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2019: The Year of the Simple Resolution

December 31, 2018

Today is the day! The day that the new calendars are busted open, empty pages just waiting to be filled with all of the new dreams, plans and adventures ahead. Today is the day we scribble down lists of our hopes and dreams, things we want to eliminate and things we want to be better about. Frantically we wonder- is there something else I should be doing? Is there something out there that will make me better?

For a long time I railed against resolutions. No one ever seems to keep them, and they always seem to center around losing weight, eating differently, or forcing oneself to become something completely different. These are not intrinsically bad things to do- but those things always put a lot of pressure on me, and when I couldn’t keep up made me feel like a failure.

2018 was a crazy year. I nearly finished my Masters Degree (just three more months to go… hollah at ya girl!). I spent time with family in Texas during Fiesta, soaking in the beautiful culture and eating the best bean and cheese tacos I have ever experienced. I spent time with family on a boat, celebrating 30 years of marriage with crazy awesome food and wine, and some of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen. I successfully threw a surprise 30th birthday party… and a few days later received the greatest gift of my life- the news that I would be having a baby in May of 2019. I celebrated weddings. I spent time with my grandparents. I found a community in a cherished podcast. I took up spin class. I dealt with morning sickness and extreme fatigue. I finished my fall semester with a 4.0. I got an internship with a local non-profit organization.

But by far the biggest news of all was learning I was having a daughter. I know that if I was having a baby boy, my life would have been utterly changed for the better as well, but knowing I will be bringing a girl into this world shook me to my core. I have so many dreams for her- dreams of a world where she is treated equally to her male counterparts, dreams of a world where she is loved and cherished just the way she is, dreams of a world where the comparison and shaming stop, and dreams of a world where she makes a difference.

Two weeks ago I learned I would be having a daughter, and I realized that all those dreams, start with me. In order to make those dreams a reality, I need to start seeing them to fruition in my own life. I don’t need to compare myself to others, because where I am right now is the best place I have ever been. I don’t need to be ashamed of my body because it is healthy, and works the way it should, and even if I never did get rid of my love handles before I got pregnant, and the stretch marks would indicate they are only getting larger, my body is perfect because it is giving my beautiful little girl the nourishment she needs, and a safe place to call home until I welcome her into my home on this side of the universe. I can make a difference by sharing joy, opening my heart and home to foster community, and trying to make the world a little better each day that I get to exist in it. I can embrace the quirks that make me, me and stop apologizing for being exactly who I am.

As 2019 rolls around, I am making a resolution this year, that I truly hope to stick to. I am going to embrace the things that make me unapologetically me, and make sure I am making time to foster those things. I want my daughter to know that she is loved and supported, and that even just 10 minutes out of her day spent for her is well worth it. This year, I am going to make sure I make time every morning for my morning meditation- carving out the time to read the daily readings, and to thank God for another day to do good in this world. I am going to spend a few minutes each night reflecting on the day, and recording it in the beautiful journal my sister bought me for Christmas, so that I can start and end my day with gratitude. And finally, I am going to come back to the blog for real. I have made so many excuses of late- oh but school, work, the pregnancy… but I miss this space and this community more than I realized. And it is important to me that I can be here to share in your lives and your experiences because they make me a better person.

Cheers to 2019 sweet friends! I want to hear all of your goals, hopes and dreams for this new year, and I want to know what your game plan is for accomplishing it.

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

Reaching Out For Our Goal

April 26, 2018

“The existence of a person who believes must be bonded as one with the object of his faith, for man is only himself when is convinced, enlightened, and reaching out for his goal.” – ( Giussani, Why The Church pg. 197)

Last week we talked about the freedom that comes in being made to be one with Him;  a striking idea that I don’t often sit with.

This week, as I read this line in particular, I am captivated by the truth that my existence is utterly entwined with the full pursuit of reality.

I have a lot of opportunities to think and drive at this current phase of my life.

And I keep having this recurring scene play out in my mind each time I drive.

