Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Reading Treatise ~ A Long Winded Look at the Past, Present, and Future of my Reading Life...

Past: 2014

I read my Jane Austen anthology straight through (which includes: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, & Lady Susan)! I had tackled the first 2 1/3 books in the past and with greater life experience, and exposure to the works, I certainly took more away this time around.


My least favorite was Emma and the two reasons are a) I am a farmer and she despised a farmer at the outset of the book. It is always hard to get into a book that you dislike the protagonist... sigh... The ONLY reason I continued was because I trusted the author... To think if it had been my first foray into Austen I might have never tried another! (YOU-HOO you silly goose you need to give Louisa May Alcott another shot!) And b) Jane Austen is *VERY* good at pulling out character defects and in my personal opinion Emma is just a little bit to much like me. *ahem*

My most loved favorite is Mansfield Park. Sadly I cannot explain why because it is loved in so many different ways! So, um, go read it!

Present: 2015

My main squeeze this year has been the ever lovely book (it is on my all time favorite list ya know the one where some non-prolific reader asks the most horrific question "What is your favorite book?" It is as if they had asked what shade the sky looks best in, you want to answer ALL OF THEM!!!! But knowing this might be a topic of small talk you compile a list in your head in preparation. However, if you are anything like me when they asked your mind goes blank and it is as if you have at once become a non-reading sheeple! Yet I digress greatly! ha! I used to love the word digress when I was younger, it seams as if I still do as I continue digressing at this very moment! So IF I remember this is a book that fits into that category.) Tolstoy is a master at capturing the essence of daily life from cradle to grave and everywhere in between! This was my first Russian novel and IT.WILL.NOT.BE.MY.LAST! Oh so good!

I have loved Levin and Kitty from the start. Although, I will make no excuse for Anna's sins, I however, do not acquit her lover Vronsky, nor her brother Stiva in my esteem! I wonder why she is the titled character? Also as to why she is the one I see poorly talked about? Are her sins worse than her brother's many "indiscretions" (not a spoiler, it is in the first chapter!) And what about Vronsky? His will wasn't any stronger in the face of loss! Is it because she is a woman and "Boys will be boys"? Sigh...

In addition as I have been mentally transitioning myself from Western Christian thought to Eastern Christian thought the Orthodoxy found within has been a balm to my soul!

My one gripe is that the edition I have left the French in well French and I do not read/speak French!

I was blessed to be able to participate in the Ambleside Online (AO) book discussion of Macbeth. It was magnificent!

I also read some mass produced Christian books that my Aunt had floating around my Grandfathers while he was so ill. They were mainly for distraction, gulped whole, and little remembered... However, one was about someone who was a Protestant reformer during a Catholic resurgence in England and it left a bad taste in my mouth... The author intended the reader to side with the proud, Protestant protagonist verses the angry, arrogant antagonists. Yet I found both sides fault ridden, theologically and otherwise... It left me sad that people martyr one another in the name of Christ... Sigh...

Future: 2016

Hopefully I will not find myself spread so thin this coming year what with care giving (requiring constant travel), loss, and mourning not to mention my ever declining health... And I am holding these plans loosely in my hands, yet I am trying to plan!

First priority are books relating to Divine Philosophy.

Devotional Reading
Prologue of Orchid (or is it Ohrid?), The Lenten Spring, The Winter Pascha, Orthodox Study Bible, & Prayer Book.


Sunday Reading
The Orthodox Faith Volume 1 ~ Doctrine & The Faith: Understanding Orthodox Christianity: An Orthodox Catechism.

My lovely mother provided me with all these resources as Christmas presents (The Winter Pascha was given in advance). She isn't Orthodox, but happy to see that God and I on good terms again. Isn't she wonderful!?!

My second priority are both Moral and Physical Philosophy. Due to my experience last year, I plan on participating in all the current official AO discussions, many of the informal ones, and some of the prior ones. And so without further ado, on to the lists!

