Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Glory to God!

I forgot to mention this, and I didn't want to add it to my Christmas post, but I got my grades already.
First of all, at the eight weeks I had 1 A, 3 B's and a C. Seriously.
I was difficult for me to get used to working a lot more than I have been thus far in my time as a full time student. And, I was trying to commit myself to spending more time with my family during the day to make up for the fact that I was working every weekday evening.
Anyways, I had resigned myself to lower grades than I'm used to. So, now you can understand why I say Glory to God for the straight A's I somehow got.
I'm reminded that when I make the important things important the lower priority things have a tendency to go all right.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances I will graduate in December of 2007. That'll be a great day. Man have I been in college for a long time.

A Blessed Feast!

Christ is born! Glorify him!
This has been an interesting holiday season. First of all, I talked Amy to have her brother (who now lives down the street from us) to drive her and the kids to the farm for Christmas. Her parents' anniversary is Christmas Eve and this year was their 30th. And, her brother and his wife were in town from California. We haven't been out to the farm for almost two years.
This year we could afford to go to the farm for Christmas, but I couldn't get off work.
Oh well. I had a great Feast of the Nativity of Our God and Savior Jesus Christ in the Flesh..
Sunday morning I drove up to our church in Madison. There was normal Sunday morning Liturgy. In the afternoon we had our Christmas Eve Vespers. Then I spent several fun-filled hours visiting other people's family Christmases (should the plural of Christmas be Christmasae?). It was great. I'm never surprised, by the way, when people are extremely welcoming to me when I'm with my wife and kids, but when it's just me, it does seem unlikely.
Anyways, my Christmases were great. It did make me particularly homesick to be apart from my family and with other peoples' families. I certainly homesick for the house. I was homesick for my family. Christmas Eve Alexis woke up crying for me and Amy left me a message on my voice mail of her crying and saying "Daddy, I miss you." It about tore my heart out.
So, Christmas morning we went back to church for the Festal Liturgy. I saw the choir was depleted by holiday travelling, so I went to join in. It was a great experience. They asked me to join the choir whenever I'm able.
This Christmas I'm thinking especially of two people (besides Amy and the kids who occupy lots of my thoughts): my Grandma Randall, who died December 20, 1987. She lived right down the street (a block away) and was a close friend to all of us grandkids. Twenty years next year. Memory Eternal! And I've spent a lot of time thinking about/praying for my little brother Noel, who is in prison. I am ashamed that I've never visited him, even when I make the trip all the way to Michigan. Something tells me Christ meant it when he said that when we visit those in prison, we visit him. Remember Noel in yours prayers.

The Nativity Homily of St. John Chrysostom:
I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.
The Angels sing!The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!The Seraphim exalt His glory!
All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.
Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.
And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, he had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God.
This day He Who Is, is Born; and He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became he God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.
And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.
Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead.
And behold,Kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory;Soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child-birth into joy;Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy;Infants, that they may adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, He might perfect praise;Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;Men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants;Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech;Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom;Fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men;Publicans, to Him Who from amongst them named a chosen Evangelist;Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant;
And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.
Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, not shaking the Thyrsian staff, not with the music of pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ. For this is all my hope, this my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing: Glory to God in the Highest;and with the shepherds: and on earth peace to men of good will.
From the journal Road to Emmaus, Fall 2005 (#23).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Eighth Day Books

Some of my devoted readers may be familiar with Eighth Day Books. I recently re-discovered the website, and I can't wait to buy every book in the catalog! I am especially interested in trying to form an integrated worldview, which doesn't separate between theology, science, politics, nature, art, poetry, but that sees them as one complete whole.

They are also the suppliers for this cool Orthodox Christian coffee shop/bookstore in Colorado Springs, CO:

So, check them out and buy books.

Christmas Break, Or Levi Rambles Because He Has Too Much Free Time

My finals are over. Yesterday I turned in my final paper for Mind, Meaning and Value: Studies in Neurophilosophy. The class wasn't bad. As I was leaving the professor asked, "Well, Mr. Hadley, what did you think of the class? Did you learn anything?" "Yes sir, but I'm still not a materialist [or an ontological reductionist]"
Anyways, that's my life.
Now I'm here at the house blogging while Alexis watches Pokemon. Exciting. Today was donut day. I know it's not healthy (and probably not fast-like), but we have a tradition of buying donuts every friday morning. It gives the kids something to be excited about and look forward to every Friday. And they do.

So, what's on the plate for Christmas Break?
Well, I'll be working plenty at UPS, I'll be sitting around at the house and I plan to do some fun/discretionary reading:
Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claborne
Miracles by C.S. Lewis

And I'll probably play a lot of Nintendo. (Gamecube, not Wii! How rich do you think I am?)

Mostly, I'm just sitting here waiting for my grades to be posted. It's going to make me crazy. I'm sure I have 2/5 A's. And I'm pretty sure I have 2 other days. And the last one's an A/B wildcard. It makes me crazy. Argh.

Well, thanks for reading my ramblings, if you lasted this long.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Final Pictures

By this point in the day we were all pretty tired. Especially Alexis. We were almost done.

Amy and I with our sponsors, Nick and Diane Huniak
I have no idea why I am standing all in front of everyone like that. And what is up with my hunchback posture?

Baptism/Chrismation Pictures

Micah being baptized
the Orthodox Church, btw, believes in trine immersion, except for certain circumstances like this parish where the baptismal font is even too small for my kids.

Pictures of Alexis' baptism should be forthcoming. Apparently her uncle Neil was looking in the other direction.

Amy and I receiving our baptismal crosses from Fr. Thomas

Amy being Chrismated (yes our baptismal robes were large white towels)

Micah being Chrismated (again no picture of Alexis)

We're being 'churched'
After our baptisms and chrismations we were able to change into church clothes and come back into the church for our "churching," which usually involves a mother officially bringing her newly baptized infant into the church for the first time.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Well, it's started, now.
Last night Amy, the kids, and I were received into the Holy Orthodox Church through the sacraments of baptism and chrismation.
It was a unique experience.
And this morning we received our first communion. Neither kid spit it out or anything, and I, the sinner, didn't drop dead on the spot.

So, here is an icon of my patron, St. Michael the Archangel

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Have a blessed St. Nicholas Day (December 6)! (Especially you, Nick!)
Here's a link to information on the historic St. Nicholas from the OCA website.
Here's a link to the St. Nicholas of Myra movie which is currently in production.
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