The One Thing Needful

January 30th, 2014

We all have our moments of realizations. I’ve had one today. I am out of town at the moment and was not able to make it to an Orthodox church, so I stayed home and listened to one of Fr. Tom Hopko’s podcasts. This particular one was titled: Loving God with All Your Strength: Performing Deeds of Mercy. I will link to it below if anyone desires to listen to it. Fr. Tom talks about how faith is nothing without works. It is dead. How our faith is not real or strong without deeds of love and mercy shown to others, how we need to love our neighbors, our brethren, whether they are someone really close to us or the person we would consider our worst enemy. Our faith is nothing without love, our faith is love. Loving God and loving each other. Without this we are nothing. We need to show our faith, feed our faith, through acts of love. I have come to realize how unfaithful I am, how selfish, self centered, unloving… How far away from God I really am. Sure I attend church, I love church, I love the people from church, but that doesn’t cut it. Not by a long shot. I may love my church and family and help them out, but when it comes to other people; people on the streets I tend to look the other way. Walking through Ann Arbor and turning my head and ignoring the people sitting in the cold, it is not a pleasant feeling. I am filled with guilt at my lack of mercy and compassion, expecting that other people will do something for them and that I don’t need to do anything. One time I did give money to a man sitting on the street, and the joy that filled my soul was indescribable, and yet I never did it again. Why? I have no idea. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t like feeling this way, and I need to do something about it. I need to devote more time to others, and not think of myself. Not think as much about worldly things, and do things for people not expecting anything in return. Whether it is helping babysitting kids so that their mom can get a break, or buying coffee for people who are sitting on the street corners. Even little things like cleaning up the house for mom cause I know she’s stressed, or just spending time with my brother instead of spending time sitting in my room messing around on the internet.

I’ve made a lot more things more important than my faith, and I see that now. I have put school, getting a job, earning money, and my social life above my faith, and that needs to change. There are things I can, and need, to do that will help me. Praying more for a start, having a regular time for praying and devotions. Reading the scriptures, and doing catechism. Eliminating things that distract me from God from my life. Getting rid of clothes and junk that I don’t use. There is so much I can do, but I will need help. Pride is one of my biggest faults, and so asking for help is one of the hardest things for me to do. But it is a step I need to take, no matter how hard it is.

I need to learn how to truly love Christ, open myself to him and let him work in and through me. So, that I can love truly and deeply, so that I can love others as myself because they are me. They are what makes me. I want to learn how to live for others and not myself. Let the journey begin.

Link to Fr. Tom’s podcast: http://www.ancientfaith.com/specials/hopko_lectures/loving_god_with_all_your_strength

 

It Feels Like Spring. Finally!

April 8th, 2013

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it
droop and drop into the dust.

I may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of
pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am
aware, and the time of offering go by.

Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower
in thy service and pluck it while there is time.

–Rabindranath Tagore–

 

It is finally starting to feel like spring! It has been very nice and sunny the past week and I had a wonderful time taking advantage of the nice whether. I enjoyed sitting out in the sun and reading, and later taking pictures of all the greenery that is beginning to show. Here are a few of my best:

In Between Worlds

January 9th, 2013

As the months go by and I get closer and closer to becoming a legal adult, it seems more and more as if I am transitioning from one world to another. I feel as though I  am on a journey and I am nearing my destination, but am not quite out of the world that I came from. I am leaving my childhood behind and starting to explore the unknown. The amount of responsibilities that I will be saddled with scare me, but my parents have prepared me as much as they could and for it I am eternally grateful! I have been able to learn a lot while I have lived under their protection, and am hopefully well prepared to venture out into the world. It will still be very hard for me, that I know and am expecting. I have not been very much ‘out’ as Jane Austen would say, so over the past few months of taking college courses and seeing more people, I have been experiencing culture shock. Not many people seem to think the same way as I do or have the same sensibilities that I have. I am blessed to have my own family and people at church who I can relate with and am very close to.

Morning Routine

January 8th, 2013

The sun comes up over the edge of the world,

And slowly, sleepily, my eyes unfurl.

Emerging from my little cocoon I yawn,

And stretch out my arms to the new dawn.

 

Leaving the house in the morning chill,

Out to feed the chickens their fill.

I watch them attack the food with glee,

Fighting, squalling: ‘Mine! Give it to me!’

Watching them eat, head in the clouds,

A moment of silence free of all that’s loud.

 

As I serve the dog, she must sit and stay,

Though she’s hungry — as she is every day.

When I give her the a-ok she tears into her food

And I consent to pet her when I’m in the mood.

 

I go upstairs and get all dressed,

Then clean my room cause it’s a mess.

Since the work’s SO hard I’ve got an appetite

So a nice big breakfast is next in my sights.

Next I do my hair, and floss, and brush

Until I can face the day feeling fresh.

 

Now that you’ve seen how I start my day

Maybe you’ll come over someday to stay.

Just remember, I get up with the sun

And waiting for you to wake up is no fun!

Realizations

January 8th, 2013

This past year I have been realizing how different our family culture is from that of the vast majority of Americans.  I’ve always known that our family is different, but only over the past years as  I have been more exposed to typical American culture have I realized how different we are! This last semester I started taking classes at the local college where dad worked, and I was really shocked to learn how these people lived. To find out that people don’t talk and confide in their parents when they are struggling or had questions, but asked their peers instead was so new to me! It has never been awkward for me to talk to my parents about any subject, in fact, it is something that I need to do periodicaly to process my thoughts and emotions. I talk to my parents about everything the subject does not matter! My parents are my best friends, they listen to me, they give me advice when I don’t know what to do about something, they discipline when I need it and I am so thankful that they do! Today I read an article by a homeschooling mom that expressed my feelings on the subject exactly! Our Culture of Family Separation and Peer Approval. You should read this article, because she can expound on the subject much better than I can.

Books!

March 2nd, 2012

Today I tried my hand at making some little booklets, in the future I would like to start making ‘real’ books. Here are some pictures, enjoy!

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, the lighting wasn’t great today! Again I’d love it if you left feedback!

Update on Crafting

March 1st, 2012

Well, it has been a long time since I posted last, and I’ve done a lot of crafting so here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Please comment! I would love to hear what people like!

More Henna Pics!

September 6th, 2011

Here are the henna designs I did over the weekend.

Henna Again

September 6th, 2011

Well, I am still doing henna! And lots of it! I am going to have a stand at the Festival of the Forks in two weeks and I have had a lot to do to prepare. I had to make a portfolio with all my patterns and test those patterns on people and then take pictures. Today I finished making the sign that I will hang up. Here are some pictures!!

Summer Vacation!

May 19th, 2011

Well, I have finished school for the year! Now I have to figure out how to occupy myself until our wild ride of summer plans begin! I have about one day till then. This weekend we are having a garage sale, on Memorial day we have a party at our house, and we leave for Washington state in the beginning of June and are gone for about a month! Then I have a week to get ready to go to Mexico, before I leave for a week! Ahhhh! I am excited but I am hardly ever this busy!

I would like to get a summer job, but I wont be home for most of the summer so I don’t think that would work out! I would love it if I could get some babysitting jobs! Also this summer I am hoping to get my driving license and I have a feeling that I will have to start paying for my own insurance!

I am ready for summer!!