Family

I can not believe that I haven’t been here since 2008. Amazing how time flies! I was only prompted to visit this time because I received an email comment that was spam and wanted to make sure it didn’t get posted on the blog.

So, an update on me and mine:

Dad passed away in May of this year. His wife is hanging in there at 89. My daughter is attending college out of state and that car we bought from Dad when the dementia proved too much for him to be driving safely is dead in Dad’s driveway. My youngest son graduated from high school and will attend a junior college for a year until he figures out his career choice.

Mark and I are doing well. I changed jobs this month to work closer to home and I love it.

We joined the Eastern Orthodox Christian church in January of 2009. I thought that the routine liturgy would become stale but it hasn’t. Something about it is so Holy! It feels like we are participating in something that God would actually attend. The sanctuary (called the Nave) is holy and sacred. What a change from the Vineyard where nothing was holy.

So, I’ll close for now. I’ll try to get back sooner than nearly 2 years this time. I still can’t believe its been that long!

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3 comments August 20, 2010

3 Months

Well, I haven’t been here for 3 months, exactly. I don’t have a lot to say but wanted to stop by and let everyone who is following my posts (all 3 or 4 of you) that things are, well, still crazy.

Dad’s aphasia isn’t any better. He now has foot drop and needs a brace to keep from tripping on his toes which he is dragging. The xrays show multiple injuries to his back and arthritis. Since Dad had surgery on the place causing the foot drop, he is not a good candidate for surgery. He’s also 82. Again, his age does not make him a good candidate for surgery. So far, he’s managing his pain fairly well.

Dad’s wife, Lyla has been falling down a lot. She currently sports a beautiful green-purple bruise over most of her forehead where she went down in the bathroom. She won’t use a walker (even if the mobile home was walker-friendly). So, I’m waiting for one of these falls to result in a broken bone.

Caleb needs a back brace because the curvature of his spine in the upper back is too much. If it’s not corrected, his heart and lungs may not grow enough to support him as an adult. He gets fitted for his brace on Tuesday.

So, my “spare” time is currently spent in doctor’s offices. There are 4 doctor appointments this week alone. Thank God for Mark. He is well and he makes life easier for me by keeping the household going. I certainly don’t have time.

I did get a chance to go on the women’s retreat to Santa Paula at the St. Barbara Monestary. I have been looking forward to getting to know the women at St. Peter’s. We had a fun time at dinner on Friday and on Saturday we had a great teaching.

So, I will close for now. I feel very blessed even with the health challenges of my family. Thank you Lord for Your grace and mercies which are new every morning!

1 comment November 10, 2008

Humility

Wikipedia defines Humility as the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. Synonym: humble

The term “humility” is derived from the Latin word “humilis”, which is translated not only as humble but also alternatively as “low”, or “from the earth”.and “humus”, earth or dirt.[1] Because the concept of humility addresses intrinsic self-worth, it is emphasized in the realm of religious practice and ethics where the notion is often made more precise and extensive. Humility as a religious or spiritual virtue is different from the act of humiliation or shaming though the former may follow as a consequence of the latter.

I have met a truly humble woman. I see so much of Jesus in her that I want to be like her, or rather like Jesus. She has such a beautiful, humble approach. I have seldom seen a more beautiful person. In Deuteronomy 8:22, the Lord our God leads the people in the wilderness to make them humble “And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” I believe she has been through the wilderness and her heart is full of His commandments.

I hope to spend lots of time with this servant of God! May God grant her many years!

1 comment August 10, 2008

Catching Up

I haven’t posted since last month! I am starting to fall into my old ways!

I have been busy with Dad and his dementia. Since neither he nor his wife can drive now, my brother, his wife and I have been kept busy transporting them around. They often pay me for gas even though I protest about this. I wish they’d become a bit more comfortable with the senior transport in San Dimas. It’s cheap–only $1.00 per person per ride–but they don’t like waiting for the return transport. There also used to be a bus stop in front of my house (a short walk for Dad and Lyla), which might of been useful for them, but the transport company removed the stop last week. I guess the economy has hit everyone.

Church has been good. The Lord Jesus is so merciful. I did my life confession in preparation for Chrismation over a week ago. I was so nervous but Father Patrick was so kind and gentle. I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from me. It’s funny, ever since Mark and I really decided this is the last stop for us–we intend to immerse ourselves in Orthodoxy–we’ve been having non stop digestive problems. Even today, Mark’s stomach was upset but we decided we were going to Divine Liturgy anyway.

Work is making me struggle. We are an “old” retirement community. Not just our ladies are old, but our buildings were built well before the 70’s and most of the apartments are studios which do not appeal to todays’ retiree. The current residents get anxious about our plans but we’ve promised them that they will only have to move once and they’d have a place in the new community. The developer and banker are pushing for just one building phase which would mean we’d have to move the ladies out of the community. I feel this would be going back on our promise. I’ve been working on becoming a woman of my word over the past 15 years.

