Friday, October 31, 2008


A good friend helped me pack most of my books today. I feel encouraged. I also saw my apartment unit today and have made my final decision on paint colours. By doing a lot of the packing now, I hope to be fully ready to move in a few weeks.

I am thankful.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Day is Good

Today my parents have their 34th wedding anniversary. I talked with my Mother on the phone. I am blessed to have such good God-fearing parents.

Various church members who have had severe health struggles were back in church today. This was a real blessing.

My kitchen is full of things and empty boxes. I am going to try to calm some of the chaos today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Current Life Pictures

The view when walking to church; I can walk to my church in about 20 minutes or so.

If you had told me over ten years ago that I would live in the middle of a small city in Canada, in an apartment, I would of found you oddly suspect!

I like it though! I do not need a car, can walk to work and church and to the grocery store. There are many good restaurants and a pretty good bus system.

The leaves are turning!

About the picture below... a good friend helped me move boxes today. Now I just have to fill these boxes.

Like my Holly Hobbie plates? When a friend who had not seen me in over ten years, saw these plates, she felt they were more like the person she knew me to be, back then. Holly Hobbie plates, etc, originated from a woman in New England. Though I was raised in Michigan, New England is a big part of me. This makes Ottawa a good fit for me as well.

St. George (Greek) Orthodox Church in Halifax

These are pictures from my dear spiritual sister's wedding. Not of the wedding itself, but of the church. The weather was suprisingly warm for Mid-October. Sunshine and much happiness.

Taken before the wedding couple came.

St. George - one of my very special Saints. I have been to three weddings at churches dedicated to St. George and know of four couples married at various churches of St. George's....

It was so beautiful.... The iconostasis it the biggest I have seen in person - 16 icons on the top row. I wish I had more time to just be in this church and take it in.

I love how Christ is always the Centre of the Church and always the "Top" icon in the dome...

"That is Hard"

This is a phrase that my (spiritual) older sister says; often pointing out to me that something I am going through is hard, difficult, painful. There is so much of this in life sometimes.

Two people I know in the library world - their Dad's are both very ill right now; at least one of them may be dying. That is hard.

I am reading a book on death - by Joan Didion - a writer I more or less stumbled upon; I read a lot of writers who live in New England or New York City. I have lived six summers in New England; my spiritual mother lived in New England, her husband, now 85, originally hails from Long Island. Didion's year of magical thinking explores and captures the shock and initial grief of her husband's sudden death, weeks before their 40th year of marriage. I was saddened to realize, upon reading more about her, that her daughter died shortly after finishing the book.

Sometimes life and the suffering within it can seem so bewildering.

My work can be stressful to say the least - the corporate culture I work in can be very pressured and my clients can need things ASAP and some of the younger one's stress is so palpable that I can feel inwardly overwhelmed. Yet, yesterday afternoon I felt surprisingly peaceful; surely a moment from God as inner peace is one of the things I struggle to receive...

I can see vaguely that when I go beyond myself and love the people I work for, things are better within me...

Two people were going to help me brave the boxes in my basement apartment locker. One had to cancel due to life's circumstances.

Various people have said they would help me move; but; well. I am going to hire movers anyway. My experience in Ottawa is that people are usually so swept up in the drama and stress (both real) of their own lives that they cannot help me in ways they wish. This is NOT saying that people don't help me here. When I was on bed rest for two months with a crush injury and two fractures in my foot, various people very faithfully came - cooking, cleaning, doing my laundry, taking care of my and my Cat Cleo's needs. But I am still hiring movers. It will make it easier; I will still need lots of other help...

I have already begun telling people: I am dreading the move but look forward to the new apartment. When talking to one of my closest friends, I added, but change is hard! I will still miss this too-small-but-very-familiar apartment. I have lived here two years. I have only lived in one other place that long since I was 18. I am nearing 32 now.

My place is a bit crowded in general; I am really not sure where I will put the boxes. If you saw my current place, you would quickly see what I mean. One of my compassionate helping-me-this-summer friends, when trying to get some things for me in my apartment, told me she began to realize how small and difficult this place is to navigate.

Lord have mercy - on my suffering friends and on myself...

Monday, October 20, 2008

The hard, good and um, funny...

The funny first. I was having a good day at work - when I realized that I was wearing one brown shoe and one black. Sigh. Good thing I find this funny...

The good Fr. Lawrence's podcasts have begun! It is wonderful to hear his voice and listen to him explain the Scriptures. He was there at the beginning of my journey into the Orthodox Church and I thank God for him.

Also I found a copy of Madeleine L' Engle's book A Wind in the Door today at public library book sale! I am not sure if I have read this one or not - I probably have but it has been a long time. I also found a copy of Dragons in the Waters which I am giving to a friend.

