Monday, February 28, 2011


Here's a picture from a few days ago,

sunny and lovely:

Here's what today looked like:

We got a lot of snow again today!


Well, butter week has begun.

And once again I am behind on making food to eat for the week.

Tomorrow will be resume and food making day.


I felt as sluggish as the huge snow flakes ...

Wake my soul awake,

why are you sleeping?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Butter week begins!

Praying for the Mother of God's protection.


I got to eat chicken soup before sunset with

a good friend!!


I want an ice cream cone.

I know, snow is still on the ground but really,

a good french vanilla ice cream cone

sounds really good.


Pascha parties were already discussed as we ate our

almost last bits of meat.

Too funny.


One of the wonderful things about fasting for lent

is that we don't fast alone,

we can commiserate together :)


Really though, it is wonderful that we don't fast alone.


I had a great evening with a friend and feel unexpectedly



Tomorrow I have to work on job stuff.


My table is relatively clean and my dishes are done.

Can't tell you how great this feels.

Laundry and floor sweeping to do...

but the dishes,

for one brief moment,

are done.


Blessed butter week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Going Towards Lent

Hard to believe Christmas is over,
spring is slowly coming
and Lent is quickly coming towards us.
I've been exploring WordPress after being frustrated with
Blogger for not loading my pictures.
But I am finding WordPress to be less intuitive,
lacking simplicity and ease of use.
Not impressed but disappointed as I like the wordpress blogs I see.
But how did anyone managed to get use to it and
load pictures quickly,
I do not know.
Speaking of quickly,
is it just me or is it really hard to be efficient and keep up
with house keeping?
It is hard to be patient sometimes, in this regards.
Here's a great podcast that I listened to while
doing dishes -
Fr. Tom Hopko on lenten reading
I listened to it with a librarian's delight
and my love of planning.
But I had to admit to myself that, as Fr. Hopko says,
I must pray as I can, not as I wish I can.
I wish I had the spiritual strength to do more
and I know I have to go towards this,
but at the level I am at I have to keep it simple.
1. Try to maintain the prayer rule I have now
2. Goal: pray the prayer of St. Ephraim once a day
3. Try to do some of the daily Scripture readings,
as I am able.
It was about lent year three where I tried to really
do more during Lent and now, a good 4 years later,
I feel that I took on too much,
at least for that time.
It is enough to humbly realize that I have a hard time
keeping up with what I do now and
to ask God's mercy.
And frankly,
it took me years to realize how much I loved
the idea of looking like one who prays
or even thinking about how I will do it
or even blogging about how important it is to love God
and pray with great attention
and that all of the above is not prayer.
Not that I don't pray or that God does not have mercy on my
youthful attempts and dreams for this.
No, it is good. It is good to pray as one is able.
But it is also good to realize that perhaps
others pray with a great depth than one's self,
that one's heart if often hard;
I love the prayers that ask for mercy
due to hardness of heart, due to lack of tears for one's
Isn't it wonderful to have a Heavenly Father who
wants us to admit our state,
as my spiritual father counseled us,
and that we will be welcomed with heavenly rejoicing
as we admit how far away we are,
how we squandered everything
how we are not worthy to be a son or daughter of God
and that as we admit this
we are ushered into the Kingdom,
dressed with the robe of baptism,
and a party with all our friends is given.
So best to admit one's state.
If we cannot see at all where we are
and how frail and feeble
and that we thus need God's help,
we cannot grow in repentance and be healed.
So we need to pluck up our courage
and pray that God will help us welcome lent
and pray as we are able
and, as Fr. Tom's podcast said,
live a little more as we are meant to live.
Lord help and protect us.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday - a quiet night

I am so happy that my blog has pictures again.

Work is going well.

It is never fully easy when in a new organization,

especially on contract

but I am trying to hold steady

and practice contentment.

Especially contentment with myself;

with learning new things and

a new place...


I know what is needed is thankfulness

and living in the present,

living with God


where He is to be found.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thurday towards the end of February

My picture I chose will not load today.

Ah well.

Hopefully tomorrow.


I have just a month left at work.

Still have to finish applying for the contract job

and now have another part-time job to apply for.

