Sunday, February 28, 2010

4th day

My darling Cleo.
You'd think I like my cat, eh? (grin).
You know when I do things,
I do them well.
This includes getting sinus colds.
Today is day 4 and I am not feeling much better.
So much not better that I am staying home from church.
This means I don't feel well
as church is something I don't like to miss.
Please pray for me as I have my final exam for my first
6 week French class tomorrow.
then I have the rest of the week off,
Thank God.
But I need to at least pass the French exam
so that I can go on and take the next class.
Another example of how we must trust in
the mercy of God.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I love love LOVE presancified liturgies.
But tonight, after lamenting to a few close
friends over the phone,
and my Mother,
I decided that it was not a good idea for me to go.
So I am home trying to nurse my cold
and study French.
I feel weary of studying and the final exam is Monday morning.
But since I did not feel like studying...
I listened to Father Thomas Hopko's podcast,
and it was really good.
It is one of his longer ones,
but well worth listening to!
I was really encouraged.
I think anyone who is struggling
can be comforted by this podcast.
I know I was.
I learned today that a third French beginner course
an oral only
will be offered and will be made mandatory
for anyone who wants to later take an intermediate course.
I do think this course would be really good for me
learning wise
but did not have this in the budget.
So I am trying not to worry about that fact
that I may be taking an extra course
and thus paying a month and a half more rent
before I am done with French and fully
back in job-seeking mode.
Another opportunity to learn to trust God!
Well, back to studying...
devoir - I owe, have to
pouvoir- I can
vouloir - I want
Je dois se souvenir quel devoir signifie.
(translated I have to remember what devoir means;
not sure if that is how you write this sentence!)
Thank you everyone for your prayers!
You all mean a LOT to me and
and really encourage me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Of course

Of course I would come down with
another sinus cold
I have my final exam for my first French class this Monday!
I have been home
(skipped class as I knew what was being covered)
sleeping on and off
(and today our reading from Proverbs was about the
sluggard sleeping too much!)
drinking lots of tea
having soup
and toast and honey.
I learned the verb 'faire' which means
to make.
Je fais
Tu fais
Il/elle/on fait
nous faisons
vous faites
ils/elles font
Cleo insists I ask for prayer.
Actually I put her up to it! ;)
I have so much to review for my final exam;
this exam is important not only because
I need to learn
but I need to pass the course
to take my second French course!
At first I thought the smoke smells alone
were making me sick
but apparently not.
Why is it that the change of weather
brings sinus colds to so many people?
Thank God that I have the opportunity to rest.
And Cleo likes having me home :)

The size of one's cross

The other day I was with some friends

who helped me practice my French...

They told me of a cartoon that one of them had gotten...
Here is how they told it to me:
Everyone had a cross to bear on their shoulders;
one man in particular found his cross to be very heavy, very big.
So he asked for his cross to be made smaller
and it was,
by having part of the end of it cut off.
So he kept walking...
But he still found it to be too big, too heavy
so more of it, from the bottom,
was cut off.
And he kept waking...
But he still found it to be too much,
too heavy, too big.
So more of it was cut off for him.
He was finally happy.
Then he and the others came to a deep valley
that they had to cross.
The cliffs were so strait and deep;
there were no stairs
or ropes across,
no bridge at all.
The man with the lightest cross watched everyone else
put their crosses strait across between the
two walls of the valley and
the cross became their bridge.
But when the man with his lightened cross
was unable to go across,
as the length of his cross was too short.
May God comfort our hearts
in all things as we struggle through life with
what He gives us for our salvation.
As for the man in the story,
thank God for His mercy...
that the man
could still pray for mercy,
that his cross be restored to him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February can suddenly feel heavy and long

It's official!

Cleo and I are looking for the door to summer!

Little things have been going on

that have got me feeling a bit bogged down.

Since the Olympics more people have been

smoking various things in my


the stench was coming in my apartment and staying for hours.

