Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sick Day Giveaway!

Like Amos McGee, I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, tucked them back in again, and knew I wasn't going to go anywhere.

That was five days ago.

Slowly on the mend, I decided, what better time to catch up on some reading and do a GIVEAWAY!

Illustration from A Sick Day For Amos McGee by Philip and Erin Stead

For those of you who don't know, Amos McGee was lucky enough to have some Faithful Animal Friends (who he normally tended to at the zoo) who came and tended to him at his home.

I too was lucky enough to spend time with some Faithful (Book) Friends while I was sick...Book Friends For Grown-ups, that is, who generally take a back shelf to my Book Friends For Children.  I was quite happy to delve into their pages, into a world of comfort and distraction, while I lay sick between the sheets of my bed!

Thanks to my first Book Friend, the newest Mitford novel by Jan Karon, Come Rain or Come Shine, I was able to attend Lace and Dooley's long anticipated wedding nuptials - without even having to change out of my pjs!

The next Book Friend I spent time with was the one I'm GIVING AWAY (don't worry, I won't be sending the winner my germ-laden copy!)  My Giveaway book is a new release from Ancient Faith Publishing: Blueprints For The Little Church: Creating an Orthodox Home, by Elissa Bjeletich and Caleb Shoemaker, and I'm super excited to review it for you today.

If you are a God-loving parent who is looking for encouragement and advice on how to establish a God-centered home (and whether you're a newly chrismated Orthodox Christian parent full of questions, a long time Orthodox parent looking for ways to revitalize your faith and your family's faith, or a Christian parent wondering if you and your kids could even do Orthodoxy), this book is for you!

Take a quick look at the contents, and you'll see that this great little resource is full of practical topics that are offered along with personal stories, Scripture, quotes from the Saints, and creative activities that will be of help to every Little Home Church...

The authors (Orthodox parents themselves), Elissa Bjeletich and Caleb Shoemaker, underscore in the Introduction that the three essential foundation stones for our Little Home Churches are the same as the foundational elements of our Christian Life found in Scripture and the Holy Tradition of our Church Fathers:  prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Recounting their own early experiences in Orthodoxy, they lovingly invite parents to begin a vigilant journey of growing closer to God with their family.

With baby steps.
No pressure.
No judgement.

Imperfect advice for imperfect people.

Basically...mercy, grace, and some helpful hints.

The Orthodox life is not complicated. It is beautiful in its simplicity, wondrous in its depth, vivifying in its ritual and sacraments.  The complications are typically self-imposed when, instead of following the Church's teachings or the admonitions of our priests and confessors, we try to cobble together a hodge-podge religion based mostly on external trappings and false deadlines.

...Take a deep breath.
Start at the beginning.
The two things all Orthodox families should begin doing immediately are very simple.
Pray and go to church.

Most importantly, as parents, lead by example.
And guess what?
There will be seasons of struggle, joy, and growth.
But this book is not about "quick fixes".

Always remember that we fall down and we get back up, and we fall down and we get back up.  This is the true rhythm of the Orthodox life.

I wish I had this book when we became Orthodox!

And I wish I had it in all the years since for new converts and families visiting our church who, like me, had countless questions.

Laid out very simply, with constant loving encouragement of "don't worry", "talk to your priest", "there's not always a right or wrong way" - this book is a treasure and a friend.

The authors are ever mindful of little ones, as well as teens, and their tired parents in all their advice as they address many of the "Captial T" and "small t" traditions of our rich faith.  

Such as:
Inviting the Priest to your home (for a house blessing or a baby's naming).
Setting up an Icon Corner.
Praying with little ones.
When do kids begin to fast?
What can we fast from besides food?
How to teach children to give.
Creative projects for feast days.
What goes in a Pascha Basket?

Now, here is my advice:
Take a deep breath.
The two things all my readers should do immediately are very simple.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book.
And go to the Ancient Faith Store to buy this book for yourself, an adult friend, or family member!  (Or put it on your wish list for later!)

  • Giveaway over Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at midnight PST.
  • To enter, leave a comment here and/or on my Facebook post for this book.
  • Winner announced Thursday, June 23, 2016.


  1. I would love to win this for my sister and her family. New introduced to Orthodoxy and very excited...

  2. Thank you for the chance to win! I have already had my eye on this book...

  3. I love the Blueprints for the Little Church!! As recent converts with a 7 year old son, we are always looking for ways to incorporate the Orthodox faith into our home. The book would be a huge blessing!

  4. Thanks for the review! I'd love to win a copy.

  5. I am so excited to read this book, one way or another. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Thank you for the give away! Would love to read this book!

  7. I would love...and really need to... read this book! I am just one year in my life as a convert to Orthodoxy. My children, ages 13 and 15, also came to the Church with me. We've had some major bumps in the road... deaths of immediate family members and a looming divorce... so any and all good info I can get on "how to actually do this in the real world" is enormously helpful.

  8. I would LOVE to win a copy of this book! We have 7 kids, ages 2-14, and we converted into Orthodoxy last August. All of those issues in the Table of Contents are things we are dealing with a figuring out as we go. It would be wonderful to hear the authors' perspective. :)

  9. We are in process of learning more about the Orthodox church and praying about becoming catechumens and I have really been wanting to buy this book as soon as I heard about it :) Praying for you. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I was sick this week too no fun! This would be a lovely resource for our own family and to share with friends as well.

  11. I would love to read this and then give to my new God daughter who is expecting! Ruth

  12. Sounds like a lovely read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  13. this book looks marvelous!! There's' always so much to learn, and even moreso while learning the ins and outs of family life. Thank you for sharing this review!

  14. Love the emphasis of the beginning and ending of our days being dedicated to God, not simply when we 'go to church'.

  15. What a lovely book. Thank you for the giveaway. Sorry to hear that you were not feeling good.

  16. Sounds like a great book! Thank you for the review.

  17. Oh I would love this book! We have five kids and are new to Orthodoxy in the past few years. Thanks for the review.

  18. This book looks like a great read! Would love to win a copy!

    Feel better :)

  19. I'd LOVE to read this book, even if I don't
    Win it!

  20. Thank You for the giveaway.

  21. I would love to win the book. I won the April giveaway for two baseball books. As of today 6/16 I have not received them.

  22. I'd love to win this! But if I don't, I will definitely put it on the wishlist.

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  24. NOW I'm on the right account. Ha!!! Anyway, I can't wait to read this book!