Monday, March 31, 2014

MARCH In Review: How I failed a lot

This month, I wanted to focus on my relationship with Jesus. So I set all of my goals around this feat. 

1. Committing to my holy half hour. Like getting there right at 10:30 and not leaving until 11:00.
  • I actually did this! But prayer was still hard. However, I'm trying to remember that half of the battle is showing up. So it's a start.
2. Making 3 additional visits to the Blessed Sacrament each week. 
  • Fail.
3. Making it to daily Mass 4/5 days of the week. I mean, we have a chapel with daily Mass in our office. I have no reason not to go as often as my work schedule allows it!
  • Fail. I went to Mass, but not 4/5 times per week. I'm still working on getting out of the habit of working through Mass. 
4. Getting in the habit of practicing the presence of God.
  • Semi-success. I love this practice, but it hard to do. I'm definitely working on making it a habit and I practice Jesus' presence whenever I remember. So...I'm working on it.

I didn't really want to write this post because I did not do well with my goals or doing my part in growing my relationship with Jesus. I honestly slacked off this month. Which is dumb for a lot of reasons. But I want to be honest and practice vulnerability because I think that is something we all could be a little better at. 

Sometimes, I read other people's blogs and get discouraged because they are so holy/funny/creative/perfect. And I realize that these people aren't really perfect and aren't even really trying to portray themselves as perfect, but it's a way the devil can attack me. So I want to be honest with you and let you know that in no way, shape, or form am I perfect or really, really holy. This month, I sucked at praying and being Catholic. And while maybe it's not okay or ideal, I am in a place where I am aware of my shortcomings and can turn to Christ for his mercy and help to move forward. I think that is a good place to start moving forward.

So by the grace of God, I plan to pick myself up and recommit to my prayer life. Jesus, give me the grace to respond to your love in my life.

Friday, March 28, 2014

7QTs on Carol ditching us for Illinois

Today is officially the worst day ever. Carol packed up her car and headed back to Illinois to move home. It's not like she is really ditching us. She will still be working for FOCUS, just in a remote fashion. And I mean, moving home to prepare for your wedding and live close to your finance is a legitimate reason to move home. Still, I will miss this girl like crazy.

Carol was my first Events Team friend and my first Colorado friend. She is hilarious, extremely talented at Event Planning, and she is an incredible listener. I am so incredibly grateful to have walked with her these past seven months. She challenged me to grow in my relationships with Christ and others, and helped me develop my skills as an event planner. Only 24 days until I see her again for a whole week!

Since it was #CarolsLastWeek, we obviously had to celebrate. And man, does our team know how to celebrate. We started by leaving work a little early on Monday for a COLORADO ADVENTURE. We started with a hike up Elk Meadows, and ended with Mountain Pizza at Beau Joes and Colorado draft beers. We're really fun.


Christina loves hikes.

Thursday was the worst, because it was her actual last day. Christina and I decked out the office.

I brought in the team favorite Reese's Bar's & Christina brought in carrots (because Carol's a weirdo and loves them) and the most amazing veggie dip I've ever eaten. After work, we toasted Carol with some wine and the team said their goodbyes.

Carol and I went with some friends to The Yard House for a last hoorah. Oh my gosh, they have approximately 1 million beers on tap and they are all amazing. So is the food. This was the best decision ever. After, I went back to Carol's apartment and watch Jimmy Fallon Hashtag videos with Hannah while Carol finished packing. As I said goodbye waaaaaay too late in the evening, Carol told me to pretend this was a normal goodbye and that I wasn't allowed to go cry in my car after I left.

This is how we're dealing with Carol being gone:

Also, we're going to drink wine after work to drown our sorrows.

In other news, my family has a March Madness bracket and I'm winning? What? I don't get it. I made my picks on the phone with my mom while shopping for earrings and I haven't watched one game...

The upside to this week: RYAN WAS IN TOWN! Kyle (Ryan) was a missionary at Drake my senior year and we've been friends ever since. He is now changing the world by growing closer to God at seminary, and will probably be a priest. Pretty much, the future of our Church is in his hands. Which is kind of a scary thing (just kidding, Ryan is really great).

