Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Simple Days and Meals

In the midst of all the hard of the world at present,
I find our days to quiet and simple;
thank God we were able to go to our local church this weekend. 
We are enjoying fruit and such things.
My Husband surprised me and did dishes for me last night and emptied the
dishwasher this morning.
And he put in the two dish tubs that he knew needed to be washed,
as I had mentioned this the other day....
I find that everyone has some form of grief because of the Dread Virus
and we are not exempt.
But we work through it and keep trying to go forward,
even when our hearts feel deep pain. 
Yet in the midst of all of this, 
we know how blessed we are,
being at home, enjoying summer fruits and foods. 

I am enjoying re-reading the DE Stevenson book 
on Mrs Tim, which I had begun and was a long way through
when I had all those eye troubles and the book fell to the wayside...
So I am beginning at the beginning and enjoying the humour of the book
but also quite relieved that I never had to be in such situations as her,
with so many people and challenges of being in such a world.
I remember, when reading this, as well as the book I just finished,
Q's Legacy by Helene Hanaff, that I savour my quiet life very much.
I still remember when my professor, when I was in my nearly mid-20s,
described me as a quiet person,
as I was the most talkative in my parent's home but I soon realized what
he meant and yes, I love to have a quiet drama-free life. 
My Husband and myself are both relieved that we are not noticed in crowds
and that we can have our quiet life together.
When I remember this, even in times that are hard,
I can remember that God can help me be content... 
I discovered some of my Grandma's bars in our freezer and
we are enjoying them... 
she turned 90 this week and she made these when she was 88
and she is an inspiration and blessing to me always...

 These were 2 (!) I had today...
the first one, a cookie base with chocolate and butterscotch chips
was really lovely! Perfect blend of batter that was not over-sweet
and the chips! The other was a cookie/cake base with shredded coconut
and then a melted chocolate top... also very enjoyable...
with hot tea and a bit of milk in the tea! 
I find by looking for what is a blessing in my day,
I can find a thankful heart that makes all the difference...
May God help us all in whatever we are facing...

Saturday, July 25, 2020

"Good, But Tired"

I can't complain about our week!
Swimming, walks, an ice cream cone today...
but I would say I am on the tired side of things.
Just a lot on the go... 
my Husband was sweet and we got take out for dinner...
That was a real help!
With the hot weather we are having,
more laundry piles up
because we are still committed to our exercise but well,
hot humid weather = sweaty clothes that need washing!
I am reminded so many times how this pandemic is impacting EVERY one.
So I keep trying to be thankful for the blessings we DO have.
My Grandma told me how her Great Aunt Jen had a sandwich toaster machine 
that would grill sandwiches, like grilled cheese sandwich.
A lot of my Grandma's happy memories seem to involve food; 
one of the recipes she wished she knew from her Mom was 
for an orange cake with boiled frosting. 
She remembers the candies of that time.
I think food is just one of the simplest things that everyone
shares and loves.
And I am so glad that I share in this love....
I told my Mom I had a dream that I came and brought her sugar.
She laughed and told me no need for that; she had
done a lot of baking and was out of sugar by my Dad and his brother
my Uncle L, went grocery shopping for the cabin trip
they went on and got my Mom a 10 lb bag of sugar!
And here she usually would by half of that :)
DV I am looking forward to baking more come fall...
when it is cooler...
Meanwhile, I am so glad that things like cooking and baking
are still a mainstay to so many of us.
May God have mercy on us all and save us!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Feeling happy but rather like happy on a marooned island


What a strange time we are all in our lives and in our world...
NJ and where we are in NJ is doing well with very low virus cases... 
my eye doctor is concerned because local colleges in NJ and NYC
are allowing students to return from all over the States and he is worried that some
positive virus cases will slip through undetected... 
My Husband and I are trying to get all our medical routine things 
(dentist, physical etc) done soon ... we are going into NYC to do so
but by car...  and with some cab rides once in the city...
I am actually really excited; I did not realize fully how much I love
NYC until it was taken from me; I mean I knew I really enjoyed it
but once I could not go, and NYC was so besieged, my heart was 
broken on many levels and I still don't know what is going to be like
returning; are the restaurants I love still there?
I saw various ones in the town next door
had been shuddered and empty with 'retail space available' signs... 
So today was pretty happy...
I got to go out to get my eyes checked, did a little bit of shopping...
things that I did as-a-matter-of-fact or "normally" pre-Dread Virus.
It was a relief just to do this...
But yet I feel like we are surrounded by the troubles;
so much south of us is having serious virus spikes; 
it feels like I am safe but marooned on an island...
that calm of the storm but still knowing the storm is 
Well, lots to keep trusting God about...
Some happy things I shared earlier on social media...

