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, April 15, 2020


Our daughter and her young children have been able to help her priest husband with the Holy Week services in their empty church...

O Lord, my God, I call for help by day, I cry out in the night before You.
Let my prayer come before you; incline Your ear to my cry!
-Psalm 88 (87 Septuagint)

She sent me this sweet picture of my little granddaughter reaching up trying to give Jesus a kiss at the end of the Bridegroom Orthros service last night.  

My granddaughter couldn't quite reach and called out, "Help me!"  Out of the mouths of babes.  

Or, as Mommy noted: "Sweet and profound".

Some of you celebrated Easter (at home) this past Sunday, but those of us who are Orthodox are currently observing Holy Week (at home).  

I've been watching and praying our Bridegroom services the past couple of nights on Youtube, which is our new-Coronavirus-normal for awhile.

Earlier in the evening, I had listened to an excellent podcast on Ancient Faith Today Live, hosted by Fr. Tom Soroka: "Holy Week Under Quarantine" - link here - with guest Dr. Nicole Roccas, author of Time and DespondencyI highly recommend the podcast and the book!

Dr. Roccas talked about trying to find positives about what we can do during this time of isolation, instead of dwelling on "what we can't do".  

She specifically brought up that this is a good time to acknowledge how we in North America (she lives in Canada) are very fortunate:  that our current inability to attend services and partake of Holy Communion is only an anomaly here, a temporary "new normal", whereas that privilege is an impossibility in many countries that are suffering persecution - or have suffered persecution in the past. She encouraged listeners that "Maybe as we grieve our inability to receive the Eucharist we can remember those around the world who are unable to gather in even the best of times."

Dr. Roccas' comments made me think of a book about a Russian priest, Fr. Arseny, which we read as a family years ago.

FATHER ARSENY, translated by Vera Bouteneff. A narrative comprised of encounters with Father Arseny, a former art historian and priest imprisoned in the Gulag. He became Prisoner No. 18736 in the brutal 'special sector' of the Soviet prison camp system. In the darkness of systematic degradation of body and soul, he shone with the light of Christ's peace and compassion. I wept, reading this aloud to our teens.  We all loved this book.

So. What else can we do during Holy Week?

-Spend time as a family while journeying towards Pascha at home.
-Go here to my past post with some ideas for quiet activities specifically for Holy Week.

-Listen to saints stories and Orthodox books for children read by Chrissi Hart, here on AFR's Under the Grapevine podcast.

-Decorate eggs: go here for my post, Why Eggs for Easter?
-Pray together and read the Psalms.

-Be thankful for smart phone technology such as FaceTime and Skype and digital live streaming on YouTube, which can bring us "virtually" to our churches and family and friends.

[Speaking of which, please share/forward this post. And if you're not a regular follower yet, please sign up on the web version of my blog for my emails. I am no longer on social media since I realized and embraced the fact that I'm pretty much a JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) kind of person.  My readership has been down as a result of my choice to leave Facebook and not join the Instagram trend. Thank you! I appreciate your taking time to stop by!]  

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sheltering with Angels, Bluebirds, Psalms, Stitching

I've got a SHELTERING-IN-PLACE GIVEAWAY for your kids, 
an Angel by my door,
Bluebirds nesting outside my window,
Psalms on my heart,
and Embroidery kits ready to start

Psalm 90:11 (Septuagint)  For He shall command His angels concerning you, To keep you in all your ways... 

We mainly come and go through our side door - seeing St. Michael the Archangel there reminds me to pray for protection for myself and others on the now rare occasion I leave my home.  Psalm 120:8 (Septuagint) The Lord will guard your coming and going.

Mommy bluebird getting her nest all ready. (The father bluebird is beautiful - just haven't been able to get a photo of him yet.)

I've been reading and cooking a lot, but wanted to do something beautiful and creative, so I ordered two small embroidery kits.

Check out my dear friend Krista West's site, Avlea - her Mediterranean Folk Embroidery kits are so lovely! (You may remember the past post I did about Krista - she is a priest's wife and very dedicated and talented ecclesiastical tailor.) 

I'd love to offer a SHELTERING GIVEAWAY for your kids today: A Child's Guide to Prayer

Leave your name and contact info at the end of this post with a comment telling me what is helping you through this time of sheltering-in-place. (And for those of you who may have trouble leaving a comment here, please feel free to send me an email: wendyb[spam]1963@[spam]sbcglobal.net)

Giveaway ends Thursday, April 9 at Midnight PST. 

From Ancient Faith Publishing, illustrated by Tara Pappas 

A Child's Guide to Prayer is a beautifully illustrated prayer book for Orthodox Christian children aged 5-10 who are just developing a habit of prayer. The selection includes morning and evening prayers, prayers during the day, at mealtimes, for family and friends, and prayers of and to the saints - along with Psalms to pray and prayers that have to do with communion and confession. 

All the prayers were carefully selected by priests and youth workers to ensure their age-appropriateness. 

The 120-page guide also includes brief instructions on how to pray, why we pray, and a list of different ways to pray. The book concludes with several blank pages for personal prayer requests.