A prayer request

*this post was edited June 2, 2014 out of respect to my NPH family and friends. Also, the name has been changed. I apologize if I was a bit presumptuous or took things out of context.*

So, as a lot of you know... I spent about 9 months of my life (2 years ago, now) in Honduras, serving with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos.  It was a crazy time. If you want to know more, click the tab above or read my blog about my experience.

But, first. I have a prayer request.

Please, please pray for the repose of the soul of John.

We (as in past volunteers) were just notified today of his passing.

I did not know John personally. Although, I knew of him. Everyone did. He was always getting into mischief. But, he was also just your average 15 year old. Trying to navigate through life, sometimes having more trouble than other times, but doing the best that he could do. Many volunteers have been sharing memories of him through emails, and it's pretty awesome. He touched so many lives.

He grew up on the Ranch. A place he has only ever known, really.  With his 500 brothers and sisters and caregivers and volunteers that love him. His home. The place that was supposed to protect him, but also prepare him for life- physically, mentally and spiritually.

It could have been anyone. It could have been any one of those kids on that Ranch. But, it was John. There is some reason for that. We may never know. But, God has a plan and is using it for His will. Of that I am sure. I won't understand it. I won't ever be able to explain it so that it makes sense. But, God's got this. Good will come out of this.

There are so many people that his death will impact, whether they realize it or not. NPH is one big, crazy family. Once you are part of it, you will always be part of it. And when a family member passes... it's a sad, hard time.

Please keep his actual family and NPH family in your prayers, as well.  Especially those that were closest with him - his friends, caregivers, and volunteers that served in his hogar.

Rest in peace, John.
Espero que hay muchos angelitos en el cielo con usted.

Come Holy Spirit.
I pray for the repose of the soul of John.
I pray that he is safe and not suffering.
I also pray for all of those that knew John well. Please bring comfort to them during this time.
Please be with all of NPH, especially the pequeños on the Ranch. They will need your love, your strength, and your grace to get through this dark time.
Most importantly, please keep them safe. 
Please continue to guide them to live a life of Love, and allow for your will to be done.
In your most holy name,

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non-Social Media {NAS}

Our lives tend to revolve around social media and knowing what's happening in everyone's lives. How has this effected your life? In your experience, has social media made dating easier? Harder? Ex: not judging something you see about the guy you're dating on Twitter/FB

When I saw this video, I knew we needed to talk about it. Especially given the fact that our little community is SOCIAL and ONLINE. ;)  Have you seen it? If you haven't, take the 5 minutes and watch it. You won't be disappointed.

So good, right?  And so... spot on.

I can't really speak to social media and dating, as I haven't been dating since social media has blown up. I am sure that many of you have interesting perspectives on that... from the good and the challenging that it can bring to your romantic relationships.

What I can speak to is relationships in general... family, friends, coworkers.

While I do find it wonderful for so many reasons to live in the world of iMessage, Blogger, Twitter, FB, Instagram, as a way to stay connected to people that I normally wouldn't have before, it does in fact take away from many of my relationships that I do care more about.

Do I actually reach out by calling? Do I make the effort to go over to someone's house more?

Ummm... not always. It's hard because I have no family here, and most of my friends are in other states. The easy option is to send a text or a tweet or write on someone's wall. It's quick! Doesn't take much effort! But, is that what I want to be telling my friends and family? Of course not! They mean the world to me. And I want them to know that.

And how do I make sure they know that??  Well, I actually have to be more social with them. Like, I actually have to talk to them and be with them. So crazy, I know.

Ohhh.. you know when so-and-so announced her new engagement on Facebook, and you were just as surprised as everyone? Or, your cousin tweeted about signing up for 3 more years of service with the Army? Or your friend 'grammed a pic of her new baby bump?

It's so easy to be annoyed with these people and think, "I cannot BELIEVE they posted that on FB before telling ME!" But, is it so hard to believe? Haven't you done that, too? We can't be super close with all 500 of our FB friends.  If you wanted to be closer with these people for them to share the details of their life with you personally, then maybe you should make more of an effort, too. I am not good at this, people. Trust me. This "you" is a general you that includes me, too.  But, it's worth taking a step back and realizing what/who is important. If you are getting annoyed about these things, then maybe you need to reevaluate your friendships. Or take a break from social media.

