Protecting our sanity in a media saturated world

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I don’t know about you, but my head has felt on the verge of exploding lately. Like many millennials, I’m on social media and enjoy the interaction. But scrolling through Facebook makes me feel restless, and often frustrated with the world (especially lately). I know I’m not the only one who feels like that, because many acquaintances have recently decided to delete various accounts.

But don’t freak out! I’m not suggesting we all up and leave social media and form a compound where we can create a perfect world. In fact, I think we should keep our social media accounts. Here’s why.

We’re called to be artisans of culture. 

Now I can’t for the life of me remember who said that. I think it was JPII, but can’t find a reference. Anyway, how are we supposed to promote the good parts of our culture and challenge the bad parts if we run away from it? We have to be in the world, just not of the world. Unless your vocation is to join a cloistered religious community, chances are we’re going to have to continue dealing with whatever the world throws at us. So we might as well be smart and informed about it.

BUT, being informed doesn’t mean we have to know everything about everything.

We’re plugged into news 24/7. It’s easy to get sucked into that and scroll through Facebook or Instagram until 1am (*AHEM* ask me how I know). I think we have to remember that’s not a requirement. We can put our phones down. And it’s okay to not know every single pop culture reference. Trying to stay up on everything is just too much. Has there ever been a time before this when people knew about every single world event within minutes? No! It’s a recent development with the internet.

Trying to stay on top of every single thing makes me feel insane. So here are a few specific things I find helpful to maintaining sanity:

1. Create a morning routine where checking your notifications isn’t first.

Have you noticed how much this sets the tone for your day? I find that if I ignore my phone before work and make intentional time to pray in the morning, life is just better. If you struggle with this too, you could try using an old fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone so that it’s not the first thing you reach for. Or you could disable wifi and data until later in the day.

2. Pick and choose who you follow and what you click when you’re digesting your newsfeeds.

I sorted my Facebook friends into three lists: family, school friends, and then other people I care about seeing things from. Instead of just scrolling my newsfeed, I click on the friend list and only see things from that group of people. This means I don’t see updates from a lot of my “friends”. When I’m being smart and actually follow my own rule here, I don’t see updates from pages on Facebook either. I don’t really care about many pages I liked in the past, so it’s a win for my sanity.

On Instagram, I don’t automatically follow people who follow me. I’m following a little over 100 people right now, and have been needing to narrow that down.

One feature that helps with this is the “save” option on Facebook. When I see something interesting during the day, I usually save it for later instead of clicking and reading it then. When I have time to look at it later, it often isn’t interesting enough to read. Win for my sanity! Be ruthless about what you choose to click. If there are people or pages that ruin your sanity, just unfollow them. #SorryNotSorry

3. When something makes you mad on social media, stop and think before you respond.

Did your distant relative just post something stupid about Trump? How about vaccines and global warming and religion and politics and all the other things that make people mad. It’s okay to not engage, especially when we know the person isn’t interested in actual dialogue. Will this conversation bring both of you to a deeper understanding of each other or the issue? Think before you type. And I’m telling myself that too (LOL so much). I’ve participated in my share of Facebook debates and know how they can go…

4. Find things offline that refresh you and bring you joy.

I enjoy cooking and reading and have been loving local trails for hiking. I met some new friends at a brunch recently, and have been learning calligraphy. So fun! Things like this always refresh me and restore my hope in the world. Find what does that for you.

5. Whatever you do right before bed, make sure it’s offline.

. . . to which we all cackle, because who doesn’t check their phone before trying to sleep. Guilty as charged. But I have to say: putting away my phone, laptop, and tv for a while before bed makes me feel so much more refreshed than scrolling till my eyes droop. Try journaling, praying, reading, or something creative.

Our culture has some major problems, but I don’t think the solution is to run away. Please stay on social media to the degree that you can keep you sanity! The world needs your reasonable voice to challenge it. And we need to protect our sanity so we can be those reasonable voices. Let’s transform our culture together.

[But first, coffee. We gotta stay sane, right? 😉 ]

How do you keep your peace in the age of social media? Have any tips or tricks?

To Life,

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My 2016 in review

Have you seen all the memes about finally waving adieu to 2016? Most people seem to be counting down to saying goodbye to an eventful year. It’s certainly been quite a year for me, with lots of changes and things I haven’t blogged about. So for posterity’s sake, and because I miss this place, here’s what 2016 looked like for me.

January

The end of Christmas break saw me going back to Kansas for my final semester of college. I was beyond excited to be done with formal schooling. But at the same time, there’s so much to say goodbye to when college ends. I can now tell you that it’s quite possible to be crazy excited and terrified at the same time.

