28 October 2015

Your (little) story matters

Story is a very powerful thing. Story is the vulnerable sharing of your life experiences with other people. It includes everything from relationships, struggles, or the awkward moments you can't erase from your life history.

I recently read this book, where the whole premise of the book was how telling our story and hearing those of others has the power to make a transformative change in the world and help build the Kingdom. Nish writes: "Sharing your story allows others to glimpse how you've been shaped, what matters to you, and why it matters. The power of story becomes evident when as we share another's eyes light up and they say you too? Me too! The walls of isolation we build around ourselves come tumbling down when we're vulnerable and honest with each other about both our struggles and our victories. When I'm brave enough to share my story, I'm actually reaching out to you, allowing you to cross over whatever divide is between us."

Your story is powerful. And it needs to be told. You may think its not that big of a deal or that it is too small. But your story matters. Your words, perspective, and life experience open up an avenue to build bridges, soften hearts, and make disciples with grace and mercy. Story helps us understand where the other is coming from and it leads the way to creating deeper, more meaningful relationships.

We all need you to tell your story, whether you're a "big" blogger or not. Whether you dream of writing a book or you've written multiple books that were best sellers. Your words make a difference because they reflect your unique journey and experience, and that's something that can inspire or teach others.

In the shiny, polished world of social media, it is crazy easy to start comparing and feeling less than. You and your story are never less than. Keep on keeping-whatever it is. For each of us it will be something different. But you're needed. Your story and words are so needed in this crazy, broken world to bring hope and healing wherever God has placed you. 

Shauna Niequist sums this up perfectly in her book, Cold Tangerines: "Every life tells a story, through words and actions and choices, through our homes and our children, through our clothes and dishes and perfume. We each play a character in a grand drama, and every stage direction matters. We tell our stories, and we let God's story be told through our stories. We tell God's story as we live and discover our own. And I don't know if there is anything better in the world than when we lay ourselves wide open and let His story become our story, when we screw up our fists and our courage and start to tell the truest, best stories we know, which are always God's stories."

Keep on keeping. We need you and your words. No story is too small or insignificant. Your story whatever size it is matters. Let your God's story be told through your own.

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26 October 2015

Never Say Never: How 13.1 Changed Me

I did it. A week ago I finished my first half marathon.

Last year after my 29th birthday I decided to take on a half marathon to celebrate turning 30. I trained, planned, and made it happen. Never have gotten into the whole exercise thing it was the health crisis of my dear aunt and doing a 5K for ovarian cancer research that got me thinking how for to long I have neglected really taking care of my body

I loved every freaking sweaty moment of that race...well maybe except the last two miles were I started to feel like death. My time was ideally what I wanted it, but I finished. I made a goal and chased after it. My goal of 13.1 has taught me a lot of things about myself over the last year.

Self-care is not an optional thing. If you don't take care of yourself, it actually hinders you from becoming most fully the person God wants you to be. I'm not saying to go be selfish but making time for self-care makes you feel better about yourself and live an overall more joyful life. Who knew the girl who hated to sweat growing up would later live to say the opposite?

Running has taught me more on how and why should take care of my physical body. Aside from feeling good, I notice a difference in how I talk to or think about my body. Sure I still need to work on mindless eating, but the rampant negative self-talk I would subject myself to has lessened and changed as I made time to take care of myself physically.

I feel more freedom to just be me-smiley, sassy, loud me. Learning to love myself has often come through difficult lessons throughout life. It will always take work and will never come naturally. But, I am slowly learning to love myself just the way I am. 

Maybe for you it won't be 13.1. It could be a 5K or radically changing your diet or stop drinking or leave that unhealthy relationship. But don't let fear or insecurity hold you back from chasing your dreams. Quit slacking and make s$#% happen.

Don't give up. Its never too late.Nothing is Impossible.

Just put on your awesome pants and make it happen.

What are the goals or dreams that you want to make happen in life? 

Is there anything holding you back from chasing it? 

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20 October 2015

Hey there, Beauty Full

Hey You.
Yes, YOU.

You are Beauty Full. 

You are full of beauty in ways you may not even be aware of. You were made to do something with your one rare, precious life; to create art through your life in a million little ways no one else ever could. You are irreplaceable. You are full of beauty regardless of your weight, size, or personality. The scale doesn't define you. Your job, car, or whether you're married or single do not define you. 

You are not defined by your history. Not your past mistakes or choices. Whether you're in a relationship or single. Whether you have children or you don't. Nor your career choice or how much money you make.

You are worthy of love and respect whatever of these you have or don't have. Stop buying the BS story lines that you can't be loved as you are. for WHO you are just the way you are. That you aren't full of beauty, that you aren't good enough for a man or for God to love. That your scars are too much a burden. That your heart is frail. No, please stop that. You are poetry.and.You are not a mistake.

You with the baby on your hip at home with little ones running around are beauty full.

You trying to figure out what to do with your life after college are beauty full.

You trying to balance motherhood, marriage, and a career outside the home are beauty full.

You struggling with fertility and desperately wishing for a baby are beauty full.

