Monday, November 2, 2015

5 Must-Try Types of Tea

As many of you probably know by now, I am a big-time tea drinker. I very much dislike all things coffee related (I know, I know ~ everyone thinks I'm crazy), so tea is definitely my hot beverage of choice. I enjoy almost any type of tea, but there are a certain few that are my favorites and that I like for different reasons. I'd like to share them with you today here on the blog!


1. English Breakfast Tea
There are few things I love more than a hot cup of English breakfast tea in the morning. This tea is a classic black tea with a nice flavor and some caffeine for an energy boost that's gentler and more natural than what you'd get from coffee. Brew this tea for 3-4 minutes, then add a little sweetener, since it's rather bitter on its own ~ honey is my sweetener of choice on this one. Then grab a yummy breakfast treat (perhaps a scone, to add to the English-ness) and some pleasant reading material, and your day is off to a delightful start!

2. Green Tea
This yummy tea is has all kinds of awesome health benefits: it helps with weight loss, it boosts your immune system, it's high in antioxidants, and so much more. Plus, it tastes great hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened. I love it either hot or iced ~ and PSA: the iced green tea from Panera and Wendy's are both super good (although they're pretty sugary). I highly recommend incorporating green tea into your diet, even daily if you can, so you can reap all its excellent benefits!

3. Earl Grey Tea
Almost nothing beats a hot cup of earl grey. This classic black tea has a lovely flavor that is sure to please your taste buds and brighten your day ~ even the smell of earl grey tea makes me happy. Brew a cup of this tea for no longer than about 3 minutes, so that you don't lose the sweet earl grey flavor. Sweeten it a bit if you so desire (although I honestly love it just by itself!), curl up with a good book, and enjoy!

4. Peach Tea
Fruit teas are the one type of tea that I'm not usually a huge fan of, but nonetheless, I really enjoy peach tea! It's a fun and flavorful tea that is great hot or iced ~ and if you want to try it cold, Snapple peach tea is amazing (it literally tastes like you're drinking a peach). I recommend pairing a hot cup of peach tea with a shortbread cookie or two for a lovely afternoon treat!

5. Sleepytime Tea or Sleepytime Extra Tea
These two teas are made by Celestial Seasonings, and drinking a cup of either one is a lovely way to end your day before going to bed. The difference between the two is an extra herb in Sleepytime Extra: valerian, an herbal sleep aid that can help with insomnia. Both types of tea contain a variety of soothing herbs such as chamomile, spearmint, and lemongrass. Brew a hot cup of either kind for about 4 minutes, then sip on it while you wind down for the night ~ and soon enough, you'll be calmed down and ready to drift off to sleep.

I hope you'll try some of these teas and that you enjoy them as much as I do! Stay tuned for more posts on tea here on the blog!

Are you a tea drinker? What are your favorite kinds of tea?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

{Midweek Musings} Fall Break 2015 Edition

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Last week, I had the privilege of going home for four lovely days for my fall break! The best part of my time at home (besides the obvious getting to see family, friends, and my dog) was definitely getting to experience fall again! Last year, during my first year here in Florida, I did not go home for fall break ~ and it was my first time experiencing the fall months not in Michigan. It was really quite sad ~ I missed the beautiful fall colors, the cider + donuts, and the sweater weather so much! But this year, I got to go home ~ and even though the real reason for it was so that I could keep up with my orthodontist appointments (#bracesprobs), I was happy for the excuse to head north in mid-October!

During my first evening back, my family attended a concert given by Eric Genuis, an incredibly talented Catholic musician + composer who writes beautiful, soul-stirring music. I've seen him in concert before, and even blogged about it before, way back in 2011. Read the post here to learn more about Eric's music and how moving it is ~ my sentiments remain the same even four years later. His music is so strikingly beautiful that it moves you to tears simply by listening to it. I was so excited that his concert in my area was happening during my break and that I had the opportunity to see him once again.

