Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last Day of July

Twice today I looked
for a piece of furniture that is already
gone down South.
I am still recovering from last week's
intense packing job.
I got a book today from a gift certificate
I had been given.
I am visiting with friends the next few nights.
I keep feeling like I could be getting a cold.
I am hoping to fight it off.
I need one or two more boxes for going down South
next week Tuesday.
Have I mentioned this yet?
Don't really remember...
I am going with my Aunt and Cousin and Cousin's son
driving a good 10 hours or so
with my Cleo Cat
to have the movers deliver my things and
So much to do.
If many were not praying for us all
how would we ever survive?
May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday in late July

So yesterday I ended up not feeling that well...
so I went to my beloved Bridgehead
(which I think I love in part now because
it has been a familar part of my life
for 7 years and I have had many cups of tea
there and lunches)
and got a new bag of mint tea and some tea filters.
I have my kettle still
(am giving it away and already have a lovely
red one as a wedding gift waiting for me
down South)
and I got an insulated water bottles for
myself and Orthoman a while back
which is my tea pot for now.
The mason jar is my mug
since all my belongings are on the truck already...
I've been enjoying the tea
and seem to really want it with honey...

My little icon corner.
My friends months ago teased me about
all the books on marriage I am reading.
(the pile on the right)...
I joke that I am getting a PhD on how
to be married :)
Prayer books and Holy Water on the other side.
Trying to keep a routine of prayer really
helps me cope with
these days of transition...

Cleo seems a bit out of sorts today.
Not overly but she is being a bit more
vocal than she is sometimes...

I've been traveling so much
that we have hired a cat sitter for her
when I am not here.
The cat sitter gave her toys.
So she's doing well overall...
just seems to need a bit more TLC...
I am still not sleeping perfectly.
It had been a struggle
esp. last week in the
to keep a normal routine of prayer
so I am hoping to settle myself
as it were
by being extra intentional in keeping these routines for myself.
They help Cleo too;
she often sits near me when I pray in one of my
icon corners.
Icon corners are such blessings.
As is the church and each of you.
These are blessed and busy days...
just hope my strength
holds out;
I can tell I am fighting something...
God is so good to us.

Small Note about my friends with wordpress blogs

I keep forgetting to tell
you all that those of you
who have wordpress blogs
I have been unable to comment on them
for months
and I am not ignoring you.
I had thought of doing a wordpress blog over a year ago
and now wordpress wants me to log in
via their site to comment
and not only would that not work
but I don't even know where my password would be.
So... if anyone knows how to fix this,
please let me know...

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Liturgy this morning.
Coffee hour.
Talked with a person in great grief.
It is so strange to be leaving my church;
I see so many people I could continue to get to know
and speak with.
But I am being called else where...
My friend and I got makeup for the wedding -
the same friend is going to do the makeup...
Talked to my spiritual father briefly about grief.
Part of my askesis right now is to
continue to bring my feelings and grief to Christ...
I am very tired.
Just so much to do.
I am glad that I will be seeing my Orthoman
a week Tuesday.
But boy do I have a lot to do before then...
Prayer requested
and thanks again so much everyone
for your kind words and love.
It means so much to me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Made it through today

Cleo and I made it to the vet.
Thankfully the taxi driver was really gentle.
Cleo survived and was spoiled!
I went to the pet store next to the vet
and got traveling supplies for Cleo.
I left her in the vet room to get
these supplies and I came back
and two of the vet technians were with Cleo
talking with her...
I got some special treats that she likes
from the vet.
I must admit that I am aware of
how pets can be treated better than many
humans in the world.
Lord have mercy.

