Friday, August 30, 2013

7QT (Vol. 18)

On Sunday I moved back to school and this week began my fifth year of college.  Ahh how crazy is that?!  It feels so surreal to be back on the hill again.  So surreal but reminds me just how blessed I am and how much I cannot take it for granted.  Being my final year I also realize how much I need to prepare to live out in the world.  I am just placing this school year and all the decisions that need to be made into His hands wishing only to do His will.  

Any other Frannies out there appreciate moving things that were stored in houses over the summer back onto campus?

So because I am back at school I am expecting that blog writing will slow way down from what it was over the summer.  I value this blog community so much but I do not appreciate it nearly as much as I appreciate the living breathing community I have around me while at college.  I need to figure out a way to still blog without doing it at the expense of community here.   Because I moved back into the dorms (deserves a post all on its own) I know What I Wore Sunday may come completely to a halt but I will try some half way decent quality outfit posts as often as possible.

So if any of you don't know this (though fellow Frannies know all to well) Steubenville is very hilly.  The University itself is on a big heal and on that big hill is lots of inclines.  Well running on these hills is proving to be very difficult.  My thighs and calves hate me.  Just got to keep pushing.

Nude nail polish? I know some love it but I still can't decide if I like it on me.

The Great Geauga County Fair is a really big deal at home.  As in schools have off Thursday, Friday, and Monday.  It is the oldest fair in the state of Ohio.  Every year my dad grows sunflowers for it and has won first place many years.  Once again my dad will be brining home a blue ribbon.  His sunflower was 14 feet 2 inches tall-crazy!

This is so much about moving back to school but I just had to link to this post from Jen at Jumping In Puddles-An Open Letter to Catholic (Single) Men.  Thank you Jen for sharing a little piece of your heart and affirming the good men out there.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Monday, August 26, 2013

NAS: Random Facts

So I took a break for a few weeks from Not Alone Series mainly because I didn't have anything interesting to write on the topic and I didn't want to post just to add nothing important but I am back again with this easy post.  I am excited to get to know some of the other girls that have been linking up a little bit better.  

Without further ado.....

~ Age: 23 
~ Area of country (no need for specific location on the interwebz):  I go to school in Steubenville (no hiding that, I talk about Franciscan enough!) and my parents live in Northeast, Ohio
~ Are you working? If so, what do you do? Or, are you in school?:  School, nursing major at Franciscan University of Steubenville 
~ Family (let's see some pics!):  Mom, dad and younger brother.  My older brother died at birth. 
Me, my dad, brother, grandma, and mom at my brother's high school graduation this past May
~ How did your parents meet?  I actually am not positive but I know that they met through a young adult group at their parish and that my mom went on dates with my uncle before she started dating my dad.
~ Confirmation Saint:  St. Angela
~ Favorite Gospel?:  Luke because it has the Annunciation.  If you haven't picked it up I kind-of love Our Lady of the Annunciation
~ # of previous relationships (ya know, that required a FB status change!):  0
~ Top 3 qualities you are looking for in your hubby (b/c, hey, maybe we can help each other out! Cousin? Coworker?): 
1. Catholic.
2.  Partners getting to heaven and as parents.
3. We can have loads of fun together.
~ Online dating experience? Advice?: None so I don't really have any advice
~ Advice for a single lady(in tweet-like fashion, 140 characters or less):  Trust in the Lord, don't wallow, go on adventures, pray, be rooted in the Sacraments, seek His most Sacred Heart, live confidence, imitate Our Lady.
~ What is your fave thing to do outside of blogging and work/school?  Right now as I start my final year of college I love spending time with my household sisters.  In general I just really like to prioritize time with people over other things.  I enjoy cooking and baking.  I have recently started running.  I dabble in reading for pleasure. 

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Friday, August 23, 2013

7QT (Vol.17)

I added two more books to my "13 books in '13" post but didn't write a separate review post because the books weren't good enough to warrant a separate post.  One book left to meet my goal!

I am actually almost almost done with another book, My Life with the Saints.  Check out this awesome quote about Our Lady of the Annunciation.

Did you see my post about the wedding I was in? Yeah I am really missing that time with some of my best friends.

My baby brother moved to college this week.  I cant believe my younger brother is now a college student.  Now I just pray he finds his niche and doesn't get into any trouble.

This week was the last week of my summer break and thus the last week of work.  Yeap I am going to miss these daily snuggles.

