Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bread Houses and Pink Blanket Progress in the best week of the year

 The Lovie blanket is progressing. 
I am decreasing now.
{Mr. Husband says this is the St. John the Baptist section,
as in I must decrease and He increase :) } 

I am reading right now about
Bread Houses that 
Nadezhda Savova began.
Mr. Husband just finished reading this article in 
the fall 2013 issue of Road to Emmaus
and was telling me all about these Red Houses
and I was like, Red Houses?
and he corrected me, no:
Bread Houses
I am thinking of getting her book also.
FYI, she is the 2012 National Geographic 

It all began when she was on Pilgrimage and learned that
Bethlehem means House of Bread
and then her Grandmother's house (which was now hers) roof fell in...
and suddenly she began the first Bread House 
as soon as the roof was restored...
you can read about it in print here.
Excited to join Ginny's Yarn Along!
Even more excited that it is Holy Week!
Mr. Husband and I DV will be at the Wednesday night 
Blessed Holy Week and Easter/Pascha to all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Amidst it all

So as determined as I was NOT to pack at all
during Holy Week,
Mr. Husband took opportunity
to pack few of his books Sunday night
as I talked to my Mom on the phone... 
we are not going to pack any more this week,
but well, I can't blame Mr. Husband wanting to get started.
I meanwhile cleared off half the dresser...

So my Mom was telling me that in her neck of the woods,
snow was in the forecast.
I was so shocked, I wrote 'snow' on my box of candles! 
One icon, rest is candles plus one candle holder.

The books that were on my dresser have been moved
to this shelf under my icon corner.
It's funny, 
I realized I remembered packing in Ottawa and talking to my Mom
and others on the phone and thinking how I will
remember the conversation when I unpack
but well, this only happened in spots; I remember talking to 
my sister-friend in my last move; my Mother; 
but I know that not all was remembered as I was setting in 
as a new bride, seeking to make sense of everything.
I've purged a few books, 
but even though I have not studied Greek in over 10 years
and am not planning on taking up French soon,
I still really don't want to part with my text books.
It's a real struggle.
Both Mr. Husband and I come from families who keep things.
We are both learning to purge and Mr. Husband got rid of
a lot of his library and other things before he even knew me.
Sometimes he tells me about a first edition CS Lewis he 
gave away and it makes me think of my friend's mother's comment:
I could never forgive him for giving away a first edition Lewis
except that he gave it to a priest!
:) My friend's Mom's comment still makes me and Mr. Husband 
laugh at the memory of it...  
Meanwhile, we are slowly building the library we wish to have.
I am already thinking of the Elizabeth Goudge books that 
I do not have, many of which I do not think I have read yet.
Her books have been some of the best
I've ever read in fiction and can be utterly transforming... 
It's going to take some effort,
packing, purging, moving;
letting go of what we should let go of and
making room for what we keep and I do hope
to figure out a way to get things less cluttered.
It's long been a theme I've read,
about doing with less.
Well...I don't know that I or Mr. Husband are going for the minimalist
way anytime soon, but I do want to do things
differently, have things put away and with spaces 
that don't get overgrown with clutter and merely frustrate
instead of being beautiful and useful. 
I remember being in one of my beloved Ottawa parishioner's house
years ago and she said she had only in her house
what is beautiful and/or useful, perhaps even only that 
which is useful and is in use.
While I would of wished this for the house we are in now,
and we do have many beautiful and much useful,
due to the long distance nature of our dating relationship 
and then the life we have (busy for one)
we've just not been able to really make
our space fully beautiful and functional.
I have many hopes for the home
we DV will be making together...

Meanwhile we will go to Bridegroom Matins and
the rest of the Holy Week services this week.
No idea how much if any more posting will be done.
The job is at at hand,
let us go to Christ and be with Him in His Passion
so that we can be risen with Him in His Glorious Resurrection!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Weekend ~ Palm Sunday ~ Watching for Christ the Bridegroom

Palm Sunday: we hold our Palms or Pussy Willows throughout 
the service, we too standing to welcome and worship the Lord.

