No blogging and losing my footing.

I don't know what to say.

I have written and erased... again and again.

I want to write here. I miss this space. The white background is intimidating.

This is an interesting crossroads... should I just stop the blogging altogether? No one has noticed my absence (other than my mom!! :) Love you.)... which is humbling. And makes me question.

Who am I writing for? Me? Other people?
Just to get some sort of recognition?
What is the purpose of my blog?
Is there a point anymore?

The blogging world is big. HUGE. So many other people talking about things that I have or will... in ways that are funnier, more eloquent or just better.

Is there still a place for me?

I'm just not sure anymore. I am taking this to prayer...

Along with where I am right now in my life.

I didn't realize it until a recent conversation with my therapist, but I have somehow lost my footing. I am not feeling grounded right now. I am a bit unsettled.

There is so much going on - some wonderful, some annoying; some little, some big - that I kind of, almost, just a teenytinybit, feel a loss of control.

Has that happened to you? You... whoever you are that still reads this... or stumbles upon this.

I still feel so happy to be here, please don't misunderstand. I absolutely, 100% feel like I have made the right decision to move, start back at the hospital, experience seasons (although I am a WIMP with the cold now) and have life be here... which is a wonderful, amazing feeling. Answered prayers for the win.

With that though... life can be overwhelming.

Obviously. That may seem like a no-brainer. But, I have been putting those thoughts aside for a while. So, now I am letting them surface.

Family - Not having my own space - still working on myself - healing - finding community - maintaining some sort of prayer life - gaining a healthy work/life balance - missing my friends - maintaining connections - "dating" (trying, anyway!) - happenings in the world - LIFE.

Perhaps this blogging hiatus is related to my state in life currently? I can't really write, when I don't even know what I am feeling. Ya know?!

So... that's me. Life is great... just a little overwhelming right now. I hope to strengthen my footing soon! And maybe even write again.

Prayers and hugs,
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That was nice.

Oh hey there!

So... I took a very sudden and unplanned internet/social media break this past week. Which inadvertently meant blogging, I guess. It wasn't really in the things I wanted to break from. Reading blogs? Yes. But writing them.... I guess I needed a break from that, too.

Anywho... that break. AWESOME.

I was laying awake trying to fall asleep and my mind would not stop. It was going and going... and I had this passing thought- you should take a break from social media and the internet in general.

And that's what I did.

The next morning on my way into work, I listened to the Caritas Podcast where Brigid and Elise interviewed Erica Tighe from Be A Heart. Erica candidly shared her story about alcoholism, depression and anxiety. About overcoming those things. And about working on them everyday.

It was a beautiful story of grace and healing and trust. The girls talked a lot about addictive behaviors, and the internet was brought up again and again. How quickly habits can become addictions if we aren't careful.

Listening to their conversation spoke to my heart and was the perfect confirmation I needed about taking my internet break. Thanks, Jesus. :)

When I was waiting for the shuttle, I had a conversation with a guy that I ride the shuttle with everyday. That day, my head wasn't bent down staring at my glowing screen... I was looking around, taking in the world around me, and connecting with people.

Crazy. ;)

It was so wonderful, you guys. Hard that first day.... and at moments when I was bored (ie. waiting for something, usually), but mostly, I didn't miss it too badly.

Sure, I missed keeping up on all the things, but I realized that I mostly didn't care about knowing all the things. Ya know? I always want to know what's going on with that person or that brand or that company, namely because I always know what's going on. Then, when I stopped being inundated... I realized I didn't have the same need to know urgency.

I kept up with the people and things that were important to me.

Now is the time to purge. To take away some of the noise.

I don't know need to be online as much as I am. I don't need to know all the things. I just don't. I'm pretty sure no one even realized I wasn't around... which, ya know, is humbling. And forces me to reexamine my online presence in and of itself.

What I need is to be present to God. My family. My friends. My community. And that may just look different than it has been.

I'm still trying to figure it out. :)

I hope you all have a had a wonderful and blessed Sunday!
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

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Why I Remain Catholic

The pope's in town. Did you hear? :)

He visited DC, NYC and ended his trip at the World Meeting of Families in Philly this past weekend. He has been on the go go go since he stepped foot on American soil. Speaking, visiting, celebrating Mass.

And everyone is watching.

Every media outlet is covering it in some way.
People from all faiths, all walks of life are talking about Pope Francis. Talking about Catholicism. It'a a beautiful thing.

And I'm all.... not. I just haven't been into it.

I feel like a really horrible Catholic or something for even admitting that.

But, it's the truth. I have been thinking and reflecting about why that is. Why is it that I am not as excited as the rest of the Catholic people, as the rest of the world?

I still can't put my finger on it. It might be a combo of things- stress about getting to work (I work in DC), I have been blessed to be in Papa Benny's presence twice and didn't feel the urgency to see Pope Francis... maybe. There is SO much about our dear leader that I love. And there are some things that give me pause. I also really really really miss Pope Benedict. I feel like people give him a bad rap for choosing to retire, and that just makes me sad.

