Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wedding Day ~ Two Pictures

A family member
did all of our
I did not know what my bouquet would look
like until right before my wedding.
It could not of been better.
I carried a small white
Bible in
honour of my Grandma
who carried one
in her wedding.
It was so wonderful to wear her dress.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wedding Prep--the Fun Part!

Something fun that one of my
good friends and I have been doing
this summer is finding
makeup for my wedding.
This friend is going to do my makeup
for the wedding
and I must admit,
I have had fun doing this
and trying new things.
One of my other church friends
told me via email about a store
where I can get all I need for reception
I am so relieved.
Hope to go there this week,
though I think I may have to return
again next week as well...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Bridal Shower

The shower was at my Aunt's house.
She has a house in the country;
it is still and quiet there.
The best gift was in the basket -
cards with recipes and advice
on marriage for me
from everyone there.
I have read through them and
treasure them.
My Grandma Ruth and her sister,
my Great Aunt,
were there and
it was such a special time.
This was the centre piece.
Unbeknownst to me,
it was also part of the gift
from my Aunt who hosted the
shower for me.
I have promised pictures of DV
dinner parties
using this beautiful floating candle holder!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 1 in late June

Gifts from my family
and friends of family

Ribbons and wrapping.

I have a few very close woman-friends
and one of them told me about
these dishes.

I love them.
Orthoman and I picked out the colour - ivory.
Unpacked, washed and used
for last night's dinner.
Best part of dinner:
guacamole made with
1 avocado
lemon juice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Counting down the days

88 days until our wedding.
This podcast is short and a good
beginning in understanding
what marriage is and can be.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pentecost Eve

Vespers and litiya tonight.
So wonderful to see everything in Green...
I miss my Orthoman;
we talk daily.
He with the help of family is making ready
our new home.
I plan on God willing
bringing a few icons and family pictures next time I go
so that I have some familiar things
in my DV future home.
It is exciting to put together the new place.
I still have a lot to do for the wedding.
Have not done much more on the moving logistics.
Lots to do.
Tomorrow is Pentecost.
I am really looking forward to this.
May our hearts be open to receive
the Holy Spirit
again, afresh, anew;
all can be awash in green
and in the new life that Christ gives.
May it be so.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Family in Dutch West Michigan

This is a restaurant that is full of many people,
including many Dutch.
It's affordable,
has a lot of hot meals that are
more home style in approach.
I love it and was so glad my Mom and cousins
were willing to go there with me.
My Grandpa loved their hot turkey sandwich
and I think also their chicken dinner with
mashed potatoes.
My Mom Cousin and I all had the hot turkey sandwich
and sweet potato fries.
Very yummy!

We went to Dutch Village in Holland Michigan.
This is where we got the costumes for the kids
to wear in the wedding.
It was so nice to visit.
A great place to bring kids
as they have a small petting zoo and other
It was a special time and
holds a lot of significance for me
as my Orthoman and I prepare for
our future;
somehow being with my family
is part of that transition.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It fits!

My Mom and I went over and
got my Grandma's wedding dress.
It is beautiful.
It is like a light satin gold.
And it fits me perfectly.
Only some small changes are needed.
The wonderfulness of it is nearly
somehow being a bride is something
that takes a long time to realize it is happening.
God willing
 will be wearing my
Grandma's wedding dress,
like I always dreamed of doing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Step by step

I visited my future parish again.
They are very welcoming.
The weather here was wonderful.
Sunny, warm, blue skies.
I love the drive to church
as we go through beautiful
green countryside.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I've been down South for a week now.
We are busy planning our new home and
making way for what will come
after the wedding
and I come to make this new apartment
my home.
We survived way too many hours in a big IKEA
yesterday and got a lot accomplished.
 We are getting this great second buffet
and we talk about where our new
Rushnyks will go. 
I remember talking to a friend years ago
that it takes a good 3 years or more to rebuild community
after one moves to a new place.
I am dreaming of new glass bread pans for 
sweet breads 
(Dutch Koek, Cranberry bread, etc.)
but my friends I know in Ottawa
will not be here to eat it with me.
After the wedding we will plunge into Autumn
and I don't even know when I will return to visit Ottawa.
I really appreciated Anna B.'s post 
happiness and grief.
I appreciated the freedom it encouraged to 
know that somethings we don't 'get over' as much
as have the mark of the loss with us
and that somehow this can expand instead of diminish us.
I really don't see a way to prepare more 
than I already am 
for the shock of leaving my whole world behind.
It seems that it is just something that
one does and lives and prays through.
And God knows that I have it easy
in so many ways.
My new church community is gracious and welcoming.
Orthoman is kind and gentle.
We are growing as a couple as the days go on
and we know we are learning a new
beautiful dance that 
we will do together as 
we continue to prepare
for this great sailing adventure
called marriage 
and building a family of two
with God making three. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

