Friday, January 31, 2014

Quick Takes! {3}

I am so glad that it is Friday! This is my first full week back at work since I was out with the flu, and I forgot how exhausting it can be! I seriously don't know how some moms work full time. I can't imagine having to take care of a family on top of working 8 hours a day! If you are somehow able to do that, you must be super woman! I'm so whipped out in the evenings, and there is just me to take care of! I guess you get special mom grace or something :)

I have been thinking a lot about healthy eating and fitness lately. I really want to do the Pittsburgh half-marathon in May, but I am a little intimidated by how long of a run that is. I just started running over the summer, so it is still kind of a new thing for me. I also seem to not be able to get myself to run when it is cold outside, so I have been using the elliptical. I'm not sure that would be adequate training, but I don't anticipate it getting warmer any time soon! Maybe I just need to suck it up and wear layers and get out there! Anyone else having problems getting motivated to run in the cold?

Speaking of fitness and health, a friend recommended putting spinach in a smoothie for some extra nutrients, so I decided to try it. I made a strawberry banana smoothie with Greek yogurt and added a handful of Spinach. I was a little nervous, but I actually couldn't taste the Spinach at all! So it was still delicious, but had some extra goodness in it. Totally going to do that again!

My sisters and I are going to see Wicked on Tuesday! I am so excited! I have never seen it, but have listened to the soundtrack so many times that I know all the words to the songs. It is definitely one of my favorites!

Is anyone else getting tired of the cold and snow? I know it is winter, but it has been a little more extreme than usual. I'm beginning to think that it is going to be frosted for ever....

Unfortunately, because of the amount of typing I do at work, I have developed pretty bad carpal tunnel in my wrists. I have been wearing braces and trying to take care of them, but they don't seem to be improving. I am looking into different ways to put less strain on my wrists, but if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them! I really don't want to end up having surgery. People keep telling me that I am too young to have this, but alas, I do.

I have been watching a TON of Gilmore Girls lately. Mostly while I was sick, but also while I have been on the elliptical. (another perk that is keeping me from running outside...). I find myself constantly wishing that Stars Hollow was a real place, and wanting them to make another episode or two (or whole season....). I am dissatisfied with how the whole series just ends. If you haven't watched it, I don't want to spoil it. But if you have, you might know what I mean!

Anyways, I hope you all have a good weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An exercise in beauty

Laura over at Catholic Cravings came up with this idea to write a poem about our beauty. She provided the template and we fill in the blanks. I decided it would be a good exercise for me in seeing my beauty. Not gonna lie, it was awkward writing this, and I feel even more awkward that people might read it, but I think it is good. No, it is necessary. It is so important that women realize they are beautiful in their own ways. We should not be afraid to be beautiful. We shouldn't feel like we are being prideful in recognizing our beauty. Beauty is innate in all of us.  I highly suggest writing a poem for yourself, even if you want to just to it privately. It helps you to realize a lot. So without further ado, here is my poem. 

I am beautiful.
I am beautiful because I am made in the image of God, who makes me strong when I am weak. I am beautiful inside and out, for He didn’t just make my soul but my body too. All of me, body and soul, is His image. 
I am beautiful because my hair is thick and wavy, my eyes are big and deep; they remind me of how strong and thoughtful I am. 
And because I play 3 instruments.
I was beautiful when I would sit on the swing with my grandma and listen to her singing.
I am beautiful because my skin is flawed and my wrists are weak.
I am beautiful like sun beams in the woods on a Fall day.
I am beautiful when I smile.
I am beautiful when I receive Holy Communion and when I am singing praise and worshipI am beautiful when I laugh and when I mourn, when I pray the Divine Mercy Chapletwhispering  'For the sake of His sorrowful passion' to Him who is so beautiful. 
I am beautiful when I wear my one shoulder black dress and pearl earrings.
I was beautiful even when I did not see it. Though I bought into the lies that I wasn't good enough, I was beautiful.
I am beautiful still.
I don’t know whether my eyes are doves behind my veil, or my hair like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. But in my own way, my own Maggie-way, I am beautiful. Perhaps, I am beautiful like a vintage photograph or like waves crashing against the shore at sunset.
I am definitely not beautiful because I am perfect. I am not perfect, inwardly or outwardly. I have flaws enough.
But I am beautiful.
For I am loved by God, and love is in my heart, and where there is love:
there is beauty.

