Tuesday, March 31, 2020

oh hello, is that what that is?

So, my one a day fun Murder She Wrote show is over for now,
as it went off Amazon Prime.
So I grabbed a free trial to keep watching Perry Mason 
(that went off Amazon Prime a few months ago).
And I got to thinking about how it was watching Perry Mason that helped me
survive the grief of Cleo dying. 
And now I am watching him again.  Ah ha.
Is that what that is? 
GRIEF.  Well, sure enough. 
I am so sad for what NYC is going through,
it's hard to believe. 
I am sad that everyone's lives are so disrupted.
That we can't visit each other.
That we can't have Easter / Pascha together.
That I can't visit NYC.
That I can't go to church or go shopping at a store.
That I worry about my family, my friends, etc. 
Well. That is how it is.
I hope to make scones soon.
when we were in a different type of worry.
What I wrote then applies to now though:
the second part of the blog post title from 2 years ago is:
pondering what it takes to be at peace in the midst of 'life's hard':
And within the blog post I wrote:
"About the pondering/second title of this post
 if I can stay inside the day at hand, I can find some peace and quiet happiness 
I will have to write more later, as it is quite late and I need to get to bed.
However, it's simple but not simple to do.
It's being fully present to this day only and not letting one worry about tomorrow.
For me that means reading engrossing novels, baking and cooking, 
vespers tonight and listening to this lovely set of Bach while I made the pizza
after vespers. "
This still remains true for me.
I am planning a special bunch of cooking and baking for my Husband's upcoming birthday
(we will do the actual celebration at home on Saturday since that is easiest)
and also I am already planning our Easter Week meal.
Roast chicken, roast potatoes, a salad are on the menu for now.
Plus the fact that we have a very good cheesecake waiting in the freezer.
And I have milk chocolate waiting.
This week I hope to:
*bake scones - tomorrow?
*prepare dough for bread on Saturday morning (so Friday AM dough making)
*make Birthday cake - Thursday I think 
We are also going to listen to the Great Canon tomorrow here
And the Akathist on Friday, same place.
And we are still doing the Jesus Prayers and words of encouragement here,
every night 9:45-10:15, prayers beginning at 10 PM EST. 
Well, this week is going to be busy so I best get to bed now. 
Prayer Request, a happy one but needed too:
My sister-friend is due to have baby #5 at home in about a week.
All her births have been at home.
Please pray that it goes well given that the last place she will want to be
is in a hospital etc with all that is going on in terms of the pandemic. 
She has a very good husband and kids waiting and ready to help.
And a good midwife of course!
Please pray for them all.
And my friend A who will need more thyroid medicine again sooner than later
and for all the Romanians who can't find this medicine.
And remember that when you can't pray, there are others praying
and that there are MANY Christian monasteries praying for us all.
I leave you with these wonderful verses from Isaiah 40:28-31,
my Grandma Ruth's favourite and one of mine as well:

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Take heart dear ones, God is with us.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

All the dishes are washed

Boy oh boy.
Hard days for us all.
I know Mr Husband and I are some of the lucky ones.
Yes, we are near NYC and NJ, my friend said, is growing 30% a 
day in cases of the virus. 
We are fortunate because Mr Husband has his job, can work from home,
we have a well stocked pantry, that took me years to create,
and we have grocery delivery coming Thursday.
That is very very lucky to me.
So the hards.
Like everyone, living 24x7 at home is a challenge.
Most people are not used to living this way day in and day out.
Everyone has more work.
My Husband helps clean when he can and he really really does help.
I try to keep up on dishes and am making so many more meals.
it's 2 to 3x as much work.
And we don't have kids to mind in the midst of it.
So I know it is so hard for so so many.
All I can say is continue to seek Christ.
His peace.
Don't read the news more than once or twice a day.
Be careful.  Stay home.
My biggest fears are that I will either lose someone because they 
are in healthcare or because they did not stay home.
It's a real concern.
I try not to think on it too much
but wanted to record a little of what I am thinking,
with the hopes that one day I will be able to look back on this time and 
see what actually did happen. 
We had a nice breakfast.
I am trying to pick special teas for breakfast,
making Sunday different, special.
Mr Husband ate his pasta lunch with gusto.
I had lentil soup that I had made earlier that morning,
with pasta noodles. 
These are hard days.
We need to remember that Christ is there for us
and that when we get scared and start sinking,
like St Peter did on the water,
Christ is there to pull is up again.
God bless and keep each of you in His peace and 
in His protection.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Just Popping in to say 'Hi' and show you a very cozy scene

I moved my beautiful hurricane lamp over to our
vintage sewing machine
and I took this picture while sitting at my writing desk.
Just checking in here to say we are fine.
I admit I had the case of being Mrs Grumpis Dumpis this morning
(grumpy and down in the dumps) but by lunch we were setting up video chats
with two friends and I got much better.
And we went on a walk.
And listening and watched vespers
from Ottawa and then I caught up on some emails while listening to 
the services at Ellwood City Chapel  which is the services of 
Holy Transfiguration Monastery that Mother Alexandra founded...
Well.  I am trying to keep a list of what I hope to do in a day
in my planner, things like 
*make fruit salad
*fold laundry (did not happen today)
*make lunch
*email __ back 
and if I keep it simple I manage to at least get some of it done.
I know this is a hard time for us all.
I read a great letter today that mentioned
the mental struggle many are having and gave instructions to NOT check 
the news RE: the Virus for more than 15 minutes A DAY.
I think this is really REALLY good advice.
It won't help us and if you get sick with anxiety it won't help
you function.
So do yourself a favour and LIMIT yourself on this
and FILL yourself up instead with things that give
your soul hope, peace, light and point you to God.
As my friend Photini, who you may remember was so sick a year ago,
said to me on video chat: 
we must remember that this is temporary and that
we must keep our minds on God and in His Peace.
and with that gentle and I hope loving advice,
I wish you and leave you, greet you with,
the Peace of Christ. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Beautiful Breakfast in Week 3 of the Siege

Yesterday morning I realized that I really really wanted to make that 
bread for breakfast the next day.
I found dried cherries and pecans in our pantry!
I made the dough yesterday and let it sit all day, until this morning.

