Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top 4 Moments From the Boerger/Barry Wedding

Alternate Post Title: In Which I Post All of My Pictures, and Pictures that I Stole From Kraft.


Obviously, this was the best part. Jess was probably the most beautiful bride that has ever existed (seriously, is she a model?) and they were just so happy! 

There was so much joy and love radiating throughout the weekend, and I was so honored to be a part of it.

2. Murph was the Matron of Honor, and she gave a great speech at the rehearsal dinner Friday night. 

She talked about how at Camp, we get to be the best version of ourselves, and since Jess & Seth met there, their relationship is rooted in helping each other continue to be the best version of themselves.

3. I knew some great camp people were coming, but the moment when we all first see each other is always so great. 

This weekend was full of those first sight moments - getting picked up from the airport by Murph, then picking up Holly, Jess at the nail salon, Seth, Josh, & Kraft at the rehearsal, and then Paige, the Lang's, and Seegar's at the wedding.

I think I almost cried when we were finally all together (#sorrynotsorry). I loved getting to spend time with all of these wonderful (and slightly crazy) people.

Kraft wrote about how he just falls right back into his role with these friends and that is just so true. I needed some carefree time with these people. 

I cannot describe to you how much I love these people and how much joy there was once we were all together. I am so grateful for the roles they've played in my life, and I'm so glad we have many seasons of friendship to come.

4. I love scheming with other camp friends at camp weddings about when we're going to put flies on the bride & groom. (For you non-Tecumseh-er's, putting flies on someone is when you stand up on your chair and yell a lot. It's weird, but it's fine.) We never actually end up doing it (because it would be highly inappropriate), but the idea always has me laughing uncontrollably about what would actually happen if we put flies on people at their wedding. 

During the rehearsal, I told Murph she was in charge of putting flies on me at my wedding...but now I think I regret that decision. We'll have to see what happens when that day comes.


I could go on and on, but I think the overall theme of the weekend was joy, love, and friendship. I left the weekend exhausted, but so incredibly grateful for these people, the way they love me and each other, and the fact that airplanes exist. Because seriously, how great is it that I can travel 2,600 miles round trip for a quick 3-day weekend while reading Something Other Than God on my Kindle?

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Barry!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

3 Places to Get Cute & Modest Swimwear

Now that I'm no longer a camp counselor and it isn't as widely accepted to throw on an unflattering speedo to wear under overalls or norts to wear around all day, I've had to enter the world of finding cute and flattering and modest swim suits.

Speedo + Chicken + Norts = BEST EVER.

I'm pretty sure one of the levels of Hell will be nonstop swim suit shopping. It is my least favorite thing in the world. And for awhile, it was hard to find something flattering and modest that was actually cute. 

Also, can we talk about the word modest? It's the worst. At camp we had to wear modest swimsuits, but in reality I'm glad I had that crazy Speedo because lake swimming, canoeing, blobbing, & mud hiking in a bikini that I would have to constantly adjust would be so uncomfortable on so many levels. Especially the mud hiking situation.

Now I'm all kinds of sold out on "modest" swimwear, but mainly because it's what I feel comfortable in. I don't really want to dive into why modesty is a thing today, I just want to share some legit resources I've found with you all.

With that in mind, here are my three favorite places to show for swimwear.

I bought my first Lime Ricki in 2013 and came back this year for more! My family is headed to Hawaii in 8 days, so I just bought a new top from there (on sale, 40% off! holla) for the trip. I'm looking forward to getting swim wear from here for the next few years.

Who doesn't love chevron?

Why I Love Them: They're bright, they're fun, one suit has pineapples all over it, but most of all they're well made and flattering. Check out their style guide to get ideas on which suit should should buy. AND they are very affordable. 

Why I Love Them: Vintage inspired clothing from a company with a mission to support women? Um, yes please. I love everything about that. They also support charities that support women in underdeveloped countries. I love that their suits have a 1940/1950's feel to them. BONUS: They have dresses and other clothes.

I've been drooling over this bad boy for a few years, now:

Why I Love Them: Inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Rey Swimwear strives to bring grace and class to a world of tiny swim suits. Their motto, "who says it has to be itsy bitsy" challenges the culture, and brings beauty to swimwear.

Check out this awesome video the designer sharing the history of women's bathing suits, and her philosophy.

I hope this post has helped you on your quest to find fun swimwear!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When God Shows Up: Steubenville of the Rockies 2014

When God shows up, big things happen.

That is what is so great about conferences; God always shows up. Whether there were glitches or everything went off perfectly, He is there to change lives.

We talk on the FOCUS Events Team about how our job is to remove any natural obstacles that could prevent a student from encountering Jesus. We want to create an environment that allows students to be vulnerable, so that the Holy Spirit can come in and transform their hearts. I am so blessed that I get to work towards that goal every single day in the office, thanks to the generosity of my mission partners.

The meeting planners achieved that goal for close to 3,000 kids this weekend.

