When you’re doing your Advent and Christmas shopping …

The whole time I’ve had my own household to manage — thirteen years this past September — I’ve never had an Advent wreath, and I’ve always wanted one. Last year I decided I was definitely getting one for this Christmas, and today (yes, I’m almost always Mrs. Last Minute) I ordered this one from The Catholic Company.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — The Catholic Company is always my go-to for religious items for gifts for others or for me or for the kids or our family. They have beautiful things for Advent and Christmas, and I’ve posted previously about other select items that I like. All of this is why I signed up to be an affiliate with them to begin with — they have so much that I’d recommend to all of you!

I’m also an Amazon affiliate, because that’s where I’ve gotten almost all my name books — all the books I’d recommend to you or to anyone who wants ideas for naming a baby, or for Confirmation, or for characters in your stories, or just because you love names and can’t think of anything you’d rather do than curl up with a name book. I know I’m not the only one! 😉

So when you’re doing your online Advent and Christmas shopping, consider starting here! I have lots of good stuff listed on my Resources and recommendations page. Even if you don’t end up buying anything I’ve recommended, if you use any of my links to get to Amazon or The Catholic Company, I’ll get a percentage of the money you end up spending in that transaction. (Also, because I’m a terrible businesswoman and I’m not in dire circumstances, I do want to let you know that many many bloggers are affiliates of different businesses, so if you know of any that you think need particular financial help at this time of year, use their links instead!)

Oh! Don’t forget that I have my NamePrint printables available as well!


This post contains affiliate links brought to you by The Catholic Company – The World’s #1 Catholic Store and Amazon.com.

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Papal paraphernalia

Are any of you participating in any of the events connected with Pope Francis’ upcoming visit? I know you all know, but just in case: Ten days til he’s here!!! He’s arriving September 22 in Washington DC; traveling to New York City on September 25; heading back down to Philadelphia on September 26; and leaving America for Rome on the 27th (full itinerary here). What I wouldn’t give to meet that man! And how blessed we are to have him walking on our soil!

The Catholic Company has some amaaazing (and, honestly, some of them are hilarious) Pope-visit-themed items that I was drooling and laughing over the other day. Like this one:

I Heart Pope Francis T-shirt
I Heart Pope Francis T-shirt [XL]

Ahahaha! I love that man! There are a lot of other great t-shirts too — I love this one (Jesus [IHS] [which is the Jesuit symbol] and il Papa at the same time!):

IHS Pope Francis USA 2015 T-Shirt

IHS Pope Francis USA 2015 T-Shirt [XL]

And some good ol’ patriotism — our Pope and our flag. God bless America.

Pope Francis USA 2015 American Flag T-Shirt
Pope Francis USA 2015 American Flag T-Shirt [XXL]

Then there are these:

Exclusive Pope Francis Bobblehead Statue
Exclusive Pope Francis Bobblehead Statue

It even has its own hashtag: #WhereIsPopeBobblehead! haha! It’s a nice little conversation piece especially in a secular environment (like work) where a little humor can be a great evangelizing tool. This one too:

I Love Pope Francis Mug
I Love Pope Francis Mug

I also loved these:


Pope Francis Devotional Candle

Pope Francis Devotional Candle
Pope Francis Commemorative Coin

Pope Francis Commemorative Coin
Pope Francis Rosary Card

Pope Francis Rosary Card


Pope Francis Commemorative Magnet

Pope Francis Commemorative Magnet
Pope Francis Medal 25 Pack

Pope Francis Medal 25 Pack
Pope Francis Round Keepsake Box

Pope Francis Round Keepsake Box


Mary Undoer of Knots & Pope Francis Rosary Pouch

(I love that Our Lady under this title is a special devotion of his)

Mary Undoer of Knots & Pope Francis Rosary Pouch


Pope Francis USA 2015 Prayer Card

Pope Francis USA 2015 Prayer Card

There are a couple great things for kids:


