Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday at October's End

I am glad to be staying in while

others are dressed in costumes.

Say no more!

I have begun job searching.

It is a slow process.

I had a good day though.

Roasted root vegetables like

meatloaf in the toaster oven :)

and a cake yet to be baked tonight.


Tomorrow is St. John of Krondstat

and St. John of Rila's Day.

I will be at liturgy in the morning

and seeing my godbaby in

the evening.


Am thankful to God.

Sunday, October 30, 2011



Sermon about God's love and that

Christ cares for us each personally.


My 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies were a hit

and none were left...

(I confess to eating at least 5 myself...!)


I prepared

sweet potatoes



for roasting tomorrow.

Also am going to make a meatloaf.


Tuesday is St. John of Kronstadt day.

and I will see my Godson that day,

God willing.


Tomorrow I begin my job search.

Thankfully with a lighter heart;

liturgy was very helpful to me today

and I thank God for His mercy to me.


Got out the book

and need to start reading.


Nativity Lent starts soon.

I have to decide if I am going to do the New

or the Old Calendar fast...

still figuring out where I need to be for Christmas...


May the Lord show the way.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ottawa in Autumn

Pumpkins and apples

overflowing at my grocery store.

The light is fading quickly these nights.

I love how this tree's

branches twist and turn upwards....

I am in the middle of unexpected

transition again

and must look to the Creator of Trees...

God is our hope, our light, our strength...

He will not abandon or chastise forever...

Quiet and Lovely Saturday

Cleo's been hanging out while I baked cookies today.

6 dozen baked and cooling.

Listened to this Akathist while baking

to try to focus on what is important -

raising our children and godchildren

through the prayers of the Theotokos.

on the book


I have been thinking on what I wrote yesterday

and how hard it is to be willing to suffer

and to not fear the storms of life...


My blog is fairly peaceful if not eclectic.


I cannot ignore a growing trend and the

very troubling implications.

First I read a jointly written article between two faiths about

chastity at Universities and that

Christian and Muslim students are together on this.

It is more of a 'feel good' article over all but

the overt danger and troubling implications came soon after.

for Human Rights violations.

To say I am not concerned would be lying.

Actually I am quite concerned but at a loss as

to what to do.

Most Orthodox Christians know that Muslims are

still killing us overseas,

for example in Egypt.

If people in North America do not think that

we are in danger in the future

of being taken over,

I would say you are ignoring history

and current events.

I hear more and more from legitimate sources

on troubles for us that are coming.

What do we do? How do we prepare? How do we prepare

our children and godchildren

to be Christians in increasingly hostile and godless


Mat. Anna blogs about these topics more

and I often learn first about these troubling events


I know the first things we need to do;

Repent. Pray. Fight the Passions.

Learn to live according the true

Teach our children to value and love God

and the Church.

Frankly we need to learn to be more ascetical.

To have a better witness - a martyeria.



I first thing for me is to pray.

To go soon to vespers.

To continue reading books to teach me how to live

a Christian life.

One I don't own yet is the path to salvation

but for now I can start with what I have

and pray.

For now, I will walk to vespers

and bring my cookies to church

as I was asked to do.


Lord help, teach and save us!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Side Note

New Pasta Dish.

My friend made this for me a week ago.


5 or 6 garlic cloves minced

saute in oil (I used olive oil).

Add mushrooms, cut in 4 or more pieces (depending on size)

add to garlic and oil and saute/cook for about 7 minutes or so.

Add bok choy (I had 2 baby bok choy) cut up and rinsed

for another 7 minutes or so.

I used everything of the baby bok choy other

than the very end of the white portion.

Then I put some spaghettini pasta in boiling water to cook.

About the same time, the mushrooms were done and bok choy wilted and soft.

I then added salt, pepper and two tomatoes, rinsed and cut.

When the pasta was done,

I added it to the sauce

and served hot

(with a little more salt).

It was lovely!

with love to all...

It was such a beautiful sunny

Autumn crisp day.

I decided to take my favourite walk

to see my favourite tree.

One of my dear friends was in

a lot of heartache this week.

I've been thinking about various topics,

of how we women have often had to be strong

for a very long time.

Sometimes we don't know why.

Why we are alone or perhaps

why we have to be our own Mother

or why life has to have a series of setbacks and grief.

Our paths often do not seem very clear

and often strewn with sadness and many tears.