all things new

It's nice to be engaged.
I keep looking at my ring,
like I am sure a lot of woman do when
newly engaged to be married.
It's still hard to imagine that this is all real.
So much to process and do.
It's funny how the engagement ring looks
in a way, so young.
As in I am so aware that it is so new;
the phrase
the newness of our love
is one that is with me often.
Engaged, not yet married; not yet a newlywed.
Thin band on finger with small sparkly diamond;
new, the symbol of dreams, hopes and plans.
The congratulations after vespers today from
some dear church family
is something I hold dear to my heart.
I can't imagine leaving them
yet I am growing in my excitement for this
new unexpected adventure.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holy Wednesday

I made my cake for my Orthoman.
He pronounced it a success.
We prayed together for
my beloved priest
to St. Nectarios
and this was a comfort.
Now if only my insomnia would cease.
I am praying meanwhile
that I will have peace from Christ
and help from His Mother.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


It is almost Holy Week.
Orthoman comes Holy Wednesday.
I am making a cake.
My kitchen is a disaster.
The sun shone today.
There was a chrismation this afternoon.
I'm having insomnia again.
I know that the joy and happiness in life
is fleeting and I pray that
Orthoman and I can be protected
when we go through
times that are more painful
than the current
albeit overwhelming and insomnia-inducing
time of hope and joy.
I know for every hilltop
there are valleys on either side.
But I also know that Christ is with us
in those times of dark valleys.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jottings: Cater Met

Wedding planning can be stressful!
I am glad to know that we are surrounded
by a great cloud of witnesses.

We got the basic menu down
today with the cater
but I still have more to research.

I meet the wedding decorator on Monday.
Once I know all of these factors,
then I can begin the
work of officially inviting
family and friends.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gifts given to me

My favourite tree
where my Orthoman
and I went last autumn.
On a wildly warm October weekend
in Ottawa.
I would just like to say that
I am still often in shock
that my Orthoman
loves and cares
for me.
That he is kind, considerate
and always takes time
for me.
I have been given a gift
that I never dreamed I would have
but now I dream of
making a beautiful life...
I pray one that brings salvation...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jottings: Photographer

It feels like such a huge step:
I have almost 100% secured the photographer
for the wedding.
I am excited about the one I have found
as I know that the committment to
beauty, art, goodness and the church
are all there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Two Weeks

Two weeks until
my Orthoman is here again.
Two weeks and it will be
Holy Week.
May God bring us to this Week of Weeks. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Notes to remember Part 2: happiness

After vespers tonight
I was talking with two of the
younger girls in my parish
who know the Ukrainian caters in town.
They were so excited to hear
about the one I am meeting God willing
soon and that they love her food.
Such a happy moment.
I am grateful.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Realizations, Learning and Living

As I transitioned from doing more
than flipping my whole life upside down
by marrying and moving
within months,
to a 5 day a week contract job
plus all else I was doing
my level of stress
and managing more exceptions
and trying to wade through them all
was getting to be quite difficult
for me.

