Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The choice that's not really there (this has nothing to do with the abortion issue, I promise:)

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! We had a lovely Christmas with my family. I am now at work (with not a lot to do today) and so I have decided to attempt to write about what it is that I do, exactly (meaning… my work).

I work for a for-profit agency that assists adults with disabilities in finding a job and maintaining that job. We are a privately owned agency with government contracts (this translates into us having to jump through lots of wonderful bureaucratic hoops and red tape…AAAGGGHHH). I work very part time (Mondays and Tuesdays and sometimes write up reports from home) so my responsibilities include doing paperwork/administrative stuff for our office when I am in the office and keeping in touch with my few clients. I focus in on clients who are developmentally disabled; most of which have been with us for 8 or more years and are fairly stable in their jobs. We also try to schedule new client orientations on Mondays or Tuesdays so that I can do this (which means having the new clients sign a bunch of release of information forms, going through our company policies, filling out the “individual profile” form, and beginning to examine what are the clients interests as far as future work. This, finally, is what I want to write about, today.

There are lots of buzz words in this industry (even the term “client” has changed… my favorite was “consumer” as in “they consume all of your time, energy, and patience” just kidding, ha ha). I think the current buzz word is no longer “client” but “individual”. An improvement to “consumer” but I think I still prefer client the best. I don’t know it is sometimes difficult to keep up with all the change. And I really doubt that my “clients/consumers/individuals” really care what they are called.

So… a few weeks ago I began working with a new client who I will call Jane (as in Doe, Jane Doe). She came into our office, begrudgingly (it is our policy to do orientation at our office… we want to see if the client is willing to come to our location because when we do find them a job they are going to have to be able to get to their work site and be prompt, etc.). Jane wanted me to come to her home (which is not our policy). So, Jane comes in, is pleasant to speak with, has some issues with hygiene that we will need to work on, seems to be “with it” and knows and understands what is going on around her. The problem, and in a moment I will introduce another favorite industry buzz word, is that she straight out told me she doesn’t want a job, she doesn’t want to work, it will be too hard for her. And I’m having this meeting with you because…..

And here’s the buzz word… choice. Client choice. Consumer choice. Individual choice. Choice is huge. Everything revolves around the client’s choice. Where do they want to work and what do they want to do and we are supposed to find a job that fits into that choice. The one choice they are not allowed to make (as I am slowly finding out in the last two weeks since meeting with this client) is the choice to not work at all. That’s my problem, currently, with this new client. Do I convince her that she wants to work, that it won’t be hard, and that it might even be fun? I have been trying to schedule another meeting with Jane but she, as it turns out, is kind of a hypochondriac. And she is in the midst of moving. And she doesn’t really want to come out to our office. Oh, and she would like to learn how to read (not a service that we usually provide) but she still doesn’t want to work. I’m being told by that bureaucratic entity with all the hoops and red tape to continue working with her. Where is the choice in that? Mind boggling, isn’t it? Next week I will try to post about some of our success stories…those clients that want to work and have been working for a number of years. Those clients that leave sweet messages on my voicemail. Those clients that are excited about life and enjoy the challenges that face them everyday. I will probably also write more about Jane because there are other issues involved in her life.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...

So… sorry I haven’t posted in a while. This is our Christmas card picture and here are some updates:

1. We have so far raised $2800 for the family we built a home for through Project Mexico.
2. It was my birthday last Wednesday. We went out to dinner with my family, I got my first non-hand-me-down vacuum cleaner (thanks mom and dad), and Paul gave me a beautiful gold ring to wear on my left ring finger (we wear our wedding rings on our right ring finger).
3. We had our church Christmas program. I sat with the 3-4 year olds, on stage, to try to keep them quiet. They were pretty good… although I started out with five children and by the end of the play, only one was left (they all went to sit with their families).
4. It snowed yesterday and last night! Although it is now 35 and raining and the snow is melting away. But at least we have seen snow this year.
5. Our Basics in Orthodoxy classes are now online. You can listen to them at your leisure. Also, Paul just finished putting Mother Cassiana’s retreat online, too.
6. We saw Chronicles of Narnia. We both enjoyed it. We are hoping to see King Kong with my sister and brother in law while they are in town for the holidays.

That’s about all that has been going on. I will probably be too busy to write anything this week. My sister is in town with her children… we are going to go to the Zoo Lights and downtown to ride the train at Meier and Frank and Paul’s Christmas party is on Thursday night and there are presents to wrap and cookies to make and Artoklassia to bake (my name day is on Christmas Day). Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night:)

UPDATE: Bono and U2 are in Portland today. We are not going to the concert :( We tried to buy tickets back in April or May when they went on sale but the concert was sold out. And then when we did have another opportunity to buy tickets, we were in the process of buying our home and money was a tad tight. So... I guess I will just have to wait until they go on tour again (no fear of the band breaking up and they usually go on tour every 3-5 years). If you are going to the concert... have fun (my god-daughter is going along with a number of young adults from church). And I cannot be too sad about it because I have seen them in concert twice before:)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Project Mexico of the Orthodox Church Request...

Seven years ago I helped organize a group to go down to Project Mexico to build a home for a needy family. This led to me moving down to San Diego and working for Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage for almost 2 1/2 years (and where Paul and I met... we was also working for Project Mexico as a long term volunteer). Anyway, the family that we built the home for seven years ago is not your typical Project Mexico-home-receiving-family. Most families, after receiving their new homes, do not have any other connection with Project Mexico or the orphanage (and none is required of them). But this family is different. They would come to the orphanage for services; not all the time, but every so often. They used their home as a small distribution center for food and clothing to others in their colonia. The husband has done odd jobs around the orphanage, always ready to lend a helping hand. In other words... they have stayed connected to Project Mexico over these seven years and have taken the gift that we gave them and turned it into their own way of giving (and, obviously, the experience of giving them a home had a profound effect on the 25 people from Holy Trinity who built the home... and, obviously it had a profound and lasting impact on my life:).

The request is this... this family, when we built the home for them, had two children. And they are having another baby. The wife is 7 months pregnant. A few weeks ago she started bleeding. That has now turned into hemorrhaging. She has been hospitalized, and will continue to be hospitalized and on bedrest for the next two weeks when they will do a c-section. They baby, so far, is healthy and doing fine. But the family does not have the money to cover these type of medical expenses. So... I don't get many readers to my blog but if any of my faithful readers feel compelled, we (myself and a friend of mine who went on that trip) are collecting money for this family. Our goal is a minimum of $2000. That would really help them out. If you feel like this is something you can do, please either get in touch with me (cdblankenstein[at]hotmail[dot]com) or you can send a check made out to Project Mexico and mail it to them (P.O. Box 120028 Chula Vista, CA 91912-3128) with a memo "for Lalo & Elisa". Thank you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Funny Quote and WARNING: RANT AHEAD (but just a little one)

My sister shared this "Maria Moment" when they were down for Thanksgiving (I know, I am a little tardy in publishing it). Maria is my three year old niece. She and Pavlos are best buddies. They have so much fun together and they crack each other up. Anyway, when my sister was driving down, my nephew, Pavel (who is five) asked if the smokestacks were on fire (they were passing a paper mill and he saw smoke coming from the stacks). Katherine said no, that is a paper factory... where they make paper. And Maria, with a mischevious gleam in her eye stated, "Not a paper factory, mama, an UNDERWEAR factory." And she cracked herself up:)

Now for the rant... I know, in the past, others have commented on bumperstickers (I just don't remember who and even what context) but here's my problem. I was driving Pavlos to my parent's home on Tuesday (my mom watches Pavlos on Mon. and Tues. while I work). And there was this sportscar next to us with the following bumper sticker. Zero to Bitch in 3.5 Seconds. Ok. So what exactly is this woman trying to tell the world? Is she performing a public service by issuing a warning so that people can keep away from her? Is she proud? I don't get it. I know that my sister and I have had discussions about bumper stickers... especially those that have lots of swear words or are sexually explicit. How do we explain to our children when they ask us what those bumper stickers mean? I remember when I was a kid asking my mom about the "tree" and "beaver" bumper sticker (I really don't want to get into that sticker on my blog but I think that I have mostly an adult audience). Kids ask questions when they don't understand something. And you can't lie to a child... And I know that people who put such bumper stickers on their vehicles feel that it is their right (freedom of speech). But isn't there something about decency? Or shouldn't there be something about decency? We get in trouble with the law if we walk the streets naked... why can't we get into trouble if we put garbage on our cars for the whole world to view?

Ok. Enough of the rant. Go back to the top of this blog entry and read about Maria and the Underwear Factory for a good chuckle:)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Have some time on your hands? try this...

