Saturday, February 28, 2009

3 down 3 to go

I just submitted Assignment # 3. I am very happy that this is done. The rest of the course will not be as hard, as it is areas I am more familiar with.

It is quite possible that I will need to take an additional course to learn more.

I am feeling a bit more hopeful about learning for my job. Learning the book collection still seems a bit daunting.

Now I need to go on with the day - the usual domestic tasks of dishes, laundry and groceries. Also preparing for vespers and the eve of Lent.

Blessed Lent to everyone!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lent, soon upon us

Lord have mercy on us.

I feel a mix of anticipation, exhaustion and apprehension.

Lord have mercy on us!

So much can be a mystery or not as we expect it.

My priest has challenged us various times to remember that the Pharisees in their day were the religious elite, who were well versed in Scripture and faithful in all matters related to religious practice. We can know all the rules of the fast, attend all the services and still miss it.

Humility. Praying for a broken and contrite heart. Praying for a willing spirit.

How much my heart needs to be changed. And to not fear such change but to seek it.

Lord have mercy.

May we dwell always in His temple; may His mercy pursue us all the days of our lives; May He forgive us for our blindness and confusion. May we learn to see our brokenness, may we learn to desire humility and the love of God.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God's Goodness

I ordered this Icon from 8th Day Books. It was blessed this past Sunday
and is now in my desk area in my small
corporate library.
It is so encouraging to have Icons in the Work Place.
Astounding in someways.

I am learning more for work and am seeing the fruit of it.
Paper due this Monday. Lots of work to do.
Yet I am feeling relieved.
Was at church yesterday night.
So good.
My icon of St. George is in the Alter area now.
One of my closest friends mailed me an icon of
St. Elisabeth the New Martyr.
God has given me such blessings on the Eve of Lent.
Oh to live more in the light of Great and Holy Pasca!
To be greeted by my spiritual father,
vested in white
on earth
as in heaven:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembering Summers Past

I realized that I had no clear memories of my last few summers. So I thought about them - summers since I left B.C.

Here is what I remember:

2004 - summer I was preparing for chrismation. Two part time jobs. Exhausted. New Orthodox friends. Sunday nights late at Krispy Creame past closing with these friends. Garage sales to furnish my 1 room studio that I found late that summer. Chrismated. Moved to London Ontario and began Masters in Library Science. Commonly referred to as Library School.

2005 - finishing a year of intense study for my MLIS. Dreams of a job and what this would be like. That I was wrong in what I thought, I have worked through. Walks with special library friend. Beautiful houses, ice cream, friends. By the end of this summer I was exhausted and struggling. I left my lovely little 1 bedroom tall ceiling apartment forever and moved to Ottawa for Co-op. A few months later I began this blog.

2006 - back in London. So beautiful - green, trees, old well kept houses, walks. Travels to Ottawa twice that summer. Desperate to move back to Ottawa and my new church home in Ottawa. Cleo my Cat and I began our lives together that May (I inherited Cleo from a dear friend who married her allergic-to-cats husband). Wonderful to be in my London church and with my spiritual sister. Extremely exhausted after finishing the semester. Said goodbye to my London church, where I put flowers by so many icons. Pictures of friends near my favourite saints - St. Herman, St. Nicholas, St. Xenia...

2007 - first summer in Ottawa. Began second Library Job in Ottawa. Felt like I was really getting to know Ottawa as a city for the first time. Good friend visited, high tea. Church Picnic by Lake. Memories of walking to services in the warm twilight. How happy I can feel when walking to one of my churches!

2008 - summer where I thought I would start my current Third Library Job. Broke foot in early June. June-July recovering. Church family taking good care of me. Started my job in August. Walking to get Gelato for the first time after the accident. Took time to regain strength. Took more time to get over the sense of panic. Church picnic - sunshine, water, spiritual Father.

I am hoping that this summer will be stable - that I will continue in my job, continue in my church life, and have my first summer in my new apartment with balcony.

May the Lord have mercy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Work and more work

In the vernacular: I am so getting off this computer ASAP as I have been at a computer most of today for almost 12 hours...

Am really trying to do my best at work. Worked an hour extra. I find that I can resent this. Am working on this part.

Got part of my assignment done tonight. This makes me feel a bit better.

Began my book list learning. This will take a while.

I am taking my vitamins and actually ate broccoli today.

I think I will have to limit my already limited social activity and focus on Lenten services and work. I find this disappointing.

