Feb 27, 2017

Follow the Leader

Did you ever play the game, Follow the Leader, in grade school or with friends, when you were little? The premise of the game is to choose someone to be the leader, or placed at the "head of the line", with the remainder of the children lining up behind that selected person.  The leader then moves around the room and all the other children have to mimic their actions. Whether it's swerving between different objects or making all sorts of hand gestures, the goal is to keep up the pace with the leader.

Our lives tend to look a little bit like this from time to time as well.  We're hesitant to step out of our own comfort zone, afraid to be seen and heard, regardless of how important being seen and heard is to us.  So we stay close to home, curled up where we feel most comfortable and wait for the others to make the first move.  We prefer someone else to be the leader and then, maybe, if we feel so inclined, we might decide to fall into step behind them.

What if we didn't live this way, though?  What if were so bold, so fearless, so eager to make our stance known that hiding behind all the others wasn't an option?

And what if, because of our courage, people started to make worthy changes toward what they believed in as well?  What if we were all working towards the same goals of positivity and compassion and love?    

Would the world change?  

Yes, I do think it would.

Feb 22, 2017

Favorite Things - February Edition

Welcome to the February edition of my Favorite Things!  If you'd like to check out my favorites from January, check them out here.

* First up - these are some of the most comfortable ballet flats I've ever owned.  (And does anyone else find it ironic that they're also called - Me too?!)  But really, sooo comfortable.  I wear them pretty much all year round; with dress pants, jeans and capris.  Pick yourself up a pair!  You can find them here.

* If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet with the rest of the world and watched the newest show, This Is Us, we can no longer be friends.  You guys, this show.  It's all sorts of amazingness, I'm telling you!  It's beautiful and meaningful, funny and enlightening.  Absolute perfection.

* Essential oils seem to be all the rage these days, and I enjoy them just as much as the next person. My favorite smell of all is peppermint and it really can do wonders for aches and pains and headaches. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it resembles the smell of a spa -  nice and relaxing.  I was reading something the other day that suggested putting a small amount of your favorite oil in a water bottle and at then at the end of your morning or evening shower, spray some around and above you to give you a nice, warm, calming effect.  I've been doing it now for over a week and I must say, it does what it says!

* If you've ever wondered about the Catholic mass and why we do what we do (sit, stand, kneel), along with the theology surrounding and behind the parts of the mass, I highly encourage you to read, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri. I promise that it won't put you to sleep or be too difficult to comprehend.  It is a book, however, that will really put into perspective how vital the mass is to our faith journey.  Pick up your own copy of the book here.


* And finally, I am obsessed with these cell phone stands.  Not only do I have two of them myself, but I've given them away as gifts.  They're perfect for watching shows on your phone, scrolling, responding to texts, etc.  I have one at work and one in my bathroom, where I watch Gilmore Girls evvvvvvery morning while getting ready for work.  Nice and handy to have around! Amazon has them, of course!  

That's all for February, my friends!  

Now, what are some of your favorite things?

Feb 20, 2017


We're conditioned in this life to adapt and change as necessary.  We adapt our mood and attitude, depending on who we are having a conversation with or the situations we find ourselves in.  We adapt at work and around family and friends.  Every day is a series of adaptations.  From one moment to the next, we do what we can to accept what's been given.

The one situation in life, however, where there is an exception to that rule is when it comes to love. 

Relationships are about two people coming together, flaws and imperfections alike, so, yes, there will always need to be compromises from one person to another.  But there's a difference between compromising in everyday situations and then compromising who are you are.

I don't know why it is, but it seems as if we're constantly accepting less for ourselves and our well-being, but then we chide others for living lives less than they deserve.  

The same rules should apply.  

Accept nothing more than what you would wish for another.

In life and especially, in love.

Feb 15, 2017


In sacred scripture, in the book of Genesis, it reads: 

"When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evilhe regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved." ~ Genesis 6: 5-6

His heart was grieved.  Grieved.  

