27 May 2016

Why Emotional Health Matters (Not Just Spiritual)

There are a lot important ways to take care of yourself.
We've all heard about the importance of regular exercise and eating healthy. The importance of regular self-care not only helps relieve stress, but is good to just relax and do things you enjoy.
For Christians, we believe the importance of a continual, growing relationship with God; nourishing it through prayer, service, worship, and reading the Bible.

Sometimes I think in the church there is an underlying message that your spiritual health is more important than your emotional health. No, not all the time. But for me, over the years I have encountered that mindset or people who firmly hold to that idea. Not to mention I think I used to have that perspective myself.


In my early 20's when I started getting back into my faith, I thought if I did more of the "spiritual stuff" I was a better Christian. Turns out that mindset just made me crabby and judgmental of other people. I was more about the constant doing, instead of being present. Around the same time, I was struggling emotionally. I found myself seeing doctors and talking about anxiety and depression (while at the same time couldn't explain or understand why I felt that way). I bounced around to a variety of different counselors as well as different medicines.

Over those years, there were messages I picked up about emotional health vs. spiritual health. Somehow I came to believe it was more important to be spiritual (or do all the spiritual things). People or counselors would imply or directly say to me that if I just "prayed more" or "did these spiritual practices" it would alleviate my emotional turmoil. That is always a lie.

Instead it masked the real issues I need to work through and drove me on to become a better, holier Christian by my own measure and striving. It left me drained, tired, confused, and frustrated.

Mental illness and emotional health are issues that touch many, many lives today. And while it has gotten better, the Church needs to continue (and get better at) being a voice for a balanced life where our spiritual health is as important as our emotional health. We humans are both body and soul, and the whole package matters greatly to God.

The way our emotions affect and interact with our spiritual life matter.

Hell I think everybody needs to go to counseling at some point in life. We ALL need it. Because we all have wounds, baggage, and brokenness that needs healing. Our emotional health affects and plays into our spiritual health. To prioritize one over the other is dangerous and risky.

In my life right now, my counselor is an incredible blessing to me. She is challenging and stretching me to grow and face wounds or issues that I have stuffed down. Coming out of a divorce is a good a time as any to face my "stuff."

When you do it with grace and kindness to yourself, it can be a deeply healing and life-giving experience. That is how it has been for me as I begin to move on with my life.

There are so many wonderful resources I have come across in the last few months that are helping me heal and grow my understanding of what emotionally healthy spirituality looks like:

  • THIS BOOK. Game changer. Eye Opening. Really dives into the reasons and understanding of why our emotional health matters and is important as our spiritual health. 

  • This and this book are ones I am actually currently working through with my counselor. It is helping me understand and process my divorce, but also look back and name/recognize things I never understood about myself. Pia Mellody (the author) is a gifted counselor and writer, I'd recommend any of her books or workbooks.

  • Boundaries. This book has helped me better understand relationships in my life, and learn a lot about myself. It has changed how I look at relationships, but especially how to handle unhealthy or unsafe ones.

Have you ever encountered this perspective from other people or the church?
Do you have other resources that help you stay emotionally and spiritually healthy?


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20 May 2016

The Power of a Thank You Note

I grew up in a home where I was raised writing thank you notes from the time I was little. I would practice on a piece of loose leaf before Mom would take out some of her pretty cards with matching envelopes for my final draft. Sometimes I'd even use stamps on the outer envelope.

Since then, I have always loved to send thank you notes.

It is a tradition I have carried into my work as a youth minister. Ever since I began working with teenagers, I have sent each teen a handwritten thank you note after they attend an event or meeting for the first time. 

Last Sunday, was our final youth ministry meeting for the year. Part of this night, we take time to celebrate and honor our graduating seniors. We also have time to share memories and stories people have of our graduates. We laughed a lot and shed some tears. 
After closing prayer, teens hung out a bit longer to say goodbyes and socialize.

I had wrote each of the seniors a letter and was passing them out one by one. 

I got to Nick. He is a young man I have have worked with and gotten to know  a lot over the past five years. Its been so cool to see him grow in his Christian identity as a young man. I am proud of the man I see him becoming.