May God be merciful to us in every situation.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Soul Saturdays...Spiritual Mothers and Fathers

It is sunny here.

By the end of the panihida my heart felt light. It is so wonderful to be in Church.

Like many I have a long blog roll in bloglines. One of the blogs I read is Christ is in our Midst by Handmaiden Leah. She has a great post about this Soul Saturday and how Koliva came to the Orthodox church.

My spiritual father spoke afterwards about how Lent is coming, how those who have died and are in Christ know that Lent is coming. They live already in the light of Pasca, but they know spiritually what is going on for us. He reminded us that we are in one Church with them, that they are with us as we journey to Pasca. I know many priests have sensed those priests who have departed this earth still with them in the Altar. It is such a comfort to know also that my loved ones who loved the Lord, including my spiritual mother, are with me in Church.

My spiritual mother was not Orthodox, but now that she is in heaven, she understands. And she loved God on earth and was a strong example of what a Christian woman can be - she prayed for many people, she helped many, she provided a refuge for many to begin deep process of healing through Christ. When she died is when God taught me that the early Church (I was not Orthodox yet) prayed for the dead.

The grief I felt when she died was the most intense I have ever consciously felt. It was like living for three days in an eclipse. I remember being shocked that the sun was shining outside. I felt like my Mother had died. I lived in BC then and she lived in New England. I had no money to go to her funeral. It was months before I went back to New England where she lived. For the first three weeks I kept thinking I saw her coming. I could not imagine that she was not coming down the stairs from her apartment for morning prayers. I could not imagine growing up without her.

Thank God that I now know that, while I cannot call her on the phone, cannot visit or email her, I can still ask for her prayers. Nothing can separate us from the love of God and Christ has trampled down death by death. My spiritual father taught us, some years ago, that in the Holy Spirit we can ask God to tell our Mothers, Fathers and other loved ones that we still love them, that we miss them. They know when we are praying for them. At times I ask a Saint that I am especially close with to relay my love to my spiritual mother.

A very special Orthodox friend, whose spiritual father is departed, still can tell spiritual father things in prayer.

My spiritual father has reminded us that the line between earthly life and the life of those departed is not that great, especially when we are in Church.

I am so thankful for my life here - that I can go to the panihida - that I can DV go back for vespers. Thank God for His Church and His great mercy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I think I needed the Quiet

My normal Fridays are usually a challenge in the sense that it is a day off and I can go the whole day and night without interacting with other people in person. This can be hard.

Today though I feel a little more rested. I went to my hairdressing establishment; bought groceries, talked to various store workers. (I tend to talk to everyone; the strange thing is that in certain circumstances I am quite shy; it varies; I like most people are complex).

I bought some picture frames; some for on-paper-not-on-wood icons. I replaced the picture frame of the picture of my spiritual mother, who passed away over ten years ago. In time I hope to find a really nice special frame for this picture; but at least now the picture is in a better frame. The glass broke in the old frame a few years ago.

I never was able to do the panihida for my spiritual mother. Looking at my old blog post I am not surprised - moving, flying to Halifax, and new job was a lot to handle. I can tell you first hand that grief is hard, unpredictable and for me takes years. It is odd too - I know I am quite sad about losing my spiritual mother - yet she is the one I grieved the most when she died. Things like finally replacing the picture frame of the picture I take with me everywhere, are hard. The frame seemed part of the picture. Of course it has been in the frame for at least 12 years, so this is understandable.

Becoming Orthodox has really helped me start grieving as a Christian. My spiritual father has affirmed that death is not natural. We are wounded by being in time. When we lose those we love, they are no longer in time and we are separated. This is painful for us, even though we have the hope of God's mercy and of Pasca.

Tomorrow I will, Lord Willing, go to what is sometimes refereed to as a general panihida. During Lent there are various Soul Saturdays where a panihida for all the departed is served. We have little panihida booklets at my church and mine is there waiting.

I also have an Akathist to Jesus Christ For a Loved One who has Fallen Asleep that I purchased at the monastery when I was there last. I need to slowly work through this Akathist.

One book I read the year after my spiritual mother died was A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. I got this book from my University Library. I am planning on getting my own copy of this book. It really impacted me when I read it ten years ago and I can tell I need to read it again. I have been thinking about this book on and off for weeks now.

I have also been reading, in true librarian style, the book catalogue of 8th day books. I read this for fun. One can learn a lot from reading about books. 8th day books has a very well organized catalogue and can point out a lot of good books for spiritual reading. Of course it is important to remember what my spiritual father has also told me - if he read all the Orthodox books that are published, he would no longer have a spiritual life.

