Sunday, January 31, 2010

Three Things ... Sunday Evening

We've had some sunshine on and off

the last few weeks.

I was so taken by the fact that the sun is not already set

when I walk to church for vespers

that I stopped and took a picture.

I love the golden-ness of the setting sun.

I made the beef stew for last week;

super easy recipe:

can of tomato soup, can of water

beef chunks (sorry to all those vegetarians)

carrots potatoes

caramelized onion

salt and pepper.

It was great and lovely

for the fast free week.

(I am sure I am not the only one that has a hard time

preparing two type of meals with a Wednesday

as a fast day;

I always find meal planning in this regard


My Oma is 101 years of age this year.
She is slowing down
though still doing really well considering her age;
she is mentally fully present
and can still walk short distances.
I am working on a photograph project
of all the things she has made for her grand kids
and that I was the lucky recipient of.
The socks and slippers are
one example of her knitting.
My idea is to make a mini little book of pictures
and mail it to her
with a picture of her and myself as well
as a surprise Thank You and I Love You card.
So often I have been well meaning but not following through on
showing her my love
so I hope to actually do this.
Meanwhile I did get a card in the mail this week to her,
which I am grateful that I was able to do.
I am blessed to have her in my life;
My Mom told me how she can remember when she was a kid
that my Oma (her Mom) would be washing floors while
singing the Psalms in Dutch
which she knew by heart.
She would always counsel me to always pray to God,
read my Bible and go to church
and love my family.
She is such a strong example of a Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and
given her age
Great Great Grandmother.
I wish I could see her more
but am glad I can at least send cards her way.
I am so blessed!
On a different note,
I have a quiz in my French class tomorrow,
prayers requested!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rest and Remember

This is a special week;

a pause before the gaining momentum of the soon

approaching Great Lent.

I thought in the midst of winter,

I would remind everyone of the season of summer,

which will come again.

Today there was beautiful snow swirling around.

I did not have my camera, sadly.

But we must remember to seek to see the beautiful in today.

Being thankful really helps us out of the winter blues

and the long grey days that winter can bring.

The Lord is with us.
He can make winter a time of growth,
a time when the farmer does not see the seeds spouting;
but the land, in the time of rest and darkness,
is preparing for another Spring, another Summer.
God is with us
and His Lent is coming to continue to heal us.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Catch Up Time

Getting used to full time French classes
takes time.
I studied this weekend;
i.e. Saturday
but then found that some tasks
(laundry, dishes)
did not get done.
Today was a rainy day here;
should not be;
it is still winter;
some of the sidewalks were
pure ice with a little water on top.
I was sure I would be late for class;
the feeling of almost falling many times
is NOT fun.
A good cause for prayer though!
It looks like we are getting our normal cold back
and sunshine too
by the later part of the week;
I hope so.
I feel so energized by winter sunshine and blue skies.
My laundry is done and drying now.
My dishes still unwashed.
But I threw away stuff, organized more...
some more breathing room in my small snug apartment.
I am slowly figuring out where to put things...
It takes time!
Since today was a more tired Monday,
I am hoping that tomorrow will be better
and that I can get back into a rhythm for studying French.
I did do some studying today,
but there is so much more I wish to do!
God is good
and is our hope, salvation and support.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We are loved

We must remember that
we are not alone
or abandoned.
God, His Holy Angels, the Mother of God and
His Saints,
have not left us.
The above picture is one of my favourite icons of
St. Herman of Alaska.
St. Herman is the first special Saint I had...
and is still one of my most beloved Father Saints
and Patrons.
(We can have more than one Patron Saint of course!).
My head cold is mainly gone
but am watching it so that I do not get an infection.
Today was brilliantly sunny
I thank God for such a day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I am doing homework, really...

Lighting my lampada in the morning makes a huge difference

in how the day begins!

I knew yesterday that I could not study as hard today.

But this day started out better...

the first days are always hard when beginning a new endeavour...

New people (fellow students, teacher)

New place (wow is the college big)

New bus route (not bad and going home always seems to come quickly)

Same (since late November) apartment though!

Whew for home and for a familiar downtown that I love.

