Friday, August 7, 2020

Making a lovely milestone out of pandemic challenges...

Happy August, everyone! I was going to chat about crafty things today, after updating everyone about Anne's First Communion, but I decided to save crafts for next week, and devote this whole post to the big day last Sunday, and to assorted other Catholic, uplifty things. 


As I mentioned last week, I was grateful that Anne's school parish was able to reschedule First Communion this summer, and that we wouldn't have to wait any longer. But let's just be honest, the current coronavirus restrictions are a bit of a bummer. We understand why they are there, but any type of milestone this year has had a depressing cloud hung over it's head, and it's not always easy to deal with. BUT, Anne was able to be with 7 of her classmates at the mass, and also have her grandparents there, which was absolutely awesome. Dianne noted last week in the comments that focusing on the positives really helps, and she's right! There were a lot of positives about the experience. 

Anne in her dress and veil before mass!

The day was very humid (and we don't have air conditioning! :-0) but we managed to yank on our dress clothes fairly successfully and made it to the church on time. There were 8 first communicants, plus other members of the parish attending the noon mass. The mass itself was lovely, we were so glad to have our parents there, and there was a professional photographer present to capture a few moments with each young communicant, which made me very happy. The children were all able to receive the Eucharist for the first time in a beautiful and reverent fashion.

Social distancing photo op with Father

Afterwards, we were able to have our parents back with us to our house for pizza and cake, and it all went very well. Even though it wasn't the completely traditional experience I was looking forward to, I'm grateful that Anne has reached this milestone and that it went without a hitch. I think her preparation suffered a bit because of the pandemic, and I'm looking forward to working with her this fall and Advent to grow deeper in her faith. 

In other Catholic news, the Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena started yesterday, and I'm praying it with regards to discernment for the fall and the kids' schooling. I'm linking it here if you would like to join in! It'll wrap up on the feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe. 😍 If you have intentions for the novena, feel free to leave them below and we can all pray for each other!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Some musings as Anne makes her First Communion...

Hello all, and happy end of July!

*virtual hug*

July is my least favorite month of the year in terms of the heat, so I'm rather looking forward to August. What I'm *not* looking forward to in August is the school re-opening plan nightmare that is already unfolding and that is making me super anxious. But that is a worry for another day. :-0

I'll have another crafty post next week (with some exciting updates; 2nd completed doily and thread size comparison! Completed Steelers socks!) but this week I have 1st Communion on the brain, and thought I would wax reflective a bit. :)

Anne is my baby, and it's hard to believe that this will be my last child with whom to share this sacrament. I can't help but feel chagrined that it's happening during this terrible year that is 2020. There was no mommy and me retreat, no May Crowning at the school afterwards, no rehearsal at the church with the banner displayed that we made together, not even a completion to her preparation alongside her classmates. Even though I know that these things are not more important than receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, I can't help but mourn them. I won't have another opportunity to share any of those things with my own child. This has been a year of emotional losses such as these, and while there are other losses that are much, much worse, these still do incite a sense of sadness.

But I'm grateful that the school found a way, within the current public health mandates, to still offer the mass and sacrament, and to do so relatively quickly. I was fearful that the kids would have to wait until the fall, or perhaps into the next calendar year, before they would be able to receive. And we will have the opportunity for beautiful photographs, and to have Anne's grandparents all there. She'll be attired in her spectacular lace dress and veil, and she picked out sparkly rose gold sandals (there's a definite St. Therese vibe to the get up ;-)). We'll be able to celebrate with our small family group back at our home afterwards, and that is bringing me a lot of comfort. So I'm focusing on those things.

Anne is at an age where "church is boring," and I'm hopeful that receiving the Eucharist will begin to turn her heart towards a more mature (relatively speaking) form of faith. I'm praying about this non-stop, and her recent feast day makes me feel that God will answer this prayer. If you would all pray for her too, especially at noon EDT this Sunday, I would be so obliged!

I'll let you know how it goes next week! Until then, let's move forward into August with hopeful spirits. I'm also going to be penning a Catholic Mom article next week. You have any topics you'd like to see me write about? Chime in in the comments!

