Sunday, December 28, 2008
I got in late last night. Am going to the monastery soon. Birthday tomorrow!
I was at my church in Michigan today for Sunday morning Liturgy. High winds last night created a lot of power outages and many churches were cancelled. Not the Orthodox Church though!
So I stood in my church for Matins without any power - my Godmother praying for the lights and heat to return.
Right when our priest was singing, at the beginning of Liturgy, Glory to Thee Who has Shown us the Light the lights went on.
The lights and heat stayed on until about 10 minutes after the Liturgy was done.
Glory to God!
Monday, December 22, 2008
May we cry out to the Lord in the barren cave of our heart:
Come, O Immanuel! Save us, O Good One!
We have no one but You;
Come, be born in us,
Come, O Christmas!
Root of Jesse,
Take root in us!
Come with Your Holy Mother
Bring us to Your cradle;
Come, so we can worship You,
Born of Your Virgin Mother Mary,
*Celebrate Christ's Nativity
*Celebrate my Oma's 100th birthday
*Celebrate my sister's belated birthday
*Celebrate my birthday
*Celebrate New Years
*Stay at the monastery
*See my Godmother
For most of this time, I will not be near Internet.
I pray that everyone has a good Christmas, a Blessed New Year and all of God's goodness.
Thank you for all of my new and old blog friends for your care and love for me!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Protection and Shelter of the Saints. I was at a friend’s birthday party a while back and asked to see this friend’s icons. His icon of the Theotokos looked out so tenderly. The Mother of God is a deep Mother and I felt reassured of the protection for this friend.
The Mother of God, Virgin of Vladimir Icon
While at St. Herman’s in Langley, when I looked at the iconostasis, St. Herman always looked worried for me, like a Father worried for over his child. I know St. Herman loves me and many others and is a Father and Grandfather figure to them.
St. Herman - I got this Icon last year at the Monastery.
St. Nicholas prays for me. When I desperately needed money in school I received news of a bursary on St. Nicholas day. I was chrismated in his church; I have been moved to tears praying for beloved ones in my life who are in distress and cried out to St. Nicholas to save them.
Spiritual Fathers and Mothers. My spiritual father is the spiritual father to the child within me. I am reminded of Kathleen Norris’s book title, little girls in church when I think of how I have experienced church, especially at the evening services when there are fewer people. Monasteries are very important and have kept the spiritual life of the Church alive for centuries.
Beauty. Most of the Protestant churches I went to were so barren of any beauty. The Orthodox church has beauty in the liturgy, in the Icons, in the prayers. Poetry, song, ritual – spanning centuries and many cultures.
Truth. The Orthodox Church has not deviated from the worship of the Holy Trinity. We worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and offer the liturgy to God in the Holy Trinity.
The Holy Trinity, Rublev Icon
Today pluralism, pantheism, “tolerance”, inclusively, Eastern Meditation, are what is cool, hip and very trendy. Not all trends are bad, and there are reasons for what is culturally important. There are things that people feel they are lacking and need. However, if the true needs of a person’s heart are not met by Christ in the Holy Trinity, then they are not fully met.
Love. I do not find the promotion of “tolerance” loving. Saying, we will tolerate you is not loving. I believe that God is love. Love has boundaries; love is a Father not letting a child be burned by fire, love is a Mother not allowing a preteen daughter to harm herself by inappropriate behaviour or relationships. Love does not tolerate all things; it bears all things and hopes all things. Bearing and tolerating are different.
I have been blessed with a spiritual Father who gives me clear boundaries and does not give his blessing for me to destroy myself by sin. He loves me, is patient with me, understands me very well, but he loves me too much to let me “get away with things”. That said, my experience of the Church is not controlling but always given the freedom and option of obedience and repentance. What I do with the need for repentance is up to me.
The sacraments. Including baptism and chrismation, the Eucharist, confession – they save, heal and give hope. Not full or immediate healing necessarily but they can transform and save.
In the church I am able to grieve and pray for the dead. I can ask Saints in the Holy Spirit to give my love to those I miss who have died. When I was a protestant I felt the connection was severed instead of the living and the departed both worshiping in church; in the liturgy we join heaven’s worship.