I have yet to hear from the job I interviewed at

for full time work, but that it has been almost a month

I don't think I got the job.

But I wish they would tell me,

I feel like I can't fully move on emotionally due to this.

I feel weary.


Please pray for my Dad - he paints (houses mainly) for a living and

winter is a slow time and

he does not have much work right now.

My parents could really use your prayers on this.


I am blessed with such great parents, I am very thankful.


Pray for Noah - he is back in the ER.


We have our first Soul Saturday at my church;

we do a short general Panakhyda service

and I just love being there for this.

It is these days of Lenten services

that I have been longing for

and are a big reason why I never wish to leave

the city I have come to love.


Yet I am seeking to still pray

Lord order my life as Thou wilt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Holiday Monday

I stayed at a friend's place over night.
It was good.
Cleo is glad to have me back home. :)
My Akathists came!!
I am going to read the extended story of St. Nicholas
that is in the book with Akathist and Service to St. Nicholas soon!
Talked to a good friend tonight...
one of the things we talked about was that for us
it is better to read a Saint story than something
more on the academic side of Orthodoxy.
Everyone is different and I am glad that there is a place for
us all.
I am almost done with my St. Seraphim book;
was really great to read;
I am finding that I am really craving Saints books.
Any suggestions for further reading?
Talked with another friend today,
she suggested that I make a website for
Orthodox information,
of course there is a lot out there,
but I told her that could be a fun project for me to do,
but I would do it in blog form...
Wouldn't that be fun?! It would not be to recreate what is already out there
but to let you know where 'what is already out there' is.
That's what librarians do... :)
I think I will try
but I must tell you up front that I don't have the time to
commit to bringing it to light anytime soon,
but it is a good thing to work towards.
Tomorrow I have to do another job application
finish making soup, maybe make chicken fajitas,
keep dishes under control and
I am realizing that I am getting really tired of applications
and job searching.
God is good to us.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Prayers for my friend Mara

(Icon of the Extreme Humility)
I came home after a good day at work
and a grocery run
(took a while to walk home, with all the bags)
to get an email from my dear friend Mara's parents.
My friend Mara
(named for privacy after Naomi)
is in hospital.
Her story is not mine, so I cannot really tell it here.
But please pray for her.
I am at a loss at how to help other than to ask all
I can for prayers, which is what her parents asked of me.
I did not realize the extent of her struggle
until she called unwell in the middle of the night a few weeks back.
I know this is a call for me to learn to love;
Mara has been one of my close friends for over ten years;
right now she needs friends and cannot fully
be present to me in the way she usually can be.
So I need to learn to love a friend without expecting the normal
'friend love' in return.
I thank God for His mercy and long suffering towards myself
and ask for prayers that I will learn how to love
in this situation.
It has been so strange for often I find myself wanting to
tell Mara about what is happening
but it is to her that it is happening;
I guess I feel a bit of grief in this; for now I need to be a friend to Mara
even though in a way she feels lost to me
in the friend she once could be in return.
Thank God for His mercy.
Christ loved us without anything in return;
His disciples feel asleep when Christ asked them to
watch with Him in His night in Gethsemane.
Mara is going through her own night right now;
I pray that I may be found awake
and at prayer.
Thank God lent is coming.
I ask your continued prayers for Mara,
whose presence has graced my life for over 13* years now.
*over 13 years is over 1/3 of my life

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ottawa in the winter

I took this picture a week or so ago

when I was awake due to the noise of these trucks!

I still find this fascinating - to see how the snow

in a city is removed.

So much snow! This truck was filled up in one block!

Empty trucks were right behind for more snow...

They have to go outside of the city to dump the snow in

predetermined spots, esp. as the snow has salt in it...

Last weekend we had sun and then really quickly

a huge wind snow storm

and within 30 minutes it was sunny again.

Typical weather for downtown Ottawa!

Ottawa is a pretty socially reserved city...

the main topic if one were to talk to a stranger

is the weather...