I was taken aback when I read this because so often, we think of God only in large, looming terms.  We know He is all-powerful, and all-knowing, so quite often, we choose to hold Him at arms-length; a little afraid, a little intimidated.

Yet we know from this very scripture that He is more than capable of grieving. Just like Jesus, when his friend Lazarus died, was capable of deep, deep sadness.  

What desires is your heart conceiving?    

How have you grieved the Lord?  

Because He is not in the least at arms-length, my friends.  He is beside you and within you. And He will not fail you.  

Therefore, tell me, how much more beautiful would this scripture be if it read this way:

Let us not grieve the heart of our Lord.  

May our hearts, and His, be fulfilled.

Feb 13, 2017

All At Once

It's true.  You can be all three of these at one time.

You can be scared and still hold your head high. 

Flawed and given a second chance.

Lonely and desolate, yet held in the precious palm of His hand.

Each piece of the puzzle will come together.

All at once.  And so beautifully.  

Feb 8, 2017

What I Learned Last Month - January

Another monthly feature that I'd like to start implementing is a post entitled, What I Learned Last Month. Some of my ramblings may be wistful and reflective and others...well, not so much.  I apologize in advance for the latter. 

So with that, here are five things I learned last month:

1.  Facebook memories are great in theory, except for those times when the memory of sitting poolside in Arizona pops up on your news feed, while sitting in the midst of a frigid, midwest winter.  I'd call that torture in it's finest form. 
Well played, Facebook.

2.  My 95 year old grandma is a total rockstar.  Two years ago she fell and shattered her shoulder and in January, she fell and broke her hip.  I know this won't always be the case given her age, but up to this point, she's comes back from the brink every.single.time.  She has the blood of a warrior coursing through her veins and I adore her.

3.  I received the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo for Christmas, and it's really changed my perspective on the things I tend to keep and hold on to.  Two of the biggest pieces of wisdom I walked away with were:

- Books.  I have TONS of books that I've kept over the years; certain that I'm going to go back and re-read them or look over everything I highlighted or notes I might have placed in the margins. Yet there are only a handful of times I can recall this actually happening.  Going forward, I'm really going to focus on giving these books away so that someone else has the opportunity to enjoy them.  Or, simply purchase them on my Kindle so that they take up less space.

- Secondly, clothes.  Oh-my-lanta, do I have a lot of clothes! Well, I decided to do a massive overhaul and everything that was in question, I eliminated by selling or giving to charity. Gone are the clothes with my own, personal tags on them that read, I'll wear this someday when I lose weight, or I can't get rid of this, it's brand new!  Purging is cathartic in ways I never imagined.  Check out the link below to purchase the book for yourself!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

4.  It's okay to change your mind.  

Last May, I decided to give up meat, for my love and concern over the welfare and treatment of animals.  About a month into my decision, I also decided that I was just as concerned over the welfare of our aquatic life, so I became a full-fledged member of vegetarianism.  I proudly, yet humbly, wore that badge until just last month, when I carefully, albeit with some hesitation, added seafood back into my diet.  
Does that mean I no longer care?  At first, I thought...well, maybe?  But no, that's not it.  I learned that I am allowed to make adjustments, if necessary, and not every way of life is right for everyone. And yep, that's more than okay.

5.  I plan my weekdays around coffee, my weekends around naps, and every day around my four-legged companion, Jovie. Enough said.

So tell me, what did you learn in January?

Feb 6, 2017

On Second Thought

You know those tickers that run at the bottom of Google or Bing or whatever other search engines are out there?  Well, last week, one of the tickers caught my eye.  It read, Texas Bank Teller Stole $1.25M from bank over 10 years.  

And with that, my heart sank to my feet.

I am no stranger to irresponsible decision making, as told here, here, and here. I suppose that's why I am so passionate about steering people towards a more honorable path than the one I decided to take.  After all, if I can prevent another from following in my footsteps, then I'll be doing God's work...extending on the mercy that I, too, have received.