Stream One
Hamlet, Utopia, The Holy War, Christopher Columbus: Mariner, & A Man for All Seasons


Stream Two
Paradise Lost, I Promessi Sposi, Westward, Ho!, & Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves


Current Informal Reads
Handbook of Nature Study, Euclid's Elements, & Move Your DNA


Past Reads & Recommended Books
Just So Stories (Y1~ I picked up a lovely vintage copy at the Washington Memorial Chapel bookstore when my Grandfather and I visited Valley Forge), Beowulf (Y7 ~ I was REALLY looking forward to this book discussion but life exploded), The Wisdom of Father Brown (Y8 ~ I loved the Innocence of Father Brown), The Count of Monte Cristo (Y9 ~ Prior book discussion), & The Scarlet Pimpernel (Y9 ~ Prior book discussion).


Independent Reading
The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images ~ Is a lovely book that I picked up at the Cleveland Art Museum. It was actually sitting next to two Icons of Christ and the Theotokos!

The third priority this year is completing the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge and the 2016 Mount TBR Reading Challenge. I intend to complete all 12 categories in the former and Pikes Peak in the latter.

2016 Back to the Classics Tentative Picks

  • A 19th Century Classic. ~ Westward, Ho! 
  • A 20th Century Classic. ~ A Man for All Seasons 
  • A classic by a woman author. ~ The Scarlet Pimpernel 
  • A classic in translation. ~ The Betrothed, I Promessi Sposi 
  • A classic by a non-white author. ~ The Count of Monte Cristo 
  • An adventure classic- can be fiction or non-fiction. ~ Christopher Columbus: Mariner 
  • A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. ~ Utopia 
  • A classic detective novel. ~ The Wisdom of Father Brown 
  • A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. ~ The Holy War, made by King Shaddai upon Diabolus, for the regaining of the metropolis of the world; or the losing and taking again of the town of Mansoul 
  • A classic which has been banned or censored. ~ Paradise Lost 
  • Re-read a classic you read in school. ~ Beowulf 
  • A volume of classic short stories. ~ Just So Stories 
2016 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

  1. Prologue of Ohrid Volume 1 
  2. Prologue of Orchid Volume 2 
  3. The Lenten Spring 
  4. The Faith: Understanding Orthodox Christianity: An Orthodox Catechism 
  5. The Winter Pascha 
  6. The Orthodox Faith Volume 1 ~ Doctrine 
  7. Hamlet 
  8. Utopia 
  9. The Holy War 
  10. Christopher Columbus: Mariner 
  11. A Man for All Seasons 
  12. Paradise Lost 
  13. I Promessi Sposi 
  14. Westward, Ho! 
  15. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves 
  16. Handbook of Nature Study 
  17. Euclid's Elements 
  18. Move Your DNA 
  19. Just So Stories 
  20. Beowulf 
  21. The Wisdom of Father Brown 
  22. The Count of Monte Cristo 
  23. The Scarlet Pimpernel 
  24. The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images 
As you can see there is quite a bit of overlap, this is intentional! I am, ahem, attempting, ahem, to be realistic! Also I have enough books on this list that I *technically* could be going for "Mount Blanc" and if it is looking promising I will "upgrade" however, I am attempting to be pragmatic (aka become less despondent if I don't make it)!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Advent/Nativity Fast ~ Day 5 ~ Abraham ~ Christ is Born, Glorify Him!


Wow this was such a rich chapter! I loved the WHOLE excerpt from St. Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian and it was quite difficult to pick what I put into my commonplace. I was tempted to enter the whole 3 pages worth! Ha!

"Christ is in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, and with joy because of your hope."

"He that was without a mother (being begotten from the Father before all ages) now becomes without a father (being born of the Virgin)."

