Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sunshine through Clouds

Today was a more peaceful day for me.
I felt like I actually rested, 
inwardly speaking.
Am re-reading the Gospel of John,
and a verse about Christ continuing to work
struck me -- 
that in the middle of busy,
God is still at work.

Encouragement to the weary

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What did you do with all that time?

More than one person,
when they finally saw me in person, 
asked me what I did (esp when just in bed) with all that time.
I know that once I am better, this will be harder to remember,
I don't remember what I did with the many hours of being in bed
in the summer of 2008, when I basically got my foot
run over by 1 car wheel, a car I did not see coming when
I was trying to catch a bus during standstill traffic and I thought I was safe.
I remember calling my Mom many times during that time,
my Ottawa Mother came and brought me delicious food,
other friends visited; 
I was able to get out more, even though I had many steps,
I was never in a real cast, never told to not bear weight on my foot;
the worst was that my foot got infected because I did not know
how to treat the open wounded and no one at the hospital told me
how to do so; and when one is injured like that, one is 
not necessarily keeping track of all the details. 
I remember getting a call from the police office with the case number
to my accident; the person calling was surprised that I did not seem to care; that I was not going to do anything about it;
I remember it was a woman who ran over my foot with her
nice looking car, one wheel only; she was a professional looking person;
she must of been in shock;
I don't think she ever got out of the car,
but 4 people carried me to the sidewalk, I had no idea what 
happened, I was in such shock.
My spiritual father said that Angels were surely pushing the cars 
away from me, 
as I fell in the middle of a busy street during rush hour.
I was in great shock; when I broke my ankle this time I was not
at all in shock; funny how that is.
I knew I broke my ankle, it hurt terribly and I called my Husband,
my poor over-worked hard-working Husband and we went to urgent care.
In 2008 I remember how sick I was when I was on the super strong 
antibiotics for the foot infection; 
I went to hear both Fredrick Matthewes-Green and Fr Thomas Hopko speak;
I remember not being well emotionally and how patient my 
sister-friend was with me.
Recovering from this fall and the subsequent job I had, toxic,
that I lost months later, after moving and then having to move again,
as I realized that my money was not going to stretch 
far enough to stay where I was.
That summer, the summer after my fractured foot,
I was basically trying to not only rebuild a life that I felt 
I was losing - my beautiful green apartment I moved out of that fall - 
but I was also rebuilding my shattered soul, back in 2009.
I had lost confidence in myself and it was with a wonderful
woman student-therapist that I was put back together that summer.
She was a Christian, read Madeleine L'Engle, and she gave me such hope
and solace.... 
It's crazy to think of my life after that summer;
I had a bit of a crisis that fall when I had 2 months to find an 
apartment and could not afford a lot of where I was wanting to live;
God got me through that.
A year later, 2010, I got a tax bill the amount of the my then rapidly dwindling savings,
I had been to a ton of interviews, had even been flown West for one at a 
University, and was not landing the job I needed just to survive.
God got me through that too, plus the cancer scare I had
and running out of money various times, God pulling me out
with the help of others.
It was when I finally surrendered my situation to God;
I had been miraculously bailed out twice by dear friends
and I once again went to the bank down the street to pay my bills.
And I had 300.00 left, other than my pension money, which would not last me more
than half a year and was all I had for old age (it was so little for that!)...
and I told God, as I walked back from the bank, knowing that 
I had no money for next month's rent, again.
Ok, Lord, if You want to keep miraculously providing for me to live 
and don't want to give me a job to provide for myself,
I accept.
And within an hour I had an email about a job contract,
what I thought was an interview was actually 
an explanation of the job and a hope that I would take it.
And so, dazed I did.  And was paid more money than I had ever earned to do it!
I was careful of course and the money lasted me months, until I got another contract that 
summer, and so I was afloat and working again...
It was between these well paying contracts that I learned of
the man who would become my Husband a year and a half later.
While dating him I took another job, which soon
became apparent that the job was, let's say, misrepresented,
in terms of demands (which were putting people in the hospital because of stress)
and thankfully I was let go with severance and then my Oma died,
my then boyfriend came with my family to the funeral,
and that (Western) Christmas Eve we told each other, via video chat,
that we loved each other.
We got engaged on Pascha afternoon and married 
the following September.  
By January or so of that time in Ottawa, my then-boyfriend
and I were already talking about the wedding and my move to NJ,
and I got another job through my network of friends,
one that I worked until mid-summer before my wedding.
I can tell you that all of the ups and downs of that time,
starting with my broken foot in 2008, prepared me for my life in NJ 
in ways I could not of anticipated. 
And here we are now. 2017. One of the hardest
years of my Husband's life and of our marriage
by way of illness and strain upon ourselves,
individually; as in we are 2 persons with our own Crosses to bear;
I have been basically house-bound for 2 1/2 months now.
Yes, I can walk with crutches, but it's hard on my body
at this point to do so. My foot still hurts after being down for a time.
Recovery is a lot slower than I would of thought.
I have many mis-givings about the doctor I am seeing,
but because of many other factors in our current life, I was not 
able to go to a different one and I just have to live with the situation at hand.
A summer that I was looking forward to was wrecked by my 
fall and broken ankle. ... I am learning to cope by reading, earlier by
watching shows on netflix (I've since cancelled it already), making cards,
knitting.... I got so many cards at the beginning, it was so nice;
and the care packages! I have been very blessed through all of this.
I wish I could describe how it is fun to be on my knee scooter and glide
through the hall, with my good leg up, and that I am good enough on it
to do little turns and go into the kitchen or the living room from the hallway,
with little effort....
I am hoping I have not damaged my leg by putting weight on it,
too much or too soon; I really don't know what I should be expecting but
I am not without pain now, like I was when I was not bearing weight on it.
But yesterday I re-read L'Engle's 
The Young Unicorns
again and am re-reading Towers in the Midst 
by Elizabeth Goudge right now,
which is delightful.
Now that the fast is over, I am loving having tea 
again, with milk.  
I am still really homesick for just being able to walk
and without pain or slowness.
I miss being able to use my prettier dishes,
that need to be hand-washed and having my house in
a less cluttered way.
The hardest things though I can't blog about right now,
suffice to say that it is not a health concern or a concern
about our marriage.  But what will
become of the situation is not clear and I feel like
I am being suspended above a huge sea of unknowing,
that at times worries and scares me, and at other times gives me
a sense of hope for better in the future.
It's a lonely place but it's where I am right now and
the best things I can do are pray, journal, write cards to others,
remember the sufferings of others, read the Psalms, read
enlivening books, keep my sense of humour, read cookbooks,
enjoy social media and keep trying to get better.
And drink lots of hot tea and realize how blessed I am,
how there are so many in dire poverty with no or little options,
and while I am house-bound and in inward challenges,
I can not claim great suffering,
 but only hope that God will help use this for my
salvation, for my sanctification,
and that my soul can be hollowed out so that Christ and His
Peace can dwell in me... of that I have so long to go and
the journey there is long, varied and not in anyway neat or
strait forward; yet I trust that God is weaving threads of my life
together to save me and I pray my Husband
and many others...
in the end, it is this salvation that is the only thing
that matters, in use of time and even more, in what to hope for. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Finally Back at My Local Church