As I gave Nick his letter, he told he had saved in his leadership binder the thank you note I wrote over 4 years ago after he attended his first youth ministry meeting. I was absolutely shocked that he had saved it over the years. Nick said he wanted to give it back to me. 
Well by that point I was crying. 

I promised him I would hang it up somewhere special in my office. 

Over the years, I have probably written hundreds of thank you notes to young people. Some maybe  were thrown out, but this thank you note to Nick made a difference. It struck him. 

Don't underestimate the power of little actions done with love and care. You may not see the fruit of it, but sometimes you'll get a glimpse. And when those moments catch you by surprise it is really, really cool.

Ministry doesn't always give you the chance to see the end result. But when you get to see some of that fruit, be grateful. And keep on planting, sowing, and tending. You never know how your words, actions, or attitude can reach another person.

And never under estimate the power of a thank you note. 



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11 May 2016

Radiant Magazine Giveaway!!

Two weeks I was thrilled to pieces when Radiant Magazine reached out to me. They have kindly offered one reader a FREE print copy of their newest issue.

Radiant is a Catholic Women's Magazine. It features traditional topics in the Church and how to apply them to the modern lives of women today. The latest issue comes out in print May 15.

You can check out past issues of Radiant here. It has a gorgeous lay out and great team of women working hard to give readers an elegant, relevant publication.



So how to enter the giveaway??

Well because I'm not the most tech savvy blogger, I will be offering the giveaway over on my Instagram.

All you have to do is tag a friend in the comment section. One friend per comment, please.
Tag friends, that's it! Drawing will be open from 9am today-9am May 12.
You'll be contacted if you are a winner, and an issue will be mailed to you directly from Radiant.

I don't know about you but I love a beautiful print magazine. I was so bummed when Verily ended their print publication, but Radiant would be a great option if you are looking for something new to enjoy!

This latest issue sounds amazing! There is a fun fashion spread with designer Jessica Rey. If you don't have one of her beautiful bathing suits, you are missing out! I have this one and LOVE it.
It also includes articles on St. Rita & St. Faustina, and even information on a faith-inspired workout!

So bounce on over to Insta and tag away!!


Good luck :)

 

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09 May 2016

Grace Kelly Style. 5 Simple Ways.

Last night I was very excited to discover a new Grace Kelly movie added to Netflix that I had never seen, To Catch a Thief. Plug for Hitchcock movies, except Psycho!

Scenes of the French Riviera and elegant dresses left me binging on style pictures of Princess Grace and re-reading parts of her biography last night. Which then led to me thinking about simple ways to have style like the Princess of Monaco in 2016.



1. Pearls
One of Grace Kelly's favorite pieces was a simple string of pearls. They can make a simple outfit look stunning and come on how do pearls not make you feel a wee bit glamorous? 

Pearls can be rather expensive. I have this set from JCrew I got on a big sale several years ago. When I was in Madrid several years ago, I did splurge and treat myself to a real strand of pearls with matching earrings and bracelet. Whether you buy high end or some elegant costume jewelry it is still a way to add something special to any outfit...and feel


2. Simple Hair & Make-up
Grace Kelly never struck me as fussy or high-maintenance when it came to her hair or make-up. For her, less was always more. Simple hairstyles that don't take a lot product or fuss can also make morning routines go faster.

With her make-up, Grace Kelly never went overboard, and more often than not, she seemed to apply it in such a way you would swear she wasn't wearing any at a all. She played up her natural beauty too. Oh and can we just agree that she rocked out the bold lip!? #swoon



3. Lace
No, not like your grandmother's old lace tablecloth. But lace (kind of like the pearls) just adds something special. Princess Grace's wedding dress is a great example of this. Even Kate Middleton, whom some call a modern Grace Kelly, is a fan of lace in how she dresses. My favorites? This and that.


4.The boat neck
I didn't realize until recently but the boat neck style is very iconic to Grace. What I like about that neckline is that a nice scoop is more visually pretty than a straight line. Maybe a nice strand of pearls would look good here ;)


5.  Less is More
One thing that has always struck me on the style of Grace Kelly, was that less really was more. Another one who did this well too was Audrey Hepburn. Elegance was about simplicity and playing up the features of your natural beauty. I think more of that is coming back a little with the trend of minimalism. 



