NAS: Dating fast?

Hello! Hmm... I've been a little MIA lately. Not on purpose, but as many of us know, when life gets busy, our blogs take the backseat. :( It makes me sad... even though I know it's fine. It's not the end of the world. But, I miss it. I miss YOU! I have so many thoughts to share, half written posts, topic ideas written in my journal... and, hope! Hope that I will get them written and get this blog rolling again. :)

Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for reading. And thank you for your patience!

Ok! Back to Not Alone Series and this week's topic: dating fasts.


We've all likely heard about them, but have you ever done one? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?


Well, I have never done one.

I haven't really thought about it, other than those moments of "boys are stupid and I'll never date again!!"

But, I have taken breaks, per se. Life unfolds in ways that for a few months, I focused on the things in my life, my relationship with God, my job, etc which turned out to be times that I did not date. Which, in a sense is a fast from dating.

I suppose the difference is the intention. I have never intentionally not dated.

To be fair, I haven't dated a whole lot. So, sometimes I feel like my whole life is a fast from dating! :) Obviously that's not true. I've been on dates. I have been active on Catholic Match. If I was truly on a dating fast, I would be fasting from those things, too.

At this point in my life, do I think a dating fast is for me? I will have to say no. In the last year, I have learned so much about myself, God, love and what I am looking for. These are things that could potentially come out of a dating fast. This is not to say that I couldn't benefit from going deeper on those things, of course, but I don't feel like that's the way to do it for me. I am happy with where I am right now... and if I am completely honest, officially being in my 30s (ha!) does ring true the whole "time is ticking" business! ;) I am completely open to finding my husband, however and whenever that should happen!

We touched on this in our Facebook group recently, the whole idea of the men we know, meet, or hear of as our brothers-in-Christ. When we focus too much on dating, getting married, what it's like to be a wife, we lose sight of the fact that men, first and foremost, are our brothers, and not some object to obtain in our lives, and perhaps, even more, that our vocation isn't just a game to win. It's a gift, a calling, that should lead us to sanctity. Our path to sanctity could be as a wife, but it hasn't happened yet. The more we focus on finding our husbands and marriage, we lose the focus on how God is calling us to holiness right now.

I am guilty of this. Many of my friends are guilty of this, as well. Taking a break from thinking about guys, a dating fast, or whatever you want to call it, allows us time to focus on the things that truly matter. God should be at the top of that list. Hopefully we can take that time to better ourselves, our relationships, take risks on the things that matter to US, and not what we think will matter to our nonexistent boyfriend/husband. Which will, hopefully, then re-focus our sight on our path to holiness and that of our brothers and sisters.

What are your thoughts on dating fasts?! I can't wait to hear! Link-up below!

NEXT WEEK
Encouraging Men
We seem to always have something to say about guys treating us right! ...or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?

March 17
Challenge!
It's that time again! In the past we've challenged ourselves to grow and/or take steps toward moving closer to our vocation. These challenges have come in all different forms! Being active with online dating, getting more involved in young adult ministry/parish life, and working on bettering my prayer life have been personal challenges. What is one thing you want to challenge yourself to do that might help you along your path toward's God's will... or maybe just help you become more open to God's will?
Share what your plan is and why, then in 2 weeks we'll write on how this challenge went!!

March 24
Lent
We're more than half way through Lent... how's it going?! What did you decide to give up/take up? Did you make any spiritual goals? How have you grown thus far and how do you hope to make the most of the remainder of the season?

March 31
Expectations vs Reality... of the Single Life
Have you ever had people in your life who have expectations of what your life is like, as a single person? Do friends or family ever make assumptions about your life simply because you're unmarried? Did you ever had expectations about being single which turned out to be different than the reality? How do you manage the expectations of others with the reality of your day-to-day?

April 7
Challenge Check-in!
A couple weeks ago, we set to challenge ourselves! What did you decide on and what did you end up doing? Was this a fruitful experience for you? Why or why not?

April 14
Christian Friendship
What does it mean to be a friend based in Christ? Do Christian friends hold each other higher? Do we hold each other accountable? How do these friendships differ from non-Christian based friendships? Do they differ? Is one better than the other?