Friday, July 24, 2020

The kids gain a small sense of normalcy, and summertime crafting continues...

Hello all and I hope that your week has gone well! Ours here actually gained back a bit of a sense of normalcy with the kids having actual activities to do, yay! Henry has been working at his Catholic high school to earn money towards his tuition, and Anne has had Girl Scout camp, both virtual and one day of in-person. She's also back to her martial arts classes, in-person, and this is all helping her so much, as she was struggling with everything just being online. It's been more running around, ferrying the two of them places, but it has felt SO GOOD for them to have real socializing with their peers, and to see more smiles on their faces this week.

In other good news, twin baby robins have hatched in our backyard! We've been having such a wonderful time watching them grow. No pictures, as Mama Robin is very protective and is never far from the nest. Anytime we're back there, she's giving us the hairy eyeball from a perch atop the power lines. 😂 She and Father Robin also "escort" any other bird or squirrel out of the yard that happen to wander in. :-0 It's provided hours of entertainment out our back window, to be sure.

I've also been continuing my crafting quests, and made great progress this week. My mother-in-law's summer top is coming along beautifully:

I kind of want to keep it for myself, but I'll try and restrain. ;-) I'm on the second of Mike's Steelers socks:

And Dianne asked about how my crochet thread was working out, and so I rembered to post a photo of my very first doily!

Pattern is Simple Beginner's Doily, and is available for free!
I'm very pleased with how this came out! I did use one of the skeins that is size #3 thread (thicker than the others are at size #10), sort of a training wheels approach, if you will. Now I'm going to make one with the thinner thread. But this looks great on our table! Really brightens things up. I've never been particularly into doilies, they seemed lacking in purpose to me or something like that :-0, but I appreciate how they cheer up a surface. I think we could all use a little cheer this summer, yes?
I'm plotting lots of these for gifts, and also some cotton dishtowels and cloths. I'll post pictures as I make things!

In Catholic news, I'm currently finishing up the St. Anne novena, and my Anne makes her first communion next weekend! What I ended up doing last weekend was taking just Henry to Mass, and this weekend I'll take Anne. It's definitely an easing in process with the kids, after them being away from Mass for so long. But we're getting there. I tried to use the car ride to talk to Henry about faith stuff, and I'll do the same with Anne this Saturday. In this way I can single the kids out a bit for individual faith attention. Pray for me! :-0

How is your week going, dear reader? Chat with you soon!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Crafty summertime continues, and getting the kids back to mass...

Hello all!

*group hug*

I hope that your week went well. Things are good here, with the heat dying down, and everyone enmeshed in a new summer routine. It's been so hard on the kids being isolated for these months, and happily, each are starting to have more and more things to do. Henry has a summer reading list for school that he's working through, and he's signed up to do some work study at his Catholic high school next week, plus some service hours in early August. Anne has been attending the summer tutoring that her school is providing, and she has Girl Scout camp next week (mostly virtual, but with 1 day of distanced in-person archery, seems pretty natural in that environment, hee!). We also booked a family road trip in August that we're all excited about. It's still within our state, so not too far, but would provide an opportunity for hiking and some other historic site seeing in a place we've never been to before. We're also looking into a fall foliage getaway in the fall, which I have *always* wanted to do, and never have. It's SO NICE to have things to look forward to again!

I did go back to mass again last weekend. Father was away, and so it was a Communion service led by our deacon. There were more people there, up to just over 40 from 26 the week before, and while it all still feels pretty awkward, I can feel it getting a little better each week. I long for the day that we no longer have to do these things, and that the virus is no longer causing sickness and death, but in the meantime, I'm happy we're able to go back to doing the things that we love in some form. And my new missal is still totally rocking my world. :-0

This weekend, I plan to take the kids back with me. 😬 It's been awhile, and I know I'm going to encounter resistance and some sassiness, but it needs to be done. Please pray for us, and that the children long to receive Jesus in the Eucharist! Anne, in particular, needs to prepare to receive her 1st communion in a few weeks. I may take 1 kid this weekend, and 1 the next, so that we can chat and have some one-on-one time that may make for better catechesis as well as more willingness on their part.

