Saturday, July 30, 2016

Food, Books and a whole lot of processing

I fried up some hamburger with taco seasoning and onion
(fried onion first, in coconut oil) on Thursday.
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Sour Cream
Fresh yellow tomato 
Sriracha sauce
On a soft taco... 
We've been enjoying it today also!
Made a NY Times Plum Torte again;
hope to make another this coming week! 

Still loving the Cleo Cat!

he published it in 2008.
(BTW: Spoiler warning here given)
I found the parts about his schooling and childhood of curious interest; 
I had not realized how fortunate and privileged he was as a child and teen;
I guess it goes to show that money and connections, plus fortunate circumstances,
can help in terms of making one's dreams come true; but clearly also, on Hall's part,
a lot of continual discipline in terms of writing.
But I found parts of it, to be honest, surprisingly jarring and disappointing; 
I did not realize how much he had struggled with carnality, and how, after Jane died;
it grieved me very much; I am writing a longer post, 
that will be about this book but also the culture he grew up in and that became
what is here today; it's tricky to know how to write it, as I want to be kind,
balanced; to give freedom in terms of not judging but seeing; that alone is an essay right there; 
I also would like to explore some things in current culture, 
and culture in the last 100 years,
and what I see in it that is ultimately harmful to an individual and culture. 
Beore I finish writing that post (it will be a longer one, more
essay form I think; it's one that I have been thinking of for quite sometime), I am 
it is clear that Jane was a deep stabilizing force in his life and I have come to 
realize that Hall is probably the type of man who needs a woman 
to keep him stable; for me, it was a bit difficult and hard to come to terms with;
I have loved Jane's poetry since I heard Donald Hall speak in 1996, 
just a year after her death; I met Donald Hall; got his autograph, talked to him.
Jane has ever since been my favourite poet.  And I liked and like much of his poetry as well,
though I have not read it all or much outside of the years 1995-1998 or so.
My Husband has been hearing about this all week, as I finished reading the book
and processing it....(thankfully Mr Husband is a great conversationalist and able to put things
in context of historical and culture things that greatly assist processing)...
 it was one of those, I had no idea how he struggled,
or what mess he fell into while he did struggle, and how dark it was, the depression he was in; 
and even just realizing that
he did not stay single after Jane's death,
well, it took some coming to terms with; it was literally catching up with
over 20 years since I met Hall in person and not knowing him,
even in his writing, before then, it was a lot to realize.  
Anyway, before I write more on it, 
one that only ended because Jane died. 
Then I feel I will have more time and I hope the ability to write an 
essay that is worthy of both what he achieved in his marriage and what
was lost in his struggles and what it can mean in terms of the world that was,
the world we live in now....

I think I read this L'Engle book before.
I LOVED it. 
Read it pretty much in one sitting.
Encouraging, fairly light in terms of L'Engle's fiction; it was somewhere between
YA and adult on her spectrum; a perfectly timed read.

Well, lots of books, tea and good meals this week.
A lot to be thankful for.

Including church tonight, tomorrow
and various friends to see next week! 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

This Past Monday

We had a real strong thunder storm, 
lots of lightening and pouring rain!
Cleo was calmly sitting on a chair while
I frantically did all I could, as Mr Husband was 
coming home in the storm...
(Later he thought he should of just stayed at work, 
but then we would not have the story or the happy 
return home, he miraculously dry by thinking of what ways to 
take by public transit and buying a 5.00 umbrella from a street vendor
doing 'brisk trade' of them!)
First I lit all the lampadas and a blessed candle used in times of storm and other 
troubles... and sought to pray... and asked others to pray also...
I lit the dinner candles at some point too...
Then I hurriedly made crepes, after getting our battery powered lantern out,
as really, the power could go out and indeed some lines were downed by trees,
blocking public transport.
Crepes made, table set, I waited for my Husband's texts about where he was.
And thankfully, thankfully!! Just 10 minutes or so before he got to the nearest
train station near us, the storm calmed and the water was draining away....
I had not been so thankful at Mr Husband's arrival!! 
We feasted on the crepes and sausages, 
and talked gaily about it all.
It is now one of the happy memories created by storm. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Preparing for a wonderful event!

