Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The power of friendship in the face of anxiety...

Hello ALL! So nice to be with you again. It's been quite a month, hasn't it? :-) I have some more updates on that front, plus general musings on stress and anxiety in general. Have your coffee or tea? Let's chat!

I do miss our official Tea Time together on the podcast. But rest assured that it was the right decision to go on hiatus. :0 No time, right now, my friends, no time. Work has been crazy. Lots of teaching, lots of emails, lots of grading, and lots of the dreaded Course Management System changes in all 90 sections of the library lab we are teaching.

😱

You know, it's going. But it's all fairly monotonous, uninteresting, uninspiring, yet time consuming. In the midst of all of that, both kids are going through growth spurts, and Anne in particular seems to still be very much adjusting to her new school year. I've been worried about her. Henry is wanting to tour high schools, which is FREAKING ME THE HECK OUT. I finally know how to drive my new car (the whole stick shift saga), but I had some setbacks last week in the form of loss of confidence and general panic at making mistakes while out in traffic. It all took a definite toll.

Last Thursday, I had...just a terrible time of things. I couldn't control my anxiety. I was in tears, and I couldn't make myself feel better. I needed help.

And I got it. From Mike. From my close cadre of friends. Everyone rushed in to support me emotionally, and to encourage me. I took a much needed sick day from work. I slept a lot, a sure sign that my body was at far less than 100%. I prayed, and did some self-evaluating.

It helped. It really did. I realized that I had been feeling like my life was spiraling out of control, and the new car was just the tip of the ice berg: the kids are growing, my life is changing, and I felt like I couldn't get a good handle on ANYTHING. I have always had a difficult time with change, and things are changing now in ways that I just never really thought about when I was younger. I think that generally speaking, people envision their lives up to certain milestones. After that...you just think you'll never get there, you'll never be dealing with those things. It's a privilege to be sharing this part of my life with Mike, experiencing this all with him. I just never foresaw us getting older than 40, as ridiculous as that sounds. :0

This all made me realize that I was avoiding dealing with certain things in my life: that my kids are going to grow up, that Mike and I are going to get older, that my job is my job and is likely not going to change much before until I retire, that sometimes I will still make mistakes and do things poorly. It's not easy to accept change, but I must do it. Not only that, there is joy in it, if only I allow myself to experience it.

Ever since this all unfolded last Thursday, I have felt calmer and more myself. Driving has been going great. The problem was never the car. It was ME. I allowed anxiety and fear to take root and begin to take over my life. In a way, I'm grateful to the car for helping me to realize how much I was avoiding dealing with my much more generalized problem with anxiety.

So, I'm thinking this is a God thing. :) God speaks to us in many different ways, and in this instance, he spoke to me via my Honda Fit.

πŸ˜€

Last Thursday was a turning point. Since then, I'm seeing things in a fresh new light. And in that vein, I'm going to be praying the St. Jude novena, which starts October 19th. Would you like to join in? I'm going to be praying for interior peace, and St. Jude can really come through for us for pretty much any intention. He is, after all, patron saint of impossible causes!

How has your week been, dear readers? Will you be praying along with the St. Jude novena? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Embracing the butterflies - When you deliberately make your life scary, & how to learn from it :0

All! I've been so anxious to be back with you again after last week's somewhat epic and lengthy post about me buying a car with a manual transmission without actually knowing how to drive it.

Yeeeaaaaaaahhhhh. That was really stressful.

But I've gotten some things out of this process, and not just the ability to now drive the car. Let's settle in and chat!

Friends...last week was LONG. There were swear words (real bad ones, too :0). There were tears. There were so many setbacks. There was an overwhelming feeling that I would never get it right and learn how to drive this car. I barely slept. I lost 2 lbs. This was FOR SERIOUS.

On Saturday, I gave long suffering Mike a much needed break, and went out with my mother-in-law to a big, empty parking lot for about 2 hours, just practicing getting the car going from a dead stop. That was the foundational skill I was struggling with the most, and indeed, the one most people struggle with when they're learning to drive a stick shift. She observed that I was releasing the clutch pedal too quickly, thereby causing the car to buck around violently even if it did manage to get it going, or stall if I didn't simultaneously give the car enough gas. Once we honed in on that, and fine tuned a few other things (I wasn't waiting for the clutch and gas to "catch" together before releasing the clutch slowly and easing on more gas) I noticed that I was getting the car going smoothly. Once I was getting the car going smoothly with some consistency, I began to realize that my feet were doing A Thing and that what they were doing could be duplicated again and again and again. Each time I did The Thing, I did not stall, or buck, or generally cause the car considerable angst.

