Monday, September 20, 2010

Coming Around

When I converted to Orthodox Christianity a year ago, I converted alone. My husband was facing some difficulties at the time, so I did not share my new thinking or my conversion with him at first. Of course, this turned out to be a big mistake. Instead of trusting him with the information, I assumed he wouldn't be able to handle it and I moved on full steam ahead toward joining the church.

How did he find out? My friend Heather gave me a small icon of Christ and I would have it out during my daily prayers. I put it away every day so my husband wouldn't see it- not because I thought he'd make me get rid of it or confront me about it. He was in the throws of a deep depression and I knew that he believed that icons were a violation of the Second Commandment. I didn't want to burden him with it. This is the honest truth. I was trying to protect him.


One day, I left it out on accident. Obviously, he saw it, but he didn't say anything. I bought a few more icons at the Greek Festival and up at St. Sophia's. But I wasn't forthcoming about it. I tried to be Orthodox under the radar. Eventually, we talked about it. It shouldn't surprise anyone that this hurt him deeply. It has caused a real strain in our marriage. I totally see now that I was wrong to be discreet. In trying to do the right thing, I ended up hurting the person I love most in the world.

Over the past year, we've had our struggles. I started going to the inquirer's class at my church. We left our former church because of personal reasons not pertaining to Orthodoxy. Eventually, my husband and I met with my priest to talk about whether or not I would join the catechumenate. My husband gave me his blessing- and not just for me to join the Church, but for the children as well.

In spite of how I hurt him, he has never stood in my way, even if he wanted to and often, at his own personal expense. I now try to be especially sensitive to his needs and feelings when it comes to Church activities. I have never pressured him to become Orthodox, although he does attend Divine services with us. I don't want to write too much about where he is spiritually. Its not my place to write about him in public.

But rejoice with me! He has agreed to come to the inquirer's class at church! Honestly, I was certain that I blew any chance of him coming to the class because of the way I have handled things in the past. But he's coming. I can't believe it. God is so good. Please pray for him and for us. To have this rift in our lives together... to not be one united family is very difficult. To be chrismated apart from my husband was bittersweet. To see him, Lord willing, anointed with holy chrism will be a miracle and possibly my wildest dream come true.

We're not there yet. I don't want to jump the gun but I am hopeful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Homekeeper's Journal

Sometimes I feel a bit of resentment when I don't get a weekend. My DH gets to lay around all weekend, but I still have to work. Its definitely lame that this bothers me. By God's mercy, I'll get over it!

Why is it so difficult for me to get the heck off the computer and do my housework?

1 Chronicles 16:11 tells me to commit to my prayer rule and to deliberately meet the Lord by praying the Hours.

1 Peter 5:8 warns me to be vigilant, especially in prayer, because Satan IS out to destroy me.

I am going to pray and ask for strength to thrive, not just survive, in my vocation as a wife and mother.

The difficult thing that seems to catch me constantly off guard is my martyr complex. I so need to get over myself. And when I really sit down and think about how self-obsessed I am, I become more and more disturbed.

James 1:12 tells me to endure temptation.

I am determined to get myself and my children off the computer!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

1. My family is my greatest gift. I can hear my children playing as I write this. I can feel my husband's love as he works downtown. I am enveloped by the love of God as I am loved by my family.

2. A year ago, after being a Christian nearly all my life, I realized that God loves me. After spending ten years of my life believing I was just one of the lucky "frozen chozen", I realized that God loves everyone and that He desires a relationship with everyone... but a love relationship doesn't just go one way. We have to accept His love and we are able to do that because we are made in His image.

3. I am grateful I am able to homeschool freely.

4. My mattress topper is so wonderful. We got this thing seven years ago and I still love it. Never want to let it go. I'm actually able to sleep.

5. Coffee. Need I say more?

6. My church. St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church has adopted my family and has loved us completely. They truly do "make love [their] aim."

7. Magic wrap skirts. Feminine. Hippy. Comfy. Airy. I'd throw out the rest of my wardrobe if I could as long as these skirts still remained. Love em.

8. Air conditioning. Its not that hot outside, but I'm hot. Being able to cool off the house so I'm not distracted by the discomfort I feel when I'm hot is a true blessing.

