Monday, April 17, 2017

About that Coffee Cup . . .

Express your Personality & Enjoy Better Coffee all While Being Green!
 There is a popular misconception in our society - a misconception that is sadly often believed by both Christians and Secular people. It goes like this: Secular people think it's a virtue to take care of things like the environment and recycling, but Christians believe in taking care of important things like Eternal Values and Feeding the Poor.

It is true that as Christians Eternal Values and Feeding the Poor are vitally important.

But it is not true that we bear no responsibility as Christians for the environment.  And, it's definitely not true that "environmentalism" isn't a Christian "thing." Quite the contrary!

God gave humans the responsibility to care for the world He created! 

Does anyone really think that when God gives a job he doesn't care if we do it well or poorly, to His Glory or destructively?

It seems that the Parable of the Talents would indicate that God DOES care about the quality of our work for Him.

Our Orthodox Patriarch is known as the "Green Patriarch" because of his care for the environment

Some time ago, our Parish Priest delivered a sermon on Christian responsibility for the environment. Among all the other points he made, there was a simple comment that stuck with me. It was something like this: "Every Sunday, at Coffee Hour, we use disposable coffee cups, and in the course of a year, we produce a huge amount of Styrofoam waste - for no reason. It should be a simple matter to use washable cups."

Of course, we have a large parish, and it really isn't such a simple matter to use washable cups for such a huge crowd. We'd have to buy a large number, build storage space for them, put them out, bus tables to collect them, and pay someone to wash them every week. Then, we'd be in the bad situation of creating more work to be done on the Lord's Day - which should be a day of rest. Which, I guess, is why we haven't gotten that done yet!

But, it occurred to me that it was an easy matter for me to take the personal responsibility to use a washable cup for my cup of coffee!

So, the next week, I tossed a coffee mug from home into my purse, and used it at coffee hour. When I was done, I put it back into my purse.I decided it was good to just keep a cup in my purse all the time!

And you know what I noticed? Coffee tastes a lot better when it comes from a real cup!

And, I can carry a cup that expresses my personality - if I want to : ) 

Do you know what else I discovered? It's really handy to have a cup in my purse!  I've avoided buying many bottles of water that way, thereby saving money. When I go to a fast food place, I can -  once again -  avoid wasting a "courtesy cup." When I'm traveling, I can have a cup of water in the waiting area without having to buy one and without having to stand over a water fountain to drink. With a drink mix of my choice, I can even have something besides water to drink!

Over the course of a couple of years, this has not only avoided creating a mountain of landfill trash, but it has also saved a lot of money, and made my coffee a more pleasant experience.

Now, there are lots of things you can do to save the environment that are a big hassle - but this isn't one of them. It's so easy to keep a coffee cup in your purse : )

And, you don't have to go out and buy a cup that costs way more than it should because it says "Green" on the label. You can just use a mug you already have!

Of course, there have been a few recent articles saying how germ-laden real coffee cups are. Some of those have gone so far as to say we should throw them all away and use disposables. The conspiracy theorist in me can't help but wonder who financed THAT study! But, as this article so sensibly states - just bring your cup home and throw it in the dishwasher regularly.

The BBC did a great article on the huge amount of waste created by coffee cups every year, and the fact that they aren't really recyclable, despite their labeling.

Now, whichever political party you belong to, and whatever your position on controversial issues like pipelines, fracking, global warming or whatever - that's not the issue here. This is a simple matter. Just a matter of having a nice tasting cup of coffee in a cup that is more enjoyable to drink out of than paper or Styrofoam, anyway!

So, consider doing a tiny bit for the environment, and at the same time, improving your coffee drinking experience. It's a win-win! : )

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Holy Week Menu

Holy Week Menu
Holy Week, for Orthodox Christians, is the busiest week of the year. Here's a menu to help. The meals are super-quick to fix and/or make-ahead meals. This way you can stay focused on the meaning of the week, without being distracted by food preparation.

I'm posting this a week ahead so that you can make these meals this week if you like, so you'll be all ready for Holy Week.

Simple foods like Bread, Hummus, Fresh Veggies and Fresh Fruit may be added to all of these menus. Check out this post for some inspiration.

Palm Sunday:
Three Bean Dal
 (Fish may also be served for Omnivores)

Holy Monday:
Curried Chickpeas over Rice

Holy Tuesday:
Claire's Southern Delight

Holy Wednesday:
Greek Style Black-Eyed Peas ( Louvia )

Holy Thursday:
Pasta & Sauce

Holy Friday (or Good Friday):
Family Favorite Lentil Soup

Holy Saturday: Eat the Lenten leftovers from the fridge to get ready for the Pascha Feast.

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