Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blogging for Books Review: Five Years in Heaven

Oh you haven't heard about Blogging for Books yet? Well you are hearing about it now.  If you have a blog you can read and review books you actually want to read for free!  Sign me up and that I did.

The first book I have reviewed is Five Years in Heaven by John Schlimn.  I was intrigued with its quick tag line "What is heaven on earth? The answer lies in this true story of one young man's journey to find hope and purpose with the help of an unlikely teacher--a compassionate and wise old nun, whom the world had long-forgotten."  Spiritual memoirs you get me every time.   There is just something great about a story that reads like fiction but has faith weaved through it.

The stories of John visiting the pottery shop, chatting with Sister Augustine about life and faith, promoting her work and admiring her pottery kept me reading the book.  Was it the best book I have ever read, no. Is it worth a read, yes. Although sometimes the writing can get long and drawn out it doesn't take away from the story but fluffs it up.  And I have to say, I want a Gussie's Special for myself.  With these summer days long and hot this book is a great book to enjoy while relaxing the days away.

*I received this book for free from blogging for books in order to review.  
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Some Questions

The lovely Jen @ Jumping in Puddles recently introduced me to the podcast Building Bridges associated with the Blessed is She movement. First off, check it out.  If you are a podcast lover like me this is one you want to add to your playlist.  Just two ladies talking about faith, family, and being a lady.  In their first episode, they asked each other some questions and I thought to myself 'I should answer those on my bloggity'.  I may not have gotten them all but I got a handful.  If you would like, answer along too and please share your link in the comments so that I can make sure I check it out.

1.  What is one thing you would want to do over?

This one is really hard because I think the all the twists and turns in my life have molded me to be who I am-the great, the bad, and the ugly.  However, two things that come to mind that really go hand in hand is first, college taking 5 rather than 4 years and second, the debt I incurred in college.  Although I would be in a very different situation today were it not for the amount of student loans I have which would be awesome I also fully recognize the way it is molding me.   First off, I think that I was supposed to be at Franciscan for 5 years for whatever reason that I may never understand.  Second,  I would not be as organized financially or frugal would it not be for my need to be and my determination to pay off my loans quickly.   So while I get annoyed I also realize the ways it all has blessed me.

2.  What thrills you?

I don't know if thrills is the right word but I come alive when I am spending quality time with good, holy people.  Sitting out on the deck until the fireflies come out engaging in awesome conversation and I will be floating on cloud 9 for days.

3.  What in your life do you turn your noise up?

Night shift.  Lets not talk about it.

4.  What do you do for work?

I need to do another day in the life but I am a labor and delivery nurse.  This involves taking care of women in labor, pushing with women, attending deliveries, and taking care of mom and baby during the 2ish hour recovery period following delivery and any repair that takes place.  If I went into details about all this there would probably be some gagging mixed with the expected awws.

5.  What was the hardest Church teaching to accept?

I vividly remember a time in high school were I just naively thought I wouldn't follow the Church's teaching for sex and family planning.  Oh how little I knew about the wisdom in God's plan for families.  Now I realize the brilliance and truth the Church has to teach and the freedom that comes in God's plan.  I think now the hardest thing is often trust in His plan for my life and that if he provides for the birds of the fields how too he will provide for me, his beloved daughter.

Any random questions you want to throw at me?  Comment below.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Creating a Home

This is something I have been wanting to write about for a long time.  This blog has sort of evolved from a mismatch of pinterest and outfits to really focusing in on the things that affect young single Catholic ladies and I am not complaining.  It is this beautiful challenging time that involves alot of transitions, unknowns, decisions, and joys.  One such thing is choosing how and where to live.

Without going into too much detail I moved to Pittsburgh last October with a job, a one bedroom apartment and a roommate.  Since then I have moved into a four bedroom house, gained another roommate and gotten two other job offers but still have the same job...for now.  One thing that has become very important, especially since moving is cultivating a home.

So often creating a home goes hand in hand with hubby and a litter of children, but why can't us single gals also talk about cultivating a home of love and joy?

I have tried to be purposeful, despite large ever present loan payments, to create a home with pieces and spaces that I love, and I hope my roommates love it just as much as I do.  Arranging furniture to be warm and inviting, adding pieces that inspire joy, religious articles that point back to Him, plants that bring a breath of fresh air, and a flow that just works.  It is by no means perfect but a home is an ever evolving space with things, people, ideas, hopes, dreams, and sometimes even failings flowing through it.
Cozy corners. 
Much of the furniture in our home has come from thrift stores, hand me downs, and trash day but somehow all comes together as if we choose them out of a magazine. Just a few weeks ago one of my roommates and I were discussing how much we disliked our kitchen chairs and would love if we could change them.  Wouldn't you know that not three days later on trash day there were three nearly perfect condition chairs that were just sitting in the trash on the curb.  I like to think that the Lord also wanted us to have a beautiful home that worked with our budget.

