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