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Long Time, No Updates!

February 21st, 2017 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren | Todd Daniel - (0 Comments)

I’ve been really lazy with my updates this last year. Sorry about that! It’s been a pretty interesting year, to say the least. My Father-In-Law had a liver transplant a few weeks ago. That has been a real blessing for our family. He is doing much better than he had been. I’ve been really excited to see how much he has progressed!

God has really been blessing our family.  We were getting a little frustrated with some things at church, and as is our modus operandi, decided to try going back to the Catholic Church.  Well our priest at the Orthodox Church, Father Peter, stepped in and set us straight!  Instead of running from our problems, he has been helping us talk them out.  I am really thankful for him.

Preston and Russell have both continued to serve at the altar at church.  Preston has really taken to it!  He knows how to do most of the liturgy already, and I’ve heard him asking to learn how to do other parts!  I’ve been singing for the church choir, with the most important part being the Propers.  It has been challenging, stressful, fun, and completely fulfilling!

Todd still doesn’t like to eat much (except for candy, bread, and other junk-type food), so he’s still a tiny little dude.  I’m sure he’ll get better, though.

I’ve started a new diet as of one week ago.  My cholesterol has been a bit too high and my doctor keeps wanting me to take statins.  I have taken them before and don’t like the way they make me feel, so I think I’m going to try taking this low-cholesterol diet thing seriously this time!  I’ve also decided to experiment with going gluten-free.  This makes Russie pretty happy.  He is glad to not be the only one!  Let me tell you, my stomach has felt much better in the last week than it has in years!  I’m not sure if it is because of the smaller portions that I’ve been eating, or the lack of gluten, but whatever it is, I like it…  I used to have problems with heartburn almost constantly.  I have only had a couple of small episodes of heartburn since I’ve started my new diet.  Yay!!!

Lousy Past Couple of Weeks…

December 8th, 2016 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel - (0 Comments)

Well, it’s Advent now.  I normally look forward to Advent because I like to do a devotion as a family.  The kids always enjoy it, especially the playing-with-fire part!  But it has been a rough start, I’ll tell you what!  The furnace went out = -$400.  The front tires on the van needed to be changed = -$300.  And now it seems that Preston’s lousy teeth are going to cost us another $200!  Poor kid, he got his Mama’s teeth… lol

But, despite it all, we’re still getting by.  And that’s what counts.  Right?

Preston as the Torch Bearer for Pascha

Preston as the Torch Bearer for Pascha

We made it through our first Lent as Orthodox Christians.  I can’t say we did the greatest job at fasting, but we tried.  I think that we did okay, so that’s good.  I know that I can’t expect perfection right at first, but as long as we’re constantly improving in our relationship with God I think that we’re on the right track.

The boys got to participate in the Paschal procession.  Preston was the Holy Torch Bearer (at least, I think that was his title!), and Russell got to carry the Holy Water.

The Beginning of Lent

March 15th, 2016 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Russel | Theology - (0 Comments)

Lent begins for us Orthodox this week, about a week-and-a-half before non-orthodox have Easter!  I’m excited, and a little nervous, to be beginning Lent.  You see, in the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church, the Lenten discipline is to fast and abstain (from meat) every day of Lent except on Sundays!  I’m not sure I can handle that yet…  Donna is planning on doing Monday/Wednesday/Friday as meatless for the entire family.  I am going to attempt to do closer to what the Church call for…  but no promises!  This is one thing that I love about the Orthodox Church.  The Church expects a lot from its members, but it also realizes that everyone is at a different point in their spiritual journeys.  It doesn’t proclaim that its members are “going to hell” because of their failures.  Rather, the Orthodox Church, as a true hospital for sinners wants us to work towards the goal.  I can handle that attitude, and honestly, I think I am more likely to reach (or at least, get close to) the goal.  Additionally, I will be striving towards the goal with the right attitude — not avoiding hellfire — but striving towards being more like Christ.  After all, that is the ultimate goal of life.

We were finally Chrismated in the Orthodox Church today! It is great to finally belong to a church again. I’ve felt homeless for a while, not being able to take Communion. I’m really excited about being a part of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic, and Orthodox Church. Following the Mass, we had a potluck and all-parish meeting. It has been a great day!

