Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #42 - Sprucing up the podcast, & book club ideas!

Well hello there, my friend! Time for this week's installment of:


This week I talk about some ideas I have for sprucing up our Tea Times together, and finally get around to talking about the book club. If you're a reader and want to read along with me throughout the year, please do listen in, and then write in with your suggestions!




**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
  • Catholic Book Club. I've updated this page a bit to reflect what I discuss in the podcast, but I need your help to completely settle on how I'm going to approach this from here on out! Remember, we're in this together, so let me know what you think. :)
  • Divine Mercy for Moms. This will be our spring book, and the first we'll approach from the new format we devise together. I already have a copy, and would LOVE it if you'll read along with me! 
  • I didn't think of this while I was recording, but what would you think about voting on future books so that we could pick out what we'll read together?
Thoughts, thoughts! I need them. :) Write in with your bookish ideas, dear ones!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Crafty Wednesday: It's lacy scarf & shawl season

It's usually a "happy Wednesday!" to you all, but this week is a bit of an exception. ;-) It's a busy day, complete with early reference shift and an English Composition class later in the afternoon, during which I'll be observed by one of my colleagues who wants to get into teaching, so you know - PRESSURE. :0 It'll be good, just not a relaxing day.

I was dwelling this morning as I readied for work on what I wanted to write about today. To be honest, a myriad of ideas popped into my head. Some are more personal, some are more of a religious nature, some are complete humorous fluff (but we all enjoy those, don't we? ;-)). I went with crafts, because I know some of you out there are also crafty and like such updates, and plus I'm still sorting through all of the other stuff I mentioned. It's "heavier," if you will.

Inside Tiffany's Brain: The True Story

Everything else will filter out over time, trust me. So here we are in this first glorious week of Easter, and I've been enjoying preparing for the upcoming summer shawl and scarf season. This is dependent upon your climate, to be sure, but I LOVE all manner of wraps and neck-wear in the spring and summertime. The weather can be unpredictable around here, and when the breeze picks up, I love the touch of warmth these provide. As well, when it's hot outside, but the air conditioning is alive and kickin' on the inside, these are perfect so that you don't freeze your giblets off.

Our first contender is a lacy scarf, crocheted from an absolutely *angelic choir inducing* silk yarn base from the always fabulous Expression Fiber Arts:

Pattern is Panda Silk Spider Lattice Scarf, and is available for free!
Expression Fiber Arts is my new Yarn Kryptonite. I am powerless against her merino and silken wily ways. And the colors!

*swoons!*

This one is from her January yarn club, which had a snow and ice theme, and the colorway is called "Ice Crystal." It positively glows and is absolutely magnificent. After I wound it from a hank up into a ball and began chaining my first row, Mike peered over at it sitting innocently on the table beside me:

"What is that yarn over there? Is it new?"

I froze. Mike says nothing about my yarn stash, because he knows that I use and enjoy it. But the less he knows about how much is actually IN it, the better. :0

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

*paranoid*

"It's so pretty!"

He really said that. This is why I love him so much.

"Oh thanks! Yes, her yarn is really special. The colors are just so saturated and rich."

*I take a sip of my Chardonnay*

"What are you making with it? Socks for me?"

*promptly choke on sip of Chardonnay*

"Sorry darling, no."

It's not possible to love someone THAT much. ;-)

My other ongoing project is also crochet, and it's the infamous Downton Abbey Mystery Crochet-along shawl. I have been zooming right along on it, and am currently on Clue 7. Here's my progress:

Lookin' good in the fall Hayride colorway!
I just have a few rows on the edging left to go in order to finish up both Clues 7 and 8, and I do love the result. The pattern has been a bit of a pain in the tuckus, but I have persevered and I am glad that I did. If any of you are working on this version, feel free to message me if you run into difficulty. I've troubleshot a good number of issues with the pattern. A little bit of swearing was involved, but it's all worked out now, so we're golden. :0

How are your crafty projects going, dear readers? Do write in and let me know! I've also got a bunch of fun stuff swirling around in my little head for summer projects (generally, that is, not just crafts!), and I'll touch upon those on Tea Time tomorrow. Join me!

