Friday, September 17, 2021

Fall prayer planning...tips for success (hopefully! ;-)!

 

Hello all, and I hope you're having a beautiful morning on this lovely fall day! It's been a busy week at my house, between back-to-school routines for the kids, and lesson planning at work for a return to in-person teaching. I've also been preparing for an in-person dance show at my studio this weekend, and I'm very excited for that! 

I was thinking today that I've felt a re-awakening in my prayer life of late, and I think it's because of Shauna'h's online prayer course for Catholic women, Everyday Holiness, which starts up on Sunday. 😎 I'm so looking forward to having some motivation to stay on track with prayer via a little structure and community! I've always been very motivated by setting goals, with a timeline, and having others along with me on the journey. If you sign up for Shauna'h's email list, you will get a link to a free printable calendar for the month with prayer goals and novena reminders!

The other thing I was thinking about lately in this regard is building up small micro habits in terms of prayer. I wrote about this recently over on Catholic Mom. You work towards larger goals by setting very small habits for yourself that you build on over time. Maybe you start with a single decade of the rosary when you get into your car in the morning. Or wing up a Morning Offering as you set your feet on the floor upon rising from bed for the day. Once that habit is more firmly established in your routine, you can add on a set of 3 Hail Marys for an intention of the day as you brush your teeth, or add a second decade of the rosary while you're making dinner in the evening. I really love this idea, and I tell all about how I learned about this in my Catholic Mom post, linked above! The book I reference in that post is BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.

Do you have any tips for igniting habits in your prayer life? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, September 10, 2021

A little foray into everyday holiness...

Hello all and happy Friday! Today I have something really fun to share. *beams* My sister Shauna'h is starting up a new online course designed for Catholic women looking to kickstart their prayer life with their very own back-to-school opportunity! I am a person who LOVES the freshness of a new school year, despite having been out of school for many years, and am a lover of lifelong learning. How can we work together to learn more about our faith, about prayer, and about how to study to become better humans in our day-to-day lives? I asked Shauna'h about her new course, so that she could share with us exactly what this looks like. 😎

  1. What can you tell us about your new initiative designed especially for Catholic women? I started Fiat Sanctum to reach Catholic women that are yearning for something more: a deeper connection with God, a more consistent prayer life, or a greater sense of meaning in the ordinariness of daily life. Fiat Sanctum means “Let it be holy,” since we are all called to holiness, not just priests and other religious. Women especially have so many opportunities to sanctify our daily work, but it can feel hard to do when you are overwhelmed with the busyness of life. That’s why I created Everyday Holiness, an online program for Catholic women who want to create time and physical space for God. 

  2. How do you envision women incorporating your course into their daily routine? It’s an 8-week course, with new content opening up each Sunday. One way to incorporate the course would be to listen to each week’s lessons on Sunday (a nice Sabbath exercise!), and that evening plan out how you’re going to begin incorporating those practices throughout the coming week. For example, in the week of evening prayer, you could plan to clean off your nightstand and pull together the materials you want to use on Monday/Tuesday, then begin practicing your nightly examen and/or other evening prayers the remainder of the week. We’ll virtually meet as a course community one hour each week for sisterhood, snacks, and strategizing each other’s prayer challenges.

  3. Is there a seasonal theme to the course for autumn? We very much have a “Back to School” vibe going. Summer changes all of our rhythms, whether you have school-age kids or not, and everyone feels a sense of wanting to buckle back down into old routines or try new things. We’re all squirrels gathering nuts for winter right now!

  4. Is this course designed only for married Catholic moms, or women in all vocations? All Catholic women! Working AND stay-at-home moms. Married AND unmarried women. I’m a working mom, so I have a particular soft spot for that group (which historically hasn’t been well-reached by content created for Catholic moms in general), but women from across that spectrum have signed up for Everyday Holiness.

  5. What are the main takeaways you’re hoping women get from this course? That God loves you SO much, especially in the midst of your daily chaos. That you can do hard things and build discipline in a way that feels realistic for busy women. I hope they see how small, visual reminders of our faith can trigger prayer more consistently, and embrace the ancient beauty and rhythms of the Liturgy of the Hours and how it can inform our days (without getting lost in ribbons!). Above all, I hope it brings them hope: for themselves, for their family life, and for their faith life.

Doesn't this sound awesome?! I'm all signed up and EXCITED! 😁 Registration is open through this weekend, end of day EDT September 12th, and material starts up on the 19th! If you decide to join us, pop a comment in this post. :-0

Friday, September 3, 2021

Of doggie knits, and a return to fall...

Hello everybody, and happy September! I'm gearing up to get back into a more normal semblance of a fall routine with the kids returning to school and my own return to teaching. I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all this year, as I think everyone is, as a result of being a bit out of practice. I have prayer plans for this, which I'll come back to at the end of this post, stay tuned!

In the meantime. I've been spending lots of time with this guy:


And he's been "helping" me craft. ;-) I've had fall on the brain, I do so love autumn colors and activities. I knit this adorable candy corn mug cozy:

Free pattern is Candy Corn Cup Cozy


And I also cast on a candy corn themed dog sweater for my helper!

Free pattern is Candy Corn Dog Sweater

I also whipped out August's National Parks hat, which is themed after Rainier!

Rainier pattern

I may have also ordered a few National Parks themed kits from a different designer, because apparently I can't stop knitting hats. 😬😇

Nancy Bates Designs

Since these involve colorwork, I'm *really* excited because I absolutely love the anticipation of each round with colorwork! Unless it's socks, which would mean that colorwork in that context would be a near occasion of sin. ;-) But aside from socks, I adore colorwork! I just cast on the Glacier beanie last night, and cannot WAIT to keep working on it! Photos to come in the coming weeks.

