A Sacrifice of Praise

An abundance of sweet-scented wisteria spill over the pergola, upheld and supported by its rough, wooden beams.

Let us lift up our hearts! We lift them up unto the Lord! ~Anaphora

From every cut springs new growth. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all in gardening, or life.

To encourage a profusion of fragrant blossoms and to thrive – shrubs, trees, and vines require careful tending to transform into ultimate splendor. They must first be reduced, in order to become more.

By deadheading and pruning our own spiritual debris, we are refreshed and ready for new growth! We are able to lightly and joyfully lift up our hearts unto the Lord!

Through God’s Mercy of Peace we thrive, and our hearts are transformed by being in God.

In the words of an anonymous saint (whose name escapes me at the moment), may we remember more often to: Prune wisely and clip with discernment.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. ~ St. John 15:1-2

Prayer is the flower of gentleness and the fruit of joy. ~ Evagrios the Solitary, 4th century

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!

Come, Magnify Him!

Garden bouquet, picked for a friend this week: Heather, Viburnum, Pieris Japonica, Sword Fern

Light was first
Through the Lord’s
word Named day:
Beauteous, bright creation! ~ St. Caedmon

Greetings on St. Caedmon’s Day!

This 7th century British Saint heard angels sing, and recorded their heavenly hymn which became the earliest English poem in existence!

Previous Blisswood post shows the ruins of the ancient Whitby monastery where St. Caedmon lived.

After reading St. Caedmon’s Hymn from these Latin, Moore/Leningrad Northumbrian Dialects/Bodleian West Saxon sources and translations – this poem achingly called to me, asking to be adapted further.

I translated it into a more contemporary old English and put my adaptation to the ancient melody of the 13th century Byzantine Hymn: Defte Lai.

My version of St. Caedmon’s Hymn with Sheet music here.

Below is my version of St. Caedmon’s Creation Hymn, rusticly sung and recorded, accompanied by my faux-lyre (ukulele) using the chords: Fm; Cm; and B♭m.

Come magnify Him,
Creator of the firmament,
Author of each and all,
And glorify His purpose;
Love, Invincible.

Come and honour Him,
Protector of Fair Paradise,
Holy, Mighty, Immortal,
Architect, Omnipotent;
Father of Glory.
Blessed, Timeless, Lord,
Thou hast established Thy wonders,
Before middle earth* was formed,
Or adorned with Thought of Mind;
Lord, God Almighty!

For the sons of men;
Thou formed the Roof of Heaven!

* Middle earth (not just a Tolkien invention)- it means the world, the middle enclosure – which exists between heaven and hell. From Middle English middel-erde, and Old English middangeard.

I’m grateful for the heavenly hymn St. Caedmon has bequeathed to us, and his role in the early English Orthodox church… From his beginnings as a humble shepherd – to his subsequent life as a meek monk in a great, historic, monastery.

When the song of the lips becomes the song of the soul, we’re able to – bit by bit, acquire a small, uplifting, repertoire of prayerful Psalmody from the heart – by singing anytime praises to the Glory of God!

Withinnan

Our garden’s Johnny Jump Ups (Winter Pansies) thrive and flourish in brilliant autumnal Sonshine.

Withinnan is an Old English word (before 1000 A.D.) referring to a motion “from within”.

The Cause of all things, through the beauty, goodness and profusion of His intense Love for everything, goes out of Himself in His Providential care for the whole creation… He relinquishes His utter transcendence in order to dwell in all things while yet remaining within Himself… ~ St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia)

Nature is the Secret Gospel!

The Mystery of Creation is all around us!

By opening our noetic eyes, we see God – withinnan the Beauty of His Holiness.

Holy Wisdom’s Water of Love

Exotic Heliconia Rostrata, the Hanging Lobster Claw Flower ~ Kauai 2023

Greetings on the Holy Mandylion Feast Day!

If you do not shatter and empty your Ego, how will you make room for God?… God’s gifts to us blossom only if watered with the water of Love… Those who love can do only beautiful things. ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

Let us unfurl our thirsty roots and drink deeply from Holy Wisdom’s salvific Springs of Living Water.

May our hearts Blossom Forth choosing happy, beautiful, Songs of Joy and gladness today!

Reflecting the Sun of Righteousness

Image by Jessica Joh from Pixabay

We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. ~ C. S. Lewis

Thoughts. Actions. Affect.
Are we givers – or takers
of all Light’s spectrum?
Let us make haste to
be robed in Healing Sonshine
Everywhere present –
Impetus for growth –
Opening our heart’s eyes to
Reflect His Bright Gift!

