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Well, you can probably guess the theme of this week's challenges!
We also have some great new music up that we hope will help you celebrate the octave of Easter!!!
Also, if you haven't had the chance yet, take a look at the Kid Quips Easter video - REALLY cute!! With 7 kids, how could we go wrong?
May God continue to fill you as we continue to celebrate with joy His awesome resurrection!!
Lego and Craft Challenge (March 27-April 3) - He is Risen!! Alleluia!!!
Jesus is the victor!!! Now we celebrate the triumph of life over death! When Jesus rose from the dead, He became victorious over the chains of death and opened the gates of Heaven for us. During this Easter Octave (8 days of mini-Easters), let's build something in honor of His Resurrection, in honor of His victory over death, in great thanksgiving for all that He did for us!
Send us photos of your Easter projects: paintings, crafts, Lego creations. We can't wait to see them!!
HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!!! HE IS RISEN!!!!!!!
What else can I say? Starting tonight, we celebrate the Savior of the World saving our souls and opening the gates of heaven. From those of us here at Catholic Conundrum, we fervently pray for the joy of this absolutely incredible feast to find you, and that despite any pain and trials you may be suffering, the peace and strength of the Conquerer of Sin and Death be with you!
As our gift for you, check out our new Easter Kid Quips below!
Jesus did say," Let the children come to me." Wait until you hear responses of seven of His little ones as they take you through questions about Lent and Easter. Very endearing and inspiring!
May the blessings of the Resurrected Lord be poured upon you and those you love!!!
The kids, Rod and I were discussing the events that we celebrate on Holy Thursday. As the conversation turned to the washing of the feet, my son was a bit confused and wondered why the Apostles were surprised that Jesus would choose to serve them. "How come I am not surprised?"
I couldn't help but smile. His question was a good one! We talked about how we, as Christians today, know the complete story and understand how Jesus came to serve.
In Jesus' words that amazing night: "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master', and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." John 13:12-16
But back then, of course, the Jewish understanding of the Savior was widely understood to be a 'King of Kings', calling for all believers to serve Him, not the other way around.
Today we understand that we are most certainly called to serve Him, but ironically, the best way to do that is to serve others that He has put in our path. Pretty neat God we have, huh?
I then considered Holy Thursday Mass even further. Jesus had already hit the Apostles hard with His claims about the Eucharist before the meeting of the Last Supper. His followers diminished quite rapidly when they realized that He was not just relating the bread and wine in symbolic form to Himself. The reality that He was asking them to eat of His true flesh and blood was just too much for many of them, so off they went, many disheartened and disappointed.
The Apostles stayed with him, as we know, and were given the greatest gift imaginable that holy evening.
Incredibly, two extremely important truths of heaven were revealed to humanity in new ways that very holy night: Jesus' call to servitude and the reality of His Body and Blood in the Bread and Wine.
What must those present have been thinking? And I can only imagine all of heaven watching in reverence as heaven touched earth in these new ways, both on a spiritual and physical realm.
What an awesome moment in time.
I hope that as you are able to enter into this amazing Triduum, that God continues to reveal Himself to You in ways that will bring you closer to Him.
There are so many ways to celebrate! Our family does many things on Good Friday, especially. At noon, we all enter into a period of silence (Well, with kids it's more like a semi-silence!). We do crafts (you can check our Kid Korner Printables page for free things to help!), make Lego scenes, listen to the wonderful version of the Stations done by Holy Heroes, color our Easter eggs, fill eggs to give away, and pray, all in a spirit of silence. We end by joining the choir for the Good Friday service (And yes, it is a service! I know that many understandably think it's a Mass, so I thought I would make that clear.).
It is such a beautiful family time. It's one of those few days of the year when everyone in the family is completely on board with giving up their day to God. It is a very rich day, indeed.
