Friday, December 17, 2021

Quiet Advent joy, and some blog re-freshening for the New Year...


Happy 3rd Week of Advent everyone! (I know my photo is outdated, but I forgot to take one this week. :-0)  How is your Advent going?! Mine is going quietly well. We're busily Christmas shopping and prepping our holiday menu over here. Work is nice and quiet, both kids are doing great, and we're all looking forward to spending time with friends and family this year. The O Antiphons start today, and I'm so excited to bust out my breviary later to have some prayer time! I haven't kept up with morning and evening prayer as much as I would have liked, but I have prayed them on Sundays, plus I have kept up with the daily devotional I chose for this year. 

Over my holiday staycation, I'm also planning some lovely crafting time, lots of couch time with Barney curled up watching holiday baking shows while sipping coffee, and preparing for some upcoming dance shows! I'm very, very excited about all of this. :) Speaking of Barney, he is the focus of my December piece for Catholic Mom. ;-)

I've also been doing a bit of planning with regards to this blog. I've been finding myself forgetting about it some weeks, in the fray of teaching and parenthood, and contemplated whether that meant that the time had come for me to cease blogging. But I ultimately decided that although daily (or currently, weekly) posts are not necessarily in the cards for me at this point in time, I want this blog to continue on. 

I think what I'd like to do is plan some series in the new year, which is the type of thing that excites and inspires my creativity the most. It also keeps me accountable to not only posting with regularity, but to the spiritual goals we are trying to achieve together, a win/win! So I'm thinking: 

  • New Year's Resolutions and Winter Ordinary Time.
  • Lent. Book club perhaps?
  • Summer with the Saints.
  • Liturgy of the Hours. That could work for Lent, or perhaps Summer Ordinary Time. 😀

And in addition to that, I'll post when I feel inspired to share something, which is how I think blogging works best for both author and reader. Would you agree?

What are you looking for in a blog in this post-blogosphere universe? I still think blogs have their place for avid readers, but the landscape has definitely changed. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Thanksgiving, Advent 2021 begins, and lots of puppy snuggles...

 Hello everyone, and happy Advent 2021! I always LOVE and look forward to this season and a fresh start to our liturgical year, and this year, I have a brand new Advent wreath and candles! 🙌

Wreath is from Vermont Christmas Company

Our old one was porcelain, and various nativity scene members had lost limbs over time, so I thought the time was nigh to procure a new one. I did keep the centerpiece with the white candle for Christmas day from that set though, I always loved that, and don't see it in most Advent wreaths!

Besides decorating for Advent, we spent a lot of time just hanging out together and having fun cozy time over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 🥰

Matching family and doggie jammies are from Muk Luks :)

Because who doesn't want to match their dog, am I right? :-0 Of course, I also did a little Black Friday shopping, one of my favorite pasttimes. ;-) And look what just came from Sock Religious!

3 Wisemen socks

I also have nativity socks and liturgical year black dress socks on the way. 😎 Definitely check out their seasonal offerings, such fun! And new cozy socks were especially helpful this week, when I was laid up for a few days:

Lots of knitting, Barney snuggling, and binge watching of Holiday Baking Championship on The Food Network. 😂 It was all quite delightful. 

How is your Advent starting out, everyone? So far, I'm keeping up with devotional reading and absolutely loving it!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pre-Advent preparation and anticipation...


ooo, it's getting to be late November, friends, and that means that Advent is imminent. :-0 I posted last week about the new Advent devotional book I'm using this year, and I.Am.In.Love. 😍 It's based on an Eastern model of a 40 day fast leading up to Advent, so the readings begin on November 15th. The very first reading is about the history of his tradition in the East, and from that moment on, I was captivated. This little book is so delightful, detailing the rhythms of life in a monastery throughout autumn leading up to Advent and beyond, and the vibe it gives is so incredibly peaceful and soothing. I highly recommend it! I purchased the print copy, but you could easily download this instantly to view on your Kindle or Kindle app on a device of your choice!

In other fun Advent prep news, sign up today for Shauna'h's amazing free Advent prep workshop! The live workshop is tomorrow, November 20th, but there are also ongoing tools included, like a digital calendar and weekly planning emails. You can also sign up for her email list to assure you don't miss any of the details of any of her projects focused on the liturgical year. 😎

For my part, I'm busily searching for a new Advent wreath, and contemplating an order for seasonal incense and icons for our special Advent prayer space. 😁 The devotional really has me inspired on an Eastern theme!

How are your Advent plans coming along? I would love to hear about them in the comments! I will be on Thansgiving break next week, but I'll be back with you the first week of December for an Advent week 1 recap!

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Monastery Journey to Christmas...


