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

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 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!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tea Time with Tifany #89 - Spring crafts & fiction reading!

Happy spring everybody! And welcome to a spring-themed edition of:

Today I'm talking spring knit-alongs and lots of cozy mysteries. Cozy? I love cozy things! 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

Items mentioned in this episode

Do I have any knitters joining in the knit-along? Any other spring crafts ongoing with you? Do you love cozy mysteries as much as I do? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 9...

It's hard to believe we're already at Chapter 9! This is really flying by. And I've been enjoying reading this book with you!

Today we review the chapter on the Examen: "Reviewing Our Daily Progress." As is usually the case, this chapter fell on the perfect week. Work has me a bit on edge right now, and when I get into that place where I notice myself being a lot less patient and uncharacteristically angry about things that annoy me, I know that I have some serious examining to do. :0 "Justified" righteous indignation really doesn't make one feel better, now does it? At least not in the long term. And so I've been thinking that some nightly reflecting on my reactions throughout each day may do me some good.

"...before the final act of going to sleep at night. St. Francis de Sales recommends that we take a few moments to consider how we have progressed along the way...the goal of this examen is simply to gauge our growth today so as to become aware of those things on which we need to improve tomorrow."

BOOM. I always need to work on things tomorrow. 😂 As we go through an examen, we should offer thanksgiving to God for the day, confess our faults, and ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to know our faults clearly:

"Shining a spiritual light on our ourselves, we will see how we rationalize (:0) our shortcomings so as to give a more positive spin to the way we live; in this, we turn a blind eye to the truth about ourselves that should be our real concern."

*delicately clears throat*

I have no idea what St. Francis is talking about here. None at all.


There is a set aside section on facing temptations, and in it St. Francis notes that "with the single exception of sin, anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to a soul."

We all know how I struggle with anxiety. And indeed, it ties very much into everything that I do in a day: how I react to people and situations, where I allow my mind to dwell. Indeed:

"This is especially true of thoughts that we purposely dwell on, which gives them power to grow and to influence what we say and do."


All.the.time. All the time! This is me.

And so what are we poor, sorry, anxious souls to do?

"We will make a firm resolution to correct ourselves with the help of God's grace, which we should request with all the love and devotion within our power."

This is all that God asks of us. It's really quite simple. We are the ones who make it complicated.

"After this, we will recommend our soul, our body, our whole being to the mercy of God. We will pray for the Church, our parents and relatives, and all those toward whom we have a special obligation; we ought not to forget the poor souls in purgatory. We should greet Our Lady, our guardian angel and holy patrons."

This is lovely, yes? It reminds me of childhood prayers before bed. And really, why do we give that up when we grow up? Childlike trust that God will take good care of us and ours is truly a good and holy thing.

What did you all think of this chapter? What jumped out to you? Next week, we're going to talk about detachment and retiring for the night!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Crafty Tuesday is back with a veneance!

As I write this, I am home from work with a sickly Anne. It is also the first day of spring. This combination means that spring crafting fever is back with a virulence in the Catholic Librarian household.

It happens every year. Spring comes, and suddenly I cannot stop ordering yarn in pastel and Americana colors. You know, in preparation for 4th of July gifts. (?!) I start to crave cotton, and look at dishtowel patterns until I can't see straight anymore (look at these beauties!). I desperately try to find summer pullover patterns that are amenable to worsted weight cotton yarn, preferably in heathered hues (*swoons*).

In preparation for all of this yarn shopping, :0 I have been taking a close look at my works-in-progress pile (heretofore referred to as wip's, or, even more mysteriously, ufo's, as in "unfinished objects"), and let's just say the situation is just a hair dire. I have unfinished projects scattered amongst multiple locations, with about a half dozen needles "in use" and out of commission due to being stranded in projects that I haven't touched in years months. Before I buy new yarn, I have to finish some of them up. This is what I tell myself, and this time I mean business. 😂

Contender #1: Entrelac Scarf:

This one isn't too embarrassing, because I only started it in January, and look how fabulous it is!! Entrelac is a fairly new technique for me, and I absolutely love how it looks. You need a color changing yarn with long repeats for entrelac, and the yarn makes it look like you changed colors for every square. Yarn that makes you look more talented than you actually are: this I can get behind!! AND, it moved along pretty swiftly for a scarf. With scarves, I usually start out all enthusiastic and get bored after about 5 inches of fabric. Great. Just 5 more feet to go. :0 When knitting entrelac, this doesn't happen. I keep getting excited to see the next square! Thus, I finished it and cast off this weekend.

*victory dance*

Now on to the next project. This one is a bit more embarrassing. Contender #2: Christmas Socks:

I know what you're thinking. Typical knitter getting a dreaded case of Second Sock Syndrome.  Mike thinks that I made that term up, but let me assure you that this affliction is very, very REAL and that many knitters come down with a case of it. But not this one. Usually.

