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Prepare the Way of the Lord • Family Time

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Reading Time: 17 minutes


December 10-16: Second Week of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent + Venerable Fulton Sheen + Our Lady of Guadalupe + St. Lucy + St. John of the Cross + Christmas novenas + St. Adelaide




Many of you expressed interest in a t-shirt to go along with your Be Yourself! journals, so here they are! Our tees are printed and shipped by Printful, which means you’ll pay a modest shipping charge (about $3 for first-class mail). Because these are print-on-demand, order by this Friday, December 8, for delivery before Christmas. Priority mail orders go to the front of the print queue.



If our books are on your shopping list (see the list at the end of this newsletter), here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • For free shipping, order no later than December 14.
  • For priority mail shipping, order no later than December 19.
  • For Be Yourself! t-shirts, order by Friday, Dec. 8 for USPS first-class shipping. Use priority mail shipping after that date.
  • We have two sets of the hardcover Illuminated Rosary in inventory. First come, first served!
  • Almost all of our titles are available on Amazon.com and BN.com. If you’re ordering past our “delivery by Christmas” deadlines, consider ordering from these companies instead. You’ll find a link to the Amazon page on most of our titles’ catalog pages.



1. Read and discuss this Sunday’s readings. The readings for this week keep us focused on the second coming, as the first two weeks of Advent do. We’re given a sense of God’s “already” and “not yet” — Jesus’ fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation, and our reality of sin still present in the world. A discussion of the readings and questions to share with your family are available in this week’s Breaking Open the Word at Home.

2. Celebrate the feast of St. Lucy. Most of us have heard of St. Lucy, but what about her companion “star boys” who are also part of a proper Scandinavian Santa Lucia feast? Parade like star boys and play this game of balance with your children to have fun celebrating the feast of St. Lucy.

3.  Plan a Christmas caroling party. We went caroling at a nursing home, a hospital, and a jail last Advent and had a great experience…even if we didn’t all sing on key! Here’s how it went, and some tips for organizing your own caroling party that combines music with the works of mercy.

4. Celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Read about the famous Marian apparition outside of present-day Mexico City, download free coloring pages, and make these easy and festive fish tacos to help celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

5. Show your kids these 10 excellent Advent videos. We all know there are plenty of Christmas videos out there, but YouTube also offers several well-done clips explaining and celebrating Advent. There is a lot of muck to get through to find them, but we got you covered with this list of 10 Advent videos worthy to share with your family.

6. Make a Jesse tree with your kids. We’re halfway through Advent, and a Jesse tree is a great hands-on way to connect Advent with the history of Israel’s anticipation of the Messiah. Jennifer Gregory Miller has a thorough backgrounder on the Jesse tree and how to use it as a catechetical tool over at Catholic Culture.

7. Knock the final four off your Christmas list. The last installation in this four-part series highlighting Catholic vendors and artisans, Shop Catholic This Christmas, Part 4 offers ideas for jewelry for moms, books for teens, t-shirts for toddlers and Catholic Christmas cards for everyone.

8. Send the pope a birthday card. It’s the pope’s 80th birthday on Sunday, Dec, 17; celebrate with some birthday cake, and by sending him a birthday card that your kids make. Here’s where to send it.

9. Count down the days before Christmas with a Christmas novena or Los Posadas beginning December 16.


Miss out on some of our wall-to-wall Advent coverage? Get it all at Peanut Butter & Grace. And pick up lots of nifty resources from the USCCB Advent page.



…are in stock for Christmas. We have two sets on hand for immediate shipping; first come, first served! If the order page tells you they’re backordered, we’ll drop-ship them direct from the printer…but cannot guarantee Christmas delivery.



We’re sharing pictures of how we celebrated the beginning of the new liturgical year and Advent. Kathy posted one of her children and dog posing happily among large Advent candles, and Jerry shared pictures of his family cutting down their fresh Christmas tree. Share your pictures, pray for those in the Peanut Butter & Grace community, and join the discussion in the PB & Grace Parents Facebook group. It’s a closed group, so you will need to request to be added.



Sunday, Dec. 10

Second Sunday of Advent


Monday, Dec. 11

Venerable Fulton Sheen (1895–1979)
Fulton Sheen was a world-famous teacher and priest (and eventually an archbishop) who wrote 73 books but is best remembered for his hugely  popular radio and television programs, in which he explained Christianity in
warm and friendly terms that the average person could understand. He won two Emmy awards and was featured on the cover of Time magazine. He used his influence to raise money to feed and house the poor, and to
speak out against communism, racism, and war. “Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?”