Other highlights of my fall break included...
     ~ getting cider + donuts with my mom + sister
     ~ having one of my grandma's amazing home-cooked meals
     ~ going to my old college for a day to visit all my dear friends there
     ~ visiting my extended family at my grandma's house
     ~ going to Mass at my home parish
     ~ eating my mom's homemade mac 'n cheese (basically my favorite dish of all time)
     ~ getting to see lots of good family friends

And finally, here are a few pictures I took while at home to capture the breathtaking beauty of the fall season up there. Let me tell you, the fall colors and the temperatures were absolutely perfect. It made me wish I could stick around a little longer!

{from my instagramperfect leaf-covered wooden steps at the cider mill
the view driving up my road
driving around was just the best with the beautiful leaves all around
I was so excited to be in a fall wonderland
{from my instagram} the leaves... be still my heart
{from my instagram} my final, birds-eye view of fall as I ascended out of MI
"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."


God bless,
~Stephanie

Thursday, October 15, 2015

May There Be Peace Within


"Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.

All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices."
{St. Teresa of Avila}


"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." 
{St. Teresa of Avila}


"It is love alone that gives worth to all things." {St. Teresa of Avila}



Some inspiration from St. Teresa of Avila on her feast day today, along with some photos from life recently. These quotes really resonated with me today. I hope they do for you too.

God bless,
~Stephanie

Monday, October 5, 2015

Feeling 20!

This past Saturday, October 3, I turned 20!!!

I started off my birthday right by sleeping in, then having brunch with some good friends. Afterwards, one of my high school/college besties + I went to the football game, which our team WON! (In honor of my birthday, I'm sure;)

my sis + I rocking red lipstick for the talent show
After the game, I went about my typical Saturday afternoon schedule, which included work and a rehearsal for our cabaret (during which I was serenaded!). Then after a quick dinner, I hurried off to my school's annual talent show, which my acapella group performed in. We sang "Pompeii" by Bastille, and it was a blast ~ definitely an awesome first performance of the year!

Toward the end of the talent show, the emcee, all of a sudden, announced that there was a birthday in the audience. I immediately knew he was referring to me, and sure enough, he announced my name. I sank into my chair, covering my face with my hands and attempting to hide behind my sister. But I was soon forced to stand up, and then the entire audience sang "Happy Birthday" to me! It was slightly horrifying and I definitely felt my face turning red, but I'll admit it was pretty fun + special. :)

Turns out the person who told them that it was my birthday was the same friend I went to the football game with (pictured above). We'll see if I ever forgive her for that one. ;)

The best part of my birthday came after the talent show, when my dear roommate threw a birthday party for me! The room was decorated with white Christmas lights + letters on the wall that spelled out "Happy Birthday," and there was a huge, delicious chocolate Oreo cake that I was in awe of for a good few minutes upon seeing it. We had an awesome playlist going, and everyone danced + went crazy the whole night. So many people showed up ~ there's hardly any one of my friends that I can think of who didn't come. I was so happy + excited to spend time with everyone, and so touched that they all came to celebrate my birthday + make it such a special day! God really has blessed me with some of the best friends here at college, and I'm so thankful to have them all in my life.


Overall, my 20th birthday certainly was one to remember! I hope my 20th year proves to be the same ~ I can't wait to see what God has in store for this next decade of my life!

God bless,
~Stephanie

Thursday, October 1, 2015

St. Therese's Feast Day


Happy feast of St. Therese of Lisieux!!!

I am proud to call this amazingly wonderful saint my confirmation saint, as well as one of my dearest friends. She has been my favorite saint for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a little girl. I have always admired and been devoted to her, and the more I learn about her and pray to her, the more I love her.


Since St. Therese is my patron saint (hence my name here on the internet, Stephanie Therese), naturally I'm quite excited today! I went all-out wearing flowery clothes + accessories in honor of the Little Flower, including a floral print dress, a flower necklace, flower earrings, and a hair accessory with roses on it. I'm also, of course, wearing my St. Therese medal, and my saint bracelet which includes an image of her.


I'm also making use of my St. Therese mug for today's tea consumption.


So, as you can tell, I'm just a little bit happy about St. Therese's feast day and just a little bit eager to celebrate it. ;) I'll get to celebrate it even more later today, when I go to Mass (which I have the honor of lectoring at today), go to a holy hour with my household (of which St. Therese is a patron saint!), and go to a St. Therese party here at school where I'll have an opportunity to venerate a first-class relic of her!

