Negative Self Talk

I had made a mistake a couple weeks ago. A mistake at work. It caused some confusion. I had to work quickly to rectify things and get the information back out. And really, it all worked out. No major damage was done. At all! PTL.

But, you guys. I made a mistake. I couldn't believe it! Ya know, a mistake that I didn't catch before. People had to see. I was embarrassed. I was annoyed at myself. I was just really bummed about it.

And then I was feeling a little down. For a couple of days.

All the thoughts started running through my head. See, you can't actually do this job. You aren't that good at it. Why do people trust you to do this? Just proves that you aren't good at much of anything. Then everything starts flooding into my head. You are so stupid. You can't do your job. You are still single! No one will love you. You're impatient. And rude. And on and on and on.

Oh, but, this time. Before I really spiraled, like I usually do. I stopped. I pulled out my journal.

And I wrote.
I acknowledged my frustrations.
My sin.
And reminded myself that those things don't define me.
I wrote down a little bit of how God sees me, and that is who I want to be.
I chose to be around people the following days.

And it was a beautiful Grace. I didn't spiral. I mean, it was seriously amazing! And that grace, I am SURE of it, sailed me right into a beautiful and blessed Holy Week.

Negative self-talk. I am a PRO. It's not something I am proud of, but it is definitely something I am always, always dealing with. And only just recently (even with the years of therapy!), have I begun to figure out how I handle it best.

It's a choice I have to make, almost, every day. I have to choose to ignore those thoughts. I have to remind myself that when I become that person, it is NOT who God has created me to be. It is most definitely not my authentic self. Especially when I have the days when I am down about being single. Sometimes it seems too easy to see why I am single. But, those reasons? They are not from God. They are just a deep seated hold that the freakin' devil has, that I am working SO HARD to get rid of.

For me? Writing down and rewriting and rewriting (and rewriting) the things that I like about myself, the things that I am good at, the ways that God sees me has finally proven to be fruitful. Choosing to ignore those thoughts. Surrounding myself with people. Because when you are thinking way less of yourself, why would you want to be around people? No, I have to choose to be with people. Most especially people that build me up, inspire me and encourage me to be the best that I can be.

It's a work in progress, but for now? I am SO enjoying where I am. To finally be breaking free of this chain that has tied me up for FAR too long.

Do you struggle with this? No you aren't alone. And let me remind you... you are so so SO loved! Even when you feel down. Even when you sin. Even when you don't love yourself. You are absolutely, 100% loved... :) Praying for you!

So, SURPRISE! I am hosting Not Alone Series this week!!! WHAT?! Thanks for having me back this week! And for Lindsay and Rachel for reaching out!

Being single can leave us feeling unworthy and unloveable sometimes, but we know that it's not true! How do you avoid negative self-talk? How do you lift yourself up instead of allowing yourself to be down? How can we continue to acknowledge our low-points, but encourage each other to something more?

Please, please join us!!!

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By Catholic All Year via her FB Page.

Happy, happy Easter, Friends!!!

Gosh, in some ways, I can't believe it's Easter already! In other ways, man! I am SO GLAD it's Easter already! :)

I basically bombed Lent. It wasn't my best one.

Holy Week, though. That was my jam this year, guys.

It started out with a beautiful (and quick!) Lenten retreat with the Franciscan Sisters up in Steubenville, OH.

Such a wonderful day reflecting in God's mercy and love.

I was able to go to a beautiful Palm Sunday Mass at my alma mater.... by one of my favorite priests! It was perfect. Jump started the week perfectly.

I just really felt present throughout this whole week, and it was wonderful. I was able to enter into each day, so that by today I could REALLY celebrate! Ah! Such an amazing thing!

I hope you all, too, have had a blessed Holy Week and beautiful Easter day!!
May God continue to pour His blessings upon you!

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I tried to stop yelling at people in my car

Key word: tried.

