12 in '14 and other Yearly Ramblings





JANUARY

~ I came up with goals for 2014, where I was sorely unsuccessful
~ I celebrated my last year in my 20s (where I got the great gifts to the left)



FEBRUARY

~ pretty flowers from a good friend for Valentine's Day
~ Not much happening. Probably still struggling with work.
~ Missing my family, and desiring one of my own

MARCH

~ Happy birthday, Grammy! :)
~ Enjoyed my first ever spring break as a school nurse! 
~ Reflected on what it means to be part of my parish community.




APRIL 

~ Seemed to be a quiet month
~ The blog got a facelift


MAY

~ Mom visited for Mother's Day!!
~ feeling a bit disconnected from God
~ So ready for school to be DONE!



 JUNE

~ HUGE travel month
~ NAS turned ONE! :) :)
~ Opened up about my acne/pill experience

JULY

~ Hands down, #NASavannah!!
~ I also went to #Steubie14 and Aruba



 AUGUST

~ Hung out at Seaside, like old times. :)
~ Reflected on God's love.
~ Was not ready for school/work to start back up, but survived the first couple of weeks.
~ Ever wondered what being in love feels like? Well, I have.












SEPTEMBER

~ The one time were were ON TV!!!
~ Work/life were busy, so I only seemed to do NAS posts.
~ Sometimes, that happens.


OCTOBER

~ My sweet goddaughter turned TWO!
~ Colly turned THIRTY


NOVEMBER

~ Sometimes, I still can't believe I live in Florida.
~ I didn't blog much, other than NAS posts.
~ I did travel to see my mom for Thanksgiving, where we hung out with reindeer!






DECEMBER

~ This was a stressful month for me, but it ended really well.
~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!
~ So much family time! :)









Thanks, Dwij for hosting 12 in 2014! Check out everyone else's pics! :)

Blog Highlights:

Gosh. What a year! IT FLEW BY! I feel like I was JUST sitting at my dad's dining room table playing Scrabble getting ready to ring in 2014. Nuts, I tell you... NUTS! 

The thing that seems to jump out at me... the people. I just reflected on this a bit on the 'gram, but coming home after an amazing Christmas filled with my family, I am struck with the people I have in my life.  All of the special moments over this past year were all done with wonderful people. My family. My friends. Sometimes a lot of them. Sometimes one of them. Sometimes they are even combined. :) I know I've talked about the awesome people in my life incessantly, but right now, I am so thankful. I am so FULL. As Kathryn Whitaker reflected, people are the greatest gift. No piece of clothing, a necklace, a gadget or thing will ever be able to replace the people in our life. They are, indeed, the greatest. :)

Good job, God, for the awesome people you have blessed me with.

As I look forward to 2015... I have NO idea what to expect. While 2014 was amazing in SO many ways, I can't help but feel like I let myself down. I made goals, and barely touched them, let alone reached them. I know. It's ok! I was where God wanted me to be throughout the year, and I can only hope to focus more on His will. 

So, this New Year's Eve... no goals. I am just going to take 2015 a day at a time. I will work on my relationship with Him, with others and myself. Although, I would actually like to get back to running AND using my good camera. Don't go crazy, Jen! :)

Maybe St. Jerome will keep me in line! :) St. Jerome, pray for me! You can get a Patron Saint for 2015, too! Check it out, here

See ya later, 2014! Hello, 2015! To everyone who has kept up with me over this last year... THANK YOU! It means more than I can put into words. I hope all of you have a wonderful night ringing in the New Year and 2015 starts out awesome and blessed (or awesomely blessed!)!!

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The Sisterhood

I feel like everyone under the sun (or Son?? ha!) has been giving their two cents about The Sisterhood... and well, here I am to join them.  Enjoy!



Listen. I was expecting to not like it.

Honestly... I didn't want to like it.

And, well, the short of it is... I DO like it. And I will continue to watch. ... considering I started writing this post 2 episodes in and I just finished the season, I can say that I liked it. The whole thing.

