Monday, December 24, 2012

So, This Is Christmas

We are planted here and settling in. We have discovered that our morning walks after breakfast fit nicely in our routine, though they have been mostly snow covered this past week. So much that we nearly couldn't get off the mountainside to town for the feast of Nativity. Thankfully, we have made it and the day has been glorious, however cold. We will have the liturgy in the morning in celebration of God becoming Man, what a joyous feast! Jay has been serving in the altar and he is really liking it and his health finally allows for it. He is there as I write this, due to Kat being exhausted. Apparently, she was too excited for coming to town, church, and to see family and friends, she hardly got any quality sleep and wore her little self out in anticipation, so we came home to my folks' early to let her rest.

Tomorrow following the liturgy there will be a meal and fellowship. It will be nice to see people and celebrate the feast together. After so many days of fasting, a person can really use some cheer and warmth found with caring souls. Though the calendar has shifted for our festal celebrations liturgically, I thought it may take more adjustment than it has. Fact is, a fast is a fast is a fast, no matter your date. 40 days without meat and dairy is one thing, but entering into a fast spiritually as we have come to know, is certainly familiar regardless. We will also be enjoying the company of family and friends at my folks' in the late afternoon to feast and be together. Such a wonder it can be sometimes, just to be together. I have missed that familial sense of holidays with my family; it has truly been ages. Many of our family traditions and whatnot are still here, no matter how old I get. I hope to pass that along to Kat as she grows, but more so, I pray she has a deeper connection with what has barely begun to touch my heart.

We are essentially broke, but not because of buying gifts, it just is that way. I feel most blessed in having practically no money for most of the month, yet have the most rewarding and moving season I can remember. It is yet another reminder of how we do not need things to occupy our hearts and lives, but people, moments, benevolence, kindness, peace, mercy, and most certainly love are key to survival! I struggle and am absolutely imperfect, but in my weakness I have found strength. In darkness there is beauty and light to be found in shades and tones of splendor, for every night has its morning just as each night has its stars.

Peace be unto you all and much love!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Forest Walking

It is a muddy clay that is underfoot in these hills and mountains. The very same that has molded the prints of the creatures that wander these woods. Today, on our daily outing following breakfast, we went the road less travelled in these parts, which is saying something, because you have to know them in order to navigate them without losing your way. In frozen mud we found cougar tracks and also bobcat. There were deer also, but the most exciting were the cats.

There is a curiosity to see them with one's own eyes, but knowing that is less than advisable, at least for the mountain lion. It was wondrous to see such perfectly made feet, in a full set of its paws, set in the mud. We are learning to distinguish the times from our rains, freezes, thaws, snows, etc. that would give opportunity to a creature for making such prints.

I am in awe of the beauty and magnificence, but also the sheer magnitude of the awakening of the piece of ourselves that we cannot hear in the bustle of the cities and towns. We are quietly beginning to hear the voice that calls from down within, which speaks to each of us in turn. To be so near all this life is truly breathtaking and humbling.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Slava Bogu

Since living on the little farm, which Katherine has aptly dubbed "The Lord's Land", our lives have taken an unexpected turn, however it is as good as ever. We are decidedly learning the season of change and what they bring, naturally following the daily cycle of rhythm for wake and sleep, and figuring out a balance for work, play, pray, and relax.

It isn't any wonder that we have been given a new perspective on a great many things. We are grateful for all the land produces and dream in seedlings and harvests, chicks and goats, berries and orchard offerings. The rise and set of the sun and moon ushers a great peacefulness into an otherwise busy and hectic day. We wake, spend the morning as a family over breakfast, do schoolwork, dishes, housework, let chickens out and check their food, dogs in and out, perhaps a nature walk, all the while planning greater projects for the afternoon's engagement.

The warm, long days of plenty have given way to the cool, darker days of quiet solitude. Yes, there is always something to be done, but it can be metered more easily in the autumnal winter-scape where fewer balls are left to juggle and priorities can be made. This is the home of my heart on this world and should passing into Eternity resemble any of what we are so blessed to encounter here, may God have mercy on us all, that we should be so fortunate to partake of then.

I am so full in all my senses being immersed in such tangible Divinity, I find I have fewer places within me with need. There is little left to need, when all is such a beautiful provision. It is work, but it is good work. It is hard, but it is a struggle worth battling. It is always something, but it is everything we never knew it could be, and more.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life and Times

I have begun knitting my own sweater for the first time. I have made other things for myself that I wear, but never a full sweater. I have made them for others, but never for myself. My dear friend and fellow knitter, Val, gave me some delicious rust colored yarn and I have finally come up with an idea of what to make with it. I have designed the pattern myself and I am looking forward to seeing what comes of it. So far, it is actually pretty good. I am pleasantly surprised by the way it is working up and will share pictures when I am done.

I have ever so many knitting projects that I need to finish, I have just not found my rhythm with knitting since our move and it has become a little bit difficult, at times. Knitting has been a source of peace and comfort, while creating useful, beautiful items, in moments of struggle. I truly love knitting, even though my hands have begun to cooperate less than in the past. I have to finish two other sweaters: one for Kat (the sleeves have yet to get on the needles), and doing the neck edge for a family member, which requires some focus and concentration I have not been able to really muster lately. Oh well, in due time.

In other news, things are coming along on the farm. We have encountered some bumps, but they were to be expected, though it has left little down time from work. We will get there, especially after a calendar year of seasons to be acquainted with and the rhythm of the farm, not to mention, the addition of goats in the springtime! Kat is especially excited about the prospect of the goats coming. She has had her life dream come true at such a young age. I asked where she saw herself when she was grown up and she told me that she might have some more animals, go to town for a few things, and church. Yeah, she does not anticipate much change in her life and I do hope she is able to follow her dream as long as possible.

The weather is yet another thing to contend with, since the rain and snow makes or interesting mud and a couple weeks ago, we had awful wind. The wind was so violent it kept most of us in restless and fitful sleep the entire night. I remember waking a number of times and only knowing I had been asleep, because I opened my eyes and was conscious of the blasted wind and would fall off again into a sleep of little comfort and peace. That day was a rough one to be had, though we came out of it better in the end.

Well, that is about it for now, but I am supremely glad to be back on here. I had searched for a blogger app, but to no avail, until today. I had been trying to post from being signed in through our web browser, but it kept having a malfunction and not allowing me to do anything. So, this makes all the difference in the world! Yay!

Happy Time

I adore autumn! The beauty in the colors of change are amazing and majestic!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Right Now

We have had our first real snow and a nearly harrowing trip to town in the midst of it, but we were on our way to the Holy Unction service, which my dad and a few other members of our church family, were having prayers and anointing for their illnesses. It was beautiful, but I might have done without so many people on the side of the road, or blocking it, in the case of the big rig that couldn't make the turn and was stopped on the uphill in nearly both lanes completely. We managed and on the way back up, we stopped to help a carload of guys on their way to perform in town and had hit a slick piece and ended up on the side of the road, but thank God they didn't hit a tree and no one was hurt, however, one of their tired had been knocked from its seal and was not looking so good.

Ah, the farm life! So unpredictable, yet so sleepy, at times. We are doing well, but it is all we can do to stay on top of most things. The weather is beautiful here, but it is not a good indication of what it'll be like in town, or even at the summit, or whatever little area we drive through. I have really enjoyed the change of season, which is beautiful and calm, but there is seemingly no end to the antics that can happen in any given day. Between chickens jumping the fence to peck at any neighboring yard, one side of which is our neighbor's cow and horse pasture, and cows making a wrong trn during their roundup and nearly stampeding through our fenceline and having their way with things. What a life! We do enjoy the adventure, but getting broken in to a new routine and lifestyle can be somewhat tiring.

I rarely get online anymore, hence fewer posts. I pretty much only look in the mirror if I know I will be seeing someone off of the property, or am going to town/church. Television has become a thing of the past and I hardly know what is on, or when, and we even hardly watch movies due to our schedule. I am only now finding time to devote to knitting, because there aren't so many farm chores to tend. Going forward evermore, but in a torrent of fury and purpose.

Tomorrow we have our church Thanksgiving feast after the service so that we will be able to celebrate the holiday before the fast begins. This is new for us, as we have been on the old style/Julian calendar for over a decade, so for at least the better part of the year, things will be a little different. The trade off of not celebrating Thanksgiving on the civil holiday is that the Apostles' fast in the summer following Pentecost will finish in time to have a regular ol' 4th of July bash.

It is hard to believe I get to see my family for many of these days and holidays; it has truly been forever, it seems, because between people's health, travel, and time/money, we haven't been able to make it happen. My dad's health in consideration, I am especially grateful we get to be here for his birthday in a couple weeks and spend the holiday's and our birthday's with him and the family. In the past 2 calendar years, before we moved here, we had gotten to see my parents for a total of 11 or 12 days, half of which were poor health days and not much can be done but being glad of togetherness.

