So much time to think.


"What a weird time we are living in, huh? A worldwide health crisis, not seeing our friends and family as we usually do, routines out of whack and so many unknowns. No doubt, there is a lot of extra difficulty these days. Worry, fear, and uncertainty can stir up the deepest parts of our hearts: old “stuff” that we had already “dealt with” or even new “stuff” that is throwing us off even more. Perhaps this sudden stripping away of normal life reveals parts of ourselves that we didn’t even know needed attention. What if this time of social distancing and quarantine, as hard, scary, and confusing as it is, is a way that the Lord is asking us to let all it go - comfort, routine, normalcy, expectations, etc. - in order to see who we are underneath? To see where His love, His light, and His Mercy can rush in to comfort and heal. 
That is exactly what the Lord did for me when I moved to Honduras in 2012 to serve as a nurse. I had left my job, moved away from family and friends to a new country, new culture, and new language. Everything that had been holding me together - my “normal life” - was now gone. This transition ended up being one of the lowest points of my life..." read the rest of what I wrote here.


Definitely weird times were are living in. I do hope and pray that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy!

Fortunately, I am still working, mostly from home. So, that was an adjustment. Many other things cancelled. Lots of Zoom meetings/meet-ups. I can't wait to stare at a friend's face IRL and not through a screen.

Nuts. I am praying that we are closing in on all of this and we can start getting "back to normal." Whatever that will look like.

I know many people are taking this time to learn new things, be creative, etc. I am not one of those people, but I am...

  • Trying to build better habits for prayer.
  • Being better about journaling.
  • Getting things done around the house.
  • Actually cooking myself meals.
  • Being intentional about reaching out to people.
  • Going for walks. Lots and lots of walks. You may recall that I love them.
  • Trying to write.
I am also sorting out lots of thoughts and feels and all the things. Trying to keep bringing them to Christ. As I allude above, this time really can be challenging on an emotional/mental level if we are now faced with hurts, wounds, thoughts that we usually stuff away with the normal of everyday life. There are parts of my heart that the Lord is shining his light on for more healing. And it's so hard.

It's hard for a person like me who can quickly take all of my struggles and wounds and sins and weaknesses and RUN with it and get caught up in how not great of person I am. 

But that is a lie.

Jesus says to St. Faustina, "Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace." Diary of St. Faustina, 1485

One of the things that the Lord is doing during this time is making me THAT much more aware of my weaknesses so that I CAN bring them to him. It's not the first thing I think to do, because who wants to go to Love and Perfection itself when you are SO FAR FROM THAT.

But, that's the thing with Mercy. And what I think the Lord is trying to show me over and over and over. It brings Him JOY and consoles His sorrowful heart. His heart literally poured forth mercy on the Cross to shower upon the world and not many people take advantage of that. And it brings Him so much more pain. His mercy is unfathomable and endless. 

He wants me.
He loves me.
I bring Him joy.
I console His heart.
All of me
And when I do choose to go, this is how I imagine it...
Sticker from Just Love Prints


Same goes for you.

Not really a life update, update

Well, hello there.

I did go to Seaside in August. Per usual. And it was glorious.

Not sure what one writes after months and months of... nothing. I know I say this each time I have a very long break, but I do miss this space. I do miss writing. It's just.. I don't know. It's hard to just sit and write. My distraction level is through the roof when I stare at the screen. And I just can't get myself to pour out anything.

The thoughts are there. Oh, so many thoughts rolling around in my ol' noggin. But, often times they are thoughts between me and the Lord, me and friends and me and family. You know?

Anyway. This past week. Man. So many things. So much that I actually would like to hash out in writing, hopefully on this here blog. 

This past week some more layers have shed, or beginning to shed, exposing who I am. Me. In all of my imperfect, God-given glory. 

The more that I am exposed, the more I realize there is no shame in who I am. Just like all of us, we have stories to share. Stories that are at times wonderful and fun and harmonious, but usually intertwined with lots of messes, pain and frustrations that leave us a bit tattered, scarred and, yes, a bit shamed.

We have so many choices in this life. We can choose to continue to be defined by all the negative and bad. We can choose to ignore the wounds. We can choose to stay down. We can choose to reject help. 

But, by doing that we are choosing to not be who we are meant to be.

We aren't promised a pain free life. Nope. Through our pain, within our suffering there is hope. The hope of something more. Something bigger. Something to grab onto that can keep us going. 

