Bless and Do Not Curse Them

"Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.
Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.
They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.
They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.
They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.
They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.
Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.
Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.
Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.
Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:
so that my fleeing to You may have no return;
so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;
so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;
so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;
so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;
ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.
Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.
One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.
It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.
Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.
A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.
For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.
Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them."
- Bishop Nikolai, a Serbian Orthodox bishop who spoke out against Nazism and was taken to Dachau concentration camp

Vegetable Gyoza

(Very) finely chop all vegetables:
1 heaping cup red cabbage
1 heaping cup Shanghai bok choy (one bundle from Winco)
1/3 cup green onion
heaping 1/2 cup sweet onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. garlic

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

Makes about 50 gyoza

I first cut up all the vegetables, then cooked the cabbage and bok choy with ginger and salt (in my wok), placed in a big bowl, then the mushrooms with a drizzle of Sriracha for some spice, and the onions with garlic. Stir in the vinegar and liquid aminos into the bowl of veggies. I was worried about there being too much liquid in the mixture (no one wants watery gyoza) but I - accidentally - solved this problem by boiling the liquids out from having the glass bowl set on a burner that was supposed to be cooking the rice...whoops.
I bought pre-made gyoza wrappers at Winco (which is what first gave me the idea to try my own) and filled each with a heaping teaspoon of mixture. Dip your finger in water and slightly wet the outside ring of the wrapper and then pinch the sides together firmly. I pan fried them in my wok in small batches with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and they were so tasty! We ate most of them...but I managed to snag a few and froze them for later.

Sweet Potato, Chickpea, & Kale Bowls

Sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes in 1 inch thick slices, lightly coat with olive oil and salt, and place face down on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Roast for about 40 minutes. During this time, cut the kale, make the dressing, and boil and spice the chickpeas.

Remove the leaves from the thick stem and cut kale (I added some romaine too) in small pieces. Toss generously with dressing.

1/3 cup tahini sauce (from Trader Joes)
2 Tbsp. hummus
1 Tbsp. + lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. water
1 heaping Tbsp. minced garlic
black pepper

Boil a heaping cup of soaked chickpeas for about 10 minutes. Drain and toss into a cast iron pan with some oil and sprinkle with chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, turmeric, and smoked paprika (I used quite a bit - gives it a good spice).

I whipped up this quick cabbage slaw and added it for some color and texture:
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
pinch of salt
1 tsp. lime juice (or lemon or apple cider vinegar)
massage cabbage with salt and juice for a minute
drizzle with honey and stir


A New Pot for Lilla

Lilla, our IKEA palm - named after the tiny island of Lilla Essingen in Stockholm - got a fancy new pot and some new soil today (thank you Lowe's giftcard). Hopefully she takes the change well - I'm afraid she doesn't quite get enough sun in our apartment and we are still figuring out how much water she needs.
In other news, we finally got a broom...

Falafel Waffles

Falafel Waffles:
2 heaping cups of chickpeas (I soaked mine in water overnight with a pinch of apple cider vinegar), rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced garlic
handful of chopped cilantro
handful of chopped mint (or other herb)
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground corriander
2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
2/3 cup chickpea flour
2 Tbsp. water

Blend chickpeas, herbs, spices, and lemon juice in a food processor (I used my Nutribullet - but divided this into two batches). Pour into a bowl and add chickpea flour and water. Stir until mixture holds together well. On parchment paper, divide mixture into eight patties. Cook on waffle iron for 4-5 minutes or until well-cooked.

This recipe pairs really well (in texture, taste, and aesthetics) with a red cabbage slaw:
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
- massage vinegar and salt into the cabbage for about one minute
drizzle with honey and black pepper and stir together

Top with sliced cucumber and tahini sauce (I used tahini sauce from Trader Joes mixed with olive oil to thin).

Recipe from My New Roots

A note on chickpeas from Sarah Britton of the blog "My New Roots:"
"We all know that chickpeas are fiber all-stars, providing 50% of your RDI in just one cup, (whoa!) but they have another party trick up their sleeve that I bet you didn’t know about. Two-thirds of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble, meaning that it doesn’t break down during digestion, but instead moves through our digestive tract unchanged until it hits the large intestine. The fun starts here, where friendly bacteria (think probiotics!) go to town on said insoluble fiber and actually break it down to create short-chain fatty acids, including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These short-chain fatty acids can then be absorbed by the cells that line the wall of our large intestine and used for energy! How rad is that?! Butyric acid is in fact the preferredsource of energy for the cells lining our colon, and with this bonus fuel comes greater potential for optimally active and healthy cells. This translates into a reduced risk of colon problems including colon cancer. So friends, invite chickpeas to your next dinner party – they’ll feed you and your colon cells. Can your pot roast do that?"

