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“The sun hid its rays, the moon and stars were turned to blood, the mountains were afraid, the hills trembled, when Paradise was shut. Adam departed, beating his hands upon his face and saying: ‘I am fallen: merciful Lord, have mercy on me.” -Vesper service of Forgiveness Sunday

As we begin our journey toward Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, I humbly implore your forgiveness for anything I may have done through word or action to offend you.

Today, on Clean Monday (Kathadi Deftera), we mourn and remember Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise. In some customs, no food or drink are eaten until sundown and prayer rules are doubled.  Clean Monday marks the first day of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church.

Church tradition tells us that after Holy Friday, Clean Monday is the most sorrowful day of the Ecclesiastical year. It is the day of Adam and Eve’s exile from Paradise, and thus a day for quiet contemplation of Paradise lost and prayer.  It is when man was sentenced to death and the doors of Paradise were shut.

“Adam was cast out of Paradise through eating from the tree. Seated before the gates he wept, lamenting with a pitiful voice and saying: ‘Woe is me, what have I suffered in my misery! I transgressed one commandment of the Master, and now I am deprived of every blessing. O most holy, Paradise, planted for my sake and shut because of Eve, pray to Him that made thee and fashioned me, that once more I may take pleasure in thy flowers.’ Then the Savior said to him: ‘I desire not the loss of the creature which I fashioned, but that he should be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and when he comes to me I will not cast him out.’”

-The Lenten Triodion, Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday

Let us guard the doors of our soul with prayer and fasting during this lenten season. Let us remember that Adam was cast out by ‘transgressing one commandment’. He, in a sense, broke his fast. During our fast, may we be strong where he was weak and let us find that strength in the promise He made us, for he will not cast out he who comes to Him.

Have a blessed Lent. Kali Dynami!!

from the archives of Adventures of an Orthodox Mom

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Our Psalter Groups begin today! Not to worry if you haven’t signed up yet. Simply leave your baptismal name and email address in the comment section of THIS post!

It’s such a blessing for me to organize these groups and to watch so many of you find comfort in the psalms.  This is our eleventh year doing this together and many of you have been with me from the beginning and I am so grateful that God gives me this opportunity each year.  There is so much power in prayer and I know many of you know this from experience by the emails I receive from those of you who participate.  Thank you again for being a part of this community of prayer!  I always look forward to this time with you.  <3

During this time we should also take extra care to abstain from unholy things or things that distract us from God and the upcoming feast.  Stretch out your hand to those in need and comfort those around you who need comforting.  Embrace all that God intended for this season to be.

photo courtesy of @livingwholesomely on IG

I’m so excited that many of you will be praying along using my new book, SONGS OF PRAISE: A Psalter Devotional for Orthodox Women this year. There’s plenty of journaling pages and extra wide margins to keep track of the names of your group members, along with any other thoughts or notes or inspiration you find within the psalms.  

The prayers we say before reading are also included along with lots of wisdom from the saints on why reading the Psalter is so beneficial.

Check out the following hashtags on social media to join other women who are praying along with you this year. And if you share any photos of your Psalter devotional in action, please use the hashtags so we can follow along with you.

#songsofpraisebook

#psaltergroups

#psalterdevotional

Without further ado, here are the assigned readings for the 2019 Lenten season!

Names are numbered in order of what kathisma you begin on.

*Be sure to look through all the lists for your name. It will be as you signed up. There are a lot of Mary’s, Maria’s, Katherine’s, etc.  Even less common names are often duplicated!  Make sure you’re looking at the right one!  I included usernames or emails wherever I could to make it a bit easier. 

PLEASE read through the ALL OF THE GROUPS until you’re sure you found your name. If you’re not positive, leave a comment and I will clarify.

There were a TON of people who did not leave email addresses and it took twice the time to try and figure out how to distinguish between others with the same name and I still wasn’t able to do that for everyone. So please READ THE ENTIRE LIST OF NAMES before beginning to avoid reading the wrong assignment.

Once you find your name, you will see what Kathisma (set of Psalms) you start with.  If you’re number 18 in your group you’ll start on Kathisma 18 on Day 1.  On Day 2, you’ll read Kathisma 19,  Day 3,  Kathisma 20 and so on. Then the following day you’ll start on Kathisma 1.  Make sense? If not, be sure to ask in the comments!

Before beginning to read your assigned kathisma, please recite the Trisagion prayers (and the prayer at the bottom of this post if you choose):

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for thy Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

At the end of each kathisma please recite the following:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to you, O God. (twice)

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to you, O God our hope, O Lord, glory to You. Lord have mercy on (name of each person in your group).

