Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Fr. Vasilli, thank you for the encouragement with regards to the "farm". I still use "farm" in quotes because it's still very much in baby mode. We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Yakima, WA a rural farming community and it really re-inspired my love for that which is self-sufficiency and accomplishing this through farming. I have so much to learn. But am inspired to move forward! If you still would like to chat via email it's susansophia(dot)f(at)gmail(dot)com.
Mimi! Thank you so much! You are a dear and I wish we lived closer! Although you aren't that far away and I can't believe I've never been to Holy Resurrection! I hope we can chat soon!
Xenia...I read your post recently regarding the Women's Retreat and I so dearly wish that I could have been there. One of the reasons is that I long to just chat with you! It really is too bad that it was butted up against the OCA AAC. Next year!
Thank you all. I can't believe people still read this. I have so little to say anymore. But I am truly blessed by this little online connection. Please keep in touch.
If I can't have my Orthodox Intentional Community than this will certainly do. Love to hear form you all.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I find the need to be real. One of the real dangers of the internet and creating a journal online or being a part of FB (aka. the Passion Pit) is that we often times don't show the world our true self. We often, without realizing it, only show our best days, or even that which we wish we could have. Oh I know you all know of this danger. It's really old news that we've all talked about before. It's safe to show the best. We know no one will think ill of us. But I don't think we intentionally only show our best and today I feel the need to be real. Mostly I hope to find that maybe, just maybe, I will find that I am not alone. Deep down inside I know that I am not alone, but it's hard to see that.
I've become increasingly aware of the fact that I have lived a profoundly pharisaical life. I looked up the word hypocrite:
Definition of HYPOCRITE
: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Yep, that's me.
I'm sure many others have known this about me for quite some time, but for me to fully grasp this has taken, well, all my life. The scales have slowly fallen from my eyes and it's not pretty and rather painful to see how hypocritical I've lived.
I remember almost 2 years ago when I was helping someone homeschool another family. They came into my home every day to do school with us. It was one of the hardest things in the world for me because suddenly my safe haven was taken away from me. The place I felt I could be free to be who I was and suddenly I had to be "perfect" even in my own home. Talk about facades. That's the time the first set of scales fell off.
But most recently the scales have fallen off to reveal the hypocrisy of something completely different but hypocrisy nonetheless. It doesn't really matter what it is but just the fact that I have this whole set of beliefs that I profess but do not live my life according to those beliefs.
It makes it difficult for those around me to respect and trust me. And this is truly the most painful thing that one can open their eyes to. But I believe it is one of the best.
There is a song by BarlowGirl called “I need you to love me” and it has really ministered to my empty heart lately. The first verse says…
Why? Why are you still here with me?
Didn’t you see what I’ve done?
In my shame I want to run,
And hide myself.
Yeah, but it’s here I see the truth,
I don’t deserve you.
The line I bolded is exactly what I was talking about. It is the pain that we feel that opens our eyes to the truth. And with truth, hopefully, comes growth.
By finally seeing the truth I pray that I can finally, with a trueness not seen before, bow before God as the publican did. “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Kontakion, tone 4: Let us avoid the proud speaking of the Pharisee and learn humility from the groans of the Publican, and let us cry in penitence: O Saviour of the world, be merciful to Thy servants.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?
Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the movie making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.
Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.
In Theaters September 30
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Last summer he had a heart attack and we went to visit. Prayers were asked, for body and soul.
Just about a month ago, he had open heart surgery, a double by-pass. He was doing great! Until yesterday.
But it is completely unrelated to his heart.
He went to the emergency room because he kept falling down. He said he was so weak. So they did a scan. What they found was completely accidental. They found lesions on his liver. He knows nothing. He hasn't seen the oncologist yet. He didn't even call us, his children. He wasn't going to call us until he saw the oncologist, which is today. But in a very round about way, which I am still sifting through the emotions of, I found out via the "Passion Pit" (FB). Apparently, his wife told one of her daughters and so it goes on. My dad was shocked and upset about my call, knowing about this before he got a chance to tell us himself. I was shocked and upset to learn about this in this manner.
But now I know. He doesn't know anything; treatment, prognosis, etc. We should learn today.
I know enough to know that if it be cancer, it isn't good.
Right now, I beg of your prayers for a man who I believe God is trying to wake up.
May he wake up and see God, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things!
His name is David.
Addendum: I learned that his appointment with the oncologist isn't actually until Tuesday, May 31st. Thank you for your prayers.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp
This book is brought to me at just the right moment. The moment when God knew I was ready to hear the words within. For months now, maybe longer, I've been telling Fr. C that I want to find joy. I don't understand why it is that I can't see joy, feel joy, have joy. It should be easy. I'm living the life that I've always wanted. A husband with 4 beautiful children. A home in the country with some animals. The ability and desire to stay home and home school. All these things were a dream and now alive. So where is the joy? I have been wondering, searching, praying, crying, needing.
Yesterday this book arrives via the Kitsap Regional Library system. I requested it, they ordered it and now I can read it. I know it's about gifts, God's gifts. About blessings. But what I don't know is that within the first 3 chapters Ann will help me to find the answer to the questions I have been asking. She will open my eyes to what I've needed to know for a long time. And I finally have hope that I will soon find this joy God speaks of.
