Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How My Cat Proved the "I can't believe it's not butter" advertising....

Went to liturgy locally; after breakfast, I whipped up a batch of vegan brownie cookies (double batch of course). I used 1 cup of "I can't believe it's not butter"... well... the name is true apparently, as Cleo *very naughtily* was discovered on the Island (big no-no that she never does) licking the buttered 1 cup bowl! Shame on Cleo!

Upon being found, she leapt off the island and hid, knowing that such naughtiness = spray bottle of water.... I found her and after she has been sprayed with water but I had a hard time not laughing when I saw her licking her lips, *after* being sprayed...! 

Apparently she really thought that "I can't believe it's not butter" WAS indeed butter!!!

Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (part 1)

A beautiful and blessed Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God!
Thanksgiving list from last night... 

 1. Vespers tonight

 2. I made a really yummy baked mac and cheese with onion and breadcrumbs on top! A local friend had it with me for lunch and was surprised at how good it is. The key is the half an onion minced and cooked with the milk sauce for 15 minutes. I totally want to make this again but vegan for the fast. I think it may be really good! and am thinking that I could easily make it and add a vegetable to it also as it bakes.... 

 3. Beauty

 4. Our condo outside steps had cracks in it where it meets the sidewalk. Today that was fixed and it looks great! Local man did it, we are really pleased. 

5. PT was good today. I have new exercises to do *every day* that I am not at PT.

 6. Catherine Marshall's book that I am reading (A Closer Walk)... also am reading the book Thoughts for Each Day of the Year by St Theophan and the last two have been really thoughtful and thought-provoking, about having one's focus be on Christ and not on external things. I am thinking a lot about that lately and how to do so will bring inward peace that I (and everyone!) crave/s! 

7. I am so thankful for time. Time to grow, to have one's eyes open and heart softened towards Christ. May God give us all this time! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Best Baked Mac and Cheese I've Ever Had

From Joy of Cooking, the 1997 version.
It's so lovely.
I am thinking I can make an alternate vegan version
for the fast!
My friend who borrowed our knee scooter today had some with me
for lunch and was surprised at how good it is;
the onion really makes the flavour more savoury,
 as if it has a little 'bite' to it... It's a really good and fairly simple dish! 
I recommend it! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Thanksgivings

Thanksgiving list!

 1. We made it to our far-away church and it was a joy to see everyone!

 2. Technology, including whatsapp and google photos. I missed a special birthday party in MI and I got to call in, get videos texted and pictures sent too. That was really great. 

3. We took a walk today! Do you know how WONDERFUL it is to be able to take walks? I remember those long weeks of bedrest and being so sad that I could not go on a walk to the park. It's wonderful to be able to go with my Husband now. 

4. PT. I am still going. Ankle still gets sore/stiff. But wonderful that I have PT to go to, right? 

5. Post Liturgical Naps. We managed to get home today in time to have one (it takes us over an hour 1 way to get home from our far-away church). 

6. We had leftovers for dinner and watched the Waltons and had popcorn. Was really fun! 

7. Tomorrow a local friend is borrowing my knee scooter. It's great that I can share these things and not need them also. :) It's great to be able to walk again!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Saturday of Blessings

Thanksgiving list...

 1. My Husband took me out to eat today (a week Monday we start the Nativity fast) and that was really nice! 

2. Laundry is pretty much caught up.  It will come back of course but still, I am thankful!

3. I was so inspired by the videos and article on how many are coming to Christ from Islam... I have known about this for a few years now but was wonderful to read about. 

4. My phone reset seems to have worked well. My memory is way up on it, and all my apps that I need are working thus far! :) Feels really good to have this done at last.... 

5. I saw my first Christmas tree in NYC this past week :)

 6. My local church has Christmas trees for sale and they smell so very good

 7. Thanksgiving this week!!!!


I really hope to write more about C Marshall's book that I am enjoying
but the ideas need to percolate in me a bit longer.