Church, Again…

October 16th, 2015 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren | Theology | Todd Daniel - (0 Comments)

I know that we’ve been back and forth over which church to attend for a while.  We’ve been attending (somewhat sporadically, at first) Saint Benedict Antiochian Orthodox Church since January, 2015.  Saint Benedict is one of few western rite churches within the whole of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

I think that I have finally found the church that teaches what I believe is the truth in the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Like the Roman Catholic Church, it is an ancient church that teaches Scripture and Tradition.  But, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, it does not teach what I consider to be excesses – such as papal infallibility.  It also doesn’t demand scholastic answers for everything like the RCC does.  This scholastic reasoning in the RCC has resulted in such teachings as the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mortal/venial sin definitions and requirements, and a host of other things that just about drove me mad during the time I was in the Roman Catholic Church.

It is also different from Confessional Lutheran Churches in significant ways.  The Lutheran Church does not teach that Tradition is authoritative, which hardly makes sense since the New Testament didn’t even exist in the early days of the Church!  The Orthodox Church also teaches free will, unlike the Lutheran Church.  The Lutheran Church teaches a confusing single-predestination which is best described as follows:  If you get to Heaven, it’s God’s fault; if you go to Hell, it’s your fault.  Ultimately, nearly all of Lutheran doctrine is affected by this faulty doctrine.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is a sacramental church, which I think is a necessity.  Like both the RCC and Lutheran Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  It is apostolic in both senses – bishops ordaining bishops throughout time, and in that it adheres to the apostolic teachings.  It is biblical – almost all the liturgy and prayer is taken from scripture.

I’m really excited to be becoming a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  If all goes according to plan, we will all be Chrismated in November, before Advent.

 

YNAB: How Compact Database

July 30th, 2015 | Posted by Russel in Russel | Technology - (0 Comments)

How to contact the database in YNAB4:  CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+C

This will remove all devices except for the computer being used.  This device will be assigned to ‘A’, and then I can add all my other devices again.  This is useful, because everytime I flash a new ROM on my phone and add YNAB to it, it adds a new device.  YNAB will only let you add up to 26 devices (letters A – Z).

We made it up to Michigan again this year to visit with my parents.  We had a wonderful time!  My mom taught Preston how to play Rummikub, and he is pretty good.  He was beating all of us!  We got to visit with Uncle Gary and Aunt Lorna, Cousin John, and Marissa.  Melody and Chad seemed to be doing well, and Grace is a real cutie!  We got to see some of the sights – Tawas and River Road, Tahquamenon Falls and Lake Superior, and we even got to see the Chicago skyline on the way up there (I’m never driving that way again…)!  We bought some cheese and hiked some trails.  We got to see Mama’s new church building.  All-in-all, it was great!

 

 

Weekend Getaway

January 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Russel in Donna | Preston | Russel | Russell Warren | Todd Daniel - (0 Comments)

After a fairly stressful week, I decided I wanted to get away.  Years ago, when Donna and I lived in Alabama, we would pack up and drive a few hours, stay at a motel, and just explore the area in which we found ourselves.  It’s a little more difficult to do that around here, since you really need to drive a lot further in order to get anywhere interesting!  So we haven’t done that in a long time.  Well, this past weekend was the one.  I just had to decide where to go….  It was going to be a warm, but really windy weekend.  I figured east would be the way to go, since I could get to the woods, right?  But then, at the last minute, I decided to go west to Carlsbad Caverns.  The wind wouldn’t bother us underground!

We left on Friday after work and drove to Lubbock where we stayed the night at a nice Holiday Inn Express.  The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. They had the greatest breakfast ever!  Freshly made pancakes, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, eggs, bagels, sausage, cereal, yogurt, several different kinds of coffees, and juice.  Yum!  We left from there and drove the rest of the way to the cave.

We decided to go down through the natural entrance.  The cave was absolutely stunning!  The trail was very steep, winding for about 1.25 miles down 750 feet, or, as the park ranger said, the equivalent of a 75 story building!  I had to carry Todd most of the way.  He walked some, and Donna gave me a (very) short break.  Preston and Russell were troopers, and made it down all by themselves!  By the time we made it down to the bottom, where the restrooms were, my arm and legs were killing me!  We didn’t make the tour of the Big Room, which was a little disappointing, but I suppose that gives us an excuse to go back!

We drove all the way home that evening, hitting a skunk in the process.  We all piled out of our stinky van and went to bed at 12:30 am Sunday morning.  And yes, we did make it to church later that day!

Once I get my pictures off the camera, I’ll add a few to this post.

It’s That Time of Year Again

November 6th, 2014 | Posted by Russel in Russel - (0 Comments)

That’s right! It’s time to sign up for health insurance again! This year there have been some pretty big changes. Our plan had to change to meet the new law’s requirements. No more supplemental… slightly better deductible, but still way too high. Ugh, I hate the way healthcare works in the United States.