I saw him for dinner Friday night, at Miles' first birthday party on Saturday afternoon, and then all day Tuesday when I spent the day in Fort Collins. Tuesday was so much fun catching up with Dana, Derek, Ryan, & Miles. We reminisced about FOCUS, Drake, and The Office. We laughed a lot, drank a lot of beers, and just had a grand old time together.

In the light of Carol leaving, I am so grateful for all the friends God has blessed me with over the course of my life. To all of you near, and far, thank you for the blessing you have been to me!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Practice of the Presence of God: A book review

image via.
So, I downloaded this book way back in August, but I only got about half way through. Now after rereading it I know why. This book is incredible and every sentence requires a holy hour of meditation after you finish reading it. It's intense, yet simple. Profound, yet full of incredible common sense.

Br. Lawrence was a religious brother who lived in the 1600's. He had an incredible closeness to Jesus and was able to actively live that out every day. 

What I admire most about Br. Lawrence and this book is his profound self-awareness and dedication to his resolutions. He says over and over that he decided he would give himself wholly to God, so that's what he did. And when he lost sense of Gods presence or sinned, he simply turned his heart back to Jesus and started over. 

How beautiful this way of life is. It exemplifies everything I hope to be. I admire his will and love how simple he views the spiritual life. He understands that he is a sinner and without God he can do nothing. How often so we get mad at ourselves for failing or turning from God? I get angry about this on a weekly (daily) basis. And then I feel like I can't talk to God because I haven't behaved perfectly. But, I don't think that's what Jesus wants. I think this practice of the presence of God pleases him greatly and makes him smile. He just wants to be with us, and this practice does that in a beautiful and humble way. 

So I'm trying to take a page from Br. Lawrence and trying to consciously find Jesus with me at all times. And when I forget or mess up, I will simply ask Jesus to help me to continue on.

PS - It's free on Amazon.

Some favorite quotes:

Make immediately a holy and firm resolution never more willfully to forget Him, and to spend the rest of your days in His sacred presence.

The least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; He is nearer to us than we are aware of.

That it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times.

It was nearly impossible to stop at three quotes. I think I highlighted 99% of the book.

Friday, March 21, 2014

7QTs on Camping, Reading, and Spontaneous Piercings

Tomorrow, I will have been back in Colorado for a whole week for the first time in what feels like forever. And I'm not leaving the state until April 17. A whole month of stability. I forgot what this feels like. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now that I'm not traveling. Maybe I can finally get unpacked from all these travels and moving.

On Tuesday, Carol & I were spontaneous. Well, as spontaneous as you can be when you sent an outlook calendar invite the day before. We told Christina of our adventures the next day & she sent out this email to our team:

"Let's play two truths and a lie...

1. Michelle got her eyebrow pierced.
2. Michelle got her ear's triple pierced.
3. Carol got her cartilage pierced."

Christine guessed #2 was the lie, Zach tweeted "THIS IS TOO HARD," and Brenda guessed that someone actually got a giant tattoo. Any guesses?!

My team is about to start reading this book and I cannot wait.

I'm also really scared of it. I feel like it is going to kick me in the pants, nonstop. When we read 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Person, it transformed the way we plan our weeks and interact with our work. I'm interested to see how this next book will change the way we interact with each other.

I have another cross-country adventure coming up in a month. Part of being an event planner means going on site visits. Which I think is just so fun! You get to see the space, meet the staff, and start to visualize what your next event is actually going to look like. So our team is doing two site visits in one week. First we're headed to Nashville to check out the Gaylord Opry. I'm excited to stop visualizing the Hyatt Regency in Dallas and actually learn the names of the ballrooms at the Gaylord! Then we're headed to Ave Maria, Florida with all of the committee heads to rev up for summer training! Site visits with the team are so fun, and I can't wait for SO MUCH QUALITY TIME.

Speaking of adventure, I want to go camping so bad right now. Seriously. Hurry up and turn into spring, Colorado so I can sleep outside. For some reason my team has been talking a lot about tents and camping this week, and we recently learned that Christina has never actually been camping. When she was a girl scout, they set up tents with persian rugs. What!? It reminded Carol and me of this:

image via.

Answer to two truths and a lie: I did NOT get my eyebrow pierced! I'm mainly confused as to why Christina and Christine thought this would be something that I would do. I'd appreciate the insight. haha.

