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.