Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Summer book club poll is still open!

I've been nerdily monitoring our Summer Book Club poll on the right side of the blog, and so far our leading contender is the historical/scriptural based fiction title, The Well  Coming in a close second is our frivolously fun librarian fiction title, Arsenic and Old Books, A Cat in the Stacks Mystery. So much snorting, I love it.

I have the poll set to close next Tuesday night, I believe. So if you haven't officially voted yet, have at it!

Quick note that the paperback edition of The Well is on major sale right now for $2.35. Maybe we should scoop it?! I already have some dance DVD's and music in my cart. An extra $2.35 won't hurt anybody, right? ;-) Oh waiiitttttt... That's a marketplace copy, so $3.99 shipping applies, making it not quite as much of a bargain basement deal as I thought. The Prime shipping copy is $9. So about the same as it was before. Carry on. :0

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rapid fire belly dancing on a Saturday afternoon...

Hello all, and happy new week to you! I'm perky coming off of a dance and birthday weekend extravaganza (Anne's birthday, that is), and excited to be chatting with you today! Do you have your tea? Let me go fetch mine...

OK good! Here we are. I had a FUN weekend. Sometimes I feel guilty that I get to share my life with such wonderful people. Family, friends, people that I know via my hobbies of dance, writing and my faith (that's not a hobby, but you know what I mean). I feel very, VERY blessed. One of those blessings is my dance community. Everyone is accepted for who they are in this group, and I have always felt so comfortable there. Every person has a story, and indeed, everyone has a *dance* story as to how and why they were drawn to this specific form of cultural dance. I brought my own story in with theirs, and it always seems like a happy melody to me when we are together.

Friday we packed up 2 belly mobiles ;-) and transported 10 dancers west to a small town in Ohio, home to the lovely and talented Sherena. We were scheduled for a group master class with her on Saturday afternoon, and allocated Friday to fun and frivolity. We checked into our hotel and got dressed up to have dinner at a local Middle Eastern restaurant and watch the dancer who was performing there that night. The dancer is one of Sherena's proteges, who was *excellent*. This is a town with a strong Middle Eastern dance heritage: Sherena is a second generation belly dancer, following in the footsteps of her mom. This restaurant has had a belly dancer perform every Friday night for 20 years! It is all so lovely.

Afterward, we talked and sipped champagne for hours, before finally settling in to rest up for our big class. And our class was AMAZING. Sherena has energy and enthusiasm abounding, and at 6 months pregnant no less! She also has an incredible knowledge of the dance and how culture informs the dance. It was a joy to learn from her, and we're hoping to take another class from her again in the fall. In just 2 hours, we learned an entire drum solo choreography from her, which all passed in a great big blur :0, but we have a happy video of the experience. Plus, I took away a ton of little nuances on traditional movements and arms that I had never seen before. I absolutely love when that happens.

We drove back Saturday evening, our ride filled with three and a half hours of nonstop dance talk. Then I got home to my babies in time to tuck them both into bed. After that, Mike humored me by listening to at least 30 full minutes of my detailed descriptions of what I learned, and how I can't wait to download some of the Golden Era of Belly Dance music that we discussed. He wasn't *quite* as into it as my belly girls, but he did pretty well. ;-)

Sunday, we hosted a family birthday party for our Anne, who milked her birthday for all it was worth. She got decked out in a fancy dress and asked for her hair to be braided. At Children's Liturgy of the Word, she told her catechist that it was her birthday, and the group apparently sang happy birthday to her. She was especially gleeful about being gifted the opportunity to blow out the little altar candle. :0 Upon arriving home, she wore her school birthday crown for the entire day, and was glowing for the duration of her party. A great time was had by all.

How was YOUR weekend, dear reader? Do write in! I think I'm finally getting over my cold, so I should be able to record Tea Time this week.

*streamers!*

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #...sorry. No voice = no podcast this week!

Indeed. I have seasonal allergies/cold/sinus infection/have no idea/just something nefarious, and my voice is a bit of a disaster. We have:

(a) incessant need to throat clear.
(b) general up and down/crackly situation ongoing.
(c) hacking cough whenever need to speak for any length of time .

None of the above lend themselves to pleasant podcasting for either you or me, I'm afraid. So instead of our usual audio and video time together, this week we'll be sipping a hot beverage over a regular old post.


So, what's going on with me? Well, today, May 18th, is a big day. It's my baby's birthday.

*sob!*

Her birthday is hard for me every year, because she is most likely going to stay my youngest child. Never say never, I suppose, but I'm not thinking that a different course is in God's plan for us. And my memories of the day she was born are so wonderful, it's a little bittersweet and emotional for me each year. She's 6 this year, and just as sassy as ever:


She's a very sweet, good-hearted little girl. Did I mention sassy, though? ;-)

We all went out to dinner with her last night at a restaurant of her choice, and are hosting a family party on Sunday afternoon. She's all aglow about having her name on the announcements at school today, and getting to wear "the birthday crown." :0

So that's big news. Tomorrow is my overnight road trip/workshop with my dance troupe, and I'm super excited about that. Belly Adventure, here we come! :-) I'm certain there will be amusing anecdotes from THIS little escapade. 10 belly dancers. Hours of dancing. Loads of snacks and wine. What could go wrong?

I've also been doing a little brainstorming about ways to spruce up Tea Time following our upcoming 100th episode, and I think I'm onto something. It's nothing radical, your feedback was mostly to keep it as it is, but a few touches to make it more polished. We'll be trying that out together soon!

How is your week going, dear reader? Thank for for voting in the summer book club poll, and keep that feedback coming! I'll talk to you all next week!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A prayer for focus...

A little peek inside of the mind of your Catholic Librarian:

Dear Lord,

Hey, how's it going?! I know it's been a few days since I've been in touch in this way. I've been trying to be better about praying the rosary in the mornings, but. Wait...

*5 minutes elapse*

Sorry, back! I just remembered that the whole reason I sat down here was to take care of that email to Franciscan Media, and I wanted to do that before I forgot. Soooo, where were we?

Right! OK, so I need to work on this summer writing project. I need your guidance on this so much, Lord. I pray that the Holy Spirit...

*chime chime!*

"Tiffany speaking!"

*conversation ensues*

*5 minutes elapse*

*Tiffany hangs up phone*

*checks other notifications*

"Wait. What was I supposed to be doing?!"

 So sorry about that! I'm so easily distracted. And to be honest, Lord, THAT'S THE PROBLEM. I only have 2 months to get this project done, and let's just say that I have a llllooooooonnnnnngg...

"Hold on. Where's that notebook that I was working with last to keep tabs on where I left off?"

*searches piles on desk*

"Found it!"

OK, so Lord, you see the problem here? I need so much help in getting this project finished before the fall semester starts. Focus is a real problem for me, Lord. I need Your loving hand to guide me through this process, and for the Holy Spirit to inspire me with the words to write. Each morning, turn my eyes only to You, Lord, as I want only to do Your Will and glorify You through this work.  I ask this in...

"Crud! I forgot my lunch!"

Jesus' Precious Name. *sheepish*

Amen

😳

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The book club poll is open!

Well, look at that, I remembered! We'll ignore the fact that it was a bit of a close one - I remembered as I gulped down my lunch at my desk and was mentally berating myself for not yet thinking of a blog topic for the day. But hey - we'll take it!

