Wednesday, July 28, 2004

DVD in vehicles

Ok, it may just be me, I have already thought this was a stupid idea. But now this surprised me even more. A DVD player and Play Station 2 in the DASHBOARD of a pickup truck?! What the heck. Driver accused of watching DVD, causing fatal accident

Stuff and Nonsense

I don't very often say when I'm happy and enjoying things. I seem to rant and rave a lot. So I'm happy at the moment. My little dog is asleep, and sighing, and it is very cute. I haven't found that perfect place to rent yet, but I am not worried. I had a tolerable day at work, and even got to leave on time! I am reading some good books, which I love to do. A friend from church noticed I was a bit overwhelmed, and took the jars of herbal vinegars off my hands, that I still hadn't strained and bottled (to sell for the building fund). The weather is not too hot, and that is always good, but yet the sun is out(well not right now), and in Washington, that is good. I have the upcoming weekend off of work, and that is always enjoyable, even if I don't do a darn thing. But I will make myself organize and pack, and getting some things done around here will make me feel good. So all in all things are ok.

Monday, July 26, 2004

some thoughts

I always seem to come up with these thoughts late at night (or early morning), and not during the day when I need them. I was working on an e-mail reply to a friend, and wrote a bit about this, but lost my connection. So I'll just work out these thoughts here. I had read something recently, I'm not sure what or where, mentioning St Paul's discussion of the Christian life being like atheletes. I saw the lightbulb go over my head. I have felt it lately. Finally. After all my life, I finally got it! It's one thing to have "every intention" of exercising, I'm going to start that diet "tomorrow", etc... It's another thing altogether to actually work out daily, change your habits, get sweaty, and sore, and tired, and struggle towards that goal. It's the end result. AHA! So it's not enough to think my spiritual thoughts, and read my Theology books, etc. You can see where I'm going. I have known this already. But my recent problems with worrying put this into a whole new perspective. I am exercising my brain, training it to pray every time a worry pops into my head.(This goes for other things besides worrying.) Also... knowing that God has everything under control, just leave Him to it. I'll just follow. If He could create the whole earth, He can take care of me. I know, this is very basic stuff, but I need to put if down in "writing".

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Quote

I just found this.
More than anything, guard yourselves against conflict, forgive each other when you are insulted. Remember: he who quarrels consoles the devil; he who makes peace gladdens Christ; he who makes peace among others helps Christ and will be accepted into the Heavenly Kingdom as a Son of God (Mtt 5:9).
St John of San Francisco

St Elizabeth Relics

Received e-mails from Father about this today, with links to news articles.
A Reliquary with the Relics of Holy Martyrs Elizabeth and Varvara to Travel to Russia

MOSCOW, July 25 (Itar-Tass) - Thousands of Muscovites met the shrine with the relics of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, whom the Russian Orthodox Church had canonized as a holy martyr, at the Savior Cathedral on Sunday. The shrine had been delivered from Jerusalem.

Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and nuns from the St. Mary Magdalene’s Convent, where the relics had been since 1921, are taking part in the festive service.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia agreed to deliver the relics to Russia for six months on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the Cloister of St. Mary and Martha the Grand Duchess opened.


Another article here.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Too Hot To Blog

Ok, well, maybe not that hot, considering it is now 11:30 pm. But it was the hottest day so far this week, in the 90's. Which, for western Washington, is very hot! It reminds me of living in Southern California... It doesn't help that the "air-conditioning" at work doesn't work correctly, and it is only in the hallways anyhow. So all the patients rooms are like ovens. We were all walking around dripping wet. One of the nurses who was not working today dropped by, and brought in ice cream sandwiches for the staff! How cool! I'm sure I would not think to do such a nice thing on my day off.
I had a very nice e-mail when I got home, and I'm glad that the comment misunderstanding was cleared up.
The kitten, Banjo, spent his first night sleeping inside, with me and Nani. He slept on my pillow, curled up by my head, and then I had Nani under my arm. Well, she was just under my arm so that I could keep her from harassing Banjo. She wants to rub her nose all over him. This morning she was chasing him in circles around the kitchen table. Just wait till he is full grown, he'll be at least three times her size! Most things are bigger than her... she's a 4+ lb chihuahua!
I finally looked in the paper while at work, and I found some ads to call about. There are a couple of studio guest houses that sound promising. Of course, this would mean greatly reducing my "stuff", but I'm working on that anyhow. I'm supposed to make some trips to the Good-Will this week. I really don't need all the space I have as it is. It would also force me to spend more time out of doors, which is what I need. I feel more peaceful when I am outside.
So, that's all my goings on.

