BOOK REVIEW - Catholic Planner

I am happy to review the 2017 Catholic Planner {affiliate} by Jennifer Rainey. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a full-sized 8-1/2 x 11 planner book - and it was perfect-bound, not spiral! The open page design with space for weekly planning - which is on the left side of the open page spread - would be a perfect place for bullet journaling or homeschool record keeping.

On the right side is a place to journal weekly spiritual goals, prayers and thanksgiving. With its open weekly design, this would be a perfect planner to use with simplified Catholic Bullet Journaling!

I am pretty new to the idea of bullet journaling so the pages below are still blank in my planner, but I have been collecting ideas at my Pinterest board for Organizing the Routine. The book study discussion group on the A Mother's Rule of Life is also helpful for establishing routines and spiritual goals.

Jennifer Rainey's 2017 Catholic Planner includes pages for 52 weeks of planning, monthly planning, Holy Days of Obligation and selected feast days, Catholic devotions, prayers and quotes from Scripture and the Saints. My only suggestion for improvement would be to make the numerals smaller on the monthly calendar pages, and I was slightly bothered by the skew of the cover photo causing the image to be out of proportion. but I still gave the book an overall Amazon 5-star rating. I love it!

The author Jennifer Rainey is a Catholic homeschooling mother of four, and she has published several planners and Kindle books. She is a freelance writer and a mom entrepreneur. Jennifier has written catalogues and television shows, designed websites, hosted an online writing class and she handcrafts rosaries.

Faithful Dove Light of Truth blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and its affiliated sites.

Turn Around

This post that came through on Facebook tonight, Do Not Sin Any More, and it reminded me of an experience I had many years ago. Back in 1994, over Memorial Day weekend, we were out of town visiting with family. I was feeling totally depressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed - physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was a very difficult time in my life, and it happened to be a few months before my husband walked out on me for the first time. That day, in that moment in time, I had finally had enough, so I left my mother-law's house in Gettysburg, SD and did not tell anyone where I was going. This was my thought process:
     1). I was going to visit a friend (who lived in the same town); or
     2). I was going to go to the Catholic Church, or
     3). I was going to find a bridge on the Missouri River and drive off of it.

Well, as a Catholic I knew I could not drive off the bridge, and my friend was not home, so I drove to the Church. Thankfully, the doors of the Church were open, so I entered and spent a great deal of time praying in the silence. It was the first time I had ever been alone in a Church. That time, spent alone in the True Presence of Christ, gave me what I thought was the peace I need to make it through the rest of my day. So I finished my time of prayer and started walking out towards the door and then I heard this voice in my head saying:  "Turn around." I ignored it and kept walking toward the door and heard the voice again:  "Turn around." I continued to ignore the voice, thinking: "Why should I turn around?" Once again the voice came as I reached to back doors of the Church:  "Turn around."

So I gave in and stopped at the doors and I begrudgingly turned around. My eyes focused on the huge crucifix at the front of the Church behind the altar and God spoke to my heart again, "No matter how many times you walk away from me, I will always be here with open arms to welcome you back."

There was yet another message for me... God went on to tell me that I had to do the same with my husband. "No matter how many times he walks away, you have to be willing to welcome him back with open arms." This was one of the Great Promises in my life...And that is a story for another post.

Now, back to why this story was brought back to my memory. I thought about that particular "Turn Around" experience on many levels for the next several months. I thought often about the suffering that we must put Christ through when we walk away from His grace. What sadness our Father in heaven must feel when we turn our backs on Him. But as a Child of God, we are always welcome back into His open arms - when we choose to answer His Call to Holiness, and turn around.

Talk about unconditional love...

My Favorite Homeschooling Facebook Groups

Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping
Admin:  Deana Hipwell, blogger at The Frugal Homeschooling Mom

"The organization exists as a means of providing used homeschool books, materials, supplies and other resources to families in need within the homeschool community.... Members of the group are willing to give their used materials to others, receiving no profits in return. Recipients are responsible for paying only the shipping costs of the items they receive. When they are finished, they are expected to pay it forward by offering the item free of charge to another homeschooling family."

