Archives for November 2012

Saint Pedro Calungsod: The Second Filipino Saint

Pope Benedict XVI recently canonized Pedro Calungsod. Today many Roman Catholic Filipinos gathered in Cebu City to celebrate this canonization and the new statue built in his honor. Pedro Calungsod is the second ever saint to come from the Philippines. He was a martyr in the 17th century who died as a teen. Pedro joined Spanish Jesuit missionaries to Guam in 1668 on a mission to convert the native people, however they resisted and his life was lost.

To hear more about this story click here: Saint Pedro Calungsod

Youth Sports: Teaching Your Kids to Have a Positive Attitude

Youth sports are a great opportunity for your child to grow as an individual, while also learning lessons and making friends. As a parent, you hope that your child will be successful in youth sports. This isn’t always the case though, and this is part the lessons they will learn being an athlete. Keeping a positive attitude even when things don’t go your way in key, and parents should help to remind their children of this when they struggle. You need to encourage your child to keep trying, and also make clear to them that having a negative attitude will only make things worse.

I read a post on JBM Thinks today that asked an important sports parent question. Do you cheer when your child comes in last place? The post was about a young boy with autism who came in last place at a school race recently. Everybody cheered the loudest for him and he had an awesome time. I felt this story was inspiring and it also coincided with what I talked about above. Having a positive attitude is so key in sports and many other things in life. This is a lesson you should be instilling into your children; and don’t forget to cheer them on regardless of what place they come in!

The World’s Best Advent Calendar: Promoting the Work of a Hospital

Every year at home we have some sort of Advent calendar in the house. There have been some homemade ones and some fancier ones that I bought throughout the years, but overall the main idea is just the tradition of having one. I read a pretty awesome story today though about an Advent calendar that is definitely better than any of the ones I have ever had.

A bunch of people who support the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem are teaming up to make an internet Advent calendar this year. The purpose is to encourage people all over the world to learn more about the staff and patients of the hospital. This hospital is apparently located only 500 yards away from what is traditionally considered the birth spot of Jesus Christ.

The group will launch the site within the first few days of December, and it will feature a different video, blog post, picture, or some other form of information every day. They just want to raise awareness for a very important hospital who saves many lives every year.

To learn more about the Advent calendar read this story: Advent Calendar to Promote Work of Bethlehem Hospital

Pope Benedict XVI Asks Parents to Teach Their Children with Joy

Parents should be positive role models in their children’s lives. This means teaching them about simple things like right and wrong, and more importantly setting a good example for them to follow. Children tend to learn best from watching their parents do things. Children will act the way their parents do because that is what they think is right.

Pope Benedict XVI recently urged parents to become more active in sharing the faith with their children. Not only does he wish for parents to be actively involved in teaching their children about the Church, but he also wants them to be joyful when they do it. This idea goes back to the notion that children learn by watching. If a child sees their parent being joyful when speaking about their faith, it will excite them to become involved as well. Explaining your beliefs simply and clearly to your children can go a long way as far as affecting them in their spiritual growth.

To read more about Pope Benedict’s request read this story: Pope Counsels Parents to Share with Joy

How do you teach your children about your faith at home?

Giving Presence This Year for Christmas Might Mean the Most

Finding the right toys, electronics, sports gear, or other gifts may not be your strong suit come Christmas time. The holiday itself has become so commercialized and bogged down from its true meaning. I know I’m not the first person to realize this, but I still like to remind people of it. Everybody was just so caught up in Black Friday and Cyber Monday a few days ago, and it made me think about what I should get for family members this year. In some cases I feel like it might just be nice to spend more quality time with some of them.

I was given this idea by a post on Playground Dad about giving gifts of presence not presents. This post was titled so well, and it made me realize that some of my family members might appreciate the “presence” more than some “presents”. The post also gave some ideas about how to give “presence” as a gift that can be spread out over a year.

How would you feel about receiving some “presence” for Christmas this year from a family member?

Finding a Babysitter: Making Date Night a Reality

One of the hardest things about finding time to spend with your husband or wife is figuring out what to do with the kids. Every couple wants to spend time together with the occasional date night, but it just doesn’t materialize sometimes. With busy work schedules, activities with the kids, and finding time to actually sleep planning a date night can be difficult. The biggest factor is finding a babysitter. It’s a big deal to leave your kids with somebody else, and the babysitter has to be somebody responsible who you and your kids feel comfortable with. There is not point in going out for a date night if you are too worried about your kids to even enjoy it.

Dad’s Round Table blogged about what to do when you are in search of a sitter. The post talks about different ways to find a reliable babysitter. Their choices included a family member, a close friend, somebody from church, or even using a service. If you have been struggling to find a babysitter, all of these options could be useful.

Where have you found quality babysitters in the past?

Lessons From the Bible: The Birth of Christ Can Teach Us A Lot

If you know the story of how Jesus Christ was born, you know how he was born in poverty. Mary and Joseph were traveling desperately searching for a place where she could have the Son of God.
Every single place they went, there was no room for them. They were at a loss. Where would they have this child?

That was until they knocked on the door of one inn. The man told them he had no room for them, however, they were more than welcome to use an outside area. When Jesus was born, Mary and Jesus laid him in a manger made of straw. They were overjoyed with the new baby boy God had given them.