Permanence

Something I read over at Heroes for our soulless timesabout Father Seraphim Rose, taken from a talk by Hiermonk Ambrose. It was something I certainly needed to be reminded of this week.
The first of these principles is: "We are pilgrims on this earth and there is nothing permanent for us here." We must constantly remind ourselves of that. We are just sojourners. This life is but the beginning of a continuum that will never end. We tend to treat it as though it's permanent and awfully important in terms of careers and education and getting ahead and all those things. But all of that will die with us when the body dies; none of it will go with us into the next world.
Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Summer

I just wanted to say, IT'S HOT!!! Yes, for all you people down in Southern California, it's hot here too! ARGH! I can't take it anymore. I am going to sit outside and put the hose on myself and my dog! Well, ok, maybe not. But I don't want to move. It would actually be enjoyable to be at work right now, as they have air-conditioning, though I guess to tell the truth it doesn't work all that well. I went by the market today, and of course I forgot to get any kind of refreshing beverages, as I usually just drink water. Darn it all. Well, at least it is not smoggy here like it is in So Cal. :) The sky is nice and clean and blue. Hee hee hee. Yippee for something. Well, I have to get back to sorting through my crap and getting ready to move. Still have to look for a place, that's one of my projects to make me worry less, once I have a place then I will feel some relief.

Letting Go

I am learning that I will have to let go of my will daily, and even hourly. It has been a tremendous struggle that has left me feeling despondent. All because I wouldn't recognize my lack of trust in God. I kept saying I trusted in God, but the worry in my heart, and the state of my soul lately shows otherwise. I hit bottom this week, as a series of events and circumstances in my life became too much for me to worry about, and I finally gave my will up. This is a good thing. I can now see that I WASN'T trusting God. Of course, I'll have to fight this battle everyday. At least I have found out how prideful I really am, and can remind myself of that. So my struggle now is to lay aside my will in all things, and to trust in God. You would think I'd have a clue about this by now. Gee whiz. Well, at least it's a start. Though now I see how easy it is to fool myself. Of course, considering all the upheaval in my life the last few years, I am actually thankful that I have done as well as I have, not that that is saying much. It feels though, like the same struggle all the time, just part of being a fallen human I guess. I just pray that I will continue to lay aside my own will, and seek God in all things. I also have to remember to just enjoy where I am in life, and not worry about the future! (argh!)

Most holy Theotokos, save us!

"On July 23, the Church remembers the miraculous appearance of our all-holy Lady Mary, the ever-virgin Birthgiver of God, at Pochayiv, Ukraine (then part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) in 1675, when the local Dormition Monastery was under attack by Muslim Turks."

The Pochaev Icon Of The Mother Of God
"All-holy Lady Mary, ever-virgin Birthgiver of God, living gateway of our salvation! Be merciful to us sinners and hear our prayer in our danger and distress, as enemies of your divine-human Son's Gospel breathe threats and mayhem against us. Protect us from them with your holy and powerful maternal prayers, as you did so long ago in Pochayiv. Beg the Lord, to whom you gave birth, to keep His world in peace and safety, protect the innocent, stay the hands of the violent, forgive us our sins and convert the hearts and minds of all from evil to good. Plead for us as our advocate, for your intercessions are a wall of defense for us in our defenselessness -- and you, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, are the woman whom all generations call blessed. Amen."
Thank you to Father Christopher, and his much appreciated e-mails to the parish, for everything that is in quotes.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

St Mary Magdalene

Troparion (Tone 1)
O holy Mary Magdalene, thou didst keep Christ's commandments and follow Him, Who for our sakes was born of a Virgin. Today we celebrate thy memory and receive forgiveness through thy prayers.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
With others standing before the Savior's Cross, weeping and suffering with the Mother of God, glorious Mary Magdalene offered praises saying: What is this strange wonder? He chooses to suffer Who upholds the whole creation: Glory to Thy Power.



Today is the feast day of St Mary Magdalene. (My name's day.)
Mary was one of the Myrrh-Bearers and Equal to the Apostles. She was born in Magdala by the Sea of Galilee, of the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven demons until the Lord cast them out of her. Ever after, she followed the Lord faithfully, even weeping with his Most Holy Mother at the foot of the Cross. She visited Christ's tomb three times, once alone and twice with the other women. She became a traveling preacher of the gospel. She appeared before Tiberius Caesar in Rome. She presented him with a red egg (representing the stone which had been rolled away), saying: "Christ is risen!" She told Caesar of Pilate's injustice toward Jesus. He responded by moving Pilate to Gaul, where he died under imperial displeasure after a prolonged illness. She then assisted St. John the Theologian in Ephesus. She preached boldly the gospel of the Risen Lord whom she loved. She died peacefully and was buried in a cave that is said to be the same cave where the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus later spent 100 years asleep without aging. St. Mary's relics were later taken to Constantinople. Find this here.


