Thursday, December 29, 2005

Golden Birthdays Happen Only Once

In the States, at least in this part of the States, one has a golden birthday when they turn the number that they were born on. So today is my golden birthday—29 on the 29th. It has been a lovely birthday at that—matins in the morning, a party with church friends (who I love very much) at lunch and relatives (also very loved) are coming over for dessert/cake tonight. My Grandma is coming for my Birthday dinner, which my Mother and Brother are making for me. My brother and I are going to hang out later tonight—a very full, wonderful birthday. God has really blessed me…

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thoughts about this day

Today I was at one of my oldest friend’s houses…she has children and I spent the day talking with her and letting the kids do my hair [very cute, retro-punk] and reading stories to them….

It was a nice day, but I am tired now!

I am almost too tired to even put one thought in front of the other.

I think I am a little lonely, being the only Orthodox Christian here in my families’ house and on many levels I do not have people to readily communicate with…

I hope to go to the Christmas morning liturgy but have not found out yet if I will have a ride to this…

Yet, in all things, may I, may we, be thankful…

Friday, December 16, 2005

Still Loving Winter

It is a very beautiful day in Ottawa. Tons of snow and it is only – 7. Now really, for winter this is quite warm. And honest—with all the layers I was wearing, I did not feel cold at all. And I am seriously thinking about walking to work on days like this… all I need to do is when I am home for the holidays… I need to find my snow pants!

NOTE--will not be blogging much until next week, as I will be traveling homewards...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So blessed

I was at vespers and a very wonderful and powerful time learning about the end of John chapter 10 and the story of Lazarus in chapter 11… our priest was teaching about this. I felt like I was given the words I had been longing to hear at my Grandfather’s funeral. This was a very moving time.

After this I was not so surprised to hear my priest say that I was leaving over the holidays… I thought he would be saying something to the effect of the church will be praying for my travels… instead one of my good friends here in Ottawa, who had stopped by my place before vespers and ate some dinner with me, had a cake for my birthday [29 on December 29; my golden birthday] in her backpack and my spiritual father announced that it was going to be my birthday and invited everyone who was there to the church hall for cake in my honour. I was so surprised and my friend now has the nickname, ‘goddess of stinkers’ [she calls me the goddess of all things domestic so we are even] and I was sung many years to and was wonderfully surprised. This sort of attention always makes me a little shy and I was looking towards the ground during the singing…of course I liked it all though…

I felt very loved and happy.

So it was again an interesting night; I was almost crying hearing the wonderful words of truth about death and Christ’s calling Lazarus out of Sheol… thinking of my Grandfather… and then being, after the service was done, being loved for having a future-while-I-am-in-Michigan birthday…

Someday soon I need to write out all of the notes I took from the Bible study last night. I hope someday to gain the humility to fully take in how blessed and loved I am, and how it was demonstrated to me last night…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

love of winter

I love Ottawa in winter!!! It is gorgeous, sunny and refreshingly cold… high currently is -12… but really, with layers, a winter coat, scarves, gloves/mittens, and hats/toques and good boots it is the best kind of winter… reminds me of being in Boston when I was 19 in January… and it is perfect ice skating winter… would be cool to skate on the canal once it freezes over…

Monday, December 12, 2005

a varied day

Such a strange day this has been.

Here’s the highlights…

*I have been thinking a lot about my Grandfather and his death, and the memorial service we had for him at church; I kept hearing my priest’s voice singing “Memory Eternal”… my priest and deacon did the service together, it was beautifully sung…at times it was hard for me to sing with them, as I kept almost breaking into tears…

*I have loved the weather. –14 today with lots of sunshine. So refreshing.

*Some friends and I had a great conversation yesterday with our priest about gender issues. I love it that the Orthodox Church has clear parameters about this; I feel so safe in my church because of this. Because of this conversation, my heart has been light...

