Sunday, March 29, 2009

Red Ambition: Cleaning Cloud's Bedroom

My blog pal Rick Rockhill sent me a note and said I was ambitious. I laughed and thought, "Compeer, Hospice and prison ministries got me out of the house. Cleaning the girls' room? Now that would be ambitious."

Yesterday I cleaned the room that my daughters sleep in. Cloud was gone for the night with some friends and I didn't have to fight her on what got tossed, I did not take before and after pics because the before would embarrass me. Peaches had moved a small night stand next to the door saying that it made for more room. All it did was keep me from going in. A dresser had been put in front of the closet and made getting into it impossible. Clothes were under the bed. I washed and vacuumed and cleaned. Afterward, all was cleaned and put away or being washed and Calamity Jane came in and did a cartwheel and danced in the new space. It had been six months since I'd actually been able to walk in their room, and Calamity Jane was very happy that she had her own dresser drawers and space in the closet again.

I also cleaned the main bathroom.

One of my best friends is Jewish and is getting ready for Pesach so she is deep cleaning and I am in this with her-- she is getting rid of flour, but I am just getting rid of everything else. It's nice. Today I am getting my linen closet clean and starting on getting the winter clothes out of my room and making way for spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Language, Anywhere Is. . . and My Bathroom Remodel

I am very excited: I went to the lottery last night for an Immersion Program in the next town and Mudd, Dmitri and Guy were all accepted in to the program. There were no openings for Calamity Jane or Basil's classes but they were both drawn first to be at the tops of their wait lists. The laws of averages are on my side that people will drop out of the school and the teachers expect it, so I am excited and pretty much planning to get them all in. My house will be covered in sticky notes as we learn a New Language.

I will get the Greek eventually— my tutor wanted to cancel as Lent has picked up. I know the sounds of the letters now. I can follow. I have to get the kids speaking and understanding a new language decently by September. I start doing something and something else comes up, it’s a constant with me and annoys me. Such is life—I will learn Greek one day and I know I can learn it. Do you know the song Anywhere Is by Enya? If I ever become famous and important, that song will be my theme song in the Story of My Life.

I walk the maze of moments
But everywhere I turn to
Begins a new beginning
But never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
And there I find another
It all seems so surprising
And then I find that I know

One of my psych profs in college compared me to a "sexy sports car with a random gear shift going 120 down a curvy road." I saw him a few years ago and we had lunch and he said I'd not changed, only picked up speed!


Now I am on a country road in life.

I have realized that for a long time I was volunteering in some heavy duty groups because I was good at them as well as because I needed to get out of the house. Now I am holding on to my moments with the kids, but for the past 12 years, I was just overwhelmed! How did I manage to get through the years with no help from my mother or any close friends, those long years of seemingly doing nothing but going from one baby to the next. Poor Darin would come home and I was out to yoga or wherever. I look at other large families and they have support. Having all the kids potty trained has been huge for me! I am like, "Wow! I have extra time!" I really can feel a difference. I don't have the need to be gone or get validation as I once did.

Darin tolerated me for 12 years of me being on autopilot. It is only now that I am seeing his huge sacrifice and appreciating him, but I don’t know if I have seen the full amount of what he has done for all of us—- me and the kids. I don’t know how he put up with me. I told him all that I just told you and he kissed my forehead and said that it meant the world to him that I had seen it, but he said that I too was being crunched and had demands also put on my body that he didn’t have. I have started massaging oil into his skin every day to show him that I love him. He says that I don't have to make it up to him but that he won't talk me out of trying!

Now I am volunteering doing things that play into my strengths. At the charter school, I will be volunteering with the kids, probably doing something with drama. I am doing a radio show and I am doing a reading hour with children on Saturdays that I love. These things are a blast. I don't like doing them-- I love doing them and I get my energy from them.


