Saturday, December 25, 2010


Well, after a conversation with my dad concerning the pH balance of the body, I have done some looking into it and Jay even got me a book. For those of you not familiar, the basic overview is this: The body's pH effects a lot of things, anywhere from weight to general health. Cleansing the body of too much acid and restoring its alkaline preference will help in its own ability to stay at an ideal weight and have optimal health. The book that Jay got me is called, "The pH Balance Diet", by Bharti Vyas and Suzanne Le Quesne, and it is set up in 3 stages. It is broken down to give the 80 best alkaline forming foods and 20 best acid forming foods, which makes it seem really manageable.

Personally, I am not looking to gain or lose any weight, but a better balance within the body is never a bad thing, right? One of the nice things about the pH diet is how a lot of it is simply things we already know, like potato chips are not good for us and roasted potatoes are the better choice. There is also a lot of discussion about how everything we eat usually contains a small amount of protein and that we actually don't need such large portions of protein that a lot of recent diets have pushed. Protein is definitely necessary, but most solid protein is acid-forming, though some better than others, and that it ought to balanced out by things like roast and/or raw veggies, with the protein, such as chicken, as a much smaller area of the meal. It would make sense to me that if the body is not balanced and working well within its pH, it may not be able to utilize all of the nutrients that we put into it, regardless of how wonderful they are.

I am looking forward to getting this started, for sure, and I am hoping to do this along with my dad, though he is 1200 miles away. My main goals when I got turned onto this particular diet change was to have more raw fruits and veggies, as they offer more enzymes to help digest. I am currently taking digestion support supplements and hope to, some day, get off of them. So if that means more raw foods and fewer things that my body has a rough time breaking down and using, no matter what my taste buds say, then so be it. My stomach is NOT the boss of me and food is my healthcare, so I had better not scrimp! I hope to update as time goes on, so check back in to see how it goes. Step one, talk it over with my dad and maybe we can try to start around the same time and offer each other support (though Jay and Kat will be mostly doing it, as well, based on living with me) and it will be baby steps, but I think we will manage.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, by all means, please feel free :o)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beauty Within The Faith

I was just listening to an Arabic Christmas Carol online and it me got to thinking a little bit about the Orthodox Christian faith. I rather like listening to different tongues praising God in the Orthodox tradition, it is comforting in such a way as may not be quite explainable. That there are several languages of the Church that cover a vast portion of the globe, goes to show that God hears all voices, in every land, regardless of speech. It shows that God comes to all who embrace Him, no matter what. It also makes me think about how, though the language itself is not a common form, but that it adds a richness and fullness to the Faith that may not otherwise be present. They are the same prayers, many times, from the hearts of people who are the same on the inside. What an eerie magnificence is represented in all the words of the people who love Him, from every land, it is He who unifies us, not our mother tongue. Glory to God for all things! What a blessing for us to have so many melodies, due to cultural differences. What sheer beauty for us to be able to share these wonderful differences, just as we share all of those things that keep our faith drawing from antiquity.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Simple Woman'

I always wanted to do one of these, so here I am doing one.

Simple Woman

For Today, December 11, 2010

Outside my window... the sky is darkening into evening and it is a clear cold as the birds finish their dinner for the night.

I am thinking... about life and how much I have learned in my few short years.

I am thankful for... my family, a warm home, food, friends and each breath.

I am praying for... the time to go to my dad when the time comes and the patience to get through this holiday season.

I am wearing... a wool skirt from my parents, shirt and sweater with a beret and boots, aka-church clothes.

I am creating... various knitting and sewing projects, in whatever 'spare' time I can manage.

I am going... to get through today's school work, read to the boys, and decorate the tree!

I am reading... A Poem a Day, to the best of my ability, when I remember; Little House on the Prairie, with the family; wanting to start the updated book about Grand Duchess Elizabeth, the New Martyr of the Communist Yoke.

I am hoping... to stay awake long enough to go to bed at a reasonable time and finish some projects this week.

I am hearing... Katherine trying to play and sing Christmas carols, Vince Guaraldi and Jay making off the cuff remarks.

I am remembering... how glad I am for everything I have and many holidays past.

From the learning rooms... Taking a break for the season, but everyday brings new things!

From the kitchen... simple dinner after sharing a big lunch with our church family for Katherine's name/saints day.

Around the house... rearranging and getting things in order for St Nicholas Day!

On my mind... Everything and nothing...dinner, projects, the upcoming week...

Noticing that... learning and loving in life are lovely.

Pondering these words...
1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

2While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

3Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

5Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

6Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

7Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:

8The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:

9The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

10The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 146

One of my favorite things... learning new things and practicing old.

A few plans for the rest of the week... dance, swim, knitting, date with hubby, birthday party, fun feis, St Nicholas day and prep!

Well, that's went ok, but tehre seems to be a running theme :o)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Poem of Note

A Divine Image, By William Blake

"To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew;
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too."

It seems I like poetry by people named 'William', or at least 'W' people, since I like Walt Whitman also, ha ha! Well, I read this one as well and really liked it as well. I think this is one of my favorite parts because it is so very true;
'Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.'
I hope to be reading more poetry out of my "Poem A Day" that I got for myself. They are short and surmountable which is important so I do not have to commit to anything too large that I may set down. I am more apt to read something I dislike if it short and sweet, but it seems I will find certain others that I rather like for the same reason. I think it is a good thing to find those thing with which are relatable and that which is not beneficial. I do not know whose influence I have taken in any of my writing, I am sure that there are certain tones here or there, but seeing as how I am not an avid reader, to don a particular writer's quality may be of slim possibility. Ah well, enough of rambling, off I go for the day! Talk to you al soon!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nighttime Readings

My Heart Leaps Up, By William Wordsworth

"MY heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety."

I was just reading this before bed and thought it lovely and also quite appropriate for the season at hand in the way he refers to the Child. Just a little something to brighten someone's day who may stumble upon here. Peace and good cheer to all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

God Keep You Now and Always

I am given to thoughts of life
Thoughts of precious, wasted moments
Fleeting perfected love and simplicity
My heart is broken
Though, as if it never knew how to love
Until this time when you may leave
We are all going to lose this gift
This life of what we know
But the tears cannot quiet
The disruption inside my soul
This thrashing in seclusion
Find me weeping, see me standing
Barely keeping a single thought long
Torn in pieces
But only beginning to understand
Only now can I know the enigma that is whole
Yet there is no solace anywhere tangible
The pulling at my heart consumes each breath
Is in each step and utterance
I see your face and long to always
Your presence never meant more
Why, I do not know
A solemn and jagged peace is lingering
As if to comfort and calm
How will I ever let you go?
How could I ask you to stay?
Be at peace and know that no matter
We shall remain and carry on
This life can never be the same
Though we can hardly ever be apart
Oh, that I could have been the daughter I ought have
Oh, that I could breath in the moments of waste
Breathing out only that which profits us both
Ah, but we cannot regret
That which makes us who we become
Without those many lessons
I might have not made it here

I know how to love
Because of you
I know how to give
Because of you
I know who I am
Because of you
I am a daughter given to be a wife
Because of you
I am strong and fearless
Because of you
I am loving, compassionate and open
Because of you

Our hearts come from the same seed
From the beginning of time
The line runs deep and vast
It draws us into nearness and love
A kindred understanding of life
A common hope and purpose
Intertwined in this dancing prism of life
Forever and for always, my papa you will be
Know that I am where you are perpetually
For you are here and may not know it
Your life and memory will live on
In our hearts, without fail
May the God of all bless you
The Most Holy Theotokos stay by your side
Your guardian angel guide you
St. Seraphim comfort and guard you
May all the saints, known and unknown
Pray unto God for the salvation and purification of your soul
That you be without blemish when He comes
None can keep you from Him
Though why should we wish to do so
May enlightenment be upon you
Understanding, peace and love
Constantly keeping you

May God keep those of us that must stay
That it be to the glory of God
Forever and ever, Amen

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Do Believe....

As many of you know, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day in our house. We go to church for the vigil and liturgy and we have stockings of things and a mini family gift exchange. Katherine believes that St. Nicholas brings her some of her things, which has been a funny bit in and of itself. She can see him in icons, hears the prayers about his life and we read his story, so she knows of him. In my family, he is very close, we celebrate a sort of family 'Slava', since my maiden name is Nichols (derivative of Nicholas). In any case, she is adamant that he comes and brings her things and I haven't the heart to tell her otherwise, because in some sense, he does. Our hope is to have her give things in secret, to each other, friends, etc. and keep explaining that the selfless spirit of Christ is in St Nicholas and that is what we celebrate and so we give things in this way: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." ~Mt 6:1 (There are really many different facets of this, but tonight, this will have to do and I think you get the drift.)