Suddenly, I felt that magical moment deep down in my feet when the clutch and gas pedal met in perfect symphony, and the car would begin to move forward. If I then eased my left foot off the clutch, rather than rushing it, like I *had* been doing, I was GOLDEN. It truly was a matter of feel, and once I felt it, I committed it to my muscle memory. I practiced it another 300 times just to be safe ;-) but I knew a breakthrough had been made: I had learned how to get a manual transmission car going from a dead stop into 1st gear, and I had learned how to do it consistently. THAT is the key. Not really understanding what works and what doesn't on a consistent basis, not having The Thing going on with your feet, causes you to lurch and stall. Lurching and stalling causes you to become frustrated and anxious. Becoming frustrated and anxious causes you to lurch and stall even MORE. It's like learning to drive while on a continual, evil loop down in Satan's School of Driving and Minion Training. You know. In HELL.

After what felt like the 90th loop around the parking lot, I drove confidently to the exit and put on my right blinker. I was ready to drive out in traffic, and I knew it.

We drove around for about 30 minutes, coming to tons of stop signs. Each time I got the car going with ease, and upshifted from 1st through 5th gears with no problems. I had it, and an enormous weight had been lifted from my chest.

Granted, my downshifting into turns still needs some work, and I still have never driven on the highway. Being on an incline and rolling back before moving forward again makes my heart stop beating. I'm certain that I'll still go through some small setbacks along the way until I have a lot more experience under my belt. BUT. I've come a long way, baby. I can drive myself places now, and I've been doing so ever since. It's going to take a lot of experience before I can get in the car without butterflies, but I can officially say that I have learned how to drive a stick shift.

So, on our progress chart, we have this:

Week 1 - F bombs. Sobs. Throwing of self onto steering wheel in despair. Stalls, stalls, stalls.
Week 2 - Butterflies. Pep Talks:

"You can do this, girl. You can totally do this!"

"Go little Fit, Go! That was a good one!"

Hopefully, people think I'm simply using the Bluetooth to talk on my phone. :0

Surges of hope. Feelings of accomplishment. The joy of knowing that I truly am not too old to learn new and challenging skills.

I know it's just a car. But it feels like a really big deal to me. I took something that I'd always wanted to learn, something that did not come very easily to me at all, and I worked at it until I could do it. This is something that could apply to so many things in life, yes?

Sunday I went to Piercing Pagoda with my friend Brandy to get her ears pierced. Brandy had never had her ears pierced because of a very deep seated fear from her childhood. She had always wanted to do this, but thought she wouldn't be able to because the anxiety felt so debilitating, like something she could not overcome. I relate very much to debilitating anxiety, and so this weekend we took on some scary new things together. Brandy got her ears pierced. Afterward, I got very emotional and cried, telling her how much I loved her and how much it has meant to me to have met her and become her friend. How much she inspires me to try new things, things that I am afraid of, things that make me learn and grow as a person. Yep, right there in the middle of the mall. :0

I felt God's hand in all of this. Maybe I needed to get Fit so that I could challenge myself in this new way, and become a stronger person, a lifelong learner. Perhaps it'll inspire courage in me at some future point in which someone really needs me to be brave. Perhaps it was so that I could be there for Brandy, so that we could face fears together and grow from that. Perhaps it's so that I will continue to grow in empathy and charity towards others. I suspect that it is ALL of these things.

It was a good weekend, a really good one, filled with faith, family and friends. We went out to dinner with my in-laws on Saturday following the 5 pm vigil Mass at our parish, in which Henry served on the altar (I drove us!). It occurred to me that this truly is the good life.

That's my week in review. Work is pretty intense right now, but it's going well. Our teaching for the semester will be done in early November, and I'm really looking forward to that. I'm headed to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival next weekend, and I'm REALLY looking forward to *that*!

I miss chatting with you all in Tea Time. We'll be back to that soon enough!

