Saturday Satisfaction #5

Hallelujah, this week is over!! I don’t like wishing away time but this week was a rough and tough one in the area of academics. But today will be the opposite of rough and tough because I’m off to a Tea 101 class for my internship with expert tea makers. They are coming in from five hours away just for this class! WUT. Count that as #1 in this list of what has been bringing me satisfaction!

 

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Of Dirt And Grace album by Hillsong! Talk about blissful studying tunes! I was getting into a music rut but so thankfully discovered this album on Spotify. It’s pretty much their Empires album but recorded where Jesus did his ministry…YA! SO COOL! I have the sweetest memories connected with their Empires album because it came out around the time I created this bloggy blog and was head over heals for Jesus all over again.  Check it out!

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Couponing! Who’s surprised? I’m an 83 year-old-woman stuck in a 21-year-old body. I recently got the iPhone 7 and the extreme amounts of storage is making me want to twirl around for days! I’ve been playing around in the app store and naturally found myself downloading all the grocery store apps. My favorites are Flipp, Kroger’s and have I’ve continued to use Fresh Thyme’s.

Fun food messages! Being in a world surrounded by annoying food packages that boast in their 100 calorie glory, are plastered with ‘Fat Free’ messages when there should most definitely be fat in ice cream and countless others that are created by corporations who couldn’t care less about your health is taxing. So when I found pleasant messages like these, I had to share them! They are from this chocolate bar and this can of coffee. You bet I purchased both with a coupon!

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This dog! Just because! I am not an animal lover in any shape or form or angle or rhombus. But dogs have been the hot topic in my house because my roommate is contemplating getting one. I want to name him Marvin! She laughed. I still want to name him Marvin.

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The Basilica and National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception! I went a few weeks ago when I was in DC for the 44th Annual March for Life. The basilica is basically the most beautiful church with the most beautiful small chapels devoted to Mary all along the left and right sides. I failed to take a picture of what has stayed on my mind since. It was a statue of Mary in one of the chapels with the engraving, “Mary is more Mother than Queen”. I’ll be reflecting on this beautiful wisdom for a loooong time!

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Making my own hummus! As I talked about in my previous What I Ate Wednesday, I volunteer for a nonprofit that does healthful food education and cooking classes. Two weeks ago, hummus was on the menu and the three older gentlemen in the class that took on that task assigned me as their taste tester. So maybe that brought me WAY more joy than whipping up my own but that class gave me the idea to start making my own instead of throwing it in my cart each week! It’s so very easy, the creativity is endless and I just cant stop thinking, ‘This is how hummus is supposed to taste’! My first batch was garlicky lemon and I’m swooooning over this freshness.

Find the past four Saturday Satisfaction posts here, here, here annnd here!

100 = 15 x Gratitude

ONE. HUN. DRED. POSTS. Kerfully craziness is what I call that!

This blog has been unexpectedly delightful in more ways that I can communicate to you.  From the people who tell me they stumbled upon it, the conversations that spark from it and the most random group of people that I have an excuse to ask questions to because “it’s for my blog!” has been a blessing well beyond any means of measurement. Yes, I believe that is infinity.

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Example A: This is my friend’s Facebook status that she posted just a few minutes after emailing me her responses (below!). Eeeeks!! Talk about infinite blessings!

Maybe my mom, younger sister, deacon at my church and grandma (when I remember to print them out for her) are the only people who I think actually read these working of my mind on a consistent basis. But I didn’t create it for views or to potentially make money one day. I created it for these kinda blissful moments. Wednesday mornings where I can share with you how pals of mine are living out gratitude.

After a little reflection of my own gratitude and how I live that out, I came up with two questions. And when you want to know the answers and can say, “it’s for my blog!”, I gathered the answers.

  1. What is the one thing you are most thankful for?
  2. Do you think your life is reflective of this?

Enjoy this Wednesday morning reading or whenever you find yourself in the ranks of Deacon Ed on this space. These 15 anonymous people who I all met in the past year (gotta break up the wisdom from my other Q&A posts!) are inspirational to me. Seriously. You’ll pick up a trend of their answers reeeaal quick.

