Friday, November 30, 2012

God is our ever present refuge

(Picture of the Holy Trinity Icon -- taken a few weeks ago.)
This photobook is taking longer than I
would of thought;
learning a lot about make it
in the process.
It will be beautiful.
Cold still flourishing but I am fighting back...
Made a simple dinner for Mr. Husband and I.
One step at a time.
I am seeking to be greatful for all thing &
am remembering that Thanksgiving to God
keeps the heart light...

Various places I go when insomina hits

Photo from last weekend.
This head cold I have is really wearing me out.
I wanted to point these blog posts out to you:

1. Fr. Michael's forgetting that I am blind
words on gentleness and grace.
2. St. Stylianous day post and prayers
3. Fr. Milovan's post on only love reveals God
Thanking God that Maureen made it to her father's side
as he lies in great illness;
please continue to pray for her.
Please pray that Anna's house continues to stay safe
while England floods.
I am really hoping to get better.
This is night two of really bad insomnia
and the cold continues to flourish.
Please pray for Noah as has medical appointments
tomorrow/later today and has more and more complications.
Please pray for Jeff and Kate as they struggle
financially and need God's mercy and miracles.
On a cheery note,
do check out Mat. Anna's blogiversary give away!
Sometimes life and the news seems so difficult all the time;
I was so cheered by hearing of one of the kids
my sister cares for got a job.
This is huge. 
An orphan who is not only
not on the streets but found a job.
Still working on the photo book
and I made our Thank you card for our wedding
and the Christmas card is also made.
Progress is being done
and I am hoping to do a post
in the near future about it and my wonderful photographers
who did such an incredible job on them.
One of my longtime friends just blogged about a
book that sounds like a winner for me and others;
Keeping House: A litany of everyday life.
I do hope to get back to swimming.
I am on the search for a swim cap that
will not be really tight on my head
(I get headaches easily from such things).
Wondering if this one would be a good option.
Any prayers for relief from insomnia
while having a cold are appreciate!
I am really trying to keep in good spirits
while being at home a lot
and am making progress in building my life.
I keep trying in my process
of learning my way around this very new to me place.
Thank God for His love and for the Saints being very near.
Blessings on you all,
my dear friends.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Past and Present-my Oma and Mr. Husband

I often say
when I do something, I do it really well.
That includes head colds.
I am ready for this flourishing cold to cease.
it was a year ago tomorrow
that I traveled to Brampton to see my Oma
with my family
and that night
my Oma fell,
she fell asleep in the Lord just days later.
One of my Mom's sister called her
to talk about it and the memories...