We recently had our home blessed and hosted the priest for dinner even more emphasizing that the definition of a home doesn't necessarily include a traditional nuclear family but also can include three single ladies striving for sainthood and their vocation.

I have seen it all over instagram (@avcrawford and @ymgal13 I am looking at you) this creating of beautiful living spaces but I say to all of you ladies keep on creating.  Create homes you love living in. 

A sink overflowing with dishes normally means a night laughing and chatting with friends.

Nothing better than a summer evening on the patio.
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Answer Me This

1. How long have you lived in your current home?

Since this past Palm Sunday.  It may seem weird that I know the exact day but it isn't so weird when it was a significant liturgical day.  And we have been loving it every minute since that day. 

2. How do you find out about news and current events?

So I wish I could sound like an educated person and say the Pittsburgh Post Gazette,, or Fox News but to be honest whatever I catch on the radio during my 10 minute commute or what is significant enough for people to talk about it.  Or to be super duper embarrassingly honest-Facebook. There I said it.  Sometimes I learn about significant world events because people feel the need to write a status about said event or post a link.  

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

Uhm fat chance.  Don't tell Dave Ramsey I said that.  

4. What's the craziest food you've ever eaten?

I think alligator.  My family was at Gator Land in Florida and I thought their chicken nuggets were called Gator nuggets just to be cute.  Nope they were alligator meat.  

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)

I had my wisdom teeth removed in high school and I pretty much don't remember the whole day, that is how out of it I was.  Doctors would probably have suggested I get my tonsils out when I used to have tonsillitis a few times a year but I always went to urgent cares or the university clinic conveniently so that my PCP didn't pick up on just how often I was getting it.
6. What's your favorite sport to watch on TV? 

In general, I don't have enough focus to watch sports but if I had to I would say Olympic figure skating, swimming, diving, or gymnastics or basketball.  But I am from Cleveland and basketball is a sensitive subject right now #allin #clevelandpride

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Night Shift Survival

If you look at the glass half empty, half of my schedule is night shifts.  Glass half full, ONLY half of my shifts are at night.  As I round out the end of my two weeks of night shifts, this glass is defiantly half empty.

This really bothers me.  I don't want to survive half of my life, I want to thrive in all my life.

First, I am going to attempt to fix this by changing my attitude.  Giving up on the attitude of survival and trying to embrace the attitude of thriving.

Second, I want to create a night shift routine.  When I am awake during normal hours aka the daylight, I have a routine.  I read scripture, I eat three meals, I have a bedtime routine, I just function better.  Well if half my life is spent working nights I have to have a night shift routine too.  I have to find a time that I open scripture.  I need to eat healthy food.  I need to thrive when I work night shift.

Now I know that I know something about doing night shift.  My tips to anyone else trying to thrive with night shift is try different things to see what works for you and don't expect them to always work.  Sometimes the night before I work I stay up as late as possible so that I can sleep in as late as possible.  Other days I don't sleep much at night so that I can take a good nap.  That however is a risky move because if I can't nap I haven't slept much before I go into work.  Above all, believe in Benedryl.  If you work two days in a row and it is bright, sunny, and hot outside take a half a Benedryl and you will sleep the whole day through.  Benedryl and I are best friends when I work nights.

Any other night shifters out there?  Anyone else switch between nights and days?  What are your tips and drinks?  Love a night shifter desperate for help.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Here I am sitting in my favorite New York apartment with one my my best friends.  The cool breeze is blowing through the hanging on the wall, blankets are strewn about from a weekend of friends and laughter, the corners are in a desperate need of dusting and the taste of the delicious New York bagel is still fresh in my mind.  I am here and trying to be still for a moment to just be.

Being still long enough to realize the adventure the Lord is already taking me on rather than worried that I am not on all the adventure I could be on.  

Being thankful for the friendships that contain intense prayer and soul deep laughter.  

Closing my eyes to never forget the wedding of a dear friend with heartfelt for life vows, stuffed shrimp, on the water views, genuine smiles and the excitement of real authentic life and love.  

Struggling to be content waiting for the one the Lord wants for me.  The one to dance with, share with, dream with and kiss under the stars with.  

The Lord says be still and know that I am God and we read it over and over again yet how often do we purposely stop and be.  Be still.  Be reflective.  Be prayerful.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quick Just Because Not So Serious Takes

Things on the blog lately have been a little serious so I wanted to slap up here a few lighter things jumping around in this brain of mine.

1. I know you have all been on the edge of your seat wondering but I have picked up some running again now that the temps aren't frigid and the risk of slipping has subsided.  I am doing couch to 5k again but this time to get quicker.  So rather than just running during the intervals I run fast during the intervals. Before you know it I will be winning marathons I am sure.  Hardy har.

B.  Because 2 would be too serious.  Sunshine is the name and tanning is the game.  Ahh somehow every article of clothing looks a little bit better with a glow of the skin.  Remind me of this when I get skin cancer in 30 years.