It's always so worrisome when a big time network, in this case Lifetime, talks about our faith. My first inclination is to be on the defensive. Ready to counteract the things they get wrong. I am very critical. I am ready to be annoyed (and then not surprised) that they get it wrong!

Ha. I wonder what that says about me? No need to answer. :)

Anyway... discernment. Religious life. Convents.

These are things that the general population have no idea about.  It's a foreign world. Only the very holy, "perfect" women.... or the ladies that aren't pretty enough/have to settle with never getting married, are the ones who become nuns. You have to give up your whole life to what? Sit around an old convent all day? You can never have sex! You have to live with all women! So many misconceptions and presumptions about the religious life.  But there is so much beauty and awesomeness, too... and I believe the show captured that very, very well.

I did find some parts of the show cheesy and the drama was kicked up (hello, ratings!) way more than it needed to be. It's a TV show first, so they have to keep people interested, I get it. But, I am worried that it can leave a bad taste in people's mouth about the entire discernment process. I am sure it really wasn't as bad as they made it seem. Gotta love editing!  I, also found it annoying that the tag for the show is something like, "...and after six weeks, the ladies will decide: do they walk away, or do they choose to enter the convent?" DUN DUN DUN! In the dramatic voice.

Because, obviously, 6 weeks is the magical number that one would know if they are ready to "enter the convent." Someone who has no idea about the religious life may think that one HAS to decide in that amount of time. It's just not the case. It's a process. Some women may know after 6 weeks of fervent prayer and deep reflection, while others may take years. And just because some of the ladies (spoiler alert!!) do take the first step to becoming a postulant, they are not taking any sort of vow. They are continuing the discernment process, to see if this life is really for them.

Most of you know that already. I digress. :)

This is what I loved about the show, though:

THE SISTERS!!! :) :) 

I mean... who wouldn't?! Each community was awesome in it's own way. The sisters that were interviewed gave such a positive and genuine view of religious life. They were honest, real, tough, funny, genuine and joyful. Their love for the Lord- so palpable. They were the real stars of the show! I appreciated that we got to see three very different communities. Three very different ministries. So active. Living in the world, doing their thang! The religious communities around the world do SO much for their communities at large. It was nice that people had a glimpse into what they do. They don't just sit inside all day (even though there are communities whose sole ministry IS to pray for people. That takes some serious dedication.). The sisters use their gifts and talents to serve the world, just like we are all called to do.

They are real people. They have pasts. They have flaws. They are not perfect. They are women, just like you and me, who heard the call to dedicate their lives to the Lord in a bit more of a radical way. And they are awesome for doing it!

I also really appreciated that we were able to follow 5 very different ladies during this process. It reminds us that God can call us and speak to us wherever we are in life. No matter who we are, where we're from, what we've done (or didn't do!)... we are all worth God's love. We are capable of hearing God's call. If we know a lot about the faith, or hardly anything; we worship traditionally, or charismatically with our arms stretched; have dated before, or never dated; been in love, or never been in love; never say stupid things (ha!), or are kind of rude- none of those things really matter in the bigger picture. God loves you. And He will speak to you through those things.

Part of the discernment process is to learn more about God's love and to realize HOW important you are to Him. It's a process of discovery. To realize that you are a beautiful daughter of the King and you have a special place in this world to serve God, as a wife, mom, religious sister, consecrated single, missionary, etc. We owe it to God, and ourselves, to take the time to figure that out.

I feel very blessed to have watched The Sisterhood. As the Year of Consecrated Life begins, it was the perfect way to remind me, and the world, of the beauty of religious life. To see another way to live.  To build up the Kingdom of God. I pray so much for Christi, Clare, Stacey, Francesca and Eseni. Thank you for letting us follow along. Thank you for your joy, love for the Lord, tears, and honesty (even though some things were edited and maybe even staged!!). So many prayers for you, ladies, AND to all those discerning right now. May God's will be done in your life.


Catch up on The Sisterhood here. :)
Check out Imagine Sisters / Facebook for more info on the religious life.
Some more articles/blogs I found interesting about The Sisterhood: here, here, here.

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Oh, it's Advent?!


...right?

