Monday, June 26, 2017

Spiritual in School: Religion Minor

A hymn by Proclus that I used in my paper.
It is in the book Religions of Late Antiquity

I have a religion minor, which essentially means that I took 4 religion classes, two about christian religions and two on other religions. However, the two classes on other religions were Sex & the Hebrew Bible and Religions of Late Antiquity so they both relate to Christianity. Both my major papers and research projects related to Christianity in those classes. I know many people stereotype religion classes or have the experience of taking religion classes and losing their faith or leaving their religion because of it. However, that was not my experience. I actually found that the religion classes complimented my faith or helped me in times when I was struggling in faith.

When I took my first religion class it was Early Christianity and I read so many works such as the Martyrdom of Polycarp and others that are important religious documents. It was uplifting for my faith to read those and to study them. While I may not agree with everything my religion professors say I still have gained something positive.

The Sex & the Hebrew Bible class helped me in a time when I was really struggling with misogyny in religion. particularly as relates to the Adam and Eve story. When my professor spent a whole week going over different interpretations in the assigned reading and in class for the creation story and the story of the fall, it just helped me to realize that it is not as sexist as people will interpret it. It is hard to describe how studying it in my class made me feel okay in my faith and I was no longer troubled about it in my mind.

This past school year in  my Religions of Late Antiquity class I wrote a paper comparing two hymns to the Virgin Mary my Ambrose of Milan and Proclus of Constantinople and how they were responding to the heresies in their community( Arianism & Nestorianism). I wrote this around Christmas and after studying the hymns and then singing the hymns for the Nativity in church I felt like I had a deeper understanding of the theology of the Nativity hymnography. I saw the same arguments that Ambrose and Proclus were making. In my Medieval Christianity class we took a field trip to an Orthodox Monastery, which is self explanatory as to the significance for me of that.

All of this is to say that what you get out of your religion classes is up to you. I felt prepared mentally for how those classes could challenge my faith and I have been so surprised with how much they have actually strengthened my faith.

Love and Blessings

Friday, June 23, 2017


The blooms on the lavender
This year now that I am out of school I am starting to delve into some things that I was always interested in doing but felt to overwhelmed with school to really get down to. I decided that I need to get started now and just do it. I have an air plant and spider plant that have done really well in my house and I love them so much. Plants make me happy. They are alive and have color and make the room more vibrant.

I originally only wanted to get myself a rosemary plant as I had read that it was a plant that is hard to kill, it is and herb so yummy, and rosemary is wonderful for your hair. I got the rosemary plant but I also bought my mom an English Lavender plant as a late mother's day present.

I re-potted them both and so far a month later they have not died yet so I am going to call it a success so far. The lavender has started to bloom as well and the rosemary seems to be growing taller. I am hoping that the lavender plant grows in size though I am nervous about what to do if it outgrows the pot. We rent our house so my mom didn't want to plant the lavender plant in the ground.
Rosemary and Lavender side by side

I hope in the future to start an indoor herb garden. I LOVE fresh basil. It is great with fresh fruit and in all kinds of cooked foods. Not to mention fresh basil is amazing on pizza. My favorite pizza is the margarita which is just tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt and olive oil. It is yummy and a very traditional pizza.

I think the indoor herb garden might be a project for next year as I am currently working on cleaning up the flower beds in the front yard. So much grass has taken over the beds and I have to clean it out and other weeds. I am also putting in some edging stuff in hopes that that will help to clean it up. My mom and I want to pick up some perennial flowers to plant as well. We shall see.

I am wondering if I need to bring these plants inside when fall/winter comes around. If you know if I should let me know. Or if you have any tips for pot gardening I would like to hear then.

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Spiritual in School: Wearing a Cross

My cross and medallion of the Theotokos

One of the things that I have come to do while in college is to wear my cross and now a medallion of the Theotokos every day. I didn't wear a cross every day because I only had my baptismal cross, which is not the highest quality of cross so I was afraid it would fall apart and wear out. Also, it is gold and I am not big on wearing gold every day. It just is not practical and doesn't feel humble to me the way silver does. That might just be in my head though.

