Faith In Medias Rex-Strengthening Your Faith in The Middle of Despair

I’m sure that there are times when, no matter how much you strive to live a God-like life, the Devil does everything and anything to keep you from being on that path. Maybe you’ve gotten into extreme blow-out arguments with your loved ones. Perhaps you’ve had a really bad day where nothing went right and one final indiscretion sent you over the edge. Who knows? Maybe you just woke up in a funk and can’t seem to find your faith in God at that moment.

Well, all three of those scenarios have happened to me. Some of them have happened all in the same day. On those days, I struggle to hold on to my faith in Christ. I’ll admit, I don’t even consider whether or not God is present in those moments because my despair is that deep. However, once that feeling of abject despair subsists, I always hear a voice in my head, that being God’s voice.

The voice is never like actors portray it in the movies. It’s never the heralded trumpet voice of St. Michael the Archangel with grandeur and rigor. Rather, for me, it’s always a calm voice. A comforting voice. A voice that soothes and nourishes. Once that voice starts to speak, I listen. Now, God knows all of us, and he knows what we respond to best when he soothes us. Nevertheless, he is honest with us, and he often asks us to trust him as he helps us in our moments of need.

In my moments of need, God often calls me to act by doing the following:

(1) Say the Rosary at a nearby Church– If I’m out and about when my despair happens, I get to a Church for a Rosary if I have the time. I’ll usually complete a whole Rosary, and then spend additional time in prayer.

(2) Look up an inspirational Psalm or passage– Sometimes, you don’t have time to say a Rosary or spend an hour (or two) in mental prayer and contemplation. My favorite Psalm is Ps. 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills….” 

(3) Meditate on Images or Music- I’ve always believed that God speaks to us and through us through the gifts that he has blessed us with. Now, I have sung all of my life and taken part in some sort of visual art all of my life, so art and music speak the most to me. Listening to music  or look at artwork in books, churches, or in person at museums if I’m close to one of them. To me, the biggest sign of God’s existence is the sheer amount of beauty that artists of all mediums  create in his name. Having found musical artists as Ike Ndolo and Matt Maher in addition to the constant Beyonce rotation that I keep on repeat. 

In any case, I hope that I’ve offered you something to think about today. What are some of your methods?

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Motivation Monday- Exercising the Monday Muscle

 

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the first “Motivation Monday!”

I hope that your weekends went swimmingly and that you made the most of it! Here in Brooklyn, we had some beautiful weather to welcome us to the fall season. On Sunday, my boyfriend and I made the most of it by attending the Atlantic Antic street festival after Sunday Mass. It was sheer heaven. Crowded, but sheer heaven.

If you’re anything like me, then you look forward to Mondays as though you were going to get a tooth pulled at the dentist’s office. When Mondays rolled around…I usually did anything to not get out of bed in the morning. I would press the snooze button 50 times, burrow deeper in bed, call out “Is it Sunday?” only to hear that resounding “No,” and then I begrudgingly left my bed as though I was a slowly-awakening zombie in a 1950s B-List horror flick.

Now, as much as I abhor the routine of the Monday grind, I am a very optimistic person by nature. So, even though hating Mondays is a societal rite of passage for the majority of working Millennials in Western culture, I’ve come to realize that I never seem to accomplish much on a Monday when I wake up with a negative mindset. However, when I approach Monday with a more positive frame of mind, I am much more productive for my entire week.

In his book The Way, St. Josemaria Escriva writes:

“Work. It’s there. The instruments can’t be left to grow rusty.  There are also “norms” to avoid the mildew and the rust. Just put them into practice.” [Escriva, 486]

This phrase really made me re-orient the way that I view my Mondays.  I started thinking of Monday as a muscle. Yes, like a body muscle that you exercise at the gym to the point of fatigue. What I mean by that is I started to think of my Mondays as opportunities to exercise my positive approach to beginnings. The more I choose to start my Mondays with a positive mental attitude, the more productive I became as a person, and the happier I was throughout the week.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t easy, and there are some Mondays where I’m

still bemoaning the existence of Monday. However, like a bicep extension, you keep working at it. You start off with something small, and you work your way up. So for me, the way that I started off was by not complaining on Monday morning when I got up. In fact, I didn’t say anything much. I just got up and went to start my day.

Next, I began to thank God for allowing me to wake up to see another morning. Offering gratitude to God is huge because I acknowledge the privilege that I received and accepted, which was waking up after a night’s sleep. This is important to me because waking up to see the morning sun is not a privilege that everyone gets, and I’m not one to go without offering gratitude. If you don’t believe in God, then offer your gratitude to whomever and whatever you believe.

The final step for exercising my Monday muscle is setting an intention for the day. For today, my intention is simple: “Love More.” I’ve set this intention because in this increasingly political era, hatred is streaming forth on every media platform, every subway platform, every political platform, and the like. I’m tired of seeing this hatred, and I don’t want to engage in it any longer. I’d rather be a part of the solution than the problem, so I am actively choosing to love more. It won’t be easy in every instance, but love is a decisive action that you don’t back from. So, I offer my love to the world by choosing to treat people with respect and kindness…which is not always easy in the era of social media arguments and this girl’s penchant for getting into them. But…….progress.

I hope that I’ve offered you something to think about on this Monday! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Love,

Andrea

Works Cited- Escriva, Josemaria. The Way. New Rochelle, NY , Scepter Publishers, 1982. Tract 486

Andrea. In a Nutshell.

 

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Hello!

