Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Here are my simple but powerful ideas for a fruitful Lent!



So many good Lenten ideas out there, and so much information, so I've whittled it down to some basics.

First, for a general overview of Lent and lots of quick facts, go here:



Next, I really love my daughter-in-law Larabeth's list of easy suggestions for sacrifices during Lent. You could either do all of them one time, or pick a couple of them to do repeatedly:



A few of my favorites from her list:

2. When having an argument with someone, try to let him speak first. Truly listen to what he is saying and let him finish his explanation. Don't think about your response until he is done and you understand him. 
9. Do something to care for your parish priest. Offer to cook a meal appropriate for Lent, do a chore around the parish or rectory, or simply say a novena for him. 
14. Read through the lives of the Saints and find your new best friend.
18. Take the time to thoughtfully encourage at least two people.



Also, my friend Tracy Smith has an amazing post on what she and her family do for Lent, and the beauty is in the simplicity of activities!

It's not too late to make the Crown of Thorns or do the Bean Jar! I'm the worst when it comes to "crafty," and yet even I am doing those two.

In fact, the bean jar was a huge hit this morning (my boys were falling all over themselves thinking of "sacrifices" they could make in order to be able to put a bean in the jar (wait'll you/they see what happens to that jar on Easter morning!!).

And tonight after Mass, we are going to make the crown of thorns (yes, I'm a little behind!):




Finally, I encourage you to go through the "traditional" Lent posts that I have used more than once here on the Bubble. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen's 1940 meditations on The Seven Last Words and the Seven Virtues are so powerful, and shockingly relevant for us today in our wildly secular culture. I've broken down his words into easily digestible excerpts; check it out:












Sunday, February 19, 2017

Two courageous women, two evil court rulings





Long ago, I warned that Christians' misguided compassion would come back to bite them in the rear, and since that day, things have gotten so much worse. We Christians apparently still wish to be loved by the popular culture, and we don't seem to realize that the more we appease the beast, the more vicious the beast becomes.

Here is the latest, out of the very left-wing, very secular Washington State:

By a unanimous, 9-0 decision, the Washington Supreme Court...
... ruled that this 72-year-old grandmother [Barronelle Stutzman] who had employed gay workers and served gay customers for years, was required by law to participate in a gay wedding, even though this constituted a direct violation of her religious beliefs — beliefs which have been consistent and almost universally held among Christians for the last 2,000 years. 
Not only so, but the court upheld the attack on her personal assets as well — her house, her savings, her retirement funds — by requiring her “to pay the attorneys’ fees that the ACLU racked up in suing her,” fees which could reach as high as one million dollars.  [emphasis mine]

This kind and decent florist stated the following to the state's attorney general, regarding her motives and beliefs, and her refusal to accept an offer of "settlement":

You don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I do best is more important. Washington’s constitution guarantees us “freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment.” I cannot sell that precious freedom. You are asking me to walk in the way of a well-known betrayer, one who sold something of infinite worth for 30 pieces of silver. That is something I will not do. 
I pray that you reconsider your position. I kindly served Rob [the 'gay' plaintiff] for nearly a decade and would gladly continue to do so. I truly want the best for my friend. I’ve also employed and served many members of the LGBT community, and I will continue to do so regardless of what happens with this case. You chose to attack my faith and pursue this not simply as a matter of law, but to threaten my very means of working, eating, and having a home. If you are serious about clarifying the law, then I urge you to drop your claims against my home, business, and other assets and pursue the legal claims through the appeal process.

I pray that the Supreme Court will eventually hear her case and undo the evil judgment that has been rendered against her.

I'll tell you what: I would not want to be one of those nine Washington judges when the ultimate Judgment is meted out by the Just Judge at the Day of Reckoning. Shudder. Pray for them; they need it.

Please read the short piece, here, and consider sharing on your social media. It will not go well with us if we continue to remain silent:



We welcome any liberals of good will who will stand with us on this important issue of freedom of conscience, even if they disagree with us on gay "marriage". They will surely face a particular ridicule, venom, and attack if they speak against the liberal orthodoxy, but I beg liberals of good will to do what is right.

And if you want to understand how we got here, I implore you, watch Princeton's Professor Robert P. George explain. Take the time. It's so worth it. I was in the audience the night he gave the following talk, sitting next to our amazing Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, who nodded his head throughout. Some of our bishops truly understand, and we, as the laity, also have an obligation to SPEAK.




