Browsing Category

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Day 25: “Good is The Enemy of Great” (Jim Collins)

March 12, 2018

“Let My tongue be silenced, if ever I forget you.” (Psalm 137)

I played a mass at a new church today. I spent a lot of time with this psalm, trying to find the perfect chord progression to sing the “refrain” and then chant the verses.

Gonna be honest here- seems like a scary prayer to be saying over and over. If I forget you, make it so I can never speak again.

Wait What?! This sounds like a bad plan.

But how often I forget what He has in store for me.

A dear friend of mine introduced me to the Marian Virtues. Ever since we were roommates in college, we have picked one virtue a week to focus on, and try learn more about and how to be more like Mary in our day to day lives.

This week I really felt that I wanted to be focusing on remembering Him more. As I was looking through the virtues, I stumbled across Lively Faith, and saw it from a a new perspective.

Lively Faith: Always seeking the will of God and never settling for complacency.

How easy it is to forget God and His plan when my plan seems so good. But why would I settle for good when I could have greatness? Why settle for mediocre, when I could be living abundantly? Why would I choose complacency when I could choose absolute joy?

This week, I am really going to try to focus on the saying yes to His plan, and seeing the greatness that lies within that plan, rather than the okayness of my own plans.

 

New to the Marian Virtues? Click here for an amazing list of them. I keep this up on my iPhone permanently so I can always refer back to it. You should totally check it out!

 

 

(SIDEBAR: when did my hair get this long?!)

Lifestyle

Day 24: Certain as the Dawn Appears

March 11, 2018

“Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgement shines forth like the light of day!” (Hosea 6:3)

Mmmm. Today was a day. Today was a day I was grossly underprepared for.

I stayed up really late last night catching up with my brother in law, his wife and their adorable little baby. It was so great.

But I had a paper to write and then had to go meet up with my group to work out the details of this presentation that is due on Monday.

So I woke up extra early today, threw my headphones on and worked out the last parts of the paper while slurping down some coffee.

I then drove to school dejected to be leaving my family but knowing that June 21 is just around the corner.

Let’s just say the meeting didn’t go the way I had hoped.

I got in my car, a flustered hot mess and literally said: Jesus, where the heck are you? I am trying so hard here, but you’re really not helping me out at all. Hello… can you hear me? Bueller. Bueller.

How ironic that today’s readings would remind me that his coming is certain. His justice and mercy are a sure thing. And his love is not going anywhere, even though sometimes I cannot feel it.

Tonite, before I crash, I am going to try to dive into Hosea a little but more deeply. I want to know the Lord. I want to know his unrelenting and unsurpassable love. I want Him. I just need to figure out how to ask him to meet me where I am.

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 23: RSV vs. NAB

March 10, 2018

“I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lilly…” (Hosea 14:6)

Can we talk about an ironic moment in my life today?

I am in the throes of a very difficult project and feel like I have been thrown out into the desert with no water and no oasis in sight. I know that June 21 is fast approaching, but honestly? In the day in and day out of my life I wonder if I will every make it out of this barren wasteland alive.

Do you read the bible? I don’t read it often enough. The times I do are really fruitful and help me to hear God, but most of the time it just sits on my shelf.

I love the RSV translation. Something about it just speaks to my soul. But when Blessed is She put out a journalling bible I felt a stirring in my soul that was telling me: YOU NEED THAT BIBLE.

But I paused. Because this translation was the NAB. This was not my translation.

I hemmed and hawed and eventually I thought.. what the heck?! I can always go back to the RSV if I hate this one.

The Blessed is She bible finally arrived today… and I am in awe of the beauty found there. Seriously in awe. It was like a refreshing drink of water for my barren soul.

Do you need a new bible? Click here to order this new bible. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful, and I am so looking forward to diving into it this beautiful tool.

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 22: Blessed Is She That Believed

March 8, 2018

“Come Let us sing Joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95)

Happy International Women’s Day!

I am really learning what it means to be a woman these days.

For so long, I wore black pants, and beat up chucks with scary emo tees and a studded belt. I felt that this made me cool. It allowed me to keep a wall around me that separated me from other people. They just couldn’t possibly understand me.

Then I gradually moved to a more hipster look. There was a lot of flannel and I still own almost the entire stock of neff beanies that Zumiez carried. I had a “literally don’t even care right now” attitude and the clothing to match it. If you were worried about your appearances or thought women should wear skirts and dresses I wanted nothing to do with you and thought you were probably trying to hinder the human race from moving forward.

And here I am. I don’t really know that I have a style any more. I wear what makes me feel comfortable, confident and beautiful.