*I worked on a collection development project all day for work…basically meant researching various medical journals online and putting the information I needed into an excel table (mind you this table is 16 pages printed on legal size paper)

*I posted my first recipe to Sprucies in the Kitchen website today … I had it for dinner…and now I am procrastinating on a mound of dirty dishes (from making 2 meals yesterday for the week) and on typing up some minutes for a committee I am on for school…

I think the best highlight though is this book I am reading: Romanian Patericon: Saints of the Romanian Orthodox Church by Archimandrite Ioanichie Balan, published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood at St. Paisius Abby … I am reading this on recommendation from my spiritual father…the book itself I am borrowing from a parishioner of my church, who is generous and trusting with his books!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Within This Day

I have added a few of my friends to my link section; I have a lot more (including more Sprucies) I want to add, but do not have time right now.

I am going to be cleaning house, making a vegan basmati rice salad for church tomorrow and need to be at church before 4.30 pm.

Tonight I and another friend are having a memorial service for our Grandparents… I am really glad for this. I really, of course, still miss my Grandfather. It has been less than a month since he died. I think those people one really loves are never forgotten and are always missed. Thank God my Grandfather is a faithful Christian; this is a great comfort.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

when does being busy become a sickness?

This is the first night home I have had in a while; I do not remember what I did Monday night, but Tuesday I got my train ticket and went to vespers, yesterday I went to a restaurant for a fellow student’s last day of co-op and vespers at the Cathedral (though I was late and ran 10 blocks in very cold air to get there). Tonight I stayed a half hour later and got the final groceries I needed before I leave for my parent’s home for the holidays. And I am one of the three project leads for gearing up the student-led mentorship committee at my school and am so happy to have a night to do those other things…like cleaning my house, being home, cooking… sometimes I have a hard time getting fully centred and want music on, but I am still not doing so (though I sure would like to hear Peter, at FilmChat’s interview tomorrow!)…

I am a bit concerned about the business of my life; I know I need nights to have to myself; and I just learned that there may be a Bible study next term that I really will want to attend; and I will be fitting in work for the mentorship committee… I am going to need a lot of prayer / to pray a lot about this…

I really believe that a lot of North American society today is too busy…over stimulated, over structured, over committed; and this sort of business seems to be receiving continual praise.

It is troubling.

It is, perhaps, even a sign of an inner spiritual malady.

The question it seems that I will have to work out for myself is how busy should I be and what is the fruit of the business. In the end I need what will bring me salvation.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It is beginning.

Winter in Ottawa. The low tonight is -13 and the high for tomorrow is -5 degrees Celsius. Well if you could see me here, you would know that I have what I call ToughGirlBoots with wool in them (made in Canada too). I know that later I may be reporting that it is really cold, but right now I am just excited for the snow and for winter. Two of my favourite poets are Jane Kenyon and Donald Hall; Jane Kenyon always lamented the passing of summer and sun while Donald would grow increasingly happy as the days and darkness lengthened. As much as I can like summer (and I remember talking with one of my really good library school friends about longing for summer; months later we were gulping water our of our Nalgene bottles, melting as we walked to the air conditioned antiquarian book store)… I always find that my heart gets lighter as the snow comes.

(note: the one ‘rule’ I have about winter and snow is that I never wish the weather to cause car accidents… I always worry about people traveling; I am thankful that in the Orthodox church we always pray for those traveling on land, sea or air)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

silence needed for our life's work...

I have been super busy since I got back from the funeral—I had a good friend stay with me for 4 days, then I had company for the next two nights and last night I went out grocery shopping with 3 of my friends here, who go to my church. So later last night was the first night I had alone in a week’s time. Of course when I am alone, I had times where the grief of my Grandfather’s death overcomes me; I know I need these times.

Yet also I am aware of how much I love my little home; the little things I love, like cooking (this weekend I plan on making a vegetarian chilli and paella with tofu), talking on the phone with my very beloved friend and family, cleaning and generally just being.

Some of my happiest memories from a few summers ago were when I would be in my studio (in the BC lower mainland) and the sun would come in my big bay window. I would be sitting in my armchair, look at my clean kitchen counters and be still. There would be no music playing; I would just sit there. The solitude was so satisfying, refreshing.

I think it is that same sort of happiness that I feel again here, glimpses of it…the sun is slanting towards my kitchen, on my golden coloured wood floor, and things are quiet. I have been deliberately not listening to any music or radio since sometime in September. I could see that the music was merely breaking my internal peace, making me feel frantic (especially if it was not something like Bach). And I the songs I found I wanted in me were the songs of the Church, the many prayers.