Stop being afraid, my friends! Cultivate the virtue of courage. It gets easier as you practice courage, I promise! God will give you the grace you need. Do you trust Him enough to take care of you, just as florist Barronelle Stutzman trusts?


+++++++



And now to another strong and courageous woman, an unlikely pro-life hero who stood up against the powers-that-be. 

Yesterday, we lost this wonderful lady, Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the tragic Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling. After years of being used and abused by the pro-"choice" side -- she never did have an abortion, and her little girl was placed for adoption, by the way -- she was won by love (wrote a book by that name), became a Christian, and joined the pro-life movement. 

Norma ultimately became a devout Catholic, fighting for the remainder of her days and with all her heart and soul against the evil Supreme Court decision that bears her name. May God welcome His good and faithful servant, His beloved daughter, to her heavenly reward. She had a hard life; may she have eternal rest. 

 Requiescat in pace




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse on "Healing Family Breakdown" retreats


Dear friends, I'm going to be doing and saying a lot on the marriage and divorce front in the next few months, as I get closer to releasing my next book, Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak. As a woman blessed with an intact family (my parents have been married 52 years), I had no idea what divorce does to children, other than the fact that I knew it was painful and they suffer. I took my parents' marriage for granted, and I barely gave a thought to what my life would have been like had they divorced. 

After reading through and editing the words of almost sixty adult children of divorce for my book, I can no longer turn a blind eye to family breakdown. 

Today I want to introduce you to the Ruth Institute's Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, whom I have admired for many years, before she ever knew who I was. She is doing so much good work, and I cannot say enough about her, her colleague Jennifer Johnson, and the mission of the Ruth Institute. Please take a moment to learn about one of the Institute's latest programs, from Dr. Roback Morse herself:



Divorce hurts kids. The wounds do not go away. When I saw the extensive discussion on Leila’s Facebook feed, I knew I wanted to share this report with you, her readers. 

Since 2013, the Ruth Institute has been creating materials and programs designed to assist what we call the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution. Our thinking is that every round of the Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people. Future developments destabilizing marriage, including genderless marriage, will continue to harm even more people, even more deeply. Yet, the constituency for natural marriage has been eroded, due to the relentless promotion of the redefinition of marriage and related topics. 

The Healing Family Breakdown Half-Day Retreat is the latest of our innovative programs to help people see the connection between family breakdown in general, the ideology of the Sexual Revolution and the harms they personally have experienced. The Ruth Institute held its second Healing Family Breakdown Half-Day Retreat on February 4, 2017 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. 

The Retreat succeeded in several important respects. Participants: 
  • learned empathy for their family members 
  • felt permission to experience whatever emotions they may have had about the disruptions in their families. 
  • pledged to stay involved in further Ruth Institute educational programs. 

The Retreat consists of a combination of short talks, guided meditations, and small group discussions. This format gives people the chance to do more than just learn about family breakdown in the abstract. The Retreat format allows people to process the full impact of family breakdown on their families. 

This Retreat is a multi-generational event. We held it at the Catholic Student Center at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. Naturally, students attended. Because of our contacts in the whole community, adults of all ages attended. The mix of ages allowed people to hear the story of family breakdown from the perspective of others in their families. 

One woman said, “My son, from my first marriage, got kicked out of school at age 8. He told me that he felt as if he didn’t really fit into the family. I couldn’t understand what he meant until I heard others talking about their experiences today.” 

A young woman said, “My parents are divorced and I have issues with my dad. One man at my table, who has been divorced twice, is struggling with his daughter. I feel as if I can see my dad’s point of view in a way I never could before. Listening to him helped me a lot.” 


We introduced people to the concept of “disenfranchised grief.” This refers to a social situation in which people feel that they are not permitted to feel their sadness. My colleague, Jennifer Johnson contrasts the loss of a parent through death, with the losses of divorce. Grieving the death of a parent is perfectly understandable and socially acceptable. But the child of divorce or a reluctantly divorced spouse often has no space in the family system for grieving their losses. 



People seemed to feel relieved that they could experience the full range of feelings associated with the disruption of their families. 

Our goal at the Ruth Institute is to build up a network of people who can offer these Retreats in their own communities. After all, Jennifer and I cannot be everywhere at once! All these people will be better spokespeople for marriage within the wider culture. They will see the connection between the ideology of the Sexual Revolution and the serious harms they and their loved ones have endured. And most importantly, they will not be talked out of any of this by a slick advertising campaign, promoting the next round of sexual adventures or family deconstruction. 