Usually when I finish one sock I cast on right away for the second one. I mean, we have 2 feet. There is no sense in prolonging the inevitable and not starting the other sock. Despite the fact that you are now bored stiff by these socks and would rather knit a toilet paper roll koozie for your elderly neighbor, I try to avoid the temptation and just cast the second sock on.

Well, around Christmas I fell off the wagon a bit. I knit this first sock for Henry while in the throes of red/green/white festive fever, and then got distracted by rehearsing my dance repertoire for New Year's Eve, and then look what we have: a lone Christmas sock in March.

I'm happy to report that the second sock has now been cast on and has an in-progress cuff. This is my purgatory before the heavenly reward of a giant Easter colored Knit Picks order.

Contender #3: Anne's Summer Dress:

This one doesn't *sound* as embarrassing, but let me assure you that it is. I started this dress LAST spring in preparation for LAST summer. Oy. As soon as I finish the Christmas sock, I need to pull this back out. And hope that it still fits her.


Today will afford me lots of knitting time. I've got this. I hope.

Are any of you feeling the spring crafting fever? I'd love to hear all about your ufo's as well as new spring projects. 😇 Don't forget that it's book club day tomorrow!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #88 - Snow days & Lenten...progress?

Happy Friday all! And welcome to another Lenten edition of:

Today I talk about our snow days this week, forging our way through Lent, and plans for the book club after Lent is over. 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

Items mentioned in this episode:

How is your Lent going? Do you have thoughts on a summer book club? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 8...

Happy Wednesday all! Guess where I am today? Yep, home again snowbound. With my bored children. Oh joy! And the IRONY of this being the day we talk about Chapter 8: "On Leisure: Interacting with Others,"when I secretly want to interact with *nobody,* is definitely not lost on yours truly. ;-)


This has been the least fun stretch of "time off" than I can remember in a long time. :0 And one would think that having a snow day would mean that my children would sleep in. One would think. Apparently the difference between them being half unconscious and in tears under their covers at the thought of waking up, and bounding out of their rooms wide eyed and bushy tailed, is 20 minutes.


But here I am, taking a quick break to write in with my thoughts on Chapter 8. Once again, the subject of the chapter spoke quite directly to things happening in my own little world. Our author tells us that to St. Francis, our leisure time has as its focus:

"...more to do with the persons involved than with any particular activity."

I remember this from the eating chapter as well. It's not just about our food. It's about the people we're sharing it with.

"When we recreate, we will ask Our Lord for the grace to say and do only what contributes to his glory."

Immediately, my mind strayed over to my job, where I've been struggling for these many months.  In the moments between classes, when I have a few downtime interactions with students and my colleagues, have I always been keeping Our Lord in mind and responding only in ways that will contribute to his glory? Well, on the whole, I don't do badly in this regard. But 100% of the time? Nope. That's an easy answer. A definite Nope.

St. Francis emphasizes that it's important to take time for recreation, to relax our mind and body:

"These activities contribute to our overall well-being and, as such, should be considered valuable means for helping us become who we are."

I got this covered. Knitting, dancing, reading, writing, scentful research. The list goes on and on. ;-)

One interesting thing that he notes is this:

"All that is needed is the common prudence that gives due order, time, place and measure to all things...If we spend too much time on them, they are no longer amusements for tasks in which neither mind nor body is refreshed but rather stupefied. and worn out...If the stakes played for are too high, the players' emotions get out of control."

This definitely touched a chord with me. My personality is one that has a difficult time focusing on more than one thing at a time. I've found that very challenging about having children - they lack awareness of others around them and are constantly interrupting, thus it's difficult for me to think about the multiple things going on all at the same time. I notice that when I start to focus on something, I become engrossed. Then it's difficult for me to change my focus over to something else, and I can linger on things too long. Definitely something to ponder on how I can improve.

We need to take into account our *interactivity*.  These can be everyday encounters, but they are necessary for our virtue in our state in life. Apparently, the introverted St. Francis created a rule for himself that he should never avoid meeting or socializing with other people.


Indeed. This is a tough one for us introverts. And how should we go about this?

"Let us not come to conversation with a sad and disagreeable countenance, but rather with a pleasant and affable one."

Oh boysies. 😂 When you're feeling out of your element, it's easy to approach social interactions with a guarded and disagreeable countenance. But when we bring a pleasant disposition, that bodes well for the interaction that follows. I need to continue to build myself up in this way.

There is a lovely set aside section on "True Friendship," and our author notes:

"Having good friends is that we can 'encourage, assist, and lead one another to perform good deeds.'"

This made me think of my own precious posse of friends. Shauna'h, Allison, and Sam. *heart*

This chapter gave me a lot to think about. At the start of the semester, I feel like I was doing better with seeking out pleasant everyday social encounters and smiling at people more. Now, the semester has ground me down a bit and I'm avoiding people again. :0 But I'm going to work on it!

