Friday, July 30, 2010

Glorious Summer Sunshine

The weather has cooled down enough to have my windows open

and sun shining in a bit;

love how the sun is on my year round Nativity set.

Did you know that the Icon of the Nativity is by the place

in the Altar that the Priest prepares communion?

We always celebrate Christ's coming among us

and His Resurrection...

I applied to another job!


Sometimes I think I will never get done with the application

and then it is over...

It is another bilingual job so no promises but worth the try.

Still reading
and as I was taking pictures of flowers this morning
I thought of how the hummingbird
taught Elder Porphyrios
of how the singing of the bird
alone in the forest
is akin to how we are called to pray in secret,
to love Christ while we are
and of hiddenness.
It is such a marvel,
each of these flowers
so beautiful and so many of them unseen.
Another one of my friends has found work;
I have two more job applications due in August
and I am going to be making a more
comprehensive job searching strategy this coming week.
One of the blessings of living in Canada,
which has a bit more (government funded)
social support than some places,
is that I have a professional I can go to for help
with interview preparation, job strategies, etc.
I fail so often at being thankful
and sometimes have to drag myself from greyness
by slowly naming to God things
I am thankful for;
having the support I have is one of the things
I am thankful for.
Another is that tomorrow is my Church's picnic, Lord Willing.
It is the high light of my summer in many ways,
especially as I don't think I am getting any official summer holidays...
May God keep us all in His hand and support us
in all the battles we are in.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Almost Friday!

Cleo and I are getting ready for me to be

in more of a routine.

Job searching is a challenge!

I won't go into the various challenges related to it here

but I would not say that it is fully easy for me

right now;

actually, it is kind of hard.


I am applying for another bilingual library position


This is a flower picture from the Greek Monastery

that I went to

about a month ago.

I really want to go back!

It is so peaceful there,

I can remember realizing that I should not be so worried,

that God is and will take care of me,

that He loves me,

loves everyone of us...

May we all go deeper in remembering God's mercy
and goodness is always here...
Really liked this post of Fr. Stephen's today - I recommend
reading it!
wow! What a great podcast! I am slowly listening to it
for the second time...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

By the prayers of...Saint Irene of Chrysovalantou

St. Irene of Chrysovalantou

I would be remiss not to mention that today new calendar is

St. Irene of Chrysovalantou's day!


I still remember my Godmother asking me

who I had chosen as my Patron Saint!

10 days before I was chrismated,

I found her!

St. Irene's icon and story was in the church bulletin

and her bravery, determination and decisiveness captured my


now I would say it is her gentleness and peace that keep me

returning to her,

asking her prayers...


My official name's Saint is

St. Elizabeth the Mother of John the Baptist


St. Irene is still my first patron;

though St. Herman of Alaska was my first Saint who I knew loved me...

I still remember looking at the iconostasis of my first church

and looking at St. Herman.


Today I had lunch a good friend's house

and remembered that last year too I was blessed with a meal

at a friend's house!


It is such a blessing to ask one's patron's prayers daily;

By the prayers of the Saints

lies our salvation.



Not a temporal kingdom on earth didst thou obtain,

but Christ, thy most comely Bridegroom, vouchsafed thee heavenly crowns,

and thou reignest as a queen with Him eternally;

for thou didst dedicate thyself unto Him with all thy soul,

O Irene, our righteous Mother, thou boast of Chrysovalantou,

and mighty help of all the Orthodox.


Leaving all the world behind with its impermanent glory,

thou wast wedded unto Christ, the King immortal and holy,

bringing Him as precious dowry thy maiden beauty

and thy trophies won through abstinence over demons.

O Irene, our righteous Mother,

entreat thy Bridegroom to show His mercy to us.

The Extreme Humility of Christ

The Word who had created all and given life to all
accepted death at the hands of His creation-
a greater humility than this cannot be conceived of.
--Mother Alexandra
Essay from 1980, "The Call"
republished in Vol 23 No 1 Pascha 1991 of "Life Transfigured"
from The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blessings and Prayers

I have begun to read Wounded by Love

by Elder Porphyrios;

Here is a sample of this book...


In the beginning of this book,

he narrates how his father taught him verses to the Theotokos

and how he prayed to her desperately

when a small child,

so that he could go to the Holy Mountain.

We are so blessed to have such books in English now.

It was recommended to me as a gentle book...


Let us pray for those in Texas who are reeling from the loss

of a priest,

Fr. Matthew - see also Fr. James's blog for more.

I have seen first hand the emotional devastation

when one's spiritual father dies and the sense of being

at a loss, of being orphaned.

I have seen how these orphaned can still ask the advice and prayers

of their fathers

who have gone from life to life.

Let us pray for them whose loss is so new to them now...

In other, smaller, news...

The Lord is merciful in so many ways.

