Monday, June 30, 2008

Wearily Sitting, Writing, Thinking

I am tired, so very tired. Not in a bad way, but tired just the same. Sort of worn down since Jay has been ill and that has taken a toll. I am nowhere near as tired as he gets, most likely, but man, it takes it outta me. He has been really sick for the last few months, but effected by it for ages now possibly. I get the up and down of him feeling well one minute and the next, he could crash from a reaction to something. Day to day, moment to moment, it is hard to tell, can't really call it. When he is not well, he is really NOT well, when he gets his times of wellness, it is great and it seems like he could conquer the world again. Things are a strain, we have had to revamp our cupboards and purge them of anything containing gluten. Over budget on food and taxed on the emotions. But, I will not keep things around that will make him sick even though he tells me to keep some of it for us. We do not need the gluten, we may be sensitive also, particularly Katherine because she is has Jay's DNA too, so who knows. In any case, things have been good and bad, up and down, it really challenges a persons patience and strength to go through something like this that requires such a rapid change. I am worn down, tired, malleable and somewhere near the verge of hope and happiness. I love God more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than right now, through service, patience and love we live...forever.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Vs. Evil

I have been thinking about this particular fast. The Apostles' fast. I have found myself in the first couple of days, struggling beyond belief with simple concepts. Food aside, the toil is sure. Little voices that whisper into my ears that are like the tiny cartoon conscience of older days.
The one voice says, "Ah! The Apostles' fast! It is less than 3 weeks this year, not bad, especially after last years which was nearly as long as Lent. Less than 20 days to get through..."
The other, more raucous voice, pipes up with, "Then WHY do we have to do it? and why is it not relaxed more than it is...mostly only fish days on the weekend....blah! with all the dietary changes in general for us, should we also be exempt...if Jay has a VERY relaxed fast, then why can't I! Blah, blah, blah!"...You get the idea.
The first voice grows louder, "It is not as hard as all that, let God guide you...follow your heart, not your head, things only get mixed up in that silly not let the serpent tempt you...he has no power here unless you give it to him...Come, let us remember and honor our Holy Forefather's of Christ and His church in this time!..."
Today, I feel more prepared, it is like I had to shed a shell of self in order that I might see my way clearly. Well, 'clearly' is subjective...really there is less confusion and I am okay with that. I cross myself when I am hearing the distracting voice of conscience and try to remember quotes from the Holy Father's. So far, these tidbits have been helping, small as they are, but very simple. I do not know much, if anything, but I will have to say that I am grateful that God knows me...He knows my heart, my will and capabilities. I feel as if I am in the burning, yet not consuming, fire of God's love and He reaches out His hand to mold me. Steel is stubborn and does not bend for much, the fire will teach the steel how to be shaped and for which job it is best suited.
There are a lot of people who may think I have completely lost it, but that is their perception. If anyone stands where I am, may they see what I see, may they feel what I feel, may they want the fire. May this fast strengthen and encourage us all, through the prayers of our Holy Father's and Apostles', have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

Thunder is consuming
Blinding lightening
Swirling clouds

The sky moves
Rain begins
Dripping from the

Warm breeze blowing
Tickling skin
Cold rain on bare skin

The drip continues
The clouds move on
Rain stays
Thunder and lightening go
To the east
Always to the east

Flickers fade
Silent thunder
Off in the distant

Husband talking in the
Favorite sounds
Happy noises

the rumbling slips away
trickles drown
cool breezes begin

fresh newness
new life
new hope
new love
hold me in Your hands

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sky Show

There is something about a thunderstorm that makes me imagine about how God created "...The Heaven and the earth..." Especially here in Colorado with the cauliflower and cotton candy clouds that move and grow with such sweeping intent. The lightening varies from long bright bolts to large flashing strobes and the thunder is the base line booming with intensity. It is truly incredible. If you have ever seen a thunderstorm here, I cannot imagine not knowing God in that moment. for thought...

"I'm late! I'm late!! For a very important date!!"

