Sunday, November 13, 2016
The Rabbits' Thanksgiving is Available for Free from November 13th through 17th  

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  If you are looking for a children's Thanksgiving eBook to read aloud with your children or for your early readers to read, you can get The Rabbits' Thanksgiving for Kindle for free from November 13th through November 17th:
Celebrate Thanksgiving with Tom and Martha Rabbit! Follow along with them and their family in the days before Thanksgiving as they get ready for the holiday. Then join Tom and Martha on Thanksgiving Day when their celebration continues with family, food, fun, and giving thanks.
To get a copy, simply click on the image below or click here and download the book to your Kindle device or to your Kindle App.  You can also find the book by searching for The Rabbits' Thanksgiving in the Kindle Store.


Please also provide any feedback you have on the book on Amazon.  Thank you.

Posted by David at 7:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 

Saturday, October 08, 2016
See Your Dreams Come True  

We All Have Dreams

I have yet to meet someone who does not have at least one dream.  Each person carries within him or her a dream (or dreams) of doing something that makes a difference in that person's life and the lives of others.  Many people know what that dream is, but it seems that many have lost touch with that dream.  Over time, the dream has been buried under disappointment, daily life, fear, and striving for what is not the real dream.  However, it is never too late to uncover that dream and turn it into a reality.  One way to do that is to present that dream to your mind as a picture it sees until it becomes a reality.

Dreams that we have for our lives are not unlike dreams that we have in our sleep.  Many times the dreams that we have at night are simply manifestations of our minds processing what we are subconsciously thinking.  Our minds take the raw materials of what we have seen and process those things in a new way that we experience as a dream while we sleep.  The point is that our brains continue to work even when our body is sleeping in order to help us in the moment and as we move into the future.  Our mind is working to help us make sense of our lives while we are awake and while we are asleep.

Often times our dreams can be quite vivid.  Who has not had a dream that was so vivid that you thought it was real?  The picture in your mind was as real to you as what you see when you are awake.  How is that possible?  It is is possible because you actually see with your mind even when you are awake.  The images captured by your eyes are sent to your brain in order for your brain to make them into what you “see”.

How to See Your Dreams Become True

With this understanding of your subconscious mind working to understand your life and the fact that your brain is what actually helps you “see”, we can use these concepts to help our dreams become a reality.  One way to do this is to put in front of your mind images of what you would like to see manifested in your own life.  By doing that, you are presenting to your mind the material it will use to help make what it sees actually happen in your life.  The idea is to feed your mind with what you want in order to use the power of your mind to help bring that about in your life.

There are many methods of accomplishing this, and I am going to suggest one that you can use.  The method is quite straightforward.  Simply find images of your dreams and spend a brief amount of time looking at those images each day.   For instance, if one of your dreams is to share your story with others in order that they can learn from you, you should find an image of how you visualize that occurring.  Maybe you want to speak to students to share your story.  Find a picture on the Internet of someone speaking passionately to students and print it out.  Then at least twice a day, preferably in the morning soon after you have awoken and right before you go to bed, look at the picture and think about you being that person in the picture who is helping the students by telling them your story. 

As you spend time feeding this image to your mind, you help your subconscious mind to begin to make it actually happen.  The power of that idea fed as an image to your mind will be the raw material that helps your dream become a reality.  You will start to overcome barriers that you have set up such as fear of public speaking or wondering why students would listen to you.  Eventually, you will find that your life has become the image and you are actually speaking in front of students sharing your story.

Does this sound too good to be true?  It is not.  It happens all the time in your life right now.  What you spend time thinking about is what your life looks like.  If you think about cooking and recipes and watch cooking shows, you probably find yourself in the kitchen cooking and baking.  You do not consider this too good to be true.  All that happens is that what you think about is what you end up doing.  You start to take action by buying cooking equipment and ingredients.  You socialize with people interested in cooking.  You start to share your cooking with family and friends.  You try new recipes.  You start to just happen to come across things of interest to you in cooking.  The same can be true for any of your dreams.  All you are doing is making a conscience decision as to what you want to place in front of your mind in order to manifest it in your life.

Once you begin the process, you might want to expand it to several key areas in your life.  The earlier example about talking to students might fall under the category of Vocation or your calling.  (I prefer the term Vocation rather than Work Life, as your calling should include your work life and other areas to which you felt called to spend your time.)  I would suggest finding images that represent the dreams you have for the following areas in your life:
  • Relationships
  • Money
  • Health
  • Vocation
  • Lifestyle/Travel
  • Social
  • Generosity
  • Spiritual
  • Personal Development
You can organize these images in one place such as a poster board.  (These are often termed a vision board.)  By placing the images on the board, you have a handy device that you can view at least twice a day spending no more than a few minutes viewing the images.  There are certainly other ways to organize the images, and what you choose should make it easy for you to insure that you do it twice every day and that the images stay in good shape.

How to Add Jet Fuel to the Process

In order to make the process a huge success, you need to add an important ingredient.  That key ingredient is emotion.  As you look at the images you want to manifest in your life, you should think about how it feels to already have that in your life.  For instance, as you look at the picture of the person speaking to the students, feel what you imagine you would feel as you spoke to those students.  You would be excited, passionate, compassionate, and loving.  You want what is best for those students, and you are giving of yourself to them.  You might also feel proud of yourself for achieving this goal.

