35 Years Worth of Adventure

I was so disappointed to turn 25 and feel like I’d accomplished nothing. So disappointed that I put together a list of 25 things to do in the next 25 years. I’ve accomplished some, but it’s become less important to even look at in the past few years.

Then when I turned 30 I prepared by writing down all of the lies and expectations I and the world had told me I was “supposed to have done” and burned them. I couldn’t take the pressure to “be someone specific” any more.

Now at 35, I’m just thinking about all of the amazing things I did or learned or experience last year. What a fruitful year this 35th trip around the sun has been. So here goes, a list of them, 13 to celebrate a fantastic Friday the 13th birthday!

1. I learned that Florida Targets have a better selection of jeans than North Carolina Targets … ones that fit me perfectly!

2. I feel better about myself when I have clothes that fit, even if that means buying a bigger size when I’d prefer not to or spending more money to get something of better quality.

3. Going after my dream just because I want to is a valid reason to pursue something new. I don’t need to apologize for dreaming of something different today than I did ten years ago.

4. I completed a certification in Conversational Intelligence and now count myself as a certified coach (among thousands). I also got certified in Change Management Style and Navigating Change. And Emotional Intelligence. It’s been quite a year of growth!

5. Speaking of personal growth, I found a counselor who’s taught me how to see my worth for what it is, not what the world tells me.

6. I learned how to name my emotions, figure out what I need, and live in my Adult Chair (there’s an amazing podcast about that)!

7. I’ve also done some serious “thought-work” inspired by Kara Loewentheil’s podcast, which is amazing. Just because we find ourselves thinking a negative, limiting, or anxious thought doesn’t mean we have to continue to think that.

8. I spent 2 weeks in Italy and Portugal, two places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and I purchased a ticket and went. It was as delightful as I imagined it would be.

9. I’ve worked for the past 6 months trying to clear up my acne in a natural way to take care of my skin better! I’ve also been working out every day for the last 6 months, which has been amazing for changing my perspective on the world and my mood. Also, drinking all the water!

10. I love to read. I’ve always loved to read, but in the past few years I’ve taken control over my reading life and been more intentional. I’ve always got a book going and find that I read an average of 200 books a year. And I love it!

11. I have a type, regarding genre. I know the books I like and it’s okay that that’s what I read most often!

12. I’m capable of doing amazing things … like coaching parishes to transformation or helping to transform an entire diocese!

13. I have amazing friends who let me love on their kiddos as often as I want. My godson and his brother have brought me some of my greatest joys these past years. I’ve always dreamed of a boy smiling and running to great me whenever I walk in the door, and I’ve got it in both of them.

My life isn’t what I thought it would be at 35. That I’d know more about the world or have a husband and kids. I do know more about the world. I’ve been given a family here in North Carolina better than I ever imagined. What will the next five years bring? I don’t know. Could be anything?

When I turned 30 and burnt all my expectations, I had a new job less than 2 weeks later that brought me to where I am today as a parish coach. I couldn’t’ have ever dreamed it would happen, but it did. So here’s to a year of adventure!

189: Medallion Status

Medallion Status by John Jodgman

I’ve been listening to John’s podcast for a few years now and love it … in fact I’m listening to the latest episode AS I write this. As an airline status seeker, I was excited to read this book. I just hit Platinum on American for this year and it makes me quite a happy traveler!

It took me days to read this book because it’s full of a lot of insider knowledge that I’m not sure I have. There were times when I just skimmed over sections because I don’t know who that actor or author or show was.

I do appreciate reading slight celebrity memoirs that are just about their daily lives. All in all, a great read!

Also one I got from the library but also purchased a personalized signed copy of for a friend … which I did not read before giving to her. I think this shows something about the level of friend she is (I’m not sure WHAT that something is, but I know it’s something) … and if I wrote a book in the future I’d be sure to drop that brag somewhere in it.

Maybe we can add that to the growing “cause for canonization folder” someone’s obviously keeping. I once fixed a customer’s major website issue by doing almost nothing. Then I refused homemade ice cream at a restaurant in California. And now, I gave away a book I wanted to read before I read it. So. Holy! … and humble!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

126: Hope Never Dies

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Was this book cheesy? Sure was. Did it play on every single Obama/Biden meme ever created? Absolutely. It was a fun read – not the most amazing mystery I’ve ever read, but not the worst.

Will I read the sequel that just released? Um, probably not. It wasn’t that good.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ because the beginning was better than the end!