Thank you for visiting my site! I’m honored that you would take time out of your (most likely) busy day to visit my little corner of the internet, and I’d love to tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Andrea, and I am a Millennial young woman in her late twenties who believes in the power of the Internet to connect people both near and far. I started blogging because I wanted to share my love of beauty with the world. Well, along the way, I’ve had several missteps. However, because I choose to see the proverbial glass as half-full, I’ve come to see these missteps as redirections. With every redirection I experience, I’ve been able to refine my voice even further.

You see, the truth of the matter is this: While I am incredibly passionate about beauty, I’m not the type of person who just wants to talk about product all the time (even though I love to do so). I’ve come to a point where I’m searching for deeper meaning in my life. I want to talk about more than STUFF. I want to talk about food. I want to talk about books. I want to talk about the random sights that I see in my lovely hometown of Brooklyn. I want to talk about my Catholic faith and how it has shaped my view of the world. And I am going to talk about it. I’m going to talk about ALL of it.

So take some time to browse through what you see here. I’m always open to answer any questions.

And as the Italians (in Italy) say, attraversiamo.

Let’s cross over.

Beauty With Meaning- An Update On My Long Disappearance.

“HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE……….”

I know, I know. Using an Adele lyric is incredibly cliche, but I just HAD to use it. It was perfect!!

I haven’t been on here in over a year, and there’s a lot of reasons that I could give you as to why that is. But the honest truth of the matter is that I was burnt out on my life towards the end of last year. Burnt out to the point that I was just an empty shell, devoid of emotion and lacked any sense of humanity whatsoever.

However, my life has been on the upswing for the most part of 2017, minus the part where I got laid off. Yeah….that happened. It wasn’t fun, but in retrospect, it needed to happen, and God….made it happen, in his own, roundabout way.

I started this blog to talk about my biggest passion, which was beauty. That being said, I want to talk about beauty in a different way. You see, there are so many beauty influencers on the market now, be they beauty professionals, beauty bloggers, bloggers, or any other individuals who make their living from this industry. And for me, what I love about beauty is not merely the product knowledge, but the community that has arisen around it. I love that we’re able to discuss history, science, politics and literature all while talking about eyeliner.

So I’m going to be working on this site for awhile in order to bring you something fresh, new, and more in line with what I’m envisioning.

Stay tuned. I look forward to seeing you again.

The Joys of DIY Beauty

Good evening!

So I’ve been hunkering down in my lab for the the past week working on my skin treats.

¿Qué? Lab? Skin treats? Huh?!

Relax! Let me explain!

Now, if you’ve been following my blog, then you already know that I’m a huge fan of more higher-end, skincare-specialist-oriented skincare and makeup. It works for me. However, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the cheapest…or (admittedly) most practical of habits. So I circumvent the cost of these products by making certain products myself. This measure allows me to be more selective about the ingredients that I use, and it’s quite cost-effective in the long run because I can make large batches which will last me for a VERY long time.

Here’s a list of products that I make myself, as well as some examples of the ingredients that I often use to make them. I tend to stick to these types of products because they’re so easy to make, and you can never get them wrong.

  1. Detoxifying clay masks-Listen, I live in Brooklyn and I work in the Union Square area, so my skin is exposed to pollution on a daily basis. Therefore, a clay mask is necessary. I use them 1-2 times per week. I tend to mix clays such as kaolin, red clay, and montmorillonite with activated charcoal, probiotic powder, and fermented rice water infused with detoxing/brightening herbs. This mix keeps my skin smooth and clear.
  2. Exfoliating body scrubs-I’ve always said that a good scrub can make you feel as though you just came back from vacation, and for me, it’s true. For pennies per use, you can create a body scrub from kitchen ingredients. I like to use white sugar and brown sugar with kaolin clay and whatever oil I have on hand. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I’ll even add an essential oil or two. NOTE-NEVER USE CITRUS JUICES IN YOUR SCRUBS. Using this class of ingredients in your scrubs will cause phototoxicity and make you skin sensitive to sunlight. You. Will. Burn.
  3. Bath salts-It took me years to believe in the power of bath salts. I mean, they smelled nice, but I never felt any different. Then, two things happened: (a) I joined a gym, and (b) I read “Sacred Woman” by Queen Afua. Now, in regards to the former, when I started doing my heavy lifting, the nightly soaks became necessary, especially on leg day. As for the Latter, Queen Afua wrote something that really changed the way that I look at bath salts. She said that for bath salts to really work, you have to use a lot. Her suggested amount was 1 lb. I thought that she was crazy, but I tried it one night…and I’ve never looked back. I felt…as though I had just come out of Maracas. Since then, I’ve stuck to a recipe of 1 lb epsom salt, 1 lb pure sea salt, 1 lb pure baking soda, 3/4 cup kaolin clay, and 2 tbsps of activated charcoal. Depending upon how I feel…I may add essential oils to scent it. Use 1 lb of bath salts at a time. It may seem like a lot, but if you don’t taste the salt in your bath water, it’s not theraputic…and you won’t feel anything. Trust.
  4. Body butter-Decadence in a jar. The nice part of this product is that you can use pure butter alone if that’s what you want, or you can add oils to really supercharge its effectiveness. I’ve been making this since college, and I usually mix shea, coconut, and mango butters with a variation of infused carrier oils such as coconut, almond, grapeseed, jojoba, olive, apricot, rosehip, and argan.
  5. Hair oil-Now this is the product that I am the most picky about. I’m big on hair oils because they’re a huge part of my routine for hair health. I also refuse to buy hair oils because 99% of hair oils cointaim some form of silicone, which I’m not a fan of using in oil form. I tend to massage my scalp 4-7 times per week with my blend of infused coconut oil, essential oils, argan and almond oils.

So those are the products that I like to make on my own. Making those five products allow me to save some coin and explore my inner chemist. What products do you like to make on your own?

Talk below!