Monday, March 28, 2016

A blessed & contemplative Easter, and reflections on the impact Mother Angelica had on my faith life...

A beautiful (but dreary skies) good morning to you all on this Easter Monday. *heart* I know, I know, my schedule has been all wacky lately. I'm back to my usual teaching schedule and yet I'm blogging on a Monday. Why, you reasonably ask? Well, I'm *making* time, because I have a lot on my heart this morning, and when that happens, I simply HAVE to write about it.

I'll start back with the Triduum and work my way forward in time, if that's OK. Grab your tea. :)

I was able to attend all of the Triduum liturgies at my parish, and it was SUBLIME. I was mostly solo this year, aside from the Good Friday service which Anne attended with me, and then Easter morning when all four of us attended as a family (bliss). So it gave me a lot of time for prayer and thinking.

 On Holy Thursday, I was sitting in the pew and teared up when the Gloria began for the first time since back in Ordinary Time. I spent some time by the altar of repose after the Mass, thinking about how quickly life goes by, and how grateful I am for my own. And on Good Friday, with a very active Anne squirming around in the pew with me, I was humbled beyond measure when we returned to our seats following the veneration of the cross:

"Mommy, I didn't get a turn! I want to kiss Jesus too!"

"Oh! I didn't know you wanted a turn too, Honey. The line is rather long right now, but when the end comes closer to us, we'll slip in the back of it, OK?"

"Yes. That's our chance, Mommy."

I mean, did you ever? SO.PRECIOUS. I just couldn't stand it. And indeed, when a break came in the line, Anne hustled me up for her chance to kiss Jesus.

And then came the Easter Vigil. It's just...

*tears!*

We didn't even have any Catechumens receiving the sacraments this year, and that's when the waterworks REALLY come out! But even still, that liturgy just brings me to my knees.

My parish, just after the Easter Vigil concluded.
I arrived early, so that I could finish praying my rosary before Mass began. Excitement is always in the air during the preparation for the Easter Vigil, and I wanted to be a part of it. Indeed, as you can see from the photo, Father starts the fire INSIDE our church, lol! We live in WNY. It's COLD here frequently for the Easter Vigil. And this year was no exception, a biting wind howling outside.

When the procession began from the back of the church with the Easter candle, all of us lighting our candles from that one, the church completely dark aside from those little flickering flames, I couldn't help but think of... all of you. I thought about each of you who has reached out to me over the course of the past year or so via the blog or email. I also thought of my Twitter community, who I cherish so deeply. Just before the vigil, I was tweeting with a friend who may be coming to WNY to visit family this summer, and so I may get to meet him in person! (BROTHER JOSEPH!! :0)  A few of our mutual friends joined in the string, and several of them had all met in person prior to this, and thus we were comparing notes as to who has met who in real life.

And so all of you were on my mind and heart as those little candles increased in number, and the Exsultet began. As anyone who has attended the Easter Vigil knows, the Exsultet is, ahem...LONG. ;-) But beautiful! And standing there with my small candle, I thought about how close I felt to people who are geographically very far from me. But we are all united together in the faith, and in our prayers. We are the Church Militant! And I feel SO BLESSED to have you all as a part of my life. So then I cried again, about that. :0

#SoEmotional #GodBlessMyPatientHusband

Easter morning we hid baskets, ate chocolate, and headed to 10 am Mass as a family. An absolutely beautiful day followed, including an egg hunt and a dinner that we hosted for our parents, complete with a preparatory tornado session of me spring cleaning the house. ;-)

Yesterday evening after our company left, all of the dishes were washed, and the kids were in bed, I sat down to lose myself in my Twitter feed for a short respite. Immediately, I saw that Mother Angelica had passed away.

Mother Angelica, to sum it up in two sentences, is very important to me. She was also, in the years before social media came and blessed us all ;-), partly responsible for me coming back to my Catholic faith and feeling a part of the global Church.