109: Still Alice

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

This book is absolutely, stunningly beautiful! A friend read this on vacation in just a few days and said “please read this so we can talk about it!” I’m so glad I took her copy home since it isn’t due for a few weeks.

It’s the story of a woman who finds out at 50 that she has early-on-set Alzheimer’s. The story is from her narrative perspective as she begins losing her cognitive function. I found myself tearing up over and over again. Years ago I read Karen Kingsbury’s depiction of a caregiver at a home for patients with Alzheimer’s, but aside from that I haven’t read many stories with this topic.

Go out right now and put this book on hold or purchase it from amazon because it’s that amazing!!

Still Alice by Lisa Genova earns every last star: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One-Upping

Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

I had a friend in college who was a master at one-upping you. If you found a dollar on the ground, she found a $20. If you had a rough day, she had a worse one. If you had a great day, she had a better one. If you had an extra scoop of ice cream for free, she got paid to get ice cream. Okay, that last one is an exaggeration – I mean, who pays you to get ice cream?!

It was exhausting being her friend though because you couldn’t ever tell a story. The same thing, only worse or better or grander happened to her too and you were made to feel small. As I was reading Paul’s list in today’s first reading, I was reminded of her. People complained that they couldn’t walk to evangelize because they had a tiny rock in their shoe … well, Paul had a thorn in his side. They were persecuted for following the way because they were Hebrew, so was he. They were hungry, he was imprisoned. They were tired, he was toiling in the desert. You name it, it happened to him!

But he doesn’t boast about any of it. He says, “I won’t tell you how strong I am, I’ll tell you how weak I am. I’ll tell you where I’m failing, where I’m falling, where I haven’t done enough.” Instead of boasting about the two men who were healed, he tells you about the 250 people he couldn’t help because his faith wasn’t strong enough. Instead of bragging about the souls he saved through Baptism, he tells you about the people he wasn’t able to reach because he couldn’t speak their language to relate the Good News to them.

Have you ever boasted of your weaknesses? I mean, actually boasted about them – not just in false humility said you weren’t good at something to fish for a compliment. I think we’ve all fished for compliments!

Why does Paul boast in his weaknesses? I think it’s because people are looking at what the Lord is doing and thinking that it’s all Paul. He wants to make sure we know it’s not Paul, it’s Jesus. He wants us to be Baptized in Christ Jesus, sacrificing for Jesus, recognizing Jesus, sharing the message of Jesus. We are the instruments, Jesus is the one who is using us. AND He uses us in our weakness, because of our weakness, not in spite of it.


This first appeared at Carpe Verbum today!

TGIF … May 24th 2019

tgif may 24 2019

Throughout the past week I’ve been keeping track of the things that produce particular feelings in me. For instance, this event happened at work that made me feel ‘this’ way or ‘that’ … actually writing that down and cataloging it. This week I talked through those with my new counselor who has been giving me homework each week. I’m trusting this process and already am realizing where I’m inconsistent in my self-talk and what I think about myself. I can say one thing and then in the next sentence say something else entirely which has triggered a deeper hurt issue for me. So I’m working through those and figuring out where I stand in the midst of it.

I’m grateful for good friends who want to go on an evening walk and have dinner at a new restaurant. A few hours of walking, talking, and sweating is good for the soul! I’m also grateful for thought pieces like this one from Verily today. We need more of this in the conversation around abortion, the pro-life movement, choice, rape culture, feminism, and ensuring everyone’s dignity is respected. We need more actual, real nuance in this conversation.

I’m inspired by the Katie who wrote this book. It feels like she’s writing a bit of my story … I’m about to go read a lot more of it, so we’ll see if it’s accurate or not. At the very minimum (even though the reviews on goodreads are super mixed), I don’t feel like I’m the only one who’s still single.

And just for fun, last night on our walk, my godson brought along his little cat/box/toy thing and held it up to his ear like it was his cell phone for about a mile of our walk. It was the cutest thing ever and I wish I had a video of it because I’m certain you don’t even believe me that it happened! But it did. I couldn’t even make that up!

TGIF … May 17th 2019

Today I had a bit of an issue with Legos and had to call both my neighborhood Lego Store and Lego Customer service. Neither could get me what I needed (after ordering something online that wasn’t what I thought it was. Then I remembered my friend who has tons and tons of Legos at her house for her boys. So I’m entrusting my project to her boys and their amazing Lego collection to get me the things that I need for my breakout session next month.