I can't do it all.
There are situations where one has
no choice and then there
are some where one has a choice.
I really appreciated this post by
as she realized what she can and can't do.
I realized and so did Orthoman that
I would burn out if I continued at the pace
I had been going at. So...
I stayed home today.
I am going to bake my cake.
I am going to church.
I am going to renegotiate with my work to
cut it down for the next while to 4 days a week.
I meet with the cater next week.
I love my God willing future
who I talked to on the phone last night.
I see a woman about helping me
decorate the reception hall in
about two weeks.
I cannot put these things off or
I will be traveling a lot in May.
Most likely once in June
and once in July.
Moving Cleo and belongings
sometime after July.
Marrying after August.
It is a daily and weekly effort to figure out
what is working and what is not
in terms of planning,
health and well-being
and new-life
So today I accomplished
something unexpected
and something that brought some
order, peace and balance 
to my life.
See that coffee table?
It's empty save the books.
See the bags on the shelves?
Bagged books waiting
to be given away.
This whole figuring out what to do
what I can and can't do
and how to communicate it
is at times very tiring
but with God's mercy
I will be able
to continue to do just that.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Towards the Cross

Very quietly
I am recording services at my church.
I love the Soul Saturdays
during Lent
where we will have a Panakhyda
in late morning.
Years ago,
I was the only Anglophone
who would be there
and the service
would be
be in Slavonic.
This is how I learned the service.
When I had a Panakhyda
for my beloved childhood friend
almost 5 years ago
on his 20th anniversary
of his falling asleep
I had some of it sung in Slavonic.
This to me speaks the language
of grief, mourning and hope in Christ
like no other
and no other voice than my
spiritual father singing it.
I listened to the recording tonight
relieved that it turned out
and that I have so many of the people's voices
there singing their parts.
My next church with Orthoman
is Slavic in background
but mainly uses English and
find myself
while happily making
wedding plans
wondering how I will ever leave Ottawa
and what will I do with out the language of grief
and the Church that is the jewel of my heart,
where God formed me for
God willing
by the time I marry
for seven years.
Seven hard but very beautiful years.
Explaining to my deacon's wife
why I hope to get a decorator
as I will get married in my church
DV by my spiritual father
and future parish priest
I will be prayed for,
loved and rejoiced with;
marry, go on a short trip with Orthoman
and then suddenly
be in a whole new state of being
and I will have left Ottawa,
my city, my country and
most of all my church family.
This part I cannot comprehend
and find it really hard to live with
such great joy and hope and at the same time
such great grief.
Writing/blogging about it helps.
Also, knowing that
as my Orthoman's spiritual father said
I am not leaving my church family
but merely extending it
to include more.
And thank God that my future parish is kind
and I know ultimately that I will
God willing
find mercy, comfort and
be able to continue to strive
to work out my salvation.
But right now I can't comprehend it
and am so glad that I have this short time
to try to prepare best I can
rejoicing, grieving and praying.
I am so glad for technology and that I can listen
to my spiritual father sing
the Panakhyda in Slavonic and English.
Tomorrow is the Sunday of the Cross
and I am decorating our church Cross for one last time
with red roses and fragrant basil.

Merging Traditions

Pictures from the last Holy Supper I did
for Christmas Eve.
I have learned a lot from the woman in my church,
particularly two who are Ukrainian.
God willing my Orthoman and I plan on
having Ukrainian, Romanian, Russian and Greek
elements to the wedding
with a bit of Dutch culture as well.
This is the fun part...
I have meetings with
the cater
and possible decorator.
Planning the meal is fun;
meanwhile, it's time to go to vespers!
Cleo wishes she could come
to the meal,
can't you tell? :)
She's already seated herself!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Myraid of details

Cleo may be relaxing
but can't say I am that much.
Orthoman and I decided to
do a bit less for the
and we are not doing something separate
in Michigan like previously planned
(please forgive me, dear in-person friends
who are finding this out
here first,
things have been a
flurry of one-thing-after-another).
It was just too overwhelming
in the end to plan and do
 so we are doing what we can
to reduce stress and simplify things.
I must say I am very much at peace
about this decision
and am relieved.
Appreciated this post on discernment
which includes what we can and cannot do
and sorting through what these things are.
Orthoman and I are finalizing
various wedding details
and this is a delight.
Work is going really well
and I can work well into the late summer,
in-between God willing travel.
I baked my lenten chocolate cake
for the church meal tomorrow.
I am grateful.
My cold is still flourishing but
I am not daunted.
I just hope Lent will continue
without unexpected tragedy
which so often happens
and indeed is in some dear friend's lives
as I write this.
May God save us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beautiful Podcast