OK, SO circling back to prayer time this autumn. I have a lovely edition of Life of a Catholic Librarian for us next Friday: an interview with my sister Shauna'h, who is starting up a new initiative for Catholic women to aid in jump starting their prayer lives this fall! All the fantastic details next week, I am SO EXCITED for this! It'll be like our very own back-to-school course for our faith. *heart*

Friday, August 27, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 6: Beauty in faith and death...

Hi friends, and welcome to the final edition of our Summer Book Club for 2021! I always enjoy doing these, even when I don't end up loving the book, sort of like how this one turned out, HA! That being said, I *did* really end up enjoying this 6th and final section of the book, so we end on a high note! I'll do a brief summary of the details I enjoyed most:

When we start out Section 6, Francis is in Japan. I loved the anecdote of Francis baptizing the Japanese woman and how much she loved the rosary he gave her. In this section, I noted how the author inserted mentions of how these particular people, like this woman, who had been touched by Francis's life, then went on to touch the lives of other people. This lady cherished her faith and shared it with other for the rest of her days, and was buried with the rosary Francis gave her. I found the story of how Francis baptized the abandoned and dying baby girl heartbreaking, but was so touched by how he considered his entire trip to China worth it if only to do this one thing. *heart*

Francis then wanted to go to China, as he was convinced that if he could persuade the leader of China to convert to Christianity, the people would follow him, and that only then would Japan follow suit. He was on the ship to China when he fell ill for the last time. He remembered his sister Magdalena, the nun, who must be praying for him up in heaven. His final word was "Jesus." I found the tidbit that Francis apparently did not decompose after death, even after being exhumed 5 months later for his body to be moved to Goa, to be quite fascinating!

So I ended up liking the last part of the book, which makes me feel much better! The middle got so mired for me, and as I talked about earlier in our book club, the beginning just felt too rushed to me. But it wrapped up nicely. I so enjoyed the St. Catherine of Siena book by this author, but this one was definitely a less enjoyable read for me. I guess in the future I'd be willing to give these saint fiction books another try for volumes that are highly recommended by others! What are your thoughts on how this book finished up?

I'll be back with you next week to chat about fall crafts and some September novena plans!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Of new additions, and fall baby crafting...

Hello all, and happy Friday! I don't know about you, but I'm soaking up every one of these August days like there is no tomorrow. We have been enjoying so much lovely family time at home, and I truly do not want it to come to an end. I know we'll all adjust, but these halcyon days of summer have been such a blessing this year. 

And then we have this guy adding to our blessings!


This is Barney, and we adopted him about a week and a half ago. 😍 He's settling in so nicely, and everybody just adores him, especially the kids. We felt the time was finally right to add a furry friend to our family, and we are so glad that we finally took this step. We're still working out the kinks with getting on a walking schedule for our eager hound, but we're really getting there. 

In other news, I've been crafting away for some fall little ones, and Barney also shares my love of yarn. :-0 I need to keep my yarn project bin covered now! And he also tried to make off with one of my knitted gnomes the other day. 😂 I am in LOVE with this pattern that I used for my cutie pie next door neighbor:

Candy Corn Hat pattern is available for free!

Multiple size options are availaboe for that one, too. I chose the medium for a sweet toddler! I also made a pumpkin set for a baby in my dance troupe who is due in mid-October!

Pattern is Baby Sweater and is available for free! 

I adapted the green edging for the pumpkin theme, and the magnificent pumpkin button is from Black Sheep Studios MA on Etsy! I highly recommend her buttons. I also got a set of moose and plaid evergreen trees for Christmas projects. 😎

And of course, no October baby can go without a pumpkin hat:

Pattern is Berry Baby Hat, and is free!

This is one of my favorite free patterns of all time. I've made blueberry and strawberry versions, and of course this pumpkin version many times, there are so many possibilities. It doesn't fit Barney as well as it will the baby, but no matter. ;-)

OK, Next week is the final week in our Summer Book Club, and I will talk to you then! How is your summer going, working on any fall projects? 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 5: Conversions of heart...

Hi all! Well, last Friday I somehow managed to forget to put up a post :-0 so it's been two weeks since we last spoke! There's been a lot of exciting things going on in the home of the Catholic Librarian, and sometimes when that happens, my brain gets overloaded and I forget basic things like packing my lunch, or making the coffee in the morning. Apparently, "write weekly blog post" can now be added to this list. ;-) So I'll update you on all of that next week!

In the meantime, we're nearing the end of our Summer Book Club with Set All Afire, and I wanted to be sure to stay on track with that! Today is our day to chat about Section 5, the second to last section. :)

In this segment of the book, we see Francis traveling to and fro, visiting back with his friends and new Catholics in Goa. He has such a way with people, our Francis, and really brings out the best in others and their desire to do good. That is the main takeaway that I got from this section. Once again, we encounter lots of names that I have difficulty keeping track of, ha! And we definitely encounter outdated assumptions about people based upon where they are from. 

Friends, I have to be honest: I really don't like this book. :-0 I'm struggling to keep track of where Francis is, and who the characters are. Sometimes the author gives helpful hints, like "the former ship doctor who had started out the journey drinking excessively" and that rings a bell in my mind of who that is, and I'm more likely to remember his actual name the next time. But besides that, it is a real challenge. I love St. Francis, but his character development from impassive academic to friar that lives on the streets felt very rushed to me at the beginning of the book, and now we're encountering all of these spontaneous situations with him in which he's willing to give his life for his faith, when we never really saw his conversion fully play out in the material we've been given. For me personally, I would much rather have seen a full account of Francis's original conversion of heart and mind, and THEN a few adventures as he sets off with the Jesuits to convert others to Christ and His Church. I feel like a deeper understanding within the reader of Francis's motivations would have aided in following along easier with the rest of the narrative. 

Those are my thoughts coming off of Section 5. What are yours? In two weeks, we'll have our final installment of this book club, and I'm a little relieved, ha ha! Next week will be a lifey update!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 4: Of conversion and chaos...