Fittingly, as so many who welcomed and worshiped the Lord
abandoned Him in His Passion,
we ended the day with the first of the Bridegroom Matins.
The cry to awake, to watch, to wait for Christ is heard,
deeply, beautifully, prayerfully with great expectation
but also with the most important of warnings as
we are weak, we fall asleep, we forget to 
have enough oil to light our lamps, 
watching for Christ our 
Beloved Bridegroom.

Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom he shall find watching, and unworthy is the servant whom he shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, oh my soul. Do not be weighed down with sleep, lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the kingdom.
But rouse yourself, crying, Holy, Holy, Holy are Thou O God.
Through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
May the Lord carry us weak ones to Pascha.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Last Day of Great Lent 2014

We made it!!! 
The last day of Great Lent... 

I heard a great set of talks recently*
and was reminded again of how we can't
'do' Great Lent or in other words,
we always fall short of what we could have done in Lent
or, move over, we can't do it.
If one thinks they had a "successful" Lent,
the suggestion is that they start over again... 
We are weak.
We need's God's mercy.
He alone can give us the fruit that we desire to give to Christ
and the end of Lent.
Always reassuring... 
Steps towards a bit 'better' can be made, however,
and, moreover, continued.
Simple ones I find are best.
I have been, as I am guessing many are, struggling 
with how much technology takes up my time,
to the point that I had to fully admit that it was not just taking up time,
it was taking over my life and that a full ADDICTION 
to the distraction of the Internet was upon me.
What really drove it home to me, or confirmed this 
was a homily on technology and enslavement.*
I knew I had to figure out better ways...
It's going to take a long time before I know what I can do.
I think of going off Facebook forever and then
a dear friend's child, who I am knitting the 
above blanket, gets ill and if I don't go on FB to her 
Mother's page, I won't know what is going on.
So I go there but only there and then am off.
I hope to continue this.
Blogs are another story for me. 
I love them.
Still figuring that out.
I am not leaving the blog world here or else where.
But how to balance my time, it's a never ending struggle.
I learned one thing though:
If I turn off my wifi and data on my smart phone before
evening prayers and don't turn it on until after morning
prayers and breakfast,
then I will not so easily weaken in my resolve to not check
email before morning prayers.
Everyone is going to have to find their own ways, 
but this is something I have been trying to learn to better
balance this Lent.

I am going to seek to keep reading some of my 
Lenten reading that I am not finished with yet.
A lot of realism is needed in our life,
as in being realistic:
what we can really do, not what we wish we can do.
It takes thought, prayer and at times a good night sleep
and remembering to drink lots of water 
and perhaps a long walk or a short walk/s
to realize what is doable, what we can limit,
what is really going on, etc.
I have been aware of this workshop going on
on burnout by, from what I gathered, a 
quite well known Catholic
and while I could not be part of it much this Lent,
I really wanted to know more about burnout 
and what it has looked like for woman of our time
and also for mothers, of whom I have many friends
who are in the young-kid stage.
So I will reading and pondering these words, as I joined recently
to be able to save the PDFs and essays on these topics.
It's going to be a busy time for me here,
in the next while with packing (thank God I will have help),
the move, the unpacking and settling into a new home
with Mr. Husband.
Thank God our parents DV (Lord willing)
can come and help.... 
I am going to be glad to have the PDFs to read on 
how to be restored after huge things like a move
and am just going to have to take it one day at a time...
Blessed last day of Lent everyone!
I am hoping to make this chili this afternoon!
Blessed Holy Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday weekend 
to you all!! 

*if any one wants to hear these talks/homilies,
email me and I will pass the links on to you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Progress on the Lovie Blanket and Burn Out...