Go to this face recognition website and upload a picture of yourself. It will scan your picture and compare it to celebrity pictures and come up with the best matches. My top two were Jennifer Conelly and Julia Roberts. hmmm... I say HA HA HA HA HA. At least it was a great laugh:)

Friday, December 02, 2005

books and movies

We've been reading. A lot. Paul discovered Paolini's Inheritence series of books (there are two out now) and so he wanted me to get them from the library for him (our library is part of a great big network of libraries but it's actually a really small library that is only open from 10am to 6pm so almost anything that we want, I have to request a hold on it and then pick it up... one great thing about the web... access to the library from home... I love it). So anyway, Paul put in a request for these books (Eragon is the first book and Eldest is the second book and there is a yet to be published third book). Paul is currently reading Eldest and I finished Eragon and am waiting for him to finish:) Yesterday, Paul emailed me because he found out that they are already making a movie based on the first book. He is very excited. Any of you read these books? They are very easy reads and fall under the fantasy fiction genre (for young adults). Harry Potter fans might like these books. So, while I am waiting for Paul to finish reading Eldest, I have been reading all the Jane Austen books and watching the movies (here is a great website for Jane Austen fans). I had already read and seen Emma, Sense and Sensibility (which I own), and Pride and Prejudice (which I also own... the mini-series version). So, I requested from the library the following books and movies: Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park. And I am reading the book before watching the movie:) So, finished Persuasion and its movie, finished Northanger Abbey but the DVD wouldn't play so I returned it and requested the VHS copy, and I have Mansfield Park, the book, but not the movie (yet). And because we started reading these young adult fantasy fiction, I decided to pick up (again, from the library) the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper which I read when I was a "young adult" reader. These are a very easy read and I have finished three of the five books (have to wait for the other two to come in). And to keep up with this fantasy fiction genre... Paul and I are both very excited for the opening of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in theatres next week.

Speaking of movies... this is an actual conversatin between Paul and I:
Paul: There's this new release movie that I really, really want to see... can I go get it?
Christina: Well, what's it called? Will I like it?
Paul: You may have heard of it... and I really want to see it... it's called Stealth.
Christina: Oh, yeah, I have heard of it... it's about fighter planes. Is there anything that I might like to watch that's out now?
Paul: I don't know... I'll go check..

So Paul leaves to go to the videostore and returns with Stealth and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Stealth was, well, exactly what I expected... lots of action with no depth of plot. Sisterhood was alright... I enjoyed it more than Stealth. The filming in Greece was, of course, amazing. And the Greek actors had excellent accents and the yiayia reminded me of a real Greek yiayia (and the whole thing about how they don't talk to a particular family because they are all liars and thieves... so very Greek). I have to say of the three movies I have watched this week, Persuasion was the best:)

That's all from me... sorry for neglecting this blog. Trying to get my life balanced between working two days a week and all the other stuff has been a little hectic. I'm sure that in the next few weeks things will settle down... HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My Yiayia when we were in Greece...

I have been meaning to do this for a while... post a picture of my yiayia. Next week will be her 40 day memorial. Tomorrow is/was her nameday (and my sisters, and my mother in law, and my sister in law and, oh wait, that's it). So, left to right are my pappous, Paul, me, Pavlos (on my lap... he was one... what were we thinking travelling to Greece with a one year old) and my yiayia. This was taken at the port of Ios while we were waiting for our ferry to come to take us back to Athens.

On a different note... Happy Thanksgiving! We are hosting Thanksgiving this year. I have never cooked a turkey but I'm not worried:) I am thankful for my family (all of them), our new baby Petros who will be hear in a few months, my new job that is so very flexible, pays well, and I actually enjoy the work (and is the reason I have not been able to post much lately), our new home, our church community, and our car that is still runnning:) There is a touch of sorrow to this Thanksgiving (because of my Yiayia and Virginia (not that we ever celebrated Thanksgiving with either of them)... but just having spent the last month mourning for the loss of those close to us. I have no doubt of the faith that both women carried throughout their lives. And even though I can count on two hands the number of trips I have made to Greece, the love that my yiayia had for us and the love we have for her is infinite. And both these women LIVED their lives in faith, in love, and in stubborness (you know, it's funny how I can see similarities between the two of them... I don't think they ever even met becaue my yiayia only came to the US once and that was when I was almost two years old). I have a date with a turk (boy, my dad will cringe if he ever reads that ha ha ha), I mean turkey. Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Prayer Request...

This is a picture of my dad and Virginia taken last May at our church fundraiser dinner

UPDATE: Yiayia Virginia passed away. Please continue to pray her her and her family. My dad was very close to her and this will be difficult for him, especially coming so quickly after my yiayia, his mother, passed away. Yiayia Virginia gave our son, Pavlos, a crocheted blanket about six months ago. She wanted him to have something to remember her by. May her memory be eteranl.

"O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who has trampled down Death and overthrown the Devil, and given life unto Your world, give, we beseech You, eternal rest tothe soul of Your departed servant, (Virginia) in a place of brightness, in aplace of abundance, in a place of repose, from whence all pain, sorrow, andsighing, have fled away.Pardon, we beseech You, every transgression which may have been committed,whether by word or deed or thought. For there is no man who lives and does notcommit a sin. You only are without sin, Your righteousness is everlasting, andYour word is the Truth.For You are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the repose of Your departedservant, O Christ our God, and unto You we ascribe glory, together with eternalthe Father, and Your Most Holy, and Good, and Life-giving Spirit, now andforever, and for ages to come." Amen"May our gracious and merciful Lord, who rose from the dead, Christ, our TrueGod, through the intercessions of His Holy Mother and of all the Saints,establish the soul of His departed servant (Virginia) in the mansions of therighteous; give rest in the bosom of Abraham, and number his soul among thejust, and have mercy upon us and save us".Eternal be Your memory.

A "yiayia" from our parish is in the hospital in critical condition. She is not expected to live for very much longer. Please keep Virginia and her family in your prayers....thanks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another Tag...

Top 10 Greatest Influences Outside of God and my Family Members

I was tagged by Luz the Magpie so here goes (and this is really tough, when not able to include my grandma and grandpa, yiayia and pappous, mom and dad, sister, brother (yes, he has had a great influence on my life), husband, child(ren), etc…. So here goes (in no particular order)…

1. Mrs. Bowyer: my 7th grade teacher. I had transferred to a new school in 7th grade (junior high is a horrid time to change schools) and she helped me find my way through all that junior high angst.
2. Mr. Kopra: high school counselor. He was in charge of our campus ministry program (I went to a Catholic high school). Through him, I became involved in our search retreat program which literally changed my life. I realized I wasn’t the only one going through all that high school crap.
3. College profs: I’ll list a few together… Prof. Hannah (thesis advisor and amazing teacher), Prof. Brick (advisor in my major), Prof. Cornish (taught Western Civ… was tough, but I loved that class because of him), and Prof. Davis (my first advisor and taught me almost everything I know about Ancient Greece).
4. Fr. Elias: priest from when I was very young until college when he reposed (may his memory be eternal). As a child, I believed he was in direct communication with God.
5. Fr. Demitri: taught me the Jesus prayer.
6. U2: inspired by their music
7. Fr. Theodore: continues to inspire
8. Peracles: who constructed the Parthenon in Athens, Greece and is the father of the senate.
9. My patron saint is, uhm, not a saint, it’s Christ and He’s God so I guess I can’t put him down… so I guess I will put down St. Nektarios because he has been a protector of our family.
10. The high school kids I student taught years ago at an inner city high school. The ones that actually paid attention and tried to learn under adverse circumstances (horrible home life, drugs, etc.) were truly inspiring for me.

I didn't want to do books or authors because, well, then my list would have been a mile long:)
Sorry it took me a while to actually get this posted. I started a new job on Monday (well, it’s actually my old job) working for a man from our parish. Here is a link to his agency’s website. I am able to work on Mon. and Tues. while my mom watches Pavlos (thanks, mom) and then I can work from home when I am able. Norm Rocks! He will be number 11 because both Paul and I are greatly indebted to him for all of his help over the last five years. And we are thankful for this opportunity for me to work again. I will tag Katie and Herman and anyone else who hasn’t been tagged who might be reading this:) Do I dare tag Karl? Will he ever come back to his blog... hhhmmm...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pictures from our trip to Aegina, Greece...

We went to Greece 2 1/2 years ago. One of our stops was to Aegina where St. Nektarios began a women's monastery and where there is a beautiful church dedicated to him AND where his relics are located. Here are some pictures of that trip (in honor of yesterday being the feast day of St. Nektarios). Every time my dad goes to Greece he always makes a stop in Aegina. My parents just returned from Greece and, I think, they were in Aegina this last weekend.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


boy! So Pavlos will be big brother to a little brother who will be named Petros (after my dad). We are very excited! And he's a mover, let me tell you. The tech had a hard time with the ultrasound because he kept moving around so much. He has a very small hole in his heart, but my doctor is not worried. We will go in again in three weeks. My mom was born with a hole in her heart which she had surgery to repair. And my niece was born with a small hole in her heart that repaired itself by the time she was 6 weeks old. Everything else looks great!

I was going to write...

I was going to write about this article, written by one of our catechumen’s (Rhett/Jude). I’ve been planning to comment on it for, oh, probably almost a week now, but life is just getting a little busy for me. My four month “sabbatical” from the world due to morning sickness and exhaustion is OVER.

