Monday, March 28, 2022

Discerning the future of the blog...

"pink rose" by Barbara is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Sooo, apparently for Lent I have given up posting on my blog. 😂 For quite some time now, I've been discerning how to move forward with my blog and/or whether to continue. Our landscape has changed so much technologically over the years, and people really aren't perusing the blogosphere the way they used to. I wonder to myself how relevant blogs are in our current world? In addition to that, between my job, my family, and my dancing projects, I haven't really had a lot of time to write. So that's what has been going on behind the scenes, if you will.

At the same time, I am still just as in love with my Catholic faith as ever, and I still feel that God is calling me to share it creatively in some fashion. I'm just figuring out exactly how. I've come to a place in my life wherein I know that I don't need to rush or push this, God will show me the path when He is ready for me to see it. So, I'm sure that something interesting is coming down the pike (have I told you about the new fascination I have with the Byzantine rite? No, I haven't, because I haven't had time to write a blog post, LOL! But there's some great fodder there!) and when I figure out what exactly God wants me to do, I will share it. In the meantime, I hope that everyone is having a beautiful and fruitful Lent!
This week, the mid-point of Lent, I'm challening myself to pray a Morning Offering each day. Do you have a favorite Morning Offering? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Lent in a Time of War

This Friday, our last before Lent (!!!), I have a post from my sister Shauna'h to share. 💜 I think we all have a lot on our hearts and minds as we approach Lent 2022, and Shauna'h has some beautiful resources to share with us. I'll be back with you soon as we journey through this pivotal season in our liturgical year. 


I had a much different piece planned for Life of a Catholic Librarian today. I was going to cheer you on as you plan your Lent and institute new prayer routines and visual reminders of your faith, just as Tiffany is. I was going to walk you through how my online program, Everyday Lenten Holiness, can help you form these routines and keep momentum with them to see you through until Easter Sunday and beyond. In some ways we will still talk about those things, but I couldn’t bear to cheerfully write to you while our collective hearts are shattered by the developing situation in Ukraine.

Lent is a time of drawing closer to God through prayer, sacrifice, and giving to the poor. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ's will more faithfully.”


Lent has suddenly taken on a new focus for me. There are areas of my life that I would like to clean up with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Many of my plans for what I will add in and take out remain the same, although others are developing differently. Perhaps you feel the same way, particularly in light of the Holy Father’s call to a “Day of Fasting for Peace” on Ash Wednesday. I feel helpless and, at times, hopeless as I watch events unfold in Ukraine. And I know that means it’s time to sink deeply into prayer and fasting.


Here are some ideas for bringing Ukraine into your Lenten goals and routines:


  1. Prayer:

    1. Novena for Peace in Ukraine

    2. Daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy and/or Rosary

    3. Offer your daily joys and sufferings for peace in Ukraine with a Morning Offering

    4. Daily Prayer to the Mother of God

    5. Pray for the dead

  2. Fasting:

    1. Fast one day per week, perhaps on Fridays alongside your abstinence from meat

    2. Abstain from an idea of food that you love, such as sweets, alcohol, etc., and offer up that sacrifice for peace in Ukraine

    3. Fast from a habit that is drawing you closer to sin, such as excessive use of social media that elicits anger or despair, and offer up that sacrifice. Replace this with a habit that draws you closer to God, such as reading a spiritual classic, listening to sacred music, or even silence

  3. Almsgiving:

    1. Donate money or goods to your local Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement initiatives

    2. Donate blood to the Red Cross

    3. Donate directly to organizations assisting in Ukraine


These are just ideas to get your mental wheels turning, but I hope you bring Ukraine into your Lent somehow. It feels unnatural to advertise on a day like today, but I want to encourage you to learn more about Everyday Lenten Holiness if that is something that speaks to you. It will help you discern your Lenten goals in alignment with God’s will, and then translate those into realistic routines. Everyday Lenten Holiness includes:


  • Self-paced audio, video, and text-based lessons with simple and practical ways to integrate prayer into your days