~ Father Thomas Hopko ~ Quoting Saint Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian from his oration On the Theophany or Nativity of Christ ~ The Winter Pascha ~

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Advent/Nativity Fast ~ Day 4 ~ Noah ~ Temples of the Living God


"Jesus Christ, the Son, Word, and Image of God, is physically and spiritually formed in the body of Mary so that He might be formed in us as well (see Gal 4:19). This is the meaning of Christmas, which is the meaning of life itself: Christ in us and we in Christ, God in us and we with God. The spirit in our hearts so that the Spirit can flow out from us, sanctifying the world around us. This is not mere symbolism, the high-blown language of the liturgy and the scriptures. This is serious business. It is a matter of life and death. Fore we are either the living vessels of God - "earthen vessels" to be sure, to show, as the apostle again affirms, that "the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Cor 4:7) - or we are, to use the apostle's language once more, ""vessels of wrath" to be destroyed in our wickedness by God's righteous glory (Rom 9:22)."
~ Father Thomas Hopko ~ The Winter Pascha ~

BONUS!
"O my brethren, how feeble are words when one needs to speak of the love of Christ - words are never weaker than in this situation. Indeed what can one say before such astounding proofs of His love? He created us out of love, He was Incarnate out of love, and out of love He accepted mockery and death for our sake. He opened the Heavens for us out of love, and He revealed to us the immortal glory prepared for us! Even all this is only a part of the inexhaustible wealth, glory, beauty and life-creating sustenance that is the love of Christ. Oh, if only we too would be made worthy by faith, so that the Lord Jesus would enter our hearts, and that we would taste of His ineffable love!"
~ Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic ~ The Prologue from Orchid ~

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Advent/Nativity Fast ~ Day 3 ~ The Expulsion from Paradise ~ The Prelude of God's Good Will


Today's reading in The Winter Pascha touches on a where I and my Protestant upbringing start to get uncomfortable! In the atmosphere of my childhood faith Mary was just another young women, she was not very different from myself, no mention of her being born of an old childless couple who then dedicates her to the Temple. Let alone entering the Holies of Holies and being fed by Angels! However, I am open to coming and seeing...

"Today let us, the assembly of the faithful, triumph in spirit
And praise with reverence the child of God, the Virgin and Theotokos,
As she is offered in the temple of the Lord,
She who was forechosen from all generations
To be the dwelling place of Christ,
The Master and God of all."
~ Father Thomas Hopko ~ The Winter Pascha ~

Advent/Nativity Fast ~ Day 2 ~ The Creation of the Man ~ Come and See


"We are invited with Philip and the disciples to "come and see," If we want to come and see, we will. ... And we will come to know Him for who and what He really is. But first we must come. For if we do not come, we will never see."
~ Father Thomas Hopko ~ The Winter Pascha ~

Advent/Nativity Fast Thoughts ~ Day 1 ~ The Creation of the World ~ The Winter Pascha

          Based on advice from a couple lovely new friends I am hoping to read through The Winter Pascha and follow the Jesse Tree readings on this my first full Nativity Fast! So I have decided to do a virtual Jesse Tree and I share what I have added to my commonplace! (Yes I am technically starting my posting late as I just thought of this idea!)



"Jesus lay as an infant in the cavern in the reign of Caesar Augustus that He might lay in the tomb under Pontius Pilate. He was hounded by Herod that He might be caught by Caiaphas. He was buried in baptism that He might descend into death through the Cross. He was worshiped by wise men that the whole of creation might adore Him in His triumph over death. The Pascha of His Cross was prepared by the Pascha of His Coming. The Pascha of His Resurrection was begun by the Pascha of His Incarnation. The Pascha of His Glorification was foretold by the Pascha of His Baptism." 
~ Father Thomas Hopko ~ The Winter Pascha ~

May His Memory Be Eternal!


A picture of us on my trip to Holland (Mi) to purchase my 
first car a little over three years prior 
him going home...

In August I watched my beloved grandfather, and one of my best friends, enter the presence of the Lord. As a physician he was held in the highest esteem of his colleges, he is one of only 115 recipients of Osteopathy's highest award, the Medallion of Honor, who was still educating the class of 2017 as of last February. However, if you met him on the street you would never know any of that as he was one of the most humble people I have ever met. In addition, he would have most likely caught your name, continued to call you by your name, and usually offered a personalized genuine complement. He was a skilled carpenter and his handmade rocking horse is still well beloved by all of his grand and great grandchildren, and will be by his great great grandson who was born in October. A lover of music he played the cornet starting in first grade and he played his last gig just this June. He was well loved and is missed. *

As you can see why my blog has sat idle as my priorities dictated I was elsewhere. Now I am in the transition process as I grieve and move forward slowly attempting to figure out what the next season of my life looks like. In the in-between time I am content in what is today, and for one of the first times in my life I do not look forward with longing nor back with regret but instead am fully enjoying today.**

* I take a long time to process my emotions, and an even longer time to share them, so this is just the barest tip of the iceberg that is my emotional vault. In fact my mom and I have a joke/truism that I will tell her how I feel about such-n-such in a decade. I guess what I am saying is be grateful for the sliver you get! Haha! ;)

** Oh and my reading list well that just did NOT happen! So um well anyways...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lovely Dreams...

