Fri, October 24th, 2014

Angel of God

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side…
 
 
To light – Like a lighthouse, we need our angels as a beacon to show us the way home.  The enemy sends fog to confuse us and leave us stranded.  Our Guardian Angel is God’s lighthouse.  Follow the light.
 
To guard – Since God’s plan is perfect in every way, your angel is the perfect warrior to protect you.  Let your angel protect you body and soul and remember that the primary goal is to get you home to Heaven!
 
To rule – Angels have free will but they do not enact this will through a linear series of choices but in a single, timeless choice.  Angels have chosen to be in union with God’s will and so they can always tell you God’s will.  If you are to be obedient to God, you must always obey your guardian angel.
 
To guide – A guide is more than a simple map, but a personal helper who helps prevent and overcome the obstacles that one encounters on a journey.  We are never alone.  Our God with us.  We can constantly turn to the “cloud of witnesses” in the Communion of Saints and pray for help from the saints.  As if this wasn’t enough, we have a personal guide who is super powerful and smart and lovely!
 
The thing that generally blows my mind is that these agents of God that have been intimately bound to us by God are significantly more smart and powerful and knowledgeable than we.  Angels are a big deal!  They don’t sin.  They are always in God’s presence.  They do not have our limitations of time and space.
 
In my puny human mind, it would seem that we puny, weak humans would be like a pet to our angels.  “Here’s a human for you.  Now take good care of her and don’t forget to feed her!”  But scripture tells us that the Incarnation has changed the hierarchy and once again, the last are first.
 
By becoming human, Christ has made us greater than the angels, because we are now His brothers.  He made Mary our mother and their Queen.  Let that sink in.  Your mama is the Queen of the Angels.  You heard me.
 
The angels are more powerful than we are, and so they are our servants.  These are servants we should follow and obey.  Well, in Christ, all leaders are servants.  Christ washed the Apostles’ feet and told them they must also serve in order to follow Him!  So, of course, we should follow and obey our angels who want nothing more than what is best for us, because it is God’s will and because they love us.
 
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Wed, October 22nd, 2014

Win a 10-Pack of Songs for God’s Children!

Ten years ago, Making Music Praying Twice pioneered faith-inclusive early childhood music education programs. Churches throughout the US and families around the world facilitate MMP2 music classes.  Now, a fun, faithful CD is available for every child, every family.

With the right combination of fun and playful songs with sophisticated musicianship, Songs for God’s Children is an album that children and adults love. Music feeds the mind and soul. Included are songs of play, songs of the world, and songs of faith, all combined and presented in way that brings harmony to a child’s everyday life.

We are so excited to have Home School Giveaways offering our album as “Today’s giveaway!”  Homeschool Giveaways is where you will find all sorts of free resources for homeschooling and some pretty awesome giveaways. 

Songs for God’s Children 10-Pack

This music set allows a church or homeschool community to start a musical playgroup for young families, promoting music competence and brain growth in young children. All ages can enjoy and learn from it. But, it is in the first 8 years, that children benefit the most from a balanced and purposeful diet of music, and it truly starts from the very beginning

This would be so much fun to do with a homeschool co-op or to create a little homeschool music and movement class with!

Included are 10 copies of the Songs for God’s Children CD along with a 70-page Playgroup Teacher Guide download. The CD is rooted in research-based early childhood music education, carefully balancing various tonalities and meters and featuring musicians from around the world in a natural acoustic format.

TWO winners will receive the Songs for God’s Children 10-Pack! Each set is a $110 Value!

Please visit Homeschool Giveaways to enter for your chance to win! Hurry – the contest ends Friday, October 24th! Tell your friends!

Tue, October 21st, 2014

Halloween:To Partake or Not to Partake?

