Winter Wonderland, A Little Vacation and Preparing For Great Lent

8 03 2008

Western Kentucky has the strangest weather.  In January and February, we have tornadoes.  Now, finally we have had a real snowstorm.  Although, we have had small snows this past decade–we have not experienced a real snow storm.  I date a real storm back to about 1996.  I remember that we all delivered the newspapers together while walking through big drifts. 

We arrived home from our vacation around noon on Thursday, only to hear that a snowstorm was on the way.  The school board closed school for Friday based on the weather reports.  There was a run on all of the grocery stores.  I heard that many of them ran out of milk and bread.  (Thankfully, I was well stocked)  We woke up Friday morning to a drizzling type of mess but nothing to be afraid of.  I went on to my appointment at the Cancer center.  ( By the way, I’m good to go for three months now.  Everything seems to be fine.)  I picked up my grandsons at their sitter in mid afternoon–still no snow.  Finally, at around 5:00p.m.–the snow started.  It snowed most of the night.  We woke up to an official snow storm.

Jim and I planned our little vacation just perfectly.  We enjoyed  KenLake Lodge located on Kentucky lake– nearly to ourselves.  We arrived Tuesday afternoon.  There was only one couple other than us –enjoying a meal in their beautiful dining room overlooking the lake.  Wednesday the temperature was mild and the sun was shining.  We walked all over the grounds and spent some time right on the lakeside watching the ducks.  This time was a much needed break for us.  Jim has worked almost non stop since the first week in November.  Moreover, I’ve been recovering from breast cancer surgery.  We used this time to catch up on a deeper level with each other.  Conversation was never dull during our time at the lake.  I also spent some time studying more about herbal medicines.  I want to become knowledgeable so that at a drop of a thought–I can recommend different herbs to people suffering from various elements.

The week prior to our vacation had been filled with crisis.  I can finally write about what was going on with our adult children.  Rob, Sandy’s husband ,was extremely sick that week.  He went through all kinds of testing.  We all thought he might have appendicitis.  My surgeon looked him over twice and just didn’t feel like he had appendicitis.  Rob’s family doctor was determined that he did have appendicitis.  It was a wild and scary week for Rob and Sandy.  Things have calmed down now.  Apparently, Rob just had a terrible stomach virus.  But he has had kidney stones before–so that is another possibility of what could have happened to him.

Maria’s husband, Kirk, went to start his truck and it blew up all of the wiring.  He felt sure that the source of the fire was an electrical problem.  However, the insurance adjuster determined that there was a leak in the fuel line which caused the explosion.  Maria was at our home the evening that the worse case scenario occurred.  She was crying .  It looked like their trucking business was coming to an end.  By the end of the week–life seemed much better for them.  The insurance company decided to fix Kirk’s truck instead of totaling it out.  It is now in much better shape than it was.  Kirk has lost a couple of weeks of income but Maria , thankfully, has worked every day at the post office.  Kirk is on his way home now after being gone for three and a half weeks. (And by the way, Maria is going to be fine.  She only had a cyst in her breast which is now disolved.)

Great Lent starts for the Orthodox Christian Church on March the tenth.  However, we have been preparing for Lent for many Sundays.  It is a tradition in the Orthodox Church to highlight certain Gospel passages the same time each year.  We began on February 17th with a homily on the Publican and the Pharisee : Luke 18: 9-14.  On February the 24th–we heard a homily on the Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32.  Last Sunday, March the 2nd, we heard a homily on the Last Judgement:  Matthew 25:31-36.  Last Sunday was also what we call Meatfare Sunday–meaning that  it is our last time to eat meat until our Easter which is April the 27th.  After church, BBQ sandwiches were served with all of the trimmings.

Finally, this coming Sunday will be Forgiveness Sunday.  It is also Cheesefare Sunday.  There will be trays of cheeses and an ice cream social after services.  Then we will meet back in the sanctuary for a time of asking each other for forgiveness.  This is the way our church prepares for Lent.  Starting on Monday–we will give up meat, dairy, eggs and olive oil until our Easter– which we called Holy Pascha.  This will be a time of spiritual reflection and saving our money for the feeding of the poor. 

Last year, we were given cardboard banks to place the money we saved from not buying meats, cheeses etc.  It was our second Great Lent Season–and I remember that it became fun to learn to plan meals as a vegan. At the end of the season–we all brought our banks in and placed them under the Icon of St. Nicholas.  Our parish raised a healthy sum of money to be given to a mission that provides food for the poor.

Speaking of the Orthodox faith–Vera, our daughter, has written a beautiful series on her experiences of visiting an Orthodox Monastery.  You can read her thoughts at www.operationmeaning.wordpress.com

The sun is shining.  The snow is melting.  Life is at a more even pace in our household.  May the peace of our Lord be with each of you.

God Bless each of you!

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4 responses

8 03 2008
Dewdrop

Nicole3,

That is great news about Maria, I am so glad for you all. I was also pleased to read that your checkup was OK and that the other family difficulties seem to be in the past.

By my reckoning your Great Lent and Holy Pascha are 5 weeks later than our Lent and Easter.

May the Lord’s peace be with you and your family.

Dewdrop

8 03 2008
nichole3

Dewdrop,
It is good to hear from you again. You are so kind to keep checking on our family situations. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts. Yes, I met to mention that our Lent and Easter are five weeks past the Western Lent and Easter.

My prayers are with you, also,
Nichole

9 03 2008
David Web

Nichole:

It’s very good to hear Maria is fine, Kirk’s truck is back in action, Rob had only a stomach virus, (sounds like food poisoning, easy to get from restaurant food, or at home if care isn’t given to sanitation)), and also that you are passing all roadblocks on your cancer journey.

I suppose also that we won’t debate eastern versus western Easter/Christmas variations, and instead will rejoice in the body of Christ manifesting itself in various ways.

A diet free of meat for a season, is probably beneficial, aside from the spiritual aspect, which of course is your true reason for abstinence.

March is the snowiest month on average in Denver, and as I recall is not that rare in Western Kentucky. We received 30 inches here on St. Patrick’s day in 2003, which virtually shut down the city for a few days. Yes, spring is right around the corner, with the promise of renewal, and the blossoming of the human spirit in tune with creation. Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons.

Little Brother

9 03 2008
nichole3

Dear David,
Again, it is great to hear from you. Yes, we are thankful that things are settling down with the family. The aspect about being Orthodox that I love best is–we don’t judge others about their faith. We don’t argue with other about our faith versus their faith. I can’t say that Orthodox don’t fall into that trap at times–but bottom line is–we are not supposed to argue and judge. YEs, I’ll be glad when Spring arrives.

Love,
Sis

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