Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two Years, Two Months

I am giving my 2 months notice tomorrow!

I found this part of my letter amusing (though serious):

Please note that I have a Cat who I love. If you have apartment viewings, please ensure that she does not escape. She has a tendency to wait at the front door for such an opportunity.

I have lived in my apartment two years tomorrow. A lot can happen in two years!

Pray for me!!! I have to start preparing more to move soon!


I had to do some brave things. Or one thing, particularly. I did my first social work lunch. phew. I did not spill that I know of and it went well. At least as well as it could of... I am still learning city and the specific corporate culture that I now work in.

I have days I really like being a librarian. I enjoy the administration (i.e. the running of) the library and doing research.

I am behind on dishes - I admit to being overtired; am worried that I may get sick again. I always was a bit on the fragile side of things.

Am really comforted when I read Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog about the One-Story Universe. It is wonderful to realize (though I usually forget and have to re-realize) that there is a lot of help and protection in this world. That there are Saints and Angels. That Jesus has Grandparents (Sts. Joachim and Anna) and a Holy Mother (the Theotokos, Greek for God-bearer) and that they can pray for and care for us. Of course I would say who wouldn't want Jesus' Grandparents to care for them too!! But it is another thing to realize that these holy Saints can actually pray for us and care for us.

I have been thinking more about Saints Joachim and Anna lately. The Cathedral I go to mid-week has both of them high on a wall in stain glass (it used to be a Catholic church) and I can see them from where I sit... and last week Monday was their day, Old Calendar. I just got a beautiful icon of them for a very close friend, a spiritual sister. Actually she is the first one who introduced me to them...

I am so blessed and I did nothing to deserve it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I am thankful to say that I survived the interview day and it went well.

God has richly blessed me - I feel very thankful for my Orthodox church and for my DV future apartment and such things.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Things

Tomorrow DV I will take part in interviews for a one day/week position where I work. I have never interviewed anyone formally and will be a supervisor for the first time. I feel young and intimidated. Please pray for me.

On the New Calendar it is St. John the Beloved's Feast Day; I need his prayers as he can teach me to have silence within. How much I need to learn this.

Thank you for your prayers.

Long Jean Skirt

I ordered a Jean skirt and it fits! How is it that a long to-the-tops-of-my-feet skirt is so exciting?

It is strange to realize that I have just gotten some really classic durable clothes that I plan on wearing for years.

I feel like I am still slowly entering my thirties...

Kathleen Norris' latest book is quite fascinating. I will try to post about this later.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris

Kathleen Norris just published a new book - Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life - published in 2008 by Riverhead books.

A dear undergrad friend, ten years ago, wrote me letters when I worked at camp. Every letter included something about Norris' Cloister Walk. I remember reading my friend's copy later that year; I remember reading Norris' Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith in a hotel in Missouri when the second leg of my flight home was cancelled. Her books changed my life and, without my knowledge, prepared me for the Orthodox church.

Wow. I just found out her latest book, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life was published. I began reading it tonight. I can honestly say if I take this book seriously, as I pray I will, my life is going to continue changing. But with time, a lot of time and struggle. It is examining parts of life that I had never considered the ramifications before. It is exciting but I know also that it will take a lot of pondering, deliberation and choices on how I live.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend this book... and I am only on page 18 (well, okay I cheated and looked ahead a bit too...). Thank God for writers such as she.

Today, Old Calendar

It is the commemoration of Saints Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Theotokos, Mother of God... It is a very special day! Christ's Grandparents.

I am slowly feeling better and have had a good weekend of quiet. I thank God for His mercy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Part of my story or at least of this chapter

Often I blog when I am happy – I guess this makes for an imbalanced blog, in the sense of it appears that my life is going along in a constant exhausting relentless happy-go-lucky way. Other than the two month broken foot bed-rest summer. Of course anyone who knows me well knows this is not me at all.

Really I am a quiet bookish person who, at the same time, has the capacity to talk a lot when with friends and goes though life feeling things often in a highly intense manner. In someways I am unique though or stubborn or at least in someways quite narrow in my existence. (Or what some would think of as quite narrow, missing almost all sense of proportion and depth).

For instance – I live in Ottawa, the capital of the country (i.e. of Canada) – and I avoid politics, news and all TV. I actually have the capacity as a librarian to know what is really going on – the corporate world I work in as a librarian has to do with the legal and financial world. So if I did want to know the news behind the news, I could easily do so. However, I find it unhelpful to my sense of inward balance and peace, meagre as it is. I know by general feel what is going on through the blogs I read, through the facebook comments of friends, through conversations and through the air. I know of the fear of economies collapsing, the elections, and that there are constantly tragic and beautiful events going on.

But in general I would rather ignore it; it does not seem conducive to helping or adding to my life at this point.

