On being an adult

Job, transportation, housing, and so much more are what we as young adults have to figure out after leaving the comfort of a college campus. When I first heard people use the term “adulting”, it seemed pretty weird. But now that I’m in the throes of figuring out post college life, it seems to accurately describe my feeling toward transitioning into a full-fledged member of society.

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Not long ago, it felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff. Since then I accepted a job offer, graduated from college, and road tripped half way across the U.S. with my family to get home. In the few days between getting home and when work training starts, it’s been crunch time figuring out a new car, financing said car, public transportation to work, insurance, and eventually moving out of my family home (to name a few things). It’s a LOT all at once, and can be overwhelming. But I’m also so, so grateful to have a job.

With this whirlwind transition going on, there hasn’t been much time to think about all the other components of young adult life. You know, forming a new community and whatnot. Adulting is hard, sometimes. There are lots of transitions. And there’s stuff I haven’t begun to deal with yet since graduation was just a week ago. There’s so much I want to do. It’s such an exciting time! But right now I’m focusing on figuring out the basics.

To keep myself sane, I’ve been taking it one step at a time. It can’t all happen at once. [Even if I do have a million tabs open at once trying to put it all together…]

And you know what? It’ll all happen in time. I think that’s an important thing to remember in figuring out all this stuff. We don’t have to have all the answers now, thank goodness!

Here are some reminders for this time:

  • Be patient. If you have everything all perfectly laid out, it probably won’t happen that way (ask me how I know, ha!).
  • Learn to trust God. He’s got your back, even when everything else seems uncertain.
  • Be smart with money. I think it’s a major disservice to young people that so many of us don’t know much about handling money. But I do consider myself in a good position because of the years of hard work put into earning my way through college. I took out far less in loans than many college students, have great credit, and a full time job. But I still have to be smart and make concrete goals – a work in progress! Having goals and good advice in this area I think can help alleviate a lot of worries that go into adulting.
  • Give, give, give. As a single young person, there’s nobody depending on me and nobody I’m depending on (in the same way as being a child). Because of that, it’s easy to become self centered. Use this time to give back in ways you couldn’t do later in life. After all, we can only find ourselves in service to others. Donate the time, talent, and treasure that you can!
  • Do things you enjoy off the internet. Like to hike or draw or crochet or read? Do it! When things get stressful, slow down your mind in healthy ways that relax you. Spend time with people. Try new recipes. Paint a room. Finish a book. Try a new coffee shop in town. Go to a dance class. Thrift shop. Sew. Play an instrument. Get a little beauty into your life!

It can be a little unsettling figuring life out. And I’m smack dab in the middle of it right now! But it helps to know I don’t have to have all the answers right now. Life as an adult is just beginning for me, and it’s exciting thinking about all the possibilities. Imagine what’s possible when we make the most of our young adult years and work to become the people God made us to be!

Thanks to Rachel and Lindsay for having me host NAS this week! Share your pro tips for adulting in the comment section or the link-up, and let’s help each other out.

To Life,

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Link up next week with Lindsay to revisit the topic of love languages. Here’s the prompt:

Love languages apply to more than just romance; they help you learn how to make people feel appreciated and cared for in all of your relationships. What is your love language? (Take the quiz at 5lovelanguages.com.) How have you learned to speak someone else’s love language? Do you find it easier to speak some languages than others; if so, which ones? How have you shown or received love in multiple languages?

 

Theology of the {unmarried} body

If you’ve been around Catholic circles in the last 20 years, you might have heard some serious fangirling over St. John Paul II. He was allegedly the “coolest saint ever“. He even fished, wore hipster glasses at some point, acted, and oh, gave us Theology of the Body.

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If you haven’t heard of it before, “Theology of the Body” (TOB) started as a series of talks that was later compiled into a book . . . which has now been explained so normal people can understand it (even Cosmopolitan). JPII used these talks to reflect on and teach us the purpose of our lives. No big deal, right? You know, it’s just our place in the cosmos and the answer to the question we all ask: “Why do I exist?”