I’m grateful for friends and their kids this week. Celebrated my birthday (yes that was more than 2 months ago) last night with my friend and her one-year old. Then tonight I hung out at another friend’s kid’s school musical. Elementary School Musicals … fun to see how much fun they had! So glad I’m part of their lives.

I’m inspired this week by the book Refuse to Do Nothing about human trafficking and modern day slavery. What a thing to say! I’m inspired to do more, to do something different in the way I live, and be more aware of what’s going on in the world.

Now for something fun. My mom emailed my brother and I earlier today saying she got a new wireless printer and gave us the email address. So I sent her a note to print out, which is super fun. I’m not sure if it actually printed … but still fun that it happened!

Things People Say

photo by Peter Goldberg on Pexels

A few days ago I saw this article posted on Verily about what to say to your friends who are experiencing infertility. As I read through the headlines to see if I wanted to read the whole article (isn’t that what everyone does?), I thought, “This applies almost perfectly to the single lady in your life as well” (mainly me).

Here are the highlights for you.

What not to say:

“It’ll Happen Eventually”

“This one couple I knew met…”

“You should try…”

In the past 30 days I’ve received two suggestions (one from a friend and one from my mother) to try a particular online dating site … just letting me know it’s out there in case I’m the one person who did hear that online dating was now a thing people did. Guess what? I’ve heard of it, it’s 2019.

There’s always the caveat at the end that’s either: “I just want you to be happy” or “We all just care about you” and “I’m praying for you.”

My response to those statements (even when they are good willed and from good intentions)?

“I just want you to be happy” (exact words on my birthday last year from my mother): Well, I am happy, if I wasn’t a man wouldn’t fix that. It’s a recipe for divorce to get married to someone ‘just so you’ll finally be happy.’

“We all just care about you” (most recent words from my mother): I know you care, and you know that this is a hard topic for me and that there are no easy answers … so why are you bringing up online dating like it’s the be all, end all, answer to the issue?

“I’m praying for you” (from a friend 2 seconds after suggesting this dating site): I’m glad you’re praying, prayer makes a difference, and it’s important … but instead of sending me to a new, random dating site no one’s ever heard of, maybe host a dinner party and invite all of our friends and a great Catholic guy you met at Mass last week that you’d like to introduce me to. It reminds me of this verse :

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17

Now, don’t introduce your single girlfriend to every. single. man. you. meet. on. the. street. but it is okay to help our friends (if they’re open to it) meet other single people. Dating is hard, and dating sucks in today’s culture. Also everyone knows that! It’s seriously does. Online Dating doesn’t help, it actually makes it worse, in my opinion. If it was about actually meeting other people you’d never known before with the intention of creating a long-term lasting relationship, then maybe it’d be a good addition to our culture. Instead it’s more about talking online only or hooking up or scrolling through pictures until a ‘pretty one’ strikes you.

It’s not actually about quality connection.

Yes, some people successfully meet online and get married. I don’t deny that. They just seem to be more the exception than the rule.

and then this… https://youtu.be/mWX95Pmipow.

So what’s the point of this whole rant about online dating and regular dating and old movies? It’s that this whole thing isn’t just as simple as ‘getting online’ or ‘stop looking.’ It’s bigger and deeper than “I just want a date this Friday.”

Dating is hard because it challenges your self-worth and your confidence (well, it does mine). I’ve been using eHarmony for just four months, but not even a coffee date has come of it. It’s not the way to meet someone, it’s a way to meet someone.

So what’s a gal to do?

First, remember that a man is not responsible for your happiness, your self-worth, or your beauty. God is and He hasn’t taken it away, not for anything. He’s in charge of my life, including love and all that comes with it. It’s hard to say that “He’s all I need” … but it’s the truth. If I’m not satisfied with His love, then I’ll never be satisfied with a human man’s love.

Right now, I’m satisfied with His love, I’m just not that happy with Him. The Lord can “do whatever He wants” … I mean, He takes the most tasteless bread and gives us His Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity. He gave us sunsets and beaches and oceans and mountains and the Grand Canyon and Hawaii and tea and bacon and French bakeries and wine and pizza. He can do anything He wants.

He just doesn’t seem to want to do this right now. If I can be okay with that, I need everyone else in my life to be okay with it too (or do something tangible to help). My main point is don’t instill unnecessary doubt in your single friends … she’s got enough of it already (trust me). Just be there with a Kleenex to catch the tears or a second glass to enjoy the wine.