Don’t Forget to Leave Your Shoes Out for St. Nicholas Tonight!

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St. Nicholas brings a dowry in secret

Tomorrow (December 6) is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia in the 4th century. Known for generously giving to those in need, over the years his image evolved (devolved) from that of a saintly bishop, to a gift-giver to children, to a fat little rosy-cheeked imp from the North Pole, jumping down the chimney to deliver presents on Christmas Day.

I don’t really have a problem with having fun with the imaginary Santa Claus, but since he is so far removed from St. Nicholas now I’m glad the Orthodox Church remembers the real man – in fact, he is one of the most popular Orthodox Saints, and the patron saint of my parish. Not only was he very generous, he is also remembered for punching Arius during the Council of Nicea. If you want to know more about the, um, rugged side of St. Nicholas, check out this interesting video I just saw today for the first time!

Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

If you would like celebrate St. Nicholas Day with your family, here are a couple simple and fun ideas:

1. Have the kids leave their shoes outside their bedroom doors tonight. When they’re asleep, slip a few coins in the shoes along with a special treat.

2. Give a gift to someone in need. You could leave anonymous gifts for each other, or for neighbors, family or friends. You could also make care packages for the homeless in your area (great items to include are warm socks, baby wipes, lip balm, band aids, tissues, and a gift card for food).

3. Punch a heretic. …just kidding 🙂

Marie Catrib’s: ladies’ lunch with the bishop

So yesterday we had the Ladies Guild lunch with Bishop Anthony. Of course I meant to get to the church at least an hour and a half early to set up, but I ended up only giving myself an hour. Nadira and I scrambled around moving tables and setting them, and a bunch of other ladies showed up to help us finish, and helped during the lunch. There were so many people helping, I’m sorry I don’t remember – but Thank you, everyone!

The tables looked very festive, decorated in green and red. I got too caught up in everything to take pictures of the room, but one thing I didn’t forget…

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I told Bishop Anthony I hoped he didn’t think I was weird, but I needed to take pictures for my food blog. He said he didn’t mind : ) So here we have Marie’s wonderful (giant) cabbage rolls, stuffed with rice, onion and chick peas, probably a little fresh garlic, spiced with cinnamon and I’m not sure what else. There was also chick peas and eggplant in a tomato sauce over rice, and a mixed green salad with oil and lemon dressing. And…

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a farina dessert with a sugary sweet syrup and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

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Nice and moist.

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And here is a random shot from Vespers last night.

our bishop is here!!!! and an excellent dinner at Chloe Élan

As I mentioned before, my parish is celebrating St. Nicholas Day weekend (St. Nicholas Day is actually December 6, but why celebrate on just one day when you can make it 4?). Our Bishop ANTHONY arrived late this afternoon, and I finally figured out the benefit of being the president of the Ladies Guild – a little extra time with Sayedna. Oh, and a great dinner at Chloe Élan in Ada.

It was my first time visiting this restaurant since it’s quite a drive from my home. I wish I had pictures of more than just my food since our little room was filled with people I love and respect, but this will have to do for now.

I forgot to take a picture of my salad, mixed greens with some kind of oil & garlicy dressing. For the entree: Braised eggplant with onions, peppers, tomatoes and kalamata olives over…some kind of grain with wild rice. It was really creamy, and dare I say…kind of cheesy. They said it was vegan, and I sure hope it was. Or I’ll pay in the not-too-distant future! I only got a couple shots because every time I took out my camera, someone would catch me. Maybe when I go out to eat I should just stand up and announce I’ll be taking pictures for my food blog, otherwise things get weird : )

Dessert was a modest bowl of fresh fruit, with a teeny, tiny sprinkling of sugar and pretty little sprig spearmint. I needed something light after eating at a Chinese buffet for lunch. I have to stop doing that.

Tomorrow Marie Catrib’s is catering our lunch. I have to get to bed early tonight because I have to get up at a decent hour in the morning and figure out how I want to set up and decorate the tables. Part of me is excited because it’s like hosting a party, but part of me is bummed because I’m not making the food myself. And yet another part of me realizes I’d be having a panic attack if I had to make the food – what if something went wrong????!??!!!? I’d be up all night worrying about it.

Anyway, Marie is awesome, both as a chef and a woman, so I’m just going to relax and let her do her thing. More pictures to come!