Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My 8 things

Pres. Kathy tagged me!

8 Things I am looking forward to:

1 Spending time with people
2 Finishing reading and comprehending Paradise Lost by John Milton
3 Having my house clean
4 Having more life direction/certainty
5 Book sales in May
6 My class on 17th century Lit
7 Being more clear within myself
8 Being at the Monastery again sometime

8 Things I did yesterday:

1 Dishes
2 Read Paradise Lost
3 Bought books for class
4 Bought two fun books on English Lit
5 Talked to people on the phone
6 Spent hours in the library (see #2)
7 Held my cat Cleo
8 Walked outside

8 Things I wish I could do:

1 Learn to be more verbally assertive and confident – I am working on this!
2 Tell my own future and make it a nice one.
3 Make things better for others – it is hard for me to see suffering
4 Write really well and get published
5 Do well in academia without being internally destroyed
6 Have more discipline and organization
7 Have a community of friends that all hang out on a more regular basis. We live in a very fragmented lonely world. I wish to combat this more.
8 Have Pascha like parties twice a month

8 Shows I Watch

The secret is now out! I don’t watch any. Silly me, not having a TV. Blogs and book reading and talking on the phone are my pastimes. So I will tell you what books I’ve been reading instead.

1 Paradise Lost by John Milton
2 17th Century Prose and Poetry – a Broadview anthology
3 A History of English Literature by Emile Legouis and Louis Cazamian (published and revised 1926-1933)
4 The Penguin Short History of English Literature by Stephen Coote
5 Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris
6 Preface to Paradise Lost by CS Lewis (have not read much of this one yet)
7 Milton’s Ideas by William Grace
8 Dear Editor: A History of Poetry in Letters (this is about the American journal entitled Poetry and has lots of interesting letters from the likes of Ezra Pound, etc)

8 Tags.

Well. I’d rather not tag others, but if you comment on my blog and do this, I would love to read them!

About the number 8 - the 8th day is also called the Day of the Resurrection. For this I want most of all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So....about that class I am taking and what it may mean

I called a local University in town.

If I... well in the class,
can hand in the paper I will DV write as a writing sample,
get two good references....

then I can apply for a Masters in English Lit to start this Fall.

Then I will see if they want me and if there is still room in the program.

I am going to go for it and see how it goes.

I am in Book 5 (of 12) of Paradise Lost now. I am taking copious notes. I will have to read the whole poem (400 pages) again, perhaps two more times.

The professor emailed me the syllabus today for the class.

I read two poems by John Donne; I love John Donne!

I also found two used books on the history of English Lit - one is from the 1930s and I find it not only informative, but funny - of course I do have a slightly warped sense of humour...

Did you know that "all hell broke loose" is from Milton's Paradise Lost?

This is the lines I read tonight:

"To love or not; in this we stand or fall;" (Book 5, line, also cited as: 5.540).

There are a lot of interesting correlations between Milton, a Protestant, and what I understand of a more Orthodox view of hell as a rejection of God and His love...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Things

On Bright Monday I had a small Pascha Party.
It was very lovely and I appreciate
all who came.
It was a dream come true to have this party.
(Notice the Ikea White bowl setting - was for a precious 2 year old!)
On other positive notes:
1. I will get some money back from taxes. This is good given my current non-job status.
2. I got an A- in my library course! (Thanks for all prayers and encouragment).
3. I think I have almost all of my errands done -
this means I can start really studying for my class.
I admit that I am a bit anxious
about the course I plan on taking.
One thing at a time...

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Just wanted to note that I really appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my blog.
I have really felt a lot of blessing and support.
The blog world is not always straightforward.
That I have such wonderful blog friends
who are kind, prayerful and supportive is a real gift.
I thank God for you all!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Loving Literature

I am halfway through reading Book III of Milton's Paradise Lost. I am loving it. It is so refreshing to be working with ideas again.