There is now a poll along the right side margin of the blog. If you'd like to read along for a summer book club, please do go and vote! The poll is open for about 2 weeks. Unfortunately, Blogger does not have the functionality added into the poll widget to add links (boooooo!), but I have all titles, series and authors listed there for easy copy/pasting into Amazon. And I'm going to briefly talk about each here with the links as well. Let's chat!

I kept 2 of the books we talked about previously during Tea Time, and I tweaked 2 of the others.

First up we have The Well, which is historical, scripture based fiction:


In the rich tradition of Francine Rivers’s Lineage of Grace series, comes a beautiful retelling of the biblical story of the woman at the well—bringing to life this poignant young woman struggling to survive love and heartbreak.

Could he be the One we’ve been waiting for?

For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing—the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives—but not for Mara. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.

Mara and Nava’s lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a mysterious young man from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Nava is transformed by Jesus, but his teachings come too late and she is stoned by the unforgiving villagers. Desperate to save her dying mother, Mara and Shem embark on a journey to seek Jesus’ help—a journey that brings unexpected love and unimaginable heartbreak.
We talked about that one during Tea Time. The other historical fiction option is The Secret Healer:

In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city’s trusted midwife, Clara. Working alongside Clara, Madlen develops a surprisingly soothing technique and quickly becomes a talented healer.
After Clara’s tragic death, Madlen alone rushes to assist the birth of a local nobleman’s child. But rather than the joy of birth, Madlen walks into an accusation of murder and witchcraft because of her extraordinary gifts. Forced to flee her own town, she establishes a new identity in the home of her aunt. Yet even though it endangers her life, she cannot resist the urge to help the sick patients who seek out her miraculous treatment. When she meets handsome Johannes—an investigator hired by the Church to bring her to justice for sacrilegious acts—she becomes drawn to the very man who could destroy her.
Will Madlen’s gifts bring about her downfall? Or can love and reason prevail in a time of fearful superstition?
I'm not certain whether the treatment of the Church in this one would be positive or negative, so that's a consideration in voting, for sure. It certainly is an intriguing premise, though.

For contemporary fiction, instead of How Firm a Foundation (which is a long book at over 500 pages), I decided to add in Pillar and Bulwark, which is book 2 in that series. A little unorthodox, I am, but book 1 would be a re-read for me, and I have to be honest and admit that the length made it a daunting summer read choice for me. Book 2 is somewhat shorter (still 400 pages, but a little shorter!), and the premise really grabs me:

After nearly losing his life to an assassin, Stephen LaPointe resigned from his pastorate as a Congregational minister. He made this radical decision as the result of a crisis of truth. This decision had many immediate ramifications for his vocation, his career, and most significantly for his marriage and family. Now a year later, no one knows where he is. He has disappeared. Out of love, as well as remorse, several people an old friend, his estranged wife, and a potential enemy set out separately to find him. This is a story of conversion of heart, of mind, and of love.
The story really sounds like it will stand alone, to me. So I do not think anyone would feel lost not having read book 1, and honestly, it's been so long since I read it, that it's like I'm reading this one as a stand alone.

Finally, instead of an Amish book, I thought a cozy fiction option would be nice. And so we have an installment in the Cat in the Stacks series, Arsenic and Old Books:


Lucinda Beckwith Long, the mayor of Athena, Mississippi, has donated a set of Civil War-era diaries to the archives of Athena College. She would like librarian Charlie Harris to preserve and substantiate them as a part of the Long family legacy—something that could benefit her son, Beck, as he prepares to campaign for the state senate.

Beck’s biggest rival would like to get a look at the diaries in an attempt to expose the Long family’s past sins. Meanwhile, a history professor is also determined to get her hands on the books in a last-ditch bid for tenure. But their interest suddenly turns deadly, leaving Charlie with a catalog of questions to answer. Together with his Maine Coon cat Diesel, Charlie must discover why the diaries were worth killing for before he too reaches his final chapter.
This title is book 6 in that series, but cozy fiction titles always can stand alone, so I think it would be fine for us to jump in at this point. I've read book 1, and this particular installment really grabbed me with the premise.

And so we have 4 contenders. Two have female protagonists, and two have males; 3 are either inspirational or religious-based fiction, and 1 is secular, so a nice mix. All of these books are available both in print, and as ebooks, so you'd have your choice, and can see if your public library has them in either form. What do you all think?! Go ahead and vote!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #96 - Exciting meetup edition!

It's a big meetup edition of:

Yesterday, I journeyed north to Toronto to meetup with my good friend Sam, who I've known for over a year, but never met in person!





**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 you ever met someone in real life that you had only known previously online? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It's an errandy kind of day, as I tornado about prior to a big meetup...

I'm off from work both today and tomorrow, which is a pleasant change from the main part of the semester. Today, Anne's kindergarten class is hosting the school Mass, and it's at 12:30, so it seemed pointless to go to work just for a few hours. I also had a list of things to do prior to my BIG MEETUP WITH SAMANTHA TOMORROW! :0 This includes testing out a borrowed GPS unit, since I'm driving about 1.5-2 hours to get to our meetup location. (is "meetup" even a single word? Well, it is now!! ;-)) I have a very old car that barely has a CD player let along a built-in GPS unit, and let's just say that your Catholic Librarian is a bit lacking in the navigational skills arena. If Mike gets turned around while driving, he whips out a bit street map, zeros in on our location, and plots a logical route from there. I...panic. Then say a swear word. Then I start to sweat. Then I glare at passing cars, like it is their fault that I have gotten myself lost. Then I sit and stew for a little bit before making an educated guess as to which way to turn. I figured this wasn't the best course of action for a trip like this one, which involves crossing an international border.

So I borrowed a portable GPS unit from my in-laws. It's more than several years old, so I'm nervous about it, but it seems to be working all right. I keep looking at it anxiously. I can feel myself slowly morphing into my mother as I type, being suspicious of the GPS unit and "not really trusting this thing." We'll see how this goes tomorrow. 😬

In the meantime, I'm flitting about the house getting other things done. Kevin left a comment on yesterday's Bible journaling post about the Summer Book Club, and that reminded me that I need to get that book poll together! I think that I'm going to add a few titles, and tweak a few based upon feedback from my Tea Time on this topic. I'm going to work on that this week, and aim to have the post up next Tuesday or Wednesday! I'm excited. Now that things have slowed down for me a bit, I've been reading more, and I have to say that I am LOVING it. I'm certain there will be lots of book posts this summer, even outside of our organized book club!

All right. I have to go make Mike miserable by tornadoing through his office to straighten it up. :0 I'm hosting an event on Saturday (a Lularoe pop up for those of you who also enjoy such frivolities) and this means that I transform into Frenzied Tiffany, overpowering microscopic bits of dust wherever I go. ;-) I will be recording Tea Time on Friday, and it'll be a Samantha Meetup Edition! If you still have book club suggestions, you can still leave those in the comments!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Scripture reading plans and Bible journaling...

Greetings all on a new week! I have lots going on this week, including a big MEET UP WITH SAMANTHA!!

*streamers!*

More on that to come later this week. But I'm terribly excited!

