Recognize the Little Blessings in Your Life Today

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany, and as you all know the day is in honor of the Three Wise Men bringing their gifts to Jesus. This morning I read a post on A Catholic Heart for the Home that talked about being grateful for the gifts in your little world. This referred to the little things that you might overlook sometimes, but that really mean a lot to you. I thought it was fantastic that the author was able to take something personal like that away from yesterday being the Feast of the Epiphany. The author Niki lists some really great gifts that she wanted to recognize from her life. It got me thinking that we all definitely have at least three small gifts in our life that we could recognize like Niki did. I felt that sharing this idea was smart, and I hope it helps you to recognize some of the blessings in your life today!

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?

Parenting Tip: How to Save Money During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here again, and for many families out there it can be a struggle. The commercialized monster that Christmas has become presents a big issue for parents who have difficulties making ends meet. Let’s not forget what Christmas is really about this year, and remember that a thoughtful gift is the best gift. It might not be the easiest to convey that message to your children, but it is a lost concept that I think should be ingrained into society more.

I recently read a post on JBM Thinks titled, “Money Saving Holiday Tips for Parents”. The article might be able to give you some good ideas about how to make it all come together this holiday season!

What methods do you use at home to save money around this time of year?

Thanksgiving

I have been thinking about this for awhile now, since Halloween actually, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to say about it.

While shopping for my daughter’s Halloween costume (ran out of things in the house to use as a costume), a week before Halloween, I was shocked when I had to walk past the Christmas trees and baubles to get to the Halloween costumes. In a Jerry Seinfeld voice I couldn’t help myself, I said “what’s up with that?”.

The stores have had their product ordered more than a year ago and the stuff couldn’t wait just three more weeks to be displayed? Why is it that we complain about stuff like this but how many do anything about it? You could call, email or even hand-write a letter and I’m sorry to say it wouldn’t do much good. Really the only way to get retailers to allow one holiday to pass or even get close, before getting ready to “sell” the next one is to effect their “bottom line”.

Can you just imagine what would happen if the stock sat on the floor unsold for three weeks? Do you think there would be massive price reductions? Each year that we as consumers allow the season to start earlier is more incentive for retailers to begin “selling” it to us earlier.

I, myself REFUSE to buy a single Christmas present or listen to a single Christmas jingle UNTIL Thanksgiving. I do enjoy listening to Christmas music ON Thanksgiving.

We are now a 24/7/365 society. This can’t be good for us. Have you ever really missed out on anything really important because you didn’t get it early or first? I have found some of the best gifts shopping on Christmas Eve. Actually when you think about it you can shop for next Christmas, the day after Christmas this year which could cause retailers to consider display “Christmas” year round? I know, I know, there’s the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I thought on-line shopping was going to be the solution to this? You can shop on Black Friday in your pajamas so why go out at 5am.

I know this sounds all bah-hum-bug but really it’s not. I would love everybody to stop, relax and enjoy each and every holiday that we have each year. I just don’t see anyone relaxing much anymore. I just want to shout “Stop I want to get off” this crazy train.

Don’t you remember the wisdom of “stop and smell the roses”? It’s important that we not pass-by the opportunities we have to spend time with loved ones, share stories, laugh and sometimes even cry because we didn’t have the time.

My Thanksgiving wish is that this very special holiday for our nation will bring comfort, peace and a true feeling of thanksgiving to all.

God Bless,
Erin

Me? Cook? What?!

Uh oh. My family has requested I bring a dish to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.   Now, the last time I stepped foot near the oven was last year’s holiday season, when I attempted to do some baking.  “Good scones”  was the reply I received for my efforts.  Except…I baked sugar cookies.

I could give a million more examples of how I am a terrible cook, and have messed up meals that you didn’t even think possible!  In fact, that’s exactly why I wrote the article last week suggesting lovely presents for the host; I figured, a necklace will last past Thanksgiving Day, and more importantly, the host won’t get food poisoning from it!

But anyway, if a dish is what my family wants, well…I’ve warned them!  Luckily, Lisa Hendey and other wonderful contributors of catholicmom.com have made it easy.  Their blog contains an article in which they share their favorite dishes.  They look delicious, and pretty easy to make too (thank goodness!).  I think “Aunt Gwen’s Banana Bread”  looks just about right for me.

So, for all of you out there stepping out of their comfort zone for the sake of Thanksgiving, check out the article! And good luck!!

Catholic Military Gifts

We all owe anybody who has served time for our country more than we could ever offer. If you have a loved one who has given their time and effort to protect our country’s freedom than they certainly deserve a nice gift from you. Whether you are shopping for a father, mother, son daughter, or friend you cannot go wrong with piece of Catholic military jewelry. There is quite a variety of different Catholic military gifts to wear that honors our troops. Jewelry for the Navy, the Army, the National Guard, the Coast Guard, the Marines, and the Air Force are all available in many different forms and makes. Options for these different divisions of national protection include dog tags, crucifixes, Miraculous medals, and patron saint medals. If you choose to get your loved one a medallion the piece can definitely be engraved to add a nice touch to the gift and make it unique to its owner.

