Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday - Step Three - with a prayer request

First the prayer request.

For baby Lucia -

Kh. Ramia blogged today about how Lucia

continues to struggle -

it sounds like baby Lucia is fighting for her life.

Please continue to pray for them and

drop her a blog comment of encouragement.

I can't imagine how incredibly hard it is to watch one's

infant daughter go through such sickness.

I thank the Lord that we can pray

and continue to entrust Lucia to be in God's hands.

I finally heard back from the September

all day interview that I had

and that you all prayed so much for me for.

I did not get the job

as someone else had more experience.

But I was told very positively that I did a great interview

and that my presentation was impressive.

So this is great feedback and

is encouraging as I prepare for my next interview.

I had a good meeting with my job consultant
(free service from the Ontario government)
to best 'triage' my current life.
Interview preparation, job applications and possible
additional training are all being looked into right now.
The best thing is that I have met someone
who I feel really encourages me as a professional as
I deal with my current job search and life situation.
This is a real blessing.
*
The insomnia is still ongoing,
and is in part a side-effect of the medication I am on
to take care of the face-rash issue.
I continue to heal;
now it looks more like flat fading burnt marks
which let me tell you is much better than what it looked like
last week.
*
So I am here safe with God
seeking to pray for Lucia
continue to do my job search
regardless of situation and current exhaustion.
God is good to us.
I am more and more convinced that everything He allows in our life
is for our benefit and can be used for our salvation.
Being thankful for everything in life
can not only save us in the long run
but can make difficult situations
a source of understanding that
one is loved and is in the hands of God.
How much we have to be thankful for.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday - Step Two

I was downstairs doing long-overdue laundry

when my cell phone beeped

letting me know I had a voice mail.

*

It was an HR person who left her number to have me call her back.

I did so.

I now have an hour-long panel interview via the telephone next week Friday

December 10 in the late morning.

*

No idea if I will get the job.

It does involve moving to a city far from Ottawa

but still in Canada.

*

I am at peace but overwhelmed at the same time.

Thanks for those who encouraged me about the

unexpected bill.

I was able to get through today on the phone

to the givers of the bill and found out that

and I can pay in installments.

*

This means I can pay rent this month

without using my pension-related money.

This also means I will continue job searching

while preparing for next week's interview.

We don't know when or where I will get my next job.
*
Last night was the first night I slept more than 4 hours
so at least between the health situation
and other situations
I have a bit more peace.
*
Thank you for your prayers
and encouraging comments and emails.
Each one is such a blessing to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Step 1 - Sunday Evening

Today I saw the newly baptised boy

have his first communion.

What a beautiful miracle.

It fills my heart with joy.

I was encouraged by many at my church

and discussed my situation with my spiritual father.

*

I will be researching social assistance,

doing more job-seeking meetings

with the people who help with this part,

and have other things to research too.

And of course, now that my health seems to be stabilizing

from the volcanic eruption on my face,

I hope to have the time and strength to continue job searching

for both professional and 'in-between jobs.'

*

Had a great talk with my parents

and about keeping my courage up,

not giving up

and continue to be open to God's guiding

doors that I may not of thought of yet

that God may open.

They are still hoping to get me home for Christmas

as they want to see me and

want me to be emotionally refreshed.

They know it is not going to solve the situation I am in

but may give me some renewed strength.

They and other important people in my life

all agree that during the holiday times

(Christmas and New Years)

there will not be a lot of interviews scheduled

and I can continue job searching during this time in Michigan.

As the three interviews I did have this fall

were all applied for while I was home in Michigan

in August,

I tend to agree with them.

I am looking God for help
to the Saints for their intercessions
and am confident that God will not leave me during this time.
*
Please pray for me for wisdom to know how to
best and most efficiently approach the situation
I am finding myself in
and how to have strength, a good attitude
and peace as I sort this out.
I know that with Christ strengthening me
this situation can be dealt with,
though I am not pretending it is easy.
If it was easy, then I would be having a much
easier time falling asleep at night... :)
*
Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement.
I can't tell you how much it lifts my spirits.
My love to you all in Christ!
*
And blessed beginning to the Nativity Fast for any on the
old calendar...
*
Christ is in our midst.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All At Once...

So thankful for God's mercy,

for the intercession and protection of the Saints.

*

Today I was at a beautiful baptism of a lovey baby boy.

*

I went to my good friend's house to look into

the money issue from the letter

of unexpected money owed

that I received this week.

We discovered that the letter was not wrong.

