Thursday, September 22, 2016

An essay with help for all Mothers, Aunts, Godmothers, Sisters, Wives, Friends...

I am writing a series on what I have learned in my spiritual journey;
which includes what I have now in the Eastern Orthodox Church. 
My first essay in this series is really about how many Christians
have found comfort and solace in their lives.
This is especially of note to use woman, as the Church
has provided a Mother who we can all go to when
no earthly help is found.
I hope you are all blessed by the example of Christ's Mother
and the prayers that can help us all - and our families. 
"I was at a friend’s birthday party awhile back and asked to see this friend’s icons. His icon of the Theotokos (the Mother of God) looked out so tenderly. The Mother of God is a deep Mother and I felt reassured of the protection for this friend"....
(read the rest here at Conciliar Post)


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Here, today

So much I could share,
just popping in to say 'hello' and that I hope you are well!
I am in a super busy few weeks on my end.
Had some real joys lately and some real sorrows -
4th wedding anniversary, successful first Sunday School class -
but also found out about some heavy things with friends
involving various types of serious loss.
So my heart is a little heavy.
Just wanted to say that I am going to have very little time to blog
or read blogs for the rest of the month and
the very beginning of October...
so if you don't hear from me here or I don't 
comment on your blog, it's just that I am busy,
I love you all just the same...
I am having some family visiting time that I have been 
long looking forward too!
I will be back. 
Husband and I are doing well.
I am so thankful that we have been married 4 years already!
How times goes so quickly!
(ps: pictures are from earlier this week and last week).

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Encouragement and Thanksgiving

We went to liturgy this morning... 
Tomorrow is my husband and I's 4th wedding anniversary!
I hope to write more about this later, but for now, 
these two things:

This happened today:

"The Lord always blesses me for our anniversary + St Phanourios celebration! 

This year I ordered 2 fillets of salmon as we are unable to have a full Slava this year.

 Only one of the fillets was in the package! Ack!!! I was going to prep them today. ... 

called our grocer immediately and the person could see 

that the mistake was indeed made. 

They not only are they crediting the cost, t

hey are giving us an additional credit and 2 new fillets tomorrow! 

What a blessing! Thanks be to God!"


And a bit more from my latest essay, for your encouragement:

"Elizabeth Goudge also speaks of what faith, in such moments, can look like. She describes, in The Middle Window, a man fighting in the highlands of Scotland, who nearly died before a kindly couple took him in, nursing him back to consciousness and health. He, having thought his life over, now had to come back to life, and realizes what troubled him most is his loss of faith. It is then that he realizes, “[f]lames may die down but nothing could rob one of the ashes” and that, perhaps, “he was, for the first time in his life, actually experiencing faith. This fighting with no certainty that there was anything to fight for, this going out into the night with no belief that dawn would ever come, was…the real thing…”(Goudge, 200-201)5."

Read the rest here.

When all seems dark and silent...

I first wrote, a month ago, about the often painful and confusing
times in our life when it seems that we are in utter darkness,
and God's presence is no longer felt.
This has happened to me at various times in my life.
It's never easy.
I wrote about this in the beginning of August,
and have written a longer piece now, on this and hope it will be
of help to others...
This piece is published at Conciliar Post today!
Elizabeth Goudge's books are a great help to me and
I used two of her books in this essay... Here's part of what I wrote,
including Elizabeth Goudge's wonderful book, The Dean's Watch . . :

"Elizabeth Goudge’s books also speak of this experience of God’s absence and even His abandonment. Goudge’s book The Dean's Watch is one. In this book, the root cause of the feeling of desolation, the experience of being forsaken by God, came in part from great grief and personal loss. This grief was coupled with the physical depletion of, Miss Montague, leading to extreme fatigue, what would be called “classic burnout” in today’s self-care/self-help milieu. I have found that this experience of feeling forsaken by God is often in relation to both deep personal loss and illness, as Elizabeth Goudge writes.". . .


If my essay encourages others to read Elizabeth Goudge and/or
encourages them in their life,
then my essay truly 'achieved' something! 