So I saw the article, and everyone talking about it on Twitter, and then I started crying again. Do you see a theme here for this Easter season? :-)

Mother Angelica was one of those people that lived during my lifetime, but whom I never had the opportunity to meet in person, yet had an enormous impact on my life. When my spiritual life was at its' lowest, and I saw an Advent candle icon on the corner of my television screen on EWTN, it evoked a strong emotional reaction in me toward my childhood faith. I count that moment as critical in my reversion back to the Church. And that moment happened as a result of EWTN. And EWTN happened because of Mother Angelica.

I started watching the evening shows: "Mother Angelica Live," "The Journey Home," "The World Over," and "Life on the Rock." By watching those, I felt a part of something larger. There were *other* people out there who loved the Lord and who loved their Catholic faith. And by watching those shows, recorded live, I felt like I was a part of it in some small way. I felt part of a *community.* Long before Facebook and Twitter, this provided meaning and depth to me in a way I couldn't articulate back then. I just knew that it was terribly important to me.

Now, I can see how this has all come full circle for me. My community here and on Twitter feed my desire for fellowship with our larger community of faith. But EWTN got that all started for me at a time during which I needed it the most. Just prior to that, I was headed down a dark path. If that small seed of faith within my heart had not been reawakened, who knows what would have become of me.

I absolutely loved Mother's joyous laugh, her sense of humor, her ability to seemingly put everyone at ease and have straightforward, off-the-cuff conversations with them. Her faith made mine come back to life. I will always be grateful to her for that.

And so, with the rest of her global community of fans, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, I mourn her passing. The poignancy of her death coming on Easter has not gone unnoticed. I miss her already.

How about all of you? How was your Easter? And do you have any memories of Mother Angelica to share? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #41 - Special Holy Week edition!

All! So nice to be with you on a special (rushy rushy! though not in terms of length ;-)) Holy Week edition of:


Today I talk about adventures with my kids in a Palm Sunday procession, my experiences at the outset of Holy Week (Sacrament of Reconciliation! SUCH a good thing), and the religious handmade gifts I picked out for the kids' Easter baskets. I LOVE supporting handmade sellers, and all of my recommendations are below!





**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:





Long show notes today, but that's a wrap! How is your Holy Week going? What are your Easter plans and traditions? Do you have any projects that you'd like to suggest to me for this upcoming spring and summer season, i.e. novenas or other prayer endeavors, podcast topics, blog topics, anything creative that comes into your brain that you'd like to collaborate on? Do write in and let me know!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Holy Week begins, and thus novenas are in the air!!

Ooooooh, look at that, it's Monday and I'm posting again!! Well, the fun times come to an end after this particular Monday, for sure. Until the semester wraps up, that is. Spring break is over, but my regular class is cancelled today in lieu of a "research day" (i.e. we didn't expect many of them to be alert and conscious on the first day back from break). I did have a one-time English Composition class to teach today, but that was done by 10 am, so my schedule is much more open today. This worked out well since the end of my week is going to be blog-less due to it being Holy Week.

But Holy Week.

*swoons*

I had a FANTASTIC start to things with Palm Sunday yesterday, and my plan is to talk about that during a special Holy Week edition of Tea Time with Tiffany that I will record on Wednesday. Tuesday? Ishk. If that's a word. Let's just be honest, it ISN'T. So, I'm coining this now, "ishk" means "don't even ask, it's THAT crappy." Very, very busy tomorrow, so I don't know if I'll have time to blog. But Wednesday we should be able to have tea together. So go ready your mugs!

In the meantime, I sorted out some novena plans over the weekend, and wanted to see if you all desired to join me! I am in need of a new rosary novena for some special intentions. To that end, I have created a brand new 54 Day Rosary Novena page, and the first day is TODAY! I have all of the deets on how the novena works (and why it is so long!) over on that page, so click on over, dear reader, and have a look! I love that the finish day when we start day is May 13th, feast of Our Lady of Fatima. I mean, is that perfect or what?! So start your rosaries today if you want to participate. If you start a day or so hence, just adjust your dates accordingly and we'll still be praying in tandem for the majority of the time, which is great too!