For the fourth time in college, we packed up a ginormous group of people to head to the March for Life in D.C.

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Buuuuuut then the morning of the March we turned around and headed back to Kansas early in order to beat a crazy huge storm. It was a hard call to make for our bus company and group leaders. Ultimately, though, I think it was a good decision. The road we had to take heading west was the road many buses got stranded on just hours after us.

February

I treasured many “lasts” of college as the semester went on. At the same time (late Feb/early March??), I discovered that the job I had expected to step into after college was not going to happen. It hadn’t been for sure, but this made the next couple months crunch time to find a job. I was not keen on the idea of graduating without a next step. Anyway, you can imagine what that’s like for someone who likes to plan.

My role in the campus pro-life group senior year was receiving calls from families in need in our town and then delivering items directly to those moms and babies. That was such an enriching experience. I got to literally meet people where they were at and help them through more materially difficult times than I’ve ever experienced. I am so glad that I stepped back from being President that school year to work hands-on with people who needed us. I spent many Saturday mornings outside the closest abortion facility too.

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March

I had a lovely spring break trip with some of my college girlfriends in snowy Colorado mountains. We went inner tubing and just had a blast. The job search continued. And I passed my senior comprehensive exam. Thank you, sweet Baby Jesus.

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April

Things started to get REAL at this point with impending graduation. Applying for jobs got old fast. I do not envy anyone who is job searching, because at least in my experience, it was horrible. There’s the hope of seeing new opportunities and then after submitting your application you never hear back. I actually really appreciated the rejections I received, because at least it was an answer.

Part of the reason this was such a struggle for me is because with my Business Management degree, I was going to be qualified for any number of jobs in the business world. I know I am capable of doing much in the business world. And going home to Silicon Valley you might think that was my ambition. But I didn’t want to work in the corporate business world. To me it felt cold and impersonal and basically purgatory on earth. In my opinion it’s driven too much by money and other things I don’t care about. I wanted to work with non profits that were either related to my faith or the pro-life cause.

Though I didn’t have a next step yet, I started throwing away paperwork and notes from classes that I didn’t need anymore. Sweet freedom was on the horizon.

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On campus our Memorial of the Unborn was unveiled. This was such a wonderful moment for the campus pro-life group, because students had been working on the project and raising money for it for many years. There had been many setbacks, and I was so proud to see it finally installed after much hard work.

It’s in a memorial garden in a nice spot on campus. Here’s what the statue looks like (with some rain on it). The rock wall behind it is a great height to sit and think, and it’s right off of a walkway with a bench directly across from it.

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We hosted a baby item drive where all proceeds go to the ministry I was managing of helping local families. It was wonderfully successful and made me happy to leave the ministry in good hands with resources to work with.

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May

Toward the end of April (I think – sometime around here), I started facing the reality that it didn’t look like I was going to be working in the fields I was most interested in. And I was like “FINE, GOD, IF YOU SAY SO”. Letting go looks much more like that sometimes than a feel-good Hallmark movie. It felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and had no idea what was coming. I applied for many jobs that in my opinion looked lame because it was time to be an adult even if what happened wasn’t ideal.

Then all of a sudden, life worked out.

In the couple weeks leading up to graduation, I had interviews with both a prominent pro-life organization and Ignatius Press where I work now. It’s funny because I had sent my resume to IP about 6 weeks prior to this, I think. They didn’t have any job listings up, but I figured it didn’t hurt to send my resume around and see what happened. Since one of their staff members was moving on at the end of May, they contacted me. And two days before graduation (I kid you not), it was official. My goal all along was to have a job before graduation. Of course it would have been nice for things to work out a couple months prior. But I just had to laugh at the way it turned out. God is good. And I had a next step after graduating.

I graduated a said bittersweet goodbye’s. At some point I’ll have to write more about college. My cap said “Believe there is good in the world“.

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Then I moved home to California, started training for work 4 days later, bought a car and BAM. I am officially a real adult.

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There’s a lot that goes into big transitions like this, and I felt that. Work was a steep learning curve at first. Taking public transportation was a nightmare the first few days before I got the car. But I have a job and I was thankful.

June – September

I adjusted to my new normal, which included a commute of about 1:40 or so each way. Fortunately driving the hills of San Francisco was just fine. After school started (for OTHER people, mwahahaha), it took over 2 hours to get to work in the morning. I listened to Catholic radio, said the rosary, sometimes jammed to music, and avoided accidents in crazy Bay Area traffic.