Still waiting to hear about the job I applied for.
Sounds like I can apply for more contract work
where I am now,
so I need to update my resume, again.
Work is going well.
Tiring; it takes a while to get used to a new place,
but I can say that I like where I am and
that is no small thing.
I am trying not to get anxious about my job and money
future, but can tell that it is still on my mind a bit.
Am glad tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feast Day - Sunshine - Icon of the Virgin of Tenderness

I mentioned earlier that I am re-reading a book
on St. Seraphim of Sarov;
I read this footnote about the icon of the Mother of God
that St. Seraphim loved
and it made me wonder:
"The Virgin Mary is represented at the moment of
uttering her Fiat; with lowered eyes she is
very humbly listening to the archangel's words.
We know that Father Seraphim was never
separated from this icon and that he died
kneeling in prayer before it*."
We had liturgy today for
the Entrance of the Lord into the Temple
and afterwards I asked my spiritual father
about this icon
(I had just made and framed another one)
and he said that this icon is either
the exact one that St. Seraphim had or
"a close cousin."
I was overjoyed to hear this!
How special**!
I have a copy that I can see from where I am typing this,
such a gift!
Here's another quote from the book:
"...the icon of the Virgin of Tenderness...the Staretz named
this icon 'Joy of all joys' and he loved to call himself
her 'servant'.
He used to sing the Easter hymns before her:
'Rise, shine, O new Jerusalem,
for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you...' ***
This week,
Eat Anything Week
is a really special week.
I know at one monastery the nuns,
this week,
get to rest in their rooms and be quiet;
a refreshment before the start of Lent.
I am seeking to keep this in mind
as I go through this week;
I find reading again of the life of St. Seraphim
to be really refreshing.
And I am letting myself have a few
chocolate chip cookies
(homemade with butter)
and am soon to prepare a beef roast for the slow cooker.
May St. Seraphim and the Mother of God's prayers
protect us as we go towards another
Lenten Journey...
*page 24 footnote 1
**Thanks again to Jodie Anna who has this icon on her blog
and is where I first saw it
***page 49, in the paragraph under the heading
"The Dower of the Queen of Heaven"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday - clouds and sunset - news and no-news

Cloudy today
but now I see the sky up top (I live on the 8th floor)
with the sun setting
seen with pale blue sky.
Job Search news:
I did not get the job I interviewed for and did not want as much
so not much lost there,
considering I have my part-time contract.
The job I interviewed for and did like very much
called and said that they have not decided yet
and will contact me again.
So the limbo continues.
Prayers requested for this!
And a thought I've been pondering for a while...
I've been realizing, through my own weakness, sadly,
that when Christ says that His yoke is easy and His burden light
that it is actually true.
As in if we obey Christ and are in submission to God's will
we will gain inward peace,
the yoke thus easy and the burden light.
An example:
what is the opposite of worry? peace.
How to defeat worry - largely through thankfulness.
What are Christ's commands?
Two of them are
do not worry
and in everything give thanks.
Another example:
Christ says do not judge others and you will not be judged.
Through my own foolishness I've learned that
to sin will mean that we will not be at peace.
If we judge another whatever peace we did have
will be lost.
So Christ's call is actually so loving and life-giving
that it is truly easy and light.
But due to our woundedness and sin the effort we need to put forth
to stop these passions
(exampled here worry and judging others)
is very hard and so we mistakenly think that
Christ's burden is not easy and the yoke heavy.
Incredible really.
But the trick of it now is to learn to desire to
obey Christ.
Which is why I need lent.
I've been reading over the Akathist to the Protection of the Mother of God
and trying to pay close attention to the other prayers
that we say to her in asking her intercessions to
Her Son
and am realizing that the Mother of God can help us
with these struggles;
with our wrong thoughts.
In other words, there is a lot of HOPE to be found
as we seek to gain Christ's peace within us
by obeying His commands.
I am clinging to this as we go through
this fast free
eat anything week.
This week is to refresh and strengthen us for what is to come.
On a more trivial note,
this means I am eating the chocolate chip cookies
that have been well-preserved in my freezer!
God is with us
and the Mother of God
all the Angels and Saints.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beginning week three / first week of three

This begins week three since I began work.
And it is the beginning of the three weeks
(4 Sundays total)
before Lent.
I am thankful for my job.
I've realized that the hardest thing about it is that
I feel like I always have to prove myself
as if I am on a prolonged interview
and need to constantly show them that I am
worth keeping / extending my contract.
But this is how it is and I am thankful for the work.
I've been re-reading my book on
and am really enjoying it.
Do you have a Saint's book that you love?
Would be more than happy to hear...

