Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Oh Hope, Sweet Hope...

Here's the pictures from yesterday!
So as mentioned last night in my short blog post,
a friend (who had not been to my place before) came with her charming
infant son for lunch.  He has the most wonderful expressions and the most
delightful smiles!
She brought me those gorgeous flowers, so so kind of her. 
We had (left over that had been in freezer but it thaws just like it was just made)
lamb and rice with yogurt and a green salad with toppings.
And lovely rose tea that I had gotten in Luxembourg 2 years ago (funny it feels longer than that!)
I admit to ordering some more tea last night. 
Yes, I who have so much of it already.... but I have gift and tea making ideas 
and I admit to buying my own birthday present (a tin of tea, one of the BEST I have ever had
EVER that I had at our hotel in Luxembourg every morning for breakfast)
Here's two pictures of the breakfast and tea at that hotel 
(sadly the hotel itself was not as good but the breakfasts were amazing)

Blue of London by Palais Des Thes 
So I am really excited that I will have a tin of this tea
DV for my 42nd birthday.
I used my Grandma's set of silverplate for the meal last night +
some serving spoons from another collection that I got in MI at the thrift store.
I was really tired and felt like I did not do as 'high/fancy' a job of 
table setting as I could have... I ended up (2 nights ago) not sleeping well 
but my friend is very gracious and it all went well. 
I am really glad to have her over!
My Husband had some good things happen that he told me over dinner
(I love how even having organic chicken nuggets looks 'fancy' 
with candles, table cloth, napkins and dishes! funny!)
and I felt hope swell within me, 
maybe the unbloggable can be resolved in time?
We will see... I really liked the above quotation above
(from newly published book) and it reminds me also of the important 
"spiritual rule" I guess you would say, which is:
don't imagine good or bad for tomorrow, just be with God today
for we don't know what tomorrow brings and it's actually
I find unhelpful or even harmful to dream about a beautiful future
or a future one dreads suddenly... it's more about trusting God
and being with Him today and slowly learning how to not worry
about our tomorrows. 
Of course I still hope but at least I know what I need to aim for,
being in the present with God and seeking Christ....
and His mercy...
May God help us all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

About today

I am not sure if this will paste... photos seems down, I can't centre this page. 
Today had a lot of beauty that I hope to share with you once pictures is working again.  beautiful flowers, a friend came for lunch and my Husband came home and had a possible future good news for us.  

I am reminded to trust in God for my days and our life.  I am so grateful for all I have been given.  Praying for you dear readers! 

Monday, October 29, 2018

reflections on living in an urban place and what is found within (everything)

One of my dearest of friends,
who lives in PEI now with her husband,
sent me the above song during the time that my Husband and I
were looking for a place to buy, as we had 2 months as per our landlord
who was selling the condo of his that we rented.
It's funny, how much this song,
and the grittiness I feel in it, and the heroism
and the knowledge of fire, of that which is tragic, 
it all seems to be here where I live. 
Three (was it only 3!?) Lents ago, the first day of Lent,
Clean Monday, we were still laying in bed when we heard it...
three shots....
a woman died; the man later died also.
Today, we heard of a hit and run, the woman in hospital.
How can one hit a person grievously and run away?
Sadness, tragedy. 
But yet, at the same moment, there are deep friendships here;
Husband and Wife of Many Years, waiting to hear about cancer;
another dear couple of ours joyously welcomed an adopted daughter in this City;
we have seen beautiful baptisms of babies; 
I was at a panakhyda with a small small casket of a baby lost before full term; 
it's all here and somehow this song seems to cover it all; 
I worry about many who live here; 
many are poor; many are being priced out I think; 
there is much struggle.
"if the darkness returns, my brothers will die" 
as this song goes.
The only way I know to fight darkness returning is by the Church.
By bringing our weary selves to Christ, the Liturgy, to Confession, again and again and again. 

The second thing is just to maintain our homes,
to have places of healing, of rest, of peace, of beauty
for those weary from the battle can come home to.

I remember hearing this song during Holy Week last year,
after my Aunt Karen died...

Here it is again, in another place:

Here's a link about the priest-Monk who sings in it.

We are in a battle but there is everything here,
the mercy to fight, the mercy of peace, the joy of a wedding, the joy 
of rebirth, the tragedy of this world, and above all
CHRIST the HOPE of this world.

Prayers again for many dear friends who are in such
trials and sufferings. 

May God have mercy on us.

Sunday: much better, with memories of song and silence

Liturgy this morning, such a blessing to be there.
Talked with the dear man dealing with his wife's unexpected cancer.
Making me think that I need to get going on the bookstore things
so that I can do some more orders,
and get this book: Cancer, My Love.
It's a very well known book, my dear friend in Romania,
she read it, her Mother, her friends... 
I am also getting the Thanksgiving Dinner plans going and 
am so glad about that, and that I can get a lot of the food
delivered, as much as I would love to do it all myself,
this is now crunch time in my life -
Nov-Dec: St Nicholas baking, Christmas baking, gift-making,
gift-preparing, wrapping, Christmas decorating, planning, mailing
and hopefully more quilt-sewing... 
Which means it times for my head cold to go away right? :)
Well, hopefully another week or so and it will be better
that it is... 