My Husband and I were asked to be godparents to a little boy!
We really excited! 
The baptism won't be for weeks yet, but I am preparing for it 
now, so that I am sure we have everything! 
I got some cute simple white onesies so that he will be comfortable,
and a nice simple baptism suit... 
we had to figure out what one to buy, thankfully the Mom of my Godson was online
and we chatted and I sent pictures via my phone.
Finding a store out here in NJ that actually carried baptismal outfits was a challenge!
I went to 3 well known department stores and they all said they only get these
for Easter time.... as if babies are only born in early Spring!?! 
Anyway, for the record, it was Sears that had the outfit!
(And I have to take it back, as I did not realize that they did not remove
the 'do not steal' clip that if removed incorrectly will spill ink on the clothes)...
I also got socks and shoes!
I love shopping for godchildren! :)
Icons, a most *beautiful* blanket, a simple Cross and a silver baptismal Cross for
the baby when he is older are being obtained...and we are using very simple
candles!  The icons, Crosses and candles are all from various
monasteries, so that is fun!
It's always such an awesome privilege to be a godmother to another child...
to commit to praying for them everyday, to provide what one can in terms of 
spiritual instruction (all my godkids are long distance, 
so we do lots of books and icons), and to be worthy examples in our life
and in our death, both of which we need God's abundant mercy!
My new godson's patron is St. Luke the Surgeon;
I know that this St. Luke is a very beloved Saint - 
there is a wonderful children's book on him,
and a book for adults too; many online sources speak of him,
including here, here, here and here
Elizabeth mentioned that there is a children's one, a small one,
found by P. Press, you can see it here, it's book # 29!
As some know, years ago I was being the nerdy, geeky librarian that I am,
and am happiest being, and I decided to create a list of all the 
online Akathists I had found and which ones I had digital copies of
that were not online.
St. Luke the Surgeon is one of these whose Akathist I have on my computer but 
that is not found online (at present, as far as I know).
I still get emails requesting this akathist! More than any other Saint's service!
St. Luke is very much loved!
It is wonderful how our children and godchildren can have
such wonderful Patron Saints to be with them and help them!
We are so excited and thankful for this upcoming baptism!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

10 books that stayed with me

I was recently asked what were 10 books that stayed with me... I ended up listing some as categories of books, so it is more than 10 books!

What books have stayed with you over the years, or new ones that are lighting things up in new ways? Would love to hear! 

Here's my list: 
  1. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
  2. The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
  3. Courage to Pray by Met. Anthony Bloom
  4. The Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle and L'Engle's Other Side of the Sun 
  5. The Time trilogy by Madeleine L'Engle (Wrinkle in Time, Swiftly Tilting Planets, A Wind in the Door)
  6. CS Lewis' 7 Chronicles of Narnia
  7. Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk and Amazing Grace: a Vocabulary of Faith 
  8. Many Orthodox books - The Orthodox Way, Adian's Song, Letters to St Lydia, books by Fr. Roman Braga, Saint Stories, esp. St. Nectarios, St. Spyridon, St. Abbot Moses of Optina, St. Porphyrios , St. Paisos, Elder Sophrony, the more travelogue Orthodox books like The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer and Short Trip to the Edge by Scott Cairns 
  9. The (various) Orthodox Psalters - the Psalms of St. David are so rich 
  10. Books that I read slowly, like The Art of Prayer, Ladder of Divine Ascent, and the recently read essay by Donald Sheehan on St. Issac the Syrian and St. Ephraim the Syrian in his book of Essays, Grace of Incorruption

