Learning from Rest

Of the making of books there is no end and much study wearies the body.

Ecclesiastes 12:12

Another calm before the fall storm. My brilliant wife suggests squeezing at least one last trip to the beach in before the crazy fall schedule prohibits us. We go with the three youngest children and our baboushka (“little grandma” in Russian) to Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod, one of the few west facing beaches just over 1.5 hours from Boston. It’s like our back-to-school beach, as it works well to drive here on a mid-afternoon and stay until sundown. A last minute surplus from our local food pantry leaves us well supplied with road food and a picnic supper.

Continue reading

Camping with Free Range Children

Want to recommend the practice of camping out there to all of you with family looking for an inexpensive vacation. Throughout this summer, we have had the good fortune to tent and cabin up at two of our favorite sites in Massachusetts, Lake Dennison in Winchendon and Camp Denison in Georgetown, MA. One of our friends has extolled the experience of camping with kids, especially kids who usually live confined in the city, as allowing them to roam freely, like free range chickens. While camping has many challenges, this overall experience really makes it all worth it. Here are some of the best pictures from our recent outings.

Continue reading

The Cape’s Relaxing Magic

Made it to the Cape after my older three went ahead a day early with their uncle and a family friend. They were very happy to see me come along with my van full of bikes, groceries, and fun-in-the sun implements. Timing is perfect as temperatures in Boston soared to an unseasonable 90 degrees, leaving the Cape and the Islands hovering around the high 70s and low 80s: I call it Southern California weather.

Continue reading

The Quiet Beauty of Orthodox Sprituality

Picture taken near St. John the Baptist Monastery

Monasteries are the center of Orthodox Spirituality and are unfortunately mostly highly underrated. For a while I thought of them as a place to pray and plant seeds. But after visiting St. John the Baptist Monastery in Warwick, MA on many occasions my perception changed.

This small monastery in Western Massachusetts has a very relaxed atmosphere. Encompassed by forest, this place is surrounded by beautiful nature. Having this relaxed, calm setting sets a deep sense of inner peace. The quiet area helps calm the soul and leave all the worldly cares behind.

There are many monasteries around the world, and all of them have a unique setting. But the important key to the quiet beauty is the peace and calmness that is in the core of these Orthodox communities.

Fishing Stories

Day 3 of our vacation at Cape Cod and by all accounts this was a very good idea. The house we rented from a Family friend is extraordinarily well-organized, with drawers and even light switches labeled. Situated in Chatham Massachusetts, our lodgings sit in proximity to several good beaches, a private freshwater lake, and bikeable roads leading to dedicated rail trails. It is the perfect cure for families tired of being cooped up in quarantine. We simply take our quarantine somewhere else with only a few more added to the mix.

Continue reading

For the Beauty of the Earth

aerial

News of the Kingdom of God first sounded not in the muggy, dusty capital cities, but on the shores of an azure lake among green groves and hills, reminding us that the beauty of the earth is a reflection of the eternal beauty of heaven.

— Fr. Alexander Men

I can still remember the strong impressions from my first time apple picking with our local Orthodox Christian School. I was a recent transplant from the Midwest, a good ole’ boy adrift in the complicated, concrete urban jungle of Boston. My idea of fun was sitting on the front porch and watching the grass grow. The city overwhelmed me, and I pined away for the countryside where a blade of grass stood a chance to survive.

Continue reading

Introducing the Farm Church Library!

40883715423_fbc36b0479_kEver since we saw our first Little Free Library on the beach at Cape Cod, our family has been envious. We love books, but especially free books, and the democratic concept of engaging the open public with your particular collection that you have outgrown is just too appealing.

We founded our own Little Free library on Sunday, April 28, 2019 to commemorate Pascha (Easter). We decided to call it The Farm Church: “Farm” because my father made it out of 200 year-old wood from our original family farm in Gibsonburg, Ohio; “Church” because it is constructed in the shape of the church and so many of the books we will donate to it concern matters of theology and the world to come. We also offer an assortment of children’s picture books, other religious texts, and classics. Continue reading

Hierarchical Visitations, New Ordinations, and the Establishment of a New Diocesan Monastery

Tuesday, August 15/28, 2018, Boston, MA
Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God

20180828_133633

It is an amazing gift that with the blessing of Patriarch Neofit and the blessing of the beloved Prelate of our diocese, Metropolitan Joseph, three Hierarchs, the Metropolitans Serafim of Nevrokop,  Grigorii of Vratsa, and Daniil of Vidin, together with Archimadrite Epifaniy came from Bulgaria to Boston to officiate the tonsuring and ordinations of our beloved Brothers in Christ from the parish of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Boston, MA. Continue reading

Making Fun of Evil

October 31, 2015
Eve of All Saints (Western Calendar)

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.   (I Kings 18:27-29)

There is a long and venerable tradition of mocking evil in the Church. The Prophet Elijah taunted the devotees of the false god Baal and revealed this demon’s utter powerlessness. The righteous maiden Justina fouled the plans of the arch-sorcerer Cyprian and made light of his demonic powers to seduce her into an unlawful and sinful union. And the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, mocked death itself and eventually defeated death by deceiving the deceiver with his outward weakness and humility. Continue reading

Promised Land of the Weary and Heavy Laden

IMG_452074 degrees. A very pleasant temperature on most days, but on a day when the ocean water on the south shore of Cape Cod reaches this temperature, it is time to hit the beach! We have been planning this mini-vacation for years as we always travel here on the occasion of a friend’s birthday. But we always come down on a Sunday in mid-August just for the day. This year a forecasted heat wave and my wife’s excellent last minute suggestion sent us scrambling to rearrange work schedules, gather beach toys and supplies, and book a cheap motel near our friends’ bungalow in West Yarmouth. Continue reading