I’m thrilled to unveil Illumination Learning’s new home! I’ve been working on it for months now in the quiet hours of the evening after all of my children were (really) asleep. There were times where I pulled out my books, notes, and laptop only to put them aside for another night because my baby needed mommy to soothe him as his first teeth poked through, my daughter needed a listening ear, one of my sons just needed some snuggles, or my husband wanted to spend some time with his wife after having been away on a business trip. On those nights, I tucked everything away to work on it at a later time. I try so very hard to balance my desire to create in this little nook of the Internet with all that comes with being a mom and a wife.
This project – Illumination Learning – is a piece of my heart. It has become a place where I create and reflect. There were times where I questioned why I was attempting to write a handbook for Orthodox teachers and parents. Who am I to do something like this? I do not have a theological degree. I am only a mom. A mom who grew up in an Orthodox family and now has her own family to pass along this great love she has for God. I prayed continuously during the website remodel. I prayed that this work I was doing would be for the glory of God. I prayed that He would guide me as I researched, as I reflected, and as I typed. Please, if you find a mistake or feel something I have shared could be worded more accurately, send me an email so I can correct it. Everything I have shared on Illumination Learning is drawn from my talks with priests, my own experiences growing up Orthodox, raising my children Orthodox, and the reading I’ve snuck in while my kids were sleeping. I am only a mom. A mom who stumbles. A mom who is not perfect. But…a mom who tries hard to live each day helping others and striving to grow ever closer to God.
It is my great hope that Illumination Learning will continue to grow and be a beneficial resource to so many. The new website is the beginning of a community of people who are coming together to brainstorm and plan ways to not only educate our children and those seeking to learn more about Orthodoxy…but also ourselves. It is an ongoing project which will be updated and expanded on a regular basis.
I’m looking forward to all of your feedback as you browse through the site.
I recently got back from a trip to Boston where we attended my niece’s baptism. It was a joy to return to a place filled with so many childhood memories – after all, I lived there for four years with my parents and, at the time, three brothers while my dad attended seminary. While I was there a few weeks ago, I often found myself reflecting on an abundance of memories.Read More
Last night, I eagerly crawled into bed with a cup of tea and started reading Annalisa Boyd‘s new book The Ascetic Lives of Mothers: A Prayer Book for Orthodox Moms and then an English translation by Thomas Carroll of Saint Nectarios’ work Mothers and the Upbringing of Children. It’s in those moments late in the evening, when my house is hushed in peaceful silence, that I can reflect on my day and take a moment to rejuvenate with a book in hand.Read More
It’s in those moments where the only strength we seem to be able to muster for family prayers that night is to tell our kids to get ready for bed, tuck them in, and then trace the sign of the cross on their forehead. It’s in those moments where they hear us tell their coaches they won’t be able to make the game Sunday morning because we’ll be at church. It’s in those moments where you bring them along to drop off food to someone who could use a meal, for whatever reason.Read More
Five years ago, I started Illumination Learning with one simple idea – gather together a list of Orthodox resources being developed by parents, teachers, and clergy and share it with others. I built a platform using Ning and WordPress to share this list and through the past five years, literally thousands of people have found and used the website.Read More
As we are about to enter into Great Lent, we’ve spent some time talking with our kids about our family’s goals for the coming weeks. As a reminder, we are leaving this list of goals on our refrigerator for the journey ahead of us.
Kali Dynami! (Good Strength!)Read More
(Sorry about the hiccup when this was initially published. Something went wrong when I clicked publish and it deleted the majority of this post. I had to go back in, re-do it, and publish it a second time.)
*This was originally presented via a live webinar in 2011. I have slightly modified it in order to share it in a blog post format below. Keep in mind that this is a lengthy post because it was a 45 minute live presentation. If you would like to see any of the slides larger, click on the picture twice to enlarge it. (Not a double click, but rather click on it once and then a second time when it shows the picture by itself.)
Recently, a post went around on the Internet about Kindness Elves as an alternative to Elf on the Shelf. I didn’t really know what the Elf on the Shelf was about until this year when my boys became interested in it. I looked into it a little bit and decided it wasn’t really for us. We have plenty of mischief around here without encouraging it. I didn’t give it much more thought after that – until I saw a link to this post on Facebook from “Children in Orthodox Churches”. After reading it, the ideas started rolling. This had potential for many teachable moments about living our faith.Read More
Many of us often look for a meaningful gift to give to our family, friends, teachers, and that special someone. This year, consider giving them handcrafted soap from the Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia. Now through December 25th, they will donate 10% from the sales of their Mint Merry soap to the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry. Not only can you give a lovely gift but you can support two Orthodox groups as well.Read More
As we enter the Nativity Fast, here are some ways we can participate together as a family as we are called to fast, pray, and give alms:Read More