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7 Tips for Discerning Mission Work!

A blog friend recently emailed me to ask a bit more about my experience in Honduras. :) She is starting her search and discernment on when and where and with whom she should serve. That time before I went to Honduras came flooding back to me. It's such an exciting, yet overwhelming time! So many choices and decisions to make and things to take care of. All you want is TO GET TO THAT PLACE AND START SERVING NOW!

So, you've decided that you want to do some mission work (short or long term!), but don't really know how to narrow it down. Oh, I'm with you. I have gathered a few things that you should keep in mind when discerning your mission work.

ONE ~ Skills
What skills do you have to offer? Are you in the medical field? Are you a teacher? Do you have a knack for photography? Is writing your thing?
Keep a list of those things. There are many organizations that look for the specific and, sometimes, out out-of-the-box skills/talents for different projects/events. Most of the time, those other skills will be of wonderful use in ways that you would never dream.
(I realized that I LOVE to write, thus started a blog for my family, but also for future volunteers... and my joy of teaching was helpful for the Honduran nurses I worked with.)

TWO ~ Important to You
What's important to you? 
That the organization be Catholic? A strong sense of community? A specific language? A specific purpose of the organization (teaching, orphanage, medical, etc)?
Keep track of those things, as well. As a volunteer you will most likely have more than one hat, so it's good to know what you will be willing to do and not do. Are you willing to be a 10 hour flight away from family? Are having the sacraments available important? What about being alone vs serving with others?

THREE ~ Where
This is a big one: where do you want to go? 
Latin/Central America? Africa? Asia? Stay in the US?
Each place has both their amazing highlights and unique challenges. When you are thrown into a different culture there will be challenges, even in the US. Do you want to learn a new language? What's one place you've always wanted to go? How far are you willing to travel? Will you be safe? It's a risk to travel, period. It's a risk to serve. Be smart about where you go. When I was in Honduras in 2012, the Washington Post dubbed my beloved Honduras as the "murder capital of the world." If that isn't a little daunting, I don't know what is. I never once felt unsafe while I was there. But, I was smart about when I traveled and where I was going.  Learn about the place you are going!

FOUR ~ Practicalities
Are you willing to fundraise? Do you have money saved up? Do you need travel/health insurance? 
Many, many organizations require you to pay your own way and/or fundraise for your living expenses. NPH only requires you to pay for your flight to/from the host country and get insurance if you wanted it. Some other organizations require insurance. These are things to keep in mind. Personally, at the time I went to Honduras, I had been working for 4 years and saved up money, so I didn't feel the need to ask for help.  But this is a choice that you will have to make.

FIVE ~ Research
Ok... so, you have an idea of what you want to do and where you want to go... now is where the fun begins!! Start with Google. :) Seriously. 
That is how I began, and then was able to narrow down what I wanted. As you begin to look at different organizations, you will find very quickly what draws you in, and what pushes you away. Add those things to your lists of skills/importance/etc. Be honest with yourself. Email the organizations that you like for more information. Reach out to those that have volunteered before (we LOVE to help  and encourage others with their process!).

SIX- Don't Rush
There is no time frame for this process. 
Yes, there are deadlines for applications and interviews and the like. But, don't choose an organization JUST because the deadline is approaching and you might miss out! There will be another opportunity. Another organization. Another chance to serve.

SEVEN ~ Pray!
Always. Always. Always. 
Pray to see if this is right for you, but also for every new step along the way. Be in constant communication with God about this HUGE decision in your life. It will be stressful. You will question everything. You will need to have a constant while you are figuring out how, exactly, your life will be changing. And also rejoice in those moments that are exciting! When you know where you are going! And when you get there!


This is obviously not an exhaustive list of things to do, but it should help get you going. If you are thinking of mission work, please know that I am praying for you! It's such an awesome way to give of yourself to love and serve your neighbor. :)

Let me know if you have any questions!

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7 Day OCM Challenge with Olive + M



Well, most people know by now that I am an Oil Cleansing Method fan. :) If you need a refresher on my experience with it, check it out here and here.

