Jan 30, 2017


"Please stop trying to sell me your perfection.  You are flawed and I am flawed and we're both wearing shiny cloaks of virtue but I know that when the day is done and the lights are dimmed, you shed all your sainthood like snakeskin and I do too. Tell me what you're hiding, what you're harboring, what you don't want the world to know about yourself for fear that it will be cast into the light."

The above is an excerpt from a book I'm currently reading. I was immediately struck by that first line; please stop trying to sell me your perfection. When I read it, I paused and, as I've said before when these moments hit me over the head (which they always do), I exhaled a giant breath of relief that whispered, for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holyyes, please...stop. Because, my friends, this much I know.  The jig is up.  I can see right through those walls you've constructed.  And while I can sympathize, I also know from experience that they won't always stand the test of time.  They will eventually crumble - by your own hands or after years of brutal wear and tear.  So tell me, why keep yourself barricaded?

Well, as the phrase says, easier said than done.

There are a catalog of emotions that come along with that request, wouldn't you agree? Feelings such as fear, intimidation, truth, and vulnerability, to name a few.  We do our best to sell others our perfection, when really, if we would just shed our snakeskin in the company of others, we would come to realize that everyone else is simply waiting for permission to do that as well.  

I must admit, there are times in my life when I wonder if my own "book" is too open for others to see.  Maybe I overshare more than is needed; the result of living for so many years with the door to my life shut tight against the shame and guilt awaiting me on the other side.  Still, I feel so strongly about the connection that comes from opening ourselves up, from standing tall and announcing to the world, this is who I am! 

Theodore Roosevelt penned this very famous quote and one of my favorite authors (I have many) brought it to light in one of her books.  It reads:

You see, we continuously convince ourselves that the opposite of perfection is weakness, so we choose over and over again to hide who we really are.  

Friends, let's stop hiding.  Choose today to be in the arena with the rest of us. Find freedom in being truthful.  Be vulnerable.

Decide to say, yes, I am flawed, but so are you.

I love you, still.

Jan 25, 2017


The majority of my posts, if you read them frequently, are introspective in nature. This is intentional on my part, of course, but I thought that today and following, once a month, I would share from a fluffier perspective. Because we all need a little fluff in our lives from time to time, am I right?

With that said, let me introduce to you a few of my favorite things...

Do you partake in any shopping online, whatsoever? If the answer is yes, sometimes, or even once in awhile, signing up for Ebates is a MUST. Once you sign up (for FREE), simply visit Ebates online {you must go to Ebates first} to see if the store you are shopping at has any eligible cash-back rebates. If they do, click on the "Shop Now" link, and you're set! Once you make a purchase, you will receive money back, which can be in the form of a check or a store gift card, whichever you choose. Need another reason to sign up? Until March, Ebates is offering YOU $10 right off the bat, just for signing up! Who doesn't like free money??? Click on the link to get started: Ebates

I know there are countless blogs and sites out there that will deliver content directly to your inbox, but if you are looking for a meaningful, Catholic devotion to read each day, you need to try Blessed Is She. It's an amazing resource to inspire your spirit and grow your faith with the daily readings and a corresponding devotional sent right to your email. Subscribe by clicking here: Blessed Is She , and begin each day with the blessed word of God.

If you are not an Amazon Prime Member yet, you are truly missing the boat. First of all, there are very few things I've yet to purchase that I can't find on Amazon. Most of my shopping is done there, both for the cost savings and the convenience. Anything you find that is marked Prime is shipped to you for free in two days. Yes, just two days. Sign up for your free 30 day trial at: Amazon Prime - Free Trial

And finally, with the beginning of the new year, many of us are resolving for this to be the year to whip our finances into shape, whether that means paying off debt, starting a savings account, or investing for the future. One of my all-time favorite bloggers is Jordan Page at Fun Cheap or Free. She's fun and vibrant and she's created a program called Budget Boot Camp, which includes 27 videos, activities, tips and so much more! This program is definitely worth the money spent! And in fact, if you use the promo code FOCUS, you'll get 20% off (but only through THIS FRIDAY, Jan. 27th)! One more thing - mention my name when you sign up and I will get a bonus (please and thank you!). I included a fun little video she made, separate from her program, so you can get a taste of her energy and wisdom, but here is the direct link to the program itself: Budget Boot Camp

Spending Freeze Video

That's all for now, my friends! I'll be back next month to share a few more of my favorite things!

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite things?

Jan 23, 2017


Here on the blog last week, I promised that I would share some ways in which I attempting to put my one word, present, into action so far this year. 

So let’s get right to it…

The first approach is something I’ve been trying to incorporate since the season of Advent, prior to Christmas. Each morning, I set my alarm at least fifteen minutes before I need to get up and I spend some time reading the gospel for the day.  Now I’m not going to lie; the scene looks a little different than it did initially.  During the holidays, I semi-willingly got up and out of bed to snuggle on the couch with a warm cup of coffee, the glow of a lit and fragrant candle, and the Christmas tree shining brightly in the early morning darkness.  However, post-holiday, I now simply turn on the lamp on my nightstand, prop my head up on a pillow, and read from the comfort of my own bed.  Not nearly as pretty, yet I claim either method to be a magnificent success in my humble opinion.  

