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    Thursday, February 26, 2004

    Humility

    Why is humility so hard to learn? Why do I think I somehow deserve more things and better things, let alone the provisions I have already been given?

    Last night, at the presanctified liturgy, Ruth chanted somberly, bemoaning our preoccupation with material things. The ancient prayer pierced my heart as the mirror of truth was held before me. Discontentment runs deep. I am far from worthy, and yet...God is merciful.

    I am trying to learn, I guess that's what it's all about.

    Remember O Lord our infirmity, and destroy us not for our transgressions, but be merciful to our humility, that we may flee from the darkness of sin and devoutly serve Thee.

    Monday, February 23, 2004

    And So it Begins

    This from Skopos and last night's Vespers

    Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast, and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh; and as we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love, and so be counted worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God, and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Passover.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2004

    Pomo-whatsi?

    In reading other blogs I have come across terms like "post-modern church movement" and "emerging church." Not having any direct experience with these terms that I know of, I decided to do a little search of my own.

    So, I hopped on google and found some interesting things. Including this article which talks about the movement and their appreciation for old ways of doing things. Like this quote in reference to the Orthodox Church:

    The beautiful thing God does in the church is some people conserve things and they don't even know who they are conserving them for. And that's a beautiful thing.

    I don't get it. I am beginning to see why this movement would rub some the wrong way...especially those who understand fully why the Church has "conserved" the things it has. What is the movement really about? What are they trying to do? I know about home churches and I know about secular post-modernism...but I don't really get what the "Pomo" movement is.

    If anyone can help quench my curiosity, please do so.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2004

    Mud

    Do you ever have moments when a memory from long ago seems so unbelievably clear and recent? Well, today I experienced this.

    I was sitting on the portch at my friend's house, nursing Basil (as usual), and watching her two children who were thoroughly engrossed in their play. Their open sandbox had long been abandoned and I knew what I was in for as soon as the boy, the older of the two, made his way toward the muddy bed of winter-pruned rose bushes. Like a moth to the flame, he couldn't resist the calling of the sludge. I was even trying to think of the best angle to take to prevent the mess. But then, I remembered...

    When I was young, my younger sister and I would spend hours upon hours concocting various mixtures of that instant fun.

    I can still picture the table we had found in the back yard, the plastic toys, the sifters, the bowls, the popsicle sticks and old wooden spoons...caked with hours and days worth of stirring, spreading, scooping and spilling.

    Oh the glories of mud-covered bare toes on concrete and grass warmed by the summer sun!

    I think I will never stop loving the smell of moist dirt, like when it first starts to rain, or when I water the garden, or when the sprinklers are running...there's just something about that earthy combination that instantly takes me back to those sunny afternoons of my childhood.

    So, this morning, I said nothing as my friend's son made his way to the puddle and called out to his sister to join him. I did nothing when their clothes were splattered with "chocolate milk" and "chicken soup". I'm not too sure what their mother will say when she returns...and it really wasn't that messy. Plus, the mud kept them occupied for a good hour or so and I got to take a trip down memory lane.

    And boy, did it smell good.

    Thursday, February 12, 2004

    The Dancing Altar Boy



    I found this on a website while searching for instructions on how to make beeswax candles...I found more than I was looking for! Isn't he so cool? Kinda makes makes me want to dance.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2004

    Hippie Soap

    A while back, the munkee and I talked about trying to phase a lot of the toxic chemicals out of our home...the majority of which come from our cleaning supplies. Slowly, I have been replacing things as the old containers are emptied.

    While shopping yesterday I found this cool liquid soap called Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. It is a very concentrated 18-in-1 hemp-peppermint castile soap that smells really nice. We called it hippie soap because it's made with the hemp and organic oils. Not only does it smell like a cup of herbal tea, but it can be used to clean so many things. This morning, I tried it out on the kitchen floor and it looks pretty good. It can be used as a body wash, laundry detergent, dish soap heck, you could probably eat the stuff!

    While it's cleansing powers and versatility are laudable for sure, its makers have some pretty weird ideas. I guess Dr. Bronner was an Orthodox Jew from Germany. Who knows what he believed at the end of his life...but now the universalist, pseudo-spiritualists who produce and market his soaps and refer to him as the "Pope of Soap", hold nothing back.

    Regardless of some funkadellic views, I think I like this product. And besides, I'll never know what the makers of 409 believe anyhow.

    Monday, February 09, 2004

    Why are They Called Wisdom Teeth Anyhow?

    I feel anything but wise with these monsters trying to eek their way out of their soft gum-tissue cave dwellings at the back of my mouth. Their prolonged emergence is driving me crazy. All of the time, a low heavy pressure sits in my mouth.