1st and biggest: I went to my optometrist today and my vision has been fairly stable this year! I did not need a stronger prescription! If you have followed my eye saga, you will realize that this is a HUGE deal because the more my eye worsens (esp the right eye), the more chance of further retina damage. So I am so thankful for that! It is rare that this is the case for me!

2. I am also thankful that we got to go to the town next door where our eye doctor is (and where we first lived after we got married) as we went to the German Bakery (well not inside, but he did a tent sort of thing so he can do orders and then go back in the bakery and get what you want) and we have 2 slices of cheesecake waiting for us from the bakery!

3. I also got some more face/makeup supplies while in town... we are trying to stock up/get things done now, while NJ is doing fairly well in terms of the Dread Virus, as I call it.

4. We watched two Walton episodes tonight (2 because it was storming (we watched on an unplugged laptop) and, because of the storm, we could not do our evening walk).

5. We went swimming this morning! (it was crowded but OK) and wonderful to get this exercise in...

It's not an easy time for any of us... talking with my eye doctor had me realize how much impact it has had on almost all business... 
May God have mercy on us all!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Beautiful Moments

My Husband showed this poem to me in a magazine we get
called Chronicles. He mentioned Elizabeth Goudge as such a person 
who would merit such a poem. :)

We've been enjoying our second plum torte of the summer!

We bought a gallon of USA-made hand sanitizer to refill our small bottles with...
we are preparing while there is such things to be had...

I remembered, for the second plum torte, to use tin foil AND parchment paper
before putting the batter on the bottom of the spring form pan!

We had a Walton's date! Pizza, salad and plum torte with french vanilla ice cream :)
I am thinking that baked plums all by themselves (as in without batter) but 
with cinnamon and sugar would be really good .... :) 

I loved this line (though it should read 'strengthen').... 

This Akathist (prayer service) is dedicated to an icon that is celebrated on 
September 18th, which is one of my name's Saint days 
(St Elizabeth the Mother of St John the Baptist) so that is really neat...

 On a cute and funny note... peanuts comics are so fun!

So funny and dear! I don't know where the next picture is from,
I saw it on a friend's story on social media...

What a delightful way to remind us of NOT doing those
things that rob us of simple and even profound happiness and joy...
Well, on a serious note... I can't remember if I mentioned...
but I found some data sets for the Dread Virus that give
stats for local/state/national information and it helped me see
that no kind of visits of/to/from family can happen
and it's like I am not in limbo now; it's still sad; but I feel more
settled now that I have found some sources of data instead of news articles
that were often so maddening in their lack of clarity.
Of course the minute you feel more settled about one thing,
than another thing pops up; an unbloggable, a sort of grief as well.
It's funny, I have such beautiful music in my head... 
I feel like I am in a middle of a calm of a storm
and am suddenly reminded of beauty, of what I love; of 
art; of God; of hope; of beautiful music; 
I still have moments that feel so heavy
and I allow myself breaks; 
I am reading books; watching an episode of Murder She Wrote; 
thinking about the Psalms; about the beauty of prayer and of 
the hope that I continually see in the prayers of my church;
like the one I posted about about hope of salvation; 
about how repentance and the spiritual life is about HOPE 
not despair. 
I am enjoying this calm and I do know it is momentary; 
tomorrow DV we go to the eye doctor; many new precautions are in place;
it will be, as my good friend described on the phone, 
a very different experience.
We are trying to see, while numbers are still low, if we can drive into NYC
and do some medical appointments;
I am dreaming of picking up some books at my library in Manhattan.
We shall see.
I wrote this on social media to a dear Artist who is also an Orthodox Christian:

"I can only imagine how VERY difficult this is. I read a lot of book set in WWII (esp DE Stevenson) and in ways we are in a similar situation; sudden changes; onslaught of hardship, loneliness; it's tipping a lot of boats and many people are struggling with despair or seeing everything spiral out in ways they can't control; I find both acknowledging the great grief we are all in (all but differently) and finding anything to be thankful for (summer, a cold plum, ice cream, beauty, an unexpected late summer rose blooming on a street corner) to be my way forward. My Husband and I pray for you daily. Your exhaustion is fully understandable; we must remember that even in our painful loneliness we are not left comfortless, as in God has not left even if we feel only aching loneliness."
I also wrote this, early this morning:

Thanksgiving list time!
 1. Husband reminded me to do laundry early in day (because HOT weather!) 
2. We "splurged" and had plum torte and vanilla ice cream for breakfast :) 
3. Tea with milk 
4. Instead of being unhappy about "Mount Laundry" that needs to be folded and put away, I am happy that, unlike 3 summers ago when I broke my ankle, I can stand, walk and do that work!!! 
5. My family, my Husband, my parents, my extended family, my in-law family, all blessings to me!
6. While hand soap refills at Shoprite remain elusive, we still have some AND we were able to get a gallon of USA-made hand sanitizer via Amazon. I already refilled a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer that was empty (I washed and dried the bottle and top first of course). 
7. We got groceries today delivered 
8. Today I am focusing on getting on top of all dishes, laundry, clutter but tomorrow Husband and I hope to go the adult swim again! 
That's a lot to be thankful for!
And so it is, this evening, a day of calm and beauty in the midst of
life's wind and weather....
May God have mercy on us and save us!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Beautiful Encouraging Weekend

We went to our far-away church on Saturday and Sunday
both for morning liturgies! 
It was so nice to be there
and to see church family afterwards!

Mary, you asked about these candies!
I think they are German; my friends from Romania who
live in Ottawa gave them to us years ago 
and we just are enjoying them now; 
it is amazing how well they kept and are quite fun!
We have one more serving from this small bag to enjoy! 

This rose my husband saw,
it was up high, 
taller than myself, so I put my phone up to it
and took this picture.
Amazing how it turned out, 
as I was not able to do anything beyond lift up my phone
to take the picture and make sure it was not blurry! 
This week is going to be quite hot!
We hope to go swimming early and walking late...
May God help us all...
and have mercy on us!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Perfect Weather Today and Other Adventures

I wrote this earlier this morning....
So some things I am thankful for...

1. That I woke up again today and was able to say Thank You to God.
2. That on social media 
I am still in touch with people I can't visit and see even beautiful pictures of them.
3. Texting with friends and family.
4. Summer wonderful ripe peaches.
5. Plum torte.
6. The chicken, potato and carrot dinner I made in our crock pot. 
7. Marion Cunningham's Rescue Biscuits that are so easy to make.
8. Funny but true, google is my spell check and often my spelling teacher. And today I remembered how to spell Biscuits (the U and second "I" was tripping me up).
9. That it is OK to admit that I am not that great at spelling (for example) and I still know that I am loved and that it is OK to admit weakness.
10. We've been able to attend church this summer and boy do I thank God for that.
11. Ice cream
12. You! I am thankful for you!
I am also so thankful that I was able to do 9 laps in the swimming pool,
for Psalms, for prayer, for my Husband... 
and that we were able to meet a friend for lunch outside and have
burgers and fries, the first time my Husband has been at a 
restaurant since March... 
Yes, I am going to struggle with sadness about this pandemic; 
most people are; I love the Psalms esp as they can fit any situation
and that alone is a blessing....
Grief is OK; the key, I have been told and am learning, is to 
move through the grief, through but not stuck never to get out.
If I don't acknowledge my personal grief, it will merely harm me,
most likely by sending stress into my neck and shoulder muscles.
I learned this the hard way many years ago when we had some 
real tough times with some serious losses over 20 years ago.
I've learned a thing or two since then. 
I talked to a good friend on Monday for a good while and afterwards
I realized, because of our conversation, on a different level, 
that I was in a lot of grief about the pandemic and the lost chances
of seeing our families in person. 
That really helped me actually....to have that 'ah-ha' moment...
I am also thankful that at present NJ is not bad in terms of the Dread Virus.
I was even able to get a "freebie" from a promotion from our grocery delivery service;
this used to be their norm but when the pandemic hit and they were slammed with orders,
all of the normal fun things went as it was 
'All Hands On Deck' which is totally understandable.
I remain so proud of how good our grocery stores did in all of this.
I am so very thankful that we have been so blessed in this area.
So, that's how it is.
May God help us.
There are such real and difficult struggles right now
for everyone.  May God save us and have mercy on us!