Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I don’t know about you, but this is a very frightening thought to me! God is going to *tempt* me? My mind races with questions and none of them have foreseeable or knowable answers: God is going to tempt me – what is He going to tempt me with? What if I fail? Will God love me if I fail? This makes me think that God is not a good and loving Father, but a vengeful angry deity who is out to cause me harm and send us to Hell because we have made a mistake. If this is the case, no wonder so many people think and believe that there isn’t anything they can do to be part of the Christian God’s Heaven and be safe with Him.
At the same time, God isn’t this deity that isn’t going to care what you do, and He will let you into Heaven no matter what you do or how you act. He has set forth rules, and we are to follow them. What are the rules? Well, that is a slightly different sort of question to answer, but the Bible is our rule book; however, it is not wise to try and follow the rule book without some training or guidance (this is why the Orthodox Church has priests: the Bible was never intended to be read solo). Since this is a question for another time, let’s get back to the original one….
When you become a Christian, especially an Eastern Orthodox Christian, there is a lot of thought put into the decision. You don’t come to one service and automatically become part of the body of believers. You usually have a year to learn about the Church and what the Church teaches and believes. If you are not sure you are ready to join, you can have another year, and another, until you can make up your mind and make your decision. Deciding on a faith really *should* be a conscious decision, because choosing a faith, choosing to follow one specific faith for the rest of your life should indeed be something you think about and never just “rush into”. When this emotional “rushing” happens, the person is more likely than not to find one small thing they dislike or disagree with and this gives them an excuse to go “faith shopping” to find something that “fits much better” with their lifestyle. Deciding on a faith, deciding to follow Christ, should be a life-changing event. Why? Because when you follow Christ He doesn’t conform to you – you conform to Him.
Even though we may outwardly conform to Christ’s way of life, which is usually the beginning of changing our inner selves; the inner-most parts of our being are still fighting to follow our favorite pastimes, and say this or that isn’t wrong or bad, or we shouldn’t do something. Our inner-most self, which really is our mind, our conscious self, doesn’t *want* to change. It wants to have fun and just go to Church and different services without having to think about our lives or our inner lives, because then we would find things we don’t like or are proud of, so we hide from inside.
However, at some point, our very Soul gets tired of running away from God. This leads to those long, dark nights of the Soul where we question everything we have ever thought or believed we knew about God and being a Christian. It also isn’t surprising when those “long dark *nights*” become *weeks*. It just keeps going on and on until we actually stop running away and look long enough inside ourselves, see all of the bad things about us, and make the decision to change them, with God’s help, of course. This is what leads to the ever-present trust issue. How can we trust there is something out there that really *will* help us get through these changes we need to make? How can we trust God won’t turn His back on us? How can we trust enough to actually give Him a chance to help us?
It all comes back down to conscious decision. In order to trust God, you have to make the conscious decision to do so – trust Him. But, you don’t trust Him blindly. You trust Him with Church services, with prayer, with reading the Bible, with talking to your priest, with working on your problems instead of hiding from them. Even though you do all of this, sometimes you stumble and fall (and fall down hard at some points), but this doesn’t mean you lay there and never get back up again. You get to your spiritual knees and you get back up, and you start walking again. You also don’t look back too often, because this distracts you from moving forward, toward Christ. (You know how it is – you look behind you and see something you’ve purposefully dropped and you start to wonder if you might really need that one day…?)
The path toward Christ is actually a difficult path, but not impossible, because there are people there to help us along the way. The most important thing about this path is that Christ Himself is also there to help us by sending us aid when it is required. As we learn to trust Him more, the more we can see just how much He is helping us and providing for us.
However, there are some people who have never gone through this troubled Soul time. Sometimes these people make a point of not wanting to break the status quo because that means learning something about themselves, but, despite this hiding from their very own thoughts, their Soul is tired of being confined in such a small place. The Soul wants to reach out for the Creator and does so no matter how hard we try to keep it from doing so. Because the Soul is that other half of us, that part that knows right from wrong and good from bad and *wants* return to the relationship we had before with God. The Soul knows how to trust God, even if our minds don’t.
BUT when the mind and Soul agree and work together, how wonderful is the transformation! How great is the peace we receive!
