Thursday, May 31, 2012

Opening the door to summer

I am back in Ottawa.
I had a good time at home.
As always my Mom and I talk about how
my visit went so fast. 
I still have a hard time feeling like I am really
35 years old and 5 months old.
That my Mother is over 60.
Time goes so fast.
I reread Ecclesiastes at the monastery
this was my favourite book of the Bible
when I was ten-14 or so years of age.
It seemed so alive again
when I read it;
the panoramic view of time
and it was like I could for a minute
sense the overarching life of
mine and my Orthoman
and prayed I could remember to cherish each moment
as they pass so quickly.
My Grandma talked about how she once went up with a
family of a man who worked in the National Guard
with my Grandpa before they were married
back in the late 1940's and
that Grandma got a ride up with this family
one Sunday and spent the afternoon with my Grandpa
and others and that my Grandpa
was gone for 2 weeks total
and that was the weekend in between
and how much she missed him.
It helped me understand that it is
normal to miss my beloved Orthoman when we
are apart for this long
and how I too am making memories with him.
For a brief moment that is this summer,
I feel that it is a rare time of happiness
and that the door to summer
that has been looked for
is here.
God sometimes gives us a little bit of time
that has a lot of joy in it.
I remember when I was 19 and it was such
a sunny sun-lit summer
and I made new friends and was reading this
great devotional book
by Joni E. Tada
(I was Protestant at 19)
and other books
and all seemed so happy.
I was yet too young to understand that these times
are merely a gift to be enjoyed and refreshed by
and that hard times will come again.
Within 2 years of that 19th year
the woman who became like a Mother to me
had gotten cancer and fallen asleep in the Lord.
I was plunged into a great deep grief.
So I am trying to hold onto this time very lightly
and pray and work through my
anxieties with moving...
(anything new is at least a little overwhelming to
weak ones like me)
and remember to enjoy this time
as it is a season to be enjoyed
but not held tightly too.
Rather I have to learn to be open
to hold my hands open
and accept what God puts in them.
And I pray that the times of joy and refreshment will
hold out in strength when I and Orthoman are
plunged into unknown valleys where all we know
is that God will be there with us.

Places and being where one is put

My Grandma and I talked about
how she feels strongly to this day that
she and my Grandpa were put together
by God in marriage.
My Mom and I talked about how God
puts us where He wants
and gives us the work we need to do
and it does not depend on what we may or may not have
(intelligence, education, etc)
but that God does and moves as He wills.
I am on my way back to Ottawa.
It is always hard to say goodbye to my family.
Transitions are hard
I look forward to when my life begins to take shape
again and I am with the Orthoman that
God has given me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Love and God's mercy

I had a great day with my Grandma
and cousin today.
I feel very much that God
has put my Orthoman and I together
and when I am with my family
it seems especially
to be so natural and right.
I just hope I don't get sick again by
I am just over my cold now
but am still quite tired.
I got a lot done about wedding stuff
but still have more to do.
Tomorrow my Mom and I and others
hope to go to Holland to get
the kids costumes for the wedding.
My last day home already.
It always go so fast.
My apartment in Ottawa is
a bit of a mess
since I got sick with the cold that weekend
so I have a lot of work to return to.
But as my Grandma often says,
God gives us the strength for today
and that is all I need to worry about.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wonderful Weekend...

Back from the monastery.
It was wonderful.
Always feels a bit disorienting to come back.
(ps: photos below are from my parent's house
i.e. not the monastery).

The quiet at the monastery is very refreshing.
I was there over St. John the Russian's day -
just found this Akathist to him.
So peaceful to get away
and be in such a beautiful place of prayer.
got advice and felt hopeful,
and that it was a joyful time.

This picture is from the coffee shop I
met the photographer in
on Friday.

A nice place,
very retro, urban, hip - familiar to me
to coffee shops in Ottawa.