Ugh, it doesn't feel like it to me.

It hurts my heart to even say that!

Since I got home from visiting my mom in MN for Thanksgiving I have been GO GO GO. I had the young adult Christmas party I coordinated this past weekend, which I thought I was going to kill me. I have had something to do almost every evening. I have a wedding this weekend. Work has been crazy.

I haven't blogged. I haven't called people back. I haven't emailed people back. I have barely touched my Christmas shipping. Which, for the first time ever, stresses me out more than I can describe. My house is a MESS. Mess. Laundry is piling up.

Everything is catching up. My nose won't stop running. I've got those aches. And all I want to do is sleep.

And, thank the Lord, today I did some of that. I called in sick. Slept until 10. Ate a leisurely breakfast. Plopped on the couch and didn't move for a while. Until I thought of all of the things above and started to panic. Martha talked me down from that ledge, popped some laundry in and cleaned the bathroom (it was horrible, you guys. I shudder just thinking about it. Blah). I sent some emails. Did some more laundry. Still need to think about Christmas gifts.

I feel better. I mean, my stress is less... I still don't feel 100%, but it's ok. At least I can see a little bit clearer.

I have also made the decision to stop worrying about a decoration a day for Advent. *crying face emoji* I absolutely LOVED doing this last year, but this year it's not enjoyable. It just makes me feel even worse about how UNprepared I am, every day that goes by and no new decoration is up. I feel as though I am failing this Advent season. I need to take a step back, regroup, look at what I wanted to accomplish and figure out what is actually going to work.

I know that God is preparing my heart for His arrival EVEN amongst the crazy that life feels right now. I know that He is with me at every, sometimes incredibly frustrating, moment. Even when I make mistakes. Even when I may have hurt people. I find comfort and joy knowing that our Lord is taking care of me- when I am going crazy.

I hope your Advent is going well, everyone! Please let me know... maybe your fruitfulness will encourage and inspire me some more. :)


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Preparing the Way {NAS}


I spent a RIDICULOUSLY long time making this.

I recently wrote about my slight frustration this year about seeing so much Christmas stuff welllll before Thanksgiving. I am not too sure why it's bothered me so much, buuuut it has. What I realized, though, is that I didn't do a great job of explaining why we wait. What is the big deal with Advent anyway? So, I thought I'd explore that a bit today. :)

First! Here are the ways that I will be focusing and being more intentional to help prepare for our Lord (as I previously stated):
  • Journal everyday with the Blessed is She Advent journal
  • Go to adoration twice a week
  • Put out a new decoration every day of Advent (it was really fun last year!)
  • Continue reading Scott Hahn's latest book, Joy to the World  (and review it)


Ok! So... Advent.

What's the deal? Well, listen. We are always preparing for something, right? Guests come: you get your house ready. Pregnant: you get all the baby things prepared. Big test soon: you study and learn all that you can.

And so, during Advent, we are getting ready for the most important guest (and baby! ha!) that has ever walked this earth.  We take the time to prepare, to hope, and to pray.

The Church gives us this time to prepare as a way to remind us (yet, again) that we should always be preparing for the Lord. No one knows when we will get to actually see Him, shouldn't we always be ready? How can we celebrate and rejoice something for which we haven't thoroughly prepared for?

Soooo, let's say you have a whole bunch of video clips that you need to make into some AWESOME movie, yet you hardly go through them and put some semblance of a movie together, how satisfied will you be? Versus, if you took the time to find the best clips, edited them, added music, etc to create your movie? Don't you think the latter would be more satisfying and exciting? You would be able to confidently rejoice in the quality of your movie!

That's kinnnnnnd of what Advent does. We are challenged to slow down, edit our life in certain ways, add some other things. All with hopeful anticipation of our Lord and Savior coming. So that when the day comes (Christmas), we can confidently rejoice in the Lord!

If nothing I have said makes ANY sense, then please enjoy this video. :)



Advent is about expecting, waiting, hoping and praying! What are you doing this Advent to prepare? Share all the deets with us! Link up below!