Going into this week, for whatever reason, I've had Bible study and reading plans on my mind. I'd like to read some Scripture each day, even if it's only a small snippet. So, I was on Amazon this morning, surfing for Scripture reading plans. I came across a number of interesting titles (like How to Read Your Way to Heaven) and had in mind to find a plan I could use with my existing Bible (the beautiful Catholic Women's Devotional Bible, a gift from my Cristina *beams*). I'm definitely intrigued by How to Read Your Way to Heaven, which includes not only a Bible reading plan, but also the Catechism as well as other important spiritual works, but right now I really need something SMALL. :-) Just a way to organize myself each day to read a little Scripture. As I was searching I realized that my Bible *does* include a reading plan in the back, I'd just have to flip back and forth to find the necessary verses each day. Plus, happening upon Daily Mass Readings books on Amazon reminded me that I also have a subscription to Magnificat magazine. So I do already have a few tools at my disposal. This caused my little mind to be all awhirl.

As I was searching, I discovered something else terribly interesting. Remember that journaling post from a few weeks back? That got the most hits of any post in April, and a lot of interaction in the comments. Journaling definitely seemed to touch a chord with all of you, even if we collectively aren't all that great with being consistent with it. ;-) Suddenly, I came upon this:


http://a.co/4pzjyS4

A Catholic Journaling Bible (for Psalms and New Testament, and there is also one for the Old Testament). Cindy!!! I immediately thought of you! :0 Cindy had mentioned in the comments of the journaling post that she loved the idea of a journaling Bible, wherein you could write your own notes in the margin, but that she hadn't yet come across a Catholic one. These are brand new, came out in 2017. They include pages for painting or coloring, and a wide margin with thick paper for drawing or writing on each page. It's only *11.69* at Amazon right now for the New Testament volume! The Old Testament is more expensive at $29.99, but that makes sense in terms of length. What do you think, are you all intrigued?! I'm tempted to order the New Testament volume! My only qualm is with the font layout and size. Go read the comments over at Amazon and you'll see what I mean. There are no paragraph breaks aside from chapters, and the text size is somewhat small. So it's just low rows of continual text. That might be hard on these already compromised eyes, I'm not sure. But I LOVE the concept of this and wanted to show you all! What do you think of this idea?

Also, do you have a Bible reading plan? Which Bible do you use? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #95 - Summer blog planning!

It's a restless, trying-to-get-organized edition this week of:

Today I dwell on where I've come with Tea Time, as well as Life of a Catholic Librarian generally, and evaluate where we should go from here. Have ideas? Join me!





**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:
Where should we go together this summer? Do you have any ideas for the Tea Time podcast and how I could freshen it as we move forward towards our 100 episode milestone? Let's chat in the comments!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Singlehandedly raising the average patron age at Piercing Pagoda by at least 25 years, we have...

...your Catholic Librarian, at your service.

Sooooooo, I'm not exactly what you would call an adventurous person. ;-) But every once in a while, I like to mix it up and pretend that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life holed away in a hermitage wearing sackcloth and ashes (so long as I had WIFI and could still communicate with everyone via social media) if I could. Occasionally, I get bold. Or, at least my version of Introvert Bold. And so, over the weekend, it occurred to me that I'd like to get my ears pierced.

Granted, my ears are ALREADY pierced. I had a main lobe piercing done when I was about 8 years old, the way everybody did back in the 80's: at the mall, sitting in a chair in the window at our closest Claire's boutique store, with 2 teenage girls pointing piercing guns at my ears. Yes, that's the way they did it back then, both ears at the same time! I guess it helped with little girls deciding they didn't really want the second ear pierced after getting a load of the first one. :0

And it wasn't that bad. I remember a few tears, but on the whole I braved it pretty well, and I loved having pierced ears. The piercing held up well, too. Before I was a performer, I'd go months without wearing earrings, and my holes have never closed. I never really thought much about it until this weekend. My best friend Cristina got her nose pierced, and it looks BEAUTIFUL, and I'm all: "maybe I should get a solidarity piercing?!" Because that's what friends do. ;-)

The idea gained steam as the weekend wore on, and like the true librarian that I am, I buried my nose in a little research. It seems that many people, when they get, you know, OLDER, tend to skirt away from the Claire's piercing gun and instead go to a tattoo and piercing shop, where there are experienced piercers on staff. Indeed, a tattoo place did sound infinitely more appealing to me than navigating the prom and Sweet 16 displays at Claire's, until I read that at a tattoo shop they use a needle to pierce your body part. Excuse me while I continue to live in denial, but NO THANK YOU. I choose to pretend that the piercing gun merely has a cupid's arrow inside of it, and not an actual needle.

*shudders*

I only wanted a second ear piercing. A piercing gun sounded just fine to me, even if it does have some drawbacks. I braced myself to be accosted by spinning racks of rhinestones and Justin Bieber posters at Claire's. Then I remembered Piercing Pagoda. A staple kiosk at malls everywhere, they offer more piercing services than Claire's, and I felt somewhat less conspicuous going there. Granted, I'm certain that their usual clientele is much *somewhat* younger than myself. But it seemed less teeny bopperish. AND they use an old fashioned piercing gun. And by old fashioned I mean newer and not nearly as scary as the 80's version. :0

Yesterday, I left work a tad early to head to the mall and Piercing Pagoda. The girl who was working wasn't a teenager, which I considered a bonus. PLUS, she had all sorts of awesome piercings and thus seemed super experienced. 😰 She was very pleasant and helped me pick out simple piercing earrings. Then she got ready while I sat in The Chair and contemplated whether this was all part of a midlife crisis for really boring people. Before I could determine an answer, she was ready, and carefully did some measurements. Soon, she was all set to go and so was I. They no longer do both ears at the same time (big surprise :0) so I was ready for it to feel like I was getting a vaccination. Except in my ear.

But really? It didn't feel like that. It didn't hurt AT ALL. :0 I'm certain other piercings do (that would be those that I can't even think about lest I faint dead away), but ear lobes are much less tear worthy than when I was 8. She did the second ear, and I was good to go, my cute little pink studs a badge of midlife honor. And here they are:


Not everyday that you get EAR PICTURES here at Life of a Catholic Librarian, but there you have it! I have to say: I LOVE THEM. I'm so glad that I got it done! So now every morning and evening I'm busily applying this little solution she gave me and twirling my earrings so that they'll heal properly. Yes, I do feel a little old to be doing such things, but you know what the good thing is about reaching a certain milestone age?

You don't care anymore. 😂

I love my little pink studs. They make me feel young and sassy. ;-) All right, this isn't typically how we close out a post, but here we go: do you have any piercings (that you feel comfortable talking about :0)? Are you hankering to get anymore? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Little girls who cough in the night...

Sunday night/early Monday morning, in the home of the Catholic Librarian:

*Tiffany and Mike blissfully sleeping*

Suddenly...

*cough. cough. coughcoughcough. COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*

Anne has seasonal allergies, and spring is her roughest season. Obviously, I'm sympathetic. It just takes me longer to be enthusiastic about aforementioned sympathies at 2 am. Just like when I had newborns, I wait it out for several minutes, hoping that a miracle will come down from the sky and the child will fall back to sleep on their own. And how many times has THAT ever worked?

*COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*

*long suffering sigh*

I drag myself out of bed and down the stairs. I sleepily fetch Anne's allergy medication, and carefully measure it out. I then drag self back up stairs and into her room. I give her the medicine, some water, an extra pillow to prop her head up more, and tuck her back in.

*jump back into bed*

*sigh of contentment*

*cough. cough. coughcoughcough. COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*

This goes on for what feels like hours while I wait for the medicine to kick in, but in actuality is only 10 minutes. I finally give up on sleep and head back to Anne's room.

"Anne honey, do you want to try and sleep on Mommy's chest so that you'll be propped up?"

Why yes, yes she would.

I lean up against the wall while Anne gets comfortable in my lap. Despite the fact that only 5 seconds have elapsed, my neck is already developing a crink.

"Anne. Are you settled yet?"

"Almost."

*jabs knees into my kidney*

"That's better."

Oh good. At least she's comfortable.

😱

She's not coughing anymore, but she's also not staying STILL.

"Anne."

*removes elbow from ribs*

"Aren't you comfortable yet?"

"Well." *pounds head into sternum* "I'm rather hot, actually."

Oh are you really, actually?

"How about Mommy sleeps on your floor instead? You can stay up here in the bed."

Oh, she likes that idea.

Even though she isn't propped up, this seems to soothe her. I don't want to go back into our bedroom and risk waking Mike, so I adopt Oreo the penguin as my "pillow" and Anne's comforter as my blanket. The crink in my neck has now moved all the way down my back.

*cough. cough. coughcoughcough. COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*

Within about 15 minutes, Anne falls asleep. Guess who is still awake? But come 6:30 am...

"MOMMY!" *head peeks down!* " IT'S MORNIN' TIME!"

She's all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to start her day. I guess that's the 35 year age difference at play. 

😴

And another thing that happens as you get older: I won't fully recover from this bad night for about another, oh, week and half. :0 How was YOUR weekend, dear reader?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #94 - Summer Book Club plans!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today we have a bookish edition of:

Today we have some end-of-semester updates, and planning for a summer book club here at Life of a Catholic Librarian!





**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:
Are you up for praying the Our Lady of Fatima novena? What are your thoughts on the books I discussed, and do you have other suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 14

Wow. We have come to the final week in our Live Today Well book club that began back in winter Ordinary Time. It is also the final week of our classes here where I work, so that seems extra fitting. I'm excited about where we'll go from here! But first, we are slated to talk about "Mass and the Grace of Encounter." *happy sigh* Let's dive in, I have my tea!

St. Francis refers to the Mass as "the sun of all spiritual exercises," and pinpoints it as a "sacred moment." It is:

"...set apart (the root meaning of holy) in both time and place, for it celebrates God's doing, not ours."

Beautiful, yes? The Mass as the Church's Sun. That image really strikes a chord within my heart. When I was a child I thought (like many children, and certainly my own) that the Mass was BORING. I had no understanding of what we were doing or there to accomplish, it just seemed rote and monotonous to me. As an adult, I came to an understanding of the meaning of the Mass, and that changed everything for me. The Mass certainly has its comfortable rhythm from week-to-week, but it is anything but rote and monotonous.

During the Mass, St. Francis emphasizes being engaged with our surroundings via our faculties: our minds and hearts:

"First of all we should place ourselves in the presence of God...When the celebrant invites the faithful to repentance we should acknowledge our sins, be truly sorry for them, and ask God's pardon."

Thus, he is expressing a concrete way to attune ourselves to the divine presence at Mass. And we continue in this vein up through the Eucharistic prayers and reception of the Eucharist.

"Then, in the time that follows our reception of the sacrament, we can really commune with God. Here again, the sensible moment (i.e. the taste or act of digestion) can pass quickly. For this reason, it takes an intentional act on our part to appreciate th4e real presence of God now within us."

I love this. Intentionality. This has certainly been a theme throughout our time with St. Francis de Sales this year. We do what we do on a daily basis with intention: we think about it first, we offer it to God and seek His insight, and we act on it. Even in the simple tasks of our everyday lives. When receiving the Eucharist:

"...we can think of ourselves as being in this moment in the same state as that of Mary, who literally carried the Lord within her, and we can respond accordingly."

YES. This is my favorite line of the entire book. As a mother, I remember carrying my children within me (although I know many people, both men and women alike, become parents without going through this process). In either instance, the point is poignant. Receiving the Eucharist is no mere swallowing of a piece of bread. It is receiving the Lord within our very bodies. It is significant and meaningful. We need to be mindful of not taking this for granted and setting our minds and hearts accordingly.

"Divinely blessed in this sacred moment of the liturgical celebration of the Mass and in the reception of Holy Communion, we are empowered anew to live the good life."

Well. What did you think?! I got a lot out of the book. As you know, I have a difficult time sticking with spiritual non-fiction. I have a short attention span, and heavy content gets me down quickly. I thought this book was very approachable in style, and reading it one chapter per week really made the process smooth for me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on both Chapter 14, as well as the book club experience as a whole!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Do you keep a journal?

Current (and successful) Easter journal
I've been thinking a lot lately about journaling. Throughout my life, even as a child, I have tried to keep a journal in an off-and-on sort of manner. As a bookworm who always saw herself as a budding writer, this seemed like it should be a natural fit for me. Except that it wasn't. I'd dive into a new journal with a lot of gusto: I'd spend hours selecting just the right notebook for this endeavor, days thinking up a system for what and how frequently I'd write, and even devote time to picking the perfect writing instrument. Then I'd go to town for a solid week. Then I'd move to every other day, then a few times per week...until I realized that it had been 10 days and I hadn't written anything at all. I'd go through an inevitable period of coercing myself to write every so often before finally giving up the ghost and admitting that I didn't want to anymore. I'm a person who likes to live in denial. ;-)

And I still cannot fully pinpoint why this happens, and why journaling does not appeal to me in a long term format. I'm currently keeping a journal for Easter season via Blessed is She, and I do really like it. But this is an extremely short form and short term project that will end at Pentecost. When I have a date goal in mind, I can usually stay motivated. It's the "throughout my life" thing that usually throws me the curve ball.

But indeed, I *have* been enjoying the Easter journal, and I'd like to start investing in the Blessed is She Advent and Lent journals as well. Same deal. Short term goal, so I should be good. I wish I would keep up with this during Ordinary Time, but I know that I won't, so I'll stop torturing myself.

You know what I HAVE been doing for a long time, though? This blog. I started it back in (I THINK *blows dust off of brain cells*)  2008. So, that's almost 10 years. I'll have to go back and look, I know that I started it during the summertime too. So next summer can be a big milestone celebration here at Life of a Catholic Librarian. ;-)

And it's interesting, because I have always seen this blog as a journal of sorts. Granted, with a good deal of censoring and not exactly baring my soul the way I would in a journal that nobody read but me and God. :0 But I do share a lot with you, my friends. I certainly use a lot of discretion, but blogging is indeed a form of online journaling. And why do I like it so much more than keeping an old fashioned journal? Maybe *because* I have to be more creative and editorial in what I choose to write about since I am writing for others besides just myself. Indeed, I'm writing for others, for you. That brings a certain level of appeal to this writer. I don't want to write just for myself. I love fostering a sense of community and feeling like at least a few people out there enjoy reading what I have to write about, despite my less-than-perfect abilities.