This morning when I awoke I remembered my dream vividly.

I was out on a pasture looking at undernourished cattle and this song started. During the second verse the view changes to a lovely yellow tulip.

"You hear my heart's cries,
my every prayer,
is met with Thy,
loving care"

Upon waking I was enveloped in peace and was hearing creation, birds, sing of His Glory! I hope you enjoy the song as much as I did!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Living & Learning - May 2015


Faith 
  • Sunday of the Paralytic 
  • The Samaritan Woman 
  • Sunday of the Blind Man 
  • Ascension 
  • Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Council 
  • Pentecost
Homemaking
  • Keep up with dishes 
  • Sort clothes and give away unneeded items
Goals
  • Improve Prayer Life 
  • Improve Homemaking Routine 
  • Cultivate a Quiet Spirit 
  • Go on Nature walk after Church  
  • Join my Parish choir
Book List
  • Emily Dickinson 
  • The Birth of Britain 
  • An Island Story 
  • Bede 
  • Long's Home Geography 
  • Handbook of Nature Study 
  • Chaucer for Children? 
  • Macbeth 
  • Hamlet
  • Life of Marcus Crassus 
  • Towards a Philosophy of Education 
  • Anna Karenina
Rituals
  • Morning & Evening Prayers 
  • Prayers of the Hours?
Special Days
  • Full Flower Moon – 3rd 
  • Daniel's (llama) 4th birthday - 5th 
  • Mother’s Day – 10th 
  • Rynetta (llama) Due – 11th 
  • Rebekkah's (llama) 2nd birthday - 13th 
  • Breezy's (llama) 15th birthday - 20th 
  • Mudana's (llama) 2nd birthday - 31st
Learning
  • Singing – Learn the Tones of the Church 
  • Start a nature journal
  • Memorize - "Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pre-Mother's Education Course

Those of you who are familiar with Charlotte Mason have likely heard of her Mother's Education Course (I hear that Ambleside Online, as one of their many irons in the fire, is creating plans for a modern MEC yipee!) and while I am not yet a mother I feel that at this point in my life if I do not continue the habit of life long learning all will be lost and I will just float along becoming duller as I go...

So I created a schedule for myself! I go the idea from Beautiful Chaos and I too adjusted AO's 12 week schedules to fit my needs. I am really excited, and I hope I can follow through!

Year 1 - Term 1 - Schedule

Just FYI, several of the sections have my weekly breakdown removed due to respect of copyrights. For the history selections I am following the Year 7 schedule exactly and I am utilizing Brandy Vencel, aka Afterthoughts, study guide Start Here and will be spending the whole term on Ms. Mason's First Principle.

For you observant people, yes my term only has 11 weeks in it. I decided to do this now, not waiting until the "proper time" instead I wanted to "just do it", and seeing as there are 33 weeks left before Christmas I decided to start off my journey by doing three 11 week terms. Next year I will do 4 12 week terms taking off for Christmas, all 12 days plus Theophany and Christmas Eve, and Pascha, Holy Week and Bright Week inclusive.

In addition I have started my very first bullet journal. Right now I only have the start of an index and the list of Week 1's readings. I found these little notebooks on sale at my local Office Max 4 for $3, not terrible during non-back-to-school season! So we will see how this all goes!

Did I mention I intend to narrate almost ALL of my readings? For those that are not an AO discussion book I intend to post my narration here, if there are any books in particular you have an interest in my thoughts let me know and I will try to oblige. And if I have any readers who are not a part of AO's forum (why not? the water's fine!) who have a special interest in a book that I plan on narrating there let me know and I will attempt to share here too!

