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.

All Things New

I may not have posted for over a month, but it is not for lack of beauty around me. No, beauty abounds. But this has been particularly true in one non-tangible way…

the beauty of newness. 

To say that there is beauty in newness, is not to say that it is easy to experience newness. In fact, I have found quite the opposite to be true. Much in my life this semester is new;  new friends, new household sisters, new intents, new upperclassman status, new roommate, and new dreams. Each of these things are very good, but I’m going to be honest, they’re also very hard to get used to. The Lord has blessed me with so many incredible things in the last year, that it is hard to let go of those experiences enough to be able to fully experience the next blessing that the Lord has for me, which happens to be this semester right where I am. Image

For example, something difficult that I’ve come to realize is that although last semester I was able to travel anywhere in Europe basically any weekend I wanted, being “stuck” here in Ohio without a car is just as beautiful. But it is. And the reason it is just as beautiful, is because this is where God wants me to be right now. The reason last semester was such a big blessing and was so overwhelmingly beautiful, was because that was where God wanted me to be at that time. 

I am seeing more and more that life is a journey, and the destination really isn’t in this world. The Lord places us in specific places and with specific people for a time, and asks us to grow there, with them, for awhile. In my life, He asked me to grow in Austria last semester, but now He is asking me to grow here for awhile. And that is a beautiful thing. I have seen the fruit of this beauty, mostly in conversations I’ve had with household sisters. There have been several moments this semester where they have said just what I needed to hear or I have said just what they needed to hear. Those are little examples, but it is so clear to me that I am right where I am meant to be. I know this moment won’t last forever, but I’m entering into it for now, and then there will be more newness and growth that I’m supposed to experience next! 

All instances of newness are opportunities to grow. Rather than holding tightly to the past, let go and allow the Lord to place you right where you are meant to be, building off of the growth and experiences of the past to make the present beautiful. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting, but rather allowing the experiences of the past and the hope of the future to blossom into the newness and beauty of the present moment.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! – 2 Corinthians 5:17