NAS: Expectations vs Reality

Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever have expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?





Please forgive me! Martha's baby was born yesterday, so my blog was the last thing on my mind!! Please keep Mart, Tom, Zuzu and baby David in your prayers as they continue to transition to a beautiful family of 4! :)

Link up below!


NEXT WEEK!
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?


 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

She has done a good thing for me.


Can you imagine being the woman who anointed Jesus with oil when he says, "she has done a good thing for me" (Mark 14:6)?!

Just take a second to let that sink in. You are standing right next to Jesus, you put yourself out there and anoint his forehead with a precious oil, and are being questioned by others for doing such a thing, and then, Jesus defends you, "she has done a good thing for me."

Whoa.

We desire this most, don't you think? I know I do. To meet Jesus face to face, as he looks back on my entire life, for him to say, "she has done a good thing for me." To which I am sure I would start balling and fall to his feet.

Today, as I reflect on the Palm Sunday readings (hello, Blessed is She!), it's a mixed bag of emotions, right? So close to Easter!! The pretty palms! Jesus is here! Oh, but then... pain. And suffering. And heartbreak. There is no way to get to Easter without His death. We have to go through it. We need to go through it.

I am overwhelmed thinking about how I am going to enter into Holy Week more deeply. My instinctive, human nature doesn't want to think about doing anything too crazy or too radical or too... painful. Because, who would?!

Jesus would. And, he did. He knew it would be painful, yet because the Father asked him to, he obeyed. He followed through with the worst kind of suffering there is. The craziest, most radical and most painful of deaths. Out of love for his people. For sinners. For you. For me.

I will be reflecting for the rest of the day how, exactly, I am going to push aside my selfish ways this week and offer them up to Him. I am a little nervous, but I know that Easter is coming right up. Through this suffering, we still have hope.

How will you be entering more deeply this Holy Week? Let's share, so we can continue to encourage and inspire one another! And, of course hope that our precious Lord will say,

She has done a good thing for me.


 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

Lent Check-in {NAS}

We're more than half way through Lent... how's it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?


Via


Oh, Lent. You have been a doozy this year. That's for darn sure. 

There just seems to be so much going on this Lent; from personal sufferings to those of friends to those of the world. I'm not sure why after all of these years, this is the year that satan is rearing his ugly head ALL up in my grill, but dude... give it a rest.

Amongst all of that crazy, I still find hope. I still find the good. Easter IS coming.

And that is a beautiful thing. 

Another beautiful thing? My discipline with things I said I was going to do. My new (I hope it continues!) habit, that has become my favorite part of the day is my morning devotional time with the Blessed is She Lenten Journal. I get up earlier so that I can enjoy some sweet sips of coffee, while reflecting and journaling on the Word. It's simply amazing. I know I will reap the benefits of this new habit over and over again. 

Via- my Insta :)
I've also given up social media during the workday.  - - <-- that is a face... does it look like a face?! ANYway... yes. Social media at work was filling up WAY more time in my day than I care to admit. So, it was time for it to take a backseat. Um, harder than I was expecting. Blah.

I am also saying the Litany of the Sacred Heart right before bed. I've been pretty good with this- it's such a beautiful and wonderful reminder of how amazing and tender our Lord's heart is.

Working on some other things, but I won't bore you with those. :)

Overall, while my Lent has been intense in ways that I wasn't expecting, it really has been amazing. One of my goals this Lent was to return to God with my whole heart (Joel 2:12). Do I think I have achieved this totally? Not necessarily, but I have given Him what I can. Each day. 

And because he is an ever-patient God, he waits. Every day. For my whole heart.

Just as He waits for yours.

How is YOUR Lent going?! Share with us by writing your own post, sharing in our FB group or commenting on our blogs! We really want to know how things are going for you!

Link up over at Morgan's!




NEXT WEEK!
March 31
Expectations vs Reality... of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever had expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?

April 7
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?




 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

NAS: It's Challenge Time, again, folks!


It's that time again! In the past we've challenged ourselves to grow and/or take steps toward moving closer to our vocation. These challenges have come in all different forms! Being active with online dating, getting more involved in young adult ministry/parish life, and working on bettering my prayer life have been personal challenges. What is one thing you want to challenge yourself to do that might help you along your path toward's God's will... or maybe just help you become more open to God's will?
Share what your plan is and why, then in 2 weeks we'll write on how this challenge went!!


