A Subtle Grace By Ellen Gable …. book review

I share this book review with you because I so enjoyed reading it.

This inspirational suspense novel was such a delight to read and surpassed my anticipations. I loved the drama, the mystery, romance and purity in this story. The author has woven this heart-stirring novel to keep you, the reader, on the edge and keep turning the pages. Her plot and astonishing twists, and her complex characters draw you into the moment and you feel that you are living their riveting experiences with them.

This book is a sequel to Ellen Gable’s first book entitled “In Name Only,” which is also a page turner. Each book can stand on its own but for the reader of both novels, it is like meeting friends again. The author is a faithful and talented Catholic story-teller whose characters’ lives reflect the way of Catholic life in the century that this story takes place, revealing their struggles with their faith, forgiveness and reconciliation, and their struggle with learning the difference between lust and love.

I have read all of Ellen’s books and each has been a thought-proving pleasure. I look forward to her next book; perhaps another in the sequel, making it the third of a trilogy!

I recommend this book to you. I also recommend that you check out all her books.

 

Gloria Winn, author
author: Tears (available on amazon)
website: gloriawinn.com
writer: community newspaper columnist:
“Shedding Light” at irinademkiw.wordpress.com (pen name: Irina Demkiw)
blogs:
“For His Glory” at gwinn.wordpress.com;
“Who Am I? God’s! at  gloriawinn.wordpress.com;
“Small Things with Great Love” at  tobitnraphael.wordpress.com

New posting re thoughts ….

Please check out this new posting located at one of my blogsites.
Change Your Life, Change Your Thoughts  (Small Things with Great Love blogsite)
tobitnraphael.wordpress.com
“Every now and again I feel that my life needs to change. To be more specific, I need to change. When I spend time in prayer and meditation, I sense the Lord calling me to come closer. If I..

Fr. Clement Sheptytsky Prayer

Fr. Clement Sheptytsky was the brother of the late Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. His prayer was passed to me in 1967 and I have prayed this prayer everyday since then. I love it as it covers my daily needs and it teaches me as I pray the words. When I embrace and meditate on the words, I feel strengthened in my faith and understanding and love for God. I am grateful for this prayer. May you also be blessed when you pray the following words:

Lord, grant that I may meet the coming day with spiritual tranquility.
Grant that in all things I may rely upon your holy will.
In each hour of the day, reveal your will to me.
Whatever news may reach me this day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul, knowing that all is subject to your holy will.
Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions.
In all unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down by you.
Grant that I may deal firmly and wisely with every member of my family and all who are in my care, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.
Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love.

Amen 

Destiny

What does it mean to me that I have a destiny? This question causes many reactions in me.

The words cause me to reflect upon me, my faith, my desires, my hopes, my plans, my control, my resistance to someone else being in charge of my life.

Regarding my faith, I do believe in God, the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.  I like to check out my faith with the teachings of the church (holy tradition) and with scripture. The church uses scriptures and holy tradition for its benchmark.

Picture of Bible - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com

The church teaches that all God’s children are to “know, love and serve” Him. Also that He has created me and all His children and it is His nature to love us. In His loving us, He provides what we need to be close to Him.

I believe that, when God thought about me, He created me, before I was placed in my mother’s womb. He had already set a plan for my life. That plan includes my relationship with Him. His plan includes His care and provision.

Psalm 139:13-16
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

 Jeremiah 29: 11-14a
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord….

I am destined to be God’s child. I feel safe with this awareness. I believe that I am being created to “know, love and serve” Him. I am a person with self-will that pulls me away from God. Only when I have surrendered my will in each moment and decision of my life am I truly fulfilling my destiny. My destiny, your destiny, is to be molded into being an icon of Christ, to be Christ for each other, and to be community for His glory. God does not force all this on me, or you, but He woos us and loves us into the Life that He has planned.

Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

Formation

I have always loved God. I have not always been in relationship with Him. Even when I was angry with Him and not on speaking terms with Him, He always loved me.  He has provided for me that which would cause me to grow and develop and this process continues. He knows that I grow best where I am struggling with letting Him have control and accepting the place of being stretched beyond what my head and heart think I can cope with. Now, in hindsight I am grateful for those times that were difficult. Maturity is not a destination but a process. He knows me thoroughly; better than I know myself.

After having worked at a seminary for many years, and observing that there is a required formation process for the seminarians’ development towards priesthood, I began to recognize that God has me in formation also to be developing into the fullness of His creation of me, to be fully human and fully alive. God has every one in formation. This formation covers areas of my human and spiritual development encompassing my relationship with Him, and my relationships with others as well as myself.

