I’ve had so much coffee today that picking just one drink isn’t going to be easy.  Ok, honesty hour, I’ve had so much coffee this week  that all the drinks blend into one (no pun intended).  Yet the root of the extra caffeine is simply because my increase of coffee is making up for a decrease in sleep hours – which happens to be nineteen hours of sleep this week.  That is a new record if anyone is counting.  Thankfully homework has settled down, midterms are done for the most part, and I am ready to embark onto another week of coffee sipping and hopefully sleeping.

     Where was I? Oh right, coffee reminiscing.  Can you tell I’m still a little sleep deprived? I’m going to have to go with the new spiced pumpkin latte from Panera with my “What I’m Drinking” for the week.  Every Saturday night I swing by that bakery and this week I saw that their coffee menu had changed to include this beauty.  Guys.  It’s amazing.  And call me the typical white girl as long as you want (minus the Starbucks, more on that later) but there is nothing quite like a pumpkin coffee as you watch the leaves off your back porch.

Ah, a site of beauty. 
Would you look at that? Just look at it!

      Now onto the thoughts of my crazy, jumbled brain, if that wasn’t crazy and jumbled enough for you.  My little sister is eighteen years old, which is a fact that usually blows my mind.  It doesn’t seem that I’m old enough to have a little sister who has also crossed the bridge to the adult world. Yet, eighteen years old she is, and I’m incredibly proud of her.  It’s an incredible blessing to go to the same college as her as well – we share a professor this semester and it is exciting to know that when he talks about his ‘Freshman class,’ he’s talking about her.  

     Earlier this week she came home from classes and said that she wanted to go to Nicaragua over the winter break.  This floored me – because she’s not a super adventurous gal.  Yet she was not only wanting to go on this trip, she was excited about it.  She pulled up pictures, schedules, and sent off her request for a passport.  As I’m typing this, she just came home with her passport picture all printed and ready to go.  Her deposit was put down Tuesday.  Talk about delving into something that you are passionate and striving after a goal that you’ve selected for yourself.

                                             

 
     She is going to be able to expand into a better version of herself on this trip, and it all stemmed from the ability to get out of her comfort zone.  Getting out of your comfort zone is what I’m thinking about quite a bit this week.  Mady is taking a leap of faith and adventure that I wish I would have had the bravery to do in my freshman year in college.  Not that my freshman college experience was horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it was safe. 
     Our faith life isn’t meant to be ‘safe.’ Or ‘convenient.’  Instead, it is a call to get out of our comfort zones and interact with other human beings on this road to Heaven.  It means talking to people, and being vulnerable.  It means admitting you don’t have it all together – and realizing that perfection is a goal that is only reached when Heaven is attained.

    Take a lesson this week from Miss Mady.  Side not – she also blogs, I am beyond excited to be able to follow her adventures.  Get out of your comfort zone – and apply that to faith and general life goals tat you have in mind for yourself.  You do not have to travel internationally to accomplish amazing things for Christ.  You can be His hands and feet here with your own family, campuses, friends and workplaces.

    Saint Teresa of Avila (yet another one of my favorites up in Heaven) once said, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”  Don’t be afraid to ask God for something that seems out of your reach.  If it is in His plan for your life, it’s going to work out.  Awareness that the answer could be ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Maybe’ is also 

     I wrote about this earlier this week, but it’s still relevant.  Get into the trenches.  Get out of your   comfort zone.  Life is too short – take it from the twenty year old who is realizing that my life could be over twenty percent lived.  Honestly, who knows? It could be that my life is already ninety percent completed.  But I know this – I don’t want to look back on my life (however much of it God gives me) and think “Wow, I could have done so much more for Him if I’d only put my plan aside and let Him take over.”

Be bold.  Jump into the deep end.  Drink some coffee.  Be Not Afraid.

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14 Days Into the Journey

Well, it’s been two weeks since the dating fast started.

It has been a crazy ride in such a short period of time.