  • Action Guides for tackling prayer in each core time of your days and weeks

  • Video crash course on how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours

  • Virtual prayer corner with various options for live-streamed Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, prayer, and ambiance for your prayer times

  • Community support and accountability through the process of changing your environment and mindset about making space for God

  • Three weekly accountability challenges to keep you on track with your Lenten goals: the first week of Lent, Laetare (4th week of Lent), and Holy Week

  • Holy Week intensive to end Lent on a high note

  • Easter Octave suggestions to keep and deepen your Lenten growth and habits through the Easter season and beyond


You will develop the confidence to trust God and to trust yourself to implement change. I want to help as many women as possible, particularly in light of world events. You can use coupon code UKRAINE for $30 off the course and lifetime access to the materials, so you can explore them outside of Lent, as well. Enroll by Ash Wednesday to kick start your Lent with the support of your fellow sisters in holiness. 


Thank you for the opportunity to share your space today. May God bless you, and may God bless the people of Ukraine.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Holy Reminders & Lenten Planning

 

Hello friends, it's good to be back with you again! We're nearing the end of Winter Ordinary Time, which excites me greatly, because I know that that heralds the start of Lent! I look forward to this immediate pre-Lenten time every single year, because it means that I get to think about and organize my plans for Lent. 

😍

I *love* Lenten planning! This does not mean that I necessarily succeed on all of my Lenten goals each year, but the endeavoring to try keeps me going! I like to have a combination of devotional goals, abstinence goals, and almsgiving. Keeps things interesting. ;-)

So coming up here for Lent, I will design some sort of series with Lenten themes, I live for this stuff. 😎 I'll plan it all out before the end of February. Ash Wednesday falls on March 2nd this year!

🙌

As the time approaches (and it feels like we have a longer time to marinate in it this year since all of February can be devoted to prep time) I'm happily coming up with ideas and trying things out. I've got a few new devotional items that are helping to keep my mind attuned to All Things Faith-Filled that I thought I would share with you. I have a new icon devoted to the Lenten season that I hung near our kitchen table (so much fun meatless Friday planning to come!)


The kitchen table is also where I do a lot of my work from home, so the placment lifts me up there, too. Oh! I think I forgot to show you this before, but when I'm working in my office, I have this new Christ and Theotokos set to lift me up:

Icons all from Legacy Icons

These are in the extra small size, and they're truly perfect for tabletop use. The other adorable thing that has been lifting me up lately is this delightful mini home altar from The Catholic Woodworker:


Isn't it just divine?! It makes me so happy to see these reminders of our faith as I go about my daily activities, and lately it's reminding me how close we are getting to embarking on our Lenten journey for another year!

Have you started planning for Lent yet this year? What kinds of holy reminders do you have out on your desk or other work space? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Word on Fire illustrated Bible...

Hello all and happy end of week! It's SUPER chilly in my part of the world, and I'm tucked up cozy with Barney as I write this. 

*blissful sigh*

I get very inspired by the starkness and freshness of winter, and this year is no exception. I'm thinking ahead to Lenten planning (doesn't start until March this year, so still plenty of time!) and getting so excited! In the meantime, I'm enjoying the slowness of this particular part of Ordinary Time and just savoring small joys as they roll in. Related to my last post, I added a Great Feasts icon to my home icon wall, and a small and *adorable* Christ and Theotokos chapel icon set to my desk at work. I'll post photos next time as I forgot to photograph the desk set in particular, and those are just spectacular! 

I've also been allowing myself to read more this winter, and just enjoy some of the books, both fiction and non-fiction, that have been sitting on my Kindle for a long time, awaiting my attentions. One of my New Year's resolutions was to be more active on GoodReads again, keeping track of books that I'm actively reading and those that I would really like to get to in the near future. (I enjoy inspiration romances, romantic suspense, religious non-fiction titles, fitness and dance memoirs). This has helped me to stay focused on making steady progress with books, rather than allowing days to go by without reading at all (or, a single minute of reading in bed on my Kindle before my eyes drift closed). One of the things I'd like to examine for Lent is to select 1-2 non-fiction Catholic titles on my bookshelf and dedicate myself to finishing them before the end of the season. Selecting them will be the most fun!