What made me think of all this? Well, last night we were driving home from swim class and Katherine blatantly asked me, "Why do people believe that Santa Claus is still alive?" It had never occurred to me that this would EVER come out of her little mouth. She apparently put a couple things together and realized that, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day, but we also know him to have fallen asleep in the Lord centuries ago and is a Saint. She is also aware that the modern day Santa is just a different image based on St Nicholas for many other people, though their belief's vary. I had to think of where to begin, good grief!!! Ok, so I started with discussing how not everyone believes the same things as we do, nor do many people believe the same things about death as we do. Some people believe that when we die, that is it and other's don't really believe in much at all. I went onto say how we pray for people who have reposed and also ask prayers to God of Saints for us and others, understanding that there is a thin veil between life and that which follows. Mind you, I did not have all the eloquence of some of what clarity I may now possess, but it was along these lines. Anyway, since some people believe that when we die, that is the end, it would stand to reason that people have to make believe that he is still alive because otherwise it would not fit their ideals of what follows this life. In short, told her that in order for some people to believe, they have to imagine him still alive.

When asked if all of that mumbo jumbo made any sense, she gave me a little shrug, as if to say, "I guess." I imagine that she was trying to grasp why people have to imagine something, or someone, to be something they are not in order to believe in their life and virtues, which is, IMHO, somehow the endpoint of those seeking a logical way of explaining things away, though it seems to me, that the most logical thing would be to know the history and truth and then communicate it as effortlessly as possible (which is NOT my strong suit!)

I still believe in St. Nicholas and how we will always be tied together through Christ and all His Saints. He is a dear and staunch great grandfather of Christians, a devout and unwavering example of Truth in all circumstances. I believe in St. Nicholas' undying love of Christ and his perseverance in the face of all adversity and his leadership in the early days of the Church. Because I believe in St. Nicholas and his memory, in Christ, I will do my very best to preserve his service, story and courage in the mind and heart of my daughter. To the glory of God, the Father, Amen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

O, Death

O, Death, I do not think of you
Your hands of icy cold
Bitter touches of sweet repose
Your thankless job to those still living
Your mercy to those who suffer

O, Death, I do not see your face
Please show yourself quite promptly
That I might recognise the friend and foe
The bittersweet that plagues us all
The inevitable dream that soon comes

O, Death, I do not feel
Though tears still drop
For whom do they well?
Whose life do they honor?
Perhaps only time will tell

O, Death, I hear you calling
On the lips of melancholy
In the hearts of Men
The wind that passes through
The years that blink by and by

O, Death, I do not fear you
Though one may think I ought
I cannot, but pity you instead
For you are always so unwanted
Yet as necessary as birth and life

O, Life, I want to know you
That my death should be in Peace
That my life should be in fervor
Remembrance and preparation
For the quiet hand that will come one day

O, Life, I am awake now
Though perhaps only a minute
Whisper in my ear
That I may not forget the Truth
That I may always remember Death

O, Life, I am new and old
Is this my Life and Death?
The pieces of a self that strives
With ramblings of a broken soul
With a moment, all things change

O, Life, I want your promises
Steady my feet and take my hands
Make ready my place, for I shall come
First quietly and now with ardor
Take this integument and fill it with Your Wisdom and Will

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ne Obliviscaris

I have mixed feelings about veteran's day, in part, because I am the wife of a disabled naval veteran, but it brings up feelings this time of year that are different than before. I am a peace lover, but I appreciate what sacrifice people have been willing to offer for other people they don't even know. These men and women are those who see their neighbor as a part of their American family and that they are willing to represent us all on the front lines when needed, and even die. My husband has given his 'american lifestyle' for a cause that he was compelled to enter, on behalf of freedom, family and country. He is also a peace lover, but has a certain sense of duty that growing up in the Navy can bring. He will never be the same as he was before, but neither will we and I am okay with that. When he went overseas, he left behind a wife and daughter, who just turned 1. He wasn't even 'supposed' to go, for reasons that are too complicated to get into right now, but he still ended up there. The intertwined reasons, though we may never learn all of them, they are all valid, not matter how small. It is not easy for the deployed to say goodbye, possibly for good, to their loved ones and go off to a place where the only reality is life and death.

On the flip side, I would like to mention the families that stay at home, awaiting, hoping and praying for the return of our men and women who have been called to go. It is one of THE most important things for a family in the service to be tight knit, because that is what will keep them going when they are apart, but then they must part and it is doubly difficult BECAUSE they are close. An occasional email or phone call, which is more than many have had in the past, is just shattered pieces of a life that you are waiting to glue back together. It can be a ghost of existence and marriage until everyone is back together and you get to learn how to be a family again. The home people have had to operate without the input, interaction and presence of the away party for quite some time and the returning person has been in a system where everything is laid out and the only guarantee in any given day is knowing that life is precious and if you don't do your job, people may die, but they may die anyway and you might be one of them.

War is not pretty, and not everyone agrees on whether we ought to be involved in anything that is not on our soil or our direct fight, but at least some of us feel like there is something worth fighting to preserve, not matter how messed up, disagreeable and shoddy. Our country was built on war, it is in the blood of our people. Peace begins in the home, so instead of being fussy that people in the world are fighting, let us teach peace and love. Instead of blaming others for our own inability to practice what we preach, let us stop for a bit of introspection to examine the realities of our own state and purposes. People die in war, but we will all die some day and this body will cease to carry our souls any longer, so let us not demonize war and fighting for our inevitable end, it will come one day to us all. Let us not turn our backs on those who care enough to defend our principles and honor, even if it means being wrong, losing family, or dying, but rather, let us honor them everyday by practicing peace within our own lives and communities, so that they may not have to go. Let us encourage love in all that we do, in the hopes that, at the very least, the war is not in our families and amoungst friends.

“God is not a God of war and fighting. Make war and fighting to cease, both that which is
against him, and that which is against your neighbor. Be at peace with all people, consider
with what character God saves you.” — St. John Chrysostom

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanks be to God

Thank You, oh my God
For all things
Great and small
Known and unknown
Those deserved and also for that which I am not worthy

Thank You, for the smallest things
Awaking every day
A family who is loving
A life that is more of a dream
A love that is ever-growing and transforming

Thank You, for all of this
The broken and the whole
The warmth and the cold
The struggles and the blessings
And the opportunity to know You more in every breath

Thank You, for the food we eat
The things we find most needful
The things to which we are bound
The wisdom to begin discerning
A piece of You wherein to enter eternity here in this world

Thank You, I cannot express enough
My words would be swallowed by the sound of my voice
My heart would be lost without Your Holy Will
My eyes cannot behold what I will not see
Alas, I must find contentment and solace from You alone

Thank You, for that which I call a blessing
But thank You incredibly, for that which is a blessing in disguise

Thank You, for every waking hour that I find You
But thank You sincerely, for always keeping Your hours with me, even when I do not seek Your face

Thank You, for being, wherein I can work out my salvation
But thank You deeply, for Your grace which animates more in my life than I am able to perceive

Thank You, oh my God, may all Glory and Honor be Yours, throughout all ages, Amen.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Prayer by St. John of Kronstadt, in honor of his feast

The following is a wonderful prayer to read before participating in the holy mystery of Confession.

Preparation for Confession
by St. John of Kronstadt

I, a sinful soul, confess to our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, all of my evil acts which I have done, said or thought from baptism even unto this present day.

I have not kept the vows of my baptism, but have made myself unwanted before the face of God.

I have sinned before the Lord by lack of faith and by doubts concerning the Orthodox Faith and the Holy Church; by ungratefulness for all of God's great and unceasing gifts; His long-suffering and His providence for me, a sinner; by lack of love for the Lord, as well as fear, through not fulfilling the Holy Commandments of God and the canons and rules of the Church.

I have not preserved a love for God and for my neighbor nor have I made enough efforts, because of laziness and lack of care, to learn the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Holy Fathers. I have sinned: by not praying in the morning and in the evening and in the course of the day; by not attending services of by coming to Church only halfheartedly.

I have sinned by judging members of the clergy. I have sinned by not respecting the Feasts, breaking the Fasts, and by immoderation in food and drink.

I have sinned by self importance, disobedience, willfullness, self-righteousness, and the seeking of approval and praise.

I have sinned by unbelief, lack of faith, doubts, despair, despondency, abusive thoughts, blasphemy and swearing.

I have sinned by pride, a high opinion of myself, narcissism, vanity, conceit, envy, love of praise, love of honors, and my putting on airs.

