Monday, July 11, 2016

All 12 Small Group Worksheets for The Four Keys to Everlasting Love


Hurray! We've come to an end of the 12-part series of chapter-by-chapter worksheets to accompany our Catholic marriage prep/enrichment book The Four Keys to Everlasting Love. And just in time for summer. :)

Here are links to all twelve worksheets in one post, for your convenience! This is also my good-bye for the summer. The blog is going on vacation, because my family needs me. Looking forward to connecting back up with you in the fall.

Chapter 1

Turning Two into One:
How to Overcome the Differences that Divide You


TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT, CLICK HERE.


Chapter 2

Turning Good Marriages into Pathways to Glory:
It’s a Sacrament; It’s a Vocation; It’s a Road Map to Heaven!




Chapter 3

Turning Union into Communion:

Extending Your Love to Your In-Laws and Beyond



Chapter 4

Turning Meaningless Drudgery into Meaningful Work:
How to Prioritize God, Family, and Work



Chapter 5

Turning Ownership into Stewardship:
Six Tips for Trouble-Free, God-Centered Finances 



Chapter 6

Turning Inaction into Action:
Families at the Service of Other Families 



Chapter 7

Turning Spouses into Life-Giving Lovers:
The Creative Power of Sex




Chapter 8

Turning the Fear of Fertility into a Total Gift of Self:
Finding a Better Alternative to Artificial Birth Control & IVF



Chapter 9

Turning Challenges into Channels of Grace:
Big Families, Special-Needs Kids, Adopting, Fostering & Stepparenting




Chapter 10

Turning Children into Adults:
Forming Your Children's Bodies, Minds, and Souls in Christ



Chapter 11

Turning Our Homes into Places of Prayer:
The Eternal Consequences of Everyday Family Life



Chapter 12

Turning into a Happier, Holier Family:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Can Show You How




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Have a great summer, and may God bless your marriages with everlasting joy!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Turning into a Happier, Holier Family, or WWHFD? (4 Keys Downloadable Worksheet)

This is the twelfth and final installment in a series of downloadable worksheets to use at home, in small groups, or during break-out sessions with our Catholic marriage advice book, The Four Keys to Everlasting LoveTO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT, CLICK HERE.


Chapter 12


Turning into a Happier, Holier Family:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Can Show You How


The Holy Family is the best role model that any family could possibly ask for. Our Blessed Mother Mary is a shining example of grace under pressure, faith in the face of uncertainty, and perseverance through the hardest of life's challenges. St. Joseph is a pre-eminent father figure, protective, strong, and willing to share all with no expectation of return. As individuals we can ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do," or WWJD? As members of a family we can ask ourselves, "What would the Holy Family do," or WWHFD?

Manny and Karee describe the Holy Family in Chapter 12 of The Four Keys: "God was the center of their lives -- not sex, money, or even work. The Holy Family shows us that marriage is more than just the union of two people. Marriage is the union of two people with God through each other."

Chapter 12 sums up each of the four essential characteristics of faithful, free, fruitful, and total married love and shows how Mary and Joseph modeled those characteristics throughout their lives. The example of the Holy Family reveals how:

  • to remain faithful in times of joy and sorrow
  • to use our freedom wisely to work and serve for others' sake
  • to cherish our spouses' precious bodies, and
  • to love totally through self-giving parenting and constant prayer

As Manny and Karee say, "God has handed you the keys to everlasting love: how to love faithfully, freely, fruitfully, and totally, both now and forever. Unlock the door and step through."

Conversation Starters


You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going between yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.


1.  Do you see any similarities between your life and the Holy Family's? What are they?





2.  How easy is it to make God the center of your family life? What would make it easier?





3. What pulls you away from God the most?





4.  What unites you most as a couple? As a family? How can you become more united?





Want more tips and news about our Catholic marriage advice book? Sign up here for The Four Keys to Everlasting Love newsletter and get your downloadable thank-you gift.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Turning Our Homes into Places of Prayer: Easy Family Prayer Habits (4 Keys Downloadable Worksheet)

This is number eleven in a series of downloadable worksheets to use at home, in small groups, or during break-out sessions with our Catholic marriage advice book, The Four Keys to Everlasting LoveTO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT, CLICK HERE.


Chapter 11


Turning Our Homes into Places of Prayer:
The Eternal Consequences of Everyday Family Life


In the day-to-day grind of life, it can be easy to forget that what we do now has consequences for eternity. This is especially true in family life, where we live out our vocation to sacramental marriage and, God willing, as parents to the next generation. Our families are "domestic churches," where we share God's divine love with each other and strengthen each other's faith. A rich family prayer life can bring great peace to our homes. 

As Manny and Karee say in Chapter 11 of The Four Keys, "When family members spend time together nurturing their friendship with God, they form a nearly unbreakable bond. In becoming closer to God, they become closer to each other. Evenings become filled with prayer instead of electronic entertainment, and Sundays become filled with praising God instead of hopping in separate minivans to drive different kids in different directions to various extracurricular activities."

In addition to explaining how spouses can deepen their prayer lives as individuals and as a couple, Chapter Eleven also shares easy prayer habits for families, including:

  • morning prayer (even in the car on the way to work or school!)
  • bedtime prayers (more than just rote recitation)
  • reading Bible stories (for adults, it's called lectio divina)
  • grace before meals (a wonderful way to incorporate multiple faith traditions)


Conversation Starters


You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going between yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.


