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Sept. Challenge: Joshua and the Big Wall
To end September, we thought we would put out a new Lego/Craft challenge:
Joshua and the Big Wall! There are so many takes that your kids can come up with for this one. They can show the Israelites marching around a wall, depict a scene where the walls of Jericho have already fallen, etc. (They can even re-make a scene from Veggie Tales!)
Whatever they do, feel free to send us a picture! Just click on the Catholic Challenge Zone above to submit your creation: we would love to see it and put it into our gallery!
Life is crazy, right? No one would deny that. That is why friendship is so important. Of course, I'm not just talking about any friendship. I'm talking about the kind of friendship that the Bible refers to as "a sturdy shelter" and a "treasure." Anyone who has ever had this kind of friend knowns the immeasurable blessing that that relationship has provided. This kind of friend comes in all shapes and sizes too: familial connections, childhood relationships that have extended into adulthood, and any friendships that have been blessed enough to develop with Christ as its center.
Why are these friendships so important? How can we develop current relationships and make new ones that transform into those that can be defined as a "sturdy shelter" and a "treasure?"
Well, the answers can be easily found in a new book called The Friendship Project by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet. And, even better yet, you can join the free Book Club at CatholicMom.com to share your experience in learning alongside this book with others! The Book Club provides reflections and discussion questions for each chapter, and you can join in the comments with others who are reading this book around the world to give your take on anything that you are coming away with.
I have been loving this book, and I personally am very excited to be a part of this particular Book Club! I have often remarked that I have too much going on in life to work on my friendships, but this book has caused me to pause and reflect on my lack of wisdom. There is truly much to be learned from The Friendship Project.
If you are able to take part in this delightful easy-to-read study, I know you will glean may useful thoughts and revelations that will continue to support your life of faith.
So please join us by clicking here: The Friendship Project Book Club.
Get ready to feel loved and encouraged, empowering you to make friendships that will last the "test of time!"
Weeks ago, while we were in North Carolina, we found a rock. With the help of the rock's natural shape, a mountain had been beautifully painted on one side with the words "You Can Move Mountains." On the reverse side was painted "Denver Rocks Facebook."
My usual "in the know" self, I remarked, "What a cool rock!"
My kids, having heard of the "Kindness Rocks" phenomenon, groaned.
"Mom, don't you know what this is? It's one of those painted rocks that people hide so others can find them."
They were obviously thrilled to have found their first one, sparking a conversation of explanation and what-ifs. Suddenly, a lightbulb appeared over my daughter's head as she announced, "We should do this for the blog!"
Everyone agreed. Unfortunately, since school started immediately after that trip, the idea had to be put on the back burner. However, when our oldest came home from college for a weekend visit a few days ago (and the weather was perfect for an outside project), we decided to make time to bring her idea to life!
Above are our first attempts. Each rock depicts an image of our faith on one side with a scripture verse on the other. The back of the rock also contains our blog name so that hopefully people can report when they have found one. I know that this is typically a Facebook phenomenon due to the large number of participants and tends to be held citywide, but we thought we'd try it out on the blog to see if anyone would find our rocks and report them! We are going to hide some of them locally and hopefully we will get to see how far they can go. We will also make more to bring on any trips that we may take out of state to see how far we can spread the news that the "Catholic Faith Rocks!"
In all seriousness, though, it really is another unique way to evangelize with love and kindness. God may use one of the scripture verses to touch someone, and perhaps the "checking out" of the blog will bring someone in contact with the Catholic faith in a new way. In other words, we'll plant the seed, and God will make it grow!
We would LOVE it if you would like to join us on this journey! Over the next week, we will be making a new page just for the "Catholic Faith Rocks" project. If you make a rock and want to send us a picture, we will put it up into our gallery! In fact, if you want to put our website name on the back to see if anyone reports it, we will post any reports that come in on the page as well.
As soon as the page is ready to receive pictures of your awesome rocks, we will post about it right here on the blog, so be sure to check back!
God bless your awesome creativity!!!!!
