Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #55 - I seem to pray better when I am not praying for myself...

Happy Thursday everyone! Welcome to a perky, book and prayer-filled edition of:

Today I talk about my current reads (of which there are several), my Kindle Francis makes his debut appearance, and why I find praying for others so much easier than praying for myself.




**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. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from PlayonLoop.com

Items mentioned in this episode:
What are you doing this weekend, dear listener? What are you reading? Do you have book suggestions for the fall installment of our book club? Do write in and let us know!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Catholic Book Club: Church of Spies, chapters 6 - Epilogue

Happy book club Wednesday everyone! I hope that you are feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed this midweek day. I wouldn't say that I am particularly, ;-) but I am hanging in there!

I've been doing a LOT of reading lately. Well, I'm still not exactly moving at the speed of sound, but I am trying. This is a summer for reading, to be sure! I finished Church of Spies last week, and am working on the Late Summer Book Club now, as well as a few other books that I'll talk about soon (dystopian YA with a Catholic twist, oooooo).

I like how we've been breaking up and staggering the book club this spring/summer. I suggest we do this again in the fall, yay! More on that to come.

So, the last we spoke about Church of Spies, we had embarked on the first five chapters. Up to that point, I was having a bit of difficulty following along with names, and feeling like some of the content was quite shocking in such a way that it almost felt unreal (though of course I know that it isn't!). Then, on I dove into chapter 6 and beyond.



The book moved MUCH faster for me at this point, and I started to at least be able to associate which side, if you will, each of the names were a part of. That really helped me to be able to follow along with the action. Eventually, we got to events leading up to the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, and then the story became somewhat more familiar to me, since I had heard about that when the movie Valkyrie came out eight years ago. So much of what happened in WWII has that sense of surrealness to it, because it was so incredibly disturbing. Having that tie-in to the events of 1944, along with some previous knowledge, helped to really drive home for me what the Pope (and so many others) were involved in back then with the German Resistance.

Evil was so very manifest at that time, and one person was spearheading so much of it. Eliminating him would alleviate the suffering and death of so many.

And goodness, the poignancy of some of the stories. The mother who lost her two children for propagating anti-Nazi materials. The torture and death of many of the men involved in the plots to oust Hitler. The knowledge of what was happening in concentration camps nearby this whole time. It was hard to read. It is the reason I have never seen Schindler's List, though truly, I I need to toughen up. It is SO IMPORTANT to remember and keep at the forefront the suffering of our fellow human beings during this time period. The pain that I feel in seeing that suffering relayed inspires a passion in me to do whatever I can to help others, no matter how small an act it may be.

When I finished, I thought to myself how glad I was that I read this book. I found the beginning a bit difficult to follow, but that improved, and in the end the story is so incredibly important. I was on pins and needles to see what happened to all of the players in the plot from the Pope's circle.

What did you think? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts in the comments! Let's definitely do this again, yes? I'll put up a poll sometime in August, and we'll vote on something to read during the fall. What are you in the mood for, in terms of options? More non-fiction? A jump over to fiction? If so, what sub-genre? Romance, historical, contemporary, suspense? Please chime in with your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lots of crying this weekend, for various & sundry reasons...

Happy Tuesday everyone! Life has remained quite busy for me, as I'm sure it has for you as well. But importantly: LIFE IS GOOD! It really is, despite the fact that I cried a lot this weekend. ;-)  I'll tell you all about that in a minute, but don't forget that tomorrow is book club day! We'll be discussing the second half of Church of Spies. Do join us!

So, the weekend dawned quite hot and humid over here in WNY. On Saturday I was slated to dance with my troupe at a cultural diversity festival, and later have a date night with Mike. A fun agenda, indeed.

We arrived at the festival at 1 pm sweltering in our long red costume gowns and coverups. We gamely traversed the street booths, looking like a roving pack of traveling psychics I am sure. ;-) At least that's what someone told us recently about our coverups. We spotted a tiny, rickety stage and paused in quiet horror:

"Is that where we are supposed to dance?"

There are 7 of us. Tiny, rickety stages do not bode well.

"No, they said the *main* stage, near the end of the street. I think we have to walk further."

*collective sigh of relief*

We proceed on, and soon thereafter find...the "main" stage, which while slightly larger, also looks like a stiff breeze could blow it straight over.