One thing I can tell you? The outfit in the picture below is something I never in a million years would have seen myself wearing. When I ordered the skirt, I put it in my cart and looked at it for a while wondering if this was ruining any last shreds of my image that were already nearly gone. But I purchased it anyways and decided to take a chance on this outfit.

And I felt most truly myself wearing that outfit. *GASP* I felt so beautiful in my twirly skirt.

I spent all these years putting other women down for supporting the patriarchy by wearing skirts and there I was… loving every second of it.

This lent has been a season of changing a lot of my views. A season of softening my heart and learning to love who I am in this current moment and live my best and fullest life.

My heart is learning how to sing joyfully, and for that I am ever grateful.

 

Photo Credit : Michelle Babyak, Diocese of Bridgeport

Lifestyle

Day 17: Carry On My Wayward Son

March 3, 2018

Today’s gospel is one of my favorite. The story of the prodigal  son. Do you know what the word prodigal means? It means to lavish.

This kid. He takes his half of the inheritance and spends it all. Then he has no money and realizes he has messed up. So he gets a job and wants to eat the gruel he is feeding the pigs. Then… BAZINGA! What if he could go back to his dad and ask if he could be treated like a servant?!

You know what happens though? The father lavishes love upon his wayward son. The father runs to his son and embraces him. He clothes his son with the finest robe and puts rings on his fingers. He slaughters a fattened calf and prepares a giant party for his son whom he has missed so much.

Say What?! 

This is by far the most unpredictable outcome I ever could have imagined. And yet, this is how the story reads. The son asked for forgiveness and was lavished with love.

This is how our heavenly father views us each time we return to him. No matter how far we have gone, if we turn back to Him, he will lavish us with love.

I went to confession for the first time in three months (#pagan) and as I cried deep and healing tears my priest friend said to me: Lady, you know that He loves you. You know that these are lies you are believing. Turn to Him. You are worthy of love.

 

You are worthy of love. Each and every one of you reading this are worthy of love, and have a Father who wants to lavish that love upon you.

Do not forget it.

Lifestyle

Day 16: Mind Blown

March 2, 2018

“Remember the Marvels the Lord has done”

These readings are getting more and more intense. They are pointing us to the reality that our sin is what is going to put Jesus on the cross.

They aren’t even thinly veiled any more. A father sent people to help. They killed them. That father sent his son thinking that would work. They killed him. Knife to the heart my goodness.

Through it all though, God is doing terribly wonderful things. He became man, and offered himself to us to offer us a chance at heaven. What kind of person offers to allow humanity to kill him? Seems pretty insane to me.

But it happened. Straight up happened. God loved us so much that He gives us Himself.

As I prepare for Convivio, I am remembering the Marvel of a God that could love me and you this much.

Stay tuned for a Convivio Update soon!

Lifestyle

Day 15: Day By Day

March 1, 2018

Growing up, my siblings and I watched a movie called Godspell nearly every weekend for a long stretch there. for some reason as kids, we would get hooked on just one movie and watch it over and over until my dad could convince us to watch something else. It was like if we stopped watching it, we would never get to see whatever it was we found so attractive about the movie ever again.

Now look… some people really don’t like Godspell. And if you’re one of those people- thats totally cool! But I loved and still truly love this musical/movie. When I was little I always asked my dad why I couldn’t see it on stage, and he would tell me that once we built a time machine I’d be able to (oh but in the end dad won anyways- he took me to see the revival twice the summer it was on broadway :D).

The musical is based mostly on the gospel of Matthew, and puts to folksy tunes the parables held within. Delicious, catchy tunes that an 8 year old would not be able to resist.

I remember every last story clearly, but today’s gospel (albeit told in Luke) was one of the stories portrayed in Godspell. Lazarus was a poor and ailing man who just wanted the scraps from the rich man’s table. Dogs would lick his sores, and the rich man never offered to help him. When they died, the rich man is in hell and Lazarus is in heaven. The rich man calls out begging for water, but Lazarus is not allowed to go, and he is also not allowed to go as a ghost to warn the rich man’s brothers, for they should be decent human beings without the help of a ghost. Okay so I definitely paraphrased that whole story (you can find the real version in the gospel of Luke 16:19-31), but you get the idea.

The moral of the story is that we are supposed to help our brothers and sisters out here on earth, because when we see them, we should be seeing Christ.

Sometimes I find that this is a big moment in my life. I go on a mission trip. I serve with a ministry that is based on the corporal works of mercy. When I have participated in these things, it was easy to see how I was serving Christ in my brothers and sisters. But more often then not, I find that these are small  every day interactions. Staying up with a friend who needs to get something off their chest. Always having room for one more, no matter how last minute it may be. Taking the time to respond to someone who has looked to you for guidance. Writing a letter to someone who is lonely.