In the Church I found the merging of one’s body and one’s soul. The dualism that exists in many protestant churches is not in the Orthodox Church. We kiss icons, priest’s hands, drink Holy Water, kneel, prostrate, stand; the body is part of worship here.
Christ has become visible, has become man. Christ is the first icon. Orthodoxy has a holistic understanding of the person that predates our current medical preference towards holistic treatment. Our soul is in our body; a human is not a body and soul as completely separate entities, as if they are oil and water held in by our skin. The final resurrection includes our bodies. Christ is shown in the Gospel in His glorified human body; nail prints and wounds visible.
Reverence towards the body is shown also at death – the body of our loved ones can stay in church – when we have the Panihida (requiem) we reverence the one we love who has died. We give a final kiss to them. We kiss the Cross and Gospel book near by to them.
The understanding and reverence of the body is based Orthodoxy’s understanding of Christ incarnate. My spiritual father has taught us that Christ is what a human was created to be. To excuse someone’s failures by saying “she or he is only human” is a misunderstanding of what a human is to be.
Fatherhood and Motherhood. Christ has given His Mother to us. St. George is a beloved hero and protector. I am a woman. I am more than happy to be protected. This does not devalue me or imply weakness; it does mean I can breathe easier. Men can learn to be men by praying (i.e. asking for prayers) of saints like St. George. And I do not mean they can learn to be rude or overbearing but true men. And I am free to be a woman and be strong in this. St. Mary Magdalene is called Equal-to-the-Apostles for centuries! The Theotokos more honoured than the cherubim, for She bore the Saviour of the World. The understanding of what it means to be human, and what it is to be a woman or a man can be restored by the Church and was never lost in the church. Here I do not mean to gloss over problems, questions current or historically based. I studied feminism and literary criticism for some years. What I have been given in the Church answers these questions centuries before postmodernism and still applies. The Desert Father’s understanding of human struggle and weakness is often more astute in their observations of the human soul.
St. George - I got this icon from my church last year. All during Lent my spiritual father patiently let me have St. George be in the Altar area in a window. I was so comforted to know St. George was in the Altar praying and fighting for me and everyone else from my Church.
Repentance, Humility and Communion with God. This is the hardest to write on, as I am young in the faith! The sacrament of Confession and the life of an Orthodox Christian is based in repentance in order to purify one’s self of the passions (sinful desires, thoughts, and so on). The spiritual life is a life of humility and repentance; not being inwardly hostile towards anyone, not judging. A life of constant prayer and the acquisition of the Holy Spirit are the goals of every Orthodox Christian.
Spiritual growth is evidenced by our increasing understanding of our need for the ever-present mercy of God and the awareness of our own unworthiness and sinfulness. Somehow the concept of sinfulness, in the West, has been linked to the body, as if the body contains the sin. This is a misunderstanding that can be corrected by time and prayer within the Church. I am not wise enough to explain the difference**, only that I sense it. Something to ask my spiritual father about!
Asking one’s spiritual father is part of learning humility. We have the Church and the tradition of the Church to teach us. We do not base our understanding of God or how to live a Christian life based only on our own thoughts, understanding or interpretation of the Scriptures, the world and our personal life. We do not trust ourselves, this side of the grave. This does not mean living in a state of anxiety or intense insecurity. It does have to do with humility before God, knowing how easily we are distracted and lead astray. Fr. Thomas Hopko writes, in his 55 maxims, that we are to expect to be tempted until our last breath.
As I said at the beginning of this section, I am spiritually young. I have not even begun to learn these things! All I have to do is read the section in Galatians about the fruits of the Spirit to realize not only the depth of a Christian who is acquiring the Holy Spirit but how much I need to grow. I am at most a small sapling in need of further water and food from our Holy Church, with a lot of tilling of the stony ground of my heart! As I this to be the truth, I will not write on communion with God other than to say it is the goal of an Orthodox Christian and the Saints show how it can bring life and spiritual consolation beyond anything outside of Christ and His Church.