When starting out the dating fast, of course I entered with visions of grandeur, a clean and tidy dating fast in which I would automatically fall more in love with God.  I mean, how could you not?

Little did I count in the fact that my emotions are at sometimes, ok, fine, all the times, crazy.  

This is basically how my dating fast prep went:

The month before the dating fast started:  Ah, this is going to be the best thing ever for my spiritual life. How have I not done this before?  Get to know people without tons of relationships expectations, and just relax.  Cannot wait for this dating fast to start.

The day before the dating fast started: Holy canole.  What in the world am I getting myself into. I’m in college.  If I don’t meet someone now, it is only going to get harder.  This is huge.  This could be the semester where I meet someone.  And I’m going to have to say no because I’m on this dating fast.

Day 1:  I got this!  Heart to heart talks with God, some scheduled time for the Bible, this is great. This is better than great.

Day 5: Ok, it’s hard.  In fact, it’s really hard.  I’m surrounded by available, great guys everywhere I turn.  In class.  In the library.  When I go to dinner.  At work.  In my social groups.  Can I just join a convent?  This would be much easier if I could do a dating fast with no men around.  I feel like the only safe guys to talk to are those who are related to me and seminarians/deacons/priests.  I’m so in trouble if this is how it’s going to be for the next four months.

Day 9: Ok, how have I never noticed all these couples before?  They are literally everywhere?  That kid is in 4th grade and has a boyfriend?  What am I doing with my life?

And then I caught myself.  Because I’d fallen (again) into the trap that what I needed so badly was a relationship with a guy.  I was getting tripped up by guys because I was hoping that there was some potential there somewhere.  And frankly, that’s pretty darn selfish.

Things went from:

“Oh! What a great guy! He opens doors and doesn’t cuss and is super into his faith.”

into

“Hmm…what would our relationship look like.”

Instead of 

“Thank you Lord for a man of God who serves you with His heart.  Strengthen him on his journey and help him do Your will.”

There is a great story about three men who go out for a walk on a summer evening.  As they stroll through the park, they walk past a young woman in a revealing top.  The first man immediately averts his eyes, doesn’t acknowledge the woman’s presence at all and continues on the walk.  The second man indulges in the beauty of the woman for his own good, and cranes his neck to stare at her as she walks past.  The third man acknowledges the woman with a friendly smile and continues on the path, and takes a moment quietly pray Psalm 84:1 – “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts!”

This can be applied to dating fasts too.

The first approach is to totally avoid guys at all costs.  You can’t date ’em, you don’t even want to see ’em.  This results in always wearing earbuds and sunglasses and may or may not include frequent midnight McDonalds runs for food incognito.

The second approach is to go all out.  You’re on a dating fast, but dating is flirting.  Dating isn’t texting.  You’re just lining the options up for when you are done with the fast and in for the feast.

The third option is acknowledge the beauty that God has created in this world (including guys in your life) and thank Him for them.  And then, continue along the path.

So, that’s the goal for the remaining weeks.  Acknowledge and appreciate, then find total fulfillment in God alone.  Pretty lofty goals, but with God all things are possible.

Any thoughts? Tips or hints for dating fasts? (pass them over, I will take anything you can give me.)

God bless!!

Chloe

Falling in Love with Authentic Love

I love love.

Romantic comedies, Disney movies, life chats about relationships, engagement stories, wedding pictures.

My soul sister is Anna from Frozen because of her jump-in-head-first love mentality. (spoiler, that doesn’t end well for her.)

disney enchanted true love cinderella Giselle snow white anna frozen kristoff

So it may come as a shock that the idea of a dating fast has been on my mind quite a lot recently.  And that this semester I’m going to begin a search for authentic love.

And that doesn’t just mean no dating.  It actually entails a lot.

