We Are Called to be More

Hey Y’all!

Today’s blog post is just me spilling my heart into semi-coherent words. Here are some of my thoughts that I felt the need to share! 

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Going with the world will never lead you to peace.

I’ve kinda found this out the hard way multiple times in my life, and each time I’ve thought “ maybe this time.” Maybe this time I’ll be pretty enough. Maybe this time I’ll wear the right clothes. Maybe this time I’ll write the perfect blog post and get lots of views. I tried to find a better way to describe it, but I only came up with two words: “less than.” This is a feeling that I have struggled with since I-don’t-even-remember-when. Less pretty than my friends. Less perfect than the people you see on social media. Less popular. Less known. Less wanted.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, good! I hope you never feel this way. But if you have, and if these words seem familiar, you are not alone. you are not broken. you are more than. You are worth more than all of the priceless things on this earth because of the one who created you made you perfect! Not perfect to society, but perfect in his eyes. We are in this world, but not of this world, so why should we try to conform to the norms of a world in which we don’t belong to?

You are more than your past. You are more than your emotions. You are more than what people may say you are. You are more precious in His eyes than anything this world has to offer: you are more than!

Living a life of doubt is not how God wants us to live. I have come to realize that no matter how hard I try to be a part of this world, I am made for something more. We are all made for something more as followers of Christ.  This is a little reminder to take a step back and ask yourself “is this who I want to be? Is this who I really, truly, deep down-no-matter-how-hard-I-try-to-get-perfect-winged-eyeliner am meant to be?” My answer to that question was a hard no. And maybe yours is too, or maybe you are exactly who you are called to be. But we are all called to be more, called to love one another, and called to be who God creates us to be.  Go out there and be you!!!! You are loved.

Much love & go be a light,

Chloe♥

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Photography by Madison Martin Photography

 

 

Holiday Kickoff + Family Traditions

Hey yall!

It’s the holiday season and I couldn’t be more excited. From Christmas music and holiday foods to winter fashion and family traditions, it all seems so magical! Since the holidays are upon us and family traditions are at large, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things that my family does every winter!

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1. Holiday kickoff brunch

Although this isn’t a very “traditional” tradition, it’s still one of my favorites. The week before Thanksgiving, my mom and I go get brunch at a local cafe, then go shop for Christmas gifts for the rest of our family. This year I got a blueberry quinoa bowl with granola and fruit and it was so yummy! My mom got a goat cheese omelet, and although I’m not a huge egg fan, I gotta say it looked pretty tasty. I love this time that my mom and I spend together because it’s such a nice time to catch up on life and breathe for a while. Since I’m either in classes or working for most of the day, we usually don’t have time to just sit and chat, so I love the times that we have together. 

2. Christmas tree chopping

Every year since I can remember, my family has gone to a Christmas tree farm about an hour away to pick out the *perfect* tree. It’s usually freezing cold, and walking around a Christmas tree farm for an hour or so may not seem like the most fun thing, but it’s always so fun and memorable! After chopping down the tree, we tie it to the roof of the car and drive the hour back to our house, where we put lights, ornaments, and LOTS of silver sparkly tinsel on it. There is always lots of Christmas music, hot chocolate, and LOTS of pine needles stuck in my hair, without fail. every time. 

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3. Baking one of my Great-grandmother’s chocolate pies

As a little girl, I always loved my great grandmother’s chocolate pie, which my grandmother would make every Christmas. Now, I have the chocolate pie recipe and it’s always so special to make that pie on Christmas morning! I absolutely love to cook, and so making something that’s so special and close to my heart makes Christmas morning even more amazing. 

4. Christmas Shopping

Umm… shopping. Need I say more? 🙂 But really, I absolutely love finding gifts for my friends and family to give to them on Christmas. Christmas shopping is always so fun and festive in my family, as it usually involves early mornings, peppermint mochas, and lots of laughs with my sister. 