This morning I realized 
that much of what I was
feeling this week was 
what I knew I was feeling.
As in, I really am exhausted from this
Great Lent which included
the stress of securing a new home for us.

I thank God had the strength to go to the
grocery store today;
but I am really tired after it,
so it's confirmed...
So I will rest as I can...
We already have our movers booked, 
am working to get packers (lots of books etc.)
and everything is going swimmingly for closing early in May. 
I am grateful, so very grateful. 

I spent some time this afternoon 
talking with my dear sister-friend on the phone
and knitting more on this blanket.
And then we gmail-skyped and I got to see
her three munchkins, the youngest of who is my
now cute two year old godson.

We are almost to the finish line.
Great Lent officially ends tomorrow.
May the Good Lord carry us weak ones to Pascha.
I am tired, but grateful;
we must trust in the mercy of God 
above all things.

Regarding an Internet Security Compromise that you need to know about

Mr. Husband wrote myself and others today about
a security breach that is impacting a lot of websites that we use
everyday, from Google products such as gmail, yahoo, facebook, instagram and many others.
Here's his advice that he agreed that I can pass on to you:

You'll probably want to change your passwords soonish.  However, I've read elsewhere that waiting a few days (and keeping down your login activity) would be better lest too much churn make the security problem worse.

And yes, you want two-factor authentication wherever you can get it (e.g., google, yahoo, linkedin, ...)

Updated to add this link Mr. Husband just sent me:
and a link on how to do it.


If any of this does not make sense, just let me know in the comments.
Thus ends our Public Internet Security Announcement.
You're welcome. :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lovie Pink Blanket for a very loved child

I recently heard that my 
longest-time friend's youngest baby
is ill with a cancer,
we are hoping for the 90% success rate and that
the chemo etc will not make her too ill, etc.
I am far away, 
in the middle of planning a move to our new home
and less than a week from Holy Week...
So the best and only things I can do are
prayer and knitting a small lovie blanket for this dear young girl. 

It is knitting up quickly.
I am doing it as simple as I know how:
start with three stitches and increase until it is the size desired
and then decrease until it is finished.
The yarn is Lion Brand's Fairy Tale and it the prefect pink... 
Ravelry here.

Still loving this book on St. Porphyrios.
Reading these books is showing me in deep 
and real, practical ways how we must
love and be gentle with everyone...

I am also re-reading 
Perfect low stress reading...
which is needed about now...
we had a mover try to say that we should start packing today!
We hope to move a bit before Memorial Day and 
we are NOT in anyway packing during Holy Week or Pascha! (Easter)!
The Holy Week is the best week of the year!!!
Well, I am also not going to stop knitting and 
hope to finish this blanket in the next weeks,
it's a great one to knit while in the car with Mr. Husband 
driving us to church...
So what are you reading and creating?
Yarn Along with us!

Annunciation ~ 2014

Mr. Husband and I were at church 
Monday morning for the Feast of the Annunciation.
The night before I was with one of the church's young ones
and tell this child how the Annunciation had to come first...
how the Virgin Mary saying YES to God
is how CHRISTMAS came to us.... 
Our church, like many Orthodox churches,
has a basket of Christian kids books for 
kids to read and our basket includes many that are on
Christmas and Christ's birth...
The child I was talking to picked some of these
and it was quite something, how all of them
actually started with the Annunciation,
with the Archangel Gabriel coming to the Virgin Mary
to tell her of how she can be overshadowed by God
and given birth to Christ...
I told many of the children that day that in 9 months,
Christmas will come,
just like it takes, normally, 9 months for a baby to be born...
Many woman and children were in church,
it was really beautiful.
The homily was in part about the Theotokos and how she 
made a peaceful loving home for her Holy Family...
The vision of this home, of always being a place of prayer,
of peace, harmony and love,
stayed with me and I really hope that with
Holy Theotokos' help,
that I can make a home that gives unity and harmony,
love, peace, centred on Christ... 
It was a beautiful and busy day...
Mr. Husband went from there back towards home and
had the inspection of our future home...
We went out for dinner for fish afterwards 
and then back to our soon-to-not-be-our home...
We are not going to do anything in 
terms of packing until 
after Pascha 
but then, it will all ensue very quickly... 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Today and the rest of the week...