I suddenly owe a large amount

(esp. right now for me)

so much that with the current regular bills I have

(phone, hydro)

I do not have any savings left

outside of the pension that was paid by my employer

that is now housed at my bank.

(I will see about payment options

for the unexpected bill,

I am responsible

and will communicate appropriately.)

*

My friend who is also in some grave difficulties

came last night and we prayed

services to the Mother of God and to St. Nicholas.

God is powerful in the intercession of His Saints.

*

I suddenly find myself,

a professional librarian,

who has great work experience and

formerly a decent salary,

in a position where

due to some other factors,

including lack of health care in the States

and no jobs in Michigan,

mean that I may need to stay here

and look into everything that can help me:

looking for any job I can do

looking into social assistance

figuring out where food banks are

so I have one less bill to worry about.

All At Once.

*

I do have a few friends who may be able to help me with

various things

but the situation is still serious.

And I am worried about Cleo.
What if I have to move somewhere where I can't keep her?
She is not young anymore -
and I am loath to give her to a stranger.
*
Please pray for us.
I am looking to God for help and for salvation.
God is good and He is merciful and loves mankind.
*
PS: the huge rash on my face continues to improve,
so that is one blessing
though between the physical pain I had from it
and all the doctor's visits I had to get it resolved thus far
meant that I was not able to do a lot of job searching this week.

On This Snowy Saturday Morning

One of the many days I walked to my doctor's this week

(We either talked on the phone or in person)

I noticed for the first time this Cross.

How heartening.

We need to keep praying for Kh. Ramia's Lucia -

she is struggling greatly and valiantly

to stay alive.

Please do continue to pass on your encouragement to

Kh. Ramia.

This is one of the deepest sufferings a human can go through -

the grave sickness of her child.

A dear friend of mine
spent time with me last night
after we ate together
we prayed esp. to the Mother of God
and to St. Nicholas.
*
The medicine that I am taking appears to be helping,
the swelling is reduced and I am not in pain
due to the situation.
*
I go over to a friends house DV later today.
After more research (unexpected bank/tax issue)
I still may be facing a significant unexpected bill.
But God is with us, with me and
the prayers of St. Nicholas for help
are of great effect -
both my friend and I have received financial help from him
on both the new calendar and old calendar
St. Nicholas Day.
*
Praying that Christ will help us all in this day
keep us in His peace.
*
Please pray for Lucia, Kh. Ramia and her husband Fr. Anthony.
*
God is with us.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beauty in Struggle

By the mercy of God

I had friends over for dinner last night.

*

My family hopes to get me home for Christmas.

It snowed last night; the cross street was

lit wet and sunshine blazing together.

Health wise
it will take sometime to see if I will improve.
I now have the heavy duty drugs
to relieve what I have now termed
'the volcanic eruption on my face'
*
I have done research on it
(sorry not going into detail as I do not feel like my blog
coming up on google searches for medical
details)
and there should be no lasting effects.
*
But right now I don't fully look myself,
to say it in a gentle understatement.
*
Yet I remain convinced of the gentleness and goodness of God.
Let us remain with such a God
who gave Himself for us.
*
Blessed soon weekend to all!

What Next?

I managed to have good friends over for dinner;
though I am not well yet.
I had not gotten a medicine due to being overwhelmed it
and with the situation at hand, did not have the presence of mind
to ask for a prescription
in case I wanted it.
Called the dermatologist three times yesterday and
did not get a call back.
Things are looking much worse this morning;
If I don't get the prescription,
I will have to go to ER after all.
Please pray for me.
God is with us.
God loves us.
God hears our prayers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Progress


Okay.

My doctor called me a few more times

and was able to get me in to a dermatologist

so I did not have to go to ER after all;

I am still whirling with all the doctor phone calls!

So I am going to be okay,
as far as we know.
I have a single suture in my head from a biopsy to confirm
that I am okay
and I have been given creams and confirmation to continue
the antibiotic.
*
That said I am so tired now!
My head hurts not only form the rash but the freezing and biopsy.
*
I am struggling about the whole job search
and what I am supposed to do right now.
Thank you for your prayers,
they are surely needed.

Trusting God with all of life's details

Okay.
Not sure what is wrong yet
but I've had a growing rash on my forehead;
I went to the doctor on Monday
She called yesterday with a promise of calling this morning.
We talked this morning and she
is sending me to ER.
To be honest one of the things I dislike the most
about this is that I want to spend all my time
job searching,
not hanging out in ER.
But...
I am with God
and have packed my bag with Bible, Prayer book and
special prayer service dedicated to
that I have been treasuring this week.
By the prayers of the Theotokos, all the saints
(including St. Menas who the Coptics celebrate today)
St. Nectarios
whose day it was old calendar earlier this week
and Archangel Michael.

