Book and Drink Pairing: Simple Hot Cocoa for Soul-Warming Books


I had the privilege to discover that Mother Melania of the Holy Assumption Monastery has two biblical picture books in verse for free today on Kindle. Moses and the Burning Bush and The Three Holy Youths in the Furnace feature the Bible stories and their meaning in church tradition in straightforward, clear verse.

Don’t let the idea of verse put you off reading these. There’s nothing cloying in the rhymes. They’re more like reading Shakespeare than the kids’ books that we all dread with forced meters.

Along with the simple and readable poem stories, the bright watercolors bring the feeling of the bright joy of God’s surprising love to the eyes.

I read these to myself and couldn’t help but read aloud, which drew a flock of children near to listen. They pointed to the photos and asked questions and said, “Oh, wow!” a few times.

I highly recommend these books to anyone curious about the ancient Christian tradition surrounding these pivotal stories, and especially for Orthodox and Catholic Christians and inquirers. They’re perfect Lenten reading for families or for adults who love beauty and want a quick read. They’ll stand many re-reads, with new meaning emerging each time.


To go with these soul-warming books, make this simple Lenten cocoa. This is an older way to drink chocolate, similar in taste to some of the drinking chocolates in Europe but with the consistency of coffee rather than kefir. Add a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder to a cup along with a tablespoon (or two) of maple syrup. Stir in hot water from the kettle until you have a drink that looks like medium roast coffee. Enjoy hot. The flavor is bright and soothing.

Amazon shopping list (affiliate links): Moses and the Burning Bush, The Three Holy Youths in the FurnaceGuittard Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder, Organic Maple Syrup, double-wall stainless steel mugs.

 

Tea and Book Pairing: Recalibrate Your Vision to See God’s Love

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The Sweetness of Grace pairs well with a soothing and healing tea to enjoy alone or with small groups of friends and family. I recommend Numi Organic Tea Decaf Ginger Lemon Green.

I was gifted a free copy of The Sweetness of Grace in exchange for an honest review – several months ago. I started reading it right away and even purchased an additional Kindle copy for myself so that I could read more easily right before bed at night.

Why so many months till I reviewed? Because savory books take my speech away for awhile.

You know how you can hardly speak for a bit after eating a good meal? That’s how this book affected me.

It’s a nourishing book, the sort that will recalibrate your taste in stories, setting a new standard for how you believe the world works.

I read and enjoyed The Scent of Holiness a few years ago, and I highly recommend both that and this book that continues Presbytera Constantina Palmer’s collection of and reflection on spiritually upbuilding stories.

Like a modern-day Egeria (a 4th C Christian pilgrim whose writings give us a taste of devotion at her time), Pres. Constantina draws us into the places and lives of holy people well met in monasteries and churches and by God’s grace in all places. I savor her writing because it’s so encouraging and eye-opening. Like rich foods, I want a little at a time, but I want a lot of it!

The Sweetness of Grace is a perfect book for reading along with one’s daily scriptures and saints’ lives. It has much in it that could be read aloud to family members for encouragement. The stories are the sort that arise in awed “Guess what?” tones over coffee and dinner tables. I could see it forming the basis of conversation for a busy parents’ group at church; only a few pages are needed to come away feeling built up in the community of faith.

For seekers and people discerning and healing, this book is a godsend, as it draws attention to the way God is moving amongst His loved ones.

It’s a prophetic work in the sense of building up the people of God and testifying to the great love God has for us — all in accessible, very human stories, engaging real life characters and settings, and well-parsed narration as needed.

Get this book to keep by your knitting or in the kitchen while you wait for your tea. (I recommend that you drink it in calm times with a soothing, healing green tea like the Numi decaf Ginger Lemon blend.) Get it for your friends and family. Read a bit to your family. You’ll start to notice more that God is working in your life, too.

Amazon Shopping List: The Sweetness of Grace paperback, Numi decaf Ginger Lemon green tea. If you haven’t read it already, add The Scent of Holiness to your shopping list, as well.

This post contains affiliate links.