Monday, March 28, 2011

33, day one

I am not prone to imagining what might have been, or wishing for things that just aren't, but I find myself lately reflecting on my past. Mostly, it is in the decision-making. There are a great number of things I might have ended up doing by this point in my life, some good, some less so, had my choices been different. People I have known throughout the years and their influence, or lack thereof, in my thought process. Those whom I have loved and lost, or never knew I loved until later, or the ones that came a day late and a dollar short.

At 33, I think I am finally old enough to look back and ponder. It may seem strange, and it is a little odd in my own character, but I find myself assessing my life and counting my blessings, but also taking a moment to imagine what life may have been like at this point, had I made different decisions. In some cases, the decision was more of an allowing of what will be. Those seem to be the ones that have carried me thus far in this adventure story. The less I pretend to know about what I ought to be doing, the better off I tend to be. It is a good lesson to learn, though a hard pill to swallow, at times.

I love my husband and in our decade of being together (that counts meeting), we have been through more than some people will go through in a lifetime. I would never, in all my days, ask for anything more or less. Could I have had fewer struggles and lived more comfortably? Yes, but would it be to the Glory of God that I had followed those paths? On the flip side, there is still much more that I can do, and wish to, before I die. Only God knows whether they will come to fruition.

Up until now, I know this much...I am married to a wonderful man, who lifts me up, when I am fallen down or cannot find the means to walk and will go to the ends of the earth to care for me, should I need it. I am mother to a beautiful and amazing daughter, whose wit and innocence finds me in my most difficult times to shine upon me the love of her heart and helps me to learn more about who I am every day. I have a home that is full of love and peace, God and family and all that is needed at any given time. I have friends who are caring and supportive, offering their own insight into life, love and lost. God is gracious and merciful in all things needful. My heart is full and I am left not wanting. 33 is a good year so far, I hope I continue to recognise all my blessings as they weave in and out of my life and breath in all that I do.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Here and there

It is the eve of the Veneration of the Holy Cross at church, the midpoint of great lent. It is also my 33rd birthday and I am looking forward to sharing this day with such an amazing feast. My birthday is always, not sometimes, absolutely always during lent, but on occasion, a perk like this comes along. Last year, I shared my birthday with Lazarus Saturday, because Pascha was so early.

This year, lent has been an unexpected blessing. At times, I have felt a bit agitated, but thus far, it has been fairly tame. I was talking with Jay earlier in the fast and one of the things that seemed true is how we have had so many different struggles in the last few years that when the dust begins to settle, like now, it is so much calmer and even. I suppose it makes struggles that I have once imagined and experienced in a larger scale seem less grand and quite surmountable. I cannot speak for the rest of this fast, but so far, I have learned a lot about my shortcomings, in a very gentle way, but also about endurance and forethought. I am not particularly any good at the latter, but I am grateful for these lessons. One thing I always have hoped is to be tempered and balanced. Glory to God for all things!

I have been thinking about this feast of the cross lately and how we venerate the Holy Cross after each liturgy and even after a molebin (special prayer request). On this day, and the one in September, we allot the entire liturgy to the veneration of the cross, a mere tree, which bore Christ. It is upon this cross Christ is crucified, without His crucifixion, we would not have the Resurrection, so the cross is somewhat bittersweet. It is an awesome thing that this simple wood is the tool for helping to bring eternal life to all. This wood that is dead, holds life, which Man has hung upon it and God redeems. It has only struck me, only to a slight degree (as it can at this point in time), the awesome magnificence of the life-giving cross and its purpose, among other things. I feel blessed to have such a bright feast in the middle of lent to keep us on course for the Bright feast of Pascha. We will be at the Entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, with them at the last supper, then Christ is betrayed, so we will follow to Golgotha on Good Friday to be humbled at this sacrifice. We will await the tomb to be opened and will glorify the Life and Love which is given. I look forward to our new experiences at the church in Oregon, it will prove interesting, to say the least.

I have set some time aside to sew some these last few days. I finished the prototype today, which I hope to add a picture soon, and Katherine likes it, though I can see a couple things I will modify for the dress she will wear for the wedding. It is a pretty little dress, but I think the final one will be nicest. I am more focused on sewing right now, since I have specific projects that need to be accomplished in a certain timeframe, but I do hope I get some knitting in soon, I am in the middle of at least 4 different projects and I would like to finish at least one soon.

Hmm, it has been tugging at my brain again, this draw to serve in a soup kitchen, or help kids, or something. I need to get it together to try to volunteer somewhere, I just feel sort of removed from this kind of thing. I do hope to figure something out, I have got to, it will nag me until I do! (Random, yes, but that is just me.)

