Hello family, friends, and followers!
Peach in the Rockies will be back up with normal posts, a new layout, and some big new soon! So be patient and I apologize in advance for crazy look over the next couple of days while I get the site in order.
Hello family, friends, and followers!
Peach in the Rockies will be back up with normal posts, a new layout, and some big new soon! So be patient and I apologize in advance for crazy look over the next couple of days while I get the site in order.
Is it weird that Lent is one of my favorite seasons? I mean who else gets excited about sacrificing their favorite indulgences, watching Jesus suffer in the desert, and let’s not forget about the mass where we crucify Jesus. It’s almost scaring, but there is just a special place in my heart for lent. Over the years, I have always felt a sweet pull back to the church during Lent. Even as a “lukewarm Catholic,” as I like to call it, I always found my way back for Ash Wednesday and every Sunday during Lent. Looking back it was God’s way of keeping His love in my heart even if it was just for one small stint every year. I find such beauty in the masses, especially Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Ash Wednesday is such a beautiful reminder of keeping God is our heart, and Matthew 6 is my favorite passage of the Bible. Then Palm Sunday, though completely heart wrenching, helps us to truly understand the love that Christ has for us no matter the circumstance. Watching Him die on the cross always humbles me, and reminds me of just how honored I am that He died for my sins. It’s something we should remember every week, but the wonderful reminders this time of year fills me with such love.
And then of course, who can forget about fasting. Those outside of the faith tend to either think us crazy or really admire the feat. Fasting has always been a way for me to truly connect with the Lord. I am a big proponent in giving something up so that it strengths your relationship with God and others. Something that we struggle with, something that will make us squirm uncomfortably a little. The past couple of years I have given up my Sunday mornings. For someone who hardly ever went to church, the best thing that I could do during Lent is spending sacred time with the Lord. This year things are a little different. I haven’t missed a Sunday in months, and I frequently attend the Tuesday night candlelight service so saying that my Lent penance is going to church just won’t do. I thought about giving up my coffee (which I practically live on) but realized that I wasn’t going to get anything out of that. I am still going to give up coffee on days of fasting and abstinence and donate the money I save by not buying the fancy coffee shop lattes that I like, but I felt that nothing in that strengthened my faith. So I was back to thinking. As I was sitting on my couch thumbing through Facebook, I realized was I needed to fast from: social media. Every day I spend an unhealthy amount of time on Facebook and Instagram that I could instead use to get ahead on school work, study scripture, or spend quality time with the Lord. So starting tomorrow it will be no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or other forms of social media. I am keeping the blog up and running because this is a great way for me to share my discoveries and spread the love of God (I just won’t be scrolling through the reader anytime soon.) I know it will be tough, especially the first week, but I can’t wait to see what this new free time brings me.
So get excited because Lent is here as well as the beauty of the Easter Season! I cannot wait to see the beauty that is brings and being reminded that HE IS RISEN!
Colorado is beautiful and I love it. I wouldn’t have trekked the mile in the snow to work if I didn’t love it as much as I do. It’s beautiful, the atmosphere is great, and there is never a lack of things to do. It’s always hard to find thing that stand out in a place that you love. Usually the indecisive person that I am would respond to a question like that with “I don’t know what I like the best. I like it all!” However, I am certain that when asked to point out elements of Colorado that stand out more that anything else, I could choose two:
1. Estes Park and the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park
So when an opportunity presents itself to get away for the weekend and combine these two blessings, you jump at the chance. Once a semester, that comes around in the form of Buffalo Awakening, referred to by the University of Colorado Catholic community as BA.
BA is a three-day retreat that is organized and run by the students of St. Thomas Aquinas. Last semester, I got the chance to go as a retreater and found that BA was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The retreat is an amazing way to get to know Jesus in a completely new way. With all the great activities and the love that is brought in by the staff, you get back to school wishing that the weekend never ended. And all of this takes place at the YMCA of the Rockies which sits at the base of some of the most beautiful 14er’s. Getting to know Jesus in a breathtaking atmosphere? You just can’t beat it.
