News


A Year After the Earthquake, Haitians Remain Vulnerable

Father Barnabas (center) and Father Pavlos (right), priests of the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Jean de Freres in the Bobin neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, visit with people left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake: (Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey/IOCC)Father Barnabas (center) and Father Pavlos (right), priests of the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Jean de Freres in the Bobin neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, visit with people left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake: (Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey/IOCC)Baltimore, MD (IOCC) – A year after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the lives of millions of Haitians reminders of the disaster – and the continued need – are everywhere.

"Beyond the immediate needs that emerged following the disaster, the earthquake has exposed the suffering of the Haitian people," observed Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC executive director. "Much remains to be done to address the long-term need for permanent housing, clean water and sanitation, and other basic necessities that will help to restore justice, dignity and peace for the people of Haiti."

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has provided $4 million in direct assistance to the people of Haiti since January 12, 2010. Yet, the level of devastation that required one of the largest relief operations in history has been complicated by a fragile infrastructure, limited government capacity and soaring poverty levels.

"The earthquake was the first of three major disaster that threatened Haitians this past year," said Mark Ohanian, IOCC director of programs. "The frequent disasters and threats to public health call attention to the vulnerability of the Haitian people, the magnitude of the work ahead and the continuing need for assistance."

IOCC has been focusing its efforts on delivering basic food and hygiene items, providing assistance to schools, addressing health and hygiene needs and mitigating the long-term effects of natural disasters.

OCF Announces the 2011 Chaplain and Lay Leader Conference

Fishers, IN – December 27, 2010

The North American Office of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today the details of its 2011 Chaplains Conference, to be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, on February 8-10, 2011. The annual gathering of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters will focus on the theme of “Following Christ through Crisis,” with the goal of equipping chaplains and lay leaders to help students remain strong in their faith and in the pursuit of their calling even in the midst of crises, be they personal or interpersonal, emotional, physical or spiritual.

Designed to offer practical learning in the field of campus ministry, the keynote sessions will be offered by Fr. John Abdalah, a veteran OCF Chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh and licensed counselor. A variety of mini-clinics will be offered as options, with focused topics ranging from “The First Two Weeks of the Semester,” to “Developing Continuity in Student Leadership.”

Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs will be awarded to applicants, with majority funding coming through a grant from The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations.  Current OCF Chaplains as well as those interested in this rewarding ministry are encouraged to apply. Scholars will in turn submit written reflections on their own vocations as campus ministers.

Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s North American Chaplain and one of the organizers of the Conference, said this about the focus of this year’s conference: “It’s simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that’s when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor.”

Assembly of Bishops Announces Liaison Bishops

The Assembly of Bishops has announced who will be the Liaison Bishops for the agencies of the Assembly. These bishops, while not part of the agencies' governing structures, are responsible for coordination between the Assembly and their particular agency, and for providing episcopal guidance on behalf of the Assembly for all that agency's activities. For instance, for the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) the National Chairman is George N. Boulukos and the Episcopal Liaison is Bishop Daniel (UOC-USA). For the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the Executive Director and CEO is Constantine M. Triantafilou, the Chairman is Alex Machaskee, and the Episcopal Liaison is Archbishop Nicolae (ROAA).

Go to the Assembly website for the complete list.

Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Nativity Liturgy

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the 2010 Nativity Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Other celebrants included Archpriest Thomas Zain, the Cathedral Dean, Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek and Deacon Adrian Budica.

Archbishop Justinian Visits Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood

Visit of His Eminence Archbishop Justinian to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 22, 2010

Click here for a photo gallery of Archbishop Justinian's visit

On December 22, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip hosted His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States for a visit to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

Attending the meeting (and pictured in the accompanying photo from left to right were):

Memory Eternal! + Lucia Camille Baba, July 14th - December 22nd, 2010

His Grace Bishop Basil writes,

Dear to Christ, Fathers and Brothers:

MEMORY ETERNAL! The child of God Lucia Camille Baba, five month old daughter of Father Anthony & Khouriya Ramia of St Anthony Church in Spring, TX, reposed late last evening of complications arising from Trisomy 18 (also known as Trisomy E or Edwards syndrome).

The Funeral for a Child will be served tomorrow morning, December 24th, at 11:00 AM at St. George Church in Houston, TX. Condolences may be sent to Father Anthony and Khouriya Ramia at franthonybaba@gmail.com.

Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Lucia's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, receive in peace the soul of Thy child Lucia." May God grant Paradise to Lucia and consolation to her parents, grandparents and all the Baba and Ibrahim families.

In Christ Who is our Resurrection and our Life,

His Grace Bishop Basil

Donations in Lucia’s memory may be made to St. Anthony Church in Spring, Texas, for the iconography in the new church temple. To read about Lucia's life, go here.

St. Katherine College To Host Kaleidoscope Days, Jan. 20, 22

Saint Katherine College, a new independent Orthodox Christian institution slated to begin classes in the fall of 2011, will host "College Kaleidoscope Days" for high school juniors and seniors at its Encinitas, CA campus Thursday and Saturday, January 20th and 22nd, 2011. The event will feature presentations on goal setting, discerning a "good fit" when selecting a college, fun activities, lunch, and more. For more information log on to the college’s web site.

Choir of St. George Makes Annual Visit to Englewood

Annual Christmas visit of the Choir of St. George in Little Falls, NJ Held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 21, 2010

On December 21, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Annual Christmas visit of the Choir from St. George in Little Falls, NJ at the Archdiocese Headquarters.  This visit has become an annual tradition, and always fills the headquarters with the joy of music, and good fellowship.

The choir began the singing of Christmas hymns outside the front entrance of the house and then made its way into the house to greet His Eminence.  They were led by the pastor, Very Rev. Elias Bitar, and Mrs. Christine Lynch, the choir director.  After receiving a blessing from His Eminence, the choir continued their beautiful singing in the living room.  At the conclusion of the musical program, everyone gathered in the chapel for evening prayers.

Finally, the choir was treated to dessert and coffee in the dining room.

As always, it was an evening of joy and good fellowship during this most blessed season of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer Documentary Available On Demand

On December 15, the documentary "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" was posted on Comcast and Verizon Fios Video-On-Demand in a pre-theatrical release. In early 2011 it will debut in theaters and will eventually be available on DVD.

A companion book, “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality,” will be published February 8, 2011 by HarperOne.

The film and book begin with a visit to St. Anthony's in Upper Egypt, the oldest existing monastery on earth, where Father Lazarus explains what the prayer is and how to use it. The authors' voyage continues to St. Catherine's monastery, in existence near Mt. Sinai since the fifth century, and to monastic communities in Eastern Europe: Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen (Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University), and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer.

The film's beautiful cinematography captures the heart of Orthodox faith and worship.

OCN's Homepage Features Podcasts with Nativity Themes

Orthodox Christian Network is featuring several podcasts in the week leading up to Christmas, that focus on holiday themes. In "Teens and Technology," Dr. Ary Christofidis discusses the new dominance of tech toys under the Christmas tree, and looks at the potential pitfalls this can cause. In "Battling Over Nativity Scenes," the Just Thinking podcast with Fr. Chris Metropulos and journalist Terry Mattingly, discusses how Christmas for most is now defined by shopping and commerce. "Is there a better way for us to celebrate a Christmas filled with the Love of Christ rather than battling over where we place our Nativity Scenes?" they ask. "Message in our Christmas Carols," is a segment of the Theologically Thinking podcast, in which Fr. William Chiganos examines the messages found within the traditional Carols enjoyed in December. Other podcasts tackle the topics of stress, and recovering the joy and peace found in the faith.

 

Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau and AFR, Release "Hymns of the Hogar"

Hogar Rafael ChildrenHogar Rafael ChildrenAncient Faith Radio announces that the CD "Hymns of the Hogar" is now available here.

In May 2010, Ancient Faith Radio, at the request of the Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau, recorded the children of the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City singing the Orthodox Christian Hymns for Matins and Vespers as they do in their daily lives at the Hogar.

The CD includes 25 tracks. All proceeds from the sale of the CD will support the Capital Campaign Building Fund to bring construction of a new home for the children, Hogar San Miguel, to fruition. The children are in desperate need of a safer place to live away from the dangers surrounding the current orphanage.

The CD's are priced at $22 - $18.00 plus $4 for Shipping and Handling. 

Order of St. Ignatius Renews Grant for Chinese Translation of Lives of Saints

30th Sunday after Pentecost
December 19, 2010

Order of St. Ignatius awards $3000 grant renewal for continued Chinese translation of Lives of Saints

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, at its governing council meeting held in Jacksonville, Florida on October 22, 2010, approved a $3,000 grant renewal to the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China.

