Finally Christmas than the Theophany and Baptism.

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.

Finally Orthodox !

Almost Done!

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.

My Pascha as of the lasts few weeks.

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.

More to lent than was Expecting

All week I have been participating in what Orthodox Christians refer to as Clean Week. You are not allowed to eat meat, fish, dairy, oil, wine or any alcohol all together depending on who you ask. I started out strong in the beginning. I had attempted to fill my day with stuff to do and tasks to keep me from thinking about the bacon and eggs I had to cook for everyone else for breakfast. It was easy just saying no to cheese and creamer in my coffee.

I made salads and drank lots of water. I even cheated and had some soda since their was nothing about not eating any processed foods like chips and the like. I found myself finding ways to bend the rules just a bit. Tuesday I even told myself they didn’t have beer back in those days so I had a couple of beers. Wednesday night came around and I found myself sneaking a piece of meat off of my sons plate. Thursday we had gone to the store while the kids were in school and I made sure to get things I would eat for the rest of the lent season.

I had started out so good and I was determined to do the entire week clean in order to get closer to God. I even made a lentil soup which turned out really good but I had to freeze the other half in order not to waist it. Shaggy, my oldest even liked it. I had had such high hopes and also ironically I had stopped reading my lent book for a few days. I picked the book back up after my shameful acts of heresy.

I picked up the book and started to read yesterday while doing laundry and another light went off in my head after a couple of chapters. Light number one, its going to be a challenge in some ways. I had forgotten that the closer we get to God the more challenging things can become. I was still just going through the motions and not grasping the full concept. It was also explained to me through the book that if you do not normally do the lent season in full force on a regular it is not going to be easy to cut out all the foods.

Alexander Schmemann also suggests taking it a little at a time. Not getting hard on yourself if you make a mistake. He also makes other suggestions like, cutting out social media and TV. Or at least cutting it down. Reading a book and enjoying the silence. People don’t know how to be silent any more and it makes sense. Our society has made it OK to have back ground noise or a movie at our finger tips. I probably shouldn’t even be blogging but I am not going to be hard on myself this year.

He talked some more in his book about the communion and the debate as to whether or not you should take it if your only taking it during the lent season. The argument is one I know too well. Previously when I was LDS both my mom and my mother in law would offer up to take the kids to church because it would be good for them. I had made some compromises with religion and family because I thought that’s just what you do. I had a strong feeling come over me and I just couldn’t shake the thought of, how my kids would feel if they learned that according to the LDS faith I would not be able to be with them if they were not baptized in the church. I could not bare to have them feel bad, and since I am a big fan of not paying lip service here we are.

I realize my kids may not get baptized in orthodoxy either but at least they have the piece of mind that we are all held accountable for our own choices. I still may find myself accountable for them not getting baptized, I do pray that they choose to be baptized and be able to take communion with me. They live the life style with me by going to church and learning the gospel and praying.

What Schmemann says about the communion argument ultimately is that it gets miss interpreted. Its good to take communion and do confession as well. Communion is our way of asking God for forgiveness and you should do it as often as its presented to you but most people only participate during lent season. He explains that the reason for that is because the church in some places and in some ways has become more relaxed. Also the thought of only participating once a year has unfortunately become the norm in some places.

The biggest thing I have taken away from this week of fasting is this, it is OK to be human. We are supposed to make mistakes and learn from them so we can move on and get closer to God. The more I participate in church, lent, prayer, family etc. the easier it will become. If I take it slow and get stricter and stricter each week I might just make it to Pascha. Still I must keep in mind that I am only human. Next week I will be making some meals in advance. I got a book from the library on how to cook with grains. Currently I am soaking some wheat berries for lunch time.

Journey through Lent

If you would have told me six month ago that I would be opting to fast and become a catichuman I would have probably very kindly said not some very nice things. I am not going to get into to many details about that in this blog. As it has been said by some, “all in good time”. I will tell you I have been attending every Sunday since just after all Hallows Eve. I will also inform you that I chose to take this path for various personal spiritual reasons and will also get into those in later blogs.

I decided to write this blog and will probably be doing a shorter YouTube vlogg about it as well. We shall see how much time I have for that. As a catichuman it was suggested by my parish Priest to read certain books. One of them being, Great Lent Journey to Pascha by Alexander Schmemann. I have talked to a few of the other individuals that go to the same church I do and asked their opinion on fasting and Lent and got a lot of the same response which was, that It is indeed hard to fast. Now I have to explain that an Orthodox fast is not the same as a Later Day Saint (Mormon) fast. The Later Day Saint fast is no food except maybe water. Orthodox fast varies from day to day. Regularly certain days of the week are fast days. Sometimes they say no meat and sometimes they say no dairy or wine or oil, etc. However through Lent it gets a little more intense for about 40 days. Also to be clear Orthodox Lent is not like Catholic Lent where you give up one vise for the duration of Lent. In Orthodox Lent you fallow a fast and abstain from certain types of foods on certain days of the week

According to Alexander Schmemann’s book it starts with 5 Sundays before and he refers to it as the preparation for Lent. These 5 Sundays have names and stories from the Bible to correlate with them. We have hit Meat Fair Sunday today and next week will be week 5, which is Cheese Fair Sunday. Then Lent starts and the fasting actually starts after today.

So wish me luck on my journey and I have no idea what information I am going to give but it starts tomorrow so I have till then.