Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading and Blogging

As I mentioned in my last post, my New Years Resolution is "to run!" In doing this, working towards this mentality (which is really a difficult thing for me), I am trying to read some books that I hope will inspire me. I cannot lose sight of this goal, I do not want to lose sight of this goal. Since I haven't been posting much as of late I thought that I would "try" to just post quotes now and again from the books that I am reading. Putting them here will help remind me of these little bits of inspiration and just maybe someone else might find them inspiring as well.

I am reading a few different books at different speeds (some take longer to digest then others). One of them is called "Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and 'Women's Work'." I am actually re-reading it, the first time being about 7 years ago. I used to own the book but have no idea where it went to. I must have loaned it out or something. This copy is from the library.
Quotidian means : occurring everyday; belonging to everyday; commonplace, ordinary.

She starts out talking about how we always have the "daily" with us; dishes, laundry, diapering, etc. But we've stigmatized it. All too often, however, we stigmatize such work as "menial," considering domestic or janitorial work to be suitable only for those who are too limited mentally to find employment elsewhere. Cleaning up after others, or even ourselves, is not what we educate our children to do; it's for someone else's children, the less intelligent, less educated and less well-off.

A few paragraphs later....

The fact that none of us can rise so far in status as to remove ourselves from the daily, bodily nature of life on this earth is not usually considered a cause for celebration, but rather the opposite. The daily routines that provide a modicum of discipline in our lives are perceived as a drag, a monotony that can occasion listlessness, apathy and despair. The word acedia is not much in use these days- The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "spiritual torpor or apathy; ennui"-but I wonder if much of the frantic boredom and enervating depression that constitute an epidemic in modern life are not merely the ancient demon of acedia in contemporary dress. Although acedia was long thought to be the province of monastics alone, plagueing them because of lack of distraction in their daily lives, I believe that the description of acedia given by the fourth-century monk Evagrius is as relevant to us in twentieth-century America as when it was written. He states that the bad thought, or demon of acedia "makes it seem that the sun hardly moves, if at all, and that the day is fifty hours long. Then [it] constrains the monk to look constantly out the windows, to walk outside the cell, to gaze carefully at the sun to determine how far it stands from the ninth hour" [i.e., lunchtime].
Once the monk has given in to these outward distractions, the thought of acedia moves inward, and Evagrius writes that it "instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself." He begins to think less of the other monks- we might translate this as our family , coworkers or neighbors--brooding on the ways they have angered, offended or merely failed to encourage him. "This demon, " Evagrius reports, then drives the monk "to desire other sites where he can more easily find work and make a real success of himself." Having rejected the present and present company, the monk begins to dwell in self-pitying "[memories] of his dear ones and his former way of life." Acedia then moves in for the kill, "[depicting] life stretching out for a long period of time, and brings before the mind's eye the toil of the ascetic struggle and, as the saying has it, leaves no leaf unturned to induce the monk to forsake his cell and drop out of the fight."

I can see how this can totally happen in the life of a stay at home mom.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy New Year from the Ferrenbergs

I never did get my Christmas Letter written this year, or cards sent out. I started, but still haven't finished and feel that it isn't worth it now being that it is January 15th.
I just really do not know where the time goes! It is absolutely crazy!
I've not given much time over to blogging these days and as I've said on FB, "Facebook will be the death of the blogging world." Because of FB I really feel that I don't "need" to blog. I also don't feel like I need to blog because I've decided I don't really have much of anything to say. But I'll still post from time to time things that I feel that have really been encouraging or eye opening, etc. Sometimes I read something and I really believe it has helped me and maybe it could help someone else.
I've seen other people talk about their New Years Resolutions and so I've been giving it some thought. This year instead of having a long list of resolutions I've decided to concentrate on just one! Because this ONE if concentrated on would really help just about anything else I would want to resolve to do. I was talking with friend yesterday about passions/sins and he read in "Unseen Warfare" ( I THINK that was the book) that in all of us we have a chief sin. If we were to concentrate on just that one sin, putting ALL effort into that one sin, we would be far better off. If we look at all our sins that we want to conquer we tend to get overwhelmed and feel like we can't possibly tend to everything so we don't do anything. But if we just look at that one and we put all our energy into that chief sin it actually will give us power to conquer others without even knowing it. I forget exactly how he said it. Sins gain strength from each other and work like a net so if we begin to conquer just one the others lose their strength as well.

So my resolution is to conquer sloth! Everyday, I want to run!

I'm reading Wounded By Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios. I read this and it has inspired me to put all my energy and concentration into fighting this one sin.
Elder Porphyrios says that he "ran, I didn't walk" whenever he did things.
There was no question of laziness. I liked to pray even when I was tired. When I was exhausted I sought God even more. You must believe this and realize that it's truly possible. It's a matter of love. It's not simply that you work quickly. You do one job, then you begin another, you come back and do yet another, and you make sure that you finish them all: you water, you hoe, you bring earth and branches, you go up the mountain, you fetch wood for your woodcarving. With love you are in perpetual motion. You should see then where sins go. They all fall into a deep sleep. Do you hear? This is truly a life lost from the world, a blessed and holy life, a life in Paradise.

I want to run!

Blessings to you all during 2010!!