Spoons and Simplicity

Orthodoxy, Chronic Illness and a quest for authentic life


Hi all, I’m Kyri, I’m 24 and an Aussie who has been brought up by country people (my parents both grew up there, and I spent much of my childhood with them and my extended family whenever I wasn’t in school) and was interested in “Simple Living” before she knew that is was a ‘thing’. I learned to read at the age of three and learned to cross stitch not long after – however I had to attend remedial classes because I was so uncoordinated… and grew up with food growing around me at my grandparents’ houses, beautifully homemade clothes (as well as some from the shop) and a lot of homemade food. I’m also a ‘spoonie’ which means that I identify with the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino (to read it, gohere) and have chronic illnesses that limit my energy, physical ability and immune function. Basically I feel like I’ve got the flu or I’m hungover 90% of the time, and I have to get on and live my life like this because I’m not going to get any better, especially since the doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes it!

My personal illnesses that make me a spoonie are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME – otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS, a name that most people with the illness hate with a passion for a number of reasons) and Fibromyalgia. I’ve also got Ichthyosis (a rare genetic disease that affects my skin (and gives me scales) and means that I can’t sweat or tolerate heat or bright lights), Chronic Anxious Depression and a few other things. I’ve been sick with the spoonie illnesses since just after my 19th birthday, so almost five years. I’ve learned to cope with it (although I’ve recently learned that some of the ways I cope with it are unhealthy and I need to unlearn them) but I’m forever learning new things about it and it’s fantastic for teaching me humility.

I’m also very firmly an Orthodox Christian, and the Church year and its cycles are as much part of my life as the seasons and cultural celebrations around me are, so you’ll find things about feast days and how I practice my religion here. I don’t preach, but I do share what the different feast days mean and commemorations of Saints. Our Church year has thirteen major days – the Twelve Great Feasts (such as Christmas, the Annunciation and the Dormition of the Theotokos (what those in the West call the Assumption) ) and Pascha/Easter which is the greatest of all feasts. These are spread throughout the year, with their own specific lessons, cultural significances, ways of celebrating and hymns. As well as this, every day and every thing we do is religious – we don’t divide sacred and secular, so we’ll see each day, each moment, and even each illness as a gift from God. So you’ll find me with crosses hanging from my windows, icons on my walls, saying prayers morning and evening (when spoons allow), lighting lamps and candles in prayer and blessing just about everything with Holy Water, especially my garden :)

I’m hoping to share what I get up to in my garden and my house – I am trying to find a balance between strict asceticism and the crazy consumer world, and peace in my own little part of the world where I live at home with my family (by choice and due to my illnesses), on 3/4 of an acre inherited from my great grandparents, gardening, cooking, sewing and embroidering with my parents, my sister and three cats. Welcome and I hope you enjoy reading :)


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