Monday, April 25, 2016

5 Weekly Graces Vol. 22

So comprehensive exams might have pushed me into hiding for the past few weeks...

I had originally hoped to at least keep up with the weekly grace posts, but clearly that did not happen. A huge thanks for all of you patience, love and support! It's good to have some space to begin writing again and I even have a few posts that were queued up but I never put finishing touches on, so there should be some more posts on the way!

Because I have skipped the past few weeks, this edition of 5 Weekly Graces is probably going to cover more than just last week. #sorrynotsorry

Also, I'm pretty sure all of these moments will have something to do with comps... it was kind of a big deal haha

1) Comps!

On Thursday and Friday I took the written portion of my comprehensive exams for graduation - basically the Bar for MDiv students. The exam lasted 6 hours and I wrote 17 pages trying to encapsulate all of the knowledge I've gained over the past 3 years of study. It was terrifying and hard and everything you would think it would be, but it was also very blessed and exciting in some ways. On day one I was so anxious that I was breaking out into hives and even cried a little beforehand, but once I sat down and looked at the questions in front of me an sense of patience and calm took over - I knew the material. I could answer the questions. Do I think I passed with distinction? No, probably not. But I do think that I passed and I have until May 4th to research my answers and come to the oral exam (yup, there's more) prepared to correct or add to anything I wrote.

2) Caritas

 Rather than keeping the weekend before comps free for studying, I chose to help facilitate a small group on Caritas (the young adult retreat I attended in November). A bold decision, I know. After much prayer and reflection I realized that if I didn't already know the material by that point there wasn't much I could do. So, instead of spending the weekend in the library, I spent it in prayer and reflection with some amazing people and found that much of my prayer led to a calming of anxieties and also just a beautiful quiet, which was just what I needed.

3) Surrounded by Love

The night before comps and the morning of I was flooded with so many texts, emails, Facebook messages, etc from friends wishing me luck and offering their prayers. A few people at school asked me how I was feeling just before entering into the exam and my answer was simple - I felt loved. What a beautiful grace to be filled with a sense of peace during such an anxious time.

4) Visitors

I'm hoping that my confidence in passing comps is true because in addition to my mom, grandma and little sister coming to graduation, my best friend from college booked a flight to visit too! I love having worlds collide and cannot wait to share this place I have come to call home with all of them! (Now I just have to make sure to finish all of my coursework in a timely manner as well...)

5) Roommate Date

To celebrate the end of written comps, one of my roommates and I spent Saturday evening checking some items off of my Bay Area bucket-list and my 101 in 1001. We began with mass and went for a walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland with one of our other roommates. The weather was perfect and the lake was beautiful. For dinner we went to a delicious Ethiopian restaurant and ended the evening at home with some salted-caramel gelato. It was a good night.

I'm still so filled with joy and love from the past few weeks. I'm in constant awe of the kindness and support shared by others and cannot begin to articulate how grateful I am for having such beautiful people in my life.

Where have you found the good this week?


Friday, April 1, 2016

April Goals

Good golly, where did March go?! I cannot believe that it is already April! My blog will turn 1 this month which is super exciting, but I also have comprehensive exams which is not the most exciting thing...

Last month's goals were hit and miss. I would say that I accomplished at least part of all of them which is pretty good. To be fair, I am also being pretty lenient with myself - ok, very lenient.

This month I am going to keep the goals short and sweet simply because I am going to be SWAMPED with comps prep and interviews along with everything else. Here are three things I hope to accomplish in April:

1) Make it through written comps - thoughts and prayers on April 21 and 22 would be great!
2) 8 Blog Posts and continued engagement - still so thankful for this beautiful community!
3) Go to daily mass at least 5 times - because a little extra intentional time with God never hurts.

Again, not too many set for this month, but I really want to keep them manageable and protect myself from getting too overwhelmed in this crazy, busy month.

How about you? Do you have any goals in mind for April? I'd love to hear!


For those interested, here are the outcomes for my March's Goals:

Better Blogging:

Build Content - Post 10 times this month including one new recipe.
Technically I did not post a recipe, but I did attempt a new one and take photos during the prep for a post. It just ended up being an epic fail... womp womp.

Build Community - Read and comment on a minimum of 3 posts per day.
I was definitely way more engaged in building community this month. I did slack a little during my immersion trip, but given the extenuating circumstances, I think I can count this one as more or less complete too.

Create Art - Practice/Try new photo skills (Pinterest is a great tool!)
I definitely worked more with photography this month, particularly in editing skills. It's been a lot of fun and I am loving the learning.

Better Learning:
Manage Time - Get back in the habit of having readings done a day or so early - it's a nice cushion.
Fail. Life happens, ya know?

Manage Studies - Engage more in comprehensive exam preparations - at least 10 flashcards per week.
I spent a good amount of time studying this month. Some flashcards, but more case study practice than anything.

Look to the Future - Turn in 5 more job applications.
3/5 'aint bad, right?

Better Me:
Be Hospitable - Host a dinner party.
Done! I had the women from my cohort over for a beautiful party at the beginning of the month and had an amazing time.

Be Strong - Start running again after stitches are removed.
Check! I have been running a few times a week since the stitches are gone and boy does it feel good!

Embrace the Good - Set aside an extra hour of prayer each week devoted to gratitude.
I'm going to leave this undone just because I know I could be more intentional about this. I did spend time praying in thanksgiving, but not regularly.


And that's it. Hope everyone has a beautiful Friday and first day of April!


**Linking up with my so-called chaos, #monthylygold