******People in the last group, please check back periodically since more people will most likely be added to your group, so you can add their names to your prayer list.  

And as always, if you have any questions at all, let me know!

Don’t become discouraged if you miss some, it takes time to build a habit and anything you read is more than you would have read if you hadn’t signed up! Kali Dynami!

Readings  (The Psalm numbers before each Kathisma are for people following along from the book of Psalms in their Bible)

  1. Day 1– Psalms 1-8 (Kathisma 1)
  2. Day 2– Psalms 9-17 (Kathisma 2)
  3. Day 3– Psalms 18-24 (Kathisma 3)
  4. Day 4–Psalms 25-32 (Kathisma 4)
  5. Day 5– Psalms 33-37 (Kathisma 5)
  6. Day 6– Psalms 38-46 (Kathisma 6)
  7. Day 7– Psalms 47-55 (Kathisma 7)
  8. Day 8– Psalms 56-64 (Kathisma 8)
  9. Day 9– Psalms 65-70 (Kathisma 9)
  10. Day 10– Psalms 71-77 (Kathisma 10)
  11. Day 11– Psalms 78-85 (Kathisma 11)
  12. Day 12– Psalms 86-91 (Kathisma 12)
  13. Day 13– Psalms 92-101 (Kathisma 13)
  14. Day 14– Psalms 102-105 (Kathisma 14)
  15. Day 15– Psalms 106-109 (Kathisma 15)
  16. Day 16– Psalms 110-118 (Kathisma 16)
  17. Day 17– Psalms 119 (Kathisma 17)
  18. Day 18– Psalms 120-134 (Kathisma 18)
  19. Day 19– Psalms 135-143 (Kathisma 19)
  20. Day 20– Psalms 144-150 (Kathisma 20)
  21. Day 21–start over

Group One

  1. Sevasti L.
  2. Sevasti P.
  3. Kalliope T.
  4. Irene V.
  5. Asimeni & Savina
  6. Presbytera Kyranna
  7. Katerina Athena
  8. Neratzoula
  9. Chrysovaladou
  10. Mary (April)
  11. Maria (Melanie)
  12. Anna (akoralis)
  13. Ioana-Teodora
  14. Athanasia (sbellasv)
  15. Mary (Moriah)
  16. Konstantina (Connie)
  17. Olga (treskin)
  18. Matushka Marie
  19. Nina (shelby)
  20. Alina-Olimi

Group Two

  1. Juliana (fourgreenes)
  2. Juliana (Lisa)
  3. Christina (Kristin)
  4. Marie (Ava-Marie)
  5. Juliana (Jordan)
  6. Kyriaki (Kiki)
  7. Athanasia P.
  8. Maria (Linda)
  9. Juliana
  10. Weslee
  11. Irene (Linda)
  12. Ruth (Jan)
  13. Sandra (sglisic)
  14. Emilia (officermillie)
  15. Maria (mktangalos)
  16. Sophia (vanny)
  17. Valerie (pianoval)
  18. Milica V.
  19. Toni (brainardt)
  20. Sophia (Amber

Group Three

  1. Catherine (Carol)
  2. Jill Marie
  3. Anna Maria
  4. Matushka Mary
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Christina (perritina)
  7. Sophia (sophy1718)
  8. Mikhail (Michael)
  9. Loukia Markella
  10. Alexandra (sasharoxnard)
  11. Malamatenia
  12. Karina (Korrine)
  13. Charis (sundrop)
  14. Jennifer
  15. Catherine (Janice)
  16. Elizabeth (Bethany)
  17. Joanna (Laurie)
  18. Artemis Sophia
  19. Marianne
  20. Monica Mihaela

Group Four

  1. Kyra (kyralf)
  2. Susanne
  3. Theodora (Jamie)
  4. Fotini
  5. Kiriaki
  6. Vaia
  7. Paraskevi
  8. Zoie
  9. Christina Carmon
  10. Mary Mandy
  11. Mary (Magdalene)
  12. Ioanna
  13. Laura Ophelia
  14. Kiriaki (Beba)
  15. Elena
  16. Lydia (newly illumined <3)
  17. Olga K.
  18. Lena (Sophia)
  19. Maria (satirob)
  20. Sevasti H.

