Tuesday, August 15, 2017

*lots of keyboard clacking* "Hum. Oh dear." Adventures in traveling, 2017 edition...

As I mentioned in Tea Time last week, I had a trip to visit my best friend Cristina planned for this past weekend, and we had been planning it since May. Saturday morning, my bags were packed, I was at the airport before 6 am for my 7:15 am flight (after a fitful night of sleep anticipating the early alarm), and I was ready to go. I walk up to the self-checkout kiosk thingie, type in my reservation number, and am greeted with the following message:

"THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR RESERVATION. PLEASE SEE AN AGENT FOR ASSISTANCE."

Well grand. Not exactly what I want to see before I've had even a drop of tea. I take the little slip of paper that it printed it out, and limp over to the ticket agent. She greets me with a smile:

"Good morning!"

That remains to be seen.

"How can I help you?"

I smile and hand her my ominous slip of paper. She looks down at it, still smiling.

"ooohhhhh. You're flying into Newark? That flight is cancelled."

BOOM. I wished I could have slept in before dealing with all of this. 😱

"Oh."

That's the understatement of the morning.

"Let me just see for you when the next flight is that we could fit you in on."

She begins that nefarious practice of typing on her keyboard with the constant clickety clacking sound that inevitably takes 10 minutes, yet results in a concise announcement just like this:

"Tomorrow."

"Oh!"

I really needed caffeine. This had never happened to me before. It was *6 am*. And there's not a single flight I can get on within a 24 hour time period? Apparently not.

"Tomorrow? Really?"

"Yep. It's weather related."

That really didn't fully answer the question, but I was too tired to dig for further details.

"OK, well...put me on that one, please."

She's still clacking away, while I text Mike to ask him to come back and get me. Suddenly, I had a painful thought:

"What time did you say that flight was tomorrow?"

"6 am!"

She said that so brightly. I groaned.

I deliberately had not booked the 6 am flight because it would have meant getting up at about 3:30 am. And I was already operating on one abysmal night of sleep. Plus, Cristina lives quite a ways from the airport, so this would mean a crazy early morning for her as well.

"Gosh, that's... a bit earlier than I'd like. What is the next flight out after that?"

More clacking.

"2 pm!"

*long suffering sigh*

I knew that there was a 90th birthday party that Cristina and family were attending on Sunday, and I was slated to be their guest. This would likely fall right in the middle of that, and they live 90 minutes from the airport.

A conferral with Cristina bore all of this out - the 6 am and 2 pm flights weren't going to work. Going any later would cut my trip ridiculously short. We agreed it would be best to just save the ticket for another weekend, and we would try to plan a road trip in the fall.

*tears!*

I can use my ticket for up to a year, but that does little to soothe my spirits. I am sad.

😭

So here I am, home and cranky. But safe. Everything happens for a reason, right?

You need to give me this one little solace to cling to, people. ;-)

In the meantime, I did have a lovely weekend with Mike and the kids. I've been getting more writing done on my Bible study. AND I have lots of stuff to talk to you about in Tea Time this week! Upcoming novenas, Third Orders, books, fall crafts. Horray!

How was your weekend, dear reader? Care to commiserate on cancelled flights?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #108 - Back to School, and Scentsy talk!

Hello all! And welcome to a Back to School themed episode of:

Today I talk back-to-school, fall Scentsy shenanigans, and my trip this weekend to see Cristina! Plus, I finally reveal my Rhinebeck sweater, and what the heck that is. 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 "Feelin' Good" from http://www.purple-planet.com

Items mentioned in this episode:

My Scentsy website. Just send me an email if you'd like to join the Facebook group!

On My Bookshelf: Amish Quilt Shop series. Murder Plainly Read (Book 4), and Murder Handcrafted (Book 5).

Creative Commons: My Rhinebeck sweater, Opposite Pole, by Joji Locatelli. Yarn is Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes. My sweater specifically is in the Aurora Heather colorway. :) Link to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival!

Prayer Corner: Novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe! Watch for my piece about him on Catholic Mom, this coming Monday 8/14. 

What are you working on this weekend, dear readers? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Book Club! The Well, Part 8...

*tears!*

It's the end of our Summer Book Club, and this Catholic librarian is feeling a bit emotional. It doesn't help that my kids are on a short overnight trip with their grandparents to a water park, and I'm all weepy about THAT, too.

#somanyemotions

My lucky husband. ;-)

But let's get down to business! The final segment in our Summer Book Club for 2017 is about to begin...grab your beverage!

All right, so we pick up with Shem and Mara on the run. They had met Mary, and are on their way back to Sychar, but with Mara trying to convince Shem that he must heed Jesus's call to follow Him. Shem, unlike Mara, is still very much unconvinced that Jesus is the Chosen One they've been waiting for. As Shem and Mara travel, they continue to grow in affection for each other. Shem decides that upon their return to Sychar, he will ask Mara to marry him.

