Banana Mocha Smoothie {Paleo approved!}

Banana Mocha Paleo Smoothie

So for the past month I have been on the infamous Paleo diet.  Now you know I avoid diets like the plague because I just loathe them.  I love to cook and even though I don’t eat a lot, I really really enjoy good food.  So diets are take a lot of will power for me.  Especially when that means cutting out some of my favorite things like breads, milk and cheese.

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Top Ten Summer Reading Programs for Kids

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Did you know the number one way to prevent summer slide is for your child to read every single day during the summer?

Below are my Top 10 Summer Reading Programs to keep your kids from slipping down the summer slide.  All of the programs offer terrific incentives to keep them reading all summer long!   [Read more...]

Chia Seeds Egg Replacer

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Did you know you could use Chia Seeds as an egg replacer?

In the past I’ve used things like bananas or applesauce but you always end up with a little of that flavor in whatever you’re making. That’s ok for some things but sometimes I don’t want any additional flavors so I recently started using chia seeds. And they work great! Plus they’re loaded with protein among many other health benefits.

Just add 1 Tbsp of seeds with 3 Tbsp of water (per egg). Let sit 15 minutes, stir, and use as you would regular eggs.

Chia Seeds as Egg Replacer

Katherine of Seamless Katherine is allergic to chia seeds and told me you can use flaxseeds as well and recommends alternating between the two.

Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) on visit from the Pope

Christ Pantokrator of Sinai
This article was originally posted here.
Met. Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) Speaks Out of Upcoming Visit of Pope to Cyprus

Met. Athanasios of Lemesou (Cyprus) Speaks Out of Upcoming Visit of Pope to Cyprus

In an interview published today, May 23, 2010 in the Cypriot Newspaper “Phileleftheros” the Metropolitan distances himself from the Archbishop’s decision to host the Pope in Cyprus.
The following are excerpts from the interview:

“For us Orthodox, the Pope is a heretic, outside of the Church, and, hence, not even a bishop”.

“He [the Pope] has been outside of the Church for ten centuries now, he is not a canonical bishop, he has no relation whatsoever to the reality of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. It is one thing to receive him as a canonical bishop and quite another to speak to him as [being] a heterodox in order to reveal to him the truth of the Orthodox Faith and Tradition.”

“Dialogue is not a bad thing when it is carried out based on correct presuppositions. However, it is wrong to say to these people that we recognize them as a Church, that we recognize the Pope as a Bishop, as our brother in Christ in the priesthood and in [the] faith. I cannot accept this, because we are lying [when we say this], since all of the Holy Fathers teach exactly the opposite. Papism is a heresy and the source of many other heresies which trouble the entire world today. A contemporary Saint of the Church, Saint Justin Popovich, said that in the history of the human race there have been three tragic falls: of the first-formed Adam, of the disciple of Christ, Judas, and of the Pope, who, when he was the first Bishop of the Church, fell from the apostolic faith, was cut off from the canonical Church and lured away a host of people with him until today.”

“God is one and the Church of God is one, and that is why we say in the Symbol of Faith [that we believe] “in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” This is the Orthodox Church, there do not exist many Churches.”

“When I say to the other that it doesn’t matter that you are catholic and that we all belong to the same Church, I am playing with him [or mocking him] since all of the Holy Fathers teach that the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ is one.”

“The Orthodox Church preserves the faith of the Apostles and the experience of the prophets unshakeable up until our own days. The Papists, unfortunately, from the time when they were cut off from the Church added many heretics dogmas to their [confession of] faith, changed the Symbol of Faith [the Nicene Creed] and above all elevated the Pope to the level of being the eminent and unique representative of God on earth.”

“When you add things to the Symbol of Faith that the Holy Fathers did not write, and many other false teachings, this is heresy. This is the reality of things.”

Question: How does the Orthodox Church encounter/deal with heretics?

“With much love. We love the Pope, we love the papists just as we love every person; we do not despise them, we do not reject them as persons, but we do not accept [their] heresy, we do not accept the false teachings, we do not accept [their] delusions. Because we love them we must tell them the truth.”

Question: Do you think that the Dialogue can produce results?

“It can, if it is done properly and based on the right presuppositions. Unfortunately, as it is carried out today, it does not produce results, and that is why they have carried on discussions for so many years without coming to any conclusions.”

“Frankly and before all I disagree with the coming of the Pope to Cyprus and I say with my whole soul that the Pope is a heretic, he is not a bishop, he is not an Orthodox Christian and this is what the Holy Fathers say. If I am wrong, I am ready to be corrected, but on the basis of the Holy Fathers, not based on the mindset of globalization. Just because I disagree does not mean that I am being disorderly and am outside the Church [as some have claimed].”

“The Pope always speaks in a formal manner, says things which are customary [to his position], as he will say now that he will come to Cyprus, but he will do nothing of essence, because he is not the leader of the Church but a political person who cannot come into conflict with the political establishment and system. Did the Pope every speak up for the Orthodox Church?…But I am not returning back [to the distant past]. The reasons I am reacting today are purely theological. When I was consecrated a bishop I pledged to preserve the Orthodox Faith.”