This grant comes with the archpastoral blessing of Metropolitan Philip at a critical juncture after the inaugural publication of the Chinese translation of the January volume of the Prologue from Ohrid by St. Nikolai of Zica, supplemented with additional lives of selected saints from other synaxaria.

The grant will make possible the uninterrupted translation and publication of subsequent monthly volumes of this invaluable work for the daily spiritual nourishment of the Chinese speaking Faithful and inquirers into the Faith from other confessions, in and outside of China.

As a supplement to the grant, consider sponsoring for a specific daily reading of the Prologue from Ohrid, for the good health or in memory of loved one, for a names day, wedding anniversary, day of repose, or any other special occasion, which will be noted on the bottom of each sponsored entry of the Prologue, and those reading the daily devotion for that day can pray for your loved ones. Check feast days available for sponsorship at http://prologue.orthodox.cn/prayers.html.

New Friends of Indonesia Website Chronicles Growth of Church

Several Antiochian Christians have been instrumental in forming the Friends of Indonesia, an organization dedicated to furthering the Indonesian mission efforts of Fr. Daniel Byantoro. Antiochian priest Fr. Gordon Walker serves as Board Chair, along with Treasurer Cal Oren, parishioner at Holy Cross in Linthicum, Maryland. 

Recently, Friends of Indonesia launched a website that gives the history of the Orthodox Indonesian Church, introduces the clergy and parishes to readers, and hosts photo galleries of the ongoing growth of the Church there. Explains Board Chair Fr. Gordon Walker, "We hold firmly to the Orthodox missionary imperative that the Church grows in each local culture according to the truths those cultures already hold. We labor to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Indonesian people in ways that respects and affirms their cultural distinctiveness, and build a Church that will reflect and strengthen the rich cultural heritage they already possess. It is hard to overstate the miracle happening in Indonesia. Our hope is that you might become inspired as we are and join us in this effort."

St. Ignatius Sunday + December 19, 2010

We look with joyous anticipation to the Nativity of our Lord. We are also honored that Metropolitan Philip has designated December 19 as the day to honor The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Attached are three documents (Word format):

  1. "Ready for Presentation" Homily
  2. Biography of St. Ignatius
  3. Anonymous Giving

I ask that our Diocesan Chairs send these documents to a member of The Order of each parish in your diocese AND parish priest with a request that a presentation be made this coming Sunday, preferably by a member of The Order or alternatively, the parish priest. 

I have also attached for your review a brief on How we give through the Order of St. Ignatius. This should be helpful in response to those who ask about joining anonymously. 

Our DVD should have been sent to each parish for viewing this Sunday. 

I thank each of you for your commitment and service to The Order and to our Antiochian Archdiocese. We are blessed that so many people have come forward to give generously and from their heart to those in need. We believe and witness God combining our individual gifts and then multiplying them so that combined we can do what none can do alone. This is the "miracle of The Order."

May our Lord bless you and your family and grant you a joyous Nativity and a healthy, happy, and peaceful 2011. 

Assembly of Bishops Web Site Now Online

The Web Site of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (formerly known as the "Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America") is now live.  Take a look at www.episcopalassembly.org. Updates and additions will continue to be made to the several web pages which comprise the site, so check back frequently!

Memory Eternal! + Abraham 'Bus' Bayouth

Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Abraham "Bus" Bayouth, 94, of Skiatook, Oklahoma, father of A.B. Bayouth, vice president of DOWAMA's Fellowship of St. John and tireless supporter of Camp Saint Raphael, fell asleep in Christ this past Monday, December 13th, 2010.  The Trisagion Prayers of Mercy will be chanted for the repose of his soul on December 15 at seven o'clock at St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the funeral will be served on December 16 at two o'clock at the Skiatook High School Activity Center.  Condolences to his wife Mrs. Abraham (Su'ad) Bayouth and their three sons A.B., Gary and Gregory. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of his soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant."  May he be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

Second Annual Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat + Dunlap, California

On December 7-9, clergy from all over the west gathered for their second annual retreat at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring, in Dunlap, California. Led by four bishops, His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate], clergy of all jurisdictions enjoyed the beautiful facilities of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, listened to speakers, and worshipped together. Clergy came back to their parishes refreshed and edified by the teaching on the topic "Physician Heal Thyself--Orthodox steps of spiritual transformation" with Retreat Master Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), Abbot of the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery in Manton, CA.

