Karithata (Walnut Balls Covered in Confectioner’s Sugar)

Karithata

(Walnut Balls Covered in Confectioner’s Sugar)

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These walnut balls are an adaptation of an old traditional recipe of my hometown, Dimitsana. The region was not only rich with many walnut trees, but the walnuts themselves were of the best quality; plump and sweet, perfect and free of blemishes.

From October, the time of harvest, and throughout the year–if the walnuts lasted that long–women of many generations made these cookies for every special occasion and celebration. Name days, Christmas holidays, weddings, and baptisms would not meet the standards without them. 

The difference is that the women of the time did not make them into little bite-size balls, as I do, but shaped them in huge kourambiethes like an “S,” big enough for a dessert or salad plate. If my mother thinks it is disgraceful to make and serve these “skimpy” sweets, can you imagine how the women of years past would feel? I should have shaped one of that size so you could see what I mean. I did not think of it.

I remember when visitors came for my father’s Name-day celebration. If they had their fill of treats in other homes they had visited, they knew not to waste my mom’s kourambiethes and asked to take home. Being wise, my mother and other women, would meticulously fold many kourambiethes in glossy white paper and have them for those who did not want to eat them during their visit.

Choose the best walnuts you can find. Sort them out and grind them coarsely.

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Here are the remaining ingredients. You can use cream of wheat (semolina) or its Greek counterpart, coarse simigthali.

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In large mixer bowl, beat three eggs with ¾ cup sugar and ten drops bergamot oil, until light and creamy. Remove from the mixer. Add the walnut mixture and blend well with rubber spatula.

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With small melon scooper or a teaspoon, form round balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 6-7 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove even if they seem undone.

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Carefully dip karithata in the bowl with confectioner’s sugar, gently pressing sugar to adhere onto cookies. Transfer to an airtight container. No need to finish until ready to serve.

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Continue shaping, baking, and sugar-coating the remaining mixture. Transfer to the container, add more sugar, and store in a cool place.

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Ingredients

  • 6  Cups ground, sorted walnuts
  • ½ Cup cream of wheat or Greek simigthali
  • 1  Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ Cup Granulated sugar
  • 3  Whole large eggs
  • 10 Drops of bergamot oil (found in natural food stores)
  • Confectioner’s sugar

60 Servings

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Fill a bowl with confectioner’s sugar. Set aside.
  1. Combine in another bowl the ground walnuts, cream of wheat, and ground cinnamon. Blend.
  1. In large mixer bowl, beat three eggs with ¾ cup sugar and 10 drops bergamot oil, until light and creamy. Remove from the mixer. Add the walnut mixture and blend well with rubber spatula.
  1. With small melon scooper or a teaspoon, form round balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 6-7 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove even if they seem undone.
  1. Carefully dip karithata in the bowl with confectioner’s sugar, gently pressing sugar to adhere onto cookies. Transfer to an airtight No need to finish until ready to serve.
  1. Continue shaping, baking, and sugar-coating the remaining mixture. Transfer to the container, add more sugar, and store in a cool place.
  1. Before serving, line karithata on parchment paper and sift a new coat of confectioner’s sugar over them. Place them in paper cups or arrange on a colorful dish dusted with sugar. They should look like snowballs.
  1. To eat, gently tap the walnut ball in the paper cup to dust off some of the sugar and enjoy.

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For variation, I dip cooled walnut balls into melted coating chocolate and sprinkle with a few ground walnuts and cinnamon. Delicious! Sorry! I did not have dipping chocolate in the house. 

Do you have a sweet that you love now as much as you did when you were a child? Please, share in the comments.

Dimitsana, My Home Town: Connecting to Roots

 

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

—Victor Hugo

Dimitsana: Western Hill

Zeus, Pan, Muses, and Nymphs; rapids, rivers, and ravines; valleys and verdant mountains, monasteries hanging from cliffs, and towns of stone built on hills—this is what the mountainous Gortyna naturally is. Dimitsana, my hometown, built on the ruins of the ancient Teuthis, dominates the northwest center of Arcadia. I haven’t met Zeus, Pan, or any Nymphs yet. Still, no matter where I am, Pan’s flute keeps summoning me to this place where I was born and went to school and learned the values and ideals that have shaped me.

My siblings and I

Dimitsana is firmly tied to my entire being.

My husband, Spyros, and I left Athens three hours ago driving to Dimitsana. I had imagined and anticipated this homecoming for a year. The closer we move to our home, the faster my heart beats. The car cruises down the winding road along acacia trees and seasonal flower beds, exposing us to alpine sites of spruce-tree-mountain-side views.

The closer we get, the fuller my stomach is of butterflies but not from driving on winding roads. It never fails; not on the countless times we have taken this trip. Always the same anticipation and excitement arise as we draw near to Dimitsana, hidden by hills and mountains of fir, spruce, and pine trees.

I lower the window and feel the cool mountainous wind brushing my face. I enjoy the sensation and savor the site. O, here we go making the final sharp turn, and there she is. My Dimitsana! In all her grandeur, she spreads from east to west, on and between two beautiful hills.

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We stop for a few minutes to admire and marvel anew at this impressive, medieval town, whose existence goes back to prehistoric times. The enormous boulders on the ancient wall bear witness: Once upon a time… Cyclopes lived here.

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Dimitsana might be a typical example of Arcadian architecture, yet she has a character all her own. Evidence points to people living in Arcadia as early as the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries BC. Excavations and the gigantic slabs of stones of the Cyclopean Walls attest to its longevity. I cannot say this is the place where Odysseus blinded the Cyclops Polyphemus, the brother of Poseidon.

I can tell you, though, that both the god of the sea and Odysseus, as well as Athena and Penelope, were born in Arcadia, according to ancient Arcadian myths. The late Captain Nicholas Kostaras—a prolific and highly praised and awarded Greek author—shared with me many such myths and references from his book The Arcadian Odysseus. According to these myths, Odysseus was born and grew up by the headspring of Alalkomenes, near Orchomenos, not far from Dimitsana, where myths have him grazing his father’s horses. Being a wandering spirit, he married the partly-goddess Penelope and left for Ithaca.