I was really encouraged
at the monastery
about the
wedding planning.
Just keep it simple
focus on what is actually going on
the Orthodox wedding service
don't worry about what culture wants to
dictate that the wedding be
and be present to the prayers.
I felt so encouraged.
I know this is what I want.
A wedding that is prayerful
with God's blessing.
On a smaller note,
I got a lovely small red-jeweled Cross necklace there
that I hope to wear with my dress;
I also got some nice presents
for others. :)
I know I am in for a big transition
but the time at the monastery
helped me remember
the purpose of marrying my Orthoman
and the hope in Christ
and in the prayers of holy people and holy monastics
to surround us.
I really love visiting the cemetery there and
knowing that one day I hope
that the cemetery stone will speak of
my future husband's name and my name
and that God will have mercy on us
whose life will pass so quickly...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Many things on a Friday in May

I am hoping it is more red than
this picture
but well,
I refuse to ruin my feet for the
wedding so you are looking at the shoes
I ordered today.
(I tried a pair on first, FYI).
I am a Birkenstock only gal
shoes, clogs and sandals.
(If only they made winter boots).
My first pair of shoes I got in 1994 and
still wear them today.
I get them re-heeled or re-soled as needed.
The above sandal felt so good on my
feet; dreamy, really.
My Grandma's thoughts on it
well, not like they would be seen under the dress anyway,
I've heard some girls have worn tennis shoes. :)
My cold is hanging on;
I've gone through a klenexx box
or so...
It's great to be home.
I had a great day with my Dad
and then with my parents and other
family for dinner at a local
resturant nearby.
My registry is finished now I think.
I refused to be fully traditional and
put down some of the Orthodox books
that are on my wishlist :)
Tomorrow I go God willing to the monastery.
I am hoping it will help me prepare
for this huge life-change that I am nearing.
My Dad said it reminded him of a Dutch phase
I never would of believed it.
It is hard to believe that after all this time
I too DV am getting married.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Many Good Things

My Mom and I went today to
the woman who is going to
do the slight changes needed
for my wedding dress.
She was really pleased to see how well
it had been preserved
and is going to make me a veil similar to the one
my Grandma used on her wedding day
and will match the colour to the dress.
(My Grandma does not have the veil as she
had borrowed it).
And I love the colour of the dress;
the ivory, as you can see,
has deepened into a shade
of pale gold.
Satin and shiny, simple, modest;
I am so happy about it.
I also got many errands done with my
Mom today and it is so nice to be getting things done.
Yesterday we got the wedding favours
(Dutch candy) and did registry stuff.
It's so nice to be home and
have family around to do these things with.
Now if I can nail down the catering,
we will have made a lot of progress...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I made it home.
It was tiring but I made it.
Am happy to be home.
My Mom and I compared rings;
pretty close in size;
a long awaited change;
I am in the middle of the life changing
event of becoming a bride.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

exhausted and flying today

Another night of terrible insomnia.
A wrung out dishrag is about how I feel
and one with a cold.
I fly at 12:15 pm today.
My beloved Orthoman is tired too.
Asking your prayers.
We seek the mercy of Christ.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Sunday of the Bright Season

I made it to cemetery day.

Holy Water. 

Old offering table.

Banners of years past.

Older icon of Christ.

The small table
where I would pray.
This was the first year that I did not pray and ask
to be able to return.

Being at Christ's feet is all that is needed.

I went to our beloved parishioner’s grave
where I go every year since she died
in 2006
and picnicked there with her family and friends.
It was very hot
and we all had lots of water.

The littlest breads on the paper plate is my
small offering;
I had these frozen from the Greek monastery
that Orthoman and I went to on
Bright Monday
and got them out last night.
It was the least I could do and I am so glad to have done it.
It was hard to say goodbye to the grave
of the beloved woman
 who died in 2006,
she had such faith and I believe
very strongly that she is praying for all of us
in our small church now.
as I told my Grandma on the phone last night,
we are all to prepare ourselves for heaven
and try to repent and seek God
as best we can.
It is a lot of falling and getting up again.
I took decongestants today to make it
through the day.
It is very hot in my apartment and
I don't have anyone to put my A/C in yet
and so I feel the heat
and am praying that the cold that keeps hovering and
that I feel in my sinuses
will decide to leave instead of coming to stay a while.
I fly Tuesday and find
it painful to fly when I have a cold.
Asking your prayers.
Thanking God that I was able to go today
and for all the goodness He is putting in my life.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I made it to vespers.
Took pictures on the way.