God bless each of you this night!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thankful list! Whew. A lot accomplished today. I am thankful for....

1. working washing machine, dryer and dish washer! and all ensuite (I did not have any dishwasher until I was married and no ensuite laundry!)

2. I was able to successfully factory reset my phone tonight. It was long over due (memory overload plus annoying ad-spam).

3. I am reading Catherine Marshall's book "A Closer Walk".... I read a lot of her books in my earlier 20s and it is refreshing to see how she has impacted my life. I was telling my Mom that she reminds me of Ruth Bell Graham in how she read the Scriptures so deeply that it was like she was eating them - she was fed and strengthened by this practice....

4. That my Husband is accepting of my being excited about Thanksgiving... and then putting up the Christmas tree, and about the Christmas Casserole that I am already planning for the 12 days of Christmas!

5. I was able to do laundry, dishes and tidying of the house today.

6. I am so thankful for a good bed that soon I can be sleeping in!

7. That God is always seeking to help us in all of our struggles...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday ~ NYC, Subways, Taxis and Gratefulness

I made it to NYC!
It was my day to finally begin to make sense of the subways.
I had some bad experiences early on in my time in NJ
when I took subways the wrong way or got lost in the cavernous rooms
with many ways out and if you took the wrong one, 
it could really turn your sense of place around.
It's super easy for me to get lost, so that it worked today,
was a real blessing.  
I knew it was not hard, but today it clicked more into place.
 I am thankful. 
I had some wonderful lentil soup and bread.
I made it to Trader Joes and got 2 (frozen) cranberry pies!
My Husband and I had dinner together in NYC
before we headed back home... we took the train that
is more predictable in having a seat to sit down on,
so we took a train on the NJ side after the PATH train getting home.
So the pictures of NYC are from the train station in NJ looking at NYC. 
I had an interesting taxi ride. I often talk to the cabbies. It's something
I actually really enjoy.  The first one was from Africa and he talked about how
people have to be in less of a rush and take care of their health over
rushing around everywhere. So very true.
Another one had all sort of views on spiritual topics... I found myself 
in conversations about life after death, creation, God and many other things.
I am glad whenever I hear of others trying to figure out the big questions
and think about them.  It was clear that his man was not always well received in his 
ideas, from what he said; I found that sad. We should encourage others, 
especially when they are trying to grapple with big questions. 
On a different topic.... 
I got an email (so did many other alumni!) from my undergraduate University.
I graduated from Trinity Western University with a degree in Honours English.
I am standing with them now in prayer and ask for your prayers as well.
I don't get into world events much on my blog, to say the least,
but they are fighting for the freedom to be a Christian and not be
discriminated against.  It all started when they wanted to found a law school...
and found a fight on their hands... 
And the fight is at the Supreme Court of Canada in about 2 weeks.
I sincerely ask your prayers.  You can read about it here or here
and here's a great article from TWU's president on what is at stake.
Sometimes I think whole books should be written on the fact that
to believe in traditional values does not mean hatred or that one
cannot love those one disagrees with. My goodness, 
it is so clear from the New Testament that one is to have a clear answer
for what one believes and to speak with love, gentleness and courage.
Well, I began reading another book, it's such a relief to be able to read...
I picked up Catherine Marshall's A Closer Walk ... 
Marshall's books were very influential ... she was very popular in her day...
it's hard to imagine now, sadly, as what is popular has really changed...
but her books blessed me and it's nice to visit with her, as it were, again
and read her thoughts.... 
I've been an Orthodox Christian for over 13 years now, 
there are a lot of distinctives in Orthodox Christianity that are 
different, even startling so, than Protestant Christianity.
But this never means that we cannot learn from each other
or that one can respect and love each other.
This should be obvious of course, but sadly, it is easy to
let differences sideline love and charity.
So, it's been a good visit with this author, I've read about half of it now.
I think one of the big things, that I see in this book and also that I 
have been reflecting on a lot is that one never stops growing.
That people are broken, we have, as C. Marshall and her (second) husband
Len wrote, major weaknesses.  But yet she was used by God to 
encourage so many through her books.  And her devotion to God
and faithfulness to Him is very evident. I think, in part through 
Madeleine L'Engle's books, I have often seen those how are older
(which now means my Grandparents age) will have a lot of wisdom
to share but somehow did not perceive (or perhaps want to see reality) that they too
 have their own personal struggles.  What a silly idea I had!
But it's hard to realize all the same; I think the desire to have others
who can give us reassurance in difficult times and cast light when we 
are in darkness can be so strong that we don't always want to see
that those very people who can do that in our lives, or who we hope
can do that any rate, are still with their own struggles.
Somehow now I see that many can help and encourage us who
have progressed in the Christian life - but - at the same time - 
God can use many in our lives who are still struggling with deep wounds,
with major weaknesses, with huge questions or uncertainty
but that God can still use them to help us or, moreover,
can even use us small ones; at least I am a small one, with, which a lot of weaknesses and struggles.
Isn't it an encouraging thing to realize that God can still use us
and that He loves us even though we stumble?!?
I've been listening to this and it has been so nice and peaceful.
I hope you enjoy it too. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday's varied schedule