We are finally redecorating our bathroom. A dozen years of showers by often 7-11 people per day took it’s toll and it’s been in bad shape for 2 years but something always took higher importance. It has to be done right now. I had seen some things that I liked online and Lowes sells them so I remembered the names (Moen, Kohler) and not the prices and went down to pick them out with a budget of $2,500. The one faucet that I loved turned out to be $500! The vanity top was $3,000, although he told me that I have excellent taste. I am glad that the salesman told me and shifted my dream instead of Darin as there would have been a projectile hissy fit. I was very hooked on a certain look. The salesman asked me what I wanted when I realized that I couldn’t afford it and he said, “You want a clean, pretty bathroom with enough bath towel holders for the kids, and a working fan.” He walked me through the stuff they have on site that cost twenty per cent of what I had wanted.

The faucets are works of art! OK, the ones I didn’t get are works of art. I found out that grout is just not practical with an over worked little bathroom that so many use. We will start work on this in a few weeks—- Darin has to get a window put in first as well as clearing out our bathroom for the time being for everyone to use. I feel like everything screams, “This is what I can afford”-— not, “This is what I love.” I will love it when it gets put in. It's "mine."

He is also going to let me come up with a Trompe-l'œil mural in the next year or two. I will get my marble tiles if I have to paint them into a wall, gosh darn it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Problems in Ireland

I'm not that bright and can't figure out how to copy and paste this, but it's too funny not to share.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chef Moooom!

The other night my husband took some of the kids to a dress rehearsal for an opera. I wanted it to be special so I was zooming all day but got home with an hour to spare. While we are fasting, I wanted to make a nice meal and vegetarian is still hard for us. We couldn't pay for a restaurant meal so I threw in some tortellini, some steak, sauteed some shrimp in garlic butter and made a spinach salad with mandarin oranges. My husband and kids who were going were thrilled.

I was simultaneously making grilled tuna for the rest of us which was not a bad thing. Dmitri was sick and literally moaning on the couch (He was the only one to get sick so it must have been something he'd eaten at school.) The little ones, Starshine and Mudd were whining in the background, all while a violin concerto was playing.

I felt terrible-- I wanted to make a great meal and I did, and they were done (with no butter spills thank goodness) in time, but the fussing in the background! They were getting energy off each other and holding on to my legs! It is funny now, but then I was a little frazzled until Cloud said, "This is a family restaurant! You are Italian with a big family!" That was sweet of her.

Tonight I made a cold soup called gazpacho with tomatoes and cucumbers with salmon because it was the Feast of the Annunciation. That was delicious but we were too tired to go to church because everyone has been wired as of late.

Monday, March 23, 2009

G-d Grant You Many Years, Tiger!

Tiger is 20 today. She doesn't read my blog but I wish her a G-d grant her many here because I hope y'all send her happy vibes!

OK, turning 40 almost 4 months ago made me feel kind of old. Having my eldest child turn 20 is an age marker and I feel old, although a couple of weeks ago when we went shopping for paint, a sales lady at XXXXXX thought that she and I were sisters and that Starshine (who gloms on to her when she is home) was Tiger’s baby! If Tiger turning 20 makes me feel old, I will be a bit blue in 17 years when Starshine turns 20. Something tells me that no one will think that we are sisters then . . . I will miss her when she leaves for Wyoming to fight fires. I wish that I had the money to buy her a return ticket home or me a ticket to fly down to see her at the moment she needs me, but I have faith that she won’t need it. Of course she will not need me. Right? (Tea bursts into tears!) The kids all love her so much. She is a ray of sunshine and sweetness. A bit oblong in this world of circles, but she comes by it naturally. She says she is not worried because she knows I will pray for her 24/7-- I told her that this is a bad insurance policy!

