Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not Alone Series: Selfies

Do you support the selfie trend? Do you think it promotes self absorption, vanity and narcissism? Is there a way to incorporate selfies into the Church's teachings of modesty, authentic beauty, humility? 
Thanks to Hannah!




How do I feel about selfies? Basically what the second part of the above definition says.

Do I take "selfies" with friends? Yes.
Do my sister and I get a little crazy with Snapchat selfies and holiday selfies and baby selfies? Duh.

Buuuut there's a line.

No judgement, I don't think that selfies are inherently evil. However, I have unfollowed people on Instagram who seem to have the need to post a picture of themselves every. single. day.

Now, if you're with friends or just got your bridesmaid dress or are meeting your bffs baby for the first time....go for it, take that selfie. But the selfies that I'm opposed to are the self-gratifying, attention-seeking pictures. 

I'm talking about the pictures where the girl looks frazzled, yet perfectly coiffed and captions with a "days like today that I just can't wait to go home..."

Really? Is that necessary?

Again, do what you want...buuuut I might unfollow after these posts become a daily occurrence.

I think what this boils down to is our inculturated need to be constantly connected to people...which actually leads to disconnection. We post pictures and updates on what we're eating, where we're going, who we're seeing, what we're doing....so much so that we lose touch with the current moment.

We stop living simply to tell people what we're up to.

And I'm guilty of it too, to be sure. Did I really need to tweet a couple nights ago about my new loud neighbors? Or did I really need to post a picture of my fabulous Jamberry nails? Probably not. 

The world around us doesn't need a filter and neither do you. Maybe we need to pocket our phones and just be.

But first, lemme take a selfie.

What do you think about the selfie fad? Leave a comment below, or write your own post and link it up!




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

a song for someday

Music moves the soul, or at least, that's what Pinterest quotes tell me.


As much as I love "love songs" and "breakup songs" and "drinking songs", there seems to be a void in the category of "I'm single but wish I wasn't and long for my vocation" songs.

You might be familiar with I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons. For those of us who feel like we're waiting forrrever (so, everyone?), this is a good one.

And did you know that Matt Maher wrote My Only Love while he was single and longing for his future bride? Gold.

You're Not Alone by Marie Miller, while not specifically about this stage of life, aids in dancing out your singleness angst. It's a good "I'm here for you, friend" song. ("interesting" music video, but GREAT song)

Well, thanks to good ol' Spotify, I've discovered one more. Listen below. Love. Repeat.




Any suggestions for me and my collection? Do tell.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not Alone Series: 2015

How are we going to make 2015 different than last year? What goals are you planning/making to be more YOU this year? These can be goals can be personal growth, spiritual life, physical/health, or even your love life! Maybe you don't have concrete ones yet, but it helps to talk them out and get motivated!


There's something about a new year - a new start, a new beginning.

I'm not the biggest proponent of new years resolutions...mainly because people tend to take on too much at once. However, I'm a big fan of continuously improving and growing, so manageable and realistic goals? I'm all about that [bass].

Going into 2015, there was a restlessness on my heart, a burden of sorts. Something I couldn't quite shake.

As I searched my soul for what this could be, there was a constant theme of being tired of trying.

I'm tired of trying to put myself out there and trying to find my husband and trying to always be "on" and trying to try...it's all exhausting. The constant voice in my head saying that I'm not enough, that I'm not quite there yet. No more.

What I want for 2015? 
To try in the only thing that will be constant in my life forever: my relationship with God.

I want to focus on being His and Him being mine. I want to allow myself to be content with that. I must let Him love me and show me how He sees me.

This is first and foremost. My relationship with Christ, and my love for Him, needs to always be the center of my life, and I haven't been living in this way for quite some time.

Along with my desire for fuller union with God comes the desire to be more of who He made me to be.

In total honesty with you all, I am horrible at taking care of my body. My hygiene is fine, thanks...no, I mean health-wise. My eating and exercise habits need a major makeover.

So far, I've been pleased with the changes I'm making. It's hard to eat crap when all you let yourself buy a the grocery store is greenery. And getting up early to work out is rough...I'm really not a morning person. But it's amazing how alert you can be after a decent amount of sleep.

Rejuvenating my bond with the Lord is happening slowly but surely. Baby steps, but ones that count.
Daily mass. Regular rosary. Spiritual reading before bed. Prayer right when I wake up. Prayer right before I sleep.

This all comes down to routine and discipline. Your prayers for my success in continuing these changes would be much appreciated!

What are you seeking to change or improve in 2015? Any hopes or dreams for the year? Share your post by linking below! Be sure to link back here and to Jen's post as well!