If you do Halloween are you supporting paganism and Satan worship? Throwing away all that is holy and inviting the forces of evil into your life?  If you don’t do Halloween, will your children grow to resent you as over-protective and come to reject everything you’ve taught them to believe?  I’ve seen life from both sides of the fence on this one. Here is where we found a comfortable middle ground:
YES to
  • Trick or treating. Argue the roots of this practice, but this is a normal part of our current American culture and not officially related to any worldview except that free candy is good.
  • Costumes. Costumes are fun and good for the imagination.
  • Sweets. For one day, they can eat relatively unlimited amounts of candy, and yes we all suffer for it. After that, the candy is divided into personal bags and put where only Dad can reach so that it can be portioned in a reasonable way as a dessert after eating a healthy meal. Personally, I think the fun size candy was a brilliant invention, if you eat just one.
  • All things All Saints. Any opportunity to emphasize that this is All Hallows Eve is taken. Parties, more costumes (of saints), essays, prayers, songs, Mass. All are ways to honor all the saints on and around All Saints Day.
  • Halloween-related songs, movies, TV specials and parties that are in good fun. I’m talking The Great Pumpkin here.
NO to
  • Horror movies of any kind. I personally can’t take it and the USCCB guidelines clearly state that an entertainment film detailing the murder or torture of another is detrimental to the psyche and the spirit and objectionable for all.
  • Costumes that are gory or evil. Anything that would scare a child or be reminiscent of the aforementioned horror film is off-limits as are costumes that glorify evil, the devil, etc. We stick with superheroes, favorite characters from books and media, animals, and household objects.
  • Mischief Night. One night where you make uninvited, unnecessary work for your neighbors in the name of fun while wasting toilet paper and shaving cream at best. Vandalism at the worst.   Even if “Everybody else is doing it!” No thanks.
  • Decorating the house in scary ways. We carve some jack-o-lanterns with faces, religious imagery, and silhouettes of moons, bats, etc. Gory or scary decorations just emphasize the wrong side of the holiday. Again, if little ones are afraid to approach your door, that’s too much. We do sometimes indulge the kids with decorations that feature the Halloween animals like spiders, bats and cats, because there really isn’t anything intrinsically evil about those creatures. Scarecrows, apples, and pumpkins are good too.
  • Anything related to fortune-telling and the occult. Most people approach these things jokingly at Halloween and don’t mean any harm, but Ouija boards, tarot cards and the like are instruments of the occult and we are instructed to stay away from it. If these things are represented on television or in books or movies, this is an opportunity to discuss our Catholic faith as relates to these matters.
What are your rules and tips for a Christian family on Halloween?  Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and share your Halloween ideas!

Tue, October 14th, 2014

Enhance Each Liturgical Season with Music!

While our Family Edition is an all-encompassing program for the entire year, also available are a CD & Songbook specific to each liturgical season. It’s a cost effective and time effective way to try out our program of music and movement and see the benefits for yourself! 
 
  • Encourage your child's brain growth musically with our fun and faithful program designed to increase music aptitude.
  • Build your child's future music reading skills with our beautifully illustrated, color Songbook.
  • Develop your child's brain musically with a carefully balanced curriculum developed by music educators.
  • Fun and faithful kid’s music appropriate for babies, toddlers, and children up to age 8.  Adults enjoy it too!
Our Advent-Christmas CD & Songbook teach your child the true meaning of Christmas with lovely renditions of the some of the most inspiring Advent and Christmas songs including:
 

Good Day • O Come O Come Emmanuel • Where is Thumbkin? • Old Chairs
Stille Nacht (Silent Night) • Peek A Boo • Tip Toe of the Sugarplum Fairy • Christmas Dance
Coventry Carole • Little Drummer Boy • Shut de Do • Wiggeldy-Wag • Baa Baa Black Sheep
A La Nanita Nana • Three Great Kings • Dona Nobis Pacem • God Bless You

Stay tuned to our blog for more information about each of our seasonal CDs for Winter, Lent, Easter, & Summer! We wish you a faith-filled, musical year!

Fri, October 10th, 2014

Overestimating Me

When you live a life where you try to stay as connected to your Creator as this broken world and your sinful ways allow, you change your perspective on the big picture and the details.  He has control over all of it.  He can guide your path; deal with the obstacles on the way and every pebble upon which you may trip.  Living in faith is not something I do perfectly.  Mother Teresa, she was pretty close.  The Blessed Mother had it down.
 
