Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Living in the Present

Living in the present is one of the things I am learning.

This means not living in the past - which has not been too hard for me personally.

This also means not living in the future - including what one hopes the future will be.

This one is more challenging to me. When I was in school I would look forward to the next class and how great it would be. Later, I dreamed of how great it would be to be working. I realize that I can do this in my dreams of what books I will read. (Moreover, planning book buying without reading the books just bought; or what books one will get from the library while the library pile goes unread from last week's library run).

Orthodoxy continues to bring truth into my life in ways I could never of dreamt (another reason to live in the present instead of a fantasy dreamt future).

I have been reading that through God and the Church, a human can become who God created them to be. I see is in Fr. Stephen's post on prayer and humility. Losing one's self brings one to his or her truest self is a concept I first read in C.S. Lewis. The Orthodox church, with the writings and prayers of the Church Father's, deepen what C.S. Lewis speaks of.

The fragrant flower of humility. How wonderful it is to see glimpses of what is needed.

Yet, how little I know - when I was a Protestant I would set myself "spiritual goals" as if I could reach them on my own strength! Still now, I see the danger of thinking that I can acquire myself what I am learning about. And so I need God's tender, loving mercy.

May God grant us all the mercy to complete this Lent and bring us to His Holy Pasca!

Email - Housekeeping for Canadians - Spam Alert

FYI for Canadians:

If you have received the following message (with the subject: "IMPORTANT: You are entitled to a tax refund now"), delete the email.

Do not open the e-mail message as it is malicious software looking to obtain private information (known as phishing).

Be vigilant regarding any email request which asks for personal information such as banking info or credit cards.

The email looks like this:

[Revenue Canada Logo here]

From: Canada Revenue Agency [mailto:canadarevenueagency@minister.com]
Sent: March 16, 2009 10:33 PM
Subject: Tax Refund Pending !

Dear Citizen,

After the last anual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $475.20 From 2009, we process refunds through your VISA / Mastercard Please fill the form below and e-mail it to [...DELETED for websafety....] or simply reply it from this curent e-mail !

First Name:
Last Name:
Postal Code:
Home Phone Number:
Mother's Maiden Name:
Date of Birth:
Social Insurance Number:
Credit/Debit Card Number:
Expiration date [ MM/YYYY ] :
Card Verification Code:
Card Signature/ATM PIN:
Bank Name:

We are asking for your personal information to ensure we access the correct account, enabling us to provide the tax return. Internal Revenue Code Section 6105 allows us to request your Social Insurance Number, Credit/Debit Card number, Expiration Date, Cvv Code ( located on the back of your card ) and ATM PIN CODE for use in maintaining and accessing tax return information. If you do not enter complete and valid information we cannot provide tax return.

Worm Regards,

Canada Revenue Agency

Monday, March 30, 2009

Short Update - 4th week of Great Lent

Lent - we are nearing the end already. May the Lord give us mercy to keep at the spiritual disciplines.

I gained clarification about "rights" at work. Work, unlike the Kingdom of God, is contractual. It is okay to ask work to honour what it has contracted. Merciful but not being walked on when regarding contractual agreements.

How much I need God's wisdom and mercy.

My apartment is really coming together. Another month and I hope a lot of it will be done.

I feel "at home" when I am here now. However, I must remember that I am never to feel that this earth is our final home. A challenge to our home-loving North American culture. It has been said that the upkeep, decoration and furnishing of one's home has become the new religion. This is something I must remember, as much as I love IKEA, paint colours and coziness.

Church is home though and this past Sunday it felt so home-like; the rain outside, the brightness and icons inside, my church family, the silence. How I wish everyone could find such nourishing homes with such love.

I treasure such times. May the Lord pour out His mercy to us as we strive to come to the end of this Lent. Lord have mercy, we have such a long way to go!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thank you

It means a lot to me that I was prayed for today. Thank you.
I was able to get through this day.
I am doing a bit better.
This weekend I hope to rest - though I have an assignment to finish...

I just finished re-reading C.S. Lewis'
Narnia Chronicles.
I long for the Pasca of Pascas,
when Christ comes back to take us home.

Prayers Requested

I have had an intense work week so far.
I felt that things were going pretty well lately, overall.
This week I have been struggling with a lot of fears again.
If you could say a prayer for me today, I would appreciate this.

Thank you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Humans - Dignity - Blog Post Recommendation

Fr. Stephen often articulates what I need to hear. I wanted to recommend this post as it shows how the Orthodox understanding of human dignity.

So much work, it seems, needs to be done on what it really means to be human, not to mention what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a man.

The world in which I live has very distorted understandings and expectations.

I hope to do a post sometime on what it means to be human in a work environment. Questions like:

What does it mean to be "humanely" treated; what do our "rights" mean and what does an Orthodox understanding of this. (Short summary: I am beginning to wonder if to demand one's "rights" is truly Christ-centred).

Lord have mercy on us all, as well seek to understand Christ's incarnation and that we are made in the image of God.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Holy Cross

O Lord, save Your people,
and bless Your inheritance.
Grant victories to Your people
over their adversaries.
And by virtue of Your Cross,
preserve Your habitation.
Before Your Cross,

we bow down in worship,
O Master;
and your Holy Resurrection
we praise and glorify!

It struck me today in Church how the celebration of the Cross is so linked to Christ's Resurrection.

I am looking forward to Pasca!

Hard to believe we are half way there. I know I need the mercy of God to complete this Great Lent.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kitchen Corner

I have more nesting to do in my small home....
In the meantime, I thought I would share a small corner of my kitchen.
A few weeks ago my over the stove top hood-with-fan-and-light malfunctioned...
in the end it was replaced.
For light in my kitchen, I moved a lamp.
I loved it so much that I kept it there.

