The Mass Box – It’s Official People

For those of you who have been around the blog for a while you will know that we LOVE our Mass Box subscription. The kids so look forward to the videos, crafts, and now the bonus Superbook DVDs. Recently, the Mass Box has teamed with the Christian Broadcasting Network and every monthly box includes a Superbook DVD. Anyone remember Superbook from growing up? They’ve updated the animation and characters but still encourage your kids to dive into the Bible stories.

I’ve been toying with the idea of branching out into the world of affiliate programs, but don’t want to get caught up in it. Do you know what I mean? So, starting slowly, I’m so pleased to share that I am officially a promoter and affiliate for the Mass Box.

We were one of the first families to try out this subscription box. Back in Lent 2016 Ashley and Raymond (founders of the Mass Box) sought out 100 families to do a trial run and give feedback for their idea. The response was overwhelmingly positive from us and from others, as you may have guessed since they are still going strong! We have loved growing with the Mass Box family. I have seen how attentive they are to the needs of families as they continue to ask for feedback, solicit reviews and ideas and engage in encouraging and supportive conversations with their subscribers.

The Mass Box is, for those who don’t know or need a refresher, is a monthly subscription box that helps prepare the whole family for Sunday Mass. The crafts are best for, in my opinion, ages 4 – 8 or 9, but they can definitely be done younger (with help) or older for craft loving kids. Each week there is a short Youtube video where Ashley and Raymond’s children do the weekly craft, explain the readings and how everything is connected. These videos are completely free for anyone – check them out! In the box comes everything you need to complete the crafts for the month. They also include a weekly magazine that has the directions for the craft, the readings and some activities that relate to the readings (word searches, colorings, Q&A, games, etc.). These magazines are perfect to bring to Mass for busy hands that need something to focus on. And on top of all that, as I mentioned earlier, now they are also including a new Superbook DVD each month.

Every single Sunday has a craft, magazine and video. Plus, because these people are totally legit and this is what sold me on the whole thing in the first place – they also include crafts, videos and magazines for all the Holy Days of Obligation as well!! You can also opt to skip a month or two if you know you are going to be on vacation or for some other reason know you will be missing the opportunity to do the crafts for a period of time.

The makers of the Mass Box have done a really nice job trying to offer a wide variety of options to fit families of all sizes. You can subscribe for the box with craft supplies for 1-4 children. You can also get a box for just a single month to try it out. There is also something called the Mass Box Lite which includes the craft materials for one Sunday, but the magazines for all the Sundays and Holy Days. You can also order just the magazines if the craft element isn’t totally up your alley. You can also opt to skip a month or two if you know you are going to be on vacation or for some other reason know you will be missing the opportunity to do the crafts for a period of time.

If this sounds like something your family needs, or you know a family that would benefit from this kind of preparation for Mass, please click on any of the links here. You will go straight to the Mass Box website and sign up. Click “Subscribe” at the top of the Mass Box homepage for the subscriptions, or click “One Time Shop” for the single order boxes. As an affiliate, I will receive a 10% kickback on any order you make (subscription or one time) when you use the links here.

If you need more evidence of the enthusiasm for the Mass Box, check out this video my kids took while unboxing the August Box.

This month, our favorite craft was using our Mass Box boxes to make sandals. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs, directing them to take along for the journey nothing but sandals and a walking stick. Our walking sticks have since turned into fairy wands, but the sandals are still intact and used for spreading the Good News.

As I keep working on my Philippians 2 book, I’m beginning to hope for some more opportunities for this blog. But as all things, finances are part of the equation. My husband and I both appreciate this small way you can support these writing dreams of mine. Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

 

What We Leave Behind

There is a brief story in the Acts of the Apostles about a woman named Tabitha (which is translated as Dorcas within the text). Luke, the author of Acts, recounts how Peter was visiting a community at Joppa and on that occasion one of their number, Tabitha, fell ill and died. When Luke introduces Tabitha, he paints a vivid picture of who she was with just a few words.

She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.

Completely occupied. I am so challenged by this phrase, especially given my penchant for bouncing from one thing to the next. Right now I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, because in a few months Ben and I are going on a belated honeymoon (yay!) to London, among other places. The books have, if I may borrow the phrase, completely occupied my brain! I have the books open on the counter, I even made a little book weight out of duct tape and pennies so that I wouldn’t have to hassle with opening the book when I have a spare moment to read a few lines. The problem, of course, is self control. Reading beats dusting and dishes any day.

After Tabitha died, the other widows and members of the community bring to Peter the tunics and cloaks she had made for them while she was alive. This is even more indicative of the kind of person Tabitha was. She didn’t just think about good works, she did them. She poured her labors and efforts into those cloaks so much so that they became treasured possessions of those who remained.

