Well, it is good to be back posting. This post comes to you from the small town of Radcliff, KY, which is nestled between Ft. Knox and Elizabethtown (yes, the town the recent movie is based on). This is Audra's hometown, and most likely near where we'll be moving in a couple of years to be around her family.
MUCH travel the past week or so; drove out here from Ft. Worth (15 hours, thankyouverymuch) on the 22nd after school let out (Audra and Hope had flown out the Sat. before). Uneventful, except for two things...in order to make the trip in one day, I had to leave CRAZY early in the morning, and this meant much fog...it's interesting to watch the low-lying, rolling fog go over people's crops; it almost looks as if they're growing fog. The other event--not so picturesque--were the two traffic snarls which literally stopped traffic. Fortunately, I called my navigator in KY, who hopped online and, over the cell phone, found me a way around them. Made the trip in good time regardless, thanks be to God. Will drive back on the 2nd, stopping to meet with a friend in Nashville for lunch. The girls will fly back the following day. Your prayers would be appreciated.
More driving to see father-in-law's fam in Hopkinsville, and mom-in-law's fam in Sturgis. Easy conversation; very warm people. Good to see them again, even some new faces. Very welcoming. Spent Christmas Day morning in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church there in Sturgis--not Orthodox, of course, but at least none of this "let's-close-because-it's-Christmas-Day-and-people-should-be-with-their-families-instead-of-in-church" nonsense (yes, people should be with their families, but let's remember where our true family, is, ¿no?).
Speaking of true family, confession before leaving for Kentucky was, as far as I could perceive, a very reflective, honest (and relatively long) one. While my own heart's estimation may not do justice to the reality of my heart's state (for God's knowledge of me is greater than even my heart's--1 Jn. 3:20), it did, at least, pave the way for a much more attentive vespers service that night. God be praised for His forgiveness and for His help in overcoming our weaknesses. Will commune at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville on Sunday, Lord willing. Always good to connect with brethren around the country.
Other things...the new church building is almost ready to be moved into! Pictures of the blessing by the archbishop will be forthcoming (once I get back to FW, Lord willing), as well as of the consecration shortly after (whenever THAT is). Much excitement over this new chapter in our life as a parish family; may God grant us increase as we make room for more souls to come into His true Church, to share in His true Banquet.
Hope is sitting up on her own and eating strained solid foods! What a mujercita! She, of course, is the darling of every house we take her to; not only is she getting spoiled by all the attention and people carrying her around, but we as her parents are getting spoiled by having so many live-in, on-call, free babysitters! 'Twill be a rude awakening for all parties involved when we return to normal, Ft. Worth life and all the work involved. If we can pry her away from the grandparents, that is....
It is amazing, though, to have Hope as a living, breathing, wriggling example of what our Lord looked like as an infant. To think: our Creator, the One Who spoke worlds that before were not, Who holds the whole universe in the hollow of His hand, became one of these chubby, squealing, grinning little wonders--helpless, humanly speaking, and sucking at His holy mother's breast. In that one act, our God provided for our nature, for our race, a way out of its destiny of decay and thus moved all of human nature from enmity to friendship ("compatibility," as my much-more-computer-savvy friend would say) with God. What was once impossible (the renewal of our nature and the salvation of our individual souls), regardless of how much we obeyed, has now been made possible by a cooing, peaceful, and gloriously divine infant resting in a cave, born of a spotless virgin, given flesh and blood in order to be the firstfruits of our salvation, flesh and blood of which we would all partake, for the forgiveness of our sins, and the healing of our souls and bodies.
As always, grateful for the chance to deny myself for forty days--learning through both the times when I succeed in this and when I fail--and thus to remind myself that He is the One thing needful in my life. Would that we would remember Him thus always.