How are you all doing? Do you have any stories to relay about learning things that actually apply in multiple ways? Let's hear them!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"WHY have I never learned to think things through more?!" *tears!* Adventures in ill advised life decisions :0

It's been quite a week since the last time we talked. Remember how I mentioned the stressful car repair situation? Well, that took a somewhat surprising turn. The past 6 days or so have been a blur of emotions and prayer, let me tell you. You got time to chat? I need it. Let's get our beverages!

So, last Thursday, right after I last posted, I got a call from my mechanic about the part my aging Honda Civic needed. I had been feeling anxious about hearing from him, because the car was really in bad shape, and I didn't feel totally safe driving it. I get a message from him, and call him back between classes. When he hears that it's me, he says:

"Oh yes. Well. This isn't going to be cheap."

This from the man whom I regularly pay $600 at a time for various and sundry car-related reasons.

I braced myself for the total, now that he had the part actually lined up: $1700.

😱

My car is nearly 18 years old. Now that the number was concrete, Mike and I agreed that it just wasn't worth it to get it fixed. We fretted about coming up with the money for the down payment, but we have savings for this very reason. We'd look for a lease we could afford and hope for the best.

I suppose that's where the worrying process began, but ironically, money turned out not to be the main concern at all. :0

I had my heart set on a Honda Fit. When I bought my Civic back in 2000, they didn't yet have the Fit in their fleet. The Fit is the perfect size for me, and I ADORE hatchbacks. I had one in my very first car, a Nissan Sentra from the 80's, and the thought of having one again really appealed to me. I can put the seats down, get my dance paraphernalia in there, giant Scentsy boxes, the Christmas tree... ;-) They also get great fuel mileage, and are incredibly adorable. Plus, they're less expensive than Civic. Win/win, right?

Well. It's the end of the model year. The great leasing deals are on the 2017 vehicles, not the new 2018 ones. There aren't many 2017 Fits left to be had anywhere, and throughout Central and Western New York, all the way down to Erie, the only vehicles remaining all had manual transmissions.

"Do you know how to drive a manual, Tiffany?" you reasonably ask. Not exactly. But yet, what is sitting in my driveway at home right now?



YEAH. What can I say? I had a bold moment. I suppose some people would just say that I've lost my mind.

In fact, at this moment, *I* think that I have lost my mind. But Mike drives a manual and loves it, and is SO EXCITED to teach me. I suppose true love made me do it?

"Hon. This bold side of you is really...NICE."

*meaningful look*

Is this a guy thing? 😳

Pretty sure it is, but right now, I have LOTS of other things occupying my little brain.

I have been driving for 25 years. Until Saturday, I had never driven a car with a manual transmission. But guess what? I now have no choice. This not-quite-middle-aged mom, librarian and belly dancer has to learn how to drive a stick shift. And let's just say that it's going a tad rough:

"OK, what the *%;#! with this clutch/acceleration thing to get started?! How did cars even evolve like this? WHO ever thought this was a feasible long term model?!"

"All right. I got it that time. I'm doing better, right? Now...Wait, what just happened? CRAP!!"

"I'm not going to stall this time. I'm determined not to. We'll just give it a little more gas..."

*SCREECH SQUEAL JERK!*

*delicate clearing of throat*

"See? That was...'better.'"

"Look! It's moving! Oh God. There's another car! I don't want him to come near me!!"

My poor, poor husband. But he, and everyone else who drives a stick shift, tell me that I'm:

"...already 80% of the way there since you already know how to drive!"

Um, NO. I don't feel like I'm 80% of the way there. In fact, I feel like I'm 16 years old and that I'm learning how to drive all over again.  I am here to tell you, good and gentle readers, that this is NOT a very pleasant feeling.

Sunday night, after an outing with more stalls and jerks back to a start than I could possibly count, I was in tears. Mike keept reassuring me that I'm coming along fine, that it takes WEEKS to get comfortable with a stick shift, and that this is all a very normal part of the learning process. But I tell you, dear readers...this is HARD. I mean, I'm certain not everyone finds it all that difficult to learn how to drive a stick shift, but this is hard *emotionally*. It is a humbling, humbling experience to take something for granted, something that you've been able to do for decades, and suddenly be thrust back into Beginner Land, complete with honking horns, angry faces, and overall truculent nostril flares by others who do not realize what you are going through.

