Have you ever wondered where some of our hymns come from? It always amazes me that these beautiful words have been preserved for so long. It makes me feel connected to that time period. You may be wondering who St. Romanos was and what he had to do with our hymns.
The abbreviated version of his life: He was a monk that lived around 518 AD. He served as the deacon of the church of Agia Sofia in Constantinople. Back then Deacons would face the congregation and chant most of the service. St. Romanos had trouble reading and singing out loud. He had a dream that the Theotokos asked him to eat a scroll of music. When he woke up, he was able to sing with confidence. He began to sing new hymn that might be familiar to you –
“Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! Angels with shepherds glorify Him! The wise men journey with a star! Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!”
Can you believe it is already Holy Week? Maybe it’s because Pascha is a little early this year but Lent has seemed to fly by. I’m happy to share with you a piece I did for New Martyr Magazine last year. It is a one page “comic.” Not really funny, but drawings of what happens at the service. It also instructs children on what the priest will do and where they will be anointed, so they can prepare. If your children are very young, you may want to get a paintbrush out and pretend to anoint them so they can practice. This helps out a lot so they know what to expect. (more…)
We’ve had a LOT of snow days this year and January isn’t even over yet! This week has been better but it seems we’ve had lots of cold weather and snow. One of the things I like to do with my children are learning experiences that help us learn about the beauty of God’s Kingdom. Whenever we do science activities like this, I learn something new and become fascinated by the amazing world we live in.
This week we decided to collect some snow and see what happened when it melted.
This weekend we were making snowflakes out of paper. My kids love to do this activity and so do I! When I opened up one of the snowflakes I noticed I had made a cross in the center. As I sat there and admired it’s beauty, I couldn’t believe what a powerful meaning this craft held. Most of us have probably experienced times when we’ve felt like our life is like a snowstorm. Whether it be a major or minor storm, where do we turn? Christ is like the Eye of a storm, a Calmness in the center, just like my snowflake. If we rely upon Him, He will be in the center, protecting us when everything else is chaos.
It was like God was speaking to me with this craft, because the night before I had attended a presentation by Dr. Philip Mamalakis who wrote, “Parenting Toward the Kingdom.” (more…)
Recently my daughter has been very scared at night. Someone at school told her a scary story and she just can’t get the idea out of her head. The same week Ancient Faith also released their book called, “Sasha and the Dragon.” It is about a little boy who is scared of a lot of things. He has an icon in his room of St. Michael. He prays and a miracle happens that helps him through his difficult time. I’m going to keep the description brief because I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. 🙂 It’s really beautiful! And Nicholas Malara is an amazing illustrator! He captures scenes from different perspectives and uses light to communicate the mood of the story. It’s really awesome! (more…)
When I was little, our manger had a baby Christ that you could remove. My parents would not put Him in the manger until Christmas morning. We loved looking at the manger and would check it every day until Christmas to see if Jesus arrived. Throughout December our minds were thinking about Christ’s birthday and helped us build anticipation for His birth. We would always looked at the manger first before our presents, which also brought our minds back to the true meaning of Christmas.
One of my favorite quotes and the inspiration to writing my books is from Colossians 3:1-4. It says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”(more…)
At our church we always have a Holy Friday retreat for the kids. We have activities planned to help them learn more about the important events of the day and of Christ’s Resurrection. A couple of years ago I had to teach the kids the hymn, Christ is Risen. Since my group was preschool through 6th grade, a lot of the kids may not be reading or not reading well enough to read the bigger words. My teacher brain was thinking of ideas to help the non-readers be able to sing along. I’m sure many of you have seen early reader books where they have the text and a small picture that shows the word. I love how icons tell stories and especially love it when a hymn describes exactly what is happening in the image, so I decided to make a visual version of the hymn for my students. (more…)
Do you ever feel like it’s difficult to find active games for Sunday School? Kids need to move around and I’m always scouring the web to find things that get the kids up and out of their seats! Well, I have a very fun game with an Orthodox twist to it. It’s perfect to do with your kids or in the church school classroom!
Hello! I hope you enjoyed reading my post about the life of St. Basil and the book, “The Lucky Cake.” Today, I’m going to share with you a fun activity I did with my kids. We made our own Vasilopita out of paper plates! They loved this game and want to play it over and over.
The new year will be here before you know it! I wanted to let you know about an awesome book to help your little ones learn about the tradition of the Vasilopita (vah-see-LOW-pita) and St. Basil. First, let’s talk about this neat tradition. (more…)