Sunday, November 30

A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy...

I was very happy to hear that Ancient Faith Publishing was tackling the job of creating a children's Divine Liturgy book when I heard about it a few weeks ago.  Once we got a copy of A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy,  I was blown away.  These photographs simply do not do the illustrations justice.  Nearly every two page spread has a lovely drawing on it.  The colors are vivid and Megan Elizabeth Gilbert, the artist, incorporated collage into her work using real Liturgical fabric.  The effect is just breathtaking!  I love that Gilbert chose to illustrate this prayer book with a wide variety of Orthodox Christians from different backgrounds and nationalities...  her work is very easy to relate to for my little ones!  

Ancient Faith Publishing also made the decision to keep the amount of text in this little book spare.  I love that choice for two reasons:  

1.  It helps to keep the children's attention focused on the service itself, and not on the book in their hands.

2.  There are many different translations of the Liturgical texts.  With less text, the children won't be so distracted by the differences that are bound to be there. 

I am very thankful that Ancient Faith Publishing created A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy.  It is a wonderful tool for parents looking to help their children learn how to pray during the Liturgy and I believe that a copy of their wonderful prayer book should be in every Orthodox child's Christmas stocking this year! 



But habit is very strong and I have instead been cleaning the house all day.  Now everything is in place, what you see and what you do not see.  New summer pillows in the living room look fresh against my cool flowered slipcovers.  My curtains are crisp from my iron.  the tidy, soap-smelling linen closet alone is enough to give me a modicum of peace.  It is interesting that things in themselves good - things usually pejoratively called chores - are so good for you, reliable healers of a reluctant spirit."

Anne Truitt

Saturday, November 29

A Peek Inside A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy...

I often want to see what a book is like before I purchase it, so I thought that I would take a few photographs of A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy so that people can look at the amazing illustrations by Megan Elizabeth Gilbert (I love the diversity of people and vestment styles throughout the book as well as the collage of the liturgical fabric onto the illustrations!) and the translations that were used for some of the prayers.  A more formal review will be posted tomorrow.

Antler Buttons...

I am finally nearing the finish line for Button's sweater.  It was meant to be a sweater for Little Man, but there was a bit of a snafu with the yarn and it ended up being more Button's size.  I have been kind of looking for the buttons that I'll need during these weeks of knitting, and I mentioned it to a friend.  Her son actually makes these buttons from deer antlers that he finds on jaunts through the woods.  I bought six and can't wait to sew them on!  I just have to finish one more sleeve...

Friday, November 28

Icons in Grandfather Bear's Living Room...

While we were visiting family for Thanksgiving, I found myself looking at all the beautiful icon corners that they have in their homes.  It occurred to me that you might like to see them too.  I will be featuring a new photograph of an icon corner each week  so that you can be inspired to create or rejuvenate your own icon corners.  I hope that you enjoy this little series!

Gift Ideas for the Little Ones in Your Life...

I just wanted to take a minute to suggest two gift ideas for the special children on your Christmas lists this year:

The first is a brand spanking new book by Ancient Faith Publishing called A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy.  We received it last week and I will do an official review of it that includes photographs of some of the pages, but I wholeheartedly recommend that all Orthodox little ones have a copy!  It is simply amazing!

The second gift suggestion I wanted to let you know about is this dear little crocheted censer from Cozy House Curios.  It is beautiful!  The censer even comes with a piece of black wool charcoal inside. It is very well made and seems very sturdy! I am excited to give it as a namesday gift to Little Man this coming week! Since it is handmade by the talented Matushka Anna, you should order as quickly as you can to ensure that you can get it in time for Christmas! 

Thursday, November 27

In Thanksgiving...

O Lord, how lovely it is to be Thy guest. Breeze full of scents; mountains reaching to the skies; waters like boundless mirrors, reflecting the sun's golden rays and the scudding clouds. All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing the depth of tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of Thy love. Blessed art thou, mother earth, in thy fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last for ever, in the land where, amid beauty that grows not old, the cry rings out: Alleluia!

Thou hast brought me into life as into an enchanted paradise. We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue, where in the azure heights the birds are singing. We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest and the melodious music of the streams. We have tasted fruit of fine flavor and the sweet-scented honey. We can live very well on Thine earth. It is a pleasure to be Thy guest.

Glory to Thee for the Feast Day of life
Glory to Thee for the perfume of lilies and roses
Glory to Thee for each different taste of berry and fruit
Glory to Thee for the sparkling silver of early morning dew
Glory to Thee for the joy of dawn's awakening
Glory to Thee for the new life each day brings
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age!