I love blogging, I really do. So if you choose to stick around, you can be stuck with me for as long as you'd like. ;-) But how do YOU feel about journaling? Do you keep a journal? Do you feel that blogging is akin to journaling in some ways? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #93 - Spring into creativity!

Happy Friday all, and welcome to a very seasonally springy edition of:


Today I talk about what is bringing me creative inspiration this spring: dance, crafts, novenas, and some upcoming trips!





**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 creative things are inspiring YOU this spring? Don't forget to write in with your favorite genres of fiction for our chat next week about a summer book club!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 13...

Well, looky here! We're into the Easter season, and into the final 2 chapters of our book club. Well done, yes?! We started back in February. I'm very impressed with us! ;-) I'm very excited about where we can go after this in terms of a summer book club. I have some ideas for that, and we can chat about them next week!

OK, but for now, we're set to talk about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, better known as Confession. We all dread this one just a wee bit, right? :-) At least you do if you're me! Let's dive in.

I know that I dread Confession because I feel so guilty about the things that I need to confess, and I feel like a perpetual failure since I seem to repeat things a lot. Does anybody else relate to this? Interestingly, St. Francis has this to say:

"confession and penance render a man infinitely more honorable than sin renders him blamable" and that "the greater our misery, the more is the mercy of God glorified." Our author notes: "With this attitude in mind, we might approach the sacrament more frequently and more profitably."

I like this positive spin. Instead of feeling guilt and despair, I should feel hope and gratitude. Since our approach to the sacrament actually highlights God's mercy, we should go MORE often, rather than our natural inclination towards less.

Our author also addresses preparing for Confession, reminding us of the daily practice of the Examen. As well, if we go to Confession for frequently, it will be MUCH easier to recall what we need to confess. If we wait too long, it gets impossible to recall everything that we should.

Crucially, in terms of what we should confess, St. Francis suggests:

"...that we not only confess what we have done (or failed to do), but, more importantly, that we acknowledge the reason for it and the motive behind it. These are what allow us to see ourselves as we really are and become the place where we focus renewed energy, with the help of divine grace, in becoming who we are called to be."

This selection really spoke to me. If there are things that I need to confess again and again, WHY am I continuing to do them? It's not simply a matter of resolving not to do it again, then eventually caving and doing it again, it's a matter of what is causing that temptation or weakness to be present. This was a very useful insight for me.

What were your thoughts on the Confession chapter? Next week is our final chapter, and it's about the Mass! I'm really looking forward to that one. I have very much enjoyed our endeavor together with this book, but now that we're at the end, I AM excited about moving on to something else. I can't wait to chat about it with you!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Journeying towards Pentecost!

Good morning all, and happy Easter! I had such a lovely Easter weekend, and am very much trying to carry forward the joy of the vigil and Easter Sunday. But as we know, Easter is a full liturgical season, and so we remain joyful for many days to come!

My Triduum was exactly as I hoped when you and I chatted about it during Tea Time last week: The Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday was moving and inspiring.I always tear up during the transfer of the Eucharist at that Mass. And then the dramatic leaving of the sanctuary by the priest and altar servers really sets the tone for the continuation of the liturgy on Good Friday. Anne came with me to the 3 pm Good Friday service at our parish, and that liturgy packs a punch every single year. When the priest and deacon lay prostrate in front of the bare altar at the start...makes me cry every time. Another reading of the Passion, the veneration of the Cross, the absence of the Eucharist in the sanctuary, all of this is so tangible for me. 8 pm on the vigil of Easter found both me AND Henry at Mass holding small taper candles. I relented and let him come with me, because he really wanted to, and I have to say, he held up his end of the bargain. No complaining about length or asking when it would be over. He did really good. And I LOVE that Mass. As usual, it was spectacular.

Easter Sunday, our house looked like a chocolate factory exploded in it. and we had family over for dinner. It was a beautiful and glorious day.

I was dreading coming back to work, but here I am, bushy tailed if not bright eyed. Fortuitously, I found out about something that really cheered my Easter spirits, and I thought I'd share it with all of you:

I talked back at the beginning of Lent about the Blessed is She devotional for that liturgical season.It was beautifully written and designed, and I got a lot out of it during Lent. Yesterday, I found out that they also have a journal for the Easter season leading up to Pentecost, called On the Way: Road to Pentecost Journal.

*bells chime*

I downloaded the e-book version real quick like the Easter bunny, since I wanted to start right away, but there is also a gorgeous print copy available (thought the numbers are low, so they may go out of stock any minute!). For the e-book, I recommend watching the video Jenna did on Facebook to explain how much to read every day (it's in the Blessed is She Facebook group, recorded on 4/17/17). The e-book lacks the journaling lines that signal the end of that day's selection, so it can be confusing as to where you should stop each time. There is also a special Facebook group devoted just to discussion of the journal during the Easter season, which I joined, and you may want to as well!

I'm very excited about this. We're almost done with our Live Today Well discussion (in fact, I just read the chapter on Confession that we're going to be addressing tomorrow!), and it's nice to have something else of the spiritual reading variety to focus on. Is anybody else reading along with Blessed is She for Easter? I'd love it if you'd let me know in the comments!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #92 - Triduum plans!

A blessed Good and Holy Friday to you all, and this is officially a Triduum edition of:

Today I talk about my Triduum plans, and how this Holy Week was a bit of a mystery for me. Please join me!





**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 your Triduum plans? Do you have anything special planned for Easter Sunday and Easter season generally? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 12...

I cannot even believe that it is already Holy Week! And here we are in our little book club, about to talk about the chapter on virtues, and about to wrap up in just 2 short weeks! I hope you've enjoyed this process as much as I have, and have also gotten a lot of spiritual fodder out of our discussions! This is the most participation I've ever had in a Catholic Book Club series, and I'm just thrilled about it!

So today we are talking about "Living the 'Little Virtues.'" I wasn't sure exactly what this meant prior to reading the chapter, and here we find out:

"These 'little' virtues may be lowly in terms of not garnering great public esteem; practicing them is not something for which people are widely known. But they are not at all little in terms of being easy to do. Nor are they small in the value they they hold for those who practice them. In fact, these are the sort of good deeds that, from the inside out, change lives forever - not only our own but also those with whom we interact each day."

I just love that emphasis on the word "little," reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux. And St. Therese, to me, emulates everyday holiness, I like those kinds of down-to-earth saints. :-) And what are these little virtues?

Humility - To St. Francis de Sales, this is "an honest estimation of who we are - in both the positive and negative realities of our personal identity." This one is painful, but we need to face it. :0 Especially when my patience is worn thin at work or with my kids, I know that negative qualities about myself come out. We have to be honest with ourselves about what these are if we ever want to overcome them.

Gentleness - "Gentleness invites us to be honest about, and accepting of, others." I like this. I can do that. Then I read this: "After all, the more we learn to embrace the truth that we are not perfect, the less we will expect or demand that others be perfect towards us. Yet how often do we expect things in life to be different?...We expect our work to produce positive results in proportion to the effort we put into it. We expect other people to act as we would in the same situation. All too often, and all too easily, we dwell in a world of 'should.' And when things do not measure up to the image we have in mind, when life does not go as we think it should, or people do not act as we want them to, we often get angry."

