New Beginnings

Rather than apologizing for the long hiatus and trying to update, I’ll just begin again.

I spent the previous few days at the Ancient Faith Women’s Retreat meeting at Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania. It snowed the afternoon, evening, and night we arrived which was simultaneously a big treat for me and a big headache for those who had to drive in it. We don’t see too much snow in the Houston area, although it’s not unheard of, and I took every advantage to stare out the windows and even venture out into it a bit. Not having boots kept me on the plowed ways, but even so it was glorious.

The retreat itself was wonderful. That word is really inadequate to describe it but I’m at a loss for a better one. It wasn’t merely the delightful and thought-provoking talks given by Orthodox women authors, but the fellowship with other Orthodox women. “Fellowship” is such an overused term. I do think that describes the weekend perfectly though. It is easy to feel isolated from other Orthodox Christians when you primarily see them on Sunday, or the weekends, for a few hours. This is particularly true if you’re a busy homeschooling mother. Over the years I have made many good friends online, the online Orthodox community being a fairly small world. This has been such a saving grace especially when we were extremely isolated. Only a few of those had I ever met in person though.

During this retreat I “found out that my imaginary friends were real,” as Melinda Johnson says. There were happy reunions taking place continuously as women realized the person they had just bumped into was the same person they had been friends with on, say, Instagram for years.

Several authors gave talks, and I can’t possibly do justice to all of them in one blog post. I did purchase a few new books as a result and I started reading them on the way home. I’ll share those in the coming days.

One thing I will share is only tangential to one of those talks, the one by Angela Doll Carlson. I had been struggling to see the slides well because my eyes were dry and it made my vision blurry with the contacts. She brought up something close to my heart, and I teared up. Suddenly my vision was crystal clear. I had a sudden thought that we can see spiritually more clearly through the lens of repentant tears.

I’m going to try to blog more frequently and not worry about it so much. I’ll talk more about the retreat and the rest of life. It was a bit surreal to meet people who had, as one lovely woman said, “read nearly everything [I had] blogged.” My sense of responsibility increased, but also my sense of having a very real audience of very real people. It’s nice to step out of the imaginary world for a time!

O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. [Psalm 103:24]*

*I will be adding a favorite verse from my assigned psalms kathisma each day during Advent.

12 thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. I am so VERY glad you had a good time!!! that’s wonderful! 🙂 I hope one day to meet you IRL too!!! We’ve been friends online I guess for what, nearing 10 years? (I’ve been married 6, and we knew each other before I knew my Husband, which is 7 years…) 🙂 God bless you my friend!!! looking forward to hearing more from you here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see you are blogging again. I’ve been quietly following your Instagram, but I hesitate to create another account so I don’t comment. What you describe is similar to how I feel after my annual pilgrimage to a monastery that I love. I feel refreshed and reinvigorated as well as calmer and more focused. And reading is so much more fun after I get back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just yesterday I was thinking of how much I miss hearing from you (I don’t know how to view your Instagram account). I thought, “I must email her and see how she’s doing” and lo and behold I saw your new blog post!

    I’ve always loved reading your thoughts. I’m glad you had a great trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello! I’ve been following you in Instagram for a little while now, but while I’ve been blogging since 2007 somehow never connected with your blog. It was wonderful to see what everyone shared about the retreat, and your photos here of the snow are lovely. Living in San Diego as I do, snow is a novelty! So happy to have found you here in blogland. (Sara.on.the.Hill at IG) . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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