Sunday, August 27, 2006

Memory Eternal

Lynette Hoppe has left our world. I thank God that her passing was quick and without a lot of prolonged pain and suffering. By all accounts she was cheerful up until the end.

It was a shock for me to see the pictures they put up of Lynette, on the website Pray for Lynette because she looked like she was aging decades each day. Looking at the pictures you could tell that her liver was failing, as her skin was very yellow. But I am so glad to have seen Lynette's life and death, the part of it that I was able to see, because usually death is kept away from us. We don't see death; we only hear creepy stories about it and if we see a body it's all nice and made up by the mortician. The way Paul put it was that in our society, death is seen as shameful. It's the "other" from the youth that our society has as it's ideal.

So I was glad to see Lynette, emaciated and yellow, looking to be about 80 years old (she was in her early 40s, I think) but with that wonderful smile on her face. The people who were with her when she died said that 20 or 30 minutes *after* she died a big smile came onto her face. How extraordinary! But Lynette is just an extraordinary person.

Lynette, your memory will be eternal in the hearts of everyone who knew you. Your life was an inspiration!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Global Rich List

I'm not sure I wanted to know how globally rich we are. But it sure is an eye-opener!

Monday, August 21, 2006

New Computer

Cool. Just look what you can get on Craigslist! Hibi has been wanting to do a lot more on the computer with movie-making and music. But our poor computer is all filled up and can't take any more; in fact, we really need to take a bunch of stuff off of it. Paul had the idea that we should really get her a laptop--then she doesn't have to fight with the rest of us for computer time and she can set it up how she wants. (She's so computer savvy, too!) He looked on Craigslist and found one last night for $350. A pretty good one, too! He came home with it, saying that it was a very good deal, and they took it to the Apple store today to update software and they also said it's a very good computer. Now we can also have it for trips and stuff, and it plays DVDs. Cool. Now we can be one of those families whizzing down the road watching a movie. At least it won't be in an SUV! :-)

And it's a Mac, which of course is supposed to be really good for graphics. I consider this a homeschool purchase, don't you? ;-)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Website for Lynette

I meant to post this with the last post, but I was running late for my Spanish class. If you are interested in reading more about Lynette and her time in Albania and journals about her struggle with cancer, go to the Pray for Lynette website created to keep everyone notified of how she is doing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Please pray

While at seminary, we met some extraordinary people, among them Nathan and Lynette Hoppe. Nathan did not plan to be a priest, as most of the students there did, but to go out as a missionary. They knew where, too: Albania. We all just knew that Nathan and Lynette would be wonderful missionaries; they were kind and vibrant people.

About a year and a half ago Lynette was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. The doctors tried to treat it, she tried alternative treatements and changing her diet. Nothing has worked to slow the cancer.

They returned to Albania this summer and have had a productive time there. But on Monday I was distressed to learn that what had been just a tiny bit of cancer in her liver has turned into full-blown cancer. The doctors at that time told her she only had a few weeks left to live.

Today I received an email that said that Lynette, who has had pretty good energy and has seemed quite healthy up until now, has begun to have episodes of incoherency and to lose motor skills. She dropped her water glass several times today, Nathan said. The doctors say she will probably be like this for about a week, then drop into unconsciousness for another week and then pass on.

I grieve for her, but more for the loss to this world, and for Nathan and their two children. Please pray for a swift painless death for Lynette.

Summer Camp

We've all been at summer church camp this week--Hibi and Zac as campers, and Fr. Paul and I have both helped out. It's been so fun! Reminds us so much of being at St. Nicholas Ranch--summer camp was our favorite time of year there, even though it was SO hot there (not so hot here, though everyone else was complaining on Sunday and Monday when it was 90 least it wasn't 105, *and* it cooled down after that!) and also even though it meant that Paul worked 15 hour days. The last year we were there we had three sessions of camp, meaning that he worked like that for three solid weeks, with just Saturday afternoon and evening off. But the connections that are made at summer camp just can't be beat.

I had some great camp experiences when I was a kid. I started attending summer camp when I was about Zac's age, and I can remember the wonderful connection with my counselors. It's just nice at that age to have someone who isn't your parents' age, but is a "grown-up", to be special friends with. To begin getting good, positive influence from sources outside your family at that age is a good thing.

Yesterday I helped out with the prosphoro-making (communion bread). The women in charge of prosphoro at camp have been doing this for a jillion years, so it was interesting to watch their process. I've lead groups in doing it before, but no one taught me how to make it. One big difference was that they had the kids knead the dough in the mixing bowl. I've always kneaded bread on a countertop or a board. One of the women told me that in her village in Greece, every family had a big wooden bowl for just this purpose--mixing and kneading the dough. I asked the (younger) female director about this tradition, and she said "oh! I have my family's bowl at home!" So I suppose this is a cultural difference. I'm wondering how it came about, because to me, kneading on a flat surface is a whole lot easier.