Same goes for our community! As we discussed last week, there is nothing like face to face conversations and connections. However connected social media makes us, it will never be able to give us what a hug, a high five, a cuddle, eye contact or simply being in the same room can provide for our heart, mind and soul. We are social people by nature, and that means we need people to love and to love us.

Another point I want to make quickly... we only see one side of a person's life on any form of social media. Many a person has blogged about this before, but it's worth repeating. Just because Miss N has the BEST pics of food and recipes she shares, doesn't mean she also has the most organized house. Or just because that other person always has her house spotless and everything is organized to a T, doesn't mean her life is also so put together. Maybe she is struggling with the cross of depression.

The point is, it's easy to make people see your life a certain way with what pics we share, what stories we write, what words we tweet.  Never take that as face value. There is always more to the story. Yes, we should be living our lives joyfully and for the Lord, but that doesn't happen at every single moment of every single day. So, don't compare your life to your friend who has 4,000 followers on Twitter. Got it?? Ok, good. :)

What do you have to say about social media? Head on over to Morgan's and get your link-up on!

(NAS 1 year anniversary is June 4th!!!)
Year in Review
How has your life changed in the past year? How has this community impacted you?
Have fun with this! Fave post? What would you like to see more of? Anything, really!

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Building and Keeping Community {NAS}

We LOVE the NAS community, but creating a real-life community is essential to our lives! What have been your struggles in making friends as a young adult? Do you have any advice for those struggling to build community post-college?

We all know the importance of having wonderful friends in our lives that we love, and who love us.  There is just nothing quite like a good friendship. Telling each other what's on our hearts. Laughing uncontrollably about the silliest things. Suggesting that maybe you should wear the other shirt with those jeans. ;) You get the idea.

When we are in college, we are SURROUNDED by so many people. If we are fortunate to find a niche, to find a group of people with whom you connect and can be yourself around, it makes your college experience that much more... awesome.  Friends come naturally and your community is bursting!

And then... you graduate.  I can honestly tell you that seven years (SEVEN??? How did that happen already?) post-college, it's still a challenge for me.  No one ever tells you (let alone prepares you) that making/keeping friends will be something that you have to deal with.

Now, I know that it's not like that for everyone. But, everyone does have a point where they struggle with having the awesome group of friends like they did back in college. We start new jobs. We move. Friends move. We get married. Kids come along. It's part of life, which makes the whole community thing that much more interesting.

I am not an expert in this area, at all. As I really don't have a community to which I belong right now. That is why I love NAS so much. I feel like where ever I go... whatever I am doing, I have a group of people that are around, praying for me and loving me (that way that you can through the interwebs). I have gotten to know a few of you really well, and I am so blessed to call you my friend. You have helped me feel less lonely in those moments when I have felt very, very alone.

But, I also realize, that this is not a healthy way to have community. We are human. Humans need other personal, face-to-face interaction.  It's just how we are made.  For me right now... it's pretty limited.  A lot of it is my own doing, but it's also because of where I live and the lack of young adult things going on, in general.  Thank God for Martha, Tom and the babe... because they are the only people I see somedays, besides my coworkers.

And, it's hard. Yes, I have plugged into volunteering at church. Which is wonderful and great, and makes me feel like I am part of my church, in a way. But, it doesn't satisfy my craving for real, authentic community.  It hasn't fostered any real friendships, besides the one with Martha (but that doesn't really count because Mart and I were friends long before that!).

Thank the Lord we are revamping lots of things at my church, one of which is the young adult ministry. It's something that has been on my heart, and I am really looking forward to helping with that more and more, and hopefully meet some new people. This will take me a bit out of my comfort zone, so I am a little nervous, but mostly excited! Please pray for the success of this new ministry, as I know there is a real need and desire amongst the younger people.

The thing is though, am I relying too much on my church?  Should I be trying harder to meet other people outside of church-related things? Right now, my parish isn't providing what I need, so where do I find it? For that, I am not too sure. I am still in the exploring/praying/figuring-it-out stage.