My friends, there is a serious epidemic in our society today and it's swallowing us whole. Maybe you don't see it because you're not out there looking for it, but I promise you, it exists, and for those vulnerable souls, it's just waiting; lurking in the shadows.

The issue is this.  We are a society fixated on more, better, newer, and the greatest.  We are competing with one another, whether we realize it or not.  No longer is the 46" TV good enough; now it must be at least 75".  Iphone 5's are outdated - it's time for an upgrade.  And for those who still own a flip phone? You're walking among the dinosaurs, people! Then we move on to vehicles and gaming systems and furniture and washers and dryers...it never ends.  The end of the tunnel is miles and miles ahead.

Those vulnerable souls I referenced earlier are the vulnerable ones like me, who become obsessed with the feeling, the rush, that comes with spending money. We are so sensitive to it that we begin to crave it.  And then we search for ways to fulfill that craving, whether it be shopping or gambling or yes, even stealing. Because regrettably, we just don't know when to stop.  We are powerless against the pull.  As a result, the "how" becomes irrelevant - how will I afford this, or how can I take what's not mine and still live with myself? 

I have a file folder full of news stories of people who, like the woman from Texas, just didn't know when to stop. Who eventually had to face the dire consequences of what they thought would bring them happiness.  

My story is in that folder as well.  

Vulnerable souls are all around us.  Be attuned.  Look to your left and to your right, in front and behind.  Open yourself up to hear someone say, I need help

And then do...help.  

Let's rally around those sensitive, feeling people and assure them that there is always another way.

*Friends, if you are one of these sensitives, reach out to me.  I know the struggle because I continue to live it.  Together we can choose to walk the moral path.  Believe me when I say...it leads to freedom. 

Feb 1, 2017


Five things to remember as you begin each day:

1.  You are a child of God.

This one statement, if you allow it, has the power to set you on the right course. Why?  Because it means you are here for a reason, you have been forgiven, and you are loved.  That's worth remembering, wouldn't you say?

2.  Not everything is going to go your way.

We stumble out of bed in the morning with dreams of finding dancing unicorns and pot-of-gold rainbows around every corner and then when we don't, we throw our hands up in the air in utter frustration.  We're impatient when our day goes down the opposite path we expected it to, and as a result of our impatience, our attitude becomes less-than ideal.  Here's the truth: while we can't fully predict how our day is going to turn out, when we do come up against those inevitable roadblocks, taking a nice, relaxing breath can go a long way. And coffee.  Coffee never hurts.

3.  Not everyone you meet will be pleasant.

Maybe it's the cashier at the grocery store who is aloof and unkind, or the person who slams the door instead of holding it open, or the coworker who barely speaks a word of hello or goodbye. Whomever it might be, you will, without a doubt, come up against these people throughout the course of your day.  Our reactions to their actions, however, can mean the difference between good and great. Choose higher ground whenever possible.  You won't regret it.

4.  Say no if you have to.

I am a people-pleaser by nature, so this is difficult for me to do.  But it's something I'm working on for the new year; specifically, saying no and not feeling guilty for doing so.  I have to humbly accept that I am not always the right person for every task, and that, you know what, it is more than ok for me to skip out on an event if I need to, regardless if the reason is simply because I want to hang out with my dog.  Never forget that we first need to fuel ourselves before we can serve others, and saying no is the first step.

5.  Don't forget to laugh.

Not one of my days go by without the sound of laughter, whether it's because of someone else making me laugh, or quite frequently, because I've made myself laugh.  I find the least-funny things, funny.  Basically, in a nutshell, it doesn't take much to amuse me, and I have 598 images pinned on my "Funny" Pinterest board to prove it. Enter exhibit A and B:

Begin your day with these five things in mind, and see if they make a difference. I'm betting they will.