Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Janmashtami 2011.

On Sunday, August 21st, we celebrated Janmashtami at our temple. 

Janmashtami commemorates the earthly appearance of Krishna, who is described in India’s sacred writings as God Himself. One of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world–and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one.

We stayed overnight, so that we could celebrate Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja (appearance day) the next day!

 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the extraordinary person who dedicated his life to teaching the world about Krishna consciousness, ancient India's most noble message of spiritual wisdom.
In 1965, at the age of 69, on the order of his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, representing a line of teachers dating back to Lord Krishna Himself, Srila Prabhupada sailed from India to New York to share Lord Krishna's message. He brought with him a trunk of books, $7 in change, and the firm faith that the holy name of Krishna would transform the hearts of people he would meet. In the years that followed, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), traveled and taught throughout the world, opened more than 100 temples and inspired thousands of devotees. 

When we arrived early Sunday, the temple was decorated so nicely. There was a nice kirtan (music) going on, and we were able to enjoy that for most of the evening. 

This is the swing for Radha & Krishna that was decorated so beautifully. 

Jai was sleeping soundly when we arrived...

The markings on them are called tilak: 
In the Vaishnava tradition devotees wear the urdhva pundra made of gopi chandan commonly known as tilak. 
"Tilaka means victory personified." (SPL to Tilaka devi dasi,)
By wearing tilak not only does one identify ones body as the temple of the Lord but also one is blessed by the auspicious protection of the Lord.  Not only is the wearer immensely benefited but even those who see the tilak marks are benefited.

This is a picture of Prabhupada whom I mentioned earlier.

The beautiful altar...

Gracie was happy to help with the flower arrangements. She loves helping with garlands, etc. 

This is Jai and Avani. They had fun playing together. He kept popping a balloon up and out of her hand as they were playing. I kept telling him that wasn't nice to tease her like that. He wasn't being mean at all...just playing. But the next day, he remembered this...and he walked up to her and said "I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry, I'm sorry for popping that balloon out of your hands". Hahaha. I loved it! 
She looked at him like he was crazy. Perhaps it didn't affect her in the same way. 

Caught in the act.

Jai playing instruments during kirtan...

...as the night grew on...the crowd swelled. I think this was around 11 or 11:30. We fasted until midnight, and then had a big celebratory feast.

Gracie swinging Radha Krishna...

The birthday cake that I made for Krishna...

The balloons were all popped at midnight...Yikes, it was so loud. The kiddos loved doing that...

The next day was beautiful. 

Gracie was picking more flowers to help with the garlands...

I was supposed to make the cake for the feast. My husband let me sleep in a little and I found him in the kitchen baking it. Wow! He did a great job. It was delicious! 

The temple has the biggest mixer. I'm jealous! Of course, I would not have anywhere to put this...but it was amazing to see it at work. It was mixed in no time.

I'm also jealous of their super organized spice/food rack. So awesome.

It was so nice outside that the doors of the temple were left open, and I saw this little guy hop in the front door. No one would touch him, so I ran and got someone who I knew would be happy to pick him up and take him outside. Gracie! She was so eager, and ran right over and grabbed him up. She didn't think twice. 

A pair of Prabhupada's shoes that one of the devotees has. How cool! :)

August Happenings.

My friend Becky was in town (she moved to Texas a few years back) visiting last week. She was supposed to stay for a week or two, but her husband arranged for the in laws to watch her 2 girls, so that she could fly out and meet him (he was on a business trip) in HAWAII!!! How lucky! So, we were able to  have dinner with them one night before she flew out. As you can tell from the picture below, she is a super mom. 
I am happy that we were able to see you, Becky! I hope you had a wonderful time in Hawaii, and have a safe trip home to Austin!  :)

Most of you know that Paul moved on to a new lead position at Time Warner. We are so excited about this because he's off of 3rd shift, doesn't have to drive 40 min. to Gboro, and a little bit of a pay raise doesn't hurt either. :0)
This is his new store. It is in Hanes Mall, and so far he seems to love it. 

We had to shop for some new comfy shoes since he is on his feet so much more now. I wanted to snap a shot of how handsome he looks in his new work wardrobe. I do a pretty good job of embarrassing my family with photo ops. haha. Sorry handsome. 

I'm so jealous of the cute little pumpkins growing on the vine at my mom's house. How awesome is that?!

We picked a ton of muscadine grapes at my mom's also. 

On Sunday, we celebrated my nephew Liam's birthday at my mom's house. He has been asking me to make him a Domo for a while...and I thought his birthday would be the best opportunity to give it to him. I just started sewing...so hopefully they will get better. I get so irritated over the little imperfections. He really seemed to like it, so that's all that matters. :)

My mom made him a cake and I decorated it like Domo for him. That cake was delicious. Thanks Mom! :)

My dad and stepmom got Liam this cool boat. What a unique gift! 

I was pretty exhausted that day...and I was half awake when he opened his presents (3rd shift is lame). I didn't get any shots of him opening his presents..but he got some awesome things. We all had a great time. 
This is a shot of all of the 'grandbabies' and they are all smiling and focused on the camera!! It is usually so hard to get this...but as they get older, it is getting easier. Yay! 
I didn't have my camera...and I took all of these with my cell phone (poor quality). Oh well. 

Happy Birthday Liam!!! :)