Saturday, November 30, 2019

Jesse Tree ornaments by Joshua

My son, Joshua, helped design these ornaments. He hand-burned our first set. I have not been selling them the last few years, but recently pulled them out, touched them up and prepped a set for showcasing.

The day he left this earth, Joshua had pulled out our Christmas boxes to get out the green ornament hooks - and the day before he had pulled out our small tree on which to hang them.

I finally got them together and they are available for sale. They can be in your mailbox in 2-3 business days if it's the only thing you order. Or in your hands within 3 hours if you are local.

Our Christmas season, as well as Lent and Easter sets will be available soon. Then I will work on adding the variations.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Small group presentations

Reading through older posts on here, this paragraph stands out:

An interesting side benefit: experience proving that calling small groups is MUCH better than working with large groups - meet the children where they are at, worry less about grade level or age, focus on capability and NEED, and allow such children who are in different experiential places to be just where they need to be. We have mixed age classes to focus on the individuals after all!

It can be SO HARD for catechists to present to small groups. In formation courses, leaders are encouraged to present to small groups as well, but dynamics force the use of whole-group presentations. As a previous formation leader, I experimented with the small groups in a full atrium session setting, and it worked wonderfully!

Catechists are going to present to the children as they received in their formation courses. It's just how it is. Add in very large groups of children, limited time and limited number of sessions, along with local parish or diocesan requirements to "get it all in" and you have a recipe for weak presentations, shallow meditations and children who don't readily connect with the Holy Spirit through the materials and experiences in the atrium.

Let's get back to the small group presentations and allowing the Holy Spirit to be the the One True Teacher!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Holy Bible Assembly

Paint the side with no names written on
Apply binding (gold duct tape in this pic)
to opposite side from where the name is penciled in
Paint/write the names on appropriately
Paint the backside (where the name was penciled in)
Paint/write the names on appropriately
Paint the backside (where the name was penciled in)

Placement of the pieces for the box itself

How the lid fits onto the box

Lid on the box; decorate as you like

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Notes in the History of Israel

Notes on the History of Israel:

Tracing frame:
The Land of Israel at the Time of Christ

The first People of God were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their households.

Jacob’s name was changed to Israel – then all of his descendants are called Israelites. Hebrew is their language and they can be called Hebrews as well. This is applicable during their 400 years in Egypt and the Exodus.

The Israelites settled in Israel, divided into their 12 tribes, and time passed; the Kingdom is divided and conquered at various times.

Those who return to the southern Kingdom and spread from there are called Jews – after the main remaining region of the original country of Israel: Judah or Judea.

From the Jewish people, God raises up a Son: Jesus. From His time forward, we have two branches of the People of God: Jews and Christians.

400 years after the time of Christ’s life on earth, the Islamic faith is formed. We call these people Muslims. They claim right to the legacy of the One God through their descent from the illegitimate eldest son of Abraham: Ishmael. Thus bypassing all the covenants after Abraham.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Fabric Timelines

Taking orders now for *fabric* CGS timelines!

Movable pieces can be handmade or a printable is available as well!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Article on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

I found the following article on my jumpdrive, dated in 2014. The file has my name on it, but did I write this? The file name also has the name of our local diocesan newspaper. Was this published?

I don't even know! I don't remember writing this, but it IS my style! I am happy to have someone else say "nope, that's mine!" ;)

I think I would like to add more about the long-term experience of the child who has been in the atrium.


I have been part of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for more than 10 years, in a variety of roles. My participation began before I became a mother and has only become more intense through experiencing the depths of our faith through my son’s deepening relationship with the Good Shepherd.

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is typically a once-a-week 90-120 minute gift for the children and the catechists to delve into the depths of the most essential elements of our Faith. Level 1 is for ages 3-6; Level 2 is for ages 6-9; and Level 3 is for ages 9-12+. A child who attends all three levels of the atrium (the designated space for the CGS materials) will move through the stages of recognizing their relationship with the Good Shepherd (level 1), recognizing and desiring a response to this relationship – to remain with Him and follow His teachings, His voice (Level 2), and finally actively seeking to serve Him through the initial discernment of vocation, the child’s personal place in the Plan of God (level 3). Ideally, these experiences can be followed up into adolescence to further develop the history of the Kingdom of God through the Church, through vocation studies, ever-preparing for the Parousia, when God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Indeed level 3, a space set aside for 9-12 year old children has so much for the adolescent and the adult; a growing number of adults request to spend time in the level 3 atrium to expand and deepen their own faith.

The level 1 child focuses on Jesus – the visible, tangible reality of the presence of God. We look to His life, His parables, His True Presence in the Mass, the geography of Israel during His life on earth, always focusing on the Church’s balance of Scripture and Liturgy, our primary sources for doctrine in all the atrium levels; establishing the reality of a current relationship with the Good Shepherd who knows me by name, loves me and will do anything for me that is for my benefit of remaining with Him. This is both enough and far more than enough.

God gave us His life, His Light, His joy in abundance.

The level 2 children expand this focus on the Good Shepherd into the reality that the Good Shepherd came for all peoples of all times – those around the world, those who came before us and those who will, God-willing, come after us. We explore all the level 1 topics again, adding a few more parables, life events, moments of the Mass, more geography, and now adding two key areas pertinent to this age: Moral Formation (moral parables and Maxims – Jesus’ instructions for how to live within the Kingdom of God) and finally, The History of the Kingdom of God – several long timelines that show the expanse of this history, with the particular moments of Creation, Redemption and Parousia, noting the Blank Page of history being written right now, by people together with God, just as the Bible came to us, work of human hands inspired by God.

We also prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, through special times and retreats set aside for meditation on the True Vine parable, the Loving Father (Prodigal Son), juxtaposing the Found Sheep and Found Coin (Lost Sheep/Coin), and exploring the reality of the Healing of the Centurion’s Servant. These are moments cherished by the children who have the opportunity to delve into their faith with the responsibility of the choice they are making to come to these sacred sacraments. Through these special sessions, tied together with the atrium experience, the child’s sacramental preparation is beyond all other programs I have experienced before I came to CGS or since.

In Level 3, the children continue the same topics, but with fewer didactic materials and a greater number of abstract materials. Now the child is being called, not just to remain on the Vine, but to bear fruit – what is YOUR place in the Kingdom of God? We explore all 7 sacraments in depth, deepen moral formation, study the virtues, introduce the Liturgy of the Hours, explore each and every prayer of the Mass, and begin a study of Typology – the Church’s practice of seeking Jesus in the Old Testament and Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New – and the as yet unfulfilled prophecies that will come at the end of time: Parousia. Now we deepen our exploration of this "response". It is more than a passive remaining now. It is an active seeking. An active response in thanksgiving for the great gifts that God has bestowed upon us, for the reasons He created us and loves us. What will fill my blank page? How will I respond to the gifts of God? God has a Plan - how do I fit in and how can I help it move along towards the final moment of the Parousia? We explore the History even further: the Jewish People, Typology of Creation, Sin, Flood, Abraham and Moses/Exodus; Parousia when "God will be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

At each level, the child returns to the same themes, going ever deeper and truly experiencing his identity in the Kingdom of God.