Crafts Domestic Church Ink Slingers Janalin Saints

St. Francis Treasure Box DIY

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Tomorrow we celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi!  Children, and adults alike, find St. Francis easy to love especially because of his love for animals.  Since I have had a few extra wooden boxes on hand I decided to make a small treasure box for our son.  He loves all God’s creation and I thought I would try out my new wood burner in the process. 

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Supplies Needed:

  • Small wooden box  (mine was from Michaels)
  • Wood burning tool (a similar one)
  • small photocopied image
  • pencil
  • ball point pen
  • acrylic paints

*The book shown in this blog post can be found on Amazon

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Step One:  Use a pencil and shade over the back side of your image.  I placed my paper up in the window (as a lightbox) so I could see where I needed to be shading.  The pencil lead will act as your “carbon paper” for tracing the image onto the box.

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Step Two:  Place your image into position on the box with the pencil shaded side down to the wood.  Carefully hold the image in place while you trace the outlines needed with your ball point pen.  Remove paper when complete and discard.

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Step Three:  Insert the proper tip and heat up your wood burner.  I tested the burner slightly on the bottom of the box to get a feel of how it would work in my hand.

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Step Four:  Burn the outlines you marked on the box in pencil.  This is not for perfectionists.  You can obviously see where the wood burnt more easily in some areas than others.  But for a first time craft I was very pleased with the overall look!  Be sure and unplug the wood burning tool as soon as you are done!!!

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Step Five:  Water down your acrylic paint.  Technically you do not have to water down your paint.  But if you want to see the beauty of the wood burning it helps to use more of a watercolor effect to see your pyrography.

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

Look closely at the consistency of the paint on the right side (under the brush.)  That is what you need it to look like for painting this project.

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIYI also added an inscription inside of the box.  Because I’m a sap like that.  😉

Saint Francis Treasure Box DIY

And you are done!  I think that ALL kids love treasure boxes and this will be a fun keepsake item for any child to keep their rosary, saint cards, medals… anything related to the Catholic faith in!

How do you plan to mark the feast day of Saint Francis this year?


Domestic Church Faith Formation Homeschool Saints

Be Transformed by a Saint Book


Every morning, our homeschool day begins with me reading aloud to the kids from a book about a saint.  Oh, how rich these stories are!  The first one we read together was Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi by Helen Walker Homan.  Reading a chapter a morning, my children were surprised to hear how Francis wasn’t such a holy child in his youth!  He and his friends were quite mischievous, which provided many laughs, and also helped us all to understand better how God makes saints of all sorts of people. 

We also read about sweet St. Catherine of Siena, and how, in contrast to St. Francis, she had heart for God as a child and longed to live only for Jesus from an early age.  We read about the confidence and bravery of St. Joan of Arc and we have read about the humble beginnings and life of St. Jean Marie Vianney.

All of these stories are rich in our Catholic faith, demonstrating how God equips those whom He calls to do His work.  As we learn the daily lives of these pious Christians we are challenged to hear how they fasted and did penances not only for their own sins, but passionately sought these sufferings to offer to God for the sins of those around them who were not so interested in the states of their souls. 

These books have been a much needed influence of authentic Catholic teaching and living that is hard to find in our modern age.  Yes, I have taught my children the faith through their catechism lessons and I am doing what I know how to do in living a life according to our faith. Moreover, we are blessed to not only have three priests at our parish who are all phenomenal homilists, but we are further blessed with the opportunity to work daily Mass into our homeschool schedule every day to hear these men teach us the faith.  However, these books are filling a gap for both myself and the children, which is an intimate look into the daily lives and thoughts of everyday people who God drew close to Himself to show us for generations how a Christian could fully live his or her life for God. 

I’m not going to be leading the French army in battle in my lifetime, but the way St. Joan suffered no blaspheming of any sort from anyone she was around, soldiers, generals or royalty, was sobering as I chastise no one for such things, save my own children.  I won’t be a priest in my lifetime, but I learned from St. Jean Marie Vianney and from St. Francis just how little I could survive on if I placed all of my trust in God. I won’t be a Doctor of the Church like St. Catherine of Siena, but my eyes were opened to how God prepares the called (not calls the prepared) when I learned how God gave her the gift of literacy when she so desired to learn more about Him from the Scriptures. 

If you don’t already have the habit, I encourage you to read the lives of the saints for yourself or with your kids!  Not just the couple of paragraphs available on his or her feast day, but delve into biographies and be inspired and transformed.  Make a new friend in Heaven. 

All Holy Men and Women pray for us!

Evangelization Ink Slingers Martina

The 2012 Non-Evangelizing Guide Every Catholic Needs To Read

Today’s post is an intro into a two {or three} part series depending on how feisty and “write-y”

I feel this week about ways NOT to evangelize. Today’s piece is foundational,

meaning I’m going to build on it by writing a series based on my own personal experiences.

