I have a funny little saying I tell only my close friends, it’s a prejudice of sorts.
“I don’t craft, knit, or sew- or hang around people that do.”
It’s really crazy that one of my best friends is a Miss Crafty galore. She always laughs at my lack of Pinterest interest. In reality, I do like certain crafty things, flower arranging and photography- not sure if these are crafty, but I do like them. My real interests lie in the kitchen and on a book shelf.
When it comes to living the Orthodox Christian year in the home I had a hard time finding my way when I thought I had to do crafts and projects with my kids in order to make the liturgical year meaningful. After many failures and frustrations- I just gave up. My poor kids, right? Well, maybe not. It occurred to me that two of my favorite saints, Martyr Sophia, mother of Faith, Hope, and Love and Emmelia, mother of Sts. Basil and Gregory, probably did not do crafts and projects with their kiddos in order to fulfill their liturgical duties in the home. Pondering this kind of scared me, and rightfully so. Sometimes we can fill up the liturgical year with paints and glue and neglect the harder part: prayer and piety.
I am not saying that those who are gifted in such areas should not do memorable projects with their kids to solidify the faith. Please hear me, it is because I am inept that I went looking for something different. I am sharing with those who struggle as I do. There is a way to be deeply Orthodox in the home without having the interest or discipline to include crafts, projects, and special things. Perhaps you, like me, do not always have the money to make every feast special with gifts or books. What then?
Saving Onion Skins is simple, and the product of eight years of trying to find my way in Orthodoxy. As a convert, I started out all superhero-like, and then I hit a wall. The wall of –everything is changing and I feel overwhelmed! I decided that if we were going to survive we needed to simplify: in the kitchen, at the altar, and on the calendar. This has turned out to be the best decision we have ever made when it comes to our Orthodox conversion journey.
Saving Onion Skins is simple, and it is also American. I know-I know- that’s a touchy subject. I am not trying to destroy centuries of well establish faith traditions, however, I am also not trying to transform my family into something other than what we are culturally. The pages of Saving Onion Skins are a fleshing out of what it has meant for my family to become American converts to Orthodoxy. It’s a rocky road. And sometimes it’s a lonely road. As a result, I have tried to bring meaning to the Orthodox faith in our home by transforming our cultural traditions with the Orthodox way. Alongside the diversity we love in Orthodoxy, I intentionally pursue continuity- trying to build a life that is not compartmentalized or disjointed. This is hard work, but not impossible.
Honestly, I wish someone would have handed me a workbook like Saving Onion Skins when I was a catechumen, Much of the transformation that takes place for converts falls to the woman of the home, especially if she is the one who does the scheduling and cooking. What I have learned as the woman of the house is that this process is slow, we do not have to become in one year what our cradle Orthodox family and friends were raised believing and practicing- many for generations. It takes time to become Orthodox, and I am not there yet. This requires gentleness and humility -we are going to mess up, fail, and just not understand. However, it is this process that is the recovery of soul, the healing of worldliness, and a true conversion of heart.
Do you need support in making the Orthodox liturgical calendar a way of life for you and yours? I know I need the accountability. It is so easy to slip back into a secular mindset when it comes to time. However, it is also not impossible to transform time with the gifts of the Orthodox Christian faith. It takes practice, hard work, and commitment. However, it takes something else, perhaps the most important of all. What I thought I could do alone, with elbow grease and will, ends up being impossible without community.
Join me. Comment to heart’s content. Be real, and share your struggles. Together and slowly we will get this. Thank you for reading along with Saving Onion Skins. No crafting skills required.
If you would like to read the inspiring motherhood stories of Sts. Sophia and Emmelia follow the links below.