For anyone who is interested in natural beeswax candles, here is a link to my husbands website. All candles are hand dipped and poured. They smell and burn beautifully. Enjoy! beeswax candles
On 9 October my little man will be three months old! Where has the time gone?! At times it seems unbelievable that he is here with us and no longer in my belly. But he is a joy and a blessing. At three months he is in the 90th percentile for height and weight, measuring about 25 inches long and about 14 lbs. To look at him one would think that he is closer to 6 months, not three. He has a huge chest, a sturdy frame, and seems to take after the build of his great grandfather and namesake.
We never were able to breastfeed, despite all sorts of help and advice. I have become bestfriends with my breast pump because there is no way my little man is getting toxic formula as long as I can help it. I ended up taking him to my chiropractor who said that his jaw was majorly out of alignment and the jaw and facial muscles were not working properly due to the way he was born (arm wrapped around his neck with fist pushing against his jaw for about 19 hours). Because of this, my son physically could not open his mouth wide enough to latch on, and it was likely causing him pain to try to nurse. The chiropractor said that if he was not adjusted he would have bad TMJ problems when he begins to eat solid food, and that the longer we wait the more intensive the treatment would need to be. A minute after his first adjustment his mouth looked straighter, he could open it much wider, and we were hopeful. He has had three treatments so far, and we are all very excited about the improvement. After his next appointment we will try to nurse. I am doubtful that he will take to it as he never did before and is now attached to his bottle. But it is worth a try. I just want to be sure that I do not try too soon before he is at a point where it will not be hurting to try.
(This is a side rant...nothing about a celebration. My son has a huge rash with swelling on his head thanks to a bouncy seat cover that was made in China and covered in who knows what chemicals. I wash everything before he comes into contact with it, but never thought to pull the cover off the chair to wash before using. Arg!!! There should be a nation wide ban on all products from China! They are trying to kill us it seems!)
9 October is also the feast day of St. Tikhon's in Anchorage. On that day the first liturgy will be held in the new church. I am so excited that I do not mind that we will be getting up around 6am to make it to the service. I look forward to seeing how the church has come along, especially after all the hard work my husband, his dad, and many others have put into it.
That is all for now!
This post is a bit late, but our son is here! Nicholas was born on 9 July 07 at 6:41 pm at 9 lb 3 oz, 20 3/4 in long and a head and chest of just under 15 in, after 19 hours of labor and about 4 hours of pushing. He had an arm wrapped around his neck...all the way around his neck, so he could not tuck his head correctly...hence the 4 hours of pushing. But he was born naturally without drugs, and is healthy. He is a very sweet baby, loves to snuggle, and is such a blessing!
This morning I awoke to sunshine and warmth. By 11 am, dark rain clouds were moving in, so my husband and I went for a walk in what remained of the sun. By 12 noon, it was sprinkling on my way into town. A minute after the sprinkling started, hail, some the size of dimes, all of it rather large, was pummeling the ground with amazing force and concentration. By 3 pm, the sun was back and the clouds were retreating. What a day!
It has been a while since I wrote in here, but not because there has been nothing going on. Spring is always just a busy time of year. Currently our apartment is undergoing a major overhaul. With the baby due in two months or less, we decided it was time to get our act together and finish the apartment. We have wood flooring that was never sealed, thus it has become quite dirty and needs to be sanded and then sealed. Aside from the brute work this will require (moving everything outside, renting a sander, sanding, getting all the dust out, installing molding around the walls and doors, washing the walls and windows, sealing the floors, letting it dry while we stay somewhere else, and then moving everything back in) we are struggling to decide what to seal the floors with. Most varnish is toxic to touch and breath while liquid, and produces toxic off gasses once dry. In addition, my husband is massively allergic to it in its liquid form. There are varnishes that we have seen in green magazines that report being none toxic, so we might go with that, and pray that my husband does not get any of it on him while applying it. My mother in law found a natural wax sealant for wood floors on line that looked promising until we found out that it is made from tree resins, which my husband is also massively allergic to. As of yet, we do not know what we are going to use, but we need to figure it out quick. In the meantime I have been going through the house finding things we do not absolutely need and giving it away to Bishop's Attic. The rest will have to be stored upstairs at his parents house and outside when the time comes.