:0

We sweated over in a tucked away corner, while a local Colombian troupe we're familiar with started to dance. The stage did in fact accommodate the handful of them just fine, so we breathed a bit easier as we sipped our water. As for me, my seasonal allergies were going BALLISTIC and I was all stuffy and sneezing left and right. The Colombian dancers finished, and we were hustled to the stage. Which had no stairs, but that's another story.

*sigh*

We made do.

Our Shaabi piece was up first, and it went just fine. The stage had lots of grooves in it, which we quickly learned to to avoid, and it creaked a bit, but other than that no signs of immediate collapse. ;-) A nice little crowd began to assemble to watch us.

Claire danced after that while we rested, and then we were up for a longer group segment. Our set length was only 15 minutes, so we didn't have too many numbers packed in. This last bit though was three separate choreographies.

First up in this mix was our Saidi cane piece. Cane balanced on my head for the beginning and was generally well-behaved, so all was well there. By this time, a LOT of people had gathered to watch us, including a small crowd of Muslim women. They LOVED us. :0 They enthusiastically cheered us on the whole time and gave me a thumbs up when I caught their eye. I loved them right back. The crowd was really great overall.

A lovefest right? Well, yes, but there was one small problem. My allergies suddenly sprang to life once again, and left eye began to water uncontrollably. Not exactly an easy thing to manage while up on stage with a cane balanced on my head. :0

My eye started to blink in a spastic-like fashion. I did what I could to wipe it during short spots in the choreography where I wasn't facing the audience, but Eye didn't exactly like that either. I had natural tears going on that soon mixed with the sweat and sunscreen also present on my face, and it was a whole bad Salty Tear Party going on. When I swiped at it, the salt and sunscreen just caused my eye to water MORE.

By time we moved into our pop song/drum solo combo, the situation was quite disastrous. With us being up on a stage, I just hoped that nobody noticed and thought I was crying. I also beamed as best I could while trying not to allow my nose to run. Glamour, all glamour over here. Although things were going smashingly well, I was dying for the set to be over.

When we finished, we had several requests for photographs, which we loved. Naturally, Eye was JUST FINE the instant we stopped dancing. :0

Putting the psychic coverups back on was completely gross with all the sweat, another glamour point in our favor. So after we finished taking pictures, we hustled back to the air conditioned cars.

*bliss*

I spent the afternoon cleaning up and spending some time with the kids, in preparation for the big date night. This part of the story thankfully does not involve any crying. ;-)

The kids went out to dinner with their grandparents, and Mike and I walked to a local Italian restaurant. Fabulousness. I mean, just look at our drinks:


Mike's is a vodka martini, and mine is a lemon drop martini, made with homemade Limoncello.

*swoons*

That's sugar around the rim of the glass, indeed. Wonderful night.

Sunday we went to 11 am Mass, and the congregation was awash in talk of the upcoming capital project to build a small parish center to house events and religious education. The old school building has been sold, so this is the proposed solution. I think that it'll be really nice, much more economical than maintaining the other large building, but as in any major parish project such as this, there is bound to be some drama. ;-)

Later in the day, after the kids went to bed, Mike and I watched Valkyrie.This is very Church of Spies inspired, given that I just finished the book last week and there is overlap in the events between the book and the film. This is where the second bout of crying came into play. :0

Man. Hard to watch, given that we know how it ends. Good men, just trying to spare the lives of other innocent people.

"Long live sacred Germany!" *heart*

I found it very moving to watch the film, and even with my poor memory for names in books and films, I recognized several from Church of Spies. I've been thinking about it quite a bit since Sunday night, it really made an impact on me. How much are we willing to put ourselves at risk to fight against evil and come to the aid of others?

Powerful. I am looking forward to discussing the book with you all tomorrow!

How was your weekend, dear ones? :-)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #54 - Prayer life routine in the midst of the whirlwind...

Hi all! Welcome to a cathartic summer edition of:

Today I talk about the whirlwind activities going on in my life right now, and how I long for the solace of a prayer routine in the midst of it. Organization, sometimes I miss you so much. *heart*



**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. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from PlayonLoop.com

Items mentioned in this episode:
Have any ideas, my friends? I would love to hear about your prayer routines in your own domestic monasteries!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I think we were in danger of *actually* melting - Fun times at a summer hafla...

Happy Wednesday all! I am home today with a sick little girl. In fact, we're both feeling decidedly under the weather. Anne and I are both very affected by seasonal allergies, and have had sore throats for days. Last night, we had a crying spell due to a sore ear (Anne, not me ;-)) and so I schlepped her to the pediatrician this morning. Indeed, ear infection in the left ear. Poor button. We're doing lots of resting and snuggling today.

