I find this to be one of the most invigorating times of the entire year.  On top of it all, I think my children taught me some great lessons this week in patience, love, and appreciation.

This week, I became re-acquainted with pacing the narthex and feeding in the nursery again.  It wasn’t as though Gabriel was being fussy – he just wanted to talk loudly or crawl around the entire church.  Most people find that adorable but I don’t want to distract them unnecessarily from praying since they did not come to church specifically to watch my child…as cute as he may be crawling down the side aisle smiling in victory at everyone he passes.

All three of the big boys were pumped to go to church every day this week.  It’s not something you’d initially expect from an 8, 10, and 11 y.o.  Chris begged for his own Holy Week book this year and it seems to be a rite of passage the boys have made for themselves for age 10.  I’ll take it.  I’ll tell you what…this week…those three boys have shown me that all my hard work is paying off.  I see progress.  It’s hard to see it in the every day but this week they were reading and singing on the way to church in the back of the van from their Holy Week books, they took sincere ownership of their Holy Week books and held it in their hands to and from church as if it were their greatest treasure, we did have a water leak from the shower into the kitchen again this week and not sure exactly where it leaked from but we do know the cause – one of the boys was enthusiastically using the shower head as a censer and censing the entire shower (it’s hard to get upset with them when you hear that even if the entire ceiling of the bathroom was soaking wet), we went out to eat one morning this week (because I said I wanted a big family breakfast but I was too worn out to make it so Les declared we were going out to eat – gotta love him) and when the boys were ordering their breakfast and the waitress asked them “bacon or sausage” – they all said “no meat please” without us ever saying a word!

Niki had finals during Holy Week.  Ug.  She went to great lengths to make it to every evening service and even asked off from work of her own accord.  Last Sunday, Fr. Bill was giving a little talk after Liturgy to everyone and telling them how disappointed he was that Thursday evening has the lowest turn out of the entire week because of the length of the service.  He told us it was his favorite service and it was such a shame more people did not put forth the effort to go.  Niki sighed next to me as he was talking.  I knew exactly what she was thinking.  She had bought tickets to her art program’s senior end-of-year, this is our FINAL project, runway show and asked me to go with her.  When she bought the tickets, she didn’t realize it was during Holy Week.  She will have to do this same project her senior year and was looking forward to seeing it all this year.  Her sigh told me she had decided not to go.  I patted her knee and smiled at her.  Turns out…the fashion show is next week.  She still gets to go.

It also worked out this week that Les didn’t have to fly at all.  He went to all of the Holy Week services with us!!!  It’s been years since we’ve been able to go as a whole family.  Years.  So many blessings this week.

Here’s a little glimpse of our week in review:

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Holy Friday – This is the kouvouklion which holds the epitaphio.  It is symbolic of the tomb of Christ which holds a cloth icon of the burial of Christ.  We carry it around the outside of the church in a burial procession.

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We were early since the boys wanted to make sure they got on the altar before it was full.  Gabriel was showing off how he likes to stand by himself now.

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Holy Friday procession

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Midnight on Pascha

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Gabriel slept through most of the Resurrection service but woke up the second Father said, “With the fear of God, faith and love, draw near”.  He was wide awake for the rest of the service.  This pic was after church.  Little guy slept until 11am this morning!  (That’s my side of the family coming out.)

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I decided to start a new tradition this year.  I set the table with spring flowers, the pysanky we each decorated, a chocolate bunny for each child, a new Orthodox children’s book on each child’s plate, and gifts from godparents and grandma on their chairs.  All the kids were giddy when they came downstairs to see it.

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