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My first nephew was born and I visited him (and my sister and brother in law) and summer was great. My other older sister and I began looking for an apartment together once both of us had things in order. That was an interesting process!

October

We found a place, were accepted, and moved at the beginning of the month. It really had only taken a couple weeks of intense looking, visiting, and applying to find the right place, but it felt super long. The hardest part was finding something affordable, because local market price is about $3,500/mo for rent. Thankfully we found something under that and have enjoyed it ever since. One of my favorite walls is this gallery wall I’ve been slowly adding to:

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Craigslist has come in handy for many furniture pieces, including that awesome chair and bookshelf 🙂 The crucifix is one of my favorite parts, and this phrase from Mama T.

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November – December

Since then life has been moving along as per usual. We had a pretty crazy election. If you’re wondering how I voted, you can read this. Oh yeah, my transmission failed right before Thanksgiving (THANKS semi-new car). That was fun! Thankfully it was under warranty.

It’s nice to have my own place and a job to learn from. But I definitely miss the hustle and bustle of everything I did in college. It was so easy to pop across campus for this or that activity and go to events and volunteer my time. The world is so much bigger and takes being much more intentional now. I’m still looking for volunteer opportunities and social groups and figuring out good ways to spend my time. Oh! One awesome way I’ve spent some time is exploring trails around here. There are so many and I love them.

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Can you believe this has no filter? It’s sooo beautiful in the hills where I live.

It’s been a year of figuring things out, making lots of decisions, and taking big steps into the world.  I am thankful for much and looking forward to whatever the new year brings.

Did you make it this far? Congratulations, that was was long. Cheers to 2016! How was yours?

To Life,

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P.P.S. Check out more people’s years over at Bobbi’s link up!

Hello and trust

Until checking recently, I had no idea it’s been nearly 3.5 months since last sharing something in this space. There’s no excuse because there’s no requirement for blogging, no apologies because I was still living my life. Instead, there’s an older me, another semester under my belt, more life experience, and finally a new blog post.

It’s good to be back.

Junior year was more difficult than senior year has been thus far. The future was an abstract concept, and something I couldn’t do anything about.

Now that senior year is here (and half over!), everything is different. Life post-graduation is an impending reality. Friends will be missed, college will be reminisced, but I’m beginning to appreciate that there’s so much to look forward to this year of transition as graduation, jobs, and moving out of my childhood home become a reality.

Last year I chose “abandon” as my word of the year. The idea was to let go of the “perfect” plans I made for myself and abandon myself, surrender those plans and timing of them, to God who knows what is best for me. Easier said than done, I tell you.

Spring semester I was worrying about the future and not wanting to be a bossy, strong, independent business woman. Summer saw me through two internships. Then it was senior year. BAM. Worries came and went. Would I forget something on my forms and be prevented from graduating? Would a job work out? Will I be able to find a car quickly? What about an apartment? How horribly painful will finding a new social group be?

So. Many. Variables.

Getting over the variables and accepting that everything’s going to work out somehow is something we probably all struggle with to varying degrees at different times. But I finally do feel an immense sense of peace about the future. I came to appreciate that God does not abandon us. He will not leave me hanging or homeless. I won’t automatically have a job I hate. What I will always have is a God who loves me and looks out for me.

And there’s not much else I truly need.

So this year I’m not making a bunch of silly goals that won’t happen. I’ll work on being healthier, reading and writing more, and my prayer life . . . but mostly I’m going to work on trusting God more.

2016 is my year to work on trust.

It’s going to be a year of huge transitions. People are going to come and go. Situations are going to change. Many things will be new. It will be hard sometimes, exciting at others. But through it all:

I know the plans I have for you says the Lord

I am hopeful for this year because it doesn’t all depend on me. I don’t have to perfectly plan every last detail of my life because there’s a master plan already. It doesn’t give me license to be lazy. No way. Hard work is the only way to go. But you’ll find me praying and working harder to give my trust to the Big Guy who not only knows everything about me, but knows about my future too.

Through trust, I can choose to let go of worry and control and let my faith be bigger than fear.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear

Have there been times in your life when you let go of situations, trusted that God had a plan, and things surprisingly (ha!) worked out better than expected? Share away in the comments. Let’s talk about trust.

To Life,

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Choosing Awesome

With all this talk about becoming a saint lately, I figured I better actually get started on that. It’s hard to know where to start when you decide to really chuck bad habits out the window and develop better ones.

But the important thing is to just get started.

