The Cross Orlando is a congregation of people living under the reign of God. We gather together regularly, we're working in all sectors of our city and are always looking for ways to better care for each other. But a great first step in meeting us, is to check out these blogs that our folks manage.

emsneighborhoodkitchen

Fresh Holidays

by Emily Harkins

It is November...my favorite month of the year. That time when you can still make it to the beach to keep that golden tan, but you can also sit outside in the evening wearing a long-sleeved shirt. It's also my birth month, so I'm a little biased there. I'm thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's today - all of the great parties, time to catch up with neighbors and relax with co-workers. The time of year when you are constantly practicing gratitude for all you've been blessed

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emsneighborhoodkitchen

Sangria Sundays

by Emily Harkins

My husband and I had a great day yesterday. He's a surfer so we got up early and spent a few hours at New Smyrna Beach in the morning. I wasn't quite ready to go back to Orlando and give up on the beautiful day yet, so I suggested we drive north to St. Augustine to see how they were faring a few weeks after Hurricane Matthew. Other than some lingering debris and a few waterfront hotels and homes still boarded up, on the surface everything looked great. I guess you don't get to be America's

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emsneighborhoodkitchen

A No-Regrets Wedding

by Emily Harkins (Weidner)

I got married ten days ago after planning my wedding for no less than TWENTY FIVE YEARS! Yes, neighbors, I'm going to be the one to admit that I had a Pinterest page for my wedding even before I was engaged...worse, even before I met Donny Harkins, the love of my life. I planned before I was supposed to, then I planned some more, and worried, drove Don nuts, giggled with my girlfriends, budgeted with my parents, and finally that day arrived. October 15, 2016. And guess what? I REGRET NOTHING.

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

Feeding Children Everywhere

by Orlando Food Lab Team

OVER 30,000 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Open shifts starting this Friday. We are in urgent need for thousands of volunteers to help package 4.4 million meal kits for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. The Orlando Cares Hope for Puerto Rico disaster relief project is a month-long event that will take place at the Orange County Convention Center. The meal kits are being shipped directly to FEMA for immediate distribution to the children and families devastated by the storms this year. Puerto Rico is facing one of the largest natural […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

The Dinner Party Project VIP Dinner at Immerse

by Orlando Food Lab Team

Dreams Really Do Come True During IMMERSE 2017, presented by the Creative City Project, The Dinner Party Project will be doing something that they’ve always dreamed of doing. On October 21st, The Dinner Party Project will put on a 100 Guest Dinner Party in the middle of the street in downtown Orlando! That’s right, TDPP will be on Orange Ave, near Central for a night of eating, drinking and four Exclusive Artist’s Performances throughout the Dinner. Then once the dinner is over guests will have VIP access the rest […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

New Moon Market Shaking its Juice Thang in Orlando

by Orlando Food Lab Team

Meet Jennifer Moon-Huggett Hence the name of New Moon Market By Kristine Thomas Jennifer Moon-Huggett, New Moon Market Florida girl through and through, Jennifer Moon grew up right here in Central Florida. During her high school career, she was a competitive swimmer, which helped her get through school because she admits, “I struggled with my grades. I struggled with paying attention and staying in school.” Moon later moved to Gainesville and attended the University of Florida where she also met her husband, who was on […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

DoveCote Brings French Infusion to Downtown

by Orlando Food Lab Team

Directly below the Bank of America building on Orange Street in downtown Orlando, a contemporary modern French restaurant called DoveCote Brasserie has spread its wings. The space – former home of Harvey’s Bistro and Terrace 390 – was reworked into a classic bistro with diffused light chandeliers, cozy smoke blue banquette seating and wood farm tables. This partnership behind the new downtown hotspot includes James Petrakis, known for the Ravenous Pig, Gene Zimmerman, National Sales Manager for Halter Ranch Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA., and […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

Local foodie culture spurs lectures, inspires entrepreneurs

by Orlando Food Lab Team

In a downtown tech office this week, guests munched on kale salad and steak skewers while sharing stories about being food entrepreneurs. “I kind of saw what was happening in the Orlando tech community and the health-care community,” said former marketing professional Kristine Thomas, who hosted the event for her organization ORL Food Lab. “Here people have the opportunity to collaborate or work together.” The lab is a sign that eating out is no longer the hippest way to be a foodie in Central Florida. […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