C.   So I have one of those longer in the front and shorter in the back hair cuts right now with the back hitting just about at the bottom of my neck and the front 3-4 fingerbreaths below my shoulders.  My bangs have grown out to this stragely stage and I just can't decide what I want to do about any of it.  Most indecisive person am I.

4.  In less than a month I begin the first of six weddings this year.  'Tis the young and Catholic season of life.

E.  Coffee.  Because every post needs a coffee shout out.  Why is it so good?  Honestly that first sip in the morning is probably my favorite part of the day.  Shallow, maybe.  Honest, yes.

6.  We have lived in this house for almost two months and I am going to pretend like I am completely unpacked because pretending is better than reality.

G. Ok I had to throw one serious one in there.  Are you ever terrified that you are not actually doing the Lord's will no matter how hard you are trying.  Obviously I need some prayers.

VIII.  Don't you love when you return more than you buy?!  Returned two of the dresses I bought to try on for the weddings and only picked up a handful of things like socks, drying mats, and capris.

9.  Who wants to see another essential oil post?  With the pollen a swirling I am relying on my trusty lavender and cedarwood to help my throat not hurt the whole day long.

10.  Who knew how enjoyable gardening is?  Not I.  However I broke down and bought mulch because I am already sick of wedding it is not even June yet.  Now to buy a watering can...

Join along and add your quick just because not so serious takes so that we can read them.  There are no rules to this link up except to add thy link below.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Nurse's Week 2015

Well here I am celebrating my first nurse's week.  It was just about a year ago that I was wearing my cap and gown celebrating with the rest of the field house my hard earned diploma.  Now here I am waking up at 5pm from my night shift last night and on call tonight.

Having had diploma in hand for about a year and working as an RN for about 6 months has been incredibly challenging and rewarding.  I have the privilege of taking care of families as they welcome new life into the world.

I get to hear first cries and see dads as their eyes well up with tears when I hand them their first born and say "here is your son".   I also vigorously rub a fresh newborns back praying for her to just cry and start turning pink.  Some moms come in nervous and I can do my best to help ease their worries and help them have a beautiful birth experiences.  I help keep moms and babies safe and healthy when the labor process is less than perfect and ideal.  

I hold women's hands when they get their epidural as soon as they walk through the door and sway with them when they enter their 15th hour of natural labor. I footprint, ID band, and weigh these babies often before their moms have held them for more than 10 minutes.  I help women breastfeed and encourage a long breastfeeding relationship.

Beyond all these beautiful things that people imagine L&D nurses do I also grab ice, clean areas...down there that are less than clean, change my scrubs multiple times a shift because they have blood, urine, amniotic fluid, meconium or a combination on them, handle annoying family members, advocate for women, and tell women yes they did progress but not as much as they were hoping.

Nurses are supposdely the most trusted profession.  Honestly most days I don't understand why and more often than not I leave a shift feeling like I didn't give my patients the best care I could have.  Being a L&D nurse I can honestly say it is one of the hardest and one of the best jobs I could ever imagine doing for all the reasons listed above and 100 more.

To all you other nurses, kudos.  Thank you for holding dying hands, having a smile on your face when a patient first opens her eyes and saying "I think the surgeon has some good news for you",  helping a man detox from his cocaine addiction, singing a bedtime song to the little boy who has been sick for so long that his parent's have no other choice but to go to work, passing another pain pill, not giving up on a man who is in cardiac arrest, and infusing another day of chemo.  Happy Nurse's week, enjoy your free coffee, hospital emblemed gift, and posters posted around the hospital.  Keep on caring!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Warm weather

Can I get an amen for this warm weather.  I love those first few days when it is warmer outside than inside and then it is made 100x better when the sun is actually toasty on your skin.  The runs are a happening, the soil of the garden is being turned and I would be lying if I didn't say some laying out sans sun block is occurring.  What can I say, I have a June 13th wedding that I want a little color for.  

Summer at the hospital is normally crazy busy because 9 months before the weather starts to get cold and I am nervous.  Because of some insurance silliness that has happened in the city of Pittsburgh we just aren't sure yet what this summer is going to look like but me be nervous for crazy days.  

The blessing though of busyness is that when I have off with nothing on the agenda the days are oh so sweet! I can take my time to wake up and drink my morning coffe, spend oodles of time outside, and slowly, relaxingly go about my day. 

So what have you been up to with this warm weather?  Any blog posts you want to see? Any new readers want to introduce themselves or old ones up date me on their life? 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Purposeful Life.

Living life over here in this part of the world and now with a little bit more intentional purposefullness.  Now I know a lot of you ladies reading this are in a similar demographic as I, namely twenty somethings, unmarried but discerning marriage, career focused, adventure seeking yada yada.  I also know you guys inspire me everyday and half the stuff I say you guys are probably like yeah duh Natalie, of course.  But here I am saying it again on this here bloggity because I like to hear myself talk, er read myself right.  