*********And here is the template for anyone wishing to do their own!***********
I am beautiful.
I am beautiful because I am made in the image of God, who [quote or paraphrase a  bit of your favourite bible verse1 ]. I am beautiful inside and out, for He didn’t just make my soul but my body too. All of me, body and soul, is His image. 
I am beautiful because my [a feature I like about yourself] is/are [two descriptive words]. [x3]: [describe how they remind you of you] as I am. 
And because [something that's an odd quirk you have or trick you can do].
I was beautiful when [one of your earliest memory].
I am beautiful because [describe two things you don't like about your body].
I am beautiful like [a favourite thing] in [your favourite place] on a [your favourite season] day/night.
I am beautiful when I smile.
I am beautiful when I receive Holy Communion and [favourite thing about being a Christian]. I am beautiful when I laugh and when I mourn, when I pray the [favourite prayer], whispering [favourite bit from that prayer] to Him/her who is so beautiful. 
I am beautiful when I wear my [fun thing to wear] and [favourite piece of jewelry].
I was beautiful even when I did not see it. Though I [describe any negative body image but only if you want], I was beautiful.
I am beautiful still.
I don’t know whether my eyes are doves behind my veil, or my hair like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. But in my own way, my own [name]-way, I am beautiful. Perhaps, I am beautiful like a [beautiful man-made object you can see] or like a [beautiful natural thing or moment you can see].
I am definitely not beautiful because I am perfect. I am not perfect, inwardly or outwardly. I have flaws enough.
But I am beautiful.
For I am loved by God, and love is in my heart, and where there is love:
there is beauty.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NAS: Engagements

Linking with the Not Alone Series again :) 

Do you struggle with balancing the sting of hearing about yet another proposal with genuine excitement? What emotions come into play? What virtues do you enlist to deal with it all?

I often find it hard not to get bitter at other people's relationships. However, I find it a LOT easier to be excited for people when I avoid a few things: 
1) Facebook. I'm not saying I boycott it completely, but the more I get sucked into the virtual world of comparison, the more I put myself down. I need to check myself and make sure I'm not spending too much time looking at what other people have, especially because I have a ton of awesome things going for me right now! 
2) Too much self reflection. The times when I am looking too much into myself, and not enough at God and  the needs of those around me, I find that I am much less satisfied with my place in life. That is when I have the tendency to complain or become envious of others. I am the kind of person who LOVES analyzing myself, so this is a hard one for me. I often can become very much lost in my thoughts, which can sometimes lead to a downward spiral of emotions. On the flip side though, it helps me to be very aware how I react to things, and I can keep myself in check. It is a gift and a curse ;) 

And one more phrase that has been fueling me: Don't let anyone steal your joy. Someone once told me that my greatest attributes are how loving and caring I am, but I need to be careful not to let those go. They will be my greatest strengths one day. I need to hold onto them.

Obviously, I don't want to be bitter toward anyone engaged, so those are the few things I try to avoid. And of course, above all, remain rooted in prayer. I want to rejoice with my friends, not be secretly envious behind their backs. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TBT: When in Rome....

Today I'm going down memory lane to my trip to Rome. I can't even explain how cool it was to be at the VATICAN. The heart of my Church. We got to attend mass at the Vatican and hundreds of priests were processing in, and I really thought my heart was going to explode. 

That being said, we did consume lots of gelato here as well :) 

