05 December 2016

Lessons from my Christmas Tree

I was a little anxious and nervous about decorating my apartment for Christmas this year.

Last year right before Thanksgiving I moved back to my parents. I didn't have to worry about decorating a home for the holidays since I was temporarily living in their basement. 

But this year is different. Its the first set of holidays in my new little home, by myself.


The weekend of Thanksgiving growing up was when we busted out the tree and played Andy Williams Christmas CD like it was never going out of style. It was always so magical, fun, and loud.

This year on the same weekend, I started unpacking the few Christmas decorations I saved. Shortly after, I just burst into tears (grief is a funny thing). Right away I was reminded that I would be decorating and baking and watching Christmas movies by myself this year. And that just royally sucked.

I let myself cry and be sad. I acknowledged the loneliness and that it feels crappy not having anyone to share this magical time of the year with. Eventually I got it together, made some tea and decided to give decorating a break and journal out the crazy making that started going on in my head.

Several days later I did put up a few things.

The Advent wreath is on the kitchen table. A small Christmas tree with clear twinkle lights sits on the table next to the couch. A small nativity scene is on the bookshelf and several Christmas-y scented candles are scattered around. 

One night I was sitting in the living room; candles lit and I was just enjoying the lights from the little tree sparkling.

I sat there admiring this humble little tree, and started thinking how symbolic it is of life right now for me. Its not big or grand and beautiful like every other Christmas tree I have had. I always wanted our tree to look perfect growing up. I was the nut job that had to have certain ornaments in the exact same position every year. Really who honestly remembers that stuff? Me.

My tree this year is not my dream tree, not the perfect tree I imagine in my mind like years past. It is small, simple, and humble. Life right now is not perfect. It is just different, a time of transition, learning, growing, and healing.

That's why I love Advent so much. 

Advent is a season of waiting and hope. It reminds me that the journey of life is full of seasons of waiting and doing, being still and living out of your mission. 

No season of life is permanent, is forever. 

But seasons of waiting prepare for the next chapter, the next season in our lives. Waiting is hard. But if we use it well, it can be such a an opportunity of growth and self-awareness.

I want to use my season of waiting well.

So I am learning to love this imperfect little tree, this time of life, and not wish it all away. Christmas will still be beautiful and magical this year even without someone to share it with. 

Because actually I am sharing it with someone. The one we are preparing our hearts for.

And spending this season of waiting with him right now is the best thing I can be doing.



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01 December 2016

St. Francis and Tattoos

Last April, I went to a reflection day for local area youth ministers.

Our speaker was Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR and creator of The Wild Goose. He is also working on a new series on St. Francis of Assisi too. 
I'm kinda stoked for it:)

At that reflection day, Fr. Dave talked a lot about discernment. 

How do we know we are doing God's will? 
More specifically i relation to youth ministry, are we even discipling the teens in our care? 
Or are we just creating "chameleon Catholics" that are just blending in with everyone else?

If everything were stripped in our ministry, and we were left with Jesus what would that look like? 
How would it change what I do? 
What would that mean?

His talk really really challenged me and left me thinking and praying on the why behind what we do.

After lunch, Fr. Dave was sharing ways in which we can work with and partner with the Holy Spirit.

And in one example he quoted a saying of St. Francis: "Oh God, You are enough for me."
I'm trusting Fr. Dave on his source check since he himself is a Franciscan. 
Not to mention it is now permanently on my body ;)

Those words rocked me to my core. For a lot of reasons.

Maybe because it was a week after the divorce was finalized. 
Maybe because I have never really believed that for myself. 
Maybe because for most of my life I thought I would be enough when I had someone to share my life with.

Whatever the reasons, I spent several months just sitting with those words in silence; praying with and wrestling them in my life.

In the silence, they began to take on a deeper meaning for my life.

So when I decided to get another tattoo, I knew I wanted these words of St. Francis.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.




This new phase of my life has really become defined by those words.


YOU ARE ENOUGH.
God really has to be enough for me. If I don't learn this now, I don't think I ever will.
I am enough just the way I am. 
I am enough on my own.

I know I never believed I was enough, so how the heck could I possibly believe God is enough for me?

And you know what? That's a really crappy way to live.

But the next amount of years are going to be focused on living more in these new truths for myself and helping others know that too.

I have always been enough, now I just actually believe it.
And the freedom in knowing that to the core of my soul is the best thing.




Are there truths in your own life you have wrestled or struggled with?
How have you come to believe them to be true?

PS If you have a tattoo, what's the story behind it?! I love me a good tattoo story:)


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25 November 2016

5 'Gilmore Girls' Quotes Only Coffee Lovers Will Understand

Today I will be shopping and people watching with my Mom and sister.

But after I plan to come home, make a cup of coffee, and park myself with my lap top to watch the latest happenings of the Gilmore Girls.

In excitement for this day, I thought it would be fun to recall some of the wonderful mentions of coffee throughout the seasons...since who doesn't love a good cup of coffee?

Here are some of my favorites:

"I need coffee in an IV!"


After 4 World Youth Day pilgrimages and many a lock-in with teens, there are plenty of times I have felt this way. 


"Nothing says coffee like 6 in the morning!"


Sometimes extra early mornings are rough. Whether you're up all night at a dance-a-a-thon or are getting up for an early morning run, coffee always helps an early morning rise.


"He's so sexy, smart, and he loves coffee."


Okay, not really the standard on which to date a man. Ohhhh Lorelai.....


"This is not coffee. This is a mocha chocolate caramel swirl-a-chino with extra whipped cream."

Basically that is sugar with a hint of espresso. Coffee lovers can tell the difference and all that extra sugar just won't work.


"I stop drinking the coffee, I stop the standing and walking...and the words-putting-into-a-sentence-doing."

The teens in our youth ministry sometimes tease me that I talk too fast and when the words come out its "Patty is having an English is a second language day." I think fast and talk fast. And no it isn't always the caffeine talking.
But I do like coffee ;)



Whether you heading out to the stores or are curled up in your PJ's with leftover pumpkin pie, enjoy the day with those you love. 

And don't forget to watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life :)

Gobble, gobble!!


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