There are so many pictures of our DV new home
that I wish I could show you!
But I can't, since it is not our home yet or 
our belongings inside, etc.
But the picture above is the one of the front windows...
Cleo is going to just love them.
We have plans of two arm chairs and a small table going there
and Cleo will be in window-watching heaven.
So I have been craving cooking and baking lately.
It was so fun making Mr. Husband's cake...
Still have to write that one up for this year...
hopefully this week...
So I saw this recipe last week for vegetarian chili
with butternut squash.
I was so blessed by you all with ideas and recipes for 
using my last two butternut squashes...
I do hope to make more next year and incorporate ideas from you all!
This whole house hunting (we were looking since January,
which turned out to be providential since the landlord of our current place
suddenly told us he was selling the place) and then waiting to see
if we can get the condo we are now DV getting...
some of the time we really did not know what was going to happen with it
or if we would have to house hunt again and with a deadline looming...
So I struggled to pray, doing my Lenten reading in the morning,
and read lots of Madeline L'Engle and just could not cook
much, though I did manage the cake for Mr. Husband and a few other
things... cooking not so much but the cookies and cake yes...
actually baking is something I do often when in transition and
it is quite helpful, at least for me.
And I saw this recipe this week ~ for cake with butternut squash and 
So the Pascha baking possibilities continue to call out,
slowly to me.... and each recipe calls for only 1 butternut squash,
and I have two of them, so....
I remember years ago when I was in London Ontario
in my last semester in between my 8 months in Ottawa
and then moving back to live and work,
when I was moving back to Ottawa
I did not quite have a job lined up yet;
it was then that I lived with the family that became my
'Ottawa Ukrainian Family' and did land that first great job
and got my U shaped apartment that had great light and 
some wonderful and some not so wonderful times
but that God gave me for a season...
Anyway, it was so hard for me at the time when I was just moving back
from London Ontario to Ottawa;
I had Cleo by then, newly, and no one for various reasons
could help much with that packing I did then
and I remember buying cheap frozen pizza and being 
overwhelmed with moving into the unknown.
I remember Cleo playing with my hair, which is thick, often curly 
and generally fairly long and how comforting it was.
I remember the shelf with my icons and tea lights 
in that one summer sublet apartment;
I remember crying in front of them with all the overwhelment of that 
time in my life, moving, soon to be new grad...
I remember the closet in the bathroom there and how it reminded me
somehow of my Aunt H. and how that was a comfort.
In someways that must of been one of my hardest moves;
I remember I slept a lot that weekend just after moving 
and how it all worked out well then,
thanks to prayers of those who were much higher spiritually then I...
with so much faith...
I remember I made cake; 
I think a lemon one and possibly a chocolate one too; in an 
old big oven in a small kitchen in that summer sublet half-basement
apartment that ended up having mold issues and me scraping my bedpost to 
clean them... thankfully it was only a few month's sublet and 
God was so merciful...
This upcoming move of Mr. Husband and I is bringing
back lots of memories of past moves and the 
the relief that this move is one that should not be as hard or, rather,
to say it differently, is not into a fully unknown venture.
Moving here to marry was wonderful joyous exciting but yet
in it's own way it was also hard, 
with grief of leaving my church family and community of
seven years, my beloved city ~ Ottawa ~ and all that it stood for.
I am still reminded of all the many reasons I married 
Mr. Husband and how wonderful it all is, was and we hope it to be.
I do not in anyway regret moving to NJ to marry my beloved husband!
I was rereading an old blog post of Fr. Stephen Freeman's from years
back on grief, and how he wrote that every death is not only 
the grief of that instance, but of the ones that are before.
In a way, I find moving to be like that.
It brings back memories of many other moves,
of times of joy and times of sorrow.
Times when I ate that cheap pizza and times
that I ordered really good pizza for my many
 Ottawa friends who helped me move...
I've moved 7 times since this blog was born in 2005...
so 7 in about 9+ years...
I have a lot of hope for this upcoming move.
Walking more, being closer to friends, church;
there's a small library close by, some grocery options;
I will miss my kitchen window here...
but at least this move has so many good things...
I have a lot to be thankful for,
including my Mr. Husband, my family, my Cleo Cat, the 
friendships I am making here, for a new home
that we hope will be one of happiness and peace
for many years.
And I hope to make many more birthday cakes
for my beloved during many more Great Lents
that I hope we have together...

