) for food??? My future house neighbors better get ready because I am not going to have any pink flamingoes on my front lawn, no sir.


2. Canning - MORE canning!! Canning the essentials rather buying stupid chemicals that make us SICK.

3. Buying local food when in season - the two are mutually exclusive. Know your farmer, know your food, have a relationship with your meal rather than shove McD shit in your mouth and swallow it down.

4. Sewing - REPAIR rather than SPENDING. We have a real fucked up mind system when a small hole in a sock/pant/shirt/blanket/jacket isnt worthy of repair but rather the garbage. Totally given, some people dont have the sewing bug in them. BUT Im not saying that people should all say screw you to Walmart and start making their own clothes. But EVERYBODY can pick up a needle, thread it, and sew a patch or a rip. SELF-TAUGHT!

4. Meeting up for coffee rather than meeting up on FB - chatting/posting epically fails compared to being together FO'REAL.

5. Self-expression through artisitic means - I will never quit poetry, painting, drawing, scrapbooking, decorating, sculpting, fabricating, etc. You should try it. Guaranteed better than yelling at the closest loved one for xyz.

I am done using shouty capitals. Welcome back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Of wooden spoons

I havent posted in awhile, and thats because my life has been absolutely full. Full of the good and not so good (but luckily for me right now, the good far outweights the bad). Full of friends and true bonding, rather than technological sharing. Full of dirty wooden spoons because of all the food thats been made on my stove, full of plants poking their green heads out the earth, full of sunshine and life giving rain too. Full of painting on the walls rather than on canvas, and filling jars with goodies to enjoy later. Ive just been too full of life to slow down and write about it, and thats just the way it should be.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cream of (insert vegetable here) soup

So you guys know Ive been on a crusade to learn how to make as many things at home as possible rather than spending money to buy it in stores (cut costs, cut sodium, cut un-pronouncable and undesirable ingredients) and soup seems to be a huge one.

Not for myself, that is, but for many people. There are millions of types of soups on those shelves, and every single one of them can be made at home into cheaper and much healthier versions. I was very lucky that I grew up with a mother that knew how to pinch pennies, and knew how to make soup. Thus, without even knowing it, my mom taught me that homemade soup is the way to go.

I call this recipe the cream of (insert vegetable here) soup. This is how I picture cream of vegetable soup, not like what you get on shelves or in restaurant. My fresh, light, and low-calorie version has nothing to do with the mucusy thick, barely-any-vegetables-there soups that places like Tim Hortons carry. This is so easy to make, so cheap to make, and so healthy to make. And I didnt even mention the tasty aspect. This cost MAYBE 3$ for at least 8 portions of 1 cup to make. So there is NO reason not to try this (and automatically fall in love with it) at home.

Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower (or broccoli, asparagus, medley of veggies, whatever you have) 
  • 1 onion
  • 2-4 potatoes (depending on size)
  • 2 liters of chicken broth (you can use water and add powdered broth as well afterwards)
  • desired spices (I used pepper, a bit of cayenne pepper, and parsley this time)
Instructions
  1. Roughly cut up your cauliflower, slice your onions, and dice your potatoes. Put into large pot.
  2. Add chicken broth and top with water until pot is full and veggies are submerged.
  3. Boil away until everything is tender (took me about 20 mns)
bubbly wubbly

4.  Strain about two cups of the veggies and put into seperate container. Mash with fork. Reserve. We will later add this to have texture.
mash it real good
5.  Puree with hand mixer or food processor the contents of your pot until it is smooth and without lumps. Add reserved veggies and stir.
6.  Taste and add spices to your liking.

 


                
                                               should look something like this














Voila, c'est fini! Easy, no?




Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday GJE

  1. Hearts in crisp tomatoes
  2. The smell and fresh beauty of a cut lemon
  3. 8.5 months of baby bump in a close friend
  4. puppy playful whine
  5. the crsh-crsh sound of grinding peppercorns
  6. sprouts, sprouts, SPROUTS!
  7. flowers still fresh two weeks later
  8. bursts of laughter at a really silly mistake (DOH!)
  9. a friendly gift of really useful purpose
  10. old/new pantry that will facilitate jam storage






Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poem - Late Night In Zion from Matisyahu

I love Matisyahu. I love everything he writes and produces, I love what he sings for, and how he doesnt give pretense. His rhythms, his lyrics, everything. When I listen to his songs (especially this one) I feel like falling on my knees and just giving thanks and love to God for putting me on this earth to live and see. I feel like this song examplifies the daily fight I have with faith and myself. Its raw, and real. How beautiful to know that although we are so low in our hearts and minds, there can always be grace, safety, and love if we just allow ourselves to trust and give in. Funny how a Chassidic Jew is teaching me about love within faith.





