Tuesday, November 20, 2012

O Radiant Dawn

This year, I really want to focus on Advent. Every year we put an Advent wreath in our home and occasionally will light a candle, but there is no significance to it. I found a great advent book to use this year and am very excited. It is titled O Radiant Dawn and is by Lisa Hendey. It was released September 2012. I just received mine and read through it over the weekend, and I have to say, it is wonderful. It allows the whole family to get involved and truly focus on the Advent season, instead of jumping head first into everything Christmas. What is great about this little book, is that anyone can afford it! It can be found at online retailers, such as amazon, for around $1.25. I have not been out to my local Catholic bookstore yet, but I am sure you can find it there, or they would be able to special order it. 

Along with being budget friendly, there is so much substance to this book. It really brings full circle as to what we are to be focusing on during the advent season. Advent is a time for preparation. We are beginning a new liturgical year, which allows us to renew ourselves and prepare for the coming birth of our Lord, as well as, the second coming of our Lord. It is a time to reflect on what we need to change in ourselves to become fully prepared for our Lord. This Book allows you to walk through that preparation everyday. It has prayers and responses to pray with your family every day of Advent around your advent wreath. This is an easy way to bring Catholic tradition into your home, and help you and your children focus on what is to true reason for this wonderful season. So, "prepare ye, the way of the Lord.." 

Advent begins Sunday, December 2nd! It is time for you to prepare!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Catholic Family on Facebook!

I just created a Facebook account for Happy Catholic Family. I am hoping that this page will be used as a community for Catholic families, and other Christian families, for that matter, to share ideas and struggles for raising happy, healthy Christian children. Please come and join the fun. I just created it this morning, so it will take a while to get all the goodies added to the page, but please, come and share yourself!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's a time to give, not to receive.

My children are both quite young; five and three, but I really felt they were both old enough to get into the giving spirit of the upcoming Christmas season. While reading through a few of my "mommy" blogs, I noticed a few of them were participating in Operation Christmas Child. This is not a Catholic organization, but felt I could put my own "Catholic" twist on it. So, last Friday, while my husband was at work, I packed up the kids and headed out to a few local stores. I explained to my kids that we were going to go and pick out things for other boys and girls that will not have a lot for Christmas this year. They were sad at first, but my son, who is five, exclaimed, "Well, we can make sure they have something for Christmas!" That was what I wanted to hear. 

So, off to the stores we went, picking out little items to fill the shoe boxes. They were both having a great time, choosing items for each of the four boxes we were filling. The exciting thing for me was: my children did not ask for anything for themselves! This was a big turn around. Usually they are asking for little toys, candy, etc. But this day, they only asked for things for their "Christmas kids." My son picked out Hot Wheels that were like his own. My daughter doing the same. It was such a great feeling to know that my children were developing a giving heart. They told every cashier exactly what we were doing and why. At first, I was trying to quiet them, but then I thought, "Why shouldn't my five and three year old be a witness to these people?" So I allowed them to explain away. 

When we returned home, we put each item in the appropriate box: crayons, a notepad, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, soap, some toys, and candy. I also included a knotted rosary in each box. We will be dropping off the boxes in the next few days at a local church. The deadline for box donations is November 19th. 

 The idea, is to teach children to have a giving heart. For young children, this time of year is mainly about "getting." I am very guilty of giving in and getting my kids most of what they want. However, the more they receive, the more they tend to want. I decided that this year, I was going to instill the gift of giving in my children. I want them to grow up wanting to help others. It is my goal to raise loving Christian Catholics that serve the Lord and His people. This year, I challenge all families to really focus on the "giving" part of Christmas, and I do not just mean to family and friends. Give to those who truly need. If you have older children, take them to a soup kitchen. Get involved in the giving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving: not just a time for Turkey!

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is often over shadowed by the looming anticipation of the Christmas season. Every year, commercial Christmas images are thrown at us right after Halloween and often before. I will admit, I am guilty of jumping on the Christmas bandwagon too soon. Christmas music is playing on the radio, as we speak, and I do have to admit I listened to it this morning. 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday in which we can spend thanking the Lord for everything we have. In our world, we are focused on the things we do not have; the things we want, and often skip right over being thankful for what we do have. The impending Christmas buying season does not aid in this thinking. We are busy looking through ads Thanksgiving day, planning the all important 'Black Friday' attack to get the best deal. We are stressed over if everyone is going to think the turkey and the pecan pie is even better than last year (and this stress is completely mine this year, as I am cooking the family turkey! eek!)

All these things are distractions as to what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is. It is simply a time to 'give thanks.' It is my personal mission this year, to do just that. Thank the Lord for what I have; a beautiful family, with a loving husband and 2 gorgeous child. Thank him for the gift he gave, by dieing on the cross for me. What a gift is the chance to be in heaven with our Lord one day! Thank him for being a member of the Catholic Church; the one true Church! To me, that is an amazing gift. I am a member of the Church that Jesus Christ himself founded on the rock of Peter! God is good!

So, this year, do not simply say a quick "Bless us, oh Lord" before sitting down to that Thanksgiving meal. Take time to discuss with your family, especially your children, the importance of being thankful. Talk to them about the sacrifices our Lord made for us, and why we should have a thankful heart for that alone. No matter what your circumstances, everyone has something to be thankful for. God is good, God is great! Never forget to be thankful!

Psalm 95:2- Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I am starting this blog, simply because I feel that there is not much of an outlet or information on raising a family in today's society as happy devout Catholics. I am a mother of 2 young children, and work part time as a remedial teacher in a local Catholic school. My husband is also a Catholic school teacher, so we have deep ties to the Catholic Church on a day-to-day basis. As a family, we believe strongly in instilling our Catholic tradition and the love of Jesus in our children at a young age. Through this blog, I will share ideas to bring the Catholic faith alive in our homes. Whether it be having a rosary making party, or teaching your children their bed time prayers, their Catholic faith can become real and relevant to our children at a very young age. So, stay tuned! I am in the works on finishing a Bible Verse, count down to Christmas calender. This calendar will allow your children to count down the days until the birth of our Lord, while learning scripture pertaining to the birth! It is super cute, and I hope to have it finished soon, so you will have time to create it before December 1st! God bless, and may Jesus be with you always!