Monday, January 15, 2018

No Such Thing As Perfect Prayer

Last year I began the tradition of adopting a saint for the new year - or having a saint adopt me for the year as my friend, Beth, would describe it. This saint would be someone holy to look to for inspiration for the year - a role model of faith that would also give me a glimpse into the Church's history.

On a whim, I decided to ask Michael if he would like to do the same. Of the two of us, I am definitely the more nerdy when it comes to our faith. I love learning about new saints, theology, prayers, etc. and he lovingly joins in when I offer the invitation.

We were driving to mass on New Years Eve and I told him about my new saint for the year and asked if he would be interested in having one too. He answered yes and as we were using the saint generator it came to the prompting message to pray for God to introduce to a saint who will accompany you through the year. I asked Michael if he would like to say a prayer and he asked what that he was "supposed" to say. I explained what it could look like and he listened intently and then began to pray. I could tell he was nervous and felt unsure if he was "doing it right". 


It was beautiful - authentic and raw and amazing, just like he is whenever we pray together. 

I was in tears. Not just because of the beauty behind his words, but also the fear.

He, like myself and so many others, had this false notion that there is a wrong way to pray - that unless you get the words completely right, your prayer is wrong or foolish or something else. It breaks my heart that praying has become something we fear doing. It is so much easier to read a pre-written prayer and yes, those can be beautiful, but so can our own words. 

We all have the ability to talk with God - to open up to our Creator and speak from the heart. At first it may feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, but I have found the more I practice, the more naturally it comes and the more I feel at ease in praying.

And so I guess I share this as a reminder to us all not to get caught up in the lie that we "aren't doing it right" or that our words aren't good enough. God doesn't want perfect prayer, he just wants to spend time with you.

Peace,
Sarah

PS - Michael's saint for the year is St. Hedwig and mine is St. Genevieve whose father's name was Severus... God's funny sometimes ;)  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Small Business Saturday Guide


Y'all, I am not a fan of Black Friday. If shopping the day after Thanksgiving is your jam, that's fine, but between the crazy lines in stores and the fleeting carts online, I just can't get into it.

I much prefer the lesser known Small Business Saturday, where you have the opportunity to support small and local businesses as opposed to the typical big-box retail. I posted about it back when I first heard about it in 2015.

This year I'm shopping small online with some of my favorite Etsy shops and other businesses that I love and I thought I'd share some of my favorite items here - many of them are running special sales today only!

Blessed Is She


Many of you know that I am a devotion writer over at Blessed Is She and that this ministry holds a dear place in my heart. BIS centers on creating intentional community among Catholic Women, and also focuses on the goodness of beauty - thus sharing some AMAZING products that would make wonderful Christmas gifts.



Blessed is She is running some great flash sales throughout the day, including 30% off of their 2018 Liturgical Planner if you order between 5 and 6pm EST. I already have my copy and cannot wait to dive come January!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Currently - October


“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

How on earth is it October already? I feel like these first few weeks of school have flown by and I'm only now catching up. Thank goodness for the changing leaves and crisp air and their welcomed beauty amidst the chaos.

I'm linking up again with Anne from Anne In Residence and Dana of Something Good for this month's currently's.
styling: photos of the new Blessed is She Advent Journal. If you are looking for a beautiful way to enter into the season of Advent, I cannot recommend this journal enough. It's a beautifully rich, yet simple way to pray, whether alone or in community, and really prepare our hearts for the joy that awaits us in our Emmanuel. You can shop the journal here.

saving: money (sort of), thanks to the Anthropologie Sale on Sale. An extra 40% on their sale prices? Don't mind if I do. I stopped in our local store the on Thursday and got 3 tops for less than $5 each, plus this beautiful dress for under $30. I'm loving this dress, this top, and this skirt.

searching: for a Halloween costume. I have a few ideas, but nothing has stuck yet. Suggestions are welcome. Pending travel arrangements, it'll be a couples costume. 

picking: apples! M came to visit this weekend and I persuaded him to do ALL the fall things. He was a great sport and I got some delicious goodies. It was a good weekend, friends. 

making: banana bread. I let a few bananas get a little too ripe for my taste and have been patiently waiting for them to get to the banana bread stage. 

What's new with you all? Any currently's you're diving into?

Peace,
Sarah

Friday, September 22, 2017

A New Day



Skirt: Target (exact - I also love this one)
Top: Target (exact)
Sweater: Hollister (from high school!) (similar
Shoes: Marshalls (similar)
Watch: Loft (similar)
Necklace: Target (another option)
Bracelets: Alex and Ani (1, 2)


Friends, I am in love with Target's new line of clothing, A New Day. 

Ok, let's be honest, I love most things from Target (the dollar section gets me every time), but I'm especially fond of this particular line. Their fall colors are dreamy and items like this skirt are great transition pieces as we start saying "farewell" to summer and "hey there" to fall. 

I also find the clothes to be super work appropriate which has been key to my shopping lately. Basically, if I can't wear something to work, chances are, I am not going to buy it... 

Oh, and the skirt has pockets, so it's pretty much the best thing ever. 

Here are a few other items from the line that I have my eye on:


What are your favorite outfit tricks to transition into fall? 

Peace,
Sarah

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Currently - September

Happy Tuesday, friends. I hope you all had an only semi-monday-ish Monday and are ready to knock this week out of the park. My week is going to be pretty crazy with everything that I need to get done for work before heading to Ohio on Friday. Not a ton of time. 

I feel like the school year just took off and I'm holding on for the ride. Luckily there are a lot of really great things I'm working on for this year, so I'm staying focused and on top of things so far (knock on wood). 

