“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it... But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

~Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walk with Christ

"This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God."          ~ Micah 6:8

"Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives!  He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God.  Turn to Him in prayer and in love.  Ask Him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always.  Walk with Him who is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life.'"                ~ Pope St. John Paul II

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Such is life (because I couldn't think of a good post title...)

Today I grace you with some bits and pieces of what's been going on for me lately... (apart from school, because even though that forms such a big part of my existence, I figured just a tiny break from it on the blog would be refreshing. For both you and me. ;))

- Saturday I devoted my morning to the making of applesauce and the baking of cookies. A very highly commendable occupation. Especially since both said applesauce and said cookies were very delicious to consume. 

- in the afternoon I took part in the almost equally commendable occupation of watching Bleak House with a friend (and it just may have involved more eating of the same oatmeal raisin cookies... ^_^)

- I've been uncontrollably giggling about this hilarious buzzfeed article yet again... because it's so dang relatable.  (And the gifs are completely amazing -- my brother and I seriously died over #12.) Gosh. -->> 30 Things That Happen When You're a Total Klutz.  I mean, obviously some of them don't apply to me, for example I do like sports, and can manage hand-eye-coordination in things like Ultimate Frisbee.  But yeah... walking into doors, falling down stairs, wreaking havoc with store displays, dumping food on my clothes... GUYS IT'S JUST MY LIFE.  At least I've never been so silly as to wear high heels on ice... O_o  I mean, I was able to fall down and break my wrist just on normal ice skates. 
Ah well, now you know some of the sad truths about me and how I get along with the world... 

- Speaking of relatable things, this post of Rebecca's basically summed up my social life extraordinarily well. -->> Why don't people know how to talk?   So anyway, read it. And then make sure you come and talk to me about something, because I love having normal, friendly, awesome conversations.  And I LOVE meeting new people. Seriously. :)

- Yesterday I discovered this completely beautiful song Billy Boyd has recorded for the end of the Battle of Five Armies. -->> 'The Last Goodbye'.  I've just been playing it on replay over and over and over. Because - well listen to it and you'll know why. <333  JUST TOO GORGEOUS. So many feels...

- Lastly, I know many of you were asking about my retreat last weekend and how it went. It was absolutely amazing!  The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are pretty much the best ever. They are just so lovable and hilarious and completely awesome. :)  But a lot of things really hit me over the head that weekend.  I still don't know what my vocation is, I can't see that clearly yet, but what I can see is that I really need to have a strong personal relationship with Christ.  He wants me to just stop worrying about everything, and entrust my life to His care.  

As I was kneeling in Adoration in the middle of the night, this really just came flooding over me.

Sure, I've been doing lots of great things in the past few months and God has blessed me in so many ways.  But I've been living a shallow existence.  I've neglected prayer, and I really don't have a deep personal relationship with Christ. Just going through the motions of life doing things without a strong underlying spiritual life - that's just not the way to find fulfillment.  That's not the way to become a saint.

The powerful words from the talks earlier that day, and the powerful words I've been hearing my whole life, all came together and I could really see clearly what is most important. And that is loving Jesus. Letting Him rule your life completely. Taking the time to actually get to know Him. Taking the time to pray, and establishing a strong relationship. Because then this spiritual life will overflow into everything else that you do. Just like the one Dominican motto, "contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere (to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation)."  If we don't have that strong spiritual wellspring, we cannot teach others and bring them to our Lord. Our words would just be empty without meaning.  To be the strong Christian role models that are needed in the world today, we need Jesus.

And even though it was easy to see all this at the retreat, it is hard to put it in action in my everyday life. I keep falling down over and over again. But the important thing is to just get back up and try again. And pray. Always pray.

I've just always known that God should obviously be first in my life, but I don't think I've always acted that way. I tend to like making my own decisions, and knowing what's going on.  So it takes a big act of will to actually throw my own plans aside, take a deep breath, and say, "Ok God.  I'm ready for whatever you have planned. Where you lead me I will follow."

photo creds: google

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aaand...November is upon us

Just popping in to say hello to all of you lovely people! :)

Sadly, it seems as if senior year is trying to stifle any regular flow of blog posts that I might try to keep up (not that I really try to be regular)... Everything is so crazy... But I know I've said that before, so I'm not going to bore you with explicit details of how many papers I've had to write in the last two weeks, what's going on in physics (^_^), and all that good 'ole stuff (*insert sarcastic tone*)

But anyway, regardless of school, life has still been good lately.  We had the most wonderful All Saints Day Party with a ton of great friends last weekend, I've discovered Doctor Who (!!!), I'm finally pretty much caught up on assignments, and today I'll be heading off with Mary Claire and Emily for a retreat with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist! :D  I'm so, so excited. I'll be sure to pray for every single one of you! <3  

Oh, and sneak peek into my day, it actually snowed this morning...  There's November in Michigan for you.  Never know what kind of weather is going to appear next.

Love y'all, and hopefully I can be back here soon with something most substantial to talk about! <333  In the meantime check out Peregrin's lovely giveaway for a fabulous skirt, and read Mariah's absolutely wonderful post on prayer.  And I leave you with some of Mother Teresa's wisdom. God bless! :)


“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Texas Travels

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~ St. Augustine


Currently I am spending a peaceful day with my family at my Grandpa's assisted living villa in San Antonio.  Yes, that's right, Texas.  A place where they still have 80 degree weather in October and it feels like we've gone back in time to those glorious months of summer. Just a refreshing little break, spending time with family and seeing new places.  Then we'll come back to be plunged once again into windy, cold Michigan fall weather...

