Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not Alone Series: "guess who's engaged?!"

Hello dear friends! I do apologize for my absence, I'm just now fully recovered from the past week and a half! I cannot wait to tell you all about the craziness that has been January. 
(WAIT. It's almost FEBRUARY?!)
As my lovely NAS accountability partner knows, one of my additional goals for this new year is to take better care of myself. Even if that means stepping away from my blogging, I need to make my health (and sanity!) a bigger priority. I hope you understand :)

BUT enough with all of that...let's get on with this week's prompt!

Do you struggle with balancing the sting of hearing about yet another proposal with genuine excitement? What emotions come into play? What virtues do you enlist to deal with it all?

Well, we're once again immersed in engagement season, and I'll admit, more than once have I texted Jen saying: 
^^^ direct quote ^^^

Here's the thing, y'all. I am so very happy...thrilled, really...for the ladies and gents I know who are newly engaged and over the moon with excitement because this is what they've been waiting for for so long. I am. 
I know that longing, really...I know
So the fact that they're taking a step closer to living out their vocation is awesome. Beautiful, really.

But that doesn't make my ache go away.
At times, seeing others' happiness gives me hope that the Lord truly does have a plan for me, too.
And other times, I just want to throw a television off a bridge.

It's realllllly difficult to be happy for others when they have something that I desperately desire.

Ugh. That ugly, green-eyed monster called envy. What is one to do? How am I supposed to genuinely squeal with my best friend whose boyfriend just proposed when deep down I can feel the bubble of bitterness rising? Why is it that beneath my joy for others, there's a fire of rage?

I think some of that comes from a discontent with one's own life. If you're unhappy with your life, OF COURSE you're going to wish you had something else. This easily leads to wishing you have what others have, which very easily leads to jealousy. 
Otherwise known as coveting.

We have a tendency (speaking for myself, assuming that others are the same) to forget that the 10th commandment forbids this impurity of heart.
"You shall not covet your neighbor's goods" does not just apply to material things; we must also not covet immaterial things.

Gosh. That's kinda heavy...
um yeah, because it's Truth.

Ok, but how do we combat this? If I'm striving for purity of heart in ALL things, how am I to achieve this?

My best suggestion is prayer.

A couple of years ago, I was struggling to love one of my "neighbors". When I sought counsel from a priest, he gave me the best advice I could have ever received. 
He told me to pray for them.

I was really annoyed. 
"Uhh...Father, I really don't want to pray for them..."

His response?
"That's why you must."

The beauty of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit is that when you're intentionally praying for someone, especially someone you're struggling to love, gradually your heart is softened. Over time, my begrudging prayer became sincere. My hardened heart became putty in my Maker's hands. I began to genuinely desire that the Lord's will be done in my neighbor's life, not just what I hoped would happen.

So this is what I'm striving for as more&more&more of my friends/acquaintances/relatives/etc become engaged and get married. Please know of my prayers for each and every one of you and I ask that you keep me in yours as well.

What are your thoughts? Link up below!


Next week's topic:
Chastity: A Choice
Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity?

February 11th: If only I knew then what I know now...
What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Not Alone Series: Beauty

Hello my dear friends! As this post is published, I am enroute to our nation's capitol for the 41st March for Life. I was supposed to host the link-up, but the past several days have been more-than-hectic so Jen is hosting again! I promise to come back and write about my thoughts on beauty (and I have many, I assure you!) but for now, I'm spending LOTS of quality time with 56+ of my students. Head on over to Jen's and I'll see you all soon!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Encouraging Chivalry

Update 9/9/14: This post was linked up as part of the Not Alone Series topic, "Oh so chivalrous!"

Have you read this post by Matt Walsh? It's thought-provoking, FULL of solid Truth, and calls men to action.

I forget in the day-to-day that "chivalry is dead". And actually, I've heard that before and argued with whoever proclaimed it that chivalry IS NOT dead. Unfortunately, however, my perception on this is skewed.

I blame it on all of the awesome men in my life. Holy, God-fearing, women-loving men.
They hold doors, allow women to go before them for communion, help me with my coat, etc.

