Friday, October 31, 2014

Single Women Making a Difference Interview!

Hey hey hey!!!

A few months back, through our NAS Facebook group, I learned of a blogger who specifically focuses on mentoring young women. Whaaat?! Awesome!

I'm always so excited to discover new single-lady bloggers...so discovering Brenda from Triple Braided Life was like discovering a gold mine. Why, you ask? Well, well, well.


Brenda launched this new series in October called 31 Days of Interviews with Single Women Making a Difference. Basically, every day in October, Brenda interviewed a different single gal who isn't wasting her single years being sad about her relationship status, but is embracing life and living these years to the fullest! It's really been incredible "meeting" all of these other women who are in this same boat!



I feel so blessed to be counted among these women and my interview was posted today! Head on over to Brenda's to check it out!

Be sure to read the other 30 interviews, as well!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not Alone Series: Discernment

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?


The word "discernment" within Catholic circles causes me to automatically think of vocational discernment specifically. But I think it's important to identify that "discernment" is simply deciphering the Lord's will...and that can be about anything!

Trying to decide if you should stay in your job or look for something else? Discernment.
Having a hard time knowing if your significant other is "the one"? Or "the one for now"? Discernment.
Struggling to find a time or way to approach a friend or family member about a difficult subject? Discernment.

Nearly every choice in our lives requires discernment: allowing God to have a say on the decision. While I don't think this applies to "Should I have white or wheat bread?" or other little choices like that, we definitely must give Him input on the big things.

I generally have a hard time keeping in perspective that God DOES have a plan in mind for me. It's so easy to get stressed and worried about "where is my life going?! am I making the right choice?! ahh I don't know what to do!!" ....when really, what I SHOULD do, is take it to prayer. And give God an honest chance to lead me the right way.

The biggest thing that I look for when discerning His will is peace. If I don't have peace, then something needs to change. And change maybe needs to happen within circumstances, or my own heart. Not having peace might simply be an indicator that I need to grow. Humility is HARD. Change is HARD. But the more and more you allow God to give input on your life, the easier it is to tell His will.

At least, that has been my experience.

It's similar to watching a small child...most little kids have languages of their own, and if you've never encountered them before, it can be hard to understand their wants and needs. But their parents can understand them perfectly! The more time you spend with that child, the more you'll begin to understand them. This is also true with our Lord. The more you spend time with Him, the more you listen to Him, the easier it is to know what He wants for you.

Discernment never stops. I think this is the hardest thing for me the grasp. So often I long for the time in my life when I'm settled with my husband and a kid or two....but EVEN THEN discernment will come into play! Does the Lord desire more children for us? Are we working where He wants? How should our children be educated?

AH! Neverending!

But hopefully, by this point, I'll be so tuned into the Lord's voice that these choices can be made more easily.

Do you struggle with life discernment? How have you learned to hear the Lord's voice? Write a post and link up below!

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Next week's topic:
Still have those deal breakers?
We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

11/11: Feeling down
What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? How? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?

11/18: Prayer Altar/Corner
How do you pray at home? Do you have a special place in your house? How do you make that area special? Comfy chair? Icons? Prayer cards? What suggestions do you have to make a home altar? If you don't do this, in what ways can you begin?

11/25: 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?



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Alone Series: Modesty

Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?


Ohhhh modesty! LOVE.

As I look back on the past 10ish years, I have to be honest: I didn't always dress modestly. But, as Katie pointed out, modesty isn't just about dress. And I am often guilty of not living, behaving, or speaking modestly.

For the sake of today's post (and so I don't ramble on for.ev.er.), I'll focus on modest dress.

Much to my delight, dressing modestly has become MUCH easier. When I was in high school, it was "in" to wear tummy-baring shirts. Well, actually....in my case, it was actually tummy-baring camisoles. I know. I'm shaking my head too.

The more skin, the better. Or, at least, that's what I thought. It wasn't until I was a bit older that I realized: in order to get attention, I didn't have to show a lot of skin. No! I had more to offer!
My thoughts! My humor! My personality!

And as I've grown older (or as my students like to tell me: OLD), I find more and more delight in wearing MORE clothes.

Sure, it helps that layering is "all the rage" and vintage styles have become fashionable. 
High necklines, cardigans, scarves, high-waisted pants, fit-and-flare dresses.... *sigh*

It is true that there are also not-so-modest styles that are popular.
Leggings as pants (WHY?!), crop tops, body-hugging spandex-like dresses, aaand cleavage.
All the cleavage.