And may our "seeds" grow to produce great fruit! :)
St. Joseph of Cupertino, nicknamed "The Flying Friar" after the 1962 movie The Reluctant Saint, has become a favorite saint in my family.
Incidentally, I know that this movie is older and considered a classic, but it really is a must-see! Well-acted and scripted, it would be just shy of impossible to come away from this comedic drama (yes, I did use these words together) without a newfound respect and affinity for this beloved saint and his comrades.
As we celebrate his feast day this month, Justina wanted to share this tutorial on how to make this adorable Chibi charm, equipped with wings to remind us of his patronage for aviators and flying. It is the perfect addition to your charm collection, a gift for a loved one, or the starting point for developing a new collection of saint charms!
If you have any questions or wish to see a tutorial of another saint charm, click here for a Chibi Saint Charm Playlist with tutorials on how to make Mother Teresa, St. Therese, St. Pope John Paul II and more!
Tomorrow is the 2nd Catholic YouTuber's Hangout! If you are Catholic and have a YouTube channel, feel free to join this growing online community that is seeking to increase clean and moral content online!
We all encounter them. Those times in our lives when it is not just raining...it's pouring. We raise our hands to heaven, shielding our eyes from the deluge as it torrents down upon us.
"A little help here!" we call out through the roar, waiting anxiously for an answer. Sometimes the sunlight, responding to our cries, penetrates the wave of chaos clearly, enlightening our paths. At other times we strain but can't catch a glimpse of the light we believe is beyond the deluge. As well and like a typical monsoon, we often see glimpses of light followed by an even greater torrent.
To say that confusion and anxiety and at least a bit of fear rise to the top of our emotional ladders during these times would be an understatement. I know some who claim that the existence of these emotions during turmoil means that our faith is weak, and this weakness proves that our faith is not strong enough to stand the storm. Still, while in an objective sense this may be true, it is vital that we realize that there are so many more levels of reality that surround these times of weakness.
You may know those who have spent years struggling to "regain" the faith they felt they had lost. I have watched people whom I would consider advanced on their walk to holiness stumble painfully as doubt in their faith clouded their ability to move forward.
Why does this happen? Theologians and students of humanity itself could supply myriads of answers to this question. But, if I were to find a common bottom line to all of them, I would have to zero in on one basic truth...we are all human, subject to the original fall of man. In other words, no matter our position on our walk to holiness, moments of doubt, our own "dark moments of the soul," can occur. It can happen to each of us.
If we encounter these moments, are we disappointed in ourselves? Do we punish ourselves for being weak in our faith? To be sure, I would suggest that the suffering that naturally comes with doubt and fear brings enough of its own punishment. Do we lose confidence in ourselves or in what we had believed to be true? Do we become overwhelmed with the sense of loss and purposelessness to the point that we want to give up?
I pose these questions purposefully because they point to devices used regularly by the evil one himself.
However, there lies the paradox, and this paradox brings us much hope and strength.
In his attempt to bring about a complete fall of faith, Satan is actually providing a breeding ground for an advanced faith to grow: a reinforced, renewed, bold, and stalwart faith to continue on the path to holiness, and one that often becomes so transformative that it contains even more power to spread the Kingdom here on earth.
In his desire to bring down the soul and its impact on the world, he, in fact, provides a chance for it to be lifted up higher than it had ever been, igniting in it a fire that can spread further than its original embers could ever have.
So, today I write this blog post to encourage you to never lose heart if and when you or your loved ones encounter moments of weakness in faith, or even periods of complete darkness of the soul. Just as we often hear the many stories and narratives concerning our God as the Potter or as the Refiner, we must be assured that its point is more based on reality than we could imagine.
Let's not be afraid to be refined and molded to be all that He created us to be. Yes, weakness is not fun. But our weaknesses have to be confronted to be molded and refined out of us. Praise the Maker Who is always there, especially in our weakness, as He carefully and craftily shapes us into who He intends us to be, with the eventual end of becoming perfect someday with Him and any doubt will have become a distant memory.
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Prepare Ye the Way
Here are some beautiful songs just for Advent!
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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