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History never interrupts from the classical and Hellenistic periods to Byzantine and modern times. The renowned traveler Pausanias (300 AD) has left in his traveling journals information about the ancient Teuthis, its Acropolis, and the many Cyclopean walls in the area. Monasteries, churches, and schools date back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD. While early homes have crumbled with time, new houses have been built on the older foundations.

Beauty in age: Facade of old store

Dimitsana enchants and fascinates me. Every time I return, I see her with new eyes and a different perception. She captivates every traveler who visits. A surprise waits at every turn and around each corner; a moment steals one’s heart. Her tall traditional stone-built houses with the red clay roof tiles maintain their color and features in times of rapid change.

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Old, cubblestone street

Her narrow cobblestone streets bring one back to a time when animals and carts carried people and products high up into the neighborhoods of the hills. Her two old stone bridges with the three arches are works of art. Ancient churches and quaint Byzantine monasteries hang from the tall cliffs of the Lousios Ravine—live museums with superb iconography, frescos, and woodcut screens of exquisite craftsmanship. Here, Orthodoxy and people have walked hand in hand across the centuries.

While art and architecture draw people’s hearts to this place today, there is more. The recollection of a naïve, unsophisticated bucolic life and nostalgia for the unadulterated values of natural living has always been an attraction. The alpine and unspoiled landscapes—the serene paradise where people drank, danced, and harmoniously lived with Nature—were of interest to enlightened visitors way before classical times.

Since back then, Arcadia was an idyllic destination for those who wanted to unlock the secrets of the divine, to understand the meaning of life, and be baptized into the Arcadian ideal. After all, this was the utopian view of life that inspired the European poets and artists of the Enlightenment Period during the eighteenth century to visit Arcadia and then paint and write about it.

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Lousios River

What’s more, the spirit that springs from the rocky earth, the rivers, and the springs, the eternal muses, the nymphs, and the souls of the preceding generations of saints and heroes, all summon, guide, and continuously inspire those who enter this sacred and eternal land.

Wherever the traveler turns, history meets the eyes. Here, the struggle for freedom before and around 1821 is evident no matter where you look. The spirits of heroes and saints permeate earth and air; their statues, homes, and personal articles, as well as their teachings and wisdom, are seen and felt everywhere.

Here is the house of Germanos, the bishop of the old city of Patras, standing almost at the top of the western hill, overlooking the whole town. He reminds people of the beginning of the Revolution and the War of Independence.

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The home of Patriarch Gregory the Firth

The home of St. Gregory, the fifth Patriarch of Constantinople, is now a museum displaying ethnic and religious objects, the relics of his time. Indignation for his unjust death on the scaffold is easy to rise. What lingers are awe, admiration, and deep respect for the man and his accomplishments, for the causes for which he fought and died.

Kolokotronis’s house as well is close by, high up on a mountain full of fir trees, reminding us of the victorious battles he and his family fought. We recall the battles that brought the much-desired freedom.

Far away from the town, in a school hidden high up on the cliffs of Lousios River (kryfo scholeio) we can still see and hear priests teach children reading, writing, history, and religion. In places such as this, the Greek language and Orthodoxy survived four hundred years of oppressive Turkish occupation. Many students went on to study in Dimitsana’s higher institution and from there to other European schools to become well-learned and accomplished individuals, good not only for their country but Europe as well.

IMG_3812Education has been greatly valued here for hundreds of years, making Dimitsana a very significant intellectual and religious center. Unfortunately, now only the primary school operates. Shame to those who closed the beautiful high school in the photograph for personal reasons!

This land that gets lost in history and myth is a place of limited resources, harshness, and austerity. In spite of that, this town gave birth to countless saints and heroes. Growing up here, one had to be strong and resilient, ingenious and disciplined; both physically and spiritually. To make life count, one had to survive, but more importantly, thrive. Knowing that I walk on the ground these great individuals roamed makes me instinctively stand tall and be honorable like them.

These heroes and saints are my guides and mentors—my heart and conscience that keep me accountable for my thoughts and actions, accomplishments and failures. They keep me aligned with my soul, taking no pity on my limitations. They inspire me to stay rooted to my true self, yet soar with the Spirit.

Not wanting to disappoint or embarrass them, I embrace my fears and handle whatever comes my way. Humbly, yet with a strong inner knowing, I follow their example and my own heart’s path with determination, love, vision, and integrity, being authentic and consistent with my words and deeds. Passionate enough to operate by a set of values, I draw on my heart’s vision to spiritually grow and make my life count and leave the world a little better place when I go.

It’s a heavy responsibility to be the descendant of great men and women. We cannot afford to ignore these ancestors; doing so would be to ignore our own heart as well as the wisdom and strength we carry both in our soul and genes. We owe it to ourselves and to them to take the staff a little farther, to bring a little more meaning and purpose to the world, for the sake of future generations.

My grandparents and great greandparents

Many of the ills that are pervasive in modern societies result from disregard for ancestral heritage and its traditions: disrespect for superior ideals, arrogant behavior, and lack of values. Inspiration comes from the spirit of the past as well as the present. Connecting to our roots can be grounding and uplifting.

 Do you identify at all with my love and pride for my motherland and its people? Please share in the comments your feelings about your native land and ancestors. What memories or which of your ancestors inspire you to be a better person? How?

“The Art of Work: A proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do”

Welcome!

A life isn’t significant except for it’s impact on other lives.

–Jackie Robinson

I first met Jeff Goins in Michael Hyatt’s blog. He drew my attention right away. I subscribed to his blog because I sensed there was something special about this young man.

When he put together a writing tribe—Tribe Writers—I was of the first to join. I learned a great deal from him but I am mostly grateful to Jeff for inspiring and motivating me to work towards publishing my story.

Having gone through my own life’s long journey, literally and spiritually, I have learned that living love, kindness, and generosity, honor and responsibility is the means that moves the world.

I appreciate Jeff’s maturity and commitment to living with eternal values. I admire him for understanding that his outer purpose can only become reality when it coincides with his inner calling.

After all, these are values I live with–themes that evolve in my own Journey to Ithaca.