Deadly Sins Brewing

by Orlando Food Lab Team

It’s never too late to begin your journey as a foodpreneur. Just ask Tom Adams of Deadly Sins Brewing located in Winter Park, Florida. At the age of 44, Tom has recently opened the brewery of his dreams. What was once an on-and-off again hobby has become a welcomed addition to Central Florida food community. Originally from Colorado, Tom attended some college in Alaska before moving to Seattle at the age of 23. While in Seattle, Tom joined the Navy, spending four years in Japan. Following […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

The Farmacy Brings Local and Organic to Central Florida

by Orlando Food Lab Team

And now a word from our “Farmacists”…. “But we can’t miss the kale!”, is the simple phrase that would be the beginning of a dream come true.  Florida natives, Cathy and Robby Clay have been in business nearly three years and they take great pride in their store, The Farmacy, nestled inside the city of  Winter Garden, Florida. The Farmacy is best described as a small, local and organic grocery store. The Farmacy, however, is not your typical grocer carrying organic fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

All About that Base with Base Culture

by Orlando Food Lab Team

All about that Base?… well Jordann Windschauer certainly is with a food company like Base Culture. A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Jordann began her food entrepreneur adventure at the ripe, young age of 22. Now at only 26, Base Culture has grown tremendously. What is Base Culture? From Paleo-friendly sandwich bread to almond butter brownies, Base Culture is a food company providing a wide, and delicious, array of Paleo baked goods.  With a sweet tooth nearly as strong as her dead lift, Jordann Windschauer […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

Food Trucks & Foodpreneurs

by Orlando Food Lab Team

Uncle Matty’s Food Company Not all food entrepreneurs, or foodpreneurs, aspire to be chefs in Michelin star restaurants. Some look at the food business from a whole different mindset. Orlando based Matt Ryan is just such a culinarian. Ryan took his culinary skills in a new direction and utilizing his strong business and branding skills, he began Uncle Matty’s Food Company. Uncle Matty’s Food Company currently produces a line of sauces that are “revolutionizing flavors one palate at a time” but the future of Uncle […]

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Local Contributors – Orlando Food Lab

Florida Local Food Summit

by Orlando Food Lab Team

The Florida Local Food Summit is happening Soon! The 3rd annual Florida Local Food Summit is taking place September 8th through the 10th and features Florida’s top food and farming entrepreneurs, policy makers, chefs, foodies and local food fans. The Summit is your one stop shop for all things local food and farming. There will be farm tours, advanced education, farm-to-table meals, a Grower’s Festival, home gardening classes and so much more. You aren’t going to want to miss it! Click here to learn more […]

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Polis Institute

Register for Leadership Eatonville

by Pam Amundsen

Leadership Eatonville is a six-session workshop series for town residents that will enhance community leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Each participant will select a specific community initiative – existing or new – to work on using the principles and practical tips learned in the sessions. Workshop series is free for Eatonville residents. Non-residents may apply and...

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Polis Institute

The Value of Play

by Shawn Welcome

It’s the summer of 1966 at the University of Texas: A typical college campus day with young adults strolling across the courtyard, chatting about the latest hot topics, loosely clutching textbooks in the heat, and perhaps fewer students than normal due to it being a summer session. Claire Wilson James and John Fox are names...

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Polis Institute

Placemaking Through Artistic Expression

by Shawn Welcome

Back in 2006, I started an open mic in Orlando, FL called “Diverse Word.” I was a 23-year-old idealist who thought my city could use some diversity within the art of spoken word poetry. It became a success in terms of vision actualized, attendance, and the profit it brought to the local café that hosted...

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Polis Institute

Curb Cutting: How Solving Problems for One Group Helps us All

by Shawn Welcome

The Polis Institute is a non-profit organization that aims to remove the barriers that prevent experiencing long, healthy, fruitful and dignified lives. Many of these barriers stem from concentrated poverty, but there are additional barriers, both physical and metaphoric, that manifest in a variety of ways. We at POLIS use and develop research around the...

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Polis Institute

Stanley Needs a Job

by Phil Hissom

I know a guy named Stanley who needs a job. He’s in his forties and does not have a great resume or work ethic. He has some health problems. He seems to get hurt on the job a lot and has tried to sue more than one employer. He quit high school in the 10th...

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Polis Institute

MVP Families: Family Highlight

by Pam Amundsen

Barbara and her daughter are one of our core MVP Families. They look forward to every meeting and haven’t missed a single one. Last week, when Barbara didn’t get the reminder text for the upcoming meeting when she expected it, she called our Family Engagement Coordinator, Shawn, to make sure everything was on track and...

