Welcome

Welcome to Lamb Cottage. It's a real place, and this is where I live with my dear husband. We even have lambs. This is a personal blog, especially concerning life as an American expat in Scotland, life as an over-50, life with lambs, and life as an Orthodox Christian. You're most welcome to come and visit awhile. I hope we can be friends!

Monday, June 22, 2015

YIPPEE!

This week, my Dear Husband and I are travelling. I'm GOING HOME! Okay, not HOME home, which is Florida, but to my Homeland. We will be visiting dear, dear friends in Wisconsin. And we will be in America on the 4th of July :: something I've longed for ever since I moved here, and something my dear husband has never experienced. We are excited. I have not been home in seven years. That's a long time to be away from your homeland. And no matter what they say, or whether you actually up-sticks and move to another country, you only have ONE, TRUE home. My home is America and it always will be. I have no idea what the future holds (obviously), and we see ourselves living here in the Highlands for the rest of our lives. But still, my first and truest home is "back home" in America. I cannot wait to step foot on American soil again!

Please pray for our safe travel, our dear friends who are going through a rough time, and for our safe travel back home again (this time I mean here in Scotland). Thank you, friends!
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On Our Anniversary


Eight years ago, in my mid-40s, I unsettled my life and moved to Scotland to marry my Dear Husband. Hoo boy. I could never have imagined what life would be like ~ all the trials, heartaches, losses, grief, and even attacks on my character by an entire Highland village full of people I didn't even know and who didn't know me at all. 

But today, I want to focus on the gift God has given me, and the Sacrament of Marriage. These past eight years have been the hardest of my life. And the best. And my love for my husband only deepens daily, especially as I understand more and more what a godly definition of love is, and what God ordained for marriage.

Did you get that part? What GOD ORDAINED. Not the government or state. God's law for marriage cannot be "redefined" no matter what people's personal (and perverted) agendas are.

According to the Orthodox Church, marriage is NOT a contract. It is a living union -- mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Indeed it is. And Christ is the 3rd party involved, without whom a true sacramental marriage is not possible.


I think this paragraph from the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America website says so much about our corrupted views of marriage today:
The contemporary wedding ceremony often demonstrates the misunderstanding of marriage, in some instances become a faint caricature of itself. The wedding becomes a mode of self-expression and/or a showcase of Hallmark sentiments. It becomes centered on shows of wealth, personal idiosyncrasy (performed underwater, at a racetrack, in free fall, by Elvis, and so forth). There can be an attempt to define love based on personal opinion, in self-composed vows that can wax poetic, philosophical, or even slightly pornographic. In all these things there is the predisposition to compete: we have to do bigger, wilder, and better, than others; we want people to remember our wedding. It all comes down to individualism and egocentricity, as though this couple is the one that gets love and marriage right.
 This same site, in its discussion on marriage, also says this:


Yes, I believe that. They point out that many people view marriage in terms of what they can get out of it. Not as a Holy Union. Marriage is a community of three:  husband, wife, and Christ. We are meant to come into it focusing on what we can bring and contribute, not what we can take away. And it's hard work. And it is ordained by God. 


Women are told to honor (obey) their husbands. Most people in the modern world cannot even listen to such as that. But like the article on the Antiochian website points out:  the Church doesn't follow Christ our of "servile submission." It follows him as one would follow a Champion, a protector, a defender. What woman would not want that? I love thinking of my husband as my champion. It is a sense of peace and security that comes from that. And his job is no small one, either. He is meant to love his wife as Christ loves the church:  by serving. It is not about power and submission. It is about proper roles in context of the community of marriage, the roles for which we were created, and the roles which do the most in leading us both towards salvation. It's a wonderful and beautiful thing when viewed in proper context. It is so incredibly sad to see what contemporary society, and indeed, the last fifty to one hundred years, has done to the God-ordained relationship of marriage. 


And so, we drink from the common cup of martyrdom, sacrificing for each other. And serving Christ. It is so beautiful. 

We are in our 50s now, and we didn't marry till our mid-40s. One of our crosses is the sorrow we share that we did not know each other when we were young. 

It was VERY HARD for me to pack up my life and move to a foreign country. To leave everything I had ever known. To try to establish a life here. It didn't become even bearable until I realized the point of marriage. So now, I can ask myself:  WAS IT WORTH IT? And I can answer myself:  YES! I thank God for the place I'm in now ~ by that I mean the marriage path to salvation; the place of spiritual growth; the place of the heart.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Do Not Be Conformed


Fr Stephen Freeman, who tackles difficult and important issues and problems facing the Christian, especially the Orthodox Christian, who is trying to live his faith in today's world, addresses SECULARISM in his recent blog post:  The Secular Challenge.  I highly recommend you read it if you are truly interested in wrestling with this as a Christian.

