Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest Post at Worthy of Agape

Woahhhhh 3 posts in 3 days?!

It's a week-before-Thanksgiving miracle.

Just wanted to point y'all toward my guest post over at Worthy of Agape today.
You know Amanda, right?
If not, get acquainted.

Not only does she write insanely honest and helpful posts, but Amanda's also an author, and has this running series called "just don't say it", which I'm participating in today.

So head on over and check out my guest post, "just don't say it: among single friends"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not Alone Series: Surviving the Holidays and an ANNOUNCEMENT!

Before we get into the post....Jen and I have an announcement!








Did you watch the video?!



Don't keep reading until you've watched it!!!



Ok, did you watch it?






AHHHHH are you excited as I am?!?!

I CANNOT wait to spend a weekend with anyone and everyone who can make it! Jen and I have been crawling out of our skins waiting to tell y'all and now that its out....YAHOOO!!!

This trip has been a long time coming, we've been talking about the possibility of a get together like this for a couple of months and wanted to be able to tell you far enough in advance in order to make travel plans, ask off of work, etc.

Savannah, GA - July 18-20, 2014
Be there.
More details will be given to those who email BOTH me and Jen!
I hope you're able to make it!!!

Alrighty, back to the last NAS post of 2013! Can you believe that we've all be writing and getting to know one another for nearly SIX months?! Insane. What a blessing.

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts about this weeks topic...I think it's a fun one! Here's the prompt as a reminder:

The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? 
Any tips or tricks?



I LOVE the holidays. Mostly because my big, crazy family loves being together, which makes family gatherings all the more fun. Plus, there are more than a few nuts in the ol' family tree. We like to have a good time.

My extended family is unusually close. And while that's something that I love, it can also lead to everyone getting in each other's business and all that. Annoying.

Are you dating anyone?! Well why the heck not?! When I was your age, I had a different date every weekend!

And when are you planning on getting married? You know, you're the next kid in line for that, Morgan!

Ok, maybe cousin Bob is next, and you're after him, but he's got plenty of time! You need to get on that!

But Morgan, don't you want to have kids while you're young? Make sure you don't wait too long to find a man!

Hey, maybe you could date our neighbor's sister's son! He's single!

Ohhhh, but the only blind date that would work for you is someone who's actually blind! BAHAHAHA


...these are all nearly verbatim (the blind date joke is a direct quote).
So how the heck is one supposed to survive such events?

Wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Juuuuuust kidding.

First, I mentally prepare myself for this onslaught of questions and suggestions and wonderings.
When I've gone in, expecting everyone to be interested in the fact that I'm loving my job, or I've moved into my very own apartment, or that I'm able to have higher-level conversations about philosophy or religion.....those are the events when I'm completely unprepared for the relationship inquiries. 
And those are the events when I leave exhausted because I wasn't expecting them.

Second, I aim to respond in the most patient and charitable way possible.
Truth is, I'm 98% comfortable with the fact that I'm single. But if I allow myself to get flustered, I come across as defensive and occasionally rude.
I try to remember that most of my aunts and uncles got married when they were my age. They're only asking questions because they love me and are interested in the next big parts of my life.
Could they afford to be a bit less intrusive?
YES.
But I can still calmly respond and show them that "wow, maybe being single in your early-to-mid 20s isn't a catastrophic event..."
Maybe they need to experience someone who isn't fearful of the future and is hopeful for what may come.

Third, I know how to have a sense of humor.
It's very easy to get "prickly" when people bring up sensitive subjects. And let's be honest, what's more sensitive than the fact that you're single when you long to not be single?
However, more often than not, the teasing about "ending up as an old maid" or being a "cat lady" is meant to be all in good fun. Are those kinds of jokes insensitive? 
Um, yeah.
But I would bet that your Uncle Earl doesn't tease you out of malice. He thinks you can handle it.
And you can. Just make sure your wine glass is always full.

I kid, I kid. kinda

The holidays are fun! And we get to celebrate our Lord's birth with the people we love most! Dreading the holidays for fear of what people might ask or say, well that's just silly.

How do you "survive" the holidays when you're single? Write up a post and link up over at Jen's!

-------------------------

This is the last topic for 2013! 
We will resume the Not Alone Series on January 14, 2013.

If you are interested in joining us in Savannah, GA for our girls weekend, please email me at mvmcfar(at)gmail.com and email Jen at jennifercox.rn(at)gmail.com!

the future me

I have this image of the person I want to be.
The person I want to become.

She's active and healthy.
She's authentically confident.
She's capable of being vulnerable and honest.
She's a hard worker and driven and motivated.
She's disciplined.
She takes care of herself: physically, socially, and spiritually.

This is an image, an aspiration, that I've had for awhile.

But then it clicked - how am I going to become that person if I'm not taking steps toward that lifestyle now?

If I desire to be holy, why am I not taking small steps toward that goal?
If I desire to be healthy and active, why am I not taking the necessary steps to get there?
If I desire heaven, why am I not trying to become the person I was made to be?

I'm starting today.

Who are you aspiring to be and what's holding you back?

Live like the person you want to be.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not Alone Series: Vulnerability with Friends

Hello! We're back at my place again this week...Jen has been spending time with her cuter-than-cute nieces, so I'm giving her a break to get settled back into real life :) This week's topic:

Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?


Most of my friends are in serious relationships, engaged, or married. And I love it. (usually) 
I love seeing my girlfriends in fulfilling relationships and I love watching my guy friends navigate the estrogen ocean ;)

Some of them are nearing engagement (exciting!), others are planning weddings (super exciting!!), and a few are married and have little ones whom I love dearly. Learning through my friends and their experiences with love in all different stages of romantic relationships is an invaluable experience.