When we become parents, we are given a glimpse of the heart of God. God rejoices in us at every new learned skill, both physically and spiritually. As we hold our child’s hand as he begins to learn how to walk and taking baby steps, He holds our hands and supports us too. Even when our child begins to take his first steps and falls down, we stay close to catch him so we can help him stand up again. God always stays close to us to catch us and help us so we do not stay down.

This formation is not a boot camp training where there are rigorous and demanding activities to force me to become transformed physically and mentally. This formation is a gift of His love so that I can develop in my faith, my humanity and personhood, and my relationship with Him and others. In this formation process, the school of love, I am becoming who God has designed me to be; His child, His servant, His friend, His hands to serve others.

Picture of Worship at Sunset - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com

What I need to bring to this “formation” process” is a good attitude. When I am in a learning curve, my attitude will make a difference in how long I am in the process or whether I need to repeat the experience or whether I “get it” and move into the next stage of my development. Attitudes can be helpful or destructive to the process. I am still learning to pray and ask for the “right attitude”, namely Psalm 51: 10-17 (NKJV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

 I am yours Lord! Thank you for your gift of formation. Thank you that you have not left me alone to my own devices. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ! Yes Lord, I am yours, do with me what you will!

Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

Preparing for Easter!

This weekend is the Holy Triduum and as a Christian I am focused on the passion, death and resurrection of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My best friend and I will be attending many church services all weekend.

 

I am also a wife and mother and baba. My best friend and I are hosting our family this Easter and with my Ukrainian heritage which I try to keep the traditions and remember how hard my family struggled to make a place in this new land called Canada, I will be preparing some specialty dishes from old family and friends’ recipes.  My family arrived in Canada in 1897.

Today I am making Paska, which has a similar sounding name to Pascha, which means Easter. This is a lovely ornate bread that is rich with eggs and decorated with symbols of our faith, e.g., fancy crosses, braiding, rosettes, and doves.  The decorations are from the bread itself. The flavour is similar to Challah, which is a Jewish celebration bread.

Tomorrow, I will be preparing cabbage rolls and not cooking them until Easter Sunday.  Saturday, Nachynka will be prepared. You begin by making unleavened bread with eggs, flour, and salt. After baking the bread, you cube it. Then you make a seasoned dressing out of it with eggs, garlic, onions, and a few other seasonings. This is stuffed into a cage of pork ribs and baked until the meat is done.  The seasonings on the ribs are simply, salt and pepper and garlic rubbed all over the meat. Earlier, I prepared  homemade kobassa and beet and horseradish relish.

Our family will feast on these traditional foods along with some Canadian favourites such as ham, store-bought kobassa, salads and other vegetables.

Our dessert will be a cream cheese pound cake, which is a delicious, and a delicately flavoured pound cake with a subtle hit of cheesecake in the background. One daughter-in-law has had a birthday recently and so I have prepared a Dobos Torte to celebrate her. We will of course have ice cream with these cakes.

Hopefully there will be leftovers and they will be shared with everyone to take home for the next day.

What joy to celebrate our faith together! These foods are symbols of love.

Love is to be gifted to everyone especially family at these Christian feasts.

Easter is about love. Christ loved us so much. He was obedient to the Father’s plan and was crucified. His resurrection has changed everything in our world forever.

What joy to celebrate our faith together!

Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

Preparing for Easter: Lent!

How does one prepare for Easter? Easter is not just a long weekend! Easter is the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I am a Christian who is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. So my heart wants to enter into His experience. Lent is the name of the period for this preparation.

 

Being an Eastern Byzantine Catholic, I love to pray the St. Ephraim prayer in the morning and evening.

 

PRAYER of st. Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life!
Keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement,
lust of power, and idle chatter.
Prostration

Instead, grant to me, Your servant,
the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.
Prostration

O Lord and King,
grant me the grace to see my own transgressions
and not to judge my brothers and sisters;
for You are blessed now and forever. Amen.
Prostration

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me
I have sinned without number, forgive me, O Lord.

(cross yourself and bow 4 times)

O Lord and Master of my life!
Keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement,
lust of power, and idle chatter.
Instead, grant to me, Your servant,
the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.
Prostration

During the days of Lent, I work at being more vigilant to fulfilling the prayer. My motive is love, not duty. If my prayer becomes a duty, it is worthless.

 

Those days of Lent are life changing for me. Just as a steady drip of water on a stone begins to reveal the shape of the stone changing, so subtle are the changes in me. I have given God permission to mold me and make me a useful vessel for His glory. I am weak and fail many times to work at the changes, sometimes even forgetting to pray. Nevertheless, I am changed and it is good. God is merciful. He gives me what I do not deserve. Himself!

 

These Lenten days are drawing to a close and I am so looking forward to celebrating the victory over death by my savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.