About Me

The first blog post is the hardest, right? I’ve been putting off starting this blog because I honestly just didn’t know where to start. I felt like I needed to have a theme and a direction and a plan. I like to try to be one of those one-step-ahead, everything-is-all-planned-out, perfectionist kind of people, but it’s not my strong suit. I’ve decided to let this blog lead the way – I will start typing and see where it takes me. For now, I’m just going to start with a simple introduction.

My name is Julia, I recently graduated from Fontbonne University with a BS in Speech-Language Pathology, and I spent probably 85% of my college career wondering if I chose the right degree. I married my best friend in January of this year. He also recently graduated with a degree in music. He has been in the band Crystal Lady for almost 4 years. From high school to college, a lot of our friends have been musicians, which is a pretty fun crowd to be a part of!

As for this blog, I hope it will be a nice creative outlet for me. Before graduating high school, I had planned to attend Truman State University as a Creative Writing major. Instead of following my heart, I went with a practical major, one with job security (something you can’t be too thankful for these days). Now as a graduate with two part-time jobs and still no clue what I really want to do with my life, I’ve finally decided to dive back into writing. I don’t know where this blog will take me, but I hope to at least just have some fun with it.

I hope you’ll stay posted for more! I plan to blog about my photography and about events and concerts I attend around town with my husband. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me!

Goodbye Facebook

It’s not me, it’s most definitely you…

Social media has turned into quite a nightmare… or is that just me? I feel like Facebook is just a cesspool of negativity every time I look at it. Sure, there’s funny memes, weird life hack videos, and it’s great for stalking people you knew 15 years ago and potential SOs of friends. It’s even a nice way to share what’s going on with friends and family that live far away and may not otherwise get to partake in your day-to-day.

But honestly, how many of your Facebook “friends” are really friends? When was the last time you saw that old high school girl friend? Or even made plans to hang out with your old crew? Who have you intentionally reached out to – no, not “liked” their picture or commented on their post – actually called or texted and had a real, genuine conversation with?

A lot of times my anxiety stems from feeling like I have no friends and I think I leaned into having Facebook “friends” as an illusion of comfort. That’s NOT healthy. I still struggle with being alone sometimes, but I’m also learning to love it. I’m getting to know ME. I’m realizing what my true hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations are, for me, myself, and I. I’m learning to be more comfortable with a small, close friend group. I’m spending more time with family. I’m learning that I want the connections I make to be meaningful and positive.

Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” craze doesn’t just apply to physical items in our homes. I think it should apply to everything. Facebook doesn’t spark joy for me anymore (if it ever did), so I said goodbye. I purged my friends list (so don’t take it personally) and deleted the app from my phone. For now, I am keeping my account, mostly as a means to run my Color Street business, and to have Messenger to reach friends and family I would otherwise not be able to contact. As time goes on, I may delete my account all together.

It’s weird, adjusting to not having another app to mindlessly scroll through, but I am excited to see what I can accomplish with having less screen time in my life. Truly, smart phones have become addictions. Piece by piece I want to grow apart from mine and explore my creativity more. Find peace and happiness.

Goodbye, Facebook. Can’t say I’ll miss you.

*Update 3/20/19:

Since deleting Facebook I have:

⁃ Written a blog post

⁃ Deep cleaned my bathtub

⁃ Cleaned my washing machine

⁃ Done six+ loads of laundry

⁃ Put away a few loads of clean dishes

⁃ KonMari’d my bedroom/wardrobe

⁃ Visited some friends in real life

⁃ Gone to confession

⁃ Gone to Mass

⁃ Worked my Color Street business

⁃ Donated bags and boxes of clothes and misc items to St. VdP

Live and Learn

It’s still January, so I give myself permission to still write about new year’s resolutions… Now and in another blog later 😬

My new year started off with me working just two jobs instead of three, and let me tell you, the extra time has been amazing. I feel like I can actually breathe. The end of the year was a whirlwind and I feel like I barely got to notice, much less enjoy, the holidays.

With this extra time, I’ve decided I want to do more baking.

This post is NOT about my successes in the kitchen this new year. Oh no. It’s about the flops.

Because that’s just it! The new year is NEVER going to go perfectly. There is so much pressure on January 1st to be the first day of a shiny, “New Year, New Me”. Why do we do this to ourselves? I will be writing a whole post about my thoughts on this, so I digress.