While she delights in an episode of "Shimmer and Shine," I thought I'd take the opportunity for a quick hafla recap. Those have become a biannual tradition here on this humble blog, and I always enjoy them. Plus, we have another candidate coming in to interview at work tomorrow, so my entire day will be taken up. I'm hoping to record Tea Time on Friday morning, so look for it then!

All right, soooooooo. It's June, and it's, you know, HOT. My troupe and I are very used to dancing in the heat, as I've mentioned before. Generally when this happens though, we are outside. Dancing outside has the added grossness of sun screen into the mix, but it does at least provide occasional breezes of fresh air. On Saturday evening, that was all quite different. :0

Usually we have a spring hafla, and it is in April or May. This year, due to scheduling conflicts with various dancers, it was not possible. So mid-June it was, and...

!!!!

Our studio is on the second floor, and it is not centrally air conditioned. There are portable a/c units and fans, but they can only do so much against a verifiable WALL of stagnant hot air. When audience members pack in there, the heat level only rises. As for us, we were all packed into a tiny dressing room where the temperature was rising at least 5 degrees per minute, it felt.

We started with our new group number, which we were all nervous about, since we *just* finished it. :0 It went well though, so I was pleased with that. Others danced while we all changed, and my next number was my solo. Which, even after 8 years of belly dancing, I am STILL incredibly nervous about.

There is something about dancing solo that brings out a high degree of vulnerability in me. I'm certain some of you feel this way about things you're passionate about, whether they be in the arts or something else. You really put yourself out there when you present your work, and it's not easy, even when you love it. So my stomach felt like it had a hamster in a wheel running around in there, and not only that, but immediately after my piece, we had a double group number. In total, about 10 straight minutes of dancing in the heat.

Backstage, I was sweating. ;-) My hair began to curl, especially right around my face, making me look like one of those gals straight out of a Jane Austin Victorian-era novel. Not necessarily a good look in a 21st century belly dance costume, is all I'm saying. :0

But go on I must, and before long my solo music was queued up. I peeled my hair off of my back and danced out. And it went well! I remembered to incorporate in lots of new arm movements and felt pleased as punch when I was finished:



Yes, I wear a two piece costume, I hope none of you are scandalized. ;-) If you're still here reading my blog after all this time, I'm thinking you're not, so YAY!

After that, I hurried backstage, and then out again for our group pieces. As we lined up, I could FEEL sweat running down my back. SO.INCREDIBLY.GROSS. By our final troupe piece, my hair looked like a science experiment, but that point I didn't care. We had fun, and all of the pieces went very well. Our Shaabi was the bounciest effort we've given since it originated. :-)

I was VERY glad to get back into regular non-costume clothes and head out with Mike to have a drink. We all agreed - no more June haflas! Too hot. We have two more events this week: one Thursday night, indoors, and another festival on Saturday, outside. I'm certain that much sweating will ensue, but it should only be better than what we experienced on Saturday.

How is YOUR week going, dear sweet reader? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Life is good when you are awash in delightful Tweetups

Hi all! I had a JAM PACKED weekend, filled with the funnest of activities, and I've been anxious to fill you all in! Let's settle in with our beverages.

The weekend began with a Twitter meetup, but we also had a dance performance in there and a Father's Day with that was busy enough to exhaust the children for the duration of the summer. ;-) Soooo, what I think I'll do is talk about my SUPER FANTASTIC Tweetup on Saturday afternoon, then save the dance hafla for either a separate post or episode of Tea Time. What do you think? Do you prefer the dance frivolity in post form or podcast? I want your input, so do write in.

All right, so the Tweetup! You all know how much I love and value our Catholic community on Twitter. I find it incredibly supportive and soothing. And through the years, I have had the privilege of meeting some of my Twitter friends in real life. It's not as often as I like, but when it happens it really packs a punch.

Some years ago, I became Twitter friends with a very nice fellow named Mike Gannon. We shared other common Twitter friends, as well as a Catholic podcast we both loved called This Catholic Life. I knew that Mike was potentially interested in the religious life, and had a deep love of the Carmelites, so it wasn't a huge surprise in the fall of 2014 when he joined a community of Carmelite brothers as a Postulant. We missed him quite a bit when he was off of social media for the duration of his postulancy, but he happily has been back since he became a Novice.

