Thursday, April 26, 2018

Our 5 Favorite Long Distance Dates


Michael and I met at a mutual friend's wedding in September of 2016. I had just moved to Connecticut after grad school and came home to Ohio for the event. Meeting someone at the wedding was the furthest thing from my mind. My most recent relationship had been nearly two years of long distance and I was not interested in getting back on that boat any time soon - if ever.

And yet, after a night of dancing, months of talking, a visit home, his visit here, and even turning him down when he first asked to be exclusive, there was no denying the pull on my heart to give this man and this relationship a chance.

Thankfully, in February, after 484 days of distance (not that I was counting), M joined me here on the East Coast. It was sooner than we had anticipated. A colleague needed a roommate, we were both pretty done with the whole distance thing and it turned out he would be able to transfer pharmacies way smoother than we could have ever imagined. It was such a whirlwind and honestly, couldn't of happened any easier had we spent months planning it. God has been so good to us.

Now that we're done with distance and I'm not solely focused on how hard it was to maintain, I find myself looking back and am so thankful for all of the love and memories that our time together while apart created.

I'm often asked how we kept our relationship fun while living hundreds of miles apart, so I thought I'd share some of our favorite date nights via Skype. I consulted with Mike prior to writing this post, and he has given his seal of approval on the selections shared.


1.) Cook a Meal Together - About once a month M and I would pick a night we wanted to have dinner together and choose a meal to cook. That evening we would Skype as we prepared the meal and then sit down at our dinner tables and eat "together". It was a great way to learn new recipes, teach one another new cooking tricks, and just spend time together. Plus it put my mind at ease to see he was eating something other than mini muffins and baby carrots.

2.) Watch a Movie Together - Similar to cooking, we'd also choose movies or shows on Netflix that we wanted to watch with each other (I don't have cable). We said a countdown for pressing the play button and became pretty good at syncing up our televisions. We even began to wait for one another if a new movie was released and we thought the other would like to see it. For the record, I only fell asleep once or twice on these dates which is practically a miracle.

3.) Pray Together - One of my favorite things to do with Michael is pray. There's no wrong way to pray and it's wonderful learning new ways and new prayers to say with the one you love. We pray extemporaneously, follow an Examen via this app, pray novenas, etc. Fun fact, we actually found out that M's pharmacy transfer would happen on the last day of the Immaculate Conception Novena after a bit of a scare that it wouldn't be possible due to store closings. The news was such a welcomed answer to our prayers.

4.) Play Games Together - We both LOVE board games and thanks to technology and fellow nerds, there are so many apps available to play games on your phone with other people on the same app. Is playing Catan online with strangers the same as playing it in person? No, of course not. But it is still a ton of fun and you don't have to worry about having side conversations while the game is going on when no one else can hear you.

5.) Be Vulnerable Together - This one is not as creative or "fun" as the others, but when I was talking with Mike about what to share, we both agreed that some of the most fruitful Skype dates we had consisted on intentional check-ins on how we were feeling in the relationship and how we could make the other feel more loved even though we were so far a part. Obviously in distance you are going to be doing a lot of talking, but make sure you don't dance around those hard conversations. They may be uncomfortable and they may bring tears, but ultimately they will bring you closer together and allow your relationship to grow in ways that can be stifled by living so far apart.

-----

Distance is a TON of work and can be exhausting and emotional and life-giving and heartbreaking and exhilarating and all of the feels all at the same time.

It's a lot.

There are days when you'll wonder if it's worth it and there are days when you'll feel closer than ever. And while I am SO glad that we are out of that stage of our relationship, I am incredibly thankful for the time we spent getting to know one another and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.


Any fellow LDR survivors out there? What were your favorite ways to date while apart?

Peace,
Sarah


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

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