This weekend I got to watch my girls fall on their knees and cry and praise Jesus.

I got to listen to their reservations, their struggles, and their hopes for the weekend.

 And then I got to watch Jesus come into their lives and show them how real He is and how deeply He loves them.

Image via Mega Weber.

I got to sit with girls who wanted to know why they are Catholic,

girls who wanted to know who they truly are - not just the 4.0 student, not just the artist, not just the quiet kid, but where their identity lies,

girls who wanted Jesus to come in and heal their hearts,

and girls who wanted to know if He was even real at all.

Best small group evaaaaa.

These kids put big questions in front of God and trusted. And when they did that, He showed up.

And when God shows up, big things happen.

Some of these girls are now considering a call to the Religious Life.

Some of these girls are excited to reenergize their home parish and youth groups.

Some of these girls want to be confirmed to really commit their lives to Jesus.

All these girls want Jesus to be their everything, the center of their lives, and of their hearts.

When God shows up, big things happen.

This weekend I was humbled as I walked alongside these incredible young women. I watched them come alive and exude radiant joy. I was renewed in my call to high school youth ministry and to conference planning. I was grateful for the gift of conferences and retreats that help us get away from the world to connect with Christ.

Thank you Jesus for friendship, vulnerability, and joy. Thank you for hard conversations and open hearts. Thank you for loving us enough to sacrifice yourself on the cross for us.

May we live in our lives in humble gratitude, remembering that you love us enough to show up not just at these big events, but in our every day lives.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7QTs on Coffee Trends, Cat Feast Days, & Snow Cone Trucks

Did you know that there's a new trend in coffee and it's called adding BUTTER to it? Right? What!? I'm so confused. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this...

It's called Bulletproof Coffee and it was created by this dude after he climbed mountains in Tibet. Apparently it can help you lose weight? It's all about the type of butter you use. Who knew, right? I'm not sure if I'm going to hop on this trendy bandwagon, but I'd be interested to try it. Anyone want to go in on some grass-fed butter with me?

So, I ordered a case for my ukulele. Because I want to be able to take it places and have it protected, right? Not only did the thing come in a GIANT box (thank you, Amazon), but there was a ukulele INSIDE of the case! So now, I have two ukulele's. And it is extremely unnecessary.

This is what they sent me.
Image via.

I decided to play said second ukulele, and it turns out it's really nice. Like really nice. Like Amazon made a mistake and sent me the wrong product nice. So now I'm in love with the new ukulele, but alas, I have to return it because I'm pretty sure they made a mistake and I'm also pretty sure keeping it would be stealing.

In other news, my 2008 Macbook died when I got back from training. The screen putters in and out, is excessively slow, and is almost dead. After a lot of deliberating & soul searching, I have decided to purchase a MacBook Air. I got it Wednesday night and it is SO EXCITING! I went with the 13-inch basic 128GBs, but when I went to migrate my files from my old computer to the new one, it was going to take up 98GBs. So I've decided I definitely do not need any of my papers from college...but the main question is what do I do with my pictures? Do I store them on google? Dropbox? Some other fancy application!?

Stubenville of the Rockies is this weekend and it is going to be way fun. I am chaperoning for my parish and I get to spend the weekend with 32 of our highschoolers, 3 of them being members of my discipleship group. I am so excited for this on so many different levels - for my own spiritual refreshment, for the kids to encounter Christ, and from a professional standpoint.

Speaking of professional things...I got a (quasi) promotion! Well, it's more like a title change. I am now a SENIOR Event Specialist for FOCUS & it is pretty much the most exciting thing ever. Because I get to change my email signature, LinkedIn profile, and NEW BUSINESS CARDS.

Monday was St. Kateri's feast day. And since I don't know my cat's birthday, I dubbed Monday as her feast day/birthday!

My roommates finance suggested we have a procession, but since cats don't do stuff like that, I just gave her a few extra treats.

Since I've posted almost nothing about the actual happenings of NST on here, please enjoy this candid photograph from Snow Cone Day.

Please note the PURE JOY on Carol's face and the dysfunction on mine. This picture is everything.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Your Grace Is Enough. Or, How Facebook Made Me Cry for 3 Hours Last Saturday

This season has been a rough one. God asked me to change and give up some big things. Instead of embracing it, I fought and fought against the waves and ended up with some pretty rough wounds. And then, instead of letting them heal, I picked the scab off over and over again, until I thought those wounds might never heal. 

Recently, I've been struggling with the "what ifs" of my life. In particular, what if I had served as Lake Village Directer at camp in the summer of 2012 instead of being a FOCUS Missionary? What would my life be like? Who would I be?

Great is your faithfulness, oh God.

I think the hardest part about this particular "what if" is that there is no question in my mind that FOCUS is what I was supposed to do at the time. FOCUS is where God called me to be during that time (and still is calling me there now). But I think I will always wish I could have done both. And for some reason, this particular "what if" has even swirling around in my heart all summer long.