Right now, God has closed quite a few doors in my life. Honestly, it sometimes feels like I am never going to catch my break and that He is just going to keep slamming doors in my face.

But as I have started to think about who I am, and what I want, I am starting to gain a much clearer picture of what my end goals are, and how I can possibly get there.

In this scene, I am standing in a dark hallway and just as I am about to start jiggling the handle on the door in front of me, one on the opposite side of the hall creaks open just enough to let a sliver of light out and make me wonder what is behind that door.

Now, I have two options. I can keep trying to open the door in front of me (even though it is clearly locked and is not where I am supposed to be going) or I can head towards the one that is open and kick it down Dean Winchester going in for a vampire style.

Clearly the Dean Winchester option is far superior. But… am I gonna do that?

Honestly? I have no idea.

What I do know, is that I am suddenly faced with a re-evaluation of my hopes, dreams, and goals, and need to start really diving into what that looks like.

In this re-evaluation, I should be able to come to grips with the truth of my reality, and start to move towards my end goal again- making me free and fully alive.

Have you ever taken the time to answer the questions “Who am I?” And “What do I want?” [This is a post for another time, but now that I have thought of it, I will try to figure out how to squeeze that one in!] If you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a shot. It really helps to clarify things.

goals

Lifestyle

Nothing More & Nothing Less

April 23, 2018

Oh friends. I did a silly thing today.

Today, I told one of my dearest friends that I was finally okay with whatever God had in store for me this upcoming year.

WHY would I ever do that?

Do you ever have that moment, where you feel complete peace and everything seems to be going so well and then BAM out of seemingly nowhere, a self doubt stronger than you’ve ever known creeps in and you’re in tears faster than you can say “I’m okay”.

No? Just me?

Okay, well… that’s where I am right now. There is a pretty big part of me that is really excited for this new adventure- to see what it is exactly that the Lord has planned for me.

There’s also a part of me that is *loudly* shouting; THIS IS NOT A PART OF THE PLAN. YOU ARE RUINING THE PLAN. MAYDAY. MAYDAY. GET IT TOGETHER.

And honestly, I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I knew what the heck I was doing, and if this trusting in God’s plan thing was really going to work after all.

But I have no idea. Right now, I feel like I am stuck between two phases of life. Older than the typical college grad, probably should have a job. Younger than all my friends who have three kids, but married for Almost three years without kids.

I am in no man’s land, and am figuring it out.

How was I so happy and confident this morning, then all of a sudden was doubting everything I was doing by 6PM?

Life.

Happy Monday folks.

Honestly, something tells me I will never not be in a phase of trying to figure my life out.

10 years ago, it was what college should I go to, what would my major be?

5 years ago, it was how would I ever find a guy who wasn’t the worst?

My track record has been pretty good so far in winding up just where I needed to be. 10 years later I am almost done with a Masters in Business Administration. 5 years later I am married to an incredible man.

So maybe I don’t have the answers right now. But maybe I will also look back in 5 or 10 years and know that this moment was the one that launched me into greatness.

I only have to know the plan for tomorrow. No more. No less.

And ultimately?

I am going to be okay.

Encounter

The Power of Creativity

April 18, 2018

“The more powerful a person’s creativity is, the more the person’s creation has, so to speak, personality. It exists, lasts, and affirms itself as time passes. This, in fact is the characteristic of a work of art, just as everything born of God’s genius and infinite power acquires an unmistakable identity of it’s own, for the simple reason that it participates in God.” (Giussani, Why the Church, pg 194)

Have you ever heard the phrase “made in His image and likeness”?

I have heard it countless times, in so many different capacities. You are worth it, you were made in His image and likeness. You should help this person, after all they are made in His image and likeness. Stand up for this cause. Vote for this politician. Don’t wear this. Don’t watch that. Only listen to praise and worship.

This idea that being made in His image and likeness limits me to looking and behaving in a cookie cutter way always bothered me. It seemed like the things that made me most myself were the things the church didn’t want me to be.

