Just a Little Splinter

February 21, 2019

The other day, I pulled a splinter out of my thumb. It was so small and I was surprised that something so small could cause me so much pain. I noticed the pain a few days earlier and thought maybe I had burned my thumb on something or shut it in a door or a drawer or something else entirely. But then after a few days I noticed the splinter. I tried in vain to get it out with tweezers. After reading about some other ways to take care of it, I realized I would need more supplies. But in spite of the pain in my thumb I was in no hurry to get them because I just genuinely did not feel like going to the store or bothering with the splinter. So I just let my thumb go on hurting until I eventually forced myself to put in the work I needed to take care of it.

Y’all, I willingly allowed myself to suffer because the solution to my problem required more work than I was willing to put in. And it was so silly! Then I thought, how often do we do that with bad habits and sin? Sometimes a seemingly little sin or habit can cause you a lot of pain. And sometimes even though we want to move past a particular sin, or break a particular habit, and to quit allowing it to bring us down, the steps it would take to move on feel like more effort than we are willing to put in. So we just let ourselves suffer. The problem is “small” sins, and “little habits” can spiral into much bigger things if left unchecked. So today and each day I am going to try to do my best to move past my own laziness and put in the work I need to put in in order to move towards holiness.

P.S. Here are the outfit details if you're interested!! 

Top: PST by Project Social T (from Nordstrom)- Similar Here 
I'm wearing a size Large.

Growing Without Your Squad

February 11, 2019

A little over a week ago I finally went to adoration at my church in a town I’ve been living in for over 6 months now. What took me so long to get there? Well a part of me wants to say that the adoration time was hard to fit into my schedule but it is literally 12 pm to 7 pm. I honestly either forgot or made excuses week after week. Finally I went. As I was walking into the little adoration chapel I was keenly aware that I was the only person there who would not qualify for a senior discount. In my college town, adoration was attended by more college students and young adults than any other group. I was constantly surrounded by a little crew of people my age who were striving for holiness and pushing me to grow in my relationship with Christ. I had people holding me accountable. As I sat down in adoration I began to think, you don’t always need your little “striving squad” of other like minded people striving for holiness, to grow in your faith. Of course it’s helpful, and often even life-giving but if you are motivated enough you can be committed to your own journey in faith without anyone’s help.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not me advocating for the fact that you can do it alone. In fact, every time my prayer life has suffered, it has been because I did not have other people to hold me accountable and push me. But, not having a solid group of church friends should not be the reason your prayer life suffers!

This is a note that I wrote to myself in adoration that I would like to share with y’all,

“Do not allow your place in life or your place in your faith be determined by anyone but you. Place your identity and trust in the Lord and takeoff running. Maybe you will look to the side and find someone running alongside you but slow down for no one. Do not be afraid to be too Catholic, or too Christian. Never judge or talk down to anyone but never let anyone drag you down. Society will tell you what you’re doing is not right but the feeling of peace and joy and fulfillment that can come only from Jesus Christ will remind you that you are on the right path. Be steadfast in your pursuit of the Lord. He is constant and He will fill your cup!!”

This is something I really struggled with my first 5 months or so on my own in the real world. I convinced myself that because I wasn’t on a campus with a super active faith community, and because I couldn’t seem to find a lot of young people trying to grow in their faith in my new community, that I was just out of luck and that I could just let my faith life plateau. I didn’t realize that I could continue to grow in my faith and push myself in my faith on my own, I just had to makeup my mind that that’s what I wanted and ask the Lord for help.

Psalm 22 & God's Perfect Plan

February 5, 2019

Hey y’all! I hope you’re having a great day, wherever you are. A few weeks ago I got to mass early to go to confession and spend some time in prayer. I was flipping through my bible randomly, something I do more frequently than I care to admit. I often find myself flipping through the Psalms just waiting for something to jump out at me. Well, Psalm 22 really jumped out at me. I’m no expert on the Bible (hence me flipping through it at random) but I did a study last year on Salvation History. This Psalm is one of many places in the Bible that foreshadows the death and crucifixion of Christ. Psalm 22 is called “The Prayer of an Innocent Person”. I would definitely recommend reading the whole thing at some point if you have a chance but I wanted to highlight a few things: 

“Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and my feet I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:17-19

This is the “prayer of an innocent person”. It foreshadows exactly what will happen to Jesus. David wrote this like 1000 years before Jesus’ time! 

