Monday, January 11, 2021

may we have the courage to say "Death, where is your sting?" in 2021

Life is shadow and light. Last night, my father's older brother Foster died suddenly. Thank you for praying for Uncle Foster's soul and for the consolation of his family, especially my cousin S. This past year has been soul-crushing in many ways. Please pray for Rick H and the consolation of his wife. We are also mourning the losses of faithful priests, Father Frank and Father Mel. and there are others as well. Lord, have mercy!

You who with wisdom profound mercifully orders all things, and gives unto all that which is useful, give rest, O Lord, to the soul of your servant who has fallen asleep, for he has placed his trust in You, our Maker and Fashioner and our God (Troparion for funeral).

With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Your servant where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting (Kontakion for funeral).

Where is the pleasure in life which is unmixed with sorrow? Where the glory which on earth has stood firm and unchanged? All things are weaker than shadow, all more illusive than dreams; comes one fell stroke, and Death in turn, prevails over all these vanities. Wherefore in the Light, O Christ, of Your countenance, the sweetness of Your beauty, to him (her) whom You have chosen grant repose, for You are the Friend of Mankind. (St. John of Damascus)

Friday, January 1, 2021

remembering 2020 & praying for a peaceful, healthy, happy 2021

January- enjoying the West coast during Christmas break 

February- the older girls were back at university- the little kids were busy with homeschooling, Trail Life, AHG, Basketball, choir, cotillion, and of course church activities

March- in the middle of the month, the world changed... we were grateful to have a small patio for our backyard during the long stay at home order. We were also grateful to continue to have the Divine Liturgy as a family, but were dismayed at the strict regulations. The children and I went frequently to an outdoor stations of the cross during Great Lent 

April- Easter Divine Liturgy was at home; the older girls' university went on-line and the dorms were closed. Thank God for the hospitality of friends and family who opened their doors to them! 

May- regulations in California became stricter. We had daily walks in our townhouse complex as all the parks and beaches were closed. The older girls' university continued to be on-line and we worked on getting them home from the Midwest

June- Priest-husband began the transfer of his ministry as he accepted a call to work in spiritual care/chaplaincy in a hospital out of state. We were preparing to leave California after almost 20 years in the middle of a pandemic- so we made repairs and painted our townhouse to sell it

July - we visited his hospital (just the patio) during his last day of ministry there- I do not think we will ever truly process the difficulty of leaving this life - little to no closure, no hugs, no parties- we tried to offer it up for those who were suffering from the illness. There were the small things- chalk drawing with great friends on the sidewalk, a few times eating out outside with friends, going to a friend's farm to see the animals, a few final Divine Liturgies celebrated outside of the church before the government made regulations strict again. I might be melancholy- but I know we were and are very blessed

August - we packed the Honda and a 16 foot moving van to make our way to the buckle of the Bible belt. We enjoyed the ubiquitous Western burger on the road, and when we arrived at our new city we had to try hot chicken (delicious)- Our oldest daughter had her BA graduation with social distancing measures in place. Sometimes it feels like the twilight zone 

September - the kids and I made a quick visit to the big girls' university (oldest started Masters); we are exploring the wonderful parks of our new stomping grounds 

October- we bought a house! & we were able to have some family visit 

November- The Nativity Fast began, and we enjoyed the chilly weather and the changing leaves of our new state

December - wishing you all a blessed Nativity season & a peaceful, healthy, happy new year!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Lent, Lent, It's time to repent (re-posting yet again just because)

(yes- I know the first photo is from Game of Thrones- even though I haven't seen it...just a bit of fun!)
click on the LENT label below for former fasting posts...

Friday, February 28, 2020

Read along with us this Great Lent: Reflections on Thirty Steps to Heaven

Every Friday morning, some friends and I will be pre-reading and then discussing portions of the book Thirty Steps to Heaven: The Ladder of Divine Ascent for All Walks of Life. I have owned the book for a few years, but I have not really read it. Flipping through pages and reading a paragraph or chapter here and there is not the proper way to read this book. So, a book club it is.

This week, we will be pre-reading the steps on renunciation, detachment, and exile. The author states that these steps are quite different in practice for laypeople.

Even the introduction is rich and ripe with meaning. My favorite lines might be the last two sentences- "One final word of warning: very few people indeed will have climbed all thirty steps of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. If you think you have. you probably need to go back to the beginning."