#whoa

Let's pause for a moment here to reflect on the powerful nature of the point made above. :0 I actually wrote: "!" in my book next to this passage. This is why I struggle, and have been struggling, since the fall semester began. I get exasperated with careless, inconsiderate people, because I expect and want them to behave differently. I can still want them to, but I can't expect them to. That is not for me to worry about. Regardless of their behavior, I have to react to them with the same kind and loving guidance as I would anybody else. When we react with gentleness, we will "...show docility toward those with whom we find fault, our natural passion gives way to a more reasonable response." This REALLY made a big impact on me. Gentleness. It comes naturally to me, but my work environment sometimes brings out those negative qualities mentioned up in humility, above. ;-) Going to be working on both of these!

Simplicity - By this, St. Francis means that our approach to ourselves, others, and life in general should be: "forthright, plain dealing, and otherwise free from pretense." I have a Scentsy warmer that says "Live Simply" on the front. I'll think of St. Francis whenever I turn it on. ;-) "To be simple...is to be cognizant of the opportunities afforded for good that take place in the ordinary responsibilities of our vocation."

Opportunities afforded for good in the ordinary places of our lives. I need to tape this to my forehead. :0

What did you all think of this chapter? There was a LOT of fodder in this one for me! Next week, we're going to talk about reconciliation!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"*gulp* What do I do NOW?!" Adventures in hafla dancing, April 2017 edition...

As ever, I bear amusing tales from our semiannual hafla, the Middle Eastern dance equivalent to the old fashioned recitals we all know and love. At least, *I* loved them. I'm sure my long suffering relatives sometimes wished they could have a break. 😂 And so here we have Current Day Tiffany, no longer a budding ballerina, but a full-time librarian and semi-professional belly dancer who dances even more than she did 30 years ago. Who would have thunk it?

Our spring hafla was a lot earlier than usual this year due to a number of factors, but despite that fact, it was still Heavens to Mergatroyd HOT in there for the duration of the show. Nevertheless, I straightened my hair with the hopes of it looking halfway decent by the end of the performance. As opposed to THIS, which is how we started off pre-straightener:

A rare behind-the-scenes hair look



With just a WEE bit of wrangling, we got to this:

Thank goodness for the miracle of modern technology


After packing up what felt like 100 costumes, I wheeled my handy dandy little orange suitcase off to the studio. I was nervous because not only would Mike and the kids be there, but also my in-laws, who have never seen me dance before.I wanted to do as good a job as I possibly could.

Set 1 included 2 group numbers for me. I was sweating as daintily as human possible waiting for our slots. The first number in any given performance always feels a bit rusty to me, but this one is one of my favorite pieces, and I felt like it went very well. I wasn't nervous, just like we were shaking off our cobwebs a bit. After that, was the piece from the Sunday choreography class I took over the winter, and that one went REALLY well. Set 1 ended on a high note.

But then came the part I was most nervous about. :0 My solo was the very first piece in Set 2. I changed into my baladi gown, sweating all the while. Even after all these years, I still get VERY nervous before I perform. I had practiced my heart out, and I'm pleased to say that it was all worth it. I've been working very hard to relax more when I dance, and to focus on projecting the emotion that the music evokes in me. I felt really good about the way it went (not perfect by any stretch, but my very best effort!), and the audience was super responsive. That's every dancer's best case scenario!

The solo behind me, I allowed myself the treat of breathing a bit, and changed into my next group costume. This is a piece that I've been having a difficult time remembering, which is totally not like me. Dance choreographies are usually the one thing I CAN remember. Office keys, crucial lesson plan details, directional navigation issues? Nope. Dances? Always.

So I had practiced this one based upon my nervousness about it, and during the show it went great! I remembered everything, including some last minute changes we had made. We had yet another group piece in set 2 (clearly, my most exhausting set of the night :0) which was a power-packed Shaabi/drum duo, and those also went quite well. My hair was expanding and curling quite a bit in the heat, but all in all, I was managing it quite well, I thought. :0

Then we get to set 3. I am nearly in the clear here, peeps. Everything had gone pretty much as good as it could for me, and I was already prophesying about the gigantic glass of Chardonnay that would be awaiting me upon my arrival home. I was tired, my hair was huge, but I felt good, and changed into the costume for our brand new Shaabi piece.

This was the last dance of the night. Everything started off fine. You're getting a sense of foreboding reading this, aren't you. ;-) You're not alone, friends! We get to the middle section of the dance, and herein lies the part that we changed the night before the show. Our venue is in the round, and Claire asked if my side of the line could face a different direction for that segment. It threw us all at first, because we've practiced it differently so many times, but when we tried it, it went fine and looked great. Well.

We get to that part, and I'm having an intensive conversation with my own self inside my head about what way to turn and face. Check, I remembered, no problem. But my mind was so preoccupied on that little detail, that BOOM! The music hit an accent, signalling the onset of our accent sequence near the end of the dance. And what happened? Nothing. I couldn't remember what came next in the choreography.

😱

The directional change had disoriented me enough that I blanked. It doesn't happen to me often when I dance, but when it does, let me tell you, it sucks. :0 But I have learned something from my years of performing, and that is the following:

A compelling dance performance is about so much more than dance ability. It's about putting on a persona. You gotta SELL IT, SISTER. If you can't sell it, they won't buy it!!

The music accents. I blank, and realize that I have blanked. Thus, I strike a snappy hip accent, while fixing a blistering smile at my immediate audience. The other half of the line is doing something different from my half anyway, by design, so I pray that it looks like I MEANT to do this. The music accents again. I'm still disoriented and cannot remember what the next movement is. To my left, I can see that my troupemate Lara is in the same boat as me. I strike a second accent that I pray is correct. It isn't.

*&$!

On the third one, I strike the correct accent but facing the wrong direction, and Lara manages to synch up with me facing the wrong direction. Which makes it the right direction, in my opinion. 😂

Lara and I beamed our way through our duo sequence at the end, which we both remembered, thankfully, but MAN. That was rough. :0 Back in the dressing room, my other troupemates were saying they forgot parts in the other choreography, the one I originally was so nervous about remembering, so the moral of the story is that it happens to everybody sooner or later. I hadn't even noticed that they had blank moments, so SEE. They sold it. 😀

All's well that ends well. My in-laws loved the show. Despite the Shaabi debacle, I felt really satisfied with our group pieces and with my solo piece. And hey, the Shaabi is a good story. ;-) I love the dancing life.

Book club tomorrow, and we're almost done!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #91 - Frantic week, & Holy Week preparation...

It's our vigil of Holy Week edition of:

Today I talk about the crazy week that I have been navigating, teaching drama, SQPN meet-ups, upcoming dance performances, prayer, and my plans for Holy Week!





**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 was your week, dear ones? What are you plans for Holy Week? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 11...

Well, I made it to Thursday. In a week like this, I consider that a win! Today, we move into the third and final section of Live Today Well, and herein we focus on specific sacred moments in our faith: prayer, virtue, Mass, Reconciliation. This first chapter focuses on prayer, so lets dive in!