At times I think we need to get away from sound to re-centre ourselves; it is only then that prayer comes from within you, just as solitude or a beautiful piece of music comes (from) within you, enveloping you from the inside, going outwards.

We need silence to face our aloneness and learn to find solitude as something that deepens and refreshes us, instead of being something to be feared, as human loneliness can be intense and frightening.

I am coming to believe that learning to live in silence can help us on our journey towards God, which is our true life’s work, the only one we were given to do…

Friday, December 02, 2005

taking care of our identities

Wow. It is incredible how much a computer can be taken on by a person. And do you notice how email and messenger accounts are all about creating a virtual presence, nearly saying that they are creating a online ‘you’… this came to me in a huge way when my preinstalled internet virus protection expired; you know a trial run. Well once I did not renew (sometimes 50.00 to spend can be a bit much, you know) they really started being annoying. Not only did I get tons of pop ups from them, the icon at the bottom of my screen always blinked and then all of a sudden that software changed its configuration and put the ‘parent control’ on and I could not even access my yahoo email account. I was so mad (and then had to go pray because I was mad, of course).

Well. I uninstalled the software and now they cannot bother me. I had already downloaded other software to protect my computer. It is just really a bit troubling how connected we are in the world to technology; it has really began to shape or culture and even our identity as people, not to mention our patience level.

I seriously think we should examine this more carefully and take care that our identities do not get wrapped in or around things, including technology.

Our culture here, from what I can see, is so intent on being busy and filled with underlying pride in our business that it can be dangerous to ourselves; that most people need noise/music/TV to function is just one of the indications of our troubled state.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Memory eternal...Grandfather

My Grandfather died on November 17, 2005. I was very encouraged by many of my friends and Orthodox families’ prayers for my Grandfather and my family. The day I found out he was dying, I was able to be in church praying for him at vespers and a week later, after returning from the funeral and travels home, I was back at church, praying for him still. I will really miss my Grandfather and will keep praying for him and for all of our family. My Grandfather’s prayer was that all of his family may know the Lord. Memory eternal…

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My Grandfather

My Grandfather John may be dying. I am so blessed to have him in my life. The last thing he said to me, when I talked to him on the phone when he was in the hospital a month ago was that prayer was the best thing one can do. He is very special to me and it is going to be hard to lose him. And of course grief is always a bewildering thing. I remember Aunt Elaine (her title to all at the Bible camp where I worked years ago) saying that she did not know how people made it without God. She had cancer by then, and was greatly supported by God through her last year of earthly life. I am so glad that for all these things, God is there for me, and for all His children, being present in their sufferings and upholding them and saving them through it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

my sunday (after reading dave's version of his)

It is funny how we can share an experience but for each person it is different. For me going to the OCA Cathedral (still exhausted from a hard-hitting head cold), it was at times overwhelming. Beautiful, yes; and when all of the clergy would sing alone—wow—I do not know if I have ever heard live the deep richness of the male liturgical voice. But I confess that the liturgy was very tiring, with an ordination and lots of other stuff, not to mention a hierarchal liturgy. So I left afterwards for a good little while [maybe 20 minutes, hard to say] and went across the road to my little Carpatho-Russian Church, Christ the Saviour, and had a small lunch there with my church and sat and talked with my friend Terri. I do not think my beloved friends at the Cathedral even noticed (or they did not mention it). I just needed to see some familiar faces! And get my priest's blessing (finally I could again; as I was sure I was no longer infectious with a cold).

Then I went back, had some more food and then Fr. Lawrence came over and sat by me. That was a really wonderful thing. I felt more included than I had in a long time; my friends who are in regular contact with me know that I talk a lot (maybe too much? forgive me...) about being in 4 churches (as a member) in just over 2 years (I am going on year three now, unbelievable). It is natural (though upsetting at times) to lose contact with those one knew before, especially regarding one's first (Orthodox) church. So it was very wonderful to tell Fr. Lawrence about this, especially how hard my year in London doing the bulk of my MLIS degree and not having any one in my Church who was near my age. I think one of the best parts of it was how I felt listened to (I always did want attention, just ask my family!) and also how I still felt like Fr. Lawrence treated me like he always did--as a (spiritual) daughter, even though I left almost 2 years ago. He told me in an email after I left that now he was more like an Orthodox uncle, as I needed to take root where I was, and have the priest (at my 2nd church) be my new spiritual father. I, of course, protested...and he conceded that he could always have the title as my first spiritual father. So to see him again was a great gift.

