~ 1 ~
(I am writing these on Thursday... and I am so thankful that it's Friday tomorrow.)
I can guarantee that as you are reading this, at this very moment, I will still be VERY happy and thankful that it's Friday.
I know the children love them... but trust me, the teachers/staff/nurses/everyone else LOVE them just as much. :) :) :) Maybe more.

~ 2 ~
The weekend could include some of this:

~ 3 ~
Maybe this?!

~ 4 ~
And, for sure, some actual beach time!

~ 5 ~
It's going to be just great. Just gotta get through today!
I found a church near my middle school, and they have daily mass in the morning!
So! I hope to go there before I head into work for the day. 
I'll be praying for YOU!

~ 6 ~
For all of you Not Alone Series fans:
This Tuesday, September 2nd!!!
Who is excited?!?!??!
(And Morgan!! I know she is, too!)

The prompt for Tuesday (so you have a little time to prepare):
We are back! As we get into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually, and emotionally?

~ 7 ~
Anyone doing anything fun for the weekend? Traveling? BBQ-ing?
Whatever you do, have fun and be safe!

Oh! Go visit Jen... she is the most gracious of hostesses!

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I am here, and God is using this time.

I made it.


Oh my gosh. I got through the first week of school (second for me, but first for the pequeños).

There were many, MANY a moments when I didn't think I was going to get to Friday. The week was nuts. crazy. busy. INSANE.


I began working a few weeks after school started last year, so I missed all of this crazy. And, really... I wish I could start a few weeks after everyone else ALL the time. That would be great.  I have such a new perspective on all of my teachers/principals/administrators/everyone else I had growing up. I mean, to endure this crazy on purpose year after year after year? Props to you all. Mad props.

Thank you to all of my teachers for working so hard and pushing through. Thank you for doing your best when so many people/situations made you feel like you weren't.

Because I now understand. I know how you feel.

I am trying to tackle all of my "tasks"- immunization compliance, diabetic trainings, entering medications into the EMR, following up on that kid's allergy and that other one's rare condition, etc, etc - I am being interrupted, what feels like 50 times a minute, to calm a parent down because their child has XYZ and they have never been in school before, get more information for a teacher, call a parent about the documentation for their Epipen, setting up a meeting about that one kid, etc.

Holy moly. So many things. It never ends. It just stops at 3pm and starts up again at 7:30 the next morning.

The thing is though... the teachers, while they have their never ending list of things to do, they get to be with the kids. They get to hang out and do what they love to do.

My days... are not filled hanging out with the kids like you would imagine. Oh yes... I see them (mostly due to the fact that my desk is in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the clinic), but I don't really get to care for them as I would hope. As you can tell from the above, I have a lot of things going on. It makes this a tough gig to not work with kids as much as I want/need to. Soon, I hope, I will be able to help out more in the clinic, but right now... I just can't.

Which is why things seem so unbearable sometimes. I became a nurse TO WORK WITH KIDS. And now I am doing something that, while so important, doesn't allow me to have the same interaction as I would in the hospital.  So, when I am more than frustrated and upset about my lack of compassion and sick of looking at the computer... I wonder how different things would be if I could actually hang out with the kids more? Maybe it wouldn't change anything.

All I know is this: I am here, and God is using this time. I don't think I will be doing this forever, but this is my now. And, well, I've just got to embrace it the best way I can. I have challenged myself to focus on the good each day, instead of the challenging and frustrating. And all the things that I can't do. ... boy, that's HARD for me.

But, I still have many, many weeks to get better. :) God's got my back. And I am so thankful for the job that I have. The kids I do know well. The people that I work with. And all of the many things I am learning about myself and what kind of nurse I want to be.

And, really, what more can I ask for at this moment?!

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Prayer shouldn't take a backseat, but it does. HELP!


Hello, there.

This week was nuts. I worked 6 out of the last 7 days. Yes, 6. Yes, I know I am a SCHOOL nurse, but sometimes Saturdays are the days that schools plan their open houses. Which means, I have to be there to get things done, too.

Today... oh, today. I have slept in and have been vegging. No where to be until Mass at 5. And it has been GLORIOUS. Glorious, I tell you.