Again, only a little bit excited. ;) 

Happy feast of St. Therese again, friends! I hope you enjoy this beautiful day!

I'll end with one of my favorite St. Therese quotes:

"See, if we place all our confidence in the good God, and constantly put forth our best efforts, while hoping everything from His Mercy, we too shall receive the reward of the greatest saints."

St. Therese, pray for us!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jesus, I Trust in You


Trusting God is one of those things I have always struggled with. I'm naturally a planner, a worrier, an overthinker. I like things to be a certain way. I dislike change that disrupts the way things are, when I like the way things are. I fret over little details, I over-analyze situations, I worry about what's going to happen in the future.

Letting go and letting God, as they say, is hard for me. To resign myself to whatever God decides to let happen, to whatever God's will may be, whether it's in line with what I want or not, makes me so nervous.

It shouldn't though, should it? My aunt said something at my grandpa's funeral a few weeks ago that, though it was a small comment, resonated with me. She said something about how God always knows exactly what we need and always gives it to us, "yet we silly humans still always worry. But we really don't need to, do we?"

In the last couple of weeks, Jesus has been trying really hard to get me to trust him. He has been speaking to me, sending me little hints and messages, and inviting me to trust him.

I'll tell you about a series of little things that happened to me last week.

The first thing happened when I was reading my homework from the Catechism of the Catholic Church for my Sacred Doctrine class. (I know, right?? I get to read the CCC ~ for homework. I love my school.) One particular passage really struck me when I read it:

"God is truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of His word in all things." (from CCC 215)

The key words that stood out to me were "truth," "abandon," and "trust." We can abandon ourselves to God in complete trust, because He is truth itself. This passage resonated with me, and gave me a little boost of inspiration to try to trust God more fully.

Just a few hours later, a second thing happened, while I was at work at the library. I was closing up for the night, making my usual trek around the library, pushing in chairs and picking up trash. I noticed a small piece of paper on a desk, and as I picked it up to throw it away, I realized it was a note. Curious, I read it, and it said:

"You ARE strong enough.
You DO have what it takes.
And GOD is ALWAYS at
your side, cheering you on
and pulling you through. Trust."
And on the back of the note:
"Love from,
                 a friend. :) "

That last word of the note is what struck me. After a few slightly cheesy but inspiring lines of encouragement, the note ends with an emphatic one-word sentence ~ a firm but inviting imperative: "Trust." And it really struck me ~ especially after what I'd just read in the Catechism only a few hours earlier about trusting God. 

The third and final little thing, arguably the weirdest of the three, happened the next day. I attended 5:00pm Mass, and after it ended, I exited my pew, genuflected, and turned around to leave. An older man, who I believe was sitting in the pew behind me, but who I didn't know at all, was standing there holding something out to me. It was a holy card, and for a second I thought maybe he'd found it on the floor, thought it was mine, and was returning it to me. Confused, I started to say something, and got as far as, "Oh -- ," when he looked right at me with his brow furrowed slightly, and held the holy card out closer to me, and nodded. He was giving it to me; he wanted me to take it. So I took it, and thanked him and walked away. Then I looked down at the holy card, and realized it was of the image of the Divine Mercy ~ which of course says on it, "Jesus, I trust in You."

I was floored. I thought, "Okay, this is just too weird! I think Someone is trying to tell me something!" All three of these occurrences happened in a span of less than 24 hours, all got progressively weirder and more random, and all shared a common theme: trust.

I know Jesus was definitely behind it all, trying to get that message across to me. He wants me to trust him. He is inviting me to trust him. He is begging me to trust him. And not just partially trust him or just trust him in some things ~ but to surrender myself completely to him in total trust.

After these three crazy things happened, I went to the adoration chapel to pray on it and journal it. As I did so, I felt Jesus telling me that I should do a trust fall into his open, loving arms... That they are ready to receive me, they want to receive me ~ I just need to trust.

I think that goes for all of us. Hard as it can be, we should give the Lord our complete, unreserved trust. We have no reason to worry, or to be afraid, or to overthink. We should not rely on our own plans or try to control everything that happens in our lives. God knows what He's doing, because He is truth itself ~ and He holds us in the palm of his hand.