See... I don't have it figured out. Building and keeping community will look different for each person. But, it's supposed to! It would be a pretty boring world if we all had to be part of the same community, doing the same things! :)

But, here are a few things that I suggest that have helped me along the way in different areas:
  1. Live in community. Ok, this doesn't mean signing up for a religious community or anything! But, if you have the chance to live with another person (or more), do it! I lived with 5 other Catholic women right after college, and it was amazing! Now, I am not sure I would do that ever again, but it was what I needed at that time. We lived (tried to live) intentionally as a community. Meaning, we had prayer times together, weekly things we did together as a house, held each other accountable, etc. It was a wonderful transition from college! If nothing else, it was wonderful always having someone else around!
  2. Get involved. Ok, so this could mean more at church. Teach CCD! Go on a mission trip! Sign up for kick ball! Or maybe your job has fun after work activities? I got really involved with all sorts of things with my job at the hospital. It was awesome!
  3. Do what you love. Is that running and training for races? Join a running group! Want to do a long-term mission? Pray and sign up for it! Love dogs, but can't get one? Volunteer at your local humane society! Is there something in your life that you love, but haven't really followed that passion? Then try to do it! You will meet new people and build friendships off shared interests and passions. :)
  4. Pray. Listen, we all have moments where we feel like we have no community and/or friends. Just keep praying and staying close to the Lord, because He will eventually reveal opportunities for you.
  5. Start something! So, there is no young adult group at your church? Then talk with your pastor about creating one. No local stamp collecting group? Then, start one! If you are passionate about something, I am SURE there will be at least one other person who is also passionate about it, too.
"Friendship is born in that moment when one person says to another:
What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
~C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

These are just suggestions. Some things I have heeded in my own life, others not so much. I am not perfect. :)  But we can all agree that creating and maintaining community takes work. It takes effort. We aren't in college anymore, where the opportunities are practically endless!

And as Rachel Balducci says in Style, Sex, and Substance*, "...at the heart of every good friendship: admitting that this person fills a void in your life, that she is Jesus to you in moments of weakness and of strength. For all of us, being a good friend means being the hands and feet of Jesus not just in the moments when we serve one another without counting the cost, but also in the moments when we laugh until we cry or share what is in the deepest, most tender places of our heart." (emphasis mine)  And I think that's what we all long for in our communities, right?  Solid, wonderful, fruitful friendships.

What have you found that works for you? What suggestions do you have?  Share your ideas and linkup below! :)

Next Week!
Social Media
Our lives tend to revolve around social media and knowing what's happening in everyone's lives. How has this effected your life? In your experience, has social media made dating easier? Harder? Ex: not judging something you see about the guy you're dating on Twitter/FB

June 3
(NAS 1 year anniversary is June 4th!!!)
Year in Review
How has your life changed in the past year? How has this community impacted you?
Have fun with this! Fave post? What would you like to see more of? Anything, really!

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*FYI, I am trying the affiliate link thing out... so, if you happen to buy that book by clicking there, I will get a wee bit back. Thanks if you do! :)

It Meant the World to Matthew

[I have had this in my draft folder for a very long time. I've updated it a bit, but if it doesn't seem current, well, it's because it was written last summer. :)]

Let me tell you an amazing story.  You might want to prepare for this... grab some coffee, a snack, go to the bathroom.  This will take a few minutes. :)

I may have mentioned *ahem* that working at the hospital around here (before working in the schools) was hard for me on many levels.  Even though there was a lot of hard... there was a lot of good.  I have some great memories from that place!  Funny moments, awesome patients, learning new things, etc.  I am going to share one of the good memories with you now.

Way back around Easter 2013, I had a patient, Matthew, who was admitted because he had an unfortunate accident on a boat, where the hatch door slammed down on his toe... slicing the top of it off!  Now, Matthew was in FL from Illinois for a competitive national swim meet, but decided to take some time to spend with his grandparents... but then he had to be in the hospital!
Matthew's mother had died when he was 6 years old.  He lives with his dad and his brother in Illinois.  He has poured his life, heart and soul into swimming.  His devotion to his swim career is amazing.*
The night that I took care of him, he had already had his surgery (to put the piece of sliced toe back on) and was told that he would not be able to swim in his meet.  That was bummer number one.

Bummer number two: the doctors were not sure he would be able to get home in time for his Confirmation.  The piece of toe wasn't taking, so the foot surgeon thought he might need surgery again.  That was the hardest thing for Matthew to hear.  He could handle missing the swim meet, as he knew he would be swimming again in no time!  But, to miss being Confirmed with his friends was, in a word, heartbreaking for him.

I knew a little bit about this before I actually met him, so I was very intrigued.  I mean, how many 13-year old star athletes do you know who are also really excited about confirmation and would be super bummed if they missed it?  Not many, I'm sure.