Group Five

  1. Mary (Lori)
  2. Rebecca
  3. Angela (Mains)
  4. Olga (Tammy)
  5. Sara (Jayne)
  6. Anna Maria (Hale)
  7. Seraphim (Constantine)
  8. Lilly
  9. Alyssa
  10. Mary (saraledo)
  11. Elizabeth (Jessica)
  12. Emilia
  13. Cara Maria
  14. Ekaterini
  15. Catherine (catequeener)
  16. Patricia (Trish)
  17. Angela (Aggeliki)
  18. Elena (Courtney)
  19. Melissa W.
  20. Christina S.

Group Six

  1. Ana Sofia (Michael)
  2. Mary (Veronica)
  3. Elena (Ellie)
  4. Eleni
  5. Violeta (Linda)
  6. Kathryn
  7. Judith (lezfamily)
  8. Elisavet (Elie)
  9. Melangell (Emma)
  10. Isidora
  11. Tatiana (Tanya)
  12. Juliana (orthomami)
  13. Stellanie
  14. Anastasia (comino)
  15. Maria K.
  16. Elizabeth (Ashley)
  17. Frantzeska
  18. Eikaterini (Kathy)
  19. Emilia (emiliastalis)
  20. Xenia Maria

Group Seven

  1. Laura Gomez
  2. Juliana (machevski)
  3. Eleni Konstantinou
  4. Juliana (Sabrina)
  5. Francesca
  6. Deborah V.
  7. Elaine-Marie
  8. Nichole
  9. Sonia (sampras)
  10. Magdalene (Maggie)
  11. Soultana
  12. Emmelia (holbrook)
  13. Irene (grkdoxa)
  14. Katherine (parissa)
  15. Maria (atherholt)
  16. Xenia (alouschenk)
  17. Anne (indiallee)
  18. Melissa P.
  19. Sophia (Sophie)
  20. Gorgonia

Group Eight

  1. Elena (elena@llmai)
  2. Despina L.
  3. Tamara
  4. Christina V.
  5. Mary (rosolinsky)
  6. Lydia (losolinsky)
  7. Mary (Lori E)
  8. Marie (April)
  9. Daniela (UK)
  10. Kyra (kem714)
  11. Mary (Emily)
  12. Leila Georgina
  13. Stephanie (newly illumined <3)
  14. Elizabeth (mrsjoanna)
  15. Alexandra (twotallents)
  16. Katarina
  17. Elizabeth (candidmom)
  18. Elizabeth (spaziemom)
  19. Anna S. (toyourhealth)
  20. Evangeline J.

Group Nine

  1. Helena (coffeepharm)
  2. Katriona W.
  3. Deborah (bayzell)
  4. Sophia K.
  5. Timea (ctimi)
  6. Mary H.
  7. Lidia V.
  8. Vasiliki (Vicky)
  9. Joann (jmkgreek)
  10. Maria (sarithsews)
  11. Angeliki
  12. Leah (lilia)
  13. Sofia (stefanidis)
  14. Maria D. (fanimaria)
  15. Valentina
  16. Andrea (dziadul)
  17. Cassandra Despines
  18. Mihaela Giorgiana
  19. Nicole Marie
  20. Meredith Fensler

Group Ten (keep checking back until your group fills to 20 so you have all the names of women to pray for!)

  1. Vasilia (Whitney)
  2. Hariklia (Carolyn)
  3. Tara (Hannah)
  4. Olga (April)
  5. Theodora G.
  6. Alexandra (Alexa)
  7. Evangelia (Evelyn)
  8. Ashley D.
  9. Mara (charlamara)
  10. Magdalene (Courtney)
  11. Maria Theophania
  12. Anna (Bethel)
  13. Your name goes here! Leave a comment below to join us!

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photo credit: @kayla_greico via instagram #songsofpraisebook

It’s time to start organizing Psalter Groups again! Yay! For those of  you not familiar with these groups, here’s a quick rundown:

The Psalter is the book of Psalms broken up into twenty sections called kathismata.  People are placed in groups of twenty, one person per kathisma.  Each person begins their readings for Day 1 of 40 on a different kathisma.  For example, I’ll read 1, you’ll read 2, Mary will read 3, and so on.  Between each group, the ENTIRE Psalter is read every day during the fast!  We normally get between 5 and 6 groups so that means it’s read 5 or 6 times a day.  That’s incredible!

Many of our saints, including the greats like St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil have written many things on the importance of daily Psalter reading and these groups are a wonderful way to make praying the psalms a part of our daily routine, not just during the fasts but year round. It’s a warm feeling knowing you’re praying along with other Orthodox faithful all around the world.