I haven't been able to sleep, and in the evenings, I cannot knit or otherwise relax the way that I used to. My mind is constantly racing with my fears that I will never master this skill, that I will continue to embarrass myself in public, that I made a huge mistake which I will regret every single day for the next 3 years, and that I'll never regain the independence I once enjoyed when I felt comfortable driving.

Monday morning I woke up emotionally fragile. I felt like a loser, a Manual Transmission School Drop Out.  I drove my in-laws' automatic to work, fearful that I wasn't ready yet for longer journeys. I felt shaky and apprehensive about everything I was going to face that day. I had moved office spaces on Friday, and so Monday morning before my 9 am class I opened the door to my new office for the very first time, feeling a surge of hope that the clean, refreshed space would lift my spirits.

There was a man standing in my window.

People, I could not make this stuff up. :0

*SPLAT!*

While I watched incredulously, he schlacked some goo from the metal tool he was holding onto the bricks on the outside of the library. This was actually happening. I had a brick mason over my shoulder, in my window, for the entire day. While I lesson planned. Ate lunch. Graded student work. My buddy was there. A guardian angel of sorts? Likely not, the entire thing felt incredibly awkward. An omen of things to come?

😨

Even worse, I knew that I had to get back on the horse. The paperwork is signed, the deal is done. I'm stuck with the car. I love her, she's adorable and precious, she just scares the s*%! out of me right now.

I left for the day braced for my evening practice session.

I did not want to get back in that car. But I knew that I had to. The fear was only going to fester the longer I let it go.

After dinner, Mike and I headed out. I was still stalling the car, but somewhat less often. Unfortunately, this meant that I was overcompensating on the gas pedal and jerking the car forward with a squeal quite a bit. But not stalling boosted my confidence, and I needed that VERY badly. We made it out onto slightly busier roads than the side streets we had stuck to before, and I managed all right. I kept it together and didn't stall. Mike said that I was ready to drive myself to my fitness class later that evening.

I want my Mommy.

I didn't want to, but I knew that I had to. Fit and I headed out to the dance studio.

I stalled backing out onto the street. But I got her restarted like a champ, and bumped my way along. The rest of the way there, I did some jerking and squealing, but I did not stall. I made it to the studio alive, and I call that a huge win given the circumstances. The way home was even better. I was freaking out because the house I parked in front of had people outside, and I knew that if I stalled or squealed my tires they would see me. But I didn't. I got it going well and even eased into a left turn in 2nd gear with no problems. No stalls at all on that trip. Things were still fragile, but they were improving.

Yesterday, I had my best trip yet (relatively speaking :0). We went out on busier roads, and I didn't stall AT ALL. Well, unless you count that crazy situation with the Bobcat digger thing pulling unexpectedly out into traffic, which I do NOT. 😎And my jerking starts are getting decidedly less bad. Suddenly, I can feel a difference on the pedals. I've realized a few things about how to let up on the clutch and depress the gas pedal, and it's showing. It's still not anywhere near 100% smooth starts, but I've clearly improved. For the first time, I feel hope that I actually will learn how to drive this car.

I'm still not driving it to work yet. Yes, I know that I need to just do this and that's how my learning process will reach it's zenith, but I'm being kind to myself. I'm getting there, I really am. I want to nurture my confidence for a few more days. We're going to do a practice run tonight.

I know that I may experience a setback at some point. After steadily improving, you may stall again at a very inopportune time. It happens. But my motivation and determination are high. I want to learn this. I can do this.

Jesus, please take the wheel. :0

This has all reminded me of something very important. When I was in library school, I had an instructor for my Reference and User Services course who was very serious about professional librarianship. She did not like shortcuts and lazy librarians. I remember very clearly her saying to us once:

"Always bear in mind that not all answers can be found THE EASY WAY."

*stern look*

Sometimes, challenges are good for us. Granted, learning to drive a stick shift is hardly some important act of public service, or a larger spiritual goal. But allowing ourselves to be lifelong learners, and not always making the comfortable choice, makes us better people beneath the surface. This can then lead us to step forward in situations that DO have a larger spiritual or charitable component.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday morning, in which Fr. Roderick mentioned that:

"Fear stifles exploration. And exploration is a GOOD."

