Heavenly Snowdrops

…but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. ~ Proverbs 11:28

Yesterday’s walk was exhilarating!

Cheerful Snowdrops are springing up everywhere!

Old English names for Snowdrop flowers are Christ’s Flowers, Purification Flowers, Candlemas Bells, and Fair Maids of February. They are named as such, in honour of the ancient (upcoming) feast day of The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple! (February 15/2)

God’s Gift of Nature physically and spiritually nourishes us.

We rejoice in the sun’s warmth on our face and refreshing gentle breezes that sweep away cluttered, wintry thoughts.

Through a single flower, we remember all is God’s Handiwork, and that Nature is a Secret Gospel.

Spiritual Fragrance abounds! And… regardless of debris from recent storms, we notice it’s the new and verdant growth that bears the precious blooms in God’s Garden!

Sometimes – a glimpse of Paradise is right outside our back door!

Happy Saint’s Day Maximos, God grant you many years!

Blessings On A Snow Day

Feature Image by Irena

Praise the Lord from the earth… fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! ~ Psalm 148:7-8

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ~ Psalm 51:7

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 59:9-11

Falling snowflakes are beautiful. They swathe our backyard’s bare tree branches with mystique, and envelope everything else in a pure milk-white blanket.

But, to me, a tropical wildflower at heart, I love snow – for maybe all of 10 minutes before vehemently wishing it away.

It’s not my thing. I loathe the cold. Always have. However, it’s part of living in a climate where to every thing, there is a season.

On a recent snow day, I tried to consider the snow as a blessing in disguise. I cranked up my Hawaiian Instrumental “Summer” Music, and fiercely tackled the annual cleaning of a certain Kitchen Drawer of No Return.

Although snow is a love/hate thing for me, I must begrudgingly admit that I do love to go outside, and “listen” to the whispers of falling snowflakes. There’s a peaceful, gentle, and calm stillness… Like the earth is holding her breath, waiting with patient endurance and expectant hope – for there’s always Sonshine above, ready to pierce through those snow clouds… and sweet spring is right around the corner!

…For favourable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord… ~ Litany of Peace

However Difficult It May Seem

At Holy Virgin Cathedral San Francisco, January 7th 2024 – Shared by Anastasia

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Greetings on the 6th Day of Christmas!

There’s nothing more beautiful or sweeter than to love the Lord Jesus. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

We don’t pursue hardships but if they come, we face them through steadfastness and prayer. ~ St. Paisios

Lord, I beg you… Do Your own will in me. However difficult it may seem to me, it will be easy because it will be Yours! ~ St. Gavrilia

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day, Anysia! May God grant you many years!

Because

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay


How can we not?


The Whys and Hows

Icon of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ

Christ is Risen! Greetings on Thomas Sunday!

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. ~St. John 20:29

I do love hearing that passage and the Lord Himself saying with timeless inclusiveness… blessed are those who have believed without seeing! He’s also referring to us! Right now!

Today, weather permitting, our parish will visit two cemeteries after Liturgy, and the priest will bless the graves of parishioners who’ve fallen asleep in the Lord. These Radonitsa Prayers are short, beautiful, and concluded with the Bright and Joyous singing of Paschal hymns at each grave site.

Another sweet consolation…

After our death, when we come face to face with Christ, we will understand the why and how of our lives and we will be told everything we went through in this world. Then, with all the power of our existence, we will say to Him, “Thank you my God, for allowing these for me!” ~ St. Paisios the Athonite

Truly He is Risen!

Patient Endurance

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Patient endurance kills the despair that kills the soul; it teaches the soul to take comfort and not to grow listless in the face of its many battles and afflictions. ~ St. Peter of Damaskos; Philokalia

He who endures distress, will be granted joys; and he who bears with unpleasant things, will not be deprived of the pleasant. ~ St. Nilus of Sinai

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ~ James 5:11

Don’t let anything deprive you of hope. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. ~ C.S. Lewis

We are all broken,
Regardless of sufferings
Or disappointments.

God knows our sorrows,
He is our refuge and strength
And the Remedy.

It is Christ Who heals,
Whom we are called to follow…
Throughout life’s trials.

The Lord strengthens us
To find meaning and purpose
In painful struggles –

Patiently He waits
For us to open the door
Of our hearts for help…

To live, thrive, and soar
High above
heedless failures…
Of world, body, soul.

