Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Such a Life

I suppose that purposeful morphing is somewhat better than sporadic changes, but I am such a person of such long periods of living in a decidedly internal dimension, that I find myself emerging without having known I entered. It is somewhat odd, I think, to be submerged into oneself in such a way, even when you are certain that the same aspect of you is still you, however distorted. It is an interesting life, that is absolutely certain!

I look around and see how constant so many other people are, how they appear to stick to themselves in ways I have not known. I cannot say for sure whether that is a good thing, I have simply made the observation. In one way, being a more seemingly steady person in this world shows a stability that is highly desired, in some cases. What gets me is how I know the constant current that runs through my heart that calls for the ebb and flow of the envelopment of transformation on whatever level it is needed. What is not seen in me is the perpetual and vibrant life song that courses through my being, though I am changeable to this world.

As I have said, I cannot say whether it is good, but I am sure that it is perfectly suited to me and my journey in this life. I am assuredly blessed beyond words and imaginations, therefore my gratitude grows in the maturation of such times of contemplation and self-discovery. What mercy I have been given, what blessings are abundant, what life that God has given me. It is a blessing to see the wonderment and magnificence. Glory to God for all things.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eine Kleine Beethoven

These past few days I have been listening to the classical music station on the radio, which I have always liked. It is particularly hitting the spot lately. I was sewing on the cloak project for our reader at church yesterday, while listening to the sounds wafting from the airwaves and found myself so peacefully contented. The whole house seemed to harmonize with the beauty of the music. It wasn't anything particular, but it was surely lovely. I am listening to it right now and am moved to write its current influence in our lives, but that is about it, I just wanted to share. This moments' selection is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in C#, for piano, and I love it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Little Longer

A silhouetted figure at the window
The rain falls with compunction
It pours and cleanses
The light flashes from the sky
No one can know the storm inside

A strike comes upon us
Flooding hearts wound in friction and love
What will become of this struggle
This blessed selflessness
Ushering this aching

Can you feel my pain
The throbbing and rushing
Setting us on opposite shores
Pressing the waters against peace
They rise with charging anticipation

May the calm come after the storm
May the dust settle readily
As the clouds clear
My heart does not lose aim
Staunch resolve will claim me

Stay here
Just a little longer....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spiritual Revelation and Peacefulness

In the book I am reading by St. John of Krondstadt, there is a portion which struck a chord. It discusses early on how we must prepare ourselves to be firm in our convictions when we ask anything of God. We must be bold and unwavering, knowing that everything seen and unseen, possible and seemingly impossible, are all in the realm of God's omnipotence. I found myself realizing how little faith I possess, no matter my thoughts on the subject, and have thought, "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24, KJV) My heart has been weak, but "...he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 COR 12:9, KJV) In this weakness and these trials I have come to learn the faintness of my own heart, the changeable nature which I perpetuate, but it is glorious, because in my understanding, I have peace, hope, direction, and clarity!

"It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." (Luke 15:32, KJV) I feel just like this in many ways of my being, that I have been renewed, yet again, by God's grace, love, glory, and teachings. Just when I have thought it was exhausting to be in this life, to be dragging myself around from time to time, day in and out, God has shown me much mercy and comfort! If could tell you what awaits a person who stays the course of the fast and how the feast day is magnified in the heart and soul, you would never fall away and would always choose to be close to God. By no means do I have any perfection in me, but the growth and life of my every fiber is held up and made whole by the God of love, peace, joy, and all things that make the heart shine in unceasing gratefulness and plentitude.

May you all be so blessed as to know the utter existence of the King of Peace. Love to you all and happy feast of St. Seraphim of Sarov (o.s.)! (Please know that I was writing this in some haste, so if you would kindly forgive any clerical errors, I would appreciate it.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Humility, a Thought

Today I had a most unexpected lesson in humility. I learned an aplicable way as to how it is not about what I want, but also what true humility really is.

For one, I have wants and willfulness, much to my chagrin, that I have learned to nurture in this worldly life I have kept at the back recesses of my self. Those things poke up their ugly little heads when I am weary, in doubt, and turn where I ought to have stopped to contemplate. When I am dragged along in this mess I perpetuate, I often have moments of clarity that offer a bit of insight to life and purpose, which touch me to the very core of my being. That is the beginning of my day today.

Later in the day, I had a chance to realize what humility looks like, what its truth brings. I had the thought that, sometimes, it is not so much how little we think of ourselves, but how much we see in one another. That we treat the other person as if they are truly divine within themselves, both in body and spirit; that their reflection is honestly and sincerely that of God Himself. Truth and beauty that lies inside us all, in fullness and in grace, with love and peace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Little Update

We got a lot of powdery snow in the night and the high was below freezing today! It is Colorado in January. I went and had coffee with my Nook to read for a bit, before going to Joann's for fabric to make the cloak for our reader. I have to be nearly non-existent on wednesdays, since Kat is so happy with her time she has with her papa. Today wasn't any different, so I was gone for that much, then home again to eat and gather my things to go knit. I have been out of the house most of the day, returned in the 6 degree blanket of night, and I am about ready for bed.