As one of our crafts, we sometimes bake. Below is an example of one of our family traditions: Easter Bread! Although we can't complete making this bread during our "silent" time, this is a family favorite! Our budding young chef, Jocelyn, has put together this video to show us how to get it done.
May God bless you during this incredible time of sharing in His Passion!
HOLY WEEK, here we come!!
As you prepare for all of the events this week, take pictures and send them in to us! You can submit them to either our Lego or craft page under the Catholic Challenge Zone tab above. We would LOVE it! Also, you've got to check out this Lego version of the Stations of the Cross - no joke, it is really awesome for kids and adults!! (The music choice was perfect!)
Lego and Craft Challenge (March 20-26) - Holy Week
The Holiest Week of the Year
Today, Palm Sunday, begins the commemoration of the holiest week of the year. This is the week our salvation was won for us; when the gates of Heaven were opened for us by our Savior. Since so much happened during this week, find one event or scene from the story of Christ's Passion that you would like to build with legos. It could be something related to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Stations of the Cross, His Crucifixion, or Jesus being laid in the Tomb. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for His sacrifice for us!
God bless you all and we hope you have a truly blessed Holy Week!!!!
Hosannah, hosannah!! Jesus, the Savior you have heard about, is approaching Jerusalem! Here He comes, the real King of Kings - FINALLY!!! Your prayers have been answered! You grab the colored cloak over your arm and join the rest of the crowd around you in throwing it onto the ground to prepare a more fitting path for Him. Palm branches wave as cries of "Hosannah" fill the air, building to an almost unimaginable intensity as Jesus, riding a donkey, approaches. The realization that He has come to save you from the Romans has become a tangible reality. It almost seems like a dream.
Returning to the year 2016: Hosannah, Hosannah!! Music fills the air as Father ascends up the aisle with newly blessed palms while those in the pews hold palms high to exalt the King of Kings. Yes, I am caught up in the excitement. The realization that Jesus has come, not to save me from the Romans, but from my sins, is my tangible reality. Yet, strangely, sadness waits in the wings because I know what His entry into Jerusalem means.
For me, Palm Sunday Mass is a mixed bag of emotions. Jesus is coming, Holy Thursday is coming, Good Friday is coming and finally Easter is coming. Each day of Holy Week holds its share of emotions, but Palm Sunday seems to hold a little bit of each of them. Perhaps it has something to do with reading the Passion of Christ so quickly after we have only moments earlier raised our palms to welcome Him. Mass begins with such joy and ends with such sorrow.
How grateful I am to know the ending to the story! Still, during some Holy Weeks, I have tried to forget that I know that glorious end so that I might better enter in to each moment. Interestingly, upon doing this, something intriguing occurred to me each time.
First, I will admit that it seems that I do get a better grasp on what it may have been like to be there during His passion. However, in a paradoxical sort of way, I find that when I decide to focus on the purpose of the passion, the real reason it existed at all, everything changes. I find myself entering in on a deeper level. Why? Perhaps it is because God Himself saw the passion through the lens of eternal life for His creation. As I reflect on this reality I am getting a glimpse through this incredible lens.
However you choose to enter in during this awe-inspiring Holy Week, I truly pray right now that it will be an experience that will bring you closer to Him.
His greatest desire is that you will be with Him for all eternity. So why wait? Get to know Him in His passion this Easter. Help Him carry His cross. Your soul will be forever grateful!
Well, St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us!! For some, this feast day is a highlight of their year, and not only for those among us that are Irish. St. Patrick's story of slavery to sainthood strikes a chord in many, and for good reason. His life is an astounding example of what it means to truly desire to spread the Word of God, even to those who hurt us.
Why does his story grab us? Because he walked the walk, not just talked the talk. Our world is so filled with hypocrisy that we can find ourselves doubting even the most well-meaning souls. St. Patrick, however, demonstrates with his very life that we can truly walk the walk and follow God's commands without an "angle" hovering in the shadows.
Hard to imagine these days, isn't it? (And all of the election hype is not helping, either.)
