Dreams really do come true. A dream is a wish your heart makes. Since childhood, we are indoctrinated to believe that dreams are a big component of our lives. Without dreams, we have nothing. Then we grow up and are told to be practical, realistic and get a job that provides financial security. Kind of confusing when you grow up thinking you will eventually become a dragon-slaying Hero of the Cosmos.
Some people interpret dreams. My grandmother even has a book that explains what things you see in dreams mean. We are often told that dreams are a mirror or window into our subconscious and reveal to us our most sincere, deepest of desires.
My father says than when we dream it is because our butts are cold.
No, it’s true. My father is convinced that, while sometimes God may try to connect with us through dreams, for the most part, dreams are the result of not having a blanket covering our backsides while asleep. On the flip side, my father has also said that up until he recently fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a contractor, he used to dream he was back at school studying civil engineering (what he majored in). Once he started building houses, he hasn’t had any of those recurring dreams.
So, what is it about dreams that make them so powerful? Do children respond stronger to dreams than adults? The dual nature of dreams, one being “the movies we watch while we’re sleeping” and the other “what we hope to ultimately do with our lives,” affects the association most people have when hearing or discussing the concept of dreams. It’s almost as though society says that it’s ok for kids to dream big and fantasize but at a certain point we have to grow up. As if dreaming is like a childhood game such as “playing house” or “hide-and-seek,” once we reach a certain age it is no longer acceptable for us to play them anymore (I guess it would be silly for a 35 year old to play legos).
I say that holding on to our dreams is what keeps us young. What makes the 80 year old seem so much more alert and “with it” and younger looking than the 60 year old? Probably good genetics and a healthy diet. But I’m willing to venture that never losing sight of their dreams, whatever that might be, in some way has added to the fullness of these magnificent people’s lives.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality, it’s up to you to draw it.”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holiday was wonderful. And for those brave souls who dare to shop today, shop till’ you drop!
My name is Jenny-Zoe Pagonis, and I am new here at Parables & Books. I am a social worker and soon-to-be psychology graduate student in the New York metropolitan area. My job is dream-like; I do not remember having any children of my own, but when people ask, I say I have over forty children. Each one I have worked with has been the single best experience of my life.
I am an avid freelance writer and a spiritual person, and so I decided to take a leap of faith when I interviewed to be a part of the Parables & Books team. In fact, my interview with Sandy just ended a few minutes ago. An hour later, I was asked to write my first blog post. So here I am, in the Parables & Books office, and I am I thrilled to be here.
This office is full of enthusiastic, intelligent writers and professionals who share a common interest; building a foundation of faith for a new generation; a generation that is facing so many inherited problems; financial, emotional, and spiritual. There is no doubt that an abyss exists in today’s world; one where apathy and insincerity thrive. Now, more than ever, we need a revolution. I don’t mean pitchforks and angry rants, but a united, knowledgeable and spiritual change in the way we think and practice life.
It has been proven that one of the best ways children learn is by reading. Open a book with a child, and you open up a window to the world they never knew existed. My grandpa or “Pah-pou” always tells me, “Read something new everyday; never stop learning.” It is my hope that during my time here with this wonderful company, I can open a few windows.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays. Growing up, I always loved sitting with my family at the table full of delicious food. My mother, for the record, is one of the most amazing cooks that I’ve ever encountered. (No, really. I’m not just saying it because we’re related.)
Because I’m “ethnic,” (a topic we’ll discuss in another post) Thanksgiving at my house is not the typical scene you find at the average American home. Yes, of course there’s the Turkey and since my mother loves cranberry sauce we have that, too. Mashed potatoes and corn also round out the traditional Thanksgiving standbys (occasionally we have yams or sweet potatoes or whatever you happen to call it.), but that is generally where the similarities end. My mother makes bulgur (cracked wheat), cheese pies often called borek or tyropites, sometimes we have stuffed grape leaves, stuffed zucchini and/or eggplant, etc. Also, there’s the difference between stuffing.
Ah, stuffing. My family’s interpretation of stuffing is either seasoned rice or bulgur mixed with meat. I had no idea that American (AKA anybody not exposed to my or similar cultures) stuffing was bread based and had delicious flavoring. My first exposure to American stuffing was when I started high school and they occasionally served “Thanksgiving lunch” and I tried it for the first time in my life. Oh, my God that first bite of delicious bread and celery and apple and whatever else was in it will stay with me for always.
Can you tell I’m a former fat kid? Haha, anyway I definitely loved good food and still do, for that matter. I mean, I appreciate the hard work that goes into preparing a dish full of flavor. I recognize how fortunate I am to have access to such meals, not just on Thanksgiving and other Holidays but always. I know how easy it is to take for granted all of the many blessings we have been provided with, but when it comes to food, I never forget those that go without.
That’s why Thanksgiving is such a great time. I helps reminds us of all the good gifts that God has given us and to truly appreciate their true value.
“All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above.
Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love”
-Stephen Schwartz (Godspell)
So I was cordially invited by my friend Sandy to submit a piece of writing to Parables & Books’ blog. I thought to myself, sure, that’d be a nice thing to do – make a small contribution to a friend’s undertaking, and perhaps even kindle a spark of oft-repressed creativity that I might not even realize I had.
