Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

2016 had its up and downs, for the world and for me. This was no doubt one of the more challenging years we have all faced, but in choosing to take each event as a lesson that we learned from,  we can enter 2017 with a spirit of growth, ready to move forward. 2016 brought a major life change for me. My mantra for 2016 was to "say yes" and to practice self care. While those still need to be worked on in the upcoming year, those two goals helped me to start being more conscious about what I ate, had me run my first race (just a 5K, but still!) and had me say yes to travel, friends, and most importantly, a goal I set for myself a long time ago that I never thought I'd achieve, going back to school to get my Ph.D. 2016 was quite the journey, and now that I'm settled in Florida, I'm looking forward to what 2017 has to offer! Here's a little snippet of my 2016.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Equip Me, Lord

In our Young Adults group tonight, we were reading Saturday's Gospel for the Feast of St. Andrew. The Gospel is from Matthew and it tell of the mission of the twelve, when after seeing a crowd filled with disease and illness, Jesus' 

"...Heart was moved with pity for them because they were trouble and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd" 
(Matthew 9:36)

After this, he summons the twelve disciplines and gives them authority to go out into ministry and drive out unclean spirits and cure illness. Somehow we got on the topic of giving and receiving, and when is it the right time to act. Some people were stressing the point of needing to fill your own cup before you can pour out to others, while others were discussing how through serving from our brokenness, we are not only giving to others but also giving to ourselves.

It got me thinking about my own giving, and not just in the sense of service work, but giving of myself, giving of Christ to others. I very often fall into the camp of feeling like I never know enough to share, or I never know what to share or how to share it correctly. I don't have it polished and perfected enough to put out in the world, either in person or through this blog, and so I don't do it. It’s a reflection of a struggle within myself, that I am hesitant to produce a product that is less than perfect and present it to the world. But someone in group tonight brought up the point that we don't learn from individuals who are perfect. Those are not the stories we are drawn to. We are drawn to those who share a common struggle, whom we can relate to, and whose lives we can learn from. I think that is something that makes the saints so powerful. They are incredibly holy men and women, and yet their stories are filled with hardship and brokenness. Look at St. Teresa of Calcutta. She went through such an extended period of darkness, of not feeling Christ's presence and of sometimes doubting, yet she is one of the most holy women of our time. Just because we don’t feel prepared or perfect doesn't mean we can't serve or share.

This whole thought process was making me think of this space, this blog. I write so infrequently one, due to time, but also due to the fact that I feel like I don’t have anything good enough to say. That no one will read it, so why bother. But I want to end that. I like to write, and I am trying to find my voice, though it isn't perfect. So why not share it all here, why not start giving of myself and my stories, because I have received so much through Christ and as the last line of the Gospel passage reflects, 

"Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give".

I don't feel prepared, but as I opened my Bible to write, a note card fell out with a quote I heard in college "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called," and I have faith that what I need to serve with be provided for by God.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other" 
-St. Teresa of Calcutta

As I sit here in Florida, my heart breaks for Charlotte, my city. My heartbreaks for those who feel the pain of injustice. My heartbreaks for those who are scared. My heartbreaks for those who don't know what the best solution is. My heart breaks for my beautiful city and for all of those cities and families and communities affected by injustices. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016


The story of the Prodigal Son, which is this week's Gospel reading, is a well known story, a story about greed and humility, a story about mercy. I went to the young adult group (!) held by the Catholic Church on campus, and we reflected on this week's Gospel. While I kept quiet for the most part, it was so interesting to hear other's revelations about this famous story. 

A few thoughts that were shared tonight:

  • In the beginning, the younger son was very greedy. But not only that, he wanted what was "owed to him" in the form of his inheritance, something only received after the father would have passed. So not only does he say give me what I am "owed", he could be alluding to the fact that his father/family is now dead to him. This only heightens his distancing himself from his father in his belief that he can live life "his way".
    • What do we throw away to pursue what we want or think we need?
  • After squandering his inheritance on things he *thinks* will bring him fulfillment, he resorts to thinking"And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him". He is so desperate for something to fill him that he would eat pig slop.
    • Are we ever so desperate that we resort to "pig slop" to fill our needs and desires?
  • "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son”..... But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
  • Through his sin, the son feels unworthy of the father's love or grace. But the father doesn't merely accept his son back into the family, no he "saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him". The father's love and mercy was not contingent on how the son behaved, it was unreserved and unwavering no matter what, and he gave him the best he had to offer.
  • The older son's jealously is a reminder of a few things:
    • One, God doesn't love us because we try to be perfect. We are able to strive towards holiness because God loves us unconditionally
    • Two, We are not the judges of who is deserving of what. We need to take a reality check and humble ourselves.
    • Three, does our pursuit of the "good" keep us from pursuing the "best" or the "greatest"? The older son was so concerned with playing by the roles, or doing what was good, that he forgot that the greater good was loving his brother and welcoming him home. 
I think that last point is an interesting one. How often do we concern ourselves with things that aren't bad, that may be good, but that keep us from the greatest good? It isn't bad to spend time with friends or family, but if that time spent interferes with our ability to seek God, is the good getting in the way of a greater good? I feel like this is a hard question to answer, especially for the person who feels like they are doing the right thing and "deserves" the splendors that the younger son receives. But we don't deserve anything because of what we do or don't do. We deserve the gifts of the Father because of who HE is, not because of who we are.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Beginings

The past few months have been quite eventful, as I made the move out of Philadelphia and began my southbound road trip throughout late July and August, finally making my way to Florida. I've been in grad school for just about three weeks now! I keep telling myself that I am going to keep up more regularly with blog posts now that I'm settled, but for now, I'll leave a few snapshots of my journey out of Philadelphia down to Florida!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A little announcement...

A lot has happened since my last post 7 months ago. I took a little hiatus to focus on a very big undertaking in my life, which was applying to doctoral programs in psychology, a feat that consumed me since about Summer of 2015 until the past few weeks.

The undertaking that was applying to grad school is finally over. The long months of studying, researching programs, writing and rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting) statements of purpose,  flying all of the country for full-day interviews, waiting for acceptance offers, negotiating financial aid packets and agonizing over the choice have finally come to an end. I knew going into this process that it would take a lot of work, but I couldn't fathom the physical and mental endurance it would take. The application process tested me mentally, but ultimately allowed me the opportunity to take stock of what I have learned and channel that towards my future goals.