I have sinned: by judging, malicious gossip, anger, remembering of offenses done to me, hatred and returning evil for evil; by slander, reproaches, lies, slyness, deception and hypocrisy; by prejudices, arguments, stubbornness, and an unwillingness to give way to my neighbor; by gloating, spitefulness, taunting, insults and mocking; by gossip, by speaking too much and by empty speech.

I have sinned by unnecessary and excessive laughter, by reviling and dwelling upon my previous sins, by arrogant behavior, insolence and lack of respect.

I have sinned by not keeping my physical and spiritual passions in check, by my enjoyment of impure thoughts, licentious and unchastity in thoughts, words and deeds.

I have sinned by lack of endurance towards my illnesses and sorrows, a devotion to the comforts of life and by being too attached to my parents, children, relatives and friends.

I have sinned by hardening my heart, having a weak will and by not forcing myself to do good.

I have sinned by miserliness, a love of money, the acquisition of unnecessary things and immoderate attachment to things.

I have sinned by self-justification, a disregard for the admonitions of my conscience and failing to confess my sins through negligence or false pride.

I have sinned many times by my Confession: belittling, justifying and keeping silent about sins.

I have sinned against the Most-Holy and Life-Creating Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord by coming to Holy Communion without humility or the fear of God.

I have sinned in deed, word and thought, knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly, thoughtfully and thoughtlessly, and is is impossible to enumerate all of my sins because of their multitude. But I truly repent of these and all others not mentioned by me because of my forgetfulness and I ask that they be forgiven through the abundance of the Mercy of God.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Late and I Ought to be in per usual

After 32 1/2 years of living, I can honestly say that the more I learn and experience, the less I truly know. Such an odd place to be. Time has begun to seem as if it were never really real, while people, faces and places meld together to make the varied contents of my life. The surreality of everyday life overshadows what would be tangible. This illusion of life and control over its course is so completely draining, it is all I can do to look up and notice the days passing into years and watch my little girl growing in more ways than can be described. There is a monotony that takes hold and refuses to let go, but it is a constant reminder of the small ripple that we create in this vast pool of life. I get tired of all of this, it takes its toll and I have to figure out how to fill the remaining days of this life. I do have ideas and goals, but sometimes feeling trapped inside of the fleeting walls of a prison that cannot contain, nor explain, that which is true.

There is a struggle, and just like any struggle, the fight becomes a source of wearing. Hopefully this current grinding away produces something useful. Usually it does, but right now, I just can't see it. It just seems so much like flapping in the wind while everything just passes right by. But hey, what do I know?

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Solemn Thought

"Children and saints cling to You, O Lord, the rest rebel against You.
Children and saints are the boundary between the Kingdom of existence and the shadow of nonexistence.

Guardians call themselves parents and cast Your children off crags into chasms.

Guardians presume that they are parents, and so they direct Your children as though they were their own property. Truly, they are directing nothing but aberrations and disruptions.

The children, whom you guardians have abducted, belong to another, and you will answer for theft and banditry.

You own neither the life that is in you, nor the life for which you served as a channel. Everything belongs to another, except for the wickedness within you, and you will answer for theft and banditry.

You will answer for theft, because you have been calling those who belong to another, your own; and you will answer for banditry, because you have mutilated and butchered those who belong to another.

On earth there are only guardians; and this is a very great honor.
You have been entrusted with the guardianship of the most precious treasure that God has. And this is a very great honor.

One, who was never even born and was never entrusted with the guardianship of anything, will be more blessed than you, if your guardianship is an abomination and a mortification of souls.

Why do you rejoice in children, unless you intend to keep watch over them as though they were angels from heaven? Why do you grieve for them, when they leave you early and flee to the angels in heaven? You were rejoicing in what belongs to another, and you are grieving for what belongs to another.

Do not care only about keeping the bodies of your children safe, for even foxes do the same for their foxlings. But care about God in your children. Once God is cared for He will take care of all the rest. And what you have been ac cumulating for your children so strenuously, He will effortlessly gather for them quickly and easily.

Do not drive God out of your children, for you will deprive them of their peace, their happiness, their health, and their prosperity.

Even if you leave the entire world to those whom God has left, you will have left it to starving people, who will devour it all and still die of hunger.

Do not ensure a piece of bread for your children, but a piece of the soul and the conscience. Your children will be ensured and you will be blessed in two worlds.

Care for this property of another better than your own, and your reward will be immense.

Royal children have been entrusted to your guardianship. Truly, the King will give no small reward to those who guard His princely progeny, and have not erased the Father's name from those children's memory.

Through children the King is looking at you with amazement, and is awaiting your responses. If your responses are deathful, you will be taking care of corpses.

Children and saints cling to You, my Lord, the rest rebel against You. Children and saints are Your way of testing the world.

Be careful, my soul, be careful and make no mistake." ~ Prayer XCV, Prayers by the Lake, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic

This is a sobering account of our stewardship of children. We have a great many things entrusted to us, none so precious and fragile as children and we often take for granted their very existence. We brush them off when we cannot spare the time, we hurry them along when they don't not keep with our schedules, we correct them in their action when they do not suit our expectations and we act as if we will always have them, day in and day out. I think this is demonstrated in this passage from the Gospel of Matthew 19:13-15:

"13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

And also here in Matthew 18: 1-11 :

1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

"13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

These are only partial thoughts as I let this all sink into my heart, considering my great task as a mother and attempting to gather strength for this journey. It is a long and very thankless road, at times, full of pitfalls and tears, but also of a great many joys and warmth. These earthly rewards of parenting seem to offer a bit of needed encouragement and focus to keep moving and give us a better direction and determination, but some days just drift into weeks and we look over to find our small ones quite big. They grow with time and always as we have shown them to grow, not as we have instructed. They will take from us that which our heart offers, so if it is grudging, harsh and indifferent, it will be what they know to give. If we nurture love and selfless giving in our hearts, they will also know it with intimate feeling in their own.

To take this concept one step further, I want you to imagine that each and every person you meet is someone else's child. If we are charged with the care and love for 'our' own children, why not all children. We come from the same first parents in the flesh and we ought to act accordingly. We should care for everyone of us, great and small, old and young, as we journey through this life. If we cannot demonstrate the same Christ-like love to all in creation, where will we end up? If we try to confine love with the bounds of our jaded perception of it, we do not know love at all, for:
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13

Oh, to be a parent, it is truly the hardest job a person could ever love.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Knitter's Recollection

You know, I started knitting, not counting a day or so in my early 20's a decade ago, about 3 years ago when I asked my darling dearest husband for lessons for our anniversary. (Isn't the 5th anniversary fiber? Ha ha!) It is one of the most valuable gifts, I have found, that anyone has ever given me. I have had the opportunity to do so many things through knitting, though not all of them are visible representations of my crafting. I was not quite as keen for the first months following my lessons, possibly because they were at Michael's and I didn't know of our lovely, nearby local shop, The Knitting Habitat. In any case, I sort of dabbled more than anything and turned out a few creations. I never quite felt limited by my lack of knowledge or abilities, but that stems from my family upbringing that we were quite capable of just about anything, we just had to pursue it. Some of my first projects were large, but always realistic. There are a great many things I have learned, but will try to expound on a few of the most interesting (to me), as well as unexpected.

Many of you know what our lives consist of day to day. Food is at the forefront of whenever we leave the house and Jay's health is a daily reminder that life is more than any meaning we try to give it and tends to keep us in check through our turbulent trials. When Jay first fell ill, my knitting found me. I say it like this because I am not sure I would have chosen something that can both gratify and aggravate so much as knitting can. It is those exact things that create a dear love of my craft. What can be learned from something so aggravating as, say, a project where something has gone horribly wrong? Well, in my case, patience was to be gathered and applied. Nothing was ever greater than the next stitch, or else it could always be ripped out or set aside to work on another project. My time was metered and tempered in ways I could not spark within myself. The best part is while I was growing patience within, my hands were creating usefulness without. At the worst time, in the beginning of Jay's illness, I can recall having some pretty difficult days if I didn't knit and I think it was because it paced me and had become so routine, that things seemed off if I didn't take the time to knit a few rows. I would even tell Jay that if I seemed stressed, or something, he should tell me to sit down and knit for a few minutes, and he still does to this day.

Another aspect of our existence is our having difficulty in expanding our family. Truthfully, going through acceptance, only to figure out the reason for our troubles, then to have hope again and then go further into accepting the will and direction of our lives that is so tremendously bigger than we, can be exhausting. We are still only 3, which is dandy, but it goes to show that even when we imagine things a certain way, they are likely to turn out the way they ought and not the way we thought. What on earth has this got to do with knitting?!?!?! Well, in the peace of my art and crafting, I was creating. It may seem like nothing to some, but to me, when there was emptiness in the baby reaches of my heart, it would get filled as I created things for others. I have always preferred to give, rather than receive, but this gave new meaning to what I had to offer. Some may think that what I write is plain silly, but what every knitter knows is the part of their heart that has been taken captive by this craft.