It is, it really is! I certainly have moments when I wish I had just gotten a different car, so that I could have just gotten an automatic transmission, and I wouldn't be going through this stress right now. But this has been good for me. It has made me realize that I'm not too old to try new things, to have confidence that I can master an unfamiliar skill. I still have a long way to go, but I have faith that it's going to work out just fine.

All right. Let me hear from you. Who thinks I have lost my mind?! :0 More importantly, who here drives a stick shift?! I need some words of commiseration!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When good weeks turn bad...

I'd been having a really good week. And then...well, you know how it is. :0

Monday: I am all aglow from outstanding weekend of dance workshops and performances. My friends came to see me dance, and I feel super confident, happy and floaty. I come to class Monday, and the students who couldn't read the words "My Groups" last week are suddenly rock stars, formulating dreamy research questions and finding solid peer reviewed articles on their topics. I end the day dreaming of choreographing a solo with a vintage Golden Era theme for the winter hafla, and feeling like Super Librarian.

*attaches cape*

Tuesday: I wake up stuffy.

*ominous music cues up in the background*

Classes still go good, and additional classes who struggled last week really shined this week. But I feel worse and worse physically as the day wears on. As well, I had dropped my car off at the mechanic. It was making "a noise" and I was thinking that something was going on with the front brakes. I wasn't exactly looking forward to the bill, but it needed to be done. Well.

πŸ˜’

It's something else. Something about an arm in the wheel well? Actually, that sounds even WORSE than I intend it to, but needless to say that it's a much more involved fix than the brakes, in both time and expense. The mechanic doesn't even know for sure that he can find the part, because my car is so old.

Don't laugh at her. She's a good old car. :0

So I need to hope that (a) the mechanic finds the part so that he can charge me $1500 to fix this involved and complicated thing, or (b) that he can't find the part and I have to get a new car. Which sounds good, but we really can't afford that right now. So (a) is somehow the better option?

😭

I get home and feel uber cranky. My cold and voice worsen as the night wears on and I go to bed at 8 pm. And did I mention that it's been like 90 freaking degrees here for nearly the past week, and we can't sleep because it's so sticky and uncomfortable? Good Grief.

#IT'SSEPTEMBER! #whattheheck?!

Mike then coughs the entire night and I glare over at his side of the bed, although it is clearly not his fault.


Wednesday: I wake up exhausted after tossing and turning the entire night. I am even stuffier and beginning to cough. There is still no word from the mechanic on the part he's trying to find.

#Grand

I can barely talk during my classes. Oh, and now I'm developing a fever rash.

THIS, my friends, is a good week gone bad. :0 It could be worse, it is true. I'm actually feeling positive overall, just wishing that the suck factor would ease a hair. I'm praying the St. Therese novena, so things can't be all bad, right? ;-)

How is your week going, gentle reader? I hope that it's going better than mine!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tea Time #113 - Good changes afoot!

It's an important transitory edition of:

It's no mystery, I just discuss it in a lot more depth in the podcast itself: Tea Time is moving to a seasonal format. I will need to take short hiatuses throughout the year, and this made sense to me to break it up into seasons such that the podcast will STAY a weekly podcast when it is running. The alternative was to have it go to bimonthly or monthly, which just didn't seem to fit with the theme of the show very well. The show will return for a late Ordinary Time/Advent season in early November. Until then, I chat about all of the changes, and my fun plans for the blog AND podcast in this new seasonal structure. Join me, and chime in with your ideas!





**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. Intro music is "Feelin' Good" from http://www.purple-planet.com

Items mentioned in this episode:

New Facebook group 

I would REALLY love for you all to join us over at the Facebook group! There are 15 of us in there now, and I am finding it such a solace. So, do tell: what do you think of the seasonal format? What do you think about the Advent book club being a part of the podcast? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Because we all need more saints in our lives :0

I don't know about you, but I need a LOT of them. Like an entire army helping out my guardian angel in the background. I forgot to link over to my Catholic Mom piece for September which talks about our own personal list of saints. Baptismal saints, confirmation saints, saints who lift you up, saints who have your back. ;-) If you have your own list of saints, I'd love to see it!

Because seriously. This is my life right now:

"Please log in and check your group assignment. It is listed on the left navigation menu, in the blue section, as 'My Groups.' Select that link, and then you'll see the name."