REMINDER!
We will not be meeting for December... cue sad face emojis! We will resume January 6!
I will miss not hanging out every week, BUT I will be connected with most of you through your blogs, Twitter or the 'gram. Oh! And, don't forget about Facebook!

PLEASE let us know if you have any topic ideas... the best way is to email us! :)

Friends, I hope you have such a wonderful Advent, joyous Christmas and blessed New Year!
Thank you for being part of this awesome community. So much love to you!!

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NAS: THANKS be to God








The obvious and probably expected: Thanksgiving Post!! :)
In what ways are you thankful? Talk about anything you want here, folks!








Here I am.... sitting in the airport, sipping my peppermint mocha (for which I went to a complete OTHER concourse AND rode the tram. Dedicated? Or addicted?), people watching, on my way to see my Momma for Thanksgiving... I am content. I am happy. I am so thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for. Family. Friends. Community. God. All the "things" that I have.

But, most of all? I am thankful for this life that I have. The life that I have been given. Even with all the crazy. The hard. The frustrating. The hurt. The worry.

{Excuse me! I had a last minute gate change and then completed my first WONDERFUL day of my #MNThanksgiving!}

Where was I?  Oh yes... my life. It is, indeed, a life worth living. To be able to see the beauty surrounding me amongst the dark is a treasure. God is pulling me along with his grace to a life that is more full and everlasting.

And for that alone, I am thankful. And so very blessed.

I hope you all have such an incredible Thanksgiving with family and friends!! May your day be filled with good people, good food, lots of laughs and joy. :)

What are you most thankful for?? Anything you are most looking forward to on Thanksgiving day?! Tell us!! And don't forget to visit Morgan to see what everyone else is up to! :)

December 2
Preparing the Way! {NAS Advent Post}
Happy Advent! How do you prepare you heart, home, etc. for the coming of the Lord? Are there specific recipes or traditions you partake in? Share with us how you are making way for our newborn King!

IMPORTANT!
We will be taking a break for Christmas now and resume with regular posts January 6, 2015!
If you have any suggestions for topics, pleeeeeeease let us know! :)





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Photo Dump (finally!)

I know it's sometimes more fun to look at other people's pics... so here is an update on life through some recent iPhone snaps. :) Enjoy!

Oh, and happy Christ the King and happy almost (liturgical) new year!! :) :)


Coll's 30th!

Juli and I like to take lots of selfies. :)

One day I will actually get to explore Chicago!

Beautiful Pittsburgh fall foliage!

Sometimes, you just have to wear dipey hats.

Those times when you find old forehead thermometers in the clinic. 

I did, indeed, vote.

Amazing.

I love this pic so much, it deserves the extra large size.

Jennine and I on the night of her album release!

Fraaaaaaaans.

A day at the park.

Finally got my hair did.

#sharejoy

Blessed to hear Audrey Assad live.
And hang out with cool people... even when we are purple.

SILLY FACES ARE THE BEST!

Homemade PSL. :)

Zuz leans in and caresses Mary's head and says, "Oh, I just love her so much."
#cradlecatholic #thebest
Learn about and pray for some amazing people.

It's evenings like this that I cannot believe I live in SWFL.

Cookie and frotty (frothy) milk date night!

Amazing Advent wreath, don't you think?!
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No Thanksgiving? No Advent? Just Christmas!


NO!

If someone posts another pic of their Christmas tree, I am going to to freak out. And do something crazy.

I don't know what. But, something not good.  Maybe. Well, probably not.

BUT STILL! a;jhfoweuabfnsld,fmnoawe... that's how I feel about that.  I am uber annoyed with the amount of Christmas things that I have seen SO EARLY this year. With all the Christmas trees, and carols and stockings and lights and, and, and...



Exactly.

I know up north where it's been snowing and freezing for weeks, maybe it feels more Christmasy and what not. But, no! It's not. Even if it feels like it outside. (And, oh, how I miss that feeling!)

We are so quick to put up our decorations, skip right through the holiday that makes us slow down and give thanks for our many blessings, and have it be Christmas. And then, be all sad when it's December 26th and we have to take down all of the cheer.

