Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NAS: Masculinity

Who is a great example of masculinity in your life (father, brother, uncle, priest, etc)? 
What is it about them that you love?


Linking up with the NAS again!

Basically, I'm gonna let the men speak for themselves on this one. I had been talking to a guy off and on last year (hate using the phrase 'talking', but that applies here haha), and long story short, he started dating someone around the holidays. I really wasn't invested in this friendship at all because of how sporadic our conversations were, but nevertheless, it was still very kind of him to let me know he was dating someone and that was why he had stopped contacting me. To me, true masculinity encompasses  being honest and speaking truth to our worth and dignity as women. Someone who is able to protect our femininity.

I'll just leave you with part of what he sent to me. For privacy, I am not including his name or how I know him, but I hope that all women reading this will take his words to heart and know they are true for each of us.  

"You seem like a really great girl and I know you will find someone great if you just keep centered on your faith and pray about it, God will help you meet someone great! Don't ever doubt that either! You are awesome and a guy would be lucky to have you, so don't settle for less than someone who is a good Christian man who respects you and treats you right! And remember, the right guy will like you just how you are, and love that you're faith is so important to you because it will be important to him too. I wish you the best of luck though! Keep praying and God will help you meet someone :) " (emphasis added)

I honestly was floored by this. This man owed nothing to me, he could have just stopped talking to me and let me wonder what happened, like so many have done before. Instead though, he manned up and decided to be honest with me about the situation that had unfolded, and at the same time, encouraged me to keep strong in my faith and not to settle. I don't think he realized just how important these words were to me. I hope you are comforted and encouraged by them as well. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

NED Awareness Week

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Having been on all different sides of this illness (the one struggling, the one helping a friend, the one sitting in Counseling classes), I know just how dangerous this disorder can be. It also seems to be one of the most misunderstood disorders, and also the most hidden. In fact, it is the most lethal of all mental health diagnoses.

Here are some facts, resources, and also some of my favorite organizations if you or someone you know is struggling.

• "Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S."
• "Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness"
• "25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique"
• "Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents"
Sources and more stats here

As you can see, this is a huge problem. 

Click on the picture to enlarge. There are more infographics here.


http://nedawareness.org/about-eating-disorders 

Of course, there is Eating Disorders Anonymous which has TONS of resources on their site, as well as packets to start your own support group.

My all time favorite though would have to be Made in His Image. They have since branched out from speaking on strictly eating disorders, but they provide frequent blog posts on femininity, being your authentic self, healing, and recently added a section geared toward men. There is so much more than just these topics though, all from a perspective of finding your worth in Christ. It really is such a beautiful ministry. I highly recommend checking it out, even if you aren't struggling! Anyone could use the truths that they convey.

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My hope in providing awareness about this illness is that those who are suffering will know that they are not alone, and that there is hope and healing to be found! Also so that people can recognize symptoms in those around them and have the courage to speak up. Together, we can defeat the ramifications of our culture and help one another to realize our worth and beauty.

Note: I am happy to answer any questions or provide more resources if anyone is interested. 



Friday, February 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes {5}





Ok seriously, where did the month of February go? I can't believe that there is only a week left. This year is already flying by!


I'm SO excited that I can finally see grass today! The rain and warmer temps have been getting rid of the snow. I almost forgot how green and beautiful it is underneath all of that. Needless to say, I am enjoying this warm spell. The 40s and 50s never felt so good :)


I did manage to get out and take some pictures of the winter wonderland outside before it totally melted away! I'll be hopefully be posting them on my website soon. For now though, feel free to check out some of my other work here, and check back for more photos! I wish I had a sample to show you, but alas, they are currently on my other computer.


I've been experimenting with some online photo editing software lately. I always have fun adding filters and adjusting levels... all that good stuff. I find it to be incredibly therapeutic. I was in a pinch though, and looking for some pictures to edit, so found a cool mirror and tried doing some artsy shots with my Iphone. One of these days you think I would learn to carry my camera with me... Anyways, here are some shots I was fooling around with. Kind of takes me back to middle school... but oh well. It is a good stress reliever!