These last couple weeks I’ve started by taking a few incremental steps to clear my head and get priorities straight. Here’s a taste of what that’s looked like:

1. Silence in the car going to/from work.

This isn’t to take joy out of life by not turning on music, but to give myself time to not be entertained, to actually think or just be. Yes, sometimes I turn into my own radio. But mostly I am quiet and just enjoy the scenery. I am capable of giving up 20 minutes of being distracted each day.

2. No laptop after 9pm.

Right now there are no excuses for not getting enough sleep. I realized that reading articles (or other “constructive” ventures) was a big part of my staying up late, so BAM. Get rid of the cause. I am capable of doing things beside being on the internet late at night.

3. Exercise consistently.

Okay, do you know how awesome it is to be sore? It makes me feel like a boss to know I worked hard. And it’s good for my health, go figure. I don’t work out to get a bikini body because I wouldn’t ever wear one, but I do work out to be healthy and strong. I am capable of devoting 30+ minutes of most days to exercising.

4. Get up earlier.

I was chatting with a few friends, and we all were talking about wanting to get up earlier. So guess what? We decided to get up earlier. Go figure! We text motivational quotes on weekday mornings. And I have a daily meditation book my goal is to whip out every morning. Even though I’ve fallen back asleep while reading it a couple times, I am capable of getting up (and staying up) at a reasonably early hour.

That’s not everything, but enough for now.

What’s made each of these possible is to get over whatever silly excuses and just do it. It’s true, that’s not terribly motivational. Who in the world wants to put in the effort? Who wants to force themselves to do good things instead of what’s easy?

Yeah, not many people.

It’s true for me too. Binge watching a tv show is way easier than flipping on a workout DVD and getting down to business. Lounging on the couch reading Buzzfeed articles and eating cookies is way easier than using internet time intentionally.

But if we’re being honest with ourselves, don’t those things leave us terribly unsatisfied?

I am satisfied at the end of the day when I can look back and know I tried, that I gave my all. And that only happens when I make an intentional effort – when I choose awesome. That is something each of us is capable of doing.

You are the only thing standing between who you are now and who you want to be

So, let’s do it. What are you going to do to take that first step and change things you want to change? Those little things add up, my friend! Tell me, and let’s help each other out!

Today, let’s choose awesome.

To Life,

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How to be a saint (but not get eaten by lions)

Not all of us are called to have our heads chopped off or be eaten alive by lions like the saints of old. But all of us are called to be saints in one way or another.

How to be a saint

Lately I’ve been thinking about what that means. To be a saint nowadays might mean martyrdom for a few people, but for most of us, it’s probably not going to come to that. Most of us are going to lead somewhat ordinary lives getting some sort of an education, having some sort of job, probably raising a family, etc. You get the gist of it. Most of our lives are pretty ordinary. But all of us are called to an extraordinary mission.

This mission is to be a saint, to be the salt and light of the world. It’s going to look different for different people, but the common denominator is this: being a saint means giving until it hurts, loving without boundaries, and living with a higher purpose.

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Giving until it hurts means letting go of our plans and giving God the room to lead us where He made us to go – no matter how tough that path may be. This also means giving of ourselves in service to other people and the greater community. Loving without boundaries means reaching beyond our comfort zone into whatever situations we face and meeting people where they are at. And living with a higher purpose does not mean we’re doing this because we’re more awesome than other people. It means doing all this not for ourselves, or to look good, but because it is right. And giving is better than receiving.

But golly gee, that is WAY easier said than done.

It’s easy to watch just one more episode of something or have a second cookie we don’t need. It’s easy to justify not exercising after a long day of work. It’s easy to look up from social media and wonder where two hours went. It’s easy to forget to pray. Overall, it’s just plain easy to get by in life.

But those things are not going to make any of us saints.

I don’t want to just get by. I want to thrive. I want to say “no” to things that don’t help me become a saint. And I want to say “yes” to things that help me become a saint until it becomes a habit. I want to be more purposeful about how I spend my time.

So that’s why I’m creating a personal mission statement.

Yes, it’s somewhat cheesy. But I’m dead serious about wanting to become a saint. It’s what we’re all called to! Because of that, I’m going to use this statement as a guide. If something doesn’t match the guidelines, then too bad. It’s not happening. And if something does match, and does make me a better person, then it’s happening – even if it’s hard.

Failure will happen. But at least I’ll be closer to what I should be doing.

That’s how I’m going to work on becoming a saint: evaluating what I do and saying “yes” and “no” to the right things.

Yes, it’s kind of a duh moment. Shouldn’t I be doing this anyway? Yes, but writing this out forces me to be mindful. For now this is taking a concrete step toward being more intentional about my time on this side of heaven. And that’s what you can do too! Have you ever thought about defining what your mission in life is?

