This post will cover the span of 2 weeks since we left for Texas at the end of last week and came back at the beginning of this week.  We learned how to work through conflict, learned about St. Peter the Aleut, traveled for a wedding, learned about an ephod, and made prosphora again.

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also.  And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.  But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.

Luke 6:27-36

Life Skills: Working Through Conflict

Each week, I’m predominantly letting our life skills lesson present itself as a struggle or need surfaces in our home.  Since we all learn best when we can place the new information within the realm of context and knowledge accumulated in our own lives, this approach has proven to work well for us.

The boys were bickering quite a bit this morning and as I thought about what we were going to do for our life skills lesson, I realized we could definitely talk about ways to work through and resolve conflict.

I think far too often we leave this one to be taught through life experience instead of mentoring our children through it.  I’m definitely one who thinks you need to allow a person to learn how to do something themselves but I’m equally all about giving them the right tools in order to do it.

As a parent, it’s far easier for us to say, “You two need to go work it out yourselves” or “You two need to go to separate rooms to cool off” or “Stop fighting or you lose ____ for the rest of the day.”  There’s a time and place for that but they also need to learn HOW to work through it themselves and HOW to come back to one another and discuss the situation after they’ve cooled off.  Otherwise, they grow up to ignore their problems, hold a grudge against a former friend, or continuously talk negatively about someone.  Know anyone like that?  Ourselves?  Realistically, how easy would it be for you to walk up to someone you know you’ve hurt or you’ve held a grudge against and ask, “Will you please forgive me?  I was wrong and I want to work this out with you.”  The ability to not only accept responsibility for our actions but also face the consequences of those actions…is hard.  Really hard.  But I think, just as many other difficult things, if this is a part of your life from a young age…you learn that this is simply something you need to do and you push through it.  The longer you go without doing it, the harder it becomes to ever do it.  Christianity is about LIVING your faith.  It’s not an easy path and we need to teach it to our children from the day they are born.

I ended our little lesson with reminding the boys what Jesus said on the cross:

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

He is dying an excruciatingly painful death inflicted by mankind – and he still forgives as he shows how much he loves us.  If Christ is willing to forgive when he’s nailed and suspended to a cross, can’t we forgive our brothers because they are annoying us or they did something to hurt or frustrate us?  Are we better than Christ?  Then we need to forgive as well.

So, we spent the next 30 minutes or so reading some passages about love from the Bible and discussing them.  I talked to the boys about what was meant by the passage and asked them how it applied to our life.  I saw some lightbulb moments while talking to them on the couch and for the next several hours the house was noticeably more peaceful.  But we’re not perfect and lessons need repeating.

North American Saints: Saint Peter the Aleut

Saint Peter was from Kodiak Island, Alaska.  He had been captured by Spaniards and brought to California where he was interrogated and told to give up his faith.  He refused, repeating over and over again, “I am a Christian.”  His toes and fingers were cut off, one joint at a time until both his feet and hands were cut off at the ankles and wrists.  His death was witnessed by his cell mate and the story of his martyrdom reached St. Herman in Alaska.  After hearing the story, Saint Herman turned towards an icon and said, “Holy new-martyr Peter, pray to God for us!”

Saint Peter the Aleut is commemorated on September 24th and December 12th.

Road Scholars: Wedding Edition

We traveled south for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It was one of those straight there and straight back kind of trips but it’s always nice getting to see and spend time with family.

Les’ parents let us stay in their RV while we were visiting – Les and I have some serious travel fever going on now!  I rummaged through their traveling books in the front and pulled out the atlas and a book that lists everything that’s available at every exit off of every highway and interstate in the U.S.  I need this.

Before I could run to the grocery store to get some lunch meat, Les was going to bring back lunch after picking up Niki and Zach from the airport.  I had Chris and Justin look up what was near us so we could tell dad where to stop.

Liturgy & Co-op:

I need (wish) I could set a video camera recording while Fr. James does his children’s sermon each week and post them.  They are sooooo good.  He’s such a humble man that I’m skeptical that he’d agree to it.  He’s such a visual person (like myself), so he always has a visual element to his talks with my kids.  This week, he dressed up my Zach as King David as he taught us about an ephod.  Fascinating stuff!

Family Visiting & Prosphora Baking:

One of my brothers came for a visit for a couple of days.  I let my kids hang out with him instead of doing our daily themes.

Our parish priest asked me to make prosphora for this past Sunday.  Prosphora means “offering” and is the bread that is consecrated for Holy Communion.

The opportunity presented itself for me to teach Les as well and we’ve both decided – don’t mess with an artisan baker.  They have to have arms of steel!

Although I’ve made prosphora for years, this was the first time I’ve made it in this house.  It was also the first time I was using a recipe I had gotten from a priest friend of mine who taught me how to make the Russian style prosphora.  The only problem is – the ratios are too high for my mixer.  I almost burnt out the motor on my KitchenAid because there was too much dough in the bowl.  Thus, the need to hand knead the dough.  There is little wonder why there wasn’t a need for a gym membership before all the conveniences of today.