This simple act of just fifteen minutes allows me a few, quality moments with God, one on one, as I begin my day.  The house is quiet and serene and therefore, being present surfaces more easily.  I might read over the gospel once or twice, and then continue to lie there, or I may grab a pen and paper to write down a few words that jumped out at me.  The point is that it doesn’t matter when or how or what I do; the point is that I just do.  That’s all God asks of us, my friends.  The God who gave us His son to die for our sins only asks for a little time in return; even if it’s just fifteen minutes every morning.  And not because we feel obligated, but because we are grateful.  There is always a difference.

The second way I’m choosing to be present is by eliminating social media after 7:30 p.m. every evening.  Take note, my social-media-obsessed-friends…this is not easy.  Yet in all honesty, I came to the obvious realization that if anything of great importance were to happen, someone would notify me in other ways.  For example, via an actual phone call.  This addition (or subtraction) from my life has proven to be very fruitful.  I’ve spent my time organizing, reading, journaling, and yes, even just watching TV.  The difference is that I am focused on the moment at hand.  Because tell me, how often are you watching TV while simultaneously looking at your phone?  It’s simply not feasible to give 100% of your attention to two things at once, no matter how often we utter the words, “What?  I’m listening!”  I encourage you to try this on your own (really…try it!).  Take up a hobby that doesn’t require you to pass individual levels on Candy Crush.  Read a book, color a page, or journal.  Believe me, social media can wait.

And finally, the last promise I’ve made to myself in the pursuit of being present is to put my phone out of sight when in the company of others.  I am increasingly saddened to see families out to dinner together where everyone at the table is looking down at their phones rather than at each other.  Conversations seem to be a lost art, don’t you agree?  I recently read an article which said a lot of us use the excuse that we need our phones in plain view in case of an emergency.  Well I can guarantee (because I am guilty of this myself) that if I receive a phone notification of any sort, you can be sure I’m going to look and see what or who it was, regardless of whether I think it's an emergency.  But here's the thing - what we see as just a minor inconvenience can be a major disappointment for the person who is in the midst of sharing a story with us.  Let’s be kind to one another, my friends.  In word and in action. 

Will all of these endeavors be easy, all of the time?
  Will I always be able to pull myself out of a sleep-filled slumber to pray in the morning?  Will I be able to resist the urge of social media every single night?  And will you never again see me seated at a table without a phone by my side?  Well, I think you know the answer to each of those. 

We can’t strive to be successful 100% of the time because we will continually fail.  But the hope is that eventually, these aspirations will become more of a habit as time goes on.  And if that is the result, we will have achieved what we set out to do.

Time to share....how will you be following through with your one word?


Jan 18, 2017

Putting a Plan in Place

Approximately two weeks into the New Year, and already, being present (my word for 2017), not surprisingly, has surfaced as quite the challenge; as much as I presumed it would.  Yet through the frustration, like trying to peer through a dark and foggy window, a gentle swipe of the hand reminds me...we are not here nor placed on this earth to be flawless or textbook-following human beings.  Nope.  We are sweetly imperfect my friends; fueled by our boisterous minds and continuous efforts to be who God made us to be.  

His beloved children.    

So while being present might appear to be a lofty and haughty pursuit, I am content with my innate inability to hit the mark 100% of the time.

For me, present in the year ahead means shedding light on these treasured and frequently neglected areas...

Present – in prayer.  This tops my list of importance.  Too often in prayer I am distracted and decide to give up altogether, but after much trial and error, I’ve come to discover that I must enter into prayer in the same way I sit down to read a good book; surrounded by a veil of complete silence.  The silence allows me to focus in a way that the noise does not.  As a result, prayer comes floating to the surface. (And all the people said amen.)

Present – to myself.  This is second in line in terms of significance.  I felt some initial hesitation at placing my needs in such close proximity to my relationship with God, but the older I’ve gotten, the more strongly I've been able to make the correlation between attending to my inner-self and being able to attend to others.  This means listening intuitively to how I’m really feeling, rather than immediately sweeping my emotions under the rug, never to be seen or heard from again.  It means spending copious amounts of time alone to build back up the strength I need to move forward.  After all, we must remember to feed our own souls first before we can ever think to feed another’s.        

Present – to relationships.  I chose “relationships” in general because I’m certain that all of my relationships could benefit from being present.  From work relationships, to home, to friendships, and everyone in between, no one should be left behind.  I’ve been on the receiving end of many one-sided conversations, where I am clutching at straws for someone to stop and listen to what I have to say, and it’s exhausting and discouraging.  Yet still, I am meek and humble enough to accept that I, too, have made people to feel this way by my unwillingness to be truly present among them. Conversations are referred to as conversations because there are two or more people sharing their thoughts.  It’s time we give each other an equal share.