She was born the day before the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. My ex bought a pearl necklace for me and I was really embarrassed because we were borrowing money from my parents to pay doctor bills. Everyone said that he doted on me, but he did that because he wanted to look "big"-- he was that way. My then-husband was bragging about what he spent, slapped me across the face for asking him to return it so we could pay for doctor bills and get the necklace in 10-20 years when we could afford it, and he'd scream at me for not wanting his pushy mother around us for our "Candle Light Dinner." She was ten years older than I am now, but she was as mature as a 2 year old. I still don't like her, but I don't need to worry about that because both of my daughters are now over 18 and she is OK to them-- manipulative as hell, but they know how to handle her because I raised them.

I would try to quietly divorce her father a few months later. My parents wanted me to stay with him, "reasoning" that if I wasn't calling the police that I must have deserved to be slapped and simultaneously asking why I kept the bloody necklace when begging for money that they didn't expect to ever get back. I had always thought that my dad would have killed anyone who hurt me, but he tried to guilt me in to staying with him. That was a long time ago.

I remember birthing Tiger like it happened yesterday. I was in a c-section and I wasn't "out"-- I could still hear and feel, but as much as it hurt, I was thankful to G-d that I could be present. The doctor was not related to me, but I told her that my baby was claustrophobic and that she'd be big. The doctor said that she never had big babies and she was a bit bigger than I was so mine would be small and that she couldn't be claustrophobic. She weighed 9.8 and would not be swaddled when they tried to! I was right! I knew!

I do not know how many more times I will see her. She came home yesterday, very much excited and hoping to pass the test (running 3 miles with 45 pounds on her back 25 minutes in a few weeks) and can’t wait to go to Wyoming. We get 20% off at her store on a special night and she is bringing us to there to shop for our bathroom remodel. . . this may be one of our last projects with her before she starts having children of her own and hopefully comes home. I so much worry about my children being as disjoined as my sisters and I. She says they won’t be, that my kids are as much her kids in some ways because she helped out so much and would quit college to care for them if G-d forbid anything happened to Darin and me. (And I have whined about a lack of career!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Evening with the Ladies' Relief Society

I do not think that I can keep up with myself. On Tuesday evening my friend Jennipher called and invited me to a Mormon Relief Society meeting where we would have dinner. I’d never been to one and decided to go, with my religious husband telling me to go,”but you are going as her friend as a reporter! You are not getting converted!”

OK, so I am not converted, but it was fascinating. We went and she introduced me to women who make jams and jellies and homemade marshmallows. (She didn’t know that I wanted to learn to make them, even though I am not keen on marshmallows.) The lesson was that they wanted to emphasize the three levels of Mormon Heaven so when a “sister” was speaking to the group, the lights went out and we were told that our time had run out and that our final reward was at hand. (This was funny—when we stood, we all looked at each other with the same expression, “Do I take my purse?” We took our purses. Not only can you take it with you, you are expected to!)

We were to walk through the dim-lit halls until we got to a small (and therefore crowded) room. This was terrestrial where unrepentant murderers, rapists, and people who refused to accept the Heavenly Father went. I am not making fun of this, OK? It wasn’t Hell, but it was dark and dreary and we were told that we’d sleep out the first 1,000 years there and then be judged. There would be no families. It was dark and bland. We were given our reward: Ritz Crackers with spray cheese.

The second room was a bit bigger. We were told that we’d not have families there but that we would be single and just kind of live, with Christ coming to see us, but not interested in hanging around. This is called tellestial. We had a spicy canned vegetable soup that made me wondering if I could go back for the crackers, but I thought better of saying this! (Jenn joked that she was ready to go back for seconds on the crackers and I agreed!)

The third was dinner on the celestial level. It wasn’t Villa Nova, but it was still nice. Chicken Cordon Bleu with vegetables, salad and five kinds of pie. In spite of it being Lent, Orthodox are expected to accept hospitality so I enjoyed this. I personally don’t eat pork but you know. . . I enjoyed it. I seldom sit down for dinner.