I know, shameless mirror pictures.  It was all I had to work with ;) 


I've been staying up wayyy too late all this week watching the Olympics. I LOVE love love watching the figure skating and that is always at the end. I think they do that on purpose.... Anyways, I decided I also really enjoy the biathlon: A mixture of cross country skiing and shooting. It looks like so much fun! All of the games so far though have been very captivating, and the stories behind some of the athletes and games have just been incredible and so full of depth. I love it. However, my body is taking the heat for all those late nights as I struggle to roll out of bed in the mornings.


My little 7 year old brother was shouting this morning about how he hates Fridays. How can anyone hate Friday? It is the day before the weekend! Maybe if you have to work on Saturdays, I could see how Friday would be pretty pointless to you. His reasoning for hating it was simply because he has to wear a tie on Fridays to school. Oh, the little annoyances in life.


I'm trying to figure out when the best time would be to have my first shamrock shake of the season! Yes, I am one of those weird people who have strange traditions. It has to be the perfect level of warmth outside, preferably not raining, and I need to already be relaxed. You can't chug down a shamrock shake as a stress reliever. If your environmental influences are already such that you are loving life, than your experience of the first shamrock shake of the season will be 10x more enjoyable. Trust me on this. Hoping my moment comes soon because I am getting pretty antsy ;)

Have a good weekend everyone!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NAS: Valentines Day

What are your thoughts about Valentine's Day? Do you enjoy it? Loathe it? Not even realize it's a special day? Do you celebrate it in any way? 

Linking up with the Not Alone Series again!

Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of Valentine's day. I think because I have always associated it with being a purely romantic holiday. However, I have, in the past couple years, also been learning to celebrate all the loved ones in my life! This Valentine's day I think was particularly difficult because of a few outside factors. The main one is that I have moved away from most of my friends, so I really did not even have them to celebrate with. I would have normally hung out with my best girl friends, greatly enjoying their company, but this year I spent the day working (particularly longgg day at work!) and then going home to my little sister's sleepover party haha. I must say though, that I do enjoy the excuses to eat chocolate and wear pink heart earrings. And my little brother and I watched Star Wars. So that was fun :) 


My biggest problem with Valentine's day this year though was social media. It was just wayy over the top, in my opinion. Between the Instagrams of flowers and couples, to the cheesy in-depth Facebook statuses about how wonderful my "girlfriend/boyfriend" is, I found myself getting very annoyed and vowed to myself that I will (try my hardest) to never be that person! Let's see how well that pans out in the future... feel free to hold me accountable ;) It really kind of made me take a step back from Social Media and, while I am a HUGE supporter of it, made me rethink about how much I want to reveal on the social media sphere, and what may or may not be appropriate to flaunt for all to see. And what are people's motives for posting these things? But these are thoughts for another day perhaps....

Looking forward to reading what other's have to say on this topic! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

TBT: Medugorje

I know that the Church hasn't declared Medj to be a legit apparition site, and I know that many faithful Catholics have differing opinions on the subject, but I for one am a believer. Unless proven otherwise. I had a beautiful experience visiting the apparition sites and meeting one of the visionaries, and I truly felt Our Lady's presence among those mountains. But I'm not here to write a dissertation on whether its legitimate. I'm here for a photo/memory dump! So without further ado, here is:


We stayed at a pilgrimage site called the castle, which is run by a beautiful couple, Nancy and Patrick, who sold all that they had and moved to Medj in order to create a place for pilgrims to stay, and to spread the messages that Our Lady gives here. Nancy reminded me SO much of my late grandmother, so I was very comforted by her presence and often would help her in the kitchen preparing our meals.
It really did look like a castle :) 
My friend Caitlin and I with the castle in the bg.

Ivanka, one of the visionaries, in the green shirt!!
At the top of apparition hill! Where Mary appeared
Top of cross mountain 
The amazing view! 
Just being artsy :)
Me... obviously... great view in the background!
Statue of the Resurrected Christ that leaks human tears from the right knee. They actually tested the properties of the liquid and found it to be same make-up as is found in tears! So cool!
We stopped in Split (Croatia?) on the way back. Beautiful little place.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A depiction of my day...