Looking back on what I challenged myself with TWO Summers ago- getting more involved with my parish... I have been pretty successful! :) With youth group, Eucharistic Ministry, Young Adult Programs, RCIA as a sponsor... ya know, along with, spending time with friends, trying to keep my house decent, etc... man! I am busy! :)

For so long of my time here in FL, I have desired to be busy and to have a community and have things to do. And God has blessed me. Abundantly.

I have made some beautiful friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have grown closer to God. I have met new people. I have been humbled. I have been so grateful. So, so grateful! :)

In doing all of these things, my biggest challenge has been balancing my time! It's funny when the things you pray for and desire most happen, and THEN it can seem like too much! While I love being involved with so many things and feeling like I belong, I have come to realize how burned out I feel, too. Almost every single night I am doing something. Sounds great! I know. It is!

But, it's also draining. And I've lost sight of why I am doing what I am doing in many realms. Does that make sense? I have been doing all of these things, yes for myself, but really for other people, too. Being involved in ministries is giving of yourself to that ministry/those people, and what I have realized is that I need to figure out a way for me to be reenergized. I need to step back and remind myself that I don't have to do all.the.things. at the same time.

It's ok to take a break.

It's ok to do something for yourself.

And that's how I am challenging myself. :)

I want to do one thing per week just for myself, whether is be time in adoration, going for a run, blogging without distractions, meeting up to chat with a friend, etc... one thing that I am not obligated to do by the things I am involved with. Just one thing that I can do... for me. :)

Will you pray for me? Will you help me?

What is your challenge?! How are you feeling called to grow closer to God these days?!

Can't wait to hear!!! Linkup below and share with us!




NEXT WEEK!
Lent
We're more than half way through Lent... how's it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?

March 31
Expectations vs Reality... of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever had expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?

April 7
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?


 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png






Therapy is awesome.

A little over a year ago, I made a phone call.

A phone call that would change my life.

I reached out to a therapist.



Yep. A therapist. *gasp*

You guys, perhaps you remember... I was not in a good place. I was on a seriously large struggle bus, for a long time, and I didn't know how to get off of it. Dare, I say... I was depressed.

What I realized in 2014 is this: God took care of me in a way that I wasn't really expecting. He put people in my life when I needed them to be there. To help me. To love me. To remind me of His goodness.

One of those people is my therapist.

Thank you, Jesus, for that man. God bless him. Seriously.

I've been working with him for the last year... and I am in a COMPLETELY different place. It's seriously amazing. It has not been an easy road... nor do I look back fondly on all of the conversations. It's hard to let go, to talk about things that you've never talked about before, face your insecurities and doubts head on and cry. A lot.

But, I have learned so much. I have grown so much.

And, I want to remind myself (and you!) that it's ok to talk to a therapist. 

There have been many, many times throughout the last year that I have really beaten myself up for talking to Dr. P, and wondered if I really am crazy. What 29/30 year old still has all of these issues? Who is going to love me once they know that I have all of this baggage? Perhaps these incoherent, stringed together words are a sign there is something really wrong with me! Who holds on to things that happened when they were so young?

Things like that. Things that satan is trying to twist to make me feel like I am so wounded and so broken that nothing/no one will be able to help me. It's a lie. A complete and total lie.

Many times I have to keep repeating that to myself, especially after the sessions when it was really hard. Where there was lots of crying. And even more questions. I am enough. Nothing is too big or too deep that the grace of God can't heal and make new. 

Nothing.

I am sharing this to help wash away the stigma that therapy is only for crazy people. I mean, we all have a little crazy in us (!), but just because we seek counseling doesn't mean we are weird or worthless or less than. We all desire to be the best person God called us to be and that may require some outside help. The reality is this: life is hard, sometimes, and we all have wounds. There are times when we have to open up those wounds so they can heal properly. To talk about the areas of our lives that we choose not to share. To learn more about ourselves in a way that is constructive, intentional and healthy. God has called many people to help us do just that.