One new thing I started last year was brewing kombucha.

It is so much fun and so much cheaper than store bought. My husband even likes it better than store bought! Now, we don’t drink tons of it at a time, so I have bottles of booch sitting in my fridge. I thought, why not try making sourdough? I’ve seen lots of folks post about it in the Kombucha brewing groups I joined on Facebook.

I gave it a go. This is what happened.

Yeah… All over my cabinet. If that’s not bad enough, it totally smelled like rotten eggs when I opened it. So, that jar went in the trash.

I do plan to try it again. Just not yet.

On MLK day, I had the day off, and didn’t want to be completely lazy all day, so I turned to instagram for baking suggestions. The one I got was to make French macarons. I have long desired to make my own delicious and delicate little macarons, but been far too intimidated. It seems my fears were not irrational.

I don’t even know. It was pretty much hopeless. Not to be wasteful, I formed the dough into balls by hand and pressed it onto parchment paper.

They surprisingly turned out pretty tasty! Overcooked and crunchy, but not terrible. I only tossed out about half the dough.

The new year shouldn’t be the only time to learn from our mistakes, but it’s certainly a good reminder to be patient with ourselves. Life is often imperfect, but we can always make the best of it.

Happy new year, happy baking, and please, if you have any tips for macarons, send them my way!

Anniversary Post!

Today is my WordPress 1 year anniversary!

That seems like a pretty big milestone to me. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked to at this point, but I have a lot of ideas for future posts. After my last post, Responding to “The Call”, I have been considering taking my blog in a Christian-focused direction.

The one thing I have struggle most with in regards to writing posts for this blog is finding the “direction” or “theme” I wanted my posts to have. As I am working on growing in my Catholic faith, I think writing a Catholic blog will be perfect for me. I am researching topics I find interesting and learning more about Catholicism every day, so why not write about it?

I am excited to see what comes of this next year of blogging. Thank you for being a part of this journey thus far and I hope you will continue to enjoy what I write!

Responding to “The Call”

Hi, my name is Julia and I am a cradle Catholic.

I’ve been Catholic all of my life. I’ve never left the Church. I’ve never “experimented” with my faith. I’ve always been Catholic and because of that I think I have really taken it for granted. But I’ll get back to that later.

As a Catholic with over 12 years of private Catholic education under my belt, I grew up hearing that God calls all of us to respond to a vocation. This vocation could be anything, but I always most associated it with being called to the religious life. I mean, how often do we hear an amazing, inspiring story about a priest or sister and how they knew they were being called to religious life. And, oh, how I wanted that neon sign call, that obvious “Hey, God wants you to do THIS” call.

Of course, not every priest or sister or other religious person had that kind of call. Not even every saint had that kind of sign from God. But that’s what I wanted. That’s what I felt like I needed. “Hey God, please just hit me over the head with whatever it is you want me to do so I can just know. Thanks”.

From middle school all the way through college, my favorite subject in school was English. I love all things literature. I even love grammar. I went out of my way to take extra English classes in high school and college any chance I could. It made sense to me senior year that I would pursue a degree in creative writing. Then one of my best friends at the time told me a story about her sister, who is a Speech-Language Pathologist. And wow. It changed everything. Without even learning more about what it would entail, I applied to be in the Communication Disorders program at Truman State University. I enjoyed my classes, made amazing friends, and learned more than I could have ever imagined. After a while, though, I began to wonder, is this really what I’m “called” to do?

I hadn’t really put that much thought into it. Being an SLP would pay way more than a freelance poet. I valued financial security. I knew that was something I wanted for my future family. But had I really thought about it much more than that?

My great-grandfather passed away during finals week the first semester of my third year at Truman. It hit me hard and I felt a lot of guilt leaving family behind when I came back from winter break, so after three years at Truman, I transferred to Fontbonne University. And what did I do? I stayed in the same major, even though I had already been questioning it for some time, and a painful meeting with the head of the Communication Disorders department at Truman probably should have steered me in a different direction, but I was stubborn. I started this thing, I ought to finish it. Besides, how many more years of loans could I really stand? As an SLP, I could probably pay them off.