You can read the rest of this essay here at Conciliar Post or here, at my blog with
my published essays!...

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Back from the baptism of our new godson!

Picture I took of the table with all that is needed for the
baptism this past Sunday!
We were in the Midwest this past weekend,
baptising our new godson!
The icons are from Holy Dormition Monastery and are
of St. Luke the Surgeon and St. Gregory Palamas. 
The candles are from St. Tikhon's. 
The Cross is from St. John's Skete, 
attached to Hermitage of the Holy Cross. 
The Cross is the identical to Mr. Husband's baptismal Cross!
It was a very blessed time!
I am catching up on lots of things now and hope to write more soon!
Thanking God for the honour of being a godmother to a dear
new young infant baby boy! 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

So Happy...lunch time and normal routines

Yesterday was really nice.
Mr Husband's summer student has left, he can
resume his regular routine of working from home
Wed/Fri... and so I breathed a sigh of relief,
made a fun lunch of veggie burger, fruit and green salad...
For dinner it was simpler, bread and watermelon....
and for me a green smoothie :)
In the morning Mr Husband emptied the dishes from the
dish washer... all felt back together and in rhythm...
We even went swimming in the morning together at the local
summer outdoor pool!
It's like I woke up to all the delights of just having my husband home
and making lunch for us...
I am trying to slow down and savour the homemaking in this;
recently read a bit by Fr. Alexander Man who talked about 
being fully aware of what we are doing as we are doing it;
to focus our attention on it;
I want to learn more of how to do this....
I must of slept wrong though, last night, 
as I woke with pain between the shoulder blades, 
under the neck, as it were. Ouch!
But a hot bath with salts will help that and is in the plans for today!
I had a simple lunch...
Trader Joes Peppermint Hot Chocolate
and an English Muffin with PB & my cousin H's homemade
strawberry jam!
With my pretty tea cup for my 39th birthday!
Hard to believe this year will be year '40' but I am doing my best
to accept it with a sense of excitement,
and am calling it '40 with a flourish' :) 
It will indeed call for a tea party or two I think! :)

I decided that today was a good day to 
celebrate, and so I got out our white and gold rimmed plates!
I hope to make a really good casserole later today and finish up edits
on my third article....this one being more on 
the Mother of God, the beginning of a 6 part series.
I hope that it will be something helpful and comforting to others;
I am doing my best to include, in these essays, parts of daily life
and how our life can be lived in light of God's mercy
and that we can have help in our day to day struggles and even 
battles, that go on often in the dark, in our hearts,
where we seek to learn to pray,
and learn what it means to be in relationship with
God who made and loves us.
Well, I have a list a mile long and a day a yard short!
I do hope you are having some moments of peace today,
no matter what today brings...
for in all things, there God is with us. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Roast Chicken with Lemon, Onion and Garlic ~ and the dinner and day following

I came back from vespers on Saturday 
with a determination to cook for my husband,
a good way to love and shore up things, I have found.
And so Monday the main thing I did was prepare a 5lb chicken, 
roast it with chicken broth and white wine, mushrooms, onion, garlic and lots of butter.
And it turned out that My Beloved had some real but non-serious mishaps in the day, 
really needed that home that I could make for him and I lit candles, 
he admired the golden roasted chicken, 
cut open the first baked-in-the-oven potato wrapped in foil... 
and it was good, warm, with gentle conversation and it felt so good just to be there, 
providing that warm home cooked meal with candles lit...
it is home, the warm safe harbour, that we are all wishing to come home too... 

Recipe for the Roast Chicken:

Sliced onion and a lemon quartered in cavity. 
Chicken broth, over 1 cup white wine, butter, 
garlic under skin of chicken and butter, salt and pepper over skin. 
Mushrooms. Baked 400F for 40 minutes, 
then more wine over (half cup), baked 60 minutes still covered. 
I could of baked it at a lower temperature, 
with the same amount of baking time,
and with less liquid.
it was so tender, it was falling off the wooden spoons
 I was using to take the chicken out!!!
I am thinking that I will make a simple chicken cream casserole with 
some of this chicken, as well as having some for easy lunches
this week.
Today I hope to do a lot of writing accomplished...
What are your hopes for today?

