Friday, January 24, 2020

New year, new wellness aspirations...

Thank you to you all for the love on last week's post about how I'll continue to blog!


I really appreciate it, and it's good to know that the content I produce here is meaningful to others. Besides, you know, just me. ;-) I'll put up posts when I can, and just allow myself to be write about whatever is inspiring me that week or that season. That's how I work best, and I'm glad to know that this still brings value to all of you.

*group hug*

Right now, it still be January, I'm still in resolution mode. I wrote earlier this month about faith/family and dance goals, which I think fit into the larger picture I'm about to get into. Wellness encompasses a lot of different component parts, I think, and those are:

(1) physical,
(2) emotional,
(3) spiritual

Right? My birthday is in mid-February, and each year that goes by it causes me to re-examine a lot of different aspects of my life. Faith and family wise, I'm very happy. I'm hard at work on my list of goals for the year, and it's going pretty well. Not perfect, but pretty well. Dance is omnipresent in my life, also quite happily, and that's also heading along on it's steady course. Within that larger physical wellness realm, I've been thinking that I'd like to make some changes. I'm not at all unhappy with my physical form, but there are ways in which I'd like to do better.

I used to meal plan quite diligently, and the stress of the fall combined with the holidays has led to a complete meltdown in planning and preparing healthy meals. This affects not only me, but the entire family. Now, would the kids prefer if it stayed this way? ;-) Yes, they would be very happy without me pushing fresh fruits and vegetables on them on a daily basis, but they don't have the broadest of perspectives on this! I've gotten back into meal planning and prepping, as well as weekly deliveries from our CSA, and perhaps I'll devote a whole post to this coming up, as I have a number of methods that I combine that work quite well for us. But that's definitely a good first step!

I've also become much more interested in physical fitness. I'm pretty active, that's where dance fills part of this category, but I also enjoy walking and taking fitness classes. Although I'm not looking to lose weight per se, I'd like to tone up and become a bit stronger. I have some specific things I'd like to achieve, and things I'd like to try to mix things up in my fitness routine.

You know. I'm being inspired, Holy Spirit moment here. 😂 Let's make this a wellness series that I'll continue throughout the end of January and February, leading up to Lent. This is sort of the intro post, and I can write separately about mealing planning and prep, fitness classes/gym stuff, and dance. I've even become more into increasing my water intake, so there will be a water post. And the aforementioned chalky protein shake experiments. YES! I'm very excited about this!

*delighted face*

If there is anything specific within these wellness topics I've mentioned you'd like me to touch upon, just leave those ideas in the comments, and I'd be happy to include them. I'd also love to hear about your own wellness goals this winter if you'd like to share them. Yay!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Thoughts on moving forward...

So after the drama I caused last week ;-) I've been doing a lot of thinking and discerning about continuing to blog. I received some lovely feedback both in the comments on that post, and over in the Facebook group. To sum it up, people do still read my blog :-0 and enjoy it, though they understand that it takes time and effort, and sometimes you just don't have those things to give anymore. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that you all still enjoy the eclectic mix of topics that I write about, and I don't need to worry about that the way that I was.

My thoughts after weighing all of this is that the effort really isn't a problem - I still enjoy blogging. And time? Oftentimes, it is not an issue, but occasionally it is. The topic thing, well, this has always been a "life blog" wherein I write about whatever is on my heart that particular week, so we have family stuff, job issues, faith things, random funny happenings, and musings related to my hobbies (dance, fitness, crafting, reading). I still like writing about all of these things, and it seems you still enjoy reading about them and what each new week may bring.

So, in essence, I've decided to keep blogging.

It feels good to have made a decision about that, because it's been weighing on me for awhile. But with all things, I think it's good to refresh and recharge sometimes, and this is one of those times.

So this is the plan. At some point in the next year, I'll likely give the blog a fresh new look in terms of template and color scheme. I don't do that very often, and I'll wait to feel inspired. But I can tell that it's coming. In terms of timing of posts, I have been posting once per week, and I anticipate that continuing. There may be weeks where it doesn't happen due to my schedule or something unexpected coming up, and if that happens, I'm giving myself permission not to fret about it. I will post when I can, and I'm always very regular about that, so there's no need to pressure myself. It's more important to be able to sit down and enjoy the post, and write about what is making me inspired that week. I feel like that will give me a new sense of life with the blog.