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5. Midnight mass on Christmas Eve 

Time to share my FAVORITE thing about the holiday season: Midnight mass! Every Christmas Eve, after my family has dinner at my grandparent’s house, we go to Mass around midnight. Mass is always a great addition to any day, but there is something so special about going to mass with my family on Christmas eve. 

I’d love to know: what are your favorite traditions in your family? I love hearing other traditions and fun things that other families do during the holidays!

Much love,

Chloe

Have you entered my JORD wooden watch giveaway? If not, click here!

 

My Thoughts on Change

Hey y’all!

Grab your hot chocolate and get comfy, because this post is going to be deep. I’ll start off by saying that a few times in my life, I have had people tell me “you’ve changed”…maybe they’ve told me directly, maybe they’ve told someone that I’m close to. But y’all, I’d sure hope that I’ve changed. Don’t ever apologize for changing, growing as a person, weeding negativity out of your life, etc. As long as you’re not changing for the worse, don’t ever be apologetic for it. Change is good and the people who are worth your time and energy will grow with you and accept the change!

I remember the first time someone ever told me “you’ve changed”. I honestly didn’t know how to feel. Was it an insult? Was changing as a person a bad thing? I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Like I said earlier, as long as you’re not changing for the worse, and are growing as an individual, don’t ever be apologetic for it. Change can be so good! The people who are truly worth your time and energy will accept your growth and grow with you and accept the fact that people change!

Another thing you should never be apologetic for: weeding negative people out of your life. You should surround yourself with people who inspire you, build you up, make you happy, and help you grow into the person God created you to be. God will send people into your life that you never knew could have such a positive impact on the way you see yourself and the world. As soon as you find the strength to leave the negative behind, accept change, and move forward with complete trust that God has a plan for your life…you will find so much happiness. (I speak from experience). 

The funny thing is, I don’t like change. At all. I am 100% the type of person that likes to plan out every aspect of everything and will completely freak out if something even goes slightly off plan. This is kinda where the whole “Trusting God” thing comes into play… and I will be completely honest in telling you that sometimes, (or more times than not), it can be really hard to put all of your trust in Him. But here’s the thing that i have to tell myself multiple times a day… God has a plan for me. And He has a plan for you. Maybe you’re reading this and can’t relate one bit to what I’m saying, maybe trusting God comes easily to you. But maybe you’re like me, and need that little constant reminder of “God’s got you”. 

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Friends, whatever changes you may be going through right now, pray for the grace to be at peace with the present. Be grateful for the blessings that you have today instead of being constantly preoccupied with what’s around the corner. Honestly, I am 100% guilty of focusing too much on the future and paying no attention to the people and blessing that I have in the moment. Go to God with a patient and trusting spirit. He’s got you

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

“Do not fear, beloved. Peace! Take courage, and be strong.

-Daniel 10:19

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” -Psalm 18:2

Much love,

Chloe

Simple Joy Of GIVING: FOCUS Missions

Hey yall!

It’s time again to launch The Simple Joy Of Giving! This is the second month of t-shirts & charity donations, and I’m so excited to see what we can accomplish this month!

Order your shirt here!

The Simple Joy Of Giving is a not-for-profit campaign that directly benefits the less fortunate worldwide and in local communities. Every few months, I will be selling newly-designed t-shirts to raise money for a different cause or organization! One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to that month’s selected cause. In April, my readers raised over $200 for a soup kitchen in my hometown!

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I started The Simple Joy Of Giving as a way to give back to my local community. My initial thought was to just raise money to fund a future mission trip, but then I realized that I could do so much more with this project! I came to the realization that, since I have this platform of my blog, I could expand this campaign into an ongoing fundraiser for my local community, and will hopefully one day grow to spread the Word of God and to help struggling communities worldwide. I also hope to one day go on a mission trip, and hopefully, this little project can help me reach that goal!