I don't know if I have ever loved living somewhere as much

as I love downtown Ottawa...

I am SO THANKFUL that I still live downtown...

Another Cleo picture.

Cleo is happy to have such a following with some very lovely humans.

I often have to kick her off my chair so that I can blog!

Previous dinner picture.
I miss my social life, but am probably going to a potluck tomorrow.
Studying is hard. I have more than 500 flashcards
already. Etc.
Today we had SUNSHINE.
I feel SO HAPPY in winter in Ottawa in sunshine.
I tell you snow blue sky and seeing skaters on the canal
and I am happy.
Much happier than in summer, to the shock of many
who shiver through winter dreaming of summer!
My dishes (I got backlogged due to feeling rotten last weekend)
are almost done.
I have been listening to French CBC while doing them,
so it is almost not procrastination!
Today my class was a bit lighter in amount of new things.
I think the teacher knew he needed to give us a little break.
Not that I do not have pages of extra exercises that I will do
in a do-it-to-practice but it is not required
Really helpful.
Wow. Lots to do but with God's help,
the prayers of many (I thank God for each prayer)
and personal elbow grease,
I can do it, day by day.
Time for dinner, French flashcards.
QUESTION for you:
Next week for Orthodox Christians is fast-free week. I have some beef chunks in the freezer.
Any suggestions for a simple way to use them?
I am thinking some sort of stew or goulash.
Any suggestions for a super fast base for soup for lent?
I am swapping soup recipes with a lovely lady at
my local bakery -
she is going to give me a lentil and bean soup recipes
and I am giving her a quick and easy borscht recipe (without the cabbage).
But a simple base for soups I still need.
Key word: simple and fast.
Please share your culinary wisdom with me!!
Bonne soiree!
(Thank you, have a good evening!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flashcards Will Finish Me Off

Try as I might,
Blogger is not letting me easily load a picture
from Picasa today.
My brain is slightly fried.
Made 200 flashcards today.
God is good and
I look to Him for support.
I will have to post another Cleo picture another day!
Oh, and my classmate found the word sœur
in my dictionary this morning.
not only was the o and e separate but
it was the only entry with an
I missed it! Good thing it was there though.
I mean, really, what kind of dictionary would miss that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

French Class - day 2

Today is Theophany (old style).
Blessed Feast!
Hard to believe that we have Theophany after Zacchaeus Sunday.
Let's just say I savour my mint and
chocolate chip ice cream
while I can.
(In modest portions of course).
Today I...
*was 2 minutes late to class, oops. still getting that bus route down
*found some quiet places and feel a bit more oriented
*bought a paperback French/English dictionary by
Merriam-Webster for cheap $$
and they did not have the word
in the French half!!
I looked NUMEROUS times.
was not there.
(It was only there under the English side).
Sœur is one of my new words of the day.
My beloved sœur sent me
a chocolate bar
from Romania with my Romanian friends
and a letter she wrote in English and Romanian!
She and her husband are working hard in learning Romanian.
I am proud of them.
Oh, right about my class and such.
So I made 50 new flashcards
and have 200 more that I wrote the French too
which were words in my book that I will need to know
but that the teacher did not say to learn...
And I think I got my
Être - Je Suis very endings down (for the present indicatif ) today!
I have more français to study now.
THANKS everyone SO much for your encouragement
and thanks Alana for the link to flashcards...
not sure if I will buy it
but will for sure use the site for studying... so Thanks!
I did not know about this site!
I have been using LiveMocha as well,
which various people in the blog world told me of
(Thanks again).
If there are other sites or tips on language learning,
let me know!
I am totally into person-to-person information gathering,
as they say in the library world.
Hope everyone is doing well!
I need to be disciplined for the next hour and a half
and then I hope to read a few blogs before
my small night prayers and bed!
I am so happy (though at times quite overwhelmed)
to be studying French full time.
It is such a blessing.
Oh, about the picture.
Just thought it was cute.
When I was not feeling well this past weekend I shut the blinds
to rest but moved my Icon so Cleo could still see out the window.
Cute, eh?
Oh, and the black books on the book shelf are my
Agatha Christie books.
I have over 80 of them.
I am serious about my Agatha Christie! :)
(A friend found them No Lie for 50 US at an antique shop
in the States for all of them -
mint condition, less than 1.00 a piece. I have almost all of the books that she wrote).
Homework calls...
Oh and the Christmas tree.
Well it was just Theophany today... :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