Adding positive emotions is like adding jet fuel to the process.   What you think about with emotion carries greater weight in your mind.  Think about that from your past.   Memories often have emotions surrounding them that make them much more poignant.  And, the emotions are what might make the memory one that is stronger than another memory.  In addition, often when you are experiencing a certain emotion you remember particular memories.  When you are happy, you will think about happy memories, and when you are sad, you might think of sad memories.  By associating positive emotions with you want to manifest in your life, you are telling your mind that having this come about will make you happy.

Conclusion

Your dreams are an important part of who you are, and it is imperative that you pursue your dreams until they become a reality in your life.  By spending time each day thinking and feeling about images which represent your dreams, you are feeding your mind what it needs in order to help manifest those dreams in your life.  The more that you focus on your dreams, the more you will do or have happen in your life that move you to the ultimate fulfillment of your dreams.

Posted by David at 7:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 

Saturday, October 01, 2016
The Write Way to Get More Done  

Everyone is busy these days, and we all want to find that additional time to get everything done. Time is a precious resource, and no matter what we might wish for, we only have twenty-four hours in a day. There is no use looking for more hours. Instead, the key is to use our hours in a more efficient manner. The most important way to be more efficient is to be clear about how we spend our hours.

One way to develop that clarity of purpose is to have written goals. Many time management experts note that you are more likely to accomplish what you want to complete by writing it down on paper. The very simple exercise of writing down your goals provides that clarity of purpose that helps you be more efficient. As a Dominican University study noted, those who wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve those goals than those who did not write down their goals. Given this, it seems that it only makes sense to begin a habit of writing down your goals.

Right now, you might think to yourself that you already keep a “To Do” list and be ready to move on to reading something else. The difference is that if you keep a “To Do” list you are still not focusing on your goals. At best, your “To Do” list is simply very short term goals. And each day, you and I get caught up in trying to complete those short term goals. There is nothing wrong with that as we all need to complete tasks that include buying groceries, replacing the light bulb in the hallway, and getting new glasses. The problem is that it does not help us with clarity about long term goals which are the goals that matter and give more meaning to our lives. If we clarify those big goals, we can keep everything else in perspective and not feel frustrated that we are just keeping our heads above water.

How should you do that? Let me suggest one simple three-step method that is easy to follow and can become a vital habit in your efficiency and success.

Step One

The first step is simply to write down your goals on a piece of paper. Write down ten to twenty long term goals. The goals should be written in the present or past tense as if you have already accomplished the goal. Also, the goals should be specific. The more specific you write your goals, the better. For instance, here are some sample goals:

  1. I own a Honda Accord.
  2. I have taken my family on a trip to Rome.
  3. I am the director of sales.
  4. I am an author of a book on selling.
  5. I have a brand new deck out the back door.
  6. I speak Spanish.
  7.  ...
Then put down a deadline next to each goal. The deadline should be an actual date (09/20/2017) not a time span such as a year from now.
  1. I own a Honda Accord by November 30, 2017.
  2. I have taken my family on a trip to Rome by August 31, 2017.
  3. I am the director of a sales by September 30, 2017.
  4. ...

At this point in time you can congratulate yourself as you have done something that only 10% of the American population has done—produced a written list of goals.

Step Two

The next step is take your list and review it twice a day. You should review it once in the morning and once before you go to bed. As you review the goals, you might want to read them out loud. More importantly, read them with the feeling that you will have when you have accomplished the goal. Imagine how you will feel and what you will experience when your goal has been accomplished. You should create a mental picture of living with your accomplished goal. For example, you should picture yourself behind the wheel of your Honda Accord as you drive down the road. Or think about sitting in your new office as the director of sales.

An optional way to review this is to write your lists every morning. This daily approach is helpful in two important ways. First, every day, you go through that important exercise of physically writing down your goals with pen and paper. There is something vitally important about that physical connection with your hand and your mind that helps get the goal completion process going. It is the beginning of the process by which your goal will be met. Namely, what your mind thinks of will be accomplished by your hands. It starts with your hand writing down your mind's idea.

The second benefit of writing new lists each day is that you keep your list of goals fresh. Your list of your ten to twenty long term goals might change over time. If you do not recall all of your goals, your mind is simply deprecating the ones you do not remember in order to make room for ones that are more important to you at that moment. In addition, your mind might be clarifying your goal. For instance, instead of adding a back deck, you decide you would rather add a garage to protect your Honda Accord.

Congratulate yourself again. You have now started doing something that only 5% of Americans do—reviewing your written goals.

Step Three

This last step is optional. However, it can help jump start the process of accomplishing your goals. The process of goal writing and reviewing the goals each day using a vivid imagination works by placing these goals in your subconscious mind. Once your goals are in your subconscious mind, your mind begins to work on how to accomplish the goals. The next thing you know you start drawing people and things to yourself that guide you to completing your goal.

