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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 😉

Lifestyle

Monthly Subscription Planner? Sign Me Up!

May 29, 2018

So it’s not really a secret that I am a big fan of planners.

I live by the planner. If an appointment is in my planner, I will be sure to attend to it, and I will be all sorts of disoriented if I don’t meet you.

I also get all out of whack if I am not able to systematically cross out each and every item on my to do list in my planner each and every day.

Most of this stems from a psychiatrist once telling me that I could manage my ADHD without medication.

And you know what? … It totally worked! As long as I can keep track of my day to day goings on in a planner, I am able to calmly focus each part of my day and with intention get through each task I have planned.

I am always on the hunt for the perfect planner. Each year, this evolves, and I get closer to figuring out what it exactly looks like. For a lot of years, I used a plain moleskin planner (though this did not leave a ton of space for a multitude of tasks- just 5 or 6. I often have upwards of 20 tasks to accomplish in a day!).

I tried Erin Condren (something didn’t sit right) and gave the Blessed is She Planner a try (gosh I wish this had been the perfect planner for me- it is so well thought out, and literally has everything- it just didn’t sit well with me, and what I was looking for to help me manage my ADHD. The new one was just released, and I honestly wanted to buy it so much, but really had to convince myself to give something else a shot- I could always come back if it was truly the best planner for me).

I ultimately decided I would go back to moleskine when something caught my eye and really intrigued me.

Have you ever heard of Silk + Sonder?

This is a monthly subscription service that sends you a new planner each month- but it is so much more than a planner. It’s a habit tracker, a carefully curated bullet journal, a gratitude journal, and a beautiful work of art to boot.

I was skeptical- how could this really be beneficial to someone who needed to book things four months in advance?

You. Guys. This planner/journal combo has been pretty freakin awesome! It has helped me to stop and reflect on not only my day, but also my goals, my current habits, and the habits I want to change. It inspires me, and is honestly a delight to carry around. It is thin enough to fit in my iPad case, and lighter than anything I have ever brought around. It has enough spaces for all of the little things that I have to do, gives me room to be creative and also keeps me focused on mindfulness and gratitude.

I just received my June issue, and honestly? I am obsessed. It is so stinkin cute! So summery, and such a delight to get to put in my bag each day.

Click here to check out this awesome company!

Dear Twenty-Something

The Mind is Not Loyal to You

May 26, 2018

25 May 2018

“Don’t be so loyal to your mind: the mind is not loyal to you.” (Bert McCoy)

Dearly Twenty- Something,

Stop and smell the roses. Take time to breathe and acknowledge the beauty that each moment provides for you.

Sure, there may be something that seems better, or the grass may be greener on the other side, but where you are in this exact moment is just where you need to be.

Did you know you can change the way you think and process the world around you? I sure as heck didn’t until today!

Take some time to reflect and figure out exactly what you need in this current moment of your life.

Enjoy each moment. Soak up the sunshine. Revel in the little things.

Don’t forget where you came from, and don’t ever forget the dream of where you want to go.

Sometimes anxiety can take over not only your mind, but also your world. It can inundate you to the point you don’t even know if you can do your basic chores. But stop trusting your mind, and start trusting that quiet inner voice that says “I can.”

You are stronger than you think.

You are strong.

You are beautiful.

You are loved.

-S

Encounter

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

May 24, 2018

“How many times have we spoken about it and have we experienced it in our lives: the distance of our heart from Christ becomes distance between each other, so that we often feel like strangers to each other.” (Father Julian Carron, Fraternity Excercises 2018)

Something about this really struck me tonight.

Time is flying by at a pace I really didn’t believe to be possible, and as I look at my calendar, I am faced with the reality that not only has my hardest 6 months in recent past nearly come to a close, I also have done so without keeping in touch with any of my friends.

I have been so overwhelmed by the tenacity of my class, and my work that I have forgotten the people in my life that I love. I have pretty much become a hermit, surviving on Netflix and copious amounts of coffee.

So often in the past few weeks I have had someone that I love dearly say: “How are you? I miss you. I feel like we haven’t talked in forever.  I hope you’re well.”

I can only respond with the usual pleasantries of how nice it is to hear from the, and how I promise that soon enough I will be done with the craziness, and will be able to get back to being a human being again.

But reading this, I realize that my community, and the friendships that help me to the the best person I can be, are actually as important as I think they are.

They are important enough not to put on the back burner.

It is in these friendships that I come to encounter Christ, and the more that I think that I can do it alone, the more I close myself off to the mercy and support that God wants to give to me through these beautiful people.

Now look- I can’t make any promises. My weekends are still cuckoo bananas. I still go to class two nights a week. But if you’re reading this, and you’re one of those people who has been wondering if I fell of the face of the earth- shoot me a text or a message of some sort.

I miss you. I miss my village, and I can’t wait to get back into seeing you all again. Because I know that as soon as I fall into the rhythms of fostering strong and beautiful friendships, I will start to see God in my life on a regular basis again.

Lifestyle

An Encounter With Beauty: From Where She Sits Podcast

May 22, 2018

I am a big believer in women supporting women. As a woman trying to someday enter a mostly male dominated field, I believe in this notion on a really deep level.

So when my friend from high school announced she would be putting out a podcast, I was over the moon. I couldn’t wait to see what she had to say.

Little did I know that this podcast would be life changing.

In the four hours I have listened to Izzy and Christie share their hearts, something has changed in me, for the better.

It takes guts to be willing to share your down days, or the parts of yourself that you are working on with your insta fam or on your snap story. But it takes a deep and profound courage to speak about these moments, knowing that they are recorded forever and people will be listening to you, often without you ever knowing who they are.

I obviously can very easily relate to Izzy as she shares her story as a millennial just trying to survive this crazy life (after all, we did go to school together, and we are the same age). But I get this really crazy feeling of relief when Christie comes back and shares her input on the situation. It’s like something deep in my soul is shouting “It’s gonna be okay! Look! She did it! She made it happen!”

In each hour long episode, I find myself nodding along, and saying “ YEAH!”, as if Izzy and Christie could hear me saying I am in the trenches with you. You get me! I get you! (Of course, this is not the case at all. They clearly can’t hear me saying these things out loud in my car. And the people driving past me on Route 25 in the morning are probably really disconcerted by my exuberant nods… I digress.)

Today’s episode was one I could really relate to on an incredibly deep level.

Those of you who have been following along since The Full Pursuit started know that I am a full believer in encountering God in my every day interactions. This is most often found in a true encounter with beauty. A flower that my babysitting kids pick up for me at the baseball field. A chapter in a book that I underlined every single line of. A visit with my mom. A linen dress at TJ Maxx. A song that brought tears to my eyes, or a movie that moves me to my core.

As I listened to Izzy and Christie explain their experiences with faith and belief, I saw a constant theme of an encounter with something beautiful- a trip to the ballet, a calming meditation, and a white butterfly.

Faith can look so different for so many people. But at the core of all of these wrestlings of the heart is desire for our world (the people, places and things we surround ourself with) to be beautiful. And I truly think we were designed with this innate desire because these beautiful things point us back to someone greater than us.

I honestly cannot recommend this podcast enough. It is raw and vulnerable, while simultaneously being down right hilarious. I look forward to new episodes, and I hope this never stops.

From Where She Sits is a thing of beauty. And this world needs more beauty.

Click here to listen and subscribe. You won’t regret it.

You can find them on Instagram at:

@fwsspodcast

@fromwhereizzysits

@fromwherechristiesits

Let me know what you think 🙂

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.

 

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.