Martha seemed had similar thoughts about it in her own post. Check it out, but I especially liked what she said at the end:
The thing about Pope Frances is that when you talk of him, you can never really be sure what to say. There's so much to love and so much to confound; much to celebrate and to mourn. When he speaks, we always want to believe the best - but it's so rarely clear that's what he means. Perhaps that's why we're silent - because, just like the rest of the world, he's simply giving us a lot to think about.

Regardless of what I think or don't think about the Pope being in town...

I am proud to be Catholic.

If you've been around for a while, then I'm sure you have picked up on that. :) I wanted to elaborate on that juuuuust a little bit. I am hoping (praying!) that with all of this coverage of Papa Francesco and our beloved Church, people will begin to get a glimpse of the Church that I love. Maybe they will see Her beauty. Her love. Her joy.

Usually our culture and world think it's weird, degrading, discriminating or just plain wrong. In many ways, it's a radical way to live. And you know, I love it! Here are some of the reasons why! Disclaimer- I am no theologian, I am an imperfect daughter of Christ who has found her home in the Catholic faith. I am just being honest in my love for the faith, but if there is something seriously glaring that contradicts Church teaching, let me know.

God's love. It's the basis for everything in the Church. His love is what keeps me going... when I am rude, unloving and say stupid things, God still loves me. All of me. When I worry, when I doubt, when I am angry, when I am judgmental, when I don't love myself. God does. Always has, and always will. It's such a beautiful and powerful thing. It's a love that I don't understand, yet God calls us to this love, anyway.  We are called to bring that love to others. To serve and give of ourselves to every single person. Our families. Our friends. Our coworkers. Our enemies. Babies. Elderly. Homeless. Christians. Non-Christians. Those that believe what I believe, and those that don't. It's not a choice. Every person deserves love because they are part of the human family, created out of love by the One who is Love.

Ok, ok Jen... we get that. But, Catholicism, really?


Every.single.thing the Church teaches is based on that love. We are called to love and serve all those around us, in our house, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces and around the world. No single person is off limits to His love, and thus our love. The Church and her wisdom calls us to something more. Pushes and guides us to extend that love.

My absolute favorite thing about the faith: it is truly universal. Every Sunday at Mass, people from across town, throughout the country and around the world, across cultures and languages, are hearing the same readings from the Bible, praying the same prayers, receiving the same Eucharist. Every.single.mass. WHAT?! It blows my mind. It welcomes every single person in the world, because it's a reflection of the love that God has for each of us. We are all messy, sinful and crazy, yet there is a place for each of us in the Catholic faith.

It is Truth. It just makes sense. It's logical. It has believed the same things since the days Jesus walked the Earth. It brings together science and faith in a beautiful way. It stands up for those truths, no matter what. It pushes and challenges me to be who God created me to. I don't want to be  complacent in my walk with Christ, and there is no way to be that way when you are doing your best to live the Catholic life.

It is beautiful. From the old architecture of the churches throughout the world to the wonderful pieces of art to each individual. Catholicism is rich in beauty. The dignity of every.single.human person (babies, the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, the mom, the dad, the friend, the coworker) is beautiful in the eyes of God, therefore, too, in the eyes of the Church.

It serves others. Obviously, Catholicism is one of the biggest proponents of social justice, serving those in need and helping those in the trenches. Throughout the world, Catholic organizations are doing all they can do to bring people out of poverty, feed the hungry, get kids to school, protecting the Christians that can't proclaim their faith. It's part of God's universal call to love. The Catholic faith takes that very seriously.

There is always someone else. Listen, Catholicism has been around for thousands of years now. The people that have gone before us- the Saints, and saints. Those that have learned how to live a life of love and holiness better. There is always someone to pray for you. Those people in Heaven, but those that you see at church on Sunday. People who would love, more than anything, to pray for you and your needs. There is also someone who knows how to answer your questions. There are people who have studied the faith, written books and created ways for us to understand the faith better. No matter what your question- there is someone else who has also asked it, and most likely answered it. If there isn't a clear answer, there are discussions about those things. And, it's pretty awesome! We have a natural desire to want to know about life and Truth and love- the Catholic faith is ready for those questions!

The sacraments. It would be remiss to not mention the wonderful sacraments. Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation (confession), Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. These tangible gifts of God's grace is simply an amazing thing. The Church believes, without a doubt, that each of these Sacraments provides people with Grace. A gift from God, to be able to get through the crazy of life. It's an amazing thing really.

I have found a home here in the Catholic faith, and for those that don't always understand why... I hope this helped, at least a little bit. I want to be the best person I can be - to always strive for that - and I believe Catholicism pushes me to be just that.

Know of my prayers for you!

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#BlessedBrunch: on community, going deep and being enough.

Via Mary's IG :)
What a gift.

Yesterday... it was a beautiful, fun, joyful and so very needed gift.