I am so glad I was able
to memorial service for my Oma
last year.
One of the miracles of this time
was not only that
my sister Rebecca and her husband Mark
were home and got to see my Oma
with myself and my family
just before she fell,
but that I was already dating
the man who was introduced to you in
February as Orthoman
and now is my beloved
Mr. Husband.
The second miracle around my Oma's death
is that because my sister and brother-in-law only come
once a year, typically,
to the States from Romania where they live
and care for orphans,
Mr. Husband came to Michigan to meet
my family while my sister was home.
And he came the night before my Oma died.
I could not tell you all then about this aspect of it
as our relationship was still so new
and the changes
including knowing that I would need to leave
Ottawa to marry him
were a bit dizzying to me.
But come Mr. Husband did,
with flowers for myself and my mother
with his warmth, laughter and love.
When my Oma had fallen,
it was late at night by the time I found out
and it was too late to call my then
boyfriend the wonderful Orthoman
but I texted him
and then emailed him the next day on the train.
I texted him on the train right before I
was getting off for home in Ottawa
from Brampton
bring your passport to Michigan
realizing that my Oma may be dying
and my Orthoman would not be able to
have the choice to come with me
to the funeral if she died while
he was visiting myself and my family.
And so he left work early
to get his passport
that was safely at a friend's house.
That was the other crazy intense part of this story.
Mr. Husband had owned a wonderful
Dutch house that he got
two offers on
(he needed to sell it due to too long of a work commute)
the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend
that he first visited me on.
The house was packed and officially sold on the day
my Oma fell;
early on in our relationship I had sent him
the Akathist to St. Menas
as he really needed his house to sell
and it was not long afterwards that he got the two offers
on the same day;
a sunny day in Ottawa when we were newly
meeting and greatly in love.
St. Menas is one of the Saints that is quick to hear
and send help.
And so Mr. Husband sold his house and just
days later flew out to Michigan
to be with myself and my family.
He came with us to Brampton and saw
where my Oma lived
and was with me at her grave
where we prayed for her.
My family loved him
and I knew that I would marry him,
and told Mother Gabriella
on new calendar
St. Nicholas Day
that this seemed to be what was happening.
Orthoman, now Mr. Husband,
and I were at the monastery
last year for St. Nicholas Day,
the day before we all went to Brampton
for my Oma's funeral.
I know.
It is all so full of God's mercy and compassion.
Sometimes I fail and get anxious and forget
God's abundant mercy in my life.
But it is there,
God is the steady hand of love
in our lives
even in the midst of deepest sorrows.
And so a year later
I and Mr. Husband are married
and soon it will be one year anniversary
of my Oma's falling asleep.
I had mailed my Oma pictures of
my Orthoman that
I had taken that first
Canadian Thanksgiving we had
and she was so happy for me.
She said that everyone wants a little bit of happiness.
She knew we would marry
and my Mom,
when she and her sisters were packing my Oma's
things after her falling asleep,
packed a lovely Dutch sugar spoon for me
for my wedding
that my Mom gave me months later at my
family bridal shower in Michigan.
I told Mr. Husband that I loved him
for the first time on
Western Christmas Eve.
The day that my Oma turned 103 in heaven.
And so my life has turned from tragedy to
comedy, for as Mr. Husband tells me
the comedies always end with a wedding.
When I tell Mr. Husband that I still worry about
it turning again to tragedy he
tells me there is nothing we can do about
the future.
Good reminder to be with God today.
And so I have been working
hard on our wedding book.
A 150 page wedding book.
Full of beautiful
pictures like these two:

My Grandma's wedding dress.
I saw my Grandma last Sunday
with Mr. Husband
and we made her laugh
with all of our joking around.
St. Phanourios will
always be our family Saint
as we were married on his day.
Above is a picture of the icon we had made
in Romania
for my church as a gift.
And our two wedding icons from
the Greek monastery in Quebec.
This past week I finally
put up our wedding crowns
on two small hooks
above our bed.
I still have to take a picture of it.
The wedding book has been taking over
my life and I feel that I am indeed
creating a book
a story of the wonderful
day of our wedding
which was a very blessed day from God.
For all of this,
I give thanks
to God for His great mercy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prayers for those we love

Please continue to pray for Maureen
who hopes to fly out today
to see her father who
is in his last days of life.
Please pray for Maureen, her father,
mother and siblings.
Lord have mercy!
Most Holy Theotokos bring protection
and comfort!
Please also pray for my dear blog friend Anna
who is in England
and whose blog I have enjoyed over the years
and who I met in Ottawa a few summers ago...
her part of England is flooding,
she has had to evacuate house, she and
her cat Tango.
This is very stressful as she and many others
do not know the state of their houses today
and how much water they may be standing in.
After living through what is now called
Superstorm Sandy
I know how stressful this is for Anna and
all those who are experiencing flooding.
I've been back home since Monday from
our travels and
I have come down with
quite the head cold.
So some things,
like getting
into a routine with swimming,
will have to wait...
But at least I can pray and light candles for
those in need...
My illness is smaller in scale than
losing one's father
or having one's house flood
but prayers for a good recovery for me
are also welcomed...
Thanking God that His goodness never fails
and that He is our Protection and
Refuge during life's storms and

