Friday, June 5, 2020

Happy bursts of creativity, and summer reading mode...

Happy Friday everyone! Last week, I just...forgot to blog. :-0 That is very unusual for me! But my mind was actually pre-occupied by the creative projects I've been working on, and combined with the daily parts of our lockdown life that we've finally gotten used to (homeschooling, working from home, dance and fitness classes in our guest room, hee!) it just slipped my mind until Friday evening. But I'm happy to say that I have settled into this situation a bit better and my mind is often now in a serene and creative place, and so things slipping my mind lately are a result of that, and no longer related to anxiety and depression, which I see as a very good thing!

I've been crafting up a storm owing to the Knit-along and Crochet-along that I'm participating in, both shawls. They are both arranged in blocks, and as you finish each block, you post a photo in the Ravelry group and are thus eligible to win a prize. It's very fun! The Knit-along shawl is particularly spectacular, and is called The Journey:

Pattern is "The Journey" via Expression Fiber Arts

So far, I've knit the segments called Cabin of Complacency (see the little cabins in the green section?), and Forest of Fear (leaves are my favorite!), and am about halfway through the River of Doubt:


This is a very rewarding project to make your way through. The yarn is an alpaca and silk blend and is quite warm and heavy, so sometimes I have to put the project down depending on the weather. :-0 But I'm loving it!

The crochet shawl moves along very quickly, as crochet is wont to do. I have 4 of 5 blocks done. This one is called the Renata shawl:

"Renata" shawl via Expression Fiber Arts

I'm calling mine the Spring Blooms shawl based on the colors I chose:


I just have the light green final segment left to go, and I'm aiming to complete that this weekend! The details in each section are really delicate and lovely:



I've also been a busy bee with writing, and my Catholic Mom piece this month on summer reading list themes. Yes, themes. :-0 This summer, I'm reading lots of cozy fiction, and there is also an intriguing biography in there about a prominent Catholic author. Check Catholic Mom next week for all the deets! If you have summer reading plans, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Holy Spirit Friday, settle in for a short chat :)

TGIF everyone, and this being the Friday of Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., I have to say that I'm happier than I've ever been before about the long holiday weekend. I mean, I know that there aren't exactly a lot of places to go (though that is gradually easing; here it is easing a bit more slowly than in the rest of the country), and a big BBQ is not exactly in the plans, but there is still something inherently soothing about this particular weekend. It's a good time to reflect on a lot of things, and to enjoy your loved ones.

To that point, my biggest struggle in our current crisis is the way that it has led to our social interactions being significantly cut away. Despite being an introvert, I'm very social, and love talking to people! I'm grateful for modern technology that allows to chat virtually, but a screen does not replace actual human interaction. It's definitely taken a toll on me (and I expect most people) as we are well into our third month of managing all this.

This is a roundabout way of getting to the fact that I have felt very spiritually dry since this all began, and not being able to receive the sacraments certainly isn't helping. I was watching the streaming masses at first, and then...it's just not doing it for me. I mean, of course it isn't, nothing can replace receiving the Eucharist. But I know that many people enjoy the streaming masses. I just find it so difficult to concentrate on them, and next thing I know, mass is over, and all I can remember is the row I'm on in the shawl I'm currently knitting. It's a struggle, for sure. We're dispensed from attending mass, the streaming services are simply a way of trying to fill a gap right now, but for me, I'm finding that I need to fill the gap in other ways. My daily rosary is out the window since I'm barely in my car anymore (and you all know how I love to drive and pray the rosary), but I've been trying to focus on novenas more. They keep me centered and provide a sense of purpose in coming up with intentions for them and keeping track of the days.

I've also picked up my Great Adventure Bible and have been using the reading plan in the front to make a scripture study for myself each night before I go to sleep. There is a little spot to check passages off as you make your way through their recommended sections pertaining to salvation history, and though I don't get through an entire segment every night, within 3 nights I will, and so I check it off then. It'll take me longer than the suggested 3 months to make my way through the plan, but no biggie. If I read a chapter every single night, I am happy, and feel like I'm making positive progress towards a goal. This has been helping me A LOT. I'm really enjoying it.

