There are currently 45 pages in the Table of Contents in the left-hand side bar, each centered around a specific theme, such as “Hope”. EACH of those 45 pages has five planned sub-pages (most have three or four sub-pages so far): Quotes, Praying It, Basking In It, Digging Deeper and Making It Real. These sub-pages are explained below:
I am a bit of a collector of quotes. I like how they give you a little something to chew on, shed light on a concept in a unique way and generally inspire and stick with you over time. By including quotes from a wide variety of sources, I hope not only to reinforce the initial idea, but also give it balance, context and broader application.
Prayer Quotes & Classic Prayers
Here I would like to highlight the beauty of praying to the great saints for help in implementing particular virtues and ideas. I hope you will find these a source of inspiration and edification in your journey with your family.
For you are praised in the company of your Saints and, in crowning their merits, you crown your own gifts. By their way of life you offer us an example, by communion with them you give us companionship, by their intercession, sure support, so that, encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses, we may run as victors in the race before us and win with them the imperishable crown of glory… – from Preface I of the Saints (The Roman Missal, 2011)
“…with the harp I will solve my problem…” (from Psalm 48)
The idea here is that Scripture (especially the Psalms) can help us to pray and think through things that we are working on, or inspire us to work through problems… They also have a way of seeping into our hearts (or getting stuck in our heads permanently!). For each of these I have included the Scripture reference and the first phrase or so of the text, with a link to the entire chapter on the USCCB website, which offers the New American translation.
Music is a wonderful form of prayer and there are many options here to pray on your own or sing as a family. I must note with some sadness that there are many lovely devotional songs which are either hard to find recordings of or whose recordings seem overly sappy or sentimental. If you are able to look past that, and perhaps learn these songs as a family, you may find them to be lovely and edifying. Some of my favorite songs to bring to prayer are the very simple ones I learned as a child, such as the round Father I Adore You.
Basking In It:
This is simply a list of people, both dead and living, real-life and fictional, who we can look to as great examples of the virtue, attitude or idea being discussed. Since I already listed Saints on the “Praying It” pages, I did not repeat their names here, but they certainly are important heroes to emulate!
We really packed the lists with music. Some are specifically prayers. Some are classical works that inspired us in some way. (Coming up with these songs has definitely been a family effort!) I have included links to the best recordings of the songs on YouTube that I was able to find. Unfortunately, YouTube means commercials. I do suggest supporting the artists of songs you enjoy by purchasing them digitally.
Our family also has a special love for movie music from inspiring movies, such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 – II, which featured prominently in the movie The King’s Speech. For us, the song calls to mind and reinforces the key concepts and emotions of the movie.
Songs are listed by title followed by the composer or the artist in parentheses. For movie music, you will find the title of the movie after the composer or artist.
I admit that poetry is a somewhat weak area for me. I enjoy poetry, but I don’t have it as readily accessible in my mind as other aspects of this project, so this part will be constructed in a somewhat slow manner.
We wanted a special category for this since we are picture book enthusiasts, there are many beautiful picture books in print today and it’s an easy starting point with little ones (and honestly, I get a lot out of picture books myself!).
Stories & Movies:
I have generally interspersed written stories and movies into the same lists. Aside from a few picture book lists, I have not tried to distinguish maturity levels or movie ratings (FOR NOW), even though many of them are appropriate for sharing as a family. Please use good judgement (and take the time to preview) before sharing these with your children.
I have also intermixed fiction and non-fiction together, provided that they are in story format. Non-story resources are listed under “Further Reading” whether they are in book or video format.
Stories are listed by title, followed by author. Movies are listed by title, with the year and major actor(s) or director in parentheses).
I am working on separating (and adding) more mature stories from the main lists. These are ones that are primarily recommended for parents (who are not overly sensitive!) and not their children.
Online videos, stories, etc.
This section focuses on more in-depth resources on a particular topic, including church teaching, scientific research, etc.
Making It Real:
These are lists of ideas for implementing, cultivating or teaching these various topics within their own family. Please add your own family’s favorite and most successful ideas in the comments box of the appropriate page. Pleas don’t expect any one family to do all of the suggestions!!! I hope that you will find some inspiring or helpful ideas among them. Don’t try to do everything at once. Pray over them and let the Spirit guide you to what will be good and inspiring for your own family.
Guest Essays: (at least in theory!)
We hope to include essays by other Catholics (especially parents) who have unique ideas or angles on the particular topic at hand. I believe there is a great richness of thoughts and experiences in these essays and they keep the material from being limited by my own personality and way of looking at the world.