-Excerpt from The Glory to God for All Things Akathist


A Brief History:

"This Akathist, also called the Akathist of Thanksgiving, was composed by Protopresbyter Gregory Petrov in a Soviet prison camp shortly before his death in 1940. The title is taken from the words of St. John Chrysostom as he was dying in exile after being forcefully and unjustly removed as Patriarch of Constantinople.

Fr. Gregory's work is a comprehensive celebration of God's glory as found throughout a broad examination of life, in the smallest of things, and most basic circumstances. It is a celebration as understood by someone from whom all beauty was seemingly denied, but who was given the gift to see the beauty of God's work in all things. It is a song of praise and gratitude from amidst the most terrible sufferings.

Fr. Gregory could have reflected on how evil the Communists were who caused his exile and imprisonment. Instead, he rejoiced in Christ, Who was within him and would never leave him. He could have reflected on his misery, on how the rulers had deprived him of his priestly duties and the ability to ministration to his flock, and on the pain that his captors inflicted upon him daily. Yet, the text speaks from someone with the knowledge that everything that happens to those who love God is for their benefit. It is a song of joy emanating from the heart of a man whose physical eyes could not not see the beautiful things which are described so vividly, but through Our Lord, was given a superior vision."

-Taken from:

Monday, November 24

Frosty Nutcracker...

The children and I were able to attend a Nutcracker storytime on Saturday and enjoyed a preview of one of our favorite shows!  We'll be going to the ballet in early December, so there's not much more time to wait!  In the meantime, we've been enjoying a Nutcracker cd I found on the library sale shelves for $1 in the car.

Sunday, November 23

Autumn Color...


I could lower my standards but in so doing would sink with them, taking my children with me.  It is not necessary for us to have candlelight dinners every night.  But the ceremony of meals has always been important to regard.  Where else can children learn so easily and pleasantly, and at such range when guests are included, what it is to be grown-up?"

Anne Truitt

Friday, November 21


I found a folder full of photos that I took during our first Thanksgiving feast with my husband's side of the family at the beginning of this month.  Actually, the ones I am posting here are from the day after...  once all the work was done and I could put my feet up for a bit.  I remember sitting on the porch swing with that slice of leftover pie, watching the trio race around on their various wheeled things (bikes and roller blades) in the warm sun.  Bliss. 

Now that the November chill is here, I have to be moving around to stay warm when we go outside.  Raking is a good activity to get the blood pumping, and so is stacking wood.  Our first load of firewood is about half gone now and I'll probably need to call up the woodcutter after Thanksgiving to request another delivery.  It's kind of exciting to wait for the truck to come racing up the drive, watch it tip it's bed full of wood onto the ground, and then work all together taming the wild mound into a neat stack of wood on the porch.  

I've placed an order for one of Little Man's Namesday gifts and another for the presents we'll give the children for Saint Nicholas Day.  I can't wait!    

Thursday, November 20


My house is coming back under my hand.  Clothes, washed and ironed, are hung in order in our closets.  Sheets are piled up in crisp folds.  Tables have been polished so that we may sit around them and laugh and eat a lot of the things that we particularly like. The web of the house is caught up here and there, reattached, realigned, loosened and straightened.  My bedroom curtains, lightly starched, dance with light.  The front porch is swept ready for the winter firewood."

Anne Truitt

Tuesday, November 18

Settling In...

It got cold and windy overnight and almost all of the leaves have come down.  It was hard to slip out from under the down comforter this morning, so I made apple pie oatmeal (make it with water for lenten days) and lit our pinecone candle.

The children have art class on Tuesdays and all the mamas hustle over to the coffee house across the street for a little break.  We look forward to Art Day so much and are very thankful for Miss Erika!  That hour of conversation over steaming mugs of tea or coffee really helps.

I ordered the chocolate coins that we like for Saint Nicholas Day (if you like them too, you must order by tomorrow to guarantee delivery before December 6th) today and have started to think about gifts for Little Man's namesday and birthday and Saint Nicholas Day.  December is not that far away!

Lenten Cleaning...