Please carve out some time to read to the end because my girl, thedancer7461, (yes, I call her by her ancient AOL screen name hehee) ended this with complete and utter truth that will hopefully give ya something to ponder AND act upon!

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Lorna’s words have been taped to my laptop for about a year now. Please steal my idea because it is the loveliest reminder all the day long!

 

ONE: 1. Without a doubt, I am most thankful for my family. Since moving away recently, I have become more aware of the profound impact they have on my life, and my relationship with my family has grown and strengthened immensely! We are closer than ever and I am more thankful for that than anything else. // 2. I really think my life is reflective of this! I make a point to make sure that my family knows I value their support and love. I am thankful to have such a family that I do. They are supportive of me as I am supportive of all of them. I have seen too many families around me enter into hard times due to superficial values and priorities, and as sad as that is, I have learned from seeing people experience that heartache just what it is I value.

TWO: 1. I would have to say I’m most grateful for all of the extraordinary people that have come into my life and shaped me to be who I am today. Every person I have met has touched me in some way and I am so appreciative of the laughs, smiles, and support that has characterized life thanks to some amazing individuals. // 2. Yes I do I try to prioritize relationships in life and always make time for family and friends! At the end of the day, people are what matter so it’s important to put them first.

THREE: 1. That’s a toss up between God, family, and the kids I teach/coach every single day. Without God none of it would be possible. Without my family and their unbelievable support I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. The kids just make everything worth it to see them succeed or teaching them lessons about life. Seeing them excited to come to my classes or practices knowing they can feel safe and do their best makes all of the little things worth it. Seeing them in the hallway or around the community and having their faces light up knowing they can come up to you at any time and tell you anything they feel they need to. Nothing replaces that feeling. // 2.Yes I do think my life is reflective of this. I’ve always loved kids and loved the idea of teaching life lessons and being myself. That’s the best part about working with kids that I love what I do and in the smallest ways you can help mold them into better people.

FOUR: 1. I am most thankful for my family and my upbringing. // 2. Yes. I think this is very reflective of how I make choices and where I am today in my life.

FIVE: 1. The one thing I am most thankful for is the ability to love and be loved. Over and over, the Bible mentions love and the constant love that Jesus has for us. His love never fails as mentioned in 1 Corinthians. Because of this love we are able to love others and be loved by others, which is the most important thing that life has to offer. // 2. I hope so! However, there is always room for improvement and always more love to be shared! It’s the greatest ability we are given and with that each day I try to find new ways in which I can share love with others so they may come to understand how much they are unconditionally loved.

SIX: 1. I am thankful for my depression because it has made me into the person I am today and I appreciate life more. It has given me the opportunity to find beauty where people don’t look for it and I have grown so much closer to my family because of it! // 2. I notice a difference in the way I live but I’m not sure if other people can tell. I have been told that I react more mature to situations now that I have accepted that I have it. I used to look at it as something negative and hide it from people, but recently I have used my story to help people and encourage people so they know they aren’t alone. Ever since I have acknowledged I have it and I am thankful for it, my mind is at peace 🙂

SEVEN: 1. The one thing I am most thankful for is my family. Growing up in a big family was the best thing my parents have done for me. Whenever I say I have seven siblings, people are shocked.  I never really valued them like I should have until recently. I am the youngest of my family and as my siblings become married and start their own families and jobs, I see less and less of them. I am also a sophomore in college so I only come home for the summer and winter breaks. This Christmas was the first Christmas that my family was not all together. The saying “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone” is so true.  My family is my biggest supporter and when nursing school gets stressful or I am having a bad day, they are the ones that I call and look forward to seeing the most. If I didn’t have their presence in my life, I think my life would be a lot different then it is today. Each one of them have taught me so much. A lot of the time it may be patience, but mostly how to love. // 2. I don’t think my life is reflective of this. I recently was talking to my friend about how if she comes down to Georgia, I would really want her to stay at my house and meet my family. She really didn’t like this idea because she was afraid she would not get along with them. As I asked her more about this she said, “You just haven’t ever talked highly of them before and you don’t seem to get along with them.” I was going to get mad and say that is not true, but I realized it is true! I think I complain about the little things they do that annoy me instead of appreciating everything they do for me. Being the youngest of the family I think I tend to dwell on what my family can do for me rather than what I can do for my family members.