Hello and happy Friday everybody! We're set to discuss Part 3 of Set All Afire today, and wowza, that was the longest section so far, I barely made it before today's deadline, lol! But we're now nearly finished, as the last two sections look much shorter, and according to my Kindle, I'm over 70% of the way through the book. So it's (ironically, hee hee!) smooth sailing from here!

OK, I'm going to be honest and say that I'm definitely having a difficult time following along with this book. In this part, we encounter Francis in Goa (which I needed to look up, appararently a spot near India that was occupied by the Portuguese at the time) and he changes lots of hearts there amongst Catholics that weren't practicing their faith. Couples are married, babies are baptized. When he continues on to India, his challenge then becomes attracting non-Christians to his Catholic faith. As one can imagine, there are lots of cultural and emotional obstacles along the way. We do find out that Mansilhas is finally ordained (horray!,), and the order officially becomes recognized as the Jesuits with Ignatius as it's leader. At the end of this section, Francis is on the move again, and encounters a terrible group of men on horseback that are marauding about killing innocent people, and he is injured as he tries to intervene and aid those in need. 

So, I feel like I got some of the major points out of this section, but otherwise, I'm struggling to keep track of what is going on. I really want to like this book more, LOL! In a book club, it's important to keep it real, and I'm honestly a bit relieved that we're nearly done with this one. I would LOVE to get some additional thoughts on this book! Are you liking this one or not loving it? Please do leave all thoughts in the comments!

Friday, July 23, 2021

"Watch out for the hole behind you!" Summer adventures in dancing, crafts, and also some novenas!

Hello friends and happy Friday! I've had a lovely week, and I'm definitely feeling perkier and perkier as the summer progresses. I hope for the same for you. *hugging* I'm back to performing, and that has made everything right with my emotional world again. I've had two gigs in the past two weeks, both family parties, and danced with my troupe at a small outdoor festival for the first time in nearly two years. It is just balm to my soul. And butterflies in my stomach. :-0 But it's all so, so wonderful. The troupe performances are always my favorite because of the hijinks that are almost certain to ensue with a group of us dancing in inevitably challenging environs:

"Be careful when you turn around, there's a large sinkhole behind you."

"What's that on the bottom of my shoe? Oh. Goose poo."

(wearing our costume coverups) "Are you all fortune tellers?"

"Oh dear, these hair flipping turns are a bit tricky on an incline, aren't they?"

But I tell you, I wouldn't trade it for the world. We have a few more outdoor performance possibilities in August, and then an actual hafla/showcase in mid-September! It's an amazing feeling to be back to doing this thing that I love.

I've also been praying my July novenas, and am getting closed to the end of Sts. Anne & Joachim. St. Dominic begins July 30th, if you're interested in joining in that one. And I also added in something on the fly: our very own community member Sam is trying to sell her house, so I signed up to start praying the St. Joseph novena for her! Did you know that you can sign up with Pray More Novenas to pray any novena that they have over there at any time on your own schedule? I did not know that! I thought their email reminders only worked for novenas prayed during their traditional date range. So I started St. Joseph today and will for the next eight days. If you'd like to add Sam's house sale into your prayer intentions, I would be most grateful! 🤗

Summer crafting is still ongoing, and has been so lovely lately. I finished a very summery pair of socks for myself!

I'm calling these the Summer Lemonade Socks

I also started a summery cotton top for myself. I just love this pattern, I made one for my mother-in-law last summer in red:

Pattern is the Kelda Tee

Here is the red version from last summer:



I've also been keeping up with the 2021 National Parks Hats collection. June's is based on Denali:

Denali pattern

Hard to see in the light, but there are cute mountain peaks in the design! I'm catching up a bit, as I already have the yarn and pattern for the July hat, but I'm getting there!

Next week, we'll be discussing Part 4 of our Summer Book Club for Set All Afire. We're halfway there! How is everything going for you this summer? Would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 3: Some seafaring adventures...

Hello friends, and welcome to the third edition of our Summer Book Club for 2021! This was a longer segment, but I have to say I was able to follow it more easily, all the way up until the end when I got a bit confused again. But still! I followed along much better in this regard. And I found our roiling seafaring adventures much more engaging, if a bit hard to read at times. 🤮 Let's do a quick chronicling of where we're at:

We start again with Francis in Portugal. They can't sail for India for 9 months due to weather; monsoons are mentioned, eeks! We meet another Francis (whom they call Mansilhas) working in the hospital caring for patients, a lay man who had longed to be a priest but was turned down multiple times because he had difficulty mastering Latin. Francis sees his potential, and wants to bring him with him to India to minister. This was all quite endearing.

The parts where I get confused all involve Portugal, lol! We have the King of Portugal, who is very gracious to our Francis, but there is this wealthy Conde (?) who is extremely confused by their simple lifestyle. I'm not quite sure how he fits in here, any insight is much appreciated! 

As soon as is possible in the spring, they board a ship for India. One of Francis's colleagues stays behind to minister to students in Portugal, and he and Mansilhas (and one other brother) set out for India. Trouble on the ship begins immediately, with the shady ship doctor implying that the months will be arduous and that behavior will be poor. His prediction is soon proven true, with a terrible storm and everyone getting sick or injured, including Francis. And then that horrible period where there's no wind at all and they just sit there baking in the extreme sun for weeks on end, oh my! The descriptions of what happens to their food supply during all of this...

🤮

My, this was quite the life threatening situation, to make a journey like this at that point in time, I did not realize that!

Eventually, when they get moving again, they stop over in Mozambique, and turns out this will extend from August to April (!) when the weather is favorable again. 😳 Wowza! Whole 'nother world, sea faring is. Francis continues to minister to the sick here, and to share the Gospel where he can, to a Muslim population. The ways that some of the Christians described their Muslim brothers and sisters is pretty uncharitable and disappointing, certainly a product of the time. Francis works to combat this attitude a bit.