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In my hometown alone, 18.2% of the population lives in poverty. That’s almost a fifth of the population of Huntsville, Alabama, but it’s a small percentage compared to the worldwide statistics: approximately 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. Nearly 50% of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.   1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. Researching these statistics and seeing the widespread, but little known, disaster of poverty in this world has helped me realize that people are in need everywhere, every day. I have volunteered at this local soup kitchen many times, and it filled me with so much joy that so many people were willing to help me raise money to purchase meals for the less fortunate in my hometown. 

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Before I started this campaign, I prayed that the Lord would fill me with compassion and patience and wisdom to help me with the whole process of this campaign. after the first month passed, I finally realized that so many prayers had been answered! Not only my prayers but maybe even other people’s prayers that I don’t know about. It has definitely shown me that prayers DO get answered, even if not the ways we initially imagine them. 

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This Month’s Cause

For the month of August, the proceeds will be donated to a FOCUS mission trip. FOCUS, The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, is a group of people passionate about changing the world and helping college students live a life of purpose through Christ. FOCUS Missions believes that we have a unique opportunity to reach the world and be forces of good, both in uncharted territory and in our own familiar homelands. I’m so excited to help fund someone’s mission trip through focus, and I hope that others are as excited about this as I am! Click here to order your shirt and make a difference in this world!

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And to the person who wants to start something similar for the glory of God:

GO FOR IT! It’s definitely a long process of waiting, praying, and waiting some more, but the results can be so beautiful. Even if you don’t raise as much money as you wanted, or if it doesn’t go quite as planned, Trust in God’s timing and in His will and everything will go the way He planned it to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people around you, and don’t be afraid of any problems/struggles you may encounter. You are doing good for the world and your community and spreading the Love of God; that is such a beautiful thing! 

Order your shirt here!

Much love,

Chloe

Our deepest hungers are not for food and drink, not for amusements and recreations, not for property and wardrobes, not for notoriety and gossip. We hunger for truth, we thirst to drink beauty, we yearn to celebrate, we stretch out to love and be loved. This is why anything less than everything is not enough.

– Father Thomas Dubay

 

Life Update!

Hey yall!

Wow. Its been over a month since I last wrote a blog post! Crazy, right? I have been taking a full semester of college courses this summer (chem 2… I strongly dislike u), along with working at the dance studio and having the opportunity to choreograph and teach solos to some AMAZING dancers. I am so thankful and so blessed to be able to do what I have done this summer!!!

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Although my head has been full of words such as “equilibrium concentrations” and “mitochondrion” (powerhouse of the cell!!!)… the words “me time” is a term that I haven’t had in my vocabulary lately. I’ve tried to set aside time to go outside, write for this blog (oops), or actually having FUN (whaaaaat? In summer??? no way.), I have to say that I have pretty much failed at all three of those things. But that’s ok! Because… 

All of this craziness of life has made me come to realize the importance of taking a moment to breathe every once in a while. With all of the hustle of life, taking a few minutes to slow down and be present in the moment is something that I know and acknowledge to be important, but is something that I struggle with. If you’re like me, you tend to work a little too hard under pressure and ignore everything but the thing that you need to get done. Words that have gone through my head are “I don’t have time to go golfing with my family, I need an A on this test”, or “Why am I crying, I don’t have time to cry, plz stop.” (true story on multiple occasions). I should have realized that yes, I can spare an hour to go to the driving range to hit some golf balls with my family. Yes, its ok to stress out and cry for a solid 5 mins, and then get back to work. After all, stress is stress, and stress is valid. That being said, there is a real importance of relieving that stress and having an outlet to get away from the crazy for a while. All of this has also made me see God’s role in my life a little more clearly. Why stress so much about what is to come when everything is in God’s hands? Yes, it is still important to study and strive to do your best in all that you do, but God has a plan for your life, and as hard as it is to admit sometimes, He is always right. His timing is perfect, His path for us is perfect, and He made us perfect in his eyes. I really don’t think God will be super salty if I get a not-so-great grade on a chem test, although I myself might be a little salty :). God wants us to enjoy the people and places around us. My advice to anyone else in this situation is to work hard, but to also take time to live in the sunshine, enjoy your family and friends, and always put God first 🙂

And that’s a wrap, y’all. I hope you enjoyed my little life update/ stress-out-then-come-to-Jesus blog post! Let me know if you’d like to see more occasional life update posts in the future. 