First day of French Class

French class:
*overheated building
*crush of students
*no computer access (still figuring this out) on campus
*over 30 minute bus ride one way
*need to find quiet places to eat and study
200 Vocab words A DAY
1000 in 6 weeks.
Overwhelmed, excited and tired.
I am in a period of adjusting to all of this
My Orthodox Blog feeds already have 26 unread.
Please know that I will be reading
but if my commenting is not as much,
know that I still care.
Back to vocab cards...
Update: Upon telling my lovely Deacon's wife about the
vocab amount
she quickly said the math was wrong,
sure enough,
1000 vocab words / 6 weeks is 166 words a week
200 a day.
That said, I know I did more than 30 vocab words today...
THANK YOU for your prayers!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The next step in a series of steps

Some verses I have been thinking about:
I sought the Lord and He answered me
and delivered me out of all my fears
In repentance and rest is your salvation
in quietness and trust is your strength

The Lord is merciful and compassionate
abounding in mercy
The Lord knows what we are made of...
I start my French class tomorrow
with the same sense of not knowing at all what it will be like.
Similar to flying to a new country
except that I no longer have the youthful
anticipation for it.
I can tell you that I think taking French for me is going to be like
a very prolonged Lent
in which I must depend on God
work as hard as I can
and scale back activities according to the season.
I may not be able to blog as much,
email friends as much,
or comment on blogs as much.
I certainly am backing off from Facebook more and more
as time goes by.
But it does not mean that I have ceased to love my friends
including those in the blog world.
But for the sake of my working towards a future
that includes a job
and to be true to the diligence that French studies requires,
I will have to do what is needed.
Right now I don't know what will be needed!
That is the hardest part.
I can only anticipate
and find my yellow cards to be ready to create Flashcards,
starting tomorrow,
the Eve of Theophany
(old style).
So please know that if I have commented on your blog
or if you comment here
that I care about your existence.
That I hope to still be here
but that ultimately
are care and love comes from God
and we must all trust God in this.
So with little more dramatic flair,
and with a Kleenex box in hand,
a note book, pen and purse
and some food
I will begin my newest adventure in life.
Going to school with God as my protector
my Guardian Angel I pray near by
and the love and prayers
of the Saints who
are always


I appreciate every one's well wishes.
Head colds are something are they not?
I decided to stay home from liturgy as I am still not feeling 100%.
More naps, chicken soup and hot tea are needed.
First class tomorrow.
May God send His mercy to all of us in need.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Head Colds Always Sound Worse When One is Getting Better

Like the ornament?
One of my school teachers made one for each in the class
when I was a kid.
I sure had some great teachers.
I have been doing some serious resting.
Chicken soup as mentioned.
Tortilla Chips.
Tons of Tea.
Many naps and lots of Agatha Christie books
(I own almost all of them, but that is a post for another day).
I got a ride to vespers and
a good friend took me grocery shopping.
My chicken soup, Kleenex and cookie supplies are now restocked.
I have felt really tired
but have less sinus pain at present
and am praying that
on Monday morning I can
by your prayers and the grace of God
be strong as I start my French studies.
I am thankful that the dinner I ate tonight
I could taste.
Colds can do strange things to taste.
May God have mercy on us all,
whatever our situation is tonight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thank God for Prayer

It was bound to happen.
I finally came down with a sinus cold,
after feeling like I was fighting something
for some time.
It is still Christmas week for me so chicken is on the menu.
Chicken soup with added garlic and pepper.
Please say a prayer for me
that I can get over this cold in time
for French classes this Monday
9 AM.
I thank God for His goodness.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three Lights Make All the Difference

A patient friend installed my three IKEA lights.

My kitchen may be small

but with these lights,

it looks so bright

and cheery!

My beloved Mother of God Icon.