Please pray for Lucia - a beautiful baby girl!

I have known Lucia's mother,

Kh. Ramia

for a good few years now through various
Orthodox events in Ottawa.

She married and is now a wonderful priest's wife!

Lucia, her beautiful daughter, is very ill.

She is now 4 months old and was born with

Trisomy 18.

Ramia explains what Trisomy 18 is in her first post:

Trisomy 18 is a pretty rare genetic condition where an extra piece of genetic material is found on the 18th chromosome.

It's not hereditary, but just one of those things that happens "randomly."

I say that because I don't really believe it's coincidence, but that the Lord chose us for her.

If you read anything about it (it's also called Edward's Syndrome),

it will tell you that most children with this diagnosis don't make it to birth

and the ones that do, very very rarely make it past their first year.

So Lucia is a little miracle -- maybe a BIG miracle actually,

since I think all children are miracles.

*

Lucia has been really struggling this week

and currently has a collapsed lung

not to mention her heart that has a large hole in it.

*

Please join me in prayer for Lucia

and subscribe to Kh. Ramia's blog

and let her know you are praying for her

very beautiful and strong

baby girl,

Lucia.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holding Steady

God is our refuge and strength.
*
I applied to another library job today.
*
Did lots more job searching and am going for another
job search consultation meeting.
Yay Canada for providing some support to job searchers.
*
Went to a library network event.
Held my own.
There was a question about my last job
that I no longer have
and I handled it well.
Not that I get the credit...
Yay God!
*
I still do not feel fully well from my flu/cold.
Need prayer
we all do
and thank God for Saints and monastics...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Whew

It looks like I was given
wrong information about the money situation;
will know more later this week but
am no longer worried.
*
I have dubbed this week Thanksgiving week
and am determined everyday to say
Thank You to God!

Trust and Thankfulness

Trusting God and His Saints who

intercede for us

to help us all.

Well.

Suffice to say that I got unexpected news

and suddenly may have much less

savings than I thought.

(I don't live here; just liked the picture)
So.
God is with us.
This week is for Thanksgiving.
*

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”


2nd Chronicles 20: 12b NIV

*

We have a lot to be thankful for.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Looking forward on a Sunday

I had a 'heart to heart' with my Mom.

I am going to continue looking for work here

but have to face the fact that I am running out of money.

I may have to move home,

which will also involve selling most of my furniture and a lot of my books

(honest the book part does not bother me that much).

I will continue looking here to see what

I can find.

I will pursue all my options with the time I have.

But I must not be afraid to go from
single women with a great little apartment, Cat and cool
furniture
to single woman sans apartment, etc etc.
God is with us.
May whatever He wills happen.
I am going to try to pluck up my courage and continue
to seek God's face during this time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Sunshine and Struggle

More problems with the tenant.

I cannot go into detail but suffice that I have a difficult

neighbour and my landlords do not know how

to resolve the situation.

I will be making phone calls on Monday

regarding this situation.

Letters have already been delivered.

I continue to be wrongly told about possible

support for me while I continue to job search;

hope found and dashed.

I have 4 jobs to work on over the weekend,

but I know that these are very publicly posted jobs

with many applicants -

what is my chance of success?

Yet God is our support, our help;
at least when I get overwhelmed I have God to cry out to;
I can't imagine those who do not have Christ.
I am so blessed.
I have a family that cares about me;
a Grandmother who prays for all of us,
a loving mother
loving friends
loving blog friends
a loving God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comfort

I see this light of my lampada

when ever I look up.

Christ light has pierced the darkness
and the darkness will not over come it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They sought for a city

I've been listening to Nana Peradze
throughout today.
*
My job seeking appointment was rescheduled.
*
Had further problems with a tenant in my building
petty stuff that needs not mentioning
just that it is frustrating
and is part of my life right now.
*
I keep thinking of Elizabeth Goudge's phrase
they sought for a city
from her book Linnets and Valerians
and of the hope of redemption in people's lives.
*
I think I have been sitting wrong,
lots of pain in the shoulder blade area.
Pain though can be redemptive, I pray.
*
I too have sought for a city.
*

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

Psalm 46:4-5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Mid-November - white skies with sun

Can't tell you how good it always feels

to say "hello" here.

