Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Slice of Liturgical Life: Our St. Therese of Lisieux Rose Cupcakes and Tray for Her Feast Day

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Today, October 1,  is St. Therese of Lisieux feast day and October 18, 2015 will be a historic day for our Catholic Church as her parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, will be the first couple canonized Saints on October 18.

This young, sweet Saint has been tapping me on the shoulder, so to speak, for several years now.  

I've always known of her, but like most Saints' lives, I didn't really take an interest in her until I became a mother and started reading the lives of the Saints with my children.  

She first got my attention in November 2009 when I went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with friends, new friends and a local priest.  She was trying to get my attention in many ways as her name popped up in the most random conversations, I would notice her image and statues in the most unexpected places, and there have been several other "hints" that have encouraged me to get to know St. Therese a little better.  I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I have a feeling her "Little Way" example needs to be one way I need to grow in personal holiness.  And this growing in holiness stuff is easier said than done!  Amen?!?

It was on my 2009 pilgrimage that I vowed if we ever had another baby girl (We had a boy and 3 girls at the time), I would name her after St. Therese of Lisieux.  In July 2013, our Leah Therese was gifted to us so today is also special because it is my 5th child's "Name Day". 

Here is our sweet baby girl in 2013 at 2.5 months and then currently at 2 years old.  Let's just say it was easier to get our daughter to take a picture with her St. Therese plaque she got at her baptism in 2013 than it was now.  :)  She wanted to walk around with her plaque (or throw it on the chair) so I had to snap this year's photo fast and furiously! :) 

To celebrate today's special feast day I made chocolate cupcakes with my daughters and we decorated them like roses since St. Therese stated “When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.”   -St. Therese of Lisieux

I put this St. Therese tray together and put it on the center of our dining room table to celebrate St. Therese, also known as the Little Flower or Therese of The Child Jesus and the Holy Face

The wooden "LOVE" sits on our mantle and is a constant reminder of St. Therese's words: 
“Then, overcome by joy, I cried, ‘Jesus, my love. At last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and then I will be all things.”  
-St. Therese of Lisieux
I have really enjoyed reading the book I won at Edel this past summer, Mornings with Saint Therese, 120 Daily Readings!  Each day there is a very short meditation in St. Therese's own words and getting to know her more intimately this way has been a blessing to me.  I highly recommend this book! 

Here are some close up shots of some other items on the tray with their significance:

As mentioned above, the plaque in the top left corner was given to our little Leah Therese on her baptism.  The plaque reads: 

St. Therese, The Little Flower, 
please pick a Rose 
from the heavenly Garden and send it to
me with a Message of Love.
Ask God to grant me the Favor I Thee 
implore and tell Him
I will Love Him each day More and More. 

The small statue of St. Therese also sits on our mantle and was given to our baby girl at her baptism from a friend.  Thank you K.C.!

We have several sets of sacrifice beads and the black and red beads were purchased from Holy Heroes. (I need to use the beads just as much as my children!  I need to get on that and St. Therese's feast day is a perfect time to start being consistent using the beads.)  

The idea behind the sacrifice beads is that each time you make a small or big sacrifice you pull a bead up the string as a visible and tangible reminder to yourself that there are endless opportunities to show God's love and put God's ways before your own. St. Therese made many sacrifices throughout her short life, and many went unnoticed.  
“Much later, when I understood what perfection was, I realized that to become a saint one must suffer a great deal, always seek what is best, and forget oneself. I understood that there were many kinds of of sanctity and that each soul was free to respond to the approaches of Our Lord and to do little or much for Him — in other words,to make a choice among the sacrifices He demands.”  
-St. Therese of Lisieux

You can also make your own set of "Good Deed Beads" as Monica from Equipping Catholic Families gives you the steps to do so.  