Several months back, Mike (who is now Brother Joseph!) let me know that he'd be in my area visiting some family during his vacation time. Naturally, I leapt at the chance to meet him in person!

And so Saturday afternoon, Henry and I traveled to a local Mexican restaurant to meet up with Brother Joseph. Mike (my husband that is, this is terribly confusing with all these Mikes, isn't it?!) offered to entertain the kids elsewhere so that I could eat lunch uninterrupted, and let's face it, that's a TEMPTING offer. You mean, I can eat lunch without someone crawling around under the table in search of lost crayons, and Anne telling Henry to "STOP IT!!!!" on constant repeat for 60 straight minutes?

What I ended up doing was having Mike take Anne for a Daddy/daughter date, and I brought Henry with me solo. I figured: when else am I going to get a free, up close and personal, advertisement for the religious life? So I asked Henry if he wanted to come, and he asked what kind of food the restaurant served. That shows you where Henry's mind is at in terms of this process, but no matter. He wanted to come, and that was good enough for me.

So we arrive. We peer into all of the other cars in the parking lot as we circle, trying to be discreet. Henry offered to go and physically look into the window of one intriguing-looking contender, but I told him that we were trying to be clandestine. :0 We headed into the restaurant and texted Brother Joseph. Two minutes later:

ALL the excitement!! How cool do you feel when your friends wear habits?!?!
I think that anytime you meet someone in real life whom you have only ever communicated with on social media, you're curious as to what they will be like. Will they be exactly as you picture in your mind? Or will they be completely different?

Brother Joseph was exactly as I pictured. :) We had a lovely, easily flowing conversation, and enjoyed good Mexican food and beer. We talked about religious life like there was no tomorrow, and Henry asked some thoughtful and interesting questions.

Granted, sometime after Henry had scarfed down his entire quesadilla, plus chips, plus a churro for dessert, he grew bored. I suppose there is only so much in-depth talk of Carmelite spirituality a 10 year old can take. ;-)

It was smashing. Anew, I felt intense gratitude for the gift of friendships that God has given me. Some of our Twitter friends I may never meet in this life, yet I know that if I ask for their prayers they will give them to me in a heartbeat, and that if I need some levity in my day all I have to do is log on and check my timeline.

Glorious, I tell you, glorious! It is such a rush to meet social media friends in person for the first time. And we may get another opportunity next fall! Craft beer will be involved, for sure and for certain.

If you're ever in Western New York, you MUST let me know. I will be hurt and offended if you do not. :0

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #53 - Frizzy hair & discernment clarity...

Hi all! LOTS to talk about in this week's episode of:

Today I talk about summer hair woes (I know, I know, such a pressing problem, right?), lots of fun goings on, including a Tweetup on Saturday, and also a mysterious, but exciting, new writing project that will span the rest of the calendar year. Want to learn more? 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. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from PlayonLoop.com

Items mentioned in this episode
How do you deal with prayer and discernment, friends? Have you had doors opened and/or closed in the past, and how do you handle it? I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fun times with St. Kateri & a lot of rain...

HELLO, you fabulous person, you! I am very glad to be with you again in our happy little life journal universe. My week is rather insanely busy, and thus I really wanted to carve out time to chat with you today. I'm on a search committee at work, and we have candidates coming in for interviews, so I have whole days blocked out with no writing opportunities. Hence, there will be no post tomorrow, I am certain that you are just devastated. ;-) But we have some time together today, and Tea Time on Thursday, so that's a yay, right?

I had a super exciting weekend filled with family and Catholic activities, so let's chronicle, shall we?

#CatholicFun!

This weekend we journeyed by car to the National St. Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, and to Adirondack State Park. We don't take road trips very often, so the entire family was simmering with excitement. That is, until the kids got to the end of the movie they had packed to watch on the portable DVD player:

"MOOOOOMMMMMMM. Are we there yet?! We've been in the car for 500 hours!"

"Anne, it's been an hour and a half. Buck up."

"I feel car sick!"

"Henry, take a nap."

#exhausting

When we got to the shrine, everyone was anxious to stretch their legs. And the chapel was everything I dreamed it would be:


I love the earthy feel and the Native American art. And immediately to our right, was a stunning representation of the guest of honor:


St. Kateri is incredibly important to me for a number of reasons. She's part of the communion of saints, our family in the faith, and a woman, so I relate to her. But the fact that she was a Mohawk is so personally meaningful to me and my heritage. I felt very close to her, and to my Mohawk ancestry, this weekend. I procured a medal bearing her image and a third class relic from the gift shop, and I've barely taken it off since.