Traveling water for Cleo's trip
(I was instructed to not put much water in when
traveling as it will spill).
I am telling Cleo that she is living at a Hyatt now! :)
I will be giving my white dresser away
but for now I have my little
living room icon corner
via my dresser top.
It felt so good to have a dresser to put
clean laundry away.
I am not sleeping well these days;
so much happening and on my mind...
I really appreciate every one's comments...
I am very glad to be marrying my Orthoman
and in general am up for the adventure of moving
and building a new life together with my
Moving is exhausting and doing it in two days...wow.
It is no wonder to me that I am struggling
a bit to know how to deal with the change,
the losses and the gains.
I am a weak human being, no more, no less.
Moving is a huge task...
Thanking God for the Church,
that I have a wonderful blog community,
that I was able to go to vespers;
it is hard to grasp that I will have a
 new confessor in two months or so;
I know I have to remember my Oma's words:
take it as it comes.
I am so grateful for the many prayers for me;
they uphold and sustain me.
God be thanked!
God be praised!
God be glorified!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stark can be beautiful: reflections on moving and loss

It almost looks like a cell of some sort.
The desk top is now clean.
The bag of clothes laundered.
The building I live in and am leaving
is decades old.
The truck driver who drove my
earthly treasures away
commented to me that
he could tell that the building was really old
and that they don't really put any money
for it's upkeep.
Which, until things become dire,
is sadly true.
It is so hard to keep this place clean.
The wood floors have lost their protective finish
and most of their colour.
The windows are never washed outside.
I have been cleaning for most of today.
My new yellow sponge will never be the same.
It is such a shock to suddenly
not have my dishes,
my cutlery,
my laundry racks for drying
(a necessity with apartment laundry machines
that fry everything).
When I was talking to Orthoman tonight
about something I wanted to get for our new house
I had to explain that I did not know where
down South
to get the item.
It will be a steep learning curve.
Not only will I need to learn to be a good wife
but I have to learn a new sub-culture,
a new town,
new stores, new brands;
my cereals are made in Canada
 and cannot be replaced.
Meat laws in the States are wretched and I
will be doing as much organic as possible.
My Hewitts farm yogurt from this area of Canada
is irreplaceable.
I have been looking and looking for good yogurt down South
and have yet to find any
other than one brand that is from Quebec.
No Cadbury Canadian chocolate.
No Frys cocoa.
Margarine will be in sticks instead of squares
by Imperial.
No Milk in a bag.
Ottawa is a big fair-trade town,
with Bridgehead (organic, fair-trade) coffee shops and
Camino chocolate.
When I am in Michigan I go to a local
American-Chinese restaurant;
the great thing about this place is being with my family.
But the Chinese food makes me shudder.
They don't know how to do a shrimp stir-fry with cashews.
The cashews were soggily drowning in a gallon
of clear sauce and none of the veggies crisp.
Even the nondescript, practically
urban-seedy Chinese restaurants do not