Patient Endurance is not simply placid acceptance of waiting around and just hoping things get better on their own. No! Patient Endurance is our Cross. Patient Endurance is ACTION and EFFORT. Patient Endurance requires taking one small step and then another, and then another… Patient Endurance keeps moving forward, and involves personal, consistent reaching out to God for help. It involves prayer… us talking to Him, sharing our ups and downs… thanking Him for our banes and blessings… thanking Him for hearing us, for His Love, and that we know and accept He will answer us in His Good and Perfect Time – with what is best for us. Patient Endurance keeps the Spiritual Communication Lines open!

He waits patiently.

Greeting you with Hope and Love in Christ.

Keep looking up! There’s Sonshine above those stormy clouds!








From the Soil of Our Heart

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Greetings on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross!

God does not create a cross for man. No matter how heavy a cross a man may carry in his life, it is still just wood, from which man himself made, and it always grows from the soil of his heart. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

May your day be imbued with a multitude of sweet-scented blessings!

From Flower to Flower

Image by sharkolot from Pixabay

Be like little bees that go about from flower to flower and gather only the nectar from which they can make honey. A bee flies from flower to flower – to many flowers. But bees don’t stay where there’s no nectar from which they can make honey – they flee. So, may you collect from everyone only what is good and beneficial to you. Let the rest just slip by, as though through raindrops. ~ Elder Paisios; A Little Corner of Paradise

Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves unending praise!

For all His known and unknown blessings…

For helping us to find and grind the good wheat

For wisdom to avoid indigestible chaff.

While threshing and milling a myriad of useless thoughts and actions over stressful situations… Mercifully, and with God’s help (again), it recently occurred to me I’d reacquired an ugly old habit of hovering over stinky, nectarless, flowers. Phew!

Thank you for your prayers. They mean a lot to me!

 Jesus, beautiful goodness, adorn me with flowers of good thoughts and feelings. ~ Ikos 6; Akathist for Holy Communion

The Simplest Blessings…

Image by klimkin from Pixabay

…Give us hope!

Just as the blessings of God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith. ~ St. Macarius the Great

The spiritual life is very simple and quite easy. We make it difficult by not struggling properly. ~ Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12

From the Belly of Hades

Bleeding Hearts are surrounded by the comforting starry cosmos of Sweet Woodruff’s white flowers.

Greetings on:
The (movable) Feast of MidPentecost!
The annual feast of the Wonderworking Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup (Chalice)!

The Icon’s Akathist to the Theotokos for help with the struggle of various addictions is here.

Congratulations to my dear friend Irena on her Saint’s Day!

In Christianity, the Bleeding Heart flower represents the suffering that Christ endured for our sins, and the Theotokos’ grief seeing her Son on the Cross.

Tiny white stars of Sweet Woodruff flowers are symbolic of hope and humility. This perennial ground cover spreads its cheer where other herbaceous plants may find it difficult to thrive. It bursts into burgeoning blooms come early spring, then quietly seems to diminish in the summer. Its fragrant fresh flowers (mildly reminiscent of vanilla) and leaves were used for everything from air fresheners to bed-straw stuffing. Its flowers flavoured wine and jellies, and were used for other medicinal purposes. (Of course, one should always check with a doctor before using any medical herb they’re not familiar with.) Last, but not least – marauding deer abhor sweet woodruff in gardens… and that alone makes it extra sweet to me!

That being said, and setting rascally deer aside…. the many blessings in our lives are unavoidably peppered with banes, but it’s the banes that make each new blessing a heartfelt consolation!

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~ Romans 7:15. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ~ Romans 7:19-20

Like St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans, we find ourselves in spiritual battles. We want to do what’s right, yet sometimes we do the very things we hate… even when knowing we’re wrong.

Granted, we can look back on the past – but don’t stare. Staring backwards can make one disheartened, overwhelmed and anxious. Everyone has a heartache, and we’re all dealing with struggles of some sort. Focus Forward!

Anxiety about ourselves means lack of faith; anxiety about our neighbour means pain. Feeling the intensity of other’s pain from within is accompanied by prayer and then comes the divine consolation. Therefore, you should pray as much as you can and then leave everything in the hands of God and calm yourself. Does God hurt His creatures less than you? Why worry? God gives a lot of comfort to anyone who is in spiritual pain and suffering for others because otherwise, one could not bear this burden… But from this pain comes true joy. ~ St. Paisios

Let the heavens rejoice; let earthly things be glad; for the Lord hath wrought might with His arm. He hath trampled down death by death; the first-born of the dead hath He become. From the belly of Hades hath He delivered us, and hath granted to the world great mercy. ~ Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 3)

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