What did you think of Chapter 8, all? Next week we're talking about the Examen, and reviewing our daily progress! Clearly, I need this.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow day!

So, in an unexpected development, all 4 of us are home for a snow day today. The university that I work at was actually closed by the Governor (which *never* happens), and we're all kind of scratching our heads a bit. :0 We're Western New Yorkers. We're...hearty. 8-12 inches of snow really isn't a big deal around here. Not even really worth talking about. But we've had a very mild winter, and I think the Powers That Be panicked a bit when this snow was officially classified as a Winter Storm. Plus the K-12 schools have not yet had a snow day declared this winter, and so here we are.

I was planning a much needed vacation day from work today. Translation -> ALONE TIME. Dancing time. Hours of endless Hallmark mysteries time. Knitting time. Tea time. Now I have my precious children here with me. :0 They were super thrilled for about 20 minutes while they watched a cartoon together this morning. Then:

"Our TV time is over? Oh. We're booooorrrreeeed!"

Upon which time they were shooed outside in their snow gear to play. Which worked until they started fighting. Then they were forced against their will to play a board game together, which also worked until they started fighting. These snow days are not NEARLY as fun as I remember them from when I was a kid. :0

Let's pray everybody has school tomorrow. ;-) As for you and I, we have book club tomorrow! We're going to be discussing how to create holy leisure time.


How are you spending your snow day today (if you have one)?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #87 - Fresh inspiration, devotions to devotionals, and Blessed is She...

It's a much more inspired edition this week of:

Today I talk about fresh spring inspiration for the blog and podcast, the power of friendship and community, my devotion to Lenten devotionals, and my new sign-up over at Blessed is She. 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

Items mentioned in this episode:
Are you feeling any new spring inspiration this week? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 7...

It's hard to believe that we're already in the first full week of Lent. I can already get a gauge: A few things are going really well. Others are...not.


But onward we press, Christian soldiers! Today we are at Chapter 7, so about halfway through our book. And we're focusing here: "On Work: And Taking Spiritual Repose."

I thought it was an interesting dichotomy between the two parts of that title. When I'm at work, I'm not thinking about repose. I'm thinking about doing the things I need to do, which are decidedly *not* the things I would do in my free time, if given a choice. And my free time is when I think of repose. Relaxing. Unwinding. Doing the things that I enjoy. So what is it that St. Francis is suggesting about work?

"On entering the place of work, we should place ourselves in the presence of God, asking for his grace to make use of this time in accordance with the holy purpose for which it was instituted."

OK. So when we get to work, we should take a quiet moment to ask God to be with us and bless our work that day. That sounds like a great start to the work day. Then:

"When we begin our work, we should say interiorly: 'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening' (1 Sam. 3:9-10). O my God, make me worthy to accomplish your holy will."

I'm starting to pick up on a theme here. Even though we're at work with lots of things to do, and people around us, we can interiorly speak with God and ask for his help. Indeed, our author then chimes in:

"St. Francis de Sales counsels the use of silence, consideration and imagination. These acts enable us to make a little spiritual retreat during the day, which the saint characterizes elsewhere as 'one of the most certain means to spiritual advancement.'...there are likely times during our work, whatever it might be, in which we labor in silence. We can transform these times into precious moments by being quiet on the inside as well."

I LOVE THIS. The author also mentions that during our work day, we can "retreat into our inner world," and "take some sort of break, even if only in our minds." Now granted, I'm an introvert. Sometimes I worry that I'm tucked up inside my own head a little bit TOO much. But in those times, I'm really talking to myself, if you will. Thinking about things I need to do, or ideas that I have and how I want to implement them. I'm not talking to GOD. I think that's the crucial difference.

I also like the three buzz words for us to remember: silence, consideration, imagination. Reminds me of a few chapters back where we learned about ask, offer, accept. I still think of those three terms all the time and try to implement that throughout my day. So now we have silence, consideration and imagination. And we would think of these three things at work in particular. I absolutely love the idea of carving out silent time in our head even if our job is presenting us with a scene of chaos. As an introvert, I crave silence. And with consideration and imagination, we refocus our thoughts so as to become conscious of what we can do in that moment (and those coming up) to do better at our jobs, painting a mental picture of what we want that to look like. So, I could picture myself being this patient and understanding teacher, even if at that particular time I am feeling not so inspired.

"By practicing these spiritual exercises while we labor, the real work that takes up each day becomes not simply the accomplishment of secular tasks, but the sanctification of who we are, in view of the eternal work of salvation that God has worked for us."

Lovely, yes? Especially when I'm in class, I'm going to seek out those moments of silence in my head, and seek out God, rather than the crazy worries that would otherwise make their way through my little brain. I'm hoping that this eases the anxiety I struggle with every single day.