When I walked in, one of the first things I noticed was his little statue of St. Patrick.  I asked him about it, and he told me St. Patrick was his Confirmation Saint.  Awesome.  I told him mine (St. Therese), and from there, engaged in a wonderful conversation about all things Catholicism, God, living in this world, etc.  Matthew asked me question after question after question.  His grandmother would add stories and her thoughts to mine when he asked some of the bigger questions.

It was truly incredible.  I had to make myself leave on several occasions because, well, I was working and did have other patients to care for. :)
The Grotto
July 2007

At some point, I was telling him he needed to go visit Rome and do some serious traveling.  I recounted my pilgrimage to France, specifically Lourdes, to him and his grandmother.
The Grotto at night.
July 2007
I talked a bit about St. Bernadette, seeing Mary's apparition and the amazing miracles that have taken place since then from the spring, that still continues to flow.  There are stories upon stories upon stories about the healing that the Lourdes water has brought to people.  Heck, pilgrims from all over the world make their way to Lourdes, just to bathe in the water and ask for healing from physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual ailments!

Before I left Lourdes, I was able to fill water bottles (yup, regular ol' water bottles) with the precious Lourdes water.  I didn't have a plan for the water, but knew it was important to bring some home.  Who knows when, if ever, I would be back there!

I told Matthew that I was going to look for my bottles of the water.  If I found it, I would bring it back for him.  I was telling this story to Martha before heading home, and she was able to pull her bottle out really quick!  And even had a small, glass bottle (think souvenir holy water bottle) that she gave to me to give to him.  I knew exactly where my water was, but I didn't have anything to put it in, so Mart saved me some time and energy (thank you!!), which was great b/c I was supposed to go to work that night, and needed to get this to him ASAP.

It was a quick exchange when I brought the water to Matthew.  I could tell by he and his grandmother's face that they were surprised I was back!  But, since I told him I would bring back, I had to bring it back.  I didn't stay long, I wished him well, and that I would continue to pray for him and his future.  That he would continue to learn about the Lord and grow in his faith.

And then... I was called off that night, and never got to see them again b/c they were discharged!  I had often wondered if he ever made it home in time for Confirmation and how his toe was doing!  But, such is life when you work in the hospital.  You don't always know the outcome.

I couldn't believe it!
This time it's different.  About a month before I left the hospital, I was honored to receive the Daisy Award, thanks to the most touching and incredible letter/nomination from Matthew's grandmother.  I was completely shocked.  In the wonderful letter, I got to hear how Matthew was doing and what happened after he left the hospital!!
Matthew immediately called his swim coach to tell her about the small bottle of water from Lourdes that he had just received from his nurse. He then called his dad to share the news. He was so touched and so happy. This was a heartwarming experience for all of us, amidst our pain and struggles with Matthew's situation. His surgeon, Dr. Adams, had told us "no water" on his wounded toe for 6 weeks. But, Matthew asked Dr. Adams to apply the water to his injured toe when she came that day to visit him. Dr. Adams granted Matthew his request, dabbling a small amount of the water at the base of his toe far away from the wound.
It meant the world to Matthew.
I had no idea that happened!  It was beautiful to hear.  I was maybe crying justalittlebit when the letter was being read out loud the day I received my award.

But the best news:
All 3 doctors agreed to let Matthew fly home on Friday. He was Confirmed with his class. The small bottle of healing water is next to Matthew's bed in his room at home. It will remain with him the rest of his life.
 And this is not the end, folks.

And THEN, I received another email from Matthew's grandmother.  This is where things get good. Really good.

[To give you a better understanding and context of what is happening with Matthew's toe at this time in the story, let me explain.  The doctor's here in FL were all in agreement that the sliced off part of the toe would not last, and there was an option to remove it, amputate his toe further down to have enough skin to cover the toe and that would be it. But, they decided to leave the "dead" toe in place to promote natural healing of the healthy toe over time. When he finally got home and met with doctor's there, they agreed.  The dead part was not taking, the toe would not grow back, but wanted to keep the dead part there to help with healing. And that is where we are at.]