Well, I have soup on the stove for church in the morning, so I need to tend it a bit and say some prayers. Please pray everything goes well in the morning, we all hope to commune and have a nice meal afterward. Peace and love be with whomever is reading this and please forgive me, a sinner. Glory to GOD!

'Before Thy cross we bow down in worship, O Master! And Thy Holy Resurrection, we glorify!'

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Day of Rather Peculiar Happenings, Yet Ordinary in All Measures

What an absolute blithering day! Woke up at 6:23 after going to bed too late, but having told Jay I prefer morning workouts while the family is asleep, I decided it was as good as any time to get up. Dragged self out of bed to go workout and got there by 7 after splashing sufficient water on my face and checking email. Workout was pretty good, gave some thought to doing a duathlon or a tri. At the end, I climbed onto the crossramp thingy and the left 'pedal' came off track, thankfully I was not mid-stride when it dismantled itself. Close call, no fall, all good. Finish, stretch, go home and rouse family for morning prayers and breakfast to assess Katherine's health.

Hacking, dry cough that doesn't do anything, hmm. Mommy instinct says to keep her home as much as possible today, so no church (boo! oh well...), but Jay's appointment at 1 can't be avoided and I am the driver without anyone to sit with Katherine while I take the hubby in to his meeting. The meeting is around the corner from Costco, so we decide stopping in prior to the meeting would behoove us, so we do. On the way out, I search my purse for keys, asking Jay if I gave the key to him. His response, "No, I bet you put them in your sweater pocket right before you took it off and tossed it on the seat." Blast and wretch, he's right! The wind had stopped blowing and we were all so excited to not need a sweater, we all left them behind before going in, hoping to soak up some sun. We don't usually lock the car, but we parked in the handicap spot and if the placard gets stolen it could be a bear trying to replace it, so we lock when we park in those places. Thankfully, Gina was close with the spare, seriously close, as in, I couldn't have planned it better if I tried! What a Godsend that she was so near and we were able to still make it everywhere we needed to on time. We decided it was Providential and will leave it at that.

Afterward, we stopped over at the Tuesday Morning shop to pop in for a quick look for a nice, big stock pot. I want one to make the soup for sunday at church because the one I have is too small and I got some birthday money from Jay's mom. No dice at that store, but Jay points out Ross' across the way (I was considering T.J. Maxx) and I thought he might be onto something, so I went in to look. There on the end cap of a house ware aisle were sitting 3 stock pots, the exact size I was trying to find, 3 lovely colors to choose from and the price was WAY better than expected! Yay! We can go home!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig, I put a few things away, eat some food in hopes of going to knitting early to get back for Jay to go to a class at the gym. That didn't happen, but things could be worse, though I did successfully attach some fusible interfacing to some of the pattern I cut out.

As I recount this day, it certainly was mildly agitating, but I am realizing that it was a day of close calls. Something bad nearly happened all day that could have made everything completely and unavoidably awful, but it didn't. I could have been seriously injured on the machine at the gym had I been on it when it went off track, but it didn't. We could have had food spoiling, Katherine getting worse every moment with that cough and Jay late for his meeting to get his things from a program trying to work with him for his brain injury, but it didn't. We could have searched absolutely high and low for a stock pot of this caliber and not found it, or paid too much, but it didn't happen like that.

Looks like what started off as a grumble, has ended in a realization that, although I cannot always see it at the time, everything is always as it should be. Huh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Current Considerations and Random Thoughts Otherwise

I have been thinking about this lent recently and how it is always different somehow, no matter how a person prepares. My goal this lent was to focus on those things that I ought to be doing, which would naturally replace some of the habits that I could do without. While my plan never took flight the way I imagined, I have still been able to find purpose. I am grateful for all of what these past couple of weeks have brought, the good, the bad and the ugly.

A long time family friend (my folks' good friend, the father of my friend) is now gone after a tragic accident, so I am making it a point to read a Kathisma every day for him. We read one psalm each in the morning and at night, I am reading them consecutively. Katherine came over to the bed one night when I was coming in and she laid her head upon my chest and she asked me to read them aloud to her, as she is a HUGE fan. I explained to her that we read the Psalms for those who have passed away when they are and are not Orthodox (and those who are when their body awaits the funeral rites) and I heard myself tell her that there is always at least one person who dies every day and that we ought to read these daily. For those we know and those we do not, their soul can be comforted by the counsels of the Bible. Hmm, I hadn't really processed a lot of this yet, but in time I am sure it will settle a little more. I do, however, hope to keep this habit in the future.

