Sunday, November 27, 2011


"Love is the most powerful means of defense there is. There are no weapons and no power that can measure themselves against love. Everything is defeated by love." ~From Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Not-So-Far Future

We are approaching the Nativity fast (o.s.) and will be preparing for the birth of Christ. As Kat gets older, I find that I am imagining new ways for us to experience the fast, and what they can do for her. She is rather attached to St. Nicholas Day, with the wonderment of a child, as it should be, but she gets giddy about it and it tends to get my wheels spinning. I want to be sure she understands each feast, so she is on track for their purpose, and that Christ's Nativity is of the utmost importance. She always manages to surprise me in her understanding and childlike ways, so as long as we set a good example as parents, I think things will go alright.

I am, however, imagining getting rid of a number of things upon our return home. It always seems to amaze me how little we can live with when we are on vacation. I mean, really! We have only a few outfits, I keep only my yarn tote, our computer, a few books, and about 2 pairs of shoes each. Not to mention, the amount we spend on food is astonishing (in a good way). I have done it before, and I may again, but we will only have less than a few weeks until St. Nicholas Day, when we get home, so I don't know how much will actually get done. I have hopes, there is always that. I have heard about people having kids donate and leave bags of their items for St. Nicholas to pick up and take to other kids, so that is always an option. Any ideas out there? She is 8, so it has to be age appropriate, I suppose. We do like to go drop things by and make her a benevolent giver on the eve of the feast, so I think that will help with the transition, when she becomes disillusioned about St. Nicholas coming in the night.

I am really looking forward to this fast, finally! I am grateful to be anticipating a fast so cheerfully. We have gotten a new vegan cookbook that is mostly gluten free, so it has helped with food. It isn't quite so draining to be thinking of fasting foods that are inexpensive AND gluten free. But, I also really look forward to drawing into myself, finding some spiritual growth or process that molds me a little more in the fire of His great love and mercy.

A glorious and fruitful fast to those who will begin, and those who has already begun. Glory to God in the Highest!

Our Trip to St. Barnabas, So Far

We managed a midweek service at St. Barnabas last night. I had hoped to fit it in, but you never know when you aren't at home. We got there a bit early, but I am glad because it is nice to familiarize with new churches and surroundings. We talked with a man and his son, Luke, for a little bit, who seemed quiet happy to have Kat around for interaction. I think she was also grateful for something to distract her from the unfamiliarity of the venue, as she is rather attached to our home church.

After a bit, we went into the church, which was brimming with comfort and peace. I had recently told Jay that I missed church and finally realized that it was the hole in my daily existence. No matter how comfortable I am here, it is still not home, and we are not in our routine. It got me to thinking about people in far off lands where they have not had the physical temple, and prayers within, and surrounding, them throughout a service, due to communism, and other bleak disturbances. What a misery to have to endure such detachment from the divine services of the faith, but also what a building block for unadulterated faith for anyone, so long as it is recognised as such. Just as Christ prays in the garden of Gethsemane, so does a person in such a situation, I imagine.

The service consisted of vespers and a molebin for the sick. I had emailed our friend, Sarah, who let the priest know I wished to add my husband, dad, and Matushka to the list. Everything was lovely and I could see God in everything, but not just the written images of Christ in the icons of Himself and His saints, but also in the image of His people, His flock, who are quite obviously in His fold. It is wonderful to have found a place so near that we can attend and, if we must, forego the long drive into LA. If we make it to the garment district, I can see the lengthy journey, but for services, I would recommend, without reservation, going to St. Barnabas, in Costa Mesa.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chrysalis of Life

I was thinking the other night that we are all like a caterpillar, here in this life. We have our fleshly needs, our simple understanding, as we amble along. We are drawn toward becoming fattened; metaphorically, with life, love, and wisdom. As we find ourselves turing inward, this is the moment where a caterpillar begins its cocoon. As we rest and conserve, there is a sense of contemplation, solitude, and growth. In leaps and bounds, our souls are transformed, as in the last days of our lives, we attune our sensibility to the next step in what will become of us. As we are closer to the release, the cocoon provides a more lucid view of that which is around, while still a part of the same body we once knew. The pupa fades away into a life reborn into its eternity. The soul flies away, on the wings of the butterfly, whether it is fed on the fruits of wisdom and love, or ignorance.

