Saturday, March 25, 2017

Here, now, again

here we go again...
I managed to get the living areas and kitchen clean,
the 'Island' counter with flowers and table runner
instead of a mass of clutter.
We went to Festal Matins for (new calendar) Annunciation
for our evening prayers.
It's really hard being constantly between 2 calendars.
I would of loved to go to liturgy tomorrow,
but we are going to our far-away church tomorrow night,
for Patrick's 40th day service and vigil
and can't do both; so God willing we will have liturgy
for Annunciation at our far-away church,
13 days from now.
I started Mat. Constantina's new book;
it's a fairly easy read, lots to think about.
The parts about her missing Greece are so familiar to me;
I am really missing Ottawa a lot lately;
worse than it's been in months.
I don't know what to do with it.
I think it is in part because it has been so hard these past few months
and that it's been a hard year in a lot of ways.
It's normal for me to wish to go on vacation for a bit when things are 
hard; my roommate and I, back in my undergrad days,
used to joke about going on vacation to Europe when those
stressful midterms and papers rolled around.
So I guess i am going to take a deep breath and remind myself of the things
I have learned and been told about my marriage and moving to the States from
Canada... something to hold on to, myself, as I try to ride this wave out.
First, when I was talking to an Abbess that knows me and I trust for advice,
about how I was leaving everything I knew to marry my Husband,
she simply said, 
is that not the Gospel?
To leave all to follow Christ?
Second, my Husband's spiritual father, when he gave my not-yet-Husband
the blessing to marry me, told me that I was not losing my 
spiritual family in Ottawa, I was merely enlarging my 
family, adding new members, it was getting bigger, not smaller.
I was not losing them but gaining others.
Third, my Husband's spiritual father is right.
I would of never gotten to know and love Patrick like I have.
I know many new people and have many reason to be grateful.
Fourth, Elizabeth Elliot's book was one of the first things
I read in my early days of my marriage
and her book 
helped me see that where I was now,
as bewildering as it was at times, was where God wanted me.
That I could trust that where I was is indeed the will of God for me,
part of His plans for my life.
There are things I am meant to do here.
There were people waiting for me here, ones I did 
not know of who, at least for a time, had need of me in very
concrete ways. 
I had to leave my spiritual father of 7 years and find a new one,
as he instructed me to do... and I have... it's not the same, no, but
here's something I am still thinking of that my new spiritual father 
told me the first year that I was married,
when I told him I was missing Ottawa,
by which I meant the church esp.
He reminded me of St Mary of Egypt and how for years she
struggled with temptations about her former life and wishing to go back.
The music, the fish she ate, the list went on.
There was a reason that my first spiritual father gave me the blessing
to know my Husband (at all, as in email him) if I was willing to leave 
Ottawa; he knew how much I loved it there,
how much I was willing to sacrifice to stay.
I have even learned that it is really a kind of mental torture to 
continue to wish for that which one cannot have.
Now what I can and can't have, in terms of one day living in 
Canada again, I really don't know.
That's the hardest part of it.
Not knowing the will of God for one's future,
down the road a ways.
It took me well over a year to even admit
to my Husband that I had lost something in leaving 
Ottawa, while I gained something deeply wonderful in 
return, my Husband, my marriage, my new home and life here.
I've struggled with my neighbourhood this past year,
it's been just over a year since we heard the gun shots of a man
murdering a woman.  Lord have mercy.
There's been various things here that I have never had to face up close;
I lived in downtown Ottawa, I knew what building and area there was 
especially rough. But I never lived in it or really near it.
It's culturally different here.
I went from a church that was very multi-cultural, with a priest who
speaks 4 languages fluently, a deacon with two, with many languages
in liturgy; the Lord's prayer often being said in 4 or 5 languages every liturgy;
while I really only, sadly, know one language, I loved being surrounded by
them... I lived in the capital of Canada where I heard many 
languages daily; sometimes I hear someone speaking French here
and it just makes my heart sing.
It took me about a year to adapt to the music of my new far-away church;
now I know it well and I truly love it;
something I still miss so much, and I think will until my dying day,
is how my Ottawa parish knelt (other than the Paschal times) for the 
Concentration of the Holy Gifts.  
The silence.
The sense of the Holy.
The sense of repentance happening.
Lord have mercy, I could weep just thinking of it.
I remember at my far-away church and once glancing at Patrick,
sitting in his chair, and realizing how deeply he was concentrating 
and in prayer; how hard it is for me to pray now; 
I never prayed well but I still feel like I am missing the
"cues" that I used to have, that my heart knew
and responded to.
But I can say that God has still been merciful to me.
That He has shown many times that He is still with me as 
I try to make my life here.
It is said that a new grief will often open up
old griefs and that things mingle in this way,
grief hitting grief,
grief opening another door of grief,
as it were.
So, I will keep doing what I am to do here.
Continue to struggle to build a life here;
enjoy what I have, like NYC and Trader Joes nearby,
and my two churches, many new friends,
my life with my beloved husband,
and try to keep carving out the life God wants me to have here.
These songs are what I listened to a lot when I was newly married
and still hold a lot for me today:

And this song, I can't say enough about it.

In the end, as she sings,
it is Christ who I need, in front,
behind, inside me, behind, everywhere.
CHRIST is the location I need to be rooted in,
not Canada, not Ottawa, CHRIST, and being in Christ 
in His Church... 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday ~ the midpoint of Great Lent

It was very good to be in Church tonight.
Venerating the Cross was a great comfort.
Grieving takes various forms and today I discovered
another layer, with realizing that much of my work
at Patrick's is now done and as always,
we think we have more time.
All I can tell you is that his home is so beautiful,
that it held such colours, beauty, culture,
a love of both the States but I would say even more
for England, Canada and Russia.
Everyone misses a person when they die differently and for 
different reasons; for me it is his kindness,
it's his telling me about what he heard about Canada on the news
this past week and that it was terrible (a lot of it is now days sadly).
He has a big beautiful Canadian flag in his study.
I really miss Canada; I am a Canadian and feel very strongly about
my love of Canada and Canada's connection to the UK.
I miss living in Ottawa and have not visited in almost 2 years, 
at times this feels unbearable,
but there is nothing I can do about it right now;
my life simply did not allow me to come, by way of illness, 
many unexpected things and other trips that had to take precedence. 
It is hard to see my godson growing up so quickly without me.
It's hard to see his older brother turn 10 and I was not there.
But yet I need to be here, I love so much here;
I loved Patrick and have been so glad to serve him in these last ways;
It's hard to let others go, esp. those who saw you in ways that
others simply cannot see.
One cannot give another knowledge of a country and culture
that they simply do not know.
But yet I am so blessed to have many loving people around me
and can only be grateful.
I know that at this time, I am truly meant to be 
where I am and I pray that I can,
as much as I stumble, do some of what 
God was hoping I could do here.
I am most grateful for my marriage to 
My Husband and for the love we share
and that we can double our joys and half the 
sorrows by sharing them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lately, Here...

Restaurant at hotel Mr Husband 
and I stayed in last night. 
Intense days.
 I had epic insomnia Saturday night and could not go to liturgy, 
as I could not really function. 
Mr Husband had a parish counsel meeting 
so he went ahead to our far-away church. 
I cabbed to Patrick's house in the afternoon. 
G. and family joined us and we packed with extreme carefulness 
all of his Mother's dishes that were in the China cabinet. 
We stayed overnight as my Husband had things to do for Patrick's estate
 and I went back and continued packing and cleaned the China cabinet. 
If you can have reverence cleaning a beautiful China cabinet and dishes, I had it. 
The sun shone in, I had classical music from the UK playing on my phone,
 that Patrick would of loved, 
and the beginning of the book The Scent of Water came to mind,
 about 2 woman who were caring for a newly departed 
who spoke of going out on a stream of living water....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A quiet day with Church at night

I slept in today...after not being able to fall asleep when I wish to...
Took me a bit to realize today was Wednesday and that
there was presanctified liturgy tonight, which of course 
I needed to fast for!
In the afternoon I watched some videos on my computer and 
knitted the first half of a cover for our new hot water bottle. 
I was on time for church and it was good to be there.
Mr Husband left late and came home late...
we talked and did our shared prayers.
And now it is time to call it a night,
as they say.
Tomorrow I hope to do some reading, laundry and
have hot tea... and just be thankful for a new day.
I am tired as I think many are from Day Light Savings Time,
which always knocks me for a one week loop!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

And for all that...