In the bottom right corner of the above picture are a special set of St. Therese earrings that have a beautiful story behind them.  I'll try to keep this brief :)  

Awhile ago, Jessica at Shower of Roses (her blog title is inspired by St. Therese, by the way) had a giveaway for Gail Giron Design Jewelry.  Jessica's giveaways are always so beautiful and popular. I put my entries in and forgot about the giveaway thinking out of the several hundred entries, the chances of me winning a pair of beautiful earrings was very slim.  
The giveaway winner was chosen and the only reason I knew the giveaway was over was because a local friend of mine, also named Tracey, contacted me via Facebook, and she said she won the earrings.  Then thoughtful Tracey said she knew how much I loved St. Therese so she wanted to give me the St. Therese earrings to me!  See I told you St. Therese keeps tapping me on the shoulder n the most unexpected ways!  Needless to say, I was very touched by Tracey's thoughtfulness and generosity! St. Therese touched my heart and soul once again with her ability to track me down as she made her presence known and gives me gentle reminders that she is always with me and all of us!   Check out a close-up of my special earrings HERE

The more I learn about "my" special St. Therese of Lisieux, the more I want to know her better and follow her "Little Way" toward holiness and happiness.  As a mother to my 5 children, there are endless opportunities to sacrifice for my family and others daily.  I think that's why I can relate to St. Therese's simple, yet always challenging ways to grow in holiness and become a Saint!

To learn more about St. Therese, I especially enjoyed reading Tina's blog post Celebrating Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (With Some Suggested Activities and Videos).  She also has a child named after St. Therese and her post is filled with great videos and activity links. 

Speaking of activities with a St. Therese theme, be sure to check out this easy and fun flower craft from Laura at B is for Bissonnette.

Kristen at Drawn2BCreative has drawn this beautiful coloring page of St. Therese and I must add her book suggestion to my stack of St. Therese books too! 

Jennifer at Catholic Inspired has been making liturgical ornaments out of felt and they are so creative and beautiful!  Be sure to check out this list of October feast day ornaments, including St. Therese! 

Jessica at Shower of Roses has a selection of free printable worksheets that can add to your feast day celebration.  

St. Therese's quotes are treasures to be read and meditated over so be sure to read over the Words of St. Therese.

How sweet is the way of Love! True, one may fall, one may not be always faithful, but Love, knowing how to draw profit from all, very quickly consumes whatsoever may displease Jesus, leaving naught but humble and profound peace in the innermost soul.

Story of A Soul, Chapter VIII
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us! 


Celebrating Michaelmas, the Feast Day of the Archangels

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Yesterday, September 29, we celebrated the feast of the Archangels, also known as Michaelmas, for the first time since I've been intentionally trying to be more aware of the liturgical calendar and celebrate various feast days in fun, simple and faith-filled ways.  There are so many feast days that can be celebrated in our beautiful Catholic faith so some feast days are just mentioned and read about in our home, while others are celebrated in more meaningful ways (I hope).

I posted photos on my blog's Facebook page throughout the day documenting our feast day celebration.  Here is a recap of what we did:

I like the feast days that I can pull together at the last minute and still have a memorable celebration.  The night before Tuesday, September 29th, I ran out to the grocery store at 11:00 PM.  Yep, nothing like last minute planning!  Call me crazy, I know :)

I bought angel food cake (and white candles, which I didn't end up using), Cool Whip for clouds, glitter gold sprinkles because they were on clearance and they reminded me of angels, blackberries (there's a story about the symbolism of blackberries on Michaelmas as explained by Catholic Cuisine), angel hair pasta with white alfredo sauce, 2 books that I read in the morning after our Couch Catechism time titled Treasure Box Book, #18 and An Alphabet of Angels, and an Archangel coloring page (the site where I originally got the coloring page shown in the above photo is no longer available, but you can print archangel coloring pages at Waltzing Matilda, Happy Saints, and Catholic Playground.

In the afternoon, I happened to find a St. Michael coloring page in my file folder after some of my children colored the archangels coloring page. I'm sorry I don't know where I originally found this coloring page, but any St. Michael/archangel coloring page would work.  I copied the St. Michael picture and prayer on white card stock and then after I read Peanut Butter and Grace's post about making a stain glass tissue paper craft, I decided this St. Michael picture can be made into such a craft.  I cut out parts of the picture so colored tissue paper could be glued to the back.