Themes I have found so far:

*Acedia in hell
*Christ as the one who provides the justice (death for death). This idea of appeasing God's wrath/justification is found more in the Western side of Christianity.
*Justifying God's ways, especially that both the spirits and man have/had the freedom to chose to obey or revolt
*Typology of first and second Adam (typology sees Old Testament figures and events again in the New Testament and is part of a way of seeing and/or interpreting the world; or so I think!)

I am also reading a book explaining the historical context in which Milton was writing in. This is really helpful and of great interest.

Doing this study is making me feel alive again.
I am really hoping that the class itself goes well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A First Step

I have signed up to take a 17th Century English Lit Course. Begins in May and ends in Mid-June. Compressed, liable to be intense.

I am using this time as a litmus test to see if I can pursue further studies in English Lit. If I can, I can either get a job as a humanities librarian in a University or teach or perhaps something else.

Until I know this answer, I will not be able to get past it. It was my dream to do grad work in English Lit and be a professor. Now I need to see if it is possible or is a dream to mourn and move on from.

It seems that the early thirties for me (and a few others I know) is a time of transition, adjustment and new ventures.

Please pray for me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pascha and All Its Brightness

I am very young and a young convert at that – I believe this was my 5th Pascha. I am still getting the rhythm of Pascha, the verses, the order, the joy. It is like floating, the bright light, the incredible singing – esp. Shine New Jerusalem – suddenly I am in heaven and startled to be there.

I stood in Pascha and lived. Aware also that heartbreak on earth does not stop after Pascha. This too is another mystery. How does suffering exist after celebrating Pascha?! But it does. I see it in my own heart and in others. Tears on Pascha. As if we are still Mary, weeping for our Lord.

Pascha this year, even more, brought me to beg Jesus to come back.

To come and rescue us, to take us from the pit of hell. The cup of the Lord’s may be ours to drink, but sometimes our hearts beg the Lord that it pass from us. Yet, once one has tasted Pascha, somehow we can say Thy Will be Done.

The icons of Christ’s Crucifixion and Christ’s Resurrection cannot be separated. Liturgically in practice, in the Icons, in the hymns throughout Holy Week, and on Pascha, it is clear.

The place of hell becomes the place of salvation. The tomb becomes the bridal chamber. The tomb is where Christ’s resurrection took place. Let us stay there to welcome the Christ, the Bridegroom, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

O Christ, now that we have been given Your Pascha, help us to stay within Your joyous light, until you return, and there will be no more tears...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Can't Wait for Pascha!!

Tonight I wore black and a purple shawl/scarf around my shoulders.
Tomorrow the reversal: white from head to toe, perhaps with my pink shawl / scarf around my shoulders...
I hope to be making my first Pascha bread called Paska (not the kind with cheese in it).
But these things are nothing compared to Christ's glorious resurrection!
The clothes, Pascha baskets and feasts pass away...
Christ's tomb becomes the Bridal Chamber,
we must go to meet Him there in His glorious resurrection!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Holy Thursday 2009

Tonight was the mystery of anointing with the seven Gospels.
Tomorrow is the 12 Matin Gospels in the evening.

I need to prepare forms, resume, portfolio and do research for my job interview.

I feel overwhelmed at the suddenness of it. I was not expecting an interview so soon.

I have so many decisions to make about my life and career and what to do. It is really hard. And there are not many who can really advise me on it.

Questions such as:

*do I take time off and learn French? This is a complicated one. I live in the capital of Canada which is bilingual. I am the sole wage earner in my one person plus cat house. Do I risk not taking a job for the summer and see how far I can get in learning French? I know maybe 20 words total of French. (No lie, I did not have it in school ever, as I grew up in the States.)

*do I go from contract from contract if I do not land a permanent job that is not the best fit for me? Ottawa is a contract city...

*do I change directions? I had missed my English Lit days. But an MA in English Lit will not get jobs. My MLIS degree will.

So many questions. I never knew I would be a professional who has to figure out how to strategically build her career.

