Sunday, October 18, 2020


 Junk Thoughts -

Waking up this morning, I lay in bed enjoying the warmth, as early mornings now have a chill to them. What an inner conversation was going on in my head, empty chatter! I pushed my thoughts outside of my head to the icons on the wall. The eyes of each icon were looking at me. Behind the eyes were definite Presences. The chatter immediately stopped and there was silence.


Friday I had a visitor. We sat outside at the prescribed distance apart, enjoying a cup of tea. As I talked and listened, I was aware that there is a sharing of love that happens in communication between people. Communication puts you outside of the stew of meaningless personal thoughts...empty thoughts. Conversation involves you.

Attention to the noise in my head is primary to my happiness. I feel happy when empty thoughts are not chewing on me. These thoughts involve guilt, fear, worry, sometimes they just are totally meaningless and are eating up my time. I can choose to listen to the bombardment of thoughts, or I can simply redirect my attention to something, someone else.

In prayer, how often I am thinking other things rather than paying attention to the person (Jesus Christ, the Theotokos, the saints), to whom I am praying. 

The cue is listening. If I am listening as I pray then I am not involved in junk thoughts. I was surprised when I realized the joy involved when they are not present. What an oppressor they are!

One could equivocate them to reading a bad book, that you wonder why you are reading.? You find an interesting angle perhaps here and there, but mainly it is a time sucker and a downer. Perhaps the thoughts involve you with an imaginary problem to solve. Some dreams are like that. Do I really want to spend time solving that problem?

Joy is connected to things that link you to another in Love. 

I can count on God to have something to say that is entirely worth hearing. If the people around me don't, then where is someone that does? 

Thursday, June 13, 2019


Logismoi. Are you familiar with that term?
Logismoi (Greek) are the thoughts that pester you, harass you, scare you and fill your mind with junk mail. It is important to recognize them and sort them from your productive thoughts.
One should be watchful for them, just as they begin to find their way into your head.
An Elder on Mount Athos has likened them to airplanes circling around a runway. The trick is not to let them land, in other words, cut them off before they have a chance to plant themselves in your mind. (Once they do, they magnify themselves!)
In the Christian Orthodox Tradition, there are prayers that help drive those thoughts away.
The chaser of thoughts has some choices: pray when you realize that there is a change in your thinking that feels unhappy to you. The Jesus Prayer is recommended for that.
A simple one is to say "In the Name of Jesus Christ, and by His Holy Life-Giving Cross, get out of here!" There is great power in the name of Jesus and of the Cross.

A longer prayer:

Let God arise let His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.  As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of them that love God and who sign themselves with the sign of the Cross and say in gladness: Rejoice, most precious and life-giving cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified on thee, Who went down to hades and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His precious Cross, for the driving away of every adversary.  O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me together with the holy Lady Virgin Theotokos, and with all the saints, unto the ages. Amen.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Choices

Image result for elder sophrony of essex

Last year I happened across a class offering in England. It was for an icon course taught by a Master Iconographer, Adian Hart (https://aidanharticons.com/).
I have never traveled to the United Kingdom before, but I felt like, I had to take this course!
I also began to think about the Monastery of St. John the Baptist which I would very much like to visit. I was in my mind, and on the internet, trying to figure out how I could go from one location to the other and do both of those things in one visit.
I mentioned it to my sister and she said that they had been wanting to go to Ireland. Perhaps I would join them there. That sounded very interesting as I have always wanted to travel to both of those destinations.

Then I began to find that with their schedule and mine, the time allowance might be a bit shorter than I had originally thought, If I could only do one, I would rather go to the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, (begun by Elder Sophrony of Essex, spiritual son on St. Silouan the Athonite.) (https://www.facebook.com/monasterystjohnbaptistessex/).

It was interesting to me to see what my first choice was. As it turned out, I went to none of those places. I had a hip injury that canceled that trip.

How interesting it was to see my choice in that none-the-less.
I spent a lot of time arranging the trip and selecting transportation that seemed not too stressful. I talked to the driver that could take me to the monastery. I talked to the monastery. I went through all of the travel arrangements to make that trip, and then canceled it all.

About a year later I talked to someone that had been at the monastery at the exact same time that I had planned to be there. She wrote an article about it that I very much enjoyed, especially because I had wanted to go so badly.  That article was in the Orthodox Word, a publication of the Antiochian ArchDiocese, May 2018, The Hypostatic Principle and Its Illumination of the Meaning of Suffering, by Tina Cooper.

That was a wow (!), isn't this interesting thing. The article is very good and how incredibly awesome God is to fill my heart in such a manner over something that I wanted to experience. The article helped me go deeper into the experience.

Some conclusions about that: How interesting how we make final choices when we are pushed to decide on one thing of a possible two or more. How Sweet Our God is when he gives us frosting on top of what seemed to be a disappointment.

Christ is Risen!

Monday, May 6, 2019





Little Candle Press is a children's book publishing concern that I have used to publish some of my children's stories. Currently, there is a Children's chapter book that is being run. The title of the book is The Scrufflings. A chapter a week is being loaded on the blog and appears late on Saturdays. There are three remaining chapters to be uploaded to the Little Candle Press blog, "Wonder", to finish Book One 'Nonna'. Book Two is waiting in the wings to be added.  The book is for ages 5-9.