Well, I think that is all for now. Talk to you all soon, and thank you so much for your comments and reading; I am not able to properly respond sometimes, due to low internet usage.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Seasons of My Life

I was born in springtime, when the world awakens and breaks it winter fast. The chill warms into rain and shine to bring flowers of new growth and beauty. New life abounds infinitely, as creatures stir to co-Create, whether for the first time or once again. As is spring, so is childhood.

I was married in the summer of my life, where everything is bright and lively, anticipating the glorious long days of life, giving way to beauty, energy, and endlessness. I became a mom and wife in the same fragrant season with great slendor and awe, bringing to fruition a multitude of dreams and the next chapter to begin.

I have moved in the autumn of my life, back to a place where I was young. I revisit old haunts in memories, places, and images that transport my mind to yesterday, as I purposefully look to preparation of tomorrow. I am drawn to ready myself for the eventual eternal winter that will fall upon us all. I think of the generations who have come before me and the line that I perpetuate. Magnificent and long-suffering, are a great many who have come in turn, with fascinating stories of their own.

I see trees withdraw their energies and bring forth a beauty that is enhanced by the subtle drear in the air. Though the sleep of winter sits impending, the land tranforms to welcome her chill and twilight. Just as the apple tree needs a winter rest uninhibited in order to prosper, so too, the soul must prepare for the fruit it must bear through a season of contemplation and preparation, perchance to be reborn into the eternal spring of the Resurrection of all life into One Love and communion with Creation and Truth.

I find I do not fear death, only an unrepentant and mindless life lived, because we all must die to live again in Eternity. We die now, that we may live in eternity of the day of Resurrection.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

School, Life, and Our Mountainside

So, we got Kat a real workbook for schooling. *GASP* This does not mean we are abandoning our unschooling approach to pretty much everything and she was a bit less than enthused, but at least it is Brain Quest with all kinds of pictures and bright colors. We do not ask that she do any of it consecutively, just that she find a few pages to work on each day. She is now more on board and is happy to see what she has finished bits and pieces, though it has only been a week. Miss Anna will be working with her on reading and language arts, which is half of the book, along with whatever curriculum Anna deems worthy to be taught, since she is a former language arts teacher.

Get this. Kat...likes...math! WOOT! She likes math like her mama and I am redicovering my own love for it as we work with angles and numbers. She is a lot like her papa in a great many ways, particularly with intereset in school subjects, but this is one we can relate to and do together. I was actually late leaving the house today because I got sucked into doing math with her.

Ok, I think I am finished with that bit...for now. Though we have not had any rain yet this season, which is rather unusual, the air has begun to change, while the plants and the earth make the push to sleep the winter away. I no longer feel the heat pressing in to drive us further into preparation of the upcoming winter, but even the trees and creatures have made it well-known that it is time to slow and what is done settles, but what has yet to be done, may wait another day. We are not amidst the autumn foliage just yet, but the transformation has set in and we will move with the tides of the mountainside.

I sit at coffee and think of the knitting to be done, all the while having two projects sitting next to me in a bag, awaiting my reimmersion. It will come in time. I realize that the cold, wet months to come will offer a great deal of time to knit away, but my thoughts turn to getting nestled into our little hobbit-esque house to seek solace and perhaps stumble upon peace.

Who knows how much I will be on here, but I will try to update things as it is presented to us. Much love to all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Life, Farm, Anniversary, and Whatnot

So very much time has passed since I have last written, but here I am! I am not lost forever, I promise. That being said, we are settling into the realities of our new adventure. I say realities because have to come to ters on what our country life truly entails. We are 32 miles from town, but travel time varies depending on weather and, lately, whether there are hunters swarming the area because rifle season has opened and they are up and down the road. This winter will certainly be an interesting introduction into many things, but judging whether we ought to even attempt leaving our mountainside for town during poor weather, or how best to keep the woodstove, and even what and how much food stores to keep around. I expect I will have soup on nearly every day and the apples that we have picked for storage will be made into crisps and cider, or eaten whole.

The Farmer's Almanac says that, though we are having a longer and warmer than usual season of warmth right now, we should expect a wetter than normal winter, which means snow at our altitude. Even if we don't get the snow directly every time, we have a nearly 5500 ft. pass to cross on Greensprings mountain just to get to town, which will likely get snow when we get rain. It will be interesting, to say the very least, acclimating to the weather and whatnot, but I am extremely grateful that we got here when we did so we will already be used to our house and grounds. We are all familiar with most things in our new environment, so as the seasons finally change, I believe we will not have quite the adjustment as we might, had we come out sooner.

It has been nice taking some time to see family and friends. Church has also been a blessing and I was just mentioning to our new Matushka how it is nice that we have the solid cycle of the church year of feasts and services that stays constant, even amidst all kinds of change and disruption in life and family routine. Truly, it is a Godsend to have such grounding, because the whole world outside can change and fall apart, but the cycle and seasons within the church stay steadfast as an undercurrent of strength.

We are currently at a bed and breakfast for our anniversary, the 10th, to be exact. We are a week past, but it is perfect timing. It has crossed my mind that it is a bit odd to be on an anniversary getaway with Jay and be on the computer, however, we only use internet at our neighbors house, and relatively minimally at that. Last night was the first time in weeks that I sat down to watch a show with Jay and I have learned how much I can do, and even prefer to be, without tv and movies. That doesn't mean that we won't be cuddled up watching movies this winter as we stay warm inside, all the while the frozen grounds renew themselves for spring and a new crop, but I am perfectly happy not having the distraction.

We brought our bikes to the B&B and expect to ride to town 1 mile away and shop around, perhaps to have lunch/dinner. With breakfast so late, as we sat down at 10 a.m., I am sure our afternoon meal will serve a dual meal purpose and we will work on snacks and wine later. We have been the only guests, thus far, so we have the run of this historic two-story house to ourselves, I almost don't want to go to town. It is going to be another sunny, beautiful day, so we probably had better take advantage of it. I must say that I am not sure what to do with all this time without having chores to tend, but I did bring knitting and books, should I wish to get into them. We already talk about so many things as the days pass that coming to a place like this affords us the opportunity to chat in peace without interruption, but we also have few things to discuss. Now, to be sure, it isn't as though we are dull, but I think that we maintain ur marriage quite well that we are not in need of those things, but mostly not being responsible for a great many things in a day and being able to go out on a whim to little shops and eat whenever, not just between jobs.

In closing of this rather extensive blather, I would say that we all love our little life on the farm, in the country, quietly discovering many more wonders in life. We have 4 hens laying, 15 more who are up and coming, with 6 baby chicks awaiting their turn to be in the big house with the other lady hens. Our dogs love it, Kat is in kid heaven, with a creek nearby to always be able to wash and water her ponies and horses, the upstairs to herself, and her job as chicken mistress and resident spunky kid. Jay's health is also contnuing to be restored, bit by bit, and we both appreciate the honest and worthy work of the farm. We hope to roll into spring with a readiness to propagate and flourish!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blessed Be

I lived to wake another day
To move toward a new beginning
But also old friends.
To bring with us great love
Mingled with a small weight;
This bittersweetness and beauty
Of grown by the tending of love.
A firm and fragile vine
It spans a vastness of the heart
Both through swells of pain and joy.
The fruit of which has fed us,
For as the rain has come in time,
It waters this vine of growth
Giving new life strewn with blessings.

I have come to know
That the greatness of God,
Which permeates us all,
Often comes to us in glimpses.
Waves of glory and light
Rush in a mere shadow of His love.
A great and transcendant love,
Whose messengers wend their way
Straigt in your heart,
Etching themselves in immortality.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bittersweet Goodbye

I went to knitting tonight. It was and average evening, aside from the fact that it is my last time with the ladies until who knows when, but I am SO glad I went. Though it is sad to actually say goodbye, and mean it, there is some gravity that weighs in to take the measure of what lies ahead. We are really moving. We are going to be gone REALLY soon, and it only truly hit tonight, since it is something I have tried to do every week for the past four years.

I have learned a great deal about myself and others in this time of knitting for my sanity. When Jay first fell ill, it was soon afterward that I found the knitting group, first at the shop, then at a friends' house. I am floored by the love of the group of ladies I have been privleged to get to know. They are, by far, some of the funniest, deep, and smart women I have ever known in my life, thus far. There is a certain beauty about coming together for a shared hobby or, as it were, any craft, though knitting was central.

I went to take mind off of things. Sometimes I did not know who I would meet that understood what we were going through. A word of wisdom, sympathy, or assurance would be offered as needed. A laugh would often erupt for ay old reason, and I haven't had inside jokes since I was a kid, until I met these girls. Not because anyone was trying to exclude anyone else, but because we would talk of such things that no one else would truly get, unless they were there.

I thought I would cry if they did anything for me, which they did by way of card, food, and gifts, but it was walking out after actually saying goodbye, when I shed my tears of departure. I will miss them something awful, in ways I didn't imagine. They all truly care, have been there for years and know all of our struggles, and have offered me respite and reprieve from in many days of monotonous health issues we were wading through. They know me, because to know me these days, is to know what I have been through and somehow shared in the arduous journey. For as many weeks in a row that I could manage and had, sometimes meeting on the side, outside the main group, if I hadn't any other time, they were there.