BUT.
There are many times when they just can't relate to my life and struggles as a single woman.

It's not that they don't try...believe me, they do. They listen and empathize and attempt to give advice, and I appreciate it.
But there's always the voice in the back of my mind saying "you don't really know what I'm going through."
They all met and wed their beloved when they were younger than I.
They were never graduated from college and single and working.
They don't know what it's like to see all of their friends marry and birth babes and wonder when their day will come.

And that's ok, because that's their story, not mine.
However it makes it difficult for having reciprocal friendships.
Because, let's be honest, I can't relate to their complaints of in-laws or video-playing fiances/husbands or sleepless baby-crying nights.

Now, this doesn't go for all of my in-relationship-friends. One of my closest friends is a couple years older than I and she's been single for the entirety of our friendship (5 years). She just began dating this guy (who's great and I totally approve!) a few weeks ago, so while she's dating someone, she can still relate to the struggles I face as a singleton.

I so appreciate having a friend who knows how I feel, even though she isn't in this same place at the moment.
It gives me hope.
She's a testament to the "I know it sucks, but enjoy the ride for now and be patient for the future" mentality
....because she's lived it. Hearing that advice from her means so much more to me than my friend who married straight out of college telling me the exact same thing.

So what's a girl to do?
Should I simply avoid anyone in a relationship until I'm in one myself and we can therefore relate to one another?
Mmmm no.

I think it's important to have friendships with people at all different stages of life.
Authentic, organic friendships should occur between people regardless of your "relationship status".
I like to have a mix.

My single friends help me to know that I'm not alone in feeling the way that I am. And if we're living in true friendships, we're able to help one another through rough patches. We are there for one another in solidarity. We are not alone.

My in-relationship-but-have-been-where-I-am friends are a source of hope and encouragement and affirmation in my feelings as a single woman. They can relate.

My married/engaged friends are such great models of holy romances. They help me to know what I'm truly looking for in a relationship, what matters and what doesn't. And you know what? While they might not be able to relate to my particular situation, they've had struggles of their own. Maybe I can learn from something they've had to deal with!

What about you? Do you struggle having non-single friends and relating to one another? Write a post and link it up below!

--------------------
Next week's topic:
Surviving events/parties as a singleton
The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?

------------------

Just a reminder that we've decided to take a break from the Not Alone Series until January 14, 2014. Feel free to continue to blog about your single life experiences, but we just won't be having anything formal until January!





Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Not Alone Series: Favorite Single-People Sites and Posts!

Share other single-person blogs or websites that you love! 
(or include posts/articles that you've enjoyed that pertain to the single life!)



Well, I'll be honest, y'all....if I were to link to my favorite single-people blogs, I'd just be linking back to you! Most of my favorite single-bloggers participate in this series, so I'm focusing mainly on some of my most recent favorite directed-at-singles articles/posts!

First, if you haven't discovered Arleen Spenceley, YOU MUST. She is so funny and truthful. AND she's writing a book. I can't wait for it to come out! But she has a couple of recurring series on her blog, one of them being "3 Lessons and 2 Tips" where she asks married folks to talk about 3 lessons they've learned from marriage and 2 tips they'd give to single people. My favorite one of this series was from Audrey Assad. Specifically this line:

"If you're called to marriage, you'll be a better and more whole spouse if you till the ground of your heart during your single years."

Converge Magazine has also had a number of winners lately. Most recently, Single and not waiting ....and the other one that was floating around for awhile is 26, unmarried, and childless. The authors of each of these posts so eloquently describe how I feel about my life. So wonderful.

And I'm hoping and praying that you know about Verily Magazine. If you don't, refrain from telling me lest I hit you over the head with my electronic copy of an old issue (aka my Chromebook). The Verily blog covers every topic from style to culture, and MY favorite, relationships. Not everything is related to singledom, but there are many of wholesome posts lying around there. You might have to do some digging, but for starters, I loved Living with Baby Fever and Gentlemen Speak: I Want Commitment.

Link up your post on your favorite single bloggers and/or articles below!

-------------------------
Next week's topic:
Vulnerability with friends
Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?


November 19: Surviving events/parties as a singleton
The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?

----------------------

BREAK!
Ladies, we have decided to take a break from the Not Alone Series until January 14, 2014. I know it seems like a long time, but we are coming up on a busy season of travel and family time. We don't want to take away your time from what's most important. Feel free to continue to blog about your single life experiences, but we just won't be having anything formal until January.





Friday, November 1, 2013

the quickity quicks


Linking up with Jen for the first time in forrrrevvverrrr.....

[1] Happy All Saints Day! Cassie Pease Designs asked on Facebook what our favorite saints were...without hesitation, my favorite saint is St. Gianna. I mean, I love allll of them, but if I had to choose, and we're assuming that Mama Mary is a given, then I'd say St. Gianna. She's seriously just one of the greatest role models of perfect love and sacrifice.


Ok, and I really love St. Joseph, but again, I feel like that's a given ;)

[2] I've been sick off-and-on this whole week and yesterday I completely forgot that it was Halloween....multiple times. Like, I would remember...and then forget.....and then remember again. This was the first year in my entire life that I haven't dressed up. Though I honestly didn't miss it.

[3] I just have to share some of my current favorite songs. I can't not.

That 70s Song - The Cab



[4] Come to Me - Goo Goo Dolls



[5] Have you stumbled upon Chris's blog yet? He's a former UIUC student and current FOCUS missionary. He always has thought provoking posts, but his most recent guest post on Same Sex Attraction is a winner for sure. Seriously. Go read it.

[6] Anyone keeping up with the Not Alone Series? Jen and I are completely overwhelmed with how many people we've reached. Who would have thought that a little wondering, wishing, hoping would have turned into all of this?What blessings. What grace. TYF.
And this week's posts blew me away! Check em out!