Maturity, that is spiritual maturity, leads to living with higher values and ideals. Passion in serving others builds character and blesses not only those we serve but also us, as well as the world.

Jeff passionately touches different people with different needs, all over the world. With his last book, The Art of Work, he uses the lessons life taught him to help his tribe and anyone who would want to grow to their full potential.

Having climbed high enough, he helps other climbers find their own passion and use it not only to succeed and excel but contribute to a better world.

At the end, it does not matter how much we have done for ourselves. It matters how much we have given–what we have done to create a better world.

Jeff’s latest book The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do is an inspiring guide that offers excellent advice to help readers discover their calling.

A calling is not some carefully crafted plan.

It’s what’s left when the plan goes horribly wrong.

The Art of Work reveals Jeff’s attitude, his giving heart, and the wisdom earned from life’s struggles.

It shows how steps taken with awareness, meaningful connections, practices that lead to skills, and revelations hidden behind failures led him to find his purpose and be in a position to help many individuals and whole communities.

Inspirational quotations add to the points he is making. The stories are touching.

The steps in the Appendix, the Exercises, and the Questions for discussion encourage and further motivate.

The many notes and resources show the depth of research the author did, so as to present to his readers a “Proven Path” that would help them find meaning and purpose in their own life.

The “Art of Work” is an inspiring, uplifting, and motivating  guide.

I passionately recommend it, no matter the path you walk on or the distance you have already traveled.

If you want a life that matters, The Art  of Work is for  you!

It will change your reality and open up infinite possibilities that will fulfill your everyday life and work as you find your calling .

Your calling is not a destination.

It i a journey that doesn’t end until you die.

 

Check Jeff’s book out at  http://artofworkbook.com and “discover what you were born to do”.

 

Thank you for coming over!

Wishing you abundant blessings and light on your journey to finding your legacy!

Best regards,

Katina

 

 

Interview with Nancy Kay Grace about The Grace Impact

Welcome to my blog!

Since I have always believed in, and lived with, God’s grace, it was easy to appreciate The Grace Impact.  This wonderful book inspired me to post again after a long absence. So here I share an interview with Nancy Kay Grace:

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Welcome, Nancy. What does grace mean to you, and why did you write a book on God’s grace?

Grace is a crown jewel with many facets given by the Lord for our relationship with Him. I have been captivated by grace for many years, not only be­cause “Nancy” means “grace” but also because grace has changed me, strengthened me, and kept me going through difficult times.

 

How living and growing with God’s grace get you into writing about it?

The idea for this book began several years ago. In 2007 I submitted some stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul and a devotional book. The stories were accepted, which encouraged me to continue my writing journey.

 

You have being a writer for quite a while. How did The Grace Impact develop?

In sharing this with my friends, I wrote a short devotional in an email and added my publishing news at the end of it. This email devotional was the first issue of GraceNotes. It is now offered as an opt-in newsletter on my website, http://www.nancykaygrace.com. I have continued to send GraceNotes each month since then, even through some very difficult and trying times. The Lord encouraged me to keep writing and sending GraceNotes. Eventually I hoped to have enough devotionals to compile them into a book.

In 2012 I was at a point when I was very discouraged with writing. A book project that I started abruptly ended. I attended a writer’s conference to hear from the Lord about my next step. While there I pitched the idea for this book to CrossRiver Media called GraceNotes: Thirty Days of Grace. The manuscript was accepted. As I worked on it, the publisher noticed that in the past year several book titles included the word “GraceNotes” and suggested I consider re-titling it. After praying about it and researching possible titles, I decided on The Grace Impact. The project went from being a simple devotional about God’s grace to being a book on God’s grace that happens to be a devotional. This change challenged me go deeper in writing, researching, and showing God’s grace.

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Isn’t amazing how life takes us through the turns that we need to make? And of course I mean the divine life force we call God.  Tell me, Nancy: What exactly do you believe is the “grace impact?”

God alone is able to set into motion what I call the “grace impact”—His ability to work in and through any situation, revealing His love and forgiveness to us, thereby drawing us to Himself, ultimately through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The initial impact of God’s grace to each of us comes by accepting salvation through Jesus. It continues in us and through us as our lives are transformed by yielding more to the Lord. As we grow in faith, we share God’s grace with others. Like a drop of water released on a smooth lake, the ripples of the grace impact continue to reach outward to many.

 

In the book you say “The key is in living life unedited—living every moment in His grace, unafraid of making mistakes.”  Can you explain that further?

As a “recovering perfectionist,” I know the struggle of wanting to do something perfect and still being disappointed in my best efforts. I think many perfectionists wrestle with this issue. God has given me freedom in seeking excellence instead of perfection. Grace gives me the assurance that what I do, if I do it with the right attitude for the Lord, is good enough. Grace allows us to accept mistakes as a part of life and not fear trying again. The grace impact grants freedom and confidence to escape the bondage of perfectionism.

 

People often struggle with trusting God’s goodness in the midst of trials. What can you say to help them deal with that?

In The Grace Impact, I share how the Lord helped me through cancer, the death of three parents within six months, and other issues. Trusting God is more than a feeling. It is a decision made on the knowledge of God’s character and faithfulness.  Even when He seems quiet, God’s grace is ever present, sustaining us. God’s grace has carried me often, and I desire to share this hope with others.

 

I Know what you say, Nancy. Though my family and I have been living the worse period of our life these past few years, we have also been blessed with God’s grace through all of it; not only in being strong but also in finding ways to deal with everything.

What is the most important message that readers will get from “The Grace Impact?”

God reached into the world with grace, bringing redemption to the failures of people and transformation to those who were weak. God’s grace reaches us today and His forgiving love is available to anyone who will accept it. Once we embrace it, we grow in becoming grace-givers to this hurting world.

 

How can we be grace-givers?

God calls us, redeems us, and transforms us. We become His agents, sharing the word of grace and passing the gift on to others. One way of being a grace-giver is to share our resources with others. To carry this out, a portion of every book sale of The Grace Impact will be given to the Grace Orphan House (Siyon Social Welfare Society,http://siyonsws.com) in Aurangabad, India. It currently serves as home for thirty boys and fifteengirls who were street children. Grace Orphan House provides a loving Christian environment, education, three meals a day, and a comfortable place for the children to live. Anyone who purchases the book continues spreading the grace impact.