This caterpillar's life is the tangible function, like the humanity wherein we are clothed. It is like the veil in which we are draped before we become a butterfly, as our bodies are released from one corporal life, into the spiritual. We do not always know what awaits us, but we can be certain, it will be more than we ever imagined, because how can a caterpillar expect to understand flight, until it goes to its tomb inside the chrysalis? So too, a human cannot conceive of the immeasurable life beyond our flesh, without first dying to this life, to become ready for flight.

Blog People

I just want to say that I am so happy when I see people from all over the country and world, who pop onto my little blog for a little read. To all of you who do, thank you. Please feel free to leave a comment, if you are so compelled, but I wanted to say that I appreciate seeing such a vast global difference in my blog traffic :)

I hope you all have a lovely day, or night, depending on where you are!


It is Thanksgiving today and I am... my grandma's house in Huntington Beach, CA.
...thankful that, at 95 years old, we are able to share this holiday with her.

We will be having:
-Turkey and all the fixin's, almost all from scratch
-2 guests, plus the five of us family, around the table, bringing a plate to a friend of Meema's who has had surgery recently and isn't up to coming out.

I am thinking about...
...My family in Oregon, who will all be there, excepting us
...Moderation in life, love, and food
...How many more holidays we will be able to share with my grandma
...Keeping things on some sort of schedule today

Outside, I see...
...Calm, cool weather
...Grandma's back yard
...Bird feeder

I hear...
...Katherine's show
...Meema and Jay talking in the kitchen
...The convection oven with the turkey inside

I feel...
...A little bittersweet, but supremely grateful

A picture I would like to share:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Her Way Up

I look into the face of my little girl and, now, more than ever, I see her all grown. She is poised, beautiful, lovely, funny, and also still clumsy, for now. I see it a lot in many of the pictures that were taken less than a year ago because, in comparison, she is so much older and shaped. It amazes me to see her maturing so neatly, into a sweet, darling package of love. She is at risk of becoming a girl who is smart, bold, creative, practical, and gorgeous. I am not really sure what we will do with that girl, but I am sure that she will be loved through it all...

My light, my love, my heart...

Glory to God in the Highest, Who Loves His Flock

When we strip away the layers of who we believe ourselves to be, right down to the absolute core of our innermost beings, what will we find? If we take away our logical explanation and listen to the heart's reaffirmations, what will we hear? If we do not like what another is doing, we cannot change it, but ask for God to work in our own hearts and convert us from thinking we know what is right, for if God is truly the God of all, then who are we to assert we can know best for another in matters of the spiritual? If we strip away those outer shells of our conscious knowledge and examine what we find inside, our neighbor may have a soul more pure than anything we can imagine, though we have not understood his actions, practice, and presence. God is omniscient, we are not. To pretend that we are is presumptuous, indeed, for any of us.

In the end, I doubt we will be asked if we were right, but rather, have we known God, Christ, and the Spirit. Did we follow His commandments, do His work, and offer ourselves in service to our fellow man, our neighbor, who is Christ. We are all, in one way or another, a different reflection of the refracting brilliance of God's love and purpose, so rather than quarreling with one another, Christian or not, perhaps emanating the love and life God has given us, we may find peace in His arms, where we may ask Him to direct our steps toward proper understanding.

St Seraphim of Sarov is known for saying, "Save yourself and thousands around you will be saved." In essence, meaning that if we work on our own spiritual growth and gifts, we have God flowing in us and through us, offering a multitude to those around us, thus assisting in being an example, but also benefiting in practice toward our brothers and sisters. If we cultivate our own understanding and focus on our own weaknesses, we do not have the time to muddy anyone else's waters. This is my own crude understanding, but I think it fits. The spreading of the Gospel is not always done with verbal interpretation, but through contact and action with others. We are given to one another to strengthen ourselves and one another, to carry one another when we are weary, to clothe and feed those without, to give selflessly of ourselves in the same manner that the ever burning love and light of God indwell us always, in this life and the next. If He is not with us now, in intimate unity and fullness, how can we expect to know Him when we die. For, as a person who flies toward the sun, we cannot expect to be of ourselves, in separate existence, when we meet. If our souls truly be eternal, we are given this life to regain our wholeness with God here and now, so that when we die, we are rejoined immeasurably. Just as life is a journey, not a destination, so too, Heaven is not a physical place, separate from us, Heaven is God within us, living and working within the soul.