So, while it's easier and relatively unquestioned by others....the question remains with me: why? 
Why not simply succumb to what others are doing? Buying dresses would be easier...not worrying about length, fit, or up-top coverage. Looking for pants in the morning would be a cinch...not attempting to conceal my derriere.

Well, for starters, there are practical reasons. Have you ever worn that just-a-little-too-tight or just-a-little-too-low-cut or just-a-little-too-short shirt/dress/etc? If you're anything like me, you had a hard time enjoying yourself because you were constantly adjusting, pulling, tugging, making sure everything was in place. I find it hard to be myself when I'm uncomfortable, and so one of the reasons I enjoy more modest clothing is the FREEDOM I find whilst wearing it. Surely, I must still be a lady, but I can allow myself to laugh heartily without fear of popping out of my outfit. 

Dressing modestly helps me to feel more comfortable.

Additionally, dressing modestly helps me to be more present. While it helps me to feel more physically comfortable, I also feel more emotionally comfortable. I know without a doubt that a cute guy at the bar is talking to me for reasons other than how I'm dressed. Again, there is a freedom found in coverage. I feel more secure knowing that someone is focusing on me attentively for reasons other than my upper body parts. In having this freedom, I am my most authentic self. Less insecure and less concerned about the reasons for which someone approached me.

But modest dress isn't something I appreciate just for myself! No, I am so grateful when the people around me are dressed modestly. Many people would agree that "men are visual creatures", but the truth is, we all have eyes and are all visually stimulated. I find it very difficult to concentrate while amidst all sorts of exposed body parts. I truly desire to know others on a deeper level, but find it challenging when bombarded with all sorts of skin. Shoot, I can't imagine what it must be like for men!

And finally, I dress modestly because I know that I am worthy of deeply knowing others, and that this can be accomplished without showing everything my mama gave me. I can't phrase it any better than this:
"Therefore, the problem with immodesty is not that it reveals too much, but that it obscures the value of the person. Modesty, then, is not about hiding one's body, but about revealing one's worth. It is an invitation to contemplation. It conceals certain areas of the body not because they are bad, but in order to invite others to discover one's full value as a person, thus opening a way toward love."
Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert, p 106-7

Modesty is freeing, both for the person practicing it and those present. Because of the liberation I find in dressing modestly, I feel free to be a better version of myself, and those around me experience and better version of me! Win-win!

What do you think? Is modesty something you practice or simply hogwash? Please share your thoughts in the comments and link up your post below!

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Next week's topic:
Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

October 28: Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

November 4: Still have those deal breakers?We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

November 11: Feeling downWhat ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? How? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?





Saturday, October 11, 2014

WINNER of the CatholicTV Giveaway!

Aaaand we have a winner!

I'm so sorry for not announcing earlier, I've been sick most of this week!

But, we have a winner!

Congratulations to Sarah at Discerning Religious Life! Sarah, please email me so I can send you your prizes!



Hope you're all enjoying your Saturday...I spent some much needed time with Jesus in adoration last night at the prodding of my Not Alone Series sisters and went to the apple orchard this afternoon. Great great great day :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pass It On

I was reminded yesterday of how much our world needs kindness.

Yesterday was a crappy day. Really crappy. I won't go into the details, but my morning was not good. On my lunch, I ran to the bank quickly and then to Chipotle to grab some comfort food. Chipotle is my go-to because it's DELICIOUS but yesterday my decision was made more out of "maybe Chipotle will make me feel better."

Look at that mountain of deliciousness. Nom.

Turning to food for comfort? Ugh. Not good, but that's not a habit of mine, so I let it slide.

I'm in line...the long lunch line...place my delicious order, and when I get to the register, realize that I forgot my wallet at home. NOOOO. I remember exactly where I left it too, which made this so much more annoying.

I tell the cashier that I forgot my wallet...womp. Can I pay with a check? No.
UGHHHH!!

And this is when the sweet counter person (ya know, the one who keeps things moving between the line and cashier) says "don't worry about it...I've got this."

UM WHAT?! Are you sure? It's ok...I'll just eat napkins...

But no, she insists.

Oh man. What a perfectly wonderful random act of kindness. She had no idea how much I needed that.

