My God, My Confidence

Featured Image shared by Anastasia

Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope? ~ Job 4:6

“A visible thought for today these many years later… from a beautiful card, celebrating my friend’s high school graduation in 1963. The sentiment on the back of the card reads, My God, my Confidence. The girl whose graduation this card announced attended a program sponsored by the saintly Little Sisters of the Poor in Los Angeles, for high school girls interested in joining their Community. Her name was Cecilia and her elder sister was and still is a Little Sister of the Poor. Cecilia died a few years ago. Eternal Memory to her who introduced me to the Little Sisters at their Home For the Aged where we volunteered in high school. Now, I’m the “Aged” referenced in the title!” ~ Anastasia

Memory Eternal Julia and family on the day of Julia’s interment. Julia was a wonderful Sister in Christ, and an amazing alto singer in the church choir, whose warm, rich voice reminded me of a heavenly bird’s. In the past, she raised finches, and I can remember them singing joyfully in her home as they flitted about in their large cages by the bright window. Julia was an accomplished, professional artist and art teacher, who loved to draw and paint many things, including all kinds of birds. Anastasia’s card with the sparrow being held in God’s Hands reminded me of Julia, her love for birds, and that right now, God has Julia’s gentle soul in His Loving Hands.

Even the sparrow has found a home… ~ Psalm 84:3

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. ~ St. Matthew 10:31

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. ~ St. Luke 12:6-7

The feature image of the 1963 Graduation Card, reminds me of hope. I pray that some day after completing this School of Life, we may all take flight and Graduate in Heaven! Amen!

Festal Blessings of the Heart

Veneration of the Cross, Third Sunday in Great Lent, coincided this year with the set Feast of the Annunciation, on April 7th. The Precious Cross was decorated in traditional red colours… using roses and carnations. However, and alas, even after scouring the grocery store, there was no fresh basil (also traditional to use when decorating the Cross) to be found. So, from our garden, fragrant pink pieris japonica and white viburnum were added.

Yesterday, the morning sun danced and blazed brightly on my face. I closed my eyes to bask in its warmth.

Antiphonal chirps and trills of birdsong resounded. At the raucous cry of a seagull overhead, I opened my eyes and smiled at the added ambience.

Not to be outdone, budding catkins nodded vehemently over the top of the pergola, each fuzzy leaflet highlighted with a tiny halo of luminous, Gladsome Light. I desperately wanted to run and grab my phone camera to catch this breathtaking beauty… but knew the special light would change in a second or two, and I would forever lose the moment – without being in the moment. I took a picture instead… with my mind’s eye, and can see this sight even now as I type. I hope to remember it forever.

From the porch roof, remnants of raindrops stubbornly clung as lustrous, pearly, stalactites, until they chose to let go. Their occasional drips echoed as muffled percussion on the patio flagstones below, perfectly complimenting the surrounding avian symphony.

And the trees! With branches lifted skyward as if in supplication, they swayed and danced with expressive abandon (as only trees can in a festal morning wind)… kicking up their rooty heels with joy!

Stop. Look. Listen with your heart. Let it dance with the trees, in joy and gratitude at God’s Creation!

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, as they behold their fellow-tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration: for Christ, as holy David prophesied, has exalted it on high. I died through a tree, but I have found in thee a Tree of Life, O Cross of Christ. ~ Sunday of the Cross, 8th Ode

God is everywhere present and fills all things! The Three-Branched Cross of Christ is Life!

Alleluia and Amen!

May the Memory of Trees…

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees in Lihu’e-Koloa’a Forest Reserve ~ Kauai 2023

Happy Saint’s Day matushka Nataliya! Congratulations, and may God grant you many years!

Casually, one day, she told us that every morning she was having a “little chat with her young tree”. Another time she said that if we got tired walking, we could stop near a tree and touch its trunk: “It will gladly give you some of the strength God gives it”… ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

After many years I returned to Kauai, and stood once again in a wondrous, tropical Blisswood grove!

Stunning eucalyptus trees thrive in the Lihu’e Koloa’a Forest Reserve… and here, one may curiously discover how refreshing it is to touch those resplendent rainbow trunks.

As my gaze travelled skyward to the tree’s crowning branches, they seemed as graceful arms raised aloft in praise to Creation’s Planter.

Antiphonal Birdsong echoed throughout the forest arboretum. Delicate leaves attached to the trees’ twiggy fingers whispered to each other in the warm trade winds.

Some leaves were loosened, and as if seeming to accept that this was their time, fluttered down trustingly to the ground. A breeze quickly stirred them up again, and with apparent joyful abandon they tumbled away, end-over-end, deeper into the forest… a dance of affirmation and benediction.

I hope to carry this beautiful memory of God’s Creation in my soul, for a long, long, time.

These trees gladdened my heart. They gifted me anew with a peaceful, vibrant jewel of strength, to which I must carefully string yet one more gem of gratitude to the growing strand of a personal, noetic necklace which I sometimes forget to wear… or appreciate.

May we live in more awareness of the Divine Moment and Nature’s Numinous Wisdom – proving His Glorious Presence.

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, let all the trees clap their hands. ~ Sunday of the Cross

With Love in Christ.

I Cluck. Therefore I Am.

Raindrops dot flowering Thunbergia Laurifolia vines overhanging tiered lava rocks. Kauai ~ 2023

Kauai is vibrant and beautiful. In my opinion, it’s the most Heavenly Island on God’s Green Earth.