How about you all? What did you think of the suggestions in Chapter 7? Next wee we move on to our leisure time, and how we interact with others. Another introvert alert! :0

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The dichotomy between having a baby and having a "big kid"...

When I was a young adult, I pined to have a baby. I had a few friends who married much younger than I did and had babies in their 20's. Meanwhile, I was that wallflower teenager that never had a high school boyfriend, and didn't really get all that much more social in college. Thus I had nobody who wanted to marry me in my 20's. :0 It was a long stretch of vocational discernment during grad school and immediately thereafter before I finally met and married Mike at 30, and we had Henry just under a year later.

And I found that the reality of actually having your own baby is much, much different from coveting babies on TV, and holding the adorable babies of your friends. I loved my babies, don't get me wrong, but I found, much to my surprise, that I enjoyed them MUCH more when they were older - when they weren't waking me every 2 hours during the night to nurse, and they didn't require me to watch them every single second lest they throw themselves down a set of stairs or shove their finger into a forgotten electrical outlet. For me, it was such a relief when they reached 4-5 years of age, and everybody was sleeping better and playing a bit more independently.

But there are downsides to this idyllic Sleep Wonderland in which I'm merely interrupted every minute and a half rather than sleep deprived and frantic. Exhibit A: when I have an infant, I have to be honest and admit that sometimes, just SOMETIMES...I don't feel like holding the baby. I love holding babies, and right at this moment I LONG for someone to come and deposit a newborn with me for the next 2 hours wherein I would sniff their head and squeeze them til they couldn't stand it a moment longer. But when you have your own baby, occasionally you ache to use the restroom or stick something in the microwave cook dinner without having a baby clinging to your chest.

Then they get older and you can breathe again. A bit. But then...

"Anne! Can I hold you, honey?"


*never breaks stride traversing the living room*


I miss that extra snuggliness. Granted, she *does* consent to cuddling still, it's just on her terms and timeline. I miss the cuddly baby stuff. But then I got up to bed knowing I can sleep til the morning without dealing with midnight sobbing attacks and explosive poo diapers, and realize that maybe my current lot in life isn't so bad. ;-) For everything, there is a season.

How is YOUR Tuesday going, dear reader? Nostalgic like mine?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Tea Time With Tiffany #86 - A particularly ashy Ash Wednesday...

Lent has sprung, and how did it start off for your Catholic Librarian? In this week's installment of...

Today we talk frustrations with students and Tiffany in full-out Strict Librarian mode, a penitential (and late) start to Ash Wednesday, and Lenten devotionals. 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

Items mentioned in this episode:
How did your Ash Wednesday go? How is your Lent starting out overall? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Live Today Well, Chapter 6...

Rain was falling as we all woke up this morning, which seemed fitting for Ash Wednesday, no? And we have a new graphic as we move into a new season with St. Francis de Sales and Live Today Well!


So incredibly fitting that we're discussing Chapter 6 today, which is entitled: "On Meals: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary." The chapter talks about fasting, and indeed, we are fasting today!


So what do we have by way of inspiration for meals?

"We should not go merely to eat, but to obey God and to take part in shared experience of community with one another."

Here, we read about a two-pronged approach to meals. God created our bodies such that we must eat to survive, thus we are obeying Him by eating. At the same time, a very routine and mandatory part of our day can be used as an opportunity to focus on others, rather than ourselves. We can talk to them and relate to them in their daily journey. If we re-intend our approach to meals in this way, we take an ordinary even, and make it extraordinary. The potential is there, if only we seize it.

On fasting, we learn:

"The practice of denying ourselves in some way at table reminds us that our personal instincts and existential needs do not control our freedom. Instead, we choose to forgo some delectable delight, such as a favorite condiment or a tempting dessert, or even a second helping. In this way, we can exercise a bit of mastery over our senses and thus give priority to the spirit over the flesh."

I love the relatable detail in here. It's very easy to take a second helping when you're really not all that hungry, simply because you are enjoying the food and think you deserve to continue to unwind after a long day. Changing our perspective on how we see meals overall - as an opportunity to focus on the needs of those we are eating with, and an opportunity to deny ourselves in a small way after eating (and enjoying, I think that's important) our food for sustenance - causes us to choose to be conscious of a small way to give back to God.

I like this very balanced approach to fasting. Fasting can be detrimental to one's health for any number of medical reasons, and St. Francis points out that fasting is really about our *attitude* more than anything else. On a day in which you're trying to fast, sacrifice the ketchup on your hamburger that you enjoy so much, or sacrifice having dessert. It's important to have a positive relationship with food. We should enjoy what we eat, but we can also exercise self-control in small ways to make a big difference in our spirit.

What did you all think of the suggestions in this chapter with regards to approach meals and fasting? Next week we turn to our attitudes at work. Oh boy. :0