We are back in Portugal at the end of this segment, and this is where I get confused again, somebody fill me in please, ha ha!

OK, thoughts on Part 3? I did enjoy journeying on the sea with the men, despite how terrible it sounded to actually endure! I love Francis's gentle way with others, including those who are not Christians, both physically and spiritually. I also adore the addition of sweet Mansilhas and his heart for aiding the sick and dying. Leave your thoughts in the comments, if you please. :-)

Friday, July 9, 2021

Christmas movies in July, and more summertime crafting...

Hello, and happy Friday everyone! I'm feeling pretty perky this early week of July. And I have to admit, although I don't normally get caught up in the Christmas in July movie marathon bonanza over at Hallmark Channel, last night I had the TV to myself for 15 minutes while Anne made some tea for us, and I found myself following along quite riveted to a story about a woman who gets in a car accident just before Christmas, develops amnesia, and is rescued in the swirling snow storm by a single dad and his 3 adorable children. :-0 When Anne came back with the tea, I was sad to have to turn it off, as I was wondering who the woman was and how it would affect her old life when she eventually figured out who she was. 😁 So I set the DVR to record the rest, and am quite excited about picking it back up. 😎 It is called "A Christmas to Remember" in case you'd like to look it up for possible replays in your local area. ;-) I'm now actively back on the Hallmark Channel app plotting out a few other interesting-looking viewings in the coming week. I'm actually enjoying watching these more now than I do in the actual holiday season, interestingly! I guess because now, with the warm weather and long hours of daylight, although I'm enjoying both of those things, Christmas movies get me excited for what is to come later in the year. 

I've also been knitting, and I now officially have 1 summer lemonade sock complete! *virtual high five!*


I've cast on the second sock (no Second Sock Syndrome here!) and am nearly done with the cuff. Hoping to have these done in about a week. I also need to cast on the June National Parks hat, and start a summer top for myself. Excited for all the crafting that is to come!

I've also been dancing more, and the return to in person gigs and shows is here. I could not be more thrilled about it! To celebrate, I bought a new silk veil. ;-) This gorgeous summery one just arrived:

Silks by Celestina

These are hand dyed by a talented woman over at Silks by Celestina on Facebook, @silksbycelestina on Instagram! You can pm her about any of her in stock veils, or about a custom color!

Next week we discuss Section 3 in Set All Afire, our Summer Book Club for 2021! How is your July going so far? Do you like watching Christmas movies at this time of year? ;-)

Friday, July 2, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 2: Ministering in Rome...

Happy Friday everyone, and welcome to the second of six installments in our Summer 2021 Book Club! These sections are shorter than our Lenten book club selection, which is definitely helping me to get through them in a timely manner. Shall we start?

As we begin Part Two, Ignatius, Francis and company are in Rome, and very much into thire lifestyle of poverty and relying totally on God. They work among the population, sharing the Good News and helping those in physical need, especially those with difficult medical conditions that others are unwilling to assist. They officially apply with the pope to become an order, and St. Ignatius doesn't want it named after him, hence how they became the Jesuits, Society of Jesus (I didn't know this!). 

Part of our time this section is spent addressing another priest in the area who is spreading heretical ideas, but who is charismatic and draws in many followers. I can never remember anybody's name besides the main characters (so sorry!) but I'm betting you all know who I am referring to. Ultimately, the Jesuits prevail and the heretical priest is sent away from Rome.

We also have the re-introduction (I'm pretty sure?) of a nemesis back from the university days who resented Francis joining this group, and he joins them now, with unknown motives. I'm very easily confused, so I'm 99% that this is the same guy, but one never knows, LOL! And he immediately causes some trouble. He refers a rich lady who expresses an interest in Francis to a private confession with him. Francis is on to both of them lickety split and lets them know what he thinks of their ideas.

At the end of this section, Francis is bound for India to continue to share the Gospel, and has a premonition that he will never see Ignatius alive again. I'm definitely intrigued to see what he will encounter on his travels.

If I'm being honest though, I'm having a difficult time following who is who with the Itallian names, and keeping up with all of the activity. I know that I'm missing a bunch of details above that totally escape me now as I'm trying to re-remember what I read. Although I had a hard time keeping track of names in the St. Catherine of Siena book we read for Lent, I definitely enjoyed it more than I'm enjoying this book. Thoughts? Definitely leave them in the comments! 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Henry's confirmation weekend, and some summer socks...

Hello everybody, and what a spectacular June day it is! 😎 I have had such a splendid June over here, and I hope you have as well! Since June is somehow nearly over, I'll be putting up a page soon with the July novenas that I'm planning to pray in case you'd like to join along! 

So we had a big sacramental weekend over here in the home of the Catholic Librarian. One of my babies made his confirmation. 🔥😭I can hardly believe how the time has flown. It was an absolutely beautiful confirmation Mass, and Henry chose my dad as his sponsor (and the confirmation was on Father's Day!) so it was all quite special. 💗



I felt so grateful that things went so smoothly, and that the ceremony was so beautiful. Henry chose St. Maximillian Kolbe as his confirmation saint, and can you even believe these absolutely perfect socks I got for him from Sock Religious?!


They were the sock of the month for June, I mean, obviously this was divine intervention. ;-) I highly recommend their comfy and delightful socks! I just got my reminder email that the July socks will be shipping soon, and I can hardly wait to see who it is!

My sister got Henry this gorgeous St. Joseph themed home altar for his desk, and Henry's Godfather gifted him this beautiful wood rosary blessed by the pope:


He also received some St. Maximillian books. 😍 And he got the exact cake that he wanted, and we're all still enjoying it nearly one week later, hee hee!


