Friday, June 28, 2013


Every year the entire extended family on my mom's side caravans up to NW Minnesota for a week in cabins nestled between two lakes during the week of the 4th of July. It's been a family tradition for more than 50 years and it's one that we anticipate with great enthusiasm for the entire year. Our family is extremely tight-knit and we always look forward to "cousining"...

tackling off the dock

intense games of volleyball

hanging out on the porch

tipping canoes

and I've gone up there every year of my life with the exception of the year Tommy and I only stayed for half a week took a 12 hr Greyhound from NW Minnesota to Chicago...

definitely NOT as exciting as it seems
...after not being able to go up last year, I'm treasuring this time with my family more than ever before.

so, #lynchvaca2013, here we come!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Five *most favorite* Favs

Linking up with Hallie.

I've definitely been failing at blogging these days.
Blame it on the travelling.
Blame it on the fundraising.
Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.

mmkay moving on.
Given the fact that I've been out of town for the past 3 weeks, I'm giving major thanks to the big guy upstairs for putting me back in CU for these past 2 days becauuuuse two of my best friends had their son last night! And since I'm in town, I got to see him this morning before work!!!
Can you say "first-non-family-member-to-visit"?
Cause I can and have been allll day.

Before I begin continue to bore you, let's get to those favs. Which, of course, are all baby pics.
You're very welcome.

[1] Welcome to the world, Lincoln! Look how cute you are!!!

[2] At only 14 hrs old, you sleep veeeery well. Or, for the hour I was there, you did.

[3] Oh look, it's your favorite friend/neighbor/super-stalker-creep Morgana! I'm so glad you're finally here! And thanks for being almost 2 weeks late so I could come and see you while your fresh out of the whooha!
Did we just become best friends? I think so.

[4] All this sleeping doesn't surprise me since eeeeverytime you were kicking and I felt Mommy's belly, you'd stop, you stubborn boy! So of course when I leave, you wake up! Silly kid.

[5] Can't wait to cuddle you again, Linc! You're veryveryvery loved my friend!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Not Alone Series: what I LOVE about being single

grrr I'm late to the link-up! dang it travelling-everywhere-for-work!
aaaanyway, thanks for joining Jen and I for another NAS topic!

I feel like I've lost so many years to wallowing in the fact that I was "alone" and therefore negating any good things in my life simply because I wasn't dating anyone. When I finally took a step back and looked at my life and all of the great things about it, I was able to appreciate the beauty of being single! Granted, it takes a daily effort to enjoy my singlehood, but I think it's so important to enjoy life, no matter what stage you're currently at!

Of all of the things that I love about being single, one words encompasses them all: FREEDOM.

Freedom in Time
I work some really crazy hours, so being able to stay at work until 11PM some days without breaking plans is awesome. On the other hand, on the rare occasion that I leave work at 5, if I want to spend my evening catching up on Grey's Anatomy or the Big Bang Theory and eating ice cream for dinner, that's fine too! I've recently started to enjoy my alone time and it's really great to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and for however long I want to!

Financial Freedom
I mean, let's get real. I work for a non-profit organization. I raise my own support.
The amount of money going into my bank account isn't an overwhelming amount, but I'm perfectly happy to live frugally and spend thriftily. And actually, I think choosing on my own to live this way will help me once I do have a husband and family because I've never lived extravagantly and therefore won't have an issue living on a budget. HOWEVER, should I decide that I need some new work clothes, I can independently make that decision and go buy them!

Freedom to "Get Up and Go"
This is my favorite, by far. I LOVE having the freedom to decide on a whim to go to St. Louis for the weekend or decide 30 minutes ahead of time to go home to surprise my family for the weekend. Also, there have been numerous times this past year when my coworkers forgot to tell me about an event I was expected to attend or we had to leave two days early/stay two days late for a business trip and it's not an issue for me to clear my schedule and go. (that's not to say that I love the last minute notice, but still...)