On sunday morning I had arrived at church about 5-10 minutes late. Not an unusual thing, but not very conducive to singing in the choir, at least for me. I find myself not wanting to be disruptive once the service begins and not wanting to charge up there. It would be different if we had our Cathedral =) and there was a choir loft separate from the main body of the church. As it were, I would have to wade through people and the entire choir to get to where I would stand.
I stood there with a heavy heart, wishing we had not been late. I was remembering that all things are in God's time and that if I am late, I will learn from it. It still did not stop a certain feeling of yearning, so I sang there standing with everyone else. The Slavonic is tricky at times, even when I am trying to read it in front of me, but I did my best. I glanced at the choir on occasion, looking for a sort of approval from Matushka to head up there, but accepted that it would more than likely not happen. I looked up at the icons of Christ. First to the one of Him in the Last Supper and then to His main one. I gazed into His calming eyes and implored Him for strength to either go up there at the right time (unknowingly) or have someone come get me. I know, silly. My eyes welled up, but I stood trying to keep focus, looking mainly to Christ. I gave my heart over in broken song and tear-stained eyes, heavy as it was.
When the doors and curtain closed, I took a moment to get a small drink of water. I had a bit of a scratchy throat between all that and pollen in the air. As soon as I got downstairs, Sasha put me to work cutting up pineapple. Our guest from Russia was serving with Frs Boris and Michael, so there was much preparation for the meal afterward. I thought to myself, "At least I am doing some sort of service, perhaps this is where I belong today." My wonderful husband knew how much it meant to me to sing and asked if I was alright. I chose to keep my mouth shut and try to be industrious, after a labored half-smile. Wise choice on my part, through the Grace of God. I am prone to opening my mouth with good intentions and then apologizing for what I have said because I do not have the right words. I slipped Katherine a bit of pineapple and told her to go be with her dad back into church. She shoved it into her mouth and went like a good girl despite the small protest of wanting me instead. I had finished one pineapple and went in search of a plate, told a girl who offered help she could cut the strawberries and so on. Sasha looked at me and said that I could be finished and could I please find Sophia (her oldest girl, nearly 8) and see if she would stand in line to ask if she could have Fr hear her confession. (On occasion, Fr Boris will hear confession during veneration from those who come from very far or children whose parents could not get them there the night before). Nothing else, I mean NOTHING, could have gotten me back up those stairs, I had accepted my fate.
I ascended the chairs looking for Sophia and thinking of how I might word what I would say if I had a had a chance to speak with Matushka. I have to think ahead, otherwise I don't make any sense, esp when it is something near to my heart. In any case, I found Sophia up there looking a bit bewildered and told her what her mom said. She told me how she worried because she did not remember everything she had done during the week except 2 things. I talked to her, but she was still worried. I fetched Sasha and she came to her and they worked it out. I saw Matushka up there on the kliros and ventured up to see her momentarily. I explained that I was sorry to be late to the service, but I am not always sure of when to come up there as I do not wish to cause disturbance. She said to not worry about it and would I like to stay for the rest, she would explain to me later when the best times are if I am running late. There was just a simple unexplainable feeling I had at that moment...
After the service, during the lunch, Matushka relayed her own stories of how she used to show up at church late (before Fr Boris was a priest) to the choir with children under arm, blowing through the door. She said that most people with children are rarely there exactly on time, we just do our best and find a Litany to tip toe up there =) She is really a very good Matushka.
I sang with as much conviction I could and stayed through the kneeling prayers afterward. It was good. I cannot tell you what I learned precisely that day, but I thought I might take you with me on that portion of my journey. It was good and I am sure this is more than just the beginning of my adventures ;-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I love the Psalms

I love the Psalms
They are such comfort
They are my past
They speak to my heart
They whisper in my ear
Ancient words of wisdom
Beautiful songs of praise

I love the Psalms
They are so true
True as God
A soul haunting Truth
The words of David
The testament of old

I love the Psalms
I can understand
I see mercy
I see love
I see God
But more than that
So much more than that
I feel the presence of mercy
Closer than before
Nearer my heart

I love the Psalms
Visions of hope
A glimpse of eternity
Open the door to my heart
Unlock the door
Wipe away the dust
Light the candle
God lives here
Through words of David

I love the Psalms

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One of my favorites

Prayer for the Acceptance of God's Will

O Lord, I know not what to ask of Thee. Thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation, I can only wait on Thee. Visit and help me, cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence as a sacrifice to Thee. I put all my trust in Thee. My heart is open to Thee. I have no other desire than to fulfill Thy Will. Teach me how to pray. Pray Thyself in me. Amen.

