Friday, June 26, 2015

Adoration with Kids [printables!]
"During a Holy Hour we grow more and more into His likeness."
~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Christ asked us if we "could not wait one hour with Him?".  A Holy Hour is a dedicated response of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  I have been to lots of Holy Hours hosted by many different parishes that are set up for kids or advertised as family-friendly.  Taking kids to Adoration can be intimidating for parents and teachers- the silence, the ritual, the importance- but I am a huge advocate of getting kids there in the Presence of our Lord. 

Here are some of my favorite things to see at a Holy Hour that is welcoming to children:
  1. Reverence- the beauty and truth of the Sacrament is not lost.  We can bring children to this without watering it down.
  2. Proximity- kids are able to draw close to the Sanctuary and even pray on the floor in front of the steps or invited to sit in the very front pews.
  3. Breaking up the Silence- kids make noise, and that noise is ok.  They also are not trained contemplatives, so expecting mental prayer for an hour isn't an option.  Great Holy Hours for kids DO have silence, but also have appropriate Scripture readings, reflections from Saints,a decade or more of the Rosary, etc.
  4. Music- having a musician lead the songs for Exposition and Benediction is awesome, and then even better is to have them pepper the silence with a few songs that kids can sing along with.  Singing is a powerful form of prayer.
  5. Teaching- having a priest that is comfortable with kids and their developmentally appropriate learning styles is awesome.  I love when a priest talks to kids at their level and teaches them with words meant just for them, always pointing back to the True Presence of Jesus.
I also like for kids to have resources available to help foster their prayer as appropriate.  Children's Bibles, a journal, a Rosary devotional with images to meditate on, a book about a favorite Saint, children's books of prayer, etc. can enhance and not detract from this time of prayer.  So on that note, I put together a few resources that I think could help kids both with the logistics of Adoration, as well as help them enter into prayer.
First up, an 8-page Adoration booklet that could be taken into a Holy Hour.  (We had this available at the Fulton Sheen Family Day last weekend).

There is a page with some explanations/definitions:
And a page with the words to Adoration Prayers/Songs:
And a page with some Adoration info/questions:
Then there is room for kids to actually use the book by writing or drawing what they would like to pray about.  Matching the other ACTS prayer activities that I have created (see them here and here), the prayer prompts and Scripture verses lead the kids through four kinds of prayer: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication:
It's a great little printable that would be an asset for prayer time with your own kiddos or a Holy Hour with a classroom or CCD Program.  Click on the image below for the link:

And, always one to want options, I have a couple of other printables too! 

This page could be perfect for repeat visits to Adoration (instead of printing a booklet for each time) and would be a great addition to a notebooking project or prayer journal.

And adding to the collection of Fulton Sheen Coloring Pages, here is the matching art from the prayer pages with a favorite quote:

I'd love to hear how you make Adoration fruitful (with one kid or thirty!) and what your favorite resources for fostering prayer are!

Linking up with Blessed Is She's theme on the Power of Prayer.  Check out the other posts by clicking on the image below:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fulton Sheen Family Day Recap

This past Saturday, we celebrated the life and teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen with the 2nd Annual Fulton Sheen Family Day.  (You can read about last year's event hereBonnie, The Sheen Foundation, and I did the planning, and we decided to change things up a little from last year's event (which was held in Peoria and included tours of the Sheen museum and St. Mary's Cathedral) and hosted it in El Paso, IL, the place of Sheen's birth, baptism, and early growing up years.

While the numbers were small, we still had a great day with the families that came to learn and enjoy, some of my former students who were there to help teach others what they know about Sheen, and the adult volunteers who made everything run smoothly.  We'll rotate back to Peoria next year, and hope to see even more families come to learn about the faith that Sheen loved so much. 

The Venue:
We held the event at St. Mary's in El Paso, IL, the Baptismal parish of Fulton Sheen.  They have a beautiful old church and a lovely new hall and a priest who loves Fulton Sheen :).

Sr. Lea and Sr. Ann from the Fulton Sheen Museum helped us plan the event and did lots of behind the scenes work.  They came to help, but had never been to El Paso, so we made a quick stop at the historical marker at the location of Sheen's birth.

Snacks were an important part of hosting this event. My mom made these awesome Sheen-inspired-blackboard cookie cakes.  Bonnie provided a delicious spread of cookies, rice krispy treats, fruit, and veggies that made everyone happy.

The Door Prizes:
It's always great to provide resources for people to take home with them, and it is super fun to WIN something, so we had ten door prizes that the families in attendance could win:
Sophia Institute Press generously donated Angel in the Waters, Sheen's Wartime Prayer Book, and God's World and Our Place In It

Ignatius Press was gracious enough to send a copy of Sheen's Remade for Happiness.

The Sheen Foundation donated A Man for All Media, The World's First Love, The Priest is Not His Own, and St. Terese, A Treasured Love Story.

They also donated ten World Mission Rosaries that had been made third class relics by touching them to a vial of St. John Paul II's blood.  They were packaged beautifully showing the connection between Sheen and JP2.

Matt Faley, talented Catholic musician with ties to Peoria, donated copies of his awesome CD, The Only Light.

We also had some fun things like DVDs, Sacred Heart and Blessed Virgin Mary framable prints, kids books, etc.

The Activities:

 We had the movie Servant of All playing where people could watch and listen throughout the afternoon.

We borrowed the life-sized Sheen cutout from the museum so that people could take their picture with him.  Here is Fr. Don from St. Mary's wearing one of Sheen's vestments.

The Sisters from the museum brought several artifacts and relics from the museum for people to see, and Fr. Don had pictures of Sheen on various visits back to El Paso.

