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Like Fire Burning in My Heart • Family Time

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Reading Time: 15 minutes



September 3-9: 22nd Week of Ordinary Time

St. Mother Teresa + Nativity of Mary + St. Peter Claver + Blessed Frédéric Ozanam + St. Phoebe




1. Put a Catholic twist on Labor Day. Work is a good thing, when it follows God’s plan for us! That’s the good news you can share with your kids this Labor Day with help from Jen Schlameuss-Perry in On Labor Day, Teach Your Kids about the Dignity of Work. Besides a crash course on our faith’s long tradition of teaching about work, she offers a handful of easy, practical activities that put a Catholic twist on the day.

For extra credit, you can also check out Laura Cunningham’s What We Should Teach Our Kids About Dreams, Jobs and Dignity and Teach Your Kids How to Turn Work into Prayer.

2. Let your kids help Hurricane Harvey victims. Older kids and teens can be encouraged to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey by donating money during this week’s special collection (see below for details) or giving directly to Catholic Charities or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, both of which are involved in relief efforts. Kids can donate part of their allowance, scrounge the house for loose change, or devise a simple fundraiser (doing chores for neighbors, putting on a talent show, etc.).

3. Celebrate Mary’s birthday. Who doesn’t love a birthday? The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on Friday, and it’s the perfect opportunity for a birthday party. Tracy Bua Smith shares party ideas featuring doughnuts, cupcakes, and candles in pictures…plus, click through the Catholic Calendar link below to preview the day’s Scripture readings.

4. Get some fire in your bones. Zeal for God’s work is the theme of this week’s Scripture readings…plus, poor Peter gets taken down a notch by Jesus! You can preview the Sunday readings with Jen Schlameuss-Perry in the latest Breaking Open the Word at Home.

5. Celebrate the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta. It’s Mother Teresa’s feast day on Tuesday, and Tracy Bua Smith has eight ways to celebrate, including some great resources and activity ideas.

6. Play with St. Regina. It’s the feast day of St. Regina on Thursday, and Christine Henderson has a short story about the shepherdess and martyr, plus a simple activity you can do with your kids, in the latest Playing with the Saints.

7. Figure out your kids’ smartphone use. Jean Twenge, the social scientist who studies generational trends and coined the term iGen, raises some interesting—and disturbing—questions about how smartphones are affecting our kids in Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The article appears in this month’s Atlantic magazine. According to Twenge, smartphones are fundamentally changing our kids’ behavior and mental health in ways both good and bad; her concern is mainly about the spike in depression and suicide that seems to be at least partially the result of smartphone-mediated socializing and isolation. Whether you have babies or teens, it’s a worthwhile in-depth read…followed up by a conversation with your spouse and older kids.



We’re pleased to announce a new children’s picture book from Peanut Butter & Grace!

Maggie and Max can’t wait for the All Saints’ Day party: there will be games and candles and treats . . . and costumes! There’s just one problem: they can’t decide which saint to dress up as . . . and the party is just a week away!

The siblings turn to their friends and family for help, and get introduced to six saints, each of whom had his or her own way of being holy: St. Martin de Porres, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Joseph, St. Josephine Bakhita, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Which saint will they be? It’s a surprise—you’ll have to read the story to see!

Join Maggie and Max as they learn about what it takes to be a saint…and how each of us is called to be one.


Preview the whole book now


You can buy hardcover and softcover editions of this book at Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Or get 15% off your entire order at Gracewatch Media with coupon code GRACE15. Bulk pricing available.



Turning Grief Inside Out: Surviving Pregnancy Loss with God’s Help is now available from Gracewatch Media or at Amazon.com.

Author Christine Henderson shares her own stories of loss and offers practical and spiritual advice for both moms and their families and friends in a heartfelt, conversational style. Look for this title to be available directly from Gracewatch Media and on Amazon Kindle in the next few weeks.



That’s the question we’re asking over at our Facebook group, Peanut Butter & Grace Parents. Share your own ideas for a chance to win a gift certificate; the contest closes this Thursday evening. This is a closed group, so you’ll need to request to be added.



Post one or more quotes from this week’s saints in a prominent place in your home.



U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Labor Day Statement (scroll down page for link)



St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997). The newest Catholic saint. Mother Teresa was admired worldwide for her simple service to the poorest of the poor. “Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”



St. Phoebe (first century), the woman who was a friend and co-worker of St. Paul in the early Church. Paul introduced her to the Church at Rome in this way: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that  you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.” (Romans 16:1-2)



St. Regina (third century), a shepherdess and early Christian martyr. See Playing with St. Regina.

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853). As university students Frédéric and his friends began serving the poor of Paris. Their group became the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Frédéric went on to become a newspaper publisher and a professor of literature, as well as a devoted husband and father. “The saints were out of their minds when it came to love. Their love was limitless, embracing God, humanity, nature.”



Nativity of Mary. It’s Mary’s birthday today! (The word nativity means “birth” in Latin.) And for her birthday, the Gospel of Matthew gives her . . . a long list of names! Actually, that genealogy honors Mary by showing that she is in a long line of men and women who played important roles in God’s plan of salvation. Tradition says that Mary’s parents were named Anne and Joachim.



St. Peter Claver (1580-1654), the Jesuit priest who spent forty years ministering to more than 300,000 African slaves in Columbia. He boarded the slave ships as they arrived in order to give the slaves food and medicine; later, he visited them on the plantations, staying in the slave quarters instead of the main house. He signed his name, “Peter Claver, slave to the Africans forever.” “I must dedicate myself to the service of God until death, on the understanding that I am like a slave.”



  • Patriot Day (Sept. 11)
  • Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14)
  • Our Lady of Sorrows (Sept. 15)
  • Hispanic Heritage Month begins (Sept. 15)
  • Catechetical Sunday (Sept. 17)


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.



…are wearing the Catholic T-Shirt Club’s #TexasStrong t-shirts; all the proceeds will be donated to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The t-shirts feature an outline of Texas with a quote from 1 Timothy 4:17 inside it: “The LORD stood with me and gave me strength.”



The U.S. Catholic bishops are recommending that local dioceses take up a special collection for the victims of Hurricane Harvey this weekend (Sept. 2-3) or the following weekend (9-10). “Funds given to the collection will support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and will provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses through the USCCB. The hurricane has affected southeast Texas, including the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and could also strike Louisiana,” said the bishops’ statement.

As always with special collections, consider how kids can get involved by collecting or raising money to give during the collection. For more information on the Church’s ongoing relief efforts, check out the Catholic Charities website.



“Let us not forget that, for punishment to be fruitful, it must have a horizon of hope, otherwise it is enclosed within itself and is only an instrument of torture, it is not fruitful.”

Pope Francis, in a video address to youth in an Argentine prison on August 24



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



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 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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