Intrigued? Good. Me too. So I read this introduction and my mind was blown. The main point?

God created us in his image so we can reflect his love in our lives and ultimately be united to him in heaven.

His love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. (I mean, obviously the Trinity isn’t going to be breaking up anytime soon.)

He created us to learn to love like he does.

He created us male and female to show us that we can reflect the love of the Trinity, a communion of loving persons, as evidenced by the way our bodies were designed. He created us to give of ourselves unconditionally and accept others unconditionally, just like he does, doing our best to see the dignity of each other made in the image of God.

This communion of loving persons many people are called to is the family. But some people misunderstand TOB and think it only applies to marriage. This is false, because TOB teaches us about everyone’s call to love. Some people are called to love through marriage and family life. Others through a religious community or consecrated single life. This post isn’t about marriage and relationships. It’s about how we live out this call to holiness, to give of ourselves unconditionally, as people who are unmarried.

Essentially, TOB teaches us to love others by giving instead of grasping, by seeking to see people more like God does: with the unique dignity of being made in his image as a gift to the world. That’s possible, and dare I say, demanded of us as Christians at all stages in life.

JPII teaches us that “man . . . cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself”. This central message is insanely simple, but radical at the same time: Give. It’s implications are countless.

For people who aren’t bound by marriage or religious vows to continually give of themselves to the same person/group of people, we have the unique privilege of giving ourselves more fully to the people we encounter everyday.

“The married person puts their spouse first,” said Janet Smith. “The celibate puts God first. When you’re single, the next person who crosses your path is the person you put first. That’s who Christ is asking you to give yourself to. That’s how you love him.”

What might this look like in our lives?

1. Give the gift of your time to a cause you believe in.

  • Cultivate a spirit of selfless giving by volunteering to build homes, go on mission trips, serve at a soup kitchen, cuddle babies at your local NICU, babysit for tired parents . . . figure out where your passions and schedule meet with other people’s needs.

2. Give the gift of your skills and talents to people who can use them.

  • Good at math? Tutor. Love to paint? Host a painting & wine night for friends who need a little community. Master chef? Make meals for people recovering from a big life event. Our abilities are meant to be shared freely and generously.

3. Give the gift of your prayers. Always.

  • Sometimes the most we can do is pray. What I do for this is post on social media every Sunday asking people to comment/message/like the status and I’ll remember their intentions throughout the week. I write these intentions down in a journal (when I’m on top of it) and refer to it throughout the week in prayer. When I’m on top of my game enough to offer things up for people, that happens too. My goal is to visit those intentions each night. This has been a huge way to not only connect with people, but offer more of my time and effort for them.

4. Die to yourself (aka. don’t always treat yo’self).

  • For example, we could bring the brownies to share at work instead of finishing them on the couch while binge-watching Netflix. Fasting every once in a while might be your jam, or offering other things for people. It sure doesn’t fit with pop culture, but it teaches us to be more selfless which is what TOB is all about.

5. Push yourself to see the dignity in everyone.

  • That coworker who gets on your nerves? She’s made in God’s image. Crazy driver who flips you off? God’s image. It’s easier sometimes to see the dignity in the homeless and poor than the people we live with or are closest to. So before you entertain nasty thoughts about people or snap back to a rude comment, STOP and challenge yourself to see their dignity as a child of God. They are a unique and unrepeatable gift to the world, even when they aren’t acting like it.

6. Be grateful.

  • You know what’s hard? Being grateful. There’s so much we have to have and do. Mmkay. You seriously don’t need to have the newest iPhone. Relax and count your blessings. After reading this book, I started writing down things I was grateful for each day. It’s made such a difference. It teaches me to see the gifts in the little things. Seriously, try it out. Notice the little things. Unless you’re a naked starving hobo living in a cardboard box, you’ve got at least a few things to thank God for.

