Monday, June 28, 2021

Monday: first day of the Apostle's fast!

The above pictures are all from Pentecost or the Monday afterwards,
called Spirit Monday for short.
I had never gotten them downloaded from my phone
(it is not automatic when I have the battery saving mode on)
on Pentecost it self but they were so beautiful so wanted to still share,
a week plus later!
Today's pictures (for the same reason as above) are not around for me yet.
I am reading a LOVELY but challenging (as in to keep striving for
Christian growth, repentance) book of quotations by various
Optina Monastery Fathers. 
I love it esp as it is short quotations that are more 
digestible and understandable. 
I made the fruit and nut bread.  Such a blessing.
Baked fairly early in our toaster oven which is perfect
when it is hotter out.
Praying for those in heat waves right now!
We went to vespers locally tonight.
A blessing also.
I did only a small amount of work on my writing project,
printing earlier research out and chatting with a 
librarian (I think?) at a NYC museum with some questions.
Did some laundry.  
The fruit and nut bread was my saving grace,
as I forgot about vespers and had nothing for dinner planned 
so we had more of the bread with a salad on the side.
Well, it's time for bed now.
I am trying to make room for the rest I need.
I am really thankful for this day
and for books to read to learn from,
that I mentioned.
God bless you each and every one!
May Christ have mercy on us!

Sunday, June 27, 2021


Hello and happy Sunday end and Monday soon begins!  I am finally feeling more myself again, as if I came back to myself.  I have two baking projects for this week, some swimming goals, possible NYC trip and hope to do a bit of work on my writing project.   And, in between all of this, some rest too.

My first baking project is another batch of the delicious and easy fruit and nut bread.  The Apostle's fast begins tomorrow and some fresh bread will be, God willing, a great beginning!

Well, I best be off now.  I hope to go swimming in the morning so I need rest!  

God bless you all and keep you in His care!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Saturday: the mundane and the profound

A pretty bowl for breakfast.  We had pizza for lunch.  Ice cream and
Then to evening vespers... 

I found myself thinking about the world, and the multiplicity of views
and this world, with so many religions, ideas and such.
But also about some ideas that I discovered Madeleine L'Engle 
and Elder Sophrony (who wrote the books on St Silouan)
about hell and heaven and 
two different ways of it and one, Madeleine's, at least in the middle of her life,
was the idea she said of some thought that heaven could include being able to see 
people in hell and she could not imagine that as heaven 
and then St Sophrony saying that St Silouan saying that love cannot 
bear the idea of those in hell but yet believing that people can/are there
and suffering and praying for those there.  And it is suggested that God has pain about it.
The same thing but different conclusion.
I know this is perhaps not my normal discussion here but well, I do often write
what is on my mind and so here I am, writing about it.
And I thought about this as I was in church and the idea of some
refusing God and how could that be and yet,
I saw the Lord on His Cross in the front side of Church.
It was like I realized that life is cluttered, and that seeing Christ on the Cross
may be missed but yet He is THERE.
(even in the two pictures above, you can miss seeing Him there, 
on the Cross, because the view I looked towards Christ made it
visually cluttered and you do not immediately notice the Cross....)
It was like I realized for a minute anyway, that somehow the Cross
with Christ on it, is really the centre of everything, the centre of history,
that He came and died for us
and that His death tell us His love
and His Resurrection tells us our Hope
and that Christ, seen here, is the answer.
There He is.  Silent. Still. So Still.  On the Cross, 
poured out for all the world.
And while I don't have an answer to the questions the L'Engle and Elder Sophrony
are raising, as they are nuanced and I don't have the wisdom to answer them,
but I can say that I saw that Christ came and that the Cross,
the suffering, the offering of Christ 
is the answer to the question, to everything, in the end.
I saw it but I can only pray that I can remember it,
have this more deeply in my own heart,
my own fickle struggling heart.

I also thought of how good it is to be in church
and that while right now in NJ things are pretty good with the 
pandemic numbers and such but that one does not know
if it will get worse again and I was just glad to be there.....