So I'm doing the best that I can. It seems like public masses won't start back up in my diocese until late June or early July, so I just have to keep hanging in there. I'm mourning the loss of Anne's traditional springtime First Holy Communion (no word yet on that being rescheduled), and on Henry's altar serving days. The diocese has said that when masses resume, there will be no altar servers, and he was reaching that age when kids want to step down from doing it. This was probably going to be his last liturgical year. Those are small things, but with a lot of emotional resonance.

In the meantime, we have the Holy Spirit novena starting today, and I'm so glad that we'll be praying this one together! You can sign up with Pray More Novenas to receive the prayers in your email inbox each morning, which is how I'm praying it. I'll also paste the prayers for Day 1 down below. If you'd like to leave a comment with your intentions for the novena, we can all join you in praying for them!

Novena to the Holy Spirit - Day 1

Charity (tomorrow is Joy, we can all look forward to that! :-))

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil.

And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Charity within us. The great charity of all the the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit. Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints. Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord, Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Pentecost novena upcoming!

After considering some ideas based on my call out for novena submissions last week ;-) I decided to highlight the Pentecost novena! The timing on this is quite perfect, as it will start next Friday May 22nd, and run through May 30th - the feast of Pentecost is May 31st! I'm excited! I even have a Pentecost rosary all lined up  for it, hee hee. It's bright orange with a Holy Spirit centerpiece. 👼

So! What we'll do is that next Friday I'll put up a post with the prayers to begin the novena. I'll also feature a Holy Spirit themed post (of some kind, I'll figure the specifics during the week) and everyone can chime in with their novena intentions and Holy Spirit moments. :-)

I love praying community novenas! It cheers me up so much. So I'm looking forward to this. Be compiling your Holy Spirit reflections for use next Friday, yay. See everyone then!

*vitual hug*

Friday, May 8, 2020

Eyelash malfunctions, and need community novena ideas!

Happy Friday everyone, and I hope that you all are doing well on this May day.

*group hug*

May is one of my favoite months of the year, plus it has my baby's birthday in it, so that's helping to keep my spirits up. We're nowhere near being out of lockdown where I live, so it's been an endeavor to continue working on a new sense of normalcy in our household. I've been crafting a lot, as I've written about the past few weeks (and more to come, but I figured I'd give you all a crafting break ;-)), and dancing a lot. I had another online show last Saturday, in fact. It went very well, but as is so often the case with The Dancing Life, and with Clumsy Me generally, the instant I stepped out onto my "stage" (aka my living room) one of my new magnetic false eyelashes became dislodged. I spent the rest of my performance obsessing in my head over whether the eyelash set would fall off and stick to my face in some horribly awkward way (it didn't btw, but it was terribly distracting!). You know, these are the ways normal people spend their Saturday nights. :-0

I'll take that problem any day though! It was really fun. But I've also been trying to instill a sense of peace within myself of late by praying novenas. Novenas provide me with a built-in timeline and sense of structure and purpose, and I really love that about them. Currently, I'm praying the Our Lady of Fatima novena, and her feast day is coming up on May 13th. After that, is there any interest in praying a novena together, at the end of May or beginning of June? Maybe I could design a short series of posts on themes surrounding whatever novena we choose. I'm rather excited about this idea! Let's see, coming up we have Pentecost, feast of the Sacred Heart, the feast of Corpus Christi...

*thinking face*

If you have a suggestion, please do leave it in the comments! I'll decide next week and post about it then. :-)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Crafty times in quarantine...

Hello all! And we've made it through another week, I'd say that's a win at this point. ;-) Plus, we made it to May 1st! I have to admit, I'm a bit apprehensive about what this month will hold, but I do feel like we'll be a bit more emotionally prepared than we were in April. This is all positive news!

My family and I are also adjusting a bit better to our "new normal." In many ways, I feel like it'll be difficult to go back (which we've all been longing to do!) because it will mean a big change again, and the change is what I struggle with the most. But it's still an improvement over where we all were back in mid-March when this first began. The kids are much more adjusted to doing school from home. Henry, in particular, being a teenager, is completely fine. He's happy to sleep in, do his school work in his pj's, and socialize with his friends via the online games they play together. Anne, on the other hand, has definitely been suffering more. But we've been doing what we can for her to set up online things for her to enjoy, and she's doing a little better.