So if you’re interested in joining us, please leave YOUR BAPTISMAL NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS in the comment section of this post. Be sure to leave BOTH because I oftentimes use your email address to differentiate between others with the same name.

I will have the groups and everyone’s assigned readings up between on Clean Monday morning–March 11. But don’t worry, if you stumble upon this post after the fast has begun, you can still sign up. It’s never too late to join in!

If you haven’t seen my new book, Songs of Praise: A Psalter Devotional for Orthodox Women, click here.

What exactly is Songs of Praise?

It’s a 384-page devotional that includes the entire Psalter with extra-wide margins for journaling and notetaking.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Writings from various saints on the benefits of daily Psalter reading.
  • Prayers Before Reading.
  • A reflection after each of the twenty kathismata on topics relating to Orthodox women today, along with some of my favorite quotes from some of my favorite saints.
  • Extra journaling pages after each reflection.
  • An index on how the psalms can be prayed for various needs as used by St. Athanasios.

Songs of Praise Flip Thru

My prayer for this book is that it will become a place women look forward to spending time in each and every day and that instead of seeking comfort in the things offered by the world, we’ll find it in the sweet words of St. David. Because, even though my name is on the front of this book, it’s really not mine. It’s his.

NOTE: You don’t need Songs of Praise to participate in the groups! Any version of the Psalter or the book of Psalms in your Bible are all you need.

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Hello! I just wanted to pop on and say THANK YOU to everyone who purchased their
copies of Songs of Praise! After just one month since it’s release, it is already on a second print run and is breaking records over at Ancient Faith Publishing! This is such an incredible thing to watch happen and it makes my heart overflow with joy because that means there’s a real desire in so many women to grow closer to the psalms. Glory to God!

Thank you for sharing this book with friends and posting it all over social media! I love logging on and being pleasantly surprised with another beautiful photo or scrolling through the #songsofpraisebook hashtag and seeing all the places everyone is reading. Posts have come from all over the world–from the US, Greece, Albania, Romania, Canada, Australia and Wales! How cool is that?!

Here are just a few favorites:

If you’ve read it already, I’d really appreciate you heading over to Amazon and leaving a review. Reviews are really important for authors and their future books. Plus, I love the feedback, both good and constructive, because it helps with future projects.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet or have women in your life that you don’t know what to get for Christmas, Songs of Praise is a perfect choice!

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Our Psalter Groups begin tomorrow! Not to worry if you haven’t signed up yet. Simply leave your baptismal name and email address in the comment section of THIS post!

It’s such a blessing for me to organize these groups and to watch so many of you find comfort in the psalms.  This is our tenth year doing this together and many of you have been with me from the beginning and I am so grateful that God gives me this opportunity each year.  There is so much power in prayer and I know many of you know this from experience by the emails I receive from those of you who participate.  Thank you again for being a part of this community of prayer!  I always look forward to this time with you.  <3

During this time we should also take extra care to abstain from unholy things or things that distract us from God and the upcoming feast.  Stretch out your hand to those in need and comfort those around you who need comforting.  Embrace all that God intended for this season to be.

I’m so excited that many of you will be praying along using my new book, SONGS OF PRAISE: A Psalter Devotional for Orthodox Women this year. There’s plenty of journaling pages and extra wide margins to keep track of the names of your group members, along with any other thoughts or notes or inspiration you find within the psalms.  The prayers we say before reading are also included along with lots of wisdom from the saints on why reading the Psalter is so beneficial.

Check out the following hashtags on social media to join other women who are praying along with you this year. And if you share any photos of your Psalter devotional in action, please use the hashtags so we can follow along with you!

  • #psaltergroups
  • #songsofpraisebook
  • #sistersinthepsalms
  • #journalingthepsalms
  • #psalterdevotional

Without further ado, here are the assigned readings for the 2018 Nativity season!

Names are numbered in order of what kathisma you begin on.

*Be sure to look through all the lists for your name. It will be as you signed up. There are a lot of Mary’s, Maria’s, Katherine’s, etc.  Even less common names are often duplicated!  Make sure you’re looking at the right one!  I included usernames or emails wherever I could to make it a bit easier.  

PLEASE read through the all of the groups until you’re sure you found your name.  If you’re not positive, leave a comment and I will clarify.