A couple highlights before I delve into the photo dump: 
1) The Jonas Brother's were in Rome the same time we were! Unfortunately, that was the night I was being tired and stayed in the hotel while other people went out to the Trevi fountain aaaanndd got their pictures with the Jo Bros. At the most romantic location in the world. And I missed it. I guess it just was not my day. And yes, this was the only time I ever regretted being an introvert. Of course, everyone somehow knew of my love for the Jo Bros and I got many questions the following day about if I had seen them and gotten a picture!! And no, no I didn't. But it was still cool none-the-less :p
2) This story is actually really cool and amazing. For those of you who don't know, I have a huge love for Bl. Pope John Paul II. He is the man. We have the same birthday, and I wrote to him in 5th grade and told him that, and one of is secretaries responded. Since then, I always felt like we have this connection. Now that he is in heaven, I know he and I have an even greater connection because he can pray for me :) So, we took the tour of the tombs of the popes (this was when his tomb was still down below with the other tombs, now it has moved up to the main church) and I took some time to pray in front of his tomb. Of course it was packed. There were people everywhere praying. His tomb was roped off though, and they weren't allowing anyone to go near it. And us crazy Catholics, like to touch the tombs/relics of holy people and especially like to touch rosaries, prayer cards, anything of the sort as well. I have a rosary that I had been touching to so many relics up until this time, and I reaaaallly wanted to have it touched to JP2s tomb. After all, he is my main man! So I prayed to him. Basically I said in my heart, Alright JP2, I know you and I have this special little bond going on, and I really would like it if you could make something happen here
I kid you not, what happened next was incredible. This priest appeared, literally out of nowhere, and walked up to the guard and asked if the guard could touch some prayer cards to the tomb for him. He didn't want to say no to a priest so he agreed. I found myself leaping up from where I was kneeling (so unlike me to approach strangers) and ran up and basically threw my rosary into the guards hand. He glanced at me, then glanced around to make sure no one else noticed, and then placed it on his tomb for a few seconds and handed it back to me. My heart was pounding so fast and I felt his presence. It was amazing :)

So without further ado, here are the photos! 
Our first night in Rome! 
On the Spanish steps
Vatican Square in the morning. So beautiful 
My friend Emily and I 
JP2's tomb! We weren't supposed to take pictures... oh well :)
The Colosseum!
The tomb (skeleton) of St. Frances of Rome!
Ancient Roman ruins 
The Angel bridge..  can't remember the technical name... haha
Close up of one of the angels 
SPQR!!! The Latin student in me freaked out 
The Pantheon 
Trevi Fountain!
The chains of St Peter
Papa Benny :) 

Me with purple nuns!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NAS: Beauty

Blogging back with the Not Alone Series this week! I have been sick, so that is why I am a day late with this post. (disclaimer: I am still pretty sick so forgive me if this is incoherent!)

This week topic is beauty. Always a good topic to discuss! I have really struggled with this, in seeing my own beauty. As someone who as struggled severely with body image in unhealthy ways, this is something that I have had to learn and am still trying to fully understand: the beauty of my self. I think it is something we can never fully comprehend, but it is something that I wish to know more about. 

One thing I had to learn was not to be afraid of being beautiful. I think because my beauty was misused in the past, it was something that I have tried to hide. I was uncomfortable with compliments even though I yearned for them so much. I always thought that being beautiful would lead me down a dark path. I have since learned though that beauty is a GOOD thing. And my concept of beauty, for too long, had only been on the surface. 

I learned that there is so much more to beauty. Beauty is kindness, gentleness, compassion. Beauty is the self-sacrificing love between two people. Beauty is service. Beauty is radiated through someone's smile. Beauty is found when we are being authentically ourselves. This is probably one of my favorite quotes about beauty that I just recently found (and already posted it  here on my blog) but I am going to do it again in case you missed it :) 

How profound is that? If we could really see ourselves through the eyes of others, through the eyes of Christ,  I think we would find ourselves to be much more beautiful than we think we are. If you think about it, the human person is so complex, so intricate, that it is beautiful in and of itself. There is so much depth to a person. The human person is beauty, because it is made in the image and likeness of God, and God is Beauty. Therefore, I am beautiful solely because I exist, but also in the ways that I am unique. The ways I am truly myself.  

I hope and pray that everyone may come to know how beautiful they truly are! Can't wait to read what everyone else has to say on this topic :) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

You are Beautiful.

Part of my goals for this year is to read more. And with that, you might find me posting little snippets on this blog of things that were particularly inspiring, thought-provoking, or just fun. Anyways, this is not really anything lengthy, but still I read and took in every detail of this post. It is from the Healthy is the New Skinny initiative (which is awesome in and of itself). Courtesy of Instagram. 