Happy Friday everyone! I'm having such a lovely November, and hope that you all are, too. 😊 The intense weeks of my teaching semester are over, and I'm into Happily Anticipating The Holidays Mode. :-0 Even though I enjoy teaching, it's always a relief to get to this point of the semester. It's hard to really focus on other things with my daily schedule that tied up, and it's nice to have more of a balance back. I've been enjoying time with family, more crafting time, and preparing for upcoming dance events! How is your November going so far?

This week, my monthly piece went up on Catholic Mom, and this month I chose to discuss planning for upcoming Advent devotions and traditions. Someone left a comment recommending the Advent devotional that they use year after year, and it got me so jazzed, I immediately ordered a copy for myself! This is A Monastery Journey to Christmas, and check out this description:

Based on the ancient Christian tradition of meditating throughout the 40 days before and after Christmas, this small monastic book follows the rhythm of the Advent and Christmas journey as it takes place in a particular monastery, a place as small and tiny as Bethlehem itself. This book offers a meditation based in a liturgical, biblical, traditional, or literary text for every day from November 15th to January 13th and then February 1st and 2nd.

Best-selling author Br. Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette will help you fill Christmas with moments of quiet prayer. Experience a deepening faith while awaiting in joyful expectation for the Savior's coming.

It starts November 15th! 🙌 This is apparently an Eastern custom, and if anybody has the full scoop on the background of this tradition I would love to learn about it! But I love the focus on monastic living tied into the Advent theme, and I'm soooo excited to use this this year! I couldn't order it fast enough, the Amazon Prime truck delivered it just a few days later. 😁 It's also available for a few dollars cheaper as a Kindle download for anybody that is hankering to start with me on Monday!

Do you have your Advent devotional for 2021 all picked out and ready to go? I'd love to hear about which one you're using in the comments!

Friday, November 5, 2021

A very Catholic Hallowtide, as we move closer to Advent...

Happy Friday everybody! My crazy teaching schedule is finally winding down (I had classes all morning and afternoon last Friday, hence my lack of posting) and I have to say that I am very relieved. I love teaching, but the intensity of the schedule tends to tire me out after a spell. I have just 3 classes to go early next week, and then I have a break until the spring semester. Really looking forward to that, and to the upcoming holiday time! 

In the land of the Catholic Librarian household, we had a lovely Halloween weekend!

*just tried to find a pumpkin emoji, but apparently Blogger doesn't have one :-0*

This is our first Halloween with Barney, and we were so excited to share it with him! He really got into the Halloween spirit:

Can't you tell by the look on his face? ;-) That's just his Always Face though, our Barney is a very serious dog, even when he's really happy! See?

We didn't take him out trick or treating, he stayed home and hung out with Mike and Henry dispersing candy. I went out with Anne, and also her good friend Ruby. It was lovely seeing the girls have such a good time together!

Mike and I did dress up, but not on Halloween proper, we did the night before for a party we attended. 

I don't think we look that much different than our usual selves, but we had fun. 😂

For my part, I *really* enjoyed praying Morning and Evening Prayer starting on Halloween night for the Hallowtide celebrations. Shauna'h talks about this in her blog post here, and I joined her Instagram Live sessions whenever I could to pray along, or caught the replay whenever I couldn't. I absolutely loved learning more about the ancient prayers and traditions of these 3 days (beginning on the vigil of the feast of All Saints, and going all the way through the feast of All Souls), and I prayed the Office for the Dead for the very first time! It was all so soothing and lovely, and it motivated me to start really making plans for Advent! Speaking of Advent...

I need a new wreath. This is an issue of critical importance to my life. 😆 Advent traditions are some of my favorite of the entire year! Do you have an Advent wreath that you love? All links welcome in the comments! In the coming weeks as we get closer to the feast of Christ the King, we can make some additional Advent plans together!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Returning to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, and some life chaos...

Happy Friday everyone! It's been a few weeks since I was last with you, owing to the chaos that has been my life these past few weeks. :-0 And it continues, in that I have taught 17 classes this week, and while next week is a bit better, chaos is still reigning! BUT, I am *so happy* to be back to teaching classes in-person, and I will definitely take a bit of happy busyness. It makes me feel useful. :-)

But last Friday I simply ran out of time, as I was traveling to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in the Hudson Valley, NY, and it was a *delight*. I thought I'd provide a little chronicle!

This festival is held every year (with the exception of last year, of course!) at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, in Rhinebec, NY:

I have to admit, I got a bit teared up when I arrived. The last time I was in Rhinebeck, it was October 2018. I didn't go in 2019 owing to some dance commitments that fall, and of course in 2020 it was held only virtually. I felt like it was something really special to be there again in person with a wonderful group of other crafters and their loved ones. *heart*

My first purchase of the day happened pretty quickly. 😂Some gorgeous fall colors from Cozy Color Works!

Besides yarn, I always love seeking out cute stuffies and other gifts at this festival!

This guy simply insisted on hopping into my bag of purchases!