I gave it up for Lent. The yelling at the obvious stupid people who don't know how to drive. The getting incredibly frustrated. The interrupting conversations with people (mostly my mom!) to FREAK OUT at the person who cut me off.

I tried I'm trying. But, dang.

You know what I have learned? This is an incredibly deep-seated habit. It is my guttural reaction to get angry. Yell. Freak out. #%@^*!.

I said a lot of quick Hail Marys at first. "God BLESS you" in a very frustrating tone. But, as the weeks have gone on... the prayers have almost stopped and the frustration just remains.

I am not proud of that person. I don't like that person.

I started saying the Rosary in the morning. It has helped tremendously. Imagine that.

Last week at Mass we heard the Prodigal Son parable that we are all pretty familiar with. If you aren't, check it out, but here is the quick and dirty: a dad and his 2 sons live on a farm-- the younger one takes his earnings and inheritance and blows through ALL the money on feasting and prostitutes. The older one is loyal and stays, of course. The younger brother realizes that he can have a better life as a servant of his father, so he returns. The dad rejoices and throws him the biggest party!! Slaughtered the best calf, gave him a fancy robe! And the older son is... jealous and angry! He did all the right things and his dad NEVER threw a party for him. "My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." ~ Luke 15:31-32

So, the priest talked about this parable in a way that I hadn't really heard before. Together, the sons represented the 7 Capital/Deadly Sins: Greed, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Anger and Pride.

The younger son seems pretty obvious- greed, gluttony, lust and sloth.
The older- envy, anger and pride.

The priest focused on Pride. Of all of the sins- pride is the most dangerous. It can infect all areas of ones life, when you think that you are good enough or the best at certain things (work, faith, etc)-- you stop growing. You stop seeing others as equals in life. It prevents you from truly loving. And start judging.

Gosh. How easy it is to find myself in the older son. Hence, the reason I bring up my road rage tendencies- it pretty much stems from pride. I know better about driving, and NO ONE IS DRIVING CORRECTLY!

Which is completely false. I am not a perfect driver. No one is, let's be honest. ;) Those other drivers deserve love... and I am not loving them. Even if it's from the inside of my car and I never speak to them.

Then, I started to evaluate my life a little deeper. Look, I in no way think that I am perfect- in life, in my faith, at work, with my friends, with my family. Not at all. Buuuuut, pride still creeps in. That's the thing with pride. That's why it's so dangerous. You can be humble it a lot of ways, and be prideful in many others.  For me, it creeps in mostly with my faith (and when I'm driving, I guess). The way I choose to live my life, and the way that God calls us to live through the Catholic Church. It's so easy to fall in the trap of "these are things that we are supposed to do- I do them... you don't. Or I do them better... you don't."

It's such an ugly trap to get caught up in, ya know? I fall prey to this sin particularly with fellow Catholics- mostly the ones who say they are Catholic, but so obviously don't live any of her teachings. You know the ones.

But also with my friends at certain times. And even with my family. I am the only practicing Catholic in my family. A lot of the time I feel as if I am on the defensive about my beloved faith. Lots of misconceptions fly around. Lots of misunderstanding. Lots of beautiful moments to bring the Truth. But, also perfect moments to be prideful.

Which has caused some moments of tension. Some heated, passionate discussions. This is how it is! I say. But it doesn't have to be that way for everyone, they say. And off I go to Mass, no eating meat on Fridays during Lent, ticking off all the "things" that a "good Catholic" should do.

Bringing the Truth and showing love is hard sometimes. Especially when people don't see where you are coming from. Or I don't see where they are coming from. I don't want people to see me check off the "Catholic To-Do List" and that be that.

It's so much more.

I want people to know Love. I want them to know a love so deep, so wide, so beautiful, so captivating. A love that only God through Jesus can bring. It's a love that few understand. It's a love that we are all deserving of. All of us.

It is through this love that I am able to live life. It is through this love that I am able to see my fullest potential. It is through this love that I am able to love others. Imperfect, yes, but love just the same.