It's so precious to have these memories. Last year was much more difficult with Anne's First Communion because of the pandemic, and I'm relieved that things are going so much better now.

In crafty news, I've been working steadily on a pair of summer lemonade themed socks:


Currently on the heel flap. They're going a bit slow, but they're the perfect project for upcoming family summer movie nights, and so I'm glad to have them by my side! This week I also received a small order that I placed with Bumblebee Acres, a skein of robin's egg blue sock yarn that I've been admiring for ages, and an outstanding plaid project bag!


Summer is good. The kids are both finished with school for the academic year, and it just feels nice to relax and have things move slower for a bit. :)

OK, that's what has been happening with me! How is your summer going so far? Any sacraments or crafts happening in your part of the world this early summer? I would love to hear about it in the comments! Also, don't forget that we'll be discussing Part 2 of our Summer Book Club novel on the life of St. Francis Xavier right here next Friday! :-0

Friday, June 18, 2021

Summer Book Club 2021 Part 1: Giving away everything...


Happy Friday friends, and welcome to the first part of our Summer Book Club for 2021!

*streamers!*

I hope that you enjoy reading more in the summertime as much as I do! We're taking our time this year, aiming for one segment (Louis de Wohl divides them into "books") every two weeks. Today we're discussing Book 1, so let's dive in!

So, Book 1 gives us a bunch of set-up of Francis's university life and of his family, and we also meet the future St. Ignatius of Loyola, who is known for leading a group of pious men that rely upon begging for their food and other needs. We see that Francis has a devout mom, a few brothers, and also a sister who is Abbess of a local community of Poor Clares. As the story begins, Francis is pretty into his university life and studies, and views the beggers with the same curiosity and suspicion as many of his peers.

To be honest with you, I had a difficult time following who was who (especially amongst anyone who wasn't related to Francis) and getting into the story at this point. As the section started to come to an end, things picked up for me a bit. In a dramatic turn of events, Francis has a conversion of heart, becomes a follower of Ignatius, and decides to join them. I enjoyed the details of what he decided to keep when he gave away all of his belongings, which if I'm remembering correctly, was a rosary, a Bible, and his breviary. Very touching! So now I'm definitely curious to see what will happen next as they set off on their journey!

What did you all think of this beginning of the book? I know that there are a lot of other details in here that I'm glossing over because I didn't fully absorb them, I'm not sure if it was me or the book! I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Discussion of Book 2 will go up on Friday July 2nd. :)

Friday, June 11, 2021

A crafty June...

Hello all and happy Friday! We're enjoying the start to the summer over here in the home of the Catholic Librarian. The kids are nearly done with school for the year, and we're looking forward to some relaxing summertime activities. 

🌞

For my part, I've been in happy crafting mode, and I'm approaching my annual Christmas in July gift list planning insanity, so you have that to look forward to. ;-) Right now though, I'm making a few thing for myself. As I've mentioned previously, I'm making a hat every single month this year as part of the 2021 National Parks collection, and here is May's edition:

Pattern is Big Bend, by Kristen in Stitches

I am absolutely IN LOVE with the pattern and yarn this month! The pattern is linked above, but here is the link to the yarn if you must also have this lusciousness! The yarn is pooling in the most delightful of fashions as I work, must be my gauge, but I'm just so excited to finish this and wear it this fall!

I've also been working on a cabled messenger style bag, and this one took a bit of time, owing to all of the twisty shenanigans wiht the cable needle. Here she is, I'm planning to use this as a project bag:

Pattern is Quin Cabled Bag, and is available for free!

This was also a fun knit, and it had a few challenges in it for me (provisional cast on, braded icord strap, lots and LOTS of cables) but it was a great opportunity to learn and practice some new skills! I will say that the braided strap was a bit more trouble than it was worth in the end. :-0  Next time, I may experiment with other types of techniques for the strap. It was quite boring knitting that sheer volume of icord, and then they were tangling constantly as I worked to braid them (it's a 4 strand braid, rather than the traditional 3), and it was quite a chore to get all of the cords the same length. In the end, it's done, and I like it!

So my plan is to finish the hat, and then plan out some other fun projects for the summer, yay! Don't forget, we begin our Summer Book Club 2021 in just 7 days! We'll be discussion Section 1, and I can't wait! Just downloaded my Kindle copy of the book today. Check the link for all of the details if you'd like to join us!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Summer Book Club Announcements!

 Happy Friday everybody, and happy June! I began my June novenas this week, and am happily speeding right along with them. Details are on the June Novenas page if you'd like to join me in praying both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary novenas. :) Feel free to also leave prayer intentions on that page in the comments so that others can lift you up in prayer! 

*virtual hug*

And so, it is time to finally announce our exciting Summer Book Club plans for 2021! I got a nice response from people saying they were happy to read about any of the saints, and not really a majority vote for any one title. So I called a bit of an audible, looking through the options on Amazon and deciding based on what I felt inspired by, and the length that I thought would work best for us. And so...

🥁

For Summer Book Club 2021, we're going to be reading about: St. Francis Xavier!


Here is our description, to whet your curiosity a bit:

Saint Francis Xavier's life is, in itself, a dramatic story. With humility and deep religious conviction, the famous Catholic novelist Louis de Wohl takes us into the mind and heart of this great missionary and saint who went by order of St. Ignatius of Loyola to "set all afire" in the Orient. Louis de Wohl captivates the reader as he follows Xavier's life from student days in Paris, through his meeting with Ignatius, his rather reluctant conversion, and his travels as one of the first Jesuits. The story takes the reader from Europe to Goa, India, Malaysia, Japan, and finally, to an island off the coast of China, where the exiled Xavier dies virtually alone. The book captures the dramatic struggles and inspiring zeal of this remarkable saint, giving at the same time an enthralling picture of the age in which he lived.