Well, I try.  I try to trust that God will guide my life down to the details.  I understand that this doesn’t mean that the devil can’t tempt me or attack me.  I understand that this definitely doesn’t mean that my life will be easy or free from trial.  I understand that this doesn’t mean I won’t fail.  However, it does mean that God’s plan is perfect, and if I submit to it, it will all be for the best in the end.
 
I remember a day when I drove home in my dented van, following a parking lot mishap brought on by low blood sugar and I lost the eyes of faith.  How to do it all?  How can I continue the work of Making Music Praying Twice, a work we took on in faith, believing He called us to it when it requires so much more time, energy, and resources than we have?  How can I really educate and care for my six children properly?  How can I get some sleep?  Can I keep on top of the food allergies, learning disabilities and the character of these children?  When are we going to fix this car?  Will we ever paint the house?  This went on for a few days.
 
Finally, I looked up.  “I know many others have more challenging lives than I do.  I know I’ve been blessed.  But even so, I think you are overestimating me.”
 
Of course I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but I complained anyway.  I even joked with friends about it.  But what I came to see, is that in being overwhelmed, in complaining, I was underestimating.  I wasn’t underestimating me, but Him.  Because He’s the one who makes it happen.  If I’m doing this right, than He is providing for our needs, doing the ministry, working through me, His creation.  My problem is that I’m not getting out of the way.  Pope Francis made it clear that complaining is not compatible with a Christian life.  So, I’ll put my head down and get to work and trust Him to do more than I ever could with my little life.
 
Do you ever feel like God has overestimated you? How do you cope with the day-to-day when it becomes overwhelming?
 
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Thu, October 2nd, 2014

Parenting Advice from the Angels?

When you care a lot about your vocation as parent, you think carefully about many of the choices you make: how to discipline, how to educate, how to feed them, keep them healthy, celebrate holidays, lead them in faith…
 
Big choices and little choices, most of them deliberate, though not always perfect. The problem is that we can spend as much time in our own heads debating our choices as we do in actual parenting. Don’t get me wrong. Discernment and good parenting does take time and thought, but over-thinking and second-guessing is a waste of our time and energy. 
 
At one point in time, John and I were struggling with limiting the children’s activities for family balance. A common struggle for most families, especially when our children are benefitting and exploring activities we value. We each tried to offer different solutions, but weren’t happy with any of them. Then it came to me – there is a way to know the answer! I have eight heavenly spirits whose mission it is to get my family to Heaven. They know God’s will for each of us and they love us and they want to help me raise these children.
 
So, I turned to my children’s Guardian Angels, and mine. I encourage you to do the same with whatever struggle you may be having. Take your parenting challenge and turn to the helper sent by God, Himself, who can get you through it. The wisdom and power God has granted them is sufficient to help us.
 
Many holy saints conversed with their Guardian Angels. Even if we don’t have the spiritual gifts to physically see and hear our angels, we can start a conversation and trust in the guidance we are given.
 
Just a reminder that we have lots of samples from our CD's on our website – click here to listen!  Stay tuned to our blog for all the exciting news from Making Music Praying Twice.
 
 

 

Mon, September 29th, 2014

Teaching Children About the Angels

October is almost here which turns my mind turns to the angels.  As the fall leaves drop and remind us of our earthly transience, our thoughts settle on the spiritual world which is usually hidden from our senses, the world of Heaven, in which dwell the saints and angels.  And so, we celebrate the feasts of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael today, September 29th, followed soon after by the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels on October 2nd.   I try to focus on deepening my relationship with my guardian angel each October.  I invite you to join me in this and in the process; we can help our children to do so as well.

Children love the angels: the beauty, the imagery, the mystery, the safety and protection.  Honestly, we don’t know and understand a lot about the angels who lead an existence so different from us.  But, let us ensure that our children know and understand the truth about who the angels are and what they do, so they are not misinformed by the popular culture. 

