Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Not Alone Series: Good Reads

Hello hello! This week, our topic is...

What books, articles, devotionals, blogs, etc have you been reading, loving and being encouraged by?! Or even, movies, videos, podcasts? Share with us so that we may be inspired, too!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great person to ask for advice on resources...actually, I'm usually the one asking for the resources.

But lately....I've had a few awesome discoveries, so I'll share those with you!

The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis - I got this as a present from a FOCUS missionary friend of mine and oh. em. gee. SO GOOD. Read and be inspired.

God is Love by Pope Benedict XVI - Papa Bennie just gets me. His stuff is kiiiinda deep, but it's worth it.

Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri - Borrowed from a friend, this is such a good, easy to comprehend break-down of St. JPII's Love & Responsibility

Blessed is She - Okay, lemme be real. I have an issue with change and new things and accepting stuff. Unfortunately, I let my pride get the best of me for the past several months when it came to Blessed is She, but guys...once I gave it a chance...ah, I love this community. For real. Please check it out!

aaaand that's all she wrote! Clearly, I'm in need of more suggestions! What are some of your recommended resources? Share below!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Not Alone Series: Blind Dates

Have you seen the show Married at First Sight? Along this thread, what is your opinion on being set up by family, friends, or an "expert"? Would you be open to a blind date? If you'd like, share your thoughts on arranged marriages!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for reality TV. The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise, Keeping up with the Kardashians, 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives...the list goes on and on and on and.... you get it.

So when I stumbled upon Married at First Sight? AH! LOVE! Jen and I both watched the first season, and the follow-up show, Married at First Sight: The First Year and agree: this is crazy! Getting married to a complete stranger?! Eek!

I'm not advocating for being a part of this "experiment"....buuuuut I have heard myself say "I wish arranged marriages were still socially acceptable!" a time or two. It's true!

If you think about it, your family knows you best, no? At least, this is the case with my parents. They know my standards, my deal breakers, and what I'm looking for in a spouse. I would totally trust them to set me up with someone.

Now....I might have told them that a few too many times since my mom has been known to give out my number a time or two....but hey, no harm in that, right? :)

Truth be told, I think I'm super open to the idea of blind dates and set-ups because this is how my parents met. They were set up by my mom's grandma and my dad's sister. The story that's told is my great-grandpa gave my dad a winning endorsement: "he's a nice Catholic boy, with a good job, and he likes to play cards!" So they went out, just to see if there was potential and the rest is history!

I'm perhaps more okay with this concept now than ever before due to my new mindset on casual dating. A date is just a date! All you're committing to is dinner or something similar. It doesn't have to be for forever....but it could be! 

In fact, I went on a blind date recently. We did a double-date with the friends who were setting us up and it was a lot of fun. Nothing has progressed past that one evening, but it was a fun time! Plus, having our friends there made it a lot easier to feel comfortable and less pressured to "make it work".

So, I think I'll continue to tell my friends, family, co-workers, priests, etc etc etc to keep their eyes open for me...you just never know how you might meet "the one"! ;)

What do you think? Would you ever be willing to go on a blind date? Comment below and/or link up your post on this topic below!

Monday, May 4, 2015

living {life} as it is

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, 
he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." 
- John 15:5 -

"For those of you who are married, imagine your life without your spouse. For those of you with children, imagine your life, it's impossible, without your children."

My pastor began his homily on Sunday with these words. Well intended, to be sure, as he began to discuss what our lives would be without God and this comparison would help to conceptualize this lack for the congregation. Yet, unexpectedly, I was overcome with a wave of tears as I thought:

"What about me?! I don't have any of that!"

Immediately, my mind was swept away from the current moment, the beauty of the Mass, and taken to a place I long to be. A place where I hold a sweet child in my arms, a place where the comfort of my husband's arm encircles us both. Surrounded by my loving and vibrant parish community where seemingly hundreds of couples were living this reality with their hundreds of babies, I was overcome by my aching heart.

This is a constant struggle for me: presence in the current moment. How quickly am I able to forget about my present, my present which is very full.

I'm easily distracted by the lives of others. I constantly compare where I am to where friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, etc. are.

Other women my age who are having their first, second, third! child.

Other women my age who are getting engaged or married.

Other women my age who are moving up the corporate ladder, gaining prestige, wealth, and power.

Other women my age who are travelling to places I long to see, experiencing a life I wish I could afford the time or expense to live.

I'm easily overcome with wishing I had what any, or all of them, have....and lose sight of how much I love what I have.

I love where I live; my town and everything it has to offer.

I love my work, my co-workers, and why we do what we do.

I love the travels I've taken, the opportunities I've had, and the trips I'm planning.

I love the relationships I've cultivated, the friends I've made, the stories we can tell.

I love the independence my current life holds, with all it's unpredictability and freedom.

The lives of other women my age are wonderful and beautiful and blessed.

And so is mine.

As a result of my recent birthday - 25! ah! - I've been hit once again with the reality that where I am in my life is not at all where I had hoped, or anticipated. But, this isn't an inherently sorrowful reality.

What would be a sorrowful reality is if I wasted these present moments living in and for the future.

I've finally, truly found a place in my life where I'm content. I know who I am, where I am, and where/who I want to be. Why can't I just sit in that and be content?! If I believe that He has a plan for my life, then I must also believe that this time is also part of His plan! These aches and pains are perhaps simply His pruning of the branches.

These desires of my heart, placed there by God, for marriage and children - ah, and these are such present desires! -  are good and pure, but they are not the end-all-be-all. 

I'm still coming to accept and embrace that my vocation, right now and forever, is to live fully as a follower of Christ. This is not dependent upon my relationship status. Nor is the need for me to grow and evolve into the woman God made me to be.

Regardless of if I'm single, dating, engaged, or married, I'm called to live for Christ every day and love Him above all else. Losing sight of that will only make His pruning more difficult.


Linking up with the Blessed is She community!

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