HOLY WEEK. Living through Christ’s death and resurrection. Being challenged to live everyday in the light of Pasca, of Christ’s resurrection. This is where all ends and begins. As Father Thomas Hopko has talked about – it is all about Mary’s Womb and Christ’s Tomb.
An Icon of the Resurrection of Christ.
The Church gives depth, prayer, beauty, hope; in other words, the Church has brought Christ to me. Christ: the source of all depth, of all beauty, the hope of all prayers, who wept for the death of Lazarus and, soon after, trampled down death by death.
*I have edited and added to this post. A lot of the additions are what I have been taught; here my experience is more in what I have been taught as opposed to what spiritual heights I have attained! I am still young and young in the faith. It is entirely possible that I have misunderstood something, though I have done my best to keep to the teaching as I have received it. Understand this to be a “disclaimer” to this post. The best way to understand what can be given/found in the Orthodox Church is to be in Church (and or monastery) and to search for a good spiritual father or mother.
** This part I am less sure about - or at least how to best explain it - will have to do more research and asking and report back!
This is okay. It will be re-written when it needs to be.
I am down to the last days before I leave for Christmas.
To be honest I am struggling with a lot of heaviness this season. Actually Christmas has been hard for a while.
It is hard to come to terms with my life - I never dreamed I would be living in a city as a single woman with a professional career. Though a lot of those in the blog world struggle with finances while raising children, I still wish I could trade places. Of course it is hard, of course. Life is hard, from what I can tell. But it is hard to be alone too. There is no one to wake up to here, no one to take care of (except my Cleo Cat who we all know I adore), no one to talk to. This can be hard.
But I know, such as it is, that God has given me a lot of what I dreamed for. I have a spiritual father, a job, a good apartment, a lovely cat, pretty things. Not to mention His mercy. The Saints. The Church. I have good friends, who are my spiritual family.
But it is a struggle! A struggle to be a Christian. A struggle to be thankful and not afraid.
One of my biggest fears is that I would gain the good job, apartment, things and feel my life empty. Money does not buy happiness, total security or inward peace or fulfillment.
Of course one would want enough to provide for housing, food, clothes, heat, hot water. One of my family members buys groceries with food stamps. I know money is needed to live here.
But we need family too, community; sometimes it seems that we all get so overwhelmed and busy that it is hard to be there for another. I have been there too many times - feeling so exhausted that I can give very little.
It is hard.
But Fr. Thomas Hopko quotes Fr. Schemman who told us that Christmas comes to us as a gift, we do not come to Christmas.
Lord Jesus, come. We are waiting for You and need You. Come to us on Christmas Day but come also to us now, come. And when You come, may we open our hearts and let You in the barren cave of our soul. Come and bring Christmas to our hearts so that we can go with You to Your Passion, Your Crucifixion and Your Pasca. Come.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Library land is going a bit better for me - someone at work has been lending a huge helping hand for one part of the work. The rest - well - it is not yet done. But I sure answered a LOT of reference questions!
So in library fashion, it is time to share from my blog reading.
I comment on an increasing amount of blogs, but I still read more than I comment on.
One of these, that I appreciate a lot, is by a man named John, who is aware of the world, various cultures, has traveled, and whose outlook on life I respect. Just wanted to mention his latest post, which reviews an article and outlines some of the challenges of a world that continues to misunderstand Christianity. It is well worth reading. His blog makes me think of friends whom one is better by having.
I also read this very lovely titled blog - Lost in-Elegant Cogitations where Phillipa gave a wonderful quotation (that I repeat below); see this post for an interview with Archbishop John of Belgorod. One of the many things I love about the Orthodox Church is the difference you find in perspective:
"It’s hard not to grumble when we deal with illness or sorrow. But here one can remember what an old woman crying by the church said. When the priest asked her what she was crying about, she answered, “I think God has forgotten about me: this year I have never been taken ill and there has been no sorrow in my life.” "
This reminds me of a quick blurb I heard on Ancient Faith Radio when Fr. Thomas Hopko challenged us to be thankful for the sorrow in our lives.
When ever I think of monasteries and Orthodox Fathers, including Fr. Thomas Hopko, I am very reassured. There are people, by the mercy and grace of God, who can teach us, who we can trust.