 Little Candle Press has recently become an Imprint of Darkly-Bright Press (the name is derived from a Shakespearean quote).
Darkly Bright Press prints 'Uncommon British Literature and Poetry', and now with the inclusion of Little Candle Press, children's books as well.
If any of those topics appeal to you, you might want to take a look at these websites:



http://www.DarklyBrightPress.com
and 
http://www.LCandlePress.com


Sunday, April 7, 2019

St Maximus





I came upon an especially interesting quote that hit me as something to mull over. I would like to share it with you. I have just started reading a new book,
On The Difficulties in The Church Fathers The AMBIQUA, by St. Maximos the Confessor, Edited and Translated by Nicholas Constas.

This book has the original text of St. Gregory the Theologian's first oration on the Son, and its translation, on opposite pages.  I found this little section that I thought was quite powerful:

"He did not become man without the energy that is proper to Human Nature, for the principle of natural energy is what defines the essence of a thing and as a rule characterizes the nature of every being in which it essentially inheres...no beings remain what they are when they are deprived of their natural, constituent elements."

We are created in God's Image. As God has His own Essence and Energies, so do we.  What a comprehensive picture of how He made us to be One with Him. As the members of the Holy Trinity are each themselves, so are we. We as Human Beings were designed to have our individuality and our alikeness and to be rooted in The Divine Trinity. I found this design in our likeness quite beautiful.

Also I am prompted to add, when we sin it deprives  us from who God Created us to be.

Saturday, March 30, 2019


St. Paisius Monastery sent its  Lenten newsletter which I received yesterday. It was an excellent newsletter which it has the habit of being. There was one paragraph that hit me as being especially powerful.

I quote:

"Commenting on the common lot of our sinful condition, one of the Elders of Optina once remarked: 'No one can live without sin, and few know how to repent in such a way that their sins are washed as white as fleece. But there is one thing which we all can do: when we can neither avoid sin, nor repent truly, we can at least bear the burden of sin, bear it patiently, bare it with pain, bear it without doing anything to avoid the pain and the agony of it, but it as one would bear a cross, the cross of the thief who was crucified next to Christ, didn't the thief say to his companion who was blaspheming the Lord: "We are enduring because we have committed crimes; He endures sinlessly."

That hit me as being extremely profound.



Saturday, March 9, 2019



In 1978, a group of scientists from major laboratories in the world, went to Italy taking all of the latest scientific tools to do a study on the Shroud of Turin. An Episcopal Priest, who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratories at that time was part of the group. I heard him speak on this at the time. They were admitted to the room at Turin where the Shroud is kept and allowed a short period of time to complete their studies. He felt it was indeed the Shroud.
 From this website, copied in my previous blog, 8-29-11. The information came at that time from this website: http://www.shroudstory.com/topic-sturp.htm) 

"In 1978, a group of scientist conducted a round-the-clock examination of the Shroud for 120 hours. 
During this time the Shroud is lengthily submitted to photographic floodlighting, to low-power X-rays and to narrow band ultraviolet light. Dozens of pieces of sticky tape are pressed onto its surface and removed. A side edge is unstitched and an apparatus inserted between the Shroud and its backing cloth to examine the underside, which has not been seen in over 400 years. The bottom edge (at the foot of the frontal image) is also unstitched and examined...Baima Bollone obtains sample of Shroud bloodstain by mechanically disentangling warp and weft threads in the area of the 'small of the back' bloodstain on the Shroud's dorsal image...performing dozens of tests, taking thousands of photographs, photomicrographs, x-rays and spectra. A total of 120 continuous hours of testing is done, with team members working on different parts of the Shroud simultaneously. This is the most in-depth series of tests ever performed on the Shroud of Turin." 

They took samples only from a portion of the Shroud which was designated for such study. The tests showed that the fabric on which they took the samples was of a much later date than Christ's lifetime. They were disappointed and mystified. It later was found by another researcher at a different time that portion of the Shroud had been rewoven in a later period.

I was interested to see the other day that the information collected by those scientists is housed in Almogordo, NM at a Shroud Museum.

https://alamogordonmtrue.com/shroud-exhibit-museum/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g29760-d3989448-Reviews-Shroud_Exhibit_and_Museum-Alamogordo_New_Mexico.html

https://www.facebook.com/ShroudNM/

This site deals with various scientific studies of the Shroud. https://www.shroud.com/

There are many YouTube videos on the Shroud as well.
https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+shroud+of+turin&rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS783US783&oq=youtube+Shroud+of+&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.11004j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

With Great Lent upon us, (In the Eastern Orthodox Church, and already begun in the Western Church) the images here bring home the profound Truth of Jesus Christ.

Note: The differences in the Eastern and Western Churches is due to a calendar difference. The Eastern Orthodox Church marks time for the Great Feast of Pascha by the Julian Calendar, which was used at the time of Christ.
The Western Church uses the Gregorian Calendar and contempory calendar
as its source.