Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two weeks goes so quickly

My two weeks "off" from school are almost gone.
Tomorrow my friend, her two young boys
and I
hope to go to the monastery.
I had my Pascha Party.
Cleo did not want to be left out!

Notice my new IKEA 365 dessert tray?

I have been waiting at least 8 years

to have a three-tiered tea tray.


Finally, this week, the tray was in stock!

I really love giving dinner parties.

I wish I could do it once a week!

Eating with friends with a beautiful table setting

and tall candles,

talking about a myriad of things,

is such a treat.

And one of the guests brought his violin and treated us

to some beautiful music.

I am already thinking of an after Pentecost dinner party!

The flowers are out!
I hope to take lots of pictures again this summer.
I really love creating beauty,
whether in a good dinner party,
photos I share here
or by going on a walk with a friend...
I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed about French
and that by the end of the summer,
I will be needing a job...
Am trying to do the best I can,
make the best decisions possible and
live in the present,
trusting God with my life now
and in the days to come.
Christ is Risen!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring is springing!

I had a lovely day yesterday with a
dear friend.
We went out of downtown,
where we both live,
and did errands.

I had a gift card

and after getting what I needed from Future Shop

(a store like Best Buy in the States)

I had some money left over...

as I could not get it in cash,

I got three cheap DVDs...

all have French language options, so see

I will be studying and relaxing all at once.


One super girly movie
One fun movie from years past, also a bit sentimental,
Yep. My family never watched many movies per say
but us kids watched this one when we were teens,
and it is something I would like!
And one kind of more adult one,
Fun and almost totally free!
I realized that all of these films are from the early to mid-nineties...
My teen years as they were...
Not sure what movies of today I would like...
But I think those three choices would,
sadly or not, sum up what I like to watch.
Either sentimental old-settings "girl" movies
or Christmas / sentimental movies
mysteries of one sort or another without too much
troubling footage.
I really don't watch much in terms of movies
and do not plan on getting a TV anytime soon...
But, as one of my best friends told me on the phone,
I was in serious need of some relaxation.
The 40 days of brightness are for our renewal
so it feels fitting...
Christ is Risen!

Cleo, still the cutest cat in Canada (she told me herself you know and cats don't lie, she assured me)

Cleo, in the corner of the gold chair,
being furry and beautiful.

Clearly Cleo has found the door to summer.

Notice the tail wag.

Cleo did not feel like blogging.

Love the chair coverings?

Tres belle, n'est pas?

After spilling for the umpteenth time on my

ivory colour chair coverings,

they are done being washed and air drying on racks.

Cleo of course had to sit on the chairs

with towels draped on them.

Of course Cleo is the reason the towels are on them:

Je suis tres intelligente!
Je dois parler en français;
je dois écrire en français.
Je besoin de prière a apprendre le langue.
I am very intelligent
I must speak in French
I must write in French
I need prayer to learn the language. )
(feel free to correct if I did something wrong S.V.P.!)
Christ is Risen!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Quiet Day with lots of time for reflection

I have been going non-stop since Monday's final exam.

I have cleaned,

practiced French with a very patient friend,

been studying more on communication and assertiveness.

I feel that women,

even with all the woman's lib years,

are not taught how to communicate with simple assertiveness.

The war on anxiety I can see will rage on for a good while.

But the battle is the Lord's

and we are not abandoned!
I was practicing French with a friend
who is fluent with it;
I was quite dismayed to see how little
I can do conversationally
with French,
especially listening to someone else speak it.

So glad that I am switching courses
up a bit so I will have more exposer to this part of it.
Read some cool posts recently.
First, my sister and brother-in-law have a great post
who sadly are not open for international adoption.
Did you go look at them?
If anyone ever wants to sponsor me on a mission trip to work with the babies
and my sister Rebecca in Romania for a few weeks,
go right ahead!
Of course I would also go visit some great Romanian monasteries while I was there!

Molly Sabourin
has a great post that includes a link to her friend Beth
who struggled through the grief of infertility
and later adopted children.
Really beautiful.


This post made me think about the situation
that other women find themselves in
and it is a huge grief as well.

My newer very lovely blog friend Anna


I am 33 now.

I always thought I would be married with children.

I will be 34 in late December.

It can be a huge source of confusion and grief.

I often have to ward off
instant thoughts of jealousy
when seeing so many beautiful families in person
and in the blog world.
But I think Anna is correct - we need to practice thanksgiving
regardless of our situation.