That's just a brief overview, believe me, I could go on and on and on....but I won't. At least not today :)
While I think we can all agree that while this period of singlehood isn't always sunshine and rainbows, there is good in it! Just because one area of our life is still a work in progress doesn't mean that there isn't joy and happiness in our overall life! We should try to enjoy it while we can, because I hear that someday we'll look back and wish we could spend just one more day in that former life.
I for one don't want to look back and wish I would have embraced my life for what it was, rather I want to look back with fondness of this time before marriage/kids/poopy diapers/up-all-night-not-because-I'm-partying.

Now excuse me while I put on my PJs and dig into some Rocky Road :)

Head over to Jen's to link up with YOUR favorite things about being single!


Next week's topic:
What can you work on NOW to prepare you for your future vocation?
(prayer? giving of your time more? hanging around kids to see if you can envision your life with them? It will be different for all of us. Pray and really reflect what things you need to work on so you can serve your hubby/community the best way you can.)


***Help! Jen and I would like some feedback! How do you think things are going?! Are the topics good? Too surface or need to go deeper? Is the frequency ok (meaning, is the every week posting cool, or should it change to every other, etc)? Please be honest with us. This isn't about us, and we want to be sure we are reaching out to all of you so we are ALL benefiting from this awesome series. Please comment or email us! Thank you soooooo much!!!***

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not Alone Series: Prayer

Thanks for coming back to join Jen and I for another week of the Not Alone Series!

I'm a big fan of prayer, but to be honest, I'm really bad at it.
Not the praying part, per say, but the making time for Him part.

I need to make prayer more of a priority. I'll be honest, it's really difficult for me to be disciplined and make my prayer life the most important thing in my day. In college, it somehow was easier to pray every day (maybe because I used it as my escape from drama and homework) but it's easy for me these days to just slowly slip away from that daily time with our Lord...but it is so crucial to my everyday life. I notice such a difference in my attitude, my energy, my outlook on life and all that I have to accomplish. 
Everything is better when I make GOD the top priority.

What I'm struggling with right now is the idea of time.
The idea that I have so much to get done that I can't possibly steal away for a half hour to run up to the chapel.
(did I mention that my office is directly beneath the chapel? yeah. no excuses.)
So I'm in a bit of a rut at the moment, but I'm beginning to slowly crawl out and I'm utilizing some of my favorite ways to pray:

1. Rote Prayer
I truly believe that rote prayer is one of the greatest gifts of our faith. When it feels that I have nothing else to say, or the emotions I feel just cannot be put into words, I turn to the simplicity of the Hail Mary, Memorare, Salve Regina, Glory Be, or Our Father. Meditating on the words and what they really mean helps me to further contemplate the mystery of our Father's love for us.

2. Novenas
Though I've never been able to complete the 33 day Consecration to Mary, I lovelovelove Novenas. They keep me accountable and hold my attention for the perfect amount of time. My favorites have been the Novena to St. Joseph and Novena to St. Anne.

By the way, have you heard of Pray More Novenas? It's a nifty site that will email you novenas and daily reminders during each one!
Fun fact: my boss created this website and now his wife (one of my close friends) mainly runs the site
So cool!

3. Journaling
I've fallen out of the habit of journaling every night, but I really love being able to write out my prayers and then go back and reflect on them. There have been times when I wrote down something really profound and then going back makes me see how things have changed, but also to see what struggles and growth I've been through.

4. Just talking. the Lord, that is. I've typed before about how important I think it is to be open and totally honest in our conversations with God. This is where we get to the root of our hurt and despair. This is where we find healing. I hatehatehate cliches but you know that line about having an intimate, personal relationship with Christ? umm it's crucial. totes.

That's all I've got.
Clearly I'm not a prayer guru, but I'm learning along the way.

Next week's topic:
What I love(d) about being Single
there's so much to enjoy right now! let's share our favorites! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five Favorites

Linking up with Hallie and my other favorites

[1] My friend Veronica's kids (little Max didn't participate) and their video contest entry!

