Friday, October 16, 2020

Morning routines and LOTS of teaching...

*waves*

Short post today, friends, as I am in my annual fall teaching frenzy, which lasts through next week. Doesn't afford a lot of time for other things during the day, unfortunately! BUT, I mentioned my my Catholic Mom piece for October last week, and it is in fact up and on the site! This month, I chose to write about my attempts to construct a morning routine for myself despite having lost all of my normal pathways due to the pandemic, which has been instrumental to turning my emotional malaise around. 

In other news, my teaching is...going. :-0 It's actually going pretty well, but I'm about to embark on class #18 of the week, if that's any indication of my level of punchy exhaustion. They're all on Zoom, which isn't exactly the funnest thing, but it's what it is. Next week I think I have...11 or 12? It's a bit less bad, but still fairly intense towards the end of the week. I'm planning some fun stuff for after these two weeks are fully over, which I'm excited to write about when I have brain cells back again. I do miss those dear brain cells! They involve dancing, the Nutcracker, and seasonal coffee blends. I bet you're intrigued. 😁

How are you doing, dear reader? Any new books to recommend or fun weekend plans?

Friday, October 9, 2020

New routines, prayer, and identity during the pandemic...


 As I was reflecting on what to write about this week, I realized that on this blog I have barely mentioned the word 'pandemic.' I have alluded to it, obviously, because how could one not? But it's as if speaking the word brings fresh pain into my already battered being. I haven't even created a topical label for it on the blog, because I honestly don't want to be able to go back and filter posts for this topic in the future! Sometimes, I wish that I could erase this entire year from my memory.

Every person on the planet has been affected by the pandemic in different ways, and I am no exception. I'm very grateful that no one I know has become sick, but that definitely does not mean that one has been left unscathed by this global tragedy. For me, the biggest toll has been my emotional and mental health from the isolation, and my concern for my kids, who both showed signs of depression before going back to school this fall. I'm happy to say that they're both doing a lot better, and I'm doing a bit better too, although no where near my usual happy self. But it's improving!

One thing that has been absolutely debilitating to me with my personality is losing my daily routine, in which I found so much comfort. And it's not coming back anytime soon, as I mentioned last week. It may be close to a year before I'm back on campus and in my office. But what I've been trying to do of late is to carve out a new routine for myself for the time being, and that's been a bit easier with my kids being back in school. This is actually my topic in my Catholic Mom piece for October, which will come out early next week, so keep your eyes peeled! :)

One of the ways that I've been trying to carve new rituals is with prayer. I used to always pray the rosary in the car on my commute into work (half on the way in, and finishing up on the ride home), and now I'm working in my kitchen. I could pray the rosary on my lunch break while I sit on the couch, but that just doesn't hold the same appeal to me. Now that I'm working from home, I'm driving my son into school at 8 every morning. With the weather getting cooler, I've taken to going out a few minutes early to warm the car in the driveway for a few minutes before he's going to be ready to come out. One morning, I took my rosary out of it's case and started praying one as I backed the car down out of the garage and waited for Henry. Then I continued as I drove home after dropping him off. It's not a long ride, but I still got though the opening prayers and a full decade by time I pulled back into our driveway. Getting started like this then motivates me to seek out other opportunities during the day to sneak in decades, like if I have to drive to dance later (we're back in person, horray!). I may or may not finish an entire rosary, but I still count this as a huge win, and it's doing wonders for my contentedness level. 

The other prayer routine I've developed lately is novenas using the Pray app, and as I'm sure you've noticed, I've been praying a lot more novenas than usual! But the push notifications from the app are lending a serene feel to my mornings when I see that little cross icon come up and I pray the daily prayers. It's giving some much needed structure to my prayer life, and solace to my days. Right now, I'm praying the St. Teresa of Avila novena, and St. John Paul II starts Tuesday with the page up and ready on the blog!

My intentions for the St. Teresa novena relate to peace and patience with work for the next two weeks, as I'm entering our busy teaching season, and it's all virtual this semester, which I find very challenging. So I'm just going to take it one day at a time! Teaching, in my experience, is a bit like performing, and I love performing. All of that, for the time being, is online only, and this has definitely contributed to my malaise these long seven months. There is no energy, no connection with your audience, when you're online. But it's temporary, and I'm just trying to get through it while doing the best I can with it. 

After my teachinig is done, I'm going to focus back on dance more, which I'm excited about. I feel like the changes that the pandemic has wrought has made me feel like some alternate version of Tiffany, and not my real self. I'm certain a lot of you feel that way, too. I miss my old life, my old self. The older I've gotten, I've actually enjoyed my life more, and have more confidence in myself. Since March though, that has all been missing, and I've been struggling big time. I'm trying to climb back into my old identity, but it hasn't been easy. Starting a new dance project will definitely help out with that, and I'll devote an entire post to that in a few weeks. :)

How is everyone's novenas going? Have you struggled with lack of routine since the pandemic started? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. *heart*

Friday, October 2, 2020

Next novena upcoming! And more cozy fiction...

Hello all, and TGIF! I was going to start a St. Therese novena on her feast day, but decided instead to forge ahead into upcoming October feast days. There are a couple of great ones this month, and I thought we could pray them together, and we'll only overlap on a day or two, hee hee! Our next novena will start on Tuesday, and will be praying along with St. Teresa of Avila!


She is officially the patron of headache sufferers, and of writers, and can also be an asset for intentions regarding faith and contemplative spirituality. The novena begins on Tuesday, and like before, I have the prayers listed on a page within the blog found on the main navigation menu for both desktop and mobile. :)

Beginning October 13th, I'm going to be praying the novena to St. John Paul II. I'll create a page for that one too next week, we'll still be finishing up with St. Teresa, but I don't think this will be too onerous. Two days of double novena prayers! For those with the Pray app, both of these are on there, though St. Teresa is premium. :-0 I think I'm going to actually become one of their patrons so that I have acces to all of their novenas. It's only $15 a year to support their work, which I do truly love!

By time we finish up with JPII, it'll be later October, and then we can plan for November. I feel a St. Cecilia situation coming on! And maybe Holy Souls in Purgatory! 

*virtual high five*

As it's been a bit of a stressful week, planning for these novenas has been a happy distraction. Also a happy distraction is my current cozy mystery:


This is book 1 in the Amish Matchmaker series, and book 2 comes out December 1st, so it's a perfect time to dive into this one! I've had it on my Kindle for awhile, and am so glad that I'm finally getting to it, it's delightful! You all know how much I love Amish fiction, and this one also features quilting and 2 goats, what could be better?! :-0

Between minding a pair of rambunctious goats, meetings with her quilting circle, and matchmaking, Millie Fisher has plenty to keep her busy through her golden years. But the witty widow always makes time to solve the odd murder . . .
 
Some Amish men don’t know what’s good for them. That’s what Millie Fisher told herself when young Ben Baughman set his heart on marrying Tess Lieb. With Tess’s father refusing to give his blessing and Tess’s ex-boyfriend being a wet blanket, the hapless couple was bound to butt heads more than Millie’s Boer goats. But when Ben tragically dies in a mysterious fire, Millie wonders if someone in her hometown of Harvest, Ohio, wanted Ben out of the wedding picture altogether . . . 
With the help of her quilting buddies, and her outspoken Englischer friend Lois, Millie is determined to patch together all the clues without even dropping a stitch. She only hopes it won’t be the death of her . . .

What are you reading these days? Are you planning to join in the upcoming October novenas? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!