I have been driving a lot lately-Chicago, Hershey, Cleveland, Steubenville-and thus have had some serious conversation time with the Lord.  You give him a moment and he woes and wows you.  He has been rocking my heart and my life big time.  

Natalie, get on with the point.

He is inspiring me to live life more purposely.  I feel like I have but I now feel Iike I have a renewed mindset and intention.  I am struggling with being unsure about what the next step in my life looks like and unsure about when I should take that step.  And while through his grace and Our Lady's intercession I am staying afloat with blind obedience I need to live the now more purposefully.  Rather than thinking well I won't be able to do this because I want to be married and have at least one kid by the time I am 30, I am instead focusing on all that he wants me to do for his kingdom now. Not worrying about numbers or my plan but about his glorious plan.

I have talked about this before on this here blog but doesn't hurt to be said again, amen?! So ladies, keep being purposeful about your daily fiat for the kingdom of God.

And if you made it though all those words you deserve a picture of glorious days off. 


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Breath in and out.

Here I am lying in bed really needing to go to bed because I have this little thing called working to do for 12 hours the next two days but hey why not just stay awake another 15 minutes writing a blog post.  And I also know if I wait to sit down and spend time writing a blog a little thing called life gets in the way and that is a very good thing.  

This past weekend I got to visit one of my dearest friends and roommates from college.  I unintentionally had to drive myself but that is a story for not here.  I work a lot, to the tune of 6ish days and about 53 hours a week so when I do get to take a breath, a big deep breath do I take.  Taking a moment to enjoy the sweet things of life makes my soul come alive and this stunning Midwest spring weather we have had does nothing but help.  Although the long drive wasn't planned to be by myself, like long solo drives tend, it was a lot of time spent in conversation with our Lord.  He challenged my complacent soul and comforted me weary heart. It was much needed time.  

Why am I telling you this,  for no reason in particular.  Maybe so that if you only follow me on the blog you know I am still chugging along.  And if you only follow me on the blog then you are missing out on the continued #livingmyfiat on the ever over used by me ole 'gram.  But maybe I am reminding you, no matter what way you fill your days with stop and smell the flowers and spend time with the risen Lord.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Breaking Radio Silence.

It is about time.

So we finally moved into our new place last weekend and can I just tell you how blessed we are.  If you follow me on the good 'ol gram you know I have been bombarding you with the sweetness of life.  We walk around this place and feel like we are in a vacation home.  The Lord is very good.

One of my best friends had her first baby this past weekend (it's a boy!) and contrasted to our move I realize just how good God is and He blesses us in whatever place of life we are.  Of course I would be happy married and beginning my own little family but right now that is not what the Lord is calling me too.  Instead, I am making my own independent decisions about where I live and with who.  While she is soaking in every little toe and newborn smell, I am sitting in my new kitchen with friends laughing and experimenting with cocktails.  Both are so good but we are not called to both at the same time.  So here I am living the life the Lord is calling me too now and supporting and celebrating with my friends who are living their own fiat.  I have said it before and I will say it again, say your yes, live the Lord's will for  your life now and you will live with joy.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feast of Our Lady of the Annunciation

Well you know I had to show up on this blog on a day like today.

Ah what a beautiful feast day.  Yes.  Three simple letters that changed history.  A young, very special women said her simple yet profound yes and God became man.

As I do a quick bloggity jump online between loads of nights and an apartment move (Oh I didn't tell you.  Yes I just realized I never hit publish.  More news to come soon.) I just hope that with each breath I take, every day, and every week I am giving my daily fiat and saying yes to the Lord's will for my life.

So simple.  Three Letters.  Our Salvation.

Meditate on Luke chapter 1 today.  Celebrate her yes.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NAS: Encouraging Men

We seem to always have something to say about guys treating us right! ...or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?

Linking up with Morgan, Jen and the lovely ladies of the Not Alone Series.

Hmm well when I first read the title to this topic I thought it was about how to encourage men. Which if I may take the soap box for a moment and diverge from the actual topic, I have significant opinions.  We as women are sensitive and easily hurt or built up.  While men aren't women, they aren't rocks either.  We need to be sensitive to men's feelings and confidence.  If a guy ask you out if you don't have serious misgivings like safety or their is absolutely no way it will go to a second date, give the guy a chance and say yes.  Even if it doesn't work out between the two of you, the confidence he gets from you saying yes might give him the confidence to ask his wife out.

I am now stepping off my soapbox and to the actual topic at hand.  

So what must men do to treat us right?  How can we help them out a bit and let them into our head a little?

Above all, men must pursue.  Be the knight and fight for the princess.  Don't let us always text you first.  Message us on dating sites.  If we flirt with you at an event, be confident and ask us out on a date.  This is essential throughout an entire relationship but initiating the relationship sets the path for the rest of it.  Men, pursue and lead the relationship because alot of us ladies won't stand for anything else. 

That is above all the biggest thing, however if I were to throw in a few more bonuses--tell us we are beautiful, have a real raw devotion to your Heavenly Mother, be a gentleman and love what you do for a living.  But still, most importantly, be a man and pursue us.   