Question: The Pope said that he wants to make a pilgrimage following the steps of the Apostle Paul.

“With the exception that the Apostle Paul didn’t travel using a bulletproof car which cost 500,000 euros, which, I read, the Cypriot government has bought for the Pope to travel around Cyprus for the two days he will be here. I was personally quite scandalized by this news and said that a bulletproof car does not fit the Vicar of Christ. For the people to have to pay such a price in the midst of an economic crisis…”

Question: The announcement from the representatives of the Pope says that he is coming to Cyprus in order to promote human and Christian values and principles, and that he wants to walk in the steps of the Apostle Paul and in a spirit of the brotherhood meet the Orthodox Church with a good disposition.

“I do not doubt his good will – may it be that this is the case. May it be that he resembles the Apostle Paul and that he encounters the riches of the Orthodox Church. We pray that he return to the Orthodox Church and becomes once again an Orthodox Bishop as he was before the schism. This alone is the proper path to unity.”

Question: What do you think is the hidden agenda?

“The Vatican does not take steps thoughtlessly nor naively. Every tour of each Pope has as its aim to present him as the worldwide leader of Christianity. At this point, however, he is neither a canonical Bishop, nor Orthodox, such that he is in no place to present himself as having the first place among bishops.”

Question: Are there hidden political interests at stake here?

“I don’t know; I think that we [the Cypriot people] have nothing to gain politically from the visit of the Pope – only a lot of expenses and great upheaval in the consciences of the faithful.”

Question: The Archbishop said that all those who disagree will place themselves outside the Church.

“I am not aware of the Archbishop’s statements, but I don’t think that whoever disagrees with the coming of the Pope places himself outside the Church. I disagree and I say it boldly and frankly and I am not outside the Church.”

To read the entire interview, click here: http://www.oodegr.com/english/papismos/pope_visit_cyprus.htm

You can read another great article (originally published on OrthodoxInfo.com) here on Lessons from a Monastery regarding the Patriarch and Pope’s recent meeting in Jerusalem. 

Elder Paisios on Starting a Family

Elder Paisios the Athonite

The following was taken from Elder Paisios’ Spiritual Counsels series, Volume IV Family Life.  I’ve mentioned this series here, it is one of my absolute favorites.  There is just so much practical advice from this soon-to-be saint of our times.  {did you know he is being canonized this fall?  Yay!! Glory to God!  I’m sooo excited about this!}

Elder Paisios the Athonite

—Geronda, a certain young man who has chosen the married life asked me how one properly begins this.

—From the beginning, he should seek to find a good girl who will comfort him, as people are relaxed and find comfort differently with different people. He should not seek to find someone who is rich or beautiful, but above all simple and humble. In other words, he should give more attention to interior rather than exterior beauty. When a girl is a positive person and capable of dealing with men, without having more womanly character than is necessary, this greatly helps the man to find immediate understanding and not a lot of headaches. If she also has fear of God and humility then they are able to join hands and pass the evil current of the world.

If the young man is seriously considering a certain girl for a spouse, I think it is better that he first makes his intentions known to her parents through one of his relatives and afterwards he can discuss it himself with the young lady and her parents. Later, if they give their approval and the two are engaged—and it is better that the engagement not carry on too long—he should strive, throughout the passing time until marriage, to view her as his sister and respect her. If both of them struggle with philotimo and keep their virginity, then in the Mystery of marriage, when the priest crowns them, they will richly take of the Grace of God. For, as St. John Chrysostom says, the crowns are symbols of victory against pleasure.

Then, as much as they are able, they must strive to cultivate the virtue of love and always remain two united, with the Third, our Sweetest Christ. Naturally, in the beginning, until they get themselves together and become well acquainted with one another, they will have certain difficulties. This happens with every new beginning. Why, just the day before yesterday I saw a baby bird. It had just gone out to find food and could only fly about an inch above the ground. The poor thing didn’t know how to catch insects and wasted an hour trying to catch just one, little bug to eat. As I watched it, I was considering how every beginning is difficult. When a student finally receives his diploma and begins working, in the beginning it is difficult. A novice in a monastery also has difficulties in the beginning. A young man, when he marries, again in the beginning is met with difficulties.

—Geronda, does it matter if the woman is older than the man?

—There is not a Church canon which says that if a girl is two, three or even five years older than the young man they are not able to be married.

The harmony of God is hidden within a diversity of personalities.

One day a man came to my kalyve and told me that he was very worried because he was not of the same mind with his wife. I saw, however, that there was nothing serious between them. He just had a few rough edges, his wife had a few others, and they couldn’t deal with one another. They needed a little sanding. Take two planks of wood before sanding them. One has a knot here, the other has a knot there; if you try to join the planks there is an empty space left between them. If, however, you sand one a little here and the other a little there, using the same tool, they join perfectly.