On an odd note, I have learned to appreciate sewing more and more. I used to say that I didn't become a knitter so I could sew, but the more I knit, I can truly be in awe of something well grafted and the time it takes, whether sewing sweater bits together, or a cotton dress on a machine. I do believe that we all have a bit of a crafter inside us, it only matters what finds and touches us deep into our core, that takes us in and won't let us go, if we only let it.

I have learned that things that seem insurmountable are no more difficult than starting at the beginning and seeing where the next step gets you. Sometimes we mess up, but there is always some way to fix the problem and, if we don't know, ask a tried and true friend who has been through the same thing, or is just willing to take the time to talk it through with you. I have learned that the problem is only as big as the energy we give it. I have learned to work hard at becoming someone who creates, rather than destroys or, what's worse, is indifferent to this life. Doing is more than talk, because words will disperse on the air, but actions will linger in ways we cannot imagine. I think that most of all, I have learned how to utilize more of myself in order that I mat be of better service to others. I must admit that I am hopeful to glean more from my knitting, but even if this is what I get, it isn't a bad lot. I would say, I like my lot and the content that it brings through all of the chaos.

I can safely say that I am a knitter for life. I am grateful for the chance to knit, the materials with which to craft, the people with whom to share it and the endless occasions to follow a new path of knowledge.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Times

Katherine has been getting into her new regime with schooling. We have decided to have a basket full of school related items with workbooks and expect one page to get done each day. I don't think we are asking a lot, but oh BOY, we have been so relaxed about things that, even being warned of our start day, she fell apart at the prospect of doing it! We may be relaxed, but it isn't as if she never does anything, we have just simply never asked for anything particular from her. She draws and makes up stories, makes her own food, paints, crafts and other projects, LOVES being read to, astronomy, field trips to the zoo and other places, and so on and so forth, but to call it work is almost offensive to her. Ha ha! I find it downright hilarious that she does so much stuff all the time, yet she doesn't want it to be called 'work', or to have anything expected of her. This is where her orange streak plays through her blue (you color people know what I am talking about here). What a kid!

After a couple of weeks of no t.v. for her and getting into a routine, she is seeing that it really isn't that much different, just a bit more structured and visibly so. We have things printed off of Paidea Classics for copywork, Usborne workbooks, pens, pencils, stickers for encouragement, and a few other things in the basket. We got this put together primarily because my darling has an obvious orange streak and we wouldn't otherwise be able to find any of these things if they weren't given a home. She does quite well with the copywork and I think her success is related to my reading aloud to her whatever her little heart desires as she plugs away at her task. She gets what she wants and so do I! She is an auditory learner and is quite visual spacial, so it comes in handy that I rather like to read and I can empathize with her since we are incredibly alike. Her interests are as varied and lovely as the stars. She enjoys such a vast scope of wonderful things that it is sometimes hard to imagine her trying to narrow any of this down to fit a career. I suppose she will have to become a homeschool mom just to stay in touch with all of her loves ;o)

We have begun sewing! It is one of the things that I am hoping to help her grown, since it has proved to be her one true love in crafts. One of the things that I adore about being a homeschool mom is learning all of these nuances about my daughter and how her heart grows just a little bit more as she grows into herself and finds her way through this world in such an unabashed manner. Anyway, we have some projects on deck and we are looking forward to getting ontop of them. We are beginning to stash things up as material and patterns have been on sale recently. One of the first things to make is a reusable shopping bag out of a pink floral print cotton she chose. Another is a coat for her that also has a matching jumper. I have a pattern to make some warm fuzzy jammies for Jay. We will see how we do on some of these projects, though I am sure t would help if I would be in full health so as to have the energy, so we shall see.

I am also knitting as much as I can, hoping to finish some things. I am currently working on a pair of felted slip-on slippers for Jay and I hope they turn out, they are my first pair. I have been making hand warmers and I need to make some everyday use ones for myself. I made a pair for each Jay and Katherine and they wear them quite regularly, so I am happy. Jay wasn't quite sure what use they would be, but he soon found out how nice they are to wear and hardly goes out in the crisp of fall without them. These were my first pattern that I put together myself and developed with what I knew about what I was doing and they turned out great! Yay!

Well, I think that is all for now, I had better scoot!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Soapbox

As I was cleaning the seeds and pulp from my freshly cooked pumpkin this evening, I was set to thinking about halloween. Yep, it's that time again. We do not celebrate this particular day for various reasons, though I will only give my own thoughts on the subject. I have been wondering lately why Christians, in general, celebrate halloween. I can see how Roman Catholics might celebrate the day, as it was reallocated from the original All Saints' day earlier in the year in order to absorb yet another pagan celebration by Pope Gregory centuries ago, but isn't it still supposed to be All Saints' day and ought not they be in church, or feasting in another way? (Many people may spend their time in this manner, I have nothing to reference to this fact). I will also point out that the current pope has condemned halloween just last year, so wouldn't that be sinful to participate, if the pope condemns something? (I am an Orthodox Christian, so I cannot surely speak of what it is to be under the pope, so if there is anyone with more experience, please pipe up!) In any case, if a person is not Catholic celebrating a church feast day, what reason do they have? Halloween isn't Biblical, so saying it is ok to participate seems to then make it ok to have practices that are not Sola Scriptura, and that is a whole other blog. To say that it is harmless brings me to my next points of interest, is it truly harmless, as a Christian, to participate, in any way, in halloween? Let us examine some of the aspects of the day in question, shall we?

Firstly, we dress up and must all have just the right costume, hair and make-up. Is it not vanity to be so dedicated to finding perfection in what is worn? Besides that, we can certainly dress up in any manner, on any other day, but why must we, as Christians, do it on this day? We don't want our kids to miss out on fun? Isn't that a bit vainglorious of us as parents, as we introduce this practice to our innocent young darlings? It isn't about them at all, it very rarely is, because if it were, there would be a slew of things done differently in this world (and I won't get going on that right now).

How about all that candy!??! Aside from it just not being any good to eat that much sweets, especially some of those commercial kinds that most people give out, but isn't that greed? The most...the best...the biggest bagful...should we really encourage this pursuit? It is greed, and then what ensues from the greed is a wish to glut oneself on all the bounty of candies. Shall I continue? Yes, let's!

We will move onto the carving of pumpkins. It saddens me because of all the waste of food and I am guilty of doing this in years past. Just imagine that each and every jack o' lantern you pass by (besides the plastic ones, of course) are food. We just cooked up a medium sized one and it will make us some soup, get put into muffins and bread and possibly get sauteed into a meal. That is a lot of food rotting away for the sake of entertainment. Have we really become so desensitized that we cannot see pumpkins for what they are? As a Christian, are we not called to feed the hungry? What excuse do we have?

So, what have we got so far? Vanity, which stems from pride,with a side of greed, gluttony and utter wastefulness of food and its purpose. Still think it is harmless? We haven't even touched on the risque costumes mixed with alcohol, and perhaps other substances, when kids leave the home, or go to parties as teens. Throw that in with raging hormones and I don't think I need to expound on that image. If we grow our children to believe that anything is ok when they are small, they haven't got any measure for acting differently when they are grown: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~Proverbs 22:6 This applies to all things that we teach our children, so we need to be more vigilant in all things, not just this. It does not mean that our children do not question things and come to their own conclusions, but whatever our foundation laid, this is where their character lies.

I know that this will be a controversial topic for many people. If you are not Christian, enjoy your day, but if you are Christian, why not give a little bit of thought to some of the things behind each piece of the activities, of which I am sure there are more that I have not talked about. It is true that this is not a matter that is only applicable here, this is just a particularly outstanding example. I do not mean to offend anyone, only provoke a bit of thought and reflection as we approach the impending days ahead in anticipation of halloween.