Today I was given free chocolate croissants and tomato soup

that could not be used tomorrow as they would be

'a day old.'

I felt so blessed.

It has been beautiful summer days here in Ottawa;
not too hot
and sunny.
Let us use our days to learn to look to Christ
in all things.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on Saturday - St. Olga's Day

I am very slowly reading

Fredrica Matthewes-Green's book,

The Jesus Prayer;

So far all I can say about this book is that it is not for the

faint of heart,

is very instructive and accessible

and that if you are an Orthodox Christian

I would strongly recommend consulting your priest or spiritual father

for discernment for how to apply it.


Meanwhile, I am hoping to listen soon to her podcast on distractions in prayer

as I have much to learn.


In her book she speaks of growing in the Jesus Prayer

and that one eventually can be given the space

to begin seeing and examining one's thoughts

to see if they are actually good or true thoughts.


I have been thinking about thinking and thoughts

since reading the beginning pages of this book;

how often are we more interested

in our own thoughts

than in concentrating in prayer;

how silly my own thoughts can be

when I actually look at them just a tiny bit.

How quick wrong thoughts are and how embedded;

as easy as a quick stab of jealousy over a picture of some one's house

with a well ordered beautiful icon corner

while forgetting that one's own corner

is a gift from God

and is also beautiful.

Not to mention forgetting that things like Icon Corners

develop over time;

for example,

my first Icons were almost all printed paper copies;

I was a student and did not have money

to spend on much...


God is so merciful to give us authors like

Kh. Fredrica who help make sense of these things.

God has been merciful also to me this week!

Even though I did fail my first French test

I took another one on reading

as I was given the option to do so.


While on this French test also

I did not get the level needed,

I was really close to it

and did quite well.


I was so happy!

By God's mercy I was able to have a better strategy for taking

the timed online test

and was more peaceful, since there was no pressure as

I had already failed the first test

which put me out of the running for the job

that I was doing the test for.


So while I will be job searching full time now

(i.e. instead of studying French full time)

I am still going to seek to keep up practicing my French.


I will need God's mercy to do so...

Am hoping to have another tea party soon.
It is so beautiful to create beauty and I thank God
for the opportunity.
God is so good to us.
Lastly, St. Olga's day is today, old calendar;
Read her story here
and take heart and
see how a Grandmother's influence is strong!
How many of us have been saved by our Grandmother's prayers...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cleo the Cat on a Cloudy Friday

Too Cute...

My Gentle Cleo Cat.

I finally got one with her blue eyes.
With wishes for a great rest of your Friday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pictures for this week...

Some church signs don't work for me,

but I really liked this one!


Fast on criticism

Feast on praises

Fast on self-pity

Feast on Joy

Fast from resentment

Feast on contentment

Fast on fear

Feast on Faith


Words to live by, as they say.

Now Cleo is a being a bit of a funny one;
never wants her picture
taken now days.
Am dreaming of doing another tea party soon...
Am reading,
Elder Zosima, Hesychast of Siberia.
I also have some books by Elder Cleopa
that I need to finish
So, what are you reading these days?
Would love to hear!


One of my good friends told me
that about the French test
that I want the truth.

I need to know what doors are open to me
and what doors are not.
as I suspected from doing the practice tests,
I did not get the level needed for the French test.
I did not pass it,
in other words.
It was a hard test
even harder on the computer.
I did better when I was doing the written tests
on paper.
I thank God that this is over;
I am really exhausted from the test!
Thanks for your prayers.
I need help and wisdom as I will,
most likely,
NOT get this job
(as I explained before French can really
keep you from jobs here;
if you think I still have a chance at the job
to be honest I would rather
you not say so
as I don't have the energy to explain again what
living in Ottawa the Capital of Canada
that is an officially bilingual country
means for job chances).
In other words,
I am a bit bummed and don't
want to be offered false hope,
however loving and very well meaning it is.
But may the Lord's will be done.
May God be praised.
May the Lord provide me the wisdom I need
to know what to do as I need a job;
May the right door open
for me.
May I say in my semi-weary state,
Glory to God for All Things.
And, I hope my request for no-false hope
NOT be translated as a lack of thankfulness
for all the love encouragement and support I have been given.
No much on the contrary,
you all mean TONS to me;
it's just that I don't want my heart to break.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trusting in the Lord's Mercy

Looking to Christ for our salvation.
This icon is called
The Extreme Humility.
I got it at the Greek monastery last time I went.
So my French test is tomorrow.
I feel peaceful about it but also know that it is okay
if and when I don't pass it.
It is a hard test and it could be that I am not
able to pass it this time around.
I am already gearing up to switch gears
to a more intensive job search in Ottawa.
Also I will be looking selectively outside of Ottawa.
Most of all I will be looking to the Lord to
open and close doors
according to His will.
Your prayers as I have been going through this
are so appreciated.
I pray that each of you are also being encouraged.
Christ is in our midst!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tea flowers and hope

Wouldn't it be nice to have tea

with friends everyday!