I would come home to find Cleo laying on the floor instead of on a chair;

I am sure it was to get away from the smell.

My landlord advised me to cover my vents with Saran Wrap

and wow what a difference!

The smells had been so strong,

it would make me feel sick and dread coming home,

which is not the best way to feel about one's dwelling place!

Now if we can just figure out why my inside wall is vibrating;

tick, tick tick for hours...

I have bought ear plugs meanwhile.

My friends it is Lent!!

And I know these things are such small troubles!

We need God's protection, comfort and help!

Fr. Stephen's post on the slow work of grace

I found to be very comforting.

Each of my French classes are 6 weeks;
so my final exam is next Monday.
I can tell that we as a class are feeling the stress of it;
I am still forgetting simple things, like 'de' before a
adjective and how to say 'un' when
speaking or reading out loud.
It has been grey wet slush-rain,
my boots leaked
(will take them for repairs and re-water-proofing next week)
and I know how much I need to shake of blues
and study!
We must keep looking to God for salvation
step by step
as we go through these last days of February...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Second Week of Lent and Reflections on Language Learning


One difference in schedule (going to church last night)

and suddenly my soup is not made, my dishes unwashed...!

So I have been listening to a French CD

while making lentil soup.

I am realizing how language learning

is a lot like the spiritual life;

or at least for ones like me

who are rank beginners in the spiritual life!

One has to start at the beginning

take small steps in order to start making

slightly bigger steps...

First learning one's ABC's
then one's numbers,
colours, body parts (le coude is elbow),
how to say something in the past
(je viens de finir means I am just finished)
before one can begin to make
slightly more complicated sentences.
I have the grammar book
and see all the tenses
but know I cannot use them yet, as I have to learn
the basics first
and then build on them
piece by piece.
The same with the spiritual life...
I know, for instance,
somethings about the Orthodox understanding
of the process of purification towards
what, in theological terms,
is called deification/theosis.
Similar in word choice to the word sanctification
in Protestant terms...
But to actually be pure in heart
and to know that that is the goal
are two different things!
The same with learning a language.
Lent is our training in one of the most beautiful languages of all:
God-pleasing humility.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feels like forever...

...since I posted!
Some weeks seem long... and this one was
esp. full and different since...
1. Lent began this week
2. In Ontario (the province I live in) it was Family Day on Monday
so I had the day off (studied over 5 hours that day
so I did not use it as a full holiday day).

I decided this was the Cleo picture for today! Love the colours

and it makes me laugh; Cleo was not impressed with

all of my picture taking that time around...

Good News!

I did well on my French Quiz!

But WOW does it seem to not even matter,

as there is so much more to learn!

I need to totally redo my 5oo plus flashcards,

that I am not really using that much

right now.


I am enjoying it for the most part...

Though I confess to worries then and again (read every day this week)

about finding a job once I know French.

This lent I am focusing on learning to NOT worry

and obey Christ's command not to worry...

I am not reading many books right now,
but am slowly working through
for this Lent.
I tried it last year
but it was not the right year for it
(I did read another book that year that was good for last year's lent)
but this year seems to be the year for
this particular book.
I know I can't do much,
as French is a huge priority for me right now.
But I will do what I can
and seek to do this faithfully.
And little things matter too -
like keeping my small apartment clean-
am trying to do dishes once a day
and have been making my bed daily
and keeping my clothes put away.
Things like this can make a real difference...
May God bless the little we do
and may it be used for our healing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lent is upon us

Boy did I want to eat cake today!!
Always the way, when Lent begins...
Though I do make a pretty good vegan chocolate cake
for our Lenten Friday night
after presancitifed liturgy
Today I found a great place to study
French; at another library nearer to where I live.
My school's library is too small
and I was finding it really distracting.
I have my second quiz tomorrow!
I feel a bit better about it
but do welcome your prayers!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Great Lent

Forgive me
for any times I have offended wounded or spoke wrongly!
May God give us a Good Lent.
Lord so have mercy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Birds, Cleo and Daily Life

The birds were back today!