How Jesus’ Birth Shows the Spirit of Poverty

Mary and Joseph couldn’t have been happier that blessed day Jesus was born. They didn’t need a fancy room, nice warm blankets, or any other accommodations. They had everything they needed. God provided for them.

Think about this – you are about to give birth to a child with no place to go. You must make due with whatever you have around you. It’s not perfect, but it will work. When that child is born, nothing around you matters, all that matters is you have a brand new baby boy you love tremendously.

If you’re able to imagine that, you are able to see how Mary and Joseph felt. They were poor in the things they had but they were not poor in the love they had.
So what matters more? The things you have or the people you have around you? Appreciating what you have and realizing you don’t really need anything but what God believes you need will help you understand the spirit of poverty. When you are poor, you are able to see what really matters.

How to Use this Teaching in Your Life

Think about all of the modern conveniences you have and then imagine if they were gone. Think about how different your life would be and what you would have to do to compensate for the loss of those things. However, while this exercise can be effective, it may not be possible to truly feel poverty until you are poor. It’s hard for people to appreciate things when they aren’t really gone. It’s hard for them to see what truly matters when they are clouded by all the things around them.

It’s good to know though if there was ever a time when you don’t have as much as you have now, you can have faith in God that he will provide you with whatever you need. He always knows what you need before you even ask for it. Having that faith and believing in God’s guidance will help you in troubling times. It will help you see that you don’t really need all the things around you – all you need are the people you love and basic living essentials. Take a moment now to appreciate what you have and thank God. Try to see what really matters as you reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. With this, you can grow stronger in faith.

Personalized Gifts: Thoughtful and Unique Gifts are the Best

There’s simply nothing better than a personalized and thoughtful gift. Giving a gift is great, but giving a uniquely personal gift is even better. The person receiving your gift knows that some extra thought and effort went into your gift idea. Getting somebody a gift with their name or initials on it is really nice.

I read a post on Mom 4 Real about, The Coolest Gift For The Sports Freak in Your Life. This is a really cool gift idea for a big sports fan, I would personally love to get one. The author’s family members are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, so she had personalized calendars made. The calendars feature 12 of their favorite players for each month, and she could even make sure that her son’s favorite player was featured on his birthday month! What a thoughtful and neat gift!

What kinds of personalized gifts have you given in the past?

Baby Steps: Remember to Baby Proof Your Home

New parents are often unprepared for the things their child will do. For instance the first time a child learns to move on their own can be a really exciting event. Parents are typically happy and proud at moments like the first time their baby crawls. Things might be forgotten though like is there a gate in front of the staircase or are there covers over all the electrical outlets.

A blog called Tim and Olive recently posted about their baby and how she recently began crawling. They were not ready for their child’s free movements around the house and had to make some quick adjustments. The post I read, “Dear Baby, Please Don’t Walk Yet” was really great. They blogged about how quickly their baby’s crawling changed their lives, and wondered how much more drastic the change will be when she is walking. Many parents are excited for their children to learn how to walk, but maybe they shouldn’t be! It certainly makes things a lot easier to control.

What are some of the most important things to baby proof when your child is learning to walk/crawl?

Learning Obedience: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

One of the many lessons we can learn from Mary, Mother of Jesus is obedience. She has taught us that Catholics need to follow the laws of the church. These laws keep us pure. They help us stay true to our faith and to God’s Word.

How Mary Shows Obedience with the Presentation of Jesus

Forty days after Mary gave birth, she took Jesus to the temple. This was for two purposes: ritual purification and redemption of the first born son.
Ritual purification was written in the Laws of Moses. After a woman gives birth, she is viewed as unclean due to the connection she had with bodily fluids. Going to the church within forty days of giving birth would purify a woman.
Redemption of the first born son was also written in the Laws of Moses. Back then, when a male was born naturally (meaning not through cesarean section), she would have to sacrifice a lamb to the church. However, since Mary and Joseph were poor people, they were able to sacrifice the alternative, which were two turtledoves or young pigeons.

How Mary Teaches Us Obedience
Mary and Joseph knew that it was right to obey the Laws of Moses. They believed that it was important to follow through with these codes of conduct.
When we see Mary do exactly as stated in the Laws of Moses, it teaches us that we need to follow the same type of rules. We shouldn’t dismiss what we have been told is important by the church. We need to abide by them just as Mary did.

How Catholics Can Be Obedient According to the Teachings of the Church

Catholics continue to follow the teachings of the church as closely as possible. The unfortunate thing is that many Catholics don’t know all of the laws and thus don’t follow them due to this ignorance.

Attending Mass to listen to the gospel and homily given by the priest is a great way to remind yourself of what you as a Catholic should do daily to follow the teachings of the church. It’s also important to read the Bible. As the bible gives us a lot of the rules that Christians should follow in their life.

Finally, if you are ever unsure of what to do in life, you can always seek guidance from your priest. A priest is a counselor and coach. He can help you come to understand what is expected of you as a Christian. He can help you understand why life has turned one way instead of another way. He can also answer your questions about what you should do in difficult situations and still be in accordance with God’s Word.

So, follow Mary’s example. Understand the rules of the church by going to Mass and read the Bible. Whenever you have questions seek counsel from your priest and always turn to prayer when you just need comfort from God. This all God wants of you, to acknowledge Him and to follow Him – just as Mary did.