Friday, February 11, 2011

And now for the weekend...

Accomplished my work goals for today.
I get to spend my days searching for things
and then write about the findings.
How COOL is that?!!!
Well, I rather like it!
Whew. Big day today. Helped with a project
with a looming deadline;
worked over an hour more than 7.5 hours.
Was amply thanked and told I did excellent work.
Grocery shopped after work.
Did not hear from the job I interviewed for almost two weeks ago;
was to hear today.
I will hear when I am supposed to.
No idea if I will be working past end of March.
Am trying to do my best at my new
work - if only for a good reference,
of course I hope for more work there...
I am really tired and can't imagine working 5 days like
the one I had today.
I am aware of so much to be thankful for
and so many people to pray for.
Lent is soon.
I ordered a book last night
Would love to hear of other's plans for lent.
Once I get the book I will blog about it.
Knowing the book and also the Akathists
are coming
cheered me considerably as I worked today...
Glory to God.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunlight and Hard Work

Today was a cold sunlit day;
my favourite.
Yesterday I had a French class at night;
was home all of 15-20 minutes
before leaving again.
I find each afternoon at work
I get a bit sleepy.
My solution:
walk outside without a coat on
for about 3 or so minutes
(right now it is -9 C which is a balmy 15 F).
Work is going well;
I am trying everyday to do my absolute best
I can do that day.
I am thankful;
and tired;
but thankful.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tuesday - many details to be done

Earlier snow.

Ottawa gets a fair bit of snow each winter

and as is typical for some nights,

the plows and huge trucks that the snow is piled into

and brought outside the city

were in my area...

at 1.30 AM.


Really bad insomnia.

I am hoping that sleep will be better tonight -

I begin my Wednesday-Friday work week


Today there was sun and it was cold again;

I love these days.


I ordered some Akathists and other prayers today,

including a newly reprinted

canon to St. Katherine,

which was a real find!

(you can order it here, fyi).

I hope to get them right before Lent;

I am especially excited for this as some of the Akathists

come with the Saint's story.


Sometimes I fear that my writing about Akathists will look

like I am really good at prayer or something.

Not that I don't use them (though I have more than I have prayed,

since I have been actively collecting them)

but I am also

merely being myself,

a Orthodox Christian librarian.

I want to have these Akathists at hand, ready for use as needed or

for another person. This is what a librarian does.

I am grateful for Akathists;

there is something really special about them and

they teach us a lot about the life of the Saint

or the Mother of God

and this means that they always

teach us about Christ and the character of the Holy Trinity.

God is good and the lover of mankind.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day.
Work again and a French class at night.
I still feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop;
will I get one of the jobs I interviewed for?
will the contract I have now lead to more work?
Meanwhile, lent is coming soon.
So much to be done.
I am glad for Lent's coming but I am weak enough
to remember the hard Lents before.
I am hoping to read through the
at some point.
I feel it is needed.
God is with us and the Mother of God
the Angels and all the Saints.
We must look to them for help
and not fear.
God is with us.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Monday - Snow, Cloud and French

Thought a picture of Cleo would be good
for today.
My contract is only part time so today I was able
to accomplish a lot of errands
and I went to my second French class.
Am enjoying meat while it is not yet Lent!
Made a simple spaghetti tonight.
Emotionally I am relieved about declining the
far-away interview but it is a strange thing
to say no to a potential;
but I think that is part of life as well;
we can't have it all, really; we choose one thing
and not another; this is life.
Waiting and praying about the job I should hear about
by the end of the week.
Thinking about my current job and how I can do my best at it.
Need to review my French that I learned this past year
for the course I am taking.
Struggling with anxiety a bit but seeking to fight it with
lighting of candles and remembering God.
God is with us and will not abandon us.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday - decisions and peace

This weekend I had time to catch my breath,

think and pray about the interview

I was to have on Tuesday



I realized that this particular job is not for me

nor the location.