Just two this time...

Cleo turns into this little huntress!

It is so funny and a bit surprising to hear her nearly

growl at the birds!

I am looking forward to Lent.
Am praying that this Lent can be a source of healing
for all of us!
I will be blogging during Lent
and keeping up with my fellow Orthodox bloggers
who are still blogging.
But my other fun blogs,
due to French class demands
and scaling back for Lent
I have already been hitting 'read all'
to get rid of all the other blog posts that are in my
Google Reader.
French quiz this Tuesday.
Slight bump today RE: tenant.
Have been a bit anxious.
But that is what Lent is about.
Healing from those things,
like anxiety
that seek to entangle.
May God help us all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One down, 'un million' to go

Learning my numbers in French today!

mille is thousand and has no 's' at the end

million and millard (billion) take an 's' always at the end

cent, which means 100, takes an 's' only when no number

(i.e. 100 not 101) follows it.

I had to deal with the tenant issue again.

THANK GOD for His mercy,

for it appears that all will be well and that all was understood

in my favour.

I was able by God's mercy and help from friends,

to communicate clearly and firmly.

Thank you for your prayers!

Cleo is glad to be with me and I with Cleo
in this my new snug as a bug
blue and white
(le appartement in French).
Unfortunately my plans for studying at school were derailed today
due to resolving the now resolved apartment issues.
Have to study tonight...
Lent, it really can hit us early in many ways;
we must stay with our minds on Christ at all times...
Lord help us!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making your cake and eating it too

Mat. Emily asked about my cake recipe.

Oh you know,

Betty Crocker in a box!

See below, and notice the French on it...

Canadian Cake! (grin).

when I make a cake from a box
I do things a bit differently.
Add each ingredient separately and mix each time.
When the cake is for a super special occasion,
such as a House Blessing,
I put a tiny bit of Holy Water as well.
Uses of Holy Water are varied and I know that I am not
the first woman to ask God to bless one's cake
and put a little bit of Holy Water
in it.

The frosting however was homemade -
see my post from last year for this recipe,
given to me from a very good friend.
I do make cakes from scratch as well but to save time
I find stocking up on cake mixes when on sale
really convenient for fast-free times.
I am slowly working on French.
THANK YOU ALL for your comments, prayers and support!
It means so much to me.
This week, as Orthodox Christians know,
is what we call Butterweek.
A full fast for Lent is to be a vegan.
God in His mercy has the church gently prepare us for the fast
by first having a fast free week (where all meat and dairy are allowed)
then a normal fast week (fasting Wednesday and Friday)
and then Butterweek,
where we give up meat
but have dairy all week
(or at least in the Slavic tradition all week)
and then it is the full fast.
Of course people fast according to what they are capable of
in their own situation
according to what one's spiritual father has counseled us to do.
left me a comment a few posts back
when I was feeling really stressed
reminding me of Lent
and that this may be the cause.
This really helped me
and I thought I would mention it here
to remind us all of how
Lent can have unexpected difficulties
and to be aware of this.
I pray that God will help us all during this holy time!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The lastest in the life of Cleo and myself

Cleo and I enjoyed having our small house blessed.

It was beautiful, life-giving and full of hope.

To have a good church and priest

must be one of life's greatest blessings.

The cake turned out well.

I make my cakes to be very fine and moist,

so that the cake so soft that it falls in a bit

when cut,

as the picture shows.