I have been thinking about some of the ramifications of what
it can feel like to be single.
I have discussed this with my single friends and
pondered it a bit myself.
One of the struggles that single women (and perhaps single men)
feel is that they are somehow
not good enough
that somehow they lack something that is the reason
that they are not married.
Not only that many of us conclude from the feeling that
somehow they do not measure up
that they are,
by not being with someone,

I have struggled with this feeling
so have many of my friends.
But I have come to this conclusion -
the feeling/conclusion that we are less than others
and / or unwanted,
while a seemingly logical intuitive conclusion,
is untrue.

And is even,
may I be so bold as to say,
a lie of the devil.

This is why I think this:
We have to remember who we are.
We are all individuals who Christ died for.
God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us.
God thinks we are worth His Son dying for us.
We are wanted by God.

I feel that as we grow in the understanding of who we are,
wanted and loved by God
accepted and welcomed in His Church
and the Saints
we can gain a sense of healing
and see that the ideas that
we are unwanted, rejected, undesirable
are untrue, no matter what the world may be telling us.

As my spiritual father has told us in church...

The Church, in reality,
is enfolding and encompasses the world
not the world surrounding and being bigger than the Church.

True reality is one of hope
true reality
is the victory of Christ
and His Bride the Church.

Christ's Bride is Beloved and Wanted.
We are invited to be in this Church.
Therefore all humans are wanted
no matter if we are single or married
rich or poor.

Somehow I feel this understanding is part of our healing,
and will help us
as we live single lives,
balancing hope, grief, as we are struggling towards our salvation.
May God have mercy on us all.

I am re-reading Elizabeth Goudge's Bird in the Tree
and it is so good for the soul.
It is so hard sometimes
when we are so desperate for a sense of peace
and refuge,
even us who live in the West amidst
considerable affluence
but yet we too feel often worn
and ragged.
Prayer and quietly reading Elizabeth Goudge's books
often restore me.
Elizabeth Goudge went through a lot of inward struggles
and the fruit of these are found in her books.
I thank God for her.

Wishing you all a good and healthful day!

Christ is Risen!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The next minute of the rest of my life

Good morning!
Lots for me to do for my two weeks before my next class.
Actually I am praying about changing my French courses
just a bit.
I am hoping to take two part time courses
in place of my one class
as I want different experiences and more focus on oral and speaking.
Both the part time classes would do this
and I would have about the same amount of class time,
more flexibility and not a long commute to class
which at least for now
would be really great!
I have committed this two weeks to lots of French studies
amidst my many other errands I need to do.
I am reading slowly a non-fiction account of the first on foot journey
to the North Pole,
a book on Anne Frank
both in French.
I am listening to CBC Radio in French.
I am going to do web French learning
hope to talk in French with friends
If anyone knows some good sites for understanding
French pronouns
let me know.
Of course I will be doing my own google searches for this as well.
A friend and I are hoping to go to the Greek monastery for a day
trip next week -
I have been there once before
and hope that this will work out!
Also I need to organize a late Pascha party
and am going to IKEA this week!
Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wanted to recommend to you...

I have listened to these three podcasts of Fr. Thomas Hopko
and was really blessed by them:
(Why is there suffering, why do some people seem to be holy with ease,
why do I feel neglected, does God favour others above me? All from a
well-articulated letter that a woman wrote to Fr. Thomas Hopko.
I praise God for this woman who wrote the letter,
as so many of us can benefit from what
Fr. Thomas has given us in this
and the following two podcasts
that have come after this initial one.)
(how does prayers to God work when God is all-knowing and sovereign)
(about why every Christian is a Saint but may not be canonized on a church calendar)
I thank God for teachers like Fr. Thomas Hopko!

Supporting a fellow librarian

Just wanted to say a word of support for
she is doing a really cool survey for theology and technology;
I have done two of them so far -
and one for Ancient Faith Radio.
The survey is not long to do and I encourage you to do
either of these if you use either Internet resource.
As Donna is a fellow librarian,
I have great interest in what she is doing
and think this is a very worthy
library study
for the Orthodox community!
Welcome again to my blog Donna
and my best wishes for your study!
I look forward to hearing more about it
in the months to come.



After further thought about matters,

though I had told Margaret that Cleo would begin blogging,

I have realized that Cleo blogging would not fit this blog.

So allow me to just say a few kind words about her.

I am so grateful that I have Cleo to take care of.

One of my dear friends sent me an email with words from

Matushka Juliana Schmemann's new book "The Joy to Serve"

which talks about Motherhood and spiritual Motherhood.

