Monday, December 30, 2013

Books of 2013 and a Look to 2014.

So I made my goal and read 13 books in 2013.  It probably wouldn't have happened if this summer I didn't nanny for a nap alot infant.  Honestly I don't know how some of you busy moms are able to be such vivacious readers. Well I do know how, you make it a priority, but I digress. Anyway I just wanted to get excited one more time for my 13 books in 2013 and look to the future.

I don't really have a set goal for 2014 except a lame goal of 14 books.  However I do really like keeping track of books on this here bloggity both to review great things I read but also to keep track of titles I have read for my own sake.  So once again I will be making a 2014 book list. Besides I have no idea what reading will look like in a real 40 hour a week nursing job starting this year.

Happy Reading in 2014.
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Most" Posts of 2013

Sarah over at Amongst Lovely Things (please go check out her blog she has the darnest kids   (including baby twins) and is a great photographer) is hosting a link up of the "most" posts in 2013.  I personally really enjoy end of the year post that link back to posts throughout the year and we all know I am a sucker for link-ups.  Hope you enjoy looking back with me at the "most" posts of 2013. 

Post with the most clicks

I am not really sure why but my post with the most clicks is my "God in Austria: Introduction" post.  It makes me realize that I want  to write more posts about my trips and life in Austria. 
Post with the most comments

Its a tie for most comments.  The Not Alone Series Introduction and the What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 13).  Why that particular WIWS I will never know.  

Post with the best picture

Really you are going to ask me this? This was so hard to pick between and I was able to narrow it down to two.  The first is the picture that I say in the post is my favorite of my roommate in this What I Wore Sunday post.  Isn't she just beautiful?! And then the second one I would have to say is from the post about one of my best friend's wedding which I was a bridesmaid for.  The picture we sent to her now husband before the ceremony has to be a favorite. 

Post that was hardest to write

Ok this one is really hard because if it is hard to write I tend to just not write it.  I am very adamant that this blog is not a journal and thus my heart and intense intimate thoughts aren't smeared all over the blogsphere.  Despite that I would say there are alot of my Not Alone Series posts that were challenging to write so that I didn't smear my heart all over the internet but I still wanted to to encourage woman and let them know they are not alone.  Some posts were easier than others but some of them were darn hard. 

Post that was your personal favorite (not your readers' favorite- your favorite)

Another double.  How can you pick just one.  The first one is less about the post and more about the crazy excitement that I know existed while writing it.  That would be my post right before we left for the airport to travel to Haiti.  Ignore the crappy picture and know that there was so much excitement getting ready to begin another adventure to Haiti.  God is so good to me. 

And the second one is just an honest Not Alone Series Post about settling or the lack there of.  Go over and tell me if you agree that it ranks up in the favorites. 

I hope you enjoyed looking back at 2013 with me.  I will also be doing a little update to my 13 books in 2013 and I look forward to another year of writing and reading here in the blog world.  

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Purposely Waiting: Singlehood

I was at WalMart today buying a last Chirstmas wish add on of my mother's and the store was a bustling.  As we all decorate the last cookies, wear the ugly Christmas sweater again, and attend another holiday related event I want us not to forget that it is still Advent and we still wait in stillness for the baby Jesus.  Advent related to the single season of our lives is actually one of the things I originally planned on touching on with this Purposely Waiting series so I cannot let Advent come to a close without writing about it.

Last Advent this post on Captive the Heart blog really impacted me.  In particular this line,
"Know this: that every desire you feel for your husband-to-be, emotional, rational, and yes, sexual, is so good and so holy...All through your Advent, embrace the groaning.  Give yourself permission to feel, to hope, and to be purified."
I have literally come back to that line over and over again this whole past year.  Allow yourself to want that vocation, that marriage, that husband, that family. Advent is all about waiting for, anticipating, and preparing for the Christ child.  What better period of time to be purified in what the single years and waiting for marriage mean.  As Advent comes to an end, if you are single, hope for the Christmas with your own little family and pray that your heart is made ready for the Sacrament of Marriage.  Happy last few days of Advent.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Purposely Waiting: Mary

The stomach flu hit, and it hit me good.  It wasn't even the stomach that hit so hard as the flu.  It explains my unschool related quietness around this here bloggity but I return with more Advent ponderings. 

If there is one thing about Advent that comes back into my prayer and heart over and over again it would have to be Mary.  I know I am not unique in this.  How can you not think of the Mother when you contemplate the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a manager.  Luke 1 and 2 is filtered with references to Our Lady.  And there is so much goodness we can gain from meditating on Mary while purposefully waiting this Advent season.

Our Lady wasn't unlike any pregnant woman, waiting for her baby to be born.  I am sure she imagined all that he would be and prepared her heart and home to welcome baby Jesus.  Christ was conceived and carried in her very body.  We too must invite Jesus into our hearts and carry him there for when Jesus is part of our life we conceive new life.  We are lucky as Catholics that in a very real way we welcome the Body of Christ into our bodies-what a gift we have!  Please, next time you receive the Eucharist reflect on the parallels between yourself and Mary.  Ask her to show you what it means to wait, what it means to purposefully wait for the Infant Jesus.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Purposefully Waiting: Getting Back to Waiting.

Linking up with my linkup, "Advent:Purposefully Waiting".  I hope you will go be enriched by other bloggers posts and post up your own reflections on the season of Advent. 

