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Seeds, Weeds, & Yeast • Family Time

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Reading Time: 14 minutes


July 23-29: 16th Week of Ordinary Time

St. Christina the Astonishing + St.Martha + St. James + St. Mary Magdalene + Blessed Titus Brandsma + Sts. Joachim and Anne


Get 15% off coloring books, prayer books, storybooks, and more at the Gracewatch Media store with coupon code GRACE15.



1. Get our media awareness checklist. Most parents evaluate the media their kids consume by looking for the Big No-Nos: sex, violence, drugs, stereotyping, consumerism, and so on. Catholic parents may want to go deeper, though, to look at media messages that run contrary to Catholic teaching about what it means to be human, what it means to be good, and the ultimate meaning and purpose of life. Here’s a handy checklist.
2. Dress up your kids for church. “Why do we need to dress up? God cares more about our heart than how we look!” Ever hear that argument from your kids? They’re right…but that still leaves three good reasons Catholic kids ought to dress up for church. We won’t lay out clothes the night before, but we’ll help you explain why to your kids.
3. Read about seeds and weeds. This Sunday’s Gospel features a trio of parables about weeds, seeds, and yeast. Preview it with your kids using Breaking Open the Word at Home. You can also preview the Gospel using CathKids, an animated resource that includes an narration of the Gospel, discussion questions, and narrated Catholic FAQs about the Gospel.
4. Tell your kids about the new path to sainthood. Pope Francis on July 11 issued an apostolic letter opening a fourth path by which a Servant of God may be declared Blessed: oblatio vitae, or “the free offering of one’s life” for the sake of others (as opposed to for the sake of the faith). In order for the offer of life to be valid for beatification, the candidate must freely and voluntarily accept a certain and untimely death. “Worthy of special consideration and honour are those Christians who, following more than closely the footsteps and teachings of the Lord Jesus, have voluntarily and freely offered their life for others and persevered with this determination unto death,” Francis said in the letter.
5. Upgrade your screen time. Jen Schlameuss-Perry helps you analyze the issues raised by War for the Planet of the Apes in the light of your teens’ faith. For younger kids, Adrienne Thorne recommends The Beauty of Pixar’s “Up” this weekend…including one two-minute scene that’s sure to make you cry (in a good way!).
6. Plan a retreat for mom and dad. You’ve planned the family vacation, but have you planned retreat time just for you and your spouse? Time to make that happen! We’ve got tips and encouragement in Why Every Mom and Dad Needs to Make a Retreat (and How to Make It Happen).
7. Teach your kids how to be mentors. Heidi Indahl explains how in Our Summer of Mentoring.


8. Take a second look at NFP. It’s Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, and the U.S. Catholic bishops have lots of resources, including prayers, articles, and the testimony of couples practicing NFP.



Make sure you don’t miss a Peanut Butter & Grace post on Facebook (@peanutbutterandgrace). Go to our FB page, then click on Following, and select See First. 



St. Christina the Astonishing (Monday). At the age of 22, St. Christina (1150-1224) died of a seizure. But in the middle of her funeral Mass, she sprang out of her casket and flew up into the rafters, astonishing the assembly. When she came down, she reported that she had come back from heaven on a special mission to convert sinners, which included doing penance for the poor souls in purgatory. “She voluntarily lived in extreme poverty, wearing only rags and living without a home,” says ChurchPop. “She avoided human contact as much as possible. But deprivation wasn’t enough: she also sought out suffering to increase her penance. People watched her intentionally throw herself into fires and remain there for extended periods of time. She would appear to be suffering greatly, with terrible shrieking, but then  would exit the fire completely unscathed. She allowed herself to be attacked by dogs and would intentionally run her body through thickets of thorn bushes. And in winter, she would immerse herself in a nearby river and remain in the nearly freezing water for hours or even days on end. As if this wasn’t extreme enough, she would apparently even allow herself to be sucked into water wheels of nearby mills, getting spun around. Again, as painful and harmful as these things seemed to be for her, she would always emerge seemingly unharmed. Astonished, yet?”