I really needed this chapter, because although I think of God often throughout the day, I feel like I don't dedicate enough time to set aside, quiet prayer. My mind is always whirling, and I squeeze prayer time in (when I remember to) around all of that. Not exactly a stellar model. And so what does Salesian tradition have to say to help us out in this regard?

The Salesian model is based on meditation for prayer time. This is defined as:

"...a prayer of the mind and heart. It follows the example of Jesus, who at important moments in his public ministry would often go off by himself to a quiet place to pray and thus to be in communion with the Father and the Spirit...Conceived as a form of inspired imagining, it focuses more on listening to God than on speaking to God."

To prepare for this type of prayer, St. Francis recommends the following:

(1) Presence. We focus on God's presence by recalling that He is everywhere, that he is indeed present within us, and that He is gazing down on us from heaven. We should also picture Christ near us by imaging him walking beside us.

(2) Imagination. I love this step. We can use our imagination to focus on a particular place or scene in which God acts, such as in a biblical story. We could picture ourselves being present at the Last Supper, or the healing of the woman. This makes it easier for us to imagine Christ working in our own lives, in the present day.

(3) Consideration. Now, we allow the Spirit to guide us from thought and feeling, into action. Based upon what we just re-imagined in our minds of how God worked in the lives of other people, and knowing that He is present with us (albeit in a different way), how might He want us to act now?

(4) Affection. When we think of our affection for the Lord, it inspires us to act in holy ways.

(5) Resolution. With all of this in mind, we make a resolution to act in a certain way that aligns our human reality with the divine mystery we have envisioned:

"Devotion, according to St. Francis de Sales, is not simply a thought or a feeling. The good life is one that is lived!"

Amen, am I right?!

St. Francis also promotes a form of prayer called aspirations, in which you repeat short sayings to yourself as you move through your day. Such as "Jesus, I trust in you." I enjoy this form of prayer as well, since it lends itself nicely to my always preoccupied state of mind. ;-)

What did you all think of this chapter on prayer? Will you incorporate any of the suggestions into your day? I'm going to try and work on the imagination part more, and allow my mind to be quiet while doing so. For Holy Week, we move on to virtues! Please do post your prayer thoughts in the comments. :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"What day is it?!" Adventures in frenzied librarianship...

Wow. Where to start...You'll notice that today is usually Book Club Day. And well...I forgot the book. 😱 When you hear about my past 2 days you'll understand why.

Let's start with Monday. Grab your coffee!

Monday morning heralds a string of text messages from my colleagues. Our students have an automated quiz to complete this week, and there's been a problem with the course management system not granting them partial credit like we had intended. They are receiving either a 100, or a 0, and as you can imagine, this is generating some angst. I start class at 9 am on Mondays, so I rushy rushy at home to get into work and fix this before my first class begins. When I open my email I already have a half dozen questions about this problem, and I'd rather not accumulate more to have to deal with. The issue when we encounter a problem like this is that we're all teaching 10 sections of this same lab. When we have to change something in class #1, we have to change it in all 10. That's a lot of mundane mouse clicking for a Monday morning, but I manage. It makes me run a few minutes late, but I finish, and rush off to class in the other library building.

Immediately upon my arrival, my colleague that I teach with in that time slot informs me of yet another problem: there's a troublesome question in the quiz. She thinks we should remove it. I look at it and agree with her.

*long suffering sighs are heard throughout the land*

We have 3 classes in a row for this Monday stretch. Between each of them, she and I are on laptops, our fingers moving at lightening speed to eliminate that quiz question, and re-set up the partial credit option. For all 10 sections, it takes a LOT longer than we wanted it to.

Class 1 comes and goes with just some questions about about quiz problem #1. While the students are working on something, I send out emails to the other sections, alerting them that the problem has been fixed. Class 2 begins, and I immediately pick up on a vibe: there is tension and dissension amongst a table towards the back of the room.  They had a group project due last week, and there is apparently strife with regards to what was turned in and who did what. As the other students are working on something else, I hear shouting coming from that table. I.KID.YOU.NOT. They were in my colleague's section, and she had to EXTRACT them from the room to deal with the problem out in the hallway. We never signed up to be K-12 teachers, y'all. Good grief!

By Class 3, we were both emotionally drained and just hanging on to make it through the morning. This group was confused when we mentioned that they (assumedly) had to write a paper for their English class, and we were here to help with that. A paper in an English Composition class? This was shocking news, apparently. :0

After that, I headed to my regular fitness class, though every muscle in my body ached to just go back to my office and build a hermitage to live in for the remainder of the week. After that, I stuffed my lunch in my mouth while answering emails and dealing with assorted other work issues. I left at 5 pm totally exhausted.

Yesterday, I had the day off from work, but it was jam packed with social outings. If you've known me for any length of time, you know that I am an introvert, and that socializing, while I very much enjoy it, isn't exactly on my list of activities that induces *relaxation.* 😅 I visited with an out-of-town friend, and we walked to Canada (long story :0). We had lunch and did lots of lovely visiting. After a rushy trip home to shower, clean up the house and tend to the children, I had a date to go out to dinner and to see Swan Lake with my mother-in-law.

*collapses*

Again, lovely, but by the time I dragged myself home at 10 pm, you could have blown me over with a wisp of wind. Today, I'm back to my regular class schedule and feeling like a nap may overtake me at any moment. And of course, I forgot our book club book. :0 And I have to prepare for a dance performance this weekend. And a small gathering we're hosting for some friends to watch the Masters golf tournament. Hermitage, anyone?

Sooooooo, tomorrow we'll have book club! And Friday we'll have Tea Time!

How was the beginning of your week? Was it as frenzied as mine?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #90 - Librarian identity crisis...

TGIF everyone! And welcome to a bookish librarian edition of:

Today I am talking about my recent crisis of faith with my treasured identity as official bun-wearing, glasses-bearing reference librarian, and how I have resolved this little midlife crisis of sorts.





**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

No items mentioned in this episode today. Just lots of heart-to-heart!

Have you ever had a crisis of personal identity? How did you resolve it? How is your Lent wrapping up as we approach Holy Week? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 10...

Happy book club day everyone! I could really use book club today to cheer me up, as my work week has a been just a wee bit long. Trying to keep my spirits up, and here we are about to sit down for a very serious discussion about detachment.

😂

But we press on. :-) Chapter 10 of our journey together though "Live Today Well" focuses on retiring for the night, and detaching ourselves from earthly worries in favor of an abandonment to God's Will and Providence. So, what exactly does this mean to St. Francis de Sales?

When we ready for for bed, we are faced with our last opportunity to live that particular day well. Man, I have been screwing this up my whole life. :0 I'm usually all absorbed in what to-do's from my list will carry over to tomorrow and busily worrying about those things.

"St. Francis speaks of the need to be attentive - to engage in conscious thinking about things that matter in a way that would otherwise not happen naturally. As with all progress in the good life, this, too, takes some effort, especially at the end of the day, after our minds have been focused on so many other matters."

Whew, he does understand. :-) So, we're doing our very best to redirect our attention:

"To facilitate this spiritual attentiveness, St. Francis suggests that we associate it with the nightly routine of undressing...in this way, the spiritual merges more easily with the material, and we learn to divinize even this ordinary need."

