Write 31 Days Challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

Do you remember when I wrote that I was going to cut down on my blogging schedule? Well, it looks like I will be writing for {almost} for the next 31 days. LOL!

write31days2016

After some reflection, I have decided to participate in the Write 31 Days writing challenge. I participated in this challenge last year on my other blog; however, this year, I feel lead to take the challenge here on Simple Catholic Living.

And, the focus of this challenge will be prayer.

Therefore, for the next 31 days, I will post a prayer of some sort *{almost} every day. Some prayers will be traditional prayers, some will be lesser known prayers, and some will be prayers that I write from the heart. I will link to each day’s prayers here for easy reference.

Why am I doing this?

If you spend any time here at Simple Catholic Living, you know prayer is important to me. I’ve mentioned this before: prayer is essential if we are to live a Christian life. It is the foundation of our relationship with God. Without prayer, our relationship with God will be mediocre, at best or nonexistent, at worst.

Besides that, the world desperately needs prayer. It needs God. Sometimes, it seems like the world, and everyone in it, has gone completely nuts. And, the only effective way to have a real and lasting change is through prayer. Jesus says that with the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I truly believe that, with prayer and faith, we can make a difference in this world.

Will you join me? Each day, come back to the blog for a new prayer. Or, save this post and come back to it daily. Like I mentioned above, I will link to the day’s prayers here so they are all in one place. Together, let us pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and for everyone.

God bless.

*I may or may not post on Sunday. I try to honor the Lord’s Day as much as possible so unless I have the opportunity to pre-post, there will be no live posts on Sundays.

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Tweetable: Write 31 Days challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

31 Days of Prayer

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Saints and Feasts Days in October 2016

Wow, this month really got away from me! Andrew started 6th grade and it is the most demanding year so far (for him and for me).

In other news, I will be doing a blogging challenge this October which I will write about more on Friday. Until then, here are the saints and feasts for October:

Image by karigamb08 (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by karigamb08 (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Saints and Feasts

October 1St Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

October 2: The Guardian Angels (Not celebrated liturgically this year because it falls on a Sunday)

October 4: St. Francis of Assisi (obligatory memorial)

October 6: St. Bruno, priest (optional memorial)

October 6:  St. Marie-Rose Durocher, virgin (optional memorial)

October 7: Our Lady of the Rosary (obligatory memorial)

October 14: St. Callistus, pope and martyr (optional memorial)

October 15: St. Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

October 16: St. Hedwig, religious (optional memorial)

October 17: St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop & martyr (obligatory memorial)

October 18: St. Luke, evangelist (feast)

October 19: St. John de Brebeuf & Isaac Jogues, Priests, and companions, martyrs (obligatory memorial)

October 20: St. Paul of the Cross, priest (optional memorial)

October 22: St. John Paul II, pope (optional memorial)

October 24: St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop (optional memorial)

October 28: Sts. Simon & Jude, apostles (feast)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

October is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

October 10: Columbus Day (USA)

October 10: Canadian Thanksgiving Day

October 17: National Boss Day (USA)

October 31: Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve)

You can download a printable version of this list (no opt in required) by clicking here. God bless!

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Tweetable: Saints and Feast Days in October 2016

You are Loved

Are you going through a difficult time right now? YOU are LOVED.
Are you feeling lost, abandoned or confused? YOU are LOVED.
Are you feeling angry, rejected, or lonely? YOU are LOVED.

You are Loved

Even when others reject you, neglect you, or disappoint you, YOU are Loved beyond measure.

Truly, you are loved more than you know. You have not been abandoned. You are not alone. In your darkest days, God is with you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. As St. Paul writes, nothing can separate us from God.

We may separate ourselves from God through sin or by ignoring Him but He NEVER separates Himself from us.

So, if you are struggling or going through a difficult time, take courage. Trust in God. Believe He is there. Know that He loves you.

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And, yes, if all is going well for you, if you are happy and “living the good life,” God loves you too! Remember Him, thank Him, and know that he shares your joys as well as your sorrows!

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Tweetable: You are Loved

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I think the following scripture (the 2nd reading from the feast day’s mass) from Philippians 2:6-11 sums up this feast perfectly:

Image by calibra (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by chaddyfynn (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Though He was in the From of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.