After 10 weeks of being house-bound after breaking my ankle on May 10th,
 I was able to go to liturgy at our local church today! 
I was welcomed back warmly and was so glad to be there!
 It was more tiring than I had hoped it would be,
 but little by little, I will get closer to walking normally again!
 I had not been to liturgy since May 7th!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quiet and Rest

Well, this morning my leg was saying
So I rested, used ice and within an hour or so, I was MUCH better.
So I guess I over did it yesterday!
I felt fine so it was hard to tell.
I rested lots today and am doing fine now.
I had so much fun looking at more of my cookbooks! 
It's going to be a question of what to bake first! 
So DV we have groceries coming on Saturday and 
grass-fed ground lamb was on sale;
Mr Husband said I could stock up on it 
(it freezes well! and we saved about 12.00 total on it!)
and I am so excited to make Elie's lamb + lentil dish again!!!
We are hoping to have a staycation later, when I am better,
and I am thinking this would be a really fun thing to enjoy during that time....
I am excited for baking again.... so many things to make,
cookies, cakes, bars... 
maybe I will have some new things for Christmas! :)
Meanwhile, I had a simple dinner
of baked beans with bacon, baked potato with salted pop corn.
I know, the green veggies were missing, but well,
I'll do better again soon!
Today was rest and take it easy day! :)
Anyway, Mr Husband is on his way home,
so I will sign off for now!
Oh, wanted to mention though that my quilting friend ended up 
not being able to come today, but we talked
2x on the phone + video chat and so we still had our visit! :)
So that was really nice too!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How Much Is Too Much?