This little family has been one of my favorites for about 5 years now and they have a knack for finding and WINNING music/video contests! Other videos that they've won contests with are here and here. Please help them win a home makeover by clicking here and voting! They (and I!) would appreciate your support!
Voting ends Tuesday, June 18.
Thanks in advance!

[2] Resolve Carpet Cleaner

I'm dog sitting this week and due to nerves (which resulted in a bacterial infection), the pup has had what I would guess to be almost 40 accidents since Saturday morning. I would rather change a million poopy diapers than scrub poop out of the carpet every morning before I've had my coffee, but Resolve has been my best friend through it all.

[3] My Bridesmaid Dress

I'm my cousin's MOH this weekend and I am SO excited to finally wear this little number.
Super cute, modest, and comfy. PLUS it has pockets. Perf.

[4] Getting up at 6AM

not my view...but I wish!
I've been doing this for the past 4 days and I never realized how much I LOVE the morning! There's so much time to do things before I have to start working! How lovely!

[5] Super cool (and CHEAP!) thank you notes

I write thank you notes almost daily for work and lovelovelove it when I find blank cards that aren't boring or scream "thank you"...these were on clearance at Target for less than $2.00. I bought every box they had.

aaaand off you go to Hallie's!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Not Alone Series: Discernment

Welcome back to the second week of the Not Alone Series! 
This week we're talking about Discernment and linking up over at Jen's
Today I'm going to give you peek into my personal discernment. 

Ahhh discernment.
That word.

Until I went to college, became involved at the Newman Center, and delved further into my faith, I'd never heard the word.

It holds such weight. Maybe not in all circles, but in my Catholic circle, it was almost a level of status.
Those who had discerned.
Those who were discerning.
Those who had not yet begun discerning.

I didn't like it, and I still don't. So I hesitate to ever say the words "I've discerned into marriage" because
a) you're not fully "discerned" until you've taken vows, whether they be to another person or through ordination/entering an order (cliche, yet true)
b) it seems to carry such status

But it's true. It's a long story, but long story almost-short, fall semester of my sophomore year I realized that I was really horrible at objectifying the opposite sex. I remember thinking about how we hear women saying all the time that men look at women like they're pieces of meat...yet was I any better when I got to the first day of class early just so I could scope out the hotties? Um nope.
I made it my mission to see men as "Brothers in Christ" above all else. Not potential prospects, boyfriends, etc.
Just Brothers in Christ.

That was really helpful in every area of my life and gradually led into deeper prayer about what vocation I was made for. Essentially, I felt ready to begin that process because I desired to more purposefully prepare myself immediately for whatever the Lord had in store. 
I began to allow my heart to be opened in ways that I never thought possible and gave Him a sliver of my heart at a time. But I always felt like I was holding something back, and I knew that it was the part of me that didn't want to give up my life-long dream of being a wife and a mother.

I think this something that many women (and men, but opposite...) struggle to let go of. And it most certainly was for me. Perhaps it was also the sense of me losing control (I've recently realized that I really like a structured life) and that scared me spitless.
But over time, the call of the Lord to give Him EVERYTHING (not just the pieces of my heart that I was willing to part with) broke down my walls and I found myself laying it all before the cross.

FINALLY, I had opened my heart and let go in order for God to take over my life completely.
You see, He loves us so much that He'll never force anything upon us. We always have free will and always have to make the conscious decision to choose Him.

I found true freedom in choosing His will over my own.

Have you ever had a moment when you felt God speaking into your heart? 
For me it isn't a big booming voice, but a feeling injected straight into my soul. A knowing.

Some time after allowing Him to do whatever He willed, I felt that agape love encompass my heart in a way that I can only translate as Him holding me as a small daughter and saying:

"My child, you know I love you, and I would keep you for myself if I could. But because I love you so, I'm willing to give you away to the one I'm preparing for you."