Though you don't have the budget of a princess, you certainly can feel like one in little ways that make a big difference how you feel about yourself.


Who are some of your favorite fashion icons? How does their style inspire you to be creative with your own fashion?




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06 May 2016

The Wild Goose is Loose

Growing up there were parts of the Christian faith that left me feeling confused. One such thing was the Trinity, but more specifically the Holy Spirit.

God the Father? Okay yeah sorta. Jesus? Sure, of course! Holy Spirit? ummmmm.... #crickets

But the Holy Spirit left me just feeling confused, like it was some mysterious entity I never could fully "get." Scripture talks a lot about the Spirit, but the symbols of fire, wind, and dove sometimes are not terribly enlightening for the curious mind of a ten year old child.


As I have gotten older, I have grown past those mysterious symbols to really understand the Holy Spirit as a person moving, working, and involved in my life more than I realized.

For the ancient Celts, the wild goose was a term used to explain the Holy Spirit. That image illustrates the point that there is a wildness to the Holy Spirit, you cannot control it. And while sweet, cute images of a dove or wind are images of the Spirit, its much more than that. There is a crazy, beautiful, raging wildness to the Spirit. We cannot control how the Spirit moves or works. 


Sure you've likely heard something about the Holy Spirit in church, but for many the experience of God's Spirit working in them is a foreign concept.

In a little over a week is the feast of Pentecost. Since Easter, I have been watching this AWESOME video series that comes to my e-mail, The Wild Goose. It is a journey for Christians to consider a deeper, richer relationship with the Holy Spirit. It calls people to see and understand the power of God in our lives. And for me, it has helped me better understand what it looks like to have a relationship with the third person of the Trinity.

At the core of the series is a deeper journey into the heart of God. And that is what the Spirit is all about, leading us to a deeper experience of the love of God.


The series is 14 videos long and you can have them sent to your e-mail.


If you're ready to move past cuddly doves and tongues of fire, I'd encourage you to check out this series.
It is very worth it.

Come Holy Spirit.

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02 May 2016

5 Money Saving Apps for Daily Living

March was not a great budget month. I paid all my bills and saved what I needed but I did a little more fudging of numbers than I knew I should have. Definitely not something I want to keep repeating.

I want to stay focused and committed to the game plan of getting out of debt. And after my dose of March Madness, was looking for some ways to stay focused. 
Over the last week I have been researching different money saving apps to that help not break the bank or monthly budget.


Here are some new ones + one or two personal favorites:

GasBuddy
Talked about this app earlier this year and I'm still hooked!

Driving an old white boat (aka 99 Lincoln Continental) I want to make this car last long as possible. And finding cheap gas is always at the top of the list in car maintenance.
For me, this is an app worth the time and use!


Checkout 51
I was reading about this one over the weekend. Checkout 51 is kinda like a digital coupon book with grocery savings upwards of $5.

After you pay, take of picture of the receipt and scan into the app. Then you are credited for the total amount of savings. The app updates itself every Thursday and payouts are available after reaching $20 balance.

I typically like shopping at Aldi because the prices are already pretty good, but this could be good for the occasional trip to other big name grocery stores.


EveryDollar

An oldie for me, but a goodie. Kinda similar to the money motioning app Mint, this app lets you plan and see where dollar of the monthly budget is going. You can add, delete, or tweak things pretty easily.
Oh also its free!

Doesn't have some of the other perks of Mint, but overall user friendly and I like how it is connected to message of Dave Ramsey (whom is helping me get out of debt slowly but surely:)


Groupon

This isn't really news to probably a lot of people but I know people who use it regularly for things like travel, date nights, etc. I knew of a couple who got a rocking deal on their honeymoon to Europe through Groupon.

Whether for a local date night or something more luxurious like a spa day, using Groupon for those planned special somethings can help stretch the dollar a bit more.


ShopSavvy

ShopSavvy allows you to scan barcodes of all types of products and compare prices of where to find the best deal for all types of things.

If you are committed and enjoy using particular products or food items, this could help you price compare and find the best local deal to near you.




Anything else you would add?
Do you have any particular money saving apps that you really enjoy?


Happy savings!


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