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Next week's topic:

Children and Babes

Do you have children in your life? What is your relationship with them like? Do you have godchildren, and how do you form a relationship with them? Does having children in (or not in) your day-to-day life make you feel happy, wistful, or wary (of having your own someday)? 
Thanks to Lindsay!



1/27: Selfies
Do you support the selfie trend? Do you think it promotes self absorption, vanity and narcissism? Is there a way to incorporate selfies into the Church's teachings of modesty, authentic beauty, humility?
Thanks to Hannah!

2/3: Qualities in our Husbands
What are the qualities and characteristics that you are looking for in your future husband? We have talked about what we don't want (link to deal breakers), but it's good to have an idea of those things that are important to us. Discerning religious life? This applies to communities, as well!





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not Alone Series: "Typical" Day!

Hello, hello! Welcome back to another year of the Not Alone Series! I can't believe that it's 2015! AH!

Before we begin, there are a few "housekeeping" things that Jen and I want to go over!
  • Topics: we have updated our NAS pages to reflect the entirety of our topic schedule, thus far. We are still sifting through many a great suggestion, and will be adding more very soon. The schedule IS subject to change (if we find there is something that seems more pressing to talk about), so be sure to look at the most recent NAS post which will have the next 4 weeks, as we have been doing anyway.   
  • Linking up/commenting: when linking up, be sure to link back to BOTH Jen's and my page! And, since this entire series is about fostering community, please take time to read your fellow bloggers posts and leave some comment love. We always love your comments!                                                     
  • On Facebook?! Make sure you are part of the NAS closed group. There have been some awesome discussions so far! Jen and I sometimes post quick updates and things, as well. So, be sure you request to join!                                                                                                                                   
  • PATRON SAINT!! We have been praying about choosing a patron saint for Not Alone Series, and we would like your help!! Please comment here (or on the FB thread) if you have a suggestion! :)
Alrighty, then! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out :)

Let's get back in the swing by sharing what our typical day is like! Tell us however you like, minute by minute or a blurb about your day! Be sure to answer these questions: 
- What is your favorite part of your day?
- What is your least favorite part of your day?
- Are you making any changes to your daily routine now that the new year has begun?

Gosh....as you might have seen in the title of this post, I use the word "typical" very loosely. In my job, there is no typical day, as every day brings something different. BUT I'll try to give you an outline of a hypothetically typical day for me :)

If you've checked out my About page, you'd have seen that I work full-time in the pro-life movement. When I tell people that, I'm not sure what they envision my day-to-day is like...but I'm pretty sure it's different than my reality :) Many people who volunteer in the pro-life movement participate in the more active portions: praying outside a clinic, marching in D.C., folding clothes at a pregnancy resource center, perhaps attending a talk....I do some of these things, but not every day.

I work on college campuses in Illinois, and am based most of the time in Champaign-Urbana. About half of my time is devoted to managing the operations of our non-profit organization. Then the other half of my time is mentoring my students...having one-on-one meetings (lunches, coffee, or just in my office), small group hangouts, large group meetings, events, etc.

And then there are weeks like this one, where my students are on break, so my time is entirely devoted to planning upcoming events, getting caught up on taxes and donation processing, and preparing for another stretch of crazy weeks.

My students are the best!

It's funny because whenever someone asks how my week will be, I usually say crazy, and they reply with "aww why?!"....but I don't mean it in a bad way! My weeks are always crazy! I work long, unusual hours (some days 9-5 or later, others noon-9PM or later) but I wouldn't have it any other way! I know the day will come when I am no longer in a relatable age-range for college students, so I'm willing to give of myself now while I have the opportunity.

Ok, enough blabbering...just wanted to give some background :)
Here's my "typical" day:



MORNING

I always have big plans to get up early and be a bit productive before work...that's almost always far from what actually happens.

7:15AM - My alarm goes off at...depending on how tired I am, I snooze it once or twice. Get up, shower, make coffee, get dressed, you know...the usual girl things :) I've pared down my makeup routine to 10 mins, so it doesn't take me TOO long to get ready. But if I get myself stuck online, checking email or Facebook...ugh. Then I'll be running late.

8:45AM - leave my place to start work at 9AM

WORK DAY

9:15-20ish - arrive in the office after swinging by our P.O. box, buying stamps as needed

9:30 - 11:45AM - spend time on the operational side of my work: going through mail, working on accounting, paying taxes and filing reports, going to the bank, processing donations, and getting thank you notes out.

11:45ish - head up to the chapel for noon Mass (my office is in a Newman Center, so I'm really blessed to have Jesus so accessible!)