Also, this Friday marks day one of the annual Divine Mercy Novena, and I LOVE that one each year! Pray More Novenas is hosting this one, so you can sign up to get the prayers in your email inbox. Head on over to their site to join in!

Multiple novenas plus the other spiritual reading that I'm still finishing up for Lent? Indeed I may be setting myself up to miss something and not get a gold star on everything. But that's OK. I'll endeavor to do my best, and I'll be praying along with all of you. That is all that is important, and it keeps my focus on where it needs to be. I'll take it.

Joining in? Let me know! We can pray for each others' intentions. *heart*

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #40 - New podcast happiness, a few sappy tears, the importance of fellowship, & seeking your feedback!

Ooooohh, uh oh, this almost got to be another emotional (in a good way!) episode of:


I really enjoyed this one. I talk basketball, mystery shawls revealed, new podcast euphoria, the blessing of friendship, and how I need help planning my reading schedule. ;-) View on, dear viewer!





**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
 What's going on with you, guys and gals? How's your Lent going? What are your Holy Week plans? How have online friendships impacted your life? Any reading plan suggestions? I'd love to hear all about it!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The big news!

OOOOOOO, it's all very exciting, people! I wrote yesterday about how I submitted the new podcast that I'm collaborating on with Cristina to iTunes, and that we were impatiently waiting for it to be approved and searchable within the iTunes store. Well... we're still waiting. :) Apparently, iTunes changed their process for podcast submissions last month, and while the manner in which you submit is much improved, there are still some bugs to be worked out, and the process is taking longer than usual. Ours is currently awaiting approval, and while I'm confident that ultimately we will be victorious and you'll be able to search for it in the store very soon, in the meantime we decided to just get this show on the road. Seize the day, right?

And so, here we have it. Our new podcast is called:


http://plannednotscripted.com/

A podcast between friends, sharing their forays into wellness in mind, body and spirit. Are you as excited as I am?!

The title refers to our format of planning topics for each show, while having a spontaneous conversation about them that is totally unscripted. And... *fireworks!* Our first episode is up. We talk about our lives, our friendship, how we became Catholic, any why Cristina has a video of me sitting at her kitchen table that pushes her over the edge of hilarity every single time she watches it. :0 Want to find out more? Listen on, dear reader!

So, here is the deal. You can go to the website and either listen to, or download, the episode. If you'd like to subscribe so that you'll automatically receive all new episodes without having to do another thing (and really, this is the way to go, so that you'll have fun chats with us to look forward every single month ;-)) you can still do that even while iTunes is working on having us listed in the store. Here's how:

  • Go to the website and scroll to below the embedded audio player for the episode. Select - Subscribe | Android, if you have an Android mobile device.

OR



OR


And you're golden. Hopefully, within the week, you'll be able to go to iTunes and search for "Planned Not Scripted" and find our happy logo. But until then, you can still subscribe, and we didn't want to wait anymore. :0 So subscribe away! Let me know if you have any trouble, and we're happy to assist.

Friends, it has been nearly 8 years since I started blogging. Some of you have been with me for that whole time, but most of you have started reading sometime along the way. Producing an audio podcast has been something that I've wanted to do for at least half of the time I've been blogging. This truly is the realization of a small dream of mine. I am SO grateful to be sharing this experience with Cristina, and with all of you. I feel like a new chapter in my creative life has unfolded, and it's an honor to have you all here with me on this adventure. Here's to the many coming years of creativity, laughs, emotional support, and prayer together!

*virtual high five!*

Monday, March 14, 2016

Of saints, socks, new Bibles & podcast foibles on this Lenten Monday...

Well, isn't this a surprise? Tiffany with blogging time on her hands on a Monday? It's spring break, so let's get all wild! ;-) The schedule around here may be a bit different next week too, given that I'm taking time off from both work and blogging for the Triduum. But one day at a time, yes?