7. Go the extra mile.

  • As unmarried people, we can give more of our time than pretty much anybody else. Yes, there are jobs and commitments. Life is busy. But life is always busy. And we have time for things when we make time for them. So make time for loving people! Go out of your way to have coffee with a friend, start a book club, or organize a local event. Remember that even when people don’t seem like they deserve it, do something nice for them anyway. It will change your life (and theirs!).

That’s it. TOB is about finding our purpose in life through selflessly loving. It’s harder than it sounds. But I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t all keep fangirling over this if it wasn’t worth it. It’s really hard to describe, but it’s in those moments when you think of other people, do thoughtful things, and respect the dignity of people unconditionally that we are most fulfilled. Not to mention that’s when we’re best living our mission to love.

In These Beautiful Bones, Emily Stimpson says:

“We’re all made to be a gift. And we become that gift by using our bodies to serve, teach, comfort, correct, feed, clothe, shelter, heal, encourage, lead, suffer, sacrifice, and pray for others, helping them through it all to become more the men and women God calls them to be.”

And my main man Fulton Sheen (as always) has a few words on the topic of when we meet Jesus face to face:

“He will look at our hands to see if they have been scarred from giving, our feet to see the calluses from travel to preach His Gospel, and our side to see if we have loved to a point of sacrifice. Woe to us who come down from Calvary with hands unscarred and white.”

Ever thought of TOB like this? How can you apply it to you life? Tell me what you think by commenting below or linking up with the Not Alone Series here!

To hands scarred from giving,

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Peace be with you

A lot of what we do is in an effort to try to control our lives. We pick the perfect school, what we wear, how we act, the car we drive, the job we have, the place we live . . . all to build up the life we want. We snap and ‘gram the moments we want to share. It’s fun, really, to create the life we’ve dreamed of.

And then we lie in bed at night and wonder what in the world we’re doing with our lives.

We’re in an age where it’s easy to be connected with hundred of “friends” and feel unheard at the same time. We take in so much information but don’t take the time to think. We’re caught up in the everyday things instead of thinking long term.

And it all eats away at our peace.

I’ve been working on this for a while and can honestly say that it takes a lot to truly upset me now. I can rant about politics or contraception, but I don’t go to bed feeling sick to my stomach about the state of our world. There’s something deep down that takes a lot to shake. And it’s not because I posses heroic virtue (HA!). I think the deep sense of peace I have come to is because of:

  • surrender
  • detachment

When we surrender our perfect ideas, we let God make our lives the beautiful stories we’re made to be. Surrender comes when we give up control, when we admit that our plans aren’t always what’s best for us, when we pray for guidance instead of making a headstrong decision. Do that! Instead of claiming that you know best, create peace in your life by asking for God’s direction.

When we become detached from material things, it brings so much peace. I don’t own a whole lot of stuff (which will change when it comes time for an apartment of my own) and I like it that way. Well, except for books. Thaaat’s a different story. I try to remember that my things are mine to share with people who don’t have them. Now this is not easy. I am NOT a pro. But when I do choose to let go of how I want something, it brings a lot of peace. Try giving someone else the best muffin, letting someone change your plans for the evening to something they’d like to do, or giving away something you like.

Those are a couple practices that bring peace everyday. Other things that bring peace are:

  • putting away social media
  • spending time outdoors
  • writing
  • reading
  • praying
  • being creative (such as crafting)
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • listening to music

A wonderful book on the topic is Peace of Soul by Fulton Sheen – a book I highly recommend. Another good one is Choosing Joy: The Secret of Living a Fully Christian Life by Dan Lord (a quicker read).

Peace for me is about letting go. It’s taking a deep breath and recognizing that it’s okay if things don’t go according to plan. When they don’t, it’s often better than I would imagine. So give it a try, will you? Try along with me and let me know how it goes!