On a similar topic, but on a different level, I am still waiting for my heart to learn more of God as my FATHER and to live present to His love.

I feel that as an Orthodox Christian I share in a great hope...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts in the Quiet of Evening

It is later in the evening; I worked from home today. The head cold still insists in raging; another Kleenex box is gone. I had a very peaceful evening; I talked to my sister on the phone…I love it that my sister and I have gotten to the stage where we can talk for hours and about so many varied topics. Now the candles are lit in my place; no electric lights (save the computer screen) are on. Sigh. This is my favourite place to be; candles, icons and quiet.

I have emailed and talked to various friends today, asking them to pray for my Grandfather as he has pneumonia and is in the hospital (if you, reading this, will pray too, I would be very grateful). He was in the hospital about a month ago for the same reason, so I have reason to be concerned. I talked to him on the phone, then, briefly and after I told him I was praying for him, he said that “is the best thing one can do.” I am so blessed to have such good and godly grandparents who pray for all of their children, grandchildren and many others. I am very grateful to God for giving me such a good heritage.

It was hard today to focus on work sometimes, though, as my Grandfather has been on my mind; especially as I was researching for long term care journals (as in long term care as in nursing homes and palliative and end of life care). Talk about reminders of what will come to all of us. But… I seek to trust God and His time and His care of all those whom I love. And it is a comfort to me that my small Church had a prayer service for healing with anointing (for physical illness especially) and my Grandfather, whose name is John, was mentioned various times by name in the service. That my Orthodox churches, family, and friends pray for him is a very great, deep happening. And that the saints care as well, and that God is present in the midst of all of our human suffering—these are the deep pools of hope that we must always return to. I saw an icon of Christ’s decent into hell, and how He pulls Adam and Eve up. This picture is what my hope rests on: that “God hath delivered my soul from the place of hell, for he shall receive me” (Psalm 49:15).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Home on a rainy day, with a cold

I am very fortunate to have a supervisor who believes that those w. raging colds should be at home recovering. So here I am, at home on my laptop; the usual sinus cold--the Kleenex pile in the small trash can keeps growing, my nose I’m sure is getting red and naps, lots of tea and soup are part of the recovering process. I am really thankful that my work place has an unspoken policy (that my supervisor enforces!) that those with colds must stay home and get better faster because they are resting!

Well, other than that I do not really have much to say; having a cold seems to inhibit thinking….

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

reality of the graduates

A blog I read, and really admire, is The Kept Up Librarian. I am really curious to learn how he keeps up with so many of the trends in academia (my guess is that he has a routine for his day, quick observational ability and a lot of great blog feeds and other news sources that he regularly uses). One of the interesting things about this blog is that it also gives a lot of cultural information, especially about people who are in the general age bracket of 18-30 because he focuses on post-secondary education. I think his brief words on being "thirty and broke" gives a lot of us an explanation for what many of us find as our reality.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

...holiness and questions

I was reading and in it Mother Gabriella speaks of holiness and that one of the things need is to not draw attention to one's self. It makes me wonder what I am to do in situations like when one creates (or falls into) minor self injury, like I did and of course, knowing me, I told the world all about it, often laughing about it, but still, I called attention to it. I wonder if part of becoming holy is learning to not do this, to focus on others, like Mother Gabriella says. I think holiness is in part this, which means I have a long way to go.

I think the real question then, for me, is when can I talk about myself or what situations call for it or when do others benefit from it and what is right or best to do in life....

