Category Archives: Faith

When We Struggle in Church with Young Children

I find it very difficult to let things go and not bother me.  I usually hang on to the hurt and review the play by play in my head long after.  This past Sunday, when we visited a local Byzantine Catholic Church, an old lady was visibly annoyed with us.  During the sermon, little Eric was unable to stay still.

Christ Blesses the Children

I was holding John on my lap because he was a bit overwhelmed in a new place, and Nathaniel was dealing with Gregory and David.  So, Eric slipped away and decided to spin around in a circle right in the middle of church.  Then he looked up and smiled at everyone.  He was as sweet as can be, but he was a disruption.

Then I heard a loud “humph” from the back and looked up to see the woman staring daggers at me.   In a parish as small as that one, Eric’s distraction could go unnoticed.  Nathaniel quickly grabbed him and placed the wild little man on his lap.  Just a bit after that, another child was being incredibly defiant, so I picked up Eric while I was pulling the other child by his arm and left the church.  What a great first impression we had made.

Needless to say, I was incredibly discouraged by the time we drove out of the parking lot.  At our parish in Kentucky, we had a system that worked for us.  That doesn’t mean it was easy; dealing with five young children in church is never easy, but we did have their godparents and friends who would help out.  I rarely felt completely alone, even if I did feel overwhelmed.

Recently, Sarah wrote a good post called “How to Encourage that Young Mother at Church.”  I recommend this for everyone, whether you have children or not.  It is so important to encourage those who are struggling.  And I guarantee that, at one time or another, every parent is struggling in church.  Thankfully, in the end, the struggle is worth it. IMG_20150823_112238

Book Review: When My Baba Died by Marjorie Kunch

The other day, we were driving down the road when a funeral procession stopped all traffic in order to cross a busy intersection.  My oldest turned to me and asked if only “really important people” have funerals, and I explained how anyone can have a funeral if they desire.  “Mommy?  Did you have a funeral for the babies who died in your tummy?” he asked.  I told him how we did special prayers at church for the littles ones that we lost to miscarriage.
As a family, we have only been to one funeral, and
I, then, realized that none of us has been to an Orthodox funeral.

When My Baba Died

Recently, I had the pleasure of previewing Pascha Press‘s first book: When My Baba Died by Marjorie Kunch.  When My Baba Died is a lovely guide for children through the loss of a loved one.

The description from the website:

This warm, accessible, faith-based book ministers to a child’s specific needs when faced with their first experience of an Orthodox funeral.  It will help parents guide their children during this difficult time and illustrate the progression from the funeral home visitation, to the funeral ceremony in church, to the cemetery graveside service. I also answer the most common questions children asked of me during my twelve years serving as a funeral director, define newly encountered words,  and address the emotions they may be feeling as they begin their journey of grief. This is accomplished with the use of simple text, accurate terminology, and beautiful photography digitally edited to create tasteful illustrations of all phases of the ceremony. It is my humble prayer this book brings you closer to our Risen God and the comfort of the Orthodox Faith.When My Baba Died

I think When My Baba Died would be the perfect addition to the library of any Orthodox family.  It helps prepare a child for what they will encounter at a funeral by going through what will happen, step by step with photos, from the visitation to the burial.  This book lets children know that it is normal to cry and feel sad, but also gives them hope that their loved one is with the Lord. The author, Marjorie Kunch, is a mortician and an Orthodox Christian, and she does an excellent job making this difficult subject accessible to young children.

When My Baba Died

 

When My Baba Died will available June 21st from Pascha Press!

Follow Pascha Press on Facebook for updates.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Holy Week Tomb Craft

Tomb Craft

 

There are several versions of this activity online, and this is what we did:

  • We went out into our yard, which was very wet from all the rain, and gathered some dirt (mud) and a few rocks and plants.
  • We used some decorative rocks and dried flowers to decorate as well
  • I put a small glass jar and covered it in the mud.  Then I put wheatberries (seeds) on top of the “tomb.”  These do not take long to grow and will cover the “tomb” in grass by Pascha.
  • We found a large rock to put in front of the “tomb”.
  • Later in the week, we will use an icon of Christ to hang on the cross and then transfer to the tomb.
  • On Pascha, the tomb will be empty!