So here you go. You can click here to visit my new personal mission statement page.

What you think? Share your thoughts in the comments, and shoot me an email if you want to chat about what helped me create this.

Cheers to a purposeful life! And who knows? Maybe your life will involve lions. Maybe not. I can’t guarantee it won’t come to that. But maybe it’s something else that’s keeping you from being awesome. Identify it, and make it your mission to overcome it.

Conquer Yourself Augustine

Today my step toward sainthood is reminding myself that we’re created with a purpose. This is mine. What’s yours?

To Life,

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Image via Pius Mahimbi on Flickr.

When the going gets tough

. . . the tough get going. Right?

Yeah, that’s harder than it sounds.

Until this semester, I have never considered myself a lazy person. Ever. It just wasn’t something that was in my blood. A possibility? Eh, unlikely. I am the do-er of all things, the planner, the one to get up and do something when other people don’t. I still do that. I can’t stand sleeping in (unless it’s desperately needed), and am always busy doing things.

But I’ve realized that what I’m doing is actually kind of stupid sometimes.

For example:

Why do I read people’s blogs? Why do I check Facebook? Why do I read so many articles? Yeah, Buzzfeed. Why do I spend time on there sometimes? Why do I sometimes spend time doing things that aren’t 100% necessary? Why don’t I get up earlier? Why do I go to bed so late? Why don’t I work out and pray more?

Basically: why I am not fully running like a crazy person toward the person I’m capable of being?

That’s not to say I’ve been lounging on the couch eating potato chips and watching all the seasons of Say Yes to the Dress. Nope, I still don’t like tv. I’ve worked out quite a lot and grown in my prayer life. But I’ve procrastinated on projects. I’ve forgotten to respond to people’s communication. I’ve done things later than I should have, even though I knew about them well ahead of time. I’ve just not done my best.

And I really hate that.

I am capable of getting all my homework done more than a day before it’s due. I am capable of responding to all important communication within a reasonable amount of time. I am capable of going without the internet for days on end. I am capable of having a thriving prayer life, and being in good shape.

Even though I’ve thought about it, I haven’t come up with a reason why I haven’t worked harder on these things. I want to be better. It kills me that I haven’t tried harder.

So I’m moving on.

It’s high time to whip myself into gear and show God I’m actually serious about being the person He created me to be. So I’m going to use this summer to challenge myself like never before. It might mean getting up by 6am and pushing myself to do things outside my comfort zone. And what I know it means is working my butt off to unite my life to the life God made me to live. Basically this quote sums it up:

Conquer Yourself Augustine

Who’s ready to put on some warpaint and be a boss at life?!?! Care to join me? There just aren’t excuses at this point in my life for not being better, so I’m going to be karate-chopping the world down and standing on top of it like that guy in Mulan when he’s king of the rock. Except I’m a girl. And I have regular clothes on. Bad analogy.

Anyway.

I’ll be sharing my goals in the next week or so. Want to join me in making this summer count? Start thinking about what you want to do, habits you wan to kick or develop, and let’s bounce our ideas off each other!

To Life

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Goals: January & Lent

After setting some lofty goals for this year, you could guess how well it’s been going.

No, this plan has actually not crashed and burned.

It’s actually been okay.

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Life is a work in progress, and I am confident that I’m heading in the right direction – even if I haven’t mastered ALL the things yet.

Daily readings get looked at most days, and I have read some incredible books for my Fulton Sheen class. Homework has been getting done MUCH more ahead of time, and I’ve actually written a bit for Live Action. I broke my 5k record by over 2 minutes too!

This Lent I didn’t want to do the standard give up chocolate and Facebook. I’ve done it before, and it just never does anything. I have the willpower to do something, but then fall right back into bad habits after Easter.

Why?

Because I didn’t change my habits. A Matthew Kelly quote keeps going through my head:

Matthew Kelly Our Live Change

 

Because of that, this Lent I’ll be working on developing good habits (and getting rid of bad ones). Without further ado, here is my Lenten 2015 Plan for Bossness:

Prayer

  • Read from Fulton Sheen devotional book every morning
  • 40 DFL prayers everyday (not TR)
  • Rosary everyday
  • Adoration 3x/week + Saturday holy hour
  • Daily Mass 2x/week
  • Pray Litany of Humility everyday

Fasting/Discipline

  • Limit computer usage
    • Morning: Check emails and Facebook
    • Lunch: Check emails & up 30 minutes of articles/posts
    • Evening: Check emails and Facebook
  • Read 4 books: Come Be My Light, Spirituality of Fasting, TOB for Beginners, Joy of Full Surrender (30 min/day)
  • Share blog post on each one
  • Journal for a short time (maybe 10ish minutes) each day
  • Go 1 day/week without social media (only allowed to check school email 2x)

