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27 February 2011

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Gail Hyatt

What an amazing day. What an amazing year. What an amazing friend God has given me in you. What an amazing God we serve.

My heart is absolutely bursting with joy at this moment. Thank you for writing this. I'm so glad you wrote today, while everything is so fresh and so raw. I never want to forget today.

I love you Sister,
Gail

HawkMom

WOW! . . . since I cannot see to type because of the tears overflowing from my own eyes and falling onto the keyboard . . . all I can say is "Wow!"

First off, I completely disagree with your facebook status. This was in no way just an "attempt" to explain the unexplainable - it was a thorough success! Nor was it arrogant - in fact, it was just the opposite! THANK YOU so much for giving me a glimpse of the steps you've taken to cross the "Sacred Threshold." I cannot describe how beautiful and meaningful these pictures are . . . and not just the ones that can be seen with the eye, but those that are revealed in the heart.

However, I do agree with you about how personal it was . . . and that's what makes it even more special. THANK YOU for your courage, vulnerability and honesty. What a blessed gift to read this today!

Iz

How silly of you to think you would not say that well. Beautifully expressed!! I am in awe every time I hear of someone broken and thoroughly used up- wooed by a Gracious and Loving Father. And I am in awe every time I hear you describe your deep understanding of that Grace. I am so excited for you, my Friend!!

Ali

Oh, Sheila, this is such a beautiful post, and I love that you posted pictures. You and your husband look radiant! I am thrilled for you! And I think you captured the whole conversion process so eloquently. I felt so unburdened after my first Confession. I believe it such a wonderful Sacrament--and I often feel so unburdened even now after I go to Confession. And I, too, felt like receiving the gift of the Eucharist was a transcendent experience; the choir even sounded different as I was walking up to be the first to Communion!

Like you, I also came to a crisis before I was willing to accept Orthodoxy (one of my closest friends is at seminary with her hsband, and we talked for at least a year--and I even attended services with her--before I actually found God at my current church).

Okay it is getting late, and I must head to bed after a night with friends. I just wanted to comment here. (And it seems like I am sharing a lot when I don't really "know" you personally, but you have become a "friend" of sorts. I definitely need to set up a Facebook page so that you know I am a real person!)

Love and Blessings in Christ. And many, many years!

JeffHolton

I just found myself here because of the link shared by Gail Hyatt on Twitter.

WELCOME sister! As we say in the Greek parishes, "AXIA!" You are WORTHY!

About eight years ago I began a journey that in some ways must be at least a tiny bit similar to the one you've been on for the past year or so. I remember the awkward guilt and humility (and joy and relief) of my first Confession. I remember the excitement of my Chrismation. I remember the nearly absolute, enveloping, intimate presence as I took Communion for the first time with an awareness of a salvific component. I remember desperate hunger. I remember the expectation of permanent elation and some sort of quiet spiritual ecstacy.

Do I have any advice, eight years of experience later? No, mostly because you didn't ask, but more than that because the farther I get into this, the less I have a clue what it's doing to me. Am I still excited? Well, yes and no. Am I holier? Most of the time, I fear not. Am I growing? Yes, finally. I'm finding healing and grace in places I never even knew I needed it. Over and over.

So I keep coming back.

I hope you do, too. Welcome aboard our leaky ark. Xronia polla!

Michael Hyatt

It was such a privilege to participate in this service with you. Chrismation services are among my favorite. I love all the symbolism—and what is REALLY happening.

Welcome to our little Franklin family. As Jeff said, “Many years!”

TC

Sheila,

I just knew I made my ghiradelli caramel chocolate coffee for a special reason this morning. I sipped it in the quiet of my house this morning while reading your beautiful words. Thank you for sharing. I keep coming back because I enjoy your writing so much (even though I need my dictionary :)

Thanks again,
TC

Jen

I absolutely love how beautifully transparent you are in your love for Christ. You are an amazing inspiration to me and I am blessed to call you a true friend. I know I'll have to reread this post when my day comes - you're much better with words! :) Love you and my heart is SO joyful for you!!!

Shelia

Good morning friends, and thank you for all your kind words.

Gail, God has used you in my life in more ways than you even know. Thanks for loving me. And thanks for helping make yesterday so memorable.

Debbie, I remember looking at you after you came to faith and thinking, "I have never glowed like that. It has never been as real to me as it is to her." Pretty sure I glow now. :)

Iz, ever my encourager. Thank you dear friend. Can't wait to see you at Christmas.