I am super, SUPER happy that I have chosen to do OCM. I love it. My skin isn't perfect... it never will be and it will never be "the pill perfect" either. But, this is the only skin routine that I have seen results. I am not a crunchy person by any means... but it does make me feel a little better knowing that I am not using crazy chemicals on my face. So, there's that!

ROUTINE
Let me go over what I do, exactly, every.single.night. My nightly routine isn't just a quick brush my teeth and splash water on my face. No... it's an 11 minute process. Yes, I timed it. Sometimes it's shorter, sometimes longer. But, if I don't do it... I feel WEIRD when going to bed. Something is off, and it takes me a long time to fall asleep.
This is where the magic happens.
And yes, I wear that bandana every time, too.

OCD tendencies, anyone?!

Step one: take eye makeup off with remover pads
Step two: floss/brush teeth
Step three: oil up my face... massage gently all over my face, jawline, etc.
Step four: wet wash cloth with hot water and place over face for a few seconds- enjoy the warmth/mini spa sesh
Step five: wipe oil/makeup/dirt off face- you will see the makeup on your cloth, so you'll need to rinse a few times and wipe again
Step six: scrub with my Clarisonic
Step seven: pat face dry
Step eight: cleanse with witch hazel/toner
(Step nine: now use Olive + M's face oil on the dryer parts of my face)

[In the morning, I use a wash cloth to wipe my face clean while in the shower. I don't use any sort of cleanser or more oil. Then use a bit of oil as a moisturizer, if needed.]


THE OIL
As I explained in my first OCM post, its important to try different combos of oils to see what works for your skin. Different oils do different things and will do different things to your skin as opposed to my skin. Coconut oil has been AMAZING for my skin! But, I have heard it does horrendous things to others.

Coconut Oil. It's my love. No, really. I just love it. It can be used as a moisturizer. It smells heavenly. And you can cook with it, if you want. :)

On February 1, I started using an olive oil blend, however. The very nice Mariska of Olive + M, an olive oil based skin care line, reached out and asked if I would like to give her oils a try*!

I mean... sure!! :)  I am always up for trying something new... and something new that is STILL my beloved OCM?! Yes, please!!


She asked that I do a 7-day challenge with the Cleansing Oil and Face Oil. But, I don't know about you, 7-days is not enough time to see if there was any positive change in my skin. (Although, I bet if I was starting out OCM for the very first time with these oils, I would totally see a change!)  So, I have committed to using O + M for all of February. But, I would still like to show you what my face looked like for the first 7 days, and then I will get my bee-hind together (I hope) to do another post after February is all finished. Which, ya know... isn't too far away. :)

All I did was replace my coconut oil with the O+M Cleansing Oil. It comes in it's own bottle with a PUMP! Genius. I love that. :) I use 5 pumps. 3-4 is recommend, but I have found 5 gets more of my makeup off.

After the Clarisonic, I will use the Face Oil for the dry areas, if needed.


RESULTS
As you can see... there is no dramatic difference. I found that drama came when I first switched to OCM, check those results out here. But, what I can tell is that the redness isn't as pronounced. All of these pics were taken right after I cleaned my face/before bed, so my face is a little irritated looking, perhaps, from the rubbing/wiping.




But! I am hopeful. I am really liking Olive + M. I was a bit nervous because, as coconut oil can do crazy things to some people's skin, so can olive oil. Thankfully, my skin has been doing really well! There are all of these wonderful essential oils perfectly blended in both the Cleansing Oil and Face Oil that make them smell divine! I just love the way they feel on my skin.

Right now, the only thing that I am finding different between the the coconut oil and the olive oil blend, is how effectively is takes my makeup off. I am finding that when I wipe my face with the toner/cotton ball, makeup is still coming off (this is AFTER cleansing with the oil and using the Clarisonic, mind you). I did not notice this much with the coconut oil. I have also noticed that my forehead is having smaller breakouts. Is this perhaps because not all of the makeup is coming off?! I am not too sure.