[Linking up with Britt Leigh to talk about what brings us peace as part of the Not Alone Series.]

And my last parting words:

“Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. Do not fear this sickness…nor anything that is sharp or hurtful. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.” – Our Lady of Guadalupe

To Life,

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NAS: Spiritual Writings

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What are some of your favorite or go-to books, devotionals or even blogs that help encourage you in your spiritual life?

Finally participating with Jen and Morgan again! This seemed like a great time to share spiritual books and such as Lent begins.

Books I’ve Read

Books I Will Eventually Read

There are so many more on my shelf, it’s kind of ridiculous. But so exciting too! I just love learning more about my faith. Right now for my Great Catholic Thinkers class, we’re working on Three to Get Married which is blowing my mind. Seriously. You don’t have to be married or engaged to read it. It talks about the nature of love and oh my gosh. I can’t stop fangirling over it. Go order it! We finished Peace of Soul a bit ago in that class which had some incredible points as well – a good read for Lent.

Reading gets so much more exciting after Christmas!

 

Otherwise, I don’t visit blogs or websites regularly for spiritual reading. I do read articles as they come up, and then will pin the best of what I read to my faith board. Lots of good quotes go on there too 🙂

What are some of your favorite books? Articles?

To Life,

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NAS: A Typical Day

Joining back in the fun with Jen and Morgan! If you’re not familiar with this series, go check out their blogs to find out more.

This week we’re talking about: Let’s get back in the swing by sharing what our typical day is like! Tell us however you like, minute by minute or a blurb about your day! Be sure to answer these questions:

– What is your favorite part of your day?
– What is your least favorite part of your day?
– Are you making any changes to your daily routine now that the new year has begun?

Since it’s still technically break, here’s what a typical good day at school would look like:

Mornings – Get up at 6 (beating the sun feels like a boss), most of the time say a morning offering as I get up. Work out for 45ish minutes. Shower. Breakfast. Sometimes I’d do something quick in my dorm, but sometimes I meet people in the cafeteria which is lots of fun.

More morning – The real work begins at 9am with classes or work depending on the day. Either way, my morning is packed until noon when I eat lunch, check emails, do social media, and wonder where two hours went. Seriously. I could never figure out how my class at 2 came so quickly.

Afternoon – More classes. Depending on the day, I’ll be done around 3 or 4. Then time for dinner. Sometimes it’s in the cafeteria. Sometimes we have a spontaneous Taco Bell run. Sometimes we make things. It depends.

Evening – Sometimes meetings, sometimes mass, more emails, social media, homework, fun events, dance parties, microwave cookies, reading, and whatever else comes up . . . as in the occasional staying up until the wee hours of the morning/night because conversations are just THAT awesome.

Bed – Is any explanation necessary here? I go to bed, not usually at a decent time. Before midnight is an accomplishment. The best nights are when I’ve worked so hard and enjoyed the day so fully that I fall asleep so quickly my hamster wheel brain doesn’t have a chance to get started.

My favorite part of the day, contrary to many other people, is getting up. It’s quite a struggle bus when I went to bed too late. But I do not hit snooze. It’s up and at ’em, even if I made the dumb decision to deprive myself of sleep. Seeing the sun rise and thinking about the potential of each day is just so epic! And slaying my desire to sleep longer makes me feel like a boss. Sometimes I blast a song or kickbox as I brush my teeth because who knows what you need to be prepared for during any given day?

My least favorite part of the day is having to do things like homework. Not all homework is bad, but I’d much rather be chatting by the fire, reading, or planning how to take over the world.

Do I want to make changes to my routine? OH YES! See the awkward lunch break? I have GOT to figure out how to best use that time so it doesn’t disappear. I am determined to get off social media more so I have time for other things. I also am determined to force myself to do a solid hour of homework without getting distracted in the afternoon before letting myself do fun things. That’s partially because at night it would be nice to have time to do more with people instead of having to do homework, partially because it’s something I should be doing anyway.