However, believe it: There ARE really good people out there, living saints, that have their eyes set on the prize and who will never give up until they reach it. If you have the good fortune to meet some, get to know them!! Spend time with them. Their lives tend to be quite contagious, and you could find yourself following closely behind on your journey to heaven.
We've spent some time here at Catholic Conundrum preparing to celebrate St. Patrick. We've made a crossword to test your knowledge about him, a word search for young ones and a really cute and easy mobile to color and hang!
Justina has even created a new video demonstrating how to make St. Patrick's Day-themed jewelry beads! She makes it look so easy that I think I might be able to do it, which is saying something! (Just ask my kids! When my daughter was 5 she gave me a gift: a little book that she made to teach me how to make a pig. She so innocently said that it was because she knew how badly I needed help with drawing. Talk about humbling!!)
You can check out the printables by hovering over the Kid Korner tab above and clicking on the Printables tab when it appears. Below is Justina's clay tutorial.
God bless you all and have a wonderful one!!!!!
Image Attribution: Catholic Online
Hey, all! We're looking for St. Patrick Lego and Craft pictures!! We know that plenty of people do crafts for St. Patrick's Day. When you're done, why not take a picture and send it in to our gallery! We would love to see and share it!
Catholic Lego and Craft Challenge - Celebrating Saint Patrick!!
What do ships, shamrocks, and snakes all have in common? St. Patrick, of course! Read about the adventures of this saint's life and recreate something that stands out to you. It could be when he was kidnapped and taken by ship to Ireland, the legend of how he drove all the snakes out of Ireland, or you can build something to show how St. Patrick taught the pagans about the Holy Trinity. There are so many possibilities!
It's sugaring time!!! Well, it's been sugaring time for a while now, but my hubby's health has prompted a late season for us...almost too late, really. But, God has been merciful and given us a couple of good runs!
This time of year offers so many opportunities to enjoy new life, work of the land, and anticipation of new things to come. One of the opportunities our family likes to take advantage of here is making maple syrup. Here are some pics of the kids....
Love making that God-given sweetness!!! Rod made this evaporator a couple of years ago...just look at that steam go! (And even more steam billows out as it cooks down...at times you have a hard time seeing each other through the "fog!")
Anyway, we are truly grateful that God allowed us to make some this year despite the setbacks. What a great bonus!
And, even though some people aren't the greatest real maple syrup fans (like a couple of members of my family), it is still neat to see it made, and even more fun to make it. To most people in our neck of the woods, the process of producing maple syrup is second nature. But for those of you that live in, say, the Sahara, this may be a tad off of your radar screen, so I hope you enjoyed the super-quick tour!
For all of you who may have tapped this year, I sincerely hope you did well and have been able to reap the rewards of your labor. I know it was a tough season with the lower sugar content, but hopefully you were able to get enough syrup to fill your needs. :)
And for all you as we soon approach the official first day of spring, God bless and I hope you all are enjoying the other wonders of this amazing time of year! :)
OK...I have to say it again...I am a proud Mama! The girls did a video on their own and I LOVE it!! You have to see it. It's about how NOT to act at Mass and I think it is so funny! (Of course, I am a bit partial...)
Really, though, they worked so hard developing the idea, script, camera shots, and editing. I love ALL of the things they do, or course. But this video really tickled my fancy.
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!! And show any kids you know...it may help them to behave better at church! :)
God bless and have an awesome, beautiful and blessed day!!!!
Well, we're more than half-way through Lent; so how's it going for you? God has been doing some great things on this end. I have some things to share in a little bit if you're still reading by then!
I've always felt that taking stock in my Lenten practices around this time is beneficial. We don't have to turn the page of the calendar anymore to see that Palm Sunday is coming, followed closely by the Triduum. Jesus' Passion starts to become a little more real as the days inch closer.