I try to deep clean our home as much as I am able during the weeks when we fast. I find that it is really wonderful to enjoy having everything clean and organized for the Great Feasts of the year.  For the Nativity Fast (which began on November 15th) I have made a master list of all the things that I want to accomplish before Christmas (with nothing scheduled Saturdays or Sundays).  With one task planned for each day, getting everything tidy should be pretty easy to handle.   Here's my list:

November 15:  Saturday
November 16:  Sunday
November 17:  Menu Plan and Grocery Shop for Lenten Foods
November 18:  Clean Out Fridge
November 19:  Clean Out Freezer
November 20: Clean Out Pantry
November 21: Organize, Dust, and Style Bookshelves
November 22: Saturday
November 23: Sunday
November 24: Clean Out Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers
November 25: Tidy Linen Closet
November 26: Organize Dresser Drawers
November 27:  Straighten Bedside Tables
November 28: Put Bedroom Closets into Order
November 29:  Saturday
November 30:  Sunday
December 1:  Whip Storage Closet into Shape
December 2:  Tidy Hall Closet
December 3:  Organize DVDs
December 4:  Straighten Kitchen Cabinets
December 5:  Put Craft Supplies into Order
December 6:  Saturday (Saint Nicholas Day)
December 7:  Sunday
December 8:  Freshen Up Laundry Room
December 9:  Straighten Cleaning Supplies Cabinet
December 10:  Organize and Weed Through Toys
December 11:  Organize and Weed Through Games and Puzzles
December 12:  Deep Clean Bathrooms
December 13:  Saturday
December 14:  Sunday
December 15:  Deep Clean Bedrooms
December 16:  Deep Clean Hallway, Entrance, and Living Room
December 17:  Deep Clean Sunroom and Dining Room
December 18:  Deep Clean Kitchen
December 19:  Deep Clean Playroom
December 20:  Saturday
December 21:  Sunday
December 22:  Errands and Tie Up Loose Ends
December 23:  Grocery Shopping for Christmas Day
December 24:  Prepare Food for Feasting

Monday, November 17

Preparing for Nativity...

The faithful of the Orthodox Church are embarking on the Nativity Fast on November 15th.  Though we try to keep our Christmas celebrations to a minimum prior to December 25th, we do some exciting things to prepare and enjoy this special time as well.  Here are some of our plans for the next forty days.

November 15: Plant Paperwhites
November 16: Clean Out the Refrigerator and Grocery Shop for Lenten Foods
November 17: Start Writing Out Christmas Lists
November 18: Go Through Books to Give Away
November 19: Go Through Toys to Give Away
November 20: Donate Money and/or Canned Goods to the Food Pantry for Thanksgiving
November 21: Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God
November 22: Nutcracker Storyhour
November 23: Plant bulbs outside (daffodils and tulips)
November 24: Plan Christmas Card
November 25: Plan Christmas Menu
November 26: Plan Christmas Outfits
November 27: Thanksgiving Day 

November 28:  Hang snowflake decorations from dining room chandelier
November 29: Participate in Gift Giving for those Less Fortunate
November 30: Begin Listening to the Messiah
December 1: Put out the Nativity Books
December 2:  Cut Paper Snowflakes for Windows
December 3:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

December 4: Little Man's Namesday and Peter Pan on ABC
December 5:  The Nutcracker
December 6: Saint Nicholas Day
December 7:  Winter Wonderland of Lights Festival
December 8: Begin Listening to Christmas music
December 9: Decorate the mantle
December 10: Create a Gingerbread House
December 11: Visit Frozen Ice Palace
December 12: Little Man's Birthday
December 13: Saint Lucia and Saint Herman
December 14: Living Nativity
December 15: Hang winter wreath on front door
December 16: Hang stockings
December 17: Watch The Christmas Miracle of Johnathon Toomey/Put Out Nativity Scene
December 18: Wrap presents
December 19: Purchase a new Christmas book for our family collection

December 20: Ice skating
December 21: Bring home the Christmas tree and decorate it
December 22: Messiah Sing Along
December 23: Grocery Shopping for Christmas Day
December 24: Prepare Food for Feasting

Sunday, November 16

In and Out...

The opportunity to go to The National Gallery of Art for an hour or so appeared suddenly yesterday and so I seized it!  The children and I were able to see  Degas's Little Dancer along with 14 of his other works and then some Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir rounded out our visit.  I could have stayed all day long, of course, but I really want these kids of ours to enjoy jaunts to museums so I try to keep things short and sweet.  Despite the speediness of our visit , we've been thinking about all that we saw (especially Little Dancer!)...  we have Chasing Degas to read tomorrow and I have been checking out The Kennedy Center's production of The Little Dancer online.  I love this stuff!    

Wednesday, November 12


 There is a harmony in autumn, and luster in its sky..."

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Yarn Along: Onto the Sleeves...

I finally finished the body of my youngest son's Tama.  It is a bit long in the body, but better long than short!  I have to get the proper double pointed needles to get moving on the sleeves.  We have a bit of traveling on Friday and Saturday, so hopefully I'll make a little progress!

I'm about halfway through Soul Gardening.  It's the second issue that I have received...  it's wonderful!   

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