Its been a while since I last wrote. I have been through a bit this last year with becoming Orthodox. Yep! My kids and I finally got baptized, just after Christmas and during the Theophany (hope thats right). I told my family just a few weeks before and they seemed to take it pretty well.
I finally found God Parents for all of us, and that was not an easy task let me tell you. Gerome and I Share a lovely couple and at first I was worried about Rome not adjusting to the whole baptism but he has surprised me. Tristan would do anything I ask but he did let me know he really does like church and he is learning how to shoot hoops with his God Parents. Evilyn has a great God Mother who I have become such good friends with. She helps us out a lot, and Evi and her are just like buddies.
The friends and family we have made has been so amazing. I don’t know why it took me so long to find this. My parents and siblings and some other family came to our baptism. Heath came and so did his family. It was a neat feeling and experience and even some of the parish attended. Our Priest, I believe was just as exited as I was. It made things nice.
I did my confession the night before and I was expecting the walls of the church to crumble at some of the things I had done. My friend was like, “your young, don’t be nervous”. I was like, “but I have lived like Mary of Egypt”. In the end my Priest was kind and understanding. Maybe not exactly like Mary of Egypt but keeping it G- Rated for the young ones the best I can.
Anyways, I am not sure how often I will blog on this subject maybe as I learn more on my journey I will pop in from time to time to keep it going. This change in my life has literally helped every other aspect of my life fall into place just a little bit better. Note, I did not say easier but better. God Bless.
Here we are the last week of Pascha and incidentally the hardest week to fast. I however have a plan for next year and I think I will try an execute it little by little through out the rest of the year. I have been studying different types of diets and such because a lot of people don’t do the fast if they have certain medical issues like diabetes an intolerance to gluten. I watched a documentary a while a go where this man who was over wait wanted to cut meat and processed sugars and other foods out of his diet including fish and dairy. I am going do some research through out this year to see what grains and beans I can use to replace some of those meat proteins that we need. The food has to be tasty and it has to fallow guidelines of Pascha and lent season.
I know that if correctly planned as well I could hopefully make more of the daily services for the season as well. This week was the hardest because I have little ones who do not behave in weekly church so you can imagine me not wanting that stress daily. I need a break from chasing them around particularly my daughter who is three years old and has Downs Syndrome. She is cognitively behind about 6 months the average 3 and a half year old.
I have really like the evening services so far. I have only been to the daily Sunday services during the day. I really love greeting the new day in the evening. Liturgy is nice too but I like all the lit candles and the chants for those services. I wish I could be a chanter. I would like to be in the choir when my daughter is a bit older and behaves better.
We shall see what tonight and Saturday nights is like because I will be attending those and then my hubby said he was going to attend church on Sunday with us. I am super grateful for his support on this journey.
I have gained a lot from participating as much as I could. I have learned about forgiveness and sacrifice. It has most definitely changed my perspective of God and Christ. I have even got my oldest into praying at night before bed.
I don’t know how Jesus did it but all I can say is, that its harder than it looks. Well maybe back in Jesus time it was easier because he did not have all that much of a diet to begin with. Also, he was going to die for us and he knew this right from the get go from how I understand it.
I did manage to keep from eating all meat except fish for the most part. I accidentally ate it in a garden salad and one other item (cant quite remember what it was right now). I have stayed away from olive oil and wine was harder than I thought. I did figure out why. When you don’t want something the devil wants you to want it more. Or you just want it more because we are human and not perfect and that is what we do.
I did learn that my hubby likes to also want me to want the things I shouldn’t have more. More or less to see how into this religion I am. He said he would do Holy Week and we will be doing it because I am preparing some vegan dishes for us to eat for that whole week. He wont have a choice because I am only cooking for Holy Week and God and the famn damly is just going to have to suck it up. Its hard to cook two types of food for a family. Not only that it costs even more money. We will be having chilly, potatoes of all sorts and types, beans and pasta. I am going make sure to have some snacks as well just to help curb the hungers in between meals.
I have spent less time on the social media and more time at church. I am hoping to be baptized by the end of the summer. I have really been enjoying church and so have the kids. I think the hardest part is picking out a god parent(s). Its hard because their are a lot of good candidates but you have to pick the right ones and they have to be in good standing with the church, and a few other things. So here is to getting through the rest of Pascha.
This Morning as I awoke and got the kids ready for school I made my coffee and realized I had put creamer in it. At first I was like, dang I already broke fast. However I have this great little app on my phone. My parish priest had suggested to help remind me of the fast days and various other Orthodoxy things. Now, like I said in my previous blog post; fasting in orthodoxy does not mean not eating at all. You can still eat its just you have a limited menu. I looked up today’s fast day and realized I could eat everything but meat which includes chicken and other birds. However it does not include fish. So come to find out I was OK.
So in Alexander Schmemann’s book, which I am only reading a chapter a day since I have to also read other books on orthodoxy. He talks about the 5 weeks leading up to lent; he then talks about lent itself . He refers to Lent as “the bright sadness”. The sadness being sin and the brightness referring to the act of repentance through the forgiveness of god. He also talks about what the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian is referring to, which is a spiritual renewal.
I learned that Lent isn’t just meant for the Catechuman but also for the already baptized Christians. He mentions that Christians have fallen away from participating in the Lenten tradition. It was meant to bring us back to remind us in essence of who we are and our roots as Orthodox Christians. During Lent we sing the hymns of the martyrs because they gave up their literal lives because they believed and loved god so much.
So getting back to the fasting parts of this journey, I did go to the grocery store and buy some fish to kind of get me through the week. Also just a side note, I am the only Orthodox Catechuman in my house of 5. However my husband is going to attempt the fast as much as he can with me along with my kids.
For lunch today my kids ate left over ham soup and I ate some fish with rice. I am not going to be to strict with the little one’s since they are growing and they are not fans of the fish. My husband doesn’t like fish all that much ether so I will meat (see what I did there) them half way. Which just means I will make lunch with fish for me and eat more dairy and rabbit food at dinner.I will make them a heavier meat dish at dinner tonight. Something that they can have as left overs during this week. Since I have Monday School at church tonight It will probably be a pot roast. Also Monday school is on the Chatichumen so that will be very interesting for me.
I should note in this blog that I live in smaller city and our parish is also small. I am not sure yet if we do all the services of vespers, etc. I will inquire about that at a later date. I am also going to attempt to attend all the services of Lent as well. Here is to the journey and prayers for anyone else who is also starting on this Lenten Journey.
Here is the link to some of the sites I go to for information…..
Daily Readings App for iphone is the app I use with all the fast days and prayers in it. It also has some other great things included.