I learned more about the topic of orphans

human trafficking and

other problems in Ukraine;

as my sister and brother-in-law are in Romania

working with orphans

this topic is very close to my heart.


I have the problem right now of unemployment

but I have a Mother,

and a Christian Mother at that.


It is hard to imagine the suffering of many orphans

and it is a deep comfort and instructive

that God is so clear about the love

He has for orphans

and our responsibility to care for them.


It makes realizing that tea with a friend is

for many in the world

an unknown luxury.


I am working on the French grammar test.

To be honest it is not going all that well;

it is discouraging as there is so much on the practice tests

that I have not been taught

and have never encountered.

My test is Tuesday morning.

But we trust in God
and that He cares for us
regardless of what situation we are in.
Almost two years ago I bought
Reflections on God
excerpted by
Bishop (Saint) Theophan the Recluse
from our Holy Father
(Saint) Ephraim the Syrian.
Published by
I have started reading this again
have been greatly comforted by the reminders of
God's love and for our need of God.
If you have not run across this book, A Spiritual Psalter
I recommend it.
I first hear of it when it was being read on Ancient Faith Radio
a few years back.
Fr. Stephen Freeman has posted from it
which is a great way to get a feel from them and then
if you want and are able to,
you can buy them from the Publisher
or through 8th Day books ...
I can't resist being a librarian
which, since I am one, is probably a good thing...
Wishing you all a joy filled Sunday!
Christ is in our midst!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Light of Christ


The candles lit in Orthodox churches
and in Orthodox homes
speaks of the hope God gives
that is not extinguished by night.
The light is rung forth at Pascha:
"Come receive the light from the never ending light
and Glorify Christ,
who is risen from the dead."


when I was living in a small cute studio
during library school
I woke in the middle of a dark night
in unforeseen terror
feeling like God had suddenly died or never was
and in a fear I have felt not before or since
I frantically grabbed my old Anglican Psalter,
which I still love for its language,
opened and read:

But God hath delivered my soul from the place of hell;
for he shall receive me.
-Psalm 49:15

My fear vanished.

God hath delivered my soul from the place of hell;
for he shall receive me.

The theme of light in darkness is
in also our funeral prayers,
'in a place of brightness, a place of respose'...


Let us all then continue to light our candles
our lampadas;
our lamps with oil or wax
and turn again and again towards
who promises to never leave us
who will enlighten our darkness...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Goodness given to me

Lampada lit;

Gives so much hope,

and moves the heart to prayer...

I made this new icon corner

in my living room

when it was so hot last week

and friends and I had a special case to pray for.

(My living room has A/C).

Tonight I had a really good friend over
another who sees me
and understands my various dreams
for future work
as a librarian...
I couldn't resist using my Royal Albert tea cup,
though the rest of the tea setting is
more in the
Delft blue Dutch line
(though it actually is Japanese stoneware).
The very big pillow Dutch windmill case
is a very cool tea cozy
from Holland.
Featured on the small tea plate
(to complete the mismatch of tea ware,
the plate is an older Holly Hobby Birthday plate!)
are the Dutch windmill cookies
another Dutch cookie with
milk Dutch chocolate
on top
and to complete the small plate,
are some
pitted dates and strawberries.
Steeping in the cool tea cozy was
ginger mint tea with lemongrass by tetley.
I did more French today.
The reading comprehension test I am doing well on;
the grammar test I still need a lot of work...
Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Many Blessings

Tonight I was at a friend's house;

she let me talk about that which I dreamed of doing

(i.e. writing a book,

always wanted to do this).


What I appreciated about this friend was not only

that she listened and supported

but did not push me overly hard about pursuing it.


As in I have a lot of other things that need to be tended to as well

(like finding a job so I can continue to feed and house Cleo and myself

later on this year)

but it was nice at the same time to be heard.

What a gift.

I gave Cleo a special treat on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul's

and now she is meowing her concern

and not getting treats on other non-Feast days!

Poor poor Cleo!