Tuesday, Dec 12

Our Lady of Guadalupe

On the morning of December 9, 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, identifying herself as the “mother of the very true deity” and asking for a church to be built there. Juan convinced skeptical Church authorities of the truth of the message by producing an armful of out-of-season roses from the folds of his garment; an image of the Virgin Mary as a young, pregnant native woman appeared on the garment as well. The image draws millions of pilgrims every year.


Wednesday, Dec. 13

St. Lucia of Syracuse (d. 304)
A young Christian martyr (d. 304) about whom little is known. Later accounts of her martyrdom included a story about her eyes getting gouged out; that, along with the date of her feast, led to the celebration of her feast as a festival of light, especially In Scandinavian cultures: “There, a young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head,” according to Wikipedia. “In both Norway and Sweden, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.”


Thursday, Dec. 14

John of the Cross (1541-1591)
Together with St. Teresa of Avila, reformed the Carmelite order in the sixteenth century. He is also well-known for his spiritual writings, which had an enormous impact on the development of the Catholic contemplative tradition as well as other outstanding religious figures who came after him, including St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John Paul II. Among his most famous works are Ascent of Mount CarmelDark Night of the SoulLiving Flame of Love, and Spiritual Canticle, the latter written during nine months of cruel imprisonment by his own order. His writings will be accessible only to precocious teens, but younger kids may be fascinated to hear the story of his imprisonment and daring nighttime escape.


Friday, Dec. 15

Blessed Mary Frances Schervier (1819-1876)

The founder of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. Besides caring for the sick, the sisters took in prostitutes, and helped prisoners find jobs after their release, despite the objections of their supporters. The sisters also tended to the wounded in the U.S. Civil War.


Saturday, Dec. 16

St. Adelaide of Italy (931-999)

She was married to the King of Italy at the age of fifteen; when he was poisoned, his enemy had Adelaide locked up in prison. With the help of friends, she escaped through a tunnel and hid in nearby marshes. She sent for help to Otto I, the Holy Roman Emperor; they married, and she became empress, and one of the most powerful women in tenth-century Europe. She worked to build up the Church and establish peace between warring kingdoms.



  • Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 17)
  • Pope Francis turns 81 (Dec. 17)
  • “O Antipons” of Advent (Dec. 17-23)
  • Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 24)
  • Vigil of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 24)
  • Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 25)



…are checking out this list of Christmas movies compiled by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for their moral merit and artistic value. Once you’ve watched all those cool Advent videos on YouTube, go ahead over to your library and reserve these finds for your Christmastime viewing.
…are checking out our friend Michelle Gelineau’s new children’s book, If You Had Five Minutes, What Would You Do? Here’s the premise: “This book will get your child excited about all of the fun possibilities of what can be done with five minutes. After imagining all of the choices, Jesus comes to ask if your child will spend five minutes with Him. This book is beautifully illustrated and will introduce your child to the idea that spending time with Jesus is just as important as any other activity.” You can buy the book at Give Him Five.



Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged Congress to “fix the fundamental flaws” found in tax legislation passed by the House and most recently by the Senate. He called on Congress to “choose the policy approaches that help individuals and families struggling within our society.” The entire statement and previous statements addressing the matter can be found on the U.S. bishops’ website.



“Faith becomes tangible when it finds its expression involve and, especially in this service of our brothers and sisters in difficulty.”

—Pope Francis



Family Time! is edited by Regina Lordan and Jerry Windley-Daoust.



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Remember to grab 15% off your order at Gracewatch Media with coupon code GRACE15.

Here’s a list of most of our books, ordered by publication date (most recent first).

The Catholic Family Book of Prayers
Do you want to introduce your kids to the richness of the Christian prayer tradition? The best way to do that is to pray with them, and now there’s a beautiful collection of Catholic prayers and meditations designed just for that purpose: The Catholic Family Book of Prayers: A Treasury of Prayers and Meditations for Families to Pray Together. It’s packed with prayers, blessings, meditations, saintly wisdom, and artwork—all selected specifically for Catholic families to pray together. Available in digital, softcover, hardcover, and handcrafted editions.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN December-January includes a saint, Scripture reading, Christian mission, prayer prompt, and fun facts in every daily entry…plus, special features and activities for Christmas and Advent.

Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You
Lectio Divina for Teens: Reading God’s Messages to You introduces young people to the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina in a guided journal format. It features a brief, accessible introduction to lectio divina, walking readers through the method step by step, then turns them loose to try the method themselves in eight pre-selected readings. Seven additional blank journal entries provide space for readers to choose their own readings; a list of suggested texts is included. The colorful, beautifully designed interior provides a warm and welcome space for reflection and prayer. Lectio Divina for Teens has received an imprimatur from the Diocese of Winona.

The All Saints’ Day Party
Maggie and Max can’t wait for the All Saints’ Day party. There’s just one problem: they can’t decide which saint to dress up as…and the party is just a week away! Join Maggie and Max as their friends and family tell them about six holy men and women who offer living examples of what it means to be a saint…even if you’re a kid!

Turning Grief Inside Out: Surviving Pregnancy Loss with God’s Help
Drawing on her own personal experience of pregnancy loss, Christine Hendersen offers practical and spiritual advice—as well as a hopeful path forward—for grieving mothers and the people who love them.

Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!” Those words are at the heart of Be Yourself! A Journal for Catholic Girls, which is designed to help girls explore their identity and purpose in life in light of the wisdom of the Catholic Church, including half a dozen female saints. Ages 9 and up.

I Can Be Happy, Too: A Book about Attitudes uses simple rhyme accompanied by Scripture verses and sweet, expressive illustrations, to teach children that while we can’t control the bad things that happen to us, we can control how we respond to disappointment and adversity.

Blessed Is the Fruit of Thy Womb: Rosary Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss invites grieving mothers to let the Blessed Mother accompany them on their journey of grief and healing. Mary not only understands their loss, but wishes to bring mothers to healing through the saving work of her son. For each mystery of the rosary, author Heidi Indahl compassionately shares her own experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss, offering insights about how those losses are connected to the experience of Jesus and Mary as revealed by the mysteries of the rosary.

MISSION:CHRISTIAN June-July 2017 includes features on Pentecost, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, St. Pierre Toussaint, St. Kateri Tekawitha, and more. A checklist of fun summer activities, plus “Christian missions,” Scripture readings, prayer prompts, and saint profiles for every day will keep your kids busy!

In the Realm of Mist and Mercy, our new YA fantasy/adventure novel with a Catholic heart and sensibility; it comes with an accompanying Lesson Plan book that helps parents and kids connect the story to teachings of the Catholic faith.

The Illuminated Rosary hardcover complete set. “I can lead the rosary now!” That’s what we hear kids saying when they have one of the Illuminated Rosary books in their laps. The words of the prayers are printed on every page, opposite a sacred artwork depicting the mystery of the rosary being said. Kids love these books, but so do adults and grandparents! Available in hardcover (allow extra time for shipping) or softcover sets.

The Stations of the Cross for Children. Here’s a downloadable PDF with sacred art depicting each of the Stations of the Cross, along with a simple reflection and prayer, geared for young children.

77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids, now in hardcover from Dynamic Catholic; to celebrate, we’re offering hardcover copies for $12, about 50% off the cover price, while supplies last. Whether you are just getting started with family prayer or wish to broaden your horizons, 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids can help, offering practical, kid-friendly guides to Christian prayer practices both ancient and new. Features include: age-appropriate adaptations for young children, older kids, and teens; articles on a wide range of practices; Talking Points…explanations of prayer practices that kids might have questions about; cross-references to the Catechism, Scripture, and church documents; an appendix containing thirty-three common and useful Catholic prayers; a quick-find index makes it easy to find prayer ideas, and doubles as a checklist to track your progress.

Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper. Kids love the spunky young Molly McBride and her feisty sidekick, the wolf-pet Francis. In this book, Molly faces off against the dreaded plaid jumper that she’s going to have to wear when she starts school in the fall. Along with her new friends, Dominic and Fr. Matt, she learns all about uniforms and our true identity in God.

Paddy and the Wolves. Young Paddy can’t sit still during morning prayers, but he’s more than happy to help the shepherd, Barra, watch sheep for the day! But who will watch Paddy when he wanders into the woods? As he explores the wilderness of coastal Britain, Paddy encounters many delights and dangers—and ultimately, the One who watches over him through it all. Available as a hardcover or softcover storybook, or a coloring book with complete text; also available is a downloadable board game. Features the art of Catholic folk artist Jen Norton.

