Monthly Archives: December 2015


What the Church teaches is not purity (in the way Evangelicals use the word), but chastity. Chastity isn’t something that you start out with and then can lose forever with one mistake. It is a virtue that takes prayer and effort to grow into. All sins can be forgiven through the sacraments. People like St. Augustine, who so famously said “Lord give me chastity, but not yet” can become a saint. The vocation of marriage, like the call to holiness, involves prayer, frequent sacraments, and hard work. Before marriage, we are still called to holiness, meaning we embrace virtue and avoid sin. We embrace the virtue of chastity, which includes abstinence for the unmarried, and avoid sin, here being lust. Within marriage, guess what? We are still called to the virtue of chastity. We aren’t called to permanent abstinence anymore, but we still need to be virtuous. In marriage, both partners need to lead each other to the Lord.

— SMP501, via Reddit

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December Linkage

bird+tree+grn+graphicsfairyOn Little-Known Saints [Not Because of Victories]

On Opting Out [Verily]

On Chastity and Wholemindedness [Sr. Vassa]

How Modern Working Mothers Manage Time [Verily]

When Are You Getting Married [GOARCH]

Dating Advice, Orthodox Style [OCF]

I Like My Women Like I Like My Coffee [Image]

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On chronic insomnia

flaming_june-largeThere have been many times in my life that I have wanted more control over things. This has lead to struggles with anxiety and insomnia.

Earlier this year, due to work-related stress, I developed an epic bout of insomnia. I’m talking about not sleeping for weeks on end. I knew something had to change (and changing jobs was not the answer). So I did some bibliotherapy.

Most advice surrounding insomnia is about sleep hygiene: Don’t drink caffeinated beverages after noon, don’t take naps, get up at the same time every day, etc. For people suffering from chronic insomnia, these recommendations seem like a joke. They just don’t work.

There are a lot of books and even more websites giving advice on insomnia—and most of them want to sell you something. The only book that I found helpful was Say Good Night to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs.

Around the time I read this book, the stress from work abated but the insomnia did not go away. I found out from Say Good Night to Insomnia that this was pretty typical for people with chronic insomnia: just because the cause goes away doesn’t mean the problems sleeping will likewise go away. (Another fun fact: Most people with chronic insomnia rarely feel sleepy, which is why they are mostly OK to drive and generally can function as normal human beings.)

A mental switch that helped me feel better about my sleep was that I started a free trial of the sleep tracker on my Android phone. I found that I was getting more sleep than I actually thought — another thing that according to Say Good Night to Insomnia is pretty typical. I wasn’t spending as much time as I needed in deep sleep, but at least I was getting some sleep.

Say Good Night to Insomnia was particularly valuable to me for one specific piece of advice that worked pretty much instantaneously:

I started going to bed only when I was feeling drowsy.

Since I was the kind of person who would go to bed when the clock dictated rather than when my body told me it was time to go to sleep, this was a huge change. I very much resisted following this advice because I had convinced myself that the time spend in bed trying to fall asleep was valuable. However, I was spending 9-10 hours in bed, most of which were wasted hours. Most adults do not need to sleep that long, so why was I putting myself through that?

When I took the leap of faith and tried the recommendation, I began to fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting my pillow. Now I spend much fewer hours in bed.

I’d love to say that I never feel any anxiety anymore and am able to trust in God’s Providence for all things, but that’s a work in progress. However, I did discover that waiting for the right timing rather than trying to control a situation leads to better outcomes. Who knew?

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What’s on the Outside

In trying to make this a linkage post, it became apparent in assembling links that fashion advice is something that should be tailored to you, given directly, and not attained through internet tests and algorithms.

That being said, the following are some tidbits of fashion that have benefited the Orthogals. Spending a little time and money BEFORE your next shopping trip can make it less stressful, in that focusing your search for clothing or make-up that actually suits you will save time and energy.

1. Before you buy or toss anything, find an Image Consultant or Personal Stylist, or two or three.

Image consultants can help you with a variety of fashion and image advice. Your image consultant does not need to be certified or a member of an image consulting association. What they should provide is teaching and resources so you can shop with confidence while working with your comfort and style preferences.

Finding one is simple as a Google search of “Image consultant” and your nearest metro area. Look at their specialties and interview a few. Can’t afford it by yourself? Suggest to family and friends that you’d like a consultation as a birthday or Christmas gift. Your family and friends want to see your confidence grow, so don’t be shy in asking.

2. What area(s) do you want help with?

Body type —  How do you minimize “flaws” and accentuate assets? Do you have a “balanced” figure or are you longer in the torso or legs? Always wonder why certain sleeves or collars look great on some but not on you? The right cut of clothing is one of the best ways to start!

Colors — Clothing and/or make-up. Choosing the correct color is key when wanting to project certain images. Some days at work you need to appear approachable, others powerful. A color consult can help you achieve those goals, and more importantly, help you avoid colors that make you look ill and sickly. Whether the consultant labels you according to a season or color palette (soft/clear, warm/cool, deep/light), knowing your parameters is actually freeing. Want ideas on where to start? Check out this analysis or the book Color Me Beautiful.

Wardrobe — Some image consultants will come to your closet or have you bring your closet to them; they can also go shopping with or for you. Think the show “What Not To Wear.” Hopefully, none of us qualify to have our entire closet trashed.

There are a variety of other consults you can choose depending on your preferences and needs.

3. Consider the minimalist or capsule wardrobe.

Once you know what flatters your shape and colors, clean out your closet! But before you try to find replacements of everything you throw out, might I suggest the capsule wardrobe. A minimalist wardrobe, if you will.  The blog “Un-fancy” and others similar to it have been very helpful. Read the About page. Makes sense for people who are living in the secular world and working out their salvation. There are thousands of other blogs, blog posts, and Pinterest pins on this.

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It’s an Ortho-baby!

Announcing the arrival of Ortho-baby: Lydia Elizabeth on October 22, 2015.


On the evening of her 8th day, Lydia was officially given her name, being named after the Holy New-martyr Lydia (1928), commemorated Jul. 20/Aug. 2. While Lydia’s patron’s commemoration won’t displace the Holy Prophet Elijah, whose day she falls on, her Name’s Day will always be the Sunday of the New Martyrs of Russia (Sunday nearest Jan. 25/Feb. 7).


Glory to God for a safe delivery and the blessing of new life.


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