Being the last day of the last week I feel so much pressure to enjoy every moment (ironic right-pressure to enjoy).  This morning I am spending some time on the old blog and sipping coffee.  I also NEED to pack, I move on Sunday and I have very few things organized.  Later I am going to go love on my Goddaugter and her brothers to make sure they have enough to last them until I come home for their birthday party.

This gelato is and also a bit pricey.  The grocery store was having a buy one get one free sale.  I couldn't help myself.  I even went back for two more.

I know you guys are on the edge of you seat because of how exciting these 7 quick takes are.  I will try to tone it down next week and talk about things like unpacking, grass growing, and the chips in my nail polish.  Until then, Happy Friday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Favorites: My Wedding

So with all this wedding talk in my life I thought that it would be fun to show what my five favorites might be if I were getting married.

I strive to not pretend to plan my non {currently} existent wedding and get nailed down to details so as to guard my heart and let the Lord plan my life, however there are a few things that I know I want.  Without further ado....


This goes without saying but I want to marry a man who I can travel to heaven with.  One who I can love, honor and obey.  One who will love me till death do us part.  A guy who will be the father of my children.  A man who I want to wake up to every morning.  One who will help me become a better woman.  Yeah, I want that guy.  


This ring.  I love how the engagement and wedding ring come together.


"Your Grace is Enough" by Matt Maher for one of the songs during the Mass. 


You know coffee had to come into play at some point?  Can't imagine a better a wedding favor.


My mom bought her wedding dress justifying the splurge by saying a daughter could wear it.  I am not decided if I would do some altering and wear the dress or incorporate pieces of the dress into my wedding day attire.  I couldn't get a good picture of it but here is the best I could do. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedding 7/20: Jesse and MaryClaire

I don't know where to even begin telling you about this wedding.  To see one of my closest friends marry such a great guy was an incredible blessing.

The ceremony was a complete inspiration.  To see two people vow to love each other for better or for worse and mean it is nothing short of awesome.  The reception was a blast with everyone dancing. (ok I may be exagerating when I say everyone because there was about 8 people + my parents not dancing but still).  It was an incredible blessing to be asked to join in their special day as a bridesmaid.

Sent to the groom before the ceremony.

His response couldn't have been more perfect.

Some professional pictures that start to do the wedding justice.

One of my favorite pictures of the bride and groom.

Yeap she was pretty darn stunning as a bride.

Taking advantage of the cute factor of the bride's youngest brother (she is the oldest of 8)

One of my favorite ones of just the girls.

Ok, ok you might want to see some of the whole wedding party too. 

And here is a few fun iphone photos I took that day. 

One of her sister and I.

The maid of honor, one of my best friends, and myself.

The bride and I.

The excitement was just too much for her youngest brother and he crashed before the night was over.

The whole was beautiful and now get to watch one of my best friends bloom as a wife.