Sweet & Sour Tofu Veggie Stir-Fry

One package extra-firm tofu
Toasted sesame oil
red cabbage
water chestnuts

Rinse tofu, wrap in paper towels, and set a cast-iron pan on top to drain excess moisture. Cook jasmine rice (1 1/4 cups dry rice with 1 3/4 cups water was the perfect amount for four servings). Cut tofu in small squares and rub with cornmeal and salt. Set aside. Cut up veggies and saute in sesame oil. Slice cabbage in thin strips, saute with garlic and salt. Put cooked veggies in a bowl and mix together. Put sesame oil in the wok and add half the tofu to the pan, cooking the tofu until browned and crisp (about 8 minutes). Repeat with the rest of the tofu. We added a mixture of soy sauce, Island Soyaki sauce, and Sweet Chili sauce from Trader Joes. Top with green onions.
This is one of our new favorites! The colors of the veggies are so pretty (especially the purple cabbage) and the water chestnuts add such a good texture.



How to pick a watermelon: from here
1. Pick it up: the watermelon should feel heavy for its size
2. Look for the yellow spot: when watermelons rest on the ground while growing, they develop a spot - when this spot is creamy yellow, it's ripe
3. Give it a thump: knock on the underbelly of the watermelon. A ripe one will have a hollow sound; under or over ripe melons will sound dull


Sweet Reunions

I got to catch up with one of my dear friends and hang out with two of my favorite boys this weekend. It is incredible to watch them grow and change each time I come home and I can't wait to see their personalities develop. I have so much love for these two tiny humans and their beautiful mama!
Thanks for snapping the pictures for me, Bethany
My friend from high school got married this weekend, and Evan and I got to attend. It was the first wedding we've attended as guests since our own and it was fun to sit back and enjoy a wedding knowing all the hard work that went into it.

Not the Hero Portland Wanted, but the One it Needed


Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

2 cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and smashed
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp. mayo
2 tsp. spicy mustard (I use Garlic Aioli mustard from Trader Joes)
2 tsp. sriracha
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic powder, onion powder, and turmeric
black pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl and serve on bread in sandwich form (with pickles and lettuce!) or as a dip with pita chips. Makes, as always, two lunches and two dinners.

Recipe adapted from Chickpea Magazine

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened Almond-Coconut Milk (we use Blue Almond brand)
2 heaping Tbsp. flax meal or chia seeds
heaping Tbsp. peanut butter

Mix wet ingredients together first, then stir in the oats. Optional: add a dash of agave for sweetness. Soak overnight in the fridge, eat the next morning with bananas and cinnamon! Serves two.

Inspired by Minimalist Baker


BBQ Black Bean Burgers

2 cups mashed sweet potato (I accidentally bought yams but they were still good!) - roughly two large sweet potatoes
1 cup salted black beans (mashed)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup flax meal (I would double this next time or do half a cup of ground oatmeal)
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
garlic salt to taste

Cook sweet potatoes at 400 for about 30 mins. Put in a bowl and mash together. Add the remaining ingredients. Form into thin patties and pan fry in cast iron before cooking in the oven for 20 minutes. I used Trader Joes garlic and herb pizza crust for the "bun" and topped the burger with pickles, tomato, garlic aioli mustard and BBQ sauce. The burgers turned out pretty soft - I might add more flax meal and/or ground oatmeal and cook for longer in the oven. Other than being super messy, the burgers were super tasty! I picked up new dill kettle chips from TJ's which was a perfect side.

As always, recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker

“And the heart of this convert, still taking his baby steps in Orthodoxy, longed to know how to believe, which means also whom to believe. He was too much a person of his times and his own upbringing to be able simply to deny his own reasoning power and believe blindly everything he was told; and it is very evident that Orthodoxy does not at all demand this of one – the very writings of the Holy Fathers are a living memorial of the working of human reason enlightened by the grace of God. But it was also obvious that there was something very much lacking in the ‘theologians’ of our day, who for all their logic and their knowledge of Patristic texts, did not convey the feeling or savor of Orthodoxy as well as a simple, theologically-uneducated Abbess” (13). 
The Orthodox Veneration of Mary: The Birthgiver of God by St. John Maximovitch

Roasted Vegetable Vegan Pizza

Evan and I were both happily surprised at how delicious this pizza was! I'm already brainstorming the ways I can incorporate vegan parmesan into more meals. The key to this pizza (besides the parmesan) is sautéing the veggies before putting them on the pizza and loading the pizza with garlic and oregano. 