I have been an Eastern Orthodox Christian for eight-nine years now, and only recently did I quit trying to fight my Soul. I accepted its knowledge and I purposely made a choice to follow my path trusting in God. I made that conscious decision to trust. In making that decision there was a lot that had to change inside me, and I’m still working on the depths of my being, but God is there also, showing me, teaching me, guiding me, and proving to me He loves me and will take care of me. He also helps me prove to myself *I* can change. *I* can be the person I want to be in Christ’s Light. This doesn’t make me perfect, or even good. This is a journey forward and as I find the bad things and the things I don’t like, I work on them. Some things I am going to have to work on my entire life. The surprising thing is, I don’t mind so much anymore, because I know it is possible to get rid of them. It really is possible to have that quiet peace you hear about in the Bible. It really *is* possible to be the person I want to be, the person I *need* to be.
True, there is a part of me that is very afraid I might not have gotten rid of all of the bad things inside me to make it into God’s peace at my death. This is a good fear, though, because my ultimate goal – all of us should work for this goal – is to rest in God’s peace and love forever. How do I move forward with this fear before me? I trust in God. I trust He will help me and that He will forgive my faults and sins so I can be with Him forever. I have hope in Him.
So, how do you trust God? You make a conscious decision to do so, and then you follow Him in changing your insides, and your outsides to be the person you need to be. You pay attention to the services you attend and the words your priest speaks; you pay attention to what you read in the Bible and *think* about it all. You ask questions, serious questions, and hope for an answer. Answers do come, so pay attention to the answers and put them to use in your daily, no, your minute-by-minute life.
You work toward your salvation and you trust. And, somewhere in the middle of all of this working and trusting, you also learn to love Him as the very air you breathe. Not only do you learn to love Him, but you realize just how much He really does love you. Just as you get to know your spouse throughout the years of being together, you learn to know God, and just like loving your spouse and becoming close to them, you become close to God. This closeness to God, to Christ, to the Holy Trinity, gives you the peace you need to make it through the world without being a part of it, without jeopardizing your relationship with Him.
Trusting God, really, is the easy part in all of this and changing yourself to reflect Christ, to be the wonderful person God sees in you, is the hard part. Neither is impossible. The goal is achievable, and more beautiful the closer to get.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Whew! Can you believe the timing of this? I am so happy and excited! The thought of being able to get out and about independently is something that has me completely and totally...quiet. It is such a joy that I really and truly can't express it. It is so deep down inside and filling me up that I feel over-flowing with everything else that is happening in my life. I am also shocked and pleased to report that the "happenings in my life" are all rather positive ones at the moment.
Pascha (the Great Passover, or the Eastern Orthodox "Easter") is this weekend. Saturday night in fact. There is a processional and I am going to get to walk beside my husband instead of him having to push me. It is amazing how well-timed this turned out. God knows what He is doing.
The weather is beginning to turn warm, already has at this point, so getting out and having daily adventures is going to be more that possible, but probable, and somehow this led me and a friend to talk about adventures.
To me, adventures is something you haven't done, known, or experienced before. It took me a while to get back into the adventuring on-line since I have been un-mobile for these long months, but I did and discovered something new on-line every day, and it was usually fun. The my friend said, "Are adventures something you go out to find or are they something that finds you?" The answer hit me like a ton of bricks in mere nanoseconds: Adventures are sought. It is the fiction adventures just happen on you. Sure, sometimes there are unexpected adventures. They sneak up on you and jump out at you. But usually, in real life, adventure is a state of mind, of being where people are not content with their simple surroundings and want to know more of what life is all about and the world they live in.
Please keep in mind my definition of adventure here - something new you have not seen, known, or experienced before.
Some people prefer not to have any adventures. They know all they want to know and that's it. They are practically melded to their routines and their four walls. Each day is pretty much the same as yesterday and tomorrow will be much the same as today. Sometimes I wonder if these people are really happy, or if they are just playing it safe to keep everything just the way it is so they don't have to step out of their comfort zone. There are so many people around us who refuse to step out of their comfort zone because they might find life too much for them, or too scary.
I was like that for a long time. I also found myself slipping back into that "comfort zone" mentality and only realized it a couple of weeks ago, which was a major wake-up call for me. I began really working on my strength and stamina then and eating better and drinking more water. I then began having at least one daily adventure, even if it was on the Internet. Life really is meant to be lived, explored, and tasted. (God gave us an entire planet to take care of, and even though the majority of the people on this planet have forgotten this, some of us haven't, which gives us a completely different spin on our adventuring because something new is always being discovered.) Otherwise I don't think we live, not to our fullest.