I was going to write how when I read the above article it also made me angry/upset/sad. I was angry for the way a mother would treat her own child. Now I know that I am not a perfect mother but there are good ways to handle your children when they are doing something wrong and there are bad ways. Belittling and calling names is never a good way. Talking to your child about WHY what they did was wrong is a better way. And taking them outside if they are throwing a tantrum is also a good thing (nothing like a child throwing a tantrum in a public place to put you on edge). But it doesn’t seem like this little boy was throwing a tantrum. And he is five… just explaining that what he did was wrong should be sufficient enough.

I was going to write how maybe that’s all this mom knows how to raise her children. Maybe she was belittled and called names when she was young. And, now, this will be all that her children know what to do… it can become a vicious cycle. And someone needs to break it (the mom) before her children pass it onto their own children (unless they are able to recognize and break that cycle of emotional abuse).

I was going to write how maybe that little boy did it on purpose because all the attention he gets is negative attention from his mother. And any attention is better than no attention, right?

I was going to write how maybe this woman became pregnant because all she wanted was to be loved… by the father, by a child, by anyone. Children do not love their parents in that way, though.

I was going to write how this really made me angry (the part about the mom not loving her children/taking her children for granted). It made me angry for all the women in the world who want, desperately want to have a child but for whatever reason are unable. My mom used to work in the labor room of a hospital. A labor room has great joy and great sorrow. And there were times when, she says, the sorrow was handed to the “wrong” people. Like the 16 year old girl, having her third or fourth child (different fathers) and the stable married couple who have been trying for years to conceive and once they do, lose the baby. I know that I am making generalizations… I mean, who’s to say the married couple wouldn’t turn out to be a bunch of loonies or something?

I was going to write how if you just go to your local mall (or Wal Mart), you can find lots of mom’s taking their children for granted (ok, I know that sounds really judgmental, but that’s what I was thinking when I read this article).

And the part about the consequences of sex… when we are taught, from a young age, that pregnancy should be avoided, at all costs, but that sex feels good so we should “just do it” of course we are going to think that when we do get pregnant that it’s a mistake/accident/whoops… either my mom or my sister (can’t remember who) always says that there is no such thing as “accidentally getting pregnant”. And the only way to avoid “accidentally getting pregnant” is to not have sex. Simple as that. But try teaching that in your local public school. HA!

I think that was all I was going to write about that. Just some “off the top of my head” thoughts. With a little bit of venting mixed in (because of my personal experiences).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Annual Women's Retreat Nov. 11th and 12th...

The St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church annual women's retreat will be on Fri. Nov. 11th to Sat. Nov. 12th. Mother Cassiana from Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery in Colorado will be the speaker. On Friday, she will talk about Marriage and Monasticism from 7pm-9pm. This session is open to everyone (meaning... men are invited). On Saturday she will be speaking on the Holy Theotokos from 9:30am to 4pm (Vesper's will begin at 4pm). This session is only for women and young ladies. Cost is $15 for Saturday (which includes lunch and snacks). If you are interested, please contact Presv. Stacey Dorrance at 503-590-6109 or Jennifer Davis at 503-292-9976 to make a reservation. In the past we have been able to find accomadations for out of town guests but I'm not sure about this year's arrangements. To view the pdf flyer please go here and scroll down until you see the 4th Annual Women's Retreat (there is a flyer you can click on). Hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

All Saints Eve Party

So at our church (St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR), instead of Halloween, we have an All Saints Eve party. The children all come dressed up as their favorite saint or Biblical character (including animals from the Bible). We eat dinner, play games, get lots of candy, and the kids have a great time:) This year Pavlos decided to be St. Nektarios (the last two years, mommy decided he would be St. Paul (Pavlos) and St. Seraphim). Pavlos' middle name is Nektarios and he has an icon of St. Nektarios over his bed (along with his icon of St. Paul). We have even been to Aegina when we were last in Greece (two and a half years ago) and were able to go to the Church dedicated to him and see his relics. My dad, who goes to Greece at least once a year, always makes a stop to Aegina to visit his "friend" St. Nektarios. And he always brings me back holy oil. Thanks, dad.
Back to the All Saints party. Pavlos had a great time. Here is a picture of him dressed as St. Nektarios... And, yes, our little St. Nektarios has a sucker in his mouth:) We video tape each of the children telling us which saint they are and something about the saint. Pavlos said he was St. Nektarios and when we asked him what St. Nektarios did, he replied, "played the drums". So there you have it... a little known fact about St. Nektarios (in fact, I think Pavlos is the only person to ever know this little fact). Here are pictures of Pavlos as St. Paul (2003) and St. Seraphim (2004).
Today is the feast of the Holy Unmercenaries Kosmas and Damianos. They were two of my yiayia's favorite saints. I remember hearing her pray to them (and to the Theotokos). Pavlos and I went to Liturgy this morning in honor of yiayia. May her memory be eternal! As Pavlos entered into the communion line he looked at me and said, "I love communion." And then headed on up to receive communion (later, we met papa for lunch and Pavlos told him that he loved something else (something fairly unimportant but I can't remember what it is)... so Pavlos loves many things).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Potty Training...

I have not been able to post because Pavlos and I are in the midst of potty training. I am hoping to send him to preschool in the winter (and he will need to be potty trained in order to go). Yesterday was horrible, this morning was horrible, this afternoon has been better:) I have a few future posts that I am working on (when I have time)...

thanks for your patience (I am learning the meaning of the word patience as we speak:)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

May her memory be eternal...

My yiayia passed away this morning at 11:30 am (pacific time). I was talking to my mom, on the phone, and I could hear my sister in the background saying, "Pete's here." Pete is my uncle who has been taking care of her. And I knew that the only reason he would leave their home would be to find my dad and tell him that she had reposed. I guess she had a stroke last night and really went downhill fast (not eating, drinking, etc.). I have too many thoughts and emotions swirling in my head to try to write a decent post on her and her life. But, that will be for the future, I imagine. Please remember Ekaterina in your prayers, espcially during the next forty days. Thank you.


I have been tagged (also, my first time being tagged) by Elizabeth. Here are my answers....

Five things I plan to do before I die:
1. Go to Tinos, Greece
2. Set foot on every continent (been to three already)
3. Go on a long backpacking trip
4. Have more children
5. Go on a mission trip or long term missionary with OCMC
6. (yes, it only said 5 but i'm adding a 6th) open a Greek pastry/coffee/bookstore (with Orthodox books, supplies, and other great books, too).

Five things I can do:
1. Teach middle school and high school kids
2. cook a wide variety of foods (like baklava, granma’s scalloped potatoes, etc.)
3. multi-task
4. argue, oh, wait, I mean… discuss
5. put my whole fist into my mouth (my sister can do it, too)

Five things I cannot do:
1. Sing
2. draw (anything that requires artistic talent)
3. decorate
4. learn foreign languages
5. knit/crochet (but I would love to learn)

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. intelligence
2. faith
3. eyes
4. patience
5. love of family

Five things I say most often:
1. I love you
2. Pavlos!
3. Kyrie eleison (exasperatedly)
4. come on, let’s go…
5. I’m counting to three…1…2….

Five Celebrity Crushes:
1. Ewan McGregor (as Obi Wan)
2. Colin Firth (as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice)
3. Bono (as himself)
4. Harrison Ford (not lately… in Star Wars and Indiana Jones)
5. Matt Damon (don’t like many movies he’s in, but he’s boyishly cute)

I'm not going to tag anyone because there are only about three people who read my blog:) And I think they have all been tagged...

Monday, October 17, 2005


Over on Slate, yesterday(Sunday), there was a slide show on America's megachurches. A megachurch really is only a very large church. And, as the author points out in the intro. of the slide show, really large churches have been around for ages (Hagia Sophia, St. Peter's Basilica, etc.). So I think it is safe to call what is happening to architecture in American churches... the McChurch (cute, isn't it... it took me a long time to think that one up:). And the reason I call them the McChurch is because of the fact that really big churches have existed for a very long time, and that these earlier churches were built for one reason... to glorify God in architecture. A visual representation of the kingdom of heaven on earth. A place that when one enters, they feel as if they are in the presence of God. The McChurch is obviously built without those ideas in mind (obviously, this is my own opinion). They seem to be built to stage a show, with the latest technology as far as lighting, sound, laser shows (I don't really know if they do laser shows, but some of the pictured examples look like you could have a really great laser show in the church), and for seating capacity. Now, seating/standing capacity is important. Don't think that the last 2000 years of Christians did not think of how many people they could fit into a church. If seating/standing capacity were not important, then Hagia Sophia and St. Peter's Basilica would never have been built (ok, maybe those architectures where thinking more in lines of bigger means glorifying God better, I don't really know). But if these McChurches were really looking for bigger seating/standing areas, why not rebuild a replica of St. Peter's Basilica (which can hold 60,000 people)? The people in the Côte d'Ivoire thought it was a good idea. Hope you enjoy the slide show!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the marriage retreat held at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church back in May. These are audio files. Dr. Philip Mamalakis, a professor at Holy Cross, was the speaker. There are three sessions covering two days. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Family made it to Greece...

