Wallpapers for 2023

I have never attempted the St. Andrew Novena until this Advent season. The novena, traditionally started on St. Andrew’s feast day which is Nov. 30, actually runs for 25 days – Nov. 30-Dec. 24. Not only is this a longer than usual novena (novenas are typically 9 days long), it is also a rather demanding novena. You pray the same prayer 15 times each day. I really wanted to spread the 15 times throughout the day, filling my whole day with prayer, rather than sitting down and saying the same prayer 15 times in one sitting. To accomplish this, I found a simple version of the prayer to put on my phone as a lock screen and had a counter widget that I could click to keep track of where I was during the day. (The widget app is called Counter Widget for iPhone users. I’m not sure if there is an Android version but even if it isn’t this particular app, there ought to be something you can use).

I did not expect to love this novena as much as I did. I found myself praying it almost without thinking. Do you know how you will be singing a song in your head for a while but not be fully conscious of it, and then you suddenly realize you’re singing along? That’s what was happening. These words were becoming a part of me, even deeper than fully conscious thought. I had LASIK surgery during the second half of Advent and the whole time I was having the procedure, this prayer was running through my head over and over and over. It kept me calm, it kept me secure in myself. I’m not sure how I would have made it without this prayer.

As Advent is drawing to a close, I have been feeling a little anxious about letting this prayer go. What’s going to fill its space? I have enjoyed having this special and unique prayer to help focus my month and I’m hungry for more.

I’m not sure I will ever adequately put into words just how grateful I am for all the little details the Holy Spirit has inspired within the Catholic Church. Did you know that even the months of the year have their own unique devotions? Here’s a quick list:

  • January – The Holy Name of Jesus
  • February – The Holy Family
  • March – St. Joseph
  • April – The Holy Spirit
  • May – The Blessed Virgin Mary
  • June – The Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • July – The Precious Blood of Jesus
  • August – The Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • September – Our Lady of Sorrors
  • October – The Rosary
  • November – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
  • December – Advent and the Coming of Christ at Christmas

The Holy Spirit really sparked this idea in me because, in a flurry of typing, I went from, “Well this are nice” to “Oh my gosh I need to make lock screen wallpapers for every month so everyone who wants to pray in this way can have one too!”

So here they are. 11 of my own creations, courtesy of Canva’s design space, free for you to download. The 12th is the lock screen wallpaper I am using this Advent from The Simple Saints website. Big thank you to them for inspiring my Advent this year. I will be using this wallpaper again next year (I chose the blue one with the stars if you’re curious).

I think I’m going to be sticking with the 15 times a day model. That seems to be doable for me. It’s often enough I have to keep it at the forefront of my mind but not so often I find myself running through the repetitions just to achieve a magic number.

If I’ve inspired you to consider trying out praying this way, I’m so excited for you! I intentionally did not put the month on the individual wallpapers so if you find one you want to pray with for longer, you don’t have to try to edit anything. Or, if a prayer really speaks to you and it doesn’t exactly line up with it’s designated month, that’s ok! The Holy Spirit moves us as He will and it’s not always according to a calendar (just ask my editor at Catholicmom.com and how many day-of-deadline posts I send her because the inspiration wasn’t exactly timely).

I’m not sure I will get out another post before the end of the year. Perhaps, I have an idea mulling around that came to me while trying to equally divide pumpkin zucchini bread batter into 2 loaf pans and wondering about how recipe creators account for the waste left in the pan, on the spoon, and on licked toddler fingers…..hmmm. Just how used to having “waste” or “extra” are we and do we carry that influence into our spiritual journey?

With that, may you all have a very Merry Christmas and a joyful start to your New Year! May Christ’s everlasting peace be with you and yours in this Christmas season.


Remember, December’s wallpaper comes from The Simple Saints website. Not sponsored, but if for some reason these wallpapers or prayers do not work for you and you want to try your hand at designing, everything you see here I made using the free images and templates available on Canva.com. It’s fun to play around with and you just might find something that fits you more perfectly than what I’ve created here. Here’s to a Year of Prayer!

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Rorate Coeli ~ Advent Music Review

Advent has always been one of my favorite liturgical seasons. The music, in particular, is something I look forward to each year. I love how mindful our Church has been throughout the centuries to safeguard and celebrate certain passages, melodies and refrains that hold special significance for the various liturgical seasons. I was so happy to be able to receive a copy of Rorate Cœli: Marian Sounds of Advent from The Monks of Clear Creek

This CD was recorded at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. It is a series of chants that come from different liturgical moments throughout Advent and the Mass the Vigil of Christmas, that being Mass in the morning on Dec. 24. The “Rotate Cœli” which the CD is named after, is heard during the Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin in Advent. The text is taken from Isaiah’s lament over the destruction of Jerusalem while keeping our eyes fixed on the promise of God’s salvation. The refrain is specifically Isaiah 45:8:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

I found this image to be striking. The introduction to the CD, written by Abbot Philip Anderson, reflects that, “It is through Our Lady that the Dew of God in Person finally came down from Heave to fulfill the longings of the prophets of old.” Jesus, the gentle Dew of God. It reminded me of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 where God passes by the cave. Not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake and not in the fire. It was at the lightest wisp of breeze that brought Elijah to his knees before his Lord and God. Jesus didn’t come to earth on the backs of wild horses or flaming chariots. He wasn’t born in a palace or a cultural center. He came, meek and mild, as the dew we often don’t even remark upon or notice. The simplicity of chant mingles with the complexity of what is sung about. It never ceases to cause me to pull away from the demands of my day and to rest in those few moments of peace and prayer. 

As someone who loves to learn, I was so happy to find the booklet that came in the CD to be full of information. Not only are all the chants written out in Latin, but it also includes English and French translations. Additionally, the majority of the translations are also accompanied with an explanation of when the chant is typically sung, a few comments about key notes, chords, or phrases to listen for and how this chant connects to the others in the set. While these chants are beautiful and mediative on their own, their richness comes alive when you journey through them with the booklet to guide you and inform your ear to the subtleties built into the music.

Though Advent isn’t upon us just yet, still a few days to go, I am already making plans to be listening to this CD as part of our daily drive to school. My kids and I have listened through it as I prepared to write this review and there is a definite difference in the overall tone of the car from when we listened to chant and when we did not. Adding chant to our usual day may become a permanent thing. I will definitely be looking to the monks at Clear Creek for more peaceful and thoughtful chants to expand our collection.

If you haven’t yet, this is a great time to visit my previous blog post which has the Advent Journals for this year. Again, these are totally free to you and anyone whom you choose to share them with. I hope they bring you blessings and peace this Advent season.

It’s That Time Again – Advent Journals 2022!

Can you believe it’s already one month to Advent. Again!? I always thought adults were so silly in their comments about how “quickly time flies” and “don’t grow up too quickly” but boy were they right! I cannot believe we are already bringing 2022 to a close. Funny side story. I had to fill out the usual paperwork and releases that come with going to the dentist for our kids the other day. I had to re-fill out about half of the papers because I dated them all 2023! Time goes fast enough and there I was jumping a whole calendar year.

Time may fly, but there are things that stay constant. I love how our liturgical cycle moves in a predictable manner throughout the year, gently bringing us along as the seasons shift. The world has its own method of transitioning from one season to another, but it feels more jarring. Each year, holiday decorations seem to appear in the stores earlier and earlier. “Back to school season” was already in full swing by mid-June with Halloween candy on the shelves as the first day of school arrived. So much time is spent in anticipation of the next season that we don’t really get the opportunity to celebrate the present one.

Seasons of preparation are important. We prepare for a big trip, prepare for a school year, prepare for a new baby. The Church recognized the need to take time to adequately prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas as well as in anticipation of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Then, when the Christmas and Easter seasons arrive, we are ready to fully participate in the joyful tidings. Our two seasons of preparation have their own markers, symbols and flair that help us settle into their particular moods and themes.

One of Advent’s big symbols is the Advent Wreath. Thinking back on my own celebrations of Advent, the wreath is always a part of this season of preparation. We had a wreath growing up that sat on the dining table. As our kids have grown, we have mostly made homemade wreaths thanks to The Mass Box‘s Advent box. This year, we have a new wooden wreath I am excited about from Shining Light Dolls (no affiliation with either company, just love the stuff!).

As I was beginning to discern what this year’s Advent journal would be about, I found myself drawn to the wreath. I realized that while each year we light the candles, I don’t actually know that much about what the candles symbolize. As I began to explore, the deeper I was drawn. Around the same time, I was so blessed to be able to review a Gregorian chant CD featuring Advent hymns from the monks at Clear Creek Abby. In the introduction, I was struck by this statement regarding the music:

Out of simplicity there can come music worthy to proclaim the holiness of God.

Rorate Coeli CD – The Monks of Clear Creek

I don’t know if you know my brain, but it likes to take a small idea and blow it up really quickly, usually overcomplicating things. My small idea about an Advent wreath based journal had already become overworked and complex within 30 seconds of conceiving it. This quote pulled me back and God used it as a means of refinement. What follows is a very simple journal, but I hope one that helps you to recognize God’s abundant love and mercy in your life.

As every year, this is a completely free resource. This year, it is not tied to the cycle of readings in any substantial way, so it could be used for any Advent from here forward. While there is space for journaling each day, there are only a few specific writing prompts. Instead, there are carefully selected Scripture passages, saint quotes, catechism references and even a song from which you can draw inspiration to spark your conversation with God. The Advent Candles provide the overarching theme for each week – did you know each candle represents something different to guide our thoughts and prayers during that week?! I knew this someplace in the back of my mind but never really let the candles provide any kind of framework to my Advent season. I am excited to continue my meditations on them as Advent draws near.

There are 2 versions, identical in content, different in layout. There is the 8.5×11 print copy which totals 35 pages. You can of course double side that and cut it in half. There is also the booklet layout which needs only 9 pages. Be sure to check your printer’s settings for printing double sided regardless of layout you select.

Due to the small amount of cited Biblical text in this particular journal, you may print copies to share with friends and family (this is different from other Advent journals on the site. Please be aware of any copyright notices on other downloadable resources). With permission from your pastor, you may share this journal in print form with your wider parish community. As always, you are free to link this post in your bulletin, newsletter, personal social media, etc. so anyone can download and print their own copy.

I hope that this journal offers you some space for peace and rest with God during the Advent season.