Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ministry Super Powers

I've been watching too many Super Hero movies this summer.  Avengers, Ant-Man, and Big Hero 6 have got me thinking about a time when I felt like I had a super power.   This is what inspired my recent blog post on OCN's Sounding.

Photo by Harald Hagen

Orthodox Summer Camp was a changing factor in my life story. This is where I should add a legal disclaimer that not all camp experiences are the same and that results vary. It’s just that for me, I realized that I had a calling to serve the church in youth ministry while being at summer camp. It was as if my energy and creativity collided like superpowers and I found that I had something to offer the Church. Although my energy has subsided and I have retired from such heroic deeds, there are superheroes out there, who are running, sweating, and teaching children about Orthodoxy in an outdoor environment.

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Who Are you a Slave to?

It seems to be our nature to be a slave to something... our passions or God's will.  We can't just be free.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

In their Memory

This weekend I was blessed to help a family prepare koliva for a father and grandfather.  His name was John and he lived to be 103.  Please remember him.  May his memory be eternal. 

It is important for the family to prepare the koliva themselves, and not simply write a check.  There really is a healing process in the preparation.  During the time we prepped the ingredients (boiled the wheat, toasted the nuts and cleaned the raisins) they shared stories of his generosity, compassion and courage.  They had a chance to reflect on his life and I was able to learn about a man I never met.

If you haven't make a large portion of koliva yet, here are the ingredients:

For a Memorial Service your portions will look more like: 5 lbs whole wheat (cooked in 2 large pots) 4 c chopped walnuts, 4 c blanched / slivered almonds,  2 c raisins, 2 c golden raisins, 1 c Italian (flat) parsley, 4 c whole sesame seeds, 2 T cinnamon, 1 T pumpkin spice, 1 T honey, 2 lbs powdered sugar,  1 lb Jordan Almonds.

The cross and letters were found in Hobby Lobby and spray painted/decorated.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Deja Vu... How We Witness We were on our way to visit a neighboring parish and admire their newly completed iconography project when I saw firsthand what the hubbub in the local paper was all about. Recently​,​ our small town in South Carolina has experienced a series of vandalism ​attacks in which someone spray​-painted “Jesus is Lord” and “Jesus, Son of God” across regularly traveled roadways. It has sparked attention in the paper and on social media concerning what ​is good or bad about religious graffiti, and it touched slightly on the understanding of sacredness as one man contemplated his hesitance to wash out Jesus’ name.
As we drove over the graffiti​,​ I flashed back some twenty years ago​ to​ when I was a design major and living in Manhattan...   (Go to for the full article.)
Visiting Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Columbia, SC

Fish on a Hot day

It seems absurd to write that it is hard to be inspired by fasting foods on hot days, but it's just too hot for soups and pasta.  And who wants to heat the house with the oven.

When my grill master is too busy to grill, I like to make this rendition based on my mom's fish plaki for company. 

  • Sauté the onions and add celery, mushrooms and 4 smashed garlic cloves. 

  • When they are soft and translucent, pour 2 cups vegetable broth instead of tomato sauce.

  • After it boils, pour in diluted cornstarch. I like to put 2 T of cornstarch into a small jar with 1/2 cup warm water.  I close the lid and shake vigorously.  Then I have a clump-free liquid to thicken my broth.

  • Stir.  Simmer for 5 minutes. 

  • Add fish and close lid.  Let steam for 5-10 minutes. 

  • It's delicious, cooks on the stove, and reheats well. 

  • Serve with pasta, rice, roasted potatoes... or a side salad.  It's yummy!