do this in Ottawa;
when I asked for chop sticks in Michigan they had to take them
from their decorative display.
It was, I realized, an odd request.
Suddenly I felt cultured, being able to use chop sticks.
(I was taught how to use them by Korean students I tutored
years ago in BC).
I moved my dresser into my living room;
I have my little icon corner under my St. George icon
there, with my prayer books
and books on marriage.
I went to the local grocery store and bought
bread, milk and orange juice.
Today that seemed a huge accomplishment.
Mon-Thursday were days where I was traveling or packing
for 14 hours a day.
I just survived packing my house
with lots of help
in two days.
Thank God for my friends,
Thank God.
I could of never made it...
This morning I slept and slept.
Tomorrow morning I have to take Cleo for her last vet
appointment for her vaccines.
Poor Cleo Cat.
The afternoon I cleaned and cleaned.
sweeping, cleaning, window washing.
I am determined to give the next tenant
the best start to this place
as possible.
It is a great location.
I still believe that the Mother of God gave
me this apartment
painted in blue.
I had to learn to be really aware of others here.
My friend from Romania says that walls in this
apartment are thinner than the ones in
the new Romanian cities that
were built during communist times.
If my neighbour sneezes,
I hear it.
So it is a really unique place to live.
My last apartment was newer
and the walls very thick.
Unfortunately new construction is shoddy now days
and even new things are not as good
or sound proof.
Really though, this apartment
for me began with learning French
then saw me go through some great struggles as
I continued to look for work
and then ended with joy
of meeting my Orthoman
and in it I learned a bit more of what it is to love,
to offer hospitality,
to be aware of other's suffering,
to try to be kind in an apartment where
there can be very little sound barriers between
my two neighbours.
I have many dreams for future dinner parties.
My two friends that helped me move
yesterday helped me move over two years ago
into this apartment that I am now leaving.
They both said they remembered it being empty like it is now
when we began moving things in and
we reflected on all the dinner parties that I have had here.
It is so strange that I am hoping for more dinner parties
with my dear Orthoman
and none of my friends who always come to my
dinner parties will be here.
My last 'dinner party' here was with these two friends.
I put the yellow and orange tissue paper that
I had left over from a gift
on the old wood table
that I found years ago by the side of the road and
carried single-handily
over 5 blocks to my old apartment that I moved out of
I think in 2009.
My two friends and I ate take-out from a local pub
as we waited for the truck driver to come back
to pick up the trailer.
Pizza, a hamburger and fries and a chicken cranberry salad
with walnuts
were our dinner choices
eaten out of Styrofoam and with plastic forks.
And my beloved gold arm chair
that was my fathers
is staying behind in Ottawa.
I and Cleo will miss it.
Cleo is laying on the floor near by to me.
She seems okay overall, but
this much change is not easy on either of us.
I did not even know where my prayer books were this morning.
Thankfully things are being re-located.
And I saved a tin of tea light candles to have by my icons.
I am struck at how much I want my environment to be
ordered, clean, with icons and candles.
I found myself asking God how anyone lived
years ago with horrible plumbing and no bathtubs and
no icons and books.
So truly I have so much to be thankful for.
Including this blog and the community
who listens to me
as I go towards marrying the Orthoman I love
and who loves me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day Three: packed and moved

Last picture of my three main living room icons.

My cute little smaller buffet icon corner.
My buffet is now packed and in the trailer.

The movers I had were excellent.
I hope all will get there in one piece...

Lots and lots of boxes.

Cleo in the middle of it all
(yesterday when my friend and I were still packing).

I am keeping my St. George icon up and lit
until I move with it in early August.
My new kitchen table...
an old small table that has been on my patio...
with tissue paper for a table cloth :)
Cleo is doing great so far. 
The worst thing about moving day is her needing to
be locked in the bathroom
but with a small apartment and a door that needs to
stay open for movers
it is the only safe place for her.
I think both of us are glad that these days are over now.
 Now just under 2 weeks and I will
go down South with Cleo.
Over 40 days and DV I will be married
to my Orthoman.
It is all happening very quickly...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Days = 1 apartment packed

Cleo is doing remarkably well,
though she did hide at times.
Three friends came at different times today
to help me.
I have not been alone packing for more than 30 minutes
or so at a time,
which is a huge blessing.
I am pretty much packed.
Really messy
boxes and boxes and boxes.
 I feel like I may be getting a cold;
I hope to rest after tomorrow's move...
FYI, I and Cleo are not moving yet.
We go later,
it is just my stuff that is going now.
Prayers requested for the truck and movers...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Packing Day 1 - productive, sunny, cool breezed

One of my closest friends here in Ottawa
came and spent the day with me.
It was so nice.
The professional packer came at 9
and worked till about 12.
He got a lot done and did
most of my special books and all
but one baking dish that was not found till later...
he did most of my my breakables...
 my blue dishes, my Grandma's dishes,
my many tea cups and tea pots.
My friend and I packed many more books and some
of the left over breakables.
Cleo is currently running around, playing
with some of the bags and a stray Styrofoam 'peanut'
and having lots of fun.
She's stressed though and my friend even asked if
she had lost weight :(
My friend, her husband and I went to a local
Greek restaurant for dinner.
It was really good.
I have some friends coming tomorrow to help again
and I am so glad for this.
My apartment is full of boxes
and half packed things.
I am really thankful and hope to sleep well tonight...
This is a huge change and it
is a lot of work to pack
but with my friend
and going out to eat,
it is a lot lighter and lot more fun than
it would be otherwise...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back in Ottawa - buried in boxes

