If there are two things that I am passionate about, two things that have a constant presence in my life…I’d have to say they would be coffee and Catholicism.  My mornings start not only with a good shot of caffeine, but also a morning offering or rosary on the way to work.  So this weekly blog series is going to combine my two favorite things in the world.

What I’m Drinking: Ok, I’ll play favorites.  There is a little coffee shop on the corner of campus that I adore.  It has a more industrial theme, with exposed metal lighting, rough wooden benches, and modern, local art hanging from the walls.  The baristas are spectacular, and the drip brew coffee is phenomenal.  It’s a popular place for off campus studying, and even on the weekend, seats could be hard to come by.  The hustle and bustle of student life is alive and well there, and the night crowd is fantastic.  Poetry readings, book clubs and local musicians draw different crowds.  In other words, the perfect place for people watching…one of my favorite hobbies.

The drink of today is my usual – I honestly have never tried anything else there.  Vanilla latte – medium, for here.  The cup has a quote inscribed in the inside rim – “Without love, it’s just coffee.”  Expertly crafted hearts line up, ready to be sipped and enjoyed.  I can be seen at the window, cup on the bar, laptop plugged in. This is my place.  This is my drink.

What I’m Thinking: Do you know what is really neat? (besides neature) Swing dancing.  I am by no means a pro at swing dancing, but there is something that is really awesome about it – and something I can’t exactly pin point.  I love how classy it is – and how much Theology of the Body is tied into the dancing itself.  But more on that later – there’s a whole post on that coming soon.

Anyway, this week at the campus center, we had a guest speaker come by and teaching us not only how to swing dance, but how swing dancing can correlate to our faith.  I was beyond excited.  So excited in fact that this deserves a Taylor Swift reaction.  Talk about an epic combination.  Ok, now onto what he really talked about.

taylor swift animated GIF

Have you ever danced with someone who you don’t know? Maybe at a bar, or at a formal, but even if you have never danced with a stranger before, you can imagine how nerve racking it can be.  You don’t know them, they don’t know you.  Do you just worry about not stepping on their feet or do you try to strike up a conversation with them?  It’s interesting.  It can be awkward.  But then you push past it, and realize that you may have some things in common (even if it’s just the fact that you’re both dancing) and you can have a great interaction with another human being.

What if we viewed evangelizing or talking about our faith in the same light?  Yep, sometimes in the initial conversations, it can be weird.  Do you say your plans include Mass when someone asks you what you are doing this weekend?  Or talk about the retreat you just went on with someone in class on Monday?  What about when a crude joke gets brought up in class, or a work place situation calls for you to stand your ground in terms of morality?  It’s interesting.  It can be squishy.

When I swing dance now, I don’t know what I’m doing.  Honestly.  I am exceedingly grateful to be the gal in this situation – I just have to follow a guy’s lead.  Yet it takes a lot of trust to know that he isn’t going to drop me or run me into another couple.  It also takes practice.  You can’t just walk onto the dance floor in a bar and impress everyone with your mad skills (ok, maybe you can.  I can’t.)  But after practice and familiarity with your partner, things start to get smooth – and you can really make an impact.

Your relationship with Christ is something that should invade your life – but it’s also something that takes practice.  And time.  Do you know how long it takes someone to be considered an ‘expert’?  10,000 hours of practice.  So whether that practice is dedicated to swing dancing (not a bad use of your time, honestly) or your faith (even better use of your time) – or both! – know that practice does indeed help.  And your faith is never going to be ‘perfect’ – take it from the saints, you won’t always have it together.  And that’s ok.  Sometimes you’ll back into someone on the dance floor.  You may drop someone, or get dropped – but you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get right back at it. 
So that’s my ramblings for this weekend.  If you need me, you can find me at this counter, pouring over Youtube swing dancers.  Feel free to join.
Have an amazing weekend,
Chloe M. 

What would you like to drink with that book?

The Book:

During the college semester, there aren’t many times I get to sit down and read for fun.  Typically my reading list consists of

textbooks, textbooks and textbooks with a side of textbooks sprinkled with textbooks.  Granted, as a history major, these books are often really quite interesting and enjoyable for me.

But this week I got time to go behind my textbooks’ back and read some non-school assigned reading.

Don’t tell them.

This week’s book selection is The World of Downton Abbey.
This TV show is the bane of my existence at this point – it’s constant presence and my needing to catch up on the latest season frequently takes precedence over my always-due homework.  Curse you PBS and your addictive ability. 

So this book is a happy medium of being able to sneak into the wonderful world of Downton while still appearing to be studying.  I have a feeling that habit is going to kick me soon.

The Drink:

You will never love coffee as much as you do in college.  There is something about sleep deprivation that increases the flavor of this beverage like none other. 

My favorite coffee and the selection that graces my Wednesday afternoon is a caramel macchiato.  My sister lovingly makes fun of me, since this drink is essentially just “stained milk.”  Say what you wish, barrista sister, but I’m addicted.  I need to find a cheaper addiction. 

The Thoughts: I was at a young Christian adult group this week and the speaker had some pretty powerful thoughts.  She mentioned how young adults in general need to stop throwing themselves headlong into dedication to a non-reality. 

What does this mean?  Basically, if reality TV, Facebook, video games or fiction are taking over your life, than you need to reevaluate.  You’re missing out on incredible opportunities to connect with the people you pass on the bus, sit with in class or work next door to.

And while I completely agree, a very small part of me will forever be matchmaking the characters in Downtown Abbey.  Come on, Mary.  Go out with Charles Blake already, will you?