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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Kempo Love



Earlier this year I knew I needed to make a change.
My self-care habits were basically in the toilet... not eating well, limited physical activity, exhausted all the time, just feeling blah.

I wanted to do something different. Something that would challenge me. Something that I wasn't doing alone.

I saw an ad on the back of parish bulletin one random day in late February about a karate class (Kempo). I went to the ol' Google and checked it out. The website was full of smiley, seemingly happy people, stories of students' journeys, and an emphasis on the fact that you didn't have to have any experience, be in any shape and be any age to try it out.

My interest was piqued.

I filled out the online inquiry. Then, over the next MONTH I went back and forth with the instructors (soon, I learned they are referred to as Sensei), asking when I would like to schedule my free class. Meet with them. Etc. Etc.

Finally, I realized I was uber self-conscious. I didn't want to try something and make a FOOL of myself. Prove that I couldn't actually do it.

No. I would just do it. Come on, Jen! Try one class. Just one.

After arriving at a different dojo (gym/studio) than the one I was supposed to and feeling embarrassed about that, I made it to the right one. Sensei was very apologetic and welcoming.

We chatted... and he invited me to stay for the group class that evening.
It was tough.
But, SO FUN!

Each and every one of the other students were so incredibly welcoming. Everyone said hello. Shook my hand. Welcomed me.

And I was hooked. I signed up right then and there.
And have been committed every week (multiple times per week!) since that March evening.

Kempo is a blend of different martial arts styles. Each class we learn new drills and punches and kicks and blocks and strikes and all the things. It is mixed in with endurance/conditioning exercises to increase your heart rate and there is an all-cardio (death class, as it's affectionately called) once a week that I also attend.

It is hard. It is sweaty. It is intense. It is (sometimes) painful.

It is one of the most FUN and AMAZING things that I have done.

I was not expecting to love it as much as I have. Isn't it funny how the things we least expect can be some of the best things for us?!

I WAS SO HAPPY!
Kempo has pushed me. Challenged my perfectionist tendencies. Made me stronger, both physically and mentally. The Lord has worked through Kempo and the people and the sweat to remind me that I am strong. That I am good enough. That I am awesome... just by being me.

I tested up to get my yellow belt. I will probably remember this test for the rest of my life. I didn't go into this Kempo thing to earn a black belt. I hardly even knew what that even meant before I started. But, to keeping growing and learning and challenging myself, you test up to the next belt.

I was so nervous.
But, I did it. It was intense. It was sweaty. But, it wasn't as bad as I made it seem in my head.
My dojo BFF, Claudia!!
Great metaphor for how I do life, sometimes. My own feelings and doubts get in the way of allowing myself to see what is really going on. And believing that I can do it.

Pushing through them and doing it anyway... that's what counts. That's how you grow. That's how you challenge yourself to be better.

One palm strike and front thrust punch at a time.





Beating up on Sensei!

#PKselfie

Oh! I have never seen that ad in the bulletin again.
Good job, Holy Spirit, good job.

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Vacation and Reset!

Wait... is this a blog post?
Is that what I am supposed to do here? Write things?

Dang... it's been a while. Does anyone even stop by this little piece of the interwebs anymore? (Hi Aunt Susan!!)

I just got home from the Jersey Shore, where my mom and I have gone for many, many years meeting up with my Aunt and Uncle. It was the perfect vacation. Beautiful weather. Beach. Family. Yummy food. I started composing an IG post with some reflections... then, I decided to write them out. On my blog. Where I can do that. Let's be honest, though... I'll still post something to the good ol' IG, too.

When we arrived, it was a bit chilly and cloudy. But it was the ONLY day like that.

Traditions are the best.
So is yummy breakfast.

Let's go back.

Love my momma.

Sunrise prayer time.


Also practiced my Kempo.
What's that, you ask? I will be sure to do a whole post on that SOON!






Love these peeps.



I am feeling good, guys.
Like, genuinely good.
It feels so GOOD to say that!! ha.

This vacation was exactly what I needed. Obviously... when are vacations rarely not what we needed, right? But, this was the most perfect timing. To strip away everything. To be away from real life for 7 days. To breath in the fresh, sea salt air. To read. To pray. To dream. To laugh. To hang out with my family. To just... be.

It's exactly what I needed.

The stripping away of all that was affecting my ability to believe the truths about myself and about my life.

We all know that I struggle with depression, and continue to talk with my therapist... or maybe you didn't. Now you know! :) I have mentioned it here (and here and here) a few times before, if you want more of my thoughts. I will continue to speak with him... as it's one of the only consistent ways that I have been able to care for myself, that remind me of these truths:
  • I am loved.
  • I am worthy.
  • I am good enough.
  • Pretty much, I am awesome. :)
But this vacation. Man, this vacation. It's like I have been reset. My energy. My thoughts. I can see these truths through a clear glass. These past few months have been... rough. I have not taken care of myself. I have been incredibly stressed with work. I still don't have a great community here. I was just down. Drowning myself with anything that had nothing to do with building me up (namely the internet and random shows. Nothing too scandalous!). 

I began Kempo (more on that soon, promise!). And working out more consistently. This has been simply amazing for me.

I was beginning to feel really burned out. With work. With life. With all the things.

Then vacation. Thank God for vacation.
I am holding onto to these truths. I am indeed loved. I am indeed worthy. I am indeed enough.

I am loving that I can say those things confidently. I need to be better about making those voices LOUD, instead of the untruths that I typically hear. The devil uses the untruths to pull me away... from myself, from the Lord, from a peaceful and joyous life.

I am sick of it.

So, here is my plan to make those voices louder:
  1. Literally say them out loud to myself every morning.
  2. Journal every morning (even for 10 minutes).
  3. Go to bed on time... 9:30. That is my bedtime. (self care, people. Self care)
That's where I am starting.
Maybe I will use my blogging to keep myself accountable.
What do you guys do to remind yourself of these truths?

Have a blessed Sunday!!


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