This is one of my favourite walks. 
Orthoman and I went often
during our visits here.

I love the trees,
the green
and the beautiful old brick houses.

When I first moved to Ottawa
almost 7 years ago
I lived near this park.

The OC Transpo buses.

I took this walk knowing
it is one of my goodbye to Ottawa walks.
For months already people have been telling
Orthoman and I how fast
time will go
and we will be at our wedding day
in no time at all.

And I talked to my Grandma
whose healing is still going very slow
about thankfulness
and that a thankful heart is a light heart.
My voice is going out
and I am trying to take it easy and not get sick.
I am almost ready for cemetery day
and hope I can make it there
one last time
to the little chapel to pray.

Moments in late May

Insomnia again.
Throat doing poorly.
This weekend is cemetery day.
I really don't want to miss it.
Last year it was a week later;
I remember vividly because
I got my first email
about Orthoman the night before.
I remember talking almost in code
to my spiritual father
about the yet not emailed
(of course I being who I am,
I let my spiritual father know, one or two close friends
and my parents know about him within
an hour of hearing of Orthoman's existence)
after church
and how floored I was at cemetery day;
how I prayed in the little chapel there
and asked for help about this
who sounded like everything I ever wanted
and I remember the sunshine, 
how I asked our deacon,
who was about to pour the left over 
Holy Water into the grass
to pour it on me instead
as I felt this intense need for help
and how happy I was and yet how much I felt
my world lurching under my feet
and the next two months were a scramble of 
sickness, job interviews, sunshine, praying about 
Orthoman, reading lots of Optina fathers,
talking to my close friends, my parents
and spiritual father
before I got the final blessing to let this man
know of me
and well
it is almost exactly 1 year that I got that first
life-changing email
and tomorrow is cemetery day 
and I want to go again to that small chapel
and pray.

Above is a beautiful rose in the city
where my Orthoman works.
It was raining that day
and I was drenched through my coat
and had really good
chicken soup with pasta and cheese in it
and how that warmed me up
as I sat cold,
wearing one of Orthoman's hoodies
that he keeps at work.
When I was going back home to Ottawa
my soon not to be home
as that which is familiar is left for that
which is all new and at times
and often very beautiful
I was in the airport and
suddenly the plane was delayed over an hour
and I was desperate for food and Internet
and feeling a lot of pressure
for wedding stuff
and then I went hurriedly to my new gate
and there was a sign for a meditation room/chapel
and so I ducked in there
and found this icon
and put my stuff down
and prayed by it.
And suddenly it was like I awoke
for a few minutes
to remember that
Christ and prayer is all that is needed
and for this time
and that God would give me what was needed.
Today I ran into a newly married couple
from another Orthodox church
who I know for some time
and they reassured me that
it gets better
and that wedding planning is stressful
and that it is normal to have nightmares
and feel overwhelmed
and that it is a really big transition
and they understood that trying to work, travel,
plan an international move
figure out when to have my name changed
and all of these things
is really intense
but that it would be okay
and is well worth it.
Orthoman and the life we can have together
is worth it indeed
but there is no denying that
for me
a more HSP type
it is very taxing.
It is a beautiful day here in Ottawa.
I hope for the strength to go to vespers
and to go to the cemetery after liturgy tomorrow.
I fly again on Tuesday.
Cleo is sitting on my chair behind me
and is going to miss me again
and I must not try to think of all left to do
but be with God now
and remember that He never leaves
us and is merciful to us,
the small weak ones of North America
where we have it easy but yet
find it often to be very hard.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ottawa and leaving

Today I was walking down
a street I am on almost daily
when in Ottawa
and I forgot where I was going.
Getting to know a new place
I guess at times means
somehow losing
part of the familiarity of the old.

I mainly stick to Orthodox everything
but I admit to liking this statue of
St. Teresa the little flower;
in my old beautiful apartment
with green walls
I saw the cross of this church daily
from my window
and I walk by it often.

I don't know how my icons will
be set up in the new place.
Orthoman has icons too
and we will have
some new icons together
for our home.