I like this. I like attaching spiritual significance to mundane, everyday tasks. When I was in my early 20's, I discerned whether or not I was called to the religious life. Obviously, we know how that ultimately turned out ;-), but one of the appealing things to me about religious life was (and remains) how each small thing in their everyday lives are dedicated to God. As laypeople though, we can have that too, if we are attentive to St. Francis is sharing with us here. Even the act of putting on our pj's can be a time to turn our minds to God and dedicate that time to Him.

"We should always try to fall asleep with some good thought."

*unladylike snort*

I'm usually falling asleep thinking something that is anxiety-inducing. And you know what's worse?

"If we awaken during the night, we will stir up our heart immediately with these words: 'At midnight someone shouted: The groom is here! Come out and greet him.' (Matt. 25:6)."

*solidarity fist bump*

When I wake up in the middle of the night, I have to consciously turn my thoughts away from things that worry me. Because at 3 am? Those things seem a QUADRILLION times worse than they do during the light of day. Now, I doubt I'll remember this exact Scripture verse, but that's not really the point. We should try and turn our thoughts to the fact that God loves us and will always take care of us and our worries.

"Psychologically, going to sleep invites us to let go of the cares and concerns of the day in order to get some rest. Spiritually, it calls us to let go of our dreams and desires, in the faith-based recognition that God's care for us is greater than anything we seek in this life."

Soothing, yes? I have endeavored to do this for a long time, and will re-up my resolve on it after reading this. I think that this statement sums things up nicely:

"Theological thinking does not happen easily during the day, let alone in the fitful hours of late night or early morning. Buf if we can attune our senses at these times to the meaningfulness of God's manifestations at similar times - his birth and deal and Resurrection - we open ourselves to the experience of divine grace and the power to overcome our deepest fears."

I related very much to the examples in this chapter. As a person who struggles with anxiety, the late night (and *early morning*, THANK YOU, glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about the morning! :0) moments can be when it's toughest to focus our thoughts in a positive direction. This chapter was a good reminder to me to keep vigilant on this.

If you can believe it, we only have 4 chapters left! And we're now moving into a new section called "Sacred Moments." For the next 4 weeks, we'll be discussing prayer, the Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and practicing virtues. Perfect for the end of Lent/beginning of Easter, yes?

What did you all think of Chapter 10?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A few Kindle deals for my fiction fans!

I've been very book happy since our chat last week during Tea Time. Sam alerted me to a title that I had mentioned that went on sale for Kindle, and that led me down a whole rabbit hole of other titles that I've been coveting that were also marked down. And so I'm sharing this wealth with all of you! Kindle deals can be either long or fast, one never knows, so if you see a title that you'd like, download ASAP! Consider this you very own Inspired Reads list for today, Catholic Librarian style. ;-)

I talked extensively during Tea Time about the cozy mystery series that are being turned into movies over at Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. One of these is Joanne Fluke's Murder She Baked series, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen series book 1), is on sale for Kindle today for $1.99!


I downloaded this one forthwith. 😇 Here's our quick description:

"Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother's attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden's most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can't get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn't watch her back, Hannah's sweet life may get burned to a crisp."

This is something else I mentioned in last week's Tea Time, though sadly this one isn't on sale. After a little librarian sleuthing of my own, I discovered that the Garage Sale Mysteries are in fact books!


First book is called Garage Sale Stalker, and here is our short intro:

"Jennifer Shannon lives in secure, affluent McLean, Virginia, where she stumbles into danger lurking in places she thought absolutely safe. Her passion for weekend treasure hunting at local garage and estate sales pulls her into a twisted world of crimes, child abuse and murder.

When Jennifer is forced to match wits with an antagonist bent on revenge, her family's safety and her own desperate situation hinge on her intelligence and resourcefulness."

This title is at regular price, $9.95, right now for Kindle!

All right, so the rest of these are books that have been resting on my Amazon shopping list for some time, and when I remember to check it, Amazon will bold price decreases. Here's what I discovered today:

Love Inspired Suspense A Match Made in Alaska (Alaskan Grooms series), dropped from $4.99 down to $3.99.

I have a real weakness for this Love Inspired Suspense line. These are wholesome, inspirational romances, and I love exotic (to me) domestic settings like Alaska. The heroine is a librarian in this one! I may have downloaded it. *halo*

"Librarian Annie Murray hoped participating in Love, Alaska's "Operation Love" would lead to finding a rugged bachelor to call her own.  But as her flight crash lands before reaching herdestination, she finds herself alone with her pilot, Declan O'Rourke.Annie's met charmers like Declan before--now she wants a man ofsubstance.  Forced to survive with him in the snowy wilderness, Anniediscovers Declan's depth--and he begins to see the shy librarian's heart of gold.  But once back in town, outside sources threaten their bond.It'll take all the bravery they had in the wild for Annie and Declan tofind love in small-town Alaska."

We looked at Ellen Carsta's The Secret Healer last year for our summer book club, potentially. This is historical fiction, featuring a midwife storyline. Marked down to $1 for Kindle, but free for Prime members!


"In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city’s trusted midwife, Clara. Working alongside Clara, Madlen develops a surprisingly soothing technique and quickly becomes a talented healer.
After Clara’s tragic death, Madlen alone rushes to assist the birth of a local nobleman’s child. But rather than the joy of birth, Madlen walks into an accusation of murder and witchcraft because of her extraordinary gifts. Forced to flee her own town, she establishes a new identity in the home of her aunt. Yet even though it endangers her life, she cannot resist the urge to help the sick patients who seek out her miraculous treatment. When she meets handsome Johannes—an investigator hired by the Church to bring her to justice for sacrilegious acts—she becomes drawn to the very man who could destroy her.
Will Madlen’s gifts bring about her downfall? Or can love and reason prevail in a time of fearful superstition?"

oooooo, this is a good one! I downloaded this too. :0 A Lighthouse Library Mystery, By Book or By Crook, marked down to $2.99 from $5.99.

"For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.

Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending...."
Librarians AND lighthouses? Boom. Done. On my Kindle.

Finally, we have the Men of Lancaster County series by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner. I've read Mindy Starns Clark mysteries before, and have LOVED them. This entire 3 book series has been marked down to $2.99 per book! The first book is The Amish Groom.


"New from bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, The Amish Groom (Book 1 in The Men of Lancaster County series) explores the men of an Amish community in Lancaster County, how their Amish beliefs play out in their unique roles, and the women who change their lives.

Born to an ex-Amish mother and an Englisch father, 23-year-old Tyler Anderson was raised as a military kid until the age of 6, when his mom passed away. His dad, shipping off to yet another overseas post, placed Tyler in the care of his Amish grandparents, an arrangement that was supposed to be temporary. It lasted a lifetime.

Rachel Hoeck is the young woman waiting for Tyler’s proposal. She senses that though he loves her and wishes to make a commitment to her and his Amish beliefs, part of him still wonders whether an Amish lifestyle is truly for him.

When an opportunity to connect with his father unexpectedly arises, a visit to California causes Tyler to question everything, including a future with Rachel. Will the new girl in his life, Lark, cause him to remain in the Englisch world? Or will he choose to be an Amish groom after all?"

You can get the entire series right now for $8.99, when originally these were close to $10 per book. Tempting, very tempting...

Are you downloading any of these titles? Tell me all about it!