Thursday, December 6, 2018

Advent Book Club 2018 Week 2 - Prayer & Interior Silence...

Welcome back to week 2 of our book club for this Advent, reflecting along with the saints in Exploring the Catholic Classics! :) Today we are scheduled to touch base with St. Teresa of Avila, and St Francis de Sales, so we will have a mix of high mystical wisdom offered to cloistered contemplatives, and practical spirituality for the layperson. :0 I love it!

#eclectic

Our themes for the week, as you can see from the title, are prayer and interior silence. I 'm actually writing about this very topic for Catholic Mom this month, if you'd like a little more to dig into this Advent! I'll post the link as soon as it's up early next week. :) All right, let's get started, shall we?
Let us now return to our vocal prayer so that we may learn to pray in such a way that, without our understanding how, God may give us everything at once: if we do this, as I have said, we shall pray as we ought. As you know, the first things must be examination of conscience, confession of sin and the signing of yourself with the Cross. Then, daughter, as you are alone, you must look for a companion--and who could be a better Companion than the very Master Who taught you the prayer that you are about to say? Imagine that this Lord himself is at your side and see how lovingly and how humbly he is teaching you...He will help you in all your trials and you will have him everywhere. Do you think it is a small thing to have such a Friend as that beside you? 
- "The Way of Perfection" by St. Teresa of Avila
To Reflect: In what ways can we create a domestic monastery for ourselves in our prayer lives and in our homes?

St. Teresa's life in the convent was certainly different than our own life experiences, and she did not have laypeople in mind when she wrote her work! However, I think that, in our own way, we can all cultivate a little "domestic monastery" for ourselves within our homes, and within our hearts. I like to have little nooks around my house where I have holy reminders that make a nice focal point for prayer. Small pictures and statutes of our Lord, Blessed Mother and the saints make perfect fodder. I'll leave rosary beads in each room for easy access if the mood strikes. ;-) Inspiring things to look at help to inspire us to pray, no doubt about it.

And during Advent, as we try to cultivate that peace and silence within ourselves, inspiration to pray is the perfect way to keep this cycle going. Even amidst noisy chaos, we can harbor quiet joy within. Thinking of that special night, the feelings that Mary and Joseph must have been experiencing, the expectant excitement mingled with fear of the unknown...I like to take time to dwell on those things, and they help to keep my inner being at peace. Thinking of our Lord right beside us as we contemplate these things, as we pray and ask for protection over our loved ones...the quiet intimacy that St. Teresa lays out here is absolutely perfect for the season of Advent.
After finishing your mental prayer, watch against disturbing the inner peace it bestows. If possible, keep silence for a while and quietly transfer your heart from prayer to other duties. Should you meet someone on the way home, or even at the church door, with whom you must converse, do so, of course, but still try to preserve your tranquility. You must learn how to go from prayer to duties brought on by your vocation and state of life...Since both prayer and the duties of your state in life are both in conformity with God's will, you must pass from one to the other with a devout and quiet mind. 
- "Introduction to the Devout Life" by St. Francis de Sales
To Reflect: What is a practical way to start our days with prayer as St. Francis suggests? In what ways can we carry the resulting sense of interior peace throughout an entire day?

And then we come to our practical guy, St. Francis de Sales. ;-) He is a favorite of mine, for sure! He talks further about bridging that gap between our mental prayer and busy states in life. I love how he emphasizes that both things (prayer AND your daily responsibilities as a lay person) are God's will for your life, and there is no need to fear that we are failing in some way as a good, holy person if our minds and time are so often taken up with changing diapers or the expense reports that you need to complete by the end of the fiscal year. These are things that need our attention, and there is nothing wrong with that. We can just do our best to keep our minds quiet; when we have a free moment, offer your day and it's challenges up to God, and wing up a prayer for continued peace and tranquility. During Advent, this is more important than ever!