I just spent an absurd (absurd!) amount of time organizing all of the Not Alone Series posts into categories. I had been wanting to make it easier for you (and anyone who happens to stumble upon my part of the interwebz) to search specific things we have talked about. Check it out here, or click on the tab above. I will be updating it with each new post!

Um, we have written 46 different posts, you guys, on alllllll sorts of things. I am so impressed and amazed and inspired!  If you don't see something on that list that you want to write about, LET US KNOW!! :) Email me and Morgan! :)

I hadn't been so busy as I was this past week in a long time. I enjoy being busy for many reasons, but I forget how exhausting it can be! haha. I mean, I know how crazy that sounds, but it's true. Work is back in full swing, I had core team meetings for youth group, a lockin with the youth group AND starting my new role as Young Adult Program coordinator at my parish (they put my pic on the website and everything... so no going back now!).

So, I mean. Wow. When life picks up... life picks up!

But, you know what hasn't picked up?  Prayer. I hate to admit it... when life gets going, my prayer life is the first thing that gets pushed to the side. :( And, really it should be heightened.  I have no problem going to visit Mart and the babe after work, or jump on my computer to email someone or read a blog... but somehow I don't have time to pray? Or visit Jesus in Adoration?

Obviously, that's got to change.

What works for you? How have you made prayer a priority over all the other things? Any tips/tricks you have would be ever so appreciated. :)

See, I have time to cuddle with my stuffed animals
and re-read a great book!

And have cookie dates with the bestest god-daughter EVER!

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NAS: Freebie! {and VERY exciting news!}


I have missed you all so much! I seriously can't wait for our regular schedule!  Which, as a reminder,
starts September 2! Morgan and I are still working on the topics. Please let us know if you have any ideas. We are ALWAYS open to hearing them!!

This week we are chatting about.... anything! Literally, you choose and we will read. :)

I hope you all have been able to read and enjoy the stories and pictures from NASavannah! I wish we could get together all of the time, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Morgan and I have already begun talking about next year's weekend! We will start gathering your interest and such later this Fall. If you have any suggestions or ideas for that, we are all ears, as well.

Ok. You guys.

We have some very, very exciting news to share.

Are you ready?!

Morgan and I... will be traveling up to Boston next month 

I was contacted by the marketing director (Hi, Bonnie!) for the network back in May after she had been following some of my tweets AND blog posts, namely Not Alone Series. :) :) She wanted to know if I would be interested in being interviewed (on the LIVE show) and sharing the story of NAS as a way to encourage, inspire and remind people of the importance of community.

Wait. Wait. Wait. What the WHAT? I must have read and reread her email a million times. You want ME to do what?? To say that I freaked out would be an understatement. I forwarded the email to Morgan, my mom and Martha right away. Was I dreaming? Was she really asking if I wanted to be interviewed? On TV?

After I calmed down and composed myself (ha!), I wrote back, and said "of course I would be interviewed!" ... this happens all the time.

Anyway, as I got more deets, I asked if it was possible to interview both Morgan and I. As you all know, the Not Alone Series wouldn't exist without her (well, all of YOU reading this right now, too). We are a team. I couldn't justify talking about our beloved Not Alone Series without her. So, I asked, and Bonnie said, sure!!

And there you have it. We will be interviewed by Father Robert Reed and Jay Fadden on the live, 30-minute show, This is the Day. God clearly wants more people to know that they are not broken, they are not lost and they are not left behind. And who are we to say no to God?!

The Deets
Date: Friday, September 12, 2014
Time: 10:30am EASTERN
How: watch it LIVE online at CatholicTV.com (when the page opens, just click "watch" on the upper left corner) or on your actual television if you are lucky enough to have it**
Another option: If you can't watch it live, no worries! The show archives it's episodes for a few weeks. I will post the link here afterwords, on Twitter, etc. :)
Social Media: Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see our adventures in Boston! We will use #NASBoston throughout the weekend, so if you want to chat about it, too... then use it, too! :)
Morgan: Twitter | Instagram

If anything changes we will let you know! :)

I am so humbled by all of this.  I am also nervous and still kind of freaking out.  Please, please pray for us. Pray that our words and story of NAS touches at least one other person. Pray that I don't fumble over those words too badly and be really, really awkward. haha. Thank God Morgan and I are doing this together... it's not as scary!!