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Deeper Conversion

Amanda over at Worthy of Agape is having a conversion story link up and we all know I am a sucker for link ups.  I actually have guest posted this over at The Recovered Catholic  so this is just a repost here on my own blog (read: chronic lazy linker (CLL)).  Can't wait to read everyone else's.
I like to call my story a deeper conversion because it really isn’t a conversion or a reversion.  I am only 21 [update: now 23 but who is counting], but already the Lord has taken me on such a beautiful journey.
I grew up in a Catholic family.  I was baptized as a baby at Parish A (names aren’t necessary for the story), went to Catholic grade school, and received my first communion in 2nd grade.  We said our prayers before meals and went to Mass most Sundays.  But that was it.  We didn’t really talk about Jesus much and my parents pretty much left my faith education to my school.  However, in 8th grade for some reason (I can only credit it to God) I decided that I could only make my Confirmation at Parish B.  This was complicated by the fact that my mom had just accepted a job at Parish A as a business manager.  So she now had to go to her new boss and tell him that her daughter wanted permission to receive her Confirmation at another parish.  She did, he said yes, and I began my sacrament preparation at Parish B.  It would make all the difference.
I didn’t know it at the time but Parish B is a vibrant, faithful parish.  The pastor commonly preaches the Truth about controversial issues including contraception, gay marriage, and abortion and isn’t afraid to do it.  The many round growing bellies, snuggled babies, and young rambunctious children are evident of the common thought among the parish that children are a gift from God and the number of them should be left up to God.  The LIFETEEN, the popular Catholic Youth Group program, was large and alive.  It was that LIFETEEN program that drew me deeper into the faith, and along with me the rest of my family.  By being led by God to make my Confirmation at Parish B, doors opened to LIFETEEN, and in the end my whole family was drawn into the life of the Church.
My life in high school was LIFETEEN.  My three best friends and I met there and it was there my faith seeds really started to grow.  I was exposed to Truths and traditions I had never been taught and probably never would have been otherwise.  I attended a national youth leadership conference, went to March for Life all four years, and attended numerous different retreats.   Now I am not trying to say any of these things equal faith, but just some signs that my faith was growing.
Not only was I being drawn into my faith and parish life but so was my whole family.  We began to talk about faith.  My dad joined Knights of Columbus, both of my parents went on a Christ Renews His Parish retreat, and my brother went to middle school youth group.  Although we went to Mass most Sundays before, now it was never an option and we joyfully filled the pews each Sunday.  God wasn’t just drawing me deeper into the faith but also my whole family. [Update: Sadly apparently it is now an option to go to Mass and my brother has fallen away from the faith.  Please keep him in your prayers.  I trust in Our Lady's intercession and that he will come back to the Church.]
The deeper conversion didn’t all happen at once.  I vividly remember first hearing about the Church’s teaching about contraception.  I decided I just wouldn’t agree with the Church on that issue.  However as a I began to learn the beauty and logic behind the Church’s teaching I couldn’t help but love and accept the teaching into my life.  I draw attention to this story to say how important it is to be ok with questioning your faith, but not stop there.   It is normal to question faith.  If you think it is abnormal then the minute your heart starts to question the faith, there is a good chance you will abandon the whole thing.  However, when you question it is important to not just cross your arms and turn around.  Instead, when questions arise seek out answers from the Bible, prayer, Catechism, Church Fathers, Saints, and faith-filled people around you.  I promise you, if you come to KNOW the Church, what the Church really teaches, you won’t be able to help but LOVE and SERVE the Church.
So where am I now?  I am a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville entering into my senior year [update: victory lap aka 5th year] and will graduate with a Theology minor (nursing major doesn’t really allow time for a double major!).  I attend Mass nearly daily, regularly spend time in spiritual reading, have gone on a couple of mission trips, prayerfully discern my vocation, am committed to daily Rosary (though how often I fail on this!) and hope to make teaching God’s Truth about marriage and family part of my life work both professionally and by living it myself.  If you would have told me this 8 years ago, I wouldn’t have even known what you were talking about.  Yes, some of this is because of youth, but most of it is because of the deeper conversion that the Lord has drawn me to.   I don’t deserve it; none of us deserve the Truth He has given us.  But I am eternally thankful (literally) for the conversion that the Lord has lead me on.   I pray that you, your family and friends, and our whole nation will have ears to hear God’s voice and be led into a conversion closer to His most Sacred Heart.  God Bless!

My three best friends and me (second from the right) our junior year of high school. In this picture we are at the dedication of the new church building for Parish B.

My family and me at Easter Vigil Mass at Franciscan. It is an incredible Mass that fills the field house, takes hours, and erupts in celebration after each and every individual receives their sacraments for the first time.

That’s me in Haiti with some of the orphans at Kay Mari. The orphanage was started by Moving with the Spirit and Shawn Forrest, a Christian music artist. [update: The first time I went to Haiti.  Oh how much the Lord has blessed me that I have gone twice]
About this guest blogger…
My name is Natalie and I am currently a nursing student at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  If you ask me what I want to do with my degree, I will give you about 6 different possibilities I am considering including midwifery, missionary nursing, dialysis nursing, NICU, etc.  I trust in the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother and seek to love the Lord more each day.  Please check out my blog at
 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

round button chicken
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ 
Happy Feast of the Assumption of Mary.  Isn't it great to be Catholic and have so many feast days to celebrate?!  St. Maximillion Kolbe yesterday and Our Lady of the Assumption today.  I am off to put on some blue and head down to Little Italy to celebrate.  Here are some pictures from the past week or two.  

There is a beauty to fresh fruit.  I have been loving blueberries and peaches together this week.

How can you not be happy about finishing your first 5k!

I don't know why I hadn't thought of this before.  I am just glad I thought of it before I have some little ones of my own.  I can't even take credit for this, I was just going to take him out in his Bumbo it was his sister that suggested the walker.  Genius.  He was so content in his walker watching his brother and some of the neighborhood kids play wiffle ball while he played with his toys and drooled another bib to soaking.  But isn't their just something so funny about a babe in a hat in a walker in the driveway.  You should have seen his grinning face. 

This is real life right here.  (Sorry for the awkward screen shot.)

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New blog design.