Thank God for these ladies, may they have many blessings.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Remembering These Years

We are nearing our ten year wedding anniversary next month. The feast day is for Ss. Joachim and Anna, grandparents of Our Lord. It falls the day after the birth of the Theotokos, just like St. Joseph's is te day following Christ's birth. Anyway, this spring, as things started to become more stable with Jay's health and I was feeling a bit like I was awaiting the other proverbial shoe to drop, I decided that, after all that we have been through, we ought to have a nice 10th celebration. I had begun to squirrel away money to try to go up to the cabins we love so dearly, that offer so much peace and quietude. When everthing hit in early May, those dreams seemed farther and farther away, but we were still hopeful. What a blur it has been since then and now we are going to go live in the woods. What a blessing.

You know, during some of these years, as I look back and ponder the days and moments in time that have shaped today's gratefulness, much of it stems from not realizing how we have been living in a state of survival for a number of years. It is easy to say that is what happened when Jay first fell ill, but it has been truly since Jay was spontaneously taken for training, where we spent our second anniversary eating ribs on a military base with our 1 year old daughter, just before he was inevitably deployed for what would become an eight year journey, though he was in country less than a year. One that took us through some of the darkest places of soul searching, patience, faith, and forgiveness. It amazes me that when in times of darkness, even the slightest hint of light weighs in as mercy, and the slightest tinge of brightness, becomes a source of glory and love. Sometimes we cannot tell how long we have lived in the shadows, until we walk through the door that swings wide open and the sunlight comes gushing through and blinds us.

I have not had much attachment to this physical place, this condo, where we live, but I have become rather partial to the journey and the lessons, the people and love. I do not believe it seems sweeter because we are going, but because when you have the opportunity to behold the final product of many years of work and creation, it is an amazing sight. As with any work of art, there are those highlights that stand out, the crowning moments of smooth perfection in one stroke, and those times of struggle and mistake, but it is still our portrait. I imagine that it is like a sun that, through the years, has slowly been setting, only to rise again in a new place. It is a metamorphosis from an encasement of some ragged times, with bright moments, into a new beginning. It has not been all bad, nor do we expect that what will come is going to somehow be perfect, or even great, but it is a change to try our hand at something new; a way to refine our life lessons. I, for one, am eternally grateful for all of my lessons, whether the gravity has lifted me up, or left me to drop and recover.

This year, after a decade of being married to a man who holds me up, when I just want to give up. Being in a marriage where we do our best to allow one another to be who we are, express it, understand one another, and support each others' decisions. We are going to stay at the B&B around the corner from my parents' house, where they feed you based on whatever food needs, or preferences, you may have, and offers a bit of respite from this perpetual rollercoaster of life. He has often said he may not have any friends, get out of the house, or do anything much at all, if not for me and my prodding, so I am going to take him, for both of us.

Glory to God for all things.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We Feed People and Tales of Packing Woes

So, our time is nearing to be gone, though not soon enough, in my opinion. Not that I am in a hurray to be gone, but I am most certainly in a hurry to be packed and not have to deal with it anymore. All we can do is a little bit at a time, so we are, but it surely makes for a long, drawn out process, it seems. Oh well, it won't be long, I suppose. *SIGH*

On the happy front, we will be celebrating Kat's birthday with all of our friends around tehse parts. I promised her that we would do something and I am a mom of my word, if I can help it. So, saturday morning we will arrive at the park, hopefully before anyone else tries to get there and use the shelter, and await the onset of friends, friends, FRIENDS! She is really looking forward to it and so are we. I am grateful to be able to do this for her, because her friends are at the top of her list of what she will miss most about Colorado.

I realized that when we celebrate, we feed people, but what is more, I have become rather Russian-esque about it. Ha ha! Though I am not quite fully Russian about it, I am close. My chips, guacamole, and hummus with df/gf ice cream cones, has turned into two kinds of chips, salsa, guac, homemade tofu pate, a load of veggie sticks, gf veggie pasta salad, two kinds of grapes, watermelon, 4 kinds of lemonade, half-pint Izze drinks, and 5 kinds of df/gf ice cream cones. It is practically lunch, even though the party starts at 930 am! That's ok, I did grow up in a family where we got special meals for our birthday's and whatnot, so I guess I just take it to the next level and invite 30 or 40 of our closest friends! Glory to God we can do it!

Well, that is the upcoming couple of days and the latest thoughts. I really wish this place would pack itself, or maybe the packing elves would come out of the woodwork in the night and do it for me. Just one more way for me to practice patience, right?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mish Mash Moving Beeswax

Seeing as how we have put down a few roots and founded some routines and a lifestyle after being in the same place for 7 years, you may imagine it is not the easiest to just switch it up overnight. That being said, I wish it was that easy to get this done overnight! We have been swamped with life and such while we try to sort out our immediate plans for the future, but we have recently come to a conclusion, which entails a lot of buckling down.

We have been trying to have our lives as normal as possible up to this point, but that isn't going to work anymore if we are going to move. We have packed a number of things, though it still just looks a mess around here, and we have gotten rid of a ton, or so it would seem if we didn't have that much more lurking around the corner. By no means are we hoarders, but for goodness sakes, where on earth did all this come from?!!? I suppose when you lay down some roots, it is amazing what they can produce! Such a challenge.

We expect to be leaving around the same date, it looks like we will be having a short sale, since we are upside down in this mortgage, and we are all antsy to get out of town without even being packed. We discussed in depth how we need to really get this show on the road and be really serious about moving. Before we know it, we will be smack dab in Oregon, and I am sure we would all like it to be timely. Between all the church feast days, family birthdays, and our 10th anniversary, September is a busy month.

Our current packing regime is as follows: Monday through friday are packing days until around 4 or 5 pm, depending on when we are finishing up a project. Weekends are reserved for church, visiting Jay's mom and dad up north, Kat's Colorado birthday party, and seeing our church family. Wouldn't that be spectacular if we stick to it?!?!?! Our date we would like to be packed by, considering we can make it happen, is August 17th. We won't leave for a bit after that, but at least the feast of Transfiguration can be spent without any major bogging down of housing business.

I need to stop staying up so late! Things I have always been include, nightowl and last minuter. This does not, however, mean I dislike mornings or lack patience or foresight, only that this comes most naturally to me and I get discouraged by having to change my routine. I am rather adept at staying up into the wee hours, wherein I can contemplate anything I wish, or zone out, so I am in better spirits for facing the world next day. In fact, I oftentimes meet the next day as soon as it is rung in. I have a feeling that this old habit will die away quickly with the rising and setting of the sun on the acres of farmland we will be abiding on.

I almost won't be able to believe it until I literally breath it! Acres, creek, greenhouse, little house by the water, garden, bridge, orchard, family, quiet, moon, day and night, chickens, challenges, peace, and thoughts, with new adventures afoot.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Heart Heavy Day

Just after I went to bed last night, a gunman came into a movie theatre hardly 5 miles from our house showing the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie and began shooting. At least a dozen people lost their lives, countless others fight for theirs, and we have two family friends directly effected.

One friend of the family has a teenage daughter who is out of town, though may have been there had she been here, but her friend was shot. She is apparently stable and going to make it, but the trauma is unspeakable.

Another friend had her two older kids in the theatre right next door where bullets ripped through the walls, nearly injuring them. They gave eyewitness accounts of their experience and are currently shaken up.

I pray that the dust settles soon to help people find more answers, but more than anything, I pray for peace. This is an absolute tragedy, it saddens my heart and soul, how could it not. Peace may not come soon, but I hope and pray that it comes in time.

Lord have mercy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Music

Kat and I laid there on her bed tonight, after she got in her p.j.'s and we called papa into the room, though I cannot remember why. When he arrived, he mentioned that it was creepy, because he couldn't tell whose voice he was hearing. She is at that age, I suppose, but still a mite young, where she is starting to sound like me.

My sisters and our mom have a always had a way of sounding like one another, but to each other, we are all very different. Perhaps it is this difference that we can detect on a minute level that helps us to have an ear for singing. People used to call the house and it didn't matter who answered the phone, we would inevitably get mixed up with someone else. It certainly was of no help that there were four of us to contend with, so I can understand to a degree, but there is nothing quite like your mom's co-worker diving head on into a conversation about medical whatnot, when you are expecting your best friend's phone call. To be fair, there were a few close friends who could tell the difference between us, or at least now it wasn't us.

Ok, so back to my original purpose here. We have the same pitch. Kat and I can synchronize our voices and, with the right training, we will be able to harmonize without effort. It is a fun little addition to our crazy lives, but I imagine us sitting in the great out of doors, papa on the guitar strumming a chord, and we girls, singing little song. Just tonight we sang our musical interpretation, however goofy, of Let It Snow! replete with random sound effects. like popcorn popping.