St. Therese (patroness of CatholicTV), pray for us!

And, seriously... another thank you to all of you. I say it all of the time, but it doesn't make it any less true. This series would cease to exist if you ladies didn't participate, read, comment, email, pray, etc. I am so proud to be part of such an awesome group of fun, eclectic and godly women. You inspire me more than you will ever know!
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**If you don't have CatholicTV, or you aren't sure, please click here to find out. If you don't, please follow the steps to request that CatholicTV becomes a channel in your area!

How do you know if you are "in love"?

Hmm... ok.  This might be weird. And, maybe I'm the only one. But, I am just gonna put it out there in the HOPE that at least one other person knows what I mean.


If you have never been "in love"... how would you know that you are?  How will you recognize it?

I'm serous. I am really asking this. This is not some weird announcement about me finding my guy! I am welcoming you into the crazy that is my head.

I imagine it's something like this... ???
The talent on So You Think You Can Dance this Summer is incredible.

I am not there yet.  Not even close.  But, I do think about it (and am hopeful!).  I worry that I won't realize when it's happening.  Will I feel the butterflies?  Will I just know?  Will it be obvious?  Everyone who talks about their husband/wife is always so confident and sure of what that love is. But, what if I don't know?

What if I don't get there?

Is it possible that my fear and doubt and over-analytical side will prevent me from falling in love?

And... will I know the difference between falling in "like" versus falling in "love"???

Can anyone help a sister out?! I am just working on being prepared. And, maybe that's weird, too.

If you DO think this is so weird, please don't tell me.  If not, or maybe have some of the same thoughts as me.. please let me know. Or, if you are in love and would like to shed light on how you know/knew... please do. :)

Mmmmkay. Bed time for this girl.
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Quick Takes: Random + baby kisses + a fun announcement!

~ 1 ~
Ok, I am just going to keep saying this... HOW IS IT THAT I AM GOING BACK TO WORK ON MONDAY ALREADY? How? The summer FLEW by. Flew.by. I am trying to enjoy all of the downtime and quiet as I can, b/c soon, my alarm will be going off early and my days will be filled with crazy. 

~ 2 ~
As much as I LOVED my summer (seriously... I had such an amazing summer: June Travels, Aruba, Steubie, NASavannah, Jersey)... I really missed just hanging out. As much as I wanted to see all of my family and friends, I think next Summer I will have my trips spaced out a bit more.  I might even do a camp nursing job somewhere. :)

~ 3 ~
Do you like nuns? Do you know what they are? Have you discerned that you could be called to live that life? Don't you think there should be more information about it?
Well, Imagine Sisters is doing just that!! They were created due to the definite need to educate and empower everyone to know and support the life these women have chosen to live.
Please pray for them and their mission! They are currently fundraising so they can hire more people and get the world out about this beautiful vocation.
If you can help financially, please consider donating to their fundraising page!
Check it out!
~ 4 ~
Guess who is FINALLY HOME?!?!?!
And Mart and Tom. :) :)

Her little kisses are just the best.

BAHHHH! Oh my gosh. It was SUCH a wonderful feeling to walk in the house and have her scream and smile when she saw me.  She was very chatty, telling me about all the things she did while in Indiana! :) I love that little girl so very much.

~ 5 ~
We have had a very interesting discussion in the NAS Facebook group instigated by this article. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts! I may make more of my thoughts into a whole post of it's own. Oh, and if you want to join our private FB group, please do! :)

~ 6 ~
Speaking of the Not Alone Series... we will be resuming our weekly posts starting September 2nd. So! If you have any ideas, please don't forget to tell us in the comments or to email Morgan and I! :)

~ 7 ~
Next week we are getting to talk about whatever your hearts desire. It's a "freebie," so no prompt. Catch us up on life, an article that piqued your interest, a topic you wanted to expand on... anything!
If you don't write, at least come and visit Morgan and I.
We have something exciting to share!
You don't want to miss it. :) :) :)
See you Tuesday.