The way to jump start that process is to pick one of your long term goals and begin to write down at least 20 actions that you can take to accomplish that goal. For this activity, you might want to pick a goal that will have the most important impact upon your life. Take out a fresh piece of paper and write that goal at the top. Then in a manner similar to brain storming, simply write 20 actions that will help you reach that goal. Another tip is to make it fun. Here is a sample:

I have taken my family on a trip to Rome by August 31, 2017.
  1. Setup an automatic payment that saves money to a trip account.
  2. Research plane tickets for flying to Rome.
  3. Speak with Mary and John who went to Rome a few years ago.
  4. Research the places we would want to see when we are in Rome.
  5. Look at options for where to stay.
  6. Get the kids excited to go on the trip by setting up a trip fund jar in the kitchen. Any spare change is put in the jar. Check the jar every so often and plan to use it to buy gelato once you get to Rome.
  7. Get everyone thinking about Italy by eating Italian food, watching shows on traveling to Rome, and learning some simple Italian phrases.

Conclusion

In order to get more done, you need clarity about what you are trying to get done. One effective way to gain clarity is to have clearly defined written goals which are specific and have a deadline. These goals should be long term goals that have a major impact upon your life. In addition to writing them down, these goals should be reviewed in the morning and the evening every day. As you train your mind to clarify what you want, you will keep focused on your goals and become better at prioritizing everything else that competes for your time and attention.

Posted by David at 7:30 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 

Monday, June 20, 2016
The Bears' Fourth of July is Available for Free from Kindle Through June 21st  

The Fourth of July is right around the corner.  If you are looking for a children's Fourth of July eBook to read aloud with your children or for your early readers to read, you can get The Bears' Fourth of July for Kindle for free through the end of the day on June 21st

Simply click on the image below or click here and download the book to your Kindle device or to your Kindle App.  You can also find the book by searching for The Bears' Fourth of July in the Kindle Store.


Please also provide any feedback you have on the book on Amazon.  Thank you.

Posted by David at 11:30 PM  |  Comments (0)  | 

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Garden of the Good Shepherd Easter Calendar  

One of the beauties of the Church is the celebration of seasons.  Christmas is not just a day.  It is a season that last weeks.  Similarly, Easter is a seven week season.  There is great wisdom in this plan.  These celebrations are for mysteries that cannot be contained in weeks of pondering, let alone a single day.

This Easter Season we have added another new tradition that takes advantage of the week of weeks of the Easter season.  For years, LG had wanted to purchase the Easter sticker calendar called the Garden of the Good Shepherd.  However, the book was fairly expensive.  The original book which is now sold out can be seen on Amazon.  It came complete with illustrations by Tomie dePaola.


LG was thrilled to find out that Charlotte of Waltzing Matilda had kindly reproduced the 50 symbols of the original Garden of Good Shepherd book and made them available free of charge on her site.

Thanks to Charlotte's generosity, LG was able to make her own Garden of the Good Shepherd "Sticker" Calendar.  On her blog, she provided wonderful versions of the 50 symbols along with the background images.  These can be found here.  LG took it from there to draw the rest of the background and to color everything.  She decided to use magnets.  The background is attached with magnets on a magnetic white board.  We have attached small pieces of thin magnets to each symbol.  Then, each day a new symbol is added to the picture.

There is a theme for each week of the seven weeks of Easter.  For instance, the first week's theme is the Good Shepherd.  The symbols for that first week include a shepherd, a shepherd's staff, a gate, a sheepfold, a wolf, and several sheep.  In addition, each day there is also an associated Scripture reference.  From the first week the Scripture references are from Psalm 23 and John 10 where Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.  Here is what the calendar looks like part way through week four.


And here are the remaining symbols for the rest of the 50 days.


We always enjoy adding to our liturgical traditions.  And this new calendar is certainly a well-welcomed addition.


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Thursday, April 07, 2016
Are you interested in Improving your Writing? Try the Seven Secrets to Writing Success  

Are you Interested in improving your writing? This short Kindle book describes seven secrets which will help anyone improve their writing whether you are a student or a business professional.

In the book, you will learn the easy steps to having a plan, getting organized, staying focused, and successfully completing your writing task.  These are tried and true secrets that can be used again and again and will enable you to become a better writer and to complete writing tasks faster.

 Click on the book below in order to preview its contents.



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Friday, March 18, 2016
The Rabbits Celebrate Easter is Available Free from Kindle March 18 - 20, 2016  

Easter is right around the corner.  If you are looking for a children's Easter eBook to read aloud with your children or for your early readers to read, you can get The Rabbits Celebrate Easter from Kindle for free March 18 - 20.

Simply click on the image below or click here and download the book to your Kindle device or to your Kindle App.  You can also find the book by searching for The Rabbits Celebrate Easter in the Kindle Store.


Please also provide any feedback you have on the book on Amazon.  Thank you.

Posted by David at 10:00 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Jesus Tree: A Review of Jesse Tree Treasures' Jesus Tree Kit  

Our family's devotional discovery this Lent has been the Jesus Tree.  Although similar to the Jesse Tree of Advent, it has some subtle differences that make it more than just a devotion which has been applied to a different season of the liturgical calendar.

Instead, in its own right, the Jesus Tree is a very beautiful devotion that helps mark the days of Lent with stories from the Gospels which cover our Lord's life from His youth through His passion, death, burial, and resurrection. By focusing on Christ's life and death, the devotional focus becomes not on the anticipation of Christ's second coming or His first coming as a baby, but on what He has fulfilled as the One who came to redeem us.

Another way to view the differences is to note that the Jesse Tree of Advent focuses on the roots of Christ's first coming through marking important events of salvation history prior to the birth of Christ.  The Jesus Tree focus on the fruit of His coming, namely, His adult life, passion, death, and resurrection.