My sister, Katherine, and her two children, Pavel (5) and Maria (3) made it to Greece. Kudos to Katherine for travelling 15 hours alone with Pavel and Maria. Paul and I did it with Pavlos when he was one. It's tough... being cooped up on an airplane (airplanes are only interesting for about 10 minutes), flying at odd hours of the day (night), and the time change is a killer (even for an adult, let alone children). It's a ten hour time difference between here (Portland, OR) and Athens, Greece. But, now that Katherine is IN Greece, she has mom and dad to help out with the kids. And mom and dad are the best. So the ratio of kids to adults is good... 2:3.
Now, they are on their way to Ios, the island that my dad is from (it's only a ten hour ferry trip:) Lots of travelling in the last few days for them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Just sitting at the computer...

I'm just sitting here, unable to nap today (that sometimes happens to me). Just had word from my parents that they have arrived in Athens. I'm tired and my eyes hurt and I'm hungry. I want to eat, I just don't know what I want to eat. It's a problem I have even when I am not pregnant. With Pavlos, I didn't have terrible cravings for any type of food, really. Sometimes I just wanted something sweet. With this baby, I started out craving meat (weird) but now I don't seem to have any cravings. And I have a wonderful husband who keeps telling me that he will run out and get me whatever I want to eat, but I just do not know what I want to eat.

The other day he came home late from a meeting at church and he had missed lunch so he had stopped at Taco Bell. It smelled really good. I think it smelled so good because I have been eating somewhat bland food for the last four months. It's sort of like during Lent, when you are fasting and food smells amost bowl you over (at least, they do me).

Enough food talk for now... the St. John's website will be expanded. Paul recorded our marriage retreat (from last May) and the Basics in Orthodoxy class that was offered during Lent this year. The sound files are in the process of being uploaded onto the new, expanded space on the website. So, at some point, I will put a link to that new stuff for you all.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My mom's blog...

I just returned from dropping my parents off at the airport. They are going to Greece (my sister and her two little one's will meet also be leaving for Greece tomorrow). My mom decided to keep a blog/online diary of their trip. They are only going one place (aside from Athens because when you go to Greece, you pretty much have to at least land there)... Ios... the island that my dad is from. My yiayia is very sick with pancreatic cancer. And my pappous is 89 years young. I bet that my uncle, who moved back to Greece this summer to take care of my grandparents, will be so relieved to have my mom, dad, and sister there. He has undertaken a tremendous load. I will write more later... it's naptime at our house right now (which includes mommy). Please pray for Petros, Susan, Katherine, Pavel, and Maria as they travel. Please also continue to pray for them throughout the next month because I know this will is a difficult trip to make (and add Katerina, Ioannis, and Panayiotis to the list as well (my grandparents and my uncle). thanks...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What's in a name UPDATE!

Actor Nicholas Cage and his wife have a new baby boy. And they named him after Superman. So is Superman his "patron saint"? The weirdness of names continues on...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

What's in a name?

Because my last blog entry was so lame and unorganized, I figured I owed it to everyone to post a decent piece (although the information in the last entry is very exciting, I might add).

The reason for this post, also, is that on the drive home from church we started talking about what was discussed during Theology 101 (adult Sunday school) and my husband wanted to know why I had not given such a great and elaborate answer to the following discussion as I just did in the car. So I will impart these words of “wisdom” to you. The topic ended up on names. I believe the original question had something to do with why Simon was changed to Peter (herein referred to as Petros just in case my dad ever reads my blog he won’t be offended (his name is Petros… but more on my dad in a second). First, Father pointed out that my dad, Petros, came up to him at the end of the service and asked why Father referred to Simon as Simon and not Petros (and my dad probably pointed out to Father Theodore, for the millionth time, that St. Petros is the only apostle that Christ named during his earthly ministry or something like that). And Father Theodore gave a reasonable enough answer to my dad, I am sure.
So what is in a name? Greeks have a tendency to be very “in” to their names. According to my husband, he has never seen someone so into their own name as my dad. My dad feels a kinship to St. Petros… as if they share the same struggles and are the same people. And this probably has something to do with the fact that in my family the name Petros goes back many, many generations. In fact, our family church is named Agios Petros. And no one knows how old the church really is (but we do know that the new addition on my grandparents home is 400 years old… ahem… that’s the NEW addition). So let’s say that the name Petros has been in my family for 600 years. That’s 600 years of my ancestors praying to St. Petros, celebrating the feast day of Sts. Petros and Pavlos, naming their first born sons Petros. No wonder my dad is so keen on his own name AND on his patron saint. And that goes for many Greek families that I grew up with… the names are all repeated through generations. Antique icons are passed down of these saints from generation to generation. Churches are built for these saints. Name days are huge family events (because half your cousins have the same name as you) celebrating these saints. And it’s not looked on as weird or funny to name a child after a particular saint if a miracle has occurred in your life through prayers to that saint. It’s like naming that child after a favorite great aunt or uncle. Our son’s middle name is after St. Nektarios because of the easy pregnancy I had with him (when doctors predicted a horrible pregnancy because of some health problems I have).
Now I don’t want to glorify Greece (because I have lived there and been there numerous times and I see the Western influences that have crept into this beautiful country). And I don’t know much about other Orthodox practices. But it seems to me that in the U.S., we have a tendency to name our children after the latest Disney character. What kind of a name is that to live up to? Or, I have heard people say that they like a name because it sounds nice. Where’s the history? Granted, there are many people that do use family names (which I think is a beautiful tradition). But my mom, who used to work in the labor room, would come home with the most hysterical stories of names people have given to their children.
Anyway, this post is already getting to long. We do hope to continue the tradition of using the name Petros in our family, if we are having a boy. Pavlos is named after his grandpa (my father in law). Let us all live up to the name that either we have been given or we have chosen for ourselves!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Anyone still reading this?

Just checking to see if anyone still checks out my siteJ Just kidding…
I haven’t posted because I guess I haven’t felt like there is anything to post. Obviously, there are always things to post, but my brain seems to have been fizzling out lately. Our biggest news is that we are expecting… that makes four of us at church, pregnant, at the same time. (and, actually, there was a new baby born two weeks ago so we had five at one time). We like to keep God busy watching over us, I guess. We are due April 5 and we are, of course, very excited. So now begins my many doctor visits and lab tests and ultrasounds. I forgot how tired being pregnant makes a person. That’s part of the reason for not posting any news (and I’m really only posting this because Katie posted that she’s pregnant on her blog).

Other than that… we are in our new home. Very exciting. We got rid of one care just in time for the gas prices to jump way up (Paul takes public transportation to work). Pavlos is three. My parents, my sister, and her two children (age 3 and 5) are all going to Greece in two weeks (I have to admit that I am a bit envious, but I know I will get back there someday… but I would love to go with them… we haven’t gone as a family in many, many years… actually, when I was 15 we went together, minus dad so we haven’t ever really gone as a whole family).

My grandmother has lived beyond what the doctors thought she would. She is not doing well, but she is still alive (and she may still be alive when my family goes to visit). It shows her strength of character. She has not had an easy life and because she has survived so much (poverty, famine, civil wars, dictatorship, etc.) her will to live is so strong and admirable. Although, I have to admit there were times when I was living in Greece that she drove me absolutely CRAZY like only a Greek yiayia can do.

My ten year college reunion is this weekend so we are heading to Walla Walla for Saturday to Sunday. This is going to be so clichéd, but… where has the time flown? I can’t believe it’s been ten years!!! It will be interesting and I am excited to show Paul and Pavlos Walla Walla and the Whitman College campus.

That’s all for now… here’s hoping that this rather disjointed post will lead to something more profound in the near future…

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Wait is Almost Over (I know you are on the edge of your seats)

Hello faithful readers! I thought I would be back on this blog at the beginning of June, but, alas, things have not quite worked out the way WE wanted.

Here’s the update:

1. we are not yet moved into our new home. Because we are purchasing a brand, spankin’ new home, and because the weather in Portland has been a little on the wet side, our home is still not complete yet (we are waiting on the sprinkler system and the landscaping… I didn’t even know that there was going to be a sprinkler system). But, the wait has allowed us to get a new loan at a lower interest rate than when we first decided to buy this house. Needless to say, we’ve been living in our current home, surrounded by boxes. Hopefully we will be moving sometime in the next two weeks because…

2. we are leaving for Green Bay, WI to visit Paul’s family for ten days. Yep, move into a new home and quickly take off for our vacation. It will be a good trip because we will meet our niece (who was born in February) for the first time (Paul’s sisters youngest daughter… she has three now).

3. My brother’s wedding is fast approaching. It will be August 27. We are very excited for him and for his fiancée, Hannah. They are getting married at Holy Trinity, were Paul and I were married (and were my parents were married). It will be nice.

4. I cannot believe that a year ago, at this time, we were fretting over Paul not being able to find a job! At the end of July will be his one year anniversary with the company he is working for. It was a long seven month job search, but it was worth it because he loves his job.

5. Our church (St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church) is moving! We are moving to a new, temporary site. This is very exciting. We are just beginning the process of laying out the new site plans and tearing down walls that we do not need, etc. Fun Fun.
Little P had his third birthday. He is so funny.