The leaves fall

winter comes

and the seeds never seem

to get rooted in the ground.

We feel alone, cold, barren and

without hope for better.


As I was walking I thought of Mother Alexandra

and a prayer that I read written by her.

(I must get the prayer book it is in one day).

It was about humility and being a Mother;

about carrying other's pain as well as one's own.

(I paraphrase of course).

Somehow I have to trust that the personal devastation

that we all go through,

those dark valleys,

can be used to not only plan the seed deep inside us

but help us like wind helps a tree grow strong.

For me part of the meaning of suffering

is to become a strong tree.

Strong in Christ.

Strong through the Saint's help.

Strong because in the Saints we have

Protectors, Mothers, Fathers;

even in their humility,

brothers and sisters.

And with this help,

we can become the Mothers (or Fathers)

that can help nurture others.

Even give what we ourselves may not have been given,

save directly in Christ and the Saints.

Somehow we can become part of Christ's body

and a tree to protect others

while we are in Christ,

in His embrace and will.

Christ died on the Cross in obedience to

the will of the Father.

We are safest in God's will.

So we must learn to not fear

to have hope

and that we truly are sheltered by Christ,

like a small tree in a Mountain's crevice,

shielded in the midst of great storms.

Friday Sunshine

Thankful it is a beautiful day today.

I am getting an icon for my godson mounted

at Staples.

I am doing some job search activities this afternoon.

Tomorrow I am baking many

chocolate chip cookies

for church on Sunday.

I hope to make apple crisp and roast vegetables

and meatloaf.

Tonight will be a simple

vegetarian warm pasta meal.

I have so much to be thankful for.

I must fight to be thankful and look to God for

help and salvation.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday in Late October

I love this icon of Christ.

And having the two Holy Week Icons next to it.

When I think of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Angels and the Saints

and the help they bring,

I alway wonder why I have worried.

May Christ comfort us in our many struggles.

We must take heart,

and have courage as

Christ has defeated the world, death and the devil.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

37 Years Ago Today

My parents got married 37 years ago today!

If they were here,

I would make a feast for them!

We would be sure to have a lovely dessert as well.

So Mom and Dad,

here's to many many more years!

I love you!

I am so glad I am your daughter!!

I thank God for you and for your marriage!

Home, my Oma and other reflections

I am God willing going home

in early December

to see my sister and brother-in-law.

I booked the ticket a few weeks ago.

I don't think I can go home for actual

(new calendar) Christmas

and, worst of all, I don't think I can go to my

most beloved monastery for New Years

like I always do.

Just not wise to spend the extra money.

I am still wishing for this,

but not counting on it.

But I am seeking to go for at least one night

while I am home in earlier December.

It will be good to be home.


A few days before I go home God willing I am

going to see my Oma.

was in late 2008.
I even found one in which I flew out to see my Oma

when she was 99; she is now 102 years old!


The hard thing about that I am going to Brampton to see my

Oma with my family is that she will be

God willing

103 on Dec 24 of this year.

One of my Aunts is visiting her right now;

my Mom said that Oma (her Mom)

is showing more signs of decline.

I hope and pray that she will not go too quickly

and that my family can have at least one more time to see her.


My Oma is worthy of many blog posts,

to say the least!


It was quite something,

seeing those old 2008/2009 blog posts today.

I was in the seemingly slow process of losing my job in 2009.

Now I have lost another one.

I am glad my friends are quick to tell me that this does NOT mean

I am a failure.

My Mother I think has the best words on it;

not only am I not a failure but that God took the job away...

it is all in God's hands,

not in the end, even in my employers hands.


We go through a lot of trials in this life

but God is with us in them.

It is a continual and constant battle of the mind

to rejoice and be thankful;

one step at a time,

picking oneself up each time

that a step is missed.


Lord have mercy on us!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Autum is here

Helped out in my church library today.

Got groceries.

Tonight is house and dish-cleaning night.

And also more prayers to be done tonight for

various people and concerns.

What did your day hold today?

May God help us all

in our daily battles.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, Monday...

A grey wet day after a beautiful yesterday.

I found this cute little shelf the other day in the

'give away or toss away' place in my apartment.

It is prefect for my books by my bed!

My slowly aging big black purse.

I love it.

I remember a year or more ago being at church,

helping out and seeing my purse on the chair in the back of church

and not realizing it was mine

and then seeing it again and thinking,

wow, when did I get such an adult purse? :)


I dressed up for the job coach today.