For my part, I've been keeping up with my dance and fitness classes, and I'm performing in another online dance show tomorrow. Although it all feels a bit weird, it's what we have for now, and I'm enjoying them in their own way. I'm trying not to think about what I miss about performing and taking classes in normal, in-person situations, because I have no control over that and I have no idea when that will happen again, so focusing on it only makes me unhappy. I'm doing what I can, and it's helping!

I've also been crafting up a storm. I mentioned this Breathe and Hope shawl last week:


...and I received the yarn that I ordered for it yesterday!

😎


This was all in support of National Local Yarn Shop day, and it makes me so happy to support that! Relatedly, the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was supposed to be this weekend (cancelled, of course), so it's going online this year, and one of their big vendors is putting her coveted, special festival colorways online. I partook in that too, naturally. ;-) I just joined the online festival group on Facebook, and am excited to experience a little crafty community time this weekend!

I've been working along on my Find Your Fade shawl, and it's about 85% done at this point!


That's the second to last color I just added in. I also started a new Crochet -along, and this is my first block:

Pattern is Renata and is currently free!
This is all contributing to my quarantine happiness, to be sure. *halo*

How have you been keeping busy in isolation this week? I think things will start opening back up in the next 1-2 months, and suddenly that doesn't seem as long of a time as it did back in March! We'll take it. I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Dancing publicly, but in my living room, and other quarantine adventures...

Hello friends, and TGIF? Maybe? It's so weird anymore, the week days and weekends don't seem as much different from each other as they used to, but we do what we can. I do prefer weekends still because I don't have to chase after the kids to complete their school work, but at the same time, without the structure of having some schoolwork to do, and really no place for them to go right now, it's difficult to keep them entertained for long. We're doing the best we can. We're going to all be home definitely through May 15th here in NY, and I'm expecting news in the next 1-2 weeks about the rest of the school year.

I had mentioned that last weekend I was invited to dance in an online show, which meant that I put on makeup (the first time in what feels like forever) including false eyelashes, pulled on a dance costume, put on ACTUAL JEWELRY, warmed up, moved some furniture, and then danced in my living room for hundreds of people to see. 🤣 It was a bit surreal, to be honest, but I have to say that I *really* enjoyed it! It felt SO GOOD to perform again, and having that performance to prepare for gave me a happy project and a sense of purpose for a solid week leading up to this. It went really well, and I was on a dance high all day on Sunday as a result. Monday left me with up and down emotions again just like every day since this nightmare began, but any little escape is a good thing right now, to my mind. I have another show May 2nd, and I'm sooooo grateful for this!

The other happy distraction I've been indulging in of late is my yarn crafting, and today I thought I'd share this fun little tidbit with you: this weekend is the traditional Local Yarn Shop Day, with lots of yarn shopping and little celebrations, which of course is not taking place in person like usual due to our current global health crisis. So this year it is being hosted online, with yarn shops around the country all sponsoring the beautiful shawl pattern pictured below from casapinka:


There is a list linked in the pattern page I posted above of participating yarn shops, sorted by location. If you purchase a yarn kit to make this shawl from them, they will email you a code to download the pattern for free this weekend. I ended up ordering a kit from Four Purls, a mint combined with a heathered gray called Raindrops, and I'm SO EXCITED. I'm happily awaiting my pattern download code this morning!

So that's what has been happening with me. How about you? Any happy distraction ideas? :-) I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

We all need our friends right now, even if we can't see them in person...

Hi all! This will be a quick check-in for the week, as if I'm being honest, things aren't so great right now. I'm worried sick about the kids, who are struggling mightily with being cooped up in the house all the time, and with zero routine or social interaction with anybody but us. We're all struggling with it, and there are no easy answers. This isn't to complain, just to say that my time is pressed quite a bit right now giving them the attention that they need. 

What I'd like to do is come up with a posting plan/theme for Easter season, and that'll take a week or so. In the meantime, my monthly post is up at Catholic Mom, and it really speaks to what is on my heart right now:


Even though I haven't seen my local friends in over a month, their presence in my life has been joy-giving to the utmost. Checking in with differnet groups of them each day has kept me sane and given me little smiles to look forward to throughout each day. It means the world to me.

I'm performing in an online dance show this weekend, that should be...interesting, and perhaps fodder for next week. :-) I'm not used to dancing for an "audience" in the middle of my living room, to be sure. But that's been a welcome distraction. In the meantime, hang in there, everyone. Each week perhaps I'll spotlight some small joy that we can revel in while we are at home? My wheels are turning, for sure. :-) Do you have any ideas for the blog community this Easter season? Drop them into the comments!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Strangest Triduum ever coming up, and just trying to hang in there...