I know it is, as Mat. J. Schmemann writes, true that I too

have a desire to be a Mother...

Now, no worries, I know I am not a spiritual Mother to my cat.

Cleo does not have a soul like a human.

But I am still responsible for her.

And it is such a joy.

Even when she wakes me in the middle of the night (and believe me she does weekly)

or throws up cat-hair balls because I have not brushed her enough (oops)

or decides that midnight is a great time to play

catch me if you can,

while she races around my small apartment with her quick four feet,

I am so glad I have her.

Children of my own I do not know if I will ever have.

This is hard but I seek to trust God in this.

But I love having Cleo as my responsibility and she is a delight to me everyday.

She is the cuddly type and purrs loudly when held.

She is at my feet whenever dairy is around

and she also believes she loves chicken and peanut butter.

The latter two she never gets.

And if I open a can of tuna, well, I can only ask her forgiveness for not giving her some!

No mercury poison for her!

But I find that I can write about her but not for her.

But trust me, she is a princess, knows it and is also the best cat friend

I could of ever asked for.

She knows my routine better than I and

often tells me when to get off the computer

or when to go to bed by either meowing

or standing by the bedroom door.

She often sits quietly while I seek to pray

and I believe she is a gift from God to me.

I will posts some other pictures of her sometime

and thank Margret for including Cleo in the animals that she loves!

My final exam for Beginner II is tomorrow!

Then not one but

two weeks

off before my next class.

Wow. Even though I technically had many weeks off while being unemployed

and wondering what to do

these two weeks seem like the first two weeks off in a long time!

Lots to do...

taxes (praying for a good tax refund!)

cleaning (my living room floor has Cleo-hair dust bunnies!)

practicing French

and many other good things.

Spring always feels like a time for new beginnings.
I am really excited about my
declared war on anxiety and ask God's protection while I work on this!
To realize again that with God I can scale even this wall
is really quite wonderful.
I am getting a novel about St. Spyridon in the mail,
hopefully this week,
along with an Akathist to him.
in which she talks about how men especially love Orthodoxy
because it gives them something to do and to go towards
and that women get this too, but men sometimes first.
Well while I can not fully relate to this,
as for me Orthodoxy was something I dove into fairly quickly,
but the reason I can relate to!
I think this is why I am excited about seeking to overcome
anxiety because it is something with God that I can do.
Are you excited about anything right now?
Or has it been a while for you for this sense of excitement about the future?
I know that for me I do not always feel this way
and am astounded that I do right now.
Life is really hard.
I have heard of an old classmate of mine coming down with cancer
for the third time.
He is a husband, a father of 3 or 4 kids
and is not doing well.
God had healed him twice.
This is really devastating.
And the stories go on around us again and again.
The only real answer to this is Christ's Resurrection.
Singing Christ is Risen to those dead in the graves
on cemetery day
or sing Christ is Risen in church during the 40 days of brightness
when hearing of a friend's hospitalization,
is where our hope comes from.
Christ is Risen!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Struggling through the layers

Part of growing up,

by which I mean,

becoming more whole

which must mean, as Anastasia

pointed out in my previous post,

is to become more like Christ.

I really appreciated all of the responses from this post,

from the understanding of those who are single

to those who are older than I...

I am gathering that one of the areas of

growing up

is to begin to see one's self more clearly.

Including those areas of one's life that

suddenly appear to be in great need of attention.

Areas that for whatever reason

it seems to be hard to become whole

to be obey Christ

to become like Christ.

For me,

with my cozy house of cat and books,

I am realizing that I am struggling against
anxiety on a fairly dramatic scale.


Those who know me in person

or who have read my blog for a while,

I don't think will be surprised by this.


Of course I am also in a situation

that is uncertain
taking French

using my savings

for an unknown future job


a tad



But nonetheless,

I am slowly

declaring war on the anxiety

that has been with me all too long.


So how to do this?


Going to church.

Participating in all the sacraments.


Mediating on Scripture.

Reading Orthodox devotional material.


Talking to those I need to talk to about

rooting out anxiety,

reading up on the subject,

reading books by Christians on anxiety.

Re-evaluating my eating habits.

Drinking more water.
Failing and getting up again and again and again.

Prayers to St. Spyridon who a Monk

told my friend helps for anxiety

and whose prayers helped this friend.

When I can I hope to go to a monastery again,

where deep healing can be continued.


I just re-read Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge.

In this book Elizabeth Goudge shows how fear can be faced
and conquered;

her understanding of detachment

and other insights to me are deep hints of the

Orthodox understanding of

that Metropolitan Jonah's articles made well-known

in the online Orthodox circles.