We're the reflection of imperfection,
We come from the infinite place of limitation.
Rejoice in these days, make a correction,
We're the completion.
Lights out, down for the count, can't get up
Meanwhile the enemy screams the boy is stuck,
and the legs of the king are dangling in a rut
Falling pieces, lost sparks, hearts cut.

We're not alone in the madness,
if we're here, then so are you,
Deepest caverns underground,
we've been taken for the truth,
Srape my knees, on the hurdles, face down in the puddles.

The only one who'll get us out of this mess,
The one who put us here.
I've got a spear driven through my ear,
Can't you hear the sound, crystal clear,
Pistols smashing chandeliers.
Long for brooks of water like the dear.

A man is just a man,
Filled of faults and weakness,
Four A.M. Jerusalem all alone and speechless.
Nighttime, nobody's home, roam streets in darkness.
I feel I'm just a man, flesh and bones, homeless.

Planting seeds, they won't sink in.
I'm dried up, like the desert earth, how could these seeds give birth.
Water me down, liquify, I will not be cursed.
From one into a million disperse.

Wisdom reigns like water from heaven to below.
Crush my earth, seeds grow, garden start to grow.
You know you've got to rise, though you like to flow.
You can't keep staring out the window.

Earth, water, wind, fire we stay low while getting higher.
Spark igniter, fighting tired
Stay wired, enlighten loads.
Stay alive, weep wail chant, cry, let out a sigh
Energized, give out my last dime, life shouldn't pass me by.

Rise, to the occasion.
Keep these hearts all blazin.
Build your life on a river of wax.
Melt into space, we've been here since the beginning, not going away.
Not going away.....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Greek Good Friday

For the first time in my memory (because I'm told I went when I was much younger) I attended Greek Good Friday service. This was quite honestly the most beautiful service I have ever attended, and I think I will be remember it forever.

First of all, I hadn't been to that church (St-Dyonisis) in awhile, and although I love the church of my youth, this was still where my father's service was and the place stirs emotions Id rather not submit myself to regularly. So when I walked in with my grandmother hanging tight to my arm, I was already feeling a little shaky. It was the same as always, with the entrance layed out in the same way.

On the right are the candles you can light when you come in. You cross yourself and light a candle, then head over to the right to the first little altar and kiss an icon of Christ with a Holy Bible under. This Bible is extremely old, and came from Greece, and it has this most beautiful ornate gold cover. Then you head a few steps to the left to a second altar where there is another icon (equally as old and beautiful) and you cross yourself again and kiss it as well. Now you may enter the church proper.

The lights were shut completely off (apart from a small light at the end where the singer was) and the place was dark enough for me to not be able to see completely. There were people sitting in the pews, but everyone was silent, not a word could be heard. Apart from the singer who was singing the Bible. The atmosphere really was filled with sadness, but also anticipation. I had never felt the Bible come to life like this. We walked up the aisle right up the steps to where a huge altar was layed out. On each side were two girls dressed in white, they were angels guarding the tomb of Christ (called the Epitaphios). We crossed ourselves and kissed the central icon, and the ones on both sides, and then backed away until we reached the stairs, where we went down and sat in one of the pews. All in silence. All in the utmost respect for what we had in front of us. My grandmother had to walk back down to go talk to some relatives, and I stayed there and just looked. Looked at the beauty of what was in front of me. Along with the altar, there was a huge wooden cross directly in front of me, with a candle on each of its end. All there was to be heard was the sound of the singer lamenting His death. It was the most beautiful, the saddest, and the most transcending thing I ever saw and felt.

Afterwards, the service began in earnest and there were so many special things laden with solemn beauty. There was a four part stanza (which took about 40 minutes by itself) that lamented the death of Christ and affirmed our belief in His Resurrection, a procession of the little girl/angels, and then we went outside and walked around the block (each of us with a lit candle) with the Epitaphios and the cross and threw petals. Back at the Church, we passed under the Epitaphios, and then the Pater gave his sermon (which was excellent). Afterwards we lined up and each received a handful of the flowers that the Epitaphios was made of.

I feel like this ceremony reaffirmed something inside of me, as well as filled me with reverence for mystical beauty and dignity. I had been giving much thought to the idea of converting to Catholism because of the fact that I lived my life technically more as a Catholic than as an Orthodox, and understood more about Catholism than Orthodoxy. But this service showed me how lucky I am to have been a part of this, that I am proud of my heritage, and that time and time again (apart from the very few churches with traditional mass) I am shown that there is a let down of the sactity and beauty involved in a service. This is how service should be, not a 30 minute rushed affair with cellphones going off.

                 

                        Christos Anesti, Allithos Anesti!



The flowers I received in my crystal bowl (heirloom from my grandmother)