First, here is the post I did on
the bridal shower my family did for me.
Traveling icon corner :)
Orthoman and I almost have twin traveling icons.
So back in Ottawa.
Got up this morning at 3:50 AM.
My couch is littered in boxes.
I am trying to get all the glass stuff
out of my cupboards to be packed
I am tired...but God is helping me
remain peaceful
in the midst of this great transition;
grief and joy are often close together.
The professional packer comes at 9 AM.
A good friend of mine is going to come around 10 AM.
I am taking it day by day,
hour by hour,
moment by moment.
Talked to my beloved Orthoman as
I took down the magnets off my fridge.
Somehow taking down the decorations,
the pictures, the icons,
are the hardest to do.
So excited to set up my new home.
Poor Cleo is meowing a lot about me
being gone and about all the boxes.
This is hard for her.
Noah needs our prayers - FB update
about possible respiratory problems.
Please pray for us all!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

going back to Ottawa

Flying back tomorrow early morning.
So many special things done -
times with my Mom, family bridal shower for me,
time with Orthoman's family,
time with Orthoman
and now I go back to Ottawa...
I have to be packed up by Thursday morning.
Have a professional helping me
with the breakables on Tuesday;
Wednesday is the last day to be packed;
would appreciate prayer that I have the
strength and the clarity of mind needed.
Packing and moving is never easy.
I thank God for His mercy in giving me
a special time at home right before this.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A special time in late July

I was hoping to go back
to my Orthoman's family holiday
but realized that I was getting
a bit exhausted
and had a lot to do.
So I stayed home.
But here are some pictures from when we were at
Lake Michigan! 

Everyone was having quiet hour time
so the beach was pretty empty during this walk...
I am inheriting lots of nieces and nephews
and had a good time with them...

As a kid my family,
Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, Great Aunt
would all go to Lake Michigan to my
Great Aunt's cottage.
My happiest dreams when I sleep,
I am back there...
So it was pretty special to be there
with my Orthoman
for the first time.
We had time for walks, swimming and being
with family.
It was a really special time.
It will be great to see many of these relatives again
at our wedding in September!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fun in the Sun

One of my pictures of Lake Michigan.
I am having a good week.
Home for a night;
get to see my wedding dress tomorrow...
Orthoman and I are having a great time.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Home in Michigan

I made it home.
As many know, I missed my first
flight into Detroit
and the travel ended up being instead a
4 to 5 hour trip
more like 10 to 11 hours.
I simply miscalculated the time I needed to leave
- I was not even running late
according to when I thought I had to leave...
I merely got confused as to when I needed to leave.
I am not surprised I made
a mistake like this as
I am really exhausted and just the day before had
my last day of work at a wonderful
and then had my final shopping trip to IKEA
with a very dear friend in Ottawa.
So many goodbyes.
It is a huge life change to marry the one
you love - and doing it when one is a bit older
I think adds to this.
But I am carried by the prayers of others
and the conviction of God
bringing my beloved Orthoman and I together.
I really love the man I am marrying
and am so excited to build a life
with and in Christ together.
I had a nice evening
with my parents last night.
I showed my Mom lots of pictures
and showed her many of the special IKEA things
I got via their website.
Today I am resting at home
and prayerfully remembering many who I love.
My now former boss when she
so kindly wished me well
told me to get some rest.
Everyone at my work could see how
tired I was.
I told them very clearly how thankful
I have been to work with them.
Tomorrow I have my last bridal shower.
This one is done by my family
here in Michigan.
I am really excited to see everyone.
My Grandma often talked about
her gratefulness in growing up in a Christian
family and always being loved.
Now that I am grown
I can see this more and more
as the years go by.
I may be tired but
this does not mean I am not grateful.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Layers of goodbye