Pope Francis Tiny Saint Charm

Pope Francis Tiny Saint Charm


Pope Francis Plush Doll

Pope Francis Plush Doll


Pope Francis Holy Bear

(I just need to note that when my oldest, who has always said he wants to be a priest, was about to make his First Holy Communion, he was flipping through the Catholic Company catalog and saw a similar bear as this but the Holy Communion version and fell in love with it and requested it as a First Communion gift. When he received it, he named it Benedict, and it’s still got a place of honor in his room.)
Pope Francis Holy Bear

Lessons from Pope Francis for Children

(This will be on my children’s Christmas list)
Lessons from Pope Francis for Children


Jorge from Argentina: Story of Pope Francis

(This also)

Jorge from Argentina: Story of Pope Francis


Praying with Your Five Fingers Laminated Card [English]

(We have this and I love it)

Praying with Your Five Fingers Laminated Card [English]

There are so many great things! And I haven’t even really gotten into the publications (books, pamphlets, etc.)! Like his encyclicals Light of Faith: Lumen Fidei and Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, or the intriguing Pope Francis: Life in His Own Words, or the much-needed Pope Francis Speaks to Families. And so meaningful to have them connected, actually or emotionally, to his most likely once-in-a-lifetime visit to our country. Viva il Papa!! ❤


This post contains affiliate links brought to you by The Catholic Company – The World’s #1 Catholic Store.

Good name posts and beautiful Name products

I loved both of these recent posts on the Baby Name Wizard site:

Are Presidential Candidates Running Away From Their Own Names? (It’s all about nicknames! I was most intrigued by Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Cara Carleton “Carly” Fiorina, and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal — Laura explains how each nickname came to be. The comments were good too.)

15 British Baby Names That Just Don’t Exist in America (Fascinating list! “The top 1,000 names lists from England and Wales include scores of names that don’t register in American stats at all. Let me emphasize that: these names aren’t just rare, they’re statistically nonexistent. Given that the most recent U.S. stats tally more than 30,000 names from Aaban to Zyyon, that’s saying something“)

And in light of my posts on the Holy Name of Jesus (here and here) I was loving these products from the Catholic Company:

An IHS Coffee Mug, where IHS is “the Holy Name of Jesus as it was written in the Gospels, is the first three letters of the Greek Spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is translated “ihsous.”” (Personalizable!)

IHS Coffee Mug

A Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder, for all those holy cards we all have that “accumulate over time, often being stuffed in Bibles, missals, or prayer books which causes them be lost or forgotten.” (Personalizable!)

Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder

These beautiful Jesus Beads, which I’d never heard of, but I loved this: “Jesus Beads originated in the tradition of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Called a chotki, the strand may have as many as 100 beads or as few as 25. The chotki is traditionally used as a silent “breath prayer”, with “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God” prayed on inhalation and “have mercy on me, a sinner” prayed on exhalation. This is known as the Jesus Prayer, or the Prayer of the Heart, which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus and implores His divine mercy. (You can read about the “Jesus Prayer” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2665-2669)”:

Prayer to Jesus

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind. . . .

2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”16 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.17

2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.” It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light.18 By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior’s mercy.

2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,19 but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.”20 This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

2669 The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior’s steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

Jesus Beads

Finally, Devotion to the Holy Face by Mary Frances Lester. I know it’s not specifically about the Holy Name, but I just discovered today that St. Therese’s full religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, so how coincidental to see this!

Devotion to the Holy Face

Happy Thursday night y’all! (Does anyone else wish it was okay for non-Southerners to use y’all? It’s so useful! I find it creeping into my thoughts though I usually edit it out of my speech … but not tonight! Also, aren’t Thursdays the best? My dad always says that Thursday’s the best day of the week because no one really minds going to work on Friday, since it’s the last day of the week and has a party feel of its own, so Thursday night especially feels kind of like the beginning of the weekend. I suppose that’s the idea behind Thursday nights being Going Out nights in college? So then maybe consider this your happy hour. 🙂 )

(Okay, one more story — my husband went out for a brief drink after work tonight with colleagues, and when he got home I meant to say, “How was happy hour?” but what came out was, “How was holy hour?” Bahaha! I’m still laughing!) 😀