So join me in trying to trust God more each day. If we take the plunge, if we do the trust fall, He will catch us.

Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

7 Money Saving Hacks for College Students

For us college students, making and saving money are of the utmost importance, because unfortunately, the term "broke college student" is usually all too true. In college, we find ourselves trying to juggle a full course load, extracurricular commitments, and social activities, all while working a job to pay for day-to-day necessities, not to mention our tuition. It can be a struggle, since, sadly, money doesn't grow on trees.

In my two (going on three) years of college, I've discovered a few little ways to save money on my expenses, and I'd like to share them with you today. Some of them are obvious, some are resourceful, some are small tricks ~ and all are helpful in trying not to break the bank (or whatever exists of it).


1. Make the most of your meal plan.
Really take advantage of the food available to you at school, since you're already paying an arm and a leg for your it anyways. It's fine, of course, to buy snacks to keep in your dorm room for those in-between times when you get hungry. But, even though cafeteria food isn't the best, try not to skip meals there only to spend money on a meal elsewhere. That's wasting the money you're already paying for your meal plan, and spending more money out of your own pocket unnecessarily.

2. Use plastic grocery bags as trash bags.
Any time you go to the grocery store or make a Target run, save all your plastic bags instead of throwing them away, and use them for garbage bags. They're the perfect size for small trash cans, so this little trick will save you from having to spend money on trash bags.

3. Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying water bottles.
Instead of constantly buying packs of disposable Dasani water bottles, invest in one or more hard water bottles (usually made of plastic or stainless steel) ~ the kind you might bring to a sports practice or on a camping trip. You can find these for pretty cheap at stores like Walmart (I once bought one there for 88 cents), and you can fill them up anytime at the water fountains around campus.

4. Use every last bit of something before buying a replacement.
This applies to things like shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, saline solution, peanut butter ~ anything that you eventually use up. Whenever you use these things, try to use only the minimum amount that you need ~ for instance, don't use a handful of shampoo when you really only need a quarter-sized amount. Use up every ounce of an item that you possibly can, and when you finally can get nothing out of it anymore, then go spend the money on a new one.

5. Reuse things from year to year.
Only used up half a notebook for a class last semester? Use the other half for a class the second semester. Have a pile of folders and binders at the end of the year? Don't get rid of them ~ save them for next year. This applies to other kinds of items too ~ at the end of last year, I stored half a box of dryer sheets, a mostly full container of Advil, half a pack of pens, and other partially used items over the summer. Then they were waiting for me when I came back to school in the fall, and it saved me from having to buy new ones.

6. Save your change.
Empty all the change bulging out of your wallet and put it in a jar or a cup. Do this often ~ maybe even every time you get change ~ and over time, you'll accumulate a surprisingly sizeable amount of money! This trick is a great money saver not only for college, but also for life in general. For instance, my sister and I did saved our spare change for a year leading up to our trip to England, and after splitting the savings between us, we each ended up with almost $150. And voila, there was our souvenir money!

7. Take advantage of sales and coupons.
I know I'm stating the obvious a bit, but these really are legitimate money savers. When you're shopping for your necessities, like food items, laundry supplies, or toothpaste, save money wherever you can. Buy the toilet paper that's on sale instead of the other kind. Take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free deals. Buy the off-brand for some items. Doing these little things can add up to considerable savings.

Do you have any tips or tricks for saving money?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

Friday, September 11, 2015

On Loss, Suffering, Love, + Gratitude

Sometimes things happen in life that we don't understand. Sometimes these things are tragic, or scary, or heartbreaking. Sometimes they happen unexpectedly, and hit you out of nowhere like a ton of bricks. Or sometimes they happen not so unexpectedly, but that doesn't make the burden any easier to bear.

I've had many such instances in my life, especially during my college years so far. The day I got dropped off for my freshman year, one of my oldest + dearest childhood friends was hit by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury, and nearly died.

Less than six months later, the 22-year-old daughter of friends that my family has known almost my whole life died from cystic fibrosis.