Thanks to some research by my every conspiratorial grandmother-in-law, I have been reminded yet again that Big Brother, not just in the US, but globally, is killing us without remorse. When compact fluorescent light bulbs hit the market, my eco-conscious family went out and bought them up. We figured it was an environmental and moral obligation to use less electricity, reduce emissions from the power plants, and throw less junk into the landfills. The packaging that these light bulbs came in said much about how they were a cost effective and energy efficient bulb, but nothing about how they contained unrestricted amounts of mercury. As of April 2007 in the US, the quantity of mercury has "voluntarily" been reduced to 5mg to 6 mg per bulb. But the packaging does not say "Warning...you hold in your hands a toxic object which if and when it should break will contaminate your entire home. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include but are not limited to seizures, nerve damage, brain damage, psychotic-like behavior, and death". There is no mention of the fact that if a bulb breaks the subsequent contamination must be addressed by government agencies such as the CDC and EPA, which will require a physical cleanup of months, yet may not make the abode safely habitable. Nor does the label tell that the bulbs must be recycled by a recycling center or the manufacturer and not placed in a landfill. As more and more countries are trying to phase out the old bulbs and implement the CFL bulbs, some even by government mandate, we are facing a monumental toxic contamination of the planet. Perhaps the Amish are on the right track about shunning "progressive mechanization". Unfortunately, all of us who blindly go forth to use the newest and the greatest inventions will likely contaminate and slowly kill off not only ourselves, but those who have tried so hard to stay away from it all.
Today I was doing some reading to help get me into the Pascha mindset, and I came across this letter in a magazine. It just awed my husband and I. I searched the internet to find it in print so I would not have to retype it all to get it here. If anyone reads my journal, I hope they to find inspiration from the letter.
What follows is a letter written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.The Navy Chaplain had talked to the young man, to his mother, and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, assured anyone who asked, that this was a true story. This letter was read once a year in the 1960's over a mid-western radio station at Christmas time.
Dear Mom, I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe
it. Maybe even you will find it hard, but I have to tell somebody.
First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, you hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I'm okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that is not what I want to tell you.
Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I have always prayed to St. Michael. When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh corps of Heaven adorning…" You know the rest of it. Well, I said it every day, sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting, but always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.
Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold; my breath was like cigar smoke. I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been over 6 feet 4 inches and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near me.
Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather!
My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly.
I looked at him, "I've never seen you before. I thought I knew every man in the outfit."
"I just joined at the last minute," he replied, "the name is Michael."
"Is that so," I said surprised, "that's my name too."
"I know," he said, and then went on saying the prayer, "Michael, Michael of the morning..."
I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.
Neither of us spoke for a time, and then he broke the silence.
"We're going to have some trouble up ahead." He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself; well with the commies all around us, that's no great revelation.
Snow began to fall in thick great globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out, and I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.
"Michael!" I shouted in sudden alarm. I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."
His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol. There was no one in sight. We lost them in the heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.
Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them, seven commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.
"Down Michael!" I screamed, and hit the frozen earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing.
Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits, but there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least that's what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit. Now I know.
I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I thought I was dying. Maybe I was even dead. I remember thinking well, this is not so bad.
Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock, but it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor.
As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights.
Well, that's the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me; I don't know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.
"Where's Michael?" I asked. I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.
"Michael, that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."
"Kid," said the sergeant, "you weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in, when you disappeared in the snow.
"He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it, kid?"
"How did I do what?" I asked half angry, despite my wound. "This Marine named Michael and I
were just..." "Son," said the sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it.
You are the only Mike in it."
He paused for a minute. "Just how did you do it, kid? We heard shots, yet there hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle, and there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."
I didn't say anything; what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.
It was then, the sergeant spoke again. "Kid," he said gently, "every one of those seven commies was killed by a sword stroke."
That is all I can tell you, Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain, but that is what happened.
This article was republished with permission from the Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796,
Mother Of All Peoples
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Today was finally warm enough (about 40 degrees) for our ice and snow to turn slushy and begin to melt. When I took Houdini (my pup) for a walk I could actually feel the warmth on my skin, despite only partially sunny skies. It felt wonderful to be able to stroll along the dirt roads and actually be able to see the dirt, and to not be shivering uncontrollably. Granted, it could still be another month or two before all the snow is gone and the garden can be planted. But today has given me hope that this year we will in fact have a summer.
Today I also began my first attempt at a baby quilt. We had a good amount of fabric left over from the curtains we made for the baby room. Not wanting to waste a scrap of it, I already made a pillow cover for when the baby is big enough for pillows, and have now begun to do more than plot about the matching quilt. It has been probably thirteen years since I last worked on a quilt, and I was mostly an observer. So this is an ambitious endeavor, that may come out looking more like a sorry excuse for a pin cushion, but I am optimistic. If nothing else, I am enjoying the act of physically doing something for my baby. It has been a long 26 weeks, and with about 14 more to go, I find that I just want to do something, anything to make this experience more than just an internal one.
