Thursday, July 21, 2016

10 books that stayed with me

I was recently asked what were 10 books that stayed with me... I ended up listing some as categories of books, so it is more than 10 books!

What books have stayed with you over the years, or new ones that are lighting things up in new ways? Would love to hear! 

Here's my list: 
  1. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
  2. The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
  3. Courage to Pray by Met. Anthony Bloom
  4. The Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle and L'Engle's Other Side of the Sun 
  5. The Time trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle (Wrinkle in Time, Swiftly Tilting Planets, A Wind in the Door)
  6. CS Lewis' 7 Chronicles of Narnia
  7. Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace: a Vocabulary of Faith 
  8. Many Orthodox books - The Orthodox Way, Adian's Song, Letters to St Lydia, books by Fr. Roman Braga, Saint Stories, esp. St. Nectarios, St. Spyridon, St. Abbot Moses of Optina, St. Porphyrios , St. Paisos, Elder Sophrony, the more travelogue Orthodox books like The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer and Short Trip to the Edge by Scott Cairns 
  9. The (various) Orthodox Psalters - the Psalms of St. David are so rich 
  10. Books that I read slowly, like The Art of Prayer, Ladder of Divine Ascent, and the recently read essay by Donald Sheehan on St. Issac the Syrian and St. Ephraim the Syrian in his book of Essays, Grace of Incorruption

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

(Brief Opening) ~ The Door to Summer

I was with my Grandma and my Great Aunt P. 
on Saturday July 16, 2016.
Perfect weather at her cottage on Lake MI;
sunny, low 80s, breezy, water 70F, beautiful,
calm waters, only cresting towards the evening. 
I got picked up at 8:30 with 10 minutes to talk with my beloved Husband
and off I was with Grandma to Aunt P's place.
Then to "Gary's" for breakfast,
then the cottage after 11 AM and sitting around,
visiting with some I had not seen in many years,
then a late lunch,
then changing and going to the beach...
sitting, then swimming in the lake MI, so refreshing, beautiful,
floating as waves wash under you, moving you about, floating
in clear water, green with light, above deep blue sky,
tall tall trees, green leaves, floating and seeing the most beautiful trees,
P. who is swimming with me tells me that when she thinks of her
favourite place to remember it is this view;
the water, floating in such comfortable water, waves...
Then more sitting and talking and then water and then a walk all 
the long walk way to the Pier, passing various happy smiling people,
one man with towel wrapped around reading a book,
two small stones found, forgot to give to the young boys for their
new stone collection,
back at the beach where others are after the long beautiful walk,
another swim in that beautiful body of water
that is not an ocean, is Lake Michigan,
better than salt water, fresh, beautiful water, waves, beauty surrounding
and then sitting on the beach, the two year old playing in and out of the water,
talking prodigiously, 'I did it' 'I smash the car castle' ... joyful, blond, round face,
blue eyes, happy young voice, focused on sand, water, shovel, ...
sun water sand.... so beautiful...
One last dip in the water, trying to get feet free of sand, failing, walking up the dune on the steps,
back to the cottage, cleaning feet, changing, sand everywhere,
dreaming of the future bath and going up changed for dinner,
hamburgers on the grill,
sitting knitting, talking with others while dinner is made,
eating dinner on the deck, so good, such beauty, just sitting on the deck,
the ride home, first to Aunt P's house,
seeing it again, so familiar, unchanging, beautiful, she is 90 now and still lives at home,
wonderful books, pictures, dishes...
Talking with Grandma as we drove home to my parents, dropping me off,
talking about the next steps in my trip, 
going to the monastery, talking of future phone calls I will make to her soon,
I try to call Grandma once/week...
So much goodness,
being home and back at my Aunt P's cottage for the first time in over 23  or 24 years....
I was finally able to tell my Aunt P how when I had my most happy dreams,
I was right there, at her cottage....

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finds of the day included one by Madeleine L' Engle

I could not believe it.
My Mom and I went to a thrift store we do not usually go to...
not only did I find some really nice clothes,
but this book!!!
I have a similar hardcover edition of this book by Madeleine L' Engle but
was so surprised when I opened it to find that she had signed it!
I felt like God had just given me a real gift of a book, for 2.00, a beat up,
water stained, old first printing book of one of my favourite books! 
I admit to feeling really loved! 
I've been processing somethings while I am home and it was a real gift to get this book, just now.
I also have been on a search for a new
rain jacket that would look nice, was black
and had a hood....
I had ordered one that looked great online but in person,
well, it looked horrible on me.
So when I saw this one and how it fit,
I knew it was the one I was looking for!
And only 11.99 at the thrift store!
The ones I was considering buying were over 100.00
so this was a real find! 

I don't know if I will be able to blog again before I am back home on Tuesday,
but Mr Husband is home and we are talking each
morning and night, as well as chatting in the daytime...
so nice to have such technology while I am home visiting family!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Saying "goodbye" to my Husband's parent's home of 41 years

My parents-in-laws home is in it's glory in the summer...
the beautiful sloping hills, 
the gardens and flowers spilling out everywhere....
it was glorious.
We had a wonderful visit, having dinner
with my Husband's sister and brother-in-law,
spending time talking, planning and packing things to take
on our trip to Michigan.
They closed on the sale today!
My parents-in-law have lived there for 41 years,
and the home is going to a new family with many children,
we are happy for it all!

