Friday, February 28, 2014

7QT on my week in KC [18]

The main part of my week was a fundraising spree. Four Masses over the weekend, lots of phone calls and appointments, newsletter sending, and relationship building with old and new mission partners. Sharing the mission of FOCUS with new people always energies me, and this weekend was no different. I went from an anxious/nervous wreck to singing on my way home from Mass.

Kurt was one of my closest friends after I moved to KC in high school. We were together all the time and always had so much fun. I don't think I've seen or spoken to him since our freshman year of college, so it was a treat to get to meet up with him for breakfast on Tuesday.

Kurt is in his second year of med school, so his life is all about studying right now. Ever since I've known him, he has wanted to be a doctor, so it is cool to see him well on his way to achieving that dream.

I love that some friends from other places have moved to KC, because that means I get to see them whenever I come home. Megan is my big in DG, and she is a super great friend. I love that we are still good friends and that I get to see her fairly often.

So...this happened...

look at that color and that shark! ah!
I AM SO STINKING EXCITED TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY. I've been watching youtube videos and practicing and learning and it is so so so fun! I am definitely in D1 (zero skills, and pretty excited), and I'm basically as good as this guy. I mean, I can already play You are My Sunshine. Watch out, hollywood, I'm coming for you.

There was a very sad moment to my week. My new roomies are allergic to cats, so I had to say goodbye to Kateri for a short while. Megan graciously agreed to watch for until both of the girls with allergies move out this summer.

so glamorous.

Maybe I'll get a plant instead.

On Monday I drove up to see Tommy (the older of my two brothers) at KU and took him to lunch. Oh my gosh, he is just living the dream in college. He lives in the honors dorm and was telling me all about the community his floor has built. They hang out together all the time and have these fun games that remind me of camp that they play. It was so weird to see him in college (I can't believe I'm this old), but really neat to see KU from his eyes.

In exactly ONE WEEK I will be on my way to MEXICO! My mom called me a little while back and offered to take me along with her and my sister and I am just so excited. It will be nice to relax and spend some quality time with them. This trip ends my whirlwind of a life and I (hopefully) won't be traveling for awhile after this trip. But, this was the perfect way to end all traveling.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February In Review

I set some pretty specific goals that had to do with budgeting this month. I even made this fancy image:

Which came first: the image or the goals? We may never know.
Let's talk about how I did:

1. Actually read Dave Ramsey's book. 

  • Fail. Didn't do this. But I did sit through a very long heated debate on my way to Asheville about Dave Ramsey and his methods. So that kind of counts, right? No? Shoot...
2. Read one of my fundraising books before I go home to fundraise.


  • Semi success? I did this for 2 weeks and then I stopped and then I did it again this last week. 3/4. I stopped mainly because I don't have a bank in Colorado and getting cash is hard. Those weeks I did have cash, I stuck to my quasi-budget, which is good!
4. Do a budget analysis.

  • nailedit. I feel like I have a pretty decent idea of where all my money goes. I'm overall pretty happy with it, but now I've identified areas that I can cut back and put that money towards some of my financial goals! Hooray, being informed!
5. Set some financial goals.

  • naileditagain. This one was really fun. When Emily visited at the beginning of the month, we talked about taking a trip together in a year or two. So I spent some time with that goal, which was fun to start dreaming up. Unfortunately, the rest of my goals looked pretty much like, "save money," "don't go into debt," and "don't spend all your money on things you don't need" because I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. 
Moving forward...I definitely want to keep moving on some of these. Like reading Dave Ramesy's book and dealing in cash and making progress on my financial goals. I think the main big next step is to set a budget and stick to it. Doing this will allow me to implement some of these goals that I want to turn into habits. 

Some February highlights:
  • Emily's visit
  • The Smokies Greek Getaway
  • My dating fast post
  • Speaking at my parish about FOCUS
  • Working from home this week
  • Cinderella, the ballet
  • Visiting Tommy at KU
Cheers, friends. March is my birthday month, so it's about to get real.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

scarves for the homeless

background image via.

Hey all you knitters and crocheters!

My good friend, Dana, works at Catholic Charities in Fort Collins, Colorado. She coordinates volunteers and does other cool stuff.

She accepts my taxidermy squirrel...

She even goes above and beyond and leads a Bible study for the women on Tuesday nights.

However, it's cold out here in Colorado. Especially if you're homeless.

That's why I'm helping Dana out by knitting a scarf (or two) for the women in her Bible study. Will you join me? She only needs 10. That's 9 more (or 8 if I can whip one out pretty quickly). Thank you, Dana, for this opportunity to glorify God through yarn. And crafting.

