Today as we prepare for Holy Friday services at home, we made our own Kouvouklion & Epitaphios! Please know that this was not my idea. Sotiria Stavropoulos created a Facebook video where she showed how to create it. I was so amazed by how beautiful it was and we decided to make our own! I have included instructions on how we did this. Some of the work will need to be done by an adult but there are also tasks kids can do. (more…)
Recently, we have been making lots of bracelets with the loom bands. These are very small rubber bands. There are patterns for making them with beads and that gave me the idea to make our own prayer bracelets! (more…)
At Christmas my kids love to make gifts for the people in our family. They are really into Perler Beads which are little plastic beads that you place on a peg board. You use an iron and a parchment type paper to melt the beads together. Today, I’m going to show you some of our cross designs.
These can be made into Christmas ornaments or necklaces. If you use glow in the dark beads, you can have your child write out the verse from John 8:12 on a tag to go with the gift: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” It can be put in a child’s room to remind them at night that Jesus protects them and keeps them safe.
Making these crosses is also a great gift idea for a child who likes to act out the liturgy at home. You could use yellow beads and I think they might make gold ones, too.
And of course, children love it when they can make something that adults can use. They can make a cross necklace for family members or themselves to wear. (more…)
Saint Romanos the Melodist
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.
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…)