We are Sandy Easter-Graham, and Denise Easter-Kramer and we own Easter's Catholic Books and Gifts. It is a small, family-owned, retail business located in Northern California, the Sacramento area. We opened our brick and mortar store in 1998, after having spent 5 years selling books out of our cars.
Many years of work in the secular world left us empty and unfulfilled. In 1990 through the prayers of our parents, and sister, Kathy, we both found our way home to the faith of our youth and developed a great desire to spread the truth of the Catholic faith. It was the peace, and joy that was found there that set our hearts on fire to offer ourselves as laborers for the harvest.
Our dreams were realized by sharing what we'd found in the works of the great writers of the past, the Fathers and Doctors of Christianity, the Saints, and also the many contemporary authors who had been schooled in the same.
More importantly, it allows us to share the love of Christ with anyone who experiences that same emptiness after setting their sights on the world's pleasures and .finding that those can't satisfy.
This store, more than a retail business is about the journey of life, the journey of the soul.
It didn't occur to us the depth of service to our community, the many and diverse ways we'd be called to be his hands and feet. I offer you a reflection - one week's activity that we presented on our Facebook page a few years ago.
As we begin a new week this is what's on our minds, this past week at Easter's we have --
...given countless instructions on the saints, their names and history;
...connected two children, one a newborn, who desperately need a loving family, with a family who hope to adopt;
...comforted a newly baptized Catholic trying to comprehend "trust in God" as she wept over her lost job and faced the fear of losing 16 years tenure, including health care and retirement;
...attempted to console two separate individuals whose long-time marriages are falling apart, both of these have multiple children
...one split maybe because life had become monotonous;
...the other, sadly, because of an addiction to pornography;
...delivered a rosary book to a dear 90 year-old man who got lost on his way to our store;
...encouraged and calmed the fears of a returning Catholic as she recounted the life of her late son and introduced her to something in the Catechism she'd never heard - indeed suicide is "gravely contrary" to love but we "should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.";
...provided a baptismal garment for the funeral of a month old baby, a twin girl, whose mother had no means. This gown had been purchased by a woman who was not blessed to have children and wanted to provide for exactly this type of situation;
...rejoiced with a grandmother as she shared the picture of her precious new granddaughter, her only grandchild, made even more precious because this little one's big brother passed away just one year ago;
...were blessed by the visit of hundreds to our store and tried to greet each one with a smile;
...lost countless sales to Amazon and apologized to potential customers scores of times for not having exactly what is available on the web, explaining to them why it's important to support local business to enliven the local economy, boost local employment, and reinforce the values that Catholics hold dear;
...answered the calls of numerous vendors who are waiting patiently for money;
...completely missed 3 marketing opportunities;
...created nine purchase orders for product that we needed four weeks ago;
...supported a parish event, promoted one diocesan event and two other parish events;
...received 193 new items into stock;
...placed 27 special orders but failed to find time to place 14 more special orders, (those will have to get done tomorrow);
...prayed every morning for those who enter the store, for our vendors and all those on our prayer lists and in our hearts and thanked God for the gift of this apostolate;
...and finally we thanked God countless times for all those who support this small business, who pray for us,
....and who share this so that others will appreciate other small business around the country.
In addition to the everyday duties described we've been honored to provide the venue for many important and inspiring events in the Sacramento area. We've included some pictures of several of the guests we've been privileged to have speak at our store.
In 2011 it was made possible, by friends, to establish a non-profit that allows us to provide classes on a variety of subjects...
EASTER'S FAITH FORMATION CENTER
Easter's Faith Formation Center, EFFC, supports the development of catechesis in the Diocese of Sacramento, promotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and provides an academic and spiritual environment that engenders putting on the mind and heart of Christ.
The classes are always free, we do encourage donations but do not want anyone left out. So, we’ve had the privilege of reaching hundreds of students from all walks of life, ranging in age from 16 to 89. Some were catechists or catechists-in-training; most had no formal experience with philosophy or theology. So, while the instructors often use undergraduate to graduate material, they do so in a way that assures understanding, regardless of background.
It also serves as vehicle for the buliding up of the Body of Christ, for those who just want more. We discuss Church History, Christian doctrine, ethics, the virtues, literature, end-of-life issues and more.
A great explanation of the EFFC - Friends seeking to ignite the action of the Holy Spirit within ourselves and our communities by exploring, analyzing, and reflecting upon the Truth.
The EFFC is just another avenue for us to build up the community we serve.
A partial list of our instructors and presenters:
Diocese of Sacramento Auxiliary Bishop Myron J. Cotta
Ana Ramirez-Palmer, M.A.
Fr. Edward Pepka, Ph.D.
Fr. Art Wehr, S.J.
Fr. George Schulze, S.J.
Ana Ramirez-Palmer, M.A.
John Hamlon, M.A.
Diane Walsh, M.A., C.P.G.
Joseph Hollcraft, Ph.D.
John Johnson, M.A.
Nick Cammarota, Esq.
Raymond Vincent, M.A. Iconographer
Deacon Lawrence Klimecki, Artist
Deacon Dave Leatherby
Deacon Anthony Pescetti
Tom Carroll, Middle East Specialist Former CIA Officer
Ann Marie Campell, Fine Artist
David Rejl, Author, Rejl Rosaries
So there you have it, it's how God has allowed us to participate in our community. We look forward to helping you, and getting to know you, as we join in this journey of faith.
God bless you!