I am exciting to see what you ladies think is important!

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Single Guilt

So many people talk about wife guilt and way more commonly, mommy guilt but no one ever talks about single guilt.  However, knowing single gals and being one myself I find that single guilt is all too common.

So what is single guilt?  Single guilt is feeling like you are not doing the whole single gig right.  This guilt involves the feeling of if I only loved the Lord more and as I should then I wouldn't be single anymore or I would at least be happier during this single season of my life.  Single guilt also includes feeling guilty that you long for a spouse, seek to be married, and are often preoccupied in life and prayer dreaming about what life has a spouse and parent will be like.

Stop it.

Stop the guilt.

Yes, sometimes we can all be guilty of not trusting and following the Lord with our whole heart.  Sometimes we do spend time with our mind a little too preoccupied with dreams and wishes rather than the Lord's will.  However, I have found that alot of ladies are most often right where we are supposed to be.

Loving and trusting the Lord is a life long journey.  It isn't like we suddenly get to this point that we trust the Lord as we should.  Instead, it is an adventure that never ends. It is constantly surrendering our will and all the areas of our life more each day to the hands of the Lord.

In addition, it is a good and beautiful thing to wish, dream, and pray about a vocation as a wife and mother if that is in fact the vocation that the Lord is asking of you.  The seeking displays a longing for the things of the Lord.  It shows that you are preparing your heart and allowing the Lord to mold you. It points to a union with God in heaven.

So stop constantly beating yourself up when it isn't warranted.  Keep on the adventure of loving and trusting the Lord.  Long for the things of heaven and the journey and vocation it will take to get there.  Stop being so hard on yourself and recognize when you are right where the Lord wants you to be.    
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NAS: Dating Fast

We've all likely heard about them, but have you ever done one? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?

Hey Ladies! Back for another week with the Not Alone Series.  Linking up with Morgan, Jen and the other NAS gals!

This week we are talking about dating fasts.  As an alumni of Franciscan University, passionately Catholic and possessing a very unique culture, I am by no means foreign to the concept of a dating fast.  It always seemed like girls would declare a year long dating fast and about six months into it some guy would start to pursue them and they would have to date without dating or "not become official" until said dating fast was over.

Seeing as it seems like I have always been in an unchosen dating fast, declaring a real dating fast just was never really my jam.  However, emotional dating is a whole another story.  Of course I have and still sometimes do struggle with emotional chastity.  So a few years back beginning on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and ending the following Christmas I attempted a emotional dating fast.

Easier said then done seeing as emotional dating isn't as black and white as traditional dating and the line between emotional chastity and unchastity is very blurred.  When thoughts of dating or marrying a guy from the first hello entered my mind I would try to stop it and when I would have perpetual thoughts about past or current crushes I just had to say no.

Did it help me?  Yes and no.  I think it was a purposeful way to lessen emotional unchastity especially at the time but it wasn't like it kept me always emotional chaste to this day in the same way that traditional dating fasts don't mean you never are in less than steller dating situations again.

So that is my story with dating fasts but I will make one more comment.  I have seen girls often think, especially because of that typical story I talked about earlier of girl declares dating fasts, boy pursues, girl gets boy at end of year, ladies think that a dating fast is part of the secret formula to dating.  "If only I go on a dating fast than Mr. Future Husband will enter into my life with a dozen roses and a devotion to St. Joseph. "  Don't fall into that trap.  Whether you go on a dating fast or not, the Lord's will still needs to be done in your dating and vocational life.  Don't ever forget that, it is always His will.  However, if you do find yourself jumping from mediocre guy to well he is cute guy maybe a dating fast is good for you.  To stop and really think about why you are dating, what kind of guy you want and who you are as God's.

Well ladies, I can't wait to hear all that you are saying about dating fasts and please comment below  whether you are a new or old reader so that we can keep the discussion going.  
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just Another Clarisonic Review

Who in the bloggity world hasn't talked about the great Clarisonic?  Not I, no longer!

So since dancing into my early midish twenties I have good skin.  By no means great skin but I know how bad it can be.  I have larger than wanted pores and I still get breakouts, especially with the feminine stuff but by and large blemishes don't haunt me everyday.  I wash my face in the shower, if I wore makeup that day before I go to bed and am r.e.l.i.g.o.u.s. about morning moisturizer because no one wants wrinkle sooner than necessary.

Anywho, my mother had bought a Clarisonic a few years ago and when I was visiting or lived at home I would use it every few days.  And then I moved to Pittsburgh and jumped on the whole independent adult living train without my mommy's Clarisonic and my skin suffered.  It looked blah and breakouts where too common for comfort.  I knew something had to change and I knew just the man to do it-Santa Clause.  For Christmas, I was gifted with a Clarisonic and all the skin angels rejoiced.  I haven't looked back since.  The Clarisonic really does help with breakouts and evens and brightens your skin tone.  I have actually had people comment on how great my complexion is--hold the phone!!

