The House Blessing, Part 4

29 02 2008

At first the painting went fast because I was so full of adrenalin.  However, it became harder and harder to put my paint clothes on.  I also still had boxes of stuff in the living room that had to be unpacked.  Dogs had to be walked, dishes and clothes had to be washed and meals had to be cooked.  I tried to have the dogs out for their walk by 5:30 a.m. each morning.  Then I would put in a load of wash and get some dishes done.  I actually never got started on painting until about 8:3o a.m. each morning.  Then there were days that I took off just to do things like grocery shopping or going to the doctor.

As I was finishing up the kitchen–Maria graciously offered to put the first coat of yellow paint on the walls of my big living area.  I had finally gotten all of the boxes of stuff put away.  I had given my kitchen dining room set away– not knowing what I’d replace it with.  Then I found the most beautiful oak dining room table with six chairs at a garage sale.  I had them in the living room already. The only other furniture in that room were two bookcases, a small end table and my piano.  Thus, Maria had plenty of room to maneuver about while painting.

I finished the living area with three more coats of paint.  That room was the same aqua color as the kitchen.  Finally, I was finished painting. I had been a messy painter throughout this project.  Thus, another time waster for me was having to spend time cleaning up my mess.  I had made the mistake of using sheets instead of professional drop clothes–so when I finished the big living area–I spend several hours trying to get paint spots off the floor.

I had to spend another week scrubbing the upstairs.  I wasn’t going to paint those rooms.  I was too tired.  However, I didn’t want those rooms blessed until they were thoroughly scrubbed.  My last week was full of cleaning, hanging curtains, and shopping for my open house.

Ben and Linda bought me two large pots of yellow Mums to place on my front porch.  Two of my neighbors bought me a silk flower arrangement of fall flowers to place on my table.  I found a white linen tablecloth for my oak table.  I cleaned and polished even the rooms that had been  cleaned in the painting process.

Finally, the twentieth of October arrived.  I got up early to finish all the last minute details.  Fr. John and his family had a delay and didn’t get to our home on time.  Nevertheless, folks kept arriving.  It was a buzz of talking and laughing.  Fr. Isaiah and his wife came from the Ft. Campbell Orthodox community.  A car load of friends came from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Finally, Fr. John and his family arrived.  He took the opportunity to have a teaching moment to my non Orthodox friends.  He explained in detail what he would be doing during the house blessing.  Anything an Orthodox priest does is like a mini Orthodox service. He took water that had been blessed and began chanting Orthodox hymns.  His family and my other Orthodox friends followed him throughout the house–singing those same hymns.  He would dip a brush into his water and sprinkle this water– throughout the house.  The animals were upstairs in one of the bedrooms.  When he got to that room–he stopped and blessed the animals.  He especially blessed my kitchen where all of our family meals would continue to be prepared. 

What a joy to have so many of our friends over that day.  It was fun to see all of the laughter and joy.  I especially enjoyed having one of my Mennonite families visit with us.  Actually, several years ago–they left the Mennonite community.  Peter, the father, had to learn how to drive a car after having used a horse and buggy most of his life.  They now run a little bookstore that is located in their home.  They have six beautiful children.  What a joy to see their happy faces.  Peter really liked talking with Fr. Isaiah and Fr. John.  Fr. John wanted to see his bookstore but got lost in trying to find it.  I still hope that someday–they will connect with each other again.

It was one of those beautiful sunny days in October.  Everything was lovely and perfect that day.  I always felt that I was given a special time to decorate and paint my home.  The entire time I was working on my home–I had a sense that it was a gift to me.  That it was a Divinely appointed slot of time in my life that would not come again so easily.

That proved to be true.  The week after my house blessing and open house –I went to the Vanderbilt Breast center to have my yearly mammogram.  I didn’t think a thing about it–as I had been in the habit for l9 years of having a mammogram.  My husband and I made a day of it–enjoying Nashville.  A few days later, I was called back for more pictures.  By then, I had already started this blog to have a channel to write about my faith.  By the time I had written the six parts of my Orthodox journey–I had a diagnoses of breast cancer.  From then on–I chose to use by blog not only for my faith but to tell of my journey of breast cancer.  Never could I have imagined during all of my days of painting and looking forward to the house blessing–that I would become a cancer patient.

Life is full of all kinds of bends and turns.  As I get older, I’m afraid to take life casually.  It is much too fragile.  I encourage each of you to look within and fan the flames of faith within  your souls.  Never take the gift of life for granted.  Be kind and gentle to all who come your way.

May God bless each of you!




6 responses

29 02 2008

“Never take the gift of life for granted. Be kind and gentle to all who come your way.”
Life can cause a gentle soul to become hardened. I know that is so in a few areas of my heart. I don’t want that to be…I want to rediscover that gentle soul that once was mine. A soul becomes what we feed it. I need a change in my soul’s “diet”.
Thank you for those deeply profound words of wisdom. I echo the encouragement for everyone to look within and fan the flames. Our faith is the bedrock of living as opposed to surviving this life. I will be reading your earlier posts about your orthodox faith…I have many questions and maybe I want to add to Wisdom in the relm of the Spirit…With your help and my God’s, I am on my way….Thank you, Nicole3…

29 02 2008

You have a gentle spirit, Shadowlands. We often don’t see ourselves the way other do. I see nothing but love, peace and faith in you as you work through walking with your husband with his cancer. You are a very precious person.

Your friend,

1 03 2008

This is a beautiful post. Thank you for inspiring words.

1 03 2008

Thank you so much, JFred.


7 03 2008
David Web


Your story about the house blessing is great. It is good your Priest, and others from your church enjoyed it with you, Jim, and all others who attended.

You are right about taking life casually being a wrong way to take it. Each day is a gift from God, and yes we should be kind to all we encounter unless they make it impossible to do so.

There are always going to be the agents of evil plotting against the believer, cloaking themselves as righteous or even as our friends. Some of them crossed the line of demarcation at some point in their life, and are unable to hear the calling any longer. It is tragic but all too true of many. May God protect us against human agents of darkness.

Little Brother

8 03 2008

Dear David,
The House Blessing was very special. I created an atmosphere with the grandsons of really anticipating this “party” and they have never forgotten it. Yesterday, John told Vera that this house didn’t belong to her but to MawCaw and GrandPa and to him –because he helped paint it. He didn’t really mean to hurt Vera’s feelings–he just felt such a part of getting our home ready for the big blessing.

I love this scripture in Romans 12 and perhaps I should have quoted in my blog. I’m quoting it now: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” I like it because St. Paul is realistic–he knows that no matter how hard we try–there are always going to be people who don’t like us. But our responsibility to those people is to keep our mouths shut and move on with life. In other words, if someone is my enemy, I’m not going to keep throwing darts his/her way. I’m to simply go on with my life and write a new map.


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