So far, this is a really great part of my job as mommy, especially after a day of backache that caused a headache, this was supremely wonderful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More and More

It seems like every couple of days something else is changing, and I am NOT just talking about this whole shindig all together! We have confirmed we are leaving and chose the end of August, great. Then we found out that Kat and Jay's Godmother's would be at Platina over labor day weekend. If may not be such a big deal, but they live on the east coast, Kat has never met her Godmother in person, and it has been over a decade since Jay has spent any time with his. So, what does this all mean? We are leaving after the liturgy for the Dormition of the Theotokos, o.s., which is just a couple days sooner.

We went from thinking we would get an entire moving truck for all of our 'stuff' and driving the car out separately, to now thinking that towing a gi-normous trailer behind the car and save more than half the cost, which is huge! That would mean we can spend that money on new items that we left behind, not to mention there is already a decent amount of furniture in the house we will live in, because it was used as a sort of guest house. That being said, this completely reshapes our plan of what will be coming with us. It probably be Kat's bed (she insists on having it), her horses, clothes, etc., Jay's freestanding tool box filled with needed items, my craft stuff minus some fabric with all of the material my mom has, our clothes, bikes, and, um, dogs and cat.

Hmm, what else? Our days are filling with things that need to be done, with a little bit of sanity on the side. It's like we are moving, but we are not. It has been 7 years since we have moved and it still seems a bit surreal. We are looking forward to it, but we all have our struggles in leaving. Kat was just expressing how hard it is going to be to miss her friends, so we are trying to set up some meaningful time with them before we go, plus a birthday party for her, which I still need to plan...ugh.

In all of this, I am realizing the importance of having fewer things in life. How many of them do we really need and how many do we accumulate to make ourselves feel comfortable? That being said, I hope it is a long time before we have to move again, if ever at all!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Swimming in a Massive Pile of Packing

So, we have a plan for getting things done around here, but it doesn't mean it's gonna be easy. In fact, I am feeling a bit swamped and as though I am going to drown in the mess that is our stuff. Jay says I will feel better when the donation truck comes on friday and we have a ton of things gone, and the boxes that are inside, can go in the garage. We have already donated some things to the church if the choose to keep them, packed cookbooks and all of my sewing/knitting bins (but it still feels like too much!), Kat packed some of her more fragile horses, Jay has stripped the hallway book shelves and his own, etc. It just feels like more mess, than progress.

We have to decide what we will actually need, too. Ann already has a number of items in the A-frame because it has been used a sort of guest house, so all of ours aren't needed, but Jay is worried about getting there and wishing we had something we left behind, especially since the size of moving trucks only increases $50, instead of having to replace things for hundreds. I can totally see his point, but once we get there, I really am not looking forward to having to be sure we are uncluttered. This is a huge chance for us to get outta here without so many things. We always try to keep things to a minimum, but they seem to breed like no one's business.

I am trying immensely to enjoy the journey to our new home, but it is increasingly difficult, since we now have a countdown on the books. We expect to be leaving after the liturgy of Dormition (o.s.), aka- Aug. 28. We hope to arrive in Oregon by thursday, unload everything, take the truck back on friday, then send Jay and Kat (minimum) to Platina for the 30 year anniversary of Fr. Seraphim's repose. Both of their Godmother's will be there and Kat has never met hers in person, though even for Jay, he only spent time with her in person 11 years ago. I am happy enough to stay behind to care for the dogs and cat, especially with Ann planning to go. My parents also have made arrangements to go, which they have done regularly since they were close with Fr. Seraphim Rose. He is Godfather to my sister and brother, as well as, another family friend. Needless to say, if they can go, they will.

Oh, and the house itself! We have to decide on whether we rent it out, which we would be most comfortable with if we can lock our % rate on the loan with a refinance, but if not, perhaps a short sale, which looks nicer to me every minute. I know it isn't ideal, but we can't sell it regularly for what it is worth, because we will get hit for a chunk since it never bounced back from the market drop. It has been good for our ARM, because we have such a low percentage, but selling is off the table, unless we want to take out a loan to pay off the rest. The absolute LAST option would be foreclosure, but I am almost positive that one of the other options will work out fine. I just like walking away and starting fresh; we have just had so much pain, illness, and sadness here in this condo. Rest assured, we have had some good times, but this place just makes me think about all the years we spent in some sort of struggle. Between Jay being a workaholic after the war, with little semblance of a marriage and family, to illness that nearly took him from us, and the things that have made their mark on each of us. I am grateful for the lessons, but I am not sure I like the frequent reminders. I am up for some new memories.

Well, here's to new things, but getting there is certainly half the battle, so let's just hope and pray that we keep our sanity in the meantime. Oh yeah, and I promised Kat a birthday party before we leave, because that is all she really requested, so we may combine a going away party with her birthday, just to be sure we see people, even if some of them will still see us again. I figure we will do it about 2 weeks before we leave, that way we aren't crazy busy without time and energy to spend on making sure she gets her fun time.

Ok, that's all...for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dust Begins To Settle

It seems the dust is settling and we are now in the throes of shuffling things into boxes and trying to stay on top of what we are trying to do, like making realistic goals. It is hard when there is much to be done, but also many people to be seen. I have promised Kat a birthday party here with her friends and loved ones before we leave Colorado. It will probably be in early to mid-august, so that doesn't leave me much time for planning. Along with that, we are going to talk with bank about a refinancing to lock in a good rate, which would enable us to rent this condo while we are living in Oregon. We would also like to spend at least a weekend up north to see friends and family who are in the area, maybe a picnic sort of thing, I don't know. If we are renting out our place, we will be painting and redoing flooring, which will take some time, for sure. All while we do our every day house and family maintenence, we are adding a little something to our daily and weekly list of chores.

There are always things that come up that make it harder to go, or make the getting ready more difficult, but that is par for the course in my experience, I only hope and pray it doesn't get too ugly before we actually leave; I need Jay intact, since he has been so much more stable, and my quitting my job has already impacted him for the better. The poor guy had 2 migraines the first week I went in, but just kept pushing onward and upward, if I was going to keep on. As far as the job goes, I began, then we found all of these things come into place, so we knew it wouldn't last and even said that the end of July would be my last, if I didn't finish sooner. I had a pretty good first week, then everything fell apart, both there and at home, and I kept in contact with the manageent. We mutually decided to let me be done already and be home, so I am super grateful. I did learn a lot about myself and I am grateful for the opportunity, but I am supremely relieved I can be here for my family in this time. Yesterday alone was spent doing 'business' that couldn't be taken care of because I was always so tired and in bed so early, we never had a spare moment to tend the tasks at hand.

There is a family reunion in Portland in 2.5 weeks, but we can't go because I am saving our buddy passes to hopefully fly back to CO in december to see Jay's family and only have to buy one ticket then, but I REALLY want to go to the reunion! There is family there that has never met Katherine, who will be 9 this birthday, because all of our trips have been to So. Ore., or to So. Cal., but I suppose we will just have to make some trips northward to see them when we live there. Still, it doesn't exactly make up for getting to go run and play ball with cousins and second cousins in a park in the middle of summer and eat hot dogs and potato salad. (Can you tell I have memories of doing that very thing?) I miss that a lot. I remember going up there for 4th of July one year as a kid and we didn't have any bases for baseball, so we used paper plates...

Goodness, things seem so much like business as usual, but we ARE packing. We haven't moved since we bought this condo 7 years ago tomorrow! Thankfully we have purged some things somewhat regularly, but it still feels like AGES! What to bring, what to leave, what to donate, wat to sell (if anything), what to do?!!? Such a crazy time of change, I can hardly wrap my head around it.

I know this is the right thing, there is no question, so it is a relief, but I lament how sudden this seems to so many of our family and friends here. I mean, we were only discussing it since mid-May ourselves, and for things to be so elastic makes it feel extreme one way, then another, but that is how things often come about. Any other time I have moved, things have come quickly, only months to do it, and they are undeniably set and perfect, though it feels a whirlwind! I await the sharp sting of what will present itself as our draw to stay, but we must keep our 'eye on the prize' as it were, or else we will get caught in what ought not be. I cannot imagine NOT moving to Colorado. I mean, look at my life and loves! But even then there were people and situations that made it seem unnecessary. If I never moved to the city, what sort of life and sanity would I have? Between church family and friends, we are so incredibly blessed it is immeasurable! It has been my stronghold through these years of trial and temptation. Now we embark on a new adventure, wrought with mystery, excitement, and bittersweetness. Though we love so much of what we have, especially our church family, who have been through every step of our struggles and triumph, it is time to leave the nest. Would that our wings fly us to the far reaches of our depth and the inner reaches of ourselves!

I am grateful for all that we have learned, those whom we have had the opportunity to grow with and love, the struggles and reverence that have availed themselves to us, and the sheer mystery of life, love, people, and God we have come to know. I am looking forward to new growth and remembering that which has formed us to this point. I hope we will continue in understanding and wisdom, though many roadblocks would slow us down. I sincerely believe that we are going toward something great and not away from anything here, so it is a wonderous journey we will have.

What a life, love, and mysterious being!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This is Huge

Well, for the biggest news of the decade in our family: We are moving to Oregon. Good grief, if you had asked me two months ago if I would be saying this, I would have thought it eyond crazzy; seriously. We have been discussing it since we visited in California with my parents. We knew there would have to be a lot of things that needed to come together in order to make it happen, and they have all happened in under a week.