Two nights ago I had
a very lovely meal
with a dear friend.
Yesterday was my last day of work.
One of my colleagues took me out for lunch.
I took some pictures of the library
quick and hurried
and cleaned my desk
and left everything in good order.
I have been researching
processing grief and loss.
Last night I went to IKEA
and used the gift card I was lovingly given.
I went with one of my close
'Ukranian family' members whose
house I stayed at almost 6 years ago when I moved
back to Ottawa after my last semester
of library school 7 summers ago.
I got many beautiful and practical things.
God-willing my new home will
be filled with remembrances of many who love
both my Orthoman and I,
including things from my church family here
in Ottawa.
I may stay with my Ukrainian family
 for a few days the week
before my wedding.
The table cloth I was given from my church
my close friend I had dinner with
said reminded her of Pentecost
which is wonderful as
it is my church's Altar Feast.
From IKEA I got two table runners
and some place mats,
two beautiful small serving bowls
and a tea towel and apron set.
Some beautiful boxes.
Things for every part of my future
home with my Orthoman.
I hope to have many dinner parties and teas
and other things.
I have told my Mom I dream of her
visiting sometime and
being able to show her the
incredible lavishment of love in
things to adorn my home.
I have been listening to
Ancient Faith Radio
at work;
I listen to Slavonic music
and some CDs from monasteries
at home;
I listened to Mozart's Requiem
a few weeks back.
Music can really help in transitions.
Sometimes the grief of things stuns me to silence;
I have gone through periods where
I have not listened to any music;
grief if turned towards God will
deepen us and change us;
I have been slowly growing over the
years in a more quiet
musical listening life.
I find it good for me.
I still need some quiet classical
music to play during Orthoman
and I's reception meal.
Any suggestions??
I fly home to Michigan in a few hours.
All my candles on my buffet are
lit in prayer.
I will be flying home while
my church is having liturgy for
St. Peter and Paul.
It is a special feast
and I am really sad to miss it at my church.
The layers of events
and goodbyes
and transitions and beauty
and love
are all needed
all good
sometimes overwhelmingly hard
and all I pray blessed by God.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Second to last day of work

I had a nice little
goodbye party with my library team.
I could not of asked for a nicer bunch of
people to work with!
The job was really a gift from God...
Now for the pictures...

Canadian chocolate.

Wonderful fruit tray.
The pineapple was especially good!

Cool vintage tin!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Changes and reflection on the blessings I have been given

So, my wonderful job
that I got a contract
for in early Lent of this year
is coming to an end this Wednesday.
They are doing a little 'goodbye' for me
and everything.
Their kindness is deeply felt.
I find it hard to be doing all of these
and my insomnia has been creeping back
a little too much lately
but I am trying
day by day.
Tomorrow I am having dinner with
a dear friend and
on Wednesday I am going to IKEA
with one of my 'adopted' Ukrainian family
members... one of the thoughtful gifts
I was given is a gift card to IKEA.
It blows my mind really,
that I get to buy fun stuff at IKEA.
It is meaningful to me to have things from people here
in Ottawa to remember in my new life
with my Orthoman.
I am feeling a bit amazed at getting gifts
even though I know it is culturally normal for
the bride to be given things for her wedding
and new life...
I am grateful
and determined to use the blessings I have been given
to serve others and offer hospitality...
many more dinner party pictures I hope will
be in my future :)
Thank you all for your love through this time.
The comments, FB feedback and emails
really encourage and uplift me.
Love to you all!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

More blessings

My church did a lovely
potluck meal for me
to say goodbye and celebrate my
upcoming marriage to my Orthoman.