With that, go visit Jen and the gang! And, have a fantabulous weekend! :) 

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PS. I just want to remind you that God loves you. :)

Jersey Shore Musings

Well, I thought I would take a little break from.... um, from what? Oh! The end of my summer break and thinking about going back to work on Monday. MONDAY.

Blah. How did that happen already? So, I am just gonna go back to the Jersey Shore. Ok? OK!

I shared a bit about it the other day, but I thought I'd share some more pics and such. I had such a great time with my mom, Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Susan. I don't get to see my aunt and uncle as much as would like, so it was really nice to have so much time with them. :)

It was funny... I hadn't been to Seaside in about 2 years, and, as I had reflected before, a lot had changed. Hurricane sandy and a devastating fire. It was nuts.  But! How quick and easy we just went back to what we had always done. Hang out and chat on the balcony. People watch. Eat at the same restaurants. Reminisce about past trips to the shore. Celebrate Uncle Ronnie's birthday.  Hear Aunt Susan's infectious laugh. And hang out on the beach with my Momma like old times.

The shore is way more than just a fun vacation spot for me. It's my childhood. It's family. It's just part of who I am.

We had some amazing weather while we were at the shore!

Thank you SO much, DD, for being on the boardwalk.

Yay selfies!!! Especially when you have one or two skeptics. ;)

Oh, just hanging out... doing a crossword.
Sorry, Aunt Susan! I am not sure what you are doing here. Getting up?
Demanding that we look up the correct answer? ;)

Gary, Uncle Ronnie and Sue enjoying the balcony.
And yes... that is the ocean in the background.

A cloudy day is better at the beach than anywhere else! 

Sometimes a rainy morning calls for mix-matched comfy clothes and a book.

Unfortunately, I didn't win big that day.
I have hope for one day in the future, though. :)

Got crabs?!

Cuddle time with my momma.

hahahaha... I had asked one of the guys we have befriended over the years
to take our pic (the one below!)... but he had never used an iPhone before!
There were 35 pics in total. HILARIOUS!

Hence the reason we all have big smiles. :) But, he finally got it!
And it's a good one at that!!

Last morning on the shore!

Tired and a wee bit sad... our last pic before our treks home.

Thank you to Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Susan and my momma for a wonderful time. I miss you all so much already. I can't wait to see you soon!  Loooooove youuuuu!

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God loves you.

Yes, you.

All of you. All.of.you.

You guys. I have known that God loves me for a long time. I have been told that piece of truth since I started going back to Mass in college.

But, it has only been in the last month that I can honestly say that I know, God loves me.

I didn't hear a voice. I didn't wake up from a prophetic dream.

I was living my life, doing my thing. I had come home from a whirlwind month of seeing my family and friends. Talking with my therapist. Getting to know my self better. And, I needed to go to confession. Unfortunately... it didn't happen. I missed the one time. I had something else going on for the other time. I mean, we all have been there. You know what it's like.

But then, it started weighing on me. I really needed to go to confession. Ugh. And my mind is quick to go down the negative road. How can anyone be around me? Who am I? I'm the biggest sinner of all the sinners. Lies, lies and more lies. The devil knows when you (well, at least he knows when I) am in need of some grace and weasels his way into our thoughts. I was getting to one of those points where I felt completely unloveable.

And then I got a phone call. Nothing life changing about this particular phone call or conversation (honestly, I don't really remember what we talked about!), but it was enough of a reminder for me that, right in that moment, full of sin, I was loved. I was worth it.

And it clicked. God loves me. No matter what. Does He want me to change some things about my life? The way I think of myself? How I react to certain situations? Yes. Of course. But, even if I fail. Or I am slow on the uptake... he.loves.me.

What an amazing feeling! I went into the Steubenville Conference with this new found truth for myself, and I was excited! I was ready to hear what God had to say to me. I was ready to experience His love even more. To share that love with the teens. But, I still needed to go to confession. And then I was denied. And wasn't even sure I was going to be able to go.

I was a mess. I went to Martha's room and sobbed. Literally. I cry a lot, but not like that. I was frustrated. I was pissed that the priest wouldn't hear my confession. I couldn't believe I was thisclose to a good cleansing and some grace... and it was taken. What the heck?!