After the St. Michael page was colored with coloring pencils, my kids started creating their colored tissue paper angels.   Even my 13 year old son, who normally doesn't get into crafts (especially coloring), was interested in doing this craft.  I tied the St. Michael prayer to St. Michael with yellow ribbon.

At dinner time, we had chicken alfredo with angel hair pasta and for dessert we ate the angel food cake decorated with Cool Whip clouds, gold sprinkles and blackberries.  The beautiful archangel printout that I used for the cake topper was from Happy Saints.  It was a fun, faith-filled day!


Heavenly King, You have given us archangels 
to assist us during our pilgrimage on earth. 
Saint Michael is our protector; 
I ask him to come to my aid, 
fight for all my loved ones, 
and protect us from danger. 
Saint Gabriel is a messenger of the Good News; 
I ask him to help me 
clearly hear Your voice 
and to teach me the truth. 
Saint Raphael is the healing angel; 
I ask him to take my need for healing 
and that of everyone I know, 
lift it up to Your throne of grace 
and deliver back to us the gift of recovery. 
Help us, O Lord, 
to realize more fully the reality of the archangels 
and their desire to serve us. 

Holy angels, 
pray for us. 


The end of September, into October, there are several feast days that can be celebrated.  Here are some we have celebrated in the past.

Coming up is:

October 1 (St. Therese of Lisieux)
October 2 (Guardian Angels)
October 4 (St. Francis of Assisi)
October 7 (Our Lady of the Rosary)
October 13 (Our Lady of Fatima)
October 22 (St. John Paul II)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pope Francis Visits the U.S.! (and we visit Pope Francis via our computer)

I wish this post was about my trip to see Pope Francis in person during the World Meeting of Families, but our family didn't make the trip, though we discussed it awhile ago as a possibility.  We were so excited and had so much fun when Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013 so a trip to see him in person would have been so exciting!


This post is really just a way for me to document that this historic visit from our beloved Pope Francis happened and post some photos I took while we watched all the his travels on our computer.

 We recently ran into the Pope at my local Catholic bookstore

If you would like to read about some bloggers' experiences and see some fantastic photos of those who were blessed enough to make the trip to see Pope Francis, then live vicariously through these bloggers' posts like I did.  What great memories for all!

Chris at Campfires and Cleats saw the Pope in NY!   Read all about it here:  Papa Rocks The Garden! Join Us in The Big Apple As We Relive Pope Francis' Historic Visit

Monica at Equipping Catholic Families was a vendor at the World Meeting of Families where she sold her awesome Super Saints decks.  Read more here:  
Unpacking from World Meeting of Families by Monica at Equipping Catholic Families

Lacy at Catholic Icing  gave a talk and had a wonderful experience as well!  She documented her memorable moments here: The Story of My Trip to World Meeting of Families in Photos

Leila at Little Catholic Bubble didn't go to see the Pope, but she has a wonderful post about her favorite highlights of the Pope's visit here:  My Personal Favorites from Pope Francis' Visit to America! 

Before the World Meeting of Families began, it was fun to commemorate Pope Francis' visit with this fun poster and St. Francis DVD from CCC of America.

We mostly saw and heard the Pope's visit through our computer using EWTN's live streaming, which was a great way to "see" our Pope since EWTN translated the Pope's messages into English when needed and had great commentary.

Here are some photos I took while we watched and listened:

Since we didn't get to see and hear everything from our computer during the Pope's visit, I'm grateful for this link:  Read the Full Texts of All of Pope Francis' Addresses During His Visit to the U.S.

Be sure to watch the USCCB videos of the Pope's 2015 visit to the U.S.

Thank you Pope Francis for your visit, leadership and prayers!  We continue to pray for you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Fun Pope Francis Poster and a Great St. Francis DVD

This post contains affiliate links.