This particular Monday is also my big day over at CatholicMom.com. This month we're discussing child saints and how our own children are inspired by, and can relate to, them. Come join in the conversation over there in the comments!

http://catholicmom.com/2016/03/14/nourishing-love-saints-children/

In other news, on Friday I got home to a few exciting developments. Lovely spring flowers in my signature colors with accompanying sassy preschooler:

You might want to see if this package deal is still available in your local supermarket ;-)

...and a new Bible that I am *super* excited about:


Cristina and I talk about this Bible on the pilot episode of our new podcast, and that's the OTHER exciting thing about Friday! As of then, our podcast was officially pending approval at iTunes, with the big launch set for this week!

Note the use of the past tense in that aforementioned sentence? I got in this morning with no podcast on iTunes, and an email from them that read in the subject field: "iTunes Store Podcast Rejected Notification."

Them's fightin' words. :0

Is it just me, or is that subject line not even grammatically correct?

#feelingmeanspirited

At any rate, I panicked, read the message therein, and then lapsed quickly into confusion. I'm thinking that this is because the following characteristics apply to the email:

Amount of helpful information: 0%
Amount of outdated information: 100%
Amount of dead or irrelevant links: 100%
Amount of information with any level of specificity: 0%

My mental state swung wildly between: Confused, Feeling Rejected, to: Confused, Feeling Angry, to: Bitter, Nursing Headache. A lot of Googling ensued, with any attempt to click on retrieved topics from the Apple help forums requiring you to LOG IN to see them, further fueling my ire. I finally got some help from our friend and fellow blog reader Stephanie, and although our feed validated just fine as part of the submission form, I found some very minor issues with the feed that may have caused the rejection. I fixed everything, and resubmitted. Now we wait. Again.

*Feeling Nostril Flarey*

So no big announcement/launch today, but maybe tomorrow? Hope springs eternal. The feed works, you could all manually paste it into your podcatcher of choice (including iTunes, I tested it, just for the record. And it worked fine there even before today's tweaks. *Insert all sorts of righteous indignation here*). But we'd rather not advertise it until it is fully searchable in iTunes, so let's give it another day. If this happens a second time, I may be more amenable to making a discreet obscene gesture in the direction of iTunes and just having you all subscribe via the feed. WHICH WORKS. Sorry, lapsing into the anger phase again. :0

Let's move on to some happy news, yes? I was a busy knitter, and finished a gift sock this weekend:

Now I just have to, you know, make her a second one. Because apparently she's a diva and needs TWO of them. ;-) I already cast on for sock 2, which I think should earn me future purgatory points. It's always hard to not move over to a brand new, fresh project after you finish something, and instead diligently make an exact replica of the thing that you just made. When you go the former route, this is called Second Sock Syndrome, which my husband thinks is hilarious and that I made this cute thing up. I assure you, the Second Sock Syndrome struggle is very, very real. :0

How are you, dear reader? How is your last full week of Lent going? Are you looking forward to the new podcast? Do tell me all about it in the comments!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #39 - Spring & new adventures are in the air!

Ooohhh, it's an extra exciting installment this week of:


A new podcast is in the air! Just a small teaser of what is to come. As well, a smorgasbord of updates on dance, the upcoming summer performance season, a family trip, an exciting visit, and much more!





**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
What's coming up for you this spring and summer, dear reader? How are your New Year's and Lenten resolutions going? Are you going to add anything new in now that Lent is past the halfway point? Do write in and tell us all about it!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bouncing off the walls over here on a beautiful spring-like day...

I am all discombobulated today, but in the best way possible. I mean, I don't even have an image to go in this post, and yet I don't care, and I'm all giddy. :0 I'm working the evening shift, and even that hasn't dampened my spirits.

The morning started out with a chirpy Anne greeting me in bed and asking how the Worship Committee meeting went last night, since I got back after she was already asleep.

"I came to see you when I got back, Lovey, but you were already sound asleep. I gave you a kiss."

"I did not feel your kiss, Mommy!"

She was quite outraged.

"Whenever you come into my room, Mommy, you need to say: 'Anne, Anne wake up!'"

Yeah sure. I'll make sure and do that next time. ;-)

But back to the point, the Worship Committee meeting went *splendidly*. Nobody was cranky, huzzah! We talked about Holy Week. As ever, I am SO looking forward to the Triduum, and plan to attend all of the liturgies. Fr. Joe is hosting a get-together for us on Holy Thursday night. :) And the Easter Vigil will be magnificent.