In that realm, I got an email earlier in the week that the long-awaited new Volume II of the Word on Fire Bible was ready and available for purchase, this year it's Acts, Letters and Revelation:


I learned my lesson from last year (the Gospels) and immediately braced myself for the cost of the leather bound version, because I know now that that is what is want. :-) And there is a GREAT bundle available to purchase both Volume I and II! My order is in, and was shipped yesterday. 🙌

This will be a lifetime project to get through, to be sure, but I'd like to pick it up regularly over Lent. *quiet squee* I cannot wait to structure out my reading plan! I believe that the next volume, for 2023, will be the Pentateuch, so exciting. 

Any other Word on Fire Bible fans here? How have you been approaching reading with yours? Each evening or some other system that you have? I would LOVE some ideas as we approach the start of Lent 2022!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Icons and Eastern traditions...

 

Hi friends, and welcome back to blog following the 2021 holiday season! :) I've decided that what I'd like to do on this blog going forward is to post with seasonal themes as regularly as I am able. This time of year, I am often inspired by Winter Ordinary Time, in this space between the Christmas season and the beginning of Lent. Each post will feature something that I'm feeling particularly inspired by this year as we journey through winter towards Ash Wednesday. As ever, I delight in hearing what you're working on during these seasons in your own life down in the comments! 

One of the devotional items that has really captured my imagination this year is Eastern style iconography. I first learned a bit about Easter Orthodox spirituality via reading Facing East, by Frederica Mathewes-Green, a number of years ago. Since that time, one of my good friends joined a Byzantine rite Catholic parish, and this has really captured my fascination to learn more about the Eastern traditions within our faith. She shared a photo with me of her home prayer corner, and the icons truly fascinated me. I went on a bit of a research and shopping expedition of my own over at Legacy icons (a beautiful Orthodox company) and have added a bit to our home artwork:

 

Gorgeous set of Christ and the Theotokos 😍

I also purchased a small icon of the Baptism of the Lord, called Theophany in the Eastern tradition, as my and Mike's wedding anniversary right near that feast each year:


They had a sale recently, and I picked up a few others for my office. ;-) A smaller Christ and Theotokos (means Mother of God/God bearer) set for my desk, and a large icon of all the Great Feasts: 

  • Nativity of the Theotokos, 
  • Exaltation of the Cross, 
  • Entrance of the Theotokos, 
  • Nativity of Christ, 
  • Theophany, 
  • Presentation of Christ (Candlemas), 
  • Annunciation, 
  • Palm Sunday, 
  • Resurrection of Christ, 
  • Ascension of Christ, 
  • Pentecost, 
  • Transfiguration of Christ, 
  • Dormition (falling asleep) of the Theotokos.

I have to say, I am quite fascinated by the Eastern tradition, and I absolutely LOVE icons. Just looking at the Christ and Theotokos set in our bedroom makes me feel so comforted and happy. Icons are artistic representations of our family of faith in heaven, and their presence is such a solace to me. 

I am also loving learning more about the Eastern side to our faith. Given my attachment to our Latin rite traditions, I don't see myself ever officially changing rites, but continuing to learn more is bringing me a lot of joy, and I plan to attend a Divine Liturgy for the very first time this month! 

Have you ever attended an Eastern Divine Liturgy? Do you own any icons? Or are there other devotions you're focusing on this winter? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Quiet Advent joy, and some blog re-freshening for the New Year...

 

Happy 3rd Week of Advent everyone! (I know my photo is outdated, but I forgot to take one this week. :-0)  How is your Advent going?! Mine is going quietly well. We're busily Christmas shopping and prepping our holiday menu over here. Work is nice and quiet, both kids are doing great, and we're all looking forward to spending time with friends and family this year. The O Antiphons start today, and I'm so excited to bust out my breviary later to have some prayer time! I haven't kept up with morning and evening prayer as much as I would have liked, but I have prayed them on Sundays, plus I have kept up with the daily devotional I chose for this year. 