We have made it through the Jigcracker show, which went well and I am so happy we got to see family and friends. It has been a crazy couple of weeks with preparation and everything that goes into a show. I have considered lately that this beginning of lent parallels my life in some ways. I have spent early days of my life occupying my time and thoughts with a worldly existence, though necessary to life, I have allowed the all consuming daily randomness to be my company. I am now only a few days past and I am grounded further into what I ought to do and ought not to do. It was as though I had been waiting for lent to come upon me, with very little effort, besides regular church attendance, on my part. While I was awaiting some sort of transformation, directed at my inner core, where I am most certainly comfortable, it is without myself that this lesson is creeping into my soul. As I sit and expect to see the form of what I know, I am approached by something far from it. Bit by bit I am reminded of how God has given me each and every person in my life for a perfectly wonderful and meaningful reason. I am continually humbled by everyone being so willing and loving towards us and me. People's understanding and vulnerability are far more humbling than any direct lesson that I may have ever hoped to glean from anything. If I had only the prayers to speak, that God might also comfort and aid all people in the mercy He has given us always. Even in our darkest hour, we have never been forgotten.

I am learning to use my time more wisely, though it could always be improved, as with most aspects of my life. I have cut out the material for the pattern I am sewing for my bro-in-law's wedding for Katherine. It is brightly pink, yellow, white, blue, etc. colored in an overlapping butterfly print. This is the practice dress so I have some experience with the pattern and can adjust as needed for the final one, which will be vibrant yellow-gold with super tiny vines all over it. She is excited for the dress(es) and to go to the wedding, but has expressed her disappointment at not being at her home church for Pascha, as it is her MOST favorite of all feasts. In order of importance, she lists Pascha (easter), Nativity and St. Nicholas day as her favorite days in the year. I always hoped that she would, with God's help, understand the magnificence of the Resurrection, but it is only now that she is articulating what it means to her. It reminds me that one of the greatest jobs we have as Christian parents is to bring our children to the feasts of the Church and God will likely do the rest. If our hearts are open as parents, their hearts will also be willing, that God freely keeps company with them all the days of their lives. While it is hard for me to try to explain some things to her about having to be away from our home church for Pascha, I can be grateful that she finds such a closeness with what we have given her thus far. One of the nice things is that we will get to see some longtime family friends who are at the church in Corvallis, where we will be. We will be spending Good Friday through Pascha there, with the wedding at 5pm on Great Saturday and, with's God's help and Mercy, we hope to manage it all without too many pains.

I want to make it to the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy in the morning, but Katherine is still a bit sick and I don't know how she will do tomorrow, but we are going to try if she seems improved. We don't always have the luxury of these liturgies during lent, so when they come along, I do try to make it, but we'll see.

Last, but not least, I have been working out regularly and that has been going well. I have yet to gain any weight, but the muscles are certainly getting in line and benefitting. I have been wanting to drop in on a class sometime, but it hasn't been possible lately because they are usually right during dinner time at the one at the nearest location. I suppose if I want it enough, I will make it happen. I have been listening to a new podcast by Fr. George Morelli called 'Healing, Orthodox Spirituality and Psychology' and I like it so far. He discusses a lot of pertinent information for us as parents and spouses and includes a lot of writings from Holy Fathers and scripture as well.

Well, I think that is all for now, I have to think about dinner, sewing, knitting, Katherine's cold, reading aloud, etc. Love to you all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Woe's of an Only

Katherine is 7.5 years old. I have come to terms with the fact that we may never have anymore kids, or the possibility to adopt any time soon, in more ways than I can probably explain, you would have to have gone through something like this to really know. Katherine is a great kid and I am blessed to have her in our lives. The more she grows, the more I am impressed with who she is becoming.

I grew up in a family with 4 kids; I am 2 of 4. We are all relatively close in age and there was hardly a dull moment. I always imagined a house full to the brim with kids, but this has been amazingly harder for me for many reasons. I never knew the heartbreak of being, or having, an only child. Many days, she is happy as can be and quite used to her situation. We keep busy enough that things keep moving along and she has a lot of friends who are just like family, Glory to God. Every so often, she opens her little heart to me about not having any siblings, particularly a sister. She hasn't got any close friends who know what it is like to be an only, all her closest friends have many siblings.

Today was hard because she was having a rough go about not seeing any friends and she said, between sobs on my lap, "I just can't handle being the only kid in this house. The dogs don't want to play with me all the time and I don't have a sister to play with." My own heart aches when I have to give her the only explanation that I can come up with. I tell her to let's be grateful for what God has given us, instead of wishing for something different.

Katherine is such an amazing child, whom God has entrusted to us, and I would not trade our adventures in life for anything, but there are things that I do not pretend to completely understand, yet have to find a way to explain it. Isn't that just the way of a parent, always having to explain things we don't fully grasp, but because we have so many more years (and they still think we know nearly all there is), we've got to find a way.