Also featured prominently at St. Kateri's shrine was our good friend, St. Maximilian Kolbe:


We came across him in the chapel, as you see above, but we encountered him again, I'll come back to that. He is Henry's favorite saint, so I was pleased to see him. :) The altar itself featured a gorgeous painting of St. Kateri in prayer:


I could have lingered in that chapel for hours, but I did have my less patient family with me ;-) and so after some exploring and a short spell of prayer, we headed outside:


We walked around and spotted some birds. Anne picked some weeds flowers for other saint statues that we encountered:

More St. Kateri. Hey, it's her shrine, right?
I also forced the kids to pose for a photo with yet another St. Kateri:

They look thrilled.
There was a beautiful outdoor scene of the Stations of the Cross up on a hillside behind the chapel, which the kids delighted in running on. We paused for a short spell in a gazebo at the top. Then we ventured down to the outdoor chapel, named for St. Maximilian Kolbe:


Henry took a vested interest out here, wanting to explore the St. Max literature and statues that abounded. Of course, St. Kateri cannot be left out:


And the kids were happy to cozy up with St. Max and actually look like they tolerate each other sometimes:

After some more exploring, it was time to head back to the car, much to the consternation of our offspring:

"MOOOOOOMMMMM. We've been in the car for DAYS AND DAYS!!"

We only had an hour to go to get to the little motel we booked in the Adirondacks, and I was all energized from my St. Kateri encounter. Mike and I happily chatted about dinner plans. We headed off, feeling sublime.

Then we got lost. :0

And we don't have GPS. But we have Mike, the Map Guy. He figured it out, but it took a little more time than we were originally planning. It didn't help that we were in the middle of the woods and signage was at a premium. We got to the motel, got into our cute little efficiency room (kitchenette!) and contemplated our dinner options. Let's just say that this was a very small town, and there weren't that many. ;-)

"Honey, remember when we were in Niagara-on-the-Lake for our anniversary, and we ate at that little pub? I loved that trip, it was so romantic."

We gazed at each other lovingly. Suddenly, from the bathroom comes a high pitched voice:

"COULD SOMEBODY COME WIPE ME?!?!"

See, this is the difference between the romantic interludes and the trips with kids. But oftentimes the romantic interludes *cause* the future trips with kids, so there you have it.

We found a small restaurant that night, and afterward enjoyed our view of the lake from the little back patio on our room:


The kids loved the lakefront. They could stay down there for hours, just playing at the water edge, trying to skip stones. We headed to bed, fairly exhausted.

Saturday morning, we made breakfast, excitedly rented a row boat, and got ready for our adventure. And then...it rained.

:0

As in, it poured. We had to wait it out for a few hours. Thankfully, I had packed Jiffy Pop, which I popped for the kids while they watched a movie. Nothing like being trapped in a tiny room to make everyone want to crawl out of their own skin. We had to be a little creative, but we managed.

Finally, it stopped raining, and we did get out on the boat, plus snuck in a short, albeit wet, hike. We also found the local Catholic parish, and attended the vigil Mass:

"Oh look, VISITORS!!"

In a town as small as this one, new people were definitely noticed.

When we got out of Mass, oh look, IT WAS RAINING AGAIN!! I heated up some soup for dinner and made sandwiches. This is about as Gung Ho About Camping/Roughing It as I like to get. ;-) When it stopped raining, we took the kids up to get ice cream at the restaurant that we had eaten at Friday night, given that there wasn't exactly another dining option. So we made it.

Sunday morning, Mike and I were DYING to get back home and to our usual routine. And to privacy. :0 Though the kids were sorry to see the adventure come to an end:

"MOOOOMMMMM!"

"Guys. If you want to go visit Cristina and family next summer, you're going to have to toughen up!"

:0

How was YOUR weekend, dear reader? Do I have any other St. Kateri fans here?!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #52 - Wind, sunscreen & sweat. Summertime dancing at its finest!

Good morning to all of you! I hope that you have your hot beverage ready for this early June installment of:

Today I talk about adventures with my dance troupe this past weekend at our first performance of the busy summer season. Join us!





**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. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from PlayonLoop.com

Items mentioned in this episode:
How is your June starting out, dear reader? What's new with you and your summer plans? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

You know things are bad when your new dryer is too wide to fit down your stairs...