Several of the husbands were there serving and I called Jenn’s husband my personal purveyor of temptation as he kept bringing me cherry and chocolate pie and asking if I was sure I didn’t want a slice of each! When they gave the talk, I didn’t say anything but I was a bit agog realizing that they believe that “we” shall become like gods and have families at this level. This being said, I did not loose respect for my friends because no matter what they believe, they have a strong value in service. Few if any in that room were doing good things to become gods. Those ladies seemed to have a genuine desire to serve, but Jennipher assured me that they all had their own issues outside that place, just as any group of individuals do in any church. I think they would be as they were anyway even if all that was promised to them was Terrestial Heaven.

I found out that Mormons don’t have crosses in their churches because the cross symbolizes death and Christ dying, where they like to focus on Christ living. I told them about my priest and said, “I think he has crosses embroidered on his underwear, but I’m too polite to ask!” (They laughed.) Orthodox go a little nutty with the crosses all over the place. Mormons see them as a focal point that they don’t want.

Some missionaries wanted to sow the ground for converting me and I was like, “Please do not try to convert me or get me to come to services. I am happily Russian Orthodox, but teach me how to can and freeze things properly and I won’t be a burden to you in difficult times!” Then i asked them about their travels to my state. They thankfully took the cue, realizing that I was serious, and they were very interesting guys. Handsome and dashing! I enjoyed hearing about their families and what they have been through. They really come out of these 2 year stints armed and ready for living. I was very impressed with them.

One thing—I asked if there was much knowledge as a whole in the LDS to learn Hebrew and Greek, the original languages that the mainstream Bible was written in, and there wasn’t. There were probably some who learned, but why when Joe Smith had the golden plates written in Egyptian hieroglyphs? Did they learn Egyptian? No—the plates had been lost before JS could show them. I don’t get that part.
As much as I have in common with them, I can never get over what we don’t have in common and the bit about Joseph Smith. The Bible lends itself to science—all those laws in the Torah are all proving themselves and JS didn’t pass the test with the Egyptian writing later. Outside their sanctuary and class rooms they have pictures up of various stories which was fascinating—that trip across the country to get to Utah was impressive. I have read stories on that trip and other women on the trail being impressed with how much the Mormon women got done and wouldn’t work on Sundays. I told them about the icons in my church.

The missionaries asked about Orthodoxy and I said that I couldn’t know where to begin, but that ~I~ would probably get irritable when we discussed which church was first, and that since I was on their turf, I’d just be happy with whatever they said. I could tell that they liked me as a person and would have loved to have had me join them in the celestial level-- and that was sweet. Still, I think a lot of stuff with Joe Smith is messed up. I have heard it from Mormons and I just don't get how educated people can agree with it, but then when I say that I believe that icons are a window for saints to look in on us, they might find me also whacked. You don't beleive in your faith-- you have faith in your beliefs.

Jenn was not upset with me for saying that—she said that when you have two churches who feel that they are documented as being right, you may as well put aside your differences and focus on your friendship. Apples and oranges—both are different, but sweet, and I hope that neither one will get us to Hell.

The Relief Society really believes in caring for one’s neighbor and doing good things and supporting each other. I hope that I can keep meeting with them and work with them. There is a lady there who does beeless beekeeping—she makes honey from flowers. I made this when I was 9 with my mom and one of her friends. I was really excited when she asked for my number and invited me over to do this once we get some clovers growing.

On those missionaries—they were breathtakingly handsome! I always used to invite them in when I was a teenager and I’d chat them up and bake cookies, "Lutherans are really good homemakers, too!" and my brother liked entertaining the Jehovah’s Witness girls who came by with their mothers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've Created a Phone Monster. . .

Tiger told Calamity Jane that she could call her. She she did. Sixteen times while she was in math class. Lovely. Tiger wasn't mad and was laughing, "What a great excuse to tell the kids about phone etiquette!" It wasn't just Calamity-- it was ALL the kids wanting to be cool and talk to their older sister.

Cloud has oral surgery tomorrow on her teeth-- several are not coming in correctly. She will look more beautiful and be able to eat better so it's worth it, but mon diu, children are costly.