I go in phases with themes in terms of what I write about, often related to the season, and I anticpate that also continuing to be the case. Right now, with it being wintry, I'm writing a lot about crafts. In fact, the piece I wrote for Catholic Mom this month about crocheting blankets in January has been my most commented on post over there! With Lent approaching, I'm sure spiritual reading, devotionals and liturgical good times are coming our way very soon.

What I'm feeling overall though, is that I'd like this blog to have a distinct wellness focus. Fitness is definitely something I've gotten more into this year, and I know I'll be writing about that coming up. But wellness encompasses emotional and spiritual well-being too, so I think it's a perfect fit for my little enterprise over here at Life of a Catholic Librarian. :)

Sooooo...that's pretty much it! Nothing is really changing, except I feel all rejuvenated, ha ha! I'm looking forward to giving the blog a slightly new look and exploring a fresh way of presenting my content. It's all good! So, you're stuck with me! :-0

I'm feeling a physical wellness post coming on (new fitness classes, accidental giant water bottles, and chalky protein shakes, can't wait!) so you can excitedly anticipate that late next week. ;-)


What's on tap for you this weekend?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Is it time for a change?

So, I've been going through some stuff. Nothing serious, but I've been under some stress since this past fall. Mostly, it's related to my kids, and the anxiety I've been experiencing from the changes in their lives as they both get older. Having my son start high school has been the greatest crisis in my life as a parent since dealing with epic sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, and temper tantrums from the infant and toddler years. I'm prone to anxiety by nature, and this ramped it up to a degree that for the first time, I've sought out a licensed therapist to help me to cope with it all better. That's a good thing, and it's helping, and I'm grateful for that. Overall though, I've noticed something about myself: my sense of self is much more defined than it's ever been, and my perspectives have shifted a bit. That comes from age and experience, I suppose. But I'm much more aware now of the things and people in my life that I treasure, and simultaneously I'm also much more aware of my own mortality. My birthday is coming up next moth, and well, YOU KNOW. I'm pretty sure this is the very definition of a midlife crisis. :-0

I have this increased sense of carpe diem, like now is the time to really savor my relationships and experiences, and really challenge myself within the hobbies and avocations that I enjoy. That's all good stuff, what I worry about is this deeper sense within me of: "But what is it all for? What is the ultimate purpose of pursuing this?"

Now granted, some of those are easy. Spirituality-wise, I know what the goal is, and am always working on that. Check. Relationships are the same. We want loving, happy, healthy relationships for obvious reasons. But other stuff is tougher. Dancing is my greatest creative endeavor, and I'm definitely going through a Midlife Dance Crisis. ;-) What do I want from dance, ultimately? Am I achieving that? Honestly, I don't know.

The other thing is this blog. I've been writing here, and sharing with you, for a long time, over 10 years now. And...why am I doing it? I was struck recently that blogging isn't exactly the "in thing" anymore. I've always written because I enjoy it (same goes for dancing, truly), and that's reason enough, to be sure. But midlife crises involve DEEP PURPOSES, know what I'm sayin'? Some weeks it's a challenge to come up with an idea for a post. And our community is small (but mighty!) so I do wonder to myself if it's time to try something new. Is blogging really the best way to achieve my goal to write for enjoyment anymore?

Another reason that I started this blog was to share my faith. I still enjoy doing that quite a bit. I write for Catholic Mom on a monthly basis, and I have to admit that I love writing those pieces because it's only every 30 days. Each one feels like a fresh new opportunity to share something interesting about my faith life because it's been a whole month since I last penned one. I write multiple Gospel Reflections for them each year too, and adore working on those, because they really challenge me to dig into the scriptures and discern how they apply in my own life. I also love the Facebook group related to this blog that I manage. Our weekly prayer threads, posts on interesting Catholic gifts or stories, the novenas, LOVE that stuff. Because it's low key and spontaneous, and also because there's a fuller sense of community there. I also truly enjoyed writing my book in the scripture study series put together by my friend Allison, because I had the opportunity to collaborate with a duet of lovely women and really extend myself creatively in the process. So I share my faith in these other ways, and wish to continue doing so.