What are your thoughts on maintaining quiet prayer and a sense of inner tranquility during Advent? Have any experiences to share about previous reading with St. Teresa of Avila or St. Francis de Sales? Do comment away! Next week, we will turn to modern saints Edith Stein and one of my absolute favorite guys ever, St. John Paul II! 😍

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Advent Book Club 2018 Week 1 - Peace & Simplicity...

Welcome, welcome to the 2018 edition of the Advent Book Club here at humble little Life of a Catholic Librarian! This is becoming quite a lovely annual tradition. In the past, I've also resurrected the Tea Time podcast for Advent and Lent, but I have to come clean and admit that I don't see that happening right now. Just not enough time in this stage of my life to do both blog and podcast, and if I have to pick one, I'm stickin' with old faithful: the blog. :) I've been blogging for about 10 years now!

At any rate, the 1st Sunday of Advent is this weekend, and we're starting our book club in anticipation of that big day. We're beginning with an excerpt and reflection question from chapters 1 and 2 of "Exploring the Catholic Classics," and getting ourselves all serene and anticipatory for Sunday. ;-) Chapters 1 and 2 feature the work of St. Thomas a Kempis and St. Therese of Lisieux. I'm going to put a distinctive Advent spin on the selections I'm pulling out, and you could certainly do this come Lent as well. :-) Let's see what these two holy individuals have to share with us that can boost our prayerfulness and quiet anticipation of joy during Advent:

Much peace could be ours if we did not occupy ourselves with what others say and do, for such things are of no concern to us. How can we long to remain in peace if we involve ourselves in other people's business, if we seek outside distractions, and if we are rarely, or only to a small degree, interiorly recollected? Blessed are they who keep to themselves, for they shall enjoy much peace. 
- "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis 
To Reflect: In what ways can I structure a prayer routine that will help me to focus on Jesus and the cross as I go about the other daily tasks of my work?

In my adult years, peace is what I am striving for most during Advent, rather than the chaotic frenzy that is the Christmas shopping season in our secular world. Don't get me wrong - I love that everyone joins in the happiness of the Christmas season. But in terms of our faith, Advent should not be frenetic, even if we do have a lot of shopping to accomplish. It should be quiet and serene, focused on the simple joy of the expectant parents. Our world may not be quiet, but we can be in the silence of our hearts. Even where noise reigns, we can carry the precious feelings of new hope in a special child on a cold winter's night.

And in this way, our daily prayer during Advent is ever so important. Each morning, we can read from our Advent devotional of choice to carry the words in our hearts throughout our day, keeping Advent quiet and peaceful in our own way throughout the day. Focused on Jesus and what He did for us, but during Advent thinking specifically of His Incarnation.

He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers he has created are lovely. The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daily of its simple charm...It is just the same in the world of souls-which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but he has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever he glances down. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be. 
- "The Story of a Soul" by Therese of Lisieux
To Reflect: Do I allow feelings of unworthiness to bring me to despair, to not continue to strive to improve myself? If so, in what way can I remind myself daily that God has chosen me and wants me for himself?

Simplicity is big for us during Advent, yes? And St. Therese is our queen of being small and simple before the Lord! We are like small, but still beautiful flowers, to our God. Thinking of flowers during the cold of winter brings such a smile to my face. Our gardens will bloom again in the spring, that is another simple joy that can remind us of the message of Advent.

Simply because we are small does not mean that we are unworthy of God's love, or that we in some way are failing at our lives. God has made us in His image, and wants us for Himself. We don't need to be a celebrity in order for this to happen, God wants everybody. Even the small things that we do during Advent to keep God in the forefront of our minds, and to keep the spirit of quiet anticipation alive in our hearts, are all incredibly pleasing to Him! We should take joy and serenity in this.

Thank you so much for joining me for this exploration of the Catholic classics! This book is a self-paced journal designed to be consumed at your leisure, so feel free to join in at any time! I would love to hear your responses to the excerpts and reflection questions in the comments, so have at it! πŸ˜€ We'll be discussing chapters 3 and 4 next week, featuring St. Teresa of Avila and St. Francis de Sales!