 

As we get, so should we give! A wonderful and necessary way to “continue being and spreading the grace impact!

Is there a theme verse?

The theme verse for The Grace Impact is 2 Corinthians 9:8.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always         having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good          work.”

The book is divided into four sections. The first section looks at the grace found in God’s character and why He is able to make grace abound. God is able to reveal Himself to us, and chooses to do so. The promise of grace pulses throughout Scripture. Section two is about the sufficiency of God’s grace, giving us what we need to live the Christian life. Once we interact and accept the grace of salvation through Jesus Christ, we begin to be transformed by the power of God. Section three explores the sustaining power of grace in all things at all times. His grace covers every detail of life, not just the good things, but also the difficult, sad, and complicated things. That knowledge can give us the ability to walk confidently through life knowing our heavenly Father is with us every step of the way. Section four encourages us to have an abundance of grace for every good work, sharing the blessing of grace with others.

 

What makes this book different from any other devotional?

Not only can it be read as a thirty-day daily devotional, but it can also be used as a Bible study guide on grace. At the end of each daily reading there is a section called “Deepening the Grace Impact.” There are additional scriptures for further study, questions for your own meditation, and a prayer. I’m working on creating a thirty-day online Bible study using The Grace Impact. Another option would be to study

one chapter a week, making it a 30-week or 8-month study. I will be using the book in an online Bible study in June. If you are interested in the online study, please contact me and I will get information to you when it is available.

 

What inspires you to write?

Many times I will begin with a personal time of worship through playing praise songs on piano. This helps me clear my mind and focus on the Lord. Reading the Bible also prepares my heart. When I sit down in front of my computer, I pray for God to open my eyes to His grace from something I read, the words of a song, or an observation from life about grace.

 

Thank you Nancy Kay Grace for sharing with us what God’s grace mean to you and how it has manifest in your life and wonderful words and deeds.

Where can we buy the book?

It is available at CrossRiver Media’s website, http://bit.ly/1Ceuf94

or through Amazon.com.

 

Autographed copies can be ordered by contacting me at nancy@nancykaygrace.com

If you would like to have me come to speak to your group, I am available for meetings, banquets, or retreats.

Please visit my website at www.nancykaygrace.com for more information.

 

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your inspiring and encouraging book with us.

Thank you, my friends, for coming over.

Give The Great Impact a chance to change your life and help change the lives of the children of Grace Orphan House.

 

Blessings and Light!

Katina

The Necklace of Goddess Athena: An Introduction

Welcome to my blog!

I have a confession to make: I used to love fantasy books when younger. However, these past few years, I lost the patience and interest to follow plots. Consequently, I stopped reading stories of this genre and turned my attention to books that helped me understand  my self, the world, and life. That was a critical period in my life, during which healing and personal growth where imperative for me.

A few weeks ago, I met Effrosyni Moschoudi, the author of The Necklace of Goddess Athena, during the virtual  Greek Dinner Around The World Party.

We clicked right away, as if we always knew each other. When you like someone, you want to build a relationship and support. Reading Effrosyni’s book was my way of getting to know her, both as a person and author.  My first fantasy read in over 10 years!

Her early words spoken by Efimios did not sit well with me. He rejected Goddess Athena and revoked his devotion and trust, blaming her for what had happened to his son, Phevos. At one point or another, humans do get angry and blame the gods for the adversities and crises befalling them. Since Efimios is human, I “forgave” him and continued reading.

Shortly, one detail after another drew me in, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

Time traveling!

Coincidences and Synchronisities!

Mystery!

And Wisdom!

Eternal values and wisdom: the main message and the central core in life and this book!

An outlook and philosophy of Life that directs both words and actions.

A journey of growth within the heart and the soul, which crosses time and space in the Universe. 

Wisdom I would expect to find in non-fiction and spiritual books. Not in Urban Fantasies. 

Phevos and Daphne are wise young people. And so is Ksenia, who opened her home and heart to them.

They trust that

This miraculous world is created with infinite wisdom and great abundance, so as to cater to every human need.

They believe that

Human beings are given a free will and the power needed to acquire anything they desire.

The two of them find themselves on an unexpected journey in a “strange” place, after their passage through time.

Athena demands their faith because she knows that without it there is no hope or vision. No power.  She commands them to look for her. She sends signs their way.

They know to trust the Goddess to guide and protect them.

Their mission is to find her through signs of guidance and hope. To seek virtue and happiness in life. 

They understand that

Hope can only exist under the umbrella of faith.

They learned from their father that

Happiness does not come from things but from the gratitude humans feel and express for what they already have.

The story unfolds quite eloquently. With pearls of eternal and internal wisdom weaved through plots, myths, and mystery. Each word is a picture! Each turn, a beautiful description of an Athenian site. Love, friendship, Hospitality, respect, perseverance, and other values play their roles. Beautiful romantic relationships grow to get the characters where they are meant to be.

You’ll see below the book cover, a blurb, the bio, 2 book reviews, and links to connect and learn more about The Necklace of Goddess Athena and its creative author, Effrosyni Moschoudi.

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Genre: Urban Fantasy

Suitable for: All ages

 

Blurb

 

IN ATHENS, THE GODS STILL DWELL AMONG THE MORTALS.

 

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?

Bio

frosso pic1Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and brought up in Athens, Greece. She has a BSc in Computer Science and has worked for large companies for twenty years, mainly in the hotel and airline business. Her work background has been diverse and has mainly involved computer support, customer service and aircraft material purchasing. She has been writing since childhood. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. She is passionate about books and movies and dedicates sufficient time on her weekends to enjoy a bit of both.

On Effrosyni’s Blog (aka The Public Diary of a Greek Dreamer), the reader will find posts on various subjects. There are tips for authors, travel articles, inspiring personal accounts, references to the Law of Attraction, book reviews, author interviews and cover reveals.

Effrosyni’s debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, is an urban fantasy. It is about two time travelers who arrive in modern-day Athens with a purpose that is secret even to themselves. As of February 2014, the book is available for download exclusively on Amazon in Kindle (.mobi) format.