So what does this all mean in terms of this blog? I don't know, lol! I would love to hear from YOU. Do you still find it meaningful to follow this blog and read my posts on a regular basis? I write about an eclectic mix of topics: religious faith; crafts; family; fitness; belly dancing; books and podcasts; random weird stuff that happens to me. I mean...:-0 What do you think?!

I don't really have any notion of alternatives. Perhaps a change of style, in which this were a website with a blog feature that I update when inspired? A website that is curated with ways to easily navigate into posts on the varied topics that I tend to write about?

I'm all ears. But I do feel like this blog needs some TLC. I think I've been going through the motions with it for quite some time because I'm very commitment oriented, and I'm also quite averse to change. This blog has always treated me well, and I'd hate to give it up. It's definitely one of my babies, and I love the people I've met through it (you!). But it doesn't feel right to keep doing something the exact same way just because that's the way you've always done it, especially when the platform doesn't feel as inspired as it used to.

All thoughts quite welcome in the comments! :-)

Friday, January 3, 2020

A fresh new year start, and soothing winter crochet -alongs...

Happy New Year everyone, I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season.


I did, it was very relaxing. I pretty much spent nearly 2 weeks in my pj's, knitting, drinking tea, and watching a Little House on the Prairie marathon. 😂 I really needed the down time, and I loved it. The fall was unexpectedly quite stressful, as I've written about before, and spending the time at home unwinding with Mike and the kids was just awesome. We also got to spend a lot of time with my parents, which was absolutely delightful. Now that it's the new year, I'm feeling all refreshed and excited to go on my goals for dance, faith and family! I'm starting off by taking a workshop next weekend that focuses on acting and stage presence for dancers - should be interesting, eeks! :-0

In other news, I'm terribly excited to be participating in another crochet -along (abbreviated as CAL in craft land ;-)) with the Attic 24 blog. She does one each January - March, and releases the color sequences a week at a time. This year's edition is called the Dahlia blanket:

I've participated in these CAL's the past two years, and the experiences have been so fun and soothing. I love being a part of a larger community, and there is a group on Facebook called "Hooked on Attic 24" dedicated to these CAL's and it's so lovely to be joined in there. The winter is a perfect time to have a giant blanket project going, and I love the challenge of finishing up the stripe sequence each week. She does offer options wherein you can pick either the varied color sequence that she favors, or a colorwash version wherein the colors fade into each more, or a mirroring stripes option. She puts together yarn packs each late fall through Wool Warehouse, but obviously you could use any yarn you like and either try to match up the colors, or come up with your own color scheme. It's such fun! The first sequence came out today, and I have to admit that I got up with an excited feeling in my stomach to go print it out. :-)

Do you enjoy having a community that goes along with your hobbies? Anybody tempted to crochet a blanket with me this winter? ;-)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Official goals for 2020!

So, last week I mentioned wanting to create some goals for the new year, and I enjoy doing this on an annual basis. This year, I'm all into themed lists, as I suppose this appeals to my very ordered sort of a personality. ;-) It's the way God made me, I can't help myself! And I also wanted to select a new patron saint for the blog, and a new word for the year. Lots to do!

Let's start with patronage. I use the Patron Saint Name generator to select a new saint for our little community each year, and really appreciate having this tool at our disposal. And so, big announcement time. Our blog patron for 2020 is...St. Catherine Laboure!


This is the saint responsible for the Miraculous Medal image (she's also the patron of pigeon fanciers, always something fascinating! :-0), and I couldn't be more pleased to have her and our Blessed Mother watching over our blog for next year. :) Maybe I should procure a new Miraculous Medal necklace in commemoration? 🤔 So much yay! I also used a similar tool to select a word for the year, but let's come back round to that at the conclusion. :-)

So I ended up coming up with 2 goal lists: dance and faith/family. To me, the faith and family stuff very much went together, so I combined them. And without further ado!