*distracted silence*

"Wait, what? Where do we go?"

"Log in. Open up your English course. Look at the left navigation menu for 'My Groups.'"

*more distracted silence*

"Where? I don't see it."

*re-pointing occurs*

"Oh. It says My Groups."

"Precisely."

"OK, but how do I find my actual group?"

*prayer for eternal patience*

"You must *click* on it."

"ooohhhhhh!"

My week. My entire week. 8 times already, with 168 students. 3 more incarnatiions to go.

😠

Because the thing is, it's not that these students lack intelligence. They're just perpetually not paying attention, and/or using creative curiosity. Sometimes to figure things out and find things, you need to look around and try things. There is an unwillingness to exert any effort in that direction that myself and my colleagues find most frustrating.

Frustrating. Have I mentioned how frustrating this week has been?

I recorded a Tea Time, horray! Lots of news coming. It should be out on Friday!

Friday, September 15, 2017

No Tea Time this week, BUT...

...I have some ideas for it, and happily (especially amidst the craziness and stress I've been experiencing) I'm feeling inspired about this creative endeavor. I will chat about all of this in the next episode, which will indeed be next week!

To be sure, I've felt overwhelmed lately with life and work (and this is a "life blog," right? I always keep it real). But I think I know how to strike a better balance with this set of current challenging circumstances AND my creative endeavors, like this blog and the Tea Time podcast. I've been prioritizing my rosary time more, and trying to seek out God's voice amidst the noise. Sometimes, it's stressful stages that make us most attuned to this, no?

It's having a good effect. And I even feel cautiously optimistic about my job, which is saying a lot right now! :0

So we'll chat next week. Oh, and I am LOVING our new Facebook group! I'm going to post a weekly gratitude thread on Mondays every single week, and we can check in with each other and search in for what we are grateful for in a given week. I find this activity so soothing and energizing. I've also been inspired by a few books this week and posted about those. Any member is welcome to do the same with book recommendations, and to post requesting prayer. In fact, we should have a weekly prayer thread too, yes? I will start that next week!

I'm thinking that for Advent, we can schedule a live chat for our book club selection, and in Lent too. Did I mention that I am loving this?! It's very low key in there, nothing but happy thoughts. :) And I'm not putting pressure on myself to post x number of things in a week or anything. During crazy weeks, we may just have the gratitude and prayer threads. But hey, that's what that group is for!! It's a relaxing, spiritually nourishing environment. If you haven't already joined, please do head over, we'd love to have you!

All right, back to grading for me. What are you up to this weekend? Are you in the new Facebook group? What do you think? :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

So I did a thing :0

Let's just say it's been a long week. A super, duper long week. Insert visual image here of me teaching my students how to upload their newly minted collages into their ePortolio headers. Then picture 40 of them individually calling me over to explain it to them one-on-one because they neglected to pay attention while I was doing so.

!!!

Trying. Very trying. But I got some excellent feedback from my post last week about finding a place we could all hang out, chat, and support each other besides just the blog comment area. A little bit more real-time, if you will. ;-)

So I created a Facebook group! I'm not thinking this is going to be a hotbed of activity, to be sure. But if you'd like to join, have at it! We'll have weekly Gratitude posts to uplift our spirits, and you can feel free to post prayer requests in there too. It will be a lovely, supportive place for us to seek each other out when we need a friendship boost!


You can search in Facebook for CatholicLibrarianHangout, or use this link, and request to join. I have it set so that you can add people to the group, too.

We'll try this out and see how we like it! I'd love to have you in there! *heart*

***edited to add: I just had a thought!

Eureka!

When we have book clubs, we can do FB Live chats to discuss the book!

*virtual high five!*

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tea Time #112 - Spiritual journeys amidst the hectic everyday...

It's a cathartic edition this week of:

Today I talk more about my spiritual crisis relating to my job, how I am managing it, and why the podcast may not be weekly anymore. :-\ But hope springs eternal, and I have ideas for other ways we can connect during the week and offer each other prayer support. Join me!





