Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Alone Series: Travel!

How do you travel as a single lady?! Any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Do you have anything fun planned for this year?

I loooove this topic, mainly because I'm so excited to read other peoples' perspectives!!

It was probably about 2 years ago when I was first bit by the travelling bug and my fever has only gotten worse. Not that I travel allll the time now, but I'm beginning to travel more and more.

Part of this is intentional, part of it is just that I've had great opportunities.

However, most of my travelling is with other people. Either roadtrips or occasionally flying, but almost always with others. Overall, I think I prefer to travel with others just in case something goes wrong so there's more than one brain to figure things out.

When Jen and I went to Boston in September, that was my first time ever flying alone! It was terrifying and exhilarating....mostly terrifying. I don't fly a ton, so that in itself is an experience...but my myself?! AH!

But it all went fine, even though my flight was almost cancelled during a layover, it all worked out!

So, I guess I don't have a ton of tips/tricks for travelling alone...

Though I will encourage everyone to seek out adventures. I've heard amazing stories lately about Yellowstone and The Bach has peaked my interest in exploring Mount Rushmore/SD. There's something about planning an exciting trip, even several months in advance! It gives you something to look forward to!

And on that note, TAKE YOUR VACATION DAYS! I know not every job is afforded the same luxuries, but un-taken vacation days are a special kind of travesty. My first year working full-time, I took only TWO vacation days. TWO! Since then, I've made a point of taking every day allotted to me. Even if it just means I take a long weekend to explore Chicago or St. Louis or Indianapolis...there's so much to be seen! Let's see it all!

I'm looking forward, this year, to a few trips I have planned....

The first being a work trip to Arkansas in April...not a hopping place necessarily, but I've never been there! So I'm excited :)

Then, of course, I'm over-the-moon pumped to go out to Philadelphia in September TO SEE POPE FRANCIS!!!! WEEEE!!!

Other than that, I'm not sure yet! Perhaps Yellowstone will be a trip this year or next, but either way, I have a lot to look forward to!

Well, since I didn't give much advice for traveling as a single person, would you share your own? Comment or link up your post below! Be sure to include a link in your post back to this post and Jen's!


Next week's topic:
Dating Fast
We've all likely heard about them, but have you ever done one? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?

3/10: Encouraging Men
We seem to always have something say about guys treating us right! Or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?

3/17: Challenge!
It's that time again! In the past, we've challenged ourselves to grow and/or take steps toward moving closer to our vocation. These challenges have come in all different forms! Trying online dating, getting more involved in our young adult ministry, and working on discipline have all been past personal challenges. What is one thing you want to challenge yourself to do that might help you along on your path toward God's will...or maybe just help you become more open to God's will?
Share what you're planning to challenge yourself with and why, then in 2 weeks we'll write on how this challenge went!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not Alone Series: Loneliness

We all have times when we feel alone. What are ways that you combat loneliness? Pray? Join a group? How can we encourage each other to stay positive? 
Thanks to Laura P!

I was just minding my own business, perusing Facebook, when a post by CatholicTV's Encounter caught my eye. Naturally, I clicked, and imagine my surprise when I hear the following intro to this month's Encounter episode:

"Welcome to the February edition of Encounter. Well, it is February, the month of Valentine's and a lot of people may be thinking about their relationships and about love. For many people who are single, this may not be a time of year that they get particularly excited about but this month we're going to talk to two Catholic single women who are excited about sharing their experiences in the single life with other women in the Not Alone Series."

Ok, y'all. Throughout this intro, I was cracking up. Literally. Doubling over, holding-my-side laughing.

Back in September, Jen and I traveled to Boston to talk about the Not Alone Series on This is the Day, and while there, we did mini-interviews for another CatholicTV show, Encounter. Little did I know that our interviews would be featured during the "month of love".


And how fitting, too, that we have this week's topic, right before V-Day itself?!

Loneliness: a feeling, or state of being, that everyone has encountered at one time or another, but one that few people enjoy talking about.

Have you ever mentioned feeling lonely and the people around you congratulate you? Or given you a high five?

No. More often than not, it's a difficult emotion to address. And most times, I've experienced others feeling sorry for me.

Well, as "nice" as that is, people feeling bad for me doesn't help the situation. If anything, it just reminds me to never talk about my loneliness because this only leads to awkward conversations and attempts to console without knowing what to do in order to change the problem.

You see, the Not Alone Series, as I tell in my Encounter interview, began as a response to this loneliness. The loneliness, specifically, that results from feeling that you're the only person who knows what you're going through.

As much as we have created this community to address the need for solidarity, and I hope it has brought comfort to those we were trying to serve, this loneliness still exists.

I know this all too well. Despite how much I enjoy my life and am attempting to live it very fully, the loneliness creeps in.

It creeps in after I come home from work and am reminded that, like every night before, I am alone.

It creeps in during a fun night out, when I'm reminded that many of my dear friends have what I do not yet experience.

It creeps in at a family event, when I'm hand my cousin his daughter and witness the love that is shared between him and his wife.

I don't have someone to vent to about my frustrations, or share in my joys, or help to bear my burdens.

I feel that I have so much love and attention and affection and time to give, but to who?

This loneliness can overwhelm us, if we allow it. And I've allowed it to do so, from time to time. I don't want it to consume me, but it's pull is real.

What's a girl to do?

The only solution that's helped me to diminish this loneliness is to run to the Lord and Him alone. He is the only one who can comfort me, who can love me, who can understand me the way I need.

The surest way to continue feeling lonely is for me to continue distancing myself from God.

But, remember, this only diminishes the problem, it doesn't eliminate it. So, it helps to have other things in your life, in addition to your relationship with the Lord, to take your mind off of these feelings.

- Good friends, those who share your interests or hobbies. This differs from the friends we've all had who only want to talk about who's dating who and who you're dating, etc. 

- Hobbies! The best way for me to forget about being alone at home is trying to teach myself guitar (it isn't working, by the way) or working out or cooking or reading, etc etc etc.

- Learn to love your own company. Find your happy place, alone. Maybe this starts as a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after work. Maybe this evolves into adventuring on your own, either in your town or elsewhere. Regardless, learning to enjoy your "me" time can be extremely helpful in realizing that being "alone" does not equate "loneliness".

But, sometimes, we need to let ourselves feel what we're feeling. Keeping busy and trying not to think about what you're feeling for an extended amount of time isn't healthy. We mustn't become numb to the longing of our hearts. Sometimes, it's theraputic for us to acknowledge our loneliness and let ourselves feel it. For it is only when we face something head on and allow ourselves to be that we can learn to thrive despite opposition.

Something important to understand, too, is that loneliness doesn't simply evaporate after marriage. It will still creep in, still find it's way into your heart. So if we can learn to acknowledge and adapt to our loneliness, that will only help us in the future. 

How do you deal with loneliness in your life? Please share with us in the comments below or link up your post!


Next week's topic:
Spiritual Writings
What are some of your favorite or go-to books, devotionals or even blogs that help encourage you in your spiritual life?

2/24: TRAVEL! 
How do you travel as a single lady?! Any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Do you have anything fun planned for this year?

3/3: Dating Fast
Most of us have heard about them, but have you ever done a dating fast? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?

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