Much love,

Chloe

Coming up in the next few blog posts:

So I went to Ulta and Sephora the other day and spent too much money (it’s called retail therapy, mom) which means you will most likely have a makeup/skincare haul blog post coming your way soon!

ALSO!!! The Simple Joy Of Giving is launching its second campaign starting August 1st! eek!! I’m so excited. The t-shirt designs for August are done, so be on the lookout on social media to see some sneak peeks! 

 

 

The Simple Joy Of GIVING

Hey y’all!

I have something so so SUPER exciting to share with you. Over the past few months, I have been working on a project that will help raise money for local charities, the less fortunate locally and worldwide, and one day will allow me to hopefully raise money to fund a mission trip. This is a big goal, I know, but with the help of you, my readers and friends, I believe we can make a difference in the world and make it a better place.  I am so, so, SO excited to finally get this started and in motion. 

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The first month’s (May of 2018)  T-shirts that I’ve designed feature my favorite quote from Mother Teresa on the front and my logo and the hashtag #SimpleJoyOfGIVING on the back of the shirt (they’re super cute 🙂 ). Every other month, I will put the shirts on sale, each month’s shirts having a different design and color scheme. New shirts every sale, new cause every sale… let’s go do some good in this world.

The Simple Joy Of Giving: What is it?

The Simple Joy Of Giving is a not-for-profit campaign that directly benefits the less fortunate worldwide and in local communities. Every other month, we will be selling newly-designed t-shirts to raise money for a different cause or organization. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to that month’s selected cause. 

Why did you start this?

I started The Simple Joy Of Giving as a way to give back to my local community. My initial thought was to just raise money to fund a future mission trip, but then I realized that I could do so much more with this project. I came to the realization that, since I have this platform of my blog, I could expand this campaign into an ongoing fundraiser for my local community, and will hopefully one day grow to help struggling communities worldwide. I also hope to one-day fund someone’s mission trip, whether it be me or someone else going. 

Why should I care?

In my hometown alone, 18.2% of the population lives in poverty. That’s almost a fifth of the population of Huntsville, Alabama, but it’s a small percentage compared to the worldwide statistics: approximately 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. Nearly 50% of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.   1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. When you buy a t-shirt supporting The Simple Joy Of Giving, 100% of the money earned goes directly towards funding struggling soup kitchens, charities, mission trips, and more, that help lessen the poverty rates locally and worldwide. 

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty.”

Mother Teresa of Kolkata

Ok, so I ordered a shirt. When will I get to wear it?

The shirts will go on sale for 21 days, and the proceeds from that 21 days go towards a single organization or charity. You should receive your shirt(s) one to two weeks after the sale ends.  The more you wear your shirt, the more it spreads awareness for The Simple Joy Of Giving, and more people are impacted. They’re cute, soft, and for a good cause… why not wear it?

What organization will my shirt be supporting? 

Depending on the month, the shirts will be supporting different organizations and causes. To see what you are supporting, take a look at the paragraph below the shirt’s order form. You can also visit the website of the organization (if available) to learn more, donate, or sign up to volunteer. In May of 2018, proceeds will directly benefit a struggling soup kitchen in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. This non-profit, non-denominational ministry to the homeless and needy daily serves warm meals to the homeless and assists in their material and spiritual needs. The consecutive charities will be announced a few weeks prior to when the corresponding shirts will be available to purchase. 

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Now go forth and do good in the world! (and buy a Simple Joy Of Giving T-shirt 🙂 )

Much love,

Chloe♥

“We can all do small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

 

The Importance of Giving Back to Your Community

Hey y’all!