I find this shocking when I think of it (I am too often too busy, tired or distracted to remember, to my shame) that I have met, seen and heard spiritual fathers and mothers who are trustworthy and who show deeper Christianity than I once knew*. The small amount of faith I do have, I know is because of ones like these. And they are worth trusting because they know humility is of Christ.
*(I will have to do a post someday on the struggle to explain why I feel I have been given more in the Church than when I was a Christian but not in the Orthodox Church. Between the huge relativism found in parts of post-modernism and my dearly beloved Protestant Christian friends who, for the most part, would say what I have found was where I used to be, I find it a challenge to articulate where I now see myself; not to even begin to explain the Orthodox Church.)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Personally I think we all come to parts of our lives that are very difficult - what could be called a hell on earth. Death, illness, loss, relational stress, relational breakdown, family crisis - they can all trigger other internal crisis within ourselves, including a crisis of faith.
I have been in this place; since around my 10th year of life, I knew what it was to lose someone I loved. I have seen families shattered when the mother unexpectedly died. I have seen the small children crying, in shock; I have seen them still struggling, years later. These are no small things.
The question then is what gets us past or through these times; if we do, indeed, get through them. I am reminded of something Fr. Thomas Hopko said - a lot of what happens to a person, and that person's reactions (esp. about faith) come from who they have met.
My spiritual family (various brothers and sisters), my spiritual Father, my spiritual mother - they are part of this.
For me it is also a glimpse of God's love - an accepting warm love - when I was a teenager that kept me from giving up. When I struggled to believe, I would think of this experience and know that there was something more out there, even when it seemed totally alien to me.
Also now it is the Church and the Saints and the Icons. The monasteries. The Church and the Saints are part of this love. Humility, I have been told, is the other side of love; one coin two sides.
These things, they keep me.
The Psalms, they uphold me; Kathleen Norris writes of the Psalter as sustaining prayers, keeping her while her husband battled cancer.
Above all is God's mercy.
Psalm 23 - Thy mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life.
One of the translations I read replaces follow with pursue.
I know too well how I fail in areas of my life daily. I worry, fail, try to trust, and then find myself worrying some more (for example).
Yet I am promised that His mercy is new every morning. In the end somehow God pursues and keeps me. May we live under God's mercy forever and strive towards it.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Work has been challenging as of late - I have too much on my plate and am not keeping up with some important things because of more pressing urgent things. I need help and prayer for this.
That said, there are much harder things. I think of the single parents who are working and taking care of kids.
Life is a challenge at times.
What do you do when things seem unmanageable?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I can't tell you how relieved I am that I will, Lord willing, be returning there for a short while.
I often get stuck in my own little world with its worries, joys, confusions and chaos. I hope to get beyond this and be able to rest and receive advice for those things I need to ask.
It is times like these that I feel most hopeful.
May the Lord continue to show His mercy to us.
Friday, December 12, 2008
1. Clean house
2. Put up Icons
1. I finally registered my phone number with the National Do Not Call List. Canada, unfortunately, is often behind the US in phone matters. This list just started this past September. Soon I will not come home to phone ID showing 8 or more callers a day from various 1-800-numbers. This is good.
2. Phone errands
Thoughts of the day:
What it means to be okay with one's personality and preferences. I can be an introvert, in other words.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The lighting was ambient and nice. For a while they played music much too loud. Everyone seemed happy, talking with one another. I left around eight-thirty.
I am tired. By the taxi ride home (buses are on strike right now, very UNCOOL, boo hiss; and it is cold out) my earrings felt heavy.
A nice woman who is quite new was my friend. I was quiet for a lot of it. The standing for an hour talking holding a glass (I had cranberry juice as I said I would) was long. I started to struggle but then I started praying and I knew that others were praying too. I felt at peace and happy to look at everyone and smile and pray as best I could.
I am really drained now and am glad to be home. I am glad also that I do not have to do that all the time. The dinner was fine though and I felt more relaxed. It was just the standing for that long at the beginning was hard.
I am glad it was a calm dinner party.