Next week is the saddest week of my entire time on the events team. Carol is moving back to Illinois so she can get married (dumb). I will be protesting this move every step of the way.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My 23rd Year

I rang in my 23rd birthday in a van full of pretty amazing girls. We were on a nun run, and I spent the night in Nashville with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I joked and told them I had now spent two birthdays in the convent, to which they replied, "any many mooorrreeee!" Hilarious. 

Some of the best live tweeters I've ever met. And some nuns.

On Monday night, my friend Elizabeth asked for my high, low, & God moment of the year. She asks such good questions, and I hadn't really thought about it until that moment. 

Low: Summer Training. NST is a magical place where hundreds of Catholics gather together in the middle of nowhere to grow closer to God and to be trained in evangelization. Training for me was, well, awkward. I felt kind of out of place - I was no longer a campus missionary, but I wasn't quite yet on the events team. And then there's the business of it being summer time and missing camp. But I think the biggest reason that training is so hard is because we missionaries put ourselves in a place of vulnerability where we are trying our hardest to conquer ourselves and grow ever closer to God. So this past summer, I got very attacked with loneliness and a confusion of where my place truly was. The beautiful thing about struggling in a place such as NST is you are surrounded by people who are passionate about others. My fellow missionaries, the priests, and religious that were there made all the difference in my place of struggle. And the thing about our low moments and struggles is that they propel us forward. If everything is perfect and easy all the time, we will never grow. Shout out to Caitlin & Katie for walking with me during this time, to the Marco Island crew for providing much needed community and carefree timelessness & to Carol for being so welcoming & the beginning of our events team friendship.

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee belong, we belong togeeeetherrrr.

High: Closing Campfire the week I subbed at Tecumseh. Of course my high would be from camp. I wrote about this when reflecting on 2013, but this moment was so profound for so many reasons. I last minute decided it would be so fun to have a picture with my campers who are now on CT Staff, so I asked Rachel to spread the word that we should meet behind the benches after cheers. I was not prepared for being stampeded by those 10 girls, being picked up, and all the squeals and hugs of reunions. 

such a happy heart.

It was in that moment of nostalgia, cherished memories of their time as kiddos in my cabin, that I remembered why I loved working at camp. Yes, we have fun, Yes we get to be crazy. Yes, I have made lifelong friends there. But this moment reminded me what camp is all about: loving those kids. 

God Moment: I had two I just could not choose from. First: being prayed over by my Nebraska teammates. I really struggled to understand why God sent me to UNL and how I was making an impact for the kingdom. As the year drew to a close I had no idea if I would go to the DSC or stay on campus. So my team prayed over me for a solid 20 minutes, and then we hurried off to Mass. 

look at these beautiful, holy people. 

Over the summer, I was telling a friend the story and I realized that ever since that moment of being prayed over, I had been blessed with a divine perspective of my time as a missionary at UNL. God had graced me with the ability to see some of the work He was using me for. It was a beautiful moment, and I was so grateful to The Lord for this gift and my team. 

Second: August & September of this year. Oh how the Lord blessed me during those months. I was so full of Jesus and gratitude and joy that I thought I felt like I would just burst. I was reading Interior Freedom by Jaques Phillipee and the fruit of the book was oozing into every aspect of my life. Jesus was so real and present to me and I am being propelled from that consolation even now. 

Thanks to you all for being a part of my 23rd year of life! I can't wait to see where year 24 will bring us.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Little Happies [1]

One of the best parts of camp every day? Highs and lows. It gives us a chance to reflect on the blessings God has given us throughout our days. I don't usually have this habit outside of that camp world. So when I saw this link up, I wanted to join in. I'm excited to be along for the ride this week! Check out Blessed To Be for more happies.

Is it weird to talk about your own birthday on your blog? Well, I'm going to do it! It's my birthday, and that is fun. Carol and I took a little time to chat and catch up this morning. Then my family sent me these:

I am grateful for my vacation with my mom and my sister. I will write more on this later, but right now, just look at that water! So beautiful, so grateful.

Last night was the first night I was able to get together with my discipleship girls in a while. They are just so fun and always brighten my day. They put up with my craziness and desire for adventure (we ordered a pizza, just because) and are getting more and more willing to share. 