Interestingly, we do not have any Catechumens this year, and so there will be no RCIA component to the Vigil Mass. We do have 2 Candidates for Confirmation, but apparently if there are not also Catechumens, it is against the rubrics to just confirm those Candidates at the Easter Vigil. They will receive the sacrament with the rest of the Confirmation class in May. Intriguing, yes?

So, I got home, had a lovely evening with Mike and Henry, and woke up this morning to a chirpy Anne. Check. Then I got ready and set off for work. The sun is shining and the temperature here is incredibly mild. Spring is coming!

As I was driving along, praying a rosary, I noticed a bird fall to the ground. Naturally, sensitive-disposition person that I am, I panicked:

"Oh gosh, that poor bird! Does he have a broken wing?! I hope...Oh. There's another bird right there with him. Right. Nobody is hurt. Let's give them some privacy!"

Yet another sign of spring. :0

So, I got in, and because I'm working the evening shift tonight, I technically have comp time coming to me. And so I took advantage of that opportunity to do something that is a LONG time in coming.

*big suspense!*

It's not exactly a secret, because we've been talking about it for months. But let's just say it's podcast related, and I'm so excited about it that I can hardly sit still. Stay tuned for more details tomorrow during Tea Time with Tiffany!

Details tomorrow, but no actual *product* until next week, just fyi. Let's just say that Tiffany has some serious technical magic to work behind the scenes to make this dream a reality. Anybody know if there is a patron saint of audio editing?! I need his or her contact information please.

I mean it. Leave it in the comments. :0

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lent, and the spring semester, reaching the halfway point...

...and how is YOUR Lent going, dear reader? :-) Mine is going just fine. Accountability: I have not been good with my morning devotional reading. Waking up and getting out of bed has gotten to be a struggle again, for whatever reason. But since last week I HAVE been reading along with 33 Days to Merciful Love, and I am IN LOVE with this book. I love it, just love it. Additionally, the St. Joseph novena starts Thursday, and I'm planning on praying that. Join in! As well, I've kept up with the Lenten Mercy Challenge on Fridays. So, all in all, I'd say my Lent is going pretty well. I'm going to a Worship Committee meeting at my parish tonight to discuss Holy Week, and the preparatory reading for that has gotten me into a Lenten mood as well. My goal for the week is to start another spiritual reading book as well. We're getting there! How have your resolutions been going?

Relatedly, my daughter can *always* be counted on to offer opportunities for Lenten-inspired sacrificial offering up. :0

Monday morning, 2:50 am:

"MOM?!" *hysterical sobs*

I rush into her bedroom. "What's wrong, sweetie?"

"I...I...I MISS MY FRIENDS!!" *big tears!*

"Oh. Well, you're going to be going to school in a few hours, sweetie. You'll see your friends then."

"I will?" *sniffle*

"Yes, Honey."

This is just the conversation I want to be having at 3 am. :0

"Mommy, would you lay with me for awhile?"

"Sure Honey."

*I settle in*

"Mommy, can I sleep in your bed?"

"No, darling. But I'll stay here with you for a spell." There is only so much penance a mother can offer. #wildsleeper

"Mommy, Aria...MOVED AWAY, and I thought she was coming back, BUT SHE DIDN'T!" *fresh tears!*

Ah. The crux of the issue.

"Aw, I'm sorry sweetie. You probably miss Aria and are sad."

"Yes." *pathetic sniffle*

It took a bit of soothing to get her settled down and back to sleep. Hence, I was absolutely exhausted all day Monday. I offered it up for your intentions. ;-)

Meanwhile though, this weekend was absolutely stunning, and a clear harkening of spring being on the way. And a busy spring it will be! I had a bridal shower to attend on Saturday, and indeed we have two weddings coming up in April! I also have a bunch of dance events and trips coming up this spring and summer, and details about all of that fun stuff will be forthcoming. I can't wait!