I attended a Lutheran-affiliated University that is very liberal and social justice oriented. I love the school. When I started wearing the medallion most people would ask me about it and say how beautiful it was. I was then able to talk about it and explain it to people. Everyone found it interesting and such. I have never had a negative experience wearing it at my school. I think it also offers an opportunity to talk about my faith if people ask questions.

I will admit I have been nervous wearing this for job interviews and Americorps interviews. However, I have not found it to be a problem and no one has made a point to tell me that wearing it would be a problem. I do live in the Pacific Northwest which may be part of the more accepting attitude.

Thank you for reading have a wonderful day.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Me holding my printed out capstone paper after turning it in.
I got through undergrad and now have graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies with a minor in Music and a minor in Religion. I graduated Cum Laude and was inducted into the Triota Honors Society. All the grades are in to say I have officially completed all the course requirements. 

I don't know if it has really sunk in yet that I have graduated as it just currently feels like another summer break. I think it will be more real for me in the fall when I don't go back to school. Or maybe it will feel real when I actually hold my diploma in my hands. I think there was a moment during commencement when was looking out all the family and friends there for those who are graduating and realized "oh god I am graduating" and I started crying a little. That was the only moment when it felt real though. I am still waiting for it to really sink in. 

My best friends and I after the commencement ceremony.
We call ourselves the Feminist Fam. 

  I did not graduate with the degree I planned to. Little freshman me would be very surprised and possibly shocked. I know that it was the best degree for me though and I don't really regret starting in music because if I had not I would not have met my group of best friends. 

I will say that my future plans are to be in Americorps I have been interviewing and apply for the last 2 months and I think I am close to a placement. After that, I hope to apply to grad school for a Masters in Social Work and get a part time job at least. *fingers crossed* 

Some new adventures ahead and I look forward with both excitement and some anxiety to what the future will hold. I am hoping to write some posts about activities I am doing, books I am reading, feminist thoughts, and Orthodox religious. 

Much love

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day for me

My family after being baptized and taking communion for the first time. :) 
Valentine's Day is the anniversary of when my family and I were baptized and chrismated into the Orthodox Church. It was Forgiveness Sunday and the beginning of lent as well. It was overwhelming and incredible.

This year is the 7th anniversary and I have grown in my faith and my understanding of the church. What I most love is how my participation on the liturgy and life of the church has grown.

The blessing of the waters for baptism
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's day and celebrate those you love. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Spiritual in School: Fasting on a Campus

So first of all story time about the picture above. I got a new vegetarian cookbook and was flipping through it to mark recipes that sounded interesting. I notices that some were marked fast and my brain immediately thought it mean fast friendly for orthodox. After a few minutes I realized that it actually was referring to cooking time. I told my closest friend(who is not orthodox but well aware of it) and she called me a nerd. :)

Fasting on a campus can be a struggle. Vegetarian options can be sparse and hard to find, let alone vegan options. I do live at home so I can for the most part provide my own food for breakfast and lunch at school and on occasion buy lunch and/or breakfast. There have been many moments during lent or nativity fast that I stared at the menu boards and struggled to figure out which would be the best of the 2 vegetarian options. To be honest I am not sure I can provide any good advice for someone who lives on campus as I eat pretty much my own food during fasting seasons. One of my other struggles is living in a family where there are health concerns and not everyone can fast in the same way. So the meals we eat together(mostly dinner) do not follow the fast in exactly the way I want to fast. But at this moment I chose to practice being thankful for the food my parents are giving me and that I have parents who are willing to give me food for free while a young adult in college.

But I can tell you that one thing that I struggle with is coffee. I love coffee. It is hard to drink a latte with soy milk rather than my favorite 2%. So I have found that what is best is for me to bring black tea to school. I prefer black tea with milk and sugar but I can drink it with just sugar(or no sugar) and it is not as difficult as a soy latte. Also it can save me some money. That is my one fasting tip. Drink tea instead of coffee. Also eat a lot of vegetables for lunch. I do recommend making overnight oatmeal for breakfast as you can take that to school and I can change between regular milk and almond milk.