In this devotion, during the days of Lent, there are familiar parables such as the Prodigal Son and the Lost Sheep.  The days also focus on Jesus' healing of the 10 lepers, the centurion's servant, and the man with the withered hand.  Finally, the stories include His miracles of changing water to wine, multiplying the loaves and fishes, and raising Lazarus from the dead.  Each of these stories teach about His Kingdom and point the way to why He came--to die and rise again in order to save us from sin.  This theme is underscored by the days of Passion Week which include Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.



If you are looking to add this powerful devotion to your own family's Lenten practices, you might want to consider purchasing the Jesus Tree from Jesse Tree Treasures.  They provide a high quality, well-made Jesus Tree that consists of 64 wooden discs.  The discs have stickers attached with attractive pictures, titles, and Scripture references for the daily devotions for Lent (40 days), the Sundays of Lent (7), and several bonus days (St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph's Day), and some of the days of the Easter season.  The kit includes a card with each of the days listed along with the story title and Scripture reference for each story.  A bag is provided to keep the discs.  Finally, it was packaged in an attractive cardboard box with an gold elastic band to hold it together.  The high quality certainly adds to the devotional aspect of this version of the Jesus Tree, and the product is very durable and will last for many Lents in the future.


The discs can be used any way you would like.  Two suggestions for use which are listed on the store include adding a magnet to each disc or hanging them from a tree.  We have chosen the latter. Using a small drill bit, holes were put in each disc and a purple piece of ribbon was tied to the discs.  We conveniently have a ficus tree in the front hall which is perfect for hanging the discs.  The discs could also be simply laid on a table each day in some pattern that added to the idea that the tree was growing.  In our case, the ficus tree "grows" with ornaments throughout Lent and even into Easter when our tree will have been decorated with eggs and other Easter decorations.

I highly recommend the devotion of the Jesus Tree for your family's Lent, and I certainly recommend the Jesus Tree from Jesse Tree Treasures as a wonderful way to practice the devotion.


Note, I was given a discount on the purchase of the Jesus Tree from Jesse Tree Treasures as part of my reviewing their Jesus Tree.



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Saturday, February 20, 2016
The Jesus Tree: A New Lenten Tradition  

In our family, we always enjoy adding new traditions to our celebrations of the liturgical seasons.  And this year, we have been introduced to one for Lent that will be sure to be part of our Lenten seasons for years to come.

The new tradition is the Jesus Tree.  It is similar to the Jesse Tree of Advent.  The idea is to mark the days of Lent with passages of Scripture and a tangible symbol from the life of Christ beginning with His presentation in the Temple through His Passion and Resurrection.  It is a great way to reflect on our Lord's life, suffering, death, and resurrection during our Lenten journey.

For each day there is a passage of Scripture and a symbol which represents the Gospel account.  For instance, for the Presentation, the symbol might be the two doves which St. Joseph brought to the Temple in order to fulfill the Law.  And for the Gospel account of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the symbol is a sheep.  As you move through Lent, you add the symbols to the tree, and the bare tree becomes filled with the life of Jesus.

We ordered one Jesus Tree online, and in upcoming post, I will provide a review of that Jesus Tree.

However, before that arrived, we made our own felt and flannel version based on a kit which you can order online.


And here is a sample of some of the symbols:


If you are interested in making your own, I put together a downloadable Jesus Tree Guide which includes a list of materials you will need, instructions on how we made ours, pictures of all the symbols, and the daily readings from both Scripture and a popular picture children's Bible--the New Catholic Picture Bible. 

The Jesus Tree Guide can be purchased from Etsy or Teacher's Pay Teachers.  Whether you purchase a Jesus Tree or make your own, perhaps you will add this tradition to your family's Lenten journey.




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Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Free Bible Study Series from St. Paul Center--"The Bible and the Virgin Mary"  



The St. Paul Center, which was founded by Dr. Scott Hahn, is offering a free Bible Study Series on the Bible and the Virgin Mary.  The series of 12 videos will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 10th.  Each week a new video will be released which explores the truths about the Blessed Virgin Mary from Scripture.

The St. Paul Center was founded in order increase the love of Christ through the increase of Biblical knowledge.  The video series is sure to be a great addition to their materials.

In order to participate, you must register.  Registration and more information, can be found here.

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Monday, January 11, 2016
New Calendar Cards: Angels in the Bible and the Apostles  

I am excited to announce that two new sets of Calendar Cards have recently been completed, and they are now available on Etsy and Teacher's Pay Teachers.  The two sets are Angels in the Bible and the Apostles.

Both are sets of 31 flash cards with a piece of artwork on one side and interesting information on the reverse side.  They are available in a PDF format and can be printed out in order to make the flash cards.  They can also simply be used in the PDF format.

Angels in the Bible Calendar Cards

The Angels in the Bible Calendar Cards are a fun way to learn about the important role of angels in the Bible. There are several introductory cards for the first several days which answer the questions of who are the angels, where are the angels, how many angels are there, and what is their role. The remaining cards in the set of 31 cards go through selected stories in the Bible in which angels appear.

Some of the stories over the 31 days include passages from the Bible where Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Elijah, Mary, Joseph, and Peter encounter angels.  The Bible reference for each story is included in a separate table.  Also, a prayer to your Guardian Angel is provided which is suitable for print out and display.

 

Angels in the Bible Days 1 through 6 FrontAngels in the Bible Days 1 through 6 Back

Angels in the Bible Day 16 FrontAngels in the Bible Day 16 Back

The Apostles Calendar Cards

The Apostles Calendar Cards are a great way to introduce students to the twelve apostles of Jesus. Through 31 days of calendar cards, students are provided fascinating information about each of the 12 apostles. There are two cards for each apostle which provide biographical information about the apostle, the apostle's feast day, some patronages and symbols of the apostle, and what the apostle did after Pentecost.


Apostles Calendar Card Days 1 through 6 FrontApostles Calendar Card Days 1 through 6 Back

Apostles Calendar Card Day 11 FrontApostles Calendar Card Day 11 Back


Both sets of cards include information about the artwork displayed on the front of each card.  In a separate table at the end, the title, artist, date, and current location of each piece of artwork is listed.

With 31 cards in each set, these can be used for any month of the year or simply used as flash cards for learning about angels and the Apostles.

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Monday, November 30, 2015
Online Advent Calendar from the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America  

Advent is a fairly big season in our family.  We have already brought out the Jesse Tree, the Advent calendars, and various other Advent related items.  You can see some of the ways in which our family celebrates Advent here

We really enjoy opening the Advent calendars each day throughout the season.  We have at least 4 calendars that we use each year.  (All of these are re-usable; we only used the chocolate or candy variety for a year or two.) The oldest Advent calendar we own is a simple card stock one with a picture of the Nativity.  There is a Scripture reference behind each door which takes you through the Christmas story.  The latest Advent calendar is from Caspari.  It is a large Christmas tree, and it has fun Christmas-themed pictures behind each window.  No matter what the calendar contains, we enjoy opening them each day to see what surprise is behind the window as we count down the days of Advent toward Christmas.

I have always wanted to find a good online Advent calendar, and I think that I have found one.

The online Advent calendar which I am excited about is provided by the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.  These are the Franciscans who are Custodians of the various Shrines of the Holy Land.  Their monastery in the United States is in Washington, D.C., and it is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.  We have had the privilege of being able to visit the monastery several times.


The gardens are absolutely beautiful.  Inside the main building, they have built replicas of some of the shrines of the Holy Land including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Outside the lower garden area, they also have a replica of the grotto at Lourdes.  It is quite impressive.  From what I understand, the Franciscans are prepared for their assignment in the Holy Land at this monastery.

I just came across their Advent calendar.  There seems to be a video with a meditation on the readings for each Sunday and the rest of the days of the week provide information about the liturgical significance of the day.  If you are looking for a way to "count down" to Christmas and prepare your heart for Christ's coming at Bethlehem, this might be a good option for you.  It can be found here.



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Saturday, November 21, 2015
Introducing Calendar Cards: Christmas Around the World  



In LightStone's Etsy Shop, we have introduced Calendar Cards.  Calendar Cards are 31 cards which cover a particular topic.  The first edition is appropriately, Christmas Around the World in anticipation of next month.

The Christmas Around the World Calendar Cards introduce different Christmas traditions which are celebrated in selected countries around the world. Each country has two days. The first day for each country describes some of the unique Christmas traditions of the country, and the second day of the country lists how to say "Merry Christmas" in the language(s) of that country. The days can be printed out or read from the PDF.

Through November 28th, the Christmas Around the World Calendar Cards can be obtained for 40% from LightStone's Etsy Shop using the coupon code  THANKSGIVING2015.

Update, as of November 30th, the Christmas Around the World Calendar Cards are also available at CurrClick and Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Advent will be here Soon  


Although we are still preparing for Thanksgiving, Advent will be here before we know it.

Advent is always a very special time in our home.  During the four weeks, we enjoy preparing ourselves and our home for celebrating the birth of Christ.  We generally have several Advent calendars we open each day.  We participate in Giving Tree projects for the collection of gifts, clothing, and food.  There are special feast days--Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Immaculate Conception, and St. Lucia--which we celebrate.  There are many special events, as well.  And of course, many people in our community put up beautiful decorations and lights which it is fun to enjoy.  It is always a time of high energy which we can use for preparing our hearts for celebrating the wonder of God's gift to us--His Son born as a child to the Virgin Mary.

Several years ago, I wrote an Advent and Christmas-themed Rabbit book with my then seven-year-old daughter which eventually became the second book in the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series--The Rabbits Celebrate Advent and Christmas.  For the Rabbit Family, like so many others, Advent and Christmas go together.

In this colorfully illustrated book, Tom and Martha Rabbit are excited that Christmas is only weeks away. Join them as they prepare for Christmas during Advent. And then come along with them for more fun with their family on Christmas Day.

The Bear and Rabbit Book Series is for story time, bedtime reading, and for early readers. The stories include fun illustrations on every page.

The Rabbits Celebrate Advent and Christmas is currently available as a PDF on Etsy or as an eBook for the Nook, for Kobo, and for the Kindle.

For purchases on Etsy, use the coupon code THANKSGIVING2015 to get a 40% discount!  (The coupon code is good through November 28th.)

For more information, you can visit the the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series Facebook page.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015
Looking for Discounts on Catholic Items? Check Catholic Deals Online.  


I recently became aware of a great web site which pulls together online discounts for Catholic items.  (I became aware of it via my daughter who saw it on Catholic Inspired; she is very excited about it.)

The web site, Catholic Deals Online, is run by a mother who is also a blogger and freelance writer.  On the her web site, she posts items which are on discount or have a special offer.  The items are primarily Catholic.  She also does include items that are not Catholic, but she does not include anything that would be considered anti-Catholic.  (I would do the very same.)

Currently, she is featuring items for Advent.  If you are on the ball and already getting ready for Advent, you might want to check out her site.  Even if you are not shopping for Advent, any time you you are looking for discounted items, remember to check Catholic Deals Online.

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Monday, November 09, 2015
40% off Sale on the Rabbits' Thanksgiving and other Items on Etsy  

Looking for a good children's eBook for Thanksgiving?

The Bear and Rabbit Book Series is for story time, bedtime reading, and for early readers. The stories include fun illustrations on every page.

And now on Etsy, the Rabbits' Thanksgiving eBook (PDF) is available for 40% off.  Simply use the coupon code THANKSGIVING2015 at checkout.  The coupon is good through November 28th.  It can be applied to anything in the store.  To get 40% off the Rabbits' Thanksgiving or any other book in the store, go to the LightStoneGoods store on Etsy.


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Monday, November 02, 2015
November, Thanksgiving, and The Rabbits' Thanksgiving eBook  


The month of November brings the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, and for me, a reminder to give thanks every day.

Last year, the first Bear and Rabbit Reader book--The Rabbits' Thanksgiving--was released. I am grateful for everyone who has supported this book and the other eBooks in the series which have since been released.

In this colorfully illustrated book, the Rabbit Family celebrates Thanksgiving at school and home with their friends and family.  In this story for young readers, you can join the rabbits Tom and Martha along with their family for a fun-filled Thanksgiving celebration.

The Bear and Rabbit Book Series is for story time, bedtime reading, and for early readers. The stories include fun illustrations on every page.

The Rabbits' Thanksgiving is currently available as a PDF on Etsy or as an eBook for the Nook, for Kobo, and for the Kindle.

For purchases on Etsy, use the coupon code THANKSGIVING2015 to get a 40% discount!  (The coupon code is good through November 28th.)

For more information, you can visit the the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series Facebook page.

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Friday, July 31, 2015
Getting to Know St. Ignatius of Loyola  



July 31st is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  This Spanish saint is the patron of spiritual exercises,soldiers, and, of course, the Jesuits, the order which he founded.  He was a man of humility and courage.  He left the life of a soldier to become a soldier in the Kingdom of God.  He is an example of being open to God's call through the events of one's life.

Now with Pope Francis, we have our first pope from the order which was founded by St. Ignatius.  We are just beginning to appreciate the impact that his Jesuit training has had upon him and how it has helped shape his pontificate.

If you would like to know more about the great St. Ignatius, you might want to get one of my copies of his autobiography which is available as an eBook in various formats.  In honor of his feast day, the eBook will be available at a special price through August 31st.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Used Homeschool Books for Sale: Curriculum Sale Blog Hop  

Note, this post has been updated as of August 29, 2015. Prices have been reduced for many of the items which are still available.


This post is dedicated to the Curriculum Sale Blog Hop which is sponsored by Shower of Roses.  Click here to view the original post which includes other items for sale on other blogs.

Thanks to Shower of Roses for sponsoring this event.

The following homeschool curriculum items are available for sale. Many of these can be purchased via our Amazon or eBay sites--Light Stone. To purchase the book via Amazon or eBay, simply click on the book's title. (Note, there are two pages of Light Stone items listed on the Amazon site.  The book could be listed on either page.)

If you would like multiple items from the Amazon site, I am not sure whether Amazon will bundle the items when calculating postage. If not, please leave a comment, and I will work out a way to get you the books at a reasonable cost for postage.

If there is no link, the book is not available via Amazon, please add a comment indicating your interest in an item. Payment will be via PayPal. Thanks.


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
MCP Mathematics Level B Teacher's Edition Richard Monnard and Royce Hargrove Dale Seymour Publications 2005 $8.99 Available
Saxon Math Homeschool 7/6 Solutions Manual Stephen Hake and John Saxon Saxon Publishers 2005 $5.99 Sold


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Who Has God's Life? Teacher's Manual Grade 1 Mary Jo Smith, Karlee Gardner, and Mary Hudrik Ignatius Press 1991 $4.99 Available
Who is Our Example? Teacher's Manual Grade 3 Michelle Richardson and Camille Kohner Ignatius Press 1991 $18.99 Available


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
All Ye Lands: Origins of World Cultures Bridget Neumayr Catholic Schools Textbook Project 2011 $47.99 Sold
All Ye Lands: Origins of World Cultures Teacher's Manual Christopher Zehnder Catholic Schools Textbook Project 2011 $14.99 Sold



Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America (Student Workbook on with Answer Key on CD) Ana Braga-Henebry Catholic Schools Textbook Project 2011 $7.99 Sold

Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Behold and See 6 Textbook Rosemary C. Johnson Sheridan Books 2012 $37.99 Sold