When they return, they are happened upon by the roving band of bitter men that are always causing trouble in Sychar, i.e. Zevulun and his minions. 😒  They immediately accuse Mara of being just like her mother. Shem and Mara of course rightly deny this, but reason and honesty play no role with Zevulun. He drags them to the temple, where Mara is publicly accused of untoward behavior outside of marriage. Shem isn't too worried, because the punishment for this when both parties are unmarried is for them to get married. This is what they both want anyway. Right?

Mara does want this. But she feels deep in her heart that it would be wrong to prevent Shem from following Jesus the way he was asked to. She denies him her hand so that he will be free to follow Jesus's invitation.

Shem is devastated. This is a *very* powerful scene. 😢 And apparently, they now have to ask any of the other unmarried village men if THEY will marry Mara. If none of them will, she will be stoned.

😡

Shem is still begging Mara to marry him when Enosh steps forward. And so Deltaflute and Melanie were correct!

Enosh wants to marry Mara, AND he defends her good name in front of everybody, saying that he will pay a full dowry for her hand in marriage, though in this situation, it is not required (as a way to further humiliate the woman in question). Enosh loves her. Though Mara hadn't seen Enosh in a romantic light as of yet, she is very fond of him, and knows that he will be good to her. She believes that she will only continue to grow in her feelings for him, and so she accepts. They are betrothed on the spot, and Mara consents to a one day betrothal as a sign of good will towards Enosh's kindness and generosity to her.

While all of this is happening, Nava walks in. Not only is she healed, but so is Asher! His club foot has completely disappeared.

Shem is in disbelief, but Mara's dramatic actions, and Nava and Asher's healing, have a deep effect on him. For Mara to be so convinced that he must follow Jesus, it drives the point home to Shem that there is something special about Jesus. He has a change of heart and realizes that he wants to do as Jesus has asked. He will go to Jerusalem.

He and Mara have a painful goodbye. He knows that Enosh will take good care of her, Nava and Asher, but his heart is broken that he cannot be with her as he wishes. Mara is also crushed, but still optimistic as her wedding day dawns.

In the epilogue, our worst fears are confirmed: Shem goes to Jerusalem to do the Lord's work, and is stoned by an angry mob. He isn't afraid, knowing that he will be going to his eternal home with Jesus.

Holy smokes. This was powerful. I have to admit, even though I know how this story has to end, I felt frustrated with Mara for not just agreeing to become betrothed to Shem during that dramatic scene in the temple. Surely, saving herself from stoning and being able to be there to take care of Asher, and making a family with Shem, would be a good and holy thing! Even with my firm faith in our Lord, I struggled with this! Her faith is an inspiration to me.

And that moment with Nava and Asher walk in! *swoons* I had tears in my eyes.

My take-away on the love story is that Mara will grow to love Enosh romantically, and that the first tentative steps in that direction have already been taken emotionally. Plus, she trusts him and he makes her feel secure. She knows that he will make her happy. This gives me a warm and fuzzy.

All right, I NEED all of your thoughts now! I *cannot wait* to read the next two books in this series with you all!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tea Time with Tiffany #107 - The epic dancing weekend, & morning offerings!

Happy Friday everyone, and welcome to our early August edition of:

Today I address the EPIC dancing weekend I had, more about performance jitters, a new trilogy from my favorite secular author who specializes in suspense set in Montana, the joy of Morning Offering prayers, and the Downton Abbey shawl is coming along!





**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 "Feelin' Good" from http://www.purple-planet.com

Items mentioned in this episode:

Highlights from last weekend's epic dance performances

On my Bookshelf: Dark Horse (Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping), by BJ Daniels.

Prayer Corner: Morning Offerings.

Creative Commons: The Downton Abbey shawl I will be gifting is coming right along!


Needs lots of blocking when it's done, but coming along nicely!


What have you been working on this summer? Are you looking forward to back-to-school season? Any Advent book club suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer Book Club! The Well, Part 7...

Hi everyone! Hope you are all well today. We had a longer swatch of our book to read today (chapters 25-29), and Great Googly Moogly did it pack a punch! This is our penultimate week, and it was certainly a doozy. Grab your tea cup!

Soooo, a lot happened this week. :0 I'm going to mention the things that stood out to me, but I'm certain that not everything will come to me right away, since there was so much going on in these five chapters. But here goes: Shem and Mara are trapped in that creepy guy's (Silas? We'll go with Silas) fancy house. Mara is very uncomfortable with the way she is dressed and made up by the female servants in the house. For the first time, her hair isn't wild and tangled, and she has make up on her face, and both Silas and Shem take notice. Shem, though, is a gentleman, and thus is discreet in his admiration and is in Protection Mode to keep Mara safe. Silas, on the other hand, is still lecherous, and grows more so as he drinks. Everyone settles into dinner, and Mara is hurt by Shem's attempt to be dismissive and rude to her in a ploy to throw Silas off their plan.