I cleaned the counter today.
Washed the dishes.
Made a green salad and a strawberry and banana salad.
I am walking on my crutches and using the 
knee scooter when I need it (Esp for the basket to transport things).
I am still resting... but I keep getting advice,
good advice, to not over do it. 
The thing is I have no idea,
how much is too much.
But I am icing my foot at night.
I seem to be doing well over all.
I am researching new recipes and having fun with that.
I hope to make a simple mainly pre-made
chicken and rice casserole for my husband
with cooked chicken, cream of mushroom soup (organic),
and rice and broccoli.  
It will be the first cooked meal I will have made since
my fall and ankle break on May 10th of this year. 
I am dreaming of sewing, cooking and baking.
My quilting friend comes DV tomorrow.
She and her Husband are moving to CA at the end of this month.
Tomorrow will be the second to last time I see her before she moves.
I will really miss her.
But, this is part of life and with God,
it will be OK, 
and I have hope for better and to stay in touch,
of course, even though it will not be the same...
May God help us all,
in every struggle...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017



Yesterday I journaled about how tired I felt
and realized that it is the tired that you feel when you 
are almost done with a part of a great difficulty...
which was encouraging and also realistic to realize....
So today my physical therapist came, probably for the last time,
as I will need to do out patient later for the actual ankle, 
and I now know how to go down the stairs using 1 crutch
and was actually OUTSIDE, briefly, today!!!!
So DV this weekend I can go to my local church for services!!! 
So you can imagine that I am pretty excited about that.
I can tell I have lost stamina and it will take some time
to recover, but with rest built into the day
and realistic goals, it will be wonderful, 
to get out again...
Tomorrow I plan on doing some real resting, as today
was busy and I need those intervals of rest...
We still have a real unbloggable concern
though and welcome all and any prayers
(thank God it is not something health related FYI).
I was looking through the cookbook I pictured above today
and it's fun with lots of ideas but also
I noticed a bit expensive for the ingredients.
Fun to get new ideas though and her writing is pretty clear.
I got the book at a library book sale, which is a fun
and affordable way to get books! :)
I've been looking through a few of my tea cookbooks,
thinking of new ideas to bake once I am back,
literally, on my feet!
My Husband was so excited at the idea of me 
being back in the kitchen cooking again!
Me too....

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Time passes and we see the blessings....

Picture from last September at the 
monastery in Holland we stayed at. 
I was looking at pictures of the last months today
and seeing pictures of my cast that I don't have any longer,
it made me see how quickly it is going
and that soon at least, God willing, I will be walking again.
I wrote the following reflection after seeing these pictures...
2 weeks, 2 days until I see the doctor again. 
It's wonderful that I no longer have a cast. 
I can walk with crutches if I want to and put my hurt foot down a little bit as I do so. 
Next week is partial weight bearing and 
the week after is FULL weight bearing but with crutches. Then after that, I will see the doctor, who I hope to then not see again....
and have that chapter closed, though I will still need some physical therapy. 
It's been a hard road in many ways. 
I've been blessed with a lot of support in terms of emails, cards, even care packages! 
I've had visitors and help. My Husband has been so valiant,
 I could write a very LONG post just about all the things he did for me and is still doing.
 I can see first hand how hard it would be to never be independent again. 
To not be able to walk or have the ability to prepare one's own breakfast 
or to put just the amount of yogurt one wants with granola. 
Or to make one's own tea. 
Or go to the pantry or cupboard and get a cookie or chocolate, the exact one that is wanted.
 Or to get food on one's own timeline.
 Or be able to take a bath (still waiting for this one myself!) or to go to the CD player in another room, change the CD and turn it on, with the volume where you want it.
 I can see, for instance, how hard it would be to either be ill 
or be elderly and unable to live alone anymore. 
I lived through over 2 months of never having more than an hour
 or so of just being alone in the house. 
In the end, that was one of the hardest things. 
That and having to have everything done by someone else
. I still have a bit of time yet before I can do everything
 but even being able to do a lot of what I used to do before I broke my ankle
 is a real blessing and for that I am so thankful. 
I told my Husband a few weeks ago that I could not wait to just wash dishes, 
standing on two feet....

