Saturday, August 5, 2017

Currently: August

Happy Saturday, friends. It's been a paradoxically fast yet slow week here in CT mixed with just about every emotion imaginable - so that's been fun.

Today I am joining in on the Currently link-up with Anne from In Residence and Shea from Shea Lennon. I've seen a few bloggers I follow participate in this one and think it's such a fun way to look back at the month and reflect on a few things.

Here goes: Currently, I am...

Snacking On: Pudding and Yogurt. I had two wisdom teeth removed yesterday and am still on the soft-food-train. (Plus I love pudding and yogurt, so win win.) Specifically, tapioca pudding is my jam and I just started eating this yogurt from Whole Foods and love it.

Anticipating: My cousin's wedding next weekend and the beginning of school at the end of the month. How is it already August?! So much to do before the kiddos return!

Borrowing: Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer this one. I live pretty remote from family and friends so there isn't much occasion to borrow... Still paying those loans from undergrad though, so that counts, right?

Admiring: Artists. I follow lots of Etsy Shops on Instagram and have been loving the art these women have been sharing - Brass and Mint Co. Brick House in the City and Be a Heart, to name a few. What beautiful talents they share!

Purchasing: Craft supplies. I stopped at Hobby Lobby about a week ago and went a little crazy. There was a lot of "Oh, I could just make that," thinking happening as I shopped. Whether or not that was a good thing is yet to be determined. I did make this cactus though, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

I am currently (see what I did there) driving to Ohio for the trip delayed by pesky wisdom teeth. It's 8 hours and basically all through PA all with my cat, Zelie... Prayers for smooth travels and safety are appreciated.

What's going on with you, friend? Any great snacks or non-monetary borrowing? (Or monetary - We can commiserate on the cost of a college education.) Road trips? I'd love to hear!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Loving Lavender

As you know from my last post, I'm mildly obsessed with lavender. And I know it will absolutely shock you all to hear that not only do I like the plant, but I am also quite fond of the color. (This is where you all gasp in disbelief.)

Row 1:   Tote  |  Scarf  |  Top
Row 2:   Skirt  |  Dress  |  Pants
Row 3:   Shoes  |  Sunglasses
Row 4:   Earrings  |  Socks  |  Bracelet  |  Lotion

All jokes aside, there are some really lovely pieces available in various shades of lavender and I thought it would be fun to share some here. I'm strongly considering the Anthropologie earrings and the eyelet top from J. Crew but am not quite sure how to make it work appropriate and cute... A cardigan maybe? We shall see.

Are there any color trends you are loving lately?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lavender Pond Farm

One of the perks of having a flexible summer work schedule is taking spur-of-the-moment trips on a weekday afternoon. I saw a few friends on social media mention they had visited lavender farms near their home towns and was immediately inspired to search for one in my neck of the woods.

Luckily, I found the address to Lavender Pond Farm, only about 40 minutes away from me and their flowers were still blooming (thanks, Google). And so I decided the next day would be my mini-adventure of exploring lavender fields and pretending like I was summering in Provence. They say Connecticut is the Sault of the United States - OK, nobody says that, but I bet the lavender here is just as pretty and smells just as good...

Friends, I LOVE lavender. The smell, the color, the texture - gosh, just about everything about this plant brings me joy. My front door has a lavender wreath, 90% of the candles in my apartment are lavender scented and so is my bathroom hand soap and my favorite essential oil. It's an obsession, I know. But for someone who is super picky about smells, when you find one you like, you cling to it (and apparently make just about everything in your home smell like it - hens the new candle and lotion I bought at the farm...).

I've heard that lavender is supposed to help with relaxation and boy does that seem to be true for me.
As soon as I stepped on the grounds of Lavender Pond Farm I felt at ease. The beautiful grounds alone are stunning. Add in the scent of fresh lavender and you have found my idea of paradise. I can't think of a more perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

Seriously, it was a dream.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

St. Anne

I love the beautiful examples of faith we are given via the Communion of Saints. These holy men and women help me to remember that I am loved beyond measure by a Creator who isn't interested in perfection so much as genuine effort. A God who can create saints out of some of the more unlikely cases (I'm looking at you Ignatius.)

Saint Anne, whose feast day is today, is a saint near and dear to my heart. Maybe it's because of a close relationship with my own grandmother, but Jesus' grandma has always been a source of inspiration and consolation in my life. She helped young Mary grow to be a strong, holy woman who proclaimed "Yes!" to God trusting unconditionally.

While most Catholic girls I knew growing up were striving to be like Mary, I often felt her perfection to be distancing - to be honest, sometimes I still do. I mean, the woman was immaculately conceved and chosen by God to bring us the Prince of Peace - that's crazing intimidating. And while I have since begun developing a closer relationship with Mama Mary, I still feel drawn to her mom, Anne.

In those moments where I find Mary to be out of reach, I pray for the grace to be like Anne - a gracious mother that leads her child in holiness by a beautiful example of love and sacrifice.

So, today I am thankful for the gift of St. Anne, for the gift of grandparents, and for the gift of holy women that teach me how to fall more deeply in love with Christ and lead me closer to God.

St. Anne, pray for us.

Who is your favorite saint?


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Let's Catch Up

And just like that, my first year of work at a high school is over. This year has been challenging and beautiful and hard and rewarding and so many other adjectives that don't seem to fit together but, by the grace of God, do.

And now, summer. A chance to be still. To unwind. To continue settling into life on the East Coast. Technically I'm a 12 month position, but because of all of the travel I did this year to learn about our service program, I have been firmly told to take a break and if I do have to get something done, do it from home.

Twist my arm.

Honestly, it is a bit more challenging than you would think. I love my school and I love my job, so not going into the office is hard. It's 10 minutes away, it gets me out of my apartment, and I would see coworkers... I'm working on it. Definitely a growing edge, friends.

I did manage to unplug from work this past week on a vacation to Exuma. More about that later, but for now a photo of M and me because he is currently driving home to Ohio where I will be in a week or so. We had a blast, if you can't tell from our ear-to-ear smiles. He got pretty sunburnt right from the get-go (hens the t-shirt), so a friendly PSA to practice good skin care this summer, friends.

(On a note of personal growth for the year, never did I think I would publicly post a photo of me, full body, in a swimsuit. And yet, there it is, and on Instagram too. And I actually really like the photo. If this was a year ago, I am certain I would be tearing myself apart about x, y or z in the picture. And to be honest, I do still notice some flaws, but they do not own me any more and I feel so freed by that - May not seem like a big deal, but believe me, it is.)

Other things we may need to catch up on since my last post...

I've been trying to jump back on the reading train and these books are definitely worth checking out:

  1. A Man Called Ove - I cried.
  2. Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job - Easy read that I hope to use with my high schoolers.
  3. Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People - Some strong language, but overall great read and a great reminder to find God in everyone. 
I tend to be posting more on Instagram lately than anywhere else, so if you would like more timely updates/convo along with potentially entertaining stories, you can find me HERE.

Oh, and I adopted a cat. I don't think I've introduced you Zelie yet. She will probably also get her own post soon. (Maybe.)

And I guess that's life in a nutshell lately. How are you, friend?


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Questioning Empathy

I present to you musings of an overtired Sarah  from around 1 am last night as she tried to sleep but couldn't seem to turn off her brain, thus recording those thoughts in writing here on the blog. I apologize in advance for grammatical errors and/or circularity. The final product might not be as pretty as some posts, but it is honest and authentic - which I tend to prefer anyway. And so, without further adieu, Questioning Empathy.


Lately I've been consumed with thoughts about empathy and how it occurs in others. It all started about a week or so ago while I was on a service trip with students to the city nearest to our school. During these trips (this was my third of this specific one) my students engage with different local organizations and programs that they could choose to serve for a year while they are seniors. The boys cook our meals - it's an all boys school, we don't just force the males to cook - and the faculty members facilitate discussions about various social justice topics like housing and hunger.

The discussions are typically engaging with a pleasantly surprising amount of student involvement. Questions are asked, presuppositions are challenged, and the idea of care for the other is usually taken away - at least an inkling of it is... We have to start somewhere, right? This time was different though. Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was the culmination of many tiny instance from the three other trips this year or maybe I was just in an off mood. 

Whatever it was, this trip left me with a haunting question about empathy, namely, can empathy be taught? Is it something you're born with? Are there those more prone to empathy than others? Is high school too late?

The optimist in me still believes that, yes, empathy can be taught. I also believe that no one is born hateful. Hate is taught. So why can't empathy also be taught? I believe empathy is developed and strengthened through meeting others and hearing their stories. As we listen, our imaginations move us into their shoes and allow a closer understanding of the other and what events in their life has led them to. But how do we get someone to imagine? To even try to imagine? Is their refusal laziness or incapability? 

What if I am wrong? What if you can't teach empathy? My many questions on the topic caused me to do what any good millennial does when faced with a question - google it. Actually, I searched for any Ted-Talks about empathy, but I did that through Google. Tomato, tomato. There were a surprising number of videos where people asked similar questions. One in particular had a woman sharing her study of altruism and it appears there is a part of the brain correlated to acts of kindness. Altruism can be connected to the size of this particular piece of the brain. It's not empathy exactly, but I would say the two are very much correlated. 

What if being empathetic is genetic? I always attribute my ability to empathize to my mother and grandmother and how they raised me. But when I asked my mom "how do you teach empathy," our discussion led to a recognition that she and my uncle were raised in the same house by the same woman and he is not an empathetic individual. Is it different in males vs females? Is age a factor? 

I'm rambling now and I know this post is completely out of left field, but I would genuinely love to know your thoughts on empathy. Do any of you know of any good sources on the topic? I'm genuinely considering digging into a deeper study of the topic and would love any recommendations if you have them. 

Thanks for listening as I ramble friends. 


Sunday, January 1, 2017

An Intentional 2017

Happy New Year, friends. 2017 has arrived, and with it a fresh, crisp new year with which we can work to experience in beautiful ways.

This year, instead of setting a typical resolution, I have decided to choose a word to strive to embody during these next 12 months (and hopefully beyond that). As I prayed and reflected on what I wanted that word to be, my heart kept returning me to the idea of being intentional.

That's not to say that I currently spend my days being unintentional and lackadaisical, but there are definitely moments in probably every aspect of my life where I have simply gone through the motions, or carelessly did the  bare-minimum to complete I was doing just to so it would be done. It's not everyday and it's not all at once, but every time it happens I've missed an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.

With intentionality comes reflectiveness and authenticity. It requires awareness and discernment. Actively choosing to be intentional won't be easy, and I will undoubtedly mess up, but I believe that even simply recognizing times where I could strive to be more intentional will allow me to flourish.

I pray that intentional time, relationships and prayer will lead to deeper listening, understanding, and growth.

And so, here's to 2017! May this year be filled with goodness and bring us all closer to God.

Have you set any goals for this new year? Any tips on how to live more intentionally?


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