And speaking of dance, look what I scored during a family trip to the public library on Sunday:

Glorious!
I've had this on my Amazon wish list for the past year, and was thrilled to see it on the new non-fiction rack. I'm currently immersed hip-deep in a discussion of the different styles of Middle Eastern dance and couldn't be more content. I'm thinking about solo options for the upcoming summer performance season, so it's perfect timing. :-)

After our trip to the library, we stopped off at our local outdoor ice rink for a later winter walk around:

The kids posing with Shark Girl. It looks like Henry at least *thought* about smiling :0
It was one of those glorious winter days with cold temperatures, but a glowing sun in the sky the entire time. It seemed fitting, given that it was Laetare Sunday with the rose vestments reminding us that Lent is half over and Easter is soon to come. This has been an absolutely inspiring winter for me this year, and I am very much looking forward to what is to come as the seasons change.

How was your 4th Sunday of Lent, dear reader? How is your Lent going? Do write in and tell me all about it. :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #38 - Faith at work...

Hi all! It's hard to believe that it's Thursday again, time for another episode of:

Today I have a quick update on Lenten and podcasting efforts, and then it's on to our main topic of the day, which is living out your faith in the workplace





 **To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice.

Items mentioned in this episode:
  • New podcast link hopefully soonish! ;-)
  • My love of holy cards, and how they are a part of my office decor.
  • Seeking your experiences with living out your faith in your particular workplace!
So dear listener, have at it! What is your experience with faith at work? We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

On a hunt for mercy this Lent...

Good morning all! I have a long day today (on evening reference duty), but I felt happy and soothed this morning rather than a sense of dread. I'm attributing it to the discovery of a new book that I started reading yesterday, and also your role in my life. *heart*

What the heck am I talking about?! Well, I often think about what I'll blog about on a given day while I get ready for work in the morning. I'm usually listening to podcasts for part of this time as well, and sometimes I get ideas from those. See, the podcasters are my friends too, just like you all are. We have these conversations and inspire ideas in each other. ;-) I just love our global community.

At any rate, I was thinking in the back of my mind this morning as I straightened my hair and listened to "Adventures in Imperfect Living" with Greg and Jennifer: "what should I write about today?" And then it struck me: 33 Days to Merciful Love.

I've been on a hunt to find this book for several weeks now. I first learned about it through our fellow blog friend Laura, and the title instantly resonated with me. I bookmarked it in my little brain, but then didn't think about it again right away. Then I came across another mention of it in something that I was reading online, and the lightbulb in my head went off. Lightbulb, I know that so often I let you down and don't recognize your signals, but every once in a while I get it right.

I did an Amazon search, and found the book available for pre-order. I tweeted about it, and Laura and dear friend Samantha and I chatted back and forth about its' availability. The listed publication date had come and gone, yet Amazon still did not have it in stock. After reading the description on the back cover, I was more intrigued than ever:
33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy

Live the Jubilee Year of Mercy to the full! Get your copy of 33 Days to Merciful Love, the stirring sequel to the international sensation, 33 Days to Morning Glory. Using the same 33-day preparation format, 33 Days to Merciful Love journeys with one of the most beloved saints of modern times, St. Therese of Lisieux, and concludes with a consecration to Divine Mercy. So whether you want to deepen your love of Divine Mercy or have a devotion to St. Therese, 33 Days to Merciful Love is the book for you.
 St. Therese? I'm there!! The three of us kept tabs on it via Amazon, but quickly Amazon changed the availability to "unavailable - out of print." There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Over the weekend, I ordered it via the Marian Helpers Catalog, and my copy is on it's way to me now. *beams* Samantha and I have been having lovely daily chats about the book now that the 33 day window to consecrate on the feast of Divine Mercy is underway. Obviously, you can read the book and do the at-home retreat whenever you'd like, but the Divine Mercy feast day tie-in is lovely, no? And even though our books aren't in our hot little hands just yet, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception website is making the first week of readings available for those of us in just such a situation. Day 1 was yesterday, but you can easily catch up by reading a few days together. Want to join us?! Ohhh, I see that it is also available as an ebook for instant gratification purposes! FYI, it is in epub form, so not compatible with Kindle. (UPDATE: Amazon now is offering a Kindle copy here!)

