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Dear Twenty-Something

Girlfriend, I Am Proud Of You

August 24, 2018

24 August 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinback

Have I stopped lately to tell you how proud I am of you?!

You have said yes to so many exciting things- being brave and trying new and scary things.

You are excercising three days a week, and are planning to get to 4-5 days a week. Who would’ve thought you’d ever get there? (I am only partly kidding)

Also, dude, I am proud of you for eating the egg rolls while watching the Barbie documentary on hulu and reading Magnolia Journal. Because tonite, you took time to just breathe, and gather yourself, and treat yourself with love.

I am proud of you for embracing change. I am proud of you for never losing that work ethic.

I am proud of you for making new friends, and I am proud of your for keeping the friendships you have going. I am also proud of you for rekindling old friendships, even though it sometimes seems like friendships as an adult can be really hard to navigate.

Girlfriend, I am proud of you.

Keep up the good work.

-S

Encounter

Rising to the Occasion

August 1, 2018

“He became so much involved with man that He Himself became man. Through Jesus, God became “an affectively attractive presence,” to the point that it would challenge our hearts forever.” (Fraternity Exercises- First Lesson pg. 11)

I am honestly not sure when I have read a more true statement.

Each and every day, I find myself in awe of the world around me, and the goodness and beauty that reside in my life.

Friends who text me to tell me they love me. Friends who ask for prayer. A new style of workout that is fun and engaging. A burning desire to know more and become better.

These things do not happen as mere coincidence. Jesus challenges my heart in every moment of every day. In the times when I have no patience but need an ounce more. In the times when I am tired but I need to give just a few more moments to be a listening ear. How often has someone given me these precious gifts- moments of peace and security in an otherwise troublesome world. How often someone has been the face of Christ to me.

I want to be like Him. I want to sit with the people whom I love and listen to their stories. I want to be a part of their story. I want to share in their experience. I want to be able to build others up when they need the support. I want to love at no cost, and love when there is not enough to go around in this world.

I want to rise to the occasion of this challenge, and never stop trying to be the person that He is asking me to be.

Trusting.

Loving.

Caring.

Gentle.

His.

Dear Twenty-Something

July 27, 2018

27 July 2018

“I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.” – Fred Rogers

Dear Twenty-Something,

How’s it going? Did you do something to take care of yourself today?

As you start to ease into this new part of your life (second half of your twenties?! Where did the time go?!) I want you to remember to love yourself in this exact moment, exactly where you are.

The family you have. The place you live. The food you eat. The friends you have.

There’s really no need to worry about what comes next. Just know that it will all fall into place exactly when it is supposed to.

Listen to that small voice that whispers in the recesses of your heart and stirs you to change.

Chase the peace that still small voice brings into your life. Don’t ever stop searching for the answers to those deepest longings of your heart.

Love your friends. Reach out, check in, make sure they are doing okay. These are weird times for them also.

You rock. I am so proud of you for continuing to just wait and see.

You’ve got this.

-S

Lifestyle

You’re The Only One Who Can Be You

July 24, 2018

In the past three weeks, there has been a dramatic shift in my perspective. My incredibly stressful class is over, I went on vacation for two weeks, I was invited to read and study with a Lay Marianist community, and I developed a deep love for Mr. Rogers.

These four things have changed me in a profound way. But the thing that has had the biggest impact on me, is my newfound love of Fred Rogers.

In a world where we see so much hate, destruction, and death, this calm and gentle soul ushered generations of kids into a safe space, where they knew they were loved and cherished, and they were able to just be kids.

Going back to watch his work as an adult at first seemed silly. Why would I do such a thing? There were plenty of other shows that I could watch.

It all started in May. I had been suffering a wicked bout of insomnia for four months at this point, and I had watched 17 seasons of Law & Order SVU, and every episode of The Great British Bake-off that Netflix had to offer. At this point I knew I needed something different, but I also knew none of my shows (looking at you Eric Kripke, and Shonda) would be back until the fall. I was running on empty. Getting 4 hours of sleep a night because my mind was racing at the prospect of not getting a perfect grade after all of my hard work… or editing papers that just came in so late I had to stay up all night to get it done. How could I possibly find a show that would help me to get even just one more hour of sleep?

I started scrolling through Amazon Prime and saw that kind and familiar face that I had seen as a kid. I chuckled to myself and kept scrolling, but something told me to go back.

I hit play, and those familiar first notes trickled through the speaker… “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood…”. The first night I watched 5 hours of Mr. Rogers and let me tell you what- that dude tackled some real issues in his day. I sat in bed, in awe of his courage and amazed that he could do that all with a slow melodic voice. And don’t even get me started on the puppets- how does one person have that many voices stored up in their imagination?

As the days went on, I slowly made it through fewer episodes- that sweet melody lulling me to sleep, or Fred Rogers’ intelligent and kind voice helping me to face some big scary things that we see in the news even still today (who knew he would be so timeless?). This man gave me back my sanity. I started sleeping 5, 6, and 7 hours a night, worrying less, and making better use of my time.