First, we had someone come along and help with all our bills for July, because things were very rough. What a relief when they came! We then recieved a statement telling us that Jay's coverage for disability is now doubled and they'd work out rectifying payment when they got it in order. Next, we spoke with Fr. Boris to talk about our ideas and intentions, to which he said we ought to be close to family, instead of further. I called my mom, who then asked people at church to pray for us. My mom called me a couple days later to say that a woman at church has been praying for a long time to have just the right Orthodox family come live on her 5 acres outside of Ashland, in exchange for helping around the property. Phew! I am talking in the span of about 5 days, this all happened! It was last sunday that my mom called and I told her that I was somewhere between hyperventilating and crying, I wasn't sure how to feel or what to think, only that we are grateful!

We have told as many people as we could in person about our intended move. We have accepted the offer to go live on land and work it and expect to be gone in just a couple of months. We hope to rent out our condo, which will take some effort on our part, I only pray it goes smoothly. Please keep us in our prayers as we make this huge transition. On the downside, we will be missing our friends and family out here, though I continue to think about what we are going toward, rather than what we are leaving. Nonetheless, there are a number of people we have become close with and our church has become a beacon and stability through many rought waters. I want to cry every time I think of having to leave them, but I know we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. If I have learned anything, it is how, when things are meant to be, they simply fall into place, as though they were just waiting for the right time.

Today during the homily, which Fr. Jan gave (which I always look forward to it!), he was talking about the Gospel reading in today's service, which includes the swine who take on the demons cast out of the people, then run themselves to the sea, where they perish. Among many of the things he mentioned, I relished to hear the part about our lives and how, sometimes when God touches it, things don't always look like we imagined, but often, they are far greater than we could ever hope to dream. This is how I see this move. We are meant to go, it is time to be back in the valley. I am older, wiser, stronger, and basically a solidified self, to the point of knowing myself, family, faith, and heart more than ever before. I am grateful for the opportunity to be near my family again, especially with my dad's health in consideration. I thank you in advance for your prayers.

Glory to God for all things!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Bucket of Blessings; A Heart That is Full

Well, since last I have posted, a few things have come to pass. I have completed every portion of my necessary paperwork, copies, drug screen (yuck), and now await the background check to come back for me to begin working downtown. I will be a breakfast attendant at a nice hotel, where lots of business people frequent and they are apparently booked out through the summer. I have mixed feelings about it, but it will pay some bills and even give the possibility for benefits, should I stay on longer than the 90 preliminary period full time.

Speaking of bills getting paid, Jay has been busy contacting people who help veteran's with this sort of thing and we meet on wednesday, as it currently stands. This place should cover all necessities, like mortgage, electric, etc. I know he is relieved that someone is able to get us through this next cycle of bills and it gives us some wiggle room while we await the VA decision, which I hope will be in before August's mortgage (and I pray it is favorable!)

On top of that, we have some wonderful family, and friends who are also family, who have stepped up to help with some extra things. A few things here and there have been great, but I especially appreciate people willing to send Katherine to these little camps she wants to attend. She has already been to one swim session, with her second having started today, a weeklong art camp with multi-media clay creations, helped buy her snacks and pay for the gas to get to and from activities and we are looking into a Victorian Living 3 day camp, so long as they have room left. She really wants to do another art camp, either 3-D or board game making, which is taught by the same teacher as clay, but I told her she is going to have to figure out who she might call to see if they can put a few dollars toward one of them. One is 4, the other, 5 days, and because all materials are there and her classes are 3 hours long, they don't come cheap! Thankfully, as a resident, we do save some money on enrollment, probably because we are taxpayers, or some such.

I so dearly feel loved these days, as it is completely evident by all of the people who are coming to our aide, between giving us things like food, grocery gift cards, money, classes for Kat, moral support and empathy, jobs for me to earn some extra money, etc. From church to friends and family, we are smothered with love and kindness and I am learning to count my blessings even better than I have ever known. Such a blessing.

Yesterday I sat and listened to the homily that Fr. Boris gave. I got particularly choked up as I heard the words he spoke, as though they were meant for, not only my ears, but, my heart. He was talking about praying for our family and friends, and never giving up on anything, because we it is our faith and prayer that help spread God's love and miracles, even when we have no reason to believe something will come to be. I wish I could portray it here, but it is as though the words went into my heart and the door locked them in, to settle in and perhaps never to escape. It may not be exact, but it is what I heard and took away from it.

Oh, I nearly forgot! Kat won a silver medal in her hand form at the ICMAC tournament in Parker!!! Her goal was to medal and feel proud of her Kung Fu, both of which were accomplished, and I am pleased. The morning was bumping getting things squared away, but it all went well after that and it was such a pleasure to see her bring her game face. She even went first!! All of the kids did a great job; they worked hard and did well. I had squirreled away a few dollars to take her out to lunch afterward and I am grateful I didn't have to break that promise due to something else taking that money's place. :) She wanted asian food, of which she ordered hot and sour soup and fried rice. What an accomplishment!

Ok, I think that is it for now. I will try to update as things come, but my schedule begins REALLY early in the morning (which makes things interesting for transport, but that is an entirely other post), 5 days a week, and I may not have the faculties to put it out there as often as things change, but I do hope to be more recent than the past time between postings. Hugs and love to all! Glory to God for ALL things!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Continuation of Thought...

One of my favorite things in the world is going to church. The sights, smells, and sounds, through prayers, candles, and incense, bring an array of memories and thoughts, both from the past and those that are being made. The immutable calm of the services that entreat the soul to open and bud, like the perennial flowers of the heart, warm the innermost being and soothe the greatest troubles. Whether it is a flow of soft tears that wring out discomfort that the world has begun to nest in us, or the quiet beauty in the constancy of the Alpha and Omega in the various ways we are enveloped in God's omnipresence. I strive to understand, not only in my mind, but mainly in the heart which is not of my making, and stand in awe of the messages that seep into me to form the story that is to the glory of God. To hear the Words spoken with such intent and received with an even greater gravity that touches me to the very core, He slowly and deliberately etches out my path. Unfolding before me, I am taken to places I have only dreamed existed, and I come to rest by the shores of still waters, where I may see my reflection and search within in hopes of finding the glimmer of light, life, and hope which He has set there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Marriage of Thoughts

I sang in a lovely wedding this afternoon at church, which was fairly full considering it was friday afternoon. The bride is Russian and the groom is American, both Orthodox. Such a wonderful adventure to embark upon; it made our wedding surface in my memory of all those years long ago. I guess that is part of what is nice about the simplicity and traditional service of marriage in the Orthodox faith, because it is so familiar when everyone has the same prayers, epistles, and Gospel read for them. Yet, while having them all the same in service, it is somehow different every time I am privileged to attend or participate in.

Just like the feasts of the church revolving in sacred manner throughout the year with purpose and staunch focus in an effortless suspension, so does the beauty and power of the wedding ceremony. The experience, though hardly unique, causes a perfect union of mind and soul perpetuating growth and understanding. Whatever place we are in, wherever we seem to find ourselves in our lives, there is something there to speak to our hearts and draw us in. I keep going back for the clues that keep piecing together to make the masterpiece of His making. Beauty, grace, love, and perfection abound, though I often delay its full effect in my limits and brokenness. In opportunities like these, I am supremely grateful for the gentle lessons and blessings that are apparent, helping me to see with the eyes He created, not those that I have fashioned for myself.

Glory to God for all things! Peace be with you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Full of Conundrums and Blessings

I think that, in our current circumstance, one of the hardest things is food. No, not the procuring of food, because we came home with a TON from church yesterday because we 'had' to have it, but food in and of itself. We can't buy the cheapest. We can't afford to buy anything outside of our dietary limitations, because the end result would be a further mess. So, the hardest part is making sure we have all the things we need without breaking the bank, which is precious little these days. We are trying to ride our bikes to save on gas, which is an easy thing to squander, but between heat, wind, a bridge under construction, and an eight year old, we surely have our battle to ride cut out for us.

Let's see, too much heat for red-heads isn't good, couple that with the cost of sunscreen that we can actually use, and it renders us very unlikely to go out for very long during any peak hours, not to mention saving the sunscreen for the girl who can swim across the street in our condo pool for free. Wind, oh the wind! We are decently to the east of the metro city, so I am not talking about breezes, I am referring to the Colorado gusts of magnificent proportions that come at you out of nowhere, and sometimes they just hang around for hours! Who wants to ride in a 15-20 mile an hour headwind, or gusts that set you off balance? Furthermore, construction makes everything all the more interesting, especially if it is one of the shortest ways on bike. I swear it to you, people designing american cities gave so little thought to bike riding convenience and safety, it truly makes me a bit frustrated. Top all of that off with a girl who is strong and capable, but marry it to any one or two of the above mentioned setbacks and I promise you, Chinese water torture has nothing on that of a disgruntled girl. It is certainly put rightly when it is said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I can't say I blame the kid, having all sorts of things stacked against you when you are trying so hard to do something. Jay and Kat tried to make their way to get a few groceries on bike just last week and it wasn't any of the earlier disasters that struck, but the rain came, and not a simple sprinkle, but a steady downpour before they were a mere 1/4 mile from our front door.