Sometimes I imagine that she will have loads of kids...but in all things, God's will be done. "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Luke 22:42

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Latest, but not particularly greatest

Let's see, how are things on the Dunn home front, eh? Well, it has been interesting to get to the middle of March without so much as a blink of an eye. We are involved in shows for St. Patrick's Day (n.s.) with Heritage Irish Stepdancing and Kat and I will both be in a show, 'The Jigcracker', in a week for the weekend. Katherine has gotten the performance bug and looks forward to being up in front of people doing her dances. It is funny because she is more concerned about dancing in front of me than she is a large audience full of people. I guess that is a good, reverse sort of problem to have and she does love to dance. She asked tonight if maybe one day she could be a champion dancer too. :o) Papa told her that if she practices and puts in some hard work, she would have a good chance. I am rather impressed by her ability to keep her chin up as she dances, arms down and she does alright staying on the right step. I heart my little dancing girl!

We have recently begun great lent and now have embarked upon the journey toward Pascha or, in our case, Pascha and my brother in-law's wedding. That means that as we prepare for Christ's resurrection, we also have to be prepared for the wedding. I am trying to focus on immediate things to accomplish so as not to feel overwhelmed, but it is tricky just trying to get through this week and all the dancing. After that I hope to settle into more preparations. A family friend was hit by a car as a pedestrian on monday and he died yesterday. He was a great friend to my parents and the dad of one of our friends. We have know them since I was a baby and I am sad that he isn't with us anymore and that the family has so much grief to process. May they have some peace in their path. I know everything is as it should be, but that doesn't make it easy. They have been in our prayers and on my mind a lot lately, so I get a little preoccupied.

In 2 weeks I will be celebrating my 33rd birthday and, for some reason, it is more significant to me than most other birthdays. 30 was sort of a milestone, just because it's 30, but 33 is more for a few reasons, I think. It means I am nearly in my mid-30's and I think I feel more like an adult than any of the other times in life, but more properly put, I think I may have gleaned some wisdom that has wedged its way into my being and stuck. It was 10 years ago tomorrow, nearly 1/3 of my life, that I met Jay. I was young, but ready to find my prince and settle down. I always wanted a family and I have one that surpasses all my expectations. At almost 33, it is funny for me to look back and see how life has unfolded as an adult. I feel more planted here at home in CO. We have a warm and caring church family, irreplaceable friends, wonderful homeschool families and friends, even our local health food store knows us well enough to chat about random things in life. We can't forget that my birthday falls on the sunday when we celebrate the veneration of the Holy Cross, which also marks the midpoint in lent. Last year my birthday was Lazarus Saturday and this year, the Holy Cross! My mom said that I am the only other person she knows that actually likes it when their birthday falls on a feast. Some of that may come from the fact that it is always during lent, it will never NOT be, so it is a bit special that I get to celebrate a feast day at church. I also don't think too much of birthday's in general, but it is a good excuse to get friends together and hang out. So, we shall see what this year of 33 brings...

On a completely different note, kind of, I have noticed a lot of church billboards advertising ash wednesday and various lenten activities. What get me is that they are not always only on Roman Catholic or Lutheran church boards, but varied protestant ones all over town, as well as, people of differing christian backgrounds stating that they, too, celebrate lent. Can someone please explain to me why so many people have decided that partaking of great lent, in some form, is now a popular thing for people to do? It also boggles my mind that, though there are many protestants participating in lent and they, to the best of my knowledge, do not identify with most Roman Catholic beliefs, they choose to hold services that mirror a Catholic tradition and practice. I would write more, but I do not wish to offend anyone, though I may have already (please forgive me, if I have).

Hmm, the weather has been nice and springy and we are looking forward to some great days out of doors, but that means I have to schedule in my time for the things I need to get done inside. We still need to start our seedlings, but I can't say for sure if they will survive when we go to Oregon for the wedding. We may have to start things as soon as we are home again, but I do love to watch things sprout and grow, it satisfies a small piece of me to watch new life begin and spring is so perfect in that way.

Ok, it's late and it is the day/night for changing the clocks ahead an hour, so I had better sleep, since I am already getting less sleep with every key stroke. Well, good night all

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 6

Ok, so I went, I saw and I conquered. 22 minutes on the cycle thingy averaging 18.1 miles per hour for 5.6 ish miles. 50+ minutes of interval treadmill with speed walking and breath-catching walking ;o) I did some stretches from back in the day from modern dance class. You might think my memory only extends so far behind me, but 15-17 years ago isn't THAT long, is it? Ha ha!

I am going to be 33 in 24 days and it is shaping up to be an interesting year, thus far. We have many dreams and plans, but we shall see what comes to pass. We hope to get Katherine in Iron Kids this summer to run, bike and swim in her first mini triathlon. We are going to be a family full of active crazies! Better than being idle, I suppose.

Tomorrow, who knows what will come of a workout, but hopefully I am up earlier than today so I can get home at a more reasonable time.

Ok, that covers it!