Over my holiday staycation, I'm also planning some lovely crafting time, lots of couch time with Barney curled up watching holiday baking shows while sipping coffee, and preparing for some upcoming dance shows! I'm very, very excited about all of this. :) Speaking of Barney, he is the focus of my December piece for Catholic Mom. ;-)

I've also been doing a bit of planning with regards to this blog. I've been finding myself forgetting about it some weeks, in the fray of teaching and parenthood, and contemplated whether that meant that the time had come for me to cease blogging. But I ultimately decided that although daily (or currently, weekly) posts are not necessarily in the cards for me at this point in time, I want this blog to continue on. 

I think what I'd like to do is plan some series in the new year, which is the type of thing that excites and inspires my creativity the most. It also keeps me accountable to not only posting with regularity, but to the spiritual goals we are trying to achieve together, a win/win! So I'm thinking: 

  • New Year's Resolutions and Winter Ordinary Time.
  • Lent. Book club perhaps?
  • Summer with the Saints.
  • Liturgy of the Hours. That could work for Lent, or perhaps Summer Ordinary Time. 😀

And in addition to that, I'll post when I feel inspired to share something, which is how I think blogging works best for both author and reader. Would you agree?

What are you looking for in a blog in this post-blogosphere universe? I still think blogs have their place for avid readers, but the landscape has definitely changed. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Thanksgiving, Advent 2021 begins, and lots of puppy snuggles...

 Hello everyone, and happy Advent 2021! I always LOVE and look forward to this season and a fresh start to our liturgical year, and this year, I have a brand new Advent wreath and candles! 🙌

Wreath is from Vermont Christmas Company

Our old one was porcelain, and various nativity scene members had lost limbs over time, so I thought the time was nigh to procure a new one. I did keep the centerpiece with the white candle for Christmas day from that set though, I always loved that, and don't see it in most Advent wreaths!

Besides decorating for Advent, we spent a lot of time just hanging out together and having fun cozy time over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 🥰

Matching family and doggie jammies are from Muk Luks :)

Because who doesn't want to match their dog, am I right? :-0 Of course, I also did a little Black Friday shopping, one of my favorite pasttimes. ;-) And look what just came from Sock Religious!

3 Wisemen socks

I also have nativity socks and liturgical year black dress socks on the way. 😎 Definitely check out their seasonal offerings, such fun! And new cozy socks were especially helpful this week, when I was laid up for a few days:


Lots of knitting, Barney snuggling, and binge watching of Holiday Baking Championship on The Food Network. 😂 It was all quite delightful. 

How is your Advent starting out, everyone? So far, I'm keeping up with devotional reading and absolutely loving it!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pre-Advent preparation and anticipation...

 

ooo, it's getting to be late November, friends, and that means that Advent is imminent. :-0 I posted last week about the new Advent devotional book I'm using this year, and I.Am.In.Love. 😍 It's based on an Eastern model of a 40 day fast leading up to Advent, so the readings begin on November 15th. The very first reading is about the history of his tradition in the East, and from that moment on, I was captivated. This little book is so delightful, detailing the rhythms of life in a monastery throughout autumn leading up to Advent and beyond, and the vibe it gives is so incredibly peaceful and soothing. I highly recommend it! I purchased the print copy, but you could easily download this instantly to view on your Kindle or Kindle app on a device of your choice!

In other fun Advent prep news, sign up today for Shauna'h's amazing free Advent prep workshop! The live workshop is tomorrow, November 20th, but there are also ongoing tools included, like a digital calendar and weekly planning emails. You can also sign up for her email list to assure you don't miss any of the details of any of her projects focused on the liturgical year. 😎

For my part, I'm busily searching for a new Advent wreath, and contemplating an order for seasonal incense and icons for our special Advent prayer space. 😁 The devotional really has me inspired on an Eastern theme!