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Polis Institute

Helping Residents Pursue Their Own Goals

by Phil Hissom

One of the most important aspects of a life well-lived is the discovery and pursuit of one’s own goals and aspirations. For those of us who practice Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), this is a fundamental part of the work – helping residents of a small geographic area leverage their skills and networks to realize their...

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Polis Institute

The Most Strategic Philanthropic Investment

by Phil Hissom

The most strategic philanthropic investment in the U.S. goes towards revitalizing the distressed neighborhoods that are the source of most of our social issues. These neighborhoods are also full of people with aspirations and talents. Philanthropist and businessman Tom Cousins said it this way, “America’s greatest untapped resource is the human capital trapped in neighborhoods of concentrated...

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Polis Institute

Introducing MVP Families

by Pam Amundsen

For the past 21 years, Florida Citrus Sports (FCS), has been investing in youth enrichment in Orlando through a program called “MVP Summer Camp.” This year the camp is being extended to a year-round program called “MVP Families.” Through the combined efforts of FCS in partnership with Lift Orlando, Florida Blue, and the Polis Institute, the program is seeking...

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Polis Institute

Leadership: Unlocking Potential

by Phil Hissom

Former basketball player and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley once said, “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” So true. You could also say the same about a community. While leadership is certainly not the only ingredient in a community becoming better, it is easily the most important. And it is surprisingly undervalued. That may...

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

organic

by Ben

  I’ve learned that systems take more energy than dreams. But that’s OK, some things are worth working for. Last week I ended up in a meeting where a dude who consults with churches to help them clarify and execute a vision was presenting to me and some friends. Sort of off hand he said … Continue reading organic

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

alternate reality

by Ben

We’re living in a world where Jesus is alive. So much more is possible. In a world where we so often feel limited by money or pain or cruelty, it’s hard to remember what’s real: for the people of God, Jesus defines reality. The God of the universe is in your corner. He went into … Continue reading alternate reality

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

Number2

by Ben

  This past weekend, I took our Number2 kid to the movies, there was a scene with the main girl growing up. The reality of the perpetual motion of life hit me. Life moves. Things go well and things go poorly, but either way they go. Forward. Today becomes yesterday, and yesterday fades. People get … Continue reading Number2

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

A New Year

by Ben

There’s nothing divine about our calendar dates. So, in one sense,  New Year’s Day is just another day to be faithful to God. But in another sense, it’s a new start. I’ve been really feeling that this year, that it’s an opportunity to start again. That’s probably part of the reason I want to share … Continue reading A New Year

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

narratives

by Ben

The church folks of Jesus day accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton. It’s mentioned a lot, but is still worth considering: the “respectable” people came to Jesus only under the cover of night or in extreme crises if at all. It was the working class; the poor and marginalized who were most … Continue reading narratives

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

Light for the World

by Ben

I don’t know why he waits. He has answers. He has full joy and impenetrable peace. Yet, somewhere he sits, knows our situation and waits. Times like today, I don’t know why. When hate, having prowled in the night has found a wiling host. When anger has multiplied and met with just enough power for destruction. When ignorance … Continue reading Light for the World

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

tap on.

by Ben

may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you follow him, I saw this text today. There’s something compelling to me about the sequence of those words. God of hope, fill you with joy and peace, That clause is followed by this one: so that you may overflow with hope by the power … Continue reading tap on.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

world domination.

by Ben

  I had an interesting conversation earlier this week where I found myself explaining how sometimes I feel like church culture in America has reduced evangelism to spiritual recruitment. In some situations the goal of the church becomes getting more followers of Jesus, by way of getting more people into their programs. All the effort of Church … Continue reading world domination.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

open doors.

by Ben

I once had a professor tell me that the most powerful point in the story of Christianity is the empty tomb. I understand what he meant. There is so much possibility there. The road away from that stone can go almost anywhere. Christ, walking around in the world with a glorified body means we’re no … Continue reading open doors.

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terazzo, coffee, and kids

build it.

by Ben

where would you go if you could? I’m talking about anywhere in the world or outside of it. what would you do? who would you bring with you? how long would you stay? would you ever come back? why? Lot’s of people smarter than me have made mention of the fact that Scripture starts with … Continue reading build it.

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

Summer in Rear View

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

How to fix what’s Dead…

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

Practically Essential…

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

God only knows what it must be like to be You…

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

Hey Jaime, Thanks for writing.

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

No One Should Understand

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

Dear God… Get out of Our Way

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

You don’t have to be right to find Joy…

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

2016 wasn’t perfect and 2017 won’t be either…

by TroyLano

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Stories by TroyLano on Medium

All The Ways Immanuel

by TroyLano

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