What drew me to this title is that his role as a missionary means that St. Francis gives us a bit of a travel theme, and that seems perfect for summer! I also don't know much about St. Francis Xavier nor the Jesuits, and this book presents the perfect opportunity to learn more (ideal, given that our current pope is a Jesuit!). We read about a female saint for Lent (St. Catherine of Siena), so I wanted to give our male saint friends some attention this summer. :)

And so here is our schedule, also stickied in our Catholic Book Club page:

  • June 18th - Part 1
  • July 2nd - Part 2
  • July 16th - Part 3
  • July 30th - Part 4
  • August 13th - Part 5
  • August 27th - Part 6

I wanted the pace to be a bit more languid for the summer, and this book, at about 100 pages shorter than the St. Catherine title we read for Lent, and with more, yet shorter, sub-sections, I thought fit the bill nicely. We'll begin with the first part in two weeks, so lots of time to order the book or procure it from your local library, and then we'll move in 2 week increments from there through the entirety of the summer. It's available in both paperback and Kindle form from Amazon if you choose to go that route!

Who's in to learn about St. Francis Xavier and his missionary journeys this summer? 😀

Friday, May 28, 2021

June novena plans!

 

Happy Friday friends! Just a short post this week to let you know that I have a few community novenas planned for June, and they are all linked in the new June Novenas page! By community novenas I simply mean that we can all pray for each other and our intentions, and use the opportunity to espy upcoming feast days. ;-) So for June, we have an overlapping novena situation, fun! The Sacred Heart of Jesus novena begins next Wednesday June 2nd, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary novena begins Thursday June 3rd. I simply couldn't pick one over the other, wouldn't you agree? :-) I look forward to praying along with all of you! If you'd like to leave prayer intentions in the comments, feel free! 

That's really the big news for this week. I will be announcing official Summer Book Club plans soon, perhaps as soon as next Friday, if I can get myself organized enough. I will of course leave plenty of time for people to acquire the book and begin reading before our discussion times will begin! I'm definitely looking forward to that this summer, I really got a lot out of our St. Catherine of Siena read -along for Lent. I pretty much credit her for my keeping up with 1-2 segments of the Liturgy of the Hours daily since Holy Week!

I've been doing a bit of crafting. I'm currently working on a cabled messenger style bag, and am about to finish up the body and graft it shut, I think I have maybe 5ish more rounds to go?

Sideways picture, because my phone insists it's better that way 🙄

This weekend I'm planning to cast on for the new National Parks hat (this month it's Big Bend!) and maybe start a pair of socks! Things are looking bright going into the summer. How are you all doing this last weekend of May? Don't forget to leave prayer intentions in the comments!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Confirmation saints and lots of tears...

Church of St. John the Evangelist (2014), Flickr, CC BY ND 2.0

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that this final week in the Easter season is treating you well. :) I've been keeping up with the Liturgy of the Hours for Morning and Evening Prayer, and I'm excited to move back to the Ordinary Time volume with lots of summer saint feasts coming out way!

Speaking of patron saints, my Henry is preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in June, and I cannot quite believe that this has happened so quickly. Our diocese administers confirmation in 10th grade, so it's like...😳 I still picture him with his blanket lovey, wanting to sleep in our room. Now...well, he doesn't want to do that anymore. :-0 And he's HUGE, the tallest person in the family! This all is the topic of my piece for Catholic Mom for May

*heart*

Emotions aside, I've been guiding him through selecting a patron saint name, and also selecting a sponsor. He has selected St. Maximilian Kolbe as his patron, who has always been one of his favorites. 

*explosion of hearts*

I remember reading his story to Henry countless times when he was little and we still did our saint story time. I'm so delighted that he selected St. Maximilian as his patron! And for his sponsor, there is a happy little anecdote...

Growing up, I was raised Catholic, despite only my mom being an active Catholic. My dad had been baptized in a Protestant church, but didn't attend church services of any kind. When I was in high school, he became interested in a parish that opened on indigenous land near us, as my dad's heritage is half Mohawk. We started going to Mass there, faithfully offered by a local Barnabite community, and a few years later, my dad decided to become Catholic. My dad is a real quiet, reserved kind of a guy, and the priest let him enter the Church in a private ceremony rather than with the larger group at the Easter vigil, becuase he knew that my dad would be more comfortable with this. At the Mass, I remember assuming that my dad had picked St. Andrew as his confirmation patron (and what a worthy one!), as that was his grandfather's name. So when Father announced that my dad had picked (at that time, Blessed) Kateri Tekakwitha as his patron, I felt both a rush of surprise, and also an immediate sense of: "YES, this is the perfect choice." My dad's Mohawk heritage is a very important part of his identity, and St. Kateri is the absolute ideal patron for him. I remember so vividly how powerfully emotional that Mass was to me, even as a teenager not so interested in matters of faith, and Father's tears of joy when he welcomed my dad into the Church.

And so when I approached Henry about selecting a confirmation sponsor, I asked if he had anyone in mind, and mentioned that they should be an adult who actively practices their Catholic faith. I suggested both of his Godparents, who are my younger sister and a good friend of ours who also teaches with Mike, and also my dad. Henry surprised me by picking my dad, and I once again experienced the immediate feeling of rightness. My dad is the *perfect* confirmation sponsor for Henry! Our confirmation saints continue to work blessings in our life all of these years later. 

I am feeling so lifted up by all of this lately. Henry will be confirmed on June 20th, and we're all looking forward to this so much! Finally, I continue to plan in the background for a low key Summer Book Club. What I'm thinking is that we'll have a post every 2-3 weeks rather than every single week, and we'll take the entire summer to move our way through. I can plan more once the book is officially picked and I know how long it is. We'll be reading one of Louis de Wohl's historical fiction books based on the lives of the saints, and so far we have 2 votes for St. Francis of Assisi, and 1 each for St. Helena or St. Joan of Arc. Feel free to comment with your pick! I'll announce the title after Memorial Day weekend. :)

Friday, May 14, 2021

Crafty updates, and book club voting still open!

