Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm a Porsche 911!

Sharona tagged me! These silly things are so much fun!

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Isn't this a beautiful car?
Wish I could afford one!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blog on a Blog!

Nothing like 'borrowing" someone else's blog for your own blog! :-)

Denise, my friend in Savannah, has a food blog. During the Great Fast, I'm always looking for recipes, and Denise is sharing a recipe or thought a day. This one, Arabic Cabbage and Rice Pilaf, is for wine and oil days. It looks scrumptious! I'm going to try it this Sunday using whole-grain brown rice and roll it all up in cabbage leaves. I'll stack them in my crockpot and cover with veggie broth. Then heat slowly for about 4 hours. Should be really good at that point! Since our priest is coming this Sunday, I'll leave out the onions as he is allergic to onions and garlic (and other members of the lily family). Instead of onions, I'll use finely chopped celery - it works nicely, in terms of texture, as a substitute for onions.

Thanks, Denise! I'm using your offerings! And so are lots of other people!

So, it's off to Kroger to get the makings. I should have read this yesterday so I could use my senior discount - even 5% off the food bill helps!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Me as a Novel?

The name of the rose
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a mystery novel dealing with theology, especially with catholic vs liberal issues. You search wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that learning is essential in life.

Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thoughts on the End of Life

Not to be morbid, but I'm "of an age" now when probably 85% of my life is behind me - there isn't much left - and I'm facing the inevitability of dying. My Orthodox faith requires me to retain my hope for the Resurrection. My very human brain insists upon throwing out doubts to be overcome.

On Sunday I was preparing for some people to come to our home. Now I'm NOT a housekeeper, so the house was a total wreck. Much like my spiritual house. I "knocked myself out" rushing around getting things ready. I had to rest frequently, and at a couple of points I experienced chest pain, pressure and shoulder pain. Was it a heart attack? Was it THE heart attack? No, neither. It was my esophageal spasm acting up because I ate too large a breakfast. Happens. But here I was trying to get ready for guests and wondering if the guests would find me dead.

This certainly is an apt description of death. It comes with no regard for our plans. It happens. And my spiritual house needs refreshing even more than my physical house.

Prayers, almsgiving, reception of the sacraments - how to get it all in? Will God reject me? What if He does? Regardless of the assertions of some, there is no way to be certain. God isn't a "great computer in the sky" that will carry out salvation if I punch the right buttons in the right sequence. He saves us regardless of our unworthiness, and we condemn ourselves regardless of our outward appearance.

All we can do is live as if today is our last on earth, loving God and loving others to the best of our paltry ability - as if by the end of the day we will stand before the dread judgement seat of God.

I find myself doing that more and more as time goes on, but still finding that I'm not doing it enough. I can never be totally prepared - only in semi-readiness.

Open to me the doors of repentance, O LifeGiver!
For my spirit rises to pray towards Thy Holy Temple
Bearing the temple of my body, all defiled,
But in Thy Compassion
Purify me by the loving kindness of Thy Mercy.

Lead me on the path of salvation, O Mother of God
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins
And have wasted my life in laziness
But by thy intercessions
Deliver me from all impurity.

Have mercy on me, O God,
According to Thy great Mercy
And according to the multitude of Thy Compassion
Blot out my transgressions.

When I think of the dreadful things I have done
Wretch that I am
I think of the fearful day of judgement
But trusting in Thy loving kindness
Like David I cry unto Thee:

Have mercy on me, O God
Have mercy on me, O God
Have mercy on me, O God
According to Thy great mercy!
{from the Mattins of Great Lent}

» Firefox is slow and buggy (but I'm hooked anyway) | Ed Burnette's Dev Connection |

As a long-time computer "user" rather than a developer, I think there should be a forum for inputting what my "druthers" are. Firefox is great, I love it, and it's buggy and slow.

I want -
>> a browser that opens every webpage I go to and will function properly following javascript links and filling out forms.
>> a browser that keeps my bookmarks in a folder that I can access and edit without opening the browser.
>> total ad blocking (even Firefox isn't completely ad-free).
>> a database that I can use without having to read 12 books and spend 52 weeks in the learning curve.
>> applications that don't "get in each other's way" in the registry
>> when I remove an application, I want the whole thing removed - don't leave little snippets of it all over the place
>> when I install an application, I want to be able to put it where I want to, and have it save it's data where I tell it to
>> and how about something that will zap spammers with 50,000 volts when they hit Send?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cheesefare Sunday - the Sunday of Forgiveness

While Roman Catholics and Anglicans have Ash Wednesday, we Orthodox have Forgiveness Sunday. A cross between a Feast and deep penitance. Today is the last day for fish, milk, butter, eggs, and other dairy products until Pascha (Easter). Last Sunday was the Sunday of the Last Judgement (Meatfare) and the last day for meat and animal products. And, yes, we Orthodox take this *seriously.* We work and struggle through the Great Fast to tame the passions, to pray more, to give more alms, to be more and more of who and what we should be in God's eyes.

So, today, just as we begin, we have a great Maslenitza - or butter fest. We eat up the last of the cheese, milk, butter, eggs and other dairy products. We feast on the last of the fish.

Then, after the Maslenitza, we return to Church for the Vespers of Forgiveness. We begin with the usual Vespers service, then it moves into special, long penitential prayers and readings. The height of the service is when we say the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian for the first time:

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.


But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.


Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.


O Lord, cleanse me, a sinner. (x 12 with Sign of Cross and deep bow with each)

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. (Sign of Cross).

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.


(Yes, we really do bow our head down to the ground during a prostration.)

At the end of the service we go first to the Priest, then to each member of the Parish in turn. We make a full prostration (or a deep bow if physically handicapped) before each person and say, "Forgive me, my brother / sister." Then we stand and embrace and say, "God forgives." This is totally gut-wrenching, and there just aren't any dry eyes at the end.

Having asked and given forgiveness, having fortified ourselves with prayer, we enter into Great Lent, striving, struggling, falling down and getting up, again and again, as we journey to the Bright Pascha of Our Risen Lord.

Forgive me, my brothers and sisters, for any offenses I have committed both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, committed in knowledge or in ignorance.

God forgives.

May you see the Bright Pascha of Our Risen Lord!

{NB: Pascha falls on April 23 this year - the week following Western Easter.}