Anyway all of this really got me thinking about how God has ALWAYS had a plan for each one of us. He has meticulously planned each detail for all of history. Yes, we have free will obviously but he has this plan for us that is so much greater than anything we could dream up. He has had a wonderful plan for our lives since before even our ancestors’ ancestors were even dreamed of by their ancestors. The bible is so full of His meticulous planning and foreshadowing that took 1000s of years to fulfill but shows how perfectly He plans each and every little detail. This was a good reminder for me to TRUST in Him, and trust in His timing and have patience because His plan is PERFECT. 

Taylor Swift & Jesus

January 31, 2019

Today I am going to tell you about the time I had the honor of touching Taylor Swift’s hand. I’m not just bragging, I promise this story has a point. It was at her Stadium Tour stop in New Orleans. I was at her concert with my friend Blaine, another huge Taylor Swift fan. (Yes, I am unashamedly a Swifty or whatever they’re called. I have been a fan since her first album and I think she is one of the more talented song-writer’s of our generation). Blaine and I PLOTTED how we could end up in one of the coveted spots along where she walked through the crowd at each show. We sat on the phone trying to book tickets for a while before taking our best guess as to which seats where the closest to her walkway. We arrived at the concert and went to our seats. We stood through part of the openers scoping out the availability of space standing along the railing of her pathway. We ended up in a little corner that was really part of a walkway to get to seats that was along the path Taylor would cross about half-way through the concert. We stood there, beginning in the opening acts, claiming our spots along the pathway. We sang and danced and enjoyed the concert. About a song or two before Taylor would begin to walk through the crowd people began to crowd along the railing. It began to get uncomfortable but we held our ground and stayed in our place. Then it happened. She got off the stage and began to walk through the crowd. Her pathway was wide but small enough that she could grab people’s hands on both sides. With all the hands around me I thought surely, she will miss mine. In that moment I wanted her to touch my hand more than anything else in the world. As she slowly moved closer I found myself cheering and screaming in spite of myself. Then she was right there. She grabbed my hand. It was only for a brief moment but it felt like much longer. She squeezed my hand and moved on but in that moment I felt the love she has for her fans. She is a big star. She does not have to walk through the crowd like that. I’m sure it is an incredibly overwhelming experience to have people reaching out from all directions, desperately trying to touch you. But she loves her fans and she wants them to feel that love. She wants to connect with as many of them as possible. So she created this pathway to do just that. After she squeezed our hands, Blaine and I turned to each other and I remember I was just crying. All because a celebrity, who I had been a fan of for years, touched my hand. 

As I was thinking back on this experience I began to wonder, what would life be like if we were super-fans of Jesus? If we plotted and planned anything we could to get close to Him? To See Him? Jesus also loves His “fans”. He also wants to do everything He can to get close to us. That’s why He makes Himself available in the Eucharist every single day. Y’all each week at Mass we have the opportunity to touch Jesus, to have an intimate relationship with him. Each time we go to Eucharistic Adoration, it is like Jesus is inviting us to a private concert. He wants to make Himself available to us. He wants to be adored by us. But in the same way He adores us on a much more personal level than any celebrity or even human person ever could. What if we went crazy for Jesus in the same way we go crazy over celebrities? What if we let Jesus dictate the trends we follow and the plans we make the same way celebrities do? What would life be like if we were able to comprehend the fullness of Jesus in the Eucharist? 

Word of the Year: Patience

January 29, 2019

       At the beginning of a year, I’ve never really sat down and tried to think of a word that I needed to take to prayer or focus on for that year. However, thinking back on 2018, a word that comes to mind is “trust”. The year I was supposed to graduate college, I found myself in a really weird place where nothing in my life looked how I thought it would. I really had to learn to trust in God and His plan. This is something I constantly struggled with (let’s be honest I still do sometimes) before 2018, but the struggle intensified as graduation approached. Throughout the year I continued to pray for trust in God’s plan again and again and at some point I began to accept that He did have a plan for me that was greater than anything I could have imagined. But the issue was, I lacked patience. I would think to myself “Well I know God has a plan for me and maybe if I do this it will speed it up”. I trusted that He had a plan but I didn’t want to trust in His timing. Obviously if His plan is perfect, then His timing is perfect too, but in my head I felt like I could somehow speed things along. 