Only by absorbing His Light can we reflect His Light. Everything we do matters. Every moment, every decision we make affects ourselves, our families, friends, our coworkers in countless… and often imperceptive ways. We are responsible for flavouring each situation. If we can find joy in the smallest of things, we can choose to be joyful, and be as light, reflecting the Light, even in the midst of turmoil.

May we all choose to be swathed today within our Lord’s warm, redeeming Sonshine! May we joyfully reflect His Refulgent Light! Amen!

Happy Saint’s Day Juliana! May God grant you many years! Saint’s Day Cake baked by Anysia.

Happy Sts. Peter & Paul Day!

July 12/June 29

Icon of Saints Peter (left) and Paul (right).

The long Apostles’ Fast is over!

Greetings on this ancient, joyful feast day, commemorating the Holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. They are celebrated together because of their great roles in the Church as fathers and guides to all Christians.

O first-enthroned among the apostles and teachers of the whole world: Entreat the Master of all, that He grant peace to the world: and great mercy to our souls. ~ Troparion of Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 4)

With hymns of praise let us honour the true preachers of piety, the all-radiant stars of the Church: Peter, the rock of Faith, and Paul, the teacher of the truth and initiate of the mysteries of Christ. For both of them having sown the word of truth in the ears of the faithful beseech Christ God Who giveth fruitfulness unto all, that our souls be saved. ~ Stichera for Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 6)

Remembering the Old English Poem associated with the tradition of harvesting lavender on (or around) this particular Feast Day, we added a small, fresh bouquet of Provence Lavender at the festal icon of Saints Peter and Paul. “If you wish lavender bushy and tall, then tend on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

We have 4 lavender bushes that need “tending”. Their harvested stems are bundled securely into individual bouquets, (but not too tightly, and making sure they’re not damp) then hung upside down (flowers at bottom) to dry in the house, avoiding direct sunlight. It can take about 3 weeks for the stems and flowers to dry. Meanwhile, the house smells amazing! Lavender can easily be made into drawer/closet/car sachets, sleep pillows, or kept/shared as a dried floral wall decoration. If they dry straight enough, you can pop them into a dry vase to keep. I also strip some buds off several stems and put them in a lidded glass jar and stored in a dark kitchen cupboard- for use in… tea, lemonade, vinaigrettes, or baking. During winter use, it’s a joy to remember they were picked on a sunny summer Saints’ Day! Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, pray to God for us!

Culinary Lavender Summer Recipes…
Lavender-Rose Vegan Mini Mochi
Lavender Dream Cookies

Happy Saint’s Day – Reader Peter H.! May God grant you many years!

Memory Eternal – J. Paul T. 🐓 and Paul G.!

Bee That As It May

Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay

For me, writing is usually a joy. But during these troubled times it’s a simple fact that on a global scale, this war physically and spiritually affects everyone – everywhere.

It’s been some time now, that I’ve not been able to write for sheer pleasure, but instead, write solely to help me make sense of the world.

Along with countless other people here in North America, the far-reaching ripples of war have profoundly, painfully, and spiritually impacted my personal life… the least of which, leaves me completely uninspired to write much of anything.

But yesterday something extraordinary happened, something that rekindled a bright little light in my heart! And amazingly, the seemingly smallness of this event is what actually makes it Truly Great.

Playing outside, enjoying nature, my grandchildren encountered a bumblebee in distress. Usually a distressed bee when carefully cupped in (un-allergic) hands, and carried to a quiet place to rest – recovers. It can also be revived if needed with a bit of sugar water. After letting the bee rest awhile, most of the time it’s able to fly away and continue its search for flowers.

But, the bumblebee didn’t make it, and one grandchild said with the simplistic wisdom of an ancient sage, “We tried to help, but it was just its time.”

They buried the bumblebee beneath some ferns in their tiny, treasured Fairy Garden. Digging their fingers into the soil, they gently placed the bee into a shallow well, and tenderly tucked vibrant green moss over it. They thanked the bumblebee for all its hard work, and while brushing the bits of dirt off their hands, they considered how many thousands of flowers and all the places that bumblebee must have visited during its life. They pondered how precious and busy ALL bees are. They deliberated on what great examples bees are to us. “Because bees just do what they need to do- for the good of the hive.” Regardless of what’s happening outside the hive.