Email michelle[dot]lippoli[at]gmail[dot]com for more information on where to send your scarf!

PS - Denver peeps, I'm thinking of having a knitting night or two in March so we can hang out while we knit! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trusting Jesus in my Art

I was complaining to myself earlier today that 1. I hadn't posted anything for this 7postsin7days business yet, and 2. it was really, really hard to write this week.

Then I sat down to write, and I finished off two pieces that have been sitting in my Evernote for awhile, made some good progress on a few posts I've been wanting to write, and started a mini-series I've been wanting to do for awhile now.

But I didn't want to publish any of them. I wanted to save them for later, edit them up, add some images, make them more perfect. But most of all, I wanted to protect myself for future weeks with some back up posts. I wanted to schedule one a week, so I could feel confident in my blogging stability for the next few months. Get ahead, you know?

The question I must ask myself is if I truly believe I have been called to share this and gifted with writing, why don't I trust myself or Jesus with what I'm creating?

So though I chose to write this instead for today's post, those other posts will come out later this week. I'm choosing to trust myself with this skill I have developed and Jesus with the gift he has blessed me with.

And, I'm combating my perfectionism by keeping this short and image-less. :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

7x7: Writing

7 posts in 7 days. Woof. I signed up on Jen's blog and now I'm telling you all about it, so that means I have to do it...right? Right.

I actually am really excited about this and I want to do it. Ever since I've implemented this 6-step planning process in my life, one of my main roles each week is a writer. And a goal for the past 3 weeks has been to find writing exercises and do them three times a week. And...I have not done that yet. So this 7x7 project is going to be my writing exercises for the week. Thanks for bearing with me.

Of course, now that I've committed to doing this, I can't think of anything to write. Recently, someone told me that writer's block is not a real thing. That only writing when you feel intensely inspired is laziness and we stifle our creativity when we do this. A little intense, yes, but also motivating. I've been in the place where I only write when an incredible idea comes to me...and that just leads to disconnected and incomplete pieces. I don't want to live in a place of perfectionism and inconsistency. No, I want to be a writer who pushes through and makes her work a priority. I want to write when the writing is hard and bad so I can improve it and grow. So this week, I'm focusing on my writing goals.

I actually have a lot of writing goals

  • Make a facebook page
  • Figure out a layout/branding I actually like
  • Set readership goals
  • Dedicate some time to writing each week instead of just doing it sporadically
...but I'm really good at brainstorming goals and not actually following through. I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately....hmm. Maybe I should figure out how to work on that.

Anyways, that's going to be all for today. Thanks for reading, and coming a long for this 7x7 journey. Thank you for giving me an outlet to grow as a writer and have fun along the way. Hopefully, we can create something amazing together this week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

7QT on moving and traveling [17]

I've been moving this week, so I've been MIA. I found an awesome Living Social deal that allowed me to pay $50 for an hour with 2 movers and a truck!!!!!! Seriously, it was the best decision I ever made. They carried all my heavy things and then brought them to my new apartment. Praise God for movers, because I hate carrying boxes to/from the car.

Speaking of things I hate: packing/cleaning is another big one. It is seriously the worst.'s been my life the past 2.5 weeks and it will continue to be so the week following this because I'm not unpacked yet. Ugh.

Things I like: being home!! This post comes to you from Kansas City, where my family resides. I made the 9-hour journey today (it actually went pretty fast) & I will be home for the next week-ish. I'm here to work - I've been blessed with the opportunity to speak at my parish about FOCUS, so I'll be spending the week doing some fundraising. #pleaseballa

Today, I officially crossed into the realm of being a cat lady. One of my new roomies is allergic to cats (sad day), so my kitty needed a temporary home until the roomie gets married this summer. Megan, my big in DG, is going to keep her for a few months, so I didn't have to give her up. I was not looking forward to 9-hours in the car with a cat, but she did pretty well.

someone is not pleased.
How does this make me a cat lady, you ask? Please view the pictures below from when I stopped for lunch and gave the cat a chance to stretch:

I was totally being judged by some high school girls in Hayes, Kansas. #catonalease

This morning when I checked twitter, I had this awesome notification:

Yes, that is my mother below.

I was pretty excited/flattered to be noted as an "upcoming event planner." I love this career, so it's fun to be recognized by others in the industry! Way to go, twitter, for helping me grow professionally.

Speaking of event planning, I discovered this hilarious joke on the Pinterest that I am so obsessed with, I made it my twitter bio. 