[7] Ok, I can't end this post without sharing this meme. It kills me.


Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more QTs!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not Alone Series: Settling

No one would encourage you to "settle" when it comes to relationships...but would you ever consider it? What are your thoughts on settling in relationships in general?


Great topic this week, no? I love it because it is SO relevant and pertinent in our society today.
And I have a lot of opinions on the subject, so I'll try to formulate my thoughts clearly.

Ok, so settling. Would I ever consider it?
I've considered it. Definitely.

I had a moment with my family on our way to my cousin's wedding this year when we were talking about a relative who's never married. This lead to someone telling me that I better stop being so picky otherwise I'll end up like this relative. That hurt. A lot.
I really don't think I'm that picky...I just know what I want and I know that I'm not willing to bend on certain things.
But despite me knowing all of this, it still led me to wonder if maybe I was too picky.
Maybe that's why I'm single.
Maybe that's why I haven't been on a date in 3 years.
Maybe that's why I've only dated 2 guys.

We all have moments of weakness where thoughts of "my standards are too high" or "no one will ever meet my expectations" or "all the great guys are taken" creep in...which then lead us to thinking/considering that maybe, just maybe, we should lower our standards and be more "realistic".

Well I'm just going to come out and say it: that's a bunch of crap.

Your standards are not too high.
All the great guys are not taken.

Now, it's here that I think we need to understand the difference between our non-negotiable standards and preferences.

Non-negotiable standards are things like good morals, a strong faith, enthusiasm or [at the very least] a willingness to practice NFP and raise children in the Church. We've all got non-negotiables. Some are different than others, some people have more than others.

Preferences, on the other hand, are things like "I like tall guys", "I appreciate good facial hair", "it would be so great to marry someone who can play guitar", etc etc etc. This list could go on and on and on.

The importance behind understanding the difference between your non-negotiables and preferences is that if you are going around thinking that EVERYTHING on your "dream husband laundry list" is non-negotiable, well, then you might think that you're going to have to "settle". But really, while I prefer tall, musical, dark-haired guys, if I meet a guy who is perfect for me in all ways except for the fact that he's my height, blonde, and can't carry a tune in a bucket....well, am I really settling? Because he still sounds pretty great.

So, you might have to be a bit flexible in certain areas. But let me affirm you in this: looking for a chaste, Christ-centered, fun relationship? That is not unrealistic.

Does this make sense? Hopefully...because I'm moving on. :)

Another thing that I think is important when talking about standards and expectations in your future mate is the understanding that your standards/preference might change. What I wanted in a husband when I was 18 is really very different from what I now look for in a potential spouse. Cindy at The Veil of Chastity so eloquently touches on this in her Sexual Attraction post. What you're looking for and are attracted to at 18, 23, or 25, will likely be different! Does that mean that you're settling if you marry someone who your 18, 23, or 25 year-old self would shake their head at? I don't think so.

Even some "non-negotiables" might change slightly. When I first began college, I was convinced that I would never ever ever consider dating a guy who wasn't Catholic. It would be too hard, I told myself, if we got married and he wasn't Catholic. I couldn't do it. But as I've grown in my faith and trust in the Lord, I know that if He calls me to marry a man who is not Catholic, His plan is perfect and it's going to be just fine.
Now, some women will "change" their standards and be more "flexible" because they're simply afraid that they'll never find a holy, Catholic man to marry....that's not ok. Because that's not complete and total trust in the Lord and His goodness.
Don't act in fear. That isn't from the Lord.

Overall, I think the best way to ensure that you don't "settle" is to know yourself and to know Jesus. If you know yourself, who you are, what you need, what your deepest desires are, you won't be tempted to "settle". And if you know Jesus, you'll have the faith and trust to allow Him to guide you and He will not lead you astray.

What do you think? Would you ever settle just for the sake of being with someone? Link up with us over at Jen's blog!

Reminder:
If you would like to have an accountability partner, and haven't emailed us, please do so today!! We will be sending out an email very soon to let you know who your partner is! :)


------------------------

Next week's topic:
Fav single-person websites/blogs
Share other single-person blogs or websites that you love! Include posts/articles that you've enjoyed that pertain to the single life, too if you want!

November 12: Vulnerability with friends
Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?

November 19: Surviving events/parties as a singleton
The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?

----------------------

BREAK!
Ladies, we have decided to take a break from the Not Alone Series until January 14, 2014. I know it seems like a long time, but we are coming up on a busy season of travel and family time. We don't want to take away your time from what's most important. Feel free to continue to blog about your single life experiences, but we just won't be having anything formal until January.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Five Favorites

It's been awhile since I linked up with Hallie for a round of Five Favorites! I guess it's just been awhile since I've had anything favorite-y to write about!



[1] If you follow my on Twitter, you might have seen that I got a pretty exciting delivery on Monday: FURNITURE! Brand new, adult furniture. Amazing. I tried to take a panoramic pic this morning, and while it's a bit disjointed, I think it will suffice for now.


YAY!


[2] While we're in the realm of furniture, I have two wing-back armchairs that I loooove. Well, I have one that I love, and one that I will love....once I'm finished with it's transformation. (Read: I'm dying a chair. And it's thrilling.)



[3] I found this meme on Rachel's blog yesterday and just couldn't resist sharing. Hilarious.



[4] Are you a fan of Lourde? I'm obsessed and la-la-la-laaave her newest track. Listen and laave.




[5] Y'all, Sean and Catherine are getting married. I'll be sending out invites to my viewing party next month.


Where was this game hiding when it was Sean's season?! Maybe we can revise it for the wedding.....though, maybe it doesn't need revision....

