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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catholic Book Review: My First Prayers for Christmas




My First Prayers for Christmas by Maite Roche is a beautiful board book fillled with heartwarming Christmas prayers for children. The illustrations are colorful and inspiring. The book was originally publishd in French and was translated by Carie Akoun
There are seven simple prayers in this book which  all children can enjoy. They are short enough to hold the attention of infants and toddlers for a combination of bedtime prayers and a bedtime story, yet hold the attention of older readers who are reading and internalizing the sweet prayers. The language in the prayers offer concrete words, which allow the reader to visualize the concepts in the prayers. 
I love how each prayer begins with "In the name of the Father, and of the Son..." and ends with "Amen", just as all our prayers do in the Catholic faith. This consistancy reinforces what the children are learning about prayer in their religious classes and at church.
"Soon it will be Christmas Day." The prayer book starts out from the perspective of anxious children awaiting the birth of our Savior. "With the angels I sing your wonders." The next prayer joins the angels on this most holy night.  Each prayer through the book follows along in succession the events of the Christmas Miracle. As we follow along the journey of Christmas, we pray along with prayers of joy, wonder, praise  and thanksgiving.
This book was a fun book to read with the lively illustrations jumping off the page. With each turn of the page, there was colorful words and pictuers which shared the joy of the prayers. As I read this to young children, they, too were enticed by the language and colors used in the book. They reached out and wanted to touch the angels or the baby Jesus. This book is sure to be a great start to a lifetime of prayer.
I highly recommend this book for a child's first collection of Christmas prayers. 



I wrote this review of My First Prayers for Christmas for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstoreI receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jesus King of Peace

"Let God deal with the things they do. Because hate in your heart will consume you too." ~~Will Smith

This quote from Will Smith has been on my mind lately. You see, ever since my husband and I got married and moved into our home, our next door neighbor has caused a ton of pain and heartache for our family. For thirteen years every run in with them consists of a negative comment, complaint, anger or threat. We only got a little relief when new neighbors on our other side moved in. At least now we had someone to be bullied with. As the years went on, and our family began and grew, we learned to avoid our grumpy neighbor. It was the easiest way to keep the peace. Though it didn't help really. Because when you bottle things up, an explosion occurs eventually. 

At times we remained prisoners in our home. It would be time to take out the trash. I peek outside and see the neighbor sitting on the step. The trash bag waits by the door until the neighbor goes in. 

Then the unthinkable happens. My two youngest children are diagnosed with serious, possibly life threatening illnesses. Of course our top priorities are keeping the children alive, healthy and safe. And yet, you could always count on that neighbor to catch you on the way to the hospital, complaining that the grass is 2 1/2 inches long. Only "slobs" let the grass get that "bad". What she didn't know or chose to ignore was the fact that my 3 year old was in the hospital every month for at least 10 days. By the time life got back to normal, we were back in the hospital. 

As more years went on, the children's health stabilized. The children grew older and loved to play outside. However, every time they are out there, the grumpy neighbor is yelling about something. Even though the children are following my strict rules of staying in my driveway. There just seems to be no win. 

Finally, just recently, I couldn't take it anymore and yelled back. My children just wanted to play. That was it. The neighbor called us all nasty names and ran inside. Many many times I play the scene back in my head. "I should have said this. That would get back at her." "Next time I'll say..." As I played the scenes in my head I hoped I'd feel better. But I didn't. It made me feel worse. As I laid in bed that night I realized the only way I could "let go" of the situation was to do what Jesus told us to do so long ago. Give it to Him.






My heart wanted to hang on to the anger and despair. By sheer will,I turned it over to God. I was too upset to say too much. So I just prayed:

Jesus, King of Peace, fill my heart.
Jesus, King of Peace, fill my heart.
Jesus, King of Peace, fill my heart.

And guess what happened. Suddenly, I was able to let go of the situation. Of course the situation makes me sad at times, but it doesn't have a hold on me. I was able to fall asleep peacefully that night.

And so, just as the song goes, "Let God deal with the things they do. Because hate in your heart will consume you too."