*swoon*

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! No full post today, as we're all busily baking and cleaning, I am sure. ;-) Just best wishes, and a reminder that if you'd like to join in our Advent Book Club, to procure your book! We are going to be leisurely making our way through Exploring the Catholic Classics, examining 2 excerpts and going through 2 reflection questions per week. :) Schedule and all the deets can be found here!

I'll be doing lots of knitting, visiting, and relaxing over the next week, and I hope you will as well. :) Enjoy, and chat with you next week for our first book club post! We'll kick off right before the first Sunday of Advent.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

More holiday plans, Catholic Vitamins, and Preparing for Advent!

Happy mid-November to all of you! How are those holiday plans coming?!

😬

We're getting there, I promise. Let's do a quick round robin of the past week, and then talk Advent planning!

Last week we talked a bit about The Nutcracker in it's film adaptation, and although that doesn't replace a live performance, I was thinking about skipping that this year in the interest of time. However, Anne and I agree that it just wouldn't be the same without dressing up for our annual pilgrimage to the Center for the Arts here on campus to see a local production of The Nutcracker. So I'm procuring tickets for us later this week. These are special memories that I hope Anne treasures as much as I do!

Every Thanksgiving season, I look forward to the feast of St. Cecilia, and I talk about that for my November offering over at CatholicMom.com. I'd love for you to check it out and comment over there if you also have an interest in, or devotion to, this lovely saint! I think of her so fondly at this time of year.

In other Catholic news, I was on the Catholic Vitamins podcast this past week, along with Allison, talking with the positively delightful Deacon Tom Fox about the Stay Connected series of journals. Allison and I each also talk a bit about of faith journeys and some amusing anecdotes along the way. We'd love for you to give it a listen as we approach Advent!

OK, so Advent, the big news around here right now. ;-)  I received positive feedback on using my journal, Exploring the Catholic Classics, for our Advent Book Club, and I'm so excited about this! I'm thinking we'll work it like this:

Everybody procure their books in the next 1-2 weeks, and we'll start our posts the weeks after Thanksgiving. You can order on Amazon for $14.95 (eligible for Amazon Prime 2-day shipping), or via GraceWatch Media for $11.90 and free shipping with coupon code GRACE15.

Posts will be one per week, starting Thursday November 29. There are more chapters than there are weeks we'll be meeting, so what we can do is tackle 2 chapters per week, but let's keep it light. You can work through the journal at your own pace (which is what it's designed for!) but each week I'll post one of the excerpts from each of the 2 chapters, along with one of the reflection questions that speaks to each passage. We can all discuss our answers to the questions. :) Then you can go back to the rest of the content during the week, or another time altogether, your choice. Here's the schedule!


  • November 29th - Chapters 1 and 2
  • December 6th - Chapters 3 and 4
  • December 13th - Chapters 5 and 6
  • December 20th - Chapter 7


I think that this will keep us nice and grounded during Advent for a contemplative and serene experience. πŸ˜‡ Are you planning other devotional activities for your Advent this year? I'd love to hear about it!

ooo, P.S. I'm sort of feeling a fiction book club after Christmas, maybe a Winter Book Club installment? Lent doesn't start until March this year, so perhaps we could do something in January or February for this, inspirational or secular fiction is what I'm thinking. Thoughts? :)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"The Nutcracker and the Four Realms", and Advent Book Club plans!

Hello, and how are you all doing on this gloomy November day? ;-) I can't even believe how quick we are coming up to Thanksgiving! Mike mentioned that it's falling the earliest that it can this year, and I'm really feelin' it!

I'm moving along with Advent plans (which I'll come back to) and birthday stuff for Henry (he turned 13 yesterday *sob!*), and general November preparations, which include both hosting Thanksgiving dinner AND the fall hafla at my dance studio. Always an eclectic mix around here, to be sure. ;-)

As well, this is the time of year that I go into Nutcracker mode. If you do a search on this blog for "Nutcracker" you will find quite a few posts dealing with The Nutcracker ballet and my obsession with it. I go to see it performed live every year in November/December, and last year I procured several DVD's of various ballets around the country performing it so that I could have some variety in my Nutcracker viewing. 😎 I love it, I really do.