We had lots of copies of Fulton Sheen Quote coloring pages on tables around the room for families to color while eating snack or to take home for later.  You can find these coloring pages here.

World Mission Rosary:
One of the craft stations was about the World Mission Rosary.  You can find a whole post about this activity here, a coloring page here, and instructions/lesson plan for teaching about it by clicking on the image below:

Spiritual Adoption:
Another station was about Spiritual Adoption.  You can read about Spiritual Adoption activities here and here, and can see the Touch of Life Fetal models in action here. Click on the image below for the instructions/lesson plan.

 The Woman I Love Miraculous Medals:
We also made some awesome giant Miraculous Medals inspired by Catholic Icing but using this printable. A Sheen quote coloring page about Mary can be found here. You can click on the image below for the instructions/lesson.

The Priest is Not His Own:
The priest & altar craft is really cool because it is a priest on one side, and when you flip it over it is Jesus on the other side- perfect for helping explain In Persona Christi to kids.
I didn't create this original activity- it was a download from Catechist Magazine several years ago that I have used many times over. However, while I would like share the printable with you, the activity has been removed and all of the old links are inactive. I have contacted them to ask if there is a way that I can (legally) still share it, but they have never gotten back to me- which is too bad, because this is an awesome project.  We also used the coloring page you can find here.  You can click below to see the instructions/lesson that went along with this station:
After all of the activities, we moved over to the church for a Holy (half) Hour.  Fr. Don did an amazing job praying with the kids gathered around the steps of the Sanctuary, a friend led us in song with her beautiful voice, and we had this Adoration booklet for this kids to use as a resource. (come back on Friday and I'll have the booklet available as a printable!). After the Holy Hour, the families were invited to stay for the Vigil Mass

It was a great day!  Make sure you go check out Bonnie's recap of the day in this post!  If you are in El Paso or Peoria in the future, we highly recommend you check out the places that were important to Sheen.  We are grateful to our donors Matt Faley, Sophia Institute Press, Ignatius Press, and the Sheen Foundation, as well as Fr. Don and St. Mary's Parish for hosting us.  All of the adults and my students that came to help as volunteers were awesome and so appreciated.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Thank you to everyone who entered in the Beautiful Giveaway and enjoyed the posts in the Why Make Beautiful Things Series.  Congrats to the winners Jamie, Kim, Amy, Rom, Mary Rose, Honey, and Janelle!

I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming of lesson plans and Catholic kids crafts this week (starting with a post on this year's Fulton Sheen Family Day!) but I really have enjoyed this series, and would like to do it again in the future.  God gave us a beautiful world, and it is good to savor it.  Got any post ideas or authors that you would like to see for the next round of Beautiful Things?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

God Cares About Skillful Design~ Guest Post

Today's post was written by my dear friend Kayla, who is the awesome and talented graphic designer behind Kayla Phillips Design. She has generously donated several prints from her One Hundred Verses Project towards the Beautiful Giveaway that I have running this week.  Kayla recently opened an Etsy Shop, is one of my collaborators for [un]common workbasket, she blogs at Ceasing to Strive, and  she designed the most stellar invitations for my upcoming birthday party.  I'm so excited to share her thoughts with you today as part of my Why Make Beautiful Things Series!


Edith Schaeffer, the wife of the famous philosopher and missionary writes in her book Hidden Art:

It is not a waste of man's time to be creative. It is not a waste to pursue artistic or scientific pursuits in creativity, because that is what man was made to be able to do.  He was made in the image of a Creator, and given the capacity to create.”

Yes, we believe in God as our Creator and we know that we are made in his image and can reflect his creative attribute. We understand that he fixed the stars in the sky and fashioned the lilies in the field.

But somehow, we overlook billboards and brochures.
We slap together Power Points like nobody’s business.

Oh, it’s just another sign-up sheet, we say.

Yes, God is the Creator. And we are creative.
Yet, there’s a disconnect.

Why waste time making beautiful invitations that will be only thrown away?


In Exodus 35 and 36 the Israelites are constructing the tabernacle as God instructs them.
“Skill or skillful” in regards to craftsmanship or design is used at least nine times (I’m not as gifted at counting). Not to mention, God set apart certain people to do this work. He gave them the talent.

Good design, skillful design is not thrown together haphazardly.
This building was not thrown together, it was thought out, planned, methodical, orderly.

And since God cares about design and craftsmanship, I want to too.
And because he has given me talent I want to use it to serve him.

I’m not a designer, how do I care? you might ask. 

Well, the next time your asked to put together a flyer for a  Bible study or children’s event, find someone who is already skilled in this area. 

Or better yet, give it a stab yourself. You were made in God’s image.
There are places all over Pinterest that talk about combining fonts or offer quick hints about laying text out.

While I know I’m a bit bent towards the world being a more beautiful place because I am graphic designer, I’m thankful that God cares so much about it too. He cared about it first.

So go. Do design skillfully to the praise and glory of God.


Kayla's post is part of my Why Make Beautiful Things week:
-Read my thoughts on the seven reasons why making things beautiful matters here.
-Visit my Granny's Closet post to see pictures of the beautiful and fun vintage dresses (which used to belong to my Granny!) that I have been wearing this spring.
-Go read Emily's thoughts on hospitality, beauty, and home through the lens of being a military wife in her guest post Love is the Beauty of the Soul
-Read Steph's post about printing and displaying family photos in Simple Beauty in a Picture
-AND make sure you go enter my special giveaway with seven beautiful items that I know you are going to love from Kayla Phillips Design, Steph Zimmerman Photography, and [un]common workbasket.  You don't want to miss it!