Thank God Lent is coming. God is so good to us.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We must remember

Winter is a time where all seems dry, barren, cold and dark. The days seem to go on endlessly. Winter is when the land must lie fallow. But without the rest and cold of winter, spring does not come.

I had a short but intense conversation with the woman who comes in and waters my plant in my library. She is a Protestant Christian; we spoke of Christ; she reminded me that Christ too felt abandoned - My God my God why have You forsaken me? and I reminded her of how an Angel came and strengthened Christ right before. I asked her, and what came after this? she said He died. and what came after this? He rose again.

Yes, I said. And he promised that we would not be abandoned. That the Holy Spirit would come and would not leave us.

She asked me do you believe in angels?

Yes, I said. I do believe in Angels. They are in the Bible.

And do you believe that sometimes people come and they are Angels? she asked.

I pondered. I believe that God brings people to us; yes.

Shortly after this, she left.

I am often a foolish young woman. I panic and forget God's care. I get overwhelmed in the night and fail to see things as they are. Yet God graces me with so many signs of His care and love.

I must remember, my winters are for a reason. I know so many who are suffering from many different things. We must not give up hope. Not only does summer come again, but Christ's Pasca has come. Oh that we can abide in Christ's life and Pasca in every season.


Some simple summer pictures:

The above is the summer lake where my Church's picnic was.

My old apartment when a friend came for tea and I dressed up my table accordingly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Did everyone notice this on Facebook?

Terms of Use Update

Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the....

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group ....Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities....

It is interesting how we influence the media we use.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tiny Steps

1. prayed this morning
2. went to work
3. tried not to panic. failed.
4. lunch. icons. trying again.
5. worked late until 6 pm. long day. had to order books for the clients I serve. am glad at least that this is getting done.
6. dinner. called friend. friend sick. prayer lists additions.
7. submitted second assignment. relief. at least it is done.
8. realizing that i have to accept imperfection.

Thanking God. Praying that I do not get sick. Taking Zinc +Vit C lozenges for throat. Bought Total1 Vitamins.

More prayer and thanksgiving needed.

Facebook verses Blogger - copyright claims

Mat. Donna alerted me to this change through her blog:

Facebook's license says that they now own ANYTHING/EVERYTHING you put on Facebook and can use your stuff without your permission or knowedge:

You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.
If you own or control a website, you may place Facebook's share link button, logo and/or text (a "Share Link"), including all trademarks therein, on your website for the sole purpose of enabling users to Post links or content from your website on the Facebook Service. By offering a Share Link on your website, you agree, represent and warrant that you will not place a Share Link on any page containing content that would violate these Terms if Posted on the Facebook Service. The rights granted in this paragraph may be revoked by us at any time in our sole discretion, and upon such termination, you will immediately remove all Share Links from your website.
You acknowledge and agree that any questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, feedback or other information that you provide to Facebook ("Submissions"), are non-confidential and non-proprietary. Facebook will be entitled to the unrestricted use of any such Submission for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or compensation to you." as seen on February 17, 2009.

Blogger says you own your stuff:

Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Google services and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services. Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.
You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content submitted. as seen today February 17, 2009

This is serious. Licenses are legally binding and most people are not aware of them at all. I am aware of them as I did licencing for a library. Every database you use in a library is licensed for certain users only, with various restrictions.

I do NOT have online/Internet banking because my Bank's license says I will indemnify them. This means that if I had a complaint that had to come to court, I will pay for their costs and they will not be financially responsible towards me, but I am responsible towards them.

Read licenses - they are important!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I remember why...

....I was glad to be done with school. I feel constantly behind on school work when it is not all done. I am not actually behind, but see how much work has yet to be finished.

Tonight though I am finishing early and trying to relax. Tomorrow begins a much shorter work week (today was a provincial holiday and I studied instead of going to work).

May the Lord continue to help us.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Day

Have been up since around 5 AM. To do well in this day:

1. fish sandwich. fruit. nuts. bread. water.
2. baptism at noon - yay church! and yay taxi to get me there in time over lunch hour.
3. no A/C in tall building at work on weekend. Fans and summer clothes with winter evening going to vespers clothes in bag.
4. prayers and encouragement of others
5. God's mercy

Speaking of and to America

I really appreciate Fr. Jonathan's blog. My blog friends know this. I especially love when he writes about America that is beyond the commercial TV Mall consumerist America, but not by ignoring that this is part and parcel of what America is. I articulate poorly I am sure.