If you are feeling like you need to speak to someone, please do. Pray about it. Talk to your parish priest. Your spiritual director. A close friend. Anyone that you can trust who will encourage you to talk to someone. If you don't have someone, email me. :)

Will you continue to pray for me?! I'll be praying for you.



Here are some resources that may help you find someone:
Catholic Therapists
Exceptional Marriages


 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

Not Alone Series: Encouraging Men






We seem to always have something to say about guys treating us right! ...or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?






When I suggested this topic, it was directly related to this image that Lindsay posted in our FB group:

YES!
#bringdatingback
I thought, "YES! This is practical advise that I love!!" And thus, here we are hopefully to give some more practical advise from a lady's perspective. I feel like I have to add this caveat- I know that not all women will agree with these things, perhaps some will think I am uber traditional or old-fashioned. Who cares! The men that I will be interested in will do these things. Confident, grounded, loving gentlemen who desire marriage are the men that I am attracted to, and that most of you ladies who read and/or participate in NAS are attracted, too, as well.

With that out of the way, and in no particular order, here is what I encourage guys to do:
  • Be kind, gracious and loving... to everyone! Not just to the lady you are interested in.
  • Pursue her- if you are interested, let her know by getting to know her. Call her, ask her out on a date, spend time with her, fight for her.
  • Yes, CALL her- when you exchange numbers, the ball is in your court. Don't be daft and text. If she is worth getting to know, she is worth a phone call.
  • Wanna spend some quality time with her, then ask her on a DATE (preferably one that you have planned!), as the image above clearly articulates. "Hanging out" is noncommittal and may show that you didn't put much thought into wanting to spend time with her. Be intentional and clear.
  • Be confident in who you are- talk about your passions, your love of the faith, your family! We want to get to know you, too. :) Be authentically yourself, who God created you to be, not who you think we want you to be!
  • Chivalry is NOT dead!! Hold doors, pull out chairs, let a lady go ahead of you in line, open the car door, etc. for the lady you are interested, yes, but for women in general. You would do these things for the Blessed Mother, right? :)
  • Be careful with physical touch- we all have our thoughts on if/when to kiss, cuddle, make out, etc, but even the hand holding, extended hugs, arm touches, putting a wisp of hair behind your ear, etc. can give off the wrong impression. These things mean something. A hug means you care, and if lasted for a few seconds too long, it could mean more than just a hug good night. It becomes more intimate, and therefore you are potentially giving more of yourself away. Be aware of how you touch the lady you are interested in. There is a lot that can be said for this, but here is a rule that I just made up: the more committed the relationship, the more physical touch! (Friends = limited touch like occasional hugs allll the way to marriage = sex. Does that even make senes?!)
Those are my suggestions, guys!

And, ladies! Be kind and gracious to these guys who are trying their best. As both Natalie and Katie have already stated beautifully, don't knock 'em down when they are putting themselves out there! Give them a chance to do these things and build their confidence to be the best men they can be! :)

Head on over to Morgan's to get your link-up on!!


NEXT WEEK!
Challenge!
It's that time again! In the past we've challenged ourselves to grow and/or take steps toward moving closer to our vocation. These challenges have come in all different forms! Being active with online dating, getting more involved in young adult ministry/parish life, and working on bettering my prayer life have been personal challenges. What is one thing you want to challenge yourself to do that might help you along your path toward's God's will... or maybe just help you become more open to God's will?
Share what your plan is and why, then in 2 weeks we'll write on how this challenge went!!

March 24
Lent
We're more than half way through Lent... how's it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?

March 31
Expectations vs Reality... of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever had expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?

April 7
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?


 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

A doozy of a Lent

Do you ever feel bombarded by sadness and tragedy? Does it ever just seem like... too much?

Recently I have been feeling inundated with some seriously sad situations.
With friends.
With friends of friends.
With coworkers.
With people that I don't even know.
With the events around the world, constantly on the news.

My heart just wants to crumble.

All of this sadness coupled with the heightened awareness of my sinfulness has made Lent 2015 - a doozy. To say the least.

Quite possibly one of the most intense Lents of my life.

I know. Lent is supposed to be hard. We are supposed to be reflecting on our sinfulness and ways to be better. I get it.