 I LOVE this. It is so true, and really got me thinking a lot about the way I see myself.  It definitely made me smile. Happy Friday to all :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NAS- 2014

The Not Alone Series was on a holiday hiatus, so it is nice to be back blogging with Jen and Morgan and the gang!

This week's topic is:
In what ways can you grow/stretch RIGHT NOW that could affect the whole of 2014?
This topic is similar to the "resolution" posts or "word of the year" posts, but go in whatever direction you'd like! How do you plan to live 2014 in the best way possible?

I didn't really do a 2014 goal post, so this will kind of encompass all of those types of things :)

(1) I want to read more. And reallly read the things I am reading. I have gotten to the point where my brain is so active that I have a hard time really getting engrossed or captivated by the written word. Even books I want to read have a hard time keeping my focus. I am always thinking about anything and everything that I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to fill it with new things. I have the bad habit of skimming over paragraphs and not taking in what I am reading. I would like this to be the year where I finally write my book (or at least figure out what I am writing :p ), so my brain needs to develop more in this area and regain my ability to be quiet and focus. 

(2) With the above, I need to read the Bible more. During the period of my life where I was really struggling, reading the Bible was synonymous with breathing for me. It was a daily thing. I needed it. And now that my life is more stable, I have not been as dependent on it as I would like to be (or as I should be). I need to get back to making this a daily practice and learn to listen more to the Lord. 

(3) My "word of the year" seems to keep coming back to the word embrace. Embracing all of life's circumstances and especially, the emotions that come with them. I have the tendency to want to repress things like heartache or confusion or anger. Even sometimes my joy. I am trying to embrace those things and allow myself to feel them, but then learning to then give them over to the Lord and not dwelling on them. It has been interesting thus far, but very purifying and oddly freeing. 

Anyways, I am excited to read what everyone else has to say, and excited to be back with this series! Hope everyone has a great week! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A year in pictures

Since it is now officially two days past the new year, I am overdue for this post... but better late than never right? Here is my year 2013 in pictures! Some months might have more pictures than others just because sometimes exciting things happen at the same time. Enjoy :) 

Watching Gilmore Girls was a common occurrence at my house. We often curled up on snowy days (between classes of course :p ) with hot chocolate and the heated blanket.  

February had a huge snowstorm. This was one of my favorite days: we couldn't go to class so naturally, we went outside and went to McDonalds and watched movies :) 

My Steubenville mission team. This was one of the best experiences. We did mission in our own city of Stuebenville, which is one of the most broken places I've seen. It was so beautiful and God really worked miracles.

I officially became adviser to Daughter's of Zion household. If you aren't familiar with households, they are kind of like Catholic sororities and fraternities. Each has various prayer commitments and different saints that they look to for guidance. Being adviser means I get to help this beautiful household to grow and offer my guidance and experience from being in my own household. It is such a blessing!

On my birthday, May 18th, I went to a meet and greet with the Pirates and met JORDY MERCER! He is my favorite. What a great gift <3 nbsp="" td="">
Me with two of my dearest friends. They are my little sisters in my own household, Regina Angelorum. This is one of my favorite pictures! I just started my new job in May, but went back to Steubenville to visit for a end of the school-year 'party'. Also you should check out this guys photos. He is awesome :) 

I went Strawberry picking with my family! It was so much fun. You can see more pictures I took from that day here.

We took a long weekend trip to Washington DC! It was awesome to have the whole family there. Again, shameless plug, check out my photos on my website ;)  

We went to Cleveland to visit my Aunt and Uncle, and then we went to the Fest! It is a gathering of Christian artists, food, fun, and friends of course. We saw For King and Country, Casting Crowns, Matt Maher, and some other musicians. And I ran into my friend Megan!
September, Daughter's of Zion had their first Lord's Day! 

I ran my first 5K ever! I started running over the summer and was able to do the color run. It was amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone, even if you aren't a runner! 
Two of my best friends came in from Connecticut, and we went to the hofbrahaus. It was definitely one of my favorite nights, just spending time with them and drinking good beer...moderately of course ;)

We saw the Magic Flute in Pittsburgh. It was excellent.

I chopped my hair! I always like donating to Locks for Love. And it is nice to have a new look every once and a while. 
Rang in 2014 with my three best friends from high school. Great way to end a great year :)