My best advice is to do what you can and to follow the spirit of the fast and to also attend church during a fast. I would also recommend talking to your parish priest about what would be best for you to do.

Much Love

Monday, January 9, 2017

Spiritual in School: The College Job

a picture from when I worked for catering
So I have worked a few different jobs now in my college career and I will write a different blog post talking about each of them. My first job, and the one I want to talk about today, was with the catering department on campus. I worked for them for two school years and two summers. It was not a fun job, quite frankly it was a really sucky job. But what can you do when you are a college student desperate for a job?

But this is a series about being spiritual and practicing orthodox faith while in school so why talk about a job? For one thing my first boss(we went through a lot of bosses and supervisors) found out I was an orthodox christian and asked me lots of questions about it. He had been learning about it from a class that he was taking at the university and was excited to me a practitioner. I lived out my faith through the job by answering his questions.

I know also that I had questions from co-workers, mostly along the lines of "what is that?" and "I have never heard of that?". Even in the sucky food service job that I worked through college I was able to share my faith. I am not one to just go about announcing my faith but when I asked I answer. I am a more "actions speak louder than words" and I hope that how I treated my co-workers and performed my job was able to speak about my faith.

Much love

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Spiritual While in School: Let us Attend

My parish decorated for Palm Sunday
As you may have guessed this post is about church service attendance. It is the most important thing that you can do. Through attending church we are spiritually fed by the service and by partaking in communion. It is way to set aside time to participate in prayer and worship. Attending church can also be beneficial for destressing. It is something we are familiar with and know the rhythm of the service. It can be a time to clear our minds from our worldly cares and focus on the heavenly world.

Make a commitment to Sunday morning liturgy and strive to attend that the most. Vespers and an occasional evening service are good to attend as well once in a while. For Holy Week there are so many services but not everyone can always make it to all of them. I try to aim for all the evening services prioritizing holy Unction and my personal favorites. Often when I know holy week is coming I try to get ahead on some of my school work that I can so that I am not stressed about school while trying to attend services. When I was working for a particular catering job, I would request the evenings after 5pm off for religious reasons. Because the schedule changed form week to week I just had to give far enough notice in advance.

I understand the struggles of attending church there have been many times when I have not attended because a final project was due or finals were coming up. I have also not attended church because of work. I worked a for catering for 2 of my college years and if I worked a 7 hour shift on Saturday I would come home exhausted and none of my homework for Monday done. I didn't go to church the next day unless it was a feast day. I have one particular summer memory of working a 50 hour work week in food service and that Sunday being my first day off and I just needed to sleep. I wish I had been better about church attendance but it is the past and I know I can only go forward and keep working on it.

Much love

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Orthodox Christians in College: Spiritual While in School

I am now entering my senior year at university and graduation is impending on the horizon. I have been an orthodox christian now since I was 14 and it is coming up on my(and my family's) seventh anniversary of our chrismation. It has been great to go through college and while I am thrilled and ready to be graduating I am also going to miss it.

There are some things that I wish I had know, or had a resource for as a college student and an orthodox christian. I wish someone had been able to tell me how to practice faith while also living the busy life of a student. Perhaps someone did try to tell me and I just didn't listen carefully. I have decided that I would like to to a post series on how I have struggled to maintain my practice of my faith through my college career and still struggle to do as graduation comes ever nearer. I expect some posts will describe particular things I have done, and some posts may talk about experiences. I would also like to be honest about my own struggles and failings because this is hard and not easy to do.

I will be speaking from my particular experience of college that I know may not match all persons. I lived at home with my parents while attending a private lutheran university and that impacted how I was able to attend church. For one thing I didn't have to find a new parish and for another I was able to stay connected to my family. Some of what I have done through my college experience for my faith may not be applicable to someone who is living in a dorm, but I do hope that some of it is.

I hope that someone will benefit from this series and grow. Knowing that other people struggle the same as you do I know can be helpful to just know.

I am very blessed to attend a school where Abbot Tryphon has visited regularly. :) This is from a couple years ago when I got him to take a picture with me.

Much love