Matthew had to be very careful with the care of his toe.  Nurses changed the bandages twice a week.  There could be no infection, because then other problems could arise.
At the end of May, I had to leave and was out-of -town for 3 weeks. Matthew's mother is deceased so Matthew's father took over total care of Matthew's toe. While I was away Matthew called with excitement to tell me that his Dad was applying the water from Lourdes over his toe. 
Oh, NO....no water was to be on his toe and of course, concern about bacteria in the water.  Oh well, ....I just had to let it go and give it to God.  
When I arrived home three weeks later .....and here comes the good news.....the dead part of the toe (the dark scab) was gone.  Completely gone!  Matthew's toe had grown back!...completely, nail and all. 
Can you believe it?!  I do not no if this is what the natural progression of things would have been, or if this is all due to the Lourdes water.  Perhaps it made the whole process quicker.  Or less painful.  Or even just bearable.  But, that is not the point.  Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette and our Lord were working here.  They brought healing to this young man's foot, one of the most important parts of the body needed for swimming.  He has been swimming, creating and breaking records all year since then.  Something that no one was absolutely sure was even possible!

But it has.  Our Lady has made it happen.  Matthew's faith has been ignited (I hope!) by this incredible journey.  Not many people have something as concrete as Matthew has, something that marks the beginning of his faith life.  It's a gift.  A true gift.

I am honored and humbled that I could be involved in a small way in Matthew's journey.  He and his story are an inspiration to me... and I hope to you, as well!

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
St. Bernadette, pray for us!

*all italicized portions of this post are from the letter Matthew's grandmother wrote and emails I received from her.  I have asked and received her permission to share them.  I also asked and received permission from Matthew to share his story.

**This was also posted on Cherishing Everyday Beauty! Thanks for sharing, Sarah!**

Connecting with God

Recently I have been feeling pretty far and disconnected from God.  To no one's fault other than my own, of course. But, I always struggle with finding my way back. With feeling close to Him again. With feeling His presence and know of His love.

When I'm in these moments, I can only listen to praise and worship music (mostly on iTunes radio)... over and over and over.  And I long for some actual P&W with my friends.

That is how I feel God's presence. The Holy Spirit does his thing... and I feel as though God is giving me a great big hug.

I had a wonderful opportunity a few months ago to see/hear Matt Maher play at a Life Teen dinner (actually, it ended up being a fundraiser... wasn't expecting that... so it was a bit weird).  I have been blessed to see him live a few times, but this time it was just him. No band. Just Matt and his guitar and a piano.

Oh just Matt... and a few friends. :)

I could listen to his music all of the time. The Lord speaks through his music all of the time.  He is so talented. Has a true gift. One that he really uses to give honor to God. And... he is one of the most humble people ever. When I complimented him on his amazing talent, he was so gracious... as if it was the first time he had heard that. His wife is also an incredibly gentle and humble person, too.

I digress.  Music.  I am not very well versed about the ins and outs of music, or have a very large palate to which I listen. I enjoy what I like, and that's what I listen to. Although, I am always open to more ideas. hint hint  If you have any, hit me up. :)

(Annnnnd as a complete coincidence, my very good friend, Jennine, has a NEW album out on iTunes! If you are interested in supporting independent, Catholic/Christian artists, please take a look at Jennine's music! She is incredibly talented. And, I am not just saying that because she is my friend and I love her. Jennine Fuentes- Liberated, available on iTunes! Ok, I am done plugging my friend. Promise, wasn't really part of the plan for this post... but I am so excited and proud that I couldn't resist!)

We had an amazing praise and worship night with the teens a few months ago, as well.  It was incredible, really. To watch the teens pray and adore and sing to our Lord. Some of them had done it before, and for others it was their first time.   It reminded me of college, where we had P&W adoration every Thursday. It was the absolute best. I had some of the best moments with God during those times.

Adoration with the teens was a wonderful reminder for me about how important P&W is for me, personally... especially in front of our Lord.  I really hope that I can convince some people to make this a thing.  A monthly (maybe weekly... eventually) thing.  My heart needs it. My soul needs it.

What about you? How do you connect with God?


When this baby dropped in the mail two weeks ago, to say I was thrilled is an understatement. I was ECSTATIC! :)

I know that everyone and their mother (in the Catholic world, at least) is all a buzz about Something Other than God.* I am sure you have already seen amazing review after amazing review after amazingly funny things blogged and tweeted and all that.  That's not what this is.

What I am here to say is... thank you. Thank you, Jen for writing this book. Thank you for working your butt off to get this out. Thank for your honestly. Thank you for letting us into your mind, heart and soul. I am sure you had to relive so many of these moments and emotions... to then have your literary agent make you start all.over.again. ;)

It was worth it.  I hope you think so, too!

Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for telling your story.  There were many, many moments where I would laugh out loud, and forget that this all actually happened. Your writing style captivated me right from the beginning, and held my attention until the last page.  Your attention to detail is incredible. I felt what you were feeling, saw what you saw and and heard what you heard.  My whole being was on this journey with you.

But, most of all. Thank you for speaking (er, writing) the Truth.  Thank you for explaining things in a way that makes sense. I often fail at explaining the simple truths of our faith, and what I love most it. I get flustered and self-conscious, which then makes it seem like I am all sorts of judgey-Mcjudgers. You tackle the big and small things with ways that I only WISH I could convey. It between jokes, wit and a bit of sarcasm.  You have a true gift.

So, to anyone who knows my love for the Catholic faith, but I haven't been the greatest at portraying it... please consider reading this book! Maybe you will have a little glimpse into the awesomeness.

Or, if you just want to read a good story... read this book!! :)

Yes. You. Right there... get on it!  And if you do, let me know!

And then after reading SOTG*, if you feel like you need more of where all the awesomeness came from, check out her blog, where she chats about her conversion, being a mom, fear of scorpions and love of rap. She really does have a little bit of everything. :)

*I am trying out the affiliate thing, so if you would like to click on there to buy the book, I will get a very small percentage. I would really appreciate it!

**Jen did not ask me to write this semi-review, but it's part of her epic release party, so if I happen to win, I will get a gift card.

***I never did any sort of epic selfie... and I love selfies.  I wanted to add that here! But, I have until 11:59 tomorrow... maybe it will happen, still.

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{NAS} If you were called to the religious life...

It's that time again ALREADY!  And, we did not get our ducks in a row for you until now, so therefore you all didn't get to prepare ahead of time. :(

Please forgive us.

This week is an awesome topic. Let's all take a step back and pretend that God IS in fact calling us to the religious life.  While most of us feel called to marriage, it is important to see the beauty in all vocations! If/when you were discerning religious life, which communities interest(ed) you? What do you see as the positives of that vocation?

There is so much beauty in religious life. To completely dedicate your life to the Lord, body and soul. It's incredible! And inspiring.

There is so much I would like to say about the religious life, but right now it's not happening. My bed is calling my name, so that is where I need to go right now.

Head on over to Morgan's to get your linkup on!

BUT! We have the topics for the next few weeks! FINALLY! :)

Next Week!
Making Friends
We LOVE the NAS community, but creating a real-life community is essential to our lives! What have been your struggles in making friends as a young adult? Do you have any advice for those struggling to build community post-college?

May 27
Social Media
Our lives tend to revolve around social media and knowing what's happening in everyone's lives. How has this effected your life? In your experience, has social media made dating easier? Harder? Ex: not judging something you see about the guy you're dating on Twitter/FB

June 3
(NAS 1 year anniversary is June 4th!!!)
Year in Review
How has your life changed in the past year? How has this community impacted you?
Have fun with this! Fave post? What would you like to see more of? Anything, really!

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A Week(end) in Pics: Mother's Day!

Ahh! I can't believe that my mom has already left! Blah. We had been waiting and were so excited for this weekend for a while, and then poof! It's already over.

But! It was such a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Mom flew in on Friday, we enjoyed dinner with the Orams and then we headed home. On Saturday, I surprised mom by making a quiche! Yes, I MADE A QUICHE! :) It was deeeelish, and pretty easy, I have to say.

We hung out for a bit while Mart and the babe came over... then we headed to Sanibel! :)

 AMAZING view from our hotel room! :)

We spent the day at the beach on the island, had lunch and enjoyed each other's company.

There was a dolphin that was hanging out near the shore all afternoon!
It was pretty awesome. :)

We got cleaned up and dressed, and headed to the Bubble Room. If you are ever visiting Sanibel, head to the Bubble Room. It's fun, eclectic, silly and yummy. It's an experience, for sure!

The Orange Crunch cake was DIVINE... the Key Lime Pie... not so much. :(
 We got up and enjoyed some coffee on our balcony!
I mean, how awesome is life?!

 After doing a little shopping, we headed back to the Orams for brunch.
And mom took this silly pic of the babe!

Post-mass Orange Leaf...

And then some sunset action.  Nothin' like it.

Thank you so much, Mom, for a wonderful weekend! I love you so much. You are an amazing mom, and I am so very thankful for you. For your love. Your support. Your encouragement.

You mean the world to me.


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Happy Nurses Week!!