Today I wanted to talk about how important it is to give back to your community, and how doing so has shaped the person I am today. Giving back to your community through volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, charity, or other means does so much to help those in need and contribute to the common good. There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe the significance of giving back. Even the most simple acts of benevolence — the ones we think of as “random acts of kindness” or “no big deal” — are actually incredibly important.

I read this quote from Pope Francis today and it really inspired me to write this post:

“…have the courage to go against the tide of this culture…the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading…There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person in the street. Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter!”

– Pope Francis  

I have personally volunteered at my local soup kitchen many times, and I love seeing and hearing the stories of the people who come in to have a meal there. One of the most amazing things that I have noticed as I volunteer there is that anytime I ask any one of the people who walk through the door about their day, they always respond with a positive, happy response. These people are going through the worst times in their lives, and yet their genuine response is always a positive one. Having the opportunity to connect with the people in my community through volunteer work never fails to make me want to better myself as a person, and it also just lights up my day. Not only does volunteering impact the lives of others, but it has also greatly impacted my life as well. Giving back to my community has not only shown me how to love others the way we as Christians are meant to, but it has taught me the importance of being thankful for what I have and taught me that happiness does not lie in the material things of this world. 

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Volunteering at your local soup kitchen, donating money to charity, and donating old clothes to St. Vincent de Paul are just a few ways you can make an impact in your community. Not only are you helping others when you volunteer, you are also bettering yourself by being the hands and feet of Christ as we are all called to be. 

Now go out and do some good in this world! 🙂

Much love,

Chloe♥

3 Ways I Stay Rooted In My Faith As A Catholic College Student

Hey y’all! Just realized I’ve talked about two pretty deep subjects in the past week. New year, new me? Or maybe my brain just isn’t dead from homework/finals/essays? Anyway, I want to talk with y’all about some ways that help me stay rooted in my faith as a Catholic college student, which, I admit, can be pretty stinking hard sometimes. I saw this picture on Blessed Is She‘s Instagram, and the words in the photo really inspired me to write this.  I hope this inspires and helps not only Catholic college students but people of all ages and all religions that want to become closer to God.  

Sometimes I find it hard to reflect His light in the darkness of this world. It can be so tempting, especially as a college student, to brush aside our faith in order to appear more like others you know who may not care as deeply about their faith. It can be hard to be strong in your faith at all times and to be the light.  It’s so easy to get caught up trying to live in the lives of others rather than trying to live as we are called to as followers of Christ. As Catholics, we are called to be a light to the world and to shine the light of God upon others who may not now His everlasting love. 

ONE.

If there’s a Catholic campus ministry at your college, go check it out! I have met some of the most amazing people I know at my college’s campus ministry, who are college students just like me who also want to grow deeper in their faith. The meetings we have every week make me think deeper into the words of God and inspire me to be a better Catholic. 

TWO. 

I know, it sounds cliche, but get a bible that you love. I recently received the Catholic Journaling Bible from Blessed Is She, which is absolutely beautiful and includes wide margins with lines for note taking, endnotes, and footnotes, an easy to read one column format and hand-lettered verses for each book. It’s SO PRETTY♥ This is helpful for me because I can write down any thoughts I have while reading, and I also just love flipping through and reading the hand-lettered verses in each book. 

THREE. 

Another cliche, but I’m serious about this. Go. To. Mass. And not just on Sundays, either. Look up your church’s mass schedule, find a time that works for you, add it to your schedule (Write it down!), and stick to that schedule. On the other hand, look up mass times for the different Catholic Churches in your area, because they might have different mass times! Go when it works for you to go. Most daily masses are usually about 30-45 minutes long at most! I like to go in the morning before my 9:30 am class because my parish has 6:15 mass on Tuesday.  I love starting my day with mass because it sets such a good foundation for that day. 

I hope this inspires and helps not only Catholic college students but people of all ages and all religions that want to become closer to God.  

Much love,

Chloe♥

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1

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