However, along with the spectacular scenery, wonderful generous people, and tropical songbirds… there are also thousands of feral chickens and roosters everywhere!

These feathered creatures seem compelled to serenade the sleeping masses of humanity, sometimes as early as 3 am.

Lying drowsily in the predawn darkness, being treated to incessant crowing, chatty clucking, boisterous cackles, and hiccupping squawks… One (somewhat) amusedly ponders the logic of their little bird brains’ internal chronometers – channelling the mainland’s West Coast Time Zone? (3 hours ahead of Island Time)

Cocky Rooster Crashes Kapa’a Cafe

It’s a blessed relief to fall back asleep to the redeeming white noise of a pre-sunrise tropical rain shower, or the rattle of palm fronds rustling in the warm trade winds.

Without a doubt, chickens rule the roost in Kauai. Their competitive cacophony is heard everywhere… Whether strutting through restaurants, or scooting daringly across the proverbial road to the other side! I must admit though, the mother hens and chicks were darling. They almost broke me.

There was a fascinating book at the vacation home – An Ocean in Mind with some (fittingly) amazing quotes by Steve Somersen.

There’s a world out here that I didn’t know anything about until forced into it by my choices. Analytic thinking alone cannot bring understanding, and I’m glad of that. We aren’t searching for understanding, but understanding is coming as a result of the search. ~ Steve Somersen (An Ocean in Mind, by Will Kyselka)

I’ve used another of his poignant quotes as text on the feature beach image of my post No Matter Where…

Meanwhile, I’m home again, and have come to the stunning, perplexing conclusion I actually miss hearing those foul rascally fowl!? They cluck. Ergo sum. Go figure!

Beautiful Garden of Scripture

European Robin Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet, and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus

After the ancient feasts of Theophany and the upcoming Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas), we notice the days growing longer. Although we know spring is just around the corner, sometimes February tosses us a few surprises. One moment we’re relaxed and relieved to see crocus and snow drop flowers blooming in glorious patches of dappled sunshine, and the next moment – heavy gray overcast skies compete with our weariness of winter and the happiness of blossoming silver catkins. While there’s almost always one last and brief farewell blast of snow or a crisp, cold snap, February has the last laugh! Robins return from their wintery travels to herald hope of the coming spring. Hearing their birdsong comforts and captures my heart anew… making me smile with joy! Thank you dear Lord for creating the saucy robins!

Fragrant, Sweet, Blooming

Image by Christiane from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek, find, and those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus

September Yearnings

Image by brigachtal from Pixabay

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice ~ Psalm 96:11-12

Each September, and like clockwork – I literally ache to travel somewhere… anywhere… if only for a few days.

New destinations are required to be off the beaten track. They must include either deserted peaceful beaches backed by pristine nature, or jaunts to lofty mountains nestled by mysterious woodland streams.

Internal summonings such as these are particularly hard to resist, especially with wild geese flying overhead to distant warmer climes.

Today I’m a bit torn between completing weekend chores or planning an upcoming jaunt. With God’s help, I can do both, and manage to be back in plenty of time to celebrate the wonderful upcoming September Feast Days! [Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8) and Exaltation of the Cross (September 27/14)]

We shall see what opportunity God provides. And if not this year, then God willing, maybe a mystery tour next year!

Meanwhile, the end of summer beauty abides close to home. Bees buzz busily on patio flowers, and briny ocean breezes beckon. Joyful birdsong abounds everywhere.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118: 23-24

These warm, and hazy September days bring my favourite poem to mind. I hope you enjoy it too!

I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today –
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand –
So what could I do but laugh and go?

~ Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)

This poem is in the public domain.

Droplets of Love

St. John the Baptist and Forerunner Icon behind sunflower bouquet on Transfiguration Feast Day

Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God – both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace; they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous. ~ Elder Porphyrios

In the Joy of His Creatures

A Harris Hawk, seeking her food from God.

Greetings on the Feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon! To this very day, and through his holy prayers and healings, he’s been very helpful with family and friends!

When God, who is absolute fullness, brought creatures into existence, it was not done to fulfill any need but so that his creatures should be happy to share his likeness, and so that he himself might rejoice in the joy of his creatures as they draw inexhaustibly upon the Inexhaustible. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

He will cover you under his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. ~ Psalm 91:4

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … St. Matthew 6: 25-34

My rejoicing heart has taken flight!

One of my most favourite birds in the worlda falcon, flew to – and landed on my gloved arm (several times)!

My wonder-cup brims and runneth over with spiritual delight and gratitude to God – for allowing me the honour and privilege of interacting with these wild and majestic creatures… A day I’ll always treasure and remember.

Thank you God, for your Gift of Nature!

God’s Acre

A country jaunt after liturgy and lunch today, had us unexpectedly meandering through a beautiful, 150 year old church yard. The cemetery grounds literally burst with thousands of wild, starry blue Camas Lilies… which were my godmother’s favourite flower.

As we wandered knee-deep, through violet fields, accompanied by trills of birdsong, another melody with joyful words from the end of The Creed came to mind… “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen!” What a blessing!

A rocky plaque on site read:

This place
Whereon thou standest is
Holy Ground
Act reverently – Cherish the flowers
This is God’s Acre

A cemetery is not a place where corpses are laid, but a place where the Resurrection awaits! ~ Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

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