While at Fontbonne, again I had that nagging feeling. I stuck with the SLP program. I took the classes, worked in the clinic, did my observations. But every chance I could, I took a class on education. Was I being called to something else? Had I been mishearing God this whole time? I couldn’t possibly start over. Student loans, though.

I graduated from Fontbonne University in May of 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. I am proud to say that. I’m not proud of the loans, but hey, I graduated! Am I going to grad school? No. Am I working in the Speech-Language Pathology field? Again, no.

Before I graduated, I started working at a daycare center, where I still work part-time. I have found that there is nothing I love more than watching little ones grow and learn. While this job doesn’t quite pay the bills like I wish it could, it is incredibly rewarding. That being said, I still needed to figure out what on earth my “vocation” is. “Hey, God. Still waiting”.

I took another part-time job, this time at a school. As of this week, I have been working at St. John Paul II Preparatory School for a year. Last year I was the 2nd grade teacher’s aide. This year I will be aiding both 3rd and 4th grade. The first week or two of this job, I didn’t know if I was going to like it at all. By the end of the first semester, I loved it. I love the kids, the teachers and staff, the families, and possibly most importantly, the faith.

Something I hadn’t realized I was lacking in was a faith community. Truman had an amazing Catholic Newman Center that kept me going in some of the darkest times, but I lost that when I left. JPII also have something special about it that Truman’s Newman Center didn’t have.

JPII is a very classic and traditional faith community, something I hadn’t really had since elementary school. Even then, the “old fashioned” tradition didn’t go much beyond the hymns and the few old ladies that still were veils to mass (something else I will be coming back to). At JPII, we teach the kids Latin and sing the mass parts in Latin. We even have a Latin mass once a year. We have mass every other week. Several of the teachers wear veils to mass (even young ones). We kneel to receive communion on our tongues. There is this incredible sense of reverence at JPII that honestly can be hard to find these days. It was something I didn’t even realize I was missing, something I was desperately needing.

Since one of the first masses I attended at JPII, I have been fascinated by these young women wearing veils. That seemed like such an outdated thing. Why were they doing it? Like I said before, growing up I was used to seeing a few older ladies wearing them at mass, but I always thought it was just because they were old, and old habits die hard. But now I was in a totally different realm. Women who grew up in a post-Vatican II Church were veiling at mass.

For months, I honestly only really thought about it when we were at mass. Beyond that, it was out of sight, out of mind. Until last week. The teachers had a special mass, in preparation for the new school year (that starts tomorrow!!). Again, I was in a room with women wearing veils (even one near my age). I finally started to get the picture. “OK, God. I’ll Google it”.

And so I did. Immediately I found Veils by Lily. I found the FAQ page and read every word. I downloaded the free printable fact sheet. I scrolled and scrolled through the site. Read the blog posts. Less than 24 hours later, I found myself doing something I never in a million years would have seen myself doing. I bought a veil. A veil to wear to church. What?!

OK, OK, what does this have to do with “Responding to ‘The Call'”? I think the kind of obvious theme here is that I’m not very good at listening to God. Or even hearing Him. I don’t know what I am doing with my life. Honestly, no idea. But a little less than a year ago, God began calling me. No, it wasn’t the “What is my vocation?” call I had been hoping for (well, I don’t think it was, but I’ve learned to never assume I know God’s plan). God was calling me to take a step outside of my comfort zone (nice and vague, thanks, God).

OK, so what does that mean? Where does that take me? I had already taken on a new job in a new place with new people. What else do You want from me? Well, a few months after starting this new job, I learned about a direct sales company called Color Street (which I wrote about here). Could this be it? I thought about it for MONTHS. Could this really be what God is calling me to do? Well, it couldn’t hurt to try. I took the leap. I joined an awesome company with an awesome product that I love. I met awesome people, built a community, and I had fun. But it was also hard. And I struggled. And I felt like I was doing everything wrong. “OK, God. Really? What am I supposed to be doing right now?”

Well, after almost 5 months with Color Street, I came to the conclusion that while, yes, God was definitely telling me that I need to step out of my comfort zone, this was not what He meant. Last night I decided I need to take a step away from Color Street. I do hope to some day go back to that awesome team I got to work with, but for now, I need to walk away.