I was really happy to wear my new outfit and jewelry; I even did my hair, which is not saying much though. My hair curls naturally after being washed so I put hair stuff in and scrunched. That is all I am willing to do to it!!! But yes, it is FUN to be a girl and dress up....
Thank you everyone for your encouragement, advice and prayers.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
May God be glorified.
I admit to looking forward to wearing my new pretty outfit ... I am hopeful.
May God be with us all and help us in whatever is needed for us.
Monday, December 08, 2008
I grew up in a small town, most of the people I knew were more blue collar Christians who faithfully lived and worked and sent their children to Christian schools. Very thoughtful, deliberate, God-loving people.
People that I hope Wendell Berry would like, especially the ones that had farms. These were not the doctors, lawyers, business or civil servants. And so, I did not experience five-course meals, table settings with more than one knife, fork and spoon, until I was in my early twenties. And in time, I became a librarian.
Libraries, even public libraries, can be a bit more business like. But not like where I am now. And so, I am going to my first Corporate Christmas Party. Cocktails and hors d'œuvre, with mingling and later a meal. Thankfully (I asked the right people) there has never been crazy alcohol induced things. I am not comfortable drinking socially myself, so I will get some nice red Cranberry juice or something.
And today I bought a pretty red sweater with a nice black/grey/silver strands suit jacket and pants. I also got some nice silver with crystal (or what looks like silver and crystal) flower necklace and earrings. I have been wearing the same silver earrings for 4 years strait and very very rarely buy jewelry at all as I always wear my silver Cross and silver earrings. I do not remember buying a dressy necklace since high school in the early 90's. Anyway. I feel a bit more prepared now and now have to continue to pray for wisdom, courage and Christ's love for the social mingling part.
I usually would rather quote Jane Kenyon's poem on staying home instead of going out than go to big events! (Unless they are with my church, this seems different, as it is family).
So the little country girl has to grow up to be a city girl with a professional career, Cute Cat and a nice one bedroom apartment.
Please pray for me - this is all new to me and I have felt nervous about it.
Also, if you have any suggestions for how to make small talk, please share with me! I had a really good conversation yesterday after church and was reminded of the introvert's golden key - ask the other person about themselves. Any other tips, I would love to hear.
For me, I really feel that this is part of my growing up and is linked to my inner healing (another story that this post is indirectly about). What are things that you see as things that helped you mature and grow?
Notice that one of these looks like a flower!
We all have painful events and situations in our lives. We all have struggles, fears and hangups. I know I do - things that seem impossible to change, get over or do. We can feel so overwhelmed that any possible action or way to move forward seems either non-existent or fruitless; we fall into despair.
It is then that I need to remember the God who loves us. The God who makes snowflakes. The God who gave us the Church. The God that Fr. Thomas Hopko talks about, teaching us that life is good and worth living (in his "Commencement" podcast).
It is this God that I must turn to now, when I wake in the middle of the night, sleepless again.
If God cares enough to be able to make snowflakes so beautiful, He can care about us and be taking care of us, right now, no matter where we find ourselves.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
My apartment, thanks to a very generous and helpful friend, is now 80% box free! However, until I get my IKEA furniture (much will have to wait until the new year as it can only be ordered and I am leaving for Christmas in 2 weeks so it may not get here in time), my apartment will not be fully picture blog worthy. I would rather show it off when it is done, etc.
But to show a little of my best apartment ever... here are pictures of Cleo in my new place:
The love of windows and birds! I decided early on that I would not worry about Cleo being on my desk. She loves windows...
This is in the living room by the sliding door. I love the gold chair - it was my Dad's chair when I was a child and we placed "spaceship" with the navy buttons during the day when he was at work. Cleo also loves this chair. She is often near by when I blog! You can also see a bit of the green paint that I chose.
Friday, December 05, 2008
This line in particular caught me:
As you are more honorable than the Angels, raise me above this world's confusion
And Fr. Tobias also quoted from our prayer book - Come to Me. This is a lovely prayer book that I find very simple and very good. As I come from a Protestant background where prayer was mainly spontaneous, this prayer book helped me gain a good beginning to praying the prayers of the Church.