Tomato sauce (I used tomato basil marinara)
Two small tomatoes
Two bell peppers
One onion
Artichoke hearts
Fresh basil
Garlic salt
Dried oregano
Red pepper flakes
Minced garlic

Vegan Parmesan
¾ cup raw cashews
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp salt
Pulse ingredients in a food processer (I used my Nutribullet) and store in the fridge

Slice and sauté veggies (mushrooms, peppers, and onion) until browned. Sprinkle with garlic salt and oregano. Divide crust (I used Trader Joes Garlic and Herb pizza dough) into two pieces, roll each on a cookie sheet. A Silpat and perforated baking sheet worked perfectly. Add sauce and veggies (including artichoke, tomato, basil, and garlic), then sprinkle with vegan parmesan, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Bake at 425 for 10-20 minutes (depending on how thick the crust is).

I would make the crust a little thicker next time, but it made enough for two dinners and two lunches. Olives and pesto would make yummy additions too!

recipe from Minimalist Baker - where I am getting all my recipes these days!


Coming from a Protestant background, I heard Mary (the mother of Christ) talked about at the most one or two times a year. She was usually mentioned around Christmas time and held up as a role model of saying "yes" to God or as yet another example of God's willingness to work through His children. Beyond the details Luke recounts in his Gospel I knew very little about her, which did not strike me as a problem considering the damage I saw in thinking too much of her (what I saw as Catholics "worshipping" Mary). But then, in the midst of discovering Orthodoxy, I was brought face to face with Mary (known in the Orthodox church as the "Theotokos," which means "God-bearer") and could no longer ignore her; after all, an icon of her is at the alter, hymns are sung to her during Divine Liturgy, and her feast days mark the beginning and end of the church calendar. I asked the Jensons for book recommendations and spent Sunday reading about Mary - what historical sources discuss of her and how the Christian church has thought of her throughout the centuries. 

Some interesting excerpts from my reading: 
From: The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts by Frederica Mathewes-Green 
“Long years ago a Christian heard this prayer and wrote it on a piece of papyrus that was small enough to carry through the day – the earliest prayer yet found that is addressed to Mary…The date of AD 250 tells us only when it was inscribed on this particular papyrus. We don’t know how far back the prayer itself might go. This prayer begins with Mary’s compassion. It does not speak of taking refuge under her power or her merits, but instead cites a motivation inside of her: she loves us. A person motivated by love is a sure help in trouble, and will pour out what could not be won by bargaining or flattery. A child knows this about his mother, that her love is something strong, and is a good place to find shelter” (87).

“If death has truly been destroyed, then these departed friends in Christ are alive and invisibly present; they are just as genuinely present as the friends and family we can see. But now they are also in the throne room of God, and continually at prayer. The early Christians had such complete confidence that death had been overthrown, that they asked the holy departed to pray for them” (93).

From: The Orthodox Veneration of Mary: The Birthgiver of God by St. John Maximovitch
“If God the Father chose [Mary], God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Cross – then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?” (21).

“In the womb of Mary, God and man were joined. She was the One Who served as it were as the ladder for the Son of God, Who descended from heaven” (26). 

The Skirt is Back

Greek Salad

Romaine heart
bell pepper
fresh green beans, boiled and then sautéed with sesame oil, salt, and garlic
red onion
olives and artichoke hearts (from Winco bulk section)
feta cheese
chickpeas (tossed in lemon juice and oregano)
crushed pita chips

Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Splash of almond milk
Minced garlic



Evan and I walked down to the street fair this morning, stopping first at Pine Street Biscuits for breakfast (incredible). It is supposed to be in the 90s today - we were already sweating by noon! My program has ended for the summer and I'm looking forward to two weeks of preparing for teaching, reading books I've been neglecting on my bookshelf (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Orthodox Church by Kallistos Ware, and The Lost Gospel of Mary by Frederica Mathewes-Green), trying more plant-based recipes (maybe this sourdough bread, this asian quinoa salad, or this sweet and sour tofu), and starting up my kombucha brewing again.

Portobello Mushroom Stir-Fry

We've made this a couple times now and it is really tasty and surprisingly filling. Makes enough for two dinners and two lunches.
heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (I never have real ginger around but minced would be yummy)
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
5 Tbsp. liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
4 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. water

1 small head broccoli, cut in small pieces
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced (to cook faster)
I've also tried asparagus, onion, and water chestnuts which add good flavor too!
chopped green onion to sprinkle on top

Brown rice works well as a base - 1 1/2 cups dry brown rice is usually good for us.