I do not listen to the radio and often go days without listening to music; it is not that I do not love music. I do. And at work I often listen to Ancient Faith Radio; it is like listening, at times, to highly classical and liturgical music. I have some CDs from the St. Elisabeth the New Martyr Convent near Minsk in Belarus. My home church has a beautiful choir.

I am realizing that I will never fit the culture I live in; sure, the colours of paint I am choosing (some sort of muted olive green and a light very pale blue) for my new apartment are currently popular. But really, I love the room in the Dorothy Sayer’s movie I watched again yesterday – Have His Carcase – 1920’s/1930s – full of books, tea cups, things on the walls. Not at all the current popular decluttered minimalist look that is currently all the rage.

I am currently holed up in my apartment with a head cold; it has given me needed time to think and be quiet. I have come to come some good realizations that were hovering and waiting to be articulated, acknowledged. One, there are aspects of my current apartment that I will miss. Esp. my prayer corner, which is a lovely small space, very intimate and warm. Also, it is a huge transition to have a permanent job; I still have a lot of fear of failing it and of suddenly being jobless and with a more expensive apartment. Also I have had to admit that it takes time to set up a new apartment; I remember how long it took with my current one. it takes time for a new place to feel like home. I am relieved, however, that my next move will be easier because I have more people to help me move. Which is good. As excited as I am to have my first apartment with a living room, moving is a hard and stressful event for me, as it is for many. It is very high on the ‘life-stress’ scale. But it is time; where I live now is no longer taken care of and when winter comes with its long and cold months, it is really depressing to live in a place with dirty halls.

I keep having dreams revolving around moving into an unsuitable apartment, that does not fit my tall bookcase.

But I am also learning, even though I did not always have the support I needed when moving, this time I do have it. And somehow, wonderfully, God has given me some true friends and family away from home who love me. I have people when I have a head cold, as I currently do, will bring me Campbell's chicken soup, garlic, tea and chocolate.

I am learning to see how detailed, how particular, God’s care for me is. I am slowly learning to trust.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Doing Fine, I think

All seems well at the moment. Have chosen a muted green and a light pale blue for wall colours. Am planning on a trip to Halifax for a dear sister's wedding in October - am excited. My first 'vacation' in years, other than home for Christmas, which cannot be underrated!

My job is going okay - I am getting used to it and have had some good days.

I feel like this is a special time in my life - first permanent job, soon to have DV first apartment with living room, a weekend in Halifax DV - I am blessed.

However, I am also aware of the importance of this quotation:

"Life is a precious and unique gift, and we squander it foolishly and carelessly, forgetful of its brevity.

Either we look back with yearning on the past or else we live in the expectation of a future in which, it seems to us, life will really begin; whereas the present-that is, our lief as it actually is-is wasted in these fruitless dreams and regrets."

pg 28, The Diary of a Russian Priest by Alexander Elchaninov

It is significant spiritual struggle for me to learn to live in the present and not only to live in it, but savour it, be aware of it, be thankful in it, no matter what the present brings or reveals.

Lord have mercy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Next Step - Moving!

By God's grace I have found a wonderful downtown one bedroom apartment in my price range. It has everything I wanted - wood floors, light, balcony and sliding door, lots of cupboards, storage space, controlled entrance and is well taken care of. It is quiet and is a corner unit; the super lives on site.

I move December first, which gives me time to continue getting used to my new job, and to pack, declutter, purge and plan. Today I am to sign the lease and hope to take measurements.

I am so relieved and still can hardly believe it. I will be 32 at the end of December, Lord willing, and this apartment is the first 'adult' apartment for me. I have purposely chosen to stay in my smaller, cheaper apartment in order to have savings and because I did not have a permanent job - only contracts.

I hope to live in this apartment for a long time; I can walk to church and to my work and to the grocery store. I have saved up money to buy furniture for my living room; IKEA will continue to get my business.

I am more peaceful about work and really love that I have a small library to run; I love the flexibility and independence.

I am more determined to continue to create a life here in Ottawa; with my new apartment I can, Lord willing, have friends over and will have space for everything. My living room will be kid-proof as I want to have my friends with kids over. I am feeling happy and hopeful about this.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labour Day / New Calendar New Year

After a good weekend of teas, brunch and the Sunday church meal, it is time to get ready for the week.

I am thankful that this week only has three work days in it for me! Work is slowly getting better; a lot to learn.

Most of all though, I need to learn to trust God more and stay peaceful.

I am looking for a new place to live; I desire a bigger closet and a living room. Even though moving is an added stress, along with my new job, I feel it is time to move, if at all possible.

I do not want to live through another winter in this apartment building. I am looking at a place tomorrow night - good location and it has a dishwasher - we will see.

I realized, a few weeks ago, a wonderful thing or saw it from a new angle. Psalm 50/51... when it says

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I realized that God also is not despising of those who are weak, broken... it was comforting to realize that while many elevate the strong, the beautiful and the rich, God is does not despise those who are broken and weak.

Praying that this new year will be truly a new year...