Friday, September 17, 2021

Fall prayer planning...tips for success (hopefully! ;-)!

 

Hello all, and I hope you're having a beautiful morning on this lovely fall day! It's been a busy week at my house, between back-to-school routines for the kids, and lesson planning at work for a return to in-person teaching. I've also been preparing for an in-person dance show at my studio this weekend, and I'm very excited for that! 

I was thinking today that I've felt a re-awakening in my prayer life of late, and I think it's because of Shauna'h's online prayer course for Catholic women, Everyday Holiness, which starts up on Sunday. 😎 I'm so looking forward to having some motivation to stay on track with prayer via a little structure and community! I've always been very motivated by setting goals, with a timeline, and having others along with me on the journey. If you sign up for Shauna'h's email list, you will get a link to a free printable calendar for the month with prayer goals and novena reminders!

The other thing I was thinking about lately in this regard is building up small micro habits in terms of prayer. I wrote about this recently over on Catholic Mom. You work towards larger goals by setting very small habits for yourself that you build on over time. Maybe you start with a single decade of the rosary when you get into your car in the morning. Or wing up a Morning Offering as you set your feet on the floor upon rising from bed for the day. Once that habit is more firmly established in your routine, you can add on a set of 3 Hail Marys for an intention of the day as you brush your teeth, or add a second decade of the rosary while you're making dinner in the evening. I really love this idea, and I tell all about how I learned about this in my Catholic Mom post, linked above! The book I reference in that post is BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.

Do you have any tips for igniting habits in your prayer life? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, September 10, 2021

A little foray into everyday holiness...

Hello all and happy Friday! Today I have something really fun to share. *beams* My sister Shauna'h is starting up a new online course designed for Catholic women looking to kickstart their prayer life with their very own back-to-school opportunity! I am a person who LOVES the freshness of a new school year, despite having been out of school for many years, and am a lover of lifelong learning. How can we work together to learn more about our faith, about prayer, and about how to study to become better humans in our day-to-day lives? I asked Shauna'h about her new course, so that she could share with us exactly what this looks like. 😎

  1. What can you tell us about your new initiative designed especially for Catholic women? I started Fiat Sanctum to reach Catholic women that are yearning for something more: a deeper connection with God, a more consistent prayer life, or a greater sense of meaning in the ordinariness of daily life. Fiat Sanctum means “Let it be holy,” since we are all called to holiness, not just priests and other religious. Women especially have so many opportunities to sanctify our daily work, but it can feel hard to do when you are overwhelmed with the busyness of life. That’s why I created Everyday Holiness, an online program for Catholic women who want to create time and physical space for God. 

  2. How do you envision women incorporating your course into their daily routine? It’s an 8-week course, with new content opening up each Sunday. One way to incorporate the course would be to listen to each week’s lessons on Sunday (a nice Sabbath exercise!), and that evening plan out how you’re going to begin incorporating those practices throughout the coming week. For example, in the week of evening prayer, you could plan to clean off your nightstand and pull together the materials you want to use on Monday/Tuesday, then begin practicing your nightly examen and/or other evening prayers the remainder of the week. We’ll virtually meet as a course community one hour each week for sisterhood, snacks, and strategizing each other’s prayer challenges.

  3. Is there a seasonal theme to the course for autumn? We very much have a “Back to School” vibe going. Summer changes all of our rhythms, whether you have school-age kids or not, and everyone feels a sense of wanting to buckle back down into old routines or try new things. We’re all squirrels gathering nuts for winter right now!

  4. Is this course designed only for married Catholic moms, or women in all vocations? All Catholic women! Working AND stay-at-home moms. Married AND unmarried women. I’m a working mom, so I have a particular soft spot for that group (which historically hasn’t been well-reached by content created for Catholic moms in general), but women from across that spectrum have signed up for Everyday Holiness.

  5. What are the main takeaways you’re hoping women get from this course? That God loves you SO much, especially in the midst of your daily chaos. That you can do hard things and build discipline in a way that feels realistic for busy women. I hope they see how small, visual reminders of our faith can trigger prayer more consistently, and embrace the ancient beauty and rhythms of the Liturgy of the Hours and how it can inform our days (without getting lost in ribbons!). Above all, I hope it brings them hope: for themselves, for their family life, and for their faith life.

Doesn't this sound awesome?! I'm all signed up and EXCITED! 😁 Registration is open through this weekend, end of day EDT September 12th, and material starts up on the 19th! If you decide to join us, pop a comment in this post. :-0

Friday, September 3, 2021

Of doggie knits, and a return to fall...

Hello everybody, and happy September! I'm gearing up to get back into a more normal semblance of a fall routine with the kids returning to school and my own return to teaching. I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all this year, as I think everyone is, as a result of being a bit out of practice. I have prayer plans for this, which I'll come back to at the end of this post, stay tuned!

In the meantime. I've been spending lots of time with this guy:


And he's been "helping" me craft. ;-) I've had fall on the brain, I do so love autumn colors and activities. I knit this adorable candy corn mug cozy:

Free pattern is Candy Corn Cup Cozy


And I also cast on a candy corn themed dog sweater for my helper!

Free pattern is Candy Corn Dog Sweater

I also whipped out August's National Parks hat, which is themed after Rainier!

Rainier pattern

I may have also ordered a few National Parks themed kits from a different designer, because apparently I can't stop knitting hats. 😬😇

Nancy Bates Designs

Since these involve colorwork, I'm *really* excited because I absolutely love the anticipation of each round with colorwork! Unless it's socks, which would mean that colorwork in that context would be a near occasion of sin. ;-) But aside from socks, I adore colorwork! I just cast on the Glacier beanie last night, and cannot WAIT to keep working on it! Photos to come in the coming weeks.

OK, SO circling back to prayer time this autumn. I have a lovely edition of Life of a Catholic Librarian for us next Friday: an interview with my sister Shauna'h, who is starting up a new initiative for Catholic women to aid in jump starting their prayer lives this fall! All the fantastic details next week, I am SO EXCITED for this! It'll be like our very own back-to-school course for our faith. *heart*

Friday, August 27, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 6: Beauty in faith and death...

Hi friends, and welcome to the final edition of our Summer Book Club for 2021! I always enjoy doing these, even when I don't end up loving the book, sort of like how this one turned out, HA! That being said, I *did* really end up enjoying this 6th and final section of the book, so we end on a high note! I'll do a brief summary of the details I enjoyed most:

When we start out Section 6, Francis is in Japan. I loved the anecdote of Francis baptizing the Japanese woman and how much she loved the rosary he gave her. In this section, I noted how the author inserted mentions of how these particular people, like this woman, who had been touched by Francis's life, then went on to touch the lives of other people. This lady cherished her faith and shared it with other for the rest of her days, and was buried with the rosary Francis gave her. I found the story of how Francis baptized the abandoned and dying baby girl heartbreaking, but was so touched by how he considered his entire trip to China worth it if only to do this one thing. *heart*

Francis then wanted to go to China, as he was convinced that if he could persuade the leader of China to convert to Christianity, the people would follow him, and that only then would Japan follow suit. He was on the ship to China when he fell ill for the last time. He remembered his sister Magdalena, the nun, who must be praying for him up in heaven. His final word was "Jesus." I found the tidbit that Francis apparently did not decompose after death, even after being exhumed 5 months later for his body to be moved to Goa, to be quite fascinating!

So I ended up liking the last part of the book, which makes me feel much better! The middle got so mired for me, and as I talked about earlier in our book club, the beginning just felt too rushed to me. But it wrapped up nicely. I so enjoyed the St. Catherine of Siena book by this author, but this one was definitely a less enjoyable read for me. I guess in the future I'd be willing to give these saint fiction books another try for volumes that are highly recommended by others! What are your thoughts on how this book finished up?

I'll be back with you next week to chat about fall crafts and some September novena plans!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Of new additions, and fall baby crafting...

Hello all, and happy Friday! I don't know about you, but I'm soaking up every one of these August days like there is no tomorrow. We have been enjoying so much lovely family time at home, and I truly do not want it to come to an end. I know we'll all adjust, but these halcyon days of summer have been such a blessing this year. 

And then we have this guy adding to our blessings!


This is Barney, and we adopted him about a week and a half ago. 😍 He's settling in so nicely, and everybody just adores him, especially the kids. We felt the time was finally right to add a furry friend to our family, and we are so glad that we finally took this step. We're still working out the kinks with getting on a walking schedule for our eager hound, but we're really getting there. 

In other news, I've been crafting away for some fall little ones, and Barney also shares my love of yarn. :-0 I need to keep my yarn project bin covered now! And he also tried to make off with one of my knitted gnomes the other day. 😂 I am in LOVE with this pattern that I used for my cutie pie next door neighbor:

Candy Corn Hat pattern is available for free!

Multiple size options are availaboe for that one, too. I chose the medium for a sweet toddler! I also made a pumpkin set for a baby in my dance troupe who is due in mid-October!

Pattern is Baby Sweater and is available for free! 

I adapted the green edging for the pumpkin theme, and the magnificent pumpkin button is from Black Sheep Studios MA on Etsy! I highly recommend her buttons. I also got a set of moose and plaid evergreen trees for Christmas projects. 😎

And of course, no October baby can go without a pumpkin hat:

Pattern is Berry Baby Hat, and is free!

This is one of my favorite free patterns of all time. I've made blueberry and strawberry versions, and of course this pumpkin version many times, there are so many possibilities. It doesn't fit Barney as well as it will the baby, but no matter. ;-)

OK, Next week is the final week in our Summer Book Club, and I will talk to you then! How is your summer going, working on any fall projects? 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 5: Conversions of heart...

Hi all! Well, last Friday I somehow managed to forget to put up a post :-0 so it's been two weeks since we last spoke! There's been a lot of exciting things going on in the home of the Catholic Librarian, and sometimes when that happens, my brain gets overloaded and I forget basic things like packing my lunch, or making the coffee in the morning. Apparently, "write weekly blog post" can now be added to this list. ;-) So I'll update you on all of that next week!

In the meantime, we're nearing the end of our Summer Book Club with Set All Afire, and I wanted to be sure to stay on track with that! Today is our day to chat about Section 5, the second to last section. :)

In this segment of the book, we see Francis traveling to and fro, visiting back with his friends and new Catholics in Goa. He has such a way with people, our Francis, and really brings out the best in others and their desire to do good. That is the main takeaway that I got from this section. Once again, we encounter lots of names that I have difficulty keeping track of, ha! And we definitely encounter outdated assumptions about people based upon where they are from. 

Friends, I have to be honest: I really don't like this book. :-0 I'm struggling to keep track of where Francis is, and who the characters are. Sometimes the author gives helpful hints, like "the former ship doctor who had started out the journey drinking excessively" and that rings a bell in my mind of who that is, and I'm more likely to remember his actual name the next time. But besides that, it is a real challenge. I love St. Francis, but his character development from impassive academic to friar that lives on the streets felt very rushed to me at the beginning of the book, and now we're encountering all of these spontaneous situations with him in which he's willing to give his life for his faith, when we never really saw his conversion fully play out in the material we've been given. For me personally, I would much rather have seen a full account of Francis's original conversion of heart and mind, and THEN a few adventures as he sets off with the Jesuits to convert others to Christ and His Church. I feel like a deeper understanding within the reader of Francis's motivations would have aided in following along easier with the rest of the narrative. 

Those are my thoughts coming off of Section 5. What are yours? In two weeks, we'll have our final installment of this book club, and I'm a little relieved, ha ha! Next week will be a lifey update!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 4: Of conversion and chaos...

Hello and happy Friday everybody! We're set to discuss Part 3 of Set All Afire today, and wowza, that was the longest section so far, I barely made it before today's deadline, lol! But we're now nearly finished, as the last two sections look much shorter, and according to my Kindle, I'm over 70% of the way through the book. So it's (ironically, hee hee!) smooth sailing from here!

OK, I'm going to be honest and say that I'm definitely having a difficult time following along with this book. In this part, we encounter Francis in Goa (which I needed to look up, appararently a spot near India that was occupied by the Portuguese at the time) and he changes lots of hearts there amongst Catholics that weren't practicing their faith. Couples are married, babies are baptized. When he continues on to India, his challenge then becomes attracting non-Christians to his Catholic faith. As one can imagine, there are lots of cultural and emotional obstacles along the way. We do find out that Mansilhas is finally ordained (horray!,), and the order officially becomes recognized as the Jesuits with Ignatius as it's leader. At the end of this section, Francis is on the move again, and encounters a terrible group of men on horseback that are marauding about killing innocent people, and he is injured as he tries to intervene and aid those in need. 

So, I feel like I got some of the major points out of this section, but otherwise, I'm struggling to keep track of what is going on. I really want to like this book more, LOL! In a book club, it's important to keep it real, and I'm honestly a bit relieved that we're nearly done with this one. I would LOVE to get some additional thoughts on this book! Are you liking this one or not loving it? Please do leave all thoughts in the comments!

Friday, July 23, 2021

"Watch out for the hole behind you!" Summer adventures in dancing, crafts, and also some novenas!

Hello friends and happy Friday! I've had a lovely week, and I'm definitely feeling perkier and perkier as the summer progresses. I hope for the same for you. *hugging* I'm back to performing, and that has made everything right with my emotional world again. I've had two gigs in the past two weeks, both family parties, and danced with my troupe at a small outdoor festival for the first time in nearly two years. It is just balm to my soul. And butterflies in my stomach. :-0 But it's all so, so wonderful. The troupe performances are always my favorite because of the hijinks that are almost certain to ensue with a group of us dancing in inevitably challenging environs:

"Be careful when you turn around, there's a large sinkhole behind you."

"What's that on the bottom of my shoe? Oh. Goose poo."

(wearing our costume coverups) "Are you all fortune tellers?"

"Oh dear, these hair flipping turns are a bit tricky on an incline, aren't they?"

But I tell you, I wouldn't trade it for the world. We have a few more outdoor performance possibilities in August, and then an actual hafla/showcase in mid-September! It's an amazing feeling to be back to doing this thing that I love.

I've also been praying my July novenas, and am getting closed to the end of Sts. Anne & Joachim. St. Dominic begins July 30th, if you're interested in joining in that one. And I also added in something on the fly: our very own community member Sam is trying to sell her house, so I signed up to start praying the St. Joseph novena for her! Did you know that you can sign up with Pray More Novenas to pray any novena that they have over there at any time on your own schedule? I did not know that! I thought their email reminders only worked for novenas prayed during their traditional date range. So I started St. Joseph today and will for the next eight days. If you'd like to add Sam's house sale into your prayer intentions, I would be most grateful! 🤗

Summer crafting is still ongoing, and has been so lovely lately. I finished a very summery pair of socks for myself!

I'm calling these the Summer Lemonade Socks

I also started a summery cotton top for myself. I just love this pattern, I made one for my mother-in-law last summer in red:

Pattern is the Kelda Tee

Here is the red version from last summer:



I've also been keeping up with the 2021 National Parks Hats collection. June's is based on Denali:

Denali pattern

Hard to see in the light, but there are cute mountain peaks in the design! I'm catching up a bit, as I already have the yarn and pattern for the July hat, but I'm getting there!

Next week, we'll be discussing Part 4 of our Summer Book Club for Set All Afire. We're halfway there! How is everything going for you this summer? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 3: Some seafaring adventures...

Hello friends, and welcome to the third edition of our Summer Book Club for 2021! This was a longer segment, but I have to say I was able to follow it more easily, all the way up until the end when I got a bit confused again. But still! I followed along much better in this regard. And I found our roiling seafaring adventures much more engaging, if a bit hard to read at times. 🤮 Let's do a quick chronicling of where we're at:

We start again with Francis in Portugal. They can't sail for India for 9 months due to weather; monsoons are mentioned, eeks! We meet another Francis (whom they call Mansilhas) working in the hospital caring for patients, a lay man who had longed to be a priest but was turned down multiple times because he had difficulty mastering Latin. Francis sees his potential, and wants to bring him with him to India to minister. This was all quite endearing.

The parts where I get confused all involve Portugal, lol! We have the King of Portugal, who is very gracious to our Francis, but there is this wealthy Conde (?) who is extremely confused by their simple lifestyle. I'm not quite sure how he fits in here, any insight is much appreciated! 

As soon as is possible in the spring, they board a ship for India. One of Francis's colleagues stays behind to minister to students in Portugal, and he and Mansilhas (and one other brother) set out for India. Trouble on the ship begins immediately, with the shady ship doctor implying that the months will be arduous and that behavior will be poor. His prediction is soon proven true, with a terrible storm and everyone getting sick or injured, including Francis. And then that horrible period where there's no wind at all and they just sit there baking in the extreme sun for weeks on end, oh my! The descriptions of what happens to their food supply during all of this...

🤮

My, this was quite the life threatening situation, to make a journey like this at that point in time, I did not realize that!

Eventually, when they get moving again, they stop over in Mozambique, and turns out this will extend from August to April (!) when the weather is favorable again. 😳 Wowza! Whole 'nother world, sea faring is. Francis continues to minister to the sick here, and to share the Gospel where he can, to a Muslim population. The ways that some of the Christians described their Muslim brothers and sisters is pretty uncharitable and disappointing, certainly a product of the time. Francis works to combat this attitude a bit.

We are back in Portugal at the end of this segment, and this is where I get confused again, somebody fill me in please, ha ha!

OK, thoughts on Part 3? I did enjoy journeying on the sea with the men, despite how terrible it sounded to actually endure! I love Francis's gentle way with others, including those who are not Christians, both physically and spiritually. I also adore the addition of sweet Mansilhas and his heart for aiding the sick and dying. Leave your thoughts in the comments, if you please. :-)

Friday, July 9, 2021

Christmas movies in July, and more summertime crafting...

Hello, and happy Friday everyone! I'm feeling pretty perky this early week of July. And I have to admit, although I don't normally get caught up in the Christmas in July movie marathon bonanza over at Hallmark Channel, last night I had the TV to myself for 15 minutes while Anne made some tea for us, and I found myself following along quite riveted to a story about a woman who gets in a car accident just before Christmas, develops amnesia, and is rescued in the swirling snow storm by a single dad and his 3 adorable children. :-0 When Anne came back with the tea, I was sad to have to turn it off, as I was wondering who the woman was and how it would affect her old life when she eventually figured out who she was. 😁 So I set the DVR to record the rest, and am quite excited about picking it back up. 😎 It is called "A Christmas to Remember" in case you'd like to look it up for possible replays in your local area. ;-) I'm now actively back on the Hallmark Channel app plotting out a few other interesting-looking viewings in the coming week. I'm actually enjoying watching these more now than I do in the actual holiday season, interestingly! I guess because now, with the warm weather and long hours of daylight, although I'm enjoying both of those things, Christmas movies get me excited for what is to come later in the year. 

I've also been knitting, and I now officially have 1 summer lemonade sock complete! *virtual high five!*


I've cast on the second sock (no Second Sock Syndrome here!) and am nearly done with the cuff. Hoping to have these done in about a week. I also need to cast on the June National Parks hat, and start a summer top for myself. Excited for all the crafting that is to come!

I've also been dancing more, and the return to in person gigs and shows is here. I could not be more thrilled about it! To celebrate, I bought a new silk veil. ;-) This gorgeous summery one just arrived:

Silks by Celestina

These are hand dyed by a talented woman over at Silks by Celestina on Facebook, @silksbycelestina on Instagram! You can pm her about any of her in stock veils, or about a custom color!

Next week we discuss Section 3 in Set All Afire, our Summer Book Club for 2021! How is your July going so far? Do you like watching Christmas movies at this time of year? ;-)