Several years ago, my oldest daughter and I published The Stations of the Cross for Children. Every Friday in Lent we do the stations together as a family. This year, our youngest, Junior, showed keen interest in participating. He would try to read the words in the book and sing along, but the font was too small for him, and several of the words were too hard.
So I adapted The Stations of the Cross for him. I used a larger font and made the pictures bigger. Then, I wrote very short meditations with simple words and short sentences I knew he could (mostly) read and understand. The text is very simplistic, but I believe that beautiful artwork can draw even young children into prayer. Just looking at the artwork together with your child and talking about the details can help him/her to understand and imagine Our Lord’s passion.
Continue reading “Stations of the Cross for Very Young Children” →
Today I want to share with you one of the *best* resources I’ve used and read as a parent.
Here we are at the start new school year, busy juggling academics, sports, social activities, and so on. In the midst of all this I try to keep our ultimate goal in mind — something I’ve thought about, prayed about, written about, and prayed about again and again. The ultimate goal in raising and educating our kids is sanctity — our kids’ and our own. And so a question I am often pondering is this: how can I help my kids encounter Our Lord in deep and meaningful ways so they grow in their faith and love for God?
Continue reading “Helping Our Children Encounter God: An Interview with Kristen Fisher on “The One Best Thing”” →
I am so excited to share the news that my daughter Carolyn has just published her seventh novel. Set in the Dark Ages, The Tale of Finegan Patches is the story of an impoverished young serf and his epic battle against evil.
For centuries the sinister, blood-thirsty dragon Trepezard had lain asleep in his lair. But something mysterious has awaken him and his wrath. In one fiery breath, the dragon can burn entire villages. The peasants of Leatholin live in mortal fear of their lives. Yet the treacherous and corrupt lords and knights are too afraid to protect their people. Meanwhile, there are threats of the the wild and powerful invaders from the North. The situation is dire and hopeless.
Until one insignificant, simple-hearted farm boy sets out to fight the dragon.
Continue reading “Just Released! The Tale of Finegan Patches” →
Last month, I made Junior art masterpiece cards to help him learn the “Hail Mary”. He really enjoyed looking at and talking about the pictures. And he did memorize the prayer, line by line. He would read the words, then I’d cover up them up and he would say them by memory. So, I decided to go ahead and make a similar set to help him learn the “Our Father.”
Continue reading “The “Our Father” in Art” →
Here’s a little Mother’s Day gift for you! For the month of May, I’m teaching Junior to pray the “Hail Mary”. Since he’s such a visual learner, I made these cards for him: an art masterpiece for each line of the “Hail Mary”. I hope they’ll help him to understand the meaning of each line in the prayer as he memorizes it. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Looking at beautiful sacred art is truly a path to prayer. If you have little ones who are just learning to pray, I hope this will help:
Continue reading “The “Hail Mary” in Art” →
Dominic Savio is the kind of saint anyone could be best friends with.
Full of laughter and entirely down to earth, he was a normal teenage kid who easily won his classmates’ hearts and was voted second place in a popularity contest at school – not at all the stiff-necked and unapproachable person some may think him to be. Yet beyond the joy spilling out of his character lay an intensely strong ardor and uncompromisingly high set of ideals which continuously pushed him closer and closer toward his first and greatest Friend – God. He never flaunted his virtue but it shone through him everywhere he was.
The kids on the nearby, questionable streets of Turin cut short their profanity when they saw him coming. Bullies and troublemakers turned around almost unfailingly when their teacher strategically seated them near Savio. Even Saint Don Bosco himself often asked his pupil for advice and never regretted taking it. In Dominic Savio, the boys of the Oratory found an example of holiness whom they respected rather than disdained. They wanted to be like him.
Continue reading “Just Released! A Novel About St. Dominic Savio, the Teenage Saint” →
Hello! St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner, so I thought I’d share this Holy Trinity Shamrock craft with you. I wanted a good visual that would help my kids understand why St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity.
Here’s what I came up with:
Continue reading “A Super Easy St. Patrick’s Day Craft” →
Preparing for Advent, I’ve been thinking about how to make this time meaningful for my little guy, Junior. Since he loves pictures, I made him a collection of art cards that depict the Christmas Story. And since he loves nursery rhymes, I added short little poems to go with each picture. The verses are very simple and repetitive, so he can understand and repeat the words. My hope is that by looking at the pictures and saying the verses, Junior will see the beauty of the Christmas story. Sacred art really has the power to draw us into contemplation.
Come take a peek:
Continue reading “Free Advent and Christmas Art Cards for Little Ones” →
With many schools being closed yet again, I thought I’d share our Advent traditions and what Junior and I are doing for the month of December.
Continue reading “Advent and Christmas Activities for Preschoolers with (and without) Down Syndrome” →
Sanctity. For many of us, this is what we want above all for our children. We want them to grow up to be devout, holy Catholics filled with grace and virtue.
But sometimes that seems impossible. When our kids are obstinate, quarrelsome, selfish, or hot-tempered, it seems there is no way they will overcome their faults and grow up to be mature, generous adults… let alone saints!
So for this Feast of All Saints, I did some dirt digging. Saints are not born, but made, though the mercy and grace of God. When we feel discouraged about our kids, it helps to hear about saints who were normal as children — usually very good but sometimes really challenging.
Here are three children who were difficult at times and still grew up to be saints:
Continue reading “Even the Saints Could be Difficult Children” →