Without getting into detail about the Heavenly hierarchy, here are some important points and misconceptions to discuss with your children:
  1. Guardian angels are chosen for us by God, Himself, and remain with us constantly.  They are powerful enough to protect us from all spiritual and physical harm, although God may allow us to experience some harm or temptations caused by the evil of this world for His glory and our ultimate spiritual good.
  2. Angels are NOT deceased human beings.  We can have relationships with our deceased loved ones who are SAINTS in Heaven.  They continue to love us, pray for us, and even help us.  Saints have been known to appear to us, but that does not make them ANGELS.  An angel is created as an angel.  When people refer to deceased humans as angels, they really mean that they are LIKE the angels now in the sense that they live as spirits with God in Heaven.
  3. Angels are pure spirit.  They have no body.  When angels appear to human beings they appear in ways that serve the purpose for which they are sent, often in human form.  Physical depictions of angels in art are usually meant to be symbolic.  Wings indicate speed as angels are not limited by time and space and so they appear to move very quickly.  It also depicts that they have come to us from Heaven, high above.  Scripture often describes the angels as being bright or white, referring to the power and purity of Heaven.
  4. Angels do not sin.  Angels don’t live in time and space as we do.  Their life is not a process.  They see good and evil clearly and choose or reject God outright.  Angels choose good.  The ones who reject God are devils.
  5. Angels live in Heaven with God but can also be present to us when God commands.  Angels will never sway from God’s will, but when we pray to them for help, God will answer our faithful prayers.  God is very generous to us.  He allows us to help the angels protect and guide us.  All we have to do is ask and listen.
  6. Angels are much more powerful, smart, and beautiful than we are.  They are innately greater beings than we.  But in God’s wisdom, by becoming one of us through the Incarnation, He has made us greater than these superior beings and through the Coronation of Mary has made a human being Queen of the Angels.  Once again, the last shall be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.
  7. Angels do not experience gender the way we do.  They do not fall in love and marry the way we do.  When Jesus explained that there is no marriage in Heaven, he explained that we would be “like the angels”.  It is of interest that the angels described in Scripture are all male in nature.
  8. Angels are people.  They are individual creatures of God with a mind and a will.  They love us and want to be our friends in the Communion of Saints.
What can you do to increase your family’s devotion to the angels?
  1. Reach out to the angels in your prayers.  Pray the Guardian Angel prayer and Prayer to St. Michael with your children daily.  Pray to your angel and to their angels, regularly.
  2. When you are struggling with your child, ask your Guardian Angel to work with his Guardian Angel.  Pope Pius XI recommended this strategy when dealing with others.
  3. Be open to the knowledge and possibility that angels interact with our world in supernatural and miraculous ways.
  4. Talk freely and aloud to your Guardian Angel and encourage little ones to do the same.  “Teach the children that they are never alone, that an angel is at their side. Show them how to have a trusting conversation with the angel, who is a good advisor and intercedes for you and helps you in your needs.” Saint Pope John Paul II
  5. Keep images and books about the angels around the house.  When our boys earned their Tae Kwon Do belts, we gave them Christmas presents of belt displays with an icon of St. Michael to accompany the display.
Resources:
 
PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL
Saint Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.
 
GUARDIAN ANGEL PRAYER
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here;
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
 
Angel Books for Catholics Big and Small
(Listed oldest to youngest)
All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan
Under Angel Wings by Sr. Maria Antonia
Angel in the Waters by Regina Doman
Angels All Around Us (Puzzle Book) from Catholic Book Publishing Co
Angels Surround Us (St. Joseph Rattle Board Books) from Catholic Book Publishing Co
Additionally, there is good Science Fiction/Fantasy with great angel characters.  L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time Series, CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Tolkien’s Silmarillion are some classic examples.
 
Angel Coloring Pages
 
What are your favorite angel resources?  Comment below to share!
 
Thu, September 25th, 2014

Music and a Child’s Mind, Body and Soul

Making Music Praying Twice is a unique music education program in that it is “faith inclusive” for the Catholic child.  We recognize faith as an important and, in fact, central aspect of life.  If a child participates in a music program designed to reach the elements of her daily life, the music of her faith must be addressed.

Some of the most beautiful music in the world has been written for the Lord.  God is the source of all beauty and knowing Him naturally enhances our appreciation of beauty.  Faith truly enhances the music experience.