As the dinner wears on, it becomes clear to Shem that Silas plans to get Mara drunk, take advantage of her, and then dispose of her. In order to do so, he most likely plans to dispose of Shem as well. Mara and Shem end up improvising a scheme of Mara getting sick to get them out of dinner and away from Silas.  Back in her room, Shem wants to escape, but Mara is too exhausted to travel. He decides they can sleep for a short spell before making their move, but when Mara is startled awake, she peeks outside to see Silas leading two Roman soldiers into the house. Not surprisingly, he has sold Shem out.

Shem and Mara make a hasty getaway out the window. They have a perilous journey over to the sea of Galilee, where they meet up with Zebedee, a friend of Shem's dad. He helps them out and finally gets them to Jesus. There, Mara has a Moment, and then runs away.

*long suffering sigh*

She now feels unworthy to talk to Jesus. Jesus seeks out Shem, and their conversation makes Shem all the more skeptical. Apparently, Jesus tells him that Shem will be the first of many, and that his name is now Stephen.

Am I the only one with a terrible sense of foreboding here?!

😱😰😱

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Jesus also gives Shem a message to relay to his mother, Mary. *sniffle* Zebedee aids them back to Nazareth so that they can see Mary, and I just LOVED this part. I loved that we got to visit with her. *heart* Mara asks Shem why the soldiers are after him, and he finally tells her. Interiorly, Shem comes to the conclusion that if he survives, he wants to live in Sychar permanently, working in his grandfather's olive grove, and marry Mara. At this point, they have no idea if Nava is still alive or not, and Shem knows that he loves Mara, and wants to provide for her and Asher.

After visiting with Mary, Mara has a change of heart. She wants to try and find Jesus again, who is now traveling towards Jerusalem. She has a feeling deep within her heart that Shem should accept Jesus's invitation to follow him. Although Shem doesn't agree, he does want Mara to have another chance to ask Jesus to heal Nava. They head on their way.

Oh boy. I just...these chapters really grabbed me. Does this mean that Shem is St. Stephen?! And does this mean that maybe Mara will end up with somebody else? Enosh, like Melanie mentioned? God forbid, the guy who seems to kill all of his young wives?!

GOOD GOLLY. Next week is our last week, and that will take us through Chapter 33 plus the Epilogue. We'll be discussing next Wednesday! *heart in throat*

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I survived. *collapses*

Well, I made it. This was the busiest dance weekend I ever had, and to be honest it's a bit of a blur because I'm so tired. :0 I don't quite have the time to write a full post on the whole shebang, but here are some highlights:

(1) "Try and be discreet when entering the wedding reception venue. Our performance is a surprise for the bride and groom!" Let's just say that giant iridescent wings are not so easy to discreetly tuck into your bag.

Exhibit A

(2) Balancing items on one's head that are actually lit on fire is apparently scary for some viewers. ;-)

(3) 8 belly dancers with Isis Wings and 2 balancing candle trays, on a small dance floor, makes for a bit of a dangerously cramped situation.

(4) Heat, direct sunlight, and asphalt do not make for a pleasing dance environment. 😱

(5) When rolling out the lovely solo arm work segment, sweat running down both arms only enhances the ethereal beauty. Or so I tell myself.

(6) Uneven surfaces make for unsteady belly dancers. Nobody actually twisted an ankle, so I guess we'll call this a win!

(7) Everybody still loves Sword, the little stinker.

(8) A person can actually sweat more during an indoor 15 minute solo set than during a 5 hour, outdoor spell, at a sweltering art festival. Now you know.

(9) Being a belly dancer and inviting women to get up and dance with you yields about a 50% success rate. That's actually higher then I would have thought. 😂

(10) People genuinely love and enjoy cultural dance. Seeing smiling faces, tapping feet, and rolling shoulders out in the audience when we dance brings me a lot of joy.

At my studio, the aim is always to present authentic Egyptian dance as an art form, in a classy and graceful fashion, with costuming that is elegant and modest. American conceptions of belly dance are often quite the opposite, and we are the Belly Dance Ambassadors, armed with properly draped beads and sequins to perform the dance in a beautiful light. We clearly need super hero shirts with a big sparkly B on the front. ;-)

Although exhausting, I had a fabulous weekend. And I will detail it ALL for you in Tea Time this week! Bet you can't wait. :0 What were you up to this weekend?!