I got an A in both of those really crazy classes. My hard work paid off, and I then got to go on vacation with my family to celebrate my parent’s 30th anniversary. I downloaded a book on my kindle about Mr. Rogers, and set off to learn more about this person that had already changed my life by helping me to sleep a little easier at night.

I recently turned 26. Roughly 3 days before that happened, I woke up at complete peace in my life. I had established a routine that I was following (morning meditation and scripture, carefully planning my weeks, adding in chores and getting dressed up in the mornings). I was swearing less (not completely… yet, but I’m hopeful lol). I was being far less judgmental. And I finally felt like I had nothing left to prove. I was the most alive I had been in years.

As I reflected on this series of events I realized that for the first time in my life, I have had a deep and profound conversion. Through the gentle care of a television neighbor, I have come to see that God is in the slow moments. He doesn’t want me to rush. He doesn’t want me to be stressed or in emotional pain.

I decided I was going to be like Mr. Rogers, and my life changed dramatically, for the better. My time seems to stretch endlessly, and my days are filled with joy and gratitude. My errands don’t take nearly as long, I forget things a lot less frequently these days, and I am completely at peace.

6 months ago, I would have told you I didn’t even remember what peace was. Today, I can’t remember what it was like to live in a complete world of stress. It is so crazy to me that I would let my need to prove I was the best, I was worthy and I was what they wanted after all, slowly kill my joy.

I was worthy all along. I have gifts and talents that no one else on this earth possesses in the exact measure that I have them. Sure- they aren’t great big magical things, but they are my talents. I taught a one year old how to say cock-a-doodle-doo. I also taught him that if he throws hummus on the ground, we have to clean it up. I lead music for a holy hour that sent chills down my spine as the students I was playing for sang the bridge to the song by themselves. I wrote a thank you note that established what will be a life long connection.

These things are all seemingly small. But in my life- these are ways that I met God in my day to day interactions.

And I never want to stop. I want to take each day as Mr. Rogers would have taken it- with grace and patience, stopping to recognize that sometimes the small things are what make us the best people we can be.

If you had the opportunity to live a life with less stress and more joy would you?

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood of joy and peace. I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you! Let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since you’re still here reading this, I might as well say- won’t you be my neighbor?

Dear Twenty-Something

Don’t Forget What You Need

July 13, 2018

13 July 2018

“To bad, but its the life you lead, you’re so ahead of yourself, that you forgot what you need. Though you can see when you’re wrong you know you can’t always see when you’re right, you’re right.” – Billy Joel

Dear Twenty- Something,

Stop for a moment to breathe. The world will continue to turn, and your life will continue to move forward, even with this brief respite.

Your choices seem limitless. Your future is bright.

Stop and smell the roses. Read the book. Cook the meal. Call the friend.

These small moments are the sustenance you need to make it to the next whirling dervish of crazy.

You’re on to something good. These moments where you are letting go of control and letting a power greater than your own take it on are the moments you need to remember.

Life is better when you don’t have to have it all figured out.

Enjoy the people around you. Listen to their stories. Build them up. Carry them through their storm.

For the endless cycle of love and support should never end.

You were right all along. Things were going to start looking up.

That time is now.

Enjoy it.

-S

Lifestyle

When the Instagram Feed Suffers

July 6, 2018

An encounter with beauty stirs something deep in my soul. A longing for a continued encounter with the infinite goodness that I have just experienced.

And isn’t this how it is all supposed to work out? WiFi has been limited on this trip, and I have honestly loved every second of it. Sure, my instagram feed has “suffered” but the pictures I do have are unreal. The experience I am having are even more liberating. Time spent with family members, catching up with and learning more about them through chance encounters- a bad sunburn led to my brother and I doing an incredible hike together and loving every second of it. Standing on the back deck with my dad waiting for the ship to set sail and feeling immense, immense gratitude at the first that has been given to me. Sitting at the pool with my mom while we cheer for my sister playing volleyball in the pool.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites with thousands of tiny pieces creating profoundly moving mosaics in a mausoleum. A church with a beautiful devotion to our lady. Sitting on the deck and watching the deep blue water go by.

This is only the first half of an incredible adventure. I cannot wait for the second half, and to share all of the pictures when I get home- keeping this encounter with beauty going for a long time.

Lifestyle

Hello From The Other Side of the Pond

July 2, 2018

Greetings from Venice!

I can’t believe its finally here… this trip we have been dreaming about and longing for for 463 days… is HERE!

Quickly stopping by to let you know that I’ve missed you, and now that death class is over (Hey! I got an A!) I am really excited to get back to our regularly scheduled posting… after this wild adventure with my family.

Now for the fun part: when I was living in Austria, I  kept a blog detailing all of my adventures and it was a really neat, living, breathing journal of all of the incredible opportunities that I had been given,

For the next 9 days, I would love to share the moments great and small that are going to make this trip with my family amazing.