I found this website of the church of St Mary Magadalene in Jerusalem, which is where the relics of St Elizabeth are! The Russian convent there has an interesting website, with pictures of what I think is the relics of St Elizabeth.
Icon once again borrowed from Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Medical "Industry"

The problem is right there in the title. Industry. Somewhere along the line, something has gotten lost. What about the people? I am speaking of the people on both sides, the patients as well as the care-givers. It is somewhat easier for the powers that be in the administration to remember they've got people they're "servicing", what they often forget is the people actually DOING the care-giving! Though I think both often get overlooked. Case in point, when I went into work on Monday after having the weekend off, one of my long-time patients had died. It was unexpected, and in her sleep, which of course is a blessing for her and her family. BUT, I think a little time to grieve for a human being is not too much to ask, or just time to process. So, I had a new person admitted into the bed the same day. This is not a hospital, they used to call them "nursing homes", now the "home" has been replaced, and they are called Skilled Nursing Facilities. We deal in beds, is that a "Medicare bed"? Or is it a "Medicaid bed"? It makes a difference you know. Beurocratic junk has always bothered me, but it gets to me more when we are supposed to be dealing with people. Everyone deserves dignity and respect, and to be treated as human, and not a commodity. A fellow nurse made a comment that it felt like we were in the business of warehouseing beds, from the way things were handled from "upstairs"(administration).
When I lament about work, many people remind me that SOMEONE is needed to care for these people, and it is a blessing from God that it is me. I know this inside, but I certainly don't feel like a blessing sometimes. I pray that I will be a blessing to people as long as I do this, but I still pray that it won't be for the next 30 to 40 years of my "working" life.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

tut tut... it looks like rain...

I'm just a little black rain cloud
hovering under the honey tree
I'm only a little black rain cloud
pay no attention to little me
everyone knows that a rain cloud
never eats honey, no, not a nip
I'm just floating around over the ground
wondering where I will drip

Oh, everyone knows that a rain cloud
never eats honey, no, not a nip
I'm just floating around over the ground
wondering where I will drip

Monday, July 19, 2004

St Seraphim of Sarov

Today in the Orthodox Church we commemorate the uncovering of the relics of the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov. The first life of a saint I read was St Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore. It really touched me.


Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one, and ardently desiring to work for Him alone, thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor; and having acquired love for Christ with compunction of heart, thou didst prove to be the beloved favourite of the Mother of God. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim, our holy Father.

Icon courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

St Elizabeth

O God-wise Elizabeth, with humility you hid your nobility and honored Christ, especially by imitating the labors of Martha and Mary.
As a sacrifice to God, you armed yourself with works of mercy, patience, and love.
Seeing your life of good works and suffering, we sincerely beseech you, our true teacher.
O Venerable Martyr, Grand Duchess Elizabeth, beseech Christ our God to enlighten and save our souls.

Today is our parish feast day. Here is a little bit about St Elizabeth:
Not every generation is destined to meet along its path such a blessed gift from heaven as was the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna for her time, for she was a rare combination of exalted Christian spirit, moral nobility, enlightened mind, gentle heart, and refined taste. She possessed an extremely delicate and multifaceted spiritual composition and her outward appearance reflected the beauty and greatness of her spirit. Upon her brow lay the seal of an inborn, elevated dignity which set her apart from those around her. Under the cover of modesty, she often strove, though in vain, to conceal herself from the gaze of others, but one could not mistake her for another. Wherever she appeared, one would always ask: "Who is she who looketh forth as the morning, clear as the sun" (Song of Solomon 6:10)? Wherever she would go she emanated the pure fragrance of the lily. Perhaps it was for this reason that she loved the color white—it was the reflection of her heart. All of her spiritual qualities were strictly balanced, one against another, never giving an impression of one-sidedness. Femininity was joined in her to a courageous character; her goodness never led to weakness and blind, unconditional trust of people. Even in her finest heartfelt inspirations she exhibited that gift of discernment which has always been so highly esteemed by Christian ascetics...
Nevertheless she did not lose her abiding firmness of spirit and occasionally would send words of encouragement and comfort to the sisters of her convent who were deeply grieving over her. And so it continued until the fateful night of 5/18 July. On this night together with the other royal captives striving with her and her valiant fellow-struggler Barbara in Alapaevsk, she was suddenly taken in an automobile outside the city and apparently buried alive with them in one of the local mine shafts. The results of later excavation there has shown that she strived until the last moment to serve the grand dukes who were severely injured by the fall. Some local peasants who carried out the sentence on these people whom they did not know, reported that for a long time there was heard a mysterious singing from below the earth.
This was the great-passion-bearer, singing funeral hymns to herself and the others until the silver chain was loosed and the golden bowl was broken (cf. Eccles. 12:6) and until the songs of heaven began to resound for her. Thus the longed-for martyr's crown was placed on her head ...Together with all the other sufferers for the Russian land, she appeared simultaneously as a redeemer for Russia and as a foundation for that Russia of the future which is being raised up on the bones of the new martyrs. Such images have a timeless significance; their memory is eternal on earth and in heaven. Not in vain did the voice of the people declare her a saint during her lifetime.