Around this time (and if I have time), I also start planning our Holy Week. Being in the choir at our parish, Holy Week holds an even more special place in our hearts as we prepare the music for each approaching Liturgy. It also adds to the anticipation as we find ourselves really looking forward to these incredibly significant days. Have you ever been able to attend each celebration in Holy Week? For some work schedules this can be impossible. However, for those that might be able, you've got to try it!
I remember the first time I did. The kids were young, but Rod and I were determined to do a family ministry. There weren't too many available back then, so we joined the choir. Even though the kids were too young to sing, the choir was very welcoming and allowed us to join with kids in tow.
That first Holy Week with the choir was astounding! Feeling the excitement of Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday and experiencing the deep sadness of Good Friday set the stage for an unbelievable Easter Vigil Holy Saturday night. Although participating was challenging with little ones, I was so affected by the Easter Vigil that you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face when the candles went out and all of the Church lights came on and the bells started ringing, signaling that Christ had risen. Singing "Alleluia!" had never felt so intense.
Needless to say, although taking choir breaks throughout the years due to new babies, etc., we continued to enjoy Holy Week, immersing ourselves in the incredible gift of Liturgy and celebration that the Church has given us.
And so I look forward to this year! In anticipation, I have been listening to songs (In case you didn't know, I'm a music fanatic) that bring me closer to my Lord and prepare me to experience His Passion.
And this is where I get a little up-close and personal with you. A couple of songs that I listen to during Lent are some songs that my siblings and I recorded for my parents to celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary.
Here's a quick window into the past:
My parents were serving in the Air Force when they met and formed a singing duo called "The First of May." This prompted not only a deep love of music but one of the 'marital kind' as well! I was born first; my sister, brother, and youngest sister followed soon afterwards.
Music was ALWAYS a part of our lives! Mom was an incredible pianist and Dad a fantastic guitarist. We grew up singing everywhere: walking down the block, driving in the car, in our church choir and even at some events. We were often dubbed as the "Von Thompsons" after "The Sound of Music" (which is one of my favorite movies!).
Well, as life would have it, we all grew up and moved on, married and had families. We had never really recorded anything growing up, which had always been my parents' dream. So, a few years ago, we decided to make that dream a reality.
Working by phone and email, we came up with songs with both past and current significance to our family and came up with an album that thrilled Mom and Dad. Actually, thrilled would probably be an understatement!
Only with God's grace and the amazing hard work and determination of the best siblings ever could this project have been completed. My brother, who had attended school for Audio Engineering in his college days, recorded us in an upstairs bedroom at his house using a 10 year-old program, individually recorded voice-part by voice-part since our schedules made it impossible to be at the house at the same time. (All this with my very self-sacrificing sister-in-law who was very pregnant with their 6th holding down the fort downstairs!) Then, the poor guy spent days upon weeks editing the album. He and my sister also arranged an amazing montage of short pieces from our past, combining them in barbershop form.
Anyway, as I was listening to them while I was driving recently, I wondered how it would come across if I shared them with you. I had considered this earlier in Lent, but decided against it since I worried that it might appear that I was looking for accolades of some kind. However, several readers have been encouraging me to open up and be a bit more personal in the blog, so I thought I might step out on a limb and take a chance!
My parents and siblings have generously given their permission, so I thought I would go ahead and share two of them that I have been listening to this Lent. The first one features my siblings singing a beautiful rendition of "Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice. The harmony that they came up with is gorgeous! And who can go wrong with those amazing lyrics?
The second is a Southern Gospel song that we learned and recorded for my grandmother in South Carolina who was very ill and getting ready to meet Jesus. When she worsened sooner than expected, my brother put it together in lightening fashion so she could hear it before she passed. This one is perfect for Lent as it refers to who we are in light of the cross.
You can listen to the links below if you'd like. I hope you enjoy them!
God bless each of you - Easter is almost here!
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song!"
Pope John Paul II
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He is Risen!!!!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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