Giving up TV for lent has created so much time for reading and it is so great. I read 4 books on vacation last week. Right now, I am half way through the second book of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. I remember reading the first book in the 8th grade and loving it, so I decided that I wanted to read to whole trilogy. I love the imagery in these books - the characters often enter into other worlds called realms, so it is fun to get lost in the world of magic and the magic that comes from the 1890's in London.

When I got home from Mexico, I had a package. Inside were two beautiful scarves for my project to help get scarves for Dana's bible study. This leaves me with 4 in hand, and two on their way! I'm going to deliver the scarves this weekend. I love that others have jumped on board for this little last minute project. Maybe next year it can be something bigger. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

5 Favorites: On Reading [1]

I'm a sucker for a good linkup (even though I'm out of the country and probably won't actually be able to link up), especially listy ones, so I figured I'd give this a try. I'm excited to be along for the ride this week!

So, my 24th birthday is on March 17th. My parent's gave me my present early so I could use it on vacation this week. I got a kindle and I LOVE IT. 

I used to be an avid reader, before I took AP English Jr. year of high school and Netflix, but since then my reading has dwindled. Part of cutting out TV for lent involves an increase of reading, so here are my 5 Favorites in regards to reading.

1. Okay, so my kindle makes the list. For so many reasons! It's light, it's small, it's easy to read on. You can borrow free books from amazon. When you buy something, it syncs automatically. It saves what you highlight in your books. This was the best birthday present, ever.

2.  THE LIBRARY. Guys, the library is the most underrated thing in the world. You can walk in there, pick out whatever books or magazines or movies or CDs you like, and then just TAKE THEM HOME WITH YOU! Seriously, what is this madness? Why did I ever stop going to the library? It's even better now because I can borrow ebooks and they just show up on my kindle.

3. I love young adult literature. In college, I was able to take a YA Lit class and it was seriously the best ever. So, I've been loving Katie's blog, YA Book Love. She reads books and then reviews them on her blog. Simple, straight forward, and really fun.

Book Love
check out Katie's blog!

4. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this when I started, but I love I'm currently using it at a first time users discounted rate, but it's pretty great. Basically, you pay a monthly membership fee and then based on your plan can download an audio book a month. To keep. Audiobooks are expensive, so the monthly rate allows you to save, a lot. I can't decide if I'll keep it when my three months are up, but I've loved listening to books when I'm driving, getting ready in the morning, and unpacking/cleaning my room.

BONUS: If you don't like a book you can return it for ANY REASON and get a new book. Isn't that so nice of them?

5. The Dynamic Catholic book program. I think this is one of the greatest things ever. Basically, at a very low rate (of like $2/book), you can buy awesome, well written engaging books in bulk. The parish book program is meant to give away books that will evangelize parishioners at the big Mass days (Christmas & Easter), in faith that the book will stir the hearts of the reader. I love that these Catholic authors have sacrificed large profits on their books for the sake of the kingdom.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#TecumsehTuesday: Falling in love with Camp Tecumseh

Hopi Cabin, Week 7 2012, Blazers

My first experience at camp was through the Outdoor Education Program. The Smokey Row 3rd grade class always went. My mom got to be our chaperone, and we stayed in Peoria cabin. I don't remember much from this trip, but I remember telling my mom I wanted to go to camp during the summer time and making a candle.

My first summer as a camper was 2001. I had just finished the 5th grade and I had been waiting for this moment for two years. I barely got in - Mrs. Bartheld called once a week to see if the wait list had changed. It wasn't until the last minute that we got the news. Kristen and I were going to the Camp for a full week. It was Week 3, and we were Potawatomi Braves (now they're called Blazers). The minute my parents came to pick me up I announced that one day I would be a Camp Tecumseh counselor and I wanted to stay at camp forever. I'm sure my parents laughed at me and just took me home.

I talked about camp for weeks, reenacting our cheer, singing songs, and telling stories of mud hikes and skywalkers and blobbing and learning to do fancy dives in diving clinic. I started counting down the days until summer 2002.