Trouble is, I had nothing suitable lying around in my plethora of saved files and documents on this well-worn computer which is really more like a scrapbook of “me” than it serves any other constructive purpose. So the next task that fell on me was coming up with some “spiritual” or otherwise significant new topic to write about. Never an overly religious person – although I do catch myself having plenty of “meaning of life” daydreams; and in all honesty I am the type who strives to carry himself in a manner that He would see fit – I began to resign myself to the conclusion that, while me writing something for the P&B blog was a nice notion, it just wasn’t likely to happen.
And so instead I headed outside to begin my good deed for the day and make a dent in that perpetual carpet of dead, dried leaves that littered our front lawn, as is typical every year around this time. Always a results-oriented person, I’d rake a few minutes and then pause a moment with a self-satisfied smile at the bright green patch that I’d managed to “unearth” …and then predictably, like a heckler on the sidelines of a late autumn football game, a gust of wind would pick up as if to deter the visiting quarterback from completing his comeback drive, so to speak. Not only would this hefty gust send yet another deluge of the dead, dry things down out of the sky to replace the ones I’d already raked, but it would also threaten to undermine the now-ample pile that I’d worked so diligently to amass. To my pragmatic mind (For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an engineer by training) I was quickly tempted to concede this was a never-ending, unwinnable battle. Yet another part of me knew that it was surely worth persisting and seeing this task through to the end.
…That’s what I feel our lives ought to be like as Christians; as model citizens; or simply as persons of good character. No matter how insurmountable a task it might seem, we can only truly be at our best if we continue to spread His message of love, faith, and good nature – one person at a time if that’s what it takes. It might be tiresome; there might be times when it seems fruitless… but if we can only keep it up, then the world – like our lawn – will be a better place for our efforts.
Ever since I can remember, I have been singing. It’s just been something that I have always enjoyed doing and helps define me as a person. I’ve pretty much been performing in one form or another with or without a stage since I was a young child. I was the kid that would sing in the hallways at school. I was the kid that put on dramatic performances for my parents. I was…a handful.
When I was 10 years old, I joined a newly established children’s choir that my church’s archdiocese had assembled. The choir was made up of 20-30 kids ranging from my age to late teens. We sang a mixture of traditional Orthodox hymns as well as more contemporary songs and even recorded a couple CDs for religious holidays including Christmas and Holy Thursday. We would rehearse weekly and it was a big commitment for us, since most of us were so young. Ultimately, it was hard to maintain a group of that many children for that long. After about three years, the choir disbanded.
I performed in my first play when I was in the eighth grade. We put on the musical Brigadoon and it was such a different experience from anything else I had ever done before. Being onstage in a play, especially a musical, is such a rush. Even if you have a small part or are in the ensemble, there is a certain magic to being in costume with lights on all around you. I acted and sang every spring in the musical and also performed in some comedic roles my junior and senior year of high school.
In college, I tried to maintain this part of my life but it was not easy. Balancing a double major and a minor with performing on top of other extracurricular activities I was involved with was difficult, but I did get the opportunity to perform in a bunch of things such as musicals, plays, one-acts and more.
Now that I’m in the work force, I really didn’t think it would be feasible to manage various jobs and perform at the same time. Since I’ve graduated, I have been involved with three different community theater companies in different projects including workshops, musicals and programs. It is never easy balancing work and play (believe me, I know), however, it’s not impossible and people need to take time to do what they enjoy.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”
Hey everybody! Sorry, it’s been a while since my last blog post! (Un)fortunately, we’ve been pretty swamped here at Parables & Books and especially coupled with the wacky weather we’ve been experiencing here in the North East, well, let’s just say it has been very difficult to get everything done!
It was recently my birthday on October 24th (definite Scorpio here). The 24th is United Nations’ Day, by the way. I’m sure all of you are familiar with this crucial holiday and celebrate it with all the due respect that it so deserves. Growing up with a birthday exactly one week before the 31st, I constantly had Halloween themed birthday parties, complete with Black and Orange decorations. I used to love (and still do, really) the costumes, the excitement, the mischievous atmosphere and, of course, the candy!
I distinctly remember at a few birthdays having games like “pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern” and guessing how many pieces of candy corn were in the glass jar. (Side note: Not a candy corn fan). My mom would go all out on having several desserts from cakes to cookies to candy and more. Small gestures like these really meant a lot, as they are lasting memories that I have from my childhood. I may be overly nostalgic, but I am very grateful to have had the experiences I was blessed with.
Who doesn’t look back on trick or treating remembering the fun and reminisce about those times?
Some people are very tough on Halloween, saying that it is nonsense and shouldn’t be celebrated whatsoever. I think that it’s all in good fun and an essential part of growing up in America. Halloween is not meant to be taken super seriously, but rather as lighthearted, good-natured fun. Children need outlets to pretend and take on extraordinary characters if even only for one day or weekend. If anyone thinks that Halloween is an excuse for children (of any age) to engage in raucous behavior, then it really is up to parents to ensure they have passed on good decision-making skills to their sons and daughters.
Until next time!