Bishops Leading WorshipBishops Leading Worship
His Grace Bishop Joseph addresses clergyHis Grace Bishop Joseph addresses clergy
Clergy worshipping in monastery churchClergy worshipping in monastery church
Retreat ParticipantsRetreat Participants

Tenth Orthodox Institute Season Concludes

Orthodox Institute SessionOrthodox Institute SessionA successful season for the Orthodox Institute, an innovative and highly regarded Christian Education training program pioneered by Antiochian Christian Education Director Carole Buleza, concluded with a three day Institute at Antiochian Village in November. Institutes took place in cities both in Canada and the U.S. St. Michael's Church in Van Nuys, California was the site for the first Institute on September 18; subsequent Institutes were hosted in Edmonton on October 2, then Harrisburg on October 9, Ontario on October 23, and finally at Antiochian Village on November 4-7. Noted iconographers and speakers taught sessions that fit into one of three tracks: Church School Director, Teacher Training, or Orthodoxy. Participants came from all regions and jurisdictions.

Besides racking up the miles, Director Carole Buleza also met with many teachers across the country, and she commented on the spirit of pan-Orthodox cooperation present this year, enabling her to reflect afterwards that this year's Institute "was a decisive event for Orthodox Christian Education." (See an Institute photo gallery here.)

Attendees offered these retrospectives:

This past November the halls, meeting rooms and dining hall at the Antiochian Village were alive with the language of iconography. At this year’s Orthodox Institute, the 10th anniversary, the theme was icononography; the history of icons; the stories they tell; praying with icons and using them as a tool for teaching. The three-day institute began with a keynote address by Frederica Mathewes-Green, who spoke of her personal experience with icons and her journey to Orthodoxy; this was followed by two days of workshops on icons, which included presentations by the well-known iconographer/illustrator, Niko Chochelli, iconographer, Cheryl Pituch and authors, Anton Vram and Chrissie Hart and the staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education.

Saint George Church of Troy, MI, Hosts Pan-Orthodox IOCC Fundraiser

OCA.org Report

St. George of TroySt. George of TroyDETROIT, MI [COCC] -- A fall benefit concert sponsored by the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit [COCC] raised more than $5,000.00 for International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].

The concert of "Music from the Twelve Great Feasts” was presented by the Orthodox Choir of Metropolitan Detroit on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Troy, MI.

The choir was conducted by Artistic Director Vickie Kopistiansky, who also conducts the choir at Holy Trinity Church [OCA], Detroit. Archpriest Paul Jannakos of Saint Mary Magdalene Church [OCA], Fenton, MI, provided commentary.

FOCUS "House of Blues" Benefit Concert Draws a Crowd

House of Blues ConcertHouse of Blues ConcertThe Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) reports:

Over 1000 people attended the Dec. 3rd House of Blues at Downtown Disney charity concert benefiting FOCUS Orange County and two other local charities. FOCUS Orange County was given 15 minutes of stage time to share the work FOCUS Orange County is doing and collected 150 cans of food for the food pantry at El Dorado Motel, which makes the food available to the many working poor families staying at its motel and the neighboring Valencia Motel.

In November, FOCUS Orange County began its weekly meal ministry at the Valencia, where 100+ meals are served each Sunday night by FOCUS volunteers. Working poor families may also receive clothing items that have been donated.

Stocking the El Dorado’s food pantry is just one more way FOCUS Orange County is working with area Orthodox churches to make sure that working poor families will not have to choose between food or shelter this Christmas.

Antiochian Village Camp Registration and Staff Positions Now Open

Now is the time! Registration is now open for 2011 camp programs at Antiochian Village! Register now for Winter Camp, Summer Camp and Sacred Arts Camps.

The Village is also now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Camp staff.