We had lamb, rice, veggies, bread and 
again ice cream with strawberries for dessert
(good thing I got a walk in this morning with Mr Husband!)
It's the last of our fast-free week and the beginning, on Monday,
of the Apostle's fast.... so extra treats today!
I showed my priest the picture of Fr I who died in Ottawa
and he said, well, he is with God now and that he would pray for him.
That is a real comfort.
So, life is this mixture of loss, of questions, of even, at times,
profundity, and also, for me, now, the blessing of wonderful food
and life in all it's ups and downs with my Husband
who I am so thankful for and that I have life with,
and that over all, we have Christ to save us.
May God bless and save you dear readers!
Lord have mercy on us!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Last Fast-Free Friday until after Christmas!


It's currently just after 10 AM EST.  We had biscuits (and I had one rusk) with strawberries and butter for breakfast! and Tea of course! This week has had a lot of ups and downs for me.  I think it's partly I have not been out swimming (my ears are plugged still, last week was the dread summer cold and I had a lot of insomnia + two weekday liturgies).  

A priest I knew in Ottawa died on Wednesday :(  He was only 51.  Heart attack.  He would visit our parish and we would go to his at times for weekday services.  I remember when he first came, he was very quiet and shy.  Later, it was like he was totally transformed.  He took some classes from my priest that I think put such light in his soul, it was a beautiful transformation, one I will never forget.  He was no longer shy and he had such joy.  He told me (and others I think) once that when he was at seminary he was not really aware of God and the sacraments and what they do. It was like he was a little insensible to the reality of things. But then, slowly, he came alive. He began realizing the truth of it while still at seminary.  And he kept realizing this and became such a kind, joyful priest. He became alive, transformed. I remember his joy most of all, and that story.  That humble story of at first looking at being a priest as a job he would do only to a change in seeing the church and being a priest as a beautiful life-giving, life-changing event and situation.  May the Lord remember him in His kingdom! And may God help us reach the joy that is so clearly in this priest's life and ministry!  (He was also a teacher and I read a touching tribute about how his students loved him even in the pandemic they would want to come to zoom class with him! He is going to be missed by so many, his wife, two kids, church family, and students...and friends....) May his memory be eternal! 

I remember his beautiful bright church and Mr Husband and I's wedding reception was at his church's church hall.  It's hard to really understand that he is no longer with us.

While I moved from Ottawa nearly 9 years ago, I feel in ways more close to Ottawa than I ever was. I think the online youtube channel helps, I often play parts of services while I am cleaning at home and hear so many familiar voices.   In a lot of ways if I think about it I am still in Ottawa, as in my heart is still there.  I miss it very much while I don't think God has in His plan for my return to Canada.  This is hard but at least at present, it seems to be impossible on so many levels. 

But I have SO MUCH to be thankful for and I see that.  

Well, it is now evening, nearly 10:30.  I ended up talking to my Mom today and told her I was struggling with my writing project, wondering if it was any good and that I was feeling a bit down.  I've never tried such a big thing before and told her I wished I could have advice (meaning from someone experienced in this sort of thing) and she told me: you need to take a break because I was asking for advice.  And I listened of course, esp as some of you kindly said something similar.  My Mom told me to do something different.  I asked her why as I honestly need to learn to understand this.  I feel like at 44 I am in some sort of kindergarten, where I have to learn A=B&C in terms of what to do when X happens.   She explained it was because I was feeling discouraged/unsure/down that it meant I needed a break, a rest, do something different.  Come back to it later, refreshed, in other words.  I know such things should be obvious but in our world, well, I often miss such 'memos' and to be honest many, perhaps esp women, missing the memo to rest.  So I am reading a book I bought a couple years ago, Especially Father by Gladys Taber. I am still in the first third or so of it and boy is it a fun and funny book. She sure can tell a story and tell it well!   I felt so relaxed just reading about the earlier time and the nice summers they had (though with such a Father it would be difficult!)  It's been really nice to read!

I also talked with L. today, the older woman from our local church who just months before the pandemic happened, broke her hip... she's back home now but never regained what she lost... it was really good to talk with her.... later I was talking to my Grandma when my Husband called, he had gone swimming and told me that it was not crowded (usually in afternoon it is) and was warm and he did not bring his keys so if I want, I could join him.... well my Grandma clearly wanted me to go swimming so I did, it was nice to do again, though I like early morning adult swim better, just less stressful and noisy! ... 

