The Eastern Orthodox just celebrated the Resurrection of Christ, one of the most significant days in the life of the Church. The defeat of death is a victory through the Cross with which our Lord, broke the bondage of sin, and offered us restoration, transformation and eternal life. The whole lenten season and Holy Week was a time to reflect within ourselves, recognize our sins and start anew.
My business has also been transformed this past lenten season from a partnership to a solo act. Argie, my wonderful friend and partner for the past almost five years, has retired. I will miss her greatly. With the support of my wonderful husband and determined for me to succeed brother in law, I will continue to run the business under the same name, Dahlia-weddings and baptisms.
The quote 'If God brings you to it, He will help you get through it' has been running through my mind often offering some consolation and peace. The initial sadness of missing my friend and co-designer, all the changes that came with the broken partnership and initial fear of 'can I do this alone' have almost totally vanished to a new type of excitement! The idea of being a single owner has brought forth certain freedoms in business choices that didn't exist before. I may actually really end up liking my new position! ;)
"You May Have a Fresh Start Any Moment You Choose"
I am in the process of putting together a new Dahlia team. All people have their own niche of creativity and knowledge that I love to see them find it. I feel that everyone has something to offer. As always, our purpose will remain to preserve and honor the traditions of our Holy Orthodox Church, while creating something unique for your wedding or baptism sacrament. All our products will still be designed with the same elegance and good quality of workmanship and our goal will remain to offer our customers great customer service. Look for new designs and products to come throughout our website. I look forward to being the source of your Orthodox wedding and baptismal products.
Wishing you many Blessings this Easter Season!
Terry ~ Eleftheria
Lace and weddings go hand in hand......
When I was growing up in Crete, at a time when no one owned a car and people were able to sit outside their home on the street, all the women would come out in the afternoon after a day's work, and hang. They would stitch, or crochet and teach the younger girls to do the same. They would work on their daughters dowries. I created many cross-stitch and single stitch projects on painted needlepoint canvas those years. My sister was taught to crochet by a neighbor. She was really good at it and created many beautiful things for me like curtains and a blanket. Crochet lace is a lace I have known all my life. Missing those happy, relaxing, worry free days!!!
After I moved to the US and lived with my paternal grandmother, I saw that she knew how to crochet as well. She has made for me many doilies and an amazing crochet tablecloth that I even use today. Of course, as I was getting older, I was noticing other types of lace, machine made as people would say. These were more affordable and would be used for window treatments or decorating home furnishings.
We love using lace at ‘dahlia’. It’s elegant, romantic and just plain beautiful. We search for pretty lace everywhere we go and try to be very creative in how we use it. Wedding dresses have lace, why not our candles. There is no reason why you should not add some romance with lace to any style wedding!
Continue reading for a short history of lace
I feel great responsibility writing a blog for my business when I’m giving information regarding the sacraments of the church and their meaning. I am certainly not educated on this subject from the Church’s point of view and feel much concern with what I’m passing on. All I know of the sacraments is the little worldly tradition I have grown up with which hopefully supports Church tradition. I will post information that I have found written in books by Saints and people with knowledge of the matter. I want to sincerely thank Fr. Georgios who has kindly allowed me to translate the writings from his blog. I have found information here that I feel comfortable to pass on. When I was baptizing my children, I only seemed to be concerned with the baptism from a wordly point of view. Who will be the godparent/sponsor, what church will the baptism take place in, where will the party be, what favors will I give out, what am I going to wear. Never did I stop and ask myself what is the meaning of this Mystery of the Church and why am I doing this for my child. Now that I’m older and wiser, (ha, ha), with my present business, I find myself having some responsibility to know the true meaning of the two sacraments of the Church that I’m representing. What is the meaning and purpose of Orthodox weddings and baptisms? With Fr. Georgios’ blessing, the help of Google translate and some information I have read in one of St. Paisios’ books, I’m passing on some information regarding Orthodox baptisms, to the best of my ability. A copy of Fr. Georgios blog post will be posted after the English translation for those that prefer to read it in Greek. The Greek version does not contain St. Paisios words.
