I love the changing of the seasons. Whether its the first leaves falling in September or the first snow falling in December, there’s something new and exciting about the change. And then there’s also the traditions and holidays of those seasons—sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes, or flip flops and beach days. The Catholic Church also celebrates seasons and holidays, with changing colours and special occasions. Jen Frost’s new book Make Every Day Blessed: Living the Liturgical Year is all about these Church seasons and how we can make the most of them in our lives.
I received this book for review courtesy of the publisher; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Catholic Church is full of rich tradition, enabling us to experience the world as God intended through the beauty of each liturgical season: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time. In Make Every Day Blessed, Jen Frost explores in depth each of these seasons. You will learn the significance of the season, how and why it is celebrated, and ways you can live the season in your home. By understanding the why’s and how’s of living liturgically, you will have the opportunity to grow in faith and share it with those around you all year long.
Make Every Day Blessed
As a Catholic convert, I appreciated Jen’s ideas for celebrating the liturgical year. My husband and I didn’t grow up in the Catholic faith, with traditions for every season, as many of our friends did. So we’ve had to start those traditions for our own family. It’s actually been easier as our kids get older because they love traditions. They’re the ones who remind me about something we’ve done in the past and ask if we can do it again.
Make Every Day Blessed starts with an overview of the liturgical year and why it matters. Jen then shares specific ideas for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time (the big seasons of the church). Then she wraps up with more ideas for living liturgically. I skipped right to the section on Ordinary Time, as that’s what we’re in right now. I’m looking forward to pulling this book out again as we get ready for Advent and Christmas in a few months.
Each chapter begins with an opening prayer and space for writing down what’s on your heart right then. Jen gives an “Invitation to Ponder,” which questions to help you reflect on what she’s shared and to write down your own ideas. Readers are then invited to connect with Scripture and see what God’s word has to say about the topic. A Scripture reflection follows, then more space to contemplate and write, and finally a closing prayer. Beautiful illustrations throughout the book invite you to meditate and colour as you read.
Why Live Liturgically
Take a look at any city in October or November and you’ll see that we love celebrations. Stores gear up for the holidays months in advance. Decorations and music and food and more appear as we look forward to our favourite times of year. We love any excuse to celebrate, so why not celebrate our faith? I like to remember that holidays are HOLY-days.
While many parts of the Old Testament are a bit boring to read, there are also pages and pages in which God is commanding His people to celebrate what He’s done for them! I really liked the Scripture passages included in Make Every Day Blessed, which highlight how old some Church traditions are and how Jesus Himself celebrated the Jewish traditions which He grew up with.
Celebrations and traditions give us roots. They are a way to remember who we are and where we’ve been. It can also give us a chance to talk more about our faith with our kids. For example, celebrating baptismal birthdays as Jen suggests lets us talk about what baptism is and remind our kids that they are children of God. Celebrations also draw us together; they are part of what makes us a family, unique (in some ways) from other families. My Filipino friends have different family traditions than we do; that’s part of their culture, their family, their roots.
We are also a sensory people. We love to taste and touch and hear and see and smell. And celebrations let us do that! Whether it’s crafts or food or music, we can jump right into our faith with all our senses. I think the more ways that we can make our faith tangible and real for our kids, as well as fun and interesting, the less likely they will be to walk away from it when they get older. Make Every Day Blessed is full of ideas for doing just this.
Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women
Make Every Day Blessed is one of the Stay Connected journals from Our Sunday Visitor. These small, interactive books are meant to help you reflect on various aspects of your faith. Each book is written by a different author. Other titles include The Gift of Invitation, Seeking Peace, Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time, Exploring the Catholic Classics (I’d love to grab this one!), and Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life.
I really like the way that these books invite you to write and draw and doodle and make notes! I’m a highlighter and dog-ear-the-pages type reader, although I do try to squash those habits most of the time. (My husband hates them.) I really liked the way that Jen invited me to read with a pen in hand and my BIble nearby so I could make notes, mark ideas that really jumped out at me, write out the Bible verses, and really make these traditions and suggestions my own.
More about Jen Frost
Jen Frost is former project manager turned creator, and the genuinely happy wife and mom to two amazing people. She lives in San Diego in a home she and her husband built (he’s a general contractor). She loves coffee, quilting and going to the gym. She also volunteers at her son’s preschool and their church.
Knowing Jen’s blog, I knew she’d have great ideas for living liturgically. Jen has sewing projects and ideas for every season of the Church, from table runners and place mats (which you can change with the seasons!) to Sew-a-Saint dolls for kids and more. You can also just buy her beautiful faith-filled fabrics for your own projects. I’ve got a set of her placemats in my sewing bin which I really need to put together and get onto my table!!!
You can even explore her site by season! Just drop by Faith and Fabric and click on spring, summer, winter or fall in the top right corner. For example, spring has projects for St. Joan of Arc and Lenten patterns. Summer features St. George and some fun quilt ideas. Grab a copy of Jen’s book, browse her blog, and make a plan for how your family can celebrate the liturgical seasons!
Jen is also hosting a year-round book club for Make Every Day Blessed. You can join her to read and discuss each chapter at the start of each liturgical season. Each book club meeting will be hosted on Facebook.
How do you make every day blessed? Did you grow up in a Catholic home or are you discovering new traditions now?