I read some of two different books today, both of which are spiritually geared. I began with First Fruits of Prayer, by Frederica Mathewes-Green, about the Canon of St. Andrew, as a journey through it during great lent. I really like reading it, so I find it challenging to put it down, as it flows well and draws the reader in. It is set up to be read by anyone, which makes welcome those from various backgrounds, not simply other Orthodox Christians. I also read some more in 'My Life in Christ, or Moments of Spiritual Serenity, of Reverent Feeling, of Earnest Self-Amendment, and of Peace in God', by St. John of Krondstadt, and I find it serious, purposeful, dense, and amazing. I am not sure how it differs from the other title, 'My Life in Christ', but perhaps I will find out. It may be the longer version, I don't know. It is accurate while discussing a wide range in life. As I sat in the coffee shop, I read a short section and nearly cried, because I saw myself in what was being described. It is an honest work that I find gentle and even calming in a time like now. It is hard to describe, but it is all of what I need just now.

When I got in tonight, Jay mentioned that Kat was cuddled up with a blanket and more tired than usual, and even volunteered herself for bed. Something is going on with her physically for her to be so cooperative. She is either fighting off a virus of some sort, or she is low in iron. She has been asking for meat since the feast and that is unusual, as she is our veggie girl, so it makes me wonder if she is low in something specific, and I know protein isn't it. The diet has drastically changed for her since Nativity, but that is as simple as having cornflakes for breakfast instead of hot cereal. It may even be a combo of the two possibilities. I was reading up on the iron deficiency and the symptoms fit, but so do other things. It sites poor iron absorption, rapid growth, and lack of iron in food, all of which may be cause for her possible lack. She has recently had a pretty big growth spurt, we haven't had as much green leafy's around as we are getting low on funds a week from payday, and I remember reading that people who don't process the red color in beets and flush it out, may have trouble absorbing iron. Hmm, I suppose that the next day or so will tell what is going on with her, I hope. I think we will have a green smoothie for breakfast, which is likely to help either possible issue, so we shall see.

There are 3 women I know who are due to have babies within just weeks of one another, between late february through early april! They are all expecting girls and they all have not expected to getting pregnant, either at all, or again! Did I mention that at least 2 of them have march birthdays, but the other one, I don't know hers, but I am beginning to think it may be march, just by default. Wow! I *heart* babies! I am super excited and happy for all of them.

Well, off to bed, for now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Twelve Days of Blessings, Thus Far

Hello, all! We have had a spectacularly amazing Nativity and these past few days have been rather uplifting and cleansing. Uplifting because there is a reprieve that comes after a long fast that is not associated with the food at all. I felt it during the liturgy, even got choked up with the beauty of the feast during the homily, before we even ate, so it is certainly not food related. If it feels like this to struggle this whole life toward God and His kingdom when it is time for eternal repose, I will take it. Though it is fleeting in this earthly vessel of mine, I am so grateful for the presence at all. I cannot remember a feast since Pascha that has been so rewarding and challenging, but here you have it, with great risk and struggle comes a rushing sense of glory and newness that supersedes all humanity and time. What a blessing to be a part of the Church and her Mysteries!

In other news, we are cleaning our house. We are approaching it as if we are moving and getting rid of absolutely everything we don't need or love. It will be good to begin with things freshly, I think. After everything we have been through, finding some stability and routine in this house is very welcome. Things have been upside down since Jay fell ill and, though I am grateful for so much therein, I have to say, I will be glad when we have purged this place of a lot. I am looking forward to feeling the way the condo will be with fewer things and more openness. Kat has been particularly helpful today, as she is usually a bit sentimental, but she has taken things more in stride this go round. Whether it is because she is a bit older now, or that she spent time at a friend's house who have 4 kids, where she has gathered some perspective, I care not one bit! I am supremely grateful for that, no question.

My Taiji is coming along and I can feel how it helps my muscles and overall structure. I know it is helping me heal from all these years of stress and care taking that have taken their toll. I feel more youthful and stronger, so it will aid me in being a better mom and wife. I have learned much and yesterday one of my forms clicked on and felt more natural, so I am pleased. I will be learning an individual sword form, but also one that is with a friend who is also taking class, so it will be interesting to see how we interact with our forms and swords at the same time!