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

(Brief Opening) ~ The Door to Summer

I was with my Grandma and my Great Aunt P. 
on Saturday July 16, 2016.
Perfect weather at her cottage on Lake MI;
sunny, low 80s, breezy, water 70F, beautiful,
calm waters, only cresting towards the evening. 
I got picked up at 8:30 with 10 minutes to talk with my beloved Husband
and off I was with Grandma to Aunt P's place.
Then to "Gary's" for breakfast,
then the cottage after 11 AM and sitting around,
visiting with some I had not seen in many years,
then a late lunch,
then changing and going to the beach...
sitting, then swimming in the lake MI, so refreshing, beautiful,
floating as waves wash under you, moving you about, floating
in clear water, green with light, above deep blue sky,
tall tall trees, green leaves, floating and seeing the most beautiful trees,
P. who is swimming with me tells me that when she thinks of her
favourite place to remember it is this view;
the water, floating in such comfortable water, waves...
Then more sitting and talking and then water and then a walk all 
the long walk way to the Pier, passing various happy smiling people,
one man with towel wrapped around reading a book,
two small stones found, forgot to give to the young boys for their
new stone collection,
back at the beach where others are after the long beautiful walk,
another swim in that beautiful body of water
that is not an ocean, is Lake Michigan,
better than salt water, fresh, beautiful water, waves, beauty surrounding
and then sitting on the beach, the two year old playing in and out of the water,
talking prodigiously, 'I did it' 'I smash the car castle' ... joyful, blond, round face,
blue eyes, happy young voice, focused on sand, water, shovel, ...
sun water sand.... so beautiful...
One last dip in the water, trying to get feet free of sand, failing, walking up the dune on the steps,
back to the cottage, cleaning feet, changing, sand everywhere,
dreaming of the future bath and going up changed for dinner,
hamburgers on the grill,
sitting knitting, talking with others while dinner is made,
eating dinner on the deck, so good, such beauty, just sitting on the deck,
the ride home, first to Aunt P's house,
seeing it again, so familiar, unchanging, beautiful, she is 90 now and still lives at home,
wonderful books, pictures, dishes...
Talking with Grandma as we drove home to my parents, dropping me off,
talking about the next steps in my trip, 
going to the monastery, talking of future phone calls I will make to her soon,
I try to call Grandma once/week...
So much goodness,
being home and back at my Aunt P's cottage for the first time in over 23  or 24 years....
I was finally able to tell my Aunt P how when I had my most happy dreams,
I was right there, at her cottage....

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finds of the day included one by Madeleine L' Engle

I could not believe it.
My Mom and I went to a thrift store we do not usually go to...
not only did I find some really nice clothes,
but this book!!!
I have a similar hardcover edition of this book by Madeleine L' Engle but
was so surprised when I opened it to find that she had signed it!
I felt like God had just given me a real gift of a book, for 2.00, a beat up,
water stained, old first printing book of one of my favourite books! 
I admit to feeling really loved! 
I've been processing somethings while I am home and it was a real gift to get this book, just now.
I also have been on a search for a new
rain jacket that would look nice, was black
and had a hood....
I had ordered one that looked great online but in person,
well, it looked horrible on me.
So when I saw this one and how it fit,
I knew it was the one I was looking for!
And only 11.99 at the thrift store!
The ones I was considering buying were over 100.00
so this was a real find! 

I don't know if I will be able to blog again before I am back home on Tuesday,
but Mr Husband is home and we are talking each
morning and night, as well as chatting in the daytime...
so nice to have such technology while I am home visiting family!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Saying "goodbye" to my Husband's parent's home of 41 years

My parents-in-laws home is in it's glory in the summer...
the beautiful sloping hills, 
the gardens and flowers spilling out everywhere....
it was glorious.
We had a wonderful visit, having dinner
with my Husband's sister and brother-in-law,
spending time talking, planning and packing things to take
on our trip to Michigan.
They closed on the sale today!
My parents-in-law have lived there for 41 years,
and the home is going to a new family with many children,
we are happy for it all!