This one is always in my kitchen...

I can't get over how the light makes
everything gleam
and bright.
What a blessing!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Does the Drama Ever End?

Through FB I heard a rumour of a college faculty strike
where I am to take French
starting this Monday.
I called the school,
was transferred to Public Relations
and voice mail.
Will this strike happen?
I guess they vote on the strike tomorrow...
If it does happen, does it effect my class?
If it does effect my class,
what should I do?
Please pray for me and everyone involved!
I know there is nothing I can do currently -
the strike may not happen
it may not effect my class...
Lord have mercy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Qualifies As Excitment Around Here

4 birds came to visit us on the 8th floor today!

Cleo had no idea,

so after spying the birds,

I took Cleo over to the gold chair...

She became Cleo the Huntress.

Forget cute meowing.

Hiss and more hiss, growl and furious tail wagging ensued.

The birds,
if they can hear through the glass,
acted oblivious to Cleo's antics
and calmly flew away
(see the one about to dive off?)
with the beautiful white feathers
pluming in the descent.


I bought this mortar and pestle
before I left for the Holidays.
My sister had given me
cardamom pods last year
and I finally, when I could grind them,
I forgot what recipe I wanted them for!!
So I found this lovely soup recipe -

Lots of great spices;

I love spice and after my first batch,

I think I would add more pepper to it.

It reminds me of what pumpkin baby food

looks like

but it tasted quite good,

I can assure you!

I am trying to start this new year and chapter of my life
with better eating habits.
This soup is a good beginning...

Prayer Request Update

The little guy's surgery,
from what they can tell,
went well.
He will be in the hospital recovering until
at least Thursday or Friday.
Please continue to pray for him!
Thank God it has gone well thus far!

Winter holidays in three pictures

I can post pictures now that I took when I was home.

Above is my parent's dinning room table

and the meal is for my birthday.

It was comfy and home -

my Mom's mashed potatoes, home grown beans, meatloaf

and hot fruit salad.

The Christmas tree was so lovely.

I am always sad to take these things down...

Mine is still up,

as in sitting on top of my coffee table,

as we are still in the 12 days of Christmas!

I went to one of my favourite Aunt's birthday party,
where we toasted her 75th year.
Really special times.
I thank God for them!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Prayer Request

A little boy I know
less than 1 year old,
is having a significant surgery tomorrow morning.
Please say a pray for him.
Lord have mercy on all children!

A Quiet Sunday Evening

At Church we are still in the glow of Christmas...
I will probably take down my decorations towards the end of this week.

Theophany is next week Tuesday;

I will miss the liturgy - will be in class for my second day.

But we will have Great Compline and the Blessing of Waters

Theophany Eve.

I am so delighted to not be missing it all.

Thought that candles tonight needed to be lit.

A quiet evening.

Adjusting to life without others


Home I always get lots of people time...

now I get lots of Cleo the Cat time!

Thank God for my church family

so I am not as alone.

Does anyone ever do this?
I will lid my frying eggs
forget about them
and then smell them
oh no!
rush over and see once again
a huge egg bubble on one side....
Tasted good though,
with a small dash of ketchup.
Very Canadian to have eggs
or macaroni and cheese with ketchup.
I am Canadian American with Dutch heritage.
I need to make a soup for the week.
May God bless our evening.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Word for the year: Love

have all chosen words for the year.
All very good words:
Deliberate, Trust and Professional.
This year I think my word needs to be
God's love for us all
Love of God and of others.
A holy hieromonk told me,
you cannot save others but must love them and so save yourself.
I have a long way to go to get to Love
this is where I must go.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Christmas Time (old calendar)

This morning was Christmas.

This was a bit of a strange Christmas for me in ways.

With Resa's death (a friend of mine is a friend of hers)

and some other friend's hardships recently

my heart felt a bit heavier than some years.

Yet, Christ came in harsh circumstances

a stable for animals

dirty, smelly, unkempt.

And so I decorated my house a little bit

(see picture above).

And I did my first Christmas Eve dinner.


borscht, perogies, salad and bread.

Two friends came over to eat it with me.

