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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Real talk- therapy

Let me talk to you all about something.

The raw and real about therapy.

As much as I love it... and as much as I have been changed because of it...

it drives me NUTS sometimes.

It will be 2 years next month. TWO.


Ugh. The almost weekly phone calls. The energy it takes to talk about "what that means to me." The seemingly "pointless" exercises. The crying. The assignments each week. (The not always doing the assignments each week.) The exhaustion.

Sometimes feeling like nothing is happening. I've stalled. My therapist pushes- and nothing.

Will I be doing this for the rest of my life?

Don't get me wrong. My therapist is amazing. He is so d*** good at what he does. I am often taken aback at what he gets out of me, sometimes verylittle of anything, during our sessions. All on the phone, mind you.

But, do I really want to be talking to him for the rest of my life? Do I?

Hmph. For right now... I guess I do. This is how it is. This is what I need to do. God is still working on my heart. My heart still needs some softening. He still has things he wants me to learn.

Like- how the devil can be so far, deep seated into our thoughts that we may not even realize it. It's terrifying. The lies we believe about ourselves (or maybe others or about life) can become so habitual, so normal, that you never think twice about them.

That's what the devil does.

By the grace of God, the Light is shining on those darkened areas. Areas I didn't even realize were dark. How beautiful is that?

So, do I always want to be talking to my therapist? Nope, not at all.
But, I will.
Because the devil hates it.
And I love God.
God always wins.

Just keep swimming, guys. Seriously.

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Here's to 2016!

It's 2016! Crazy.

I asked my grandfather this morning, "when you were young did you ever think you would see life in 2016??" Being born in 1926, when the life expectancy was maybe in the 60s... being almost 90 and still kicking in 2016 must be nuts. He said, "I never even thought about it," while smiling as if to think back about his life over the years.

In his almost 90 years, the world has changed so very much. I'm sure almost every year there was just something so new. So different. Sometimes scary, but hopefully exciting!

That part of life doesn't change. Each new year brings about something new. And with it- Hope. Anticipation. Excitement.

As 2015 was winding down for me this year, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't doing anything fun to ring in 2016. I mean, I've never been a HUGE NYE person, but still! Anyway, I got over myself and just decided that I was going to binge watch some Gilmore Girls and then ring the year quietly. In prayer.

And that's what I did.

It was perfect. I needed that time. The coloring (so fun!). Singing along with Matt Maher and Audrey Assad at the One Thing prayer conference. Thinking about how amazing 2015 was and how much hope, anticipation and excitement I have for 2016.

We had the BEST time together! :)

The last half of 2015 was a whirlwind of change and transition. So much good. So much peace. But, so much exhaustion. Ha! The last few weeks were even crazier. With an early Christmas with my momma, running around getting all the last minute Christmas things done and traveling to be with my beloved Oram family for actual Christmas AND working, of course -- I was spent. And woke up this morning with a little cold to prove it. So yes... new year? SO happy you are here!!
My heart was SO full being
together again!

This is what I am looking forward to in 2016:

  • More prayer.
  • A better routine.
  • A place of my own.
  • Traveling
  • Lots and lots of love to give and receive.
In one of the reflections Matt (Maher) gave, he said something about not knowing everything, but knowing the One who does. I don't have all the answers. I have no idea how my life will continue to unfold, nor do I really have any idea what 2016 will offer. I am still an imperfect daughter of our Lord, and I know that he is Love. When I fail to love well or be the person He wants me to be or am struggling, He is still there.

My biggest hope and prayer for you today, is that you can experience the abundance of Love you have in your life. Sure, you may have to dig a little, but keep trying. You may be surprised just where you find Love.

Know of my prayers! 
Here's to 2016!

Love and blessings,

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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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