And if we are truly Christians, we MUST wrestle with this lie of the devil. We cannot keep compartmentalizing our faith. This is GOD'S world in which we live, and He is the One who holds everything in His hand, and keeps it all together... whether we want to accept that or not. 

Here's the thing that secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, people of other religions, people of no religion, etc., don't seem to get -- and honestly, that a lot of Christians don't seem to get:  the Truth is the Truth, and God is sovereign...WHETHER OR NOT WE LIKE IT, OR EVEN BELIEVE IT. It is what it is. 

If we are really believers, then it will fill us with JOY!
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Friday, June 12, 2015

The End of Christianity in Britain



An article just published in today's The Spectator, here in the UK says this:


Personally, I believe it. I'm watching the decline daily. I see how people choose to live here. Righteousness is not even a consideration. Most people no longer have any concept of God, and certainly know little to nothing about the Person of Jesus. The whole country is mired in social welfare, government programs, and the oppression of a "nanny state." From an American perspective, I see very little difference between Communism and Socialism. Moral issues hardly exist here because people just don't care. They are not interested in walking uprightly. They are interested in being entertained, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, the latest gossip, and celebrity-watching. Football (soccer) is far more important than faith. Over 70% of children in Britain are born out of wedlock. The writer of this article speaks about secularism as the culprit, and I agree. But what I ultimately see is an entire nation that "can't be bothered" -- about anything. Least of all, about God. Britain is far from being a Christian nation, and has not been one for decades. Islam is the largest religion in this country. Secularism and can't-be-bothered is the daily routine. People here are medicated with television, alcohol, and bad food. The government makes choices for them. In NO WAY is this a free society. And when morals are thrown out the window, as they were long ago, there is no hope for this country to survive. It's not just Christianity that will perish. The whole country will eventually be subsumed into Islam, or it will become even more barbaric than it already is and fall completely into the ruin that is Western secularization.
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Good For Them!

And so it goes.  Just another reason why (a) I find it very discouraging living here, (b) we want to be re-married in the Orthodox Church, or at least have our marriage blessed (because we were married in the Church of Scotland -- OY!), and (c) why I am simultaneously joyous to be Orthodox and weary of trying to live my faith in this ridiculous country of no moral standards. Sigh...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wondering Why... And Then


Why?
It's a question we're really not supposed to ask, especially if we believe in God's will for our lives.
It's hard, though.
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Not everyone who moves from America to the UK is living a constant fairy-tale vacation life. But I know some who are. It's not me. Why? What happened?
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Why are we stuck up in this remote place with no REAL church community? Yes, we find it VERY difficult to have liturgy only once a month, if that. And a priest who is far away and knows very little about our lives. And only a few people in the church community, some of whom want to run the show.
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Why, when one of my fondest wishes is to keep a small flock of sheep, are we having such a struggle? Why do they suddenly not get along? Why can all the farmers and crofters and horse people have fields and amass more fields, and we struggle to find even a small field to keep our sheep in?
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Why were we led to believe we would have a house and a piece of land, but all that was taken away from us by my Dear Husband's family?
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Why has it been such a supreme struggle to live and maintain our faith?
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Why, when we are so frugal and my Dear Husband works far too many hours per week are we so broke?
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Why have I been here for over eight years and still do not have ONE British friend?
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Why has the world so readily latched on to all that is evil :: TV and movies, music (if you can call it that), clothing styles that are ugly and unflattering and immodest, pink and purple hair, heavy drinking as a hobby or worse a way of life, foul language, rudeness, crassness, same-sex marriage, abortion, cruelty to animals, cruelty to each other, pornography, gambling, gossip, soap operas, shopping addictions, food addictions, UGLINESS, the constant desire to "shock" and push the envelope, absolutely anything that is against God and His law?
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And then I remember:

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
John 1:10-11

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
Luke 21:12

And all these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.
John 16:3

AND THEN

And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:7

SO

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Luke 9:23

All of which is pretty well summed up in the Lord's Prayer, which Fr Thomas Hopko reminds us we should say AT LEAST seven times a day.
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And I heard a friend from back home play a beautiful version of the Lord's Prayer on his piano, which he shared on Facebook, and which I heard JUST EXACTLY AT THE TIME I NEEDED IT.
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And like the monks in monasteries say about the Christian life:
We fall down, and we get up.
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