Pope Francis arrived in the United States for the World Meeting of Families (in case you haven't heard!?!) and our family did talk about traveling to witness this historic event in person.  But, then we thought seriously about the time and money investment (and the amount of people) and we decided to stay and watch the Pope on TV/computer from the comforts of our home and of course, pray diligently for our Pope Francis and all those traveling for the grand events.  This is the closest I'll ever get to Pope Francis, but then again, miracles do happen, so maybe, just maybe I'll get to see the Pope in person one day!  Our family was so excited to watch when Pope Francis was elected in March 2013 so I wanted to celebrate Pope Francis' US arrival in a special way.

Going to my local Catholic bookstore and snapping a photo with the Pope is one way to celebrate Pope Francis' arrival to the United States.  Another fun way to celebrate Pope Francis is to use the Love is Our Mission-Pope Francis Commemorative Poster and watch Saint Francis, The Knight of Assisi DVD with the family.  Both of these fun resources were created by CCC of America.

Have you heard of CCC of America?  If not, you have now and I'm sure this company will be a family favorite for you too!  CCC of America and their award-winning animated "Saints and Heroes" series has been a part of our family's life for about 15 years now!  My children have watched all the engaging videos for so many years over and over again!  In fact, it was these videos from CCC of America that was a catalyst for me becoming more enthusiastic and intentional with celebrating the liturgical year with my children.

On Sunday, September 20th, just before Pope Francis was scheduled to arrive in the United States, our family took photos with our Pope Francis poster and watched the Saint Francis, The Knight of Assisi DVD that CCC of America sent me for review.  

I also loved getting a personal thank you note from CCC of America in my package.  This simple gesture from a family-friendly business is another way CCC of America sets themselves apart from other companies.

Here are a few photos of my 4 older children looking like Pope Francis:
For more fun photos with the poster be sure to visit CCC of America' Facebook page.

On the back of the poster are some fun activities and facts to read with your children.  My 7 year old daughter enjoyed helping Francis of Assisi find his way to Dan Damiano with the path in the top left corner. There's also a fun word search, geography, and facts about Saint Francis, including his feast day, which is celebrated on October 4th.

We then watched the Saint Francis, The Knight of Assisi DVD as a family and all of us enjoyed it, parents and the children, including my 2 year old daughter!  

Francis - Knight Of Assisi DVD

If you aren't familiar with the story of Saint Francis, you can learn about Francis of Assisi's fascinating and inspiring life along with your children with CCC of America's animated DVD that is engaging and informative. 

Each of my children had this to say about the movie when it was done...

"I enjoyed seeing how he went from thinking of himself to thinking of others and serving them."  -daughter, age 15

"I liked how he answered God's call to rebuild the Church."  -son, age 13

"I liked the part in the movie where Francis saved the little girl from the mad dog."  -daughter, age 11

"I liked how he was rich and then became a poor peasant to help others." -daughter, age 7

As a parent, I enjoy that the DVD teaches about the life of Francis of Assisi in a way that appeals to children and adults alike.  It kept our entire family entertained for the full 30 minutes.  (Well, maybe the 2 year old was a bit distracted for parts of it :) )   The animated DVD does a wonderful job showing how Francis grew up in a very wealthy family, but then answered God's call to sell all his possessions to rebuild the Church and help those in need.

I highly recommend the Love is Our Mission-Pope Francis Commemorative Poster and Saint Francis, The Knight of Assisi DVD to add to your collection of great Catholic resources for the entire family! 

For other great Pope Francis resources be sure to check out Kristen's blog post at Drawn2BCreative where she includes several Pope Francis links, including her Pope Francis paper doll and several links to various activities and coloring pages to celebrate Pope Francis and this memorable week!

Be sure to visit Real Life Rosary who has a beautiful limited edition rosary available and a PDF Meditation Book to commemorate the World Meeting of Families.  

And I have to show you this painting of Pope Francis by my artist friend, Cameron Smith!  This is his latest masterpiece! Isn't it amazing and beautiful?  Cameron is so talented!  Be sure to check out his website and the different size prints available for purchase!