It’s a very good job. I am praying as to what the Lord would have me do. I know He will direct my way.

I hope this finds you all at peace in the Lord.

2 comments August 10, 2008

“The River of Fire”

I found this keynote address at http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

It’s a really good article which speaks to the Protestant view of Christ’s death as substitution for our sins.  I hope you’ll read it and be as awed by God as I am.

1 comment July 7, 2008

Anger

I’ve been thinking about anger lately probably prompted by a Bible reading about Jesus : And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
Mark 3:4-6

Jesus’ anger is so much more holy than mine.

I got angry at my boss today. He’d asked me to write a synopsis of our quarterly financial statement for the Board, to “show them how much I really know about this stuff”. I thought it was strange, almost like having to “prove” that I know the finances of the company. I’ve been there 19 months. I better know the finances.

So, I did as he asked and emailed it to him. He came and told me it was “really” good but had a few comments for me. He emailed it back–his editing reads like the Beatitudes in a RED LETTER edition of the Bible. Boy I was ticked. The worst of it was that he and I both know a CEO (Chuck) who edits all his staffs’ work just like this. I’d even mentioned it how irritated it had made me when I worked for him and that I’d pretty much just stopped trying to develop my report for him, knowing he’d just re-write it anyway. These weren’t grammatical or spelling errors. These are stylistic differences.

He came over later and asked if I’d had a chance to review his suggestions. I responded that I had and that I wasn’t in the mood to speak with him about it. I told him that the first thing I thought when I saw his changes was that Chuck had edited the paper. And then I did something else. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The thought occurred to me that he had not meant to be like Chuck. So, I said to him, “I’m pretty sure that being like Chuck is not one of your goals in life.” My boss had not tried to hurt my feelings. Yes, he had, but that was not his intention. And so, rather than barf on him my anger, I felt calm and level and not really so very angry anymore.

Lord Jesus, please help me to always see people this way–not intentionally wanting to hurt me. It happens, but Lord help me to give the people in my life the benefit of the doubt. And help me as I forgive their transgressions, to recognize my own and ask for forgiveness too.

Add a comment June 26, 2008

Cheesecake And Other Ramblings

Mark and I will have been married 12 years tomorrow. We decided to go out to dinner tonight since we both look forward to Vespers on Saturdays at St. Peter’s. Vespers is Mark’s favorite service. I am partial to Matins because I love the reading of the Psalms. We went to the Cheesecake Factory in Brea. Mark had this huge steak and I had beef ribs. Yummy. We brought home the cheesecake. It was a very nice way to spend the evening and end the work week. We went early and were seated right away. When we left, there was a line and people waiting outside.

Our best friends came over on Thursday evening to catch up. They brought a chocolate cream pie. It’s funny to see them a few times a week but not talk to them much. The nave is not a place to visit–the atmosphere demands reverence.

Dad’s license was suspended today. The notice came yesterday from the DMV. I thought they would at least have him drive or take a test. But, the notice came with no real options. He can request a hearing but I doubt that will be successful. He is very angry. Some of the things he says would be comical if he wasn’t struggling so. I told him that if he gets pulled over with a suspended license, they will impound his car. He told me he would just move to another city. Like that will help. He can read, but doesn’t comprehend. He thought the letter said he had to go to the DMV on Friday. What it actually said was his license was suspended on Friday. I doubt he will stop driving unless he gives up the car. We shall see. It’s funny–driving is one of the things he can actually remember how to do.

Mark and I became catechumen last Sunday. It is the first step in joining the Orthodox Church. I was expecting to be nervous. I thought I probably would not sleep on Saturday night. Instead, I slept fine. Sunday morning was fine and I felt very peaceful during Father Patrick’s prayer over us. I thought I might even get emotional; I teared a bit, but my heart was very peaceful. I am sure we are doing the right thing.

Glory to God!

3 comments June 20, 2008

The Body

I love our new Parish. I love the scent of the incense (anyone laughing out there?).

I love the people (even though I don’t know them well).

I love the Matins’ reading of the Psalms.

I love when Lisa sings, especially the song which includes the line “why do you look for the living among the dead?”.

I love the fact that the nave is sacred and we are expected to treat it that way.

I love that we have to “join” the Body by being chrismated.

Mark and I went to a Vineyard Pastor’s conference years ago at “big” Vineyard. Don Williams spoke about disention in the churches and folks leaving because of being angry with one another. I remember Don saying something like “you are a family, deal with it”. I get the feeling that this Body really believes that.

