Thursday, December 31, 2009


So now I am into eating. Really, I'm into shopping for the food, making the food, the science of making the food and the people who made making food great. At the top of my list is my mother - whose chicken pot pie will nourish your soul. Next is Julia Child. I realize that it is quite cliche - and even a bit lame and after the fact to be a Julia Child fan now - but I mean really! I had no idea. Thank you big blockbuster.

I mean aside from the liberal, communist, and politcal packaging, Julia Child was pretty amazing. I mean no wonder she inspired Julie Powell (who disappointingly went on to cheat on her husband and write a weird book about meat) but the point is, that was a woman committed to creating quality food for her husband and friends (and herself). She was opposed to taking the easy way out with mixes and margarine. The media honors her as a feminist - whatever - I think she's on to something. In fact, I think that her integrity, sense of humor and love for her husband have done more for me than even she would like to acknowledge.

For Christmas I made Beauf Bourgenon. I can't even spell it, but I did make it. I took time to purchase quality ingredients, set aside time for recipe assembly - I even got the right pot (thanks John and Tonya). It was marvelous. People clapped and I wore pearls. Tomorrow I am making her Chocolate Almond Cake and I'd like to think that my beloved grandmother, Patsy Beth Parker would look down on me and smile.

Here are a few pictures of our Christmas Season:

Much love to you all - Happy New Year - and of course, bon appetite!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Molly's memorable blog picture of herself in a pilgrim's hat has prompted me post this picture. To be thankful means that you have to be present - not looking ahead or behind. Today my sweet little family went to see A Christmas Carol - in 3D. Today I am thankful for my enthusiastic husband who LOVES holidays, my cooking, movies, and our girls.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thank you

Bobby and I would like to thank all of our friends and family for their support during the past two weeks. Please click on this LINK to hear a special thank you from Bobby.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


As many of you know, last week we found out that our little baby didn't have a heart beat. Because I was already almost 5 months, I had to deliver the tiny body - only confirming my belief that life starts at conception. Holding this fully formed little being, I had to face the extent of our loss - a little boy, who Bobby says resembled me.

When I first learned that the baby had died, I wanted to run away. I wanted to magically return to the time last summer before I got pregnant - and pretend like this whole sad time hadn't occurred. The D and E procedure that the hospital offered almost made this seem possible.

But I have to tell you (and really my willingness to experience the birth so fully came from my dear friends Matushka Jenny and Matushka Stephanie) that delivering that precious boy brought me joy. Oh don't get me wrong - it brought me sadness, too. And certainly the medical crap that followed was far from enjoyable. But I truly realized in that moment that the veil between life here and eternal life is thin.

Thank you all for your many emails, facebook comments, flowers, meals, calls and tears. Thank you for keeping my children, keeping friends updated when I couldn't, for calling funeral homes, for flying in, for sending comfy sweats and cozy socks, for physically constructing a coffin (wow, Fr. John!!!). Thank you for experiencing this with us - for validating our grief and participating in our little one's departure from this life to the next. The Church is real and Christ is risen. I love you all, Paige

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Flu

Well, we've reached day 10 of this ridiculous flu. Not trying to be overly optimistic, but I believe we've turned a corner! Fevers are normal, coughs are decreasing, and the girls are actually starting to play around (ie move off the sofa)!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"What are you doing today?"

"Oh, I'm just going to pick up Mom - we're meeting Nancy (a precious relative) for lunch. Then tonight I guess we'll just rent a movie or something."

" and Grant?"

"No, I'm going to stay at Mom and Dad's. Bethany and Erin are coming over."


This is an example of a typical phone conversation between me and one of my sisters. I live far away - in Chesterton, Indiana, they all live in Austin, Tx. They see each other - not every day - but regularly - and certainly more than I am able to see them. It seems they're always doing wonderfully fun things together - shopping, lunch out, wine and dinner with Mom and Dad. But it's not the activities I miss (although they do sound dreamy) it's them. It's the feeling of belonging that is so wonderful and intoxicating. Growing up in a family of 6 kids meant that you were rarely alone. Frustrating at times, but incredibly comforting. It was one thing to be away when we were all teenagers and young adults - struggling to find our paths - but now that we are putting down roots and having kids, it's painful.