Thursday, July 13, 2017

the blessing of tea and cookies

Husband worked from home today.
We had tea and cookies.
And a delicious chocolate! 
For lunch we had chicken and beef and cheese
and cheese and chicken for dinner.
The fast is OVER. 
I am so relieved.
I was running out of things I wanted to eat,
since I can't quite cook everything yet...
We are still having various unbloggable challenges.
One made things easier but made me really upset and sad.
Another is on-going and exhausting.
I wish I could tell you about them but I just can't,
you know how it is... 
My foot seems to be doing well.
Swelling and bruising is down. 
I am not sure when I will be able to leave the house quite yet;
I've only been out of the house 3 times since the accident on 
Mid-Pentecost (May 10th this year)....
but God has been helping me with that,
and I am doing one thing at a time...
Tomorrow I hope to make cards again....
I've been journaling more often and that is a blessing. 
I was able to (while my hurt ankle is up on my knee scooter)
reorganize many things this week, 
cupboards, the linen closet, the pantry.
It was so wonderful to have pots of tea with milk
and non-fasting foods, chicken and beef,
today! I am so glad for this.
The Apostles Fast was long this year.
It was funny, I had gotten used cookbooks that are
vegetarian and vegan that I was so glad to have
because the Apostles Fast was going to be long this year,
having no idea that I would break my ankle and not even 
be able to think about these cookbooks and making 
fast-friendly foods for us to eat. 
I can't wait till I can walk again.
I hope, by August, that I will be walking.
Meanwhile, one day at a time...
May God have mercy on us all! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

onward we go...

Today one of the things I did was
watch the Sound of Music!
What a delightful movie! 
Today ended up being a better day 
than yesterday for us.
We are so thankful for this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Challenges, part of life...

I had such a good visit with my quilting friend today!
She is moving soon to the West Coast. 
I am really going to miss her.
We hope to have tea in NYC before she leaves,
soon I will be able to do this!
We had such good tea, vegan chocolate and take out for lunch!
It was fun to visit with her!
So, some new challenges have arisen for us.
I can't write about them here yet,
but one we are able to fix soon and the other,
well, we will see what happens.
My foot still is continuing to heal.
I have been so very grateful for all the love, 
support, prayers, cards and care packages I have 
received! Such blessings!!!
Please do pray for my 'unbloggable' prayer request. 
God is with us and that is what matters.
I have been watching this short video again today,
it's so beautiful. 

This one encouraged me years ago in Ottawa
and I am appreciating it again now.

I've watched this video a few times now
it's really beautiful and encouraging. 
There are so many of us who are in such difficulties. 

But God IS with us and will help us.
Lord have mercy on us small ones! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Many blessings

Well, what a few days it has been. 
We had some real stress recently, some worries
and then suddenly after asking for prayer on Friday,
and calling my main monastery, 
feeling heavy all day, all of a sudden,
I had this feeling of happiness;
and indeed some things had turned around, I was soon to see.
We are still in the midst of various challenges but 
we are trying to see how to deal with them
and what we can learn about them.
I was telling Mr Husband again how I felt inspired to do more
research on a topic that has stayed with me since about 2009...
when I took that class on the 16th century and did more research on
John Milton... and he challenged / encouraged me to write a 
2 paragraph summary of what I want to research
and I did that today.
I felt so excited about it, finally, an articulation of what
I want to write about.
I still need to edit it but am glad for it.
The music I post below inspired me to get back to it,
and later I realized that much of this choral music is
requiems and prayers for the departed, etc.
But this made sense, as much of my writing for the topic
I am thinking of (and not writing about yet as I need more time),
in ways it is a lament, a mourning of what is lost
and so much is lost today.
But yet so much can be found and still is.
So in the midst of everything, 
these interest come again and I hope to be able to do something about it.
Meanwhile, I must tell you about the visits I had on Sunday.
Two ladies from church;
the first gave me the beautiful tea strainer! 
The second gave me a small plant and the chocolates.
So lovely.
Today I got a beautiful care package from England!
With fabric, bath soap, lovely lovely little cookbooks, a journal
and little St Gianna picture and medal; she is a special Catholic Saint,
very brave, a doctor who gave up her life so her child could live.
Thank you Ann Marie, for such a thoughtful perfect gift.
One thing I can say through this time of illness is that
God has given me such an showering of gifts,
cards and signs of the care of others and thus of God.
I got yarn recently too from a dear friend!
Please continue to pray for us,
we are having so many challenges right now,
but we are praying that by August/September that we can
begin to have more calm and I hope better health and 
general conditions.... 
Meanwhile, here is the music I was referring to: