Free printable Jesse Tree ornaments and Christmas Bible coloring pages for Advent

Advent is the Catholic Christmas liturgical season leading up to Christmas. It's a minor penitential season like Lent. For four weeks, we pray, fast, read Bible passages on the gospel Christmas story and give alms to the poor. The theme of Advent is to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. One way is to pray an Advent calendar. Another, related to the Advent calendar is to follow a Jesse Tree.  Free printable Jesse Tree ornaments and Bible coloring pages for Advent 

Free Printable First Holy Communion Cards and Invitations

If you're like me, you get invited to a lot of celebrations.  There are secular ones--graduation, retirement, birthdays--and religious ones--holidays, first communion, baptism, weddings. I love giving gifts, but costs add up. So I use free printable greeting cards to save money. Going to a Catholic or Christian special event? Here are printable cards. Throwing a party? Here are invitations. You'll find printable holiday, wedding, bridal and baby shower and birthday cards, too.  Free Printable First Holy Communion Cards and Invitations

Free Printable Catholic Saints Coloring Pages, Bible Coloring Pages

Catholics celebrate several religious days, referred to as Holy Days. Based on the Bible, these days center around an event in the life of Jesus or His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. Holy Days are All Saints Day (Nov. 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), Christmas (preceded by the holy season of Advent), Solemnity of Mary (Jan 1), Ash Wednesday (movable feast which kicks of the holy season of Lent and leads up to Easter), Ascension Thursday (movable feast) and the Assumption of Mary (August 15).
Coming up in October we honor Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis on October 4. Then November 1 is All Saints Day and then All Souls Day, Nov. 2. To help explore Catholic saints, feast days, holy days  Free Printable Catholic Saints and Christian Bible Coloring Pages

Free Printable Rosary Devotions, Blessed Virgin Mary Coloring Pages

Catholic and Orthodox Christians celebrate our Blessed Mother Mary all year, but especially in October and May. Mother's Day falls in May and we honor Mary as the Church's spiritual Mother. Our Lady points us to Her Son. She is not in competition with Him. She shows us to pray the rosary; the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries to honor Him and draw near to his Sacred Heart. Here are free printable coloring pages and devotional activities of Mary Mother of God and the rosary.  Free Printable Rosary and Blessed Virgin Mary Coloring Pages and Devotional Activities

Comforing Mothers Who Have Lost Children, Especially on Mother's Day

 Mother's Day is a favorite holiday. I have four lovely kids plus my mother, step mother and mother-in-law. Mother's Day can be bittersweet for kids who have lost moms. And what about the mother who has lost a child? Mother's Day may just be bitter for her. The Mother of Sorrows understand. She had to watch her precious Son, ripped to shreds physically and emotionally. She had to see him completely rejected and be unable to do anything about it. Because she knew He was the Savior of the World, that He had to suffer and die. It must have been hard for her to be the first to understand, the first disciple. With the Blessed Mother as a guide and comfort, here are ways to acknowledge Mother's Day (or just survive) if you or someone you love has lost a child. Mother's Day Activities for Moms Who Have Lost Children

Keep Lenten Virtues Alive, Plant a Memory Garden

For years, my husband and I have maintained graves of loved ones. We always felt a special connection to them when we put flowers on their graves. It's a sore spot, however that once planted, we never got to enjoy the flowers. The only way to take care of them was to make time to visit the cemetery, which in this hectic time is virtually impossible.

So we devised a plan to keep our loved ones' memory sacred by keeping them near. We've developed a memory garden which we maintain right in our backyard. You can make a memory garden easily and inexpensively in any size yard, even make on your patio or deck if you live in an condo or apartment. Here is a step-by-step guide. Keep the Lenten Virtues alive all year in spiritual works of mercy by "praying for the living and the dead."Plant a Memory Garden for Earth Day or Memorial Day

Free Printable Palm Sunday Lessons, Bible Crafts, Coloring, Activities

Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians commemorate Palm Sunday as the Biblical triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before His crucifixion. It starts out Holy Week and the countdown to Easter. Palm Sunday is a floating holiday; linked as it is to Lent and Easter which fall at a different time each year. In  2014, it's Sunday, April 13 and Easter is April 20. Here are crafts, coloring and activities for parents to use with children. Use as lessons in homeschool, Christian school, Sunday school or Catholic religious education. These printables provide inexpensive, hands-on ways to explore and celebrate the Palm Sunday.  Free Printable Palm Sunday Crafts, Coloring, Activities

Teach Children Generosity With Printable Lenten Almsgiving Lessons

Catholics, Orthodox and some other Christian denominations entered the penitential season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. From now till Easter, we practice Lenten virtues of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We give up things in imitation of Jesus's temptation in the desert. We pray to draw closer to God. And we share with those in need. Here are 40 ways kids can give, one for each day of lent. Teach Children Generosity With Lenten Almsgiving Activities, Donations

