April 20, 2015

Nothing Much

image via

I must admit.... I've had a bit of Blogger/Pinterest/Instagram envy going on lately.  It's not that I am dissatisfied with my own life, exactly, but it seems to be paling in comparison with the lives of everyone else.

I know, I know.  Us social media creatures tend only to post the rosy, glamorous parts of our lives and even when we have the best intentions of sharing a balanced view of both the good and exciting and the bad or mundane, the bad or mundane tends to get left out.  I know there is a lot more to everyone's life going on behind the scenes.  I know that I have a tendency to only share the sunshine and flowers in my life as well.  It's not that we don't want people to know about those times, I think it's more that when we are going through a blah patch, we don't feel like sharing anything on the internet anyhow.

So it's easy to look at how stylish other bloggers are, the beautiful photography they are doing, the fun places they are traveling to, the adventures they are having and then look at my own life and feel like I am falling short.  It's hard to look past the filtered Instagram photos and the cute Facebook posts and see the difficult part of peoples lives that are hovering behind them.

I try to remind myself that, as a culture, we don't like people to know about the struggles we are going through.  It's considered impolite to tell people how we are really doing, unless we are very specifically asked.  We want to put on our best face, we don't want anyone to see what is going on behind the scenes.

It is hard to remember that though, and to keep myself from looking away from the blogs and social media and look at everything that I'm not.  I'm not stylish, I'm not losing any weight.  I'm not crafty or artsy, it's been a long time since I've done any sort of creative writing.  I haven't traveled outside of the United States. I haven't done anything great or exciting with my life.  I haven't worked all these neat jobs, or met all kinds of fascinating people.  I'm not exceptionally talented at anything.

I doubt anyone would ever look at my life and go "Oh wow... I wish my life was more like Amanda's!"  My life isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination, and that's not what I'm trying to say.  Its not that I don't value the life I live or appreciate what I have. It's that my life is just - well, ordinary.

I think when you are focusing on all the things that you aren't, you are supposed to take a step back and look at the things that you are, and that is supposed to make you smile cheerfully and say "Well golly, I guess I'm pretty awesome after all!"  That's what I've been told, anyhow, but that doesn't mean it's easy to do or that if I do try to look on the positive side, that I'll even find anything the first twenty times I look.

It's much easier to scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and my blog feed and feel a little twinge of jealousy because I want to be like that.  And it's hard not to turn life into a competition, to not take photos and heavily Instagram everything so that I can make it seem like I have a Pinterest-worthy life too.  It makes it hard to just enjoy your life as it comes, without thinking "Oh, what meaningful and inspiring blog post can I turn _________ into?  And I'd better be ready in case something comes along that I can Instagram!"

I suppose if anyone out there has ever read my blog or scrolled through my Instagram and had that kind of envy, I am trying not to laugh at the thought of you.  This post isn't going to wrap up with some attempt at a profound recollection of what I've learned from my emotions and envy, because I haven't learned anything yet.  This is, I guess, my shot at showing the side of my life that doesn't have an Internet filter applied to it.

April 13, 2015

Feeling Fab

It's that odd, frustrating in between season where I'm never sure if I should keep my winter clothes out a bit longer or pull out the spring clothing and just layer up. Yesterday was finally a beautiful, sunny spring Sunday and so I ventured into the spring clothing to pull out a favorite outfit of mine.

I've always been a fan of blue and white and nautical style clothing/floral prints.  When I found this top and skirt at a thrift store last summer I initially tried them on together for time and efficiency, and then realized that... they actually could be worn together. 

 Combining the pearls with the gold anchor earrings and the white bow gave the outfit just the right balance of nautical and femininity to really pull the ensemble together.

blouse // thrifted
skirt // thrifted
pumps // JC Penny
bracelets // Khols
necklace // gifted
earrings // gifted (pearls), Charming Charlies (anchors)
bow // borrowed from my sister

It's a very comfortable outfit, and I love that the top can be dressed up with a skirt, or dressed down with a pair of jeans for more of an everyday wear.  I'm so glad that springtime is finally here!

April 2, 2015

In Christ Alone

Of all the days of the Triduum, Holy Thursday has always been my favorite.  There is an atmosphere about it that is so joyful, and yet so solemn and sacred and sad as well.

I love the great ringing of the bells, the singing of the Gloria for the first time since Lent began.  I love the incense, the ceremony, the beautiful procession of the Eucharist from the Church into the Chapel set aside for Our Lord until Easter Sunday.  I love staying up late in the Chapel in Adoration, keeping watch with Him.

There is sadness in knowing that Christ underwent terrible torture and agony in the garden that night, and that the next day He would suffer more than we can ever imagine and then die for us.  Yet there is also great joy and comfort in knowing that, before He died, He gave us the Eucharist and His true presence so that we could always be close to Him.

The true, complete presence of Christ in the Eucharist has always been something I have accepted as a natural and undeniable fact. I have never needed great theological explanations or proof to make me believe... to me, it has always made sense.  If God loved us enough to die for us, how could He not love us enough to give Himself to us in the Eucharist?  He could create the whole world out of nothing, raise people from the dead, ascend into Heaven, how could He not make Himself entirely present in the host, and in the wine?

I believe it with my whole heart, even if my actions don't always show it.  I know that I do not always have the reverence that I should, that I don't give the time that He deserves, that I don't show the fervor and awe that that the King is worthy of.  And yet He is always there, waiting patiently for me, and when I kneel in Adoration and receive Him in Mass, I can feel His love for me.  There is so much beauty there, so much power and so much love.

There is joy in the celebration of Holy Thursday, in knowing that God loves me, and loves each one of us so much that He made sure to give Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist before Christ died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven.  There is sorrow in knowing that I do not deserve any of that love, and that I can never repay it.  There is peace in being reminded that despite my unworthiness, He is offering me His love anyways.