1.  Do you have a favorite prayer? What is it, and what makes it your favorite?





2.  Do you feel comfortable speaking to God in front of each other? Why or why not?





3. What prayers would you most like your children to learn?





4.  Does your parish church appeal to you? Do other parishes in your area appeal to you more?





Want more tips and news about our Catholic marriage advice book? Sign up here for The Four Keys to Everlasting Love newsletter and get your downloadable thank-you gift.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Turning Children into Adults: Catholic Parenting Strategies (4 Keys Downloadable Worksheet)

This is number ten in a series of downloadable worksheets to use at home, in small groups, or during break-out sessions with our Catholic marriage advice book, The Four Keys to Everlasting LoveTO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT, CLICK HERE.


Chapter 10


Turning Children into Adults:
Forming Your Children's Bodies, Minds, and Souls in Christ


There is no greater responsibility than parenting well. Our children are God's gifts to us, and they will shape the world of the future. We are called to nurture our children's bodies, minds, and souls, forming them in Christ. "If we are like pencils in the hands of God, as Mother Teresa said, then each of our children is a sketch destined to become a masterpiece," say Manny and Karee say in Chapter Ten of The Four Keys.

Parenting requires courage, commitment, thorough preparation, and often sacrifice. In the early years, we help our children learn to eat, walk, talk, and even go to the bathroom, In the school years, we help our children discover their unique talents and discern the path that God wants them to follow in adulthood. And for their whole lives, they can still turn to us for advice on choosing between right and wrong. In the process, our children often inspire us to improve ourselves for their sake and become better than we are.

In addition to discussing children's physical, intellectual, and moral formation, Chapter Ten also gives tips on:

  • developing a unified parenting style even if it's not what every other parent on the playground picks
  • avoiding the trap of emphasizing intellectual development at the expense of moral development
  • educating your children in the virtues of anti-materialism and modesty
  • protecting your children from the possibility of abuse


Conversation Starters


You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going between yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.


1.  Thinking back to how your parents raised you, what would you like to imitate? What would you like to do differently?





2.  How do you plan to educate your children (public school, Catholic school, or homeschool)?






3. Who are your favorite parent models -- people whose approach to parenting you most admire and would most like to imitate?





4.  What are the biggest goals or dreams you have for your children?








Want more tips and news about our Catholic marriage advice book? Sign up here for The Four Keys to Everlasting Love newsletter and get your downloadable thank-you gift.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Book Club Fun: Divine Mercy for Moms ONLINE!

This summer, I’m teaming with up with mom of twins and recent convert Amanda Torres to venture into new digital territory. In a first time for both for us, we’ll be administering a book club on Facebook to delve into Divine Mercy for Moms, by fellow Ave Maria Press authors Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet. The discussions will begin on July 9 and end on August 20. We would love for you to kick back and join in the summer-long fun of growing in faith with like-minded moms!
Divine Mercy for Moms is the perfect way to learn why so many people are devoted to the 20th century Polish nun and visionary, St. Faustina Kowalska, who brought the Divine Mercy image and chaplet to the world. As it says in the book’s description on Amazon: “With heartwarming stories and practical advice, this book reveals that mercy is not just a gift to be received in the confessional but a spiritual resource that strengthens those who extend themselves in word, deed, and prayer. Designed for personal or group study, Divine Mercy for Moms celebrates the infinite mercy of God and the role of Mary, the Mother of Mercy, in the lives of all believers.”

Daily Reflections

Author Michele Faehnle has graciously agreed to take part in the party, hosting a daily series of mini-reflections from the book. Each mini-reflection starts with a quotation from St. Faustina’s famous diary where she recorded her deep inner relationship with Jesus as well as the messages that Jesus revealed privately to her. This mini-reflection from Day 6 really speaks to me!
Day 6 — Love of God
“I burn with the desire to love Him ever more and more.” (525)
How can you deepen your desire to love Christ more? What can you do to keep your eyes fixed on him and not yourself?
Share your answers to these questions on the daily Facebook thread and watch how it helps you to clarify your thoughts, become more accountable, and make greater spiritual progress!

Weekly Discussions

We’ll keep the pace slow and aim at reading one chapter per week. Every Saturday, co-admin Amanda and I will moderate discussions based on the chapter of the week. On our start date of July 9 we’ll begin by chatting about the introduction.
The Saturday discussions will be based on the Divine Mercy for Moms study guide (included at the end of the book). The study guide has a series of chapter-by-chapter questions to help focus our thoughts and motivate us to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Amanda and I will prime the conversational pump, telling you our answers and encouraging you to chime in with your own reactions.
The Facebook group is “closed,” which means that members of the group are the only ones who can see the comments you write. So no worries about too-personal musings showing up in the newsfeed of friends and relatives!

How to Join the Fun

The Facebook group is called (simply enough) Divine for Mercy for Moms Online Book Club. Just click here and submit a request to join the group. Or, you can send me a Facebook friend request here, then message me and I’ll add you. Last but not least, you can email me at santoskaree at gmail dot com if you have questions or need help. Looking forward to great conversations and closer friendships with you this summer!

Image courtesy of Ave Maria Press.