HI THERE! I'M BRIANNE TURCZYNSKI, FREELANCE WRITER, HISTORICAL RESEARCHER, & PERPETUAL SEEKER OF THE HUMAN CONDITION. WELCOME TO MY SPACE WHERE I SHARE THE BOOKS I'M READING, MY SPIRITUAL FINDINGS, FLOWERS IN MY GARDEN, AND LOST STORIES. ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.
This may sound strange, but I’ve been thinking of joining a dispersed religious order for people from all walks of life. That means married people like me can join. This would be a great next step for me in that it would give me a community of folks like me who are intentionally doing everything they can to grow spiritually. This is different than a church community. I love my fellow St. Philips peeps, but I think I could learn a lot from a group like this. And the thought of being in this type of community fills me with joy. There are two I’m looking into, one is a Franciscan order and the other is Anamchara, a Celtic fellowship that is supported by the Episcopal Church. In Anamchara they use John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, as their prayer book, from what I understand. Just having this book in my house is a blessing! From it exudes so much life and lushness and creation and love—every word is so beautifully chosen. So as I’m discerning what to do, this book will help guide me I think into the next phase of my life of perpetual spiritual growth.
I have no authority to teach you. These are my own contemplative thoughts, you may disagree and that’s OK!
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness, and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail… They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait (quietly) for him.” (Lamentations 3:19-24)
The title of this book was originally translated from Hebrew to the words “Alas!” or “How?” Lamentations is a sort of epic poem of which
Jeremiah was probably the author. Throughout the book, the prophet is lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. We all have things that
bear weight in our hearts, the crumbling of our comforts and securities perhaps? Here Jeremiah describes the horrific events in Jerusalem; then with hope and faith in the Lord’s mercy, he prays for
the people and describes the Lord’s mighty hand of Love which delivers perpetual hope to the faithful of this Hope. Jeremiah reminds us that we must remember our afflictions and the distractions that kept us wandering away from God’s path for us. To continually grow and mature in Spirit we must remember, like Christ, we too have born our own crosses, and these crosses were not in vain. Their purpose was to teach and redirect. When Jesus was nailed to the cross he looked up to heaven and lamented ‘why?” to God. “Why has thou forsaken me?” Which are the same words David speaks in psalm 22. In doing this he was lifting his troubles to God giving God credit, not only for future generations to see the Truth in that day, but to show the witnesses that He had not lost His faith even when it was God who allowed Him to suffer the way He did. The verse of Lamentations continues saying, “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?”
Currently reading…Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, something I had to read in school but have forgotten much of it. I realize a city scene picture would be more appropriate but i was on the beach so…
His writing is fantastic. Everything moves in chaos in the first chapter like he intended, as if the words jump off the page and dance and fight and play—marvelous stuff!! This work actually launched a federal investigation of the working conditions for the poor!
Finished writing in an entire journal yesterday, and it’s time to begin a new one! These are my prayer journals, the worn one on the left is the old one. Took me a little over four months to fill every inch with essays on prayer and spiritual journeying. Also if you swipe you’ll see a little communion sacrament I made and gave myself this morning. Though our priest can not bless it, I said a little prayer and took it as a symbol of what we would do in church, which I feel is ok.
What are your thoughts on homemade communion during the stay at home order? .
Contemplative Vision by Juliet Benner is a book about contemplating religious art with prayer in mind and using it to expand our prayer life by gazing at the face of God through it, seeing His face and meditating about the art’s purpose/story, and the artist’s time creating it. The book discusses using art as a purpose to expand our faith and awe. For instance, the artists who create icons of Christ meditate on his face for hours while painting him. Just beautiful! .
The sudden warm weather in Michigan has got me thinking of the garden. A couple years ago I wrote a garden blog every week dedicated to the garden writings of Vita Sackville-West. Some days I miss her writings, her wonderful way of describing “ordinary” flowers and plants like human beings. She knew them all so well—more so than humans actually which made her a bit cold when it came to her human relationships. Her friend, lover and muse, Virginia Woolf was an expert on people and enjoyed exploring the human condition. Thus being opposites, they made a nice pair. I think I have collected the entirety of Vita’s garden works. Her books helped me get through some of the most cold & dark winters of my life, she kept me alive and green. Anyone needing a little lift would be right to pick up something of hers. This book gives a great introductory view of Vita’s talented green thumb.
Lost Story: My inconspicuous Doc Martin sneakers originally purchased as my walking shoes for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I signed up for it last November, but motherhood called & I wasn’t able to go. Now they are used to walk with the homeless when I work or visit the soup kitchen. These boots were indeed made for WALKING. Maybe they made it to Jerusalem after all. #walkwiththevoiceless
My Christmas gift last year were these two books on violin making. I started playing the violin three-four years ago. Fed up with rental fees and my fear of tuning and touching the violin in anyway other than playing it, led me to find some cheap violins and take them a part and put them back together with new strings bridges, pegs, and in some cases a new coat of varnish. I have three violins now, one of which (the darker one pictured) was found in someone’s garbage, and the others were cheap finds on Craig’s list. I have carved bridges and made a varnish from an old 18th century recipe. I have even shaped fingerboards. My goal is to one day build my own from scratch. I continue to practice playing though not as much as I should. I like learning Irish jigs and folk songs especially. Soon I will finally finish the darker one you see pictured here. It’s finished, but I needed to reconfigure it’s bridge since it didn’t sound quite like it should. There is a lot of engineering that goes into it, but it is all very interesting to me and will give me, I’m sure, a lifetime of entertainment and teaching.
Ingredients for making the varnish were found at @kremerpigmentsnyc in New York City
“Then the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.” –Judges 2:16
Judges is one of my favorite books of the Old Testament. In this book, God raises up 12 judges over the course of 325 years to help keep the Israelites on the right path. I enjoyed this book because it helped me realize that I too had judges raised up for me in my life to help guide me. When my great grandpa (my grandmother’s father) died, I went 12 years before another person ‘passed through’ my life to lead me further to God. And I was lucky to have the perpetual guidance of my mother and grandmother. My other grandpa (my mother’s father) was a born again Christian and had a very aggressive approach to evangelism, but his wrong way guided me also, because I didn’t want to be like that. Since, I have thought much of my judges, and I give thanks to/for them and pray for them—which, to me, is basically any time I think of them with pure love and gratitude and meditate on their well-being with the knowledge of God’s presence(in this way many of us have ‘prayed’ without realizing it was prayer). Let us all give thanks to those who may have been our guides in the dark.