Head over to Hallie's for other favs!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Alone Series: Patience

This is my 200th post! WOWZA! Thanks for being here for another round of the NAS!

Do you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin? If so, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?


I'm a slight huge perfectionist. Which apparently can make me a bit of a control freak.

Not with little things, but definitely with big things.
Like my life.

How does this relate to patience? Well, I like my life to go just so, and when the big man upstairs decides that my plan isn't how things are going down, that's annoying.
Entering into my freshman year of college, I imagined that when I graduated from college, I would either be planning a wedding, or at the very least, in a relationship that was heading toward marriage.

Welp, here I am, almost a year and a half post-graduation, and nope....I'm not engaged.
Heck, I haven't been on a date in THREE years.
Woah.

My life is not at all what I planned it out to be.
I initially entered undergrad as a Biology - Secondary Education major. I envisioned becoming a HS teacher and going on for my master's to be a Guidance Counselor and eventually write books and give seminars on effective parenting and how to combat bullying.

I graduated with my degree in Psychology; I work for a non-profit Pro-Life organization.
Yep, definitely NOT where I thought I would be.

But you know what you need to just let Him lead you down the right path?
A whole lot of trust for sure.
AND a ton of patience to allow Him to reveal His plan to you.

I travel a lot for work (i.e. I go back and forth from Central IL to Chicago about once a week), and in the beginning of this travel time, I would get SO ANNOYED by the stupid signs that I became used to seeing.

"Chicago - 176 mi"

"CAUTION: RIGHT LANE ENDS 1 MI"

In addition to that, my GPS (or Samantha, as I not-so-fondly call her), only gives me one direction at a time. 
I HATE that. 
I want to know the entire trip! What should I expect after the next turn?

And then it dawned on me.
God and His plan for us is a lot like Samantha.

He's not as annoying, but He only gives us one direction at a time.
While we might be impatient and want to know everything that He has planned for us, He'll only give us the next step when we're ready.

While following His lead might be annoying and take a lot of patience to follow, it's worth it in the end.
I know that when I was deciding which program I should go into, He led me to Psychology.
I know that when I was discerning my next steps after college, He placed my current job into my lap.

But that all didn't happen without prayer, sacrifice, trust, and patience.

I currently struggle with desiring the future I feel the Lord is calling me to.
I SO desire dating and engagement and marriage and marital bliss and babies and all that.
It is SO HARD to just sit. and. wait.

BUT embracing the now (doesn't it always come back to this?) is what always brings me back to reality.
Loving my life NOW, enjoying my singlehood NOW.

Because someday, I know I'm going to look back on these years...once the courting and engagement and wedding and babies and everything has come and gone, I'll look back on my single years and I want to be able to see them as fond memories. I don't want to look back and wish that I would have soaked up what I had when I had the chance.
Someday, there will be a time when I will give anything to drink coffee by myself in a coffeeshop, or go to a farmer's market by myself, or read a book by myself....and I don't want to have any regrets.

So while patience is difficult, and it's definitely a virtue to practice, I think the best way to workout your patience muscles is to just BE. Just LIVE.

Maybe that's redundant from past posts, but whatever. This is my blog and I do what I want. ;)

Link up your post below! AND check out some announcements after these next four topics!
------------------------------

Next week's topic:
Settling
No one would encourage you to "settle" when it comes to relationships...but would you ever consider it? What are your thoughts on settling in relationships in general?

November 5: Fav Single-people Websites/Blog posts
Share other single-person blogs or websites that you love! (or include posts/articles that you've enjoyed that pertain to the single life!)

November 12: Vulnerability with Friends
Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?

November 19: Surviving events/parties as a singleton
The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friends gathering....and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?

---------------------------------

BREAK!

Ladies, we have decided to take a break from the Not Alone Series after the November 19th post until January 14, 2014. I know it seems like a long time, but we are coming up on a busy season of travel and family time. We don't want to take away your time from what's most important. Feel free to continue to blog about your single life experiences, but we just won't be having anything formal until January. 


BUUUUUT!!!

We would really like to establish accountability partners!
We love what this series has been doing, but we want to take things a bit further! 
Here's how it will work:

Email us if you are interested! 
It doesn't matter if you have only participated once or every time!
Please email BOTH me (mvmcfar at gmail.com) and Jen (jennifercox.rn at gmail.com) by October 29.

Once we have received your emails, we will pair you all up!
We will then notify you by email by November 5.

Only requirement to participate:
A weekly email! That's it.

You and your partner can set up more emails, Skype dates, etc if you so desire. But, there should be at least ONE email per week.

If you have any questions, please email us! More info will be given to those who wish to participate. We think this will be really fun, and we hope it provides great encouragement, community, and friendship for everyone. :)





Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Wanna prevent rape? Stop getting wasted"

Ok, I should be writing up a NAS post for this week, but an article caught my eye that I just can't not write about.

Upon perusing through my Twitter feed, I saw this tweet, "retweeted" by Sr. Helena (who I adore, btw):


Which, of course, led me to this article.

I'm sorry, but no.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who is completely horrified and disgusted by the attitude presented in this piece.

I understand that the researcher quoted states:
"“I’m not saying a woman is responsible for being sexually victimized,” says Christopher Krebs, one of the authors of that study and others on campus sexual assault."
BUT THEN his very next sentence disqualifies that first one:
"But when your judgment is compromised, your risk is elevated of having sexual violence perpetrated against you.”"
People, when you make a statement that is supposed to make your case clear, BUT THEN you follow it up with a sentence that begins with "but" or "however", etc...that negates your first statement.
It's like saying "I'm sorry...but...."

