Friday, January 18, 2019

Quotation on education...

When I am reading a book- any book- I keep a log of quotations that inspire me or cause me to pause to think for a moment (or more). While reading a book for a book group I belong to, I came across the following quotation: 
"A boy is told that the object of his life is to "get somewhere," and that means to get money; that it is up to him to "make good," and that means to make money. From his tenderest years he is submitted to nerve-racking tests of his potential money-making capacity. The school examinations have come to mean that; he must pass well because otherwise he will not get a good job, in other words, a job with a good salary. Education is no longer primarily intended to teach him to serve God, or to enrich his life, but only to give him a passport into the commercial scramble. Many sensitive boys break down under the strain of examinations, not because they are wanting in the knowledge to pass, but because each one they do pass brings them a step nearer to the world of competition, in which, they know instinctively, so much that is fine in them will perish." The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander (originally published in 1944)
This book is a reflection on parts of The Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. The title of the chapter in this book is "Fiat"- Let it be done.The author, in the prior paragraphs, writes about how money has become the all important, all encompassing item in our lives. We are constantly pushed to have more, do more, make more money. And in that pursuit, something is lost inside all of us. And this begins when we are very young. What is the purpose of our education. Is it to serve God? To guide us along our path to salvation? Or is it to get ahead, make more money, achieve more things than those around us? 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

I Live Again... next book review for Mrs. B.

For my next Ancient Faith Publishing book review I will be listening to the book I Live Again: A Memoir of Ileana, Princess of Romania and Archduchess of Austria. This will be my first audiobook book review and I am very excited to listen to it!
Check back soon for two book reviews written by ASA students for Shepherding Sam!

May it be blessed,
Mrs. Blankenstein

Monday, January 7, 2019

Kind Words...

Happy New Year! I am including a card that we receive from a monastery. In July one of the first things that I did was to write to all the Orthodox monasteries in the United States and ask them to pray for our school. We added their addresses to our mailing list to keep them updated on our school and to continue to ask for their prayers. Here is a lovely response from our Christmas card. Prayer is vital to the success of our school.
May it be blessed!
Mrs. Blankenstein

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Barn and The Book by Melinda Johnson- Book Review

The Barn and the Book by Melinda Johnson

Please go here to read my review of Shepherding Sam by the same author.

The Barn and the Book is the follow up book to Shepherding Sam, both by Melinda Johnson. I highly recommend reading Shepherding Sam prior to reading The Barn and the Book- only because you are introduced to the characters in the first book and I believe that it makes the ending of The Barn and the Book that much more powerful after having witnessed Sam's struggles in the first book.

We follow Sam and Saucer on another adventure at the monastery. Sam is a boy who struggles with spending time at the monastery, going to church services, and, now, staying focused in Sunday School. Saucer is a corgi who continues to look for opportunities to herd- whether it be animals or children (especially Sam). This book takes place during the Nativity season and there is an opportunity for the children to publish a story in the anniversary book about the monastery. The children in the book all have ideas for their stories except Sam who is completely focused on a story he heard. The story is that on Christmas Eve, all the animals are able to speak at midnight for one hour. Sam wants to know what Saucer is really thinking and makes it his mission to stay up until midnight at the monastery.

This is an excellent follow up to Shepherding Sam. Sam continues to make strides in his ability to focus at the monastery through Saucer's help. Plus we are introduced to some new children and nuns who are each going through their own struggles, too. Sister Anna is a wonderful character that both adults and children can relate to with her struggles of finding her gifts to use at the monastery for the Glory of God. I especially loved the story around Sister Anna and, of course, the very wise Gerontissa! And the book is written in a way that I believe children would be able to identify with her struggles as well as the struggles of all the characters.

To find out if Sam is able to hear Saucer speak, purchase this book! Great for all ages- especially 5 years old and up (including adults). This book would make a great read aloud but I highly recommend reading Shepherding Sam before The Barn and the Book.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase your own copy at Ancient Faith Publishing