 

The novel has received a perfect 5-star rating by the Fantasy & SciFi Network website. An excerpt of the book’s first 2 chapters is currently available for download FREE of charge at Goodreads.

Currently, Effrosyni is writing The Lady of the Pier, a historical novel with a paranormal twist that is set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. It is a haunting, tragic love story that highlights the immense popularity of the West Pier in Brighton back in its heyday, before its regrettable decline that began after WWII. The novel will be published in two parts. The first part, The Ebb, will be published in the summer of 2014. Effrosyni is currently penning the concluding part, The Flow, which she hopes to publish too by the end of the same year.

 

Connect with Effrosyni

Blog: http://www.effrosinimoss.wordpress.com

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena

FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frostiemoss

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi

Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/effrosyni-moschoudi/82/347/a01

Book Trailer: http://animoto.com/play/HdtpGSSDjn7cEO84w1z98Q

 

Purchase Links

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I5GXHCO

Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5GXHCO

 

Reviews

5 star review on the Fantasy/SciFi Network

4.5 star review on Alllthingsbookie

 

Thank you for coming over! 

I hope you enjoyed the post and look forward to reading the book.

You are more than welcome to look around. If you are into personal growth and into fully experiencing Life and its journeys, subscribe with your email, so that we stay in touch and grow together.

Effrosyni and I would love to read your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Blessings and light!

Katina

 

Introducing The Necklace of Goddess Athena by Effrosyni Moschoudi

Welcome to my blog!

I have a confession to make: I used to love fantasy books when younger.  However, these past few years, I lost the patience  and the interest to follow the plots. So I stopped reading books of this genre and turned my attention to books that helped me understand  my self, the world, and life. That was a critical period during wich healing and personal growth where imperative for me. 

A few weeks ago, during The Greek Dinner Around The World, I met Effrosyni Moschoudi.

We clicked right away, as if we always knew each other. When you like someone, you want to build a relationship. To please and support them. And so, I promised to read Effrosyni’s Fantasy book, The Necklace of Goddess Athena. The first fantasy in over 10 years.

Her early words spoken by Efimios did not sit very well with me. He denied Goddess Athena his devotion and trust and blamed her for what happened to his son, Phevos. At one point or another, humans do get angry and blame the adversities and crises befalling them, on whom else but God.  I “forgave” Efimios, because he was human, and continue reading.

Shortly, one detail after another drew me in, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

Time traveling, coincidences and synchronisities, mystery! And Wisdom! Eternal wisdom that I would expect to find in non-fiction and spiritual books. Not in Urban Fantasies. Phevos and Daphne believe that the world is miraculous…made with infinite wisdom and with such an abundance as to cater to every human need. That all of us mere human beings are given a free will and are graced with the power needed to acquire anything we desire.

Phevos and Daphne find themselves on an unexpected journey, after their passage through time.

They know and trust that Athena will guide and protect them. But it’s their job to find her. She commands them to look for her. She sends signs their way. She demands their faith. They are on a mission to find her through signs of guidance and hope, to seek virtue and happiness in life. Hope, however, can only spring forth with faith.

And happiness comes not from things but from what humans are grateful to have.

The story unfolds quite eloquently. Each word is a picture! Each turn, a beautiful description of an Athenian site. Hospitality and other values play their roles. Beautiful romantic relationships grow only to get them where they are meant to be.

Continue reading and learn a little more about The Necklace of Goddess Athena and its wonderful author Effrosyni Moschoudi.

The Necklace book cover 533 800 (1)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Suitable for: All ages

 

Blurb

 

IN ATHENS, THE GODS STILL DWELL AMONG THE MORTALS.

 

Efimios is an ancient Greek and an unsung hero of Athens. He has saved the city countless times by undertaking time-travelling missions as instructed by Goddess Athena herself. Now an elderly man, he sends his son Phevos and his adopted daughter Daphne on a time-travelling quest to modern-day Athens. Mysterious as always, he only advises his children to look out for the signs without offering any explanations. Mystified, yet eager to obey their father’s will, Phevos and Daphne settle down in this new world, having been offered assistance by two orphaned siblings: Ksenia and Manos. New friendships and romantic love change their lives while their father’s covert purpose is gradually revealed. As the youngsters continue to unravel the secrets of their family past, inevitably they get caught up in the ongoing conflict between two Gods, one of which becomes their protector and the other, their worst nemesis. Who will prevail when the rival Gods meet again and will the mortal bystanders survive to tell the tale?

Bio

frosso pic1Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and brought up in Athens, Greece. She has a BSc in Computer Science and has worked for large companies for twenty years, mainly in the hotel and airline business. Her work background has been diverse and has mainly involved computer support, customer service and aircraft material purchasing. She has been writing since childhood. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix. She is passionate about books and movies and dedicates sufficient time on her weekends to enjoy a bit of both.

On Effrosyni’s Blog (aka The Public Diary of a Greek Dreamer), the reader will find posts on various subjects. There are tips for authors, travel articles, inspiring personal accounts, references to the Law of Attraction, book reviews, author interviews and cover reveals.

Effrosyni’s debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, is an urban fantasy. It is about two time travelers who arrive in modern-day Athens with a purpose that is secret even to themselves. As of February 2014, the book is available for download exclusively on Amazon in Kindle (.mobi) format.

 

The novel has received a perfect 5-star rating by the Fantasy & SciFi Network website. An excerpt of the book’s first 2 chapters is currently available for download FREE of charge at Goodreads.

Currently, Effrosyni is writing The Lady of the Pier, a historical novel with a paranormal twist that is set in Brighton (England) in the 1930’s and in Corfu (Greece) in the 1980’s. It is a haunting, tragic love story that highlights the immense popularity of the West Pier in Brighton back in its heyday, before its regrettable decline that began after WWII. The novel will be published in two parts. The first part, The Ebb, will be published in the summer of 2014. Effrosyni is currently penning the concluding part, The Flow, which she hopes to publish too by the end of the same year.