I am wanting to create things and have a few projects in the works for knitting and always have ideas for sewing. One of our readers from church will be traveling to Kosovo at the end of the month and, when he saw Kat's Christmas cloak, he asked for one, because the church where he will be serving does not likely have heat, so we are looking at material and patterns tomorrow before my volunteering shift at church. It shouldn't be anything too much to make, but I hope we find just the right pattern so it is perfect. When someone requests something, I seek perfection, though it can only be so much. I also know 3 people who are having babies in the same 30 days as one another, all GIRLS! Seriously, I am glad that 2 of 3 projects of knitting is nearly done!

I can't forget how we are doing our traditional coupon cards in the wooden carved Nativity/Holy family box like we do. Katherine LOVES it and looks forward to a new card each morning, as we think of something to add while she is asleep. She has already redeemed the first, which was her choice of dinner and family movie. She loves it so much, she made each of us a coupon for having a date with her to whatever WE (Jay or I) want. I am amazed so much as she grows, the way she fully grasps the feast days, it is heartwarming and validating as parents.

Well, I think that is the most of it for now, but I am ever blessed for the feast day and those that have ensued. glory to God for all things!!!! I am anticipating great lent quite keenly, but somewhat because I am looking forward to the reading and services. Until then, I will take what I can with peaceful days with family, house cleaning, friends, crafting, blogging, and living a blessed life!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reading, Church, and Sleep

I finished reading A Christmas Carol the other day, which I am rather pleased about. I liked the story, but I also enjoy the way Dickens writes. It is fluid, with information, but not so much as to make eyeballs want to pop out on their own. Okay, so maybe that is an exaggeration, but there are some books I have a hard time getting into because they carry on and on about things that are particularly unimportant to me. I imagine everything, even with only slight detail, so think about what that does to my brain, if I am left dragging through a great many nuances that clog my imagination. Again, I embellish a bit, but you get the point. I think it is a talent for a writer to be able to keep the attention of the reader, as well as moving the storyline along at a perfect paces, in order that the story unfurl comfortably.

Well, now that I have gone into all of that, I will mention that I started to watch the most recent version with Jim Carrey, starring as Scrooge, in the cartoon. I was telling Jay that, while it follows the story well, it seemed rather shallow to me. Listen to me, I sound like a snob! That being said, I think that many people have a voice to lend a character, but it is true skill to be able to portray the essence of the person from the book and bring them alive. I believe I am at risk of becoming one of those people who can 'enjoy' and be 'entertained by' movies that have been books first, but really prefer the original, but that is okay.

With all of this getting into reading with my new Nook, I rathe appreciate developing that aspect of who I am. I have always figured I have my whole life to live to who I aspire to be, while day to day I am the foundation of that person, I can build a little here or there to the overall self.

Well, with Nativity to celebrate in the morning, I ought to be in bed already, but I am especially liking the quiet and just being home. We were out most of the day, starting last evening! We are all looking forward to celebrating the feast and sharing the meal afterward with our church family. There will be food galore, meats and sweets, singing, merrymaking and general Christmas hoopla, which I think I underestimate how much time we will actually spend there. The liturgy begins at 10 and will end somewhere near 12-ish, then we will all file into the parish hall to pray, eat, hug, and such, the likes of which will probably set us coming home no earlier than 3. Just when I think I am getting out of the door, I'll see someone I haven't wished well yet and spend another small chunk of time catching up with them, as Kat runs around with her friends.

Well, I am off to bed, if I know what's good for me, but I hope to share more about books in the future, including, but not limited to, First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew, by Frederica Mathews-Green, which I am looking forward to, and Cranford, which the miniseries was based on.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Old Post, Remembered

I wrote this years ago, before Jay fell ill, and I just reread it now. How the words ring true and I can hear the lighter side of my heart in those posts, but especially this one. I thought I would share it again, in case anyone is interested :)

Queen of My Heart

Things I never knew
Places I've never been
I know and I go with her.
She is so small
has so much to learn
Life is all but discovered.
What's more
She has so much to teach
The world in all of its madness,
Bows down at the feet
Of the Queen of my Heart
Its rules do not apply.
She floats along from place to place
Her mind just wanders away
to places much better,
Much brighter and dear.
Each day I glimpse a peek
Of horses and butterflies
Babies and mommies
And Ring around the Rosies.
I'd like to stay
I'd like to play...
A tug at my mind reminds me
She is only small
Not long at all
So treat these moments with care.
The years are short
When days feel long
As we walk hand in hand.
The seasons change
I learn new love,
Her love
Fills my heart with gladness.
I cannot say
If there was a day,
So certain that she stole it.
My heart is hers
Forever and more
There is nothing that I need like it.
My only fear
In this whole world
Is to lose the love of this girl.
More precious than anything there ever was
Treasured like gold and jewels.
So sweet and lovely,
Warm and gentle,
Continue to show me the way.
Onward toward the King of Kings
with the love of a child in my heart.
If ever I forget how to love
I look in her eyes
And, somehow,
Without words,
I know the way again.
So much Truth
In our bond
And what she gives me
She will never know,
Until one day
She has her own
Sweet innocent, beautiful hearts
To show her
To give her
This that she unknowingly offers

There is a love
The one we give
This one is much different.
This sort invades
Takes over your heart
Teach us the way we ought to be.
If I could live
If I could love
I choose for her to steal it,
Every day
Every breath
Every smile
Every hug
Every kiss
All for
The Queen of my Heart

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a Day!

