New Beginnings

The first day as a Cap Corp Volunteer at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries

thumb_IMG_2372_1024

Saying goodbye is hard.

thumb_IMG_2373_1024

But, new beginnings are exciting. Especially when you’ve only ever lived in your bedroom at home.

thumb_IMG_2374_1024

After 24 hours, things are starting to feel more complete. We now have keys to our home.

thumb_IMG_2375_1024

And then I was finally able to fully make my bed,

thumb_IMG_2376_1024

And eat cookie butter with pretzels,

thumb_IMG_2377_1024

And successfully go grocery shopping. We even came in under budget.

thumb_IMG_2378_1024

With some down time I was able to write a few good letters.

thumb_IMG_2379_1024

Overall my first day was good. We received a lot of information at work, and I’m still processing that. That’s okay though. I have all year to adapt, and get better with the way things work here. My room is mostly unpacked. It feels kind of empty, but that’s probably because it’s much bigger than my room at home. Tomorrow we have mass at the Red House and some more orientation. So, Jesus will officially be moving into our house (he couldn’t make it yesterday).

Lots of love and prayers,
Mary

A little more than a week to go.

thumb_IMG_2365_1024

A week from this upcoming Sunday, I move. And it’s strange, because I’ve been anticipating this since May. And now, it’s almost here. For those of you who don’t know, I start my year as a missionary with Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries on August 23rd.

In addition to realizing that this is actually happening, I’ve realized that I kind of, sort of, stopped writing once I graduated. And, yes, I probably needed a break. But I don’t ever want to fall out of practice, or forget the love for writing that grew over my four years at Hofstra. So, today, while I was picking out which books I’m going to bring to CYFM, i came across some old favorites..

thumb_IMG_2367_1024

Along with a few gifts that I haven’t read yet, my journals, and books I thought would be useful in mission work, books on writing, revising, editing, Poetry, and Geoffrey Chaucer made their way into my box. After all, what High Schooler isn’t going to be enthralled with poems by Chaucer in their original text?!
(please note my sarcasm) (not pictured: “The Elements of Style,” “Station Island,” and “The Wasteland”)

In all seriousness, I hope that God helps me to rediscover my love for these things over the next year, especially writing. I never want to lose that excitement that I had sophomore and junior year of college. I hope that he uses that love to reach the people we’ll be serving. There was a time, not too long ago, that writing was how He was going to use me. I assumed, I was wrong. Life is funny.

Either way, here I am, hoping that this year will help me to better see how He wants to use me and my gifts. *One Week*

With Love,
Mary

Savoring Summer, Yearning for Fall

IMG_1131

I heard this phrase the other day, “Savoring Summer, Yearning for fall” when someone was describing August. For me, this sums up August perfectly. In the next couple of weeks, I will be packing, ordering books with my cash back, and savoring summer.

In just two weeks I will move into “The Red House” and begin orientation for my year with CYFM. I’m excited. I’m excited to get to know my housemates, those whom I’ll be serving with. I’m excited to live in the Hudson Valley, and experience a part of New York that isn’t the City or Long Island.

Part of me longs for sweaters and boots, for blue-green evenings, crisp mornings, and hot tea.

And then part of me wants these two weeks to last forever.

365 Days of Love Notes, Week 52

Sunday July 26, 2015

Mass

Monday July 27, 2015

Work and Paul Simon on the radio and dinner with Brittany

thumb_IMG_2342_1024

Tuesday July 28, 2015

Work and some relaxation

Wednesday July 29, 2015

Work, and some research

Thursday July 30, 2015

Work, and a new obsession with a hair cut. What do you think?

Friday July 31, 2015

Work, and some delicious pizza.