We can choose to hope. And with that hope, we are exposed to who we are. To confront our battles with an extra oomph. To rejoice in the good and beautiful moments! We can love ourselves better. Love those around us better. We can share our stories without shame. We can support one another. We can lift each other up.

What do you think??

So much more I'd like to touch on, for sure. 

In light of sharing our stories... I did a thing a few months ago where I shared more about the affects of my parents' divorce for the Catholic Herald... you can read that here. This has all been an ongoing healing process, and I am still amazed that I can share it!!

For those of you who follow me on social media, you will have seen that I was hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis for the beginning part of last week. Not only do I want to share more about rhabdo (which I will b/c it isn't that well understood/known), I have some things I would like to share about the week regarding asking for help, family, community, etc. Sooooo maaaaany thooooughts! :)

With that, it's time to get ready for Mass!! So looking forward to actually going to Mass today! Don't take it for granted, people.

I'll be back! (I hope!)
Blessings and hugs,
Jen

It's ok to be sad sometimes.

There was a time when I would write and talk about the single life so much. I mean, I even helped found the Not Alone Series (anyone still around from those days?! Haha... jk. I'm just being dramatic), which was completely dedicated to all things single life, from the Catholic lady's perspective.

It still exists, just not in blog form. We have a private FB group, that Laura is still keeping alive (God bless you). And there are still single ladies.

Blogging is funny. The internet is funny. The need for the community that we established is still so very needed, but it's really hard to sustain because, well, life. Ladies get married. There are other priorities. Plus, in today's social media world, it takes some serious effort and planning to maintain a community that wants to encourage, inspire and build up the kingdom of God with an ever transient group of people.

Yet. I miss it. When I was in the throws of loneliness and depression in FL, NAS was a rock for me. I am so thankful to the women that I met, the love that we shared and the memories that we created.

No, this is not an announcement that I am reviving the old Series back. It's just more of a digression from the main topic I had on my heart to share. Which is:

It's ok to be sad about NOT being married.

Recently, I have been a bit bummed. It's not uncommon for me to feel a little off and out of sorts every so often, it's just part of my ebbing and flowing of depression. Yet, this time I realized it was very specific. I was bummed about not being married.

Typically when I realize I am sad about it, I am veryvery quick to push it away. Think about something else. Drown out my thoughts with something mindless (ie social media). Tell myself that this is not how a vibrant, "living in the now" Catholic lady lives!

Oy. So healthy, right? Hey, I am a work in progress.

This time, however. I allowed myself to be sad. I have a habit of pushing away sadness or hurt (not typically frustration/anger, however... just being honest up in here), in the name of "it's not that serious," "who really cares?" "people are dealing with some way more serious stuff," etc. etc. And specifically with the single life, I do it in the same of "this is not how I am supposed to be as a 'joyful, striving-for-holiness, living in the moment single Catholic woman!'"

No.
Lies.

It is not fair for me to minimize my struggles and pain. Yes, people are going through their own things. Some far more scarier or more difficult or whatever. But, that does not in any way negate my own struggle. Or yours.

Nor, does striving to live an authentic, joyful, Catholic life mean that sadness doesn't happen. That is preposterous, right?! Of course!! Struggles, sadness, grief, pain, etc are just part of life. Period.

And when you feel so deeply in your heart that marriage is part of the plan and it hasn't happened yet (I hope!)... it's a bummer. It's sad.

I am sad that I am not married yet. I am sad that marriage isn't part of my story yet.

Somehow I had an unrealistic expectation for myself that was influenced by this blog and the Series. I subconsciously told myself that I had to have it all together! I had to show everyone that I was living "in the now!" That my life was awesome as a single person! That I loooooved being single!

*chuckle chuckle*

In reality, I didn't have it all together, I am SURE that anyone could have told you that. But, sometimes your mind (and the devil) do tricky things. I don't have it all together. Sometimes, I'm sad. Some days I hate being single. Dating is exhausting. Etc. etc.

So... I was kind of off my game for a few days. I felt far from God. I mean, hello, why would I reach out to the Lord with all of this?! (please note sarcasm) Blah. But, I acknowledged my sadness. I named it. I journaled. And then I went to adoration. Jesus and I had a good chat. I may have been a bit sassy. I was just keeping it real with Him. He gets me.