There will be pictures 😉

Dear Twenty-Something

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That You Can’t

June 23, 2018

23 June 2018

“Anyone who has ever been able to sustain good work has had at least one person–and often many–who have believed in him or her. We just don’t get to be competent human beings without a lot of different investments from others.” – Mr. Rogers

Dear Twenty- Something,

Take a look at that person in the mirror.

See those eyes staring back at you? The ones that so often were filled with tears these past six months?

Look in those eyes. Those are the eyes of someone who finally reached the oasis.

Those grey hairs you are so desperately trying to hide?

Badges of honor for a battle well fought.

Now look at that weary person in the mirror and say: YOU DID IT. YOU did it.

There. That feels a little better- no?

Now stop and think of all of the people: the friends who prayed you through. The parents who let you cry and shout. The husband who woke up day in and day out to make you coffee. The people who checked in. The people who understood when plans had to be cancelled.

Thank them. Without them, you wouldn’t be here right now. These are the people that love you the most.

Take a deep breath. What once seemed impossible, is done.

 

You did it.

You. Freaking. Did. It. 

Don’t you ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.

-S

 

Encounter

Your Life is a Gift

June 6, 2018

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Mr. Rogers

We live in a world that is in turmoil.

It seems like every day, we hear of someone else that we looked up to succumbing to addiction, peer pressure and darkness.

The news is full of unspeakable horrors that happen so frequently they seem common place.

Yet we live in a time where Mental Illness is still stigmatized, and often times, it causes feelings of great shame to ask for help.

Last year, I was involved in youth ministry when 13 Reasons Why was released. Having read the book a decade earlier as a high school freshman myself,  I was surprised to see the book brought to the “big” screen. I plugged through the 13 heart wrenching episodes so that the people I was working with would have someone to discuss the show, their feelings, and their life with.

I thought the story was complete, and as gruesome as it was, I felt it provided many talking points, and a common starting ground to open the door to those really difficult conversations.

But then 13 Reasons Why Season 2 came out. I debated whether or not I would watch this most reason season. People were saying it was even darker than the first season, and that it was difficult to watch.

Let me go ahead and confirm that:  it is difficult to watch. If you haven’t already watched it, and are planning to watch it, this is me encouraging you to watch it in a safe environment, with your parents, an older sibling, or someone you love and trust.

Mental Illness shows no bias. It can affect anyone. In fact, it most likely affects someone you know and love.

It may even be affecting you. 

In a time when the world seems dark, we need more people like you in it. We need the gifts and talents that you alone give to this world.

You are important.

You are loved.

You are Irreplaceable.

Your life is a gift. You may never know how many people you have affected with just your smile, but you, sweet friend, are a gift.

If you are having a hard time remembering this fact, please, don’t go it alone. Find someone to talk to. Talk to a priest, minister, therapist or counselor.

You are never alone. 

There is always someone in your corner.

I am always rooting for you.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1-800-273-8255

Lifestyle

Becoming My Best Self

June 5, 2018

As you may or may not yet know, I am a fairly particular person.

I prefer Starbucks coffee. I need a 5 blade razor. I love polo button down shirts. I will never go back to a non apple product for a computer.

I am really conscious of what I put on my skin. Safe, natural, clean beauty products and sun safety.

I am really conscious of what I put in my body. When I am on my A game, I can Primal Blueprint Diet with the rest of them.

One thing I am really not good at? What I do for my body. Let me put it frankly: I hate working out with the passion of 1000 suns. I find it absolutely dreadful. If I am running, you better run too, because something is chasing me!

So… I am embarking on a revamp of my relationship with food, and the way I treat my body.

So many times I have tried to “hack” my body with quick, intense workouts meant to give extreme results. I always give up, more dejected than the time before because I just can’t seem to stick it out. I also have a hard time with diets that give you portion control or sever limits- I am not trying to lose weight, just treat my body better, and feed it better things than chicken nuggets okay?!

Enter The 2b Mindset. Listen. I have tried other Beachbody Workouts (^^^ahem) and I have not been able to get myself to full capacity doing these programs. My sister does CrossFit and is awesome and says then can scale it… but I hate working out remember?

The 2b Mindset seems to be all about changing ones relationship with food and the way it affects once’s body, with emphasis on eating foods that are better for you, and no guilt for that Cadbury Milk Chocolate Caramel straight from England (I’m looking at you babysitting house!).

I am posting this here because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to eat better, and try to get some kind of allotted and specific physical activity in at least 3 days a week- even if they aren’t those body hack workouts that will get me a six pack in time for my cruise =p .

For the next few months (and hopefully forever after that!) I will be spending time to really examine how I treat my body, and how I can treat it better.

How do you do these things? How do you make time for self care? Personal Development? Honestly, give me all the secrets because I really need them here 😉