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And so the fast begins

I was reading
about Saints for the day
and realized I had forgotten to put up my
St. Gregory of Palmas icon for his day.
I am enjoying reading
the prologue
and more about St. Gregory today.
Today was a pretty good day,
As often happens after a bit of travel,
I am not feeling fully well on the physical level.
Did not even want to eat my last
meat dish meal before the fast!
Mr. Husband valiantly ate my portion
while I dined on oatmeal with honey and raisins.
Which I quite enjoyed actually. :)
So the fast is here now.
I am re-reading Fr. Thomas Hopko's
Winter Pascha
and trying to keep up on my
Prologue of Ochrid
reading as well...
Mr. Husband and I got our
wedding video this week
and I am enjoying it in snatches.
I totally cried at the beginning
hearing the song
vesture of gold
and remembering how I waited so long
for the day that I would appear
as the Bride
with her father waiting for her groom.
Of course I miss my Ottawa parish
a lot but am excited
DV to visit in the new year...
I am also making
at long last
our photobooks from the wedding pictures.
And I put up our wedding crowns above the bed!
A picture of the crowns in their new
locale DV awaits!
And I put up Christmas lights!
Around here they seem to call them
twinkle lights.
You don't want to know Mr. Husband's newly
minted rendition of
twinkle twinkle little star...
let's just say we laugh a lot around these parts...
I hope to take pictures tomorrow of
the Christmas icons
and decorations
that I am slowly putting up.
I am DV really excited to have
my first Christmas with Mr. Husband...

Lake Michigan in late November

Mr. Husband and I
enjoyed some time near Lake Michigan...

We saw some really unique houses...

Made sometime back by
a local architect...

that matched the surroundings...

Lake Michigan
has a special part in my life...
My Great Aunt has a cottage there;
it was always a special place to me...
I love walking on Lake Michigan's beaches...
Mr. Husband and I had a walk
on it's beach
and it was wonderful...
I had forgotten my camera back
at the house
so I don't have any pictures of it...

It is a cute little town...
It was good to be away
but good to be back;
we saw my parents on the weekend;
I can't thank God enough for
the blessing of Christian parents.
As the years go by,
I am more aware of all of us getting older.
My parents are over 60
I will be 36 this year
I have one Grandma left
and she is over 80.
Mr. Husband found me a three-in-one set
of Madeline L'Engle's nonfiction;
the book I am reading by her
is a bit conflicted as
she struggles with the culture of the time
and what is Christian, etc.
But she touched on some of the themes
of how fast our life goes
and that we must live intentionally as Christians...
I see even more
how we need to put our trust in the Lord
and His mercy...

Thanksgiving with Family

Mr. Husband and I
visited family
over the American Thanksgiving Holiday.
This visit included seeing a really
neat library.

A book tree.

The library had a really neat
boat for kids to play with...

The boat can also be used for puppet shows!

They had cute puppets too...

There was a beautiful room
with stars...
reminded me of churches and monasteries
that I know of and have been too...

A beautiful place
for kids to learn, play and be surrounded with beauty.
Thanksgiving meal was enjoyable
and reminded me of when I
was a kid at my Grandparent's house,
with a kid table and an adult table...
Mr. Husband spent many hours
playing Risk with some of his older
I am very thankful that Mr. Husband and I
have great families to love
and be with...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Please, please pray

One of the blessings of the blog world
is a wonderful community of women
who I feel I share life
throughout thick and thin.
One of these dear sisters in Christ,
who I have been blog friends with for quite sometime
needs our prayers.
Her father has been struggling with cancer
and is now in his last week or two of life.
To lose one's father when one is still in the earlier part of
life is very difficult -
Maureen is now facing this valley and
I am asking you for prayers on her and her father's behalf.
She hopes to fly out to see her father soon and has
the following prayer requests:
 - my mom and the people helping her can get the last details wrinkled out in terms of funeral, burial, etc
- my sister and I can get back in time to say goodbye

- the doctors and nurses give my dad the best care possible (not that they haven’t so far)

- that my dad is able to stay at home for the last few days; it would have meant a lot to him
 Please keep Maureen, her father, mother and siblings in your prayers.
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy
Most Holy Theotokos save us!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Prayers requested for Noah's family

Mr. Husband and I are still
recovering from a 
wonderful Thanksgiving time.
can I ask you to pray for Noah's family?
Noah's dad Jeff is trying to find work
and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them
financially and it is so hard 
with Noah so sick as well.
They really need a miracle in terms of 
getting money/getting a new Job for Jeff.
Please pray for them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Dinner (non-fasting) and a new favourite Saint Story

Worcestershire Sauce
White wine
Onion, Garlic, Celery
Soup Stock
Onion, Potatoes and Carrots under the chicken
in the slow cooker.