Guys my shoulders are so sore.  Nope not because I did a steller workout (hardy hard hard) or lifted a crazy number of heavy boxes.  My shoulders are sore from all the studying I have done for the past 5+ days and once I let the stress disappear and my tension release I was left with some sore muscles.  People, that is Pathetic with a a capital P.  Now that those finals are behind me (and I passed another semester if I do say so myself, one more to go!), I can get back to entering into advent in a purposeful, prayerful way.

When I was able to sneak away for those moments of entering into Scripture and meditating on this season the past week, the Lord rewarded me so greatly.  I wanted to highlight a couple of those passages for you here.

"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen as it had been told them." Luke 2:20

I am a senior at Franciscan University and part of being a senior means preparing yourself to leave a University where you grow so much in your faith.  This piece of the Living Word spoke so much to this.  At Franciscan, at the Mass you attended last Tuesday or in the moment you stole away to enter into prayer the Lord speaks to you in ways that are treasured.  We must like the shepherds, turn then giving glory and praise to God.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I traveled home last week for one of my best friend's dad's funeral.  The whole situation stunk real bad and I am still trying to process it all.  However, the following verses bring hope in a faithful soul's departure out of this world.   Simon, who had been promised by the Lord that he would not die without first seeing the Savior, speaks poetic words of faithfulness, trust, and hope upon holding the Child Jesus in his arms.

"Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to they people Israel." Luke 2:29-32 

I hope and pray that when the time comes for the Lord to call me to heaven I can praise the Lord for the salvation He has shown in my life and the lives of those around me.

The Lord is so faithful and if He whispers to you to quiet your heart and life it means there are things He wants to place into your heart and life.  I pray that you and I continue to enter into this blessed season of Advent.  
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Five Stages of Finals and Regular Programing

Guys these finals are killing me.  I have my last one tomorrow, Thursday, morning and it can't come soon enough.  Well really it would be great if more hours could be added to the day so that I know that I know endocrine disorders, shock and other things that you never want to happen to you.  But really I just want it all to be in the past.  

I have so many advent thoughts to share with those who care to listen so expect once I get home for me to be sitting in front of the fire with a cup of coffee/tea/wine and spilling it all out here on the bloggity.  Until then I leave you with the 5 stages of finals.  

1.  Denial.  Coming back from Thanksgiving break you try to deny that finals week is coming.  It can't possibly be that time again, can it? 

2. Anger.  Oh my gosh it is finals week again! No student deserves to suffer through this! Why did my parents ever instil in me a sense of achievement?! 

3. Bargaining.  Ok Lord, if I drink this large cup of coffee I will have 2 more hours of productive, focused studying time.  If I offer this next hour of studying up for my friends'/family's/pope's intentions I will for sure get an A.

4. Depression.  There is no way life is worse than this.  This is miserable.  There is no possible way I can do this for another minute/hour/day.  

5. Acceptance.  Life will go on.  I will finish these finals and I will pass all my classes.  Soon enough I will be watching way too many hours of television, drinking coffee because I want to not because I have to and sitting mindlessly under the Christmas tree.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In Memory

So I know I said I would only be doing Advent related posts but whats rules if you are not going to break them.

I am actually home from school sitting at my parent's kitchen table.  One of my best friend's from home dad died this Saturday.  He fought a year plus battle with brain cancer and a cure was not to be.  I am angry I am home, not because I don't want to be here for the wake and funeral, because really there is no other place I could be with this going on, but because I am angry that a friend's dad dying even exists. All three of my best friends are in town for the first time since my friend's wedding, for a funeral.  How much does that stink?  However I am thankful that we have been able to pull together over the past year to support my friend and pray for her dad.  I am thankful that he was able to see one of his daughters graduate college and the other high school.  I am thankful he got to be with his family for a whole year before the cancer completely took over.  I am glad that he is no longer in pain and suffering but is rejoicing with the angels in heaven.  I post this because I ask that you keep his family in your prayers as they continue living when someone they love no longer is.
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent: Purposefully Waiting

Oh I am excited about this, really excited.  I love the liturgical seasons of the Church.  They are purposeful, rich and an incredible gift.  If we just float through the seasons without purposefully embracing them we are missing out on so much the Church, the Body of Christ, has for us. Advent is no exception.  It is a time for us to wait for the newborn King.  To enter into the same waiting the Blessed Mother experienced.  To wait for the baby in the stable and to wait for the return of Christ at the end of time.  Advent is filled with so much secularism and if we aren't purposeful about celebrating the liturgical season of Advent we will get to Christmas not knowing where the season went.  We need to be purposeful.  I suggest we need to purposefully wait.

I have decided to be deliberate in celebrating Advent this year and I want this here bloggity to reflect that.  During Advent I will not be posting anything that isn't related to Advent and growing closer to Jesus.  I will not be participating in any link-ups that don't have to do with the true meaning of the Christmas season.  Outside of this blog I will be reading parts of Luke 2 everyday.  I will try to quiet and still my heart in the midst of finals and holiday celebrations.  Each day I will be spending time purposefully prayerfully entering into the season.  I want this blog during Advent to inspire and encourage you in your own Advent walk.  I will post lyrics, verses, quotes, Advent related to singlehood, and Our Lady's Advent.  I want to say I will post at least twice a week but that defeats the whole point.  I will have a link up with this post so that if you are writing about the season of Advent you can link up (however many posts you have) and our Advent can be enriched by your words. We can be so tempted to only post about the gifts, the outfits, the food but I encourage you to be deliberate and write about the liturgical season too.

I want you and I to quiet our hearts and life.  To reflect on the grandour that is the King of the Universe entering the world through a humble woman and laid to bed in straw. I want all of us to purposefully wait this Advent.

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