Whoa.  Giving up going out? Flirting? Stalking a guy emotionally (and on Facebook)? Giving up planning out your future children’s names and how they will look so cute in baby blazers and chuck taylors? Deleting that secret Pinterest wedding board?

frustrated animated GIF
What will I even do with all my time now?

I spent my last two years of high school anxiously waiting for college to finally get here just so that things could be different.  I spent freshman year with my fingers crossed that if I could get the right friends, do the right activities and be at the right places at the right times, things would change for the better.

A.K.A., I’d get a date.  Let’s be real here.

Family gatherings or life chats with friends quickly turn to a potential relationship discussion, followed by questions about when I was finally going to go out on date.

parks and recreation animated GIF
“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone someday sometime” 

I was living in a little world where I was looking for just the right guy, and in the mean time, I was an incomplete person, waiting for my better half.  I felt as if something was missing – something from my life was not there, and when I found that one piece of the life puzzle, it would all fall into place.

And I was right.

But it wasn’t a guy who was going to turn things around and lead to sunset-gazing, hand-holding, long-walks-together wonderfulness.

It was the guy.

Or specifically, this guy.

Because I had quickly forgotten in the span of my freshman-sophomore years that I am a daughter of God who is beautiful, unique, and worthy of love.  I had forgotten that I was worth more than I could ever imagine.  “More than how many girls wish they were me or how many guys wish they had me.  Regardless of who I thought I was, the reality was is that I deserved someone who would give up their life for me.” (And if you ever need a pep talk this is the one.)

And I had Him.  But I’d just brushed Him off into the corner to pull out when I felt like it.

I had let my “God journal” become my “Guy journal.”  I had so many talks with God on the walks back from class about if He could just work this one out than I would for sure make my daily Bible reading a priority again.  And I just needed a spiritual guy leader in my life to help me out.

The one day, I heard a question that shook me.

“If the guy of your dreams were to walk into your life right now, would you even be the kind of girl that he would be looking for?”

And I honestly had to say no.  I had spent so much time creating a list of characteristics that I was looking for that it had skipped my mind that I should be working on those virtues too.

 Enter the dating fast.

No dating for this Spring 2015 semester.  No mentally stalking guys.  No pinterest binge nights and rants on how I had everything ready for my future wedding but the guy (which, it turns out, is a pretty important part).

I’m giving God this semester not because I’ve given up on being found by a great guy.  Not because I’ve dated guys a lot during high school and college and have been burnt by it. Not because I’ve broken up with the concept of love.

parks and recreation animated GIF
Nope, not the reason 

But because I want to first fall in love with the man who died to get to know me.  Because I’m tired of walking into Mass and scoping it out for potential guys of interest.  Because I want to know what an authentic God filled relationship would look like.

Because my life needs some silent time to find out what the voice of God even sounds like…so that when He says “There’s the one” I know who is talking.  Or that if He says that and points to His son, I can respond without hesitation.

I am in no way saying that dating is a bad thing.  In fact, it’s very good.  You usually can’t end up with a great person unless you go on some dates with ’em.

But I don’t believe I’m going to be looking back on this fast in five months and saying “Darn it, growing closer to the Lord and treating people like brothers and sisters in Christ was such a waste of time.  Wouldn’t do that again.”

Is it going to be tough? Heck yes.  But one of my favorite women of God, Saint Catherine of Sienna, once said, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”   

No one one their death bed looks back and wishes they hadn’t gotten to know God and His children better.

So, what are your thoughts?  Have you, too, struggled with emotional chastity and dating obsessions? Let me know in the comments below!

In Christ,

Chloe

A Thankful Heart: Day Four

Today I’m pulling the typical white girl card and saying that I’m thankful for Fall.
Or at least what’s left of it here in my city.  
On Tuesday the weather is supposed to be around thirty degrees.
So I’m thankful for sweaters without coats over them.
Fall leaves without snow dripping off of them.

Walks to class without freezing my fingers off.
Drives to work without snow on the road.
And general fall weather without the
nagging feeling that winter is just around the corner.