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Creative Communications Sandra Garant Catholic Heritage Curricula 2006 $8.99 Sold
Little Stories for Little Folks Parent's Guide Fourth Edition Nancy Nicholson For Little Folks 2008 $1.99 Available


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Map Skills Teacher's Guide and Answer Key Level C Bernard A. Fox Continental Press 2004 $3.99 Available
Map Skills Teacher's Guide and Answer Key Level D Bernard A. Fox Continental Press 2004 $3.99 Available
Map Skills Teacher's Guide and Answer Key Level E Bernard A. Fox Continental Press 2004 $3.99 Available
Map Skills Teacher's Guide and Answer Key Level F Bernard A. Fox Continental Press 2004 $3.99 Available


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Christian Heritage Art Program Level 4 Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, O.P. St. Cecilia Congregation 2006 $17.99 Available
Christian Heritage Art Program Level 5 Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, O.P. St. Cecilia Congregation 2006 $17.99 Available
Christian Heritage Art Program Level 6 (not pictured) Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, O.P. St. Cecilia Congregation 2006 $17.99 Available
Christian Heritage Art Program: CD (Instruction Guide for Levels 1-8) (not pictured) Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, O.P. St. Cecilia Congregation 2006 $17.99 Available


Title Author Publisher Year Price Status
Puella Romana Little Latin Readers Primer A First Edition Julie A. Collorafi Guadalupe Press 2010 $3.99  Sold
Britanni et Galli Little Latin Readers Primer B First Edition Reader and Pronunciation CD Julie A. Collorafi Guadalupe Press 2010 $6.99 Sold
Italia Little Latin Readers Reader One Fourth Edition Julie A. Collorafi Guadalupe Press 2012 $7.99 Sold
Europa Little Latin Readers Primer C Third Edition Julie A. Collorafi Guadalupe Press 2012 $5.99 Available
Europa Little Latin Readers Primer C Third Edition Pronunciation CD Julie A. Collorafi Guadalupe Press 2012 $6.99 Available


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Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The Bears' Fourth of July eBook has been Released  


In time for the Fourth of July, the latest eBook in the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series has been released.  It is the first bear book--The Bear's Fourth of July.  In this colorfully illustrated book, the bears celebrate the Fourth of July with a get together with friends and, of course, watching the fireworks show.  Join Lillian and Timothy for a fun-filled day of celebration.

The Bear and Rabbit Book Series is for story time, bedtime reading, and for early readers. The stories include fun illustrations on every page.

The Fourth of July book is currently available as a PDF on Etsy, for the Nook, on Kobo, and for the Kindle.

For more information, you can visit the the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series Facebook page.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015
New Product: Flexible Magnetic Flannel Board  


We recently started making an educational product that takes a familiar item and extends its use.

The flannel board has been used for years for teaching and play. By adding a magnetic backing, the flannel board can be put on any surface that holds magnets--a refrigerator, a filing cabinet, or a magnetic white board.

The flannel is large enough (24 inches by 22.5 inches) to hold many felt pieces, and it can be easily rolled up for storage. It is made of quality flannel and magnetic backing.

It can be purchased on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015
Community Giving Article Published  


 Recently, Seton Magazine, which is an online and print magazine targeted to homeschoolers, published my article on our experience with what we call our Community Giving project.  My wife had the idea to make giving to our community a project each month.  We have had fun with the various projects and giving to others, and I appreciate the opportunity to share our experience in the Seton Magazine.

The article on the idea and how we have implemented it can be read here.

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Saturday, December 06, 2014
What did St. Nicholas leave for you?  


There are a number of traditions surrounding St. Nicholas Day including the tradition of children leaving out their shoes the night before his feast day on December 6th in order that St. Nicholas has a place to leave presents and treats. We have had fun with that tradition for many years with LG. There is a similarity to the tradition of putting out your stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. And both traditions are often traced back to the real St. Nicholas who was a Fourth Century bishop.

The shoes tradition has a couple of nice ideas associated with it. First, it gives us the opportunity to remember that saints are real people who really lived and our still a part of our reality. We can talk with them and ask them for help. And they help us in many ways which we will only better understand God willing in the next life. Second, the tradition of gifts from St. Nicholas is based in the generosity he displayed in his life. The legacy of St. Nicholas' generosity which we know of through the stories we have of his life remind us that generosity is fun as well as a way for us to live a fully human life. By celebrating this fun tradition, we have had the opportunity of integrating these ideas into our Advent preparation and celebration.

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Thursday, December 04, 2014
The Rabbits Celebrate Advent and Christmas eBook is now Available  


Last month saw the release of the first Bear and Rabbit Reader series eBook--The Rabbits' Thanksgiving.

Just in time for Advent and Christmas, the second book in the series has been released--The Rabbits Celebrate Advent and Christmas. The story follows Tom and Martha Rabbit and their family through their preparation during Advent and their fun Christmas Day.

The Bear and Rabbit Book Series is for story time, bedtime reading, and for early readers. The stories include fun illustrations on every page.

The story is available in virtually any type of eBook format.  If you are looking for a fun story to read to your children or for one of your early readers to read to you, you can get a copy of the eBook for Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.

For more information, you can visit the the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series Facebook page.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Every Day is Thanksgiving  



Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Our family has always enjoyed the opportunity that Thanksgiving provides to remind us to be grateful not just once a year, nor even for a month, but every single day and throughout the day.