Lord have mercy, I need His Wisdom so badly.

Wise words from one of my friends - we only have today.

I pray that I will learn to love God and watch for Him as the Bridegroom in each of my days.

Holy Week and Networking

Prayers requested!

I know that outwardly it seems that I would have Holy Week free - but life is never so simple.

I have a networking event to go to today and an interview tomorrow.

References to contact, forms to fill out, professional words to plan, portfolio updates, wardrobe choices, and prayers.

Metaphorically speaking, my knees are weak and my heart can quickly melt.

Where are the saints for professionally working woman? Any suggestions? Of course I am asking the prayers of St. Xenia of Petersberg, the Theotokos, St. Joachim and Anna.

How to be the Lord's and be strong.

Lord help me, Amen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lord Have Mercy

I posted a while back about learning to be present to the present.

I find this to be one of the biggest temptations for me as Holy Week begins.

I have so many new dreams and hopes about the future, that I have to struggle to refocus myself to Holy Week.

Of course it is a challenge as I am have to change gears, do all the phone calls and research about job and financial related things. With EI (unemployment insurance as I believe it is called in the States) I should be fine financially, esp. if I live responsibly.

Each year the liturgical year impacts me in new ways - this year I am more aware of the narrative continuity... Lazarus Saturday, to Palm Sunday, to Holy Week beginning.

I am aware of many people's struggles - school, job and health. May God have mercy on us and protect us. May He bring us to Pasca and to His joy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Moving towards what is yet unseen

I recognize the signs now. Of grief and loss, of sudden unexpected departure. The sense of unreality and bewilderment.

At the same time, many people are helping shore me up. Love, prayers, phone calls, emails, blog comments, just the right Akathist given into my hands.

And I do not feel out of hope; I just have to figure out what I want and need to do.

I watched via the blog word, one of my closest blog friends (as we have known each other in person first and for over 10 years) change jobs, move and have her life change directions. I remember her reports of using her benefits before they were gone - which is a bigger deal in the States.

My brother-in-law Mark was permanently laid off this week; they want to sell their house, continue fundraising and live and work in Romania taking care of orphans through a Protestant organisation. I already touched on the complexities of a Protestant organization in an Orthodox country. I love my sister and brother-in-law very much and know first hand their love for the Romanian orphans. I thank God for them. They were one of the first people I called after coming home in tears and shock on Monday.

Two nights ago I took a medical sleeping aid. I know myself and if I did not do something to stop the yawning pit of insomnia, I would not be well. I slept the night through and last night I slept much better as well, without the drug. I am glad to have these for emergencies. I remember reading a very honest account of someone who had become addicted to pain killers. I am determined not to get hooked on sleeping meds or anything else.

I have a continued list of everything I need to do professionally. Next week is Holy Week and I must turn my attention to this. In Bright Week, Lord Willing, I hope to go to career counseling.

When I was reading the info packet on insomnia (came with the drug I took), severe stress included: a death of a loved one, divorce and job loss.

I feel like God dramatically took me out of this situation; I was there, I saw, I learned, I struggled, failed and loved as best I could; I prayed for my clients. My icons were there blessing the library. God brought people to me in the place of work to help me survive as long as I did. The job, as my readers know, caused me a lot of anxiety. Numerous things went wrong in the time I was there, starting with breaking my foot a week before starting the job. I feel that this chapter is now over.

The page has been turned.

I am suddenly in a new chapter. This chapter is largely unknown. It begins with me buying drugs, having dental and eye care all before my benefits end. I am in a much better apartment, have everything I dreamed of that I could control (apartment, furniture, the gathering of certain books and icons). Talking with my very astute and personal dentist, I did readers advisory with him for his child (library speak for here are reading options you should consider for your child, based on what his age, reading level and interests are) and felt reassured that I am indeed a librarian.

How to hit the ground running, move forward, act graciously, take care of the inner and emotional ramifications of sudden job loss. I was told the other day that I was glowing.

