Thursday, April 27, 2017

A beautiful Bridal Shower, the Holy Fire and thanksgiving

Busy days to catch you up on!
I went to a beautiful bridal shower this past Sunday.
It was just love lovely and I just loved seeing the beautiful
gifts the Bride-to-be chose for her new home
and was given by those who love her!
I still get so excited about these events, even more
since I had them myself 5 years ago!
The Holy Fire came to the States this year
and I and many others in NJ have it burning in our homes.
Such an unexpected blessing!
I am still loving Cleo and loving our library.
Cleo's lost a bit of weight lately, so hoping she is OK.
She's 14, nearing 15 now.
Even though we have a lot of struggles in this life,
I am finding that there is still so much to take joy in
and be thankful for; and if one does these things,
then days still have gladness even 
when things are not fully smooth sailing.
I love the stories of how Christ calms the water 
different times in the Gospel;
He knew all things and in the storm, there was He 
sleeping.  I must work on remembering this,
and seeing things with the peace that Christ had
and offers to us.
Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bright Friday, Bright Saturday

Bright Friday,
we had dear friends over; I made the lamb dish;
I doubled the lamb (2 lbs), did 1.5x rice and 1.5 lentils,
1 cup more water with beef bullion, 2 tsp cumin, 
doubled onion and garlic. 
I did not need to remove any extra fat this time, but
I did it in the Dutch oven... anyway, it was not at all 
greasy and was so delicious!!!
One of the few Fridays of the year that we eat meat,
so it was an extra special meal! 
And so nice to spend time with these 2 friends,
esp. as they are leaving soon for the West Coast.
We had left overs today +
tonight, realizing that we needed something different than
lamb+lentils tonight, I picked up some
Chicken Soup (homemade) from the local grocers,
added 1 cup+ broth, toasted two pita breads,
and made 2 small pots of tea!
It was a rainy cold April day today and this meal
was just right.  
I was so happy about that!
Husband is having a hard time with all the allergies,
it's impacting his breathing but we are monitoring this 
closely so that it will not get out of hand.
I am so glad that we get to pray and sing 
Christ is Risen!!! for the next while, until
Ascension Day!
Christ is Risen!!!
Truly, He is Risen!!! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

A lovely Bright Thursday Lunch

Christ is Risen!
I had a lovely Bright Thursday lunch with a dear local
friend! It was so nice to be able to be with her
and talk about so many things
and eat such lovely food
and drink out of such pretty cups!
I thank God for such a delightful time! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quickly here

Just a quick note to say we are enjoying Bright Week.
I am doing lots of resting...
it was delightful, on Pascha there were 3 
undergraduate students visiting and I told one,
who was quite exhausted by that point,
that during Bright Week we do smaller prayers
and he commented that after Pascha (i.e. it is many hours long),
one would have to do shorter prayers to recover!
It was so dear of him to say that way!
Anyway, we are recovering here, 
I hope to make a pork roast for Friday,
I've been watching some movies, knitting some,
reading Laurus, cleaning and enjoying our Pascha icons and flowers.
I talked to my Grandma today; 
how I love her.
She said that our direction and plans are 
good, responsible and prudent; my Husband, upon hearing this,
said that prudence is one of the cardinal virtues.
So much to be thankful for, 
I am so grateful!
Christ is Risen!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pascha, the night after

The whole day of Pascha is so special.
We left church shortly after Agape vespers, getting so little sleep the night before,
and had fallen asleep early that night, before our usual bedtime;
I roused myself to put out the candles and such
and seeing the lampada in the dining room,
everything felt so clean, so deeply right and peaceful,
as if heaven was opened up that day
and was with us in a deep way
and truly that is what it was like;
Pascha is so special,
I had forgotten how sometimes Pascha can be extra
special, as every year is different, and I realized that I 
have felt the same on Pascha / Sunday night, I think that first Pascha in NJ when
we are back at home and I feel so connected to our churches,
including my church in Ottawa and all is together
and all is so divinely peaceful...
Truly, it is like Heaven has opened for 24 hours and we are 
lifted up beyond our life of worldly cares and sorrows,
with the promise of Pascha eternally in the life to come. 

Christ is Risen!!!

Christ is Risen!!!
Truly, He is Risen!
We had a beautiful Holy Saturday and Pascha!
Bright Monday, today, we have rested and feasted!
I will try to write more tomorrow,
I have so many happy memories and pictures to share!
I pray that our Risen Lord has blessed you with 
His Peace and Love this Pascha!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Holy Friday

Just one picture this time.
Lamentations Service.
So beautiful.
I love how this light and lilies are hinting at
Pascha to come.
It was a very special day.
One moment was when the choir was singing about
the myrrh with spices anointing the tomb and our priest
was blessing the tomb/church/us with Holy Water
and, for a quick instance, I could smell myrrh and it was
all so deeply beautiful. 
I just love these services, I never get enough of them into 
me but every year I pray that a little more permeates and stays
within me... 
I loved the last Gospel read this evening,
about the Guards being set watch over the tomb,
little did they know that now we are watching for 
PASCHA, for the Lord's Resurrection in that very tomb!!! 
Christ's Tomb becomes the Bridal Chamber and 
is where His Resurrection takes place.
Oh for the Eternal Pascha of Christ to come to us! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy Thursday ~ many services, thanksgiving and the imprint of Holy Week within one's soul