What I told my Grandma

{from a few weeks back*}
At home in my kitchen, calling my Grandma and leaving 
a message on her answering machine...
Hi Grandma, It's Elizabeth... well... [Mr. Husband] and I are going to 
see a condo tomorrow that we both like,
can you pray for us?
A few days later... in my kitchen again... calling and leaving a message...
Hi Grandma, we found out yesterday that our landlord is selling his condo
and we don't want to buy it...
we've been told that we will have a letter from the lawyer soon...
this place will sell fast... so we are seeing the condo we liked 
again tomorrow morning,
can you pray for us about that?
We're thinking of putting in an offer.
A day later, my Grandma is a wonderful busy lady, I left a message again...
Hi Grandma, so we are under contract and just waiting 
for a few things to work out,
it's hard to wait, our landlord's coming with his realtor,
we know it will be any day that we can get our 60 days notice...
keep praying for us... 
Finally I called and she answered.
I told her more about the condo we want to buy,
about the waiting for answers we need,
about wanting attorney review over so no one else can put in an offer,
about how the condo we want has great light, is spacious,
near friends, in the town close to our local church
and is beautiful.
Only missing a garden and kitchen window
but really has everything we need,
we would be so happy there...
A week or so later I got hold of her again,
and realized I forgot to tell her that we were finally done with attorney review,
just waiting for the house inspection.
We were not worried, I told her, it's a fairly new building,
should not have many problems...
We were right, there were no real problems on home inspection...
I am choosing paint chips and doing floor designs for 
furniture placement and figuring out what we need...
We got our 60 days notice of needing to move 
night before we finished attorney review.
We hope to close in early May
and move in late May.
Pray for us!
Mr. Husband and I are going to own a home together,
one that I saw how quickly God gave us,
introducing us to our new home
just a day before we would get word that we would have to
leave our first lovely home...
that Mr. Husband has been renting for over two years.
It's a huge transition to us,
this move to a nearby town, another bed-sitting community of NYC in 
New Jersey.... closer to friends, church and whatever comes next.
Thank God that we 
found more than what we could of hoped for, 
just where we were hoping to land.
*this all took place unbelievably in the space of three weeks time.
We are told that this is normal for where we live!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

~Celebrating Mr. Husband Part 2~Cake~Candles~Joy~

Believe it or not, 
I kinda think the cake was even better this year!
I will try to do a post later on about how I did
this year's cake....

I love the moment when Mr. Husband comes
out to the dining room and I've lit the
7 candles... 
I lit one at a time with different prayers for him... 

His final 4 presents...
7 seemed to be a theme as that was how many 
he unwrapped this year...
He got two more bars of vegan chocolate,
one with ginger and one with chili
and some trader joes jelly beans.
And two more books, shown below :)

I love our birthday table this year!

We had scrimp for his birthday,
with peanut sauce, rice, Indian junk food 
and salad.

It was such a joy!

Cleo decided she wanted to try sitting on one
of my knitting baskets.
I took the picture then took her off and 
gently explained to her that the basket
is really not strong enough for her to do that again... :)

First edition with dust jacket,
Chesterton on Dickens! 