These things take time and oftentimes, sacrificing time seems nearly impossible. But I always try to make enough time to see Christ in others. I am always made better for it.

Lifestyle

Day 14: My Greatest Wish is To See You in Heaven

February 28, 2018

“In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and prosecutors.” (Psalm 31)

You know, lately I have been grappling with the idea that I do not have the power to write my own destiny. Sure, I have free will and the ability to make choices that affect my life along the way, but I don’t get that final say.

This goes against everything they tells us about in every movie and book. Only you can choose your destiny. Only you can make yourself great. We’re all in this together. *cues massive dance scene*.

But what if this isn’t right?

What if my destiny was in the hands of the creator from the start?

I know that my destiny is communion with Him for eternity. If I know this to be fact, how in the world could little old me possible be the one to write that fate? SPOILER ALERT: I cannot write my own destiny.

I’ve recently been coming face to face with this reality, and am trying to learn how to accept this fact.

God has a bigger plan for me.

My worth is found in His love, not in what I can accomplish or what I have done.

If I say yes to Him, I am far more likely to start moving on the path of least resistance towards that final end goal, as opposed to this rocky and bumpy path I have put myself on by trying to be a “self made woman”.

There is freedom in saying yes to the things that make me feel fully alive. It doesn’t matter what society says. It matters that I always remember that my worth is found in Him, and that if I do what He asks, I will always be happier. Sure, there will be times where it is not easy. But there is always profound happiness in the aftermath of a great trial. I always realize that I am stronger than I thought, and braver than I could have imagined.

Learning to let go and trust the process is a really difficult thing for me, but seems to be a recurring theme this lent. I guess my prayer still must be: Jesus, I trust in You.

Lifestyle

Day 13: Jesus, Grant Me The Grace to Desire it

February 27, 2018

“Whoever Exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Tall Orders. I recently had a friend of mine encourage me to start saying The Litany of Humility again.

I have an interesting past with this prayer. I have loved it and hated it. Prayed it and refused to pray it.

But today’s gospel encourages us to look at humility as a good and gracious gift. That it is only in humbling ourselves that we can become the best version of ourselves.

Look, I’ll be super honest with you. Pride is my poison of choice. Every. Single. Time. Without fail, I try to make everyone believe that I have it all together. I have a wonderful husband. I have a beautiful home. I have a job. I almost have a masters. I have a beautiful Instagram feed. I have this beautiful blog.

Everything looks beautiful.

But I have really been trying lately to embrace the mess and the chaos of this period of my life, and to let everyone know that my life is NOT instagram perfect. That small moments of every day can certainly be picturesque, but that sometimes the overarching theme is that I am struggling.

I am in the trenches with you. I know the struggle. I know what it’s like to worry about what others think of you, and what others say of you, finding your worth in what the world says is important.

But I am also standing up against that. Repeating over and over: Lord I am a mess, I need you, and its okay.

Here’s the Litany of Humility if you’ve never encountered it before:

 

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

 

(from EWTN)

 

Amen.

Lifestyle

Day 12: Three Strikes, You’re Out!

February 26, 2018

“Stop Judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6: 36-38)

Strong directions to follow. I heard these words today and realized I am not doing very well at following them. Let me give you some examples:

*in my brain as a fellow student talks*: no one wants to hear your input anyways. Stop trying to prove yourself. We are all here, doing the same work. We all work hard and all want to be considered in the hiring process for management positions someday.  Strike One. How often do these thoughts cross my mind? How much better would it be to acknowledge the intrinsic beauty and dignity that lies within the person speaking and recognize that their desire to be praised is really a desire to be loved. Don’t I desire that love every single day too?

*in relation to a project I am doing*: man, if this one person would just do one freakin thing I wouldn’t feel they were a useless part of our team. Strike Two. Useless is a condemning term. Whether I feel this way or not, how much better would it be for me to put aside the sour words and allow the good parts of the situation to shine instead of only focusing on the bad?

*as I think back on the process of getting into grad school*: I can’t wait to walk across the stage and say nah nah nah boo boo I won, you lost, how do you like dem apples? Strike Three. Forgive and you will be forgiven. It would be better for me to move on from this grudge I so desperately hold and just finish out the degree so I can hang up the fancy piece of paper.

Clearly I am not doing so hot on following these directions.

I am going to try to be far more positive about my interactions from here on out instead of constantly seeing the negative. I want to make sure that I am being the best person I can be so that when the time comes, I am given the same amount of love, care and mercy.

Cheers to constantly growing!