Almsgiving/Thankfullness/Giving of Myself

  • Helping local families (this is not technically part of Lent, but I’m starting to help out families right now which kind of coincides)
  • Write 1 faith-related post/week: share the beauty of truth!
  • Go outside abortion clinic every Saturday I can
  • Add over 40 things that I’m thankful for to my notebook
  • Make myself available for spending more time with people

I have mixed thoughts looking at this. On one hand, it sounds kind of crazy. But on another hand, I don’t think it’s hard enough. Jesus DIED for each of us. Individually. What more can I do to observe this season? Nothing really is enough. So I’m not really sure. But I’m going to give this a shot and challenge myself 🙂

If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them! And now, tell me: what is YOUR Lenten plan for becoming a boss?

To Life,

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Moving and shaking: Hello, 2015!

I’d like to think I’m a mover and shaker of sorts. Maybe because I’m stubborn and passionate about what I do. Maybe it’s because I really do want to do great things with all I’ve been given. Who knows. Making goals (and sharing them) has always helped me focus on what is most important, so I present to you . . .

My Master Plan for Greatness in 2015

 

This fall has seen great improvement in self-discipline and diligence. Now it seems important to continue those practices and challenge myself with new, specific goals for this year. Why? Because I’ve been gifted with the ability and grace to do some marvelous deed nobody else can accomplish. So have you. It’s our responsibility to respond to our call with gratitude and graciousness because after all, we hardly deserve everything we have access to in life.

This year I want to focus on revealing the greatness of God through the witness my life is to people around me. I want to be thoroughly done with anything that takes me away from greatness and run after whatever God has in store for me with reckless abandon. I want to live differently than the world in quiet but powerful defiance of the status quo society prescribes. In short, I want to work on becoming a saint.

A word that keeps coming up is “abandon”. I first saw this in action during my trip working with Mother Teresa’s sisters, and I am not kidding you. The word just keep coming up. You know how people choose a word for their theme each year? Last year I chose “peace”. And looking back, I can see how I have come to be at peace with whatever God has in store. Of course I have my moments. We all do. That’s what dance parties and adoration are for. But internally, I do feel an sense of unshakable peace.

This year “abandon” is the word. It’s not something that means a whole lot to pick, except that it’s been coming up a lot. So I feel like it’s time to work on getting rid of any pride I might have and allowing room for God’s plan – thus “abandoning” myself to his providence and timing.

We’ll see how that goes.

To kick off the year of abandonment, enjoy reading my somewhat ambitious hopes of future accomplishments.

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Discipline

  1. Make it a habit to read 30 minutes/day from books that will challenge and inspire.
  2. Finish at least 12 good books.
  3. Complete 1 solid hour of homework during the day (when needed) before starting less necessary activities.
  4. Write down events and meetings in my planner and check it in the morning so nothing is forgotten.
  5. Intentionally track and record income and spending. This includes making a budget, not splurging often, and planning trips to the store.
  6. Have accountability meetings weekly.

Writing

  1. Submit an average of 4 posts/month to Live Action News (about one/week).
  2. Post an average of at least one non-link-up article a week.
  3. Continue brainstorming book ideas.
  4. “Give people a reason for my hope” by exploring deeper topics in my writing.
  5. Share an update on goals at the beginning of each month.

Media Usage

  1. Allow myself to check emails up to 3 times/day.
  2. Allow myself to check Facebook 1 time/day.
  3. Remember to ask for prayer intentions every Sunday.
  4. Share inspiring quotes and positive news, not so much on negative stuff.
  5. Go one day each week completely technology free (unless homework requires it).

Exercise

  1. Complete at least 2 5k’s.
  2. Get my 5k time under 30 minutes.
  3. Schedule time to work out 5 times/week.
  4. Research and consider participating in a triathalon.

Prayer/Spiritual Life

  1. Schedule 30 minutes/day for silent prayer or journaling.
  2. Read daily readings over breakfast each morning.
  3. Print examen to reflect on each evening.
  4. Say the litany of humility more often, and consciously work on putting others before myself.
  5. Spend at least 3 hours/week in adoration.
  6. Go to confession 1 time each month.

That’s a wrap. Who knows what this year will bring, but I have a feeling there are great things in store. Each month I’ll share where I am with you, and I’d love to hear about what your goals are for the year. I’m so excited to share this year with you!

