Saturday, April 14, 2012

Holy Friday and Saturday boxes

Holy Friday afternoon (unnailing) and evening (lamentations): stories in the Children's Bible Reader and Tomie de Paola's Book of Bible Stories, as well as (in the box on the right) an epitaphion icon, a crucifixion icon, and an icon of the Theotokos with two angels who are holding a cross and, I think, a spear, as a foretaste of what is to come.  In the little bag in the middle is a wooden peg doll, frankincense and myrrh (from a Christmas present from my mother with the gifts of the Magi), holy oil, and a linen cloth.  Lucia's box (on the left) has icons of the Theotokos, St. Basil, and the three hierarchs with their mothers.

Holy Saturday: books for Holy Friday (forgot) and Holy Saturday, and whatever else was left over.  This is one of the reasons why I was trying to put things for the next service in the box as soon as we got home from the previous service... I just can't keep up.  I had an icon of Jonah earlier in the week and the stories of Jonah in several books, and the story of the Three Holy Children in the Children's Bible Reader... but didn't remember, as my detailed list of what the themes were for each service only went as far as Holy Thursday.  I am hoping that these pictures and descriptions will help jog my memory for next year!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holy Thursday evening box

Books: Children's Bible Reader and Tomie de Paola's Book of Bible Stories
For the evening service: Mystical Supper, the Washing of the Feet, the Prayer in the Garden, and the Betrayal.

Mystical Supper: I cut out some grapes from the grocery store ads, and just now realized that I could include a small plate and cup from my childhood kitchen things.

Washing of the Feet: icon.

Prayer in the Garden: a prayer card with a picture of praying hands and a komboskini.

Betrayal: the "thirty pieces of silver" for Judas' betrayal, and the finger-puppet rooster from my Nouna for Peter's betrayal.

I added the icon of the epitaphion as a foreshadowing, even though that will be tomorrow afternoon.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Holy Thursday morning box and a honey of a birthday cake

Ready to commemorate the Mystical Supper and the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday morning, with Jane G. Meyer's books, The Man and the Vine and The Woman and the Wheat, as well as a box with the icon of the Mystical Supper.  There's a little icon for the Washing of the Feet, too.  We reviewed the story of the Supper in the Children's Bible Reader as well as Tomie de Paola's Book of Bible Stories, but there's only so much I can carry into the church.  We didn't read through the Meyer books properly, but looked at all the pictures and read a few pages from each.  I think these two books will be definitely something for both children to grow into.  I just have to remind myself to be patient.

Lucia's box just has a new laminated icon and two of the ones she likes best.

The High Priestly Prayer (in the garden of Gethsemane) and the Betrayal would be on Holy Thursday, too, according to the Synaxarion, but I am putting those things in the box for the evening service, which is quite long.

Also, tomorrow will be Lucia's first birthday, so Fr. Peter and I made a cake (we are soo tired, and kinda leaned on each other for help in doubling the recipe).  According to prevailing wisdom, a baby should not have honey before her first birthday.  So she gets a lemon honey cake* shaped like a honeycomb.
*We attempted to lentenize it, using water for milk, 3/4 applesauce and 1/4 Crisco for butter, and the usual egg substitute from the monastery cookbook.  Haven't tasted it yet, but the whole house smells lovely.  I'm so glad I picked up a lemon and a lime on a whim!  (We're not doing the glaze, just the cake, and the shaved lemon and lime look a little embarrassed being bald on the counter.)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holy Week box: Holy Tuesday evening

Book: Children's Bible Reader
Ephemera: Icon of Christ the Bridegroom; holy oil to represent the oil with which the sinful woman anointed Christ; and three dimes to represent the thirty pieces of silver Judas received.

I gave Lucia different icons and a komboskini.  She's really getting into kissing icons, especially those of Jesus.  She also enjoyed playing with the box itself.  Now I just need to figure out how to make it close quietly...

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Holy Week boxes

Yes!  I finally got started on these today!  (After two years, so I'm excited, even if I forget to bring them the rest of the week.)

First, I read the delightful "Tips for Surviving Evening Services with Little Ones."  Then I revisited the Holy Week boxes series: 2010, 2011, and 2012.  Then I went shopping and didn't remember to take a list with me.