God will bring me

in all my weakness and brokenness

to His safe harbour.

The inner storms that buffet cannot destroy

or keep me from the love of God.


Be kind for everyone you know is fighting a great battle.

— Philo of Alexandria


The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103 verses 8-14

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thoughts and Prayers

I feel incredibly blessed by God
and my blog community.
We must never take anything we have been given lightly.
This is something I am seeing more and more of,
the need for vigilance in all things -
may we all be vigilant in all things,
including our wonderful community.
I have been thinking about a friend I love deeply
who is really struggling right now...
How to be a friend long distance
(I have friends coast-to-coast)
and still be a support.
Of course the biggest support is prayer
and this I must do.
If you could say a prayer today for my friend,
I would treasure this for her.
When you have friends far away
what do you do to show your love and support?
Thank God we have friends in the Saints,
as Frederica Mathewes-Green writes
about in her book on the Canon to Saint Andrew ...
we are not alone,
God, the Mother of God (our Lord Jesus Christ) and the Saints are with us.
I am gearing up for my second final exam
(each of my classes are 6 weeks)
which will be this coming Monday.
I have a lot of work to do yet,
but am feeling hopeful about it.
May God give us more deeply in our hearts
the Hope from and in Christ's Resurrection!
Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Question: Orthodox Saints and Prayers for Families

This icon is the Panagia Elevtherotria (also spelled Eleftherotria)
I am posting this
on behalf of a friend I know who, like myself,
is an Orthodox convert.
I said I would ask my readers...
Who are the Saints who specialize in helping a Mother conceive a child?
My friend* is seeking to bear another child.
I know Sylvia has great posts on The Mother of God and
I know that St. Joachim and Anna are known for their intercessions
for Mother's who wish to conceive.
also has various Psalms for this
reason (and for a healthy childbirth as well).
I would think also
St. Elizabeth the Mother of the Forerunner (St. John the Baptist),
(who was barren until old age and then conceived St. John the Forerunner)
St. Hannah (who prayed in the temple for a child and conceived the Holy Prophet Samuel)
St. Xenia of Petersberg
are all powerful intercessors for this reason.
So the question I have, that I promised my friend I would ask,
is are there other Saints or specific prayers in a prayer book
or Akathists (in English)
for the conception of a child?
I would love to hear more stories or of Saints or of prayers that were done
for this purpose in the church for women who are trying to conceive.
Please share!
I know God cares so much for Mothers and the desire for children.
I look forward to hearing anything you can share about this!
Thank you!
Christ is Risen!!
(*as usual, I do not name people on my blog for sake of privacy)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Thoughts on this Brightest of Wednesdays

Today (old calendar) is the

Feast of the Annunciation.

Bright Wednesday


the Feasts that signifies the beginning of our salvation.

A friend of one of my dear friends was in town

and prayed with us in church.

A very special day, for which I am so thankful for.

I have been thinking about what it means to grow up;

I am 33 now; some think this is young, some not as young.

All I know is that I need to continue to grow up.

It is confusing - what does it mean to be an adult,

what does it mean to be single and a professional and female?

I see all around me so many of my friends married,

bearing children; to them this is what growing up means,

becoming a Mother.

But what does it mean to grow up
as a single professional female with a masters
(library science for me)
who will, Lord willing, be a working professional.
Who may or may not marry,
who may or may not have children.
What does it mean to learn to leave home
to not cleave to one's parents
but still have no husband to go to?
I am slowly learning how to navigate this,
but the road is not easy,
straightforward or
clear cut.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you feel it means
to mature into adulthood,
in whatever situation life has given you.
Blessed Bright Week to all!
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!!!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen!
Hello on the night of Bright Monday.
Pascha was very bright and glorious at my church here in Ottawa.
On Saturday I had, hours before Pascha, the added joy of
becoming (first time for me) a godmother of a very lovely young adult*
who officially entered the catechumenate.
I take this responsibility very seriously and know that God have given it to me
not because I am worthy as much
as because I know that God works in our weaknesses
for His kingdom!
Today I went back to school,
yes, on Bright Monday.
But I rested the rest of the day...
I must say I was quite tired out from Holy Week, Pascha
and the feast we had after Agape Vespers.
So today was quiet.
I cleaned
and rested.
Tomorrow I must resume my French studies in earnest.
Blessed Bright Week to you all!!
(*Sorry no names or pictures, it is a policy on my blog to have neither).