Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Secret to Wanting Less


Do not desire many things--
more than you have, that which is far away.
Rather, seek to take care of what you have
so as to sanctify it.
- Gerontissa Gavrielia
This quote from Mother Gavrielia has comforted me for many years.  I think it's a perfect reflection for the Thanksgiving holiday.  There are many ways we might not feel satisfied and are convinced that having more and different would give us peace.  But that is rarely true.
I hope that these weeks of advertised abundance and preparation for our celebration of "Christmas" do not take away our sanctification and peace in the saving news of our Lord's Birth.  I hope these coming days are days of  feeling blessed, satisfied and peaceful; not wanting.  If we are finding ourselves in want, let us be sure we have fully taken care of what we already have. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life Simply Lived

Matthew 6

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


When it comes to a life simply lived, no one does it better than the monks and nuns of the Orthodox Church. Committing themselves to a life of prayer, askesis (strict self discipline) and obedience, they live with few possessions and luxuries. The monastic folk song, God’s Love Abides, brings to mind the passage in Matthew 6: 25-34, that speaks of how the birds of the air and the flowers of the field have no worries. Monastics take this to heart for comfort and assurance. It’s relevant in the lyrics that sweetly describe a person’s longing for the monastic life..

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas Cards On Sale Now

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

The Thanksgiving Sale is still on!  Christmas Cards 1/2 off. 

Today's JAR - Keeping Christ in Christmas

Today's JAR just a reminder

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

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

this card is available at

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

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Home with a Cold on a Sunday Morning

I’m home with a cold. 

It’s a crummy day.

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

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

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

I can’t thank her enough for that lesson.

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

Need to find a live Liturgy for your sick day?  Follow this link on or simply search LIVE ORTHODOX LITURGY.