Christina sent our team this video, and I am obsessed! Talk about talent. I'm currently watching it non-stop.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, February 17, 2014

a grateful heart.

This is Jon.

well, and Carol.
Jon has been running the FOCUS twitter, and thanks to his retweet, so many awesome, awesome people read my post last Monday. Thanks to everyone who hopped on over here via FOCUS, and thanks to those of you who are still here! I'm excited you're here, and I'm excited to get to know you better!

I've been feeling so incredibly grateful this past week by the number of people that have viewed my blog. I've gotten encouraging comments and texts and messages thanking me for my vulnerability in my last post.

A good friend of mine from Drake, Erika of All Things E, wrote a great post last week on the Numbers Game in the blog world, and it came at just the right time. I was getting discouraged by my low daily readership, and then BAM, hundreds of y'all stopped by last week. But that's not even the thing that matters.

I'm on the far left & Erika is on the far right!
Erika wisely writes about putting faces to the numbers and recognizing that every click is an actual human person. So, like she did, I pictured what it would have been like to give my blog post as a speech to a room full of that many people. I imagine it would look something like this:

image via EideCom.

Okay, so that picture is the main ballroom from SLS and it is close to 2,500 people...but still. It helps put it in perspective. I also started thinking about how much time it would take me to sit down with every person who stops by and reads and get coffee with them. That's a lot of time. Thanks Erika for your awesome insight on how our worth in blogging should be more about the individuals who read rather than the stats and numbers.

I started writing after my long break because:
1. I wanted to,
2. it kept coming up in prayer, and
3. apparently writing is one of my spiritual gifts. (hollaatchya, Spiritual Gifts Inventory.)

image via.

Having the habit of picturing sharing my posts with a room full of individuals flows into gratitude for this platform to share my heart, gifts, and relationship with Jesus. It reminds me why I'm writing and why I can spend so much time on this hobby.

So to all my fellow bloggers out there, hop on over to All Things E and read Erika's post, and then spend some time in gratitude for your blog...even if only one person reads it each day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes on G/Valentine's Day, Mary, and Roadtrips [16]

1. Valentine's date with Jess
2. Ballet date with Carol
4. Discipleship group
5. King David in Kindergarten

I started a novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots on Tuesday. I learned about this bomb title of Mary at training this past summer, and really, really wanted to pray it. I probably should have because Jesus was showing all these different wounds and stuff, but I didn't feel like it was the time.

image via.
I wrote that post about my dating fast when I was on retreat with the Little Sisters of the Poor. So when I was the Greek Getaways on Friday, I suddenly knew it was time to pray that novena. So, obviously I waited until Tuesday to start...

It's been really great so far. It's amazing to me how as I do the meditation Mary reveals I different knot I need untied. I'm excited to keep going and see how it turns out.

Guys, my blogger is set to central time zone and I have no idea how to fix it. Can anyone help a sista out!?

Please enjoy this photo of me & my worst enemy/bff JohnMarc being reunited.

yes, this is a selfie.
It was good to see JMS & all the other mishes and catch up at the Getaway's this past weekend. This venue was much better and so much better to work with.

I did spill wax on my dress (what the heck!?). It is currently in the freezer so I can scrape it off. Wax is weird.

Last night Carol & I celebrated Galentine's day with some wine, chocolate covered strawberries, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and some good old fashioned dance partying.

image via.


image via.
"Guess what day it is!?"


One week from today I will be road tripping home to do some fundraising. I am looking forward to giving my parish talk and hopefully seeing some current mission partners to just catch up. It'll be nice to be home during a "normal" week - Joey has 3 basketball games and I'm going to try to pop up to KU to see Tommy for an afternoon. Then the big goal is to road trip back to CO through Lincoln to visit my old team and students. Hooray for road trips!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

planning with vision

Why do you do what you do?

Sometimes, we can forget why we started a job, a hobby, a new goal. Especially when it gets hard. Especially when there's a task that we don't want to do. In those moments, we can be tempted to quit. So how do we fight this?

My team has been reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for a little while now (we took a short hiatus mid-November to mid-January due to SLS), and we really love it. It is changing the way we interact with each other and with other departments. 

Most recently, we started working on implementing the 6 step planning process. Each Friday morning, we set aside an hour to prioritize the upcoming week and create time and space to work on important goals and priorities. But before we even get there, we must begin with the end in mind. This means taking a huge step back and looking at why we are even in our jobs.

Our team works on three main events: SEEK, New Staff Training, and the Student Leadership Summit. I firmly believe that all three events are vital to FOCUS and the advancement of God's Kingdom. But I'm human, and there are some days when I'm stuck in spreadsheets and logistics and emails and tiny details that I forget why I left campus to work on these events.

