18 September 2015

Small victories

It's hard to believe that my last post was 10 days ago.  It feels like months ago!  The days fly by, but then again, sometimes not very much gets done.  That is the last weeks of pregnancy, my friends.  What a battle I've been having trying to be productive!  Thankfully (and I say that wholeheartedly!) there have been some highlights.  At least, not everything has fallen by the wayside, though I often have to be content with cleanliness as opposed to cleanliness AND tidiness.  Small victories.  

It still amazes me how much time I need to spend in the kitchen to get things done.  The food prep takes some time, but there are dishes, cleanup, planning, and maintenance (like cleaning out the fridge for example) on top of it.  Usually, I try not to spend every day in the kitchen cooking.  (Otherwise, I wouldn't get very much else done.)  So that means I have to a) make several meals at the same time or b) make larger quantities to last as leftovers.  I usually follow plan b, but I'm ok with a every now and then.

For Thursday we had Shepherd's pie - the gravy bubbling up through the crusty potato layer.  I can't believe I don't make it more often.  Can't go wrong with meat and potatoes.  :)  There was some grocery shopping that happened yesterday and I could barely fit everything in the fridge.  Not a good sign.  So today was organization time.  I actually managed to clean most of the fridge, sort, reorganize and use up mostly everything in there.  Sometimes things get "lost" in the fridge and I have to throw them out in the end because they've spoiled by the time I find them.  I always feel badly about that.  Terrible really.  I really am such a scatterbrain at times.  

Anyhow, our fridge is stocked with delicious, healthy food for the week; ice cold wedges of watermelon, juicy oranges, a drawer of crunchy apples, peppers waiting to be stuffed and baked, some leftover Shepherd's pie, beets waiting to be roasted and sprinkled with the last of the feta cheese, homemade yogurt, hardboiled eggs.  Oh, and the chicken I need for tomorrow's molokheye.  (How do I describe that... it's like eating a soup of jute leaves boiled in chicken broth and eaten over rice.)  D has been requesting it all week, and so how can I not try to spoil him a little?  He is shouldering so much around here.  What a champ.

And then there is the new quilt.  I have started cutting squares.  Every day or two, as the case may be, I cut about a dozen.  Slow going.  That's ok.  The pace suits me right now.  :)  I don't know when I'll get to that dress I've been wanting to, but I have the pattern and the material, so it's just a matter of opportunity.  Right now, I'm just thankful the laundry is done (and folded).  Like I said before, small victories.

I have a need at this point to focus on those.  The small steps.  They help me realize that life is still vibrant, that we are still thriving (though perhaps to a lesser degree?).  When we took a walk to the park the other day in the evening, I couldn't help stopping to listen to the crickets starting to chirp, to see the birds settle, to feel he heat ease and watch the whole of creation take on a softer, muted hue as it readied for nighttime and rest.  Small things that might pass you by as you hurry to catch up with two very energetic little ones on their bikes.  But I am so glad I caught them.  It made the whole walk more beautiful, contemplative in a profound way.  "How glorious are thy works, O Lord, in wisdom hast thou made them all." 

So, we went on a rather spur-of-the-moment journey to the Dormition monastery last weekend.  I think it was providential.  The kids had just started school and were slow to adjust to the new rhythm thrown at them.  We needed that time together away.  They were showered full of love, of acceptance, of beauty.  Lots of little trips around, some talking with the nuns or Fr. John, feeding the chickens, making new friends.  It seems there are always friends to be made at the monastery.  :)  On Saturday night they had vigil as usual.  After Vespers, we took the little ones back to the guesthouse and got them ready for bed.  D was pretty bushed, having been up early, so he got ready with them.  Once they were in bed, I got ready to go back for the rest of the service.  Suddenly, M's small voice came: Can I come too?  I was surprised.  (Let's face it, how many times does a child ask to go to church when the service is long and it is dark?)

We went together for a beautiful 45 minutes.  He lay quietly on the floor, looking as if he was literally absorbing what was happening around him.  Towards the end, he started to nod off, but he managed to by fully awake for the final benediction.  I think he was proud of himself as we walked back together outside.  (I certainly was!)  Anyways, suddenly he looked up and saw the entire expanse of darkened sky illumined with stars.  "Mom, look at the stars!  There are thousands of them!"  (We cannot see the stars very well because of the city lights, so I think that was the first time he's seen the stars from the country.)  He was so full of wonder at the night sky.  For that alone, the entire trip was worth it.  There were no words shared as we walked back together.  I think our hearts were too full for talking.

And even now, my heart is full.  Full of so many thoughts, of emotions, of what has been and what is now.  I pray my heart stays full of these memories because they are a help through rougher waters.  Wishing you too a full heart and a goodnight.


  1. Life looks good in our world my friend. So full, and happy.

    1. :) So many blessings, that's for sure. I only hope that I'm able to see them all as them come because so many pass me by without my realizing what they are.

  2. What a lovely post. How nice that you got to spend the weekend together with your family at the monastery. A little cooking, a bit of sewing - life is good.

  3. Dear Alexa, how I wish for you that your heart does stay full. Such wonderful blessings all around you, even if sometimes it feels a bit strained. Thinking of you in these last weeks. xox

    1. Thank you so much my dear friend. I feel like it's just a matter of what I choose to focus on. So here's to beautiful memories and moments! :)