To read more click here.

Who can tell of your great acts of faith, O long suffering Grand Duchess Elizabeth, while enduring death in the depths of the earth, you radiated the brightness of Paradise.
Rejoicing in psalms and hymns you prayed with the angels for your torturers, "O Lord forgive them for they know not what they are doing."
O Christ our God, through her prayers, have mercy, and save our souls.
St Elizabeth Icon courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery.
 







Saturday, July 17, 2004

Love Thy Neighbor

I received an e-mail from my priest via the parish e-mail group, an article by Metropolitan Gregory of St. Petersburg,1904 entitled "How Should We Conduct Ourselves In Relation To Other People?". It's too long to post it here, but I just wanted to post a few things (that especially struck me). These are things I already know, but I always need to be reminded.
1. You want the best for yourself and are satisfied when everything works out for the best. On the other hand you are not pleased when for some reason things fail. Therefore wish the best for all of your neighbors: rejoice when they are happy and commiserate when they fall into misfortune.
2. It is unpleasant when people react to you poorly and suspect you of some evil doing. Therefore do not speak poorly of anyone, and without sufficient cause do not be suspicious of anyone. Love thinketh no evil (I Cor. 13:5).
3. It is pleasant for you when people speak well of you. Therefore you should speak well of all your neighbors. Be especially careful not to slander your neighbor. Slander is the work of Satan, let it belong to him alone (Rev. 12:10). You speak only good of your neighbor.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
 


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Suffering

I read this article this morning on suffering, by Fr John Breck, on the OCA website. As usual, it really convicted me. How often I want life to be easy, and happy. I forget, our call in life isn't the easy road. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Anniversaries

I was standing in my bathroom this evening thinking about all I have to do to get ready to move, including finding a place to move to. I realized it has been almost a year since I moved from my own apartment in Kirkland, to my sister's house in Poulsbo(thankfully that only lasted a couple of months). Then it suddenly dawned on me that another anniversary had passed this weekend, without any thought. I think it was one year ago on Sunday, I told my ex-husband that I wanted a divorce. I hadn't even seen him at that time in two and a half months. I'm not surprised I didn't even think about it, I've had a lot of other things going on lately. It makes me stop and think, and yes, I still don't have any regrets. I thank God that I got out. It's also been one year since I started my official inquiry into Orthodoxy. A year ago I wouldn't have been able to picture where I am now, but I am so grateful to God.

Sleeeeep

Okie Dokie. I am insanely tired, my eyes are burning, and I've given myself a headache. It doesn't help that I have not been feeling well the past three days. So why am I not asleep? I do not know. I just can't! It used to be one of my favorite movies, back in my hazy past, (I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now)... Fight Club has a scene close to the beginning about insomnia that is how I feel about now. It will get even more surreal if I still haven't fallen asleep by tomorrow(well, it is already tomorrow). Maybe I should try putting some Willie Nelson on the headphones, or something else relaxing. Or, even better, the Jesus prayer.(Picture me slapping my forehead). OK, maybe I'll just go and try that. Nighty-night.

Reading

What I'm currently reading (or trying to read):

Technopoly - Neil Postman
Gender - Frederica Mathewes-Green
A Dove Of The East - Mark Helprin
The Sacred Gift Of Life - Fr John Breck
The Inner Kingdom - Bishop Kallistos Ware (book club)
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Next in line to read: (some bought, some loaned to me)

The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis
A Soldier Of The Great War - Mark Helprin
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense - David Gutterson
The Guide To Self-Sufficiency - John Seymour
This House Of Sky - Ivan Doig
Orthodoxy - G.K. Chesterton
Your Money Or Your Life - Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis (I have just never gotten all the way through it for one reason or other.)