Now I won't deny that the Clarisonic is not cheap however if you do already spend alot of money on different products and treatments might I suggest investing in something that will work.  Also, personally I see taking care of my skin at my age as a long term investment in my skin.

So I wish I was a cool enough blogger to announce that I was giving one away now but alas I am not.  All I can say is if you don't already have one, you should totally save your pennies and buy one.  I really don't think you will regret it.  
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NAS: Spiritual Writings

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

Once again linking up with the lovely ladies of the Not Alone Series with Jen and Morgan.

So this week we are talking about spiritual writing that inspires, enriches and encourages us.  So now that college is far enough behind me that required reading assignments don't make me sigh so audibly I am trying to find my stride when it comes to spiritual reading.  I actually had a friend recently remind me how important spiritual reading is as Catholics and it isn't an optional devotion.  That hit me and really inspired me to step up my game when it comes to spiritual reading.  

Over the years I have read a variety of spiritual readings, along with fiction.  You can find my book lists here, here, and here from 2013, 2014, and the running list for 2015 respectively.

However, if I had to pick from all these books the book that has most enriched and changed my spiritual life it would have to be Consoling the Heart of Jesus.  In this book Fr. Gaitley posed how thirsty Christ crucified is for us and by how praying, sacrificing, the sacraments, loving, serving, trusting and being His we are able to care for his wounds.  In particular, he emphasizes how much lack of trusting pains the Lord and how trusting in Him and His will can console His aching heart.  Something that has always in particular stood out from his book was his discussion of sacrifice.  Too often we only sacrifice big things forgetting about the small daily consequences not recognizing their worth.  However, compared to the sacrifice of the cross all of our sacrifices are small and insignificant so how much more important the small sacrifices.  Please, read my original review and more importantly pick this book up.  In particular this Lent, and this soon to come Holy Week read this book and comfort His heart. 

Consoling the Heart of Jesus is a great book but it isn't one I read everyday.  For my daily reading I first and foremost read the bible and a Mary devotional each morning.  I hope to read whatever spiritual reading I am reading at the moment, currently a Mother Theresa book and rereading Rediscovering Catholicism for a book club of sorts.  However, what is most often the most manageable is YOUR blogs and the articles YOU recommend.  All you ladies are so inspiration and steer me towards other writers who write real, honest, raw, and passionate words that make me want to be better.  Please don't doubt that what you write isn't read and isn't taken to heart.

I look forward to getting some recommendations from all of your posts and don't forget to check out the book lists to get other spiritual reading recommendations.  
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

reads 2015: Ordinary Lives Extraordinary Mission

Some books just inspire you so much that they are worth a detailed blog post.  This is one of those books.  I got it from Dynamic Catholic as one of those books that you only pay shipping.  If you aren't familiar with Matthew Kelly or Dynamic Catholic you should be so I highly suggest reading his book, checking out his website, going to his talk.  You will be inspired.

So Ordinary Lives Extraordinary Mission could be summed up as "just become a saint."  John Wood outlines his book reminding readers that we must know there is a war, know our enemy, free ourselves and have a shield and sword.  He says,
"As a nation and as a Church, we've forgotten our story and forgotten our mission.  Central to knowing that you are in a war is knowing what you are fighting for and what you are defending."
In his book, he inspires you to fight and imprints on your just how important it is to fight however reminding that it isn't force, but love that wins the war.
"The battle can't be won by force.  We can't win by changing people's minds; we can only win by changing hearts.  We must begin to live our beliefs.  We must offer an example of truth if we expect others to find it."

I could go on and on adding quote after quote.  Get this book.  Be re-inspired for the mission and fight the good fight of faith passionately.  


This book along with others has been added to my 2015 reads lists.  Be sure to check it out!
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Expectations v. Reality Four Months In

So someone, and I greatly apologize for not remembering who, suggested I do a post on if my job is what I expected.  So just a refresher my job for the first three months was rotating between high risk Antepartum, Labor and Delivery (including OB OR, triage, OB ICU, and prenatal monitoring unit), and postpartum.  In the past month, I have been working in my permanent job of Labor and Delivery.

So what is my job compared to what I expected.  It is really hard to say because I don't really remember what I expected but I will give you what I've got.

I didn't expect to be so scared of "what could go wrong."  Ideally labor and delivery is an experience that is healthy for mom and baby and requires few interventions.  Unfortunately I work at a high risk hospital and this isn't always the case.  Alot of the mom's come to my hospital because of how sick they are and they require alot of interventions from Magnesium to prevent seizures and C-sections because their placenta covers their cervix.  In addition, sometimes things just go south in ways that we didn't expect which can be scary but we are used to it and can handle it. It is great when labor and birth are beautiful experiences with good outcomes all around but that isn't always the case.

I didn't expect to get along so well with my coworkers and to actually make friends with the people I work with.  A couple of the girls I actually see outside of work and many others I love being with when we are working.