Also! If you do daily mass readings, do you have a favorite way to read them? I forget to read them if they’re digital and love having a book, but don’t know the most economical way to go about that. Magnificat is awesome, and I’ve read a couple others. Any ideas? That would be nice to add into the morning. I’ll be adding in set prayer and exercise times, and am hoping to be able to block off free time to be available to meet up with people and have wiggle room for spontaneity.

That’s about it. Things are not set in stone or regular since classes get cancelled every once in a while and there are always random events. It’s nice being able to enjoy adventures at this time in my life, so thanks for being along for the ride!

To Life,

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NAS: How do you pray at home?

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How do you pray at home? Do you have a special place in your house? How do you make that area special? Comfy chair? Prayer cards? What suggestions do you have to make a home altar? If you don’t do this, in what ways can you begin?

~

Does my bed count?

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Okay, maybe that’s weird to post a picture of my bed. But isn’t it comfy looking?! The blanket is from my grandma. Moving on to the point:

Most days I say a rosary before bed. Or as I fall asleep. Hence, the picture. The things on the wall are prayers too. One of them is the Litany of Humility which I still haven’t said because it’s kind of terrifying on some level. And rather intense. So it’s staying put as a reminder to actually say it one day. I’d love to add a sort of examination of conscience to my wall for the end of each day!

When I wake up, I try to remember to say a morning offering. Then I go to workout (most of the time, but it’s getting harder with the cold) and try to remember to say the LIFE Runners creed before starting. When I get back, I try to remember to read the daily readings (usually from Blessed is She or Word Among Us).

Two days a week I have a half hour of adoration, but I’m usually there for about an hour each time because of how it fits into my schedule. Adoration isn’t something I remember doing before college, so it’s been nice the last couple years here! After learning more about prayer, I force myself to not bring a book to adoration and just be with Jesus. It’s pretty awesome. I also usually go to a holy hour on Saturdays. Sometimes I journal during part of that time. And sometimes I read the “I Thirst for You” meditation. But mostly I kneel or sit there and try to not think of my to-do list . . . . which can be hard. Seriously. Does anyone else have that problem? I don’t have a list to write things down, so I just focus on praying and then at the end I realize how easy it is to chill out and just be there when you try.

Other than that, I write down prayer intentions throughout the week and pray specifically for them. I started doing this last year, but this year I started asking for intentions on social media after reading the suggestion. It felt kind of weird at first, but I love it so much to be able to pray for people’s specific needs! Also included in my intentions are random requests and situations I see.

I try to offer up a lot of stuff for other people, and I have found that to be extremely powerful to me. Does it count as a type of prayer? I don’t know. But praying for the souls in purgatory or asking God to use something I’m going through to help someone else is something I love so much.

For almost 10 years, I’ve kept a journal off an on. In the beginning it was mostly the boring details of what happened everyday, but now it’s more prayers and thinking about stuff. Writing helps me figure things out, so that’s another way I pray. Sometimes from the beginning to the end of something, I can already see a situation more clearly. Yay!

In my dorm room I have this shelf:

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I don’t kneel there to pray or anything (though I have heard about having altars in your home which sounds cool!). There’s more on the wall too. It’s just a nice reminder. We also did this to our wall (word of Our Lady of Guadalupe) which keeps a nice atmosphere as well:

Prayer is talking with God, and even though I don’t do a whole lot of organized prayer, it’s an important part of my everyday life. At the beginning of this school year we were challenged to give 30 minutes of undivided time to prayer each day, and I want to get better about that. It doesn’t sound that hard, but it has been! Like exercising which keeps our physical muscles in shape, prayer keeps our spiritual muscles in shape. And I need to start pumping more serious spiritual iron.

Do you have any suggestions for how to make those 30 minutes a habit? Do you pray at specific times of the day? How do you integrate prayer into your life?