This week, on The Orthdox Moviegoer, Bobby talks about community He discusses the film, Into the Wild, and beautifully describes the importance of other people to our lives and our faith. He talks lovingly of our own parish and how much he cares for the people in it. I got teary listening to him.

This weekend, I attended the second annual girls getaway with my dearest friends - most of whom live just a couple hours away. See Molly's blog for beautiful pictures and a more thorough description. It was wonderful and considering those dear friends combined with the community we have in Chesterton has left me feeling richly blessed. I mean, I can walk to Molly's, to my priest's, to our church, to my friend, Kris's, drive 2 minutes to my in-laws, and have my precious brother around - I'm really lucky. And while my heart will always ache to be a part from my sisters and parents, I am so grateful for those around me and my little family. Bobby's right, we need people.

Here are some pictures of us having fun with our friends:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Girl

Someone in my house loves birthdays almost as much as her Daddy! Jane giggled and sparkled all day on Saturday, September 26th. And who could blame her? It's big stuff, turning 3 - punctuated by many, many cinderella type presents. We now own enough polly pockets to start our own ebay store - but I'm finding it practical to have spares (especially with our dog, Lola sneaking tiny shoes and dresses for snacks).

We started off the day with Fruitloops, headed to the county line apple orchard and ended the day with pizza at Nuni and Pappy's. My mom sent her a special birthday tutu - to celebrate in style - and we let her open presents all day long. What more could a 3 year old ask for? Apparently nothing, as jane declared more than once that this was, "her best birthday ever!"

p.s. molly took this amazing photo!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm not a mushy, romantic sort of girl. I'm just not. My sister-in-law can gush about the crush she had on her husband when they first met and continue to explain how her love has grown into a beautiful whatever - and I can't do that. My sister can speak so purely about the love she has for her husband - and how she misses him so when he works long hours. Again - not me. I used to wonder if the romantic part of me was broken or missing or just covered up by plans and to do lists. All I knew was that romantic talk made me feel strange and false and mostly just really embarrassed.

Anyway - Bobby has always accepted and loved me for who I am. Romantic and sweet - or not. Lately, though, I have not even been kind. Granted, I am 11 weeks pregnant and sicker than ever. I feel like I've just gotten off that centrifuge ride at 6 flags - all of the time. But it's no excuse. Cognitively I know that, but emotionally I just want to be mean to someone and I'm fairly certain after 15 years, he's going to stick around regardless.

It's not that he's doing anything "wrong," either. To the contrary, he's making dinners, taking Isabelle to the bus, and folding laundry. I would have been stunned by such behavior 6 years ago. But it's never enough for me. It's never the exact way I'd do it - plus It's not giving me my energy back and that's all I really want anyway.

So this past week, i've just sort of given up. I met with the doctor - heard my little baby's heartbeat and was told to just lay low for the next couple of weeks. "The nausea will pass," everyone including the doctor keep telling me. And one of my sisters (not the mushy one) has advised me to just keep my mouth shut until it does. Good advice, actually.

So I'm just sitting in my sick chair - the one in the living room that has my computer/phone/book/ice water/&snacks placed conveniently beside it so that I do not have move and thus jar the nausea into action. Anyway, so I'm sitting here - being still and quiet, when Bobby brings me a cd.

He has used his i-tunes gift card to make me a cd. A cd of all of my favorite girly folk songs that are hard to find on lala - and whose cd's and tapes we have lost several moves past. As he plays it - Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin (pre- sunny comes home), Nancy Griffith, and obscure Indigo Girls come tumbling out of the speakers reminding us both of hours spent in used music stores in Charlottesville, DC, Chicago and Austin. And of still more hours harmonizing with Amy and Emily while road tripping.

Bobby has moved way past such 90s girly folk music. The Deadweather, Yacht, and the Woods are more his scene. I'm sure there were a million songs he wanted to spend his gift card on. Yet he made this for me. To cheer me up. It made me teary - I love him so much.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Colorado Girl

There's just something magical about the Colorado Rockies - and my family's ties with this colorful state run deep. I know my great grandmother, Grandmom Ivy had a ranch in Colorado and I can remember visiting it - well after it had been sold - the new owners more than willing to let my mom tour the place that held so many of her childhood memories.

