I started a tradition for myself last year during Holy Week, that I would pick one evening service during the week, and attend it by myself (with the help of a babysitter, since my children are still very small and my husband is the priest). Since I rarely go to[…} Read more….
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Spring is here. You can feel new life in the scent of the air. Birdsong and spring peepers have returned to Appalachia. I creep onto my deck in the early morning hours, and listen to the birds, eagerly chattering away. I know they’re talking to each other, but to me,[…} Read more….
A late Pascha can make us feel like it’s far away, but remember how easily things pile up and how busy it becomes. So, I challenge you to start planning your Holy Week and Bright week activities now. The reason? Not to be obsessive or to overplan, but to think[…} Read more….
We’re halfway through Lent. Right now, stop reading, and write down (or think of) three things you’re struggling with the most. Maybe it’s the fasting. Maybe it’s that your schedule is absolutely nuts with kids’ activities and family obligations. Maybe your kids are off the wall bonkers these days. Maybe[…} Read more….
Lent is not a punishment for our sins. It is not a slog to wallow in. It is not “sackcloth and ashes.” It is not bragging about your fasting or almsgiving, like the Pharisee. It is not something you “get through” to celebrate Pascha. Lent is genuine repentance. Lent is[…} Read more….
A growing awareness of specialized diets for health conditions presents an challenge for those who wish to pursue the traditional fast of the Orthodox Church. For the Orthodox Christian who desires to engage with the fast, but who cannot for medical reasons, there come a whole host of concerns: The[…} Read more….
I have an autoimmune disorder. I was diagnosed immediately before moving to our first parish assignment. In our new home, I not only had to quickly find the grocery store, but all the doctors and resources needed for my care. Slowly but surely, as my experience changed and developed, new[…} Read more….
It took a lot of work. We checked our gear. We bought provisions. Months in advance, we booked the campsite (after much research, of course). Even before that, we had to consult with family to compare calendars. It took a lot of work, but we managed to take a vacation.[…} Read more….
In last week’s post, I compared going to church with going to the gym. At the gym, you have to go and actually get on the treadmill to see results, much in the same way you have to actually go to church and do the work of prayer to draw[…} Read more….
A scene plays out in my head: I put on my workout clothes. My husband puts on his. We both go to the gym. He gets on the treadmill and starts running. Meanwhile, I just stand around, waiting for him to be done. Then we both return to the house.[…} Read more….
Lately, my middle child has gotten into an interesting habit during evening prayers. When I say the “Our Father,” with the kids at night, I customarily lift both hands, (if I’m not holding my littlest in my arms). Shortly after the prayer begins, Lucas likes to move and stand directly[…} Read more….
Attention and focus are the powerful currencies of our time. Whether we’re aware of it or not, the Orthodox liturgy is built in such a way as to harness the power of our attention. It does so in part through both predictability and novelty–the former helps you to know what[…} Read more….