In other news, my crafting fever continues unabated, and it has brought me so much comfort over the course of this lockdown. I think I mentioned that I finished my Journey shawl, but I finally wove in all the ends and blocked it:

SUPER pleased with how it turned out! And I finished a pair of socks for myself in a colorway modeled after BB8:

Pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks, available for free!

Cute, yes? I LOVE handknit socks. Granted, I don't really get to wear them in the summer, but come fall, my feet will be comfy and toasty! In the spirit of gifting, I cast on a pair for Mike in Pittsburgh Steelers colors:

they double as bublebee socks ;-)
I'm hoping that we still get NFL football this fall, but as with all things right now, we'll have to wait and see. My big project for holiday gifting, I have determined, is to make items out of crochet thread. I have never used crochet thread before, and have been bitten by the doily bug. :-0 So I'm thinking yes, doilies, but also coasters, placemats, other types of kitcheny items. I'm participating in a crochet -along for crochet thread, and as you can see, it has me all inexplicably excited. Who gets excited about crochet thread and doilies? Well, now you know. 😂

And so, armed with a coupon code and a gift card, I placed a small order for crochet thread:

Knit Picks Curio #10
OK, you know me by this point, so you are not surprised that I don't do things that I'm excited about in a small way, yes? :-0 I was overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous colors, it's not my fault! Holiday colors, check, but also autumnal colors, because OF COURSE, and then needed neutrals, and then colors that match kitchens...and well, you might as well just order the value pack at that point and call it a day, which is exactly what I did. The value pack was 20% off, and combined with the coupon code and the gift card, I paid $2, SCORE! This was the most fun I had opening a package in a long, long time. I also got some badly needed new sock needles, a tiny stuffed alpaca for Anne, and a few other skeins of sock yarn in wintry tweed colors that I had been eyeing. It was a good, good day.

Maybe I'll do a doily update post next week, because I have so many fun ideas for those, and there are tons of good free patterns out there! I know you're as excited about this post as I am. ;-)

That's how I've been keeping busy this July, how about you? Also, the St. Anne novena starts today if you'd like to join in! Feel free to leave prayer intentions in the comments. Mine is for my Anne's upcoming 1st Communion, please and thank you!

*another hug*

Friday, July 10, 2020

Returning to mass, and navigating a heat wave...

Hello all and happy Friday! I've had a week full of actual STUFF, shocking, I know. :-0 And I thought I would fill you in. Grab your coffee!

Yes, I'm still drinking coffee despite it being a thousand degrees here for the past week. OK, maybe not *quite* that hot, but it feels quite close to that. I live in a mostly cold weather climate, and thus a lot of people here do not have centrally air conditioned homes, including us. So heat is very unpleasant. And this week, we've set a record: 7 days in a row so far (today projected to be the 8th) of temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Farenheit, with yesterday topping out the week at 98. Around here, that might as well be the Surface of the Sun. 😂 We are blessed to have window a/c units for our bedrooms, though not for the rest of the house. Taking my dance and fitnes classes in our home office has been occasion of melting for me this week. It's kept things interesting, to be sure. We've actually fared pretty well until yesterday, when everyone just felt lethargic and vaugely ill all day. We've taken the kids out to places that do have a/c: the public library, local coffee shop, and also on a wooded hike to look for birds. It's actually been quite lovely in it's own way. A summer family adventure!

In other big news, I went back to mass for the first time since the pandemic started (nearly 4 months)! I went to the vigil mass, figuring it would be a pretty small turnout to test the waters, and I was right: even counting Father, 2 ushers and the music minister, there were 26 people present. And our church is HUGE. The restrictions were pretty much what I expected, and I think all are prudent at this time. In my personal opinion, I would rather have less tape on the floor and pews (I can ascertain how to stay physically distant from others without it) but I suppose I can see the other side of this, that the parish wants to assure they are doing absolutely everything they can. Everyone was wearing a mask, which is the proper course of things right now, and very doable for an hour.