Let's see, today is my baby sister's birthday, though she is all grown and not so small anymore, she will always be my baby. Funny about the things we think about and hold onto from childhood. I took her with me to our coop preschool when I was 3 and told everyone she was MY baby, even then, so why would now be any different, right? She is now married, the mother of my two adorable nephews, and a remarkable woman, indeed! She has made it through so very much in her life, I hope that her boys are all a blessing to her in these years to come, as I know she is for them. Happy Birthday and Many Years, my lil sis, Caitlin Veronica!!!

In other news, I went shopping for food for the Nativity Feast (o.s.) this morning after breakfast with Kat, who got her own money to chose items. After which we came home, walked the dogs, got ready and went out the door for a TBI appointment for Jay, at the VA, then home again to gather Kat's things to go to Kung Fu and dance, while I stayed home to cut out and sew a hooded red fleece Christmas cape for the girl, all before they got home! Phew! I am nearly done, I only have minor details to work with, like what sort of closure to use at the top, whether I want to trim it with something, etc. I only hope it is not too long, or too wide in the shoulders. She is a narrow girl and it is easy to lose her in clothing that is too big around!

To those of you who have recently commented on here, I tried a number of times to reply, but it has been choppy, at best, but I just want to say thanks, you are much appreciated :)

Currently, I am reading Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis, his take on the Greek myth of Psyche and Cupid; and, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, which I like MUCH better than I expected. All of the classics that we were expected to read, but made my eyeballs droop, were of a variety that never really spoke to me, at least not then.

This week I need to step up my game to get things done for Nativity, because then it will be our 12 days of Christmas that we try to keep and then Theophany and house blessings. I am knitting a red cape for Kat's American Girl doll to match hers, so I hope to finish soon.

All the best to all of you out there!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The First Post in 2012

Well, it is officially 2012, on the civil, and popular, calendar. We went to church today, had a lovely time, where I sang, met new people, introduced them to friends as I had to run to choir practice, helped serve food on my way there, and wondered about life. Such a propitious sort of day, I think. I came home, mostly in good spirits, though late in the day, read some of A Christmas Carol, while Kat wiggled around and Jay got dinner going. We watched a movie together as a family and sent the girl off to get ready for bed. She emerged from getting her p.j.'s on to scale the countertops finding her handmade mug, boil water, and set her infusion to steeping, all on her own...she's 8, people! Did I mention that she set the timer so she would know when it was ready to drink? She is pretty great, I only hope that I can live up to being her mom, the way she is being a funny, talented, funky, and smart kid.

Oh boy, what a day, but really, what a week! After being sick like I was, I can see why people write of being deliriously outside of themselves when they are ill. I can remember it all, so I can't have been too far gone, but it was fairly miserable, more than I have been in quite some time. I realize that, when I am, or have been recently, sick, I have a different sense of clarity in life, in general. I found myself saying many things, thinking far more, and having randomly interspersed dreams that were bordering reality in a fever-induced slumber. Technically, I am well again, though my physical health is of little importance, and I am sure that my life will squander on, if I continue in this way, but, if I pursue, I will find that which is tangible on the shroud's side of paradise.

Something I was dreaming about today, is how nice it was when we were in California and I was writing regularly, with something of some such import as to compel me to pen a word or two. However, being home, I am at a loss, these recent days, even weeks. We are busy, I am paralyzed through my own inability to make time to say something about the day. Possibly because it is dreary, rather than uplifting, this late in the fast, but I still would like to be more creative with that more often.

One more thing and I will be done for the night: We had the churching of 2 sweet little babies today! I LOVE a baby churching, with bitty little selves all wrapped in white, being presented as new members of the church family, through prayers and love, they enter into the Body of Christ. Lord, have mercy on us all. The second baby slept through the most of it all, but Maria, the first, was awake, alert, and gazing at angels as she was being presented. My mom always said that when babies are looking, but at what, we do not know or see, they are most surely watching the angels as they surround them. As I saw her tiny face so peaceful and content, I could think of nothing else, but of the angels that particularly fill the churches during the liturgy. Beauty at its simplest and finest.