St. James the Great (apostle) St. James the Great was the brother of John. Jesus nicknamed the brothers “sons of thunder,” and took them and Peter with him to witness his Transfiguration on the mountaintop. He is called “Great” to distinguish him from James the Lesser, another apostle of Jesus, and James the Just, identified in the Acts of the Apostles as “the brother of the Lord.”

Sts. Joachim and Anne (Wednesday), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The only concrete information we have about them comes from a source written about a century after the death of Jesus, but the Church honors the parents of Mary under these names in any case. “The strong character of Mary in making decisions, her continuous practice of prayer, her devotion to the laws of her faith, her steadiness at moments of crisis, and her devotion to her relatives—all indicate a close-knit, loving family that looked forward to the next generation even while retaining the best of the past,” notes Franciscan Media.

Blessed Titus Brandsma (Thursday), a Dutch priest who advised Catholic newspapers that they could not carry Nazi propaganda in their pages; for this he was arrested and sent to the Dachau death camp, where he was tortured and finally executed by acid. “Titus’ courage and advocacy of peace did not come out of nowhere: both his close ties to the medieval mystics of the Lowlands and his vocation to the Carmelite order rooted him in both an active involvement in the world and in the springs of contemplative prayer, which nourished his active life,” according to the official website for the cause of his canonization. Among the numerous anecdotes about his peacemaking are two from his imprisonment: “Once another Dutch prisoner challenged him about his admonition that the prisoners should pray for their Nazi captors. How could they be expected to do that, the other Dutchman asked, when they were being mishandled and terrorized by the guards? With typical humor and realism, Titus replied, ‘You don’t have to pray for them the whole day! The good Lord will be happy with one prayer.'” And at the end of his life, Titus gave his rosary to the nurse who administered the lethal injection to him, “What an unfortunate girl you are. I shall pray for you,” he told her. Those words, the nurse later testified, were instrumental in bringing her back to the faith.

St. Martha of Bethany (Saturday) who, together with her sister, Mary, and her brother, Lazarus, was a good friend of Jesus, who often stayed at their home. When Lazarus died, she said to Jesus: “I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Peanut Butter & Grace recommends families use Give Us This Day or another daily missal for daily readings, saint stories, and prayers. Give Us This Day is available at Amazon or directly from Liturgical Press. The app is available from your favorite app store.



  • St. James (July 25)
  • Ignatius of Loyola (July 31)
  • St. Alphonsus Liguori (August 1)
  • St. John Vianney (August 4)
  • Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6)
  • St. Dominic (August 8)
  • St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (August 9)
  • St. Lawrence (August 10)
  • St. Clare of Assisi (August 12)
  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15)



Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued a statement Thursday expressing concern over the proposed U.S. House of Representatives budget resolution: “The USCCB is closely monitoring the budget and appropriations process in Congress and is analyzing the proposed House budget resolution in more detail. It is clearly noted at the outset that the proposal assumes the harmful and unacceptable cuts to Medicaid from the American Health Care Act. Additionally, steady increases to military spending in the resolution are made possible by cutting critical resources for those in need over time, including potentially from important programs like SNAP that provide essential nutrition to millions of people. The bipartisan approach to discretionary spending in recent years, while imperfect, reflected a more balanced compromise given competing priorities.

“A nation’s budget is a moral document. Reducing deficits through cuts for human needs—while simultaneously attempting a tax cut, as this proposal does—will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy. Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.”

Other recent statements on health care, immigration, and refugees can be found at the website of the U.S. Catholic bishops.



“I wish I had a thousand
lives to offer to God in
thanksgiving for what he
has done for me.”

—Blessed Andrew of Phu Yen, martyr of Vietnam, whose feast day is Wednesday




We’re brainstorming ways to get kids to stop talking over one another at dinner (no brilliant ideas yet) and discussing the finer points of “how much Mass can you miss for it still to count” over on our Facebook group, Peanut Butter & Grace Parents. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.



Join us on Facebook @peanutbutterandgrace and on Pinterest.



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).

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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