But what about all of the men who I don't know? Or even more so, what about the women who don't know the men I know?

I can imagine that it would be very discouraging to think that chivalry is dead. How sad.
And how incredibly sad for a woman who desires to have a man be chivalrous, to give up on that dream of a knight in shining armor!

I've read articles and posts where the author says that we need to focus on instilling an expectation of chivalry in our children. We need to raise our boys to be chivalrous and our girls to be accepting and grateful for chivalry.

I agree with this. We must raise our children in this manner.

But what about those of us who aren't raising children? What about the college students? What about the young professionals? Perhaps we must wait until we have children of our own in order to encourage chivalry?

Not at all.
There is so much that we can do to encourage chivalry at all ages and places in life!

For the Men

Chivalrous men! Please continue to be gentlemen. Do not allow the lazy men of today to influence how you act.

Rather, you must be an example to other men. Chivalry begets chivalry. Encourage your boorish friends to be more gallant! If you let a lady have your seat, nudge your buddy to do the same! Hold one another accountable.

Asking your friend to hold the second set of doors while you're holding the first isn't nagging, it's reminding him to be the gentleman he was made to be. Hopefully just seeing you open the first door will give him the push he needs to grab the second one, but better safe than sorry!

Overall, do not allow your less honorable friends to discourage you.
And if ever a lady yells that she doesn't need your help with the door/with her coat/etc. just respond with a smile and a courteous "I didn't do _______ because you're a woman/girl/lady, I did it because I'm a gentleman."
I guarantee she will not know what to say, especially if you remain polite.

Be like Matt and call others to action.

For the Ladies

Alright, ladies, I am certain that many of you appreciate and enjoy chivalry. However, how are you supposed to increase chivalry? I mean, we're mere women...we have no influence on whether or not a "guy" is gentlemanly....right?

The way in which we react to chivalry will influence its longevity.

I encourage you to stop being embarrassed when you encounter a gentleman.
There have been times when a man holds the door for me when I'm a good 20+ strides from the door. Gosh, I feel horrible! I'm ashamed to admit that more often than not, I barely meet his gaze and perhaps I'll give him a sorrowful "thanks!"...all because I feel bad.

Or how many times has a young man surprised you by helping you with your coat? I never expect it, and due to my surprise, I usually give a little laugh and what might be perceived as a sarcastic "thank you".
(when really, I just feel awkward and try to be goofy instead)

Or have you ever neglected to thank the man who is coming out of a building and holds the door as you're entering? It's possible he wouldn't hear me, you think, and besides, it's not like it's a big deal...

I want to encourage you to stop doing this.
Don't stop thanking, but change the way in which you thank.
Stop acting embarrassed when a man treats you like a lady, you ARE a lady! Don't make him feel embarrassed for treating you as such!
And never treat an act of chivalry as "nothing" or else you're feeding into the mindset that chivalry simply doesn't matter.

When a gentleman opens the door for you, pulls out your chair, etc., look him in the eye, give him a warm smile and a grateful "Thank You!"

This is called positive reinforcement. (I know because I have a Psychology degree. BAM.) If we want men to be more chivalrous, we must encourage them to continue their chivalry! Please push past whatever it is that hold you back from appreciating his chivalrous gesture. Like I said before, chivalry begets chivalry. And in this case, a man's encouraged chivalry will lead to his continued chivalry.

Chivalry can be encouraged at all ages.
Gentlemen shouldn't be afraid to behave like gentlemen and ladies shouldn't be ashamed to expect to be treated like ladies.

Strive to be the most authentic you you can be.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not Alone Series: Growing in the Now

Welcome back to the Not Alone Series! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and start to 2014! 

For those of you who are just now joining us, welcome! The Not Alone Series was created with the purpose of connecting with other Catholic, single ladies in order to grow in solidarity and community! More explanation can be found here :)

Truth be told, I'm really not a fan of resolution posts...but my distaste likely comes from me rarely (if ever) following through with resolutions. Ugh. However, I did grow up a bit during 2013, so I'll bite the bullet and set some goals for change and growth in 2014.