My hubby and I were able to go to church over the weekend for vigil and liturgy. I think we were both just so happy to finally be in church after over a month of one or the other of us being too sick to make the journey. It was so comforting to be able to stand with my eyes closed, listening to the choir, smelling the incense and beeswax candles, and to just be there. On top of that, it was Palm Sunday, which means liturgically it has been one year since I was chrismated. This was the most beautiful Palm Sunday I have ever spent in church, a real tribute to the effort put in by the parishioners and priest to make sure that everything was just right. For maybe twenty minutes at a time I would just stand there mesmorized by how beautiful the church was, how nicely the palm and willow branches were prepared, how much the priest enjoyed blessing everyone with copious amounts of holy water, and how much practice the choir must have put in for that weekend. It was very moving.
On a different note, I am worried about my husband's business future. He makes hand dipped beeswax candles and votives. More than half of his business is with the OCA in Alaska. He loves to make the candles, our entire family loves the aroma that fills the house, and I enjoy that he is able to work from home. But it seems like everyday there is bad news about the bees in this and other countries. This winter had many cold and warm spells across the US, that fooled many bees into leaving the hives too early, only to freeze and starve before they could return. In addition, many beekeepers looking to make more profit at the expense of moral and environmental consciousness, have been engaging in a practice where they remove too much of the honey the bees create, leaving them too little for nutrition, and then "supplementing" with sugar water, corn syrup, etc. So even bees that are not wondering out of the hives during the winter, are dying, or are not producing normal quantities of honey and wax. At first I did not pay too much attention to the reports about the bees. And then it hit me, that as the bees die, so does our family's way of life. My husband works hard to make the most beautiful dripless beeswax candles I have ever seen. For him it is an art that he has been perfecting for longer than I have known him (more than six years). He does not make a lot of money from it, as who can charge full price to churches that can barely feed their priests? But he makes enough to support us, and to keep me from having to work outside the home. If this problem with the bees continues, wax will be in very short supply, and he may end up closing up shop. He can always finish his accounting degree or work construction like he has in the past. But what will happen in the churches? What candles will they use then? Toxic paraffin? It is a sad and scary thing to contemplate.
Last Friday Baby Nicholas hit the six month mark. My husband and I are amazed every day that we are going to have a baby. With each new day and new development, we are awe struck all over again. Today I was sitting on the couch and Nicholas was wiggling around inside like he has been for about the past month. But only recently has he been kicking and punching hard enough for me to be able to watch him do it and to feel it from the outside. Today he was snuggled up very high, about where the middle of my right lung used to be ( it feels as if it is deflated and no longer providing me any air...in reality it is just squished because of all the new stuff taking up room inside). And he was really getting a work out banging at my belly, so much so that I could see my skin rise and fall. So I decided to tap back at him with my finger. After a short pause he pushed back. So I tapped twice and then he tapped twice. It was our first game together, and how special it was.
Today has special meaning to me, aside from the obviousness of it being St. Patrick's day. On this day 23 years ago I was first baptized and chrismated. Today is also the anniversary of the birth of my very dear, late paternal grandfather. He has been gone for I believe six years now, yet he was such a profound influence on my childhood that my soul refuses to feel that he has died. I can convince my brain, for I only have to see my grandmother's tears to believe. I can convince my heart because of the tears it shed when I received the phone call late in the night. But my soul knows of the secret that the body does not, that the soul continues on. And so I pray for my grandfather to be with God, and for my grandmother to be at peace with the loss that still weighs so heavy on our family.
An interesting thing about my grandfather's death, or rather the circumstances surrounding it's announcement. I was lying in bed after having said my evening prayers, and I was having a mental conversation with God. I was acknowledging that I always wanted to be in control, and did not accept God's will into my life. So I prayed that He would help me to trust in Him and to accept His will in my life. As soon as I did so, I knew that this new promise would soon be tried. Literally a second or so later, the phone by my bed rang. I knew before my mom called to me to pick it up, that it would be my father calling and that it had to do with my grandfather. And when my father said my name, his voice betrayed what his words had not yet said. Oh, the pain that phone call brought. Not just because of his death and what it meant would change in my life, but because I had just told God that I would trust Him. That trust was hard to have, but the simple act of having said I would give it meant that I had to accept the death as part of God's plan, not just the pain that it caused.
I still struggle with trusting in and having faith in God's plan. But I am at a point in my life where I know that I can and need to have these elements in my relationship with God, and that trusting in truths that are not so up close and personal at the moment (such that God win's in the end) helps me to put into perspective my faith in His role in other situations.