Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quotes from the Day::Sunday, August 30

Some quotes that I heard today:

“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” -G.K. Chesterton. Steve told me that he sees this is how I feel about religion & God; after thinking about it, I think he is right.

"It seemed to me a good day to be dead and by that I mean that if the dead cared no more about the worries they'd shouldered in life and could lie back and enjoy the best of what God had created it was a day for exactly such. The air was warm and still and the grass of the cemetery which Gus kept watered and clipped was soft green and the river that reflected the sky was a long ribbon of blue silk and I thought that when I died this was the place exactly I would want to lie and this was the scene that forever I would want to look upon. And I thought that it was strange that a resting place so kingly had been given to a man who had nothing and about whom we knew so little that even his name was a mystery. And though I didn't know at all and still do not the truth of the arrangement, I suspected that it was somehow my father's doing. My father and his great embracing heart." (Ordinary Grace, pps 70-71)

I hope to have such a "great, embracing heart" as well.

♥ Melody

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Handsome Kids ♥ :: First Day of School Pics :: Aug. 17

Matt - 1st day of sophomore year:

Michael - 1st day of 8th grade:

Em - 1st day of no school since he was 5! :)

I need to get the other kids to hold still long enough for me to snap a picture! Even though the other kids don't go to school anymore, I like to take a new picture of everyone at the beginning of school.

♥ Melody

New Photography Blog!

I have set up a new blog exclusively for my portrait photography. Visit and take a look at
♥ Melody

At home in the Episcopal Church::August 17

After the consecration, the priest says, “The gifts of God for the people of God, take them in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.”

That was part of the genius of Elizabeth. Do you hear it? Listen to it again: “The GIFTS of God, for the people of God.” Jesus is the ‘gift of God’ and we are reminded that we are ‘God’s people’.

And then, the priest says, “Feed on him (Jesus). In your HEARTS. By FAITH.”

See? Not exactly Transubstantiation. Not exactly Consubstantiation. Do you hear it? It’s the Good Anglican way of not either/or, but rather, both/and. And, always, always, always, with thanksgiving.

That’s known as the Via Media – or, the “Middle Way” between Catholicism and Protestantism which was the genius of The Elizabethan Settlement. Draw a circle large enough so that everyone is included and no one is left out. Because, as Elizabeth says, it is, ultimately, a matter of faith, which is belief shaped and formed by the heart. (from Telling Secrets ~ Living Bread: Jonathan Daniels)

I have wondered, of late, what it is about the Episcopal Church that feels so much like "home" to me.

When I was LDS, I loved going to the temple, and it also felt like home whenever I went.

In my thoughtful pondering, I have come to the realization that I like having organized religion, I like the services, I like the community worship, I like hearing another person's thoughts on scriptural issues/stories, but I like to be free to have my own beliefs and feeling safe stating them, even if they aren't the traditional ideas. (At one point, I was talking to Peter about an LDS issue. He said that whatever I wanted to do was fine, but not to ask him to do it - he was teaching me Anglicanism - you are free to do and think as you please, just don't insist that others do the same.)

I loved the quote by Joseph Smith that said that he "[taught the members of the church] correct principles, and they govern themselves.” It is something that I highly value.

I love that we are taught about God every single Sunday. We read 4 passages from the Bible every week, and the Priest or Postulant gives a sermon on the Gospel reading. I love the order of worship. I love that everyone in the church worships together in a very organized, methodical way. I love the hymns. I love the Confession of Sins. And most of all, I love the Nicene Creed - it sums up in a short way exactly what I believe.

Lately I've been learning how to set up the altar for Eucharist services. It is a wonderful way to prepare my mind for what I'm really at church for. Afterward, to clean up the altar - and return the Gifts of God to the earth, knowing that they will give sustenance to the little animals that eat them - just seems right. Then the washing of the vessels and the washing of the linens helps me to reflect on the importance of those Gifts.

I have been taking part in a discussion group that talks about An Outline of the Faith, taken from the catechism in the back of the Book of Common Prayer. It has been very interesting!

There is a scripture in Proverbs that states, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." It is true. In my home, my mother wasn't highly religious, but she was very spiritual. She talked about God as a benevilent parent who longs to help his child. A scary, wrathful, punishing God, or one who couldn't bear the presence of sin ( AKA: me ) was far from what I was taught. I was taught about the kind Jesus that wanted everyone to come to him, whether an adulterer, possessed of demons, or worst of all: a tax collector ;). I find that same God that I grew up with as I attend the Episcopal church - along with being reminded to seek & serve Christ in all persons - and I am so thankful.

♥ Melody

My First Hail Mary::August 17

Today was the first time I've heard the Hail Mary prayer, and my heart was deeply touched.

Tim Yanni, who is a postulant assigned to St. Mary's, gave the sermon today. Today is the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Mary, and since we are her namesake church, we honored her by having our services revolve around that holy day.

During the sermon, he said that Bishop Hayashi encourages the postulants to tell some more personal beliefs of theirs to their peers and to their congregations. He told us that he used to be Roman Catholic. Growing up, he said many Marian Prayers, or prayers aimed toward Mary, the mother of Jesus. He said that he has found that these beliefs are embedded in him - they are his true beliefs at his core - he encouraged us, the congregation, to examine our own deeply held beliefs. He said that we wouldn't have an answer at the end of our lives, but that it will take a lifetime of reviewing to find them all.

He explained that the reason people pray to Mary is for intercession, since she is the mother of God. He said that we ask her to pray for us the same way that we would ask a family member to pray for us.

At the end of his sermon, he said that he will continue with his prayers to St. Mary because they are important to him, though he wouldn't ever insist that anyone else believe the same way or practice the same way as he does. (at that point, Matt jabbed me (gently) in the ribs with his elbow. ;) )The final piece was asking all who would like to and knew the prayer, to help him pray the Hail Mary prayer. After the congregation had finished, I was so choked up that I couldn't say the Nicene Creed for a space of time.

This is the prayer:
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

♥ Melody

Monday, August 10, 2015

At the Grotto::August 10

Late afternoon on Sunday, we loaded up the van and went to the Grotto - a trail that leads to a waterfall.

The crew

Steve helped Michael to navigate the trail ♥

Mercedes and Michael loved the water :) (and you can see the baby bump too! twins!! I can't believe it!)

I love how Matt has watched over Michael since they were both very little boys. ♥

Josh, Hayley, and Mercedes ♥

Steve doesn't like how he looks in this pic - he thinks he looks like a wild man... I think he only *sorta* looks like a wild man... but Michael looks so great in it! ;)

Michael played in the water and got his feet wet - it was bugging him so much that I tried to help him get dried off as well as possible. (next time I'll take a towel! ;))
♥ Melody