The kids and I went to Joann's.  Teddy was wet, so we had to take care of that.  Lucia freaked out and threw up because she couldn't get to me (in the cart, right next to me, evidently was Not Good Enough).  Then we wandered around and looked at things (while I cringed at the noises we were making, sure that everyone knew how mean and horrible I really am).  I found plastic grapes which were quite large and some wooden "doll pegs," but not much else.  I had come in thinking that I would just get some felt scraps or sheets and muster up some figures to illustrate the stories of Holy Week, but I couldn't think of any (except "We should have a sheep"), and kept wandering the aisles.

So we picked up a package of felt sheets with a diverse color scheme, and some pipe cleaners with same (enough of the right colors for sheep and people), and snagged the wooden doll pegs, and put the giant bunch of grapes back.  I remembered seeing some wooden boxes, so we went and got two of the treasure-chest type.  I found a small lion at the front and got that, too.  (Lion of Judah, lion lying down with the lamb ... it would fit somehow, and Lucia specifically likes the lion in the library puzzle and in our own Noah's ark, so that would be something quiet for her.)

Then we went home and I studied up on the themes for each service in Holy Week, quickly getting overwhelmed.*  I reviewed the list of items for the Holy Week boxes.  I really liked the site for "Great Lent, Holy Week & Pascha" and supplemented that with the paperback The Year of Grace of the Lord.**  Then I went to the bookshelves and pulled relevant books, and went to the icon bookshelf ... and stashes of icons that have either been put out of the way or are still unpacked and pulled relevant icons and some laminated ones that aren't necessarily relevant but are safe for Lucia.  I thought I had at least something for the Three Holy Youths for Holy Saturday (no), as well as something for the Parable of the Talents (no).  I kicked myself for not doing anything yesterday, because I do have a lovely book on Joseph, who was one of the themes from yesterday's Bridegroom service.  Then I scrounged around all the junk drawers and boxes of hastily cleaned up toys and shelves and places for oddments and found enough things to satisfy me for now.

Books: Tomie de Paola's The Parables of Jesus (library discard, forgot how I got it) and Helen Caswell's Parable of the Bridesmaids (found last year at Goodwill).
For the Bridegroom, I was thrilled to find a bookmark (I'd forgotten about these!) that I'd gotten at our previous parish's festival from the monastery booth.  (Laminated icons, hooray!)
For the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, I used two of those little battery-operated tea-lights that I'd gotten around Christmastime for Teddy's play-censer.  I kept the plastic insert in one (so it wouldn't work), for the foolish virgins, and took the other out (so it would work) for the wise virgins.
For the parable of the talents, I took three of the wooden doll pegs (debated dressing them up and having another one in fancier dress for the master, but decided that I should just go simply at the beginning), two dimes, two nickles, and one penny.

We got to church early enough for us to read both stories and have me explain most of the items to Teddy.  I don't know if he was particularly interested in any of them (but he did like taking them out and scattering them all over the pew before continuing to ignore them), as I was walking up and and down and in and out with Lucia.  I was able to lean over to him a couple of times and point out, "This is about the Bridegroom.  Where is your icon of the Bridegroom?" or "Do you hear them singing about the wise and foolish virgins?  Which lamp is for the wise virgins?"  Teddy asked many questions like, "Why did they not bring enough oil? Why did they bring enough oil?  Why is the Bridegroom coming?" which I hope to answer, but didn't even attempt to this evening.

I found that reading the stories of the themes for the service put me into a more restful state of mind: I was able to pick up on the themes of the hymns, and listen better to the parts of the Gospel I was able to hear, much better than if I had done no preparation.  This reminded me of my father's habit of reading the epistle and Gospel reading for Mass the night before as well as right before the service, and his explanation that it helped him pay attention better.

This is my first Holy Week with two kids, and it is Tough.  I'm glad I read through those "tips," as Teddy was mostly content to snuggle in the pew with his blanket and pillow while Lucia and I walked and walked and walked.  Lucia had a box, too, with three laminated icons, a peg doll, and the little plush lion.  She was interested in his things and had no interest in the lion.  He wanted the lion.  *sigh*  I so called that while they were asleep at naptime this afternoon, but there was less throwing than I had worried about.