My hairdresser moved
to a new place of work and I was
lucky to find her
(since she is also doing my hair for my wedding
not having her right now would be
really stressful;
I've gone to her when ever I could
for almost 7 years now)
and today I got my hair cut by her again.
I saw a good friend for dinner.
Friends are such blessings.
I had horrible insomnia last night.
I hope tonight will be better.
It was indeed a better day.
Cleo is sitting right by me and I had blessings
of various phone calls today
which was wonderful.
My Grandma is still trying to heal from her fall
this past January;
she is walking with a cane now but
it is slow and her brother-in-law and sister
are both seriously ill.
It is hard to grow old.
I am humbled by how many people pray for me.
God is incredibly patient and merciful towards me;
I need to work on my thanksgiving
to Him for all of the blessings.
My throat is sore
and I hope I do not get sick this coming week;
traveling is wearying
but God is eternal and is our Refuge.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cleo my Cute Cat

I am very happy to say
that Cleo is very glad to have me back.
It's so nice to have her purr and
be happy with me.
Talked with my sister-friend today
and chatted with my sister briefly and my Mom
who is the best Mom For Me
and this was all very good.
Of course Orthoman and I are in very regular contact...
I am adjusting some of my work plans
as I am realizing the amount of work that needs to be done
to move and get things the things that
need doing
Above all
may God
order my life as He wills.

and so it continues

Messages on my machine
that I did not listen to until late last night.
I wish they had called my cell phone
so I would of known.
So now I can't go to work today
as I have some unexpected errands
that must be done today.
I am feeling run down and burnt out.
Lord help the weary
and save us,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back in Ottawa

Cleo missed me.
I am really tired.
Lots of decisions to make.
Work tomorrow.
Ottawa greeted me with sunshine.
Transitions like this are no small thing
but I know I am very blessed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

season to season

My time this visit is coming to an end.
Still trying to do more wedding things.
I wish caters would return emails.
I fly back tomorrow.
It will be good to see my Cleo Cat again
my friends, my familiar city
and soon leave again
for my family and monastery.
I am really looking forward to being home.
It takes a lot of work to build a new life
with my beloved Orthoman.
I know we are going to have a nice
first home together.
Orthoman is working so hard for us.
Our IKEA delivery came yesterday.
That couch we got is heavy
and the delivery men had to work really hard
to get it up the stairs
while we watched on.
It was horrible actually to see
as the company had not told them
the details and really they should of had
more help all I could do was stand and pray
and be very thankful.
So we have a beautiful couch and those two men
have to wake again this morning to
do more deliverys.
God help and remember them.
They were very well mannered and very professional.
Today I went to a store to begin a registry.
The store was huge - overwhelming really.
This is all very tiring.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

details, details

Wedding invite
first draft
Making it simple, fun
and with one of my pictures.
As can happen,
we found we had no choice but
look for a new cater.
But hoping to nail this down this week
via email, phone and we hope an in-person visit.
Still blogging here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Continued Progress

Wedding invite picture chosen.
Cater change happening for
wedding reception.
Marriage preparations continue.
I am down South a few more days
before returning
God willing to Ottawa
for a few short days
before going home to Michigan.
This time is good;
very full.
I feel like I don't have a lot of time
for introspection or reflection
but we met this priest today
who was really wonderful
and I could sense the peace of God
with him.
And we went to a beautiful church
that I felt I could just be small
and quiet and be cradled by
the walls...
The Lord is my portion
and He is giving me what I need
one day at a time.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Almost to the Feast of Mid-Pentecost

My first blog post from where
Orthoman and I will live.
We had a great weekend.
Went to a marriage seminar
and enjoyed learning
since we're both a bit of
nerds that way.
In Canada we would use the word 'keener' but
no one in the States seems to know this
slang.  Which is quite the loss
of slang vocabulary,
I must say!

We went to a chapel that
had these icons at
kid level.
Loved that!
There was lots of beautiful flowers
and green trees.
I had forgotten how beautiful
New England is...
I am aware of the goodness of all of this
with the awareness also of
what a big transition this is
and how hard it will be to say goodbye
to everyone I love in Ottawa.
But I remember often Madeline L'Engle's book
certian women
and how the Alaskan people had a wave of the hand
that meant both
hello and goodbye.