After I sat down, I excitedly paged through my new missal and got the ribbons all situated. I had heard that some churches were not letting you bring in your own missal (and the paper missalettes are all removed from the pews, I think this is pretty standard everywhere right now), and I was going to be sad if that was the case for me, because I thrive in being able to follow along visually with the readings and prayers. Happily, bringing your own missal was not an issue at my parish.

Isn't it beautiful?! I set up my ribbons for the prayers of the liturgy and the readings of the day, one just to keep track of those wily Prefaces, one for the calendar, and the last one for the Proper of Saints. I was IN LOVE. I've subscribed to magazines like Magnificat and Living with Christ for as long as I can remember, or I've had the small annual St. Joseph's Sunday missal. This is my first daily missal, and it's sheer heft excites me. 😁

So, mass started, and while everything feels a bit awkward with the necessary restrictions, it was very, very beautiful. Receiving the Eucharist again for the first time in nearly 100 days was...emotional. I haven't gone without receiving for that long since I fell away from my faith in graduate school (and that was 2 decades ago!). The only part I didn't love was that we were rushed out of our pews to comply with the one-way markings for dismissal. When it was your pew's turn to leave, you literally had to leave, no lingering to pray for a few extra minutes. :-0 I could have lived without that, but nothing is perfect, and the parish is just doing the best they can to hold public masses while complying with necessary public health precautions.

I didn't bring the kids. I wanted to scope things out a bit on my own so that I can tell them what to expect. I'm also going to be honest and say that it's not going to be easy to drag them back to mass after not going for all of these months. They are at ages where "church is boring," and I get it, as that's exactly how I felt, too, when I was their age. So I'm working on that. I'm undecided as to whether I'll bring them this Saturday, or wait until next weekend. But we *finally* got word about First Communion, and Anne will be making hers on August 2nd!! I'm SO EXCITED, and so is she. I'm planning to use the weeks leading up to this to share tidbits with her about receiving to try and stoke her hunger to receive Jesus, and hopefully this will lead to a softening about attending mass again.

I've also been trying to keep my spiritual spirits up by delighting in my new St. Dymphna rosary!

Rosaries by Allison on Etsy
Isn't it beautiful? St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those suffering from anxiety and depression. St. Dymphna, please pray for us! In your charity, please keep my kids in your prayers that the Lord will light a fire in their hearts for their faith. Thank you!

Have you returned to in-person mass? If not, how is your experience going with the streaming mass options? How are you holding up in the July heat? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Christmas in July crafting begins, and preparation for the changes at mass...

Happy July everyone, and I hope that the new month is starting off well for you! Given our current situation, I see the start of a new month as an opportunity for a fresh beginning, and for new hope. It will also herald the return to mass for our family, which I'll circle back to.

Late June/early July always means that I start to think about crafting holiday gifts, and this year is no exception. If anything, being home more amidst the pandemic means that I'm thinking about crafting even more than usual! :-0 My current goal is to finish things that I have in progress so that I can begin working on a gift list. That means the Journey shawl that I've mentioned here a few times. And it is nearly done, save for a few ends to weave in, and blocking!

Pattern is The Journey via Expression Fiber Arts, yarn is the Journey Hues kit in Alpaca Silk DK  

Very pleased with this! I used nearly all of my yarn, so just fyi to make sure you get gauge if you decide to make this. ;-) It's *very* warm, a definite late fall/winter wear in terms of use. But so soft and cuddly to wrap in. As I was binding off, I was marveling at how large it was once it was freed from the needles!

I'm also finishing up a pair of socks for myself, and as soon as I finsh those, I plan to cast on for these:

Custom dyed NFL themed yarn in Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills colors for Mike, Henry and my dad. And so the gift knitting will begin!