A few weeks ago I was upset about something I was supposed to do at work. I just couldn't figure out why. My friend Katie and I talked it out, and suddenly I realized it had to do with my pride. I wasn't thrilled about a task I was assigned and wanted to do a more glamorous task. a problem because the whole of the event is important. Even the less exciting things that I don't want to do.

The next say, Jesus wanted to talk to me about it in prayer, so He made the first reading apply to my life:

The scene: God has sent the prophet Samuel to find the new king from Jesse's sons. Samuel sees Eliab and immediately think's he is the next king of Israel - he's strong, good looking, charming...all the things a king should be. He had that outward appearance and glamour that I desired with my job.

But God had other plans (typical). He says, "Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance, but The Lord looks into the heart."

image via.

The question I had to ask was where was my heart at with these events? Was I in this job for the status? Or was there more?

I sat down with each event and prayed through why it is important to me. 

my new desktop background at work
These are the reasons I love my job. These are the reasons I do what I do. And when the going get's rough, I will take a step back to remember my vision, so my planning and goals can stem from this pace of purpose.

This is why I do what I do. I'd love to hear...why do you do what you do?
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Monday, February 10, 2014

how I learned nothing and everything on my dating fast

What's a dating fast, you ask? It's when a person chooses not to date or have any romantic relationships for a certain period of time. All first year FOCUS missionaries go on a dating fast of some form. 

image via.

My dating fast was the It freed me to worry about nothing besides my students and my relationship with Jesus. I was free to deeply discern my vocation, and I was significantly closer to Jesus when my fast was over than when I started. 

But the real test comes when the dating fast ends. How was I going to live my life now that I was free to date?

I was terrified to go to summer training, hot off the dating fast. I felt like I was going to have to confront my vocation right in the face since pretty much every religious order I was attracted to would be at training, and there were all these holy FOCUS men who were also hot off the fast.

I got to Florida, and SURPRISE! Nothing changed. I continued to pray and unite myself with Jesus each day. Yet I noticed a difference in myself. No longer was every guy I met a potential boyfriend. For the first time, I truly felt like I was able to honor my brothers in Christ as what they were: sons of God striving for holiness. Which helped me to truly be myself at all times. It was pretty cool.

image via.

Fast forward to September when I met someone who I liked and who liked me back. The minute he asked me to open my heart and let my guard down without any commitment or actual dating relationship, I did it. What the heck, Michelle!? I began to allow my heart to run free and my imagination to see a future with this boy. I mean, he told me he liked me, we were just waiting a few weeks to start dating, so no big deal, right? I was excited, my emotions were going crazy, and my heart was full of this boy.

But here's the thing, without Jesus, there is only so much room in your heart. Since all I thought about was this boy, I was rapidly shoving Jesus out of my heart and mind without even realizing it. So imagine my hurt and confusion when we didn't end up dating.

image via.
Sure, there's a lot of things he could have done differently, but I was mainly mad at myself. I literally did everything I learned not to do while on my dating fast. Ugh. 

Unfortunately, getting Jesus back to the center of your heart is a lot harder than kicking Him out. I now had to detach myself from the plans I had made. And since my heart was so closely tied to those plans, it was painful. It was even harder since I was so angry with myself for failing.

image via.

Yet our God is patient and forgiving and loving. He does not love me less because I chose not to listen to Him. He writes straight with crocked lines. He healed my heart and showed me great love despite my failure to love His son correctly.

So now that I've been on a dating fast, grown immensely from it, and epicly failed at living it out, here's what I've learned:

1. God desires to be at the center of my heart, but He won't force His way in. 

2. It is easy to replace God with other things, and extremely hard to put Him back in your heart once you've kicked him out. But the beautiful thing is, even though we've ignored the Lord, He has never left us. All you have to do to put Him back in the center of your life is ask. And then pick yourself up and start living your life with Him.

image via.

3. My worth does not change whether or not I'm date-able to someone. It lies in the fact that I am a beloved daughter of God. And the same goes for men. Their worth does not change based on how date-able they are to me. 

image via.

4. There is an appropriate level of intimacy that can exist between a man and a woman, and it should not be crossed without the proper levels of commitment.

5. What not following the will of God feels like.

6. Don't over spiritualize. Discernment is about action. Don't get me wrong, prayer does need to be in the center of discernment, but we need to act and step outside of ourselves and move. Sometimes, we need to make an educated, prayerful decision and trust that God will bless it or He will intervene. 