Pope Francis, Joyful Father  
Painted by Cameron Smith 

Have a blessed week Pope Francis and all those traveling for this historic week! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

7 Quick Takes: Confirmation, War Room, Our Lady of Sorrows, Co-Op, Sunflower Cupcakes, 4H

Another quick week has gone by jammed packed with blessings, tantrums, family, sibling rivalry, memories, fun, and dirty diapers.

Take a peek of what our week has been like with another edition of  7 Quick Takes hosted by Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum and I also linked up to "My Week in Review" with Home to 4 Kiddos and Every Bed of Roses.

Our oldest daughter was confirmed this past Saturday, Sept. 12th!  She, along with about 60 other high schoolers, received the Sacrament of Confirmation after preparing for the special day for 2 years.  It was a beautiful mass and celebration!  Our dear friend was my daughter's sponsor and we were blessed to have both my parents and in my in-laws attend the mass too. 

War Room the movie!  Have you seen it yet?  No?  Then you must!  Last Saturday, my husband and I saw it and we loved it!  We laughed, we cried, we teared up, we enjoyed it!  It is a beautiful story of how prayer is the weapon that will get you through any battle!  Chris over at Campfires and Cleats has a wonderful review of this movie when she was lucky enough to preview it before it came out in theaters.  Her great review was one of the reasons I was convinced this was worth the ticket price!

On September 15th each year, the Catholic Church remembers the 7 sorrows of our Blessed Mother with Our Lady of Sorrows feast day.  These 7 occasions brought Mary so much pain and suffering as she lovingly cared for Jesus, but she always trusted in God's will and never complained.  Mary's 7 sorrows are:
  1. The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35)
  2. The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13)
  3. The loss of the child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:43–45)
  4. Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary.
  5. Jesus dies on the cross. (John 19:25)
  6. The piercing of the side of Jesus, and Mary's receiving the body of Jesus in her arms. (Matthew 27:57–59)
  7. The body of Jesus is placed in the tomb. (John 19:40–42)
Kendra at Catholic All Year came up with a fun children's activity to meditate on these 7 sorrows.  It was a free printable and the instructions were to have each child eat 7 sour candies (I bought Lemonheads) while the scripture verses were read.  We did this in our Co-op group this past Tuesday and then again at home after dinner.  I hope to make this another liturgical tradition and add it to my A Slice of Liturgical Life page.

About 8 of our Catholic homeschooling families in our area meet once a week for Classically Catholic Memory (CCM) co-op.  Last week was a review week and it was a great day!  The weather was beautiful and perfect so we were able to take the youngest class out to play some relay races on the beach to learn the 9 different phyla of the animal kingdom, review games, student presentations, prayer, pledge, singing our poetry memory work (Thanks Elaine!) , dissecting earthworms, grammar and IEW writing.   It was a blessing!  
Today my 4 older children met for their bi-monthly 4H meeting.  Currently they are learning more about gardening and they planted barley in the pots that they painted during last meeting.  It is a great group if kids and the moms volunteering their time are doing such great work!  I am so grateful for my mom friends who are leading this program!  Thank you J.A. and M.P.!

Today was my turn to bring snacks for the 4H meeting.  My 11 year old daughter loves surfing Pinterest to find creative ideas so I like to give her Pinterest "assignments".  I told her it was our turn to bring snacks and I asked if she would find some garden themed snacks.  So she found these grape caterpillar snacks and these sunflower cupcakesPerfect!   They were a hit and really easy to do!  I made my homemade chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing and then used mini oreos and a can of yellow and green frosting with the tips included to make the sunflowers and leaves.

Photo of Dr. Peter Kreeft
It's really late so I better sign off, but before I do, I wanted to mention that on Saturday night, Sept. 19th,  Dr. Peter Kreeft, THE Dr. Peter Kreeft, will be speaking at my parish and I can't wait to go listen to him with my husband and my 2 oldest children.  He will speaking on "Catholicism and Culture: How Catholics are conforming to American culture instead of conforming the culture to God."  I can't think of a better subject to present and we are looking forward to hearing him speak on this important topic!

Have a blessed weekend! 



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