Museum Event!

April 15, 2015

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Please join me on Sunday, May 17th at 3pm at the National Hellenic Museum of Chicago for a presentation of Tasso’s Journey. I am honored to be invited to our hometown Hellenic Museum. Signed copies available at the reading!

Visit the Museum’s website to register at: www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/lecture-series

Hope to see you there!

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Kali Anastasi to all!

April 10, 2015

St. George

As we wait for the bells of St. George to ring aloud at midnight on Saturday, announcing the Resurrection of Christ, I wish you all and your families a very blessed Easter and healthy, happy Pascha celebration this weekend!  Kalo Pascha everyone!

Join me at any of the many locations during the warmer months of April and May as I present, Tasso’s Journey, the prequel to Seasons of Sun! Event dates can be found on my website at http://www.seasonsofsun.com.

I hope to see many of you there!

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Here it is at last!  Available at http://www.Seasonsofsun.com, B&N.com, and Amazon!  Check out the EVENTS page of the Seasons of Sun webpage for book signing dates!

With all the happiness in the world, I share with you the wonderful news that soon the prequel to Seasons of Sun will be released. Tasso’s Journey is the love story of my maternal grandparents, Tasso and Diamanto Stamatopoulos.  Thiers is a story like many of that era, living through tumultuous times, later to be called, the greatest generation that ever lived!

I’ve spent the last four years piecing together their historical tale, gathering information from relatives and friends, as well as experts on the time of Greece’s civil war.  There are still very deep wounds from this period of history, and I’ve learned many lessons along the way. Mostly, I’ve learned what deep faith Tasso possessed, and how that faith changed my Yiayia’s life forever.

As final touches are being put on the cover, and promotional pieces are in the works, get ready! There’s going to be a new addition to your Spring/Summer reading list and you’ll love it! Some dates are already planned for book signings around the Chicago area. Feel free to check out my website at http://www.seasonsofsun.com for dates under the Events! calendar. See you soon!

Seasons Of Sun's Blog

The peak of the summer – August 23rd – Vassara’s panayiri festival!

We begin this special day with quick ride or walk across the mountain to a grotto church named Panayias Sto Vraho ( Virgin Mary of the Rock ).  Then, it is a steep climb up many stairs. (Forget the morning excercise – this is it!) The view up top is amazing as you overlook the village across the way.  Now we have reached the top. This cave-like church dates back to the time of the Turkish invasion of Greece, where it was used to educate Greek children in secret at night in order to preserve the Greek language and culture. Today, this is a beloved church, a place where the entire village comes to worship the morning of August 23rd.  Xronnia Polla (Many Years) to all those named Maria, Mary, Panayioti (Peter)!

The village is PACKED with visitors on this feast day. Relatives, friends and…

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As described in Seasons of Sun’s Chapter 5, “Off to Church,” this photo represents the REAL day of the Holy Transfiguration – circa 1985, when we travelled to the tiny church of Agio Sotiro to celebrate an important feast day in Vassara, and all of Greece. Aug. 6th is the feast day of the Holy Transfiguration, and everyone goes to church once the bells of St. George ring aloud, waking us all up!  To get there, my uncle Katz tied his kitchen chairs with rope to the back of his pick up. Not at ALL an embarrassing situation for an American teenager who just wanted to look cool!  Here’s a pic from that funny morning.

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And here’s another of the same feast day, 3 years ago, with my kids, revisiting the tiny church again of Agio Sotiro to celebrate the day.

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How I with to be there this morning, celebrating with you all! As we say in Greek, ‘kai tou xronou!” (here’s to next year!)

Rock on Vassara!

July 28, 2014

Check out the latest and greatest from Vassara!

 

Vassarafest

We’ve come a long way since the “parties” in vacant houses during the ’80s! This is a pic from last week’s celebration. Great music. Great people. Rips your heart out when you’re not there, but the good news is, Vassara keeps kicking! Every year the magic comes together – it may change size and shape, but the party atmosphere goes on.  As I’ve said in Seasons of Sun, “it waits for us to return.” Rock on Vassara!

Christ is Risen!

April 22, 2014

Photo: St. John the Baptist at Des Plaines, IL

The moment we wait for all year

The biggest celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church

Pascha!

Christ in Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

From Vassara to the United States, to all the corners of the world, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

I’m told there is nothing quite like Easter in Greece, where the liturgies are celebrated outdoors

and people gather in the streets while fresh spring flowers adorn the churches’ icons

while parishioners carry candles to the town squares as they sing:

“Christ is Risen from the dead. By death He has conquered death, and to those in the tombs, He has bestowed life!”

Wherever you celebrate Pascha, may  you be surrounded with those you love and enjoy peace, health and happiness!

 

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As they say, “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” Vassara is not exception!  March is much more than the beginning of Spring in the village. This is one of the biggest months of the year in Greece, bringing along Greek Independence Day on March 25th as well as the Annunciation holiday, and the start of Holy Lent.

Vassareans gather to look for the first signs of new life.  Wildflowers bud on the hills of Parnonas, bringing sweet-smelling scents of the region’s first flowers.  I’m often told by locals there is no other time in Greece quite as beautiful as Spring, although most of us miss it, saving our travels for the sensational summer sun.

It seems as if each season in this enchanting oasis brings beauty.  Happy Spring! Happy Greek Independence Day! Zito Ellas!