Well hello there, favorite reader that you are!! I am glad to be with you again. After I penned yesterday's post about feeling a bit overwhelmed of late, want to know what happened? Get your tea, especially if you too have struggled with feelings of anxiety and/or being overwhelmed. We need this time together to soothe each other, you and I. *heart*

And here's an accompanying cutout cookie for you, too...
So I went home after work, and you know what? The evening kind of sucked. :0 Just keeping it real here, like always. The kids were being SUPER challenging, picking fights with each other and generally arguing in an annoying-like fashion. We recently ordered a new washer and dryer set, as both of our older models were on their last gasps of life. The new ones were delivered yesterday, and GUESS WHAT? The dryer won't fit down our basement stairwell. Of course it won't, because that would have been far too simple. There is no laundry area in our house on the main level, only the basement. And our house was built in 1930. They did not foresee this narrow stairwell as being a problem back then.

*sigh*

So Mike, precious soul that he is, took on finding a new dryer model that would fit the size specifications, and ordered it from Lowe's. Guess when Lowe's can deliver it?

June 29th.

Yep, you read that correctly, a full 3 weeks away. In the meantime, we have no working dryer, and no outdoor clothesline in our tiny backyard, so the Laundromat will be our friend for the short term.

*another sigh*

There's just SO MUCH going on right now. In addition to the above, we have had major events planned on the weekends for the past 6 weeks. They've all been fun, excellent events, but no down time, you know?

For the past week, I have been struggling with my mind constantly racing, not sleeping well, and repeatedly forgetting things. Repeatedly forgetting things. Did I just repeat that?

It's bad. I mean, epic bad. Over the course of the past 7 days, I have forgotten my travel coffee mug and left it in my car *4 times*. In my defense, I have a new purse, which lacks a water bottle holder thingy that I used to stick the coffee mug in. Now, I need to remember to grab the mug before I leave the car, and well, THAT AIN'T HAPPENIN'.

So, what happens is that I walk into the library (and you know the parking situation here, that is at least a 5 minute walk. Not a problem, I like to walk, but it's not a situation in which the lot is beside the door you need to go into), then I go up to my office. Then I unload my stuff. Then I boot up my computer and sit down. Then I reach for the coffee mug. And inevitably, it is not there. Then I say a bad word. Then I get upset with myself for saying aforementioned bad word and feel guilty. Then I fear that I have scandalized my office neighbors. Then I crankily get my keys and walk back downstairs, and out to my car. If I realize that while I have remembered my office keys, I have forgotten my car keys (1 time out of the 4), another scandalizing episode of profanity ensues.

:0

It's just a vicious, vicious cycle, my friends. The more overwhelmed I feel, the more I forget things. And the more I forget things, the more overwhelmed I feel.

And then do you want to know what happened? If you're still reading this post, a decade has just been shortened from your future time in purgatory. This morning, I was rushing around because I had to take Anne to school. Mike usually takes her, but he had an appointment this morning. I load Anne into the car, my mind awhirl about how I have to stop at the store and pick up envelopes to mail a birthday gift to a friend, and a broken rosary to Allison for repair. I drop her off, and get back into the car, grabbing my phone so that I can setup my podcast listening for the commute. I have a new text message. It's from Sam:

"Don't forget your coffee!"

She knows me so well. :0 And it made me smile SO MUCH. And you know what? I didn't forget my coffee when I got to work. All of this is to say that when things seem crazy, it's our friends who get us through.

This post brought to you by a Grateful Blogger. What are you grateful for today, dear friends?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Letting go...

Hi all! Did you have a great weekend?! I sure did. My original plan was to do like usual and have this first post of the week chronicle my weekend, but I decided to leave that for Tea Time instead. I had a really fun dance event on Saturday to kick off the summer performance season, and I figured that made for great podcast fodder, so there you have it. You have to wait til Thursday for all of the exciting details. ;-) But I promise that it will be fun and worth the wait!

In the meantime, I have been busily reading Church of Spies each night for our book club, as well as contemplating a few things...

You have may noticed via my ramblings on here that I have been very busy of late. Indeed, I have felt quite overwhelmed. I am self-aware enough to realize that the common denominator here is ME. Certainly there is a lot to be done on a day-to-day basis, both at work and at home, but my life is no different than anyone else in that regard. I kept hoping that things would slow down, but I have finally accepted that they will not. I have a husband and two young children, a house, and a full time job outside of the home. This is just my state in life right now. I love it, so I wouldn't change a thing. Therefore however, a Constant Sense of Busyness, along with its annoying cousin, Perpetual Forgetfulness, are simply my boon companions right now.