Oh yes, I know, sometimes life is too adventurous and too much happens to give us a chance to breathe and rest when we need it...or so it seems. These are the times when we literally must take time to take care of ourselves. This isn't selfish either - this is making sure we are strong enough and prepared enough to continue the adventuring.
Sometimes the adventures are purposeful, and sometimes, like children, they are little more than "What kind of bug is that?"
If we don't adventure in life, how are we to discover who we truly are? The greatest adventure of all is knowing God and yourself and your friends. Trust me, friends always surprise you, and there is something new to discover about God daily.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today is the Eastern Orthodox Palm Sunday and Hubby and I didn't make it because we were both really under the weather. He had a migraine and super-serious bad sinus problems and I have had...problems. About all I can say for myself and how I am feeling is that I don't feel good. It is sad, and perhaps quite lame, but this is about the only way I can explain my problem. My sinuses are a little better today, but not great; I feel extremely tired; my head decides to pound and then it goes away; my stomach is upset, yet I am hungry - for what is beyond me. About the only thing I know for sure is that I want something sweet, specifically dark chocolate. Also, I don't feel strong. I don't feel exactly weak, either; I just don't feel strong. I don't feel good.
Even though I don't feel good, there isn't any time for me to just sit and be still and quiet and perhaps knit for an entire day because there are tests to prepare for, Pascha to get ready for, and food to cook and housework to be done. *sigh* There are things to do. Important things.
Yesterday was a good day though. Hubby and I took a young friend of ours to the Kite Festival in Georgetown, KY and afterwards I was able to stop by Stone's Throw Artisans so I could pick up some yarn for a project that isn't in the too distant future - a bag to go on the back of my wheelchair...the new wheelchair!
Is there excitement in me when I think of my new wheelchair and the independence I am going to once more have? Oooooo how much of an understatement that is!!! Thrilled doesn't cover it. Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious doesn't cover it! So, yeah, there is *unknown-happy-all-encompassing-word* concerning my impending freedom.
But today...today I just don't feel good, but it will pass....
In each class I have there is a test this week. I am not overly concerned about the CSC exam, but I am going to really be hitting the books for the tort law and litigation classes. However, I am not picking up one single text book today. Not today. There is time for study tomorrow. Hopefully this really isn't procrastination, but genuine desire to regroup and recoup my energy level. I think, quite frankly, I have run out of spoons for this past week and must be extremely careful and make sure all of the needed spoons for the up-coming week are indeed gathered and ready to go.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
(Email address has not been verified.)
Papal visit provokes array of protests - Yahoo! News
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Earlier I fixed myself a good hot cup of coffee and now I am feeling a little more awake and alert. Hopefully this has not sabotaged my sleep for tonight, but I am not too worried about it at the moment because Hubby is feeling very poorly. We don't know if he has picked up a bug or if he has eaten some bad oysters. We are in the "wait and see" phase at the moment and he is sleeping with proclamations he is is getting up in the next 30 minute segment - you understand where this is heading of course.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
In the Sea Monster & Bat Demon episode, Destination Truth traveled to Vietnam to find the Tarasque, a sea monster that had been attacking local fishing boats for, well, generations, including recently. There wasn't any set pattern to the attacks, but most of the fishermen agreed it attacked during the day - Gates went looking for it at night because he reckoned it was a "nocturnal" creature. There were giant splashing in a cave that Gates had gone into looking for the creature. He went alone with a night vision camera.
I cannot say the man isn't brave, but if he even remotely figured he might run upon something big and scary why did he go alone with so little equipment to capture information?
Another thing Hubby noticed was that Gates' interview with eye-witnesses and victims of attacks, he always acted as if he didn't believe them from the very beginning. The people he interviewed were really just uneducated, superstitious backwards people who couldn't make a determination between a giant bird and a pterodactyl-like creature.
In a "journal entry" from the site regarding the episode about the Tarasque, Gates says:
Vietnam's history is laden with rich and imaginative folklore, part of which is the elegant notion that a dragon descended from the heavens, his tail splitting the earth to form the jagged towers in the waters of Halong Bay. ("Halong" means "Where the dragon meets the sea.") An alternative version of the story says the dragon spat out jewels that formed the many islands here. Either way, these people have serpents on the brain, and with eyewitnesses predisposed to seeing creatures. Vietnam's history is laden with rich and imaginative folklore, part of which is the elegant notion that a dragon descended from the heavens, his tail splitting the earth to form the jagged towers in the waters of Halong Bay. ("Halong" means "Where the dragon meets the sea.") An alternative version of the story says the dragon spat out jewels that formed the many islands here. Either way, these people have serpents on the brain, and with eyewitnesses predisposed to seeing creatures out of a Tolkein epic, reliable accounts will be hard to come by.Did he ever intend to find something?