The campus minister, Fr. Nathan Long, concurred with us that this Retreat was a spirit-filled event that benefitted everyone who attended. We are looking forward to spreading this new program throughout the cities where we have contacts, and beyond. 


Thank you to the Little Catholic Bubble Readers, for doing your part to support the Children of Divorce, the Reluctantly Divorced, and other Survivors of the Sexual Revolution. 

You can learn more about the Healing Family Breakdown Retreats here. The Ruth Institute Store has a variety of pamphlets, reports, and books to support healing. You may also wish to share your story of family breakdown and surviving the Sexual Revolution on our Tell Ruth the Truth blog. Or, just subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, and receive a free gift. 






Thank you, Dr. Roback Morse!!

Bubble readers, please feel free to share this with your friends and family, and with your diocese if they would be interested in hosting a Healing Family Breakdown Retreat. 




Sunday, January 22, 2017

The marchers don't need men to degrade them


One of the milder photos. The "pussyhats" were everywhere.


Donald Trump's got nothing on the participants of yesterday's "Women's March" themselves.

The female marchers degraded themselves so much more profoundly and efficiently than any lecherous man ever could.

What Trump said years ago in a secretly recorded video was terrible. It was a loathsome way to talk about women; it disparaged women, marriage, and human dignity itself.

Trump's words, however, never made me ashamed to be a woman. Yesterday's march did.

I won't post the disgusting photos on my page, but please, click these links and read/observe all. See what was said at this march, listen to the speakers, look at the photos, look at the signs. Take in the scene, figure out the themes (it won't be hard to do):



The vastness of the proud display of vileness and evil was shocking. How far have so many women fallen from an embrace of the virtues, from simple common decency. It is shocking how many of our sisters, living in the freest nation in the history of mankind, have become as crude and shameless as the depraved men they decry.

Think about it, logically, for a minute: How did the women of the "Women's March" respond to their disgust of Trump's degrading words? By degrading themselves on a scale worse than anything Trump ever said. Multiply what he did by a million, and you start to get the picture.


As one friend put it:
I watched some coverage of the 'Women's March' in DC and I have to say: I saw and heard MORE foul language, MORE crude terms for female and male genitalia, MORE misogyny (and even misandry), MORE mockery, MORE derision, MORE thuggishness, MORE rudeness, MORE law-breaking and MORE lunacy in those few minutes than I ever saw from Donald Trump in the 18 months of his campaign.

Who but the devil himself could have concocted such a plan? Take the evil, and multiply it! Make throngs of proud, elated, deluded souls feel as if they are giving women dignity, when they are doing exactly the opposite. Deceive them into believing they are lifting women up to the sky, when they are actually smashing women down into the filthiest muck.

It's a trick from the pit of hell, but that's the point. These women are blinded.

In its essence, the entire anti-Trump march was nothing more than a pro-abortion, pro-LGBT march. No one can plausibly deny it. The names of the sponsoring groups prove it. The explicit rejection of pro-life women's groups confirm it.

My hope and my prayer is the crux of Christian mission: That Donald Trump's sins are not imitated and multiplied, but that his sins are met with virtue. Not only our own virtue, as citizens, but that the people surrounding Trump would present him with the alternative: A witness of Christian truth. A witness of prayer and goodness. And guess what? As far as I can tell, that is what has happened to Donald Trump in the past few months. He has been surrounded by good, prayerful Christians who have, by all their accounts, seen him change. Let's pray it continues.

Any Christian who mocks the possibility and the movement toward redemption of President Trump has missed the point of our Faith.

Redemption of sinners is the point of our Faith!

While Trump has apologized for the words he spoke in the past -- and so what if the catalyst for that was his public humiliation? If any of us had our sordid pasts exposed and were moved to betterment, that's a good thing! -- the women who (literally) hate him have become like him. Times a million.

And no, it's not somehow better because the women degrade themselves, it's worse. Far better that someone sins mortally against me than I sin mortally myself.

Dear Lord, what have we become?

To the good Catholic women and men who went to this pro-abortion march to make a pro-life presence known, to plant seeds, to reach lost souls, I applaud you. We need you. You are full of courage. Thank you.

But to see some good Catholics openly supporting this march? Well, at first I was truly stunned, and next my heart broke. To the claim that the march had "some" worthy messages and would promote "some" good, I say same with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does STD testing and very basic cancer screening, for example. These are "some" good things we can identify in a terribly evil organization. But no faithful Catholic would proudly, happily march in a Planned Parenthood parade and excuse the overriding evil of the thing, would they?