Oh and those history readings, every third week I will be leading, my first (big gulp), discussion group on the AO site! Wish me luck!

Friday, April 24, 2015

I Did Say This Was Hard RIGHT?

Ugh...

Not long after I wrote my last post did my grandfather come out of his room and want to know *WHY* I was up all night and how that is not fair to my aunts who work all day, and no wonder I don't get enough accomplished... sigh... Then he walked over to the window, the storm clouds cleared just like that! I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he answered, and gave me a hug and a kiss as happy as a clam!

What he doesn't realize is that he "naps" around the clock and is awake anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours at a time and he often needs help when he is up. So what I didn't tell him was that I was up all night so that when he wakes up in the night someone is up to help him, who *doesn't* have to go to work at a set time so that they get enough sleep. Otherwise I don't hear him and they, my one aunt in particular, doesn't get enough sleep. As I can change my sleep schedule I try to go to sleep when the first gets home from work, since he is not alone at that point and get up shortly after they go to bed. On a day like yesterday that was rough as he had 3 appointments in a local big city that I had to brief the one who gets home last (My mom, who sadly has a miserable bug, went with us to the appointments as he wanted two there for one of his appointments and she briefed the one who gets home first as I took him home) so that put me to bed late.

I can't say that it didn't hurt at the time, or that I didn't punch the couch while he was in the shower, but deep down, as hard as it is now, when everything is said and done the person I want to see when I look in the mirror, while she may have a few scars, is one of those who helped.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Little Bit About My Life Right Now

Daily Flow: There is no Daily Flow!

Weekly Flow: 4 days a week either my mom or I take care of my grandfather the other staying home taking care of the farm. 3 days a week (1 of which I want/try to attend church) we enjoy being together and try to move ahead on projects at home.

What this means... Well, my 87 year old grandfather, who was working full time as recently as February, has been going downhill fast. He is now pretty fully retired, is talking about quitting band (he has played the cornet since the first grade), and his mind is slipping oh so very fast. His sleeping schedule is wackadoodle... Sunday night he did not sleep hardly at all and slept all day Monday, Monday night he slept all night... Like I said wackadoodle. Thus all of our schedules are wackadoodle, but we have two caregivers who work set hours so my mom and I are doing all we can to keep them from wearing down without wearing down ourselves.

Add in fibromyalgia, a cria due in less than 3 weeks, spring chores, daily chores, trying to start up a business, and keeping up with the never ending dishes/laundry cycle and our lives equal nuts!

But!

While it is hard none of us would have it any other way. We all want to be taking care of him, this is a choice. One we made with my dad, they made with my grandmother, and the one I will make for my mom (hopefully a l.o.n.g l.o.n.g time from now). We love him.

So while there is definitely abnegation going on, it is a purposeful choice out of love. Does that make it easier? Absolutely not! Does it make it worth it? Absolutely yes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Christ is Risen! Pascha and Bright Week

My Pascha and Bright Week was a total let down...

I was able to go to Holy Friday Vespers with the 12 Gospel readings and it was oh.so.beautiful! I left mourning the fact that my God died for me, something that was deeper and more sincere than how I normally feel at Easter. I think it has to do with how it is celebrated as most Easter events do not leave us in despair, they finish the story all in one sitting. While I knew in the back of my head that  He indeed rose again, I left knowing in the depths of my bones that my Lord was dead... If I did not have that blessed assurance I would have been utterly devastated... It has been a l.o.n.g time since the Lord's passion affected me that deeply. I should be ashamed but I am just oh so glad that I found Orthodoxy!

And then... I got the family bug that was going around from Easter and I missed all the other services and then was out of commission until the second Monday of Pascha... ugh... Maybe next year? I am oh so disappointed though... sigh...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Blog By Any Other Name...

Would not be mine! LOL!

Seriously though, I know what most of you are likely thinking, "Purposeful Abnegation, what is with that name!" and the rest are thinking "Ooo, I bet she has read Divergent." The second group is correct! :~)

Ahem, however the name is inspired not by the book, but by The Book. As I was reading the definition and manifesto in the back of the book I was struck by the strong resemblance to what Christ has called us to do. That is to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40.