Pride takes away that love. It stomps down my ability to love and replaces it with judgment. Jealousy. Frustrations. Misunderstanding. Attitude. And sometimes, downright ugliness.

I pray, Lord God, that you will tear the walls of pride down. I pray that I can love my family, friends, coworkers, strangers, more fully and deeply. Remind me, Lord, that each person on this Earth is an encounter with You. Each moment is a moment to share in your love. Your grace. And your mercy. Especially in the car!!! Amen.

How do you deal with pride?? I can't be the only one!

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What an honor

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend Justice Scalia's public viewing at the Supreme Court.

What?? Yea.

I am still in awe.
I am still processing.
Did that really happen?

Let me back up for a sec.

If you know me... you know that I am not at ALL in the know with anything related to government, politics and the like. I am one of those people that would get quizzed randomly by Jimmy Fallon's people about how a bill becomes a law and all that and... fail. Then the video would go viral with questions like, "what is wrong with the young people of this country?"


So, just know that.

I heard the news of the Justice's death by way of a text from Martha:

Sad? Embarrassing? Perhaps. But, this is me. (And thank God I'm not alone! Heeeeey Steph!)

Anyway. You can imagine that I didn't know much about the late Justice. I have learned things here and there throughout this week, of course. Overwhelmingly, I heard what a wonderful, faithful man he was, and how much he touched the people in his life.

Beautiful, right?

Ok... fast forward to Friday. I was texting with a friend about getting together. She was saying that she was going to the Supreme Court and may be available after.

Supreme Court? Um, what are you doing there? Should I know what's happening?

Justice Scalia's public viewing, of course. I should go, she says! It's only a 0.5 mile walk from Union Station (where I park/get the employee shuttle for work)!

Um. Sure. Why not?! History and all of that.

So, I went. I walked from Union Station to the Supreme Court, ya know... like all the people in the city do. Walk to places. To me, if felt very adult and adventurous.

Man, I gotta get out more.

I digress.

I walked up to the building and there are a TON of people. TONS. All for this one, great man. Beautiful.

I met up with my friend and we had to walk blocks and blocks and blocks to get to the end of the line. And then... we waited. After an hour of the line kind of moving but mostly not moving, my friend texted her friend that works for one of the justices... and was at work. At that moment.

10 minutes later we go through the employee entrance and are going through security.


We go up the elevator to the floor WHERE ALL THE CHAMBERS ARE! Receive a mini tour. See the fireplace (apparently it's a big deal. Obviously). Everything was so grand! It was surreal.

Before we know it, we were on our way to the Great Hall.

Everything was moving so fast. I couldn't catch up to the moment. I was still so happy I wasn't in the cold anymore! I had no idea what to expect for the evening. I have never stepped foot near the Supreme Court building and here I was standing INSIDE, just having visited some chambers. I didn't know I would "enjoy" (not the best word to use under the circumstances, but go with me) all of it until I was IN it. It was just all too much.

I kept looking at my friend with this "is this real life? what is happening?" look. Because, really. Was this real life? And, was this actually happening?

Yes. And, yes.

I was very quickly brought back to the moment, when a young guy saw someone he knew in our little group- he began to cry. And my heart broke.

Not only did our country lose a great man, but all of these people inside this building had lost a coworker, a mentor, a friend, and from what I hear, an encourager, supporter, etc. His family lost a husband, father, and grandfather.

We rounded the corner to the Great Room. And I was so overcome with awe. The room is indeed great. Bright. Quiet. There, Justice Scalia's casket, draped with an American flag, lie in the middle.

We moved in front of the casket for a few moments. I prayed for him. And ask him to pray for us. We need his prayers so very much.

Just as I was about to walk out the doors, I can feel like the ladies are not with me. I turn back, and the changing of the guards was happening. Amazing.

