Monday, April 28, 2008

Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!

I love this sermon. Christianity in its essence and the foundation for our joy.

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom
Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages.
If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
"You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Resolution

I am so grateful for good medical and dental care. Doctors and dentists have so much power. They see you usually when you are weakest and most vulnerable. A bad dentist can scar you for a long time. My first SoCal dentist was like that. Now I can't even drive down the street that she is on without feeling a little sick. My new dentist does not take advantage of me. She spent a lot of time with me, told me the options that I had, and didn't even charge me for my check-up today. She has done that before also.

Anyways, the results of today's visit were good. She looked everything over and said that I have no major issues right now. (Whew- big sigh of relief) Just to keep using a mouth rinse and rinsing with salt water in addition to my usual brush/floss routine. She also said that it was good that I came in because she needs to know if I think there is a problem. That helped me psychologically. Yesterday, I spent too much time on WebMD reading about how my pregnancy gingivitis can lead to teeth loss and other very unpleasant things, so I was ready to have her level the boom on me today. (a rarity in commercialized medicine)

I have learned a lot of hard lessons through my teeth experience.

1. Humility- Baring your mouth is kind of like baring your soul to a small degree. You have to do it to expose what is there and begin to take care of it.
2. Courage- Going to the dentist for a procedure that is going to hurt and change your moth forever is hard, but necessary for healing.
3. Trust- Putting a piece of you into the hands of someone else.
4. A good physician is necessary- Along with trust above, having a trustworthy physician is key. Thank goodness we have a good Lord who does not take advantage of us, who loves us, who has sacrificed for us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer Request

Well, as I am sure that many of you know, I have had some serious teeth problems over the past year and a half, and a lot of work done. Unfortunately, this has transferred to gum problems with the pregnancy. This is not uncommon. The dentists have named it "pregnancy gingivitis," and it stems from the changes in hormones and increased blod flow that occurs during pregnancy. My gums are sore pretty much all the time. I have been doing a lot to keep them healthy, extra brushings, flossings, salt water rinses, etc..., but I seem to be losing the battle.

At the moment, I am pretty depressed about it and worried. I don't want it to hurt the baby, or to do permanent damage to my mouth. Most of all though, I don't want to get so worried about it that I cause extra stress to the baby. This seems to be my Achilles heel when it comes to worrying. I can handle a lot of things, but I fall hard when it comes to this.

Please keep me and baby in your prayers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

5 Months

Some pictures at 5 months.

I had a good 5 month visit with my midwife. When she tried to get the heartbeat with the doppler tool, LJ (we'll call him this for short "little Jonesie"), kept moving so that it took a while to get a good heartbeat. She was surprised at how much he moved. :)

My mom sometimes relates a story about me when I was about 5 years old. I was singing with the kids choir at church one Sunday while my mom and a friend were listening. When her friend asked which child belonged to her, she pointed at me, saying "the wiggly one on the end." So, now I have a wiggly one of my own, "the wiggly one in my belly."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gap and Yard Sales

Two things that don't usually go together... GAP and yard sales. They do go together for me though. Now that I am actually getting a little bit bigger, I am beginning to need a few more maternity things, liek long tops that cover the maternity pants so that I don't look silly for work. My best finds have been at yard sales and GAP. For example, I found two very cute dresses and a nice shirt at GAP. The total bill was $21. At yard sales, I have found two pairs of jeans, two dresses, and a few long tops. The total bill: $10.

Hurray for cheap maternity!

Oh, and I am going to post something more substantial later. I was away this weekend at a Women's retreat for church and it was very good.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Katie and Little Boy on a Trip to Disneyland

Part #2 in the "trip" series:

Today, Katie and little boy went to Disneyland. Wow, what a lucky kid! A trip to Disneyland and not even born yet!

We woke up a wee bit later than usual and had a nice workout before hitting the road. Feeling nice and relaxed, we parked and entered the park to meet some of Katie's friends from work.

For a few hours, we wandered around the park. It was a busy day because all of the local elementary schools were on Spring Break.

The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean. This was very fun and Baby slept most of the time. The we went to the Haunted Mansion. The shrieks and screams may have been a bit too much for Baby, but it was all over in no time. Later Katie got to practice being mommy and held everyones belongings when they rode on Big Thunder Mountain (not a good ride for Katie and Baby- or so the sign said).