12:30ish - head to lunch, sometimes with students, sometimes in my office, sometimes I give in to the draw of Chipotle :)

1PM and on - my afternoons are the most unpredictable, if I have a lunch with students, they could go for an hour or more. But most afternoons are spent doing the mentor side of my work. Hanging with students, mentoring them in their different leadership responsibilities...I usually meet with at least one student each day, though there have been days when I have student appointments at 1PM, 2PM, and 3PM....just depends! I also have at least 3 meetings each week with my coworkers and boss, so certain days have 1.5 hr meetings in the afternoon. No day is the same!

5PMish - I end my work day...theoretically. On Monday this week, I stayed until 6:15, so it just depends on what's going on and whether or not I can pull myself away. I REALLY like to leave for home once I've wrapped things up, otherwise I'll be thinking about what I need to finish all night...so I often work late. But, if I didn't make noon Mass, I'll head across town to my parish for 5:30 Mass.

EVENINGS

Again, this all depends on what's happening...I get together with friends at least once a week, either for dinner or an event (we love Tuesday Triva Night!). But many of my evenings are spent at home, making dinner, catching up on shows, reading...just low key. Planning for the week's CCD class so I'm not scrambling at the last minute. And the days I work until 9PM...I come home and go to bed soon after :)

NIGHT

I try to start getting ready for bed by 11PM...I have this HORRIBLE habit of staying up way too late, and then that becomes routine. Bad bad bad. I wash my face, read a few pages of whatever I'm reading (currently, it's The Joy of the Gospel!), and go to sleep. I TRY not to be on my phone in bed, but again, bad habits.

WEEKENDS

Saturdays are usually pretty chill, getting up later and lounging around. Drink more coffee than usual... :) Finishing up my CCD lesson plan if I didn't do that earlier in the week. Maybe see friends in the evening. Most likely go to vigil Mass.

Sundays I teach 7th grade CCD beginning at 10:45AM, so I have to be there by 10:30AM. We're done at noon, so I'll go and do my rosary in the Adoration Chapel and afterward, grab brunch with one of my best friends (who's the DRE) and her fiance (6th grade catechist), or head over to a friends for brunch. We love Sunday brunch together! Then likely do my grocery shopping for the week in the afternoon. My students usually have their weekly Executive Board meeting Sunday afternoons around 4, so I'll go to that and then hit up 5:15PM Mass if I didn't go to the vigil.

PHEW! That's a lot! If you skimmed it, no worries...I'm sure not everyone's super interested! Ha! Now for the questions....

What is your favorite part of your day?
I love my Moka!

Hmmm probably right after my coffee is made and I take my first sip. I love that part of my day. It's just a minute or two of "me time" and I love it! Plus, I've become a bit obsessed with coffee, so there are a few different coffee contraptions in my apartment. The normal coffee maker comes out if I have people over, I use my French Press on a normal weekday morning, and then my Moka Express is for weekends when I have more time to prepare an at-home latte :)

What is your least favorite part of your day?

Going to bed? I mean, I love my sleep, but I have a hard time pulling myself away from...anything! Oh, or maybe the evenings when I need to clean my kitchen....things tend to pile up, so I hate having to do that. Maybe that's why dishes pile up...hmm.

Are you making any changes to your daily routine now that the new year has begun?

Yes! I am trying to actually wake up at a regular time to make more time in the mornings for me to work out. I haven't been making this a priority, and I want that to change. Also, being more disciplined with my sleep schedule and stopping screen time at least an hour before bed.

Well, that's it for me! Check out the other NAS ladies' days over at Jen's and join us next week for another topic! Schedule below!

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Next week's topic:
Looking Ahead to 2015
How are we going to make 2015 different than last year? What goals are you planning/making to be more YOU this year? These can be goals can be personal growth, spiritual life, physical/health, or even your love life! Maybe you don't have concrete ones yet, but it helps to talk them out and get motivated!

1/20: Children and Babes
Do you have children in your life? What is your relationship with them like? Do you have godchildren, and how do you form a relationship with them? Does having children in (or not in) your day-to-day life make you feel happy, wistful, or wary (of having your own someday)? 
Thanks to Lindsay!

1/27: Selfies
Do you support the selfie trend? Do you think it promotes self absorption, vanity and narcissism? Is there a way to incorporate selfies into the Church's teachings of modesty, authentic beauty, humility? 
Thanks to Hannah!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: A Look Ahead @ "Here I Am"

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

First off, hello! You didn't remember that I had a blog, eh? It's, ok...clearly I forgot too :)

I have many hopes for 2015, one of those being that I carve out time for the things that I enjoy, especially blogging!

