Okay, this is the post where I get to pretend to be a lifestyle blogger (with much lower-quality photos) who has my crap together, not just an anxious Catholic blogger. How exciting!
Truly, though, I have been looking forward to writing this post so much. I tend to be such a deep thinker and overanalyzer, so just reminiscing on the past month and really thinking about things that have brought me hope, authentic joy, or just simple pleasure is actually quite healing. I really do think God lives in the simple things, and when we can be grateful for those little things, the chaos seems just a bit less daunting. I hope some of these items/experiences may be things you can incorporate into your own lives, and that they may bring you peace in the craziest of times!
- Consider the Lilies by Elizabeth Foss
This Bible study could not have come to me at a better time. I actually bought it almost a year ago, but I just picked it up this month, and I’m so glad I did. I love the Take Up and Read Bible studies because they are so simple. I love Lectio Divina, but oftentimes I overwhelm myself with the idea of picking the right passages to read and spending the right amount of time meditating. This particular study is focused on finding the peace of Christ, and it’s so so good. It has brought me small moments of peace amongst crazy times this month, and I am incredibly grateful for it.
2. Blessed Is She Healing Rosary
This rosary is so unique and simple. I loved it this whole semester, but not for the reasons you would typically love a rosary. I definitely prayed with it, but I also just loved holding it and looking at the image of Mary with the crucified Christ on the cross. It reminds me of what Mother Theresa says about Jesus saying “I thirst” on the cross, and how He thirsts for us and our love. This rosary is also incredibly durable, so I don’t worry about chucking it in my purse and taking it with me everywhere, or wrapping it around my wrist and banging it on desks and such as I go through my day.
3. My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell
This book is phenomenal! I always feel like such a failure of a Catholic, especially now that I go to a Catholic college, because I know so little about the saints compared to my peers. In this memoir, Colleen talks about her career as a speech writer for President Bush, her experiences caring for her dad with Alzheimer’s disease, and her struggles with infertility. As she takes the reader through her life, Colleen talks about each saint she encountered, and the lessons she learned from them. I’ve been so inspired by her book to read the writing of the Saints, and to pray for their individual intercession. I highly recommend this for any woman who is struggling in her prayer life or with her relationship with the saints!
4. Gilmore Girls
I love Gilmore Girls. I always have, and I always will. There’s a good chance it will be on my favorites list for each month until I die. I can’t quite explain it, Gilmore Girls just gives me this incredible sense of comfort and home. It also reminds me of my mom and some of my closest friends. Whenever I’ve had a hard day and need a pick-me-up, Lorelei and Rory are there to comfort me, laugh with me, and cry with me.
5. Leah Darrow’s Podcast Interview with Maria Abbe
I LOVE THIS GIRL! Maria is so authentic, positive, and raw all at once. She tells her story about her faith, her struggles with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety, and her journey to becoming a runner. She and Leah are wonderful together, and I found her podcast to be both inspirational and forgiving. Her blog https://www.runningmyselftogether.com inspired me to start my own:)
6. Peppermint Oil
Woohoo, the endless nausea continues! I should probably see a doctor, but oh well. Anyway, peppermint oil is meant to relax and clear the mind, and it also helps with digestive issues, nausea, and headaches. Not much has been helping with my nausea recently, but peppermint oil seems to do the trick. I either put it on my wrists or diffuse it with lavender in my room. I especialy love peppermint when I’m doing homework or sleeping.
7. Fresh Eggs
Okay, this one might seem a bit random, but I’d never eaten fresh eggs (which I now lovingly refer to as butt-eggs, because it’s super weird to see an egg actually come out of a chicken’s butt) before this month, and it’s changed my life! I house sat for a lovely family with eight chickens for a week, and each morning I’d wake up to three eggs. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but they just taste more… egg-like. These eggs were better than any I’d ever had before. Plus, there was something so satisfying about feeding and watering chickens at night and then collecting eggs in the morning and cooking them for breakfast. I felt an odd sense of ownership over my breakfast, and I loved it. I now desperately want to have chickens when I have my own house one day.
8. Homemade London Fogs
Once again, something is on my favorites list because of nausea. I’ve been trying to drink less coffee (this better be worth it, ugh), so London Fogs have been my replacement for my morning (or 11pm, because I work the night shift now) cappuccino. I still get the joy of making fancy coffee, even if it doesn’t smell quite as good. In case you didn’t know, a London Fog is basically a tea latte- Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and vanilla. You still get some caffeine, but it isn’t nearly as much as espresso.
9. The Book of Job
If you read my last post, where I complained about my various ailments and talked about being honest with God, then you’ll know I’ve been loving reading the Book of Job. To be quite honest, I still haven’t finished it, but reading it has given me comfort in God’s goodness and also allowed me to be more honest in my prayer life.
10. “Sigh No More” by Mumford and Sons
To be quite honest, I don’t actually know what this song is about. I realized that I was listening to the lyrics incorrectly, but when I first heard it, I thought it was about Christlike love. I have no idea now. But I’ve always loved Mumford and Sons, and this song really does soothe my nerves and speak to my heart.
11. This Strange Grilled Cheese Sandwich
I’m now realizing that there is perhaps too much food on my favorites list… but I think that’s pretty true to who I am, as I like to eat. A lot. I recently went to an incredible restaurant in Anchorage called Bread and Brew, and it’s forever changed the way I view grilled cheese sandwiches. My sandwich had cheddar and gouda cheese, green apple, and bacon. It was such a strange combination, but I can’t stop thinking about it! I recreated it at home, and even though my ingredients weren’t quite as fancy, it was still delicious.
12. Blueberry Mint Kombucha
Yet another food item! And the THIRD item on the list that has to do with nausea! I’ve been on a kombucha kick this summer, and my favorite of the ones I’ve tried is Humm blueberry and mint. Kombucha itself is so good for gut health, and the mint also helps with nausea. Also, healthy guts lead to healthy brains! Gut health is vital for controlling high levels of anxiety. I love the flavor and the health benefits of this drink. If only it wasn’t so expensive!
13. This Hair Tie Scarf Thingy
This one is a bit more frivolous, but that’s what monthly favorites are about, right? Plus, I really do love makeup and fashion, so I would be lying if I didn’t include this. I bought this hair thingy at Anthropologie back in April, and while I’m certain I paid far too much for it, I’ve been loving it a lot. It dresses up any simple outfit or hairstyle, and I love the colors. I also think it’s very fun, very effortless, and very me.
14. The Mountains
This might also be on my list every month. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to live near the mountains until I left Alaska for college in North Dakota eight months of the year. North Dakota isn’t awful, it’s just… flat. Hiking and skiing are my favorite forms of exercise, and there isn’t much of that in Bismarck, ND. I’ve been making the most of my summer at home here, and hiking mountains has been a big part of that. Getting outdoors and hiking or going for a jog is so good for my mental health as well. I think I encounter God primarily through nature. If anyone is struggling right now, I would recommend going for a hike or a walk unplugged. Just you, God, and Creation. I’ve been focusing on surrendering my will to the Lord, and as I hike or run, I’ve been saying to myself “every step is surrender”. This phrase just came into my head during one hike, and I left that hike feeling so empty, but in a good way. I was able to enjoy the rest of my day after hiking in a way I haven’t been able to in a while.