Charlotte's Somewhat Random Blog

This blog is somewhat random, but not totally random. My posts fall more or less into four categories — posts about life in the Orthodox Church, recipes, book reviews, and everything else. You can start on this page if you just want to explore. Or click one of the links if you want to browse posts in a particular category. And if you are looking for something that’s more closely related to Pascha, use the menu at the top of the page.

The Sweetest Easter Basket Treats

When my kids were small, I wasn’t a big fan Easter baskets full of candy. It’s not that I didn’t allow my kids to have candy. I did. But they’d had candy, lots of candy, at Halloween and Christmas and Valentine’s Day. For them, candy was the ordinary way to celebrate...

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Implications of the Annunciation

It’s the Annunciation! Today, we celebrate the moment that time, space, all that is and was and will be, turned inside out, and the uncontainable God was contained in a virgin’s womb. It was His choice, of course, to enter into space and time, to take on flesh, to...

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Legend of the Colombian Mermaid: A Revew

Janet Balleta’s charming story, The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid, is based on a Colombian folk tale that Balleta learned from her mother when she was a young child. In the story, Judith and her little brother, Tomas, spend all day on Maundy Thursday with their...

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Religious Books in School Libraries

School librarians want to make sure that their libraries have the books that children need to understand the diverse world they live in. And that diversity includes not only cities and farms, deserts and rain forests, whales and sharks and grizzly bears, it also...

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The Lenten Feast of St. Patrick

Today is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It’s a feast day that invariably falls during Lent. We have these feasting-fasting days from time to time. And special traditions grow up around them, to honor both the feast and the fast. We eat fish...

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Piccolina and the Easter Bells: A Review

When I’m reviewing a picture book, I usually start with the story. But for Piccolina and the Easter Bells, I want to start with the art. Piccolina and the Easter Bells is an old book, almost as old as I am. When it was first published, color printing was far more...

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The Mystery of Our Holy Mother Anastasia

When I learned that our Holy Mother Anastasia was a lady-in-waiting for the Empress Theodora, I knew I had to write her story! I adore St. Theodora (Theodora, the wife of St. Justinian the Great, I mean, not Theodora, the restorer of icons). Learning more about anyone...

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The Magic Babushka: A Review

Phyllis Limbacha Tildes, author and illustrator of The Magic Babushka, knew something about butterflies that I didn’t know. She knew that, in Slavic culture, butterflies were once associated with witches. Perhaps it’s because of the way caterpillars change into...

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Emma’s Easter: A Review

When I wrote Catherine’s Pascha, I had not heard of Tekla’s Easter, which is long out of print. And of course, when I wrote Catherine’s Pascha, it would be many years before Lisa Bullard would write Emma’s Easter. (Although I wrote my story first, she published first....

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St. Nicholas of Pskov, the Fool for Christ

Today we commemorate St. Nicholas of Pskov, whom we also know as St. Nicholas the fool for Christ. In the Orthodox Church, we have lots of different categories of saints. Most of the categories are easy to understand. Martyrs died for the faith, and confessors...

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Rosa by Nikki Giovanni: A Review

If you’ve had a child in elementary school in the past ten years, you’ve probably seen Rosa by Nikki Giovanni. My kids are all older than that, so I hadn’t seen it. But it won Caldecott honors for its magnificent illustrations, and it was the winner of the Coretta...

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St. Gorgonia the Audacious

St. Gorgonia isn't officially called "the Audacious." But she was audacious. The Family of St. Gorgonia Gorgonia’s parents, Gregory and Nonna, were both saints. So was her brother. We know him as St. Gregory the Theologian. She probably thought of him as her whiny...

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