LEBANON: Byblos (Day 4)

Day One.

Days Two-Three.

Day Four (Jeita Grotto & Harrisa)

It pays to have a knowledgeable tour guide; I’ve known this one for 23 years.

My son has always been a lizard fan. I sent this pic from Byblos, saying: “Saw one of your friends today.” He replied: “I don’t know him.” ;P

I’ll let the beauty of the ancient ruins of Byblos speak for itself in the following pics.

Listen to the Orthodixie podcast of my tripHERE.

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LEBANON – Jeita Grotto & Harissa (Day 4)

Day One.

Days Two-Three.

They don’t allow pictures in the Grotto (you have to locker your phone) — but you can hear a bit about it on the Orthodixie Podcast. And, someone took some pics! Go here: http://tinyurl.com/y74h77mv

“The Guardian of Time”, a sculpture by Lebanese artist Tony Farah outside the lower cave at Jeita.

The “Time Machine” outside Jeita Grotto.

The Maronite Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon (Santa Maria) Harissa.

I was a bit confused as to why all these Muslim girls at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon wore the same outfit. “It’s a school outing,” my daughter said.

For Roman Catholics, May is the Month of Mary — hence the flags.

Forgive me: out of “uniform”.

Listen to the Orthodixie podcast of my tripHERE.

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LEBANON – Beirut (Days 2-3)

Lebanon/Beirut – Day One.

ben op

Papa Joe’s Lebanon trip reading fare.

mc school

MC on the JOB.

day 2 sch playgrnd

School playground – where my daughter worked.

st geo ash

St George/Ashrafieh (Beirut)

st geo

St George/Ashrafieh (Beirut)

fr j st geo

Fr Justin giving us a tour of St George/Ashrafieh (Beirut).

fr justin uv

Fr Justin and his office assistant, UV.

day 3 sursock

Nicholas Sursock museum.

olg stairs

Makes a dad in the States feel a little better knowing that his daughter in Lebanon has to pass a “graceful reminder” on her way up the stairs each evening.

day 3 girls w Nou

My daughter and her British flat mates (with an image of, and a toast to, Mr Nouhad Bassila who couldn’t make the trip but “sponsored” our dinner ;).

Listen to the Orthodixie podcast of my tripHERE.

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LEBONON – Beirut (Day 1)

Day 1 Balcony

Looking down the street from my Airbnb balcony, Ashrafieh/Beirut.

day 1 mosque 2

The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, also referred to as the Blue Mosque, downtown Beirut — the bell tower of St George Orthodox Cathedral in left background.

day one martyrs sq

Martyrs Square, downtown Beirut.

day 1 ruins

My Beirut tour guide — a Huneycutt!

Listen to the Orthodixie podcast of my tripHERE.

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Taco Bell Monster

She came into the store looking like a Baptist Beauty Queen, except there was a tear in her hose and a tear in her eye.

During the interview, she seemed distant though needy; distracted. When asked, she replied, “Oh, no … nothing; it’s silly really.”

We didn’t hire her. That was the day that the trash dumpster disappeared. “Damned college kids,” Kevin said, “who steals a dumpster?”

The second time she came in for the job, I sent one of the managers out to ask her a few questions and get rid of her. This time I noticed she had on torn shoes, with a stains that looked like blood.

She was pretty, affable – but, fear lurked behind her eyes. The interview only took thirty minutes or so, but in that time her car disappeared. She didn’t seem too surprised. Sad, afraid, but not surprised. She said she’d parked by the dumpster.

It was three weeks later when she again appeared in the restaurant. Gosh, she was pretty – but I just didn’t know if she was Taco Bell material.

I said, “I’ll handle this,” and went out to talk with her.

We were about twenty minutes into the interview when I noticed the cut on her left hand. Quickly, my mind raced …

(Okay. She’d had an issue with her hosiery. Then her shoes. The car disappearing by the disappearing dumpster … now this. What’s up?)

She said, “Danny Drebber.”

“Excuse me?”

She said, “Danny Drebber. You asked me what was up with the clothes, the car, the wound.”

“No I didn’t.”

Her face changed. It was not possible, here in the middle of the Taco Bell in Boone, North Carolina – but, believe me, it happened.

(I was a little boy again, lost in the woods – probably only three hundred yards from my home – when, at dusk’s light, I swear I saw someone. Something. Some …)


“Are you okay,” she asked.

“What?” I realized that I had sort of dazed into a dream. “Yeah. Sorry. Where were we?”

She said, “We were in the forest, behind your house, and you’d thrown your G.I. Joe high into the air. You thought it’d stuck in a tree … until you heard footsteps, walking at dusk’s light. At first, for some reason, you thought it was your little action figure. As you drew near, it, whatever it was – retreated. You imagined you’d encountered a monster.”

Somewhere from beneath my Adam’s apple I heard myself splurt: “WHO ARE YOU?”

“Well, I’m not G.I. Joe,” she replied.


Writing Prompt: “Retell a story that you know, but this time add monsters.”

Image Source

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Not Fake News, Good News, But Does the Bible Tell You So?

Hello again, everyone, and welcome to another exciting episode of the game show “Not Fake News, Good News, But Does the Bible Tell You So?”

As always … the RULES:

I will read a portion of a text and my contestants will try to be the first to correctly identify who said it – or is it in the BIBLE … or NOT. It’s just that simple.

Now, on to today’s contestants:

First up on today’s show, please say hello to Jennifer from Jacksonville!

Jennifer, tell us a little about yourself …

— Okay, well, I’m married, mother of four, and I’m currently a catechumen in the Orthodox Church.

Oh! A catechumen … ok, just for fun … QUICKLY:

Which came first, the New Testament or …

Listen to the rest of the story on the Orthodixie Podcast on on Ancient Faith Radio!

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We Have No King … but Caesar?

OrthodixieWith current events around the country following the recent election, this episode might not typify the “lighter side of Orthodoxy”—but we Christians are called to be the light, right?

Not much to see here — but listen to the Orthodixie Podcast on Ancient Faith Radio!

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