The definition of Abnegation is:
1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, ect.); reject; renounce.
2. to relinquish; give up.

In my opinion #1 is what God calls us to do to in Luke 9:23-24 "Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.'" We know that we are not called to lose our lives willy-nilly, we must be following Him, thus we must be, oh I don't know... Purposeful about it. :~)

However, the way #2 describes the word implies that it is not voluntary and that one is forced to do so. We cannot strong arm people into heaven, regardless how "good" our intentions... So this blog will be focused on my personal Abnegation, no guilt if your path is different, through definition #1 and we will leave the legalistic #2 right here.

The Abnegation Manifesto:

"I will be my undoing
If I become my obsession.

"I will forget the ones I love
If I do not serve them.

"I will war with others
If I refuse to see them.

"Therefore I choose to turn away from my reflection,
To rely not on myself
But on my brothers and sisters,
To project always outward
Until I disappear
And only God remains*."

While some of the practices of the faction I feel leads towards legalism if put in the wrong hands, I just love their manifesto!

I hope my Orthodoxy journey of Purposeful Abnegation helps you on your journey.

*Those who have also read the book know that "And only God remains." is not compulsory and is the discretion of each member, this one just happens to leave it in.  :~)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Suddenly Orthodox

     First of all, Welcome!

     Growing up I started my religious upbringing in a lovely Disciple's of Christ church. I have a lot of fond memories of that period of my Christian journey; going to church almost every Sunday, dad and I at the Christmas Eve service, mom and I at the Easter Cantata, listening to the bell choir ect.

     Then we moved away and I became involved in AWANA which was not a bad experience. Sadly, even though I memorized vast amounts of scripture, I remember very little. :( After several years we moved again and I looked for another AWANA group.

     I ended up stumbling across a local baptist youth group and attended for the next six to seven years. While they were nice enough people, and eventhough the teaching appeared sound at the time, when I look back there was a judgmental/legalistic/spiritual abusive atmosphere that dominated my experience. The end result was that I became very weary in soul.

     During the tail end of that time I attended a small (3,000ish) "Christian" college. I met a handful of good people and had another handful of good memories. However... I walked onto campus intending to go into either women's or children's ministry and walked out a little more than a year later unsure if I even believed that God existed. In addition I had an um... let's say "unpleasant" two month dating experience that left me with PTSD.

     After those two experiences I wanted nothing to do with God, but then my Father started to Call me Home and I slowly started trusting Him again.

     After about 6 months I actively started to research denominations as I knew that I could no longer attend a baptist church. (Please note that I do not believe that all baptist churches are spiritually abusive, I just knew it would be a trigger for me.) I also knew I was being led towards a denomination that had a strong liturgical tradition/history. I settled on trying a local Episcopalian service, it happened to be Palm Sunday and they had a lovely service. There was/is a lot I liked about their church/faith, but instead of leaving filled I left emptier than when I arrived. I am an introvert and they wanted to know my entire.life.story.for.hours! In addition, while I liked their pastor alright, he was leaving in a month and I have seen too many pastors leave and the church's entire atmosphere change that I decided I would try it again once they had their new pastor.

     Before that could happen I read on the Ambleside Online forum about Eastern Orthodoxy. I had briefly heard of it before but in my cursory internet investigation I decided it was not for me. On the AO forum I learned a lot about Orthodoxy and it piqued my interest. Not long after that discussion I got in the mood to try to find a church again and so I decided, "Why not try Eastern Orthodoxy? If I don't like it I don't have to go again." And so I searched for my local Orthodox parish. I ended up attending for the first time on St. Nicholas day! (and also their patron saint) When I walked into the door the first time, with the incense, the icons, the worship, and last (but most certainly not least!) the definitive presence of the Holy Spirit and I knew... Suddenly, I was Orthodox! 

     I look forward eagerly to my first Pascha! I am still growing, learning, and healing, and I wish that I had been able to take a less painful journey to Orthodoxy, but nonetheless I am glad that I found Her! However, it will still be some time before I become a catechumen...