Some years after the ranch - mid to late 50s - my grandfather, Robert Escar, discovered a mountain lake perfect for catching Rainbow Trout and surrounded by the majestic collegiate Peaks. He began routinely taking his sweet little family to Taylor Reservoir during the summers. As newlyweds my parents continued his tradition easily enough, as they lived in Denver, and could escape to the mountains on the weekends.

Visiting the Rockies proved more of a challenge for my parents, however, once they moved back to Texas and began having children. They had lots of children (6) and car space - even in a Suburban - proved scarce. But the challenge intensified the joy - and Christmas morning presents couldn't compete with the excitement my sister and I felt the night before a trip to Colorado. We would stuff our pillowcases full of dolls/doll clothes, books, and stuffed animals (and later tapes, headphones and magazines), totally breaking the "one toy" rule set by my parents earlier that day. We would wake up unbelievably early - the Texas air already thick with heat and humidity - and try to help my poor outnumbered parents pack 6 kids, a huge cooler, bags of whole foods snacks and a million suitcases in the car before sunrise. That was our goal - to leave while it was still dark. Somehow, my parents did it though, every summer. And Colorado would lay before us, promising relief from the stifling heat, and from the stress that accompanies trying to provide for and raise a large family.

I introduced my husband to Colorado the year we married. We went in the winter this time, and although Bobby is incredibly athletic, he had had limited skiing/snowboarding experience. His approach was to tackle these new endeavors head on, full force. We laugh to this day at a video of him crashing into a grove of trees on a sled. A couple of years later, Bobby and I drove to the mountains from Chicago. I was a bit disappointed - the drive was different. From Tx, you drive up from the base of the Rockies - small foothills becoming bigger and more beautiful as you approach Ra ton Pass. From Chicago you drive through Iowa - which is sort of hilly and really green - and then through miles and miles of flat cornfields being drenched in pesticides. The mountains don't start until you reach Denver - which really doesn't lend itself to the same type of build up as the TX trek. But it still proved a wonderful trip - the perfect anecdote to city life.

This summer our Colorado trip was scheduled for August. We live in a small town now - surrounded by farms - and the weather this July has been unseasonably cool. I was excited to see my family - but wasn't feeling the desperate pull to get to the mountains that I had in years past. Plus, I had just found out that was (am) pregnant. I found out because of a pervasive nausea. The thought of driving 1000 miles seemed daunting. But I did it - to see my dear family - and in to continue a 50 year tradition. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much.

We took I-70 west from Denver, however, and I became giddy. Bobby and I could smell the pine trees and caught a bit of a passing mountain rain. The temperature dropped, huge peaks loomed ahead, and we could feel our ears pop as we climbed. It was magical.

By the time we got to the cabin - I was transformed. There's just something about the mountain air that makes you feel alive. The people in the mountain towns know it - and have moved there because of it. In addition (or intead of) their day jobs, they rock climb, bike, hike, raft, ski - they're all fit and tan and you know their toddlers wear merrils and can snowboard. Organic food stores abound and you can almost see that healthier version of yourself hiking one of those 14,000 footers.

And then we get there - the last to arrive - welcomed at the driveway by a huge crowd. My siblings have families and busy lives now - the fact that we are all there, together is amazing in and of itself. And so the week progressed - too quickly. We slept in, read on the deck, swam in the natural springs, biked, took walks and shared many lovely meals together. At night we played games and laughed until we couldn't see straight. Magical, indeed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


When I was a little girl, I was pretty confident. I was first to raise my hand in class, introduced myself and my siblings to "new people", and even challenged babysitters on their competency. By fifth grade, I had written a letter to president Reagan, contacted Yale university about their entrance requirements and started a little business doing neighborhood chores that payed for my first puppy.

My weak point was athletics. More specifically, it was running relay races. I LOATHED them. Inevitably some annoying red head boy with freckles and a stopped up nose would observe loudly, "that girl is SOOO SLOW!"

It seemed to me, like some mean prank. I talked fast, thought fast, had big fast plans, even bordered on hyperactive, yet as my sister later joked, "was at odds with the physical world." I clearly remember entering a new school and having to do relay races on the first day as an "icebreaker." It was a private school and we raced down this weird carpeted hallway (I promise this was not a dream). I was on the purple team and the races last all week during recess. Each night before school I would pray that I could somehow, miraculously find SPEED. I never did. I found that feigning a fall sometimes helped (although other times it would look obvious and make matters way worse).

