Thankful.

I’m 21 now, today is Thanksgiving, so here are 21 things I am thankful for:

1. My family. Especially my parents. This is going to be cliche, but I wouldn’t be the same person today without them and I love them a whole lot.

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2. My household, Rosa Mystica. I love these girls with my whole heart. They bring me deeper and deeper into love of Our Lady and Our Lord and I am so grateful.

3. My 2013 Totus Tuus Team. Obviously the summer was 4 months ago but we all keep in touch with each other, and I am STILL learning from these beautiful people.

4. Mama Mary. For nothing I have done, she loves me and brings me to her Son. The more I learn about her, the more I love her. She is the very model of femininity.

5. The Eucharist. My source and summit, need I say more?

6. Truth. I’ve recently learned the beauty and power of speaking words of truth – particularly from Scripture.

7. Baking. I love everything about it – shopping for it, baking it, smelling it, eating it…

8. Franciscan University. This place has and continues to shape me every day that I am there.

9. The smell of roses. These are one of my favorite flowers (and not just because I’m in Rosa Mystica) and not much smells better than their scent.

10. Beautiful sunsets. These are nothing else but gifts from the Lord.

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11. My semester abroad studying in Austria. It was beautiful, it was challenging, but most of all I grew as a person and grew closer to the Lord.

12. God’s love. I don’t deserve it, but it is lavished upon me every day of my life.

13. Music. Specifically Josh Garrels.

14. Inner peace. The Lord’s given it to me this year and I won’t trade it.

15. Snow. There’s not much better than watching the snow fall softly down with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand.

16. Being taken care of. I’ve never been without food, shelter, clothing… I have SO much to be grateful for.

17. Otis the elevator that takes me up to 4th floor Tommy.

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18. Priests. They sacrifice more than we know to give us what we need – spiritual life.

19. Adventure. This makes me feel most alive. My most recent adventure: taking on New York City two weeks ago.

20. Babies. Having a baby nephew to come home on breaks to is perfect.

21. Beauty. It’s all around me if I open my eyes.

Identity

Identity. 

This has been a huge topic for me lately, because I am realizing that I am so into what I do. I’m involved in a lot of awesome things. I am a co-leader for a spring break mission trip to Honduras, I am the next co-coordinator of my household, I am a big sister in my household, I sing in music ministry, I hold a job, all while taking classes. I do a lot and I am very proud of the things that I do.  They’re all good things, but sometimes I think that I take it a little bit too far.

I realized this morning that sometimes, I allow these things that I am involved in and the Lord has called me to, to define who I am, instead of just what I do. 

And I would like to say, that it’s time I reclaim the truth: I am a human being and not a human doing

This doesn’t mean that I am going to quit everything I’m involved in – because I’m not about to do that – but I am going to put things into perspective.

In truth, I am a beloved, precious, treasured, and sought after daughter of the King whose worth cannot be denied. I have been set aside, chosen, and called for a purpose that the Lord slowly reveals to me in a gentle way that I can handle. I have been given this worth freely, as have you. 

If for some reason all the things that I do were to fall apart and I were to be taken out of all of them, it would not matter. These things I do are not what define me, the Father’s love that has been freely lavished upon me, giving me the dignity of a daughter of God, is what defines me. There is nothing that can separate me from this great love of God.

To take it a step farther, what I mean is that if I were to wake up tomorrow morning and have my life be completely different, all would be well. We’re talking different household, different university, different family, different group of friends, different activities, different whatever else… all would be well. This is because I am a precious daughter and nothing can take that away from me. The things I am involved in, the friends that I have, my incredible household, are all beautiful gifts to me and greatly enhance my life. But that’s not what makes a life. Living in the love of the Father is what makes a life, and I choose to live in that truth. 

An identity rooted in the love of Christ is where my joy flows from, and herein lies my purpose. His love never fails. 

 

Intentionality

I think intentionality is one of those topics which is so easy to talk about, but when it comes to really living intentionally… that’s a different story. I really struggle with this, but I have been realizing recently that it is totally worth it. 

An easy way to think of intentionality is that if you’re doing something, keep the ultimate goal in mind. For example, if you are doing your reading for class, keep in mind the ultimate goal of passing the final and learning all that you can from the course. If you remember that the reading you are doing might help you learn the material better, you are going to be much more intentional about how you are reading. In other words, you will pay more attention and be more present to what you’re doing. 

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That seems easy enough, but it gets a little more difficult when it comes to communication. Ultimately, communication is an exchange of some kind of message between one or more people. However, a lot of times when we use cell phones or the internet – which are intended to help us communicate more efficiently – we are less present to both the person we are communicating with through the social media AND the people we are actually with at that moment in person. If we were intentional about how we communicate, we would put the cell phone down while we are talking to people in person, and we would remember that there really is another person on the other side of the phone or screen. It’s challenging, but when you’re out to lunch with a friend be present to them. When you’re texting someone, remember that they are a person and talk to them as such. 

But why is it worth it?

Because a real difference can be made!

When it comes to sharing our faith, communication in its truest form – as an exchange of a message between persons – is key. Our faith is a beautiful thing, but this beauty is only seen when it is lived in a real and personal way. Someone must be able to see how the faith impacts you personally before they will even consider allowing it to impact them. And so this beauty must be communicated. But in order to communicate our faith and make a difference, we have to be intentional about how we go about it. Media can be an awesome way to spread this beauty, but it must be personal. If the person is lost in the social media “communication” through lack of intentionality then we have lost the very purpose of communication.

Communication is between persons and our faith is for the person