That's not what it's supposed to be. That's not the intention for the season. The season of Advent OR of Christmas. Because, let's all remember that Christmas is a SEASON not just a day. If the Vatican can leave their decorations up until February 2nd, then so can I! Oh, and I will.

I joined up with the Blessed is She chat on Twitter this past week where we were talking about preparing for Advent. It was so fun (and overwhelming... lots going on with those Twitter chats!)! It was also really encouraging to see how other women were getting ready for Advent, and how they were going to be intentional about preparing their hearts, souls and families for Jesus' birth. It was beautiful!

As a side note... you know what else was beautiful about that chat?? The fact that we as WOMEN were connecting. We are married, single, with and without kids, young and older (not old!!), all connecting because of our shared faith. Shared love for the Lord. And our desire to grow closer to Him. #beautiful #BISchat  ;) 

And then, at my young adults meeting the other day we also talked about Advent. And, I was a little disappointed and surprised by how so many people have no qualms about decorating early, listening to Christmas music, etc. What?! It's so hard for me to understand. Is this one of those times where my super traditional/conservative side comes out??

Maybe.

But, I like it. I don't want to rush Christmas. I already cannot BELIEVE Thanksgiving is in 5 days. FIVE DAYS. Why would I want to rush and get to Christmas already?

Our Church is beautiful in it's liturgical seasons. She recognizes our ability to speed through life. Yet she makes us slow down, think, reflect and pray. With our new year upon us, and our Advent season juuuuust about to start, it's a great time to make some resolutions about our faith/prayer life! And, life in general.

Here is what I am going to work on this Advent season:

  • Journal everyday with the Blessed is She Advent journal
  • Go to adoration twice a week
  • Put out a new decoration every day of Advent (it was really fun last year!)
  • Continue reading Scott Hahn's latest book, Joy to the World  (and review it)
And some liturgical new year resolutions, that will probably change, but for now:
  • Continue to go to confession weekly
  • Go on at leasts two retreats in the next year
  • Pray more fervently about God's will in my life.
  • Well, pray more, in general.

What about you?! Does all of this Christmas-really-early-business drive you crazy, too? And how will you be preparing for Christmas during Advent this year?

Please share so I don't feel alone in my efforts. :) :)



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NAS: How do you pray at home?


How do you pray at home? Do you have a special place in your house? How do you make that area special? Comfy chair? Prayer cards? What suggestions do you have to make a home altar? If you don't do this, in what ways can you begin?
Thanks, Danny, for the suggestion!



Hello there! Ok, I am really looking forward to what you all have to say about this. Danny emailed me this topic suggestion... and I think it's a great one! We all pray in our house at some point, right?  Do you do anything special to mark that time?

Me? Well... I mean... I don't do much honestly.

I have a crucifix/cross in every room of my house... so that when I do say my quick prayers, I have something to focus on.


And when I'm really journaling/praying, I am out on my porch, with coffee, writing away.

But, I don't have a dedicated spot. For those of you who have a dedicated spot, how did you choose it? What things do you have there?? Seriously... I would LOVE to know! :)

And so would everyone else. Link up below!!



**NEED INPUT!**
Remember when we had accountability/prayer partners?! That seems like a lifetime ago. :)
Well! It was suggested that we do it again for our little break. What do you think?!
If you are interested in having an accountability/prayer partner, please email both Morgan and I!
This is not a huge deal, just some communication with your partner through email, text, phone, etc. about things you need prayers for, encouragement and areas you need some extra accountability!
Anything, really!! It's really an awesome thing, I promise.


Next Week!
November 25
The obvious and probably expected: Thanksgiving Post!! :)
In what ways are you thankful? Talk about anything you want here, folks!


December 2
Preparing the Way! {NAS Advent Post}
Happy Advent! How do you prepare you heart, home, etc. for the coming of the Lord? Are there specific recipes or traditions you partake in? Share with us how you are making way for our newborn King!

IMPORTANT!
We will be taking a break for Christmas now and resume with regular posts January 6, 2015!
If you have any suggestions for topics, pleeeeeeease let us know! :)


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