Today is my little sisters birthday. Rachel turns 12 today! This morning, I was meandering around the kitchen making coffee at around 6:15 when my dad stumbles downstairs. He starting preheating the oven and told me that mom wanted him to make Cinnamon Rolls for Rachel's birthday.

A few minutes later, he started waking the kids up for school saying, "Happy Bunch's birthday!" (We call Rachel "Bunch"... there is a long story there somewhere...). As soon as he says this he quickly looks over at me and says,
"Wait, it is Bunch's birthday, right?" 
"Yes dad, that is why you made the Cinnamon Rolls"  
"Oh....right.... coffee..."
Needless to say, this made my morning. But I am also greatly relating to this early morning sentiment as I am enduring the crash hours of the day.

I've already had two cups of coffee. Now currently consuming a bottle of Coke.

A fun little bakery opened up down the street and today was free doughnut day! You were allowed to take two! (They were minis, in case anyone was wondering, I did not eat two giant doughnuts!) This one was absolutely adorable though. It was an Oreo doughnut with EDIBLE GLITTER on top! I didn't know that was a thing until I went in this store and they had bon-bons completely covered in glitter. Anyways, I thought it was cool.


Tired eyes.
Anyways, I know you all wanted my stream of conscious thoughts. I decided though that my family should be on a reality show, so you might be reading some more hilarious/embarrassing/real-life-crazy stories from my abode.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday :) 

Coffee....



Friday, February 7, 2014

Quick Takes {4}




On Sunday night, my parents came back from a 5 day trip to California. I had to be in charge of my siblings while they were gone, and I was quite relieved when they got home! Being a "single mother" to my 6 siblings was no easy task, especially since I'm not actually their mom haha. Between taking the kids to their practices, watching their games, helping with homework, and getting them on the bus in the morning, I was sooo happy when Mom and Dad got home. It was definitely good practice for motherhood one day, but the difference (hopefully) is that I will have a husband to help me!


Tuesday night, I saw Wicked with my mom and my sisters! It was so amazing! I was a little nervous that I was going to be disappointing because I am such a fan of the original Broadway cast, but the Pittsburgh crew most definitely exceeded my expectations. SO much that I was moved to tears at more than one point. I hope to see it again and again! 
My sister and I acting out the picture...except I forgot I was supposed to be smirking.. ;)


I recently bought Thin Mint coffee creamer, and my mornings just became a little more exciting. Now if only I could relax and enjoy the coffee instead of chugging it down while getting ready for work...

I don't really know what this is, but it looked fun. I think it is saying that it is delicious. 


While we are on the topic of Girl Scouts, I know a lot of people are boycotting them because of all their work with planned parenthood and how the organization is teaching girls things that are questionable by Christian standards. I have been conflicted about this I have been in Girl Scouts all my life and my sisters are as well. Just because the organization is going down the tubes doesn't necessarily mean that each troop is following suit. My mom is a Girl Scout leader at my sisters' Catholic elementary school, and when talking to her about this, she said that "Isn't it better to stay in the organization and try to teach your girls morals and values then boycott it completely and let someone else guide them who may not have those same values?"

Well played mom, well played.



As annoyed as I am getting with the snow and the cold, I am hoping to get out and shoot some winter landscapes this weekend, so that is one positive thing that this weather has going for it. It makes for a some beautiful photos! I have a new lens and some filters that I want to experiment with, so I am looking forward to getting out there and creating.


I don't know why, but I decided a few days ago that I really want to ride a Hot Air Balloon. I'm not really sure what prompted this feeling, but it is now one of my goals in life. Maybe I got the idea from an article about 10 romantic date ideas... but either way, now I really want to do it. This is a little abnormal for me because I am not the most adventurous person you'll ever meet, but there is just something about floating in the air in a basket tied to a balloon that sounds incredibly intriguing...



I found some healthy, energizing snacks that I really want to try making. They look so delicious! Definitely check out this link if you need some great ideas. I'll be sure to put something on the blog if I make any of them!

Happy weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!