Pining For the Green

Kilauea, Kauai ~ July 2023

Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace, and love and has the blessings of God. ~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit)

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

It’s that time of year again!

February brings
keen yearnings for the verdant
em’rald greens of spring.

Tiny tentative
tight fuzzy fronds of patience
cling to hopeful vines.

Tired of deciduous difficulties… it’s with faith and hope that we can patiently await the eternal, spiritual springs of God’s help!

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

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Give Something, However Small…

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to the one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could. ~ St. Gregory Nazianzen

Someone recently shared; when they’re driving past a street person, they’ll pray for them with all their heart, “Lord have mercy on (that person or him or her).” A poignant consideration… perhaps that might be the only prayer offered on behalf of that soul for today – or ever.

If unexpectedly walking by someone in need, with nothing material to give at that moment, we can always share Christ’s Love – even through the joyful gift of a warm smile.

Good Deeds, however small, are never lost!

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. ~ St. Matthew 5:7


Much Fruit

Image by Michael Strobel from Pixabay 

Much effort and labour is needed, for a man to be changed and to be the good tree that brings forth fruit. Strive then, for nothing else but to change, renew, and correct yourself. And pray for this… ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

An unfulfilled promise is like a tree without fruit. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who sows kindness, gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~ St. John 12:24

In His Garden

Candlelight Streams onto Flowers by the Most Holy Theotokos Icon

We have so many things to be thankful for! Our daily bread, health, family, friends, prayers and kindness from others, and all the so-called ordinary things mistakenly taken for granted – that aren’t ordinary at all.

Children seem more observant of blessings. A mother just shared something precious. Their family baked a Saint Basil’s Day Cake for the Feast yesterday, and her youngest received the special $2 coin hidden in the cake. The thoughtful child insisted the mother take the coin and find a way to give it to the homeless. The child said, “I have everyfing, and some don’t have nuffin’!”

Everything is God’s and we are His guests… although sometimes we feel that everything belongs to us. We become used to His many blessings and blindly expect that all good things are a given.

Nothing stays the same. Everything changes… Except God.

Let’s make efforts to be considerate houseguests appreciating our Divine Host’s Bountiful Blessings.

For, when we’re out in nature, or in church, or going about our daily lives, we are in His Garden, surrounded by the Beauteous Art of Creation.

With opened eyes, we glimpse it… everywhere.

For as long as you are on earth, consider yourself a guest in the Household of Christ. If you are at the table, it is He who treats you. If you breathe air, it is His air you breathe. If you bathe, it is in His water you are bathing. If you are traveling, it is over His land that you are traveling. If you are amassing goods, it is His goods you are amassing. If you are squandering, it is His goods that you are squandering. If you are powerful, it is by His permission that you are strong. If you are in the company of men, you and the others are His guests. If you are out in nature, you are in His garden. If you are alone, He is present. If you set out or turn anywhere, He sees you. If you do anything, He remembers. He is the most considerate Householder by Whom you were ever hosted. Be careful then toward Him. In a good household, the guest is required to behave. These are all simple words but they convey to you a great truth. All the saints knew this truth and they governed their lives by it. That is why the Eternal Householder rewarded them with eternal life in heaven and glory on earth. ~St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Sowing the Divine Seed

Holy Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul on Epistle Book cover

The Holy Gospels are from Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Most of the other New Testament Books are Epistles – Letters from Sts. Peter and Paul to the early Christians located in different cities.

Each day of the liturgical year has specific Gospel and Epistle readings. These pertain to the church calendar, and spiritually nourish millions of Orthodox Christians daily. If prayer is where we speak to God, the Scriptures are how we listen to Him.

Reading Scriptures and understanding them through the teachings of the Church is paramount.

As of 2021, private interpretations and individualistic opinions of Holy Scripture have globally birthed a staggering 45,000 separate Christian denominations.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:15

How to Read the Bible

If from one burning lamp someone lights another, then another from that one, and so on in succession, he has light continuously. In the same way, through the Apostles ordaining their successors, and those successors ordaining others, and so on, the grace of the Holy Spirit is handed down through all generations and enlightens all who obey their spiritual shepherds and teachers. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

… we commemorate each of the saints with hymns and appropriate songs of praise, how much more should we celebrate the memory of Peter and Paul, the supreme Leaders of the pre-eminent company of the Apostles? They are the fathers and guides of all Christians: Apostles, martyrs, holy ascetics, priests, hierarchs, pastors and teachers. As chief shepherds and master builders of our common godliness and virtue, they tend and teach us all, like lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

… the Apostle Peter declared that the Church was built by the Holy Spirit. For you read that he said: ‘God, Who knows the hearts of men, bore witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as was given to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith’ Acts 15:8-9. In which is to be considered, that as Christ is the Cornerstone, Who joined together both peoples into one, so, too, the Holy Spirit made no distinction between the hearts of each people, but united them. ~ St. Ambrose of Milan

… the light that illumined St. Paul on the road to Damascus, the light through which he was raised to the third heaven where he heard unutterable mysteries, was not merely enlightenment of conceptual images or of spiritual knowledge. It was the effulgence of the power of the Holy Spirit shining in our Lord’s own person. Such was its brilliance that corporeal eyes were not able to bear it and were blinded; and through it all spiritual knowledge is revealed and God is truly known by the worthy and loving soul. ~ St. Makarios of Egypt

According to St. Paul you minister the Gospel only when, having yourself participated in the light of Christ, you can pass it on actively to others. Then you sow the Logos like a divine seed in the fields of your listeners’ souls... Elsewhere St. Paul, calls the teachers tillers and their pupils the field they till wisely, presents the former as ploughers and sowers of the divine Logos and the latter as fertile soil, yielding a rich crop of virtues. True ministry is not simply a celebration of sacred rites; it also involves participation in divine blessings and the communication of these blessings to others. ~ St. Gregory of Sinai

There’s a Daily Orthodox Church Calendar on Blisswood, located at the very bottom of each page and post; where one can easily access links for daily Gospel and Epistle readings.

I prefer to hold and read from an actual King James Bible, but when travel or convenience calls, there’s also a free, simple app, great for ipads or cells. It’s called Orthodox Calendar and contains lives of saints, fasting regulations, Scripture Readings, Troparion and Kontakion (Little Hymns pertaining to the day).

May your day and and all your spiritual endeavours be blessed!

Gather Love

Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as bright bodies emit rays to a distance, and as flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favour even to places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. Words cannot express the joy which a friend imparts; only they can know who have experienced. A friend is dearer than the light of heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day

St. Basil the Great wall mosaic – St. Sophia Orthodox Church

Greetings on this second feast day which falls during Christmastide, celebrating the wonderful saint… St. Basil the Great!

Many bake the traditional cake in his honour!

Preserve gratitude like a precious deposit within your soul, and from it you will receive a double portion of delight. Remember the apostolic word, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” ~ St. Basil the Great

For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need. ~ St. Basil the Great

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator. ~ St. Basil the Great

Human life is but of brief duration. ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever’ (Isa. 40:6). Let us hold fast to the commandment that abides, and despise the unreality that passes away. ~ St. Basil the Great

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