In honor of Nurses Week, I thought I would share my favorite images and memes I have seen! :)

To all my fellow nurses out there: YOU ROCK!  Thank you for your continued passion, love, service and compassion to the sick and vulnerable out there. You make a difference every.single.day.

I love this.
Yes, because it has to do with kiddos, but also because this nurse works
at the children's hospital where I used to! :)

Seven images means, I am linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for some quick takes!! :)

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Favorite Saint {NAS}

Hello Ladies!!

First, let me apologize. Morgan and I are, well, we are living our lives over here. We don't mean for this to take a backseat BY ANY MEANS, but it seems that it has gotten away from us. Please forgive us. You are all SO DEAR to us, but we hope you understand our craziness! :)

Ok, I am posting this a little early to give you a teeeeeny head start for tomorrow!  The topic this week was suggested by the lovely Laura from A Drop in the Ocean.  Thank you, Laura!!

Favorite Saint!
But! Not just any fave. More specifically a Saint related to marriage, chastity, etc!! How has s/he helped you during this time of singleness?

I, for one, am always wanting to learn more about the Saints! I know a little about very few of them... #badCatholic. So, I am really looking forward to hearing (er, reading) what you all have up your sleeves!  I will be sure to write my post, too, when I have a bit more time!

The linkup is also live now! ha. So, if you write your post this evening, then by all means get your linkup on!  Once Morgan and I discuss the details of the next topics, we will also add them here.  And next Tuesday, we will be back to regular scheduled Not Alone Series. :)

Thanks for your patience!!

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7 Quickty Quick Takes

I haven't blogged all week. I know, it's not the end of the world, but I have thoughts. Thoughts that don't necessarily garner a full post, nor does anyone really care about them, but maybe my loyal family followers of this here bloggity. Plus! I haven't hopped on the 7 Quick Take train in a looooong time! So, let's go! :)

~ 1 ~
I was really hoping to be writing and reflecting about my experience EMing at my parish's First Holy Communion! I got an email from our coordinator last week sometime asking if I would help. I was thrilled, and honored! I remember when I taught second grade CCD, and what a joyous day it was watching my little kids receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. And then to be able to serve as an EM... so awesome. Obviously I wouldn't be giving Jesus to the kiddos (that's the preists' honor!), but just to be there in the the EM role. So great.

But, alas! I get there and there is no need for me. :( To say I was bummed is an understatement. I was very disappointed!  There was some sort of miscommunication and they didn't end up needing extra help.  Sad face... for sure.  So, another day I will reflect on the joys of EMing.

~ 2 ~
Well, I didn't mean to start out with such a downer!

I think the caps are completely necessary. Don't you?
It is really good so far! I wish I didn't have other things to do (or that my butt didn't get numb after a while) so that I could just read and read and read.

I am just so excited for you, Jen!

~ 3 ~
Speaking of #SOTG... I tweeted to Mrs. Fulwiler, herself:

... but I mean??? RIGHT? How awesome would that be??
My brain doesn't actually work that way... so I have absolutely NO idea how one would even go about doing that. But, there has GOT to be a way. Have any ideas???

~ 4 ~
Another exciting thing?!?!
She is flying in on Friday for Mother's Day weekend.
I am beyond thrilled.
We haven't seen each other since CHRISTMAS.. so, it's about time! :)

~ 5 ~
Let me just tell you. The rain that we are currently having is seriously a welcomed JOY.
Summer has arrived down here in SWFL... and it's just too dang early!
It's seriously just gross. 
My hair does weird flippy things. I feel like I am walking through walls of moisture. And now, my power bill will be creeping up as I have to keep the AC on basically all of the time.
I know... whoooooaaa is me. And who am to really complain, as I am not really a Floridian. But, here I complain anyway.  Martha, does a great (and hilarious) job of explaining it here. :)

~ 6 ~
Do you run? Exercise? Run around with kids? Or just get tired of your hair falling in your face?
I did, too.
That's why I love my new BolderBand headband. (ha, this sounds like a horrible infomercial)
Um, but it's true! They stay in place! They are comfy! And they are adorable!!

So, now you know. Enjoy!

~ 7 ~
NAS ladies!! 
Morgan and I still need some topic ideas! Please let us know. They could be new ones or something that you would like to revisit!  THANK YOUUU!

Go visit Jen and the gang for what is sure to be more fulfilling and fun 7QTs! :)
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