Now you might be thinking that these are well-intentioned goals, but how in the world will I go about putting this into action?  Well, so far, I’ve been (divinely) guided to two ways that seem to be working well for me.

…and I’ll be sharing those ways with you next week on the blog.

In the meantime, tell me...how are you putting your word into action so far this year?

Jan 16, 2017


Last week, I talked about the time I read a blog a few years ago in which the woman writing stated that for her, New Year’s Resolutions were officially a thing of the past. The days of making lists and post-it notes of potential and often out-of-reach goals were over. She decided, rather, to pick one word that would encompass every aspect to which she was so valiantly searching and striving. A sentiment that would carry the weight of it all; a concept she could come back to as often as she needed to throughout the year.  An anchor, so to speak, bringing her back time and time again to her true purpose, her true intention.

I discovered that this, too, was what I was looking for as well. While I still begin each morning with a to-do list of my own, my endless list of New Year’s Resolutions in year's past have very often been set by the wayside, and two weeks into the New Year, happen to be all but forgotten.

And so as I sat back and experienced 2016 come to a close, my one word weaved its’ way into my world slowly and cautiously. It was as if it knew it had to be patient and tolerant enough to wait silently in the wings for me to accept it in all its’ glory.

In the days leading up to Christmas, I took a few days off of work to immerse myself, as I’ve said before, in all things holiday. Quite often, I would be cuddled up under my red and white snowflake blanket, sunk deep into the cushions of my couch, with my sweet four-legged friend, Jovie, fast asleep next to me. A little Bing Crosby or Elvis Presley would be crooning Christmas tunes in the background, with the tree brilliantly casting shadows off the wall, and a warm cup of coffee or a chilled glass of Holiday Nog would be within close reach.

And wouldn't you know it, it was in those specific, grace-filled moments where my word was so beautifully revealed.

Present.  Happy and at peace. In the moment.  Being fully aware, cognizant of each and every detail.  No thoughts of tomorrow, or even an hour into the future.  Now.   

I thought to myself...this, this is what I need more of. 

I've preached about it and encouraged others to take notice and realized, yep, now it's my turn.

So what does this mean and how will I strive to live this out in 2017? 

Well, stay tuned.  I can't wait to share with you how my one word is taking shape.

Jan 10, 2017


I've had a post ready and ruminating around in my mind to type up for quite some time now and then I saw the above on Instagram the other day and I stopped in my snow-covered tracks. 

And I thought to myself, yes.

It’s been a full two weeks and a sprinkle of days since I’ve last blogged and as I figured, I’ve missed it. But, you know how it is. Life. Also, I really wanted to sink my snowflake pants and fleece-lined toes deep into the spirit of Christmas and trust me when I say that most definitely happened. There were so many Hallmark movies watched and DVR’d that I could easily describe in detail which were my favorite and which ones were even a bit too cheesy for this self-professed sap. Regardless, it was comfort and joy and peace on earth and good will toward men. Basically, it was a chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire type of season. My absolute favorite of all. All things holiday.

But wouldn’t you know it? We’re in the second week of January already and this post that I wanted to get out a week ago is finally being crossed off my never ending to-do list. I’m looking at my calendar for the upcoming weeks and months ahead and time slots are quickly being filled in. I find myself telling people how I want to get together with them, but then subsequently saying, how does two weeks from next Friday work for you? 


Which brings me back to this life-giving truth.

“All of our suffering in life is from saying we want one thing and doing another” - Debbie Ford

First and foremost, let me clarify, suffering I am not. That would be an overly dramatic and unnecessary way to describe how I’m feeling. However, I do realize that I need to reel myself back in time and time again. Rather than floating along out in the middle of the lake looking for a paddle, the sun is beginning to set along the horizon, which is my signal to come closer to shore. 

I believe that most of our anxiety comes from doing that which doesn’t complete us. And by complete us, I mean, fill us. And so this New Year, I’m trying to check in more frequently with my inner-self to see if what I am doing is, indeed, filling me up. At the end of the day, do I look back and breathe a sigh of delight and satisfaction, or am I bundled up tighter than Randy in A Christmas Story?

I read a blog a couple of years ago about a woman who had decided to no longer make New Year’s Resolutions, but rather, she would pick one word that would encompass a goal she wanted to strive for that year. I loved this idea! I thought, maybe there's a word I could use as an anchor throughout the year so that when things feel out of control, I can come back to that one word to experience it’s true and original purpose.

And so, before 2016 even ceased to exist, I had my word. Everywhere I looked, there it was. As if it had been searching for me just as I long as I had been searching in return.

Next week, I'll be back from the middle of the lake and settled onto the shore where I belong, and I will share with you my one word for 2017. And possibly, even more important, how I'm valiantly striving to put it into action.

Tell me...

Has YOUR one word been revealed?