Here we are... Just around the corner from another Great Lent. I feel so blessed every year at this time when I think, how lucky I am that God has allowed me to reach this period yet again. I always think that this could be my last Great Lent, ever since my mom's cousin died at a young age, and that really puts things into perspective and makes me realize how seriously I should take this period of repentance and preparation for the Feast of Feasts.
Tonight we had Blini for dinner and it was absolutely crazy. It was not a beautiful meal that one can often imagine in their heads. It was filled with whining children who were complaining that they didn't like any of the fixings and ask for syrup instead, it was filled with lots of noise as well. And it was filled with one tired mama in the kitchen who kept frying just one more blin and kept waiting to sit down and eat. But moments like these are great reminders of why we need periods like great Lent. It's so refreshing to have a set period every year for reflection and looking deep into one's soul and wondering how we can become better. Going back to my meal tonight, I did manage to lay out a beautiful Russian tablecloth, wear my favorite Russian apron, and play beautiful balalaika music in the background. And those things made the meal sweeter and the stress less stressful. I will look back on it as a dinner where everything did not go smoothly and that that was ok. The kids are peacefully sleeping in bed, tummies full, and tomorrow is a new day.
Tonight I am sharing my Great Lenten reading. I am working slowly through the Optina Elder books. One is better than the next. I love these. I have been working on Elder Ambrose for several weeks now and will continue, along with these sermons on Great Lent by St. John of Krondstadt. If I finish Elder Ambrose I'll go right into the next book. Somewhere I'd also love to throw in a reread of Wounded by Love because I love that book so much.