From beginning to end the entire show seems staged and Gates knows exactly where he is going at all times. He supposedly can defend himself against anything with a machete and he is afraid of nothing, which reminds me something of what my Daddy and many older men and women have often said, "A man who isn't afraid of anything is stupid and just looking to die." Another little piece of wisdom they would also impart was, "If a man thinks he is a bad ass, there is always somebody badder out there, and one day they will run up on one another and the bad ass may just lose a battle." Having lived as long as I have, I can honestly say I have seen several young bad asses out there, and they usually always run upon someone tougher than they are, and it never ends up nice for the young one. He lives after the confrontation if he is lucky. Every time I have watched this show I have ended up thinking about this and wondering if he is actually going to run upon someone tougher than him on the show, and, quite frankly, I don't want to witness it, although, to be honest, I doubt they would view the leader getting his ass kicked in some third-world, third-rate country.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Dear Tech Support:
Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0 . I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources. In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activities, such as Poker Night 10.3, Football 5.0, Going To The Pub 7.5, and Softball 3.6 I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my other favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0 , but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0 .
Thanks, Troubled User.....
Dear Troubled User:
This is a very common problem that men often complain about. Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING !!! It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0 .
It is impossible to uninstall, or purge, the program files from the system once installed. You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this. Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings: Alimony-Child Support . I recommend that you keep Wife 1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application Yes Dear 2.7 to alleviate your program problems. The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE! because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway. Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance! Wife 1.0 does come with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0 , Cook It 1.5 , and Do Bills 4.2 .
However, be very careful how you use these programs . Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0. WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3. This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Also, there is an interesting thing happening over at Poetic Asides in the form of a Poem-a-Day challenge for the month of April. As I understand it, you don't need to worry about how good it is or how well it is written, but to actually get poems down for editing later and you do this for the entire month of April. Although I am a little late on this, I am going to be beginning it tomorrow. However, I must apologize in advance for not posting any of them here because I am going to try and submit them somewhere by the end of the month and need them to be "fresh" and "new" as in unpublished in any format, even here. Still, I hope many of you join me in this. It sounds like fun.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
see more crazy cat picsToday is a wonderfully glorious bright sun-shiny day. Sunshine really does (usually) make me happy...and smile.
Recently I mentioned that I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. Most of you steady readers know this, but sometimes someone comes who doesn't know this and when they stumble upon an entry where I am talking about Pascha or some other feast we have two questions inevitably follow: (1) What do you believe?; and (2) do you believe in the Bible?
Let's go with the second question first: Yes, we believe in the Bible. In fact, the first collection of the holy books now referred to as the Bible was compiled by the first Christian Church commonly known as the Orthodox Christian Church, before the Catholics split and then there were more splits from the Catholic Church because the "Roman" Church got a little greedy and thus many denominations sprang up like...flowers. King James did not approve of some of the books of the Bible and wanted it to be more "king centered" instead of "Christ centered" so took out some of the books he considered to be fluff. Why do we need books of praise, thought, and history in our belief system? The books now known as "the Apocrypha" were not books King James approved of, not the believers and Church fathers and mothers of the time, including the Roman Church. The Orthodox Bible is no different from anyone else's Bible, especially King James - it is just that we have more books. If you would like to have a copy of said Bible you may purchase one through http://www.light-n-life.com.
Now back to the first question What do we Eastern Orthodox Christians believe? Pretty much the same as everyone else. It is listed in our Creed as follows:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;
And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;
And ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
And He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have not end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets;
And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the Resurrection of the dead.
And the Life of the world to come. Amen.
If I am not mistaken this was once posted before, but it never does hurt to post it again. I am a firm believer in you should know what someone is talking about especially when it comes to their belief system.
Oh, and when we say we "believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" it is not referring to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. It means we believe in "the body of Christ" here on Earth. We do not pass judgement on any other body of worship unless that body of worship is genuinely and truly a cult - of which I won't get into any here...everyone knows the Church of Scientology is not a true "church".
Keep asking questions and I will endeavor my very best to keep answering them the best of my ability. As always, my e-mail is hahwriter@Yahoo.com.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008