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings! Their wise words, a sudden source for a new story – bubbled up from within, just aching to be shared! It’s the first one that’s come to me in a long, long, time. It sprang up from the simple Faith of children, along with their refreshing pureness of Hope, and Love of God’s creatures.

God’s Gift of Nature is a Healing, Secret Gospel and to everything there is a season! May I keep noticing the sweet “little” things that the Good Lord sends to help nourish the rekindled warmth in my writer’s heart!

Interview with a young Bee Whisperer: “To help exhausted bees, I use 1 tsp. of water and 1 tsp. of sugar. Scoop mixed sugar water into a large eating spoon, and place onto level ground, for bees don’t like to climb while they’re tired. Stand back and let it enjoy the sugar water. It may take awhile, but that’s okay. They like to have their sugar water spoon placed in the sun, not shade, (uncomfortable shade reminds them of the rain) and bees like to keep warm. Sometimes if a bee is tired, and just sitting still on the ground, you can place it on a flower, as they like to be in high places where they feel safe and can easily fly off from. Bees are so important to us humans. They are one of reasons we can actually live, because they pollinate the flowers and we can grow and eat food like fruits and vegetables from the flowers. Bees are one of the animals people are scared of (especially if allergic to bees, because that would be really scary) But, bees are harmless creatures, and seem to know if you’re trying to help. They don’t bite or don’t sting. But, if you squash them they’ll sting. They can’t help it then. I’ve only been stung by a bee when I accidentally walked on clover with bare feet. It’s good to help bees and anything that needs help.”

…the person who has good thoughts, no matter what he sees, no matter what you tell him, maintains a positive and good thought. ~ St. Paisios of Mt. Athos

Praying for the Peace From Above.

Divine Choreography

A Gardener’s Delight!

Final Encore of one diverse Floral Troupe’s whirling, spinning, Petal Pirouette [Pronounced pee-rooet]! ~ photo shared by Melania

Christ is Risen!

Celestial Music
Out of Eternity
Music was heard,
And into Infinity
Straightaway flowed,
All chaos along with it
Taking away.
In the chasm like a whirlwind
The stars began swirling,
Their every ray singing
Like musical strings,
And life, being stirred
By this Divine Vibration,
Shows only to him
Its true inspiration,

Who is sometimes attune
To this music celestial,
Whose mind is wide open,
Whose heart is aflame.
~ Y.P. Polonsky

In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the godparent holds or follows the newly-illumined (depending on their age) behind the priest, three times around the Baptismal Font, clasping a baptismal candle which symbolizes the Divine Light of Christ. The Procession is like a joyful dance as we embark upon the first few steps of our new life in Christ, while the clergy and choir sing, “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia!”

In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the Priest leads the couple in a Procession around the stand on which the Holy Gospel and Blessing Cross have been placed. Here too, the choir sings as the husband and wife take their first steps of holy wedlock together, and the Church (symbolized by the Priest leading the way) will help guide them in the way they should step. This part of the ceremony is sometimes called the Dance of Isaiah or the Dance of Life.

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

Whether with people or in nature, there is a Divine Choreography and it’s on us (of free will) to learn the Qualities of Movement to Life’s Dance of Truth. Through practice, we can move gracefully to any new melody. If we inadvertently have our own toes painfully trod upon during the Great Dance of Life, there is St. Paisios’ dynamic quote: So in every test, let us say: “Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation.” Remembering this helps reset our internal rhythm… it enables us to glide forward… it inspires us to kick up our heels again with joyattuned anew… to the Divine Vibration!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

O Precious Paradise

Detail of parish Creation Mosaic with scenes from Genesis, and the Expulsion From Paradise ~ Genesis 3:23-24

…O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God. O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory. No longer do I see thee nor delight in thy joy and splendour, O precious Paradise…. ~ Canticle 4, Sunday of Forgiveness

…O Paradise, share in the sorrow of thy master who is brought to poverty, and with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Creator that He may not keep thy gate closed for ever. I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me… ~ Ikos, Canticle 6 – Sunday of Forgiveness

God Forgives and Blessings Abound!

Today is the day before Great Lent begins, and we celebrate with making Blini Crepes or Pancakes to use up the last of any dairy. If you’re already a plant-based person, these Vegan Blini are simply delicious, and easy to make!

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Zoe! (Feb. 26/13) God grant you many years!

error: Content is protected !!