 Hi all! So, last Saturday, I was wrapping up the online fitness class I take on those mornings, shutting down my laptop, when suddenly I had a thought...

"What day is it?! Wait, I just did body sculpt, it's Saturday. Did I post on the blog yesterday? Was yesterday Friday?! Yes, I *think* it was Friday. But...NO I DID NOT POST ON THE BLOG YESTERDAY, UGH!"

😂

As is the pandemic norm, keeping track of the days of the week is just not a *thing* right now. Additionally, last Friday, Anne was sick and stayed home from school, so I was all thrown off, home and taking care of here when I had originally planned to go into the office. Getting a transition routine up and running, with being back in the office two days a week, has certainly been a challenge as it's such a big change, and things are just still so wonky with pretty much everything. We're getting there! So I thought we could have a bit of a two-week-in-review post today. First, let's talk books!

Summer Book Club! I've gotten a few votes for St. Francis of Assisi, and a few people who mentioned that they would be happy to read about any of the saints, but there's still time to cast your vote! We'll read one of Louis de Wohl's historical fiction novels based on the lives of the saints. Just leave a comment on the post with your choice!

I've started a new non-fiction selection that Mike got me for Mother's Day...


...about the code breakers in World War II. I love it so far! I'm trying to do less mindless scrolling on my phone these days, especially before bed, and more reading of actual books. For my fiction option, I'm currently reading the latest in the Amish Candy Shop series:


Loving it! This is one of my very favorite cozy fiction authors. I've also been knitting, and finished up the April National Parks hat, this one themed on Death Valley in the springtime:

Death Valley, by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich

I'm also knitting a cabled bag, which is definitely in a very wonky stage right now!

Quin Cabled Bag pattern is free!

And in news unrelated to literally anything else, I got another ear piercing, this time a cartilage piercing called a Daith piercing, and I absolutely love it (if pictures of ears gross you out, keep scrolling!): 


I just needed a little something different to keep my spirits refreshed. I love ear piercings, I think they're so beautiful!

All right, that's my update! Everyone in the family is doing well, and we're all looking forward to school wrapping up and experiencing the summer! How are you doing?! Don't forget to let me know your Summer Book Club selection in the comments if you haven't done so already!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Of rancid refrigerators, and Summer Book Club?

Hello all, and TGIF! For the first time since mid-March 2020 I am IN MY OFFICE, and boy has it been...interesting. 😂 To be honest, I am thrilled to be back, I am a creature of routine, and thus it feels so incredibly good to have a sense of purpose to my mornings again: to get dressed, put on makeup, drive in while listening to podcasts, and come to do work in my office. I'm coming in two days a week right now, and that'll increase as the spring and summer wear on, til fall semester classes start when I'll be back full time and teaching in person again.

😎

I can't wait! But I tell you, that first day back was incredibly strange. My office was frozen in time from March 2020, and that wasn't a pleasant place to be, to be sure. My wall clock was dead, pictures had fallen off my fall and were just lying on the ground for months, the calendar was trapped on that terrible month, and my mini fridge...

😱😷

Whoa boy, that was rough. :-0 There was a full container of what used to be Half & Half for my coffee. And 3 ziploc baggies full of things that I could not discern. 

*hurls*

It was pretty traumatic, let me tell you. :-0 The dash to the trash can commenced forthwith. But at the same time, it felt so cathartic to get rid of that stuff and put fresh new things in their place. My clock has a new battery, I put up a new 2021 calendar, the old planners are now all recycled...it was good, very good. I'm feeling more and more back to my old self every day.

In other news, I'm thinking ahead to the summer, and I'd love to host a Summer Book Club! It wouldn't have to be every week, we could take our time and maybe shoot for twice a month. But I'd love to read another Louis de Wohl historical saint fiction novel. What do you think? We have options for:

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Benedict

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis Xavier

St. Helena

St. Joan of Arc

Vote in the comments if you'd like to participate!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Religious socks, and other Easter joys...

Happy Friday everyone, and isn't our Easter season just so lovely? 😊 My spirits have been so much higher since Holy Week, and it's such a good feeling. I've been keeping up with my Liturgy of the Hours and other devotional reading (so ironic that that has mostly been AFTER Lent, but that tells me that my Lent was sowing a lot of important seeds!) and I have lots more to write on that next week. It's not perfect, I of course forget occasionally, but overall my consistency has been motivating me to keep going, and I'm feeling a new curiosity and fervor for my faith that I haven't experienced in a while, certainly in the past year. 

And somehow, Facebook sponsored ads knows this ;-) as an ad for these socks showed up in my feed a few weeks ago:

Photo from sockreligious.com

St. Catherine of Siena socks. I mean, did you ever?! I resisted for a few go rounds, but eventually Facebook won this battle, and I clicked on the link to further admire the socks over at their home of Sock Religious. I nearly ordered them right then and there, and then stumbled upon the All Saints Sock Club whereupon you get a little discount for signing up to receive socks featuring a new saint each month. This was too adorable to resist, I absolutely LOVE monthly subscriptions like this, especially when the monthly design is a surprise, so I signed up without hesitation. My socks shipped the next day, and look who I got!


St. Teresa of Avila, and I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I adore these socks, as soon as they're out of the wash, I'm wearing them again. They just make me happy to look at them, and they fit nice and snug to the leg (no slipping down, which I hate!) while still being incredibly comfy. I cannot wait to receive my next pair!

This company is so amazing, following my order, I got a personal thank you email from the owner. And after I ordered some more socks, this time for my mom for Mother's Day based on their suggestions (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Visitation and Our Lady of Guadalupe, so sweet, right?! I ended up ordering Mother Teresa and a pair of rosary socks for her) I received another thoughtful thank you note, and the socks shipped within hours! Truly, I am so delighted with Sock Religious.