Well.

Today was another try to recover day.

Strangest cold - fairly good during the day

bad at night

or vice versa.

However:

Tomorrow I am GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE.

Can you tell I am excited?

After being house-bound for days on end, I'm sure you understand.

Even Cleo understands :)

So tomorrow I will try to do another step in job hunting

locally.

Great talk with my Mom today

about how we don't always understand God's plan or His timing.

And so often His timing is rather 11th hourish.

Fun picture from last August
when I was seeing the the Dale C. exhibit.
*
I am ignoring the fact that I just sneezed again.
*
My Mom and I have also been talking about
the fact that Christmas is just over a month away
and I don't have the money to go home
for Christmas.
Well.
I am trying to take all this in stride;
including the fact that I would be breaking my tradition of being at
my beloved monastery for New Years;
my family may come in January to Canada.
I knew all along that when I went home in August
that it may be my Christmas
visit for this year and I did get to go to the monastery
during this time...
*
Been thinking about these verses today, from Psalm 37 (NKJV)

25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
*
Jodie Anna gave us a real treat today in providing this song:
Thank you, my friend
for a song that seems to simultaneously capture
the prayer for mercy
deep beauty
and the sense of all that is beautiful and hoped for.
*
May God show us the desires of our hearts
and may Christ fill them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reflections on one's Quest

Just read this post by Fr. Michael
where he speaks of women
my age about
who are in different places - one married with children
one wanting to be married with children
both feeling unfulfilled and like they really are not doing what
they are fully called to do.
*
I know first hand the pain for the second
unmarried, loves kids, no suitable husband to be found
and I have girlfriends who are also in this situation.
This is a mystery I cannot solve,
why some seem to easily find a spouse
and some who may never do so.
But I also know, which is what Fr. Michael was getting at,
the confusion and pain of feeling like one's
goals and dreams were not met or
did not or will not happen.
*
I honestly don't know, at this juncture, if I will get a library job
or not.
Or if I will find work that I really dreamed of doing.
But I am wondering about this and if in the long run if it matters.
Now dreams I think do matter,
I think they speak of what we value and what we find beautiful.
Believe me, I still have my dreams.
BUT.
I have been wondering if we in North America, and affluent parts of Europe,
are just really spoiled and think whatever would most fulfill is
is our right to have and to pursue.
How is the right to have or pursue what fulfills us Christian?
Did Jesus come to earth to find personal fulfillment?
Did Christ come to save us merely because it would make Him
fulfilled? Somehow pridefully satisfied at His accomplishment?
NO.
He came in utter poverty.
He emptied Himself of His Glory so that we could see Him
and not be blinded by the brilliance of Him as He really is
and is show in the Brilliant Light of the Transfiguration.
Christ came in utter humility,
teaching us that as we see Him, so we see the Father.
The Holy Trinity being God
lives in perfect love and communion with each other.
They are not self-seeking but love;
God is fully full in Himself
and utterly loving towards us,
humble.
*
How badly we have gotten it wrong,
to think that the measure stick of our lives should be
what fulfills us.
How damaging, how lamentable, how lost.
*
Somehow the meaning of our life will never be found in,
as Fr. Michael discusses,
in 'bagging experiences' and a list of what we want to do and experience
before we die.
*
Our life is to be Christ's.
The Church, as is the Orthodox understanding,
is our spiritual hospital,
for our healing, for our salvation.
The fasts are for our healing, medicine for us;
as is Confession, and the other sacraments.
*
Now I am not sure what this means on practical terms for me,
other than it is better to give my dreams to Christ
and even let them die
than to lose Christ.
Fr. Michael speaks of
being transformed into Christ who the Church Fathers
point to as the Good Samaritan.
To love others.
For the one married with children to me it seems more clear -
the children you have are your neighbour,
are the first one's your minister to.
How much you can do outside of this is up to God.
How we singles who need to be self-supporting and the
unique challenge we have,
it is not always as clear, how to have one's selfishness
rubbed off of ourselves;
but with Christ all is possible.
*
Somehow, regardless of our dreams,
which may or may not be fulfilled,
the point within them must be turned to Christ
and must be for our salvation
and other's salvation
and not for the self-fulfillment
that the world has confused with salvation.
Lord help us.

Choices on a sunny November Monday Morning

Dear friends of mine bought me needed
sick-supplies after church
yesterday;
I was almost out of honey.

I told them I may be coming down with a cold

now that I seem over the flu itself

and could they get a box of Kleenex?

