Friday, June 29, 2018

Beautiful Things Giveaway!

All week, we've been sharing thoughts on the importance of sharing beauty with the world as a way to draw closer to the Creator of all beauty.  Today I am so happy to offer this amazing giveaway of beautiful things, enough to help you make your home and life a little more beautiful, as well as even share with friends and family.  Scroll through these lovely items, visit the shops that donated them, and then make sure you enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Make sure to check out the amazing guest posts from this week, as well as previous series here.
Listen to the Creator Spirit from Kortnee of Studio Senn
Be Not Afraid from Lindsay of Just Love Prints
Cultivating Beauty in Home and Heart from Rosie of A Blog for My Mom
Remember to Be Still from Caroline of Be Still By Caroline

From Just Love Prints, an 8" x 10" St. Teresa of Calcutta "Little Pencil" Print and a set of the iconic St. John Paul II "Be Not Afraid" tattoos in JPII's actual handwriting.
Find Just Love Prints:

From Steph Zimmerman Photgraphy, three 4" x 6" watercolor prints in 5" x 7" mats: one St. Catherine of Siena, one floral,  and one Holy Family.
Find Steph Zimmerman Photography:

From Ruthie Cate Designs, a customizable Verity Necklace.  The Verity necklace is a gorgeous and unique piece that keeps close whatever is most meaningful to you, and lets you customize your length, chain, and charms.  Mother Teresa is pictured, winner receives choice of more than ten Verity necklaces from Ruthie Cate!
Find Ruthie Cate Designs:

From me, a 5" x 7" mixed media embroided Holy Family Hearts frame.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Pure Heart of St Joseph have been created using a combination of felt, embroidery floss, and watercolor.

From That Catholic Design, their new Mary, Mother of the Church 11" x 14" framed burlap print.  Created in honor of the new Marian feast day, reminding us that Jesus entrusted Mary to His disciples as their Mother and entrusted His disciples to Mary as her children.
Find That Catholic Design:

From Studio Senn, a stunning 5" x 7" Sacred Heart Print on handmade paper with handpainted gold acrylic details.
Find Studio Senn: 

From my Etsy Shop, LooktoHimbeRadiant, a set of watercolor Stained Glass Biblical Ladies stickers.  Modeled after a set of windows in St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, IL, each sticker depicts a strong woman from the Bible, including Eve, Ruth, Judith, Esther, and Mary.  Printed on easy to use sticker paper and about 2" x 8.5" in size, they are perfect for the margins of a journaling Bible, but also would be a great addition to your planner or journal.
Find LooktoHimbeRadiant:

From Sweet Little Ones, two lovely prints to decorate your home with: An 8" x 10" print of the beautiful Proverbs 31:25 verse and a pink and gray floral 5" x 7" print of the Angel of God prayer.
Find Sweet Little Ones:

From Be Still By Caroline, a gorgeous blue beaded Holy Family bracelet.  Every Be Still By Caroline item is one of a kind and inspired by prayer and Scripture.
Find Be Still By Caroline:

Enter the Beautiful Things Giveaway:
You can enter the giveaway here on the blog, and for more chances to win you can enter on Instagram as well! I hope you enjoy visiting all these lovely and generous makers, and know that they appreciate you following along with them on your favorite social media tools.

One winner will be chosen using random generator from combination of entries on blog and Instagram. US only and must be 18 or older to win. Winner must meet entry guidelines. Winner has 24 hours to respond or new winner will be chosen. Giveaway closes at midnight Central time Sunday, July 1st.  
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Remember to Be Still {Guest Post}

In a world that craves the true, the good, and the beautiful, is a joy to host the third Why Make Beautiful Things series here at Look to Him and Be Radiant. You can read the original post with my thoughts on beauty here and read all the guest posts in the previous series here. Today I have the honor of sharing bit of the story behind the scenes with Caroline Bortle of Be Still By Caroline. We'll be featuring guest posts all week, and a huge giveaway of beautiful things on Friday, so make sure you check back!

My little shop came to fruition as a solution to a problem in my spiritual life. This process began with the mission of overcoming my feelings of restlessness and anxiety using the power of prayer. Over time, I found that I was truly able to Be Still in the presence of Christ and Our Lady while doing something with my hands during these moments--hello, bracelets!

What started off as a simple hobby quickly turned into an opportunity to spread my faith and remind others to BE STILL in the presence of God’s Grace, the loving embrace of Our Lady, and the compassion of the Saints.

Each bracelet comes with a message behind the creation. The bit of scripture or saintly wisdom serves as a “conversation starter” when I sit down to pray. I ponder over these words as I thoughtfully create a unique piece for the shop! The message is included alongside the bracelet in hopes that my customers will be inspired to take a moment to do the same. A reminder to Be Still.