I used my new candles that my Mom gave me for Christmas,

they are made of beeswax and are

almost as good as church candles,

though nothing can really compare to those!

This picture is one from the Christmas Meal we had at home
on December 25th.
I am back online with my own computer,
so I can post pictures again.
Please pray for my two friends this week
(nameless for privacy)
who have sadness this week.
I found out that my French class
(finally registered)
is going to be Monday - Friday
9 to 12.
With the tons of studying that will accompany this,
I realized I cannot have a part time job.
I will have enough savings after to not make this a
all - or - nothing decision.
I start in a week.
Wow. It is going to be intense...
May God help us in all we need to do.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Revised Psalter Schedule to Pray for Resa

Okay, Revised Schedule with TeresaAngelina and Elizabeth at the Garden Window:
Elizabeth (me) Kathismas 1, 7, 13, 19 A
Pres. Kathy Kathismas 2, 8, 14, 19 B
Margaret Kathismas 3, 9, 15, 19 C
MamaJuliana Kathismas 4, 10, 16, 20 A
Elizabeth at the Garden Window Kathismas 5, 11, 17, 20 B
TeresaAngelina Kathismas 6, 12, 18 20 C
Each Kathisma has 3 sections (I have called these A, B and C).
To do it evenly with 6 I have given the last two Kathismas
in three sections.
Any questions,
please let me know.
I will not be adding anyone else in blog post,
so if you want to join,
just pick one of our names and do that set with the person listed!
Feel free to comment if you join.
any and all prayer is great
and if you cannot join in this particular prayers,
be at peace.
May the Lord bless us as we seek to pray for Resa.
Memory Eternal!
May the Lord remember the handmaiden of God Resa
in His kingdom
where there is repose, no more illness or weeping.
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

Monday, January 04, 2010

Praying the Psalter for Resa

Right now there are four of us total who are able to pray the Psalter.
That's great.
Since there are 20 Kathismas,
We can split them over 5 days.
I have done the first Kathisma,
so if...
Pres. Kathy could pray Kathismas 2, 6, 10, 14, 18 over the next 5 days.
Margaret can do Kathismas 3, 7, 11, 15, 19 over the next 5 days
MamaJuliana Kathismas 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 over the next 5 days
Myself - Kathismas 1, 5, 9, 13, 17 over the next 5 days
If this is too much,
let me know.
(Don't be shy!)
We can always pray the Psalter over a longer period of time.
Also if there is anything more you need to know
about praying the Psalter*,
just leave a comment!
If you are reading this and know that you wish to pray a Psalm
but are not able to do a Kathisma,
here are some special ones you could pray.
Here are some that are especially appropriate:
Psalm 23, 91, 116, 119/22, 90, 115, 118
Praying any of these would be wonderful.
(Please feel free to comment and tell me which ones you love
when praying for our beloved departed)
Does this sound doable to everyone?
If more wish to pray, feel free to leave a comment.
If this works, the 5 days of prayer through the Psalter,
this week for Resa, then
so if more wish to join, just pick one of our sections
and pray those kathismas.
May the Memory of Resa be Eternal!
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
*I can only tell you what my Psalter says;
I am young in the faith and am still learning...


Elizabeth asked if we can pray the Psalter for Resa.
This is a very normal and appropriate thing
to do for grief.
Often in Orthodox churches the Psalter is read
overnight in Vigil with the beloved whose body rests
now in the Church.
There are 20 Kathismas in the Orthodox Psalter.
I will do the first Kathisma today;
if you want to join in, perhaps leave a comment
with which Kathisma you wish to do
(going in order would be best).
If you do not have a printed copy of the Psalter
it can be found online
Once I see how many are interested in doing this,
I will be able to ascertain how many people we need
to pray the Psalter in it's entirety.
With all things,
please do not forsake your personal prayer rule.
If you feel you are able to join,
you are most welcome.
But please do not feel sad if you know you are not able to.
May the memory of Resa be eternal!
Blessed are those who you have taken O Lord!
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Memory Eternal

Resa has departed this life today.
Pray for her family
and for her...
Please also pray for my friend
who just lost Resa,
who she loved very much.