It was a beautiful morning liturgy.
In the afternoon I slept and rested.
Met up with our dear friends for dinner, 
had delicious lenten middle eastern food!
Warm and comforting.
The 12 Gospels Service was tonight,
I still miss how we did it in Ottawa,
with bowing when saying
Glory to Your Long-suffering or
Glory to Your Passion O Lord...
on the other hand, I don't remember 
the Cross being taken out and the song that is sung
after the 6th Gospel...
so moving... 
It was a really wonderful time to have dear friends in church with us
for this service, they are moving in about 3 months and I really
treasure that we had this night together at church...
I think that was the most noticeable part for me tonight,
just being in church with these friends and seeing so many of my
church friends and their kids (including the Munchkin of course!) come
and just being together...
I realized that this is going to be my 5th Pascha here in New Jersey.
In a lot of ways I feel more settled and like I understand
what to look forward to/what to expect and that's a real blessing.
It's Mr Husband and I's 6th Pascha together, he came up to 
Ottawa for our first Pascha together
and we got engaged on Pascha / Sunday afternoon,
in my beautiful blue apartment that the Mother of God
got for me a few years before.
Such happy memories.
At times I have been surprised at how much struggle and sorrow we have had
in the last years, and this year with Mr Husband's illness,
and various losses we have had... 
But yet I am aware of how much warmth my Husband brings to my life.
How blessed we are to have our marriage. How blessed we are to have our
two NJ Churches and dear friends and church family... 
And I really appreciated the first Gospel reading and how Christ
says we will have sorrow but that in the end we will have joy.
I am feeling a deeper anticipation to be with our Lord tomorrow 
in His Passion.
It is a deep honour to be at His tomb and to lament with His Mother.
My dear friends in Ottawa still get roses for our dear Lord Christ 
for me to have by His tomb, there in my Ottawa church,
which will always have such a deep part of my life;
I feel like the ethos of Holy Week is imprinted on my soul
from my time there and I understand Pascha because of my 7
Paschas in Ottawa.  
I was given the blessing to understand how much Pascha is going
to the wedding feast to meet our Risen Christ,
our Bridegroom and it is to HIM that we are running to,
it is to Christ, our Bridegroom that our hearts long for 
and love...and it is only Christ who can comfort us completely
now and make everything new again when He comes...
may He remember us in His Kingdom as He remembers
the Wise Thief and promises Him Paradise! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Holy Wednesday ~ 2017 ~ with reflections and remembering

Mr Husband, myself and the Munchkin went up to Church this morning.
Munchkin spent the day at a wonderful church family who has kids
and came again to the night service with them.
The Munchkin is an only child so I can never say how grateful I am 
that he has this family in his life, to give him "church siblings" and really good friends.
They are a real answer to prayer.
Liturgy this morning was nice; beautiful singing, a sunny warm day,
the beautiful deeply coloured icons.
Mr Husband and I went out for Thai for lunch.
Then we had a much needed nap before returning to another place for
veggie sushi for me and shrimp and garlic sauce for Husband and
then on to the service of Holy Unction.
It's a long service and the kids and parents all came within about 10-20 minutes of each other,
suddenly spilling in, filling the church.
They were so cute! The Munchkin and some of his friends all 
read the book for the service. 
It was just beautiful.
And the Gospel is put over us after the anointing with oil,
it's such a special moment of connection and comfort.
Tomorrow we hope to be at the morning liturgy for the 
Institution of the Lord's Supper,
it's a lovely liturgy.
he was so excited about it ... his Mom told me that he said
to her, when they were off to liturgy, 
"ok, let's rock and roll!' ... cute eh? I took looks of pictures that day...
seeing him come out of the Altar, holding the candle,
doing the was wonderful...
Sometimes life has a special bright happening before
an unexpected great sadness... those who were reading my blog
the day after the Munchkin served for the first time.
This year again the Munchkin has Spring Break...nice that
he can be in church more.... 
he and I had a lot of talks on Monday about death in various forms
(from personal, like +Patrick to global situations, such as 9/11)
and I am glad that he can talk about this when he wants to.
I know enough about children, how they process grief and that
it is best to take one's cues from them about what and when to talk
about such things.  Gentleness is key.  I think it is because I know that,
and because we have known the Munchkin since he was about 5 
(and Mr Husband since before he was born) that he can bring things 
up to talk about when and if he wants. 
Sometimes I feel like my heart will break though...
why do kids have to go through so much hurt? but...
I also know that the Lord loves us more than we can possibly imagine
and He loves the Munchkin more than anyone else.
The Munchkin still loves serving in the Altar and we are 
so excited to have this Holy Week in Church together.
I have special things for his Pascha basket again this 
year and am so glad for that.
You should see our freezer! So full of kulich, cheese pascha and 
chocolate chip cookies!!!