Saturday August 1, 2015

The Jersey Shore for the weekend. Lots of sun :)

Find more Love Notes at Story of a Rose

365 Days of Love Notes, Weeks 50 & 51

Sunday July 12, 2015

Mass

Monday July 13, 2015

Received a lovely post card with a flan-stamp and had some snuggles with Ms. Cat.

thumb_IMG_2307_1024 thumb_IMG_2308_1024

Tuesday July 14, 2015

Happy Bastille Day, America! and some delicious peaches and I went to Fr. Jacob’s class.

thumb_IMG_2309_1024

Wednesday July 15, 2015

Some watercolors and old crosses

thumb_IMG_2315_1024 thumb_IMG_2316_1024 thumb_IMG_2318_1024

Thursday July 16, 2015

My missionary sandals came! And I bought “Go Set a Watchman” and went to Fr. Jacob’s class.

thumb_IMG_2321_1024 thumb_IMG_2322_1024

Friday July 17, 2015

Friday!

Saturday July 18, 2015

Drove down to Ocean City, New Jersey for a long weekend.

Sunday July 19, 2015

thumb_IMG_2324_1024

This was in the local parish bulletin. It made me chuckle.

Monday July 20, 2015

Beautiful Ocean City

thumb_IMG_2332_1024

Tuesday July 21, 2015

Drove back home and then went to Fr. Jacob’s Class

thumb_IMG_2334_1024 thumb_IMG_2335_1024

Wednesday July 22, 2015

Back to work…

Thursday July 23, 2015

Went to Fr. Jacob’s class, which was really, really good.

Friday July 24, 2015

Happy Friday!

Saturday July 25, 2015

Went to the Mets game!

thumb_IMG_2341_1024

Find more Love Notes at Story of a Rose

Let’s stop comparing

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a

“Each of us is Willed. Each of us is Loved. Each of us is necessary.” BXVI

Now, I know that this comparison thing is something that we all deal with. But this is my prayer, that each of us will see how necessary we are, as the person that God made us. That each of us is unique, each of us is talented, each of us is beautiful in our own way.

Capuchin Outreach and CYFM

thumb_IMG_2249_1024

Being that I wasn’t able to visit CYFM during a retreat, I was invited to take part in their annual Capuchin Outreach Program. This is a service based retreat for high school aged students. I was asked to participate in the Vacation Bible School because this particular program had the most student volunteers and number of participants. There were about 40 kids, and 16 teens. Now, I had never been to VBS, or volunteered to help at one. And yet, I felt obligated to kind of know what was happening. After all, I was supposed to be the “Adult”, and at the same time I felt like I was to take a step back and really observe and try to understand CYFM as a whole. It was a bit conflicting.

We had survived the first day of VBS and successfully learned the choreography to “Stand Together” and “Stand Strong”. By the end of the day, I realized that the scripture sharing (which I was in charge of) would need to be altered for each age group. And I was exhausted. By the end of the day I had familiar feelings of loneliness and a sense of not being good enough set in. For as long as I can remember, these feelings follow a new day anywhere, even in Church settings.

But Tuesday was a new day. And it was better. And Wednesday came, and it was better. I had started to feel comfortable with the teens, and I had a better understanding of the needs of the kids at VBS. Water day was my favorite part of VBS, and I would say that this was my turning point, I had started to feel like myself again.

thumb_IMG_2264_1024

Thursday came, and we played messy games and had a talent show. I wrote my prayer partner letter and spent time in the beautiful chapel. And then friday came. We finished scripture sharing strong and VBS was over. The closing ceremony after mass started, and I found out that the chaplain of CYFM had been assigned to pray for me. This was a big piece of assurance for me from the Big Guy. By the end of the week I had a better sense of why I was put there, and a better sense of the community as a whole. This year is going to be an adjustment for me, and that is something that I can’t ignore anymore. But when I got home Friday night, I had a spiritual high, and Chris gave me an anniversary present.

This present was super appropriate, and he knew that. It was a St. Therese of Lisieux medal, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the back. St. Therese, being the patron of missionaries, even though she never left her convent, and the Sacred Heart, the devotion of Saint Leonard, my saint of the year. Also, I totally just noticed this, but Saint Leonard was a Franciscan who gave Parish retreats and who was an ascetic writer. That’s almost too similar to what I’m going to be doing this year.

If you want to read about COP from the perspective of a current CCV, you can do that Here.

Before I leave you today, here are some lovely pictures from the two chapels at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries, where I spent much of my alone time on the COP 2015 retreat.

thumb_IMG_2278_1024 thumb_IMG_2279_1024 thumb_IMG_2280_1024 thumb_IMG_2281_1024 thumb_IMG_2251_1024

Love and prayers,
Mary

Brush Lettering and Watercolors

thumb_IMG_2316_1024

How does one figure out if a new hobby is worth the investment? Well, if you enjoy it, go for it. I grew up loving art. I especially loved painting. One of my common daydreams was being a painter along the river seine. This new obsession started with Blessed Is She and their beautiful weekly wallpapers. One of their designers, Be A Heart, is probably my favorite at the moment. Be A Heart is offering a few workshops in NYC in the next few weeks. Alas, I really shouldn’t be spending that kind of money.  So, I went for it. I went to Blick and bought a few good watercolor brushes so that I could play, and hopefully build up some sort of skill, so that I can make beautiful pieces over the next year.

thumb_IMG_2296_1024 thumb_IMG_2318_1024

For my first attempt, these aren’t too bad! I’m excited to continue practicing. It was very relaxing, and I had a definite sense of accomplishment at the end. Do you have any hobbies that you were nervous to try at first?

Also, here are some pins that I’ve found helpful in learning how to properly use watercolor paint:

OneTwo, and Three

365 Days of Love Notes, Week 49

Sunday July 5, 2015

Mass

Monday July 6, 2015

Went to work and had a meeting at the Parish

Tuesday July 7, 2015

Work and some relaxation

Wednesday July 8, 2015

A free concert in the park with my Dad, and picked out this quote from Blessed Is She

“I know for certain that Christ called and used the Apostles in spite of their weaknesses and transformed them through their work for Him.”

Thursday July 9, 2015

Some room shopping for CYFM and Adoration with some good people

Friday July 10, 2015

Pizza and some time with Chris

Saturday July 11, 2015

A day at the Beach, Mass, dinner, and an event with some friends

Find more Love Notes at Story of a Rose

Four.

Spread Love wherever you go, let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
-Mother Teresa-

thumb_IMG_2284_1024

Our day began with iced coffee, a bag of cheerios, and a lovely new St. Therese medal
(he gets me)

But for real, we drove out to one of our favorite places on Long Island. Greenport was bound to be bustling, so we stopped there briefly to take out cash so that we could visit Lavender by the Bay in East Marion. To the eye, it was beautiful, to the nose, it was delightful. Even the little busy bees were content. They were too busy checking out the lavender to pay attention to the people walking by. The little shop was bustling, so we decided to walk through the fields first. We decided to keep our day low key, and this farm ended up being the best way to celebrate.

thumb_IMG_2288_1024

thumb_IMG_2287_1024

thumb_IMG_2293_1024

In the shop we decided to pick up some dried lavender and soap for mom, and had enough left over store credit to get a post card. Then we walked next door to have a late lunch at The Blue Inn. One day I would love to stay there, but having lunch was absolutely wonderful. The food was awesome. To start we had fried brie with cranberry. That was incredible. I love cheese, but this took cheese to a whole new level. For lunch, Chris had cod and I had an open chicken sandwich. Both of our meals were specials of the day, and we weren’t disappointed.

To say that I am grateful for this relationship would be an understatement. A few years back, I read that marriage is learning to love like Christ. While we are not married, this still holds true. This relationship helps me to love like Christ each day. That’s a selfless kind of love. It’s funny, because we basically wrote the same thing in our cards to one another. We essentially wrote that our relationship is strong and beautiful because it is rooted in Christ, and we have grown in Christ, together over these past four years. It’s a beautiful thing.
thumb_IMG_2294_1024