Making a YES for real.

dsc01316These days, there are so many things, places, and people to draw inspiration from, learn from, and follow. When the world is going at an increasingly fast pace and the “so much to do, so little time” mantra remains unchanged, the attention we pay to various things speaks volumes about the true value it holds in our life.

As my attempt at keeping up with the world, I have notes, lists, post-its – on my phone, on my fridge, on my desk – for literally everything I want to remember, for fear that I will lose out on a nugget of wisdom or a future million-dollar idea. It can really be quite the struggle to scale back. At some point, there ends up being way too many notes on notes on post-its with alllllll the ideas and to-do’s to keep track of and no work to show for it.

So what is the whole point to begin with?

When I started this journey almost two years ago, my inspiration and hunger was coming from a very similar place as today. It was the year of the olympics (and a leap year too). The first church that Alex and I have found and loved in Boston was closing. Thankfully, we had one more chance to step inside Our Lady of Victories, marvel at its beautiful stained glass windows and its rich history with the The Victorian Society in America New England Chapter before saying goodbye. It was a lovely moment, pushing me to reflect upon the many changes that have happened in my life up to that point and what I felt it was leading me towards at the time.

There must be something about February.

It could just be the winter blues. Maybe it’s because the new year is not so new anymore and the struggle to keep “resolutions” up is too real. Or, dare I say it, perhaps its the realization that although time is infinite, a lifetime in it is only so finite. There will always be things to try, to gain, to lose, and yet there’s only so much of life to have and enjoy.

This February, it’s also the sense that lent is coming (it’s here!), and now more than ever, I’m feeling the urge to really work on faithfaith in myself, faith in others, faith in the world, and faith, most important of all, in God. The fact that the day of love this year can mean much more than the love we can see, feel, or ever give is exciting and a challenge. One I hope to step into with more intention and the support of those who wish to take part in it.

And so, here we are.

To a YES in my life that is at the core of it all. The yes that has been resting in me, sitting with me and now nudging me, prodding me, and moving me in ways I have yet to understand. I have a feeling I’m bound for something I’ve been searching for a long time. Sometimes, I’m learning, saying YES for myself means saying NO to some things in the short term in order to focus on the important things requiring my best efforts first.

If you’d like to join me or follow along, I am getting ready for the Best Lent Ever. It will be nice to have a friend through it all – just let me know!

Meanwhile, the regular Always al Fresco programming will be starting back up too! It was a difficult few months of work, studying, and test-taking claiming the front seat for a little bit, but hey, we’ve got some good stuff on cue here for you.

Tell me, how has your February been?

Wishing you a love-filled Valentine’s/Galentine’s/Palentine’s Day!

Thanks for reading!

x,

Valerie

PS – Alex surprised me with quite the Valentine this year, which helped tie everything together for me and really jumpstart this journey (below). Let me know if you’d like to see more of that or if you have any questions and other thoughts. Feel free to link up with your related post or favorite related links as well!

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

The last day of May marks a very important calendar event in America, one that I have grown to appreciate more with every passing year since my move here.

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(above: the Memorial Day Flag Display at the Boston Common, May 2016)

First thought by most people: SUMMER. I’m guilty of it myself. I’ve been hustling this month, so focused on making it through the end to this much-awaited long weekend. It may have taken me 9 years to truly understand the full breadth of emotions that come with Memorial Day. I didn’t have my husband to school me on American history at the age of 17 and a few days fresh from landing at Reagan International Airport. For good.

Alex’s love for this country is something all of our close friends and family would associate him with in a heartbeat. He knew very early on the sacrifices it took to serve this country. As his father would go out to sea for months at a time, he and his mother would await his return. Every homecoming was emotional and always sweet. But he always came back.

Unfortunately, not every military member returns. Many have fallen and have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that every other American can continue on the pursuit of happiness. To paint a picture, Alex and I went to see the Memorial Day flag display at the Boston Common depicting all the lives lost to the service in Massachusetts alone. It was hard not to get choked up walking around and watching all those flags blowing in the wind.

As if coincidentally, yesterday was also the feast of Corpus Christi. A solemn reminder of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist – His ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue to give thanks, break bread and share in God’s table free from sin. Fr. John, once again, delivered such a powerful message about sharing and caring for our neighbors. Because sometimes, the more you give, the more you open yourself up for better, more valuable things in life and perhaps feel even more fulfilled.