EIGHT: 1. At this stage in my life, the thing I am most thankful for is being blessed with family members and loved ones close to me that I can rely on for support when times are difficult, and celebrate together when things are great. There are many unknowns and uncertainties that I and many other young adults are facing in life as we are transitioning out of college and taking on more responsibilities, so for me having a consistent presence that I can count on is vital. It is equally gratifying to be able to return the favor to them as well. // 2. Thats a good question! I believe it is, I have never been one to need or seek out having a large group of friends. At the end of the day, there are only a handful of people that have been with me every step of the way and whose opinion and guidance are ones that I truly value to my core. Day to day I sometimes find myself taking for granted those people, however, life has a funny way of reminding me that I cannot do it on my own nor would I want to.

NINE: 1. I’m definitely most thankful for all the people in my life, from my family, my friends from home and all the people I’ve met in college! // 2. I definitely think it is. I’m so grateful for everyone in my life and I always try to make sure they know that. I really feel that everyone in my life influences me to be the person I am today.

TEN: 1. I would say I am most thankful for supportive parents who encourage me to do things out of my comfort zone. // 2. 100%.  I don’t think I would have gone to school as far away from home as I did if my mom (especially) didn’t really push that it was a good idea.  No one leaves my hometown and without that I probably would have stayed forever.  That is one of the bigger examples, but in little things too.  I had to be in a musical activity throughout high school…which was choir for me and although I did not enjoy it everyday it for sure shaped me as a person.  Finally sports.  I was able to play three sports and all the extra teams that came with that in the summer.  Regardless if I ever felt I wasn’t good enough to play it was always a situation of it being a great opportunity that would open doors.  I think I now go into activities always thinking that even if I hate it, I might meet my future boss or coworker and that comes from my parents.

ELEVEN: 1. I am most thankful for the various mentor figures that I have encountered throughout my early life. Their guidance led to several well defined turning points in the way I view the world, and helped me to better understand myself. I view perspective as one of the most valuable things one can have in life, and I wouldn’t have nearly the amount of it that I do had it not been for the teachers, friends, and advisors that have served as my mentors. // 2. I definitely feel that my life reflects this value I put in my mentors. I try my best to view myself not as a purely isolated entity, but as a factor in a much broader world. I like to think that reflecting on what others’ impact on me has been helps me to redirect myself when I get caught up in the little day to day annoyances, and instead focus on the bigger picture.

TWELVE: 1. I’d have to say I’m most thankful for the education I’m getting! // 2. Yes, I definitely do think that my life is reflective of this. I used to go to a university in Bangalore, India…this environment was restricting me from learning and growing until one day I was contacted by the coach here [college in United States] who offered me a scholarship and I took the opportunity. What I have had here for the past 2 and a half years has changed my life and my perspective of things. I’ve become more independent, I’ve learned the subjects the way they are meant to be learned, I’ve learned to be humble and the whole experience together has allowed me to grow so much more than what the education back home would’ve let me. It might not be true for everyone but for me and the field that I’ve wanted to study, I think this has been far better than home.

THIRTEEN: 1. I am most thankful for my parents. I am very blessed to have grown up with two loving parents that have done nothing but constantly support me throughout my young twenty one years. My mom and my dad are my rock. They bond we share is and unbreakable and the qualities that have instilled in me have made me who I am today. As I a growing into my adult years, I am constantly realizing I become more and more like them everyday. I find myself saying “I am turning into my mother,” way too often, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. The older I become, the more I realize all my parents have done for me. I think back to times when I would get so frustrated with them. My parents would always encourage (force lol) me to go up to people I played basketball against and strike up a conversation and ask how they are doing or simply order a pizza over the phone. These two small requests my parents had has instilled a quality in me most people my age don’t posses. Those task gave me the ability to become successful in internship positions and has equipped me with life-long skills. I owe that all to my wonderful parents. We may not always agree, or understand the reasoning with the requests they give us, but I can guarantee it is part of a bigger picture. // 2. I completely think this is a reflection of my life. As I explained above, at first I didn’t see the bigger picture, but I now understand it is complete.