Not only that, she knows how I feel. She used to wake each day in a similar manner. It's comforting to read the words from another woman as she shares how she feels and those feelings are exactly the same as mine.
For years of mornings, I have woken wanting to die. Life itself twists into nightmare. For years, I have pulled the covers up over my head, dreading to begin another day I'd be bound to wreck. Years, I lie listening to the taunt of names ringing off my interior walls, ones from the past that never drifted far and away: Loser. Mess. Failure. They are signs nailed overhead, nailed through me, naming me.
Funny, this. Yesterday morning, the morning before, all these mornings, I wake to the discontent of life in my skin. I wake to self-hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? But this morning, I wake wildly wanting to live. Physically feeling it in the veins trembling, the hard pant of the lungs, the seeing it in the steady stars, how much I really want to really live. How I don't want to die. Is that the message of nightmares and dreams? To live either fully alive...or in empty nothingness?
She searches, looking deep, prays, reads and longs for an answer to how to live fully. She finds her answer in the word eucharisteo. It's all there, deep within the meaning of the word. Thanksgiving, Grace, Joy!
Deeper still the meaning comes with more reading of scripture. She is finding the mystery of what eucharisteo is all about. What is this thanksgiving really all about? This joy? And she is sharing this with us.
That might be what the quest for more is all about—that which Autustine claimed, “Without exception...all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.”
And this was it; I could tell how my whole being responded to that one word. I longed for more life, for more holy joy.
She digs deeper still and finds meaning, deeper meaning, in the parable of the 10 lepers who are healed and only one returns to give thanks. He is made well, even after he was healed. What does this mean? She reads, prays, questions and finds answers. She shares.
I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks for every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life.
I am having a hard time deciding what parts to quote and what not to. I find I want to write it all. It's so profound. It's so from God to me. I can't just pick one little piece or even several because it all goes together. You need to read it. You need to see what she means when she dug deeper into Luke 17, or when she discovered the deeper meaning of eucharisteo. Or what began to happen when she started counting towards one thousand, seeing the gifts in her every day.
What will happen if I start to count. If I begin to live out the fullest expression of my salvation in Christ by taking everything in my life and returning to Jesus, falling at His feet and thanking Him?
Friday, February 18, 2011
...or plan old selfishness?
Each day I am faced with a mountain of tasks. I must teach my children in math, reading and writing. I must do laundry and cook 3 healthy meals on very little money. I must teach the children to pick up after themselves and to do tedious weekly chores and to take care of the poultry.
With all these things comes a litany of complaints and moans and whines of great injustice.
Over the last year, and ever so more evident in the last few months, I find that I do not look forward to this any longer.
I feel frozen. I feel as if I cannot nor do I want to hear it anymore. I don't want to hear the constant complaining when I try to teach or expect cleanliness nor the constant dissatisfaction in the food on the table.
I've had this dreaded feeling for months that I have not been able to put my finger on. At first I thought it was depression or the lack of organization in my life, but I think it really is just the fact that no matter what I do for my family, no matter how hard I work at things, no one is ever happy with what I do. There is always someone there to complain about something.
I lay this out here because I am hoping with all my heart that I am not alone. That someone out there knows what this feeling is. That someone will pray for me and maybe even have some sort of secret advice that will help me get through this. But maybe it is depression or lack of parenting skills. I don't know, but would love some words of wisdom and prayer.
Thank you for listening and for your prayers.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
After I published the post and reread it, I noticed that you can't really see some of the titles. So I must point out to you the most astonishing of them all, because you cannot see it.
"Love and Sex Secrets: What they no one tells you about your first time."
Yes, and this is published for TEENAGERS of all ages!
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
I do not believe I grew up learning very good self-discipline. I find myself struggling with "chores" all the time...household and organization. I also find it easier to just do the jobs myself rather than have the children do them. I wonder if it is because of my perfectionist attitude and that I want it done right. But what I am finding is that the workload is becoming unbearable and stacking up, the clutter is overwhelming and my kids are becoming me (undisciplined). Blech!
Oh, I've read books and blogs and stories. I KNOW I ought to be teaching them to do it themselves, consistently on a daily basis. I KNOW! So why don't I do it?
Because I am undisciplined! Okay, so I've developed this incredible vicious circle that goes around and around and doesn't get anywhere.
I've discovered for sanity's sake I NEED to learn how to break free of this circle and begin moving forward. One of my deepest desires is to teach my children to become disciplined in their every day tasks so that they too, won't spend their days overwhelmed.
Wisdom of Sirach:
22:1-3 A lazy man may be compared to a filthy stone, And everyone hisses at his dishonor. A lazy man may be compared to the filth of manure; Everyone who picks it up will shake it off his hand. The disgrace of a father is begetting an undisciplined son, and a foolish daughter is born to his loss.
26:16 Like the sun rising in the Lord's heaven is the beauty of a good wife in the ordering of her house.
Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
How have you broken free from this vicious cycle, if you were trapped in one? How have you endeavored to teach your children to be orderly and disciplined? Do you have any favorite scriptures that have encouraged you through this process?
I know I do not have a huge audience on here (maybe only get 3-4 hits a day), but I'd love to hear from you. You could even ask around and see what answers you may get.
I look forward to hearing from you.