My move and job subsumed my Fall and Early Winter. My online course, work and overtime at my job subsumed my Winter and Early Spring.

Now is the time of reevaluation. Now is the time of Spring, for dreaming and healing. Many steps are being made, I am trying to stand; in the end, only God can make me stand.

Holy Week is almost upon us. Christ come quickly with your Passion, with your Holy Resurrection. Christ, come quickly! Save us speedily and waken us to Your will, Your Good and Holy Pleasure. Christ, save us and bring us to Your Joy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

At Home

Home in my apartment. I am so happy in my little home with Cat Cleo.

I have insomnia meds now. Two nights of broken sleep.

Am moving forward on many levels. Still processing everything that is happening.

Realized last night how the way I was let go from work gave no closure.

I hope I am not getting sick.

Lord help us all - Amen.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Setting Sun

God is so merciful to us.

I continue to pray that things will improve. I am asking God to provide for me; I love living here in Ottawa, in my apartment, in my small church-going life here.

It is night now, the city lights are out, I am inside. I slept very little last night - typical when something traumatic happens to me - to have insomnia. It is the old calendar feast of the Annunciation and when I read the Gospel for this, I was heartened.

I am preparing my resume, found career counseling place, I have a whole list of things to do. I need wisdom to know when to do what.

As I woke up this morning (or noticed it was light, I do not know how much I slept) I realized I was still in a state of shock. I was not going to work today to serve my clients. I realized how much I cared about them and that I was sad. Of course the termination was traumatic and wounded me; I have been aware of this too. My little library is not mine anymore to serve in. Just when I thought I was beginning to really understand my work, it was taken away.

When I knew, in February, that things were not going well for me, I went through a large sense of shock, fear and dismay - questioning if I did the right thing to move into my beloved new apartment and buying furniture. But now that the second shock, of losing my job, is wearing off I know the answer. Everyone has different priorities on this one, and I am not saying my decision to buy something is right or better. Not in the least! However, my last apartment had very little storage and this apartment has such a good sense of space. I can actually keep things clean. And the beauty of the apartment, and the cleanness of it, is very restorative. (Also I had saved money for furniture for sometime, so I did not have credit card debt, which can be so dangerous).

And I am able to be hospitable here which can help in the path towards salvation - to learn to practice hospitality, like Abraham.

The encouragement and prayers of all of you, and of other friends and family, is helping me through. I have a possibly long road ahead of me and know that I need God's mercy and many prayers. ... Right now I feel peaceful but in my weakness I have often lost this sense of peace.

Yet God is merciful and is here.

May the Lord have mercy on us all as we journey towards Pasca!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Prayer Needed

Christ is in our midst!

Today on the 5th Monday of Great Lent I went to work. I started my day, prepared what was needed and was then called into a meeting.

I had, as my readers know, been working in the corporate world. A world that I found very difficult to work in. Well, that has ended. The meeting was brief, quick and I was fired, they did not allow me to return to my desk, they packed up my belongings (including my Icons) and saw me to the door.

I am still a bit in shock, confused to say the least. But I must believe in God and that He does not allow anything to happen without a reason.

I think what is hardest for me is trying to know what to do next. I really do not know if I can continue to be a librarian. But I do not know what to do instead.

This is when not being married is the hardest for me - I wish I had someone like this to go through this with. Of course another income would be nice.

That said, God is with me, with us.

Please pray for me, a sinner.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Last Assignment in Lent

I have had a lot of quietness this weekend.
I finished (almost completely) my last assignment for my online course.
I am a bit more hopeful about work.
Tomorrow is going to be a very social day, so I am glad to have had quiet beforehand.
This Lent has gone so quickly.
I relaxed more than last Lent; but I do not think this was a wrong thing to do.
I think (or hope) I was and am being more realistic,
and true to my circumstances.
That said,
laziness must not reign in my house or in my heart.
May God give us the support we need to complete the fast -
we are almost to Holy Week...