The day I came home for the summer after freshman year, my mom was hospitalized for chest pains that turned out to be a heart attack. She had to undergo open heart surgery to fix the problem.

Then during the first month of my sophomore year, my mom had to undergo another surgery to remove a mass that, thankfully, turned out not to be cancerous.

Other things happened during the two-year course of these events too. My family almost lost our house. I went through a breakup. My dad lost his job (again), adding to the on-again, off-again unemployment he's dealt with since I was 13, and he decided to change careers.

Then just a couple weeks ago, on August 28, days before the start of my junior year, my grandpa passed away. My sister and I had to fly home to Michigan halfway through the first week of classes to attend his funeral.


I grew up with my grandparents. My grandma + grandpa, as well as my other grandma, have lived 40 minutes away from me or less since the day I was born. They have always been involved in my life, from babysitting me when I was little, to attending every music + dance recital in elementary school, to being there for every important event in middle + high school, including choir concerts, plays, + graduation. In addition, we've always spent every holiday with grandparents + extended family, celebrated every birthday with them, and made frequent, random visits to their houses. This is how my life + my relationship with my grandparents has always been. And I realize that I am tremendously lucky + blessed because of it.

But it does make losing one of my beloved grandparents all the more difficult.

A large portion of my extended family was able to be present when my grandpa passed away, but my sister and I were stuck helplessly in Florida. Thankfully, we had the chance to call up to the hospital just hours before he died. My aunt held the phone up to my grandpa, who couldn't speak or open his eyes or move anymore, and we talked to him one last time. We told him that we wished we could be there, that we were thinking of him and praying for him, and that we loved him.

And my aunt told us that while we spoke to him, his breathing changed slightly, and his eyes fluttered a bit. He could hear us and understand us. And, even though he'd suffered from dementia and hadn't really recognized us in several years, I believe that in that moment, he knew us again.


In fact, my aunt said that in his final hours, he was Grandpa again. He knew everyone again, and he understood everything. And, feeble and dying though he was, he was looking after everyone, just like he always used to. Reassuring my aunt (his daughter) that he would be okay. Asking my grandma (his wife) to sit beside him and hold his hand. Waiting for my mom and dad (his son), who were traveling home from taking Bridget and I to Florida, to arrive at the hospital so he could say goodbye to them. They were the last family members to arrive, and he passed away 20 minutes after they got there.

Bridget and I were able to fly home the night before the funeral to be there for what turned out to be a beautiful service. It was a day of intense emotions, because on one hand, I was genuinely happy to see so many dear friends and family members from near and far, yet at the same time, I was heartbroken over the reason we were seeing each other.

But it was such a blessing to be together, to hug each other, cry together, comfort each other, smile together, lean on each other, and mourn together.


I was sufficiently drained emotionally by the end of the day and felt exhausted. But I was extremely grateful for my time with family, and that I was able to come home for the funeral. And I am thankful, most of all, for my grandpa's life. He meant so much to so many people, and, while my family mourns his loss and misses him dearly, we know he is in a better place. We have hope in Christ, that He will have mercy on my grandpa's soul and grant him his eternal reward.

And, as one dear family friend pointed out, now I have another intercessor in heaven.

Rest in peace, Grandpa.

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. {1 Thess. 4:13-14}

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sailing Adventures on the Detroit River


This weekend, my sister and I, along with two of our good girlfriends, went on an adventurous sailing trip on the Detroit River. It was a hot, sunny, gorgeous August afternoon, and the four of us girls were excited to get together ~ especially because three of us hadn't seen the fourth in over a year.

We went sailing with one of our old teachers, who taught me in middle + high school and who my family + I have remained good friends with in the years since. He + his wife own a sailboat on the Detroit River, and this was my fourth time sailing on it.

On a normal sailing outing, we sail down the Detroit River + on Lake St. Clair, and oftentimes even go swimming in the lake. But on Sunday, our trip had to be kept pretty quick + simple ~ because the wind was crazy! At times, it spiked up to over 50 knots (which is close to 60 mph), and besides that, it was consistently in the high 30's to 40's.

We jostled back + forth in the cockpit as the boat bounced up + down in these gale force winds. The bow even dipped underwater, two times in a row.