Women of the march who hate Donald Trump:

You multiplied him over a million times.

You slimed us all.

That's not a win. You lose. Women lose. Men lose. Children lose. We all lose.

God forgive us.

To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.  -- Venerable Fulton J. Sheen






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Parents, do you know what the latency period is?






I admit that I was shocked to learn that many (most?) young and not-so-young Catholic moms in my Facebook book club were unfamiliar with what the Church calls "the latency period." We were going over the first three chapters of Raising Chaste Catholic Men, and I discovered that this was a new term to most of the women who commented. I decided, and was encouraged, to put this in a blog post, so here we are!

An excerpt from Chapter Three, "When They Are Little":


Most of what you need to know about chastity and your sons’ [and daughters'] early years can be summed up in two sentences:

1.  Respect the latency period.
2.  Don’t freak out about stuff.

The latency period, or what St. John Paul II called the “years of innocence,” spans from about age 5 to puberty and is easy enough to understand. From The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality [Guidelines for Education Within the Family]:


This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex. During those years, before any physical sexual development is evident, it is normal for the child's interests to turn to other aspects of life…. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary. [#78]

Our Church tells us to respect the latency period of children, which would ideally last until the child hits adolescence; however, we live in a society that does not respect a child’s innocence. In fact, the world around us seeks to destroy innocence, by design. The educational establishment, advertisers, books, movies, television, and video games — all push to sexualize children at a young age. In fact, entities like SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, which have routine access to public schools, believe that children should be immersed in secular, relativistic sex education from birth. 

What to do when the latency period is violated? We must step in. Again, from the Church: 


A further problem arises when children receive premature sex information from the mass media or from their peers who have been led astray or received premature sex education. In this case, parents will have to begin to give carefully limited sexual information, usually to correct immoral and erroneous information or to control obscene language. [#84]

Okay, obviously there is more information from the Church about the protection of the latency period (read the entire Vatican document, as I did many years ago), but there you have it. What many moms and dads have intuited actually has a name: The latency period.

Everything in this culture wants to violate those "years of innocence," so be aware. Don't freak out, and all is not lost if your little kids are exposed to too much, too soon, but there should be a certain level of "sheltering" going on, for sure. That is part of your job as a parent.

What is your young, pre-adolescent child learning about if he is not learning about sex? Again from the Vatican document:

During those years, before any physical sexual development is evident, it is normal for the child's interests to turn to other aspects of life. The rudimentary instinctive sexuality of very small children has disappeared. Boys and girls of this age are not particularly interested in sexual problems, and they prefer to associate with children of their own sex. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary. [#78]
During this stage of development, children are normally at ease with their body and its functions. They accept the need for modesty in dress and behaviour. Although they are aware of the physical differences between the two sexes, the growing child generally shows little interest in genital functions. The discovery of the wonders of creation which accompanies this phase and the experiences in this regard at home and in school should also be oriented towards the stages of catechesis and preparation for the sacraments which takes place within the ecclesial community. [#79]
As in the first years of life also during childhood, parents should encourage a spirit of collaboration, obedience, generosity and self-denial in their children, as well as a capacity for self-reflection and sublimation. In fact, a characteristic of this period of development is an attraction toward intellectual activities. Using the intellect makes it possible to acquire the strength and ability to control the surrounding situation and, before long, to control bodily instincts, so as to transform them into intellectual and rational activities. [#86]

How beautiful and amazing! Unlike what the culture tells us, not everything is about sex! And children can and should retain their innocence in their pre-pubescent years.

Imagine that.   :)








Thursday, January 5, 2017

State of the Blog Address (Or, Will the Bubble Burst?)






Quick answer: 

The Bubble will remain, but changes are coming.


Longer answer:

Nearly seven years ago, on April 3, 2010, the Little Catholic Bubble was launched, mainly for my Catholic friends who wanted a little boost in catechesis and fun but substantive Catholic conversation.

Back then, I had just turned 43, my oldest child was a freshman in college, and my eighth (and last) child was just a few weeks old. Today, I am about to turn 50, my oldest three children are married, and I have five grandchildren!

I have loved (almost!) every minute of writing the 723 published blog posts (with 385 more still in draft form), and fielding the incredible conversations in the comment boxes -- over 51,000 comments to date! And as for page views? I never imagined I'd get even 10,000, much less 3.4 million! I can't thank all of you enough!

