Tag Archives: orthodox

Sigh… And Cry…

As I begin to write this, I am sitting in the car with my 5 year old autistic son. It’s the 4th of July, which means fireworks and panic for this sweet boy. Three of my boys are with their dad, or who knows… the heartache of divorce… 

I’m okay sitting in the car with my little boy.

I’m coming to terms with a failed marriage (twice attempted, twice failed, with the same person).

What should matter is my children, my relationship with them and moving forward. And what should not matter is the negative flurry of slander, hate and anger behind me. 

But it does. 

It hurts. It hurts real bad. And I hate giving power to that pain by acknowledging it… But I guess healing comes with acceptance of pain and failure. 

I have seven children. Two of my boys are autistic, my 16 and 5 year old. The oldest has grown to be such a delightful young man. He is smart, humble, quiet, gentle and kind. My 5 year old is still struggling through his emotions and anxieties, and this is also a great struggle for me. It’s hard to reach him at times and even harder to calm him in the midst of his “moments.”

What’s also hard is the backlash I have received from those closest to me.  My family seems to only be able to tolerate the older children in doses, and the youngest three scarcely at all. They are quick to point out my short comings as a parent… even quicker to jump on the backs of these three for simply being children. 

And then there is my ex husband’s side of the family… although only his parents have ever come to visit – and no more than a week a year, at most – there certainly wasn’t a shortage of pure evil, hateful messages from the siblings (who have NEVER visited in 16 years and never met the younger FIVE children). Thankfully, I’ve been able to keep a mostly loving and positive communication with his parents. As for the others, I should be strong enough to dismiss their unfounded judgment and just focus on the beautiful, innocent faces in front of me. 

But it’s hard. Real hard. 

I wonder… do my parents, his parents, [some of] my siblings and his siblings, random acquaintances, etc, ever stop to remove the log from their own eyes? Do they really think that through their actions they are lifting up a woman and her children? Or worse, are they trying to bring her to her breaking point?

I may be weak. They may hurt me a lot. But they will not break me. Let me be clear on that. They can block my messages and not make eye contact in church. They may say all manner of things behind my back – deserved or undeserved. They may try to turn my own children against me with their poison. Yes, they can do all this and more, while pretending to be righteous, saying their morning and evening prayers daily…

Meanwhile, I struggle to pray, struggle to bring my children to church. I wake up daily and make my kids food adherent to a diet for those on the spectrum. I cry and work through the tantrums of the little ones. I struggled for 8 years to home educate because I felt it was best for my kids. I try to help a very moody and emotional, freshly-minted teenager navigate through his complex emotions and new life changes. All the while, trying very hard not to let myself succumb to the negativity and hatred from those I love the most, outside my children.

Sigh… And cry…

Life is always a struggle. One beautiful struggle after another. And if I can come out of one, I trust that God will carry me and mine through the next battle. 

And when I cannot pray because in that moment my faith is lost, I hope that God sees me through those moments as well. 

And when I want to hate in return those who have hurt me over and over again, I beg that God give me the patience and love not to do so. 

After all, none of us are in any place to judge another. My struggles may be unbearable for many, but for sure, there are so many families in the world who face much worse. 

We are all broken. And those of us brave enough to admit that are just trying to find our footing each day. 

At the moment, it’s sitting in the car with my sweet boy so he feels safe with me from the noise of the fireworks… tomorrow I don’t know. 

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Family Pics!

I’ve been neglecting my blog for far too long! I plan to start easing back into writing, as time permits. Until then, here are some proud mama pictures, taken by my good friend, Desiree. Enjoy!




Homemade Christmas Cards

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After coloring our icons of the Mother of God and Christ and the Nativity scene, we scanned the images and had them printed as photos. We bought gold, calligraphy pens to write Christmas greetings on the back of each card.


The Kids Are Out to Get Me

I mean really. We left the Orthodox Easter service last night, 90 minutes in, at 11:30 pm. My ten year old, brother in law and sister and my parents stayed through and then participated in the big feast afterwards, probably getting home around 4 am. So I really can’t complain too much. I passed out at 1 am.

But do babies sleep in when they go to bed later? No. They use such mornings to tell me just how much they love me by waking up even earlier than most days. The two in diapers poop extra early. They are hungry and otherwise needier than usual. Every other day of the year, pajamas are just fine to wear all day. But on Easter Sunday? No, they must have their clothes on immediately (which are packed neatly in suitcases).

I guess it’s their way of saying, “Christ is Risen, and so are we. So let’s celebrate!” The earlier the better!

So I did what any tired mom would do and grabbed their oversized Reeses Easter bunnies and fed them.

Now we will go find daddy, who moved to a more peaceful location to continue his beauty rest, and we will wipe our chocolate hands all over him 🙂

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Getting Ready for Easter Part II

Yesterday the kids all joined in to color icons for Holy Week and Pascha.  Today’s project was egg decorating.  I have dyed eggs many times in my life, as have the kids.  But this would be our first attempt at egg art. 

I went through my art supplies I had at home, then took the little three to Michael’s for the extras.  I wanted to try decorating with both hollowed and hard boiled eggs.

Hollowing an egg is pretty simple, although it will feel like you are blowing up a bunch of floaties.

1)  Insert a thumb tack, pin or needle into one end of the egg to make a small hole.  On the other end of the egg, make a hole at least three times as large.

2) Blow through the smaller hole (over a sink, or bowl if you will use the egg for baking or cooking) to force out the white and yolk of the egg.

3) After you have gotten all of the egg out of the shell, run some water gently through both ends and then blow out any remaining water/egg.

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Be sure not to make the blow hole too large or the egg will crack (see the picture immediately above).  However, even with a few fractures, not all is lost 🙂

While I boiled the other eggs and got to work with my hollowed ones, my five year old busied himself with egg stuffing, both into plastic eggs and into his mouth.

David decorating

From the craft store I picked up some glossy Modge Podge glue and sealer, as well as some cheap paint brushes, some opaque gold acrylic paint, red acrylic, and some neat fabric tape.

supplies

fabric tabe

On hand, I had some scraps of fabric and some gold tissue paper.  The tissue paper I tore into manageable sized strips.

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gold strips

I coated an egg in the glue and covered it with the gold strips, and then painted another thin layer of glue to make sure all was suck down well.  For another egg, I covered the egg in glue and wrapped the fabric around, scoring and adding more glue where necessary.

wrapped with fabric

I painted the remaining hollow egg with the gold acrylic and one of the hard boiled with the red acrylic.  I wrapped some of the fabric tape around two. Then I set my four little eggs out to dry 🙂

eggs drying

When my older kids came home, they got to work decorating the remainder of the hard boiled eggs.  My ten year old chose a black Sharpie for his egg.  Two eggs broke amongst the group.  My daughter chose stickers (butterflies, of course!) as her medium.

Yana decorating

Considering this is our first egg art project, I am pretty pleased with the outcome.  We have a few more days and plenty of supplies left to perfect our craft!

eggs in basket


Getting Ready for Easter

This April 12th, Orthodox Christians celebrate their Easter (Pascha). While busy with school and Holy Week services and the rest of the day to day duties of a house and six kids, I’m trying to squeeze in time for fun Easter activities for the kids. 

I just came across the most beautiful blog by another Orthodox on egg decorating. If you have never seen truly decorated eggs, you are missing out on an amazing art form. I will try my hand at a few of these decorating ideas. For now, we’ve enjoyed coloring Holy Week and resurrection icons.

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