If you have any suggestions or questions, fire away. May your year be filled with adventures and joy as God writes our stories. I look forward to being here more often to share my thoughts with you and create a conversation and community or sorts as we work on becoming the people God made us to be.

To Life,

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I came. I saw. I (actually, kind of) conquered.

Fitness Humor

Soon after making September’s goals, our topic for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship conference call was success and failure. In the last year or so, I’ve become very goal oriented. They help keep me on track. And they keep me busy. But them this reading helped me to see goals and success in a new light:

It talked about how “many of us picture success as looking like someone other than who we are”, saying many people strive for the wealth of Bill Gates, intelligence of Albert Einstein, athletic ability of Michael Jordan, and the heart of Mother Teresa. But “[y]ou would be a bad imitation of them, and you would eliminate the possibility of becoming the person you were meant to be”

Whoa, Nelly. And not only that:

“If you make happiness your goal, you are almost certainly destined to fail.”

“It has never come as the result of possessing something.”

Ultimately, success is a journey, it says. It’s when you know your purpose in life, grow to reach your maximum potential, and sow seeds along the way which benefit others.

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Mind. Blown.

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a very difficult concept. So why did it have such an impact on me?

Well, I stopped caring if I met every single goal, and I started caring more about moving in the right direction and mastering things in my life. Something I’ve been wanting to master for a long time is discipline. Just being a disciplined person. I have good self control when it come to not doing things. But making myself actually do things is harder. So when I made the goal of working out 3 times a week and setting a specific time to get up, I laughed a little inside my head.

But I actually did it!

I got up by 6:15 every weekday morning (except one) last month. It’s not because I’m amazing. Nope. One morning at the beginning of the month, I actually FELL ASLEEP on top of hand weights on the couch after about 20 minutes of working out. Yup. You can laugh 🙂

Other than that stellar moment in time, I get up (with a suitemate, which makes it easier) and out the door to work out for about 45 minutes. On days when we come back to torture ourselves do strength, abs, and toning, we go a bit shorter. We get up about an hour before the sun rises. Campus is dead.

And it is amazing.

What I’ve realized is that being disciplined and accomplishing things is not about being amazing. I fail at a lot of things. But everything I do is a choice. I could choose to sleep later and not workout. I could choose to go to bed earlier and not be tired.

But I choose to make myself get up and get going no matter what. I choose to do this because I know it is good for me. And guess what? I really enjoy it now. Choosing to do what is good is hard to start out with, because often it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to create a new habit. But sacrifice, hardship, and pushing ourselves causes us to become more fully the person we have the potential to be. It’s a choice.

So that’s why I choose to keep going back.

Every time we go, I more fully master being disciplined. I say “no” to spending quality time with my bed, and “yes” to workin’ my body. And getting stronger. Through the grace of God (because ya’ll know it’s not possible to keep up something with just your tiny bit of willpower), I have conquered selfish desires. In case you’re wondering, I left them at the gym 😉

We started out going to the track, and I loved the wind and seeing the sunrise. Now we go to the gym and come back to our suite to do strength stuff. My shirts actually get soaked through with sweat, which feels like an accomplishment. Most days I do an elliptical, but sometimes a tredmill. And guess what? Today I was able to run for longer than I ever have before. My weights are too light now, so I need to get heavier ones.

Exhilarating.

Empowering.

Enlightening.

This month I discovered that I can push myself to do more than I thought possible. I can run faster, do more reps, and go longer than ever before. I can do it. It’s possible. As long as you keep focused on why you’re doing it (ie. becoming a better person, not being all sexy or something like that). And you know what? Maybe there’s something you think is impossible. Maybe you’re discouraged. Maybe you’ve been wanting to do something for a long time, but have been putting it off.

May I offer a short piece of advice?

JUST DO IT.

darmightythings

The beginning is the hardest part. But then you realize it’s possible. You can do it. You can choose to do it. That’s the exhilarating part where you realize what you’re capable of. Then when you realize that you are in control, you’re empowered to push yourself to new places and challenge yourself. And then viola! Suddenly you realize your potential.

Hey, pretty soon I’ll be able to “drop and give you 20”. And by the end of the year I want to be able to jog/run a 5k. It’s sounds crazy now, but hey. I’m choosing to take the first step.

Will you join me? Tell me about something BIG you want to do, and let’s break it down into the first step you can make now to move toward it. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. And, hey. All it takes is one choice to get you moving in the right direction.

To Life,

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September Goal Review #LikeABoss

You know that moment when you do something you never thought possible? Gosh, it feels good. But “good” can’t even do September justice.

