Like you, I am on a spiritual journey to our Lord. My journey may be likened to sailing: tacking and jibbing back and forth across a vast bay or sea on my way to God. Sometimes, I am in consolation when it seems like the warm, gentle breeze and the steady current power me forward. Other times, I languish in the doldrums of desolation or battle its cold, harsh wind, which leave me stuck or draw me away from God.
As a trained spiritual director, I also am in spiritual direction, which helps me to stay focused on God and the direction of my spiritual journey. As a result, I am better able to engage with God, to notice His presence, to listen for Him with the ear of my heart, and to respond to His gracious invitation to join Him in a deeply loving relationship and to be His co-worker. It also helps me to notice where He has placed lighthouses and buoys to help me safely navigate through life's storms and around the reefs, rocks, and logs that life places in my way.
I received comprehensive training in spiritual direction from Richmont Graduate University in Altanta, Georgia, graduating with a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction. This two-year program was offered from an Evangelical Christian perspective, but also brought in Ignatian Spirituality, including the St. Ignatius Exercises from the Roman Catholic tradition, and embraced the Eastern Orthodox Christian as well as other Protestant perspectives. As a result, I have great respect for the theology and practices of the primary Christian faith traditions.
I am a graduate of the University of the South's Education for Ministry (EFM) program. This is a four-year self-study and small group study of the Bible, Church history and readings in theology. I also have served as an EFM mentor (small group facilitator). In addition, I am a trained Stephen's Minister, and I have trained as a Hospice volunteer. I was raised in the Methodist Church, and I became an Episcopalian when I married my husband, Peter. In 2005, we embraced the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. I presently serve as the director of the School of Christian Spiritual Formation at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Marietta, Georgia. I also serve as a volunteer chaplain at Southwest Christian Care in Union City, Georgia. Southwest Christian Care offers hospice, senior programs, and respite care for special needs children at no charge to patients or families, relying solely on donations.
Also like you, I am a griever. Among the many losses in my life are family deaths, divorce, moving a long way from home, job changes (some voluntary, some not), and the loss of beloved pets.
In addition to training as a certified grief recovery specialist through The Grief Recovery Institute, I also have taken several graduate level courses in clinical mental health counseling. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland in College Park, with a bachelor of science degree in Journalism - Science Communications and a minor in Psychology. I adhere to SDI's Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.
I am a professional pet photographer. I specialize in creating digital paintings and retouching photos. I also enjoy photographing dogs, cats and other critters in action. Please visit my studio's website to see examples of my work: BJ Spanos Ink Photography.
I would be honored to walk with you on your spiritual journey, your journey through grief, or both. May God bless and protect you always.