I didn't expect how much we would work in a team.  Not only do I know my team leader has my back but also the other nurses on my team will help me out as much as they are able.

It is sometimes the most unexpected patients that I really hit it off with.  I will get patients that I expect to just tolerate taking care of for one first impression or another and before you know it we really hit it off.  The opposite is also true.

Some days I am over or underwhelmed of the whole labor and delivery process. There are days when I come home and I marvel at what happened during my day.  Amazed that the baby I had been monitoring all day is now opening her eyes and staring at her mamma.  Other days I forget to stop and marvel at the lives taking their first breath all around us and just stumble through the monotony that is a high volume maternity hospital.

I don't feel like this post really portrays everything I want it to say but maybe when I am a few more months in I will be able to flesh out a little bit better my expectations versus the reality of a labor and delivery nurse.  In addition I wanted to put some sort of funny meme in hear about labor and delivery but I will save you from the "v" word and other such things. Your welcome.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NAS: Qualities in Your Husband

What are the qualities and characteristics that you are looking for in your future husband? We have talked about what we don't want, but it's good to have an idea of those things that are important to us. Discerning religious life? This applies to communities, as well!

Linking up with Jen and Morgan for another week of the not alone series.  

So when we wrote about Deal Breakers, a very similar topic, back in March I think I basically answered this question instead of that one.  And honestly I still agree with (almost) everything I said.  I think I hit the nail on the head when it comes to spiritual things.   I still want my husband's actions to reflect an authentic sacramental love and a man who will lead me to heaven.  I don't see any that changing anytime soon.  No need to rewrite something that is already well written so please go back, read that post.

However, since I was a little bit more serious in that post I want to turn this one a wee bit more fun and superficial.  While those deal breakers are what it really boils down to I also know that the Lord has this way of answering our quirky desires.  So without further ado I present to you my top ten list of (a bit quirky and not so serious) qualities I look for in a husband.

1. The ability to not snore, because who wants to not sleep for the rest of their life.
2. The perfect height.  I have for a long time had this idea that I need to "fit" next to him when he has his arm around me.  I am guessing around 6 foot. 
3. Who am I kidding I also want him to be gooood looking.  No one else has to think he is cute but I know I want to think he is the cat's meow. 
4.  Please, please be able to change a diaper.  I change alot of diapers and I just really want a guy who knows how to do some basic child care because I do not want to teach you everything.  
5.  Likes to grill because I like me a smokey hamburger. 
6. Be silly.  There is something so fun and romantic about laughing and being silly with a guy.
7.  Like to drive because I hate to and am counting down the days until I have a handsome man to do some of the driving for me. 
8.  Please for the love of all that is good be a man and put the toilet seat down. 
9.  Be passionate in everything you do.  This one is a bit more serious but I just want my husband to be intentional about his job, his vocation, his life.  I want him to enjoy what he does for a living so that he never works a day in his life.   
10.  Don't love cats.  You can like them but don't love them.  That is just weird and I do not find it attractive.  (And yes I have had a bad experience with this.)

Well there you go.  10 Qualities that I seek in a husband.  The Lord does say ask and you say receive ;). 
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Reads of 2015

Another year, more books.

I know there are sights like goodreads that you can keep track of the books that you read but I am sticking with the good old blog.  Check back to see as my completed books grows. As always many of the links are affiliate links and any support would be greatly appreciated.

Reading lists from 2013 and 2014.

This years reading list:

1. Joy to the World by Scott Hahn---I think Jen reviews this book better than I ever could.  I copletely agree that this book paints a more in depth picture of the characters of the nativity store.  It is a quick, easy read and will probably be reread each year as part of my advent.  Read it and be in awe of the incarnation all over again.
2. The Red Tent  by Anita Diamant---This book is....interesting.  I decided to read it because it was about some of the untold stories of the female characters of the bible and their role as midwives.  Great combo.  I almost gave the book up about 25% of the way through but decided to keep trucking on.  I don't regret it but while the book is good it is by no means great in my opinion.  In addition, it has periods of being rather mature.   Has anyone else read this?  What were your thoughts?
3. Ordinary Lives, Extrodinary Mission by John R. Woof---Read the review here.
4.We are Liars by E. Lockhart--- A quick easy read that keeps you entertained.  However I was not prepared for the twist at the end.
5.  Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler---  I read this book less than a year but enjoyed it so much that I have already reread it.  I enjoyed it just as much if not more the second time through.  It is so beautiful to read Truth and the light of Christ shining.  Read my review from the first read through here.
6.  The Giver by Lois Lowry----Somehow I had missed out on reading this book in high school which is rather unfortunate.  I was so fascinated by the predictive qualities of this book. The suppressing pills, the lack of memories, the control-all so fascinating.  The whole time I was reading it I wanted to have a high school discussion about it.
7.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion---I liked this easy reading fiction so much that I am reading the second book in the series now.  Not only did I enjoy it but it also inspired me to learn how to make cocktails.
8.  Come Be My Light by Mother Theresa--You know those books that sit and sit and sit on your nightstand and you only pick up here and there but when you do you wonder why you don't read it more.  Here is that book.  Which why wouldn't I want to read the personal writings of a woman on the path to sainthood?!  This book is full of line after line with Mother Theresa's desire to do the Lord's will despite personal struggles. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friday Fasting for Babes

The bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville has long asked the people of the diocese to fast on Fridays for the intention of life of the born.  Attending Franciscan it wasn't terribly difficult, there were always few meat options on Friday reminding you of the fast and giving you many meat free options.  However, now that I have graduated and moved away it is very hard to remember and honestly I rarely do.