Look, I went to college. Heck, I even work on a college campus.
Do girls and guys get themselves drunk of their own volition? Yes.
Is this carelessness sometimes the open door that leads to sexual assault? Yes.
But, is that carelessness the sole reason for the potential sexual assault? Absolutely not.

Placing such direct blame on the victim, saying "oh, you could have prevented this", takes one very important piece out of the puzzle: the predator.

Making such a directly offensive statement like "Wanna prevent rape? Stop getting wasted" trivializes the entire issue. I find it extremely simplistic and insensitive.

I'm not saying that men and women shouldn't be intelligent about their partying choices, but deciding to not get drunk/wasted/high/what-have-you is NOT going to eliminate rape.

Men and women who aren't "wasted" get assaulted.
This isn't just a drinking-atmosphere problem.
It's a societal problem.

Are there many steps to ending sexual assault? Yes.
Is teaching the current and future generations about how to be responsible and respectful one of these steps? Yes.

Is not "getting wasted" the absolute one solution to this problem with society? No.

Let's be more sensitive, shall we?


What do you think about the article I linked to? I'd love to read your thoughts. Just remember to be respectful and sensitive in your comments, this is a very delicate topic that most people have strong opinions on. 
Any mean or unproductive comments will be deleted. You've been warned ;)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not Alone Series: Recipes for One!

Hello hello!
Sorry this is up late...I've been crazy busy with work which results in my being somewhat of a flake.
On the other hand, I suppose it's a good thing that I'm focused on my career... ;)


This week we thought we'd link-up our favorite recipes for one!

I've heard over and over and over from friends/family/acquaintances-who-just-heard-I'm-unmarried:
"oh, well at least you only have to worry about feeding yourself!" 

HA. Right.
Because it is SOOO much easier to find delicious recipes for ONE than it is for "6-8 servings".
Right.

BUT! When I have time, I like to cook! And I like to eat something other than mac n cheese or tuna!
I'm also the kind of person who doesn't mind eating crock-pot potato soup or chili for an entire week because I made a huge batch over the weekend, but for this post's purposes, I'll just give you my go-to dinner.

----------------------

Lemon-Garlic Chicken

needed:

chicken breasts (1? 2? however many you'll eat)
garlic (powder or fresh...I'm not picky)
lemon stuff (zest, juice, or I use Lemon Pepper)
olive oil

what to do:

- defrost chicken breasts and chunk 'em up

- on low heat, heat up some olive oil and throw in the chunked chicken

- stir, flip, etc. the chicken until cooked thoroughly and sprinkle some garlic and lemon stuff on it...I use A LOT of flavoring, but add "to taste" [I hate that phrase]

- be careful not to burn the chicken but if you can brown it a little, that's great

- eat

Broccoli

needed:

broccoli (I have "best results" with fresh brocc)
Lawry's
butter (or olive oil if you're healthy)

what to do:

- chunk up broccoli

- put in a big pan over med heat with some butter

- stir it around and sprinkle [A LOT] of Lawry's [or to taste]

- cook to "al dente" and serve

---------------

That's my most commonly made meal around here. It's simple, but yummy. I also eat A TON of omlettes...they're super easy, super delicious, and you can sneak a ton of healthy stuff in 'em.

And here are some Pinterest recipes I've made in case the above doesn't suffice:

One bowl, Two cupcakes - ok, not a dinner recipe, but the PERFECT number of cupcakes! reviewed here.

Pollo con Queso - o.m.g. SO great. bigger servings than needed, but I just scaled it down for me.

Nutella Cheesecakes - again, not for dinner, but I've made these for my students and they got rave reviews.

Garlic-Lime Chicken - oh my yum. so good.

Link up your favorite one-serving recipe below!

------------

Next week's topic:
Chastity as a Single Person
Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

October 22: Patience
Do you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin? If so, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?

Send me or Jen your topic suggestions for the next couple months!



Sunday, October 6, 2013

{OCM} Oil Cleansing Method

Recently, I've talked to a number of people about my current skin care regime and knowing how long I sought out something that worked, I thought I would share my secret :)

For the past 10+ years, I've been trying to find something, anything to minimize my acne. I ever expected flawless, air-brushed looking skin like some of my peers, I would have settled for combination skin with the occasional break-out.

Well, folks, I've found something that ACTUALLY works.

Let me walk you through my "skin history" so you can get an idea of what I've been dealing with.
Ever since puberty, I've had extremely oily skin combined with cystic acne. In high school and during some of college, it spread to my shoulders and chest.
After consulting my doctor, we tried a variety of treatments.

Topical creams and gels.
Oral meds.
The pill.
Proactive.
Every skin-care wash and toner than Wal*Mart carries.

For a few months in college, I even went on Accutane, which has majormajormajor side effects and should you become pregnant while on it, it will definitely cause birth defects. I had to go home on a monthly basis for blood tests to make sure my triglyceride levels were ok and that my kidneys & liver were still functioning correctly.

At the end of the day, NONE of these treatments worked. And to be honest, I had given up hope.
I'm a fairly confident person and have been outgoing for the most of my life, but no matter how confident you are, your appearance does take a toll on your self-esteem. It's definitely not the most important thing in the world, but there's an impact on how you feel about yourself that comes from how you feel that you look.

So when I read about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) over here, I figured: "well, I've tried everything else, why not give this a shot?"

Read that post for a full overview of the OCM, but the cliffnotes version is that oil dissolves oil, so if we're trying to remove oil from our skin, wouldn't it make most sense to use oil? Also, by drying out our skin with salicydic acid and the like, we're only causing our skin to naturally produce more oil, thus: shiny faces by 10AM.