Rather, He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!

Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name,

So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

I cannot even begin to fathom the awesomeness of God’s mercy in giving us His son, Jesus, to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. It is simply mind-boggling. What an amazing love God has for us! What lengths He went to in order to assure our place in heaven and to bring us into relationship with Him!

May we today, and every day, remember that great love, especially when we go through struggles and difficulties. There is no suffering that we go through that will compare to the sufferings of Jesus. He knows the feelings of desolation, despair, and agony. And because of that, He is able to assist us and be with us in our suffering. Let us try to live in trust and hope knowing God will always be there for us!

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Tweetable: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Back to School! (And Our Curriculum Plans)

Wow! Today is the first day of 6th grade for Andrew. I can hardly believe it. I keep telling him to stop growing up but he doesn’t listen. LOL!

First Day of 6th Grade

1st day of 6th grade!

I am really excited about this year. It is our first year going *all in* with the Mother of Divine Grace program. Andrew already had his orientation classes for the Latin, History Book Club, and Fine Arts Appreciation courses. They look like they are going to be a lot of fun.

For religion, he will work through the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism and read through the Gospels of Mark and Luke. He will also go to CCD again this year. I love the program at our church and it is a good supplement for his spiritual development. (It also gives him another opportunity to be with other kids and participate in the Living Stations of the Cross put on every year by the 6th-8th graders.)

For Math, he will continue with the Right Start Math Program. He is halfway through Level E. I love that this program is level based, rather than grade based. He can work through the program at his own pace and it has lots of manipulatives which Andrew loves.

For English, he will use the Lepano (Voyages in English) books. Most of the lessons are done orally and has a *Catholic flavor* I think I will like. He will also be diagraming sentences with this program.

He also starts Editing this year. He will use the book, The Great Editing Adventure, and for each lesson he will use a dictionary and thesaurus to edit and rewrite a paragraph or two.

For Spelling, he will continue the All About Spelling program. He is going to begin on Level 4.

For History/Geography, he will be learning about ancient Egypt. He will be constructing a timeline and using an Atlas. This class meets online once a week. He will meet online every other week. He will also be reading The Old World and America and several historical fiction books.

For Science, he will be using the Concepts and Challenges in Science books which are exclusive to Mother of Divine Grace. Because I had been doing my own thing up until now, we are using the 5th grade books so that he can get in line with their science sequence (just don’t tell Andrew!).

For Latin, he will be following the online program specific to Mother of Divine Grace and meet online once a week. I love how these books show how Latin is the basis of many of our English words and the connections between the two languages.

For Fine Arts (Art Appreciation) he will meet online once a week and they will learn about various art periods and terminology, look at and discuss pieces of art work, and listen to different music pieces. He will also be responsible for writing a short paper for this class.

For Poetry, he will spend the year memorizing three or four poems from The Harp and the Laurel Wreath focusing on one stanza a week. The first poem he will learn is “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Finally, for Typing, he will continue to practice his typing skills using typing club.

Mother of Divine Grace also encourages all 6th graders to read for at least 45 minutes a day.

Whew! I know it looks like a lot; however, several of the subjects only take 10 or 15 minutes a day, such as the poetry memorization, typing, and religion. Even the history, Latin, and editing classes should not be more than 30 minutes to complete so his work should be quite doable. 🙂

I hope these give you some ideas if you are looking to home school. Or, if you do homeschool, what books/programs do you use?

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Tweetable: Back to School! (And Our Curriculum Plans)

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Happy Labor Day to You and Yours

Today is Labor Day and everyone is gearing up to go back to school and enter into their fall schedule. If you are wondering what Labor Day is about go here.

Hapy Labor Day!