If you appreciate literature, good thought, and commitment to the Gospel and Orthodoxy, I recommend his latest post.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Small Update

I have begun work in earnest to begin learning what I need to learn. I understand why I need to learn it. It is going to be a very steep learning curve. I am going to need to work a lot. One step at a time.

I have been eating nuts at work. Need to continue considering how to best feed myself during this time. Victoria suggested spirulina*- I went to a pharmacy in search of a vitamin and discovered that spirulina is a natural food product. I asked the very professional young pharmacist about it and learned that it is blue algae and is noted for it's protein. It is comparable to dairy and beef in protein; it costs more than either of these, FYI. The pharmacist let me use the book on natural products - similar to the CPS - the blue book of drug information (Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties). I am such a librarian aren't I? ! :)

I think I am going to look into this more. If others have suggestions on things for food/energy, I would be happy to hear them!

Well. I have to work again tomorrow. Am going to a Baptism "over lunch"... a lovely young woman from my parish is being baptised at noon! As it is over the lunch hour, I can go... ! Kind of funny, but wonderful to.

I guess I am in a learning curve also to balance added studies to my work, church, Lent, and still caring for myself and my Cat.

It is going to be a lot of learning. Did I mention that I asked my patron Saint Irene a few years ago to help me grow up? This explains a lot of what is going on now.

Thanks again everyone for your comments, prayers and understanding.

*I linked to wikipedia for spirulina but please realize that as this is a vitamin/natural medicine I would never recommend Wikipedia as a final authoritative source. It is useful however for getting a good overview. It was clear from the entry itself that there may be errors in it or are conflicting information.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Here Again

Just a quick update - I feel a lot of better - lots of prayers, tears and honest heart searching over a photocopy machine.

I continue to be in a huge life transition. I am still often afraid. I know one of the things I am battling is fear and how to best manage my life.

I feel that I must "make the grade" in this job or I will cease to be a librarian. It would take a long time to explain what I mean, as the library world is quite unfamiliar to most people. But I must learn what I need to learn.

It is going to be hard. Hard on many levels. But I have come to far to give up. There is no one (save God and His ways) financially supporting me. I do not come from a family that has money to lend me - the money is not there. I have school loans, rent to pay, etc.

And I don't have training other than being a librarian. And to be honest I am not a multi-talented person who can easily shift from one profession to another.

So. I am going to have to work harder. And try to cook well too, so I have the energy I need to do the work.

Anyway. That's how it stands. I pray that God will help me and that I can do my best. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Difficult Situations

My day was hard.

I am asked to do more and more. I work 4 days. This means I have 4 days (not 5) to do the work.

I am also asked to learn more and more (beyond just my outside of work online class). I honestly feel that my boss was saying that if I do not learn the various things (outside of work hours) within a few months time, that I am in direct jeopardy of losing my job. And she is expecting my online course to be done perfectly and for me to totally understand it all.


Please pray for me.

And please pray for my place of work, they need prayer too. I find that I care about them. When you are a librarian to a smaller group of people, you slowly get to know who they are. They are people and I care about them as people... they live and work in a corporate world that is really difficult...

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Piece by Piece, Little by Little

Tomorrow is the big day. Well okay one of them. Day of dreaded work evaluation. Meeting new person day, meeting boss day, social day, maybe work lunch day. Most of this is not bad. And my paper for class, which I freaked out about last night, is further along than I thought.

Would welcome prayers. I know I am a highly sensitive person who is learning not to panic at work. BTW, this book and others may be good to read if you think you are either a highly sensitive person or if you are a parent, if you think you child/ren may be.

Anyway. Lots to do and learn. Ironically, about the book, highly sensitive person ... I never did finish reading it. I still recommend it, but of course was reading it a few years back when I was overwhelmed and had to stop taking in new information. Oh the ironies of life. I should finish the book, as the purpose of it is not to merely affirm or define what a highly sensitive person is but to show the HSP how to thrive while still being themselves.

Here are things that are helping me cope this week (not in any order really):

1. trying to not panic - for me this involves a lot of self-talk that is not negative, a lot of encouragement, and trying to keep things in perspective. This is hard and I am working on it.

2. I made one of my best vegetable soups this week - potatoes, carrots, zucchini, green beans, basil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, oil, Parmesan cheese. I add tortilla chips when I am eating it - adds crunch and it needed a bit more salt...