This year, my mom and I plotted to take the kids to see the new Disney film adaptation, "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms," and all of us being off for Election Day this week, we took advantage of discount day at the theater. Quick review follows, no spoilers!

Granted, I knew that this would be a more dramatic re-telling of the story, likely with some plot line embellishment, and little to no dancing, just given the format. And I was correct. :0 The film is lovely to behold. Visually, they can do so much more now with surreal settings like this, yes? I was quite taken with the aesthetic picture it painted, and wished I could be absorbed into that world for a time. I enjoyed the actors very much, and the cast was wonderfully diverse. What I didn't love was that the story seemed rushed at the outset - I want to linger at the Christmas Eve party and build up all that anticipation of the adventure Clara has to come! Once she enters the other realm, the story definitely differs from the ballet, but again, I expected that. With no dancing, you need to fill in the narrative with a bit of other drama. ;-) My mom kept saying:

"This is so strange."

But to be honest, The Nutcracker is a bit strange under all circumstances, right? πŸ˜‚

I truly enjoyed the experience, though it is no replacement for seeing The Nutcracker in ballet form performed live. I'd recommend it, though the villain scenes might be a little scary for young kids, it depends on the child.

This has me all in the holiday spirit, and as such, let's talk Advent!

πŸŽ‰

I'm planning to try and read the daily Mass readings throughout Advent, likely using Sacred Reading. I also enjoy our little Advent Book Club each year. Last year, for both Advent and Lent, we read fiction titles. I'm all about that, believe you me. Thinking this year we could try something different. How would you feel about working our way through a devotional journal for Advent? We wouldn't have to make it all onerous, but maybe plucking out 2ish reflection questions to answer together per week? I'm thinking about using one of the new Stay Connected journals that yours truly is a part of. Thoughts? If we used mine, it focuses on spiritual reading (in manageable bite-sized pieces!) which might be a lovely theme for Advent.


What do you think? We should plan over the next 1-2 weeks so that we're all set when Advent begins on December 2nd. We could maybe work through one of the others (themed on either the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or spiritual invitations) for Lent. I'm excited, and would love your opinion!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

I suppose that when you're a nerd, nerdiness extends to all areas of your life...

All!

*waves*

Happy week to you, I hope it's going well. I've been busy, as ever. Still teaching, which is at it's peak for the semester in terms of the grading load. But it's almost done! Our regular teaching wraps up this week. I may still be called upon to teach what we call "one shots" in other courses/seminars, but in terms of my more onerous regular teaching load, that will be done until late January. The break will be lovely!

At home, my kids are now at an age that they're actually developing social lives of their own, and this is resulting in yet more busyness. It is also resulting in yet another new season of our parenting journey, and thus is super stressful. 😬 Henry is trying out for the basketball team, and generally wanting to participate in more events with his friends at the school. He is in 8th grade (😭😭😭) and therefore this is completely normal. In fact, it should probably have happened years ago. But Henry is a reserved kid, just like I was, so I totally get it. He's maturing and coming out of his shell a bit, and I'm so pleased about it. But it's definitely a whole new slew of emotions and worries to manage.

*bites nails*

Anne is her usual sassy and social self, so nothing new there. ;-) We're all just generally in awe that the fall has moved along so quickly, and that somehow Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

As is usually the case this time of year, I get into high dance mode. Dancing, as you all know, is a strong part of my creative identity. And in the fall and winter, I usually have some solo/professional opportunities lined up that I am preparing for and my inspiration level is high. I have those opportunities in the spring and summer too, but with many of them being outside in the heat, it just makes for a completely different experience. I'm not looking to try out my ambitious and experimental new silk veil plans when it's 90 degrees out and all I can think about is not flinging sweat out into the audience.