(as the Father of the Bride weeps tears of joy and undying love, this is how I picture our Heavenly Father in this moment) 


I'll admit, there are times when I question my recollection of these occurrences and almost fear that I'm actually called to religious life. Despite the beauty I've seen in religious, I've always had a personal aversion to the idea of me entering an order. But other than the rush of peace that I finally found when I gave it all over to Him, what keeps me calm and out of a 1/4th life crisis is that He so powerfully intervened and seemingly handed me His will the first time that as long as I continue to be open to whatever He throws at me, if His plans change, I'll know it.
Until then, I'm staying on this path.

Hokay, this is getting long. Final thoughts on discernment:

Above all, I believe it is most important to make yourself entirely and wholly open to the Lord's will. Like I said before, He won't force you into anything, but whatever He has planned will make you the happiest, most complete version of yourself. Sooooo it's definitely best to let Him take the reins. 
I mean, He created you, right?
Therefore He knows the deepest, most ardent desires of your heart and only wants your every happiness.


Head over to Jen to link up your discernment post and to read other writings on anything and everything about discernment!

Next week's topic:
How do you pray? Tips to staying disciplined? Give us anything you've got!

Please email any topic suggestions to mvmcfar(at)gmail(dot)com or jennifer.rn(at)gmail(dot)com
Don't have a blog but want to contribute? Send us an email to do a guest post! :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Not Alone Series: Introduction

Welcome to the very first post of the "Not Alone Series"! Weekly topics to be posted on Tuesdays will be chosen and we hope that you will join us in sharing your experiences! This first week we thought it'd be good to just have a meet-and-greet of sorts so we can all get an idea of who we all are and where we're coming from! So without further adieu....I better start talking about myself.....

I'm Morgan. (hopefully you gathered that much already...) Living in central IL and working for the largest statewide collegiate pro-life organization in the nation. I work with college students on the daily, giving them the support and training necessary to effectively build a Culture of Life on their campuses. It's a pretty thrilling being on the ground floor of the Pro-Life movement. Super thrilling and super humbling. 

I've been doing what I do for one year (today is my one year anniversary!!) which means, yup...I'm 23. 
A whole 23 years old which I'm told is so. young. (ugh. don't say it.
Which is a nice segway into where I'm at in my singleness journey...

My friend group from college is made of people who have coupled off and are either nearing engagement, engaged, married, or married with babies. And of course I'm happy for all of them, but that atmosphere does make it difficult to be "okay" with being one of the only single people. And while I've been here in Champaign for a year, most of my friends are married. Which, like I said, is awesome....just hard sometimes because they can't fully relate to what I'm feeling because my closest girlfriends here in town got married straight out of college and one of them is due with a BABY BOY IN TWO WEEKS!!!! (and I live only a few blocks away!!! eeeee!!!)

So it isn't always easy being single, but, I'm content. And truth be told, I've become more and more content over the past couple months...but that's not to say that I don't have my days (or weeks) where I can't stand to be around couples because I so long to have that connection with someone (THAT is the danger, ladies. (or gentlemen?)). But I'm finally getting to a point where I'm learning to embrace my singleness. I'm learning to appreciate what's good about my life right now...I mean, just because I'm single doesn't mean that everything good in my life is negated. Which to some people might sound like a stupid mindset, but I know that most single people have felt that way at one point or another.

Which is why I am so excited about this series! I know that there are others out there like me and Jen, and I love "mommy bloggers" (I know they hate that label...sorry...), but we need to be able to read about topics that pertain to life as it is NOW, not what it may be in the future. And everyone has something to share that might help another!
(PS We don't discriminate! If you're married, but think you have something to share that could be helpful, please do! Your seasoned viewpoint is very welcome!)

Sooooooo enough about me....we want to hear read about YOU! If you would, join us in this little meet-and-greet so we can all get to know one another a little bit better....what you write about is completely up to you, we'd just like to know about you and your life at this moment! 

Link up below and please be sure to include a text link back to this post in your post!

Next week's topic:
anything and everything you want to talk about in relation to discerning your vocation

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