Tomb Craft

 

Holy Week Passport {Printable}

Holy Week Passport

I have created a Holy Week Passport to be used from Lazarus Saturday through Pascha.

Holy Week Passport

It is very simple and geared toward younger children; it doesn’t require any reading.

Each page has a drawing relating to the day that the child can color.
It also has space to either write or draw.

To treat it like a passport, and each time the child goes to service, use stickers from Sermon on the Sidewalk to “stamp” that page.  These can just be cut out and pasted in the blank areas on the pages.

Holy Week Passport

All you do is print out the booklet and then fold.  When you print, make sure your settings are landscape, two-sided and short-edge binding.
I used brads to complete our booklets, but you can use staples as well.

Enjoy!

St Cuthbert’s Cross Printable

ColorStCuthbertsCrossSt Cuthbert’s Day is February 28th.  He is called the wonderworker of Britain and was born in Northumbria around 634.  While we do not know much about his life, we do know a remarkable story from his childhood:

As a child, Cuthbert enjoyed games and playing with other children. He could beat anyone his own age, and even some who were older, at running, jumping, wrestling, and other exercises. One day he and some other boys were amusing themselves by standing on their heads with their feet up in the air. A little boy who was about three years old chided Cuthbert for his inappropriate behavior. “Be sensible,” he said, “and give up these foolish pranks.”

Cuthbert and the others ignored him, but the boy began to weep so piteously that it was impossible to quiet him. When they asked him what the matter was, he shouted, “O holy bishop and priest Cuthbert, these unseemly stunts in order to show off your athletic ability do not become you or the dignity of your office.” Cuthbert immediately stopped what he was doing and attempted to comfort the boy.

On the way home, he pondered the meaning of those strange words. From that time forward, Cuthbert became more thoughtful and serious.This incident reveals St Cuthbert as God’s chosen vessel (2 Tim. 2:20-21), just like Samuel, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and others who, from an early age, were destined to serve the Lord.  (read more here)

I made a printable that you can use in your home this Lent:

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ColorStCuthbertsCross

I’m Bored Jar *Printable*

I'm Bored jar

There are many different “I’m Bored Jars” all over the internet, especially on pinterest, but I wanted one that I could use specifically for Lent.

While there are many ideas that work all year long, I added a few to help with my children’s spiritual development as well.

You can print out a copy of the pdf ( ImBoredJarforLent ).

Feel free to tailor it to your needs.  Enjoy!I'm Bored jar
I'm Bored jar

Lenten Activities for Kids

I’ve put together a list of activities that you can use in your home during Lent.  
Just click on the photo for the link to the activity.

First, some Lenten Crafts from Be As A Light:
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Laura of Many Mercies has so many wonderful *free* printables on her blog!

Lenten Calendar Printable:

http://manymercies.blogspot.com/2014/02/orthodox-lenten-calendar-printable.html

This year we are using this Memory Verse Garden:

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We use this one in our homeschool:

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Learning about “Lord Have Mercy”:

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Printable Pascha Cards and Basket Cover:

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We made this little Resurrection Garden last year:
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Matushka Emily made this lovely calendar, which we used last year:

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Bingo from Orthodox Education Blog

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Here is my Orthodox Children’s Prayer Book:

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You can use my Weekly Planner to help organize your activities:
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Have fun teaching your children during Lent this year!

{FREE} Weekly Planner Printable

Weekly Planner
I’ve created a Weekly Planner for myself,
and I thought I would share it with you, too!

It is very simple and contains an inspirational quote:

“With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.”
~ St. John Chrysostom

You can download it here: Weekly Planner.

Enjoy!