To Life,

To Life,

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NAS: Chivalry is not dead

Chivalry should not become a lost art and we, as women, ought to step up to the plate a bit more and encourage men to treat us as women, thereby respecting them as men. Do you have tips, ideas, or stories to encourage men to be… men?! Open doors for us, initiate dates, honor us as women, etc? Let’s chat!

Whoever says that chivalry is a lost art is not at a good Catholic college.

When I got here, all of a sudden I felt like I didn’t have to open doors anymore. What is this madness?! Maybe chivalry wears off a bit in college (because it’s not quite the same now), but it still happens rather often. It’s interesting because I’ve noticed girls opening doors for each other as well.

I’ve heard girls here get offended at guys for doing this, and that makes me sad. I’m not a guy, so I can’t tell you exactly how that feels, but I feel like it’s an insult to his man card to shun him for doing something nice. I’m guessing that this attitude from women is a major reason why guys stop being chivalrous sometimes. We don’t know the exact reason why guys do chivalrous things, but I think it’s the least we could to do politely say “thank you” and recognize it. Unless he’s blatantly accusing you of being a weak woman, I’m fairly certain he was just trying to be nice.

Last week I was struggling to carry a heavy box of pudding across campus to our Ministry Fair. (If you were wondering, yes, 144 little pudding cups can be VERY heavy folks. And we were handing them out at the Ravens Respect Life booth with pro-life stickers on them.) A friend and I were riding the struggle bus lugging around said pudding when a guy across the parking lot offered to carry it for us. He did not question said pudding, or even ask how far he would need to go. Plus, he was carrying some raw chicken (Walmart run?) and a drink. So! We exchanged loot and he saved the day by carrying it across campus.

Sir Pudding

I think that was a rather chivalrous thing to do. We certainly could have managed (because we’re strong independent women, you know *HINT:sarcasm*), but it was a kind thing to offer. In this case, we probably did look crazy while breaking a sweat moving pudding. We kind of did need help. But even if we didn’t really need help, it is nice to have it. Even for something as simple as a door.

Moving off my soap box!

What can we do to encourage chivalry? Say thank you. We all appreciate being appreciated. And positive reinforcement encourages repetition of the good action.

And in the nicest way possible, expect this of the guys you hang out with. Guys, if you walk a step ahead to catch the door, that is awesome. If you pick something up that we drop (not dropping to get your attention, but legit dropping something), that’s nice too. And carrying things like above raw-chicken-man is rather appreciated as well.

We can’t go around with our noses in the air expecting every man to bow at our words and heed every request. Chivalry requires mutual respect. That’s why it’s important that:

1. Guy initiates chivalrous deed because he wants to be nice or legitimately help a damsel in pudding distress.

2. Girl recognizes said action and reinforces exemplary behavior.

3. Both above actions are taken so both guy and girl leave the situation feeling appreciated and respected.

To encourage men to act as chivalrous men, we have to act like respectful women. Better yet, just be a respectful person in general. When people go out of their way to be nice, say thank you. We as women have the power to raise standards or leave guys stranded wondering what the heck we expect of them. Expect chivalry by demonstrating the same amount of kindness, and people around you will notice.

Are you one of those people who gets mad when we talk about chivalry? Why or why not? Do you feel respected or belittled as a woman? If you’re a guy, what can women do to encourage you? Let the conversation being!

To Life,

To Life,

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P.P.S. Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting this series!

NAS: We’re Baaack!

We are back! As we get into the swing of things with NAS, what other ways can we be more involved at church or in our communities? Is there a parish ministry you have been wanting to help with or start up? What about that after school program for homeless kids? Has something been preventing you from getting involved? How do you think this will help you personally, spiritually and emotionally?

Helloooo everyone! I just love this group of women, and it’s so exciting to be back on a regular writing schedule 🙂

So much of the time, you wonder if you should do something. Or you really wish you could do something. You’ve been wanting to do it for a while.