Late Night Ramblings

I drove home from work this evening listening to Patsy Cline. I love that CD (I think it's the "Essential" Patsy Cline, or some similar title). Nice, and relaxing, which is just what's needed after a day(evening) of work. The night sky over my home is very clear tonight, and the stars are beautiful. There's nothing like the night sky full of stars. Of course, it helps to be up in the mountains, where they can be appreciated, without the interference of light pollution. I have to appreciate what I've got, out here in the woods, while I'm here. In a few months I will be living somewhere down the mountain, closer to civilization . But I'm hoping to be closer to church, and work, so I guess there are pros. And of course, I will be praying that it won't be forever, as I'm hoping for my own secluded piece of land someday.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Family

It's funny, spending time with my family. We sort of fall into our roles in the family. It makes me wonder, what will I be like as a parent? What, from my parents' behaviors, will I do, or change? What will my children be like (if I am blessed with any)? Hmmmm. How come it took me so long to feel somewhat healty and adjusted? Was it just my own laziness and sinfulness? I don't know. Was it the time in which I was raised? Will I be able to have a family that is less influenced by the "world"? How will I do that? Is it selfish of me, to want to be away from the world? Spending time with my family makes me ponder these things. I'd like to go out, where I can just have my family, and live life. Is it wrong? Why do I have so many questions?
Ok. In other news, my godparents told me about an Orthodox store in Glendale, and since it was my birthday, and my last full day in So Cal, my mom drove me out there from Simi. We had lunch at a Greek restaurant, and then went to the book store. She bought herself a copy of "Becoming Orthodox" (she and my step-dad went to Jerusalem with "Campus Crusade for Christ"). I think she realizes, after a year of this, that it is not a "fad" or "phase" I'm going through, that this is it for me. So, she's trying to understand. She was asking me a lot of questions while we were in the car, on the way to and from Glendale, and also to the airport this morning. We talked about some of the things that protestants generally are confused about, such as Saints, for example. I can only pray that my answers were a good witness to the Faith.

Fond Affection

I got home from a week long trip today. My friends brought my dog out to me, as I was pulling my suitcases out of the bed of my truck. My pure, sweet, simple hearted dog was so happy to see me, she kissed me joyously for at least ten minutes. There was no hesitation, no pouting, no questioning where I had been for a week, or why I had abandoned her. She just loved me, with abandon. Everyone should be able to come home to such reckless love and joy, it would make the world a better place. How come we can't show people our affection, of course we can't lick everyone's faces that we meet, but even show a little bit of that joy? St Seraphim of Sarov greeted everyone he met with "My Joy!". Oh, how I wish it were that easy and simple to just be that abandoned with our affections, but we worry too much about what is proper. We should learn from our dogs, and just enjoy life, without hesitation.

Homeward Bound

I wish I was...
Well, I will be on a plane back to Seattle in less than ten hours (unless the flight is delayed). It's nice to get a vacation, and it certainly went by fast, but I will enjoy being back home. I miss Washington, I miss the clean blue skies, and the trees, and the birds singing outside of my windows. This could be longer, but I have to pack up my stuff, and get ready to leave in the morning. It was really nice to see my family, and my friends, and to meet new people. We watched one of my favorite movies tonight, I got to pick since it was my birthday, I noticed a line at the end that I really liked... "There is no "normal" life, there's just life... live every second...". It took me a while to figure that out. I have to say, my 30's have been far better than my 20's, what there has been so far.

Friday, July 02, 2004

We're all the same here

I was sitting on the floor at SeaTac airport on Wednesday morning, waiting for my delayed flight. I was reading a book and watching the crowds walk by. I enjoy people watching, and wonder about their lives and where they are going. I noticed a young lad of about 13 walk by, wearing a black t-shirt which said, "You laugh because I'm different, I laugh because you're all the same". The irony really struck me, and I almost laughed out loud. I did smile a bit. He was fully decked out, head-to-toe in duds from "Hot Topic", which is a store found in any given mall in America. He was wearing a black baseball hat, said black t-shirt with "witty" antisocial comment, studded black belt, very baggy black shorts, and black tennies. This is the uniform these days for the hip young kids. So, it begs the question, how different are you if you are dressed like so many other people? What about considering yourself "different" is important? How you are dressed? Or just maybe, your values and morals? I certainly went through the phases of having to look a certain way, and I finally don't feel the need. I think, when your heart changes, it naturally shows up on the outside, in changing your appearance. So, I have noticed lately that I just don't care, for one thing, what others think of my clothes, or any of that. Also, that they just aren't important to me. Of course, I feel like I've still got a long way to go. But I'm on the road. What I worry about is how I am on the inside, in relation to Christ. Am I where I should be? Most of the time I don't think so.