These strawberries were so good;
had them with a vegan brownie;

I was so touched by the gifts that
I nearly cried.
And that vegan cake was so good.
The goodbyes are already starting.
This is the hard part;
but they were so kind
and I felt so loved.
I can't tell you how blessed I feel.
I got this book (in the first edition) that I have been wanting for
quite some time
from my spiritual father;
that I will have a new spiritual father
 is hard to imagine
but I know God is in all of this too
and that it is for my salvation.
I was given a beautiful table cloth and cut glass
candle holders to remember them by
as they know how I love to give
dinner parties.
I surely will have some beautiful new place
settings for my new home
with my Orthoman
and those I look forward to photographing!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Wonderful Happy Day

Today I woke up and it was sunny.
I put on my new favourite long brown
summer skirt and favourite pink shirt and
sparkly earrings
as today some of my closest Ottawa
women friends had a bridal shower/party
for me.
As I walked over just before 11 AM
I felt like I must be one of the luckiest women in the world.

Wonderful cup cakes.

Wonderful yummy cake.

Love these three tiered tea trays.

Little Russian dolls.

They had beautiful flowers everywhere.

Yummy food, a beautiful brunch.

Cute little breads.


Some very thoughtful gifts.
My sister-friend took pictures of me
holding her youngest,
my godson.
Great conversations, advice given and sometimes
it is just wonderful to have time with other women...
I felt so blessed!

Friday, July 06, 2012

July is already going quickly

I've been really missing
my dear Orthoman
so thought I'd post another picture of the
roses he surprised me with.
Did lots of errands today -
it is really hot here.
It's hot everywhere; so many of us
are struggling to sleep in this heat.
I am preparing various glassware that
I had been using
simple things like a cute cup for soap
or my little oil jars
for packing... everything is getting cleaned...
I still have a lot to do but one step at a time...
I am really hoping my Grandma can come
with my Aunt and Uncle to the wedding.
That would be so special;
that would be really great as
my sister-friend's oldest boy would say...

So I do not forget...

I had written down the final
advice that the
library colleague who retired
said at her goodbye lunch.
Here they are... with paraphrasing of my own:

1. If things were hard or unexpected one could
at least see that it is interesting and learn from it.
Her curiosity and willing to see things
as interesting struck me.

2. Get one with what you need to do.  Not panic or
freeze inwardly but just do it.  As my Oma would say
take it as it comes.

3. KPO: Keep Plodding On - Churchill.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

All of a sudden

I confirmed and booked my movers.
I work
fly in a week to MI
come back 1.5 weeks or so later
and the mover comes to pack my house
and comes to load the truck two days later and then
my house will not have much that I am keeping.
Then I work, have the holiday weekend
and my Aunt and Cousin DV
will drive Cleo and I down South.
Which means I suddenly did not have a lot of time,
given that this weekend is booked with Church
and wedding stuff...
So today I packed many of my icons and
just have to put them in boxes for moving.
These I wanted to pack myself
and so it goes.
So sudden it is and I am looking forward
to unpacking them God willing
in Orthoman and I's new home...

Holding to Christ while everything is changing

I've been listening to this hymn
It feels like the ground is moving
from under my feet.
I have booked the movers.
I am getting help also with the packing.
I go to Michigan this coming
on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul.
Orthoman and I will see each other again soon.
I am trying up loose ends at my current job;
I am already starting to say goodbye to people here
and it's all happening very fast.
One trip to Michigan,
then one more trip down South to my future
home with Orthoman to move
belongings and then
very soon the wedding.
I am aware that all I am able
in general to blog about is this ongoing transition
but I also know that it is such a huge
change that I have little other to say
outside of this.
I seek to trust in God's mercy
and His goodness.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I worked today
and then brought Cleo to the vet.
I made moving plans.
I am still researching lots.
Cleo now has her vaccines.
And a clean bill of health.
I have been 'going, going, going' and
I feel like I want to sleep for a month.
Lord help and give wisdom.
May God help, comfort and succor us all.