I attended my first #BlessedBrunch!

I have been involved with the fab Blessed is She community just after it's inception, around this time last year, I think. I didn't realize it at the time just how much this group of women would impact me, my life, and my faith. From the first Advent journal, to the daily devotions, subsequent journals and regional FB groups... I have gotten to know some wonderful women. Grown in my relationship with God. And saw how beautiful women really can be toward one another.

The need for community is real. The need and desire for authentic friendships are real. The need for women to encourage and support one another is real.

Being back in the DC area has been so good. My job is good (busy! But amazing!). Seeing my family is great. Getting the little peeks into Fall... sooooo exciting! (Scarves, here I come!!) But, my thirst for community has been at an all time high, I'd say. Leaving it, to not having it... and spending a lot of time with work stuff... it makes me feel a little imbalanced.

My faith is my priority.
And building myself up to serve and love all those around me (including those at my job).
Surrounding myself with people that will build me up, and point me towards Heaven.
That's what I need.

Mary, again!
So, this brunch?? It couldn't have come at a better time!

Mary was a fabulous hostess!
The weather was beautiful (very sunny... may or may not have a burn to prove it).
The food was DELISH!
But the company... the best.

Because BIS is a community of authentic positivity... meaning, we can be ourselves (messes and all), while loving, supporting, encouraging and building each other up... that was our expectation when going to this brunch. And that is what happened within our conversations.

It's an amazing thing when you can talk about the messes and struggles in life right from the get-go, and not feel ashamed or unloved or even weird/awkward. We were married, single, kids, no kids, kids with special needs, young and older (not old... never old)! We were listening and we were being heard. We were nodding along. We were laughing. We may have even shed some tears.

What struck me most- the similarities of our struggles and worries even though we were all in different stages/states in life. Feelings of isolation, thirsting for community, desiring authentic friendships. Those are true and real no matter who you are. We as women need to be reminded of those things, so we can get out of our bubbles and be more intentional with our friendships. Of meeting new people. Of realizing that we, as women, are way more alike than different.

I was reminded, yesterday... I am enough.
I am enough to be loved by God.
I am enough to be heard.
I am enough as a single lady.
I am enough with my messes and doubts and worries and all.
I am enough... just as I am right now, right at this moment in life to be loved, supported, encouraged and believed in.

This is why community is important.
This is why we need to each other to remind us of these simple truths.
We are meant to go through this life with others.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Mary for hosting and to all the #BlessedBrunchFX ladies for saying YES!!! Yes for coming out, being open and vulnerable, and accepting me as me.

This one is mine this time. :)

Let's do this again.
Real soon.

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Let's see... many of you heard about/saw this:

Kelley Johnson was 2nd runner-up for Miss America, and is also a nurse (obviously). I found her monologue to be unique, simple, genuine and humble. She is proud to be a nurse. She has every right to be. Us nurses, we love sticking up for one another (ok, yes... and pointing out the bad apples, but mostly we support one another!)... and I am proud of this woman for standing out amongst all those traditional talents and being proud of her chosen profession. I was so happy to see this video going viral, people talking about how awesome nurses are (because we are), supporting one another, lifting each other up. It was/is beautiful!

And then, perhaps, you saw this:

Ummm... yea. Where Joy Behar asked, "why does she have a doctor's stethoscope around her neck?" Oy.

Which resulted in great memes such as:
Shout out to my fellow CNMC nurses for this! :)
Even doctors all over the place were posting pictures of support... like this guy:

It's great! People are talking about nurses! So much! It's great to get so much recognition, positive attention and love from so many people. We really do have an awesome job... no matter where you practice, inside or outside of the hospital setting.

But dang... some nurses are peeved. OUTRAGED. Petitioning to get "The View" cancelled.



Over some incredibly ignorant things that were said? Those ladies have no idea what they are talking about. They are talk show hosts. They talk and talk and talk and talk. That's what they do. A lot of it is useless and boring. Are we surprised that they don't know much about a nurse and their profession?

I mean, the reality is: not many people have any inkling of what a nurse does. If you are a nurse, then you know. Plain and simple.

No TV show gets it right. Our friends and family don't always get the full picture. And while our patients and families know how much we care for them, even they don't have a clear idea.

Why are we surprised that a TV talk show host didn't either?

Let's take all of this enthusiasm and attention and turn it back to our work.
How can we improve patient safety?
How can we decrease our patient load?
What about increasing RN satisfaction?
What is the best way to increase medication/procedure compliance?

Imagine what a difference we (the nurses) could be making for our patients and families, if we spent all this time trying to improve best practices, decrease hospital acquired infections, increase our nurse/staff morale, instead of trying to get Joy Behar fired?

Harsh? Perhaps. But, I'm entitled to my opinion, too! :)

Let's just keep doing what we are doing. Let's take our "15 minutes of fame" and share our stories. Tell the world why we are awesome. Remind them that we are so much more than #justanurse.

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