Anyway, I'm older now - more sure of myself and my body - I've had two babies and now take a class at the Y (ymca) called "ZUMBA." I just adore Zumba. It's like Jane Fonda meets the club scene - in Miami. So I've been going to this crazy Latina dance party aerobics class for about 8 months now. Some weeks I get there more than others, but recently I've been going a lot - 3 to 5 times a week. I've even started dressing a little more Zumba-ish (tighter, tankier clothes) and feeling pretty good.

So anyway, I'm dancing my heart out one morning - neither my sister-in-law or good friend were there, so I was really givin' it all I got. "Wow, I look good," I was secretly thinking to myself. I mean, granted, it was a skinny mirror, but heck, I was really getting the hang of this.

Then I went to get a drink in between songs. I was pouring sweat from my efforts and a bit had gotten into my eye. "Is this your first time at Zumba," a voice asked. I wiped my eye and could see that it was the girl who had been standing behind me. My first time? What?

I'm not kidding, I nearly hit her. That would have been bad. A sad ending to my family's Y membership. And then I realized: dang, I've been coming for 8 months, that really stinks that you thought that. What a reality check - I mean I truly thought that I was co-teaching that girl. Visions of the purple team relay race came swirling into focus. My sister-in-law told me later that that girl was probably just making small talk. Sure.

Needless to say, it has been pure joy watching my oldest daughter Isabelle conquer the physical world. From the time she was teeny tiny, she has attempted to lift, climb, race just about anything that has entered her path.

My daughter Jane has been a different story. Softer, slower, she entered the world verbally rather than physically. I thought she was a girl after my own heart - or body, rather.

Well...getting to the point, this Sunday, Jane surpassed my athletic ability, shattering a box I had put her in. At the church carnival, she raced (gleefully, willingly) and BEAT her opponent (a stunning 2 year old male). Yes, Gabe may have been distracted by the toy whistle or lollipop that he had in his mouth. He may have misunderstood the object of a relay race (since he is only two). However, my daughter won the race. And instead of murmurs of, "wow, that girl is really slow " there was a soft, continuous chanting, " Go, Janie, Go."

Friday, July 10, 2009


So today Isabelle, Jane and I went on a fieldtrip to Niles, Mi with our sweet friends Kris, Mikey and Del (in fact, today Del turned 2! Happy Birthday, little guy). Anyway, we picked cherry after sour cherry - eating them, squishing them and dribbling them all over our clothes. The kids were bored quickly, and chose instead to play "Sleeping Beauty" in between trees. That left Kris and I to fill our enormous buckets by ourselves. Luckily the weather cooperated - neither raining nor blazing hot - and within a couple of hours, we were rinsing them in big metal buckets and waiting our turn at the pitter (yes, free pitting) what could be better!

Now, hours later, I'm cherrying it up - jam, pie, even a sour cherry martini to start the evening off in style!. Nothing's turning out too well - I mean, I really prefer wine to sour cherry martinis and the jam looks both too runny and too chunky at the same time, but hey, these cherries came off the tree today! They weren't shipped from goodness knows where, sitting on a truck for days and touched by who knows how many hands. No way.

So visiting Lehman's Tart Cherry Orchard clarified something for me. In all honesty, it was not just the Orchard, but rather a heartfelt conversation with Molly, countless brainstorming sessions with Zach and a quick catch-up conversation with my talented artist sister, Bethany. Regardless, our little business (maddex media relations) is refining it's approach. What I want to do - what really energizes and excites me, is encouraging others. Weird, right? but what I want to do it promote the underdog. Any small business, artist, author or friend who needs help promoting their work. Fortunately Zach is technologically and mathematically skilled. With the installation of our new programs (the Adobe Creative Suite along with Dreamweaver and the new microsoft office) we are preparing to offer professional graphic design services. Hmmm - if only we knew an artist/photographer that needed a job...(Just kidding, Bethany, you can do freelance work for us where ever you are).