We had a walk to the local park,
nearly no one was there... even though it was so beautiful and sunny... 

The trees there still look green, though
I think they are turning yellow, as you can see leaves
on the ground that are such... 

So we live in a very urban area... many old buildings, beautiful churches,
if only they were full, if only more knew that Christ is the answer and would
search for Him... I pray that I can grow in this too... 

I told my Husband that this (above picture with the low clouds) is 
what it looks like in BC where I lived years ago, except 
those low clouds would be mountains... 

I finally remembered to take more books out of our freezer,
odd sentence, but my Husband is very wary of bedbugs so used books
spend a few days in the freezer! 
Well, thank God that this day was much better than yesterday,
I woke from a better sleep with this song in my head,
well the first 2 lines of it
"I am walking on air..."
and I knew that I woke with yesterday's struggle behind me.
I have not listened to that song in years, but it's one,
like the one about rain (I love a rainy night) that makes me think of my Dad
especially... we listened to 'country music' when Peter, Paul and Mary were considered
country music and I remember that the local radio station, when I was a kid
in the 1980s had a morning show that a bunch of my teachers were on once,
though I can't remember much else about it, other than my excitement. 
Did I ever tell you about my first awareness of silence?
Surely as a kid I had many moments of solitude 
(we lived on a highway, with a wood on the other side and fields all 
around us but no neighbours; now these fields are sold and are
full of houses, how things change)
and I had many happy times walking in those fields behind our house,
as a kid, so aware of God as my Father... I was very very blessed....
When I grew up and was at school in BC, 
I remember vividly having dinner with one friend in the Cafeteria and 
telling her how I came across a book that talked about 
being silent in prayer with God
and I remember telling my friend how this idea FREAKED me out
and she felt that too, us, in our early 20s, was scary... 
Even though I had already been to Bible School in Sweden where,
at least then, no music was allowed to be played
out loud, only with headphones. 
And I slow felt all the music I always listened to slowly being poured out of me,
until things were more quiet inside...
Years later, I went through an event that was very difficult for me,
a lot of grief, when I was new in Ottawa and I suddenly stopped listening to a lot of music.
It was pretty much overnight I think.
At the same time, Ancient Faith Radio was pretty new,
not many podcasts (maybe Molly, Fr Tom Hopko and Fredrica M-G?)
and blogs were new (this was 2005) and it was all new
and I found myself listening to Orthodox music, some classical and silence.
(I did some research and in 2005 the above mentioned podcasts had not even begun!)
I have listened to a lot of classical music in recent months, years.... 
I have to watch that I still have silence too; 
it's really not simple anymore;
social media, silence, prayer. 
Yet this is where we live.
This is what we have to navigate and where God placed us.
Just like blogs and us who have been blogging for years
(13 for me, actually probably 14 but my first blog is long gone
If you knew my life story since the inception of this blog,
you would be perhaps a bit amazed (as I am) at how some of the things
I wrote on have connections to my present life.
Let's just say my Husband and I's lives and selves are 'very well matched'
and it will be interesting to see what God does as the years go on.
I keep thinking of the dear man at our local church;
I have always been impacted by other's grief (etc) 
and I know that my own fear of future grief of losing my Husband
is there but also just the knowledge of loss...
I remember how depressed I was, from grief, in those early days.
And here we are, 13 years later, 13 years next month since my +Grandpa died,
less than 1 year since my +Aunt Karen died, two very significant people in my life.
May God help us all in whatever we are facing,
may we seek His will, His peace and His salvation,
above all things.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A difficult day with a surprise ending...

Boy oh boy, bad nights sleep!
This morning (when I did wake up) I was so distracted 
(tired, clutter, steps to make tea/toast/boiled egg/butter for toast)
that I had to get rid of my first pot of tea
which was somehow only luke warm.
Hot tea was made sucessfully the second time!
Lunch helped some, a few hours later...

Chicken soup again... plus toast and hot decaf lady grey tea... that was good...

Made it to Confession, Vespers.
Before that, lots of cleaning, dishes, water spills, a hot shower...

My Sweet Husband treated me to a meal at our 
favourite diner... no meal prep, no dishes
And the evening was more peaceful; oh boy was I praying earlier
just to keep it together... (i.e. not become a cranky especially!)
The 2 week cold, the unbloggable...
and I saw a lovely man at vespers 
and that was the unexpected surprising 
ending towards the end of the day...
as my day was slowly turning around,
I was so sorry to hear that his wife, they just found out, has cancer; a total shock.
So we are praying for him, for her, got an Akathist to the Mother of God Healer of 
Cancer + one to St Luke the Surgeon for him ready to give him tomorrow DV.
This always tips the scales for me - in the right way - remembering the 
fragility of life, turning towards love and care for another person.
My Husband is so valiant, he keeps working towards better solutions for
our unbloggable situation and even though it's hard
and being sick has made everything seem harder,
I must say that I am proud of him in the midst of our 
personal hard.
And so today that was hard for me has a peaceful
more thoughtful end of the day...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday, another week evaporated...