     Towards the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 a word that kept popping up for me in prayer was “Patience”. I realized that in so many ways I was lacking in patience. I truly believed that God did have a perfect plan for me, but I didn’t want to have to wait for it. I also teach middle schoolers and patience is something that I can always use more of because they really know how to test your patience. The more I have been praying for patience, in God’s timing of my life, the more at peace I feel with where I am right now in His plan for me. I really don’t know what is coming next but I know that I need to embrace where I’m at and stop trying to “skip ahead” to the next chapter of my life. I’m really excited to see how my perspective changes over this year and I’m looking forward to whatever fruits might come out of this prayer for patience!

This is me

January 22, 2019

Hi friends. I’d like to think of you all as friends, even if you’re new here. As friends we have to trust each other. We should be honest with each other. That’s what I vow to do. I vow to be brutally honest with y’all. And that won’t always be easy for me. That means I will have to be vulnerable with y’all. Vulnerable with you, my sweet friends, in ways that maybe I was once afraid to be vulnerable with people I had known for years. But I am going to make a promise to be real and vulnerable with y’all if you choose to follow along. 

You see, in May 2018 I graduated college. Throughout college I struggled a lot with feeling like I actually belonged where I was. Feeling self-conscious and second-guessing all of my little choices and big decisions was, well, second-nature to me. And to be fair, it always has been. I’ve struggled with anxiety and insecurity for years. I remember feeling so alone, in a dorm FULL of people. I remember feeling like my friends were hanging out without me and thinking to myself “of course they’re hanging out without you, why would they want to hang out WITH you?”. I remember being self-conscious abut the number of people in my instagram posts because I didn’t want people to think I went off to college and didn’t make any friends. As I got older and had been in college for longer I still found myself second-guessing every friendship I had. I always had this little voice in my head telling me that these people didn’t actually want to be friends with me. In my insecurity I didn’t allow myself to be real and vulnerable in some of my friendships. I believed the lies I was telling myself that I was not enough, that I was not wanted. I was insecure and clung to the few relationships I felt sure of. I placed my identity and my sense of belonging in other people. Introducing myself as, “Oh I’m Sydney, ________’s friend” or “I’m Sydney, ________’s girlfriend.” But y’all, here’s the thing, no human can handle the pressure of you placing even a part of your identity in them! What I did not realize was that my identity belongs in Christ alone. He is the only one who can handle that pressure. Not only that, but he wants that! He wants you to see that your identity is rooted in Him and Him alone! Because what is really better or more secure than finding your identity as a son or daughter of the King of Kings? 

I had a lot of really positive changes my senior year of college. I caught a glimpse of what true joy could look like in my life. I learned how to feel secure in myself and my identity in Christ. Through this, I found an independence and a confidence that I never had known before. With all of this came a greater sense of trust and I gave God the biggest “Yes” I had given Him so far, when I decided to be a teacher in rural Mississippi.

If you are still reading then you are almost caught up, I promise I’m almost done. This is not my WHOLE life story. 

I went into the real world feeling secure in myself, my relationship with God and with my friends. I felt so sure that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. But y’all, adult life is hard. It really is. I got busy. And I let my priorities change. I found myself scrolling for hours on social media feeding myself the lies of what society tells us is good. I was lonely and constantly filling my life with noise between Netflix and Social Media, I would sit there and numb my mind to my loneliness for hours. I would tell myself lies about how much better all my friends’ lives were. How they were all having way more fun than I was. When people asked me about my job, I told them I loved it, which is true I LOVE my job. But I live in a town where there are few opportunities for people my age and I am lonely. I let social media become this toxic influence in my life. 

But I’m here now. I changed my priorities, I made more time for prayer and stopped lying to myself about how everyone’s instagram highlight reel is real life and that I am the only one who is experiencing loneliness. I’m here to share my stories with y’all. Yes there are other people out there doing their best to live their faith. Yes there are other people out there who are in their twenties and have no clue what they are doing. Yes there are other people out there who are 22 years old and not married, engaged or in a relationship (shocking I know). Yes there are other people out there who have to google "how to open a can without a can opener” because they never thought to buy one. Yes there are other people out there buying into the lies that this world tells them about who they are and who they should be! I am here to remind you to stop believing these lies. I am here to do life with y’all, if you want. This is me and this is real life.