I try to appeal to women of all ages and from all walks of life by creating bracelets ranging in size and price. I carefully package them and write a personal message to the recipient. I want them to feel as though they are opening a gift of prayer from my heart.

Each listing is truly one of a kind and new pieces are added to the shop every Thursday morning. I’m grateful for the chance to share a piece of my heart, a challenge in my faith journey, and a mess in my life that has turned into something beautiful.

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You Always.
Love, Caroline.

Caroline Bortle is the designer/one-woman-show behind the Be Still By Caroline brand. She opened her Etsy shop in February, 2018, and is looking forward to expanding her jewelry line in the near future! Aside from being a small business owner, she currently serves as the Digital Content Coordinator of EWTN’s ChurchPOP. She maintains a presence across the Catholic social media sphere regularly and gains inspiration from her loyal furry sidekick, DaVinci, and her #SaintSquad. Look out for new #BeStillBC listings every Thursday via her website and shoot her a DM to say hello!

Find Caroline on:

P.S. Caroline is offering this gorgeous one-of-a-kind Holy Family bracelet in the Beautiful Things giveaway tomorrow! Make sure you come back and enter!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cultivating Beauty in Home and Heart {Guest Post}

In a world that craves the true, the good, and the beautiful, is a joy to host the third Why Make Beatiful Things series here at Look to Him and Be Radiant. You can read the original post with my thoughts on beauty here and read all the guest posts in the previous series here. Today I have the honor of sharing the wise words of Rosie Hill from A Blog for My Mom on cultivating beauty in her home. We'll be featuring guest posts all week, and a huge giveaway of beautiful things on Friday, so make sure you check back!

"Mom," my 7-year-old started, "Mom, I just think food tastes better when it looks really pretty. Like, if you had cupcakes and they didn't have any sprinkles or icing, they really wouldn't look like they would taste very good!"

She carefully arranged slices of mozzarella, laying pieces of fresh basil on each slice as she delicately layered them over one another. The masterpiece complete, she begged me NOT to serve until everyone in the family had gotten a chance to admire her handiwork.

My children, from the toddler to the (self-proclaimed) tween (he's only almost-9), bring me scraggly bouquets of wildflowers, collected from our land. They run outside before my husband starts mowing the lawn, gathering whatever wild clover and ox-eye daisies they can find before the mower reduces them to nothing. Every surface in our house boasts a bouquet, sometimes just long grasses that somebody thought were beautiful.

And I've become blind to this everyday beauty without them to open my eyes.

I'd like to say that we've raised our children to appreciate beauty, but I don't think we've had anything to do with it. I think that any child seeing a flower, an interesting bug, a majestic tree, is so enchanted by these new experiences that he or she can't contain the joy that such beauty evokes. It bubbles over and must be shared. The parents are only the most obvious recipients.

So while I don't think I caused this intense interest in natural beauty, I do what I can to cultivate it. At our house, that means letting each child have his or her own little garden plot. My 3-year-old very carefully pulled up dandelions and "planted" them in his garden, along with feathers he gathered from the chickens. When he realized those weren't growing, he asked for a tomato seedling and a marigold seedling. Not a day (or hour, or sometimes minute) goes by that he doesn't ask me to check on his "darden" with him, proclaiming that it's looking "dood." I may sneak in there to weed and thin the zinnias he planted too close together, but it's his special place!

Sometimes the cultivation of beauty means that we end up with a lot of beautiful trash in our house. A ragged blue jay feather, once brilliant, finds its way to the bottom of a drawer along with broken seashells, "pressed" flowers that never got fully pressed, sticks that could someday be used for an important, now forgotten purpose... So we weed through the sentimental treasures and try to let each child have a box or a bag indoors where they can keep all those special ribbons, fancy orphaned buttons, sequins they picked up at the playground, interesting rocks, acorn caps, etc. They bring out their "treasures" when friends visit, oohing and aahing and gifting their very favorite pieces of trash for their friends to take home and add to their treasures!

Does this mean that our house isn't immaculate? Sure does. And our yard wouldn't win any landscaping awards, half-weeded beds and all. But I find myself planting far more flowers than I used to, acknowledging to my utilitarian self that even though these flowers don't feed our bodies, they feed that part of our soul that craves the beauty our Creator allows us to take a little part in. And I let dinner wait a few minutes so that the kids can arrange a pretty vegetable platter, fanned out and arranged by color. Because beauty matters.

Rosie Hill lives in a 19th century farmhouse in Virginia with her husband and six children. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, or on her blog. She homeschools, homesteads, and sends her kids outside every day during nap time so she can eat chocolate undisturbed. Sometimes it even works!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Be Not Afraid {Guest Post}

In a world that craves the true, the good, and the beautiful, is a joy to host the third Why Make Beautiful Things series here at Look to Him and Be Radiant. You can read the original post with my thoughts on beauty here and read all the guest posts in the previous series here. Today I have the honor of sharing a Q&A with Lindsay Trezza of Just Love Prints. We'll be featuring guest posts all week, and a huge giveaway of beautiful things on Friday, so make sure you check back!