"If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you."
...such wise words from a work-out video trainer....

It's an understatement to say that I've been challenged to grow the past few months. As I wrote yesterday, I haven't been entirely open about what I've been going through with support raising (though I intend to write about it soon!) but what I can say is that my eyes have been opened to how completely, overwhelmingly prideful I am.


Over and over again I have been humbled.
That has been the theme of these past several months, mostly because in order to get anywhere, I had to humble myself and ask for the Lord's help.
Then I had to humble myself and ask my boss for help and advice.
Then I had to humble myself and ask people who's opinions I hold dear for help.

It was so. challenging.

It was challenging and therefore it changed me for the better.

While I've been knocked down a peg or ten and learned humility in my work and support raising, that's not the case in every other part of my life. I was meditating on this in adoration and suddenly it clicked: even though humility has been the theme of the past few months, why shouldn't it be the theme of my year?

So there we have it, folks. Humility is what I need to work on now, so that's what I'm focusing on.

Additionally, upon using Jen Fulwiler's Saint's Name Generator, I was given......

St. Michael the Archangel! I didn't initially see any significance (ya know, he isn't the patron saint of engaged couples or anything...) but especially since choosing to focus on humility...oh man. He's a goood one. :)

So that's all I've got friends...I'm excited to be back to regular blogging and can't wait to see what everyone else will be striving for this year!

Link up at Jen's!


Next week's topic:
What does authentic beauty mean to you and how can you be better at believing/accepting that you are, in fact, beautiful?

January 28th: "Guess who's engaged!"
Do you struggle with balancing the sting of hearing about yet another proposal with genuine excitement? What emotions come into play? What virtues do you enlist to deal with it all?

February 4th: Chastity: A Choice
Living chastely (not just abstinence) is a choice. Have you ever had to defend your choice to live out chastity? If not, why do you choose chastity.

February 11th: If only I knew then what I know now...
What would you tell your former self about being single if given the chance? What have you learned that you wish you could tell your younger self?

Monday, January 13, 2014

no words.

Well, hello!

Gosh, that was quite a long break I took from blogging! Generally unintended, but definitely needed. There's been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately and I'm finally in a place where I'm ready to get back into regular blogging.

There has been a huge lack of words on this blog for the past month and a half, due in a large part to me not being able to find the words to share.

I mentioned back in March that I'd begun "support raising" for my job, which essentially means that I began fundraising my salary. For those of you who are familiar with FOCUS, it's a similar method as those missionaries use in order to fulfill their mission.

Wow. What a journey.

I'm sure that I'll write more in-depth about my journey of support raising - it's definitely been a life-changing experience. But for now, I keep it simple.

When going through such a transformative period, I struggle between knowing how much is too much to share on the interwebs. I want to be open, honest, and more than anything authentic with all of you. I want to be able to share the raw parts of my life in order to grow in solidarity with others who might be feeling the same way.

But during these past several months, I barely shared this part of my life with you all. I can't quite pinpoint a reason, but I think it has something to do with trying to keep some of my life private. I just quite find the right words to express what I was going through without feeling too exposed. But now that I've been through this period, I do plan on sharing more on my experience.

The bottom line is that after several humbling months, I am finally fully funded. Through the generosity of friends, family, friends-of-friends, and strangers, I am able to continue to minister to pro-life students on campus.

Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your support, thank you for your friendship.


Don't forget that the Not Alone Series starts up again TOMORROW, Jan 14!

This week's topic is:
In what ways can you grow/stretch RIGHT NOW that could affect the whole of 2014?
This topic is similar to the "resolution" posts or "word of the year" posts, but go in whatever direction you'd like! How do you plan to live 2014 in the best way possible?

Please continue to email, tweet, comment, smoke signal, etc. your topic suggestions. Jen and I truly need your input in order to continue this series! No topic is out of the questions!

And as always, feel free to email Jen or email me with any questions/comments/concerns :)
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