A Mormon friend has invited me to a Relief Society meeting-- this should be fun. They knwo what they are doing about storing food and being moms. I actually enjoy hanging out with them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mama Mia! GET THIS OFF MY TV!!!!

I am about to cut out on my husband and children; I cannot stand this movie. It's Mama Mia. It is terrible. I am watching Meryl Streep sing "Money-Money-Money." This is terrible. Maybe I am not a sorority sister. Maybe I hate it when people break into song. I don't like the theme of wistful love, denying that a woman needs it while she wants it, etc.

Bah humbug.

Never mind, I'm hooked. . . the Mama Mia song with Meryl is great. These guys are great. This is too bloody close to my own LIFE!


My kids noticed immediately that Meryl crossed herself "properly"-- that makes me happy.

Acted like a stupid little slut-- HEY! I resent that!

Meryl-- her moment of sorrow and here her best friends are singing ABBA songs!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Writing for a Living, the Lost City of Atlantis and Church

Last week was a rough week. Spring Break in the house of Crumpet is like being caged with wild monkeys. That should be, "sick, wild monkeys." The flu made it's way through after the coughing and I was not having a great time. The kids who I homeschool were asking how soon the others would be going back. No one was having much fun, but I took out some remnant newspaper and rolled it across the floor and brought out some paint. First the kids were painting pictures, then Mudd painted his hand, and soon they were painting their feet and walking over the paper. I used tape to keep it on the floor and they had a great time.

I got out some of my gardening books and the kids each chose what they want to grow in their 4' X 4' boxes, which seems to change because they all have different tastes.

On Thursday night was the end of a long day for me. Basil is too darned smart, and he and Cloud were going at it. My husband came home late and I was ready to throw myself from the rope that I was hanging from and he gave me $20 to go to the book store to have some coffee and write.

I chatted up a few people who all told me that I need to write romance novels. What gives? Do I look like a romance writer? Do I act like one? Isn’t that like telling someone, “You really need to model for Poor Richard’s Almanac!”? Or asking me, “Have you considered being a factory worker instead of going to college?” Romance novels are not literature.

A lady who I was chatting up said that when the economy sours that country music fans increase which leads us to one universal truth: country music listeners bring down the economy. (They also read more escapism.) What do people want to read? Happiness. They want peace and joy and happiness. I have decided to dedicate my life or at least the time being to writing complete fabrication fiction, or in other words, marital bliss. (I am bracing for my husband to throw a pillow at me! LOL) I am thinking of writing about people whose husbands are in current conflicts (military) and staying together through thick and thin, sticking together like glue, resisting temptation-- sometimes willingly, other times having good friends pulling them from the brink while they are kicking and screaming . . . that sort of thing. My ex husband was military and I have quite a few friends who married it.

On Saturday I took the kids to a local bookstore for a reading hour with Kellie Davis-- the lady gets into reading and had a lot of fun. My kids were trying to attack her, having no problem asking her why she covers her hair, asking her where she was from, etc. She has nerves of steel and kept a rapport going with all of the kids and she had about 20 kids and moms there, not including mine.

My kids enjoyed this reader, but also went to some stations where there were crafts being done.

There was also a demonstration for a fiber arts guild going on. My kids were not into this, but the parents were. Ms. Davis seems like the ADHD sort and when she was done reading, caught a drop spindle that was tossed to her and started trying to spin. She is a better reader than spinner, but was game for just about anything and promised the guild members that she would be back for their meeting to spin. All of us tried, but my husband caught her on camera.

Today Dmitri embarrassed me in a cute way. He is 10 and loves to read about Atlantis. He asked our priest about it and if he believed in it. Our priest asked him a few questions about why he thought it was real and the priest said, "There are so many stories about it that it must be rooted in some truth, so yes, I think that it may be real!"

Dmitri said, "Will you please ask God and get back to me? I want to know where it is."

He is cute, to say the least.

