Monday, March 28, 2022

Discerning the future of the blog...

"pink rose" by Barbara is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Sooo, apparently for Lent I have given up posting on my blog. 😂 For quite some time now, I've been discerning how to move forward with my blog and/or whether to continue. Our landscape has changed so much technologically over the years, and people really aren't perusing the blogosphere the way they used to. I wonder to myself how relevant blogs are in our current world? In addition to that, between my job, my family, and my dancing projects, I haven't really had a lot of time to write. So that's what has been going on behind the scenes, if you will.

At the same time, I am still just as in love with my Catholic faith as ever, and I still feel that God is calling me to share it creatively in some fashion. I'm just figuring out exactly how. I've come to a place in my life wherein I know that I don't need to rush or push this, God will show me the path when He is ready for me to see it. So, I'm sure that something interesting is coming down the pike (have I told you about the new fascination I have with the Byzantine rite? No, I haven't, because I haven't had time to write a blog post, LOL! But there's some great fodder there!) and when I figure out what exactly God wants me to do, I will share it. In the meantime, I hope that everyone is having a beautiful and fruitful Lent!
This week, the mid-point of Lent, I'm challening myself to pray a Morning Offering each day. Do you have a favorite Morning Offering? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Lent in a Time of War

This Friday, our last before Lent (!!!), I have a post from my sister Shauna'h to share. 💜 I think we all have a lot on our hearts and minds as we approach Lent 2022, and Shauna'h has some beautiful resources to share with us. I'll be back with you soon as we journey through this pivotal season in our liturgical year. 


I had a much different piece planned for Life of a Catholic Librarian today. I was going to cheer you on as you plan your Lent and institute new prayer routines and visual reminders of your faith, just as Tiffany is. I was going to walk you through how my online program, Everyday Lenten Holiness, can help you form these routines and keep momentum with them to see you through until Easter Sunday and beyond. In some ways we will still talk about those things, but I couldn’t bear to cheerfully write to you while our collective hearts are shattered by the developing situation in Ukraine.

Lent is a time of drawing closer to God through prayer, sacrifice, and giving to the poor. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ's will more faithfully.”


Lent has suddenly taken on a new focus for me. There are areas of my life that I would like to clean up with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Many of my plans for what I will add in and take out remain the same, although others are developing differently. Perhaps you feel the same way, particularly in light of the Holy Father’s call to a “Day of Fasting for Peace” on Ash Wednesday. I feel helpless and, at times, hopeless as I watch events unfold in Ukraine. And I know that means it’s time to sink deeply into prayer and fasting.


Here are some ideas for bringing Ukraine into your Lenten goals and routines:


  1. Prayer:

    1. Novena for Peace in Ukraine

    2. Daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy and/or Rosary

    3. Offer your daily joys and sufferings for peace in Ukraine with a Morning Offering

    4. Daily Prayer to the Mother of God

    5. Pray for the dead

  2. Fasting:

    1. Fast one day per week, perhaps on Fridays alongside your abstinence from meat

    2. Abstain from an idea of food that you love, such as sweets, alcohol, etc., and offer up that sacrifice for peace in Ukraine

    3. Fast from a habit that is drawing you closer to sin, such as excessive use of social media that elicits anger or despair, and offer up that sacrifice. Replace this with a habit that draws you closer to God, such as reading a spiritual classic, listening to sacred music, or even silence

  3. Almsgiving:

    1. Donate money or goods to your local Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement initiatives

    2. Donate blood to the Red Cross

    3. Donate directly to organizations assisting in Ukraine


These are just ideas to get your mental wheels turning, but I hope you bring Ukraine into your Lent somehow. It feels unnatural to advertise on a day like today, but I want to encourage you to learn more about Everyday Lenten Holiness if that is something that speaks to you. It will help you discern your Lenten goals in alignment with God’s will, and then translate those into realistic routines. Everyday Lenten Holiness includes:


  • Self-paced audio, video, and text-based lessons with simple and practical ways to integrate prayer into your days

  • Action Guides for tackling prayer in each core time of your days and weeks

  • Video crash course on how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours

  • Virtual prayer corner with various options for live-streamed Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, prayer, and ambiance for your prayer times

  • Community support and accountability through the process of changing your environment and mindset about making space for God

  • Three weekly accountability challenges to keep you on track with your Lenten goals: the first week of Lent, Laetare (4th week of Lent), and Holy Week

  • Holy Week intensive to end Lent on a high note

  • Easter Octave suggestions to keep and deepen your Lenten growth and habits through the Easter season and beyond


You will develop the confidence to trust God and to trust yourself to implement change. I want to help as many women as possible, particularly in light of world events. You can use coupon code UKRAINE for $30 off the course and lifetime access to the materials, so you can explore them outside of Lent, as well. Enroll by Ash Wednesday to kick start your Lent with the support of your fellow sisters in holiness. 


Thank you for the opportunity to share your space today. May God bless you, and may God bless the people of Ukraine.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Holy Reminders & Lenten Planning

 

Hello friends, it's good to be back with you again! We're nearing the end of Winter Ordinary Time, which excites me greatly, because I know that that heralds the start of Lent! I look forward to this immediate pre-Lenten time every single year, because it means that I get to think about and organize my plans for Lent. 

😍

I *love* Lenten planning! This does not mean that I necessarily succeed on all of my Lenten goals each year, but the endeavoring to try keeps me going! I like to have a combination of devotional goals, abstinence goals, and almsgiving. Keeps things interesting. ;-)

So coming up here for Lent, I will design some sort of series with Lenten themes, I live for this stuff. 😎 I'll plan it all out before the end of February. Ash Wednesday falls on March 2nd this year!