How are your Advent plans coming along? I would love to hear about them in the comments! I will be on Thansgiving break next week, but I'll be back with you the first week of December for an Advent week 1 recap!

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Monastery Journey to Christmas...

 

Happy Friday everyone! I'm having such a lovely November, and hope that you all are, too. 😊 The intense weeks of my teaching semester are over, and I'm into Happily Anticipating The Holidays Mode. :-0 Even though I enjoy teaching, it's always a relief to get to this point of the semester. It's hard to really focus on other things with my daily schedule that tied up, and it's nice to have more of a balance back. I've been enjoying time with family, more crafting time, and preparing for upcoming dance events! How is your November going so far?

This week, my monthly piece went up on Catholic Mom, and this month I chose to discuss planning for upcoming Advent devotions and traditions. Someone left a comment recommending the Advent devotional that they use year after year, and it got me so jazzed, I immediately ordered a copy for myself! This is A Monastery Journey to Christmas, and check out this description:

Based on the ancient Christian tradition of meditating throughout the 40 days before and after Christmas, this small monastic book follows the rhythm of the Advent and Christmas journey as it takes place in a particular monastery, a place as small and tiny as Bethlehem itself. This book offers a meditation based in a liturgical, biblical, traditional, or literary text for every day from November 15th to January 13th and then February 1st and 2nd.

Best-selling author Br. Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette will help you fill Christmas with moments of quiet prayer. Experience a deepening faith while awaiting in joyful expectation for the Savior's coming.

It starts November 15th! 🙌 This is apparently an Eastern custom, and if anybody has the full scoop on the background of this tradition I would love to learn about it! But I love the focus on monastic living tied into the Advent theme, and I'm soooo excited to use this this year! I couldn't order it fast enough, the Amazon Prime truck delivered it just a few days later. 😁 It's also available for a few dollars cheaper as a Kindle download for anybody that is hankering to start with me on Monday!

Do you have your Advent devotional for 2021 all picked out and ready to go? I'd love to hear about which one you're using in the comments!

Friday, November 5, 2021

A very Catholic Hallowtide, as we move closer to Advent...

Happy Friday everybody! My crazy teaching schedule is finally winding down (I had classes all morning and afternoon last Friday, hence my lack of posting) and I have to say that I am very relieved. I love teaching, but the intensity of the schedule tends to tire me out after a spell. I have just 3 classes to go early next week, and then I have a break until the spring semester. Really looking forward to that, and to the upcoming holiday time! 

In the land of the Catholic Librarian household, we had a lovely Halloween weekend!

*just tried to find a pumpkin emoji, but apparently Blogger doesn't have one :-0*

This is our first Halloween with Barney, and we were so excited to share it with him! He really got into the Halloween spirit:


Can't you tell by the look on his face? ;-) That's just his Always Face though, our Barney is a very serious dog, even when he's really happy! See?


We didn't take him out trick or treating, he stayed home and hung out with Mike and Henry dispersing candy. I went out with Anne, and also her good friend Ruby. It was lovely seeing the girls have such a good time together!

Mike and I did dress up, but not on Halloween proper, we did the night before for a party we attended. 


I don't think we look that much different than our usual selves, but we had fun. 😂

For my part, I *really* enjoyed praying Morning and Evening Prayer starting on Halloween night for the Hallowtide celebrations. Shauna'h talks about this in her blog post here, and I joined her Instagram Live sessions whenever I could to pray along, or caught the replay whenever I couldn't. I absolutely loved learning more about the ancient prayers and traditions of these 3 days (beginning on the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and going all the way through the feast of All Souls), and I prayed the Office for the Dead for the very first time! It was all so soothing and lovely, and it motivated me to start really making plans for Advent! Speaking of Advent...

I need a new wreath. This is an issue of critical importance to my life. 😆 Advent traditions are some of my favorite of the entire year! Do you have an Advent wreath that you love? All links welcome in the comments! In the coming weeks as we get closer to the feast of Christ the King, we can make some additional Advent plans together!