A very blessed Holy Thursday to all of you. *hugging* I'm going to be honest and admit that this entire Holy Week has not felt like Holy Week to me at all. Being cut off from the liturgies is making me feel so disconnected, and well, depressed. I've been struggling. As have we all, I know. So I'm not expecting much tonight, as I know my kids won't exactly be all excited about watching all of these liturgies on TV (Sunday mass is hard enough), so I'm not sure what I'll be able to experience tonight. As the title of this post indicates, I'm just trying to hang in there. I did make two curbside pickups yesterday for Easter chocolate and handmade seasonal soaps and lip balms for the kids' baskets, which perked me up a bit.

I've also been working away on my Our Lady Star of the Sea shawl:



I'm now into the blue lace section as you can see, and will soon begin melting that color in with a blush pink! I also experimented with a new local farm share box this week, and I have to say, I'm quite pleased!



There are mushrooms in the paper bag, and potatoes underneath the bananas! They ran out of micro greens, so substituted in non-local bananas, but my family loves bananas, so this worked out well. We're very basic produce consumers, if that makes any sense, so this box is perfect for us. Lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, eggs, bell peppers, seasonal fruit...these are things that we eat in abundance. Lesser known vegetables are a harder sell. ;-)

Henry was busy with his online school work this week (which he is much more independent with, being in 9th grade), but Anne still requires quite a bit of guidance and intervention from Mike and I. Given that it's Holy Week, I chose to have her work on the banner for her First Communion, although our date for that has been pushed off, and we have no idea yet when it will be rescheduled. *sob*

My cutie pie

Finished product!
Besides knitting and crocheting, I am decidedly *not* crafty, and so these pre-cut out kits are a life saver for us! I also meal planned for the week:



Takeout this week is pizza from a local Italian restaurant, and you can see that our Lenten Friday meal is potato soup in the crockpot.


This isn't the exact recipe that we use, but it's very close. Instead of mashing the potatoes after they cook (???) I recomment using an immersion blender if you have one! Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and eliminate the bacon for the full-on vegetarian/Lenten Friday version!

How is your Triduum starting out, friends? What are you planning to do over the course of the next 4 days to keep our traditions alive at home? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Patience, and more meatless lasagna talk...

Happy Thursday everyone, how are you all doing? 🤗 This is week 3 of us all being home (it's likely something similar for you), and all I know is that we still have a long way to go. I'm just rying to hang in there.

And that's why I chose patience as our theme of the week. I don't know about you, but I'm struggling  mentally and emotionally with not interacting face-to-face with anyone outside of my household into the foreseeable future. But we must be patient. No matter what, Holy Week is next week, and Easter will come. Good things are on the horizon, we must just be patient.

Every day, I've been taking an online dance or fitness class via Zoom, and this has been a huge source of respite for me. I have come to really look forward to these times, and have a little area set up in our office/guest room for me to move around nicely in there. I'm trying to look at the positives of the situation, and one of them is that I have the opportunity to study with dancers whom I wouldn't be able to normally, due to location. So that's a big yay!

I've also been crafting during our family relaxation time in the evenings. I finished this mosaic crochet tote, which is a gift for a beloved friend!

Free Mosaic Crochet Tote Bag pattern!

The technique was new for me, and challenging at first, but once I got it, I really enjoyed it. I love the finished result! I also pulled some yarn out from my stash (and isn't this was yarn hoarders have been waiting for for YEARS, our accumulated yarn stash is there for us during the lean times 😍):

Expression Fiber Arts Oasis Camel Silk Fingering in "Weekend Vibes"

...and I had a lot of soothing fun with my yarn swift and winder:


...and last night I started this new shawl:

Pattern is Polygonia, from the spring 2020 issue of Interweave Crochet
When it's finished, it will coordinate with the dress that I have picked out for Anne's First Communion ceremony, though I now have no idea when that will even be. *sob* I'm also still working on the Our Lady Star of the Sea inspired shawl:

Pattern is Find Your Fade
...and am about to move into the lace segment for the aqua yarn. This has all been bringing me a tremendous amount of needed distraction and solace.

