I have really let time get away from me this semester as regards this blog. I'm sorry about that. I felt very inspired for awhile to write a post about the importance of supporting seminarians so that they can devote themselves to their required chapel attendance and to their private prayer lives, but I never finished it or wrote any other posts instead of it.
The semester started off with a bang - really no time to warm up and get used to what the new "normal" routine for this year would feel like because we had some irregular, time-consuming events. First, I compiled all the information and photos for our staff/student directory here for the third year, second, I volunteered to coordinate the children's booth for St. Vlad's annual Education Day (Open House), and third, husband and little one and I took a trip to Miami to find out about a parish that's a possibility for us after graduation. I know how dangerous it is to live in any moment but the present, but I have to tell you that September was so stressful, my mantra became, "It will all be better in October!"
October did eventually come, and with it, the first birthday of our youngest girlie. We celebrated with a rubber-ducky-themed party that was so much fun. She celebrated by learning to walk a few days before her birthday and then by promptly getting her first ear infection. Otherwise, she was healthy and continued to be the biggest of the three sisters at her age.
In November, I finally felt I had a chance to figure out the level of energy it was going to take to homeschool the older two while keeping the toddler happy, cook meals, and keep our house presentable. Can't say I do it all all the time, but I've pared back extra activities (and, admittedly, increased my caffeine consumption) to try to make it all work.
One thing that happened here, which I missed in favor of letting the husband attend it, was a talk by Father Themi, of Australia, who is a missionary to Sierra Leone. We are blessed to have many good speakers here at SVS from time to time, but the campus was truly abuzz after his visit. It had an impact that I haven't experienced from any other event here, and I didn't even get to hear him speak! Just browsing his website (especially clicking on the button that reads "How Rich Are You?") changed my perspective on the world. I also happened to stumble across a movie called, A Walk to Beautiful, about Ethiopian women devastated by obstetric fistula. Perhaps that is part of the reason I never finished my post on reasons to support seminarians. I guess I felt that we all need to take a good, hard look at what we really need as opposed to what our nearsighted perspective makes us think we need.
Also in November, we took a trip to visit little one's godparents in their new parish down south. It was a joy to have spent two Thanksgivings in a row with them (she was baptized on Thanksgiving last year). They seem to be adjusting well to a life of ministry and really enjoying owning a home for the first time ever. It was a very nice, relaxing trip for us, and I sincerely hope to be able to return the hospitality that they showed us in the near future. I often worry about my tendency to center all my life, feelings, and thoughts on my life and my own little family, while I feel that my success in life is so dependent on my getting out of myself and connecting with other people. I've been advised time and again to make and keep the connections with other clergy wives while we're here at seminary because of how invaluable their support will be invaluable once my husband is in ministry. So, hopefully, this visit will be one of many like it in the years to come.
I don't think I've written much about the St. Juliana's Society (clergy wives' group) here on campus, but if I haven't, it's because there is almost too much to say rather than nothing to say about it. This semester we have been blessed to hear from a panel of adult children of Orthodox priests, a hospital chaplain and family systems therapist, an Orthodox nun on the topic of children in the church, and our campus pastor on the topic of prayer. Every one of these has been so formative and enriching. Finally, to wrap up the semester, we learned about making wreaths from live greenery collected on campus (yes, I'm there in the picture, with my head inside my wreath).
I also can't mention preparations for becoming a clergy wife without telling you about the wonderful parish that we are assigned to for pastoral formation as part of the third year MDiv requirements. My husband and I are blessed to be in a parish where the priest and his wife both take the formation of seminary interns very seriously and have years of pastoral experience to share with us. Our children love being in a regular parish again and are really enjoying weekly church school during coffee hour as well. We are so thankful for how the people there have taken us in, even though they know our time there is short (just one school year), and even though we are only the latest in a long line of interns from SVS.
My girls and I have been doing an Orthodox Jesse Tree this year, and I hope to eventually get pictures of that up here, but in case I don't (or don't do it before Christmas), I would like to wish all of you a blessed rest of the Nativity fast and a joyous Feast of Our Lord's Coming in the Flesh :)