What is the baptism
It is the only way that one enters the Church of Christ and receives the stamp that is enduring and shows that he belongs to God. The baptism is a“plantation towards eternity” (M. Athanasios pg 29,10) and “a vehicle towards the heavenly kingdom….” (M. Vasilios, pg. 31, 433). “When the child is immersed in the baptismal water by the priest during Holy Baptism, he receives the Holy Spirit without knowing it, and divine Grace dwells in him from then on.” (St. Paisios ‘Spiritual Awakening’ pg214) The Mystirion is Godsent because Christ himself got baptized and sent his Apostles after His Resurrection, to baptise saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” “Mat 28:19. Hense, the church baptizes each person that wants to be a member. The baptism belongs in the nonrepeated Mysteries. Also, the third dunking in the Holy Water of the baptismal font, symbolizes the three day death and Resurrection of Christ.
Why baptize at an infant age
From the third century it was established that people would be baptized at an infantile age as it is done today. And of coarse, before they were baptized as infants, the rule was that they would be baptized at an older age, so they would confess their faith. Why do we get baptized at an infant age?
1. Getting baptized at an infant age is proof how much love the Church has towards the children. The Church doesn’t want to leave them outside the pen of Christ, prey to the devil and far from the life giving grace.
2. From the bible we are informed that infants were baptized from the Church even in those Ancient years, from the first century AD. ((Πρξ.στ” 13! 5. 31-33, ιη” 8, ϊΙ-2. 24,44,47,48).
3. For all those that contend that an infant baptism violates the person’s freedom, because the child is baptized without being asked and complied, we answer with the same logic that we wouldn’t be sending them to school or giving them their immunizations, etc. Just like these actions are taken for the benefit of the child, as is the infant baptism as well.
4. Lastly the Church baptizes infants with the will and responsibility of the parents.
The Procedure of the Sacrament of Baptism
1. The sacrament begins with the catachesm in the narthex of the Church. That is where the priest reads the exorcisms. Then he asks the sponsor to renounce satan three times in account of the child and to join with Christ upon confessing the Creed. As St. Paisios also mentions in the book ‘Spiritual Awakening’ “....only when we preserve the Grace of our Holy Baptism, through which we deny Satan, are we united to Christ and receive the Holy Seal, The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit”.
2. Following, the Sacrament of the Baptism starts in the center of the church in front of the baptismal font. Baptizing the child in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and with the third dunking in the blessed water of the font which symbolizes the three day death and resurrection of Christ.
3. The Chrismation follows and it is a separate Mystirion. With the Chrismation the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit are transferred to the child.
4. Cutting of the hair: the priest cuts some hair from the child in the shape of the cross, to dedicate to God.
5. Dressing the child: the baptismal clothes of the child are blessed and relatives or the mother dress the baby. At The baptismal font, the priest and godparents wash their hands.
6. Putting on the cross: The cross will accompany the child all his life.
7. The dismissal: The mother, after making three prostrations to the godparent recognizing their high and sacred mission and kissing his hand, takes the newly baptized child back in her arms.
A couple more words
1. The priest who baptized the child has a special spiritual relationship with it. Many priests are worthy to marry the children who they also baptised 20 years prior. Cultivate this relationship with your priest who is your child’s spiritual father.
2. Chose to baptize your child in your parish church. Don’t get distracted from vainglorious ideas and change parishes. Your church records registry of baptisms. You will gain from this when there is need.
We created our wedding sets to ease the process of coordinating crowns and candles for the wedding
Our "Fairytale" set of rhinestone stefana and lace wrapped candles with organdy ribbon and rhinestone jewels.
In the spring of 2016, Scott came to town with the purpose of converting our present business to an online one. His main goal was to help us improve our product pictures. He was trying to really get through to us that having great quality pictures and multiple views of each product was essential to our success of selling on line. We had ordered all the equipment needed after he gave us a list of what to buy. The camera Argie presently owned was perfect for the job. Scott taught us how it worked and with the thinking that we would use it and should use it. I felt much pressure trying to learn how the camera worked and how it’s different functions would effect the look of our products. Camera, lights, color, angles, props…..what? Learn this in one week?
We took lots of notes and had learned much of what we didn’t like regarding background of products, angles of views of products, but had no new pictures yet. Needless to say, by the end of the week we all felt some level of frustration. We all hoped that in time, everything will seem easier and it will all fall into place.
It was a little terrifying for Scott to leave us when we did not feel comfortable using the equipment and had no new pictures. But we were on a mission. We found a background we were satisfied with and began taking pictures of each product at different positions and angles until we were happy with the look. Just when we figured that out, we found out that we had to consider the website theme layout and position our products accordingly. Little bumps in the road we went around until we figured it out. For the most part I took pictures, Argie edited them and saved them on our Google drive and we both entered them on the website and Etsy.