Dance Goals 2020

  1. Take online class with Aziza - Aziza is an internationally known dancer who now teaches online classes out of her home base in Montreal, and I've been wanting to study with her for years. I actually can already check this one off of the list, because these past 2 Wednesdays I've attended her online classes, so yay! She is *incredibly* nice, and extremely approachable, and I absolutely loved the classes. I will say that I was just the weensiest bit nervous to meet her because of her fame within my dance community, but she put everyone at ease right away. *beams*
  2. List used costumes for sale - Ugh. :-0 Swap meets are big in the belly dance community, as costumes are expensive, and after a time you want new stuff. I need to photograph my older costumes and list them for sale, but the financial motivation just has not been high enough to get over my fear of interacting with strangers online. This is definitely a goal for the new year!
  3. Buy new costumes - And this one is way easier. 😂 Once I sell my old costumes, I'll have the money to buy new ones! It's good to rotate through costumes if you perform professionally, as I do, but I tend to buy a new one or two each year yet still not sell old ones. I buy them used in the swap meets to keep costs down, ;-) but all the same. 
  4. Find new workshops - I love doing this, so it's hardly a hardship! Last year, I took some workshops about an hour from me with a fantastic Turkish style dancer, and so this year I'd like to find a different focus to keep on branching out from my comfort zone.
  5. Cross-training - I took a modern dance workshop this past November, and it kicked my you-know-where, LOL! It was HARD. I've been studying the style of dance that I perform for a long time now, and so I'm not used to feeling uncomfortable in a dance class. But you *need* to make yourself uncomfortable sometimes in order to grow. Ballet and modern are on my list!
  6. Have pro photos taken and look into creating website - I don't know about this one, but it's on my list for a reason. No reason to not look into something before you have a slew of information to base your decision on. So, we'll see.
  7. Expand Instagram presence - I have a dance IG account that I really love, and it's a budding project, to be sure. I've been trying to use hashtags more frequently to find additional dancers to follow and vice versa, and will continue to work on this. 
Faith and Family Goals 2020

  1. Continue praying a daily rosary - This has been going well and I'm so pleased. I love praying my rosary in the car, and I've developed a new habit whereby I reach for my rosary whenever I'm in the car by myself. Loving it, and I'd really like to keep it up!
  2. Work with Anne in Magnifikid - Anne is going through that "church is boring" phase, and I'd like to experiment with a few ways to help her to understand and enjoy it more. She has a subscription to Magnifikid that she uses sporadically, but she's gotten back into it more lately. 
  3. Anne First Communion prep - This is coming up in 2020, can you even believe it?! I'm not sure what I'd like to do with her yet in terms of prep at home, but I'm looking for ideas. 
  4. Henry and Lent - With Henry being the age that he is right now, he's not exactly chomping at the bit to talk about spiritual stuff. Or anything else, for that matter. ;-) In the past, I've used Lent as an opportunity to have one-on-one time to spend with him and share a spiritual experience (Adoration, Stations of the Cross, etc). 
  5. Family Lent project - Lent will be big this year. ;-) But I'd like to come up with an almsgivng activity that we could all participate in.
  6. Not worry so much! - Easier said than done. I might as well just put this on every goal list from now until the year that I die.
This was a productive exercise for me. Did you create lists as well? Looking to share?

And finally, I'm all excited about my word for the year. I used the Word of the Year generator and said my usual little prayer about wanting to receive whatever word God wanted me to have. Are you ready? My Word of the Year is...

I LOVE THIS. It just fits so well with what I have coming up in 2020! I actually squealed when the result appeared on my screen. :-0

All right, this will be our last post until the new year, as I (and you as well!) will be busy over the holidays visiting with family and friends. I'll see you all in January, and I hope that you have a WONDERFUL Christmas and New Year's! *hugging*

Friday, December 13, 2019

Goals, dance-related and otherwise, for the new year...