I had two errands, one in morning, one in afternoon
and in-between I made us lunch, as Mr Husband was working from home today. 
I had a rough night's sleep but am pretty sure it will be better tonight.
I had to talk some things out and that always helps me a lot.
Tomorrow I am going to NYC and hope to go to Trader Joes again.
Husband and I hope to eat dinner together. 
Thanks very much for all of your comments this week....
It's so appreciated! 
I hope God blesses and encourages each of you in your own
set of concerns, worries and difficulties! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday with hot tea, baking, cooking and reading

Oh for a good pot of tea! 
I am grateful for so many teas to enjoy!
I made 4 batches of chocolate chip cookies for Christmas.
I am thinking I will have to do another just for my Husband.
He really likes them and feels 'gypped' sometimes when I give 
all of ours away! 
(If you saw our pantry and how much we have in it, 
you would see why I don't keep as many cookies!)
Then I made chicken and biscuits.
The chicken was just perfect.
The gravy needed a bit more seasoning,
I think because there was a lot less chicken juice,
as I baked less chicken this time.
But the biscuits with gravy and a bit of salt and pepper was great!
DV I will be in NYC and meet my Husband there for dinner
on Thursday, so the leftovers of this meal
we will enjoy on Saturday!
(soon we will be fasting for Advent/Nativity but not until Nov 28th
as our Christmas is January 7!)
I am enjoying the books Homecoming and Dicey's Song,
both published in the early 1980s, before computers were in as much use,
not to mention cell phones/smart phones, tablets and all the things we use now.
It's nice to read about when these were not here,
how it was when I was growing up.
I am really glad I did all the baking and cooking.
I am learning a lot about, how do I describe it,
I was thinking about it as I was reading the Church Scripture readings 
plus some of 1st John.... that sometimes God lets those you love
go through hard times and that we may be totally dumbfounded about
why it seems or looks to be going a certain way but then you realize that
God may be doing something in the life of the one you love through the 
circumstances you do not understand and sometimes it's best to wait,
to be quiet, to try to trust God, just like a child has to do both
growing up and trusting those who know more, all at once.
It's a shifting world we live in now; I had enjoyed
some youtube videos, with the "best classical choral music"
and it was deleted and I wish I had saved the playlist of them,
it was such nice music. 
That's a small example of how much this world shifts,
but you know what I mean. So much.
But yet God does not shift.
Basic practicality and common sense does not shift.
The ocean's tides come in and go out.
The sun rises, the sun sets.
Not all shifts and not all is lost
and, as Tolkien speaks of,
no one can destroy the beauty of the stars.