Thank God for His grace and patience. Please pray for me and let me know if I can pray for you.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

thank God for family

though i am living a few 100s of miles from my immediate family, i am so thankful they love me; sometimes, like tonight, i feel tired and kind of bummed. you know...when stuff is not going exactly right [for me, my neck and right side of me hurts from dramatically kissing the sidewalk by the 'smashing' trip i had yesterday] [sorry, phil must be rubbing off on me from afar, his puns are far superior to mine] :) ...

i am so blessed to have a family that cares about me so much and even my Grandmother was asking about me, since my brother told her that i took a tumble yesterday.

i am so thankful ... now all i want is a good night sleep and maybe to wake up feeling a bit better than how i felt when i woke up this morning! ouch!

i hope everyone who may read this is doing well and are at peace. goodnight!

oh: and tons of blessings and prayer for Biss' sister who appears to be having her child soon...! i will says prayers for her, etc.

friends coming to visit!

yea! two good friends, C and S, it appears, may be coming to visit me; one from the west and one from the east! it looks like the later part of November is going to be full... how wonderful.

i am feeling so thankful for my friends; i am also thankful that i can laugh at myself; i wiped out on a sidewalk, nose first, yesterday and though i am quite sore at times because of it, when i tell my friends on the phone i can't help but laugh... and say 'well, when i do something, i always do it really well!!'

my friend Nadia told me i should write a manifesto on not falling on sidewalks ever again... here it is:

i, Elizabeth, will seek to never fall nose-first on a cement sidewalk again. it is a very bad idea, causes pain, general confusion and the need for ibprophen, pillows and hot hot epsom salt baths. therefore, i here by command everyone to look where they step and i suggest that the city and university of Ottawa fix their vastly uneven sidewalks, thus assisting others from possible injury. moreover, i Elizabeth commit to scrupulous attention whenever i am walking on the campus of the University of Ottawa. there ends my manifesto on the ceasing of all side-walk falls.

have a great day everyone, and no tripping on sidewalks!

Friday, November 04, 2005


through the collective blog that i have so graciously been invited to, i am hearing of and from people i have not talked to nearly 2 years....and even seeing pictures of people as well... i feel very blessed and like God is working within me through this....

may all who read this be in His peace.

what do you know about Google?

this is a post from Librarian in Black (As in I did not write the below)

All Your Base Are Belong to ... Google?
Google Base is coming. Are you afraid yet? To quote Yoda, "You will be." According to Google's press releases on the subject:
Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all types of content. We'll host your content and make it searchable online for free.
And you thought it was impossible to turn over control of any more of the Internet over to Google. Silly human. Free hosting is good right? Well, based on the terms in Google's past user and privacy contracts, Google will also own whatever it is that it's, in short, it will own the Internet. Or a lot of it, at any rate. Afraid now?



Today started a bit after 3 AM; I woke up, my mind was racing. One of the things I am working on, with the help of my priest-confessor, is learning not to worry. Orthodoxy, in my experience, is something I find actually challenges people not only to growth, but growth in things that one may think is virtually impossible to do.

For me one of these things is learning to live a peace – really to practice a detachment for the passions.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Lord have mercy on us

I found out today that one of my library school friends boyfriend’s mother died while vacationing in Asia. I had talked to this friend about the mother’s illness just a few days before she passed away. Lord have mercy on my friend and the family who lost their mother and on the mother.

a thought

Thought for the evening: I was talking with my friend Cheryl tonight about the fact that it is very important to belong to one church (Cheryl and I both belonging to the Eastern Orthodox Church) but that it is also quite important to be able to go to other Orthodox Churches and be comfortable in them, knowing that the differences and the varied (small t) traditions are to be loved.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You are welcome here

Welcome to my blog. Actually, this is my second blog. My first one, which I will be keeping up as well, is a blog about being in library school (as in a Masters of Library and Information Science) and living in Canada and being Orthodox. It is more of a library-student-soon-to-be-librarian blog and, though I wanted it to combine both aspects of my life, I am finding that it cannot. Thus and therefore, this is going to be my more personal blog and is going to focus more on my growth and journey into the Orthodox Church.

I find that my life is quite full right now, so I am not sure how much I will be able to post within this blog. Also, as Jim Forest (of Orthodox Peace Fellowship, who resides in Holland) reminds us all in the blog, The Orthodox Way, Press's Conciliar presses’ blog, that no activity, including blogging, must take away from our needed time in prayer.