The time making it and sharing it was
a great joy.
So about that midterm,
which people have been asking about.
I really tried!
But I did not do well at all.
Failed actually by 2 points.
BUT I am trying not to lose any hope
or even be anxious about it.
I asked my teacher if I can do extra things to
learn what I forgot (various grammar rules
including when "des" becomes "de"
both in a negative construction
(i.e. when one is saying not to do something)
and that if the adjective is before the noun
i.e. grands livres (big books) that "des"
which indicates plural becomes "de").
I think my teacher will allow me to be retested on this
so I will not fail the course.
As you can see, I am learning from my mistakes
and have reviewed this part and did extra homework on it today
to ensure that I really learn it.
So it is not bad,
it is just that I am slow at languages.
But I knew this about myself.
It will be God's mercy, the Saints prayers, your prayers
and my perseverance (by all these prayers)
that can get me there.
My teacher really sees that I am working hard
and is determined that I will make it.
And I am trying to be so too.
I need prayers through, it is tough slogging sometimes!
I have been having some problems with a tenant in my building.
NOTHING that is violent or anything
I am safe and secure, no worries there.
Common sense says I must not say more
but can you pray for me about this?
I know that God can teach me to be a Christian in all things!
I am seeking to remember
the many prayers
in the House blessing
and that Angels are with me
and that I am NEVER EVER alone.
Thanks everyone for your friendship prayers and support!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Cleo the Cat and a beautiful view

Another shot of Cleo.

She looks most sleek and adult in this one;

fascinating to me how she can look so different,

depending on the picture...

We have been blessed with more sun

it was so beautiful this weekend.

The view I have can be so beautiful...
Tomorrow the midterm!
Prayers welcome!
Tomorrow afternoon Lord Willing
I will have my little snug apartment
blessed by my priest.
To say I am excited would be an understatement.
I have prepared food and cake and will have tea ready.
Of course I will have all the candles ready,
candles by icons lit,
lampada's newly wicked...
Cleo still needs more grooming...
I will use my best dishes, pretty table cloth and candles.
I must say I love marble cake batter...
It sure makes the first French midterm feel
more doable
to know the joy that Lord willing will await later...

Friday, February 05, 2010


My brain is full.

Full, full full!

I realized that I was feeling stressed today,

to say it lightly.


My teacher had a different tune about the potential strike

as if we could be effected,

even though I really don't think we will be,

as part time students.

Still the idea

and the midterm on Monday

stressed me out!

I don't think I posted this exact Cleo picture yet,

was during the Cleo and Bird saga...

for those Cleo fans out there!

She is right behind me as I type,

curled up on one of my two armchairs

un fauteuil (masculine I think?!)...

I am wishing however that
I could fly away
and have the lines from the great Gospel song
I'll fly away
in my head...
as I would rather not keep studying!
I am thankful for the opportunity...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Small steps in the right direction

Found out today that my
French class will not be effected by
a potential strike!
Thank God for this.
Today I learned more prepositions,
am making questions and answers to various things
and it is making sense.
I can tell I am being prayed for!
However, I have yet to get all the rules strait for
the articles used for countries, cities and provinces.
And I have to get a lot of the vocab strait.
The hardest thing though
is that I am having a hard time hearing and saying
the words.
Especially words like
"un, une"
and "en, à"
I hope this will come and I will be working on it.
However, I welcome all suggestions!
We all have our own challenges and I pray that each of you will be
encouraged, strengthened and comforted in yours!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Lord is good all the time, all the time the Lord is good

Am studying French, really.

Not blogging at all, noooo.

A priest told me once that God will keep giving

me situations that are to teach me something

specific, until I learn that particular lesson.

I am learning more about clear communication,

not worrying about what I cannot control

and living in the present.

My school may have a faculty strike as of
next week.
I have yet to find out if my class would be effected by this.
I am in God's hands
need prayer always
and am seeking to rest in God's care.
Back to French...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Moments in three pictures

Do you see the sunshine?

The pink and white under the plate

is a lovely doily that my Oma made,

part of my photo shoot of Oma-creations.

I got the pillows in Halifax;

just like the picture...

Doily by my Oma
painting from and by a friend.
About the French quiz.
I can't spell that well yet
and so
I didn't do that well.
(really like under 70%).
That's why I am blogging.
Back to French studies...
(midterm in a week!)