For homeschooling, this is my absolute FAVORITE Facebook group of all time! 
I had so much fun giving away several hundred dollars worth of homeschool materials last month. The mission of this group is so incredibly inspiring! I also love the fact that the givers have the freedom to decide how to determine the winner/receiver. How exciting! The organization has an informational Facebook page at and a website/blog at HCFFS has grown to offer, by means of application-based donations, free packages of new curriculum donated by vendors and creative ways to bless families with gift cards through member monetary collections and matching gifts. This is a MUST for homeschoolers.

Montessori Material For Sale
Admin:  Trish Corlew

" .... a place for homeschoolers to be able to list and sell or buy Montessori Materials .... my heart is to help homeschoolers implement Montessori in their homeschool."

I am so happy to have discovered this group. I had thought of asking Daisy if I could start a Facebook group for the Montessori Swap Yahoo egroup - but when I found Montessori Material For Sale - I found the need for a Facebook group for selling used Montessori materials - had already met. 

Catholic Homeschool Curriculum Swap
Head Admin: Alessandra Salazar

"This is a Catholic list, all items must be Catholic-only or at least from companies that are not anti-Catholic.... This is a Swap and Chat list.... Homeschooling materials that are acceptable for sale or exchange are defined as textbooks, workbooks, source books, literature, math manipulatives, paper and supplies, computer software only, and tapes/ CDs that are specifically educational or religious in nature."

I am a long time member of the Cath Swap Yahoo egroup.. (since it's beginning in 1999)... but I really love this new venue via Facebook. It's so great to be able to see pics of the items being offered and my items have sold more quickly on Facebook than on Yahoo.

Montessori Homeschooling
Admin: Bess Weurtz and Christine Cramer Howieson

"Montessori Homeschooling is open to anyone with an interest in using the Montessori Method for home education (homeschooling). Our group encompasses individuals who are working with children in all age ranges although our focus is specifically on school age children in primary, elementary and beyond."

This is one of my favorite Montessori Facebook groups. 
An incredibly friendly, creative and inspirational group!

Admin: Suzanne Wilhelmi - blogger at Teaching from a Tackle Box

"Through this group I will offer guided Montessori materials making. I will offer plans, printables and assignments for the basic materials needed to start preparing your home environment for Montessori education."

I am the owner of this group where I share my plans for DIY Montessori materials featuring my exclusive designs for Teaching from a Tackle Box.

~ Suzanne ~

Respect Life Sunday

The first Sunday of October each year marks a tradition that is now 41 years old: "Respect Life Sunday."

I had to chuckle when the sermon began - here is was October 7th, Respect for Life Sunday, and... 

I had taken THIRTEEN kids to church with me 
-- and we were all sitting in same pew 
-- for Sunday Mass! 

Funny thing is -- only SIX of those kids were mine!!!

I run a 24/7 daycare and SEVEN of the kids were with us for the evening because their parents were working. So picture this:  my daycare kids were 6 months, 1yo, 2yo, 3yo, 6yo, 8yo, 10yo and my own kids who were with me are 11yo, 12yo, 14yo, 15yo, 18yo and 20yo. Gotta love it!

Best of all was that all the kids were all very well behaved, keeping in mind that most of my daycare kids have families who do not attend church services.

Respect for Life? Me? You betcha!

Aquinas & More has a great article on Respect for Life HERE. It is an article well worth your time. Make sure to click through to all their links. I love what they said:
"As the sun sets on the first Sunday of October, do not let Respect Life Sunday end as merely a slogan. As ever, we Catholics must not simply listen to the gospel and homily then head home and forget the message. We must carry the message out into our entire lives, including the public square, living the gospel message every day."

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has an entire page of Respect Life resources HERE.

The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our Faith. As we prepare for the opening ceremonies of the  2012 Year of Faith Pope Benedict XVI provides us with a fundamental truth to reflect on:
"Faith opens our eyes to human life in all its grandeur and beauty."

In Memory - Peg and her Pearls of Wisdom

In Memory:

Today was a very special day. I went to a funeral for a woman who made a significant impact on my life as a Catholic wife and mother. Her obituary is HERE.