This semester I was back again, but this time as a staff member. I was a little wary in the weeks leading up to it. I was placed on a staff that works primarily in the background. Our job was important, but we had relatively no contact with the campers. I was convinced that this was going to be a tough weekend for me. I wanted to be up front, to directly work with the retreaters, to share my story, to change lives! Little did I know that God had different plans for me. As soon as we met our families, I felt a wave of completeness. Here I was never talking to the retreaters in my family, but my job praying for and supporting them changed lives. It made them feel loved, wanted, and supported. It was completely eye-opening for me. It taught me the importance of doing God’s work, sharing the burdens of others, and supporting my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I learned that my prayers and small simple acts mean the world to those around me, and that at the base of those beautiful Rocky Mountains, being a staff member of the best retreat in the land can be just as spiritually fulfilling as being a retreater.
So here is to Buffalo Awakening 30 where I learned who much God loves me, to Buffalo Awakening 31 where I learned how great it feels to love others even if I don’t know them, and to the many Buffalo Awakenings to come! I pray that I continue to find complete beauty in those beautiful mountains, not just in the landscape but in the love of Jesus that is shared there.
My dear sisters – I know this day can bring pain. I know what it feels like to have old memories associated with Valentine’s Day resurface and the sadness that it causes. I know how jealousy can bubble up as you watch your friends go out as you eat ice cream and watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns. I know how painful it can be to see so many happy couples flutter about as you internally wonder “What is wrong with me? Why don’t I have that?” I know sweet sisters, because I haven’t just been there, I am there.
This is my first Valentine’s Day single since 2012. I’ve been asking these questions for six months now. I’ve prayed and asked God for answers and understanding. What I’ve learned is that we are going to get through this! It isn’t going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a long and painful (and I do mean physically painful) road that takes a lot of time and patience to walk. But dear sweet girls we will get through it together! Today, on this day of love, I want to share my findings with you. I want to encourage you to walk with your head held high and the knowledge that one day this feeling will be one of the past.
I’ve learned that the first thing you have to stop doing is thinking less of yourself. I know, I know – it’s a lot harder than I make it seem. Even I struggle with the thoughts when I don’t see my love life going the way I want. Am I not pretty enough? Do people not like my personality? What is wrong with me. I have learned that Satan knows just what to stick in our heads to bring us down. The thing is we are none of those things! Sweet girls, you are beautiful, smart, kind, and caring. You are one of a kind! You are nothing less than absolute beauty and perfection! Your situation and what happens to you does not reflect the person you are, so don’t let it influence what you think of yourself.
Where you are today is not where you are going to be down the road. I know it is hard to comprehend especially when the time line is completely unknown. Things could change tomorrow or they could change 20 years from now. That’s a hard truth to swallow sometimes. But it’s worth being patient with the Lord. Never settle for someone who doesn’t appreciate you. Remember – you are fabulous! This means that a guy should have absolute intentions for you. I will leave this a little open ended, but know this: a guy who has no intentions of making you a priority is not worth your time. You are a woman of great dignity and you deserve the finest! For me this includes guys who just can’t make the initial commitment. As hard as it may seem, a guy who doesn’t step up and make his intentions clear on where your relationship is going does not have your best interests in mind. It’s in that moment that it is best to step back and let God show you the way.
While these are some great things that I have learned during my time as a single, they are not the most important things, and it’s not what I want you to leave this blog remembering. What I want you to know is that there is a man out there who loves you unconditionally. He loved you enough to die for you, and He will continue to love you no matter what happens in your life. Jesus. What I want is for you to lean on Jesus during this time. Let Him love you, and let him show you how to love yourself. Take this time and better get to know Him and yourself. He wants to help you and heal your wounds. He wants to love you in a way that you’ve never been loved before, and only when He knows that you are ready to move on will He let someone else step in.
So on this day, don’t think about what you’re missing out on. If fact tonight you could have the greatest date of them all. I know I will! I can’t wait to go home for a quite dinner with Jesus, spend time talking to Him, listening to Him, and getting to know Him better. Sweet girls, I encourage you to do the same. Don’t let this be a holiday that you feel bad for yourself. Take it back to its true purpose: love others and love Jesus. Spread that love to others! And have faith that the Lord has a fabulous path laid out for you and that this time in your life is just a small piece of a much larger, and beautiful, picture.