But, with most good habits, it's hard to get started. Thankfully, Natalie helped us all out with her "2015: A Look Ahead" link-up, complete with questions! Hooray!

Without further adieu, here we go....


1. Do you think you will be going to school at any point in 2015? If so for what?

I don't anticipate taking any academic classes, but I do hope to start learning NFP (Creighton) from a practitioner in town. Perhaps that will take me to the Pope Paul VI Institute for more training? We'll see :)

2. Will there be a job change for you in 2015?
I'd like to confidently say "no"...but then again, you never know what God has in store! I don't have any plans to leave my current position this year.

3. What adventure or event are you most looking forward to during this coming year?
Oh man...this is hard. Definitely witnessing 3 of my best friends getting married AND having the honor of standing up in their weddings. I'm giddy just thinking about all the love and joy that is to come! And then, of course, I'm overwhelmed with anticipation of my trip to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis. Can't. Wait.

4. Do you think there will be a move to a new house/apartment/city/state/country in 2015?
I don't think I'll move this year. I HOPE I won't move this year. My current apartment is the fourth home I've had in the 2.5 years I've lived here, so....yeah. I hope to stay here for awhile :)

5. What do you see as the direction of your blog in 2015? Design update plans? Link-ups coming down the pipes? More or less posts?
Gosh, I hope I can get back on the blogging wagon. Fell off of it for awhile there. Writing is such a release for me, so I really want to be better about affording myself the time to write at least weekly. I have a few ideas for different topics that are exciting, so hopefully I can follow through :)

6. If you could guarantee that one thing could happen this coming year what would it be?

I'd really like to make some big changes in my spiritual and physical health, so I'd love a guarantee that I have the motivation and dedication necessary to make these changes. Normally, I would say that I'd love a guarantee that Mr. Right and I meet this year, but that's not my focus right now. I'd prefer some guaranteed trust in the journey :)


Happy 2015 to you! Head over to Natalie's for more 2015 hopes and plans, and to link up your own!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not Alone Series: Thanksgiving

In what ways are we thankful?! Write about anything you want under this theme! Do you have any family traditions that help you to be mindful of the blessings in your life?


I LOVE holidays. Good food, good smells, dressing up. It's all good.

But the best part? The family time.

I don't know about you, but the older I've grown, the more I appreciate the quality time I get with my family. With 3 younger siblings, each in 3 different cities and 3 different states, we rarely see each other. So you can imagine my excitement as Thanksgiving has grown closer. It's something like this:


I LOVE Thanksgiving. Autumn in and of itself is delightful: scarves, dresses, tights, boots...AH! 
Throw in some turkey, stuffing, gravy, PUMPKIN PIE, sweet potatoes, and vegging out with the fam. 
Perfection.

My extended family always gets together for Thanksgiving, and while there have been some modifications to this year's plans - I'm doing my best to not be all "BUT TRADITION!" - we're still all getting together and that's what counts, right? Yep. 

This year's changes, while I've been annoyed and frustrated for some time, remind me of the need to be more flexible AND that I must be grateful regardless of the circumstances. Truth be told, I do not prefer to spend my extended-family-Thanksgiving extravaganza at a banquet hall/bowling alley. However, any family time is good time and I must be grateful for that. Rather than being grumpy about the changes, I need to enjoy the time with my loved ones and thank God that I have them.

In regards to other traditions, we usually do the customary everyone-say-something-they're-thankful-for thing, but I heard of a different spin on that this weekend which I might try to implement. A friend told of how his family goes around and each person has to say something they're thankful for about each person at the table. This might get lengthy, but it might be fun for my immediate family Thanksgiving celebration!

The Church does a great job of constantly reminding us to give thanks. In each Mass we are reminded to give thanks for what we have been blessed with and just to be thankful for the Lord's love and mercy. But Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for true reflection, and real reveling in the goodness of family time.

I'm always thankful for my family, but Thanksgiving is specifically a time when I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and companionship in my family. It's also a good time to reflect on the past year and realize that I have a pretty great life. A good job, a warm place to live, good friends...perhaps I should have more gratitude for these blessings in the day to day....

I pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving and hope that you're able to spend it with loved ones!

How will you be spending your Thanksgiving? Share with us what you're thankful for in the comments or attach your post below!

PSA: If you emailed Jen and I about being paired up with a prayer partner, we will contact you later today!

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Next week's topic:
Preparing the Way! 
{NAS Advent post}
Happy Advent! How do you prepare your heart, home, etc. for the coming of the Lord? Are there specific recipes or traditions you partake in? Share with us how you are making way for our newborn King!





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