🙌

As the time approaches (and it feels like we have a longer time to marinate in it this year since all of February can be devoted to prep time) I'm happily coming up with ideas and trying things out. I've got a few new devotional items that are helping to keep my mind attuned to All Things Faith-Filled that I thought I would share with you. I have a new icon devoted to the Lenten season that I hung near our kitchen table (so much fun meatless Friday planning to come!)


The kitchen table is also where I do a lot of my work from home, so the placment lifts me up there, too. Oh! I think I forgot to show you this before, but when I'm working in my office, I have this new Christ and Theotokos set to lift me up:

Icons all from Legacy Icons

These are in the extra small size, and they're truly perfect for tabletop use. The other adorable thing that has been lifting me up lately is this delightful mini home altar from The Catholic Woodworker:


Isn't it just divine?! It makes me so happy to see these reminders of our faith as I go about my daily activities, and lately it's reminding me how close we are getting to embarking on our Lenten journey for another year!

Have you started planning for Lent yet this year? What kinds of holy reminders do you have out on your desk or other work space? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Word on Fire illustrated Bible...

Hello all and happy end of week! It's SUPER chilly in my part of the world, and I'm tucked up cozy with Barney as I write this. 

*blissful sigh*

I get very inspired by the starkness and freshness of winter, and this year is no exception. I'm thinking ahead to Lenten planning (doesn't start until March this year, so still plenty of time!) and getting so excited! In the meantime, I'm enjoying the slowness of this particular part of Ordinary Time and just savoring small joys as they roll in. Related to my last post, I added a Great Feasts icon to my home icon wall, and a small and *adorable* Christ and Theotokos chapel icon set to my desk at work. I'll post photos next time as I forgot to photograph the desk set in particular, and those are just spectacular! 

I've also been allowing myself to read more this winter, and just enjoy some of the books, both fiction and non-fiction, that have been sitting on my Kindle for a long time, awaiting my attentions. One of my New Year's resolutions was to be more active on GoodReads again, keeping track of books that I'm actively reading and those that I would really like to get to in the near future. (I enjoy inspiration romances, romantic suspense, religious non-fiction titles, fitness and dance memoirs). This has helped me to stay focused on making steady progress with books, rather than allowing days to go by without reading at all (or, a single minute of reading in bed on my Kindle before my eyes drift closed). One of the things I'd like to examine for Lent is to select 1-2 non-fiction Catholic titles on my bookshelf and dedicate myself to finishing them before the end of the season. Selecting them will be the most fun!

In that realm, I got an email earlier in the week that the long-awaited new Volume II of the Word on Fire Bible was ready and available for purchase, this year it's Acts, Letters and Revelation:


I learned my lesson from last year (the Gospels) and immediately braced myself for the cost of the leather bound version, because I know now that that is what is want. :-) And there is a GREAT bundle available to purchase both Volume I and II! My order is in, and was shipped yesterday. 🙌

This will be a lifetime project to get through, to be sure, but I'd like to pick it up regularly over Lent. *quiet squee* I cannot wait to structure out my reading plan! I believe that the next volume, for 2023, will be the Pentateuch, so exciting. 

Any other Word on Fire Bible fans here? How have you been approaching reading with yours? Each evening or some other system that you have? I would LOVE some ideas as we approach the start of Lent 2022!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Winter Ordinary Time 2022: Icons and Eastern traditions...

 

Hi friends, and welcome back to blog following the 2021 holiday season! :) I've decided that what I'd like to do on this blog going forward is to post with seasonal themes as regularly as I am able. This time of year, I am often inspired by Winter Ordinary Time, in this space between the Christmas season and the beginning of Lent. Each post will feature something that I'm feeling particularly inspired by this year as we journey through winter towards Ash Wednesday. As ever, I delight in hearing what you're working on during these seasons in your own life down in the comments! 

One of the devotional items that has really captured my imagination this year is Eastern style iconography. I first learned a bit about Easter Orthodox spirituality via reading Facing East, by Frederica Mathewes-Green, a number of years ago. Since that time, one of my good friends joined a Byzantine rite Catholic parish, and this has really captured my fascination to learn more about the Eastern traditions within our faith. She shared a photo with me of her home prayer corner, and the icons truly fascinated me. I went on a bit of a research and shopping expedition of my own over at Legacy icons (a beautiful Orthodox company) and have added a bit to our home artwork:

 

Gorgeous set of Christ and the Theotokos 😍

I also purchased a small icon of the Baptism of the Lord, called Theophany in the Eastern tradition, as my and Mike's wedding anniversary right near that feast each year:


They had a sale recently, and I picked up a few others for my office. ;-) A smaller Christ and Theotokos (means Mother of God/God bearer) set for my desk, and a large icon of all the Great Feasts: 

  • Nativity of the Theotokos, 
  • Exaltation of the Cross, 
  • Entrance of the Theotokos, 
  • Nativity of Christ, 
  • Theophany, 
  • Presentation of Christ (Candlemas), 
  • Annunciation, 
  • Palm Sunday, 
  • Resurrection of Christ, 
  • Ascension of Christ, 
  • Pentecost, 
  • Transfiguration of Christ, 
  • Dormition (falling asleep) of the Theotokos.

I have to say, I am quite fascinated by the Eastern tradition, and I absolutely LOVE icons. Just looking at the Christ and Theotokos set in our bedroom makes me feel so comforted and happy. Icons are artistic representations of our family of faith in heaven, and their presence is such a solace to me. 

I am also loving learning more about the Eastern side to our faith. Given my attachment to our Latin rite traditions, I don't see myself ever officially changing rites, but continuing to learn more is bringing me a lot of joy, and I plan to attend a Divine Liturgy for the very first time this month! 

Have you ever attended an Eastern Divine Liturgy? Do you own any icons? Or are there other devotions you're focusing on this winter? I would love to hear about it in the comments!