Likewise, our Church history, countless scripture references, and innumerable individuals can attest to the fact that music can enhance a faith experience.  Making Music Praying Twice is not a religion class, but like other programs, aims to present the music of a child’s culture in ways that impact her daily life.  Unless faith is recognized as a part of a child’s culture and a part of a child’s daily life, the music program will fall short of its goal.

Study after study in music education and development as well as brain-growth research supports the importance of enrichment in a child’s earliest years of life.  As Shinichi Suzuki said, “There is no telling what heights children can attain if we educate them properly right after birth.”  By presenting music from a faith perspective, your child’s mind and body, as well as his soul, are respected and educated in these most formative, precious years.

The Child, The Family, The Parish Family, The Church

Because God is so good, everything He touches is given Grace, His Own Very Life shared with us.  Because God is so good, if we pray for His Grace, He always answers.  This is why our work is so important to us.  We give more and more children the gift of music, which is scientifically proven to enhance brain growth, memory, emotional development and overall wellness.  But more than this, entwined in the power of this music are the prayers of our Catholic Church, ancient and modern, prayers of our Christian American heritage.

When a child sings, “Come Holy Ghost….” the Holy Spirit will not refuse.  When parents sing as well, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for that family.  When a community of families sing together at a parish, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for that community, for that parish.  When the youngest families, with the youngest children are given these gifts in the most formative years of their lives, imagine what the Holy Spirit will do for His Spouse, the Catholic Church!

Click here to listen to music samples!

Wed, September 24th, 2014

Making Music Praying Twice Blog 2.0

Hello and welcome to the Making Music Praying Twice Blog 2.0, or as we refer to it, “On a Note & a Prayer.” We’ve had a blog at MMP2 for quite a while but, we are looking forward to more regular posting and, hopefully, more readers and followers! We have a lot of exciting things going on that we are anxious to share, but we’re not quite ready… yet. In the meantime, perhaps an overview of what MMP2 is all about is a good place to start. For those of you already familiar with our program, feel free to comment below on your experience with our music and products. Have you taught a class? Tell us about that too!

Let’s start with our mission…

Music is a pathway to God.

Making Music Praying Twice provides that pathway by bringing children and parents together on the wings of music. Our program of music and movement designed to foster faith in Catholicism and to enrich education and family life pursues a profound goal:

While the gift of music education is invaluable,
the gift of music combined with prayer is immeasurable.

In a secular world often devoid of faith and of family togetherness, Making Music Praying Twice provides a genuine faith-based experience that is rare, enriching, educational, transcendental, and beautiful.

So, how do we create a musical pathway?

At Making Music Praying Twice, we strive to provide curriculum, tools, and opportunities to Catholic families and parishes so that children can grow in rich, faithful, musical environments filled with the power of prayer.  By combining prayer, music, and family with the rich musical traditions of our Catholic heritage and all the sound educational principles of the latest advances in early childhood music and movement, children grow in music aptitude and overall development while drawing closer to God.  But, because of God’s generosity and goodness, whole families are brought closer together, closer to Church, and closer to God.  This is why we are compelled to provide the only faith-inclusive early childhood music curriculum for the Catholic child. 

When we say this, we aren’t referring to music as tool for worship or catechesis.  We mean that by learning and growing in music, this unique and beautiful gift from our Creator, we become more beautiful and more of whom He created us to be.  When we learn the prayers and songs of our Catholic heritage, we become united with the Communion of Saints, all our brothers and sisters from the past who praised God with these same verses and melodies.  When we become more musical in our daily lives, including songs of prayer and faith, our lives become entwined with this prayer.  Through this prayer, God changes us.  He answers our prayers and draws us to Him.  Music touches the soul and remains in the memory in a special and powerful way.

This is why we connect so deeply to St. Augustine’s memorable quote:  “He who sings, prays twice.” Music doesn’t just combine with prayer to make something special.  Music multiplies prayer and makes it into something even more powerful and beautiful.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any news. Up next, what are the benefits of Making Music Praying Twice on a child’s mind, body, and soul?

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Fri, February 15th, 2013

Ash Wednesday