6. Prayer request: my yiayia (grandma) in Greece is very sick. She has pancreatic cancer. The doctors there are not going to treat it. My dad is going over there on June 27 (just in time for his name day… Sts. Petros and Pavlos (also Paul’s and Pavlos’ nameday and my nephew, Pavel’s nameday, and my brother in law’s birthday…..whew). Right now, all I can say about my yiayia is that I miss her so much. I will write more about her (and her long distance influence on my life) at a later date. Please, just keep her in your prayers (her name is Katerina… my sister is named after her).

That’s all for now. I don’t know when I will be posting again… maybe before July 1, but probably not until after we return from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Short Time Away from The Blog...

Hello my lovely and ever-faithful blogging audience! Our modem died the other day (so Paul decided to completely tear it apart... I think he had fun:). So, we are now cancelling our overpriced high speed cable internet service and using a very, very slow dial up connection (until we move, that is....)

As soon as we move, we will know what form of DSL to order (what will be available in our area) and then this blog will be up and running (also I think I will be a bit busy until after the move). Until then, I will not be posting here (then will be after June 1). And until then, we will have celebrated Pascha, Little P's 3rd birthday, my dad's birthday, and fast approaching our five year anniversary (June 4). Have a wonderful Pascha!

Thanks for reading!!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sunday of the Holy Cross… The Midpoint of Lent and other less important things

That’s what Paul and I always say… we made it to the Sunday of the Holy Cross, we can make it to the end of Lent. That means, we will be having soy cheese pizza at some point this week (I realize that today is Tuesday after the Sunday of the Holy Cross, but I am sick with bronchitis and so haven’t felt up to posting anything on this blog and haven’t felt up to making homemade soy cheese pizza for that matter).

Since I have been sick (actually, for the last week), my mom brought over Chinese food for me last night. It tasted very delicious, but I think that’s because we have been eating a lot of beans this fasting period and just having the different flavors that come from Chinese food was a treat.

And since I have been sick, I did not actually make it to services on Sunday. That’s how yucky I feel. I would have ended up annoying everyone with my very deep cough, anyway.

We “watched” the enthronement of Metropolitan Gerasimos on Saturday (via computer). When we first turned it on we thought the quality is absolutely horrible. But then we realized that they were filming off of a screen (that was showing what was going on outside of the church). Once they entered the church, the quality was better.

That’s about it for now. My head is in a fuzz from all the coughing and the fever (do you want to know something kind of gross? Ok, I’ll tell you… I coughed so hard on Sunday that a blood vessel popped in my eye… GROSS). Don’t know when I will be back to post. God-willing, I will be feeling better in the next few days. Hope your health is not like mine!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

An Adventure with Little P and a Prayer Request

Adventure with Little P: Artoklassia and Wine (A Russian Tale). So, we spent last Friday evening in Yakima, WA with some friends. We went to Annunciation services at their church (Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church) in the evening (it was a vesperal Liturgy). At the end of the service, there was an artoklassia (five loaves of bread as an offering) service (usually done on feast days or name days). In the Russian practice, when you receive your artoklassia at the end of the service, you dip it in a cup of wine. Well, this was all new to Little P (and a little new for mommy, since I have not spent much time outside of Greek churches). Little P, whose favorite line of the day currently is “My Can Do It” wanted to dip his own bread in the wine. Now, the deacon, who was holding the cup of wine, was fine with that. Until Little P decided to not just dip his bread, but dunk his bread. I rescued the wine-soaked bread from the cup (and set it on top of my own piece of bread and, thus, did not have to dip my bread in the wine). We proceeded to the back of the church to eat our wine soaked bread. Little P seemed to like it. But, in this whole process, I forgot to get my little cup of wine (hmmm, I kind of like these Russian wine practices). What an adventure!

Please pray for us… no, not for our homebuying (that seems to be going well), but for our fertility (our spritual father suggested that we ask people to pray for us). I went in to the doctor because my cycle seems to be getting all out of whack (sorry, guys, if this is too personal for you). We began to talk about the miscarriages that I have had and how long we have been trying to have a baby, etc. I walked out of that appointment with a referral for a reproductive endocrinologist (and they have discovered a cyst on my left ovary). Because I have lupus, she felt that I already had things going against me being able to conceive (normally, you have to wait at least one year from when you begin to “try” for a baby to get a referral… we have been trying for about 1 ½ years, but I did get pregnant last summer and lost that baby). Anyway, I have a blessing to at least go and hear what this other doctor has to say. We have also been praying to St. Nektarios and St. Anna (mother of the Theotokos) and anointing me with oil from both Saints. Through every hardship, there is some good… All of this has led me, though, to be very thankful for my Little P. I had a miscarriage right before I became pregnant with him. Then his pregnancy was fairly smooth (why his middle name is Nektarios). And now I have the privilege of being his mommy (well, I have been his mommy for almost three years now). And that is truly a blessing!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

And yet another weekend out of town and an Adventure with Little P...

We will be going to visit some friends in Yakima, WA tomorrow to Saturday morning. Then it's off to the monastery, again, for a baptism. That's three weekends in a row that I have gone out of town. I am looking forward to next weekend when I won't be going out of town.

I do want to share an Adventure with Little P: Little P the Theologian (not about our trip to the monastery last weekend, that will just have to wait)... last night we went to pan-Orthodox Pre-Sancitified Liturgy at St. George Antiochian Church. It was a very beautiful service (and Little P did very well through the service, I might add). It was another one of those evenings where Paul met us at church, so Little P was excited to see papa. Anyway, we drove separate cars and while I was driving home (with Little P in his carseat in the backseat, of course), Little P requested a "song", "beauty, mama, beauty". Here are the words to his current favorite church hymn:

Awed by the beauty, of thy virginity
and the exceeding radiance, of thy purity.
Gabriel called out unto thee, O Theotokos,
What worthy hymn of praise, can I offer unto thee?
And what shall I name thee?
I am in doubt and stand in awe.
Wherefore as commanded, I cry to thee,
Rejoice, O full of grace.
Whenever I sing this to him, he always ends by saying, "mama, want grace, please" and I reply, "ask God for grace." Last night, he said his "want grace" line and I said my usual reply. Then he astounded me with his 2 year old almost 3 year old theology... Little P told me that the baby has grace (which baby, I do not know). And I said why does the baby have grace? And he replied, because of the water. And then he started talking about baptism, mama, baptism. Uhm, ok, where did this come from? We went to a baptism about a month ago (and we are going to one this Saturday, although I don't know if he knows that we are going to a baptism). But to make the connection between water and grace?!?!?! I think he's been secretly reading his papa's books late at night:)
Ok, I better sign off. Have a beautiful weekend!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Loving Our Families

Last weekend (March 11-12), our women's group at church went to the Oregon Coast for a retreat. It was wonderful! So, here are some things we discussed (I didn't compile this list, it is the list that Presv. emailed out to us (she took notes)). The theme was "Loving our Families" and it was very appropriate for the day before Forgiveness Vesper's:) So, here goes (my comments are in blue)...

I've included a list that was the fruit of one of our discussions on "Loving our Families." It has to do primarily with controlling our anger/tongue with our family members. It sprang from James, Chapter 3, which I have included here...

"Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh."

...So here is a list of things to help us in our struggle to be a more loving, Christ-like family member (it applies to our church family, too and to all people in our lives whether through work, etc. (I would add))

1. Prepare ahead of time for events so things go more smoothly and peacefully
2. Be vigilant/prepared about what may come your way each day
3. Remember the image of Christ in each person you deal with throughout the day
4. Be obedient to the Church's teachings/your spiritual Father and thereby receive God's grace
5. Go to confession regularly/seek forgiveness from those you have hurt/reconciliation from those who have hurt you
6. Seek healing from underlying hurts/"weeds" that may be rooted in your heart and need to be especially dealt with in your life
7. Do not let Satan "steal your memory" (this was something that Presv. brought up that her spiritual father told her... in that moment of anger, Satan is stealing our memories from us...we forget who we really are and we forget who that person is that we are angry with (our child, our spouse, our friend, our brother or sister in Christ... I thought this is a sobering thought on anger... do we really want Satan stealing our memories from us?) in the fleeting moment of anger/reaction time.
8. Remember how you've hurt people in the past and thereby refrain from future unkind words and actions
9. Give people the benefit of the doubt
10. Ask questions like "what do you mean by that?" or share if something people says hurts you instead of reacting or assuming ill-will.
11. Don't interpret things too personally or sensitively
12. Let your conscience work for you and be obedient to it. Let it work for you in abolishing your bad thoughts before they become words/actions
13. Remember who you are (a Christian) and whom you choose to serve (Christ) at all times.
14. Realize that you cannot change basic elements of other's personhood/personality
15. Accept people for who they are/don't clash over something you know to be a part of a person's makeup (i.e. Laidback, high strung, needs downtime, needs organization, etc.)
16. Remember you are on the same team with your family members
17. Practice humility and obedience (obedience leads us to grace)
18. Know yourself and your shortcomings/accuse yourself first, not others
19. Read James 3 (see above)
20. Practice the Jesus Prayer, out loud if necessary
21. Remember Satan wants us to forget all the aforementioned items.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Another weekend out of town...