😱

In the fall and winter, I can really focus and try out new things. I've got some plans for the winter that I'm really excited about (details to come), and it's really bringing out the bookish perpetual student vibe in me. Yes, I am a nerd. Apparently, one can even be a Belly Dance Nerd. This means:

(1) Scoping out books on the history of Middle Eastern dance on Amazon, and obsessively reading articles online.
(2) Curating playlists of both golden era and modern dancers to watch at lunch.
(3) Carefully watching aforementioned videos every day to soak up the movement quality via osmosis.
(4) Doing casual research on the proper elements of a Magency. Doesn't everybody wonder about such things?!

I am indeed a lifelong learner, and I'm hoping that this will keep my mind young. ;-)  I'm preparing a Magency piece for our fall hafla, and my troupe is going to be performing our Cairo-style Saidi piece at a workshop in Syracuse in early December. The workshop is on Turkish Roman dance, which I've never studied before.

*nerding out!*

I'm so excited. I have a 12 yard skirt in my Amazon cart because I'll need one to perform the Turkish choreography in the show after the workshop. No bare midriffs in this form of dance, so I'm coordinating with a sleeved top and hip scarf that I already own.

So much beaming. I'm hoping to adapt the Magency piece for something else next year, that's the thing I'll talk about later. It's all very exciting, rest assured. At least for me! :0

Do you enjoy still learning new things, and "going back to school", if you will, when you find something new that tickles your fancy? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Adventures with sheep and wool, 2018 edition...

πŸ˜ƒ

I have returned from another year of adventures at the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in the beautiful Hudson Valley, and as ever, I had an inspiring time! I love being surrounded by a community of kind, creative people, with our fiber stimuli right at our fingertips. ;-) And being in Rhinebeck, NY in mid-October, is well...it's an inspiration unto itself:

*squees!*

The infamous Rhinebeck tree, which I photograph every year
This year, just like last year, it was VERY CROWDED on Saturday. I do struggle with claustrophobia when in enclosed spaces squeezed with lots of other people, so I did lots of removing of self from various outbuildings when the need struck. :0 Shopping is difficult with so many people wedged into the buildings and tents, but we made do. Yarn hunting brings out that survival instinct in us. ;-)

This year, I actually stumbled onto the animal parade! Can you handle the cuteness?!

Don't they look *so soft*?

They are also super regal :-) 
I just love the random "baaaaa!!!" that you hear throughout the fairgrounds as one makes their way from building to building. ;-) I peeked into the animal barns several times to admire cute noses moving to and fro as their owner munched on hay. And look at THIS CUTE GUY!

My new best friend 😍
The angora rabbits were AMAZING. I have literally never touched anything so soft in my life. They loved to be petted and held, and to munch on their food, pink noses twitching in the breeze. I LOVE THEM.

Rhinebeck provides project inspiration for me for the rest of the year, so I always make sure to photograph finished items that I love when I see them set up in a booth, as inevitably they have a tag indicating their pattern and yarn source. I photographed these 2 early on Saturday:

"Hogwarts Express" by Susan Ashcroft

"Silverleaf" by Lisa Hannes
It goes without saying that I purchased yarn in an owly colorway to make the Hogwarts shawlette. ;-)
In fact, here is that yarn, along with an autumnal variegated in sport weight that I simply could NOT pass over:

The colorway is called "Cider." I mean, for REAL.

By end of the day Saturday, I had accumulated quite a few other goodies as well:


A kit to make a beaded cowl is on the left. Alpaca socks for the kids, and fleece-lined glittens for myself are in the center. On the right are 2 hanks of a medium orange fingering weight yarn to make a leaf lace poncho, and a bottle of bourbon for Mike. πŸ˜‚Yes, there is a predominance of orange and brown in my choices. I am a true autumn girl. Speaking of orange:
My Rhinebeck hat!
I made the hat, along with the top I'm wearing. One of the best parts of Rhinebeck is the parade of handknits that is on display. Every single person (man, woman and child) is wearing handknit items. Sweaters and shawls dominate, but mittens and hats abound, scarves and cowls peek in there too, and you may even glimpse a handknit dress or skirt. It is one of the funnest aspects of this fiber festival, and I love joining in! It's wonderful to plan your annual Rhinebeck outerwear back in the spring. :)

This year, I was determined to partake of a few Rhinebeck traditions I had not tried yet, such as the falafel booth:

It was spectacular
...and the apple cider donuts. I waited 35 minutes to procure 4 apple cider donuts for my family and I, and I got off easy. Apparently, the line was an hour or longer at other parts of the weekend!

