Monday, May 19, 2014

The Little Oratory - A Review

I have long since been a fan of Auntie Leila and her blog Like Mother, Like Daughter.  I think that is probably apparent since it seems I only blog during her link up anymore.  As a convert and an only child, I often find lost navigating the waters of largish (by today's standards, but really smallish) family life and trying to "build the culture" as Auntie Leila calls it.  So often I feel as if I am reinventing the wheel.  And that's where Like Mother, Like Daughter comes in.  I have found encouragement AND practical help there.  Where else can you read about Taking a Shower, Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping, Laundry 101 (and 202), Homeschooling, Child Discipline, Thrifting, and Crafting all in one place?  In a way that is approachable and doesn't make you feel as if you could never, ever do any of that in a million years?  I know of only one place.
So imagine how thrilled I was when I heard that Auntie Leila had written a book?  On prayer?  In the home?  Of course I pre-ordered it as soon as I could and the day I received it in the mail turned out to be a pretty awesome day:
I had gotten a pedicure that morning.  Yes sir, that was a special day!
 Just as I suspected the book is just like having Leila here to chat with.  Now I don't have to stalk her blog waiting for a new post!  I can just open the book!  (That doesn't mean I'm not still stalking the blog, or going back and reading the archives, I totally am).  I'm not even all the way through the book, but I have read enough to know that this book is a treasure.  The Little Oratory is centered around making a prayer corner in the home and then practical ways to pray with the family, especially the Liturgy of the Hours.  But, true to Auntie Leila's style, it is really so much more.  There is a little section about stain removal (for the cloth for the prayer table of course) that I am going to copy and hang in my laundry room for reference.  There are pearls of wisdom throughout the book and I could go on and on.  Including what to do with spent matches!  How clever!

The Little Oratory was co-written by David Clayton and it includes icons he created that you can pull out and frame for your prayer table.  They are beautiful and as soon as I could go to the store and pick up some frames (I found a few 3-packs of 5x7's at Target for $5) I got to work.  I hung two of the icons at the foot of our bed (we already had the little shelf and crucifix up), and I love how finished they seem to make this spot.

Here's out a little so you can see it in context.  Window to the right and my dresser to the left.

Zoomed in a little.  These walls are white.  The lighting in here is just weird.
We already had a little "altar" of sorts set up in our front room, I posted about it once here, but after reading all the possibilities and ideas, I realized that I really could do better than that.  With just a little thought, I moved a few tables around (this one I stole from our front door area) and voila:
 This little prayer spot is so functional and (to me) beautiful.  Going from the top down let's look at it a little closer:
Three more icons from the book.  My husband really loves these ones.
 I'm not sold on the cloth, but it's what I had on hand for now.  I wrote down in my little idea book that I want to find a decent cloth and possibly do some embroidery, but for now this works.  I'll switch out the color cloth for appropriate colors during the liturgical year.  The cross was a gift from one of my grandmothers.  The statue on the left is of St. Joseph and as you can see from the little prayer card, he's a pretty special saint for our family.  The box on the left holds our rosaries.  The little box in the center of the table holds matches with the striker plate glued on the inside lid (again from Leila's idea on her blog, but she also writes about it in her book).  The little clay pot holds spent matches (this is a temporary thing, I have my eye out for something more permanent at thrift stores).
 This picture is grainy but you get the idea.  The bottom shelf of this table holds my little prayer basket which has small prayer books, a journal, some pens, ect.  We have our Breviary, Dan and my personal Bibles plus the family Bible, a Catechism, and other little devotional type books.
And there you have it.  If you haven't picked up your own copy of The Little Oratory, maybe because...well, I can't think of a reason why you wouldn't have it!  But if you don't have one, I can only tell you that this book is one that should be on every Catholic family's book shelf.
*I am linking this post up (even if my pictures happen to be a little grainy) with Leila's Little Oratory Link-up.  Do go see what other people are being inspired to create in their own homes!  It's very encouraging!  When the button is ready I will post that at the top.*


Leila said...

Thank you so much! Your review is lovely and very kind, and I love your prayer table (and shelf)! It looks wonderful!
Well done!

David Clayton said...

thank you for this - it is great to see how you have created the icon corner!

Tori said...

I'm behind! I was going to get our table set up, but then we decided to clean out our "office." So now the spot for the table is stacked with things that need to be sorted. But at least we are doing it Auntie Leila style - we took everything out and we're only putting back what belongs. Hopefully it won't take too long.

Heather said...

Hi there! My name is Heather and I was wondering if you could answer a quick question I have about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

Kate said...

Beautiful, Cmerie! Amazing how having a family altar/prayer table makes prayer time so much easier! You did a lovely job arranging it.
And the book sounds wonderful!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! The Icons at the back of the book are still in my book. I can see from your photos that they will look gorgeous when framed.

God bless!
~Michelle Therese