I'm very excited about this, and hope to have the book by the end of the week. If you're going to join in, leave a comment to let us know! Which brings me full circle from the beginning of this post: all of you. Over the past year or so, this community here at Life of a Catholic Librarian has grown a little bit. Not a lot, granted, we're still a small family here, ;-) but I get regular comments and messages now from readers that I absolutely treasure. And I feel like I've really gotten to know some of you! I've mentioned Laura and Samantha in this post, and I chat with them regularly on social media. There are a number of others of you out there that I've chatted with in the comments or over email, and I appreciate each and every one of you. You are all an inspiration to me, and I cherish your friendship. Thank you for bringing extra joy and meaning into my life.

*hug*

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wardrobe conundrums with opinionated 4 year olds, & closing in on the mystery knit-along right in time for National Craft Month...

Anne & I in matching shirts this weekend, because I am a nerd
Good morning all! Normally, I'm pretty happy when Tuesday rolls around, but unfortunately for the next few weeks I have the Wednesday evening reference shift, so the week doesn't ease until Thursday for me. Lots of other reference shifts and lesson planning and grading. I'm just slogging along until spring break at this point. We're almost there.

Meanwhile, my daughter has been making the mornings interesting with her outfit choices:

"Mommy, I am awake, you will help me get dressed!"

#bossy

I look at the clock. 6:51 am. I am still in bed. I should not be, but there you have it. I've been staying up too late reading Into Thin Air at night. I'm at the gripping part where they reach the summit, I just can't help myself.

"Anne honey, remember how we talked about how the clock should have a seven before you get up?"

"There's a seven!"

?

"Remember that it has to be the *first* number, darling. Anyway, go get started, I'll come check on you."

She's very opinionated on what she wears, that one. I often find her tugging on loud, geometric-print leggings underneath a bright pink dress with colorful origami birds decorating the whole shebang, and do I care about such clashing? I do not. I know that she doesn't actually want my help, and I'm happy to set her loose.

"I need you to come in, Mommy."

Sigh.

She leads me into her bedroom, where she has three pairs of underpants lined up on the bed.

"Which of these am I supposed to wear today, Mommy?"

I quickly discern that these particular underwear are all from a "days of the week!" collection, purchased by a highly organized grandmother.

"Oh. This pair, honey, this is the Tuesday pair. With the picture of a smiling hamburger on it."

*unhappy pause*

"But I don't want to wear the hamburger. I want to wear the ones with the ice cream cone on it!"

See, why does she ask me?! :0 And why am I squinting at underwear before 7 am? I ask you. All I want to be doing that soon after waking up is checking the new notifications on my phone, that's about all my brain is capable of at that point.

In other news, March is National Craft Month, and accordingly I've been knitting away like a crazy woman on my freaking delightful Downton Abbey mystery knit-along shawl. I feel like I've been working on this thing since approximately the Mesozoic era, but yet I keep knitting away, yarn overs serving as mile markers on my brave journey of lacy perseverance. There are eight clues in total, and happily, I've made a lot of progress since I last reported in. Here we have clue 5:


...whereby we have begun the lace on the second "wing" of the shawl. And here is clue 6, which is hot off the presses as of last night while I drank a vodka tonic (I am SO sick to death of this shawl, have I mentioned that?!):


Thus, both wings are now complete, and I'm pretty impressed with my own ability to not drop stitches given that I was drinking and knitting. Clues 7 and 8, I believe, involve edging on the wings, and finishing off the center motif (since stitches are still held over there) and I'm excited to move onto to something besides wing-work, which I've been doing for endless weeks now. These last two clues also appear MUCH shorter than the previous ones, and I'm hopeful that I'll have this shawl wrapped up by next week. I am often delusional about such things, but here's hoping. I still have the crochet version to pick back up.

*long suffering sigh*

How are your shawls coming fellow Downton Abbey-along'ers? What are YOU working on for National Craft Month? Do write in and let me know. :)