**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. Intro music is "Feelin' Good" from http://www.purple-planet.com

Items mentioned in this episode:

My heart-to-heart post from earlier this week

On My Bookshelf - Super Girls and Halos: My Companions on the Quest for Truth, Justice and Heroic Virtue, by Maria Johnson


Prayer Corner - The rosary. I am currently obsessed with my St. Teresa of Calcutta rosary. :) Allison's rosary shop, if you'd like to message her to request a custom St. Teresa rosary!

Creative Commons - I finished the Rhinebeck sweater! 

Not the greatest photos, but I'll have Mike get a good one of me wearing it after it's blocked! For the time being, the front:

the back:


 and cable detailing on the back:




OK, let me hear from you! What are your thoughts with dealing with spiritual crises, and not overdoing things? Do you have ideas for an online chat place we can all hang out and ask for prayers?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In which I finally admit to myself that I cannot do everything...

Hello all, and welcome to a brand new week! I wish I could report in for duty that I am having this glorious week in which I feel validated as a teaching librarian, that my job is so rewarding, and that I have been pert and chipper all week long. Well... :0

I'm going to just say it: I had a terrible weekend. Why, you reasonably ask? Because I allowed work to creep into my home life.

I knew that with this being the fall semester, the very first college semester for all of our students, plus the Labor Day holiday in which we wouldn't see some of them for week 2 of our content, this meant that we would receive a lot of emails with questions. I decided to check my email on Saturday afternoon to just clear the recent messages, to save myself some time when we all came back from the long weekend on Tuesday morning.

Dozens. Dozens of emails to field. Also, emails from my boss with instructions on how to fix various unforeseen technical calamities with our course management system. On Labor Day, I spent 2 hours  on my laptop manually changing due dates in assignments for all 11 of my sections, and answering yet more student emails.

It was...discouraging, to say the least. That type of work isn't meaningful in any way, and with the volume of classes and students that we have, the last minute, frantic nature of these types of problems just makes us all feel harried and frustrated.

Yesterday morning, I was downright dreading going into work. I haven't felt that way since last fall (which was an epic nightmare with our course being brand new in a revamped curriculum), and before THAT I hadn't felt that way since I was a practicing attorney writing a brief at the office at 1 am. It's not a good feeling. I'm a LIBRARIAN, my job shouldn't be this stressful. That's why I made the major career change that I did 12ish years ago.

I got in the car Tuesday morning and had a heart-to-heart with myself. Yes, I talk to myself sometimes, I see it as part of my charm. :0 And I realized something very crucial: I'm trying to do too much. I am simply trying to do TOO MUCH. Indeed, I work full time outside of the home. I'm a wife and mother. And I have all sorts of interests and hobbies that I enjoy. Some of those items need attending to on a daily basis, and others do not. I cannot do everything. I simply, for the good of my own health and well-being, need to prioritize better.

Obviously, my family comes first. Yes, I do need to go to my job, and to do my best effort with it. But I do not need to let it take over the rest of my life. If email and course management disasters build up over a weekend, so be it. I can deal with all of them, as expediently as I can, during the week. We are not paid to work on the weekend. So why am I taking on that burden?

I have felt for some time that God has been trying to tell me that I'm trying to do too much. I put pressure on myself to meet these daily expectations that I set for myself, but see the keyword in that sentence? *I* am doing this to myself. Nobody else is. I can feel less harried if only I allow myself to. So I'm going to try.

Before I left the driveway, I set up my phone in its holder and set my Divine Office app to play the audio for Morning Prayer. And do you know what happened? It wouldn't play.

😱

It really seemed to fit the theme of my life at that moment. :0 Because you know what? IT'S OK. I picked up my St. Teresa of Calcutta rosary and prayed that on my way in. And I felt WORLDS better by time I arrived.

There has been more chaos and gnashing of teeth throughout the land here at my university. But it's OK. Classes have been good! I've done well teaching, and I've been patient and charitable with the students. That's all that matters. Sometimes, my volume of email during the day, and my family time in the evenings, may mean that I can't get Tea Time out that week, or that I won't write a post when I usually do. But you and I have known each other long enough now that I have confidence you realize that I am always coming back to you - if a week goes by, send me a Tweet just to check on me. ;-) But I will *always* be back. This is my happy place, and I'm so grateful to share it with all of you.

How do you fare during busy seasons like this? How is your own September prayer challenge going? I would love to hear from you. *heart*