Instantaneously I felt lighter. I felt a sense of peace. I was able to walk with a little extra skip in my step. And then I literally bumped into this cute guy...

JUST KIDDING.

No. I honestly didn't feel much different right after my prayer time. But, I have since felt the fruit from it. My sense of peace is increasing. And there are no boys in the picture. That would have been idyllic, and I realize that happens for some people, but I would say that for most of us, the lightening bolt God moments don't happen. Life is filled with more small, quiet "a ha" moments of grace.

And it's just as beautiful and breathtaking if you let it be.

Not sure how to wrap up here, but to say... if you are sad about not being where you desire to be (whatever it is for you), then be sad. Acknowledge it. Name it. But don't stay there. Give it to the Lord. Do something that brings you joy. Surround yourself with the people that love you. Allow God to remind you that you are, without a doubt, a wonderful, beautiful, worthy, beloved daughter of His.

Please pray for me, and know of my prayers for you.
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A simple walk



I have taken up walking.

Ya know... when you go outside, let the sun hit your face, breathe in the fresh air and put your feet to the pavement.

Walking.

It's just wonderful.

It really combines multiple things that I love: being outside, moving, exploring, and thinking. I am not sure when I just decided to walk around my neighborhood, but I am glad I did. I discovered a little park! It has a stream and leads to another park through the woods.

I don't always want to go. But, I do. It's part of my routine now. At the minimum on Sundays and Thursdays... and then any other time I can get it in there. I always, always feel good when I get home. It always feels good when you allow your body to move. Especially my body getting beat up multiple times a week with Kempo, walking is a nice, less stress yet active thing to do.

Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I listen to podcasts. Sometimes I pray.

But, I am always walking.


The blue skies get me every time. All the heart eyes.

What is something simple that you do for yourself that you may even take for granted sometimes?!


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A little catch up!

I guess... what in the heck is the point of this here blog if I NEVER POST ANYTHING?!

Life, man.

It's also my blog, so I can do and post what and when I want!! ;)

What's more exciting than pictures, amiright?!

It's almost the end of February... so,  a little recap of my 2018 so far, shall we?

//CONDO\\
Still living in my condo. Nothing too crazy with that. Here is what it currently** looks like:


This was taken back in the Fall when I just got the shelf.


**It's actually currently really, really messy. Basically a tornado has gone through. I am sparing those pictures.

//KEMPO\\
Still doing the Kempo thing. And still LOVING IT!
I tested up to my purple belt back in October, and hopefully will test up to my blue stripe (blue belt with black stripe) soon!


Since January, I have been helping out with the kids classes! It has added to the challenge, but has also been really fun. Every class I am gaining confidence in my interaction with the kids and how to teach them. I have taken the instructor intensives, which is the first steps in becoming an instructor in Kempo. Eventually, I will be able to test up for my red strip (red belt with black stripe), which signifies my official "assistant instructor" status!

Kempo challenges me (almost) every day. I am so so grateful for everything that is has brought in my life.

//NEW YEAR\\
I rung in the New Year with the Orams... and it was just the best.
It was cold. And snowy. But, oh so perfect.
I love those people so very much. A little of my heart is always left behind when I have to leave them again.




//BIRTHDAY\\
I turned 33 at the end of January. 33! It just sounds older. ha!
It's my Jesus year. So, I think it'll be a good one.

It was a low-key birthday... took the day off, had a massage, went to Kempo and got my birthday punches (yes. you literally get punched. it's tradition). The day before my birthday, my work fam surprised me with a little celebration, the weekend after had dinner with the fam, and mid-February, Claudia and I celebrated our birthdays with a bunch of peeps from the dojo. Overall, it was a good one! :)

Yes, that is a urinal as a vase. #nurselife






//VACAY\\
I got to spend a long weekend with my Momma in Panama City Beach, FL! It was just beeeeeautiful! The weather was perfect. The sun was shining. And it was just so nice to be with my mom for a few days!! We walked and shopped and ate and laughed and made memories. Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a wonderful vacay, huh?!







WE WENT ON A HELICOPTER!!!



Overall, 2018 is shaping up to be a good one. :) Life is busy and God is so so good.

It is now Lent. I am doing fairly well with my Lenten sacrifices. I do miss my IG and FB, though. But... it's all good.

A few things I am loving lately:

Ok... that's all I've got.
If you still read this here part of the interwebs, THANK YOU! And say hello! :)
Blessings and prayers for you all!


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