But actually, as I've seen more of Texas, I'm loving Michigan more.  The woods and lakes and hills are just my home. I don't belong in the hot dry regions with the long flat expanses and the short scrubby trees. I belong in my northern mitten state, and that's where I always will.  But of course, it's lovely to experience something different. Nothing really compares to swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on North Padre Island. Smelling the salty tang in the air, and tasting it on your lips. Gazing out at the crashing, thundering sea. Burying your feet deep in the sand. Wandering along the shore gathering shells. Riding a boogie board on the waves.  Taking a boat tour out amongst the islands.  Feeling the wind whip through your hair. Watching the sun rise in all its glorious splendor.  Watching it set at night from a restaurant over the bay.

All that was a few days ago when we traveled down to Corpus Christi.

Now we're back in San Antonio, and I made a most wonderful discovery at my Grandpa's place:

Books. Classics, to be exact.  In lovely, old-fashioned, hardcovers - just inviting you to open them up and dive into their golden depths. Pride and Prejudice, Crime and Punishment, Poems of William Shakespeare, Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, Shakespeare's Comedies, The Red Badge of Courage, David Copperfield, and the list goes on.

And these are right next to the pool table where my brothers love hanging out.  I browsed through my favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice last night, and now today I've been exploring the stirring beauty of Keat's poetry.

But what is higher beyond thought than thee?
Fresher than berries of a mountain tree?
More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,
Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
What is it? And to what shall I compare it?
It has a glory, and nought else can share it...
(Keats, Sleep and Poetry)

I just want to sit here for hours and hours, days and days, to read all these books... ♥

Sadly that's not possible though.  Reality kicks in.  I've got homework and papers due and quizzes to study for... and this is our last day at the villa. Tomorrow we fly back home.

Our trip was far from perfect, it had its snags and troubles, of course.  But overall, I will carry away some wonderful memories of places and happenings that I'll just never forget.  God is good. ♥

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee"

There is so much going on in my life that sometimes it just overwhelms me. These past weeks have been really tough at times.
I've just been so swamped in piles of homework and college stuff...

- staying up until the wee hours of the morning trying to wrap my head around an annoying little physics concept THAT JUST WON'T MAKE SENSE.  I mean, I didn't want to fail the quiz the next day...  After reading countless explanations and watching demonstrations it finally clicked though. #yesss #hardworkpaysoff
- emailing back and forth with college admissions people because certain parts of my application weren't arriving...
- realizing that somehow I'm a week behind from the rest of my class in Catholic Doctrine - and frantic catch-up...
- literally doing my homework for debate class in the car on the way there...
things like that. 

I just haven't felt very uplifting or inspiring lately.  I haven't felt like I have a great message to share with you.  I haven't even felt like taking pictures.  So consequently I haven't felt like blogging either.

Every time I've sat down to try and do a post, I come face to face with writer's block.  I can't even scratch out a complete sentence.  I just seem to be running up against a wall.  (So instead I go watch Audrey Hepburn movies.  Brilliant, huh.  It's great, except it doesn't get anything posted on my blog...)

But a few days ago things started getting better.  I had a surprisingly fun and awesome physics class where my professor entertained us all with fabulous liquid nitrogen demonstrations.  Freezing flowers and bananas rock solid until they're brittle in the space of a few minutes... with the nitrogen evaporating into the air in steamy clouds.  It was actually fascinating, and I don't even usually like science.  

Then after class I got to go shoe shopping and found an awesome pair of riding boots. <3 They made me so happy. :)

But what really brought so much more peace to my heart was just going out for a simple walk when I got home.  Grabbing my dog and heading off to traipse through the woods with their fading fall colors. My life had just been so busy that I hadn't had the time to do this in so long.  I think I had forgotten how wonderful it felt.

I've written about the peace I feel in nature before.  But I'm over and over again re-discovering how wonderful it is.


Then this morning, when I was driving to confession, my attention was captured by a lovely song on Catholic radio...
A beautiful voice singing an amazing song with the most wonderful, peaceful, sublime lyrics...
I quickly wrote down the name and the singer as soon as I heard them: "Restless" by Audrey Assad in her album The House You're Building.

Watch this video and soak up the beauty in the stunning pictures and music.  It will seriously change your day for the better. 

For me, this just touches such a strong chord in my heart.  I am transported back in time to the Christendom summer program, where I got to sing the Prayer of St. Augustine with some of my friends at the talent show. The refrain is, "My heart searches restlessly, and finds no rest 'till it rests in Thee.  O Seeker You sought for me, your love has found me; I am taken by thee."

Really, the perfect prayer.  It will forever be one of my favorites. ♥  Just singing this song gives me such a sense of internal peace.

Here is the beautiful song/prayer in case you haven't heard it:


These reminders have served to show me that in all the craziness and wonderfulness and hardship that is my life, I'm losing the whole point of everything if I don't fall back on God.  I can't struggle through senior year stress on my own, I need the grace of God to help me.

I saw this quote on social media yesterday that really struck home.

That calmness in my heart is what I am searching for. ♥  And the only one who can give that to me is God.