Image by unsplash (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Saint and Feast Days in September 2016

Tomorrow is September 1st and it is time for the list of saints for the month. I can’t believe school will be starting back up in just a few days (for us in NJ). We had a wonderful summer this year and I hate to see it end! Still, I am looking forward to fall and all that comes with it. 🙂

Saint and Feast days in Septmember 2016

Image by LoggaWiggler (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Saints and Feasts

September 2: First Friday devotions (optional)

September 3:  St Gregory the Great, Pope & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

September 3: First Saturday devotions (optional)

September 8: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (feast)

September 9: St. Peter Claver, priest (obligatory memorial)

September 12: The Most Holy Name of Mary (optional memorial)

September 13: St. John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (feast)

September 15: Our Lady of Sorrows (obligatory memorial)

September 16: St. Cornelius, Pope and Cyprian, bishop, martyrs (optional memorial)

September 17: St. Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor of the church (optional memorial)

September 19: St. Januarius, bishop and martyr (optional memorial)

September 21: St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist (feast)

September 23: St. Pius of Pietrelcina, priest “St. Padre Pio” (obligatory memorial)

September 26: Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs (optional memorial)

September 27: St. Vincent de Paul, priest (obligatory memorial)

September 28: St. Wenceslaus, martyr (optional memorial)

September 28: St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, martyrs (optional memorial)

 September 29: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels (feast)

September 30: St. Jerome, priest and doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

September is traditionally dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

September 5: Labor Day (USA and Canada)

September 11: Patriot Day (USA), Remembrance of the attack at the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania.

September 11: Grandparents day

September 22: Autumn begins

For a printable version of this list click here. (No login required)

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Tweetable: Saint and Feast Days in September 2016

13 Years and Going Strong!

Today, my husband and I are married 13 years. I can’t imagine where all the time has gone. Some days it feels like we just got married and some days it feels like we have been married forever. LOL! But, that is how it goes, right?

My husband Michael

My husband Michael

The “honeymoon phase” has long past and has been replaced by respect, understanding, and a deeper love I didn’t know existed. And yet, there are still frequent moments of swoon. Even after all these years, I still get excited and rejoice when he comes home from being on the road. Maybe him being a truck driver has kept things fresh!

Marriage, as has motherhood, has also taught me a lot about love and forgiveness. There have been very difficult times, times when I just think it would be better to give up, too. We have struggled and worked through disagreements and arguments. We have had to forgive each other a lot and have had to rely on the commitment we made to each other. We have had to choose love when choosing love was the last thing we wanted to do.

But, you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing!

Happy Anniversary, Michael!

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P.S. Today is also the memorial of the Queenship of Mary. Read about that here.

Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You

(I am reposting this because I think we all need reminders of God’s love every now and again. When we are struggling or hurting in various ways it is easy to forget that we are not alone. So, if you are struggling, I hope these reminders will give you some hope and courage. God bless.)

Reminders of God's Love

Image by albertobarquin0 (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain:

This post is dedicated to my Aunt Miriam who passed away a few years ago. She was one of the first people to encourage me to read the bible and to dedicate my heart to Jesus. I loved her so much and still miss her dearly. She loved God and understood His great love for us. She also loved to read her bible and did so faithfully. The Bible is God’s love story to us, so if you need a reminder of how much God loves you, here’s ten of them:

1. “O Lord, your love reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds.” Psalm 36:6

2. “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.” Jeremiah 31:3

3. “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, he will sing joyfully because of you.” Zephaniah 3:17

4. “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love John 15:9

5. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13

6. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal live.” John 3:16 (My personal, all-time favorite verse from Scripture!)

7. “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

8. “For I am convinced that either death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

9. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the holy ones, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:16-21

10. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet we are.” 1 John: 31

I pray that you are touched by God’s love today. I pray that whatever you are going through you will have the courage and faith to stay strong. Never forget: You are loved. You matter. Your presence makes a difference in this world!

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Tweetable: 10 Reminders of God’s Love For You

Hold Your Eyes on God and Leave the Doing to Him

I love this quote by Saint Jane Frances de Chantal:

Hold Your Eyes on God

It is a great reminder that God has everything under control, even when it doesn’t seem like it! And, it is a reminder that I need often. I struggle with anxiety issues and sometimes I get frustrated by the fact that I get worked up over such little things. This quote makes me realize that worrying will not get me anywhere. God will. He is present in all the craziness of life and will help pull us through!

By the way, did you know that today is the optional memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal? She was an incredible woman. She was also blessed with a double vocation in that she was married with six children and then became a religious sister some years after her husband’s death. St. Jane is also the foundress of the Visitation of Mary Sisters.

St. Jane is a wonderful role model for mothers, wives, and religious. I hope you will take some time to get to know her a little bit.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us!

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Tweetable: Hold Your Eyes on God and Leave the Doing to Him