Thus, we have socks. Those are on the gift list. Also, my mother-in-law asked for a cotton top that I have the yarn for and will cast on soon. I have a cabled cardigan for Mike that is partially complete and has been in my in-progress pile for something like 5 years. 😂 It's just a big undertaking, I tell you! And I'd like to make a few cowls for my grandmother and aunts that see on Christmas eve each year. So that's...3 pairs of socks. 1 top. 1 complicated cardigan. :-0 And 3 cowls. That's mangeable. I think? I'll post updates throughout the summer and fall!

One thing that made me smile this week:

I saw this series of seasonal songbird quilted totes in Anne's monthly issue of Birds & Blooms magazine. Yes, my 9 year old has a print magazine subscription, her mother is a librarian, after all. She and I absolutely love birds. So I went to the Bradford Exchange website and signed up to recive all 4. The first one came this week, and I have to say that I love it, and the quality is high. It's well made and thick, has a zip top and interior pockets, and has a detachable bird house charm. Only problem is that the price I thought was for the entire series of 4, is for a single bag. 😂 I could just keep this one and cancel the subscription for the rest, but to be honest, I think I'm going to keep the subscription. I need more smiles these days, and the size is perfect to tote my kntting and/or work supplies around in. So I can look forward to receiving a new bag every 2 months! The one above is the spring edition, and I'll receive summer in late August. :)

And so the other thing on my mind these days is returning to mass. I'll be honest, I'm trepidatious, because the sheer volume of restrictions and full on prohibition on socializing and interacting while at the church really depresses me. I understand, mostly, it seems to me that a lot of this is common sense, and as adults that have been living through this the past 3.5 months, we could be trusted to do the right thing without quite so much structure, but it is what it is. I did wonder if I should wait a few weeks before going back (the dispensation is in place for the indefinite future) just to give things time to settle in a bit, as I'm sure the first few weeks will be the most awkward with everyone getting used to it. But then I reflected on the fact that I haven't received the sacraments since mid-March, and told myself to stop being so stubborn. :-0 So, as requested by the parish, I emailed in my intention to attend the vigil mass, and we'll see how it goes! I'm sure it will be fine. Jesus is there, after all, and that's all that matters.

*group hug*

And I'm so excited to bust out my new missal!

St. Paul Daily Missal

How are you all doing this early July weekend? We started chatting last week about returning to mass, which I really enjoyed. If anyone has updates about their parish, I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Staying Connected with scripture this summer, and returning to mass...

Hello all, and happy Friday! Last week of June, hard to believe. But right now, I have to admit that while I don't want to wish my life away, getting past each month seems like a victory and a step towards (more of) a sense of normalcy. It's not totally normal, that's for sure, and I'm doing my best with it, as I'm sure you all are too.

One of the changes I'm having to navigate right now is returning to mass. Depending on where you live, you may have already experienced this, or you may be in a situation wherein you cannot yet physically return to mass despite your parish re-opening. It's going to be different for everybody here coming up, depending on your health and life circumstances. Our parish isn't re-opening until next weekend, and we just received the letter detailing all of the new changes to accommodate for the state restrictions. It's daunting to say the least, and I think this is how it is everywhere right now. Even though I completely understand why these changes need to be made, it's going to make our worship experience feel a lot different then we are used to. I'm wondering if perhaps daily mass might be more manageable for us right now, since Sunday will be more in demand? I'll have to see. But I haven't received the Eucharist since March, and I'm definitely feeling it! Have any of you returned physically to mass since your re-opening began? How is it going?

In other news, the Stay Connected Journals series has some new additions, and Our Sunday Visitor is having a sale right now, so I wanted to give you all the scoop! There are 3 new additions since the original three books debuted last year (my efforts being Exploring the Catholic Classics *halo*):

Becoming Holy, One Virtue at a Time: A Guide to Living the Theological and Cardinal Virtues (vol. 4)

Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust (vol. 5)

Make Every Day Blessed: Living the Liturgical Year (vol. 6)

I'm interested in all three of these, but especially the liturgical year volume! Right now, with code GOOD25, you can receive 25% off your order, and there is always free shipping from their website! I'm placing my order today, and can't wait to dive in! I'm thinking this is a nice way to keep up with my budding scripture reading this summer. Each journal provides relevant and relatable commentary, scripture assignments, study questions, and space for you to write your reflections and answers.


Are you doing any scripture study this summer? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, June 19, 2020

New books and new inspiration...

Hello friends, and I hope that you are well! We wrapped up Anne's school year this week, much to the relief of the entire family. :-0 I'm praying that the kids are back in school in the fall, and it looks like they are planning to make that the case. She needs a school environment in order to thrive, that definitely became clear during the past 3 months! So we now have two and a half months just to take it easy and not fret about school work, and that definitely feels good. Both of the kids are registered to go back to their Catholic schools in September, and we're just hoping that all goes smoothly!

I've been amusing myself by taking an introductory ballet class, and you can see my fancy setup here:


It's all very low tech in the dance studio of the Catholic Librarian, but we make do where we can! I'm really enjoying taking a dance form at which I'm a total beginner. Technically, I studied ballet when I was a child, but that was so long ago that it's essentially like starting over. Our session is being extended by another 4 weeks, so I'll be happily plie-ing in our guest room all through July. I've also been doing a lot of belly dance, but that's par for the course! There are certain commonalities between the 2 types of dance (posture, arms, long and graceful lines, strong feet, and connection with the floor) that I'm enjoying honing in ballet so that I can apply it to my belly dancing. I'm feeling quite inspired by it all!

In other news, my Word on Fire version of the Gospels arrived this week!

I'm loving it, and apparently these are nearly all sold out until the fall already! I'm hoping I don't regret not getting one of the sturdier covers (I went with paperback), but I absolutely love it. There are a few paperback copies left to purchase as of when I'm writing this, and I will say this particular paperback is much thicker and sturdier than usual! I just started reading the opening commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, and so far, I'm intrigued. :-)

I also made a purchase I can't believe I didn't already have:

I mean...this is perfect for me, right? How did I not already own this? :-0 The Catholic All Year Compendium has suggestions for liturgical home living for the entire year. My sister mentioned populating her new academic planner with the designated "meat Fridays" (that fall on solemnities) for the year, and I was instantly interested. We don't abstain from meat on Fridays outside of Lent, but when have you ever known your Catholic Librarian to shy away from a challenge? ;-)  Lots of good stuff in here, I'm excited to get started!

Do you have any new books or new inspiration this week? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Some Catholic uplifty things for June...

Hello all! Happy Friday to you, and I hope that you are doing well.

*group hug*

I've had a good week, truly. Henry is done with his school year, and Anne finishes today. Can I tell you that I have NEVER been so happy to finish a school year before? :-0 It was a tough year, not only because of unexpectedly doing it all at home for the past 3 months, but also because each of the kids went through some growing pains this year, with Henry transitioning to high school, and Anne getting used to being at school without him for the first time. But we made it!

This week, we've been talking about summer plans, which I'm looking forward to despite this particular summer looking quite a bit different than usual. We'll still carve out some nice time with the kids and with our parents. Both Mike and I will be working from home until the fall semester starts, so that will help out a lot with family time.

In Catholic stuff for June, the Pentecost novena that we prayed together really lifted my spirits. In that vein, and prompted by the Pray More Novenas site, I started the Sacred Heart Novena a few days ago:

I love the prayers associated with this novena. You repeat the intention that you are praying for, and your hope and trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, three times, and it just really lifts me up. You can easily play catch up if you'd like to join in!

Also, the new Word on Fire Bible (the Gospels) is finally available for purchase, and I've had my eye on this one! You all know how I enjoy collecting Bibles. :-)

This edition is GORGEOUS with full color artwork and lots of great commentary from Church Fathers. It's the Gospels, rather than the entire Bible or even entire New Testament, but I feel like this would make a nice travel companion when you want ot focus just on those. I'm definitely tempted to order a copy to read this summer! But the key question is what cover type should I pick? :-0 I'm thinking hardcover!

How is your June shaping up? Are you praying the Sacred Heart novena? I'd love to hear from you!

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!