Recently, I have tried to cultivate two habits for giving thanks.  First, I try to begin time in prayer with thanks and to spend as much time giving God thanks as I would spend in any other part of my prayer.  Second, I try to take just a moment at the beginning of each day in the office by writing on a small pad of paper at least seven things for which I am grateful at that moment.  I read about this idea, and I have found it to be very helpful for starting out the work day in the right frame of mind. By my thinking,we should be grateful to God constantly; it should be our overall mindset.  With reminders like these, I hope to cultivate is an attitude of thanksgiving in order to maintain it at all times as much as possible.

For some fun ideas to help you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family and to remind you to give thanks, you can check out these Thanksgiving ideas from the Homeward blog.

[Painting: Angelus, Millet,  Musée d'Orsay]

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
My Memory of the St. Martin's Day Lantern Procession  



In Fifth Grade, I lived in Heidelberg, Germany, and I attended an American school. At least once a week, we received instruction in German from a nice native speaker who patiently taught us number, colors, key phrases, and lessons about German culture.

One of my main memories of her instruction is when she had us make St. Martin's Day lanterns. In Germany, and other European countries, St. Martin's day processions with lanterns are very popular. At the time, it seemed much better known than Halloween among the Germans, and it was a fun event to celebrate the saint's day on November 11th.

The lantern which I made was from sturdy black paper, It was rectangular in shape with four sides that allowed spaces for light to shine out of the lantern. We glued brightly colored tissue paper over the spaces which gave the lantern a stained glass window effect.

The highlight was that we actually took part in the city's procession. I do not have strong memories of the parade, but I remember that I carried a wooden dowel with a hook at the end which held the lantern aloft as my friends and I walked down the Hauptstrasse. It certainly must have been a beautiful sight to see all those candle-lit lanterns light up the dark November night.

Our German teacher certainly told us the story of St. Martin and his generosity toward the beggar. However, it is the memory of my making and carrying the lantern that has remained with me over the years.

I was not a Catholic at the time, and it would be many years before I would enter the Catholic Church. However, I recognize that this was another of His seeds of faith which He planted and then continued to grow over the years in order to draw me to Himself and His Church. I am very grateful for this seed and the happy memories it brings.

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Friday, November 07, 2014
My new eBook for Early Readers--The Rabbits' Thanksgiving  


Many years ago, LG and I started working on a series of books about rabbits and bears.  The books were simply fun to make as we came up with a story (often LG made up most of the story) and then I (mainly) added pictures to illustrate.  Over time, quite a number of stories were written and more information about the rabbit and bear characters was developed.

Not too long ago, I thought that these books could be edited and then published as eBooks for early readers as a series entitled the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series.  I was very interested in this idea and got started on this soon after thinking of it.  Since then, I have learned much about eBooks, and I know there is much more to learn.

I am very excited that the book has been published and in time for Thanksgiving, the first story has been released--The Rabbits' Thanksgiving.  The story follows the young rabbits Tom and Martha through the week of Thanksgiving and the fun they have getting ready and celebrating the holiday with their family.

The story is available in virtually any type of eBook format.  If you are looking for a fun story to read to your children or for one of your early readers to read to you, check it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

For more information, you can visit the the Bear and Rabbit Reader Series Facebook page.

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Sunday, November 02, 2014
All Souls Day and Purgatory  



On the Feast of All Souls, Holy Mother Church urges us to remember our brothers and sisters who have passed away, but are not yet prepared to behold the Lord because of the effects of the stain of sin that have not yet been fully cleansed from their souls. Through our prayers and sacrifices, we can help them to be purified and enter into the Beatific Vision.

Purgatory is perhaps one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Catholic Church. Despite the many ideas about what the teaching is, the actual doctrine is quite beautiful and makes perfect sense in light of other truths of the Faith. God is all holy and nothing unholy can be in His presence. When we die, we have made a choice to be with Him or to not be with Him. Even if we have chosen to be with the Lord and have repented of our acts of rebellion against Him, we might not have addressed the consequences of our wrong actions.

The example is often given of a boy who is told by his father that he should not play baseball in his back yard because of the risk of breaking something with his baseball. After he he refuses to obey and actually breaks a window with the baseball, there are two effects to his disobedience. First, he has disobeyed his parent and damaged that relationship, and second he has broken a window. To address the former effect, the boy apologizes to His father, and His father forgives him. The boy intends to not disobey his father again and play baseball in the back yard. The relationship with his father is repaired. The second effect of the broken window might be addressed in several ways including the boy helping in some way to repair the window.

The example illustrates the double effect of our sin. Sin always damages the relationship between us and our Heavenly Father. If it is serious sin, the relationship is broken and must be repaired through the Sacrament of Confession. However, there is a second effect to the sin that also needs to be addressed. For instance, stolen goods must be returned. Also, we are effected. Yes, through reconciliation we have a pure soul once again, but because of our sin, we might, for example, be more inclined, rather than less inclined to commit that sin or another sin. If we had resisted that sin in the first place, we would have strengthened our will rather than weakened it.

In this life, there are opportunities for us to repair the damage caused by our sin through penance. However, it might be that we do not complete this damage repair before we die. Purgatory is the place where we will complete that purification of our souls. In His mercy, God grants us the opportunity to be purified. Let us pray for those who await the completion of their purification in Purgatory.

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