I have two main sources of anxiety right now.
1. That I will never get groceries delivered again (see picture above)
2.  That my people I love will get this virus and that it will be serious 
(I guess my third is that I or my Husband will get it).

Last night we had groceries.
YES, we even got more TP and paper towel.
Never knew that would feel miraculous. 
So last week I was woken about 2 AM unexpectedly and
ended up checking grocery delivery slots and found one.
A week later, early this morning, 1 AM again, I wake up.
By 1:17 I had secured a grocery slot. 
It was a real blessing. 
If you know about how bad it is getting in NYC right now,
you would understand why, given that we can see NYC within a 5 minute walk,
we really don't want to go to a large grocery store right now.

It is times like these that I constantly need a reboot:
to remember that one candle  burns bright in the darkness. 

This morning's breakfast was really special.
I wrote about it this morning, after breakfast, on social media...
"Happy sunshine filled post coming right up! I woke up realizing I had to get that bread (it was still rising in 2 covered bowls) in the oven for breakfast! So I did! The smell of fresh bread with dried cherries and pecans cannot be oversold :) I set the table with nice blue and white dishes, used my Grandma's silver-plate silverware, juiced a lemon and put in 2 mugs with boiling water and honey, got out cherry jam and my best vegan "butter". And then the bread was done, my Husband prayed for the meal and I sliced that steaming just out of the oven bread for breakfast and we sat down to a feast of fresh bread and mandarin oranges, steaming mugs of fresh lemon and honey and hot tea! I told my Husband that this breakfast, and on a sunny morning, reminded me of Narnia when Mrs Beaver makes a delicious breakfast for her guests. It was a wonderful start to the day and we have enough bread for 4 or 5 more meals!"

It was really quite special and by far the best part of today.
I ended up napping after that (no wonder, with all my broken sleeps of late)
in sunshine on the couch afterwards, which was nice.

 I read the news today on NYC and NJ re: the virus and boy did that make 
my anxiety skyrocket. 
I am really not looking at the news much at all, that was the only time today.

I am drinking SO MUCH tea.  
I am super grateful for our pantry. 
My Husband and I both like to have things well in stock in it.
Like way before this virus stuff hit the fan, it's just what we do.
I talked to my Sweet Husband today about the question of hording,
and how so much is being discussed, so many accusations.
I do understand that there have been crazy situations where 
people have stockpiled in perhaps epic proportions
(I read about 2K in thermometers or all of the store's carrots, etc etc).
In our life, with the times we have been sick and other things,
we have seen that it is best to have a stock of things we need.
And tea, well, I have a love of tea and a lot of that.
And treats, we are given so much at Christmas, plus things I get for lent
(it's rare that we are given vegan treats!)
and other gifts, we have plenty. 
Mr Husband told me that for most of history and much of the world still today,
it is normal to have a pantry (and root cellar which of course we don't have)
and keep a store of things.  It's how people survived the winter.  
You grew your own food and you canned it and prepared it for the winter months.
 Of course we added some things before things got really bad.
And we are using them.
Anyway.  I am thankful for what we have.
I always felt that my pantry was there for if we were in an unexpected
emergency, really, a siege.
And that, I finally realized earlier this week, is the word I had been looking for
to describe what this time is like.
We can take walks, usually about 30 minutes a day.
It's like being in a walled in city that is under siege and you get
30 minutes to walk outside or on the roof of the fort, or something
and the rest of the time you are in your own little home.

And sometimes we walk by views of NYC and I think of how besieged they are
and how we all have to stay home.
Siege.  We are called to be home, where it is safe.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I not only like to cook and bake
but that I know HOW to do so.
That I could bake the bread that, with the morning's sunshine,
and pretty dishes, made the beginning of our day so much better. 
And that the onions and potatoes + onions and mushrooms 
(both with a bit of garlic), that I fried up, 
made our dinner so enjoyable
and we have some for tomorrow's dinner.
And more of the wonderful bread for breakfast.
And that tonight I enjoyed a hot bath
and that the dishwasher is running.
I still, exceptionally, have some more dishes to wash tomorrow,
I try in general to have them done day of because of the whole
siege and needing to provide 3 meals/day.
But I had not blogged in a few days and really missed it.
Sometimes I feel discouraged, so much cleanup and cooking.
But we are revisiting favourites and making new favourites
and truly I have so much to be thankful for.
Including a pantry that I filled with things over the years
that are helping us so much in this time.
God is with is in this.
My Husband and I are still tuning in every night at 9:45 for the talk
and 10 PM for the Jesus prayers for the world.
Here was today's talk. 

I wish you all the peace of Christ and that you will be under His mercy
and in His protection!