It was not easy due to the shock and emotions

that go along with processing my job loss.

But at least I could wear my new clothes

(they came the night I was laid off,

I decided just to keep them and wear them

and interview in them, etc.)

New long brown skirt;

brown shirt hidden by

cream jacket that a friend from church gave me

and a new lapis blue with silver trim scarf.

I have a slightly more casual light brown jacket

that goes well with it.


Tomorrow I am helping out with church,

reorganizing my house

and organizing myself for continued job search activities.


God is with us,

through all pain, loss and heartbreak.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Beautiful Sunday in late October

We celebrated my dear friend's birthday

again today after the liturgy

at our church potluck meal.

We sang Happy Birthday in both

English and Romanian!

(My Birthday friend being Romanian).

Such a joy to see her be so loved.

After the meal we all walked to her place

and continued our conversations over

tea and snacks.

We saw this bike on our way.

After a week of grey rain,

it ended up being a beautiful Sunday afternoon.


I have had a great weekend,

full of friends, prayer, lovely meals and laughter.

It could not of been better.


Tomorrow starts the next small chapter in my life.

Reorienting myself to the job search

and making a schedule for myself.


Losing a job is like a small death.

And I have been busy with many supportive loving people

just like people have after a death, or that they should have at

any rate, when faced with great loss.

Now I have to begin reorienting myself to my

new after 2 months at the job

life of now looking for a job again.


I am so blessed by the people in my life

including all of you

and the prayers of many are holding me up.


I thank God for every one of you!

God is so merciful to me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Birthday Party for a Dear Friend

After vespers we went to a Greek restaurant


I and my birthday-friend both had moussaka.

We split a bottle of red wine made on

Mt. Athos,

bottled in Thessaloniki.

It was a really lovely meal.

I had my place ready and waiting for everyone

(this is actual a feat as my friends

come and help me with my dinner parties

and then we dine together :) ).

The yellow cake with chocolate frosting

was a bit lope-sided as one of the cakes

baked unevenly.

But it tasted great!

Used real butter to make the frosting.

We also had a chai herbal tea

and licorice spice.

Little cookies on my tea tray.


A wooden flute, violin and guitar were played.


We sang a rousing Happy Birthday with

instruments accompanying it.

It was so lovely to create beauty for my friend.

We can make beauty out of ashes

with God's help

and I was so glad to have this opportunity.

Saturday in late October

Still sorting through the fact that

I am job searching again.


I had a lovely time last night with dear friends

and we asked the prayers of

St. Menas

together. It was very consoling.


I am seeking to remember how blessed I am

and to practice thanksgiving.


I am very happy to be preparing for my friend's

birthday party that will be at my place!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Progress: First Day of New Job Hunt

I applied for a temporary library job

in Ottawa.

That feels really great to do.

And I am going to my friends for dinner and prayer tonight.

Now to keep doing everything that needs doing...

I am so blessed.

Trusting that Joy will come in the morning

I had such a special time with my dear friends
And godbaby
In spite of the loss of my job.
Then I came home,
Read many kind and loving comments and emails
And tried to sleep.
Tossed and turned and finally Cleo meowed at about
1:30 AM and I got up,
Stood and sat by my lampda burning bright
By St. George
And wept.
God, I did not want to go through this again
Is all I could say.

...Yet, I know ultimately it will be okay.
I learned so much about having to trust in God
And living in the present.
Frankly that is how I was surviving the job I just lost.
There were many good points about my job.
But it was hard for me as it was quite intense
And I am quieter and research minded;
the more social aspects of the job were hard for me.
Frankly, they overwhelmed me at times.
I am so sad though.

I am in the middle of planning a birthday party

for one of my best friends here
And I was going to take her out to eat.
Now that my income is again not guaranteed;
Suddenly everything has changed – again.

But not everything has changed.
I can still prepare for the birthday party.
I am making the cake and I am going to have
People over for her special day
And I have already planning out a lot of it
to make it really beautiful for her.
Just like dear friends have done for me.
God willing,
Nothing will stop me from making a beautiful
Birthday evening for one of my dear friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not Again

I was just laid off my job.

They were very kind.

They are giving me great severance.

I had some real concerns about working there

and felt that they did not fully represent what

the job was.

So overall it is a good thing.

But boy, it is not fun.

I am now going to one of my best friend's for dinner

and will see my godbaby.