Most of all, I just enjoyed being a part of all of these wonderful moments:






Life is short, yes? And though we may not enjoy every moment, we can savor the really precious ones. And it was that in droves. Wonderful memories of shopping yarn, walking amongst the fall leaves, people-watching for the handknits, eating dinner with friends, and taking in the gorgeous Hudson Valley scenery on the drive over. Life really is beautiful.

How was your weekend, friends? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Keeping the faith, and preparing for more frolicking with yarn...

Hi all! I have a big weekend coming up, and this week so far has been absolutely insane, with tons going on both at home and at work. But all is well! This weekend I am bound for Rhinebeck, NY, where I will attend the NY Sheep and Wool Festival for the second straight year, and I could NOT be more thrilled! I had such a wonderful time last year, and I feel blessed to be going again with my knitting group. Mid-October, in the Hudson Valley, amongst friends, food truck falafel, fiber-bearing animals, and reams and reams of gorgeous yarn. It is a dream come true, I tell you! I will report in next week with all of the yarny goodness. πŸ€—

In other news, we were at an open house this past weekend for the local Catholic boys high school that Henry would like to go to next year. The excellent, expensive, Catholic boys high school. 😬But it was a wonderful experience, and Henry handled himself so beautifully in a new situation, interacting with lots of people, both of which I know make him very nervous. I was so proud of him. πŸ’— The entrance exam is November 17th, and I would appreciate any prayers for focus and discernment that you could wing his way!

In the lead-up to the open house on Sunday, we all attended Mass together as a family. And it was the 8 am Mass. Remember what happened the last time the kids and I went to the 8 am Mass Henry was serving at? Yeah. It was a bit of a disaster. I was feeling so low, and our experience at that Mass only made things worse. Well, needless to say, I wasn't exactly looking forward to going back, but Henry was serving, so I steeled myself, and Mike came with us, which is always lovely. After Mass, this same person came up to talk to me, which I have to say is perplexing, because we don't know each other at all, but I'm a friendly sort. It was again a little strange, but there was a key difference: God allowed me to see something very important. This man doesn't have any ill intentions, he is simply a bit socially awkward. I felt a lot of peace afterwards. And it changed the way I look back and view the other situation as well. I'm feeling peaceful and grateful for this revelation. Sometimes these little things mean a lot, you know?

And in that same vein, attending Mass has become easier for me again. In my time of spiritual dryness, it was hard to go to Mass, but I went anyway. Now, I feel peaceful there again. I know that we don't *need* that feeling in order to go, but it does help, yes? And so here is the crowd sourcing part of our time together. ;-) My subscription with Magnificat is up this month. I have always loved Magnificat, and I still do. I just ordered Anne a subscription to MagnifiKid, in fact. But I thought before taking on another 2 year subscription, I would look at the other options just to see if I liked any of those better. A refreshening and reevaluation process. I spied with my little eye Word Among Us and their format of a small monthly magazine with the optional supplement of the daily Mass readings really appealed to me. Does anybody subscribe to either of these, and what are your feelings on what they have to offer? How about a regular old Sunday missal? One of the things I love the most about Magnificat is the beautiful artwork and the special Holy Week issue each year. Word Among Us seems to have uplifting articles to read throughout, appealing to a bookworm like me.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

How are those crafting obstacles coming along Tiffany? you reasonably ask...

Well.

😬

I suppose I shouldn't be so dramatic. Projects like these take time! AND, we do have some progress. Looky here!