There is a young man the same age as Cloud at our church, whose parents are high up in the clergy and very nice people. For a long time, Cloud has been asked by members of the church (adults) if she likes their son. She does-- he is handsome and seems very nice, but he hasn't noticed her and she has already thought about the problems associated with dating someone there, especially someone who is high profile and she told me that if he did notice her that she would not want to go out with him until they were in college where the church that we attend wouldn't be likely to know about it. I told her that she is very wise because, while the poeple in church are VERY nice, everyone would talk about them. She asked me why she has been asked by adults because she can't believe they might care about the romantic interests of two teenagers. I told her that churches are in the business of hatches, matches and dispatches and that is their job to hook you up and ready for you to be knocked up! She seems ready to handle it with humor which I appreciate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Eldest is Home!

She is competent and amazing. She works at a building place and has come to build shelves for the boys in their room.

Calamity Jane is sick with a cough that seems to be clearing up but was bad this morning. The kids are all looking a little green behind the gills. It happens at the start of every break.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring Break

It is spring break, yet we have 2' of fresh snow on the ground. This is so uncool. Since it is Lent, I am taking the kids through mid morning studies on church and going to early morning church services. The kids are not excited, but it is something to do. In the afternoon we are baking cookies. There are some community events that I am taking them to at the museums, as well. We have a couple of really annoying neighbor kids and they were over here at 9AM asking if my kids could play. When my older kids saw them coming, they asked me to tell them that they are grounded for the week, which I did. The little brats had the nerve to ask what they did and I said, "They woke me up before 10. Please do not come over for the rest of the week or I will call your parents." Now I seem like a mean mommy, but my kids were relieved. I don't let my kids go over to other people's houses before 11AM. I have no idea what they were doing here at 9AM.

I'm taking the kids to get registered for Little League this week and we are also going out to do some 4-H activities.

I am off Face Book for Lent-- that just takes up too much time. I shut down my account and will get back on it later.

Basil is having fun with Chess, but I say that Starshine has the swiftest move EVAR. She is 3 and a bit of an elf. Basil was trying to show her the moves and she was very much paying attention. He took several pieces off the board so she could focus on just a few and he told her that she needed to figure out how to take his queen. She looked a bit surprised and took his queen & king, the rooks and the knights and went to her room where she spread out a blanket and proceeded to play with them, making the king and queen "kiss" and ride horses to their castles. Basil sat with her and told me that she'd one day get it and maybe he'd pull in the Bishops so they could go to church!

Basil is #1 in his school for Chess. The teacher who is running the Chess club is a swine, but Basil says she is a good Chess player. (Because she is so bloody manipulative!) After his city-wide tournament, I will be taking him to my favorite chocolate shop to select some truffles for her. I can't believe I am buying her chocolates and looking forward to it! I still don't like her, though.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's a Sweet Life

One of the funnest things about kids is getting to study with them. Guy and I have a mutual "addiction" to Animal Planet. If I watch TV, it's for that and I am always amazed by the vocabulary that he picks up from it that he wants to discuss afterward. He has speech impairments, so this is always nice to see his soak up thinks like a sponge!

Sometimes working with kids his age is hard. At the age of 11, he is almost a man and I am decidedly uncool. Recently he turned into an obstinate I-Don't-Care-Bear at school and his teacher and I became "best friends!" so he knows I am talking to her. He also knows it's an act, but if he wants it to stop, he has to turn his grades around. Last night he let me study his spelling words with him! I am going to try finger spelling the letters with him, too. He resisted signing when he was 5, but now that he is older and can spell, it may help. Like all kids his age, when I was his age other kids were into finger spelling and I wasn't in to it at all-- they'd say, "I can sign!" then start spelling everything. I can spell but I found it annoying. "Just talk!"

It was fun looking over the spelling words and saying them with him and pointing things out. He noticed that "together" is to-get-her. I showed him that none of his words that had an "h" in it was followed with an "a"-- "h" was always followed by an "e." (He kept wanting to put an "a" after the "h".)