The quote is from morning prayers:
O Birth-giver of God, my most holy Lady! Unworthy as I am, I beg you: by your holy and powerful prayers, empty my heart of all despair, of all laziness and slowness in understanding spiritual things, of all forgetfulness, of all sinful and crafty thoughts. By the strength of your prayers, cleanse my clouded mind and bruised heart. Free me from the memories of sins long gone by. Rescue me from every inclination to do wrong. In your goodness help me, for I am poor and lost. For you are praised by all generations, and your glorious name is honored forever.
I have been learning how hard it is to pray, especially to pray with attentiveness. However, I have hope because of the powerful prayers of the Theotokos.
I also appreciated this post by Fr. Stephen, whose blog, Glory to God for All Things, I have recommended to many without reservation. Fr. Stephen's post touches on prayer being possible even in our distracted lives; Orthodoxy shows that we can pray when in personal hells and when coming to ourselves, realizing our brokenness.
Both these blog posts give hope when in despair and show Christ coming to rescue us even in Hades. Thank God. And Thank God for Christ’s Holy Mother who prays for us.
Most Holy Theotokos save us!
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Unfortunately I was woken up at 2 AM to someone trying to get into my apartment. Even though I knew they were probably confused and on the wrong floor, and possibly drunk, I still found it scary to wake up to someone knocking and trying to open the door with a key. I lit a candle by my Theotokos Icon and tried to calm down again. It took a while, I admit. I told the Super in the morning on my way to work and hope it never happens again. I will be inquiring about it again tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am thinking of putting an Icon on my front door...
I still love my apartment though. I have been here almost a week already! Some people have lived in this building for many years and are older. This makes my heart sing - they are probably responsible, unlike the confused one waking me at 2 AM...
Work went well this week, thanks to many people’s prayers and God's mercy. I feel like I am slowly catching on now to what I am supposed to be doing (most of this was all new to me) and I got to do some really involved and interesting reference questions. Some days being a librarian is fun. :)
I must admit that my life is not what I thought it would be, but I feel really thankful that I have a job and now a nice place to live. It is getting colder and I love winter! I also love that I can walk to work and to Church and to most things...
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I am re-reading Agatha Christie's 4.5o From Paddington. I love Miss Jane Marple.
Just thought I'd mention my love of mystery books. I have a lovely narrow bookshelf half full of mysteries. I find them relaxing, calming and give a sense of stability; I like the predictability, humour and the othernes about them.
Would love to hear what you read to relax, for comfort or for a challenge...
I would say this captures a lot of me, however not everything. I can be a leader as well... Anyway, here it is:
You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"
Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.
How to Get Along with Me
* Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
* Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
* Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
* Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
* Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!
What I Like About Being an Ingrid
* my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
* my ability to establish warm connections with people
* admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
* my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
* being unique and being seen as unique by others
* having aesthetic sensibilities
* being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me
What's Hard About Being an Ingrid
* experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
* feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved
* feeling guilty when I disappoint people
* feeling hurt or attacked when someone misunderstands me
* expecting too much from myself and life
* fearing being abandoned
* obsessing over resentments
* longing for what I don't have
Ingrids as Children Often
* have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
* are very sensitive
* feel that they don't fit in
* believe they are missing something that other people have
* attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
* become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
* feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)
Ingrids as Parents
* help their children become who they really are
* support their children's creativity and originality
* are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
* are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
* are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed
and here is where it is from
If you decide to play along, tell me who you were placed as!
Monday, December 01, 2008
Yep. This apartment feels so wonderful. Clean newly lacquered Parkay floors, green and blue walls. A kitchen with many cupboards. To live in a clean building, where glass doors are not smashed, there are no holes in the basement ceiling, the buzzer works, there is an elevator (great for laundry) and near instant hot water from the taps. I am richly blessed and I know it.
I am holding off on pictures until I get more things in order. I have been working on getting my books out of boxes. I feel really hopeful. These last few years have often been so exhausting that I was often overwhelmed. Tomorrow I return to work... at least I will be coming home to a better place. God help me - I want to rebuild my life...