When the new year approaches, I get all excited about setting goals and making a fresh approach to the things that I enjoy or wish to reignite. This year, the approaching holidays have really snuck up me, with Thanksgiving having been as late as it could possibly be. And so Christmas shopping is barely happening as of yet, and New Year's resolutions were not really at the forefront of all of the things I was trying to juggle in my little brain.

But this past week they came to mind again. I usually write every year about my adventures being hired to dance at restaurants on New Year's Eve. This year, many of the restaurants that often hire dancers are cutting back a bit budget-wise, and so I don't have a New Year's eve gig lined up like I usually do, which I'm super sad about. I look forward to those gigs all year, they're lovely. But we don't accept less than the going professional rate for our area (especially on a holiday!) and so sometimes you don't have a gig even though you'd otherwise love to have one. But it's part of the business, to be sure. So that got me to thinking that I'd like to create a list for myself of some dance-oriented goals for the new year, to cheer myself up a bit. And that got me to thinking that I'd love to also create a list of other goals for the new year: faith-related, fitness-related, family-related. I love lists, they make me feel very organized and in control, even when that is not actually the case. ;-) How about you? Do you enjoy making lists? Do you create a list of New Year's resolutions for yourself?

And so I'm creating a deadline for myself via this blog: by the end of next week, I will create these lists and share them with you. I'll also select a new patron saint for the blog for 2020, and announce that then, too. That's saint, dance, fitness, faith and family. Perhaps these correspond with lists you'd like to make as well, and we could give each other some ideas. I'm planning to post them next Thursday, so be on the lookout! If you'll be creating your own lists, leave a comment below. :)

Friday, December 6, 2019

A wintertime hygge reading list...

Hello all, and I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! (or just a nice week, if the holiday does not apply to your geographic location ;-)). Getting back into my routine coming off of the week-long vacation, I was feeling a bit melancholy on Monday morning, and setting up a strict to-do list for myself to keep on task. One of the things that I needed to do was write my monthly piece for Catholic Mom, and as would be expected given my sunken spirits, I was having a difficult time coming up with an idea for a topic.


So, yes, I had to think on it for a few days. 😁By Wednesday, I was *really* up against the deadline for the next day, and so inspiration was truly needed at that point.


That day, my team at work (those of us who are primarily teaching librarians) was putting together a few baskets for the annual auction to benefit a university-wide charitable effort. One of them had a "warm and cozy theme" and included things like fuzzy slippers, tea, big campfire mugs, and a copy of a book on hygge. Inspiration struck!


I'm familiar with the Danish concept of hygge from reading a memoir last year (recommended by my colleague who came up with the hygge basket idea!) and I absolutely loved it. That memoir is this one:

Hygge is the idea of enjoying cozy indoor time, spending time with the people you love. There are a lot of other ideas that go into this overall philosophy of happiness, including having an inviting living space and enjoying good food and drinks, but essentially it focuses on ways to thrive while being mostly indoors for the long winter months. And in Denmark, as you can imagine given it's location near the Arctic Circle, has a very long winter with significantly reduced sunlight. Yet, they are rated as the happiest country in the world! Intriguing, yes? I had been thinking about writing my Catholic Mom piece with a winter theme, and knew that a hygge tie-in would be perfect.

So, that's what I did, including a spiritual angle with a winter rosary connection, yay, and that piece will be published next week (I'll link it in the comments when it is live :)). In the meantime, I thought it would be pleasant to include a little hygge reading list here on the blog. I haven't done that in awhile! And the librarian loves her readers advisory, it must be said.