I should start this piece of brilliance by stating that I don’t consider myself to be an expert in evangelizing, I don’t hold multiple degrees in theology from various Catholic universities {in fact, I hold a Spanish language degree that I don’t use from possibly the largest and most liberal university around – the University of Texas at Austin}, and I don’t consider my forte to be speaking to large groups of people with the goal of converting them to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. What I do have is good, old-fashioned grit. I grew up in a small town in East Texas where Catholics there weren’t {and possibly still aren’t} much of an evangelizing influence by comparison to the prottie population. I also have a lot {read: MASSIVE AMOUNTS} of terrible experiences that I will share with you in an effort to create an “open eyes” effect. Sometimes the approach we feel is glorifying God is, in fact, doing the opposite. It is with painful humility that I will present to you some ways to turn people away from the Faith…if that’s your goal.

Before I delve into all that yummy, delicious turnoff stuff, let me explain a little bit more about who I identify with in my evangelization efforts. I have four heroes in the Faith {after God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, Mary and all the angels, of course :)}. I present to you the cast of characters in the Faith I look to help guide me. My patron entourage, if you will.

  • St. Paul – ::swoon:: From his evil beginnings of persecuting the Church to getting knocked off his horse and infused with the Holy Spirit, how can anyone NOT like him?? The theme of St. Paul for me is one of humility, the realization that God can and will use us regardless of our past sins and/or current sinful state of life if we only submit to His plan for us, and how he constantly exhorts us to always be building up the Church. {remember that last part – it’s kinda an important point, yo}
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux – I had no idea she was such a key player in my evangelization efforts until I realized what my strengths were. Like her ability to attribute even the smallest sufferings to the souls in Purgatory, I realized that I, too, have the ability to do the same by thanking God for the ability to evangelize in small, tiny ways. {You might find this comment laughable considering this website is my baby and has found a large audience in such a short time, but really what I’m referring to is what I do personally in a one-on-one basis with people I meet, whether online or IRL}
  • Blessed Margaret of Castello – Who? Most people have not heard of her, but her story is an amazing one {I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it!}. Born of nobility in the 1200s, her parents shunned her because of her deformities. She was born lame, blind, ugly and a homely hunchback. Her parents were so disgusted at her appearance that they banished her to a tower when she was just six years old where she remained until she was 16. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her parents abandoned her AGAIN when they took Margaret to the Franciscan Shrine of Castello to cure her deformities and the miracle cure did not happen. Despite the poor treatment of strangers throughout her life, Margaret never gave up hope on her fellow brothers and sisters and often prayed for her parents’ love to be reciprocated despite their despicable acts against her. Her example of unconditional love is one that I look to, especially in a society that is quick to write people off over the most trivial of acts. We have forgotten our ability to forgive and love. We should also be prepared if we are to effectively evangelize that the world at large will hate us for it. I should mention that I have been having a very strong tug on my heart to talk about Blessed Margaret for a while. She is just quite the amazing example of Christ’s love. If you are a fan of incorruptibles or even if you don’t know what they are, you will appreciate this link that talks about where her body lays. Though more than 200 miracles were attributed to her, she still has yet to be canonized. Blessed Margaret of Costello, pray for us!
  • St. Francis of Assisi – He is probably one of my all-time favorites because of the infamous phrase attached to him. Though he never said it, it represents who he was and how he lived – “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words.” It’s beautiful and it represents how our approach to the Faith should be. Too often I find that people use this phrase as an excuse to not engage others about the Faith and so it sort of gets swept under the rug as not being very effective with evangelizing, but my personal take on it is simply this: You should live your Faith in such a way that people are IRRESISTIBLY drawn to whatever it is that you have. You OOZE the Holy Spirit. Like a moth to the flame, they don’t even realize you are Catholic because you are so busy living out the Faith in an infectious way that you naturally draw people in. When these people finally DO approach you about the Faith, they have already seen your faith in action and now want to know how to get some of what you’ve got. That’s when the “and when necessary use words” comes in. There is no dismissal of the importance of words if we truly understand how St. Francis lived. We just realized that it takes some balance in bringing others to know Christ and His Church. For some that means our example needs to be silent, for others it means we engage in conversations with them, and still for others it’s a mixture of the two. If we are truly on our evangelizing game {sharpening our tools through frequent attendance of Mass, prayer, confession, consultation with a spiritual director, etc.} then we can read others well enough to know what will reach them most effectively and how to not only bring them to know Christ but to get them so excited to turn around and do the same – in Protestant language, they call it “being on fire for the Lord.”

So, now that my word count is at 1120, I am realizing that I will need to break this into at least two, possibly three parts. Boo hiss, you say? Oh well…you can read up on the virtue of patience in the meantime since I smell bacon cooking {did I mention I have the world’s BEST husband who makes the most AWESOME BACON??} and chitter chatter of four of our five kidlets who are awake at 10:30 a.m. on January 2. It’s time to go be a mom for now and I’ll let some ideas rattle around in my head on how to share with you the best ways to tick off friends and family about the Faith. Oh dear, my stomach is growling…