    Call me a fool…but these suckers have GOT TO GO!

    Friday, February 06, 2004

    So Many Blogs

    I can't believe how many blogs there are out there...it seems like everyone has something to say. I just spent an hour and a half following links leading to more random thoughts than I thought possible. It is quite entertaining, I must say, to be inside other heads like that. Entertaining but time consuming...yikes!
    Orthodox Spirituality on Purification of the Heart

    When a person's heart is cleansed he becomes more sociable, balanced. He behaves properly within society, because his selfishness has given way to love for God and love for man. Selfish love is transformed into unselfish love. Formerly, he would love selfishly, with a love which seeks its own. Now, however, he loves with a pure love. He loves others without expecting anything in return. He loves independently of whether others love him. There is no self-seeking in his actions. Thus, when selfish love is changed into unselfish love, one speaks of the person as having become a real human being. And it is this transformation which is considered the cure of man.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    Monday Night Gender Studies

    This monday I went back to school. Due to some poor academic counseling, I have ONE course left before I can graduate. As you can imagine, I wasn't too thrilled when I discovered this last spring, six months pregnant and excitedly planning for graduation. That's the way the pickle squirts, as my great-grandmother used to say.

    So, on monday night I left the baby for first time since his birth, five months ago. He was pretty happy with Dad, I am told, and he wasn't crying when I got home so that was a good sign. But boy, did he nurse voraciously! I think I had it worse than he did...I really didn't want to leave him and I could hardly pay attention, even though it was only for a couple of hours.

    This class is considered the capstone course for my major, which is Human Development. Honestly, I don't see why I could have taken it last summer like we had planned. It is a "senior seminar" where they offer a variety of topics. Apparently I registered for the course that is focusing on gender issues.

    While I think it is important to discuss and understand this issue in light of our ever-changing culture, I have to say I get so tired of it. Maybe it is because I feel secure in my gender identity and embrace being a woman and favor traditional gender roles. I don't know...what frustrates me most of all is that it is all presented in a relativistic, every woman to herself manner and yet, if someone like me choose to embrace a more conservative lifestyle and belief system, the issue suddenly loses all relativism and such choices are looked down upon and viewed as somewhat backwards.

    I've explored feminism...I went to an all-female high school where that mindset was taught, I've read the books, I've touted many of those ideas myself. While I appreciate a lot of what these ideas explore, and can't say I am free of their influence, I am very comfortable with being a woman and don't want to pretend I am a man or pretend that I have to do things that men have traditionally done to be worth something. In fact, I feel comforted that I don't have to and that I know I don't have to struggle to be appreciated or find meaning.

    Maybe I feel this way because I have chosen my path and feel "empowered" by rejecting more feminist beliefs. Maybe if my way of life had been more prescribed for me I would feel trapped and imprisoned without choices. I guess the story would be the same, though, humility and submission would have to be learned under those circumstances just like in our modern society.

    This is all to say that I feel overwhelmingly comforted in the Ark that is the Church. When I read the lives of the holy women that have gone before me, I see exemplars who call us as women to a standard that will receive greater glory than all of the pursuits of this world can offer. Glory to thee, O Lord.

    Monday, February 02, 2004

    Keys and therapy

    I guess I left the keys in the Munkee's car yesterday and now he's at work...with my keys and the spare set that I had left in there last week...don't ask. So, here we are...me and the Bas-man. I am bummed mostly because my favorite thrift store, Savers, is having a 50% off everything sale today only. Oh well.

    So, instead I have been reading Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos. The cover claims it is a brief introduction and as I read, I get the feeling that I am getting only glimpses of what is in this book let alone the vast reality of the subject.

    It has definitely helped to better shape and clarify my thinking about a lot of things: salvation, asceticism, purification from passions, the cleansing of the heart, the illumination of the soul, Divine grace, and how important the Church is in providing the necessary therapy to restore us to wholeness and cure us from the sickness of our nature. "The essence of Orthodox spirituality lies in its therapeutic effects. It cures a person’s infirmities and renders him an integrated person."

    I am slowly coming to realize more fully what all of this "Orthodox stuff" means and as I do...and as I begin more and more to see the world and life through the correct lenses, I am thankful that I have full access to this means of therapy.

    I am also comforted by the fact that, contrary to what I used to believe, I don't have to be spiritually perfect tomorrow...like my Father confessor says: "What is most important is that you try." Little by little perhaps it will get easier and then someday, hopefully, the energy of the soul will return to its essence and ascend to God. It is a battle and a journey, that's for sure, and the road ahead seems long.

    On the whole...it is all very humbling, sobering, and hopeful at once.
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