I think that the worst part of leaving the Vineyard was that very few people called us at all. They were our family for more than 7 years. Mark spent more waking hours at the church than at home. We prayed with them and celebrated with them and cried with them. We poured our hearts into that family. Don’t you call family when they move away? Don’t you keep in touch? We have been gone for over 5 years and I’ve only stopped sending birthday and anniversary cards to many of those “friends” this year. You see, there’s less than a dozen people that ever responded.

So, I never wanted to join another church. I was happy with our little group. We called and wrote and checked up on each other. When I found out that Jason and Deb were attending Monrovia Vineyard (to keep the kids involved with a youth group), I was a little ticked. I was secretly happy when I found out that Jason was having a tough time sitting through the whole church thing. It was threatening to me that Jason wasn’t satisfied with our little body.

But I knew something was missing. I knew that I wasn’t becoming more like Jesus. I stopped reading my Bible and even doing the morning prayers. I wasn’t spending any time with Jesus. Now, I miss worshipping the LORD if I don’t do it every day. Thanks be to God for leading us to St. Peter’s.

Christ is risen!

4 comments June 5, 2008

Warts and All

Fr. Patrick spoke today about the Samaritan Woman at the Well and her encounter with Jesus. He spoke about the tendency for us to “color” the events in life so we don’t look so bad (my simple words, not his. He is much more eloquent than I). Even in confession, he says that our pride keeps us from really airing all the laundry, but only saying enough to make us feel we’ve confessed the issue (again, my words, not his) even if not fully dealing with it.

When Jesus turned the conversation back to the Woman’s life in John 4:16-18 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Because we are exploring Orthodoxy and not yet Illumined, I have not yet confessed to my Father Confessor. God grant me the ability to air all my warts with honesty and the mercy not to receive what I deserve for what I have done and said in this life. Those of you who know me, will tell anyone that I’m not known for my tact (to put it mildly). I would not be a good politician. (Of course politics has two parts, Poly which means many, and Tics, you know, blood sucking creatures.)

See, there I go again; I am nothing if not sarcastic. So, for many years, I have asked Jesus to keep His blessed hand over my mouth. (I can hear you all laughing, but I really have and you’d probably be amazed at the number of retorts I’ve not uttered.) I never, ever say things to intentionally hurt people but sometimes they come out that way. A beautiful, loving and giving woman told me today that she was hoping that this community would not disappoint me. Oh, Lord, it is my hope that is I who do not disappoint. Please Lord, keep your hand over my mouth.

10 comments May 25, 2008

Saturdays

I have always loved Saturdays. There’s no church, no work, no place one has to be on Saturdays. I’ve always loved Saturdays. Coffee at leisure, read email, shower late. Until recently. Now, I go see my Father every Saturday. I talk to him during the week and if he needs me to, I go over to his house. But, since last summer, I go over to his house every Saturday.

It might sound strange that I equate not loving Saturdays with going to see Dad. The challenge is that he’s become so demented and confused that it’s tough to deal with and hey, we were never close when I was young. My Father was very absent from my life. He crawled into a bottle of beer on Friday evenings and didn’t usually emerge until Monday morning for work. He’d come home Monday thru Thursday and sit behind the news paper (always the Tribune) until dinner where we would all eat together. Then, he’d be back to the living room with the paper or TV, but rarely interact with me.

So, he was absent despite “being” in our house most evenings. On the weekends, he’d interact more but that was due to the beer. If he drank something other than beer, he’d get mean, so we’d pretty much stay away.

So, now my Saturday mornings are spent with him and his wife paying their bills, calling in prescriptions, reminding them of doctor appointments and telling Dad 4 or 5 times what each pile of papers was and where they need to go, etc. The doctor told him last week that he shouldn’t drive, so we talked about that again today. He got very angry again and then managed to reign it in a bit. I worry for Lyla since she is there all the time and probably gets the brunt of his anger. I’ve only seen him get physical when angry when he was drinking hard liquor, but I am concerned about her. In a way, it might be harder for me to do this if I’d been very close to him as a child. It would have been very difficult to see my Mother (whom I loved dearly) become so forgetful. I am not sure what will happen when he no longer knows who I am.

So, Saturdays are very different now. I am sure I don’t like them as well as I used to. I do feel selfish for feeling this way. My Father has 5 children but 3 live in other states. The other one, well I do wonder why he isn’t helping so much but I do tend to be pretty controlling. What’s so hard is there is no “fixing” Dad. This is the beginning of the end and He doesn’t know Jesus and has never lived for anything but himself. That’s so hard and so far from what God intended for His children!

Funny, when I started this post, I was thinking of an absolutely wonderful lunch Mark and I just had with Fr. Patrick and Christina, not whining about Dad. We talked and shared and cried (just Mark and I) and really look forward to becoming part of the St. Peter’s body. Mark and I monopolized the conversation so we have much to learn about Fr. Patrick and Christina. May God grant us many years to get to know them!

1 comment May 24, 2008

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