Monday, August 29, 2016

A quiet Monday

I had a very quiet day today.
A dear friend reminded me of encouragement I had gotten
when I blogged about feeling that I would not be 
I see that I have written about it again, here.
I am learning that I can slow down,
that I can take days I need to rest so that I am better
able to handle my week.
I am seeing how much gentleness and space each person needs;
I know that I am not perfect, that I don't always do the best 
for others or even myself.
But I hope I am learning.
Today I baked a chicken, 
am baking potatoes,
I am thinking always of my writing,
of my long list of things to do.
But I am trying not to let the long list produce a 
need to do things when the best thing to do is rest.
I got a new cookbook today, from a dear friend;
I hope to make the flour-less cake sometime soon, if God so grants. 
But I knew, today, that it was OK to rest, be quiet...

Friday, August 26, 2016

About today...

I am having a lot of fun with my new writing work.
I created a FB page for my work as a writer, feel free to have a look.
I wanted to note that my post on Conciliar Post was their 695th post
since 2014.  They have been doing a lot of great work in
dialoguing for 2 years and I am quite happy to be 
involved now.
This weekend is going to be full.
We have work being done on our condo;
Feast of Dormition on Sunday.
Read and appreciated this post by Fr. Lawrence. 
Thinking about topics of love and boundaries; 
a friend reminded me of this podcast:
Here's the one about boundaries.
I found it to be a great summarization on the topic.
I feel like I am straggling towards a finish line - 
summer is almost at an end, and then new things begin.
We are trying some new things with our Sunday School
because of changes both in our team and in the numbers of kids 
coming (we've doubled in size).
If you would, please say a prayer for us!
I am still loving the Donald Sheehan book;
am also quite intrigued by this book:
My Aunt's surgery went well, 
Thank God.
She will be recovering for a while.
Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

From life to death and everything in between

Mr. Husband's Uncle, as his father wrote us early this morning, 
passed on into glory.
May God remember him in His Kingdom!
I feel like I understand the Orthodox prayer, memory eternal, in a very 
simple warm way now: it is like a Mother praying for her child, 
asking God to take care of the child and always remember this child in His care,
for the Mother one day will die and not be able to pray on earth anymore for this child,
but the prayer has already been made:
Lord, always take care, always remember, this child who I am committing to Your care. 

My first article went live, whew, that was a big deal for me! 
It's currently at '96' views and I am grateful for each one.
Thanks for everyone's support, love, well wishes and esp. to those who read
my article and commented!
What a blessing of a blog community I have! 

In other news, I went swimming this morning.
There was a family there, a tall strong dad,
a teenage brother who did dives very well,
two younger teen girls, and a small girl, maybe 5 years old,
with a smile so big, and she was very good at taking instructions and had
no fear of swimming.
It was lovely to see.

I painted. 

The blanket that Mat. Anna did for my newest godson came!!!
It's beautiful!
(My picture shows it uneven, but it is actually perfectly strait!
A real lovely work of art!)
I think I have everything for our godson now!
My Aunt's surgery went well, last I heard and we are all quite relieved. 
And so today had death, new life, continued life, normal summer life and 
new ventures all in one day!
Eventful, to say the least! 
I hope your day has been peaceful...

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

I've been thinking for a long while about my 
dream of writing short essays, meaningful
nonfiction that can connect, comfort and give people the 
pause we all need, for thought and reflection.
Suddenly, an opportunity came to me, that
was unexpected but welcomed!
one of the founders of the web-platform,
that this man wrote on,
asked if I would write for them.
So I said I would be honoured to,
and now, I am!
You can find me here, at Conciliar Post,
DV every 2 weeks. 
I also have created a new blog, dedicated to the essays
that I am writing for publication.  
You can see this blog, here!
A lot of my essays will be familiar to my dear
blog readers!  The first one I am writing, 
is one that I first wrote on a year ago.
We write best when we write our own story; and so it is with this
understanding that I begin!
My first essay for Conciliar Post is on the topic of anxiety,
really a meditation on anxiety and what I learned about it over the years.
Perhaps I will write another essay on it someday,
it really all started in 1998, when one day I was in my dorm room,
and it is like I suddenly woke up, 
though I was standing at the time,
and I realized that my entire self was riddled through with worry.
It would be some years before I would even begin to untangle all the causes,
 reasons or even see that this anxiety could be fought and healed.
I am still in that process but I know now what it is a war to be waged,
it is something to be fought.
And so, my first writing is on this journey... 
My first essay begins...

