I thought perhaps once in a while, I would share some of my favorite quotes from our Church Fathers.  They are quotes I find from various sources - books I'm reading, Orthodox Calendars, quotes I see on the internet, etc.  I hope they bring you much spiritual enlightenment.

True Love of God, and of divine knowledge, when it is joined with the soul's renunciation of its love affair with material embodiment, is our deliverance from all evil, and the short road to our salvation.    ~  St. Maximus the Confessor

He who wishes to overcome temptation without prayer and patient endurance will not succeed in driving them away, but will, in fact, become more entangled in them.   ~  St.  Mark the Ascetic

The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.   ~ St. Basil the Great

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The Orthodox Homeschool Conference, to be held this year on March 27-30,  is named for the holy and righteous St. Emmelia. Who was St. Emmelia?  She was the mother of  ten children, including St. Basil the Great and four other children who later became saints of the Church: Thus it is obvious that she instilled the Orthodox faith in her children, teaching them to pray and devote their lives to the service of the Church and this is why it is this saint we choose to commemorate by name and association with the St. Emilia Orthodox Homeschool Conference.

After Emmelia's children had all left home, Emmelia was persuaded by Macrina, her daughter to forsake the world. The two women founded a monastery (for women). Emmelia divided her property and possessions among her children. Retaining only a few meager possessions, she and Macrina traveled to  Pontus and took up residence on a family property there  on the banks of the Iris River.  Several liberated female slaves  joined the pair, and a convent was formed. Living under one roof, the women of the convent held everything in common. They ate, worked, and prayed together regarding fasting as food and poverty as riches, living together in harmony

Living in this manner for many years, Emilia reached old age. When  illness struck Emmelia , her son Peter came to attend her in her last days. Before she passed, she spoke aloud to the Heavens saying, "To you, O Lord, I give the first fruits and the tithe of the fruit of my womb.  The first fruit is my first-born daughter, and the tithe is this, my youngest son.  Let these be for you a rightly acceptable sacrifice and let your holiness descend upon them!"

The  Churches of the Russian tradition keep her feast on January 3 as well as her son Basil. The Greek churches keep her feast on May 30, along with her husband Saint Basil the Elder and her mother-in-law, Saint Macrina the Elder.

Here is a St Emmelia 2014 flyer002 for the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference.  Our family has been fortunate enough to attend every year but one (due to the due date of my youngest child) of the St. Emmelia conferences held at Anticohian Villiage in Ligonier Pennsylvania.  This year's speakers include Dr. Christopher Veniamen. Andrew Kern, Barbara Shukin, Lori Peterson Branch, Robert and Angela Weaver, Monica Klepac,  and Donna Smith.

If you are an Orthodox Homeschooling family and have never attended this conference before, now is the time to start!   Orthodox families from all over our nation come together in the beautiful mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania (I should know , I grew up near there!) and find fellowship and strength in the joining together of other homeschool families as we share information and worship together.

See Antiochianvilliage.org for more information!

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My toddler, after reading a story about Thanksgiving, was asked, "What do we eat for Thanksgiving?".  He responded, "Turkey, strawberries, perogies, squash and pumpkin".  Okay, so he didn't exactly understand the whole concept of what the pilgrims ate but he got a lot!  🙂

Hopefully, we adults get a lot more out of the concept of Thanksgiving than my toddler.  Hopefully we know it's not really about the food and learn a lesson that doesn't require Snoopy making popcorn and toast and Marcie telling Charlie Brown the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

But if you're not sure, or if you are and just want a moment to reflect, here is an Orthodox prayer for Thanksgiving given to us by St. Basil the Great:

                                 We bless Thee, O most high God and Lord of mercy, Who art ever doing numberless great and inscrutable things for us––glorious and wonderful; Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities, and repose from the burdens of or much toiling flesh.  We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our sins, but hast loved us forever; and though we are sunk in despair, Thou hast raised us up to glorify thy power.  Therefore, we implore Thine incomparable goodness: enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise, that we may be able––without distraction––to sing and confess Thee, Who are God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, with Thine Only-begotten Son, and thine All-Holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

I pray that you are with family today or at least someone who is like family to you.

I pray that you have a roof over your head and a source of warmth.

I pray that you do have food that will sustain your health.

I pray that you have love.

I pray that you have the ability to rest when you are weary.

I pray that you have good health.

I pray that you have someone who can make you smile even when the world seems dark and cold.

I pray that you have Faith, strong and true.

I pray that God blesses you this day and each and every day of your life and that you have the eyes to behold it with gratitude.

I pray that you have peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!