  • Dates:
    • Winter Camp Session 1: January 14-17, 2011
    • Winter Camp Session 2: February 18-21, 2011
    • Service Weekend: May 20-22, 2011
    • Family Camp: May 27-30, 2011
    • Summer Camp Session 1 (1 wk): June 19-26, 2011
    • Summer Camp Session 1 (2 wks): June 19-July 1, 2011
    • Chanting Camp Session 1: June 19-July 1, 2011
    • Chanting Camp Session 2: July 3-15, 2011
    • Summer Camp Session 2 (2 wks): July 3-15, 2011
    • Summer Camp Session 3 (2 wks): July 17-29, 2011
    • Iconography Camp: July 17-25, 2011
    • Summer Camp Session 4 (2 wks): July 31-August 12, 2011
    • Special Olympics Camp: August 12-20, 2011
    • Family Camp Homeschool Edition: August 26-29, 2011

IOCC School Program To Address Needs Of Lebanese Children

December 8, 2010

Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $26.4 million to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for a program in Lebanon that will improve student achievement, expand after-school programs, provide training for public school teachers and upgrade educational facilities in 600 Lebanese public schools over the next four years. The program is part of a $75 million initiative that will be implemented in 1,400 schools in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education and five other agencies, including the Education Development Center which is managing the entire initiative for USAID.

"For nearly a decade, children have been an important focus of IOCC's efforts in Lebanon in collaboration with the Orthodox Church and the Lebanese Government," said His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Primate of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. "This award validates the efforts we have steadfastly supported and ensures that the essential work of improving conditions for children and others that IOCC has undertaken in the Middle East with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch through its institutions, including the University of Balamand, will continue."

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Lebanese children were some of the worst affected. Nearly one-third of all civilian deaths and injuries were suffered by children and over half a million children were forced to flee their homes. The conflict also damaged more than 300 schools. IOCC's presence in Lebanon not only led to an immediate humanitarian response for those impacted by the violence, but also led to subsequent IOCC activities in rebuilding damaged schools.

Antiochian Priest Launches Patristic Nectar Publications

Fr. Josiah Trenham, priest at St. Andrew Orthodox Church of Riverside, California, recently launched a website "dedicated to sharing the sweet teachings and timeless traditions of the early Christian writers." States the site' introduction, "Patristic Nectar Publications is a non-profit California business created to advance the cause of the Orthodox Christian faith by the publication of materials for catechesis designed both for the edification of Orthodox believers and the illumination of a wide array of non-Orthodox inquirers. Our publications are marked by zealous fidelity to the mind of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the writings of the Holy Fathers and produces a wide range of patristic audio books in order to bring the wealth of Sacred Tradition to a generation attuned to listening rather than reading."

At Patristic Nectar Publications, browsers can listen to audio presentations of timely topics such as "An Address on Vainglory and the Proper Upbringing of Children" by St. John Chrysostom, and "The Soul After Death," by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. The site also hosts sacred music selections, Fr. Josiah's Arena blog, the Arena podcasts, and information about St. Andrew parish.  

St. Nicholas Cathedral of Los Angeles Profiled in LA Times

St. Nicholas CathedralSt. Nicholas CathedralOn December 4, an article in the esteemed Los Angeles Times featured St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, see of His Grace Bishop Joseph. The piece, titled "At 60, a church blends Arabic, English and Spanish," described the Cathedral's outreach into the community of Latino families that live in the parish's neighborhood, and the adaptive liturgical schedule that includes an 8 a.m. Spanish liturgy, followed by the 10 a.m. Arabic and English liturgy.

"We are in this neighborhood, we want to do outreach to our neighbors," Father Michel Najim, Cathedral Dean, explained to the Times reporter. "When you live in a community that has a cultural background, [we] need to open up to other cultures and other denominations."

The article describes how at the Cathedral's Mediterranean festival in June, tacos are sold alongside the traditional Middle Eastern foods of falafel, shawarma and kebabs. About 1,500 families are members at St. Nicholas.

Go here to read the article in full.

Two Antiochian Christians Publish "The Nativity of Christ" for Children

St. Stylianos Books was founded by Lily Parascheva Rowe to publish books she has written with illustrator Roland J Ford. Both attend Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum MD. In looking for children's books for her children, Rowe found that there wasn't much Bible story material available in English to give her children something to return to again and again--without the need for parental revisions or additions in order to make the Bible story books truly Orthodox.

Astounded by the overall lack of material in English for Orthodox children, Lily started writing books which combine elements from iconography and the hymnography of the Church, while interweaving these things with the Traditional narrative of the Church. "The main difference a reader will notice between these books and typical Bible story books is the completion of the narrative," she explains.