Little P and I will be going to the monastery tomorrow (Friday) through Saturday with a friend and her almost 3 year old (that will be a definite adventure with Little P). Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I messed up on typing up a couple of the recipes on my blog (go here). Instead of 1 oz or 2 oz of cayenne pepper, use 1/2 tsp. or 1 tsp. if using powder. If you are using cayenne sauce, do the 1 or 2 oz. thing. Please forgive me if I am confusing any of you:) I will correct it on the recipes, too.

Adventures with Little P: First Day of Lent

Things that are difficult to do with an almost three year old during the first week of Lent:

1. Forgiveness Vesper’s: In our community we have Orthros, Liturgy, and then Forgiveness Vesper’s on Sunday morning. So, after having been at church for about 2 ½ hours, we began the vesper’s service. The little one’s were cranky because they had been in church for so long! Little P just wanted to know when he was going to get his “bread” and then his snack! And then, I think Pavlos (or Little P as I like to call him) was a bit overwhelmed with all the attention from people. People wanted to hug and/or kiss him. And he decided that he wanted to be held almost the whole time (thank goodness he was willing to be passed back and forth between mommy and papa). Little P is a smaller child, he weighs about 25 pounds, but I found out that my arm goes a little numb holding him in my left arm while trying to do half-prostrations and making the sign of the cross with my right arm. Finally, when we had “circled” through most of the people and we were in a stationary spot, he would let us put him down.

2. No TV: We have a TV, but we keep the antenna hidden in another room (for things such as the Super Bowl, presidential debates, the Olympics… you get the picture). So Little P watches videos. And I am pretty picky about the videos that I let him watch (and, I just noticed, that I have only bought him one video the rest were gifts from grandma and yiayia). We have mainly Baby Einstein movies. They are 30 minutes long (which is enough time for me to take my shower in the morning and get ready). We are trying to not watch any TV. I put all the movies away. He asked for them all day yesterday, but he didn’t become too upset that I would not let him watch a movie. I did keep out the video of Grandma’s Visit to Our Home and Thanksgiving and Christmas 2004 (we have a digital video camera and Paul will take lots of footage at family events, download it all on to the computer, cut scenes, add pictures and music, and make a 30 minute video of that particular event). I don’t mind if Little P watches these movies (at lest, I don’t mind as much as the others) because they are movies of people that he loves (grandma, yiayia, pappous, his cousins Pavel and Maria, etc.). But we made it through Kathera Devtera (Clean Monday) without a movie!

3. Great Compline and Canon of St. Andrew: Little P was ok at church. I think it was difficult for him because papa came directly from work and so Little P was very excited to see him which is beautiful, but can be a bit disruptive. In our community, we push all the chairs to the outside edge of the church so everyone has plenty of room for prostrations. I think he did alright considering there was all that open space. It gave him room to cense (he uses a 100 knot prayer rope as a censer). He sort of got into the prostrations, although he would decide to prostrate either right in front of me or right in front of Paul.

Not a bad first day of Lent. And we are supposed to be struggling (all the time) and so having an almost three year old brings struggle to a whole different level. I do remember, before little p, being able to concentrate on the services. Now I know why children are a means for our salvation:)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Tidbits or Bits of Tid:)

Last night I had a crazy dream. I was back in high school and Napolean Dynamite kept trying to ask me out. I never answered him. Then he tried to kiss me and I noticed that he had really chapped lips (if you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about) and I was grossed out. Then, in less than a second, I aged 15 years (to present age) and remembered that I am married and have a wonderful little boy. Napolean was heartbroken (and then my alarm clock went off).

U2 is not coming to Portland. Very disappointing. I actually received this news a while back, just now getting around to posting it. Back in my groupie days, I saw them twice in one year (once in Eugene, OR and again in Seattle, WA). They aren't going to Eugene and the Seattle show is sold out. Bummer.

This week we get to pick out the flooring, countertops, and cabinets for our new home. We are very excited. I spent all morning last Tuesday on the phone with all sorts of different people (the lender, our agent, the land trust, etc.). Buying a new home is a lot of work!

And, finally, I am going with our Myrrhbearer's group (women's group) from church to the Oregon coast for a retreat. It's just one night, but it should be a nice get-away. The theme is Loving our Families.

Oh... and here are the links to the 2 different entries of Lenten recipes (here and here) and on our church website. See you next week!

OH and most important, please forgive me if I have hurt, offended, or bored any of you with my blog (in honor of Forgiveness Sunday). God forgives!

UPDATE: I forgot to link you to the list of topics for our Basics in Orthodoxy class being offered at St. John the Baptist. This is to keep you updated on what the missions and evangelism team is currently involved in at the church (more info. on our committee go here, here, and here).

This is the blog entry with lots o' links. Fun fun fun!

UPDATE #2: Ok, it seems as if I hadn't "refreshed" the u2 concert schedule link and it was coming up with their old schedule (with no fall shows). So, I need to ask Bono for forgiveness because they are coming on Dec. 19 (which is a week after my birthday... coincidence?!?). Forgive me, Bono, I erred! And thanks to Karl who emailed me that they are coming to town (and my dh also emailed me because he received the Ticketmaster updates for shows in Portland). That about covers it... now I really need to get packing for this beach overnighter!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

We interrupt this blog...

Here is a very nice article written about our beloved Metropolitan Anthony (May his memory be eternal). I admit, this article made me a little misty... after reading it, please scroll down for the newly added Lenten recipes:)

Dying Wish Honored
Greek Orthodox spiritual leader buried at monastery.
By Diana Marcum / The Fresno Bee
(Updated Thursday, March 3, 2005, 1:16 PM)
Metropolitan Anthony Gergiannakis' last wishes were fulfilled with his burial Wednesday afternoon at the Monastery of Theotokos. Bishop Anthimos Olympos, second from left and wearing the metropolitan's vestments, presides over the graveside service. Gergiannakis told the bishop he wanted his funeral to be a
celebration of life.

DUNLAP — The dying wish of a man who never let the word "no" stop him was honored Wednesday when Greek Orthodox leader Anthony Gergiannakis was buried at a secluded monastery in these Sierra Nevada foothills.
It took nothing short of a state Senate bill for Gergiannakis to lie, not in some official cemetery, but here, on top of a hill just beginning to bloom with wildflowers, behind the altar of a Byzantine cathedral he envisioned and made reality.
He was buried facing east where rain clouds fingered deep green mountains — his church believes that Christ will come in clouds from the east. He was covered with dirt from his native village on the island of Crete and pebbles from the Acropolis, mixed with the California earth of the monastery he loved.
It was the metropolitan's longtime wish to be buried at the monastery, but for years the church made no progress getting permission from the county or state. Under state law, burying a body outside of an official cemetery without special approval is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail.
But last fall when Gergiannakis, spiritual leader to thousands in the western United States, fell ill with an aggressive cancer, his confidants pledged that he would have his final wish.
He died on Christmas Day. About 40 days later, on Feb. 1, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 28, allowing burial at the Monastery of Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring. It was a day of religious significance in the Greek Orthodox Church, which believes the dead stay close to the living for 40 days before making their way to paradise.
Wednesday, on what would have been his 70th birthday, Gergiannakis was laid in his final resting place. Senate bills usually take from 10 months to two years to process — Gergiannakis' was passed in less than 30 days.
Gergiannakis trained his friends and followers well in how to achieve things others think impossible.
"Every person who called me said, 'You have to understand how much of a force he's been. He got so much done. He served so many people,'" said Republican Senator Chuck Poochigian of Fresno, who rushed the bill through the Senate.
"It was obvious that none of them would accept anything short of getting it done. Just like he'd never accepted anything less."
When Father Jim Pappas of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Fresno hears Gergiannakis' voice in his head — and that is often — he hears the trademark growl, "What are you waiting for?" — Gergiannakis' response to every good idea. "He was always pushing to the next dream," said Father Demetrios-Earl Cantos, chaplain of the monastery.
Gergiannakis was a risk-taker who played to win, whether it was building a monastery in the Sierra foothills or playing golf, backgammon and gin rummy. He loved to cook and feed friends and strangers at big, rollicking dinner parties.