So after consulting with my spiritual father,

parents and various Ottawa friends

I emailed the person and declined the interview.

I know I don't have a full time job


but made the decision in peace.

Of course I am hoping I get the job

I interviewed for this past week


that something will further develop from the

current work I am doing.


I am happy that the decision was made

with a sense of peace.

I have a list of things to accomplish
and need to prioritize and
be disciplined...
Work again Wednesday;
I hope and pray that I will do well;
Lord have mercy on us all.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Calm and Quiet

I managed to put up this small
icon shelf
a few weekends ago.
I really love it and think more often of St. Seraphim
because of the candle by his icon.
My third day of work was really good.
It was sunny by the afternoon;
It feels so good and healing to be working again
after almost two years of no work.
I am struggling with the idea of the skype interview
I am to have next Tuesday
for a job far from here.
I would appreciate prayers about this.
I am to know by the end of next week about the job
I interviewed last week for.
I can't tell you how much
from all I know of it
I would love this job...
God has always provided for me
and I seek to trust Him also with my future.
I am glad it is the weekend.
I am tired.
Tomorrow I hope to regain control of my living room/dining
area... it was too much to manage along side of work.
I am sure many of you can relate to this
struggle! :)
I feel very blessed.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thursday - brilliant sun and white snowy ground

Thank God day two of my contract was better,

much better.

And today was a most beautiful sunlit snow-the-ground-day.


I am really tired.

Still overwhelmed in ways.


Realized that emotionally this week has been really overwhelming;

my friend Mara having a huge struggle

last weekend

that was

emotionally hard for me to deal with,

for when one you love suffers you suffer alongside;

an interview Tuesday for an Ottawa job that I would LOVE;

Wednesday a huge crazy first day of work that

I am still recovering from.

Thank God that His mercy is sufficient

and that tomorrow is Friday.

I can tell right now that a few things will be vital

for me to continue surviving my new job

and my life.

First: prayer time in the morning

Second: off the computer by 9 pm or soon after

Third: sleep

Four: eat well, continue to avoid sugar

(sugar and caffinee incrases my sense of stress

and decreases my abilty to cope, but OH have I been

wanting to eat some chocolate!)

and stay well hydrated - drink lots of water and decaf tea.

Five: seek to remember God throughout the day

and His Holy Mother.

Please keep praying for Noah,
for my friend Mara,
who is doing better but needs prayer
and for me that I will know how to be a friend
and that my third day at work can go well.
Thanking God for each of you and your prayers!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wednesday - A snow filled blur...

It snowed all day here.
I was only 10 minutes late to work.
The roads are fine, we have maybe an extra foot of snow.
My first day of work.
My goodness.
I was thrown in to the waters with minimal
but very clear
and raced around via the computer for the rest of the day.
High pressured, a bit frantic, and new.
I felt like I was plunged into a sudden vortex
into a strange but very real fast-paced fiction.
I will have to learn to get my inner balance at this new place.
It will come by God's mercy.
I ask your prayers;
I feel like I've never experienced a day like this one before.
I can't tell you how much your prayers for my first day
mean to me.
Thank you.
God is with us.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Another Interview Over

Thank you all SO MUCH
for your prayers
and encouragement in the comments.
Your support and friendship
via the Internet
is very real and comforting to me.
Thank you.
The interview went fairly well;
the hardest part was that I have not been sleeping well
and towards the end it was hard to keep my
'interview stamina' going.
I've still been having regular insomnia,
in part from the meds I am still taking for the
rash that reoccurred (is gone now again
but I have to stay on the meds for a bit longer).
Tomorrow I start my new short term part time contract.
I don't know what to expect exactly
and would appreciate prayers that
tomorrow will go really well.
I am to know by the end of next week
about the job I interviewed for today.
I am using my librarian skills to try to help my
friend Mara who needs all the support and
medical resources she can get.
Please keep her in prayer.
That we can pray for each other
and that we have hope in God
and the Mother of God's protection
is a great comfort.
We are all in great and grave battles but God is with us
and Christ has defeated death by death.
We must take courage and say
God Is With Us.