Suffice it to say, saving gas isn't the easiest of tasks, therefore a few dollars must be allocated to get to where we need to go. We have church every weekend, Kat has a couple family and friends who are sponsoring her in some activities, so she can go to some camps and whatnot that are only offered in the summer; gas simply adds up before you can bat an eye! *Sigh* We will do as we can, it is just a slippery slope right now.

We went in to the VA for the last of Jay's compensation appointments, this was for PTSD. Now, we get to hurry up and wait to see how much sweet time they will take until they decide whether he gets any comp for that and if they will shift his TBI compensation percentage at all. It would be something if we had a timeframe, perhaps, or even whether we might count on getting anything out of it, so we may be able to plan more than a couple weeks into the future. I am throwing all of that caution to the wind, though, because if I think too much about how very little prospect we have in our near future, I may lose my mind, so instead, I am planning things, while hoping and praying that we have what we need to make them happen. My mom is adamant that they will compensate fully this time; I wish she was in charge of the VA comp and pen.

I have been looking for work, but nothing has come of it. It is a daunting task when feeling the weight of your family's survival rest upon your shoulders, all the while making sure that my main trust stays outside of myself, in God's hands. Trying to figure out how to play caretaker, wife, mom, and of what those things entail, while searching for more things to add to that list is a rather tiresome undertaking, I must say. Now Jay says that if we don't have something lined up with an income of any sort in the next two weeks, we will be cutting off all minute extra's and selling the car so we can make our mortgage and such other unavoidable bills, like the phone and hot water.

It all sounds a bit dreary, but all in all, I wish we didn't have to deal with money, because we, as a family, have been doing fairly well. There is always a silver lining in every single storm, I promise you. If you have not seen it ever, I implore you to search your heart and soul to begin to recognise those things that are sacred. Being this broke, without hardly a prospect or a penny, has its upside. I have likened it to a form of dying, wherein the eyes are opened to such a caliber of existence that those things that don't truly matter simply fade away into nothingness. The important things surface and we float along the water's top where the beauty and tranquility are sensed with a new kind of depth and meaning. Glory to God!

We are in the thick of a balancing act where, if we think too much of the future, we cannot see that which is in front of us, but if we think only of today, we fail to be prepared for what may come. It's a very real example of having to expect the worst, but hope for the best. We have absolutely no reason to believe that we won't have some provision for our wellbeing, but we must always be aware that it is not always our monetary and tangible existence that God wishes to increase, but often our character and spiritual strength.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us! Peace be with you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fire in the Night

I have come. To where, I know not.
This place seeps right into my veins.
It pulls at the strings and lights a match of arousal.
Thickly as it coats, my sight is slighted.
Familiar songs call longingly, as inward they are kept;
Through darkened doorways come melodies of yesteryear.
To dance or to cry; teardrops answer without pause.
A cleansing and a purpose, but stinging nonetheless.
Swaying to the lull, as gravity heightens reality.
This is no dream, but life in itself.
Twists and turns remind the heart and soul,
This is not home, this temporal life.
Trial by fire, so I have heard it called,
Burns for harm or redemption, as it enwraps the heart and mind.
Would that faith hold me firm,while He guide my feet aright
In the fiery furnace of temptation and want.
I forge my humanity into fullness and seek Divinity in plenitude.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The 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?

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

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

One 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.

For 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.

And 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.

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

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

Hide 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.

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

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

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

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

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

~Psalm 27(26, septuagint)KJV

This is one of my all time favorite psalms which has often spoken directly to my soul, playing the necessary melody on my heartstrings many times. As of late, it is but a shadow and a whisper in my ear, begging to be that which it once was. I seek it now. I yearn for its comfort that will not come, but faintly it plays in the background, calling to me, calling... Would that its words strike the strings in harmony that I may dance to the tune of its meaning and life! Instead, they lie in wait, concealed until the moment I am ready to hear them once more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Awaiting the Parents

Well, my folks should be here in a few hours, granted they got on the road at a reasonable time this morning from the hotel where they stayed. We have been to the store to grab a few items, like dog food, because the wee little dog has eaten her weight in her kibble, which has never before happened in the history of her life with us! We will go pick some fresh lemons from a neighbor's tree in about an hour, or so, and that will serve to keep us from the waiting frenzy that is likely to build with every hour, mainly coming from Katherine and her massive excitement to see her Gran and Grawmps.

We went to the beach last night for sunset and had a lovely time. There were a number of pelicans who came to welcome us, upon our arrival and a couple more groups to bid us hello. Kat did some bodysurfing, I did a little bit of Taiji, Jay took pictures and video, while Aunt 'Sha' played in the waves and breathed in the ocean. The water was nearly as warm as the air, which is apparently warmer than the other day during the afternoon, when Jay and Jim West were boogie boarding. It was nice to see them; those kids are growing like nothing else!!!

I slept well, though was regularly prodded awake by the chirruping from a number of giddy birds who appeared to be supremely excited and appreciative that the sun rose...again. I think we should all have such perspective that we see each light of day as a gift, rather than a dread, no matter the weather.

Well, I think I will eat something and get ready for our lemon picking escapade! Happy thursday, all!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Since We Left Home

Oh my goodness! Since we left the house for vacation we have found out that timing has changed for my folks to meet us due to a foot infection not responding to treatment for the first round, ergo our time has been shifted; the VA is finally ready to sit with Jay for compensation, 9 months later; Jay's long-term disability apparently has decided that the one physical therapy evaluation is good enough to drop his coverage and told him that they think he can work (ha!!); and, the icing on the cake is losing both goldfish within days of one another! Lord, have mercy!

Okay, so I can be flexible with our timing here, because I want to see my parents for more than 3 stinking days, considering it has been over a year now since the last time we were together. I am only hoping that the VA is ready to take Jay on full time so we won't have any issues with the longterm, but the insurance was saying that they'd pay him disability through today, so when we get home, I may be in the market for a job, just to make ends meet until we hear from VA compensation. They are supposed to be checking to see whether there is a grace period for discontinuing the compensation through the insurance, but I can't hold my breath. We aren't even home so we can point out the part in the packet that Jay thinks he read it in. It could go one of two ways: We may have a minimum of a month at full pay to figure things out, or we may come home to just enough to pay the mortgage! Don't you just LOVE surprises?!?!

Poor Katherine and her goldfish! I had to tell her that Ponyo and Tellie 'didn't' make it and I was really sorry, but we can get two new fish when we get home. I told her that right before Jay talked to the insurance people and I am a mom of my word...

Getting turned on our heels like this is rather exhausting! When it rains, it pours and it has been coming down this past week. Thankfully, in case things are supremely tight soon, I have saved a little bit of money for our anniversary in september, since it is our 10th and we have been through plenty in that decade, I thought we should do something nice. Perhaps everything will have come out in the wash by then, if I have to use it for daily living expenses.

Please keep us in your prayers as we wade through the mire and hope to emerge more stable on the other side. Glory to God for all things! (even the stuff we don't choose, or exactly want/appreciate at the time)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

If I Could Break Open My Heart...

If I could break open my heart, you would see a mishmash of people who fill it. The instances and words that have shaped this life and love.

If I could break open my heart, you would feel what I feel and know what I know, in ways that are foreign to those who take for granted the beauty in a simple breath of sunshine.

If I could break open my heart, you may realize that the rainbow you see is you in the reflection of Divinity.

If I could break open my heart, you may see where its seams stitch in the broken pieces that come to form the imperfection that it stands to be; a beauty and peace of its own.

If I could break open my heart, you would be welcomed in to a vastness that is not my own, but where the door is always open, like the chasm and break in my heart.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Ride in the Rockies

Kat and I used our Groupon to go on a guided horseback ride in Estes Park. We went through a bunch of the ranch's land, but also on the Roosevelt National Forest land. Here is my girl on her horse, Pinecone, and I am right behind her on Mama.

This one below is my cowgirl awaiting our ride.

It was a beautiful day for a ride, where the clouds cleared for a mostly sunny ride, without rain and hardly any wind. Just after we got back from our two hour ride, the clouds had gathered again to rain on the ranch, so we were there in the most perfect window.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garden Patch Delight

Our garden patch is coming along nicely. We have a myriad of items growing, though it is little of each, but variety is the spice, right? We have rainbow chard, snow white carrots, little finger carrots, spinach, miniature bok choy, rainbow beets, red speckled romaine lettuce, lacinato (dinosaur) kale, red and french breakfast radishes, and chives (which came back from last year with a vengeance!). I was watching things sprout and was trying to figure one of them out. The reason being, I didn't remember we had planted any spinach, so it looked curiouser than the chard or kale and, until today, I was scratching my head as to what it could be! Hurray for spinach!