 

Connect with Effrosyni

Blog: http://www.effrosinimoss.wordpress.com

FB Book page: https://www.facebook.com/Necklaceathena

FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreffrosyni

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frostiemoss

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362780.Effrosyni_Moschoudi

Google + : https://plus.google.com/+EffrosyniMoschoudi

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/effrosyni-moschoudi/82/347/a01

Book Trailer: http://animoto.com/play/HdtpGSSDjn7cEO84w1z98Q

 

Purchase Links

Amazon (US): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I5GXHCO

Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I5GXHCO

 

Reviews

5 star review on the Fantasy/SciFi Network

4.5 star review on Alllthingsbookie

Shrimp Flambe with Ouzo

Being part of the Greek Dinner Around The World event has been an extraordinary experience, in progress!

Thank you Katie Aliferis for you gracious invitation!

Thank you Keri Douglas for creating this amazing event in bringing together Hellenes from all over the world! You are an example of what Percy Bysshe Shelly meant when he said “We are all Hellenes.”  It’s an honor connecting with you! Looking forward to getting closer. 

Thank you participants and sponsors for your wonderful contriburions and friendships! Hellenes and Friends who joined  us!

We all came together sharing ourselves with each other. Our Greek roots, food, and recipes. Greek products and wisdom. Art, books, and words. With each other, friends, and family from different parts of the world.

I celebrated the day with three of my friends: Georgia Houpis, Martha Sakelariou, Paula Alexopulos.  We had fun and enjoyed Shrimp Saganaki with Feta and Ouzo, Tyropites, Fava Santorini’s, baked cheese with homemade orange marmalade. Ouzo pulled all the flavors together and brought back wonderful memories of Greek summers. The Melomacarouna and Kourambiethers and the freezing weather, grounded us to the season again.

What began as a hectic and challenging day due to some unexpected situations turned into an enjoyable, mellow afternoon.

Stay connected. Go to Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. Lots more of sharing to come. Great relationships to be nurtured. Things to be learned.  Check out the hash tags below:

Facebook: #Greek Dinner Around the World

Instagram: #GreekDinner

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/keridouglas/greekdinner-around-the-world/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/9musesnews/lists/greekdinner

Open a bottle of ouzo or Greek wine. Put some Greek music on. Share photos to your social media, using hash tags.   Keep the celebration going. I share below my Shrimp recipe which is included in my soon-to-be-published book, Sailing to Ithaca: A Year’s Journey, Nurturing Body and Soul. I hope you’ll try it, because I know you will love this dish.:)

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Shrimp Flambe with Feta and Ouzo (Garides Saganaki)

Saganaki refers to some Greek recipes, specifically of hard cheese and shrimp, made in   a specific two-handled shallow heavy pan, called Sagani.  Of course, any heavy-bottom     skillet will do.

Such dishes are usually served as appetizers or as part of a meal.The process is more or less the same for both cheese and shrimp: after searing, drench with ouzo or cognac and ignite until flames die.

This creates a dramatic presentation, especially when OPA is exclaimed. Ancient as the Odyssey, OPA is voiced with joy and exuberance so as to express enthusiasm in life’s amusing times, in celebrations as well as surprises.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2-3 minced or pureed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled (heads and tails on), rinsed, and dried (about 15-16)

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/3 pound crumbled firm Greek feta cheese

3 tablespoons ouzo (found in Greek food markets)

Serve with ouzo or wine, Kalamata olives, and fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  1. Combine in glass container 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 minced or pureed garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (or to taste), freshly ground pepper, and shrimp. Toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for few hours or a day.
  2. When ready to serve, dissolve tomato paste in 1 tablespoon water. Crumble feta. Measure ouzo. Have them at hand.
  3. Heat a 10-12-inch skillet over medium-high temperature. Add seasoned shrimp and spread flat. As soon as they become pink on the bottom (not even a minute) turn and continue. They should be pink on the outside and barely opaque throughout, about 2-3 minutes all together, depending on their size. Do not overcook; they will continue cooking.
  4. Add the tomato paste and toss to blend well.
  5. Stir in 1/3 pound crumbled feta and cook for 1 minute, until feta softens.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons ouzo and carefully ignite. Shout OPA!!!! Toss and turn shrimp to coat, allowing the flames to subside. Remove from heat, and serve immediately with crusty bread as appetizer.

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Share in the comments something you appreciate from the Greek culture. Subscribe and share a link, so we stay connected in more ways than one!

Thank you for coming over!

Katina

 

Musing over Ouzo and Greek Summers

Last summer, my husband Spyros and I invited some friends to our Dimitsana home for ouzo and appetizers.

Dimitsana, Greece

Dimitsana, Greece

Spyros watered the plants and hosed down the terrace. I made the hors d’oeuvre and dressed the small traditional tables in embroidered table linens. Comfortable chairs, enjoyable Greek music, and lit candles turned the veranda into a cozy and welcoming place. A bottle of cold Ouzo, a glass pitcher with iced water, and delicious food welcomed our friends and put us all into a great mood. What started as a simple early evening gathering turned into a magical and memorable night for all of us.

Times like these are battery chargers fostering and cultivating physical and mental wellness.

They are diversions from boring routine and hectic work, allowing us to pause and suspend in time, giving cares permission to drift away. The hours from sunset to complete darkness and beyond seemed like an eternity. Through it all, we were floating with the heightened awareness that what really matters is good friends and the mystery of the velvety starry sky. The perfectly cool night, the inter-play between ouzo sips and bites, and the pleasure of the here and the now was uplifting.

When our guests left, we all were as sober and clear-headed as when we started our evening. Ouzo tickles the throat and warms the heart. But can only be enjoyed in small sips, between little bites. A glass or two can last for hours. If one gets intoxicated, it is not from the alcohol and the food but rather from the charm of such moments. Drinking ouzo is a ritual. There is no need to empty the glass with three big swigs. Water is for thirst. No need to devour the food either. The delight is in the quality, not quantity. The enjoyment, in the surroundings and the ritual itself.

Ouzo is the ethnic drink of Greece. The heart and the core of the Greek earth.  

Made from the best grapes, ouzo is flavored mainly with anise. Other sweet aromatics such as mastic of Chios, angelica, orange and lemon blossoms add variety with their individual aromas.