But... it's just overwhelming sometimes.  I know what's happening, though. The devil is tempting me. Trying to plant doubts in my heart and soul. To use these sad situations to show that God isn't who he says he is. To be aware of my sinfulness, to help me "get over it, and realize it's not that bad"... OR to make me feel bad about myself.

Ya know... anything to get me to turn away from our precious Lord.

BACK OFF, man. You are not welcome here. Stop trying to be all sneaky and weasel your way into my life. You hate this time of year... although you are hopeful to get people on your side... but mostly you hate it because even though we are aware of the sad things and the sinfulness of our lives, we continue to turn to our Lord. HA!

God doesn't promise this life we are living will be easy. He promises love- the most perfect love, even though we are sinful. And, through the death and resurrection of His son, he gives us hope of a better and perfect life. Where there is no sadness. Where there is no sin. Where there is no suffering.

We will all live together with Him in our most perfect form.

That is exciting.
That is worth living for.
That is what I desire most.

I hope this Lent has been fruitful for you! God is working over time in my life right now. I pray He will continue to speak to you, so that when Easter comes we can REALLY rejoice and be glad!


"... for with the Lord there is a steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption."
Psalm 130:7

 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png

NAS: Dating fast?

Hello! Hmm... I've been a little MIA lately. Not on purpose, but as many of us know, when life gets busy, our blogs take the backseat. :( It makes me sad... even though I know it's fine. It's not the end of the world. But, I miss it. I miss YOU! I have so many thoughts to share, half written posts, topic ideas written in my journal... and, hope! Hope that I will get them written and get this blog rolling again. :)

Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for reading. And thank you for your patience!

Ok! Back to Not Alone Series and this week's topic: dating fasts.


We've all likely heard about them, but have you ever done one? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?


Well, I have never done one.

I haven't really thought about it, other than those moments of "boys are stupid and I'll never date again!!"

But, I have taken breaks, per se. Life unfolds in ways that for a few months, I focused on the things in my life, my relationship with God, my job, etc which turned out to be times that I did not date. Which, in a sense is a fast from dating.

I suppose the difference is the intention. I have never intentionally not dated.

To be fair, I haven't dated a whole lot. So, sometimes I feel like my whole life is a fast from dating! :) Obviously that's not true. I've been on dates. I have been active on Catholic Match. If I was truly on a dating fast, I would be fasting from those things, too.

At this point in my life, do I think a dating fast is for me? I will have to say no. In the last year, I have learned so much about myself, God, love and what I am looking for. These are things that could potentially come out of a dating fast. This is not to say that I couldn't benefit from going deeper on those things, of course, but I don't feel like that's the way to do it for me. I am happy with where I am right now... and if I am completely honest, officially being in my 30s (ha!) does ring true the whole "time is ticking" business! ;) I am completely open to finding my husband, however and whenever that should happen!

We touched on this in our Facebook group recently, the whole idea of the men we know, meet, or hear of as our brothers-in-Christ. When we focus too much on dating, getting married, what it's like to be a wife, we lose sight of the fact that men, first and foremost, are our brothers, and not some object to obtain in our lives, and perhaps, even more, that our vocation isn't just a game to win. It's a gift, a calling, that should lead us to sanctity. Our path to sanctity could be as a wife, but it hasn't happened yet. The more we focus on finding our husbands and marriage, we lose the focus on how God is calling us to holiness right now.

I am guilty of this. Many of my friends are guilty of this, as well. Taking a break from thinking about guys, a dating fast, or whatever you want to call it, allows us time to focus on the things that truly matter. God should be at the top of that list. Hopefully we can take that time to better ourselves, our relationships, take risks on the things that matter to US, and not what we think will matter to our nonexistent boyfriend/husband. Which will, hopefully, then re-focus our sight on our path to holiness and that of our brothers and sisters.

What are your thoughts on dating fasts?! I can't wait to hear! Link-up below!

NEXT WEEK
Encouraging Men
We seem to always have something to say about guys treating us right! ...or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?

March 17
Challenge!
It's that time again! In the past we've challenged ourselves to grow and/or take steps toward moving closer to our vocation. These challenges have come in all different forms! Being active with online dating, getting more involved in young adult ministry/parish life, and working on bettering my prayer life have been personal challenges. What is one thing you want to challenge yourself to do that might help you along your path toward's God's will... or maybe just help you become more open to God's will?
Share what your plan is and why, then in 2 weeks we'll write on how this challenge went!!