Last week I got a text from my old cross country assistant coach. It read:
“Hey, so we are having a meeting about Girls in the Game, and your name came up about former athletes to speak. Would you be interested in speaking?”
It then went of on a couple more details and how it was understood that I was busy with school, but those first two sentences made my heart completely jump! Girls in the Game is a fundraiser put on by my old university as a fundraiser for women’s athletics. It bring in supporters and young girls from the community for a wonderful lunch and emphasizes the importance of athletics for girls of all ages. I became so hopeful for a number of reasons. One of my big goals in life is to inspire young girls to pursue their passions. While my big dream is to inspire girls in STEM, I feel that this could be the first in many steps. And athletics has been an important aspect of my life. I won’t lie though, the excuse to travel back to my long time home and see my friends is what is really driving the flame.
When I first sat down to write this article, I approached it in a completely different way than I am approaching it now. Through this week, I have been so completely terrified about getting excited for this event. I tried and failed to not let my emotions get the best of me. There is so much unknown left in this event. The date isn’t set yet, and if they pick another date I may not be able to get out of school. They may pick another speaker who is closer and cheaper to bring in. I have long lived my life on the path of least risk and one of the laws of that road is don’t get your hopes high. The higher you get you hope, the more the heartbreak hurts when you fall. If you don’t have expectations, then you won’t get hurt.
As I was sitting at mass tonight, I realized that the way I was approaching this, with such fear and worry about what would happen to me, is completely wrong! I’m not called to live my life in fear! Instead, I’m only going to find myself in new and exciting places if I take a leap of faith. And the thing with taking those leaps is that there will be fear of hitting the bottom, but we have to trust that God will be there at the bottom waiting to catch us if things don’t go the way that we have planned.
The thing with it is, if we are excited beyond explanation, then we are probably heading down a path that God wants us to be on. Maybe I’m not meant to go to Georgia in April, but the fruits of the possibility is already showing their pretty blossoms. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about learning to trust God and I’ve gotten more excited about spending a little more time with Him each day. I have gotten excited about writing again (I am on here after an extremely long absence, am I not?), and because of that I have gotten more motivated to leave the house and do my studying in a timely manor (maybe I am seeing my prayers to be more motivated being answered).
So I’m going to get excited about the possibility of traveling to my home away from home! I’m going to get excited about surprising my best friend! I’m going to start a countdown clock on my background! I’m going to take a leap of faith and know that if everything comes crashing down that God has me and that I am getting something just as great out of the experience!
My problems started at the beginning of the semester. I worried about what people, especially guys, thought about me. I distinctly remember my obsession with the way that I looked and feeling ashamed when I felt like a guy would find me unattractive. I constantly waited for text messages and felt anxious when they didn’t come. I had a crush on half the guys I ever saw, even ones that didn’t even know I existed. I day dreamed of the day someone would ask me out, wondered what our first date would be like, how we would get to know each other, and (to my own complete shame) how we would get engaged and live happily ever after. As a friend of mine put it, I had been through all the major milestones of our relationship and had never even talked to the guy!
I have learned that Satan knows just how to push your buttons and try to pull you down to rock bottom. I felt his pull at my heart every day and the longing for Earthly happiness. I felt alone, unloved, unworthy. If I could just find a man that loved me, I would be happy. My only saving grace was that I knew this was not what the Lord wanted for me, so I continued to push on. One day I finally had enough. It was a Sunday and I had just gotten home from a three-day retreat in the mountains spending precious time with God, yet here I was longing for a worldly love and happiness that (surprise, surprise!) I just couldn’t find. So as I drove to the grocery store that night I made a promise to the Lord: I would take a break from boys.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. A dating fast is giving up the practice of dating and instead spending time with the Lord. Personally I have vowed not to date through the end of the school year, so basically another five months on top of what I have already done. No dates, no physical relationships, and no situations that I feel will tempt me. It also means learning emotional chastity and the truth about the love God has for us and wants us to have for each other. We are taught physical chastity as children, but we are never shown how our own thoughts can cast a damaging light on others. As another author writes, “Where our hearts go, our bodies want to follow.” For me, it is emotional chastity that I really struggle with and I want to learn to see men as my brothers in Christ first and foremost, not as a potential partner.