I think that one of my most favorite parts is where it says, "Teach me how to pray. Pray Thyself in me." Just a little tidbit today =) Love to all!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

American Heritage

A thought that has been crossing through my mind lately has been heritage. Our personal and cultural heritage that we sort of pride ourselves on. Personally, my extensive cultural heritage comes from Europe, mainly...specifically Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, etc. The funny thing is that my ancestors have been here for somewhere near 150+ years and counting. While I feel a rather strong connection through music, foods and genetics (who I look like), I also find myself not completely owning my Americanism. Now, before all else, I am a Christian, regardless of race or location, but what is my American heritage? Let's see, my grandmother moved out to CA in the 1920's from Ohio when she was very small. My grandmother in the other side has a grandfather who fought in the Minnesota Cavalry in the Civil War. Seems like everyone's eventual location was the good ol' west, my dad was born in Oregon and my mom in Southern California...
Now, on to my next sparse thought. I was noticing the other day that one of the things that sets us apart from other countries, besides hot dogs and hamburgers, is the south and that lifestyle. It is definitely a mix of things and began far sooner than a lot of parts of the US, but there is something so unique about it. The bluegrass and country music, hushpuppies and sweet tea, river boats and swamp creatures. There is really a lot there. The simple people of these areas seem to embrace and embody America more than any other part of our great nation. Sure there are lots of places that remind us of how we got to where we are, but none that seem to live and breath it so readily. It is sort of funny to me that they are the picture of America (to me) and yet, they were the Confederates who lost, at least a good portion of them. I am not saying that everything that is being, or ever has been, done is right or okay, but having visited there a couple years ago it leaves a mark. I really miss it sometimes, things were slower and simpler, even quieter. It was picture perfect, just like in the stories.
I guess there is not much to my reasoning for this post, just piecings of thoughts that have been traipsing through my brain. Hmmm, having visited the south, I suppose it has stirred me, has given me a new perspective of where I come from and who I am. I guess that is it, I just hope to visit more places that help me to feel connected to my American heritage. Jay has always said, "There are so many great places here in the states to visit, why would we ever NEED to go anywhere else?" (want aside) I must say, I agree. =)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Pic-uh-nic

I was busy doing laundry and dishes and things when I told Katherine we should start thinking about lunch when I have a quick minute. To which she supplied this answer, "I will go get a bunch of veggies out and make a sandwich and we can have a pic-uh-nic!!!" Well, that settled it! No matter my attempt to get her to stay in with me and have broccoli with noodles together. Eh, I do not mind really, just the to-do about getting the picnic set up and broken down and such.

When I was just finishing up my jobs I noticed Katherine up at the counter, on her stool getting into the bread box. (Yes, we have an actual bread box!) =) In any case, she got out 2 slices each for us, mind you, this is the girl who does not really eat sandwiches, especially not if there is a chance it may fall apart on her. It is Rudi's bread (on sale right now) so not only did she choose a whole sandwich for herself, they are like time and a half the size of regular bread. Ok, enough ramblings...she got out the vegenaise(non-egg mayo) and proceeded spread her bread with much intent. She grabbed a handful of the lettuce I had pulled out and slapped it on, next came the tomato and then there was something missing! Carrots! She had to have carrots on her veggie sandwich! She got out her 'knife' (lettuce knife, plastic with jagged edges) found herself with the last carrot and washed it. She chopped that carrot into small circular pieces that were amazingly straight and fairly uniform in size. She topped it off with her other slice of bread and then offered to make my sandwich! Keep in mind that, as some of you know, I have a sensitivity to carrots and there would be no way I could finish her sandwich at any time. That said, I was a little suspicious of her large sandwich, especially after such a huge breakfast of steel cut oats! I ended up making my sandwich while Katherine took Gracie out for a quick potty break.

We grabbed an old sheet and I tossed it on the grass out front. Katherine brought out the lunch box she had packed up just so with our spectacular meal as well as the plates she picked for us. She blessed our food in her own sweet way and we dug in. Boy did that girl eat! She ate that sandwich like a pro! We sat and chatted about nothing in particular as we finished up.

Needless to say, I was impressed with her ability to decide, make and eat that lunch. More than anything, I loved our time together and I love being her assistant in the kitchen as I watch her grow into a self-sufficient girl. She is not yet 5 and she already does so much around here, when she really sets herself to it. Well, that is my little story for now, I just love the little girl with a big laugh and stomach ;-) more than she knows!