Here are two pictures -
these pictures do not fully capture the soft comforting brightness of the corner.
Real life is still greater than technology, thank God!
Nonetheless, enjoy the two photo tour!

All of the essentials.
First, Spiritual Help (Icon of the Mother of God).
Second, spices, pasta, oils,
garlic and onion
salt, pepper.
Third, pencils, pens,
scissor and letter opener.
Forth, vase with soup ladles, spatulas, spoons.
My sugar bowl and glass ring holder
are there, in the background...
Fifth, the lamp that lights up the icon so beautifully.

An icon of the Mother of God.
This is one of the icons
from my Church.
I was quickly taken by this icon,
our Holy Mother of Christ our God,
strong and peaceful - beautiful and loving.
I noticed her strength first of all,
with this icon.

I will never be able to fully articulate what I have been given
in the (Orthodox) Church;
the icons, such as this one,
show it more deeply
than my words can say.

For which I thank God.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Ups and the Downs

This morning at work I got two "good job" emails. It was such a nice way to start on a Monday! Late in the afternoon, at work, I got a "What happened last week?" phone call. Apparently there was some sort of miscommunication that involves my work. Sigh. So it is, up and down.

Would appreciate prayers as these sorts of things scare me a little, even though I know it is just a misunderstanding of some sort. Add a bit of indirect communication and I find it even harder. Sigh Sigh, Sigh!


However, it is quiet in my little home. Cleo is sitting on my dining room chair. I can see my St. George Icon and Lampada from where I am sitting (picture later, promise!).

I am hoping to set up more of my house soon - I have almost all my icons up (save ones I need to get backs for) and I have yet to have my hall way mirror up (it's almost more of a mini-hall-room than a hallway, actually), have my tall bookshelf to yet be assembled and some screw-in-to-the-wall shelves in my bedroom. Not to mention moving things in my living room. That and more decorations, spice racks and other things to be put up and all will be done. So . . . expect these pictures by May or June! Lord Willing!

Meanwhile, here are pictures from a lovely birthday party I was at recently for a very darling two year old.

The Cake. Was most satisfying.

One of the Cool Adults made this.

We had fun.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Long Day

I did not sleep well last night. I am thankful that I got through this day. I saw three people I know when walking downtown - one from each of my last two jobs - and someone from my current life.

I originally hoped to go to a presanctified liturgy tonight. I knew when I kept waking up that it was not to be. Tonight has to be a quiet night.

A bit of house cleaning, dinner making and that is it. I am thankful for friends and for you, my blog reader friends.

Monday, March 09, 2009


I was working a bit late today - as usual it seems now days - when my cell phone rang. Dear friends of mine invited me to dinner and picked me up from home. I was so exhausted it was wonderful to be fed good food and be dropped off later at a local grocery store so I could buy the last ingredients for soup.

I made the soup. I have called my Mother to say hi. I have read my blogs and did no homework. I am grateful; need to work on coursework tomorrow. Work continues to be a challenge.

Found out that one my fellow librarian friend's job contract is ending in two months. Sometimes I still feel afraid that I will also lose my job.

I am trying to not be afraid and to trust in God's abundant mercy.

Thanking God for Fr. Stephen's reminder that week two of Lent is a bit less arduous.

I am tired. This time change is good (more light) but hard (going to bed on time).

May God have mercy on us.


Now I remember why I dislike time changes.

Lord have mercy.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lord have mercy

Read this post earlier today.

I recommend reading the whole post from which I am re-quoting from.

Here's the quotation:

"Do not be deceived. A Christian ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked (I John 2:6) who did not seek his own will (John 5:30), but, was born on straw, fasted forty days, watched in prayer long nights through, healed the sick, drove out evil spirits, had no place to lay his head, and who finally let himself be spat upon, scourged and crucified.

Think how far you are from that. Ask yourself continually anew: Have I watched in prayer a single night? Have I fasted a single day? Have I driven out a single evil spirit? Have I unresistingly let myself be insulted and beaten? Have I truly crucified the flesh (Galatians 5:24), and not sought my own will?

Keep all this freshly in mind.

For what is denying oneself? He who truly denies himself does not ask, Am I happy? or, Shall I be satisfied? All such questions fall away from you if you truly deny yourself, for by so doing you have also given up your will for either earthly or heavenly happiness.

This obstinate will to personal happiness is the cause of unrest and division in your soul. Give it up and work against it: the rest will be given you without effort. "


Way of the Ascetics
By Tito Colliander
Chapter Seven:

I have been blessed by the quotations that Handmaid Leah puts up. God is so good to us in giving us the Church to guide us.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lent, nearing end of Week 1

Very busy week.
Canon of St. Andrew 4 parts, 4 nights.

Presanctified tonight.

Wonderful day off shopping and icon hanging yesterday. Finally had time with friends. Sigh of relief.

Studying and other things today and tomorrow.

Work is still hard and I could use prayer.

Lots going on, it is a bit of a blur. I will not have time for many updates to this blog, as it stands at present. I am thankful it is Lent and will try to do what I can and have the humility to accept what I cannot (i.e. be-a-spiritual-superhero-all-in-one-Lent! type of thing). A balance between doing more, doing what is called for but at the same time being responsible to where I am and my other obligations.

Wishing everyone God's abundant mercy.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Forgive me a sinner!

I am not sure how much blogging or blog commenting I will do during Lent.

May God give us the grace of repentance during this Holy Season.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!

Have a blessed and fruitful Lent!

May we desire the sweet fragrant flower of humility!