Initially, I put off starting a blog because, as I told friends, "I have nothing to say." Turns out I did have some stuff to say after all. A huge motivation for all I've written was to establish a record of my thoughts for my children and grandchildren, as well as establish a place to access simple catechesis (the "Little Teachings" posts, among others). This blog serves as an archive of sorts.

Frankly, I've learned that, despite some hiatuses, writers have to write.

When I began the Bubble, Obama had been president for only about fourteen months. Back then, citizens weren't required to call men women, girls weren't forced to share bathrooms and showers with men, marriage had not been legally un-defined, and Catholic religious sisters who served the poor did not have to sue the federal government to live their faith. Yet.

Starting slowly, but gaining breakneck speed, the societal nosedive accelerated under the secular left for these past seven years, and a huge part of what I wrote about concerned cultural issues (popular and/or mandated sins) and how they affect our life as Catholics. Now that the people have voted to remove the "progressive" boot from our necks by defeating Hillary and the Democrats, we can all take a breath and figure out what comes next. For me, "next" is not primarily blogging.

But you had probably already guessed that, as my presence here has not been consistent for a while.

Because I'm too concerned about perfecting my blog posts (I agonize over word choice, syntax, punctuation, clarity, tone, etc.), it's been so much easier to spend my time and energy discussing religion, politics, and culture over on my personal Facebook page, where I am waaaaaay too somewhat active. Jotting down short thoughts with little editing brings about great, fast conversations in real time, and I can move on to the next topic easily. I also have my Facebook book club (Little Catholic Bubble Book Club), which has been amazing! I'm completely committed to keeping that going, and to growing it.

However, the thing I most want to do -- and must find time to do -- is write more books. I have four new books in my head right now (the first two are being actively worked on):

1. A book giving voice to the now-adult children of divorce
2. A book on Catholic dating and marriage
3. A book telling the story of my late cousin Michelle
4. A book compiling "Little Teachings" of the Faith (more than what I've written on the blog)

I am sure there are even more books in me. This is my season to write them, since my children are now in school all day and I have stretches of quiet time. I just have to discipline myself and get to it.

Bottom line: My creative energy, which is quite high, is simply directing me elsewhere right now.

Will I keep writing on this blog? Yes! But I don't want anyone to expect regular posts anymore. When I do write, it will likely be related to marriage and the family. Why? I feel more and more certain that I'm called to write about, speak about, and fight for marriage. Fatima's visionary, Sr. Lucia, predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be for marriage and family. Marriage is primal. As St. John Paul II famously said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Complacency on this issue has to end.

Meanwhile, there is plenty still here to explore for those who just recently found the Bubble, or for those who have been here for years. Sometimes I do a search for a subject on this blog, and I can't believe what pops up! Things I don't even remember having written! But it's good stuff, and worth a read, even years later. Dig around! Try searching "Protestant" or "marriage" or "contraception" or "conscience" or "surrender" and you'll see what I mean.  :)

I'm grateful for every one of you and for what we have built here. I am not disappearing. The Bubble is not bursting, it is simply slowing down a bit, changing direction, floating where the Spirit moves it....

Thank you for your support and understanding, and if you could spare a prayer or two for my new projects, I sure would appreciate it!

God bless you in the New Year, and I'll be back soon-ish!









Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christ Is Born!




A Christmas Reflection from Bishop Barron.

Christ is born, and the Prologue of John:





Merry Christmas to all! God is with us!





Monday, December 19, 2016

Why the Electoral College is genius.


Today is the day that the electors in each state cast their votes for the next president.

Donald Trump, who (as we never stop hearing) "lost the popular vote," will be elected as America's 45th chief executive.

With all the ranting, raging, crying, and confusion surrounding the Electoral College vs. the popular vote, it's a good time to review the genius of our Founding Fathers and why they set things up this way. First, a fun and easy video from Prager University, explaining the basics:





Also, this excellent (and very short!) article explains why the Electoral College was so important in this particular election. Essentially, it saves the rest of us from being dictated by California:

Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state: California. Clinton has more than a 4-million-vote plurality over Trump there. In the other 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Trump actually has a 1.7-million-popular-vote plurality over Clinton. So California single-handedly turns a Trump plurality into a Clinton plurality.... 
He also won the national popular vote cast outside of the single state of California. Moreover, Clinton won all of California’s 55 electoral votes despite the fact that 4.3 million of the state’s voters voted for Trump. That big winner-take-all advantage for California’s Democrats and Clinton was certainly felt, but it wasn't enough to override her losses in many other states.
Under our electoral vote system, American voters elected a national president, not California’s choice.