I am looking forward to getting some of these tasty treats soon, but we will be leaving to California soon and will be relying on our house sitter to water them, so we might enjoy the spoils when we return. I think she will do a good job and they will seem ENORMOUS upon our return. The radishes will be ready near our departure, so we may have something to bring with us, yay! They are supposed to be ready 21 days from sprouting and they sprout pretty quickly. I am looking forward to the beets, since I planted them too late last year and I LOVE beets, root and greens! They are super good for you, so if you have never tried them, you should. Chard and beets are in the same family, so just imagine you are eating chard when you eat the beet greens, but know that you are loading up on some serious vitamins when you do!

Well, I think that is all for now, I just wanted to write a little something today.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's My Wonderful Life!

Some new points of interest that have been thrown my way are as follows: Remember those things we say and do when interacting with one another; no matter how we plan things, our lives with turn out just as they ought, no matter our struggle to the contrary; and just how much my midlife crisis looks an awful lot like the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Now, to explain myself. I was a juror in a trial case today, which was fairly quick and not that bad, but it was a very good reminder that something, once said or done, cannot always be undone, no matter the scale on which is was offered. Whether it is for the good or bad, but the bad ones can haunt a person for a long time, if not forever. Bad choices, once made, can spiral into things we never mean to have happen. (In case you are wondering, the case was a break up gone bad and police were involved, but no one was hurt.) Even though we have these grand plans, these amazing goals and things we would like to accomplish, we will be who we ought and will impact those we are meant to on whatever level, so long as we are receptive. I have found that, when a person is chronically ill, it takes too much energy to put up the always nice and put together face that we like the world to see. Precious energy that needs to be conserved for whatever reason, but invaluable, just the same. We get to know that person on a different level and I do believe it goes for caretakers, as well, because their energy is just as golden. We plan, we plan, we plan, but what is our real purpose? To touch and love one another. To be a crucial piece in this life puzzle. To understand our beauty and part in this wonderful Creation. We may not get to see all of the pieces, but just having the opportunity to appreciate and care for one another is a gift in itself. And caring for one another does not have to be what many believe it to be, but can simply be a smile or a hug. Perhaps an ear to listen or caring words of understanding. I have known a great many people in my life. I will know a great many more, but I have been having these encounters with new and old friends and family, even someone I just met yesterday. It is like I can hear God telling me to live up to my potential; being obviously nudged into one particular direction. I know, it sounds odd, it really does, now that I type it out, but it is true. Through these people, I can see what I have to offer, even in the midst of, and in some cases, due to, suffering which sprouted growth and understanding. It is a truth that has long lived in my heart, only now was I ready to hear it. It doesn't mean that things will be easy, in fact, it will likely be contrary to it, but I am ready to rise to the challenge and meet it head on. Goodness! What a Bright Week, and today is only thursday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So, Kat watched a dove up in a tree out front. She was patiently watching and, when the dove flew off, Kat climbed the tree to investigate what this dove was doing up there. Well, this is what she found!

She was one happy kid! Covered in sap and a giant grin, she took this picture and few more. She has been checking on them to see how long it takes before they hatch and there are baby doves!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunrise On Pascha

I spent the morning, following the Pascal liturgy, watching the sunrise with Kat. This is what we saw:

It was magnificent and perfect. The time we spent together was amazing and the sunrise will be remembered for the rest of both of our lives, I do believe.

A Home and A Dream

I want a little home on a piece of land to grow things every which place I please. A place with trees in the yard for climbing and bearing fruit. On long, hot summer days, I want a porch to prepare my canning fruits and vegetables while Kat is swaying along in the swing in a tree.

I want a wood stove in that home, where I sit and knit on cold winter nights. A little chimney that puffs out the tired leftovers from the fire that blazes to keep us warm. I want a root cellar to keep all of the things we have grown throughout the long season of fruitful abundance.

I want a place to grow old, where my grandchildren will come to sit and hear stories on my lap. I want long and winding paths that take me out of myself and into a dream of the life and age to come.

Perhaps one day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Christ is Risen!!!

Albanian: Krishti Ungjall! Vertete Ungjall!
Arabic: Al Maseeh Qam! Haqqan Qam!
Armenian: Christos harjav i merelotz! Orhniale harutjun Christosi!
Byelorussian: Khristos Uvoskros! Zaprowdu Uvoskros!
Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! Queshi fuhuole!
Coptic: Pikhirstof aftonf! Khen o methni aftonf!
Czech: Kristus vstal zmrtvy’ch! Skutec ne vstal!
Danish: Kristus er opstanden! Ja, sandelig opstanden!
Dutch: Christus is opgestaan! Hij is waarlijk opgestaan!
English: Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!
Estonian: Kristus on surnuist ülestõusnud! Tõesti ülestõusnud!
Finnish: Kristus nousi Kuolleista! Totisesti Nousi!
French: Christ est Ressuscité! En Vérité, Il est Ressuscité!
Gaelic: Erid Krist! G’deya! n erid she!
Irish Gaelic: Tá Críosd ar éirigh! Go deimhin, tá e ar éirigh!
Scots’ Gaelic: Tha Crìosd air èiridh! Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!
Georgian: Kriste aghsdga! Cheshmaritad aghsdga!
Greek: Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
Hebrew: Ha Mashiyach qam! Ken hoo qam!
Hungarian: Krisztus feltámadt! Valóban feltámadt!
Italian: Cristo è risorto! È veramente risorto!
Japanese: Harisutosu Fukkatsu! Jitsu Ni Fukkatsu!
Latin: Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!
Norwegian: Kristus er oppstanden! Han er sannelig opstanden!
Polish: Khristus Zmartvikstau! Zaiste Zmartvikstau!
Portugese: Christo Ressuscitou! Em Verdade Ressuscitou!
Romanian: Hristos a Inviat! Adevarat a Inviat!
Russian: Khristos voskres! Voistinu voskres!
Serbian: Hristos Vaskrese! Vaistinu Vaskrese!
Slavonic: Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!
Slovak: Kristus vstal zmr’tvych! Skutoc ne vstal!
Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado! Verdaderamente ha resucitado!
Sweedish: Kristus är upstånden! Ja, Han är sannerligen uppstånden!
Syriac: Meshiha qam! Bashrira qam!
Ukranian: Kristos Voskres! Voistinu voskres!
Welsh: Atgyfododd Crist! Atgyfododd in wir!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Few Days Early...

I know it is still yet early, since this is read for the Paschal Homily in all Orthodox church this sunday, as with every Pascha, but I love it so dearly, I wanted to share it now. It is a good reminder that it matters not when your heart is turned toward God, but rather that it simply matters and will be embraced. As our deacon, Fr. Jan, said today (in summation), lent and Pascha come, whether we participate or not, but at whatever hour we draw near, it is still received in love and understanding.

"If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted: let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: "Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions".
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered Ηeaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.
To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages.
Amen." ~ St. John Chrysostom

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thy Will Be Done

I have tried
So many times before
To pick up the garments
Laid on the floor
They are not mine
And do not fit
I look to find
What never did drop
Eyes fixed beyond
What offers truth
You stand well-nigh
Omnipotent at my side
To catch a glimpse
Up hills, through trees
Your shadow leaves
Me longing to sieze
What lies before
But always within
I am wanting more
Yearning for resolution
Only to acquire
A taste of understanding
So sweet with desire
Laden with bitter delight

The items I chose
To clothe myself in
Not mine, but those
From lives gone by
Who've shed the old man
Put on the new
Each step began
Discerning the path
With growing insight
Into Mysteries aplenty
I have spoken my plight
I can see more clearly

I cannot be
Who You do not consent
Apprehensions flee
As I comprehend
The perfect way
Laid at my feet
I choose this day
To loose my bonds
Take up the cross
That only is mine
There is one loss
That of myself
The one who thought
To dress as they
I have been taught
A different way
To be the one
Whose garments fall
Until I become
Clad in Your Glory

Friday, March 30, 2012

Twysted Thistle is Goodness!

You may notice at the bottom of my blog a new widget. It is the link to a good friend's site for selling some great stuff! I am a super picky person when it comes to what I put in and on my family, so you can rest assured that I would not promote something I can't really get behind. Yes, the site owner is my friend, but I vouch for it because of the quality and usefulness of the products. I will be reviewing many of the products and hope that you will check out these wonderful products, whether they are for you, your family, friends, co-workers, or anyone else you can think of! If you have a minute, check it out! Hope you are having a great beginning of spring!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

After A Little While Away, Something New

Each and every Great Lent begins differently, a new way to learn lessons, whether they come once again, because we did not listen well the first time, or we simply uncover something seemingly fresh. This year, in true fashion, I have come to see many things in our journey, even thus far. I imagine to myself the culmination of this period during Holy Week and Pascha, when there is usually some sort of revelation, however, I do not hope to expect I will glean anything more than what is now and necessary. I aim to appreciate the pieces I have gathered along the way when I see them and, what is more, be grateful for recognizing things for what they are, regardless of what I expect or want.