I like to be busy, but I don't like to feel overwhelmed. And I think that the worst part is that I have absolutely no idea what to do about it. :0 I suppose I could worry less about things, but it's not like that is an instant overnight solution.

I truly enjoy my hobbies and avocations outside of my family and my job: Dancing, knitting/crocheting, reading, and writing. But I am starting to feel a bit stressed about fitting in the activities surrounding them. Dancing and knitting are mostly not a problem. This is the busy dancing season, but it only lasts for 3 months out of every year. My reading time suffers, to be sure, but I do what I can, and don't stress about it. This is why we restructured the book club, and so far so good! Writing, on the other hand, I've been thinking about this a lot.

I don't anticipate ceasing writing generally, or on this blog. But I have to admit that I'm feeling the time pinch a bit when it comes to my writing projects. I had something planned for the summer that I am not certain I'm going to be able to do anymore, because I fear it would officially put me over the edge into I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew territory.

There is really no point to this post, in case you were still wondering. :0 I just figure that some of you may be experiencing something similar in your lives, and we could relate together.

*group hug!*

I suppose that it's possible that some weeks there may be less than three posts. I really don't want that to happen, but life is unpredictable. So if that happens, I will have to learn to accept that. This blog has always been a refuge for me, and I do not plan on letting it go. But I do plan to endeavor to let go of my feelings of control about it. We enjoy our time together here, you and I, and I want that to continue. There is no need for stress anywhere in our happy relationship. :)

Last spring I did a re-evaluation of my existence here on the blog, and it turned out really well. Thus, I suppose I'm going through another spell like that. Where is God leading me? Should I change up the structure somewhat? How can I alleviate these feelings of anxiety over meeting my writing goals each week?

I will be keeping this all in prayer, as I hope you will as well. I have more of a sense of community here on this blog than ever before, and I cherish it, truly.

If you have any suggestions, I am all ears in the comments. :)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #51 - Friendship, good times, & maybe a few tears...

Hi all! Sorry for the delay this week, but you know how that goes, right? Such is life! So here we are together for another Friday session of:


Today I talk about the feast of the Sacred Heart, and my glorious Memorial Day weekend with Cristina and family. Join us!





**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. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from PlayonLoop.com

Items mentioned in this episode:
What are you up to this early June weekend coming up, dear listener? Chime in and let me know!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Let's get reading for June!

Hi guys! I am literally overwhelmed today, I have a big event for work, so not a lot of blogging time. I did, however, want to check in with you real quick and make some summer reading plans.

#BecauseThatIsAlwaysFun

I heard back from a few of you about finishing up Church of Spies. Several votes were cast for finishing in June, and a few indicated that they were fine extending into July if need be. I'll be honest: I'm worried about being able to finish the whole thing in June. :0 So my initial thought was to extend into July. BUT, I just brainstormed with Cristina concerning the summer fiction book she and I are reading together for Planned Not Scripted. And so I have modified my initial leanings a bit. Here's the scoop:
  • We will finish up Church of Spies in June, and discuss on Wednesday, June 29th. That gives us four full weeks to finish the remaining chapters, which are chapters 6 through 26. Multiple people noted how much faster the book reads as you get further into it, so I think this is doable. #hopespringseternal
  • The next book club over here at Life of a Catholic Librarian will be in the fall. I'll put up a poll in midish August for voting, and we'll start reading in September!
  • The summer fiction book has been chosen over at Planned Not Scripted! We're calling it the Late Summer Book Club, and the selected title is the historical fiction The Summer Before the War. Click over to our podcast blog, linked above, for all of the details and to purchase the book! 
  • We won't be starting to discuss The Summer Before the War until July, so this (a) gives you plenty of time to request it from your local public library if you prefer, and (b) finish up reading Church of Spies before you dig in! See, see, see how clever we are, we planned this out right and good. ;-) 
  • The way the Late Summer Book Club will work is that each month for July, August and September we will have a segment in our Planned Not Scripted podcast that will be devoted to the book. The podcast always comes out during the second week of each month. 
Whew, I think that's everything. Who's reading along with me, and for which books? Church of Spies, The Summer Before the War, or both?! I'd love to hear from you!