Well.

Sadly that cold has come and I think I may need more

than 1 more box!

So that leads to some choices.

First,
to take care of myself.
My oatmeal with flax, seeds and raisins is about ready;
my tea is steeping,
OJ made, honey ready.
Second though,
I need to care for my inner life.
This is always a challenge in illness of whatever kind
but I have gotten some hints of what is important to do:
1. Be thankful. Rejoice in all the good you do have
like my friends who supplied me with Kleenex and honey
and another friend is bringing me homemade soup for lunch
and that God loves us. Etc.
2. Keep my vigil lamp lit
3. Remember God
4. Rest and trust God that even though I am a bit 'down for the count'
still and can't fully be out job searching today
that He will still provide for me.
5. Read some good books. I am thinking I am going to re-read a bit
about St. John of Shanghai and Sans Fransisco.
*
Now please don't think I am all good just because I write
these things; rather that I need to be reminded
myself to maintain a sense of peace and good
attitude about my current situation.
I guess that is in part what I try to do here
on this blog, now days,
is maintain a better focus on what is true and what I need
to remember.
*
Meanwhile, I do hope this head cold can go away soon;
but for today, I will continue to rest.
*
Here's some great posts I've enjoyed today:
Molly's post on Being with Christ
Fr. Stephen on the Nativity Fast
*
May God help us in this day to remember Him
and stay always with Christ.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The hope we are given

Unusually for me,

I stayed home to continue my recovery,

instead of going to Sunday Liturgy.

It is, however, good to rest,

knowing that I have my spiritual father's blessing to do so

and that the prayers of the church were going on.

Read this beautiful quote:

"As the unborn babe in his mother's womb is not at once fashioned into a man,

but the image is formed by degree and born, and even then is not full grown,

but takes many years to develop and become a man;

and again,

as the seeds of barely or of wheat do not rot the moment they are put into

the ground, but cold and wind pass over them,

and then in due time the ears form;

and the man who plants a pear tree does not at once

partake of the fruit; so likewise in spiritual things, where there is so much

wisdom and delicacy employed, it is only little by little that a man

grows and comes to a prefect man, to the measure of stature

(Eph 4:13), not as some say, "Off with one coat, and on with another."

-Saints Barsanuphius and John

(from the 2007 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints

and Fasting Calendar for November 1st).

Also today, I read this by St. Nikolai Velimirovic,
about Holy Communion:
"Children take milk from their mothers, which is the mother's
flesh and blood, and by that food their bodies grow.
Similarly, we are taking Christ's flesh and blood in communion,
and by that food our souls are growing and ripening."
*
What blessings and hope God gives us in the Church!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday - Sunshine and Quiet

I write
by lamplight and candles lit by my living room icons.
The doctor thinks I have some sort of flu.
One thing at a time.
One of the good things of sickness is when it quiets you.
At least for myself when I don't feel well physically
suddenly I realize that all those things
I was worried about
don't really matter too much
and that God is here and it is He that is in control,
not myself.
Now I do hope I will be well again soon and that when I am
I can somehow by God's grace
maintain some of this quiet...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soup

Here's the soup!

My slow cooker is not new,

as you can tell!

Works great though.

It tasted pretty good;
needed a bit of salt and pepper;
would be yummy pureed
but I don't want to bother with more work!
*
Sadly, though, I was not able to fully enjoy this new
fun fall soup
as I have come down with some sort of flu-like sickness.
No fun!
Been resting all day and trying not to worry about
the fact that I was not able to do much job searching.
God is with us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday - Full of Sunlight

Did I ever show you how Cleo will sit in my

dinner chair as if the food is for her?!

Silly Cleo.

Job Search:

no news.

Slow.

Food:

I made a cashew butternut apple lentil soup

for my slow cooker.

Looking forward to that tomorrow.

The other day I won a lovely book
to read to the lovely 3 year old
that I mentioned I read bedtime and other time stories to.
I won Jane G. Meyer's The Man and the Vine
and I am looking forward to having this book!
I already told 3 year old's mother that is coming
as the latest book reading installment!
Yesterday I shared the Olivia book with him...
I know other young kids who I would love to share Jane's book with...
*
Wanted to alert anyone who did not know already,
Jane has another contest this week
for her book
Be sure to go over,
if you have youngish kids for these books,
and enter!
*
And now, as the sun is setting
an hour earlier,
I need to go clean up for yet another dinner
to keep Cleo away from... :)