You dealing with pain and hurt in a relationship are beauty full.

You see because our beauty is not determined by any of those things. You are beautiful because you are a daughter of God. You are His beloved. You are His creation. God does not create, love or redeem crap. God wants you to participate in His story wherever you are and with whatever you have. Do great work, create beauty wherever you are. There is purpose and a plan for you wherever you re on the journey. Dream big dreams and do great things with God.

You are beauty full right where you are. Remember that and whisper it to yourself for those days you will struggle to believe that. I know I do too sometimes. 

But no matter what, our beauty is not defined by anything the world wishes to measure us by. Rather we are beautiful because a really big God created us because He recklessly and passionately loves us. 
You are full of beauty because you were created by love to go and be love out in the world.

Ring your freedom bell loud and strong...
Knowing you are ravishing and full of beauty right where you are.

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06 October 2015

When You Meet the Daughter of a Saint...{St Gianna: A Saint for Everyday Life}

One of the thing about heading to Philly I really excited about was attending a talk with Dr. Gianna Emanuel Molla. She is the youngest daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla - the saint who gave her life in order that her daughter (named after her) could live, when she was given the choice between dying herself from a tumor or having an abortion. 

Dr. Molla was in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, and is very good personal friends of the owner of the travel agency we went with, so they made this available to our group.

Gianna looks exactly like her mother, it almost felt like I was meeting St. Gianna personally at the church we were at. In her wonderfully thick Italian accent high-pitched voice, she gave a beautiful testimony to the life of her mother and the holy, beautiful marriage between her parents (who would have been married 60 years if they were still both living today). 
Throughout her talk, it was so cute to listen to the daughter of this saint refer to her mama as "my saint Mom". Seriously. How often do you hear something like that??

While I have read and own several books on the life of St. Gianna, I was struck throughout the talk how St. Gianna truly is a saint for everyday life. The life of this adventurous, fun-loving, doctor, wife, and mother is a reminder that holiness is available to everyone; that it is a truly simply, accessible path and will look different for each one of us...we're just the ones that over-complicate it. For St. Gianna "the secret to happiness is to live moment by moment." Her daughter said several times, "For mama, everything was God's gift."

What I love about the many saints of the church, is that there are SO many of them with different lives, experiences, and personalities. They are all so unique and their lives remind me that there are many ways to find God and live a life of faith. And St. Gianna is no different, and her life bears witness to what mattered most in her life: loving God,serving her patients with kindness, loving and nurturing her husband and small children, and serving the poor.

St. Gianna is the patron saint of difficult pregnancies and mothers. While I do not have children of my own, there is something so beautifully attractive in her life that reminds me I can encounter God wherever He has placed me in my life. Right where God has me in life right now, is where He wants to use me. For a recovering control freak/perfectionist like myself that is very good news...

Do you have any particular devotion to certain saints? What about his or her life speaks to you as a Christian in 2015?

P.S. As we were leaving the talk, my sister Annie who works or our diocese was able to get a picture with Dr. Molla. Sometimes it pays off to leave the church building last. #toocool
St. Gianna, pray for me!

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01 October 2015

Why the World Needs (More) Loud Girl's

I recently started listening to a new podcast with Kathie Lee Gifford. 

Her show interviews all types of famous people in a casual manner, and I was surprised how much I liked it. Her loud crazy laugh and boisterous personality always made me smile growing up. Listening to one of her first episodes, it struck me how we kind of share something in common, we are both loud girl's. 

I used to think being a loud girl was something negative or bad, but after one podcast episode it struck me that it is okay I am loud girl and why the world needs more of them.

Growing up, I often got that look parents give to tell me I was misbehaving or too loud. I remember a handful of times getting low grades in conduct because I was too chatty. 
Sometimes it felt like being a quiet, soft-spoken little lady was considered good or better. 

I grew up hearing sometimes "nobody likes a loud girl" which to some level I think I internalized. No I am not hating on my parents, it is just a way that helps me better understand myself now.

But there was always a "loud" part to my Patty-ness. Whether I got really excited or passionate about something, my volume would often and easily increase. For a long time, I thought that was bad or that piece of me was not so great. I didn't accept or even like that part of me.

In many ways, I'm still coming to accept my Patty-ness, my own way of being in the world, my okay-ness and enough-ness in the presence of God and others. Over the last few years, I have embraced my loud girl ways and came to see that is part of the awesome way God made me.

And you know what? It's damn okay to be a loud girl and I would say I think the world needs more of them. Why? Because a loud girl is excited and passionate about things that matter to her. And sometimes excitement and passion spill out of a person in big, beautiful, even crazy ways. A loud girl is comfortable in her own skin. 

One of the greatest life lessons a person can learn is to really love and accept themselves the way they are. It certainly doesn't come easy, and can often be very difficult. But over the last few years, I have learned to accept, embrace, and yes, even love the "loud" part of me.

Whether you're a loud gal or quiet gal, one the best things you can do is love yourself; all the crazy, beautiful, even weird parts. 

Be who God made you to be and you will set the world ablaze (St. Catherine of Siena).

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