But those women are getting older, and are getting ready to retire from this job, so I'd imagine it might just pass on to me. I enjoy doing this with the kids, even though it's a lot of work and even more mess. It's worth doing, worth helping them to understand their faith, it's traditions, and a very basic understanding of where their food comes from.

You can see some pictures of summer camp here, and when I say "some" I mean a whole ton of pictures. To do some pre-sifting for you: here's a cute one of Hibi, all ready for the square dance, and here's one of Zac with his picture frame he made. (Everyone said, it matches your shirt!) If you look through the pics, you'll even see some of me doing square dancing, in my tie-dyed shirt. I haven't looked through them all, but I haven't seen one of the prosphoro making. Ah, here's a good one of Paul, in his denim clergy shirt!

I'm not seeing any pictures of church out in the outdoor chapel, which is really pretty and simple and woodsy. And my camera is at the shop. So, unless Jacob uploads some today, I doubt you'll see any!

Heading back tonight, after my Spanish class, to see camp wrap up and bring my futon mattress home. (Best idea I've had in years, to bring a futon! The beds there leave much to be desired!) See ya after camp!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Funny Vegetarian Anecdote

So, we were all chuckling over the Bizarro from a few days ago, where the guy at a buffet was asking the gal who worked there, "How's the chicken?" and she says "happy and healthy! This is seitan."

We started talking about seitan (which, I try to say with a long a at the second syllable, but the real pronunciation is just like satan, you know, that old enemy of God's). Zac didn't know what it was, so I told him it's wheat protein. How is it made? By developing the gluten from wheat flour and then washing away thee other stuff besides the gluten. Hibi said that she had a cookbook that told how to make it. Then, inspired, she said in a little kid voice, "I'm going to make seitan!" (She was referring to the story in my previous post, Making Jesus, so this won't make any sense if you didn't read it!)

We've been enjoying this evolving radical side of Bizarro--he's come out as an obvious vegetarian in the last year or so.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Horse Project

Here's some pure fun! My kids and I have been having fun trying to spot the horses in downtown Portland. But I see that they are tethered in different places too. And as I was looking through the pictures, there was one with a suspiciously familiar looking building in the background....could that possibly be our church? Hmm...guess I'll have to go look.

The Horse Project

Monica's Blog!

Hey, everyone, my friend Monica got herself a blog! I don't know if I was the only one to tell her, but I did encourage her to start a blog after she sufficiently recovered from the birth of her second child. I thought it would be awhile, remembering back to the birth of my second child....of course, we only just got email three months after Zac was born, but no internet. (Can you imagine living without internet?)

We met Monica and her husband Joel, along with their adorable son Simeon, through email on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship email list, and then in person once, when they came to visit us at St. Nicholas Ranch. I felt we were kindred spirits as soon as we met. I hope to see them in person again. They are missionaries in Romania, so they're way to far away to just take off and see! It'll be great to keep up with what the Klepacs are doing by blog.

Anyway, here's Monica's blog, small things.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Medically Necessary Cesarean Section

Okay, I take back what I said about Sandra's C-Section being just another medicalized birth, and the nasty thoughts I was having about the medical establishment. I just got more details that convinced me it was medically necessary.

What I knew yesterday: her water broke, she went to the hospital, she wasn't having contractions (or at least not consistent ones) and they put her on pitocin, then found out the baby was breech and took her surgically. What I found out today: when Sandra arrived at the hospital she had a temp of 108 and very high blood pressure. Her fever came down but her blood pressure remained very high, and after they found out the baby was breech, they knew they couldn't mess around anymore.

I'm convinced that she is one of the VERY FEW women for whom a C-Section was medically necessary, and why I'm glad the technology exists. I'm glad Sarah and Sandra are doing fine. :-)

Saturday, August 5, 2006

New Baby in the Family

I have a new niece! Her name is Sarah Catherine, and she was born to Paul's brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Sandra. It's Sandra's first baby (Steve has two children from his first marriage), and it's really a wonderful thing because she has endometriosis and wasn't expected to be able to carry a baby.

The baby was born today by c-section. They went in because her water broke and the hospital kept her and put her on pitocin, because she wasn't having any contractions yet. Then they found out that the baby was breech and took her in for a C-section. I could comment here about the over-medicalization of births,'s my new baby niece, and I think I shall refrain for the moment.

No, really. I went on to write more but just deleted it. I'll save it for another day. For today: welcome to the world, baby Sarah Catherine!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

new blog!

As you can see in my links section, and also as a hot link to the garden stew I made yesterday, I've added a new blog! I decided to take on a new one just for my recipes, plus maybe cookbook reviews and probably food politics, as well. I think I might put up the recipes I've shared in the past in this blog there, too. It's only got one post so far, but it's sure to have many more. I can already think of another post I want to put there.....

So go check it out! It's at