Today I'm linking up again with Anne over at Anne in Residence and Lowanda from Sunshine and Elephants to share some "currently's" this month.

celebrating: My sister's 25th birthday. We may not always get along, but I am truly blessed to have her - plus she brought my favorite little peanut into the world so I'm forever grateful ;)

watching: Netflix (typical). I just jumped on the West-Wing-train, and y'all, I am HOOKED. Trying my best not to binge watch, but it's just so good!

welcoming: Fall. All of the pumpkin things. Crisp air. Warm colors and clothing. The list goes on and I can't wait for more!

preparing: for everything I have planned (hopefully well) from now until Halloween. Between some huge work projects, heading home to Ohio, a work conference, the BIS writer retreat, M visiting, and you know, life... it is going to be a whirlwind around here friends. All good, just a lot all at once. Prayers appreciated. 

photographing: My cat, Zelie



What have you been up to, friends?

Peace,
Sarah

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Zelie

Meet Zelie.

Named after the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, Zelie Martin. Pronounced like Ellie with a Z. Also known as: Little Z, ZZ, ZZ-Top, Zeezer, Zeezer Salad, Zel-Bell, and just plain Z. (I tend to make up nicknames...)

She's a ball of energy who drives me crazy while simultaneously melting my heart.


I adopted her last winter so my apartment wouldn't seem so quiet. Be careful what you wish for, friends. The quiet is gone, replaced my a combination of meowing and spastic running lengths of the apartment.


She's the least coordinated cat I have ever met - so it's a match made in heaven.
She needs constant attention and loves to hop on your lap, purr and kneed at your lap.
She plays with her food, shreds paper like it's her job, and plays fetch.

She's both the worst and the best and I am so thankful to have her around.


Peace,
Sarah

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My 10 Favorites Finds at Trader Joe's


Hey friends! Happy Thursday! I hope everyone's weeks are off to a great start. We are well past the halfway point of the week, so let's finish it off with some enthusiasm! The long weekend is so close y'all.

I am super excited for this Labor Day Weekend because my sister and nephew will be visiting and I am thrilled! I can't wait for all of the baby snuggles. Really though, all. the. snuggles.

Visitors on the way translates to "Sarah needs to restock the fridge and pantry." My eggs, rice and beans diet with a splash of veggies and an occasional seltzer water are not going to cut it... I do know how to cook, promise. I just haven't been home a ton over the summer and have been trying to eat what's in the apartment.

(Hold while I answer the worried call from my mom about my cooking habits...)

Anyway, as I was making my grocery list for their arrival, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite finds from Trader Joe's.


I buy about 90% of my food from TJs. Other than a random ingredient here and there, meat is about the only thing I don't regularly get there - mainly because I don't eat a lot of meat, but also it is pretty pricey. I know, I know, it's good quality and made from some really great sustainable practices, but the up-charge on the cage-free eggs and locally grown tomatoes is more manageable to fit into my budget. I do get meat their occasionally, but I just can't afford to all the time.

Because I shop there so regularly, I do have my go-to's but thankfully, with their reasonable prices, I am also able to try new items (usually inspired by the free samples and gratitude for the coffee).

And so with that semi-decent amount of experience with this particular grocery, I present to you, my 10 favorite Trader Joe's finds (in no particular order).

1) Gnocchi - They have 3 kinds in the frozen foods. All are great and super affordable. The gnocchi alla sorrentina is my favorite. I introduced them to Michael the first time he visited and he too is hooked.


2) Gone Bananas - Chocolate Covered Bananas: the dessert that makes me think I'm eating healthy-ish. Try to eat just one piece. I dare you.

3) Habanero Lime Flour Tortillas - A friend recommended these to me and I am hooked. They are a bit spicy (I think more so when they aren't heated). Quesadillas with these babies and some avocado are one of the easiest meals I make and taste pretty great too.

4) Organic Riced Cauliflower - Just so we are being honest, this is not for everyone. Michael really doesn't like it, but he also doesn't typically like cauliflower. I, on the other hand, love cauliflower and think this is a great substitute for rice if you are looking to add more veg in your life. I also find it easily masked flavor wise. Add a sauce or spices and voila, you won't even know it's healthy.

5) Cauliflower Crust - Keeping with my love of cauliflower, when I heard TJs was selling a pizza crust substitute I knew I had to try it. It's delicious. I like to make it simple with just some pizza sauce, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Yum!



6) Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - Fun fact, when I was younger I hated chocolate unless there was peanut butter in it. Now that I'm older and perhaps a bit wiser, I eat other chocolates, but peanut butter cups are still my #1. Trader Joe's are some of my favorite around and as a bonus, they sell them in mini bags so I don't have to worry about how quickly the tub will disappear in my apartment.


7) Charles Shaw - Ah, Two Buck Chuck. Cheap, good wine. Connecticut only sells wine in liquor stores so this crowd pleaser in nowhere to be found - you should have seen the look on my face when the lady at the store explained this to me. Be sure to appreciate it if your store carries it friends.


8) Reduced Guilt Guacamole - It's all in the name, friends. I love guac. I do not love the calorie count in guac. Trader Joe's heard my cries and came up with this beauty made with greek yogurt. Delicious.
9) Greek Yogurt Cups - One of my go-to lunch items for work. Honey is my favorite. The others are amazing too.
10) Well Rested Herbal Tea - Funny story, I ran into a colleague at Trader Joe's during one of my first shopping trips in CT. I'm not sure what brought up the topic of tea, but she was insistent that I try the Well Rested flavor from TJs. I headed her advice and haven't looked back. If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night, give it a go.



Not sure where the nearest TJs is to you? Hop over to the Trader Joe's website and use their store search bar :)

PS - Don't forget about their AMAZING flower selection. Some of the prettiest seasonal blooms for super affordable prices.

Any other Trader Joe's fans out there? Any products I need to try? I'd love to hear from you!

Peace,
Sarah
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