What I remember most from that summer was how alive the faith was. For the first time, I encountered incredibly normal and cool people who had so much fun living their lives to the fullest, who also loved Jesus. I had never experienced anything like it. We sang songs at chapel, we talked about God during random games and fun we were having, and we sat down at night to connect with Jesus and one another. The biggest thing was that we even talked about Jesus outside of mealtime prayer and church. It was normal, like he was just another friend everyone had. I remember thinking I couldn't tell my parents that this was a Christian camp - they probably had no idea since I had no idea. (Obviously, they knew...)

In the 6th grade, my faith really started to become alive. I was filled with questions: how did Jesus know to make me? Why did God put me with my family? What if I had been born in China 200 years ago? How is possible that Jesus loves me and knows everything about me and everyone else at the same time? I was hungry for Truth, and I ate up everything my Sunday School teacher had to say that year.

Whenever I tell my story of faith, I say that I've always been the "weird one" who prayed in my family and that my faith was just naturally there. But as I think back, I realize that didn't start until 6th grade. In 2009 when I joined staff, it clicked. Camp Tecumseh was 100% responsible for my faith, and my relationship with Jesus.

Sure, camp was fun, and I'm pretty sure 11-year-old-me wanted to be a counselor so I could swim in a lake all summer, but I just couldn't get enough of camp. When I told stories, it never had to do with the church aspect. But if I were take Jesus and the I'm Third motto out of Tecumseh, would I have loved it as much? I don't think so. Sure, it would have been an incredible and fun outdoor camp, but something would have been missing. On the surface, I fell in love with the activities. Now I realize that I fell in love with Camp Tecumseh because that's where I fell in love with Jesus.

My counselors that first summer had no idea the seeds they planted in my heart. Their love of me, their investment in the mission of Tecumseh, and their love of Jesus changed my life in a small, yet immensely significant way.

Unfortunately, all my pictures from that summer seem to have gone missing. I was hoping to fill this post with hilarious pictures of 11 year old me, but oh well :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Life (In Lists) is on Facebook!

Welp, I did it. After some asking, I made a facebook for this bad boy. Which is mainly exciting because now I can add the cute facebook button under my picture! Which, I haven't done yet...

Check it out, like things, like the page, write on the wall, tell your friends about it. You know, all the cool stuff.

Friday, March 7, 2014

7QTs on #Ashtags, Camp Reunions, and Religious Edu [19]

Enjoy this photo of the FOCUS DSC with their Ashes.

image via.

Did you know #Ashtag was a trending topic in the US on Wednesday? Pretty neat.
My new household has community dinners once a week, and at the end of dinner on Sunday night I whipped out my ukulele to show off my new You Are My Sunshine skills. Mainly because there is a two year old who lives upstairs and she would actually appreciate that song. However, she demanded that I learn Wheels on the Bus, and we jammed to that for quite awhile. It was so cute and so fun. I told her mom that I was going to learn lots of kids songs just for her. I can also play Let It Go from Frozen on the ukulele now. So my life is pretty fun.

Quite of few Camp Tecumseh people live in Denver, but we all have crazy busy lives and rarely get to see each other. My good friend Murphy was in town for a family vacation, and her arrival sparked a reunion.

We ventured to a new bar that none of us had ever been to for some live bluegrass music. It was so great. I hope these friends can make it a habit to get together more often.

My team is so fun. This week, I am grateful for our friendships and jokes and coffee runs in the middle of the day. We have two on site planning visits coming up in April and I am excited to go exploring the venues of our next two events with them.

I would like to say that we were indeed working hard...
I pulled an all-nighter last night, because I had so much to do. But it's been very productive thus far. I'm feeling good about leaving for NINE WHOLE DAYS (what the heck). However, It is currently 12:21 AM and I am SO JITTERY because COFFEE.
I WILL BE IN MEXICO AT 2PM CST TODAY. WITH MY MOM AND MY SISTER. This is the best. It has been a long time since we've been on a vacation, and I just can't wait to relax and read a million things and bond with my mom and sister. I am hoping to get the #1 item on my bucket list crossed off...

It has recently occurred to me that over the course of the year I have created a year long Salvation History lesson plan for kindergarteners that other people might want to use. So I might be starting on blog series on that resource later this year. Hmmm...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

welcome to lent 2014.

Lent has 3 parts: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Here's how I'm implementing them into my life for the next 40 days.


I put this one first because the other two will flow from this fast.

image via.

