Category Archives: Holidays

Fill Us With Joy: A Review of ‘The Most Beautiful Christmas Story’

 “And in the end, everything else will turn out to be unimportant and inessential; except for this: Father, Child, and Love.” – Pope Saint John Paul II

Interest Level

3 years+

Review and Comments

The Most Beautiful Christmas Story is a wonderful book for young children about Jesus’ birth beginning with the Annunciation and ending with the Holy Family in Nazareth after their time in Egypt.  I was struck by two things while reading this book.  First, the large illustrations, each covering two pages, are filled with wonderful details that truly enhance the story. The second thing that stands out for me is the words and phrases interwoven throughout the story that express the miracle of Christmas.   The first sentence proclaims beautifully that “God sent the Angel Gabriel…”  What a wonderful way to introduce the story of God’s amazing plan.  Then, Mary waits for the Savior with hope,  St. Joseph tenderly whispers to Jesus that their hearts are full of love, the shepherds are filled with peace and joy, the Wise Men feel the light of the star as a sign, and when the Holy Family travels to Egypt, Mary declares that God is with us.  All of these expressions of God’s beautiful love truly convey the Christmas message. Continue reading Fill Us With Joy: A Review of ‘The Most Beautiful Christmas Story’

10 Books for Dads This Father’s Day

Dads, I know what you’re thinking…I’m super busy.  I don’t have time to read.  Believe me, my husband has said it time and again.  But what if I told you that these books were filled with great prayers, lessons, opportunities, and hope to aid you in your tremendous vocation?!  They don’t have to be read in one sitting, they can be aids to your prayer life.  Chapters at a time with periods of reflection are often better than taking it all in at once.

Check out this list.  There are some books here that could change your outlook, give you a boost, and bring you closer to your own heavenly Father.  Father Lawrence Lovasik reminds all dads that “Fatherhood is a vocation in God’s service, to not be held lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men.” (Click on the pictures for affiliate link.)

The Original Fathers’ Manual is the first Father’s Day gift I gave to my husband.  I had received The Original Mother’s Manual as a gift from my mother and loved it.  The Father’s Manual is much the same.  There are prayers for every possible need for one’s children, marriage, and vocation.  The end lists the responsibilities of fathers for reflection.  It’s a powerful book and my husband uses it often.

In Be DADitudes: 8 Ways to be an Awesome Dad, Greg Popcak takes each beatitude and explains how fathers can use these points to become amazing fathers and husbands.  Greg Popcak is a counselor and presents the information in a simple way.  This is one of those books that would be great for short periods of reading.

Continue reading 10 Books for Dads This Father’s Day

God With Us: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Christmas’

“The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock on the heart of every person with singular intensity this Christmas.” – St. John Paul II

Reading Level: 2.7 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

Interest Level: PreK – 2

Review and Comments:

“Where does Christmas come from?” Little Cub asks her mother.  Mama Bear could answer her question easily, but Mama wants her child to understand deep in her heart exactly what Christmas really means.  She wants to transport Little Cub to the first Christmas so she explains the scene in Bethlehem and the true meaning of the gift of Jesus.  Then Mama takes her out into the world to find God in the most unusual places.  Little Cub learns that God is the Light of the World. He is powerful and mighty.  And God is so generous He gave Jesus to all of us – “the best present of all.”  Little Cub thanks her Mama for “showing her God” and prepares for Christmas with a spirit filled with joy. Continue reading God With Us: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Christmas’

Extraordinary Lives: A Review of ‘Jackie’s Special Halloween’

“The saints were not superhuman.  They were people who loved God in their hearts, and who shared His love with others.” – Pope Francis

Reading Level: Grades 1-3

Interest Level: 5-9 years

Review and Comments:

Jackie is a pumpkin who very much wants to experience all the activities of Halloween.  Other pumpkins in the patch have told her she will actually be able to talk to a child on Halloween night if she is chosen.  This is something she yearns for.  When she is finally chosen by a little boy named Pablo, she is overjoyed.  The match seems perfect because Pablo is just as excited about Halloween and all its promises of candy, fun, and friends. Continue reading Extraordinary Lives: A Review of ‘Jackie’s Special Halloween’

Aspirations of the Heart: A Beautiful List of Prayer Books to Give Someone for Christmas

“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven.  It is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.”–St. Therese of Lisieux

The prayer books we have listed below are a meager few of some of our favorites.  They are short and simple, enough for the busy lives we tend to lead. (Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.com for more information on each book.)

Word By Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary by Sarah A. Reinhard is a beautiful way to slow yourself down when reciting the Hail Mary.  After years of reciting the prayer, I, unfortunately, find myself rushing through the words. This book is a compilation of reflections and questions based on the short phrases of the prayer.  They are short enough for you to read one each day and spend a few minutes meditating on the questions asked at the end of each reflection.  It’s a wonderful way to look at the Hail Mary for those of us who have become “familiar” with the prayer. Continue reading Aspirations of the Heart: A Beautiful List of Prayer Books to Give Someone for Christmas

Come Before Him in Thanksgiving: A List of Blessings

“Let us come before Him in thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.”—Psalm 95:2-3

My mother did an activity with her grandchildren this year by building a tree of thankfulness.  Each day they would come up with an idea for something they were thankful for and add it as a leaf.  It was a great way for the kids to visually reflect on all of their gifts.

IMG_0639How can we reflect on all we are thankful for this time of year?  Read some reflections from our loved ones below. Continue reading Come Before Him in Thanksgiving: A List of Blessings

Celebrating the Lives of Loved Ones: A Review of ‘Dia De Los Muertos’

“A human life is a story told by God.”–Hans Christian Andersen

Reading Level:

Grade 2

Review and Thoughts

Dia de los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong is a non-fiction book about the Day of the Dead, which is a traditional celebration in Mexico.  It is celebrated November 1 and 2.  These dates were chosen as a way to intermingle the Aztec and Catholic cultures. November 1 is All Saints’ Day, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day. Continue reading Celebrating the Lives of Loved Ones: A Review of ‘Dia De Los Muertos’

Celebrating Halloween (Part 2): Halloween Books for Your Little Saints

 

IMG_0802There is nothing more beautiful than being able to spend time reading with your kids.  Aside from introducing children to books, it builds a special bond with them.  They feel safe in your arms, they have your undivided attention, and their imaginations are captivated. There is nothing better. Below is a list of books that will get you and your family into the Halloween spirit. Continue reading Celebrating Halloween (Part 2): Halloween Books for Your Little Saints

Celebrating Halloween (Part One): A Response to Halloween From Four Catholic Moms

00000018In today’s changing world, Halloween has evolved along with society.  Costumes aren’t quite as innocent as they used to be, candy is blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, and trick-or-treating has become a concern for some people worried about what could be in candy...or worse, who could be passing it out!  Luckily there is also beauty in the holiday for Catholics, in fact, its origins began with us.  Innocent celebration can teach our children a special part of our cultural history and create lasting memories for years. Below are thoughts from individual Catholic moms about their feelings toward Halloween. Continue reading Celebrating Halloween (Part One): A Response to Halloween From Four Catholic Moms