A very nice gift choice that your loved one will absolutely cherish is a walnut crucifix. They make these crucifixes specialized for the Marines, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The crucifix is wooden and was hand carved and made special for this purpose. On top of the wooden cross lays a sterling silver version of Jesus. The detail that went in to the creation of the sterling silver Jesus is outstanding and really adds to the beauty of the piece. The medallion on the cross underneath Christ is what makes this a great gift for somebody who has served time. The sterling silver medals that are on these crosses are made with the crest of whatever military division you would like on there out of the options stated above. This really adds to the meaning of this crucifix and can be a big deal for somebody who has served time.

Any patron saint medal always makes for an excellent gift when you are shopping for anybody. The thing is that you aren’t just shopping for anybody though, you are shopping for a very important person who risked their life to defend a country. That is why there are only two patron saint medals you should consider for anybody who has served time for our country. Saint Michael and Saint Christopher both have medals with their image on them that are specifically made for somebody who was in the armed forces. Are you wondering why Saint Michael and Saint Christopher? Well, let me clear that all up for you. Saint Michael was the archangel who took a leadership role for heaven when Satan attacked and tried to wreak havoc all over them. Heaven, of course, was victorious in their endeavors and fought them off. This is why Saint Michael is known as the great protector. Saint Christopher unknowingly carried Christ through a very dangerous river to safety. Christopher helped a small boy, who he did not know at all cross a river. He carried the boy and felt an unreal weight on his shoulders. This was later revealed to be the weight of all the world and its troubles, also known as what Jesus feels every day. Jesus told Christopher who he was when they crossed the river and disappeared immediately. Any member of the armed forces is out there bearing the weight of our country on their back every day they are away from home. This is similar to Saint Christopher so that is why he is also a great patron saint medal to pick up for somebody who has served.

Miraculous medals are always very beautiful, and are special to receive in any situation. The specialized military Miraculous medals are no exception to that rule either. With several different versions of this medal to choose from you can pick out a medal that best suits your loved one. All of military Miraculous medals feature some form of red, white, and blue and can be engraved if you so wish.

These products are all excellent ideas for a gift and you should not hesitate to get one for your loved one who has served time for our great country. This article should help you on your way to finding the perfect gift for whoever you happen to be shopping for. If you didn’t find something here, a site that has a great military gifts section is The Catholic Gift Shop.

Religious Wedding Gifts You Should Know About

Ever have problems trying to pick out an appropriate wedding gift for the couple, the bride, the groom, or anybody else involved in a wedding? Many people have before, so if you’re searching for some answers you may want to look into a religious wedding gift. Going with a religious wedding gift can really show that you care about the couple and their future together. What is meant by a religious wedding gift? You might want to try out a couple of these ideas because they are sure to be loved by whoever receives them.

1.) Rose Quartz Rosary Wrap Bracelet – The best person to give this gift to would be a bridesmaid, the bride herself, or a mother because it is very feminine. This bracelet is made of light pink quartz beads and golden beads with a cross on the end. It is indeed a rosary but it can be worn around the wrist, and would be a perfect accessory for Sunday mass. A gift box is included in the price of this piece and serves the purpose of storing this great bracelet when your loved one is not wearing it.

2.) Tree of Life Crucifix – This gift could be appropriate for many different people. It would be best suited to give to a father, groom, or best man though. This piece is made of sterling silver and is a necklace that the owner will be sure to love. Instead of a traditional cross with Jesus on it, this piece is a little bit different. Jesus is shown exactly like he would have been if he was on a crucifix, however he is attached to a great tree. The trees branches serve as the cross and this necklace is really cool. The tree that Jesus is on really is shown in great detail and it is really cool.

3.) Wooden Wedding Box – This is one gift that should definitely be given to the bride and the groom together because it is really meant for the two of them. The wooden box is very nice looking and is genuinely hand-made. There is a space on the top of the box to place a 4×6 picture of the couple. The box is perfect for putting wedding memorabilia inside or putting other valuable objects in. On top of the box there are two silver rings to remind the couple of their undying love.

4.) Sterling Silver Claddagh – This claddagh medal is made up of a set of hands, holding a heart, with a crown on it. This has a great meaning behind it and it applies directly to marriage. The heart stands for love, the hands stand for friendship, and the crown stands for loyalty. This medal would make a lovely gift for the bride.

5.) Bridesmaid Heart Necklace – This is simple piece, and you should know who should be receiving it just by the name. This necklace is a sterling silver heart that can be worn on the wedding day, and really on any special occasion. It is very pretty but isn’t anything too much. A great way to make this gift special to all the bridesmaids is to have this gift engraved with their name on it. This way you can still have each of them feel like they got something special made just for them.