Needless to say, conditions were a little too hectic for comfortable sailing, so we cut our trip short and headed back to the dock. Thankfully, sailing was much smoother on the way back, enough that we could (finally) safely head out on deck.

We girls took off our shoes + socks and let our feet dangle freely over the side of the boat. We gazed out in awe over the beautiful blue + turquoise water, chattering + giggling away. All the while, the wind blew in our faces, the warm sunshine beat down on us, and the cold water splashed up on our feet + legs. It all felt so refreshing!

So, despite the rough winds, all of us had a thoroughly enjoyable outing. In fact, the crazy conditions made the trip that much more of an adventure. As our teacher pointed out, we all can now officially say that we've sailed through gale force winds! It was quite an exciting + memorable day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

{Summer Wardrobe Essentials} Colors


In my last style post, I introduced you to the basics of my summer wardrobe. But amidst all those neutrals, I can't forget to add in some bright colors ~ it is summer after all! So in this post, I'm giving you another peek inside my closet + sharing with you some of my favorite colorful summer pieces.

Solid-colored Tops
These are a few of my favorite solid-colored tops, all of which can be paired perfectly with any of my neutral shorts as well as my black maxi, featured in my previous post. I love solid colors, especially in tops, because they add a pop of color to your look, while still being simple + versatile. 

L to R: light pink, Faded Glory at Walmart // blue, Wet Seal // dark pink, Old Navy // blue, George at Walmart // green/chevron, rue21

Bold Maxi
This skirt has appeared on my blog before, but I had to throw it in here as one of my summer wardrobe staples! I love, love, love this skirt, which I got off the clearance rack at Old Navy, because of its bold, beautiful, royal blue color (which is probably my favorite color, actually). This skirt goes wonderfully with all the neutral tees featured in my previous post, and it always makes for a lovely, feminine look.

royal blue maxi skirt, Old Navy

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another summer style post coming soon, featuring my fashionable little sister!

God bless,
~Stephanie

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To Lead All Souls to Heaven


A thought struck me as I was praying my rosary last night. I was in bed, barely conscious, struggling to stay awake to finish my last couple of decades. I think I drifted off somewhere in the middle of the fourth Joyful Mystery, but not before a powerful and humbling realization occurred to me.

It happened as I prayed the words of the Fatima Prayer, or the "O My Jesus." Their meaning hit me in a new way ~ in a way that applies to some of the disturbing recent events in our society, and that gave me a different perspective on these situations.

What are some of the horrible events I have in mind? There is of course the recent Planned Parenthood scandal, which revealed the company's selling of the body parts of aborted babies. Not to mention the drama with Planned Parenthood's president that has followed. Articles about this disgusting, heartbreaking situation have been flooding my Facebook newsfeed lately, and the whole thing makes me both angry and sad.

I read a news story the other day about two teenage brothers who stabbed to death their parents and three of their siblings (between the ages of 5 and 12), leaving only two of their siblings alive (a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old). It is a tragedy that disturbed me to the core, and that has destroyed people's lives, and that doesn't make any sense.

A massive satanic statue was erected in Detroit this past weekend. It was unveiled in an undisclosed location in front of a couple hundred satanists who were cheering and yelling, "Hail, Satan." I live in the metro-Detroit area ~ this disturbing event is way too close to home for my liking. And furthermore, let me tell you, Satan does not need to be in Detroit. Anyone who's ever been to Detroit knows how devastated, terrifying, and godless that city is.

What kind of terrible person do you have to be to kill an unborn child and sell their body parts for profit? Or to murder gruesomely your own parents and young siblings? Or to worship Satan? These kind of people are alive and active in our society right now, committing terrible actions. What are we to do about them? What are we to do in this world, with all of this deeply disturbing, grave immorality going on around us?

I know that I sometimes find myself judging these people and the state of their soul. Seeing them as disgusting and wicked human beings. Feeling angry over the awful things they do.

But the words of the "O My Jesus" have a different ring to them. The prayer goes, "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."

Not some souls. Not the best souls. All souls. "Lead all souls to heaven."

"Especially those in most need of Thy mercy." Not especially the virtuous ones. Not especially the holiest ones. The ones in most need of mercy.