The book that was in our basket is this one:

Popped that right onto my Amazon wish list. I mean, look at that cover imagery. Makes me want to dive right onto my couch in my fleecy robe and slippers! As well as this one:

The cover art on this book also makes my heart so happy. Those blues, alpine green, snowy white, and the brown from the log cabin. In fact, looking at this picture gives me an idea for a blanket that I could make for one of our bedrooms! A hygge themed blanket. This stuff makes me so happy! 🤗

This book was also recommended quite a bit as I navigated my way through this happy rabbit hole:

As I read some articles online about hygge, this was the book I saw discussed the most, interestingly. I kinda want all three. Hoping for some Amazon love this Christmas, for sure. 😁 I've already set up a project page on Ravelry for the hygge blanket, ha! I don't even have the yarn for it yet. WHAT AN OUTSTANDING PROBLEM TO HAVE! 😃

This reading lists barely brushes the surface, but I think it gives us a nice place to start! Have you read any books on hygge or Denmark? Leave them in the comments to continue on with our list!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

St. Therese Thanksgiving Novena starts today!

Good morning friends! Our community-wide St. Therese Thanksgiving Novena begins TODAY! If you'd like to join along with us, all of the information that you need is below! I won't be posting the prayers to the blog daily, but today's post serves as a reminder to begin praying, and to pray each day through Thursday, November 28th.

Here is the link to the pdf of the prayers that you need! :-)

I am including day 1 below, but you can take it from here. If you would keep the intentions of the entire community in prayer during this novena, we would be most grateful. Know that we are all praying for you as well! You are welcome to join us in our Facebook group if you like, where we host weekly prayer threads, and where the novena prayers will also be posted daily for ease.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be back after the holiday with more lifey merriment, dance posts, novenas and more. :-)

Friday, November 15, 2019

First of our seasonal novenas set to begin next week!

TGIF everyone! The first of our planned community novenas is scheduled to start Wednesday, November 20th. And our gal up on deck is one of my very favorites, St. Therese!

We'll be praying the St. Therese Thanksgiving Novena, which is ever so lovely, and I had not heard of until my good friend Tracy directed me to it!

Link to Thanksgiving Novena prayers
Here's how this will work: I'll be posting a thread on Monday in our community Facebook group wherein people can add their intentions for the duration of this novena. If you're not on Facebook, you are welcome to leave your intention(s) in a comment to this post, and I can pop them in the thread over there so that everyone sees it. And of course, feel free to post "for a personal intention" if you do not feel comfortable revealing specifics.

On Wednesday, November 20th, I'll begin posting the daily prayers in the Facebook. I'll also put up a blog post on that particular Wednesday with the prayer for day 1 and also a link to the full pdf with all 9 days. After day 1, I'll only be posting the daily prayers in Facebook, it would be too tedious to do daily blog posts. But you'll have the link, so I would just keep that as an open tab on your browser or phone so that you can refer to it each day through Thanksgiving!

I think it is so lovely to pray together as a community, and to focus on the needs of others, especially at this time of year. I know that when my own intentions are clouding up my mind, my prayer time tends to get anxious (yikes!), but when I'm praying for the intentions of others, everything is all serenity and light. Win/win!

I hope that you will join us! *virtual hug*

Thursday, November 7, 2019

November/December novena plans!

We have actual prayer plans based on feedback that I received last week!

*praise hands*

I received the most votes for praying, as a community, the St. Andrew Christmas Novena:

St. Andrew Christmas Novena
This will begin on November 30th, and run everyday until Christmas, so it's not a traditional 9 day novena. It involves praying a short prayer multiple times through out each day. I will post a reminder before this starts! 

The next one is a totally new-to-me novena called the St. Therese Thanksgiving novena:

St. Therese Thanksgiving Novena
We will begin this one on Wednesday November 20th, and pray until Thanksgiving day.


I will post about each of these in detail before the novenas begin, but I won't be posting daily reminders or links to the prayers here on the blog, that would get messy in a hurry. If you're on Facebook (and I know Facebook has it's flaws, but it's an excellent way of keeping up with beloved family and friends), we have a community Facebook group wherein I'll be posting daily reminders and the text of the prayers. That's definitely an easier way of keeping up with the prayers if you'd like me to do a lot of the work for you! I'll also be creating threads in the Facebook group wherein you can post your prayer intentions for each novena, and we will pray for each other's needs!

I'm very excited about these! I've heard of the St. Andrew novena before, but I've never prayed it. Has anyone else prayed either of these novenas before? I'd love to hear from you!