These definitely make cute gifts for upcoming celebrations (Mother's Day, Confirmation and First Communion, they do have kids' sizes!). If you do decide to get some socks, you can head over now via this link. This is an affiliate referral link, so I do earn a discount back from our friends at Sock Religious if you shop from that landing page. :)

Just a little fun tidbit I wanted to share with you that I discovered this Easter. It's the little things that are really making me smile these days, and we all need as many smiles as we can get right now! What is making you smile this 3rd Week of Easter? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, April 16, 2021

An eye opening octave of Easter, and spring crafting as we journey towards Pentecost...

Hello all, and I hope you are well on this Easter Friday! I've been enjoying the season so, so much, and I've been continuing on with my journey in the Liturgy of the Hours. In fact, this was also the subject of my Catholic Mom piece for April

And here's something I didn't know! I guess I've never praying the Hours during an octave before, but...for Morning Prayer, you're literally using the same Psalms again and again from that particular celebration (Easter or Christmas) and praying them over and over for 8 days. Because the octave is a continuation of the celebration of that solemnity. That makes perfect sense, but I had not realized that that was how it worked before in the Liturgy of the Hours. One learns something new every day! It's one of the things that I love the most about our faith, the richness of the traditions and devotions. 

And my supplements came!



I am IN LOVE. 😍 The Dominican supplement, in particular, is fascinating in it's depth of coverage for all of the Dominican saints and blesseds. And for major Dominican saints, even where they're covered in the main breviary, the supplement has additional stuff for them (for example, the feast of St. Dominic is a solemnity in the Dominican order). Now that we're past the octave, I'll be excited to dive in when saints in the supplement come up in the calendar!

This has all been such a lovely addition to my daily routine. Now I can't imagine my days without the cadence of Morning and Evening Prayer. I've also been doing some crafting, and enjoying that as well. I'm working on a series of hats themed after the National Parks, one each month for all of 2021, and it is so delightful. I'm signed up to receive the kit each month with the yarn the designer chose specifically for that month's pattern. I am currently working on March, called Crater Lake:


I just love the rich blue shades in here! I am a huge fan of hats, I wear them all the time. Now that it's spring, the weather is all over the place here in WNY. Sometimes it's mild, but sometimes it's freezing (hat AND coat), or it's chilly, so I'll just wear a sweater and pop a hat on instead of bundling up with a coat. Works out well!

I'm also working on a cotton project (cotton is a favorite of mine in the spring and summer!) and making a bag to carry my yoga mat in:


The tube shape is underway! It's pretty simple, and works up very fast since it's crocheted. Ultimately, it'll have a drawstring tie and a strap to carry it on your back. I've needed one of these for years, so I'm glad that I'm finally getting to it! I'm trying to use up some of the yarn stash that I have acquired over the quarantine period 😬 and this lovely orange sherbet cotton is one of those additions. We're getting there!

How has your Easter been going? Any spring projects that you've started? Let's hear about them in the comments. :-)

Friday, April 9, 2021

A beautiful Holy Week, and some unexpected developments in my prayer routine...

Hello all, and HAPPY EASTER! I hope that you had a spectacular Holy Week and Easter Sunday, and that Easter blessings continue to shower your way. For my part, I doubly enjoyed it this year, after missing the liturgies so much last year. I didn't make it to the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, but I made it to both the Good Friday liturgy, and the Easter vigil. It was *so lovely*, and I felt so blessed and grateful to, (a) be there with my kids, and (b) be a part of something so much larger than myself that is so magnificently rich and beautiful. It really struck me anew this year at the Easter Vigil how much I have to be grateful for, and how much I value my faith. 

And I decided to do something new this year. Instead of giving up/resolving to do something for all of Lent, I decided to try and pray both Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours for the entirety of Holy Week. I mentioned an idea to my sister and a few mutual good friends that we could perhaps pray them together when we could via video chat. We began on the vigil of Palm Sunday, and though here and there 1-2 of us couldn't make some of the sessions, we were able to pray the Hours together a lot during Holy Week, and on the times we couldn't be together, we prayed them individually. It was so uplifting and cheering, and I looked forward each day to seeing the faces of those who could make it, along with any children who came along for the ride. :)

This all worked out so much better than I ever could have expected. I was so inspired by our commitment to this that 6 days into the Easter octave, I'm still praying the Hours. Mostly by myself because evenings were tough for everyone this week, but I've been praying Morning Prayer with my sister pretty much every morning (we're in the same time zone, definitely makes that easier!), and it has given a lift to my days that I haven't felt since the pandemic started. I've also found myself seeking out books about praying the Hours, and commentaries/reflections on the psalms in the Psalter, because my curiosity has been so whetted. I treated myself to this as an Easter gift, and am LOVING IT:


This is all quite unexpected. Although I've long had a love for the Liturgy of the Hours, I've never found a routine for praying them with regularity and consistency. I've picked up the St. Joseph guide each year and prayed here and there when the mood struck, but it sadly hasn't been a daily thing for me. Now I find myself craving more and more information about this form of prayer, and adding in additional Hours when I can (Daytime and Night Prayer). It's so delightful that I'm just going with it, hoping that this means it will really stick this time. I even have the Supplement to the Proper of Saints on it's way, as well as a special supplement for Dominican saints! 🙌

So my Holy Week and first week of Easter have been even more special than usual. I'll likely continue to blog about the Liturgy of the Hours and how that is going, and generally about spiritual topics this Easter season. I'm still planning out what I'd like to focus on here at the blog for Easter season and summer Ordinary Time. Thoughts on what you'd like to see? How was your Easter?! I'd love to hear from you in the comments!