After the park, we went to the ESPN zone to play games and eat. Katie showed everyone that she was still in pretty good shape, when she won a round of basketball in the Game Center. :)

All in all, it was just a lovely, stress-free day outside in the park. 75 degrees and perfectly clear. And, best of all, FREE!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Little Boy at 20 weeks

Here is our little guy at 20 weeks. He is laying on his back with the head on the left side. You should be able to see the nose and mouth. He also has a little tummy. I think I recognize the round head as belonging to Nathan. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Snips, and Snails, and Puppy Dog tails....

Yes, that is what little boys are made of!

Our ultrasound this morning confirmed it. We are having a little boy. So far everything looks good too. All the parts are there and the spine is nicely aligned. We got to see his little feet, with little toes, kicking me. The baby weighs about 13oz., which is actually a little bit big for 20 weeks. Yikes!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Children in the Church Today- Part #2

" When we consider the question of church attendance, and Holy Communion, and prayer at home, we must have in mind not only the immediate result, but also a long-term view: what is the best preparation for this child to live a Christian life in this world? What will sow in the child a spiritually healthy attitude to Christ, to the Church, and to the sacraments? What will help him/her to preserve until adulthood the desire to know Christ and have communion with him? Sometimes children attend church very often and yet inwardly they are rebelling and rejecting grace. Some athiests were brought up in pious families."

In reading this, I was very impressed. This is such a refreshing view; that we are working to help the child to "desire to know Christ and have communion with him." We are not trying to make it to every service, or impose certain expectations on a child. Rather, we are trying to teach them to love Christ. This makes me think of the verses in Ephesians exhorting parents to not exasperate their children. This does not mean of course that we sleep in on Sundays instead of going to church, but it does make the point that we are dealing with a unique human life, and we need to maintain a long-term view.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Stations of the Cross

Usually a Catholic tradition nowadays, we, as a Western Orthodox Church also celebrate the Stations of the Cross during the lenten season every Wednesday night. We walk through the stations after a 7pm liturgy (which most people fast for beforehand so that they can receive communion). The Stations are not a long service, but after not eating since noon, and an hour of liturgy, our wills often become weak, and thoughts of dinner and rest nearly overwhelm us.

It is at this time, however, that some of the most beautiful words are spoken and prayed, and if we listen, we come away renewed and with a deeper understanding of the Lord's suffering. We also come away with some greater knowledge of ourselves. It is a kind of knowledge that only comes through such an experience; a spiritual meditation of the cross, crossing oneself and bowing, praying, and hearing healing words. The soul and the body putting forth effort together.

When I was a little girl, I prayed that God would show me what his suffering meant; why Easter was so special. It took me until my first lent in the Orthodox Church to really make any headway in this. It took the effort of these long services where we, in our own small way, partook in the sufferings of Christ. That is what I had always been missing- the partaking in Christ's suffering before his resurrection. He calls us to die with him, that we might rise. If we do not die during a preapratory period like lent, the resurrection does not have the same depth or "gravitas," as a friend of ours likes to call it.

On the Easter morning after my first journey through lent, I was filled with such a joy. Christ had risen! Actually, the Hymn "He is Risen!" woke me up, like the Spirit of the Lord coming to announce his resurrection again, afresh. I was so joyful that day and cried as we rang the bells at Church in celebration. Many people did actually, it was hard not to. My emotions matched by desire to know the resurrection that day.

The lenten periods where I have fasted and made the spiritual effort have been the times when the resurrection meant the most. Though this year, my fast is different ( I am not restricting diet so much, except sweets), I need to make a similar effort towards His glorious appearing.

Anyways, I anow off track with my original thought- that of the Stations. Here is an excerpt that caught my eye last night. May it be a blessing to all.

From Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his garments-

Behold the Lord who clothed the world in beauty, who
now submits, for love of man, to all man’s hatred. He is
stripped of His clothing and prepared for the Cross.

Let us pray.

O BLESSED LORD JESUS, now prepared for the gallows tree;
Help us to strip off all false pride and to be clothed with sincerity
of heart: Let love rule in our hearts and fill them so that no
room remains for anger; let us rejoice in the success of others, and
pray for them in their shortcomings, that we have no room for the
cloak of envy; for lust, give us singleness of purpose; that all our
desires may be lived in the pure crucible of this Thy holy sacrifice;
Grant us for greed a love of holy poverty; for sloth a holy industry;
for gluttony a wholesome discipline; that resisting all temptations of
the world, the flesh, and the devil, we may live in faith, through
hope, with love by Thee, who now livest and reignest with the Father
and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Yay! I got an email today from our Office Manager saying that we were having an end-of-busy-season party all day at Disneyland. How fun! We get to take a whole day off, and they are providing a meal for us too at the ESPN zone. :) Last year the party was an Angel's game. Not that I don't just love the Angels, but this year sounds much better.