It has occurred to me, these past few weeks, that our corporeal life is the Great Lent of our Eternity. Sometimes lenten periods feel long, bogged down, serious struggle with just getting to the feast day of the Resurrection, as our lives also have this tendency to get drawn out and cumbersome, it would seem. Other times, it would appear as if the fasting period has merely begun and we have only gotten to about 5% of all the things we had hoped to accomplish; books that went unread, services unattended, minds a-wandering, thoughts unchaste and selfish, alms not given, people not tended, but the feast of the Resurrection comes, whether you will it or not, just as the impending death of this body will come.

For me, my lenten period has been fruitful in an unusual way, but my life has been gearing toward it for sometime: we are who we are, designed for greatness, each and every one of us, with something to offer, if only we would unearth those gems and polish them up for sharing with one another. I know, it is a rather odd bit, but it is my lesson. We are flawed, but beautiful, in a land of imperfection, but each thing is perfected in God's Truth, Love, and Light. It is hard to imagine a heart breaking with beauty and love, but I think mine has, time and again. I have surrendered myself unto the flow of life, seeing all of my shortcomings with a gentle and obvious magnification, but I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to correct and make my way straight with the person God has given me to be.

I have found a footing, a strength in imperfection, illness, and pain, that brings peace, love, understanding, and openness that I never have seen. My heart has drawn nigh unto God and I choose to stand with my heart broken open, awaiting what may come. I have been in the depths of struggle and I have been lifted out by grace and patience, clinging to what little I have known of the Triune love that is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I may have simply hit the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but it is more glorious than anything I have ever known. You can now see what I mean when I said earlier that I wonder at what could come of the culmination, or whether I have I already had it, only time will tell. This amazing Christian journey is so full of twists and turns that serve to humble, strengthen, challenge, and protect, it is a wonder many choose otherwise (though I do not pretend to know how anyone else finds peace and encounters God, in their own ways).

I hope this finds you well and that your own rise and fall prove to be as reward as bitter herbs; strong to the taste, but good for the person.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little Something

I asked Kat the other evening, forgiveness sunday, to be exact, what great lent means to her. Her response was certainly not what I expected, when she stated, "I am going to try not to be fussy so much....and my favorite part is...PASCHA!!!" She has had very little instructional learning on the subject, yet she completely gets it, as much as an 8 year old kid can, through the living cycle of the Orthodox faith. I adore that she did not mention the foods, or how long, but that her attitude was the focus. She will pay attention to her moods, which will be quite a boon, if she finds a way to meter herself a little better. Being an only child, who is a girl, can be rather difficult, but she is managing well enough.

During this period of the great fast, we will focus our eyes inward, toward the willful person who rears their head when it is easy, or because it can, and the heart will subdue the blatant tendencies of the carelessness we all possess. In every look, breath, and moment, it is hoped that we will see our own plank and stop looking at the speck in our brother's eye. May it be to us for cleansing, growth, and perseverance in all things; God help us in this journey.

May I have strength to be selfish in my criticisms of anything but my own shortcomings, generous in the sharing of what God has given as gifts to us all, peaceful toward everyone I am in contact with, however difficult that may be, but please forgive me if I falter.

"O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen"
Prayer of St. Ephraim

Green Lent

So, I have decided to force feed my family green smoothies every day, for the first week of great lent. I know, I am a horrible mother and wife, ha ha! In actuality, it doesn't take much forcing, considering it is more fruity than green, but it looks bright and terrible when it is all mixed up! Here is what I put in it:

2 banana's (some were frozen)
2-3 hand's full of spinach
1 cup digestive/immunity home 'brew' (cold, kept in fridge, infusion of ginger, chamomile, elderberry, fennel, anise, tarragon, etc.)
~2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1-1.5 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup plain coconut milk kefir (plus a little bit of non-dairy milk, for creaminess today)
1 whole navel orange, peeled and halved

Blend until very smooth. Serve chilled to family and watch it go down!

Such pretty colors! It is like a multi-vitamin in a drink, NOM! Super tastiness, I am telling you, just ask Kat:

I have decided that the first week of great lent is like the breakfast of the fast: the way we begin is the way we will likely continue, our decisions being influenced by the first steps taken, if you will. I figure that by getting into a good habit now, we may start something that sticks around for awhile. Even if not, it is still good for us!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something More

Angel of God
O guardian, my guardian
This world is stricken
My path is laid
The stones, I roll
Out of their places
From homes they have made
I push them aside
I bid them adieu
Forgetting their grounds
Rushing along
Without heed
Temptation seizes
This distraction

Guide my steps
Keep my heart aright
This dream, I have kept
Let this world be the dream,
The reverie,
Wherein I sleep no more
But awake to Truth in Him

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Girl

This is the girl I live for. She is the one whose life I prize above all others. When I look into her eyes, she has a captivating gaze that takes me outside of myself and I thank God I have found purpose within such a worthy facet. She amazes me. She makes me want to be more than I am. She helps me cultivate who I know myself to be, but also furthers what that means in a fuller sense. She is my love, my sweet girl whom I cherish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hair, Birds, Baby, and Seeds...Spring Must Be Afoot!

Thank you to all who have given love, concern, and prayer during Kat's illness, she is on the mend and I am certain it is nothing short of your care that she did not get as bad as it was looking there for awhile. She has recovered to nearly her old self again and is looking forward to her first haircut since spring, which will be around lunchtime today. I have explained to her that, since she has such thick hair, she is not able to have a simple, blunt bob like many of her friends, much to her chagrin, but she is content to know that whatever she chooses, she just has to have it layered. She thinks she will go with a short, layered, a-line bob. Sounds like a lot for an eight year, but she has more hair than I have ever encountered in a child! Her hair isn't coarse, just fine, like mine, and tons of it, like her dad! Anyway, I hope to take pictures while we are there and maybe I can share.

We went out and about to the thrift stores yesterday to find some deals and were rather successful. I was hoping to find more that could be used as a gardening tub, or makeshift sort of thing, but we did well in other ways. Jay found some things for the cold weather, including some Smart Wool socks for .50 cents a pair. I found a couple shirts and Kat found herself a Pascha dress! It is her size, with a full skirt, white with really pretty polka dots, and it fit! She will have to wear a shirt underneath because its neckline is a bit plunging (especially for a kids dress), but she has a narrow frame, so things don't fit like they were intended. She loves it and so do we, which is what matters, plus it was $4!! Score!

I can't believe it is cheesefare week again...already! Well, in our house, since cheese and all dairy is always out, it is just eggs, eggs, and more eggs, which is fine by us, we love eggs! I have promised Katherine crepes/blini all week long, since the next eggs we have will be after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Pascha, in the wee hours of the morning, when we receive our dyed red, blessed eggs from Fr Boris at the veneration of the Cross! Phew! That is a mouthful and so we eat eggs this week...and some fish. This sunday will be Forgiveness Sunday, which I always love, but I anticipate little, compared to usual, the impending lenten cycle. I always love it, don't get me wrong, but things are so different this year, it is hard for me to wrap my head around it all. I have been taking a little girl to her daycare on weekdays, will be attending the birth of our friends newest addition, trying to read a lot more, work on projects, etc. My focus is so shifted that I am trying to keep myself grounded and looking to the reality of things, while firmly realizing just how contrasting this year's reflection is finding me.

I am anticipating things greatly, but until our friends baby is born, I am suspended in a purpose outside of myself. I hope to be prepared and readily available when the hour comes. My excitement is beyond me, to the point of surrealism. It is almost disbelief that it can be happening, and that it was only yesterday she told me they were pregnant, but that was ages ago, in reality! I look at the ironing board that houses the partially finished diaper bag I am making for them out of an old wool sweater from Goodwill, that I have felted down and cut into shape. I hope the end product is lovely, but I am sure she will be happy with whatever. For them, I pray for good weather, low-traffic times to get to the birth center, good health day for her husband (he has similar symptoms as Jay many days), and the most perfect midwife in attendance, someone who really puts them at ease.

On a completely different note, there have been tons and tons of Robin Red-Breast birds around this winter. I have seen trees filled to the brim with more birds than I have seen in one place in my life. I have noticed that every year around here there seems to be an influx of a certain creature, be it snakes, caterpillars, in this case, birds. I marvel at the perfection in it all, as I am sure there is great purpose in it.

We ordered some seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds yesterday and I can hardly wait to start them! I think I have mentioned before that we like to start seeds during the first week of great lent each year, when we can get it together. We are gathering supplies and things appear to be on course. Among the seeds, we have chosen dragon tongue 'green' beans, two carrot varieties, wild strawberries, purple Russian tomatoes, dwarf pak choy, various herbs, lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, radishes, and nasturtiums! Where will be put it all, you may ask!?!? Well, we are devising ways to grow without taking up too much space, among which, we found an upside down tomato hanger at the thrift store for $2, and we are always on the lookout. We are trying to maximize our space to yield the best production. We will also be giving some of the seedlings away, since I love to watch things sprout and grow, but my heart of greens is bigger than my own garden! I am particularly looking forward to what we get from the beans and tarragon this year.

Well, I think that is all for now, but I will be back again soon, Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, as a friend says. :)