Friday, January 18, 2013

Hot Water!

I stood there in our south facing room saying an akathist and morning prayers, while Kat tended the chickens and Jay laid back down to fight off his headache. The sun shone in beyond the parting of the curtains, so I decided to let a little more light in because it was cheerful. It had been a struggle of a morning to get going, especially without hot water, so we ate simply and went on with the day. As I stood there in prayer, I noticed the warmth of the sun, something that has been long since lost in the cold of snow and ice.

Afterward, I found some hidden source of determination that I would clean the house when we had hot water, so I had to do SOMETHING! I messed with a couple of things, like the pump in the creek and thawed a drain pipe, but eventually thought I had broken something, when even the cold water in the sink stopped! So I went in to get Jay, even if he was not up to par. Together we turned things on, watching and waiting. After some trial and error, we uncovered the pipe to the toilet plumbing and found it had been insulating to keep the ice inside, instead of letting it drain fully. Jay unwrapped it and I gave him some water from the kettle to pour over it in hopes of some defrosting.

We let it go for a few, as Jay went on to look for some piping to reroute things, if it was frozen under the house. I was heating more water to dump into the sink for dish washing and Kat went upstairs. Next thing I knew, I heard the toilet flushing, because Kat had pushed down the handle. I asked her how she did it, then had her go back up and do it again. It flushed!!! Small steps, huge triumphs! Kat and I ran outside to go tell Jay and we were SO happy and our hopes went sky high. I wondered whether it had any connection to the flushing because when the toilet stopped flushing, the hot water in the bathtub did too.

Jay went around the back to check on the water situation again and I heard him calling something back. I asked him to say it again and I heard 'hot water'! That's right, we had HOT WATER!!!

That is our miracle today! Next time you turn on your hot water, try to appreciate it just a little more than usual, because some places in the world still haven't got it, or running water, but it has not been all of human history that we have been so blessed with this luxury. First, running water and second, hot water!

Glory to God for all things!

PS-Jay is feeling better, but I need to be off to feed him :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Frozen Pipes and Singing

I am a night owl, that is for sure. Since I am up, I thought I would blog a bit.

We are in at my folks' because it is the coldest winter in the area for over 20 years! Our pipes all froze and, in an attempt to keep the tub flowing, the drain pipe froze...ah well, such is life working out the kinks!

Funny, I miss our daily walks the most, but what I really miss about them, even just after a couple days, I love getting my blood moving...and singing. Yes, I walk and sing in the forest. I love and miss it. You are probably wondering what I sing. I usually go with something like Somewhere over the Rainbow, You'll Never Walk Alone, liturgical excerpts, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, etc.

I was just up thinking about that. The trees are good listeners and sometimes I hear a bird calling back in the distance and I stop to listen to the beauty of their song and try to locate from whence it came.

Calm, quiet, cold, breathtaking can a person not sing?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quiet Beauty

We had our walk this morning and Kat did some sledding on Penguin Hill. While she was busy sliding and hollering, having a blast, I walked just a bit further up the road to keep the blood moving. There is an area where the road crosses a shallow bit of creek and it was too beautiful not to take note. I walked back to Jay to grab the iPad to capture what I could of it. Here is what I saw:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blessings, Prayers, and Peace

Sunday was the feast of Theophany (n.s.) and it was a rough go to get into town for church. Had it not been Theophany, we might have foregone the push to town on the ice packed slush of a road, but how often does it fall on a sunday, the day of Resurrection, and this year we have a body of water to go for the Great Blessing of waters! Of course, we were running late getting out the door, since Jay was driving the farm truck and have to always be uber prepared for leaving the house for town, careful not to forget anything if we can help it.

We arrived in decent time, though not early enough for the Gospel reading and homily, but it was enough to make it there in time for A Mercy of Peace; it is my favorite in the whole of the liturgy and I hope that one day we can sing a few other arrangements and compositions, but we made it and that is what matters. It is a beautiful miracle to participate in the life of the Church and her services.

That being said, a liturgy is a liturgy, it may seem, but feasts be shifting and the tides turning with the depths of timelessness set in our time-filled humanity. Each is a new day to chose for oneself the path wherein we step, with each rising of the sun, a fresh day greets us with fervor and constancy to awaken the world from her slumber. This day was no different in her splendor, though from where we stood, a challenge was in our path. Those being weather and our will to leave the mountainside on such a cold day, when a pot of tea and breakfast was more welcome than a long, arduous journey down to town, though worth it in more ways than are completely tangible.

We got off, running late as I stated, arrived, participated, stayed on for a bit during the trapeza/coffee hour, then I got to take my sister out for a birthday coffee! Hurray! She got a fancy something full of sugar, caffeine, and cream. After some time to sit and chat to catch up, we were off to the park where people refer to it as 'the fairy ponds'. Foggy and chill it was, as we trekked from the parked car to the place where everyone had just begun the Great Blessing of the Waters. As I looked across the crowd to the opposite side, I saw Jay standing there with his pants rolled to his knees and hair pulled back and for a few moments, I noticed that he had the same countenance as on the day he was baptised, right as he and Fr. Boris walked three times around the center of the church and baptismal font. That was truly beautiful and simple.

After the main prayers, the time to bless the water thrice with the Holy Cross came and to sing the Troparion of the feast: When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee his Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his Word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee. It was at this point Fr. Andreas arced the cross from hand to creek with Jay and Brenden going in after it. This happened every time and on the third time, Basil, my youngest nephew, was asking to get it, so Brenden grabbed him from my sis and he helped Basil grab it. That water is amazingly glacier cold and fresh, hence it being January, but still quite pleasant.