With the kids, we've been trying to work with them on their schoolwork as best we can. Last Friday, we took Anne on a field trip to a local historic cemetery to walk around. That sounds strange, but this cemetery is actually a landmark around here, it's quite vast and there are tons of walking paths. While cemeteries aren't normally uplifting places, this trip brought us all some much needed time outside in the sun, and peaceful time within our own heads. We also visited with some cute ducks there:


I'm really feeling for the kids, who rarely get out of the house these days. I know that this is what we're supposed to be doing right now, but it definitely isn't altogether good for children to be cooped up so much inside. I've been encouraging to go out into our yard as much as the weather will allow. Anne has also been able to participate in her Tae Kwon Do classes online via Zoom, which has been excellent.

As we near the end of Lent, our menus are uninspired (just don't have the energy these days), but they do still exist, and that's what counts:



The requirement to abstain from meat on Fridays has not been lifted in our diocese, and this week we're planning to grab some takeout fish fry from a local restaurant. This particular restaurant, however, also has a vegetarian lasagna option that got my wheels turning, since we had a fun chat in the Facebook group and in the post comments last week about lasagna and different cheeses. They offer a sweet banana pepper lasagna, and YUM, that's what I'm getting. :-) I'll be so curious to try this, and I found this recipe online for Sweet Pepper Lasagna if you'd like to try your own!


How are you holding up this week, my friends? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. *heart*

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lenten Theme of the Week: Steadfastness, and cheese lasagna for meatless Friday...

Happy midish point of Lent everyone, and let's have a group hug for making it this far, yes?

🤗

I'm keeping up with my 2 devotionals, but I'm letting myself take it easy with regards to staying perfectly on a Lenten timetable. Right now, our lives ARE LENT, so I think that simply by remaining steadfast and hanging in there, we're doing just fine right now.

For our part, we've all been trying to stay busy at home, our creativity flowing via online means, and still liking each other by the end of each week. ;-) Mike and I have both been working with the kids on their schoolwork, and also trying to get our own teaching work done from home. It's been a tough balancing act, for sure.

On the upside, I've been finding lots of time for crafting! My in-progress shawl is coming along very nicely, and I'm aiming to finish it to wear on Easter:

Pattern is Find Your Fade
I also received a few new rosary purchases, and am quite in love! First up is our pal St. Patrick, I love the pop of green this time of year!

St. Patrick rosary over at Rosaries by Allison

And the next is a 7 Sorrows Rosary, which is a totally new devotion for me, and it's perfect for Lent! You could also pray this without the specialty rosary, and just keep careful count. :-) This custom rosary though has medals depicting each of the sorrows, very handy!

Created by Rosaries by Allison
The 7 Sorrows of Mary are:

1.) The Prophecy of Simeon
2.) The Flight into Egypt
3.) The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
4.) Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5.) Mary Stands at the Foot of the Cross
6.) Mary Receives the Body of Jesus in her Arms
7.) Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

In our evening time, we've been watching the Lord of the Rings movies as a family. This isn't our first time doing so, but it's been a few years, so we're really sinking into them anew. And Anne didn't remember the stories particularly well, so they're almost like new to her. It's been nice to have an installment to look forward to after a long day of work, and I've been making popcorn for the kids to go along with it. Lord of the Rings has also been inspiring my crafting life:

Journey hues kit from Expression Fiber Arts

Yarn purchases and project planning has been keeping me sane right now. ;-) Also keeping me sane is the vast amount of dance and fitness classes that are available online now! I've been doing at least 1 daily, and it's helping to keep my creative juices flowing, along with meeting some of the items on my dance goals list for 2020! I'm getting to study with dancers that I would ordinarily not have the opportunity with, so I'm taking advantage of everything that I can.

In terms of meal planning, we're still at it:


We've been getting takeout 1-2 times per week from a local restaurant, and that's been another way of cheering ourselves up in the early evenings, along with supporting local businesses that are really suffering financially right now. For our meatless Friday this week, we're making a 3 cheese lasagna similar to this one:


Mike isn't a huge fan of ricotta cheese (believe me, I too cannot image how this could be true :-0) and when he makes this, he subs in swiss cheese. Unconventional, and I was skeptical, but I will say that it is delicious. And it is a perfect dish for a Lenten Friday!

How are you doing, friends? Do you need anything? How are you staying busy at home? Let's cheer each other up in the comments. :)