I wish all of you a blessed, wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! We all face trials and tribulations but we also have so much to be thankful for. I know that I am thankful for many things and one of those things are you! Thank you for reading and connecting with me here at Simple Catholic Living. You are all such a blessing!
Today we honor all our Veteran’s and thank them for their sacrifice and service to our country. If you are curious about the history of Veteran’s Day, here is a brief explaination on how it came to be celebrated on November 11. Additionally, don’t forget to say a prayer for your favorite Veteran and all Veterans.
From my family to yours: We wish you all a truly blessed and truly HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
We all go through struggles and hardships but we still have so much to be thankful for! God bless.
(Image in public domain)
We are truly blessed in our country to have the freedoms that we have. Our country certainly isn’t perfect, and we must continue to fight to keep our freedoms, but still, in many ways we are truly blessed. Let us take a moment to thank God for our freedom, and the grace to use our freedom wisely and for his glory.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and with that comes dinner invitations and parties! Parties and dinners, of course, usually entails bringing a hostess gift. For me, that used to mean bringing a bottle of wine, or flowers or a dessert. Now I know better. 😉 I remember once going to someone’s house for dinner and several people bringing wine (me included!) and several others brought flowers.
Now, I try to personalize the hostess gift to match the interests of the hostess. Here are some of my favorite ideas that won’t break the bank! (Not only that, these ideas can be used for almost any occasion, not just the holidays, such as birthdays.)
1. Disposable camera. This is popular at a lot of weddings these days, but can be fun for any occasion. Pass the camera around and then offer to have the film developed. To take it one step further, why not surprise your hostess and organize the pictures in an album before giving her the pictures? I know, for me, I often forget to take out my camera when I host a gathering and it would be great to have someone capture the memories for me!
2. Decorative calendar for the New Year. There are many types of calendars that are quite lovely. You can even go online and have personalized calendars made, if you have enough time. Also, if you are giving the calendar to a family member or close friend, pre-fill in some important dates to remember such as birthdays, anniversaries or events.
3. Gift certificate. A $5 or $10 dollar gift certificate makes a terrific hostess gift. Who doesn’t love a gift certificate to their favorite store?! Put it in a pretty envelope or card and you are good to go. Or, go one step further and make a homemade gift certificate that is redeemable for one afternoon of watching her kids (or other fun activity)!
4. Spiritual bouquet. A spiritual bouquet is nothing more than a homemade (or store-bought) card with a list of prayers and/or spiritual devotions that were (or will be) offered for that person. You can decorate the card as simply or as elaborate as you want. Here is an example of a spiritual bouquet to get you started.
5. Framed scripture verse. You can use Microsoft Publisher or other software to create and print out the host’s favorite scripture verse on fancy card stock and frame it for her.
6. Candles. You can never have enough candles, can you?! 😉
7. Ornament. You make a tree ornament or buy one inexpensively. As a nice touch you can have the ornament personalized for your host. When my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmas together, my mother-in-law gave us a personalized ornament that brings me a smile every year when I hang in on our tree.
8. Music. You can easily get some beautiful Christmas or other music CDs for $5 dollars or less in the clearance rack. Or, you can take the time to make a compilation of the host’s favorite music onto a CD.
9. Costume Jewelry. If your hostess likes to wear jewelry (personally, I don’t), you can find some really nice costume jewelry inexpensively. Etsy has lots of costume jewelry in all different price ranges. Of course, if it’s your thing, you can certainly make your own.
10. Gift baskets. Gift baskets make great gifts for any occasion. You can quickly put together a small basket that is theme based. For example, you can do a tea basket with different tea samples and/or tea towels or a small basket with bathroom or kitchen accessories.
I’d love to hear you ideas, too! Do you have a unique hostess gift idea you can share with us?
P.S. For a handy cheat sheet of this list that you can print out, go here. (Subscribers: go to your private page to download this cheat sheet.)
Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away, and I’ve been looking for some simple (and fun) craft ideas. I’ve mentioned this before, but my new favorite place to look for ideas is Pinterest; and, I’ve found some cute ideas there for Thanksgiving. Here’s just a few:
1. Be Thankful.
5. Turkey Craft.
6. Paper Crafts.
10. Thankful Box.
Aren’t these great ideas? I particularly love the thankful box! Do you have any favorite craft ideas to share? Leave the idea or link in the comments. Thanks!
(P.S. This is a re-post, with some slight revisions, from last year.)
Today is the feast day of Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and mother of Mary! Since there’s no St. Carol (what a shame!), and my middle name is Ann, I’ve taken St. Ann as my name day.
There’s not a lot known about Saint Ann, but tradition (with a small “t”) has it that Saints Joachim and Ann were rich, but very devout. They prayed a long time for a child and their prayers were answered in a big way! Imagine being parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Here’s some other information about St Ann (and St. Joachim) as seen through the mystics.
My home church growing up was Saint Ann’s in Keansburg, NJ. I discovered several years ago that supposedly, soon after St. Ann’s was built, St. Ann appeared to several parishioners. According to what I was told, she appeared several days in a row. She never spoke, but just looked down from above the church. I don’t know if any of this is true, but it’s certainly a nice thought!
Celebrating the Day
Last year, Andrew colored a picture of Saint Ann, which I found on Waltzing Matilda’s website. We read about the life of St Ann and St. Joachim. We went to mass, prayed the rosary and thanks to a gift card I had received, we treated Andrew to a movie.
This year, I’m getting the special treat. My in-laws are taking Andrew, along with a couple of cousins on a day long motor home trip. They are going to spend the day as pirates, and have a mini camp-out. In the meantime, I get to have almost the whole day to myself! I have some work, retreat/prayer time and down time planned and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.