7. Jesus wants to love me right where I'm at - even if I mess up. 

If I had to do it over, I would change a lot of things. I would guard my heart better and combat my attachments with greater devotion to Jesus and the Blessed Mother. But now I better understand the right way to love because of the pain I went through. I know that next time I will be better equipped to love rightly with Jesus, and that His love will continue to conquer and transform my heart. Thank you, Jesus for being patient with me, for teaching me how to love, and granting me the gift of self awareness through this time!

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Friday, February 7, 2014

7QT on Podunk Mountain Towns [15]

We're on the green half, people.

This one is a little smaller, and there is no skiing. But I am feeling really good about it. We have one Getaway under our belts, and I feel like I am getting better at being the official event executer. My play by play is gorgeous for this event. #spreadsheets.

Something that is great about these Getaways is that it's a great chance to get to know other missionaries/see missionary friends. I was way too busy at SLS to actually spend time with anyone, so the downtime is nice. I don't know the missionaries on this Getaway as well, so this weekend I get to make new(ish) friends. Yippieeeeee!

It is way fun being here in the Smoky Mountains. My parent's friends from college and their family's all come here every summer for a vacation. Except I haven't been since 2008 (whoops, camp...). I miss those people a lot, they're pretty much the 3rd side of our family. Yeah, that's how to explain it. When we come here, we rent out a giant house and take over it for 3 days. We hike and swim and explore and eat and just hang out together. I really, really hope I can come this summer. Actually, I hope everyone can come this summer! Let's go back to midnight hole.

Also, being in a mountain town is so fun. We went to this microbrewery last night and there were total townies there. Along with a legit Podunk town band, equipped with an accordion, bass, fiddle, and over-the-washboard.

This summer, I will have officially been friends with my summer 2009 camp friends for 5 years. And Drake friends for 6. Woah.

I finally had some time to do some soul searching and big time goal setting and dreaming on the plane on Wednesday. It was cool, because it stemmed from me thinking about a financial goal I could set...a post to come on this!

My plane ride was very productive - I had some really raw and honest prayer for the first time in awhile. I had a weird experience in adoration on that retreat a few weekends ago, and I think I actually was able to confront it and get to the bottom of a few things.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Goals: All about budgeting

When I started thinking about how I can continue to keep living out this More Jesus, Less Stuff mantra in February, the only thing I could think of was money. What the heck, that doesn't even make sense. This month I'm moving, headed to KC to do some fundraising, and working a lot on budgets at work. So maybe that's why all I could think of is money. Or maybe because February has president's day in it and there are presidents on dollars. Who knows.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty responsible with my money. I attribute that to my CPA parents and fundraising my salary - holla. But....I'm also super impulsive and as much as I love planning and lists, I am no bueno at it with money and budgeting. 

Ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He's all the rage in FOCUS. Basically, he's all about how to handle your money in a responsible, Christian manner. I pretty much just want to know where I am spending my money. AND, I'm starting to be a responsible adult who sets long term goals instead of just being all whimsey through life, so betting attentive to my money is probably a smart choice. I hope this month will be all about setting foundations for these money habits.


1. Actually read Dave Ramsey's book. 

2. Read one of my fundraising books before I go home to fundraise.

3. DEAL IN CASH. Like Dave Ramsey says! I think this is the biggest thing that I want to do this month. Hopefully I can post more on this after I read the book.

4. Do a budget analysis. AKA go through my spending the past few months and try to see where I can cut out spending.

5. Set some financial goals. Like a real adult! Emily and I talked about going on a trip sometime soon...but I can't go on a trip if I don't save and plan for it!

So...yeah. Weird that they're all themed. We'll see how this goes. What do you guys do to help you budget and keep track of your expenses?!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

St. Jane Frances de Chantal

A few weeks ago Sarah over at Footprints on My Heart commented on my blog and asked if I would be interested in taking part in her new Saint Series. I was honored to be asked to take part, and excited to share a little piece of my story! Here's a little exert from my post on how my friendship with a saint got me to campus as a FOCUS Missionary!

...Wednesday night came, and I had $550/month left to raise, 3 appointments, and no more contacts. There was absolutely no way I was going to make it to campus. How embarrassing! I can't even fulfill what God has called me to! 

That night, my friend Kelsey posted something in our first year missionary Facebook group about how St. Rita helped her reach her fundraising goal, and encouraged us to find a fundraising patron. I scoffed because even though I had admired the saints my whole life, I'd never really had a relationship with one. But, I was desperate. I googled saints who had feast days on August 12.

Enter St. Janes Frances de Chantal....

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