FOURTEEN: 1. I’m most thankful for my family, faith and friends. // 2. Yes, my family taught me at a young age the importance of giving back to the community and all of my volunteering started with faith-based work. My friends are the only ones who get why I do what I do and because of their support I am able to make an even larger impact on the world.

FIFTEEN:  1. The one thing I am most thankful for is the love my friends and family show me regardless of my flaws, imperfections and mistakes. I constantly know I have a support system and that people have my best interest at heart. At the end of the day, I am thankful for love because it can be hard to come by in today’s world. // 2. I think my life is unfortunately not reflective of this. Now that I think about it, I don’t tell the people that love me how much I love them nearly enough as I should. I need to work on showing my appreciation more towards the people that show care and love towards me.

That Time I Went to the Movies Alone

You would think that sitting by myself in a movie theater would stir up a message maybe about self care, independence and the important of knowing one’s self, right? Not so. Although I could write about those three takeaways I can write about three other ones that I actually and unconventionally found.
  1. A broken heart for mental illnesses.
  2. Thankfulness for donated blankets.
  3. A friend who was also alone.

Disclaimer: I’ve noticed that I always go into deep thinking mode upon entering movie theaters. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I hardly ever just sit and “do nothing” for an extended period of time. My mind is a racing machine all hours of the day so it became reflection time as I found my solo seat, pressed the button to kick my feet up (it’s a theater full of reclining seats – yes, it’s the best thing ever) and practically tucked myself in.

I’ll back up now. Since Thanksgiving break, my siblings + Matey (hey girl!) have been talking about Split (movie about a man with dissociative identity disorder aka multiple personality disorder) nonstop. We’re a psychological thriller fam so we’ve been very impatiently awaiting the day it would be released.

My dilemma: none of my friends at school have the same taste in movies as me. I despise rom coms (or any coms) in an environment full of Nicholas Sparks’ biggest fans. Nothing against Mr. Sparks or my friends but I asked around for someone to see Split with me for dayyys and they all said no because it looked too scary. So I went alone!

Well, kind of. I was set on going alone until my sister told me she did once and it was the loneliest she had ever felt ever. But when my roommates asked me to see a movie with them on Split’s opening night, I pulled up the movie times and saw that their movie choice was just minutes apart from mine! So I packed up my student ID (yayaya for student discount nights!), wallet, blanket (a necessity!) and a three ingredient peanut butter cookie. We went our separate ways after purchasing our tickets and the rest is history.

Increased passion for mental health: I didn’t go into this movie thinking that it would 103% mirror the reality of mental illnesses. It’s a movie theater and people go to these places for entertainment. But then again, I couldn’t help myself from feeling annoyed/sad as the audience around me occasionally laughed at this man’s behaviors due to his illness. All I could do was remind myself that a) it’s a movie and he’s an actor but b) they most likely have not been exposed to life threatening mental health experiences like I have.

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This past summer, I interned at an eating disorder treatment and research center; a center that is leading the world in a treatment approach that integrates neurobiological research. It is not my intention to educate you on the severity of eating disorders (even though this was one of my responsibilities over the summer) but in case you were not aware, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of all mental illnesses. I didn’t have one on one interactions with clients beyond saying hi and smiling as we passed in the hallway. But when I was immersed in tasks to communicate on behalf of The Center, I was told a fair amount of (all HIPAA compliant) stories and unintentionally encountered people in distress who I just cannot forget.

The movie was good, it really was, so please see it! But I left conflicted and heart broken for every individual who has a mental illness as well as their friends and family who are trying to help them become well. I’m not certain my career will take me into the mental health field but I am grateful for my experiences and appreciative for this movie that reiterated my stance on these very real, sensitive and serious illnesses.