“Do you have a website?” was the common question at our open house.
Why were people asking this? Why were we surprised? What did we NOT know? Well, the answers to all these questions were about to unfold.
We had to get with the times. Everyone shopped on line!!
Argie and I had some discussions on how to go about this but didn’t really know where to start. We didn’t know how to create or run a website and simply could not afford to hire someone to do this for us.
As always, our families came to the rescue. Argie’s daughter introduced her to Weebly. Together they created our first website. It was a free website that we were able to download pictures of our products for people to see. Little did we know that this was the beginning of a much bigger undertaking.
For about half a year both Argie and I would design and create our products, take pictures with our Iphones and download them onto our Weebly website. We were proud to be able to do this. The demands didn’t stop there. Now people were asking if we were selling on line. We were being encouraged to convert our simple website to a selling one. This would increase the ease for people to shop from us and since our business wasn't taking off we decided to do it.
Needless to say, for two inexperienced women in business, marketing and computers, getting into all this WAS SOOOOOO overwhelming!!!
Did I mention how family always came to the rescue? My brother in law Scott volunteered to help us set up a selling website AND how to take better pictures of our products.
January 15, 2016
When the idea of decorating candles presented itself, Argie and I thought that we would have immediate clientele with the parishioners of our church. It seemed so easy that we would simply mention that we own a business selling wedding and baptismal products and by word of mouth people would shop from us. What were we thinking? Did we think that people didn’t have choices? Why would they automatically choose our product over someone else’s that has been in the business for a long time? Never thought about people not liking our style and or our prices. Another one of our downfalls of not having any business education; no marketing experience.
We prepared to introduce our business at an open house in February of 2014. We hoped that this would get our business going. Within six months of us deciding to start dahlia, we felt that we had enough products to show everyone what we do. Our home based store looked great with our beautifully displayed products and the nice food spread for everyone who came to enjoy. It was a party to introduce ‘dahlia’.
We enjoyed this day with our families and were thankful for all the friends and acquaintances that came to celebrate the true opening of our business.
There was a common question of the day: DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE?
What did this mean?
The idea of a one stop shopping experience for all the baptismal items seemed like an awesome idea and something we wanted to offer to our customers. Therefore, we created the “Baptismal Basket”. Much thought went into what items we would include in this considering the cultural and Orthodox Church traditions.
Upon doing our search, we learned that many vendors in the U.S. import their products from Greece. It was something we looked into briefly for some of the products. Due to the hassle and expense of shipping, methods of payments required, we decided to use products we can find in the U.S. We also took into consideration what people in our area would like to see in this basket. One of our biggest challenges were the ladopana (oil clothes).
At the end we felt happy with what we chose and the baptismal basket became our signature product:
Spending a substantial amount of time across a table with your business partner while you both are working on the same candle, handling all the decorating material together, is a time to get to know them. You become a business family. You learn how to get along together, support each other, solve business problems and make big business decisions. All this can only happen with great communication, patience and understanding.
Argie’s basement was ideal for our work shop. We decided to start decorating baptismal candles first. It was fun and challenging for us as this was something neither one of us had attempted to do before. Argie and I spend hours on trying to create new designs for the candles. There were times that we doubted ourselves and wondered if future customers would be attracted to something unusual.
Argie easily and happily agreed for us to create new and fresh designs for wedding and baptismal candles. That part was easy. She had planned to go to Greece the very summer that our business was starting. It was the perfect time for her to experience the culture of candle decorating there before we started ours. I was very eager for her to go and be inspired by materials and colors used on the wedding and baptismal candles. She really enjoyed visiting the shops and seeing the different items they offered for the sacraments. I warned her that she would be shockingly surprised with the designs in Greece.
Argie was impressed with what she saw. It was so different from what she was used to. People in Greece decorated with a freedom and happiness using happy colors and romantic materials and dried flowers; something we don’t see here.
Needless to say, we studied styles in Greece, both U.S. coasts, the midwest, Canada and Australia. We quickly learned what we liked and didn’t like and began to create our own style. How fortunate did I get to find a partner that had the same likes and dislikes as me, and that we both wanted to create and offer something different . It was evident that whatever styles we came up with would be coherent, elegant, soft and happy.