Did I tell you that
Mr. Husband says that
Garlic and onions are signs that God loves us
and wants us to be happy
Mr. Husband loves garlic. 

Cooked on low for over 10 hours.

A perfect late Sunday dinner for us.

I have been so pleased with this just-before-the
Nativity-Fast dish.
Leftovers fried up really nicely
in our cast-iron fry pans
that I love.

Notice the knitted hot plate under the bowl?
It is from my early undergrad days
from a woman who worked
at the Calvin Archives when
I was a young student
before going out West in BC
to finish my undergraduate degree.
Notice the blue and white knitted
hot plate?
I just love it. 
A gift from a very dear friend of mine
(who reads this blog :) )
made it for me for my wedding.
The blue flowered napkins
are my everyday use and wash very often
from another dear friend who also
reads this blog.
Hi friends :)
Mr. Husband and I have been enjoying
some nice meals together
and I feel really blessed.
We are going to be busy with 
American Thanksgiving preparations
and other things that will last well into the weekend,
so if I don't blog as much here,
please do not be concerned
just busy having fun
and working in the kitchen!
Will report back on it all after the flurry of activity
is done!
Please meanwhile
continue to keep my dear friend Mara in your prayers
and also Noah and his family, including his 
Mother Kate,
as they continue to have some very real struggles. 
A few days ago I discovered a new Saint
whose story in the Prologue of Ohrid
I just love.
I felt so comforted by reading it...
So I am posting it here in closing-
hope you love it too!!
1. The Venerable Ioannicius the Great
The great spiritual light Ioannicius was born in the village of Marycata in the province of Bithynia, of his father Myritricius and his mother Anastasia. As a youth, he was a shepherd. While tending his sheep, he would often retreat into solitude and remain in prayer the whole day, encircling his flock with the sign of the Cross so that the flock would not stray and scatter. Later, he was taken into the army and displayed marvelous courage, particularly in the wars with the Bulgarians. Following his military service, Ioannicius withdrew to Mount Olympus in Asia Minor, where he was tonsured a monk and dedicated himself completely to asceticism until his repose in great old age. He lived in asceticism for over fifty years in various places, and received from God a truly abundant gift of wonderworking. He healed all sicknesses and pains, drove out demons, and tamed wild beasts. He especially had power over snakes, could cross over water as on dry land, could be invisible to men when he so desired, and could foretell future events. He was distinguished by overwhelming humility and meekness. His outward appearance was that of a giant-massive and powerful. He took an active part in the destiny of God's Church. During the iconoclast controversy, he was deceived at first, but later tore himself away from the iconoclast viewpoint and became an ardent champion of the veneration of icons. He had a great friendship with Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople. Ioannicius lived for ninety-four years and entered peacefully into rest in the Lord in the year 846. He was a great miracle-worker both during his life and after his death.
found here

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Question - Jesus Prayer Song in Russian...

My Matuska in Ottawa is
working on our second musical CD
by our church.
She is looking for the composer of this song for the CD.
She does not know who composed this song
or where it orginated from;
if you
or someone you know
can find out or knows the composer,
please comment or contact me at
roosjeblog @ yahoo . ca
She is hoping to include this song on the CD...
it is on a CD that the Belarusian nuns
St. Elisabeth Convent
and the nuns at St. Paisius monastery
have included on one of their CDs.
Both monasteries have been contacted and
neither monastery knows who the composer is.
If you know, please contact me
as they would like to include the song on their new CD
(that is nearing completion!)
and they wish to honour copyright...