It was fun to have ice cream twice in one day and lots of strawberries! When one normally fasts every Wednesday and Friday, it's extra special when one does not because of a big feast (this one of course being Pentecost).  

I am researching Plum recipes.  Vegan ones or one I can make vegan.  

Well, it's late now.  I hope you had something nice in your day today.  I felt like I turned a corner today.  

God bless and keep you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Feast Day

 my pictures are again not loaded up properly! 
so just saying hi quickly.
I read THIS today that was lovely about a humble priest in Russia...
I need to get to sleep now 
so God bless you all and keep you!
(will try to be back soon)...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

That which cannot be sustained


As I mentioned yesterday, I am re-reading The Scent of Water.  I read it first when I was 19, just 19 a month or so and it was one of the biggest gifts I had received.   I talked about it for weeks.  It was like CS Lewis to Phantastes.   I read it again on New Years Day sitting on my old gold arm chair that was my Dad's and that I no longer have.   In my large kitchen and I read it and was quiet.  And it restored me.  I read it again since I moved to New Jersey, but this now 4th or so read of it is again restoring me.  I was living at too high pitch and I do that sometimes without realizing it.  Often when I am dealing with loss that I don't know how to deal with exactly.  (Speaking of loss, when I saw my friend to say goodbye she said she was returning but maybe not fully returning, in other words she had no idea her future.  That was hard in that my head was spinning.  Yours would be too if you were me).  The thing is that there is no easy way forward.  I hope to have a friend over in July.  And see other friends.  I am seeing that I have indeed to be more balanced.  I need to cook and bake a little more.  I need to ease up my unrealistic timeline of work.  And I want my work to have peace in it which means I have to be more balanced.  Last week when I had such an awful cold things got flipped around, I was unable to sleep at night and everything got unbalanced within me.   

My friend sent me this quotation this morning:

Your constant care should be not to let your heart become agitated or troubled, but to use every effort to keep it peaceful and calm. Seeing your efforts and endeavours, God will send you His grace and will make your soul a city of peace.  ~ from the book unseen warfare 

I found the rest, it's as follows (I am adding emphasizes to parts):

Then your heart will become the house of comfort as is allegorically expressed in the following Psalm: ‘Jerusalem is builded as a city’ (Ps. cxxii. 3). God has required only one thing from you, that every time you are disturbed by something, you should immediately restore peace in yourself, and should thus remain undisturbed in all your actions and occupations. You must know that this requires patience; for just as a city is not built in a day, you cannot expect to gain inner peace in a day. For gaining inner peace means building a house for the God of peace and a tabernacle for the Almighty, and in this way becoming a temple of God. You must also know that it is God Himself Who builds this house in you, and without Him all your labour will be in vain, as it is written: ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’ (Ps. cxxvii. 1). You must know too that the main foundation of this peace of heart is humility and avoidance of actions, works and occupations which bring worry and care. As regards the first – who does not know that humility, peace of heart and meekness are so closely related that where one is, the other is too. A man whose heart is at peace and who is meek is also humble, and a man who is humble in heart, is also meek and at peace. This is why our Lord joined them indissolubly together, saying: ‘Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart’ (Matt. xi. 29). As regards the second, we see its prototype in the Old Testament, namely, in the fact that God wished His house to be built not by David, who spent almost all his life in wars and tribulations, but by his son Solomon, who, by his name, was a peaceful king and fought no one.

Source: Unseen Warfare as edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by Theophan the Recluse, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.
Beautiful quotation! A life time to learn to do this of course... 
Well.  It's nighttime now.  I finished my re-read of The Scent of Water, it's such a good book!
I've had some more insomnia 
and sure hope that tonight will be better.
I read a bit of my writing project to my Husband tonight and he thought it was good.
I was encouraged and happy!
I made my favourite beef stroganoff and rescue biscuits. 
This must be one of my favourite meals at present.
I hope you are well and that God is helping you through whatever it is
that you are needing help with.
God bless and keep you!