Of course I ask your prayers.


I also know that God is good and that He is taking care of me.


Just like He always has.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Home after work and church

Today work went well

and I went to my friend's Orthodox church

for an Akathist and talk after

which was lovely.


One more work conversation still to be had.


Thanking God that we are nearing the weekend.

I get to see God willing my Godson again on Sunday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

God's goodness on a Tuesday in mid-October

The sun is setting earlier now;

summer is gone.

Thanksgiving was so warm and sunshine-filled

that I think I am a bit in shock at how

sudden the change in weather has been.


I still have to have one more work


Overall though everything seems fine.


I am still waiting for the clothes that

I tried on the pants I tore and had

re-sown and re-hemmed and realized

that I could still wear them to work....

So that was nice.


I have been at my new job two months

this week and so far so good.

After looking for a job for so long, this is

a real blessing.


I read a little more of my book on

Loved these lines about when the heart has

gained humility...

"...It resolutely cleaves unto the Saviour with sweetness

of heart and surrenders itself entirely

to Him with undoubting trust and with love."

Abbot Moses is a very special Saint to me for many reasons:

he was the builder of the original Optina Monastery,

He was gentle and unassuming,

keeping his spiritual intensity and labours hidden,

and he was a very strong and loving older brother to


I treasure the moments in my day when I can pick up

one of my books and read;

even a few sentences or a page or so of a book on Optina

is enough to encourage the reader.


This life is hard and we need the Lord and His Saints

to give us fresh courage.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Day Done

I am so glad to be home.

Thank you for the prayers.

First work conversation is done.

It well pretty well.

Today was more wet and grey.

I wish I could go to church more and work less!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking towards another week...(and a prayer request)

Beautiful liturgy today.

I was given another wonderful gift today:

the 7th Optina book by

St. Herman's Press

which is a great gift indeed.


I have a lot to read in this series on the

Optina Elders

and have loved them;

now if only I would be more constant in

putting into practice what I have read.


I am grateful that God is merciful to the likes of me.


Here's a small sampling of the treasures in these books:

"...the devil, like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)

opposes our good intentions, wars against and

inclines us towards the passions.

When he does not succeed in doing this, then he instills in one

an opinion about one's virtues --warring on the right and the left

against the soldier of Christ.

A sure weapon against him is humility.

One must take care to acquire it

in every way,

during rebukes as well as with regard to the infirmities

of the soul.

Condemnation is a sign of pride and so is anger.

Those who wish to correct themselves but are conquered

by the passions,

providentially receive the trial in order to humble them

involuntarily, and by this they

attract the grace of God

to themselves."

-Elder Macarius, Letter One, page 316


Prayer Request:

I've had some difficult times at work and realized

that I will have to talk to some colleagues

in relation to these challenges.

I often shy away from such conversations

but they need to happen;

I talked with my spiritual father and he confirmed

that I do need to do this.

Please pray for me for God's peace, the courage and words to say

and for the people who need to hear

these words.


Overall my job is very good;

I just need to ensure that it stays that way

and that some things get straitened out.


Thank you for your prayers!!


Wishing everyone a beautiful week.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Towards the end of the week

Tonight is the eve of the

feast of the

Protection of the Mother of God.


I am a bit exausted after a busy Thanskgiving weekend

and was not able to go to vigil as I hoped.

But the prayers are still with me here,

as well.


Work is still going well but is slowly getting more


so I am a bit tired.


Friends receiving news of joy and of sadness.

Life keeps happening around us.

I am so thankful that

God is with us

throughout it all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


My favourite tree.


I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.


Did not manage to take pictures of the dinner yesterday

but it turned out well.


One of my close friends gave birth to a son yesterday

and I am going to be the godmom!

I am VERY excited.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Evening Dinner

Scrimp skewered on sticks

Herbed Bread

Salad with tomato and avocado

Rice Pilaf with Lentils

Sauteed Kale

Lovely dinner conversation.

Theology, literature, culture, world events.

One of my friends playing classical guitar later on

in the evening.

A Mango sorbet with coconut milk,

sesame seed wafers and

vegan chocolate shavings

in tea cups.


Prayers at the end of the evening.

A lovely time of fellowship, friendship and food.

Looking towards the Mother of God's Protection

One of my favourite Feasts is

the Protection of the Mother of God.

The Akathist has so many jewels

embedded in these prayers.

We are so blessed to have her protection.