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name's Lindsay. I'm a designer and artist living in a cute Connecticut town with my husband and daughter, Avila. When I'm not designing fun products for my company, Just Love Prints, you can find me kickboxing, listening to Catholic podcasts (Among the Lilies is my favorite), and taking long walks with my family where we stop to smell all of the beautiful flowers. Avila just learned how to point, so it's funny to watch her point to all of God's creations and squawk to get our attention!

Tell us about Just Love Prints. How did it come about? 
I used to be a graphic designer for some pretty cool companies. I designed activity books, fun school supplies, pajama pants, lacrosse gear, and room decor for tween girls. But in 2015, I decided to leave my job to pursue Just Love Prints full time. This was a scary leap for me, but I trusted that God had something wild in store – and He did! Sharing my Catholic faith through the products I design for Just Love Prints is something that I truly feel God has created me for - and I love every minute of what I do.

How has motherhood impacted your business? 
Being a mom adds a whole other world of joys and challenges to my day. I definitely have to be on my toes at all times. Flexibility is a must! Some days, Avila needs a little more love and attention, and that's okay! I'm learning to adapt and not beat myself up if I don't accomplish a huge chunk of my daily to-do list. Getting to spend time at home with my daughter while building up my business has been such a huge blessing.

How has your faith impacted what you do?
I love the quote by St. Teresa of Calcutta where she says, “I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” At first, I didn't fully realize the impact that my artwork and products could have on the lives of others. I was just creating as a way to express myself and my faith. However, over the years I have gotten many thank you messages about how a particular design touched the recipient. I realized that God really is using me, even if I didn't realize it at first! It's exciting to think how He might use me next.

What has been your favorite design or product and why?A few months ago, I decided to create a temporary tattoo that said "Be not afraid" in St. John Paul II's actual handwriting. The positive response and feedback I've received from customers has been overwhelmingly positive and humbling. Many customers have reached out to me to tell me that they wore the tattoo in labor as a reminder to stay strong through contractions. One woman reached out to tell me she would be having brain surgery soon, and that she'd be wearing the tattoo in the operating room. Another bought several packs of tattoos because she wanted to wear them over the course of her weight loss journey. It's amazing to see how God is working through all of this!

Do you have any tips for recognizing God's beauty in the day to day shuffle?
Pray to God that He might show you His beauty each day. I've prayed this prayer before, and He did not disappoint! Some other strategies: Enjoy the little moments. Make memories. Breathe. Literally stop to smell the roses. Remember to look up at the stars. Unplug for a bit. And trust God with your worries.

Lindsay Trezza is a graphic designer with a heart for evangelizing millennials through Catholic imagery and fun products. In 2015 she decided to take a leap of faith and leave her design job in order to pursue Just Love Prints full time. This was a scary leap, but she trusted that God had something wild in store – and He did! Taking this leap has enabled Lindsay to work from home while spending time with her infant daughter. These days, you can find her working on projects while her little one naps. #NaptimeHustle She hangs out on Facebook and Instagram daily, so give a follow to see what she’s up to!

P.S. Don't forget to check back on Friday- Lindsay has donated a beautiful print and set of JP2 tattoos for the Beautiful Things Giveaway. Make sure you come back to enter!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Listen to the Creator Spirit {Guest Post}

In a world that craves the true, the good, and the beautiful, is a joy to host the third Why Make Beautiful Things series here at Look to Him and Be Radiant. You can read the original post with my thoughts on beauty here and read all the guest posts in the previous series here. Today I have the honor of sharing the work and reflections of Kortnee Senn from Studio Senn. We'll be featuring guest posts all week, and a huge giveaway of beautiful things on Friday, so make sure you check back!

When I started my small business it was supposed to be an outlet for me, something to throw myself into while I learned to transition to being a stay-at-home-mom. I created custom watercolor wedding invitations and maps. This sounds fun enough but I ended up creating art I wasn’t in love with because of edits made by the couple throughout the process. The final product was barely a representation of me and there was a lot of behind the scenes work that left me feeling drained and less than inspired.

After having my second son I realized that creating art that didn’t fuel my soul wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted this “outlet” to be exactly that, something that allowed me to express myself and my passions. So I chose the one thing that meant the most to me; I decided I wanted to create art that could be used to hand down the Faith. The Church held so much inspiration, depth and importance. This inspiration kept me up at night wanting to put brush to paper and test out new ideas. I loved that my thoughts were consumed with how to show others the beauty that awaited them in the Catholic Church.

