All Alone Without A Service in Sight on Theophany

The wisest way to proceed in life, I’ve often been advised, is to go slowly. Don’t make impulsive decisions. Don’t respond to emails immediately. Set down that phone and PRAY before you reply to a text. And. Attend services every chance you get. If that’s the only advise I ever receive from my confessor I’d be well counseled and just as “falling short” as ever! It seems that I’m always behind, rushing to catch up and never, ever the calm, collected, prayerfully peaceful individual I daily ask God to create in me. This New Year is no exception and I…

Christmas – New Years – Begin Again

The famous quote “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” is such a familiar refrain for those of us who’ve been single parents for longer than a minute that it nearly goes without saying. Somewhere between “waiting for the other shoe to drop” and “if I expect little I’m not disappointed” the faith component of “one-day-at-a-time” living is often overshadowed by a sense of despair rather than the beauty of surrender. And yet, the cliche rings true for most of us. When you’re going through … Just like the thoughts that come when someone says “I…

Nativity – The Light in the Darkness

Fear of the Dark When I was young, my family took a trip to New Mexico. While there, we toured Carlsbad Caverns. One of the things I remember most about that tour was when the park ranger turned off the lights. There we stood, darkness all around us. In hindsight, the lights were not off for all that long, but it was the first time I had experienced true darkness. No streetlights or moon and stars to give a faint glow. Only emptiness, silence, and the feeling of darkness becoming palpable, real, an entity to itself. I remember thinking that…

Remedies for Loneliness

Since writing the post on Loneliness — the theme picked as most-vital for single parents in the Facebook group when we first began the Living Water blog — both single parents and those who love us have challenged me with the question “So what now?”   Simply acknowledging our ostracization, isolation and deep loneliness is a mere bandaid when we wake up alone every morning and go to bed alone every night. Reminding ourselves (or worse, when other well-intentioned folks tell us directly) that everyone feels alone and many others besides single parents feel ostracized and isolated—think of parents of…

Advent – Thoughts on Waiting

Time expands to an infinite stillness, years seeming to pass between each second. How often have we experienced time like this? How often does anticipation of something wonderful make it seem like time will never let it happen? I know I felt this way about the birth of my son. As time drew closer for his birth, it seemed like he would never arrive. Finally it was time. We drove to the hospital and checked in. We got to our room, fully expecting that labor would begin soon. And nothing. Nothing at all. Time slowed to a crawl. The sun…

Theme : Loneliness and Isolation

Without any doubt the single parents greatest struggle is with a deep sense of aloneness and the nagging ache of loneliness that seems to haunt us. This was powerfully underlined when David and I first asked for the members of Ancient Faith Single Parents group on Facebook to vote on themes we might address here on the Living Water blog. Loneliness along with feeling alone and isolated received the most votes of any topic. All of us single parents recognize that we aren’t the only category of church folk to experience this…teens, young adults, the only Orthodox person in a…

A little more about our authors: Elise Photini and David Dean

Living Water was born when I (Elise Photini) read Melinda Johnson’s first call in the Ancient Faith Ministries outreach group on Facebook for us single moms and dads to share what we wanted the church to know about our struggles in a blog post. I confess I was wary at first. After so long struggling in invisibility I wondered what might take place if we were “outed.” And I further confess that I was quite sure, in my weakness, that nothing would truly change… After all, what can one blog post do? For years I’ve felt the aloneness, the ostracizing…

Introducing LIVING WATER: Prayer and Praise with Single Parents

Invisible. Alone. Shamed. Ignored. Outcast. Silenced. Unseen. Helpless. Victimized. Unaided. Uncelebrated. The list could go on and on. Single mothers and single fathers have come to me time and time again with the same stories of the struggle to remain in the faith when the people around them remain so human. How are we to transcend what feels like persecution within our church families while we are trying to recover from personal trauma? Our heart cry is to be seen, heard and … This new project from Ancient Faith Ministries is the heart cry of many single moms and dads…