Though he had risen to the heights of church hierarchy, conducting services in the gold crown of a king, he retained some village ways. He would yell "Stop the car" so he could pick dandelions at the side of the road, then cook them with olive oil and lemon.
He was known for his laughter, although he could also be stern, and for his open-mindedness. In a church steeped in Greek culture, Gergiannakis insisted that everyone — Greek or not— was welcome.
Among the more than 500 mourners at his burial were Greek Orthodox priests with blond hair, and priests with Asian features, a testament to Gergiannakis' welcoming philosophies.
Services wrapped in solemnity began with nuns in morning prayer, then a two-hour liturgy with nuns and priests and lay people praying together. Men and women stood on separate sides of a cathedral that was bathed in gold candlelight and ancient traditions. The women wore long skirts and covered their heads. Incense burned and overhead a sweeping brass chandelier slowly spun, symbolizing the movement of angels.
"If he were here, he would want all the people to know the movement means the unity and symphony of all that have gone before us, and all that are here worshipping," said Bishop Anthimos Olympos. The bishop and Gergiannakis were close friends for more than 50 years. When Gergiannakis came out of a coma before his death, he told the bishop, "Come close, give me your ear. Pethéno — I am dying." Then he gave a huge smile and said "I am at peace. I want my funeral to be an occasion of the celebration of life. I want there to be joy."
"He made me promise not to cry at his funeral," Bishop Olympos said. It was a promise that the bishop could not keep.
He shed tears many times as mourners gave graveside testament, always ending with words, in Greek or English, meaning "May his memory be eternal."
But one promise was kept. There was joy. There was joy during the lunch as parishioners feasted on salmon — because if it's Greek, it's fish, said a former islander, because it is a reminder of the saltiness of life, said a priest's's mother, and because Gergiannakis loved salmon, saideveryone said.
There was joy as friends and followers exchanged stories of Metropolitan Anthony's accomplishments and exploits.
And in the afternoon, when Gergiannakis' body was put in the grave, nuns played brass bells that echoed across valleys, rolling gray clouds let in stripes of pale sun, mourners gazed at green hills frosted with dandelions and wild mustard — and there was joy in a job well finished.
"He's buried where he wanted to be buried, after living the life he wanted to live, " said Dave Gray of Castro Valley. "And he lies there because people carried on his legacy of getting things done."

Monday, March 07, 2005

New Lenten Recipes

Alright, it's that time of year again and here are some lenten recipes that I have discovered since last November (when I last posted Lenten Recipes). May we not focus too much on food this lent and focus more on Christ's Resurrection! Maybe having good recipes to feed our families will help:) Oh, and forgive me if it seems like these are a lot of bean recipes. What better way to maintain protein than through beans. I will try to type up some non-bean lenten recipes in the next few days. Check back then.

OH, other news... the house is ours barring anything bizarre happening. The sign will come down today (I just spoke to our realtor). YEAH! We are very excited, happy, and relieved.

Red Beans and Rice Soup serves 4
2 Tbs. Vegetable Oil or Corn oil
1 Medium onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
1 medium green pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces cayenne pepper sauce or 1 tsp. powdered cayenne pepper
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 quart (32 oz) vegetable broth
1 ½ cups rice (not cooked… it will cook in the soup)

Heat oil in deep pot over medium. Add onion, celery, pepper, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, and salt and pepper to pot. Saute 5 minutes. Add Cayenne pepper, red beans, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to boil. Add rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender.

Three Bean Soup serves 4
1 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
1 med. onion finely chopped
2 med. red skinned potatoes, washed and diced
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs chopped
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp. cumin
1 oz. cayenne pepper sauce or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powdered
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 cans (14 oz each) vegetable broth
½ pound fresh green beans (cut into thirds)

Heat deep pot over medium heat. Add oil, onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaf, cumin, cayenne pepper. Cover pot and cook 5 minutes. Add beans (2 types), tomatoes, Worcestershire, and broth and bring to a boil. Add green beans and simmer until green beans are tender. Serve.

Black Bean Soup serves 4
1 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 ½ tsps cumin
salt to taste
2 cans black beans (15 oz) drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Tortilla Chips (optional)

Heat oil in deep pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno, bay leaf, coriander, cumin and salt. Add beans crushed tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer. Serve in bowls topped with scallions (optional) with tortilla chips for dipping (optional)

Corn and Bell Pepper Soup serves 4
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup salsa (your favorite kind… mild or extra spicy)
1 can (32 oz) stewed tomatoes
3 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cans (14 oz each) vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 scallion thinly sliced (optional)
Fresh Cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and peppers. Saute. Add cumin, salsa, tomatoes, corn, and broth. Bring to boil and simmer. Stir in cilantro (optional) and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions (optional)

Bean Burritos serves 6
1 Tbs. oil
1 onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
6 tortillas (flour or whole wheat)
Salsa (your favorite)

Heat oil over medium heat in a skillet. Saute onion. Add taco seasoning and both types of beans. Stir until well heated. Warm tortillas in oven. Fill tortillas with bean mixture. Garnish with salsa (or whatever you can think of)

Mixed bean chili serves 6
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 jar salsa
1 10 oz package of frozen corn
1 sweet potato, cubed

Put everything into the crock pot, set on low, and cook for 6-8 hours.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Just some links

Tomorrow is the big day, where we put down our earnest money on the house. I will allow myself to get excited tomorrow. For now, here are some websites that I like/refer to often:)

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: Probably the best book out there on NFP (or, actually, the Fertility Awareness Method). What I like most about it is that I can input everything onto my computer and it keeps track of my info. for me (rather than printing off charts, etc.). The high tech way to natural family planning:)

And, along the same lines as the above website, there is The Orthodox NFP site. Very interesting and infomative (they even have a Yahoo group you can join). I like the brochures and have passed them on to Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike (mostly for the reasons to not take birth control pills).

Here is a shameless promotion of an organization that my cousin is heavily involved in: Skaters for Skateparks

And, finally, the Portland Community Land Trust: This is how we are able to buy a new home:)

Here are the Lenten Recipes from our church website. Doesn't hurt to start preparing now for Lent!

Thanks for reading, hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Good News... posted with slight trepidation

We may have found a house! I am trying not to be too excited or happy about it, but it is a little difficult to contain myself:) We may have found a house. We are going this evening to discuss details with the realtor, etc. We may have found a house. I have to temper my happiness in order not to be disappointed in case things do not work out the way "we" would like them.

In other news... in our bedroom there is a spot, right above our bed (and under our marriage crowns) where the paint has peeled in an almost perfect circle. I think it is ugly and I don't like to look at it. Pavlos thinks it is the moon. So every time he comes into bed with us (usually only on a Saturday morning), he will stand on the bed, touch that spot, and cry out "moon, mommy, moon!" very excitedly. I am sincerely trying to visualize that ugly spot on the wall as the beautiful moon that my son is able to see. I will continue to let him teach me the beauty that is EVERYWHERE present.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I am always coming across the term obedience in my readings about my Orthodox faith. And the different opportunities that life presents to practice obedience such as obedience to a spouse (or Geronda or Gerondissa if you are a monastic), obedience to parents, obedience to civil authorities (including the law), obedience to a spiritual father (or mother), obedience to our children (especially if they are, oh, about 2 ½ as I am living through right now), obedience to a supervisor or boss if we work, etc. So many opportunities to cut off our own will and to serve others through obedience.

The other night (last Saturday evening, to be precise) my DH Paul and I were getting ready for bed. His insulin pump alarm went off. See, Paul has had type one (juvenile) diabetes for 28 years (since he was 2 years old… I cannot even imagine the amount of stress that must have caused his parents, but that’s a whole ‘nother post). And he is in very good control of his diabetes, thank God. He is on an insulin pump to help him maintain that great control. Back to the alarm… his pump was telling him that he needed to add more insulin. Now, adding insulin to a pump is an involved process, and would probably add about 20 minutes of work before he would be able to come to bed. But he did have enough insulin in the pump to make it through the night (but, on the flip side, that would mean going getting up 20 minutes earlier and refilling his pump before going to church). He decided to do it right then and sleep in the extra 20 minutes. Now you are all probably wondering why the heck is she telling us about her husband’s insulin pump. It occurred to me, as I was laying in bed, watching Paul refill his pump, that we also need to be obedient to ourselves. If Paul chose to not refill his pump or to stop testing his blood sugar or to eat bad foods, he would become very sick. If I chose to stop taking my meds (I have Lupus and a seizure disorder… we make a great couple), I would become very sick. So we are obedient to the needs of taking care of us. Does that make sense?

Some may argue that we are being obedient to our illness. I think that it goes beyond that. I think that we all need to be obedient to what makes us feel yucky (eating McDonald’s three times a day) v. eating what is healthy. This obviously does not mean that we can justify going to a spa or giving into indulgences because we “need them”. There is a certain amount of responsibility to taking care of our physical selves in the right manner. I don’t know, maybe I am just babbling (which I am, of course, known for).

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The baby that isn't...at least in this world

Yesterday, February 19, was my due date. The feast of St. Philothei of Athens (who we had the wonderful opportunity to venerate her relics in Athens, Greece when we were there two years ago). Back in early June 2004, when I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to learn that Feb. 19 was my due date because of St. Philothei. And I thought that maybe, if the baby actually was born on its due date, and it was a girl, we could consider the name Philothei. Then, I miscarried in early August (I was ten weeks pregnant). I had a previous miscarriage, before I was pregnant with Pavlos (that was at eight weeks), that was difficult (they all are) but then I became pregnant with Pavlos right away and my focus was on the baby that I was carrying and not on the baby that I lost. Now, I am not pregnant again and I am going through lots of thoughts about this baby that isn't... at least in this world. And I like to think it might have been a girl. And I like to think that her name is Philothei and that she is praying for us in the heavenly kingdom. May God protect us and have mercy on us!

