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!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016: What a Year

I have said this a few times here and there:


I don't know, but I think a lot of people are reeling from all the events of the past year. I am. Everything on the so-called "world stage" has been mind-bogglingly depressing. Terrorism beyond what we could ever imagine; political regimes / elections / nightmares. Division and hatred. Extreme persecution of Christians worldwide. The list is endless.

I have been learning to pull back. Less time reading news, less time thinking about world news. Trying...TRYING...to focus on Christ and His Church. The world is indeed, too much with us. People have become worse news junkies than ever before. Social media is anything but. Instead it fuels strife, arguments, division, and hatred a lot of the time.

Just this week, I read the most wonderful blog post by Fr Stephen Freeman. I can't recommend it enough, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by the "world stage". You can read it HERE. Like he says, I am going to try to be small for Christmas. And for always.

I wonder how many of us grew up being told we could "be anything we wanted" or to "reach for the stars" or to become an "important person"? All of those things are misguided and are basically lies. If we are Christians, especially, we should not be seeking anything that leads to pride. We should be humble (and allowing ourselves to be humiliated for Christ's sake). I say "should". I am not good at any of the things I write about here.

As the year draws to a close; as Christmas rushes towards us; as the Advent and Nativity Fast seasons are nearly over and I feel I "didn't do it right" yet again... I am trying to slow down, calm my heart and mind, fix my eyes upon Christ, and see what really matters. Last year was rough, in all kinds of ways. My hope and prayer for 2017 is that we all of us become more faithful and prayerful. All the good things will come from that.

I like this blog. I rarely post because I don't really think I have anything to say worth others' reading. However, I am going to try to be more committed to this blog even if only for myself. If someone comes along and joins me...WELCOME!

If anyone is reading this:  MERRY CHRISTMAS! May you truly know Christ's peace, His saving grace, the Light that dispels darkness. May He bless you in the New Year!
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Redeeming the Time

Not very well. I struggle with this, and have good intentions, and then allow all kinds of daily, earthly things get in my way.

Since I last wrote...well, it's been a bit of an "up and down" kind of experience in our home. Lent was a real challenge and trial and we struggled mightily and mostly didn't do well. And learned how MUCH we need our Lord! 

In April, we had family visiting from America. It was good, but exhausting!

In May, we had a wee vacation of our own, and drove all around Scotland, staying on the Isle of Mull, meeting up with dear friends from America - on Iona, of all places! 

In the midst of all this, my Dear Husband has been working insanely long hours at work. I have taken on the Organist job for the local Church of Scotland, which comprises four churches linked in one charge. Dear Husband and I have felt overwhelmed and fatigued a lot of the time.

Redeeming the time? Not very well. This is a focus for the summer - to try to regain some equilibrium in our home life and live a more ordered day-to-day life. I am not good at functioning in the fast-paced environment that most of the Western world has become. We live in a fairly remote area, and I still find myself feeling crowded and worried! Both of us would live on an island if we could!

Redeeming the time. What will that look like for us? Well, we hope it will mean being more fully immersed in prayer, Scripture, Liturgy, the rhythms of God's natural world, the little but important aspects of a Christian home, art, music, creativity, writing, blogging, and living a constant prayer of thanksgiving.

Redeeming the time: not wasting time, not complaining, not worrying, not fretting.

Redeeming the time: giving EVERY aspect of our life to God.

Here's to a lovely, faith-filled, joyful, peaceful summer!

***Photo was taken in Ardnamurchan, on our way to Mull.
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Monday, May 2, 2016

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

Lent is past. Holy Week is past. The actual day of Pascha is past. It is Bright Week ~ Pascha continues!

Our Lent was hard. Our Holy Week was hard. Many interruptions and challenges came to us during the whole period of Triodion / Lent / Holy Week.

We learned how very weak we are. We knew this anyway, but it was really driven home this year.

And even still...

The Paschal Light came to our home! St John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily went deep into our hearts. JOY is present.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Blessed Pascha everyone!
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St Patrick's Day

I love the story of the REAL St Patrick, and even if the "breastplate" prayer is not actually his, I still like to think of it in association with him. And we don't actually know for certain, do we? 

{My version of St Patrick, done in cross stitch :: available in my Etsy shop as a pattern}

When I was little, sad to say, I learned that St Patrick's Day was about wearing green so as not to get pinched, leprechauns and rainbows and pots of gold, green beer, parades (we'll not go there).  Happily, I have since learned about St Patrick, and he holds a warm place in my heart.

So, it is with joy that we celebrate this True Saint during the Great Fast of the Orthodox Church. As we journey, let us look to him and other saints for encouragement and example.

Holy St Patrick, pray for us!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Early Reminder

It is only the Wednesday of Clean Week. This is a good reminder for us, so that we do not get discouraged. Pascha seems afar off, but this is such a wonderful season. We are striving, but we are not perfect. When we fall, and we will, remember what Elder Thaddeus says!

Blessed Lent!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Joyful Lent

Once, I used to view Lent almost as a time of punishment. Oh, how wrong I was! Great Lent is the most beautiful season of the whole year, and it is filled with glorious opportunities for repentance and spiritual growth. So much has been said and written about Lent, and the Church is in a whole different mode during this season. But really, it is a thing in which we must participate, and truly experience -- not on an emotional level, but on a transformative level, a level on which we truly come into contact with Life in Christ. And let it change us.

It is Day Two of Great Lent. May God give us strength and perseverance for the journey!
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Monday, March 14, 2016

Clean Monday

It has begun. Lent is here. Last evening, during our Reader's Forgiveness Vespers, I was excited through my tears. Lent had come! I so want a good Lent. This morning, I woke up to chores and seemingly endless housework, and I knew I was now in Lent... but it all felt sort of dreary. And such is the path, my friends. It is hard work, this Christian life. And the demons will do all they can to drive us to despair and make us think we are taking no steps on our journey of faith.


Tonight, in our little domestic church / prayer corner, we will light candles and venerate icons and say Great Compline with the first part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, and we will make metanoias and prostrations and do the best we can, knowing we are weak, and that we can take no step at all without Christ. We will walk beside St Andrew and the people of the Old Testament and the saints, and we will shed a tear, and begin the wonderful period of JOYFUL SORROW... walking through Lent, mourning our wretched deeds, and celebrating the hope that is in Christ alone!

A blessed Lent to you all, my friends!
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Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year :: 2016

A new year has come.
I can hardly believe how fast the old year passed.
Many good things happened;
many things were left undone;
many dreams came true;
many dreams did not.

Lots and lots of new ideas, goals, and dreams are swirling in my head and heart, and my hope is to see as many as possible come to pass this year... God willing. I hope it will be a year of music, of creating, of painting, of stitching.
A year of family, friends, and faith.
A year full of lambs!
A prosperous and healthy year.
May God bless us all this 2016!

Check back soon for a new series I am starting on this blog.
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