I will go on this thought, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." ~Matt. 6:24, KJV. Let us imagine that in place of 'mammon' we will insert 'anything earthly', for, as Christians, we are not called to this earthly life, as we see in 1 John 15-17, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." It's a tall order, but it is what we are striving to accomplish.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Bit of an Update

Here I am for an update on impending madness! Oh joy! For starters, it is almost september and that means it is crunch time. Katherine's birthday is just under 2 weeks and she had her ears pierced on monday, so time is certainly flying by without much heed for the little people. Things are busy as to be expected from end of summer mayhem, but it is a bit of a beat down with Dormition Fast right now. Every year I try to psych myself up for the fact that it is 'only' 2 weeks, but then I end up a couple days in, up against the wall and feeling rather spent and tossed about. So be it, I know there is a purpose and right now, there is only the rest of today and all of tomorrow before it is finished anyway. We will sing one of THE most moving hymns that goes like this:
O ye apostles, assembled here from the ends
of the earth, bury my body in Gethsemane:
and Thou my Son and God, receive my Spirit.
Just imagine that in those simple and few words, there is a portrayal of sorrow and joy, such bittersweetness and melancholic fluidity, yet still so heartening and restful. Anyway, that is what I will be looking forward to tomorrow evening and saturday morning. :o)

Jay has begun school at half time and we shall see if he can handle the stress and homework, please do keep us in your prayers as we venture further into this semester. Katherine's schooling is the same as per usual, but I am going to try to get some copy work for her together to work on which is found on Paidea Classics home website, for anyone else interested. We shall see how I do. I am going to try to get a 'school basket' together to keep everything somewhat contained.

I have spilled the beans and told Meema that we have been thinking about coming for Thanksgiving and, while travel of any kind during any schooling for Jay is against my better judgement, the woman is 94 and who knows how many opportunities to see her. I say that now, but she has made it this far and is still doing all of her volunteering, gardening, housework, just never know. I really want to just hole up until spring and hibernate away the chill, frost and snow until reemerging after Nativity, but for Meema, we may have to make an exception.

I really have come to despise food. It is the bane of my existence most days and if I didn't have to eat in order to function and survive, I would give it up altogether. It is a necessary evil, in my lowly opinion, but I trying desperately to be grateful for this struggle because if it weren't this, it would be something else...after all, life is a trade-off! Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, sometimes I wish it away and curse it in my head. Yes, it causes me distress and frustration. But I do suppose that it keeps me aware, constantly and consistently, and it teaches me in a different way to understand how I must be watchful and aware of my spiritual struggles and the good fight. It parallels the basics of physical life with that of the spiritual realm and how things are not so different. I must approach my spiritual growth and health with the sort of dedication and resolve as I do the importance of dietary concern for my family. I am learning that, although the fight is worthy, it is not always easy, nor will it always be the same. Its face will change to conform itself into whatever way that it may better tempt me to destroy my will and understand the gravity and purpose of true humility. I cannot change what we need, I can only control the factors that worsen the problem and stand here vigilant in protection of my family's well-being. It is tiresome, thankless and limiting, but then again, who am I to decide how trial by fire shall present itself to us. Determination, through prayer and perseverance, is the only tried and true way through the fires, so onward we trudge, with me and my feet stuck in the muddy swamps of humanity, tired from its painstaking reality and encouraged by the beauty of grasses and cattails that flourish and attract the life of birds and other creatures as they teach me the simplicities in life that I overlooked in years past.

Today I read this psalm, one of my favorite, and I wanted to share it here:

Psalm 27 (KJV)

1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

So very appropriate for me in most cases, but I was moved to the verge of tears this morning as I realized how much I needed to hear it as the words and meaning resounded in my ears and then ricocheted into my heart to settle in and feed my soul.

Good day to all, may you be blessed in al your journeys.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Typical Sort of Day With My Little Love

I would like to recap our day of 'schooling', which does not look a lot like a 'conventional' and 'institutional' sort of day, but seems much more learning friendly and greatly tells of why we choose to school at home.

Wake up, whenever, but some days earlier than others. Get dressed, say prayers, get breakfast of homemade granola together and sit down to eat as a family (the only time we may not get to is if Papa has a class that may conflict with timing.) We eat and talk together, Katherine clears all the dishes, we get out her art supplies so she can draw during the reading of a Bible story and Psalms, as per routine. This morning, Papa and Katherine laid on the floor and did art together while I read. After a bit of reading and whenever she finished her art, she came to the table for the first of new copy work printed off of the computer. She likes that it has a picture to color related to 'E', I like that she will have practice writing capital 'E' to work on fine tuning her writing skills. She finishes her work, colors the picture and moves on to eating a fresh peach out of the basket from yesterday's basket blessing of fruit after the liturgy for Transfiguration. I find my way outside to the little garden patch while she plays a little make believe until I point out a grasshopper sunning himself on the cucumber plant. She proceeds to find a way to gather him up and, over a process and time, she eventually makes him just the right home so that he is comfortable, all the while observing her newfound critter. She has named him, 'Grassy', and we can all imagine why. Her interest and care are so magnified and marvelous that I find myself having a certain cheer in my heart as she gleefully shows me her little fellow. Unbeknownst to her, she goes to school most days of the year, without fail, even on sick days when we read together and she watches a documentary about Dolphins, or some such.

Every day is not exactly the same, but the routine remains and her curiosity only seems to grow for the world around her. She loves creatures great and small. She loves her friends and playing make believe. She loves helping in the kitchen and making dinner while encouraging us to 'relax' while she takes care of it. She knows herbs and other plants that grow and whether or not you can eat them. She grazes on lemon balm and basil, carrots and chard while she brings the worlds splendor into her realm of childhood that is all but forgotten anymore. She beckons to the sun, the sky and the moon and they bend to her imagination as she adds to their beauty through her innocence and youth. She is practical, a dreamer, a thinker, a storyteller, a grower, an artist and, best of all, she is a child, with a chance to flourish in her natural world and discover what it all means. I have no doubt that she already keeps the secrets of life wrapped up in her sweet little heart that she carried with her in her years of short life. Those secrets already make sense, now to make sense of the surrounding world and its offerings. She is simple, funny, beautiful, astounding...she is my love.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Russian Orthodox Church

I would like to begin by saying that this is a bit on why I belong to a Russian Orthodox Church. It escapes people, at times, why an American might choose to attend a church whose language and culture are not their own. I hope to clear a little bit of that up, even if you weren't wondering, I hope it is a good read.

Let's see, when I was 3 years old, my parents became Orthodox Christians in a tiny town so far north in California, it may as well have been Oregon, which is where we eventually moved some years later. I believe all of the people in our little church were american converts from other various backgrounds, but mostly from Catholicism. The church itself was established under the Western American Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, so imagine that we were part of the Russian Diocese, but not a one of us is of prominent Russian ancestry. So, basic bit of history which might lead a person to believe that I might go where we go because that is simply what I grew up with, but it isn't as easy as all that. After we moved up to Oregon, there was a period of time that we had a dry spell in having a priest and there aren't exactly a plethora of Orthodox churches in southern Oregon, so it isn't as if we would have had our pick and so a separation occurred between myself and the faith of my youth.

Fast forward to years later and I would meet my, now husband, though he lived in the far off land of Colorado. He went home after a week, we emailed, talked on the phone, I came out for a visit and so did he, we met each other's families and then I moved to CO. Whew! After I moved out here, he kept asking about finding a church to attend together and, having been to some Protestant youth groups with friends in my early teen years, I didn't find any comfort in the prospect of looking into any as an adult. Deep down inside, I think the spark was still flickering, something probably only kindled by the prayers of my mom and dad, but fed nonetheless. So, instead of totally writing it off with his talk of churches, I called my mom for an address. We ventured from Fort Collins down to Denver to show him what I grew up with and that was the beginning of everything. He wanted more of what he saw and experienced because it was the same as in Jerusalem and he was apparently searching for it for 5 years, only not knowing where to look.

Ok, so now you get why we are attending church...basically, the Grace of God with a side of initiative. That being said, we didn't HAVE to attend this particular parish, no one forced us to drive from Fort Collins to Denver, 70+ miles one way, to come to this exact church. I do believe that we passed a few along the way, but what could be the draw? Well, this is where we were drawn, I suppose you could say, in, somewhat, the same way I was drawn from Oregon more than 1000 miles eastward to Colorado, just knowing that it was the right thing to do, even though we had only known each other for 5 months at that point, and long-distance, at that!

On to the topic at hand, why a culturally and linguistically different church when there is a variety of Orthodox churches throughout the Denver area? To be honest, in the earlier days, it never even occurred to me to go to any other parish, it was where Jay was baptised, we were married and Katherine was baptised, we have history. That is a good start, but what is more, why have we stayed this whole time, especially when people STILL look at us sideways when we say, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Russian." All as we help them in the kiosk, bookstore or are volunteering for an event.

I will say this much, the people with whom we attend church are Orthodox Christian's and many happen to be Russian as well, as to be expected. Our specific roots go directly back to Russia, who trace their own parentage to Greece. So, as things would be, America is among the next step in the lineage for many Orthodox Churches, who will also reclaim their roots in many countries, as well as, establish new ones in others. So, first and foremost, I go to church with many Orthodox Christian's whose heritage is Russian. They are our church family, plain and simple.