I pulled myself together. Went to the sessions with the teens. Tried to not show that I was falling apart a little bit. Listened to the talks. Laughed. And heard the story of the young, rich man... for the gazillionth time.
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.”’ 20 He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money[a] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:17-22 (emphasis mine)
Multiple talks addressed this gospel passage.  And it was exactly what I needed to hear.  At one point we were asked to close our eyes and look at Jesus on the cross, dying. Where are we? What are we doing? What is Jesus saying to you?

Jesus was looking down at me with love. Guh. Even though He is in pain, bleeding, suffering because of my sin, he looks at me with love in his eyes. Holy moly. This was intense. Just as Jesus looked at the rich man with love asking him to leave everything and follow him, he looks at all of us (no matter what) that way, too. The thing is... the rich man missed it, just as I have for way too long. He walked away from Jesus, grieving and sad. He missed the fact that Jesus loved him. He didn't think he could do what Jesus had asked. But I'd like to think that if he realized the profound love that Jesus had for him, he wouldn't have walked away.

I am a sinner. I hadn't been to confession... and Jesus still loved (loves) me. It was an incredible feeling. I felt like I could breathe a huge sigh of relief. I have found something that I was seeking for so long. And, funny, it was never far.

The Eucharistic procession was amazing and intense. I cried. I raised my arms. I sung loud. I felt the Lord wrap his arms around me and squeeze. He loves me. And I totally believed it.

The following weekend, I then hung out with people that I had never met. Yes, I had read their blogs, emailed with them and even chatted on the phone. But, we never hung out. We never gave each other a hug. And I was a bit nervous. Would these ladies like me? Would they want to actually hang out with me? Am I going to do/say something that will make them realize that I am crazy? Ha. Oh, it makes me laugh now. Because when I got there, picked up Niki and stepped into the house... I knew I was supposed to be there. No matter what.

The ladies were amazing. They loved me for me. All of the weird, maybe annoying, sometimes awkward things that I said/did. I could be myself and no one bat an eye. :) It was such an amazing thing for me. God used this weekend to show me, again, that he loves me. All of me.

And... that is something I made sure the girls in my Steubie small group knew. And it's something that I want you to know, as well.

God.loves.you. All of you. Just as you are right at this moment. No matter what you look like. What you are doing. What you have done. No matter if you are harboring guilt, anger or fear. (Rom 8:35) In those moments when you don't want to wake up, and in those moments when you are on top of the world. And, no matter if you believe in God or not, he loves you.

God's love (and mercy) is larger and wider and stronger than anything you think will prevent you from that love. You are loved. You are worth it.

I am praying for you. That you will know His love, truly and deeply in your heart. I humbly ask that you will pray for me, too. :)

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7QTs: the last hoorah! (& giveaway!)

~ 1 ~
I am in the less than 2 week countdown until I go back to school, er, work. 
I have been enjoying time with my mom, Aunt and Uncle on the Jersey Shore.
It has been wonderful. Perfect weather. Family time. Nostalgic. All the things.
I am definitely making the most of my no-work summer. :)

~ 2 ~
Oh yes, a beach with WAVES!

~ 3 ~
Beach time with my beautiful momma!

~ 4 ~
We always eat breakfast at Bobber's :)

~ 5 ~
Look! The NASavannah tote makes a perfect beach/pool bag! ;)

Speaking of the tote... see quick take 7 below!

~ 6 ~
I haven't been back here to Seaside since 2011.
Before the fire in Sept. 2013, where it wiped out a huge pier of rides/games, shops and restaurants.
It's surreal. Things have changed. It's quieter. No clicking of the roller coaster, or screams of the riders.
The vibe is different here. 
Standing here, you can see all the way to the second pier.
It wasn't always like this. Where that fence is,
that's where the Funtown Pier should be.
But, it's still the Jersey Shore. It still holds tons of memories. It's a place that I will always, always love and love coming back to.

~ 7 ~
Annnnnnnd... DO YOU WANT TO WIN THE TOTE?!!?!
Of course you do!
Head on over to my NASavannah recap for more information!
You have to enter TONIGHT!!
The winner will be chosen TOMORROW!
Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor. :)

For more quick take fun, please head to Jen's
Have a wonderful weekend!

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