And then we were on the steps of the Supreme Court. Staring at one another. Overwhelmed.

I am just so humbled and honored to have been able to be part of this in some small way. I am grateful to learn about a man who has represented our country and our faith so well. I am blown away by the outpouring of love (for the most part) for this man- for this husband and father and grandfather. I hope to continue to learn more.

May you rest in peace, Justice Scalia.
And please, please pray for us and our beloved country!

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Birthday Shenanigans!

So, my birthday has come and gone.

Which means that the month of January has come and gone. Obviously. You know that already.

But, it flew by! FLEW. I feel like there are moments when time just goes by so quickly. I can't keep up. I'd rather be enjoying all of this than just waiting for it it go by. Ya know?!

Anyway... I just thought I'd chat about my birthday. I feel like I've been real serious around here lately AND depriving you all of pictures. Honestly, it's not as fun to share pics when I don't have adorable children to show off. ;)

I really wanted to just go away for the weekend, but not really go out of town. Fortunately, there are many places in the DC Metro area that you can make this happen. I decided on National Harbor. I have loved this area since it started many, many years ago. I have seen it grow from just a few hotels and the Peeps Store, to shops! restaurants! a ferris wheel! outlets! all the things!

One of the main hotels is the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center. My aunt does events there frequently and has some amazing connections. So... wait, I am getting ahead of myself! Hold on. :)

Last Friday, my office mate surprised me by decorating my door and desk AND with a yummy cake. :) I celebrated with my coworkers and it was very sweet. My mom even surprised me with FLOWERS!! So much love, you guys.

There were many, many times during the month that I legitimately forgot my birthday was coming. There has been so much going on at work, and life is happening, as well. It's funny that I got to the point in my life that I forgot. I love birthdays. And I love MY birthday.

I guess it's all part of getting older. Living life. Being busy. Weird. :)

I am just going to get to the pics and share the rest of my weekend through them!
Waiting to check-in... view of the atrium. If you even get a chance to visit a Gaylord hotel, do it. They are so fun!
 Like I mentioned before, my Aunt Marie has some connections at the Gaylord. And boy, did those connections blow me away!
A CAKE! Made by the pastry chef. 



A beautiful view. Seriously. It was amazing.

Allll the heart-eye emojis!!!

To say that I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I was just walking around the room... the bedroom, the living area, the bathroom... looking out the window. I couldn't believe I was about to be hanging out HERE for the weekend. That my Aunt went all out. For me. Because it was my birthday. In that moment, I was just so overcome with love. I am so incredibly blessed with this amazing family that I have. We are not perfect, but we sure do love one another.

Beeeeautiful view at dinner!

Family dinner! Missing a few people, but it was still wonderful.

We went back up to the room and enjoyed some cake. And took some selfies, of course.
Aunt Marie and Uncle Duane.
 And THEN! I picked up this girl. :) PARTY TIME!

Listen, we may or may not have had quite a bit of wine.
And then walked around.
And were very silly.

Steph was very very excited about the snow!
We went to bed way too late. And then just hung out allllll day on Sunday (my actual birthday). It was really nice, actually. I kept thinking, maybe we should have done something.. but sometimes, it's ok to be still. Be lazy. Watch movies. Order room service. :)

We did manage to make it to Mass at the basilica! Looooove that place.

Stepped out of the door and saw this.
Stunning, right?
Basilica at dusk!
 We made it back to the Harbor for dinner... and MC joined us! :) It was wonderful and delicious.

Steph has been wanting to go to the Zoo for quite some time... and FINALLY we made it.

And got to see BEI BEI!!!! He is sooo cute. I can't even handle it.

Thanks for the pose!

A little rain ain't gonna stop us! Especially with those awesome ponchos!

Martha sent this in a text: "I made this for Auntie JENS birthday!"

And my heart burst.

Overall... it was a wonderful birthday! Thank you all for the wonderful messages, words of love and prayers. This year has already started off beautifully!

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