The Children’s Little Advent BookThe Children’s Little Advent Book is designed to help parents with children ages 4-7 on a journey through Advent to Christmas. Each day’s entry includes a brief Scripture reading, a reflection, discussion questions, a brief prayer, and a simple coloring page for children to complete after praying with their families. With The Children’s Little Advent Book, parents have an Advent resource specifically designed for short family prayer services with young children.

Corporal Works of Mercy Cards. Teach a lesson about the Works of Mercy with these downloadable cards and teaching guide.

Little Lessons from St. Francis of Assisi. “Make me an instrument of your peace.”  The Peace Prayer of St. Francis, beloved by people of all faiths around the world, beautifully captures the spirit of “the poor little man” from Assisi, as well as the aspirations of our time: for hope, for reconciliation, for peace.

Flowers for Jesus: A Story of Thérèse of Lisieux as a Young Girl. Little Thérèse Martin could be a very stubborn young girl. All too often, if someone wanted her to say “yes,” she wanted to say “no”! But then, as she is preparing for her First Communion, Thérèse discovers a way to turn her everyday trials and tribulations into something beautiful for Jesus. Join Thérèse (and her family) as she learns to “gather roses from amid thorns.” Available in hardcover and softcover editions.

La Florecita de Jesús: Una Parábola de Santa Teresita Del Niño Jesús. This is the Spanish-language edition of The Little Flower. La autora Becky Arganbright ha adoptado las enseñanzas de las orecitas de santa Teresita en esta encantadora parábola para niños. La joven Teresita aprende que aunque es pequeña, con la ayuda de Dios, su pequeñez puede ser una manera de hacer grandes cosas para Dios.  La ilustradora Tracey Arvidson da vida a la joven Teresa Martín, y a sus ores en la parábola, con sus maravillosas ilustraciones.

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit. Meet Molly McBride! Molly loves her new purple habit — it’s just like the ones her friends, the Children of Mary Sisters, wear. She loves it so much, in fact, that she doesn’t want to take it off…not even for her sister’s big day! Join Molly and her wolf-pet Francis as they learn all about nuns, habits, and giving your heart to Jesus.

Living Sparks of God: Stories of Saints for Young Catholics to Color. Here are fourteen lively two-minute stories to introduce young Catholics to some of the Church’s most beloved saints. Each story is accompanied by two coloring pages: a gorgeously detailed portrait of the saint, and a scene of the saint in action.

The Gift of Birth: Discerning God’s Presence During Childbirth. Is the process of giving birth a medical problem to be solved, a hurdle to be overcome on the way to motherhood . . . or is it something more? Could it be, as Susan Windley-Daoust proposes, that giving birth is a gift from God, laden with signs that speak to women about their identity, their calling, and their destiny? If so, then learning to read those embodied signs during pregnancy and labor could transform the way women experience childbirth. These signs reveal that God is not only powerfully present in the whole birthing process, but desires to actively work with women to bring forth new life.

Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux: An Introduction to Her Words and WisdomLittle Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux presents brief excerpts from Story of a Soul as a way of introducing those unfamiliar with Thérèse to some of the essential themes of her spirituality. The words of St. Thérèse  are accompanied by the artwork of award-winning watercolorist Jeanine Crowe, a wonderful aid to prayerful meditation on the words and wisdom of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Little Lessons from St. Thérèse of Lisieux includes twenty-one selections from the words of St. Thérèse, twenty artworks, and ten questions for reflection and discussion.

The Little Flower: A Parable of St. Thérèse of Liseux. Becky Arganbright has adapted St. Thérèse’s lesson of the little flowers into a delightful parable for children. The young Thérèse learns that even though she might be little, with God’s help, her littleness can be a way of doing great things for the Kingdom of God. Illustrator Tracey Arvidson brings the young Thérèse Martin (and the flowers of her parable) to life in gorgeous illustrations.

Sense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic PrayersSense of the Sacred: Illuminated Book of Catholic Prayers contains thirty traditional Catholic prayers every child should have at hand, each accompanied by a beautiful, hand-drawn illustration to aid in prayerful meditation on the mysteries of the faith.

Sense of the Sacred: A Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. For centuries, the Catholic Church has used art to illuminate the sacred mysteries of the Faith. Now, your child can follow in that tradition by making sacred art with the help of Sense of the Sacred: Coloring Book for Young Illuminators. This book contains 30 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying Bible verses, drawing on the rich legacy of statues and stained glass in our Catholic Faith.

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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