So it made sense, and I tried it out. That was in November '12.
I tried using the OCM following the suggested Castor Oil/EVOO combo for oily skin...and while I definitely saw a decrease in the severity of my acne, I wasn't pleased with how sticky and well, oily, my skin always felt.
My face felt very fresh immediately following "washing" it, but I never felt quite clean. For lack of a better word, I felt dirty.

So I only followed that article's method for about a month and then quit it.
Went back to my Clean and Clear and my apricot scrubs. Mmmmm I felt so clean.

But I was still unhappy with my skin, wishing that there was a different way to do the OCM.
Perhaps I needed to use less castor oil? Or less EVOO?

And that's when Mart turned me onto Coconut Oil. The Oil of the Gods.


Y'all, my life has forever been changed.

I tried the OCM again starting in mid-May and haven't stopped since.
My skin is clearer than it's ever been.
I don't feel sticky and dirty...my face actually feels clean!

I do still have break-outs occasionally, but they're not nearly as severe as the ones that I used to have and they're usually at hormone-intensive times of the month, if you catch my drift ;)
And since I'm using an oil to wash my face, there aren't exfoliating "microbeads" like most face washes. So, I use this scrub about every other day or as needed to keep away blackheads and other build up.

For your curious cats, here's an outline of my current skincare routine:

At Night
1. Apply coconut oil onto face (I just scoop it out of the jar with my fingers) and massage into skin (on top on makeup!).
2. Use oil to remove eye makeup, etc...but don't wipe off yet!
3. Run a washcloth under hothothot water, wring out, and lay washcloth over your face to steam out your pores (I think that's what happens? I'm not an expert) (PS don't burn yourself!)
4. When the washcloth feels like it's cooled off, remove from face and begin to wipe/scrub in circular strokes the oil off of your face....you're half wiping it off and half massaging it into your face still. I use this time to also gently scrub any blackheads, dry skin, etc.
5. That's it!

In the morning
Nothing. I shower, but I don't do anything else to my face....you might want to try something different, but this is what works for me!

Here are a few observations/suggestions about the OCM:

1. If at first you don't see results, just keep trying - at least give it a month before throwing in the towel.
It will take your skin some time to get used to this new method...I didn't have any crazy breakouts, but your skin might be different from mine. And especially if you've been using drying medications and washes, your skin will need some time to adjust.

2. Using Coconut Oil and the OCM is SO MUCH cheaper than other face washes!
A jar of the oil I use is a little under $7 at Wal*Mart.
And I'm just now getting to the bottom of my jar.
Which I've been using every day since mid-May.
You do the math.

3. My mom read an article the other week saying that Coconut Oil is the only oil scientifically proven to reverse wrinkles!
And I've seen the same results from my acne scars! I was (and still am) a pimple popper. Add that to having cystic acne and you get lots of purple-ish scarring. I was always really careful when squeezin' anything out, but I did have some areas of my face where I never went without makeup.
Now, I don't see any discoloration. Wowza.

post-work...minimal shine!
Let me know if you have any questions! Remember that I'm not an expert, so if you're allergic to coconuts or oil or something, you probably shouldn't try this method....use your common sense, people! ;)

Here's to your success with the OCM! [I'm cheers-ing with my Lime-A-Rita...]

xo, mo

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not Alone Series: Careers as Vocations?

Linking up over at Jen's for another round of the Not Alone Series.
This week's topic prompt:
How do we know what God's call is for us if we are focused on our careers? Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?


Before I begin, I just want to reiterate what Jen said over on her post that while we all might have differing opinions on this topic, let's remember that the point of this series is to grow in community with other single people so we know that we are "not alone". It's perfectly fine to disagree, but please comment, reply, etc. in charity. We want this to be a welcoming group where everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinion. And since there's no doctrine of Church teaching on the topics we discuss, it's okay to disagree. mmmmkay? :)

I know so many young women who get their first job out of college with no real intention of sticking with it for more than a couple of years. Now, that would be fine if they were married or engaged with the intention of becoming pregnant immediately following vows and staying home with le bebes.

BUT. When you're young and single and have no prospects on the horizon and LOVE your work and this is what God is calling you to do, what's wrong with embracing your career?
I'd say nothing.

When this topic was presented as a potential for the NAS, I have to admit that I was a tad irked.
Mostly because when I hear "vocation", I automatically think about the different categories we Catholics segment ourselves into: single, married, religious.
So my mind interpreted the topic as "could your career possibly be the only thing you do for the rest of your life?"
But I would argue that there are two (or more) definitions of the word "vocation".

The first is Vocation as your "life path" or "the big V"...whether it be marriage, religious life, etc.

The second is vocation in the sense of what you're meant to do RIGHT NOW...whether that be a student, working professional, SAHM, etc.

So that brings us to the big question:
Can a career be your vocation?

Well, yes. Yes because I believe that we all have a path in life and every step on that path is going to be something different, something new.
My life right now is to thrive as a single person, working full-time.
It's my job RIGHT NOW to be the best campus mentor in central IL that I can be.
Because THAT is what God is calling me to be RIGHT NOW.

I can't sit waiting around worrying about working so hard that I'll miss out on Mr. Right because hellooooo if God is calling me to dive into my career, dontcha think He can pull me out to notice the guy who's trying to pursue me?

Now, with all of this comes discernment.
Constant prayer and "checking in" on where God wants you to go next.
It's naive of us to think that we can just take what God has handed us and run with it for the rest of our lives without ever looking up. The job I have right now might be where I'm supposed to be for a number of years, but if I'm not always seeking God's will, I might mistakenly miss out on a turn that I was supposed to take. I don't mean for this to sound like we shouldn't get enveloped in our work or dive headfirst into it, but with everything we should always be seeking the Lord's will.
Because His perfect will and perfect plan is what we should be seeking daily.