Lately I have been feeling another call, a call to push myself creatively and explore styles that are fairly new to me but feel like home. I firmly believe this is the Creator Spirit that I so often hear other Catholic artists talk about. Having images of the Sacred Heart that I couldn’t get out of my head I decided I finally needed to challenge myself. That’s how this year’s Lenten Sacred Heart Series was born. Creating one Heart everyday while using that time for reflection helped turn the process into a prayer. It was hard to stop myself from caring about whether or not it would sell and just create for the joy of the process. Once I was able to do that (although it is something I have to do each time I start a piece), I was amazed by the response I was getting from people. These images I had in my head for so long were touching people. Definitely the Creator Spirit.

Sacred Heart from the #SacredHeartSeries

Immaculate Heart from the #SacredHeartSeries

To me, that is one of the beautiful things about art; everyone is allowed their own reaction to a piece. It is humbling to think that someone might be drawn closer to Christ by viewing what I had fun making. I know that Blessed Is She writer, Megan Hjelmstad, has mentioned it a few times and it has really resonated with me, the idea “if only for the one”. If I can stop thinking about the sale long enough to paint something that fuels my prayer and maybe, just maybe inspires one person then this outlet is worth all of the time and effort.

Folk Art Paper cuts from an upcoming collection launching this summer

It brings me so much joy that this once stressful hobby has turned into a means for both handing down the faith and letting the Creator Spirit work through my creative process. Thank you for making both possible.

I am a Navy wife and mother of two little boys and a three legged dog. I love to travel, be outside and eat carbs. If I am not chasing my toddler or painting, you can find me with a glass of milk watching the latest crime show on Netflix.

Find Studio Senn: 

P.S. Make sure you check back on Friday for the Beautiful Things Giveaway- Kortnee is donating this gorgeous Sacred Heart print.  Come back and enter for a chance to make it yours!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Teaching about the Mass Activity Sheets

Each year as I teach about the Sacraments, I try to gauge the needs and interests of my students and create activities that are right for them.  This year after learning more about the Eucharist, I set up a review week with four tasks related to the Mass.  I made four activity sheets to guide their reflections and help me assess their learning.  The sheets are all linked below and could be used with a wide range of ages and specific activities.  I intentionally did not include written instructions so that I (and you!) could tailor them to individual kids, groups, and tasks. 

Here are the ways I used these sheets this year:

Mass Articles
These Mass sets, which really are designed for younger learners, were actually incredibly helpful for my students as they learned the proper names and uses of items that they see in the church.  After reviewing our resources on things used in the Mass, they had to choose four of them that they learned something new about, draw their own picture and then write their own description, helping me gauge their understanding.

The Order of the Mass
This page was used to review the four main parts in the Order of the Mass.  I labeled the Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites.  The students had to draw something that illustrated the main action of that part of the Mass as well as write a description.  Using these Order of the Mass Cards in earlier lessons definitely helped my students know how the parts of the Mass fit together.  For younger students or if using this as an introduction, you could have the students copy a "definition" for that part of the Mass and then draw their own illustrations.

Mass Book Review
The next page was an opportunity to read and review a book about the Mass.  I set out a basket of books (including the kids' books from this list) and they had the chance to read, analyze, and recommend the book they chose.

Mass Reflection
Aaaaand disappointingly, I can't find any photos of the fourth page, which was a Mass Reflection.  It has a space for a large illustration and many lines of writing.  I had prepped my students before a school Mass to pay attention for a moment when they felt particularly close to Jesus.  They drew their own pictures of that moment and then wrote a couple of paragraphs about it.  You could use that page in many other ways. including writing about the homily, the readings, a particular prayer of the Mass, why Mass matters to them, etc.

I happened to have a stack of leftover posters from a Eucharist centered retreat, and was able to trim them down and use as covers for a book about the Mass that my students then added to their Fulton Sheen Notebooks.  (Waste not, want not, right?)

Click on any of the images below to get the four Mass Activity Pages:

Updated: Here's a matching version but with the text in manuscript instead of cursive:

P.S.- This is unrelated, but I just had to share:
I've posted several times here on the blog about the new Catholic Journaling Bible (the list of posts is here) and I also started an Etsy shop earlier this year with stamps and stickers to use in Bibles, planners, journals, or anywhere you want to bring a little bit of your faith.  This week I finished a project that had been in my head for a while, and am so, so happy with how they turned out.  These Stained Glass Biblical Ladies Stickers are based on windows found in the Lady Chapel of St. Mary Cathedral in Peoria, IL.  I have them both as line art that you can color yourself and as a watercolor set that is ready to print.  I added them to my Bible, and just love them.  They're in my Etsy shop now if you'd like to have a set for yourself!
P.P.S.- Make sure to check back next week for a revival of the Why Make Beautiful Things Series!  Monday through Thursday will feature guest posts on the topic of beauty, why it matters, and how it points to our Creator, and Friday I'll be hosting a HUGE giveaway with over $200 worth of prizes.  You don't want to miss it!