I had finished Anne's Lighthouse Pullover over the summer, I think I reported in on this last time we broached this topic. Since then, I made both school uniform cardigans (for which I deserve a medal; navy blue garter stitch gets a wee bit boring after a spell :0) AND I made a Rhinebeck sweater. I will grant, NOT the sweater I was originally planning to make, but a sweater that I will wear at Rhinebeck nonetheless.

Look how cute my little pupil is in her new cardigan!

Pattern is "Sugar Maple" by Carina Spencer
So I'm making progress! I'm getting into holiday gift making season, so I did forget about at least half of the projects that are on this list. :0 But I'll get to them. It's a marathon, not a sprint, to be sure!

In other crafting news, there's been lots of excitement! I know I mentioned over the summer how I had gotten involved in Hogwarts at Ravelry, I waited excitedly on Platform 9 3/4, submitted a project in the Orientation thread, and was happily sorted into Gryffindor when the new term started. I did well, submitting projects to multiple classes and Weekly Challenges, and so logged in at the end of the rotation to submit my intention to stay on in Gryffindor House. Well.

*beams*

I had a message from the absolutely LOVELY Head of House in Gryffindor asking me to be the Prefect for the upcoming rotation. I was a little nervous about taking on a more active role so early on in my Hogwarts studies ;-), but I was also pretty excited. It's like my dream come true - I am Hermione!


So far, it's going positively swimmingly. I just check in every day and encourage my fellow Gryffindor Lions in their crafting goals. I adore the community there, and am enjoying myself tremendously! I also get to see our fellow Life of a Catholic Librarian community member Melanie, who is the ambassador to Platform 9 3/4 for Hufflepuff. She is also running one of the storylines this term (aka a class) and I really want to make something to submit over there!

πŸ˜ƒ

So much fun. It's all about community, yes? About fostering and nurturing healthy relationships with wonderful, kind people. God is so good to us!

What are you working on this week? Are you starting to plan out your holiday gifts? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

My book is actually IN PRINT!

I had planned a craft post for this week, and I *promise* that we'll do that next week, because there is lots of excitement in my crafting world right now. :0 However, my little mind was all diverted this week by book stuff. LOOKY WHAT CAME LAST NIGHT:


😍

It's all a little surreal that I have a book that actually exists in real life πŸ˜‚. I'm so excited to dive into these and use them for scripture study and journaling! That might make a good Advent and Lent project? Thoughts? I definitely want to do this with Deanna's and Allison's books, but I'm curious as to whether or not I'd be able to re-read my own like this, ha! While I was working on this book, every morning before I jumped into writing I would pray to the Holy Spirit to have it be His words and not mine, so maybe? I'll be curious to see. ;-)

Importantly, these are now available to order on Amazon. This means a couple of important things: for one, you can now get them with your Prime shipping if you are a member. Also, you can see interior previews of all 3 books, which I LOVE to do before adding things to my cart! For my book, you can now see the entire Introduction!

*streamers*

Finally, you can *add reviews once you've read the books* which we would so gratefully appreciate! Even if you did not purchase the book from Amazon (but ordered via the publisher, Gracewatch Media, or in the Indiegogo pre-order campaign) you can still leave a review on Amazon. This helps other readers to discover these books while they are searching and browsing for related titles. This is so crucial to the success of the series! Allison is hoping to add 3 more books to the series next year, and growing these initial 3 titles is a huge part of that.

Another tidbit: you *can* order via the publisher, Gracewatch Media, and the books are actually cheaper there. They retail for $15, are marked down to $14, and by using the code GRACE15, you will receive 15% off. This makes the books $11.90 each, and Gracewatch offers free shipping on orders of $10 and up. The disadvantage is that the shipping is not 2-day like Amazon Prime, but if you are not a Prime member, or you are not in a rush, you may be interested in this route. :)

These journals would make excellent holiday gifts, for sure. They're personal and relatable, and just lovely and inspiring to page through. I am so excited to be a part of this project, and I hope that you'll share in the excitement with me!

πŸŽ‰

Is anybody interested in using one of these during Advent and making a book club for it? Would love to hear from you!