As he an I watched Animal Planet, I had to fold laundry. Starshine noticed that I was folding sheets and wanted to help (she loves to help me.) We played with the sheets, acting like they were parachutes, raising them up high, then holding on and running underneath them! It was so beyond cute with her. She kept laughing and asking to do it again and again!

This past week has been spirit week with the three guys. The two older ones wore sandals to school yesterday (no logic could get them to put boots in their backpacks and go out-- nooooo, my young men had to wear sandals in the snow and act like it was no big deal!) They have gone wearing their clothes inside out and just had a blast.

I however had a coffee last evening and am wired but tired so I am up sharing this!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Weekend at the Prison, Greek and Other Stuff

I just spent the past weekend serving with Kairos at the prison. (This is where Kairos goes.) It was an impressive weekend. I had debated even going. First, last week I started to question why I help people. Why did I? I have other things to do, I felt like I was just questioning my existence. I'm glad that I went anyway.

I was talking to Darin and last weekend was Forgiveness Sunday. Tiger was going to come to church, then the director sent a note to me and I was to talk about forgiveness on Forgiveness Sunday. That was seriously cool. At the meeting, I sat at a table with some delightful women from interior Alaska. A lady who works with Kairos but new to Alaska said that she had never liked salmon. All the ladies were curious, "Do you like it half smoked? Do you like it ____--" they asked so many ways in 30 seconds, ways that I had never heard of! Not that I would know a million ways, but I have been up here for over 30 years and you'd think I have heard more ways to cook it! It was cute how the ladies were so crazy for it!

Everyone had great talks on walking the Christian walk.

Last week I had been nervous talking about forgiveness when I was ticked off at a few Kairos women who I work with because. . . when my grandmother died in November, they'd not back off on ordering me to smile (my face went neutral when I was praying for her) and they were just in my face when I was not at the prison with them, but as it was, it gave me great fodder for talking about the topic. (I didn't say that it was with Kairos!) I spoke of how the people we need to forgive most are the ones who we work the most with. I also brought up a taboo subject on forgiving people who had committed crimes that seemed unforgivable. A few weeks ago I was at a book study and we got into a deep discussion on forgiving the mother of Baby Grace and I relayed the story of our conversation. Afterward, I was told that I brought up a topic that needed to be brought up but no one had really discussed. I think that a few ladies who were there for that very reason were welcomed a little more and if I was the reason, it is heartwarming.

I was at the prison chapel service. That was beautiful. A full third of the women came to this and I was moved by the sincerity in their singing. A woman needed to be prayed over, but I cannot divulge why. Trust me, she was hurting. When Mrs. Pastor motioned for me to come pray I looked around to see if she was talking to me-- I'd never prayed over someone before like that. When I was Protestant I went to these, and they seemed contrived and not real. Everyone tried to pray eloquently, sometimes I heard battles of the prayers-- I didn't rust them. The person didn't speak English that well so I just prayed for her, and I broke into German and my bad French because they seemed right. God knew what I was asking for her. I sent her a note later with the Bible verses from Galatians on the Armor of God and hopefully someone will tell her that I lovingly told her to put it on before she sleeps at night so she won't be so sad.

The pastor there is a sweetheart. Someone told me that he was a Vietnam fighter pilot and I have subconsciously started calling him Captain and referring to him as the Captain. He is an older man, a bit stooped over, but I keep remembering him as being 6' tall even though I have never seen him like that. I have a thing for pilots, but it's not like that. I can clearly see him in my mind as a fighter. His wife is a beautiful lady with pretty eyes and a bright smile. They spend 15 hours a day at the prison, seven days a week most of the time.

I have started studying Greek for an hour a week after Vespers with a Greek speaker. What a beautiful language! My tutor is a fast speaker and thinker. This may be trying, but I like her. When I can speak Greek well enough, I think I will pray in it. Greek is the best language for praying, I think. When it is sung, it is mystical! When it is spoken, it is Heavenly.