That call to step out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t a vocational call. It was something much smaller and more personal. It was a call to wear that veil. That may not seem like a huge leap from one’s comfort zone, but when you are as reserved and introverted as I am, it is kind of a big deal. It is something people will notice, which means (gasp) people might actually want to talk to me. While the thought of being questioned about my decision to veil at mass does make me a little nervous, ever since making this decision (and purchase), I have felt this overwhelming sense of peace that I have been searching for, for years. I am excited about veiling at mass. I am embarking on a new spiritual journey to bring me closer to God, and maybe even bring others closer to Him, too.

I would like to ask that you pray for me as I take on this new journey. If you have any questions about my decision to wear a veil at mass, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am still learning about it myself, but am happy to share what I know and what lead me to this decision more in depth.

We are all called to something. Yes, I am still trying to figure out my true vocational call. But some of the things God calls us to are much smaller than that. It may be hard to hear Him, but with an open heart, eventually all things become clear.

Detoxing

We all need a good detox from time to time.

Body, mind, and spirit.

This week has been a tough one. I started off the week with bronchitis (insert “ain’t nobody got time for that”) and ended the week with my husband in the hospital with kidney stones.

The medicine I’ve been taking has depression and anxiety as side effects, both of which I’ve been feeling. The stress of my husband having kidney stones (yet again) has been emotionally draining.

All these factors put me in a bit of a sensitive place, so when someone I have met maybe twice was rude and insensitive online, I was hurt a little more than I usually would have been. It sent me on a bit of a spiral first thing this morning.

So I’m detoxing. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter apps. I’ve spent the weekend taking care of my husband. Tomorrow I am going to focus more on myself. I want to clean our apartment top to bottom. Bake a cake. Do laundry. Read a book. Go shopping. Pray.

Social media can be a real downer sometimes. I know how toxic it can be for me personally. I plan to do another detox like this in the future. Probably a longer break than just the weekend.

Strive for positivity.

Stay happy.

April Showers Bring New Opportunities

Hello everyone! I know I’ve been absent for a while. A LOT has been going on. I’m finally here to fill you in.

My husband and I are making an extra effort to focus on our health and spending QUALITY time together. We have been meal prepping and exercising more. It has already made a noticeable difference. I’m less stressed about what we are going to eat, there’s less binge-snacking and binge-watching, and we’re spending more time TALKING and less time staring at screens. I’m loving what it is doing for our bodies, minds, and relationship.

I also made a HUGE leap out of my comfort zone. I am by no means a social butterfly. I’m not chatty, I don’t make videos of myself, I don’t have a huge group of friends, I don’t party every weekend. But there was something tugging at my heart for a while. I spent months overthinking as I do with everything, but I finally took a big step at the beginning of the month.

I became an Independent Stylist for Color Street! For me, this is a big deal. I’ve never been a part of an independent sales kind of company. This company focuses on one-to-one contact and relationships. So, what is Color Street? What do they sell? And why should I buy their products?

Great questions. Color Street is a new company (as in less than a year!), and it is thriving! It is constantly growing. They make and sell nail polish strips. Maybe you’ve heard of them. But what makes theirs special? Well, first of all, they are NOT wraps. They require no fancy tools, no heat, no glue. They are made with 100% real nail polish, no adhesives. They are also almost 100% dry and super easy to apply! There are over 2 dozen designs, including nail art and glitter! Each set comes with 8 different sizes (16 total strips), nail prep pads, a cuticle stick, and an adorable mini nail file. They also have french tip styles, which are always buy 1 get 1 free. All of their other styles are by 3 get 1 free.

Color Street stylists make connections and sales through nail bars. These parties can be held in person or virtually through Facebook. The awesome thing about a Facebook party is that hosts can more easily get friends to participate because they can join the party from literally anywhere as long as they have access to Facebook.

I just had my launch party last night, on Facebook. Unfortunately, I haven’t had quite the interaction I had hoped for. I am still waiting on sales. I am trying to not be discouraged, though. I am continuing to attempt to engage Facebook friends and family members through my Facebook business page and my VIP group. I am hoping once I start sending out samples, more people will get interested.

No one ever said starting a business would be easy. I’m doing my best to stay motivated. I hope April continues to bring opportunities for my husband and me. Speaking of which, he is currently in the process of possibly making a career change. Fingers crossed April brings us good news!

Hopefully this month will also bring more posts! I will try to get back into the habit of posting B&W photos!

Thanks for reading!