Before this past month, I hadn’t experienced that a whole lot. Sure, the adrenaline from swim races, performing in musicals, and lots of other awesome moments. But this past month was different.

I made goals. I didn’t stick to all of them (go figure), but the ones I did stick to have completely changed how I live my life. It’s changed the way I make choices, and what I let dictate how I spend my time. And I am so excited to share them with you!

Here is the wrap up on each category from September (saving best for last, so read all the way through.)

Prayer

1. Find a morning offering or devotional of some sort.

Blessed is She – daily readings with a devotion. Yay! The only way I could see it be better is if it included an action item of some sort.

2. Find examen to say before bed.

Thank you Pinterest.

The Daily Examen, an introspective prayer done at the end of the day, in 6 Simple Steps.

3. Sign up for adoration 2x week.

Done! We also go to a holy hour on Saturdays (most weeks), so it’s almost 3 hours/week. #LikeABoss

4. Do stations of the cross on Fridays.

Nope. Didn’t do it once. HOWEVER, we are doing a chaplet of divine mercy on Fridays as part of 40 Days for Life. Yay.

 

Academics

1. Write down assignments in my planner when I find out about them.

Somewhat followed. I didn’t forget any, so yay!

2. Check planner everyday.

Didn’t really follow this. But since I wasn’t forgetting assignments, I’m okay with that.

3. Buy a stock of post-it’s to put each assignment on, and write them down.

See last one.

 

Computer Usage

1. Put my laptop on my desk, and only sit there to be on it (unless I am taking it out of the suite to work on it).

After realizing how uncomfortable my desk is for me (hello short legs), I decided to nix this one. Perhaps it shall be revisited, but not at the moment.

2. Gradually check emails less. By the end of September, be checking them three times a day.

Not as cray cray about checking emails, but remembering to count when I check them is not happening…

3. Check Facebook only twice a day.

See above.

4. Go to my Google Alerts for news instead of social media. Add two new alerts.

Yes! I added in a death penalty and stem cell research alert (scintillating, I know). Any ideas for things to keep up on?

 

Reading & Writing

1. Find 15 minutes a day to read a non-school book. Focus on one at a time.

I started reading Pro-Life Feminism and I Believe in Love, but the 15 minute thing didn’t work out so hot.

2. Write one non-link-up post a week here or for Live Action News.

Whoa! Thought I failed this one, but I wrote 3:

The time is now (ie. get off yo butt and get a move on!)

Holiness from Calcutta (because Mother Teresa is a BOSS)

It’s the little things . . . (ie. the one no one read that’s about doing things. Ironic?)

 

And now . . . Fitness & Health

I’m not going into huge detail because there’s a whole post coming on this. Moral of the story? You’re gonna have to come back here tomorrow!

1. Look for a 5k to do before Christmas.

There’s a “wear something crazy from a thrift store” 5k going on in a couple weeks, so I’m debating doing that. We’ll see!

2. Find two new healthy snacks to keep in my dorm room instead of traditional unhealthy ones.

Funny how I haven’t touched the like 10 bags of popcorn in my stash. I started out with hummus and carrots. Now I have beans (“refried” in my crockpot!) and I do an egg for breakfast. Yay non-junk food! We also went to the local farmer’s market which was delightful. Who knew real vegetables actually exist in Atchison?!?!

3. Work out three times a week, and find a consistent time that works.

If you had told me a couple months ago I’d be getting up well before the sun every weekday to subject my muscles to strenuous activity, I would have laughed. Like big time. Are you crazy?

But now I’m like:

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I’m a month into this, and it only takes 21 days to form a habit, right? I can’t imagine NOT getting up by 6:15am now. Sometimes (actually pretty often) I wake up before my alarm. And it’s pitch black. I go the the gym on campus and make my fat cry (because that’s what sweat is, right?) every morning during the week. It is gloriously gross. I drip sweat. I soak shirts. 2-3 days a week we come back and do strength stuff as well, so it’s not just cardio. And I feel AMAZING.

And to hear the rest of my story (’cause ya’ll know there’s more), you’re just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Mwahahahaha.

4. Since my commitments start at 9am M-F, set a consistent time to wake up.

6:15am, brotha. Unless the 6am bells wake me up. Or the lightning. Or I just wake up randomly at 5:51.

 

And there you have my September! Classes are easier than last year, but life is still rather demanding. And I’m okay with that. I’m learning a lot, trying to grow as a person, and really enjoying this time in my life.

Stay tuned, because I have a lot more to say! What do you have to say? How is your life going? Can I pray for something that’s going on right now? Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat!

To Life,

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