Monday, February 14, 2005

An answer to a comment or books, books, books

I would also be interested in learning what books you have read, and are reading in this 'team.' Especially those books that have helped you (or others on the committee) to better understand or clarify the Faith for you. Also, if you feel that some books have been more helpful than others will you please note those. –Herman-Layne

Please forgive me for being so long away from this blog. Real life gets in the way of everything else, sometimes, doesn’t it?

Herman-layne asked for a listing of books we have read as part of the Great Commission Team. When we started out, Fr. T. had us read a bunch of books to get into the spirit of missions and evangelism and to learn more about our faith. These are the books:

The Precious Pearl: The Lives of Sts. Barlaam and Joasaph by St. John Damascene
This is a wonderful book, not one (at least for me) to be read quickly. St. Barlaam answers St. Joasaph’s questions regarding Orthodoxy (when he was a catechumen). Very good. And the sections are fairly short so I was able to read one question and one answer at a time in order to (attempt) absorb it better. I am definitely a lives of the saints kind of gal v. deep theology.

Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission by Fr. Michael Oleksa
From the beginning, we knew (as a group) that our focus would be on Orthodoxy in America. So you will notice that we read some lives of saints and this book. Now, I actually did not read this book, my dh, Paul, read it and took notes and gave them to me. But I did read all the other books! And I know that this should be an excellent book because Fr. Oleksa is an excellent speaker. This is on my list to read…

Missionaries, Monks, and Martyrs: Making Disciples of all Nations by Fr. Luke Veronis
I (and dh) read this book a long time ago when we were working for Project Mexico (it was required reading to do long term work with PM). This is a wonderful, short book that goes through the missionary lives of nine saints and one Archbishop (who is still alive). Very easy to read and a good introduction to these ten people/saints.

St. Innocent: Apostle to America by Paul Garrett
Also Project Mexico required reading. We felt it was important to read about the life of our very own “apostle to America” in the context of missions and evangelism. This is an excellent book. I would highly recommend it.

From Earth to Heaven: The Apostolic Adventures of St. Innocent of Alaska by Monk Andrew Wermuth
This is a beautifully illustrated book. It’s just another, shorter, and easier to understand, telling of St. Innocent’s life. I believe it is designed for younger readers but it is still very nice.

Apostle to Zaire: The Life and Legacy of Blessed Father Cosmas by Demetrios Aslanidis and Monk Damascene Grigoriatis
This is the life of a monk from Mt. Athos who goes to Africa as a missionary. His zeal for the faith and his love for God are amazing. He reposed in 1989 so he is a recent example of missionizing/evangelizing.

Modern Orthodox Saints: St. Cosmas Aitolos by Constantine Cavarnos
A missionary martyr in Greece under the Ottoman Empire. St. Cosmas was an Athonite monk who evangelized to the Greek people in order to help them remember their faith. This book has some good teaching of St. Cosmas regarding our faith. St. Cosmas is one of my personal favorite saints.

Little Russian Philokalia Vol. III: St. Herman by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood
Like our reasoning behind reading St. Innocent’s life, we wanted to read about another “missionary” to America, St. Herman. And we wanted to compare the lives of St. Innocent and St. Herman. Two very different approaches to evangelizing the native people, but both very successful.

From these books, we were trying to do three things… learn more about our faith, come up with a definition of a missionary/evangelizer (an Orthodox definition) and examine the different types of evangelizing within the history of the Orthodox Church. Now we do know that there are plenty of saints that we missed. St. Paul, the great evangelizer of the Christian faith, for example (although he is briefly covered in Missionaries, Monks, and Martyrs) was not on our list.

For answering questions regarding our faith, The Precious Pearl is the best book. The rest of the books are more examples of living our faith.

If you have books regarding missions/evangelism within the Orthodox Church or books about our faith, please do list them in the comment section. Thanks for reading

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Great Commission Team or How I ended up on this committee and what we are working on now

At St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR (that’s where we go to church), my DH and I are member of the Missions and Evangelism committee aka The Great Commission Team. We have been a part of this committee for a few years, now. I think it all began when I was asked to give my “journey to Orthodoxy” story to a group of non-Orthodox at someone’s home. Since I had never been asked this question it turned out to be a very thought-provoking process for me to recall my own “journey within Orthodoxy” (note the change of wording from “to” to “within” as both my husband and I are cradle Orthodox and neither of us ever left the Church, although we definitely had our ups and downs growing up in the Faith). Someday I will blog about my journey, but right now I am trying (in a very round-about way) to explain why we are on this committee. The reason that we were asked to participate in this discussion/presentation is that the question came up as to what happened to the Greeks? The Russians? The Serbs? The Arabs? How come there are lots of converts that are trying to share Orthodoxy with their friends and families but you never actually meet any ethnic Orthodox? And our parish is made up of mostly converts so it is an appropriate question. I was asked to share my journey as a cradle-ethnic Orthodox (my husband has the blessing of being a cradle Orthodox, but not an ethnic Orthodox). That’s why I refer to us as being the “token cradles” on this committee (and my husband will be the first to tell you that he never, ever thought he would marry a Greek girl because he was going to marry a nice Orthodox girl… hehehe).

So within this committee we are currently working on two projects (which, by the way, if you every move to Portland and decide to join our parish, this is the committee to be on… we read books, have discussions, delve into our faith… it’s amazing). OH, and by the way, and I am not sure why this is, but I am also the token woman on the committee. Back to our two projects. The first is that we came up with a list of frequently asked questions that non-Orthodox ask regarding Orthodoxy. Our short list of 39 questions is rather daunting. What we hope to do with this list of questions is answer them within the group (hence the great discussions) so that we understand our own faith. Below are the first four questions and the answers that we came up with for them. I have typed them in an outline format (because that is how I think). I am going to also post a list of all the questions for you to peruse at your leisure. Please comment and let me know what questions you are usually asked or, if you remember, what questions you asked prior to becoming Orthodox. And if you aren’t Orthodox, welcome and add your own questions, too (or, better yet, comment about which questions you would like to have answered).

1. You’re Jewish, right?
No- Orthodox means correct faith/worship- correct viewpoint.
Orthodox Jew – follows Judaism in its fullness
Orthodox – truth in the face of heresy
Term formally used post schism
Catholic = according to the whole

2. You’re just like the Catholic church but in the east.
Papal infallibility, worship of Mary, schism in 1054
Orthodox not Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic left Orthodoxy
We have an unbroken line to the apostles
*ask the person how do you define Catholic to find out what they are getting at

3. Don’t you worship Mary/ Can Mary save us?
No- worship is reserved only for God.
Honor Mary’s role in salvation history
Savior (Christ) v. someone who helps (Mary)
*to honor Mary is to honor and believe in the potentiality of Christ in our life.

4. Are you saved?
He who believes (continuous)
Persevere in your belief
Saved- language we don’t use in the Church, we don’t judge

In the coming months, as we meet, I will post our answers to the questions. Our second project involves creating a Basics in Orthodoxy curriculum for Fr. T. So far, we have an outline of what will be discussed in each class (I will post that outline next week, I don't want to overwhelm my blogging fan club with too much information...hahaha).

Missions and Evangelism Committee Questions

Here are a list of questions we as a committee came up with regarding the Orthodox Church (our version of FAQ's by non-Orthodox to Orthodox). Please read the above entry for more information on why I am posting this:)

If you have a question to add, please comment... answers to come in the coming months.

Questions regarding the Orthodox Church:

You’re Jewish, right?
You’re just like the Catholic Church, but in the east.
Don’t you worship Mary? Can Mary save us?
Are you saved?
Do you fall under the pope? (and get back up again.. he he he)
You must be Greek (or Russian, etc.)
Are you a Christian?
Questions pertaining to the infallibility of scripture and our belief in the Bible.
Do you ordain women?
Do you believe that Communion is the body and blood of Christ?
What do you believe about cremation?
Why can’t I receive communion in the Orthodox Church?
Do you have priests?
Why do you call your priest father? “…call no man father…”
Why are your priests allowed to marry?
Why do you fast?
Salvation is based on faith alone and is not related to works
Protestant notion of grace v. the Orthodox idea of grace and what is the different understandings of the word ‘salvation’.
How do we understand propitiation and expiation?
How and when are we saved?
Questions pertaining to prayers to saints.
The use of icons.
Infant baptism and baptism in general.
What is the Orthodox understanding of the sacraments?
How does the Orthodox view of tradition impact our faith and cause us to view scripture and the Church differently?
The Orthodox understanding of monasticism.
Do you believe that Orthodoxy is the only way to Christ?
Why is it that Orthodox Christians do not evangelize?
The Orthodox understanding of prayers for the dead.
The incarnation and its impact on our worship.
Can you lose your salvation? –predestination
Free will and the sovereignty of God
What is the Orthodox understanding of rapture?
Are you born again?
Interpretation of scripture by the Fathers, by an individual, or by the pope.
Septuagint v. Masoretic texts for the Old Testament and their use in the New Testament.
When Christ asked Peter three times “do you love me?” was a different word for ‘love’ used in the original Greek or was it the same word for all three questions?
I thought Jesus was the mediator between God and man.
Formal v. informal prayers (repetitive) and the nature of prayers.