Monday, February 9, 2015

Suggestion for First Communion gift ... and GIVEAWAY!

It's just ingenious and so simple! The most beautiful book, in which every page corresponds to one bead of the Rosary and showcases one work of sacred art upon which to meditate! It's the perfect First Communion gift in my opinion, and I want to walk you through.

First, here's the book. The Joyful Mysteries: Illuminated by Sixty Works of Sacred Art (The Illuminated Rosary). Glossy cover, full color pages, quality stuff. And a really cute kid holding it (who is looking waaaaaay too big these days, sniff!):

Like I said, each page is a bead! So, you see where my finger is?

I'm pointing to two beads down there at the bottom. So we are on the second Hail Mary bead of the Visitation decade!

Now turn the page...

You can easily see that we are now on the third bead! Another Hail Mary, and a new scene of the Visitation on which to meditate!

Ten beautiful scenes for each of the five mysteries, one for each Hail Mary, artwork from different cultures, eras, and nations. Isn't it amazing? What a beautiful way to pray the Rosary with your child!

Of course there are pages with the Our Father as you begin each new Mystery:

And all the beginning and ending prayers as well.

I am always frustrated when I look for First Communion gifts, because usually the things in my price range are... chintzy. I love that this book is elegant, beautiful, affordable, and actually useful!

I wouldn't restrict its potential to kids and First Communion, though. Honestly, I find it hard to pray the Rosary myself, and the format and pictures help keep my mind and eyes focused all the way through. Adults who are new to the Church or the Rosary will really appreciate this book, too. (Just this moment as I'm typing, I thought of how perfect it would have been for my mother-in-law, Carol, who asked me to teach her to pray the Rosary the last time I saw her....)

Check out a slideshow preview of the book here to see more of the captivating artwork.

The Sorrowful Mysteries edition is coming next, and it should be available to order from Peanut Butter & Grace by mid-week, and from Amazon by Ash Wednesday. The Glorious Mysteries book is slated for Easter, with the Luminous Mysteries following in May.

Isn't that the coolest thing?? I want all four.

And now for our giveaway! The author of The Illuminated Rosary, Jerry Windley-Daoust, also wrote a wonderful little book called 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids (A Peanut Butter & Grace Guide for Catholic Families), which will end up in the homes of five lucky readers!

This is practical help for Catholic parents who are looking for effective and interesting ways to pray with their children. This is the kind of stuff I love; look at how clear it gets (and I need clarity), even providing icons to tell me right away which of the activities and prayers will be appropriate for a particular age group:

More features include:

Articles on a wide range of practices: Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, Contemplative Prayer, Daily Examen, Lectio Divina, Novenas, and more.

Talking Points...explanations of prayer practices that kids might have questions about.

Cross-references to the Catechism, Scripture, and Church documents.

An appendix containing thirty-three common and useful Catholic prayers.

A quick-find index that makes it easy to find prayer ideas, and doubles as a checklist to track your progress.

Would you like a copy? Well, email me at, and put "77 WAYS" in the subject line. In one week, I will use to pick five winners. And if you want to double your chances to win, tell me in your email why you would like this book, or a little bit about your family, and I'll give you two entries! I love hearing the real life behind the emails.

Good luck everyone!


  1. Excellent! I have the Illustrated Rosary book and it's been very helpful for my kids to follow along..

  2. I would like to get lucky! It looks very easy for kids to follow.

  3. You are right about the challenge of finding First Communion gifts -- so difficult! This book is perfect, and I will get it for my daughter this year. Thanks for making the gift part easy! :)

    My sister is getting her a bronze locket with the Our Father inside. She found it on Etsy, and it is about $30. There are some good ideas on Etsy, but they are also somewhat limited on less expensive items. The locket works well for my daughter, because she has been fascinated with lockets recently. I guess it depends on the kid. The book you profiled would be great for any kid, though.

  4. Can't wait to get the rosary book for every one I know!

  5. These books look amazing and so beautiful! Emailing you now for entries! Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. I, too, have a hard time concentrating on the Rosary. Apparently, that's a common problem, given the Rosary booklets that are out there to help people concentrate. And I think I have every one except for this one, ha ha!

  7. Uuuuugh - I just posted twice and it deleted both times. If it shows up on your end as a double (or triple) post, I apologize.

    I love the rosary book! What a gorgeous (and useful) tool!!! I want the whole collection, too. What a great idea!

    As for communion gifts, I always go with two that stuck with me from my own childhood.

    The first is, specifically, this picture book of saints:

    I always loved the photos and brief bios. They were short and easy for me to understand (I was in 3rd grade when I received Holy Communion).

    The second gift would be a crucifix similar to this:

    I couldn't find the exact one I was given, but this is ornate and solid, much like mine was. I remember feeling so special to have such a gorgeous crucifix in my room. I also remember thinking it must be very old because it looked different from anything I'd ever seen (turns out it wasn't old at all - ha).

    Anyway, I spent many afternoons just staring at that beautiful crucifix just contemplating Christ on the Cross.

    I hope that helps! :)

  8. Gina, those are excellent suggestions! Thank you!

  9. I have a couple of first communicants I would love to give this to.


PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest.