Friday, December 3, 2021

Thanksgiving, Advent 2021 begins, and lots of puppy snuggles...

 Hello everyone, and happy Advent 2021! I always LOVE and look forward to this season and a fresh start to our liturgical year, and this year, I have a brand new Advent wreath and candles! πŸ™Œ

Wreath is from Vermont Christmas Company

Our old one was porcelain, and various nativity scene members had lost limbs over time, so I thought the time was nigh to procure a new one. I did keep the centerpiece with the white candle for Christmas day from that set though, I always loved that, and don't see it in most Advent wreaths!

Besides decorating for Advent, we spent a lot of time just hanging out together and having fun cozy time over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. πŸ₯°

Matching family and doggie jammies are from Muk Luks :)

Because who doesn't want to match their dog, am I right? :-0 Of course, I also did a little Black Friday shopping, one of my favorite pasttimes. ;-) And look what just came from Sock Religious!

3 Wisemen socks

I also have nativity socks and liturgical year black dress socks on the way. 😎 Definitely check out their seasonal offerings, such fun! And new cozy socks were especially helpful this week, when I was laid up for a few days:


Lots of knitting, Barney snuggling, and binge watching of Holiday Baking Championship on The Food Network. πŸ˜‚ It was all quite delightful. 

How is your Advent starting out, everyone? So far, I'm keeping up with devotional reading and absolutely loving it!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pre-Advent preparation and anticipation...

 

ooo, it's getting to be late November, friends, and that means that Advent is imminent. :-0 I posted last week about the new Advent devotional book I'm using this year, and I.Am.In.Love. 😍 It's based on an Eastern model of a 40 day fast leading up to Advent, so the readings begin on November 15th. The very first reading is about the history of his tradition in the East, and from that moment on, I was captivated. This little book is so delightful, detailing the rhythms of life in a monastery throughout autumn leading up to Advent and beyond, and the vibe it gives is so incredibly peaceful and soothing. I highly recommend it! I purchased the print copy, but you could easily download this instantly to view on your Kindle or Kindle app on a device of your choice!

In other fun Advent prep news, sign up today for Shauna'h's amazing free Advent prep workshop! The live workshop is tomorrow, November 20th, but there are also ongoing tools included, like a digital calendar and weekly planning emails. You can also sign up for her email list to assure you don't miss any of the details of any of her projects focused on the liturgical year. 😎

For my part, I'm busily searching for a new Advent wreath, and contemplating an order for seasonal incense and icons for our special Advent prayer space. 😁 The devotional really has me inspired on an Eastern theme!

How are your Advent plans coming along? I would love to hear about them in the comments! I will be on Thansgiving break next week, but I'll be back with you the first week of December for an Advent week 1 recap!

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Monastery Journey to Christmas...

 

Happy Friday everyone! I'm having such a lovely November, and hope that you all are, too. 😊 The intense weeks of my teaching semester are over, and I'm into Happily Anticipating The Holidays Mode. :-0 Even though I enjoy teaching, it's always a relief to get to this point of the semester. It's hard to really focus on other things with my daily schedule that tied up, and it's nice to have more of a balance back. I've been enjoying time with family, more crafting time, and preparing for upcoming dance events! How is your November going so far?

This week, my monthly piece went up on Catholic Mom, and this month I chose to discuss planning for upcoming Advent devotions and traditions. Someone left a comment recommending the Advent devotional that they use year after year, and it got me so jazzed, I immediately ordered a copy for myself! This is A Monastery Journey to Christmas, and check out this description:

Based on the ancient Christian tradition of meditating throughout the 40 days before and after Christmas, this small monastic book follows the rhythm of the Advent and Christmas journey as it takes place in a particular monastery, a place as small and tiny as Bethlehem itself. This book offers a meditation based in a liturgical, biblical, traditional, or literary text for every day from November 15th to January 13th and then February 1st and 2nd.

Best-selling author Br. Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette will help you fill Christmas with moments of quiet prayer. Experience a deepening faith while awaiting in joyful expectation for the Savior's coming.

It starts November 15th! πŸ™Œ This is apparently an Eastern custom, and if anybody has the full scoop on the background of this tradition I would love to learn about it! But I love the focus on monastic living tied into the Advent theme, and I'm soooo excited to use this this year! I couldn't order it fast enough, the Amazon Prime truck delivered it just a few days later. 😁 It's also available for a few dollars cheaper as a Kindle download for anybody that is hankering to start with me on Monday!

Do you have your Advent devotional for 2021 all picked out and ready to go? I'd love to hear about which one you're using in the comments!

Friday, November 5, 2021

A very Catholic Hallowtide, as we move closer to Advent...

Happy Friday everybody! My crazy teaching schedule is finally winding down (I had classes all morning and afternoon last Friday, hence my lack of posting) and I have to say that I am very relieved. I love teaching, but the intensity of the schedule tends to tire me out after a spell. I have just 3 classes to go early next week, and then I have a break until the spring semester. Really looking forward to that, and to the upcoming holiday time! 

In the land of the Catholic Librarian household, we had a lovely Halloween weekend!

*just tried to find a pumpkin emoji, but apparently Blogger doesn't have one :-0*

This is our first Halloween with Barney, and we were so excited to share it with him! He really got into the Halloween spirit:


Can't you tell by the look on his face? ;-) That's just his Always Face though, our Barney is a very serious dog, even when he's really happy! See?


We didn't take him out trick or treating, he stayed home and hung out with Mike and Henry dispersing candy. I went out with Anne, and also her good friend Ruby. It was lovely seeing the girls have such a good time together!

Mike and I did dress up, but not on Halloween proper, we did the night before for a party we attended. 


I don't think we look that much different than our usual selves, but we had fun. πŸ˜‚

For my part, I *really* enjoyed praying Morning and Evening Prayer starting on Halloween night for the Hallowtide celebrations. Shauna'h talks about this in her blog post here, and I joined her Instagram Live sessions whenever I could to pray along, or caught the replay whenever I couldn't. I absolutely loved learning more about the ancient prayers and traditions of these 3 days (beginning on the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and going all the way through the feast of All Souls), and I prayed the Office for the Dead for the very first time! It was all so soothing and lovely, and it motivated me to start really making plans for Advent! Speaking of Advent...

I need a new wreath. This is an issue of critical importance to my life. πŸ˜† Advent traditions are some of my favorite of the entire year! Do you have an Advent wreath that you love? All links welcome in the comments! In the coming weeks as we get closer to the feast of Christ the King, we can make some additional Advent plans together!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Returning to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, and some life chaos...

Happy Friday everyone! It's been a few weeks since I was last with you, owing to the chaos that has been my life these past few weeks. :-0 And it continues, in that I have taught 17 classes this week, and while next week is a bit better, chaos is still reigning! BUT, I am *so happy* to be back to teaching classes in-person, and I will definitely take a bit of happy busyness. It makes me feel useful. :-)

But last Friday I simply ran out of time, as I was traveling to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in the Hudson Valley, NY, and it was a *delight*. I thought I'd provide a little chronicle!

This festival is held every year (with the exception of last year, of course!) at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, in Rhinebec, NY:


I have to admit, I got a bit teared up when I arrived. The last time I was in Rhinebeck, it was October 2018. I didn't go in 2019 owing to some dance commitments that fall, and of course in 2020 it was held only virtually. I felt like it was something really special to be there again in person with a wonderful group of other crafters and their loved ones. *heart*


My first purchase of the day happened pretty quickly. πŸ˜‚Some gorgeous fall colors from Cozy Color Works!


Besides yarn, I always love seeking out cute stuffies and other gifts at this festival!

This guy simply insisted on hopping into my bag of purchases!

I always get the kids alpaca fiber socks, and they LOVE them! This year, Anne got a cat design, and Henry got snow monsters:


And seriously with these Christmas ornaments, how could you resist?

There are also cute animal exhibts at the festival, including this dog frisbee show organized by a local animal rescue:


And of course, so many cute sheep and lambs 😍

I'd like the lamb on the far right, please!

Before the day was out, I also acquired this gorgeous yarn gradient set with beads, to make a cathedral inspired shawl:


And during breaks, I was working on my September National Parks Hat, inspired by Mesa Verde!


I had SUCH a lovely time! I was with my friend Stacy, and we just spent the entire trip enjoying each other's company, knitting, and watching Halloween baking shows in our down time. I cannot WAIT to go back!

How has your October been going, dear reader? I'm starting to plan for Advent, how about you?! 😎

Friday, October 8, 2021

Happy obsession with the Liturgy of the Hours continues, and Thanksgiving knitting...

Hello everyone, and somehow it's been two weeks since I last checked in! Last weekend was just one of those times that I got to Sunday, and realized that I had forgotten to blog. 😳 My mind is definitely awhirl these days between the kids, being back to work and teaching in-person, and my own happy dance and crafting stuff. Let's do some updating on ALL of those things, and also talk about Daytime Prayer! :-)

My kids are doing great, I'm so happy to see them thriving at school this year. School masses are back at both places (Henry still had some last year, just outdoors) and Anne is even doing a reading at the 5th grade Mass next Thursday! Really looking forward to that. Both Mike and I are back to teaching in-person at our respective colleges, and it's been delightful. Teaching to mostly dark little squares on Zoom definitely wasn't my idea of a good time. 

Amidst my new daily routine, I have been happily growing my Liturgy of the Hours habit. My little Night Prayer volume has become an indispensable part of my nighttime routine, and so when I saw that Catholic Book Publishing Company has a similar standalone volume for Daytime Prayer, I pounced. :-0


The convenience of the slim volumes is really appealing to me. I'm finding that it's really motivating me to pray more throughout my day, so that's a win/win! Come Advent, I know I'll want to be all up in the Proper of Seasons in the blue volume of my 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours set, and I cannot wait. 😍

In crafting news, I'm moving into cozy fall/winter projects. I currently have a Thanksgiving shawl on the needles:

Pattern is Acalypha from Expression Fiber Arts

We'll see if it makes it off my needles before Thanksgiving 2022, but hope springs eternal. ;-) And in dance news, I'm taking a new coursse on Zoom called The Online Dancer, and it's about shooting and editing video footage specifcally for dance. I am STOKED about this, as I am a total beginner at this, and think this will be so valuable for me to learn, and challenging in the best possible way! To some extent, online dance productions are here to stay, even if they becoming increasingly more hybrid with in-person performance. But the ease of gathering people from around the world in one show is something I don't see totally disappearing, and that's actually a good thing. Nothing replaces in-person events, but having a mix of both, highlighting their strengths, is a great step forward, in my opinion. And so I'll be working on my first homework assignment this weekend. 😁

How is everyone doing this week?! Any other Daytime Prayer partners? This is an hour/hours I have never prayed before, I'm excited to dive in!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Night Prayer anyone?

 

Happy Friday everyone! I've been diligently working away in the Everyday Holiness course, and finding myself quite inspired by it. :) One of our tasks this week was to try and incorporate Night Prayer into our daily prayer routine. I haven't prayed Night Prayer in many years, but I did in the past and loved it. The psalms and other prayers are so peaceful and perfectly related to falling into a soothing slumber.

I missed the first Everyday Holiness group Zoom chat, unfortunately, but Shauna'h happened to mention to me as she was relaying all the fun details that someone on the call had a special little volume just for Night Prayer. Hark. The librarian was on the case. πŸ˜‚

I have the 4 volume set for the Liturgy of the Hours, but grabbing the current green volume for Ordinary Time and setting it on my nightstand made me immediately aware of two things:

(1) it took up a lot of space, ha! And,

(2) now, I would need to ferry the breviary between upstairs and downstairs for it to be in position for both Night Prayer (needed upstairs on my nightstand), and then Morning and Evening Prayer (which I pray during the work day or in my living room). 

A separate volume especially for Night Prayer would solve this problem! I simply had to order a copy. :-0 It's now on it's way to me, and I have to say, I'm super excited about this! I think a small volume that snugs on my bedside table and is devoted just to prayer at night will really motivate me to keep up with this practice. I've prayed Night Prayer the past few nights (while I await my new prayer partner) using my old one volume Christian Prayer breviary, but it also is quite large, and frankly has seen better days. It's got quite tattered in the time that I used it prior to acquiring the 4 volume set. So I'm excited about my new Night Prayer addition! Does anyone else regularly pray Night Prayer? 

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. πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‡

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*