Friday, July 08, 2016

The last day of our visit and a quiet Friday

After a quick breakfast, my dear cousin and her son were off...
only I found the wallet of the son in our library,
so they quickly circled back, not having gone that far,
and last hugs were done again
and then, gone. So quiet.
We had a beautiful fish dinner yesterday,
was the Feast of St John the Baptist's Nativity
and St. Elizabeth's day too 
(One of my 2 patron Name Saints)...
We had green salad, fruit salad, cashews, tomatoes,
fantastic organic salmon with ginger and lemon oil, lemon, 
onion, salt and pepper...
and fried potatoes with onion,
fried mushrooms with onion....
Lemon refreshing!

Candlelight makes such a difference!
Next week I will be at my parents, Mr. Husband is one I will miss,
but I will be seeing my Grandmother and her sister, DV and my 
Great Aunt P. is 90 years old, so we both know it is
important for me to go and be with my family for a bit!
I will blog as I can.
I have so many ideas for this coming year and am still figuring out how to structure it all.
It's not easy is it? Esp when one has so many things that are enjoyable.
Meanwhile, I will write as I can and read, prayer, think about things, and 
then do it all again.....

Thursday, July 07, 2016

On books, thoughts and choices

My cousin H and I had such good talks this visit.
So refreshing....
I told her a bit about my read of 
of when I was probably about the same age as 
Cassandra (she narrates towards the end about being about 14 or 15),
and I have been pondering this on and off for the last few days.
I hope to write more about it soon,
but the first thing is that I feel that I have gained an ability to understand
difference and went from a culture that was fairly uniform
and very cohesive, one that I am still thankful for today,
in a world that is quickly losing all sense of overall narrative as a society/world. 
One may need to know that my upbringing was very much
in one line of thinking and that I landed in a very difference place as an adult.
And because of this process, I am able to dialogue and engage in conversation with 
many who either have different 'takes' on Christianity and the Church or those who
are in a different state of belief/unbelief than where I find myself.
I think the hardest part to articulate about the change in who I am
and how I can relate to people is in that balance between 
what I believe about the Church, about Christianity and the world.
I think it was CS Lewis who,
when talking about the balance between
seeing the world as 'predestined' and of a world where humans have free will,
in that saying something to the effect of:
I chose but there was nothing outside of that choice.
I think it could be fair to say:
I chose and there is nothing outside of what I chose that I would choose more
and that I see/know/personally understand as that of 'most true' but that
I can love, dialogue with and see other's view and what is most valid and 
having veracity, in what others have chose. 
The other side of this is that if one is not able to dialogue with others
and respect and appreciate where they are coming from,
one will never see change in their self or in others.
One never knows how a loving openness to another could
transform that person or further transform oneself. 
What began this transformation has some levels of irony...
I discovered feminist thought when I was about 18 years old; 
later, when I was at Calvin, I was nearly militant in the feminism that
I was trying to understand and how I saw it as necessary.
It was during that time, and I admit I was a bit of a young bear, 
rude in my feminist beliefs that I was trying to incorporate and understand in my life,
and in addition to this, I did not yet know a lot about the world outside of what 
I knew to be true and was at times unruly in my struggle to understand new things;
I was, at the time, also afraid of new ideas and ideas I did not yet understand. 
This all began to change when I began listening to a Christian radio station at the time,
to the Galatians that opened this wide open to me:
I was gentle challenged to be open to listening to new ideas,
dialoguing with those who are different than myself or who I don't understand.
It was the beginning of a very significant transformation within myself,
my understanding of the world, of Christ and what His Church has within itself. 
I have more thoughts on this, but they will wait for another time.
One a different note, 
today was a wonderful day with simple joys and a very nice 
fish dinner with my cousin, her son and Mr. Husband.
I am so thankful for this wonderful week to reconnect, talk and be with each other!

Beautiful Day in NYC with my cousin and her son!

We saw Lady Liberty
and enjoyed the Ferry ride to her and then to NYC,
Battery Park!

My Cousin and I had fun here, her son held our things and we ran through! 
It was a super hot day so this was super refreshing!

They had a WWII memorial for all of those lost at sea.
It was moving to see and the prayer at the end, I wish more today would know it:
Into Thy Hands, O Lord...
Reminded me of Elizabeth Goudge's Scent of Water.

We enjoyed being at Battery Park before we 
caught a cab to Mr. Husband's work for lunch!
I have no pictures, but I enjoyed a wonderful salad and veggie burger! 
Then we went to Chelsea Market (I love the French scented soaps!),
and then the high-line Park, which is above ground, on an old train track...
And then we cabbed to the Strand!
We had done a lot of walking and were glad for the cabs we
were able to flag down!
(I walked at least 8K steps according to my phone)

We visited the Strand and got some great books!
I got some Madeleine L'Engle and Donald Hall, am very pleased about this!

We went to an Italian Restaurant that we have been to a few times before
and I had an enjoyable dish of clams with Pasta!
We were all really tired by that time and Mr. Husband suggested we take a
cab back home, and so we did, having conversations about architecture, beauty 
and how important they are for us.
And that was our day in NYC!