As the anniversary of Roe v. Wade comes  to an end and another year has passed where it is legal to kill the unborn I am reminded once again just how important it is to pray and fast that this injustice is brought to a screeching halt.  

Therefore I am publically declaring a recommitment to fasting on Fridays for the intention of the unborn, not to proclaim it in the synagogues but to invite  others to join me and to remind and hold each other accountable.  

Who is with me?!  Let's join the army  fighting for life in a very concrete tangible way. 

Comment below.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NAS: Children and Babies

Do you have children in your life? What is your relationship with them like? Do you have godchildren, and how do you form a relationship with them? Does having children in (or not in) your day-to-day life make you feel happy, wistful, or wary (of having your own someday)? 

Thanks to Lindsay!

Once again linking up with the lovely ladies of the Not Alone Series hosted by Jen and Morgan.  Hop on over to Jen's blog to read all the posts. 

My life pretty much is babies (read by Day in the Life post).  The funny thing is I thought when I moved to Pittsburgh I would have less children and babies in my life.  How foolish I was because really I have even more.  But the babies at work aren't the same as children I really have relationships with.

At home, I have a family that I have grown super close to since they were my CORE members in youth group in high school.  They have three kids and one cooking in mommy's belly.  They are basically my niece and nephews.  The funny thing is the other day someone at Church thought the dad was my parents' son so apparently they are like my niece and nephews even to bystanders.  The little girl is also my Goddaughter and she is just the able of my eye.  She calls me NaNa as soon as I walk in the door and she could be rotten and I would still steal some sugar.  When I am at home I do basically everything with them-grocery shopping, school pick-up, zoo trips.  I actually know more of the preschool moms at our parish then the young adults.  That was a bit of a red flag for me when considering where to settle in when I was job searching.  It is beautiful to spend so much time with them and if I lived at home right now I probably would spend all my free time with them.  But I can't do that because their life isn't my state in life.  I can't be a mom without kids, I need to be a single young adult.  When I am living life with them I do want kids of my own because I would love my kids to grow up with them (which could still happen) but for the most part I just love loving on them and handing them off when they are particularly rotten. Perks of not being a mom.

I also nannyed when I lived at home. 

So they say that when you work in obstetrics you get baby fever.  I can honestly say that most days this isn't true for me.  However when I have particularly great or particularly awful patients I want to be having my own baby.  Normally it is just a quick tug on my heart that quickly leaves as I change out of my scrubs but I can't deny that some days I really want to be the one with the big belly anxiously waiting for the first breath of my little one.

So yes, I have a lot of kids and babies in my life.  And yes, somedays it really makes my heart yearn to have little heads of my own to kiss but I know that the Lord's timing is perfect and in His perfect will little hands and feet will come.  Until then all I can do is learn and love the kids I already have around me.  
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why am I busy?

I recently had a very insightful conversation with a friend.  If you have been around this blog, specifically the NAS: Day in the Life, you know that I typically work 55-60 hours a week between my nursing job and my nanny job.  Before I got the nanny job I had alot of extra time on my hands and since getting the nanny job I have very little time that is allocated to a job or a scheduled event.  I love it and I hate it all at the same time.

Well my nanny hours are going to be drastically less very soon.  The mother of the family I nanny for is back at work and they need someone who has a more stable schedule than me, the nurse with an ever changing schedule.  Once they find someone I will be doing more PRN work for them (as needed for you non medical people). This means that I will have a lot more "free time."

I was talking to my friend and telling her about how I am excited about having more time available to visit localish friends, make dinner, go to Mass, and work out but I am also afraid I am going to have too much extra time making me feel lonely.  She challenged me asking why I felt the need to fill my time.  Was it related to deep seeded fear or just simply my extreme extravertedness?  Right now, I don't have the answer but I am fascinated by the question and want to dive deeper into it.

Part of this is I realize extra time is a fleeting thing that will pass when I one day Lord willing transition from singleness to a marriage and family so how so I take hold of my time and the special opportunities available to singles while still single.  What even is it I should be doing besides this elusive "discovering yourself" and more time in prayer.  How can I fill my time purposefully and with things that actually make me a better person.  

Part of the purpose of this post is a journal entry of sorts but I am also interested if you have any thoughts?  Past experiences? Current struggle?
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