I always get the kids alpaca fiber socks, and they LOVE them! This year, Anne got a cat design, and Henry got snow monsters:

And seriously with these Christmas ornaments, how could you resist?

There are also cute animal exhibts at the festival, including this dog frisbee show organized by a local animal rescue:

And of course, so many cute sheep and lambs 😍

I'd like the lamb on the far right, please!

Before the day was out, I also acquired this gorgeous yarn gradient set with beads, to make a cathedral inspired shawl:

And during breaks, I was working on my September National Parks Hat, inspired by Mesa Verde!

I had SUCH a lovely time! I was with my friend Stacy, and we just spent the entire trip enjoying each other's company, knitting, and watching Halloween baking shows in our down time. I cannot WAIT to go back!

How has your October been going, dear reader? I'm starting to plan for Advent, how about you?! 😎

Friday, October 8, 2021

Happy obsession with the Liturgy of the Hours continues, and Thanksgiving knitting...

Hello everyone, and somehow it's been two weeks since I last checked in! Last weekend was just one of those times that I got to Sunday, and realized that I had forgotten to blog. 😳 My mind is definitely awhirl these days between the kids, being back to work and teaching in-person, and my own happy dance and crafting stuff. Let's do some updating on ALL of those things, and also talk about Daytime Prayer! :-)

My kids are doing great, I'm so happy to see them thriving at school this year. School masses are back at both places (Henry still had some last year, just outdoors) and Anne is even doing a reading at the 5th grade Mass next Thursday! Really looking forward to that. Both Mike and I are back to teaching in-person at our respective colleges, and it's been delightful. Teaching to mostly dark little squares on Zoom definitely wasn't my idea of a good time. 

Amidst my new daily routine, I have been happily growing my Liturgy of the Hours habit. My little Night Prayer volume has become an indispensable part of my nighttime routine, and so when I saw that Catholic Book Publishing Company has a similar standalone volume for Daytime Prayer, I pounced. :-0

The convenience of the slim volumes is really appealing to me. I'm finding that it's really motivating me to pray more throughout my day, so that's a win/win! Come Advent, I know I'll want to be all up in the Proper of Seasons in the blue volume of my 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours set, and I cannot wait. 😍

In crafting news, I'm moving into cozy fall/winter projects. I currently have a Thanksgiving shawl on the needles:

Pattern is Acalypha from Expression Fiber Arts

We'll see if it makes it off my needles before Thanksgiving 2022, but hope springs eternal. ;-) And in dance news, I'm taking a new coursse on Zoom called The Online Dancer, and it's about shooting and editing video footage specifcally for dance. I am STOKED about this, as I am a total beginner at this, and think this will be so valuable for me to learn, and challenging in the best possible way! To some extent, online dance productions are here to stay, even if they becoming increasingly more hybrid with in-person performance. But the ease of gathering people from around the world in one show is something I don't see totally disappearing, and that's actually a good thing. Nothing replaces in-person events, but having a mix of both, highlighting their strengths, is a great step forward, in my opinion. And so I'll be working on my first homework assignment this weekend. 😁

How is everyone doing this week?! Any other Daytime Prayer partners? This is an hour/hours I have never prayed before, I'm excited to dive in!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Night Prayer anyone?


Happy Friday everyone! I've been diligently working away in the Everyday Holiness course, and finding myself quite inspired by it. :) One of our tasks this week was to try and incorporate Night Prayer into our daily prayer routine. I haven't prayed Night Prayer in many years, but I did in the past and loved it. The psalms and other prayers are so peaceful and perfectly related to falling into a soothing slumber.

I missed the first Everyday Holiness group Zoom chat, unfortunately, but Shauna'h happened to mention to me as she was relaying all the fun details that someone on the call had a special little volume just for Night Prayer. Hark. The librarian was on the case. 😂

I have the 4 volume set for the Liturgy of the Hours, but grabbing the current green volume for Ordinary Time and setting it on my nightstand made me immediately aware of two things:

(1) it took up a lot of space, ha! And,

(2) now, I would need to ferry the breviary between upstairs and downstairs for it to be in position for both Night Prayer (needed upstairs on my nightstand), and then Morning and Evening Prayer (which I pray during the work day or in my living room). 

A separate volume especially for Night Prayer would solve this problem! I simply had to order a copy. :-0 It's now on it's way to me, and I have to say, I'm super excited about this! I think a small volume that snugs on my bedside table and is devoted just to prayer at night will really motivate me to keep up with this practice. I've prayed Night Prayer the past few nights (while I await my new prayer partner) using my old one volume Christian Prayer breviary, but it also is quite large, and frankly has seen better days. It's got quite tattered in the time that I used it prior to acquiring the 4 volume set. So I'm excited about my new Night Prayer addition! Does anyone else regularly pray Night Prayer? 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Fall prayer 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