Well, the blizzard was cancelled!
We had snow and lots of freezing rain.
Power stayed on.
We are so thankful.
Enjoyed the freshly baked bread and cookies today.
Mr Husband worked from home,
as pretty much everyone who could did!
I folded lots of laundry,
did research for helping with Patrick's house,
much more to do there and plans underway,
made lunch and dinner.
Had a much needed hot bath.
And found myself realizing that my whole self
was just whirling with the last few days
and all the work and that I really need
to have some quiet and rest tomorrow... DV.
And that was today.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Whoosh: Patrick, baking and blizzard preparations + prayer request

I woke up to the Blizzard Watch being a Blizzard Warning for
our part of New Jersey and for NYC.
I've been working on prep since Saturday, when I made a soup.
Today I got my baking done.
2 tins of vegan! chocolate chip cookies;
two loaves of bread + 6 rolls;
4 small tins of Koek, 1 medium, 1 large.
I moved veggie burgers, English muffins, batteries up
from our garage freezer as we have no indoor door to it
and the snow may block us from getting in, etc. 
I have jars of filtered water; we filled the tub
for toilet flushing, if we lose power;
we have lots of wool blankets; Mr Husband bought a 
hot water bottle, as if we lose power but not gas, we will
still have our stove top to heat water.
Mr Husband bought gauze and medical tape...
he burned his wrist when he put it over the 
electric kettle that does not whistle and had 
steam coming out of it; it's a second degree burn, 
blistering... it does not hurt him now, but was quite painful last night.
We have a shovel upstairs if needed; 
we could get up to 24 inches of snow.
I ordered a new phone battery bank (a portable charger for the phone) on 
Saturday and impressively Amazon delivered it the next day...
we have an older phone charger as well, both are charged,
our phones are charging, my digital camera batteries are charged...
We have done everything we can think of...
We will see what happens.....
We were at Patrick's after church,
we worked the afternoon and evening,
with a nice dinner break.
We ended up not getting home till 10 PM,
then my Husband had his wrist burnt,
after we were putting away the things that we brought from
Patrick's home; it was a good but intense (emotionally) time.
The beautiful lamp in the picture above is from Patrick's study.
It's such a treasure; we worked on the kitchen a bit and 
I was given a beautiful silver coloured bread basket, some
kitchen things and some baking tins.
I treasure them and have used the two bread tins 2x already today.
It feels like such a good way to honour and love Patrick,
as we miss him and keep praying for him...
I can't stress what a special time yesterday was for us...
So, Mr Husband got home, was doing fine, we had dinner,
did some things, (Koek baking for me!), and then did our prayers.
And then I found out that for the last hour or so, my dear Husband's
throat has been sore.
This really worries me.... he got the flu last March, in Lent,
and it began with a sore throat.
He went to bed already with it still being sore.
He had his first full time week last week...
as you may remember, he was sick full time 5 weeks and then
on half time 2 weeks... for flu and subsequent illnesses. 
Please pray that he (and myself) do not fall ill...
We are as ready as we can be for the storm that is coming.
Now we pray and wait. 
I am remembering again the three prayers Elizabeth Goudge writes of:
Lord I adore
Into Thy Hands
Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

involute (or the latest saga in Elizabeth's life, with 2 cool eye pictures)

I learned a new word today: "involute" which means "wither" (google says 'curl up'). So my trip to the Ophthalmologist was as interesting as always. The doctor, a kind professional doctor with a knack for conversation that makes you feel he is paying attention to you in the moment but you realize that he is seeing probably 20-40 or more people a day; this doctor is Jewish and has the mezuzah on each door way. His office is clean, with nice furniture and lots of doctor's chairs and fancy eye equipment. The people, from elderly and middle aged Jewish people, to a 60 year Malaysian woman who was an aid to an older woman from the Hebrew Home, to a thin black woman, probably from Africa... the Asian lady said she married a man at 39 who was 15 years older than she is and he had already died. She came to NYC to work and was very good at her job. She, the African woman, and I talked about how God always has a way...if one grows old and has no family, there is still a way that one will be cared for.... it was such a fascinating meeting, as if we were having tea and could talk about what really mattered in life. The African woman pointed upwards and said one must live knowing God.... So I had lots of tests for my eye and it showed that there was a change since my first appointment there on November 30th... basically a blood vessel near the retina was enlarged, with a possibility that it may bleed or leak. That's where the 'involute' word was learned. First I was given an eye test where they put dye (via a needle on the top of my right hand) into me, that went directly to the eye. Then they took lots of pictures of the back of the eye, to try to see what was going on. So I was given the choice of 3 medicines in the form of a needle in the eye; I called my Husband so he could be in on the choice and then, once it was chosen what shot I would have, they put many drops in my right eye (to clean, to numb) and put a small eye speculum (something that keeps what it is holding open) in my eye (quite uncomfortable!) this time I was lying back on the medical reclining chair and they gave me a shot in the eye. I could feel the needle in my eye, but there was no sharp pain. Afterwards it felt like I had been punched in the eye and my eye felt so dry, still having some of the drops in it (many antibiotic drops were put in my eye after the shot). This shot was to involute the blood vessel. I go back in 4 weeks to see how this went. Most likely I will need another shot, maybe 2 or 3 more.  :( ... but thank God that I have this medical care! And had such an interesting people-watching time... (There was also this Jewish man who was not cooperating with the woman caring for him, most likely a daughter, and when we were getting into the elevator we looked at each other and I knew quickly that he knew that I knew that he was being difficult on purpose because he found it humorous to do so). Anyway. A day in the life of Elizabeth having NYC adventures!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tuesday, grey and wet, with friends, soup and Koek!