Another aspect is the language because, let's be honest, how could we overlook it? How do we know where we are in the service and isn't it confusing, what are they saying? Well, for anyone to understand this completely, they would have had to have experienced an Orthodox liturgy, or even a vigil and its timeless and effortless beauty. I was not versed in anything more than, 'Gospodi Pomiluy', means, 'Lord have Mercy', so you can imagine it has been a journey and, in fact, it gave me reason to ponder my innermost thoughts and intentions in life. When things become habitual, I am not unlike your average person, who will take its worth for granted and, in this case, I had a way of memorizing the prayers to the point of glazing over their purpose and they just became words. With the Slavonic, I had to focus on the words to try to pinpoint repetition and patterns, but I also fell in love with the melodies and intensity that only another language can enhance. At times, it is as though the prayers are flowing through me, in and out of the entirety of the church in an infinitely profound and yet, simple, manner.

In closing, I will say that when I listen, God leads my heart into 'green pastures and He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.' (Ps. 23 2-3) I have to imagine that if I was to choose something different from this church it would have more to do with a lacking in my faith or if that is where we are meant to follow, than my parish lacking in having its roots here where I was born. Anyone who looks at me funny for being a part of a Russian Orthodox parish just must not see Christ in Her, because He is the reason we are there, nothing more and nothing less.

Thanks for listening...the next one won't likely be quite so long, but you never know.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Slow, but Lovely Saturday

So, today is saturday and we are having a slow day around the Dunn household. It is much needed and appreciated. Some nice Ancient Faith Radio is playing in the background, the smell of cookies and purple oat coffeecake bread stuff and a little girl who is chomping at the bit for some of it to eat.

Speaking of the girl, I finished her shrug for her birthday, I just have to be sure to wait that long. Hee hee! Val, from wednesday night knitting, said she has some sculpey clay stuff that we can make some buttons out of for my and Katherine's shrugs. I just have to get on making mine and I will have successfully used the yarn my mommy got me for my hat and my long-sleeved shrug.

I can't think of much else at this point, oh, but wait, there's more! I found a twenty dollar bill in my purse hidden in an envelope and I will now have money to get some fruit to be blessed on thursday after the liturgy for Transfiguration! (Or at least that is my take on it!) Glory to God for all things, whatever they may be!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Ice?

I have been freezing lemon juice, either fresh squeezed or Santa Cruz Organics not from concentrate lemon juice that I dilute, to be used in any case a person may want. Jay likes lemon in his water, so that is what gave me the idea! He thinks they are great and they offer a regulated amount of lemon juice, so you can figure out how much works best. I was even thinking that you could make a simple syrup to sweeten any cold beverage just a little, like iced tea! You could have one of each, a tad of lemon with a touch of sweetness.

Part of the fun is that we got these silicone ice molds in the shape of Scotty Dogs! The best part is that they work like nothing else and I highly recommend silicone molds for ice! Anyone else have any ideas?


Well, I am writing today to try to stay in the habit, but I am less than lacking in motivation. Jay has a migraine and hasn't really been 'well' in weeks, Katherine is having a fussy sort of day which leads me to believe that she is fighting off a bug, or something, and I woke up late and very groggy. There, that about sums up the whole day.

On another note, I am getting close to finishing Katherine's shrug for her birthday and, when she asked who it is for, I told her, "A little girl." The good thing is that she knows that I make things to donate, so that means that she won't likely question much, even if she suspects it. It is very pretty and I really like the pattern, so I will try to post pictures as soon as it gets finished.

Ah, the impending fall, I can hard wait for the settling that follows. I know it is still a month away, or more, technically and I do alright with the nice weather, but there is so much to do out of the house, it is hard to find time to just be. I find a calming peace in the change of seasons from hot, busy and crazy, to cooler, settling and abundant with harvest foods.

With Jay's health the way it is, I am not sure that we will be able to do anything at all for holidays away from home, whether it is across town, the state or country, so you can imagine that it may be a slow holiday season as well. We shall see, as he will be taking steps to try to reduce his overall stress. Such is life, or at least ours.

Well, I am off to see if Jay needs his second round of migraine meds. Glory to God for all things (not just what we like or want)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grab Bag Sort of Day

So far today, I have managed to felt bowls that felted to the inside of themselves and swear off that project for knitting for the day and got started on a cute shrug for Katherine out of some Yarn that I know she will really like. Coffee out with some fellow knitters is always a good remember for mishaps and frustration to commiserate about projects gone wrong. Knitting again tonight at the Knitting Habitat for some very welcome sit and knit time with the girls. I figure if I get on a roll knitting, I had better ride the wave.

In other news, our swiss chard is growing EXTREMELY well and we have been eating its bounty regularly. The lettuce is growing nicely as well and the greek mini basil remains a family favorite as it flourishes to, seemingly, no end. Katherine's 'k'arrot patch is thriving as she thins through some of the smaller ones and has gotten to harvest a couple of fat, short multi-colored carrots. The carnival blend really is something great, so if you have a chance to grow these carrots, I highly recommend it, they are low-maintenence and fun.

Classical music is playing on in the background, which reminds me that Katherine is asking to learn to play the violin. Jay found a lady who does group lessons by the semester and another place that rents violins, so we will have to add it all up and see if we can't get her started on a trial basis. Who knows, she may end up the next world-reknowned violinist, after Elana, of course. Though art is still her true focus and love in life, she will always be partial to some markers and paper, or maybe some paints. I hope to also procure a membership to the Denver Art Museum, but we will have to search the budget for that as well, and Jay wants to see if they offer any discount for disabled veterans. Lots of places seem to offer a discount or even free admission, but it isn't always advertised, so we will have to check it out.

We are on a super tight budget for the next 1.5-2 weeks, so that has meant that I have had the opportunity to rediscover my bike. So, I ride a lot more and a tank of gas in Leafa has lasted much longer. I went big shopping ahead of time knowing we wouldn't get paid for a little while and, Glory to God, it has lasted and run out at just the right times. I only have things like onions and tomato on my list to supplement what we have. Dormition fast starts soon for 2 weeks, so that will simplify our menu a bunch too, but I only hope to have enough money to get some nice fruit to have blessed on Transfiguration after the liturgy.

Well, I had better get on with the day and see about my yellow split pea soup with celery and carrots and say my prayers and have all my ducks in a row before heading out of the door again! Until next time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ponderings of late

There is a mess of stuff floating around in my head right now, and I don't feel as if I can describe it all, while at the same time, I feel compelled to rest them in writing. Sometimes when it is outside myself, it stops bumping around inside my head.

Lately, I have been pondering love...again. Sure, it is a constant in life: whether or not we have it, when will we have it, this possession of love that somehow gratifies and justifies our sense of being. We seem to feel entitled to love, as if we deserve it without any hitch and as though we can somehow stuff it into our pocket and take it out at will when it pleases us. We objectify it as if it will change based on our needs, so then we have fickle love, but is that real love? We use it as a weapon when we feel hurt or wish to make a point and we do our very best to mold it into something predictable. It makes us feel our best and our worst and it comes between the best of us.

In our attempts to harness the thing that is love, it seems as if we lose sight of what love actually is, that it just is. If it is true love, there are no bounds within which it must reside. If it is love, we cannot measure its expanse, nor describe its vast enveloping depth. If we know love, it is because we do not struggle to force it into our definition of what we think it should be. If we find love, it is because we have become willing to accept what that looks like. When the heart is open, we can never be sure what will wander in, but one thing is sure, we may get hurt because our pride will give way to the humility that is love. When we do not restrict love through our own imperfections, we can fully experience all that is love.

Just a little thought of the day...maybe more later.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another post?

If you haven't noticed, I am working on getting my blog up to speed with life and keep up with writing more often. It has been a long road, but I am at a point where writing will prove to be a calming outlet as I journey through this next bit of life.

Up next, a buzzing and slow couple of weeks before absolute mayhem hits. Jay starts classes on August 23, Katherine is seeking more structure in her 'schooling' and I have started prepping to have more available and offering a little more than before. The Russian Firebird Festival approaches, on September 18, and I am feeling the crunch to get some knitting done. It will happen, but I have projects on hold that I want to finish, I just have to somehow schedule in the right amount of time to work on each and get them done in a timely fashion.

Tomorrow, I have a coffee date with a good friend, we always talk too much and I am looking forward to it. I will bring muffins from home to have with my Americano (or regular coffee) and my knitting, I just haven't figured out what I should bring to work on. I am glad to be a knitter, it keeps me sane...I have learned more patience knitting than I have my entire life of trying to apply myself to being patient. Jay and Kat will be fishing and I will be pleasantly surprised and giddy if they bring me some dinner. In all honesty, I am glad that they have this time together, more than anything and I love that they bond. She even has 'school' while fishing, she knows more fish than I do! I am impressed with their adventures, but I don't she will quite know how much until she is much older.