Whether or not I think that being a single person and "just" working for the rest of your life is a "big V" Vocation is a whole other topic.
But don't be afraid to be someone who works in her dream job for years before getting married.
Don't be afraid to break out of the mold and the expectations that you put on yourself.
Just because you're working and not married or dating or whatever longer than you thought you would be post-college doesn't mean that you'll never get married.

Let me tell you something, when I was 17 years old, I imagined that I would meet "the one" in college and at the very least be in a serious relationship when I graduated from college, if not engaged and planning a wedding. So imagine my surprise when lo and behold, here I am, 23, single, with a degree in Psychology working full-time in the pro-life movement, fundraising my salary, STILL living in central Illinois AND on my own.
This is not where I thought I would be at 23.
But with time and prayer and discernment, I've grown to love where I'm at and rather that fighting the Lord's plan, I've embraced it (most days), and tried to let go of my own plans and let God's perfect plan reign.
And at this moment, I believe that He still wants me here.
But He could tell me tomorrow or next week or next month that He wants me to go a different direction and if I TRUST in Him and His faithfulness, I will should allow Him to lead me wherever I am to be.

Does any of this make sense? I feel like I just brain-dumped a bunch of thoughts that have been going through my head and well, I'm too tired to go back and remove parts that might not fit. I pray that something in here will help you along your path.

So what do you think about this week's topic? Can careers be a vocation or even a Vocation? Write up a post and link-up over at Jen's! Can't wait to read what you all think!

-------------------

Next week's topic:
Fav Recipes... for one!
Link-up your favorite one-person meal recipes! It's hard to cook for one sometimes and we could all use some help!

October 15: Chastity as a Single Person
Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

October 22: Patience
Do you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin? If so, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not Alone Series: NFP

Hello hello!
Jen was slated to host this week but alas! her computadora decided to die, so we're at my place again!
This week we're talking anything and everything NFP!


While I know that there are a number of ways to practice NFP, the most common method around these parts is the Creighton Model, so for the remainder of this post, if I don't specifiy, you can assume that by "NFP" I mean "Creighton Model".

I know that there are many single ladies out there who have already ventured into the land of charting, but I am not one of those people. It's not for a lack of interest, oh no. I could talk about charting and all that good stuff for ages...I guess I just haven't felt the need to start up yet.

Although, there was a point in college when a doctor diagnosed me with PCOS (due to irregular cycles and horrendous acne) and I considered trying to learn to chart since I knew a FOCUS missionary who was becoming a Creighton Model practitioner and offered to teach a bunch of us for cheap. But I was busy and ignorant and didn't take advantage of that opportunity. Charting can really help you figure out what's going on with your body without any medical treatment...just observing what your body naturally does?! That's basically it? How freaking awesome is that?!

turns out either I was mis-diagnosed or my PCOS doesn't effect my health at all because an endocrinologist did tons of tests and didn't find anything out of the ordinary....and I've now been "regular" for almost a year :) 


I do see a huge advantage in learning to chart pre-engagement because if it takes you a while to get the hang of it, there's no rush. Also, it will become more of a habit and you'll likely have a better understanding of your body before trying to figure it out with someone else.

However, I wonder if starting to practice NFP before being engaged will take away some of that teamwork-ness that I hear my engaged and married friends growing in. Because this is new to the both of them, they both are learning together and growing together in that experience. Perhaps not all guys will feel left out, but I wonder if some guys would feel like they're behind the ball if their fiancee is already an NFP expert. Just a thought.

Regardless, NFP has definitely become more and more popular...there are even apps for charting!! That in and of itself might be enough to make me want to start up!!! Does it get any easier than that?!

What is your experience with NFP/what are your thoughts? Link up below!!!

------

Next week's topic:
Careers as a Vocation?
How do we know what God's call is for us if we are focused on our careers? Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?

October 8: Fav Recipes... for one!
Link-up your favorite one-person meal recipes! It's hard to cook for one sometimes and we could all use some help!

October 15: Chastity as a Single Person
Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

October 22: Patience
Do you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin? If so, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?




Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes (28)

Linking up with Jen, et al.

oh hey there....I just realized that I haven't pounded one of these bad boys out since May.
MAY, people. I've gotta get this shiz together.
hopefully I remember how to do one of these things...

[1] Last weekend, my dear cousin Ryan was married and oh man, what a party. He and I were the ringbearer and flowergirl, respectively, in his parents' wedding....20 YEARS AGO.
And now he's married. 
So crazy.


I couldn't be happier for Ry....expect that now I'm "next in line" to be wed as the second oldest grandchild. Wahhhhh

[2] This article. A must read for EVERYONE. I don't care if you aren't single....read it. And if you ARE single, you better read it right now. Do it.

[3] My little baby cousin Mason Oliver was born on Wednesday! SOSOSO excited that the next round of baby-bearing years on this side of my family has begun! 


[4] Do you pray novenas? Do you want to pray novenas? Click here to discover an awesome tool to help you pray more novenas. The next one starts on Sunday to St. Therese!

[5] This:



[6] I love this interview with Fr. Rocky of Relevant Radio in Chicago and hope to write about my thoughts on Pope Francis's interview next week.

[7] Tonight I get to hangout with my very best friend doing one of my very favorite things.  Fo free.
I CANNOT WAIT.

Check out other 7QTs over at Jen's and have a splendid weekend!

xo, mo

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not Alone Series:Favorite "Mom" Bloggers

I'm so excited that this week for the NAS we're focusing on giving our favorite "mommy bloggers" a shout-out! Just because those of us participating in the NAS desire to create a community of single folks we can relate to doesn't mean that we hate other bloggers who are married and have kids! Not at all! Some of my very favorite bloggers have kids and we wanted to give them a little love because, well, they're flippin' sweet!
Disclaimer: I'm aware that most bloggers of this nature despise the term "mommy blogger", but it's an easy way to distinguish between bloggers with kids and those without, so I hope they'll forgive me.