So, I really love TV. There are approximately 12 shows that come out on a weekly basis that I watch, plus series on Netflix and Hulu Plus that I watch. Gosh, that's awful when I break it down like that.

My fast has to do with consuming media that is positive and consuming it in moderation. For the sake of lent, I am giving up all of my TV shows, and I will only watch movies if it's with other people.

Since lent is supposed to change us and bring us closer to Christ, I don't want to go back to this habit of excessive television when it's over. But more importantly, I want to cut out the shows that negatively impact my world view. So later on during this season of lent, I'll be examining whether or not it is a good choice to keep watching certain shows. By doing this, I will (hopefully) create a spirit of moderation as well as positivity.


I AM GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FREE TIME WITHOUT ALL OF THIS TV. Maybe I'll even go to bed at normal hours.

What I really want to do is cultivate a habit of feeding myself spiritually in my free time. So instead of watching tons of television, I'm going to try to read one spiritual book per week during lent. I figure I'll have the time.

This will allow me to keep Jesus present in my mind and learn from my brothers and sisters on how to grow closer to Jesus. Any suggestions?


So, since giving up television means giving up Netflix and Hulu Plus, this means I'll have an extra $16 on hand for the next two months. Not much, sure, but (almost) enough to feed a child for an entire year.

image via.

Image via.
I learned about Mary's Meals over the summer, and I've been meaning to donate to them. (Emphasis on the meaning, because I haven't done it yet.) A missionary held a screening of Child 31, a documentary that shows the impact of Mary's Meals worldwide and I fell in love.

This organization provides meals for kids at school. And it's even cooler than that: they buy local, cook food that the kids are used to, and recruit volunteers from the local community to make and serve the kids. In doing this, they are truly changing the whole community. My favorite part of the documentary was when parents said they were continuing to send their daughters to school so she could have a free meal. 

So not only is Mary's Meals feeding the hungry, they are helping kids get a full education.

It costs $16.80 to feed a child for an entire year. If I add an additional $1.60 to that $32 I'll be saving these next two months, I can feed two kids. 

Check out their website for more information on the incredible work they are doing.

I hope you all have a blessed lent! I'd love to hear:
1. What are you giving up for lent?
2. Suggestions for good spiritual reading!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#TecumsehTuesday: A new mini-series

Summer 2010, Week 7, Christmas in July

Every Tuesday, my instagram and facebook feeds blow up with the hashtag #TecumsehTuesday beneath pictures that fill my heart with nostalgia. In case you didn't know, I spent 3 full summers working at the greatest place on earth, and then subbed for a week the last two years. I love CT fiercely and I will forever be an advocate of summer camps thanks to my experience as a camper and a counselor.

It's March, so it's that time of year again where I start to miss Camp Tecumseh pretty intensely. So, in order to practice some gratitude and to preserve my love of Camp, I will occasionally be posting some stories, reflections, and lessons learned from my 10 (soon to be plus) years at Camp Tecumseh. On Tuesday's, of course.

I'm really excited, and I can't wait to get started on this. I'll see you next week when I talk about why I fell in love with Camp.

Monday, March 3, 2014

how to lent.

Guys, lent is 2 days away.

I really like lent. I like that it's penitential. Is that weird? After the buzz and excitement of the holidays, I tend to start being selfish. Everything in my life somehow seems to be about me, so lent is a smack in the face right when I need it. Lent reminds me what my life should be all about: Jesus.

I'm sorry if this post was misleading, because I can't tell you specifically how to do lent. But I can give you some resources that I'll be using for lent:

Well, first, here's a great explanation of lent from a fellow FOCUS missionary:

Love this: "It's about giving up something that's good so you can focus on something even better."

Good advice from a priest (stolen from a friend's fbook status. HEY, KELSEY):
You should choose something that will transform your relationship with Christ and have a lasting impact. If chocolate is something that ties you to this world, give it up, but don't go back to eating it in the same way you did before the fast being tied to having it every time you crave it. If you decide to go to daily Mass, don't let that stop once Lent is over. Choose something that will bring you closer to Christ and make you a different person than before.