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Eph. 4:2-6

Please forgive me, a sinner.

"They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matt. 9:12-13

Glory to God for all things!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Meema

I love my grandma, she is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. She is 95, lives in the same house since 1966, and has something to say about everything. Her wisdom is practical and seems to surpass anything I might imagine. She is seasoned and molded by her many years of experience, through love, loss, people, places, pets, family, and more than anything we can imagine, in our few short years. She has been through both world wars, though very young, and every other war since. She knows what it means to conserve, but it doesn't just mean turning off the light, or the water.

I have decided that the key to life, according to knowing my grandma, so I am not actually quoting her here. Moderation in life create moderation of character and longevity. It is like in Tai Ji, when Sifu talks about not being too far forward, or back, because if you are, you can be taken off balance easily, but if you stay within your proper range, you stay level headed and practical, able to conserve energy, or deliver strength. Also, when we are moderate, we learn to take all things into consideration, so we begin to absorb the currents of all life.

I am supremely grateful to be here, to have time to spend with my grandma in her latest years of life. Her mind is still with her, and she is always thinking of others, after all these years. She has a way with teaching me things gently, like how to let people take care of me, because I won't argue with her and God's lesson is welcome and peaceful in my heart, as it softens in this love.

From the Ashes

Like the phoenix from the ashes
I feel reborn
Time and again
Transformation comes
Into the dark tomb
Encapsulated womb
Manifested growth
Into fullness beyond
A formidable familiar
Soaring high
Diving deep
Cresting luminary
Inhale the intoxication

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Heart, My Heart

I bare my heart
Your hand, it holds
The dream begins
My life unfolds
Encompassed in mercy
The lessons I learn
For life and love
My soul does yearn
Be still, take hold
My will, make Yours
This story be told
Roused upon Your shore

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sea of Life

The ocean full of life
Flowing in the moving waters
Illumined by the rise and fall of the sun.
Immense power comes rushing
Slowly and with purpose
Pervading every sense
Every corner and nook
Heavy blackness
Brimming with brightness
Calming and gentle
Intoxicating immensity
So bold and commanding
Fold me in your waves

A Sighing of Self

Thrashing and crashing
Burning passions
Boiling up inside this head
Heart in turmoil
You can't hear me
Still we are talking
Life is a Mystery
God is Love
Do we need more than that?
I know your heart
Can't we leave it at that?
The mouth can only speak
Just words of the mind
The soul's eternal yearning
Breathes through the self in time
Seeping into mine
Inching closer still
Be quiet, don't utter
The silence serves us better...

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Love Color

I love color!
I enjoy bright colors
with contrasting tones
even an absence of color
the beauty in its depth.

I like them vivid,
Muted and smudged,
Streamed and washed,
Blobbed and showy,
Bold and glowing.

I adore the vivacious
Absolutely spacious
Life changing
Mood altering
Mind bending color!

The Beginning of Day One

Well, we made it out to California, more or less. Jay is in bed recovering after the travels, Katherine is antsy to make it to the big beach, but I said we wanted to wait for Papa, so we could go together. I have knitted, gone to bed way too late, awoken with a girl who was too excited to sleep any longer, asking for things.

Katherine and I have taken a walk down the harbor beach, which we have called the 'little beach' since I was a kid. It is a swim beach, which doubles as peoples' backyards to their harbor homes. It was balmy, cool, and calm. Of course, cool in California coastline is not cool Rocky Mountain weather. It was lovely and we saw a few ducks gliding across the green-black waters, before wandering along the back way home. We talked and had beautiful start to the day. She is currently watching a National Geographic show, as we await Papa to emerge from his slumber. I tend to withdraw into myself a bit, when he has these sorts of days, where I seem to conserve energy, just in case.

I am so grateful to be here safely. We are looking forward to having a peaceful Thanksgiving with our family. On the docket for the day, rest, drop mail in the boxes with Meema, on the way to Trader Joe's, and some stir-fry for dinner. If Papa isn't up by sunset, I am afraid he will be missing the beach today, because I will just have to take Kat for that!