So far the journey that I have taken has been a complete blessing. I am studying some great scripture on the truth about love. I plan on continuing to study how the Lord loves each of us and how He wants us to love each other both in platonic and romantic relationships. Through all of this I am learning to have a full relationship with God. I have learned that I still have a lot of wounds that need healed from my devastating break up about 6 months ago, and that by opening up to Him I am filling my cracks and holes with a love that only He can provide. One of my favorite activities that I have taken up is going on ‘dates with Jesus.’ I thoroughly enjoy the simple and loving conversations that I get to have with my Savior during these times with Him. The experience thus far has allowed me to have a relationship with the Lord that I have never had before and I am truly grateful for the opportunity.
So I’ve been away for a little while – sorry about that! However, in an attempt to get off of social media and to start looking for more fulfilling ways to spend my time, I am back. I thought for now I would just give a little update of life so far.
I’m a few months in and a little over a week away from fall/Thanksgiving break. That’s a little terrifying. But I am getting through and doing it successfully. My first round of midterms boosted my confidence and showed me that this is truly where I belong and what I want to study. Second round of midterms started last week and go through next Friday, so we will see if this trend continues.
I could not have asked to be a member of a better church. There is so much love within the community and I have made so many sweet friends during my time at St. Thomas. The Lord has been speaking to me in such wonderful ways. I can wait to share my stories of His love, mercy, and forgiveness in my life and share what I learn from Him as I start my new journey.
More crazy news! I never in a million years would have thought that I sorority would have been a good fit for me. But the girls of Phi Sigma Rho – an engineering sorority new to the University of Colorado – has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made to date. These girls have been a great encouragement while pursuing such a difficult major. I cannot wait to see where the journey with my sisters take me.
Being in the heart of the mountains is such a blessing. There is not a day that passes that I don’t look up while walking home from class and feel absolutely amazed by the beauty that surrounds me. I have taken the opportunity to get out and explore the area, especially Chautauqua Park just down the street from my apartment. I’ve already climbed Green Mountain twice! Now just to climb a fourteener sometime next spring!
So long story short, I am enjoying my time here! I hope to be posting more often with a multitude of stories, lessons, and adventures so stay tuned! But for now I should probably stop writing and get back to studying for my midterm tomorrow!
All good things must come to an end, and so it was with this summer. Though moving did make for a stressful and sad short period, my overall experience was fantastic! I got to meet a lot of great new people, worked in a fabulous environment with the best team, and saw some pretty amazing sights! But it’s time for all that to come to a close, because, well.. SCHOOL!
I have not been this excited about school starting in a long time. While I was ecstatic last year about going back to Georgia and seeing my friends, running my last year of cross-country, and getting to participate in everything being a senior entails, I did not want to take any classes. By this time last year I was starting to grow a little weary of being in classes that I didn’t want to take to get a degree I didn’t really need. I was so blessed to have wonderful friends surrounding me that turned a long and stressful school year into a complete success (I mean I did graduate as one of the top students in my class!)
This year though things are the exact opposite. While I don’t know anyone, I am super excited about finally pursuing the major that I have always wanted to! The whole process started last Friday when I moved to Boulder, Colorado home to the main branch of the University of Colorado. I am staying in a quant little townhouse about half a mile from campus with three other girls. While the neighborhood is a little rowdy and noisy on the weekend (I am finally in a college town after all) the location is prime. My roommates come from all over the United States, and so far we are getting along really well for never having met each other before. My fingers are crossed that the next few months with them go as smoothly as the last few days have.