And 4th printing first edition of 
Chesterton's book 

the Thing. :)
We are bringing cake and cupcakes to church
tomorrow to continue the celebration
and it's been a wonderful week of 
being thankful for my Mr. Husband and his birth! 

Friday, April 04, 2014

And the Celebration Continues!

Cleo always wants to be where we are... :)

We've been spreading Mr. Husband's 
birthday celebrations out this week...
Cards have been coming in and
I've given him some of his presents already...

My beloved husband loves 
So I found this copy of his play
with preface by Dorthy Sayers!
I've been able to get some reasonably priced 
first editions of GK Chesterton via
Albris and Abe
over the last months including this book and another...

I've had these wrapped for weeks already!

Another by Chesterton, this time on Browning... :)

I got these fun ginger chews
in Ottawa at a local Chinese grocery...
I saved them in my 'Mr. Husband stash' for his
birthday! We enjoyed one each right away!
I love birthdays and it is so wonderful that we can 
enjoy Mr. Husband's birthday for more than one day...
Since his birthday tulips arrived earlier in the week and 
I am not making his cake till closer to the weekend,
so we can share it with our church family
this weekend! :) 
I hope to make this cake again this year
since last year it was such a hit!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

After Pascha...

double chocolate banana bread

Need I say more?
I can't wait DV to do Paschal baking!
(the recipe above needs 1 egg...)
I am getting excited about the logistics of Pascha (what we call Easter, FYI) and Bright Week...
~using my Grandma's white, silver ringed with blue and pink flowers dishes
~eating the Pascha basket treats
~singing Christ is Risen! before very meal
~Ice cream...
But as I've read and probably said:
Great Lent is the road and preparation for Pascha!
The greatest of Feasts!
Pascha is truly the Feast of Christ the Bridegroom,
the greatest of all Holy Days!
Let us rejoice and be glad that we have Great Lent because
it leads through the Cross to the Grave to the Ressurection... 
Let us have hope!
Let us breathe deep!
We are in the final weeks before the week of all weeks:
Holy Week and then Great and Holy Pascha!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Yarn Along ~ Hats and Baby Blankets

I was going through my yarn basket and 
found this hat that I have yet to finish...
I need to ask about the decreasing of it so that 
I can get it off the needles...
I ordered this yarn to do a fast baby blanket
for a friend's young girl who is ill...
It's hard to be so far from so many I have known and loved
over my life and then to hear of a friend's ill child (cancer),
well, all I can do is knit and pray;
and so I will endeavour to do... 
Still accruing more squares on my
Trying to decide what colour yarn to 
sew it all together in; the blue or the yellow;
the yellow is a bit of a thicker yarn than the blue;
not sure what is better ~ to sew with the softer/weaker blue yarn
or the denser yellow.
Thoughts, suggestions? 

Meanwhile, Cleo the ever present Cat whose
antics always make Mr. Husband and I laugh...

She had messed up our rug with her running and darting...
she is constantly trying to get in the way
when we are doing our Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim with prostrations;
I've heard that similar cats of our persuasion have demonstrated
similar impiety...
so funny...
Reading... I just finished this lovely book...

What can I say?
the newly Sainted Elder Porphyrios is so gentle, loving while
being faithful to Christ.
I am pondering many of his words and am growing,
through his influence via these books,
in my awareness of God's gentleness, love and mercy.
I've also been on a Madeleine L' Engle re-read kick.
This week it is the very full of family drama novel
It's not the easiest reading per say, as it deals with
a great deal of human brokenness, betrayal and loss....
But our world is full of such horrors and I think
L' Engle often grapples with them in ways that are life-giving...
I am pondering L' Engle a lot these days and hope to write 
more on her in the future;
for now, I am aware of how much her novels are about
moving towards light, healing and seeking to wake up 
on the inward spiritual level.
So, what are you reading and creating?
Do Yarn Along with us!