This doesn't mean that I don't want to become the premier Orthodox Christian Publicist, I do! It's just that I think that will unfold in time. I'm building contacts, logging experiences and learning about book promotion. In the meantime, however, Sander's Dairy Farm sells fresh milk, local honey and Amish butter. They just opened a store and we need to get the word out! My dear friend Kris is an amazing florist. Although she's busy making cheese, ruhbarb soda and parenting four kids, her beautiful arrangements have made a name for herself. She's quite talented and is taking clients! The wedding arrangements she does are fabulous! Just check her blog.

All in all, this is just a great time in my life. Cooking, gardening, encouraging my friends and community, learning about my girls and how to parent them - these are fun and interesting endeavors. Stay tuned to see this reflected on our website!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Bright Side

It has been so long since my last post. I have many excuses, not the least of which is the lack of a camera. For a while I was taking pictures on Bobby's phone - but as of May something or other the phone file filled to capacity and it is beyond Bobby or I how to unfill it. Ridiculous and a bit like my parents (no offense Mom or Dad) but true.

So, supposing I did have a camera...

I would take a close up of Isabelle - crazy curls highlighted from our days outdoors - and show you the space left by her tiny bottom tooth that now sits in an envelope under her pillow. (I keep praying I won't forget to replace the tooth with a dollar bill - how horrible that would be?). She is very proud, and I love to watch her preen in front of our dining room mirror - sticking her tongue in and out of that space. You can actually watch her growing up - it's happening that quickly.

My garden, on the other hand, is NOT growing. I guess I would take a picture of that, too - sad little tomato plants, wilted bean stalks, and yellowed cucumber leaves. You've really gotta hand it to those farmers. I could get kind of down about that - and other losses, really.

I've been thinking a lot about having another baby. So much so, actually, that I called the dr from the Mayo clinic to see what he thought about another pregnancy. The conversation was anticlimactic. He said he had no idea what to expect as my condition is so rare.

I also have been daydreaming about a house on the next street (grass is always greener, right?). It's much bigger and prettier and right across the street from Molly, Troy and the cousins. I ran into the woman who owns it and she said that she would like to sell it in a couple of years...So there I go crunching numbers; planning and wasting time figuring out how we could buy it.

Yet in the meantime, I have a great house. While my vegetable garden is piddly, my flowers are beautiful. Blue hydrangeas are blooming, as are three different types of roses, snapdragans, gerber daisies and and lavender. What's more, my brother has discovered that hardwood lies under linolium (which is under carpet). This weekend he pulled almost all of it up and the wood is beautiful! Quite a nice surprise. I would love to have had a picture of him working on those floors!

I remember always doing this - looking ahead. When I was in junior high I could wait until highschool. I was desperate to be "on my own" yet not long after starting college, I couldn't wait to get married. But, a year and a half ago, after being so sick, I was happy to just be alive. I wish I could hold on to that perspective - it's elusive...

If my camera was working, I would take a picture of my adorable Jane - sleeping in her own bed (no more crib) - looking nothing less than angelic with her white blond ringlets fanned out in a circle on her pillow.

I do have one picture. I had the opportunity to stay with my dear friend, Jen, who has recently had an adorable baby boy. Because my little ones are a bit more independent, I was able to go with my best friends to visit sweet Jen. What a gift. Molly took this picture and I like it because sitting there in the midst of good friends, holding a newborn, it reminds me to be content in the moment.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ok - so now the day is done and the laundry sits in big mounds in my basement. There's dirty dishes everywhere (even on the back porch - because I couldn't fit them on my counters). The day's emails are unanswered - and I know there was more book promoting that I could have been doing. But - today I made LASAGNA.

It's in capitals because this is different from your everyday lasagna. You betcha. This is certainly different from the packaged "Amy's" single serving lasagna I used to eat in the teacher's lounge when I was a school counselor and needed something to get me thru the day.

No, this was make your own ricotta, make your own pasta, stick it to the man kind of cooking. This was, I am more than a consumer, Whole Foods has nothing on me, I may move out to a farm kind of lasagna. Yes and "I don't mean maybe" - as my mother used to say when she was being really firm.

Last night I edited Fredrica Matthewes-Green's AFR podcast for this week. It was written when her granddaughter was a newborn and was published in Again magazine during manic Christmas shopping season. She spoke of the "Hypnotic Mall." You know the kind - with all of the people and lights and action that you turn to a zombie and make you buy lots of stuff you don't need. She then talked about how years ago mothers were teachers and chefs and artists and now they buy stuff. I'm paraphrasing, of course. You should listen to it, because it's inspiring.