We went to venerate the cross and be sprinkled with the newly blessed water on this lovely feast. Afterward, we had a group photo with as many of the church family who were able to attend. As everyone gathered themselves to head home, or wherever they may be going, I walked back down to the shore after handing my glasses over to Jay. I got down and scoped some up to splash on my face and have a drink. It refreshed my body, mind, and spirit. Many prayers have been answered, simply in finding some peace within, when things are so chaotic and swirling without. Glory to God for all things!

Next year I think there will be many more people wanting to go in after the cross, many of whom are under the age of 10!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

For Now

Well, enough of the niceties, I have about had it. Along with everything else changing, so has our church life. Don't get me wrong, our church family and community are amazing, and we do live next door to one of them. The problem is having been able to attend every service, regardless of length or date, any possible time. Not to say that we are not exactly where we ought to be, but it surely makes things complicated when church is 32 miles away, 1 hour drive on a good day. I mean, really? When we have become so accustomed to being at nearly all services, year in and year out, it is a bit of a shock to feel like, "It is only 32 miles," completely knowing that it was half that in CO. That being said, it was only 22 minutes from house to church.

I know, I am a grumbler, I am just trying to come to terms with not being able to go all the time. I think that the real struggle is in feeling like I am awful, or unfit, at minimum, to be of example to Kat, therefore I have relied ever so much on the community of the church and whatnot, in order to make up for all my glaring shortcomings. Looks like I am going to have to step up and that is what is next in order. I just love church and being there with my little family and, these days, my parents, sister, nephews, etc. It is rather a blow, but what a thing to figure out. I have no want of trying to decide when it is best for us to go, though I realize that God is 'everywhere present and fills all things' and we cannot ever be further than our hearts in prayer and love, with appreciation.

I find myself daydreaming about how it would be living in a little village, or just outside, in Russia or Greece or Romania, anywhere besides here, I suppose, that there is an Orthodox Church on every corner, just as there is a Protestant one here. Of course, having a good priest is not a given with having any old church, so I will be comforted in the fact that our parish and her priest is kind and understanding. *sigh* I think I need to see what we do have, rather than lament that which is not, but also to forge a new habit and firmness of faith.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Here We Are

Oh! The snow has been amazingly crazy! It is the worst this area has seen for some time and the temps are not getting above freezing in our little cabin, though the wood stove keeps pumping, with a little love. We got a sled after payday, which is a must-have in the mountains where it snows and sticks around. We also got Kat some real snow boots, because the one's we had just gotten here are all-weather BUT deep snow! We invested in some good hiking, climbing, messing around boots right before the snow came and, though they offer a good cover and her feet are in good care, can you imagine being a 9 year old girl being all suited up, with only nearly perfect shoes, having your mom repeatedly holler at you to come out of the heavy snow and onto the path? Now, thank God, we have proper boots AND we got them on sale! She is happier, drier, and less nagged...

We have been walking as daily as we can muster, which is nearly each day after breakfast, rain, snow, shine, or blizzard. We are becoming rather acquainted with our new 'backyard', of sorts, and enjoying all that there is to offer. The other day, tuesday, I think, we went walking all suited up for the weather, but it was the first day of real, bright sun, after all that grey and whiteness. We went wandering down a familiar path that had been snowed over and unplowed, until people began driving it again. We found a patch of sun that happens to illumine a hillside. Kat decided to slide down head first, on her belly, calling it 'penguin sledding'. Next day, we went promptly out with the sled we had left behind day before, to sled and sled. We found ourselves running the main road at our turn off to the clearing, which was loads of fun, then we went to what we will now refer to as 'Penguin Hill'. What fun we had on our sledding day yesterday, it was exactly what we all needed. The dogs all think that we are being whisked away by something unnatural, because they would chase after barking with serious intent, only to realize that the sled was not an invader or person of harmful consequence.

Wet, cold, and sparkly, that is our home right now. Beautiful and amazing, as we begin to learn more about its joy and peace. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be where we are. We have noted Jay's health more stable than ever these past 4+ years, with few-to-zero migraines, a massive change from even just before we left the city. Kat is growing like a weed, maturing into a young lady, but I am not sure how we got there. She has been into making food for us and is rather good at it. She has a dear heart and kindness within her that is a joy to encounter. Jay says that he is sure it is all my influence, but I know she has some gems due to his input, I am sure of it! They like a lot of the same things and I expect that will be a portion of her continued shaping in the future. I have often reminded him that a girl's papa is so magnanimously important, though it may not always appear that way, that she will measure men that she considers having in her life by what she finds admirable and acceptable in her own papa. Such lessons in life!

Now that the hectic season of holiday craziness is coming to a close, we are finally seeing a bit of respite on the horizon. There have been so many adjustments, both to settling in as a family and having some routine and also just getting to know our surroundings and schedules at church, etc. All is well, but we are only just recently beginning to find a true bit of consistency in what we are doing. Piece by piece, we will find more stability and more will be natural parts of our lives, but only time will tell.

I think that is all for now, so I will sign off. Peace and love to all!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Magnificent Mountains

Mountains are so quietly kept. Their secrets lie dormant in the silence of their bold and staunch settlement. So many have tread and come to know her pieces of beauty, though ever changing, in her long-suffering and steadfast calm. She happily gives all that she can from Creations magnificence she has been given. So quietly bearing all until she can no longer keep herself from calling out. When she speaks, there is none who does not hear, and so many can feel her pain, knowing her distress. Though ragged and reformed, she continues on in quiet peacefulness and firm solitude.