Since I'm not sure if good deeds are still good deeds if you toot your own horn, I try not to speak of the random acts of kindness I've done for other people. But don't you sometimes wonder "will anyone ever pay it forward to me?" Sure, the person in front of me in the Starbucks drive-thru has paid for my coffee before...that's always nice. But I don't think I've ever had an act of kindness bestowed upon me when I really needed a smile.


So, kind Chipotle worker, this is for you. Thank you for your kindness on a rough day, I'll do my best to pay it forward.

I encourage you to do the same. While a smile, or coffee, or lunch might seem like nothing to you, it could very well turn the recipient's day around. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Alone Series: Makeup ...and a CatholicTV giveaway!

What are your thoughts on wearing make up? Do you see a tension between a pressure from society and a God-given desire to be and make life beautiful? Is your use of make up compatible with the idea that God sees you as naturally beautiful? (Thanks to Bek!)


I was interested by this topic when it was suggested to us by Bek, because I haven't really given makeup much thought!

Personally, I've had varying experiences with makeup and have used it in different ways over the years. I don't believe that makeup is inherently evil, nor do I believe it is necessary.

In the days when I struggled with emotionally and physically painful acne, I depended on cover-up, concealer, and foundation to keep my self esteem in tact. Should I have pondered the Lord's love for me despite my perceived imperfections? Perhaps. But even now, I don't think that I did anything wrong by attempting to conceal my acne.

There was one Lent when I decided that I wanted to give up makeup...I allowed myself to use only one makeup product every day. Most days, I would use concealer to cover up pimples, but that was it! No eye shadow, mascara, blush, etc etc etc. While it was weird in the beginning, by the end of those 40 days, I realized that I didn't WANT to use as much makeup as I had in the past! For a good amount of time following Easter, I only used concealer and a little bit of mascara...no longer did I feel the need to "put on my face" each morning.

These days, I wear makeup daily, but I'm much less concerned about concealing all of my flaws. Granted, much of this has been helped by my use of the OCM. My acne and oil is nearly nonexistent, and my scarring has all been erased. 

One of the issues I used to have was how LONG it would take me to get ready...like, is this really necessary?! Nowadays, I take maybe 15 minutes in the bathroom...including hair.

At the end of the day, God loves us exactly as we are and doesn't see our "flaws" as flaws. He loves you with your thin eyelashes, pale lips, freckles, etc etc etc. But do I think He is offended by us using makeup as a tool to help us enhance our beauty and/or self esteem? No...I think if we use makeup and it helps us to become better, more confident versions of ourselves, well, I think He's ok with that.

You know what, though? Sometimes I purposefully leave a couple zits unconcealed.

WHY?! WHAT THE HECK?!

Sometimes, I do this to show others that yes, I too have flaws. I remember the first time I saw a classmate of mine who had a red zit on her nose. This was a girl who seemed to have it all together...but wait! She got zits, too?! Just seeing that made me realize that I was not alone in this...and that imperfection didn't make her any less beautiful in my eyes, so hey! maybe I could be less insecure about my imperfections!

Now, I don't think that anyone in my life sees me as having it all together...but if by denying my vanity for one day, I could build solidarity with the people around me, I think that's worth it.

What are your thoughts? Do you wear makeup? Do you think that using makeup is good? Bad? Share your thoughts in the comments or by linking up below!

AND! We have a giveaway today!!!

Bonnie at CatholicTV was gracious enough to give Jen and I a few gifts to give away to you! I will be giving away a CatholicTV care package this week and Jen is giving one away next week! Wanna know what you could win?!

My care package will include a CatholicTV beachtowel, USB stick, refrigerator magnet, and magazine!


All you need to do to enter yourself in the giveaway is comment below answering the following question: 
"If you could give CatholicTV a pitch for a new TV show...what would you suggest?"

The giveaway will end on Tuesday, 10/7 at midnight. At this time, I will assign numbers to each comment in the order published and randomly select a winner via randomnumbergenerator.com! If your email is not connected to your user name, please add that to your comment so I can notify you if you win!!

Good luck!!

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Next week's topic:
Rosary + Single Life
October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, so we wanted to honor Mary and reflect on her help during this time of singleness. How have you called on her intercession before? What is your relationship with our Blessed Mother like? If you don't know much about Mary or the Rosary, is there something keeping you from getting to know her?

October 14: Modesty
Continuing our reflections about our make-up routines, let's chat about modesty! What does modesty mean to you? Does it just involve the clothes you wear and how you wear them? What about the things you say or do? In what ways can we improve our overall modesty?

October 21: Sex!
Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

October 28: Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?