Ali, though I've never seen you, you are very real to me. Incidentally, flirting with the idea of running the Cleveland Marathon in May. If so, maybe we can meet face to face.

Jeff, thanks for the welcome. And, for the record, I would accept gratefully any advice you care to share. You gave me more than you perhaps realize.

Mike, thanks for being part of our special day, for being a wise counselor and a good friend. Glad to be walking life with you.

Tinia, hope this cleared up some of the vagaries of my Facebook status. Glad to think my words are a worthy accompaniment to Ghiradelli caramel and chocolate coffee. Gonna have to go get me some today just to check it out. :)

Jen, well I don't suppose any of this comes as any surprise to you. You have walked the whole journey with me and loved me more than I could have imagined possible. Thanks for everything. Anxiously anticipating your day...

kari

I was reminded during the service yesterday that there IS another "thing" going on around us and all we must do is be aware. You are aware. You are awake! I swear I saw a huge bright glow around you yesterday and I felt the spirit in a very tangible way just being in your presence. It is such an honor to walk this journey with you.

Joan Kirkpatrick

What a gift to be able to put into words feelings and experiences, something I struggle with!
Thanks for words, a gift from God and for your wordsmithing, a Gift from God that brings HIm closer to us all!

amy

Congratulations and I love you!!

Rhonda Kemp

The Lord works in Mysterious ways -- His wonders to behold.
Love you, Sweet Sister!
Rhonda

Mimi

Many Years on your Anniversary!

Cathy Parsons

Thank you for writing this, I knew you would say it beautifully. What a blessing to have you and Mike at St.Ignatius.

Shelia

Kari, you too have known me at my very worst, and have loved me fiercely. Thank you for that, with all my heart. And thanks for being there yesterday. i am so excited to have been able to share the experience with you.

Joan, thanks for wisdom shared, for laughter, for encouragement, and for my beautiful "Wedding of Cana" icon. A treasure, as are you.

Amy, who knew all those years ago that cousins would grow to be friends. Thanks. I love you too.

Rhonda, what do I say? So many doors you have opened for me, so very much light you have shed on my path. Thank you, dear firend, now and ever, and unto ages of ages...

Mimi, thanks for coming back to see how it all turned out. Just a beginning. Many years to you as well.

Cathy, your gentle words of encouragement and your radiance have ministered to me in sweet ways I can't express. So delighted to have just begun knowing you. And this has nothing, well almost nothing, to do with your skills as a master chocolatier. :)

Jasmina

My family is Serbian and we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Nicholas [our “Slava”] each year [Dec. 19th – Julian calendar] in remembrance of the day that the family/clan converted to Christianity sometime in the dark ages. About a year after my marriage, my husband decided to convert; he said he wanted to do it on St. Nicholas’ day so that it would be his Slava as well.

Be one Orthodox from the cradle or later, the journey of our faith is both challenging and joyful.

Congratulations or, rather, Welcome Home.

Shelia

Wow! What a lovely story, Jasmina. Thank you for your welcome. I love the idea that we share St. Nicholas Day. Sisters of a sort. :)

My friend Ariane is also Serbian. She is an artist and does remarkable work. You might enjoy visiting her site: http://arianeart.com/ Blessings.

StacyK

Thank you so much for reposting this Shelia! What a wonderful glorious testimony!!!! All throughout my years at Wheaton College I went to a fantastic Episcopal church and ever since I left I have missed the liturgy, sacraments, and rich tradition. I'm curious to know what podcasts you were referring to or would recommend?!

So glad I found you & your blog. You are a blessing.
{philippians 1:3-11}

Shelia

Stacy,

Very happy to meet you. I had a quick look at your blog and look forward to going back and having a long, leisurely read.

I am shooting you an email as well, but you will find a wealth of podcasts at Ancient Faith Radio. All are free. You can listen on your computer or download them via iTunes. I especially recommend anything from Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (you will find him in the "specials" section), Christ the Eternal Kalimat by Father Daniel Byantoro, Father Thomas Hopko's series on the Names of Jesus, and Search the Scriptures by Dr. Jeannie Constantinou. At the Intersection of East and West is actually my Sunday School class. Deacon Michael Hyatt teaches it each week to a body composed largely of converts so it is very "user friendly".

Blessings to you and your family as we approach this most solemn and holy season of Lent.

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