Anyway, I woke up today and decided that this day, I would not be a just a consumer . No way. I've already found this amazing man that sells raw milk (for animal consumption only, ofcourse, since it's illegal to sell raw milk in Indiana). I was going to make lasagna with real fresh ricotta and homemade noodles and local beef - yes, and dangit, it took me all day - so I don't really understand how those Italian women did it without their pasta rollers and blogs to brag on - but...

I did make it. And sure, part of the reason I'm blogging is to stretch the oohs and ahhs, but I'm also blogging about it because our culture doesn't really support this kindof slowness. It's not acceptable to waste your whole day cooking. But why not? Because it's so much better to spend your day driving around or hurrying or doing weird marginally important errands? Isn't this day important enough?

Well, for my weird little household (remember, my 20 something brother lives with us) today was important enough. each individual in this house was important enough. And while I may not do this everyday (no one needs that much saturated fat in one sitting) today was quite special.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Angel Cried

My girls singing "The Angel Cried" - directed by their cousin, Ben. Off key and adorable!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So I haven't written in a while. It's not that things haven't been happening, but rather that I haven't known what to think about them. To update you on my gardening attempts, my first round of seeds all died. This was extra discouraging given all of the attention we gave them.

My lenten journey has looked a bit like my battle with the seeds—seemingly barren. My local weather cooperated by offering an appropriately bleak backdrop.

It's just really overwhelming to try to be like Christ. He's so...perfect. He helped all those people and still managed that intensely ascetic life. And I feel really grumpy without whipping cream in my coffee - plus I'm sure I'm hypoglycemic and protein deficient (I mean, not the protein powder kind of protein deficiency, the tasty kind - like that from a bacon cheeseburger kind of deficiency).

Some scary things happened this lent. I experienced some abdominal pain - probably just the flu - but I really thought I was on the way back to the hospital for CT Scans. I'm fine now, but that week felt like a dark time.

My brother moved up here with us. Now, he's not scary, he's adorable, but it's kind of a risky move. He's just out of college and needing a job - we need help - it seemed like a win-win situation. Then he got here and I started to panic. What was I thinking? I was ruining his career, possibly creating a chaotic situation. Our financial situation surely couldn't support this. My girls, our dog and the mess are surely going to drive him insane.

But now we're into Holy Week and my mindset is starting to shift. Zach's starting to settle in - and it turns out that he's really good at this job - he's computer savvy, dependable, confident on the phone, knows about things I've never heard of (like finance), and plus he does the dishes. We've actually named our little company maddex media relations and we're quite busy!

My girls love to have their uncle around - he and Bobby play basketball with Isabelle each weekday. Jane thinks he's hilarious (and only a little scary) and Bobby has someone to watch weird movies with. From my end, Zach's working out great and I'm honored to have him here. I mean I hate doing the dishes!

Last night we reading about the Bridegroom services on the first 3 days of Holy Week in the Orthodox Church. I was reading to the girls about the 10 virgins (I think I paraphrased princesses) who were waiting for the Bridegroom. Five were prepared and five let their lights burn out. I have spent so much of my life flighty and unorganized that I'm terrified of being unprepared! But just as I run around doing things trying to force "preparations" - cleaning house, making Pascha treats, etc, etc. I read about tonight' service. It's about the pharisees eating with Jesus - and then in comes the "sinful woman" wiping Jesus' feet with her tears. I mean how beautiful is that story - but also how wise is the Church is to place that story here - lest we get unbalanced by last night's reminders?

This last week has marked a shift in Bobby, too. After several difficult weeks of working, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, he's seeing some results of his efforts. His work for AFR is becoming more manageable. He's completing articles for this quarters' SALVO and has just produced his new podcast, The Orthodox Moviegoer.

And Isabelle has found shoes that fit (no small feat)! Thanks, John and Tonya!

We still have a lot of work to do, this week. The girls' room is in shambles.

Clothes need ironing (this precious dress was my sister, Tiffany's).

But my next set of seeds are sprouting. Ironically, I spent much less time on them. My daffodils and tulips are blooming, too - and Pascha is less than a week away.