But, I have only had one or two painful, cystic blemishes!! I even had my period, which is when those suckers appear. Normally I get a bunch around my period, so to only have a couple is awesome!!!

ANYway... enough of that boring stuff. Maybe some of you have been interested in trying OCM?! I'd say... just go for it!! Perhaps using Olive + M?! Well, you are in for a treat!!! The first 10 people to fill out the form below, will receive a sample of the Cleansing Oil and Face oil to try for 7 days! It's free!! No pressure! If you have been curious about OCM, then this may be the perfect time! :) :) The Olive + M team will contact you if you are one of the first 10 people to sign up.

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I Want to Take Olive + M's 7 Day Challenge!

* indicates required



*I received samples of the Cleansing Oil and Face Oil, and a full bottle of the Cleansing Oil for free in return for an honest post about my experience with the oils for 7-days! And, that's what you got!

NAS: Spiritual Writings






What are some of your favorite or go-to books, devotionals or even blogs that help encourage you in your spiritual life?










Hmmm... I wish I had some great resources for you in this area. I love to read, but I don't seem to have any books or anything that I always go back to. Honestly, I am looking forward to seeing what you all have to say about this. I am always looking for new reads. :)

Here are ones that come to mind, though:

  • Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn
  • My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell (I need to read this again. You can read my review here.)
  • Blessed is She - online/email devotional; daily readings and reflection sent to your inbox!
Let's hear what you got! Don't forget to linkup below!

NEXT WEEK
TRAVEL!!
How do you travel as a single lady?! Any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Do you have anything fun planned for this year?

March 3
Dating Fast
We've all heard about them, but have you ever done one? If so, what was your experience? If you haven't, would you consider doing one? Why or why not?

March 10
Encouraging Men
We seem to always have something to say about guys treating us right! ...or, not right! But, what does that mean? Have you ever thought to share those insights so guys have a better idea on what to say/how to act? Well, let's do it! What are some good habits guys can take up when dealing with us ladies?



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We don't have to do it all.


Hello there.

Is this my blog?! It is, right?

Man... these last few weeks have pretty much been a blur. From my birthday, to crazy days at work, to a work conference in Orlando, to young adult group, to other meetings, to baby showers for friends...

to doing laundry, cleaning the house, writing thank you notes, blogging, praying, hanging out with friends...

I felt a little lost. And a whole lot of overwhelmed.

Oh, and I hadn't been to confession for 3 weeks (after going daily for a looooong time!).

I was feeling good!! In the past, this crazy might have made me feel bad and get down on myself. It wasn't like that this time.

It was literally: I am so busy and I don't know how to handle it.

I posted in the Not Alone Series FB group... because we have an awesome community of women... and asked for some much needed prayers. For what? I wasn't sure.

But then... peace. That's what I needed. And, by golly... you all came through! I didn't know that I needed that, but God did. And your prayers worked.

The ever wise and encouraging Cindy, of The Veil of Chastity, reminded me (us)- we don't have to do it all. Some things can wait. And it's ok.

You know that feeling when you hold your breath for a period of time and then you finally take a breath? Yea... when Cindy made that comment, I felt like I could breathe again!

Oh my gosh. She is right. I don't have to do it all. Us single ladies tend to put pressure on ourselves (probably without knowing it) to be able to do all the things. Why? Well, because we don't have a husband or kids to care for. We don't have have the family that needs us. So, why should be complain? We aren't cleaning up the kids messes or making a house a home for our husband. We don't have to keep it together for the sake of our families.

How silly it seems when written out, but how true it is for many of us. We end up having so many things on our schedules because we should have the time do to all of it. After all, we don't have kids begging for food or needed something every second. But, what is that saying about the value we put on our time? The value we put on our friends? Work? The things we love?

Single people's time is just as valuable as the wife and mom and even that Sister in her community. Our lives have value. God wants us to serve Him through everything we are doing, even though there is no husband or kids that make it obvious.

So, all you single ladies (and men!), IT'S OKAY TO NOT DO IT ALL! Breathe. You are doing the best you can. And, that's all there is to it! :)


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