Daily Updates:

Like FOCUS on facebook, follow the blog, follow them on twitter, or download the lentsanity app. Some sweet people at FOCUS (no, not me), created this app to provide you with resources to help you grow in your faith this lent. There's even a "meat police" feature on the app to remind you not to eat meat on Friday's. Hilarious.

Original ideas on what to give up:

Check out CatholicVote. They have some creative ideas on what to give up for lent.

When it comes down to it, what you give up for lent is totally up for you. But don't go in half way. If you go all in and allow Jesus to use lent to change you and bring you closer to Him, you're doing lent right.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

on that time I cried in the bathroom at work.

Not sure why I'm sharing this, as it's super embarrassing.

I am learning that I am pretty dang good at ignoring my problems and my negative feelings. On the plus side, it makes me a really positive person. On the negative side, I tend to not deal with a lot of my issues right away.

Though, while I was crying, I made myself think about WHY I was upset instead of feeling sorry for myself. Mainly because it wasn't a big deal and I did not want to be crying in the bathroom. At work. 

Basically, here's what happened:
1. I was assigned a task for an upcoming event.
2. I felt like nothing I could do for this task was good enough.
3. Therefore, I wasn't putting my best foot forward.
4. My boss mentioned to me that the person I'm working with was concerned that the task wasn't a priority.
5. I felt myself start to choke up and it was awkward.
6. I admitted that I could be working more intentionally on this task.
7. The meeting ended.
8. I went to the bathroom & made sure no one was in there.
9. I cried.

So there I am, locked in a stall, crying like an idiot for getting reprimanded. I HATE being reprimanded. I take everything really, really personally. It's a flaw, and an issue I really need to work on. But, nevertheless, I made myself try to figure out why I'm upset about this. The answer: I feel like a gopher and I feel like every thing I do is not good enough for this project. 

10. Stop crying. 
11. Splash cold water on eyes.
12. Go back to desk.
13. Look at your desktop and remind yourself why you are helping with said event.
14. Send 20 emails to get ahead in said task.
15. Take ownership and resolve to do a much better job and have a positive outlook on the task.

Here's the (annoying,) positive, growth side of this: 
1. I get to do something I don't really want to do and offer it up for the overall good of the event and advancement of God's kingdom.
2. I get to learn how to handle criticism instead of writing it off and quitting (because I am not quitting this job.)
3. It was an opportunity to practice self awareness and death to self. I now have a better idea of how I respond to certain situations, why I feel this way about this task, and I am able to do it anyways.

So, in the long run this will all be good. 

My first reaction was that I wish it wouldn't have taken crying at work for me to take ownership this project. But in hindsight, I'm really okay with crying at work. Sure, it's awkward. But without those tears, I wouldn't have take ownership of the project, and I wouldn't have realized what was bothering me. Ever since I figured it out, I have been able to be proactive in my choices about this assignment and choose positivity.

So cry on, my friends. Just make sure you stop and dig deep to figure out why you're upset. From that place of self-knowledge, you will become empowered to move forward with ownership.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Welcome to March! Oh my gosh, it's MARCH. March is the best month:
  1. Spring break
  2. St. Patrick's Day
  4. St. Joseph's Day
  5. Spring is just around the corner
  6. There was always a cute little lamb to symbolize March for kids and lambs are just so cute!

Goal setting was kind of weird for this month, since lent starts in 4 days. But I went back to my mantra and focused on what I wanted to do to make this a reality in March, regardless of the fact that lent was just around the corner.

If I'm being honest with myself, the "more Jesus" portion of this theme went away for awhile. It wasn't intentional - and that's 100% the problem. If I'm not intentional with my time for God, then it stops being a priority for me. I always want Jesus to be my first priority. 

image via.

So March is all about more Jesus. In every moment of every day. Specifically,

1. Committing to my holy half hour. Like getting there right at 10:30 and not leaving until 11:00.

2. Making 3 additional visits to the Blessed Sacrament each week. 

3. Making it to daily Mass 4/5 days of the week. I mean, we have a chapel with daily Mass in our office. I have no reason not to go as often as my work schedule allows it!

4. Getting in the habit of practicing the presence of God.

These goals are habits that I have slacked off on recently. I don't want to slack, I don't want to let Jesus to become an after thought. So in March, I'm focusing on more of Jesus, just in time for lent.

Tell me, what are your goals for March?