Whatever is Lovely…

Once upon a time, I really liked this guy. We met on a Saturday morning while standing in line at a crowded Starbucks. Because we were dressed alike, we had a good laugh and he bought me a coffee. We chatted for a bit, discovered that we had more in common than our sense of fashion and I ended up giving him my phone number. We dated for a few months and everything was going great until one night, a simple conversation ended everything. It was abrupt, sudden, and definitely unexpected. The reason: he wasn’t okay with raising his future children within the Catholic faith.

I understood his reasoning. I wasn’t mad… but it was a deal breaker for me. I had to break it off there before I got attached to him any further. Being as passionate as I am about my faith, and especially being a full-time evangelist (aka religion teacher/youth group core member/woman’s small group host), how on earth would I ever live in a home in which I could not share my faith with my children? Besides the fact that my faith is –quite literally– my life, I believe Catholicism holds the fullness of truth and is the absolute surest way to heaven. I want heaven for all people– it’s why I do what I do. If I want heaven for strangers, than I certainly want it for my hypothetical children!

While the brusque end to our relationship resulted in many painful months, the one saving grace throughout the entire recovery was the absolute clarity I had about my decision. Even though I really liked this guy, there was no second-guessing the fact that a future between the two of us simply wouldn’t work. While I might have been able to handle an interfaith marriage, I absolutely had to have “a Catholic home.” I had to have a place where I felt fully loved and accepted… a place in which I was free to share the graces of Catholicism with my family.

Catholicism is the greatest gift God has given to me. Without the Church, I wouldn’t know Jesus. I wouldn’t get to receive Jesus. I wouldn’t have access to grace. My life would be a total mess… and I’m pretty sure I would have ended up someplace scary… either in an unhappy marriage, or very, very, very, very, very deep in chronic depression…or both! Instead, I have found healing many times. I have found amazing friends and another family. I have found happiness in my calling. I have found my spouse (the perfect man for me). None of this would have happened without Christ’s Church.

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moments after Chris proposed

I loved growing up Catholic. I love the traditions my family had for celebrating different feasts throughout the year… On Christmas Eve, we always set an extra place for Baby Jesus. Every Christmas morning we would sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus. My mom had a few seasonal pictures that she would switch in-and-out depending on the liturgical season. My favorite was a picture of the Three Kings that she would put up around Christmas time. (Can you tell Christmas is my favorite holy day?)

For Easter, my mom would bake a cake that was shaped like a lamb. During Lent, she made a beautiful centerpiece from a little Pieta statue and a crown of thorns. She helped us pick out Advent Angels — folks within the community who could use a little extra love and prayers. We’d send them secret notes throughout Advent and reveal ourselves after Christmas. In May, we’d pick flowers for Mary and make a crown for the statue of Our Lady of Bavaria that resides on our living room mantel.

I loved all these things. I loved every last one of them. Now, my catechetically-trained mind is always brain-storming ways to make our home a Catholic home… a home full of grace and mercy… wonder and awe… feast-day foods… family traditions… as well as inspiring (yet affordable) decor.

I’ve found one such piece at Catholic Box, a company run by the family of one of my undergraduate classmates. It’s kind of fun to think back seven-or-so years, when Jaimee and I sat next to each other in class.  Life after graduation lead us down different paths, yet somehow, in Christ, we were still headed in the same direction. Thus our paths have crossed once again. We have a couple of collaborations in the works, including an upcoming giveaway (stay tuned!), and I am thrilled to announce I am an official affiliate of Catholic Box!

I had long admired this Catholic, family-based company. Jaimee has the same degree that I do, and she worked in a parish setting before becoming a work-at-home-mom. She continued to put her artistic eye and catechetical brain to good use. I was thoroughly impressed and had recommended their website to many friends looking for Catholic gifts centered around the sacraments. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I came across the Frameable Faith series. I was immediately in love with this idea and I wanted it for my own apartment. It’s exactly the sort of thing that fits right into my vision of a Catholic home.

Every month Catholic Box creates a new print , highlighting a special feast or liturgical season that falls throughout the coming days. Each monthly print is prayerfully designed to draw you and your family into the liturgical life of the Church, celebrating her Feast Days, Seasons, and Saints. Last month, the frameable was a quote from the beloved Padre Pio (whose feastday was celebrated on September 23). This month, the frameable is the guardian angel prayer (the feast we just celebrated last week on October 2). These prints make it easy to create a sacred space in your home that is beautiful, inspiring, and inviting. Best of all, it is simple to update each month and takes almost no work on your end!

In the future, I imagine gathering my kids together and opening the cardboard envelope we receive in the mail each month.  I’ll recruit them to “help me” switch out the picture, making it a fun, teachable and memorable moment (with no preparation needed before hand). For now, my husband and I enjoy it together; it is often still a moment of learning since Catholic Box includes a page full of concise explanations of each important feastday for the month. It means so much to me to have a husband that wants a happy, Catholic home as much as I do. It may sound silly, but it’s enlivening to my soul.

Frameable Faith has been a happy addition to our little apartment, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a simple way to create a sacred space within their home. Seriously, check out their prints from previous months and see what others are saying about them; I’m not the only one who raves about this product. If you’d like to learn more about Frameable Faith, maybe even purchase a subscription for yourself and your family, you can visit my affiliate link and receive a 40% discount. Normally the price is $9.99 a month, but for “Swappers” the subscription is just $6.00!  Shipping is always free and you can cancel your subscription at anytime without any consequences. A digital download version of the print is also available for just $2.00 through the above link.

If you’ve read this whole post all the way to its finish, I thank you. If you purchase a subscription, my blog will receive a small portion of the profit, so I thank you again. Please know of my prayers for each and every single one of you. For each view this post receives, I will say a Hail Mary for the reader’s intentions (if you want to send me your intentions- please contact me!). I will also ask for the increased happiness of each of you, and that if it doesn’t exist already, you will someday soon have a joy-filled family and home. God bless!

6 months of frameable faith

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P.S. Check out the free liturgical calendar from Catholic Box here. You can also join their email list and receive the calendar directly to your inbox every month! I print mine out and keep it in my planner– I love it!

P.P.S. If you’re interested in any upcoming giveaways and want to be automatically entered from the get-go, subscribe to SwapMail. My Swap Subscribers will be the first to know of upcoming projects, first to receive affiliate links and discounts, and also receive exclusive content that won’t be made public to visitors (even though I love and appreciate everyone who comes to this page). Let’s Get to Swappin’!

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