Prayer to Saint Ann (found in Picture book of Saints)
“O God, You bestowed on St. Ann such grace that she was found worthy to become the mother of Mary, who brought forth Your Only-begotten Son. Grant that we may be helped by her intercession. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen”
Saint Ann, pray for us!
(P.S. I want to do a special shout-out to my friend, Anne, who is also celebrating her feast day with me. Happy name-day, dear friend!)
There is even less known about Saint Joachim than there is of Saint Ann – except that he was wealthy, pious and the father of Mary. In my research, though, I discovered that there is knighthood order dedicated to Saint Joachim; however, after reading some questionable things, I’m not comfortable linking to the website.
Prayer to Saint Joachim (found on about.com)
“O great and glorious Patriarch, Saint Joachim, what joy is mine when I consider that thou wast chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy! By this singular privilege, thou hast become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us; with great confidence I have recourse to thy mighty protection and I commend to thee all my needs and those of my family, both spiritual and temporal; and especially do I entrust to thy keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from thy fatherly intercession. And since thou wast a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace of interior recollection and a spirit of detachment from the transitory goods of this life, together with a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me in like manner a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy Church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her: to the end that I may live and die in faith and hope and perfect charity, ever invoking the holy names of Jesus and Mary, and may I thus be saved. Amen.”
Saint Joachim, pray for us!
Linked to Saints & Scripture Sunday.
(Photo credit: Artsome-studio)
I’m not big on Valentine’s Day, but it is kind of nice to tell – and show – the ones you love, that you love them. What makes Valentine’s day special for me, is that it is the anniversary of the day I was baptized, so many years ago. I used to think that it was God’s special way of telling me He loved me! But, I digress…
Here’s a few Valentine’s Day gift suggestions to give your spouse to get your ideas flowing:
1. Get away. If you can swing it, (and can get a babysitter!) plan a short overnight get-away. It doesn’t have to be too far away or someplace fancy – even a night at a nice local hotel.
2. Write a love letter. I don’t know about you, but I love handwritten letters or notes. Especially in today’s world of emails and test messages, a handwritten letter is so personal, so special. So, why don’t you take a few minutes to write a letter, or poem or song or whatever to your spouse, telling him (or her, if a man is reading this!) how much you love him and the qualities that attract him to you?
3. Use your voice. Along the same vein as above, why don’t you record your voice to a CD or his mp3 player, telling him you love him?
4. Plan a special dinner. You don’t have to go out for a fancy dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day (although, you can if you want! 😉 ). How about planning a romantic dinner of your spouse’s favorite foods and sharing it after the kids are down for the night?
5. Have a Mass said. Did you know that having masses said isn’t just for the deceased, however commendable. The mass is even more efficacious when offered for you while you are alive! You might not be able to have the mass said on Valentine’s Day itself, but you can have the date set up and then let your spouse know in a card when the day is. Then, when the day comes, if you can, why not go to mass together?
6. Flowers from Aldi’s. Seriously. I’ve gotten flowers lots of times from Aldi’s, and not only are they much less expensive then most places; they are just as fresh and they last just as long, if not longer.
7. Personalized something. You can get just about anything personalized nowadays, such as t-shirts, sweat-shirts, aprons, mugs, etc. They make a fun, frugal and lasting gift.
8. Spiritual Bouquet. Valentine’s day is a great occasion for a spiritual bouquet; and you can note the mass you are having said included in the card.
9. Have an adventure! Do something fun and do something that your spouse likes to do or always wanted to do, like take a class on something your spouse has always wanted to learn, or go to a sporting event of your spouse’s favorite team, or aquarium, or museum, or some other place that suits your fancy!
10. Time! With all of our busy schedules, time is a precious commodity. How special would it be if you tossed everything aside and just “be” with your spouse. Just not do anything but cuddle up together and chat or read or watch TV. Or nothing.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. What about you? Do you have a favorite gift idea to share? Let us know in the comments!
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 98:2)
This verse is in the first stanza of this weekend’s responsorial psalm. This psalm is an exhortation to praise the Lord; something I don’t do often enough.
Praise is good for us. God doesn’t need our praise, but praising Him lifts us up. It brings our hearts and minds into focus. I know for me, when I’m down or caught up in life, praising the Lord lifts me up. Also, when I’m tempted to sin and I remember to praise the Lord, the temptation flees. (Didn’t do a very good job remembering that this week, though…)
One of the things that helps me to praise the Lord is music. St. Augustine says that when we sing, we pray twice. That’s why I like to listen to Christian music when I clean or go about my daily activities. It helps me lift my heart in praise and prayer. It washes away the bad mood I may be in. It’s all round just good.
So, here’s a little song I found to help you lift your spirits to the Lord in prayer and praise on this fine Sunday. (Scroll down a bit to play the song.) It’s called Adoration and it’s by Rick Founds, Rhesa Siregar, Paul Gentry and Elton Smith.
Have a blessed week!
(Join us over at the Kennedy Adventures! for more Saints and Scripture posts!)
“Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, which is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.” Revelation 12:7-9
The feast of the Archangels is one of my favorite feasts. In our spiritual battles it is comforting to know that St. Michael and the other angels are there fighting for us and watching over us!
Many people know the prayer to Saint Michael; but, did you know that the prayer is condensed? There is an original prayer that is longer – and very powerful. I pray the longer version over my family about once a month. You can find the original prayer and other prayers to Saint Michael here. (When you click the link the website has music that starts automatically, so scroll down a bit and you’ll see the player to turn the music off.)
May the archangels watch over you and protect you all the days of your life. Happy feast day everyone.