Finished listening to this podcast
on marriage.
I really enjoyed it;
Orthoman and I both listened to
it individually.
Orthoman and I are
reading through
Mastering the Art of Marriage,
one of our sailing books.
 It is a great joy to have this
time to talk things through with each other
and plan, prepare and pray.
This Akathist for Protection and Help
stays close to my heart,
even the memory of the last time I prayed it
with two dear Ottawa friends
rises up to give me courage.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wonderful Weekend

A woman at my church made
this wonderful
which was enjoyed by many.
Orthoman is on his way back down South.
We had a wonderful weekend.
Time to talk, time with close friends, time in my church.
I asked my dear sister-friend to be my wedding sponsor.
She very happily accepted.
I could not wait to ask her and it was a wonderful moment.
We booked the Ukrainian church hall for our wedding.
(sorry, not going to announce date at this time but it
will be after summertime).
I indeed came down with another horrid head cold.
Feeling miserable was alleviated by
the presence of my Orthoman.
God willing he will be back before Pascha.
I feel very blessed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let it be noted

That on this morning
before work
I am baking my
vegan chocolate cake
in anticipation of our
church meal
after presanctified liturgy tonight.
And Orthoman
I pray will be with me
to eat some of my
humble cake.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This blog is in part
to remember this time in my life.
I wanted to note that
Orthoman and I are both
listening to these two podcasts on marriage
from Ancient Faith Radio.
They are worth the listen.

Tomorrow, Preperations and Prayers

I am asking the Mother of God
to protect my Orthoman.
He comes tomorrow
from down South
for the weekend.

This almost complete set of Shakespeare
that I loved seeing
even the colours were cheery to me
is now gone.

I am clearing out a lot of my books
(though not my cute tea time book! and I am keeping
much of my poetry and other
special books).
I want my move after God willing
the wedding
to be as simple and clutter free as possible.
Books that I know I can easily get again
and that I am not as attached to
I am giving away.
I am praying that all will go well this weekend.
There is a lot to do and I am tired.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Goodness given to me

My Orthoman's kindness
to me is
one of the greatest gifts
I have been given.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

After Presanctified Liturgy

Presancfied liturgies on Friday nights
is one of my favourite times
of the year.
I am never happier it seems...
We all get together
eat food the others made
talk, share, laugh, enjoy lenten chocolate cake
of more than 1 variety
(including mine and the other one I
already emailed for the recipe :) )
I have been feeling overwhelmed also
because I never seem to be
and this impacts all of my life.
So I talked tonight
to my spiritual father
who is good for many types of advice
(thankfully including caters!)
and got the advice to start on one small
thing and when I get discouraged
to remember that I have this
1 small thing organized.
I realized that the biggest
hopefully small enough to start with
thing that could help me
the one thing
is if I can keep my kicthen/dining room
table clean.
It's a real challenge for me as my table
is also really my only counter space.
The cake I baked was mixed on it.
If I chop veggies, it's at the table,
I have cleaned off my table tonight
(save some papers)
and am hoping that will help.
I am thinking of looking into
books by
Don Aslett
on cleaning
as they have been mentioned here.
Have I mentioned that
Orthoman and I's
God willing
future together apartment has a
While I will find it hard to leave the
Ottawa that I love so much
having a dishwasher
is a DV welcome

Friday, March 2, 2012

Show Me the Path of Love

At times
as you can tell
I feel really overwhelmed
by the logistics
of all of this.
One of my in person Ortho-friends
commented that while parents used to organize
weddings for their children
now it is the children who organize them
and it ends up being the first
time as a couple
the just born man and wife
are a host to others.
Part of what this seems to me
is how to do things in
a Christian manner;
to learn to be kind,
to learn how to love all these new
people in one's life
how to love your family
who you are leaving
to join your husband.
I can be rather dizzying at times.
I am the first to realize I don't always
know how to do this.
So my prayer this morning is
show me the path of love
show me the way.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The quiet of the evening

Someday I am sure I
or at least I would hope
that I will look back at this time
and laugh at the worries I had and
somehow I hope someday
to be more carefree
I think it is in part the missing of youth
that one sees in retrospect as
fun and easy
though when I was in it
I did not often find it so.
So the search for photographers is on.
Found a lovely one today in Michigan.
Reminded me of all I love:
love of water
love of light
love of creating beautiful things.