“I should go to Mass during the week.”

“I should hang out with people more.”

“I should exercise more.”

“I should get involved with ________”

So why haven’t you? If you want a more vibrant community experience, make it happen! If you want to meet young people in your community, and you’re out of college, then talk with your priest to see what is already offered. If there’s not much happening, start it yourself. Maybe it’ll start small, but then people will invite friends and viola! Community.

Still being in college, it’s probably easier for me than for people out of college. I have friends who can meet up whenever we want . . . even for doughnuts at 2am. It’s so much fun, and one of my favorite things about this time in my life.

As young people who probably have time we can devote to things outside work, we have the power to give more of ourselves outside the home than people can at other points in their lives. It’s nice to be able to hang out with friends and have community that way, but I also really love being part of other things on campus.

I have served as president of Ravens Respect Life for the last year (and will through this school year). I also led a mission trip working with the Missionaries of Charity last spring which was incredible. Freshman year I volunteered with the Underground team (hosting Catholic events) and the team of girls who cleaned one of the chapels. Now RRL takes up a lot of my time (which I LOVE!), so that’s what I mainly devote my time to. It’s so much fun to grow with our team of officers, get to know them all, and challenge each other in our work.

I think it’s important to make those connections with people to grow personally, spiritually, and emotionally. Not all friendships last. Not every interaction is awesome. But being in a community with so many other people gives you an opportunity to form those connections. It forces you to grow, and to live for more than yourself.

When I get out of college, who knows where I will live or what it will look like . . . it would be a safe assumption that I’ll stay involved with pro-life things. But I also really love encouraging people to become the best version of themselves. So, we’ll see. Life is an adventure!

Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting 🙂

To Life,

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Summer Reading List

Hello again NAS ladies! It’s nice to be back with a quick summer post. We’re taking a break from this series for the most part over the summer, but here’s one for ya! Thanks Jen and Morgan for keeping the group alive and thriving.

Summer reading list: Do I have favorites and good recommendations? Oh. Yes. Did you ever do those summer reading things at the library where you got a free (usually lame) book if you read a certain number? I remember those! I also read 100 books just because I wanted to one summer – and I still have that list somewhere!

I love to read. I read mostly fiction when I was younger (Swiss Family Robinson was a favorite and so were those diary-type pioneer day books and the Borrowers). I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish one more page which turned into the entire book being read in one night.

I still love to read, but I now read a lot of non-fiction. I read a lot about my faith and this summer have been reading about leadership as well. Stories are still nice, but I’ve yet to find a fiction book I really like at this point in my life. Reading is how I learn a lot, so I tend to stick to books I can get something out of.

Without further ado, here are some books I’ve read or plan to read soon!

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1. Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It

This is the story of Jennifer Fulwiler’s atheism to Catholicism conversion. It’s not a standard “Ooooo, I finally found Jesus and now I’m sooo happy!” kind of gig. It took her a long time to come to terms with standard misconceptions, and it was absolutely awesome to see her life be transformed from a high-earning techie to a Catholic mom. I easily finished it in a couple days because I enjoyed it so much, but will probably go back and re-read it sometime.

2.How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

Mwahahaha! Here I come world 😉 Just kidding. Though this books sounds somewhat manipulative, it is one of the best books on leadership I’ve read. Seriously. You should read it even if you’re not planning on being a big leader because it has some great points on how to be a good person and friend. It’s a completely secular book, but it brings in principles that I found easily compatible with my faith.

3. St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again

This one I’m still in the middle of, but it’s a really interesting historical look at ancient Christianity. An interesting short read!

4. Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic

This book sounded neat online, but when it came, it looked like an old book that might have been written on a typewriter. So I was wary as I started it, but it is SO GOOD! It’s the stories of various people who converted to Catholicism, many of them being Protestant ministers of some type beforehand. It’s so, so cool to see what led to their conversions. This one I highly recommend!