Thankfulness for donated blankets: My mad dash out the door to try and not miss too many previews included me grabbing the closest blanket I could find in my room. I have a collection because COZY CURSE. My sister’s boyfriend coined this term because he says, “if any McNamara kid sees a blanket, you guys immediately flock to it”. Yup. That’s accurate.

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I was maybe 24 minutes into Split when I realized which blanket I had taken. It was my purple flowery tie one that was given to me by my nurse at a children’s hospital on Easter 2013 . I remember her handing it to me as I was recovering from surgery and thinking ‘I’m not the type of kid who is supposed to receive this’. Especially as I was on an oncology floor (only available bed in the hospital) with children who practically lived there year-round versus my one week stay. I’ll save that story of heart brokenness for another day.

I’m not sharing this for pity whatsoever. I’m sharing this because I’m sure you have made a blanket for someone or have at least heard of service projects like these. So I would like to thank you so very much! I have absolutely no clue who made it but appreciate their thoughtful gesture to add joy into what should be a joyous holiday. It may not bring back the best of memories but its association with acts of kindness and my current health makes me smile 🙂

Friend who was also alone: My movie got out about twenty minutes before the one my roommates were seeing so I took a seat at a table in the lobby. Moments later, my friend walked by! I haven’t see him since Valentine’s Day last year (no no, not a date. He is a seminarian aka studying to become a priest aka celibate for life) so it was SO good to catch up and SUCH a sweet surprise.

I looked around and asked who he came with and told me that he sees movies alone all theee time. He also left his phone at the seminary because he was enjoying time between himself and Star Wars.

Is seeing movies with friends inferior to seeing movies by yourself? Not at all. Is carrying your phone inferior to leaving it at home in a drawer like my grandma has done for the past seven years? Of course not. But through our conversation and his choices, I noted that he is not attached to this world and treasures sweet slow purposeful time. That quality of life is one that saints embrace; one that we are all meant for!

So my words of wisdom to you are to go see a movie by yourself! If you’re anything like me, you’ll leave with a lotonthemind. But it’s a good lotonthemind. Very very very good!

WIAW: I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller

I wish I was a little bit taller.
I wish I was a baller.
I wish I had a french toast bake who looked good, I would call her.

I hope you got the reference. And if you did not, you needta listen to this song. If we ever play Bananagrams together, I may play it during the rounds to increase the intensity. My family loves it. Maybe.

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Anyways, welcome to another day of eats in my poorly lit kitchen – Tuesday, January 17th edition! My first meal of the day was a good looking piece of french toast bake. Complemented by warm drippy peanut butter and natural maple syrup, of course!

I simply ripped up eight sprouted grain hamburger buns, added wild blueberries (MUCH more superior to regular blueberries), 10 eggs whisked with almond milk and cinnamon galore. Baked at 350 for a half hoursish…I do not use timers but it will be ready when the top becomes slightly golden! It made 12 delightful pieces and now I have breakfast for over almost two weeks yeeee!

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After anatomy & physiology class and a visit to the gym, I walked in the door and went immediately for a dark chocolate zucchini donut. My go-to lately for a mid morning snack/early lunch is a smoothie but my ravenous self needed a snack beforehand.

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My post-donut smoothie was half of a frozen banana, wild blueberries, frozen spinach, half scoop Vega protein powder, 1 teaspoon spirulina and unsweetened almond milk! And always always always a bridesmaid straw.

I listened to a Fr. Mike podcast while I sent a few emails, did a bit of cleaning and then had to get out the door for my nutrition class. This was just the third class of the semester but I already know it is going to be a party and then some! My professor is a registered dietitian so I am fan girling. And then some!

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Brett Young sang to me for two hours (EP on loop) while I did some Yelptern (Yelp intern) thangs. Snacks included carrots with sriracha-ey baba ganoush and a KERa KERa orange (actually cara cara but ya know!). To prep myself for an eventful evening, I made a blissful iced matcha latte (straw included) while discussing this sweet roommate of mine’s wedding planning shenanigans. Shalom, sibs!!