A grey wet day...but warmer...
did laundry, dishes, reading...
Had fun with my lunch plate,
made a new binder for recipes,
of which I have to put more in! and have tabs, but one thing
at a time, right?
I saw a quilting friend today.
I lit lampadas for sick children and mothers,
I had dinner ready for Mr Husband when he came home...
He is doing well considering everything...

My Aunt H's cateract surgery went well!
I baked Koek between the time he was planning on leaving for home
and was done by the time he arrived! 
I have mapped out my 'plan of attack' for tomorrow's trip to NYC
to get my eye checked out.
Uber or Lyft and NYC = manageable! 
And that was today!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Sunday with Monday, Second Week of Great Lent ~ with prayer requests

Sunday, a few pictures.
Managed to do Sunday School and a small book sale.
There was a lovely children's sermon...
it was good to be back at our far-away church... 
Monday...I managed to do some reading, some editing, 
some phone calls and had dinner for us, with the soup I made earlier.
Prayer requests...

~My Aunt H. has cataract surgery tomorrow.

~I have been using the Amsler Grid lately to check my vision,
as the ophthalmologist had recommend I do this...
My right eye is not seeing it properly, I found out today,
though I am not seeing what is happening in my case on the research
I did on this graph; basically the right eye,
the horizontal lines are not staying stable, are curving down and 
moving around fast, as if they were a game that is 
constantly winking/moving.
So, I dragged myself to the phone
(I really dislike dealing with medical stuff) and called my
Ophthalmologist and go in early afternoon to NYC on
So please pray for me for that.
Mr Husband is just back to work, we hope, full time, now,
since getting ill in the very beginning of January. 
I found this short piece by Mat. Ann Lardas to be very 
encouraging, do take a look!
I did some editing for DV future essays and that was really helpful,
reminded me of all the blessings I have, pouring out so generously 
from God's merciful hand. 

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Friday and Saturday ~ first week of Great Lent 2017


In brief:

First Pictures are of a woman's celebration of her husband who was an 
electrical engineer and died 6 years ago.
She spoke of how God (and her husband!) have been active in her life,
how even when she was a sudden new widow, wondering
what to do about mowing the lawn, a neighbour did it for a full year...
she spoke of how so many people came to help her and how
she was taken care of in her time of need...
I found this to be really encouraging.

Friday afternoon I took MANY pictures of Patrick's home.
I am not sharing any at this time for various (including legal) reasons...
My Husband is very busy with helping with Patrick's things 
and was off doing this while I went through his home,
seeing many things for the first time,
as he was slowing down by the time I moved here and unable to 
go upstairs any longer.
I was very touched by his Bible and prayer books, both
worn out with much use, over the years.
Patrick's house will be lived in again in about 2 months,
so we have a lot to do to make this happen and are going
to do what we can to help. 
We are glad we can do this... 

I finished another washcloth.

Pre-sanctified liturgy and the blessing of Koliva for 
St. Theodore... on Friday night...

Today I finally was able to pick up the clutter around the house,
and make the soup I had been meaning to make!
Used this recipe but omitted butter/cream/chicken broth
and used a organic margarine, vegan broth and pureed the
soup when I was done. 

I am dreaming of freshly baked baguette with this soup,
with salads for dinner this coming week.

 I was telling Mr Husband that this Lent is going to be a lot of work
regarding Patrick as it is a responsibility that we knew was coming
before he passed away... 3 weeks ago this coming Monday... 

So I missed quilt guild again.
I am not able to get to much writing on my essays at all.
I just have to trust God for the seasons of life that He gives us and 
that everything has a time and place in life. 

And that is the first week of Lent, already at an end...