Once you find your name, you will see what Kathisma (set of Psalms) you start with.  If you’re number 18 in your group you’ll start on Kathisma 18 on Day 1.  On Day 2, you’ll read Kathisma 19,  Day 3,  Kathisma 20 and so on. Then the following day you’ll start on Kathisma 1.  Make sense? If not, be sure to ask in the comments!

Before beginning to read your assigned kathisma, please recite the Trisagion prayers (and the prayer at the bottom of this post if you choose):

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal: have mercy on us. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for thy Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

At the end of each kathisma please recite the following:

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to you, O God. (twice)

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to you, O God our hope, O Lord, glory to You. Lord have mercy on (name of each person in your group).

******People in the last group, please check back periodically since more people will most likely be added to your group, so you can add their names to your prayer list. 

And as always, if you have any questions at all, let me know!

Don’t become discouraged if you miss some, it takes time to build a habit and anything you read is more than you would have read if you hadn’t signed up! Kali Dynami!

Readings  (The Psalm numbers before each Kathisma are for people following along from the book of Psalms in their Bible)

  1. Day 1– Psalms 1-8 (Kathisma 1)
  2. Day 2– Psalms 9-17 (Kathisma 2)
  3. Day 3– Psalms 18-24 (Kathisma 3)
  4. Day 4–Psalms 25-32 (Kathisma 4)
  5. Day 5– Psalms 33-37 (Kathisma 5)
  6. Day 6– Psalms 38-46 (Kathisma 6)
  7. Day 7– Psalms 47-55 (Kathisma 7)
  8. Day 8– Psalms 56-64 (Kathisma 8)
  9. Day 9– Psalms 65-70 (Kathisma 9)
  10. Day 10– Psalms 71-77 (Kathisma 10)
  11. Day 11– Psalms 78-85 (Kathisma 11)
  12. Day 12– Psalms 86-91 (Kathisma 12)
  13. Day 13– Psalms 92-101 (Kathisma 13)
  14. Day 14– Psalms 102-105 (Kathisma 14)
  15. Day 15– Psalms 106-109 (Kathisma 15)
  16. Day 16– Psalms 110-118 (Kathisma 16)
  17. Day 17– Psalms 119 (Kathisma 17)
  18. Day 18– Psalms 120-134 (Kathisma 18)
  19. Day 19– Psalms 135-143 (Kathisma 19)
  20. Day 20– Psalms 144-150 (Kathisma 20)
  21. Day 21–start over

Group One

  1. Sevasti L.
  2. Kalliope T.
  3. Irene V.
  4. Neratzoula
  5. Presbytera Kyranna
  6. Sevasti P.
  7. Jennifer W.
  8. Matushka Constantina
  9. Chrysovalantou
  10. Fotini (fotinik321)
  11. Sevasti H.
  12. Despina (Jamie)
  13. Maria (Linda)
  14. Emilia (offmillie)
  15. Ruth
  16. Nina (Shelby)
  17. Aglaia
  18. Maria (Ditsou)
  19. Christina (Siounis)
  20. Mary (April)

Group Two

  1. Isidora
  2. Ekaterini (Loucas)
  3. Melissa P.
  4. Marina (Kelly)
  5. Catherine (Janice)
  6. Kyriake (Llana)
  7. Lydia (Len)
  8. Halina
  9. Lois
  10. Charis (Holli)
  11. Emilia (emiliabeth)
  12. Nonna (Kara)
  13. Andrea (dziadul)
  14. Maria (Lipan)
  15. Angeliki (Aliki)
  16. Elisavet (Elie)
  17. Jill Marie
  18. Presbytera Roxana Nicoleta
  19. Christina (Kristy)
  20. Lynne Ann

Group Three

  1. Anna (Mylissa)
  2. Christina (Carmon)
  3. Sophia (sophy1718)
  4. Xenia (Amanda)
  5. Sophia K.
  6. Silvia (Veronica)
  7. Elisabeth (Lisa)
  8. Patricia (naturalmom)
  9. Daniella
  10. Mary (Carrie)
  11. Ana
  12. Monica Mihaela
  13. Rebecca (Clark)
  14. Nicole Marie
  15. Ioana Teodora
  16. Stephanie (Strubis)
  17. Juliana-Sabrina
  18. Olga (Tammy)
  19. Patricia (patdrel)
  20. Kyriaki (Kiki)

Group Four

  1. Antonina
  2. Sara (Jayne)
  3. Syra
  4. Panayiota (Teresa)
  5. Elena (Vases)
  6. Anastasia (Stasia)
  7. Your Name Goes Here! Leave your baptismal name and email in the comment section of THIS post!
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Every Christmas for the past TEN years, here on OrthodoxMom.com, I’ve hosted an ornament exchange for Orthodox kids. Parents and children gather around their tables and create the most beautiful Nativity themed ornaments to swap between our families.