Saturday, November 17, 2012


So to get rid of Mr. Husband and I's
non-fasting food
(sorry for all those who are fasting,
you can think of me on
Dec 25 when I am still fasting)
today we made milkshakes!


three bananas, lots of vanilla ice cream
and a little bit of chocolate almond milk
(because I did not have chocolate syrup)

For a minute I thought my blender
had died as it was just
not working.
But as you can see
it did work in the end.
And we got to use our fun
long tea spoons
that we got in the bag at the rummage sale
of silver plated silverware!
It was a fun treat...
I put half of mine in the freezer
to have later
as it was a bit too much sugar
for me at one time...
Mr. Husband however had no problem
finishing his at one sitting :)

Baking and Breakfast

While Mr. Husband was at work
I made a sour cream coffee cake
recipe courtesy of my Grandmother!
2 Sticks of butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Put half of batter in 9x13 pan
then put half of topping on
and put rest of batter on top
and then rest of topping on top of this.

And then bake at 325 F for 25 minutes
it was not done after this
so I made the temperature 350, baked 10 more
minutes and it was done.
I will know tomorrow how it tastes
as it is going to church!

For breakfast
I made Mr. Husband and I
grilled cheese with turkey slices
with the bread I baked yesterday.
I used both of my cast iron skillets
for this...
We are consciously using up all our food for
the nativity fast...
Mr. Husband and I were given three
beautiful bread trays
including the two in the pictures above.
I use them all the time;
if I toast bread I put it on here
(saves my fingers!)
or baked potatoes...
simple and looks nice on the table!
I am really looking forward to the Nativity season
and building new traditions with
Mr. Husband.
I am hoping to bake blueberry muffins
via Mat. Emily's recipe...
I am hoping to bake them tonight after vespers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Prayer Request for a beloved friend

My friend Mara
could really use our prayers.
Here way is hard
and her burden very heavy.
It is hard for me to be so far away.
But God promises succor and help;
please pray with me for God's mercy
one of my dearest friends
of many years.

The Baking of Bread

2 and 1/4 tsp yeast

Starter doubled in size since last night.
Instructions to keep new starter going:
1/2 cup bottled water, (can't remember if I added a cup of flour too)
stir, cover, leave out for 1 hours.


1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
I put this in the mixing bowl right away

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
microwaved for 1 minute and cooled until
could not feel on wrist

2 teaspoons instant yeast
since my yeast was in the fridge
my church friend told me to use 2 and 1/4 tsp and have
set out for 15 minutes.
Stir the yeast,
it should get a bit puffy on top.
To this water, that was heated in a
pyrex measuring cup
I added one at a time:

1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 Cups flour*

I added one cup of flour at a time,
stirring vigerously.
Once I got to cup 4 it was very thick and
sticking to my wooden spoon.

*My breadbaking friend told me to eyeball it,
when it got thick and was no longer sticky,
then no more flour is needed.
I used around 4 1/2 cups of flour.

Then I covered it with the towel and let it rise for 90 minutes.

Hung recipe to make more counter space.
The above recipe is found here.

Cookbook Journal ready to be written in with
phone instructions from
one of my new friends at my new church.

Letting the dough rise;
I was suprised at how much it rose -
almost touching the towel in my 5.5 Quart bowl!

Two pages of instructions :)
Most of these instructions are written above
in the notes of what I did, written in italics.

All the while,
a candle was lit for a dear friend's birthday. 

Risen dough.
I forgot to grease the pan first
but it all came out without
It was fun as it was so light...
deflates quickly...
I kneaded it a bit in the bowl,

palm hand down
but then found it needed more room than the bowl had.
I then moved it to my already floured cutting board
and added more flour until
it was not sticky
but smooth and soft to feel.

Here is the kneaded bread before it had time to rise again.
Cover and allow for 60 minutes rising time.

The bread rising.

My friend recommended
30 minutes for preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
So I timed the hour of rising in two half hours
so I would have the oven pre-heated for 30 minutes.
I was also advised to have a
pyrex cassrole dish under the baking sheet
in the oven
with boiling water in it
so I did this as it adds humidity.

I slashed the bread after it rose for 60 minutes
and got it wet.
Then I realized that I forgot the boiling water,
so it sat a minute while the kettle boiled water.
Not sure if that impacted the bread when baking, FYI.

My Ukranian mother had taught me to brush the
bread with oil after it is just
out of the oven for a more
golden crust
so I did this too.

I let the bread cool on racks
and now one is in the freezer...
Tonight the plan is to enjoy some fresh bread with soup!
For which I am very thankful.
I am sure Mr. Husband will be too.