It is socially unacceptable in Greece to drink without food. Since ouzo is excessively strong on an empty stomach, whenever Greeks get together to share a drink, an array of traditional mezethes always follows. The term mezes (mezethes or mezethakia in plural) refers to small portions of appetizers. A version of tapas, with a distinct and piquant flavor.

Both ouzo and mezethakia are usually served before lunch or dinner to stimulate the appetite, not fill the stomach.

Ouzo does not replace the wine or beer of a normal lunch or dinner. It can, however, take the place of dinner altogether, as long as the appetizers keep coming and glasses are not empty. If the atmosphere is enticing and the conversation stimulating. Summer in Greece is unthinkable without it, whether served by the sea or in little authentic cafes and popular spots, in big cities and small villages.

mussels-to-eat-12182418

The typical mezes served in most cafés is a small plate with whatever is available. 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image4381117

Tomato wedges and crisp cucumber slices, sprinkled with sea salt, are a must during the summer. 

Greek semi-hard cheese, such as Graviera, small pieces of bread and Greek olives are staples throughout the year.

Any single ingredient such as nuts, cubes of cheese, tidbits of meat, vegetables or dips, and spreads will do.

 Elaborate mezethes such as keftethakia (small meatballs), grilled octopus, fried smelts, sardines marinated in olive oil with herbs definitely raise the bar. They create the right atmosphere for singing, shouting OPA, dancing, and . . . romancing.

anchovies-marinated-herbs-garlic-lemon-5950160

For years, ouzeries, tavernes, and psarotavernes serve ouzo with a collection of mouthwatering dishes, replacing dinner all together. Guests relax and enjoy delectable traditional bites and lovely music in open-air scenic atmosphere or in the comfort of the indoors.

The Greek summer flirts with ouzo more than any other drink. Maybe, it’s the other way around and ouzo does the flirting. Yet, it does not stop at simply easing the senses. Rather it invites a full romance and an Apollonian/Dionysian affair, arousing the senses to heightened awareness. Not into mischief or oblivion.

While ouzo is the cool drink for the summer, autumn and winter have their own grappa-like spirit, tsipouro. 

Greeks are proud of it and love it.  Also called raki and tsikoudia, this is the favorite distilled spirit in the countryside where vineyards are cultured. Its production is allowed by permit only.

Crafters make it at the end of the grape-harvest and the wine fermentation process. The pomace of skins, stems, and seeds left after the drawing of the new wine is brewed in sealed huge pots. The built in-the-pot-steam is then condensed under running cold water. The collected water-like tsipouro is an extract, almost pure alcohol. Usually, it is heated with honey or sugar, often ignited, and served hot with appetizers.

When I was young, my father took me once to a verdant site with running cold water rivulets, where raki was made. There, I witness both the process and the joyous playfulness exchanged between the generations, as the elders passed down to the younger men this traditional ritual, probably as old as Dionysus himself.

 What a mystical place and an awesome experience that was!

Have you ever tried Ouzo? Tsipouro? Go for a new experience! Dare serve ouzo or tsipouro and mezethakia!black-tapenade-toasts-5950008

Host an early night affair. Set a casual yet inviting table.

Choose Greek appetizers.

Serve the Greek ethnic drink, either cold, with ice or with water and ice. Drink in small sips, so that it lasts.

Leave room for observation or conversation. For jokes and intimacy.

Let the flavors and aromas of Greece take you and your guests to the sunny land where everything is simple yet marvelous.

No matter where you are, you can find magic, beauty, and romance.

It doesn’t have to be Greece. It does not have to include any hard spirit.

Take time to enjoy a glass of Greek wine, a glass of Perrier water, a Greek coffee or a cup of tea.

Make a ritual of it. Do not be in a hurry. Flirt with your surroundings. Romance your drink, the beauty, and the magic around and within. Do it alone or share with friends. Have a love affair of the senses and with each and every moment. Make it a celebration!

Both you and your friends deserve it. OUZO deserves it!!!

 

Note: This post was inspired by an essay in my book, Sailing to Ithaca: A Year’s Journey, Nurturing Body and Soul, soon be out. 

 

 

 

On Virtue: a mature perspective

Continuing from an earlier post

 As we begin the New Year, we try to reflect on the past and decide what worked and what did not.

Instead of making resolutions that we often break before the month is over, many decide to choose a word, or two, that will inspire and keep them focused on a specific idea or action for the whole year.

I chose to BE STILL. Getting frenzied often last year left me anxious and worried. This year I intend to totally focus on Being Still.

Every word is a world unto itself. It motivates the young, soothes the old and the sick, and generates revolutions throughout the ages of mankind. No matter what we choose as our motivational word this year, unless we live life in virtue, one word won’t be enough to keep us focused, help us grow, or connect us to our inner psyche and wisdom and to that of the Divine Universe.

g_acropolisThrough extensive reading and several courses, I have discovered that great teachers have been sent to the world at different times, to diverse cultures, according to each society’s individual needs and maturity. The ones I am more familiar with are the ancient Greek philosophers, two of which stand out for me because I have studied them more: Socrates and Pythagoras whose teachings and life was closer to Jesus than all the others. They were the forerunners who paved the path for Jesus and His teachings.

What do we exactly mean by “Virtue?”

To my understanding, Virtue is a good, moral habit or a character trait, valued as being good, not by specific groups or societies but by the entire Universe, throughout time.

As Pythagoras said over Twenty five centuries ago,

“Virtue is the power of getting Good with Justice.”

And Socrates advocated that

“You should improve yourself by acting good and be truly good from within your soul.”

(Ancient Greek Pearls of Wisdom for the 21st Century, available at: https://www.createspace.com/4324169)

Consider the following virtues and their meaning:

Acceptance means to believe that the circumstances we cannot alter are valuable and fitting to growth.

Benevolence or kindness is a personal temperament that enables an individual to be sensitive to the needs of others and act upon Good.

Honesty requires authenticity. Not to stage a fictitious image while keeping the precise one well hidden. As Pythagoras said,

It is necessary to be good, rather than to appear so.” 