Families are separated into groups, usually 10-12 per group, and we all make one ornament for each family and ship them off along with other little snacks, stickers, and goodies. The kids love checking the mail to see what treasures arrive each day!

A few years ago we bought a special box to keep the precious ornaments that we’ve received over the years.  The boys love taking them out and reminiscing on the times they arrived and what goodies accompanied them, before hanging them on the tree.  It’s so much fun for all of us.

So, it’s time to start organizing the 2018 Orthodox Kid’s Ornament Exchange.

The rules of the swap are simple:

01. Each child will make enough ornaments to send one to each member of his/her group. ORNAMENTS MUST BE HANDMADE and have a religious theme.

02. Include a card (handmade or not) making sure that their name is legible, so we know who they’re from.

03. Adding other trinkets, candies, stickers, etc is a nice gesture but it is not required.

04. Packages must be postmarked by Monday, December 03, 2018 to ensure time for the children to enjoy their ornaments before Christmas.   If you’re running late, like we all tend to do sometimes, be sure to let your group know.

05.  Ornaments are sent one per family.  Sibling names are included so that packages and cards are addressed to all of them.

***PLEASE be sure to package your ornaments safely for their journeys! I mention this every year but the past couple of years we’ve received some completely broken. It’s so sad to see that after all the hard work the children put into them!

If you’re interested, please email:

  • Your children’s names, ages
  • FULL ADDRESS 

to Exchanges{at}OrthodoxMom{dot}com by Monday, November 19!

BE SURE TO PUT “2018 ORNAMENT SWAP” in the subject line!!  I really can’t stress the importance of this enough. I mention it every year but people still add their own subject lines. It may not seem like a big deal but this time of year is extra busy for my inbox and by simply taking a couple extra seconds to make sure the subject line is correct ensures your message goes to the proper folder and you get added to the groups! P L E A S E.

Comments on this post will not automatically sign you up!  So be sure to send an email so I have your email address so you can receive the list of names and addresses for your group.

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*Please note.  These are two different Advent studies and are sold individually.  Also, BE SURE to bookmark the link to refer back to for printing!

Orthodox Advent Study for Kids

Every advent season, I try to tell my children the story of the Nativity. You know, the real story with all the details. Like, Jesus wasn’t really born in a stable, it was a cave like we see in the icons. And, do you know why the Star of Bethlehem behaved so strangely, moving up and down and side to side, even hiding from King Herod?

My Journey to Bethlehem is a 65 pg. e-book that will take your child on a journey around the world.  They’ll hear the real story of the Nativity, learn about Christmas traditions in different countries,  all while having fun and not adding too much to your already busy holiday schedule.  Each week has a story, memory verse activity, craft, coloring page, and a recipe.  It is the perfect resource to help your child discover the true reason for the season this year.  The calendar allows you to view the book ‘at a glance’ to plan ahead and so you can decide which activities (all or just your favorites) you’ll do each week.

Purchase My Journey to Bethlehem below.


Retail Price: $12.00


Orthodox Advent Study for Adults

Preparing Ourselves for the Coming of the Savior is a 66-pg. e-book created to help us avoid the spirit of secularism so prevalent in today’s society by offering some simple things to ponder every day over the next six weeks. We’ll discuss some common misconceptions surrounding the Nativity (Was it a stable or a cave? Were Mary and Joseph betrothed or married?) that will help us gain a better understanding of what really happened that holy night in Bethlehem so many years ago.

Included in the study are themed weekly devotionals, daily readings and journaling pages, activities, and recipes to help us remember Who and What we are really celebrating at Christmastime.  We’ll be using Holy Tradition like a set of spectacles to bring the story of the Nativity to life in 3-D.

Preparing Ourselves for the Coming of the Savior was created for the person on the go. It was designed to be printed out and studied alongside your morning coffee, in carline, while waiting in the doctor’s office, or at night after everyone else has fallen asleep for a long winter’s nap.


Retail price: $6.00

© These eBooks are copyright of Sylvia Leontaritis and Adventures of an Orthodox Mom.  You may download anything on these pages for personal, non-commercial use. For any other purposes please contact Sylvia@OrthodoxMom.com. 

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