Well, I ought to get some sleep for tomorrow's busyness! Love to all!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thunderstorms and Musings

I am sitting here in the near dark on this wonderful sunday evening as the wind stirs the plants about and sets the chimes to swinging. I think this is the third thunderstorm of the day, but only the second actual rain. The first was very calm and this one has come to make itself known with bright flashes of lightening and bold, rolling thunder. The air rushes through leaves and rain to create an almost oceanic experience. Coolness is seeping through the screen in the doors and windows as the curtains sway and billow. There is something to it, having these forceful, blustery times because it gently subdues my chaotic mind. The sound, coupled with smells and feeling, wash over me to offer a soothing and comforting blanket of reassurance. It is bigger than I. No matter my struggles, it will always be bigger. The tossing and turning that tends to overwhelm my day to day is drowned out in this exhibit of powerful presence and awe-inspiring movements of the nights own dream.

The storm seems to swirl around, as if it does not wish to leave. This give and take acts as in such a symbiotic way, it would be silly to try to imagine that it is not in some way perfected. Every drop from the clouds, every rumble of thunder, every flicker of lightening, timed to the exact moment of its arrival is just right. The cool breeze is heavenly after a warm summer day and the water that feeds our lively little garden makes me grateful. Grateful for things I do not fully understand, for knowing those things I cannot control and for being allowed an opportunity to experience peace, even if it is momentary. Though it seems that I might lack appreciation for these if they were ordinary and frequent, I am grateful to notice when things are calm and without conflict.

When I was young, I found so much tranquility in being in the rain, thunder or not. I would sing and the rain could hear me, whatever it might be on my heart. Perhaps I have learned to surrender my troubles when it rains and let them be washed away with everything else. All I know is this, whenever there is a good rain, I find it to be cleansing and that I am uplifted. I do not wish to question this gift, only accept its abundance when at all possible.

The bamboo chimes drift on the wind and beckon me to rest...good night all, for now and peace be unto all, wherever you may be.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Randomness, but that's not surprising :o)

My little girl will be 7 in just under 5 weeks. She is big as can be, smart as ever and growing ever so fast. She has lost her top two teeth on top, which can be rather amusing at times because it is harder for her to speak, but a cute reminder to me of how much older she really is. She is still into Irish Stepdancing and has 'graduated' into the longer class for kids 7 and up. She is doing quite well and I love to watch her dance. She has recently shown an interest in playing the violin, so we shall see if it turns into more than a fancy, but we are looking into what it would take to get her started to see how she likes it.

September will be a big month, between Kat's birthday, first confession, the Russian Firebird Festival and our 8th wedding anniversary and it all starts with Labor day weekend! We still aren't exactly sure when to have her birthday party because the first weekend is Labor day, the following weekend we have loads of church and we are making the lunch for after church on sunday in celebration of Kat's b-day and confession, the weekend following that it is the festival and then we are at the last weekend of the month and September is nearly over! We can always choose something during the week, since most of her friends are homeschoolers and could make it as it is, but there are a couple obstacles there too, with Jay being in school. We will figure it out, I suppose.

Katherine is so excited for everything to happen. Some time this month she will meet with Fr. Boris to discuss her upcoming first confession, which she has been waiting, literally, years to be able to do. Not because she was necessarily ready, but because she has watched Jay and I go for all this time and now she gets to have her turn, she is big enough. Private confession is of dispute to lots of people who do not practice this in their faiths and, apparently, so is having confession at a certain age. The Church, not to mention science, hold that a person, by the age of 7, is conscious of their actions and know right from wrong in one way or other. This is a good case for having confession, at the very least, around the age of 7, if at all. I know why frequent confession in some churches is not practiced, but in some respects, it seems it does a disservice to many, but mainly the children who would be preparing for this particular Mystery, or Sacrament. If the Mystery of confession stands up there with communion, ordination, marriage and so on, I am wondering why we partake so rarely of it and why it should not be cared for better, as well as, encouraged to have a child become watchful of their actions and words. In any case, it is a big deal in our house, as it was when I was small, it is a part of our church life, that is so important to us and we are, with God's help, trying to prepare Katherine for her life in the Church and a good relationship with her Spiritual Father. In some ways, we are now stepping aside for a huge milestone to come and watch while she begins her next stage in her journey as a Christian and I feel blessed to be able to do so. I will leave it at this, it has been said that obedience is more than prayer and fasting (both of which seem to be questionable in today's world as well), so long as a person is under the care of their spiritual father, whose sole purpose is guidance toward the attainment of salvation, then it is as it ought to be.

Well, that was longer than intended, and there certainly could have been more, but that will have to do... In other news, I am noticing that I feel the changing in the seasons, with the cooler nights and muggy days that smell more like fall than summer, but public schools in our neighborhood already went back yesterday, leaving the streets so quiet that Jay put the two together by lunchtime. This year will, hopefully, prove to be less of a bear than spring semester...for Jay, for me and for Katherine. Things were SO hectic and insane that I don't know how we ever made it through, but for the grace of God, thankfully. I do love fall, no matter how I enjoy the changing of cooler weather into the warmth of spring and summer, fall will always be my oldest and dearest reverie. I was thinking the other day about how, although fall is the time that is leading us into the death and cold of winter, it is also the time of the harvest, when we gather the crop which has been sown in spring and summer to prepare for the road ahead. We reap the fruits of the trees and the plants of the ground as we settle in for the chilly quiet of winter. I suppose, in my mind and heart, fall is the excitable and intentional arrangements made before the rest of winters solitude, which seems to escape me all to often.

Well, if I think of anything, I will pop on here, but that is it for now. We had better get the day going before it hops along without us in tow. Until then...Glory to God for all things!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today is Tuesday

How much time do we have?
A minute, week, month, year or decade
One thing is for sure, it will be a lifetime

This lifetime is deceiving in its entirety
A minute, week, month, a year or many
All add up to the blink of an eye

A continuous strand of lives intertwining throughout
Minutes, weeks, months, several years
Breath us in and out into its flow

We are but a single movement in this ebbing tide
This minute, week, month, years and then some
Fade into this streaming lifeline without hesitation

In the eyes of a child, this lifetime is truly lengthy
Every minute, week, month and year
It's so far away, it drifts in and out without end

The older we get, we realize the truth of all of this time
These minutes, weeks, months and years
Have already passed, when we thought they'd never come

The dreams of growing up and starting a family are so distant
In the minutes, weeks, months and years
Until time bares the fullness of its secret

This life is just the dream and we will awake when this body is gone
After these minutes, weeks, months and years
But we will keep those things we have stored up into our hearts and souls

So, let us cherish dearly those people in our passing
Minutes, weeks, months and years
As if we might awake at any time

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church

I was glad that there would be services on saturdays for vespers, sunday liturgies and wednesday vespers as well. There was a quiet and peaceful way about the services, very fluid and calm. They share part of a building at the university and have a place that can be partitioned off to keep the altar separate from anything else the room might be used to do, so that nothing would be disturbed. I don't know how long they have been in that spot, but they are settled, so I can imagine a bit of time. Good enough place, but packed on sundays, as many churches are, leaving it feeling smaller than other days.

The parishioners are young and old, families and single people, longtime believers and some newer, much like any church. I cannot say precisely if I was expecting something, but I certainly came away with more than before I arrived a few weeks earlier. It was a valuable experience to understand that the beauty of a church building is nothing without devout faithful people to give it life. Perhaps as an idea, it has always lingered, but it is particularly evident in the way this church was very much alive and breathing in Christ.

"Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: FOR HE THAT IS LEAST AMONG YOU ALL, THE SAME SHALL BE GREAT." Luke 9:46-48. This is particularly valid in this instance, if you can imagine the church to be as the child, as a mission church often is still establishing its roots and growing up into a more mature and fuller existence. They are the children to whom He ministers and the least, whom He does not only not forget, He has made great, in their hearts where love in Christ grows. In the valley where this little church sits, it is not a high population, but it somehow manages to overlook this beautiful gem, though they surely benefit from the grace which saturates the people and their unity in faith. I am not sure if this makes much sense to the reader, but it is the best I could do at this time.