Catholic Lenten Fasting Ideas for Parents; Teaching Kids About Giving Up for Jesus

Ash Wednesday began the penitential season of Lent for Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Some protestant sects observe Lent too. During this 40-day period, we follow Christ's temptation in the desert, ending with Holy Week and passion, death and resurrection at Easter. During Lent we sacrifice in imitation of Christ. Here are tips to teach kids why we fast and how to give things up for Lent. Catholic Lenten Fasting Ideas for Children 

Lenten Kitchen Cream of Leftover Vegetable Soup

 I'm dieting (95 pounds gone). Husband and daughter are fasting from meat for lent. So the Sachtelebens are exploring vegetarian in a big way. I checked the fridge and found a bunch of veggie scraps. I asked the family how they felt about cream of leftover vegetable soup? It was a hit. Plus, using up leftovers instead of wasting them practices the Lenten virtue of almsgiving, sort of. It means we have more to share. Here's how I made it. Lenten Kitchen Cream of Leftover Vegetable Soup

The Lenten Kitchen Blue Green Algae Superfood Smoothie

I'm not always as health-conscious as I should be, but I've explored nutrition for 35 years (my parents dabbled in Mother Earth News ideas). Now being Catholic I figured lent is a good time to work on healthier vegan and vegetarian eating. One thing I used to hear more of and now don't is blue-green algae (spirulina, cyanobacterium). I've lost 95 pounds and write diet recipes. So I thought I'd reprise spirulina in myBlue Green Smoothie  Diet Recipe Blue Green Algae Superfood Smoothie

Heart Burn, the Agony and Ecstasy My Poem for Lent

Here's a poem I wrote on losing my baby daughters in utero. I think it's appropriate for lent. Heart Burn, the Agony and Ecstasy

how dare the sun have shone

on this somber, funereal grey-blue-bleak day

what were the birds thinking, chirping

when we planted them in the ground

Read on.

Heart Burn, the Agony and Ecstasy (poem) 

Lenten Sacrifice, Zen, Minimalism, Its all Good

The Catholic penitential season of Lent will soon be here. By prayer, fasting, meditation, we seek to imitate Christ's suffering and passion. Those acts give back, too, in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. They're the deepest Christian expression, but they aren't exclusively Christian. Most major religions have similar elements. No human could really imitate the divine. But it shouldn't prevent us trying. Here's how our family observes lent.   Lenten Sacrifice, Zen, Minimalism, Its all Very Good

Catholic Saint Valentine Lesson Plans and Activities

The story of St. Valentine has nothing to do with flowers and candy. It has nothing in common with romance as we know it. But Valentine's story is spiritually romantic. Valentinius was a Roman Christian priest. In those days, this was not popular. In fact, it was illegal.

Then Emperor Claudius II decided he'd make marriage illegal too--so men would give up women go fight his battles. Not exactly an even quid pro quo. Valentine understood human nature better and performed underground marriages to keep people from burning in lust. And was jailed for his pains. Here are lessons and activities to celebrate the real Valentine.  Catholic Saint Valentine Lesson Plans, Activities

The Lenten Kitchen Egg Foo Young and Skinny

 I'm on a mission to lose 100 pounds and I only have seven pounds left. I'm always asked +How-I-lost-weight and I say, it's not a few big things (drugs, surgery) but a lot of little things. One is tweaking recipes with low-calorie food swaps. Here's today's dinner, made at the especial request of my youngest for her after-school power snack. This recipe makes a great meatless Friday lent treat. See my Lenten Kitchen link for more. Egg Foo Young and Skinny--My Diet Recipe that Everyone Likes!

Suggestions for Lenten Food Pantry Donations

Do you donate to food banks? It's a great form of lenten almsgiving for Catholic Christians. Food makes good zakat donations for Muslims, too. So what kind of things do you give? I have issues with some items our church food pantry requests: Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, boxed macaroni and cheese, boxed potatoes. I don't buy these products and I'm doing people a service not buying it for them. This "food" isn't food at all. It's full of fat and sodium and just convenience junk. If food is going to homeless people, I see why packaged is essential. They have no place to cook. But presumably the recipients of our food pantry do, ergo the Hamburger Helper request. Here's a list of better donations for food pantry donations this lent.   Do You Give to Food Pantries? What Food do You Donate?

Should Articles on Religious Be Banned

Should religious posts be banned on Bubblews? Now wait, before you scream "NOOO! Freedom of Speech! Duh!" or "YESS, Freedom of Religion. Separation of Church and Bubblews! Thank you!" hear me out. I am not seriously suggesting gagging religion. I share about faith, my higher power whom I choose to call God, Catholicism, etc. But some people have suggested that articles on writing sites be banned. And after a discussion on gay marriage turned septic yesterday, I can see why. Read on.  Should Religious Posts Be Banned on Bubblews? - News - Bubblews