5. Worthy: See Yourself as God Does

I debated getting this book for a while after finding Amanda’s blog, and I’m glad I finally got it! Sometimes I find her writing style to be a little challenging to read, but this book was a great reminder. It had some awesome nuggets to highlight and underline!

6. Viability

This book is required reading for the Wilberforce Leadership Fellowship I was accepted into, and we’ll be discussing it this coming weekend at the training summit. It’s inspiring and thought provoking and begs the question: How viable are we making the life movement? What if it is going to be around for another decade? Have we set it up for the long haul? It asks the tough questions and addresses so many issues I witnessed firsthand. I highly recommend this book and guess what? It’s available as a free PDF with that ink!

For more books I’m planning on reading, check out that picture above! Do you have suggestions?

To Life,

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NAS: If you were called to the religious life . . .

Linking up with  Jen and Morgan 🙂

It’s lots of fun to write about common topics with lovely Catholic young ladies! This week’s topic is:

While most of us feel called to marriage, it is important to see the beauty in all vocations! If/when you were discerning religious life, which communities interest(ed) you? What do you see as the positives of that vocation?

A couple weeks ago we talked about the vocation of marriage, so I love that we treat vocations equally and talk about religious life as well.

Like I said in that post, I always assumed that I would grow up and get married. Obviously. Isn’t that what everyone does? I do have an Aunt who is a sister, though, so the idea was not completely foreign. It just wan’t something I sat down and prayed about and thought long and hard over.

Then I came to a small-ish Catholic college.

You see, a good majority of the people who drop out of school here go into the religious life. We just had a few girls who are entering soon crown Mary at our May Crowning ceremony. And at our spring talent show (sort of) event last year this happened.

 

Ha! I really love my college. BTW: those were the 4 guys entering the seminary after graduation.

It’s so beautiful to see young men and women on FAYAH for the faith and so joyful in their vocation around here. There are monks everywhere and sisters too. Then there are awesome and holy married couples.

And us Catholic girls are like:

Look at all the holiness!

And then we’re like:

Oh my gosh. What am I doing with my life?

Getting to witness all these awesome people can leave a person confused . . . but I still felt confident. Then I went on spring break with the Missionaries of Charity and I thought “This is so awesome! Look how hardcore the sisters are!” And I wondered. “God, are ya trying to tell me something? ‘Cause I’m gonna need to be hit upside the head if this is your plan!” It was weird. And kind of terrifying.

But then I prayed and got over it. Yup, still a vocation to marriage.

Now don’t think I’m treating this nonchalantly. Vocations are a big deal. Being here has made me realize that much more. But I cannot tell you how much beauty I see in families. It inspires me to see parents sacrificing for their kids and spouses. And don’t even get me started on kids. I love babies (just ask the ladies I live with), and someday hope to have my own. I certainly hope that desire does not come out of selfishness.

When I think about it, I can see the beauty in the religious life. And oh my. Have you seen picture of sisters WITH babies? Go google it. I’ll wait.

Moving on . . .

Seeing people give up everything to become a bride of Christ is inspiring. And it’s a powerful witness to the world of the joy an authentic Catholic life brings. If God were to slap me upside the head with a religious life vocation, I would most definitely look more into the Sisters of Life and the Missionaries of Charity. The MoC give up literally everything and run after God with reckless abandon (in a good way) and I just love the ministry of the Sisters of Life (need I say more?).

Religious life is a beautiful vocation (and I predict that I’ll know several sisters after graduation) but honestly that’s just not where my heart is. Discerning really forced me to look at the aspects of each vocation and then my talents/gifts and consider all things together. And all things considered, marriage is where I feel more drawn to and made for.

So at this point, I can’t wait to see classmates become sisters so they can be my babies godmothers! 😉

How beautiful is this? Sisters WITH a baby WITH a St. Therese relic (baby's middle name) - look at that joy!
Just an example of what I’m talking about!