I had been out to visit in the fall when my second nephew was born and was fortunate enough to come back again recently with my whole family and got to be there with the nephews, sister and parents. If words could describe the entirety of all that has been gained by being welcomed into their humble and simple church, it would likely take up far more pages than my fingers could write, so if you are ever in the neighborhood of Ashland, Oregon, please stop in and check out Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Christian Church where, after the service on sundays, there is usually a coffee hour where people will eat, drink and talk. This is the link for the directions, if you are ever interested: There is no time like the present, so if you live there, check it out sooner than later and if you are passing through, make it a point to stop in and say hello. Not everyone will get out of it what I have, that part is only for me, but I am sure there is something awaiting you there as well.

Much love in Christ!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Light

The birds wake and call sweetly
They know the sun will come
Bringing the light and promise of a new day
The glass may appear half empty as the cold night lingers
While the warmth of day slowly pushes through the dark
The sky glows before the return of the sun
Rich and deep colors that do not stay long
The creeping rays of sun are crossing the previous eastward lands

Clipped in, I ride uphill to get the blood moving
The lungs begin their complaint
The morning is still very young and almost cold
But more beauty abounds than can even be counted
I crest the hill and level out for a bit
The sun is nearing the horizon as I come around a bend
I am listening to the Ashoken Farewell/The Contradiction
Which refuses to be changed for anything
I glance over toward the east and catch the suns first orange glimmer
Stopping, I sit on a curb, bike laid to the side

A person might think it would take awhile to watch the sun rise
On the contrary, it is rather efficient
The glow of the rounded, perfect fireball begins ascent
The small clouds pale in comparison
But the light of the sun shines on all
So the beams of light steal through the farthest touches of cloud
Just above the sunrise, a few clouds are illumined and silvery
The sun is coming, really and surely
Everything is aglow and each moment brings a new light to a sleepy land

All of Creation awaits this start of day
It will be a sad day if the birds lose their fervor
The suns rise would be so empty
But for now, the sky still welcomes the fading night
The birds all call to the coming day
The moon has waited to say good day to the sun
So when it has risen, I get up and ride along

Now I ride downhill with a nice view of the full moon
A few turns lead to a path behind homes
Up, down and around
Here comes the uphill as I shift gears to make the climb
Courage is not in beginning the upward climb
It is the faith that the top of the mountain will come
Pushing onward, the cold air bites in the shadows of the homes
Oh! To be back in the sunlight again!
Even the light seems to simply warm a little
Just as there appears to be very little chance of making it without walking
The sun breaks through in a very promising streak

Conquering the length of that hill is so invigorating
So incredibly purposeful
As the sun rises just a bit more
I ride out to the street nearby where I had watched the sunrise
As I turn toward home
I decide to turn back around for one more look
The all encompassing burst of light is so constant as it beckons
A little longer in the beauty and the warmth and then back home

I have been so consumed with the sunrise
I did not notice the cold on my skin
Nor the stiffness in my muscles and hands
As I approach the house, I think to myself
If anyone ever first learned to love
To laugh, smile, dream or pray
It was when they first welcomed the sun
In their heart and soul

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Totally Random

So, I have seen the new movie, "Babies", it was a Mother's day outing with Katherine and it was just great. If we didn't already know just how much I love babies and want oodles of them, now I am wanting a little African baby. I am just saying that if there are any babies who need a home and someone knows of some sort of inexpensive way to land one in our lives, we would be SO ecstatic! Craziness, I am sure you are all thinking, but I would like to point out that just because adoption can be expensive, doesn't mean that having a baby around is too. Tough we have enough money, babies need love, NOT money and we have an abundance in this house. Jay said that I would have to start saving up, but it may take 20 years to save enough and, by then, any child that small could be my grandchild (not that I care one bit, but you know...) Maybe Sandra Bullock could send a tiny one my way, or Angelina Jolie, for that matter. *SIGHS* Ah well, God's will be done, but I think I will always feel this way...just a little. I have said it before and I will say it again, I would be the house mother of an orphanage if they even had those anymore, if I could. I just want to love and care for all of the unwanted (by someone else, NOT me, not EVER ME!) children and babies of the world. If I make it to 35 without anymore (bio) kids and not having the stork drop one off on our doorstep, I will surely reassess things, but I just may try to move mountains for another tiny one before I am 40!

Alright, I am done...for now. Hugs and love to everyone and make sure you hug your little loves a little tighter, just for me!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Markedly confusing notions and the peace that resides therein

The expanse within the heart of my soul
Sits in wait
Once, a dormant fellow
Now, impatiently child-like
...But wisely still kept

The stillness captures
Few, but brief
Quick, like breath
Moments of solemn peace and love
Stillness and sweet peace

Stillness is where the beginning
Does not end
Nor the end, begin
The mind cannot comprehend
Yet the expanse is filled without effort

It will seem, at times, to be both
Eternally flowing within and without

The broad and gaping chasm lies
Looking as if to expect, but ever lying in wait

Perhaps what is not seen is simply
A fullness
A breadth
Of undiscovered Truth
An overlooked piece that has always been

What looks as if to be an open gap
A hole
A ditch
A barren land of naught
Is, in truth, to be the blessing and the stillness

Perhaps, the complementary partner
The black
The white
A balance which defies reason, yet forms a great foundation

As I sit to think, to wonder in awe
A struggle
A calm
Both approach and attempt to explain

There are no words for this stillness which creates
But it is full
it is rest

As if to be a breeze, or water washing over smooth stone
A tranquility comes
To quiet
To comfort
To bring our hearts into the same oneness that flows

There we confront the whole where we have broken ourselves free
Or so we thought
But we wish to rejoin
We yearn for what we know of the piece that we have taken
When the inner voice calls us to unity and truth

It is knock, knock
At the door of
My heart
My soul
It will only be silenced by the submission of myself

Submission and acceptance of the greater We
The lesser me
The all
Alpha and Omega
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Remarkable and Purposeful Existence

I am 32 years old. My life is not what anyone might expect, but it is more than I ever could have hoped to have. My husband is ill due to of complications with gluten and PTSD...stabilized, for the most part, but ill to the point of not being able to be out of the house for extended periods of time, even after nearly 2 years.

I used to ponder what it would be like to travel over seas, to go to some of these spectacular places with history beyond imagination or comprehension. These days, I am happy to have my little family together at the end of the day.

I used to think about having a larger family and, on occasion, I still wonder about the possibility, but I can't help but be nearly perfectly content to have just the 3 of us. In all honesty, do I really not have all that I need and beyond? If God will's it, we will have more, related by blood or not, but it is enough for now.

I never imagined that life would be quite this good, or challenging, but I am so glad for this journey. I have never been one to wish away circumstance, although there have been times when I would like to procrastinate things away ;o) I am grateful for the struggles and pain, without which I would not be able to identify the joy and love which so readily penetrates and permeates our lives in almost every instance.

My life is not for everyone, but we should all be so fortunate to be able to count our blessings with each beat of the heart in the midst of struggles, or on the face of such a lovely little girl, or in the eyes of a spouse who loves unconditionally with every breath...sometimes I feel as though I am in Heaven already with this family who fills up every inch of my being and that I have a glimpse of eternity.

If only my connection with my fellow man and Creator could be so engaging...ah, in due time, in God's perfect time. There is a brewing inner peace in this lovely stillness following Pascha, it is such a profound and indescribable tranquility that engulfs the very being that I am suspended in awe.

So many things float around in my head from day to day, moment to moment, that it seems to be the chaos amidst the order that drives the chaos into order. I know, mind boggling, right?

I used to imagine that a broken heart is one that has been split because of troubles and heartache in such a way as to cause despair. Now I think of the heart being so full of applicable troubles and a heart that aches with love because it is so full that it cannot stay whole. Perhaps it is the heart which is broken that is capable of the greatest love because it is not closed to all the rest of humanity. When the door is left agape we cannot be sure of what will step in, but in a heart there is a coursing blood that carries simple love and life to and from without any boundaries or ties. There is only life and death, and there ceases to be any division among us because there is no beginning or end of the flow.

My heart is not my own and I do not wish it to be forevermore. I have learned that the more my heart is open, not only may I let people in, but I may also be in the heart of another by way of stepping outside of the door in myself in such a way as to empathize and understand in ways that I could not if I were very guarded.

I look forward to the coming years, God willing, if it means, "speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ"-Ephesians 4:15 I stand here stripped of my misgivings, growing in awareness and love and light and life as I anticipate the next piece of the continual and perpetual grace and love that is and always has been.

Before all else, I am in love with a love that is beyond measure, bound to a heart that seeks my own and a grace that fills all things. So, if you are looking, you can find me wading through my own drudgery just to follow the bits of my heart taken captive by the infinite love...

"I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
* * *
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me." ~Excerpts from St. Patrick's Lorica

Glory to God for all things (not just the things we want or like)