Praise God for the wisdom and foresight of the Founding Fathers!






Monday, December 5, 2016

Introducing...



Miriam Genevieve!




Born yesterday, a whopping 9 lbs., 3 ozs. 
of pure beauty!

Congratulations to my daughter Priscilla, her husband Dirk, and big brother David!

Thank you, Lord, for this perfect blessing!


The birth of my fourth grandchild has kept me from being a good blogger. Forgive me!

Meanwhile, in the Advent Season, we should reflect on why the Second Person of the Holy Trinity came down from Heaven and was incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus Christ, God Himself, was once a newborn babe just like little Miriam. Read on for the "whys" of it:





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Looking for Catholic Christmas gift ideas, from Catholic sellers? Here ya go!



All right! On Facebook a while back, I asked for and received links from Catholic vendors and artists, in anticipation of Christmas! The items/stores/shops by Catholic vendors are listed below, to make it easier to buy Catholic gifts for our loved ones while helping to support Catholic sellers at the same time. Enjoy "browsing," and feel free to add your own Catholic link in the comment section.

Personally, I think my book, Raising Chaste Catholic Men: Practical Advice, Mom to Mom, is a great gift idea, heh heh! Any young Catholic mom (or dad!) will benefit from the fun but substantive conversation inside.

Also, to make the gift more special, I am happy to sign and personalize a copy for you or your loved ones. In that case, you would buy it straight from me (don't purchase it online); simply email me at raisingchastecatholicmen@gmail.com, and I will let you know how to make that happen!



~~~~~~~


A great family (or parish!) gift idea is Bishop Barron's DVD/Blu-Ray set, The Pivotal Players




I have watched every one of the profiles (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed John Henry Newman, GK Chesterton, and Michelangelo), and I can tell you that the riches you will mine from these mini-documentaries are worth every penny. Consider buying a set for your own family, splitting it between families who can share it, or gifting a set to your parish or Catholic school. Truly uplifting, spiritually edifying. 


For the children, I love the Shining Light Dolls so much! My grandchildren adore them, and I have it on good authority that Santa Claus (and Grandma and Grandpa) will be bringing them a few more this year. I just now realized they have books that go along with the dolls, too! 

Aren't these adorable? You know who they are! And there are many more to choose from, and new ones always on the way!



I love Becky's book, The Little Flower, and anything else on the Peanut Butter & Grace site. 




And I haven't seen this one in person, but I'm getting it for my own kids today, because it looks so good, and so instructive:  The Great Adventure Storybook. Looks like a fabulous way to teach the kids salvation history! 

For yourself, to become a better apologist in the New Year, day by day, I recommend Jimmy Akin's 
A Daily Defense: 365 Days ( plus one) to Becoming a Better Apologist.

Another great book -- a parenting book with a refreshing twist -- is Dr. Ray Guarendi's
Advice Worth Ignoring: How Tuning Out the Experts Can Make You a Better Parent. Doesn't the title alone make you relax and feel better about your parenting?? I am here to tell you after eight kids and 25 years of being a mom, he is really on to something! Save younger parents the trouble, and get them this book now.


For excellent Advent ideas, check out Holy Heroes site (which is always chock full of good stuff, in every season).

Newly added: I just got this lovely book in my hands, Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day, and I think it's a great gift idea for your mom or your grandma (or your best friend). Aesthetically beautiful, small, hardback -- daily meditations prompted by Scripture and saint quotes. Check it out:





Now, on to the list of vendors and shops and items that my Facebook friends suggested. I will simply link them, in no particular order, and you can browse through. Isn't it fun? Catholic Christmas shopping from the comfort of your chair:





Travel With T (Catholic travel agent)





TelosArt (including liturgical calendars)


Peter's Square (dozens of Catholic vendors)






Zazick Designs (Lego rosaries)



Johnson Architecture (custom watercolor paintings)


Saintly Silver (saint softies)



Super Saints (quizzing cards)

Prayer Impressions (rubber stamps)






Faith and Fabric (quilt patterns)





Saint Benedict Medal (clothing/accessories)



Mazzoni's Handmade Shop (including mosaics)

Petite Fleur Studio (peg dolls)






Rodan + Fields (skin care)
Rodan + Fields (a second Catholic friend)

Caritas Press Catholic Books (for adults and children)




Brita Baby Boutique (creative diaper bouquets)




I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless us with a fruitful Advent!