In Memory of Peg and her Pearls of Wisdom
Today I was flooded with memories of where and how my faith journey has grown since that first day when I joined a Mother's Bible Study with Peg in 1989. All I could think today was that her legacy lives on through all the people's lives she touched. I think it is entirely appropriate and fitting that my new blog, devoted to sharing my personal faith journey and homeschooling wisdom, is being initiated with a post in memory of the person who helped me, more than anyone else in my life, to build a firm foundation in my Catholic faith. So in honor of you Peg, this blog is dedicated to you. I am who I am, as a faithful Catholic, because God gifted me with you, your commitment, your love, your faith, your hope, your insight, and your wisdom.

I am a cradle Catholic. When I started going to the Mother's Bible Study led by Peg, I was at a point in my life where I had always acknowledged that there was a God, and that there was an "ultimate Good,"  but I had never seriously considered what happens in the unseen spiritual realm, nor had I truly recognized the "ultimate Bad" until I read the books by Frank Peretti: This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Thanks to Peg's words of wisdom, I was able to protect myself while reading these books by blessing myself with the sacramental use of the sign of the cross whenever I felt uncomfortable or fearful with what I was reading. As noted at Catholic Culture, "during trials and temptations our strength and protection is the Sign of the Cross." These books came at a life-turning point in my spirituality, when I was beginning to acknowledge the whole truth of what happens, both visible and invisible, in the our world. I was also beginning, through the grace of the reflections on the Sunday readings and weekly discussions in Bible Study, to own for myself, the Fullness of the Truth, which only the Catholic faith has to offer. Shortly before I began attending the Mother's Bible Study I was at the home of a Mormon, giving a home party with House of Lloyd: Christmas Around the World. As often happened, I was visiting with the hostess after the party, and we wandered into a three-hour discussion about religious beliefs. I left that home praying with discernment and asking God whether I should read the Book of Mormon as the woman had suggested. God's voice spoke to my heart and confirmed that I should not read the Book of Mormon but that I did need to learn more about my own Catholic faith. I will be sharing many more stories and experiences from my Bible Study days in posts to come.

Thank you God, for giving us Peg.

(Point of Interest: Peg's funeral was on the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist)

Welcome to my Blog!

As I have posted in my Profile: "I have been blessed with a large family, artistic and writing talents, and a solid foundation in my faith. I just go where the Spirit leads me and I'm getting used to the surprises along the way." I have felt called to start a Catholic blog for some time now, and on several occasions God told me to wait. LOL... Story of my life: "Wait upon the Lord." But you know, I have learned that God's timing is perfect and for whatever reason the timing is finally right - now - to start this blog. I do find it interesting  that my very first post happens to fall on the Feast of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi.


Faithful Dove:

There is great significance in the blog's header photo and name of my blog, "Faithful Dove, Light of Truth." The dove in this blog's header photo is the very same dove that often sits on the light pole in front of our home. There are so many stories to tell about that dove and eventually I will get to them, but for now just know that I am looking forward to sharing my faith journey with you.

Light of Truth:

I find it awesome and utterly amazing when the Holy Spirit makes connections for us! When this happens there is no doubt that God is trying to teach us something, or to stress something that we need to know at that particular point in our lives. Several times this week the words of G.K. Chesterton have surfaced. My 20yo daughter had received an audio CD from the Newman Center entitled: "Relativism: Do you Know How it is Affecting You?" She played the CD while we were sitting in the car at a soccer game. The CD quoted Chesterton who said:
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."  
Chris Stefanick continues by saying ... 
"...we are told that we have to always remain open-minded about everything, but it is good to close your minds on certain things. When you discover the truth, your mind is supposed to close on it."
My daughter had seen the same Chesterton quote on Facebook a few days earlier, while the very next day we read the exact same quote in our homeschooling. I was reading aloud to my kids from Did Adam & Eve Have Belly Buttons, where Matthew Pinto says:
When we don't know the truth but seek it, we're free to be open minded. But once we've come to a firm conviction of the truth of something, to remain "open-minded" about it is foolishness...When it comes to religious issues the Catholic Church has "made up its mind." There are good reasons for what the Catholic Church teaches, so it isn't a matter of "close-mindedness" in the wrong sense...Neither the pope and the other bishops, nor the priests and the deacons, nor the laity are free to change Catholicism to appear "open-minded." Their job is simply to tell people the truth in a loving manner. They don't make up or determine the truth for themselves.
Thank you God, for giving us the Catholic Faith.

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