"When I still lived in Ottawa, I went through a time when I was unemployed, spent my carefully tended savings to survive and then ran out of money completely.   For a few months I did not know how I was going to pay rent or buy food.  Scary.  Twice in my life I went through testing to see if I had cancer; each time, no cancer.  Everyday now it seems that apocalyptic fearful things happen; the news tells us only of some.  Anxiety has weighed me down deep in it’s ocean, submerging me under in its waves.  It was there I learned you need to fight and deal with fear and anxiety while you are in the midst of it.

When overwhelmed, I pray small quick prayers: when I am afraid, I trust in Thee; I repeat this prayer many times.  I can breathe again.  I do small prayers, cross myself, say the Jesus Prayer(Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me), these all help.  I am learning to tune out a lot of news and worry. That you can choose to have a peaceful day or an anxious day. It's all where and what you focus on and put your energy towards….With Christ one can develop a well of interior peace, an inward fortress.  I am not there yet.  But Mother Gavrilia shows that the way towards this peace is to accept everything in my life, to live in my ‘today’ with God and trust that God’s will is unfolding, even if my life and well being are in peril.

I started learning this in Ottawa when I was unemployed;...". read the rest
here (or here)!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekend Adventures

Pom Pom had asked a question recently that I have been meaning to answer....
She wanted to know about the fast that we are in right now.
It's a great little summer fast; it is for the Mother of God;
I know that some of my readers may not understand this term;
it was established by the 4th Century AD in an effort to show 
both the humanity and divinity of Christ;
the Virgin Mary gave birth to Christ as fully God and fully man;
the Church at the time was dealing with the Nestorian heresy
which was trying to take a way the name of the Virgin Mary, 
which in Greek is Theotokos 
Theo = God
Tokos = bearer
Theotokos = God-bearer 
(if you want to know more, see here).
Of course the Church was getting this also right from the Holy Gospel.
when St. Elizabeth, the Mother of St. John the Baptist,
asks the Virgin Mary:
Now that this is clear, 
the little summer fast is for the Mother of God,
and is specifically about her death.
While this event is not in the Gospels itself, it is in very 
early Church documents and Church tradition; 
you can read more here on this, to see how she was already 
being written about by the 1st Century and by very early Christians.
If you want to know more, some places to look are
here, here, here and here
So the Dormition fast for the "New Calendar" Orthodox Christians
(they have Christmas on Dec 25) is from August 1-14, with August 15
being the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God;
the "Old Calendar" Orthodox Christians (who have Christmas on Jan 7),
Dormition fast is from August 14-August 27, with Dormition being August 28th.
It's too bad in a lot of ways that we Orthodox are on 2 calendars,
but these decisions were made in the 1920's in some but not all 
ethnically Orthodox Countries; so we are stuck with the calendar 
split now; the time that the Orthodox calendar is still 'one' is from 
Anyway, there's a bit about the fast!
If you are fasting fully (We fast according to our health needs)
this means that you would be abstaining from meat and dairy products.
It's really a lovely fast and a favourite of mine! 
And the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ is right in the middles of it!
But that's for another post... :)

We are praying for one of my Husband's Uncles who is in his last hours now,
after a very long valiant struggle with cancer; he is a very Christian man and 
I had the honour of meeting him a few summers ago.
His immediate family is with him, as well as others...and the rest of us are 
surrounding him with prayer....

I got some new books recently!
I am reading some incredible ones right now,
that in time I hope to write on; it's a book one needs to read
slowly or one misses a lot of what is being said; it's a beautiful,
riveting and thought-provoking book.