I have plenty of things ready for the rest of the week, manipulatives/ephemera and books.  There are only two boxes, so I'm just throwing everything else into a bag and pulling the things I need for the next service as soon as I get a break after we get home from the previous service.  (I at least know I am liable to forget.)  I am hoping to find an icon catalogue that I'd given to my husband and persuade him to make use of our laminator.  (I forgot he'd already bought one, and found one and was so thrilled with myself for remembering to buy it... it was very disappointing to realize that I hadn't saved us from not having a laminator, but instead had purchased a second one.)

*First of all, this collection of icons is awesomesauce, and I'm so glad I bookmarked it when I found it.  I had no idea there were icons of parables and Old Testament stories, etc., before I saw these.  I liked the one with the parable of the ten virgins, and found a better picture of the one of the last judgment (sheep and goats).  I also loved finding this icon of the last judgment ("Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these...").  That said, I was sad that this was the only icon I could find with the parable of the talents.  I want a big colorful one!

Another thing I found in my internet hunt was this moving story about a college professor, doughnuts, push-ups, and explaining the Gospel of Christ in a meaningful way.

**I thought it was an exciting and noteworthy connection from this book, that I'd never thought of before: St. John was the only one of the Twelve who stayed with Jesus through His passion ... and the only one of the Twelve who was not martyred.  p. 179: "All except one had abandoned [H]im during the harrowing hours of Golgotha...  Peter and the other apostles will share, through their own martyrdom, in the Passion of their Master..."

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Friday, April 06, 2012

This is how we do it

This has been a rough week, with Issues from one person with both my husband and myself.  (Prayers definitely requested.)  And a parish council member's mother died.  Her funeral was this morning.  I tried to get the kids ready to go to Orthros which was before the funeral, but my husband started Orthros early and we came late, so we didn't get any of it.

The kids and I went home to have lunch and nap afterwards while my husband went to the cemetery and meal afterwards, and I looked into jumping through some medical hoops.  The online registration system wouldn't accept my birthdate, today was the last day to register, but I found someone on the phone who made arrangements.  Then we go to get our blood drawn, but somehow there's no appointment for either of us, and they're not taking walk-ins as their A/C is out, but we can go to another place and have our blood drawn ... if we hurry, since they close in an hour and it takes half an hour to get there and the average wait time is 20 minutes.

So we go to the second place and I'm still not in the system and the lady at the front desk doesn't have me in the computer at all, so I called the same phone number and "Scott" put me in the system from there.  (I still can't register, so I don't know whether I can get my results and/or qualify for the survey and following steps, etc.)  Then, after our blood was drawn, the phlebotomist said he thought we were done, and there wasn't anyone at the front desk, so we load the kids and the double stroller into the car and drive off ... until there's a guy who races up beside us and says that the lady had run out the door to flag us back for something, so we went back and signed paperwork.  Whew.

At least we could now go home and relax.  My husband hadn't scheduled anything for this evening, making the service for the day an Orthros so he'd have some time to relax before Holy Week.  Except that the priest for the next-nearest church had told his parishioners that we'd be having an Akathist again tonight.  No worries, he said later this week: he'd tell everyone and nobody from his church would come.  We got home and there was an email from another priest attached to that church whom my husband confesses to which said that they could set up a time when he came to the Akathist service tonight.  And he didn't get any of my husband's (three) phone calls.

So my husband slips into his cassock and drives over to church... where there are three or four next-nearest parishioners and one of ours (who had to work for all the previous Fridays and whose daughter is on the way) ... so my husband calls me and says they'll do some sort of service, Vespers or Compline, so, without thinking, I have Teddy put on his shoes and snatch Lucia up, and we go to church.  A little while into the service, the other priest comes with his wife, too.

Honestly, this was not how I planned the day at all.  I imagined being this tired next Friday.  Our house is a wreck, we have almost nothing planned for Easter baskets (his is ordered, saying "Radio Flyer" on the side), I have a birthday something to plan (with the cutest little honeycomb baking pan that just arrived today), and there's a horrible, niggling thing in my head that I've forgotten something but I can't think what.

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