But what if being made in His image and likeness gave me an absolute freedom to continually seek His heart and become who I was meant to be, in a way that allows me to still be me?

This quote explains perfectly to me (a creative artistic, type), what being made in His image and likeness means. God the Father as the master creator made me. Not to be his carbon copy. But to bring glory to Him through being the best version  of me that I could possibly be. He created me to have my own personality, and to constantly be striving to find Him in my every day encounters.

As I read this quote, something stirs deep in my soul. I am His work of art. And He created me- all of my good qualities and all of my quirks. He loves me through my imperfections and wants me to constantly work towards being the best I can be.

So, what does that look like?

Jack’s Mannequin on my morning commute. Law & Order SVU when I can’t sleep at night. Bible Study with my friends. School of Community. Instagram stories. Morning hikes. Tom Clancy novels.

Maybe I am biased, but… that looks like a pretty normal twenty something woman  to me. God didn’t create me to be placed in a box. He created me to be fully alive and to constantly be striving towards Him.

YOU are an irreplaceable work of art. YOU are His incredible creation.

What does this journey look like to you? I want to know how you encounter God in your daily life.

 

Lifestyle

When Change is Good

April 16, 2018

I have realized something recently. I am a creature of habit.

House Blend coffee with half and half every morning.

Apple Products for life.

Find one pair of jeans that fits? QUICK! Buy every single color because you can never find jeans that simultaneously cover your booty and your ankles.

Never switch your planner. No matter how beautiful the new planner looks, or how much you want to be even more organized, you will always go back to the OG black, hardcover moleskin.

These things seem trivial and quite frankly, they are. But they are indicative of a deeper personality trait that I seem to have.

I like an established routine, and sometimes often I have trouble with changes to my routine.

Then I read an instagram post from an account called One Hail Mary at a Time. If you’ve never heard of her, click here to check her out!  In this post on Instagram, she basically said that her and her husband will evaluate where they are in life and if something isn’t working, they make the change to what is going to be best for them.

And somewhere, deep in the recesses of my soul, I knew I needed to make a change that was bigger than just my planner or my morning beverage choices. I needed to make a change that would bring peace to the incredibly weary heart I have been carrying around inside of me.

I have known this for a long time now, and this instagram post, coupled with a bible study of Esther really gave me the courage to start the process of making the changes I need to make to be the best version of myself, the version of myself that God wants me to be.

In the spirit of authenticity that this blog has come to embody, I just wanted to admit that this is hard for me. It’s all still really new, but I am coming to ask for prayers as I start this new journey, and try to figure out what exactly it is I am supposed to do next.

Between the pursuit of a masters degree, a trip to the ER and a retreat that I MC’d, a lot has happened in the past four months of this year 2018.

Each of these events has left a mark on my soul, and has stirred in me a new desire to give back to the world in a better way than I was.

I’m sure as time goes on, I will have the opportunity to tell you more about all these big changes, but for now, throw up an extra Hail Mary for me if you think about it.

I’ll be praying for you as well.

 

Encounter

The Perilous Voyage

April 12, 2018

“To put the matter another way and use a metaphor much favored by antiquity, the man who has partaken of this mystery has already made harbour in the next world and is nevertheless on a perilous voyage; he carries upon his soul the seal that gives him clear passage upon his heavenward journey, yet during that journey his enemies, the evil spirits, still lie in wait for him…” (Hugo Rahner, taken from Why The Church pg. 191)

No matter how many times I read this book, this passage will always stand out to me.

In this section of reading for School of Community, Giussani spends a good amount of time discussing the sacraments in relation to man’s freedom. This is something I at one point struggled with. Confession and weekly communion seemed more like rules I had to follow than an encounter I could freely accept.

Once I had come to grips with my freedom in relation to the church, this passage really began to make a lot of sense to me.

If I was created for eternity, and my whole life is geared for moving towards that destiny, than everything I do should bring me one step closer that reality.