Start brown rice first since it takes a while to cook (roughly 40 minutes). Prepare marinade. Wash and slice portobello mushrooms, and add to the marinade. I toss mine in a 9x13" pan to marinade. Cut vegetables, and cook in a wok on medium high (I do about three batches so the wok isn't overflowing) with a pinch of sesame oil. After the mushrooms have been in the marinade for 20-30 minutes, cook in the wok until browned. Pour the leftover marinade into a jar for serving. Serve the stir fry over brown rice, adding extra sauce and green onions.

Recipe adapted from: Minimalist Baker

Final Project: Self Portrait

Final project for my Differentiation class assignment: "Where I am, Where I'm Going"

My thought process started with thinking about my identity, and the fact that as a white woman I have part of my identity that experiences reality through disadvantage as a woman but at the same time I experience a profound amount of societal privilege by being white. The image of two eyes came to mind, and I thought about taking a picture of my eyes to capture the idea of looking at the world from two different angles and the tension that comes with that. Then, I began thinking more about the medium of a self portrait, and how it seemed like a decent analogy of examining your identity and privilege, for both require you to look really closely at yourself, evaluating aspects of your identity piece my piece to see how things are constructed, and finding things about yourself along the way that you may or may not like (I have a lopsided chin). Both acts of examination are uncomfortable, and it is much easier to turn away and cling to the belief of what you think you look like. I made myself do this project because for me, looking at my face for any longer than a few minutes is a guaranteed way to open up anxiety, discomfort, self-doubt and disappointment – all feelings that come along with taking a long hard look at my identity and privilege. To sit in those emotions and continue to make myself look felt like a fitting exercise for “where I’m going” or hope to go – I hope to challenge myself to continue to examine the parts of my life and identity that are uncomfortable, for myself and for my students.  

Mexican Quinoa with Sweet Potato Fries

1 cup dry white quinoa
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 bell pepper, chopped in small pieces
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
scoop of pico de gallo (or just chopped tomato and onion)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
minced garlic (I use roughly a tablespoon of pre-minced garlic)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa (I cooked mine in leftover broth with a pinch of salt but water works just fine!), put in a serving bowl to cool for a few minutes. Add corn, black beans, pepper, red onion, and pico de gallo (or tomato). Finely chopped kale would make this a lighter dish, too. Mix up the dressing and stir everything together. I did a taste test at the end to see if it needed more seasoning - I added a pinch more salt, lime juice, and cumin. If you like more spice, Evan adds more Sriracha to his!
I made sweet potato fries - skin on - coated in olive oil, garlic salt, cumin, and chili powder and they were super tasty with the quinoa!


Chocolate Oatmeal & Quinoa No-Bake Cookies

½ cup (I use slightly less) sugar
2 Tbsp. almond milk
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. cocoa
½ cup unsweetened coconut
¾ cup oats
¼ cup quinoa (dry)
½ cup peanut butter
½ tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

Bring sugar, almond milk, oil, and cocoa to a boil for one minute. Take off the heat. Add other ingredients. Chill for 15 minutes, then serve. Makes six little cookies. Pro tip: the smaller you make the cookies the less bad you feel eating three or four!

Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker

Small Space Solution No.1

Baking tray turned watercolor table - all on our tiny little sofa. I feel pretty good about this one.

Pretty Zucchini

Who knew zucchini was so pretty?
(Homegrown zucchini courtesy of Grandma T & Papa)
Also, for the record, this zucchini was in the process of being made into Mexican zucchini casserole by Evan (!) while I worked on homework.


From The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement

“At the beginning of the fourth century the Church had to confront a heresy which might be called the master heresy, because it is seen to reappear the moment that the sense of mystery is obscured, notably in contemporary forms of Christianity that are seeking a compromise with the world and its ways. For heresy is not just a cultural episode now past. It expresses a permanent temptation of the human mind in its desire to explain the mystery and to reduce its scope. Primitive Arianism was not an abstract and complicated dispute. On the contrary, it was a radical way of simplifying and ‘understanding’ the incarnation and the Trinity” (373).

“The Trinitarian revelation is that of a sacrificial and liberating Fatherhood which offers the Spirit and destroys at its very root the relation of master and slave. In our own day a whole process of reflection on power is quickly developing that disparages Christianity by concentrating solely on the authoritarian aspects of ‘Christian society’, such as were inaugurated by Constantine. That is to forget the phenomena of the confessing Church, the uncompromising prophetic testimony of the monks, the endurance of the great witnesses to the faith such as St. Athanasius of Alexandria, so many proofs that the tension between the kingdom of Caesar and the kingdom of God, a space for the freedom of the spirit, has never been able to be relaxed” (376).