My St. Nicholas Icon
on my beloved Icon shelf.
I am so grateful that God is loving
and has provided Saints
to also pray for us.
Found a super cool link that all Orthodox librarians would like -
And there are some Akathists* there that I have not
seen anywhere else,
like the one to St. Sabbas the Sanctified.
It does not get cooler than this for us
Orthodox librarian types
who love to collect Akathists...
Speaking of Akathists,
I have yet to find one to my patron Saint
in English.
I know there is one in Greek
but since I don't read Greek much
(a little since I did try studying Koine Greek in University)
I really need an English translation...
Any and all help on this one is greatly welcomed!
Here is a link to the Icon of St. Irene that I have
had since I was chrismated...
really love this one and the deep colours...
Wishing everyone a peaceful night
and a blessed day tomorrow!
*when going to this link look for the AK to the right of the title for Akathists...the rest are services, not Akathists.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Worth the read / listen

I have been reading various things
that speak of the word
So when I saw this podcast title,
I knew I had to look further...
and I was not disappointed.
I needed to hear this!
(Actually I just read the transcript,
but will listen to it later).
A short 10 minutes worth of really
good practical
It appears that this is a new podcast
called Real Life.
I look am going to remember
to look back for more!
Thanks be to God!

In the moment

Really liked this post by Fr. Stephen ;

It is a daily battle to live in the presence of God

to remember God

to live in the hope of His reality.


I think one of the lessons I am supposed to learn

during this time

is that what I need will be given to me

and that I have to live in the present.


One of my prayers still is
Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

I am grateful that God accepts this prayer.

More french work today;
and job application work;
house work;
and I am hoping to get out and take a picture or two,
though it is cloudy at present...

Wishing all a good day
as we fight to live in the reality of the current moment
that right now
God is with us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

With the Feast

It was so good to be in Church this morning.

And I did have ice cream today :)

My favourite ice cream is a simple one - Neapolitan

strawberry, chocolate and vanilla;


Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers

RE: my French test prep.

I think it is hard for me in part

because of the pressure of it

i.e. the two year position I interviewed for

is on the line...

I am savouring more summer strawberries!
Wishing all of you on the old calendar a
wonderful Feast of St. Peter and Paul!!
Mary, if you have not heard already,
has gone back online;
we are all so happy to welcome her back!
I am fascinated with the new
first ever in North America
that hopes to open its doors in 2011.
I am sure I am one of many wishing it very well;
Ancient Faith Radio had a great podcast interview about it.
Am seeking to remember Elizabeth's Mother in my prayers;
please remember her also in yours...
I am so grateful for my church family and my
blog community as well
for the prayer support we can provide for each other.
from Gail Hyatt
Not an easy story to read;
but it is good to be reminded not only of the good that
is being done in the world
but also of how fortunate many of us are...
I recently heard stats about human trafficking of
young girls and women
including from Ukraine and
it is really horrible.
So much to pray for
so much to be thankful for.
May God have mercy on us
and all those suffering deeply in places that we are not
aware of...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another week begins...

I go to a church on the old calendar
so tomorrow
is the Feast of St. Peter's and Paul...
I don't really hold an deep opinion on old / new calendar
as I don't think in general that debating
this is worth my time;
I am a lay woman and it is not up to me
so I can be in peace about this.
I will say though that I think it is too bad that
there are two calendars
as it means a disunity of celebrating many of our 12 Feasts.
I am so ready for ice cream again!
Not so ready for the French test preparation
but have to work hard on this
and I have another
library job to apply for
(also bilingual; I can't get away from it here!)
I need a lot of wisdom for this final week of French preparation;
I did one of the practice exams and
did not do that well
at all.
So I really need God's mercy;
I am finding it hard to study and retain what I have studied.
This too shall pass;
I am really getting ready for whatever is next;
it's been over a year since I have worked as a librarian;
patience and waiting;
yet God is so merciful and has poured out so many blessings on me.
May God strengthen you all my dear readers
as we are all fighting our own
and we must remember that God will not abandon us in
our struggles.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Today it rained

The humidity is still making it warm
but it has cooled off a tiny bit.
I got the second job application done
and submitted.
Need to go grocery shopping for some good
energy-boosting food.
Please pass on all summer
meal suggestions
as I am again at a loss
as to
what to make for dinner...
I admit that I don't even want to think about
working on French.
One thing at a time.
Am praying that the heat and humidity will lessen
as it drains energy quickly...
I am continuing to be encouraged, gently challenged
and comforted by the book on St. John of Shanghai and Sans Francisco
Wishing encouragement and strength for all of you
reading this post!
May God help us and have mercy on us!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

All things considered

Just a short post.
It is hot here, humidex up to 111 degrees F;
currently it is 84 degrees with a humidex at 101 F
(29/38 C).
I am struggling with French.
I am writing another cover letter for a job
due Friday.
Another due in a week.
This time is really like a crucible,
as I no longer am in French classes
and am just holed up in my apartment with A/C
(thank God I have an air conditioner)
studying and job seeking.
I have been lucky each night this week to see a friend.
This time of intensity and heat will not last forever
and in ways is a treasured time;
at home with my Icons
and with the promise of God to never leave
or abandon us in our searching...
Prayers requested and offered;
including for one of my dear friends who is struggling greatly.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


I guess all I can say about Orthodox monasteries

is how good it is to go.

May God have mercy on us!