“God is with us! Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves, for God is with us!”
Of course I love this one … by Anne Porter When the snow is shaken From the balsam trees And they’re cut down And brought into our houses When clustered sparks Of many-colored fire Appear at night In ordinary windows We hear and sing The customary carols They brings us ragged miracles And hay and candles And flowering weeds of poetry That are loved all the more Because they are so common But there are carols That carry phrases Of the haunting music Of the other world A music wild and dangerous As a prophet’s message Or the fresh truth of children Who though they come to us From our own bodies Are altogether new With their And birdlike voices They look at us With their clear eyes And ask the piercing questions God alone can answer.
To read more "Poetry Wednesday" picks, click HERE.
Of course I love this one …
by Anne Porter
When the snow is shaken
From the balsam trees
And they’re cut down
And brought into our houses
When clustered sparks
Of many-colored fire
Appear at night
In ordinary windows
We hear and sing
The customary carols
They brings us ragged miracles
And hay and candles
And flowering weeds of poetry
That are loved all the more
Because they are so common
But there are carols
That carry phrases
Of the haunting music
Of the other world
A music wild and dangerous
As a prophet’s message
Or the fresh truth of children
Who though they come to us
From our own bodies
Are altogether new
And birdlike voices
They look at us
With their clear eyes
And ask the piercing questions
God alone can answer.
Well, it's white out there alright – all white and Christmas-ey! I got every single thing on my to-do list taken care of and now I'm just sitting back and relaxing, doing puzzles with my family by the fireplace.
HAAAA! HAAAA! HAAAA! Ain't I hysterical?!
O.K., O.K., so today will be FILLED with the washing and packing of clothes, with the wrapping of gifts, etc., etc., etc.
Yes, yes, I admit it – we don't really have a fireplace either.
I'll tell you what, though, I am very pleased that I do have in my possession not one, but two brand new children's books written by two lovely and gifted colleagues of mine, Sylvia Leontaritis and Jane G. Meyer. We devour Orthodox books written specifically for kids around here. What a treat it was to receive both of these within the same week!
We got Sylvia's first. Sylvia, author and host of the popular and much beloved, Adventures of an Orthodox Mom blog, tells the story of a boy separated from his family after a war evacuation in, A Pocketful of Seeds, published by Panagia Press. This lost and lonely young man meets up with a kind and holy monk named Papouli who invites the boy to accompany him on a divine mission. The two of them travel to far away lands, overcoming with the help of God many obstacles along the way as they plant and sow miraculous seeds (a metaphor for monasteries) producing fruit bearing trees in often barren and resistant soil. It is a tale of courage, hope, love and perseverance, the exact kind of story I long most to share with my children. "This is amazing, mom"! My daughter, Priscilla, told me repeatedly while curled up on the arm chair with her face all buried in its pages. I can't thank you enough, Sylvia, for putting so much of your time, talents and effort into creating for families such an inspiring and thought-provoking resource for relaying the importance of, as the summary on the back cover of your book so aptly explains it, "faith, forgiveness and following one's heart." Click HERE to order your own copy!
The second book we were thrilled to find in our mailbox, was Jane G.Meyer's, The Woman and the Wheat, published by SVS press. I had the privilege of having Jane as an editor when I was contributing articles to, "The Handmaiden," and grew to appreciate and admire both her skills as a writer and her peaceful, creative spirit! Jane has really and truly outdone herself with this project, incorporating a beautiful and poetic rhythm within this story of a woman prayerfully and so lovingly planting wheat she will eventually offer back to God as the communion bread consecrated during Divine Liturgy in order to fill parishioners with Christ. I read it with my son, Elijah, and not only did it bring me to tears but also prompted a spontaneous and edifying conversation about the Eucharist. Adults and kids, alike, will be moved by the quiet humility and dedication of this woman whose soul delights and finds its meaning in performing every task she undertakes, no matter how small or seemingly mundane, for the glory of God. I guarantee you will want to read it again and again! Do yourself or someone else a big favor by clicking HERE and ordering this book ASAP! The Woman and the Wheat is destined to become a classic within Orthodox Children's Literature.
Well, here I go, oh mercy, off to pursue some productivity this afternoon! I'll be back tomorrow with a poem, it being Poetry Wednesday and all. Until then, stay warm, stay flexible, stay focused on, yes, the "reason for the season." I will sure try my darndest to do likewise.Read More
Priscilla took her role as narrator very seriously.
Three pre-teen wise men
The whole adorable cast
My niece, Janie: one tired little lamb!
Oh man, it was better than I'd ever expected. Those kids acted their little hearts out! A huge thank you to Miss Diane, our Sunday School teacher, who put so much time and effort into making this pageant special and memorable for not only the children, but for all of us who laughed and cheered and sang along. I love our parish. Today was joyful!Read More
Most of the time, I'm much too busy trying my darndest to hold this fort down to dwell on the miracle that is my family. Every once in awhile, however, I'll look up from the work at hand and gaze in awe at the one, two, three, oh my gosh!, four thinking, breathing, independent persons stuffing this house just as full as can be with life. "Look what we made!" I'll then exclaim, in shock, to my husband, because it used to be, like fifteen minutes ago, just he and I staring forward into the great expanse known as, "the future," wondering what in the world it held in store for us. These days we rarely think ahead, so enthralling and exhaustingly consuming is the present.
This week, we're all about Christmas Pageants – specifically the one taking place at our home parish, St. Elizabeth's, starring my very excited children as the Angel Gabriel, a wise man, a shepherd, yet another angel, and the narrator (Elijah will be playing dual roles). The kids have been practicing like crazy after Liturgy the past few Sundays, but have been extremely tight-lipped about the details. "C'mon, tell us your one line, Mary!" we teasingly beg our preschooler but no way, no how will she budge. "It's a surprise," she explains curtly. And then we laugh and marvel at the fact that our four-year-old, our baby, has an existence separate from her mom and dad, that she's gone off and joined her siblings in the cultivating of her own ideas and opinions.
So soon, I will observe all of my sons and daughters, not clinging to my leg or snuggled up in my arms, but reenacting on a makeshift stage the birth of Christ. I know for sure it will hit me then, with the force of a speeding bulldozer – the significance of my own flesh and blood portraying that moment when God, Himself, took on our collective flesh and blood, changing everything. Speaking of miracles worth lifting our heads up from out of the sand to stare at open-mouthed and reflect upon! I pray these final days before the Feast of the Nativity include many such salvifically enlightening moments for all of us.Read More