You wrestle with the sinner's restless heart.

So after an afternoon of feeling particularly disconnected from community, I opened up Facebook to avoid cleaning my room. My newsfeed was filled with smiling faces of beautiful people loving on campers and camp friends. And then, the tears came. Fat, warm, and constant - the kind that makes it hard to breathe a little. When I couldn't stop, I picked up the ukulele to distract myself, and I found myself praying as I played.

Jesus, why? Why this delayed pain, this strange sense of mourning, this weird resurfacing of an attachment?

As I calmed down, I found that what needed mourning wasn't the loss of that job or my time at camp - it was a version of myself.

You see, everyone's twenties are a whirlwind of change. The past three years have been particularly full of weird and hard changes. I went from being a Panhellenic President/camp counselor/college student to a Catholic Missionary at a large university to a 9-5 desk job Event Planner. And in the wake of these past years and changes, I haven't allowed the to dust settle. 

You lead us by still waters and to mercy.

The realization of that I am someone so, so different, yet very much the same hit me hard. And at first I wasn't happy about it. During those beautiful years of summer camp and college I knew who I was. I was confident, good at what I did, and surrounded by people that I love. 

Now that I've launched into the real world, I've discovered it's a bit lonely and that it changes you. Parts of me that I love have died. Some I let go willingly, others disappeared without me noticing, and others I clawed at and cried as I watched them leave.

And nothing will keep us apart.

As we move on to new and different things in our lives, sometimes we have to leave behind our old selves to make room for the new. This can be painful, especially when that old self is associated with happy memories and dreams and seasons of our lives. For me, it's painful because I know I'm not quite settled into this new season and this new version of myself.

So remember your people, remember your children, remember your promise, oh God.

It's funny because I've prayed for self-awareness, and now that it has come it is painful and I don't really want it. But in this time of transition, I take hope in knowing that my plans are little and small and nothing compared to what God wants. He leads me by still waters, He restores my soul. Psalm 23. And I know that to fully blossom into who He created me to be, I must continue to let this part of me go.

Your grace is enough, 

Though my season of Camp Tecumseh has gone and passed, I am grateful for it. I would take this time of mourning and growing into a new self all over again because I could not become this new person without that time at camp.

your grace is enough, 

So though it is painful right now, thank you Jesus for loving me enough to change me. Break me of anything that breaks your heart. Mold me into the woman you see and know, just stay by my side as we work through this. You are worth this struggle.

your grace is enough for me.

And in the end, I hope that like St. Paul I will be able to say, "It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me." Galatians 2:20.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

JULY: Being Intentional & Aware

I've been thinking a lot lately about goals and dreams and the path that I'm on. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Who does God want me to be? Do those two desire match?

Many times this year I have repeated the phrase, "the first step to holiness is self-awareness." And what is incredible about self-awareness is that it is a never ending cycle. We can always learn something new, something more about ourselves.

Lately, I haven't been so great about being self aware. Actually, on a large scale of my whole life I haven't been all that self aware. As I'm entering my 3rd of FOCUS, my 3rd year out of college, I'm curious about who I have become, and what my habits say about me. I want to be on an intentional path that seeks The Lord and his will for my life. 

So this month, I'm focusing on self awareness by just tracking myself. I just got a FitBit Flex and I'm super obsessed with it, but it's been fascinating to know now many steps I take on an average day. It also motivates me to track what I eat, how frequently I exercise, how much water I drink, and how well I sleep. It also has silent alarms, so I've bee able to set a reminder for prayer and Mass times so I don't accidentally miss it. In prayer, I've been intentional about meditating on themes that have come up, and taking note of them. I will be adding in a daily Examen to be intentional in noticing my struggles, moods, and successes. I've also been tracking my spending and saving, just to see where my habits are.

I'm not looking to make any changes (yet), and I know that these habits don't necessarily define who I am, but I think they will give me a good indicator of how healthy I am, and I how I feel during certain things. Hopefully, at the end of the month I will know where I am thriving and where I might need to make a change or two.

One of my favorite parts of the Examen Prayer is when you ask God for the light to see yourself as you truly are and as He sees you. So that's what I'm doing in this season, asking for the light to see myself as I truly am, in all aspects of my life.

Also, of you've noticed a lack of pictures, it's because my laptop broke (wah wah), so I'm working on replacing it/figuring out what I want to do for a computer. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Whew! Can you believe it's July 7!? Time is weird, my friends.

Anyways, I have been back in good old CO for a whole week now, and I am ready to have a normal summer for probably the first time ever. Well, as normal as my life gets...

That being said, I'm not quite back in the swing of blogging and writing. But I wanted to swing by, say hi, and start to get back in the habit of writing.

Oh, and leave you with these two terrifying facts I learned listening to NPR this morning:

  1. 34 people have died from eating cantaloupe in the past two years.
  2. A person was STABBED IN THE THIGH at the running of the bulls today in Spain. MEANING - a bull's horn went through his leg. AH!