Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallow's Eve

Well, I got the job of chaperoning the Halloween crew this year... but I have to admit, getting to dress up was worth it, even if it feels like my very bone marrow is frozen. =P

(And yes, I went as a witch.. no judging, please. haha.  Old dance recital costumes, some black jazz tights and old leather boots are great to have when you're short on time.. XD)

(We went earlier in the evening, because apparently more that half of the kids were scared of the dark... =P)

(Jessie in her traditional Greek dancing costume and me in my improvised witch costume, striking a traditional Greek dancing pose.. haha)

(My absolutely gorgeous sister!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

These photos pretty much summarize most Veritas Press students...

(pick me! pick me!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. 
- Audrey Hepburn  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Death by Biscotti

This recipe is heavenly.  Crumble it in coffee ice cream - you will thank me. That is, if you don’t die from deliciousness... 

Biscotti with Dried Cherries, Chocolate And Almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 1/4 cups pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil  
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest or a tablespoon of orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries, finely chopped (or, 3/4 cups mixture of cranberries & cherries)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped (I find pecans taste better for this recipe)
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (scant 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl beat together the sugar, eggs, oil, orange zest and vanilla extract until well combined. In batches add the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a dough. Beat in the cherries, almonds and chocolate.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead several times. Shape into a log about 10 inches long and 3 inches wide. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. With a serrated knife, cut 1/2-inch diagonal slices. Arrange cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake the biscotti until golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the love of history...

As I finish up the last assigned pages of The Landmark Thucydides, I try to remember this quote...

Don't give up. The book may be 3 inches thick, but reading it, really reading it, will pay off.

The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid. - Livy

Friday, October 26, 2012

World Religions and Christianity

Today in a discussion with Fr. Barnabas of St. RNI Parish, I learned about a curious new term called “σπερματικὸς λόγος” (spermatikos logos). 
What exactly does that mean? Why would that term be floating around in a Greek Orthodox parish? 
Here’s why...
Without anyone telling you, “spermatikos” makes you think of the biological term “sperm” right?  Right. What is a sperm?  Well, a sperm is a type of “seed.”  Where did that word come from?  The Greeks!  It comes from the word “sperma” which literally means seed.  
And, “logos” is a well known Greek term for reason/word. 
It turns out you already know what “spermatikos logos” means without looking deep into the Greek.  A rough translation of the term would be “seed reason.”  A literal translation is not far from it:  
“Seminal reason” or “the seed of reason.”

There you go - a Greek language lecture. :D 

Now, why is this tiny language gem important to the Church? 
I love asking questions, so here’s another one... Who do Christians call “the logos” or “the word?”  
Jesus Christ 

Turns out “spermatikos logos” was a major philosophical and theological term used in the Early Church. The theological idea surrounding the term is relatively simple, although it can be developed and discussed at a deeper extent.  
It basically says that:
-If Christ is the word, and in the beginning was the Word.. etc (John 1:1) 
-and if  “God so loved the world...”, meaning, God has opened His hand to the world and extends His love to everyone, including those of different religions,
-Then, God’s love, and the “word” of God has been around since the beginning and available to everyone - whether they quite like it or not.  
     And that is where the concept of “spermatikos logos” comes in.  Orthodox Christians believe that all of mankind has the “seed of the Word.”  If we really do hold to the statement that “God is love” then every culture, every civilization, every village has the ability to participate fully in that Love and Good, or at least find an ounce of it and apply it to their culture. 
      Islam is a Christian heresy, for example.  They have some very “Christian” ideas in their thinking - they have a “spermatikos logos” a “seed” of God’s Truth.  Are they right?  No, but we shouldn’t try to extinguish them for it.   
     Instead, Christianity uses the term “spermatikos logos” to express how we should look at those of different religions.  There is a “Seed of the Word” or a “seed of truth” in every culture, religion, and civilization.  As Christians, then, it is our job to find that Truth and call it for what it is.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that other religion is going to bring about the Salvation of those partaking in it - it merely means we try to find the “good” in that religion, the connection Christians can make to that religion. 

     Most of us are familiar with pictures like that... a picture of all the lights in the world from the viewpoint of a spacecraft. 
     However, it’s also a perfect example of “spermatikos logos” and how Christians use it to look at the culture around them.  
    Think of Christianity as one big beaming light - the “city set on a hill.”  Now imagine those lights in that picture are really “seeds of the Word” found in different religions.  Imagine them as little bits of Truth scattered throughout a dark world.   Imagine them as “spermatikos logos’s.” 
      Although Christians shouldn’t accept other religions as valid, we should not reject them as totally wrong either.  We should be the Light, and we should look for that Light in other religions and cultures of the world... using that “seed of the Word,” or the “Light of the Word” to bring others to Christ.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coffee used to make me shake like a chihuahua on a sugar high in the middle of the Arctic ... now it stabilizes those frantic brain cells that zing the insides of my brain on those rainy mornings/late evenings when the soul is far from tired, but the body is limp. 
Thank goodness for caffeine. Agreed? :D

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can 
grow separately without growing apart. - Elisabeth Foley