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!

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?


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.


[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.

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"


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:
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?



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. 


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".

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


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 (I have "best results" with fresh brocc)
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.
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?
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