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I left for a student organization meeting on campus and from there, drove to Local Matters for cooking training. Local Matters is a nonprofit I just started volunteering with that does healthful food education. Apart from teaching all ages of the community how to cook with nutrient dense foods on a budget that may include SNAP or WIC, their emphasis is on relational dialogue. Gahhhhh I love it!!

I knew traffic would be awful so I left a tad before rush hour and packed my dinner to have in the parking lot. My obnoxiously bright pink lunch box contained a salad, apple and this butternut squash pasta. I did not touch the salad because it did not sound satisfying but the pasta was incredible and made outta green lentils so it is protein and flavor packed!

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On the drive home, I was craving one of my favorite snacks: nut butter and dark chocolate stuffed dates. I chose sunflower butter and a few chunks of a 85% cacao bar. HITS THE SPOT EVERY TIME.

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I changed into the comfiest of clothes, snuggled up with this lavender kombucha, dove into homework and then my new years’ resolution. NYR =  read at least one page of something unrelated to school (in addition to my Bible) every single day. Today’s selection was this incredible blog post! I am currently making my way through Emily Stimpson’s book so I enjoy keeping up with her blog too 🙂

Post script: I do not wish I was a little bit taller. Good day to you!!

The Prize

At this moment (final day of my winter break), I’m fairly certain my heart has never been more full. And as cliché as that may sound, I am notttta taking it back!

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Four weeks of coffee dates, sushi dinners, road trip adventures, craft parties, wine nights, sleepy movie lounging, panini reunions and games galore are JUST what I needed. Actually, MORE than I could have ever asked for.

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The people who I have shared these memories with are nothing less than gifts from above. They are kind, selfless, joyous, trustworthy and encouraging individuals. They are great listeners, simultaneous pro laughers and laugh causers and gently pound (zeeee best oxymoron) advice into me just when I need it. They dream crazy dreams with me, stand by my side as we test prototypes of my invention (!!!) and are always down for a good dance party.

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Some I learned to play tennis with when pigtails were all the rage, some I share genes with and others have come into my life when we shared the same high school uniform. But no matter how we met, I cannot and never want to imagine my life without them!

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Because they are each a prize. Saint Thomas Aquinas said it himself. “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

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How do I know it’s true? They build me up, don’t bring me or others down, genuinely want the best for me and push me to be a better daughter of our King. They make me more vibrant than the caffeine in the coffee we share ever could, are marvelous examples of the feminine genius and without awareness, instill in me a desire to become a more empathetic friend. They are sturdy shelters, beyond price and life-saving remedies.

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A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds. – Sirach 6:14-16

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Fun fact: one time I put these verses in a note to my roommate who isn’t Catholic and her response was, “That was so sweet but this book isn’t in my Bible.” Oooops on my end because yup, this is one of the seven books that is added on for the Catholic folks. However, its truth and beauty always leaves me wanting to go down my contact list and call each person to tell them how unrepeatable they are.

“The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name” – St. John Paul II

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If this break o’ mine has taught me one thing it would be the sweet as honey (my friend, Kate, has gently pounded this phrase into my vocabulary) value of true friendship that God has absolutely spoiled me with.

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We are not mediocre people and we are not meant for mediocrity. So I please urge you to not spend your time around anyone who thinks you are just mediocre. Recognizing your worth and surrounding yourself with people who do the same is LIFE ALTERING! So much so that many saints had saint friends.

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So McKenna, Bianca, Lindsay, Morgan, Nikita, Maddie, Keri, Lindsey and Hannah, Jordan and Kassidy and all the more (I’m looking at you, Merry Slabmas ladies), thank you. Thank you for being a treasure to me over this break, in the past and what is to come. For my friends away from home and those living in my home, I am equally thankful for you. I cherish you always and recognize your worth in my life.

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Let us celebrate our friends EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. They are surely, undoubtedly, inexpressibly the prize!!