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!
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.
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!
I found this poem and wanted to save it:
Some people go to Church because they think it makes them good
While others occupy their place because they feel they should
In pleasant weather some will go a little time to spend
And others like to grace the place to gossip with a friend
Yes, people go to Church for many reasons, some quite odd
But oh, what blessing waits for those who come to worship God.
– Source Unknown
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.
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.
Donna and I decided to start attending church closer to home. While we weren’t unhappy with Our Redeemer, we were just getting exhausted going into Wichita Falls so much. We also felt that it would be nice to begin getting to know some people in Holliday. We officially joined Holliday First United Methodist Church on October 5th. Donna and I both are in the choir, which we enjoy. The boys have Sunday School or nursery and they seem to enjoy it. It is really nice to not have to go to a restaurant afterwards on Sunday, too. It only takes a couple of minutes to get home, so we can eat there if we want to! All in all, I think it is a good move for us. We really look forward to getting to know our new church home!
We all had an amazing time on our trip to Michigan! It was wonderful to be able to see my mom and dad again. It was also the first time I’d gotten to meet my brother-in-law Chad. He is a great guy. Melody is lucky! Little Grace is very cute, a really sweet girl. We also got to visit with Uncle Gary and Aunt Lorna, Uncle John, and Uncle Mike and Aunt Ida.
We did tons of exploring, including visiting Tawas Point and its lighthouse, River Road and Lumberman’s Monument, Hartwick Pines, a little zoo (slightly more than a petting zoo!), Sleeping Bear Dunes, and another lighthouse at Point Betsie (near Frankfort). We got to do a lot, but we also got to relax a lot, so it was really nice. Plus, we saw the best Fourth of July fireworks I’ve ever seen! They were amazing!
We’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, and I do miss family. But it is great to be home, getting back into our routines!