As I prayed the "O My Jesus" last night, the meaning of those words really sunk in, as my mind immediately thought of all the people involved in the ungodly situations that I mentioned. The president of Planned Parenthood. The troubled teenage brothers. The Satanists. They are in dire, dire need of mercy. They are among those who are in most need of mercy.

And Jesus wants them in heaven. He aches for all souls to go to heaven, even those who are seemingly the worst of the worst.

And we as Christians are called to pray for them. That is what these people need. Not judgment, not rejection, not condemnation. But prayer. Their broken, misguided souls need us to pray for them to Jesus, that He would have mercy on them.

And we need to want heaven for them. We are called to desire that their souls would get to heaven, just as Jesus does. And we must do our part in trying to make that happen, by praying for them. Whether they repent and convert or not lies on them; it is out of our hands. But what is in our hands is the ability to pray for them. And we must pray.

So in the midst of all these horrific, immoral events happening in our world right now, we must remember the words of the Fatima Prayer and heed their meaning. Jesus wants all souls in heaven, especially those in most need of His mercy. And as we remember this message, we cannot forget to pray for just that: for these misguided souls to receive mercy and heaven.

God bless,
~Stephanie

Monday, July 27, 2015

Answer Me This: First (and Last) Time Link-up

I'm jumping at my last chance to participate in Answer Me This over at Catholic All Year! Better late than never, right? Read on to see my answers to five random questions and get to know me a little better!


1. What's your favorite grocery store splurge?

At school, I don't really grocery shop (why do that when you can eat great cafeteria food, right?), but I make occasional trips to the store to stock up on snacks for my room. In such instances, my favorite splurge is tea. The tea aisle is a dangerous place for me to go, because it contains boxes upon boxes of my favorite types of tea, as well as new kinds that I have yet to try.

"Oh, that sounds so good!" "Ooooh, I haven't tried that kind before!" "Ohmygosh, I love this kind!!!"

A quick stop in the tea aisle inevitably turns into me coming home with 3 brand new boxes of tea to add to my preexisting collection of probably 10 others.

Basically, I'm a tea nerd.

2. How's your penmanship?

It's pretty good, actually. I always try to write neatly and nicely, and I often receive compliments on my handwriting. There have also been many occasions when something needs to be written out (like a note in a card or answers on an answer sheet) and I've been unanimously chosen as the designated writer because I have the "best handwriting."

One funny detail about my handwriting though is that it's really big. People notice and comment on that a lot, especially if they get a look at my class notes. I really think I'm incapable of writing small.

Here's a sample of my bio notes written in my big, neat handwriting:


All of what I just said applies to my regular handwriting. As far as cursive or nice penmanship goes, I'm not that great. My 4th grade handwriting workbook gave me basic cursive skills (thank you, Seton), which I probably should utilize more than I do. Nonetheless, my cursive is at least decent.

3. Do you have a "Summer Bucket List?"

I do indeed! I posted about it back at the beginning of my summer vacation, and you can read it here. I'll post a bucket list update toward the end of the summer, to see what I accomplished off of it. I probably won't be able to check off every single item. But that's okay ~ it's meant to be a list of all the things that ideally I'd like to do this summer, or that I hope to do, or will try to do. So I won't feel bad if I don't complete everything in the end.

That said, I actually have done quite a few things on my summer bucket list, or am currently in the process of doing several of them. So it's coming along pretty well! And it's been fun!

4. What's the best thing on the radio right now?

My favorite new song that's out right now (although it's not played nearly enough) is "Bright" by Echosmith. It's so adorable, and so is the music video.


I also love, love, love "Photograph" by Ed Sheeran ~ which, unlike the above song, is being played way too much. The radio needs to stop overplaying it, because I don't want it to become annoying ~ it's too wonderful of a song.


5. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Well I will gladly take either, any day, any time. I have such a bad sweet tooth, and both of these are treats that I can never turn down. I'd have to say that I probably like ice cream better overall, but I also love a good froyo outing. For either treat, I always select the most chocolatey flavor(s) and toppings, along with rainbow sprinkles.

Thanks for reading! Happy Monday!

God bless,
~Stephanie
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