Camp Patton
via
I'm just going to go ahead and get Grace et al out of the way...I'm sure you've all had the pleasure of meeting the Patton crew, but if not WHAT ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER?!?! If you've read my blog evereverever you're probably aware of my obsession with Julia. No worries, I love Bash and Theo too, but I'll like 'em better when they're spouting off one-liners like their big sis. I really love Grace's honest writing style and how she just puts it all out there. It's refreshing to read an honest take on parenting.


Romancing Reilly
via
Martha is one of those moms you see on the street who makes you stop and think "woah...I hope I'm that fashionable when I'm a mom..." ...at least that's what I think I would think should I ever meet her in person. Throw in her witty writing and the best pics of Mr. Sebastian (his comb-over is to.die.for.) and you've got a great combo. PLUS I'm itching to try her Green Rice!


Cedars and Tiny Flowers
via
I just really really really REALLY want to be Katrina's friend. Not only is she just like the cutest pregnant person on the planet, but I'm pretty sure she has no idea how funny she is. Like for realz, y'all. Plus she always manages to capture Ryan's little "who, me?" face. Love.


Imperfections Welcomed
via
I've been reading Natasha's blog for awhile now....I'm not really sure how I found her, but her 2 girls are precious! She doesn't always post a whole lot, but when she does, they're gems! Plus, "Imperfections, welcomed" seems like the perfect title...not only for motherhood, but life in general!


Those Landrys
via
I actually knew Alisha about 4ish years ago when her and her husband lived in BloNo and she was working part-time at the Newman Center. Back then it was just little Joan and I'd babysit her for a couple hours a few times a week while Alisha worked in the office. Those Landrys moved back down to their Cajun roots a few years ago, but it's great to be able to keep seeing their family grow. Alisha's Verbatim posts are my absolute fav...her girls are hilarous!!!


Mama needs coffee.
via
Jenny and her fam just moved back from living in ROME for a number of months (6?) and you might recognize her son John-Paul as one of the last babies to be kissed by Pope Benedict. Um yeah. Freakin' awesome. Aaaanyway, Jenny has a real knack for making me spew whatever I'm drinking onto my computer, she's that hilar. Again, it's refreshing to not read a sugar-coated version of what parenting is like.

Welllll, I feel like a total creep....and it's worse that I could have gone on and on and on, but I tried to rein in the creepy for the time being.

Who are your favorite mom bloggers? Link up with us below!

-------------

Next week's topic:
 NFP, baby! ;)
So, who's begun charting?! How is it going? What advice do you have/what method do you use? If you haven't, is something holding you back? Are you considering starting up?

October 1: Careers as a Vocation?
How do we know what God's call is for us if we are focused on our careers? Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?

October 8: Fav Recipes... for one!
Link-up your favorite one-person meal recipes! It's hard to cook for one sometimes and we could all use some help!

October 15: Chastity as a Single Person
Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

October 22: Patience
Do you find yourself becoming really impatient, or struggling with your life to "really" begin? If so, how do you combat it? Do you do anything? How can we support one another in this area?





Thursday, September 12, 2013

alternatively....

I've talked before about my affinity for alternative rock. But lately, the genre "alternative" has come to include folk and electronic....it's not just the alternative rock that I grew up knowing and loving.

NOT that I'm complaining...I actually love "Today's Alternative"...it just took some getting used to.

The following are my Top Ten Alt Songs. I don't think the critics know what they're doing when the top ten Alt songs of the day are played....these are clearly the best.

And maybe these kinds of posts aren't your thing....that's ok, feel free to move along, but it's because of Bonnie that I discovered Adele way back when, so maybe stick around...you never know what you're gonna like!

Also, some of the videos are weird, it might be best if you just listen, mmkay? :)


Royals - Lorde





Pompeii - Bastille





Chocolate - The 1975





Trying to be Cool - Phoenix





I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons





Dark Horses - Switchfoot





Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips





Feel Again - OneRepublic





Pumping Blood - NONONO





Wake Me Up - Avicii



xo mo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

sitting waiting wishing....

....for some normalcy.

Perhaps you've noticed that really all I've been posting lately are my NAS contributions. Or maybe not.

Either way, world, I've been less-than-present for the past couple months for a couple of reasons:

1. I'm fundraising my salary.

2. I moved into my new apt Aug 1st....and haven't set up internet

BUT this week, I FINALLY got the interwebs connected in my new place. I'm uber happy and really did not think that I could make it this long. I don't have a data plan, so basically after I left work, I was without wifi.

Aaaaaand the library closes at 9PM, so from then on I was forced to do without.
Forced.

I read 5 Nicholas Sparks books in 2 weeks. No joke.

Actually, I semi-chose to wait. Since I'm travelling so much for work, it didn't really make sense to pay for wifi I wasn't using.

But I've reached my breaking point, so if I can ever drag myself away from the beauty that is Netflix (thanks Kevin and Liz for letting me use your account!!!), I'll be blogging a tad more often.
I do have 32 drafts I could work on....

However, I might be eating my own words since I'm still quite a ways away from being "fully funded" and have to keep going until that's done.

Shameless plug:
The Lord has been pushing me to use every possible resource at my fingertips (quite literally at this moment), it is now that I humbly ask that if you and yours are at all interested in joining my monthly support team and helping me to get back on campus, please contact me. I'm not going to post the info here to keep a semblance of privacy for my organization, but if you contact me directly, I would be more than thrilled to chat with you about how you can directly help to build a Culture of Life.

Thanks and I promise to write soon!!!

xo, mo
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...