March 24
Lent
We're more than half way through Lent... how's it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?

March 31
Expectations vs Reality... of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever had expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?

April 7
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?

 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png


7 Tips for Discerning Mission Work!

A blog friend recently emailed me to ask a bit more about my experience in Honduras. :) She is starting her search and discernment on when and where and with whom she should serve. That time before I went to Honduras came flooding back to me. It's such an exciting, yet overwhelming time! So many choices and decisions to make and things to take care of. All you want is TO GET TO THAT PLACE AND START SERVING NOW!

So, you've decided that you want to do some mission work (short or long term!), but don't really know how to narrow it down. Oh, I'm with you. I have gathered a few things that you should keep in mind when discerning your mission work.

ONE ~ Skills
What skills do you have to offer? Are you in the medical field? Are you a teacher? Do you have a knack for photography? Is writing your thing?
Keep a list of those things. There are many organizations that look for the specific and, sometimes, out out-of-the-box skills/talents for different projects/events. Most of the time, those other skills will be of wonderful use in ways that you would never dream.
(I realized that I LOVE to write, thus started a blog for my family, but also for future volunteers... and my joy of teaching was helpful for the Honduran nurses I worked with.)

TWO ~ Important to You
What's important to you? 
That the organization be Catholic? A strong sense of community? A specific language? A specific purpose of the organization (teaching, orphanage, medical, etc)?
Keep track of those things, as well. As a volunteer you will most likely have more than one hat, so it's good to know what you will be willing to do and not do. Are you willing to be a 10 hour flight away from family? Are having the sacraments available important? What about being alone vs serving with others?

THREE ~ Where
This is a big one: where do you want to go? 
Latin/Central America? Africa? Asia? Stay in the US?
Each place has both their amazing highlights and unique challenges. When you are thrown into a different culture there will be challenges, even in the US. Do you want to learn a new language? What's one place you've always wanted to go? How far are you willing to travel? Will you be safe? It's a risk to travel, period. It's a risk to serve. Be smart about where you go. When I was in Honduras in 2012, the Washington Post dubbed my beloved Honduras as the "murder capital of the world." If that isn't a little daunting, I don't know what is. I never once felt unsafe while I was there. But, I was smart about when I traveled and where I was going.  Learn about the place you are going!

FOUR ~ Practicalities
Are you willing to fundraise? Do you have money saved up? Do you need travel/health insurance? 
Many, many organizations require you to pay your own way and/or fundraise for your living expenses. NPH only requires you to pay for your flight to/from the host country and get insurance if you wanted it. Some other organizations require insurance. These are things to keep in mind. Personally, at the time I went to Honduras, I had been working for 4 years and saved up money, so I didn't feel the need to ask for help.  But this is a choice that you will have to make.

FIVE ~ Research
Ok... so, you have an idea of what you want to do and where you want to go... now is where the fun begins!! Start with Google. :) Seriously. 
That is how I began, and then was able to narrow down what I wanted. As you begin to look at different organizations, you will find very quickly what draws you in, and what pushes you away. Add those things to your lists of skills/importance/etc. Be honest with yourself. Email the organizations that you like for more information. Reach out to those that have volunteered before (we LOVE to help  and encourage others with their process!).

SIX- Don't Rush
There is no time frame for this process. 
Yes, there are deadlines for applications and interviews and the like. But, don't choose an organization JUST because the deadline is approaching and you might miss out! There will be another opportunity. Another organization. Another chance to serve.

SEVEN ~ Pray!
Always. Always. Always. 
Pray to see if this is right for you, but also for every new step along the way. Be in constant communication with God about this HUGE decision in your life. It will be stressful. You will question everything. You will need to have a constant while you are figuring out how, exactly, your life will be changing. And also rejoice in those moments that are exciting! When you know where you are going! And when you get there!


This is obviously not an exhaustive list of things to do, but it should help get you going. If you are thinking of mission work, please know that I am praying for you! It's such an awesome way to give of yourself to love and serve your neighbor. :)

Let me know if you have any questions!

 photo signature_zps5d138df6.png


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...