To my precious family who has just celebrated Easter, Christ is Risen! And wishing all of my Orthodox friends and family a blessed Pascha!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Youtube video we stumbled upon

I can't get over this - It's absolutely beautiful. We have no idea who put this together - but it's amazing.

Friday, February 27, 2009


We came home from forgiveness vespers Sunday afternoon - ready (in theory) to begin Great Lent. I had been shopping at Costco, purchased my weight in hummus, and felt almost "prepared" for the 40 days without meat and dairy. (Mise en place as Martha Condra explains on this weeks WHEAT WINE AND OIL.

Forgiveness Vespers is both my favorite and least favorite service. For those who haven't experienced it, it's a beautiful but rather chaotic service that ends with each of us asking forgiveness of EVERY other parishioner. It's kind of embarrassing and sometimes you bump heads (because there's bowing and kissing of cheeks). You invade one another's space and smell their breath - and it nearly paralyzes my daughter Isabelle with fear (she's not a hugger), while two year old Jane can't get enough. "Forgive me, dada" she repeated all afternoon - in a regal Audrey Hepburn sort of voice.

So I came home, ate approximately 25 milk chocolate candies and fell asleep. Not the "mmm really needed that rest" kind of nap, but a "block out the hideous mess around me" type. When I awoke, I felt worse. There's something so utterly humbling about apologizing to so many people - it forces you to look a little deeper. There's something about looking your husband, your children in the eyes and publicly asking for their forgiveness that causes you to forget the petty grudges you've held and realize how you may have injured them. In short, I came home and saw things more clearly.

Not to "confess" here on the blog - but I did realize that I have really fallen short particularly in the homemaking department. I mean I bake bread and do fun domestic things - but the daily tasks (the unseen ones that require patience and discipline and servant hood - like laundry) are really sub par. I mean I can't even tell you about my library fines. There's a lack of structure and order in my home that is inefficient if not destructive.

But as I picked myself up after that nap, I thought of Jonah - first running away from God and then returning. I thought of how Fr. Bill told us today to forgive one another but also to forgive ourselves - because there's work to be done.

Man, there is so much work to be done! Good work - His work. I used to think that I was only doing God's work if I was a missionary in Africa or working in a homeless shelter. While those can be so valuable, I've got plenty to do right here. And so my struggle this Lent is to do my daily work more patiently, more thoroughly...

For some Christians, it seems the temptation is to get lost in details of the fast - almost obsessively checking labels for hidden dairy - and forgetting that the Resurrection is always close by. I have the opposite problem. From my Calvinist and rebellious roots, I remember the Resurrection, but struggle with the discipline and patience needed to participate in this beautiful season. I'm quick to cut corners, make exceptions, and excuse myself from obligation - justifying my behavior - I mean I wouldn't want to be a Pharisee! What I'm starting to realize, however, is that the more excuses I make, the more I miss out. Or in other words, the more I participate - give myself over to the rules and details, the more I gain! I gain not from pride at my own minuscule successes, but because my own arrogance and "logic" is put aside.

Last week, the girls and I started a garden. Ha Ha - it's 20 degrees outside - what we started looks nothing like a garden. Tiny little seeds were placed in a smidgen of dirt in egg cartons. These little guys require a lot of work - I mean they are constantly drying out and they need the light of my sun porch, without the freezing temperatures. But now I am starting to see why my past gardening attempts have failed. See, I want THIS (my garden blogging expert) without all the fuss. But do I? Just as in my spiritual life, I'm starting to realize that my peace and satisfaction directly correlate with the style and amount of work I put in. Maybe that's why my mother-in-law irons her sheets or my mom separates her laundry so completely (I mean she has off-white loads - whatever Martha). I know there is balance here - I know from my therapist days that there are those who struggle with perfectionism and OCD. At this point in my life, however, I am not one of those people.

So, we at the Maddex home are going to garden - planting tiny seeds in pots indoors (Some of us like to wear hats when we garden and some of us prefer to garden in the buff). We are also going to (God help us) turn off the t.v., say our prayers, attend Church (on time) and participate in the fast. We are going to do this because we believe in home grown, organic vegetables. We "...look for the Resurrection and the life of the world to come...." But we also do this because we believe that how we live now has meaning and importance. That we can experience God and His peace today - as the sun shines through the windows of my porch and the hymns of St. Andrews Canon are sung.