Last night I went to mass and was able to meet with the Catholic ministry here at the campus. I am so thrilled with where God has placed me and the fruits that are going to come from it. The missionaries, priests, and other students are so nice, welcoming, and have a heart full of love for Jesus. Hopefully I will be place in a bible study soon, and will get to meet many more people that way. I am also looking forward to the retreats and outings that the group goes on frequently. I was told last night that they hiked a 14er last year, and I immediately knew that I was where I belonged! It’s been a dream of mine to hike a mountain since I first got to Colorado. I’m sure they will be an inspiration for many posts to come.
And of course there is school to talk about. Classes started today (August 22) and I have nothing to complain about so far, but then again I have only been to two classes. I have another this afternoon, but tomorrow is the full load with four classes. I may have another story tomorrow night.
So for today, here is to a successful semester, great friends, and many unforgettable memories to come.
While studying through the Gospel of Matthew tonight, I wrote down a question in my journal that struck a cord with me:
So much of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount focus on the importance of forgiveness for his disciples.
So why is Jesus so fixated on forgiveness? Because forgiveness is entirely an act of love. Forgiving someone means looking past their fault and transgressions and looking at the good in them. It means showing love towards a person no matter what their actions are. Really, love is all that the Lord is looking for. He wants us to love each other the way that He loves us, and for us to model His love we must learn to forgive. If he can forgive us of the gravest of sins that we commit against him, then why should we not be able to forgive small actions that others commit against us?
So what is the problem with all this? As I stated earlier I wrote down a simple question regarding where I am in my walk with Christ. Do I forgive others the way that I should? Sort and simply: no. Not at all. I hold on to some heavy burdens in my heart. Actions that have been committed against me that I find hard to move past, and now I see that not only does holding onto this bring a heaviness to my heart, but affects my walk with Christ. I want to be a good person and say that I have forgiven everyone during the process of writing this post but I can’t. I want to be able to truly forgive from the bottom of my heart. To not just say it, but mean it also. That will take some time. But I plan to make the change (and you should too!) and work on forgiving others the way that the Lord forgives my sins. Tonight I will start by praying that God opens my heart to true love and that I start to learn the true meaning of forgiveness.
Goodness! I have let time get the best of me! This week I had a lovely head cold. Nothing bad: just some sniffles and sinus problems. However I was still feeling weak on Friday and decided that a long run was probably not my best idea for recovery so I didn’t get to go on my Fun Run Friday adventure this week. However I never did post my run review and photos from last week, so I will use my time to update you on that instead!
Last week since I still had to work I didn’t want to go far out of town, so instead I took the middle sister and headed into the heart of downtown Denver. There are two major parks in Denver and we decided to try out the first one I had seen: Washington Park. More commonly referred to as Wash Park by the residents, Washington Park is a 155 acre park located just minutes from the heart of the city. I first heard of the location not just from a family friend, but also because it is where a number of Division II regional races have been held over the years. So of course with my cross county background I just had to go for a run there.
The whole place is absolutely beautiful! Two medium to large sizes ponds sit at either side of the large rectangular park. Beside one is the small Lily Pond, a designated children’s fishing pond. The park consists of two beautiful flower gardens, one of them a replica of George Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon. There are numerous tennis, volleyball, and other recreation fields. There are a number of paths to take through the park, you could do a whole run and probably never step over the same piece of ground twice! I took to running the outer crushed gravel/packed sand loop. It runs along the perimeter of the park and covers a little over 2.5 miles. One of my biggest complaints about running in Denver is that I am always having to run on pavement, so this was a dream getting to run on something a little more forgiving to the legs. My sister walked along the inner paved loop. This loop is split down the middle giving it the typical street look. One lane is reserved for walkers and joggers (the slow speed people as my sister put it) and the other is reserved for bicyclists and other faster paced park users. We were quite surprised at the number of people we saw roller blading through the park.
I found that Washington Park was definitely worth the visit. There was never a lack of scenery: beautiful million dollar houses across the street, flower gardens, and fantastic lake views. There were a large number of people in the park compared to what I am used to in Georgia, but I never felt like it was over crowed. With the numerous facilities available and the massive amount of acreage everyone is spread around the park and you don’t feel bothered. In fact at some points you feel like you aren’t even in the middle of a large, bustling city. I can’t wait to get back and see a few more of the features within the park and have a little more time to explore.