I am reading a lot of books right now - Kathleen Norris's book, an Amanda Cross mystery (No word from Winifred), Ulysses by Joyce (wanted to be more in the know as one of my friends is reading it for class; I know it is long and at times said to be unreadable), and I recently obtained, from 8th day books, St. Ephriam's Spiritual Psalter. Ancient Faith Radio reads some of these prayers throughout the day; I am grateful to have a copy. I am reading this book very slowly.

New and old books - L' Engle I have been reading more or less avidly for the last 12 years - Amanda Cross is great for thinking about the academic world, esp. English departments. One gets a real sense of the time period through reading popular mysteries and she deals with a lot of questions, including about the self, feminism, youth, and the current states in culture.

I picked up her book on Winifred when I was in Halifax, at the most overwhelming, real, wood floor and shelves with books that seem to almost cascade down tottering piles bookstore. I would go back, I think, almost solely to see this store again! It was lovely. Their mystery section had classics, they had a small wall of orange Penguins and a small corner with lots of editions of the Bible. I am hunting for a good edition of The Jerusalem Bible as I find that translation of the Psalms very tender. (Through another wonderful translation, which I do own, from 8th day books, is the Psalter of the Seventy).

Okay, the hard. As in hard to know how to process - I am going to have a panihida soon (if all goes as I hope) for my spiritual mother who died ten years ago last week. This is hard to know how to process as grief and as a prayer and not as any form of self-pity, which will hinder real growth, grief and prayer.

A lot is going on for me - preparing for a move, learning my new job - and figuring out how to live and not let go of the reader/bookish/writer side. God is good and I am thankful; He has given me so much.

ps: still working on downloading the Halifax pictures. Soon, I hope!

Friday, October 17, 2008


"Back" is a title of a lovely poem by Jane Kenyon... for her it meant back from the darkness of depression...

In my case, I am back from Halifax and back online. My lovely little laptop was getting a "tune up" at the shop, as it were.

I have tons of blog posts to if I usually comment on yours and have not, that is why.

I have heard rumours that Kathleen Norris making a stop here in Ottawa! Clearly, I must investigate this.

I will try to write about my time last weekend in Halifax soon. I have lovely pictures of the Greek church to share.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Books, podcasts and tea

I am still slowly reading Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris. I will try to blog about this. For now suffice to say that I keep thinking I need to quote or tab (I can't bring myself to write in a first edition) on every page. It is a book that is worth reading slowly.

I am re-reading Agatha Christie's Murder at the Vicarage; I love mysteries and really felt like reading one with Miss Jane Marple.

I listened to two podcasts by Fr. Thomas Hopko on Ancient Faith Radio - really good. One on the saints and their intercessions and one on what he would say for a commencement address. I found myself listening and thinking why did no one tell me what he is telling me when I was in University!!

Must go to bed early; feel like I could get a cold again and am to fly to Halifax DV this weekend. I bought a box of lemon tea in hopes of avoiding sickness. It does not help that my apartment building does not have the heat turned on yet and it is COLD. There is a Frost Warning for tonight. Did I mention that I am moving?

Thank God for such blessings in books, podcasts, good teaching on the spiritual life, and the simple enjoyment of a cup of lemon tea.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Joys, Sorrows and a Kitchen Table

In a week my very good friend - who is like an older sister to me - will be married! I fly to Halifax for the wedding this coming Friday morning. I am almost totally ready for this and am excited.

At the same time, this month marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of a woman who truly was and is my spiritual mother, though she was not Orthodox. I hope to be having a panihida for her at church before the end of this month. I learned about prayers for the dead within a year of her death and I still miss her very much. I was only 21 when she died, which now I see as very young to lose one's spiritual mother. How grateful I was, however, to have her in my life right when I needed her. In a real way, you could say that God used her to rescue me from spiritually destroying myself when I was young, hurting and confused. When she died I felt that my Mother had died. (FYI I have a very good biological mother; it is just in life one can also have a spiritual mother as well). So I miss her and cannot tell you how important it is to me to be Orthodox and be able to pray for her still. Truly, somehow, to pray for and with her, in church.

And so life is full of joys and sorrows.

On a lighter note, I am researching dinning room sets - I am hoping to find a well made dining room table and China cabinet. I am dreaming of a brown oak.

I talked with my spiritual father today after our after liturgy meal and my heart was filled with joy.

When my spiritual mother died, I did not think it was possible to be given a new spiritual home. I am so thankful for my church and my spiritual father.

In all things I know I must say, Glory to You, O God! Glory to You!