Some men tell me: “I don’t see eye to eye with my wife; we have opposite personalities. She has one temperament, I have another! How can God do such strange things? Couldn’t He have arranged a few things so that couples matched, and they were able to live more spiritually?” I tell them, “Don’t you understand that the harmony of God is hidden within a diversity of personalities? Different temperaments actually create harmony. Alas, if you had the same personalities! Think what would have happened if, for example, you both got angry easily: you would destroy your house. Or, consider if both of you had mild temperaments: you would sleep standing up! If you were both stingy you would get along, yes, but you would both end up in hell. Likewise, if both of you were open-handed, would you even be able to keep your house? No. You would disperse everything, and your children would be turned out to the streets. If a spoiled brat marries a spoiled brat, between themselves they get along fine, right? But, one day someone is going kill them! For this reason God arranges it so that a good person marries a spoiled brat, that the latter may be helped. It may be that he or she has a good disposition, but was never instructed correctly when young.”

Little differences in the characters or personalities of spouses actually help couples to create a harmonious family, for the one completes the other. In a car it is necessary to use the gas pedal to go forward, but also the brake pedal to stop. If the car only had brakes it wouldn’t go anywhere; and if it only had gears, it wouldn’t be able to stop. Do you know what I said to one couple? “Because you are similar, you don’t match!” They are both sensitive. If something happens at home, both of them lose it and start-up: The one, “Oh, what we suffer!” The other, “Oh, what we suffer!” In other words, the one causes the other to lose hope even more! Neither is able to comfort the other a little by saying, “Hold on, our situation is not that serious”. I’ve seen this in many couples.

When spouses have different personalities it helps in the raising of children even more. One spouse wants to put on the brakes a little, but the other says, “Give the children a little freedom”. If they both are overbearing they will lose their children. If, however, they leave them on their own, again their children will be lost. Therefore, when the parents have different personalities, the children enjoy a certain stability.

What I’m trying to say is that everything is needful. Naturally, one’s personality quirks shouldn’t go beyond their limits. Each spouse should help the other in his own way. If you eat a lot of sweets, you’ll want also to eat something a little salty. Or if you eat, let’s say, lots of grapes, you’ll want a little cheese to cut the sweetness. Vegetables, if they are very bitter, are not eaten. But a little bitterness helps, as does a little sourness. Some people, however, are like this: If someone is sour, he says: “Let everyone become sour like me.” And whoever is bitter says, “Let everyone become bitter.” Likewise, those who are salty say, “Everyone should become salty.” Bridges aren’t built like that!

If you want to check out the series I mentioned and some other great books on Elder Paisios, including some for children, click here.

against false union

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St. Mark of Ephesus

“These people admit with the Latins that the Holy Spirit proceeds and derives His existence from the Son. Yet, with us, they say the Spirit proceeds from the Father.

The Latins imagine that this addition to the Creed is lawful and just, but we will not so much as pronounce it. They state that unleavened bread is the body of Christ, but we dare not communicate it. Is this not sufficient to exhibit that they came to the Latin council not to investigate the truth, which they once possessed and then betrayed, but simply to earn some gold and attain a false union?

Behold, they read two Creeds as they did before. They perform two different liturgies – one on leavened and the other on unleavened bread. They perform two baptisms – one by triple immersion and the other by aspersion; one with Holy Chrism and the other without it. All our Orthodox customs are different from those of the Latins, including our fasts, Church rites, icons, and many other things.

What sort of union is this then, when it has no external sign? How could they come together, each retaining his own?”

 

+ St. Mark of Ephesus

Red Balloons for Ryan

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Most of you have probably seen photos of that precious little redhead Ryan Saldana and the hashtag #redballoonsforryan flooding the social media feeds over the past week.  People all over the country are #wearingredforryan today.  Including all of us.

Ryan was tragically hit by a truck while chasing a frisbee last Friday night.  His mom Jacqui blogs over at Baby Boy Bakery.  It’s amazing how small this community of bloggers really is.  While you don’t know everyone, you pretty much know of almost everyone.   I don’t know Jacqui but I made her Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes a couple of summers ago.  And I just bookmarked her Gluten Free Banana Oat Muffins the other day.  It’s amazing how unintentionally our lives all become intertwined through this world wide web.

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Prayer Request

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Χριστός Ανέστη!

I just wanted to ask for all of your prayers on behalf of some friends of ours who gave birth to their baby boy 8 weeks early.

Please pray that the Lord continue to strengthen baby Petro and to “sanctify his body, mind, heart and vitals“.

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Thank you to those of you who already offered prayers and words of support on my Facebook page. It is much appreciated.

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New Book for Orthodox Tweens/Teens: Voyage to the Rock {giveaway}

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Xristos Anesti! Christ is Risen!

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One of the most difficult thing as a parent to a tween boy that loves to read is finding books that are on his reading level yet still has appropriate content.  I feel like we’ve gone through most of the good series that are out there and we recently began dipping our toes into other book series.

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what’s in my bag?

kate spade 'all typed up'

since i was a little girl, i’ve loved to see what treasures were hidden inside a lady’s handbag and i suppose my girlish curiosity still exists.  so in case any of you are as nosy curious as me, here’s a glimpse of what’s inside my bag at the moment.

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