In case you haven't noticed, this blog got a little bit of a face lift recently.  It was time to upgrade from the standard blogger options to something with a little more umph.  Rebekah over at LeCharmedBoutique was just what I needed.  In our first conversation I told her I wanted blue and feminine but modern.  Through many, many messages back and forth she came up with what you see before you.  Everytime I look at it I like it more and more.  What do you think?  Do you think it fits the feminine but modern thing I was going for?
 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WIWS (Vol. 28)

I just published a post containing 23 things about my 23rd birthday.  If you read that you will know that I have a summer cold that is hitting me hard so this post will not be wordy, thinking up words is a lot of work for this stuffed up head of mine.

Please breeze past the fully body shots because those are less than steller but I already changed into comfy lounge around clothes and am not about to take more.

I used the new Arbonne mascara "It's a Long Story" for the first time and I am super excited.  Finally a mascara that is more natural AND stays on for longer than a half hour!!

New earrings I bought at an adorable shop in Portsmouth, NH this past weekend.

Shoes and detail on the dress.

If you follow me on the gram than you already know this but I ran my first 5k yesterday so I feel pretty darn awesome!

The low down
Dress: Merona brand bought at Goodwill for about $9.99
Cardigan:  Old
Sandals: Target
Cami:  Hanes. Actually more like the shelf part of a cami with built in bra because they end at the bust line.    I really really like these. 
Earrings: Cute store in Portsmouth, NH
Body: "I run this body."

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png


So on Friday I turned 23 years old.  I wanted to do a post on 23 things that happened on my 23rd birthday because when it is your birthday you get to do what you want.  I meant to post it yesterday but as you will read I have a summer cold and it prevented me from being able to stay awake long enough to finish off this post.

1. Ate half a blueberry muffin and half a double chocolate chip muffin while sipping coffee, reading blogs and praying morning prayer. What better way to start my 23 year of life.

2. During the day I went to my usual Friday nanny job.  The kids were relatively agreeable. I tried to pull the birthday card when it was put up to discussion what movie we would watch.  I it was vetoed anyway and they thought I was just kidding.

3.Of course I had a second cup of coffee while I watched the kids.  My birthday wouldn't be complete with at least one more cup of coffee.

4.  The kids made me these because it was also the last day I would be watching them this summer.  Aren't they cute?!

5. After work, I stopped at my friend's house (never know what to call her because friend eludes that she is my age but really she is a decade my senior has a husband, three kids and a masters degree.  I digress.) They gave me a gift of a lovely frame that I can't wait to put in my dorm room and also picked me up a loaf of Amish made wheat bread.

6. I really love this frame.  This isn't the kind of thing you can get for yourself so I am glad I can always say it is a gift.

7. We hung around, drank some watermelon beer and the 4 year old "washed" half my car. 

8. How many people get colds in the summer.  How many people start coming down with said summer cold on their birthday?  Well count me in the club.

9. The only thing I can do is take two airborne, drink a cup of echinecia tea and take a nap. 

10. Snot becomes neon.  Just being honest.

11. After I took a shower and woke up from a little nap due to said summer cold we headed to a little cutesy town about 20 minutes away.

12. I sent three and received three snapchats on August 9th.  

13. I wanted to eat at a restaurant called Flipside that serves funky burgers.  We put our name down and they said it would be a 45-60 wait.  Rather than the buzzers they used and IPad app that texted you when your table was ready.

14. While waiting we stopped into a book store and looked around.  This store wasn't part of a chain so had a lot of charm.

15. The wait ended up being 90 minutes.  Boo!

16. The restaurant redeemed itself with delicious food.  I had a burger with aged cheddar cheese, bacon and grilled onions.

17. Also we split fries fried in truffle oil and kettle chips topped with a blue cheese and yogurt topping.

18. I got a Bourban Beer with dinner.  My friend from Kentucky, where it is made told me about it. It is beer that is brewed in old Bourban barrels so the beer alao has a smooth taste of Bourban.

19. Once home I opened presents from my family-a cute notepad, travel coffee mug, stethoscope ID tag, and a book.

20. The day before I had picked up a red velvet cake at Costco and my mom picked up ice cream, yum yum.

21. I learned I had to get up at 6:00 the next morning.  I thought it was in my best interest to hit the sack as soon as possible.

22. I started my 23rd year of life by running my first ever 5k.  I can't complain that is not a bad way to start 23.

23. This year, Lord willing, I will finish my 5th and final year at Franciscan, graduate college with a BSN, take and pass my NCLEX, select and move somewhere to settle down for the immediate future and anything else the Lord has in store for me. 

 photo handmaidsignature_zps78343ea1.png