Humbleness is the disposition to be humble as opposed to arrogant. To act from the heart. Not from the ego.

Integrity is moral dependability. It suggests both values and actions should be consistent.

Hope can only exist under the umbrella of faith. It’s a feeling that a need will be satisfied when the right time comes.

Compassion is an emotion. It cannot be seen or touched but can be felt in our inner heart as we deeply feel for another’s distress and have the longing to alleviate his pain.

Patience is the gift to endure hindrance, nuisances or pain.

Devotion is great love and loyalty for another being, a cause or idea

Faith is the key to a virtuous life. It means to have complete confidence in a person, a plan or on a set of beliefs and values.

Excellence is the fact of having good qualities in a high degree.

Magnanimity is bigheartedness. Refusing to be small.  Undertaking noble actions.

Trust means having confidence in self, others, and the Higher Power.

Truthfulness makes us trustworthy to the eyes of others.

Prudence suggests being careful in a sensible way, avoiding the excess, and living within our means. Socrates said:

“He is richest who is content with the least. For content is the wealth of nature.”

Generosity is openhandedness free of expectations. Sophocles said:

“Be beneficial to others with what you have and what you can; it’s your most kind act.”

Reverence is profound awe and respect.

Selflessness implies to thinking of, and acting for, the welfare of others rather the self.

Silence, both verbal and inner, is indispensable to our welfare and spiritual growth.

Strength can be revealed not only on the physical level but in the quiet and enduring way that helps us deal with life’s hardships.

Wisdom is a gift found in the heart within.  Once we have access to it, mainly by suffering, we’ll be empowered to utilize both knowledge and experience sensibly.

Courage is not just a physical attribute but rather a spiritual quality that enables one to face danger or pain without fear.

Justice is the concept of fairness and impartiality. Ethical correctness based on divine or natural laws, not our own narrow mildness.

Temperance denotes moderation and self restraint. The ability of staying calm and peaceful under all circumstances.

Instead of taking you to Scriptures, I thought of opening a small window and giving you the opportunity to glance at the Ancient Greek Philosophers’ perspective on virtue.  Taking it a little further, to show you how the Greek ideals might support you to improve both your personal and professional life. If you want the full view, open Ancient Greek Pearls of Wisdom for the 21st Century, a book written by John Kyriazoglou (https://www.createspace.com/4324169).

A CICA (Certified Internal Controls Auditor), B.A. (Hon-University of Toronto Canada) and an International Business Thinker, John, in his excellent book of Ancient Greek Pearls of Wisdom, has succeeded in making the challenging subject of ancient Greek philosophy uncomplicated and applicable to our problems in the 21st century. This straight forward inspiring handbook reflects the author’s in-depth knowledge of ancient and modern philosophies and his attitude on divinity, universal truths, and the power of the human spirit. His enlightening introductions, extraordinary collection of inspirational maxims and quotations – and their application to today’s life – his stories, recommendations, and prayers, all can help you unlock the divine powers of self and those or our emerging world, during a time when mostly needed. I particularly like his golden rules and recommendations, which I find relevant to today’s social context. I certainly recommend this book to everyone. Whether you are already on the right path or not, this book will keep you moving forward, as these rules can inspire and enable you to master the game of every aspect of life, fulfill your potential, and empower you to live the virtuous and blessed life you were meant to live.

What other  virtues would you add to my list? How does Virtue fit in your life?

Love to read your thoughts in the comments!

 

Let’s blow the fog away so that the Star of Bethlehem shines again!


We live in difficult times. Though there are more goods ever for many, most people, rich and poor, live in alienation and desperation, in a consumerist society devoid of values and virtue.

Fog covers the world.

People feel defenseless and exposed to innumerable dangers. The boat of humanity sails through haze, without orientation and visibility, without balance and principles. The human race drifts in uncertainty and anxiety, refusing to listen to the voice of consciousness and to see the light of truth. A madness reigns that does not take into account human beings yet cripples man.

Consequently, the star of Bethlehem does not illuminate the path for the Magi toward the manger, where the Son of Man is to be born.

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Yet, the birth of the Divine Infant once again brings new hope to our hopeless and desperate world; redemption for all human beings.

Jesus comes to enlighten the hearts of man. To make them brilliant, peaceful, loving, and hopeful!

To redeem and enrich with integrity, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, graciousness, peace, and glory!

Christmas comes with a promising and benevolent message of trust against the “plastic” ornamentation of the profit-making exploitation that exists everywhere; with a hope for the beginning of a new and better way of living, in a new, superior world, where greed and pain have no place.

It shields against the challenge of the consumerist bulimia and greediness which aims to divert from the essential.

In these turbulent times, Christmas brings the life-saving message of peace and love which can shelter from the fear of an imperceptible, diverse catastrophe from disease, chemical weapons, predatory and terrorist assaults, genocides, and many other civil conflicts, all of which could wipe out millions of unfortunate, hungry, and sick people, and not only.

In Christmas we can find the lost communion with our essence and through the lonely and grieving fellow human beings we can seek our faith in the Supreme Being…

…while in the supermarkets, man can find everything, except his lost soul.

The insignificant cave repeatedly becomes the navel of history each year, and the splendid star of Bethlehem has the possibility to lighten up the world and humanity again.

It is up to us…you and me…the few compassionate ones… those with conscience and love in our hearts, to wipe clean our lenses so as to see, and be guided by, the star of Bethlehem.

To make this Christmas a holiday of joy, for as many as possible!

When the angel song stops, when the star no longer shines in the sky, when the Magi go back to their home and the shepherds return to their flocks, then we will continue to make a difference.

During Christmas and through the New Year, we will…

Look for the stray to bring back to the right path

Lift up the fallen

Feed the hungry

Comfort the lonely and grieving

Free the imprisoned from his prison, whatever that might be

Do anything to elevate the world to a better place

Bring peace among those in discord

Bring and inspire harmony and melody to hearts

Only then we can joyously sing, “God is born within us and no one can stand against us!” Only then we have the chance to be who we were designed by the Crator to be.

May the True Spirit, Hope, and Wonder of Christmas bring you and your family Peace, Happiness, and Enlightenment through the coming New Year!