3. I have yummy organic white cheddar cheese and crackers. And boiled eggs and grapes. Good work snacks. Thanks again to those who gave suggestions on this!

4. My Mother is praying for me. Others are praying, including some beloved church friends and my loved blog friends. (Thank you.)

5. Special prayers in icon corner.

6. I have meds to help me sleep now - my insomnia is slowly getting better!...after a very long time. Walking up at 6 AM instead of 2 or 4 AM makes a huge difference. My sleep is still variable, but at least I can say it is improving.

7. Being thankful and remembering that I have a lot of blessings in my life.

I admit to being worried that I am getting sick again - so I am also trying to take it as easy as possible in the midst of a more intense work week.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cozy Home - Pictures

I had two lovely friends over on Friday for tea.
Here are two pictures I took before they came:

The silver candle holders I bought at an antique store in Halifax.
The larger candle holder my Mom found
at a garage sale a few years back.

Like my new dining table and 4 chairs? IKEA.
I am really pleased with them.
The table has an extra leaf stored
under the middle of the table,
to sit six people.

I bought the place mats while
I was in Halifax as well.

I do not have a lot of my decorations out yet.
However, here are two that I do have lovingly on display!
My dear friend E-H gave me these two little
handmade Dutch dolls this summer.
I love them there on my little table!
I bought the dusty pink table cloth also
in Halifax over Canadian Thanksgiving.
I was in Halifax for my spiritual big sister's wedding,
at St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
For Christmas I received a lovely poster (from an Icon Museum)
of St. George.
My friend took this picture today,
before I gave the poster
to another friend to be mounted.
This icon I am going to DV have above
my buffet in my dining room area.
I have a lampada from the monastery
that I hope to use for this icon.

St. George please pray for us!
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

And then I went to Church

I love Saturday vespers.

Today nothing seemed to work out - well - a few things did - but the weather was damp and bone-chilling and a lot of my plans went wrong.

So... my paper for my class is not done.

It is due in a week, but next weekend is the famed kind of dreaded work-over-valentines-day weekend.

It is a daily battle for me not to panic. I often fail.

But then I go to church. And then was blessed by my spiritual father. And then went out to dinner with two good friends. And now I am home with my Cleo Cat. Have chopped vegetables for a good energy-giving soup.

And I had friends over for tea yesterday. Laundry done and work clothes ready for the week.

Even better - Lord willing I will be in church again tomorrow. We have new Icons and I am overcome with their beauty; so comforting.

Would appreciate prayers (please!!) as this work week is going to be challenging - doing a work project - and working extra hours - etc.

Thank God for His Church and His mercy.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Paws Off

So one of my Dad's sayings is 'get your paws off (whatever it is)'. One of his endearing loving sayings that I enjoy.

So I was washing dishes tonight and there was my Cleo Cat, who has learned about how to explore my new dining room table (the chairs are more conducive to Cleo climbing, much to her delight).

Imagine my surprise when I heard myself say, "Cleo, get your paws off the table!" and realize I had literally just told a Cat to get her front paws off the table.

Anyway. I was amused and thought I would share. My cat really is sweet company for me! I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Peaceful easy feeling, already on the ground

I woke up this morning - late! The sun was shining, my Cleo Cat was fussing and sure enough, I forgot to set my alarm!

I wish I could dscribe how I felt - had slept better than I had in a long while and felt quietly cheered. Like waking up when I was a child, peaceful and secure.

Worry is a big struggle of mine, which I am learning to battle in new ways. One of the prayers I prayed while walking to work when anxiety hit was

Lord, You are the Ground of My Being.

This prayer comes from my memory of the verses in Acts where St. Paul speaks of God in similar terms.

The Eagle's song came to mind as I woke up slowly in a sunlit light blue room, with my cat and Icon Wall near by. And I knew the only reason I felt a Peaceful Easy Feeling is because I am already standing on solid ground.

The Lord is the ground of my being.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quiet Day

I was thankful that I had a quiet no-emergency-reference-question/s day. I am still dizzy (esp. with the residual congestion from my head cold) and this is tiring.

Question of the hour: I am looking for some simple healthy energy-giving snacks to have at work. Would love suggestions. So far my only answer is to have a stash of nuts at work, and maybe dried fruit. Any thoughts?

On the pass the blog post on front (I am a librarian!), Fr. Stephen's post was lovely to read. He has various posts recently about anger from various perspectives. Take a look and while your at it, you can see the other posts he wrote recently. (That is if you are not already one of his regular readers!)