There is a sense of wonder and mystery that come with the sacraments. A person that you see during the week, sits in persona christi and can forgive your sins. A small piece of bread becomes the living God.

Each time I participate in these sacraments, I move one step closer to my end goal, one step closer to my final destiny.

The idea that always strikes me is the one that states that I basically have a ticket that I show the conductor that says my end goal is eternal life. I have a direct route, but along this route there will be so many moments when I want to get off the train.

This desire to get off the train is an every day battle. The world is big and offers so many good enough things that sometimes, I lose sight of what really matters.

But the sacraments that I freely participate in are the very things that give me the strength to try for just one more day.

I recently committed to going to confession once a month instead of twice a year. In fact, it’s actually probably time for me to call my priest and set that up since we are half way through April.

I also try to go to daily mass as frequently as possible, to continue to receive that extra grace.

What sacraments do you participate in on the regular? I’d love to hear your experiences with encountering Jesus in these awesome tools the church has given us.

 

Lifestyle

Spring Has Almost Sprung!

April 10, 2018

Hello Friends!

I have been waiting for spring like a kid waits for Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. Honestly any time I see a blue sky I am like oh great its gonna be warm now?! Okay?! Okay!

Then it’s still cold and miserable and generally snows about 3 seconds later.

I am SO ready for spring. I am ready for flowers and birds chirping and sunshine and those sweet few weeks where it’s not yet too hot, but you also only need a sweatshirt to be comfortable outside.

Spring just brings about a sense of renewal. And with this longing for spring, I have been trying to bring about renewal in many places in my life.

Cleaning my house. Doing my homework in the daylight hours. Eating a primal diet again. Setting up dinner parties with friends. Celebrating victories as they come (640 I am looking at you!). But with all this refreshed zeal for life, there came a dreaded realization.

My MacBook has begun its slow descent into its next phase of life.

That trusty MacBook Air has seen me through a lot. Finishing my undergraduate degree. Most of a masters degree. A tumble out of the hands of clumsy TSA agent.

But it’s poor brain just can’t handle another round of 35 page papers. As I began to think about its ultimate demise and what would be the next best option to finish out my MBA and be able to do all the things that I love to do, I fell down the rabbit hole.

Should I go for the desktop? Another MacBook? Certainly an apple product. After a decade of using apple products, I was never going to be able to make the switch to a PC without losing my ever loving mind.

I thought I had settled on buying the rose gold MacBook. It was familiar, seemed more portable than my MacBook Air and of course, it was pink.

But then I pulled up YouTube and did a bad thing. I searched for: iPad Pro vs. MacBook.

Could I really replace my computer with a tablet? What about the full keyboard? A lack of a mouse?

I started to think about what I really use the computer for, and realized that I was mostly responding to emails all day, blogging a couple times a week and perusing social media.

I edit documents. I send them back for approval.

Once school is done, it becomes even less. Did I really need another computer? Would the iPad suffice?

After many more hours of research and playing around on my mom’s iPad Pro for a day, I decided the iPad would more than likely be the right move.

So here I sit on my mom’s couch, iPad in tow with a magic keyboard on my lap and an Apple Pencil by my side, writing to you about what my new workflow is going to look like.

The Verdict: so far so good (though I have only been at this for 48 hours so let’s check back in 6 months).

I have a really  good feeling about this new set up. Ultra portable. Ultra Versatile. Pretty in Pink. Simultaneously a lightweight “computer” and ultimate portable Netflix viewing machine, this seems like a good fit.

Now- for all you tablet hating computer purists, I will say that old faithful will remain on my desk at home. Microsoft office will be alive and well on the MacBook Air that sits at home, and when I need to cry real tears about excel it will be there for me. I plan to back a lot of things up onto an external hard drive and then let that little computer that could just quietly work it’s way into retired life.

As the season changes and the sun starts to make its debut, how are you embracing this renewal? Big and small, I want to hear them all!