9. Advil. I have a headache again today. Again. And Advil will make it go away. Again.

10. The soft piano music playing on Ann Voskamp's blog. Brings me right back to center and reminds me how nice it is to have peace and quiet amongst the chaos.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Off Meds

I realized this afternoon that everything I post here gets automatically posted on my Facebook account. Well, we'll see how long I leave that up. I don't want EVERYONE I know to know the truth about me.

And the truth is... I'm nuts. Honestly, most people already know this.

Nuts is probably too strong a word. I've suffered from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder for years. About two years ago, I finally started taking medication for it. Honestly, this was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I could think. I could order my day. The anxiety stopped taking over and I was able, not just to function, but to thrive! It seemed a true miracle.

A year ago, another miracle happened. I converted to Orthodox Christianity. This conversion forever changed my life and for the better. I found a more holistic faith- one concerned with mind, soul, and body... a faith whose emphasis rests on the healing and restoration of the soul (aka- salvation) rather than on how many different ways you've offended God and how lucky you are that he arbitrarily loved you (and not the guy next to you) and decided to save you.

The Church has been called a hospital and its practices, the prescription. We all take the same "pills"- prayer, fasting, caring for the poor. Some take extra medicine which is specific for their own unique affliction.

What does this have to do with my crazy? A lot, actually. I don't want to take my meds anymore. I forget to take them regularly. I'm not a good pill person. I know I need to set my alarm and take them at the same time every day blah blah blah... but getting into that routine has proven ridiculously difficult for me.

So, I haven't taken them for over a week now. And guess what? I'm fine! I feel neither crushing depression or paralyzing anxiety. What I do feel is a greater awareness of my own sinful thoughts and attitudes. I know that I have a shorter temper with my loved ones. I know that I get offended a bit more easily. I know that its more difficult to turn off the snark.

But do I really need medication to take care of that stuff? I mean, medication in the form of a physical pill? Or can I accept the Church's medication and let that try to heal my soul. What I mentioned in the last paragraph- those are issues that a lot of non-depressed people struggle with. And, if they are seeking to grow in their love for God and/or for others, they find ways to deal with it.

So, I'm experimenting with myself. I have nothing against psychotropic meds. In fact, I'm a big fan of them for people who really need them. I could very well be one of those people and I have no problem going back on meds if I think I need to. But I am encouraged in this- my husband has been one of the biggest proponents of my meds. I'm very sensitive to them in that, if I miss a day, it is very noticeable. Mark can always tell if I haven't taken them because I go immediately from regular me to crazy me overnight.

Not this time though. He says I've been doing really well. I can feel his support. I draw comfort from him when I struggle and I think this brings us closer together.

I had a minor meltdown yesterday. I do get overwhelmed a bit more easily. We were trying to get out of the house and I was being pulled in five different directions. Multitasking is a bit of a challenge for me, but I'm learning. Anyway, I got overwhelmed and started to cry. I hid in my bedroom for 5 minutes and let it out. Somehow, I was able to calm down and get some perspective on what was happening. With Mark's help and encouragement (and unending patience!), I got up off my bed and finished what needed to be done.

I'm proud of that.

So, we shall see. Can a med-less life be done? Should it be done? I don't know. But I'm going to try and I think I'm on the right track.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Still Working At It

I got a wake up call from my doctor a few weeks ago. I can't be mostly vegan anymore. In fact, I probably shouldn't be a vegetarian anymore either. That. totally. blows! I had some tests for hypothyroidism and some other stuff. The only thing that came back abnormal was my cholesterol. Of course. I don't eat cholesterol but my body makes it by the gallon.

Basically, my doctor told me to go all Weston A. Price and eat bacon and butter and fermented grains. Butter? Yes. Bacon, No. I don't have anything against bacon or fish or any other kind of meat... I just can't imagine eating it. Its been so long. The idea of putting animal flesh in my mouth is abhorrent.

Don't get me wrong- if you eat meat, AWESOME! I just can't do it.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to nourish myself the vegetarian way... but with a lot of butter and yogurt thrown into the mix. I started a blog to keep track of my journey: The Nourishing Vegetarian

I'm still working at this whole health and wellness thing. I have a good feeling about this new direction. I've hired a Holistic Nutritionist to help me out... AND, she's Orthodox. Woohoo! Her blog is called Organic and Thrifty. I'll be documenting that process over on The Nourishing Vegetarian as well.

Lord, have mercy!