While it is the weariness that I write of below,
I wanted to mention up front that today is my parent's wedding anniversary.
I am so blessed by them, their 40+ years of marriage and 
that I was raised by Christian parents.
I made my Mom laugh when I sang to her,
happy anniversary to you, 
happy anniversary to you, 
you no longer live in a zoo
(your children are grown and left) ...

When we were kids we loved to sing
Happy Birthday and include in it the part about
you live in a zoo and look like a monkey (something something...)
I can still hear my cousin A laughing at us kids,
singing that again... now she is a Grandmother and us kids are grown... 

My Husband worked from home today,
we had hot vegan 'chicken' soup with shiitake mushrooms for 
lunch and dinner.
Lots of coughing, hoarse voices, blowing of noses, etc.
Hot tea, hot soup, menthol rubs, diffuser, oil on feet etc... 
I watched a current Amazon prime movie, Christmas Snow,
a total unexpected tearjerker.  I enjoyed it. 
I did and folded a lot of laundry, did 2 loads of dishwasher dishes,
prepared lunch and dinner... and did monthly paperwork that I do 
for my Husband... and read a bit more of Village School by Miss Read... 
and I picked up again CS Lewis' Letters to Arthur Greeves, 
They Stand Together, where I am still in 1916 with CS Lewis young
and not knowing yet that he is on the verge of discovering Christ... 
Lewis, even then, was so good at describing  books, walks he took and 
the beauty he beholds... 
Do you have days where you feel like you go from happy-sad-happy-sad-sad-happy?
It was one of those days for me;
I think the cold has a lot to do with it,
and just the weariness of the last few years for us, 
it's been a lot harder than we could of ever foreseen but 
here we are, seeking God's will...
I am in the last lovely long essay in Ordinary Wonders, (I am reading it outloud
to my Husband as I have already read it through once myself)
 and really appreciated this:

"An abbot of my acquaintance once said: "If you don't know how to act,
just say with all your heart: 'Lord, I love You! Glory to You!' 
(page 252 Ordinary Wonders: Stories of Unexpected Grace). 

So I come again to beauty, to words of hope, to the amazement of 
beauty on a page, to silence, to the awareness that fullness exists,
but I guess at the moment I am plain weary
and also aware of other's struggles and heavy burdens.
Sometimes we get a breather but then it's back to unexpected hard.
Well. Lord help us, have mercy on us and save us! 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Amazing how different each day is...

Well, here we are again! 
So, I ended up sleeping soundly (after a late start to sleeping) till 10 AM.
I think the cold + 4 NYC trips in 7 days + lots of work at home caught up with me! 
Today was a quiet day... I heard that taking a decongestant over a week could be 
not the thing to do, so I did not take my cold med this morning and of course
felt worse... and worse... a hot bath, netipot, hot tea, diffuser with eucalyptus,
steam, more tea... nothing was helping... until I put on thieves, RC and eucalyptus oil
with olive oil as a base, like you would put on vicks.  That really surprised me,
how it put a dent in the pain and sinus issues.  I was running low on the first 2 of those oils
so I ordered more tonight (after consulting with Mr Husband of course!) and also
an inexpensive ointment a friend suggested... 
We sure got a case of the sinus here, as author +Anne George described it in her delightful
mysteries that I read in my 20s... (should think of getting these again, maybe in the new
year, since I kinda ordered some more DE Stevenson this week 
(and on that note, more of her books are being reprinted!!! including the Mrs Tim books!!!
Coming in January as per Amazon info! so excited!)
It's funny, every time I look up +Anne George, of whom there is not tons to find online,
I am sad she has died.  I think she understood sickness and suffering
and her mystery books were a hoot, as they say.
It's amazing how beautiful the world is but how much suffering is in it.
I am thinking of various friends suffering, 
I am thinking of our own suffering,
but also the world, past, present, sadly future...
so much...
yet, there is beauty and people creating beauty.
I can't tell you how much this song is giving me comfort
and making me feel like I am being pierced with the REALITY of beauty

Found that video today (above), it's beautiful too, along with the music.
Alexis Ffrench is new to me composer but I sure appreciate this music of his.
I texted it to my cousin H today and that was so nice, that connection with her,
sharing the music, she immediately wanted to play it on the piano! :) 

I found this piece later which I like nearly as well (which since I love
Bluebird a LOT) is saying something, and this video of it I found really lovely:

It's beautiful.

I think it is beauty that God is bringing my way that,
with prayer of course, and tea, books, classical music, 
that is keeping me afloat in all of our personal current suffering.
It's incredible how music can do that... 
I read a quote from Elizabeth Goudge's Dean's Watch and I think I need
to read this book again... 

Well, today was good but kind of difficult too
but thank God we had all we need and chicken soup is the meal of the hour!
So so glad I made a big pot of it! 
I am also glad for grocery delivery services and that today was sunny.
I did not get out today but that is how it is...
Looks like we may be a nor'easter on Saturday...
I hope all will be well with that! 

God bless and protect us all, may He pour out His mercy!