I also found on etsy this
to die for veil handmade
in Holland.
So Cool.
The country of my
parents and grandparents.
I have a great Aunt (or maybe Great Great Aunt)
who my Mom is named after
who was a hat maker in Holland.
Somehow I know she must of loved
beauty too,
to have such a trade.
I found a non-Ukrainian cater
who is in budget.
I am still going to look
 into the Ukrainian one
but not sure when or how.
Somethings I really just want to
do in person and try some of the food
but I can't till after Lent.
Details, details.
Meanwhile I have been dreaming about
owning a new camera
to capture more beauty...

Refusing to be another Bridezilla (Part I)

Now I understand
some of my closest friends more
who got married
before I did.
When one lives away from family
and the husband-to-be
also lives away from family
it can be really hard.
My Orthoman thankfully
realizes when I need space and am stressed.
My invite list for the two events
combined at present
is at a toppling total of 290 people.
Minor Meltdown Numbers.
Now I understand why other couples
had to make difficult decisions about the invite list.
I am still trying to figure out what to do with ours.
We are thinking of doing two events
because we both come from
large families and Ottawa
is a long way for many of them to come.
we are planning three events
since I will be moving to the East Coast.
But that event is going to be lower key
and really lovely
esp. if the sun shines on that day.
I am very very thankful for Google docs
as it allows my Orthoman and I to
have access to our invite lists
and logistical spreadsheet.
I am also thankful for such a supportive
Orthoman who daily tells me
he loves me.
I am also thankful that my close sister-friend
and her very cool husband
understand that I need them as a
at times. :)
I am my sister-friend's kid-support hotline
so it is a mutual support society.

I Googled the term Bridezilla and see that it was
an early reality-TV show.
I do not think I knew this as I have never
had a TV and thankfully
my Orthoman also does not see the need
for a TV.
However, I sure hope I can avoid being unkind
like the Bridezilla's on this show.
Actually I see one of my jobs is to figure out
how to avoid this all together.
By which I mean I must try to be a Christian,
not a self-centred unkind bully.
One rule that I am holding to
that I have really learned since being Orthodox
is to try to be at peace with all people;
now I don't mean by this
trying to please all people
but if I was unkind calling the person up before bed
and apologizing and not letting the sun
go down and not letting my relationships
get divided.
Being a future-Bride can be hard
esp. when family is so far away and
I am being oriented to a whole new way of being.
I can tell you what gets me out of this though:
trying to focus on others;
being thankful;
taking quick breathers
and calling friends;
God surely is merciful for loving me
even when I fail.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lent Day 3

Hair cut and conversation with hair dresser.
Trying not to melt down at realizing that
to get my hair (and makeup) done before liturgy and
then the Crowning
I will have to be at church by 8 AM at the latest.
I am guessing I will be up by 5 AM to do prayers
and everything.
By then the plan is to have Cleo and my belongings
moved down South to the
East Coast apartment where
Orthoman and I will make our first home.
I am not even sure what house/home I will wake
up in on my wedding day.
(though I already have two ideas in mind :) ).
I have made a two grocery list pages for
the Months of
and what needs to be accomplished in what month.
This includes two week long visits
to Michigan before August
Two or three visits to the East Coast
with the move happening in August.
Now I need to call the cater and see
about pricing...
I start my new work next week Monday at 9 AM.
Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Field Notes - Lent Day 2

Cloudy here in Ottawa.
Lots of white snow on the ground.
Called the Ukrainian Church hall to
reserve the reception hall.
Have names of a few caters.
Today is a cleaning day.
Also hair cut
and discussing the possibility of my
hair dresser doing my hair for the wedding.
As I start work full time for 1 month
then have Holy Week and Pascha
and by May will be traveling 1 or 2 places
per month
I am glad to be getting some of this work done now.
The last thing I would want to happen is
to wait to reserve a church hall for the reception
(my own church's hall is too small)
and find that someone else had taken it.
Later this week I find out if the simple
more informal reception in Michigan
(we are doing more than 1 event due to family
and church family being spread out)
will work the venue hoped for.