 We stayed local today for church...not the original plan,
but our AC stopped cooling on Saturday and we had to be nearby for
the hydro company to come and check it out...
only to find out that it had froze up so much that a copper pipe was 
totally white with frost!
So we are carefully defrosting it and trying to make sure that it does not leak into our
neighbour's unit below us (this has happened before!).... sadly! ... 

So we have been having no-bake cold meals...
but it's summer, so lots of wonderful fruit to enjoy!
The AC person comes back tomorrow, hopefully everything will be put aright!
And that's the latest here!
What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Time with our dear friends and our goddaughter

We had such an enjoyable time.
The meal was as follows: 

Fast Friendly Delicacies :)

Fruit salad
hummus, pita
guacamole and chips 
yellow / red / green peppers
strawberries, oranges, pineapple and banana salad
blessed grapes
shrimp roll with cocktail sauce
Indian Junk Food :)
lemon water
Still water
I had great fun playing with my goddaughter who
loved the IKEA 'bang the coloured pegs down' toy!
I read to her, we gave her a beautiful icon of her Guardian Angel from
Holy Dormition Monastery, which I forgot to photograph...
Another special memory was carrying her downstairs (we live on the second floor)
and singing to her...
It was so delightful to see our old dear friends...
I am in a really busy time of year already now,
I wanted to mention,
so if I don't blog as much,
it's not that I am unwell,
just busy and figuring out when to do what.
I am glad I got a moment to capture this evening, that was
a week ago tomorrow!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wonderful Visit!

It was so wonderful to see our goddaughter again!
I hope to write more later this week,
lots to do right now, 
but wanted to quick pop in!
She's so cute and loved playing in the kids station/area! 
I loved seeing how she 'Crosses' her self too! 
So precious! 
Do you see how she is on her 'tippy toes' to play? 
One happy godmother here! :) 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Various Happy Things

The big gaping black 'thing' above is a swordfish;
My Husband thought it was really cool, as it is so big! 

Mr Husband and I went shopping tonight,
stocking up on things and getting lots of simple foods for the fast
and, excitingly, DV, to share with my our dear friends and our 
goddaugther (who is almost 2!) who we get to see for the first time
in over 1.5 years tomorrow! So excited!!! 

I got a lot done on my godson's quilt this past week or so; I am so happy for that too.

I returned the coat I bought that failed to work as well as it looked online;
it's so funny how one street different in NYC/Manhattan can look and feel so different;
I am used to 6th street (also called 'the avenue of the Americas') and the intense, busy,
crowded shops, with various street vendors and all sorts of people walking on through those
streets... and just one street over, it was quieter, much more spread out streets,
more expensive shops and a more grand looking street... 
just one long street block past 6th street!
NYC is a fascinating intense place! 

We are ready for the upcoming fast (and fast days after this!) now that I went to Trader Joes...
we really enjoy their Veggie Masala burgers! 
And later DV we will enjoy the ice cream!...

It's been super hot! I was in NYC on Thursday and I felt like I was 
doing some sort of olymipic sport, whew it was hot! Real feel was 107F.
I had my red cart and took that with me to Trader Joes and on the PATH train home!
There's a really nice small diner near the Trader Joes and
 I had this cool yogurt, granola and fruit
dish for lunch... it's a quiet place, 
they don't have music playing and I always feel refreshed after
being there, even in the midst of busy NYC! 

This Tuna Cat food via Trader Joes is Cleo's favourite. 
She's a little Tuna-addict.  She begs for it often now.  We just give her a little
at a time... :)

Today is the last day before the fast, so Mr Husband spoiled me
and let me get my faveourite take out!
So wonderful to not have to cook and heat up the house 
and still have such nice things to eat! 
I am really enjoying writing now days and am working on a
few peices to put up later.
It was really good to write my last blog post and put some things to writing
that I felt should be written but that I did not yet have the words for.
I'm really happy about that.
I hope you are all doing well!
Blessed fast or feast,
whatever you are heading into!
And a blessed Sunday to all!