Reflecting on Tabitha has been slowly unhooking my mind from those things that keep it from being fully occupied with Christ. Is reading for myself a good thing? Yes, of course! Is it a good thing if it becomes my excuse to neglect my chores or to be short tempered with my children because I didn’t get to finish my chapter.

It comes down to living more purposefully in the present moment. God has gifted me with this day, this moment. How am I going to best use it to bring Him praise and love? Unintentionally, the spot in the kitchen I chose to keep my book happens to be right below an icon of the Blessed Mother I have. I didn’t notice when I started keeping my books there, it was just a convenient spot. Looking back, I can hear God chuckling at me, knowing this process of growth I would be going through under the watchful eye of my little Mother, not realizing until later she was guiding me all along.

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Just as Tabitha gave all of herself to her community, Mary too was “completely occupied” with doing the will of God. Mary teaches us to “ponder these things in our hearts.” The day to day, the big and the small, the joy and the sorrow.

Now, when I go to read and find myself quickly pulled away by the needs of another, I look up at the icon and do my best to thank Mary for the opportunity to read, and the opportunity to serve. I hope that this model of a mother who strives to care for herself as well as others is one that sticks with my children. I want them to grow up recognizing that a life lived in service is a life well lived.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Anticipation and Hope – Finding Peace

Have you ever looked forward to something? And in doing so, has the thought of that something completely spoiled the day you were having? I definitely had one of those days last week and I’m kicking myself for letting anticipation get the better of me.

A friend and I decided that for the rest of the summer, we are going to try to help each other out by doing some kid swaps. She has 4 kids, similarly aged to my own. So, this particular afternoon she was going to take my 4 for 2 hours. Next week, I’ll take hers. We’re offering each other a bit of respite and support and it’s such a great thing!

But, there’s always a but, the morning leading up to my afternoon of freedom was a disaster. Guess who had no patience, no tolerance, few smiles and frequent bouts of frustration? Yep, it wasn’t a pretty sight and I’ve had to apologize to everyone a few times over. I was so looking forward to time alone, that I started to want it immediately. Why should I have to wait? Why can’t these kids just [insert anything your mom has said about why you should leave her alone]. Why is there so much screaming, arguing, wanting, whining, pushing, etc?

These “why’s” where filling up my head, pushing me to behave in a manner I am not proud of. And under it all, was one more “why” that I should have been listening to along, one much more quiet but of much greater consequence.

Why are you reacting this way? What good comes from you losing your cool, expecting behavior beyond their age and demanding perfection when you yourself can’t keep it together? 

Conveniently, C.S. Lewis provides some insight into this particular situation. We are currently reading aloud The Silver Chair and are enjoying the antics of Jill, Eustace (John loves to shout and giggle his full name, Eustace Clarence Scrubb!) and Puddleglum. During the course of their adventures in Narnia and beyond, the group travel across a vast and harsh plain in search of a ruined giant city. They meet a Lady and Knight, who tell them not of a ruined city, but of a thriving one called Harfang. The children, who have been sleeping on the ground and existing on little but what they could catch, are overjoyed by this news. However, their joy doesn’t last long:

Whatever the Lady had intended by telling them about Harfang, the actual effect on the children was a bad one. They could think about nothing but beds and baths and hot meals and how lovely it would be to get indoors. They never talked about Aslan, or even about the lost prince…And though you might have expected that the idea of having a good time at Harfang would have made them more cheerful, it really made them more sorry for themselves and more grumpy and snappy with each other and with Puddleglum (94-95).

There is no sin in looking forward to something. We all have hopes for what will come, be it in a few minutes or years from now. There is something captivating about hope. It draws us in and points us forward.

The problem I was facing, and that the children in The Silver Chair were facing, wasn’t an issue of hope, but of anticipation. One of the definitions of anticipation is “The act of anticipating, taking up, placing, or considering something beforehand, or before the proper time in natural order.” I was anticipating this good thing that was coming to me at the expense of the good things right in front of me.

The theological virtue of hope is what I should have been dwelling in. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has some beautiful things to say about hope. At the very end of its paragraphs on hope, there is a quote from St. Teresa of Avila that really speaks to this particular situation:

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.

Impatience makes doubtful what is certain…..preach St. Teresa! How often do I get caught up in impatience that it blinds me to what I know to be certain. Hope is what gives us the strength to wait for the Lord, to be at peace with His timing. If we know our Scripture we know what has been promised – blessing, love, mercy, goodness, and ultimately, life everlasting with our Father in heaven.

We are given opportunities each day to grow our hopeful spirit. Instead of anticipating, or focusing all our energy on what is to come, we should focus on what gifts and goodness God has given us right now. Through a proper attitude of hope, we discover true and lasting peace.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com